The Life and Times of Queen Victoria; vol. 2 of 4 by Robert Wilson








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








Mr. Roebuck and Emigration—Self-Government and the Colonies—Unsympathetic Whig Policy—Radicals and the Colonial Office—The Peelites and Hudson’s Bay Company—Financial Reform—Mr. Cobden at Variance with Mr. Bright—Combined Agitators—The Demand for Retrenchment—Trade and the Flag—Tories and Taxes—A reductio ad absurdum—A Raid on a Surplus—International Arbitration—Parliamentary Reform—Parliament and the Jews—The Tories oppose the Alteration of the Parliamentary Oath—Episcopal Prejudice—Tory Obstructionists—An Ordnance Department Scandal—Mr. Delane’s Attacks on Lord Palmerston in the Times—The Queen Remonstrates against Lord Palmerston’s Recklessness—An Anti-Palmerstonian Cabal—Lady Palmerston’s Intrigues—Lord Brougham Betrays the Cabal—Palmerston’s Victory—Rome and France—The Second War—The Disaster of Chillianwalla—Indignation of the Country—Lord Gough’s Recall—Napier to the Rescue—The East India Directors Oppose Napier’s Appointment—The Convict War at the Cape—Boycotting the Governor 385


Education of the Prince of Wales—Selection of Mr. Birch as Tutor—The Queen’s Jealousy of her Parental Authority—Her Letter to Melbourne on the Management of her Nursery—Her Ideas on Education—Prince Albert’s Plans for the Education of the Prince of Wales—Stockmar’s Advice—The Visit to Ireland—The Queen at Waterford—“Rebel Cork” en fête—The Visit to Dublin—Viceregal Festivities—The Visit to the National Model Schools—Shiel’s Speech—The Queen and the Duke of Leinster—Farewell at Kingstown—The Queen Dips the Royal Ensign—Loyal Ulster—The Visit to the Linen Hall—Lord Clarendon on the Queen’s Visit—A Cruise on the Clyde—Home in Balmoral—The Queen’s “Bothie”—The Queen’s University of Ireland—First Plans for the Great Exhibition—Opening of the London Coal Exchange—The Queen’s Barge—Death of Queen Adelaide 403


Political Wreckage—Force triumphs over Opinion—The State of France—Election of Prince Charles Louis Bonaparte as Prince-President—The Sad Plight of Italy—Palmerston’s Anti-Austrian Policy—Defeat of Piedmont—The Fall of Venice—Fall of the Roman Republic—A Cromwellian Struggle in Prussia—The Queen’s Partisanship—Her Prussian Sympathies—The Hungarian Refugees in Turkey—A Diplomatic Conflict with Russia—Opening of Parliament—Mr. Disraeli and Local Taxation—Parliamentary Reform—The Jonahs of the Cabinet—The Dispute with Greece—Don Pacifico’s Case—Coercion of Greece—Lord Palmerston meekly accepts an Insult from Russia—French Intervention—A Diplomatic Conflict in France—Recall of the French Ambassador—False Statements in Parliament—The Queen’s Indignation—The Don Pacifico Debate—The Civis Romanus sum Doctrine—Palmerston’s Victory—The West African Slave Trade 420


The Colonies and Party Government—The Movement for Autonomy—Lord John Russell’s Colonial Bill—Tory Opposition to Colonial Federation—Mr. Adderley’s Plan—Mr. Gladstone’s Scheme for Colonial Church Courts—The Colonial Bills Mangled in the House of Lords—More English Doles for Ireland—An Irish Reform Bill—Lord John Russell Proposes to Abolish the Lord-Lieutenancy—The Queen’s Irish Policy—Her offer to Establish a Royal Residence in Ireland—The Bungled Budget—The Demand for Retrenchment—The Tories Insist on a Reduction of Official Salaries—Lord John Russell’s Commission on Establishments—The Queen and the Church—The Ecclesiastical Appeals Bill—The “Gorham Case”—Death of Peel—The Queen’s Sorrow—A Nation in Mourning—Peel’s Character and Career—The {iv}Queen’s Alarm about Prince Albert’s Health—The Queen at Work—The Queen’s Reading-Lamp 438


Debates on “No Popery”—Mutiny of the Irish Brigade—Defeat of Lord John Russell—Lord Stanley “sent for”—Timid Tories—Lord Stanley’s Interviews with the Queen—A Statesman’s “Domestic Duties”—Is Coalition Possible?—The Queen’s Mistake—The Duke of Wellington’s Advice—Return of the Whigs to Office—The Queen’s Aversions—The “No Popery” Bill Reduced to a Nullity—Another Bungled Budget—The Income Tax Controversy—The Pillar of Free Trade—The Window Tax and the House Duty—The Radicals and the Slave Trade—King “Bomba” and Mr. Gladstone—Cobden on General Disarmament—Palmerston in a Millennial Mood—The Whig-Peelite Intrigue—The Queen and the Kossuth Demonstrations—Another Quarrel with Palmerston—A Merry Council of State 463


The World’s Fair—Carping Critics—Churlish Ambassadors Rebuked by the Queen—Opening of the Great Exhibition—A Touching Sight—The Queen’s Comments on “soi-disant Fashionables”—The Duke of Wellington’s Nosegay—Prince Albert among the Missionaries—The Queen’s Letter to Lord John Russell—Her Pride in her Husband—The London Season—The Duke of Brunswick’s Balloon “Victoria”—Bloomerism—The Queen at Macready’s Farewell Benefit—The Queen’s Costume Ball—The Spanish Beauty—An Ugly “Lion”—The Queen at the Guildhall Ball—Grotesque Civic Festivities—Royal Visits to Liverpool and Manchester—A Well-Dressed Mayor—The Queen on the “Sommerophone”—The Coup d’État—The Assassins of Liberty—The Appeal to France—The Queen’s Last Quarrel with Palmerston—Palmerston’s Fall—Outcry against the Queen—A “Presuming” Muscovite—The Queen’s Vindication 480


Cassandras in the Service Clubs—The Tories and the Queen’s Speech—Lord John Russell’s Triumph—The Militia Bill—Defeat of the Russell Ministry—Fall of the Whig Cabinet—Palmerston’s “Tit for Tat”—A Protectionist Government—Novices in Office—A Cabinet of Affairs—Mr. Disraeli’s Budget—Lord John Russell’s Fatal Blunder—The Second Burmese War—Dalhousie’s Designs on Burmah—How the Quarrel Grew—Lambert’s Indiscretion—The Attack on Rangoon—Fall of the Citadel—Annexation—Desultory Warfare—Dissolution of Parliament—The General Election—Equipoise of Parties—Factions and Free Trade—Palmerston’s Forecasts—Forcing the Hand of the Ministry—Death of the Duke of Wellington—The Queen’s Grief—The Nation in Mourning—The Lying-in-State—Shocking Scenes—The Funeral Pageant—The Ceremony in St. Paul’s—A Veteran in Tears—The Laureate’s Votive Wreath—Review of the Duke’s Character 496


Abortive Attacks on the Ministry—Mr. Disraeli’s First Budget—Fall of the Tory Cabinet—The Queen and Lord Aberdeen—Organising the Coalition—A Ministry of “All the Talents”—The Queen and South Kensington—A Miser’s Legacy to the Queen—Sport at Balmoral—Proclamation of the Second Empire—The “Battle of the Numeral”—The Queen Initiates a Policy—Personal Government in the Victorian Age—A Servile Minister—Lord Malmesbury’s Spies—Napoleon III. and “Mrs. Howard”—Creole Card-Parties at Kensington—Napoleon III. Proposes to Marry the Queen’s Niece—Lord John Russell’s Education Scheme—Mr. Gladstone’s First Budget—The India Bill—Transportation of Convicts to Australia Stopped—The Gold Fever in Australia—The Rush to the Diggings—The First Gold Ships in the Thames—Gold Discoveries and Free Trade—Chagrin of the Protectionists—The Rise in Prices—Practical Success of Peel’s Fiscal Policy—Strikes and Dear Bread—End of the Great Peace 515


Origin of the Crimean War—Russia and “the Sick Man”—Coercing Turkey—The Dispute about the Holy Places—A Monkish Quarrel—Contradictory Concessions—The Czar and the Tory Ministry of 1844—The Secret Compact with Peel, Wellington, and Aberdeen—Nesselrode’s Secret Memorandum—The Czar and Sir Hamilton Seymour—Lord John Russell’s Admissions—The Czar’s Bewilderment—Lord Stratford de Redcliffe—The Marplot at Constantinople—A Hectoring Russian Envoy—The Allied Fleets at Besika Bay—The Conference of Vienna—The Vienna Note—The Turkish Modifications—The Case for England—The British Fleet in the Euxine—A Caustic Letter of the Queen to Lord Aberdeen—Prince Albert’s Warnings—The Massacre of Sinope—Internal Feuds in the Cabinet—Lord John Russell’s Intrigues—Palmerston’s Resignation and Return—The Fire at Windsor—Birth of Prince Leopold—The Camp at Chobham—The Czar’s Daughters—Naval Review at Spithead—Royal {v}Visit to Ireland 540


The War Fever in 1854—Attacks on Prince Albert—Aberdeen’s Correspondence with the Queen—The Queen’s Opinion of the Country—“Loyal, but a little mad”—Stockmar on the Constitution—Prince Albert’s Position at Court—The Privileges of a Reigning Queen’s Husband—Debates on the Prince’s Position—The Peace and War Parties—Mr. Cobden’s Influence—A new Vienna Note—A Challenge to Russia—The Russian Ambassador leaves London—Recall of Sir H. Seymour from St. Petersburg—Russian Intrigues with the German Powers—The Czar’s Counter-Propositions—His Sarcastic Letter to Napoleon III.—An Austrian Compromise—Lord Clarendon’s Ultimatum to Russia—The Czar’s Reply—Declaration of War—Omar Pasha’s Victories in the Principalities—The Siege of Silistria—Evacuation of the Principalities—The Rising in Greece—The Allies at the Piræus—The Allies occupy Gallipoli—Another English Blunder—Invasion of the Crimea—The Duke of Newcastle and a Sleepy Cabinet—Lord Raglan’s Opinion on the War—The Landing of the Allies at Eupatoria—Battle of the Alma—Russian Fleet Sunk at Sebastopol—At Balaclava—Death of Marshal St. Arnaud—The Siege of Sebastopol—Battles of Balaclava and Inkermann—Mismanagement of the War—Public Indignation against the Government—Mr. Roebuck’s Motion—Fall of the Coalition Ministry 574


Stratford de Redcliffe Cooling Down—Tory Distrust of the French Alliance—The Queen’s Kindness to Lord Aberdeen—The Emperor Napoleon and Prince Albert—The Prince Visits France—The Queen at Balmoral—Her Feelings towards the Prince of Prussia—The Queen holds a Council of War—She Demands Reinforcements for Lord Raglan—Napoleon’s Alarm—Prince Albert’s Plan for an Army of Reserve—The Queen on the Austrian Proposals—Her Anxiety about the Troops—Raglan’s Meagre Despatches—The Queen and Miss Nightingale—At Work for the Soldiers—Extorting Information from Lord Raglan—Ministerial Changes—Lord John Russell’s Selfishness—A Miserly Whig Duke—The Queen’s Disgust at Russell’s Treachery—Resignation of Russell—Fall of the Coalition—The Queen and the Crisis—She holds out the Olive Branch to Palmerston—Palmerston’s Cabinet—Quarrel between Mr. Disraeli and Lord Derby—The Sebastopol Committee—Mr. Roebuck and Prince Albert—The Vienna Conference and the Death of Czar Nicholas—The Austrian Compromise—Parties and the War—Russell’s Humiliation—He Resigns in Disgrace—The Queen Quashes the Peace Negotiations—A Royal Blunder—The Queen tries to Gag the Peelites—Aberdeen Browbeaten by the Court—Canrobert’s Resignation—Crimean Successes—Failure of the Attack on the Redan—Death of Raglan 618


Financing the War—The Queen’s Opinion of War Loans—A Dreadful Winter—Distress in the Country—The “Devil” in Devonshire—Bread Riots—War Loans and a War Budget—The Queen and the Wounded Soldiers—Her Condemnation of “the Hulks”—Presentation of War Medals in Hyde Park—Visit of the Emperor and Empress of the French—A Plot to Capture the Queen—Councils of War at Windsor—The Grand Chapter of the Order of the Garter—Imperial Compliments—Napoleon III. in the City—At the Opera—The Queen’s Birthday Gift to the Emperor—Scarlet Fever at Osborne—Prorogation of Parliament—A Court Intrigue with Dom Pedro of Portugal—The Queen Visits Paris—Her Reception at St. Cloud—The Ball at the Hôtel de Ville—Staring at the “Koh-i-noor”—At the Tomb of the Great Emperor—Prince Bismarck’s Introduction to the Queen—Home again—Lord Clarendon on the Queen’s Visit to Paris—How the Prince of Wales Enjoyed himself—At Balmoral—The Bonfire on Craig Gowan—Sebastopol Rejoicings—“A Witches’ Dance supported by Whisky”—Courtship of the Princess Royal—Prince Frederick William of Prussia—His Proposal of Marriage—Attacks of the Times—Visit of Victor Emmanuel—His Reputation in Paris—Memorial of the Grenadier Guards—Fresh Charges against Prince Albert—His Vindication of the Crimean Officers 643


Lord Raglan’s Successor—“Take Care of Dowb”—Lord Panmure’s Nepotism—The Crisis of the War—Gortschakoff’s Last Struggle—The Battle of the Tchernaya River—France and the War—A Despondent Court—Divided Counsels among the Allies—The Bridge of Rafts—The Grand Bombardment—French Attack on the Malakoff—British Attack on the Redan—Why the Attack Failed—The “Hero of the Redan”—Pélissier’s Message to Simpson—Appeal to Sir Colin Campbell—Evacuation of the Redan—Fall of Sebastopol—Retreat of the Russians to the North Town—Paralysis of the Victors—The Queen’s Anger—Her Remonstrances with Lord Panmure—A New Commander-in-Chief—Taking Care of “Dowb”—Codrington Chosen—The Wintry Crimean Watch—Diplomatic Humiliation of Palmerston—France Negotiates Secretly Terms of Peace with Austria—Palmerston’s Indignant Remonstrances—The Queen Objects to Prosecute the War Alone—The Surrender of Palmerston—He Abandons the Turks—An Unpopular Peace—The Tories Offer to Support the Peace—The Queen and the Parliament {vi}of 1856 669


Opening of Parliament—A Cold Speech from the Throne—Moderation of Militant Toryism—Mr. Disraeli’s Cynical Strategy—The Betrayal of Kars—The Life Peerage Controversy—Baron Parke’s Nickname—More Attacks on Prince Albert—Court Favouritism among Men of Science—The Congress of Paris—How France Betrayed England—Walewski’s Intrigues with Orloff—Mr. Greville’s Pictures of French Official Life—Snubbing Bonapartist Statesmen—Peace Proclaimed—Popular Rejoicings—A Memento of the Congress—The Terms of Peace—The Tripartite Treaty—The Queen’s Opinion of the Settlement—Parliamentary Criticism on the Treaty of Paris—Stagnation of Public Life in England—The Queen’s “Happy Family” Dinner Party—A little “Tiff” with America—The Restoration of H.M.S. Resolute—The Budget—Palmerston’s Tortuous Italian Policy—The Failure of his Domestic Policy—The Confirmation of the Princess Royal—Robbery of the Royal Nursery Plate—Prince Alfred’s Tutor—Reviews of Crimean Troops—Debates on the Purchase System—Lord Hardinge’s Tragic Death—The Duke of Cambridge as Commander-in-Chief—Miss Nightingale’s Visit to Balmoral—Coronation of the Czar—Russian Chicanery at Paris—A Bad Map and a False Frontier—Quarrel between Prussia and Switzerland—Quarrel between England and the Sicilies—Death of the Queen’s Half-Brother—Settlement of the Dispute with Russia—“The Dodge that Saved us” 679


The Queen’s New Year Greeting to Napoleon III.—A Gladstone-Disraeli Coalition—A Scene in the Carlton Club—Mr. Disraeli’s Attack on Lord Palmerston’s Foreign Policy—The Queen Consents to Reduce the Income Tax—A Fallacious Budget, with Imaginary Remissions—The Persian War—General Outram’s Victories—Unpopularity of the War—Making War without Consulting Parliament—The Rupture with China—A “Prancing Proconsul”—The Bombardment of Canton—Defeat of Lord Palmerston, and his Appeal to the Country—A Penal Dissolution—Abortive Coalition between the Peelites and Tories—Mr. Gladstone and the Intriguers—Split in the Peelite Party—Palmerston’s Victory at the Polls—The Rout of the Manchester School—The Lesson of the Election—Opening of the New Parliament—The Work of the Session—Mr. Gladstone’s Obstruction of the Divorce Bill—The Settlement of the Neufchâtel Difficulty—The Question of the Principalities—Visit of the French Emperor to the Queen 699


The Centenary of Plassey—Rumours of Rebellion—Causes of the Mutiny—The Annexation of Oudh—Lord Dalhousie’s Indian Policy—Its Disturbing Effect on the Minds of the Natives—The Royal Family of Delhi—The Hindoo “Sumbut”—The Discontent of the Bengal Army—The Grievances of the Sepoy—The Greased Cartridges—The Mystery of the “Chupatties”—Mutiny of the Garrison at Meerut—The March to Delhi—Sir Henry Lawrence at Lucknow—The Tragedy of Cawnpore—Death of the Commander-in-Chief—Who took Delhi?—Sir John Lawrence in the Punjab—The Saviour of India—Lord Canning at Calcutta—First Relief of Lucknow—Despatch of Sir Colin Campbell—Second Relief of Lucknow—Savage Fighting at the Secunder-baugh—The Queen’s Letter to Sir Colin Campbell—His Retreat to Cawnpore—His Management of the Campaign—Windham’s Defeat at the Pandoo River—Sir Colin Campbell’s Victory over the Gwalior Army 720


Birth of Princess Beatrice—Death of the Duchess of Gloucester—A Royal Romance—Franco-Russian Intrigues—The Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester—Announcement of the Marriage of the Princess Royal—Prince Albert’s Views on Royal Grants—The Controversy on the Grant to the Princess Royal—Visit of the Grand Duke Constantine—The Christening of Princess Beatrice—Prince Albert’s Title as Prince Consort Legalised—The First Distribution of the Victoria Cross—Opposition to the Order—The Queen’s Visit to Manchester—Departure of the Prince of Wales to Germany—The Queen and the Indian Mutiny—Her Controversy with Lord Palmerston—Sudden Death of the Duchess of Nemours—The Marriage of the Princess Royal—The Scene in the Chapel—On the Balcony of Buckingham Palace—The Illuminations in London—The Bride and Bridegroom at Windsor—The Last Adieus—The Departure of the Bride and Bridegroom to Germany 738



The Prince of Wales (From a Photograph by Mr. A. Bassano, London) Frontispiece
The Western Suburbs of Victoria, Vancouver 385
St. George’s Chapel, Windsor 388
John Bright (1857) 389
Royal Palace, Naples 392
Lady Palmerston 393
Sir Charles Napier 396
The Battle of Gujerat 397
The British Troops Entering Multan 400
Sir Harry Smith 401
Victoria Castle, Killiney—Bray Head in the distance 404
Royal Visit to Ireland: the Queen Leaving Kingstown 405
Visit of the Queen and Prince Albert to the Linen , Belfast 409
Castleton of Braemar 412
At Balmoral: a Morning Call 413
The Royal Barge 416
Opening of the London Coal Exchange—Arrival of Royal Procession at the Custom-House Quay 417
The Chamber of Representatives, Brussels 420
Louis Kossuth (1850) 421
The White Drawing-Room, Windsor Castle 424
The Piræus, Athens 425
Grand Entrance, Westminster Palace 429
Mr. (afterwards Sir Alexander) Cockburn 432
Cape Town 433
Mr. Gladstone (1855) 436
Windsor Castle: View from the Quadrangle 437
View in Phœnix Park, Dublin 440
Mr. Horsman 441
The Funeral of Sir Robert Peel: the Tenantry Assembling at the Lodge, Drayton Manor 444
The Funeral of Sir Robert Peel: the Ceremony in Drayton Bassett Church 445
Meeting of the Ladies’ Committee at Stafford House in Aid of the Great Exhibition 449
Cambridge House, Piccadilly (1854) 452
The Queen and Prince Arthur (After Winterhalter, 1850) To face 452
Pate’s Assault on the Queen 453
Lord John Russell (1850) 456
The Royal Apartments, Holyrood Palace 461
St. Stephen’s Crypt, Westminster Palace 464
Mr. Locke King 465
The Green Drawing-Room, Windsor Castle 468
Sir George Cornewall Lewis 469
The Caffre War: Natives Attacking a Convoy 472
Group of Dyaks 473
Lord Carlisle 476
The Great Exhibition, Hyde Park 477
Sir Joseph Paxton 481
Opening of the Great Exhibition, Hyde Park
(After the Picture by Eugène Lamé)
To face 482
St. George’s Hall, Liverpool 484
The Royal Visit to Worsley Hall: the State Barge on the Bridgwater Canal 485
The Queen’s Arrival in Peel Park: Children of the Manchester and Salford Schools Singing the National Anthem 489
The Coup d’État: Lancers Charging the Crowd in the Boulevards of Paris 492
Prince Charles Louis Napoleon 493
Diana Fountain, Bushey Park 496
Harnessing the Black Horses at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace (After the Painting by Charles Lutyens. In the Possession of the Earl of Bradford) 497
Sidney Herbert (After the Statue by Foley) 500
St. Albans, from Verulam 501
View near Rangoon 504
Major Fraser’s Storming Party Carrying the Stockade in Front of Rangoon 505
Walmer Castle 508
The Duke of Wellington (After the Portrait by Count D’Orsay) 509
The Wellington Monument in St. Paul’s Cathedral, completed in 1878 (By Alfred Stevens) 513
North Terrace and Wykeham Tower, Windsor Castle 516
The Duke of Argyle 517
View in Braemar 520
The Queen’s Visit to the Britannia Tubular Bridge 521
Queen Victoria (After the Equestrian Portrait by Count D’Orsay) To face521
Notre Dame, Paris (West Front) 524
Comte de Montalembert 525
Mdlle. Eugenia de Montijo, afterwards Empress of the French 529
Prince Jeróme Bonaparte 532
Sketch in the Outer Cloisters, Windsor Castle 533
The Conveying of Australian Gold from the East India Docks to the Bank of England (After the Engraving in the “Illustrated London News”) 537
Study of a Child (After an Etching by the Queen) 539
Off the Coast of Asia Minor (Turkey in Asia) 540
Bazaar in Constantinople 541
Convent of the Nativity, Bethlehem 544
Interior of the Chapel of the Nativity, Bethlehem 545
The Nicolai Bridge across the Neva, St. Petersburg 548
Lord Stratford de Redcliffe (From a Photograph by Messrs. Boning and Small) 549
Town Hall, Vienna 552
Prince Menschikoff 553{viii}
The Mosque of Selim II. at Adrianople 557
The Duke of Newcastle 560
Destruction of the Turkish Fleet at Sinope 561
The Throne Room, Windsor Castle 564
Sebastopol 565
Fire in the Prince of Wales’s Tower, Windsor Castle 568
The Queen at the Camp at Chobham To face 568
Runnymede 569
Spithead 572
Balmoral Castle from the Road 573
The Outer Cloisters and Anne Boleyn’s Window, Windsor Castle 577
Russian Repulse at Silistria 580
Lord Raglan 581
The Queen Waving Farewell to the Duke of Wellington Flag-ship 585
Marshal St. Arnaud 588
Forts Alexander and Peter the Great, Cronstadt 589
Omar Pasha 592
Map of the Crimea 593
The Barracks Hospital, Scutari 596
Odessa 597
Heights of the Alma 600
Sir John Burgoyne 601
Pembroke Lodge, Richmond 604
Codrington’s Brigade (23rd Royal Welsh Fusileers) at the Alma 605
General Canrobert 608
Entrance to Balaclava Harbour 609
Sir Colin Campbell 612
Balaclava—“The Thin Red Line” (After the Painting by Robert Gibb, R.S.A. In the Possession of Archibald Ramsden, Esq., Leeds) 613
Valley of Inkermann 616
The Storm off Balaclava 617
Mr. Roebuck (1858) 620
Buckingham Palace, from St. James’s Park 621
Miss Nightingale and the Nurses in the Barracks Hospital at Scutari 625
Henry VIII.’s Gateway, Windsor Castle 628
Refreshment Room, House of Lords 629
Mr. Sidney Herbert (afterwards Lord Herbert of Lea) 632
The Winter Palace, St. Petersburg 633
Grand Reception Room, Windsor Castle 636
The Hundred Steps, Windsor Castle 637
View in the Crimea: The Palace Woronzow, Alupka 641
The Wounded Soldier’s Toast—“The Queen!” 645
The Queen Distributing the Crimean Medal at the Horseguards Parade Ground To face 647
Windsor Castle from the Brocas 648
The Queen Investing the Emperor of the French with the Order of the Garter 649
The Waterloo Room, Windsor Castle 652
The Royal and Imperial Visit to the Crystal Palace: the Procession down the Nave 653
The Queen at the Fête in the Forest of St. Germain 657
Map of Crathie and Braemar 660
The Wooing of the Princess Royal 664
Count Cavour 665
Balaclava: at Peace (From a Drawing made Twenty-five Years after the Crimean War) 668
Cathcart’s Hill, Crimea 669
French Attack on the Malakoff 672
General Todleben 673
The Throne Room, St James’s Palace (From a Photograph by H. N. King) 677
View in the Crimea: Jalta 680
Miss Nightingale 681
The Emperor of Austria 684
The Conference of Paris, 1856 685
Visit of the Queen and Prince Albert to the
Portsmouth 692
Sir De Lacy Evans 693
View in Berne 697
Old Windsor Lock (From a Photograph by Taunt and Co., Oxford) 701
Sir John Bowring 705
Chinese Lorchas in the Canton River 709
The Cascade: Virginia Water 712
Plan of Windsor Castle 713
The Duke of Cambridge (From a Photograph by Bassano) 717
The Barracks at Meerut 721
Sir James Outram 725
Cawnpore 729
Lord Lawrence 733
Scene at the First Relief of Lucknow 736
The Hastings Chantry, St George’s Chapel, Windsor 741
The Victoria Cross 744
The Queen Distributing the Victoria Crosses in Hyde Park 745
The Crimson Drawing-Room, Windsor Castle 749
Marriage of the Princess Royal (After the Picture by John Philip, R.A.) To face 751



Mr. Roebuck and Emigration—Self-Government and the Colonies—Unsympathetic Whig Policy—Radicals and the Colonial Office—The Peelites and Hudson’s Bay Company—Financial Reform—Mr. Cobden at Variance with Mr. Bright—Combined Agitators—The Demand for Retrenchment—Trade and the Flag—Tories and Taxes—A reductio ad absurdum—A Raid on a Surplus—International Arbitration—Parliamentary Reform—Parliament and the Jews—The Tories oppose the Alteration of the Parliamentary Oath—Episcopal Prejudice—Tory Obstructionists—An Ordnance Department Scandal—Mr. Delane’s Attacks on Lord Palmerston in the Times—The Queen Remonstrates against Lord Palmerston’s Recklessness—An Anti-Palmerstonian Cabal—Lady Palmerston’s Intrigues—Lord Brougham Betrays the Cabal—Palmerston’s Victory—Rome and France—The Second War—The Disaster of Chillianwalla—Indignation of the Country—Lord Gough’s Recall—Napier to the Rescue—The East India Directors Oppose Napier’s Appointment—The Convict War at the Cape—Boycotting the Governor.

Another notable event in the Colonial history of 1849 was the introduction by Mr. Roebuck, on the 14th of May, of a Bill for the better government of the Colonies. The debate on this measure brought vividly before the minds of thoughtful men the folly upon which our step-motherly treatment of the Colonies was based. “Emigration by itself,” exclaimed Mr. Roebuck, “is misery;” and yet the idea of colonisation which prevailed at the Colonial Office was simply to transport as many people as possible to distant wilds, utterly regardless of their ultimate fate. Why should we not introduce something like system, asked Mr. Roebuck, into our Colonial policy, and recognise the fact that it was now not tribute, but trade that we might expect to get{386} from them? His proposal was to have one plan for settling a colony, another for organising it when settled, and a third for groups of colonies in confederation or union. His panacea for all Colonial ills was to get rid of “red tape” at the Colonial Office and to give the Colonies Home Rule. The difficulties, said Mr. Hawes, as representing Lord Grey and the Colonial Office, in the way of granting Home Rule to North-American Colonies would be insuperable; besides, England had far too many Colonies already, so that it was of little use to bring forward schemes for settling new ones! Whigs like Lord John Russell condemned a policy which tended to substitute a fixed Parliamentary rule for the discretion of a responsible Minister, and contended that physical impediments rendered the union of Canada into one Dominion impossible. Mr. Gladstone, however, warmly supported Mr. Roebuck’s policy. Even then the leaven of the Home Ruler was working in his mind. Mr. Roebuck was beaten by 116 to 73. But this did not put a stop to these Colonial debates.

On the 26th of June Sir William Molesworth moved an Address to the Queen begging for a Commission to inquire into the Administration of the Colonies, more especially with a view to lessen the cost of their government, and to give free scope to individual enterprise in colonising. He startled the House by quoting figures which showed that, in fifteen years, “a series of remarkable events in the Colonies” had cost England the modest sum of eighty millions sterling. It could not have cost more to settle 4,000,000 able and energetic emigrants in Australia alone; and yet in the whole Colonial Empire in 1849, it appears there were not more than 1,000,000 persons of British or Irish descent. Charles Buller some years before had condemned the Colonial Office for its arbitrary character, its indifference to local feeling, and its ignorance of local wants, its procrastination and vacillation, its secrecy and irresponsibility, its servitude to parties and cliques, its injustice, and its disorder. In this debate Lord Grey’s Administration was held to aptly illustrate all these vices; and yet Lord Grey had become Colonial Minister because he stood pledged to cure them. Lord Grey’s idea of Colonial government seemed to be either to rule the Colony with a high hand from London, or, if it had some semblance of representative institutions, to govern it by means of a violent Party minority in the popular Chamber, co-operating with a majority of the Council nominated by the Crown. Self-government for Colonies that were fit for it, and intelligent government for those that were not, were Sir William Molesworth’s remedies. A strong plea for reducing the extravagant outlay on official salaries and useless military expenditure was pressed; and protests against convict emigration, which, together with our misgovernment, drove honest English Colonists to the United States, were entered. Mr. Hume and Mr. Gladstone, on behalf of the Radicals and Peelites, gave a general support to the motion; but the indefatigable Mr. Hawes came smilingly to the defence of Lord Grey with his stereotyped “Non possumus,” and Lord John Russell declared that the scope of the reference to the Commission was too{387} vast and wide for practical purposes. His novel argument was that to attempt to define the limits of Imperial and local questions must end in bitter disputes between the Colonies and the mother country. Undeterred by the failure of the Radicals to force a rational Colonial policy on the Whigs, the Peelites next took up the matter, and on the 19th of June Lord Lincoln moved an Address to the Crown expressing the opinion that the Hudson’s Bay Company, to which Vancouver Island had been granted by Royal Charter, was ill-adapted for ruling or developing the resources of a colony founded on principles of political and commercial freedom, and generally challenging the validity of the grant. One would have thought that it needed little argument to demonstrate the unwisdom of founding a colony to be ruled by an absentee proprietary, earning its revenues by a trading monopoly. The history of the United States was full of examples of this species of folly, and both Lord Lincoln and Mr. Hume argued their case with the greatest ability. But they spoke to no purpose, for just as Mr. Hume was warming to his work the House was counted out! In these days, when the air is full of schemes for Imperial Federation, and Home Rule, it is interesting to note how, in 1849, the battle of Colonial Reform was fought by a combination of Conservative Peelites and “stalwart” Radicals, against the Whigs, who were jealously opposed to all extensions of Colonial autonomy.

After Colonial policy, and not long after it in point of interest, came Finance. The erratic schemes of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the preceding year, together with the distress which afflicted the country, had made everybody dissatisfied with the financial policy of the Government. The Protectionists were always at hand to suggest that the pressure of taxation was due to Free Trade. The Free Traders were never weary of retorting that it was due to extravagant expenditure, and could be remedied by retrenchment. Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright thus felt that their mission in life did not end with the Repeal of the Corn Laws. If they were to keep the ground they had taken, it seemed to them they must start an agitation to reduce public expenditure. Mr. Bright rather favoured the notion of agitating for an extension of the Franchise, on the supposition that, if more taxpayers had votes, Government, in deference to their prejudices, would be chary of augmenting public burdens. Ultimately, however, they agreed to combine the two agitations,[1] and work with each other as before. The popular feeling in favour of economy was first manifested by the formation of Financial Reform Associations in the large towns—that of Liverpool being especially energetic—and they were soon busy discussing a practical plan, which emanated from the fertile brain of Cobden, for the remission of the Malt Tax and other public burdens. Cobden’s scheme was simply to effect retrenchment by going back to the scale of expenditure that was deemed adequate in 1835, and in this way he proposed to reduce taxation by about £10,000,000 sterling. Quite a flutter of excitement ran through the{388}

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House of Commons when, on the 26th of February, he brought his plan under its notice. He contended that military expenditure had caused the increase of £10,000,000, which he desired to reduce. Therefore he moved that the expenditure under this head be diminished with all practicable speed. The insular position of England was itself a sure defence against her enemies.{389}

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Provided she did not interfere recklessly with foreign nations, she had less to fear in 1849 than in 1835. Why, then, should the military and naval expenditure of 1835 be exceeded? Vast sums of money, too, were spent on the Colonies. Here also a reduction might be effected, for the English taxpayer got no more food from the Colonies than the foreign one did. At this period it was evident that Mr. Cobden had not put to the test the sound maxim that “trade follows the flag.” The answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was that in 1835, to the expenditure of which Mr. Cobden wanted to revert, no adequate provision had been made for the true wants of the country; and that, since then, many things had happened to increase expenditure unavoidably. The introduction of steam into the Navy was an illustration of these changes. Moreover, the Government had reduced expenditure by about a million and a{390} half sterling—and that was surely a pledge of their earnestness as financial reformers.

The Tories put Mr. Herries forward to attack both parties. He blamed Ministers for encouraging the financial reformers, and denounced Mr. Cobden for the violence of his speeches out of doors on the subject. The policy of the Tories was to demand that expenditure should not be lessened, whilst there was ground for anxiety as to foreign affairs. One of their arguments was an odd one. It was that, as the revenue was still maintained in spite of the repeal of vast sums of taxation, there was no ground for pretending that retrenchment was necessary because the people felt that taxation was pressing hard on them. They did not seem to see that this was either an argument in favour of raising revenue without imposing any taxes at all—which was a reductio ad absurdum—or an argument to show that reductions of taxation still left Government with enough money in hand to defend the interests of the country, which was virtually an admission that Mr. Cobden’s plan, if tried, could do no harm. The Free Traders made a bid for the rural vote by arguing that, if the landed interest wanted the relief which the Protectionists promised them, they ought to vote for the reduction in expenditure, which would enable Parliament to grant that relief. Mr. Cobden’s first scheme of Financial Reform was rejected by a vote of 275 to 78. But this did not allay the uneasiness of the public, who began to fret over the extraordinary delay that took place in the production of the Budget. It was not till the 29th of June that Sir Charles Wood made his financial statement to the House. It was not a cheering one. The expenditure, which was £53,287,110, had exceeded the Ministerial estimate by £1,219,379, and it exceeded the revenue of the year by £269,378. Of course, by excluding unexpected outlays on Irish distress, Canadian emigration, &c., a more favourable state of accounts could be shown; but, as the excluded money had been spent, there was really no reason for ignoring it. For the coming year his estimated expenditure, he said, would be £52,157,696, and his estimated receipts would yield, he hoped, a surplus over that of £94,304. Sir Charles Wood’s strongest points were that every effort would be made to keep current expenditure within current income, and that instead of using small surpluses to remit small sums of taxation, they would be kept as the nucleus of large surpluses, for the reduction of large amounts of taxation. The Radicals and Financial Reformers were not satisfied with Sir Charles Wood’s long list of objectionable taxes that had been removed. In spite of all that, expenditure increased—and what was worse, there was a steady increase in permanent burdens on the revenue, in the shape of charges for the Public Debt. Mr. Hume demanded that Excise be done away with, and that the example of Sir James Graham, who reduced the expenses of the Admiralty by £1,200,000, be followed. Mr. Milner Gibson attacked the paper duty, the newspaper stamp duty, and the tax on advertisements, as taxes on knowledge; and he cited{391} the petition of the Messrs. Chambers of Edinburgh, who declared that the paper duty had stopped the continuance of a work for the humbler classes which they were bringing out, and of which there had been a sale of 80,000 copies. Everybody wanted some special duty repealed, either that on hops, bricks, soap, beer, malt, tea, or timber. The Budget was felt to be unsatisfactory, for, as Mr. Cobden said, it made the two ends barely meet. At the close of the Session (20th of July) Mr. Herries supplemented this discussion by starting another question—that of raising some portion of the supplies of the State by a fixed duty on corn. The Protectionists argued that Sir Charles Wood’s estimates were too sanguine, and that more taxes must be imposed on the people, unless a small duty were put on foreign corn. This was not to be a protective duty, but one merely for revenue purposes, and as such surely it was justifiable. It would be only a tax on food in name; in fact, the defence of the proposal was like the Irish vagrant’s apology for the existence of her baby—“Please, sir, it’s only a very little one.” Of course the Free Traders sprang upon Mr. Herries with great glee. The Tories were going round the country promising the farmers Protection. But when they came to the House of Commons all they ventured to ask for was a small fixed duty on corn, which was to be levied not for protective but for revenue purposes. The position was an awkward one for Mr. Herries. Either his small fixed duty did or did not raise the price of corn. If it did, he was deceiving the House of Commons. If it did not, he was deceiving his clients among the farmers. His move was obviously one for putting heart into a desponding faction.

It has been said that Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright had come to the conclusion that, side by side with the agitation for retrenchment, there should be pressed forward that for Parliamentary Reform. Accordingly, Mr. Hume introduced his motion for Parliamentary Reform in the House of Commons on the 4th of June, demanding Household Suffrage, Vote by Ballot, Triennial Parliaments, and something approaching to equal electoral districts. The opposition of the Whigs, who argued that reform was unnecessary because many good measures had been passed by Parliament, and that to extend the franchise would endanger the Monarchy, induced the House to reject the motion by a vote of 268 to 82.

But a topic far more interesting to the Queen, whose speciality is Foreign Policy, was brought under the notice of the House of Commons by Mr. Cobden a few days after Mr. Hume’s motion was disposed of. He suggested a plan whereby wars might cease, and civilised nations might compose their quarrels by Arbitration. On the 12th of June Cobden moved an Address to the Crown, praying that Foreign Powers might be invited to concur in treaties binding them to accept Arbitration in settling their disputes with each other. The Government did not openly resist the motion. They got rid of it by putting up Lord Palmerston to move the “previous question;” but the tone{392} of the debate showed that, though the House was dubious about the practicability of Mr. Cobden’s plan, it had been profoundly impressed with his reasoning.

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The Whigs, embarrassed by the refusal of Jewish Members to take the Parliamentary Oath, next introduced a Bill expunging from the form of the oath the words “on the true faith of a Christian.” The only bitter opponents of the measure were the Tories, for most of the Peelites, like Mr. Gladstone, supported it. The Commons passed the measure readily enough; but in the House of Lords the hostility of the Episcopal Bench was fatal to it. Another measure was sacrificed to the ecclesiasticism which was then prevalent in Parliament. That was the Bill to legalise marriage with a Deceased Wife’s Sister, which Mr. Stuart Wortley introduced on the 3rd of May, and the most vehement opponents of which were Mr. Goulburn, Mr. Gladstone, and Sir R. Inglis. Mr. Wortley carried the Second Reading without much difficulty; but when Mr. Goulburn threatened to use the forms of the House to obstruct the further progress of the measure, it was withdrawn.

Foreign affairs originated some acrimonious debates in both Houses during the Session. On the 6th of March a question was put by Lord Stanley to{393}

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Lord Lansdowne asking if it were true that a Government contractor had been allowed to withdraw arms from a Government store, and supply them to the insurgents in Sicily. Lord Lansdowne could not deny that the allegation was true; and the incident not only caused a great deal of excitement in the country, but it was one that gave much pain to the Queen, who naturally saw in it the reckless hand of Lord Palmerston. The secret history of the affair was this: Mr. Delane, the editor of the Times, happened to meet a Mr. Hood—an Army contractor—accidentally. In conversation Mr. Hood incidently mentioned to Mr. Delane that when certain Sicilian agents applied to him for stores, he explained that he had none on hand, having supplied all he possessed to the Government. But he observed that if he could persuade the Government to let him have these back, he would hand them over to the Sicilian insurrectionary agents, replacing the Government stores in due{394} time. The contractor applied to the Ordnance Department, stating that his application had a political, as well as a commercial, object. The Department, therefore, referred the matter to Lord Palmerston, who sanctioned the transaction. The Times immediately published this story, and its attacks on Lord Palmerston for having insulted Austria, and connived at insurrection in Sicily, annoyed the Queen so seriously that Lord John Russell compelled Lord Palmerston to apologise to the King of Naples, for whom he cherished a supreme contempt. But when the scandal grew clamant, Mr. Bankes opened up an attack in the House of Commons on Lord Palmerston. He, however, mixed up with it a great deal of general criticism on the policy of the Government in Italy, and gave Lord Palmerston an opportunity of winning an easy victory by posing as a friend of freedom, and a martyr to the doctrine of nationalities. Lord Palmerston, writes Mr. Greville, delivered, in reply to his antagonist, “a slashing, impudent speech, full of sarcasm, jokes, and claptrap, the whole eminently successful. He quizzed Bankes unmercifully, he expressed ultra-Liberal sentiments to please the Radicals, and he gathered shouts, laughter, and applause as he dashed and rattled along.”

On the 22nd of March Lord Aberdeen headed another abortive attack on the Foreign Policy of the Government. He complained that whereas Lord Palmerston had been active in menacing Austria if she meddled with Sardinia, he had spoken smooth things to Sardinia—never going further than warning her that if she broke existing treaties, she would be doing a dangerous thing. Aberdeen’s attack was regarded as a semi-official expression of the ideas of the Sovereign on Lord Palmerston’s policy; and it came to this, that Palmerston had made England an object of aversion in every capital in Europe, by interfering between Governments and their subjects, in a manner which brought on him the animosity of both. He had been arrogant to the despots, and, whilst he had encouraged the rebels, he had tamely abandoned them, whenever it became irksome to defend them. In this debate the Foreign Office was convicted of having suppressed an important despatch relating to Austro-Sardinian affairs in the papers laid before Parliament. The truth is that the Cabinet did not know what was and what was not included in the papers that Lord Palmerston chose to publish; and Lord Palmerston sometimes did not even give his colleagues enough information to enable them to answer questions. One example of this is worth recording, because it directly affected the Queen. In May, Lord Lansdowne, in reply to a question of Lord Beaumont, told the House of Lords that “no communication whatever had been made by the Austrian Government to ours relative to their intervention in Italy.” But Collosedo, the Austrian Minister, had five days before that gone to Lord Palmerston and communicated to him, by order of the Austrian Government, their objects in interfering in Italy. Palmerston kept his colleagues in utter ignorance of this interview; and when the truth leaked out, Lord Lansdowne had to set himself right the best way he could. As{395} for Palmerston, when he was challenged with deceiving his colleagues, and suppressing the fact that this Austrian communication had been made to him, he replied impudently that “he had quite forgotten it.” His needlessly violent anti-Austrian policy, coupled with delinquencies of this kind, was intensely annoying to the Queen. Writing under the date of June 3rd, Mr. Greville, in his Journal, says, “The Duke of Bedford told me a few days ago that the Queen had been again remonstrating about Palmerston more strongly than ever. This was in reference to the suppressed Austrian despatch which made such a noise. She then sent for Lord John Russell, and told him she could not stand it any longer, and he must make some arrangements to get rid of Lord Palmerston. This communication was just as fruitless as all her preceding ones. I don’t know what Lord John said—he certainly did not pacify her; but, as usual, there it ended. But the consequences of her not being able to get any satisfaction from her Minister have been that she has poured her feelings and her wrongs into the more sympathetic ears of her late Ministers, and I believe that the Queen has told Peel everything—all her own feelings and wishes, and all that passes on the subject.”

In these circumstances an anti-Palmerstonian cabal was naturally formed. Lord Aberdeen, a devoted friend of the Queen, attempted to organise a movement for driving Palmerston from office; but the great obstacle was Peel. Nothing could induce him to upset the Ministry which was pledged to procure a fair trial for Free Trade. The Court Party, however, suggested that, if censured, Palmerston might resign and his colleagues stay in; or that they might all resign, and then, when it was shown that no other Government could be formed, and that the Peelites could render the formation of another Ministry impossible, Lord John Russell and his colleagues might come back to power, without Lord Palmerston. The scheme failed; but, as Mr. Greville says, the curious thing to note about it is “the carte du pays it exhibits,” and the remarkable and most improper position which Palmerston occupied vis-à-vis the Queen and his own colleagues. “I know not,” writes Mr. Greville, “where to look for a parallel to such a mass of anomalies—the Queen turning from her own Prime Minister to confide in the one who was supplanted by him; a Minister talking over quietly and confidentially with an outsider by what circumstances and what agency his colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, might be excluded from the Government; the Queen abhorring her Minister, and unable to rid herself of him; John Russell, fascinated and subjugated by the ascendency of Palmerston, submitting to everything from him, and supporting him right and wrong, the others not concealing from those they are in the habit of confiding in their disapprobation of the conduct and policy of their colleague, while they are all the time supporting the latter and excusing the former, and putting themselves under the obligation of identifying themselves with his proceedings, and standing or falling with them.”[2]{396}

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Ultimately, however, a confederacy was formed between Lords Aberdeen, Stanley, and Brougham to oust Lord Palmerston during the last days of the Session, and the Queen, like every other prudent politician in the country, who had been alarmed by Palmerston’s restlessness, rejoiced in the prospect of getting rid of him. Unfortunately, the only Peer of the three who was in earnest in this business was Lord Aberdeen; and yet, when the 20th of July, the day for the attack, drew nigh, it was certain that the Government would be defeated. Palmerston then played his trump card. Lady Palmerston wrote a letter to Brougham, who was to lead the attack, conveying to him some mysterious threat, and he promptly betrayed his associates. “He made a miserable speech,” writes Mr. Greville, “which enraged his colleagues and all the opponents of the Government, who swore{397}

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(and it was true) that he had sold them.” Brougham’s speech, however, contained one good point which deserved to live. It was in it that he condemned the interference, not only of our regular diplomatic body in the affairs of the Mediterranean Powers, but also the interference of “that mongrel sort of monster—half nautical, half political—diplomatic vice-admirals, speculative ship-captains, observers of rebellion, and sympathisers therewith.” The Government were in a minority in the House, but they contrived to get a majority of twelve by proxies, in obtaining which Lady Palmerston had displayed marvellous address. Thus was the great game of faction played at the expense of the people in the early years of the Queen’s reign. Not that the people cared much about the matter, for it was only those who were behind the scenes who could fairly appreciate what Lord Palmerston’s spirited policy really meant. It was Radical, but it was reckless; and not only the Queen, but every well-informed statesman—including Liberals like Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright—simply lived in daily terror, lest the Foreign Secretary might suddenly involve the country in a wanton and purposeless European war.

Another important debate was raised by Lord Beaumont, on the 14th of May, on French intervention in Rome. The States of the Church had long been preparing for a revolt against Papal misgovernment. Pius IX. therefore determined to modify the policy of his predecessors, and a hapless scheme for satisfying the democracy, by appointing lay councillors to work with or check a priestly government was tried—the Pope refusing to bate one jot or tittle of his temporal authority. The lay councillors could only meet and debate. They could not initiate reforms. No sooner had this constitution been granted than the revolution swept over Italy, and the Romans demanded the same concessions as had been extorted by the Neapolitans. Concessions were given with the intention that they should be withdrawn. Rossi—once French ambassador at Rome—was made Prime Minister, and to extricate the country from financial embarrassment, he proposed to mortgage the property of the Church. He was, however, assassinated when entering the Capitol; and then the Cardinals began to retract the concessions which had been made to Liberalism. The people rose, insisting that the Pope should protect the Constitution, and assuring him of their fidelity. He then fled to Gaeta. Attempts to reconcile the Pontiff and his people failed. The Roman Republic was proclaimed, and peace established, when suddenly France interfered to restore his Holiness. It was to prevent France from having a pretext for interfering in Italy that Lord Minto’s mission was undertaken, and thus another failure had to be debited to Lord Palmerston’s foreign policy. Naturally Lords Aberdeen and Brougham taunted the Government with the failure of the Minto mission. But taunts were powerless to extort from Ministers a statement of their relation to the French expedition. In the House of Commons, however, those who objected to French interference with the Roman people succeeded in obtaining from{399} Lord Palmerston an expression of disapproval of the course which France had taken; but that was all.

Far and away the most important foreign debate of the Session was that which Mr. Osborne raised on the Austro-Hungarian question in July. Hungary had been crushed by the aid which Russia, unrebuked or unrestrained by the shadow of a protest from Palmerston, had given her Austrian masters; and the Liberal Party, always jealous of Austria as the representative of Absolutist ideas, were wrathful accordingly. But the discussion had no practical result. It was merely marked by a declaration from Lord Palmerston, which came too late to be useful, to the effect that the heart and soul of the country were enlisted on the side of Hungary.

For Englishmen no debate was graver than the one on the state of the nation, which Mr. Disraeli raised at the end of the Session. He attributed the distress in the country to Free Trade, and he attacked every branch of Ministerial policy. But the weak point of his brilliant harangue was that it meant nothing, for not only was he unable to take over the Government himself, but he had no practical proposal to make, save his insinuated suggestion to restore Protection. Sir Robert Peel’s speech, however, carried the House in favour of the Government. It was a complete vindication of his fiscal policy, and its conclusion was memorable, because in it he traced our immunity from revolutionary excesses to his abandonment of taxes on food in 1846.

Early in the year the Queen was disturbed by evil tidings from India. Hard fighting was reported from the banks of the Chenab. The Sikhs, it was true, were in retreat; but our victory was a barren one, as we captured neither prisoners, guns, nor standards, and sacrificed two of our Generals (Cureton and Havelock), who fell at the head of their regiments. In losing Cureton, her Majesty lost the finest cavalry officer in her service. The fact was that, though we had conquered, we had not subdued the Sikhs at the end of our first war with them. In April, 1848, a Sikh chief murdered two British officers at Multan. This was followed by a general outbreak, which was met on the whole successfully by the desperate efforts of Lieutenant Edwardes and a mere handful of men. Multan was besieged in June, 1848; but 5,000 of our Sikh auxiliaries deserted to the enemy, and our army had to retreat. We had not enough troops in the Punjab to control the rising, and our auxiliaries under the Maharajah were not trustworthy. On the other hand, the rebel chief Shere Sing, at the beginning of 1849, had 40,000 men under his orders, and once again British supremacy in India was trembling in the balance. On the 5th of March, however, still worse news came to London. Lord Gough, with inconceivable recklessness, had, on the 14th of January, attacked the enemy in a strong position at Chillianwalla with a small British force worn out by fatigue. The conditions of the combat ensured disaster. Our troops, it is true, took the Sikh positions, but during{400}

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the night had to abandon them. The loss of life on our side was enormous, and Lord Gough, though he fought like a hero in the thickest of the mêlée, was not to be found at a critical moment to give orders. The news of this disaster was received with universal indignation. The Government attempted to allay public feeling by appointing Sir William Gomm to succeed Lord Gough; but as Sir William was believed to be equally incompetent, a demand for Sir Charles Napier’s appointment became clamant. “We dined,” writes Lord Malmesbury, in his Diary on the 4th of March, “with the Colchesters, and were introduced to Sir Charles Napier. He is a little{401}

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man, with grey hair brushed back from his face, with an immense hooked, pointed nose, small eyes, and wears spectacles, very like the conventional face of a Jew. He is appointed to retrieve our affairs in India, and when the Duke of Wellington named him to the post he at first hesitated, until the Duke told him if he did not go he would go himself.”[3] Why did Napier hesitate? Because, it seems, the Directors of the East India Company not only objected to his appointment, but threatened to prevent him from having a seat on the Council, an insult which Napier{402} could hardly brook. “You have no idea of the difficulties I have had in dealing with these men,” said Sir John Cam Hobhouse, then President of the Indian Board of Control, to Mr. Greville. “I have brought the Government, the Duke of Wellington, and the Queen all to bear upon them, and all in vain.” Mr. Greville advised Hobhouse to bring another power—that of the House of Commons—to bear on the Company. In other words, he advised the Government to go down boldly and inform Parliament that they had appointed Napier, and if the Directors of the Company refused to pay his salary as a Member of Council, to ask the House to vote it. The Cabinet appointed Napier, and the Directors acquiesced, fearing to face the responsibility of thwarting the Government in doing what the Queen and the country desired.

But before Gough could be recalled, he redeemed the disaster of Chillianwalla at Gujerat. The news of this successful battle, which was fought on the 21st of February, reached the Queen on the 1st of April. It meant that the crisis in India was over, and it lifted from her mind the burden of a supreme anxiety. Multan, too, had fallen, and finally the East India Company, admitting at last that it was impossible to protect their frontier from attack, annexed the Punjab on the 29th of March, 1849, thus closing the history of the Sikhs as an independent nation. England had found in them the most fearless and formidable of enemies. Since the annexation of their country, they have been the staunchest and the most loyal of the Queen’s Indian subjects.

One serious colonial dispute must be noticed, for it led to an early experiment in “boycotting.” Lord Grey, on the 4th of September, 1848, by an Order in Council, had turned the Cape of Good Hope into a convict settlement. The colonists resented this act with the hottest indignation. Angry meetings were held at Cape Town; and the Governor, Sir Harry Smith, was violently blamed because he refused to take on himself the responsibility of suspending the “injurious and degrading measure.” When the first convict ship, the Neptune, arrived in Simon’s Bay on the 19th of September, the church bells in Cape Town were tolled in half-minute time. The Municipality demanded that the vessel be sent back. The populace, in mass meetings, adopted what they called “the Pledge”—an obligation to “drop connection with any person who may assist convicted felons.” In fact, the process which in Ireland has recently been termed “boycotting” was resorted to, and supplies were refused to the army, navy, and all Government establishments. The law was impotent in face of such opposition, and very soon the Governor, Sir Harry Smith, was compelled to bake his own bread even in his own house. The colonists finally triumphed. The Order in Council was withdrawn, so far as it referred to the Cape, and the Neptune left, without having landed a single convict. The episode is one of the earliest instances on record of the successful application of “boycotting” to defeat an unpopular policy.{403}


Education of the Prince of Wales—Selection of Mr. Birch as Tutor—The Queen’s Jealousy of her Parental Authority—Her Letter to Melbourne on the Management of her Nursery—Her Ideas on Education—Prince Albert’s Plans for the Education of the Prince of Wales—Stockmar’s Advice—The Visit to Ireland—The Queen at Waterford—“Rebel Cork” en fête—The Visit to Dublin—Viceregal Festivities—The Visit to the National Model Schools—Shiel’s Speech—The Queen and the Duke of Leinster—Farewell at Kingstown—The Queen Dips the Royal Ensign—Loyal Ulster—The Visit to the Linen Hall—Lord Clarendon on the Queen’s Visit—A Cruise on the Clyde—Home in Balmoral—The Queen’s “Bothie”—The Queen’s University of Ireland—First Plans for the Great Exhibition—Opening of the London Coal Exchange—The Queen’s Barge—Death of Queen Adelaide.

In April, 1849, Prince Albert is found writing a letter to the Dowager Duchess of Gotha announcing a very important event in the Queen’s family. “The children,” he says, “grow more than well. Bertie (the Prince of Wales) will be given over in a few weeks into the hands of a tutor, whom we have found in a Mr. Birch, a young, good-looking, amiable man.” Mr. Birch, subsequently Rector of Prestwich, near Manchester, was eminently qualified for the grave and delicate duty for which the Queen selected him. He had taken high honours at Cambridge, and had been not only Captain of the School, but had also served as an under-master at Eton. Yet Mr. Birch can hardly be credited with the Scheme of Education adopted in the Royal Family. That had been arranged by the Queen herself, in consultation with her consort and Baron Stockmar. Her fixed idea was that the heart as well as the head must be trained, and that not only must the education of her children be truly moral, but it must be essentially English. She resolved to discover the kind of tutor whom she could trust, and then, having found him, to trust him implicitly.

The Queen, it may here be said, has ever set an example to women of exalted rank and station by reason of the undeviating support she has given to those who undertook the education of her children. But in doing this her Majesty has been most jealous in asserting her parental rights, and punctilious in recognising the high responsibilities which they involve. As far back as 1842, in a very pretty letter to Lord Melbourne, she asked him for advice about the reorganisation of her nursery, and a question came up as to the choice of the lady who should superintend it. The Queen, accepting the fact that her public duties prevented her from personally managing the education of her family as completely as she might have wished, fully admitted that it was necessary to appoint a lady of high rank and culture for that purpose. But then arose the difficulty of satisfying her Majesty’s desire to retain in her own hands the completest headship of her family. A governess of high rank really competent to do the work as the Queen meant that it should be done{404}

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might choose to consider herself as an official responsible to the country first, and to the parents of the Royal children afterwards. Against such an idea the Queen most resolutely set her face. “I feel,” her Majesty writes, on behalf of herself and her husband, that “she (the Royal governess) ought to be responsible only to us, and we to the country and nation.”[4] It was in pursuance of this idea that her Majesty made great sacrifices to keep her children as closely as possible in contact with her. Many curious memoranda from her pen exist, and through them all there runs the same thought—simplicity and domesticity must be the leading characteristics of the training of the Royal family. For example, whenever it was possible, the Queen insisted on retaining in her own hands the religious education of her family, and it is now known that she did this from a dread lest their minds might at the most plastic period of life receive a sectarian bias. High Anglicanism was then militant, and many intrigues were set on foot by its professors to effect a lodgment in the Palace. The education of the Princess Royal, afterwards Princess Imperial of Germany, was almost entirely supervised and directed by the Queen herself, and with results much appreciated in Germany, where, through her tact, culture, high character, and strong common sense, her Imperial Highness has won for herself a position of unique political and social influence. The education of the Prince of Wales, however, now came more directly under the hands of Prince Albert; and one point of the highest importance to decide was whether it should be conservative or{405}

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liberal in its character. Prince Albert decided that it must be liberal in this sense, that it should prepare the Heir Apparent for taking his position in a changeful state of society, whose institutions were, to a great extent, in a transition stage. Every effort was to be made to prevent him from getting into his mind a notion that existing institutions were sacrosanct, and that resistance to all change was a sacred and patriotic duty. The history of George III. had evidently not been studied in vain. “The proper duty of Sovereigns in this country,” wrote Stockmar to Prince Albert, “is not to take the lead in change, but to act as a balance-wheel on the movements of the social body.” Above all, it was determined that the education of the young Prince must be at bottom English, and not foreign. Furnished with these principles to guide him, and with general instructions to make the basis of the young Prince’s training as broad and comprehensive as possible—to make it scientific as well as classical—Mr. Birch essayed his arduous task, aided not a little by shrewd advice from Bishop Wilberforce and Sir James Clark, the Queen’s favourite physician.

The sweetest days of summer were clouded for the Queen in 1849 by painful memories of the shock she received on the 19th of May. On that day an Irishman named Hamilton, with a morbid craving for notoriety, tried to shoot her when she was driving with her children in her carriage down Constitution Hill. Her Majesty, with great tact, engaged the attention of her little ones by conversation, and with a sign directed her coachman to drive on as if nothing had happened, so that her husband, who was riding in advance, knew nothing of the affair—not even of the attempt of the mob to “lynch” Hamilton. His pistol was loaded with blank cartridge, but in spite of that he was sentenced to seven years’ transportation.

It has been said that Ireland, exhausted by the abortive rebellion of 1848, had been settling down into sullen tranquillity. There were many signs visible of a better feeling towards the Government in the country. The Queen accordingly suggested that it might be well to take advantage of the improving condition of things, and pay a Royal visit to Ireland. Her Majesty, however, primarily desired that the Irish people should benefit, and not be burdened, by the presence of Royalty. She therefore expressed a wish that the visit should not be made in such a form as to put the country, which had suffered so much from distress, to any great expense. Prince Albert, ever practical, suggested that in that case the best way of carrying out the Queen’s idea was to make this visit a simple yachting cruise. The Queen, he said, might call at the ports of Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Dublin, and Belfast on her annual journey to the North of Scotland, and perchance touch at Glasgow, thereby compensating it for the loss of the Royal visit in 1847. Lord Clarendon fully endorsed the views of the Queen and her husband in a letter to Lord John Russell. “Everything,” he wrote, “tends to secure for the Queen an enthusiastic reception, and the one drawback, which{407} is the general distress of all classes, has its advantage, for it will enable the Queen to do what is kind and considerate to those who are suffering.”

On the 27th of June the official intimation that the Queen was to visit Ireland was received by the Irish people with every manifestation of delight. If there were some who, rebels at heart, sympathised little with the tone of popular feeling, they concealed their aversion. The sex of the Sovereign indeed ensured her a courteous reception, from a nation proud of its gallantry, and justly renowned for the warmth of its hospitality. It was then finally decided that the visit should be made when Parliament rose. On the 27th of August the Queen, Prince Albert, and their four eldest children accordingly embarked for Ireland. “It is done!” writes the amiable and somewhat effusive Lady Lyttelton, who watched the squadron from the windows of Osborne, till it faded from her eyes. “England’s fate is afloat … and we are left lamenting.” There was, however, no serious cause for anxiety. When the Royal squadron steamed into the Cove of Cork, in the golden light of a summer sunset, the air was soon gleaming with rockets, and bonfires, kindled by the excitable and kindly peasantry, blazed on every height in welcome of their Queen. The next morning, the 3rd of August, brought a happy omen. The day was dull and grey, but no sooner did the Queen set her foot on land at the Cove—since called Queenstown in honour of the event—than a sudden sunburst lit up the scene with dazzling radiance. The Royal party in the Fairy steamed up “the pleasant waters of the river Lee,” and all along the route crowds of loyal people lined the banks, cheering the Queen and her family as she passed along. In Cork itself—“rebel Cork”—there was no sign of disaffection. Nothing could be warmer or more cordial than the welcome accorded to her Majesty, who was touched by the hearty gaiety and good humour of her excitable hosts. A true kindly Celtic welcome, such as any Sovereign might have envied, made her experiences of Cork sunny memories for many long years afterwards. The extreme beauty of the women seems, however, to have produced an equally deep impression on her Majesty, who refers to this point in her diary of the visit.

On the 4th of August the Royal party proceeded to Waterford, which they reached in the afternoon. Curiously enough, one of the ships in their squadron of escort had actually been stationed there two years previously, to overawe the rebellious people. Now all these dark and bitter memories seemed to have passed away. Waterford vied with Cork in its loyal demonstration, and the feeling of regret was universal that the Royal party did not land and go through the town. Prince Albert and his two sons, however, steamed up to the city from the anchorage opposite Duncannon fort, ten miles from the town. Next came the visit to Dublin—never to be forgotten in the annals of the Irish capital.

It was on the 5th of August, as the sun was going down, that the{408} Royal squadron reached Kingstown—threading its way with some difficulty through the craft, gay with joyful bunting, that crowded the sea. The Queen was greatly struck by the picturesque appearance of the place, and when she and the Prince landed next morning, amidst a salute from the men-of-war in the harbour, her reception was a revelation even to those who had anticipated that she would be lovingly greeted. Never was there such cheering—especially from the ladies, whose hearts were captivated by the Royal children. If, said one old lady, the Queen would only consent to call one of the young princes Patrick, all Ireland would die for her. The Royal party soon arrived at the Viceregal Lodge, in the Phœnix Park, and the routefrom Sandymount Station was again lined by crowds of enthusiastic and loyal sightseers. It was noted that even the poorest houses were gay with flowers. “It was a most wonderful and striking spectacle,” says the Queen, in her notes of her visit—“such masses of human beings, so enthusiastic, so excited, and yet perfect order maintained.” All that was worth seeing in Dublin was seen, and the people were charmed with the simple, gracious bearing of her Majesty, and the ease and freedom with which she went among them. A memorable visit was made by the Queen to the National Model Schools, where she and the Prince were introduced by Archbishop Whateley to the venerable Archbishop Murray, a picturesque and patriarchal Catholic prelate, whose saintly life and generous liberal ideas had previously attracted the attention of Prince Albert. His Grace had indeed risked much by protecting these schools against the attacks of some of the bigots of his church, and the Queen was powerfully impressed with the excellence of the system of instruction given at them. Speaking of this interesting episode in the House of Commons, Richard Lalor Shiel—the last of the great Irish rhetoricians—said, “Amongst the most remarkable incidents that occurred when the Queen was in Ireland was her visit to the schools of the National Board of Education, which took place (by accident, of course) before she visited the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. It was a fine spectacle to see the consort, so worthy of her, attended by the representatives of the Presbyterian Church, by the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin, and by the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin—with those venerable ecclesiastics at her side, differing in creed, but united by the common brotherhood of Christianity in the performance of one of the noblest duties which their common Christianity prescribed; it was a fine thing to see the Sovereign of a great empire surrounded by groups of those little children who gazed on her with affectionate amazement, while she returned their looks with fondness almost maternal; and, better than all, it was noble and thrilling, indeed, to see the emotions by which that great lady was moved when her heart beat with a high and holy aspiration that she might live to see the benefits of education carried out in their full and perfect development.” There was a levée, of course, at which four thousand persons attended to pay their{409} respects to their Sovereign. There was a brilliant review of the troops in the Phœnix Park, followed by visits to the Royal Irish Academy, the College of Surgeons, and the Royal Dublin Society, at whose cattle-shows Prince Albert was a frequent competitor. His speech, in reply to an Address from the Society, attracted much attention at the time, on account of his sound advice on the economic condition of Ireland, and the grateful thanks which he gave to the Irish people for their marks of warm attachment to the Queen and her family. The Prince was one of the first rural economists to impress on the chiefs of the Society the necessity for anticipating impending changes in agriculture. He advised them to stimulate to the utmost stock-breeding in Ireland.

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A visit paid by the Queen to Carton appears to have made a strong impression on her. Carton is the seat of the Duke of Leinster, and his delicate attentions to her and her family, and his skill in planning a pleasant excursion for them, elicits from her pen the remark in her “Diary” that his Grace was “one of the kindest and best of men.” The Royal leave-taking at Kingstown was quite an affecting ceremony. The crowd at the pier was denser than it had ever been within living memory, and its shouts rent the{410} air. When the Queen heard how her kind hosts were bidding her Godspeed, she immediately climbed up on the paddle-box and stood waving her handkerchief in token of her appreciation of their loyalty. She directed the ship’s engines to be slowed, so that the vessel might glide slowly past the pier. By a felicitous inspiration she ordered the Royal Standard to be dipped three times, in honour of the people on the shore, and as a mark of her grateful appreciation of their affection.

Loyal Ulster was next visited, and, as might have been expected, the reception of the Queen in this busy hive of industry was exceptionally effusive, even for Ireland. Belfast was en fête when the Royal visitors landed, and old folk still speak of the scene on the quay as marking a red letter day in their lives. Bunting was streaming everywhere in the air. Dense crowds cheering and shouting, and waving hats and handkerchiefs, occupied every coign of vantage, and though the Queen had only four hours to spend in the city, she contrived, under competent guidance, to see many of the more interesting places and institutions which illustrate the strong character of the mixed race whose energy, ability, pertinacity, and industry have made Ulster, with her unkindly soil and climate, the richest province in Ireland. Ulster commands the bulk of the linen trade of the world, and, naturally, the institutions and factories connected with that industry arrested the Queen’s attention during her flying visit to the commercial capital of Ireland. An alarming gale detained her the next day in Belfast Lough, but after it blew over the Royal party steamed away to the Scottish shore.

The Royal visit to Ireland had two good results. It brought home to the minds of the Irish people the fact that their country, and their interests, were of great personal concern to the Queen and her husband. It demonstrated to the rest of the United Kingdom the fact that the personal attachment of the Irish people to the Monarchy was as strong as could be desired, and that if they were rebels at heart it was not the Queen, but the Viceregal Bureaucracy in Dublin Castle, who had soured their blood. Everybody who had observed the effect of the Queen’s progress through Ireland was charmed with the success of the expedition. “I saw Lord Lansdowne last night,” writes Mr. Greville in his Journal (14th August), “just returned from Ireland, having had an escape on the railroad, for the train ran off the rails. He said nothing could surpass the success of the Queen’s visit in every respect; every circumstance favourable, no drawbacks or mistakes, all persons and parties pleased, much owing to the tact of Lord Clarendon, and the care he had bestowed on all the arrangements and details, which made it all go off so admirably. The Queen herself was delighted, and appears to have played her part uncommonly well. Clarendon, of course, was overjoyed at the complete success of what was his own plan,[5] and{411} satisfied with the graciousness and attention of the Court to him. In the beginning, and while the details were in preparation, he was considerably disgusted at the petty difficulties that were made, but he is satisfied now. Lord Lansdowne says the departure was quite affecting, and he could not see it without being moved; and he thinks beyond doubt that this visit will produce permanent good effects in Ireland.”[6] Clarendon himself was evidently more than delighted with the effect of the Royal visit. He informed Sir George Grey that he believed “there was not an Irishman in Dublin who did not consider that the Queen had paid him a personal compliment by mounting the paddle-box of her steamer as she was leaving, and ordering the Royal Standard to be dipped in acknowledgment of the affectionate adieus which came from the crowds on the shore.”[7] But the odd thing was that the members of the seditious clubs who had threatened to create disturbances when the Queen’s visit was first mooted, caught the prevailing contagion of loyalty, and professed to be among the most affectionate of her subjects. Still, Clarendon was far too astute a statesman to imagine that a Royal visit would smooth away all the difficulties of his position and administration as Viceroy. It could not, as he acknowledges in another letter to Sir George Grey, “remove evils which are the growth of ages.” At the same time, it indirectly helped the country by bringing some money into it. Royalty can always beneficially direct the expenditure of Fashion, and after the Queen had by her example shown that there was no danger to be dreaded in visiting Ireland, rich English tourists began to go over there holiday-making, greatly to the advantage of the people. But when all this was apparent to the Queen’s advisers, it seems strange that they did not then deem it their duty to devise a plan for strengthening the golden link of the Crown between England and Ireland. If one brief Royal visit produced such an excellent effect, why did they not propose another? If it were impossible to provide for the residence for the Queen regularly during a portion of the year in Ireland, it might have been possible for the Royal Family to arrange that in their annual visit to Balmoral they should cruise northwards along the Irish coast, and gladden some of the Irish towns and provinces with their presence.

Ugly weather followed the Royal squadron from Belfast Lough to the Clyde, but a singularly brilliant reception at Glasgow compensated the Queen for any discomforts she may have endured on the voyage. The visit to “the second city of the Empire,” as its inhabitants love to call it, was all too brief, for the Festival of St. Grouse had been celebrated two days before, and Prince Albert was eagerly desirous of pressing on to the moors. On the evening of the 14th of August—the day of the reception at Glasgow—he wrote to Stockmar a hurried note, deploring the “vile passage” on the 12th from Belfast to Loch Ryan, and saying how much he had been impressed by{412} their procession, through five to six hundred thousand human beings all cheering wildly in the streets of Glasgow.

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On the 15th of August they were at Balmoral, the Queen recording in her “Diary” that it seemed like a dream to her after all the excitement of their tour to be in “our dear Highland home again.” For a brief time her Majesty was able to enjoy a real holiday. She was not much worried by politics—which have been, after all, the chief business of her life. The seclusion, and the dry, bracing air of Balmoral, acted like tonics on her mind and spirits. In a letter which he wrote to Stockmar on his thirtieth birthday, which was gaily celebrated in the family circle at Balmoral, Prince Albert said, “Victoria is happy and cheerful, and enjoys a love and homage in this country, of which in the summer’s tour we have received the most striking proofs. The children are well and grow apace. The Highlands are glorious, and the game abundant.” One of the pleasantest of surprises was prepared for the Queen a fortnight after her arrival. It was an excursion to a small mountain cabin, or “bothie” as the Highlanders call it, to which she had taken a fancy at Alt-na-Giuthasach. In “Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands,” the Queen gives the following description of her expedition:—“We arrived at our little ‘bothie’ at two o’clock, and were amazed at the transformation. There are two huts, and to the one in which we live a wooden addition has been made. We have a charming little dining-room, sitting-room, bedroom, and dressing-room, all en suite; and there is a little room where Caroline Dawson (the Maid of Honour) sleeps, one for her maid, and a little pantry. In the other house, which is only a few yards{413}

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distant, is the kitchen, where the people generally sit, a small room where the servants dine, and another, which is a sort of store-room, and a loft above in which the men sleep. Margaret French (my maid), Caroline’s maid, Löhlein[8] (Albert’s valet), a cook, Shackle[9] (a footman), and Macdonald are the only people with us in the house, old John Gordon and his wife excepted. Our rooms are delightfully papered, the ceilings as well as walls, and very nicely furnished. We lunched as soon as we arrived, and at three walked down (about twenty minutes’ walk) to the loch called ‘Muich’; which some say means ‘darkness’ or ‘sorrow.’ Here we found a large boat, into which we all got, and Macdonald, Duncan, Grant, and Coutts rowed; old John Gordon and two others going in another boat with the net.”

But neither the Queen nor Prince Albert was of a mind that their Irish visit should be a fruitless one, and soon their busy brains were brooding over schemes for Ireland which marked their interest in her affairs. The “Godless” Colleges, which had been founded by Sir Robert Peel, were to be opened in October. They were three in number—one in Belfast, one in Cork, and one in Galway, and their education was to be secular and untheological. But each College gave facilities for conducting the spiritual training of the students under “Deans” appointed by the various sects and churches. The Queen and her husband had many conversations with men of light and leading of all parties in Ireland, as to the organisation of these Colleges, and the Prince, as a practical educationist, soon hit the blot in it. Who was to confer the degrees? Were the Colleges to do so? Or were they to be united by the common federating bond of a University, whose officials should guide the examinations, and form the policy that would best advance, not the interests of one College, but the interests of all? Her Majesty and the Prince, when they were in Ireland, came to the conclusion that unless the Colleges were affiliated under a University, they would soon degenerate into sectarian seminaries. But, before taking active steps in the matter, they laid their opinions before Sir Robert Peel. He at once concurred in the Prince’s views; and Lord Clarendon, who had at first felt doubtful about their soundness, ultimately accepted them also. Thus it came to pass that the Queen’s Colleges were federated under the Queen’s University of Ireland, and that a general desire was manifested that Prince Albert should be the first Chancellor. This office he declined to accept, mainly in the interest of the Queen. The Colleges and the University, he feared, might one day become the battle-grounds of faction, and it would then be very distressing for her Majesty to find her husband entangled in the political{415} blood-feuds of Ireland. Subsequent events proved that these anticipations were correct. Lord Clarendon ultimately accepted the Chancellorship of the Queen’s University of Ireland.

At this time, as has been stated, the present Castle at Balmoral was not built. Balmoral, in fact, was simply the modest family residence of a Highland laird, and by no means well fitted for the establishment of the Court. However, the business of the Court and the State could not be neglected on that account, and Ministers and officials showed great zeal and consideration in assisting her Majesty to the utmost of their power in transacting it in such a remote corner of her Empire. In Mr. Greville’s Journal we have a curious entry (15th September) bearing on this point, and illustrating the holiday life of the Queen in the Highlands at that time. “On Monday, the 3rd,” writes Mr. Greville, “on returning from Hillingdon, I found a summons from John Russell to be at Balmoral on Wednesday, the 5th, at half-past two, for a Council, to order a prayer for relief against the cholera…. I started on Wednesday morning at half-past six, and arrived at Balmoral exactly at half-past two. It is a beautiful road from Perth to Balmoral, particularly from Blairgowrie to the Spittal of Glenshee, and thence to Braemar. Much as I dislike Courts and all that appertains to them, I am glad to have made this expedition, and to have seen the Queen and Prince in their Highland retreat, where they certainly appear to great advantage. The place is very pretty; the house very small. They live there without any state whatever; they live not merely like private gentlefolks, but like very small gentlefolks—small house, small rooms, small establishment. There are no soldiers, and the whole guard of the Sovereign and Royal Family is a single policeman, who walks about the grounds to keep off impertinent intruders or improper characters. Their attendants consisted of Lady Douro and Miss Dawson, Lady and Maid of Honour; George Anson and Gordon; Birch, the Prince of Wales’s tutor; and Miss Hildyard, the governess of the children. They live with the greatest simplicity and ease. The Prince shoots every morning, returns to luncheon, and then they walk and drive. The Queen is running in and out of the house all day long, and often goes about alone, walks into cottages, and sits and chats with the old women. I never before was in society with the Prince or had any conversation with him. On Thursday morning John Russell and I were sitting together after breakfast, when he came in and sat down with us, and we conversed for about three-quarters of an hour. I was greatly struck with him. I saw at once (what I had always heard) that he is very intelligent and highly cultivated; and, moreover, that he has a thoughtful mind, and thinks of subjects worth thinking about. He seemed very much at his ease, very gay, pleasant, and without the least stiffness or air of dignity. After luncheon we went to the Highland gathering at Braemar—the Queen, the Prince, four children, and two ladies in one pony-carriage, John Russell, Mr. Birch, Miss Hildyard, and{416} I in another; Anson and Gordon on the box; one groom, no more. The gathering was at the old castle at Braemar, and a pretty sight enough. We returned as we came, and then everybody strolled about till dinner. We were only nine people, and it was all very easy and really agreeable—the Queen in very good humour, and talkative; the Prince still more so, and talking very well; no form, and everybody seemed at their ease. In the evening we withdrew to the only room there is besides the dining-room, which serves for billiards, library (hardly any books in it), and drawing-room. The Queen and Prince and her ladies, and Gordon, soon went back to the dining-room, where they had a Highland dancing-master, who gave them lessons in reels. We (John Russell and I) were not admitted to this exercise, so we played at billiards. In process of time they came back, when there was a little talk, and soon after they went to bed.”[10]

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Shortly before the holiday at Balmoral ended, the Queen and Prince Albert were a little mortified to find that one of their projects, or rather one of the Prince’s projects, was going awry. This was the preliminary movement which was intended to lead up to the organisation of a great International Industrial Exhibition. The idea of holding such an exhibition had occurred to the Prince in July, 1849. It seems to have been suggested to him by the great Frankfort Fairs of the sixteenth century. His Royal Highness had also noticed that one or two small pioneer exhibitions held by the Society of Arts, had produced good effects in improving the quality of English products. He argued that an exhibition on an international scale would produce still greater effects, not only on our manufactures, but on those of the world. It would be a tournament of Peace, in which the Captains of Industry would be the competitors in the lists.

On the 30th of July, 1849, the Prince held a conference at Buckingham Palace with four confidential persons—Mr. Henry Cole, Mr. Francis Fuller, Mr. Scott Russell, and Mr. Thomas Cubitt, and they resolved to hold the exhibition if possible, not in the quadrangle of Somerset House, as the Government had suggested, but in Hyde Park itself. They also arranged to{418} take steps to test the feeling of the industrial districts on the subject before going further. But in all this preliminary work of “sounding” influential persons, the Prince had given peremptory orders that his name should not be publicly mentioned. Unfortunately, Mr. Cole, with Hibernian effusiveness, had been tempted to disobey these orders at a meeting in Dublin, much to the annoyance of the Queen and her husband. “Praising me at meetings,” wrote his Royal Highness to Colonel Phipps, “looks as if I were to be advertised and used as a means of drawing a full house, &c.”—and if there was anything which was unspeakably offensive to the Queen, it was the use of her or her husband’s name for purposes of puffery.

A few days after this disagreeable little episode (27th September) the Queen and her family left Balmoral for Osborne. They broke their journey at Howick, where they spent a night with Lord Grey, and in a few days after that they received tidings which filled their hearts with the utmost sorrow. The ever-faithful Anson, the Prince’s first Secretary, died, and the Queen’s household was filled with the deepest regret. The Queen herself wrote a touching letter to King Leopold, which shows how her heart bled for the widow of her most zealous servant; and Lady Lyttelton, writing on the 9th of November, says: “Every face shows how much has been felt; the Prince and Queen in floods of tears, and quite shut up.” All through the record of the Queen’s life, indeed, we find evidence of the cordial relations which bound her to those who served her. Their zeal indeed has been great, but it has been more than equalled by her sympathetic appreciation of it.

Colonel Phipps succeeded Mr. Anson as Privy Purse, and Colonel (afterwards General) Grey as the Prince’s Secretary.

When the gloom of winter began to spread over London, the loyal citizens were sadly distressed to learn that a projected Royal visit to the city would be robbed of more than half its éclat. The Queen had promised to come and open the New Coal Exchange on the 30th of October. But alas, her Majesty had sickened with the chicken-pox, and the ceremony was performed by Prince Albert alone. Yet the Londoners were not without compensation. This visit to the City was memorable because of the first public appearance in a pageant of State, of the Prince of Wales, and the Princess Royal. The spectacle revived picturesque memories of “the spacious times of Great Elizabeth,” for the Royal party proceeded to London by the silent highway of the river. Twenty-seven brawny watermen rowed the Queen’s Barge from Westminster Stairs to the City, and, strange to say, for once the fog and murky atmosphere of London in early winter cleared away, and the ceremony took place in the sunshine, under a sky of Italian brilliancy. The crowds covered every possible corner where human beings could cluster. The long lines of shipping on each bank of the Pool were bright with bunting, and black with swarming sightseers. The cheering was overpowering when the fair-haired young Prince was seen in the barge, and both the{419} Royal children, though they went through the ordeal quietly and prettily, were obviously a little frightened and nervous. “The Prince,” wrote Lady Lyttelton to Mrs. Gladstone, “was perfect in taste and manner, putting the Prince of Wales forward without affectation, and very dignified and kind himself.” The procession on the water was gorgeous in the extreme. State liveries were blazing everywhere. Civic costumes of feudal times kindled many ancient memories; and the Lord Mayor’s barge, which led the way, was a miracle of garish splendour. Lady Lyttelton says that what struck her most was not only the cheering, but the affectionate expression on the faces of the people when they craned forward to get a glimpse of the little Prince and Princess. But of one civic speaker and his speech in the Rotunda her ladyship says it “was most pompous; and he is ridiculous in voice and manner. And his immense size, and cloak, and wig, and great voice addressing the Prince of Wales about his being the ‘pledge and promise of a long race of kings,’ looked quite absurd. Poor Princey did not seem at all to guess what he meant.” The Queen was rather sad-hearted at missing this first public reception of her children, which was the occasion of such an outburst of popular enthusiasm, loyal huzzas, and joy-bells ringing all over London town, not to mention thunderous salutations from the Tower guns—“enough,” says Lady Lyttelton, “to drive one mad.”

On the 2nd of December the Royal home was turned into a house of mourning. On that day the good Dowager-Queen Adelaide passed away from among the small but appreciative circle of friends and relatives who admired and loved her. The Queen’s grief was deep and sincere. “Though we daily expected this sad event,” writes her Majesty to King Leopold, “yet it came so suddenly when it did come, as if she had never been ill, and I can hardly realise the truth now…. She was truly motherly in her kindness to us and our children, and it always made her happy to be with us and to see us!”[11]

Queen Adelaide, it may be here noted, was one of the earliest of funeral reformers. Struck by the wastefulness and the bad taste of funereal pageants, she left what the Queen calls “the most affecting directions” for her burial, ordering that it should be conducted with the utmost simplicity and privacy—the only exceptional arrangement being that she desired her coffin to be borne by seamen, in homage to the memory of her husband, William IV., the Sailor-King. A simple-hearted, kindly, Christian lady, whose hands were ever swift in doing good—such is a brief abstract of the life and character of the Dowager-Queen Adelaide.{420}

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Political Wreckage—Force triumphs over Opinion—The State of France—Election of Prince Charles Louis Bonaparte as Prince-President—The Sad Plight of Italy—Palmerston’s Anti-Austrian Policy—Defeat of Piedmont—The Fall of Venice—Fall of the Roman Republic—A Cromwellian Struggle in Prussia—The Queen’s Partisanship—Her Prussian Sympathies—The Hungarian Refugees in Turkey—A Diplomatic Conflict with Russia—Opening of Parliament—Mr. Disraeli and Local Taxation—Parliamentary Reform—The Jonahs of the Cabinet—The Dispute with Greece—Don Pacifico’s case—Coercion of Greece—Lord Palmerston meekly accepts an Insult from Russia—French Intervention—A Diplomatic Conflict in France—Recall of the French Ambassador—False Statements in Parliament—The Queen’s Indignation—The Don Pacifico Debate—The Civis Romanus sum Doctrine—Palmerston’s Victory—The West African Slave Trade.

When the year 1850 opened the counter-revolution had been accomplished. Much political and social wreckage disfigured the Continent, but the tempest which had produced it was over. What remained was an uneasy after-swell agitating the restless ocean of discontent. Force had, in fact, triumphed over opinion, and Europe was at last tranquil.

In France, after Louis Philippe fell, the country was left a prey to four factions or parties. One demanded an absolute monarchy; another demanded a parliamentary monarchy; a third demanded a military empire, based on universal suffrage; a fourth demanded a republic. The partisans of the republic triumphed in the first instance. But it fell, a victim to the voracity of its own children. The Government of Lamartine was poetic and Utopian,{421}

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and its experiment of creating national workshops in which the workers were to be paid by the State, was not only fantastic but fatal. The State found it had no work to give. It found it had no money to spend in wages; and the artisans of the national establishments were accordingly advised to join the army. This disastrous adventure in Socialism was followed by another insurrection in Paris—in which, by the way, the Archbishop of Paris and thousands of less eminent persons were slain. What Prince Bismarck would call the “psychological moment” for the interposition of a clever adventurer with a suggestion of compromise had manifestly arrived. Accordingly, the advent of Prince Charles Louis Bonaparte was hailed with a sense of relief by all parties—wearied to despair by the futile conflicts of factions. Although M. Grévy vainly endeavoured by a motion in the Chamber to procure the proscription of the Prince, his Highness was elected President of the Republic{422} on the 10th of December, 1848, by five and a half million out of seven and a half million votes. He took the oath to preserve the Republic, without compunction. But when the year 1850 opened, he was busily plotting for its destruction, and manufacturing failure for its institutions.

The plight of Italy was a sad one. Austria had successfully met the attempt to seize her Italian provinces. She had crushed Piedmont so completely that, in 1849, there was danger lest she might be tempted to invade that State, and thus provoke the interference of Republican France. Lord Palmerston accordingly endeavoured to mediate between Austria and Piedmont. The idea of mediation was chimerical, for Austria, having made heavy sacrifices to hold her Cisalpine territories, and having succeeded in doing so by force, could hardly be expected to accept with equanimity Lord Palmerston’s favourite dogma, that the Italian provinces of Austria were to her not a source of strength, but of weakness. Austria repudiated all proposals for a conference of mediation, unless they were limited to discuss what Piedmont owed her as an indemnity, and the guarantees which could be given against Piedmontese turbulence. Diplomacy had well-nigh exhausted its resources in endeavouring to bring Austria to submit the points at issue to a Congress at Brussels, when the whole situation was suddenly changed. Joseph Mazzini and his school, convinced that Austria was checked by France and England, overthrew the Governments of Florence and Rome, which were under Austrian tutelage. Revolution headed by a monarch had failed. Its victory, argued Mazzini, under Republican leadership, would be a signal triumph for the Republican idea. The success of Mazzini and his followers led to the formation of a violent anti-Austrian Ministry in Piedmont.

But again Austria triumphed. Piedmont was crushed at Novara on the 23rd of March, 1849. Venice was on the eve of surrender, and when the Pope, who had fled to Gaeta, appealed to the Catholic Powers for aid, Austria was thus quite free to help him. The prospect of Austria bringing Central as well as North Italy under her sway alarmed France, and accordingly the Republican Government in Paris sent an army under Oudinot, which suppressed the Republican Government at Rome. The Grand Duke of Tuscany was restored, the revolution in the Sicilies quenched in blood, and the dream of Italian independence dissipated. Nor was this the only triumph of Absolutism under Austria. The revolution in Hungary was suppressed, but not till Russia came to the assistance of Austria.

In Prussia, too, the monarchy, after a Cromwellian struggle with a factious Parliament, had completely restored its authority, and to Prussia the smaller German States now began to turn for leadership in consolidating themselves into a German Empire. Unhappily the King of Prussia failed to respond to this feeling when Austria was struggling with the revolution in Italy. At the beginning of 1850 he accordingly found the feeling in favour of unifying Germany opposed by three great Powers—France, Russia, and Austria, the{423} last, indeed, claiming, on behalf of the Archduke John, to be the executive head and heir of the defunct German Confederation of 1815. By the Constitution of Kremsir, Austria had consolidated her possessions—German, Magyar, Sclavonic, and Italian—into one federal State, and, in a sense, she had thereby withdrawn from the German Confederation. Her policy of obstructing consolidation in disintegrated Germany was therefore alike ungenerous and unjust.

Through this maze of difficulty the Queen and Prince Albert steered a clear course. They were both partisans—one might say strong and zealous partisans—of Teutonic consolidation under Prussia. Austria, they held, had played for her own hand, and, by adopting Schwarzenberg’s policy of consolidating her dominions in purely Austrian interests, she had abandoned her claim to guide the destinies of the smaller German States, in purely German interests. But, however strongly the Queen felt on this point, her influence was used to moderate the extravagant anti-Austrian antipathies of Lord Palmerston, and it largely contributed to keep the country out of war. At last, however, a cloud rose in the East which threatened us with calamity.

When Austria, by summoning to her aid the armed hordes of Russia, stamped out the movement for Hungarian independence, several Hungarian and Polish patriots—Kossuth, Ban, and others—fled to Turkey. Austria and Russia demanded their extradition. The Sultan refused to surrender the refugees, and De Titoff and Stürmer, Russian and Austrian ambassadors, suspended diplomatic relations with the Porte. The Sultan appealed to Britain and France against this outrageous violation of the unity of nations. Britain remonstrated in firm but courteous language, and Austria and Russia both withdrew their demands, but not before the British fleet had moved within the forbidden limits of the Dardanelles, in anticipation of a refusal. Lord Palmerston’s apology for thus violating the treaty of 1841 was that the fleet had been driven into forbidden waters by “stress of weather.” As there was notoriously no “stress of weather,” this explanation merely irritated the Czar, and planted in his heart the germ of that fierce hatred of England, which culminated in the Crimean War.

Parliament was opened on the 31st of January, 1850, by Commission, and, as had been anticipated, the Protectionists made, not an attack, but rather a reconnoissance in force against the Government. During the recess they had gone through the country painting the darkest pictures of the condition of England. According to their speeches, one would have imagined that another famine had smitten the nation; and for all this pessimism there was but one justification. No doubt everybody who depended on the soil for a livelihood was suffering from distress. Prices had fallen, and farmers had not taken kindly to the new order of things. But the masses of the people, especially in industrial centres, were enjoying greater comfort than ever. The revenue was showing signs of buoyancy; the foreign trade of the{424}

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country had increased, and pauperism had diminished. All these cheering facts were concealed from the public by the Conservative agitators, who concentrated attention on one point—the admitted and deplorable distress of the landed interest. The real desire of the Tory party at this time was to turn out the Government and restore Protection. The Duke of Richmond’s indiscreet speech on the Address in the House of Lords proves that. But, conscious of the difficulty of suddenly upsetting the fiscal system which was based on Free Trade, they concealed their real purpose. Mr. Disraeli therefore supported a Protectionist amendment to the Address in reply to the Queen’s Speech, on the ground that the landed interests were entitled to a certain amount of relief from public burdens, in compensation for the loss of Protection. On the 19th of February, Mr. Disraeli had to show his hand. He then moved for a committee to revise the Poor Law so as to mitigate distress among the agricultural class. This debate is worth noticing, because it may be said to have definitely originated the perennial movement for local taxation reform, which is always an object of enthusiasm to what may be called the country party, when out of office. Mr. Disraeli’s idea was to transfer from local rates to the Imperial Treasury (1), Poor Law establishment charges; (2), rates which had nothing to do with the relief of the poor, and were only raised by{425}

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Poor Law machinery as a matter of convenience—such as rates for registration of births, deaths, and marriages, for getting up jury lists, and the like; and (3), the rate for supporting the casual poor. His case was not decided on its merits. Members did not look to what was in the motion, but to what was behind it, namely, the restoration of Protection, or an increase in Income Tax to provide funds for the relief of local burdens. Sir James Graham’s frank admission, as a landlord, that relief in the rate would be swallowed by an increase in the rents, and that it was the landlord and not the tenant who would profit, determined many, who did not deny the abstract justice of Mr. Disraeli’s contention, to vote against him. The sensational incident in the debate was the speech of Mr. Gladstone, who supported Mr. Disraeli against his own leaders. In fact, he replied to Sir James Graham. Despite the support of Peel, the Government, instead of having a majority of forty, as they expected, were saved from defeat only by a majority of twenty. From that day till now a clever debater, by a skilful motion in favour of relief of local taxation, has always been able to weaken the majority of the strongest of Ministries. Local taxation is the vulnerable point of Governments, and it is the one subject with which they all seem afraid to deal in a bold and{426} comprehensive spirit. All they do is to denounce the evil in Opposition, and palliate its existence when in Power.

The agitation for Parliamentary Reform had increased. Some of the Peelites, notably Sir J. Graham, had warned Lord John Russell that they were in favour of an extension of the franchise, and Lord John himself had abandoned the doctrine of finality. Mr. Hume, therefore, brought forward his annual motion on the 28th of February, hinting plainly that he would have no objection to extend its scope so as to include female franchise, and the substitution of an elective for a hereditary House of Lords. It was quite certain that Lord John Russell was by this time of opinion that some safe concessions might be made to the Radicals. Several of his colleagues, however—e.g., Mr. Labouchere—were of a different opinion, and it is accordingly right to say that those who denounced Lord John’s “apostasy,” when he opposed Mr. Hume, were somewhat unfair. Had the Prime Minister produced a Reform Bill this Session, every question which it might be possible to deal with would have been put aside. But as he was not likely to carry his own colleagues with him in advocating reform, not only would this sacrifice have been made in vain, but a Government which, in the existing state of parties, was indispensable to the nation, would have fallen. Mr. Hume was beaten by a vote of 242 against 96, though the Prime Minister’s argument against him was rather a plea for delay, than a defiant “Non possumus.”

Writing on the 10th of February, Mr. Greville says in his Journal, “The brightness of the Ministerial prospect was very soon clouded over, and last week their disasters began. There was first of all the Greek affair, and then the case of the Ceylon witnesses—matters affecting Lord Palmerston and Lord Grey”—the Jonahs of the Cabinet. “The Greek case,” continues Mr. Greville, “will probably be settled, thanks to French mediation, but it was a bad and discreditable affair, and has done more harm to Palmerston than any of his greater enormities. The other Ministers are extremely annoyed at it, and at the sensation it has produced.” The Greek case was briefly this: Mr. Finlay, a British subject in Athens, alleged that King Otho had enclosed a bit of his land in the Royal Garden, and demanded compensation. The King offered him the same compensation that had been accepted as fair by other owners of enclosed land in Mr. Finlay’s position. This Mr. Finlay refused, and he demanded £1,500 for the land which, it was admitted, he had bought for £10. Don Pacifico, a Portuguese Jew from Gibraltar, sought damages for the pillage of his house by the Athenian mob. He claimed £31,534. The value of his furniture was shown to be £2,181. The balance was supposed to represent the value of documents proving that he had a claim on the Portuguese Government for £27,000. Mr. Finlay and Don Pacifico had not raised their claims in the ordinary law courts, and to the amazement of everybody, Lord Palmerston proposed to employ the mailed might of England to collect their bad debts. He peremptorily ordered the Greek Government to{427} pay these exaggerated claims, on pain of inflicting on Greece a blockade and reprisals within twenty-four hours. On the 18th of January, Admiral Parker, with the Mediterranean Fleet, blockaded the Piræus—for, contrary to Lord Palmerston’s expectations, Greece refused to comply with his demands. The Greek Government appealed for protection to France and Russia—whose Governments being with that of Britain joint guarantors for the independence of Greece, were justly annoyed that their good offices had not been invoked by Lord Palmerston. Count Nesselrode, burning to avenge the defeat of the Czar over the question of the Hungarian refugees in Turkey, sent a remonstrance to Lord Palmerston, which was couched in the language of bitter contempt and studied insolence. The French Government, on the other hand, pretending that our agent in Athens had blundered, courteously offered to extricate Lord Palmerston from his difficulties by using the influence of France, to compose the dispute with Greece. On the 12th of February Lord Palmerston ordered the British Envoy to inform Admiral Parker that he must suspend coercive operations. It was not till the 2nd of March that these instructions arrived, and in the interval the Admiral had been vigorously coercing the Greeks. France was naturally irritated at this untoward incident, all the more that Lord Palmerston’s explanation of the delay was deemed unsatisfactory. Ultimately, the matter was settled on Greece agreeing to pay Mr. Wyse, the British Minister, £8,500 to be distributed by him as he thought just among the claimants—the value of Don Pacifico’s lost vouchers against the Portuguese Government to be determined by arbitration.

This compromise, however, was made by negotiation in London. A French steamer conveyed the purport of it to Mr. Wyse, the British Envoy at Athens, on the 24th of April. He, however, said that he had no instructions from his Government to countermand his original orders, which were to renew coercion if the French Envoy at Athens could not induce the Greeks to submit. Coercion was therefore again applied, and the Greek Government on the 27th submitted to Mr. Wyse’s demands. These were more onerous in some respects than the terms agreed on by the London Convention, and Lord Palmerston persisted in adhering to the Athenian arrangement. M. Gros at Athens, finding he could not persuade Mr. Wyse to act on the London Convention, had on the 21st of April officially intimated that his action as mediator was ended. This, argued Lord Palmerston coolly, left the British Envoy—in the absence of instructions from England—free to renew coercion, and to enter into the Athenian arrangement. Palmerston, in other words, claimed the right to take advantage of his own delay, in notifying to Mr. Wyse the result of the London Convention, to refuse to act on the finding of that Convention. It is but fair to say that the Queen was quite as indignant as the Government of France, at Lord Palmerston’s rude and provocative conduct. Lord John Russell intimated to her the fact that the French Government had met the affront with which Lord Palmerston had rewarded their efforts to extricate him from the effect{428} of his own blunder, by recalling M. Drouyn de Lhuys. Her Majesty promptly directed her husband, who acted as her confidential secretary, to send the Prime Minister one of those curt, cutting notes, which invariably indicate her displeasure.

“My dear Lord John,—Both the Queen and myself are exceedingly sorry at the news your letter contained. We are not surprised, however, that Lord Palmerston’s mode of doing business should not be borne by the susceptible French Government with the same good humour and forbearance as by his colleagues.

“Ever yours truly,
“Buckingham Palace, 15th May, 1850.”[12]

The view which the Queen took was the fair and common-sense one, namely, that we should act on the London Convention. The Convention of London which we made with France gave us certain terms. By an accident, for which Palmerston was responsible, Mr. Wyse at Athens had extorted better ones for us at Athens. It was not high policy, but sharp practice; it was not in the spirit of enlightened diplomacy, but in the spirit of the meanest attorneydom, that any claim to benefit by the “accident” which had given better terms to us at Athens than at London, was pressed by Lord Palmerston.

But the Queen’s troubles did not end here. Her birthday was celebrated on the 15th of May, and the absence of the French and Russian Ambassadors from the usual Foreign Office dinner on that occasion, naturally roused suspicion. It was not known that the French representative had been recalled, and that France and England were in open diplomatic conflict. What was the meaning of the absence of these ambassadors? asked Society at the great rout at Devonshire House on the night of the 19th. Questions to this effect were put to Ministers in both Houses. Lord Lansdowne said that the departure of M. Drouyn de Lhuys was purely accidental; and Lord Palmerston had the effrontery to declare, in reply to Mr. Milner Gibson, that M. de Lhuys had merely gone to Paris as a medium of communication between the two Governments. But the Times reported in due course that General de la Hitte, Minister of War, had intimated from the tribune of the French Assembly that, because Lord Palmerston’s explanations in regard to points at issue between the two Governments were not such as France had a right to expect, “the President had ordered General de la Hitte to recall their Ambassador from London.” Nothing could exceed the mortification of the Queen when she was informed of the almost simultaneous publication of these contradictory official statements. Her detestation of equivocal and shuffling Ministerial explanations has long passed into a proverb. Her Majesty’s theory, in fact, is that the Minister is for the time the trustee of the honour of the Crown, and that, especially in foreign countries, where the relation between the British Sovereign and her Ministers is ill understood, the Crown is held personally responsible for what the Minister says, in all matters affecting{429}

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the external relations of the kingdom. In plain English, the Queen has always held that if a Minister tells a lie in Parliament, nine people out of ten on the Continent will suspect that she has ordered or induced him to tell it. Hence her indignation on reading Lord Palmerston’s reply to Mr. Milner Gibson’s question was tinged with a feeling of personal humiliation and shame. Public opinion was similarly excited when the newspapers were studied, and fuller questions were immediately put to Lord Lansdowne and Lord John Russell. They gave evasive and prevaricating answers, attempting to explain away the French Ambassador’s letter of recall, much to the disgust of all parties in Parliament. The tide of anger rose higher every day that the scandal was discussed. Lord John Russell told his brother, the Duke of Bedford, that Ministers must defend Palmerston on this occasion, but, after the dispute came to an end, he would have Palmerston dismissed from the Foreign Office. “He is,” writes Mr. Greville on the 19th of May, “to see the Queen on Tuesday, who will of course be boiling over with indignation;” for by this time Baron Brunnow, the Russian Ambassador, had warned Lord John that he, too, must ask to be relieved from his post, as “it was impossible for him to stay here to be on bad terms with Palmerston.”

The question has often been asked, Why did English statesmen get up in both Houses of Parliament and tell a series of falsehoods which they knew must be discovered in forty-eight hours by official refutation from France? The fact is, Lord Palmerston had deceived his colleagues. He assured them that M. de Lhuys had taken back to Paris explanations so conciliatory, that his letter of recall would be quietly cancelled. Assured by Palmerston that he had made the cancelling of the recall a certainty, Lord Lansdowne and Lord John Russell assumed that the letter of recall was suppressed, and they both answered as if it never had existed. On the 25th of May, Mr. Greville writes:—“The morning before yesterday the Duke of Bedford came here again. He had seen Lord John since, and heard what passed with the Queen. She was full of this affair, and again urged all her objections to Lord Palmerston. This time she found Lord John better disposed than heretofore, and he is certainly revolving in his mind how the thing can be done. He does not by any means contemplate going out himself, or breaking up the Government. What he looks to is this, that the Queen should take the initiative, and urge Palmerston’s removal from the Foreign Office. She is quite ready to do this as soon as she is assured of her wishes being attended to.”[13]

Lord John Russell screwed up his courage to the point of contemplating the removal of Lord Palmerston from the Foreign Office to some other department of State, he himself undertaking the duties of Foreign Secretary along with those of the Premiership. Such a combination is never a wise one. Even in recent times, when Lord Salisbury attempted to unite in his own person the two offices, the strain was found to be greater than his strength could bear; and in the case{431} of Lord John, whose health was at this time capricious and precarious, it was perhaps as well that at the eleventh hour he shrank from proposing the change to Lord Palmerston. Lord John has been accused of lack of courage in connection with this affair. The truth is, that a perverted chivalry prompted him to stand by Lord Palmerston. The Greek affair was hardly defensible. But it was bruited about that the Opposition, under cover of condemning Lord Palmerston in that special case, meant to direct a severe attack on the foreign policy of the Government as a whole. Lord Palmerston’s colleagues had, however, permitted themselves not only to be identified with that policy, but had thought fit to defend every blunder he had made in carrying it out. Lord John Russell, then, cannot be blamed for considering that to desert the Foreign Secretary on the Greek Question, would have been tantamount to making him the scapegoat of the Cabinet. Hence, in spite of the Queen’s strong feeling in the matter, it was agreed that Palmerston should not be “thrown over.”

After much fencing between the leaders of the two parties, the first of the attacks, which led to a series of debates almost unparalleled in our history as displays of sustained Parliamentary eloquence, was made in the House of Lords on the 17th of June. Lord Stanley moved a vote of censure on the Ministry for their coercive measures in Greece, affirming, however, the general proposition that it was the right and duty of the Government to secure to British subjects in foreign States, the full protection of the laws of those States. The scene was a memorable one. The House was crowded in every part, and the conflict began with an amusing farce. The Peeress’s Gallery was crammed to overflowing, and when Lady Melbourne and Lady Newport, under Lord Brougham’s escort, went to their places, they found them filled, and were ignominiously turned away. Brougham, however, espied Bunsen, the Prussian Minister, in the gallery, and requested him to retire to his proper seat in the Ambassadors’ quarter, but he refused. Then Brougham went down to his own place, and avenged himself on Bunsen by calling the attention of their lordships to the fact that there was “a stranger in the Peeress’s Gallery,” adding, “if he does not come down, I shall move your lordships to enforce the order of the House. It is the more intolerable as he has a place assigned to him in another part, and he is now keeping the room of two Peeresses.” As Bunsen was notoriously a fat, overgrown man, Brougham’s malicious personality was received with shouts of laughter. But it had no effect on the stolid Prussian, who kept his seat till Sir Augustus Clifford, Usher of the Black Rod, made him retire.[14]

The issue before the House was simple enough. (1), Lord Palmerston had agreed with M. Drouyn de Lhuys that if the terms which M. Gros, the French Envoy at Athens, proposed on behalf of Greece were rejected by Mr. Wyse, the British Envoy, coercion should not be again applied without special orders from Britain. But if M. Gros threw up his office of mediator because the Greeks declined to let him offer fair terms, then of course Mr. Wyse was to{432}

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resort to coercion without further instructions. (2), M. Drouyn de Lhuys and Lord Palmerston in London agreed on a settlement, the terms of which were less onerous than those demanded by Mr. Wyse. (3), Though this was informally communicated by the French to Mr. Wyse, he rejected the terms which M. Gros offered on behalf of Greece, contending that he had no instructions from Lord Palmerston as to the adoption of any other course. (4), M. Gros then dropped the negotiations. Mr. Wyse, again arguing that he was without instructions, ordered coercion to be applied, upon which the Greek Government yielded. The pith of the dispute centred in one point. Did Palmerston or did he not send Mr. Wyse instructions as to the arrangement made in London with M. Drouyn de Lhuys? The French said that their Envoy abandoned negotiations because Mr. Wyse was unreasonable. Lord Palmerston contended that Mr. Wyse was of opinion that M. Gros had dropped mediation because the{433}

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Greeks were unreasonable, and that therefore, in terms of the arrangement made in London, Mr. Wyse was justified in resorting to coercion without further instructions. Mr. Wyse may have been mistaken in supposing that M. Gros retired from the negotiations in the circumstances which, according to the London Convention, would have justified a resort to coercion without further reference to Lord Palmerston. If that were the case, the Government had a good defence; for it would have been unfair to censure them for Mr. Wyse’s blunder. But was it the case? How could Mr. Wyse have blundered in interpreting the conditions of the London Convention, if no instructions in accordance with that Convention had been sent to him? The complaint was that the Foreign Secretary had neglected to send these instructions, and a close and careful examination of Palmerston’s own Blue-book, fails to bring to light the slightest proof that they ever were sent. Therefore it was clear (1), that England had broken a binding diplomatic compact with France, and (2), that this breach of faith had enabled Mr. Wyse at Athens to extort by force from a small, weak Power more onerous terms than the English Government had agreed with France to accept in London. The House of Lords took this view of the matter, and when the debate ended, in the grey dawn of a summer’s morning, it was found on division that there was a majority of 37 against the Government.

Some members of the Cabinet were for resignation. Many friends of the Government thought that Palmerston should personally offer the Queen his resignation, begging her not to accept that of his colleagues if they tendered theirs. But the Foreign Secretary made no offer to resign, and at first the Cabinet resolved to take no more notice of the vote of censure in the Upper House. Ultimately, they found that they must notice it, and as their Foreign Policy as a whole was impugned, they decided not to abandon the Foreign Secretary. On the 20th of June, Lord John Russell explained why he would not resign. He gave two reasons—one good and the other bad,—the first being one of which the Queen approved. It was that a change of Government, in consequence of a resolution of the House of Lords, would be unconstitutional, because, in his opinion, it might be dangerous even to the House of Lords to lay upon it the responsibility of controlling her Majesty’s Executive. Two precedents, one a hundred years old, and one taken from 1833, when the Peers, on the motion of the Duke of Wellington, censured Lord Grey’s Foreign Policy in Portugal, were ingeniously cited by Lord John Russell in support of this constitutional doctrine. But his second reason was characteristically Palmerstonian. He said that the House of Lords had laid it down, that it was the duty of the British Government to see that British subjects in Foreign States got full protection from the laws of those States. That was a limitation of duty which Lord John Russell refused to recognise, because, said he, a Foreign State might make bad laws, and it would be the duty of England to prevent her subjects from being injured by those laws. No principle is more clearly established in international law than this—that a Sovereign State has an absolute right to dictate the terms on which{435} any alien shall abide on its soil.[15] If the alien does not like the law of the Foreign State, he has no business to call on his own countrymen to defend him by force of arms in refusing to obey it, seeing that it was not at their request or in their interest, but of his own free will, and in pursuit of his own fortune, he went to live or traffic abroad. In fact, to lay it down that England might levy war on any country, whose laws Englishmen residing in that country considered inequitable, was tantamount to proclaiming her hostis humani generis. Yet such was the doctrine which the House of Commons, in spite of the protests of the Tories, of Radicals like Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright, and Peelites like Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Gladstone, cheerfully accepted from the Whigs at this period. The only thing that can be said in its defence is that it is a doctrine which the House has never dared to apply to a stronger Power than Greece—never to a Power like Russia, which deports English Jews, nor like Germany, which deports English residents, personally obnoxious to Prince Bismarck, in the most arbitrary manner. It is doubtful if it would even dare to apply it to an autonomous colony like Victoria, had her Government refused, as was threatened, to permit the Irish informer, James Carey, to reside within her frontier.

Having decided to defy the House of Lords, the Government hit on an ingenious plan for neutralising the vote of censure. They put up Mr. Roebuck on the 21st of June to move a vote of confidence in them not touching the Greek dispute, but approving generally of their Foreign Policy as one likely “to preserve untarnished the honour and dignity of this country.” The debate, which lasted five days, was a veritable tournament of Titans. On both sides speeches were made that touch the highest point to which Parliamentary eloquence can reach. Mr. Cockburn, afterwards Lord Chief Justice, delivered an oration by which, at one bound, he leapt into the first rank of British orators. Peel delivered the last speech he was fated to make in the great assembly, on which for years he had played with the easy mastery of a musician on his favourite instrument. Palmerston himself spoke for four hours and a quarter with more than his usual dash and intrepidity, and with surprising moderation and good taste—basing his case virtually on the application of the civis Romanus sum doctrine to British Foreign Policy. This was the point in it which Mr. Gladstone demolished in a passionate protest, that may be said to have become classical. But in the end the Government triumphed by a majority of 46! Yet, on the face of the facts, they had absolutely no case. Why, then, were they victorious? For many reasons. In the then divided state of parties, the Government was felt to be the only possible Government. Palmerston, by adroitly spreading the report that the attack on{436}

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him was really fomented by the agents of the despotic Powers, whose policy he had persistently opposed, won strong support from the Radicals. The Whigs felt that as the Foreign Policy of the Government as a whole was attacked, they were bound to defend the Ministry, quite irrespective of Palmerston’s possibly objectionable method of carrying out that policy. Moreover, it was undoubtedly a weak point in the tactics of the Opposition, that they did not venture to submit in the House of Commons, the motion of censure which they had carried in the House of Lords. But though Lord Palmerston’s triumph was complete, the Queen continued to be dissatisfied{437}

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with his reckless manner of managing the Foreign Office. Pressure was put on him by the concurrence of Lord John Russell, the Duke of Bedford, Lord Lansdowne, and Lord Clarendon to take another department, which, however, he refused to do. For the time—confident in his popularity—he was able to hold his position, but ere a year had elapsed her Majesty’s warnings were fulfilled, and Lord John was simply compelled to force him to retire.[16] It must be here told how this whole controversy ended. Before the debate closed, it was announced that we had accepted, with some trifling modifications{438} in detail, the French proposals made on behalf of Greece. The demands of the claimants in support of whom we had been brought to the brink of war with France, were finally assessed at £10,000—about one-thirtieth part of the sum they originally asked!

No other question of Foreign Policy agitated the House of Commons in 1850, save Mr. Hutt’s proposal to withdraw the British war-ships engaged in suppressing the West African slave trade. The cost of the squadron had made its maintenance unpopular even with Liberals, and when Lord John Russell threatened to stake the existence of his Ministry on it, the Queen was distressed to learn that there was every prospect of his being defeated, at a time when a change of Government would have produced the utmost confusion. A meeting of the Liberal Party was convened by the Prime Minister at Downing Street, and pressure, which they hardly dared to resist, induced the malcontents to support the Government. Mr. Hutt’s motion was lost, many Ministerialists, however, complaining bitterly that the Prime Minister had concussed them into voting against their convictions.


The Colonies and Party Government—The Movement for Autonomy—Lord John Russell’s Colonial Bill—Tory Opposition to Colonial Federation—Mr. Adderley’s Plan—Mr. Gladstone’s Scheme for Colonial Church Courts—The Colonial Bills Mangled in the House of Lords—More English Doles for Ireland—An Irish Reform Bill—Lord John Russell Proposes to Abolish the Lord Lieutenancy—The Queen’s Irish Policy—Her offer to Establish a Royal Residence in Ireland—The Bungled Budget—The Demand for Retrenchment—The Tories Insist on a Reduction of Official Salaries—Lord John Russell’s Commission on Establishments—The Queen and the Church—The Ecclesiastical Appeals Bill—The “Gorham Case”—Death of Peel—The Queen’s Sorrow—A Nation in Mourning—Peel’s Character and Career—The Queen’s Alarm about Prince Albert’s Health—The Queen at Work—The Queen’s Reading-Lamp.

Far more interesting, however, was the Colonial legislation of the Government in 1850, which indeed might be termed epoch-marking. The Queen had at the opening of the Session indicated in her Speech from the Throne that a measure extending Constitutional government to the Colonies would be introduced. It was known that she was personally of opinion that the Colonies were giving promise of a growth so rapid, that it would be impossible for any length of time to hold them in the leading-strings of the Colonial Office. The incessant attacks which had been made on Lord Grey in Parliament and in the Press merely served to confirm the Queen in this opinion. It was, therefore, with great satisfaction that she discovered that men of light and leading on both sides of the House of Commons were so far agreed on the subject, that it was deemed practicable by Lord John Russell to minimise the friction between the Colonies and the Colonial Office, by conceding to the Colonists{439} large powers of representative self-government. Lord John Russell explained the scheme which embodied these ideas on the 8th of February. To the Cape Colony he granted two Chambers. The first was representative, and elected under a property qualification. The second, or Legislative Council, was to be elected by persons with a higher property qualification, who had been named by the Crown or municipal bodies for magisterial and municipal offices as individuals of weight and influence. For Australia he proposed a system under which there should be only one Legislative Council, two-thirds elected by the people, and one-third named by the Governor, on the pattern of the system adopted by New South Wales, but with power to the Colonists to change to the bi-cameral or two-Chamber system if they preferred it. Provision was made for constituting, on petition of any two Colonies, a Federal Assembly representing all the Colonial Legislatures, to frame a common tariff, or initiate a common policy for dealing with waste lands. It was in introducing this great scheme that Lord John Russell said that, whilst reserving questions of military defence, the central idea of his Colonial policy was this: political freedom can be best promoted in the Colonies by acting on the general rule, that while the Imperial Government must be their representative in all foreign relations, it will interfere in their domestic affairs no further than may be manifestly necessary to prevent a conflict in the State itself.

By finally and formally establishing this principle, the Government of the Queen did all that was humanly possible to repair the wrong done to England and the English people by her grandfather, George III., who flung away, not a crown, as did James II., but a virgin continent, to gratify an absolutist prejudice.

The Bill passed the House of Commons, though the scheme was open to objection. Had it not been open to objection, it would have been a perfect Bill, “that faultless monster,” to adapt Pope’s line, “which the world ne’er saw.” On the whole, however, it was wonderfully well received. Its opponents objected mainly to the adoption of the uni-cameral instead of the bi-cameral system, namely, that of governing by one instead of by two Legislative Assemblies. Why, it was asked, should Australia be limited to one Legislative Assembly when the Cape was permitted to have two? Another objection was to the introduction of a Federative Assembly, which was opposed bitterly as a novelty even by Tory politicians like Mr. Disraeli, who in after-years strongly advocated Imperial Federation. Another more valid objection urged by Radicals like Sir W. Molesworth, was that the scheme gave the Colonial Office too much power. There was good sense in his contention, supported by Tories like Mr. Adderley (afterwards Lord Norton), that the Colonial Parliament should not only be vested with all legislative powers which were not Imperial, but that this should be done by mentioning the powers that were Imperial, and leaving everything not mentioned in that category, to be considered as Colonial. This point gave rise to an able and thoughtful debate on the report of the Bill after it emerged from{440}

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Committee, in which it may be interesting to state that Mr. Gladstone delivered a speech in support of the Tory-Radical opposition, which may be said to contain the germs of the principle on which his Irish Home Rule Bill of 1886 was based. On the other hand, to Mr. Gladstone must be credited the oddest and most ridiculous of all the amendments to the measure. His ecclesiasticism induced him to propose that in every Colony the Church of England be authorised to form a synod independent of the Imperial or Colonial Government, and empowered to make laws binding on Anglican Colonists. The idea of empowering the Anglican Church courts in our free Colonies to make regulations, quite independently of the Crown or the Colony, which were to be not only binding in foro conscientiæ, but were also to have the force of law, in Royal and Colonial courts, was not only mediæval, but monstrous. Yet it was only rejected by 187 to 182. Perhaps this accounted for what was by far the most trenchant speech made in opposition to the Bill, that of the Bishop of Oxford in the House of Lords, though even he did not venture to reject the measure, his proposal being merely to refer{441}

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it to a Committee. It was a speech that would have defeated the Government, but for Lord Grey’s conciliatory offer to go on with the Bill even if the House struck out the clause enabling Colonial Legislatures to alter their constitution, and the clause enabling the Colonists to form a Federative Assembly. This won for the Government a majority of 13. As the clause sanctioning a Federative Assembly was carried in the Lords, against the bitter opposition of the Tories, only by a majority of one, it was eventually abandoned. They further marred the Bill by conferring exceptional political privileges on wealthy squatters, and by prohibiting any Legislative Chamber from eliminating its non-elective element. The interesting thing to notice is how the Tory Party of the day completely stamped out the germ of that Imperial policy of Colonial confedera{442}tion which Lord John Russell and Lord Grey so wisely strove to plant. As “amended” by the Lords, the Bill passed into law, much to the satisfaction of the Queen, who, when she sanctioned the measure, felt sure that a vigilant personal superintendence of the details of Colonial, as well as foreign affairs, would not thereafter be added to the already arduous duties and anxieties of the Sovereign.

Ireland, as usual, was this Session the object or victim of an eleemosynary financial policy. She had hanging over her, in the shape of relief loans made during ten years, an unliquidated debt of £4,483,000. Besides that, some of the Poor Law Unions were so burdened with debt contracted for local purposes—frequently purposes of jobbery—that they needed help. Lord John Russell therefore proposed to consolidate the unliquidated local debts since 1839, and, subject to existing conditions of interest, extend the period of repayment to forty years. For the immediate relief of bankrupt and semi-bankrupt Unions he proposed another advance from the Treasury of £300,000. The justification for these loans, which were sanctioned, was that the Irish landowners could not pay the interest on the local debt, in addition to the existing poor-rates.

Ireland having been decimated by famine and emigration, it was considered that it would not be unsafe to lower her elective franchise to one of £8 of annual rateable value, more especially as such a proposal tended to conciliate, without concession, the Radical agitators for Parliamentary reform in England. It did not, however, conciliate Mr. Hume, who caustically reminded Sir William Somerville, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, when he introduced the Irish Franchise Bill, that it put the franchise on a narrower basis than that of Cape Colony, and contended that Irishmen should at least be treated as generously as Hottentots. The Bill enacted that instead of each voter being compelled to claim registration, local authorities should make up lists of voters, subject to the usual objections—in other words, that the rate-book should be a self-acting register. The Tories failed in their attack on the Bill in the House of Commons; but in the Lords they succeeded in raising the qualification to £15, and in altering the registration clause so that new voters must each claim to be registered before they were put on the voters’ roll. The two Houses ultimately accepted a compromise. The Government agreed to increase the qualification from £8 to £12, and the Tories agreed to abandon their alteration of the registration clauses.

On the 18th of May, Lord John Russell brought in a memorable Bill to abolish the office of Lord-Lieutenant—an office the maintenance of which has undoubtedly given an Imperial sanction to the Separatist principle in Ireland. The idea of the Whigs was that the Lord-Lieutenant was an anachronism. The Minister representing Ireland in the House of Commons, though popularly called Secretary for Ireland, is really and legally only Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant. Sometimes he sits in the Cabinet when the Lord-Lieutenant does not, and then he is his master’s superior. The Lord-Lieutenant, argued{443} Lord John, had all the responsibility, but never the freedom of action of a Minister of the Crown, and the abolition of his office would facilitate that blending of the Irish and Imperial administrations, which would go far to destroy the Separatist feeling in Ireland. The Queen was very much inclined to favour this step, and for a curious reason. Her Irish tour had impressed her with the fact that her social influence in Ireland might be turned to good account in winning the hearts of a chivalrous and generous people, thereby converting the golden link of the Crown into a healing institution of conciliation. But it was somewhat embarrassing to all parties for the Sovereign to reside regularly in a country, in which the official head of the State was her own Viceroy. Were the Viceroyalty abolished, the Queen promised Lord John Russell that she would from time to time visit Ireland in State, and keep up the Viceregal Lodge in Phœnix Park as a Royal Palace. As for the business of Ireland, it would, according to Lord John, be best carried on by a fourth Secretary of State. The Tories opposed the Bill, because they contended that Lord Clarendon’s success in governing Ireland proved that the Viceroyalty was useful, and because the creation of a fourth Secretary of State was objectionable, for it would necessitate an expensive administrative establishment, and perchance lead to conflicts of authority between the Irish Secretary and the Home Secretary. The Irish members were divided in opinion. Some supported and some opposed the Bill, because it might tend to stimulate Nationalism. Others supported and opposed it for precisely the opposite reason. A third section, as to whose sincerity there could be no doubt, opposed it because it would spoil the trade of Dublin. The general feeling of the country was expressed by Peel, who said he was willing that the experiment should be made, though he said so with hesitancy, but he was also desirous, if it were possible, to see the Irish Administration merged in the Home Office, and not conducted by a fourth Secretary of State.[17] The measure was read a second time by a vote of 295 to 70, but introduced as it was when the country was in a fever of excitement over Lord Palmerston’s foreign quarrels, the country took little interest in it, and it was not pressed further.

Lord Clarendon having in October, 1849, dismissed from the Commission of the Peers, Lord Roden and other Orange magistrates who had been privy to a fray at Dolly’s Brae in the preceding July, their case was brought before the House of Lords this Session by Lord Stanley, on the 12th of July. Stanley delivered a bitter attack on Lord Clarendon, but when he made it clear that he did not propose to do anything more than move for papers and correspondence relating to the affair, it was obvious that he had forced on a debate merely to gratify his Orange supporters. Lord Clarendon defended himself successfully, and convinced everybody that he had simply done his duty as an impartial administrator.

The financial condition of the country was so favourable that Sir C.{444}

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Wood, in his Budget Speech of 15th March, said there was a surplus at his disposal of £2,225,000. His estimates for the coming year, on the basis of existing taxation and anticipated expenditure, led him to expect a surplus of £1,500,000. Therefore, there was room for some remission of taxes. The first charge on a surplus, he held ought to be for the reduction of the National Debt—and for that purpose he set aside half his hoped-for surplus. As to the rest, he proposed to exhaust it: first, in reducing the Stamp Duties on the Transfer of Land, and on mortgages under £1,000, and in converting the Stamp Duty on leases into a uniform one of ½ per cent.; and secondly, in ameliorating the lot of the badly-housed labouring classes by repealing the tax on bricks. Though the Budget was ridiculed by the economists, Sir C. Wood’s proposals were agreed to, with the exception of the alteration in the Stamp Duties. It was argued successfully that though the new scale of Stamp Duties would reduce the revenue derived from small sums, they would increase, out of all proportion to this reduction, the revenue from large sums, so that under the pretext of reducing, Sir Charles Wood was actually increasing his revenue. Never was there such haggling and bungling. Nobody seemed to understand a scheme which was complex in detail, and explained by a Minister who was indistinct in his articulation and confused in exposition.{445} Sir Charles Wood had more than once to withdraw his proposals, and substitute others, but finally he accepted a reduction of ½ instead of 1 per cent. on legal conveyances, and 1/8 instead of ½ per cent. on mortgages. The result showed that his opponents were right, and that he was utterly wrong in his calculations of the effect his reductions would have on the revenue of the year.

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The demand for retrenchment which had been originally raised by the Radicals, was now emphasised by the Protectionists. Following the example of some of their party in the Colonies, they saw in an attack on the cost of establishments, a means of annoying a Free Trade Government, and perchance of relieving the rural taxpayers, who undoubtedly were suffering by the loss of Protection. Mr. Henley accordingly first appeared with a motion to reduce official salaries. Whereupon Lord John Russell intervened with a motion for a Select Committee to inquire into the subject. Mr. Disraeli opposed to this an amendment to the effect that the House had enough information, and that the Government ought not to shirk the responsibility of initiating, without delay, every practicable reduction in the cost of establishments. His party followed him faithfully, though some, like John Wilson Croker, condemned his tactics and his speech as “Jacobinical.”[18] Mr. Hume also supported him, but Mr.{446} Bright thought that if a Committee recommended reductions, they would be more patiently borne by the victims than if they were enforced by the Government. Mr. Horsman outdid Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Hume, for he demanded that ecclesiastical establishments should also come within the purview of the Committee: Lord John, however, carried his motion. Mr. Cobden then brought forward resolutions in favour of a general reduction of expenditure, contending that it would be possible to save £10,000,000 by cutting down expenditure to the standard of 1835. The Radical financial reformers declared that their object was to reduce taxation that pressed on Labour and impeded production, and that the best way of doing that was to curtail expenditure on the Army and Navy, which were in excess of the strength necessary for National Defence, provided the Foreign Office pursued a policy of non-intervention. Whigs and Tories united in defeating Mr. Cobden. Mr. Henry Drummond next, on behalf of the Protectionist Tories, moved that adequate means be adopted to reduce taxation, and thereby increase the wage-fund of the country. His plan was to cut down all official salaries, and revise all burdens that checked the growth of raw produce. The motion was disposed of by carrying the “previous question,” because, though some Radicals like Mr. Hume and Mr. Bright voted for it, most people saw in it a Protectionist “trap.” Lord Duncan very nearly on a subsequent occasion repealed the Window Tax,[19] but Mr. Milner Gibson failed in his attack on the Paper Duty, as did Mr. Cayley in his effort to repeal the Malt Tax.

After much determined opposition from the Tories, with whom Mr. Gladstone acted on this occasion, the Government succeeded in carrying the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the condition of the Universities—a proposal which had the warm support of the Queen and Prince Albert, in consequence of which some foolish people went about saying that there was a conspiracy on foot to Germanise the academic system of England.

The Bishop of London’s Ecclesiastical Appeals Bill, which was introduced into the House of Lords on the 3rd of June, touched on matters regarding which the Queen has always been sensitive—the relation of the Church to the prerogative of the Crown. The principle of the Bill was that ecclesiastical appeals should be tried, not before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as representing the Queen, but before an assemblage of Bishops, whose decision should be binding, not merely on the Judicial Committee, but on the Queen also. This, of course, destroyed her supremacy over the Established Church of England, a prerogative of the Crown which has always been tenaciously guarded. The Bill was rejected. And here it may be well to record what it was that led to its introduction. It was introduced to tranquillise the High Churchmen and Tractarians, who were smarting over the decision of the famous “Gorham case.”

Mr. Gorham had been presented by the Crown to the benefice of Bramford Speke in August, 1847. When the Bishop examined him, he found that he was{447} an extreme Low Churchman, and that he denied that spiritual regeneration was conferred by the sacrament of Baptism; also that his views on other matters, such as predestination and election, were those of the narrowest Presbyterian Calvinists. The Bishop of Exeter refused to institute Mr. Gorham, and, after much litigation, the case was appealed by him from the Court of Arches to the Judicial Committee, who decided that Mr. Gorham’s views were not incompatible with the Thirty-nine Articles. The Judicial Committee on this occasion consisted of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishop of London. Associated with them were the Master of the Rolls (Lord Langdale), the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Campbell), Mr. Baron Parke, Vice-Chancellor, Sir J. Knight Bruce, Dr. Lushington, and the Right Hon. Pemberton Leigh. The complaint of the Churchmen was that the ruling of a Bishop and an ecclesiastical court on a disputed point of doctrine was not only considered, but actually reversed by a secular tribunal the large majority of whose members were laymen, and the clerical members of which could not vote, but merely gave their opinion to the lay members who formed the Judicial Committee. Churchmen passionately resented these proceedings, and the excitement they raised was fierce and uncontrollable. The Gorham Appeal Case was the badge of the Church’s servitude to the State. The Bishop of London’s Bill was an attempt to remove that badge by constituting a purely ecclesiastical tribunal to try all ecclesiastical appeals, thereby avoiding the necessity for submitting them to lay judges.

When the Queen prorogued Parliament the shadow of mourning was over both Houses. Sir Robert Peel had died suddenly on the 2nd of July. Returning on horseback from a visit to Buckingham Palace on the 29th of June, he met Miss Ellice, one of Lady Dover’s daughters, on Constitution Hill. As he bowed to her, his horse shied at the Green Park railings, and threw him. His fifth rib was broken, and its jagged end pierced the lung with a mortal wound. He lingered in great agony for three days, and it is hardly possible to describe the extraordinary sensation his accident and illness produced throughout the country. Party animosities vanished, and the nation with one voice joined the Queen in the expressions of sorrow which came from her when she said, “The country mourns over him as over a father.”[20]

Peel’s character will, for this generation, be an enigma. Look at one aspect of it, and it seems as the character of a patriot of the pure Roman type, who flourished in the days “when none were for a Party, and all were for the State.” Look at another aspect of it, and it seems as if it were permeated by the conscious insincerity of the unscrupulous political intriguer, whose stock-in-trade was Party principle, which he bought and sold for power in the Parliamentary market. One thing is clear. His abandonment of Protection could not possibly have been due to a love of office. He knew too well when he determined to repeal the Corn Laws, that he doomed himself to political ostracism. Two things seem to account for Peel’s difficulties with his partisans. He saw clearly, but he did not{448} see far. He used his influence as a political leader to become a Minister, but the Minister of the Queen, and not the Minister of his Party. Long before Catholic Emancipation triumphed he ought to have seen that its triumph was inevitable, and the same may be said of the repeal of the Corn Laws. When he suddenly awoke to the fact that in the one case war, and in the other famine was impending, he reversed his policy, but he had to change front so quickly that he had not time to “educate his Party.” On both occasions he had to choose between his Party and the nation. On neither did he shrink from making his choice as a patriot, even at the cost of his reputation as a far-seeing statesman, or a faithful Party leader. Mr. Disraeli said he was not the greatest statesman, but the greatest Member of Parliament England ever produced. That was a just estimate of his magical power of mastering and managing the House of Commons. But it did no justice to his genius for administration, his vast and accurate knowledge of affairs, and latterly the serene judicial temper of mind, in which he dealt with the most agitating and perplexing political problems. Coldness, secretiveness, and egotism were the only flaws in a character, which otherwise almost realised the loftiest ideal of British patriotism.

At the beginning of 1850 the Queen became grievously alarmed about the health of Prince Albert. The toil and anxieties of politics during the years of revolution and counter-revolution had sadly worn his nervous system. In addition to his work as confidential private secretary to the Queen, his own occupations, which have been noticed from time to time in these pages, had grown more numerous and varied each year. As Mr. Gladstone once observed of Mr. Ayrton, “he was a cormorant for work.” As Sir Theodore Martin says, “Ministers and diplomatists found him at every interview possessed of an encyclopædic range of information, extending even to the minutest details.” The Court at this time was a rich treasure-store of information regarding the inner history of Courts and Embassies on the Continent, on which our diplomatists were grateful to draw for aid and suggestions, when appointed to difficult and delicate missions. “But to the claims of politics,” writes Sir Theodore Martin, “had to be added those which science, art, and questions of social improvement were constantly forcing upon the Prince’s attention…. He was habitually an early riser. Even in winter he would be up by seven, and dispose of a great deal of work before breakfast, by the light of the green German lamp, the original of which he had brought over with him, and which has since become so familiar an object in our English homes.[21] The Queen shared his early habits; but before her Majesty joined him in the sitting-room, where their writing-tables stood always side by side, much had, as a rule, been prepared for her consideration—much done to lighten the{449} pressure of those labours, both of head and hands, which are inseparable from the discharge of the Sovereign’s duties.”[22] These labours ultimately produced insomnia or sleeplessness, and at the beginning of the year the Queen, writing from Windsor to Baron Stockmar, alludes to a suggestion from their doctor that his Royal Highness should take a trip to Brussels, and adds:—“For the sake of his health, which, I assure you, is the cause of my shaken nerves, I could quite bear this sacrifice. He must be set right before we go to London, or God knows how ill he may get.”

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The Queen’s affectionate desires could not be gratified. The business of organising the Great Exhibition of 1851 proved more engrossing than had been anticipated, not merely because the idea at the bottom of it was her husband’s, but because he was found to be the only man in England who thoroughly understood the scheme. As Lord Granville, in a letter to Prince Albert’s secretary, remarked, his Royal Highness seemed to be almost the only person who had considered the subject as a whole and in details. “The whole thing,” said Lord Granville, “would fall to pieces if he left it to itself.{450}”

On the 21st of February a brilliant meeting in support of the undertaking was held at Willis’s Rooms, which was attended by the diplomatic representatives of the leading nations. This was followed up by a grand banquet at the Mansion House, which was attended by the great dignitaries of State, the Foreign Ambassadors, the Royal Commissioners for the Exhibition, and the heads of the county and municipal magistracy. After the Royal Commission had been appointed, the questions of site, space, and finance were those which pressed for settlement, and without doubt the last gave the Queen the utmost anxiety. The public, she saw, must be induced to support the scheme, and meetings be organised for the purpose of making its advantages known. Prince Albert’s speech at this banquet, however, struck the key-note of all the subsequent advocacy which the Exhibition received. The age, said he, was advancing towards the realisation of a unity of mankind, to be attained as the result and product, and not by the destruction, of national characteristics. Science, by abridging distance, was increasing the communicability of ideas. The principle of the division of labour was gradually being applied everywhere, giving rise to specialism, but specialism practised in publicity, and under the stimulus of competition and capital. Thus was Man winning new powers in fulfilling his mission in the world—the discovery of Natural Laws and the conquest of Nature by compliance with them. The central idea of this Exhibition of 1851 was to give a true test, and a living picture of the point at which civilised Man had arrived in carrying out his mission, and to serve as a base of operations for further efforts which might carry Humanity upwards and onwards to a larger and loftier stage. Such, in a brief paraphrase, were the views of Prince Albert, and they ran through the country amidst a chorus of approval. The whole nation responded to the appeal of his Royal Highness, despite the metaphysics and mysticism which slightly tinged it, and the delight of the Queen was correspondingly great. We can easily understand that King Leopold was at first under the impression that a speech of such stately but restrained eloquence, rich in thought and fruitful in suggestion, must have been read. The Queen, however, informed him that he was mistaken. It was, she says, prepared most carefully and laboriously, and then written down; after which it was spoken freely and fluently without reference to the manuscript. “This,” says the Queen, in her letter to the King of the Belgians, “he does so well that no one believes he is ever nervous, which he is.” On the 23rd of February a meeting of ladies was held at Stafford House, under the presidency of the Duchess of Sutherland, with the object of inviting the women of England to assist in promoting the success of the Exhibition, and a very influential committee was formed for this purpose.

When Easter arrived the Queen’s anxiety grew greater as she saw the Prince showing signs of increasing fatigue. At last, yielding to her importunity, he agreed to leave London and take a brief holiday at Windsor. But{451} his idea of a holiday was peculiar. It was to devise a system of draining Osborne, and utilising the sewage, &c., of the estate.

Age and infirmity had now begun to tell sadly on the Duke of Wellington, and he had become anxious as to the future of the army. Whilst he was alive and strong, as he said, he could hold the Commandership-in-chief. But his position was entirely exceptional for a subject, and in theory at least the office ought to be vested in the Sovereign, or some one very near the Throne. Englishmen have ever been a little jealous of permitting this post to be occupied by a subject. The favour it confers on him, and the influence which—if he has a magic personality—he may wield, might, if wedded to ambition, lead to untoward changes. But the fact that the Sovereign was a woman rendered it impossible to vest the Commandership-in-chief in the Crown. The Duke, therefore, to the surprise of the Queen, who apparently had never thought about the matter, suddenly proposed that arrangements should be made for installing Prince Albert as his successor. It says much for the sagacity and good sense of the Queen and Prince that neither of them liked the proposal—although it was one which would have presented an irresistible temptation to most young men. The Prince pleaded want of military experience. The Duke replied that his plan was to appoint under the Prince, as Chief of the Staff, the general who had most experience in the army. But this did not seem to weigh much with the Queen. Probably she knew her husband’s nature better than the Duke, and was perfectly well aware that he would never permit himself to hold office as an ornamental “dummy.” The revolution he wrought in Cambridge after he became Chancellor of the University gives us an indication of what must have happened in the army had he consented to become the Duke’s successor. It would be wrong to say that the Queen paid much heed to the objection on the score of inexperience. Like the Duke, she fully believed that her husband’s extraordinary power of work, and pertinacity of resolution, would soon fit him for the post. But, on the other hand, it was quite clear that the work would absorb all his time. In short, as the Prince would be certain to insist on doing the duty of the office to the fullest extent, and on his own responsibility, it was equally certain that if he became Commander-in-chief, he must abandon all his other occupations—even the chemical researches on the utilisation of sewage, in his pursuance of which he imagined at the time that he had within his grasp a discovery that would immortalise him as a benefactor of humanity. Moreover, how was the Queen to replace him as her private secretary? So much assiduous service could not be expected from any other holder of that office as Prince Albert cheerfully gave, and it was furthermore an office the duties of which, at a time when the Sovereign was beginning to wield an ever-increasing consultative and moderating influence on public affairs, were necessarily augmenting. Then the Queen also urged that as she believed the Prince was undertaking too much work already, she could not approve of his burdening himself with more. To sum up the views of the Queen and her husband{452} on this difficult and delicate affair: many able generals could do the duty of Commander-in-chief as well, if not better, than the Prince. Nobody, however, in the kingdom could possibly do the work he was then doing for the Queen as well as he did it, and so the flattering proposal was put aside. Had it been accepted, and had the Prince overhauled the Horse Guards as he did the University of Cambridge, perhaps the terrible and shameful disasters of the Crimea might have been avoided. On the other hand, it may be doubted if even his patient resolution would have enabled him to reform in so short a time the military administration which collapsed in 1854. In that case, the Court would have been blamed, and blamed unjustly, for the departmental catastrophes that still invest the Crimea with bitter memories for British soldiers.

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On the 1st of May the Duke of Connaught was born. His birthday was coincident with that of the Duke of Wellington, and he had as his sponsors two of the most illustrious soldiers of Europe—the great Duke himself, and Prince William of Prussia, afterwards Emperor of Germany. The ceremony of baptism took place on the 22nd of June, when the Prince was christened Arthur William Patrick Albert, the Duke and the Prince of Prussia both being present.

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(After Winterhalter, 1850.)


As spring gave place to summer, the shadow of death fell on the Royal Family. We have seen how genuine and profound was the Queen’s sorrow over the death of Peel. But closely following that sad event came the serious illness of the Duke of Cambridge, a kind-hearted Prince, noted for his bonhomie and for the profusion of his charities. The Queen was assiduous in her attentions to her uncle, whom she dearly loved, and one of her visits to his sick bed accidentally exposed her to a cowardly outrage. When she was leaving Cambridge House, sad-eyed and sorrowful, a man suddenly stepped forward and struck at her face with a cane. Her bonnet protected her somewhat, but her forehead was cruelly bruised by the assault. “The perpetrator is a dandy,” writes Prince Albert to Stockmar, “whom you must have often seen in the park, where he makes himself conspicuous.” He was one Robert Pate, formerly a lieutenant in the army. After being tried for his offence on the 11th of July, he was sentenced to seven years’ transportation. No motive could be assigned for the outrage, and the jury refused to accept Pate’s plea of insanity.

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The Duke of Cambridge, it may here be said, died on the 8th of July.{454}

Meantime, as if to add to the Queen’s private griefs, an extraordinary attack was made in the press upon Prince Albert and the Exhibition Commissioners. The building was to be in Hyde Park, and this invasion of one of the pleasure-grounds of “the people” was resented. The truth is that a rich and selfish clique of families dwelling in the neighbourhood objected to a great public show, likely to attract multitudes of sightseers, coming between the wind and their nobility, and they represented “the people” for the occasion. The extent to which they were sensitive as to the rights of the populace may be indicated by one suggestion which they made. It was that the Exhibition be transported as a nuisance to the Isle of Dogs, where “the people” dwell in teeming masses. At last an attack was organised on the Exhibition Commissioners in Parliament, and the Queen, knowing well that if it were successful, the project must be abandoned, was sorely grieved at the folly and prejudice which inspired the opposition. The Times was very bitter. Even Mr. Punch, notorious for his sentimental devotion to the Queen, proved himself a sad recreant on this occasion, and Leech made fun of the Prince, because the public were a little niggardly with their subscriptions,[23] which fell far short of £100,000, which was the lowest estimate tendered for the building. But though the attempt of “a little knot of selfish persons,” as the Queen calls them in a letter in which she implores Stockmar to come and comfort her and her husband in their troubles, to drive the Exhibition out of Hyde Park failed, and their attacks in Parliament collapsed, the Prince was still “plagued about the Exhibition,” and the old symptoms of insomnia reappeared, greatly to the alarm of her Majesty. At last a way out of all their difficulties was opened up. It was proposed to establish a guarantee fund to meet any deficit that might be incurred, and on the 12th of June it was started by a subscription of £50,000 from Messrs. Peto, the contractors. In a few days the subscriptions sufficed to solve the financial problem. Ultimately, to the surprise of those who had scoffed at the Prince’s sanguine anticipations, not only were the guarantors freed from all responsibility, but when the Exhibition accounts were closed, the Commissioners found themselves with a balance of a quarter of a million in hand. The work was accordingly begun without further delay.

But no sooner had one source of vexation vanished than another was opened. In August the Queen, mortified at further displays of wayward recklessness on Lord Palmerston’s part, and failing to inspire the Prime Minister with enough courage to rebuke him, at last determined to take the matter in hand herself. Although Palmerston was then at the height of his popularity, owing to the triumph of his civis Romanum sum doctrine in the Don Pacifico debate, her Majesty penned a Memorandum to Lord John Russell, which has become historic. It is dated the 16th of August, and was written at Osborne. In it she accepts Lord Palmerston’s disavowal of an intention to{455} offer her any disrespect by his past neglect, but, to prevent fresh mistakes, she deems it as well to say that in future she requires—

“(1) That he (the Foreign Secretary) will distinctly state what he proposes in a given case, in order that the Queen may know as distinctly to what she has given her Royal sanction. (2) Having once given her sanction to a measure, that it be not arbitrarily altered or modified by the Minister. Such an act she must consider as failure in sincerity towards the Crown, and justly to be visited by the exercise of her Constitutional right of dismissing that Minister. She expects to be kept informed of what passes between him and the Foreign Ministers before important decisions are taken based on that intercourse; to receive the foreign despatches in good time, and to have the drafts for her approval sent to her in sufficient time to make herself acquainted with their contents before they must be sent off.” Lord John Russell sent this Memorandum to Palmerston, who lightly pleaded pressure of business in palliation of his past faults, but promised to behave better in time to come. Had he been a man of high spirit or sensitive feelings, he would have resigned when the Queen’s Memorandum was sent to him. High spirit, however, was not to be expected from the Minister that sent a British fleet to coerce Greece, though he dared not utter a word of protest against the Russian invasion of Hungary,[24] or who, whilst he could be swift to resent an impertinence from a decrepit Power like Spain, accepted with the utmost meekness a rebuke from Russia in reference to the Greek affair, couched in the language of deliberate insult. On the contrary, whilst his friends gave out that he was manfully fighting the battle of the people against the Sovereign and the foreign Prince, who was “the power behind the Throne,” Palmerston was abasing himself before both. He implored Prince Albert to intercede for him with the Queen in order that she might grant him an interview. The Prince, in a Memorandum dated 17th of August, 1850, writes:—

“After the Council for the Speech from the Throne for the Prorogation of Parliament on the 14th I saw Lord Palmerston, as he had desired it. He was very much agitated, shook, and had tears in his eyes, so as to quite move me, who never under any circumstances had known him otherwise than with a bland smile on his face.” It was not the condemnation of his policy, he told Prince Albert, that affected him most closely. The “accusation that he had been wanting in his respect to the Queen, whom he had every reason to respect as his Sovereign, and as a woman whose virtues he admired, and to whom he was bound by every tie of duty and gratitude, was an imputation on his honour as a gentleman, and if he could have made himself guilty of it, he was almost no longer fit to be tolerated in society.”[25] The “almost” is{456}

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characteristically Palmerstonian. Her Majesty, according to Prince Albert, did not impute any intentional want of regard to Lord Palmerston; but her complaint was that he never submitted any question to her “intact,” that is to say, he always contrived to commit the Government before the Queen could express an opinion. As her opinion had of late been at variance with Lord Palmerston’s, this mode of doing business was to her objectionable. Her Majesty had always been frank with her Ministers, and when overruled, she had accepted loyally their decision. “She knew,” said the Prince, “that they were going to battle together, and that she was going to receive the blows which were aimed at the Government; and that she had these last years received several such as no Sovereign of England had before been obliged to put up with, and which had been most painful to her.” She did not wish to trouble her{457} Ministers about details. But when principles were settled at their conferences, she thought she too should be consulted and advised. Palmerston’s excuse was the old one—want of time; but he said he was willing to come to the Palace at any moment to Prince Albert, and give any explanations that might be wanted either to the Queen or her husband.

If the Prince’s account be correct, the Minister seems to have conducted himself throughout this interview with hysterical servility, which may, however, have been simulated. As for his penitence, it was short-lived. In September he had another quarrel with the Queen over the wording of a despatch, in which he had foolishly gone out of his way to impugn the honour of England. This despatch rose out of the Haynau incident. The Austrian General Haynau had come to England on a visit, and the Radicals stirred up public feeling against him on account of his brutality in crushing the Hungarian insurrection, more especially for his cowardly conduct in stripping women, and flogging them publicly. When he went to visit the Brewery of Messrs. Barclay and Perkins, the workmen in the place recognised him. They turned out en masse, assaulted, hustled, and insulted “the Austrian butcher,” till he fled in terror from the premises, and took refuge in a little public-house, from which the police smuggled him away. Naturally, Lord Palmerston expressed his regret to the Austrian Ambassador; but it was also necessary to send a formal Note on the subject to the Austrian Government. This Note was a model of Palmerstonian maladroitness. In the first place, it contained an uncalled-for imputation on the English people, because it admitted that they were so incapable of courtesy and self-control that no foreigner was safe in England who happened to be unpopular. Secondly, it implied that Haynau had been imprudent in visiting England at all. The Queen, whose views were shared by the Prime Minister, objected to both of these statements—one as derogatory to the honour of England, the other as needlessly offensive to Austria. But, on her objecting, she discovered that it was impossible to alter the Note, which had been sent to the Austrian Ambassador before the draft had been submitted to her. The Queen, however, insisted on the withdrawal of the Note, and so did Lord John Russell. Palmerston first of all tried to browbeat the Prime Minister by threatening to resign. But when Lord John informed him (16th of October) that the threat was futile, Palmerston submissively withdrew the Note, and substituted for it another drawn up in accordance with the Queen’s views.

Another serious conflict of opinion between the Queen and Lord Palmerston at this period arose out of the dispute between Denmark and the German States as to the settlement of Schleswig-Holstein. The German population of these Duchies had revolted against the petty tyranny of the Danes, and it was notorious that they were supported secretly by Prussia. The rebellion was suppressed; and though almost all the Liberals of Europe were in favour of letting the Duchies be incorporated in Germany, the Governments of the various Powers took the contrary view. The Austro-Prussian Convention at{458} Olmütz, of 29th November, restoring peace and stipulating for the disarmament of the Duchies, left the matter uncertain; but Austria was obviously for thwarting, whilst Prussia was for gratifying, the aspirations of the German or national party in the Duchies. All through this controversy the Queen was anti-Austrian, and strongly in favour of letting the Schleswig-Hoisteiners have their own way. Palmerston, and in this he was powerfully supported by the Tories, was violently pro-Austrian, and used the influence of England as far as possible to prevent the Duchies gravitating to Germany. For the moment he was successful. But subsequent events, as all the world knows, justified the wiser and more liberal views of the Queen.

On the 26th of August, 1850, Louis Philippe died; in fact, the sad news of his death greeted the Queen and her husband a few days after their return from a brief visit to the King of the Belgians at Ostend, and marred the celebration of Prince Albert’s thirty-first birthday at Osborne.

On the 27th of August the Royal Family migrated northwards. The Queen and Prince Albert opened the great railway bridges at Newcastle and Berwick, and then went on to Edinburgh, where they stayed at Holyrood Palace.

The reception of the Queen in the “grey metropolis of the North” was picturesque as well as enthusiastic. The Royal Company of Archers in their quaint old costume, headed by the Duke of Buccleuch, claimed their historic right of acting as the Queen’s body-guard, and they surrounded her carriage as it drove through swarming crowds from the railway station to the Palace, in which no Queen of Scotland had set foot since Mary Stuart crossed its threshold, never to return to it again. Immediately after her arrival, the Queen and her family began to explore the Palace and its ruined precincts, and she records her delight in her Diary at discovering in the crumbling Abbey the tomb “of Flora Macdonald’s mother,” not the Flora Macdonald who assisted the Young Pretender to escape, but a lady of the Clanranald family, who was then serving as a Maid of Honour. Next morning the Queen and “the children” drove round the park, and climbed Arthur’s Seat, and the Prince proceeded to lay the foundation-stone of the National Gallery of Arts, whilst the rest of the day was spent in sightseeing. At half-past eight on the following morning her Majesty started for Balmoral, which she reached in the afternoon. Here, as Prince Albert says in one of his letters to Stockmar, they tried to strengthen their hearts amid the stillness and solemnity of the mountains,[26] and truly they had much need of rest. The harassing conflicts with Lord Palmerston, the deaths of Peel, Louis Philippe, Queen Adelaide, the Duke of Cambridge, and the faithful Anson, and the news that the Queen of the Belgians was dying, contributed to produce in the Queen great depression of spirits.

The sport on the hills delighted the Prince. The primitive life and{459} guileless character of the people vastly interested the Queen, who has left on record her account of several curious excursions she made, and of the gathering of clansmen at Braemar, which she witnessed. Writing on the 12th of September, 1850, her Majesty says in her “Leaves from a Journal of Our Life in the Highlands,” “We lunched early, and then went at half-past two o’clock, with the children and all our party, except Lady Douro, to the Gathering at the Castle of Braemar, as we did last year. The Duffs, Farquharsons, the Leeds’s, and those staying with them, and Captain Forbes and forty of his men who had come over from Strath Don, were there. Some of our people were there also. There were the usual games of ‘putting the stone,’ ‘throwing the hammer’ and ‘caber,’ and racing up the hill of Craig Cheunnich, which was accomplished in less than six minutes and a half; and we were all much pleased to see our gillie Duncan,[27] who is an active, good-looking young man, win. He was far before the others the whole way. It is a fearful exertion. Mr. Farquharson brought him up to me afterwards. Eighteen or nineteen started, and it looked very pretty to see them run off in their different coloured kilts, with their white shirts (the jackets or doublets they take off for all the games), and scramble up through the wood, emerging gradually at the edge of it, and climbing the hill.

“After this we went into the Castle, and saw some dancing; the prettiest was a reel by Mr. Farquharson’s children and some other children, and the ‘Ghillie Callum,’ beautifully danced by John Athole Farquharson, the fourth son. The twelve children were all there, including the baby, who is two years old.

“Mama, Charles, and Ernest joined us at Braemar. Mama enjoys it all very much; it is her first visit to Scotland. We left after the dancing.”

The Court returned to Windsor late in the autumn, and one of the first dismal communications made to her Majesty was that of the death of the Queen of the Belgians on the 11th of October. “Victoria is greatly distressed,” writes Prince Albert to Stockmar. “Her aunt was her only confidante and friend. Sex, age, culture, feeling, rank—in all these they were so much on a par, that a relation of unconstrained friendship naturally grew up between them.” This friendship, it may be added, survived even the treachery of Queen Louise’s father, Louis Philippe, in the matter of the Spanish marriages.

The end of the year 1850 was marked by another amazing epidemic of bigotry on the part of the people and the Government, which was very distressing to the serene and evenly balanced minds of the Queen and her husband. This was known as the “Papal Aggression movement,” and it is in{460} these days difficult to understand how a sensible nation could have been swept into its vortex.

On the 24th of September the Pope issued a Brief re-establishing the Roman Catholic hierarchy in England. In other words, he substituted Bishops and Archbishops deriving their titles from their sees, for the Vicars Apostolic who govern Romish missions in heathen lands. He partitioned England into sees, very much as the Wesleyans had mapped it into circuits and districts. The act was purely one of ecclesiastical administration, and of no concern to any body but the small Roman Catholic community in England. But prominent leaders of the Church began to talk about it in extravagant terms, as if it constituted the spiritual annexation of England to Rome, and as if it were a formal assertion of the authority of the Pope over that of the Queen. The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Dr. Nicholas Wiseman, and Father (now Cardinal) Newman, were particularly indiscreet in their references to the Papal Brief. Dr. Wiseman, for example, issued a pompous Pastoral “Given out of the Flaminian Gate of Rome,” on the 7th of October, boasting that “Catholic England had been restored to its orbit in the ecclesiastical firmament, from which its light had long vanished.”

Dr. Ullathorne, the Bishop of Birmingham, was one of those prelates who had the sense and tact to see what mischief would spring from Cardinal Wiseman’s folly, and he did his best to explain the real meaning of the Papal Brief. But his voice was like that of one crying in the wilderness. Did not Father Newman, preaching at Dr. Ullathorne’s enthronisation, say that “the people of England, who for so many years have been separated from the see of Rome, are about, of their own free will, to be added to the Holy Church”? Was it not clear, despite the reasonable explanations of Dr. Ullathorne and others, that what the Papists really meant was that the Reformation was now reversed, and that England was reconquered for Rome? Outraged Protestantism, arguing in this fashion, without distinction of party or sect, accordingly rose in its wrath, and hurled angry defiance at the Pope. The bigots, taking advantage of this outburst of popular passion, demanded that the law should step in and punish the insolent priesthood, who thus challenged the prerogatives of the Crown.

On the 4th of November, Lord John Russell addressed to the Bishop of Durham a letter, almost equalling Cardinal Wiseman’s in its folly. The Prime Minister, in fact, gave expression to the worst phase of contemporary excitement, and fully endorsed the ridiculous notion that a prelate, who had but recently been restored to, and even then was kept on, his throne in Rome by foreign bayonets, had established his supremacy over England, in a manner inconsistent with the authority of the Queen. This Durham letter further stimulated the frenzy of intolerance into which England plunged. Meetings were held everywhere protesting against Papal aggression, and transmitting loyal addresses to the Queen. Guy Fawkes’ Day was celebrated with more{461}

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1, Throne Room; 2, Breakfast Parlour; 3, Evening Drawing-room; 4, Grand Staircase; 5, Morning Drawing-room.


than usual zeal, and in most towns effigies of the Pope and Cardinal Wiseman were paraded through hooting crowds, and burnt in bonfires amidst the derision of the populace. The Universities and the Corporation of London in December sent deputations in great state to Windsor to present addresses to the Queen, protesting against insidious attacks on the authority, prerogatives, and exclusive jurisdiction of the Crown. The Queen’s replies to these addresses were spirited but calm, and absolutely free from intolerance. “I would never have consented,” she tells her “aunt Gloucester” in a letter written after the deputations had been received, “to say anything which breathed a spirit of intolerance. Sincerely Protestant as I always have been and always shall be, and indignant as I am at those who call themselves Protestants, while they are in fact quite the contrary,[28] I much regret the unchristian and intolerant spirit exhibited by many people at the public meetings. I cannot bear to hear the violent abuse of the Catholic religion, which is so painful and so cruel towards the many good and innocent Roman Catholics.”[29]

On the last day of December, 1850, the Queen was gratified to hear that one of her husband’s cherished designs had been carried out. The building for the International Exhibition had risen from the ground in Hyde Park with the magical rapidity of a fairy palace. The design which had been chosen was that of a French artist, and Londoners had looked on with amazement at the erection of the great central dome of crystal, which dwarfed even that of St. Paul’s into insignificance. The plan for carrying out the design was suggested by Mr. Paxton, chief superintendent of the Duke of Devonshire’s gardens, and it was but an expansion of the grand conservatory which he had built for his Grace at Chatsworth. Iron and glass were the materials used for its construction. The cast-iron columns and girders were all alike—four columns and four girders being placed in relative positions forming a square of 24 feet, which could be raised to any height, or expanded laterally in any required direction, merely by joining other columns and girders to them. The building, therefore, grew up in multiples of twenty-four, and it could be taken to pieces just as readily as if it had been a doll’s house, and put up on any other site in exactly the same form. As a matter of fact, after the Exhibition was held in 1851, this wonderful Palace of Crystal was removed to Sydenham, where it has long been one of the raree-shows of London. The building covered 18 acres of ground, and gave an exhibiting surface of 21 acres; in truth, it was, within ten feet, twice the width of St. Paul’s, and four times as long. The contractors, Messrs. Fox, Henderson, and Co., accepted the order for the work on the 26th of July, and though there was not a single bar of iron or pane of glass prepared at that date, they handed the completed building over to the Commissioners, ready for painting and fitting, on the last day of the year.{463}


Debates on “No Popery”—Mutiny of the Irish Brigade—Defeat of Lord John Russell—Lord Stanley “sent for”—Timid Tories—Lord Stanley’s Interviews with the Queen—A Statesman’s “Domestic Duties”—Is Coalition Possible?—The Queen’s Mistake—The Duke of Wellington’s Advice—Return of the Whigs to Office—The Queen’s Aversions—The “No Popery” Bill Reduced to a Nullity—Another Bungled Budget—The Income Tax Controversy—The Pillar of Free Trade—The Window Tax and the House Duty—The Radicals and the Slave Trade—King “Bomba” and Mr. Gladstone—Cobden on General Disarmament—Palmerston in a Millennial Mood—The Whig-Peelite Intrigue—The Queen and the Kossuth Demonstrations—Another Quarrel with Palmerston—A Merry Council of State.

On the 4th of February, 1851, Parliament assembled with the din of the agitation over Papal aggression ringing in its ears. Men talked of nothing save the legislation that might be necessary to check the encroachments of Rome. But it was not supposed that the course of the Government would be other than smooth, for not only was the Prime Minister in full accord with the popular feeling against Papal aggression, but the great International Exhibition dwarfed public interest in purely party questions. We shall see how these anticipations were falsified by events, and how the Whig Government was hurried to its doom. One of the politicians behind the scenes, who forecast the fall of the Cabinet more accurately than the public, was Mr. Cobden. “I expect,” he writes on the 19th of February in one of his letters, “that this ‘No Popery’ cry will prove fatal to the Ministry. It is generally thought that the Government will be in a minority on some important question, probably the Income Tax, in less than a fortnight. The Irish Catholic members are determined to do everything to turn out Lord John. Indeed, Ireland is in such a state of exasperation with the Whigs, that no Irish member having a Catholic constituency will have a chance of being elected again unless he votes through thick and thin to upset the Ministry.”[30]

The Address to the Queen was carried in both Houses. The Queen’s Speech promised a measure for resisting the assumption that a foreign Power had a right to confer ecclesiastical titles in England; and some forthcoming Chancery reforms, and reforms in the registration of titles, were also promised. The Protectionists harped on their old string—agricultural distress. The Radicals complained that the Government gave them no hope of cutting down taxation, and grumbled because no reference was made to Parliamentary reform. But they fought rather shy of the proposed legislation against Papal aggression; yet speaking generally, the “No Popery” cry was popular in both Houses of Parliament.{464}

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On the 7th of February, Lord John Russell moved for leave to introduce his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, which prevented the assumption of such titles “in respect of places in the United Kingdom,” and he was met by a scathing attack from Mr. Roebuck, who condemned the measure as retrograde and reactionary. The feebleness of the Bill was in comic contrast with the fierce agitation which had produced it, and with the extravagant terms of the Premier’s speech, which might have led one to suppose the Penal Laws were being re-enacted. As Mr. Roebuck said, if Dr. Wiseman called himself Archbishop, instead of Archbishop of Westminster, the Bill could not even touch him. For four nights did the debate drag on, till ultimately leave to introduce the measure was carried by a majority of 332. The Irish members, had they been sixty Quakers instead of sixty Catholics, could dictate terms to any Ministry in a keen party fight, and as they were determined to punish Lord John Russell for his Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, it was obvious that on some other question where a close division was expected the Government would be beaten by the votes of their Irish supporters. It was an ominous sign that they were saved from defeat only by a majority of{465}

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sixteen on Mr. Disraeli’s motion for the relief of agricultural distress. But the fatal blow came when Mr. Locke King, on the 20th of February, brought forward his motion for leave to introduce a Bill for equalising the town and county franchise, by reducing the latter to the limit of £10 yearly value. Although Lord John Russell promised to bring in a measure for improving representation, he resisted Mr. King’s motion. It was then carried against him by a vote of 100 against 52. “The Ecclesiastical Titles Bill,” writes Mr. Cobden to his friend Mr. J. Parker, “is the real cause of the upset of the Whig coach, or rather of the coachman leaping from the box to escape an upset. This measure cannot be persevered in by any Government so far as Ireland is concerned, for no Government can exist if fifty Irish members are pledged to vote against them under all circumstances when they are in danger. A{466} dissolution would give at least fifty members to do that work, and they would be all watched as they are now by their constituents. This mode of fighting by means of adverse votes in the House is far more difficult to deal with by our aristocratic rulers than was the plan of O’Connell, when he called his monster meetings. They could be stopped by a proclamation or put down by soldiers, but neither of these modes will avail in the House. What folly,” adds Mr. Cobden, as if he had even then foreseen the success of Parnellism in our day, “it was to give a real representation to the Irish counties, and to think of still maintaining the old persecuting ascendency.”[31] On the 22nd of February, Lord John, as Mr. Cobden says, “leaped from the box,” for on that day he and his colleagues resigned.

The Queen sent for Lord Stanley, who frankly told her that he could not undertake to form a Ministry. He, however, said he would try to form one if Lord John Russell failed to reconstruct his defeated Cabinet. Lord Stanley’s motive for refusing office is to be found in the fact that there was a serious division of opinion among his followers, on the one question that was vital to their existence as a party. Some of the ablest of them, led by Mr. Walpole and Mr. Henley, objected to any proposal to tax foreign corn, and yet if the Protectionists refused to do that, their locus standi in the country was gone. Her Majesty next appealed to Lord John Russell to form a coalition with the Peelites. This project proved to be hopeless. The Peelites were bitterly opposed to the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and though Lord John offered to attenuate it to the verge of absolute nullity, they could not sanction it in any shape or form. Moreover, Sir James Graham was afraid that if he joined a Whig Ministry he might quarrel with Lord Palmerston, and Lord Grey was equally afraid that he might quarrel with Sir James Graham. The Peelite leaders also thought that before a Coalition Government could be organised with any chance of success, it must be preceded by co-operation in opposition, between the two parties to it, and hence they wished Lord Stanley to form a Ministry which, from its Protectionist policy, must needs have but a brief existence. This abortive attempt to form an alliance between the Whigs and the Peelites is memorable, because it was the first step that led them both on the path which brought them to the celebrated and fateful Coalition of 1852.

On the 26th of February, the Queen accordingly sent for Lord Stanley again, and he, with a somewhat rueful countenance, pledged himself to try and form a Cabinet. Again he failed, and for reasons which are given by Lord Malmesbury in his diary under the date of the 28th of February. “We met,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “at Lord Stanley’s in St. James’s Square, and have failed in forming a Government. He had previously requested me to take the Colonial Office, which I consider a great compliment, as it is one of the hardest worked of places. Those assembled were Mr. Disraeli, Sir John Pakington, Mr. Walpole, Lord Hardwicke, Mr. Henley, Mr. Herries, Lord John Manners, and Lord{467} Eglinton. Everything went smoothly, each willingly accepting the respective post to which Lord Stanley appointed him, excepting Mr. Henley, who made such difficulties about himself, and submitted so many upon various subjects, that Lord Stanley threw up the game, to the great disappointment and disgust of most of the others present. Mr. Henley seemed quite overpowered by the responsibility he was asked to undertake as President of the Board of Trade, and is evidently a most nervous man. Mr. Disraeli did not conceal his anger at his want of courage and interest in the matter…. In the House of Lords, Lord Stanley announced his failure, and did not conceal it as being caused by the want of experience in public business which he found existed in his party. This is possibly the case, but what really caused the break up of the conference was the timid conduct of Mr. Henley and Mr. Herries.[32] Mr. Herries,” adds Lord Malmesbury, “at this conference, looked like an old doctor who had just killed a patient, and Mr. Henley like the undertaker who was to bury him.” Lord Stanley gave a half-sarcastic turn to his announcement in the House of Lords of the various motives which had led his friends to refuse office. There was a titter when he said that one gentleman had declined to serve because he was pressed with domestic duties, which gave occasion for one of Lord Stanley’s brightest jokes. Lady Jocelyn ironically asked Stanley who it was who was so anxious about his domestic duties. “It is not Jocelyn,” was the cutting reply.[33] An attempted combination with the Peelites had broken down, though Mr. Gladstone was offered a high post in the Cabinet, and the Queen then summoned the Duke of Wellington for his advice.

Matters were at an absolute deadlock. There were three questions in the public mind—Protection versus Free Trade, Parliamentary Reform, and Papal Aggression. As Prince Albert put it in a memorandum which he drew up for the Duke’s consideration, on the first question Peelites, Radicals, and Whigs were united, and formed a solid working majority. On the second question they were also united against the Protectionists. But on the third question the Whigs and Protectionists were united against the Peelites and the Radicals reinforced by the Irish party. Any policy that could unite Peelites, Whigs, Radicals, and Irish would therefore furnish a majority capable of keeping in office a Cabinet that could carry on the Queen’s Government. But the Peelites, the Irish, and the Radicals were just as determined that there should be no anti-Papal legislation, as the Whigs and Protectionists were determined on demanding it. Why not, in such circumstances, leave Papal aggression an open question, in a Coalition Ministry of Whigs, Peelites, and Radicals, allowing Lord John Russell to go on with an attenuated Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, and Sir James Graham to oppose it? This suggestion{468}

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obviously sprang from the opinion which the Queen had held strongly ever since the year 1846, that the country would never get an efficient Government till a Coalition Ministry was formed. It was, however, quite impracticable. The Queen made no allowance for the ease with which a Cabinet loses prestige in the atmosphere of passion which pervades the House of Commons, where the fact that a Cabinet is even suspected of being divided destroys its moral authority. Neither the Duke of Wellington nor Lord Lansdowne, who was also consulted, could advise the Queen to put forward this project. The Duke, in fact, advised her to send for Lord John Russell once again. This was accordingly done. “The last act of the drama fell out last night,” writes Mr. Greville on the 4th of March, “as everybody foresaw it would and must.” Lord John returned to office with his Ministry unchanged, which, says Mr. Greville, “was better than trying some trifling patching-up, or some shuffling of the same pack, and it makes a future reconstruction more easy.” On the same night Lord Granville dined at the Palace. “The Queen and Prince Albert,” writes Mr. Greville, “both talked to him a great deal of what has been passing, and very openly. She is satisfied with herself, as well she may be, and hardly with anybody else;{469}

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not dissatisfied personally with Stanley, of whom she spoke in terms indicative of liking him. She thinks Lord John Russell and his Cabinet might have done more than they did to obtain Graham and the Peelites, and might have made the Papal question more of an open question; but Granville says that it is evident she is heart and soul with the Peelites, so strong is the influence of Sir Robert, and they are very stout and determined about Free Trade. The Queen and Prince think this resuscitated concern very shaky, and that it will not last. Her favourite aversions are, first and foremost, Palmerston, and Disraeli next. It is very likely that this latter antipathy (which no doubt{470} Stanley discovered) contributed to his reluctance to form a Government. Such is the feeling about him in their minds.” Mr. Disraeli, aware of their antipathy, had, indeed, offered to efface himself or to accept any office, no matter how humble, that would not bring him into personal communication with the Sovereign, in order to facilitate the return of his party to power. It may be here convenient to note that the Queen, though entertaining strong personal opinions about the capacity of her Ministers, has been ever prompt to change them when they gave her good reasons for doing so. Her antipathy to Peel in 1839 was notorious. Yet when Peel became Prime Minister he completely won her confidence. Her antipathy to Palmerston ceased after he left the Foreign Office and became Prime Minister, and the same may be said of her aversion to Mr. Disraeli, who, as Lord Beaconsfield, received from the Crown a tribute of homage and favour rarely accorded to any subject.

The reinstatement of the Whigs pleased nobody. However, a dissolution was dreaded, and all parties were therefore forced to tolerate them. But they were, as a Government, utterly discredited, and their final fall was imminent. On their return to office, the Government produced a new edition of their Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. It consisted simply in a declaration that the assumption of such titles was illegal. What may be termed the stringent penal clauses were cut out, and in this form the measure was received with universal displeasure, mingled with contempt. The bigots complained that the measure was rendered futile. The Radicals complained that it was a concession to the bigots. As for the Irish members, they opposed what was left of it, simply to compel the Government to drain the chalice of mortification to the lees. So ingeniously was the Bill obstructed that it was not read a third time till a month after its introduction. The House of Lords passed it after debating the second reading for two nights. Its opponents predicted it would be a dead letter, and events verified their prophecies. As Sir George Cornewall Lewis said, “Neither the assumption of the territorial title nor the prohibition to assume it was of the least practical importance.”[34]

The story of the Parliamentary Session of 1851 may be briefly told. The obstruction of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill left little time for legislation. Sir Charles Wood, as usual, bungled the Budget. He had a comfortable surplus of £2,521,000. His estimates were careful and judicious, and showed on the basis of existing taxation an anticipated surplus of £1,892,000. It was in disposing of this sum that Sir Charles plunged into a sea of difficulties. He said it would not enable him to abolish the Income Tax, the retention of which, during the early days of Free Trade, he recommended as necessary for the stability of the fiscal system. Hence he proposed to spend his estimated surplus in (1), reducing debt by about £1,000,000; (2), in commuting a tax “which bore on the health and morals of the lower classes,” namely, the Window Tax,{471} into a house duty; (3), in reducing the duty on foreign and colonial coffee to a uniform rate of threepence in the pound; (4), in reducing the timber duty by fifty per cent.; (5), and by transferring to the State a certain proportion of the local charge for maintaining pauper lunatics. On the 17th of February, in Committee of Ways and Means, Sir Charles accordingly moved that the Income Tax and Stamp Duties in Ireland be renewed for a limited period. The manner in which the Budget was received clearly showed that it would be unpopular. The Tories attacked it because the Income Tax was to be retained, and the transfer of the charge for pauper lunatics they ridiculed as a mockery of relief to the distressed rural ratepayers. Mr. Hume complained that there was no attempt made to reduce military expenditure by asking the Colonies to bear the cost of their own defence. The representatives of the large towns protested violently against commuting the Window Tax into a house duty. The controversy was, however, cut short by Lord John Russell’s resignation after his defeat on Mr. Locke King’s resolution, to which reference has already been made.

On the 5th of April Sir Charles Wood, after his usual manner, brought forward a new Budget. He proposed now to levy a uniform duty of ninepence on the annual value of houses, and sixpence on shops, without reference to the number of their windows. This would in nearly all cases impose a smaller burden on houses than the Window Tax, the capricious and unequal incidence of which had made it intensely unpopular—the greatest relief being given to the houses which had more windows than were proportionate to their annual value. The loss from the Window Tax and the reduction of the duty on coffee left a surplus of £924,000 for emergencies, and Sir Charles Wood was still deaf to the demand for the abolition of the Income Tax. The Tories contended that the tax had been granted to meet a deficit. There was now no deficit, therefore the tax ought to be removed. The Whigs admitted these facts, but denied the conclusion drawn from them. The tax, they argued, ought not to be removed, because a new reason had risen for its continuance, namely, that the Income Tax enabled the Government to minimise the loss to the revenue which might be entailed by the abandonment of protective duties. This, in fact, is the clue to all the tangled Income Tax controversies of the time. The Income Tax was in truth the keystone of Peel’s Free Trade policy. The Tories, therefore, spared no pains to strike it out of the fabric of fiscal legislation which he and the Whigs had built up. Yet the injustice and frauds perpetrated under the Income Tax were admitted on all sides; and finally an effort was made by Mr. Hume to limit the renewal of the tax to one year, and refer the whole question of its assessment and incidence to a Select Committee. Mr. Hume’s motion was carried against the Government by a vote of 244 to 230. But the fatal objection to it, as Mr. Sidney Herbert pointed out, was that, unless the Government had the Income Tax secured to them for three years, they could not make permanent{472}

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reductions in the duties on coffee and timber. It was absurd to dream of entering on a policy which involved further remission of taxation, so long as £5,000,000 of the revenue—for that was what the Income Tax brought in—depended on an annual vote of the House. Then the concordia discors of the majority was made manifest. As everybody had voted with Mr. Hume from different motives, it was impossible to get competent men to serve on the Committee. That difficulty, however, was after much trouble overcome, and the Government made the best of the situation. They accepted defeat; Lord John Russell, however, stipulating that, whatever might be done, the national credit must be maintained. In other words, he accepted the proposal on the ground that, though the motion granting the Income Tax for one year only was carried, there was no serious intention of refusing to renew the tax if necessary; and that it would be necessary was, of course, certain, unless the £5,500,000 derived from it were replaced by protective duties. This was not a very logical position, and Mr. Disraeli seized the opening which it gave him. Hume’s victory, technically speaking, implied that the financial arrangements of the country were in a provisional state.{473}

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Why, then, asked Mr. Disraeli, sacrifice any revenue at all till something like permanence had been imparted to these arrangements? On the 30th of July he brought forward a futile motion to this effect in a grandiose speech, and was supported by Mr. Gladstone, whose antipathy to the Government was fast becoming uncontrollable. Yet Mr. Gladstone’s argument was sound enough. To surrender the Window Tax for one like the hated House Duty, which rested on a narrow basis and was vitiated by special anomalies of inequality and injustice of incidence, that had secured its abolition in 1834, was surely bad finance. And what was gained? Six-sevenths of the house property of the country were exempted from taxation—house property being a fair enough subject for taxation, provided it be assessed on fair general principles. Nothing could be more precarious than the position of the Income Tax; yet but for it the surplus in hand, which Sir Charles Wood was flinging away, would not exist. Mr. Disraeli, however, in spite of Mr. Gladstone’s support, lost his motion. His inconsistency in voting for Mr. Cayley’s proposal, on the 8th of May, to abolish the Malt Tax, which yielded £5,000,000 of revenue, and in protesting, on the 30th of June, against{474} the sacrifice of £1,600,000 of surplus, as ruinous to public credit, was, of course, disastrous to his pleading.

In the debates on Colonial Policy the Government were more successful than could have been anticipated. Mr. Baillie’s motion censuring Lord Torrington’s maladministration of the affairs of Ceylon was defeated by a large majority, which, says Mr. Greville, set the Cabinet, smarting from various reverses at the time, “on their legs again.”

On the 18th of April a much more important subject was broached by Sir W. Molesworth, who moved a series of resolutions demanding that the Colonies should be made autonomous, and charged to provide for their own defence. Other motions of the same sort as this one sprang from the animus against the Colonial Office which then existed among all parties. As Mr. Urquhart said in debate, independent members were of opinion that, if the good sense of the country did not put down the Colonial Office, the Colonial Office would put down the Empire. The objection of the Government to Sir W. Molesworth’s proposal was the old one to all Colonial reforms—that it must lead to the abandonment of our Colonial Empire. The debate was adjourned, and was not resumed.

The chronic discontent of the Cape Colonists, smarting under Lord Grey’s abortive design to quarter convicts on them, led to some acrimonious discussions, which aggravated popular antipathy to the costly Caffre War which was raging. Lord John Russell, however, contrived to evade attacks by persuading the House of Commons to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the relations of the Colony to the Caffre tribes.

The Radicals of the Manchester school had raised early in the Session an agitation against Sir James Brooke, popularly called Rajah Brooke, of Sarawak. Rajah Brooke had waged war on the Dyak tribes because they were aggressive pirates. The Manchester school denied that the Dyaks were pirates, and contended that Sir James Brooke simply levied war on the natives in order to seize their territory. Mr. Hume insisted on referring the matter to a Select Committee, but he was defeated by a large majority, and the result of the debate was to exonerate Sir James Brooke from the charges of brutality and barbarism that had been advanced against him.

The slave-hunting squadron in West Africa was another question as to which the Government were sadly harried. The cost of keeping up the squadron rendered it extremely unpopular, and Mr. Hume forced the Government, in Committee of Supply, to make a statement as to its work. According to Lord Palmerston, it was active, energetic, and successful in suppressing the infamous traffic in slaves, and the House of Commons thought that the results of the squadron’s operations were so valuable that England ought not to grudge the money spent upon it. On the other hand, the Party of Economy contended that the reduction in the slave trade was due, not to the English squadron, but to the new policy of Brazil, whose Government{475} had begun to co-operate with ours in seizing slave-traders, destroying barracoons, and releasing slaves.

Foreign affairs but slightly interested Parliament in 1851. No doubt a great deal of excitement was produced by the two letters on the State prosecutions by the Neapolitan Government, which Mr. Gladstone addressed to Lord Aberdeen, and much indignation was expressed at the stupid tyranny of King “Bomba,” whose dungeons were full of political prisoners. The charges of cruelty and injustice caused Sir De Lacy Evans to question the Foreign Secretary on the subject in the House of Commons, and from Lord Palmerston’s reply it turned out that above 20,000 persons were then confined in Neapolitan prisons for political offences, most of whom had been deprived of liberty in flagrant violation of the existing laws of their country. Copies of Mr. Gladstone’s letter were sent by Lord Palmerston to every foreign Government, in the hope that a joint-remonstrance from the Powers might put an end to King Ferdinand’s outrages on civilisation.

Mr. Cobden renewed his annual motion for bringing about a general disarmament among the European nations; and undoubtedly his speech was received with much more sympathy than usual by the House of Commons and the country. It was the year of the International Exhibition, and all the world was talking of fraternity among the nations, and of their strife being limited, in the golden future, to peaceful contests in the fields of industry. “We are witnessing now,” said Mr. Cobden in a memorable passage of his speech, “what a few years ago no one could have predicted as possible. We see men meeting together from all countries in the world, more like the gatherings of nations in former times, when they came up for a great religious festival; we find men speaking different languages and bred in different habits associating in one common temple erected for their gratification and reception.” The Government, he held, might with everlasting honour to themselves seize the favourable hour for broaching a peace policy, and endeavour to win the assent of Europe to a project for universal disarmament. The idea then in men’s minds was that England should set the example by approaching France with a proposal, that each country should reduce its armaments to the footing on which they stood at the time of the Syrian dispute. Lord Palmerston approved generally of Mr. Cobden’s objects, and was willing to say that he would do everything in his power to bring about the friendliest relations with France. But he did not wish to be fettered beforehand with definite instructions to open up at once negotiations for mutual disarmament; and, professing himself satisfied with this expression of opinion, Mr. Cobden withdrew his motion.

The Jews in the Session of 1851 failed to remove the political disabilities under which members of their community lay.[35] They carried their point in the{476} House of Commons. In the House of Lords, however, the Tories threw the Jewish Disabilities Relief Bill out by a vote of 144 to 108. A hot controversy arose over the attempt of Alderman Salomons, the newly-elected member for Greenwich, to take the Oath without repeating the words, “On the true faith of a Christian.” It ended in the Alderman being removed from his seat by the Serjeant-at-Arms, and in Lord John Russell carrying a motion denying Mr. Salomons’s right to sit whilst he was unsworn.

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The smaller measures of the Session included a Bill for strengthening the appellate branch of the Court of Chancery by appointing two extra judges. The Bill to legalise marriage with a deceased wife’s sister, though carried in the House of Commons, was, as usual, rejected in the Lords. Parliament was prorogued by the Queen in person on the 8th of August, and the occasion{477}

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was interesting, for the representatives of the people for the first time went into her presence from the new House of Commons, which had at last been made ready for occupation. The long procession through the grand corridors, between the two chambers, was accordingly a little more orderly than usual. The Royal Speech was devoted to a brief review of a barren but not unimportant Session.

Legislation, in fact, had been brought to a standstill by the anti-Papal Bill, which had been obstinately obstructed. The prestige of the Ministry was gone, and their natural strength completely abated by the mutiny of the Irish Whigs. And yet, when Lord John Russell resumed office after his resignation, he gained rather than lost in power, and the attack on him became more and more languid every day. The truth is that the people did not think much about politics after May, 1851. The Ministry was safe after the failure of the Tories to take their places. But it was no stronger than when it had been beaten on Mr. Locke King’s motion, and its lease of office depended largely on the tolerance of disdain. The people were indeed preoccupied with the Great Industrial Exhibition of All Nations to such an extent that they paid no more attention, during the latter half of the Session, to the doings of the Government, than to the debates of a local vestry. “There is,” writes Mr. Greville on the 8th of June, “a picture in Punch of the shipwrecked Government saved by the ‘Exhibition’ steamer, which really is historically true, thanks in great measure to the attractions of the Exhibition, which has acted on the public as well as upon Parliament…. There has been so much indifference and insouciance about politics and parties that John Russell and his Cabinet have been released from all present danger. The cause of Protection gets weaker and weaker every day; all sensible and practical men give it up as hopeless.”[36] That he had been saved by the “Great Exhibition” steamer evidently did not satisfy Lord John Russell. Hence he seems to have been ever hankering after a plan for strengthening his Cabinet by the addition to it of a Peelite element. Sir George Cornewall Lewis was sent down to Netherby in September to intrigue with Sir James Graham for this purpose, but Graham, though offered the Board of Control, or as it would now be called the India Office, refused to join the Cabinet because he was afraid lest Lord John Russell might make dangerous concessions to the Party who were agitating for Parliamentary Reform. It is interesting to note that Lord Palmerston strongly opposed this project of inviting Graham to join the Whig Cabinet, and strove hard to induce his colleagues to make their overtures to Mr. Gladstone. It is impossible to blame Sir James for the course he took. Lord John Russell’s incurable antipathy to statistical research induced him to hand over the question of Reform to a small Ministerial Committee, consisting of Lord Minto, Lord Carlisle, and Sir C. Wood, and so little did the Whigs love Reform, that some of them, like Lord Lansdowne, had resolved to leave the Cabinet if a strong Reform measure were proposed.{479}

Another circumstance helped to weaken the Ministry. Lord Palmerston, as usual, succeeded during the autumn in again irritating the Queen and his own colleagues by one of his singular freaks at the Foreign Office. When Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian patriot, arrived at Southampton on the 23rd of October, he was welcomed by a popular demonstration, and some leading Radicals took part in it. Lord Palmerston immediately resolved to receive him, and it became known that if he did this the Austrian Government would recall their Ambassador. Lord John Russell pointed out the impropriety of the step which Lord Palmerston obstinately insisted on taking. Palmerston’s last word on the subject to the Prime Minister was that he considered he had a right to receive M. Kossuth privately and unofficially, and that he would not be dictated to as to the reception of a guest in his own house, though his office was at the disposal of the Government. A meeting of the Cabinet was immediately summoned, and the matter was laid before those present by Lord John Russell. It was agreed that Lord Palmerston could not with propriety receive Kossuth, and he promised to submit to the decision of his colleagues. Up to this point everything went smoothly, and the Queen was greatly relieved in mind to learn that the Foreign Secretary had been so reasonable as to promise not to insult a friendly Power. Her feeling on the subject was that, being at peace with Austria, we had no right to get up demonstrations in favour of persons who had been endeavouring to upset the Austrian Government. “I was at Windsor,” writes Mr. Greville on the 16th of November, “for a Council on Friday. There I saw Lord Palmerston and Lord John mighty merry and cordial, talking and laughing together. Those breezes leave nothing behind, particularly with Palmerston, who never loses his temper, and treats everything with gaiety and levity. The Queen is vastly displeased with the Kossuth demonstrations, especially at seeing him received at Manchester with as much enthusiasm as attended her own visit to that place…. Delane[37] is just come from Vienna, where he had a long interview with Schwarzenberg, who treated, or at least affected to do so, the Kossuth reception with contempt and indifference.”[38] Two days after Mr. Greville made this entry in his Diary, to the amazement of the Queen and Lord John Russell, Lord Palmerston, addressing a deputation that waited on him from Finsbury and Islington, expressed on behalf of England his strong sympathy with the cause of the Hungarian revolutionary leaders. He had kept the word of promise to the ear, but had broken it to the hope. What he had said was infinitely more irritating to Austria than his reception of Kossuth could have been. The breach of faith with his indignant colleagues was inexcusable, and it prepared the way for Palmerston’s expulsion from the Cabinet, which followed his recognition of the coup d’état in December.{480}


The World’s Fair—Carping Critics—Churlish Ambassadors Rebuked by the Queen—Opening of the Great Exhibition—A Touching Sight—The Queen’s Comments on “soi-disant Fashionables”—The Duke of Wellington’s Nosegay—Prince Albert among the Missionaries—The Queen’s Letter to Lord John Russell—Her Pride in her Husband—The London Season—The Duke of Brunswick’s Balloon “Victoria”—Bloomerism—The Queen at Macready’s Farewell Benefit—The Queen’s Costume Ball—The Spanish Beauty—An Ugly “Lion”—The Queen at the Guildhall Ball—Grotesque Civic Festivities—Royal Visits to Liverpool and Manchester—A Well-Dressed Mayor—The Queen on the “Sommerophone”—The Coup d’État—The Assassins of Liberty—The Appeal to France—The Queen’s Last Quarrel with Palmerston—Palmerston’s Fall—Outcry against the Queen—A “Presuming” Muscovite—The Queen’s Vindication.

During the greater part of the Session of 1851 the English people, to use a phrase of Mr. Disraeli’s, “were not up to politics.” It was the year of the marvellous World’s Fair, or Great International Exhibition, and the keen interest which it aroused diverted public attention from Ministerial blundering. But though the interest of the country in the Exhibition was strong, it was feeble compared with that which the Queen and Prince Albert took in it. In spring, when the Court returned to London, the Prince concentrated all his energies on the labour of organising the arrangements for the opening of the Crystal Palace. All through March and April he worked night and day, undaunted by the carping criticisms of those who predicted that the direst calamities would spring from the Exhibition. These foolish persons asserted that the Exhibition Commissioners were simply organising a foreign invasion of London. To attract to the capital dense crowds of foreigners, they declared, would lead to riot, to the spread of revolutionary doctrines, to the introduction of pestilence and of foreign forms of immorality, and to the ruin of British trade, the secrets of which would be revealed to our competitors in the markets of the world. Colonel Sibthorp, in the Debate on the Address, actually implored Heaven to destroy the Crystal Palace by hail or lightning, and others declared that the Queen would most surely be assassinated by some foreign conspirators, on the opening day of the great show.

The diplomatic body in London also behaved churlishly to the promoters of the scheme, arguing that foreigners, by coming in contact with the democratic institutions of England, would lose their taste for Absolutism. When Prince Albert proposed that the Ambassadors should have an opportunity of taking part in the proceedings by presenting an Address to the Queen, M. Van de Weyer, as senior member of the diplomatic body in London, privately asked the opinion of his colleagues on the subject. They all gave their assent with one exception, Baron Brunnow, who was “not at home” when M. Van de Weyer called on him. But at a meeting of the diplomatic body it was decided by a majority of them not to present any Address to her Majesty. This decision{481} was arrived at mainly by the influence of Brunnow, who said he could not permit the Russian nation or people to be mentioned in an Address of this kind. He was also jealous of allowing M. Van de Weyer or any other Ambassador to speak for the Russian Government. The Queen was chagrined at this incivility, and instructed M. Van de Weyer to tell his colleagues that of course she could not compel them “to accept a courtesy which anywhere else would be looked on as a favour.” Brunnow, however, held out. In the end it was agreed that the Ambassadors should present no Address, but merely be formally presented to the Queen at the opening function, and, having bowed, that they should file away to the side of the platform, where they certainly did not cut an imposing figure during the ceremony of inauguration.

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On the 29th of April the Queen made a private visit to the Exhibition,{482} and returned from it saying that her eyes were positively dazzled with “the myriads of beautiful things” which met her view. Though some of the Royal Family, like the Duke of Cambridge, were afraid that there might be a riot on the opening day, the Queen was not affected in the least by their warnings, asserting that she had the completest faith in the good sense, good humour, and chivalrous loyalty of her people. Nor was this confidence misplaced. On the day of the opening, she was received with passionate demonstrations of loyal enthusiasm from the crowds, amounting in the aggregate to about 700,000 persons, who came forth to see her pass. As for those who entered the building, they seemed awestruck with astonishment at the brilliant scene, radiant with life and colour, which lay before their eyes. At half-past eleven on the 1st of May the Royal cortège left the Palace, and filed along in a stately procession through the enormous crowds who swarmed in the Green Park and in Hyde Park. “A little rain fell,” writes the Queen, “just as we started, but before we came near the Crystal Palace the sun shone and gleamed upon the gigantic edifice, upon which the flags of all the nations were floating. We drove up Rotten Row, and got out at the entrance on that side. The glimpse of the transept through the iron gates, the waving palms, flowers, statues, myriads of people filling the galleries and seats around, gave us a sensation which I can never forget, and I felt much moved. We went for a moment to a little side room, where we left our shawls, and where we found Maria and Mary [now Princess of Teck], and outside which were standing the other Princes. In a few seconds we proceeded, Albert leading me, having Vicky at his right hand and Bertie [Prince of Wales] holding mine…. The tremendous cheers, the joy expressed in every face, the immensity of the building, the mixture of palms, flowers, trees, statues, fountains, the organ (with 200 instruments and 600 voices, which sounded like nothing), and my beloved husband, the author of this ‘Peace-Festival,’ which united the industry of all nations of the earth—all this was moving indeed, and it was and is a day to live for ever.”[39] When the National Anthem had been sung, Prince Albert, at the head of the Commissioners, read their Report to the Queen. She in turn read a short reply. A brief prayer was offered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and then the “Hallelujah Chorus” was sung. The grand State procession of all the dignitaries was then formed, and walked along the whole length of the crowded nave amidst deafening cheers. “Every one’s face,” writes the Queen in her Diary, “was bright and smiling, many with tears in their eyes. Many Frenchmen called out ‘Vive la Reine!’…. The old Duke and Lord Anglesey walked arm in arm, which was a touching sight.” When the procession returned to the point from which it started, Lord Breadalbane proclaimed the Exhibition open in the name of the Queen, whereupon there was a flourish of trumpets and more cheering. “Everybody,” writes the Queen,

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(After the Picture by Eugène Lamé.)


“was astonished and delighted. Sir George Grey (Home Secretary) in tears.” On the way home her Majesty again met with a magnificent reception. After entering the Palace, she and the Prince showed themselves on the balcony and bowed their adieus to the vast throng, whose loyal shouts rent the air. The most perfect order was maintained, and, writes the Queen, “the wicked and absurd reports of dangers of every kind which a set of people, namely, soi-disant fashionables and the most violent Protectionists spread, are silenced…. I must not,” she adds, “omit to mention an interesting episode of this day, namely, the visit of the good old Duke on this his eighty-second birthday to his little godson, our dear little boy.[40] He came to us both at five, and we gave him a golden cup and some toys, which he himself had chosen, and Arthur gave him a nosegay.” From every quarter congratulations on the complete success of the day poured in upon the Queen, and though 700,000 spectators lined the route between the Exhibition and the Palace, no accidents and not a single police case could be traced to this enormous gathering of sightseers.

One result of the Exhibition was the celebration of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts. It was thought that the great gathering of foreigners offered a fitting occasion for celebrating an event of the kind, and Prince Albert was asked to preside over the commemoration. His Royal Highness agreed, but stipulated that the celebration was to have no denominational or sectarian turn. Representatives of all parties, therefore, were invited; and the Prince’s speech, which he prepared with unusual care, was marked by broad catholicity of feeling, and was admirably in harmony with the great festival of civilisation which he himself had organised. Lord John Russell was so deeply impressed with the speech, that he wrote to the Queen congratulating her on the effect that it had produced. In reply the Queen wrote as follows:—“We are both much pleased at what Lord John Russell says about the Prince’s speech of yesterday. It was on so ticklish a subject, that we could not feel certain beforehand how it might be taken.” At the same time, the Queen felt sure that the Prince would say the right thing, from her entire confidence in his great tact and judgment. The Queen, at the risk of not appearing sufficiently modest (and yet why should a wife ever be modest about her husband’s merits?), must say that she thinks Lord John Russell will admit now that the Prince is possessed of very extraordinary powers of mind and heart. She feels so proud of being his wife, that she cannot refrain from herself paying a tribute to his noble character.”[41]

As might have been expected, the London season of the Exhibition year was an exceptionally brilliant one. It was marked by a strange combination of eccentricity and gaiety. The Duke of Brunswick kept the town talking with{484} sufficient volubility, and his voyage to France in a balloon, the “Victoria,” with Mr. Green, the aëronaut, was a nine days’ wonder. In midsummer “Bloomerism” whetted the wits of Londoners. The votaries of “Bloomerism” took their name from the wife of a gallant American officer. This lady invented a new costume for women, consisting of loose trousers gathered at the ankles, a short, full skirt, and a broad hat. Adventuresses and “advanced” ladies tried to popularise the costume, but failed. Ridicule killed their cause, and when barmaids in public-houses and “fast” women generally began to adopt “Bloomerism,” its doom was sealed. The season of 1851 was, indeed, clouded with but one dismal fact; the aristocracy were somewhat pinched because agricultural prices were low, and yet the nobility bore their part in the great vortex of hospitality, which the World’s Fair had set whirling, bravely enough. London swarmed with distinguished foreigners, and balls and routs and dinner-parties went on without ceasing.

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The first striking event of the season was the withdrawal of Macready from the stage on the 1st of February, and from the Memoirs of that great actor we find that the Queen made a point of being present at his farewell performance on the 26th of February at Drury Lane—the scene of his triumphs, not only as an actor but as a manager, who had restored Shakespeare’s plays to the stage in their fullest integrity. Nor was this the only performance which her Majesty honoured with her presence. Writing on May 17th, Lord Malmesbury records that “Lady Londonderry appeared at the Duke of Devonshire’s play in a gown trimmed with green birds, small ones round the body and down the sides, and large ones down the centre. The beak of one of the birds caught in the Queen’s dress, and was some time before it could{485} be disentangled.” On the 12th of June there was a grand fancy ball at the Palace, the period chosen for illustration being the time of Charles II. The nobility and gentry appeared in the characters of their ancestors. The high officers of State donned the costumes of their predecessors in the reign of the “Merry Monarch.” “We went to the Queen’s Ball,” writes Lord Malmesbury; “it is said that her Majesty received 600 excuses out of 1,400 invitations, and that she did not fill up their places. I thought it very inferior to the first two. Most of the fancy dresses shabby, as if they had been got up cheap.”

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This was the season during which “the Spanish beauty,” Mademoiselle de Montijo, afterwards Empress of the French, shone meteor-like in London Society, and divided the honours with Narvaez, “an ugly, little fat man, with a vile expression of countenance,” according to Lord Malmesbury, and who, after being Prime Minister of Spain, and having headed many pronunciamientos, uttered one famous bon mot on his deathbed. When he was asked by the priest to forgive his enemies, he answered, “I have none, as I always got rid of them.”[42]{486}

On the 9th of July, however, the most remarkable event of the season took place. It was the gorgeous ball given at Guildhall by the Lord Mayor and Corporation of the City of London to celebrate the success of the Great Exhibition. That success was now assured. The weekly takings at the gates had never been less than £10,298. In one week they had amounted to £22,189, and already Prince Albert was discussing, with his confidential advisers, what they should do with the large surplus which they were certain they would have in hand. The crowning triumph of the undertaking was therefore celebrated by the City magnates with more than their usual display of lavish magnificence. The Queen and Prince Albert accepted invitations, and when they started in their State carriage from Buckingham Palace, they drove through dense crowds of people, amidst shouts of congratulations delivered in all sorts of tongues. Nay, when they left the Guildhall on the morning of the 10th of July, at daybreak, they were amazed to find loyal crowds still waiting to cheer them, with no diminution of enthusiasm as they drove home. “A million of people,” writes the Prince to Baron Stockmar on the 14th of July, “remained till three in the morning in the streets, and were full of enthusiasm towards us.” He says, also, that the ball passed off “brilliantly,”[43] but with this must be read, as a mild corrective, the description given by Lord Malmesbury in his Diary, which is as follows:—“July 10th.—Went in the evening to Madame Van de Weyer’s. I hear the ball to the Queen at the Guildhall was extremely amusing. People very ridiculous. The ladies passed her at a run, never curtseying, and then returned to stare at her. Some of the gentlemen passed with their arms round the ladies’ waists, others holding them by the hand at arm’s length, as if they were going to dance a minuet. One man kissed his hand to the Queen as he went by, which set her Majesty off in a fit of laughter.” The ball, however, marked the beginning of the end of this splendid season. “To-night,” writes Prince Albert to Baron Stockmar in the letter just alluded to, “we have our last ball. The day after to-morrow I come back here to dine with the Agricultural Society…. On the 18th we return to Osborne for good.” It was not, however, till the 28th of July that the Court removed to Osborne, and on the 18th they visited the Crystal Palace once more. This visit the Queen describes in a letter to Stockmar, in which she says:—“The immense number of manufacturers with whom we have spoken have gone away delighted. The thousands who are at the Crystal Palace when we are leaving are all so loyal and so gratified, many never having seen us before. All this will be of a use not to be described. It identifies us with the people, and gives them an additional cause for loyalty and attachment.”

On the 27th of August the Queen, Prince Albert, and their family left Osborne for Balmoral, which had now been purchased by the Prince from{487} its owner. On the journey northwards they were received at Peterborough by the venerable Bishop of that see, who had been her Majesty’s tutor, and a touching interview took place between the Queen and her old preceptor. At Boston and Doncaster loyal addresses were presented, the party passing the night at the Angel Inn, Doncaster, much to the delight of the inhabitants of that town. On the 28th they reached Edinburgh, where they occupied the State apartments at Holyrood, and drove through the town in the evening. Next day they arrived at Balmoral, where they remained till the 7th of October. During this holiday the Queen and her husband devoted themselves to the rural occupations that always while away the autumn in the Highlands—the Queen walking, driving, riding, sketching, and visiting the cottages of the poor people in her neighbourhood, with whom she had become an especial favourite—the Prince pursuing his favourite sport of deer-stalking, with even more than his wonted ardour. They also entertained many distinguished guests, among whom may be mentioned Hallam the historian, and Liebig the chemist, who were both charmed with the welcome which they received, and with the easy simplicity of the Queen’s life in her northern home.

On the 8th of October they proceeded to Edinburgh, and met with one or two adventures by the way which brought vividly to the Queen’s mind the hazards of railway travelling. When nearing Forfar the axle of a carriage truck became overheated by friction, and the train was stopped till the truck was uncoupled. At Kirkliston there was an explosion of steam in one of the feeder-pipes of the engine, which delayed the train for an hour, and prevented the Royal party from reaching Edinburgh till eight o’clock at night. Next morning they resumed their journey. At Lancaster, where they stopped for luncheon, the Queen and her children went to view John of Gaunt’s ancient castle, and she was presented with its keys at the gateway of the stronghold—two addresses being read to her, which she herself has said were “very prettily worded.” In the afternoon the Royal party reached Croxteth Park, the seat of the Earl of Sefton. Next morning they started to visit Liverpool, calling on Lord Derby at Knowsley Park on the way.

They would have been welcomed with a splendid reception from the Mayor and Corporation and inhabitants of the great northern seaport, had not the weather broken, and had not torrents of rain poured down without ceasing, veiling everything and everybody in the densest fog. Still the Queen persisted in proceeding with the appointed programme, and, good-naturedly determined to make the best of the unpropitious elements, she visited the eastern and southern districts of the town, inspected the docks by land, viewed them from the Mersey from the deck of the Fairy, and made a return progress through the central and northern streets, which by this time were one sea of mud, where, however, patient and loyal crowds stood waiting to cheer their Sovereign and her family as they passed. “We proceeded,” writes her Majesty, “to the Council Room, where we stood on a throne, and{488} received the addresses of the Mayor and Corporation, to which I read an answer, and then knighted the Mayor, Mr. Bent, a very good man.” What seems to have pleased the Queen most was her visit to St. George’s Hall, a building which she enthusiastically described as “being worthy of ancient Athens.” Here she had to step out on the balcony and stand in the rain bowing her acknowledgments to the vast crowd who stood cheering with undamped ardour in the street below. From Liverpool the Queen and her party, attended by Lady Ellesmere, the Duke of Wellington, Lord and Lady Westminster, and Lord and Lady Wilton, proceeded in a barge along the Bridgwater Canal to Worsley Hall, the seat of Lord Ellesmere. The barge was towed by four horses, and whilst one half was covered in, over that part which was open an awning was stretched. “The boat,” writes the Queen, “glided along in a most noiseless and dream-like manner amidst the cheers of the people who lined the sides of the canal.” At Worsley Hall the Queen met Mr. Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam-hammer, and she seems to have been greatly delighted with his conversation, and fascinated by his drawings and maps explaining his investigations into the geography of the moon. The evening, indeed, was devoted mainly to scientific conversation, this ascetic turn being given to it by the arrival of the news that the first great submarine telegraph cable had been successfully laid between Dover and Calais. Next day, the 10th of October, the weather brightened, and the Royal party visited Manchester, the working people of the town turning out in holiday garb to welcome their Sovereign. “A very intelligent but painfully unhealthy-looking population they all were, men as well as women”—such is the Queen’s description of her hosts. In the Peel Park, Salford, her reception by 82,000 school children of all sects and creeds, and their singing of the National Anthem, appear to have surprised and impressed her profoundly. She also remarked “the beautifully dressed” Mr. Potter, the Mayor of Manchester, “the Mayor and Corporation of which town,” writes the Queen, “had till now been too Radical to have robes.” Mr. Potter was duly knighted for his courtesy and kindness to the Royal party, and the Queen expressed herself as especially delighted with the order and good behaviour of the crowds who followed. She notes, however, in her Diary “that there are no really fine buildings” in Manchester—an observation which serves to mark the progress made by this now splendid city since 1851. Next day the Royal party left Worsley Hall, passed again through Manchester, and through Stockport, Crewe, Stafford, Rugby, Weedon, Wolverton, and Watford, where their carriages were found waiting for them ready to post to Windsor, which they reached at half-past seven in the evening.

On the 14th of October the Queen paid her final visit to the Great Exhibition, and she records the fact that “an organ, accompanied by a fine and powerful brass instrument, the Sommerophone, was being played, and it nearly upset me.” The Sommerophone had a compass of five octaves, and{489}

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when played by its inventor, Herr Sommer—the only performer who could make it discourse music—was one of the marvels of a year singularly full of the marvellous. Next day the grand show was closed with somewhat scant ceremony, the Queen writing in her Diary, “How sad and strange to think that this great and bright time has passed away like a dream, after all its triumph and success.” It is curious to observe that in the contemporary expressions of public feeling which were prompted by the wind-up of the Exhibition, the same note of melancholy is sounded, as if there were abroad a half-conscious foreboding that the Festival of Peace was only too likely to be followed by War.

These forebodings were justifiable. Affairs abroad began to assume a threatening aspect. It has been shown how the enthusiastic demonstrations with which Louis Kossuth had been honoured in England had caused the Queen many anxious moments. Her mind was sadly troubled, also, by the ostentatious display of sympathy which Lord Palmerston extended to the Hungarian patriot, and by the veiled threat of Austria to recall her Ambassador if these demonstrations continued. Mr. Greville has somewhat maliciously said that the Queen’s feelings on this subject were caused by jealousy. Kossuth’s reception at Manchester, he observes, had been even more enthusiastic than her own. Hinc illæ lacrymæ. Here Mr. Greville does her Majesty a gross injustice. The abhorrence of the English Court for Austrian Absolutism was strong and unstinted, and most forcible expression is given to it in many letters from Prince Albert to Stockmar. England, however, was at peace with Austria, and had no interest in going to war with her. But the Queen argued that it would be impossible to keep up even the semblance of friendly relations with foreign States, if her Foreign Secretary were to pose as the friendly protector of every rebel leader who had attempted to upset their Government, or received addresses in which their rulers were stigmatised as “odious assassins.” Her anger against Lord Palmerston was not to be appeased by his apologists, who reminded her that he was taking a popular and democratic line, which was sure to win for the Queen the affection of the people, thereby more than compensating her for the loss of Austria’s goodwill. Her answer, penned by herself in a vigorous letter to Lord John Russell on the 21st of November, was:—“It is no question with the Queen whether she pleases the Emperor of Austria or not, but whether she gives him a just ground of complaint or not. And if she does so she can never believe that this will add to her popularity with her own people.”[44] We have already[45] described the action which was taken by the Cabinet in relation to this business, and it now remains to record the next quarrel which her Majesty had with Lord Palmerston, and which ultimately led to his expulsion from the Ministry.

On the morning of the 4th of December the Queen was at Osborne, and{491} there she was informed of the coup d’état in Paris on the 2nd inst. The Prince-President, Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, though he had sworn to protect the Republic, had, in concert with a clique of conspirators,[46] long before the 1st of December determined to restore the Empire. The first thing to do was to win over the army. The next to disgust the nation with Parliamentary institutions. The former task was easily accomplished. The latter, however, was somewhat more difficult, and the manner in which the conspirators set about it was most ingenious. Every newspaper that directed attention to the dangerous drift of the Prince-President’s policy was suppressed. He began to conspire, says Alexis de Tocqueville, “from November 10th, 1848. His direct instructions to Oudinot, and his letter to Ney only a few months after his election, showed his determination not to submit to Parliamentary Government. Then followed his dismissal of Ministry after Ministry, until he had degraded the office to a clerkship. Then came the semi-royal progress, then the reviews of Satory, the encouragement of treasonable cries, the selection for all the high appointments in the army of Paris of men whose infamous character fitted them to be tools. Then he publicly insulted the Assembly at Dijon, and at last, in October, we knew his plans were laid. It was then only that we began to think what were our means of defence, but that was no more a conspiracy than it is a conspiracy in travellers to look for their pistols when they see a band of robbers advancing.”[47]

Two powerful motives urged the Prince-President forward. The time for the revision of the Constitution was approaching, a fundamental law of which was that he was ineligible for re-election at the expiry of his term of office. This law virtually forced him to choose between usurpation and obscurity, unless he could get it revised in his interests. But it was evident to him that it would not be so revised, unless popular pressure were put upon the Assembly, by some imposing demonstration of the masses in his favour. To win their sympathies he demanded the abolition of the Electoral Law of May 31st, 1850. That law imposed a three years’ residential qualification on the voter, and in practice it reduced the electorate from 10,000,000 to 7,000,000 electors. The electoral law of May 31st was therefore the Prince-President’s moral weapon against the Assembly. The Assembly, however, refused to further his policy on both points, and endeavoured to protect itself against reprisals by authorising its President to exercise such control over the army as he might deem necessary for its protection. This in turn was resented by the Prince-President as an attack on the prerogatives of the Executive, and Cabinet after Cabinet fell in the course of the struggle between the Chief of the State and the Parliament. But the end was within sight when a Bill{492}

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determining the responsibility of the Prince-President and his Ministers was brought forward. It provided for the punishment and trial of Ministers and of the Prince-President in the event of their violating the Constitution, and it was the last measure of importance which the Chamber was permitted to consider. On the night of the 1st of December the Prince-President and his coadjutors secretly printed a number of decrees, which were posted before daybreak on the walls of Paris. These announced the dissolution of the National Assembly and of the Council of State; the abrogation of the law of May 31st, 1850; the convocation of the French electoral colleges from the 14th to the 21st of December; and the proclamation of a state of siege in Paris. The Prince-President further submitted to the electors a new programme, of which the chief points were (1), a responsible chief named for ten years; (2), Ministers dependent on the Executive alone; (3), a Council of State; (4), a Legislature elected by universal suffrage without scrutin de liste, and (5), a Second Assembly, or Senate, filled with all the illustrious persons of the nation. In a word, he proposed to revive the system under which the First Consul transformed France into a military Empire. Proclamations appealing to the army{493}

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were also issued. As for the Chamber, its members were arrested when they attempted to offer a protest. All prominent men who might have organised opposition among the masses were suddenly captured and thrown into prison. At the first show of popular resistance, the troops, who had been plied with strong drink for the occasion, fired on the people—in fact, the army seized France, and, having gagged and bound her, laid her at the feet of the Bonapartists. When Mr. Senior asked M. de Tocqueville if he did not think that the contest had been virtually forced on by the Assembly, we have said that the French statesman denied the charge. M. de Tocqueville contended that the proposition to put the army under the orders of the President of the Chamber was absurd, because it was impracticable, and need not have alarmed the Prince-President. The army had been so corrupted that it would not have obeyed the orders of the Chamber. As for the law of responsibility, that was not meant as a step in a conspiracy to crush the Prince-President. This law, M. de Tocqueville assured Mr. Senior, was sent{494} up to the Chamber by the Council of State, who had been two years at work on it, and the Committee of the Chamber, fearing lest it might provoke a collision with the President, actually refused to declare it urgent. “Though I have said,” observed De Tocqueville, “that he (the Prince-President) has been conspiring since his election, I do not believe that he intended to strike so soon. His plan was to wait till next March, when the fears of May, 1852, would be most intense. Two circumstances forced him on more rapidly. One was the candidature of the Prince de Joinville. He thought him the only dangerous competitor. The other was an agitation set on foot by the Legitimists in the Conseils Généraux for the repeal of the law of May 31st. That law was his moral weapon against the Assembly, and he feared that if he delayed, it might be repealed without him.”[48] The brutality displayed by the police who dispersed the Legislative Assembly, and by the soldiery who fired in the most wanton manner on the 3rd of December, without any justification whatever, on the houses, and on peaceful passers-by along the boulevards of Paris, was stigmatised by the public opinion of England as barbarous and outrageous. It set the educated classes in France without distinction of party against the Prince-President to such an extent, that it became a mark of social and intellectual distinction to refuse to recognise or serve under the new régime. In the provinces the Prince-President’s tactics of repression were equally successful, and some 10,000 persons were seized and transported to penal settlements, without being convicted by any form of legal trial. The papers of the distinguished statesmen and generals who were alleged to have been conspiring against the Prince-President were ransacked; but no trace of evidence was found against them, and they were accordingly never brought to trial at all. Having thus destroyed the Constitution by the sword, Prince Charles Louis Bonaparte appealed for a vote of indemnity to a nation which had no alternative but to choose between him and anarchy. The result of this appeal was a vote of 7,439,000 votes in his favour, and 640,737 against him—M. de Montalembert, to the grief and surprise of the educated classes, being among those who joined the majority.

What was the attitude of the Queen to these events? On the 5th of December, Lord Palmerston sent a despatch to Lord Normanby, the British Ambassador at Paris, stating that “it is her Majesty’s desire that nothing should be done by her Ambassador at Paris which could wear the appearance of an interference of any kind in the internal affairs of France.” Lord Normanby accordingly called on M. Turgot, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to communicate this instruction, and apologised for his delay in making the communication. M. Turgot sarcastically replied that the delay was not of importance, as he had two days before that heard from M. de Walewski, the French Envoy in London, that Lord Palmerston had approved of the deeds of{495} the Prince-President. When the despatch from Lord Normanby recording this interview reached the Queen, she sent it to Lord John Russell, pointing out that Lord Palmerston’s approval of the coup d’état was not only a defiance of her own personal wishes, but also of a resolution of the Cabinet. Lord John Russell complained to Lord Palmerston about the matter, but instead of expressing regret, the latter sent to Lord Normanby a despatch strongly approving of the coup d’état, which, however, he concealed from the Prime Minister and the Queen. It was not till the 18th of December that Lord John Russell was able to inform the Queen that he had at last received from Lord Palmerston an explanation, which was so unsatisfactory that he had been compelled to write to that turbulent Minister “in the most decisive terms.” In plain English, Lord John called on Palmerston to resign. He sent in his resignation promptly enough, excusing himself by saying that his approval of the coup d’état was but the expression of a personal and not of an official opinion. The whole correspondence was submitted to the Queen, who accepted the resignation of the Foreign Secretary with alacrity. “It was quite clear to the Queen,” writes Prince Albert in a letter to the Prime Minister, “that we were entering on most dangerous times, in which Military Despotism and Red Republicanism will for some time be the only powers on the Continent, to both of which the Constitutional Monarchy of England will be equally hateful.” The calmative influence of England, her Majesty thought, should be used to assuage and not embitter the conflicts abroad which produce such a perilous state of things. But this influence, she held, had “been rendered null by Lord Palmerston’s personal manner of conducting the foreign affairs, and the universal hatred which he has succeeded in inspiring on the Continent.”

On the 22nd of December a Cabinet Meeting unanimously condemned Palmerston’s conduct, and the post vacated by him was accepted by Lord Granville, who was installed at the Foreign Office on the 27th of December. Lord Palmerston’s friends forthwith began to fill the Press with foolish reports, that he had been dismissed because foreign Courts had influenced the Queen against him. These insinuations were utterly unjust. For when Baron Brunnow asked Lord John Russell to contradict these rumours, the Queen wrote to Lord John as follows:—“Baron Brunnow’s letter is in fact very presuming, as it insinuates the possibility of changes of government in this country taking place at the instigation of Foreign Ministers, and the Queen is glad that Lord John gave him a dignified answer.” Palmerston’s dismissal, in truth, was due to his incurable recklessness, and his inveterate habit of not only compromising both the Queen and the Cabinet without consulting them, but of acting contrary to the course which had been definitely adopted by Queen and Cabinet alike, in grave and delicate affairs. Louis Napoleon was the only personage of distinction who regretted his fall. “So long as he was in office,” remarked the Prince-President cynically, “England would have no allies.{496}”

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Cassandras in the Service Clubs—The Tories and the Queen’s Speech—Lord John Russell’s Triumph—The Militia Bill—Defeat of the Russell Ministry—Fall of the Whig Cabinet—Palmerston’s “Tit for Tat”—A Protectionist Government—Novices in Office—A Cabinet of Affairs—Mr. Disraeli’s Budget—Lord John Russell’s Fatal Blunder—The Second Burmese War—Dalhousie’s Designs on Burmah—How the Quarrel Grew—Lambert’s Indiscretion—The Attack on Rangoon—Fall of the Citadel—Annexation—Desultory Warfare—Dissolution of Parliament—The General Election—Equipoise of Parties—Factions and Free Trade—Palmerston’s Forecasts—Forcing the Hand of the Ministry—Death of the Duke of Wellington—The Queen’s Grief—The Nation in Mourning—The Lying-in-State—Shocking Scenes—The Funeral Pageant—The Ceremony in St. Paul’s—A Veteran in Tears—The Laureate’s Votive Wreath—Review of the Duke’s Character.

Eighteen hundred and fifty-two was a year fruitful in alarms and excitement. The excitement arose from the discovery of gold in Australia towards the end of the year 1851, and from the rich supplies of the precious metal which came pouring in from the new El Dorado. The alarms arose from the unsettled state of affairs abroad, the tortuous policy of Louis Napoleon, and Cassandra-like warnings from military writers that the national defences were utterly untrustworthy. A troublesome Caffre War at the Cape had also been draining away the best blood of the army during eighteen months, and absorbing troops who could be ill spared at home.

Parliament met on the 3rd of February, and members, of course, could talk of nothing save the rupture between Lord Palmerston and the Ministry. The Queen’s Speech suggested, as topics of legislation, certain Reports of Commissions on the practice and proceedings in the Supreme Court of Law and{497}

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(After the Painting by Charles Lutyens, in the Possession of the Earl of Bradford.)

Equity, the reorganisation of the Government of New Zealand, and Parliamentary Reform. Why, asked the Tories, was there no allusion to agricultural distress? Was it not absurd to congratulate the country on the fact that remission of import duties had not diminished revenue, when revenue was only maintained by the unpopular and iniquitous Income Tax? Why was no notice taken of the open and ostentatious defiance by the Roman Catholics{498} of the Act against Papal Aggression? For the tranquillity of Ireland the Government surely ought not to take credit, inasmuch as it was due to the exodus of the Irish people to America. As for Parliamentary Reform, Lord Derby declared contemptuously that there were not 500 reasonable men in the country who wanted a new Reform Bill. These criticisms, however, fell flat. The one question of the hour was, Why had the Foreign Secretary resigned? and explanations were given by Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston. “In all my experience,” says Mr. Greville, writing of this incident, “I never recollect such a triumph as Lord John Russell achieved, and such complete discomfiture as Palmerston’s…. Palmerston was weak and inefficient, and it is pretty certain he was taken by surprise, and was unprepared for all that John Russell brought forward. Not a man of weight or influence said a word for him, nobody but Milnes [afterwards Lord Houghton] and [Lord] Dudley Stuart. The Queen’s letter was decisive, for it was evident his conduct must have been intolerable to elicit such charges and rebukes; and it cannot fail to strike everybody that no man of common spirit, and who felt a consciousness of innocence, would have brooked anything so insulting.”[49]

But Palmerston, though a fallen Minister, was not the man to sit meekly under such a mortification. As he said himself, he would soon give Lord John Russell “tit for tat.” His chance for retaliation came when the arbitrary acts of the Prince-President of the French Republic roused the fighting instincts of the English people. A wave of panic ran over the country, and it was asserted that as Charles Louis Bonaparte had founded his power by the sword, so by free use of the sword must he keep it. M. Berryer had expressed in the Chamber the taunt which was freely whispered through France, that the Prince-President’s aim was to establish an “Empire without genius and without military glory.” Surely, then, Englishmen argued, France under this unscrupulous usurper must be forced into war, in order to divert her attention from the bondage in which she is held by her Autocrat and his army. But if France must needs make war so that the French people may get military glory in compensation for civil liberty, a war on England, whose Press teemed with insulting criticisms on the brutality of the coup d’état, was of all wars the one most likely to be popular with the French soldiery. From such reasoning it was but a corollary that England was, as usual, utterly unprepared for attack, and a panic-cry was accordingly revived in favour of strengthening her defensive forces. Yielding to this cry, Lord John Russell introduced his celebrated Militia Bill, which organised a local as distinguished from a general militia—that is to say, a force whose regiments could be called on for service, not in any part of the United Kingdom, but only in their own counties. This was the weak point of the scheme, and the Duke of Wellington did not conceal his bad opinion of it.{499} Fortified by the Duke’s moral support, Lord Palmerston assailed the Militia Bill of the Government with relentless ferocity. On the 20th of February he carried against the Government, by a majority of nine, an amendment in favour of organising a general instead of a local militia, and Lord John Russell resigned on the 23rd of February. Thus fell the last Whig Cabinet that has ruled England—all succeeding Liberal Ministries being either coalitions of Whigs, Peelites, and Radicals, or of Whigs and Radicals alone.

For reasons which have been already given, the times were not propitious for a coalition of this sort. The Queen had therefore no option but to send for Lord Derby, and ask him to form a Protectionist Ministry. She was, of course, deeply sensible of the fact that by recent declarations in favour of Protection, no Ministry of which he was the head could command the confidence of the nation. Indeed, Lord Derby himself was aware of this. But as his followers had joined Lord Palmerston in ejecting the Whigs, he felt that he could not in honour shrink from the embarrassing task of forming a Cabinet to govern the country, with a certain majority against him in the House of Commons, and a dubious majority at his back in the House of Lords. A futile attempt was made to induce Lord Palmerston to join the Tory Cabinet—the Queen agreeing to accept him as a Minister, provided he did not go to the Foreign Office, and was not entrusted with the leadership of the House of Commons. Palmerston refused all Lord Derby’s overtures, because he did not care to cast in his lot with a Party which was committed to Protection. One Tory leader, however, shared none of Lord Derby’s fears for the future. Writing in his Diary on the 20th of February, Lord Malmesbury says:—“Went to Disraeli’s after breakfast, and found him in a state of delight at the idea of coming into office. He said he ‘felt just like a young girl going to her first ball,’ constantly repeating, ‘now we have got a status.’”

The chief appointments in the new Cabinet were as follows:—The Earl of Derby, Prime Minister; Lord St. Leonards, Lord Chancellor; Mr. Disraeli, Chancellor of the Exchequer, as to which the joke current in Society at the time was “that Benjamin’s mess will be five times as great as the others;”[50] the Earl of Malmesbury, Foreign Secretary; Sir John Pakington, Colonial Secretary; Mr. Spencer Walpole, Home Secretary; Mr. Herries, President of the Board of Control;[51] Earl of Lonsdale, Lord Privy Seal. The only members of the Cabinet who had ever held office before were Lord Derby and Lord Lonsdale, and the country was anxious as to the competence of a Cabinet of novices to carry on the Government of the Queen. “The new Government,” writes Mr. Greville, “is treated with great contempt, and many of the appointments are pitiable.” Sir George Cornewall Lewis, in a letter to Sir Edmund Head, remarks that “the chief effect of the change has been that Graham and Cardwell have come to sit among the Whigs, while Gladstone and Sidney{500} Herbert sit below the gangway.”[52] As for Lord Palmerston—though he got Lady Palmerston to invite Lord John Russell to one of her parties, and otherwise showed in public some desire to be reconciled to him—he told Lord Clarendon privately that “John Russell had given him his independence, and he meant to avail himself of that advantage.”[53] Moreover, to add to Lord Derby’s perplexities, there soon arose great complaints against Mr. Disraeli as Leader of the House of Commons. “They say,” writes Mr. Greville, “that he does not play his part as Leader with tact and propriety, and treats his opponents impudently and uncourteously.”

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SIDNEY HERBERT. (After the Statue by Foley.)

The new Government promised the Queen that they would wind up the affairs of the Session as quickly as possible, and as a dissolution was objectionable at that critical moment, they assured her that they would bring forward no contentious business. They introduced a Militia Bill, designed to meet the objections of Lord Palmerston to the measure of Lord John Russell.{501} Though Mr. Walpole, the Minister in charge of the Bill, covered the Cabinet with ridicule by proposing that every militiaman who served two years should get a vote for the county in which he was enrolled, public contempt was diverted from the Ministry to the Opposition. By an inconceivable blunder, Lord John Russell, without consulting with his colleagues, came down to the House of Commons and opposed the second reading of a Bill, to the principle of which he knew the majority were already committed by the vote that had expelled him from office. He thus gave Lord Palmerston an opportunity of making a bitter attack on him. He also led his Party to a defeat as sure as it was disastrous. He discovered dissensions and divisions of opinion among his followers, the exposure of which not only demoralised them, but weakened public confidence in them as a competent governing organisation. This blunder settled the destiny of Lord John Russell. All sections of the Opposition now joined Mr. Bright in saying that Lord John must never again be permitted to lead the Liberal Party. The incident, unimportant as it seems, was of high historic significance. It rendered the Coalition Ministry under Lord Aberdeen inevitable. It rendered Whig Cabinets henceforth impossible in England.

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Mr. Disraeli’s Budget speech was a brilliant performance which pleased everybody but his own Party. Its principal point was to provide for the{502} continuance of the Income Tax for one year. But what made it interesting was its glowing eulogy of the Free Trade measures of Sir Robert Peel, not to mention the elaborate statistics by which Mr. Disraeli, while silent on the Corn Duties, proved that incomparable benefits had been conferred on the country by Peel’s tariffs, and by his reductions of import duties. The oration was, of course, a bid for the accession of Palmerston and the Peelites to the Tory Party. “Disraeli’s speech on introducing his Budget,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “has produced a bad effect in the country, for the farmers, though reconciled to giving up Protection, expected relief in other ways, and he does not give a hint at any measure for their advantage.”[54] A night or two afterwards, Mr. Disraeli had therefore to make a vague recantation of his change of opinions, and at a Mansion House dinner Lord Derby did his best to explain away the Budget speech of his embarrassing colleague, by an elaborate exposition of the doctrine of compromise, on which he said British institutions were founded.

During the first part of the Parliamentary Session of 1852 the cause of Parliamentary Reform made but little progress. Mr. Hume, on the 25th of March, moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the extension of the Franchise. Though he tried to galvanise his party into vigorous life by a scornful and defiant retort to Lord Derby’s recent attack on democracy,[55] the discussion of the subject was felt to be academic rather than practical, and his motion was rejected by a vote of 244 to 39. A similar fate attended Mr. Locke King when he, too, brought in his motion to assimilate the County and Borough Franchise. Several debates were devoted to the question of the prevalence of bribery at elections, and Lord John Russell’s Bill, empowering the Crown to direct a Commission of Inquiry into any place at which an Election Committee reported the existence of bribery, was carried through both Houses of Parliament. The disfranchisement of Sudbury and St. Albans for corrupt practices had left four seats in the House of Commons to dispose of. Mr. Disraeli’s scheme for allocating them to the West Riding of Yorkshire and the Southern Division of Lancashire was, however, rejected on Mr. Gladstone’s amendment—a defeat which was a sharp reminder to the Ministry that, so long as they were in a minority and refused to dissolve Parliament, they could not hope to control the House of Commons when contentious business came before it.

An attack on the endowment of Maynooth College by Mr. Spooner, who demanded an inquiry into the system of education pursued at that seminary, wasted much time. Both parties, with a General Election impending, shrank{503} from offending the Roman Catholic voters too deeply. Yet they were equally afraid of displeasing the aggressive Protestantism of the country. After repeated adjournments the matter dropped, chiefly owing to a significant threat from Mr. Gladstone and Lord John Russell, that to attack Maynooth was to reopen the whole question of the distribution of ecclesiastical endowments in Ireland, a question the discussion of which could not be advantageous to the Anglican minority in that kingdom. A barren debate on the remission of the Hop Duty, and Mr. Milner Gibson’s failure to carry resolutions condemning the Paper Duty, the Duty on advertisements, and the Stamp Duty on newspapers, together with Mr. Disraeli’s success in carrying his provisional Budget, continuing the Income Tax for one year, sum up the financial business of the Session. By the end of June all the measures which the Government had proposed to pass were disposed of.

Lord Derby’s first Government may have consisted of novices, but it evidently did excellent practical work as a Cabinet of affairs. For between its accession to office and the dissolution of Parliament it passed the Militia Act, the New Zealand Constitution Act, several good Law Reforms, including an Act to simplify special pleading and to amend procedure in the Common Law Courts, an Act extending the jurisdiction of County Courts, and another to abolish the office of the Masters in the Court of Chancery. Besides these, they passed useful Acts for improving the water supply of London, and restricting intramural interments.

Parliament was prorogued by the Queen in person on the 1st of July, one of the most interesting passages in her speech referring to the origin of the second Burmese war, and the capture of Rangoon and Martaban—events the record of which need not detain us long.

The second Burmese war ostensibly arose out of a complaint made to the Indian Government by a Mr. Sheppard, master of a Madras trading vessel.[56] He alleged that he had been imprisoned and fined by the Governor of Rangoon on the false charge of having thrown a man overboard. This was followed by other complaints from British subjects, who had been ill-used by the Burmese authorities, and the Rangoon merchants declared that, unless they were protected against the lawless exactions of the Governor’s subordinates and dependants—who had been told by him to get money as best they could, seeing he had none with which to pay their salaries—they must abandon all efforts to trade in the country. The Governor-General of India came to the conclusion that these complaints were justifiable, and easily proved that the Treaty of Yandaboo, made at the end of the first Burmese{504} war, had been violated. Commodore Lambert was accordingly sent in H.M.S. Fox and two steamers to Rangoon, with a courteous message seeking reparation from the King of Ava, on account of the conduct of the Governor of Rangoon. The request was refused, and it was followed by a more peremptory demand. The Court of Ava replied in a conciliatory tone, recalled the Governor of Rangoon, and appointed a new one, who treated Commander Fishbourne, Lambert’s second in command, with some discourtesy. Commodore Lambert forthwith blockaded Rangoon, and seized a vessel belonging to the Burmese king.[57] On the 10th of January, four days after the blockade was established, the Fox was compelled to destroy a hostile stockade on the river. After some diplomatic fencing between the Indian Government and the King of Ava, an ultimatum was sent to his Majesty. He still refused to make any concessions, and war was declared.

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General Goodwin, with a contingent from the Bengal Army, sailed from{505}

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India for the mouth of the Irawaddy on the 28th of March. He arrived there on the 2nd of April, and on the 5th stormed and captured Martaban, where the enemy, five thousand strong, fought behind a river line of defences extending over 800 yards. In the meantime, General Goodwin had been reinforced by a contingent from Madras, and Commodore Lambert had destroyed the stockades on the Rangoon river. It was then determined to attack Rangoon on the 9th of April. On the 11th, Rear-Admiral Austen cleared the way for the army by destroying the whole line of river defences on both banks. On the 12th three regiments of infantry and part of the artillery were landed, and the contest was, to the surprise of the General, commenced by the Burmese, who left their stockades and attacked the flanks of our advance. A strong stockade which stood in the way was carried, after severe losses. Major Fraser, Commanding Engineer, took the ladders to the fort, and mounting its defences alone, attracted by his gallantry the storming party round him which drove the enemy from the position. The troops were ordered to march on Rangoon, but by a different road from that on which the Burmese had made preparations to meet them. They carried by assault the Grand Pagoda, the fall of which citadel made us masters of{506} the town. All the posts on the river fell into our hands in turn, and on the 27th of July Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India, arrived at Rangoon, and congratulated the army on its victories. He then returned to Calcutta. On the 9th of October General Goodwin occupied Prome with a strong force, and in November an expedition was sent against Pegu, which was taken, after some sharp fighting, on the 20th of that month. After this victory Lord Dalhousie annexed the whole province to the British dominions; indeed, had it not been that he had an objection to expose British India to contact with the frontier of China, he would probably have annexed the whole of Burmah. Our small garrison at Pegu was then subjected to harassing attacks by the Burmese, and the war dragged slowly on. The Burmese always fled to the jungle whenever our men attacked them, returning to annoy our troops whenever they fell back on their quarters. Our capture of the chief centres of population and defence was not followed by the submission of the people. There were few roads in the country. General Goodwin had not adequate transport for his artillery. The climate had sadly weakened his forces, so that the unexpected prolongation of the war, however disappointing to the country, was inevitable.

After the prorogation of Parliament, on the 1st of July, it was dissolved on the 21st of August. On all important questions the Government during the Session had held uncertain and ambiguous language, appealing to the hopes of all parties alike. There was no strong feeling in the country on any subject save that of Free Trade, and it soon became apparent that the majority of the electors would not tolerate a return to Protection, or the imposition of a protective duty on corn. Still, the Protectionists were able to defeat some very able and distinguished men, notably Sir George Cornewall Lewis in Herefordshire, Sir George Grey in Northumberland, and Mr. Cardwell in Liverpool. In each case their successors were feeble mediocrities. Edinburgh, however, elected Macaulay without his even becoming a candidate. But though the Tories did not gain enough seats to enable them to abolish Free Trade, they had fully 300 staunch supporters who would vote like one man for their policy. The Opposition was more numerous, but it was split up into Whigs, Radicals, Peelites, and the Irish brigade, pledged not to give any vote that might tend to bring Lord John Russell back to office. The attitude of the Government was very equivocal during the contest. “They have,” writes Mr. Greville, “sacrificed every other object to that of catching votes; at one time, and at one place, representing themselves as Free Traders, in another as Protectionists, and everywhere pandering to the ignorance and bigotry of the masses by fanning the No Popery flame. Disraeli announced that he had no thoughts, and never had any, of attempting to restore Protection in the shape of import duties; but he made magnificent promises of the great things the Government meant to do for the farmers and the owners of land—by a scheme the nature and details of which he refused to{507} reveal.” This scheme was to be one giving compensation by fiscal arrangements to the landed interest for the loss of the Corn Duties. Fear of an alliance between the Whigs, the Peelites, and the Manchester Radicals, on the basis of reduced expenditure and fresh Reform Bills, caused many Whigs to desert their Party. The Opposition was in a truly deplorable state. Their resentment against Lord John Russell, to whose mismanagement they attributed their electoral reverses, was deep and bitter. Malcontents openly advocated that the leadership should be transferred to Lord Lansdowne; and Lord Palmerston said that though he would be willing to join a Lansdowne Cabinet if formed, he would never serve under Lord John Russell, though he had no objection to serve with him. Lord Lansdowne’s hostility to Parliamentary Reform rendered him incapable of leading a Party that could not afford to dispense with Liberal votes. Moreover, he objected from chivalrous motives to take the leadership unless Lord John Russell asked him to do so. Lord John, on the other hand, told Sir J. Graham that he had made up his mind not to join any Government unless he was replaced in his post as Premier—an arrangement which would have simply perpetuated those divisions and dissensions in the Liberal Party that enabled the Tories to hold office. Lord Palmerston forecast the fate of the Government with wonderful shrewdness, when he said that the chances were they would fall on some mountebankish proposal for helping everybody out of the taxes, without adding to the burdens on the taxpayer.[58]

The Queen’s Speech, so to speak, showed the cloven hoof of the Protectionists. One paragraph filled the Free Traders with the darkest suspicions. It ran as follows:—“It gives me pleasure to be enabled, by the blessing of Providence, to congratulate you on the generally improved condition of the country, and especially of the industrious classes. If you should be of opinion that recent legislation, in contributing with other causes to this happy result, has at the same time inflicted unavoidable injury on certain important interests, I recommend you dispassionately to consider how far it may be practicable equitably to mitigate that injury, and to enable the industry of the country to meet successfully that unrestricted competition to which Parliament in its wisdom has decided that it should be subjected.” Writing to his wife on the day after the debate on the Address, Mr. Cobden alluded to this paragraph as “a queer, tricky allusion to the Free Trade question,” which “brought on a sharp attack upon the Government last night, and as all parties are agreed to force the Disraelites, I hope we shall bring matters to an end soon.”[59] The great aim of the Opposition, without distinction of faction, was to force the Government to say, frankly and fairly, whether they did or did not accept Free Trade in its entirety. But in the meantime an event occurred which for{508} the moment stilled the clamour of contending parties, and united the whole nation in one great wail of mourning.

That event was the death of the Duke of Wellington at Walmer Castle on the 14th of September. This mournful calamity had been long expected. But when it happened the people seemed incapable of realising it. “It was,” said Prince Albert in a letter to Colonel Phipps, “as if in a tissue a particular thread which was worked into every pattern was suddenly withdrawn.” Moreover, it broke the last link that bound the nineteenth to the eighteenth century. “He was,” wrote the Queen to King Leopold, “the pride and good genius, as it were, of this country; the most loyal and devoted subject, and the staunchest supporter the Crown ever had. He was to us a true friend and most valuable adviser…. We shall soon stand sadly alone. Aberdeen is almost the only personal friend of the kind left to us—Melbourne, Peel, Liverpool, now the Duke—all gone.”[60]

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The Queen would at once, and of her own motion, have ordered a public funeral, with the highest honours of State, for the remains of the illustrious dead, following the precedent set in the case of Nelson. She, however,{509}

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(After the Portrait by Count D’Orsay.)

deemed that a solemn vote of Parliament would confer additional distinction on the ceremony. It was thus determined that the body of the Duke should lie in the custody of a Guard of Honour until both Houses of Parliament could meet in November and pass a resolution in favour of burying, in St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Victor of Waterloo by the side of the Victor of the Nile. The pages of Hansard are full of the glowing tributes to the memory of the great Duke, paid by the foremost orators of the Senate. Of these, one of the most brilliant came from Mr. Disraeli, and it subsequently gave rise to a good deal of scandal. A morning paper published a translation—said to come from the pen of the late Mr. Abraham Hayward, Q.C.—of the eulogium passed by M. Thiers in the French Chamber on the Emperor Napoleon I. This certainly bore such a suspiciously close resemblance to Mr. Disraeli’s oration,{510} that the English orator was accused of plagiarism. But the highest tribute of homage to the Duke of Wellington came from the English people, to whom the Duke seemed to embody all the manly virtues of their race. To this fact Mr. Cobden himself bears striking, though grudging, testimony in a letter to his friend Mr. Thomasson, of Bolton, condemning the militant policy which led to an ever-increasing war expenditure. “Let as ask ourselves candidly,” he writes, “whether the country at large is in favour of any other policy than that which has been pursued by the aristocracy, Whig and Tory, for a century and a half? The man who impersonated that policy more than any other was the Duke of Wellington, and I had the daily opportunity of witnessing, at the Great Exhibition last year, that all other objects of interest sank to insignificance, even in that collection of a world’s wonders, when he made his entry into the Crystal Palace. The frenzy of admiration and enthusiasm which took possession of a hundred thousand people of all classes at the very announcement of his name, was one of the most impressive lessons I ever had of the real tendencies of the English character.”[61]

On the announcement of the Duke’s death every town in England displayed the customary emblems of mourning. When, on the 10th of November, the arrangements for the public funeral were well advanced, the corpse was removed, under military escort, from Walmer Castle to the great hall in Chelsea Hospital, where it was received by the Lord Chamberlain, and laid in state on a bier prepared for the purpose. On the 11th, the Queen, Prince Albert, and their family privately visited the Hospital, and paid their last respects to their dead friend. After they left, the Chelsea Pensioners, the Life Guards and Grenadiers, and the children of the Duke of York’s Schools were admitted. On the 12th, the nobility and gentry who held tickets of admission from the Lord Chamberlain came, and then there ensued a scene of deplorable confusion. Eighteen thousand persons passed before the bier between nine o’clock in the morning and five in the afternoon, and many thousands more, after waiting wearily outside in rain and gusty weather, turned away hopelessly when darkness set in.

When the public appeared next day (Saturday) claiming admission, the crowd before the Hospital gates in the morning simply overwhelmed the police. As it grew and gathered, the press became unbearable, and a surging mass of spectators fought and struggled with each other for their lives. Yells of agony rent the air; men and women were knocked down, or fell fainting for want of breath. Screaming children were held aloft in the air to escape suffocation by mothers, who themselves disappeared every minute in the struggle. A great cloud of steam exhaled from the heaving multitude, and far and near the approaches were impassable. After some time the police, reinforced by soldiery, gained control over the crowd, and some 50,000 persons then passed through the hall. On Monday better arrangements prevailed, and{511} 50,000 persons passed the body with the greatest ease. On Tuesday 60,000, and on Wednesday 65,000 persons were admitted. On Saturday three persons, and on Tuesday two, perished in the crush.

On Wednesday a squadron of cavalry conveyed the corpse to the Horse Guards.

As it became clear that the day of the funeral (the 18th of November) would be kept as one of almost religious solemnity, and that no business would be done in London, the Bills of Exchange and Notes (Metropolis) Bill was passed quickly through Parliament. It enacted that bills falling due on the 18th of November should become payable and be presented on the 17th, but that, if paid before 2 p.m. on the 19th, they should not be subject to charges for notarial protest.

On the morning of the 18th of November the great funeral pageant, which Charles Dickens irreverently termed “a masquerade dipped in ink,” passed to St. Paul’s, through streets draped in black. Heavy rain and biting wind did not prevent spectators from perching themselves all through the preceding night on every spot where a glimpse of the procession could be obtained. Windows, roofs of houses, porticoes, balconies, every “coign of vantage” were covered with mourners. A million and a half of spectators gazed at the procession, and few ever forgot the strange and sudden silence into which the multitude was everywhere hushed, when the head of the column appeared, led by the dark, frowning masses of the Rifle Brigade, marching to the beat of muffled drum and the wail of the “Dead March” in Saul. Solemnly,

“Sad and slow,
As fits an universal woe,”
one of the most wondrous of military pageants filed past to the strains of mournful martial music. When the car with the remains of the Duke appeared, a thrill of sorrowful emotion surged through the crowd at each point of the route, as they saw “warriors carry the warrior’s pall.” Strange unutterable thoughts were aroused at the sight of the narrow and curiously emblazoned tenement which contained all that Time and Death had left of him who had overcome the master of modern Europe, but who, in turn, had himself fallen before a Conqueror unconquerable by the mightiest. To this exaltation of feeling succeeded an outburst of homely grief when the Duke’s favourite charger, led by his venerable groom, appeared following his master’s coffin. When the procession came to Temple Bar it was received by the Lord Mayor and Corporation, and at ten minutes to twelve it reached St. Paul’s.

The appearance of the cathedral will never be forgotten. Tiers of seats covered with black cloth rose on every side of the nave. The sombre draperies of the interior threw up the florid architecture of the great Protestant temple in relief of dazzling whiteness, and rows of gas jets round the cornices shed a soft, warm radiance on the scene. The service was choral. The Dean read{512} the lesson, and when the “Nunc dimittis” was chanted, a dirge accompanied by trumpets followed, at the end of which the body was slowly lowered into the vault, the while the organ and wind instruments pealed forth the sad strains of the “Dead March.” As the coffin slowly vanished from view a wave of intensely sorrowful emotion passed over the vast assembly of mourners. Prince Albert visibly shook with grief. The veteran Marquis of Anglesey lost control of his feelings. Tears suddenly coursed down his furrowed cheeks, and, stepping forward, he placed his trembling hand on the vanishing coffin, as if to bid a last farewell to his old chief and companion in arms. The rest of the service proceeded in the usual manner, the conclusion of the ritual being Handel’s anthem—“His body is buried in peace.” Thereupon Garter King at Arms stepped forward and proclaimed the style and titles of the illustrious dead, and the Comptroller of the Household of the Duke advanced, broke his staff of office, and handed the pieces to Garter King at Arms, who laid them in the grave. The Bishop of London pronounced the benediction, and all was over.

The Queen and Prince Albert were of opinion that no éloge on the great Duke was in better taste than Lord John Russell’s; but, perhaps, the one that will best stand the test of time was that of Alfred Tennyson:—

“Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?
Here in streaming London’s central roar,
Let the sound of those he wrought for,
And the feet of those he fought for,
Echo round his bones for evermore.
* * * * *
Mourn, for to us he seems the last,
Remembering all his greatness in the past,
No more in soldier fashion will he greet
With lifted hand the gazer in the street.
O friends, our chief state-oracle is mute:
Mourn for the man of long-enduring blood,
The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute,
Whole in himself, a common good.
Mourn for the man of amplest influence,
Yet clearest of ambitious crimes,
Our greatest yet with least pretence,
Great in council and great in war,
Foremost captain of his time,
Rich in sowing common-sense,
And, as the greatest only are,
In his simplicity sublime.
O good grey head, which all men knew,
O voice from which their omens all men drew,
O iron nerve to true occasion true,
O fall’n at length that tower of strength
Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew.
Such was he whom we deplore.
The long self-sacrifice of life is o’er.
The great World-victor’s victor will be seen no more.”

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Though much has been written about the career of the Duke of Wellington, a brief review of his character may not be amiss here. “His striking characteristic was his judgment,” writes Mr. Spencer Walpole. “He had no doubt in addition capacity and courage. He could not have fought Salamanca without the one, and he would not have held Waterloo without the other. But in capacity he was not, possibly, superior to Moore; in courage he was not superior to Gough. He was a great general, not because he had a great intellect, but because he made fewer mistakes than other men.”[62] His success in war was as conspicuous as his failure in politics, and for the simplest of reasons. He was the only great soldier of his time who understood{514} that to triumph in battle it is necessary to have the most exact and minute knowledge of the mechanism of an army, to know as thoroughly how a soldier’s knapsack should be buckled, as how a mighty campaign should be planned. In this consisted his superiority over Napoleon I., who concentrated his mind on the grand scheme of a battle or a campaign, leaving to his subordinates the task of carrying it out in detail. All Napoleon’s subordinates could do the work of subordinates better than their Imperial master. Not one of Wellington’s subordinates, from the Marquis of Anglesey himself down to the humblest private, could do his individual work better than the Duke could do it for him. It was this easy mastery in handling all the machinery of war that enabled him to readjust his arrangements so much more quickly than his opponents could, when any part of a carefully-planned scheme miscarried. But just because he did not possess the same minute and exact knowledge of the political organism, he constantly fell into grievous errors in statesmanship. Starting with wrong premises in politics, he perpetually blundered into erroneous conclusions. His saving virtue as a politician was his strong common sense. It taught him with unerring certitude when a thing must be done long before his reasoning faculty, obscured by faulty data, taught him that it ought to be done. He never regarded himself as in any sense the servant of the people. It was as the sworn servant of the Crown that he always spoke and acted, and the only test he ever applied to any project of legislation was whether it was likely to strengthen or weaken the Monarchy. No considerations of personal consistency, conviction, or convenience could deter him from accepting or abandoning a policy or a principle, if it could be shown that by doing either he prevented the authority of his Sovereign from being undermined. Duty to the Crown was the pole-star of his life. To gain a point for the advantage of his Sovereign he would even push aside all considerations of personal dignity. Sir Francis Doyle tells a story about him which illustrates most curiously this dominant trait in his character. One day, when Sir Francis Doyle’s father was dining at Apsley House, the Duke said to him, “After the battle of Talavera I wanted the Spanish force to make a movement, and called upon Cuesta to take the necessary steps, but he demurred. He said, by way of answer, ‘For the honour of the Spanish Crown I cannot attend to the directions of the British general, unless that British general go upon his knees and entreat me to follow his advice.’ Now,” proceeded the Duke, “I wanted this thing done, while as to going upon my knees I did not care a twopenny damn, so down I plumped.”[63] This little anecdote gives one a clearer insight into the secret of the Duke of Wellington’s public life than all the biographies of him that have ever been written.{515}


Abortive Attacks on the Ministry—Mr. Disraeli’s First Budget—Fall of the Tory Cabinet—The Queen and Lord Aberdeen—Organising the Coalition—A Ministry of “All the Talents”—The Queen and South Kensington—A Miser’s Legacy to the Queen—Sport at Balmoral—Proclamation of the Second Empire—The “Battle of the Numeral”—The Queen Initiates a Policy—Personal Government in the Victorian Age—A Servile Minister—Lord Malmesbury’s Spies—Napoleon III. and “Mrs. Howard”—Creole Card-Parties at Kensington—Napoleon III. Proposes to Marry the Queen’s Niece—Lord John Russell’s Education Scheme—Mr. Gladstone’s First Budget—The India Bill—Transportation of Convicts to Australia Stopped—The Gold Fever in Australia—The Rush to the Diggings—The First Gold Ships in the Thames—Gold Discoveries and Free Trade—Chagrin of the Protectionists—The Rise in Prices—Practical Success of Peel’s Fiscal Policy—Strikes and Dear Bread—End of the Great Peace.

No sooner had the Duke of Wellington been buried than rival parties resumed the war of faction. The Free Traders, who had been resuscitating the old anti-Corn Law organisation in the North of England, resolved to force from the Ministry an unambiguous declaration against Protection. Mr. Charles Villiers accordingly moved a series of resolutions on the 23rd of November, affirming, that the Free Trade policy of the country had been wise, just, and beneficial[64]—“three odious epithets,” said Mr. Disraeli, which could not be accepted by the Tory Party. He ridiculed this attempt to revive the cries of “exhausted factions and obsolete politics.” He was himself fain, however, to propose a resolution, which admitted that Free Trade had cheapened the necessaries of life, which bound the Government to adhere to that policy, but which did not contain any formal recantation of Protectionist principles.[65] Mr. Bright hit the weak spot in these tactics when he asked, was it safest to let the national verdict on Free Trade be drawn up by Mr. Villiers, who advocated it, or by Mr. Disraeli, who did not advocate it, and the majority of whose followers were pledged to exact from the people some kind of compensation to the landed interest for the repeal of the bread tax? Had it suited Lord Palmerston to let the Ministry be beaten, nothing could have prevented their defeat. But, as we have seen, he had resolved never to serve under Lord John Russell; and there was too much reason to fear that at the moment Lord John was the only possible Premier in the event of Lord Derby resigning office.

“A moderate resolution,” writes Sir George Cornewall Lewis to Sir Edmund Head, “had been prepared by Graham, and assented to by Lord John and Gladstone. Charles Villiers was willing to move it, but Cobden insisted on something stronger, in the secret hope that the House would reject it, and thus damage itself in public opinion, thereby promoting the cause of Parliamentary Reform. Palmerston got possession of the resolution prepared by Graham, and moved it as an intermediate proposition.”[66] The{516} resolution affirmed the principle of Free Trade, but not in terms obtrusively offensive to the Tories. It was eagerly accepted by Mr. Disraeli, who saw in it the means of deliverance from his enemies, and it was carried by a majority of 468 to 53—the minority representing all the Tories who were prepared to cling to Protection, even after it had been formally abandoned by Mr. Disraeli in his audacious address to his constituents.[67]

Mr. Disraeli’s tactics in thus evading defeat have sometimes been cited as a proof of his skill. In reality, they were the outcome of inexperience and exaggerated self-confidence. He did not correctly understand why Sir James Graham and Mr. Gladstone desired to move a moderate resolution. They were, of course, anxious not to turn out the Ministry before Mr. Disraeli’s Budget saw the light. They were morally certain that it would contain some fantastic proposals, which must not only wreck the popularity of the Government, but destroy public confidence for ever in Mr. Disraeli’s financial skill. Events proved that they were right in their calculation.

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On the 3rd of December, in a speech of dazzling brilliancy, Mr. Disraeli introduced his famous and fatal Budget. It reduced the Malt Tax by one-half. The House Duty was raised from 9d. to 1s. 6d. in the £, and extended from houses of £20 to houses of £10 rental. Light dues paid by ships other than for the support of lighthouses pure and simple were taken off. Tea duties were to be reduced gradually by small annual amounts from 2s. 2¼d. to 1s. a{517}

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pound. The Income Tax was to be extended to funded property and salaries in Ireland. A distinction was drawn in taxing permanent and precarious incomes, the exemption for industrial incomes being limited to £100 a year, and for incomes from property to £50; and the rates of assessment per £ were 7d. on incomes from rent of land and from funds, but only 5¼d. on incomes from farming, trade, and salaries. Farmers’ incomes were to be taken as a third instead of a half of their rents. The remissions were so balanced by the additions to taxation that no surplus on the estimated revenue could be shown. A surplus of £400,000 was, however, manufactured by appropriating as revenue the repayments on local loans made to the Exchequer Loan Commission—repayments hitherto used for clearing off debt. The scheme{518} could not stand criticism. After four nights’ debate, it was utterly demolished, Mr. Gladstone’s speech attacking it being one of the few which are said to have ever really turned doubtful votes in the House of Commons. The addition to the House Tax, pressing, as it did, on those who would come within the extended range of the Income Tax, infuriated the urban voters. The remission of half the Malt Tax failed to satisfy a landed interest, hungering for compensation for the abolition of the Corn Laws, because a reduced Malt Tax, it was agreed, benefited nobody but the publicans and the brewers. An extension of the Income Tax to funded property, Mr. Gladstone contended, was a breach of Mr. Pitt’s pledge to the public creditor, in 1798, that no distinct and special tax should ever be laid on the stockholder as such. Mr. Gladstone, like all the eminent financial authorities, protested against recognising the illusory principle of a graduated Income Tax, which lurked in the distinction made between permanent and precarious incomes. He further protested against the danger of estimating too narrowly for the services of the year, and urged with incontestable force that it was a vicious principle to reckon as surplus revenue £400,000 of repayments on the score of local loans—that is to say, to regard the repayment of borrowed money as true income. The Government were beaten on their Budget, by a vote of 305 to 286, on the morning of the 17th of December.[68] In the evening Lord Derby handed his resignation to the Queen at Osborne.

Her Majesty, fully aware of the reasons that rendered Lord John Russell an impossible Premier, now saw her way to organising the strong Government of capable and experienced statesmen which, ever since 1846, she had held could only be formed by a coalition of the Whigs and the Peelites. She accordingly summoned Lord Aberdeen and Lord Lansdowne to assist her out of the Ministerial crisis. Gout prevented Lord Lansdowne from attending at Osborne. His ill-health, together with his loyalty to Lord John Russell, and the disinclination of the Peelites to serve under him, rendered it impossible for him to accept the Premiership. It was equally impossible for the Queen to ask Lord Palmerston to become Prime Minister, after the recent events which had led to his dismissal from the Foreign Office. Hence Lord Aberdeen, though the head of the smallest faction, was the candidate for the Premiership who least divided the Opposition. He was therefore charged with the task of forming a Cabinet.[69] On the 28th of December the famous Coalition{519} Ministry was organised—Lord Cranworth was Lord Chancellor; Lord Aberdeen, Prime Minister; Mr. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Lord Palmerston, Home Secretary; Lord John Russell,[70] Foreign Secretary; the Duke of Newcastle, Colonial Secretary; Mr. Sidney Herbert, War Secretary; Sir J. Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty; Lord Granville, President of the Council; Sir C. Wood, President of the Board of Control; the Duke of Argyle, Lord Privy Seal; Sir W. Molesworth, Chief Commissioner of Works; the Marquis of Lansdowne, a Minister without office. “The success of our excellent Aberdeen’s arduous task,” writes the Queen to the King of the Belgians, “and the formation of so brilliant and strong a Cabinet would, I was sure, please you. It is the realisation of the country’s and our own most ardent wishes, and it deserves success, and will, I think, command support.”[71] The Queen here simply reflected public opinion. Never had a Cabinet of abler men, individually speaking, ruled England since the Ministry of “All the Talents” fell from power. But the Sovereign and her people both forgot that in our strange and anomalous constitution no Cabinet is, as a rule, so weak as a Cabinet of strong men. This Ministry, which started on its career on the flood-tide of Court and popular favour, was destined, by its vacillation in foreign policy, to lead the country into the terrible calamity of a European war. It was doomed to fall amidst the execrations even of those who, like Mr. Cobden, declared that to his dying day he could never sufficiently regret giving one of the votes that brought it into power.

After the formation of the Government, the usual explanations of the position of affairs were given in both Houses of Parliament, Lord Derby attempting to show that the destruction of his Ministry had been plotted by an unprincipled combination of hostile factions. On the contrary, as Sir George Cornewall Lewis says in one of his letters, “there was no real anxiety on the part of the Opposition to turn out the Government; the sections of it were divided, and there was none of that ‘coalition’ which Lord Derby spoke of. The Budget, however, was more than human flesh and blood could bear. The promises of a substitute for Protection which Disraeli had made at the Elections rendered it necessary that the Government should propose something which appeared for the benefit of the agriculturists. They sounded some of their supporters among the county members as to a transfer from the local rates to the Consolidated Fund; but I believe the answer they got was, that a measure which destroyed the power of the magistrates and the local{520} authorities would not be acceptable to their party. They had nothing then to propose but a reduction of the Malt Tax, which created a large deficit, and rendered an increase of taxation necessary. This latter object was effected by doubling and enlarging the House Tax. Disraeli was evidently very confident of the success of his Budget, and impatient to produce it. But when it had been out a week it was clear the country would not agree to it. The farmers did not care about the reduction of the Malt Tax; but the towns did care very decidedly for the increase of the House Tax, and showed a strong objection to it…. Having made their Budget a means of redeeming their promise to give their party an equivalent for Protection, they could not modify it, and therefore defeat on it was vital.”[72] On the 31st of December all the appointments under the new Government were filled up, and Parliament was adjourned till the 10th of February, 1853.

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In the early part of the year the Queen was much distressed by reason of her husband’s anxieties in connection with the affairs of the Great Exhibition. His idea was to apply the surplus in the hands of the Exhibition Commissioners

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(After the Equestrian Portrait by Count D’Orsay)


to the purchase of a site at South Kensington, for the Science and Art Institution which he hoped to see created. Ninety acres of land were bought for £342,500, of which sum Government advanced £177,500, with the intention of transferring the National Gallery to the site. The agent of the Commissioners, however, had in purchasing the land stupidly agreed to take it on a building lease, under conditions which would have destroyed their plans, and involved them in the dilemma of repudiating their agent, or incurring liabilities to erect dwelling-houses, which they dared not undertake. The vendor, Baron Villars, generously permitted them to make other arrangements for buying the fee-simple of the land; but the anxieties of the Prince during the period when the issue was in suspense preyed terribly on his mind and health, and the Queen has herself recorded how she exhausted all means in her power to cheer and sustain him in his distress.

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Her Majesty’s birthday was spent in the sunshine of domestic happiness at Osborne. In the festivities of the season the Queen, early in June, assures her uncle, King Leopold, that she and her family joined only to a limited extent. They gave two State balls and two State concerts. They go, she says, three or four times a week to the play or opera, are hardly ever{522} later than midnight in going to bed and, but for the fagging business of public affairs, the Season “would be nothing to us.” During the summer, life at Osborne was diversified by several short yachting excursions round the South Coast. In August the Queen planned and carried out a brief visit to her uncle, King Leopold of Belgium, reaching Antwerp on the 10th in the Royal yacht in a tempest of wind and rain. At the King’s country seat at Laeken the Royal party spent four bright and happy days, saddened only by the too visible gap in the family circle, left by the death of Queen Louise. The disagreeable and tempestuous voyage homeward was only broken by a charming visit to Terneusen, where the simple hospitality and quaint old-world ways of the villagers greatly delighted her Majesty, who seems to have passed a pleasant day among them.

On the 30th of August her Majesty was amazed to receive information at Balmoral to the effect that an eccentric old barrister called Nield had bequeathed a legacy of £250,000 to her. John Camden Nield was a miser, who had pinched and starved himself for thirty years to add to his patrimony. The Queen very properly resolved to refuse the legacy if Mr. Nield had any relations living who had a claim to the money;[73] but as it appeared he had none, she accepted the gift. The holiday at Balmoral was as bright and happy as could be wished. “Nothing,” writes Lord Malmesbury, who was in attendance on the Queen at this time, “can exceed the good nature with which I am treated, both by her Majesty and the Prince. Balmoral is an old country house in bad repair, and totally unfit for Royal personages…. The Royal party consists of the Duchess of Kent, the ladies in waiting, Colonel Phipps, and Sir Arthur Gordon. The rooms are so small that I am obliged to write my despatches on my bed, and to keep the window constantly open to admit the necessary quantity of air; and my private secretary, George Harris, lodged somewhere three miles off. We played at billiards every evening, the Queen and the Duchess being constantly obliged to get up from their chairs to be out of the way of the cues. Nothing could be more cheerful and evidently perfectly happy than the Queen and Prince, or more kind to every one round them. I never met any man so remarkable for the variety of information on all subjects as the latter, with a great fund of humour quand il se déboutonne.” The Prince himself records in his Diary,[74] however, that “Balmoral is in full splendour, and the people there are very glad that it is now entirely our own.” On the 4th of September Lord Malmesbury writes:—“The Prince had a wood driven not far from the house. After we had been posted in line, two fine stags passed me, which I missed. Colonel Phipps fired next, and lastly, the Prince, without any effect. The Queen had come out to see the sport, lying down{523} in the heather by the Prince, and witnessed all these fiascos, to our humiliation.”[75] This happy holiday was sadly broken by the death of the Duke of Wellington, which brought the Court unexpectedly back to Windsor in October, their route being through Edinburgh, Preston, Chester, and North Wales, where they inspected, on the 14th of October, the Britannia tubular bridge over the Menai Straits. The Queen drove through the bridge in a State carriage drawn by men, while Prince Albert, accompanied by Mr. R. Stephenson, walked across on the roof of the tube. On reaching the south end, the party descended to the water’s edge, from which they obtained a complete view of the magnificent proportions of the gigantic structure.

During 1852 one striking event in Foreign Affairs that occupied the attention of the Queen was the transformation of the French Republic into the Second Empire. In Paris, on the 1st of January, Charles Louis Napoleon was installed at Notre Dame as President of France, and he promulgated a new Constitution, preserving little of the form and none of the spirit of Liberty. The whole Executive was to be vested in the President, who was to be advised by a Council of State, a Senate of nobles nominated for life, and a powerless legislative body elected by universal suffrage for six years, whose transactions at the demand of five members could be kept secret. The next step taken by the Prince-President was to issue Decrees on the 23rd of January, compelling the Orleans Princes to sell their real and personal property in France within a year, and confiscating the property settled on the family by Louis Philippe previous to his accession in 1830. This raised a storm of indignation among all Frenchmen who were not accomplices of the Prince-President in the coup d’état, and it caused Montalembert to resign his seat on the Consultative Commission of the 2nd of December. De Morny and Fould also resigned, M. de Persigny replacing the former.[76] To the Queen, whose partiality for the Orleans family was well known, these Decrees were painfully offensive. The Prince-President’s strongest partisan in England, Lord Malmesbury, wrote a letter remonstrating with him, and the reply serves to illustrate the character of the men who consented to serve in the Senate. “He (the Prince-President),” says Lord Malmesbury in a letter to Lord Cowley, British Ambassador at Paris, “declared the confiscation necessary, as even some of his own Senators had been tampered with by Orleanist agents and money.”[77] On September 13th this patriotic Senate prayed for “the{524}

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re-establishment of the hereditary sovereign power in the Bonaparte family;” and on the 4th of November the Prince-President announced that he had in view the restoration of the Empire, and ordered the French people to be consulted on the matter. The French people, when consulted, were for the restoration—7,839,552 voting “Yes,” and 254,501 “No.” The vote was cast on the 21st of November, three days after Wellington was laid in the grave. As Cobden said, one might almost picture the third Napoleon rising from the yet open tomb of the vanquisher of the first.[78] On the 2nd of December Charles Louis Napoleon was declared Emperor of the French under the title of Napoleon III. The Constitution of January was confirmed with some slight modifications. A Royal title was given to Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon’s uncle. St. Arnaud, Magnan, and Castillane were created Marshals of France; and{525} then there arose the first of the Imperial difficulties—that of obtaining recognition from the European Courts.

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The Queen took a thoroughly sensible view of the situation. The atrocities of December and the confiscation of the Orleans property had not prepossessed her Majesty in favour of the French Emperor. But in her opinion there was no essential difference between such a Republic as had been established by the coup d’état strengthened by the Constitution of January, and a military Empire without glory or genius. If the vast majority of Frenchmen were desirous of transforming their Prince-President into an Emperor, that was their affair, and Foreign Courts had no concern in the matter. The Queen was, therefore, strongly in favour of recognising the title of the Emperor of the French, and of according to him the customary courtesy of addressing him in ceremonial communications as mon frère.[79] The Northern Courts, however, could not bring themselves to treat{526} as an equal, an adventurer who, to use his own expression in announcing his marriage in the Chamber on the 22nd of January, 1853, “had frankly taken up before Europe the position de parvenu.” Ultimately they all yielded to facts, and with the exception of Russia, agreed to address Charles Louis Bonaparte as their “brother.” The haughty autocrat of Muscovy, who had smiled on him approvingly when he strangled Liberty in France, frowned on the attempt to raise on its ruins a fabric of Empire, claiming parity with the ancient dominion of the Romanoffs. The Czar, therefore, persisted in addressing the French Emperor, not as “my brother,” but “my cousin.” This trivial slight is mentioned here, because it had subsequently a potent influence on the fortunes of England.

“England,” writes Sir Theodore Martin, “conceded the phrase mon frère without a grudge.”[80] That is a somewhat misleading statement. It was certainly decided in England that the Emperor should be recognised some little time before the Empire was proclaimed, because everybody knew that its proclamation was inevitable. Having determined that the Prince-President was to be recognised in some fashion as Emperor, a question as to style was raised by the pedants of diplomacy, which showed where the “grudge” lay. It gave rise to that most grotesque of diplomatic struggles—the once famous but now forgotten Battle of the Numeral. Charles Louis Bonaparte, through his envoys, let it be known at the Court of the Queen that he meant to call himself Napoleon III. “Why Napoleon the Third?” asked alarmed Diplomacy. “Clearly he means to filch from us a recognition of the ephemeral title of the Duc de Reichstadt, the son and heir of Napoleon I., who was proclaimed when the First Empire crashed into ruins.” It was a crafty device to avenge Waterloo with the blast of a herald’s trumpet, and to wipe out fifty years of French history, just as the Parliament of the Restoration tried to efface the Commonwealth by dating the statutes of 1660, as of the twelfth year of the Merry Monarch’s reign. The usurper might be recognised by England as Napoleon II., perhaps, but never, argued Lord Malmesbury, as Napoleon III., for that would have countenanced more than our recognition of the Second Empire was actually meant to convey. It would have implied a recognition of the Emperor’s hereditary, as distinguished from his elective, title to the Throne. Most wearisome were the disputes and most tiresome the conferences between Lord Malmesbury, then Foreign Secretary, and the French Ambassador on this subject. At last it was agreed that we should accept the disagreeable numeral, after the French Government admitted in writing that it was not to imply our recognition of the Emperor’s hereditary right to the Imperial{527} Crown of France. From first to last, however, Lord Malmesbury and the other diplomatists were mistaken. Very little reflection might have taught them that if the numeral were meant to efface Waterloo, and the Monarchies of the Bourbons and the Barricades, the usurper would have styled himself Napoleon V., and not Napoleon III., for his elder uncle Joseph and his father Louis both survived the young and ill-fated Duc de Reichstadt. A hereditary title, moreover, would not need to have been consecrated by a plebiscite, and the reign of its wearer would not have been dated from 1852, but from the date of Louis Bonaparte’s death. It is, therefore, natural to ask how Charles Louis Bonaparte came to style himself the Third and not the Second Emperor. The explanation illustrates the facility with which the tragicomedy of fussy English diplomacy is transformed into farce at the touch of fact. Lord Malmesbury, who is rendered supremely ridiculous by the story, tells it himself as follows in his Diary:—

“December 29 (1852). We went to Heron Court. Whole country under water. Lord Cowley[81] relates a curious anecdote as to the origin of the numeral III. in the Emperor’s title. The Prefect of Bourges, where he slept the first night of his progress, had given instructions that the people were to shout ‘Vive Napoléon!’ But he wrote ‘Vive Napoléon!!!’ The people took the three notes of interjection for a numeral. The President, on hearing it, sent the Duc de Mortemart to the Prefect to know what the cry meant. When the whole thing was explained, the President, tapping the Duke on the shoulder, said, ‘Je ne savais pas que j’avais un Préfet Machiavéliste.’”[82]

After the proclamation of the French Emperor, his matrimonial schemes touched the family connections of the Queen somewhat closely. The Emperor’s marriage, in truth, was the favourite topic for gossip and scandal in every high social circle in Europe. As a matter of fact, Charles Louis Napoleon was averse from marriage. Two women were already devoted to him; perhaps more zealously than any bride of exalted rank could ever be. One was Madame Favart de l’Anglade, a creole, who lived some time at Kensington Gate, and whose whist and dinner parties have, perhaps, not yet been quite forgotten in the old Court suburb. (Lord Malmesbury, it may be said in passing, was told by Kisseleff, the Russian Ambassador at Paris, that had the coup d’état failed, Charles Louis Bonaparte and De Morny were to have fled for concealment to this lady’s house.) The other woman who exercised so much influence on the Prince-President’s life was a Mrs. Howard. She was his mistress, and he created her Comtesse de Beauregard after he broke off his intimacy with her.[83] This event was virtually an intimation of his intention to marry. He{528} was anxious to have an heir—for obviously none of the Bonapartes were fit to succeed him. To perpetuate a dynasty a Royal bride would be useful, and to enable him to obtain a Royal bride, Charles Louis Bonaparte persuaded France to proclaim him Emperor.

His first project was to seek in marriage the Princess Caroline Stephanie de Vasa, a grand-daughter of the Grand Duchess of Baden, and daughter of Prince Gustave de Vasa, son of the last King of Sweden of the old legitimate dynasty. The proposal was not accepted, and the lady afterwards married a German Prince. In December, however, Walewski was sent to the English Court to ask the hand of the Princess Adelaide of Hohenlohe for his Imperial master, greatly to the disquietude of the Queen, who was her aunt. On the 28th of December, when the Tory Ministers went to Windsor to deliver up their seals of office, the Queen began at once to discuss this delicate affair with them. Lord Malmesbury says:—“The Prince (Albert) read a letter from Prince Hohenlohe on the subject, which amounted to this, that he was not sure of the settlement being satisfactory, and that there were objections of religion and morals. The Queen and Prince talked of the marriage reasonably, and weighed the pros and cons. Afraid the Princess should be dazzled if she heard of the offer. I said I knew an offer would be made to the father. Walewski would go himself. The Queen alluded to the fate of all the wives of the rulers of France since 1789, but did not object positively to the marriage.”[84] This project, however, fell to the ground, and the Emperor, tired of being rejected by Princesses, acted on the wise apophthegm of Ovid—Si qua vis apte nubere, nube pari. On the 22nd of January, 1853, he announced his intention of marrying Eugenia de Montijo, Countess of Théba, daughter of the Donna Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick, Dowager Countess de Montijo, by the Count de Montijo, an officer of rank in the Spanish army. The father of the Donna Maria Manuela Kirkpatrick was British Consul at Malaga, and supposed to be descended from the assassin of the Red Comyn, whose family motto, “I mak sickar” (“I make sure”), perpetuates grim{529}

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memories of his loyalty to the Bruce. His Majesty told the deputations from the Senate, the Legislative Body and the Council of State, that whilst it was his aim to place France once more within the pale of the old Monarchies, that result would be better attained by policy than by “Royal alliances, which create feelings of false security, and frequently substitute family interests for those of the nation.” Now, any dispute which engages Europe in diplomatic controversy that finally leads to war, is apt to produce fresh groupings of the Powers. An Imperial parvenu seeking for a respectable ally finds in these new groupings excellent opportunities for insinuating himself into “the pale of the old monarchies.” Hence the Emperor’s marriage was a sinister omen for England, because it was his fixed idea that England was the most profitable ally France could have. The Queen, however, on hearing that the Emperor’s marriage was a love match, imagined that his abandonment of an attempt to contract a Royal alliance gave additional force to his assurance at Bordeaux, on the 9th of October, 1852, that the “Empire was Peace,” and that under its guidance France was about to enter on a busy epoch of Industrialism. English Society approved of the marriage,[85] and the Press was loud in its praises of the Imperial pair.[86] Nobody, indeed, had the faintest suspicion at the time that war was in store for us—a war which gave the French Emperor that very alliance with England for which he was then scheming. But before describing the events that led up to the most disastrous calamity that darkens the Queen’s reign, it may be well to sketch briefly the chief points in the Home Policy of her Majesty’s Ministers during 1853.

It has been said that there were only two great projects in which the Queen interested herself during this year, filled, as it was, with distracting anxieties as to foreign affairs—the Budget and the India Government Bill. There was, however, a third: Lord John Russell’s scheme—unhappily abortive—for establishing a national system of public instruction.

Parliament met on the 10th of February, and Mr. Disraeli called Sir James Graham and Sir Charles Wood to account for speaking rudely of the French Emperor in their hustings addresses. Nothing came of his pungent attack, and public interest in politics was languid till April arrived, when Mr. Gladstone introduced his celebrated Budget—the first of a series that enabled{531} him to divide with Sir Robert Peel the glory of being the greatest Finance Minister of the Victorian age.

Mr. Gladstone found that Mr. Disraeli, by under-estimating his revenue and over-estimating his expenditure, had left him with a surplus, not of £461,000, but of £2,307,000.[87] Unexpected military expenditure, due to dread of a French invasion, had reduced this surplus to £807,000. The primary feature in Mr. Gladstone’s Budget was the extension of the tax on personal property devised by will to real property, and also to personal property that passed by settlement. This, Mr. Gladstone reckoned, would ultimately bring in £2,000,000, and put him in a position to deal with the Income Tax, which came to an end in 1853. He proposed to continue the Income Tax at sevenpence in the pound for two years, then to reduce it to sixpence, and in three years after that to reduce it to fivepence. He extended the tax to Ireland, but, by way of compensation, remitted the debts which Ireland had recently incurred to the Imperial Treasury. He increased the duties on Scotch spirits from 3s. 5d. to 4s. 8d., and on Irish spirits from 2s. 8d. to 3s. 4d. a gallon, and thus, he reckoned, he had a surplus of £2,151,000 to spend. How did he spend it? He abolished the duty on soap, thereby terminating the last of the taxes on the four “necessaries”—salt, leather, and candles were the other three—which Adam Smith condemned a century before.[88] He reduced the taxes on 256 minor articles of food, besides tea, advertisements, carriages, dogs, male servants, apples, cheese, cocoa, butter, and raisins. He reduced the rate of postage to the Colonies—a reduction which, it is surprising to find, had not been even suggested by Mr. Disraeli or any of his predecessors in the highest of Imperial interests. An ingenious feature in his Budget was his manipulation of the Funds. Old Three per Cent. Consols, which could be paid off at a year’s notice, sold for a little over par, that is to say, £100 of stock sold for a little more than £100. New Three per Cents, however, which were not redeemable for twenty years, sold for £103—i.e., £100 of stock was worth in the market £103, the difference of £3 representing the value of the State guarantee to pay interest on the stock for twenty years. Hence, he said, if he gave a like guarantee for some of the unguaranteed stock, he might lay hands on the increment of value thereby added to it for the benefit of the State. He accordingly permitted fundholders to exchange £100 of Consols, or “Reduced Three per Cents.” for Exchequer bonds,[89] or for £82 10s. in New Three and a Half per Cent. Stock, guaranteed for forty years to pay £2 17s. 9d. of interest, or for £110 irredeemable Two and a Half per Cent. Stock. Mr. Spencer Walpole has said{532}

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that “in breadth, in comprehension, in boldness, in knowledge, and in originality,” Mr. Gladstone’s first Budget will compare with Peel’s greatest efforts in 1842 and 1845.[90] But even Mr. Walpole admits that, whereas Peel’s Budgets can be tested by results, Mr. Gladstone’s can be judged of only from its intention. The Crimean war—which he did not foresee, and which, as will be shown presently, was then brewing—upset all his calculations. It was not favourable to conversion of debt; moreover, the new succession duty did not bring in one-fourth of the estimated sum.[91] Only one important change was effected in the scheme. The duty on advertisements, which Mr. Gladstone proposed should be reduced to 6d., was abolished by the odd and novel method of moving and carrying an amendment substituting the cipher (0) for the figure 6(d.), in the resolution of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Hume{533} challenged the competence of the House of Commons in Committee to adopt a resolution with a “nought” in it instead of a definite figure, but the Speaker ruled against him.

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The India Bill was introduced by Sir C. Wood on the 3rd of June, 1853. The complaints against the system under which India was ruled were that it led to wars, deficits, maladministration of justice, neglect of public works and of education. The Dual Government of the Imperial Board of Control and the Court of Directors of the East India Company was maintained, but the Court of Directors was reduced from thirty members to eighteen, twelve of whom were to be chosen by the Company, and six nominated by the Crown,{534} who were to be Indian officials of ten years’ service. The new system, which was to prevail till Parliament chose to change it, put an end to the old plan of leasing the Indian Empire for a term of years to a Company of merchant adventurers. As to patronage, competition was substituted for nomination as the mode of entering the public service. Direct appointments to the Indian Army were, however, left in the hands of the Directors of the Company. The scheme was warmly discussed, the friends of the Company insisting on immediate legislation; its enemies, thinking that in time they might be able to educate the country up to the point of abolishing the authority of the Directors, and transferring the government of India absolutely to the Crown,[92] pressed for delay. Mr. Disraeli and the bulk of the Tories were for postponing legislation, but in the end the Government carried the Bill.

Lord John Russell, on the 4th of April, explained his scheme for establishing a system of national education. The main point in it was that it empowered Municipal Authorities to raise a rate in aid of voluntary schools, the rate to be applied to pay twopence in the week for each scholar, provided fourpence or fivepence were contributed from other sources. The scheme was, however, abandoned. Lord John had in his speech foreshadowed the introduction of a Bill imposing drastic reforms on the Universities, and this roused the Tory Party to obstruct his proposals. It is but fair to draw attention to this Bill, because Lord John Russell is entitled to the credit of having been the first statesman to present a comprehensive scheme for organising primary education, based on the principle that it is the duty of the community to provide for the instruction of the people by levying an education rate. This, said Mr. W. J. Fox, was “a most important step in the progress of public instruction.”

A Bill empowering the Local Governments in Canada to deal with Clergy Reserves was introduced by Mr. F. Peel on the 15th of February. It is notable because the debates on it illustrate the difference between the ideas of the two parties in the State as to Colonial Government—the Tories in those days being on the whole opposed to granting the Colonies privileges of self-government, whilst the Liberals favoured such grants. In 1791 it was enacted that whenever the Crown disposed of waste lands in Canada, one-seventh of their value should be reserved for the support of the Protestant clergy. The funds, it seems, had not been fairly distributed, the Established Churches of England and Scotland having received the largest share of them. In 1840 the Imperial Legislature had confirmed this appropriation by restraining the Canadian Legislatures from meddling with these funds. The Bill of the Government simply gave the Canadian Legislature the right of dealing with them as it thought fit, on the ground that the disposal of lands which derived their value from Canadian capital and Canadian enterprise was a matter of Colonial rather than of Imperial concern. The Bill was passed.{535}

On the 11th of July a Bill for altering the punishment of transportation was introduced into the House of Lords by the Lord Chancellor. Only one Colony—Western Australia—was willing to receive convicts, and not more than 800 to 1,000 a year could be sent there. The Government proposed, therefore, to limit transportation to such cases of crime as would carry a sentence of fourteen years’ imprisonment, and substitute shorter periods of imprisonment for offences, which up till now had been punished by varying periods of transportation.

This proposal, which was carried, was forced on the State by the great changes which had been effected in the Australian Colonies after the discovery of gold in New South Wales. Here it may be well to notice the manner in which these gold discoveries were made, and their effect on the prosperity of the Empire.

It was on the 10th of September, 1852, that the West India mail steamer brought news to England which revived the old yearning for the discovery of the fabled El Dorado—dormant in the English breast since the days of Raleigh. Gold, it was reported, had been found near Bathurst, in New South Wales, where a frantic rush to the diggings had taken place. The merchant left his warehouse, the shopman his counter, even the lawyers deserted their clients—all eager to join in the headlong race to the mines. But all the gold they were likely to win could not possibly balance the loss caused to the Colony at the time by the mad stampede of the shepherds, who abandoned their countless flocks for the mines. The gold fever was further exacerbated by the subsequent discovery of another rich deposit in Victoria. America had found her El Dorado in California; Englishmen accordingly heard with pride that they, too, had come into a richer heritage in the hitherto despised convict settlements of Australasia. On the 23rd of November, 1852, three vessels from Australia sailed into the Thames with a cargo of seven tons of solid gold. The Eagle brought 160,000 ounces, worth £600,000, and she had made the passage from Melbourne to the Downs in seventy-six days; the Sapphire and Pelham, from Sydney, brought 14,668 ounces and 27,762 ounces respectively; the Maitland, from Sydney, followed with 14,326 ounces; the Australia, the first steamer that arrived from these Colonies, next came in with a still larger quantity; and in December the Dido appeared with a cargo of gold-dust valued at £400,000.

Politically the Protectionists tried to turn these discoveries to some account. They had predicted that Free Trade would ruin the country. On the contrary, £6,000,000 of taxation had been remitted since 1846, and yet there was no shrinkage of revenue. Exports had risen from £58,000,000 to £78,000,000, the shipping trade was brisker than ever, and on the 1st of January, 1853, there were not quite 800,000 paupers in the country.[93] Even the landed interest could not pretend to have been ruined, seeing that the{536} Income Tax assessment under Schedule B, which is levied on rents of agricultural land, had risen from £46,328,811 in 1845 to £46,681,488 in 1852. This tide of prosperity under Free Trade seemed certain to flow rather than to ebb, so that the Tories were taunted with the utter failure of their dismal Protectionist prophecies. It need hardly be said that the Queen, who, as a strong Free Trader, had watched with deep anxiety the result of the great revolution in fiscal policy which she had helped Peel to initiate, was intensely gratified, not to say relieved in mind, when the figures illustrating the commercial condition of her realm were brought under her notice. The Protectionists, however, had an answer to these facts. It was, they averred, the unexpected discovery of gold in Australia that had saved the country from the ruin which they predicted must come from Free Trade. It may be pointed out that the figures we have given for the purpose of showing how the trade of the country stood after 1846, cover the period before, and not the period after, gold was imported from Australia—a circumstance which the Queen and Prince Albert were quick to note and appreciate. The Tory Protectionists, in fact, completely misunderstood the effect which would be produced by any sudden increase in the supply of gold. That effect was two-fold: (1) on the mother country, and (2) on the Australian Colonies.

There is very little mystery about the effect of an increase in the production of gold. The more we put into the market the less valuable will it become. If we double the quantity of gold in circulation, it follows that an article which could be bought for a sovereign will not be sold for less than two sovereigns. The price of the article is thus said to rise, whereas the value, or, properly speaking, the purchasing power of the gold, for which it is exchanged, is said to fall. An increase in the stock of gold ought, therefore, to lead to a rise in prices, and to a fall or depreciation in the value of the metal. In 1853 some foolish persons therefore predicted that gold would soon be as cheap as silver; and yet, though the supply was trebled, gold was not trebly depreciated in value. “Undoubtedly some effect,” says Mr. Walpole, “was consequently made on prices; but the effect was probably only slowly and gradually felt. Gold was absorbed in vast and unprecedented quantities in the arts, and the supply which was actually available for barter was not immediately augmented to the same degree.”[94] It is difficult to understand how so able a writer has been led into an error which must vitiate every deduction drawn from the effect of the Australian gold discoveries on the prosperity of the English people, in the Victorian period. Nobody has ever been able to estimate even approximately the amount of gold that is absorbed in the arts. All that we know is that the amount is so small, that it could not affect such an enormous increase in the supply as that which came from Australia.[95] Besides, as gold did not fall much in value, it was not likely{537} that it would be much absorbed in the arts. But, then, what became of all the gold that was so suddenly poured into England from Australia? Some of it was absorbed in coinage,[96] but not enough to account for the absorption of the vast quantity that remained. The key to the puzzle is, in truth, to be found in the statistics of commerce which we have already cited.

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(After the Engraving in the “Illustrated London News.”)

The value of gold was kept up in spite of the sudden increase in the supply, because, under Free Trade, the commerce of the country began to expand by leaps and bounds. The Australian supplies, in fact, were absorbed in trade, for it is obvious that the sudden expansion of business which followed from Free Trade must have caused a corresponding demand for money, not only to conduct the operations of barter, but to pay the wages of the additional workers who produced the articles sold for money. When this fact is grasped, it is easy to understand what the Australian gold discoveries did for England. Had no new supplies of gold been found in 1853, Free Trade would have brought serious disasters in its wake, but not precisely in the form predicted by the Tories. The sudden expansion of trade would have{538} caused a sudden demand for gold; the value of gold must have risen. Supposing gold had thus doubled in value, then the prices of commodities would have been halved, that is to say, one hundred oxen would have sold only for as many sovereigns as fifty sold for before the value of gold was thus increased. Everybody who had to make a fixed money payment, such as rent or interest, would have had their payment doubled, for they would have had to produce twice as much to meet their obligations as originally sufficed for that purpose. The burden of the National Debt, for example, would have been doubled, for, to pay every pound’s worth of interest to the fundholder, the public would have had to realise what represented two pounds’ worth of wealth when the interest was first fixed. In fact, the only people who would have gained, would have been the few who had to receive fixed payments, at the expense of the many who had to make them. The discovery of gold at a time when a liberated and expanding trade was causing an increased demand for the metal was thus a providential coincidence. By preventing the demand from outrunning the supply, it prevented a sudden increase in the value of the metal, which must have reduced prices and upset all the monetary arrangements of the country.

What was the effect of the discovery of gold on the Australian Colonies? Very much the same as the discovery of rich deposits of any other saleable ore, excepting in this respect, that gold is the one metal that commands an immediate sale, at a high and very slightly varying price. Land, Labour, and Capital are the three great requisites of production. Of these Australia, prior to 1853, had only the first in abundance. The gold mines attracted a rush of emigrants to Australia. But gold mining is a lottery in which the prizes fall to the few. The average earnings of the digger were soon found to be lower than the wages paid in other employments. Hence crowds of men who had been attracted to the mines soon left them, and were ready to follow other pursuits, so that the gold rush gave Australia the second element in production—labour. But the gold which was won, and the demands of the mining population, soon stimulated industry and increased wealth in the Colonies—in other words, the gold rush brought to Australia the third requisite of production—capital.

The Australian gold discoveries, therefore, transformed an insignificant penal settlement into a rich and queenly Commonwealth, and saved England from the gold famine, with its disastrous fall in prices, which a sudden expansion of trade must inevitably have produced after Protective duties were abolished. There were, however, two shadows on the picture. The gold rush to Australia depleted the labour market at home. The demands of the Australian Colonies for British goods, after gold had been discovered, were enormous. A sudden diminution in the supply of labour, combined with a corresponding increase in the demand for the goods which Labour produces, naturally led to a demand in England for increased wages. Strikes broke{539} out all over the country. Labour was scarce and business brisk, and though the conflict was, except in rare cases, unaccompanied by violence, it may be said that generally speaking victory lay rather with the workers than with their masters. Wages were forced up, which was perhaps fortunate, because, as the year wore on, it soon became apparent that a bad harvest in England, France, and Germany would seriously increase the price of food.[97] The enormous impetus given to industry, and the rise in wages which followed, enabled skilled labour to bear this increase in the price of bread. The unskilled labourers, however, who from lack of organisation cannot “strike” with much effect, suffered acutely, especially towards the end of the year. But by that time a calamity was within measurable distance, which diverted the minds of the English people from dear bread and bad harvests. That calamity was the Crimean war, which rendered 1853 the last year of “The Great Peace” which followed the battle of Waterloo.

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(After an Etching by the Queen.)


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Origin of the Crimean War—Russia and “the Sick Man”—Coercing Turkey—The Dispute about the Holy Places—A Monkish Quarrel—Contradictory Concessions—The Czar and the Tory Ministry of 1844—The Secret Compact with Peel, Wellington, and Aberdeen—Nesselrode’s Secret Memorandum—The Czar and Sir Hamilton Seymour—Lord John Russell’s Admissions—The Czar’s Bewilderment—Lord Stratford de Redcliffe—The Marplot at Constantinople—A Hectoring Russian Envoy—The Allied Fleets at Besika Bay—The Conference of Vienna—The Vienna Note—The Turkish Modifications—The Case for England—The British Fleet in the Euxine—A Caustic Letter of the Queen to Lord Aberdeen—Prince Albert’s Warnings—The Massacre of Sinope—Internal Feuds in the Cabinet—Lord John Russell’s Intrigues—Palmerston’s Resignation and Return—The Fire at Windsor—Birth of Prince Leopold—The Camp at Chobham—The Czar’s Daughters—Naval Review at Spithead—Royal Visit to Ireland.

When Parliament was prorogued on the 20th of August, 1853, the following passage was inserted in the Queen’s Speech. “It is with deep interest and concern that her Majesty has viewed the serious misunderstanding which has recently risen between Russia and the Ottoman Porte. The Emperor of the French has united with her Majesty in earnest endeavours to reconcile differences, the continuance of which might involve Europe in war.” The war to which these differences led has ever been regarded by the Queen as the one heart-breaking calamity of her reign—a calamity hardly equalled by the great Mutiny, which, though it nearly wrecked her Eastern Empire, ended in establishing her authority more firmly than ever in her Asiatic dominions. No such tangible result as that followed, however, from the war into which the country was now being rapidly hurried. The results of this war—the battles, the siege operations, “the moving accidents by flood and field”—are all well known; but its causes are to this day very imperfectly understood by Englishmen. The folly and weakness of the Aberdeen Ministry, the influence of Prince Albert, the aggressive designs of Russia, the obstinacy and brutality of the Turks, the determination of Napoleon III. to foment a disturbance from which he might emerge with the status of a Ruler who had linked the throne of a parvenu in an alliance with an ancient{541} monarchy, the factious desire of the Tory Opposition to entangle the Coalition Ministry in Foreign troubles—to all these causes have different writers traced the Crimean war. Let us, then, examine carefully, and closely, the development of the dispute that broke the peace of Europe in connection with the attitude to it—sometimes, it must be frankly said, a wrong attitude—which the Queen and the Court of St. James’s held.

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The geographical conditions of Russia, and the political state of Turkey, favoured the outbreak of war between these States. Russia has no outlet to the sea except through the Baltic in the north, which is frozen in winter, and through the Bosphorus in the south, which is open all the year, but which is dominated by the Sultan so long as Constantinople is the capital of Turkey. Russia has, therefore, an obvious interest either in making Turkey her vassal, or in expelling the Turks from Europe, and establishing a Power at Constantinople in servitude to the Czar. It is almost a heresy to say that Russia has not aimed at seizing Constantinople herself. Yet if we are to base our judgment on authentic historical documents, and not on the heated imaginings of excited Russophobists, it is necessary to say this. The Emperor Nicholas was the most aggressive of modern Czars, and there is no reason to doubt the cynical candour with which he expressed his views on this subject to Sir George Hamilton Seymour, in his conversations with him early in the year.[98]


Yet it is certain that his ideas as to the reconstitution of European Turkey in the event of the Turkish Empire breaking up, took the form of organising a series of autonomous States, which, like the Danubian Principalities in 1853, should be under his protection, though, perhaps, under the nominal suzerainty of the Turks—by that time banished to Asia Minor—“bag and baggage.” These ideas may have been right or wrong. It is, however, just to say that they were the ideas of the Czar, and that they do not correspond with the scheme for making Constantinople the capital of Russia, which most popular English writers accuse him of cherishing.[99] The interest of Russia being thus revealed, let us see where her opportunity lay. It lay in the fact that the Ottomans, though they had enough bodily strength to conquer, had never enough brain-power to govern a European Empire. In this respect they differed signally from the equally savage hordes of Manchu Tartars, who overran China, and who, instead of destroying, adapted themselves to the civilisation with which they came in contact. The Christian provinces of Turkey, and the Greek Christians, under the rule of the Sultan were misgoverned, plundered, and at times tortured by the myrmidons of a barbarous and feeble autocracy. The Russian Czar, as head of a nation fanatically devoted to the Greek cult, could always find in this misgovernment and oppression apt opportunity for interfering between the Sultan and his Greek subjects. Moreover, in every act of interference the Czar of Muscovy knows that he will be supported to the death by the fervid fanaticism of the Russian people.

But the example of other Powers was not wanting in 1853 to emphasise the promptings of interest and opportunity. In 1852 the Turks determined to strike a blow at Montenegro, with which they had for centuries waged chronic warfare. The Sublime Porte sent Omar Pasha to occupy the Principality of the Black Mountain. Austria, alarmed at the prospect, despatched Count Leiningen to Constantinople, and instructed him to press for the recall of Omar. The Porte yielded to this demand, and recalled him.[100]

Nor was Austria the only Power that was demonstrating the ease with which Turkey might be coerced. France had a dispute pending with Turkey, as to the privileges of the Roman Catholic monks in Jerusalem—a dispute into which the French Emperor, when Prince-President in 1850, had entered with vigour, for the purpose of conciliating the French clergy. Mr. Kinglake insinuates that Napoleon III. manufactured this quarrel in order to force on{543} a European war that might strengthen his position. It is but fair to say that the Emperor inherited the controversy from Louis Philippe.[101] As it led to the assertion of claims on the part of Russia, the rejection of which by Turkey caused the Crimean war, it may be well briefly to set forth its salient points.

In 1740 the Porte, in a treaty with France, granted to the Roman Catholic monks and clergy in Jerusalem the custody of certain places in the Holy Land, associated with the memory of Christ, and to which Greek and Latin Christians were in the habit of making pilgrimages. The Great Church of Bethlehem, the Sanctuary of the Nativity, the Tomb of the Virgin, the Stone of Anointing, and the Seven Arches of the Virgin in the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre, were among the Sacred Places thus ceded.[102] During the Revolution, French zeal for maintaining the privileges of the Romish clergy in Syria grew cool, and the Holy Places in the custody of the Latin monks were shockingly neglected. The Greek Christians, however, not only visited these consecrated spots as pilgrims, but piously repaired them with the sanction of the Porte, thus acquiring by firmans from the Sultan the privilege of worshipping in them. The policy of the Porte seems to have been to induce Latins and Greeks to share the use of the sacred shrines. But Latins and Greeks, under the protection of France and Russia respectively, each claimed an exclusive right of control and guardianship over them. The dispute had been carried on in a desultory way till, in 1850, it was narrowed down to this point: France, on behalf of the Latin monks, contended that, in order to pass into the grotto of the Holy Manger, they should have exclusive possession of the key of the Church of Bethlehem, and of one of the keys—the other being in Greek custody—of each of the two doors of the Holy Manger; further, that the Sanctuary of the Nativity itself should be ornamented with a silver star, and the arms of France. In February, 1853, the Porte adjudicated on the rival claims in a letter addressed to the French Chargé d’Affaires, and in a firman to the Greek patriarch. The representative of France was told that the Latins were to have the keys they demanded. The Patriarch was told that Greeks, Armenians, and Latins should have keys also, and that the Latins were not to have any of the exclusive rights over the Holy Places that they claimed. When it became known that the Porte had thus spoken with “two voices,” France complained that the exclusive rights demanded by her under the Treaty of 1740 were denied in the firman. Russia, on behalf of the Greeks, claimed credit for moderation in accepting the firman as a compromise,{544} and insisted on its being publicly proclaimed at Jerusalem as a charter of Greek privileges. The Porte, in deference to the opposition of France, refused to make public proclamation of the firman.[103] The Russian Consul-General left Jerusalem in high dudgeon. “The Latins,” says Mr. Walpole, “on hearing the decision of the Porte, that they should be allowed to celebrate mass once a year in the Church of the Virgin, near Gethsemane, but that they should not be allowed to disturb the altar and its ornaments, declared that it was impossible to celebrate mass on a schismatic slab of marble, and before a crucifix whose feet were separated.”[104] In this quarrel of a few ignorant monks over the mummeries of their rival rituals lay the germ of that great war in which England sacrificed the lives of 28,000 brave men, and spent £30,000,000 of sterling treasure!

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The Porte endeavoured, by contradictory concessions, such as by publicly reading the firman, and by permitting the Latins to put a star over the altar of the Nativity, to please both parties—but in vain. Russia, towards the end of 1852, had moved a corps d’armée on the frontier of Moldavia. France threatened to send her fleet to Syria; and in the end of February, 1853, the Czar sent Prince Menschikoff on a special mission to Constantinople, for the purpose of enforcing the Russian demands.

The turn in affairs that placed Lord Aberdeen at the head of the Queen’s Government did not tend to moderate these demands, or induce the Czar to treat the Porte with any delicacy. The Czar, in fact, was honestly convinced that his views as to the future of Turkey were, in the main, shared by Lord Aberdeen, and therefore by the British Cabinet. It was{545}

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well known that when the Czar visited England, in 1844, he had discussed the Eastern Question with the Queen and her principal advisers, and that he and Lord Aberdeen had become personal friends. His Majesty had propounded to Peel and Aberdeen his fixed idea that it would be well, in view of the impending dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, that England and Russia should agree as to the disposal of its European provinces. As Austria would follow Russia, an Anglo-Russian coalition would necessarily dictate terms to France, who, by her support of Mehemet Ali, had shown that her interests were as hostile to those of England in Egypt, as they were to those of Russia in Syria. In fact, the Czar’s conversations with the Tory Ministers in 1844 were almost identical with those which he subsequently held with Sir Hamilton Seymour in 1853. Sir Theodore Martin asserts that Peel rejected these overtures, saying that England did not regard the dissolution of Turkey as imminent, that she wanted no Turkish territory for herself, that she merely desired to prevent any government in Egypt from closing the road to India, and that she must decline to pledge herself to accept Russian plans for disposing of the Turkish territory, till events rendered its disposal a pressing question.[105] Sir Theodore Martin, however, admits that there was “a general concurrence in the principle expressed” by the Czar, that no Great Power—least of all France—should be permitted to aggrandise itself at the expense{546} of Turkey. Now, it seems certain that up to the very moment when war was declared, the Emperor Nicholas was convinced that Lord Aberdeen’s Government would never take sides with France against him, in any quarrel about Turkey. He was convinced, despite the despatches of the British Ministry, that the ideas of the British Government and his own in regard to the future of Turkey, were in principle the same—and this conviction he evidently carried away with him from England in 1844. He must have been, therefore, too stupid to correctly understand what Peel said to him, or Peel must have said more to him than Sir Theodore Martin felt himself at liberty to record, in his masterly but discreet biography of Prince Albert. The manifest reluctance of Lord Aberdeen to thwart the Russian Emperor, and his obvious embarrassment when his duty forced him to comment publicly on Russian diplomacy in 1853, indicate that something more was said. What it was has been revealed by Lord Malmesbury in an entry in his Diary under date the 3rd of June, 1853. “There is,” says Lord Malmesbury, who speaks with the authority of one who had held the seals of the Foreign Office, “a circumstance which I think must strongly influence Lord Aberdeen at this moment; which is, that when the Emperor Nicholas came to England in 1844, he, Sir Robert Peel (then Prime Minister), the Duke of Wellington, and Lord Aberdeen (then Foreign Secretary) drew up and signed a memorandum, the spirit and scope of which was to support Russia in her legitimate protectorship of the Greek religion and the Holy Shrines, and to do so without consulting France. When Lord Derby’s government came in, at first, I was unable to understand the mysterious allusions which Brunnow[106] made now and then, and which he retracted when he saw that either I knew nothing of this paper, or that I desired to ignore it. Since it was composed and written, the position of affairs in Europe is totally changed, and is even reversed. In 1840 the events in the East had then estranged England and France from one another, and Louis Napoleon did not exist as a factor in European policy. Now he is Emperor of the French, and the Duke and Peel are dead, yet it is not unnatural to believe that Nicholas, finding Lord Aberdeen Prime Minister, and the sole survivor of these three English statesmen, should feel that the moment had arrived, so long wished for by Russia, to fall upon Turkey…. He believes that Lord Aberdeen never will join France against him, and probably thinks Palmerston stultified by the drudgery of the Home Office.”[107] This passage in Lord Malmesbury’s Diary explains why Lord Beaconsfield used to say that he knew as a fact within his own knowledge, that had Lord Aberdeen not come to power in 1852, the Crimean war would never have broken out.[108] Perhaps it explains why Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright declared that if the Tories had not been driven from Office in 1852, the{547} Crimean war would have been avoided. It is now only too easy to understand that, if he had this Secret Memorandum in his possession, the Czar Nicholas naturally believed that the British Government were not serious in their antagonism. It is also easy to understand why Lord Aberdeen always shrank from speaking the firm word of warning, which would have induced Russia to pause ere her troops crossed the Pruth, and draw back whilst it was possible to draw back with honour.

The existence of an informal understanding between the Czar and the old Tory Government of 1844 shows us why his Majesty, in conversation with Sir Hamilton Seymour, on the 9th and 14th of January, 1853, reopened the question which he believed he had virtually arranged with that Government. The last living representative of it—Lord Aberdeen—was Prime Minister of England; Turkey was in a more decrepit condition than ever; France seemed bent on reviving the Napoleonic legend—of evil omen to England in Egypt; nay, she was challenging the claim of Russia to secure protection for the Greek Christians in the Ottoman Empire—a claim which the Tory leaders in 1844 were disposed to favour.[109] The Czar therefore thought it most opportune to say to Sir Hamilton Seymour, as he had said to Wellington and Peel, that Turkey, “the Sick Man,” was dying on their hands, that England and Russia should either agree what should or should not be done with his heritage when he died, and, further, to suggest that the Christian provinces of Turkey should be organised as independent States under Russian protection, whilst England occupied Egypt and Candia.[110] Lord John Russell’s reply to these conversations must have also misled the Czar, preoccupied as he was with the fact that, in terms of the Secret Memorandum of 1844, England and Russia had agreed on a common policy in Turkey. Lord John, in effect, said that, as the British Government did not think that the Turk was quite moribund, it was premature to discuss any project, negative or positive, for disposing of his territory, and that England had no desire for territorial aggrandisement. But he went on to add that he thought the Sultan should be “advised” to treat his Christian subjects justly and humanely, because, if he did so, the Czar would not find it “necessary to apply that exceptional protection which his Imperial Majesty has found so burdensome and inconvenient, though no doubt prescribed by duty and sanctioned by treaty.” The words here italicised were not altogether in accord with the facts, for no treaty sanctioned in plain, definite terms this “exceptional protection;” moreover, they admitted the whole Russian case; for, as will be seen, it was precisely because the Czar was supposed to be bent on extorting from Turkey an extension of the{548} sanction given by existing treaties to the Russian Protectorate over her oppressed Christian subjects, that Turkey and England went to war with Russia. Whether that war was right or wrong, this is certain: it was waged by the English Government to rebut a claim, which that Government at the outset admitted. The Czar, through Count Nesselrode, expressed himself satisfied with the self-denying pledges which had passed between the Russian and English Governments, and, as England had promised not to entertain any project for the protection of Turkey without a previous understanding with Russia, so Russia, he said, gave a similar undertaking to England. But he observed that the surest way to prevent the fall of Turkey would be to induce the Porte to treat the Greek Christians with equity and humanity. The English Government, delighted with this friendly communication, advised the Porte to compose the dispute between France and Russia, by offering to accept any arrangement which these two Powers would take as satisfactory. It remonstrated with France for having been the first, not only to raise the quarrel about the Holy Places, but also to support her demands by a threat of war. This was a second admission on the part of England that in this controversy Russia was in the right. Napoleon III. recalled M. de Lavalelle, his hectoring Envoy at Constantinople, and sent M. de La Cour in his place. Russia ceased her warlike preparations on the Moldavian frontier, and the war-cloud on the horizon began to melt away.

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Unfortunately for the prospects of peace, Lord Aberdeen ordered Lord Stratford de Redcliffe to resume his duties as Ambassador at Constantinople.{549}

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(From a Photograph by Messrs. Boning and Small.)

Stratford de Redcliffe was a man of indomitable strength of character, restless energy, and invincible tenacity of purpose. His fitness for the office of a mediator between Turkey, Russia, and France, charged specially to avert war, may be estimated by the following entry in Lord Malmesbury’s Diary, under date February 25th, 1854:—“Lord Bath,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “has come back from Constantinople, and says that Lord Stratford openly boasts having got his personal revenge against the Czar by fomenting the war. He told Lord Bath so.” According to Lord Malmesbury, his hatred to the Czar dated from the time when his Majesty refused to receive him as Ambassador at St. Petersburg. It is now beyond doubt that Lord Stratford de Redcliffe,{550} from the beginning to the end of the negotiations between the Powers, acted the part of a Marplot. As Prince Albert, in a letter to Baron Stockmar on the 27th of November, said, “The prospects of a peaceful settlement in the East do not improve. Lord Stratford fulfils his instructions to the letter, but he so contrives that we are getting constantly deeper and deeper into a war policy.” It is impossible to describe in truer words the malign and baneful influence of the diplomatist who, to gratify his personal rancour, inflicted the torture of war upon his country.

Lord Stratford de Redcliffe reached Constantinople on the 5th of April, 1853. There he found that Prince Menschikoff, at the head of a menacing mission, had arrived before him on the 28th of February. Menschikoff began operations by refusing to treat with Fuad Effendi, the Foreign Minister. Fuad resigned in favour of Rifaat Pasha. The tone of the Russian envoy then alarmed the Grand Vizier, who sought advice from Colonel Rose,[111] British Chargé d’Affaires. Colonel Rose immediately begged Admiral Dundas to bring the Mediterranean squadron to the mouth of the Dardanelles, but the Admiral refused to sail without instructions from the Cabinet, and the Cabinet disapproved of Rose’s action. France, however, thought that this act indicated an intention on the part of England to forestall her, and despatched the Toulon squadron to Salamis, without waiting to hear whether Colonel Rose’s action had been sanctioned by his Government.[112] The presence of the French fleet so near the scene of an acrid controversy between France and Russia, would have tended to neutralise the conciliatory diplomacy of England, even if Lord Stratford de Redcliffe had honestly meant to work in the interests of peace.

Lord Stratford, when he arrived at Constantinople, found the Sublime Porte in a panic. Though Russia had assured the English Government that no question then remained open between her, France, and Turkey, except that of the Holy Places, Menschikoff had demanded from the Porte a treaty, the negotiation of which, he said, must be kept secret from the Powers, acknowledging the right of Russia to a protectorate over all Greek Christians in Turkey. Ultimately he offered to accept a Note; but the objection to the concession in any such shape, was that it virtually transferred to the Russian Czar the allegiance of 12,000,000 of the Sultan’s subjects. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe advised the Porte to begin by settling the question of the Holy Places, which was the fons et origo of the dispute. That question was quickly settled, and then Menschikoff promptly and peremptorily pressed the new claim of Russia to a protectorate over the Greek Church in Turkey. On the 5th of May he{551} sent an ultimatum to the Porte demanding its surrender on this point within five days. On Lord Stratford’s advice the Porte refused to surrender, and Prince Menschikoff and his suite left Constantinople in wrath.[113] At this crisis the voice of Nicholas was for war; but that of Nesselrode, his able and tranquil Minister, was for peace. As a compromise the Czar therefore determined that the Danubian Principalities should be occupied by his troops, and held till Turkey guaranteed to Russia “the rights and privileges of all kinds which have been granted by the Sultan to his Greek subjects.”[114] On the 31st of May Nesselrode wrote to Reschid Pasha that Russian troops would cross the Pruth, and on the 2nd of June Admiral Dundas was ordered to proceed with the Mediterranean squadron to Besika Bay. The French fleet was ordered to go there also, and the allied squadrons made their appearance in Turkish waters about the same time.[115] The quarrel up till now had been one between France and Russia. It was thus suddenly transformed into one between France and England on the one side and Russia on the other. On the 2nd of July Prince Gortschakoff entered the Principalities; and then Austria, which had selfishly held aloof, became nervous as to the control of the Danube, and manifested a desire to act with the Western Powers. Turkey was advised not to treat Russian aggression on the Principalities as a casus belli, and the Porte met it with a protest, though it was very nearly forced by its fanatical Moslem subjects to declare war. In England the Government was condemned for its extreme reticence in Parliament as to the turn affairs were taking; and up to this point the Cabinet certainly committed three blunders. In the first place, they permitted Lord Stratford to encourage the Porte to resist Russia, without having come to a clear and definite determination to support that resistance by force, if Russia proved unbending. Secondly, they relied too much on Count Nesselrode’s smooth, pacific assurances after they knew, or ought to have known, from Prince Menschikoff’s proposal of a secret treaty to the Porte, and from the warlike demonstration on the Moldavian frontier,[116] that these assurances were illusory. Thirdly, they did not meet the proposal for a secret treaty and the demonstration on the frontier by ordering Dundas to Besika Bay, and they met the occupation of the Principalities by sending Dundas, not to the Black Sea, but only to Besika Bay. Lord Aberdee{552}n’s apologists allege that the latter step would have caused Russia to occupy Constantinople. That is a feeble defence, for subsequent events showed that Russia could not even mobilise enough troops to hold the Principalities against the Turks. The English Government did enough to irritate the Czar, and though they did not do enough to check him, they did too much to enable them to extricate themselves with honour from the quarrel.

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Something, however, had to be done for the Porte, after it had, at the bidding of England and France, refrained from defending the Principalities, which were in its dominions. A Conference of the Powers was therefore assembled at Vienna, on the 24th of June, to arrive at a pacific solution of the difficulty, and on the 31st they adopted the Vienna Note, which has become famous in European history. It was sent to Russia and Turkey for acceptance as a settlement which, in the opinion of Europe, would be equally honourable and fair to both. The Czar accepted it promptly on the 10th of August. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, in his official capacity, advised Turkey to accept it; but he played his Government false, by plainly indicating his personal objections to it. The Porte acted on his private advice, and refused to accept the Note unless it were modified. Turkey thus dashed all hopes of peace by repudiating the advice of the Powers, and, by thus putting herself in the wrong, she put Russia in the right.{553}

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Here Lord Aberdeen and his colleagues committed another blunder. On balancing the gain against the loss to Turkey which was likely to accrue from concessions that would prevent war, they might fairly enough have told the Porte that, if it rejected the Vienna Note, it would be left to struggle with Russia single-handed. Austria, however, followed by France, England, and Prussia, asked the Czar to accept the modifications of Turkey. The Czar refused to do this, and instructed Count Nesselrode to give his reasons for refusing, whereupon Austria and Prussia veered round, and again recommended the Porte to accept the original Note. England and France, on the contrary, alleging that Count Nesselrode’s despatches proved that the Czar attached a different meaning to the Note from that which they attributed to it, declined to join Austria and Prussia in pressing Turkey to accept it. The European concert was destroyed, and it was the European concert which alone rendered war{554} impossible.[117] Unfortunately, on this occasion, the Queen, wary and ingenious as she has shown herself during other crises in checking the “drift” of Cabinets towards war, fell too easily under the influence of Lord Aberdeen, for whom personally she ever entertained the warmest regard. He sent Nesselrode’s despatch to her, but he prepossessed her mind by pointing out to her first, that Nesselrode’s reasons for refusing to accept the Turkish modifications of the Vienna Note, showed that Russia put a different interpretation on it from that which its framers meant it to bear; and secondly, that it would be dishonourable to ask the Porte to accept it in the face of this fact. Her Majesty, easily touched by such an appeal, wrote from Balmoral a strong letter to Lord Aberdeen supporting his view with much ability. “It is evident,” she said, “that Russia has hitherto attempted to deceive us, in pretending that she did not aim at the acquisition of any new right, but required only a satisfaction of honour, and an acknowledgment of the rights she already possessed by treaty—and that she does intend, and for the first time lays bare that intention, to acquire new rights of interference.” The Queen then made a suggestion which was carried out. It was that England should lay the whole case before Europe, declaring that the Russian demands were inadmissible, and “that the continuance of the occupation of the Principalities, in order to extort these demands, constitutes an unwarrantable aggression upon Turkey, and infraction of the public law of Europe.”[118] As matters stood, such an intimation to the fiery Czar was virtually a challenge to mortal combat.

Those who hold the destinies of great nations in their hands are now chary of committing themselves to war for the sake of honour or the public law of Europe. The subterfuges by which Russia disorganised Bulgaria in 1886, and got rid of Prince Alexander, whose anti-Russian proclivities had been encouraged by England, touched British honour more closely than the “explicative Note” of Count Nesselrode. Yet England, guided solely by her interests, did not make Russian interference with Bulgaria in 1886, a casus belli. A greater statesman than Aberdeen in 1853, also eliminated all considerations of “honour” from his policy, and looked solely to the material interest of his country. Prussia was scoffed at by Prince Albert as “a reed shaken by the wind.” But Prussia not only refused to join the Western Powers against Russia, but deterred Austria from joining them. And why? Because Herr von Bismarck had enough influence with the King to convince him that the interest of Prussia did not lie in strengthening the Western Powers, or in offending Russia, whose benevolent neutrality might one day be valuable to his country. Why, he argued, should Prussia waste her strength{555} in helping France and Austria to weaken Russia, without the prospect of winning for Prussia “a prize worthy of us”? He was “appalled” by the notion that “we may plunge into a sea of trouble and danger on behalf of Austria, for whose sins the King displays as much tolerance as I only hope God in Heaven will one day show to mine.” The “interest of Prussia,” he said, after the Crimean war was over, “is my only rule of action, and had there ever been any prospect of our promoting this interest by taking part in the war, I should certainly never have been one of its opponents.”[119] Lord Salisbury, on the 9th of November, 1886, speaking at the Guildhall, has in our time said that England has no interest to resist Russian aggression in European Turkey, where Austria has none. Tested by that principle the policy of the Cabinet and the Crown in 1853 was chivalrous, but indefensible. Yet if the Sovereign and her Ministers erred, what is to be said of the Nation? It was simply mad for war with Russia, and the section of the Cabinet headed by Palmerston and Russell vied with the Tories in inflaming the war-fever of the hour. Aberdeen was vilified as a Russian agent—because he was desirous of maintaining peace. Prince Albert was attacked with equal scurrility as a tool of the Czar, because he was not a Russophobe, and because he did not conceal his opinion that the Turkish Government was brutal, fanatical, and ignorant.

Had Turkey accepted the Vienna Note, had the Powers not asked Russia to accept the Turkish amendments to it, had Nesselrode in refusing to accept these refrained from giving reasons for his refusal, peace would have been preserved. It is, therefore, necessary to examine the points that were at issue when the Vienna Note was rejected by Turkey. This is to be done by comparing together Menschikoff’s original Note with the Vienna Note, and the Turkish modification of it. Menschikoff started by assuming that Russia and Turkey “being mutually desirous of maintaining the stability of the orthodox Greco-Russian religion, professed by the majority of their Christian subjects, and of guaranteeing that religion against all molestation for the future,” should agree (1) that “no change shall be made as regards the rights, privileges, and immunities which have been enjoyed or are possessed ab antiquo by the Orthodox Greek Churches, pious institutions, and clergy, in the dominions of the Sublime Ottoman Porte, which is pleased to secure the same to them in perpetuity on the strict basis of the status quo now existing. (2) The rights and advantages conceded by the Ottoman Government, or which shall hereafter be conceded, to the other Christian rites by treaties, conventions, or special arrangements, shall be considered as belonging also to the Orthodox Church.”[120] The Vienna Note differed but slightly from this—and it may be well to put it side by side with the Turkish modifications—reproducing only the controversial passages.{556}

Vienna Note. Turkish Modifications.
“If the Emperors of Russia have at all times
evinced their active solicitude for the [maintenance
of the immunities and privileges of the
Orthodox Greek Church in the Ottoman Empire,
the Sultans have never refused to confirm
them] by solemn acts testifying their ancient
and constant benevolence towards their Christian

* * * * *
The undersigned has, in consequence, received
orders to declare by the present Note that the
Government of his Majesty the Sultan will remain
faithful to [the letter and to the spirit of
the Treaties of Kainardji and Adrianople relative
to the protection of the Christian religion,
and] that his Majesty considers himself bound
in honour to cause to be observed for ever, and
to preserve from all prejudice either now or
hereafter, the enjoyment of the spiritual privileges
which have been granted by his Majesty’s
august ancestors to the orthodox Greek Eastern
Church, which are maintained and confirmed
by him; and, moreover, in a spirit of exalted
equity, to cause the Greek rite to share in the
advantages granted [to the other Christian rites
by convention or special arrangement].”

orthodox Greek worship and Church (le culte et
l’Église orthodoxe Grecque), the Sultans have
never ceased to provide for the maintenance of
the privileges and immunities which at different
times they have spontaneously granted to that
religion and to that Church in the Ottoman
Empire, and to confirm them



the stipulations of the Treaty of Kainardji,
confirmed by that of Adrianople, relative to the
protection by the Sublime Porte of the Christian
religion, and he is, moreover, charged to make




or which might be granted to the other Christian
communities, Ottoman subjects.
Were the points of difference between the Vienna Note and that Note as modified by the Porte worth fighting for?

It is inconceivable that any English Minister or diplomatist having even a cursory acquaintance with Turkish history could agree with the Porte in affirming that the Ottoman Sultans had “never ceased to provide for” the maintenance of the privileges of their Christian subjects. “Never honestly attempted to provide for” would have been the truer statement of the fact. So the first modification of the Porte may be summarily dismissed. As to the second, the Turks averred that it was necessary (1) because the Vienna Note extended the scope of the Treaties of Kainardji and Adrianople, and (2) because it gave the Czar new powers of interfering between the Sultan and his subjects. The 7th and 14th Articles of these Treaties, when studied, show that the Porte[121]{557}

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was clearly wrong on one point. The Sultan, said the Porte, will in future recognise the stipulations relative to protection given by the Porte alone; but the Treaty had also stipulations relative to protection which was to be given by Russia. The Czar was therefore not unreasonable in suspecting that the Turks were trying, by their amendment of the Vienna Note, to cancel some of his rights under the Treaty of Kainardji. The other point at issue must be decided with reference to history. It is plain that Menschikoff’s Note, from its terms and from the tone of the Envoy who presented it as an ultimatum, might fairly be considered offensive to Turkey, and that she, therefore, had plausible reasons for rejecting it. It might be so construed as to extend to the whole Empire the Russian right of special protection, which the Treaty of Kainardji limited to a single Christian temple, and that of Adrianople restricted to two Principalities. On the other hand, the Porte, by saying that the Sultan would in future “remain faithful to the stipulations of the Treaty of Kainardji, confirmed by that of Adrianople,” was justly suspected of wriggling out of other stipulations in the latter Treaty, which were not in the former, and which made the Czar the special guardian of Christian rights in the Principalities. But holding in view the history of Turkish misrule and oppression,{558} together with Lord Stratford de Redcliffe’s denunciations of the bad faith of the Turkish Government in keeping its promises of reform, it is impossible to blame the Czar for rejecting the Turkish amendment. That amendment consisted simply in cutting out of the Vienna Note the all-important words, “letter and spirit.” The Czar denied that Turkey had been faithful to the letter of existing treaties guaranteeing Christian privileges. All Europe admitted that she had not been faithful to the spirit of them, and that if, under Russian pressure, she ever kept the word of promise to the ear, she usually broke it to the hope. Turkey, when asked to pledge herself to be true to the spirit as well as the letter of her obligations, was, therefore, trifling with Europe in refusing to commit herself to a pledge that would have bound her by both the letter and spirit of her engagements. Here again, it seems, judgment must go against Turkey. The object of her third amendment was quite clear. The stipulation of the Vienna Note that privileges given to any Christian Church should be also enjoyed by all Greek Christians in Turkey, was a sort of “most favoured nation clause.” It made the contract keep all sects automatically on the same level. The Porte, however, by its amendment, promised Russia to give Greek Christians, not the privileges it gave to all other Christians, but only to other Christians who were Turkish subjects. No doubt the Vienna Note would have given Russia a right of complaint against Turkey in the case of Greek Christians, who were refused privileges granted to (1) Greek Christians, (2) Roman Catholics, (3) Protestants, and (4) Armenians who were not Turkish subjects. But these were few in number, and the affair of the Holy Places showed that this right of complaint could be pressed by Russia to some purpose, whether conferred by treaty or not. It almost seemed as if the third amendment of the Porte were designed to bar Russia from similar acts of intervention; in other words, to put her in a worse position than that which she held without any fresh compact whatever. Strangely enough, the one strong objection which Turkey had a right to make to the Vienna Note—namely, that it did not make the evacuation of the Principalities a condition precedent of the settlement—was not strongly pressed by Europe.

One argument, and one only, was urged with even the shadow of plausibility by England. It was that the Czar might claim, under the Vienna Note, a protectorate over the Greek Christians in Turkey, which would transfer to him the allegiance of nearly all the Sultan’s European subjects. As the Vienna Note gave the Czar nothing but what he could claim according to “the letter and to the spirit” of two existing treaties, it is difficult to understand how the English Government could advance such an argument, unless, indeed, they meant to affirm that it was futile to ask Turkey to abide by “the spirit” of any of her pledges. But if the contention of the English Cabinet is to be taken as true, what must we say of the wisdom with which the world is governed? The four Ambassadors, the four Cabinets, and the four{559} Sovereigns of the European Powers who had the clearest interest in preserving the independence of Turkey drew up, studied, debated, and revised again and again every word and phrase of a Joint Note which they declared could be honourably and justly accepted by the Sublime Porte. When Turkey rejected it, these very same Ambassadors, Cabinets, and Sovereigns suddenly turned round and said that they had unwittingly so worded their Note that it threatened with ruin the empire which they meant it to save! And of these Powers two—England and France—entered on a profitless and calamitous war, because their Ambassadors, Ministers of State, and Sovereigns did not understand the meaning of their own words in a solemn diplomatic instrument! It is upon this hypothesis—at once so grotesque and incredible—that Lord Aberdeen’s Government justified itself in advising Turkey to reject the Vienna Note, and in making war on Russia because the Czar adhered to it after he had accepted it at the request of Europe.

England, it has been said, following the lead of Austria, encouraged the Porte to resist, and pressed Russia to accept the Turkish modification of the Note. It has been shown how, when Russia refused to do this, Austria, with whom Prussia acted, suddenly wheeled round and pressed the original Note on Turkey. England, however, had made herself sufficiently ridiculous in first recommending Turkey to accept the Note, and in then supporting her in rejecting it. Lord Aberdeen’s Government accordingly refused to recommend the Note again to Turkey, and the Government of France took the same course. The concert of the Powers which thus alone rendered peace possible was broken, and neither England nor France seemed to have made any serious effort to repair it. On the contrary, they not only approved of Lord Stratford’s conduct in summoning two ships of war from Besika Bay to Constantinople, but in September, yielding to Palmerston,[122] they put the whole fleet at his disposal. It was contrary to the Treaty of 1841 for the Porte to admit war-ships to the Bosphorus in time of peace. To send the English fleet to Constantinople was therefore a declaration on the part of England that Turkey was at war with Russia. Turkey formally declared war on Russia on the 5th, and the British Fleet entered the Bosphorus on the 30th of October. To order our Fleet to defend the Turks in the Euxine if they were attacked by Russia was a perilous step to take. Yet it is curious to observe that the Queen was the only high personage engaged in this transaction who, in the midst of the popular war frenzy, foresaw the peril of it. Even her habit of deference to Lord Aberdeen, which unfortunately led her to sanction without demur the blunders which have now been recorded, could not induce her to approve of this last and, as will be seen, most fatal error. Her trenchant criticism of it, unanswered and unanswerable to this day, is to be found in a letter which she wrote to the Prime Minister, in which she said:—“It appears to the Queen that we have taken on ourselves, in conjunction with{560}

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France, all the risks of an European war, without having bound Turkey to any conditions with respect to provoking it. The 120 fanatical Turks constituting the Divan at Constantinople are left sole judges of the line of policy to be pursued, and made cognisant at the same time of the fact that England and France have bound themselves to defend the Turkish territory. This is entrusting them with a power which Parliament would be jealous of confiding even to the hands of the British Crown. It may be a question whether England ought to go to war for the so-called Turkish independence, but there can be none that, if she does so, she ought to be the sole judge of what constitutes a breach of that independence, and have the fullest power to prevent by negotiation the breaking out of the war.”[123] Had the Queen subjected{561}

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every act of the Cabinet from the day on which Menschikoff arrived at Constantinople, to the same kind of pitiless logical analysis, even the Coalition Cabinet would have found it difficult to blunder into war. There was also another calm but acute observer of events who could not be diverted from his devotion to tangible British interests by passionate outbursts of popular chauvinism, and who saw at a glance the risks the Government were running. In a letter to Baron Stockmar, dated the 27th of November, Prince Albert says:—

“Six weeks ago Palmerston and Lord John carried a resolution that we should give notice that an attack on the Turkish fleet by that of Russia would be met by the fleets of England and France. Now the Turkish steam-ships are to cross over from the Asiatic coast to the Crimea, and to pass before Sebastopol! This can only be meant to insult the Russian fleet and entice it to come out, in order to make it possible for Lord Stratford to bring our fleet into collision with that of Russia, according to his former instructions, and so make an European war certain.”[124]

Just before the allied fleets were sent to defend Turkey in the Black Sea the Porte ordered Omar Pasha to demand the evacuation of Moldavia within fifteen days, and, failing compliance, to attack the Russians at once. The Russians held their ground, standing on the defensive, and the Turks crossed the Danube, inflicting on them defeats that, of course, deeply wounded the pride of the Czar. He therefore ordered the Russian squadron at Sebastopol to retaliate in the Euxine. On the 30th of November it discovered a Turkish fleet at Sinope, which, the Turks declared, was bound for Batoum. The Russian admiral, however, believed it was on its way to the Circassian coast, for the purpose of stirring up an insurrection against Russia in the Caucasus. Instead of watching it or blockading it, as he might have done, he attacked and destroyed it.

This catastrophe, of course, brought England nearer to war. A fierce cry of wrath went up from the English people. Their fleet had been sent to defend Turkey against Russia, yet it had tamely allowed Russia to perpetrate “the massacre of Sinope.” Russia knew that England stood pledged to protect Turkey from attack in the Euxine. Sinope was, therefore, a direct challenge to England, and it must be promptly taken up. The foresight of Prince Albert was thus amply justified. The Government had stupidly sent to the Black Sea a fleet strong enough to provoke Russia, but not strong enough to protect Turkey, and insinuations of treason were freely made. “The defeat of Sinope,” wrote the Prince, “upon our own element—the sea—has made the people furious; it is ascribed to Aberdeen having{563} been bought over by Russia.” Nor was Aberdeen the only one who suffered. Prince Albert was scurrilously attacked by Tories and Radicals of the baser sort, and, almost in as many words, accused of being a Russian spy, whose influence with the Queen was paralysing her Government. But if the English Government blundered foolishly in sending the British fleet to the Black Sea with orders to protect Turkey, without first making sure that Turkey would not provoke attack, or that our fleet was strong enough to defend her, Russia blundered, not foolishly, but criminally, in attacking the Turks at Sinope. Mr. Spencer Walpole says:—“Though the attack on Sinope may be justified, its imprudence cannot be excused.”[125] But surely if it cannot be excused it is idle to “justify” it. The Czar was warned that England and France would defend Turkey if the latter was assailed in the Euxine. An attack on Turkey at Sinope, in spite of that warning, he must have known would be taken by the English and French people as a defiance, which would so madden them, that the war party in France and England must forthwith control the situation. Therefore, to say it was an “imprudence” is to say that, in the circumstances, it was a crime against civilisation. As will be seen later on, it provoked France and England to order their fleets to patrol the Black Sea, and require every Russian ship they met to put back into Sebastopol, so that a second Sinope might be prevented.

During most of this anxious time it is hardly necessary to say that the domestic life of the Queen was one of wearing excitement. At the outset of the diplomatic disputes in which her Government entangled the country it seems that she paid rather less attention than usual to foreign affairs. Palmerston was no longer at the Foreign Office, and in Lord Aberdeen, who was at the head of the Government, the Queen put the most implicit confidence. She had formed a habit of regarding him as the beau idéal of a “safe” Minister, and thus, when she sat down every morning to read her official correspondence, her Majesty approached all the projects of her Government, if not with a decided bias in favour of them, at any rate without that wholesome prepossession of suspicion, that rendered her a keen and searching critic of the Foreign Policy of the country when it was under the direction of Lord Palmerston. It was not till late in the autumn that the Queen’s correspondence, so far as it has been made public, shows a disposition on her part to resume the tone of independent, outspoken, but confidential criticism, that so often checked the vagaries of Lord John Russell’s Cabinet. The Queen, in fact, put too much confidence in the sagacity of the Coalition Government. The Coalition Government, conscious that, so long as Aberdeen could be persuaded to endorse their doings, they would not be very jealously scrutinised by the Crown, entered with a light heart on the most dangerous course of diplomacy. The Queen, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and the Czar all set out with the most sincere and unbounded confidence in each{564} other. In little more than twelve months they were accordingly in almost irreconcilable controversy.

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After the Coalition Ministry was formed, what the Queen dreaded most was that it might break up over the question of Parliamentary Reform, or over some dispute as to the Premiership, in the event of Lord Aberdeen resigning office. Aberdeen was old and somewhat infirm, and there can be little doubt that he would have resigned soon after the Coalition was organised had not the Eastern Question risen to tie him to his post. Lord John Russell had some notion that he would be Aberdeen’s successor, and it was his fixed idea that his scheme for reforming Parliament would not have a fair chance, unless it were launched by him with all the prestige of the Premier’s advocacy in its favour. Some members of the Cabinet did not desire that this scheme should be launched at all; others, like Palmerston, were determined that it should not be launched, and that Lord John should not be Premier. A few weeks after the Ministry was constituted Lord John resigned the seals of the Foreign Office to Lord Clarendon, becoming a Minister without an office, but retaining the leadership of the House of Commons. The Queen warned him that he would grow discontented with{565}

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this position, but her warning was unheeded; and yet Lord John soon had reason to regret that he did not lay it to heart. After the Session ended he began to give Aberdeen broad hints that it would be well for him to retire, and to indicate that he himself might have to secede, if these hints were not acted on. His secession would have broken up the Coalition, which, Aberdeen knew, the Sovereign had set her heart on keeping together. Hence, every effort was made to conciliate Lord John Russell, and, as he soon became, next to Palmerston, the most zealous member of the War Party in the Cabinet, he was therefore able to exert a baneful influence on the Foreign Policy of the Ministry. This was, indeed, one reason why that policy perpetually alternated between energy and apathy. Still, the Cabinet kept together till Russell’s Reform scheme was thrust upon it. Then, on the 15th of December, the world was startled to find that Palmerston had resigned. This event, occurring as it did immediately after the massacre of Sinope, created a dreadful sensation in the country. The Press declared that Palmerston had been turned out because of the Eastern Question. He was the victim of a Court intrigue. It was whispered that Prince Albert, as a spy of Russia, had persuaded the Queen to get rid of a high-spirited Minister because he was eager to{566} avenge against Russia the insult offered to England at Sinope. The Prince, it was said, had been detected betraying the secrets of the Government to foreign Courts. One day it was actually reported that he had been committed to the Tower on a charge of high treason, and a gaping crowd collected to see him locked up as a traitor. This clamour was raised by the Palmerstonian clique, and it gave infinite pain to the Queen. She knew as well as Lord Palmerston and his friends that these attacks were based on a tissue of falsehoods, for, as a matter of fact, Lord Palmerston had resigned simply on the question of Reform. His idea was that Lord Lansdowne, who also disliked Reform, would resign along with him, and that the public outcry would be so great that the Ministry must be shattered. The outcry was great, but it was too obviously that of a personal claque; and Palmerston, astounded to find that the nation did not regard his retirement as an irreparable calamity, immediately begged the Cabinet to let him come back again. This they did, having, however, forced him to swallow ignominiously his objections to Lord John Russell’s Reform Bill. Then the Palmerstonian newspapers suddenly dropped their attacks on the Queen and Prince Albert, though the Tory organs kept them up in the true old crusted Protectionist style. “The best of the joke,” writes the Prince to Stockmar, “is that because he [Palmerston] went out the Opposition journals extolled him to the skies in order to damage the Ministry, and now the Ministerial journals have to do so in order to justify the reconciliation.” According to Prince Albert, it was the Duke of Newcastle and the Peelites who induced the Cabinet to let the black sheep that had gone astray, return to the fold of the Coalition.[126]

Till the Eastern Question assumed a grave aspect towards the end of the year, the Court seems to have busied itself chiefly about non-political affairs.{567} The Queen, who shared her husband’s artistic tastes, encouraged him in early spring to form a splendid collection of copies of all Raphael’s known works, a fine series of original drawings by that master in Windsor being the nucleus of this interesting collection. It was alas! left to her Majesty to complete it, after the death of her husband made her the sole sad heir of that and many other cherished projects which they had planned together.

Curiously enough, about this time the art treasures of Windsor were very nearly destroyed. A disastrous fire broke out in the Castle on the 19th of March in one of the apartments on the floor over the dining-room on its north side. It burnt outwards, but limited itself to the upper portions of the Prince of Wales’s Tower. It would have destroyed the plate-rooms and the priceless collection known as the Jewelled Armoury, which contained, by the way, the jewelled peacock of Tippoo Sahib among its trophies, adjoining the Octagon-room. The Queen and Prince Albert were not in the Castle when the fire was discovered, but they, with the officials of the household, were soon on the spot. The scene was one of excitement, without confusion. The firemen worked with a will, but the bustle was greatest among the servants and others, who undertook to dismantle the rooms whose costly treasures were in danger. The fire began at ten on Saturday night, and was put out at four o’clock on Sunday morning. The Queen, it seems, was much agitated at first, but she and her ladies soon regained their composure, and watched the conflagration from the drawing-room all through the night.[127]

On the 7th of April another Prince was born to the Royal pair, and on the 18th the Queen was able to write to her uncle, the King of the Belgians, informing him of the event, and of her intention of naming her child after him. “It” [Leopold], she says, “is a name which is the dearest to me after Albert, and one which recalls the almost only happy days of my sad childhood.” The Prince’s other names were to be George, Duncan, and Albert—George after the King of Hanover, and Duncan, so the Queen said, as “a compliment to dear Scotland.” The compliment paid to that country in subsequently conferring on this Prince the title of Duke of Albany was a fateful one for him. It is an unlucky title, and Prince Leopold was not exempt from the evil fortune of most of those who have worn it. On the 23rd of April the Court removed to Osborne, and on the 27th of May the Queen reluctantly returned to London for the season, greatly reinvigorated by her holiday.

One of the events of the London season of 1853 was the establishment of an experimental military camp at Chobham for the purpose of practising sham-fighting. The camp took the place in the season of ’53, that had been held by the Great Exhibition in ’51, and young men of rank who were braving the perils of mimic warfare on the Sussex ridges were the idols of the hour. On{568}

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the 21st of June serious operations began in the presence of the Queen. She rode to the ground on a superb black charger, accompanied by Prince Albert, the King of Hanover, and the Duke of Coburg, the scene as she passed along the lines being most impressive. The moving incidents of the field, the noise of the firing, the shifting panorama of colour, delighted the fashionable crowds who followed her Majesty to what Mr. Disraeli would have called an arena “bright with flashing valour.” On the 14th of July the camp was broken up, and other contingents took the places of the regiments which had formed it. They, however, attempted a movement of real difficulty in endeavouring to effect the passage of the Thames at Runnymede, where the river is deep and the current rapid. Artillery on Cooper’s Hill played on the pontoon bridge murderously, in spite of which, however, it is stated in newspaper records of the day, that several regiments contrived to pass over safely. But the horses that dragged the second gun taken across, took fright, and one of them pulled the rest, with gun and gunners, into the water. The men were saved. The four leading horses, however, met with a strange death. They rose to the surface, and, with eyes and nostrils dilated with terror, beat the water in vain, for the gun, of course, held them

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with the wheelers in the river. Yet such was the strength which terror imparted to them, that they dragged not only the gun but the wheelers also, close to the bank before they succumbed.

On the 28th of June Prince Albert, who had been “roughing it” with the Guards in camp, returned to town complaining of a slight cold. The Prince of Wales had measles at the time, and, to the surprise of everybody, Prince Albert, the Queen, all the Royal children except the two youngest, the Crown Prince of Hanover, the Duke and Duchess of Coburg, were smitten,[128] Prince Albert suffering more severely than any of the others. This illness prevented the Queen and her husband from visiting the camp till the 6th of August. On the 28th it broke up.

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Two of the Czar’s daughters had come over on a visit to the Queen, with an autograph letter from their father recommending them to her Majesty’s protection. Care was of course taken to make them acquainted with the intense anti-Russian feeling which pervaded England, and they seem to have been utterly amazed to find that hardly any body put the slightest faith in their father’s word. They were invited to accompany the Queen to see the great naval review at Spithead, which took place on the 11th of August—a{570} superb demonstration of the strength of England on the high seas. Twenty-five stately ships of war—six steam-ships of the line, three sailing-ships, and sixteen steam-frigates and sloops—composed the squadron that took part in this magnificent spectacle. The fleet carried 1,076 guns, 10,000 men, and was moved by steam equivalent to the power nominally of 9,680 horses, but really of double that amount—in other words, by more horse-power than the cavalry of the British army could muster at the time. The smallest of its guns was as large as the largest carried by Nelson’s ships at Trafalgar, whilst the largest threw a solid shot of 104 lbs. The review was an event that stirred to its inmost depths the pride of England, because, for the first time, a mighty fleet propelled by steam was manœuvred under the eye of the Sovereign, as if it were engaged in actual battle. The occasion was rendered unique by the presence at the review of the House of Commons—in fact, the House, on the day of the review, could not form a quorum till half-past eleven o’clock at night.[129]

About 10 o’clock in the morning, the Queen, her husband, her family, and her Russian and German guests, bore down in the Royal yacht on Admiral Cochrane’s flagship, the Duke of Wellington. Having remained on board her for some little time, they returned to the yacht, and then, led by the Queen in the Victoria and Albert, this invincible Armada put out to sea in two divisions. The weather was exceptionally fine, and most majestic was the progress of the fleet as it steamed, at the rate of eleven miles an hour, down to the Nab, where it formed line with an ease and precision of movement that astonished all beholders. Then “the enemy,” under Admiral Fanshawe, were sighted, and a memorable sham fight began amidst cyclopean thunders of artillery. When it was over, each ship made for port at racing speed, the winner being the Agamemnon. The effect of it all, not only on the Queen’s guests but on the country, was duly reported by Prince Albert to Stockmar, who replied, “I am well pleased that the ladies (the Russian princesses) should have been present at the manœuvres of the fleet. For what the eyes see that does the heart believe, and with what that is full of the mouth will overflow in letters to St. Petersburg.”[130] At this time the political barometer at Court was pointing to “fair,” and the Queen and Prince Albert were congratulating each other that the acceptance of the Vienna Note by Russia, would settle honourably the Russo-Turkish dispute. Though the evacuation of the Principalities was not insisted on in that Note as it ought to have been, the Queen and her husband alike regarded it as a sine quâ non, and never doubted that Russia would withdraw her army of occupation.[131]{571}

At the end of August the Queen determined to visit Dublin on her way to Balmoral; and on the 29th she and her family landed at Kingstown Harbour.[132] Thence they proceeded to the Irish capital, where in their progress to the Vice-regal Lodge they met with an enthusiastic reception that recalled pleasant memories of their last tour. In the evening the city was illuminated in honour of its Royal guests. On the 30th they visited the Exhibition of Irish Industry, which had been organised at the sole expense of Mr. Dargan, a public-spirited citizen, whose simple, manly bearing so charmed the Queen that she says in one of her letters, “I would have made him a baronet but he was anxious it should not be done.” Nor was she less delighted with the products of native industry, which she inspected most carefully, and which she says convinced her that the display would be of vast use in encouraging the spirit of the people, by showing them what excellent work they could turn out by their own efforts. Though the Queen met with wretched weather, yet she records her delight with her visit—“a pleasant, gay, interesting time” she calls it—and speaks gratefully of the extreme kindness shown to her by all classes of the people. On the 3rd of September she left Kingstown, and on the 6th was enjoying the bracing air of Balmoral once more.

It was here, on the evening of the 12th, that she heard that the Vienna Note was rejected by the Turks, and that the Eastern question was again simmering in the fatal cauldron of diplomatic incapacity. From that day her Majesty’s great aim was to work, like Lord Aberdeen, for peace; but there was an end to holiday repose at Balmoral. Foreign affairs became more and more unsettled, and on the 6th of October Stockmar was implored to come over and give the Queen and her husband the benefit of his advice. Sir James Graham was staying with them at the time, and his depressed spirits reacted on the Royal family. To refuse to protect the Sultan the Queen saw would so rouse public opinion that the Coalition Ministry, which she was so anxious to support, must fall. To declare war on Russia, Prince Albert assured her, would with equal certainty ultimately destroy that Ministry. One thing only was clear to them. Aberdeen must abandon all idea of resigning in favour of Lord John Russell, and, despite age and infirmity, must remain at the head of affairs till the war-cloud passed away. On the 14th of October the Queen accordingly returned to Osborne, painfully anxious lest the concessions which Lord Aberdeen had made to Palmerston and Russell as leaders of the War Party, and on which she commented caustically in her letter of the 11th of October to the Prime Minister, would bring the country still nearer to war. What were we to go to war for? That was the question which troubled the Queen. She could understand that in some dire extremity it might be right to exact the most terrible of sacrifices from her people, to keep the Russians out of Constantinople, and prevent the balance of power from being upset to the detriment of England. That was an intelligible war{572}

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for the tangible interest of England and the civilised Powers. But such a war was a very different affair from the kind of war for which Palmerston clamoured—a war for the maintenance of the complete integrity of the Ottoman Empire. If waged, it must surely not be so waged that it would end by putting the oppressed Christians in Turkey once again in the absolute power of such a cruel dominion as that of the Porte. To this conclusion her Majesty had been forced by her close study of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe’s own despatches, describing the brutal treatment to which the Christians in Turkey were even at that time subjected. But then, of what use was it to suggest these ideas to the Cabinet, even though Lord Aberdeen supported them? When Prince Albert, at the Queen’s request, put them into the form of a Memorandum, Palmerston wrote a flippant reply to it only too closely in harmony with the popular frenzy of the time, the gist of the answer being that it was the duty of England to make war for Turkey and for Turkey alone, quite irrespective of any considerations affecting her treatment of her Christian subjects. To ask Turkey for concessions to civilisation, he argued, somewhat inconclusively, meant that we must connive at her expulsion from Europe.{573} As for all the stories of Turkish fanaticism that had frightened the Queen, Lord Palmerston scoffingly described them as “fables invented at Vienna and St. Petersburg.”[133]

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The Czar’s Manifesto of the 1st of November still further excited the War Party, and it was followed by a letter to the Queen, written by his own hand, begging her Majesty to decide between him and her Government in the dispute which had arisen from his attempt to apply the principles of the Treaty of Kainardji to the new situation which French pretensions in Syria had created in Turkey. To this the Queen replied with dignified courtesy, saying that, after repeatedly reading and studying the 7th Article of that{574} Treaty, she could not fairly say that the Czar’s interpretation of it was correct, and adding that the continued occupation of the Principalities must lead to events “which I should deplore, in common with your Majesty.”[134] The year closed with the ferocious attacks of a certain portion of the Press on Prince Albert, and as for the future, it was dark with the signs and omens of impending war.


The War Fever in 1854—Attacks on Prince Albert—Aberdeen’s Correspondence with the Queen—The Queen’s Opinion of the Country—“Loyal, but a little mad”—Stockmar on the Constitution—Prince Albert’s Position at Court—The Privileges of a Reigning Queen’s Husband—Debates on the Prince’s Position—The Peace and War Parties—Mr. Cobden’s Influence—A new Vienna Note—A Challenge to Russia—The Russian Ambassador leaves London—Recall of Sir H. Seymour from St. Petersburg—Russian Intrigues with the German Powers—The Czar’s Counter-Propositions—His Sarcastic Letter to Napoleon III.—An Austrian Compromise—Lord Clarendon’s Ultimatum to Russia—The Czar’s Reply—Declaration of War—Omar Pasha’s Victories in the Principalities—The Siege of Silistria—Evacuation of the Principalities—The Rising in Greece—The Allies at the Piræus—The Allies occupy Gallipoli—Another English Blunder—Invasion of the Crimea—The Duke of Newcastle and a Sleepy Cabinet—Lord Raglan’s Opinion on the War—The Landing of the Allies at Eupatoria—Battle of the Alma—Death of Marshal St. Arnaud—Russian Fleet Sunk at Sebastopol—At Balaclava—The Siege of Sebastopol—Battles of Balaclava and Inkermann—Mismanagement of the War—Public Indignation against the Government—Mr. Roebuck’s Motion—Fall of the Coalition Ministry.

No writer has described more effectively than Mr. Cobden the sudden change that hurried the country into the military alliance with France against Russia which was made operative in 1854. Suppose, he said, an invalid had been ordered in the spring of 1853 to go to Australia and back for the benefit of his health. When he left home he must have noted that “the Militia was preparing for duty; the coasts and dockyards were being fortified; the Navy, Army, and Artillery were all in course of augmentation; inspectors of artillery and cavalry were reported to be busy on the Southern coast; deputations from railway companies, it was said, had been waiting on the Admiralty and Ordnance to explain how rapidly the commissariat and military stores could be transported from the Tower to Dover or Portsmouth; and the latest paragraph of news from the Continent was that our neighbours on the other side of the Channel were practising the embarkation and disembarkation of troops by night. He left home amidst all these alarms and preparations for a French invasion. But he returns, and, supposing he has not been hearing{575} or giving heed to tidings from Europe, in what condition does he find his country? He steps on shore at Liverpool, and the first newspaper he sees informs him that the English and French fleets are lying side by side in Besika Bay. An impending naval engagement between the two Powers is naturally the idea that first occurs to him; but, glancing at the leading article of the journal, he learns that England and France have entered on an alliance, and that they are on the eve of commencing a sanguinary struggle against Russia.”[135] He would have also found the Tory organs of public opinion vieing with the demagogic Press in denouncing the Queen’s husband as a traitor to his wife and as a servile spy of Russia; from which, if he had been a shrewd man, he would have inferred that the Queen had been again guilty of the atrocious crime of differing from Lord Palmerston, and that Prince Albert had been criticising rather too plainly his bellicose Foreign Policy.

During the first few weeks of 1854 society, indeed, could talk of little else than the “treason” of Prince Albert. The Queen’s vexation found frequent expression in letters to Lord Aberdeen, and that amiable Minister did what he could to comfort her. The Prince, however, treated his slanderers with well-simulated contempt, but, in spite of that, their injustice stung him to the quick, and he suffered much both in health and spirits. Yet nothing could be done in his defence till Parliament met, and the Queen was, therefore, fain to believe that the country, as she says in a letter to Stockmar, was “as loyal as ever, only a little mad.” Long and ponderous essays from Stockmar on the Constitutional prerogatives of the Crown, and the political functions of Prince Albert, as her Majesty’s private secretary, did little to dispel the gloom that settled over the Court. The fact is that Stockmar slightly erred in imagining that the hostility to the Prince was really due to wrong ideas on these interesting points. As Prince Albert bluntly put it, one main element in the agitation against him was the hatred of the old High Tory Party towards him, in the first place, because of his friendship with Peel, and, secondly, because of his success with the Great Exhibition.[136] The grumblers of the military clubs, too, joined in the cry against his Royal Highness because, when Adjutant-General Browne resigned, after quarrelling with Lord Hardinge, the Commander-in-Chief, about the weight of the soldier’s knapsack, the Prince was supposed to have taken Lord Hardinge’s side. The masses, too, had never seriously thought out the question of the position which an able man who was husband of a reigning Queen was certain, through the mere dictates of nature, to take in the counsels of the Sovereign. It struck them like a galvanic shock when they discovered that for fourteen years the Prince had been actively helping to govern them, whilst the omniscient flunkeys of the Press were almost daily smothering him with adulation{576} for his “wise abstinence from politics.” Having stupidly deceived themselves as to the precise influence which the Prince wielded, they were in the right state of mind to be deceived by the Prince’s enemies as to the influence which he did not wield, and which he never sought to wield. These reasons, and not the dubiety of the British Constitution as to the political rights of the husband of an English Queen, gave rise to much of the foolish clamour of the hour.

It need hardly be said that when Parliament met on the 31st of January, the leaders of both parties in both Houses summarily disposed of the falsehoods which had been uttered to the discredit of the Court. The Debates on the Address on this occasion are of high historical and Constitutional importance, because they defined with great precision the position of the consort of a queen regnant in the British Constitution, establishing beyond doubt his right to assist the Sovereign with advice in all matters of State. The address of Lord Campbell may be usefully referred to as giving the legal view of the question; but the speeches which delighted the Queen most were those of Lord John Russell, who, she says, in a letter to Stockmar, “did it admirably,” and “dear, excellent Lord Aberdeen, who has taken it terribly to heart.” It was, however, Lord Campbell’s address which gave most satisfaction to Prince Albert. The common-sense view of the question obviously was, that if the husband of a queen regnant in England embarrassed her Majesty’s responsible Ministers by unconstitutional interference, the fault must be theirs and not his. The Constitution places in their hands the formidable weapon of resignation, and resignation in such circumstances simply means that government is rendered impossible till the unconstitutional interference which is objected to is stopped.

Nobody has stated with greater correctness the political situation of the country at the beginning of 1854 than Sir George Cornewall Lewis. “If,” said he, in a letter to Sir Edmund Head, “war is averted, there will be a Reform Bill, which is likely to lead to an early Dissolution. If war arrives, the Reform Bill and all other similar measures likely to produce party struggles and divisions must be postponed.”[137] The Tories had, therefore, one strong temptation to encourage the War Party. Those Whigs who, like Lord Palmerston, dreaded Reform, were in like case, except Lord John Russell, who, with a Reform Bill on the anvil, was foolish enough to share with Palmerston the leadership of the War Party in the Cabinet. As the war would be one against Russia, the mainstay of despotism in Europe, the Radicals, mindful of how the revolution was stamped out in Hungary, were for once on the side of war. Nobody, in fact, had any genuine desire for peace save the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Peelites, who desired “peace with honour,” and the Cobdenites, who seemed to desire “peace at any price.” The Peace Party was strong in brains and common-sense, but weak in numbers. The strength{577}

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of the War Party lay in its numbers, and it would be absurd to assert that, with leaders like Derby, Disraeli, Palmerston, and Russell, it lacked intellectual ability. As usual, numbers won the day, and an abnormal alliance of “the classes and masses” rendered the Peace Party—sadly weakened in moral authority by the Moravian fanaticism of the Cobdenites—utterly impotent. Mr. Cobden cherished the illusion that his influence had strengthened the Peace Party. Yet, with the exception of Lord Palmerston, Lord John{578} Russell, Lord Derby, and Lord Lyndhurst, no public men did more to make peace impossible than Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright, the tone of whose pacific speeches acted on the pugnacious temper of the country as soothingly as a sting on an open and irritable wound.[138]

As might be expected, the Eastern policy of Ministers was fiercely attacked in both Houses of Parliament. But to understand the point of these attacks and the relation of the Queen to them, one must explain what was done after Sinope drove England into a frenzy of anger only comparable with that of the Danes when Nelson destroyed their fleet at Copenhagen.

To rightly appraise the criminal blunder of Russia at Sinope, it is necessary to remember that when that “massacre” occurred, the European Powers had agreed on a new Note embodying what they considered an honourable settlement of the dispute between Russia and Turkey. That was the Note of the 5th of December, and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, under orders from Lord Clarendon, persuaded the Porte to accept it. This was a great step towards peace, for all that remained was to induce the Czar to be equally reasonable. But on the very day (the 13th of January, 1854) when the Powers, in concert at Vienna, decided to press this settlement on Russia, Sir Hamilton Seymour was instructed by Lord Clarendon to intimate to Count Nesselrode at St. Petersburg that England and France had lifted the gage of battle flung to them at Sinope. Russia was informed that the English and French fleets had sailed for the Black Sea, charged to “require” every Russian ship they met to put back to port. This irritated the Czar, who professed to regard it as “a flagrant act of hostility.”[139] Yet the Czar, or rather Nesselrode—who, like Lord Aberdeen, was braving infinite obloquy on account of his pacific proclivities—was willing to condone the act, if England would only state formally that she would impose on Turkish ships the same restrictions she imposed on those of Russia. Lord Clarendon, in his despatch, dated the 31st of January, did not make this statement, and accordingly, on the 4th of February, the Russian Ambassador in London announced that he and his retinue must return at once to St. Petersburg. On the 7th of February Lord Clarendon ordered the British Ambassador at the Court of the Czar to return to England;{579} the French Government took the same course, and thus the rupture between Russia and the Western Powers became complete. It was in such circumstances hopeless to expect that the Note of the 5th of December, which had been accepted by the Porte, and which the Four Powers agreed to recommend to Russia on the very day that the despatch of the allied fleets to the Euxine was notified to Count Nesselrode (the 13th of January), would be accepted by the Czar. Indeed, but for Nesselrode, it would have been ignored with contempt.[140] Russia, however, temporised. Taking advantage of the false step of England and France in sending their fleets to the Euxine without consulting Austria and Prussia, Russia artfully attempted to detach the German States from the European Concert. Having failed in this, the Russian Government sent two replies to the Protocol of the 13th of January, transmitting the settlement which the Powers had agreed upon, and which the Porte had accepted.

The proposal of the Powers provided, amongst other things, for (1) the evacuation of the Principalities as soon as possible; (2) the renewal of the ancient treaties; (3) a formal guarantee by Turkey to all her non-Mussulman subjects of their spiritual privileges, which should likewise be communicated to all the Powers, including Russia, “accompanied with suitable assurances” to each of them; (4) a pledge from the Porte to reform its system of administration; and (5) the customary promise on the part of the Sultan to uphold the old rights and immunities granted to his Christian subjects by existing treaties. Russia rejected these proposals, and committed the blunder of extending her demands in her first series of counter-propositions.[141] But subsequently she submitted a second series of propositions, in which she withdrew the stipulations as to political refugees, and her ungenerous demand that the Porte should negotiate terms of peace at St. Petersburg, or at the Russian headquarters in Moldavia. The Powers decided that the Russian settlement could not be recommended to Turkey, their main objection being, that while their terms embodied a recognition of the principle that the Turkish concessions and guarantees were given to Europe as well as to Russia, the Russian terms proceeded on the assumption that they were given to Russia alone. The Czar here was in the wrong. In the war on the Danube the Turks had been victorious. He insisted, however, that they should sue for peace, as if they were prostrate in defeat. On the other hand, the Four Powers proposed terms which did not imply that victory or defeat rested with either belligerent. The only defence that can be made for the obstinacy of the Emperor Nicholas in thus refusing to cross the golden bridge of{580} honourable retreat built for him by the Powers is, that the War Party in Russia was as rabid as the War Party in England. “The Emperor,” wrote Sir H. Seymour to Lord Clarendon on the 2nd of January, “is infinitely more moderate than the immense bulk of his subjects,” who denounced Nesselrode “as an alien, a traitor, and a man bought by English gold”—precisely the language which the same kind of people in England applied to Lord Aberdeen. In fact, the Czar himself was rapidly losing his popularity and authority because of the deference he was showing to the Powers, and it is probable that if he had made further concessions he would have been assassinated. But inasmuch as Nicholas himself, in spite of the advice of his three ablest servants,[142] had roused the fanaticism and fury of his subjects by his policy, even this defence, though it explains, does not justify his conduct.

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Yet, by a strange stroke of fortune, war between Russia and the Western Powers was still avoided. War with Russia was hateful to the French people—almost as hateful as a military alliance with Turkey. But the Emperor Napoleon III., for dynastic reasons, was committed to such a war, and on the 29th of January he accordingly wrote a pacific letter to the Czar couched in language certain to provoke his wrath. Nicholas answered it with infinite hauteur, two contemptuous sentences in his reply stinging the Bonapartists into rage.[143] France now had her War Party rampant, and this did not improve the outlook. Still, one last effort was made in the cause of peace. On the 22nd of February the Austrian Minister, Count Buol, told the{582} French Ambassador at Vienna that if England and France would only fix “a delay”[144] for the evacuation of the Principalities, and agree to keep the peace till that term ran out, Austria would join them in sending Russia a summons to retire across the Pruth. It was tolerably certain that what Austria did, Prussia would do, and here again the European Concert was united in putting irresistible diplomatic pressure on Russia. Lord Clarendon, hearing of this, very naturally asked the German Powers how they would act if the joint summons were ignored by the Czar. Clarendon seems to have taken it for granted that they would in that case join England in going to war, for, without waiting for their reply, he sent to St. Petersburg on the 27th of February an ultimatum to Russia, demanding the evacuation of the Principalities under threat of war. When the replies from the German Powers arrived on the 28th of February, Lord Clarendon found that Austria merely promised to support England in sending the summons, but not to support her in any action she might take in the event of its being ignored; whereas Prussia, though she thought the summons a good thing to send, was not quite sure if she would join the other Powers in sending it. Thus the English Government, by Lord Clarendon’s impetuous indiscretion, again broke up the European Concert; but now under circumstances of supreme peril, for he had positively committed England to enforce alone against Russia, a proposal which not only originated with Austria, but in the enforcement of which the interest of Austria, menaced by a Russian occupation of Moldavia, was obviously greater than that of either England or France. France joined England in this foolish step, and the German States, well pleased to see the Western Powers fighting their battles, and relieved from responsibility by Lord Clarendon’s precipitate action on the 27th of February, astutely kept out of the fray. The Czar instructed Nesselrode to inform Consul Michele at St. Petersburg on the 18th of March that he did not think fit to reply to Lord Clarendon’s ultimatum,[145] and thus, with France as an ally, England went into the war—for the evacuation of the Principalities.

The case of the Tory Opposition in Parliament against the Government was now unanswerable. Their leaders had systematically blamed the Government for not warning Russia at the outset that the invasion of the Principalities would be a casus belli. Had that been done, Russia might have held her hand, whereas it was not done till retreat for Russia meant humiliation.

But, strange as it may seem, the English Government had still one more blunder open to them. The Turks, under Omar Pasha, had not only held the line of the Danube against Russia, but they had won important victories. In May, 1854, the Russians, under Paskiewitch, attacked Silistria; but the{583} Turks, animated by the heroism and admirably served by the skill of some English officers, beat off the enemy, and on the 22nd of June the Russians raised the siege. Two weeks afterwards Gortschakoff was repulsed at Giurgevo, and the Russians were soon driven back across the Pruth.

The evacuation of the Principalities, to bring about which England had gone to war, was thus achieved. The one blunder which was now left for England to commit was to ignore this fact and refrain from taking advantage of it. And this was precisely what England did. Yielding to the popular passion of the hour,[146] the Government found a new object to fight for, namely, the destruction of Russia as an enemy to Mankind. And yet, with this amazing fact on record, there are still people on the Continent who aver that England is a practical nation, which never fights for an idea!

War was declared by England against Russia on the 28th of March, and by France on the 27th, the military alliance between the two Powers being signed on the 12th. Lord Raglan had been appointed to command the British army, whilst Marshal St. Arnaud headed that of France, and the British troops had departed for the seat of war on the 20th of February, amidst scenes of great excitement and popular enthusiasm, which naturally inflamed the bellicose feeling of the metropolis. On the 30th of March the French occupied Gallipoli, in European Turkey, a little above the point where the Dardanelles expand into the Propontis or Sea of Marmora. The English detachments began to arrive on the 5th of April. The allies threw fortified lines across the peninsula, so that if Russia had driven back the Turks from the Danube and, crossing the Balkans to Adrianople, had made a dash for Constantinople, as in 1829, the Turks would have been paralysed by the allied forces on their right flank. But the pride of England as a maritime Power had to be gratified, and, as the ice was breaking in the Baltic, it was decided to order a great fleet to reduce Cronstadt and let the Czar hear the voice of England thundering from her cannon at the very gates of his capital. Sir Charles Napier, the Admiral appointed to command the magnificent Armada at Spithead, was entertained at an absurd Reform Club banquet on the 7th of March. There he, Lord Palmerston, and Sir James Graham, delivered themselves of flippant, vaunting orations, which Mr. Bright, in the House of Commons, denounced as “discreditable to the grave and responsible statesmen of a Christian nation.”[147] Very different was the feeling of the{584} Queen when, on the 11th of March, she reviewed the stately procession of war-ships at Spithead, as they steamed past her yacht, while she waved her handkerchief to the Admiral and crew of the colossal Duke of Wellington, which brought up the rear. Before leaving town she wrote to Lord Aberdeen, “We are just starting to see the fleet, which is to sail at once for its important destination. It will be a solemn moment.[148] Many a heart will be very heavy, and many a prayer, including our own, will be offered up for its safety and glory.”[149] On the 12th of April Napier sailed from Kiöge Bay and completely blockaded the Gulf of Finland. Russia was thus paralysed when she evacuated the Principalities. Omar Pasha kept her at bay on the other side of the Pruth. Napier locked up her fleet and shipping in the Baltic. The allied armies covered Constantinople. The allied fleets swept the Euxine. The “material guarantees” which she had seized for the purpose of forcing her terms on Turkey were wrested from her hands, and as war abrogates all treaties, she had even lost the shadow of a claim to exercise her old rights of protection over the Sultan’s Christian subjects. Russia was now at the mercy of the Western Powers, and had they simply remained passive, she would soon have been compelled to sue for peace on their terms. But the War Party in England, disappointed that this supreme advantage had been gained without gilding British arms with glory, scoffed at the idea of settling the original dispute between Russia and Turkey on these terms. The British Government accordingly resolved, not merely to bring Russia to reason, but to humiliate her and punish her in such a manner that her power in South-Eastern Europe would be utterly broken. As it was this determination which led to the calamitous invasion of the Crimea, it may be well to trace the diplomatic history of such an astounding blunder.

On the 9th of April, after war had been declared, the four Powers—England, France, Austria, and Prussia—signed a Protocol at Vienna which bound them (1) to remain united in maintaining the integrity of Turkey, and in safeguarding, under the guarantee of Europe, the liberties of her Christian inhabitants by every means compatible with the independence of the Sultan; (2) to enter into no arrangement with Russia or any other Power which might be inconsistent with this object without first of all discussing it in concert. On the 20th of April Austria and Prussia concluded an offensive and defensive alliance. In separate Notes they summoned Russia to evacuate the Principalities. On the 29th of July, when Omar Pasha was just about to drive the Russians back to their territory, Count Nesselrode replied to Austria stating that the Czar accepted the principles of the Protocol of the 9th of April. But before evacuating the Principalities, he requested the Cabinet of Vienna to give{585}

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him some guarantee that hostilities would cease.[150] Austria was willing to persuade England and France to agree to the condition which the Czar thus made, a condition sine quâ non of evacuation, but Count Buol Schauenstein instructed the Austrian ambassador at St. Petersburg to warn Nesselrode that if the Maritime Powers remained obdurate, Austria must still insist on the withdrawal of Russia from Moldavia and Wallachia. Prussia, however, refused to take part in a Conference which Austria suggested might advantageously be held to consider the Russian terms. King Frederick William and Manteuffel thought that in offering to evacuate the Principalities, Russia had made a sufficient concession to the interests of Germany. But Lord Clarendon was of a different opinion.[151] England, he saw, would no longer be content with the mere evacuation of the Principalities, which was the sole object of the war. Imitating the initial{586} blunder of the Czar, he insisted on getting a “material guarantee” against any future molestation of Turkey. The exclusive right of Russia to protect Moldavia and Wallachia must, he said, be abolished, and instead of it a European Protectorate established. Russia must also cease to control the chief mouth of the Danube. The ill-defined relations of Russia to the Christian subjects of the Porte, embodied in the Treaty of 1841, must be defined in the interests of the balance of power in Europe, and the independence of Turkey. Russia must finally renounce her claim to exercise any individual or official right of protecting Turkish subjects, no matter what their religion might be. The position of Russia as a naval Power in the Black Sea must also be modified.[152] The Czar rejected these terms[153]—indeed, if he had accepted them when as yet he had not suffered any crushing defeat from the Western Powers, his life would not have been worth many days’ purchase. Austria and Turkey concluded a Treaty on the 14th of June, in virtue of which Austria was to occupy the Principalities on behalf of the Sultan. On the 23rd of August the Austrian army entered Wallachia, thus setting the Turks free to co-operate with the Allies for the defence of Constantinople. But at this point the war passed from the defensive to the offensive stage, and it will therefore be convenient to trace the movement of opinion in England which powerfully influenced the change in our plans.

The attacks on Prince Albert created an unusual interest in the opening of Parliament on the 30th of January, 1854. When the Queen passed in her State procession from her palace to the House of Lords, the route was lined by a seething crowd of enthusiasts, who cheered her wildly as she went by. She was evidently more popular than even the Turkish Ambassador, who was the idol of West-End mobs in these mad, foolish, and to us, the rising generation, far-off days. The Speech from the Throne referred somewhat hopefully to the diplomatic negotiations which were then going on between the Powers. But it contained an ominous intimation that her Majesty thought it necessary to increase the strength of the army and navy, “with the view of supporting her representations, and of more effectually contributing to the restoration of peace.” She announced a comprehensive programme of domestic legislation, comprising a Reform Bill, with Bills to remodel Parliamentary Oaths, to reform the methods of selection for the Civil Service, to change the law of removal and settlement, and to renovate the tribunal for trying disputed Parliamentary Elections. If Ministers imagined that they would thus divert attention from the Eastern Question they were mistaken. In both Houses the Opposition attacked the Speech bitterly. They denied that the Government had used its best efforts to preserve peace, because its policy was a tangle of vacillation and inconsistency. They complained that the part{587} played by England had been shrouded in secrecy and mystery, so that the country had to look to foreign sources for such scraps of information as had come to it. Ministers had shown such lack of energy that the Emperor of Russia had been led to regard them as his instruments, or, if that were not the case, as men who had not the courage to vindicate British honour by British arms. Were we at war with either or both of the belligerent Powers—Russia or Turkey—or were we not? If not, why send our fleet to the Black Sea to enforce against Russia a compulsory armistice? If we were, why was war not waged boldly and with vigour? Was it not foolish to dissipate the energies of the country in Reform controversies when it might any day find itself forced to make war in real earnest? The Vienna Note was denounced as a betrayal of Turkey, and the aggressive policy of Russia was unsparingly condemned. The Ministerial defence was weak and spiritless.

After the Russian Ambassador left London the Government was pressed to divulge what it knew of Count Orloff’s suspicious mission to Vienna,[154] as to which it was wondrously secretive; and various debates sprang up, notably one in the House of Commons on the 17th of February, which was raised by Mr. Layard on the official papers that had been published. To remove the impression produced by adverse criticism, Ministers seemed to think that the more bellicose they made their speeches the better.[155] “We mean to fight, so do not weaken the hands of the Government unless you are prepared to take its place”—this was the gist of the Ministerial rhetoric. As to their policy of protracted negotiation, Ministers argued, reasonably enough, that forbearance in the circumstances could not be a crime. Mr. Hume and Mr. Roebuck took this view, and, on the whole, the debates, together with the Blue-books, may be said to have won for the Government a favourable verdict from the country. Mr. Cobden, however, had the audacity to challenge this verdict and to oppose, on what to the present generation seem sensible grounds, the whole policy of the war. His long speeches and pamphlets on this subject can be summed up in three sentences. Either we were going to fight Russia for the sake of Turkey, or for the sake of protecting the liberties of Europe from the encroachment of the Russian autocrat. If we were fighting for the sake of Turkey, we were fighting in a cause that we ought to be ashamed of. If we{588}

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were fighting to protect European civilisation from Russia, we ought to let the Powers nearest to the source of danger—Austria and Germany—begin first. This argument was indeed the only one that had the least effect on the House. Members were, however, so completely frightened by the clamour of London Society and the London Press, that even those who agreed with Cobden did not dare to say so.[156] His simple but lucid exposition of the Turkish system of Government which we were asked to maintain, had unexpectedly disturbed the minds, not only of the Nonconformists, but of many good Churchmen{589}

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also. It was, perhaps, slightly emphasised by the taunt of the Czar in his Manifesto of the 9th of February to the effect that England and France were fighting for Islam against Russia, who was striving to protect Christianity. The War Party feared that there might be a reaction against them, and accordingly they very cleverly induced Lord Shaftesbury, on the 10th of March, to answer this portion of the Manifesto, and not only to prove that the Grand Turk did more than the Czar to advance the progress of Christianity, but also to defend the righteousness of making an alliance with any Power, heathen though it might be, to maintain “the cause of right, justice, and order, against the aggressions even of professing Christians.” Of this speech Lord Shaftesbury says in his Diary that nothing pleased him more than the statement of Lord Clarendon that the debate which he originated “was most opportune.”[157] From a Ministerial point of view it was opportune. Mr. Morley complains that the Nonconformists, who “have so seldom been found fighting on the wrong side,” were now so seriously divided that they did{590} nothing to help Mr. Cobden to resist the warlike policy of the Government.[158] Their neutrality explains why Clarendon was so effusive in his congratulation to the Peer whose influence over this section of the community was supreme.

But the whole question soon passed out of the region of debate. On the 27th of March, the Queen’s message proclaiming war—though oddly enough the word war is not mentioned in it—was read to both Houses of Parliament; and on the 31st a loyal address agreeing to it was duly moved and carried, after a debate which was worthier of such an occasion than many others that had preceded it. The Opposition leaders seem to have been sobered by the solemnity of the moment, and all parties practically supported the Government with the helpless unanimity of despair. In the Upper House, Lord Grey alone uttered a strong protest against the war. In the House of Commons, Mr. Bright and the Marquis of Granby were the only speakers who were for peace. The violent Russophobists found in Mr. Layard an energetic champion. He condemned the Government, first, because it had not coerced Russia immediately after the massacre of Sinope, and secondly, because even now Ministers did not specifically declare that the object of the war was to lock up Russia within well-defined limits, so as to cripple her for ever. The Tory leaders were more cautious. They naturally made capital out of the Secret Correspondence,[159] already referred to (pp. 546-7). They had little difficulty in convicting the Government of misleading the Czar as to their rooted objection to his Turkish policy. Lord John Russell had not rejected the Russian proposals with the sternness of one who had serious hostility to them. He had, indeed, admitted the very claim which he and his colleagues were now about to rebut by war.[160] A “hybrid policy of credulity and connivance,{591}” as Mr. Disraeli once called it, could have no other result than that of tempting the Czar to advance pretensions which he could not withdraw without prejudicing his Imperial position, and it is strange that this aspect of the affair was dealt with somewhat leniently by the critics and enemies of the Ministry. The questions that seemed to be of supreme interest to both Houses were really two—What was the object of the war? Where were our allies? To the one question the answer was vague. To the other the reply was neither frank nor candid. Lord Clarendon said that the object of the war was “to check and repel the unjust aggression of Russia”—which, as things stood, meant to force her out of the Danubian Principalities. But, he added, to ask what was the object of the war was to ask on what terms peace would be made?—a question the answer to which must depend on chances nobody could forecast. As for allies, it was easy to say that France was with us. The difficulty was to say what the German Powers would do. Ministers felt that Cobden had pierced their armour when, in the adjourned debate on Mr. Layard’s motion (20th Feb.), he asked whether it would not be sensible to let those Powers who were nearest Russia—and must therefore suffer first from her aggression—begin the fighting. Parliament must therefore be cajoled into a belief that Austria and Prussia would join us. Both Houses knew that though Austria and Prussia had concurred with England and France in recommending Russia to evacuate the Principalities, they had not pledged themselves to co-operate with us in war. Still, said Lord John Russell, when Austria was asked what she would do in the event of war breaking out, “the answer was at the time satisfactory,” and if Prussia had only fallen in with her views, he would have had a most satisfactory statement to make to the House. Though Prussian views seemed to Lord John “too narrow, taking in German interests alone,” he (Lord John) trusted that a short time would bring Prussia “to the conclusion that the disturbance of the balance of Power and the aggrandisement of Russia were matters of concern to Prussia as well as to other Powers.”

Lord John Russell unscrupulously deceived the House of Commons and the country on both points. The whole course of the negotiations had shown first, that Prussia considered the Czar’s final concessions sufficient, and, secondly, that Austria, though regretting that Russia did not do more to mollify Lord Clarendon, refused to admit that a declaration of war was necessary for that purpose. Lord John Russell’s statement as to Prussia was not only untrue, but the dates of the official despatches prove that he and his colleagues must have known it to be untrue.[161] When it was made in the House of Commons by him, and virtually in the same form in the House of Lords by Lord Clarendon, neither Austria nor Prussia had given any direct answer whatever to the question as to what they would do if war broke out. The Prussian Minister, indeed, said he did not think that Prussia would join the Powers in such a{592}

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war.[162] But a still grosser deception was the delusive assurance that Prussia would yet come to our assistance. The Government knew too well that the views of Prussia were such as to absolutely destroy this hope. The King of Prussia looked upon war against Russia on the issue raised as a crime, and he had written an autograph letter to the Queen, a fact which was concealed from Parliament, saying so in the plainest words. He reminded her of what it is to be feared the Queen, like most of her countrymen, did not then sufficiently realise—the agonies of a great war such as that of 1813-15—agonies that he had seen, but which, alas! her Majesty and the new generation had only read about. Yet that was a war worth the horrors of its sacrifices. Was this one now impending worth similar sacrifices?{593}

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Hardly, argued the King, for even England had at last become ashamed of the cause she had taken up—that of the Turk, and her endeavour now was to persuade herself and the world that it was for another cause—the equilibrium of Europe, menaced by the preponderance of Russia—that she was about to draw the sword. “The preponderance of Russia,” he writes in this letter, “is to be broken down! Well! I, her neighbour, have never felt this preponderance, and have never yielded to it.” It was war for an idea, and, adds the King with intense earnestness, “Suffer me to ask, ‘Does God’s law justify war for an idea?’” He implores the Queen to reconsider the Russian proposals in a friendly spirit, sifting what is really objectionable from them, and pledges himself that if a golden bridge is built to save the Czar’s honour, the Czar will cross it. But one word the King craves leave to speak plainly to the Queen: “For Prussia and myself,” he writes, “I am resolved to maintain a position of complete neutrality; and to this I add, with proud elation, my people and myself are of one mind. They require absolute neutrality from me. They say (and I say), ‘What have we to do with the Turk?’ Whether he stand or fall in no way concerns the industrious Rhinelanders and the husbandmen of the Riesengeberg and Bernstein.” Russia, he admits, might have perhaps pressed hard on the Turk. However, “it was the Turk, not we, who{594} suffered, and the Turk has plenty of good friends, but the Emperor is a noble gentleman, and has done us no harm. Your Majesty will allow that this North German sound practical sense is difficult to gainsay.” Yet it was with such a letter in their possession that the Government led the country to believe, first, that Austria, who could not possibly move without Prussia, would join us in the war; and, second, that Prussia would also draw her sword for a cause which she declared we ourselves were even then ashamed of!

On the 17th of March, 1854, the Queen, nettled by the rough practical “North German sense” in this letter from the King of Prussia, endeavoured to answer it—her draft being submitted to Lord Clarendon and Lord Aberdeen for approval. Her answer, according to Sir Theodore Martin, indicates a “firm hand” and “admirable tact.”[163] To the political student of the present day it indicates neither the one nor the other. There was no tact in scoffing at the King’s “North German sound practical sense” by saying, “Had such language fallen from the King of Hanover or of Saxony, I would have understood it,” and there was more weakness and sentimentality than firmness and statecraft in the hand that added, “But up to the present hour I have regarded Prussia as one of the five great Powers which, since the Peace of 1815, have been the guarantors of treaties, the guardians of civilisation, the champions of right, and ultimate arbitrators of the nations; and I have for my part felt the holy duty to which they were thus divinely called, being at the same time perfectly alive to the obligations, serious as they are, and fraught with danger, which it imposes. Renounce these obligations, my dear brother, and in doing so you renounce for Prussia the status she has hitherto held.”[164] If the example thus set by Prussia—that of making the interests of the Prussian people the supreme object of her policy—should find imitators, the Queen contended, “European civilisation is abandoned as a plaything to the winds; right will no longer find a champion, nor the oppressed an umpire to appeal to.”

Such was the reply which the Queen made to what Sir Theodore Martin calls “the amiable but most mischievous weakness” that pervaded the letter from the King of Prussia. Such was the appeal which she made to what Sir Theodore calls “a sentiment higher than the short-sighted and selfish policy which it announced.” The King’s letter was perhaps amiable—but it was not weak. Its policy was perhaps selfish—a Sovereign who draws or sheathes the sword, save from motives of national selfishness, is guilty of a crime against his people—but it was not shortsighted. As Mr. Lowe, in his biography of Prince Bismarck, says, “Every one is now agreed, in the words of Leopold von{595} Ranke, that his (the King of Prussia’s) neutrality during the Crimean War was the condition precedent of the great achievements which afterwards made Germany one.”[165] Prussia, in fact, was at this moment master of the situation; and it is amazing that the Queen, through her German connections, did not know it. Herr von Bismarck had been sent on a secret mission to the minor German States. His intrigues had rendered it certain that if Austria joined the Western Powers in war, Prussia would step into her place as the dominant power in Germany.[166] In fact, but one excuse is given for the grave error of the English Court in not seizing the opportunity offered by the letter of the King of Prussia for building the “golden bridge” over which his Majesty pledged his word the Czar would even then have gladly retreated. The Queen’s reason in her reply was that the resources of diplomacy—its Protocols, Notes, Conventions, &c., &c.—had been exhausted, and that “the ink that has gone to the penning of them might well be called a second Black Sea.”[167] A sanguine and proud young Princess must not be too harshly judged by History for a light jest, even on such a momentous issue. In a few brief months it was wiped out with her tears and her people’s blood. Moreover, her Majesty, as will be seen later, did not forget the hard stern lesson read to her by this “war for an idea,” when she saved England from a similar calamity in the dispute between Germany and Denmark over the Duchies.

Only one thing now vexed the hearts of the War Party. The Address in answer to the Queen’s Message announcing war was carried. But the debate did not definitely commit the Government to a war for the purpose of breaking the power of Russia.

There was, however, an insurrection in the Greek provinces of Turkey, which gave promise of bloodshed, for early in March Nesselrode had authorised the agents of Russia to support the insurgents. King Otho of Greece gave them unofficial support. The atrocious cruelty of the Turkish Bashi-bazouks, according to one party, had caused the rising, whilst another party held that it was due to Russian intrigue. Doubtless it was due to both causes, more especially as it was the hope of getting rid of the torture of Turkish misrule, that led the Greeks to listen eagerly to the Russian intriguers. The insurrection was easily strangled by the Allies who occupied the Piræus on the 25th of May; but one of its incidents was the expulsion of the Greeks from Constantinople. Now, as the Greeks in those days carried on nearly all the trade of Turkey, dealing with{596} Manchester and Glasgow to the extent of £3,000,000 a year, a strong attack might have been made against the Ministry. They could have been taunted with going to war for British interests in support of the Turks, who were destroying our trading agencies in Turkey. Mr. Cobden saw this point clearly, and though he put it before the House of Commons, he spoilt it by foolishly arguing, on sentimental grounds, that we ought not to support an act as barbarous as the Edict of Nantes. Lord John Russell won an easy victory over him by virtually ignoring the question of English commercial interests, and showing that there was no parallel between the expulsion of Frenchmen from France on account of their religious opinions, and the expulsion from Turkey of the subjects of a foreign Prince who was fomenting rebellion. As for the atrocities of the Turks, the House of Commons was, of course, told that they were the natural results of Russian ambition, “for which there was scarcely one apologist but Mr. Cobden!”

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In the meantime the war had to be financed, and the country reconciled to increased taxation. Mr. Gladstone’s ordinary, as distinguished from his War Budget, was introduced on the 6th of March, when his position was this.{597}

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He had collected £54,025,000 of revenue, or £1,035,000 in excess of what he had counted on. He had spent £51,171,000, which, in spite of military operations, was less by £1,012,000 than he had estimated. His balance in hand from the past year was £2,854,000. For the coming year his estimates must necessarily be increased by additional military outlay,[168] which would bring up his estimated expenditure to £56,189,000. As the revenue he could depend upon from existing taxes was only £53,349,000, he had therefore a deficit of £2,840,000. Had there been no need to increase his estimates,[169] he might have had a surplus of £1,166,000 for the remission of taxation. As things stood, how was the deficit to be met? Not by a loan, answered Mr. Gladstone, because no nation had mortgaged its industry to such a frightful extent as England, whose National Debt of £750,000,000{598} exceeded that of all countries in the world put together. Without pledging themselves to pay all future war charges out of the revenue of each year, Mr. Gladstone said it was as yet possible for the House of Commons “to put a stout heart upon the matter, and to determine that so long as these burdens are bearable, and so long as the supplies necessary for the service of the year can be raised within the year, so long we will not resort to the system of loans.” The expenses of a war, he observed, “are the moral check which it has pleased the Almighty to impose upon the ambition and the lust of conquest that are inherent in nations.” He therefore proposed to increase the Income Tax by one-half, but to collect the whole of the increase in the first six months of 1854; in other words, he doubled the tax in the first half year. He was assailed on two grounds. The Tories protested against the doctrine of meeting war expenditure out of current revenue, and they taunted him with the failure of his scheme for the conversion of the debt,[170] which, they pretended, had been disastrous. “The next Party conflict,” wrote Prince Albert in a letter to Stockmar on the 18th of April, “will be upon finance. Gladstone wants to pay for the war out of the current revenue, so long as he does not require more than ten millions sterling above the ordinary expenditure, and to increase the taxes for the purpose. The Opposition are for borrowing—that is, increasing the debt—and do not wish to impose in the meantime any further burdens on themselves. The former course is manly, statesmanlike, and honest; the latter is convenient, cowardly, perhaps popular. We shall see.”[171] This is a masterly summary of the great financial controversy that raged throughout the Session of 1854. It leaves nothing more to be said save this, that when Mr. Gladstone explained his second or War Budget (8th of May), after war had been declared, his eloquence carried the country in favour of his policy. He obtained his war expenditure by doubling the Income Tax and increasing the duty on spirits and malt, and he pointed to the rapidly-growing trade of the nation as a proof that it ought not to adopt the course which Pitt found ruinous,[172] and which Prince Albert so justly described as “convenient and cowardly.{599}”

Perhaps the first Budget in February had slightly sobered the country—at all events, the 26th of April was set apart for a day of Fast, Humiliation, and Prayer. Over this a slight controversy had broken out. The Queen was a little offended that Lord Aberdeen had announced, without consulting her, in the House of Lords, on the 31st of March, that such a Fast would be proclaimed. She thought Fasts of Humiliation were resorted to too often, and that it was hypocritical to publicly confess in the stereotyped form that “the great sinfulness of the nation had brought about this war.” Therefore she desired that the Fast should be called a Day of Prayer and Supplication, and urged Lord Aberdeen “to inculcate the Queen’s wishes into the Archbishop’s mind, that there be no Jewish imprecations against our enemies.” Her desire was to adapt the prayer in the Church Service, “To be used before a Fight at Sea,” to the occasion.[173] According to Mr. Greville, bankers in the City pointed out that if the word “Fast” were omitted, Bills would be payable on that day and not on the day before, as Masterman’s Act provides in such cases. The Queen was, therefore, persuaded by Lord Aberdeen to proclaim “a Day of Solemn Fast, Humiliation, and Prayer, to be kept on the 26th.” It was observed solemnly in the United Kingdom, India, and the Colonies, by British subjects of all races and creeds.

When it was found that the object for which the war was undertaken—the evacuation of the Principalities—had been effected by the retreat of the Russians across the Pruth on the 28th of July, there was some fear lest the taxpayers, who were painfully digesting Mr. Gladstone’s War Budget, might consider enough had been done to bring Russia to reason. Russia, it has been shown, was now in such a position that her surrender, under the passive pressure of the Powers, was inevitable, so as a matter-of-fact enough had been done. But the growth of this feeling had to be stopped, for the War Party{600} insisted that Russia must be rendered incapable of again disturbing Europe. It was a curious revival of a policy, the practicability of which Napoleon I. had ruined himself to illustrate. Yet on the 19th of June Lord Lyndhurst invited the House of Lords to preside at its resurrection. The long, virulent, and passionate harangue by which he endeavoured to excite the hatred of England against Russia, his indictment of her as an enemy of the human race, his appeals for her destruction in the sacred interests of liberty and civilisation, drew forth cheer after cheer even from that frigid Assembly of patricians. It produced a prodigious effect on the country, and forthwith Englishmen worked themselves up into a belief that unless a mortal blow were dealt at Russia, Europe would be overrun by Cossacks, and every honest man in England would be buried alive in Siberia. Lord Aberdeen ventured to protest against Lyndhurst’s extravagant and scurrilous abuse of the Czar, and to remind the Peers that in 1829, when Turkey was at his mercy, he had not seized Turkish territory, but had been content with the Treaty of Adrianople. For this Aberdeen was denounced as a tool of Russia, who desired to patch up a hasty and dishonourable peace.

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Mr. Layard, on the 23rd of June, gave notice of motion in the House of Commons, “that, in the opinion of this House, the language held by the First Minister of the Crown was calculated to raise grave doubts in the public mind as to the objects and results of the present war, and to lessen the prospect of a durable peace.” Even the Queen wrote to the aged statesman a letter scolding him because he had annoyed the public by “an impartial examination of the Emperor of Russia’s conduct.” She admired Aberdeen’s courage and honesty, but expressed a hope—in the circumstances her “hope” was a command—that in any explanation of his unlucky speech “he will not undertake the ungrateful and injurious task of vindicating the Emperor of Russia from any of the exaggerated charges brought against him and his policy, at a time when there is enough in that policy to make us fight with all our might against it.”[174] What Aberdeen said was that he objected to Russian{602} aggression on Turkey, but as for Russian aggression on Europe, he did not fear it in the least. There was nothing in that to cause offence, except to those who, suddenly finding that Russian aggression on Turkey had been repelled by Omar Pasha, supported by the hostile demonstrations of the Western Powers, were now at a loss to discover another form of Russian encroachment, real or imaginary, to repel. There must therefore, cried Lyndhurst and the War Party, be no talk of peace till the Russian fleet in the Black Sea was destroyed, and the walls of Sebastopol razed to the ground. “For the future,” exclaimed Lord Derby, “it was impossible to permit the Black Sea to be a Russian lake, or that the Danube should be a Russian ditch, choked with mud and filth.”[175] A great army had been sent to Turkey; but the fighting and the glory had fallen to Omar Pasha on the Danube. As Lord Hardwicke said, in the debate in the House of Lords on a Vote of Credit (24th of July), “if the present campaign closed without some great deed of arms equal to the power and dignity of this country, Her Majesty’s Government would lie under a heavy responsibility.”

Lord John Russell, in defending this Vote of Credit in the House of Commons, said that the Government had now three objects in view besides the evacuation of the Principalities: (1) to place Turkey under the protection of the European Powers, to whom, and not to Russia alone, she should be asked for the future to guarantee the privileges of her Christian subjects; (2) to deprive Russia of her special right of protecting the Principalities under the Treaty of Adrianople; (3) to reduce the power of Russia in the Black Sea, so that she should not be able to menace Turkey. In connection with this third aim, Lord John threw out a sinister allusion to the destruction of Sebastopol, which Mr. Disraeli protested he heard with “consternation,” and which Lord John vainly endeavoured to explain away. The German Powers objected as much to the occupation of Russian territory by England or Turkey, as to the occupation of Turkish territory by Russia. Lord John Russell had, therefore, emulated Lyndhurst in his eagerness to give Austria and Prussia a pretext for refusing England and France their co-operation.

It was in truth easy to whet the fashionable appetite for adventure and glory. The country sulked over the inaction of the British fleet in the Baltic and the army at Varna. Yet the fleet under Napier, though it failed to make good the foolish vaunting of its commander when he started, did some useful work. It found the frowning fortifications of Cronstadt impregnable,[176] but at all events it shut up the Russian navy in their harbours, and swept their commerce from the sea. Captain Hall’s daring reconnoissance of Hango{603} Bay in the month of May, elicited a tribute of admiration from the Grand Duke Constantine himself. Admiral Plumridge destroyed Bomarsund, a fortress built to dominate the Gulf of Bothnia. But in the Pacific the Allies were decidedly less successful in August in their attack on Petropaulovski. The English Admiral, Price, had committed suicide, and was succeeded by Sir F. Nicholson. On the 4th of September an attempt was made to take the place in the rear, but owing to the treachery of two guides, our men were misled and repulsed. They were driven over a precipice 70 feet high which lay between them and the shore, many of them being killed, and still more being wounded in taking a headlong leap for their lives.

In the Black Sea the record was more brilliant. The first shot fired in the war was at Odessa, which was bombarded for ten hours on the 22nd of April, in revenge for an outrage committed by the Russians, who fired on a flag of truce. This was followed by a challenge to the Russian fleet in Sebastopol, which was not accepted. On the 12th of May the Tiger ran aground off Odessa, and had to strike her flag. Her crew were made prisoners, but treated with the utmost kindness and courtesy by the Russians. The captain (Gifford) died of his wounds on the 19th of June, and the lieutenant (Royer) was sent to St. Petersburg by order of the Czar, who at once set him free. Captain Parker, on the 8th of July, destroyed the Russian works at the Sulina mouth of the Danube.

In May there were 20,000 French on the European and 10,000 British troops on the Asiatic side of the Danube. Gallipoli was fortified, and works thrown up in order to check the Russians had they crossed the Danube. Constantinople was also fortified, and then the Allies concentrated at Varna, ready, if need be, to carry war into the enemy’s territory. They were encamped at a spot which was saturated with the germs of malaria, and which was chosen with a reckless disregard of sanitary considerations. During June and July malaria, dysentery, and cholera decimated their ranks. They sat brooding listlessly in the shadow of death all through that fatal summer, chafing, as did their countrymen at home, over their inglorious fortune. Cardigan’s reconnoissance of the country up to Trajan’s Wall on the confines of the Dobrudscha alone broke the monotony of their existence, and on his return they were cheered by his news of the disastrous retreat of the Russians on Bessarabia. On the 26th of August a Council of War was held at Varna, and the rumour that the army was to be led to the invasion of the Crimea flew through the disheartened camp like tidings of great joy. It has been shown by what steps the English Government was lured on to this fatal decision. Yet it is due to Lord Aberdeen’s Cabinet to say, that it was not at first unanimous as to the expediency of widening the area of conflict, and attempting to break the power of Russia, “by razing Sebastopol to the ground.” Mr. Kinglake[177] has stated that this enterprise was sanctioned at a Cabinet meeting held on June 28 in Lord John Russel{604}l’s house (Pembroke Lodge). Mr. Kinglake, at a loss to explain to posterity how a number of intelligent men could have approved an act of such stupendous folly, has invented an ingenious theory. The Duke of Newcastle, as Secretary of State for War, subsequently blamed Lord Raglan for mismanaging the campaign. But Mr. Kinglake has constituted himself Lord Raglan’s champion, and he accordingly endeavours to lay as much blame as possible on the Duke. The Duke came to the meeting, says Mr. Kinglake, with a ponderous despatch, which he proposed, with the approval of his colleagues, to send to Lord Raglan ordering him to invade the Crimea. As he went on reading it, one Minister after another fell asleep. When he finished, they awoke, and sanctioned the Duke’s instructions without knowing what they were. It is unfortunately not possible to save the reputation of the Aberdeen Ministry by making drowsiness an excuse for blundering. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, in one of his letters,[178] gives the flattest contradiction to Mr. Kinglake’s amusing fable, and so does Sir Theodore Martin.

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An eccentric Member of the House of Commons, Mr. H. Drummond, in one of the debates on the War, said that there was a division of labour in the operations, for whilst we found the money, the French Emperor found the brains. The project of wounding Russia in a vital point by invading the Crimea, was originated by the French Emperor, who possibly thought his illustrious uncle’s experiment at Moscow needed no verification. The French Emperor’s plan was submitted to the Queen on the 14th of March as one approved of by Lord Raglan, Lord de Ros, Lord Clarendon, and the Duke of Newcastle. It was dropped because some sensible person suggested that it would be hardly safe to leave Constantinople, then covered by the allied troops, at the mercy of the Russians. But after Constantinople was fortified against attack, the mischievous idea was revived. On the 28th of June it was embodied in the draft despatch containing the instructions to Lord Raglan,{606} which was sanctioned by that fatigued Cabinet, the Members of which, according to Mr. Kinglake, fell asleep. One other fact may be cited against Mr. Kinglake. The plan was opposed by certain Members of the Ministry who, though they thought something should be done to limit Russia’s opportunities of interfering with Turkey in future, felt sure that an invasion of the Crimea must end in failure. They complained that nobody knew what could be done with the Crimea even if it were taken, or how the Russians could be stopped from rebuilding Sebastopol, except by another war, after it was destroyed. But why has there ever been any controversy over the point at all? Simply because the project was such a mad one, that everybody who had anything to do with it, has been anxious to blame somebody else for originating it. The Ministry and their apologists declared that they left the whole affair to the discretion of Lord Raglan. He was only instructed to invade the Crimea if as a soldier he thought an invasion practicable. Lord Raglan and his friends declared that he had no discretion in the matter, and that the instructions of the Cabinet amounted to an order from the Secretary of State for War, which he as the General in command had no option but to obey. Lord Aberdeen’s account of the matter to the Queen was that, “although the expedition to the Crimea was pressed very warmly” on Lord Raglan, “the final decision was left to the judgment and discretion” of Raglan and St. Arnaud, “after they should have communicated with Omar Pasha.” Sir George Cornewall Lewis, in the letter already quoted, says he does not think that the Cabinet could have given Raglan a wider discretion, because they would have probably thought they were throwing too much responsibility on him. But the obvious truth is that, as the Cabinet and the General had approved of the plan in March, they were alike responsible for it, and that if it had not been disastrous to their reputations, they would have each claimed credit for it.[179] Mr. Kinglake says that St. Arnaud was also opposed to the invasion of the Crimea, but it was his Imperial Master’s plan, and he had to adopt it against his better judgment. Possibly, Raglan’s doubts, confided to Sir G. Brown at Varna, sprang from conferences with St. Arnaud.[180]

The order to invade was dated the 28th of June, and two months were {607}spent in preparing for the expedition. At the last moment it was found that there was no means of embarking and disembarking the cavalry and artillery. This difficulty was cleverly overcome by Mr. Roberts, a master in the navy. “Roberts did more for us than anybody,” said Lord Raglan to Admiral Lyons. He set the Turkish caïques in rows, and built great pontoons on them buoyant enough to support the enormous weight of horses and guns.[181] On the 13th of September the expedition sighted the shores of the Crimea. The allied troops skilfully disembarked without loss or confusion at the Old Fort, a spot twenty miles south of Eupatoria. Twenty thousand French and twenty thousand English soldiers, with a powerful artillery, were thus thrown upon a hostile coast in perfect marching order in one single day. On the 19th of September they moved southwards, and got touch of the Russians under Prince Menschikoff. These were 40,000 strong, and they held a fortified position on the heights of the Alma, a little river which flowed between them and the Allies. On the morning of the 20th the battle began. St. Arnaud was to attack, and if possible turn the Russian left. When that had been done, the English were to dash at the right wing of the Russians. St. Arnaud was farther away from his objective point than our men, and before he completed his manœuvre, he seems to have asked Lord Raglan to advance. Abandoning the original plan of the battle, Raglan moved forward on the swarming masses of Russians in front of him, and drove them from their position. In this contest one sees nothing admirable save the rough masculine vigour of the English attack, and the skill with which the battle was planned by St. Arnaud. Lord Raglan’s conduct was likened by the Secretary of State to that of the Duke of Wellington. As a matter of fact, at the outset he seems to have plunged into the river with his Staff, dashed on into the enemy’s lines, till he found himself on the extreme left of the French, without any control over his army. It was really led into action by his Generals of Divisions, who, till after the crisis of the battle was over, seemed scarcely conscious of the existence of their Commander-in-Chief.[182] The French attack was dashing, but somehow it did not succeed quickly.[183] As for the Russians, they were clumsily handled. Menschikoff chose a good position—so good that he staked his field defence{608} of Sebastopol on it. But he manœuvred in massive columns, so that his front did not nearly cover all his ground. He seemed nervously anxious to meet attacks in detail, hurrying regiments from point to point wherever he thought his troops were being hard pressed, to the utter confusion of his formation. His subordinates were so stupid that they did not even think of bringing their strongest arm, the cavalry, into action.

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Curiously enough at this point, the expedition, owing to Menschikoff’s bungling, had success within its grasp. The defence of Sebastopol was staked upon the army of the Alma. The stronghold lay at the mercy of the Allies after that army was routed, and could have been taken next morning by a coup de main. Raglan, to do him justice, was eager to press on, but St. Arnaud held him back. The Allies then spent three days in burying the dead, and by that time the Russians had considerably strengthened their fortifications. Raglan again urged that the city should be attacked, but, as St. Arnaud was unwilling to{609} risk an assault, it was agreed that the invaders should march round to the south of the citadel, and attack it from that aspect. On the 29th St. Arnaud, whose health and brain had been long failing him, died, and Canrobert, an equally sluggish soldier, succeeded to his command. Whilst the Allies were, at Raglan’s instigation, marching round to the south of Sebastopol, they were for a whole day exposed to a flank attack from the enemy, which, had it been delivered, would have simply cut them to pieces. Menschikoff’s incapacity saved them from this disaster, and on the 28th of September the Russians, who had been looking for an attack from the north, to their surprise found their feeble works on the south at the mercy of their enemies. Some of the divisional commanders, like Cathcart and Campbell, were eager for storming the place at once, and, had they done so, they could have captured it with hardly any appreciable loss. Sir John Burgoyne—then supposed to be infallible as a military engineer—and General Canrobert thought the risks too great, and said that the army must wait till the siege-train was brought up. Raglan yielded to Canrobert’s hesitancy and Burgoyne’s ignorance.

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The Russians, who expected every moment to see the enemy swarming over their walls, must have looked on the unintelligible paralysis of the Allies as an intervention of Providence on their behalf. Oddly enough, when Raglan was making his flank march from north to south, Menschikoff, instead of springing on him and destroying his army, was marching with equal stupidity from the south to the north.[184] Here the allied attack was looked for; here all available troops were hurried. Nachimoff, who remained on the south bank of the harbour, had just 3,000 troops to hold indefensible works against an army of 40,000 men. He behaved with high spirit; he sank his ships so as to block the channel. Admiral Korniloff hastened from the north side to his aid and took command, and filled the troops with his own determination to hold out to the last, no matter how heavy were the odds against them. Colonel Todleben—whose master mind was about to revolutionise the art of fortification—accompanied him, and these two perfectly dauntless men, profiting by the blunder of Canrobert and Burgoyne, simply wrecked the expedition of the Allies. The time spent in waiting for the siege-train was precisely what Todleben prayed for.

Inspirited by Korniloff’s enthusiasm, and guided by Todleben’s genius, the Russians toiled like galley-slaves to strengthen their fortifications. Korniloff succeeded in inducing Menschikoff to march 25,000 troops into the town, so that on the 17th of October, when the siege-train of the Allies had arrived, Sebastopol, which had been at their mercy on the 25th of September, was virtually impregnable. On the 17th of October an attempt was made to demolish the earthworks of the enemy by a general bombardment, after which it was the intention of the Allies to dash forward and storm the southern half of the town.[185] The English batteries did not fail, for they seriously damaged the Redan Fort of the enemy. Nachimoff’s sacrifice of the sunken fleet, however, prevented our ships from getting far enough up the harbour to assist our land force, and though the sea batteries were open to attack, shoal water prevented our ships from getting close enough to them to do them much harm.[186] The failure of the bombardment was followed up by a series of attacks on the position of the Allies, the results of which may now be summarised. The great flank march from north to south had left every{611} road from Russia open to the enemy. Reinforcements swarmed into the Crimea, even from the Russian Army of the Danube, which was liberated when the Austrians occupied the Principalities. The English army at the end of October numbered 25,000. The French had 40,000 in the field. But 120,000 combatants had rallied to the standards of Prince Menschikoff. They held not a fortress but a great entrenched camp, defended by impregnable works on which, says Lord Raglan, plaintively, in one of his despatches, “an apparently unlimited number of heavy guns, amply provided with gunners and ammunition, are mounted.” Now, it is a rule of warfare that the besieging force should be five times as strong as the besieged. No general with a grain of prudence will attempt to lay siege to a stronghold unless his force is three times as strong as that of the garrison, and unless he has an army of observation besides to protect him from molestation. Before Sebastopol the besiegers were only half as strong as the besieged, and they had no covering force whatever. Like the Athenians at Syracuse, the besiegers had become the besieged. If Lord Raglan did not complete the parallel by sacrificing his army to an eclipse of the moon, he did his best to emulate that historic achievement by sacrificing it to the flank march from the Belbeck to Balaclava.[187]

In these circumstances the Russians promptly adopted offensive tactics. Menschikoff ordered Liprandi to march round to the rear of the British position and attack Balaclava, from which we drew our supplies, and on the 25th of October the Russians suddenly drove the Turks from the redoubts that formed one of our chief defences. This gave him the northern half of the Balaclava valley. The British cavalry were withdrawn from the southern half westwards behind redoubts, which were still in our hands, and the road to Balaclava, with all our shipping and our stores, was clear. Yet not quite clear. Sir Colin Campbell and the 93rd Highlanders were in the way, and his consummate skill and their stubborn valour saved our base of operations. At a glance Campbell saw that Liprandi meant to annihilate the Scots, by hurling against them overwhelming masses of cavalry covered by artillery. To such an onset a single regiment in square formation could obviously offer no effective resistance whatever. In an instant Campbell conceived the novel and daring project of receiving the Russian cavalry in line.[188] Such a{612}

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manœuvre could be possible only where a commander and his troops had implicit confidence in each other, and where officers and men, instinct with barbaric strength and courage, went forth to battle under the iron discipline of civilised warfare. In grim silence the Scots obeyed the stern, curt orders of their leader, and formed the famous “thin red line tipped with steel,” on the solidity of which, for a moment, the fate of the army depended. Their flanks were covered by the Turks who had fled from the redoubts. A hundred sick men, who crawled from the hospital to rally round their chief, were formed under Lieutenant-Colonel Daveney as “supports.” The Russian commander, with great ability, modified his plan of attack and struck swiftly not only at the centre, but strongly at Campbell’s right flank, where the Turks were posted. The dense masses of cavalry first reeled and then broke up when they came within the central zone of fire, but the Turks fled, leaving the “thin red line” uncovered on the right. The Russians, feeling that the game was now in their hands, charged again, confident that they could roll up the line at this unprotected spot. Campbell was, however, equally alert. When the Turks ran away he ordered his grenadier company to wheel to the right. It went swiftly and silently round, with automatic precision, like a door on a hinge, and met the{613}

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(After the painting by Robert Gibb, R.S.A., in the possession of Archibald Ramsden, Esq., Leeds.)

Russian squadrons with a scorching storm of fire, that sent them flying in confusion from the field. “During the rest of the day,” said Sir Colin Campbell, with a touch of grim humour in his despatch, “the troops under my command received no further molestation from the Russians.” A still more formidable body of Russian horse, however, had swooped down on our Heavy Cavalry (Brigadier-General Scarlett). The Scots Greys and Enniskilling{614} Dragoons sprang forward to meet them, tore through the first and second lines of the enemy, and, supported by the Dragoon Guards, broke up their heavy masses in utter rout. At this moment Lord Raglan ordered Lord Lucan, who was in command of the cavalry, to advance his Light Brigade and prevent the Russians from carrying away some of the guns which the Turks had abandoned in the redoubts. When the order was carried to Lucan by Captain Nolan, Raglan’s aide-de-camp, the Russians had recovered from their reverses and had completely re-formed on their own ground. Raglan’s order, therefore, had come to mean that Lucan was to hurl his slender Light Cavalry Brigade, utterly devoid of supports, against a great army holding a strong position, flanked and covered on all sides by murderous artillery. For a moment he hesitated, appalled by the hideous madness of the order. A taunt from Nolan stung him to the quick, and he spoke the word that sent Cardigan into the “valley of death” with the far-famed Six Hundred.

“Long shall the tale be told,
Yea, when our babes are old”—
how they rode onward—through the smoke and fire that belched forth from the iron throats of the Russian cannon—how they clove their way through the Russian masses and cut down the gunners at their guns—how they cut their way back, “stormed at with shot and shell,” a broken remnant of wounded and dismounted troopers, who had to report that they had failed to do that which even the demigods of ancient legend would not have been reckless enough to attempt. Nolan was killed at the very first onset—whilst riding far in advance cheering on the Brigade.[189] “It was magnificent, but it was not war” was the comment of the French General Bosquet, on this horrible sacrifice—a sacrifice so horrible that, when it was over, even the Russians ceased firing and stood motionless and awe-stricken, gazing at the sickening scene. They claim Balaclava as a victory. Certainly they took more than half the field from us; but on the other hand, thanks to the obstinate tenacity of the 93rd Highlanders, we repelled their attack on our base of operations, which was, of course, their objective point.[190]{615}

After this fight the Russians concentrated an overwhelming force and planned an attack on our position at Inkermann. Its weakest point, in spite of the warnings of Lieutenant-General Sir De Lacy Evans, had been left badly protected, and on the 5th of November the Russians surprised our pickets. Having driven them in they fell on our Second Division, who had barely time to stand to their arms when they found themselves struggling with overwhelming masses of the enemy. Pennefather was in command, for, unfortunately, De Lacy Evans was disabled. Instead of retiring in order and attempting to ward off the attack by artillery, Pennefather hurried up little mobs of troops to his outposts, and there waged a dreadful hand to hand fight against an army ten times as strong as his own. It was “a soldiers’ battle” that raged through the morning on these misty heights—a confused melée, in which officers lost their men, and men lost their officers—in which, when ammunition failed, the English troops fought with bayonets; when these broke or bent, with stones; and when these failed, with clenched fists. Column after column of Russians was hurled at our little force—but without avail. No man could be moved from his position till he was shot or cut down, and the indomitable courage of the Duke of Cambridge and his Guards—for his Royal Highness, though he lacked skill and knowledge, never lacked pluck—held the Russians in check so long, that the French had time to come to the rescue. Then the enemy beat a retreat. We retook the positions we had lost, and once again demonstrated that the English infantry were without a rival in the world. The Russian plans were so laid, that it was a mathematical certainty our army must be driven into the sea. Two sons of the Czar had been invited to witness this catastrophe. And, in spite of the splendid fighting qualities of our men, the catastrophe must have happened, had it not been for two blunders which the Russians committed. In the first place, Menschikoff, who seems to have been even a stupider person than Raglan or Burgoyne, attacked in massive columns. This so reduced his fighting front that our weak detachments formed in line decimated them with their fire, and when our artillery came into action every shot and every shell also told on them with deadly effect. The Russian sortie from Sebastopol, moreover, was mismanaged. The commander lost his way in the mist, and instead of falling on us, he found himself entangled with the French far away on our left, so that he gave no real aid to the main attack.

The Russians lost 12,000 men in this battle, the French lost 1,800, and the British lost 2,600. It was therefore clear that the siege must be raised, or that the Allies must enter on a winter campaign. Up till now the troops had suffered very little hardship; but, alas! when winter set in they were doomed to cruel suffering. A terrific storm on the 14th of November blew{616}

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down their tents and destroyed twenty-one vessels in Balaclava Bay laden with supplies. It rendered the valley from Balaclava to the camp—a distance of nine miles—almost impassable. Two-thirds of the transport horses died, and there was hardly any forage obtainable for the remainder. Cholera—the germs of which had been carried to the Crimea from Varna—raged in our lines, and those who escaped it fell victims to scurvy, dysentery, or fever. “Between the beginning of November,” writes Mr. Spencer Walpole, “and the end of February, 8,898 British troops perished in hospital. At the last of these dates 13,608 men were still in hospital.”[191] The state of the hospitals was so bad that men died there more quickly than on the field. Part of the ghastly tale of mismanagement had been told by Mr. W. H. Russell, the special correspondent of the Times, when Parliament met on the 12th of December, and empowered the Queen to raise a foreign legion and utilise the Militia for foreign service—measures forced on the Ministry by Prince Albert. But soon after it separated the cry of distress from the Crimea grew too loud to be stifled. When it rang through England the people turned on the Government in furious anger, and called them to account for their gross mismanagement of the war. The Duke of Newcastle, being Secretary of State for War, was blamed because he was alleged to be incompetent.{617} Aberdeen was blamed because it was said he was at heart a Russian. The scurrilous charges against Prince Albert were revived, and he was accused of impeding the operations of our army by his treacherous interference. As a matter of fact, these charges were all untrue. Prince Albert, Aberdeen, and Newcastle were the three men who alone had courage to face the situation, when they suddenly discovered that the military system of England had failed them, and that the military machine which they inherited from Wellington had broken down. They had toiled long and wearily to mend it when the distinguished persons who afterwards attacked them were away enjoying their holidays. But when Parliament reassembled on the 23rd of January, 1855, the gathering storm broke on the head of the Government. Mr. Roebuck gave notice of a motion for the appointment of a committee to inquire into the mismanagement of the war; Lord John Russell deserted his colleagues and resigned. The Ministry, who resisted Mr. Roebuck’s motion, were beaten, on a division, by 305 votes to 148, and the Coalition Government resigned on the 31st of January, 1855. The army was starving, with abundance of supplies within its reach, through the sheer stupidity of those whose duty it was to feed it. Its camp was a hospital, and its hospitals were pest-houses. The nation was utterly humiliated. As for the War Party, which was really responsible for the invasion of the Crimea, it naturally destroyed the Ministry which had stooped to be the instrument of its braggart passions and its ignorant policy.

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Stratford de Redcliffe Cooling Down—Tory Distrust of the French Alliance—The Queen’s Kindness to Lord Aberdeen—The Emperor Napoleon and Prince Albert—The Prince Visits France—The Queen at Balmoral—Her Feelings towards the Prince of Prussia—The Queen holds a Council of War—She Demands Reinforcements for Lord Raglan—Napoleon’s Alarm—Prince Albert’s Plan for an Army of Reserve—The Queen on the Austrian Proposals—Her Anxiety about the Troops—Raglan’s Meagre Despatches—The Queen and Miss Nightingale—At Work for the Soldiers—Extorting Information from Lord Raglan—Ministerial Changes—Lord John Russell’s Selfishness—A Miserly Whig Duke—The Queen’s Disgust at Russell’s Treachery—Resignation of Russell—Fall of the Coalition—The Queen and the Crisis—She holds out the Olive Branch to Palmerston—Palmerston’s Cabinet—Quarrel between Mr. Disraeli and Lord Derby—The Sebastopol Committee—Mr. Roebuck and Prince Albert—The Vienna Conference and the Death of Czar Nicholas—The Austrian Compromise—Parties and the War—Russell’s Humiliation—He Resigns in Disgrace—The Queen quashes the Peace Negotiations—A Royal Blunder—The Queen tries to Gag the Peelites—Aberdeen Browbeaten by the Court—Canrobert’s Resignation—Crimean Successes—Failure of the Attack on the Redan—Death of Raglan.

During the Parliamentary Session of 1854, it was very plainly shown that Government by Party is not the best kind of Government for carrying on diplomacy or warfare. The Opposition in the House of Commons, instead of checking the drift of the Cabinet towards war, seemed ever bent on hounding them on. They hardly ever gave a vote save for the purpose of discrediting and weakening the Ministry. It is, therefore, not unfair to infer that they rejoiced in the prospect of war, because they foresaw that its hazards and its chances might lead to the destruction of the Government. The temper of the Tories at this time was admirably illustrated by Mr. Disraeli. When a motion was brought before the House of Commons by Mr. Chambers early in February, 1854, to investigate the claims of an English company at Madeira against Portugal, Lord Malmesbury writes of the Ministerial defeat as follows: “I fear Disraeli voted against the Government, as it is his policy to join with anybody to defeat them.”[192] With such a spirit of faction animating the Opposition, it was hardly possible for the Ministry to steer a steady course in the stormy sea of diplomatic intrigue on which it had embarked. Yet it is but right to say that there were some patriotic Tories who objected very strongly to the tactics and strategy of their Party. John Wilson Croker was so firmly opposed to the policy of the war, and the entangling alliance with the French Emperor,[193] that he severed his connection with the Quarterly Review on this account. Croker’s belief was that France was an unsafe ally, that the French had manufactured the quarrel with Russia and inveigled us into it; that our Government knowing, from the Secret Memorandum of 1844, what the Cza{619}r’s views were, should have urged Turkey to resist the intimidation of France at the outset. We should have warned her of the peril she stood in from Russia, whilst at the same time we warned Russia that, though we had no objection to induce Turkey to do her justice, we could not sanction the partition of the Ottoman Empire. This course, says Mr. Croker, in a remarkable letter to Lord Lyndhurst, “would have placed the matter on its real grounds—that is, a struggle between France and Russia, in which we should have been spectators, and eventually mediators, but not parties, till some pretensions contrary to the permanent balance of power should be raised by any of the belligerents.”[194] Lyndhurst himself began towards the end of the year to doubt whether our alliance with the French was not as dangerous as Russian pretensions. Very few members of the House of Commons, however, shared these doubts. The House, in fact, rapidly became unmanageable, and, as Lord Malmesbury says in his “Memoirs” would support nothing but the war. Bill after Bill had to be withdrawn by Aberdeen’s Government, so that its legislative achievements can be briefly recorded. During the first Session of the year the Oxford University Bill was passed. It substituted for an incompetent governing oligarchy a Council of eminent and talented men, and gave the Colleges great powers for self-improvement. Mercantile laws were consolidated into one Act. Usury laws were abolished. The principle of allowing traders to form Joint Stock Companies under limited liability of partnership was affirmed by the House of Commons, and the old system of granting such undertakings charters from the Board of Trade, finally condemned. Lord John Russell’s Reform Bill was one of the measures which were introduced, debated, and withdrawn. It had produced a second crisis in the Cabinet in early spring, which was overcome by Lord Aberdeen’s mediation between Lord John and Lord Palmerston. This episode seriously disturbed the Queen’s peace of mind, and in one of her letters she expresses her deep gratitude to the Prime Minister for his devotion to her. Nothing, indeed, is more touching than the references to the aged statesman with which the Queen’s letters are filled at this period. She is found frequently devising plans for the purpose of lightening the burden of care that was crushing his spirits. On the 1st of May, Prince Arthur’s birthday, she writes as follows:—“Though the Queen cannot send Lord Aberdeen a card for a child’s ball, perhaps he may not disdain coming for a short time to see a number of happy little people, including some of his grandchildren, enjoying themselves.” In September, again, she writes to him from Balmoral, peremptorily insisting on his leaving London and proceeding to Scotland at once to recruit his health. At Haddo, she says, he will be near her, and, she adds, “Lord Aberdeen knows that his health is not his own alone, but that{620}

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MR. ROEBUCK (1858).

she (the Queen) and the country have as much interest in it as he and his own family.”[195] In midsummer she gave him her best support and sympathy when the Peelites and the Whigs almost openly quarrelled, and attacks on the Prime Minister were freely indulged in by his own supporters. “Aberdeen,” writes Prince Albert in July to Stockmar, “is a standing reproach in their eyes, because he cannot share the enthusiasm while it is his part to lead it. Nevertheless he does his duty and keeps the whole thing together, and is the only guarantee that the war will not degenerate into crack-brained, fruitless absurdities”—such as the re-organisation of Poland, the seizure of Finland, a mad project of certain Tories like Lyndhurst, and the annexation of the Crimea. Before Parliament met in January, 1855, the Queen was indeed so keenly sensible of the injustice of the attacks on Lord Aberdeen, that she insisted on his accepting the Order of the Garter as a public testimony of her{621} confidence in his administration, and of “her personal feelings of regard and friendship” for himself. The end of the London season, when the Court came to the capital to prorogue Parliament, was gloomy. Cholera was spreading fast through the town, and even the world of fashion had to offer up its tale of victims.[196] The Queen was therefore fain to hurry back to Osborne as quickly as possible; and, on the 29th of August, she writes to the King of the Belgians that she is reconciling herself to the prospect of a long parting from her husband, who was about to visit Napoleon III.

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Prince Albert’s visit to France was planned by the Emperor Napoleon for the purpose of raising his status in the eyes of his people, whose cultured and aristocratic classes looked askance at his upstart court and his mushroom nobility. First of all, he sounded Lord Cowley on the subject. The Queen thought that such a visit might render the French alliance more trustworthy than she was disposed to consider it, and the Prince soon let Lord Cowley know he would visit France whenever he was invited. Napoleon III. accordingly, on the 3rd of July, asked the Prince to come and inspect the summer{622} camp of 100,000 troops which was to be formed between St. Omer and Boulogne, and the Prince promised to go. He sailed from Osborne on the 3rd of September, carrying an autograph letter from the Queen to the Emperor, who met his guest on the quay at Boulogne on the 4th. On the 8th he returned to Osborne, on the whole well pleased with his visit.

The 15th of September found the Court at Balmoral; indeed, it was there that the Queen received most of the stirring news that made English hearts beat fast during these anxious months when the Crimean struggle was begun. She was greatly cheered by the successful landing of the troops near Eupatoria, and her pride when the tidings of the victory of the Alma arrived, is frankly and ingenuously expressed in her correspondence.

On the 11th of October the Court returned to Windsor, the Queen visiting Edinburgh, Hull, and Grimsby on the way. It was at Edinburgh that she first heard of the abandonment of the attack on the northern front of Sebastopol, and of Raglan’s foolish “flank march” to the south side of the town. Prussian diplomacy had at this time again irritated both the Queen and her husband, for when Austria was once more pressed to take the field with us, Prussia held her back by threatening to withdraw from the offensive and defensive alliance which had been signed between the two countries. Prince Albert remonstrated with the Crown Prince—afterwards Emperor of Germany—but in vain. The conduct of Prussia was especially provoking to the Queen, because she even then saw certain signs which indicated that the son of the Crown Prince would probably be soon a successful suitor for her eldest daughter’s hand. Her Majesty next induced her uncle, King Leopold, to remonstrate with the King of Prussia. Prussia was warned that France would seize the left bank of the Rhine, and that England would abet her. Herr Von Bismarck, who made it his business to thwart King Leopold’s schemes, met this threat by pointing out that whoever held the Rhine was master of Belgium—a trifling circumstance which the Queen and Prince Albert seem to have overlooked, when they persuaded King Leopold to press Prussia into the service of the Allies.

When October brought the first hints of bad news from the Crimea, the heart of the Queen grew heavy with anxiety. She now knew, by advices from Raglan, that he had not enough troops for the task that was imposed on him. The country was growing restive over the sluggishness of the attack. The Queen and Prince Albert therefore implored Lord Aberdeen to consider how reinforcements were to be sent out. On the 11th of November her Majesty asked the Prime Minister to visit her at Windsor, and, with the Duke of Newcastle, talk over a project of the Prince’s for raising the Militia by ballot and sending them abroad, and for organising a legion of foreign mercenaries. The Queen desired this step to be taken at once, assuring her Ministers that they would have no difficulty in getting a Bill of Indemnity from Parliament; but her suggestion was overruled. And yet at this time{623} Raglan was begging the Secretary for War to send out 10,000 troops without delay! Meanwhile Napoleon III. was alarmed to find that the English army was vanishing before Canrobert’s eyes. Hence he offered to send out every French soldier he could muster, if England would only find the transports. Sir James Graham found them, and they carried, not only French troops to the Crimea, but all the lavish stores of food and comforts which never reached those for whom they were supplied. The terrible loss of life at Inkermann again prompted the Queen to press on the Duke of Newcastle the necessity for reinforcing our shattered army. Prince Albert was equally urgent in his importunity, and on the 1st of December he was successful in persuading the Cabinet to adopt his plan for forming an Army of Reserve at Malta.

Meantime, diplomacy was again appealed to for the purpose of ending the war. “If Austria did her duty,” writes the Queen when as yet the tidings of carnage were fresh in her mind, “she might have prevented much of this bloodshed. Instead of this, her Generals do nothing but juggle the Turks of the Principalities, and the Government shuffles about, making advances and then retreating. We shall see now if she is sincere in her last propositions.”[197] These were that certain demands should be made by her on Russia. If Russia rejected them, then Austria would be willing to join us in the war. But, on the other hand, if Russia accepted the Austrian proposals, England and France must agree to make peace. What then, asked Austria, were the terms which France and England would insist on having? Prince Albert was asked by Lord Clarendon to suggest an answer. The Prince replied very sensibly that he should not ask for anything beyond the “Four Points” on which Austria was prepared to insist, though it might be well, he said, to define their somewhat elastic terms. These points were the substitution of a European for a Russian Protectorate over the Principalities; the freedom of navigation on the Danube; the revision of the Treaty of 1841 so as to destroy the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea; a guarantee from the Sultan to the Great Powers confirming the liberties and privileges of his Christian subjects, instead of a guarantee from the Sultan to Russia alone. The Queen greatly approved of the Ministerial Despatch which was drawn up on the lines of Prince Albert’s advice, and in a letter to Lord Clarendon she gave him sound reasons for her belief that Austria was acting honestly in the transaction, and not, as Lord Clarendon suspected, seeking to evade her moral responsibilities.

But it was the condition of the army itself during the winter of 1854 in the Crimea, rather than the diplomacy of the struggle that disturbed most grievously the mind of the Queen. Official Despatches, especially those of Lord Raglan, were culpably silent on the subject. Private letters, however, from officers and men, teemed with complaints, and officers in the Guards kept the Court well informed about the actual state of things. Early in October, the Times{624} newspaper generously opened a subscription for the benefit of the army, and sent Mr. Macdonald to the Crimea to administer it. The services which this gentleman rendered to the troops will never be forgotten. He seemed to make his pence go as far as other men’s pounds, and to his skilful administration may be traced many most important reforms which were adopted by the Government in their methods of issuing rations to the army. The Queen was now of opinion that the time had come for appealing to the generosity of the people on behalf of the sufferers from the war. On the 13th of October a Royal Commission was issued, headed by Prince Albert, to establish the Patriotic Fund for the relief of the families of those who had perished in the Crimea. A staff of hospital nurses was organised under Miss Florence Nightingale—a lady whose good deeds and kindly offices to the sick and wounded at Scutari have given her imperishable fame. On the 5th of November she reached the scene of her labours—as the wounded men were being brought in from Balaclava—and the hospital which had been a foul and disorderly pest-house, was soon rendered a wholesome and serviceable sanatorium. It was Mr. Sidney Herbert who requested Miss Nightingale to undertake this work, and he was bitterly condemned at the time for sanctioning such an innovation as the introduction of a volunteer staff of thirty-seven lady nurses into a military hospital.[198] Nor was the Queen contented merely to help all these good works by her counsel, sympathy, and support. With her own hands she, her daughters, and the ladies of her Household knitted woollen comforters, socks, and mittens, and plied their needles as busily as the most toilworn seamstresses in the East-end, making under-clothing for the soldiers. Their example was quickly followed by every lady of leisure in the three kingdoms. Prince Albert sent fur coats to his brother officers in the Guards, and bountiful supplies of tobacco for the men. He devised a series of forms in order to extract, or rather extort, full information from Lord Raglan and his subordinates as to the condition of the troops, and it was not till his system of tabulated returns was adopted that the Government had the data necessary for devising measures of relief for the miseries of the army. On the first day of the year 1855, the Queen, in sending her congratulations to Lord Raglan, speaks in touching language of the grief which a long stream of Crimean reports have caused her. She urges vehemently that every effort be made to save her troops from privation. She even goes into particulars, and speaks sharply about the blunder which led to green coffee beans instead of ground coffee being served out—a blunder that was one of the notorious scandals of the time.[199]{625}

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One curious change in the organisation of the Ministry took place in 1854, which, however, does not seem to have greatly concerned the Court. The Secretaryship of State for War had hitherto been an appendage of the Colonial Office. It was now made a separate Secretaryship, and, in an unfortunate moment for himself, the Duke of Newcastle elected to take the appointment, letting Sir George Grey become Secretary of State for the Colonies. Mr. Sidney Herbert remained as “Secretary at War”—a Parliamentary secretary representing the War Office in the House of Commons,[200] Lord John Russell becoming President of the Council.[201] Lord John, however, who seems to have been the fly in the ointment pot of the Coalition, soon began to find fault with the readjustment of offices. In November he told Lord Aberdeen that the War Office ought to be put in stronger hands than those of the Duke of Newcastle. This suggestion, described afterwards by Mr. Disraeli as “a profligate intrigue” worthy of the “Memoirs” of Bubb Doddington, gave offence to the Queen. It seemed to her a treacherous attempt to disintegrate the Cabinet, and she did not conceal her sympathy with the statesman thus attacked. The Duke, however, generously offered to sacrifice himself so that Lord John Russell might not have a pretext for embarrassing the Crown by breaking up the Government at a critical moment; but the Cabinet would not permit the Duke to be sacrificed. Even Palmerston, to do him justice, repudiated the idea, and so Lord John again threatened to resign. Aberdeen met this threat by persuading the Queen to overcome her personal aversion to Palmerston, and obtaining her leave to appoint him Leader of the House of Commons, in the event of Lord John Russell deserting his post.

Lord John, now finding that he had made a mistake, succumbed on the 16th of December; and so the scandal was hushed up. The Queen, however, felt ill at ease, for, by this time, she knew that the Ministry had no stability, and that Lord John would soon again give his colleagues more serious trouble. But he remained in the Cabinet fully cognisant of everything that was done by the War Department, and never expressing the least disapproval of its management till Parliament met in January, 1855. Then, when Mr. Roebuck gave notice of his motion for inquiring into the conduct of the war, Lord John, without the slightest warning, resigned, saying that as he agreed with Mr. Roebuck he did not see how the motion could be resisted. The Duke of Newcastle{627} again offered to retire in favour of Lord Palmerston, if haply Lord John Russell could be thereby induced to withdraw his resignation. But again, his colleagues refused to sacrifice him, and so they all offered to resign. This was a cruel blow to the Queen. She protested that there was no precedent for a Ministry resigning in the midst of a war till they were dismissed. She implored Lord Aberdeen not to desert her at a moment when the very worst possible effect would be produced by the spectacle of the nation struggling through war without a Government. The Cabinet accordingly determined to face Mr. Roebuck’s motion; but when he carried it against them, as has already been recorded, they were compelled to retire from office. Then the Queen had to meet one of the most perplexing and anxious Ministerial crises of her reign. Lord Derby was appealed to. But he found he could only obtain “independent support” from Lord Palmerston, Mr. Sidney Herbert, Mr. Gladstone, and Lord Aberdeen’s friends—which, he observed cynically, was “support which could never be depended on.” He did not seem to have much faith in his own colleagues, and he consequently declined to form a Ministry. But he sympathised with the Queen in her vexation at the turn which events had taken—quoting to her a remark of Walewski’s—“What influence can a country like England pretend to have without an army and without a Government?” Lord Lansdowne was next consulted. He was willing to form a Cabinet, but then he was old and broken in health. He could not possibly serve for more than a few months, and obviously his enforced retirement would again cast everything into confusion. Lord John Russell, of course, had long been under the hallucination that he could form an Administration without the aid of the Peelites. His cantankerous treachery to his colleagues, and his unscrupulous pertinacity in disintegrating the Coalition Cabinet in circumstances most damaging to the country, rendered him objectionable to the Queen. But still acting on Lansdowne’s advice, she determined to let him try, so that the mortification of failure might perchance dispel his delusion that he had still a name to conjure with as a Party leader. He tried, and, of course, failed ignominiously. No man trusted him or cared to serve under or with him. The Queen, however, in her letter to Lord John, very shrewdly and gracefully held out the olive branch to Palmerston by saying that it would give her great pleasure if he would join the new Government. Palmerston, feeling that the crisis was one which also called for sacrifices on his part, offered to serve even under Lord John as Secretary for War, if he could thereby extricate the Crown from its difficulties. But he deemed it imperative that Lord Clarendon should join the Ministry, and this Lord Clarendon stoutly refused to do. His colleagues, he said, had all been loyal to him, and he would not serve under a man who, from the time he entered the late Ministry, had persistently embarrassed it, and intrigued for its destruction. Lord John found that he had attempted the impossible, and on the 4th of February the country was still without a Government, to the infinite damage{628}

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of its prestige in the eyes of foreign nations. The Czar rejoiced grimly at our embarrassments. The French Emperor began to doubt whether a stable alliance could be formed with a nation whose organic institutions were so unstable. The Queen accordingly put an end to Russell’s intrigues, which had wrought all this mischief, in a very summary manner. Lord Palmerston’s public-spirited behaviour in the crisis had obliterated all recollection of his faults in the past. Her Majesty therefore called on Palmerston to organise a Government. The Whigs who had served in the Coalition Cabinet agreed to serve under him. The Peelites would have done so, but they declined because of their deep personal{629} regard for Aberdeen and Newcastle, who, they declared, had been most unjustly and spitefully attacked by the majority that had destroyed the Coalition Government.[202] Aberdeen and Newcastle, however, remonstrated with them, and the result was that Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and the Duke of Argyle consented to take office under Palmerston. When Lord Palmerston informed the Queen of this fact she felt that for a time her troubles were over, that again she was indebted to the disinterested devotion of Lord Aberdeen for a happy release from her difficulties. Palmerston himself also expressed his gratitude to Aberdeen in strong and cordial terms.[203]

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The new Cabinet was really the old one. Only Russell, Aberdeen, and Newcastle were out of it, and Lord Panmure—a blustering person who was clever enough to make the world believe that to be noisy was to be energetic{630}—was Secretary of State for War. This seemed rather to disconcert the factious place-hunters. “The Whigs at Brooks’s,” wrote Lady Palmerston to her son-in-law,[204] “were all up in arms at the Government not being formed on more Liberal principles, or rather with more of the Whig Party. They are disappointed at the Peelites joining, and at under people of that party keeping their places, so that, in a manner, there are hardly any places to fill up. They press, therefore, very much for a Whig in the Duchy of Lancaster, so as to make the Peelite division in a greater minority.” But the anger of the Tories could scarcely be kept within bounds. They argued that, as Aberdeen and Newcastle had not been evicted from office till after they had pretty nearly succeeded in setting the War Department in order, their successors would not only have a comparatively easy task, but would also win all the glory and prestige of finishing a victorious war. Lord Derby had missed a golden opportunity by refusing to form a Ministry; nay, he had done something that was still more damaging to them. In his explanation to the House of Lords he admitted that he could not govern without the aid of the Peelites. This implied that, having tried his colleagues in the work of administration, he had so little confidence in their capacity, that he did not dare to trust to them alone. “Disraeli,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “is in a state of disgust beyond all control. He told me he had spoken his mind to Lord Derby, and told him some very disagreeable truths.”[205] No sooner had the new Cabinet been formed than it was seen that another effort would be made to break it up. What was to be done with Mr. Roebuck’s Committee of Investigation? It was somewhat unconstitutional to vest it with the functions of the Executive, and Palmerston, on the 16th of February, appealed to the House not to appoint the Committee, or at least to suspend its judgment till the new Ministry had time to reform the War Department. Mr. Roebuck denied that the Ministry was really a new one, and insisted on the appointment of the Committee. The Peelites objected to the Committee as a dangerous and unconstitutional precedent. Palmerston agreed with them, but, like the majority of the Cabinet, he felt that to resist was to court another defeat in the House of Commons; and so he decided to yield. Sir James Graham, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Mr. Gladstone accordingly tendered their resignations, and in a fortnight after it was formed the new Ministry was wrecked. On the 28th Sir George Cornewall Lewis took Mr. Gladstone’s place as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord John Russell re-entered the Cabinet as Colonial Secretary, and Sir C. Wood succeeded Sir J. Graham as First Lord of the Admiralty. “Things have gone mad here, the political world is quite crazy, and the Court is the only institution which does not lose its tranquil bearing”—thus{631} wrote Prince Albert to the Dowager-Duchess of Coburg in the midst of the agitation caused by the second Ministerial crisis of 1855.

Meantime much had been done by Lord Aberdeen, the Duke of Newcastle, and Prince Albert, to improve the condition of the army at the seat of war. The railway from Balaclava to the camp was being pushed on rapidly; reinforcements were pouring in steadily. On the 13th of March Sir J. Burgoyne writes that “the men are beginning to look tolerably hearty and cheerful again.” A Sanitary Commission, organised by Lord Shaftesbury, had been despatched to aid the medical staff, and there was little for the new Ministers to do but to follow the path which Aberdeen and Newcastle had, by their toil and self-sacrifice during the recess, smoothed for them. The Queen, like the Peelites, was of opinion that the Roebuck Commission could do very little good, and, by diverting the attention of the officials from the work in hand, might do a great deal of harm. It was the expression of an angry desire to punish somebody, and, as Prince Albert said, it could not hope to find the right person, “because he does not exist.”[206] If any one was to blame, it was the Duke of Wellington, who had left the country with a loose aggregate of battalions which was in no true sense an organised army—without leaders trained and practised in the duties of general officers; without a reserve, a general staff, field commissariat, ambulance, or baggage corps; without training in the combined use of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, with their various systems of supply and transport; in fact, without any effective instrument whatever for waging war at a distance from England. In vain did the Committee endeavour to fix the blame for the disasters in the Crimea on somebody. Mr. Roebuck soon found that an examination of the Duke of Newcastle would rather tend to clear than to damage his reputation, and then the inevitable scapegoat was sought in the Queen’s husband. When Mr. Roebuck consulted the Duke privately on the subject, his Grace told him that the only really valuable advice he and Lord Aberdeen got was from Prince Albert. He added that the Queen’s health had suffered dreadfully from her anxiety about the troops, and that it was therefore absurd to imagine that the Prince had been conspiring to wreck the expedition. The Sebastopol Committee was a failure. It did not succeed in saddling any one with a definite responsibility for the sufferings of the army; nay, the Chairman (Mr. Roebuck), in speaking to a resolution censuring the Aberdeen Ministry for their management of the war, freed the Duke of Newcastle, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Sir J. Graham, the heads of the incriminated Departments, from blame.[207] The only severe censure was that passed on Lord{632} Raglan for continuing Mr. Ward as purveyor for the hospital at Scutari after he had been pronounced unfit for his post.

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It had been agreed, partly on the advice of the Queen, to enter a new Conference at Vienna for the purpose of patching up a peace. To get rid of Lord John Russell, he was sent there by Lord Palmerston as the representative of England; and it was whilst he was on his way that he was offered and accepted the Colonial Secretaryship, vacated by the resignation of Mr. Sidney Herbert.[208] The basis of the Conference was the protocol containing the “Four Points” which had been accepted in principle by Russia on the 16th of{633}

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November, 1854, though Nesselrode in his despatch of 26th August to Prince Gortschakoff, the Russian Ambassador at Vienna, had rejected them. On the 2nd of March, the chief figure in the tragic drama of the war passed suddenly from the scene. The failure of his plans in the Crimea had broken the imperious spirit and proud heart of the Czar, and he died with words of thanks to his army on his lips. “Tell my dear Fritz” (the King of Prussia), he said to the Czarina with his last breath, “to continue the friend of Russia, and faithful to the last words of papa”—faithful, that is, to the principles of the Holy Alliance. The old monarchies and the old conservatism of Europe thus lost their most powerful champion, and a seventh part of the globe found a new master. The Emperor Nicholas was succeeded by his son, Alexander II., who immediately proclaimed his intention of following out loyally the policy which his father had inherited with his crown. On the 10th of March, Nesselrode intimated to the Russian Agents abroad that the young Czar would enter the Vienna Conference “in a sincere spirit of concord.” And as it was only possible to secure the neutrality of Austria by keeping alive negotiations for peace, Russia had a powerful motive for continuing them. But at the meetings{634} of the Conference Prince Gortschakoff refused to accept the plan for giving effect to the Third Point. It proposed to destroy Russian preponderance in the Black Sea, by binding her and Turkey never to have there more than “four ships, four frigates, with a proportionate number of light vessels and of unarmoured vessels exclusively adapted to the transport of troops.” Russia, as an alternative, suggested that ships of war of all nations might have free access through the Dardanelles or Bosphorus to the Black Sea, or, if it were preferred, that the Sultan might admit the vessels of the Western Powers, or of Russia, in such numbers as he pleased. This would, of course, enable the Western Powers to check Russian preponderance. But it would also involve the right of Russia to send ships to the Mediterranean. To that the Western Powers would not consent, and so the Conference was at an end. At this stage Count Buol suggested a compromise. Why not, he asked, solve the difficulty by applying the principle of counterpoise? One way of doing that obviously would be to establish an actual equilibrium between the Black Sea fleets of Turkey and Russia—the Sultan having the right to open the straits to the ships of his allies if threatened with attack. M. de Drouyn Lhuys and Lord John Russell did not consider that their instructions permitted them to accept this compromise. But they both privately expressed their personal approval of it, and promised to urge the Governments of France and England to assent to it. The French Emperor and the British Cabinet rejected it. M. Drouyn de Lhuys accordingly resigned office—whereas Lord John Russell remained in the Cabinet. But he had the amazing indiscretion after this to advocate the prosecution of the war in an extravagant speech,[209] whereupon the Austrian Government revealed the fact that at Vienna he had said peace might be honourably made on the basis of Count Buol’s compromise. No English Minister in our time has ever placed himself in a more humiliating position. Not a word could be said in his defence. All he himself could say was that he was afraid he might embarrass his colleagues if he retired, or if he let it be known that he thought they were carrying on war, when peace might honourably be concluded. The outcry against his dishonesty was so loud, that he resigned as soon as Sir E. B. Lytton gave notice of a motion in the House of Commons condemning his conduct.

The failure of the Conference gave rise to heated debates in Parliament, in which the Government was attacked by a curious combination of Parties. The House of Lords with singular want of patriotism and dignity encouraged Lyndhurst to vilipend Prussia and sneer at Austria, at the very moment when it was vital to our diplomatic success to conciliate these Powers. His violent speeches prove that, despite his eloquence, he lacked the one quality necessary to justify his interference in any debate on Foreign Affairs. He was utterly incapable of appreciating the difference between the interests of England and France, and those of Austria in the negotiations—the difference between{635} the interests and the prepossessions of actual and contingent belligerents. But all this criticism of the Conference, even from the point of view taken by rhetorical mischief-makers like Lyndhurst, failed to lay bare the one blunder in strategy which the Plenipotentiaries had perpetrated.[210] The House of Commons, it must be allowed, came out of the debates more creditably than had been expected. The Tories, led by Mr. Disraeli, seemed to keep their heads cool, and scrupulously refrained from clamouring for war because Russia had rejected the Third Point. They refused to support the Radicals, who were for moving an Address to the Crown virtually binding the Government to accept the Austrian proposals. But they condemned the Ministers for the ambiguity of their policy in reference to these proposals, and brought forward a motion assuring the Crown that the House would support the Executive to the utmost in prosecuting war till peace was obtained. The combative Whigs would have committed Parliament to a declaration that the reduction of the naval power of Russia in the Black Sea, was the essential condition of peace. In the end, a motion, which was the Tory proposal with the implied censure on the Ministry cut out, was carried. But all through the debate, Peelites, Tories, and Radicals condemned the suggestion to limit the naval power of Russia by Treaty. And they were right, for, as Mr. Gladstone is reported to have said in conversation, it was a proposal “to slap Russia on the face without tying her hands.” It was, in fact, an attempt to inflict on Russia a perpetual indignity without reducing her real power, which was not naval but military. Mr. Disraeli and Lord Robert Cecil—afterwards Lord Salisbury—considered it an impolitic scheme for the humiliation of Russia, and the ablest debaters pointed out that it was one which Russia would ever be tempted to violate, whilst the Powers had now no check on her save that of chronic war. Yet it was for the sake of forcing this indignity on Russia, who had now yielded every demand we made when we invaded the Crimea, that the war was prolonged! From this moment, it is not too much to say, that the war was no longer a hateful but an unavoidable incident of State policy. It was the consummation of a hideous crime against humanity, for which Lord Palmerston and his colleagues were directly responsible.[211]{636}

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When Lord John Russell excused himself for first recommending the Austrian compromise, and then backing out of his opinion and advocating war, he said mysteriously that something had come to his knowledge which altered his views. It was suggested at the time by Mr. Disraeli that Lord John was overawed by the objections of the Emperor of the French to the compromise. Even had that been the case, it would not have justified him in remaining in the Cabinet, seeing that the Emperor’s Minister, who was in{637}

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like case, had resigned rather than hold himself responsible for an indefensible war. It is, however, possible to account for Lord John’s conduct more easily by attributing it to sycophancy than to treachery, for it is a regrettable fact that when the Austrian project was laid before the Queen by Lord Clarendon, she used all her influence to quash it. She wrote to him a curt note saying:—“How Lord John Russell and M. Drouyn can recommend such proposals to our acceptance is beyond her (the Queen’s) comprehension.” Then she encloses a brief memorandum from Prince Albert, in which he says:—“To limit the Russian naval power to that existing in 1853 would therefore be simply to perpetuate and legalise the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea, a proposal which can neither be made nor accepted as a development of the Third Point.”[212] It is unfortunate that such clear thinkers as the Queen and her husband did not observe that what Austria fixed was merely the maximum and not the minimum limit, that by mutual agreement Russia and Turkey might cut down their ships from six to one if they chose, and that even the{638} maximum could be always counterbalanced by Turkey. Yet Prince Albert would insist that a proposal which automatically established an equilibrium was one to perpetuate a preponderance! It is only fair to the memory of the late Emperor of the French to say that, according to Sir Theodore Martin’s admissions, the first strong and contemptuous rejection of the Austrian compromise came from the Queen; that when Napoleon III. first considered the matter he hesitated before endorsing the views which Palmerston and his colleagues meekly accepted from the Court. What renders the policy of the Court—or rather of Baron Stockmar, who inspired it—at this stage unintelligible is, that a month afterwards it actually pressed upon the Cabinet a proposal for organising a great League of the Powers to defend Turkey diplomatically against Russia. This proposal was made on the ground that it was impossible to inflict on Russia such losses as would force her to submit to humiliating terms.[213]

Nor was this the only instance which can be adduced of mistaken interference on the part of the Court. When Palmerston succeeded in forming his Government, he pledged himself to follow out the foreign policy of Lord Aberdeen. Aberdeen’s friends had publicly declared that the terms which we sought to impose on Russia were needlessly humiliating, and that in the Austrian compromise there was an ample basis for a fair settlement, and a good reason for continuing negotiations at Vienna. It was a matter of notoriety that Aberdeen himself shared these views, and there were many who complained querulously that if they had not destroyed his Ministry, the Vienna Conference would not have been abortive. In these circumstances Prince Albert, knowing Aberdeen’s devotion to the Queen, wrote to him complaining especially about Mr. Gladstone’s speech on Mr. Disraeli’s motion of the 24th of May. For the rejection of that motion had not ended the controversy. Sir F. Baring’s amendment, which was finally carried, was coming up for discussion on the 4th of June, and the Court evidently did not desire a repetition of speeches containing unanswerable arguments against{639} abandoning negotiations for peace.[214] Aberdeen, in fact, is summoned in this letter to the Palace to be lectured. He is warned that the conduct of his party has displeased the Queen, and he is warned in a tone only to be justified by the close relations of personal friendship, which bound him to the Court, and the Court to him.

The Queen and Prince Albert, however, utterly failed to gag the Peelites in the debate, or browbeat them into approving of the continuance of a bloody and wasteful war, when an honourable peace could be obtained by patient diplomacy. To his honour it must be stated that Sir James Graham,[215] Lord Aberdeen’s representative in the House of Commons, delivered a speech which was even much more damaging and convincing than Mr. Gladstone’s. Nobody attempted to answer it except Mr. Roebuck. His tirade of invective sprang from a delusion that Graham was willing to be satisfied with paltry concessions as the result of a great war. As he afterwards confessed, he was completely misled by the ferocity with which Lord John Russell in this debate condemned as worthless the very settlement which he had vainly urged his colleagues to accept as satisfactory. In truth, there is some reason to suspect that the harassing toil of winter, the prolonged and exhausting anxieties of a sad and pitiless war, had temporarily blunted Prince Albert’s keen perceptions. Had this not been the case he would hardly have delivered at the Trinity House banquet in June, the famous speech in which he said that “Constitutional Government is under a heavy trial”—as if the failure of obsolete leaders in the field, or the stupid bigotries and moral cowardice of place-hunters in council, proved that Constitutional Government was a dubious experiment. At a moment when the Queen’s personal interference with the Foreign Policy of her Government, usually so wise, prudent, and beneficial, had led to bad results, it was maladroit on the part of Prince Albert to gird at Constitutional Government. Very little reflection should have served to show the Court that it was only under the Muscovite autocracy that blunders in war and statecraft, more ghastly even than our own, could possibly be perpetrated.

When the Conference at Vienna closed, Austria, as might have been foreseen, refused to join England in carrying on the war. On the other hand, the King of Sardinia had, on 26th January, entered into a military convention with the Allies, and, in return for their guarantee of his territory, engaged to send an army of 15,000 men to the Crimea.

The war in 1855 was carried on under more favourable conditions than in the previous year. Reinforcements were sent out quickly. The commissariat,{640} sanitary, and transport services were put into effective working order. On the 17th of February, the Turks under Omar Pasha gallantly repelled a Russian attack on Eupatoria—a feat which revived the drooping spirits of the Allies, and restored confidence in the fighting power of the Osmanli. The news of this defeat was peculiarly humiliating to the Czar, whose contempt for the Turk was unbounded, and his bitter vexation at being beaten by a despised enemy, perhaps had some effect in undermining the vitality of his iron constitution. The bombardment of Sebastopol began again in April—but, though the allied trenches were pushed closer and closer to the fortress, no serious impression was made on it. The English troops were eager for action, but Canrobert’s weakness and irresolution held Lord Raglan back.[216]

On the 19th of May Canrobert resigned in favour of Pélissier—a soldier with a name stained by barbarous atrocities in Africa, but still a man of energy and determination. In a moment of happy inspiration it was determined to intercept the supplies which the enemy was drawing from his Circassian provinces; and on the 22nd of May an expedition of 3,800 English, 7,500 French, and 5,000 Turks, under Sir George Brown and General d’Autemarre, left for Cape Takli at the south-west extremity of the Straits of Kertch. It arrived there on the 24th. The Russians evacuated Kertch on the 25th, destroying before they left vast quantities of food and forage. The troops penetrated as far as Yenikale, and Captain Lyons, with his little fleet of steamers, advancing up the Sea of Azov, destroyed not only many ships but a large amount of stores. This expedition was cleverly planned, and it destroyed supplies sufficient for an army of 100,000 men for four months. It returned on the 12th of June. Writing to Stockmar on the 17th of June Prince Albert says, “At the seat of war everything is going on well…. Pélissier is a trouvaille, energetic, and determined. Oddly enough, they are in Paris (I mean Louis Napoleon is) very much dissatisfied since our successes, ‘low’ about our prospects, anxious, &c. I am at a loss to know why.” The fact is, that the war was more unpopular in France than ever, since the rejection of the Austrian compromise at Vienna, and the Emperor’s proposal to go out to the Crimea, and command in person alarmed Persigny and the Bonapartists as to the safety of the Imperial régime. Failure meant ruin, and failure was on the cards.[217] Yet, on the 7th of June, the Allies had met with a brilliant success. The French stormed the Mamelon, and the English the Gravel Pits—an outwork in front of the Redan. But the two formidable works—the Malakoff and Redan—were yet to be taken, and in an evil moment Lord Raglan was{641} persuaded by Pélissier to sanction a combined attack on these strong-holds. The ablest practical soldiers in the British camp declared that the Redan could not be taken by direct assault, though it must fall if the Malakoff were captured. Raglan was of that opinion himself. But he yielded to his French colleague, and the result of the combined attack on both places was a painful failure. French and English were alike repulsed, and the loss of life which this blunder caused was sickening to contemplate. “Cries of ‘Murder!’” writes Mr. Russell, the Times correspondent, “from the lips of expiring officers have been echoed through the camp, but they have now died away in silence, or in the noise of active argument and discussion.”[218] Heartbroken by this defeat, Lord Raglan took to his bed and died on the 28th of June.

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The shock of Raglan’s death silenced at the time all just criticism on his career. The most that can be said for him is said by Lord Malmesbury in his “Memoirs of an Ex-Minister.” “I knew him well,” he writes, “and cannot recollect a finer character. He was the Duke’s right-hand man through the Peninsular war, and was greatly esteemed by him. Handsome and high-bred in person, and charming in society, he was one of the most popular of its members. He was remarkable for his coolness under fire, and St. Arnaud, in his famous despatch after the battle of the Alma, says of him: ‘Il avait toujours ce même calme qui ne le quitte jamais.’” It is,{642} alas! not given to every man to wield the Arthurian brand Excalibur, and whatever he may have been in the Peninsula under Wellington, in the Crimea, Raglan was almost as incompetent as St. Arnaud, Canrobert, and Menschikoff. His blunders were as follows: (1), According to Sir T. Martin, he approved of the invasion of the Crimea in utter ignorance of the ground, when the campaign was proposed by the French Emperor.[219] (2), He consented to invade the Crimea after he had discovered that it was a mad project, and when the discretionary clause in his instructions from the Duke of Newcastle gave him an opportunity of remonstrating with the Cabinet. (3), He invaded the Crimea without an organised Transport Corps. (4), His blunders at the Alma, Balaclava, and Inkermann have been already noted. (5), Till pressure was put on him by Prince Albert, he concealed the miserable state of the army from the Government. (6), By neglecting to make a road between Balaclava and his camp he brought all the miseries of the winter of ’54-’55 on his troops. (7), By attacking the Redan when he knew quite well it was impossible to capture it, he doomed his troops to useless and avoidable slaughter. No defence has been made for him except on the last two counts of the heavy indictment against him. He did not make a road from Balaclava to the camp, says Mr. Kinglake, because he had not enough men at his disposal. This is an explanation rather than a defence. His first duty as a general was to connect his camp with his base. If he was unable to do that, he ought to have abandoned his position. But is not Mr. Kinglake’s defence just a little absurd, taken in connection with the Homeric episodes of the war? Had anybody enough men to do anything great or valuable in the Crimea? Campbell had not enough men to turn the tide of battle, in our favour at the Alma. But he did it. He had not enough men to save our base at Balaclava—but he saved it. Scarlett and Cardigan had not enough men to break through the Russian columns in “the Valley of Death”—but they broke through them. The Duke of Cambridge had not enough men to hold his ground at Inkermann—but he and his Guards held it, till it was positively soaked and saturated with their blood. Mr. Kinglake’s advocacy, indeed, provokes one to say that scarcity of men never kept Lord Raglan back from any enterprise, when, as at Balaclava and the Redan, the only attainable end was the purposeless butchery of his battalions. The feeble attack on the Redan has been justified on the ground that, as Pélissier was determined to assault the Malakoff, and was certain to be beaten, he was{643} equally certain to attribute his defeat to the timidity of the English, unless they co-operated with him. It is, however, the business of an English general to win battles for his country—not to lose them in deference to the childish petulance of a foreign colleague. At the same time, it must be admitted that Raglan was greatly embarrassed from the first by his French coadjutors, and it is because some of his errors sprang from enforced concessions to their views, that these have been omitted from the present catalogue of his blunders. The truth is, that Lord Raglan was really a diplomatist, and his diplomatic ability was essential to the consolidation of our military alliance with France in the field. That was the sole justification for his appointment as Commander-in-Chief. His personal courage—rivalling that of antiquity, said St. Arnaud—was the only soldierly quality he possessed. “He was a very perfect gentle knight,” too sweetly graceful for the rude ravishment of war, or the weary travail of a siege. His generosity of heart, his charm of manner, his exquisite tact, his serene temper, his chivalrous sense of honour, his high and courtly bearing, rendered him worthy of

“The goodliest fellowship of famous knights,
Whereof this world holds record”—
though not worthy to hold the post to which he was appointed in the Crimea. But if he was not a great general, he was a great gentleman; and so, when he passed away, the hand of censure fell very lightly on his career.


Financing the War—The Queen’s Opinion of War Loans—A Dreadful Winter—Distress in the Country—The “Devil” in Devonshire—Bread Riots—War Loans and a War Budget—The Queen and the Wounded Soldiers—Her Condemnation of “the Hulks”—Presentation of War Medals in Hyde Park—Visit of the Emperor and Empress of the French—A Plot to Capture the Queen—Councils of War at Windsor—The Grand Chapter of the Order of the Garter—Imperial Compliments—Napoleon III. in the City—At the Opera—The Queen’s Birthday Gift to the Emperor—Scarlet Fever at Osborne—Prorogation of Parliament—A Court Intrigue with Dom Pedro of Portugal—The Queen Visits Paris—Her Reception at St. Cloud—The Ball at the Hôtel de Ville—Staring at the “Koh-i-noor”—At the Tomb of the Great Emperor—Prince Bismarck’s Introduction to the Queen—Home again—Lord Clarendon on the Queen’s Visit to Paris—How the Prince of Wales Enjoyed himself—At Balmoral—The Bonfire on Craig Gowan—Sebastopol Rejoicings—“A Witches’ Dance supported by Whisky”—Courtship of the Princess Royal—Prince Frederick William of Prussia—His Proposal of Marriage—Attacks of the Times—Visit of Victor Emmanuel—His Reputation in Paris—Memorial of the Grenadier Guards—Fresh Charges against Prince Albert—His Vindication of the Crimean Officers.

Early in 1855 her Majesty became anxious, not to say nervous, as to the plans that were to be adopted for financing the war. Her personal prepossessions were all in favour of Mr. Gladstone’s policy—which was that of meeting expenditure out of current revenue. But then the cost of the{644} campaign was now so enormous that it was impossible to increase taxation so as to cover it. The winter had been severe. Though the end of December and the first thirteen days of January had been like summer, during the night of the 13th, says Sir F. Hastings Doyle, “the wind shifted suddenly to the N.N.E., and a savage frost came on which lasted at least two months without intermission or abatement.”[220] Outdoor workers found themselves without employment. Gangs of hungry-eyed labouring men began to parade the streets of London, levying black-mail on well-to-do householders. Ultimately mobs of roughs attacked and plundered the bakers’ and chandlers’ shops in the East End on the 21st and 22nd of February, and in Liverpool, where some 15,000 riverside labourers were out of work, terrible scenes of riot and outrage were enacted. It was a time when the abstraction of capital from the country by raising a war loan would be a slight evil, compared with that which might follow from the imposition of heavy war taxes on a discontented and suffering industrial population. It was therefore decided that the cost of the war should be met by a loan.

Sir George Cornewall Lewis brought forward his Budget on the 30th of April. He could estimate for a prospective revenue of £63,000,000. This, however, still left him with a deficit of £23,000,000, which he raised (1), by a Three per Cent. Loan of £16,000,000; (2), by an addition to taxation which brought in £4,000,000; (3), by raising £3,000,000 on Exchequer Bills. “The additional taxes,” Sir George Lewis wrote to his friend Sir E. Head, “were, however, assented to without resistance by the House, who feared a larger addition to the Income Tax, and thought that if they objected to my proposition, taxes which they disliked still more would be substituted.” As for the loan, the Money Market, he says, “was in a state favourable for such an operation; for at present there is an abundance of money, but a want of profitable investment for the purpose of trade.”[221] The loan of £2,000,000 to Sardinia was sanctioned without much demur, but the loan of £5,000,000 to Turkey was violently objected to—especially by the Tories and Cobdenites. It was raised under the joint guarantee of France and England—an arrangement which many people thought might create disputes between the guarantors. Lord Palmerston, in fact, only carried the loan through by a vote of 135 to 132. Lord Aberdeen’s followers opposed the transaction, and their opposition was resented by the Queen, who had already concluded and ratified the arrangement with the French Emperor for guaranteeing the loan.{645}

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In other respects, however, the relations of the Court to the war were less open to criticism. It has already been stated how her Majesty toiled with her own hands to aid those who were striving to mitigate the sufferings of the army during the Crimean winter. She wrote a letter to the Commander-in-Chief on the subject that touched the heart of every soldier in camp or hospital. Mr. Augustus Stafford, in the debate on Mr. Roebuck’s motion in the House of Commons (26th of January), thrilled his audience by telling them how he saw a wounded man, after hearing the letter read, propose the Queen’s health in a draught of bark and quinine. Mr. Stafford said to him it was a bitter cup for a loyal toast; to which the man replied, with a smile, “Yes, and but for these words of the Queen I could not have got it down.” Nor was her Majesty less assiduous in her attention to the wounded, when their haggard and mournful contingents began to return. On the 3rd of March she went down to Chatham{646} with her husband and her two eldest sons to inspect the Military Hospital at Fort Pitt and Brompton. The wounded men who could crawl from their beds were drawn up on the lawn, each bearing a card with a description of his name, services, and wounds. Along this gaunt array the Queen passed, sad-eyed and thoughtful, speaking a few kind and cheering words to the sufferers whose wounds or services especially attracted her notice. Contemporary reports of course stated that the Sovereign was well pleased with the manner in which those poor men were treated. But two days afterwards she sent a sharp letter to Lord Panmure, which showed that she had been using her eyes to good purpose during her inspection. He must, she says, have some really serviceable military hospitals built for the sick without delay. The poor men at Fort Pitt were well treated; but, she complains, “the buildings are bad—the wards more like prisons than hospitals, with the windows so high that no one can look out of them—and the most of the wards are small, with hardly space to walk between the beds.” Her criticisms on the dining arrangements are trenchant; and then she goes on to argue that though Lord Panmure’s plan of building hulks may do very well at first, it will not do for any length of time. “A hulk,” she contends, “is a very gloomy place, and these poor men require their spirits to be cheered, as much as to have their physical sufferings attended to. The Queen is particularly anxious on this subject, which is, she may truly say, constantly in her thoughts, as, indeed, is everything connected with her beloved troops, who have fought so bravely and borne so heroically all their sufferings and privations.”[222]

“I myself,” said Queen Elizabeth to her troops at Tilbury, “will be your general and your judge, and the rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.” If Queen Victoria has never either in statecraft or power attained the position held by that leonine woman, she did not fail to emulate her in her devotion to the gallant men who bled and died for England in the desolate Chersonese. The Queen’s visit to the hospital at Chatham, and her reception there by the soldiers, prompted her to take the unusual course of suggesting to Lord Clarendon, on the 22nd of March, that she should with her own hands present war medals to the officers and men who were at home disabled or on leave. On the 18th of May a Royal daïs was accordingly put up in the centre of the Horse Guards parade ground, with barriers enclosing from the crowd of spectators, a space for the heroes of the ceremony. At eleven o’clock the Queen, Prince Albert, and their family appeared, and at a signal the soldiers who were to be decorated stood before her. They passed along in single file, each handing a card recording his name and services to an officer, who delivered it to the Queen. She then presented each hero with his medal, saying a kindly word to every man as he went by. It was a strange and impressive spectacle. Gaunt, pallid forms, maimed and

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mutilated, hobbled along on crutches—or staggered forward, aided by walking-sticks—and for officers and men alike the Queen had words of sympathy that drew tears from many an eye. From the highest Prince of the blood—the Duke of Cambridge was the first to step forward for his medal—to the humblest private, writes the Queen to King Leopold, “all received the same distinction for the bravest conduct in the severest actions, and the rough hands of the brave and honest private soldier came for the first time in contact with that of their Sovereign and their Queen. Noble fellows! I feel as if they were my own children; my heart beats for them as for my nearest and dearest.”[223] Captain Currie, of the 14th, was so feeble that he almost failed to reach the daïs on his crutches, and his condition profoundly touched the heart of the Queen. Captain Sayer, of the 23rd Fusiliers, could not be lifted out of his chair, so the Queen bent over him gracefully and pinned his medal to his breast, with a few words of comfort and hope. Colonel Sir T. Troubridge, of the 7th Fusiliers, who, when he had both his feet shot away at Inkermann, refused to leave his command till the battle was won, was also unable to leave his chair. When the Queen gave him his medal she whispered in his ear that she would reward his courage by making him one of her own aides-de-camp, whereupon he answered, “I am now amply repaid for everything.” It was a scene which moved the hearts of all who took part in it, with the exception, perhaps, of the brusque and churlish Secretary of State for War. Lord Malmesbury says, “After the ceremony, Lady Seymour, whom I met, told me that Mrs. Norton, talking about it to Lord Panmure, asked, ‘Was the Queen touched?’ ‘Bless my soul, no!’ was the reply. ‘She had a brass railing in front of her, and no one could touch her.’ Mrs. Norton then said, ‘I mean was she moved?’ ‘Moved!’ answered Lord Panmure, ‘she had no occasion to move.’ Mrs. Norton then gave it up in despair.”[224]

When the Emperor of the French first hinted at his intention of going to the Crimea, the idea frightened everybody. His own entourage, knowing his ignorance of the art of war, and convinced that defeat meant ruin for him and for them, were in despair. The Queen, too, was alarmed, because she foresaw infinite danger from the scheme. The Emperor would naturally desire to take supreme command of both armies, whereas the English people would not permit British troops to serve under a foreign sovereign, whose antecedents were doubtful, and whose friendship was uncertain. The French and English Governments therefore privately suggested to the Queen that she should now invite the Emperor and Empress to pay their promised visit to England, hoping that the Queen’s influence might be used for the purpose of preventing him from proceeding to the seat of war.[225] The invitation was{648} accepted, and the rooms in Windsor which had been occupied by the Czar Nicholas and King Louis Philippe were set apart for the Imperial guests.

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At noon on the 16th of April, after some mishaps in the dense fog which shrouded the Channel, the Imperial yacht reached the Admiralty Pier at Dover, where Prince Albert was waiting to receive his guests. The Prince went on board, shook hands with the Emperor, and then going down to the cabin reappeared with the Empress on his arm. They landed amidst complimentary salvoes of artillery from the castle, the salutes of the military, and the ringing cheers of the crowd. The Royal party then proceeded to London, and when they arrived at the Bricklayers’ Arms Station, they found dense masses of people assembled to welcome them. Their route lay along the line of streets leading to the Great Western station, where they took train for Windsor. Lord Malmesbury writes in his Diary, “Lady Ossulton, Lady Manners, my wife and I went to Lord Carrington’s house in Whitehall to see the Emperor of the French pass. The weather was beautiful and bright, the streets were choked with people. The cortège made its appearance at 6.15 p.m.; there were but six open carriages, four of them escorted by a squadron of Life Guards, and a good many outriders in scarlet liveries. They passed very slowly at a walk{649}

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and were enthusiastically cheered the whole way from the South Eastern to the Great Western terminus…. On going up St. James’s Street, the Emperor was seen to point out to the Empress the house where he formerly lived in King Street. This was at once understood by the crowd, who cheered louder than ever. On passing the Horse Guards the Emperor stood up in his carriage and saluted the colours, and was of course immensely cheered.”[226] At Windsor the excitement was intense, and the Queen was on tiptoe of expectation. Referring to the arrival of the visitors, she writes, “I cannot say what indescribable emotions filled me—how much all seemed like a wonderful dream. These great meetings of sovereigns, surrounded by very exciting accompaniments, are always very agitating.”[227] Her Majesty advanced and the Emperor kissed her hand. She saluted him once on each cheek, and then, as she says, “embraced the very gentle, very graceful, and evidently very nervous Empress.” The Duke of Cambridge and the Prince of Leiningen and the Royal children were presented—“Vicky (now Princess Imperial of Germany) with very alarmed eyes making very low curtesies.” In the Throne Room other presentations followed. At dinner, however, the Emperor put the Queen quite at her ease. He assumed the soft, low voice and the melancholy manner of the hero of some romance of mystery. They talked about the war—the Queen gently dissuading him from going to the Crimea, he mournfully expressing his apprehension of disasters unless he went out, and complaining of the blunders of the generals. Next morning (the 17th) the subject was renewed during a long walk after breakfast. This time the Empress was eager in pressing the Emperor to proceed to Sebastopol, where, she said with truth, he was perhaps safer than in Paris. In the afternoon the Royal Family and their Imperial guests reviewed the Household troops, surrounded by gay crowds, full of effusive enthusiasm for our Allies. At dinner they discussed the manifold iniquities of Austria, and mourned over her decadence, because she would not fight to vindicate a plan for reducing the Russian navy in the Black Sea to six ships instead of eight. At night there was a ball in the Waterloo Room—an odd place in which to find the granddaughter of George III. dancing with the nephew of Napoleon I. The sombre memories of the hall, however, did not prevent the Queen’s guest from dancing, as she herself records, “with great dignity and spirit.” Next morning (the 18th) at breakfast the Emperor received a telegram announcing the death of M. Ducos, the Minister of Marine,[228] and at eleven o’clock a grand Council of War was held in the Emperor’s rooms, at which those present were Prince Albert,{651} Lords Palmerston, Panmure, Hardinge, and Cowley, Sir Charles Wood, Sir John Burgoyne, Count Walewski, and Marshal Vaillant. “Something should be done somewhere, and by somebody in the Crimea,” seems to have been the resolution to which the council came. Though unanimous in urging the Emperor not to go there, it failed to convince him that he ought to stay at home. In the afternoon Prince Albert, when out walking with the Emperor, submitted a plan of his own for reorganising the Allied Forces, which the Emperor approved. It was sent on to Palmerston, Panmure, Hardinge, and Burgoyne, and they resolved to draw up a memorandum on the subject for the next Conference.

The Council of War of the 18th sat on from 11 till 2 p.m., and at 4 p.m. a Grand Chapter of the Order of the Garter was held in the Throne Room—the Emperor being invested with the insignia of the Order—in all the pomp and circumstance of Royal State. The Queen sat at the head of the table with a vacant chair on her right hand; Garter King-at-Arms summoned each Knight in the order of his creation, beginning with the Marquis of Exeter and ending with Lord Aberdeen. The Prelate of the Order read the new statute dispensing with existing statutes in favour of the Emperor of the French, who was then introduced by Prince Albert and the Duke of Cambridge. The Queen and the assembled Knights stood up to receive the Emperor, who passed on and sat in the chair on the Queen’s right hand. Her Majesty having proclaimed the Emperor’s election, the King-at-Arms presented the Garter to the Queen, who, assisted by her husband, buckled it on the Emperor’s left leg, after which she placed the riband over his Majesty’s left shoulder, the Chancellor of the Order pronouncing the admonition. The accolade was then presented to the new Knight, and the ceremony was over. “It is one bond the more,” said the Emperor as he walked with the Queen to his apartments—“I have given my oath of fidelity to your Majesty and to your country.” But all the world knows, neither bond nor oath was strong enough to prevent him from subsequently intriguing with Russia against England, when the Congress of Paris met to settle the questions raised by the sudden termination of the Crimean War. Yet, the Imperial flatteries served the purpose of the moment, for the Queen wrote, “These words are very valuable from a man like him, who is not profuse in phrases, and who is very steady of purpose.”[229] After dinner her Majesty seems to have been chiefly amused by Marshal Vaillant’s confidential conversation with her, in which he manifested great terror lest the Emperor would take command of the Army in the Crimea. In the evening there was an orchestral concert. “The Queen, Emperor, and Empress,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “with the Royal Family, their suites, and those invited to the banquet, entered soon after ten, and seated themselves without speaking to any one. As soon as music was over the company passed before the Queen and Emperor…. The Queen had arranged everything herself, made out the{652} lists of invitations for both parties at Windsor, and the concert for to-morrow at Buckingham Palace. Very few, except Cabinet Ministers, are asked twice. Even Lady Breadalbane, who is one of the Court, was invited only for the evening party last night, and had to sleep at a pastrycook’s, there being no room at the Castle.”[230]

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Next day (the 19th) the Emperor and Empress had to visit the City, and hosts and guests seemed alike sad and nervous when the Royal party set forth. There was just a chance that some sufferer from the crime of December, 1851, might wreak his vengeance on the perpetrator of it. The Lord Mayor and Corporation, however, gave their guests a splendid reception. London decked itself forth with loyal bunting. Crowds cheered the Emperor and Empress on their way, and the town rang with “Partant pour la Syrie,” which dismal air Cockneydom in those days preferred to the “Marseillaise,” as the symbol of the French alliance, and, perhaps, also as being less trying to the nerves of its guest.[231] The Corporation gave their Imperial visitor a sumptuous banquet. With characteristic delicacy of taste they served him with sherry, which{653}

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they produced proudly, because it was from the famous butt that had been bought for £600 by Napoleon I. in his palmy days. In the evening the Imperial visitors went with the Queen to the opera, where Fidelio was played. “We literally drove through a sea of human beings,” writes the Queen, “cheering and pressing near the carriage.”[232] When the Royal party appeared after the first act was over, the audience in Her Majesty’s Theatre rose and hailed them with deafening cheers, the Queen leading the Emperor and Prince Albert the Empress forward, so as to emphasise the fact that they were especially the objects of this demonstrative greeting.[233] Next day, the 20th of April, was the Emperor’s birthday. When the Queen congratulated him in the morning it seems he looked confused, because for the moment he had forgotten all about the event. He, however, kissed her hand gratefully when she presented him with her gift—a little{654} pencil-case—and was much touched with the other present he received—“two violets, the flower of the Bonapartes—from Prince Arthur.”[234] Amidst great crowds cheering most enthusiastically the Royal party drove to the Crystal Palace. They went through the building in perfect privacy, and then walked on to the balcony to see the fountains play. But when they returned to luncheon they found that quite a crowd of sightseers had been admitted, and were lining the avenue of the nave. It was a trying moment. The rows of spectators through which the Royal party had to walk were almost touching them, and Emperor and Empress both dreaded assassination. The Queen, nervous as she was, courageously took the Emperor’s arm, feeling sure her presence would protect him; and so the day passed without any unpleasantness. In the evening there was another meeting of the Grand Council of War, the Queen being present. Again the Council failed to decide on a plan of operations. But it was admitted that they could come to an agreement as to the stake to be played for in the game of war, and this agreement, under seven heads, was drawn up by Prince Albert, and signed by Marshal Vaillant and Lord Panmure.[235] Next day (the 21st) the guests left amidst tender farewells on both sides. At Lady Malmesbury’s dinner-party that day, Lord Adolphus Fitzclarence told the company that the leave-taking was very affecting. “Everybody cried—even the suite. The Queen’s children began, as the Empress had been very kind to them, and they were sorry to lose them, and this set off the Maids of Honour.”[236] The Emperor’s last words to the Queen were, “I believe that having spent my birthday with your Majesty will bring me good luck, that and the little pencil-case you gave me.”[237] The Queen wrote in her Diary, “I am glad to have known this extraordinary man, whom it is certainly impossible not to like when you live with him, and not even to a considerable extent to admire…. I believe him to be capable of kindness, affection, friendship, and gratitude.” Prince Albert’s admiration, on the other hand, was not quite so unqualified, and the Queen notes that he preferred the Empress to the Emperor. When the Emperor returned to Paris he found that his reception in England had done much to increase his prestige. But he also discovered that he must abandon his intention of going to the Crimea. On the 25th of April he communicated this welcome news to the Queen in a letter abounding with engaging expressions of gratitude, for her kindness and hospitality to him and his Imperial consort.

On the 28th of June Prince Albert writes to Stockmar saying, “Uncle Leopold comes on Tuesday with Philippe and Carlo, and by the end of the week we purpose to get away from the thoroughly used-up air of London.{655} The political folly and the levity of parties and the press, amidst the terrible mass of business, makes our head reel.”[238] When these visitors reached Osborne they found the Queen depressed and sorrowful. Scarlet fever had attacked the Princes Arthur and Leopold and the Princess Louise, and her Majesty was naturally afraid lest her young Belgian relatives might be smitten also. Fortunately this peril was avoided, and the Queen, encouraged by the approaching prorogation of Parliament, gradually regained her cheerfulness. She had suffered from intense anxiety during the Session, and it was with a deep sense of relief that she found herself able to prorogue both Houses by Commission on the 14th of August. The Speech from the Throne dwelt on the advantages derived from cementing the French alliance. The Legislature was also congratulated on having passed several useful measures—amongst which those establishing local self-government in the metropolis, sanctioning the formation of Limited Liability Companies, and abolishing the stamp duty on newspapers, may be mentioned.

The allusion to the French alliance was made with skill and tact. “You will come to Paris this summer,” said the Emperor to the Queen when he was bidding her farewell at Windsor. “Yes,” she replied, “if my public duties do not prevent me.” These duties it was now obvious would in no way prevent her, and it was therefore determined that the Queen and her husband should spend eight days with the Emperor and Empress. The visit was to begin on the 18th of August, and before that day came round the British fleet in the Baltic and the allied armies in the Crimea had won some slight successes, which rendered the war a little less unpopular than it had been in France. Still, despite the victory at Tchernaya, it was unpopular. France, according to Frenchmen, was spending blood and treasure for English interests. The alliance between the two countries was giving England the time and experience needed to improve her defective military system—leaving her in relation to France stronger than ever. As for the political parties—Legitimists, Orleanists, and Democrats—they looked on the Queen’s visit with hostility, because it was meant to strengthen the hands of a usurper, whom they all hated. The visit therefore was not made under auspicious circumstances. Just before the Queen started on this journey the King of Portugal arrived at Osborne, and on the 4th of August the Prince tells Stockmar how they had to lodge him on their yacht, to keep him out of danger from scarlet fever—the two eldest children in the Royal Family having alone escaped the malady. Many visits were interchanged, however, between the King and the Queen and Prince Albert. The Queen, indeed, at the request of her Ministers, had agreed to persuade King Pedro to join us in the war, a proposal which he, however, very sensibly rejected.[239]{656}

It was in the early dawn of Saturday, the 18th of August, that the Queen and Prince Albert, accompanied by the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, embarked at Osborne, and, escorted by a steam squadron, proceeded to Boulogne, where they arrived at one o’clock in the afternoon. Salutes of cannon from the heights, volleys of musketry from the troops, and enthusiastic cheers from the people greeted the visitors. When the Royal yacht came to the pier the Emperor hastened on board, saluted the Queen, kissing her hand and both cheeks, and then shook hands with Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, and the Princess Royal. The Queen and her family drove to the station, the Emperor and Marshal Magnan riding on each side of her carriage. They took train to Paris, where they were cordially received. From the terminus of the Strasbourg Railway to the Palace of St. Cloud the houses were all in festal array, and 200,000 National Guards formed a double line for five miles along the route. This brilliant display was somewhat lost on the Queen, for her arrival was delayed till seven in the evening. She, however, had the pleasure of seeing Paris under the flare of illumination, and when she approached the Arc de Triomphe her escort carried blazing torches, which gave a strange picturesque effect to the scene. She was welcomed to the Palace of St. Cloud, which had been set apart for her, by the Empress and the ladies and high officers of the household; and Prince Albert describes their reception by the people as “splendid” and “enthusiastic.” The Queen says in her Diary, “I felt bewildered but enchanted—everything is so beautiful.” Sunday, the 19th, was devoted to a quiet morning drive with the Emperor, who was in high spirits over the Crimean news, and to church-going—service being held in one of the rooms of the palace by the chaplain to the British Embassy. Then there was a charming drive in the afternoon to Neuilly, and later on a dinner-party, at which Canrobert appeared, almost fresh from the Crimean trenches. He sat next the Queen, and was surprised to find that she was nearly as well acquainted with the details of the war as he was himself. On Monday, the 20th, the Emperor escorted his guests to breakfast—“the coffee quite excellent, and all the cookery very plain and very good,” writes the Queen, and served “on a small round table as we have at home.” A visit to the Exhibition of Fine Arts, luncheon at the Elysée, a long drive through the chief streets of Paris, and a theatrical performance in the evening (at the Palace) of the Demoiselles de St. Cyr, formed the programme. Tuesday, the 21st, was dedicated to a visit to the Palace of Versailles and the Trianon, associated with mournful memories of Marie Antoinette and the ladies of her court, who used to retire at times to this retreat to play at Arcadian simplicity. In the evening, after dinner, the Queen and her hosts went to the Opera, where her Majesty’s reception was most cordial and gratifying. The notabilities of Parisian society were there, and they were all charmed with the easy, cheerful, high-spirited bearing of the Queen. On Wednesday, the 22nd, she visited the Exhibition of Industry, remarking that the English exhibits of china were the most striking. Then she drove to{657}

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the Tuileries, and accepted an invitation from the Préfet and the Municipality of Paris to a ball at the Hôtel de Ville. The Queen, Prince Albert, the Prince of Wales, and Princess Royal next drove through Paris incognito, and in the evening were entertained at a great dinner, at which eighty guests were present. At this dinner the Queen and the Emperor talked long and earnestly over the Anglo-French alliance—he telling her that Drouyn de Lhuys had suggestively reminded him how Louis Philippe became unpopular because of his alliance with England; the Queen retorting that it was not Louis Philippe’s friendship with England, but his insincerity and treachery, which caused his fall. On Thursday, the 24th, the Louvre was visited, and in the evening the Queen attended the ball at the Hôtel de Ville—the opening quadrille being danced by her Majesty, the Emperor, Prince Albert, the Princess Mathilde, Prince Napoleon, Lady Cowley, Prince Aldebert of Bavaria, and Mdle. Haussmann, daughter of the Prefect of the Seine. The scene was brilliant beyond conception. It was a triumph of decorative art having, as the Queen said, “all the effect of the Arabian Nights.” Picturesque Arabs from Algeria at one part of the proceedings came forward and did homage to the Emperor and his guests, staring admiringly at the Koh-i-noor which the{658} Queen wore in her diadem. The Royal party made the tour of the rooms, tarrying for a little in the Salle du Trône, where Robespierre was wounded and Louis Philippe proclaimed; and where the Emperor gallantly said to the Queen, “This occasion will banish from us all sad remembrances.” On Friday, the 24th, the Queen visited a second time the Palais d’Industrie, lunched at the École Militaire, and witnessed a review of the troops. Their smart uniforms, her Majesty writes, “are infinitely better made and cut than those of our soldiers, which provokes me much.” After this the Queen drove to the Hôtel des Invalides, to visit the tomb of the first Emperor. As she stood before the coffin leaning on the Emperor’s arm, by a strange coincidence, while the organ of the church was pealing forth the solemn strains of the English National Anthem, a dreadful thunder storm broke overhead. At dinner the Emperor and Queen that day entertained each other with complaints about the incapacity of their generals in the Crimea, and in the evening another visit, but not in State, was paid to the Opera. On Saturday, the 24th, the Queen attended a hunt in the forest of St. Germain, where she was received by the local curé and a bevy of village maidens, one of whom broke down in the middle of her complimentary address to the visitors, though when the curé prompted her, greatly to the Queen’s amusement, she went on glibly to the end. In the evening there was a grand State Ball at Versailles, the Empress, as she appeared at the head of the grand staircase, says the Queen, “looking like a fairy queen or nymph,” and surprising even the Emperor into exclaiming, “Comme tu es belle!” (“How lovely you are!”) After a splendid display of fireworks there was dancing, and many distinguished guests were presented to the Queen, amongst others Count Bismarck, then Prussian Minister to Frankfort. But he did not make himself agreeable to her Majesty, for when she expressed her admiration for Paris as a beautiful city, he replied, “Yes, even more beautiful than St. Petersburg”—a very significant indication of his strong pro-Russian sympathies. On Sunday, the 26th, Prince Albert’s birthday was quietly celebrated, and the Queen and Emperor had some serious talk over the persecution of her friends—the Orleans Princes and Princesses—in the course of which she very frankly and honestly explained to the Emperor the precise nature of her relations to them. Monday, the 27th, was devoted to leave-takings and the journey home. At Boulogne there was an inspection of troops and the camps of Hensault and Ambleteuse were visited, and late at night the Queen steamed away in her yacht from Boulogne Harbour. “Adieu, Madame, au revoir,” to which I replied, “Je l’espère bien”—these, according to the Queen, were the parting words which passed between her and her Imperial host. By half-past eight next morning her Majesty reached Osborne, finding her younger sons waiting on the beach to welcome her home.

The Queen was deeply impressed, she says, with the Emperor’s quietness, gentleness, and simplicity of manner. She felt encouraged to confide in him{659} without reserve, and was greatly charmed by his kindness and attention to her children, and his admiration for Prince Albert. The Prince, however, did not quite share the Queen’s enthusiasm for their host, though he admitted that the Emperor had great powers of fascination when he chose to exert them. Lord Clarendon, who was Minister in attendance on her Majesty, told Mr. Greville that during this visit “the Queen was delighted with everything, and especially with the Emperor himself, who, with perfect knowledge of women, had taken the surest way to ingratiate himself with her. This it seems he began when he was in England, and followed it up at Paris. After her visit the Queen talked it all over with Clarendon, and said ‘it is very odd; but the Emperor knows everything I have done, and where I have been ever since I was twelve years old; he even recollects how I was dressed, and a thousand little details it is extraordinary he should be acquainted with.’ She has never before been on such a social footing with anybody, and he has approached her with the familiarity of their equal positions, and with all the experience and knowledge of womankind he has acquired during his long life, passed in the world and in mixing in every sort of society. She seemed to have played her part throughout with great propriety and success. Old Jérôme[240] did not choose to make his appearance till just at the last moment, because he insisted on being treated as a king, and having the title of ‘Majesté’ given him—a pretension Clarendon would not hear of her yielding to…. Clarendon said nothing could exceed the delight of the Queen at her visit to Paris, at her reception, at all she saw, and that she was charmed with the Emperor. They became so intimate, and she on such friendly terms with him, that she talked to him with the utmost frankness, and even discussed with him the most delicate of all subjects—the confiscation of the Orleans property, telling him her opinion upon it. He did not avoid the subject, and gave her the reasons why he thought himself obliged to take that course; that he knew all this wealth was employed in fomenting intrigues against his government, which was so new that it was necessary to take all precautions to avert such dangers. She replied that even if this were so, he might have contented himself with sequestrating the property and restoring it when he was satisfied that all danger on that score was at an end. I asked Clarendon what he thought of the Emperor himself, and he said that he liked him and that he was very pleasing, but he was struck with his being so indolent and so excessively ignorant. The{660} Prince of Wales was put by the Queen under Clarendon’s charge, who was desired to tell him what to do in public, when to bow to the people, and whom to speak to. He said that the Princess Royal was charming, with excellent manners and full of intelligence. Both the children were delighted with their séjour, and very sorry to come away. When the visit was drawing to a close, the Prince said to the Empress that he and his sister were both very reluctant to leave Paris, and asked if she could not get leave for them to stay there a little longer. The Empress said she was afraid this would not be possible, as the Queen and Prince Albert would not be able to do without them; to which the boy replied, ‘Not do without us! don’t fancy that, for there are six more of us at home, and they don’t want us.’”[241]

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Writing to the Dowager Duchess of Coburg from Osborne, on the 30th of August, Prince Albert says—“We purpose making an escape on the 5th (September) to our mountain home, Balmoral. We are sorely in want of the moral rest, and the bodily exercise.” Balmoral was reached on the 7th, and “the new house,” though not finished, was found to be quite habitable, and “very comfortable.” The Queen was charmed with its appearance, and the home-like welcome she received from her dependants, an old shoe being{661} thrown after her for luck when she entered the Hall. And truly it brought luck—for in two days afterwards Deeside was ruddy with the blaze of the bonfire which was lit on Craig Gowan heights to celebrate the fall of Sebastopol. The bonfire had been prepared the year before, when the false news of the fall of Sebastopol had arrived, and the wind had blown it down on Inkermann Day (5th of November). It was again built up, and on the evening of the 10th, writes Prince Albert to Stockmar, “it illuminated all the peaks round about, and the whole scattered population of the valleys understood the sign, and made for the mountain, where we performed towards midnight a veritable Witches’ Dance, supported by whisky.”[242]

In the same letter the Prince writes, “Prince Fritz William comes here to-morrow evening. I have received a very friendly letter from the Princess of Prussia.” This, says Sir Theodore Martin, made Stockmar’s heart beat fast. He was the recognised matrimonial agent of the House of Coburg, and one of his cherished projects was to arrange a marriage between the young and handsome heir of the Prince of Prussia and the Princess Royal, who, of all the Queen’s children, was in an especial degree his favourite. The young Prussian Prince was indeed the only possible suitor in Europe whose prospects rendered him worthy to mate with a daughter of England. The Queen felt that the day would come when he would be Heir-Apparent not to the Crown of Prussia, but to the Imperial Throne of the German Empire. His family was one of the wealthiest in Europe. His father, afterwards the German Emperor, was a very dear and valued friend of the Queen and her husband, and the young Prince Fritz himself had all those qualities of mind and heart which Prince Albert desired to see in the husband of his eldest child. But the affair was one of some delicacy, because the Queen abhorred the idea of what she called “a political marriage;” indeed, as she was on somewhat unfriendly terms with the King of Prussia, and as Prussia was hated and despised by the English people at the time, the alliance was, from a political point of view, far from desirable. Her Majesty, moreover, had no intention of sanctioning any engagement which might be objectionable to her daughter, and the ultimate decision, therefore, lay with the Princess herself, who at the time knew nothing of the hopes or fears that centred round her. The gossip of Society had connected her name with that of Prince Frederick William. But on the Queen’s return from France at the end of August Prince Albert told Lord Clarendon there was no truth in these rumours.[243] On the 20th of September the Prince laid his proposal of marriage{662} before the Queen and her husband, and they accepted it so far as they were concerned, but asked him not to speak to the Princess on the subject till after her confirmation. The Princess was only sixteen years of age at the time, and the Queen was of opinion that there should be no thought of marriage till the following spring, when her daughter would have passed her seventeenth birthday. On the 23rd Prince Albert writes to Stockmar, telling him that “Victoria is greatly excited. Still, all goes smoothly and prudently,” and that the young Prince is “really in love” with the little lady, “who does her best to please him.” The Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, he says, “are in raptures at the turn the affair has taken.” But when a handsome young Prince is “really in love” with a charming young Princess who “does her best to please him,” and they are both living in the free, unrestrained intercourse of English family life in a romantic Highland retreat, it is hardly practicable to prevent them from coming to an understanding. The Prussian Prince seems to have appealed successfully to the Queen’s good nature, and he soon obtained leave to make his proposal to the Princess before his visit came to an end. “During our ride up Craig-na-ban,” writes the Queen, in “The Leaves from a Journal,” “he (Prince Fritz) picked up a piece of white heather (the emblem of good luck), which he gave to her (the Princess Royal), and this enabled him to make an allusion to his hopes and wishes as they rode down Glen Girnoch.” The lady consented, and the happy pair were betrothed. “The young people,” writes Prince Albert to Stockmar, on the 2nd of October, “are passionately in love with each other, and the integrity, guilelessness, and disinterestedness of the Prince are quite touching.”

“Our Fritz,” as the Prince was affectionately called, was no idle youth of fashion. He was already Colonel of the 1st Foot Guards, and a thorough soldier.[244] In every branch of the Army he had gone through a hard apprenticeship, as may be seen from the peremptory instructions which had been issued when he was ordered to serve with Colonel von Griesheim’s Dragoons. He had to master every elementary detail of drill and organisation, and his knowledge was tested by stern judges.[245] Col. von Griesheim gives the following account of an interview he had with Prince Fritz’s mother in the autumn of 1854:—“Prince Frederick William,” he says, “was then twenty-three. He was a young man of notably amiable manners. I received orders to wait upon his mother the Princess at the Palace, when she told me{663} that she wished to speak to me as the new Commander of the Regiment, and I must do her the justice to say that she did not allow her motherly love for a son, or her anxiety to secure his personal comforts, to stand in the way of his duty. On the contrary, she begged me that I would in no way unduly spare the Prince, but insist on his learning his profession in every branch, so that he might be in a position to judge what was the real amount of labour which a military life entailed. She also desired that in non-military matters no special external respect might be shown him, expressing, at the same time, her confidence that neither I nor my brother-officers would abuse the relationship in which we were placed. She was sure I should not forget that it was the training of our future king that was entrusted to me, and that I should recognise the obligation of setting things in their true light, that a true judgment might be formed concerning them. The Princess was proceeding to talk over a number of incidental matters when, quite unaccompanied, the Prince of Prussia came into the room. He looked surprised, and said, ‘Ah! I see the new Commander is receiving the orders of the dear mamma.’ He laughed good-humouredly, and holding out his hand with the cordiality peculiar to him, added that I did not need any instruction from him, and that the length of time he had known me was a guarantee that the Prince was in good hands. Turning to his wife he smiled, and said in an undertone, “I trained Griesheim, and now he shall train our son.’”[246]

Prince Frederick William had thoroughly fulfilled the hopes of his parents and his tutor, and he was precisely the type of man likely to win favour in Prince Albert’s eyes. It was, therefore, with supreme disgust that the Queen and her husband discovered an attempt would be made to prejudice public opinion against the marriage. The engagement was not to be announced till after Easter. And yet the Times began to attack the Queen, Prince Albert, and the Prussian Court, for bringing about such an alliance. The country was told that the Princess Royal was being sacrificed to “a paltry German dynasty,” and Prince Fritz was jeered at as a poor creature, who would have to pick up a livelihood in the Russian service, and “pass these years which flattering anticipation now destines to a Crown, in ignominious attendance as a General Officer on the levee of his Imperial master, having lost even the privilege of his birth, which is conceded to no German in Russia.” Malignity as well as ignorance inspired this abuse, for it was at that time the cue of a certain section of polite society to hold Prince Albert up to odium on every possible occasion as a tool of the despotic European Courts. As a matter of fact, the young Prince’s sympathies were with the Opposition rather than with the Government in Prussia, and he was in the habit of seeking Prince Albert’s advice as to how he should steer his course in the stormy sea of Prussian politics. Very sound and wise guidance did the Prince get from his future father-in-law, who viewed with delight and hopefulness his{664} assiduous efforts to fit himself for his high destiny. “In another way,” he writes to the young Prince, “Vicky is also busy; she has learned much in various directions…. She now comes to me every evening from six to seven, when I put her through a kind of general catechising, and, in order to give precision to her ideas, I make her work out certain subjects by herself, and bring me the results to be revised. Thus she is now engaged in writing a short compendium of Roman history.”[247]

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On the 30th of November the King of Sardinia, accompanied by Count Cavour, arrived in London to visit the Queen and Prince Albert. A rough,{665} frank, good-humoured cavalry officer, passionately devoted to field sports, and fired with an ardent love of Italy and a bitter hatred of all foes of Italian Unity—such was our ally, Victor Emmanuel. He had been preceded by his social reputation in Paris, which was, in truth, such as to make the Queen somewhat nervous. Lord Malmesbury, writing in his Diary on the 29th of November, says, “The King of Sardinia, who is here (Paris), is as vulgar and coarse as possible.”[248]

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However, his Majesty was received with much kindness by the English people, and on the day after his arrival the Queen and Prince took him to see Woolwich Arsenal and the Hospitals, only too well filled with wounded Crimean soldiers. The Artillery Parade on the Common was viewed by the King with great delight. On Monday, the 3rd of December, Prince Albert{666} accompanied his Royal guest to Spithead, where they inspected the fleet and went over the old Victory, and a new ship of war, to be named after his Majesty. On Tuesday, the 4th, Victor Emmanuel visited the City of London in State, where he met with an effusive welcome, that greatly impressed him. The reply to the Address presented to him by the Corporation, which was delivered by the King—though “writ in choice Italian” for him by his crafty mentor, Cavour—pledging him to support us to the last in our struggle with Russia if the peace negotiations then going on failed, vastly increased his popularity. Next day he was invested by the Queen with the Order of the Garter, and on Thursday he left at five o’clock in the morning for Boulogne. It was bitterly cold and bleak, yet, to the surprise of Cavour, the Queen was up betimes to bid her guest farewell, with all the cordiality of a true English hostess. Many good stories, most of which will not bear repetition here, were told of this visit. “I was presented,” writes Lord Malmesbury on the 5th of December, “to the King of Sardinia by Prince Albert, who told him that I was an ‘Ancien Ministre d’Affaires Etrangères.’ ‘A quelle époque?’ answered the King. I said, ‘In 1852, under Lord Derby’s Government.’ The King replied, ‘Que faites-vous à présent?’ To which the Prince said, ‘II fait de l’opposition, car il faut toujours faire quelque chose dans ce pays.’ ‘Ah,’ replied the King, ‘donc vous êtes opposé à mon voyage en Angleterre, et à mon alliance.’”[249] Lord Clarendon, says Mr. Greville, “gave me an account of his conversations both with the King and Cavour. He thinks well of the King, and that he is intelligent, and he has a very high opinion indeed of Cavour, and was especially struck with his knowledge of England, and our institutions and constitutional history. I was much amused after all the praises that have been lavished on Sardinia for the noble part she has played, and for taking up arms in so unselfish a manner, that she has, after all, a keen view to her own interests, and wants some solid pudding as well as so much empty praise.” In fact, Sardinia wanted some territorial advantage, which, of course, in view of our relations with Austria at the time, England could not obtain for her. Hence Victor Emmanuel complained that after spending 40,000,000 francs on the war, he had nothing to show his people for it.[250] “The King and his people,” writes Mr. Greville, “are far better satisfied with their reception here than in France, where, under much external civility, there was very little cordiality, the Emperor’s intimate relations with Austria rendering him little inclined towards the Piedmontese. Here the Queen was wonderfully cordial and attentive. She got up at five in the morning to see him depart. His Majesty appears to be frightful in person, but a great, strong, burly, athletic man, brusque in his manners, unrefined in his conversation, very loose in his conduct, and eccentric in his habits. When he was at Paris his talk in{667} society amused or terrified everybody, but here he seems to have been more guarded. It was amusing to see all the religious societies hastening with their addresses to him, totally forgetting that he is the most dissolute fellow in the world; but the fact of his being excommunicated by the Pope and his waging war with the ecclesiastical power in his own country covers every sin against morality, and he is a great hero with the Low Church people and Exeter Hall. My brother-in-law said he looked at Windsor more like a chief of the Heruli or Longobardi than a modern Italian prince, and the Duchess of Sutherland said that of all the Knights of the Garter she had seen, he was the only one who seemed as if he would have the best of it with the Dragon.”[251] If Clarendon expressed to Mr. Greville great admiration for the Sardinian Monarch, he must have been of a singularly forgiving disposition. For Lord Malmesbury says that when Prince Albert presented Lord Clarendon to his Majesty as the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Victor Emmanuel remarked, “J’ai entendu parler de vous,” adding, “C’est fini,” which, says Lord Malmesbury, in plain English meant—“Be off. I’ve nothing more to say to you.”[252]

On the 6th of October, 1854, the Queen had issued a Royal Warrant for regulating promotion and retirement in the army, which now caused her much vexation. The warrant enabled lieutenant-colonels, after three years’ service, to become by right full colonels. This privilege was confined to line regiments, and the officers of the Guards accordingly sent a memorial to the Crown begging that it should be extended to them also. Prince Albert, as Colonel of the Grenadiers, had signed their petition, and in the middle of December the Times attacked him with great acrimony for pampering the Guards, and charged him with using his influence over the Queen for purposes of military jobbery. The old story, accusing the Prince of interfering with the army and of having intrigued to become Commander-in-Chief, was vamped up again. It has already been seen that these accusations were absolutely false, and the impossibility of contradicting them publicly gave her Majesty great pain. She knew nothing about the Guards’ memorial, and all the Prince knew about it was that he had signed it as a matter of formality, because it was only through him as their colonel, that the officers of his regiment could, according to the regulations, forward any petition to the Government. The memorial was dealt with by the Secretary of State, Lord Panmure, who, as a matter of fact, did not grant its prayer. That the Prince sometimes interfered with military administration was quite true. When the War Department broke down he toiled hard to help the Duke of Newcastle to set it on its legs again. When the Queen began to fret over the meagreness of Raglan’s despatches, he showed the Department how to draw up a series of forms that would compel Raglan to keep the Secretary of State fully aware from day to{668} day of the state of the Crimean army. When the Prince of Prussia wrote to him warning him that the conduct of the English officers in the Crimea, who were supposed to be deserting their posts “on urgent private affairs,” was bringing disgrace on the name of England, Prince Albert did what ought to have been done by Lord Panmure, when the story was promulgated in the press—that is to say, he sifted the facts, and gave the lie direct to the slanderous fable.[253] To these attacks the Prince had become indifferent; but they irritated the Queen, who resented their injustice, and chafed against her powerlessness to give them public denial.

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(From a Drawing made Twenty-Five Years after the Crimean War.)


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Lord Raglan’s Successor—“Take Care of Dowb”—Lord Panmure’s Nepotism—The Crisis of the War—Gortschakoff’s Last Struggle—The Battle of the Tchernaya River—France and the War—A Despondent Court—Divided Counsels among the Allies—The Bridge of Rafts—The Grand Bombardment—French Attack on the Malakoff—British Attack on the Redan—Why the Attack Failed—The “Hero of the Redan”—Pélissier’s Message to Simpson—Appeal to Sir Colin Campbell—Evacuation of the Redan—Fall of Sebastopol—Retreat of the Russians to the North Town—Paralysis of the Victors—The Queen’s Anger—Her Remonstrances with Lord Panmure—A New Commander-in-Chief—Taking Care of “Dowb”—Codrington Chosen—The Wintry Crimean Watch—Diplomatic Humiliation of Palmerston—France Negotiates Secretly Terms of Peace with Austria—Palmerston’s Indignant Remonstrances—The Queen Objects to Prosecute the War Alone—The Surrender of Palmerston—He Abandons the Turks—An Unpopular Peace—The Tories Offer to Support the Peace—The Queen and the Parliament of 1856.

When Lord Raglan died, General Simpson, who had been his chief of the staff, was appointed to succeed him. It is enough to say that Simpson was infinitely less capable than his predecessor; but, on the other hand, he was a good-natured, pliable man, not likely to be troublesome to the authorities at home. Mr. Alfred Varley, the eminent electrician, told Colonel Hope, V.C., that when Lord Panmure’s despatch appointing General Simpson to the chief command was received, the message ended with the mysterious order—“Take care of{670} Dowb.” Mr. Varley, who was on duty, thinking “Dowb” was some unknown Russian general who had been suddenly discovered by Lord Panmure, requested that the message should be repeated. It turned out, however, that “Dowb” was merely an abbreviation of Dowbigging, and that Dowbigging was one of Lord Panmure’s relatives, whom he, as a Minister, pledged to suppress the nepotism that had ruined the army, thus authoritatively recommended to the good offices of the new Commander-in-Chief.[254] “Take care of Dowb,” from that day till now, has indeed been the shibboleth of jobbery and corruption in all branches of the Queen’s service. Thus, though the crisis of the war had now come, it was only too obvious that little could be expected from an army led by a feeble and subservient general, and directed from home by an “administrative reformer” of Lord Panmure’s type.

On the 21st of July, General Simpson reported that his trenches were within two hundred yards of the Redan, which had been greatly strengthened since the last assault, and that they could not be pushed farther. The loss of life in the trenches was so enormous, that the assault could not be long delayed—and yet, till Pélissier took the Malakoff, it was madness to attack the Redan. On the other hand, overwhelming reinforcements were being poured in from Russia, and, on the 16th of August, Prince Gortschakoff made a bold attempt to raise the siege. He crossed the Tchernaya river, and attacked the French and Sardinians, but was hurled back with great loss. This came as glad tidings to the Queen, who had heard with apprehension that the French were beginning to cry out against the war, and that they were complaining that France was simply a tool in the hands of England. The victory of the Tchernaya and the Queen’s visit to Paris silenced these murmurs for a time. Prince Albert, however, was still despondent, for no progress was made after this battle; and his letters from the Crimea warned him that another winter campaign would yet have to be undertaken.

The months of July and August produced in England a fresh crop of censures in the newspapers. It was even suggested that, by way of counteracting divided counsels among the allies, the siege should be entirely left to the French, while the English, Sardinians, and Turks should sally forth and attack the Russian army of observation in the field. In September, the beginnings of a bridge of rafts between the north and south sides of Sebastopol were seen, and, on the 5th of September, the grand bombardment, preliminary to the assault on the Malakoff and Redan, commenced—the French opening four miles of cannonade at a given signal. A terrific hail of shot and shell was almost continuously poured upon the hapless city till the 8th, when the moment for the assault arrived. Pélissier was to hoist the tricolour on the Malakoff when it was taken, and that was to be the signal for the British attack on the Redan. For many hours a savage contest raged round{671} and on the Malakoff, but in the end the French captured the stronghold. The British storming force of 1,000 men, with small covering and ladder parties, then rushed forward to the outworks of the Redan. In crossing the space of two hundred yards that intervened between their trenches and the fortress, they were swept by a terrific fire, under which they fell like swathes of corn before the reaper. The troops—for the most part weedy young recruits—soon became demoralised, and many of them had actually to be kicked into action by their sergeants. Somehow they forced their way over the ramparts—a confused undisciplined mob in a pitiful state of disorganisation. One figure alone stands out in this scene of murky strife in heroic grandeur—that of Colonel Windham. He strove with furious energy to rally the scattered remnants of regiments which were mixed up with each other, and to hurl them against the inner breastwork. But as at the Alma, there were no supports at hand, and Windham sent messenger after messenger imploring Codrington to hurry them on. His entreaties were unheeded, partly because some of the messengers were shot, partly because Codrington, like most of the English generals in the Crimea, did not seem to consider that slender storming parties needed strong and instant support. At last Windham, enraged at the useless and sickening slaughter of his men, determined to go himself and force his chief to send the stormers succour. “Let it be known,” he said to Captain Crealock, “in case I am killed, why I went away.” He passed through the zone of fire in safety, reached Codrington, and, whilst vainly arguing with him, he saw that the day was lost. The subalterns and sergeants he had left behind—for most of the superior officers were killed or wounded—could no longer hold the men to their deadly work. First one, then another, and then a small group, were seen to creep through the gaps in the Redan. Then a mad rush of terror-stricken soldiers, yelling and shrieking in panic, proclaimed that Windham’s mission was useless, and that the fight was over. As for the Commander-in-Chief, where was he all the time? Cowering in a safe corner of the trenches, where he could see little of the fight! There Pélissier’s messenger found him when he came to ask if he would not immediately assail the Redan again. “The trenches were,” according to Simpson’s despatch, “subsequently to this attack, so crowded with troops, that I was unable to organise a second assault.”

General Simpson might as well have doomed his men to sudden death as send such a slender column as had been repulsed, to storm the Redan. This, then, is the sum of the matter. The first assault failed because the stormers were too few; the second was not attempted, lest they might have been too many! Ultimately, Simpson did what he ought to have done in the first instance; that is to say, he fell back on Sir Colin Campbell and the Scottish Brigade.[255] But{672} when his Highland scouts went to reconnoitre during the night, they found the place deserted. The losses on our side were frightful, especially in officers and sergeants. Of the 2,447 stormers who were killed and wounded, 1,435 belonged to the Light Division; in fact, owing to Simpson’s imbecility in sending a mere handful of men to the attack, and Codrington’s inexcusable neglect to hurry on supports, we sacrificed more men in failing to carry the Redan, than Wellington lost when he captured Badajoz.[256] During the night the Russians set fire to the town. Crossing the bridge of rafts, the enemy fled to the northern side of the harbour, leaving us in possession, not of Sebastopol, but, as Gortschakoff said, of a heap of blood-stained ruins.

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On Sunday, the 9th of September, the news that Sebastopol had fallen was proclaimed through England. And so the siege that had gone on for the best part of a year, which had involved the construction of seventy miles of trenches, and the expenditure of 1,500,000 shells, came to an end—gloriously for the French with victory at the Malakoff, ingloriously for England with ignominious defeat at the Redan. On the 29th of September, the Russians were repulsed at Kars; but on the 28th of November, the neglected and famine-stricken garrison, whose heroic defence under General Fenwick Williams was one of the most brilliant episodes of the war, had to surrender. The occupation of Kinburn and the bombardment of Sweaborg were the only successes won by us at sea.

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When Sebastopol fell, it was not the Russians but Generals Simpson and Pélissier who were paralysed by the catastrophe. The Allies, in fact, seemed to sit helplessly looking on, and gave the enemy time to render his position on the north side of the city almost impregnable. Thus once more the{674} besiegers became the besieged, and found themselves in even a more perilous position than that which they held before the fall of the city. The Queen was greatly distressed to hear that all our sacrifices had been in vain, and that Simpson and Pélissier were even more incompetent than Raglan and Canrobert.[257] At last her Majesty’s impatience could no longer be controlled, nor her irritation concealed. On the 2nd of October she wrote to Lord Panmure saying, “there may be good reasons why the army should not move, but we have only one…. When General Simpson telegraphed before that he must wait to know the intentions and plans of the Russians, the Queen was tempted to advise a reference to St. Petersburg for them.” And the intensely provoking thing was that if the Allies had only threatened a landing between Eupatoria and Sebastopol after the fall of the city, the Russians would have been compelled to evacuate the Crimea.[258]

Naturally the Queen began to press the War Office to appoint a new Commander-in-Chief, and then Ministers began to “take care of Dowb.” There was but one great military reputation not made—for it had been made long before—but somewhat enhanced in the Crimea. It was that of Sir Colin Campbell, the only leader on whom even a shred of the mantle of Wellington or Moore had fallen. The soldiers had confidence in no other; in fact, he was the only divisional commander in the army who had a native genius for war. But he had no “interest,” and had he been appointed, his iron will and stubborn character would have soon asserted themselves over the foolish counsels of Pélissier. A strong, competent man without “interest” was in Lord Panmure’s eyes an objectionable person. So he looked elsewhere for a successor to General Simpson. Happening accidentally to hear from Mr. Greville of Colonel Windham’s exploit at the Redan, Panmure suddenly resolved to appoint him Commander-in-Chief. Mr. Greville was naturally amazed at this proposal, and suggested that it would be better to try Windham first with a Division before they put him over the heads of his seniors. Simpson, however, was eager to come home; time pressed, and Campbell, having no connection with “Dowb,” was of course impossible. As for Codrington, his failure and bungling at the Redan ought to have rendered him impossible also, but on the other hand he was not quite so incompetent as Simpson, and he had “interest.” Finally, Prince Albert’s advice was taken, and thus Codrington, as the candidate who “divided the authorities least,” was appointed to the chief command. But the troops were divided into two corps d’armée, the command of which was offered{675} to the two senior generals over whose heads Codrington had been passed. One of these, Sir Colin Campbell, in bitterness of heart returned to England, firmly determined to quit a service, which had rewarded half a century of brilliant achievement with contemptuous neglect. The Queen, however, came to hear of this, and touched with some twinge of remorse, sent for the old man, and in the course of an interview with him persuaded him to alter his intentions. She spoke to him of her anxiety as to the fate of the army, and as a personal favour to herself, requested him to go back to the Crimea. The rough, war-worn veteran in an instant forgot the wrongs of a lifetime. Tears glistened in his eyes, as he assured the Queen, in the broad provincial patois, which he always spoke when under the excitement of battle or deep emotion, that he would return immediately, and as for his rank—well, “if the Queen wished it, Colin Campbell was ready for her sake to serve under a corporal.” To the credit of her Majesty it must be remembered that this was the last time Campbell was neglected. If it took him forty-six years’ hard, thankless toil to rise to a Lieutenant-Colonelcy, in eight years he became a Field Marshal.

But besides keeping an idle wintry watch on the plateau before Sebastopol, there was no work in store for the army in the Crimea. The victories won by the sword were now about to be neutralised by the pen, and for Lord Palmerston the supreme moment of humiliation and failure was close at hand. The corner-stone of his foreign policy, it will be remembered, was the French alliance. If that proved to be unstable, the policy itself was ab initio a fatal blunder. And the French alliance broke down at the critical moment when England, full of confidence in her reorganised army, expected that the war would be prosecuted till her disgraceful defeats at the Redan were triumphantly avenged. France, as has been repeatedly said, was sick of the war—a fact which Palmerston never had the moral courage to face. The war had now served the Emperor’s purpose, for the victory of the Malakoff had glorified the dynasty. Napoleon III., therefore, resolved to desert his ally, and in October Palmerston learnt with dismay that 100,000 French troops were to be immediately withdrawn from the Crimea.[259] What was still more serious, as Prince Albert says in a letter to Stockmar, the French were now demanding territorial compensation either in Poland, Italy, or the left bank of the Rhine. This last demand was particularly alarming to the Queen, who, in the spring, had warned Clarendon of its probable consequences. “The first Frenchman,” she says, in her letter of the 15th of April, “who should hostilely approach the Rhine, would set the whole of Germany on fire.” But in November, Palmerston’s policy compelled Englishmen to drink the cup of humiliation to the lees. Napoleon III., ignoring England, secretly negotiated with Austria the terms of peace which were to be offered to Russia, and these were then transmitted to the British Government, by{676} Count Walewski, with an intimation that England must accept them as they stood. Palmerston, angry at being thus duped and slighted, sent a violent remonstrance to France, declaring that England would carry on the war alone rather than accept such terms.[260] The Emperor himself, however, wrote to the Queen advising her to give way, and explaining why he could not consent to extort any further sacrifices from France, for what he contemptuously called “the microscopical advantages” which were the objects of Lord Palmerston’s policy. The Queen in her reply says, “I make, then, full allowance for your Majesty’s personal difficulties, and refuse to listen to any wounded feelings of amour propre which my Government might be supposed to entertain at a complete understanding having been come to with Austria—an understanding which has resulted in an arrangement being placed cut and dry before us, for our mere acceptance, putting us in the disagreeable position of either having to accept what we have not even been allowed fully to understand (and which, so far as Austria is concerned, has been negotiated under influences dictated by motives, and in a spirit which we are without the means of estimating), or to take the responsibility of breaking up this arrangement, of losing the alliance which is offered to us, and which is so much wanted,[261] and even of estranging the friendly feeling of the ally who advocates the arrangement itself.”[262] One member of the Cabinet, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, doubtless expressed the feeling of all his colleagues when he told Mr. Greville that they felt they had no alternative but to submit with a good grace. To this, says Mr. Greville, he “added an expression of his disgust at the pitiful figure we cut in the affair, being obliged to obey the commands of Louis Napoleon, and after our insolence, swagger, and bravado, to submit to terms of peace which we had just rejected; all which humiliation, he justly said, was the consequence of our plunging into war without any reason, and in defiance of all prudence and sound policy.” He might have added that it was the inevitable result of plunging into war with a treacherous ally, on whose fidelity Palmerston was senseless enough to stake the fortunes of the Empire, and the sceptre of his Sovereign. The Queen personally considered the terms which were thus thrust on England far from adequate; still she set her face against Palmerston’s first proposal to continue the war for the sake of winning prospective victories. After some trivial modifications the{677}

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


Franco-Austrian conditions were accepted by the British Government, transmitted by Austria to Russia, and accepted by her on the 16th of January, 1856. “Think,” said Sir George Lewis to Mr. Greville, “that this is a war carried on for the independence of Turkey, and we, the allies, are bound to Turkey by mutual obligations not to make peace but by common consent and concurrence. Well, we have sent an offer of peace to Russia, of which the following are among the terms: We propose that Turkey, who possesses one-half of the Black Sea Coast, shall have no ships, no ports, no arsenals in that sea; and then there are conditions about the Christians who are the subjects of Turkey, and others about the mouths of the Danube, to which part of the Turkish dominions are contiguous. Now in all these stipulations so intimately concerning Turkey, for whose independence we are fighting, Turkey is not allowed to have any voice whatever, nor has she ever been allowed to be made acquainted with what is going on except through the newspapers, where the Turkish Ministers may have read what is passing, like other people. When the French and Austrian terms were discussed in the Cabinet, at the end of the discussion some one modestly asked whether it would not be proper to communicate to Musurus (the Turkish Ambassador in London) what was in agitation, and what had been agreed upon, to which Clarendon said he saw no necessity for it whatever.”[263] But Palmerston by this time had abandoned the Turks—indeed, he now became quite moderate, not to say humble in his tone—permitting Clarendon to adopt or reject his suggestions as he chose. This sudden docility naturally improved his position at Court. “Palmerston,” writes Mr. Greville, “is now on very good terms with the Queen, which is, though he does not know it, greatly attributable to Clarendon’s constant endeavours to reconcile her to him, always telling her everything likely to ingratiate Palmerston with her, and showing her any notes or letters of his calculated to please her.”[264]

The Prime Minister and his colleagues it seems were surprised that Russia assented so readily to the terms of peace, and were for a time nervous as to the verdict of the English people. “All peaces are unpopular,” wrote Sir George Lewis to Sir Edmund Head, “and all peaces, it seems to me, are beneficial, even to the country which is supposed to be the loser. How greatly England prospered after the peace of 1782, and France after the peace of 1815! I suppose that this peace, if it takes place, will be no exception to the general rule.”[265] Fortunately, the Court supported the Ministry in acting with the other Powers, and Mr. Disraeli and Lord Stanley privately informed the Cabinet, that they would accept any peace which was sanctioned by the Crown. Thus the Queen and her Ministers were enabled to meet the Parliament of 1856 with some measure of confidence.{679}


Opening of Parliament—A Cold Speech from the Throne—Moderation of Militant Toryism—Mr. Disraeli’s Cynical Strategy—The Betrayal of Kars—The Life Peerage Controversy—Baron Parke’s Nickname—More Attacks on Prince Albert—Court Favouritism among Men of Science—The Congress of Paris—How France Betrayed England—Walewski’s Intrigues with Orloff—Mr. Greville’s Pictures of French Official Life—Snubbing Bonapartist Statesmen—Peace Proclaimed—Popular Rejoicings—A Memento of the Congress—The Terms of Peace—The Tripartite Treaty—The Queen’s Opinion of the Settlement—Parliamentary Criticism on the Treaty of Paris—Stagnation of Public Life in England—The Queen’s “Happy Family” Dinner Party—A little “Tiff” with America—The Restoration of H.M.S. Resolute—The Budget—Palmerston’s Tortuous Italian Policy—The Failure of his Domestic Policy—The Confirmation of the Princess Royal—Robbery of the Royal Nursery Plate—Prince Alfred’s Tutor—Reviews of Crimean Troops—Debates on the Purchase System—Lord Hardinge’s Tragic Death—The Duke of Cambridge as Commander-in-Chief—Miss Nightingale’s Visit to Balmoral—Coronation of the Czar—Russian Chicanery at Paris—A Bad Map and a False Frontier—Quarrel between Prussia and Switzerland—Quarrel between England and the Sicilies—Death of the Queen’s Half-Brother—Settlement of the Dispute with Russia—“The Dodge that Saved us.”

Parliament was opened by the Queen in person on the 31st of January, 1856, vast crowds flocking to Westminster for the purpose of testifying their interest in the negotiations for peace. The Royal speech was a brief and business-like summary of the events that had led up to these negotiations, and it announced measures for assimilating the mercantile law of England and Scotland, simplifying the law of partnership, and reforming the system of levying dues on merchant shipping. Complaint was made that the references to the achievements of the army were cold and unsympathetic, as if the speech were that, not of a Sovereign, but of a Minister, and Lord Derby was perhaps right in saying that had her Majesty been left to the promptings of her heart, her Address would not have been open to this objection. Those who had observed the warm womanly sympathy she had shown to the wounded soldiers, or who had witnessed her agitation when she decorated the maimed Crimean heroes, knew well that had she been free to speak as she felt, she would have uttered eloquent words of thanks and praise to cheer the troops still keeping watch and ward in the Crimea.

The general feeling expressed in both Houses of Parliament was that, if we had determined to prosecute the war till Russia sued for peace, we should certainly have obtained more honourable terms than those which had been now accepted by us. But Mr. Disraeli wisely curbed the bellicose spirit of his party, and declared that to continue the war merely for the sake of adding lustre to our arms, would bring us no honour. From being vindicators of public law we should in that case sink to the level of “the gladiators of history.” Policy as well as prudence forced moderation on militant Toryism. Mr. Disraeli in a letter to Lord Malmesbury, written on the 30th of November, 1855, says,{680}

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“it seems to me that a Party that has shrunk from the responsibility of conducting a war, would never be able to carry on an Opposition against a Minister for having concluded an unsatisfactory peace, however bad the terms.”[266] Lord Derby’s determination to refuse office when Lord Aberdeen fell from power, therefore doomed the Opposition to meek inactivity. “We are off the rail of politics,” said Mr. Disraeli in the letter just quoted, “and must continue so as long as the war lasts.” Hence one can have no difficulty in agreeing with Sir Theodore Martin when he asserts, that “it was only to be expected of a statesman like Mr. Disraeli, that he should refrain from embarrassing by a word the Ministers on whom devolved the difficult duty of protecting the national interests and honour, in negotiating terms of peace.”[267] There was no division on the Address. But Lord Derby attacked the Government for the abandonment of Kars, in deference, he insinuated, to the wishes{681}

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of the French Emperor, who feared that the war in Asia Minor would dangerously enhance British prestige in that region. On the 28th of April Mr. Whiteside also raised a debate on the subject in the House of Commons, but the Tory party was so unwilling to follow its leaders, that Lord Derby regretted the matter had ever been stirred. The discussion merely established the facts that Lord Stratford had cruelly neglected to press General Williams’ appeals for reinforcements on the Porte, that the Government had culpably neglected to give Williams the money (£100,000) which would have provisioned Kars. But as the fortress was to be restored to the Turks, and as General Williams was to be consoled with a baronetcy, the House of Commons thought the matter had better drop, and Mr. Whiteside’s motion was lost by a majority of 303 to 176. Much more serious was the defeat inflicted on the Government on another subject which deeply interested the Queen—that of Baron Parke’s life peerage.{682}

Writing on the 9th of January, 1856, in his Diary, Lord Campbell says, “Bethell, the Solicitor-General, has made Baron Parke a peer. The judicial business of the House of Lords could not go on another session as it did last. Pemberton Leigh was first offered a peerage, and I wish much that he had accepted it, but he positively refused to be pitchforked. I don’t know that anything less exceptional could be done than applying next to Baron Surrebutter.”[268] At the Lord Chancellor’s levee on the first day of Hilary Term, Lord Campbell asked him if there was any truth in the story that Parke’s peerage was to be for life. On hearing that it was, Lord Campbell replied, “Then sorry am I to say that I must make a row about it.” At first he thought that the grant of a life peerage was not illegal—for Coke asserted its legality—but merely unconstitutional. When, however, Lord Campbell studied the precedents, he became convinced that “no life peerage had been granted to any man for more than 400 years, and that there was no authenticated instance of a peer ever having sat and voted in the House of Lords having in him a life peerage only—the life peerages relied upon being superinduced on pre-existing peerages, e.g., De Vere, Earl of Oxford (a title which had been in his family since the Conquest), was created by Richard II. Marquis of Dublin for life.” Lord Campbell goes on to say, “My eyes were opened. The power of the Crown to give a right to vote in the House must depend on the exercise of the power; and no one had voted in right of a peerage for life more than of a peerage granted during the pleasure of the King—for the granting of which there was at least one precedent.”[269]

When Sir Theodore Martin says that “the right of the Crown to create a life peerage with a right to sit in Parliament” was “scarcely disputed in the discussions which arose,” his anxiety to exaggerate the Queen’s prerogative has led him into a grave error. As Lord Campbell says, “It was not necessary to resort to the doctrine of desuetude,” for “the non-exercise of a prerogative, ever since the Constitution was settled, afforded a strong inference that it had never lawfully existed.” The fact is that the arguments in favour of recognising the right of the Crown to create a peer for life, with the right of voting in the House of Lords, would have been equally good for creating a peer with a similar right, during the Sovereign’s pleasure. A peer who could at any moment be deprived of his rank and senatorial privileges would, of course, either be a creature of the Court or the minion of the Minister. Lord Lyndhurst, therefore, had little difficulty in carrying a motion referring Baron Parke’s Letters Patent to a Committee of Privileges, which reported against the right asserted by the Crown. The Government yielded, and Sir James Parke was finally created an hereditary peer in the ordinary way, under the title of Lord Wensleydale.{683}

The rebuff was annoying to the Queen; all the more that it led to a fresh series of attacks on Prince Albert. He was accused of having attempted to extend the Queen’s prerogative with the ulterior object of packing the House of Lords with certain scientific men who were supposed to be Court favourites.[270] In his “Memoirs,” according to Mr. Greville, General Grey “told his brother, the Earl, that his Royal Highness knew nothing of the matter till after it had been settled.” The truth is that nobody was cognisant of the affair except the Lord Chancellor, Lord Granville, and Lord Palmerston. Mr. Greville says, “George Lewis told me that the life peerage had never been brought before the Cabinet, and he knew nothing of it till he saw it in the Gazette,”[271] which illustrates the thoughtless manner in which Lord Palmerston allowed himself to be committed to a step, that roused public jealousy against the Crown and the Court. Lord Malmesbury also states, that when Lord Derby was dining one day with the Queen, she told him that if she had had any idea that the question would have created such a disturbance, she would never have dreamt of granting Parke his life peerage.[272]

Fortunately the negotiations for peace were now proceeding apace at Paris. The Queen had written a letter to the French Emperor, which Lord Clarendon had delivered to him, earnestly insisting on the necessity of unity of action between France and England at the Congress of the Powers. The Emperor told Lord Clarendon it was “a charming letter;” but in spite of his flattering account of it, the influence of France from first to last was turned against England in the discussions between the plenipotentiaries. Possibly this was due to the constitutional indolence and weakness of the Emperor, who permitted Walewski to manage matters his own way, and as for Walewski, he betrayed Lord Clarendon at every opportunity. Napoleon III. was really in the hands of his entourage, and they were to a great extent in the hands of Russia.[273] Lord Cowley, indeed, informed Mr. Greville that Walewski privately made known to Orloff, the Russian plenipotentiary, not only the points he must yield, but those as to which he might safely defy Lord Clarendon with the open or secret support of France.

“The signing of the Treaty of Peace with Russia,” writes Lord Malmesbury{684}

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on the 30th of March, “was announced by the firing of cannon from the Tower and Horse Guards. Numbers collected in the streets, but no enthusiasm was shown.”[274] In fact, when the terms became known there was much popular disappointment, and the Sun newspaper actually appeared in deep mourning over our national humiliation. On the next morning a great crowd assembled in front of the Mansion House. At ten o’clock the Lord Mayor, attended by the Sheriffs, the Sword-bearer, Mace-bearer, and City Marshal, advanced to the stone balcony, and amidst loud cheers read a despatch from the Home Secretary informing him that the Treaty was signed. At noon the Lord Mayor{685} proceeded in state to the Royal Exchange, where a great number of ladies had mingled with the crowd, and read the despatch again.

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And what were the terms of peace? The Powers admitted Turkey to participate in all the advantages of the public law of Europe, and they agreed that in any future dispute with the Porte, the matter must be submitted to arbitration before force was used by either side. The Sultan was bound by the Treaty to communicate to the Powers a firman improving the condition of his Christian subjects, but this instrument, it was stipulated, gave the Powers no{686} collective or individual right to interfere between Turkey and her Christian subjects. The Black Sea was neutralised—i.e., all ships of war were excluded from it, and the establishment of arsenals on its coasts was prohibited. But the Euxine was declared free to the trading vessels of all nations, and the Powers were at liberty to keep a few armed ships of light draught for police duty on the neutralised sea. The navigation of the Danube was declared free. Russia ceded Bessarabia to Turkey. The privileges and immunities of Wallachia, Moldavia, and Servia were guaranteed, but the Sultan was permitted to garrison the latter province. Russia and Turkey were bound to restore to each other the conquests they had respectively made in Asia. On the invitation of France the Congress was asked to consider the position of Greece, the Roman States, and the two Sicilies. It was also asked to condemn the licence of the Belgian Press, and to formulate new rules for maritime warfare. These discussions came to naught, but it was agreed by the “Declarations of Paris” that privateering should be abolished; that, with the exception of contraband, an enemy’s goods must be free from capture under a neutral flag, a neutral’s goods being also respected under an enemy’s flag; and that “paper blockades” should not be recognised, i.e., a blockade to be effective must in future be maintained by a force strong enough to cut off access to the coasts of an enemy.[275] It will be observed that there was nothing in this instrument to provide means for punishing Russia if she broke it. Hence, on the 15th of April, France, Austria, and England signed what was called the Tripartite Treaty, binding each other jointly or severally to go to war against any Power that violated the Treaty of Paris. This compact was treated like a dead letter when Russia attacked Turkey in 1877. “The peace,” said Prince Albert in a letter to Stockmar, “is not such as we could have wished, still infinitely to be preferred to the prosecution of the war, with the present complication of general policy.” That was in truth the verdict of the country. Comparing the terms with those which we might have obtained at Vienna in 1855, it was a humiliating settlement for England, in no way justifying the continuance of the war after the battle of Inkermann. Comparing them with the terms which the Czar might have obtained before the invasion of the Crimea, the settlement was humiliating to Russia.

In Parliament the debates on the Treaty were on the whole favourable to the Government. Complaint was, however, made that no effective steps had been taken to protect Turkey from Russian aggression in Asia Minor; that the Circassians had been abandoned; that Lord Clarendon in the Congress had not protested with enough warmth against the attacks made on the Belgian Press; that no definite provision had been made to prevent Russia from{687} building war-ships at Nicolaieff; that the government of the Principalities had been left an open question; and that by the Declarations rights of search at sea, which were extremely useful to a naval power during war, were surrendered. It is true that, by agreeing to abolish privateering, England sacrificed what may be called her right of fighting with naval volunteers; and it seems as if the American doctrine—namely, that to the merchant whose ships are plundered, it matters little whether the mischief is done by a man-of-war or a privateer—is sensible. On the other hand, it was obvious that England could not carry on a naval war for a year on the principle that free ships did not make free goods, without coming into collision with every neutral State in the world. But to all objections there was, of course, one answer. No better terms could be got unless England was prepared to carry on the war alone. Yet, as a matter of fact, Russia had suffered so severely during the winter, that it is probable she might have been more complaisant at Paris, had Lord Clarendon been firmer, and had Napoleon III. not perfidiously played into her hands.

The solitary result of the Crimean War, says Mr. Spencer Walpole, was to “set back the clock for some fourteen years.”[276] Still he seems to think that it “was perhaps worth some sacrifice, to prove that England was still ready to strike a blow for a weak neighbour whom she believed to be oppressed.” This would have been a gain had it added to English prestige. But the war really diminished that prestige. M. De Tocqueville, after returning from a Continental tour, said to the late Mr. Senior, “I heard universal and unqualified praise of the heroic courage of your soldiers, but at the same time I found spread abroad the persuasion that the importance of England had been overrated as a military power properly so called—a power which consists in administering as much as in fighting, and, above all, that it was impossible (and this had never before been believed) for her to raise large armies, even under the most pressing circumstances. I never heard anything like it since my childhood. You are supposed to be entirely dependent on us…. A year ago we probably overrated your military power. I believe that now we most mischievously underrate it. A year ago nothing alarmed us more than a whisper of the chance of a war with England. We talk of one now with great composure. We believe that it would not be difficult to throw 100,000 men upon your shores, and we believe that half that number would walk over England or Ireland.”[277]

After peace had been proclaimed, public life in England stagnated for a time, and party rancour temporarily disappeared. Ministers and Ex-Ministers met in society on the friendliest terms, and Lord Malmesbury describes a dinner party which the Queen gave on the 7th of May in honour of Baron Brunnow, at which the leaders of both factions were present—“the happy family I call them,” says the Queen in a letter to King Leopold. “Lord John Russell was{688} there,” says Lord Malmesbury, “and very civil to me, as when I arrived he crossed the room to come to speak to me—a thing he never did before. He began by saying ‘You gave it them well last night,’[278] and seemed quite delighted at the Government being bullied…. I had to take Lady Clarendon to dinner. She was at first very cross, but I ended by laughing her out of her bad humour.”[279] A slight ripple on the calm waters was due to the suspension of diplomatic relations with the United States. In raising recruits under the Foreign Enlistment Act, it seems some overzealous British agents had given the American Government not unreasonable cause to complain that we were violating their law during the war. The dispute became acute, when the British Minister to the United States was requested to leave Washington—but the quarrel was not a serious one. “The Americans,” Prince Albert informs Stockmar on the 16th June, “have sent away our Minister, but accompanied the act with such assurances of friendship and affection, and of their perfect readiness to adjust all points of difference in conformity with our wishes, that it will be difficult to give theirs his congé in return.” As a matter of fact the British Government apologised, and on the 16th of March, 1857, Lord Napier was received at Washington as Mr. Crampton’s successor. In truth there was no real ill-feeling at all between the two nations—and of this a curious proof was given at the end of the year. H.M.S. Resolute which had been attached to the last Arctic expedition had been abandoned in the ice. Some American explorers found her adrift and took her to the United States. There she was re-fitted at the expense of the Government, and sent back to England as a present to the Queen. When Resolute made her appearance at Cowes, the Queen insisted on going in person, on the 16th of December, to receive the gift. Her courteous reception of the American officers touched them deeply, and Lord Clarendon informed her Majesty that Mr. Dallas, the American Minister, told him, his countrymen were quite overwhelmed with the kindness which they had everywhere received.

Lord Palmerston’s unwearied attention to business, and his popularity after peace had been proclaimed, almost silenced criticism on his domestic policy. It had been supposed that the Budget would tempt the Opposition to attack him, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a dismal story to tell when the House of Commons met after Whitsuntide. The expenditure for the past year had come to £88,428,355, or £22,723,854 in excess of the revenue. In fact, during the three years ending with 1856 the war had cost England{689}

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£77,588,000. After making the most cautious estimates, Sir George Cornewall Lewis said that for the coming year, on the basis of existing taxation, his expected revenue would fall short of his anticipated expenditure by £7,000,000. As no new taxes were to be levied, he was compelled to find the money by borrowing, and, of course, no remission of taxation could in such circumstances be looked for. The House sanctioned the scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but he was warned that in future reduced estimates would be demanded.

More than one attempt was made by Mr. Disraeli to assail the Italian policy of Lord Palmerston. That policy was somewhat tortuous, for whilst the English Foreign Office was perpetually encouraging Sardinia to protest against the Austrian occupation of North Italy, England had, with Austria and France, become a party to the Tripartite Treaty guaranteeing the execution of the Treaty of Paris. Mr. Disraeli argued that it was inconsistent to stir up Sardinia and the discontented populations of Italy against Austria, at a time when we had by the Tripartite Treaty virtually bound ourselves in a close alliance with the Austrian Empire. The tyrannical Government of Sicily also elicited remonstrances from England, against which Russia protested, on the ground that we had no right to interfere between King “Bomba” and his subjects. But no enthusiasm was roused on these subjects—in fact, the country did not desire a change of Government at the time, and every effort to weaken the Ministry was therefore futile. Yet the home policy of the Ministry was a signal failure. They succeeded in assimilating the mercantile law of England and Scotland; but their first Bill to amend the law of partnership was abandoned in March. A second one was introduced, and abandoned in July. A Bill for the amendment of the Poor Law met the same fate. The Bill to regulate lunatic asylums in Ireland, and a Bill to relieve merchant vessels of tolls and dues were also abandoned. Ministers were equally unfortunate with their Divorce Bill, and with their Bills to establish jurisdiction over wills, and to check the criminal appropriation of trust property. Their Church Discipline Bill was rejected by the Lords. The Bills to reconstruct the Irish Court of Chancery and the Insolvency Court were dropped.[280] The Jury Bill, Juvenile Offenders Bill, and Dublin Police Bill were also given up. The Civil Servants’ Superannuation Bill, the London Municipal Reform Bill, the Bill for the local management of the metropolis, a burial Bill, a vaccination Bill, a Bill dealing with the Queen’s College in Ireland, and a Scotch education Bill were all abandoned. A Bill enabling two Bishops to retire on handsome terms was passed, though the arrangement was denounced as simoniacal, and the County Police Bill also became law. But the legislative failures of the Government showed that it had no firm hold over the House of Commons, and that its position was safe, merely because{691} the nation was not in a mood for change so soon after its energies had been exhausted in a costly and inglorious war. Moreover, Parties were still disorganised. Lord John Russell’s isolation and the position of the Peelites being disturbing factors in the situation. Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, however, began to draw nearer and nearer to each other, Lord Stanley being regarded as the connecting link between them, and some of the Whigs, a little alarmed at the prospect of a hostile coalition, began to hint that Palmerston would be wise to attract the Peelites back to his standard. The fact is, the war left the country profoundly disgusted with Party government. Sir James Graham told Mr. Greville that hitherto the party system had been efficient for government, because patronage had been “the great instrument for keeping parties together.” Peel, however, broke up the old party system in 1846, and now, said Sir James Graham, “between the Press, the public opinion which the Press had made, and the views of certain people in Parliament, of whom Gladstone is the most eminent and strenuous, patronage was either destroyed or going rapidly to destruction.”[281] To some extent the Queen shared these views, but in the event of any mishap leading to Palmerston’s resignation, the idea of the Court was to organise a coalition under Clarendon. Parliament was prorogued on the 29th of July.

Outside politics the life of the Queen during 1856 was not very eventful. On the 20th of March the confirmation of the Princess Royal brought together an interesting family gathering at the private chapel at Windsor. Prince Albert led the princess in, and was followed by the Queen and King Leopold of Belgium. The officers of State, and of the household, and most of the members of the Royal Family, were present, and the Bishop of Oxford, Lord High Almoner, read the preface, the Archbishop of Canterbury performing the ceremony. Several guests were present, and in describing the event to Stockmar the Prince dwells with some pride on the fact that the Princess came through the ordeal of Dean Wellesley’s preliminary examination a few days before with great success.[282] The choice of the Navy as Prince Alfred’s profession had now been made, and in April the Queen and Prince Albert, after much anxious thought, selected a tutor for their son. He is described by the Prince in one of his letters as “a distinguished and most amiable{692} young officer of Engineers … one Lieutenant Cowell, who was Adjutant of Sir Harry Jones at Bomarsund and before Sebastopol…. He is only twenty-three, and has had a high scientific training. By this a great load has been taken off my heart.”[283]

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During the spring of the year the wounded from the Crimea had been pouring in. In February the Queen presented Miss Florence Nightingale with a jewel, somewhat resembling the badge of an Order of Knighthood, for her services at Scutari. On the 16th of April her Majesty went to Chatham with her husband to visit these victims of the war. She passed through the wards much affected by the sight of some of the more ghastly wounds, speaking kind and comforting words of sympathy to those who had suffered most severely. The Camp at Aldershot was also visited on the 18th of April, and 14,000 troops were reviewed, her Majesty riding along the line whilst the men presented arms. Next morning was a field day, and the Queen appeared on the ground on horseback, wearing a Field-Marshal’s uniform, with the Star of the Garter over a dark-blue riding-habit. On the 23rd of April the splendid fleet{693}

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at Spithead was reviewed. The spectacle was one of surpassing magnificence, and upwards of 100,000 persons witnessed it, crowding every spot from which a view could be obtained between Fort Monckton and Southsea Castle. The Solent was alive with yachts and craft of all kinds, decked with bunting, which fluttered gaily in the light breeze. The Queen’s yacht left Portsmouth Harbour at noon, steamed down and returned through the double line of war-ships. As the yacht rounded the Royal George and Duke of Wellington they opened a Royal salute, and their yards were suddenly manned, as if by magic, with seamen, each trying to cheer louder than his comrade. This manœuvre was repeated in succession by every ship in the fleet, and the effect was imposing and impressive. A mimic attack on Southsea Castle followed, and at night{694} the whole fleet was suddenly and simultaneously illuminated with blue lights from yards and portholes.

“Our army,” Prince Albert wrote, in April, “has begun to return, and it will require redoubled exertions to keep up its organisation.” In fact, already an active party in the Cabinet had begun to demand heavy retrenchment on military expenditure. The Queen had long been convinced that hurried retrenchments led to wasteful panic expenditure, and was very much concerned when she heard what was being mooted in the Ministry. Hence she wrote to Lord Palmerston expressing her strong feeling that retrenchment should be moderate and gradual. “To the miserable reductions of the last thirty years,” she says, “is entirely owing our state of helplessness when the war began;” and surely, she urged, Ministers were not going to forget the lesson taught by our sufferings in the Crimea. What, however, was most seriously wanted was a new military system which would properly utilise the money already voted for the army, and prevent it from being jobbed into the hands of incompetent persons with powerful family interest. Sir De Lacy Evans, on the 4th of March, made an effort to persuade the House of Commons to abolish the purchase system, which he described as “a stain upon the service and a dishonour to England,” and Lord Goderich warmly advocated the application of some effective tests of competence to candidates for commissions. But though everybody sympathised with Evans, nobody would help him to carry out his ideas. In the abstract, said Lord Palmerston, purchase was bad. No one would propose such a system if we were establishing an army for the first time. It existed only in the British army, but, then, it did exist, and it had existed so long that it was hard to get rid of it without injustice to individuals,[284] and great expenditure in compensation. Yet the highest estimate made of the value of commissions did not exceed £8,000,000—less than half the sum voted every year by the House of Commons for the troops; and even that sum would have had to be paid, not at once, but over a long series of years, under any scheme, to release an army which had been pawned to its officers. Prince Albert, in conjunction with Lord Hardinge, drew up a plan for a new military organisation, which, however, did not touch questions of patronage or promotion. On the 19th of May the Queen laid the foundation stone of the great military hospital at Netley, the first of the kind in England, and an institution which we owe entirely to her Majesty. “Loving my dear, brave army as I do,” she writes to King Leopold, “and having seen so many of my poor sick and wounded soldiers, I shall watch over this work with maternal anxiety,”[285] A visit from Prince Frederick William of Prussia brought sunshine into the Royal household, and gladdened the heart of the Queen’s eldest daughter, who was supremely happy at once again meeting her betrothed. It was during this visit that the Princess met with an accident, on the 25th of June, that{695} might have ended fatally. She was sitting at her table in Buckingham Palace, reading a letter, when the sleeve of her dress caught fire from a candle. Luckily Miss Hildyard and Miss Anderson (who were in the room at the time) promptly rolled the Princess in the hearthrug and extinguished the flames, though her arm was severely burnt from below the elbow to the shoulder.

On the 8th of July the Queen again went to Aldershot to review a great body of Crimean troops, the Royal party including the King of the Belgians and Prince Oscar of Sweden. Unfortunately the weather somewhat marred the grandeur of the spectacle, but it became fair enough ere the day was done to admit of the regiments forming in three sides of a square round the Queen’s carriage. Then the officers who had been under fire, with four men from each company and troop, stepped forward, and her Majesty, rising, addressed them a few words of welcome and thanks. She told them to say to their comrades that she had herself watched anxiously over their difficulties and hardships, and mourned with deep sorrow for the brave men who had fallen in their country’s cause. When she ceased to speak, the cry of “God save the Queen” burst forth from every lip. The air was black with helmets, bearskins, and shakoes, which the men tossed up with delight. Flashing sabres were waving and glancing along the lines, and on every hillside crowds caught up the cheering that rose from the serried and glittering ranks of the army. Unhappily the day was saddened by a strange and melancholy occurrence. Lord Hardinge was seized with a fit whilst talking to the Queen. “He fell forward,” says Prince Albert, “upon the table before which he was standing. I assisted him to the nearest sofa, where he at once resumed what he was saying with the greatest clearness and calmness, merely apologising that he had made such a disturbance. When he was moved to London it was found his right side was paralysed.” Next day the Guards and Highlanders arrived, and were received by the Queen and enthusiastic crowds in the Park. “They marched past in fours,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “preceded by their colonels on horseback and their bands, in heavy marching order. Certainly they looked as if they had done work; their uniforms were shabby, many having almost lost all colour, their bearskins quite brown, and they themselves, poor fellows, though they seemed happy, and were laughing as they marched along, were very thin and worn.”[286] Lord Hardinge’s career was now closed. On the 9th of July he resigned, and on the 24th of September he died. On the 12th of July the Cabinet accordingly advised the Queen to appoint her cousin, the Duke of Cambridge, Commander-in-Chief, in succession to Lord Hardinge, and her Majesty was gratified to find that the arrangement was one which was highly popular with the troops. Thus the intention of Wellington was fulfilled, and the army again passed under the direct command of a Prince of the Blood Royal.

The Prince and Princess of Prussia paid a visit to England in August, arriving on the 10th and leaving on the 29th, by which time the Court had{696} retired to Osborne. On the 30th, after spending two days in Edinburgh, the Queen and her family arrived at Balmoral. “We found the house finished,” writes the Queen in her Diary, “as well as the offices, and the poor old house gone!”[287] It was a stormy, tempestuous holiday, but the Queen made the best of it. On the 21st of September Sir James Clark introduced Miss Florence Nightingale to the Queen, who was greatly charmed with her, and with whom her Majesty held grave consultations as to the reforms that were needed in military hospitals. The coronation of the Czar at Moscow, on the 7th of September, was attended by Lord Granville as the Queen’s representative, and when his reports reached Balmoral, Prince Albert, in a letter to Stockmar, said that they regarded these as “an apotheosis and homage paid to the vanquished, and which cannot fail to inspire both worshipper and worshipped with dangerous illusions in regard to the real state of things.”

The Queen was now getting alarmed as to the carrying out of the Treaty of Peace. She saw Russia making strenuous efforts to separate France and England. Instead of restoring Kars to the Turks, the Russians demolished the fortifications, and prolonged their military occupation of the country in defiance of the Treaty of Paris. They tried to filch Serpent Island at the mouth of the Danube, under the pretext that it was inside the new line of their frontier. They sought to push their new frontier as far south as Lake Jalpuk, because the Powers, misled by a faulty map, had permitted them to retain the Moldavian town of Bolgrad.[288] In each case the Emperor of the French was inclined to support the Russian claim. The British fleet was therefore ordered to occupy the Black Sea till the deadlock was ended, and when Chreptovitch, the new Russian ambassador, threatened to leave England because this step had been taken, Lord Palmerston coolly told him “the sooner he did so the better,” if he did not mean to give England satisfaction.[289]

The King of Prussia now began to press the Queen to interfere in a quarrel between him and the Swiss Republic. Neuenburg or Neufchâtel, by dynastic inheritance, had come into the possession of Frederick I. in 1707. In 1806 it was ceded to Napoleon, who gave it to Berthier, the most diplomatic of his generals. After the Great Peace it was granted an oligarchic constitution,{697}

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and received as a Canton into the Swiss Confederation, but its vassalage to the House of Hohenzollern was formally acknowledged. In 1848 the Republican citizens of Neuenburg broke the bond that tied them to the Prussian crown, and though the Protocol of London of the 24th May, 1852, recognised the Prussian claim to the Province, the Province ignored the Protocol of London. In the autumn of 1856 the Prussian party in Neuenburg attacked the Republicans, but the Swiss Federal troops ruthlessly suppressed the rising, and not only killed twelve royalists, but had the audacity to throw a hundred others into prison, simply because they were loyal to their feudal lord. The King of Prussia objected to their being put on trial, and demanded their surrender, but it was a far cry from Berlin to Berne, and the stubborn Switzers paid no heed to his demands. Napoleon III. menaced them in vain. Austria, always pleased to see Prussia humbled in Germany, threw obstacles in the way of Prussian troops marching through the territory of the Confederation to coerce Switzerland, and Napoleon did not{698} dare to outrage French opinion by letting them march through Alsace-Lorraine. In England, Palmerston smiled grimly over the embarrassment of Russia’s most faithful ally. He said to the Hanoverian Minister in London when Prussia was threatening coercion, “the Prussians will incur much expense, and in January Switzerland will condemn the captives and then amnesty them; donc la farce sera finie, et la Prusse y sera pour les frais.”[290]

Nor was this the only anxiety at Court. King “Bomba’s” misgovernment in southern Italy, and his brutal treatment of persons arbitrarily arrested on suspicion of disloyalty, were provoking revolution. An outbreak in the south must lead to a rising in the north, which in turn must involve France and Sardinia in war with Austria. England and France, finding their remonstrances disregarded by the Neapolitan Government, withdrew their legations from Naples in October, and ordered the fleet to make a demonstration in the bay. This step was sanctioned by the Queen not without some misgiving, because to suspend diplomatic relations with a State because its internal government is not to our liking, was to establish a dangerous diplomatic precedent. It evoked from Russia a cutting remonstrance, which, however, Lord Palmerston had to accept as best he could.

On the 19th of October the Court returned to Windsor, and on the 17th of November, Stockmar, in response to a pressing appeal to come and advise the Queen in the midst of her growing difficulties, paid her what was destined to be his last visit. He found her heavily stricken with grief because of the death of her half-brother, Prince Leiningen, on the 13th. “We three,” (the Prince, the Princess Hohenlohe, and the Queen), she writes to King Leopold, “were very fond of each other, and never felt or fancied that we were not real Geschwister (children of the same parents). We knew but one parent—our mother.”[291] The last day of the year brought with it one consolation. The Conference in Paris had settled our dispute with Russia, and a map was signed by the plenipotentiaries which met the requirements of the Czar, without giving Russia strategical advantages which she had tried to obtain.[292]{699}


The Queen’s New Year Greeting to Napoleon III.—A Gladstone-Disraeli Coalition—A “Scene” in the Carlton Club—Mr. Disraeli’s Attack on Lord Palmerston’s Foreign Policy—The Queen Consents to Reduce the Income Tax—A Fallacious Budget, with Imaginary Remissions—The Persian War—General Outram’s Victories—Unpopularity of the War—Making War without Consulting Parliament—The Rupture with China—A “Prancing Proconsul”—The Bombardment of Canton—Defeat of Lord Palmerston, and his Appeal to the Country—A Penal Dissolution—Abortive Coalition between the Peelites and Tories—Mr. Gladstone and the Intriguers—Split in the Peelite Party—Palmerston’s Victory at the Polls—The Rout of the Manchester School—The Lesson of the Election—Opening of the New Parliament—The Work of the Session—Mr. Gladstone’s Obstruction of the Divorce Bill—The Settlement of the Neufchâtel Difficulty—The Question of the Principalities—Visit of the French Emperor to the Queen.

Writing on New Year’s Day in 1857, Lord Malmesbury says in his Diary, “The Conference opened yesterday on the questions of Bolgrad and the Isle of Serpents, which the Russians falsely claim as being included in the Treaty of Peace. The Swiss are making energetic preparations for resisting the threatened invasion of Neufchâtel by Prussia; whilst England and France are using their utmost exertions to prevent a war. England has declared war against Persia, and Admiral Seymour has bombarded Canton to avenge an insult offered to our flag.”[293] The Queen, in a letter conveying her greetings to the Emperor of the French, also observes, mournfully, that “the New Year again begins amid the din of warlike preparation;” and there was undoubtedly a feeling of disappointment in England that the Peace of Paris had not brought peace to the world. Yet the general condition of the country was prosperous. Crime, however—especially fraud and murder—had increased shockingly, and severe moralists in Pall Mall went about predicting that Parliament must now devote a Session to social legislation—especially penal legislation—so as to purge a corrupt people of its wickedness. But the corrupt people, much to the Queen’s regret, was of quite another opinion—and so were the political factions. The constituencies were beginning to murmur against taxation. Now that war was over, they demanded sweeping reductions in the income and other taxes, which involved the diminution of the army and navy to such slender dimensions, that her Majesty felt certain they would be as unfit to cope with a sudden emergency as they were when the Crimea was invaded. As for the factions, they were determined to turn out the Government, which they knew existed solely on the credit Palmerston had obtained by carrying on war when the nation wanted it, and ending it when the nation was getting sick of the struggle. The Queen was hostile to any abrupt change of Government at a time when she could see no means of replacing Palmerston’s Cabinet by a stronger one, and she viewed with disapprobation the subterranean intrigues{700} which were going on between the Tories and the Peelites. That Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli were attempting, through the medium of Lord Stanley, to form a Coalition, was known at the Court; nay, it was even said that Mr. Gladstone was to take the leadership of the Tory Party in the House of Commons. Sir William Jolliffe, the Tory Whip, when pressed on the point in December, 1856, told Mr. George Byng that this was “not true at present; that he could not say what might or might not happen hereafter, but that he (Mr. Gladstone) could not be accepted as a leader, and must, in any case, first serve in the ranks.” Only a short time before that some of the younger members of the Party had visited the drawing-room of the Carlton Club with the amiable intention of throwing Mr. Gladstone out of the window. That they had now modified their repugnance to him indicates how keen their hunger for office had grown. But that the Tory Party was disorganised through Mr. Disraeli’s unpopularity, and also because Lord Palmerston’s policy, though Liberal abroad, was really too Conservative at home to be successfully attacked, is clear from a letter which Lord Derby wrote to Lord Malmesbury on the prosperity of the Conservatives at the close of 1856.[294]

Parliament was opened on the 3rd of February, 1857, and the Queen’s Speech naturally referred to the wars and rumours of war that filled the air. Law Reform and the Bank Act were the only subjects of domestic interest dwelt upon. Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Sidney Herbert now appeared almost anxious to join Lord Derby; and the Tories, on their part, were quite prepared to support Mr. Gladstone in demanding that the Income Tax be reduced to 5d. in the current year, and abolished altogether in 1860, as had been agreed on in 1853.[295] Mr. Disraeli’s attack, on the other hand, was directed against the Foreign Policy of the Government. He complained that at the very time Lord Clarendon was encouraging the hopes of Count Cavour and of Italy at the Congress of Paris, France had signed a Secret Treaty guaranteeing to Austria her Italian provinces, and had signed it by the advice of England. Lord Palmerston denied the existence of this Secret Treaty. But he admitted that in 1854, when there was some hope that Austria would take part in the war, an agreement was made to the effect that should Russia raise an insurrection in North Italy, France would help Austria to put it down, if Austrian armies were actually co-operating with the Allies against Russia. In the Upper House, Lord Aberdeen voted for the amendment to the Address with many of the Tories—a somewhat unusual thing for an ex-Premier to do—and this, along with Mr. Gladstone’s cordial support of Mr. Disraeli, was taken to be a sign that the Peelites desired to coalesce with the Opposition. Lord John Russell, who was a kind of political Ishmaelite,{701} also spoke bitterly about the abortive demonstration of the fleet at Naples, which had drawn upon us insulting remonstrances, and had not coerced King Ferdinand into good behaviour. On the 17th of February Mr. Disraeli compelled Lord Palmerston to admit that “a military convention,” if not a Secret Treaty, between France and Austria had been signed, but only as a temporary arrangement. When, however, Mr. Disraeli persisted in saying it was a Secret Treaty, and that on the face of it there was no limit to the period of its operation, Palmerston lost his temper, a circumstance so extraordinary that it convinced the House he had been again caught tripping.

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(From a Photograph by Taunt and Co., Oxford.)

After many harassing consultations, the Queen felt that it was impossible for the Cabinet to resist the growing agitation against the Income Tax. The coalition between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli was too ominous to be disregarded; and so, on the 10th of February, she wrote to King Leopold, “We think we shall be able to reduce the Income Tax and yet maintain an efficient navy, and the organisation of the army, which is even more important than the number of the men.”[296] When Sir George Cornewall Lewis brought in his Budget on the 13th of February, it was found that he reduced the Income Tax from 1s. 4d. to 7d. in the pound; but of course this was still 2d. above the peace limit fixed in 1853. The complaint of the Opposition was that the Government imposed that 2d. merely to promote what Mr. Disraeli called the “turbulent and aggressive policy” abroad by which Lord Palmerston diverted the attention of{702} the country from its own affairs at home.[297] Mr. Gladstone attacked the Budget all along the line. Sir George Lewis, he said, pretended to remit £11,000,000 of taxation. But of that sum £4,470,000 were war taxes, which necessarily dropped when war was over, and though Sir George brought the tea duty down from 1s. 9d. to 1s. 7d. on the lb., and on sugar from 20s. per cwt. to 18s. 4d., that still raised from tea and sugar £1,400,000 more than the old peace duties drew from them. The real remission, then, was not £11,000,000, but £3,184,000. The faults of the Budget were obviously two. It virtually ignored the pledge of the Government in 1853 to abolish the Income Tax in 1860. Instead of cutting down expenditure so as to render it possible to keep that pledge, it increased expenditure above the peace limit, so as to make it impossible to surrender the Income Tax.[298] The accepted financial policy of the country had been to grant an Income Tax during peace solely to enable the Government to remit taxes on articles of popular consumption. It was granted merely to give an elastic revenue time to recover from sudden remissions of indirect taxation. Sir George Lewis, however, still kept the tax above the peace limit, and his small reductions on the tea and sugar duties left them standing above the peace limit also. Moreover, he maintained his expenditure on a scale which created deficits that rendered the continuance of the Income Tax, without compensating remissions of indirect taxes, inevitable. In fact, Sir George Lewis may be said to have introduced the vicious principle of modern finance, by which a temporary Income Tax is insidiously converted into a permanent one, and by which, under cover of extraordinary disbursement during a war, the country is left after peace is declared with a residue of that outlay clinging to the estimates, as ordinary and permanent annual expenditure. The Budget, however, was carried through in a slightly modified form, but the sudden dissolution of Parliament in March compelled Sir George Lewis to levy his new taxes not on a descending scale for three years, but for the ensuing year only. With a view to the popular vote to which Lord Palmerston was about to appeal, Sir George then surrendered 2d. of the tea duty, which brought it down to 1s. 5d. on the pound. But he made no adequate provision for the Persian war, or the war with China. His alteration of the tea duty of course rendered{703} his surplus a myth, and his Budget, with an inflated expenditure, went forth, as Mr. Gladstone complained, with a deficiency of ways and means. In fact, on the eve of an appeal to the constituencies, a prudish Chancellor of the Exchequer “went to the country” with a profligate electioneering Budget.

Mention has been already made of a “little war” that was being waged with Persia. It had sprung out of the irrepressible desire of the Shah to hold Herat, and from the traditional belief of the Foreign Office that when Herat was in Persian hands, “the key of India” was in the pockets of the Czar.[299] In 1851 Persia had promised that she would not meddle with Herat if the Afghans did not attempt to seize it. But the Governor of Candahar advanced on the coveted city, whose ruler appealed to Persia for protection. The Indian Government admitted that there was no danger to India in Persia responding to this appeal. The Foreign Office, however, suspended diplomatic relations with the Court of Teheran.[300] Persia then agreed to retire from Herat when the Afghans withdrew, and negotiations went on in a dilatory fashion till the Crimean War broke out, when the Czar urged Persia to resist and become his ally. The Shah’s Prime Minister held his Imperial master back, and Mr. Thomson, a typical representative of the Foreign Office in Persia, by way of further conciliating the friendly Premier, appointed as First Secretary of the British Legation, a disreputable person who had been dismissed from the Persian service, and whose family were among the most active enemies of the anti-Russian Minister. The Minister refused to receive this individual—Meerza Hashim by name. By way of compensating him Mr. Murray, who succeeded Mr. Thomson, appointed him British agent at Shiraz, a place where we had no right to have an agent at all, but where, by the courtesy of the Persian Government, we had been allowed to have one.[301] The Persian Premier then threatened to arrest Meerza Hashim. As a matter of fact, he arrested his wife, and maliciously insinuated in a despatch, when Mr. Murray demanded her release, that he had compromised himself with the lady. Murray accordingly struck his flag and demanded an apology, whereupon Persia issued a manifesto declaring that the Afghans were advancing on Herat, and{704} threatening to seize that fortress. In July, 1856, a British force was ordered to proceed from Bombay to occupy the island of Karrack and the city of Bushire. By this time the Crimean War was over, and Persia could get no aid from her Russian ally. A Persian ambassador therefore was sent to Paris to negotiate for peace, but he broke his journey at Constantinople to arrange the terms with Stratford de Redcliffe. Whilst there, news came that Persia had captured Herat. Stratford demanded its evacuation, and the dismissal of the Prime Minister. This latter demand the Persian Envoy rejected. The English Government therefore went on with the war. It was, however, declared by the Indian Government that war was waged for the recovery of Herat, which Persia had offered to evacuate, whereas the British Government, in their declaration, stated that their object was the dismissal of the Persian Premier,[302] who had foiled the attempt of Russia to drag the Shah into the Crimean War. The Expedition, led by General Outram, occupied Karrack and captured Bushire. But these victories did not really determine the issue. In England the war had become unpopular. Palmerston had begun it, and carried it on without consulting the House of Commons, by the simple expedient of using the revenues of India to meet its expenses. This was a source of supplies which the House, of course, could not control. At the beginning of the Session it was currently rumoured that the Government would soon be called to account for a proceeding which the Representative Chamber was bound to view with jealousy and suspicion.

These mutterings of hostility alarmed Palmerston, for he had already determined to dissolve Parliament and appeal to the country against the condemnation which the House of Commons had passed on his policy in China. Whilst, as yet, the full bearing of his Persian policy was imperfectly understood by the constituencies, he hastened to make peace, and Persia, after her defeats, was not disposed to be obstinate. But the Shah refused to dismiss his Prime Minister, and Palmerston was accordingly fain to withdraw his demand, and be content with an apology for the imputations which had been cast on Mr. Murray’s character. Such was the inglorious end of a war which is one of the least creditable events in Lord Palmerston’s career. As might be expected, when the General Election was over, and the new Parliament met, Ministers were fiercely attacked for declaring and prosecuting the war unconstitutionally without consulting the House of Commons. The country was now fully alive to the danger that lurked in such a monstrous extension of the Queen’s prerogative as would permit her to use the revenues of India, which the House of Commons could not control, for carrying on war outside the Indian Empire. The only real control which the people have over the Crown is their power to stop supplies for the army. The Persian War, however, proved that the Crown could draw supplies and troops from India, without any Parliamentary sanction whatever. Palmerston’s policy had thus put into{705} the hands of the Queen a deadlier weapon of despotism than either the Tudors or the Stuarts had dared to wield. But the attack, damaging as it was, failed to upset the Ministry; though the House, in 1858, at Mr. Gladstone’s suggestion, forced the Government to accept a clause in the India Bill which disallowed such pretensions on the part of the Crown.[303]

But at the beginning of the Session of 1857 it was not Persia but China that really engrossed the attention of the country. A dispute between Sir John Bowring, Governor of Hong Kong, and the Chinese authorities at Canton, raised an issue which made it easy for the Peelites to unite with the Tories, and the Cobdenites with both.

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The Chinese War of 1857 occupies an unique place in the events of the Victorian epoch, because it was a war which was provoked by a member of the Peace Society. In October, 1856, the Chinese authorities arrested twelve Chinamen on board a native lorcha called the Arrow, on a charge of piracy. The British Consul, asserting that the Arrow was a British ship, contended very properly that the accused should have been demanded from him. Nine of the Chinamen were released. Sir John Bowring thereupon insisted on the release of the other three, and an apology within forty-eight hours, on pain of immediate{706} reprisals. The three men were released; but the Chinese Governor courteously refused to apologise, because, he said, as the Arrow was not a British ship, no wrong had been done to the British flag. This was literally true, for Sir J. Bowring, as everybody now admits, was utterly mistaken as to the nationality of the lorcha. The courtesy of the Chinese in surrendering the prisoners in deference to an illegal demand, which Bowring had couched in terms of offensive arrogance, was rewarded next day by the bombardment of the luckless commercial city of Canton—a barbarous act which could be justified by the laws neither of God nor of man. In fact, “a prancing pro-Consul,” to use a famous phrase of Sir William Harcourt’s, had virtually usurped the prerogative of the Crown, and levied war on a foreign Government on his own responsibility. Instead of recalling Bowring and the British Consul, Lord Palmerston, without giving the matter much thought, identified himself with their proceedings, though many Members of his Cabinet, notably Lord Granville and Mr. Labouchere, who afterwards were forced to defend Bowring in Parliament, personally disapproved of his conduct.[304] But Ministers virtually abandoned the case of the Arrow when the controversy grew hot. “As usual,” writes Mr. Morley, “they shifted the ground from the particular to the general; if the Chinese were right about the Arrow they were wrong about something else; if legality did not exactly justify violence, it was at any rate required by policy; Orientals mistake justice for fear; and so on through the string of well-worn sophisms, which are always pursued in connection with such affairs.”[305] The real truth, as the Tory leaders said in the debates in both Houses of Parliament, was that Bowring’s vanity had been hurt because the Chinese had refused to receive him in Canton. When he sent Admiral Sir M. Seymour to bombard the port he tacked on to his original ultimatum a demand that foreigners should be freely admitted to the city, on the ground that this privilege, though ceded by the Treaty of 1846, had never been granted. Admitting that his interpretation of this disputed point in the Treaty was correct, neither he nor Lord Palmerston had any right to force that interpretation on China by war. Their duty was to have acted in concert with the Governments of France and the United States, who were equally interested in the question, and in this way to exhaust the resources of diplomacy, before appealing to the arbitrament of the sword. Every Member of both Houses of Parliament who was not an infatuated partisan of Lord Palmerston’s took this view of the case; and when Mr. Cobden, on the 26th of February, brought forward a motion condemning the policy of the Government, he carried it, after a debate which lasted many nights, by a majority of sixteen.[306] In the House of Lords the Government repelled the attack, on the 27th of February, by a majority of{707} thirty-six; and had the division been taken on the same night in the Commons, the majority, after Cobden’s and Russell’s speeches, would have been so enormous that Palmerston would hardly have dared to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament. But he adroitly delayed matters, held a meeting of his Party, harangued them, and threatened them with a dissolution, and so, by the 4th of March, when the division was taken, the majority against him dwindled to sixteen. On the 5th of March, Ministers announced that Parliament would be dissolved and the sense of the country taken on the issue. The antipathy of the Queen to “penal dissolutions,” indeed, to any dissolution of Parliament, if it can be avoided, was overcome by Lord Palmerston representing that the majority against him was exceedingly small—that it was made up of a coalition of factions, whose leaders, agreeing only on one point, could not possibly form a stable Government. On the other hand, from a General Election a Government of some kind would be evolved with a solid working majority, an advantage of supreme importance in the eyes of the Sovereign.

Then the game of intrigue began. Lord Malmesbury was sent to Mr. Sidney Herbert to negotiate an alliance between the Tories and the Peelites, his proposal being, says Lord Malmesbury, “that we should not take a hostile part towards each other’s candidates.” By this arrangement it was supposed that no personal enmities would be made, and the difficulty of organising an actual coalition, if such should be deemed necessary, would therefore be minimised.[307] Mr. Herbert rejected these overtures, because the Peelites had become so much divided in opinion and so weak in influence, that his desire was to see them dispersed. Lord Malmesbury then sounded Mr. Gladstone at the Carlton Club. “He had,” writes his lordship, “seen Sidney Herbert, who told him of our interview, and Gladstone said he quite disagreed with his views, and had told him so…. His leanings are apparently towards us, but he was quite of my opinion that no sort of agreement should be made beyond the one I had proposed.”[308] In fact, Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Herbert had very nearly quarrelled over the matter. Writing to Sir George Lewis on the 16th of March, the late Mr. A. Hayward says, “Gladstone and S. Herbert have come to an explanation which has ended very like the lovers’ separation in Little’s poems:—

‘You may down that pathway rove,
While I shall take my way through this.’
Sidney Herbert takes the Liberal and Gladstone the Derbyite turn. I know no one who will follow Gladstone’s lead in the matter, except, perhaps, Lord A. Harvey.”[309]

As a rule in England, the Minister who dissolves Parliament and appeals to the country is beaten. The General Election of 1857 was a startling exception to that rule. For Palmerston it was a complete victory. For his opponents it was not a defeat—but a rout. Cobden, Bright, Gibson, Fox, and Miall were rejected by the very men whose fortunes they had made by their Free Trade policy. As Mr. Morley says, “nothing had been seen like it since the disappearance of the Peace Whigs in 1812, when Brougham, Tierney, Lamb, and Horner all lost their seats.”[310] The Peelites suffered almost as cruelly. The Conservative ranks were sadly thinned, for twenty-four counties were won by the Ministry; in fact, the Times declared, that the Tories would “never again, as a party, become candidates for office.”[311] The “Manchester School” lost its supporters, (1), because it had got the reputation of factiously opposing all Governments; (2), because the manufacturers, enriched by Free Trade, had ceased to be Radical; and (3), because they thought that when Palmerston forced Bowring into Canton at the point of the bayonet, cotton goods would go in with him. The Peelites were beaten (1), because they were divided among themselves; and (2), because they were a small faction, and in a General Election a small faction generally is crushed in the collision between the great parties. The Tories lost adherents (1), because the farmers resented their support of an amendment moved by their natural enemy, Mr. Cobden; and (2), because rumours were spread abroad by Lord Palmerston’s agents that they were about to coalesce with Mr. Gladstone, who represented the principles of “the traitor Peel.” Lord Palmerston triumphed (1), because his only Liberal rival, Lord John Russell, had alienated the country by his tortuous disloyalty to two Ministries, and incurred the hatred of the Dissenters by his defence of Church Rates; (2), because his personal popularity, after bringing the wars with Russia and Persia to an end, was unbounded; and (3), because he and his satellites poured forth speeches, inflated with cheap and vulgar “patriotic” claptrap, to such an extent that even Mr. Greville says in his “Memoirs” that he was “disgusted at the enormous and shameful lying with which the country is deluged.”[312] England, moreover, was involved in a war with China, and after all Palmerston was the only political leader who had proved that he could carry on a war with least discredit to the country.[313] The election was,{709} therefore, a personal one. Constituents did not scrutinise closely the principles or capacity of candidates, so long as they promised to support Lord Palmerston,[314] and so numbers of Parliamentary Reformers crept unnoticed into the House. But in such cases the loyalty of a majority lasts no longer than the popularity of the leader. Let him make one false step that forfeits popularity, and then his supporters desert him, disinterring what they call their “principles” from buried election addresses to justify their “new departure.”

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It was unfortunate that neither the Queen nor Prince Albert recognised this fact, and that they both imagined that Palmerston’s principles—which, in domestic policy, were reactionary and illiberal—were as popular as Palmerston himself. The only true and just criticism of this historic Election, which sent 189 new Members to the House of Commons, and for a time broke the old parties to pieces, was passed by the Duke of Newcastle. Writing to Mr. Hayward on the 10th of April, he says:—“I come to the conclusion that Palmerston will be disappointed with his new Parliament. The gain to{710} Liberal opinion is very great, and the Derby party is for the present smashed; but in these gains are to be found Palmerston’s disadvantages. Nobody can fear the alternative of a Derby Ministry, and if Palmerston rises to the occasion he will soon find his popularity gone and his Government in danger. It is all nonsense to suppose that the China vote has really influenced the decision of the country; but there is a question which alone Palmerston cares about (and that in an adverse sense), which has gained ground everywhere, and is now established as the question of the day—Reform of Parliament; and I have no belief in a good measure coming from unwilling men; and how unwilling are the influential men in the present Cabinet my former association with them pretty well informs me.”[315]

From this Election the history of the Queen’s reign enters on a fresh phase. Underlying every party intrigue and combination there is henceforth to be detected an irrepressible though concealed antagonism between the Parliamentary Reformers and their opponents. In England, it is a curious fact that political parties always exhaust their ingenuity in veiling the real issue between them. When a Government is punished by dismissal, it is not dismissed for the blunder it has committed, but because it has done, or refused to do, something else, which is hardly hinted at in public, but which has offended a powerful body of its supporters. Palmerston was a Minister whose ardent, impetuous temperament, and confidence in his own dexterity, rendered him prone to commit blunders. A Minister of that type can go on blundering with impunity so long as he is supposed to be trustworthy on the one great question which lies closest to the hearts of that section of his supporters, who are prepared to sacrifice him for their cause. But whenever they discover that he is not to be trusted, they take advantage of his first mistake to combine with his enemies and overthrow him. In the new Parliament of 1857, it was therefore clear that Palmerston’s personal ascendency would last till the party of Parliamentary Reform discovered that they had absolutely nothing to expect from him, save open or concealed hostility. It was because the Queen did not grasp this fact that she was startled to find, a few months after Parliament met, how rapidly Palmerston’s popularity was waning. Prince Albert also, strangely enough, mistook the verdict of the country in 1857, as being one cast solely against “the peace-at-any-price people.”[316]

On the 7th of May the House of Commons began the business of the new Session. On that day the Lord Chancellor read the Queen’s Speech, which, contrary to general expectation, did not contain any reference to Parliamentary Reform. It was, says Lord Malmesbury, “the lamest production,{711} even for a Queen’s Speech, I ever read.”[317] However, it gave a soothing account of foreign affairs, and intimated not only that the main stipulations of the Treaty of Paris had been carried out, and that the Neufchâtel difficulty was in a fair way of being settled, but it announced the signature of a Treaty of Peace with Persia. The only subject for regret in our foreign relations was, of course, the war with China. The legislative programme was meagre in the extreme, for the only important Bills promised were, one relating to the jurisdiction of the Ecclesiastical Courts over wills and divorce, and another to check fraudulent breaches of trust. The Address was carried with very little debate, the Radicals being satisfied to let the question of Parliamentary Reform sleep, because Lord Palmerston promised that during the recess the Cabinet would give the subject serious consideration. It was, in truth, a dull and uneventful Session.

But a slight fillip of interest was imparted to it by the revival of the old controversy as to the admission of Jews to Parliament. The election of Baron Rothschild as one of the Members for the City of London compelled the Government to deal with the matter, and Lord Palmerston brought forward a Bill, on the 15th of May, to alter the law relating to Parliamentary Oaths, and remove from the statute book one of the last relics of mediæval bigotry. Although it was bitterly opposed by many Tories, such as Sir F. Thesiger and Mr. Whiteside, the Bill passed the House of Commons, but only to be thrown out by the House of Lords. Lord John Russell then tried to solve the problem by bringing in a Bill to extend the operation of the Act, 1 and 2 Vict. cap. 106, giving a discretion as to the forms on which certain oaths are administered. But while this Bill was in progress it was proposed to free the Jews from their Parliamentary disabilities by applying to their case the provisions of the Act 5 and 6 William IV. cap. 62. This Act was passed to enable a solemn declaration to be substituted for an oath in certain instances. The only question was whether the Act could be stretched so as to include the oath imposed on Members of Parliament. On Lord John Russell’s motion a Select Committee was appointed to inquire if the Act applied to Parliamentary Oaths, but in due time they reported that it did not. This virtually ended the controversy for the Session, and Lord John Russell could only give notice that he would renew the agitation next year.

Undoubtedly the legal and social reforms proposed by the Government in 1857 were those which created most excitement in the country. The Ecclesiastical Courts had been long threatened with extinction, and at last the Government dealt them a fatal blow. Bills were introduced in May transferring to purely secular tribunals their Testamentary Jurisdiction and the greater part of their control over the Marriage Laws, and though the establishment of the new Court of Probate was not much opposed, the Divorce Bill was fiercely debated. Members who were under sacerdotal influence attacked this measure with{712}

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the utmost ferocity. Indeed, it was not opposed, but factiously obstructed, clause by clause and line by line, Mr. Gladstone being the most energetic of its opponents.[318] It was, however, passed, and undoubtedly the Government won some credit in the country by the pertinacity with which they piloted this embarrassing measure through both Houses of Parliament. “I am very glad,” writes Lord Campbell, in his Journal, “that the Divorce Bill finally passed the Commons framed almost exactly according to the recommendations of the commission over which I had the honour to preside, preserving the law as it has practically subsisted for two hundred years: that a husband who has conducted himself properly may obtain a dissolution of the marriage for the adultery of the wife, and that a wife may obtain a dissolution of the marriage for the adultery of the husband, attended by incest, or any aggravation which renders it impossible for the connubial union to continue; the{713}

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law being now to be administered by a regular judicial tribunal, instead of the injured parties being obliged to petition the Legislature for private Acts of Parliament to dissolve the marriage. We are assailed on the one hand by those who hold that, according to divine law, marriage cannot be dissolved even for adultery, and on the other by those who think that for this purpose no distinction should be made between the sexes,[319] and that in all cases the wife should be entitled to a divorce on proof of any breach of the marriage vow by the husband. But I think the true principle is, that the marriage ought only to be dissolved when it is impossible for the injured party to condone, and that Divine Providence has constituted an essential difference in this respect between the adultery of the husband and the adultery of the wife. I would rather run the risk of cases of great hardship occurring, when it would seem desirable that women should be released from the tyranny of profligate and brutal husbands, than give too great a facility to divorce, which has a tendency most demoralising.”[320]

Another measure of sound reform, with which Lord Campbell honourably associated his name, gave rise to a curious incident, towards the end of the Session, in the House of Commons. “Since I returned from circuit,” says Lord Campbell, in his Diary, “my chief business has been to watch the progress through the House of Commons of my Bill for checking the trade in obscene publications by allowing them to be seized in the depôts of the dealers. Brougham had hardly ventured to oppose the Bill as it passed through the Lords, but afterwards he wrote a violent article against it in the Law Magazine, and he put up Roebuck to assail it in the House of Commons. The Bill, being in Committee yesterday (July 12th), I showed myself in the Peers’ Gallery to watch its fate, and that I might be consulted, if necessary, during the debate. Roebuck contented himself with reading a letter which he had received from Brougham, pointing out the danger of country justices perverting the Bill for the punishment of poachers; and it went through the Committee with the amendments which I had suggested and assented to. The Speaker then sent me a message by the Chancellor of the Exchequer complaining that I had appeared in the House to overawe their deliberations, like Cardinal Wolsey and Charles I., and that it would become his duty to protest against such an unconstitutional proceeding.”[321]

Brief mention must also be made of the Fraudulent Trusts Bill, as one of{715} the Ministerial achievements during the Session of 1857. Several glaring cases of embezzlement on the part of trustees had recently occurred, and yet it was found that the existing criminal law could not reach the guilty parties. Sir Alexander Cockburn, before his elevation to the Bench, had promised to deal with this scandal, and now his successor, Sir Richard Bethell, afterwards Lord Westbury, fulfilled that promise. The object of his Bill was simply to make trustees of settlements, directors of companies, and other persons invested with a fiduciary character, criminally responsible for frauds, or for the misappropriation of the funds entrusted to their care. The Bill passed both Houses. The only serious opposition it met with was from Lord St. Leonards, who dreaded lest its severity might deter honest and substantial men from serving as trustees.

These were among the chief results of the brief but useful Session of 1857, which was prorogued on the 28th of August. Up to midsummer the House of Commons dozed through halcyon days, only too well pleased to do the bidding of its master. Lord John Russell was meek, Mr. Gladstone was an absentee, the Tories were discouraged, and the Radicals were docile. To go to a division at this time on any question was to rush to ignominious defeat. But about the middle of July the House began to show signs of a quickened life. The debates on the Persian War roused the combatant spirit of the Opposition; Mr. Gladstone reappeared, as Ministers knew to their cost when the Divorce Bill was obstructed; and it was remarked that even Palmerston’s most subservient followers no longer hesitated to cheer Mr. Roebuck or Mr. Disraeli, when they made an exceptionally clever attack on the Ministry. In August the shadow of the Indian Mutiny darkened the prospects of the Government, and when Parliament was prorogued there was some ill-concealed grumbling among the captious critics of the Court, because the Queen went to Scotland at a time when the British Empire in India was in dire peril. But on the whole, Palmerston’s prestige was not materially impaired. His domestic programme, modest as it was, had been successfully carried out. Moreover, for the first time in his career, his relations with the Court had been put on a satisfactory footing. On this point Mr. Greville records an interesting conversation with Lord Clarendon, who told him that the Queen had treated Palmerston during the Session with unreserved confidence. Palmerston, on the other hand, found it expedient to treat the Queen with a deference and attention which had produced a favourable change in her sentiments towards him. Mr. Greville says, “Clarendon told me that Palmerston had lately been ailing in a way to cause some uneasiness…. Clarendon talked one day to the Queen about Palmerston’s health, concerning which she expressed her anxiety, when Clarendon said she might indeed be anxious, for it was of the greatest importance to her, and if anything happened to him he did not know where she could look for a successor to him, that she had often expressed her great desire to have a strong Government,{716} and that she had now got one, Palmerston being a strong Minister. She admitted the truth of it. Clarendon said he was always very earnest with her to bestow her whole confidence on Palmerston, and not even to talk to others on any subjects which properly belonged to him, and he had more than once (when, according to her custom, she began to talk to him on certain things), said to her, ‘Madam, that concerns Lord Palmerston, and I think your Majesty had better reserve it for your communications with him.’ He referred to the wonderful change in his own relations to Palmerston, that seven or eight years ago Palmerston was full of hatred and suspicion of him, and now they were the best of friends, with mutual confidence and goodwill, and lately, when he was talking to Palmerston of the satisfactory state of his relations to the Queen, and of the utility it was to his government that it should be so, Palmerston said, ‘And it is likewise a very good thing that she has such boundless confidence in her Secretary for Foreign Affairs, when after all there is nothing she cares about so much.’”[322]

And yet it cannot be said that in foreign affairs Lord Palmerston had won any conspicuous triumph for British diplomacy. The dispute with Persia did not end gloriously for England. It is true that the controversy over Neufchâtel, in which the Queen, owing to her close relations with the Royal Family of Prussia, was deeply interested, terminated happily.[323] But on the other hand, the vexed question of the Danubian Principalities was still open, and it was almost certain that it would lead to the diplomatic humiliation of England.

The future government of the two Principalities was left by the Congress of Paris to be settled by the Treaty Powers. Russia desired their union under a Native prince. France and Sardinia desired their union under a foreign prince, fearing that a Native ruler would soon become a mere satrap of the Czar. Turkey and Austria desired to keep the Principalities separate, and this view was warmly supported by Lord Palmerston and Lord Clarendon. At the Congress of Paris, France had insidiously suggested to Austria that she should take the Principalities, the object being to justify new territorial arrangements on the Rhine in French interests. After that proposal was rejected, the French Emperor drew closer and closer to Russia; but when the General Election gave Palmerston a solid majority, Russia became effusively civil to England. When, however, England persisted in acting with Austria and the Porte, thereby resisting territorial changes, which could only be made{717}

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(From a Photograph by Bassano.)

at the expense of Austrian and Turkish interests,[324] the French Emperor took umbrage at our diplomacy. But Persigny’s influence was successfully exerted to hold him true to the Anglo-French alliance, Persigny’s chief argument being that a war with England would so convulse France that, in the general confusion, the Bonapartist dynasty might disappear. Napoleon III., therefore, determined to pay the Queen a private visit, and, though her Majesty was not anxious to receive him, she consented to do so, in the hope and belief that{718} personal communications between the two sovereigns might serve some useful purpose.

When this visit was paid, in August, the controversy over the Principalities had become very serious. The Moldavian elections had returned a majority of Separatists, and the French complained that this result was due to the influence of English agents over the constituencies. France, Russia, and Sardinia, in fact, threatened to suspend diplomatic relations with Turkey unless the elections were annulled. The Eastern Question, in short, had once more been re-opened, and Europe was thus brought to the brink of war. The French Emperor, the Queen, and Prince Albert freely interchanged their ideas on the question at Osborne, whilst at the same time the French and English Ministers—namely, Persigny, Walewski, Palmerston, and Clarendon—carried on a series of conferences. The grievance of the Emperor was that, though Turkey had promised France to annul the elections, at the last moment she had, at the instigation of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, broken her promise. The Porte had admitted that they were thus in the wrong, but had excused their conduct by saying that they acted under pressure from England and the English Ambassador. The annulment of the elections was now with France a point of honour; and as Persigny had failed to bring Palmerston and Clarendon to reason on the point, his Majesty had resolved to appeal to the Queen. The Queen and her husband seem to have met the Emperor’s arguments with Lord Stratford’s counter-statement, but in vain. The end of their conference was a victory for France on the main point at issue. Lord Stratford was to be ordered to reverse his course, and to call on the Porte to annul the elections. “Lord Palmerston,” writes Lord Malmesbury on the 14th of August, “has given way on the question of the Principalities, so the Emperor has gained his point by his visit to Osborne. The dispute arose on the question of the union of the Principalities, which France, Russia, Prussia, and Sardinia supported. England, Austria, and Turkey opposed the union; and the elections in Moldavia having been in favour of England, the French, Russians, &c., accused the English Government of having influenced them unfairly, and demanded that they should be annulled. The Porte refused this, upon which the Ambassadors of France, Prussia, and Sardinia struck their flags. The Emperor Napoleon, instead of wasting time in useless correspondence, came over himself, and the question was settled at once. I do not pretend to judge whether Palmerston was right or wrong, but his defeat must have cost him a bitter pang. Louis Napoleon’s Ministers have been completely won over by the Russians, especially Walewski.”[325] The Queen was certainly of a different opinion. She thought that Palmerston had succeeded in effecting a compromise, and not a capitulation. Prince Albert was also distinctly under the impression that whilst England surrendered on the question of the elections, France had surrendered on the question of uniting the Principalities. A Memorandum was drawn up on 9th of August,{719} embodying some arrangement of this sort, but Walewski refused to sign it, upon the ground, says Sir T. Martin, “that the Emperor’s Government desired to keep the satisfaction to be obtained from the Porte and the arrangement subsequently to be made respecting the Principalities distinct from each other, and, also because, were he to sign the Memorandum, it would appear that France had made a concession on the latter point for the purpose of inducing the Sultan to agree on the former.” He also appears to have stated that it was not necessary to sign the document, because “amongst men of honour writing was unnecessary.” In May, 1858, at the second Congress of Paris, it was discovered that writing in this case was extremely necessary. When the British Plenipotentiaries contended that the French Emperor had yielded on the point of the union of the Principalities, His Majesty denied that he had done anything of the sort. The only concession he ever made, according to his account, was that he would not insist on their being ruled over by a foreign prince—a detail of secondary consequence. It seems also to have been admitted on our side that we had agreed to recognise the administrative union of the provinces, so that the misunderstanding may have arisen out of a quibble over the terms “administrative” and “political” union.

During this visit, Lord Malmesbury tells us that extraordinary precautions were taken by the Queen for the Emperor’s protection. “Eighty detectives were sent down from London, besides French police. The strictest guard was kept round the Palace and over the island. Besides this, a number of men-of-war’s boats guarded the shore, and did not allow a single boat to approach.”[326] From a memorandum of their conversations which Prince Albert drew up, it is obvious that the settlement of the question of the Principalities was not the sole object of Napoleon’s journey to Osborne. He broached a great many insidious proposals for a redistribution of European territory, also for a revision of the Treaties of 1815, but they were all coldly and sceptically received. He even suggested a wild scheme for converting the Mediterranean into an European lake. “Spain might have Morocco, Sardinia a part of Tripoli, England Egypt, Austria a part of Syria—et que sais je,” writes Prince Albert, in describing this suggestion;[327] the first step being a friendly understanding with England on the subject. As his Majesty had told the Prince he was soon to have an interview with the Russian Czar, it need hardly be said that no encouragement was given by the Queen to these extraordinary projects. In truth, neither the Queen nor her Ministers were at this moment in a mood for entering on an adventurous foreign policy. The Indian Empire had been shaken to its centre by the revolt of the Bengal Army, a revolt known in history as the great Indian Mutiny, and the causes of which must now be traced.{720}


The Centenary of Plassey—Rumours of Rebellion—Causes of the Mutiny—The Annexation of Oudh—Lord Dalhousie’s Indian Policy—Its Disturbing Effect on the Minds of the Natives—The Royal Family of Delhi—The Hindoo “Sumbut”—The Discontent of the Bengal Army—The Grievances of the Sepoy—The Greased Cartridges—The Mystery of the “Chupatties”—Mutiny of the Garrison at Meerut—The March to Delhi—Sir Henry Lawrence at Lucknow—The Tragedy of Cawnpore—Death of the Commander-in-Chief—Who took Delhi?—Sir John Lawrence in the Punjab—The Saviour of India—Lord Canning at Calcutta—First Relief of Lucknow—Despatch of Sir Colin Campbell—Second Relief of Lucknow—Savage Fighting at the Secunder-baugh—The Queen’s Letter to Sir Colin Campbell—His Retreat to Cawnpore—His Management of the Campaign—Windham’s Defeat at the Pandoo River—Sir Colin Campbell’s Victory over the Gwalior Army.

With the exception of the Sicilian Vespers, no revolt ever smote a great Empire so unexpectedly as the Indian Mutiny. Gaily was the centenary of Plassey celebrated at a banquet in London on the 23rd of June, though the sultry air of India was even then laden with rumours of a wide-spreading rebellion. A few casual allusions to these reports were made in both Houses of Parliament, but July brought with it the rush of rising waters in the dull ears of the nation, when news of the atrocities of Meerut and the rebel march on Delhi startled the country from its apathy.

To the end of time historians will probably differ as to what it was that caused the Indian Mutiny. Some have laid stress on considerations of general policy. Others have attributed the catastrophe to special acts of administration. The acts of administration were, however, but the sparks that exploded the forces of revolution, which had been slowly accumulating in the country. To understand the origin of the Indian Mutiny one must understand the administration of Lord Dalhousie, and fairly estimate the last acts of his viceregal career. Of these none had a more serious effect on the minds of the Native Courts than the annexation of Oudh. Inasmuch as Dalhousie was personally a strong opponent of annexation, the presumption is that the step, objectionable as it seems, was inevitable. Oudh was misgoverned by a vicious but feeble-minded Prince, and the people were tortured not only by his besotted tyranny, but by the exactions of a corrupt aristocracy. At the same time, the Kings of Oudh had long been trusty allies of the East India Company, who had borrowed money from them, protected them against their mutinous subjects, and used their territory as a recruiting ground for the Sepoy army. One-half of Oudh had been given to the Company, by the Treaty of 1801, on condition that a British army should be maintained in the country for the support of the reigning dynasty. Attempts had been made—notably by Lord{721}

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Auckland—to evade this obligation, but they were made in vain. After the first Sikh war, Lord Hardinge had warned the King of Oudh that the Company could no longer tolerate misrule in his territory, and Dalhousie, in 1848, had sent Colonel Sleeman to reconstruct, if possible, its internal administration. The task was a hopeless one, and in 1851 Sleeman reported[328] that there was no choice but to assume the whole government of the kingdom. Dalhousie shrank from taking this step, and in 1854, when Sleeman resigned, Sir James Outram was appointed as his successor, and asked to report on the whole case. Outram, though a firm anti-annexationist, confirmed Sleeman’s statements. He admitted that the duty imposed on the Indian Government by the Treaty of 1801 rendered it necessary to have recourse to extreme measures. As a warm advocate for maintaining Native States so long as they had any vitality, it was, said Outram, painful and distressing to him to confess that in continuing to uphold the sovereign power of an effete and incapable dynasty we were inflicting infinite misery on 5,000,000 of people.[329] Unfortunately, the Treaty of 1801 had stipulated that all improvements in the administration of Oudh must be carried out by Native officers under British advice. It was impossible, therefore, to transfer the administration of Oudh{722} to the servants of the Company, and equally impossible to expect reforms from the servants of the King. Lord Dalhousie’s notion was that the Treaty of 1801 should be “denounced”—that the King should be told he must either sign a fresh one, handing over the administration of his country to the Indian Government, or forego the protection of the British force, which stood between him and a revolution. Dalhousie ignored the fact that the withdrawal of our troops from Oudh logically involved the retrocession of that half of the kingdom which was given to us as payment for their services, and yet there can be little doubt that had his demand been pressed, the King of Oudh would have yielded. Dalhousie’s advisers differed in their views, and in the end the Court of Directors settled the matter by ordering the Governor-General to annex the country, depriving the King of revenues, rank, power, and authority, and allotting a suitable pension to him and his successors.[330] Dalhousie’s plan, on the other hand, was to assume the administration, but not to extinguish the dynasty of Oudh, and it was with reluctance that he carried out the policy of his masters. The country was annexed by Sir James Outram on the 7th of February, 1856, the King’s private property being confiscated and sold. These are the essential facts of the case, and it is easy to pass judgment on them. No Treaty conferred on the Company the shadow of a right to do more than secure for the people of Oudh good government. As it was quite possible to do that without destroying and degrading the dynasty, the seizure of Oudh was simply an act of rapine.[331] As the Kings of Oudh had been noted all over India for their staunch loyalty to the English in India, every Native prince regarded the annexation of Oudh as a menace to his throne. At every Native Court it was whispered that to be loyal to England was simply to invite ruin. Thus the last act of Dalhousie’s viceregal reign sowed the seeds of suspicion, distrust, and even hatred in the hearts of the Native dynasties.

But the whole policy of this great and vigorous ruler, by a curious irony of fate, had steadily prepared the minds of the Indian races for a revolution. Dalhousie had covered India with railways, canals, roads, and telegraphs. He had introduced a cheap postal system by which a letter from Peshawur to Cape Comorin, or from Assam to Kurrachee, was carried for three farthings—one-sixteenth of the old charge. He had reformed the Civil Service, he had improved education and prison discipline, he had passed laws that went to the root of family life, such as those permitting Hindoo widows to marry again, and relieving persons who changed their religion from forfeiture. As for his wars and his annexations, he had the “tyrant plea, necessity.” When{723} leaving Calcutta he said mournfully, and with a trace of misgiving, as he looked back on his brilliant achievements, “I have played out my part, and while I feel that in my case the principal act in the drama of my life is ended, I shall be content if the curtain should now drop on my public career.” But the great work done by Dalhousie had not been done without friction between the paramount power and its subjects and vassals. It was, indeed, thought in England that Dalhousie handed India over to Lord Canning in a state of profound tranquillity. Yet, looking deeper than the surface, says an able writer on Indian history, “there were latent causes of uneasiness which largely pervaded the minds of the Native classes of all ranks and creeds.”[332] Dalhousie’s system of progressive education was detested by Hindoo and Moslem alike, because it undermined the whole fabric of their faith. The Moslem youth, it is true, did not frequent the English schools. But young Hindoos flocked to them with an eager thirst for knowledge, and they went to the missionary seminaries, where Christianity was taught, quite as freely as to State schools, where its teaching was prohibited. In their homes, they spoke of what they were taught to their parents, who regarded the whole system of English education as a diabolical device for corrupting the faith and morals of their children. This suspicion was strengthened and confirmed by the aggressive proselytism of the missionaries, to whose zeal one of the soundest and best informed of Native civilians has directly traced the origin of the Mutiny. The entire scheme of Dalhousie’s policy was based on the assumption that the Natives would greet with loyalty and gratitude the new era of progress that he ushered in. On the contrary, as Colonel Meadows Taylor says, “the material progress of India was unintelligible to the Natives in general. A few intelligent and educated persons might understand the use and scope of railways, telegraphs, steam-vessels, and recognise in them the direction of a great Government for the benefit of the people; but the ancient listless conservativism of the population at large was disturbed by them. ‘The English,’ it was said, ‘never did such things before, why do they do so now? These are but new devices for the domination of their will, and are aimed at the destruction of our national faith, caste, and customs. What was it all to come to? Was India to be like England? The earlier Company’s servants were simple but wise men, and we respected them; we understood them and they us; but the present men are not like them; we do not know them, nor they us.’ No one cared, perhaps, very much for such sentiments, and few—very few—English heard them; but they will not have been forgotten by those who did.”[333] The Directors of the East India Company had, prior to Dalhousi{724}e’s time, rigidly enforced on their servants a policy of benevolent neutrality to the religious beliefs and social prejudices of India. The government of the Company in its best days might have been bad. But it was successful because it was, on the whole, popular, and it was popular because it was intensely conservative. Ardent progressive officials were repressed, whereas under Dalhousie their passion for innovation had free scope and disastrous encouragement.

Nor was Oudh the only centre of Court intrigues against the British raj. The question of settling the position of the Royal Family of Delhi, the last representatives of the old Emperors of India, had been much debated in Dalhousie’s reign. When Lord Canning went to India, in 1856, it was again taken up, and a final decision given on the points raised. The heir-apparent, Prince Fukhr-ood-deen, who had agreed to evacuate the Palace, died on the 10th of July, 1856, and it was supposed he had been poisoned. The Queen, Zeenut Mahál, immediately began to intrigue for the purpose of procuring the recognition of her son as heir-apparent, and the King of Delhi petitioned the Government of India to this effect. But the petition could not have been granted without a breach of the Mohammedan law, and so Mirza Korash, the next in legal succession to Fukhr-ood-deen, was recognised as heir to the throne. But whereas, in the case of Fukhr-ood-deen, the recognition of the Government was the result of a compact or bargain between independent authorities, in the case of Mirza Korash it took the form of an Imperial decree, conferring rank and dignity on a vassal prince. The Royal Family of Delhi resented the whole arrangement. “Remembering the old relations between the Company and the Empire, the immense benefits originally conferred on them, and the admitted position of the Company as servants of the State, it was,” writes Colonel Taylor, “only natural they should now be accused of perfidy. The efforts and intrigues of the spirited Queen and several of the princes were now redoubled, locally as well as in foreign quarters; and India, especially the North-West Provinces, became filled with the most alarming rumours.”[334]

Along with these there spread extraordinary tales of the decaying power of England—tales which fawning courtiers poured into the willing ears of Native princes, and with which embittered malcontents regaled the Native servants of the Company. The sudden collapse of Palmerston’s militant policy in the Crimea and in Persia convinced every enemy of England in India that the omens were propitious for a revolt against English rule. It was also an untoward coincidence that the year 1857-58 was the Hindoo “Sumbut” 1914, and the centenary of Plassey. But when that crowning victory was won, the astrologers had declared that the raj, or rule, of the Company would last only for a century. Astrology so dominates Indian life, that the people have a trick of fulfilling, by their unconscious action, the prophecies of their soothsayers; and he who predicts a successful insurrection on a given date has himself{725} furnished one of the strongest encouragements for its organisation. The Sumbut 1914, therefore, could not arrive without suggesting to the Indian mind that an opportunity for throwing off the yoke of England had come. One of the stereotyped ceremonies of New Year’s Day is the public recital of the almanack for the year in every Indian village. Hence, in 1857, every Hindoo villager was solemnly warned that wise men, who, a century ago, held infallible commune with the stars, foretold that in this fateful year the British raj must end.

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Unfortunately, the base on which the empire of the Company had rested for a century was at this critical period extremely insecure. India was won and India was held, not by English, but by Native soldiers. The British Empire was, therefore, built up on the fidelity of the Sepoy, and the Sepoy had become dissatisfied with his masters, especially in Bengal.[335] The army of Bengal had not only been prone to mutiny, but Napier had denounced its lack of discipline, and there were fewer Europeans in it in proportion to Natives, than in the armies of Bombay or Madras.[336] The Crimean War had drained the life-blood from the British battalions in Bengal; and whereas six English regiments were usually stationed between Calcutta and Allahabad,{726} when Lord Dalhousie left the country there were only two. Obviously, if the Sepoy was not to be trusted, the whole fabric of empire in India was in such circumstances resting on a rotten foundation, and although officers of experience refused to doubt the loyalty of their men, the spirit of mutiny was most certainly abroad in the Bengal army. The Sepoy had grievances, and the Government had not sense enough to redress them. These grievances were two in number. (1), When a Sepoy in the old days marched to the conquest of a province he got increased pay and allowances; but in recent times, when the province was annexed, it was considered British territory, and the pay and allowances of the Company’s mercenary forces were reduced to the scale of home service. Conquests, therefore, while they imposed more work on the army, practically reduced its pay. (2), Another cause of discontent was the “General Service Order” of 1856. The Sepoy was originally enlisted for service in India only. He could not be sent across the sea; in fact, only low caste men dared cross “the black water.” During the first Burmese War the Sepoys had to be marched round the Indian frontier to the enemy’s territory; and when the second Burmese War broke out, the 38th Native Infantry refused to embark for Rangoon. Of course, though they should not have been asked to go without having been previously “sounded” on the subject, refusal in their case was tantamount to mutiny. Dalhousie could not, however, legally punish them, so he sent them to Dacca, where they were decimated, not by courtmartials, but by cholera. Thus the Sepoy argued that he must in future choose between his caste or a pestilential station, if he refused to serve across the sea. But while the Sepoys were brooding over this dilemma in 1856, the Governor-General promulgated the “General Service Order” to the effect that no more Sepoys should be enlisted who would not take an oath to cross the sea if called on to do so, and veteran officers, who had grown grey in the Company’s service predicted that this Order would make mischief in the army. And so it did. To the Sepoy, his service under the Company was a source of pride, profit, and even of valuable civil privileges.[337] To him it was as great a grievance to issue an Order of this sort, as it would be to the English aristocracy to attach conditions to military service, which should render it impossible for a gentleman to hold the Queen’s Commission. The individual Sepoy, no doubt, was not touched by the Order. But then his sons and grandsons, whom he expected to become Sepoys, were. The army was thus closed to every Native, unless they were prepared to submit to loss of caste. In fact, a lucrative profession was, by Lord Canning’s Order, made the monopoly of low-caste natives. Unfortunately, too, most of the recruits were drawn from Oudh, the annexation of which had been a scandal, and which was swarming with disbanded soldiers, who had been in the personal service of the deposed King.{727}

Thus we had, in 1857, the following conditions prevailing in India: (1), A popular belief was current in every village that the last year of the British raj had come; (2), The Native Courts were suspicious that the annexation of Oudh was an indication of the fate that was in store for them; (3), The high-caste Natives, whether in the army or in civil life, were suspicious that the Government desired to defile their caste, and sap the foundations of their religion.[338] The country was therefore in such an inflammable condition that the first spark that fell on it would produce an explosion. By an extraordinary act of stupidity the Government not only struck this spark, but fanned it into flame.

The Crimean War caused the British Army to substitute the rifle for the old smooth-bore musket popularly called “Brown Bess.” In 1856 it was determined to serve out Enfield rifles to the Indian Army, and in doing this no heed was paid to Sepoy prejudices. The cartridge of the new weapon could not be rammed home unless it were previously greased. But, then, no Hindoo can touch the fat of ox or cow without loss of caste, which is worse than loss of life, and no Moslem can touch pigs’ fat without moral defilement. Yet no steps were taken to exclude these substances from the grease for the Indian cartridges! A rumour accordingly flew round the bazaars that in order to attack Hindoo and Moslem alike the two objectionable fats had been mixed in the grease. This story was traced to a curious source. One day a low-caste man at Dumdum, near Calcutta, asked a Sepoy to give him a draught of water from his lotah. The Sepoy refused, loftily observing that the vessel would be polluted if a low-caste man touched it with his lips. The Lascar replied, with a sneer, that the Sepoy would soon lose his own caste, for the Government were making cartridges greased with defiling fats, which he would have to bite in loading his rifle. The Sepoy, horror-stricken at this tale, told it to his comrades. It flew from mouth to mouth, and soon the Native Army of Bengal lay under the blight of a hideous panic—every man going about his duty haunted by a dread of soul-destroying defilement.[339] The men, half-crazy with fear, met of nights to concert measures for their protection, and at Barrackpore incendiary fires broke out. General Hearsey, who was in command, warned the Government of what was going on, and orders were given that ungreased cartridges should be issued—the men lubricating them with whatever substance they chose to apply.[340] But no sooner had one suspicion been banished from the Sepoy mind than another took its place. A glazed paper was used for the ungreased cartridges, whereupon a new rumour flew round to the effect that the glaze was produced by fat. General Hearsey{728} harangued his men, assuring them on his honour that their suspicions were wrong, and they seemed satisfied; though, as events showed, they were by no means satisfied.

A detachment of the 34th was sent from Barrackpore to Berhampore. They carried the tale about the glazed paper with them, and communicated the fresh panic to the 19th Native Infantry at that station. The day after the men of the 34th arrived the 19th Regiment had blank cartridges served to them, which by some mistake had been made out of two different kinds of paper. The men at once suspected that the new defiling cartridges had been mixed with the old ones, so that their caste might be destroyed, and they refused to take their percussion caps. Colonel Mitchell, instead of reasoning with his Sepoys as Hearsey had done, flew into a paroxysm of passion—which simply confirmed their suspicions. Mitchell, in fact, mistook fear for mutiny, and it was in vain that the Native officers, who of course knew the real state of the case, implored him to keep his temper with his men. That night the 19th mutinied. Mitchell had no European troops, but he closed round the mutineers with two other Native regiments—cavalry and artillery—and then, sending for the Native officers of the 19th, stormed at them in impotent fury. They assured him that their men were only in a panic, and that if the cavalry and artillery were withdrawn they would return to duty. The cavalry and artillery were withdrawn, and the 19th went back to its quarters loyally enough.

Though Mitchell’s indiscretion drove the 19th into revolt, it had unquestionably revolted. Lord Canning, therefore, was bound to punish it, and he decided that the regiment must be disarmed and disbanded. But he had no British troops to spare for this purpose. He accordingly had to wait from the end of February till the end of March for the arrival of an English regiment from Burmah to disarm the 19th, who were marched down to Barrackpore to be broken up. On the 29th of March, two days before the disbandment of the 19th Native Infantry, Private Mungul Pandy of the 34th, in a fit of drunken fanaticism, attempted to get up a mutiny among his comrades. He shot the horse of the Adjutant, Lieutenant Baugh, who was cut down in trying to seize him. Only one man of the quarter-guard responded to the order to arrest the mutineer, who was finally captured, tried, and hanged on the 22nd of April. Evil communications had passed between the 19th and the 34th, and it was found that, though the Sikhs and Moslems in the regiment were loyal, the Hindoos were mutinous to a man. Yet nothing was done to punish the 34th. The discharged men of the 19th, however, carried the story of their wrongs to their homes in Oudh and Bundelkund, and soon it came to be believed that not only were the cartridges greased, but, in order to produce a general pollution of the Natives, which would destroy all caste, “that the public wells, and the flour, and ghee (a clarified butter sold in the bazaars), had been defiled by ground bone-dust and the fat of cows and pigs, while the salt had been sprinkled with cows’ and{729} hogs’ blood.”[341] Viceregal proclamations were issued to contradict these rumours and reassure the people, but in vain. The North-West Provinces had now become smitten with the terror which hovered over India, and the Commander-in-Chief suggested that the depôt at Umballa might be broken up before the rifle practice began at the annual training. Lord Canning, believing that his proclamations had lulled the rising storm, refused to sanction this step. Fires next broke out at Umballa, as at Barrackpore—the officers alleging that Sepoys, who were as yet “undefiled,” set fire to the huts of those who had accepted the defiling cartridges, and that the latter retaliated. Oudh soon became affected, and in May Sir Henry Lawrence had to disarm the 7th Irregular Native Infantry at Lucknow.

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In the North-West Provinces the famous “chupatties” began to make their appearance. They consisted of small baked cakes, and they were passed on from hand to hand, from hamlet to hamlet, spreading a strange excitement{730} wherever they went. The circulation of the “chupatties” was evidently a signal of some sort, and yet, though Native society was shaking with revolutionary tremors, nothing happened. At last an event occurred which precipitated a general catastrophe. At Meerut eighty-five men of the 3rd Native Cavalry had been tried and doomed to ten years’ hard labour on the roads for refusing to bite their cartridges. They were paraded and punished before the other Native regiments, who seem to have been irritated, rather than overawed. Next day (10th May), the 3rd Cavalry forced the gates of the gaol and released their comrades. The men of the 20th and 11th Regiments flew to arms, shot every European they met, set fire to their huts, and marched on to Delhi. Why, it will be asked, was this revolt not quelled, seeing that a strong English force was stationed at Meerut? The outbreak, it is true, occurred during church hours on a Sunday; but even this hardly explains why General Hewitt, who was in command, permitted the mutineers to pursue their march to the city of the Mogul Emperors. There they proceeded, as if by concert, to the King, who espoused their cause. The people of the city rose and massacred the Europeans. The Native regiments in Delhi—the 38th, 54th, and 74th—joined the mutineers one by one, and though the arsenal was held for a time by Lieutenant Willoughby, with Lieutenants Raynor and Forrest, and six other Englishmen, they blew it up when it was no longer tenable. The Mutiny was now a war of liberation. It had a King for a rallying-point, and an Imperial city for a capital.

The North-West had by this time fallen from the feeble hands of Colvin into the grasp of the rebels. In Gwalior the British Resident, by his personal ascendency, held Scindia to his loyalty, though Scindia’s army revolted. But for George Lawrence, Rajpootana would have been lost. As for Oudh, there the struggle was becoming tragic. On the eve of the insurrection this province, seething with sedition, was put under the rule of Sir Henry Lawrence. Lucknow, with 700,000 inhabitants, was a hotbed of treason, and the success of the mutineers at Meerut agitated them profoundly. At the end of May the Sepoys in Lucknow rose and marched away to Delhi, leaving Lawrence with a handful of Europeans to hold a rebellious city. Cawnpore is forty miles south of Lucknow, and there General Wheeler and another devoted band were similarly situated. On the night of the 21st of May, Wheeler and the English population—about a thousand souls—withdrew into a kind of temporary fortress which he had created, and which he defended by some 210 men. At Cawnpore, in May, 1857, there was residing a young Mahratta noble, Nana Sahib by name, whose popular manners had rendered him a favourite in the English community. He had been the adopted heir of the last Peishwa of Berari, and his grievance against the Government was that Dalhousie refused to let him enjoy the pension guaranteed to the Peishwa and his successors. Nana Sahib had spent a season in London to press his claims, and had been most hospitably received. His agent, Azin Oolla Khan,{731} had returned to India after visiting the Crimea, and bearing to his master tales which were partially true, of the defeats and humiliations which England had suffered during her war with Russia. Nana Sahib had been busy with plots against the English raj for many years, and his agents were ubiquitous. In Oudh they had been especially active, for they had taken every advantage of the mistakes of an over-zealous Commissioner—Mr. Coverley Jackson—to fan the flame of discontent in that province. Yet Wheeler trusted the Nana Sahib so implicitly that he put the treasury of Cawnpore in the charge of his personal retinue lest his own Native troops might fail him. On the 4th of June General Wheeler’s Sepoys revolted, joined Nana Sahib’s retinue in plundering the treasury, and then, laden with spoil, set out for Delhi. But the Nana’s idea was to win empire for himself rather than for a degenerate descendant of the Mogul dynasty. He therefore persuaded the rebels to return, and besiege the English garrison at Cawnpore. On the twentieth day of the siege he sent one of his prisoners, an old lady named Greenway, to General Wheeler, offering the beleaguered English a safe conduct to Allahabad if they would surrender. The offer was accepted. On the 27th of June the survivors—men, women, and children, about 450 in all—marched to the boats which had been prepared for them. As soon as they had embarked Nana Sahib treacherously opened fire on them, and converted an exodus into a massacre. One hundred and twenty-two captives were taken, and imprisoned in a house till the 15th of July, when they were butchered. Next morning their bodies, some still quivering with life, were thrown into a well. When tidings of this ghastly crime reached Europe, the nation was for a moment horror-stricken, but only for a moment. A cry of rage broke forth from the British people, and the Government hastened to send avenging reinforcements to the East. They could not, however, arrive in time to save Cawnpore, and when it fell, the rebels closed round Henry Lawrence at Lucknow. Two days after the siege began a stray shot mortally wounded him, and, after thirty-six hours of intense agony, one of the noblest hearts in India had ceased to beat for ever.

“It is evident,” said the Queen, in a letter to Lord Palmerston, commenting on these events, “from a comparison of the news with the map, that whereas hitherto the seat of the mutiny was Oudh, Delhi, and the Upper Ganges, to which localities all troops have been despatched, it has now broken out in their rear, cutting them off from the base of operations, viz., Calcutta, and that it has reached the gates of the seat of Government itself.” The North-West and Oudh were, in fact, lost. In the former province, a Mogul King held sway at Delhi, whilst Colvin was clinging to Agra with feeble hands. In Oudh, Nana Sahib, the viper of the insurrection, was installed at Cawnpore; whilst a small band of Englishmen, bewailing the loss of their heroic leader, stood desperately at bay at Lucknow. In six months, the Empire which had been created in a century, was shattered and in{732} ruins. Yet the English clung to these ruins with the tenacity of despair, and what they had lost they were determined to re-conquer. Fortunately, they had in India what they lacked in the Crimea, two leaders who were alike competent to translate a high resolve into prompt action. These were Lawrence at Lahore, and Canning at Calcutta.

When the Mutiny first broke out General Anson was Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in India. It was said that he was a mere amateur soldier, and that in Simla he had accordingly found a congenial Capua. Family interest had sent him at one bound from the Turf some years before to the command of one of the Presidency armies. When the Commandership-in-Chief of the Indian Armies fell vacant, family interest had again secured the post for him. Had he been a man of capacity and energy the Mutiny would have been stamped out when it was feebly sporadic. After it became what Canning called “epidemic,” the task of repression was harder. Whether Anson would have risen to the level of his responsibilities the world will never know now, because he died in a fortnight after he began to grapple with the crisis.[342] His slender force was then taken in hand by Sir H. Barnard, who pressed on to the South, and who reached Alipore on the 5th of June, where he effected a junction with Sir Archdale Wilson, who had marched from Meerut. On the 8th Barnard drove the rebels from their entrenchments at Budlee Serái, four miles north of Delhi, where he repeated Raglan’s experiment in the Crimea—that of besieging a fortress, whose garrison was really besieging him. On the 5th of July Barnard died, to be succeeded by Reed, who in turn was succeeded by Wilson on the 17th of July. All four were sluggish generals, and it was well that John Lawrence, at Lahore, acted on them like a goad. Englishmen will not readily forget his famous telegram to Anson in May when he heard that the General was about to entrench himself at Umballa—“Clubs are trumps—not spades?” A vain controversy has arisen as to who can claim credit for the capture of Delhi; whether it was due to Wilson’s slow but cautious tactics, or to the engineering skill of Taylor, or the demoniac energy of Nicholson, or the dashing enterprise of Chamberlain, who brought succours from the Punjab. The man who really took the rebel stronghold was not a soldier but a civilian, for it was John Lawrence, at Lahore, and not any of the generals before Delhi, who was the bulwark of the war.[343]

When the Mutiny broke out the Punjab was—by the prompt action of Lawrence’s subordinates who disarmed sulking troops, and stamped out the germs of mutiny whenever and wherever they were visible—saved and secured.{733}

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After this Delhi seemed to him to be the very keystone of the insurrection. To take it there was no risk too great to run—no hazard too perilous to undergo.[344] Though his own position at Lahore was dangerous enough, he threw himself on the people, and staked everything on the fidelity of the Sikhs. He summoned the old gunners of the Khálsa from their fields. The low-caste “Muzbis” he converted into sappers. The fierce chieftains, who had fought against us in ’48 and ’49, together with their followers, he hurried on to the rebel city, thereby stripping his province of local leaders who might have organised a rising. “From, the Punjab arsenals,” says one of Lawrence’s critics, “the siege-trains were equipped; from the Punjab districts vast amounts of carriage were gathered and despatched systematically{734} with their loads to Delhi; from the Punjab treasuries the sinews of war were furnished. Men were raised by tens of thousands to replace the Sepoys—raised, indeed, in such numbers that—as constantly comes out in Lawrence’s correspondence—the dread was for a long time never absent from his mind lest this might be overdone, and new danger might arise from the Punjabis becoming conscious of their strength.”[345] What wonder, then, that in England as in India, where it was admitted that the fall of Delhi broke the neck of the insurrection, all men who knew the circumstances of the case, who knew how he had to stimulate laggards,[346] strengthen faint hearts, overcome jealousies, sweep away obstructions—“all greeted Sir John Lawrence by acclamation as the man who had done more than any single man to save the Indian Empire”?[347] And justly. For had the great and warlike Sikh nation, in the midst of which Lawrence stood like a lion at bay, risen against the British raj, “all would have been lost save honour.” He saw, in fact, that the Khálsa banner must be carried into our own lines, otherwise it would be swept into the lines of the enemy; and it was this inspiration of genius that really saved India. Delhi fell before the attacks of the reinforced army, after six days’ fighting, on the 20th of September, and on the 21st the Mogul king was captured by Captain Hodson (“Hodson of Hodson’s Horse”), who next day shot, with his own hand, his two sons, and hung up their bodies in the most public place in the city.[348]

The fall of Delhi was not the end, but the beginning of the end, of the Mutiny. Oudh had to be recovered, and if it be said that Lawrence captured Delhi, it is but right to say that Canning wrested Oudh from the grasp of the insurgents. His position in Calcutta was an embarrassing one. A terrible panic had paralysed those round him. Though they seemed able to do nothing but clamour for vengeance and for blood;[349] yet in the whirlwind of their passion Canning stood “steadfast as a pillar in a storm.” He was one of those who at such a moment “attain the wise indifference of the wise” to everything save the paramount demands of practical duty. He sent to Bombay, Madras, and Ceylon for reinforcements. He intercepted at Singapore the force that was on its way to China to support Lord Elgin, who had been{735} sent to supersede Sir John Bowring,[350] and he armed Henry and John Lawrence with absolute power in Oudh and the Punjab. On the 23rd of May, Neill brought to Calcutta the first of the reinforcements from Madras. Havelock followed with two regiments from Persia, superseding Neill; and after him came Outram, who was to supersede Havelock and succeed Henry Lawrence as Chief Commissioner in Oudh. Outram, however, refused to deprive Havelock of the honour of relieving Lucknow, and accompanied him merely in his civil capacity. On the 17th, Havelock forced his way to the scene of the massacre at Cawnpore, where the sickening relics of Nana Sahib’s crime were still visible. Onwards his Army of Vengeance swept with hungry hearts to Lucknow, which they entered on the 25th of September, after a great variety of perilous adventure. When the imprisoned garrison, who had long been listening with strained ears for the beat of the English drums, met their rescuers, the scene was inexpressibly touching. The Highlanders, usually the most stolid and least emotional of our troops, had become dangerously excited after they entered Cawnpore; and, in the engagements on the march to Lucknow, they had fought, contrary to their wont, more like savages than civilised men. But when they marched into Lucknow their hearts softened. Oblivious of discipline and decorum, they rushed from their ranks, shaking hands with the ladies, lifting up the little children in their brawny arms, and passing them along from hand to hand, to be pressed to rough and bearded lips. Outram now took over the supreme command; but, finding himself again surrounded by the enemy in overwhelming numbers, he decided not to withdraw from the city. Lucknow had therefore to be relieved again.

The death of Anson, and the startling development of the insurrection in midsummer, together with the pressing appeals of the Queen, roused the Cabinet to action. They sent out reinforcements, and on the 11th of July decided to appoint Sir Colin Campbell as Anson’s successor. When asked by Lord Panmure when he could start, Campbell answered, laconically, “To-morrow;” and, as a matter of fact, with little more than the kit of a common soldier, the veteran did start next night.[351] On the 17th of August he arrived at Calcutta, and toiled without ceasing to organise an army. The greatest military historian of our time has said that Campbell had a genuine and natural love for war, and he was one of those whose hearts beat stronger in the hour of battle than at any other moment of their lives. But he loved victory better than combat; and when he fought, he fought to win. Hence the extraordinary pains he took with his preparations, and the time he spent, or, as some of his panic-stricken critics in Calcutta said, wasted, in making arrangements which would virtually guarantee success. It was not till the 27th of{736}

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October that he left Calcutta. On the 9th of November he got to Cawnpore; and then by a brilliant forced march on the 12th he reached the Alumbaugh—a summer palace of the kings of Oudh—from which he was able to signal his arrival to Outram. A gallant civilian—Mr. Kavanagh—contrived, in disguise, to make his way from Lucknow through the enemy’s lines to the relieving force, and told the story of Outram’s defence, an achievement, as Lord Canning said, without a parallel in history, save Numantia and Saragossa. On the 14th Sir Colin Campbell moved on the city. On the 16th he attacked the chief stronghold of the rebels—the Secunder-baugh. The 93rd Highlanders and a regiment of Sikhs forced their way in through a narrow breach, and then, finding that the Sepoy garrison could not escape, they massacred them. The Highlanders here fought with uncontrollable ferocity, neither asking nor giving quarter. “Cawnpore, you——!” was the cry of rage with which each man drove his bayonet home into the heart of his foe; and, excited by their example, the Sikhs strove only too successfully to emulate the barbarity of their Scottish comrades. For three terrible hours did the men of the 93rd satiate their passion for vengeance; and when they emerged from the place with tartans soaked in blood, they left it packed high{737} and close with corpses—hardly a single rebel escaping to tell the tale. On the 17th of November Campbell had fought his way to the Residency, and Lucknow was rescued a second time.

The victory was hailed in England with pride and delight. The Queen sent a letter to Sir Colin Campbell, congratulating him. “The Queen,” she writes, “has had many proofs already of Sir Colin Campbell’s devotion to his Sovereign and his country, and he has now greatly added to that debt of gratitude which both owe him. But Sir Colin must bear one reproof from his Queen, and that is, that he exposes himself too much. His life is most precious, and she entreats that he will neither put himself where his noble spirit would urge him to be—foremost in danger—nor fatigue himself so as to injure his health.”[352] Her Majesty’s caution was hardly needed. Sir Colin Campbell was a general who never exposed himself or his troops to unnecessary danger. But when necessary, he would spend his own and their blood as recklessly as if it were water. It has been noticed that his brilliant victories in India were all won with little loss of life.[353] The explanation is that his plans were just the opposite of those pursued in the Crimea—that is to say, he never wasted his men in futile assaults, or hurled them against fortifications bristling with cannon, till his own artillery—an arm in which he was always strong—had demoralised the enemy.

Having removed the women, children, sick, and wounded, Campbell retraced his steps to attack the rebel army concentrated at Cawnpore—his heart saddened, and the lustre of his triumph dimmed by the death of the heroic Havelock. At Cawnpore, General Windham, who commanded the rear guard, had foolishly allowed himself to be outflanked by Tantia Topee, a commander of great skill and courage. Windham’s blunder not only gave the enemy possession of Cawnpore, but put the whole English force, whose communications were thus threatened, in the greatest peril. Campbell, by forced marches, came to the rescue on the 29th of November. Having sent on his convoy to Calcutta, he attacked the rebels, under Nana Sahib and Tantia Topee, on the 5th of December; and, on the 7th, there was not a vestige of the 25,000 insurgents composing the Gwalior army to be seen for miles round Cawnpore.[354] As the year 1857 closed, it was felt that the worst of the crisis in India was over.{738}


Birth of Princess Beatrice—Death of the Duchess of Gloucester—A Royal Romance—Franco-Russian Intrigues—The Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester—Announcement of the Marriage of the Princess Royal—Prince Albert’s Views on Royal Grants—The Controversy on the Grant to the Princess Royal—Visit of the Grand Duke Constantine—The Christening of Princess Beatrice—Prince Albert’s Title as Prince Consort Legalised—The First Distribution of the Victoria Cross—Opposition to the Order—The Queen’s Visit to Manchester—Departure of the Prince of Wales to Germany—The Queen and the Indian Mutiny—Her Controversy with Lord Palmerston—Sudden Death of the Duchess of Nemours—The Marriage of the Princess Royal—The Scene in the Chapel—On the Balcony of Buckingham Palace—The Illuminations in London—The Bride and Bridegroom at Windsor—The Last Adieus—The Departure of the Bride and Bridegroom to Germany.

It was when the country was passing through the crisis of Palmerston’s “penal dissolution” that a Princess was added to the Royal circle—soon to be diminished by the migration of her eldest sister to a home of her own in a foreign land. The little Princess was born on the 14th of April, and in a letter to King Leopold the Queen says: “She is to be called Beatrice, a fine old name borne by three of the Plantagenet Princesses, and her other names will be Mary (after poor Aunt Mary), Victoria (after Mama and Vicky, who, with Fritz Wilhelm, are to be the sponsors) and Feodore.”[355] On the 19th Prince Albert tells his stepmother that the Queen was already able to leave her room, and her recovery, therefore, could not have been retarded by the political excitement and agitation of the times.

As the month ended, however, sorrow fell on the Royal household. On the 30th of April the Duchess of Gloucester died—the “Aunt Gloucester” to whom the Queen and her husband in their letters make so many affectionate references. This Princess was the last child of George III., and of all his family the best beloved. The story of her life was in itself a romance, the pathos of which accounts for the Queen’s frequent allusions to her nobility and unselfishness of character. During her girlhood at Windsor the Princess Mary, as she was called, won the hearts of the people by her quiet, unobtrusive philanthropic work among the poor. She and her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, fell in love with each other, but when he attained the age of twenty-one their romance was cruelly and abruptly ended. The Princess Charlotte was born, and it was decreed that the Duke of Gloucester must remain single, so that he might marry her if no eligible foreign prince claimed her hand. The Princess Mary and the Duke of Gloucester waited in suspense for twenty weary years—for she refused to encourage any other suitor. In 1814 a rift appeared in this cloud that overhung their lives. The Prince of Orange, it was said, was about{739} to wed the Princess Charlotte, and the ladies of the Court noticed how the pining Princess Mary suddenly began to look bright and happy. But the projected alliance with the Prince of Orange was abandoned, and the Princess Mary began to droop again. A few months, however, put an end to the long probation of the Royal lovers. Leopold of Coburg married the Princess Charlotte, and Court gossips chronicle the fact that when she came down the steps of Carlton House after the ceremony, the Princess Mary rushed forward and fell weeping into her arms. She was married to the Duke of Gloucester in 1816, and it may be noticed that they refused to ask Parliament for any increase of income. During their lives they had devoted themselves to benevolent work, and had not only learned the value of money, but how to make their means serve their wants. Their married life was so arranged that they not only lived on their private incomes, but won a great and well-merited reputation for their wide and generous charity. The sweet and gentle nature of the Duchess, to which the strange story of her life imparted an additional charm, had ever a strong fascination for the Queen.

The triumph of Palmerston at the General Election had an immediate effect upon those Franco-Russian intrigues for the settlement of the Danubian Principalities which had given the Queen some uneasiness. The approaching visit of the Grand Duke Constantine to Paris had been commented on severely by the English press, and the Emperor of the French, in writing to the Queen to congratulate her on the birth of the Princess Beatrice, attempted to explain away the significance of the visit. Lord Clarendon suggested that Prince Albert should reply to this letter, telling the Emperor quite frankly why England was jealous of the advances of Russia to France. An alliance between France and England, said the Prince in his letter, could have no basis save the mutual desire to develop as much as possible Art, Science, Letters, Commerce—in a word, everything that is meant by Civilisation. But as for an alliance with Russia, on what basis could that be raised? What interest had Russia in Progress? What was there in common between modern France and modern Russia? A Franco-Russian alliance, therefore, could have no foundation but that of political interest—and hence the prospect of it alarmed the free States of Europe.

Prince Albert’s reception at Manchester, where he opened the great Art Treasures Exhibition on the 5th of May, delighted the Queen. But of all the incidents of his tour, perhaps none pleased her more than the manner in which his speech at the unveiling of her statue in the Peel Park of that city was criticised by the public. In his address he alluded to the devotion of the people to their Queen, and spoke of it as the outcome of their attachment to the Sovereign “as the representative of the institutions of the country.” The phrase struck the popular fancy, and to the Queen it seemed the formula of her position and her life. Two days later the Court removed to Osborne, where the Queen gradually recovered from the depression{740} of spirits under which she had sunk after the death of the Duchess of Gloucester.

On the 16th of May the Prussian Official Gazette announced the forthcoming marriage of the Princess Royal and Prince Frederick William, and on the 19th the same announcement was made to Parliament by a Royal Message. In this Message the Queen expressed her confidence that the nation would make a suitable provision for her eldest daughter, and it is worth recording that at the outset the Cabinet were a little uncertain as to the reception which such a Message would meet with. Perhaps that was why Lord Palmerston, in moving the Address in reply to it, took pains to tell Parliament that, quite apart from the personal interest which Englishmen felt in this affair, it held out political prospects “not undeserving the attention of the House.” Family alliances tended, he argued, to mitigate the asperities which from time to time spring from diversities of national interests. “Therefore,” he added, “I trust that this marriage may also be considered as holding out an increased prospect of goodwill and of cordiality among the Great Powers of Europe.”

But in those days the Representatives of the people, were more jealous guardians of the public purse than they are now, and on both sides of the House there was a strong feeling against increasing public expenditure. The competition then was in economy—not as now in profuse extravagance. There were three views current on the subject. One was that of Prince Albert, who thought that the time had come when Parliament should settle finally what provision ought to be made for members of the Royal Family on their marriage, so as to avoid the necessity of frequent eleemosynary appeals to Parliament. He held, and as it now seems rightly, that the feeling of the country at the time ran in favour of treating the Queen’s children generously. In one of his letters to Baron Stockmar he says, “Seeing how marked was the desire to keep questions relating to the Royal Family aloof from the pressure of party conflict, and to have them settled, I believe it would have been an easy matter to have carried through the future endowments of them all, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s and Palmerston’s original plan, which was subsequently dropped by the Cabinet.”[356] Then there was the Ministerial view, which was that the Princess should be voted a dowry and an annuity; and the Radical view, which was that the nation should not be burdened with an annuity, but that whatever was voted to the lady should be a lump sum, so that when the vote was passed the Princess would cease to be a yearly charge on the country she was leaving. Mr. Roebuck gave expression to this last view, even before the Chancellor of the Exchequer laid his proposal before the House—which was that the annuity should be £8,000, and the marriage portion £40,000. The majority of the House, however, desired to come to a unanimous vote on the subject, and they laughed at Sir George Lewis’s grave citations from Blackstone and his precedents from the reign of George II. Still more{741}

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heartily did they laugh when he explained how the Queen had recently been forced to bear very large expenses of a public nature, alluding particularly to the visit to the Emperor Napoleon—“a visit,” said Sir George, solemnly, “which was purely for public and State purposes, and not for her individual pleasure.”[357] No doubt the visits of George IV. to Hanover, Ireland, and Scotland were paid for by the State. But it was as ridiculous to cite such a bad precedent as that, as to go back for others to the reign of George III., when Parliament at different times voted a total sum of £3,297,000 to pay the debts of the Royal Family. The truth is, that the Sovereign cannot be held exempt from the ordinary liabilities of exalted rank and station. Every person who accepts a high public office is in the habit, now and then, of drawing on his private income to enable him to discharge his public duties with greater efficiency—in fact, this liability is simply one of the incidents of great estate in every aristocratic country. But, unfortunately, the Queen had on her accession surrendered her Crown revenues to Parliament for a fixed annuity, on the more or less formal understanding that Parliament would provide for her children when they settled in life. So that the House of Commons felt there was really no choice in the matter, save to vote the grant, and if possible, out of respect for the Queen, vote it unanimously.{742} Mr. Roebuck withdrew his opposition, but on the report of the vote in Supply, Mr. Coningham, Member for Brighton, entered a protest against the principle of voting annuities to the Royal Family, and moved the reduction of the vote in this instance from £8,000 to £6,000 a year. The motion was lost by 328 to 14. Mr. Maguire and Sir J. Trelawny, supported by Mr. Coningham, then argued that the annuity was enough, and moved that there be no dowry granted. They were beaten by a vote of 361 to 18, and here the matter ended. “We have,” writes Prince Albert to Stockmar, “established a good precedent, not merely for the grant itself, but for the way and manner in which such grants should be dealt with.”[358] This opinion he would perhaps have recast had he lived to see the painful position in which the Royal Family have again and again been placed by repeated applications of the precedent.

Just before the Court left Osborne, the Grand Duke Constantine paid the Queen his long expected visit. He arrived on the 30th and left next night, after going with her Majesty to see the fleet at Spithead. His visit was not quite a pleasant one for the Queen and Lord Palmerston. The Grand Duke, to their surprise, spoke with almost cynical candour of the Crimean War; indeed, it was not till his visit that the Queen had brought home to her effectually the murderous mistakes of that campaign. He told her about Menschikoff’s blundering, and showed her how Sebastopol was at the mercy of the Allies after the Battle of the Alma, because there were only two battalions in the city; and further indulged in many cheering reminiscences of a similar sort, especially in reference to the attacks on the Redan. But as he had just come from Paris, one wonders if he told his English hosts how it was that the Emperor discovered that the Malakoff was the weak point in the defences of the town.[359] On the 3rd of June the Court returned to Windsor, and the Queen went to Ascot Races, and admired the beautiful mare, Blink Bonny, which was brought out for her inspection.[360] The first Handel Festival at the Crystal Palace, however, provided a stronger attraction than Ascot for the Queen and her husband, and her visit to it is described in glowing terms by contemporary chroniclers. It was the precursor of these great festivals which have since become world-famous, and on the 17th, when the Queen was present, Judas Maccabæus was given by 2,500 performers.{743}

The christening of the Princess Beatrice took place in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on the 16th of June, and among the visitors and guests the Archduke Maximilian of Austria was one of the most prominent. He had become betrothed to the Princess Charlotte of Belgium, a young and beautiful princess, to whom the Queen was deeply attached. It was a love match, but the lives of the young people, radiant at the outset with sunshine, were darkened at the end by the gloom of an awful tragedy. In an evil moment the Archduke permitted the French Emperor to lure him into his wild project for establishing a Transatlantic-Latin Empire as a counterpoise to the Anglo-Saxon Republic of the West. He was crowned Emperor of Mexico in 1863, and deposed and shot by order of the President of the Mexican Republic in 1867. His unhappy consort passed the rest of her existence in the living death of insanity.

On the 25th of June the Queen conferred on her husband, by Royal Letters Patent, the title of Prince Consort, which, however, had already been given to him by the people, who never called him anything else. Still it had been a popular, not a legal title, and Prince Albert could claim no other precedence than what was accorded to him by courtesy. Moreover, when he went abroad, although he held a kingly position in England, he ranked merely as a younger Prince of Saxe-Coburg Gotha, and foreigners raised difficulties about the precedence that should be given to him. “I should have preferred its being done by Act of Parliament,” wrote the Queen to King Leopold, in reference to the legalising of the new title, “and so it may still be at some future period; but it was thought better on the whole to do it now in this simple way”—namely, by Letters Patent.

On the 26th, her Majesty presided over one of the most interesting functions of her reign—the first distribution of the Victoria Cross, or Cross of Valour, to the men who had earned it by personal prowess in war. It is a curious fact that till this period no English sovereign ever decorated an Englishman for being brave. Courage in England is so common and cheap, said Mr. Bright once, that it can be bought easily for less than a shilling a day. Nay, there were some generals, like Colin Campbell, who objected strongly to decorations being conferred for valour—because, as Campbell said, you might as well decorate a woman for being chaste as an English soldier for being brave.[361] But contact with the French Army had altered the old-fashioned English ideas on the subject,{744}

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and the spectacle of private soldiers in the Crimea wearing the Legion of Honour on their breasts had created a feeling in favour of some kind of decoration which would be open to all ranks of the army. The Order of the Bath could not be granted for mere bravery—it was granted for bravery combined with exceptional skill and talent. But then, as the private soldier had no chance of displaying any quality in war save courage, it was obvious that the new Order must seek a basis in individual heroism alone. The Queen, struck by the episodical incidents of the Crimean War, was strongly of opinion in 1856 that exceptional deeds of personal valour should have more distinctive recognition than the war medal which every man received, however slight might have been his share in the campaign. In that year, therefore, she instituted, by the Royal Warrant of January 29th, 1856, the Order of the Victoria Cross. The decoration was to be given to soldiers or sailors who had performed some signal act of valour or devotion to their country in face of the enemy—and a small pension of £10 a year was to be attached to the Cross. It was not until late in 1857 that a list of persons qualified for admission to the Order could be drawn up, and when it was submitted to the Queen she resolved to decorate them with her own hands. Public interest in the ceremony on the 26th of June was intense. At an early hour crowds of well-dressed sightseers swarmed into Hyde Park, where a vast amphitheatre of seats, capable of accommodating 12,000 persons had been erected. In the centre stood a simple table, on which were laid the bronze Maltese crosses—their red and blue ribbons being the only patches of colour that caught the eye. In front, a body of 4,000 troops, consisting of the corps d’élite of the army—Guards, Highlanders, Royal Marines, the Rifle Brigade, Enniskillens, and Hussars, Artillery and Engineers—was drawn up. Between them and the Royal Pavilion stood the small group of heroes—sixty-two in number—who were to be decorated. At 10 a.m. the Queen, the Prince Consort, Prince Frederick William of Prussia, and a brilliant train, rode into the Park. The Queen, mounted on a gallant and spirited roan, and wearing a scarlet jacket, black skirt, and plumed hat, rode up to the table, but did not dismount. One by one each hero was summoned to her presence, and bending from her saddle, her Majesty{745}

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pinned the Cross on his breast with her own hands, whilst the Prince Consort saluted him with grave and respectful courtesy. As each soldier or sailor was decorated, the vast concourse of spectators cheered and clapped their hands—whether he were an officer whose breast was already glittering with stars and orders, or a humble private or Jack Tar whose rough tunic carried no more resplendent embellishment than the ordinary war medal. But of all the cheers none were heartier than those which were given for a man who, when called out, stepped forward arrayed in what was then the grotesque and pacific garb of an ordinary policeman.

The Art Treasures Exhibition at Manchester, which had been opened in May by the Prince Consort, had become amazingly popular. It was the first of its kind seen in England, and the great difficulty which its organisers had to overcome was the reluctance of private collectors to lend works of art for exhibition. But for the Queen and Prince Albert it is probable this obstacle would never have been surmounted,[362] and hence it was but natural that her Majesty should desire to visit the collection. Her reception at Manchester, on the 30th of June, was enthusiastic, a crowd of a million people welcoming her, as she said herself, with “kind and friendly faces.” The display of Prussian flags, and the complimentary allusions to her husband and to her eldest daughter’s approaching marriage, appear to have touched her deeply. At the Exhibition, her Majesty knighted the Mayor, as she observes, “with Sir Harry Smith’s sword, which had been in four general actions,” and on the 2nd of July she left for Buckingham Palace, where she gave a great musical party in the evening. The next event of importance in the home-life of the Queen was the departure of the Prince of Wales to Königswinter, where it had been arranged he was to carry on his studies. He left in high spirits, and with the Queen’s anxious adieus, on the 26th of July, accompanied by young Mr. Frederick Stanley—now Lord Stanley of Preston—General Grey, Sir H. Ponsonby, and his tutors. Mr. Gladstone’s son, Mr. C. Wood, son of Lord Halifax, and the present Lord Cadogan, were also selected by the Queen and Prince Consort to join him as companions in his studies.

From this time till the tide of war in India turned in our favour, the Queen’s attention seems to have been absorbed by the crisis in our Eastern Empire. Her political work was apparently concentrated in a persistent effort to induce the Cabinet not only to hurry out reinforcements, but to replace them by increasing the establishment at home up to the full limit voted by Parliament, and for{747} which estimates had been taken. Lord Palmerston, on the other hand, in his light and airy way, refused to regard the Mutiny as serious, and persisted in sending out reinforcements in driblets, and then replacing them by driblets of recruits. The Queen very sensibly contended that the force absorbed by the Indian demand should “be replaced to its full extent and in the same kind,” whereas the Cabinet was replacing whole battalions by “handfuls of recruits added to the remaining ones.” It was in vain that the Minister met her with the usual stock platitudes—that neither the money nor the men could be got. The Queen replied that her project would actually be more economical than the confused and unmethodical devices of Palmerston and Panmure. The East India Company would find the money for the reinforcements, which could be applied to the creation of new battalions. But these could in turn absorb the old half-pay officers reduced from the War Establishment, who would then cease to be a burden on the Exchequer. As to the argument that the men could not be got, the Queen wrote to Lord Palmerston, “This is an hypothesis, and not an argument. Try, and you will see. If you do not succeed, and the measure is necessary, you will have to adopt means to make it succeed. If you conjure up the difficulties yourself you cannot, of course, succeed.” One fact may be mentioned as curiously illustrating the shallowness of understanding and feebleness of grasp with which Palmerston approached any great question of State to which Foreign Office formulæ could not be applied. He, or some one at his instigation, seems to have tried to frighten the Queen by warning her that the East India Company would object to keep up such a large addition to her army in India. The Queen, however, saw what Palmerston could not see—that the first shot fired in the rebellion had virtually eliminated the Company as a dominating factor in the Indian problem. “The Queen,” she writes to Palmerston, “thinks it next to impossible that the European force could again be decreased in India. After the present fearful experience the Company could only send back (home) Queen’s regiments, in order to raise new European ones of their own. This they cannot do without the Queen’s sanction, and she must at once make her most solemn protest against such a measure. It would be dangerous and unconstitutional to allow private individuals to raise an army of Queen’s subjects larger than her own in any part of the British dominions.” And at the close of the Memorandum, which she haughtily desires Palmerston to communicate to his colleagues, the tone becomes sharper as she sums up the net result of the bungling military policy of the Cabinet. “The present situation of the Queen’s army,” she writes, “is a pitiable one. The Queen has just seen, in the camp at Aldershot, regiments which, after eighteen years’ foreign service in most trying climates, had come back to England to be sent out, after seven months, to the Crimea. Having passed through this destructive campaign, they had not been home for a year before they are to go to India for perhaps twenty years! This is most cruel and unfair to the gallant men who devote their services to the{748} country, and the Government is in duty and humanity bound to alleviate their position.”[363]

In August a flying visit to Cherbourg in her yacht convinced the Queen that the growing strength of this port as a place of arms was dangerous to England, and on her return she called the attention of the Cabinet to what she had seen, and demanded reports as to the precise state of the defences on the South coast of England. As usual, nobody could find the required information, and when it was obtained Lord Clarendon told the Prince Consort that nobody could read such an account of our shortcomings without immediately desiring to remedy them. September saw the Court at Balmoral, where the Queen’s holiday was sadly overcast by the Indian reports which came pouring in. As the Prince Consort said, in one of his letters to Stockmar, they were “tortured by the events in India, which are truly frightful!” The French Emperor’s courteous offer to pass our reinforcements through France brought some cheerfulness to the anxious Sovereign, not diminished by the friendly offer of two regiments from Belgium—which was, however, rejected by Lord Palmerston, who had sense enough to see that if England was to win at all she must, as he said, “win off her own bat.”

On the 16th of October the Court returned to Windsor, the Queen having spent a night at Haddo House, where she went to visit her venerable friend, Lord Aberdeen. The sudden death of the Duchess of Nemours, first cousin of the Queen and Prince Consort, and wife of the second son of Louis Philippe, now threw the Court into mourning. “We were like sisters,” wrote Her Majesty to King Leopold, “bore the same name, married the same year, our children are the same age; there was, in short, a similarity between us, which, since 1839, united us closely and tenderly. Now one of us is gone—passed as a rose, full-blown and faded—from this earth to eternity, there to rest in peace and joy.”[364] The commercial crisis of November caused Parliament to be summoned before the year closed, and December was spent in making preparations for the marriage of the Princess Royal.

When the 19th of January, 1858, came round Buckingham Palace was full of guests—the King of the Belgians and his sons, the Prince and Princess of Prussia and their suites, being among the number. It was a brilliant scene of bustle and excitement, covers for eighty or ninety guests being laid daily at dinner. Four dramatic representations were given by command at Her Majest{749}y’s Theatre, where, writes the Queen, “We made a wonderful row of royalties, I sitting between dear uncle and the Prince of Prussia,” and where the audience cheered the young couple who were to be so soon united with a cordiality that brought tears to their parents’ eyes. Balls, dinners, musical parties, celebrated the coming event at the Palace, till the 24th, which is recorded in the Queen’s Diary as “poor dear Vicky’s last unmarried day … an eventful one, reminding me of my own.” Charming in its simplicity is the Queen’s description of the family delight over the wedding gifts; and the tearful “Good-night” of the 24th between the Princess and her parents is too sacred a subject for more than passing allusion. On the 25th, the eventful day of the wedding, the Queen writes, “I felt as if I were being married over again myself, only much more nervous, for I had not that blessed feeling which I had then, which raises and supports one, of giving myself up for life to him whom I loved and worshipped—then and for ever.” But the sun shone with happy omen as the morning advanced, and the wedding party, amidst cheering crowds, proceeded to the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace.

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This interesting building had been put to strange uses in its time. It had been in turn a Roman Catholic chapel, a Protestant chapel, a guard-{750}room, and a store-room, before it ended as a chapel reserved for Royal nuptials. Within its walls Queen Anne had married good-natured George of Denmark, and George III. the shrew of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. It was the scene of the wedding of the ill-fated Caroline of Brunswick and the “First Gentleman of Europe,” who, it may be remembered, had to be fortified with brandy ere he could undergo the ceremony. Here, also, William IV. wedded the amiable and gentle Queen Adelaide, and his successor plighted her troth to the husband of her heart. But not even on that occasion was the chapel the scene of a more brilliant pageant than when it witnessed the nuptials of the Princess Royal of England and the son of the Prince of Prussia. The dingy edifice, which Holbein’s admirers revere as a triumph of his genius, was now no longer dingy. Hangings of crimson silk, gleaming with gold fringe and tassels, gilded columns and scroll work, gold headings, and emblazoned shields and ciphers, dispelled the customary gloom from the building. The altar, too, was sumptuously equipped with quaint “services” of gold plate, illustrative of the Augustan age of English Art.

The marriage procession was formed at Buckingham Palace. It consisted of more than twenty carriages, the first detachment of which conveyed the Princes and magnates of the House of Prussia. At a short interval the bridegroom and his suite followed; then the Queen and her family. When it arrived at St. James’s Palace the procession was received by the great officers of State, who conducted it to the chapel through the splendid apartments, rich in sombre decorations of Queen Anne’s reign.

The Prince Consort and King Leopold were radiant in the bravery of Field Marshals’ uniforms, “the three girls,” writes the Queen, with quick feminine memory for the details of such an occasion, “in pink satin trimmed with Newport lace, Alice with a wreath, and the two others only with bouquets in their hair of cornflowers and marguerites; next the four boys in Highland dress.” As for the eight bridesmaids, they “looked charming in white tulle, with wreaths and bouquets of pink roses and white heather;” and “Mama” (the Duchess of Kent) “looking so handsome,” says the Queen, “in violet velvet trimmed with ermine and white silk and violet,” with “the Cambridges” and all the foreign Princes and Princesses, made up a brilliant party. The wedding procession was, in fact, formed in the Closet—the room in the Chapel which on Court days is reserved for the Royal Family and the families of Peers, “just as at my marriage,” writes the Queen, “only how small the old Royal Family has become!” Lord Palmerston carried the Sword of State “with easy grace and dignity,” says the Morning Post,[365] “with a ponderous solemnity,” says the Times, in their respective accounts of the scene, and the Queen, with the “two little boys” on each side, and followed by her three daughters, walked after Lord Palmerston and the two elder Princes. Amidst

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beating drums and blaring trumpets, the procession entered the Chapel, the appearance of the Queen crowned with a glittering diadem, being greeted with a profound and reverential obeisance by the wedding guests as she swept on to her chair of State on the left of the altar. The entrance of the bride with her father and King Leopold sent a flutter of excitement through the throng. When the Princess appeared her face seemed pale, even in contrast with her snowy robe of rich moire antique. She passed the Queen with a deep bow, and as her eyes met those of the bridegroom, her cheeks suddenly flushed to deepest crimson. “My last fear of being overcome,” writes the Queen, “vanished on seeing Vicky’s quiet, calm, and composed manner.” The whole scene indeed recalled her own marriage, and her eyes glistened with tears as the sweet memories of her happy and busy life flitted through her mind. The ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Oxford, and Chester. The Archbishop was “very nervous,” however—much more so than either bride or bridegroom, and the Queen records that he omitted some of the passages in the Service. When the ceremony was over, tender and affectionate congratulations passed between the married pair and their relations. The bride and her mother fell weeping into each other’s arms, and for a minute or so their agitation was manifestly beyond their control. The bridegroom then kissed the bride, who, escaping from his embrace, threw herself into the arms of her father, whom she kissed again and again. The Princess of Prussia embraced her son and kissed the Queen most affectionately; but the most touching greeting of all was that which passed between the bridegroom and his father, who seemed quite unnerved with emotion. The Prince clasped his father passionately to his heart, and then, as if recovering self-control, suddenly knelt down and reverently kissed his hand. These congratulations were repeated when the register was signed by all the Princesses and Princes present, including the Maharajah Duleep Sing. Through cheering crowds bride and bridegroom and the splendid train of wedding guests proceeded to Buckingham Palace, where the wedded pair and their parents appeared on the balcony and bowed their thanks to the kindly people who stood huzzaing outside. Then came the breakfast and the parting, which is “such sweet sorrow” to mother and daughter on such occasions. The married couple drove to Windsor, and at the railway station were met by the Eton boys, who dragged their carriage all the way to the Castle. London was one blaze of illuminations that night, and the rejoicings at the Palace closed with a State concert. Nothing pleased the Queen more than the demeanour of the populace. Their demonstrations of loyalty were purely spontaneous and utterly unaffected. So much was this the case that the foreign guests were amazed to find that the Government offices were the only buildings which were not illuminated; in fact, their gloomy darkness alone rendered the general illumination of London a little less brilliant than that which celebrated the Proclamation of Peace with Russia.{752}

On the 27th of January the Court removed to Windsor, where Prince Frederick William was invested with the Order of the Garter, and a dinner-party followed, at which the Duke of Buccleuch gratified the Princess with his reports of the enthusiastic loyalty of the crowds in London, among whom he had moved about incognito on the night of the wedding ceremony. Next day the whole family returned to London, and in the evening went to see Sheridan’s Rivals and the Spitalfields Weaver at Her Majesty’s Theatre, the Queen being greatly amused, as she herself records, by the drolleries of Wright, the low comedian, in the latter piece. On the 30th loyal addresses from the City of London and all the great towns came pouring in, and what the Prince Consort calls “a monster Drawing-Room” was held. On Monday the 1st of February the Queen writes in her Diary, “The last day of our dear child being with us, which is incredible, and makes me at times feel sick at heart,”[366] and when the next day came round the Queen’s fortitude failed her. Mother and daughter sat weeping in each other’s arms, and when the “dreadful time,” as the Queen calls it, arrived, and they had to go down into the Hall, filled with weeping friends and sad-eyed servants, the scene was touching in the extreme. “Poor dear child,” writes the Queen, “I clasped her in my arms and blessed her, and knew not what to say. I kissed good Fritz, and pressed his hand again and again. He was unable to speak, and the tears were in his eyes.” But the final parting could be postponed no longer, and the Queen returned to her room in sorrow. Instead of driving from Buckingham Palace to the Bricklayers’ Arms Station by the shortest route, the Prince and Princess drove along the Strand, Fleet Street, Cheapside, and London Bridge. The houses and shops were profusely decked with flags, though the decorations were got ready in a hurry. The day was bitterly cold, and snow fell fast. Yet the inclement weather did not deter vast crowds from turning out to bid the newly-married pair “Good speed.” When the Prince Consort, who had accompanied his daughter and son-in-law part of the way, returned home, the Queen’s grief broke out again. Even the sight of “the darling baby” (Princess Beatrice) saddened her, for, as she writes, “Dear Vicky loved her so much, and only yesterday played with her.” As for the Prince Consort, he told the Princess, in one of his letters, that the void she had left was not in his heart only, but in his daily life. In fact, nothing save the cordial and brilliant reception which welcomed her in Germany could have consoled him for the loss of a daughter whom he proudly described to her husband as one who “had a man’s head and a child’s heart.”


[1] Morley’s Life of Cobden.

[2] Greville’s Journal, Vol. III. p. 290.

[3] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I. p. 243.

[4] Letter from the Queen to Lord Melbourne, cited by Sir T. Martin in the Life of the Prince Consort.

[5] This is not quite accurate. The details were arranged by Lord Clarendon; the plan, or original idea, of the visit was the Queen’s.

[6] Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III., p. 295.

[7] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[8] “This faithful and trusty valet nursed his dear master most devotedly through his sad illness in December, 1861, and is now always with me as my personal groom of the chambers or valet. I gave him a house near Windsor Castle, where he resides when the Court are there. He is a native of Coburg. His father has been for fifty years Förster at Fülbach, close to Coburg.”—Footnote by the Queen.

[9] “Who was very active and efficient. He is now a page.”—Footnote by the Queen.

[10] Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III., pp. 296, 297.

[11] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[12] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XXXVIII.

[13] Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III. p. 335.

[14] Memorials of an Ex-Minister, by Lord Malmesbury, Vol. I. p. 261.

[15] This, of course, applies only to States within the European comity of nations. Semi-barbaric Asiatic or African States—e.g., Turkey and Tunis—by special treaties or “capitulations,” surrendered to England extra-territorial jurisdiction over cases in which her subjects resident in their territories were concerned.

[16] The details of this intrigue, it is understood, were recorded by Mr. Greville, but the publication of them was withheld by the editor of his “Journal,” for reasons which may easily be guessed. The whole story will probably not be told during the lifetime of the Queen.

[17] Had the Bill passed, Lord Clarendon would have been Irish Secretary.

[18] See a curious letter of Croker’s in the third volume of “The Croker Papers.”

[19] He was beaten only by a majority of 3.

[20] See the Queen’s letter to King Leopold, cited in Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Ch. XXXIX.

[21] It is commonly called “the Queen’s Reading Lamp,” but it may be said that Sir Theodore Martin is not quite correct in assuming that this type of lamp was introduced into England by Prince Albert. A similar lamp was in use in Cambridge long before the Prince came to this country, and was known as the “Cambridge Reading Lamp.”

[22] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XXXI.

[23] Punch, Vol. XVIII., p. 229.

[24] Mr. Cobden always said that such a protest would have deterred Russia from stamping out Hungarian liberty.

[25] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[26] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[27] “One of our keepers since 1851. An excellent, intelligent man, much liked by the Prince. He, like many others, spit blood after running the race up that steep hill in the short space of time, and he has never been so strong since. The running up-hill has in consequence been discontinued. He lives in a cottage at the back of Craig Gowan (commanding a beautiful view) called Robrech, which the Prince built for him.”—Note by the Queen in “Leaves from a Journal.”

[28] The allusion here is to the Ritualists or Puseyites, or Tractarians, as they were called then.

[29] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[30] Morley’s Life of Cobden.

[31] Morley’s Life of Cobden.

[32] It is but right to say that Mr. Herries was now over seventy years of age, and had been virtually shelved for twenty years.

[33] According to Mr. Greville, it was Mr. Thomas Baring.

[34] Letters of the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart., to various friends, edited by the Rev. Sir Gilbert Frankland Lewis, Bart., p. 240.

[35] Mr. Disraeli did not support the Tory opposition to the Jews.

[36] Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III., p. 407.

[37] The Editor of the Times.

[38] Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III., p. 415.

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

[40] Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.

[41] Quoted by Sir Theodore Martin in his Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLII.

[42] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I. pp. 284 and 288.

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

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

[45] See p. 479.

[46] These were Morny (a natural son of the Prince-President’s mother, the Queen Hortense, by Count Flahault), Persigny, Fleury, Maupas, Marshal Mangan, and probably Rouher.

[47] Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior, edited by W. C. M. Simpson, Vol. II., p. 5.

[48] De Tocqueville’s Conversations and Correspondence with Nassau W. Senior, Vol. II., p. 6.

[49] Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III., p. 447.

[50] Lord Malmesbury’s Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 309.

[51] The corresponding office in our day is Secretary of State for India.

[52] Letters of the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart., to various persons, edited by the Rev. Sir Gilbert Frankland Lewis, Bart., p. 251.

[53] Mr. Greville’s Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria, Vol. III., p. 448.

[54] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 332.

[55] On coming into office, Lord Derby announced that it was the mission of his Government to “oppose some barrier against the democratic influence that is continually encroaching, which would throw power nominally into the hands of the masses, but practically into the hands of the demagogues who lead them.”

[56] This was the occasion, not the cause. The Americans and the French were beginning to show themselves in the Eastern seas. According to Mr. Arnold, it was because they were casting covetous eyes on the Delta of the Irawaddy that Lord Dalhousie determined to forestall them by annexing that region. See Arnold’s Administration of Lord Dalhousie, Vol. II., p. 14; Papers of the House of Lords, 1856, No. 161.

[57] Lord Derby and Mr. Herries admitted that Lambert acted without instructions. Hansard, Vol. CXX., p. 656; Memoirs of Herries, Vol. II., p. 250; Parl. Papers relating to Burmah, 1852. Cobden also accused Fishbourne of provoking the Governor. See Cobden’s Political Writings, Vol. II., p. 57.

[58] Life and Correspondence of Lord Palmerston, by the Right Hon. Evelyn Ashley, Vol. II., p. 247.

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

[60] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVI.

[61] Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXI.

[62] Spencer Walpole’s History of England. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1886. Vol. V., p. 43.

[63] Reminiscences and Opinions of Sir Francis Hastings Doyle, Bart. London: Longmans, Green, and Co. 1886. Pages 321-330.

[64] Hansard, Vol. CXXIII., p. 351.

[65] Ibid., p. 411.

[66] Letters of the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart., to Various Persons, p. 259.

[67] T. P. O’Connor’s Life of Lord Beaconsfield, p. 441; Hickman’s Beaconsfield, p. 183.

[68] Hansard, Vol. CXXIII., p. 1693.

[69] It is worth while to recall this fact. After the resignation of Mr. Gladstone in 1886, when the Tory Party attempted to form a Coalition Ministry under Lord Hartington as Premier, and Lord Salisbury as Foreign Secretary, the project was defended on the plea, that just as the Whigs in 1852 bought up a small but powerful faction of Peelites, by giving their leader the Premiership, so should the Tories in 1886 buy up the small but powerful section of Liberal “Unionists” by putting Lord Hartington at the head of affairs. The argument, it will be seen, was based on a complete ignorance of party history and of the ideas and policy of the Court in 1852, because it was for other reasons altogether that Lord Aberdeen was elevated to the Premiership.

[70] It was partly by Macaulay’s persuasion that Lord John permitted himself to be embalmed in history as the fourth Prime Minister of the century who, after serving as Premier, accepted an inferior rank. The other three were Sidmouth, Goderich, and Wellington. “Russell’s example,” says Mr. Spencer Walpole, “indicates that a man who has once served in the highest place had better refuse all subordinate offices.” Cf. Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 61; and Trevelyan’s Life of Macaulay, Vol. II., Chap. XIII.

[71] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXVII.

[72] Letters of the late Sir G. C. Lewis, Bart., p. 260.

[73] Lord Malmesbury, who was at Balmoral at the time, is the authority for this statement. Vide Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 377.

[74] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVI.

[75] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I, p. 347.

[76] “Persigny,” writes Lord Malmesbury, “whose real name was Fialin, was one of those adventurers who looked forward with confidence to the success of Louis Napoleon’s fatalism and dreams of ambition, and proved it by the most absolute devotion, and, I must add, personal affection for his master, whom he always accompanied through his failures and imprisonments. Faithful to the Emperor, the Emperor was faithful to him, and loaded him with honours. He was a courageous and impetuous man, and his hot temper was against him as ambassador.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 300.

[77] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 310.

[78] Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXI.

[79] On hearing of the coup d’état, the Queen, without waiting for Ministerial advice, personally directed the Cabinet to follow a policy of strict neutrality. Lord John Russell replied: “Your Majesty’s directions respecting the state of affairs in Paris shall be followed.” Note that the relations of the Crown and the Minister were identical in this case with those which obtained under the Tudor Sovereigns. It is a curious instance of a policy being initiated by specific “directions” from the Queen in an age when, according to constitutional practice, the functions of the Crown are supposed to be limited to suggestion, criticism, and sanction.

[80] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVII.

[81] English Ambassador at Paris.

[82] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 379.

[83] This person wielded an influence that few people suspected at the time. For example, in September, 1852, Lord Malmesbury, then Foreign Secretary, set a gang of police spies to watch the outraged victims of the coup d’état in London. Having put together all the information he could get, he illustrated the spirited foreign policy of the day by sending his private secretary and relative, Mr. George Harris, to convey this information secretly to Charles Louis Bonaparte. But that potentate did not deign to give Mr. Harris an interview. For three days he was kept dancing attendance, and at last by a private letter of introduction to an aide-de-camp of the President’s, he got access to Canrobert, Tascher, and Roquet, who loftily told him that in a week’s time perhaps he might have an audience. “Then,” writes Mr. Harris to Lord Malmesbury, “I returned to Paris, and called on Mrs. Howard, toadied and flattered her, stating that I was in a great hurry to get back to London, and only wanted to see his Highness the President for two minutes. She sent off an orderly at once, and before night, I received an invitation from Louis Napoleon to accompany him out shooting to say my say, at 5.30, and dine afterwards.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 346. That the Foreign Minister of England should act the part of a Bonapartist spy, is curious. That his relative and private secretary should have accepted the mission of a subordinate mouchard, and, in carrying it out, should have “toadied and flattered” a Parisian cocotte to get an audience from the Prince-President, gives one a quaint glimpse of diplomatic manners and customs in 1852.

[84] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 379.

[85] The Imperial marriage took place—the civil ceremony on the 29th, and the religious ceremony on the 30th of January, 1853.

[86] Compare with such comments a passage in a letter written by Mr. Nassau Senior, to M. de Tocqueville. “Mrs. Grote tells me that you rather complain that the English papers approve the marriage, a marriage which you all disapprove. The fact is that we like the marriage because you dislike it. We are, above all things, desirous that the present tyranny should end as quickly as possible. It can end only by the general alienation of the French people from the tyrant; and every fault that he commits delights us, because it is a step towards his fall.”—Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville, Vol. II., p. 34. Cf. also Palmerston’s opinion from another point of view. Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 7.

[87] Mr. Disraeli reckoned the revenue of 1852 at £51,625,000. It actually reached £53,089,000. He set down the expenditure at £51,164,000, whereas it came only to £50,782,000.

[88] Dowell’s History of Taxation, Vol. II., p. 322; Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Vol. III., p. 337.

[89] These bore interest at £1 10s. per cent., but were in future to bear interest at £2 15s. up to 1864, and £2 10s. up to 1891.

[90] Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 68.

[91] Students of financial history may be referred to Hansard, Vol. CXXL, p. 11, for Mr. Disraeli’s first Budget, and to Hansard, Vol. CXXV., pp. 818, 1355, 1399, and 1423, for Mr. Gladstone’s. Cf, also Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, 1870.

[92] This was the principle which Mr. Fox and the “old Whigs” advocated.

[93] Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 45.

[94] Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 49.

[95] For facts bearing on this point, see Fawcett’s Manual of Political Economy, p. 490.

[96] In 1847 the Mint coined £5,000,000, in 1850 £11,000,000, and in 1858 only £1,200,000.

[97] Wheat which in June, 1853, stood at 45s. a quarter, on the 25th of November went up to 72s. 9d. The 4-lb. loaf rose from 10½d. to 1s. Annual Register, Vol. XCV., p. 165.

[98] “You know,” said the Emperor on the 14th of January, to Sir Hamilton Seymour, “the dreams and plans in which the Empress Catherine was in the habit of indulging: these were handed down to our time; but, while I inherited immense territorial possessions, I did not inherit those visions—those intentions if you like to call them so.” And again on the 22nd of February, “I will not tolerate the permanent occupation of Constantinople by the Russians; having said this, I will say that it never shall be held by the English, or French, or any other great nation.” Secret Correspondence between Sir G. H. Seymour, British Chargé d’Affaires at St. Petersburg, and Her Majesty’s Government. Eastern Papers, Part V.

[99] Secret Correspondence, Eastern Papers, Part V., p. 204.

[100] Diplomatic Study of the Crimean War, from Russian Official Sources, Vol. I., p. 115.

[101] Consult on this subject Mr. Nassau Senior’s article in North British Quarterly Review for February, 1851, on “The State of the Continent.”

[102] Louis Philippe, it must be stated in justice to Napoleon III., also claimed for the Latin Church the right of repairing the dome of the Holy Sepulchre in the Latin instead of the Byzantine form, a claim which was indescribably offensive to the Greek priests.—North British Quarterly Review, February, 1851.

[103] Dip. Stud. Crimean War, Vol. I., p. 134.

[104] Spencer Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 79.

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

[106] Russian Ambassador in London.

[107] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., pp. 402, 403.

[108] Mr. Disraeli’s Speech at Manchester, April 3, 1872.

[109] See Count Nesselrode’s Memorandum embodying the views which, according to the Czar, were agreed on in the conversations he held with the Tory Ministers in 1844.—Eastern Papers, 1854, Part VI. This document, probably the one referred to by Lord Malmesbury, was transmitted to England on the Czar’s return to St. Petersburg, and deposited unchallenged in the secret archives of the Foreign Office.

[110] Eastern Papers, 1852, Part VI. pp. 10, 11.

[111] Afterwards Lord Strathnairn.

[112] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., pp. 387-389. It is right to state the fact as communicated to Lord Malmesbury by the French Emperor in conversation, because Mr. Walpole rather unfairly asserts that the Emperor of the French saw in Rose’s fear “a fresh excuse for embroiling France.”—Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 84.

[113] Russia argued that she might fairly exercise the same kind of protectorate that France had always asserted over Roman Catholics and England over Protestants in Turkey. Against this it was urged that there was a difference in degree between the two cases which amounted to a difference in kind, for, whereas the Catholic and Protestant subjects of the Sultan were only a few thousands, his Greek subjects were 12,000,000.

[114] Official Note of the Porte to the Powers, 28th of May.

[115] On the 1st of June Menschikoff’s Note of the 18th of May, intimating his withdrawal from Constantinople and threatening Turkey with coercion, arrived in London.

[116] It would have been also more candid at this juncture to have warned Russia that England would object to any actual invasion of the Principalities, before the resources of European diplomacy were exhausted.

[117] When these events had passed into history, Earl Russell, in his Recollections and Suggestions, said that, if he had been Premier in 1853, he would have insisted on Turkey accepting the Vienna Note. He was not Premier, but he was one of the leaders of the War Party in the Cabinet which supported Turkey in rejecting it. Lord Russell was, in fact, not the only statesman of the period who grew “wise after the event.”

[118] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVIII.

[119] Prince Bismarck: an Historical Biography by Charles Lowe, M.A., Vol. I., p. 205.

[120] Eastern Papers, Part I., p. 169.

[121] In the 7th Article of the Treaty of Kainardji it is provided that “The Sublime Porte promises to protect constantly the Christian religion and its Churches, and also it allows the Ministers of the Imperial Court of Russia to make on all occasions representations as well in favour of the new Church at Constantinople, of which mention will be made in the 14th Article, as in favour of those who officiate therein.” The 14th Article provides that “it is permitted to the High Court of Russia, in addition to the chapel built in the house of the Minister, to construct in the Galata quarter, in the street called Bey Oglu, a public church of the Greek rite, which shall be always under the protection of the Ministers of that Empire, and shielded from all obstruction and all damage.” The first words in italics appear to give Russia the same general kind of pledge to protect the Greek Christians in Turkey, the insertion of which in the Vienna Note was supposed to vitiate it. The issue, however, was so close that diplomacy ought to have prevented the disputants from coming to blows.

[122] Ashley’s Life of Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 276.

[123] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLIX. Compare this with Lord Salisbury’s statement at the Guildhall banquet on the 9th of November, 1886, that England’s Eastern policy is to pledge herself to fight on the side of Austria, when Austria thinks fit to go to war. By substituting “Austria” for “Turkey” in the first two sentences of this important State Paper of the Queen’s, very interesting deductions might be drawn by students of Constitutional history.

[124] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLIX.

[125] Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 99.

[126] Lord Malmesbury says that it was Mr. Gladstone and Lord Aberdeen who begged Palmerston to come back.—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 418. But Prince Albert’s statement is the truer one, though it is not so palatable to those writers who have for a quarter of a century devoted themselves to the heroic idealisation of Palmerston’s character and career, and who at one time tried to persuade themselves that, as a condition of his return, he forced the Ministry to send a fleet to avenge Sinope. In the middle of September, however, Palmerston and Russell had already persuaded the Cabinet to warn Russia that any attack on the Turkish fleet would be met by the fleets of England and France. Palmerston resigned, however, on the 15th of December. Moreover, it has not been noticed by Palmerstonian partisans that Prince Albert’s statement is curiously confirmed by Sir George Cornewall Lewis. Writing to Sir E. Head on the 4th of January, 1854, he says:—“Since I last wrote to you there has been the strange escapade of Palmerston. He disliked the Reform Bill, partly as being too extensive to suit his taste. He therefore resigned solely upon this measure; but he probably expected that a threat of resignation would bring his colleagues to terms, and was surprised at being taken at his word. When he went out he found that the country took his resignation very coolly, and that he was so much courted by the Derbyites that he could not avoid becoming their leader in the House of Commons in the next Session. He could not hope to occupy a neutral place, and so, finding that his position was a bad one—that it was too late in life for him to set about forming a new party—he changed his mind, and intimated to the Government that he wished to return.”—Letters of the Right Hon. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Bart., p. 275.

[127] Letter of Prince Albert to the Dowager-Duchess of Coburg, in Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVII.

[128] Medical men may be interested to know that the Duke and Duchess transmitted it unconsciously “to the Duke of Brabant and Count of Flanders, whom they met on their way back to Coburg, and before they were aware they had taken the seeds of the illness from England with them.”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort.

[129] Contrast this with the habits of the House in the time of Charles I., when it met at eight in the morning and rose at noon; and in Sir Robert Walpole’s time, when the mere suggestion of a Member that “candles be brought in” was regarded as phenomenal.

[130] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort. See also a reference to the Grand Duchess Olga’s “Mission” in Lord Malmesbury’s Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 404.

[131] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVIII.

[132] Annual Register for 1853.

[133] Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 13. For Lord Aberdeen’s answer to Palmerston’s bellicose special pleading, see Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. XLVIII.

[134] This letter, dated the 14th of November, was not sent till it had been submitted to Lord Aberdeen and Lord Clarendon for their approval. The precedent should be noted, because, as Sir Hamilton Seymour told Count Nesselrode at the time, “these correspondences between sovereigns are not regular, according to our Constitutional notions.” At the same time, when personally addressed by a foreign sovereign, the Crown cannot, as a matter of courtesy, reply through a Minister of State. The course taken by the Queen in this instance is obviously the prudent one.

[135] Cobden’s Collected Writings, Vol. II., p. 269.

[136] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. L.

[137] Letters of Sir G. C. Lewis, p. 276.

[138] It is only just to the memory of Mr. Cobden to state that towards the end of his career some suspicion of the truth crept into his mind. Speaking on the American Civil War, he said:—“From the moment the first shot is fired or the first blow struck in a dispute, then farewell to all reason and argument; you might as well reason with mad dogs as with men when they have begun to spill each other’s blood in mortal combat. I was so convinced of the fact during the Crimean War; I was so convinced of the utter uselessness of raising one’s voice in opposition to War when it has once begun, that I made up my mind that so long as I was in political life, should a war again break out between England and a great Power, I would never open my mouth upon the subject from the time the first gun was fired till the peace was made.”—Cobden’s Speeches, Vol. II., p. 314. See also Mr. John Morley’s masterly defence of the Cobdenites in 1854, in his Life of Cobden, Chap. XXII.

[139] Count Nesselrode’s Despatch to the Russian Ambassador in England, dated the 16th of January, 1854.

[140] See Sir H. Seymour’s Despatch to Lord Clarendon, dated the 30th of January, 1854.

[141] Amongst other things, she demanded that some fresh arrangement should be made as to the right of asylum granted to political refugees in Turkey. This obviously pointed at Turkey’s refusal to surrender the Hungarian patriots after the Revolution of 1848 was suppressed; and, knowing the opinion of England on the subject, it was absurd to add such stipulations to new preliminaries of peace.

[142] Nesselrode, Orloff, and Kisseleff.

[143] “Russia, as I can guarantee, will prove herself in 1854 what she was in 1812…. My conditions are known at Vienna.”

[144] Observe not “a day,” as Kinglake has it.

[145] “L’Empereur ne juge pas convenable de donner aucune réponse à la lettre de Lord Clarendon.”—Eastern Papers. Consul Michele’s Despatch to Lord Clarendon, dated St. Petersburg, 19th March, 1854.

[146] Mr. Kinglake blames the London Press, especially the Times, for manufacturing this passion. Mr. Cobden took much the same view. Educated people who were rich, but ignorant of geography and military history, however, all clamoured for war. “I have had the satisfaction of seeing the rascally Czar defeated by the unassisted Turks, and obliged to cross the Pruth. Now for Sebastopol!” Thus wrote Lord Campbell in his Journal on the 14th of August.—See Mrs. Hardcastle’s Life of John, Lord Campbell, Vol. II., p. 326.

[147] “In proposing success to the guest of the evening, he (Palmerston) made a speech in that vein of forced jocularity with which elderly gentlemen give the toast of the bridegroom at a wedding breakfast.”—Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXII.

[148] Compare this with almost the identical expression in Mr. Bright’s speech in the House of Commons of the 13th of March, for delivering which Lord Palmerston jeered at him as “the honourable and reverend gentleman.”

[149] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LII.

[150] “For if the hostilities continue, if the Powers, released from all apprehension in Turkey, should be free either to pursue us on the evacuated territory, or to employ all their disposable forces in invading our European or Asiatic dominions, with a view to impose on us conditions which could not be accepted, it is evident that the demand made by Austria was that we should weaken ourselves morally and materially by a sacrifice wholly useless.”—Count Nesselrode’s Despatch to Count Buol Schauenstein of 29th of July, 1854.

[151] See Lord Clarendon’s Despatch to the Earl of Westmoreland, dated the 22nd of July, 1854.

[152] France explained this by demanding in the official Moniteur that the fleet of Russia in the Black Sea should be reduced in strength.

[153] Diplomatic Study of the Crimean War, Vol. II., p. 18.

[154] Orloff was sent by the Czar to extract from Austria a pledge of absolute neutrality. The Austrian Emperor asked if the Czar would promise not to cross the Danube or seize territory, and if he would evacuate the Principalities when war was over. Orloff said “No.” The Emperor then replied that Austria would preserve perfect freedom of action. Baron de Bulberg failed at Berlin to extract a similar pledge from Prussia.—Despatch of Lord Westmoreland to Lord Clarendon, dated 8th February, 1854. Eastern Papers.

[155] “Ministers are preparing for war; the quarrel has now become an European quarrel and must have an European settlement. We ask for 20,000 more men for the army and navy; we propose to add £21,000,000 to our expenditure, and is this an occasion on which you should potter over Blue-books?”—Sir James Graham’s speech, in reply to Mr. Layard, in the House of Commons on the 17th of February, 1854.

[156] Writing to Mrs. Cobden about this speech, Cobden says, “No enthusiasm of course; that I did not expect; but there was a feeling of interest throughout the House which is not bumptious or warlike to the extent I expected, and not disposed to be insolent to the ‘peace party.’ In fact, I find many men in the Tory Party agreeing with me. After I spoke, Molesworth took me aside and said he and Gladstone thought I never spoke better.”—Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXII. If the men who agreed with him privately had been bold enough to say so in public, there would have been no invasion of the Crimea.

[157] Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., by Edwin Hodder, Vol. II., p. 465. Cassell and Co. (Limited). Palmerston was chief of the War Party in the Cabinet. Lady Palmerston was Lord Shaftesbury’s mother-in-law.

[158] Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXII.

[159] The history of its publication is as follows: On the 13th of March Lord Derby drew the attention of the Peers (1) to “An Official Answer of the Emperor of Russia to a speech of Lord John Russell in the House of Commons,” published in the St. Petersburg Journal, wherein it was alleged that the English Cabinet had been frankly told at the outset what course the Czar desired to pursue in Turkey; (2) to statements in the Times to the effect that though an indignant refusal had been Lord John’s answer, yet the Czar had in 1844 attempted to gain over the Government of the day to his designs. Lord Derby called for the production of this Secret Correspondence, and as Russia, by her official reference to it, had virtually challenged its publication, it was in due course laid before both Houses of Parliament.

[160] The English case against Russia was that the Czar persisted in asserting an exceptional right of protecting the Greek Christians in Turkey under existing treaties. In Lord John Russell’s despatch of 9th of February, 1853, in which he expressed a disapproval of the Czar’s overtures to Sir Hamilton Seymour, he counselled forbearance, and then said: “To these cautions Her Majesty’s Government wish to add that, in their view, it is essential that the Sultan should be advised to treat his Christian subjects in conformity with the principles of equity and religious freedom, which prevail generally among the enlightened nations of Europe. The more the Turkish Government adopts the rules of impartial law and equal administration, the less will the Emperor of Russia find it necessary to apply that exceptional protection which His Imperial Majesty has found so burdensome and inconvenient, though no doubt prescribed by duty and sanctioned by Treaty.”

[161] See ante, p. 582.

[162] Eastern Papers, Part VII., contain proofs of the deception perpetrated by the Coalition Government on Parliament as to the extent to which England might depend on the German States for support.

[163] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LIII.

[164] An appeal to fear rarely influences German statesmen. In 1868, during the debate in the Customs Parliament at Berlin, the Separatist Party objected to the discussion of national politics, lest, as one of them said, they might provoke an attack from France. Bismarck’s retort was that “an appeal to fear had never yet found an echo in German hearts.”—Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 458.

[165] Lowe’s Life of Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 206 (Cassell and Co.).

[166] It is due to Lord Clarendon to say that in a letter to Prince Albert (26th March) he expresses a shrewd suspicion of this danger. But the Prince, whose authority on the secret diplomacy of Germany no Cabinet Minister, except, perhaps, Palmerston, ever dared to question, promptly silenced his suspicions. On the 27th the Prince wrote to Clarendon, saying, “I don’t think that Austria has anything to fear from Prussia or Germany if she were to take an active part in the war against us.” That the Queen and her husband were mistaken or misinformed is proved by Mr. Lowe in his Life of Prince Bismarck, Vol. I., pp. 200, 202, and 203.

[167] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LIII.

[168] He allowed for a force of 25,000 men at £50 a head, or a total of £1,250,000.

[169] Other estimates besides those for 25,000 men had to be provided for, e.g., extraordinary expenditure on the Navy, Ordnance, and Commissariat Departments. In fact, the mere prospect of war had thus added, not £1,250,000, but £4,307,000 to the estimates of the coming year in the ordinary Budget before war was declared.

[170] Their real objection was that the conversion scheme caused Mr. Gladstone to take £8,000,000 from his Exchequer balances, which, however, had been kept perniciously high. Had this money been in hand, of course there would have been less need to levy a war tax. The conversion scheme had resulted in a small loss from changes in the Money Market, due to rumours of war and a bad harvest.

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

[172] Pitt was first called “the Heaven-born Minister” by the loan-mongers of the City, because he tried to make war on loans instead of taxes. In 1792 he had a war deficit of £4,500,000 to meet. He raised a 4 per cent. loan in the City, for which they made him pay £4 3s. 4d. per cent.; in 1794 he borrowed £11,000,000 at £4 10s. 9d.; in 1795, £18,000,000 at £4 15s. 8d.; in 1796, £25,000,000 at £4 13s. 5d.; in 1797, £32,500,000 at £5 14s. 10d.; in 1798, £17,000,000 at £6 4s. 9d., and he had to give the usurers bonuses, commissions, and inducements to subscribe, which compelled him to add £34,000,000 of capital to the National Debt to get this £17,000,000. His system added £250,000,000 to our National Debt, for which the nation never really got a penny. In 1797 Pitt, however, saw that the country must soon be drained of its resources by the loan-mongers, and he made convulsive efforts to escape from their clutches. He began to raise taxes to meet his war expenditure and pay the principal and interest of his debts. He first tried to raise £7,000,000, and only got £4,000,000 by assessed taxes. In 1798 he returned to the charge, and increased the Income Tax by 40 per cent. That year the revenue was £23,100,000. In 1806, when he died, he had raised it by successive turns of the screw to £50,900,000. In 1807 an addition of 10 per cent. to the Income Tax raised the revenue to £59,300,000. Up to 1816 it fluctuated between £60,000,000 and £70,000,000, but between 1806 and 1816 the war charges and the interest on the Debt were all paid out of current revenue. In fact, after 1797 it is clear Pitt and his successors resolved to exact any sacrifices from the people, rather than float war loans in the City.

[173] Lord Shaftesbury, in a letter to Lord Aberdeen, dated 22nd of February, says that a conversation he held with the Prime Minister on the subject had “terrified” him. “It implied,” writes Lord Shaftesbury, “that the country had entered on a war which you could so little justify to your own conscience as to be unwilling, nay, almost unable, to advise the ordinance of public prayer for success on the undertaking. Why, then, have we begun it? You asked whether ‘the English nation would be brought to pray for the Turks?’ Surely, if they are brought to fight for them, they would be induced to pray for them in a just quarrel.”—Life and Work of Lord Shaftesbury, by Edwin Hodder, Vol. II., p. 466 (Cassell and Co.). See also Greville Memoirs—Third Part (Longmans), 1887.

[174] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LIV.

[175] Russia held the Sulina mouth of the Danube by the Treaty of Adrianople, and, though she took toll of passing ships, had neglected the channel, greatly to the hindrance of navigation.

[176] Dundonald would have been appointed instead of Napier, had it not been that he insisted on destroying Cronstadt by an “infernal” machine which he had invented. Greville Memoirs—Third Part, p. 136 (Longmans), 1887.

[177] Kinglake’s History of the Invasion of the Crimea, Vol. II., p. 249 and p. 407.

[178] “His (Mr. Kinglake’s) attempt to throw all the credit or blame of the expedition to Sebastopol upon the Duke of Newcastle is a complete delusion. His story about the sleepy Cabinet may be partially true, but the plan of the expedition had been discussed by the Cabinet at repeated sittings, and the despatch in question only embodied a foregone conclusion.”—Letters of Sir George Cornewall Lewis, p. 426. Sir George Lewis was Lord Clarendon’s brother-in-law, and Editor of the Edinburgh Review. His letters, and the articles in the Edinburgh on public affairs at this time, are of high authority. See also a very conclusive answer to Mr. Kinglake by Sir Theodore Martin in a Note in his Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LIV.

[179] In a letter to Sir Edmund Head (29th December, 1854), the common-sense view of the case is pithily put by Sir George Cornewall Lewis as follows: “The fact is that the Government were urged into the Sebastopol adventure by popular clamour; that they undertook it with an imperfect knowledge of the difficulties of the enterprise; and that the military men anticipated that if the army could once be landed the place would speedily fall. This delusion was shared by all the world in September, and even October last; but now events have dispelled the illusion, the people forget their own mistake, and visit its consequences on the head of the War Minister.”—Sir G. C. Lewis’ Letters, p. 288.

[180] Mr. Kinglake gives an entertaining description of a conversation between General Sir George Brown and Lord Raglan over the Ministerial order. Brown told his chief that they were all so ignorant about the Crimea that it was foolish to invade it; but that he had better obey, for refusal would only lead to his dismissal.

[181] But for Mr. Roberts the expedition must have been abandoned till the following spring. His services were contemptuously ignored, and he died heart-broken by the bitter ingratitude of the Government. He was an able officer—but without “interest.”

[182] The attack on the central redoubt by Sir G. Brown’s Light Division was a confused rush by an armed mob. It failed because the Duke of Cambridge, who led the First Division, did not bring up his supports. But for the remonstrance of Sir Colin Campbell, one of his Brigadiers, he would even have made his Guards ignominiously retire and re-form at a critical moment in the advance, which would have spread panic, and lost the battle. De Lacy Evans and Campbell were the only commanders in this fight who seemed capable of handling troops in a workmanlike manner. Colonels Hood of the Grenadiers, and Ainslie of the 93rd Highlanders, also displayed skill.

[183] It is a melancholy satisfaction that the French Prince Napoleon proved himself to be as incapable as the English Royal Duke. He lost a regiment of his Zouaves who, getting tired of him, went away into the fray on their own account. One of Brown’s Brigadiers (Buller) also lost himself, and spent most of the day with his men in hollow square, waiting to receive imaginary cavalry.

[184] It is an amusing fact that Raglan’s van actually came on Menschikoff’s rear, as the lines of march intersected, and that neither General had the faintest idea of what the other was about.

[185] It may be pointed out that the works on the north side of the town, where the citadel was, commanded those on the south side. Raglan’s vaunted flank march had left the Russian garrison in the North Town open and safe communication with their base, and their army of observation in the field. He had given them ample time to make affluent use of this advantage. It was, therefore, a moral certainty that if we had taken the South Town after the bombardment of the 17th our position would not have been tenable. Though Cathcart and Campbell would have walked into it easily had they been allowed on the 25th of September, the failure of the bombardment of the 17th of October was thus probably a fortunate occurrence.

[186] The ships were also dreadfully underhanded—4,000 of their fighting force being on shore with the army.

[187] It may not be quite fair to blame Lord Raglan too much for this ridiculous manœuvre. At one time his partizans claimed for him the honour of planning it. But Prince Albert ascribed it to Sir John Burgoyne, and so did many others. Burgoyne’s own correspondence seems to show that the Prince was right. (Lieutenant-Colonel Wrottesley’s “Life and Correspondence of Sir John Burgoyne,” Vol. II., pp. 95-164.)

[188] Receiving heavy masses of cavalry in this fashion was but a development of another piece of tactics which Campbell always used “contrary to the regulations.” That was advancing in line—as at the Alma—firing on dense masses of infantry all the time. This he learnt from Sir J. Cameron, colonel of the 6th Regiment, in the Peninsula. Oddly enough Cameron’s son commanded the Black Watch under Campbell in the Crimea, and he, too, had, “contrary to regulations,” taught his father’s tactics to his men. Colonel Hood, of the Grenadiers, had a glimmering of this idea at the Alma. But he did not venture to advance in line firing until the enemy’s column was demoralised. The Scottish Regiments used the manœuvre for the purpose of demoralising the enemy. But it should never be used except by troops of coarse nerve-fibre, in perfect training, and whom their leader can hold in hand as in a vice.

[189] The responsibility for this fearful butchery has been cast on Lord Lucan. He certainly lacked moral courage in obeying an order which nobody but a maniac would, in the circumstances, have issued. But Nolan’s insinuation that Lucan was afraid to attack forced the general’s hand. Nolan was a brave man, with a crazy fad as to the capacity of English cavalry to go anywhere and do anything. He had written a book to show that they could—and he was bitterly disappointed because the campaign had not been conducted so as to illustrate by practical experiments the soundness of his views. He took it on himself to ride in advance of the Brigade, with which he had nothing to do, and excite the men by voice and gesture, as if their own officers, who were personally responsible for their lives, were not fit to lead them. This would indicate that he was one of those meddlesome aides-de-camp, whose interference with operations in the field renders them the pest of British armies.

[190] The success of the Heavy Brigade was due to Scarlett attacking in line, when, to his surprise, he found he was riding with a slender force against enormous masses of Russian cavalry, and to the Russians perpetrating the atrocious blunder of halting to receive the fierce onset of the Scottish and Irish horsemen. Only a third of the Light Brigade were rescued from the “valley of death,” and they owe their lives to a brilliant and impetuous charge which a fiery squadron of French Chasseurs d’Afrique made on a Russian battery, that was cutting our troopers to pieces during their retreat.

[191] History of England, Vol. V., p. 125.

[192] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., p. 424.

[193] Stratford de Redcliffe was now for peace, because he found the war substituting French for Russian influence at Constantinople, and of the two he preferred the latter.—Greville Memoirs, Third Part (Longmans), 1887.

[194] The Croker Papers, Vol. III., p. 320. Lyndhurst, long after delivering his ferocious speech demanding that Sebastopol should be razed to the ground, had written to Croker for advice. “The political world is in a most complicated state,” says Lyndhurst in this letter, “and I feel quite at sea.”

[195] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LVII.

[196] One of the most appalling cases was the death of Lord Jocelyn in Lady Palmerston’s drawing-room.

[197] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LVIII.

[198] Mr. Herbert’s policy was amply vindicated. The experiment succeeded so well that Miss Stanley, sister of the late Dean Stanley, was sent out afterwards with forty-seven nurses to reinforce Miss Nightingale’s staff.

[199] See a lively correspondence between Sir J. Graham and John Wilson Croker on this subject. Graham showed that the Admiralty was not to blame, but urged in excuse of “the poor idiot,” as Croker called him, who blundered at Balaclava, that “this was the first time coffee had ever been issued to a British army on foreign service.”—Croker Papers, Vol. III., p. 328.

[200] Financial Secretary to the War Office is now the name of this post.

[201] This change was brought about by Russell rudely turning out Lord Granville to make room for himself, and dismissing Mr. Strutt from the Duchy of Lancaster to make room for Lord Granville. Strutt got a Peerage as Lord Belper. Russell threatened to break up the Ministry if he did not get the Presidency of the Council, although there was no precedent—except a doubtful one in Henry VIII.’s reign—for appointing a commoner to the office. The Duke of Bedford told Mr. Greville that Lord John, being poor, was now determined to get an office carrying a high salary. The Duke had met his expenses, but was growing more miserly every day his colossal fortune was accumulating, and, says Mr. Greville, “he falls in very readily with his brother’s notion of taking an office for the sake of its emoluments.”—Greville Memoirs—Third Part, Vol. I., p. 148 (Longmans), 1887.

[202] “Whatever may be the qualities of different Ministers, I am the bond by which they are united together. That once destroyed, the whole fabric falls.”—Letter of Lord Aberdeen to John Wilson Croker, explaining why the factions concentrated their hostility on him personally.—The Croker Papers, Vol. III., p. 348.

[203] Evelyn Ashley’s Life of Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 80.

[204] Palmerston wanted Lord Shaftesbury to be Chancellor of the Duchy. He had to withdraw his offer of the post, and in this letter Lady Palmerston explains why.—Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., by Edwin Hodder, Vol. II., p. 493 (Cassell and Co.).

[205] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 8.

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

[207] The opposition of the Peelites to the Committee on grounds of high policy and constitutional legality was soon justified. “Lord Stanley,” says Lord Malmesbury on the 3rd of March, “writes that Louis Napoleon objects strongly to the Committee of Inquiry into the War, and says if it takes place, though his army will still act on the same side as ours, it can no longer do so along with it. He is evidently alarmed at the laches of his own Ministers and generals being shown up to Europe and endangering his position.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 11. Little wonder that the investigation was “incomplete” and “inconclusive.”

[208] Mr. Sidney Herbert succeeded Sir George Grey in this office when Palmerston reorganised the Coalition. Mr. Herbert went out with the Peelites a fortnight after the new Ministry was formed.

[209] Hansard, Vol. CXXXVIII., 1075.

[210] This was, of course, discussing and coming to a unanimous agreement with Russia at the very outset on the Second Point—the navigation of the Danube. This was the point in which Austria had had a vital interest. If it had been kept open to the last, she might have been more zealous in overcoming the difficulties as to the Third Point which wrecked the Conference.

[211] The proof of this is as follows: (1) The Turks would have taken the Austrian compromise, which, by the way, was the development of a suggestion made by the French Envoy, as the basis of a feasible plan for giving effect to the Third Point. (2) Lord John Russell—the most violent and bellicose of the anti-Russian Ministers—was in favour of it. (3) The position of Russia in the matter was officially misrepresented to the English people. Russia said her defeats were not such as to justify her as a Great Power in letting the Allies force on her a reduction of her Black Sea fleet. But she had no objection to any plan limiting her preponderance if it sprang from mutual negotiation between her and Turkey—acting as principals on an equal footing—to establish, by mutual consent a naval equilibrium in the Black Sea. (4) She did not absolutely exclude the idea of reducing her fleet as was falsely stated, not only in the English press, but in Parliament. Article 2 of Count Buol’s compromise provided that Turkey and Russia should “propose by common agreement to the Conference the effective equality of the naval forces which the two coast Powers will keep up in the Black Sea, and which shall not exceed the actual number of Russian ships afloat in that Sea.” (See Annual Register, Vol. XCVII., pp. 214-217.) The use of the word “exceed” shows that the Article provided a maximum limit—not a minimum. It was simply foolish to argue, as representatives of the Government did, that negotiations for peace had to be abandoned because Russia refused to accept a practical and reasonable plan for preventing her from having more ships than Turkey in the Black Sea. The statement of facts on this subject by Sir T. Martin in Chap. LXIII. of his Life of the Prince Consort is as misleading as Mr. Spencer Walpole’s account of the Austrian Compromise (History of England, Vol. V., p. 135). Mr. Walpole says that Count Buol’s proposal was one “under which any addition to the Russian Fleet might be followed by the admission of a corresponding number of war vessels of the Allies into the Euxine.” This is not a correct summary of Article 2 of the Compromise.

[212] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXIII.

[213] “If,” writes Prince Albert in a Memorandum dated 3rd of May, 1855, “Austria, Prussia, and Germany will give the diplomatic guarantee for the future which I have here detailed, we shall consider this an equivalent for the material guarantee sought for in the limitation of the Russian Fleet.”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXIII. But the odd thing to note is, that the Prince was one of those responsible, not perhaps for suspending, but for finally breaking up the Conference of Vienna, that had already adopted the principle of his plan. He and the Queen ignored the fact that it was already embodied in the Memorandum agreed to by the Conference, for giving effect to Ali Pasha’s project for more completely connecting Turkey with “the European equilibrium.” The Queen first coerced—for her note to Clarendon was a coercive instrument—Palmerston to abandon negotiations in Conference, because Russia would not submit to a humiliating material guarantee. Then Prince Albert suggests as a substitute for that a diplomatic guarantee, which Russia had already accepted, and which was a far less effective protection to Turkey than the Austrian compromise which the Queen imperiously condemned. The only original point in the Prince’s plan is the inclusion of Prussia. She had been excluded from the Conference in deference to the prejudices of those who hated peace negotiations, and who declared that she was a mendacious slave of the Czar.

[214] And yet on the day before the Prince wrote to Aberdeen he says, in a letter to Stockmar:—“The Vienna Conferences, which it would have been better to have left open, must now be closed, if only to get the Ministry rest in Parliament. Oh, Oxenstiern! Oh, Oxenstiern!”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXIV.

[215] Mr. Sidney Herbert was another Peelite who resisted Prince Albert’s intimidation.

[216] Canrobert’s neglect to seize the Mamelon Hill before the Russians crept into it on the 9th of March and fortified it, was one of the fatal blunders that protracted the siege.

[217] Lord Malmesbury records a conversation in his Diary with Persigny on this point. “Persigny strongly for peace, and says France is all for it…. He says, if the Emperor is to go to the Crimea, there must be peace at any price to prevent it. If not, the war ought to go on; but if the French army is lost then there will be a revolution.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 16.

[218] The War, by W. H. Russell, p. 498. London: Routledge and Co., 1855.

[219] Napoleon III. was abjectly ignorant of military geography. At the council of 1854, said Persigny to Lord Malmesbury, his Majesty “announced the attack on Baltic.” Persigny asked if he meant Cronstadt. “No, of course not, it would require 100,000 men, cavalry included,” said the Emperor, loftily. “But,” replied Persigny, “Cronstadt is an island.” “No, it is not,” said the Emperor, as he went for a map. Everything, said Persigny, was done with the same ignorance and carelessness. Yet it was a campaign—devised by this charlatan against the opinion of his best officers, that Lord Raglan, according to Sir T. Martin, approved! See Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 15.

[220] Reminiscences and opinions of Sir F. H. Doyle (Longmans, 1886), p. 414. There was a terrible snow storm in Devonshire this year. It was made memorable by the footmarks of some creature which nobody could identify. These created a sort of panic in the West of England, for the people thought that the devil was abroad among them.

[221] Letters of Sir George Cornewall Lewis, p. 295. His additional taxes were, (1), 3s. per cwt. on sugar; (2), 1d. per pound on coffee, raising the duty from 3d. to 4d.; (3), 3d. per pound on tea, raising the duty from 1s. 6d. to 1s 9d.; (4), equalisation of duty on Scotch and English spirits, bringing the former from 6s. to 7s. 10d. per gallon; (5), increase of duty on Irish spirits from 4s. to 6s; (6), increase of 2d. on Income Tax, raising it from 1s. 2d. to 1s. 4d. in the £.

[222] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXI. It was this letter that ultimately led to the founding of Netley Hospital.

[223] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXIII.

[224] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 24.

[225] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 12. Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXII.

[226] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 18. See also Times, 17th of April, 1855.

[227] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXII.

[228] Ducos was personally hostile to England, though he pretended to be in favour of the alliance. Lord Malmesbury says that he and General Changarnier were the authors of a plan in 1851 for a piratical descent on the Isle of Wight, and for seizing the Queen’s person at Osborne. See Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. I., pp. 360 and 396. General Cavaignac also thought at the time such a plan to be feasible in the event of a war with England.

[229] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXII.

[230] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 19.

[231] It was said to be composed by his mother, Queen Hortense.

[232] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXII.

[233] Vast numbers had been unable to find seats—in fact, as much as £100 was given for a box. When the curtain rose, crowds of ladies and gentlemen in evening dress were seen packed closely together at the back of the stage behind the artists—a curious revival of the old practice, in virtue of which persons of quality and rank frequented this part of the house in preference to any other. Jenny Ney played “Leonora.” It was her first performance on the English stage. Tamberlik, Formes, Tagliafico, and Luchesi took the male parts.

[234] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXII.

[235] No account of the Memorandum is given by Sir T. Martin, and probably it was a ceremonial rather than a serious document.

[236] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 20.

[237] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXII.

[238] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXV.

[239] This resort to the dreaded instruments of “personal Government” and “Court intrigue” by Palmerston was adopted after diplomatic means had failed. Mr. Greville, in the Third Part of his “Journal,” gives an amusing description of how we touted for a Portuguese alliance in these days.

[240] It is not generally known that “Old Jérôme” really caused the Emperor to abandon his intention of going to the Crimea. Every argument pressed by his Ministers and the Queen failed to shake his determination. Part of his plan was to make Jérôme not Regent, but Chief of the Council of Ministers in his absence. The Ministers artfully persuaded Jérôme, who was a vain man, to refuse this office unless he were vested with the same despotic power as the Emperor. This frightened the Emperor, and he immediately gave up his Crimean expedition. See a conversation between Lord Cowley and Mr. Greville in the Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. I., p. 263 (Longmans), 1887.

[241] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. I, pp. 283-286.

[242] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXVII.

[243] They crossed over from France on the 28th of August. Mr. Greville says, “While they were in the yacht crossing over, Prince Albert had told him (Clarendon) that there was not a word of truth in the prevailing report and belief that the young Prince of Prussia and the Princess Royal are fiancés, that nothing had ever passed between the parents on the subject, and that the union never would take place unless the children should become attached to each other.”—Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. I., p. 287. On the 13th of September, however, Prince Albert writes to Stockmar, saying, “I have received a very friendly letter from the Princess of Prussia.” In this letter the Princess (now Empress of Germany) intimated the fact that her son came with the consent of his parents and the King of Prussia to sue for the hand of the Princess Royal.

[244] The Crown Prince of Germany—A Diary. London (Sampson Low), 1886.

[245] “The Officer in command is directed to arrange times so that the Prince may have ample opportunities of becoming acquainted with such various matters as horseshoeing, fencing, vaulting, limbering and unlimbering guns, and stable work, as well as the routine of lessons and singing in the schools.”—Extract from Von Griesheim’s Instructions. The Crown Prince of Germany—A Diary, p. 24.

[246] The Crown Prince of Germany—A Diary, p. 28.

[247] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXVIII.

[248] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 37.

[249] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 38.

[250] It is now known that Cavour suggested that Austria might be asked to retire from that part of Papal territory which she occupied.

[251] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, p. 303.

[252] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol II., p. 38.

[253] “Exclusive of officers who have come back by reason of wounds, sickness, or promotion to the depôt battalions, only thirty-three out of an army of 52,000 men have come home on private affairs.”—Letter of Prince Albert to the Prince of Prussia. Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXIX.

[254] See a curious letter on this subject from Colonel Hope, V.C., in the Daily Chronicle of 14th September, 1886, and a note appended to it from the pen of the Editor of that newspaper.

[255] Simpson was bitterly blamed for not asking Campbell’s Division of Guards and Highlanders, who were picked and seasoned soldiers, to assault in the first instance. Campbell, however, though he often exacted cruel sacrifices from his men, was parsimonious of blood, and it was said in the camp that he refused to attack till he had time to make the necessary preparations. Then he observed, grimly, he would not “attack, but ‘tak’ he Redan.” Codrington seems to have imagined that there was no need for all this caution. He attacked, but did not take, the fortress; in fact, to take it on his plan was an utter impossibility.

[256] That was partly due to the fact that our trenches were 200 yards from the Redan. This space was enfiladed by a murderous fire when crossed by the stormers. The French, 20,000 strong, were only 20 yards from the Malakoff. Simpson’s excuse for hastening the attack instead of pushing the trenches closer was that every day the French were losing 200 and we 60 men in the trenches.

[257] The Duke of Newcastle, who had gone to the seat of war to examine affairs on the spot, in a letter to Clarendon, says that Simpson seemed “never to be doing but always mooning. He has no plan, no opinion, no hope but from the chapter of accidents.” He thought Pélissier just as incompetent. “I believe,” he adds, “Pélissier’s officers have no confidence in him, and I know his soldiers dislike him.” Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXVII. The Sardinian De La Marmora was the only one of the Allied Commanders-in-Chief who had any marked ability.

[258] So the Russians afterwards said. This plan was proposed by Sir E. Lyons, but Pélissier laughed scornfully in his face when he suggested it, and poor Simpson, as usual, concurred with Pélissier.

[259] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXVIII.

[260] Evelyn Ashley’s Life of Lord Palmerston, Vol. II., p. 322.

[261] The excuse for the Franco-Austrian intrigue was that the rejection of the terms by Russia bound Austria to join France and England in going on with the war. But of course Austria had taken pains to find out what terms Russia would accept before she gave her pledge, so that she never had the remotest intention of fighting on our side. As for the terms they were, as Mr. Greville puts it, but a second edition of the proposals which we had rejected at the Vienna Conference. There was, says Mr. Greville, this difference: “while on the last occasion the Emperor knocked under to us and reluctantly agreed to go on with the war, he is now determined to go on with it no longer, and requires that we should defer to his wishes.”—Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. I., p. 297.

[262] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXVIII.

[263] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. I., p. 310.

[264] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. I., p. 315.

[265] Sir G. C. Lewis’s Letters, p. 309.

[266] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 37.

[267] Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXX. Sir Theodore, when he penned this, had not seen Mr. Disraeli’s cynical letter to Lord Malmesbury, otherwise he would probably not have added “such generosity among statesmen may always be counted on as a matter of course.”

[268] This was a nickname which Serjeant Hayes had stuck to Parke on account of his prejudice in favour of fossilised forms and precedents.—Life of Lord Campbell, Vol. II., p. 388.

[269] Life of Lord Campbell, Vol. II., p. 340.

[270] Mr. Babbage, Dr. Lyon Playfair, and Sir R. Murchison, it was said, were to be the first batch of life scientific peers.

[271] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 51.

[272] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 43.

[273] Mr. Greville, writing on March 9, says, “Called on Achille Fould, who introduced me to Magne, Minister of Finance, said to be a great rogue. Everything here is intrigue and jobbery, and I am told there is a sort of gang, of which Morny is the chief, who all combine for their own purpose and advantage: Morny, Fould, Magne, and Rouher, Minister of Commerce. They now want to get out Billault, Minister of the Interior, whom they cannot entirely manage, and that minister is necessary to them on account of the railways, which are under his management.” Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 31. At a party at Lord Holland’s house in Paris, where a great many aristocratic ladies were present, Mr. Greville says that when MM. de Flahault and Morny were announced, “the women all jumped up like a covey of partridges and walked out of the room, without taking any notice of the men.”

[274] The Treaty of Paris was signed on Sunday, March 30. Each of the fourteen plenipotentiaries originally intended to keep the pen with which he signed it as a memento of the occasion. They, however, yielded to the request of the Empress Eugenie, who begged that only one pen should be used, which should be retained by her as a souvenir. Only one was accordingly used. It was a quill plucked from an eagle’s wing, and richly mounted with gold and jewels.

[275] In 1870 the neutrality of the Black Sea was abandoned—Russia having declared she would no longer respect the Treaty on that point. After the last Russo-Turkish war, Russia took back Bessarabia. The “Declarations,” in fact, are the only portions of the Treaty that remain in force.

[276] History of England, Vol. V., p. 143.

[277] Correspondence of A. de Tocqueville with Mr. Nassau Senior, Vol. II., pp. 99, 101.

[278] This refers to Lord Malmesbury’s attack in the House of Lords on the Treaty of Peace.

[279] Continuing a year after this, Lord Malmesbury records his impressions of a conversation with Lady Ely on the famous “happy family” dinner of 1856. He says, “It looks as if her Majesty made up the dinner of these discordant materials for fun, and, from the same malice, made me take Lady Clarendon to dinner, as it was only two days after I had attacked Lord Clarendon in the House of Lords, and Lady Clarendon would not speak to me at first, but I ended by making her laugh. The Queen, who was opposite, was highly amused, and could hardly help laughing when Lady Clarendon at first would not answer me.”—Memoirs of an ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 67.

[280] Nobody regretted this, for they created a host of highly-paid place-holders. Mr. Disraeli declared that these measures were at first supposed to be an ingenious means of compensating Ireland for the failure of the Tipperary Bank.

[281] Greville Memoirs, Third Part. Vol. II., pp. 42-45.

[282] A few days before this event, on the 10th inst., the Royal Nursery was robbed. The Royal Household is, of course, under the control of the Lord Steward. One of his sub-departments is called “The Silver Pantry,” which has three yeomen, one groom, and six assistants attached to it. Yet, when the nursery plate had to be sent to Windsor, these gorgeous functionaries, with their staff of porters, horses, grooms, and carts, could not condescend to convey it. It was trusted to a common carrier, who unhappily, when on his way, stopped at a public-house for refreshments. He and his men were “only absent for five minutes,” but in that time a light spring cart had driven up to the carrier’s waggon, and when it drove away, the box containing the Royal nursery plate had vanished. The plate chest was found in Bonner’s Fields containing everything but the bullion. The knife-blades and packing, which latter consisted of women’s dresses, were found, but the plate was never traced.

[283] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXII.

[284] De Lacy Evans’ proposal was referred to a mixed Commission of civilians and military men.

[285] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXII.

[286] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 49.

[287] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXII.

[288] When the frontier was drawn, Count Orloff said to Lord Clarendon that he should take it as a favour if he would draw it a little farther south so as to include Bolgrad, which was the capital of some Russian military colonies in which the Czar was greatly interested. This was done as a matter of courtesy to the Czar, Orloff pointing to the position of Bolgrad on the map—a French map—and showing that it was such a long way from Lake Jalpuk, that the concession did not give Russia access to a Moldavian lake on which she might, perchance, one day build a threatening flotilla. After the Treaty was signed, it turned out that the place marked as Bolgrad on the French map was really Tabak, and that Bolgrad was actually far to the south of it, on the northern shore of Lake Jalpuk. The Russians therefore, insisting on the letter of the Treaty, claimed Bolgrad, on the left shore of the lake, leaving the right shore to Moldavia.

[289] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 50.

[290] Lowe’s Bismarck, Vol. I., p. 218.

[291] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXIII.

[292] The French Emperor was pledged to support Russia against us. But after his return from Biarritz, he found political parties were using his disagreement with England to weaken the Anglo-French alliance, and discredit his foreign policy. The secret history of the transaction, however, was not creditable to Palmerstonian diplomacy. Lord Malmesbury writes on the 21st of November, “Persigny told me Walewski is in disgrace. The difficulty about Bolgrad and the Isle of Serpents arises from the Emperor having been entrapped into a promise by the Russians; but Persigny has suggested a solution, which has been accepted by the Emperor and our Government, namely, a Congress, which is to assemble, into which Sardinia is to be admitted, on condition of voting against Russia. Austria goes with England, and Prussia is of course excluded. This gives England a majority, and the Emperor an excuse for giving way.”—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II, p. 53. Lord Clarendon, had, up till the beginning of December, refused to submit the dispute to a Congress, for the point which Russia raised about Bolgrad was simply a point of obvious chicanery which it was beneath the dignity of England to debate. Lord Palmerston and he yielded, however, and, as Mr. Greville says scornfully, by “this dodge saved us.”—Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 68.

[293] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 55.

[294] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 58. See also Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 69.

[295] The Duke of Beaufort and eighty Members of the Lower House, however, threatened to leave the Party if places in a Tory Government were given to the Peelites.—Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 57.

[296] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXV.

[297] On the estimate of expenditure and revenue for 1856-1857 there was a deficit of £10,000,000. To meet this Sir George Lewis had borrowed £7,499,000, and he had raised £1,000,000 in Exchequer Bills. The total receipts from all sources, said Sir George Lewis in his Statement (Annual Register, Vol. XCIX., p. 29), would, when the financial year closed, be £79,384,000, and the expenditure £78,000,000, leaving a surplus of £1,384,000. This was a wrong calculation. The net income of the year was £75,569,575, or, after deductions, £72,963,151, showing a deficit on the expenditure of the year of £3,254,604. For the coming year, 1857-1858, Sir George estimated his expenditure at £63,224,000, to which £2,000,000 had to be added for the service of war loans. The revenue he estimated at £66,365,000; so that he expected a surplus of £891,000.

[298] Quite apart from the cost of the Crimean War, Mr. Gladstone showed that £6,000,000 had been added to the ordinary expenditure of the country during the four years ending 1856-1857.

[299] Of course, Lord Beaconsfield before he died educated the Foreign Office up to the truth, which is, that “the key of India” is held in London—and that the defensible gates of India are those on our frontier which we can protect by our arms. But the amazing thing is that when the Foreign Office did believe that Herat was the “key of India,” they never would let it be held by a Power which, like Persia, was strong enough to keep it safe with British help. Persia was the natural ally of England against Russia. But every effort of the Indian Government to conciliate Persia has been thwarted by the Foreign Office. Since we abandoned her for the sake of the Russian alliance against Napoleon I., the English Foreign Office has exhausted the resources of its diplomacy in betraying, browbeating, and irritating her. And yet it is a fact, that without the goodwill of Persia, which enabled Russia to draw supplies from “the golden province of Khorassan,” Russia could never have marched from the Caspian to the gates of Merv.

[300] Correspondence respecting relations with Persia, Parliamentary Papers, 1857, pp. 21-39.

[301] This story of diplomatic blundering is told in the speeches of Mr. Layard and Lord Palmerston. Hansard, Vol. CXL., pp. 1717-1722.

[302] Papers respecting Persia, p. 211.

[303] India under Lord Canning, by the Duke of Argyll, p. 72. See also 21 and 22 Vict., c. 106, Section 55. Lord Beaconsfield made another attempt to evade this section by bringing Indian troops to Malta during the Russo-Turkish War in 1877.

[304] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 93.

[305] Life of Cobden, Chap. XXIV.

[306] The vote was 247 for, and 263 against, the Ministry. See Cobden’s Speeches, Vol. II., pp. 121-156, for his indictment.

[307] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 63. Mr. Greville declares that Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli had “made up their minds to coalesce with Gladstone and the Peelites on the first opportunity.”—Greville Memoirs, Third Part. Vol. II., p. 93. Lord Malmesbury says that at a private meeting of the Tory Party on the 4th of March, Lord Derby denied that he had coalesced with Mr. Gladstone, but refused to be dictated to by any member of the party as to “the course he should pursue with regard to any political personages whatever,” a declaration which was loudly cheered. The general opinion was that such a coalition, though the Tory leaders favoured it, would have split up the Tory Party.

[308] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 64. Note that the attitude of the Peelites to the Tory Party curiously resembled that of the Liberal Unionists in 1887.

[309] Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., from 1814 to 1844. Edited by Henry E. Carlisle. 2 Vols. London, Murray, 1886.

[310] Life of Cobden, Chap. XXIV.

[311] Annual Summary of the Times for 1857. On the 24th of February, 1858, the Tories formed, Lord Derby’s second Government.

[312] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 99.

[313] Lord Derby had shrunk from carrying on the Crimean War when Lord Aberdeen resigned.

[314] Even new Tory candidates, when they saw how the current of public opinion was setting, began to beg support by saying that if they had been in the House when the China vote was taken, they would have voted for Lord Palmerston.—See Greville Memoirs, Vol. II., p. 100.

[315] Correspondence of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Vol. I., pp. 312, 313.

[316] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXV. On the 5th of March, 1858, he writes to Stockmar:—“Lord Palmerston’s sudden decline in popularity was a remarkable phenomenon.”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXIV.

[317] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., p. 70.

[318] This was one of the first recorded cases of “obstruction” in the modern sense of the word. Mr. Parnell used, at one time, to justify his tactics by citing as a precedent Mr. Gladstone’s opposition to the Divorce Bill.

[319] That no such distinction should be made is the view which seems to be gaining ground now. The French Chamber adopted it in their Divorce Bill of 1886, and it has been adopted in the law of Scotland, where, as in France, paramours are not permitted to marry after divorce is granted. In England the marriage of paramours, outside the forbidden degrees of affinity and consanguinity, strongly condemned by Bishop Wilberforce in the debates on the Divorce Bill, is permissible. Though, as a concession to Wilberforce and his followers, it was enacted that a clergyman might refuse to perform the ceremony, the concession did not satisfy anybody.—See Life of Wilberforce, Vol. II., pp. 343-347.

[320] Life of Lord Campbell, Vol. II., p. 351.

[321] Life of Lord Campbell, Vol. II., p. 353.

[322] Greville Memoirs, Third Part, Vol. II., p. 3.

[323] This dispute was settled by a Conference which met at Paris on 5th March, 1857, France, Austria, England, and Russia being represented, Prussia and Switzerland being occasionally admitted with a consultative voice. Frederick William IV. resigned all his rights to Neufchâtel for a pecuniary indemnity, which he generously refused afterwards to take, and the royalist prisoners were set free. The severance of this province was as great an advantage to Prussia, as the separation of Hanover was to England.

[324] France and Sardinia would have made an Austrian occupation of the Principalities ground for demanding, by way of compensation, the retirement of Austria from Northern Italy.

[325] Memoirs of an Ex-Minister, Vol. II., pp. 78, 79.

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

[327] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXIX.

[328] Sleeman’s Tour in Oudh, Vol. II., p. 353.

[329] Oudh Blue Book, p. 46.

[330] Oudh Blue Book, p. 235.

[331] If we go behind the facts and pretexts of the official case we can easily discern better though unstated reasons for the annexation of Oudh. After the annexation of Scinde and the conquest of the Punjab, Oudh was left protruding into British territory, so as to cut it into two parts. Oudh was in our way, and it was therefore taken.

[332] The History of India, by Meadows Taylor, p. 710.

[333] Curiously Mr. Cobden was among the few Englishmen who both knew and cared. In a letter to Mr. Bright, dated the 24th of August, 1857, he says, “From the moment that I had satisfied myself that a feeling of alienation was constantly increasing with both Natives and the English—we had some striking evidence to this effect before our Committee in 1853—I made up my mind that it must end in trouble sooner or later.”—Morley’s Life of Cobden, Chap. XXV.

[334] Meadows Taylor’s History of India, p. 713.

[335] India under Lord Dalhousie, by the Duke of Argyll, pp. 57-60. Sir J. Kaye says that the Indian army consisted, in round numbers, of 300,000 men, of whom 40,000 were Europeans.—Kaye’s Sepoy War, Vol. I., p. 341. When Lord Canning reached India the Native army, as a matter of fact, consisted of 233,000, the Europeans of 45,000 men.

[336] Now we maintain in India one English to every two Native soldiers. Dalhousie maintained one English to every five Native soldiers.

[337] See on this curious subject Kaye’s Sepoy War, Vol. I., and Appendix, p. 619.

[338] “The Mutiny would perhaps never have occurred if British officers, turning themselves into missionaries, had not fostered the notion that the Company was anxious to convert its subjects to Christianity.”—Walpole’s History of England, Vol. V., p. 430.

[339] Holmes’ Indian Mutiny, p. 82. India under Lord Canning, by the Duke of Argyll, p. 77.

[340] Parliamentary Papers. Mutinies in the East Indies, p. 1 et seq.

[341] Meadows Taylor’s History of India, p. 720.

[342] Anson first heard of the outbreak at Simla, on the 12th of May. He was at Umballa on the 15th. On the 27th he died of cholera at Kurnaul.

[343] Lawrence himself says modestly, in a letter to Lord Dalhousie (June 14th, 1858): “To Nicholson, Alec Taylor, of the Engineers, and Neville Chamberlain, the real merit of our success is due.” But this does some injustice to Colonel Baird Smith, who was Taylor’s chief, and who deserves credit for forcing Wilson on to attack the city.

[344] Life of Lord Lawrence, by R. Bosworth Smith, M.A., Vol. II., p. 30.

[345] Quarterly Review for April, 1883.

[346] “Whilst the siege was in progress, Wilson had, “more than once,” says Nicholson, in one of his letters to Lawrence, spoken of withdrawing the guns. Nicholson, who was the Roland and Hotspur of the war, and Lawrence’s trustiest lieutenant, says of Wilson, “Had he carried out his threat I was quite prepared to have appealed to the army to set him aside and elect a successor.” Three days after penning that letter this fiery Bersekir fell mortally wounded, leading the stormers of the Cashmere Bastion. Wilson, feeling it difficult to maintain the occupation of the city, wanted to withdraw. When this was communicated to Nicholson, he turned on his death-bed, convulsed with passion, and exclaimed, “Thank God, I have yet strength enough to shoot that man!”

[347] Life of Lord Lawrence, by R. Bosworth Smith, M.A., Vol. II., p. 225.

[348] The king died in prison three months afterwards. Hodson’s defence was that he feared a rescue.

[349] Lord Canning himself has described their conduct—especially that of the terror-stricken officers, “with swords by their sides”—as “disgraceful.”—Life of Sir H. Lawrence, p. 575.

[350] Elgin’s patriotism and generosity in surrendering these troops were justly extolled by Sir William Peel, the leader of the Naval Brigade, who said that the Chinese Expedition really relieved Lucknow.—Walrond’s Letters and Journals of Lord Elgin, p. 188.

[351] Shadwell’s Life of Lord Clyde, Vol. I., p. 405.

[352] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXII.

[353] At Lucknow, after four days’ hard fighting, he had only 122 killed and 414 wounded.

[354] Campbell’s retreat from Lucknow to Cawnpore was managed with consummate address. But it was censured. The defence of it is this:—(1), He had to relieve himself from the encumbrance of the women, children, sick, and wounded; (2), He had to save his communications, which Windham’s defeat at the Pandoo River had put at Tantia Topee’s mercy; (3), He could easily come back and take Lucknow; and (4), he was anxious to make an immediate impression on Rohilkund.

[355] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXV. Feodore was the name of the Queen’s half-sister.

[356] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXVI.

[357] As to precedents, the eldest daughter of George II. received a dowry of £80,000, and an annuity of £5,000. But when the Princess Royal, daughter of George III., married, she was voted a dowry of £80,000 without any annuity. The Irish Parliament had to vote her an annuity of £5,000.

[358] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXVI.

[359] In the “Journal de Goncourt: Mémoires des la Vie Littéraire,” published in 1877, the secret history of the Emperor’s instructions to Pélissier is told. The Prussian Military Attaché at St. Petersburg sent to the King of Prussia, through MM. de Gerlach and Niebuhr, the secret details of the campaign. Manteufel, the King’s Foreign Minister, desirous of possessing this information which the King kept to himself, bribed certain persons who had access to these letters to copy them. Then the French hearing of the matter bribed Manteufel’s agents to let them have copies also. In this way Napoleon III. discovered that the Malakoff was the one vulnerable point in the defences, although the repulse of the 18th of June made most people think it was invulnerable.

[360] This year the great race at Ascot—that for the Gold Cup, which, by the way, was of silver—was won by Lord Zetland’s “Skirmisher.”

[361] A story used to be told of one Scottish regiment that got into sad disgrace because of the contempt with which they treated the Cross of Valour. A goodly number of Crosses were allotted to it, for it had won exceptional distinction. The superior officers, on being asked to nominate recipients, said, “Oh, hand the thing over to the subalterns.” The subalterns said, “The sergeants would probably like to have the decorations at their disposal.” The sergeants said, “Oh, it would be best to let the men get them,” and the men, with grim humour, selected as bravest of the brave, two pioneers, whose duty it had been to go round with the “greybeards” when the regiment was in action, and serve out the regulation ration of whisky or rum, as the case might be. Was this the reason why no member of the Scottish Brigade figures in the Annual Register’s list of Victoria Crosses given in 1857?

[362] The Queen promptly ordered the Royal Collections to be put at the disposal of the Exhibition. The Prince Consort suggested a plan for appealing to private collectors which had the desired effect. He said that collectors of rank would not shrink from refusing to lend works of Art when it was widely known that their refusal might mar a national purpose; and he advised the appeal to be based on the fact that though England invested more money in Art than any other country, she had done less than any other for Art education, which such an exhibition might easily be made to promote. He even sent them a practical proposal for drawing up a catalogue that would powerfully appeal to the sympathies of collectors, and to his suggestions the success of the undertaking was largely due.

[363] It may not be amiss to say that this stinging Memorandum was the Queen’s reply to a frivolous communication from Lord Palmerston. In it he met her growing remonstrances by saying that “measures are sometimes best calculated to succeed which follow each other step by step.” He further added, rather impudently, that “Viscount Palmerston may perhaps be permitted to take the liberty of saying that it is fortunate for those from whose opinions your Majesty differs, that your Majesty is not in the House of Commons, for they would have had to encounter a formidable antagonist in argument.”—Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXVIII.

[364] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXI.

[365] The Post was “inspired” by Lady Palmerston at this period.

[366] Martin’s Life of the Prince Consort, Chap. LXXXII.