The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
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With regard to Lord John Russell's answer, the Queen will only say that our proposal having been made by us after serious reflection and the anxious discussion of the Cabinet and the Queen, no deviation from it ought to take place without affording them ample opportunity to consider the bearings and probable results of such alteration.

[Footnote 4: The cession by King Victor Emmanuel of Savoy (the cradle of his race) and of Nice to France was the consideration offered at Plombieres for obtaining French support to the movement for freeing Italy "from the Alps to the Adriatic"; that result not having been achieved, a like price was now offered for French assistance in effecting the annexation of the Central Italian provinces.]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 22nd January 1860.

The Queen has received Lord Palmerston's note and enclosures. She rather expects to be advised by her Ministers as to the course to be adopted in matters which may lead to angry debate in the House of Lords, than to give personal directions on a case so incompletely placed before her; Lord Willoughby's letter does not even name the persons in question nor the grounds upon which he assumes "they would not be received at Court."[5] The Queen does not know how far admission or non-admission trenches upon the privileges of the House; from the submitted printed regulation, however, she would gather that the Lord High Chamberlain has full power to admit or exclude. If Lord Palmerston were to see Lord Granville as Leader, and the Lord Chancellor as Speaker, of the House of Lords together with Lord Willoughby, they might so far discuss the question as to enable Lord Palmerston to submit a decision for the Queen's consideration to-morrow.

[Footnote 5: Lord Willoughby's question had reference to a Peeress, who, he thought, would not be received at Court. The difference between a State Opening of Parliament and a Drawing-room was pointed out in Lord Palmerston's reply. Though it would be "unpleasant to the Peeresses to find themselves sitting next to a person with whom they do not associate," the Premier advised no interference with the lady in question, if she persisted in attending.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 31st January 1860.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Accept my warmest thanks for your kind letter of the 27th, received on Saturday—by which I am delighted to see what sport you have had. I have such an aversion for hunting that I am quite pleased to hear of the destruction of the fifty-one foxes. I suppose it was not cold enough for wolves.

I think Parliament has had a wholesome effect upon certain people; and that they are altogether frightened. There has been a strong despatch written relative to Savoy—and altogether I think matters are taking a better turn. The feeling of all parties and this whole country is—to let Italy settle its own affairs—and England to keep quite out of it....

We shall see the good Aumales to-night, who are staying with the Van de Weyers at New Lodge,[6] which is un vrai bijou: you must see it when you come here again, for it is one of the nicest and most charming houses I know.

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


[Footnote 6: On the borders of Windsor Forest.]

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 3rd February 1860.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA,—... New Lodge must be exceedingly pretty, and, God willing, I ought once to get sight of it. By all one can hear, the Italians certainly will attack the Austrians, if they are not told to leave it alone; Victor Emmanuel speaks openly of it, just as he did last year, when one also thought it was a mere bravado. Things look in most directions very gloomy; my neighbour is creating dangers for himself by the constitutional Government he gives to Italy. The French say, "Sommes-nous moins que les Italiens pour avoir un peu de liberte?" This may become more dangerous as things move on, not that I should regret it; we can never have any security as long as France remains without a constitutional Government. We have had slight beginnings of cold, but not much of it, but the glass was fearfully low. My ball of the 1st was rather pretty, and people were in great dancing mood. Princess Orloff, a Troubetzkoi, is a very pleasing young woman. There is also a pretty Princess Metchersky. We had some new English families inconceivably ugly; it is quite a calamity, they look as if they had been selected on purpose. Having still the happiness of being one of your Privy Council, I mean to propose some measure to obviate such a sad state of affairs. We have all of a sudden snow.... Your truly devoted Uncle,


[Pageheading: INDIAN HONOURS]

Queen Victoria to Sir Charles Wood.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 9th February 1860.

The Queen has attentively read Lord Canning's letter and enclosure. She quite agrees in his proposal as to the nature of the Order of Chivalry to be instituted, and the details which he recommends with regard to it. She also thinks that titles should be confined to those now known and borne in India, and to be given sparingly; but would object to the illimited power of the Governor-General and Viceroy in this respect. The highest dignities and titles ought to proceed directly from the Crown at the Viceroy's recommendation. The Queen concurs in the view that honours cannot well be made hereditary amongst Hindoos and Mussulmans, but where Princes (as we may hope will be the case sometimes hereafter) have become Christians, the hereditary nature of honours should not be withheld.[7] ...

[Footnote 7: Lord Canning had written that he thought it would be best to adhere to the precise titles already in use in India, and that they should be at the direct disposal of the Queen's Representative, without reference to the Crown. He did not recommend that titles should be hereditary (except in very special cases), in a country where primogeniture was not established. As to the proposed Order of Knighthood, Lord Canning thought that the institution of such an Order would be both expedient and opportune. He recommended that it should include both British-born and Native subjects.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 10th February 1860.

The Queen sends a letter to Lord Palmerston which she has received yesterday evening from Lord John Russell.[8] She is induced to do so from a feeling that it is to Lord Palmerston, as head of the Government, that she has to look, when she may have reason to take exception to the tone of communications she may receive from members of his Cabinet. Lord Palmerston will not fail to perceive that the enclosed is not the kind of communication which the Foreign Secretary ought to make, when asked by his Sovereign to explain the views of the Cabinet upon a question so important and momentous as the annexation of Savoy to France, and the steps which they propose to take with regard to it. She need not remind Lord Palmerston that in her letter communicated to the Cabinet she had given no opinion whatever upon Italian liberation from a foreign yoke, nor need she protest against a covert insinuation, such as is contained in Lord John's letter, that she is no well-wisher of mankind and indifferent to its freedom and happiness. But she must refer to the constitutional position of her Ministers towards herself. They are responsible for the advice they gave her, but they are bound fully, respectfully, and openly to place before her the grounds and reasons upon which their advice may be founded, to enable her to judge whether she can give her assent to that advice or not. The Government must come to a standstill if the Minister meets a demand for explanation with an answer like the following: "I was asked by the Cabinet to give an answer, but as I do not agree with you, I think it useless to explain my views."

The Queen must demand that respect which is due from a Minister to his Sovereign. As the Queen must consider the enclosed letter as deficient in it, she thinks Lord John Russell might probably wish to reconsider it, and asks Lord Palmerston to return it to him with that view.

That Lord Palmerston may be acquainted with the course the correspondence has taken, the Queen encloses the two preceding letters.

[Footnote 8: The letter ran:—"Lord John Russell unfortunately does not partake your Majesty's opinions in regard to Italy, and he is unwilling to obtrude on your Majesty unnecessary statements of his views.... Whatever may be the consequence, the liberation of the Italian people from a foreign yoke is, in the eyes of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell, an increase of freedom and happiness at which as well-wishers to mankind they cannot but rejoice."]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

94 PICCADILLY, 10th February 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that Mr Gladstone made this afternoon his financial statement.[9] His speech lasted three hours, from five to eight, and was admirable, detailed, clear, comprehensive and eloquent; and he did not appear to be fatigued by the effort.[10] The statement was well received by the House, and though parts of the arrangement may, and no doubt will, be disputed and attacked as the various measures of which the arrangement is composed, pass through the House, there seems to be a fair probability that the Government will not sustain any serious defeat upon any part of the arrangement. The scheme is too extensive and complicated to admit of an abstract of it being given to your Majesty in this Report; but no doubt a condensed summary of it will be given in the newspapers of to-morrow.

[Footnote 9: The Budget of 1860 was contemporaneous with the commercial treaty with France negotiated by Mr Cobden, reducing inter alia the import duties on French wine and brandy, and English coal, flax, and pig-iron. Mr Gladstone abolished the duties on a large number of imports, and proposed to repeal that on paper (regarded not only as a means for the diffusion of knowledge, but a commodity in various industries).]

[Footnote 10: This was all the more remarkable, as the Budget had been postponed owing to his illness.]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 11th February 1860.

The Queen acknowledges the receipt of Lord Palmerston's two letters of yesterday evening. She willingly accepts Lord John Russell's expressions of regret, and certainly was led to read that one passage which Lord Palmerston explains in the sense which he supposed.

The Queen has received the draft to Lord Cowley, and has written her observations upon it to Lord John, who will communicate them to him. She thinks that the omissions which she has pointed out can be very well supplied consistently with that international courtesy which Lord Palmerston truly says ought to be observed.[11]

[Footnote 11: In this despatch, Lord John wrote that the Government could not believe that a country in the circumstances of France could be endangered by the existence, "on the other side of the Alps, of a State of 11,000,000 of people lately joined by a cement not yet dry, threatened, on the side of Lombardy, by Austria, and not very certain of its own independence."]

Earl Granville to the Prince Albert.

BRIGHTON, 11th February 1860.

SIR,—Lord John produced before the Cabinet his draft of despatch in answer to M. Thouvenel. He read, without allusion to the previous correspondence, the Queen's Memorandum on his draft.

Lord Palmerston supported Lord John, who was fidgety and nervous. We all criticised the draft. We thought it too much or too little. We recommended that he should either write shortly, saying that he did not acquiesce in M. Thouvenel's arguments, but as the French Government did not consider the question as now in existence, and promised that it should not be revised without the consent of Savoy, and consultation with the Great Powers, if the Government would reserve what they had to say on a question of such immense European importance—or going into the subject he should state the whole argument and objections of the Government to the scheme.

We thought the historical reminiscences offensive to France, while the language of the despatch was not sufficiently firm to satisfy what was expected from the Government. We warned him that in this case public opinion would be at least as critical as the Queen.

Lord John gave us to understand that he would alter his draft, but I do not feel any security that it will be done in a satisfactory manner.

I am, Sir, with the greatest respect, your Royal Highness's obedient, humble, and faithful servant,



Earl Cowley to Lord John Russell. (Submitted to the Queen.)

PARIS, 7th March 1860.

MY DEAR LORD JOHN,—I send a messenger this evening, in order that you may not hear from any one else of the passage of arms which took place between the Emperor and myself yesterday evening. You will find the account of it in the enclosed despatch. The more I reflect on it, the less I think that I could pass over the Emperor's conduct and language without notice. His tone and manner were really offensive, and if I had let them pass unheeded might have been repeated on another occasion. I must say that nothing could have been more friendly than His Majesty's bearing after I had spoken to him. He was profuse in his excuses, and the Empress told me later in the evening that he was desole—"qu'il s'etait laisse entrainer par un mouvement d'humeur," etc. I, of course, said that I should think no more about it.

One good thing has been gained by it, that the Emperor has declared that he does not mean to act in defiance of the opinion of the Great Powers....

I wish that I had not this disagreeable history to trouble you with, but do not attach greater importance to it than it merits. I look upon it as at an end.






Earl Cowley to Lord John Russell. (Submitted to the Queen.)

PARIS, 7th March 1860.

MY LORD,—It is with extreme regret that I call your Lordship's attention to the following occurrence.

There was a concert last night at the Tuileries, to which the Chiefs of the Diplomatic Body were invited. On these occasions seats are assigned to the Ambassadors according to their accidental rank, and I was placed between the Nuntio and the Russian Ambassador. It is customary for the Emperor, during the interval between the two parts of the concert, to say a few words to each of the Ambassadors individually, and it is obvious that what His Majesty says to one may easily be overheard by that one's immediate neighbours.

Yesterday evening the Emperor, after saying a few words of no importance to the Nuntio, addressed himself to me in a manner and tone very unusual with him, animadverting upon the hostile sentiments evinced towards him in the English Parliament and Press.[12] "Wishing to avoid a discussion, I merely observed that I regretted that matters should be in such a state, but that His Majesty must be aware that there was quite as great irritation on this side the water. The Emperor enquired sharply whether this was to be wondered at, considering the terms and imputations applied to himself, and to the French nation, in England? They were only defending themselves against unfair attacks, His Majesty said. It was really too bad, he continued; he had done all in his power to maintain a good understanding with England, but the conduct of England rendered it impossible. What had England to do with Savoy? And why was she not to be satisfied with the declaration that His Majesty had made to me, that he had no intention to annex Savoy to France without having previously obtained the consent of the Great Powers.

"Pardon me, Sire," I said, "for interrupting your Majesty, but it is just what you did not say. Had you permitted me to convey that assurance to Her Majesty's Government, I will answer for it that all those interpellations in Parliament would long since have ceased, and that Her Majesty's Government and the country would at all events have awaited the decision at which the Great Powers might have arrived."

"But I told you," continued the Emperor, "that I would consult the Great Powers."

"Yes, Sire," I replied, "but your Majesty did not add that you would abide by their decision."

This conversation had taken place, not only within the hearing of the Russian Ambassador, but the Emperor's remarks were addressed almost as much to my colleague as to myself. Turning then entirely towards General Kisseleff, the Emperor continued: "The conduct of England is inexplicable. I have done all in my power to keep on the best terms with her; but I am at my wits' end (je n'en puis plus). What," His Majesty exclaimed again, "has England to do with Savoy? What would have been the consequence if, when she took possession of the Island of Perim[13] for the safety of her Eastern dominions, I had raised the same objections that she has now raised to the annexation of Savoy, which I want as much for the safety of France?"

His Majesty continued to speak for a few seconds in the same strain, and I felt my position to be most awkward. With the remembrance of His Majesty's intemperate words to M. de Huebner on New Year's Day, 1859,[14] in my mind, I did not like to leave unnoticed observations of the tendency I have mentioned. At the same time I had to bear in mind that I was not present on an official occasion, but that I was the Emperor's guest, and that it would not be right to continue a discussion in the presence of others. These thoughts passed rapidly through my mind, and I determined to be guided by a night's reflection in taking any further step in this matter. What that reflection might have produced I cannot say, but circumstances led to more immediate explanations.

As the Emperor moved on, the circle in which we were standing was not strictly kept, and after a few minutes I found myself standing a little in front, in the open space round which the circle was formed. The Emperor again accosted me, and was beginning in the same strain, when I ventured to interrupt His Majesty and to tell him that I considered myself justified in calling his attention to the unusual course he had adopted, in indulging, in presence of the Russian Ambassador, in his animadversions on the conduct of England. That His Majesty, if he had, or thought he had, any cause for remonstrance or blame with regard to England, should address himself to me, was not only natural, but would be a course which I should always beg him to take, because free discussion was the best remedy for pent-up feeling. I should answer as best I could, and endeavour to convince His Majesty when I thought him wrong. Or if His Majesty considered it right to complain of the conduct of England to the Russian Ambassador, I had no desire to interfere, provided it was not done in my presence; but what I could not approve, or consider compatible with my own dignity, or that of the Government which I represented, was that complaints respecting England should be addressed to me in the hearing of the Russian Ambassador, and to the Russian Ambassador in my hearing.

Leaving then this official tone, I added that, considering the long and intimate relations which His Majesty had been graciously pleased to permit should exist between himself and me, and knowing, as he did, the personal attachment which I bore him, and the anxiety which I had ever manifested to smooth difficulties and prevent misunderstandings between the two Governments, in doing which I had perhaps exposed myself to the suspicion of being more French than I ought to be, I had not expected to have been addressed, as I had been, in the presence of the Russian Ambassador, or to have heard words addressed to that Ambassador complaining of the sentiments of the English nation.

The Emperor frequently interrupted me, expressing his great regret at what had occurred. He could assure me, His Majesty said, that he had spoken without any bad intention—that he had just read what had occurred in Parliament the night before, and that he had been greatly hurt at the strictures passed upon his conduct; I must recollect further that he had not spoken of the Government, but of those who attacked him. Again, His Majesty begged me to think no more of the matter, repeating the assurance that he had spoken without intention.

In the course of this second conversation the Emperor again asked, but in a very different tone, why England had taken up the question of Savoy which so little regarded her. Had it been Prussia or one of the Continental Powers, His Majesty could have understood it, but not a word of remonstrance had proceeded from any one of them. I replied that I did not think the Emperor could rely on that silence as indicating approbation, but at all events, I said, the position of Her Majesty's Government was very different from that of the other powers. How was it possible, I asked, for Her Majesty's Government to remain silent in presence of the interpellations respecting Savoy which were, night after night, put to them? And if His Majesty enquired why these interpellations were put, I would answer him that, if my judgment was correct, it was not so much on account of the actual plan of annexing Savoy, as on account of the circumstances connected with the whole transaction. They were, in fact, interpellations of mistrust. And how, I asked, could it be otherwise? What could the English people think on its transpiring that in spite of His Majesty's declarations, both before and during the war, that in going to war he meditated no special advantages for France, overtures had positively been made months before, to Sardinia, for the eventual cession of Savoy; why had not His Majesty told us fairly, in commencing this war, that if, by the results of the war, the territory of Sardinia should be greatly augmented, he might be obliged, in deference to public opinion in France, to ask for some territorial advantage? Such a declaration, although it might have rendered the British Government still more anxious to prevent the war, would have hindered all the manifestation of public opinion which is now taking place.

The Emperor seemed to feel the weight of these observations, and he ended the conversation by saying, that if this question of Savoy should go further, he had pledged himself to consult the Great Powers, and that he need hardly add that if their opinion should be unfavourable to his wishes, it would have great weight with him. "It is not likely," said His Majesty, "that I should act against the advice of Europe."

I end, my Lord, as I commenced, in regretting this occurrence. I could have wished that the Emperor had not spoken to me a second time yesterday, and that I had had a little time for reflection. I feel that I spoke to His Majesty under considerable emotion, caused by the tone and manner which he had adopted; but I am certain that not a word escaped me which was not respectful to himself. To have passed the matter over, would, in my judgment, have been a fault, but on the whole I should have preferred conveying impressions to His Majesty through M. Thouvenel. I earnestly trust, however, that Her Majesty's Government will view my conduct in a favourable light.

It is but justice to my Russian colleague to state that nothing could have been in better taste than his remarks in answer to the Emperor's observations to him. I have told General Kisseleff this morning that having had an opportunity to do so, I had expressed to the Emperor the opinion that it would have been better had His Majesty avoided irritating topics concerning England in the presence of another foreign representative. It is not my intention to open my lips on the subject to any one else.


[Footnote 12: The annexation of Savoy had been debated in the House of Commons, and Mr Bright had expressed his readiness that Savoy should rather perish than that England should interfere in a matter in which she had no concern. He was sharply censured by Lord John Manners.]

[Footnote 13: Perim had been permanently taken possession of by Great Britain, in 1857.]

[Footnote 14: See ante, p. 310, note 2.]

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

CHESHAM PLACE, 9th March 1860.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and has the honour to submit a despatch which he received in a private letter from Lord Cowley.

The strange scene related in it will remind your Majesty of some scenes already famous in the history of Napoleon I. and Napoleon III.

Lord John Russell requests your Majesty's permission to write a secret despatch in answer, entirely approving the conduct and language of Lord Cowley.


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 10th March 1860.

The Queen, in returning Lord Cowley's private letter and secret despatch, agrees with Lord John Russell, that he has deserved praise for his mode of answering the Emperor's Napoleonic address.[15] ...

[Footnote 15: The ratification by the House of Commons of the Commercial Treaty, and Mr Gladstone's message to the Emperor, enclosing a copy of his Budget speech, gave the Emperor an opportunity of making amends to Lord Cowley for his hasty language.]

Queen Victoria to Sir Charles Wood.

OSBORNE, 12th March 1860.

The Queen is sorry to find that Lord Canning does not approve of any of the modes suggested by Sir Charles Wood, for giving the Chiefs security of title and possession. The object appears to the Queen so important as a means of protection against the temptation of our own representatives to seize upon the possessions of these Chiefs at any convenient opportunity—and as a means of giving confidence to those Chiefs that the Queen's Government is not actuated by rapacity—that she must hope Lord Canning will indicate some mode, appearing less objectionable to him, for attaining the same object. The Queen would be glad to have a copy of Lord Canning's letter.

[Pageheading: SWISS CLAIMS]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 25th March 1860.

The Queen has just seen the Swiss Note, and has returned it to the Foreign Office.[16] With reference to Lord John Russell's letter of this morning, she has only to express her anxiety that her Government should not look upon this question as one of an optional character to take up or not. We have no choice, and the consideration whether what we are doing may be pleasing or displeasing to France cannot be entertained for a moment, although the Queen is grieved to find from Lord Cowley's last letter that he considers the question from that point of view. We are parties to a treaty of guarantee together with other Powers, and have as such a clear and solemn duty to perform. We should therefore openly and avowedly call upon our partners in this treaty and guarantee to consider the note addressed by the Swiss Confederation to us.

The proper course would be to summon the Ministers of the Contracting Powers to the Foreign Office (not excluding the French Ambassador), and to go with them into the matter. This would take it out of the hands of the Emperor and M. de Thouvenel, and make (the Queen is certain of it) a deep impression upon them.

The Queen wishes this letter to be shown to Lord Palmerston and Lord John's other colleagues.

[Footnote 16: The Swiss Government claimed that the districts of Chablais and Faucigny (being parts of Savoy which had been handed over to Sardinia by the Treaty of Vienna under a guarantee for their neutrality) should be given to Switzerland for the protection of their frontier. The French Emperor maintained that it was sufficient for him to guarantee the neutrality of those districts. Speaking on the night of the 26th, Lord John Russell said: "The powers of Europe, if they wish to maintain peace, must respect each other's limits, and, above all, restore and not disturb that commercial confidence which is the result of peace, which tends to peace, and which ultimately forms the happiness of nations."]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 2nd April 1860.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter and Memorandum.[17] In whatever Lord John might say in the House of Commons, care should be taken not to give the French a handle to make the other Powers believe that there exists an understanding between them and us. It is by making each of them believe in their turn that the others have agreed with France that the Emperor paralyses their action. If he will promise distinctly to give up the neutral territory to Switzerland, that would be an understanding which we might well avow, but the Queen fears Count Persigny with all his anxiety to smooth matters (as he says) will not be able to give this assurance, and consequently if Lord John sent the Commons home with a declaration that matters would be satisfactorily settled, and the Emperor intends to keep the neutral territory after all, it would unnecessarily make them dupes once more, as the Government have from time to time given assurances based on French promises, which were belied by subsequent acts.

Is the Memorandum for the Queen to keep?

The Conference should be here, and on no account at Paris.

[Footnote 17: Describing a conversation between Lord Palmerston and Persigny, the former suggesting that a statement should be made by Lord John in the House, in reference to the securities to be given for the neutrality and independence of Switzerland, such as would pacify the Emperor.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 25th April 1860.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I write to you on this paper to-day, as it is our good Alice's birthday—her seventeenth! She is a good, dear, amiable child, and in very good looks just now. Her future is still undecided, she is quite free, and all we wish is a good, kind husband—no brilliant position (which there is not to be got), but a quiet, comfortable position.

Bertie returned last night delighted with his tour,[18] and with our beloved old Coburg, in spite of snow. I will tell him to give you an account of it. He made a very favourable impression there. He gives a good account of dear Stockmar too.

Many, many thanks for your dear kind letter of the 20th, with the enclosure from dear Charlotte, whose happy, contented disposition is a great blessing.

I was sure you would grieve for poor, dear, honest Ernest Hohenlohe[19]; Feodore feels it dreadfully, and writes beautifully about it. Thank God! she has every comfort in her second son, Hermann, who—by an arrangement made last year with the eldest and poor Ernest—has the entire management of everything; Charles has a certain income and Weikersheim[20]; while Hermann has Langenburg and the management of everything else; he naturally leaves the Austrian Service.

We are too delighted to hear that you are, D.V., ready to come by the 2nd of June; it will be so great a pleasure, and to dear Mamma too, who is unberufen wonderfully well. She is here again since yesterday, and will stay till the 2nd. Clem was quite astonished at her looks. The poor Queen will be seventy-eight to-morrow. She is very tolerably well.

How well do I remember that speech of Oscar's in the carriage. It certainly took us all in....

I fear I must end for to-day. With Albert's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,


Bertie was much pleased with little Louise.[21]

[Footnote 18: The Prince of Wales had been spending a week at Coburg and Gotha, which he had not previously seen.]

[Footnote 19: Prince Ernest died on the 12th of April, and was succeeded by his second son Hermann.]

[Footnote 20: A small town in Wuertemberg, and part of the estate of the Princes of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.]

[Footnote 21: Elder child of the Duke of Brabant (now King Leopold II.).]


Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

[Undated. ? 26th April 1860.]

The Queen has just received Lord John Russell's letter. She must say that she would consider it the deepest degradation to this country if she was compelled to appear at the Emperor's Congress summoned to Paris, in order to register and put her seal to the acts of spoliation of the Emperor!

Lord Cowley was very strong on the effect which our yielding that point would have on his position at the French Court.

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 30th April 1860.

The Queen thinks that the main argument is omitted in the draft, viz. that the attempts, such as Sardinia is suspected to contemplate, are morally bad and reprehensible in themselves, besides being politically inexpedient. The Queen would be sorry to see a despatch go forth on this subject, arguing on the ground of expediency alone. She trusts Lord John Russell will find it easy to introduce a passage which would place it on record, that we do attach importance to public justice and morality. When amended, the Queen would like to have a copy of the draft.

[Pageheading: THE DOCTRINES OF 1688]

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 30th April 1860.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty. He is sorry he cannot agree that there would be any moral wrong in assisting to overthrow the Government of the King of the Two Sicilies. The best writers on International Law consider it a merit to overthrow a tyrannical government, and there have been few governments so tyrannical as that of Naples. Of course the King of Sardinia has no right to assist the people of the Two Sicilies unless he was asked by them to do so, as the Prince of Orange was asked by the best men in England to overthrow the tyranny of James II.—an attempt which has received the applause of all our great public writers, and is the origin of our present form of government.[22]

[Footnote 22: See ante, 11th January, 1860.]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 30th April 1860.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter, and trusts he will see, upon further reflection, that the case before us is not one in which the Revolution of 1688, and the advent of William III. called to the Throne, can be appealed to as a parallel. The draft warns the Government of Sardinia "not to seek for new acquisitions," as the new "Provinces annexed have hardly as yet been thoroughly amalgamated." Now, no public writer nor the International Law will call it morally right, that one state should abet revolution in another, not with the disinterested object of defending a suffering people against tyranny, but in order to extinguish that State and make it "an acquisition" of its own. If William III. had made England a Province of Holland, he would not have received the applause Lord John quotes. The Queen trusts that in appreciation of this distinction, he will introduce some amendment in the sense indicated in her former letter.

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 30th April 1860.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty; he confesses he cannot see anything morally wrong in giving aid to an insurrection in the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. But he admits that to do so for the sake of making new acquisitions would be criminal, and that he is not justified in imputing this motive to the King of Sardinia. Count Cavour would probably at once disclaim it.

He therefore proposes to alter these words. The despatch went this evening by the usual messenger; but, if your Majesty approves of the alteration, it can be made to-morrow morning by telegraph to Turin.

[Pageheading: INDIAN HONOURS]

Sir Charles Wood to Queen Victoria.

INDIA OFFICE, 3rd May 1860.

Sir Charles Wood, with his humble duty, begs to submit for your Majesty's consideration, whether the letters of thanks to those Civil Servants who have not been thought deserving of the honour of C.B. should run in your Majesty's name, or in that of the Government.

Your Majesty desired that thanks for service should be in your Majesty's name, but there will be nearly two hundred of these letters to different officers, and Sir Charles Wood doubted whether it would be right to use your Majesty's name so profusely. He is inclined to think that it would be better to use your Majesty's name only when addressing higher officers. Sir Charles Wood encloses drafts of letters in both ways.

Sir Charles Wood also encloses an address on the occasion of the Thanksgiving in India, delivered by a Hindoo.

Queen Victoria to Sir Charles Wood.


The Queen returns these papers. She wishes the thanks to Civil Servants to be given in all cases, where to be given by the Home Government, in her own name. The Bath or Knighthood comes directly from the Sovereign, and so should the thanks; the Civil Servants are the Queen's servants, and not the servants of the Government. The Hindoo address is very striking and gratifying as a symptom.[23] Presuming that Sir Charles does not want the copy back again, the Queen has kept it.

[Footnote 23: The copy of this address does not seem to have been preserved.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.


MY DEAREST UNCLE,—... Really it is too bad! No country, no human being would ever dream of disturbing or attacking France; every one would be glad to see her prosperous; but she must needs disturb every quarter of the Globe and try to make mischief and set every one by the ears; and, of course, it will end some day in a regular crusade against the universal disturber of the world! It is really monstrous!

Dear Mamma returned to Frogmore on Friday, and Alfred left us on Thursday, sailed from Portsmouth on Saturday, but had to stop at Plymouth for some derangement in the machinery till to-day. He was very low at going, though very happy to return to his ship. Now, with Albert's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.


MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Many, many thanks for your very kind letter received on Saturday. We returned yesterday evening from Aldershot, where we spent two very pleasant days with very warm weather. Sunday was a beautiful day and we rode over to Farnham, the Bishop of Winchester's Palace, and it was quite beautiful, the country is so green and sweet—and enjoyable. The warm rain of last week has produced a burst of Spring which is quite beautiful. Yesterday morning it rained when we first went out, but it cleared and became a beautiful day, and we had a pretty field day. Your old Regiment looked extremely well. In the afternoon we saw some very interesting rifle-shooting. The whole Army practises this now most unremittingly, and we saw three different companies of the Guards fire at 300 yards, and so on to 900 yards, and hit the target! They fired in volleys. It is very satisfactory, as this precision would be very telling in action. I think you would be interested by it.

I hope you have forgiven my hurried note of Saturday—but I was so anxious at the time. We go to Osborne on the 19th, I am happy to say, till the 31st.

Affairs continue to be very threatening, and keep everybody in suspense.... Ever, dearest Uncle, your devoted Niece,


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, 22nd May 1860.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I write to you from here, where it is wonderfully beautiful and unusually hot for May—it is quite like July, but the late Spring has brought out everything together in the most wonderful manner. The foliage of many trees is hardly out yet, but there are all the fruit-trees in fullest blossom—the lilacs and peonies out—the thorns only beginning and every wild flower in profusion—the grass splendidly green, and a fragrance about everything which is too delicious; and the birds singing most beautifully. The nightingales were last night singing all round the house....

Affairs are in a most bewildered state. Lord Palmerston is very stout and right about our neighbour. I am glad to be able to refute most positively the report of our ships having prevented the Neapolitans from firing; the case is quite clear, and the French and Neapolitan Governments themselves have spread this falsehood.

The House of Lords have thrown the Bill for the Abolition of the paper Duties[24] out by a very large majority, which is a very good thing. It will save us a large amount of revenue.

I must end for to-day. Hoping that these lines will find you quite well, ever your devoted Daughter (I wrote by mistake but will leave, as it only expresses what my feelings are) and Niece,


We have quite a small party on the 1st, with some choral singing.

[Footnote 24: This part of Mr Gladstone's financial scheme had lost a good deal of its early popularity: it had only passed the third reading in the Commons by the small majority of nine, and the Premier had already told the Queen that the Peers would perform a public service by rejecting it. The majority against it in the House of Lords was 89.]



Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

94 PICCADILLY, 22nd May 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that the Cabinet met to-day at half-past twelve to consider what (if anything) should be done in consequence of the vote of the House of Lords last night. Lord John Russell, Mr Gladstone, and Mr Milner Gibson were desirous of finding some means of visiting their displeasure upon the House of Lords, but it was shown to them that the only measures which could be adopted were far too violent for the occasion, and that the House of Commons itself is powerless in the matter. When the Lords do anything inconsistent with the asserted privileges of the House of Commons, as, for instance, inserting a taxing Clause in a Bill sent up to them, or making an alteration in a Money Bill sent up to them, the House of Commons is necessarily invited to do something afterwards in the matter, by assenting to what has been done by the Lords; and the Commons then assert their claimed rights by throwing out the Bill thus, improperly, as the Commons say, meddled with by the Lords; but when the Lords throw out a Bill there is nothing for the Commons to do, as the Bill has vanished, and the Commons are therefore furnished with no opportunity of asserting the right which they may claim. But, moreover, the Commons have always contended that the Lords cannot originate or alter a Money Bill, but it has never been contended that the Lords may not reject a Money Bill, though there are few instances of their having done so. These arguments at length prevailed, and by four o'clock it was agreed that Viscount Palmerston should give notice that he would on Thursday move that a Committee be appointed to examine the Journals of the House of Lords to ascertain the fate of the Bill thus lost like Sir John Franklin, and that on Friday he should move the appointment of a Committee to search for precedent applicable to the case. This course it was thought, while binding the Government to no particular course, would in some degree satisfy those who think some step necessary. The measures mentioned, though it is fair to say not actually proposed, were that Parliament should be prorogued, and reassembled either in the Autumn or Winter, that then the same Bill should be brought in, and be sent up to the Lords, and that if that Bill were again rejected, Parliament should be dissolved. It was objected to all this, that the case did not warrant such a course; that whether the Lords have or have not overstepped their proper functions, the opinion of the great majority of the public is that the Lords have done a right and useful thing (in confirmation of which it may be stated that the people in the gallery of the House of Lords are said to have joined in the cheers which broke out when the numbers of the division were announced).

Viscount Palmerston, at the meeting of the House, gave notice accordingly that he should on Thursday move for a Committee to search the Lords' Journals—a usual form of motion; and that he should on Friday move to appoint a Committee to search for precedents in order to ascertain facts; but he added that he did not take this course with any view of hostility towards the House of Lords. An attempt was made by Mr Whalley and Mr Digby Seymour to set up a complaint that this was not the sort of proceeding which the gravity of the occasion required, but this endeavour was put down by an unmistakable manifestation of a contrary opinion by the rest of the House....

Queen Victoria to the Duke of Somerset.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 29th June 1860.

Before sanctioning the proposed change in the Naval Uniform,[25] the Queen wishes to know what the State occasions are on which the full dress is to be worn. The officers generally wear an undress without epaulettes, which in consequence are of little inconvenience to them. She has always understood the Service to cling very much to its present uniform, and she would be sorry to shock their feelings.

[Footnote 25: The principal change proposed was that full dress should cease to be obligatory at Courts-Martial.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 2nd July 1860. (8.30 P.M.)

Viscount Palmerston has had the honour of receiving your Majesty's letter of this afternoon. Nothing of much importance as to Foreign Affairs was done at the Cabinet to-day.... The material question for discussion was the course to be pursued about the Tax Bill Report. Lord John Russell had altered his opinion since Saturday, and had yesterday sent Viscount Palmerston a Draft of Resolution which he wished to be circulated to the members of the Cabinet before their meeting at twelve to-day....

After a long discussion, the draft, of which the enclosed is a copy, was agreed to by all except Mr Gladstone. This draft is a combination of parts of Lord John's, parts of Sir James Graham's, and parts of Viscount Palmerston's. No mention of course was made in Cabinet of Sir James Graham having made any suggestion.

When all the other members had left the room Mr Gladstone requested Viscount Palmerston to submit to your Majesty that he could no longer continue to carry on the business of his Department.[26] His opinion strongly was that action and not a Resolution was required, that one of three courses ought to be pursued: either that the Paper Duty Repeal Bill should again be sent up to the Lords; or that a Bill should be sent up for suspending the Paper Duties for a year; or that a Bill should be sent up reducing those duties gradually year by year; or fourthly that with the Repeal of the Paper Duties should be coupled the imposition of Spirit Duties. Viscount Palmerston said he really could not undertake the communication which Mr Gladstone wished to be submitted to your Majesty, and earnestly entreated Mr Gladstone to reconsider the matter; he urged in detail all the reasons which ought to dissuade such a step, and he thought that he had produced some impression on Mr Gladstone. It was agreed between them that Viscount Palmerston, instead of giving notice this afternoon of a Motion to-morrow, and laying the Resolution on the table this evening, should give notice this afternoon of a Motion for Thursday, and promise to lay the Resolution on the table to-morrow. This gives Mr Gladstone more time to think, and more room to turn round in. Mr Milner Gibson has no intention of going out, and has so told Mr Gladstone, strongly advising him to stay in; and Viscount Palmerston's impression is that Mr Gladstone, having failed to become master of the Cabinet by a threat of resignation, will in the end yield to the almost unanimous decision of his colleagues. The only person who supported Mr Gladstone's views, except Mr Milner Gibson, was the Duke of Argyll, who, however, like Mr Gibson, had no intention whatever of accompanying Mr Gladstone in resignation.[27]...

[Footnote 26: This is said to have been an incident of frequent occurrence during the second administration of Lord Palmerston.]

[Footnote 27: The Queen wrote to King Leopold: "As I told you in my little note of Sunday, Lord John became quite reasonable, and is very moderate about this affair; on the other hand Mr Gladstone has threatened to resign—and it is still uncertain if he will not persist in his intention. He is terribly excited."]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 6th July 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that the House of Commons this night passed the three Privilege Resolutions after two divisions.[28]...

The Debate which did not begin till half-past eight, after questions on the adjournment to Monday, was commenced by Mr Digby Seymour, Member for Southampton, who went into an elaborate discussion of the precedents mentioned in the appendix to the Report of the Committee, arguing against the right of the Lords. He attacked Viscount Palmerston's speech, and highly praised that of Mr Gladstone, who, he said, if he lost his place in the Cabinet in consequence of that speech would be rewarded by a Throne in the affections of the Nation. Mr Horsman then made a very able, eloquent, and remarkable speech, well worth reading....

Mr Bright made an indignation speech in reply. He went over the same ground as the former speaker about the precedents, was astonished and shocked at Mr Horsman's speech, was displeased with the Resolutions, and with Viscount Palmerston's speech, was in admiration unbounded of Mr Gladstone, but all the time was so hoarse that his efforts to make himself heard gave to his utterance an appearance of passion even greater than that which he actually felt. After his speech the House began skirmishing as to the question of finishing the Debate or adjourning it, but the Resolutions were at last agreed to.

[Footnote 28: The Resolutions, which the Committee recommended, and the House of Commons adopted, declared inter alia that the Commons had in their own hands the power "so to impose and remit taxes, and frame bills of supply, that their rights as to the matter, manner, measure, and time might be maintained inviolate."]

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 13th July 1860.

MY BELOVED VICTORIA,—... Bertie has then set out on his interesting journey,[29] which though not without fatigue will be full of information and satisfaction for his young mind. I am glad to hear that dear Albert went with him,[30] he can have no equal to his good and distinguished father for kindness, and a wise guidance of his young life....

[Footnote 29: In consequence of the loyal and patriotic assistance rendered by Canada during the Crimean War, and the expressed desire of the Canadians to be visited by the Queen in person and to welcome one of her sons as Governor-General, it was decided that the Prince of Wales should make a tour there. During the course of the visit, which was made in company with the Duke of Newcastle, the Prince opened the magnificent bridge over the St Lawrence; he subsequently availed himself of President Buchanan's invitation already referred to (ante, p. 373), and was received with the greatest enthusiasm at Washington. The Prince returned to England in November.]

[Footnote 30: Referring to a previous letter, in which the Queen had informed the King of the Belgians that Prince Albert had accompanied the Prince of Wales as far as Plymouth.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, 31st July 1860.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—... I venture now to confide a secret to you—the details of which you shall hear verbally from us when we have the happiness of seeing you in October. It is that our surmises respecting Louis of Hesse[31] have turned out to be true, and that we have reason to hope that this affair will be in due time realised. The feelings are very reciprocal on both sides, though nothing definitive will be settled till the young people meet again, probably later this Autumn (but not in Germany). Please do not say anything about it to any one. Your very great kindness and affection for our children has induced me to mention this to you, who moreover saw the first dawning of these prospects.

Dear Mamma starts to-day for Edinburgh—sleeping to-night at York. With Albert's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 31: Prince Louis of Hesse, afterwards Grand Duke Louis IV.]


Queen Victoria to Earl Canning.

OSBORNE, 2nd August 1860.

The Queen thanks Lord Canning very much for a most interesting letter of the 30th of May, giving a most comprehensive and gratifying account of his progress through her Indian dominions, and of his reception of the different Princes and Chiefs. Such reception and such kind considerate treatment of them is, as Lord Canning knows, entirely in unison with the Queen's own feelings, and both the Prince and herself have been peculiarly gratified at reading this account, and feel sure of the good effect it must have on these Princes, and on India in general.

We have just seen Lord Clyde looking wonderfully well; he speaks in high terms of Lord Canning, and enthusiastically of dear Lady Canning. Alas! another most valuable public servant and friend of ours, Lord Elphinstone,[32] only returned to die! Lord Canning will grieve much no doubt to hear this.

Both he and Lady Canning will have heard with interest of the birth of our second grandchild and first grand-daughter.[33] Nothing can go better than the Princess Royal does. Of the Prince of Wales's arrival in Canada we could not yet hear, but shall do so in a few days.

This country and Europe continue to be in a state of alarms, or rather more profound distrust in, the conduct and purposes of our neighbour. Fortunately the feeling of Germany is so unanimous upon this subject, and the Emperor's attempt to produce disaffection or division there has so signally failed and produced so diametrically a contrary effect, and Belgium has shown such an enthusiastic spirit of loyalty only equal to the public spirit which this country has shown in the Volunteer movement, that it is to be hoped these sinister designs are checked for a time at least.

With the Prince's kind remembrance to Lord Canning, the Queen concludes, hoping this letter will find him in good health, and Lady Canning safely returned from her expedition.

[Footnote 32: See ante, 25th January, 1859, note 8.]

[Footnote 33: The Princess Charlotte of Prussia, now Hereditary Princess of Saxe-Meiningen, was born on the 24th of July.]

[Pageheading: VISIT TO SCOTLAND]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

HOLYROOD, 7th August 1860.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I have many excuses for sending a few hurried lines from here, instead of my usual letter, but I was much hurried yesterday; the separation from baby quite upset me, as she too cried very much—but she is consoled again.

Many thanks for your dear letter of the 3rd, which I shall duly answer on Friday.

We came down here by night train, arriving at eight. We paid dear Mamma a visit at her really charming residence at Cramond,[34] quite near the sea, with beautiful trees, and very cheerful.

And this afternoon she was present the whole time at the splendid Volunteer Review, which lasted from half-past three till near six, in the open carriage with me, and enjoyed it so much; and I was so happy to have her with me on this memorable occasion, having had you with me on the previous occasion.[35] And it was magnificent—finer decidedly than in London—there were more (1,400 more), and then the scenery here is so splendid! That fine mountain of Arthur's Seat, crowded with thousands and thousands to the very top—and the Scotch are very noisy and demonstrative in their loyalty. Lord Breadalbane, at the head of his Highlanders, was the picture of a Highland chieftain. The dust was quite fearful! At nine we leave for Balmoral. Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 34: The Duchess of Kent was spending the summer at Cramond House, near Edinburgh.]

[Footnote 35: The Review in Hyde Park, which took place on the 23rd of June.]

[Pageheading: THE HIGHLANDS]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BALMORAL, 10th September 1860.

MY BELOVED UNCLE,—I have no letter from you, but trust you are quite well. Here we have had a week of very fine weather, but since Saturday it has been extremely cold. We made a most delightful incognito expedition on Tuesday last, 4th, returning on Wednesday, 5th. We drove off from here quite early at eight, for twenty-one miles up to the Geldie, a small river—rode from here on ponies across the hills to Glen Fishie, a beautiful spot, where the old Duchess of Bedford used to live in a sort of encampment of wooden huts—on to Loch Inch, a beautiful but not wild lake (another twenty miles), crossed the Spey in a ferry, and posted in very rough vehicles to Grantown, again twenty miles, coming in there at nine. We passed close by Kinrara where you used to be, but, unfortunately, not by the house. No one knew us—anywhere or at the little inn. We went under the names of Lord and Lady Churchill, and Lady Churchill and General Grey who went with us, under the names of Miss Spencer and Dr Grey! Two maids only went with us (whom we had sent round with our things), and no servants but our two excellent Highlanders, viz. Albert's first stalker or head keeper, and my own Highland servant and factotum—both excellent, intelligent, devoted people. Only when we had left was it found out. We posted to Tomantoul, a wretched village—fourteen miles, in four hours!! with a pair of wretched tired horses—over a big hilly road. At Tomantoul we again took our ponies and rode by Avon Side and Glen Avon, also very fine; back to Loch Bulig—eight miles from here—whence we returned home in our carriage. It was a most delightful and enjoyable, as well as beautiful, expedition. I have been besides on many other ones for the day.

In Italy I fear the state of affairs is very distressing—but really the miserable, weak, and foolish conduct of the King of Naples[36] and the squabbles of the whole family takes away all one's sympathy! We leave here alas! on Saturday, stop till Monday evening at Edinburgh to see Mamma, and go on that night straight to Osborne, where we expect to arrive on Tuesday for breakfast. With Albert's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 36: King Francis had just fled from Naples to Gaeta, and Garibaldi shortly afterwards arrived in Naples.]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

BROADLANDS, 18th September 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and will have the honour of waiting upon your Majesty at Osborne to-morrow. Your Majesty must naturally feel regret at shortening so much your Majesty's agreeable holiday in the Highlands, though the happiness of meeting the Princess Royal must amply make amends for it; but the fact is that of all the gifts which good fairies were in the habit of bestowing on their favourites, that which would have been the most desirable would have been the power which the Irishman ascribed to a bird, of being in two places at one and the same time.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

OSBORNE, 20th September 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and submits the accompanying letters which he has received from Lord John Russell, together with Lord John's letter to him; and he certainly agrees with Lord John in thinking that a meeting at present between your Majesty and the Emperor of Austria, though in many respects likely to be useful, would on the whole be so liable to misconstruction, and would prove such a fertile source of misrepresentation, that it would be better to avoid it. Such a meeting would undoubtedly be useful to the Emperor of Austria, by reason of the good advice which he would receive from your Majesty, and from His Royal Highness the Prince Consort; but your Majesty will probably be able to find some other way of conveying to the Emperor counsel calculated to save him from some of the dangers by which he appears to be beset.

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

21st September 1860.

The Queen received these letters from Lord Palmerston, who likewise communicated to her Lord John Russell's letter, respecting the hint thrown out by Count Rechberg[37] of a meeting with the Emperor of Austria. The Queen agrees with Lord Palmerston, that while such an interview might for many reasons have been desirable, under present circumstances it might lead to much talk and to many rumours which might do harm, or at any rate give rise to useless conjectures. It would therefore be better to "nip this project in the bud" as Lord John suggests, but care should be taken to do this in such a manner as not to let it appear that there was any disinclination on the Queen's part to meet the Emperor of Austria.

[Footnote 37: In a letter to Mr Julian Fane, Count Rechberg, the Austrian Foreign Minister, had said that he had desired to bring about an interview between the Queen and the Emperor of Austria, but that there would have been difficulties in the way. Lord John Russell was of opinion that the idea should be nipped in the bud, and in this Lord Palmerston fully concurred.]


The King of Naples to Queen Victoria.

GAETA, le 6 Octobre 1860.

MADAME MA S[OE]UR,—Le memorandum qu'a la date d'aujourd'hui mon Gouvernement adresse a celui de votre Majeste, les protestations que dans ces derniers temps je lui ai fait parvenir donneront a votre Majeste une idee claire des conflits par lesquels j'ai passe, et de la situation ou je me trouve.

A la sagacite de votre Majeste ne peut echapper la transcendance des evenements qui se passent dans le Royaume des Deux Siciles, et dans les Etats Pontificaux. J'etais, et je suis seul a lutter contre toutes les forces de la revolution Europeenne. Cette revolution s'est presentee avec un pouvoir que jamais on ne lui avait connu, armes, parcs d'artillerie, munitions, vaisseaux, rien ne lui a manque, pas meme les ports d'une puissance pour se recruter, et son drapeau pour la couvrir.

Ces evenements etablissent un nouveau droit public, fonde sur la destruction des anciens traites et des principes reconnus du droit des gens. La cause que je defends seul a Naples n'est pas seulement ma propre cause; elle est la cause de tous les Souverains et de tous les Etats independants.

La question qui se debat dans le Royaume des Deux Siciles, est une question de vie ou de mort pour d'autres Etats d'Europe.

C'est a ce titre, et non par un interet personnel que j'ose m'adresser a la haute raison de votre Majeste, a Sa prevoyance et a Sa justice.

La grande position qu'occupe votre Majeste dans le monde, Sa sagesse, les relations amicales qui ont toujours existe entre nos deux familles, et la bienveillance particuliere dont votre Majeste a daigne toujours m'honorer, me font esperer, que votre Majeste verra dans cet appel que je fais avec confiance a Sa politique et a Sa justice, une nouvelle preuve du respect que j'ai eu toujours pour Elle, de l'affection sincere, et des sentiments de haute consideration avec lesquels j'ai l'honneur d'etre, Madame ma S[oe]ur, de votre Majeste, le bon Frere,




The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 2nd November 1860.

MY BELOVED VICTORIA,—... Bertie's visit seems to have gone off most splendidly; its effects will be useful. The enemies of England always flatter themselves that mischief may come from that part of the world. To see, therefore, friendly feelings arise, instead of war, will disappoint them much. Alfred's appearance at the Cape[38] has also been a most wise measure. South Africa has a great future to expect, it is a pity it is so far and I too old to go there; the plants alone are already a great temptation. I should like very much to hear what came to your knowledge of the Warsaw meeting.[39] Prince Gortschakoff tried hard to make it believe that it would bring Russia nearer to France. If this was to be the result of the meeting it would be a very sad one indeed....

The way in which the English Press misunderstands all these things is quite lamentable. The meeting of the Sovereigns had this time a better object than the oppression of the liberties of Nations; that this should not be seen by people who would be the first sufferers of the supremacy of a certain power is very lamentable, but they see everything only according to the colour of their spectacles. Le Flibustive movement at Naples is very shameful, but that poor King has been so calumniated that Garibaldi is the rage of the present moment; Colonel Walker[40] has been shot, and Garibaldi, who comes out of that self-same school, is divinised. But it is time I should end. With my best love to dear Albert, I remain ever, my beloved Victoria, your devoted old Uncle,


[Footnote 38: Prince Alfred, who, some time before, had been appointed to the Euryalus, in the course of the summer visited South Africa. After making a tour through Kaffraria, Natal, and the Orange Free State, he returned to Cape Town, where, in September, he laid the foundation stone of the breakwater in Table Bay. In a letter written by the Prince Consort a few weeks earlier to Baron Stockmar, he remarks upon the noteworthy coincidence that almost in the same week in which the elder brother would open the great bridge across the St Lawrence, the younger would lay the foundation stone of the breakwater for the Cape Town Harbour. "What a cheering picture is here," he wrote, "of the progress and expansion of the British race, and of the useful co-operation of the Royal Family in the civilisation which England has developed and advanced" (Life of the Prince Consort, vol. v. p. 88).]

[Footnote 39: The Emperors of Russia and Austria, and the Prince Regent of Prussia met at Warsaw on 20th October, and held a conference which extended over several days.]

[Footnote 40: Walker, in the course of one of the Nicaraguan revolutions, had seized the supreme power, and had been recognised as President by the U.S. Government; he was afterwards expelled, and, on venturing to return, was arrested, and shot on the 25th of September 1860.]

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 3rd November 1860.

The Queen returns the enclosed draft,[41] which she is afraid is not likely to produce the beneficial results which Lord John seems to anticipate.

The expression of our hope, that Rome and Venetia, from their Italian nationality, will soon share in the freedom and good government of the rest of Italy, can only be understood as a declaration on our part that we wish to see them share the annexation to Sardinia, after that of the Two Sicilies shall have been completed.

The declaration at the end after the quotations of the former protests, vague as it is, viz. "That if other Powers interfere England would do as she pleases," means either nothing at all (for England is free to do as she pleases) or it means a threat of war, either an empty threat, or one intended to be followed up when the occasion arises. The first would hardly be dignified for a great Power like England, and as to the second, the Queen for one is not prepared to decide to go to war to ensure the success of the Italian Revolution.

But is such a declaration at the present moment called for by anything that has happened? Another despatch has accepted as satisfactory the French explanation about the order given to the fleet before Gaeta, and Austria has renewed her assurances that she will not interfere; the only Power likely to continue to interfere and to produce war—Sardinia—is held to have an exceptional right to it, as an "Italian" Power.

The Queen thinks this important despatch should not be laid before her again without its having received the deliberate consideration and assent of the whole Cabinet, and in case Lord John should bring it before them the Queen would wish him to communicate this letter also to them, as embodying her views on the subject.

[Footnote 41: This draft despatch, prepared in order to be sent to all the Powers, expressed approval of the Italian Revolution. It concluded: "Her Majesty's Government deem it right to declare that if any other Power should attempt forcible interference, Her Majesty's Government will hold themselves free to act in such a manner as the rights of nations, the independence of Italy, and the interests of Europe may seem to them to require."]

Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria.

PEMBROKE LODGE, 3rd November 1860.

Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty....

With regard to the position of Great Britain, Lord John Russell is bound to advise that it shall not suffer by the change of circumstances.

From 1815 to 1859 Austria ruled Italy. If Italians had reason to complain, England had nothing to fear from the use of Austrian influence against British interests.

But if France were to sway the united Navies of Genoa and Naples, and Great Britain to look on from fear or apathy, or excessive love of peace, she might soon have to defend her possessions of Malta, Corfu, and Gibraltar.

Austria would hardly attempt any new aggression on Italy, unless she were assisted by France.

Italy as one Power would derive strength from the declaration of Great Britain, as a disinterested friend.

A letter of Lord Cowley will show your Majesty the suspicions and doubts which exist as to French policy in Italy.[42] All these projects will be scattered to the winds by the word of the British Government.

[Footnote 42: Lord Cowley wrote that he had heard through Count Metternich that the Emperor of the French would never consent to the annexation of Naples to Piedmont, that he wished the Pope to retain Umbria and the Marches, and that the Romagna should be an independent State.]


Queen Victoria to the King of Naples.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 3rd November 1860.

SIR, MY BROTHER,—The letter I have received from your Majesty, dated from Gaeta on the 6th of October, is altogether devoted to political considerations.

These considerations have for a long time occupied the thoughts of my confidential advisers, and I have directed them to convey to my Ministers abroad such instructions as occasion appeared to me to require.

I will therefore confine this letter to those topics which are not the immediate subjects of political controversy.

Upon your Majesty's accession to the Throne I lost no time in assuring your Majesty of my sincere wishes for the prosperity of your reign, and the permanence of your dynasty.

At the same time I was fully aware of the difficulties of the period at which your Majesty succeeded to the Crown. That these difficulties should not have been surmounted, and that they should now threaten to overwhelm the Monarchy, of which your Majesty is the heir, is to me a source of deep concern.

It only remains that I should ask your Majesty to express to the Queen my sincere sympathy in her misfortunes. I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to your Majesty the assurance of the invariable friendship and high consideration with which I am, Sir, my Brother, your Majesty's good Sister,



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 13th November 1860.

MY BELOVED UNCLE,—... Here we have the happiness of having our dear Alfred back since the 9th, who gives very interesting accounts of his expedition, and has brought back many most interesting trophies, splendid horns of all those wonderful animals, photographs, etc. He is grown, though very short for his age, but I think less so than his brother at the same age. Major Cowell[43] gives an excellent report of him in every way, which, as you will readily believe, makes us very happy. He is really such a dear, gifted, handsome child, that it makes one doubly anxious he should have as few failings as mortal men can have. Our poor Bertie is still on the Atlantic, detained by very contrary winds, which those large vessels with only an auxiliary screw and only eight days' coal cannot make any way against. Two powerful steamers have now gone out to look for him and bring him in....

With Albert's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 43: Major (afterwards Sir John) Cowell was appointed as Tutor to Prince Alfred in 1856. He was then a Lieutenant of Engineers, and had been Adjutant to Sir Harry Jones at Bomarsund and before Sebastopol.]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 22nd November 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to submit that, as it appears from a despatch from Lord Cowley that the commercial negotiations at Paris have been brought to a conclusion, and that Mr Cobden has left Paris, the time has come for your Majesty to consider what substantial mark of your Majesty's approval your Majesty would be pleased to confer upon Mr Cobden. Mr Cobden has now for about twelve months been laboriously employed without salary or emolument in negotiating the complicated details of commercial arrangements between England and France, which cannot fail to tend to the material advantage of both countries, but more especially to the increased development of the industry and commerce of your Majesty's subjects. It would be an ungracious proceeding to leave the services of Mr Cobden with no other acknowledgment than the praises contained in a Foreign Office despatch, and Viscount Palmerston therefore with the concurrence of Lord John Russell would beg to submit for the gracious approval of your Majesty that Mr Cobden might be offered his choice of being created a Knight Grand Cross of the Civil Order of the Bath, or of being made a Member of your Majesty's Privy Council.

(Note, in Queen's hand.—Was agreed to offer him either to be made a P.C., or a Baronet.)[44]

[Footnote 44: Mr Cobden declined both the Honours.]


The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 22nd November 1860.

MY BELOVED VICTORIA,—I have to thank you for a most kind letter of the 20th. I hope you will see the young and very nice Empress of Austria,[45] perhaps you made a little excursion to Plymouth. I had, and have still, some cold, and therefore I was apprehensive of waiting at the station on the 20th in the evening; I sent Marie and Philip to receive the Empress. Yesterday before daybreak I went myself to Antwerp. I first paid the Empress a visit, and then I took her to your beautiful ship. She was much struck with it, and it was very kind of you, and indeed, for an invalid, invaluable. It will show, besides, that even beyond Garibaldi, and that amiable, disinterested Annexander, you can feel some interest. I saw the Empress already dressed for her departure, but I think there is something very peculiar about her, which is very pleasing. Poor soul, to see her go away under, I fear, not very safe circumstances, as she coughs a great deal, quite grieves one; though it certainly increased my stupid cold, still I should have been sorry not to have assisted at her going to sea. It was a beautiful day, but this night it has begun to blow from the West-south-west, which I fear will create a sea to the Westward.

That you had your sons about you must have been a great satisfaction to you. Bertie got well through his truly tremendous tour. I think that the effect on the Americans will last for some time. That the poor Duke of Newcastle got home without accident is surprising. Affy has something most winning, and is a dear little rogue. Eugenie's expedition[46] is most astonishing. She also coughs much, and I never heard Scotland recommended for Winter excursions. I believe that the death of her sister affected her a good deal. She seems to have been a good deal choquee that she had been dancing in Africa when that poor sister was dying. Next to this, there seems a difference of opinion with her master on the subject of the Pope. You will recollect that at the time of his elections the clergy rendered him undoubted good service; I even doubt that he would have been elected without their aid. Now he puts the axe to the root of the whole Catholic Church by destroying the Pope, and he does this without the slightest provocation, and for the benefit of the revolution et des revolutionnaires....

I remain ever, my beloved Victoria, your devoted Uncle,


[Footnote 45: The Empress Elizabeth was on her way to Madeira, in a ship placed at her disposal by the Queen.]

[Footnote 46: The Empress of the French was making a tour in England and Scotland for the benefit of her health; she had sustained a bereavement by the death of her sister, the Duchess of Alba.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 1st December 1860.

DEAREST UNCLE,—I hasten to announce to you that yesterday our dear young couple here were engaged, and that we are all very happy.[47] Louis was spoken to yesterday on our return from Aldershot by Albert,—who told him he would have an opportunity of speaking to Alice—and this opportunity he took last night after dinner when he was standing alone with her at the fire, and every one else was occupied in talking. They whispered it to me, and then, after we left the drawing-room, we sent for good Louis—and the young people met and confirmed in a very touching manner what they had merely been able to whisper to one another before. He was very much overcome. He is a dear, good, amiable, high-principled young man—who I am sure will make our dearest Alice very happy, and she will, I am sure, be a most devoted loving wife to him. She is very, very happy, and it is a pleasure to see their young, happy faces beaming with love for one another. Alice is so extremely reasonable and quiet. She wishes everything kind and affectionate to be said to you, and hopes for your blessing! I am very, very happy, so are we both, but I am still a good deal agitated and flurried by the whole event.

On Tuesday the Empress arrives, but only to luncheon. I must end now in haste. Ever your devoted Niece,


Pray tell it to good Philip, and also to Leopold and Marie.

[Footnote 47: See ante, 31st July, 1860, and note 31.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 1st December 1860.

The Queen has received Lord Palmerston's second letter respecting the Bishopric of Worcester,[48] just as she was going to answer the first. While not objecting to the nomination of Mr Bayley,[49] she wanted to point out the importance of, at a future vacancy, not to confine the selection to respectable parish priests, but to bear in mind that the Bench of Bishops should not be left devoid of some University men of acknowledged standing and theological learning; it would be seriously weakened if, in controversies on points of doctrine agitating the Church, no value were attached to the opinions at least of some of those who are to govern her. Lord Palmerston may now have an opportunity of selecting a stronger man of Liberal views from Cambridge.

[Footnote 48: Bishop Henry Pepys had died in November, and was succeeded in the following January by Canon Henry Philpott of Norwich, Master of St Catharine's College, Cambridge.]

[Footnote 49: Probably the Rev. Emilius Bayley, Rector of St George's, Bloomsbury; now the Rev. Sir Emilius Laurie.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 2nd December 1860.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and very sincerely congratulates your Majesty upon the arrangement of a marriage which bids so fair to secure for Her Royal Highness the Princess Alice that happiness to which her amiable and estimable qualities so justly entitle her.

With respect to bishops, Viscount Palmerston would beg to submit that the bishops are in the Church what generals of districts are in the Army: their chief duties consist in watching over the clergy of their diocese, seeing that they perform properly their parochial duties, and preserving harmony between the clergy and the laity, and softening the asperities between the Established Church and the Dissenters. For these purposes it is desirable that a bishop should have practical knowledge of parochial functions, and should not be of an overbearing and intolerant temperament. His diocesan duties are enough to occupy all his time, and the less he engages in theological disputes the better. Much mischief has been done by theological bishops, and if the Bench were filled with men like the Bishops of Oxford and Exeter there would be no religious peace in the land. Nor have men chosen merely for their learning succeeded better; Thirlwall, Bishop of St David's, and Blomfield, the late Bishop of London, were chosen on account of their learning; the former is acknowledged to be inefficient, the latter greatly mismanaged his diocese. The theological learning of the Bishop of Exeter[50] has caused much mischief to the Established Church. Viscount Palmerston would also beg to submit that the intolerant maxims of the High Church bishops have exasperated the Dissenters who form a large portion of the nation, and have given offence to many good Churchmen. The Bishop of Exeter, the late Bishop of Carlisle,[51] and the late Bishop of Rochester,[52] the two latter individuals kind-hearted and good-natured men, refused to consecrate burial grounds unless a wall of separation divided the portion allotted to Churchmen from the portion allotted to Dissenters—a demand which gave offence to both communities. Viscount Palmerston would beg to submit that several of the bishops whom he has had the honour of recommending to your Majesty had distinguished themselves by their classical and academical attainments, and he may mention in this respect the names of Baring, Longley, Tait, Wigram, and Waldegrave. Viscount Palmerston can assure your Majesty that although his selection of bishops has been much found fault with by the High Church, Puseyite, and semi-Catholic Party, they have given great satisfaction to the nation at large, and Viscount Palmerston has received communications to that effect, verbal and written, from persons of all classes, and political parties in all parts of the country. The people of this country are essentially Protestant, they feel the deepest aversion to Catholicism, and they see that the High Church, Tractarian, and Puseyite doctrines lead men to the Church of Rome. The disgraceful scenes last year at St George's in the East[53] were only an exaggerated outburst of a very general and deeply-rooted feeling. Viscount Palmerston believes that the clergy of the Established Church were never more exemplary in the performance of their duties, more respected by the Laity and, generally speaking, on better terms with the Nonconformist body than at the present time.

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