The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
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First Lord of the Treasury VISCOUNT PALMERSTON. Lord Chancellor LORD CAMPBELL. President of the Council EARL GRANVILLE. Lord Privy Seal DUKE OF ARGYLL. Home Secretary SIR G. C. LEWIS. Foreign Secretary LORD JOHN (afterwards EARL) RUSSELL. Colonial Secretary DUKE OF NEWCASTLE. Secretary for War Mr SIDNEY HERBERT (afterwards LORD HERBERT OF LEA). Secretary for India Sir CHARLES WOOD (afterwards VISCOUNT HALIFAX). Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr GLADSTONE.[53] First Lord of the Admiralty DUKE OF SOMERSET. President of the Board of Trade Mr MILNER GIBSON (appointed in July). Postmaster-General EARL OF ELGIN. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Sir GEORGE GREY. Chief Secretary for Ireland Mr (afterwards VISCOUNT) CARDWELL.

[Footnote 53: Lord Aberdeen wrote, in a letter printed in Parker's Sir James Graham, vol. ii. p. 388, that the wish of Lord Palmerston, expressed in a speech at Tiverton, "to see the Germans turned out of Italy by the war, has secured Gladstone ... notwithstanding the three articles of the Quarterly and the thousand imprecations of late years."]

[Pageheading: MR BRIGHT]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

94 PICCADILLY, 2nd July 1859.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty....

Viscount Palmerston has heard from several persons that Mr Bright would be highly flattered by being made a Privy Councillor; would your Majesty object to his being so made if it should turn out that he wishes it? There have been instances of persons made Privy Councillors without office, and if Mr Bright could be led by such an honour to turn his thoughts and feelings into better channels such a change could not fail to be advantageous to your Majesty's service....

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.


The Queen has received Lord Palmerston's letter of to-day. She is sorry not to be able to give her assent to his proposal with regard to Mr Bright.[54] Privy Councillors have sometimes exceptionally been made without office, yet this has been as rewards, even in such cases, for services rendered to the State. It would be impossible to allege any service Mr Bright has rendered, and if the honour were looked upon as a reward for his systematic attacks upon the institutions of the country, a very erroneous impression might be produced as to the feeling which the Queen or her Government entertain towards these institutions. It is moreover very problematical whether such an honour conferred upon Mr Bright would, as suggested, wean him from his present line of policy, whilst, if he continued in it, he would only have obtained additional weight in the country by his propounding his views as one of the Queen's Privy Councillors.

[Footnote 54: In 1859, Lord Palmerston, in offering Mr Cobden a seat in the Cabinet, rejected the idea of accepting Mr Bright as a colleague, on the ground that his public speeches made it impossible. Mr Bright, later in life, was a welcome guest at Windsor, and the Queen became warmly attached to him as one of her Ministers.]


Earl Canning to Queen Victoria.

CALCUTTA, 4th July 1859.

Lord Canning presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs permission to offer to your Majesty his respectful thanks for your Majesty's most gracious letter of the 18th of May.

Lord Canning ventures to believe that he is well able to figure to himself the feelings with which your Majesty will have welcomed the termination of the Mutiny and Rebellion in India, and of the chief miseries which these have brought in their train. He hopes that your Majesty will not have thought that there has been remissness in not marking this happy event by an earlier public acknowledgment and thanksgiving in India, as has already been done in England.[55] The truth is, that although this termination has long been steadily and surely approaching, it is but just now that it can be said to be complete in the eyes of those who are near to the scene of action. It is only within the last three weeks that the exertions of our Troops on the Oudh and Nepaulese frontier, and in some other parts, have been remitted, and almost every Gazette has recounted engagements with the rebels, which, although they have invariably had the same issue, would scarcely have consisted with a declaration that peace and tranquillity were restored. Now, however, military operations have fairly ceased, and the rains and the climate, which would make a continuance of those operations much to be regretted, will do their work amongst the rebels who are still in arms in the Nepaul jungles more terribly than any human avengers.

Lord Canning has used every exertion and device to bring these wretched men to submission; but many—it is difficult to say how many, but certainly some few thousands—still hold out. With some of them the reason no doubt is that they belong to the most guilty Regiments, and to those which murdered their officers; but this cannot apply to all; and it is to be feared that the prevailing cause is the bad influence of their leaders—the Nana, Bala Rao, and the Begum;[56] or rather the Begum's infamous advisers. It is certain that all of these, believing their own position to be desperate, have spared no pains to persuade their followers that the Government is seeking to entrap them, and that, if they submit, their lives will be taken....

[Footnote 55: There had been a Public Thanksgiving in England on the 1st of May.]

[Footnote 56: Bala Rao was a brother of Nana Sahib, chief instigator of the Sepoy Mutiny. See ante, 4th July, 1857, note 24.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.


The Queen is much shocked to see that the Government last night moved for a Committee of the House of Commons to enquire into the Military Departments, without having previously communicated with the Queen on the subject. She is the more surprised at this, as Lord Palmerston told her, when she saw him on the formation of the present Government, and she expressed her anxiety on the subject, that there would be no more trouble about it, and he thought it would drop. The Queen expects that the names of those who it is proposed should compose the Committee, and the wording of it, will be submitted to her.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 5th July 1859.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that the re-appointment of the Committee on the Organisation of the Military Departments was unavoidable. That Committee had been affirmed by the House of Commons and consented to by the late Government, and had begun its sittings; but when a Dissolution of Parliament was announced, it suspended its further sittings, with the understanding that it should be revived in the new Parliament; and to have departed from that understanding would have been impossible. That which Viscount Palmerston intended to convey in what he said to your Majesty on the subject was, that the evidence given by Lord Panmure might be deemed as having fully set aside the objection urged against the present organisation by persons unacquainted with the bearing upon it of the fundamental principles of the Constitution, namely, that the Crown acts in regard to Military matters without having any official adviser responsible for its acts. Such a condition of things, if it could exist, would be at variance with the fundamental principles of the British Constitution, and would be fraught with danger to the Crown, because then the Sovereign would be held personally answerable for administrative acts, and would be brought personally in conflict in possible cases with public opinion, a most dangerous condition for a Sovereign to be placed in.

The maxim of the British Constitution is that the Sovereign can do no wrong, but that does not mean that no wrong can be done by Royal authority; it means that if wrong be done, the public servant who advised the act, and not the Sovereign, must be held answerable for the wrongdoing.

But the Ministers of the Crown for the time being are the persons who are constitutionally held answerable for all administrative acts in the last resort, and that was the pith and substance of the evidence given by Lord Panmure. Those persons who want to make great changes in the existing arrangements were much vexed and disappointed by that evidence, and the attempt made yesterday to put off the Committee till next year on the ground that the evidence now to be taken would be one-sided only, and would tend to create erroneous impressions, was founded upon those feelings of disappointment.

Viscount Palmerston submits names of the persons whom Mr Sidney Herbert proposes to appoint on the Committee, and they seem to be well chosen.

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

PEMBROKE LODGE, 10th July 1859. (7 P.M.)

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty. He has just received from Lord Palmerston, who is here, the paper, a copy of which is enclosed.[57]

Lord John Russell has to add that Lord Palmerston and he are humbly of opinion that your Majesty should give to the Emperor of the French the moral support which is asked. It is clearly understood that if the Emperor of Austria declines to accept the propositions, Great Britain will still maintain her neutral position.

But it is probable that her moral support will put an end to the war, and your Majesty's advisers cannot venture to make themselves responsible for its continuance by refusing to counsel your Majesty to accept the proposal of France.

[Footnote 57: At the seat of war, a series of decisive French victories had culminated in the battle of Solferino, on Midsummer Day (see ante, Introductory Note to Chapter XXVIII). But the French Emperor was beginning to think these successes too dearly purchased, at the expense of so many French lives, and, actuated either by this, or some similar motive, he attempted, on the 6th of July, to negotiate through the British Government with Austria. The attempt was a failure, but an armistice was signed on the 8th, and again the Emperor sought the moral support of England. The paper which Lord John Russell submitted was a rough memorandum of M. de Persigny's, proposing as a basis of negotiation the cession of Lombardy to Piedmont, the independence of Venetia, and the erection of an Italian Confederation.]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

PAVILION, ALDERSHOT, 10th July 1859.

The Queen has just received Lord John Russell's letter with the enclosure which she returns, and hastens to say in reply, that she does not consider the Emperor of the French or his Ambassador justified in asking the support of England to proposals he means to make to his antagonist to-morrow. He made war on Austria in order to wrest her two Italian kingdoms from her, which were assured to her by the treaties of 1815, to which England is a party; England declared her neutrality in the war. The Emperor succeeded in driving the Austrians out of one of these kingdoms after several bloody battles. He means to drive her out of the second by diplomacy, and neutral England is to join him with her moral support in this endeavour.

The Queen having declared her neutrality, to which her Parliament and people have given their unanimous assent, feels bound to adhere to it. She conceives Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston ought not to ask her to give her "moral support" to one of the belligerents. As for herself, she sees no distinction between moral and general support; the moral support of England is her support, and she ought to be prepared to follow it up.

The Queen wishes this letter to be communicated to the Cabinet.[58]

[Footnote 58: The Queen not having been informed whether this instruction had been complied with, a correspondence took place on the subject between the Prince and Lord Granville. See the Life of Lord Granville, vol. i. chap. xiii.]

[Pageheading: END OF THE WAR]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 12th July 1859.

The Queen has to acknowledge the receipt of Lord John Russell's letter reporting to her the result of the deliberations of the Cabinet, which has very much relieved her mind. Lord John does not say whether her letter was read to the Cabinet, but from his former letter she concludes it was. She is most anxious that there should exist no misapprehension on their part as to the Queen's views. Our position must be consistent and precisely defined. A negotiation to stop the effusion of blood, and to attain "a peace which would be for the interests of all belligerents," is a very vague term. Who is to judge of those interests? Is M. de Persigny or the Emperor Napoleon's opinion to be the guide, as they just now proposed to us? Austria must be considered the exponent of her own interests. Prussia has explained to us the interests of Germany in the maintenance of the line of the fortresses on the Mincio, and was answered; her views were entirely erroneous, and her apprehensions exaggerated. It will require the greatest caution on our part not to lose our neutral position, nor to be made the advocate of one side. Are the wishes of the Lombards, Tuscans, etc., really ascertainable, while their countries are occupied by French and Sardinian armies? The Queen encloses an extract of a letter from the first Napoleon to his son, Prince Eugene,[59] showing how the expression of a wish for annexation has already of old been used as a means for conquest.

[Footnote 59: Eugene de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, son of the Empress Josephine by her first marriage, and adopted son of Napoleon I.]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 13th July 1859.

The Queen has received the news of a concluded peace,[60] which Lord John Russell has sent to her yesterday, with as much surprise as it must have caused Lord John. It was a joyous intelligence, as far as the stopping of the further effusion of innocent blood and the security against further diplomatic complications is concerned, but it gives cause for serious reflection. The Emperor Napoleon, by his military successes, and great apparent moderation or prudence immediately after them, has created for himself a most formidable position of strength in Europe. It is remarkable that he has acted towards Austria now just as he did towards Russia after the fall of Sebastopol; and if it was our lot then to be left alone to act the part of the extortioner whilst he acted that of the generous victor, the Queen is doubly glad that we should not now have fallen into the trap, to ask Austria (as friends and neutrals) concessions which he was ready to waive. He will now probably omit no occasion to cajole Austria as he has done to Russia, and turn her spirit of revenge upon Prussia and Germany—the Emperor's probable next victims. Should he thus have rendered himself the master of the entire Continent, the time may come for us either to obey or to fight him with terrible odds against us. This has been the Queen's view from the beginning of this complication, and events have hitherto wonderfully supported them. How Italy is to prosper under the Pope's presidency, whose misgovernment of his own small portion of it was the ostensible cause of the war, the Queen is at a loss to conceive. But the Emperor will be able to do just as he pleases, being in military command of the country, and having Sardinia, the Pope, and Austria as his debtors.

The Queen would like this letter to be communicated to the Cabinet.

[Footnote 60: The armistice had arranged that the Emperors should meet at Villafranca, where peace was concluded. See ante, Introductory Note to Chapter XXVIII. The Italian Confederation was to be under the presidency of the Pope.]

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 13th July 1859.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty; he will read your Majesty's letter to the Cabinet to-morrow.

The Emperor Napoleon is left no doubt in a position of great power. That position has been made for him by allowing him to be the only champion of the cause of the people of Italy.

But that is no reason why we should seek a quarrel with France, and there is some reason to doubt whether the speeches made in the House of Lords, while they display our weakness and our alarm, are really patriotic in their purpose and tendency.

To be well armed, and to be just to all our neighbours, appears to Lord John Russell to be the most simple, the most safe, and the most honest policy.

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 14th July 1859.

The Queen acknowledges the receipt of Lord John Russell's communications of yesterday. She entirely agrees with him "that we have no reason to seek a quarrel with France," and that "the most simple and most safe and most honest" line of conduct for us will be "to be well armed, and to be just to all our neighbours."

She trusts that as the poor Duchess of Parma[61] appears to be overlooked in the Italian Peace merely because nobody thinks it his business to befriend her, we shall in the above spirit ask for justice and consideration for her.

The Queen concurs with Lord John that it will now be useless to communicate to France the advice given to the Porte.

[Footnote 61: Louise Marie de Bourbon, daughter of the Duc de Berri, and widow of Charles III., Duke of Parma. She was at this time Regent for her son Robert, a minor (born 1848), the present Duke.]

[Pageheading: THE VIEWS OF THE POPE]



Mr Odo Russell to Lord John Russell. (Submitted to the Queen.)

ROME, 17th July 1859.

MY LORD,—Some days since a letter from the "Pontifical Antechamber," directed to "Signor Odoni Russell, Agente Officioso di Sua Maesta Britannica," informed me that His Holiness the Pope desired to see me.

In consequence I proceeded to the Vatican, and was ushered into the presence of His Holiness by Monsignore Talbot, the "Cameriere" in waiting, who immediately withdrew, and I remained alone with the Pope.

His Holiness welcomed me with his usual benevolence and good humour. He seemed very gay, and spoke with more than customary frankness, so much so indeed that I have felt some hesitation as to the propriety of submitting what passed between us to your Lordship. But after mature reflection, I think it best you should be in possession of an accurate and conscientious account of the sentiments of His Holiness in the present important juncture of affairs.

"Caro mio Russell," the Pope said, "you have been so long at Naples that I was already thinking of sending after you to bring you back; we do not like you to leave us, and the more so as I have heard you were attached to the Mission of Mr Elliot,[62] who is a son of Lord Minto; and if he entertains the same political views as his father, he is a dangerous man to the peace of Italy. Now I knew Lord Minto here, and although he may be a very good man, I do not think him a man of any capacity, and his doctrines were calculated to bring on the ruin of Italy."

I replied, "I cannot agree with your Holiness, for I consider Lord Minto to be a very clever man, whose honest, sound, and liberal views, had they been listened to, might have prevented the crisis which is now convulsing Italy."

The Pope said, "Well, of course you belong to his party, but, Poveri noi! what is to become of us with your uncle and Lord Palmerston at the head of affairs in England? They have always sympathised with the turbulent spirits of Italy, and their accession to power will greatly increase the hopes of the Piedmontese Party. Indeed, I well know what the English Government want: they want to see the Pope deprived of his temporal power."

I replied, "Again I regret to find your Holiness so entirely mistaken with respect to the policy of England. We derive great happiness from our free institutions, and we would be glad to see our neighbours in Europe as happy and as prosperous as we are, but we have no wish to interfere with the internal concerns of other nations, or to give advice without being asked for it; least of all as a Protestant Power would we think of interfering one way or the other with the Government of your Holiness."

The Pope said, "I do not doubt the good intentions of England, but unfortunately you do not understand this country, and your example is dangerous to the Italian minds, your speeches in Parliament excite them, and you fancy because constitutional liberties and institutions suit you, that they must suit all the world. Now the Italians are a dissatisfied, interfering, turbulent and intriguing race; they can never learn to govern themselves, it is impossible; only see how they follow Sardinia in all she tells them to do, simply because they love intrigue and revolution, whilst in reality they do not know what they want; a hot-headed people like the Italians require a firm and just government to guide and take care of them, and Italy might have continued tranquil and contented, had not the ambition of Sardinia led her to revolutionise the whole country. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, for instance, is an excellent and just man, and nevertheless, at the instigation of Piedmont, he was turned out of the country, and for no earthly purpose. I suppose you have read Monsieur About's book about Rome[63]? well, all he says is untrue, pure calumny, and it would be easy for me to have it all refuted; but he is really not worthy of such an honour. His book, I see, has been translated into English, and I have no doubt it will be much read and believed in England. Such books and our refugees mislead your countrymen, and I often wonder at the language your statesmen hold about us in the Houses of Parliament. I always read their speeches. Lord Palmerston, Lord John Russell, and Mr Gladstone do not know us; but when I think how kindly and hospitably Lord Granville was received at Rome last winter, and then read the extraordinary speech he made last February about us, I think the gout he suffered from here must have gone to his head when he reached England, and I wonder how Her Majesty the Queen could send for him to form a Government! Then again, Mr Gladstone, who allowed himself to be deceived about the Neapolitan prisoners—he does not know us and Italy—and Mr Cobden,—I knew him in 1847—he is always in favour of peace, and he must be very fond of animals, for when he came here from Spain he wanted me to write to that country and put a stop to bull-fights—a very good man, but I do not know his views about Italy. And Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, do you think he will be employed again? he seemed so anxious to get a place. Mr Disraeli was my friend; I regret him. But tell me, caro mio Russell, if you are a prophet, how all this war and fuss is to end?"

I replied, "Your Holiness has better claims to being a prophet than I have, and I sincerely hope all this may end well for Italy; but as regards the present and the past, I must again say that I deeply regret to see your Holiness misconceive the honest views and sincere sympathies of the statesmen you have named, for the welfare of Italy; they would like to see Italy independent, prosperous, progressing and contented, and able to take care of herself without foreign troops. Your Holiness has done me the honour to speak freely and openly with me; permit me to do the same, and ask your Holiness what England must think when she sees the temporal power of your Holiness imposed upon three millions of people by the constant presence of French and Austrian bayonets, and when, after ten years of occupation, the Austrians withdraw suddenly, there is at once an insurrection throughout the country; and if the French were to leave Rome it is generally acknowledged that a revolution would compel your Holiness to seek refuge in some foreign country. At the same time, when the troops of your Holiness are employed as at Perugia,[64] the Government is too weak to control them; they pillage and murder, and, instead of investigating their conduct, the excesses committed by them are publicly rewarded."

The Pope smiled, paused, took a pinch of snuff, and then said good-humouredly: "Although I am not a prophet, I know one thing; this war will be followed by an European Congress, and a Congress about Italian Affairs is even worse for us than war. There will be changes in Italy, but mark my words, whatever these changes are, the Pope will ever be the Pope, whether he dwells in the Vatican or lives concealed in the Catacombs.

"Lastly, I will give you some advice. Prepare and take care of yourselves in England, for I am quite certain the French Emperor intends sooner or later to attack you."

The Pope then beckoned to me to approach, and making the sign of the Cross, he gave me his blessing in Latin, then with both his hands, he took one of mine, pressed it, and said with great warmth, "Be our friend in the hour of need." I have the honour to be, etc., etc.,


[Footnote 62: Mr (afterwards Sir) Henry Elliot, P.C., G.C.B., was Plenipotentiary to Naples. He was subsequently Ambassador at Vienna, and died in 1907.]

[Footnote 63: Edmond About, a French journalist (1828-1885), had published La Question Romaine, an attack on the Papacy. See De la Gorce, Histoire du Second Empire, vol. ii. p. 365.]

[Footnote 64: An insurrection against the Pope at Perugia bad been put down with great cruelty on the 20th of June.]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 18th July 1859.

The Queen returns these interesting letters to Lord John.[65]

The whole aspect of affairs gives cause for serious reflection and great anxiety for the future.

The conduct of France as regards Italy shows how little the Emperor Napoleon cared for, or thought of, its independence when he undertook this war, which (though in the last instance begun by Austria) he brought on, for purposes of his own.

The manifesto of the Emperor of Austria shows how unfortunate for her own interests the policy of Prussia has been.[66] She had made herself answerable for the issue of the war by restraining the minor states, and stands now humiliated and isolated. Her position in Germany is at present very painful, and may be for the future very dangerous.

The Queen feels strongly that we are not without considerable responsibility in having from the first urged her to take no part in the war, which certainly had great influence on her actions—and she will very naturally look to us not to desert her when the evil hour for her may come.[67]

[Footnote 65: These were letters from Lord Cowley and Sir James Hudson in reference to the Peace of Villafranca. The former announced, as a result of his conversation with the Empress and other persons, that among the causes which induced the French Emperor to consent to peace were his horror at any further sacrifice of life and time, disgust at what he considered Italian apathy for the cause which the French were upholding, and distrust of the intentions of the King of Sardinia and Count Cavour. Sir James Hudson described the unanimous feeling at Turin that the Nationalist cause had been betrayed. Cavour, he wrote, could obtain no further response to his remonstrances with Napoleon than "Il fait bien chaud: il fait bien chaud." Moreover, Napoleon knew (continued Sir James) "that Mazzini had dogged his footsteps to Milan, for, the day before yesterday, sixty-six Orsini bombshells were discovered there by the chief of the Sardinian police, who arrested the man (a known follower of Mazzini) who had them. The story is that he brought them from England for the purpose of using them against the Austrians!!" Count Cavour, who resigned in disgust and was succeeded by Rattazzi, remained out of office till the following January.]

[Footnote 66: He stated that he believed he could obtain better terms direct from the French Emperor than those to which England, Russia, and Prussia were likely to give their moral support as a basis of mediation.]

[Footnote 67: Lord Cowley wrote to Lord John Russell on the 20th of July:—

"... The two Emperors met in the most cordial manner, shaking hands as if no difference had existed between them. As soon as they were alone, the Emperor of Austria took the initiative, and stated at once that he was ready to cede to the Emperor of the French, for the sake of the restoration of peace, the territory which the latter had conquered, but that he could not do more, giving the reasons which I have mentioned to your Lordship in former despatches. The Emperor of the French replied that his own position in France, and the public declarations which he had made, rendered something in addition necessary: that the war had been undertaken for the freedom of Italy, and that he could not justify to France a peace which did not ensure this object. The Emperor Francis Joseph rejoined that he had no objection to offer to the Confederation which formed part of the Emperor Napoleon's programme, and that he was ready to enter it with Venetia, and when the Emperor Napoleon remarked that such a result would be a derision, if the whole power and influence of Austria were to be brought to bear upon the Confederation, the Emperor Francis Joseph exclaimed against any such interpretation being given to his words, his idea being that Venetia should be placed on the same footing, in the Italian Confederation, as Luxemburg holds in the Germanic Confederation....

"In the course of conversation between the two Imperial Sovereigns, the Emperor of Austria remarked to the Emperor of the French with many expressions of goodwill, and of a desire to see the dynasty of the latter firmly established on the throne of France, that His Majesty took an odd way to accomplish his end. 'Believe me,' said the Emperor Francis Joseph, 'dynasties are not established by having recourse to such bad company as you have chosen; revolutionists overturn, but do not construct.' The Emperor Napoleon appears to have taken the remark in very good part, and even to have excused himself to a certain degree, observing that it was a further reason that the Emperor Francis Joseph should aid him in putting an end to the war, and to the revolutionary spirit to which the war had given rise.

"The Emperors having separated in the same cordial manner in which they had met, the Emperor of the French himself drew up the preliminaries and sent them in the evening to Verona by his cousin, the Prince Napoleon. Being introduced to the Emperor of Austria, who received His Imperial Highness very courteously, His Majesty said, after reading the preliminaries, that he must beg the Prince to excuse him for a short time, as he had others to consult before signing them. He then went into an adjoining room where, according to Prince Napoleon's account, a loud and angry discussion ensued, in which the Prince distinguished the Emperor's voice broken by tears, as if His Majesty had been obliged to have recourse to persuasion, to silence the opposition made to the conditions, and it was not until some time had elapsed that His Majesty returned and signed the paper containing them, or rather I infer that he retained the paper signed by the Emperor Napoleon, and returned one of similar purport signed by himself; for among all the curious circumstances connected with this transaction, not the least curious is the fact that there does not exist any document recording the preliminaries with the double signature of both Emperors."]

[Pageheading: INDIAN AFFAIRS]

Queen Victoria to Sir Charles Wood.

OSBORNE, 23rd July 1859.

The Queen's attention has been attracted by No. 86 (Foreign Department) of the printed abstracts of letters received from India, relating to the affairs of Bussahir.[68] She would ask Sir C. Wood to consider, with his Council, whether means could not be found for making acts of confiscation, sequestration, spoliation, transfer of Government, or whatever they may be called, dependent upon some formal and judicial proceeding which should secure the Queen from acts being done in her name—which might not be entirely justifiable morally, as well as legally—which should relieve the Government agents from the fearful responsibility of being sole advisers on steps implying judicial condemnation without trial on their mere personal opinion, and from which they derive themselves additional personal advancement in power, position, possibly emolument, etc., etc., and lastly, which would give the people of India security that the Government only acts after impartial judicial investigation and the sifting of evidence.

The Queen would wish a report to be made to her upon this important subject.

[Footnote 68: Bussahir was a State in the upper course of the Sutlej. In January, the Punjab, including the Sutlej States, had been made a distinct presidency, but Bussahir was not finally included until 1862.]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.[69]

OSBORNE, 21st August 1859.

The Queen sends the enclosed draft to Lord John Russell; she is very sorry that she cannot give her approval to it. There are many points in it to which she cannot but feel the gravest objections. It is unnecessary, however, for her to go into these details, as it is against the principle of England volunteering at this moment the intrusion of a scheme of her own for the redistribution of the territories and Governments of Northern Italy, that she must above all protest. Moreover, a step of such importance, reversing the principle of non-intervention, which the Queen's Government has hitherto publicly declared and upheld, should, in the Queen's opinion, not be brought before her without having received the fullest deliberation and concurrence of the assembled Cabinet.

[Footnote 69: A month earlier, on his return from the war, the Emperor had tried to enlist British support in his scheme for a European congress. But the Cabinet decided (24th July), with the Queen's full concurrence, that no answer should be returned to this proposal, till a Treaty, embodying the preliminaries of Villafranca, should have been signed.]

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

PEMBROKE LODGE, 23rd August 1859.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty; he begs to explain that with respect to reversing the principle of non-intervention, he has never proposed any such course. If intervention were to mean giving friendly advice, or even offering mediation, your Majesty's Government from January to May would have pursued a course of intervention, for they were all that time advising Austria, France, Sardinia, and Germany.

If by friendly and judicious advice we can prevent a bloody and causeless war in Italy we are bound to give such advice.

If we refrain from doing so, we may ultimately be obliged to have recourse to intervention; that is to say, we may have to interfere against the ruthless tyranny of Austria, or the unchained ambition of France. It is with a view to prevent the necessity of intervention that Lord John Russell advises friendly representations.


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

ALDERSHOT, 23rd August 1859.

... With regard to Lord John's letter of to-day, the Queen wishes merely to say that from the outbreak of the war our negotiations have ceased, and that the war is not over till the peace is concluded. Our interference before that period may be prompted by a desire to prevent a future war; but our first duty is not to interfere with the closing of the present. The desire to guard Italy against "the ruthless tyranny of Austria, and the unchained ambition of France" may produce a state of things in Italy, forcing both to make common cause against her, and backed by the rest of Europe to isolate England, and making her responsible for the issue. It will be little satisfaction then to reflect upon the fact that our interference has been merely advice.

[Pageheading: FOREIGN POLICY]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

94 PICCADILLY, 23rd August 1859.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that Lord John Russell has shown him your Majesty's communication, in which your Majesty objects to a proposed despatch to Lord Cowley, on the ground that it would be a departure from the principle of non-intervention which has been publicly proclaimed as the rule for Great Britain in the late events between France and Austria. But Viscount Palmerston would beg humbly to submit to your Majesty that the intervention which all parties agreed that this country ought to abstain from, was active interference by force of arms in the war then going on, but that neither of the great political parties meant or asserted that this country should not interfere by its advice and opinions in regard to the matters to which the war related. Viscount Palmerston can assert that neither he nor any of those who were acting with him out of office ever contemplated giving such a meaning to the doctrine of non-intervention; and that such a meaning never was attached to it by the Conservative Leaders while they were in office, is proved from one end of their Blue Book to the other.[70] The whole course of the Derby Government, in regard to the matters on which the war turned, was one uninterrupted series of interventions by advice, by opinions, and by censure now addressed to one party and now to another. Whatever may be thought of the judgment which was shown by them, or of the bias by which they were guided, the principle on which they acted was undoubtedly right and proper.

England is one of the greatest powers of the world, no event or series of events bearing on the balance of power, or on probabilities of peace or war can be matters of indifference to her, and her right to have and to express opinions on matters thus bearing on her interests is unquestionable; and she is equally entitled to give upon such matters any advice which she may think useful, or to suggest any arrangements which she may deem conducive to the general good.

It is no doubt true that the Conservative Party, since they have ceased to be responsible for the conduct of affairs, have held a different doctrine, and in their anxiety lest the influence of England should be exerted for the benefit of Italy, and to the disadvantage of Austria, have contended that any participation by Great Britain in the negotiations for the settlement of Italy would be a departure from the principle of non-intervention; but their own practice while in office refutes their newly adopted doctrine in opposition; and if that doctrine were to be admitted, Great Britain would, by her own act, reduce herself to the rank of a third-class European State.

[Footnote 70: This was the Blue Book, the production of which would, according to Lord Malmesbury, have saved the Derby Ministry.]

[Pageheading: ITALIAN POLICY]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 24th August 1859.

The Queen is really placed in a position of much difficulty, giving her deep pain. She has been obliged to object to so many drafts sent to her from the Foreign Office on the Italian Question, and yet, no sooner is one withdrawn or altered, than others are submitted exactly of the same purport or tendency, if even couched in new words. The Queen has so often expressed her views that she is almost reluctant to reiterate them. She wishes, however, Lord John to re-peruse the two drafts enclosed, which just came to her. If they have any meaning or object, it must be to show to France that it would be to her interest to break in the Treaty of Zurich the leading conditions to which she pledged herself to Austria at Villafranca. Those preliminaries contained but three provisions affecting Austria: (1) That Austria was to cede Lombardy; (2) That an Italian Confederation should be encouraged, of which Venetia was to form part; (3) That the Dukes of Tuscany and Modena were to return to their Duchies. The two latter clauses must be considered as compensations for the losses inflicted in the first. Both the latter are now to be recommended by England, a neutral in the war, to be broken.

Now, either it is expected that our advice will not be listened to, in which case it would not be useful and hardly dignified to give it, or it is expected that France will follow it. If, on finding herself cheated, Austria were to feel herself obliged to take up arms again, we should be directly answerable for this fresh war. What would then be our alternative? Either to leave France in the lurch, to re-fight her own battle, which would entail lasting danger and disgrace on this country, or to join her in the fresh war against Austria—a misfortune from which the Queen feels herself equally bound to protect her country.

As this is a question of principle on which she clearly understood her Cabinet to have been unanimous, she must ask her correspondence to be circulated amongst its members, with a view to ascertain whether they also would be parties to its reversal, and in order to prevent the necessity of these frequent discussions, which, as the Queen has already said, are very painful to her.


Earl Granville to the Prince Albert.

LONDON, 29th August 1859.

SIR,—In the middle of last week I received at Aldenham a letter from Mr Sidney Herbert,[71] in which he told me that he had just received a visit from Lord Palmerston, much perturbed and annoyed, saying that the Queen had objected to all Lord John's despatches, and appeared to think that it was objectionable for England to give any advice on the subject of Italian affairs. Mr Herbert gave some good advice to Lord Palmerston, but, from the tone of his letter, I gather that he thought the objections made at Osborne unreasonable. I answered that I entirely concurred with him in the interest of everybody, that no feelings of irritation should exist between the Sovereign and her leading Ministers; that it was possible that the Queen, forgetting how very sensitive Lord John was to criticism, had pulled him up more sharply than he liked, but that I was convinced the objections made were not exactly those mentioned by Lord Palmerston. I heard nothing more till I received on Saturday evening a telegram, summoning me to a Cabinet this day. I came to Town immediately, and saw Lord Palmerston yesterday. I enquired the reason of the sudden summons for a Cabinet. He told me that there had been a discussion between the Queen and Lord John; that the Queen had objected to his (Lord John's) proposal that the despatch of 25th July should be now communicated to the French Government. Lord John had informed him of the fact, and had requested him to communicate with the Queen on the subject. Lord Palmerston then read to me a well-written memorandum on the abstract question of giving advice, which he had sent to Her Majesty. He told me that he had been to Osborne; that the Queen had expressed a wish through Sir Charles Wood that he should not discuss the whole matter with her; that he had had a satisfactory conversation with your Royal Highness, of which he gave me an abstract, which, however, contained his own arguments at greater length than your Royal Highness's. He said that Lord John had made a mistake with respect to the end of the despatch, in which Lord Cowley is desired to withhold it till after the Peace of Zurich was concluded. Lord John gave a different interpretation to it from what appeared to be the case, as described by a previous letter of Lord John, in which he had said that the sentence was added at the suggestion of the Cabinet, and with his entire approval. Lord Palmerston states that the Queen did not feel herself authorised to sanction a departure from what had been decided by the Cabinet, without the concurrence of the Cabinet, and that she thought it desirable, if the Cabinet met, that they should agree on the future policy as regards Italy. Lord John also wished for a Cabinet.

I replied that there seemed to be a double question: first, a difference between the Queen and Lord John Russell and himself; and second, the whole question of our Italian Policy. On the first point I could not but remember the apprehension generally felt at the formation of his first Government; that the feeling between the Sovereign and himself might not be such as to give strength to the Government; that the result, however, was most satisfactory. I was not aware of either the Queen or himself having given way on any one point of principle, but the best understanding was kept up in the most honourable way to both, and that, at the end of his Ministry, I knew that the Queen had expressed to several persons how much she regretted to lose his services. That I most sincerely hoped that there was no chance of misunderstanding now arising; that would be most disadvantageous to the Sovereign, to the public service, to the Government, and, above all, to himself. He interrupted me by assuring me that there was not the slightest chance of this. He repeated to me flattering things said by the Queen at the close of his last Administration, and told me that it was impossible for the Queen to have been more kind and civil than at his visit last week at Osborne. I continued that in Italian matters I believed the Cabinet was agreed. Our language to Italian Governments ought to show sympathy with Italy, and let them know that we were anxious that they should be left free to act and decide for themselves; that it should inform them in the clearest manner that in no case were they to obtain active assistance from us, and it ought to avoid giving any advice as to their conduct, which might make us responsible for the evil or danger which might accrue from following such advice. That our language to France and Austria ought to press upon them in every judicious manner the expediency of doing that which was likely to secure the permanent happiness of Italy, and to persuade them to abstain from forcing upon the Italians, persons and forms of Government to which they objected; nothing like a menace or a promise to be used....

I then saw Sidney Herbert, who told me that Charles Wood's report had entirely changed the aspect of things; that it was clear that the Queen had come to the assistance of the Cabinet, instead of opposing them; that reason had been entirely on her side, and that Johnny had reduced the question now to the single point, which was not of much importance, whether the 25th July despatch should now be communicated or not. He told me that Lord John was in a state of great irritation, and ready to kick over the traces. I dined at Lord Palmerston's, and met Sir Charles Wood and Mr Gladstone. I had some guarded conversation with the latter, who seemed very reasonable. Sir Charles Wood gave me all the information which I required. It appears to me that the really important point is that the whole Cabinet should know the real question between the Queen and her Ministers, and that, if Lord John can find plausible reasons for changing the date of the communication of the despatch, it may be better for the Queen to consent to this. Some of us will take care to have a decided opinion about the future course of our policy.

I presume Sir George Grey will be at the Cabinet, and will be able to report to your Royal Highness what has passed. If he is not there, I will write again. I have the honour to be, Sir, with great respect, your Royal Highness's obedient, humble, and faithful Servant,


[Footnote 71: See Lord Fitzmaurice's Life of Lord Granville, vol. i. chap. xiii.]


Earl Granville to the Prince Albert.

PRIVY COUNCIL OFFICE, 29th August 1859.

SIR,—The Cabinet was very satisfactory. Lord John looked ill, and evidently ashamed of much of his case. Many of the Cabinet thought that the despatch of 25th July had not only been sent but communicated. Others attached a different meaning to the closing paragraph than what it appears to bear. Lord John produced a most objectionable draft of despatch in lieu of that of the 25th. It was universally condemned, and Lord Palmerston was empowered to tell the Queen that the Cabinet now thought that the despatch of the 25th might be communicated.

Lords Palmerston and John Russell asked for further powers during the Recess, and recommended that we should give an opinion in favour of annexation of duchies to Sardinia. This was decidedly objected to, and we all professed our readiness to meet again if necessary.[72]

The Cabinet thoroughly understood what had passed between the Queen and her two Ministers, although we could not get Lord John to show us all we required.

Gladstone took me aside after it was over to say that I must have thought him stupid yesterday evening, that now he knew the facts he thought Her Majesty had been put to most unnecessary annoyance. The Chancellor said something of the same sort. I never saw the Cabinet more united.

The Duke of Argyll, Lord Elgin, and Mr Cardwell were absent. I am, Sir, with great respect, your obedient, humble, and faithful Servant,


[Footnote 72: "Pam. asked for fuller powers to act during the recess, which was met by a general assurance of readiness to come up by night trains." Lord Granville to the Duke of Argyll. See the Life of Lord Granville, vol. i. p. 358.]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

Balmoral, 5th September 1859.

Lord John Russell will not be surprised if the despatches of Lord Cowley and drafts by Lord John in answer to them, which the Queen returns to him, have given her much pain. Here we have the very interference with advice to which the Queen had objected when officially brought before her for her sanction, to which the Cabinet objected, and which Lord John Russell agreed to withdraw, carried on by direct communication of the Prime Minister through the French Ambassador with the Emperor; and we have the very effect produced which the Queen dreaded, viz. the French Minister insinuating that we called upon his master to do that which he would consider so dishonourable that he would rather resign than be a party to it! What is the use of the Queen's open and, she fears, sometimes wearisome correspondence, with her Ministers, what the use of long deliberations of the Cabinet, if the very policy can be carried out by indirect means which is set aside officially, and what protection has the Queen against this practice? Lord John Russell's distinction also between his own official and private opinion or advice given to a Foreign Minister is a most dangerous, and, the Queen thinks, untenable theory, open to the same objections, for what he states will have the weight of the official character of the Foreign Secretary, whether stated as his private or his public opinion. His advice to the Marquis d'Azeglio[73] is moreover quite open to the inference drawn by Count Walewski, that it is an encouragement to Sardinia, to Military intervention in and occupation of the Duchies, and Lord John Russell's answer hardly meets this point if left as it stands at present; for "the name of the King of Sardinia,... the chief of a well-disciplined army," will have little influence unless he is prepared to use that army.

The Queen must ask Lord John to instruct Lord Cowley to state to Count Walewski that no opinions expressed on Foreign Policy are those of "Her Majesty's Government" but those which are given in the official and regular way, and that Her Majesty's Government never thought of advising the French Government to break the solemn engagements into which the Emperor Napoleon entered towards the Emperor of Austria at Villafranca.

The Queen asks Lord John to communicate this letter to Lord Palmerston.

[Footnote 73: Massimo d'Azeglio, Sardinian Commissioner in the Romagna. He had been Prime Minister of Sardinia from 1849 till 1852, when Cavour, who had been in his ministry, succeeded him.]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

BALMORAL, 6th September 1859.

The Queen returns Lord Palmerston's letter, together with the other papers sent to her, to Lord John. She is glad to find that he thinks that no answer ought to be given to Count Persigny, but she thinks it important that it should be stated to him that no answer can be given. Unfortunately, here has been again the Prime Minister declaring that he quite agrees with the French Ambassador, but that the proposal should come officially from France to be placed before the Cabinet. The inference must be that the Cabinet and the Queen will, as a matter of course, agree also, when it is so submitted. Now what is it that Lord Palmerston has approved? A plan for an alliance of England with France for the purpose of overruling Austria, if the Duchies in which she is the heir, and to which the Archdukes were to return in accordance with the stipulations of Villafranca, were given to Sardinia and Austria should object. It is hoped indeed that this will not immediately lead to war with her, but France is to expect that she will not be left to fight single-handed for an object declared to be more English than French! Thus we are dragged step by step into the position of a party in the Italian strife. The Queen thinks it incumbent upon her not to leave Lord John Russell in ignorance of the fact that she could not approve such a policy reversing our whole position since the commencement of the War.

The Queen must leave it to Lord John to consider how far it would be fair to his colleagues in the Cabinet to leave them unacquainted with the various private steps lately taken, which must seriously affect their free consideration of the important question upon which they have hitherto pledged themselves to a distinct principle.

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BALMORAL, 6th September 1859.

The Queen returns to Lord Palmerston his correspondence with M. de Persigny. Lord John Russell will have sent him her letter to him on this subject. She has nothing to add, but to repeat her conviction of the great danger and inconvenience arising out of such private communications, and the apprehension she must naturally feel that the attempt to convince the Emperor Napoleon that it would be for his interest to break his word to the Emperor of Austria should reflect upon the honour of the Queen's Government. She must insist upon this being distinctly guarded against.


Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

ABERGELDIE, 7th September 1859.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty; he cannot refrain from making some remarks on your Majesty's letter of yesterday.

Lord Palmerston appears to have answered M. de Persigny by saying that he personally agreed with him, but that the proposition he had sketched must come from the French Government; that it must come from them officially, and it would then have to be maturely considered by the Cabinet.

Lord John Russell sees nothing to object to in this language. It might be embarrassing to Lord Palmerston if such a proposition were to come from France, and were to be rejected by the Cabinet. But Lord Palmerston could easily explain the matter to M. de Persigny. Lord Palmerston does not appear to have committed your Majesty, or Lord John Russell, or the Cabinet in any way.

On the other hand, your Majesty cannot mean that the Cabinet is to be precluded from maturely considering any proposition which may come officially from France.

Lord John Russell feels, on his own part, that he must offer to your Majesty such advice as he thinks best adapted to secure the interests and dignity of your Majesty and the country. He will be held by Parliament responsible for that advice. It will be always in your Majesty's power to reject it altogether.

Lord John Russell is of opinion that there never was a time when it was less expedient to fetter this country by prospective engagements. But it does not follow that the policy pursued last autumn and winter, and which ended in a war in Italy, would be the best course in any future contingency. Should another war arise it will be very difficult for Great Britain to remain neutral. For this reason it is desirable to prevent such a war, if possible. It was difficult last winter, and may be still more difficult this winter. For the present there is no better course than to keep this country free from engagements. After the peace of Zurich is made, or not made, we shall see our way better.

Lord John Russell has never concealed his opinions from his colleagues. He even warned them that France might make such a proposition as M. de Persigny now contemplates.

The enclosed letter from Lord Palmerston and Mr Fane's[74] despatch will show the feelings which exist between Austria and Prussia. The Emperor Napoleon does not appear to have satisfied Prince Metternich. His object evidently is to gain time.

[Footnote 74: Julian Henry Fane, son of the eleventh Earl of Westmorland, and Secretary of Embassy at Vienna.]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

BALMORAL, 7th September 1859.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter. She can ask for nothing better than "that we should be kept from any engagements," and she never could have intended to convey the impression that she wished to "see the Cabinet precluded from taking into consideration any proposal France might make." What she objects to is binding beforehand the Government by expressions of opinion of its leading members to the French Government, and thus bringing about those French proposals which it will be most embarrassing to the Cabinet either to reject or adopt. It is absolutely necessary, therefore, that the French Government should be told that the opinions given were private opinions not binding the Government. Lord John has not yet sent to the Queen drafts in conformity with her wishes expressed in her letter of the day before yesterday.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

BROADLANDS, 9th September 1859.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and has had the honour to receive your Majesty's communication of the 6th of this month; and although he had the honour of addressing your Majesty yesterday afternoon, he deems it his duty to submit some observations upon this communication.

Your Majesty states that Viscount Palmerston in his letter to Count Persigny endeavoured to persuade the Emperor of the French to break his word to the Emperor of Austria, but Viscount Palmerston must beg very respectfully but entirely to deny that accusation....[75]

Your Majesty is pleased to observe upon the danger and inconvenience of private communications with Foreign Ministers, and to add that your Majesty must insist upon this being distinctly guarded against. Viscount [Palmerston] would be very desirous of knowing the precise meaning of those last words. If your Majesty means that what is to be guarded against is any attempt to induce a Foreign Sovereign to break his word, Viscount Palmerston cordially subscribes to that opinion, and maintains that he has not done so in the past, and declares that he has no intention of doing so in the future. But if your Majesty's meaning is that Viscount Palmerston is to be debarred from communicating with Foreign Ministers except for the purpose of informing them officially of formal decisions of the British Government, Viscount Palmerston would beg humbly and respectfully to represent to your Majesty that such a curtailment of the proper and constitutional functions of the office which he holds would render it impossible for him to serve your Majesty consistently with his own honour or with advantage to the public interest.

[Footnote 75: Lord Palmerston then gives a very long and detailed account of his position.]

[Pageheading: THE QUEEN'S OPINION]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BALMORAL, 11th September 1859.

Lord Palmerston has written (on the 8th) a long letter to the Queen, which, besides giving his private opinion on the politics of Italy, which were not disputed, purports to show that when a principle of policy had been adopted by the Cabinet and sanctioned by the Sovereign, the Foreign Secretary ought not to be impeded in carrying out the details, either by objections raised to them by the Sovereign, or by making them dependent on the meetings of Cabinets, difficult to obtain at this time of year. Now the question raised by the Queen was just the reverse. The principle adopted by the Cabinet and sanctioned by the Queen was: not to interfere by active advice with the peace to be made at Zurich; the Foreign Secretary had submitted a draft which had appeared to the Queen to be in contradiction to this principle, which, upon the Sovereign's objection, he withdrew; the Cabinet was summoned and rejected a similar draft submitted to them, and the Queen then complained that the very same advice should have been given by the Prime Minister in an indirect way to which the Sovereign and Cabinet could not agree openly. Lord Palmerston's letter was not communicated to the Queen until it had been alluded to in a public despatch, and Count Walewski had insinuated to our Ambassador that, rather than be a party to a line of conduct, which he would look upon as dishonourable for his master, he would resign office. What the Queen has asked for is: an intimation to the French Government that private communications like that of Lord Palmerston to M. de Persigny must not be looked upon as the official expression of the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, and that we disclaim ever having intended to induce the Emperor to break his engagements made at Villafranca, whatever they may have been. The Queen does not conceive that Lord Palmerston can object to this course, nor does he attempt to do so in his letter.

P.S.—Since writing the above the Queen has received Lord Palmerston's letter of the 9th. As she has just written at length, she does not conceive that it would be necessary to make any further observations in reply, except to a distinct question put by him in the latter part of his letter, viz. what the Queen wishes to have "distinctly guarded against."

It is the danger and inconvenience of private communications with Foreign Ministers, without a distinct understanding that they are strictly private, and not to be treated as conveying the opinions of Her Majesty's Government, where the sanction of the Crown and adhesion of the Cabinet have not been obtained. Lord John Russell has now expressed this in a paragraph in one of his drafts to Lord Cowley, which he will send to Lord Palmerston.

As a proof of the necessity of such caution, the Queen, has only to refer to the public use made of Lord Palmerston's private letter to Count Persigny, and the use made to our prejudice by the Emperor Napoleon at the time of the armistice at Villafranca of a private communication with Count Persigny, which was represented to imply assent to certain conditions of peace by England, with a desire of pressing them on Austria, when no opinion had been expressed by the Government to justify such an inference.

[Pageheading: ST JUAN]

The Duke of Newcastle to Queen Victoria.

DOWNING STREET, 26th September 1859.

The Duke of Newcastle presents his humble duty to your Majesty.

Your Majesty will receive from Sir George Lewis full information of the serious intelligence which has been received to-day from Washington and Vancouver Island respecting the Military occupation by United States troops of the island of St Juan,[76] and of the view taken of it by your Majesty's Government.

The Duke of Newcastle begs leave to receive your Majesty's instructions upon the acceptance of an offer made by Lord Clarendon whilst on a visit at Clumber last week. Lord Clarendon received not long ago a private letter from the President of the United States. He proposes that in answering this letter he should express his concern at these untoward events, and particularly at their occurrence at a time when, if not speedily settled, they would prevent the fulfilment of a project which he had reason to think had been in contemplation—a visit to Washington by the Prince of Wales on his return from Canada.

Lord Clarendon expresses his belief that nothing would so much gratify Mr Buchanan as a visit from His Royal Highness to the United States during his Presidency....

Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell see no objection to such a letter from Lord Clarendon, which, whilst it would carry weight as coming from one occupying so high a position in this country, would bear no official character; but as the name of the Prince of Wales would be used, however hypothetically, such a letter would not be written by Lord Clarendon or accepted by the Government without your Majesty's sanction.

The Duke of Newcastle therefore requests to be favoured with your Majesty's commands that he may communicate them to Lord Clarendon.

[Footnote 76: A dispute had arisen out of the Oregon affair (see ante, vol. ii., Introductory Notes to Chapters XIV, and XV), concerning the rival claims of this country and the United States to the small island of St Juan, situated between Vancouver Island and the State of Washington, which is adjacent to the Canadian frontier.]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.[77]

WINDSOR CASTLE, 1st December 1859.

The Queen returns Lord Cowley's interesting letter. She trusts that it will be made quite clear to the Emperor that he has no chance of getting us to join him in the war with Austria, which he may be tempted or driven to renew. This alternative constantly recurs to his mind....

[Footnote 77: On the 10th of November the Treaty of Zurich, embodying the terms arranged at Villafranca, had been signed, and a Congress was determined upon, to settle Italian affairs.]


Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 1st December 1859.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty; he has written to Lord Cowley, according to your Majesty's gracious permission. The question of supporting the Emperor of the French, if Austria should attempt force to impose a government in Italy against the popular will, must be judged of according to the circumstances, should they arise. Lord John Russell is certainly not prepared to say that a case may not arise when the interests of Great Britain might require that she should give material support to the Emperor of the French. But he considers such a case as very improbable, and that the fear of such an alliance will prevent Austria from disturbing the peace of Europe.

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 2nd December 1859.

The Queen was extremely sorry to find from Lord John Russell's letter of yesterday that he contemplates the possibility of our joining France in a fresh Italian war or demonstration of war against Austria, which the Queen had put entirely out of the question. If the Emperor of the French were allowed to believe in such a possibility, he would have it in his power to bring it about, or obtain a just cause of complaint against us, if we abandoned him. It would be just as dangerous and unfair towards the Emperor to mislead him in this respect as it would be for the Queen to conceal from Lord John that under no pretence will she depart from her position of neutrality in the Italian quarrel, and inflict upon her country and Europe the calamity of war on that account.

[Pageheading: SIR JAMES HUDSON]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 6th December 1859.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter recommending Sir James Hudson[78] as the Second Representative at the Congress of Paris. The Queen must decline sanctioning this selection. Lord John Russell has in his last letters avowed his conviction that England cannot again remain neutral in an Italian war, and his opinion that she ought to support France and Sardinia by arms if Austria were to attempt to recover her supremacy by force. Lord Cowley wrote on the 29th ult. that Prince Metternich declared that Austria kept her Army ready because she could not permit either the military occupation of the Duchies by Sardinia or their annexation to that kingdom. Lord Palmerston sent to the Queen yesterday evening the copy of a letter he wrote to Count Persigny urging the Emperor Napoleon by every argument he can find to consent to this annexation, even to the length of assuring him that such a state would always be obliged to lean on France.

The Queen cannot help drawing her conclusions from these facts, and feels more than ever the great responsibility resting on her, to preserve to her people the blessings of peace. She wishes this letter to be communicated to Lord Palmerston and to the Cabinet.

The Queen approves of Lord Cowley as her First Representative at the Congress.

[Footnote 78: Sir James Hudson, Minister at Turin, had been a sympathiser in the policy of Cavour, to an extent almost incompatible with his position as a British representative.]

[Pageheading: CENTRAL ITALY]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 7th December 1859.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter of yesterday. Although to avoid a long written discussion, she has not in her last letter stated any reason for her objecting to Sir James Hudson as Plenipotentiary at the Congress, she has no objection to state to Lord John that it is simply her want of confidence in him, being the result of her having watched his conduct at his post at Turin during these last years. The Queen's representative at Paris ought to be a person in whom she can have entire confidence, that English interests alone will sway his conduct. From Lord John Russell's letter it appears that many of his colleagues in Cabinet saw equal objections to the appointment.

The Queen repeats her wish that her letter of yesterday may be communicated to the Cabinet.

Lord Cowley's letter, which she returns, is not calculated to diminish the Queen's alarm as to the direction in which we are being systematically driven, viz. War to support the Emperor Napoleon, who almost claims such support already as his right! He has already shifted his ground further, and asks for it in case Austria should oppose "the armed interference of Sardinia in the affairs of Central Italy." Now Sardinia can have no more right to such interference than Austria; yet the Emperor says "he is quite determined to renew the war in case Austria resists." It is under these circumstances that the advice of the Prime Minister of England to the Emperor, to withdraw the only impediment which restrains the action of Sardinia, becomes a matter of such grave moment.

The Queen is determined to hold to her neutrality in the Italian intrigues, revolutions, and wars. It is true, Lord John says, "it becomes a great power like Great Britain to preserve the peace of Europe, by throwing her great weight into the scale which has justice on its side." But where justice lies, admits of every variety of opinion.

The Party placed in absolute power by a revolution and a foreign invasion is not necessarily the exponent of the real wishes of a people, and Lord Cowley reports Mr Layard "hot from Italy to confirm him in the opinion he has always held, that the annexation of Tuscany to Sardinia is not practicable." This, however, Lord Palmerston urges, and if it be agreed to by the Emperor and attempted by Sardinia, Lord John would probably wish England to fight for it as the cause of justice.

Has Lord John ever contemplated the probability of Austria not being abandoned a second time by Germany, when attacked by France? The Emperor is sure to have calculated upon this, and has not played his game badly, if he can get the Alliance of England to sanction and foster his attack upon the Rhine, which would inevitably follow. The Queen believes this to be a cherished object of France, and the success certain if we become her dupes. The Queen can hardly for a moment bring herself to think of the consequences.

She would wish this letter also to be shown to the Cabinet.


Earl Granville to the Prince Albert.

LONDON, 8th December 1859.

SIR,—Lord John stated in what appeared to me a very fair way what had taken place between himself and Lord Palmerston in their communications with Her Majesty, and read Her Majesty's letters. At the end of his statement the Chancellor asked what was the question to be decided by the Cabinet. Lord John answered that he wished to know whether he was to inform Her Majesty that the Cabinet were of opinion that they were still respectfully of opinion that Sir James Hudson was the fittest person to be named Second Plenipotentiary, or whether he should acquiesce in Her Majesty's commands, reserving his own opinion as to the fitness of Sir James. The Chancellor answered: "Undoubtedly the second course will be the best." I then stated my reasons, or rather repeated them, for objecting to Sir James Hudson. Mr Gladstone made a hesitating remark. Sir G. Lewis and the Duke of Argyll, Sir Charles Wood, and Sir George Grey—the latter very strongly—supported the second course proposed by Lord John. Lord Palmerston spoke with some temper and dogmatically as to who were right and who were wrong, but advised Lord John to take the second course. The appointment of Lord Wodehouse[79] was proposed. Some of us do not think it a very good one, but there are no sufficient grounds for our opposing it. I am not sure that Gladstone would not go any lengths in supporting Lords Palmerston and John Russell on the Italian Question, although he is more cautious than they are. The feeling of the rest of the Cabinet, as far as I can judge, is perfectly sound about war, and on our taking an English and not a purely Sardinian attitude; but they are all inclined to sympathise with the national feeling in Italy, and averse to the restoration of the Dukes by force or by intrigue.

Lord John was sore and nervous, but talked of his letter to the Queen, and Lord Palmerston's to Persigny, as "unlucky." Lord Palmerston seems convinced that he is perfectly in the right, and everybody else in the wrong, and would, I am sure, take advantage of any step, taken without sufficient consideration by the Queen, to make a stand for his own policy....

I have the honour to be, Sir, with great respect, your Royal Highness's obedient and faithful Servant,


[Footnote 79: Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and afterwards, as Earl of Kimberley, a member of successive Liberal Cabinets.]

[Pageheading: DIVORCE CASES]

Queen Victoria to the Lord Chancellor (Lord Campbell).

WINDSOR CASTLE, 26th December 1859.

The Queen wishes to ask the Lord Chancellor whether no steps can be taken to prevent the present publicity of the proceedings before the new Divorce Court. These cases, which must necessarily increase when the new law becomes more and more known, fill now almost daily a large portion of the newspapers, and are of so scandalous a character that it makes it almost impossible for a paper to be trusted in the hands of a young lady or boy. None of the worst French novels from which careful parents would try to protect their children can be as bad as what is daily brought and laid upon the breakfast-table of every educated family in England, and its effect must be most pernicious to the public morals of the country.[80]

[Footnote 80: Lord Campbell replied that having attempted in the last session to introduce a measure to give effect to the Queen's wish, and having been defeated, he was helpless to prevent the evil.]

Queen Victoria to the Emperor of the French.

WINDSOR CASTLE, le 31 Decembre 1859.

SIRE ET MON CHER FRERE,—Je viens comme de coutume offrir a votre Majeste nos felicitations bien sinceres a l'occasion de la nouvelle annee. Puisse-t-elle ne vous apporter que du bonheur et du contentement! L'annee qui vient de s'ecouler a ete orageuse et penible et a fait souffrir bien des c[oe]rs. Je prie Dieu que celle dans laquelle nous entrons nous permette de voir s'accomplir l'[oe]uvre de la pacification, avec tous ses bienfaits pour le repos et le progres du monde. Il y aura encore a reconcilier bien des opinions divergentes et des interets apparemment opposes; mais avec l'aide du Ciel et une ferme resolution de ne vouloir que le bien de ceux dont nous avons a regler le sort, il ne faut pas en desesperer.

Nous avons eu le plaisir de posseder pendant quelques semaines notre chere fille et son mari, qu'il nous a ete bien doux de revoir au sein de notre famille. Notre fils aine passe ses vacances avec nous, mais retournera prochainement a Oxford pour reprendre ses etudes.

Lady Ely vient de nous dire qu'elle a trouve votre Majeste ainsi que l'Imperatrice et le petit Prince dans la meilleure sante ce qui nous a fait bien du plaisir d'entendre.

Le Prince me charge d'offrir ses hommages les plus affectueux a votre Majeste, et, en vous renouvelant les expressions de ma sincere amitie, je me dis, Sire et cher Frere, de V.M.I, la bonne et affectionnee S[oe]ur et Amie,




At the end of 1859, Mr Cobden had offered his services to the Government to negotiate a commercial treaty with France, and had been warmly encouraged in the scheme by Mr Gladstone. In January 1860, he was officially appointed a Plenipotentiary, with Lord Cowley, for this purpose, and on the 23rd of that month the treaty was signed. It included mutual remissions and reductions of import duties, and was contingent on obtaining the assent of the British Parliament, but neither party was fettered by any engagement not to extend similar concessions to other countries. In February, on the introduction of the Budget, the treaty was brought before the House of Commons, and ratified by a great majority; at the same time Mr Gladstone abolished a large number of import duties, but increased the income-tax for incomes over L150, from ninepence to tenpence in the pound. His proposal to repeal the paper duties was rejected by the Peers, the majority in its favour in the Commons having sunk to nine. A Commons Committee was appointed to deal with this conflict between the Houses, and resolutions defining the powers of the Peers in money bills were passed by the Lower House, Lord Palmerston clearly showing himself in sympathy with the Lords. Mr Gladstone expressed a desire to resign, in consequence of his difference with his colleagues, while Lord Derby and Lord Malmesbury intimated privately that they would support Lord Palmerston in office against any Radical secession. A Reform Bill of Lord John Russell, reducing the Borough Franchise to L6, and making a moderate redistribution of seats, was received with indifference, and eventually dropped.

Italian affairs mainly absorbed the attention of the country. The intended international congress was abandoned, owing to the attitude adopted by the French Emperor towards the Pope, but the former now obtained the annexation of Savoy and Nice, not, as had been arranged in 1858 as a reward for assisting to set Italy free "from the Alps to the Adriatic"—an ideal which had not been realised—but as a price for assisting Piedmont to incorporate the Central Italian Provinces. The annexation was strongly resented, and suspicions of French designs were aroused to such an extent as to give a substantial impetus to the Volunteer movement in this country. By the summer, 130,000 Volunteers had been enrolled, and, at a review in Hyde Park, 21,000 men marched past the Queen, while in August, in consequence of the same apprehensions, it was decided by a large vote to carry out the recommendations of the National Defence Commission.

The Swiss made an ineffectual protest against the annexation of that part of Savoy which had been neutralised by the treaty of Vienna, while, on the other hand, the Emperor Napoleon maintained that the people of Savoy and Nice had the same right to transfer their country to France, as Tuscany and the Aemilia (under which name the Duchies of Parma and Modena and the Romagna were now united) had to place themselves under the King of Sardinia. This they decided in March, by universal suffrage, to do; a few days later the treaty for the annexation of Savoy and Nice was signed, and in April it was ratified in the Piedmontese Parliament, Garibaldi, the deputy for Nice, his native town, voting against it. In the same month, a plebiscite, taken in the provinces affected, showed an immense majority in favour of annexation. Garibaldi himself was soon afterwards engaged in rendering assistance to the Sicilians in their insurrection against the despotic King Francis II. Assuming the title of "Dictator of Sicily, in the name of Victor Emmanuel," Garibaldi attacked and occupied Palermo, and having established his ascendency in the island, invaded the Neapolitan territory on the mainland. The Sardinian Government, for diplomatic reasons, disavowed the expedition, but gave a retrospective assent to it later in the year.

The French Emperor's policy in Syria added to the distrust with which he was regarded. The Maronites, a Christian tribe, had been attacked and massacred by the Druses, and the Emperor had proposed to send troops to restore order. This step was eventually taken, after a European conference had been held; but the Emperor's proposal was so severely criticised that he wrote a long letter to the French Ambassador in London, reviewing and justifying his policy in Italy and elsewhere, since the Peace of Villafranca.

Garibaldi had ignored the instructions of Victor Emmanuel to abstain from further operations against Naples, until the two Sicilies had voted for absorption into United Italy; King Francis fled to Gaeta, and Garibaldi entered the capital. At the same time, Cavour, in spite of a French protest, determined upon the invasion of the Papal States, and acted so promptly that in three weeks all effective opposition to the Italian cause in that territory was put down, and Umbria and the Marches were conquered. In October, the Piedmontese Parliament voted for the annexation of such of the southern Italian provinces as should declare themselves in favour of it; the Two Sicilies having accepted the offer by overwhelming majorities, the King and Garibaldi joined hands at Teano, and finally defeated the Bourbon army, afterwards entering Naples. The Marches and Umbria also declared for incorporation in the new Kingdom.

In July, the Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Duke of Newcastle, left England for a tour in Canada, where he was welcomed with unbounded enthusiasm; he afterwards proceeded to the United States, visiting New York, Chicago, and other great cities, being received by President Buchanan at Washington. The Prince returned home in the course of November.

The Abolitionist troubles, which for some time had been acute in the States, came to a crisis in the last days of the year, South Carolina adopting autonomous ordinances, declaring her own independence and sovereignty as a State, and her secession from the Union.

The refusal of the Chinese Government to ratify the Treaty of Tien-tsin, and an unwarranted attack on certain British ships, led to a revival of hostilities. A desire being expressed by the Chinese to resume negotiations, some of the British representatives despatched for that purpose were treacherously captured, and treated with great cruelty. The allied troops of England and France thereupon, marched to Pekin, when reparation was made, and retribution, exacted for the outrages. A Convention was eventually signed on the 24th of October.



The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 6th January 1860.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA,—I have to thank you for a most affectionate and gracious letter of the 3rd....

I will speak to my pianist about Wagner's Lohengrin; he plays with great taste and feeling, and I purchased a fine Parisian piano to enable him to go on satisfactorily.

Now I must speak a little of passing events. Louis Napoleon wished for a Congress because it would have placed a new authority between himself and the Italians, whom he fears evidently concerning their fondness of assassinating people. The pamphlet, "The Pope and the Congress," remains incomprehensible[1]; it will do him much harm, and will deprive him of the confidence of the Catholics who have been in France his most devoted supporters. Now the Congress is then postponed, but what is to be done with Italy? One notion is, that there would be some arrangement by which Piedmont would receive more, Savoy would go to France, and England would receive Sardinia. I am sure that England would by no means wish to have Sardinia. It will give me great pleasure to hear what Lord Cowley has reported on these subjects. I understand that Louis Napoleon is now much occupied with Germany, and studies its resources. This is somewhat alarming, as he had followed, it seems, the same course about Italy. Gare la bombe, the Prussians may say. One cannot understand why Louis Napoleon is using so many odd subterfuges when plain acting would from the month of September have settled everything. I must say that I found Walewski at that time very sensible and conservative. His retiring will give the impression that things are now to be carried on in a less conservative way, and people will be much alarmed. I know Thouvenel, and liked him, but that was in the poor King's time. In England his nomination will not give much pleasure, I should imagine, as he was in the situation to oppose English notions in the Orient.... Your devoted Uncle,


[Footnote 1: This famous pamphlet, issued (like that of February 1859, ante, 25th January, 1859, note 7) under the nominal authorship of M. de la Gueronniere, expounded the Emperor'sview that the Pope should be deprived of his temporal dominions, Rome excepted. Its publication brought about the resignation of Count Walewski (who was succeeded by M. de Thouvenel) and the abandonment of the proposed Congress.]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 11th January 1860.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter, written after the Cabinet yesterday evening. She was much relieved by finding a proposal to call upon France and Austria not to interfere in Italy substituted for the former one implying war on our part for the defence of the Provisional Governments of Central Italy. The Queen must consider this new proposal, however, as partial and incomplete as long as Sardinia is not asked as well to abstain from interference. Austria has reversionary rights in Tuscany and Modena, Sardinia has no rights at all, if a desire for acquisition is not to be considered as one. Austria will probably say she has no intention of interfering as long as Sardinia does not, but she cannot allow Sardinia to possess herself of her inheritance under her very eyes. It is also incorrect to place France and Austria entirely in the same line; Austria being an Italian power in virtue of Venetia, and France having nothing whatever to do in Italy.

[Pageheading: WHIG TRADITIONS]

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

PEMBROKE LODGE, 11th January 1860.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty; he has just had the honour to receive your Majesty's letter of this date.

Lord John Russell has sent to Lord Palmerston the proposal he humbly submits to your Majesty.

He will therefore only venture to say that the doctrines of the Revolution of 1688, doctrines which were supported by Mr Fox, Mr Pitt, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Castlereagh, Mr Canning, and Lord Grey, can hardly be abandoned in these days by your Majesty's present advisers. According to those doctrines, all power held by Sovereigns may be forfeited by misconduct, and each nation is the judge of its own internal government.[2]

Lord John Russell can hardly be expected to abjure those opinions, or to act in opposition to them.

[Footnote 2: In a despatch of the 27th of October, Lord John took the same ground in the case of Naples. After quoting with approval the view taken by Vattel of the lawfulness of the assistance given by the United Provinces to the Prince of Orange, and his conclusion that it is justifiable to assist patriots revolting against an oppressor for "good reasons," he stated that the question was whether the people of Naples and of the Roman States took up arms against their Government for good reasons; and of this matter, he added, the people themselves were the best judges.]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 11th January 1860.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's note of this day, in which she is not able to find any answer to her letter, or even an allusion to what she had written, viz. that Austria and France being asked to abstain from interference, such an arrangement would be partial and incomplete unless Sardinia was pledged also to non-interference. The Queen cannot make out what the doctrines of the Revolution of 1688 can have to do with this, or how it would necessitate Lord John to abjure them.

[Pageheading: AFFAIRS OF ITALY]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 17th January 1860.

MY BELOVED UNCLE,—Your dear letter of the 13th reached me on Saturday, and I at once forwarded your letter to good and faithful Clark, who was for two months unable to attend us from a severe attack of illness, but who is, I am happy to say, much better, indeed his own good self again, and who is now here.[3] This good account you give us of your precious health makes us truly happy. It is such a blessing.

Affairs are in a sad and complicated state, and though we modify matters as much as we can, we can't entirely keep our Ministers (the two) from doing something. You will hear no doubt of the last proposal soon, viz. that France and Austria should both agree not to interfere in Italy—France withdrawing her troops from Rome, and Sardinia to be asked not to send any troops into the Duchies until there has been a final vote expressive of their wishes. We could not prevent this proposal, which I doubt being accepted—as the rest of the Cabinet thought it could not be opposed, and entailed no material support. This country never would consent to be entangled in a war for this Italian quarrel....

We have a large party again to-day for the Play which we have to-morrow. We had a very successful one last week. The Persignys come to-day.

Now I must end. With Albert's love, ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 3: The Queen, later in the year, lent Bagshot Park temporarily to Sir James Clark.]


[Pageheading: VICTOR EMMANUEL]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 21st January 1860.

The Queen returns the enclosed important letter from Lord Cowley, and Lord John Russell's answers—documents which she trusts will be communicated to the Cabinet. The Emperor shows unwillingness to evacuate Rome and Lombardy, disinclination to admit of the annexation of the Duchies to Sardinia, a feeling that he could not do so without appearing dishonourable in the eyes of Austria, and a determination to rob Sardinia of Savoy in order to repay the French Nation for the rupture with the Pope, and the abandonment of a protective tariff by the reconquest of at least a portion of the "frontieres naturelles de la France."[4] Lord Cowley's letter proves clearly that it is (as the Queen all along felt and often said) most dangerous for us to offer to bind ourselves to a common action with the Emperor with regard to Italy, whilst he has entered into a variety of engagements with the different parties engaged in the dispute, of which we know nothing, and has objects in view which we can only guess at, and which have not the good of Italy in view, but his own aggrandisement to the serious detriment of Europe.

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