The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
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[Footnote 33: In the previous portion of this long letter, here omitted, the King gives a detailed account of his position and policy.]

[Pageheading: MARSHAL ST ARNAUD]

Queen Victoria to the Duke of Newcastle.

OSBORNE, 29th May 1854.

The Queen acknowledges the receipt of the Duke of Newcastle's letter, which she received quite early this morning.

The Duke of Cambridge's letter does not give a flourishing account of the state of Turkey. What alarms the Queen most is the news given by the Duke of Newcastle of the pretensions of Marshal St Arnaud.[34] She does not quite understand whether he has received the supreme command over the Turkish Army, but at any rate if the Porte should be willing to allow its Army to be placed under Foreign Command, a portion of it ought to be claimed by us for Lord Raglan, which, joined to his English forces, would produce an Army capable of taking the field independently.

The Queen trusts that the Government will take this into serious consideration, and, if they should concur in this view, that no time will be lost.

[Footnote 34: The Duke had written to say that a demand had been made by Marshal St Arnaud upon the Porte that Omar Pasha should be superseded, and the Turkish Army placed under his (St Arnaud's) orders; also that Marshal St Arnaud was desirous of assuming the supreme command of the allied forces. The incident is graphically recorded by Mr Kinglake.]

[Pageheading: THE QUEEN'S REPLY]



Queen Victoria to the King of Prussia.



DEAREST SIR AND BROTHER,—Your faithful Bunsen has handed me your Majesty's long explanatory letter, and has taken his leave of us,[35] with tears in his eyes, and I can assure your Majesty that I, too, see with pain the departure of one whom I have been accustomed to consider as the faithful mirror of your feelings, wishes, and views, and whose depth and warmth of heart I esteem no less highly than his high mental gifts. Sympathy with his fate is general here. I entirely recognise in your letter the expression of your friendship, which is so dear to me, and which does not admit any sort of misunderstanding to exist between us, without my endeavouring at once to clear it up and remove it. How could I meet your friendship otherwise than by equally absolute frankness, allowing you to look into my inmost heart! Though you have shown me a proof of your gracious confidence in giving me, down to the smallest detail, an account of your personal and business relations with your servants, I still believe that I have no right to formulate any judgment. Only one thing my heart bids me to express, viz., that the men with whom you have broken were faithful, veracious servants, warmly devoted to you, and that just by the freedom and independence of spirit, with which they have expressed their opinions to your Majesty, they have given an indisputable proof of having had in view, not their own personal advantage and the favour of their Sovereign, but his true interests and welfare alone; and if just such men as these—among them even your loving brother, a thoroughly noble and chivalrous Prince, standing next to the throne—find themselves forced, in a grave crisis, to turn away from you, this is a momentous sign, which might well give cause to your Majesty to take counsel with yourself, and to examine with anxious care, whether perhaps the hidden cause of past and future evils may not lie in your Majesty's own views?[36] You complain, most honoured Sire and Brother, that your policy is blamed as vacillating, and that your own person is insulted at home and abroad (a thing which has often filled me with deep grief and indignation), and you asseverate that your policy rests upon a firm basis, which the conscience of "a King and a Christian has laid down for it." But should it be possible to discover in your Majesty's fundamental views something self-contradictory, then necessarily, the more consistently and conscientiously these fundamental views are revealed in their consequences, the more contradictory must your actions appear to those who are not intimately aware of your intentions, and cannot but force upon the world the impression that your views themselves were wavering.

You will not take it amiss in a true friend and sister, if she endeavours to place before you her impressions on this matter, as frankly as they appear to her.

Your Majesty has acknowledged in the face of the world that Russia has addressed to the Porte demands which she had no right to make. You have further acknowledged that the forcible taking possession of two Turkish provinces with the intention of enforcing the demand was a political wrong. You have, together with Austria, France, and England, several times declared in Protocols the preservation of the integrity of the Turkish empire to be a European interest. Notwithstanding all this, Russia continues to occupy the Danube principalities, penetrates further into Turkey, and, by forcing on a sanguinary and exhausting war, leads the unhappy and suffering empire on to the brink of the grave. What should Europe then do under these circumstances?

It could not possibly be the intention of the Powers to declare the preservation and integrity of the Porte to be a matter of European concern, solely in order to allow that empire to be destroyed before their very eyes! As to Prussia, I can conceive a line of policy, not that indeed which I should think in harmony with the generosity and chivalry of your rule, but still one possible in itself, by which she would say to herself: "The preservation of this integrity I have indeed declared to be a matter of European concern, but I wish to leave England and France to defend that policy with their wealth and blood, and reserve to myself only a moral co-operation." But what am I to think if, after England and France with courageous readiness have taken upon themselves alone this immense responsibility, sacrifice, and danger, your Majesty is now mainly considering the erection of a barrier of 72,000,000 of men between them and that Power, against whose encroachment the European interest is to be defended? What am I to say to the threat uttered against the West as well as against the East? and to your even asking from the West gratitude for "the enormous advantage" that you do not, into the bargain, yourself join in attacking it!! For your Majesty says expressly in your letter: "The Emperor ought to thank God that my view of Russian policy, my fidelity to your Majesty, have prevented me from making him begin the Turkish war on the other side of his own frontier. The enormous advantage of this abstention is totally forgotten in France, and, unfortunately, in England too!"

Dearest Sir and Brother, this language shows a contradiction in your own mind, which fills me with the greatest anxiety for possible consequences, an anxiety not diminished by your kindly adding: "Duty, Conscience, and Tradition forbid you to draw the sword against Old England."

I shall gladly with you bless the day on which the word of Peace can be uttered. Your Majesty can, by vigorous co-operation, help to usher in that day, just as you might have—in my conviction—contributed, by vigorous co-operation to prevent the War altogether.

Whatever these troublous times may bring us, I harbour the firm confidence that the warmth of our friendly relations cannot be troubled by anything, and rejoice in the circumstance that the personal relations of the two Sovereigns are, in this matter, so entirely in harmony with the interests of the two nations.

Albert sends you his homage, and I remain, with most cordial remembrance to the dear Queen, and with thanks for the kind wishes expressed by both of you, ever your Majesty's faithful Sister and Friend,


[Footnote 35: The influence of Russia over the King had been proved by the recall of Baron Bunsen, and the dismissal of all those Ministers who had opposed the policy of the Czar in Turkey.]

[Footnote 36: The Prince of Prussia had shown his dissatisfaction with the King's policy by quitting Berlin.]

[Pageheading: THE WAR OFFICE]

Minute of Interview by the Prince Albert.


Lord Aberdeen had an Audience to-day before the Council, and represented that what was intended was merely a division of the office of Secretary of State, and not the creation of any new power, and must be considered rather as a means of avoiding further changes.[37] Lord Grey, in hearing of this intention, called it in a letter "the worst arrangement of all," as unfavourable to his further views; the Duke of Newcastle would fill the office, and would have to prepare the changes, inherent in the arrangement, and was determined not to break down the present arrangements; Lord John Russell was agreed herewith, and Sir George Grey would take office knowing this to be Lord Aberdeen's firm decision. But there was in fact no choice. Mr Rich would this afternoon bring forward a Motion in the House of Commons for the consolidation of all military offices under one Department and a Civil Head, and Lord John Russell, to whom Lord Aberdeen had said that the Queen still hesitated about admitting the separation of the duties of Secretary of State, declared to him angrily, if that was so, he would go down to the House and vote for Mr Rich's Motion!! The Motion would be carried without fail in the House.

So this important measure had been carried by storm (as the Queen could only give way under these circumstances), and carried without a definite plan, leaving everything to the future!!

Lord John is to be Lord President, and he insisted upon Sir George Grey taking the Colonies. Lord Aberdeen fears much dissatisfaction from Lord Canning, Mr Cardwell, and Mr Peel, and just dissatisfaction; the Cabinet are very angry at the whole proceeding. Lord Granville behaved exceedingly well, putting himself and his office entirely at Lord Aberdeen's disposal.[38]

It is supposed that in the House expressions will be dropped in favour of Lord Palmerston's taking the conduct of the War in his hands. The Duke of Newcastle, whom we saw, also states the extreme difficulty of defining the duties of the Secretary of State, but promises to do so, as far as possible, for the Queen's convenience.


[Footnote 37: Lord John Russell had some time before proposed the separation of the War and Colonial Departments, with a view of filling the Colonial Office himself, "which, in every point of view." wrote Lord Aberdeen to the Queen, "would have been a most satisfactory arrangement."]

[Footnote 38: Lord Fitzmaurice, in his Life of Lord Granville, points out that Mr Strutt was really the person who had a right to complain. He was abruptly removed from the Chancellorship of the Duchy, and replaced by Lord Granville to suit Lord John's convenience.]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Aberdeen.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 26th June 1851.

The Queen has not yet acknowledged Lord Aberdeen's letter of the 24th. She is very glad to hear that he will take an opportunity to-day of dispelling misapprehensions which have arisen in the public mind in consequence of his last speech in the House of Lords, and the effect of which has given the Queen very great uneasiness.[39] She knows Lord Aberdeen so well that she can fully enter into his feelings and understand what he means, but the public, particularly under strong excitement of patriotic feeling, is impatient and annoyed to hear at this moment the first Minister of the Crown enter into an impartial examination of the Emperor of Russia's character and conduct. The qualities in Lord Aberdeen's character which the Queen values most highly, his candour and his courage in expressing opinions even if opposed to general feelings of the moment, are in this instance dangerous to him, and the Queen hopes that in the vindication of his own conduct to-day, which ought to be triumphant, as it wants in fact no vindication, he will not undertake the ungrateful and injurious task of vindicating the Emperor of Russia from any of the exaggerated charges brought against him and his policy at a time when there is enough in it to make us fight with all might against it.

[Footnote 39: The speech of Lord Aberdeen, to which the Queen here refers, had created a very unsatisfactory impression. On the 19th of June the venerable Lord Lyndhurst had denounced the aggressive policy and the perfidy of Russia; in the debate which followed, Lord Aberdeen spoke coldly, in a strain of semi-apology for Russia, and with an unlucky reference to the Treaty of Adrianople. Popular feeling against Russia being then at a white heat, the speech was considered indicative of apathy on behalf of the Government in the prosecution of the war. Accordingly, by moving on a later day for a copy of his own despatch of 1829, relative to the Treaty, the Premier obtained an opportunity of dispelling some of the apprehensions which his speech had excited.]

[Pageheading: THE RUSSIAN LOAN]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 27th June 1854.

The Queen observes in Lord Cowley's letter a suggestion of M. Drouyn de Lhuys to stop, if possible, the Russian Loan. She thinks this of the highest importance as cutting the sinews of war of the enemy. The Queen does not know whether we have by law the power to forbid the quotation of this stock in our market, but a short Act of Parliament might be obtained for the purpose. The London and Paris markets rejecting such paper would have the greatest influence upon its issue.[40]

[Footnote 40: Lord Clarendon replied:—"... With reference to your Majesty's note of this morning, Lord Clarendon begs to say that having laid a case fully before the Law Officers, and having ascertained from them that it would be high treason for any subject of your Majesty's to be concerned in the Russian Loan, he will give all possible circulation to the opinion, and he has this evening sent it to Vienna, Berlin, and The Hague...."]


The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 29th June 1854.

Lord Aberdeen presents his humble duty to your Majesty. The Cabinet assembled yesterday evening at Lord John Russell's, at Richmond, and continued to a very late hour.[41]

A Draft of Instructions to Lord Raglan had been prepared by the Duke of Newcastle, in which the necessity of a prompt attack upon Sebastopol and the Russian Fleet was strongly urged. The amount of force now assembled at Varna, and in the neighbourhood, appeared to be amply sufficient to justify such an enterprise, with the assistance of the English and French Fleets. But although the expedition to the Crimea was pressed very warmly, and recommended to be undertaken with the least possible delay, the final decision was left to the judgment and discretion of Lord Raglan and Marshal St Arnaud, after they should have communicated with Omar Pasha.

It was also decided to send the reserve force, now in England, of 5,000 men, to join Lord Raglan without delay. This will exhaust the whole disposable force of the country at this time, and renders it impossible to supply British troops for any undertaking in the Baltic. A communication was therefore made yesterday to the French Government to know whether they would be disposed to send 6,000 French troops, to be conveyed in English transports, to the Baltic, in order to join in an attack upon the Aland Islands,[42] which appeared to be attended with no great difficulty; although any attempt upon Helsingfors, or Cronstadt, was pronounced by Sir Charles Napier to be hopeless.

[Footnote 41: The war now entered upon a new phase. Though the land forces of the Allies had hitherto not come into conflict with the enemy, the Turks under Omar Pasha had been unexpectedly successful in their resistance to the Russians, whom a little later they decisively defeated at Giurgevo. Silistria had been determinedly besieged by the Russians, and its fall was daily expected. Yet, under the leadership of three young Englishmen, Captain Butler and Lieutenants Nasmyth and Ballard, the Russians were beaten off and the siege raised. The schemes of the Czar against Turkey in Europe had miscarried.

Mr Kinglake describes, in an interesting passage, the growth in the public mind of a determination that the Crimea should be invaded, and Sebastopol destroyed. The Emperor Napoleon had suggested the plan at an earlier stage, and the Times newspaper fanned popular enthusiasm in favour of it. The improved outlook in the East warranted the attempt being made, but the plan was not regarded with unqualified approval by the commanders of the allied forces in the East. In the speech, already referred to, of Lord Lyndhurst, the project had been urged upon the Government, and Lord Raglan considered that the despatch now sanctioned by the Cabinet, which is printed in the Invasion of the Crimea, left him no discretion in the matter.

The scheme had previously been considered in all its aspects by the Cabinet, and Mr Kinglake gives an exaggerated importance to the fact that some of the members of the Cabinet gave way to sleep while the long draft of instructions was being read to them at the after-dinner Council at Pembroke Lodge.]

[Footnote 42: Bomarsund, a fortress on one of these islands, was taken by Sir Charles Napier, aided by a French contingent under General Baraguay d'Hilliers, on the 16th of August; but the high expectations raised as to the success of the operations in the Baltic were not realised.]

The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 30th June 1854.

Lord Aberdeen presents his humble duty to your Majesty. He begs to call your Majesty's attention to the circumstance that, in 1842, your Majesty was graciously pleased to authorise Sir Robert Peel to declare that your Majesty had determined that the Income Tax should be charged upon the sum payable to your Majesty under the Civil List Act, and that this declaration was received with marked satisfaction. Lord Aberdeen humbly presumes that your Majesty will be disposed to follow the same course with reference to the augmentation of the Tax; and should this be the case, Lord Aberdeen begs to intimate that the time for making it known has now fully arrived....

[Pageheading: HOME DEFENCES]

Queen Victoria to the Duke, of Newcastle.


In consequence of the departure of these additional 5,000 men for the East, the Queen feels very uneasy at the very defenceless state in which the country will be left, not from any want of confidence arising from the present conjuncture of affairs, but from a strong sense of the impolicy and danger of leaving this great country in such a helpless state under any circumstances, for we never can foresee what events may not suddenly spring up at any moment (like Greece, for instance[43]) which may require a force to be in readiness for any particular purpose.

The Queen therefore wishes the Duke of Newcastle to give her detailed answers upon the various points stated in the accompanying paper; but the Queen wishes to have the "effective state" and not "the state upon paper only." The Duke will be able to obtain these reports from the different departments.

What store of muskets are there here?

When will the new ones be ready?

What is the force of Artillery left in the country in men and horses?

What amount of troops are there in the country of Infantry (deducting the 5,000 men under orders for the East), and of Cavalry, and where are they stationed?

How much Militia has been and will be embodied?

What is the Naval Force at home?

How much serviceable ammunition is there both of Artillery and small arms in the country?

[Footnote 43: A violently hostile feeling between the Turks and Greeks had culminated earlier in the year in a formidable insurrection among the Sultan's Greek subjects. It was terminated on the 18th of June by an engagement at Kalampaka, in Thessaly.]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.


The Queen approves the enclosed drafts, and wishes only to remark on one passage, where Lord Clarendon says, "that he acts by the unanimous desire of the Cabinet," which she thinks better altered or omitted. If left, it might weaken the authority of future instructions emanating from the Secretary of State alone; moreover, he acts constitutionally under the authority of the Queen, on his own responsibility and not that of the Cabinet.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Aberdeen.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 17th July 1854.

The Queen has just received Lord Aberdeen's letter, and has fully considered the contents of it. She has finally decided to make no change in her intended departure, from a conviction that her doing so might shake confidence in the result of this night's Debate. Should anything serious occur, she would be ready to return to-morrow or at any time that her presence in town was considered of importance to the public service.

Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell.

OSBORNE, 19th July 1854.

The Queen has received Lord John Russell's letter of yesterday, and was very glad to hear that both the meeting and the Debate went off so well. The party which supports the Government is certainly "a strange basis for a Government to rest upon," but such as it is we must make the best of it, and nothing will contribute more to keeping it together than to give it the impression that the Government is thoroughly united.[44]

[Footnote 44: During a desultory discussion on the 13th of July, Mr Disraeli had assailed the Government and its chief in the Commons, to such purpose that Lord John Russell, stung by his sarcasms, and mortified by his own failure, asked Lord Aberdeen to relieve him of the Leadership of the House. The Queen, to whom he had also written, entreated Lord John not to let his opponent see that his object in making his attack had been successful. A meeting of the Ministerialists was held on the 17th at the Foreign Office, at which one hundred and eighty members of the House of Commons were present, and some diversity of opinion was expressed; the result of the meeting was that the Government was more satisfactorily supported.]

[Pageheading: INDIAN AFFAIRS]

Queen Victoria to the Marquis of Dalhousie.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 26th July 1854.

It is a very long time since the Queen has had the pleasure of hearing from Lord Dalhousie, but she supposes that (fortunately) there is very little to say, everything being so quiet and prosperous. The Queen highly appreciates and values Lord Dalhousie's kind offer to remain in India while there is any prospect of difficulty being caused by the present War, which will be a source of great satisfaction and tranquillity to her, as she feels that her Indian Dominions cannot be in safer hands.

The Queen wishes to tell Lord Dalhousie how much interested and pleased we have been in making the acquaintance of the young Maharajah Dhuleep Singh.[45] It is not without mixed feelings of pain and sympathy that the Queen sees this young Prince, once destined to so high and powerful a position, and now reduced to so dependent a one by her arms; his youth, amiable character, and striking good looks, as well as his being a Christian, the first of his high rank who has embraced our faith, must incline every one favourably towards him, and it will be a pleasure to us to do all we can to be of use to him, and to befriend and protect him.

It also interested us to see poor old Prince Gholam Mohammed, the last son of the once so dreaded Tippoo Sahib.

We both hope that Lord Dalhousie's health is good, and the Prince sends him his kind remembrance.

[Footnote 45: This young Prince was born in 1838, and was a younger son of Runjeet Singh, Chief of the Sikhs, who, after a loyal alliance with England for thirty years, died in 1839. In 1843 Dhuleep Singh was raised to the throne, which had been occupied successively by Runjeet's elder sons. After the Sikh war in 1845, the British Government gave to the boy-king the support of a British force. In 1849, after the destruction of the Sikh army at Gujerat, and the annexation of the Punjab, a pension was bestowed on the young Maharajah on condition of his remaining loyal to the British Government. He became a Christian and was at this time on a visit to England.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Hardinge.

OSBORNE, 6th August 1854.

The Queen has received Lord Hardinge's letter of the 4th.[46] She would for the future wish all papers for signature to be accompanied by a descriptive list showing at a glance the purport of the documents, as is done with papers from other Government offices.

The Queen has looked over the lists of Major-Generals made by the last brevet which Lord Hardinge submitted, and must confess that it does not afford a great choice; yet, leaving out the cavalry officers and those disqualified by age or infirmities, there remain some few whom she has marked with an "X," for whose exclusion no adequate reason is apparent. An exclusion of officers who have served in the Guards, merely on that account, the Queen would not wish to see adopted as a principle, and the selection of Colonels of the Line (because there are no Generals fit), in preference to Generals of the Guards who are perfectly so, will amount to this. General Eden,[47] moreover, has been in command of a Regiment of the Line, and General Knollys[48] has not been promoted from the Guards, and, in accepting the Governorship of Guernsey, specially begged that this might not exclude him from active service—a circumstance which he mentioned to the Prince at the time. Both these have the reputation of very good officers.

The Queen does not wish anything to be arranged prospectively now, but would recommend the subject to Lord Hardinge's future consideration.

[Footnote 46: In reply to a letter from the Queen, stating that she had inadvertently signed certain papers in the ordinary course. Her attention had not been drawn to their important features.]

[Footnote 47: Lieut.-General John Eden, C.B., nephew of the first Lord Auckland.]

[Footnote 48: Sir William Knollys, K.C.B., 1797-1883, became in 1855 the organiser of the newly formed Camp at Aldershot.]

[Pageheading: SPECIAL PRAYERS]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Aberdeen.

OSBORNE, 21st August 1854.

The Queen must repeat what she has frequently done, that she strongly objects to these special prayers which are, in fact, not a sign of gratitude or confidence in the Almighty—for if this is the course to be pursued, we ought to have one for every illness, and certainly in '37 the influenza was notoriously more fatal than the cholera had ever been, and yet no one would have thought of having a prayer against that. Our Liturgy has provided for these calamities, and we may have frequent returns of the cholera—and yet it would be difficult to define the number of deaths which are to make "a form of prayer" necessary. The Queen would, therefore, strongly recommend the usual prayer being used, and no other, as is the case for the prayer in time of War. What is the use of the prayers in the Liturgy, which were no doubt composed when we were subject to other equally fatal diseases, if a new one is always to be framed specially for the cholera?

The Queen would wish Lord Aberdeen to give this as her decided opinion to the Archbishop, at all events, for the present. Last year the cholera quite decimated Newcastle, and was bad in many other places, but there was no special prayer, and now the illness is in London but not in any other place, a prayer is proposed by the Archbishop. The Queen cannot see the difference between the one and the other.


The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 1st September 1854.

Lord Aberdeen, with his humble duty, begs to lay before your Majesty the pensions proposed to be granted on the Civil List at this time. The only case requiring any special remark is that of the children of Lord Nelson's adopted daughter. There seems little doubt that the person referred to was really Lord Nelson's daughter, according to evidence recently produced, and was recommended by him to the care of the country, just before the battle of Trafalgar.[49]

A numerous party in the House of Commons wished that your Majesty's Government should propose a special vote for this person and her family; but the Cabinet thought that it would give rise to much scandal and disagreeable debate, and finally recommended Lord Aberdeen to place the three daughters on the Pension List. The circumstances of the case are, no doubt, very peculiar; and although Lord Aberdeen does not feel perfectly satisfied with the course pursued, he thinks it very desirable to avoid the sort of Parliamentary debates to which the discussion of such a subject would necessarily give rise.

[Footnote 49: Horatia, daughter of Nelson and Lady Hamilton, was born on the 29th of January 1801, and married in 1822 the Rev. Philip Ward of Tenterden. She died in 1881.]

The Emperor of the French to Queen Victoria.[50]

BOULOGNE, le 8 Septembre 1854.

MADAME ET BONNE S[OE]UR,—La presence du digne epoux de votre Majeste au milieu d'un camp francais est un fait d'une grande signification politique, puisqu'il prouve l'union intime des deux pays: mais j'aime mieux aujourd'hui ne pas envisager le cote politique de cette visite et vous dire sincerement combien j'ai ete heureux de me trouver pendant quelques jours avec un Prince aussi accompli, un homme doue de qualites si seduisantes et de connaissances si profondes. Il peut etre convaincu d'emporter avec lui mes sentiments de haute estime et d'amitie. Mais plus il m'a ete donne d'apprecier le Prince Albert, plus je dois etre touche de la bienveillance qu'a eue votre Majeste de s'en separer pour moi quelque jours.

Je remercie votre Majeste de l'admirable lettre qu'elle a bien voulu m'ecrire et des choses affectueuses qu'elle contenait pour l'Imperatrice. Je me suis empresse de lui en faire part et elle y a ete tres sensible.

Je prie votre Majeste de recevoir l'expression de mes sentiments respectueux et de me croire, de votre Majeste, le bon Frere,


[Footnote 50: The French Emperor had established a camp between Boulogne and St Omer, and early in the summer had invited Prince Albert to visit him. It was reasonably conjectured at the time that one of the chief purposes of the invitation was by personal intercourse to overcome the prejudice which the Emperor believed prevailed against him. The visit lasted from the 4th till the 8th of September, and the Prince's impressions were recorded in a memorandum, "the value of which," writes Sir Theodore Martin, by way of preface to his publication of it, "cannot be overstated; nor is it less valuable for the light which it throws upon the Prince's character, by the remarkable contrasts between himself and the Emperor of the French, which were elicited in the unreserved discussions which each seems equally to have courted."]


The Earl of Clarendon to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 22nd September 1854.

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to your Majesty....

Count Walewski told Lord Clarendon to-day that the Emperor had spoken with enthusiasm of the Prince, saying that in all his experience he had never met with a person possessing such various and profound knowledge, or who communicated it with the same frankness. His Majesty added that he had never learned so much in a short time, and was grateful. He began his conversation with reproaching Count Walewski for not having written to him much oftener respecting the Prince, and endeavoured to ascertain the opinions of His Royal Highness upon all important subjects.

With respect to the invitation, the Emperor's account of it to Count Walewski was that he had apologised to the Prince for the bad reception he had given His Royal Highness, and expressed a hope that he might have an opportunity of doing better at Paris, if your Majesty and the Prince would honour him with a visit; and that His Royal Highness had then said, "the Queen hopes to see your Majesty at Windsor, and will be happy to make acquaintance with the Empress." The Emperor, however, had only taken this as a courteous return to his invitation, and not as intended for a positive invitation.

Lord Clarendon told Count Walewski that he believed the matter had passed inversely, and that the Prince had first communicated your Majesty's message.

Be that as it may, Count Walewski said the Emperor will be delighted to avail himself of the Queen's gracious kindness; nothing will give him so much pleasure....

[Pageheading: THE EMPEROR'S VISIT]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BALMORAL, 24th September 1854.

The Queen returns the two letters from Lord Cowley. She is very sorry to see doubts arise as to the correctness of the intelligence about the safe debarkation of our whole expeditionary force in the Crimea, but still clings to the hope of its being true.

Count Walewski's account of the Emperor's version of his conversation with the Prince explains what the Prince suspected at one time himself, that the Emperor had not understood the Prince's remark as conveying a direct invitation, but merely as a general term of civility. What the Prince intended to convey was something between the two, making it clear that he would be well received, and leaving it entirely open to him to come or not according to his own political views and circumstances. This appeared to the Prince the most polite and delicate, preventing all appearance as if a counter-visit for his own at Boulogne was expected. Lest the Emperor should not have rightly understood the Prince, he repeated the wish to see the Emperor in England, and the hope of the Queen to make the Empress's acquaintance also, more directly to Marshal Vaillant, who gave the same answer as the Emperor had done—he hoped we should come to Paris in return.

Matters stand as well as possible with regard to the visit; in the Queen's opinion, the Emperor can come if he likes, and if prevented, is bound to nothing. Should he ask when his visit would be most agreeable to the Queen, the middle of November would be the time.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BALMORAL, 30th September 1854.

The Queen returns the enclosed letters. The French show their usual vivacity in pressing so hard for decision upon what is to be done with Sebastopol when taken.[51] Surely we ought to have taken it first before we can dispose of it, and everything as to the decision about it must depend upon the state in which we receive it, and the opinion of the Military and Naval Commanders after they find themselves in possession of it. The Queen hopes, therefore, that Lord Clarendon will succeed in restraining French impatience as he has often done before.

[Footnote 51: Lord Clarendon had given the Queen the two reasons for which the French were pressing, in anticipation, the retention of the Crimea, viz. as affording suitable winter quarters, and as a guarantee in case of peace negotiations. On the 7th of September the allied forces had sailed for the Crimea; on the 21st the Queen learned by telegram that 25,000 English, 25,000 French, and 8,000 Turks had landed safely without encountering resistance, and begun the march to Sebastopol. The Queen, with her usual kindly solicitude for the health and comfort of her Ministers, had summoned Lord Aberdeen from London to have the benefit of the Scotch air; he remained at Balmoral from the 27th till the 30th, when he went to his own house at Haddo. Immediately after his departure, a telegram arrived from Lord Clarendon announcing the victory of the Alma.]

[Pageheading: BATTLE OF THE ALMA]

The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

HADDO HOUSE, 1st October 1854.

Lord Aberdeen presents his humble duty to your Majesty. He had the honour of receiving your Majesty's box this morning at nine o'clock by post; and he now sends a Messenger to Aberdeen, with Despatches received this morning from London, to meet the special conveyance to Balmoral this evening.

Lord Aberdeen humbly presumes to offer his most cordial congratulations to your Majesty on the great intelligence received by telegraph this morning. The account sent by Lord Stratford of the victory on the Alma must be correct; the report mentioned by Mr Colquhoun[52] may possibly be so too. At all events, we may fairly hope that the fall of Sebastopol cannot long be delayed.

Lord Aberdeen has written to Lord Clarendon this morning on the subject of the fortifications of Sebastopol, which although, somewhat embarrassing at the moment, is not attended with any great practical importance.

Lord Aberdeen regrets that the speedy return of the post prevents him from sending your Majesty a copy of his letter, which in substance, however, was to the following effect. Without attaching any undue importance to the decision, he was inclined to adhere to his first proposition of the immediate and entire destruction of the works. He did not see the advantage of doing the thing by halves; while the destruction of the sea defences only might give rise to erroneous impressions and would be of an equivocal character. The fall of Sebastopol would in fact be the conquest of the Crimea, and the Allies might winter there with perfect security, as, by occupying the lines of Perekop,[53] any access to the Crimea would effectually be prevented by land. Lord Aberdeen thought that with a view to peace, and the restitution of the Crimea to Russia, it would be more easy for the Emperor to accept the destruction of the fortifications when accomplished, than to agree to any stipulation having such an object.

On the whole, Lord Aberdeen was inclined to think that if the place should not be at once destroyed, it might be better to preserve it in its present state, until the matter should be further considered. The Allies would always have it in their power to act as they thought best, and the question might in some degree be affected by future events. The great objection to leaving the matter undecided for the present appeared to be from the possibility of differences hereafter between France and England upon the subject. After the astounding proposition made to Lord Raglan by the French Generals when actually embarked and at sea, it would be well to leave nothing in doubt. The Turks, too, might perhaps desire to have a voice in the matter, and might become troublesome....

[Footnote 52: Mr (afterwards Sir) Robert Gilmour Colquhoun (1803-1870), Agent and Consul-General at Bucharest.]

[Footnote 53: A district on the isthmus of Crimea, guarded by a wall and a ditch, the name meaning "Cross-ditch." The whole isthmus is now often called Perekop.]

[Pageheading: INDIAN AFFAIRS]

[Pageheading: INDIA AND RUSSIA]

The Marquis of Dalhousie to Queen Victoria.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE, 2nd October 1854.

The Governor-General presents his most humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to offer his respectful thanks for the very gracious manner in which your Majesty has been pleased to acknowledge the offer he has made to retain still the Government of India during the ensuing year.

The Governor-General does not affect to say that he makes no sacrifice in so doing. Many things unite to warn him that it is time he were gone: and his family circumstances, in which your Majesty has long shown so gracious an interest, have rendered the prospect of his remaining longer absent from England a source of much anxiety and perplexity to him. But he felt that this was no time for any man, high or low, to leave his post. And as a seven-years' experience must needs have rendered him more capable of immediate usefulness than any other, though a far abler man, without such experience could possibly be, he did not hesitate to offer the continued service which your Majesty might most justly expect, and which he is proud to render cheerfully.

Your Majesty's remark on the absence of any letter from the Governor-General of late would have disquieted him with apprehensions that he had been thought neglectful, but that your Majesty at the same time ascribed the silence to its real cause. Since the announcement of the termination of the Burmese War there has, in truth, been no occurrence which, of itself, seemed worthy of being made the subject of a report to your Majesty. India has been tranquil in all her borders. And although no event could well be more gratifying than this continuous tranquillity was in itself, still the periodical report of peace and quiet on all sides seemed likely to be as uninteresting as the monotonous, though satisfactory, "All's well" of a ring of sentries.

At Christmas the Governor-General anticipated having the honour of narrating to your Majesty the events of a year which he hoped would, before its close, have been fruitful of great results....

Very recently an interesting mission has arrived from the Khan of Kokan, a state to the north of Bokhara, reporting the capture of their fort of Ak Mussid by the Russians.

The fact was known before; but the mission is important from the certainty it imparts to us that all the Turcomans, the people of Kokan, of Khiva, and of Bokhara, all detest as much as they dread the Muscovites, with whose approach they are threatened.

The Khan asks for aid. We can render him but little. The only real bulwark which can be raised for these states of Central Asia—the only real barrier to the progress of Russia which can be set up there—must have their foundations in the Treaty, which may be framed by the Allied Powers after the present war shall have brought the spirit of Russia into temporary subjection.

The war in which your Majesty has engaged with that great Power has not been directly felt in this part of your Majesty's dominions; but its indirect influence is most sensibly apparent.

The notions entertained of Russia, and the estimate formed of her powers, by the nations of India, are exaggerated in the extreme. Although our pride must wince on hearing it, it is an unquestionable fact that the general belief in India at this moment is that Russia gravely menaces the power of England, and will be more than a match for her in the end.

This feeling cannot prudently be disregarded. The Governor-General need hardly say to your Majesty that he believes that any direct attack by Russia on these dominions at the present time is utterly impracticable; and that there is no more risk of an invasion of India by the Emperor Nicholas than of another by Mahmood of Ghuznee. Nevertheless, the uneasy feeling which now prevails among native States and among ourselves, partly of alarm, partly of indefinite expectation, ought to be guarded against; and the means of meeting any difficulties which may arise out of it should be at our command.

Earnestly desirous to contribute every possible aid to your Majesty's arms in the great contest now going on in Europe, the Governor-General has respectfully placed at the disposal of your Majesty's Ministers all the four regiments of Royal Cavalry now serving in India. The Infantry is already hardly adequate for our own necessities: and while the Governor-General will be quite ready to accept and to face any additional responsibilities which he may be called upon to bear, he has felt it to be his duty to state that, beyond the four regiments of Cavalry, European troops cannot safely be spared from India at the present time.

The Governor-General, however, feels that he is not indulging in any vain boast when he ventures to assure your Majesty that, under God's good blessing, these, your Dominions in the East, are at present absolutely safe.... Your Majesty's most obedient, most humble, and devoted Subject and Servant,




Queen Victoria to the Marquis of Dalhousie.

BALMORAL, 2nd October 1854.

As the Queen knows that the East India Company are chiefly guided by Lord Dalhousie's advice with respect to all Indian affairs in public as well as of a more private nature, she thinks that she cannot do better than write to him upon a subject which she feels strongly upon, and which she is sure that Lord Dalhousie will enter into. It is the position of those unfortunate Indian Princes who have, either themselves or their fathers, been for public reasons deposed. Two instances are now before the Queen's eyes upon which she wishes to state her opinion.

The first is old Prince Gholam Mohammed, and his son Prince Feroz Shah. The Queen understands (though she is not sure of the fact) that the old man is here in order to try to obtain his pension continued to his son. This is very natural, and it strikes the Queen to be an arrangement difficult to be justified, in a moral point of view, to give these poor people—who after all were once so mighty—no security beyond their lives. Whilst we remain permanently in possession of their vast Empire, they receive a pension, which is not even continued to their descendants. Would it not be much the best to allow them, instead of a pension, to hold, perhaps under the Government, a property, which would enable them and their descendants to live respectably, maintaining a certain rank and position? The Queen believes that Lord Dalhousie himself suggested this principle in the case of the Ameers of Scinde.

Nothing is more painful for any one than the thought that their children and grandchildren have no future, and may become absolutely beggars. How much more dreadful must this be to proud people, who, like Prince Gholam, are the sons and grandsons of great Princes like Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sahib! Besides it strikes the Queen that the more kindly we treat Indian Princes, whom we have conquered, and the more consideration we show for their birth and former grandeur, the more we shall attach Indian Princes and Governments to us, and the more ready will they be to come under our rule.

The second instance is that of the young Maharajah Dhuleep Singh (and the Queen must here observe that the favourable opinion she expressed of him, in her last letter to Lord Dalhousie, has only been confirmed and strengthened by closer acquaintance). This young Prince has the strongest claims upon our generosity and sympathy; deposed, for no fault of his, when a little boy of ten years old, he is as innocent as any private individual of the misdeeds which compelled us to depose him, and take possession of his territories. He has besides since become a Christian, whereby he is for ever cut off from his own people. His case therefore appears to the Queen still stronger than the former one, as he was not even a conquered enemy, but merely powerless in the hands of the Sikh soldiery.

There is something too painful in the idea of a young deposed Sovereign, once so powerful, receiving a pension, and having no security that his children and descendants, and these moreover Christians, should have any home or position.

The Queen hears that Lord Dalhousie himself would wish and advise his pension to be exchanged for a property on which the Maharajah might live, which he might improve (giving thereby a most valuable example) and transmit some day to his descendants, should he have any; she hopes therefore that this may be so settled, and that he may, on attaining the age of eighteen, have a comfortable and fitting position worthy his high rank.

Where such a property might be must be of course left to Lord Dalhousie to decide, but the Queen hopes that Lord Dalhousie will give it his serious attention.


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BALMORAL, 10th October 1854.

The Queen has received Lord Clarendon's letters of the 8th.[54] She cannot consider it wise to reject the Austrian proposals altogether, although we may usefully amend them. The success in the Crimea ought to be followed up by strengthening the alliance of the European powers, else it may turn out a sterile victory, and the English blood will have flowed in vain; for supposing even the whole Crimea to fall into our hands, it is not likely that the war will be concluded on that account. How are England and France to bring it to a termination single-handed? Our Army in the Crimea is the only one we have....

It is true that the Austrian proposal promises little performance on her part, yet the stipulation by Treaty that she will never let the Russians pass the Pruth again is a positive advantage to us; and the other, that a defensive and offensive alliance with us is to follow the breaking out of the war by Russia against Austria, although being entirely at our expense, yet realises the chief condition which will make Austria hesitate less to bring it to a war with Russia. She always (and not without reason) dreaded to have to fight Russia single-handed, and the allied armies in the Crimea could not assist her. What reason could Austria put forward and justify to Prussia and Germany, for going to war at this moment? To obtain the evacuation of the Principalities was a tangible one, indeed the same we put forward when we declared war; but this is now obtained.

We must certainly not allow our policy to be mixed up with the miserable German squabbles, but we must acknowledge that Austria, as a member of the Confederation, is not and cannot be independent of them.

The Queen would accordingly advise a temperate consideration of the Austrian proposals and an amendment of them in those points which seem to require them, and which Lord Clarendon clearly points out in his letter, and the avoidance of anything which could weaken the accord Europeen.[55]

The Emperor Napoleon's answer to Lord Cowley with reference to this visit to England renders it probable to the Queen that he was not anxious to have the general invitation changed into a special one, obliging him to come or to refuse. The answer is almost a refusal now, and has not improved our position. The Queen would wish that no anxiety should be shown to obtain the visit, now that it is quite clear to the Emperor that he will be le bienvenu at any time. His reception here ought to be a boon to him and not a boon to us.

The Queen fully enters into the feelings of exultation and joy at the glorious victory of the Alma, but this is somewhat damped by the sad loss we have sustained, and the thought of the many bereaved families of all classes who are in mourning for those near and dear to them.

[Footnote 54: In one of which, in reference to Austria's desire for an offensive and defensive treaty with Great Britain, Lord Clarendon had described the Austrian terms as irritating, and the discussion of them a mere waste of time.]

[Footnote 55: The Cabinet, at its meeting on the 20th, decided to meet the Austrian proposals in the most conciliatory manner possible.]

[Pageheading: THE ALMA]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

HULL, 13th October 1854.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Already far away from my loved beautiful Highlands and Mountains, I find a few minutes to write and thank you for your kind letter of the 2nd, with such lively and glowing descriptions of such glorious and beautiful scenery, which I hope and trust to see some day. Still, with all its beauties, I would not exchange it for our northern beauties, which really they are—for a lovelier country with a more beautiful combination of wood and mountain, and river, and cultivation with the greatest wildness, at the same time close at hand, cannot, I am sure, be seen; Stockmar is in the greatest admiration of it. We left it yesterday morning, slept at Holyrood last night, and came here this evening; the good people of this large port, having since two years entreated us to come here. We shall reach Windsor to-morrow.

We are, and indeed the whole country is, entirely engrossed with one idea, one anxious thought—the Crimea. We have received all the most interesting and gratifying details of the splendid and decisive victory of the Alma; alas! it was a bloody one. Our loss was a heavy one—many have fallen and many are wounded, but my noble Troops behaved with a courage and desperation which was beautiful to behold. The Russians expected their position would hold out three weeks; their loss was immense—the whole garrison of Sebastopol was out. Since that, the Army has performed a wonderful march to Balaklava, and the bombardment of Sebastopol has begun. Lord Raglan's behaviour was worthy of the old Duke's—such coolness in the midst of the hottest fire. We have had all the details from young Burghersh[56] (a remarkably nice young man), one of Lord Raglan's Aides-de-camp whom he sent home with the Despatches, who was in the midst of it all. I feel so proud of my dear noble Troops, who, they say, bear their privations, and the sad disease which still haunts them, with such courage and good humour.

George did enormously well, and was not touched. Now with Albert's love, ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 56: Francis, Lord Burghersh, afterwards twelfth Earl of Westmorland (1825-1891).]


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 5th November 1854.

The Queen has received Lord Clarendon's letter referring to the new Draft of a Treaty with Austria proposed by the French Government, and has since attentively perused the Treaty itself.[57] Vague and inconclusive as it is as to co-operation (which is the main object of our desire), it is a step in advance, and has the advantage of assuring Austria of our alliance should the war between her and Russia break out. The Queen regrets to find a Clause omitted which stood in the former French project (rejected by us about three weeks ago), stipulating that Austria was to prevent the re-entry of Russia into the Principalities. Although she would of her own accord have to do this, a treaty obligation towards the belligerents to that effect would have made a considerable inroad into her position as a neutral power, and secured a co-operation in the war—ad hoc at least. Austria ought to be told, in the Queen's opinion, that this project of treaty contains almost nothing; and that her signing it at once would give a moral pledge of her sincerity towards the Western Powers, who have to pay with the lives of their best troops every day that Austria hesitates to do what in the end she must find it in her own interest to do.

As to M. Olozaga's proposal,[58] the Queen thinks it ought to be treated like all the former ones, viz. met with the remark that we cannot discuss eventualities implying the dethronement of a Sovereign with whom we are on a footing of amity.

[Footnote 57: Lord Clarendon wrote that he and Lord John Russell approved of the treaty, but that Lord Aberdeen thought that Austria would not accept it; while Lord Palmerston felt confident that Austria, even if her co-operation were not now secured, would at least not lend her support to the King of Prussia's scheme.

At this date only partial and misleading accounts had arrived of the battle of Balaklava, and it was believed that four English (not Turkish) redoubts had been taken; and, while the disastrous charge of the Light Brigade had been announced, the success of the heavy cavalry was not yet known. Anxiety began accordingly to be felt at home as to the adequacy of the allied forces to encounter the Russian army, augmented as it now was by the troops which had recently evacuated the Principalities. Accordingly fresh efforts were being made to engage Austria in effectual alliance with the Western Powers.]

[Footnote 58: The document containing this proposal does not seem to have been preserved among the papers. It was not impossibly a scheme for betrothing King Pedro to the infant Princess of the Asturias, thereby uniting the two Crowns, and bringing about the dethronement of Queen Isabella.]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 9th November 1854.

The Queen returns the letters from Lord Cowley and Count Walewski.[59] No consideration on earth ought to stand in the way of our sending what ships we can lay hold of to transport French reinforcements to the Crimea, as the safety of our Army and the honour of the Country are at stake. The Queen is ready to give her own yacht for a transport which could carry 1,000 men. Every account received convinces the Queen more and more that numbers alone can ensure success in this instance, and that without them we are running serious risks.

[Footnote 59: The Count wrote that France was ready to send 20,000 men to the Crimea, if England could furnish transports. Lord Clarendon added: "We have not a single available steamer, as all must be left in the Baltic until the ice sets in, and the stores, ammunition, and clothing for the Army are going out in sailing vessels."]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 14th November 1854.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I am quite shocked to find that I missed writing my letter to-day—but really la tete me tourne. I am so bewildered and excited, and my mind so entirely taken up by the news from the Crimea, that I really forget, and what is worse, I get so confused about everything that I am a very unfit correspondent. My whole soul and heart are in the Crimea. The conduct of our dear noble Troops is beyond praise; it is quite heroic, and really I feel a pride to have such Troops, which is only equalled by my grief for their sufferings. We now know that there has been a pitched battle on the 6th, in which we have been victorious over much greater numbers, but with great loss on both sides—the greatest on the Russian. But we know nothing more, and now we must live in a suspense which is indeed dreadful. Then to think of the numbers of families who are living in such anxiety! It is terrible to think of all the wretched wives and mothers who are awaiting the fate of those nearest and dearest to them! In short, it is a time which requires courage and patience to bear as one ought.

Many thanks, dearest Uncle, for your kind letter of the 11th, which I received on Saturday. The Brabants will soon leave you; I shall write to Leo to-morrow or next day, quand je pourrais un peu rassembler mes idees. I must now conclude, dearest Uncle. With Albert's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,


[Pageheading: INKERMAN]

Queen Victoria to Lord Raglan.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 18th November 1854.

The Queen has received with pride and joy the telegraphic news of the glorious, but alas! bloody victory of the 5th.[60] These feelings of pride and satisfaction are, however, painfully alloyed by the grievous news of the loss of so many Generals, and in particular Sir George Cathcart—who was so distinguished and excellent an officer.[61]

We are most thankful that Lord Raglan's valuable life has been spared; and the Queen trusts that he will not expose himself more than is absolutely necessary.

The Queen cannot sufficiently express her high sense of the great services he has rendered and is rendering to her and the country, by the very able manner in which he has led the bravest troops that ever fought, and which it is a pride to her to be able to call her own. To mark the Queen's feelings of approbation she wishes to confer on Lord Raglan the Baton of Field-Marshal. It affords her the sincerest gratification to confer it on one who has so nobly earned the highest rank in the Army, which he so long served in under the immortal hero, who she laments could not witness the success of a friend he so greatly esteemed.

Both the Prince and Queen are anxious to express to Lord Raglan their unbounded admiration of the heroic conduct of the Army, and their sincere sympathy in their sufferings and privations so nobly borne.

The Queen thanks Lord Raglan for his kind letter of the 28th ultimo.

[Footnote 60: The English loss at the battle of Inkerman was over 2,500 killed and wounded; the French lost 1,800. The loss of the enemy was doubtful, but the Russian estimate (much smaller than our own) was about 12,000 killed, wounded, and prisoners. The Grand Dukes Nicholas and Michael both fought in the battle.]

[Footnote 61: Besides Sir George Cathcart, Brigadier-Generals Strangways and Goldie were killed. Sir George Brown was shot through the arm, Major-Generals Bentinck and Codrington, and Brigadier-General Adams were all severely wounded, but not so seriously. Sir de Lacy Evans a few days earlier, being then in shattered health, had had a fall from his horse, and was absent from the battle.]


The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 23rd November 1854.

Lord Aberdeen presents his most humble duty to your Majesty. He regrets, at a moment of such public interest and importance, to trouble your Majesty with domestic difficulties; but he thinks it his duty to lay before your Majesty the enclosed correspondence without delay.[62] Lord Aberdeen has for some time past expected a proposition of this kind, and it is impossible not to see that it may be attended with very serious consequences. At first Lord Aberdeen was in doubt whether the proposition was made by Lord J. Russell in concert with Lord Palmerston; but this appears not to be the case. Much will therefore depend on the decision of Lord Palmerston. Should he join with Lord John, matters will probably be pushed to extremity; but should he decline, Lord Aberdeen does not think that Lord John will venture to act alone.

[Footnote 62: Lord John Russell urged, in this correspondence, that Lord Palmerston should supersede the Duke of Newcastle at the War Office.]


Queen Victoria to the Marquis of Dalhousie.

24th November 1854.

The Queen thanks Lord Dalhousie for his long and most interesting and satisfactory letter of the 2nd of October.

It is peculiarly gratifying to hear of such quiet and prosperity in her vast Indian dominions, in which the Queen ever takes the liveliest interest, and at the present moment of intense anxiety, when England's best and noblest blood is being profusely shed to resist the encroaching spirit of Russia. The heroism of our noble Troops in the midst of herculean difficulties and great privations is unequalled, and will fill Lord Dalhousie's loyal and patriotic heart with pride and admiration. Though entirely concurring in his opinion that Russia can undertake no invasion of India, her spirit of encroachment on the north frontier must be carefully watched and, if possible, put a stop to, when peace is made.

The progress of the railroad will make an immense difference in India, and tend more than anything else to bring about civilisation, and will in the end facilitate the spread of Christianity, which hitherto has made but very slow progress.

The Queen was already aware of the idea formerly entertained by the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh of marrying the young Princess of Coorg.[63] Agreeing as she does with Lord Dalhousie in the wisdom of advising the young man to pause before he makes his choice of a wife, she thinks such a marriage between these two most interesting young Christians most desirable; indeed, as Lord Dalhousie himself observes, the difficulty of any other marriage for either must be great. The young people have met and were pleased with each other, so that the Queen hopes that their union will, in the course of time, come to pass. Her little god-daughter has been here lately, and though still childish for her age (she is nearly fourteen) is pretty, lively, intelligent, and going on satisfactorily in her education.

Of the young Maharajah, who has now been twice our guest, we can only speak in terms of praise. He promises to be a bright example to all Indian Princes, for he is thoroughly good and amiable, and most anxious to improve himself.

[Footnote 63: A few years earlier, while still holding his ancestral creed, Dhuleep Singh, had made overtures to the ex-Rajah of Coorg with a view to his betrothal to the eldest daughter of the latter; but at that time the matter was dropped. After becoming a Christian, and having also heard of the baptism of the Princess of Coorg, the Maharajah renewed his proposal, which, however, was not eventually accepted. The Princess married an English officer, and died in 1864, aged twenty-four.]


Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar[64] to Queen Victoria.

CAMP BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, 28th November 1854.

MADAM,—Your Majesty's very kind letter reached me by the last mail. I avail myself of your permission to write to you again, although there is not much to say since I last wrote to Prince Albert on the 7th or 8th of this month. I wrote to him soon after the battle of Inkerman, when I was still under the excitement of that fearful scene, and I am afraid that I made use of expressions that I was afterwards sorry that I had done. I believe I made some reflections on our Commanders, which are at all times wrong. By this time your Majesty will, of course, be in possession of all the details of that fearful day, on which our loss was so very great.[65] I made a mistake in stating the number of dead in the Grenadiers; it was much larger than I stated. I think we must have suffered more than any other Corps, for, on the following day, when the roll was called, two hundred and twenty-five men were absent; of these one hundred and one were killed, and the rest wounded. There cannot be any doubt that we allowed ourselves to be surprised, for the first notice we had of the Russians was receiving their heavy shot in the camp of the 2nd Division. Nearly all their tents were torn by round shot. It is even said that a shell lodged in an officer's portmanteau, burst, and, of course, scattered all his goods to the winds. Experience has made us wise, or rather Lord Raglan wise, for since that day the French and ourselves have been busy in entrenching our right; it is now so strong that no enemy can attack us there with the slightest chance of success; it is only a pity it was not done before. The Turks were chiefly employed making these redoubts, which is in fact the only thing they have done except burying the dead Russians. Never shall I forget the sight of the dead and dying Russians on the field. Some of these poor wretches had to lie on the field for at least sixty hours before they were removed to the hospital tents; the majority of course died. I am afraid this is one of the necessities of war, for we had to remove our own people first. I went round the hospitals next morning. It was a horrid sight to see the bodies of the men who had died during the night stretched before the tents, and to see the heaps of arms and legs, with the trousers and boots still on, that had been cut off by the surgeons.

The Russians were so near that most of the officers had to use their swords and revolvers. Many single acts of daring took place; among others, Colonel Percy,[66] of our Regiment, dashed in front of his Company, sword in hand, into a dense body of Russians who were in a battery. I was not in the thick of it, but was engaged with an outlying picquet on the left of the attack. George was in the very thick of it, and, not seeing me, kept asking some of our men where I was. They did not know. He tells me that he thought for a long time I was killed, and even fancied that he had seen me lying on the ground; it turned out later to have been poor Colonel Dawson's[67] body which he mistook for me.

On the 14th we had a terrible storm, such a one as, fortunately for mankind, does not happen but very rarely. All our tents of course were blown down, and we passed the day very uncomfortably; but at sea it was terrible. At Balaklava alone more than two hundred and sixty souls perished, and eleven ships went down. George will have been able to give you a perfect account of it, for, for many hours, the Retribution was in imminent danger. I went a few days after the storm to see him on board.[68] ... He had a little fever or ague on him, but was otherwise well. He has now gone to Constantinople....

May I beg of your Majesty to remember me kindly to Prince Albert and the Duchess of Kent. I have the honour, etc.


[Footnote 64: Son of Duke Charles Bernard and Duchess Ida, the latter being a Princess of Saxe-Meiningen and sister to Queen Adelaide. The Prince was at this time Lieut.-Colonel and A.D.C. to Lord Raglan. He was afterwards A.D.C. to the Queen and ultimately Commander of the Forces in Ireland. He died in 1902.]

[Footnote 65: See ante, 18th November, 1854, note 60.]

[Footnote 66: Colonel Henry Hugh Manvers Percy, 1817-1877, whose father afterwards became the fifth Duke of Northumberland. The Legion of Honour, the Medjidie, and the V.C. were all subsequently conferred on him.]

[Footnote 67: Hon. Thomas Vesey Dawson, brother of the third Lord Cremorne (created Earl of Dartrey).]

[Footnote 68: In this terrible hurricane the Prince, a new and magnificent steamer, with a cargo of the value of L500,000, including powder, shot and shell, beds, blankets, warm clothing for the troops, and medical stores for the hospitals, was lost; six men only of a crew of one hundred and fifty were saved; but the soldiers of the Forty-sixth, whom she was conveying to Balaklava, had happily been landed. Thirty of our transports, as well as the French warship Henri IV., were wrecked. A thousand men were lost, and many more escaped drowning, only to fall into the hands of the Cossacks and be carried to Sebastopol. One solitary source of consolation could be found in the circumstance that the tempest did not occur at an earlier period, when six hundred vessels, heavily laden and dangerously crowded together, were making their way from Varna to Old Fort.]

[Pageheading: THE CRIMEAN MEDAL]

Queen Victoria to the Duke of Newcastle.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 30th November 1854.

The Queen thinks that no time should be lost in announcing the intention of the Queen to confer a medal on all those who have been engaged in the arduous and brilliant campaign in the Crimea.

The medal should have the word "Crimea" on it, with an appropriate device (for which it would be well to lose no time in having a design made) and clasps—like to the Peninsular Medal, with the names Alma and Inkerman inscribed on them, according to who had been in one or both battles. Sebastopol, should it fall, or any other name of a battle which Providence may permit our brave troops to gain, can be inscribed on other clasps hereafter to be added. The names Alma and Inkerman should likewise be borne on the colours of all the regiments who have been engaged in these bloody and glorious actions.

The Queen is sure that nothing will gratify and encourage our noble troops more than the knowledge that this is to be done.

We have just had two hours' most interesting conversation with General Bentinck,[69] whose sound good sense and energy make us deeply regret that he is not now on the spot; he is, however, ready to go out again next year, as Lord Raglan wishes to give him a Division. We hope that, after two or three months' rest, he may be able to go out again.

[Footnote 69: General (afterwards Sir Henry) Bentinck had been wounded at Inkerman; he returned to the Crimea to command a Division.]

[Pageheading: LORD JOHN RUSSELL]

The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 7th December 1854.

Lord Aberdeen presents his humble duty to your Majesty. He would have been desirous of personally submitting to your Majesty the result of the meeting of the Cabinet last night; but he was apprehensive that his sudden journey to Windsor Castle this morning would give rise to speculations and conjectures which, in the present state of the Ministry, it is as well to avoid.

Lord Aberdeen thinks he may venture to assure your Majesty that the correspondence recently circulated is regarded by all the Members of the Cabinet precisely in the same light; and that the propositions of Lord John Russell are considered by all as quite untenable. Lord Palmerston forms no exception; and, whatever may be his views in future, it is clear that at present he contemplates no changes in the Government. Lord John was himself fully aware of this unanimity, and remained entirely silent with respect to his former suggestions. He dwelt in general terms on the absence of vigour in the prosecution of the war, and stated his conviction that the same course would be observed in future. He referred to his position in the House of Commons with much bitterness, and declared that he would never pass such another Session of Parliament as the last. He attributed the frequent defeats of the Government in the House of Commons to the Reform Bill having been withdrawn, by which it was shown that hostile attacks might be made with impunity.

It was obvious, however, that the drift of his observations tended to the substitution of himself as the Head of the Government rather than to any change of Departments; and this he did not deny, when Lord Aberdeen pointed out the inference to be drawn from his remarks.

Finally, Lord John said that he had quite made up his mind. He was ready to continue in office during the short Session before Christmas, and to defend all that had been done; but that he was determined to retire after Christmas. An observation being made that it would be unconstitutional to go into Parliament with such a determination, he replied that, if such was the opinion, he would request Lord Aberdeen to convey his resignation to-morrow morning to your Majesty, which, at all events, would be perfectly constitutional.

Lord Aberdeen feels it to be his duty to state to your Majesty that, whatever may be the real cause, Lord John has made up his mind to act in the manner he has announced.

In this situation it is Lord Aberdeen's desire to come to your Majesty's assistance by any means in his power. Lord John's defection will be a great blow, from which it is very doubtful if the Government could recover; but Lord Aberdeen will come to no conclusion or form any decided opinion until he shall have had the honour of seeing your Majesty.


Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 9th December 1854.

Lord Aberdeen arrived yesterday evening, leaving the Cabinet sitting, revising the Speech from the Throne.[70] He had come to no decision. Sir James Graham and Mr Gladstone had been anxious that he should accept Lord John's resignation at once. He himself felt reluctant to do anything which might be considered harsh towards Lord John, and might make him a martyr hereafter. There was no doubt, however, that they could not go on with Lord John. The universal feeling of the Cabinet seemed to be one of indignation ... at Lord John's conduct. Nobody had expressed himself stronger about it than Lord Lansdowne to Lord Clarendon, feeling it, as he said, "quite a necessity to speak out." The Chancellor said he owed his political allegiance to Lord John as well as his office; but as a man of honour he could not go with him. Lord Granville feels the same. Lord Palmerston had written a long and very able letter to Lord John, proving the impossibility of joining the offices of Secretary at War and Secretary of State for War. Lord John had now, however, dropped his proposal altogether, and made it quite clear that it was Lord Aberdeen he wished to have removed. He said to Lord Palmerston: "When the Cabinet was formed, I always understood that Lord Aberdeen would soon give me up my old place; it has now lasted more than two years, and he seemed to get enamoured with office, and I could not meet the House of Commons in the position I was in last Session."

[Footnote 70: Parliament was to meet on the 12th, chiefly for the purpose of passing a Foreign Enlistment Bill, authorising the immediate enlistment of 15,000 (afterwards reduced to 10,000) foreigners, to be drilled in this country.]

In answer to Lord Palmerston's enquiry what he would do, and how he could expose the Country to such fearful risks at such a moment, he said that he would support the Government out of office. "You will support it at the head of a very virulent Opposition," was Lord Palmerston's reply; "and when you have succeeded in overthrowing the Government, which has difficulty enough to hold its ground even with your assistance, what will you say to the Country? Will you say: 'Here I am. I have triumphed, and have displaced, in the midst of most hazardous operations, all the ablest men the Country has produced; but I shall take their place with Mr Vernon Smith, Lord Seymour, Lord Minto, and others....'"

Sir Charles Wood is the only person who says it is all nothing, and he knows Lord John, and it is sure to blow over.

Lord Aberdeen said it is come to a point where this is no longer possible, as he laid his ground not only on the position that the war had been badly conducted, but that it would be so for the future.

At the Cabinet yesterday a significant incident occurred: Lord John asked what should become of Reform. Lord Aberdeen's answer was, that it had been set aside on account of the war, and that as the war was now raging at its height, it could not be brought on again. Later, when they came to the passage about Education, Lord John made an alteration in the Draft, adding something about strengthening the institutions of the Country. Lord Palmerston started up and asked: "Does that mean Reform?" Lord John answered: "It might or might not." "Well, then," said Lord Palmerston, with a heat of manner which struck the whole Cabinet, and was hardly justified by the occasion, "I wish it to be understood that I protest against any direct or indirect attempt to bring forward the Reform question again!" Lord John, nettled, muttered to himself, but loud enough to be heard by everybody: "Then I shall bring forward the Reform Bill at once."

It is evident to me that after this a junction between Lord Palmerston and Lord John is impossible, and that it must have been Lord Palmerston's object to make this clear to the Cabinet. Lord Aberdeen has declared that he is quite willing to yield his post to Lord John—but that it would not suffice to have got a head—that there must be some Members also, and where are they to be found? He is certain that not one of the present Cabinet could now serve under Lord John. An attempt to solve the question how the present Government is to be maintained, naturally leads everybody to the same conclusion: that Lord Palmerston must be substituted for Lord John as the Leader of the House of Commons. Disagreeable as this must be ... to Lord Aberdeen, and dangerous as the experiment may turn out, we agreed with Lord Aberdeen that he should make the offer to him with the Queen's consent. An alternative proposed by Lord Clarendon, that Lord Aberdeen should ask Lord John what he advised him to do under the circumstances, was strongly condemned by me, as depriving Lord Aberdeen of all the advantage of the initiative with Lord Palmerston. Lord Aberdeen states his great difficulty to be not only the long antecedent and mutual opposition between him and Lord Palmerston, but also the fact that Lord Palmerston loved war for war's sake, and he peace for peace' sake.... He consoled himself, however, at last by the reflection that Lord Palmerston was not worse than Lord John in that respect, and, on the other hand, gave greater weight to the consideration of what was practicable. It remains open for the present whether Lord John is to act as the organ for the Government during the short Session, and resign afterwards, or to resign now.


[Pageheading: LORD ROKEBY]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Hardinge.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 10th December 1854.

The Queen is glad to hear of Lord Rokeby's readiness to go out, as she is sure that he will prove himself an efficient officer in command of that noble Brigade of Guards.[71]

The Queen must repeat again her opinion relative to General Bentinck. She thinks that he ought to go out again, and that, if a division were offered to him, he would not hesitate (when he has recruited his health) to go out. For the sake of example it would be most desirable, for there evidently is an inclination to ask for leave to go home, which would be very detrimental to the Army.

[Footnote 71: Lord Rokeby had on the previous evening been offered and had accepted the command.]

[Pageheading: LORD JOHN RUSSELL]

The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 16th December 1854.

Lord Aberdeen presents his humble duty to your Majesty. The Cabinet met to-day, and discussed various measures, with a view to their introduction into Parliament during the course of the ensuing Session. In this discussion Lord John Russell took an active part, and must have greatly astonished his colleagues, after their knowledge of all that had recently passed. Lord Aberdeen had been previously made aware, although not by himself, of the change which had taken place in Lord John's intentions. After the meeting of the Cabinet, Lord John came to Lord Aberdeen, and spoke of the affair of Mr Kennedy,[72] but did not seem disposed to advert to any other subject. Lord Aberdeen therefore took an opportunity of referring to the correspondence which had taken place, and the notice which had been given by Lord John. Without any embarrassment, or apparent sense of inconsistency, he at once admitted that he had changed his intention, and attributed it chiefly to a conversation yesterday with Lord Panmure, who, although a great military reformer, had convinced him that the present was not a fitting time for his proposed changes.

Lord Aberdeen had not seen any member of the Cabinet this evening since the meeting terminated, and does not know how they may be affected by this change. Some, he feels sure, will be disappointed; but, on the whole, he feels disposed to be well satisfied. It is true that there can be no security for a single week; and it is impossible to escape from a sense of self-degradation by submitting to such an unprecedented state of relations amongst colleagues; but the scandal of a rupture would be so great, and the evils which might ensue so incalculable, that Lord Aberdeen is sincerely convinced it will be most advantageous for your Majesty's service, and for the public, to endeavour, by a conciliatory and prudent course of conduct, to preserve tranquillity and union as long as possible. This does not exclude the necessity of firmness; and in the present case Lord Aberdeen has yielded nothing whatever, but he has received Lord John's change without resentment or displeasure.

[Footnote 72: Mr Kennedy (who was remotely connected by marriage with Lord John) had been removed by Mr Gladstone from an office he held. Lord John took it up as a family matter.]


The Duke of Newcastle to Queen Victoria.

WAR DEPARTMENT, 22nd December 1854.

... The Duke of Newcastle assures your Majesty that the condition of the Hospital at Scutari, and the entire want of all method and arrangement in everything which concerns the comfort of the Army, are subjects of constant and most painful anxiety to him, and he wishes most earnestly that he could see his way clearly to an early and complete remedy.[73]

Nothing can be more just than are all your Majesty's comments upon the state of facts exhibited by these letters, and the Duke of Newcastle has repeatedly, during the last two months, written in the strongest terms respecting them—but hitherto without avail, and with little other result than a denial of charges, the truth of which must now be considered to be substantiated.

Your Majesty is aware that the Duke of Newcastle sent out a Commission to enquire into the whole state of the Medical Department nearly three months ago, and he expects a report very soon.

In the meantime, the Duke of Newcastle will again write in the sense of your Majesty's letter to him.

[Footnote 73: Early in November, a band of capable and devoted nurses, under the superintendence of Miss Florence Nightingale, had arrived at Scutari, the experiment having been devised and projected by Mr Sidney Herbert, who was a personal friend of Miss Nightingale. The party was accompanied by Mr and Mrs Bracebridge, whose letters describing the condition of the hospitals had been sent by the Queen to the Duke of Newcastle.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 30th December 1854.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Once more, in this old and very eventful year, allow me to address you, and to ask you for the continuation of that love and affection which you have ever borne me! May God bless you and yours in this New Year—and though the old one departs in war and blood, may we hope to see this year restore peace to this troubled world, and may we meet again also!

With the affectionate wishes of all the children, believe me always, your most devoted Niece,




At the end of the year 1854, negotiations had been on foot with a view to terminating the war, on terms which were known as the "Four Points," the third of which was designed to extinguish Russian preponderance in the Black Sea; and a conference of the Powers ultimately assembled at Vienna for the purpose. Early in 1855, Sardinia, under the influence of Cavour, her Premier, joined the Western Alliance against Russia. On Parliament re-assembling in January, Mr Roebuck gave notice of a motion for the appointment of a Committee to enquire into the conduct of the war. Lord John Russell, finding himself unable to resist the motion, at once resigned, and the Ministry was overwhelmingly defeated by a majority of more than two to one. Lord Derby, as Leader of the Conservative Opposition, was summoned to form a Ministry, but failed to do so; the age of Lord Lansdowne prevented his accepting the Premiership; and Lord John Russell, whose action had largely contributed to the defeat of the coalition, then attempted the task, but found that he could not command the support even of his old Whig colleagues. The Queen accordingly desired Lord Palmerston, whom the voice of the country unmistakably indicated for the Premiership, to construct a Government; he was successful in the attempt, the Cabinet being a reconstruction of that of Lord Aberdeen, with Lord Panmure substituted for the Duke of Newcastle at the War Office, while Lord John Russell was appointed British Plenipotentiary at the Vienna Conference. The new Premier desired to prevent the actual appointment of the Committee which Mr Roebuck's motion demanded, the displacement of the late Ministry—the real objective of the attack—having been effected; but as the House of Commons manifested a determination to proceed with the appointment of the Committee, the Peelite section of the Cabinet (Sir James Graham, Mr Gladstone, and Mr Sidney Herbert) withdrew, and Lord John Russell, who was then on his way to Vienna, accepted the Secretaryship of the Colonies. Early in March, the Czar Nicholas died suddenly of pulmonary apoplexy, and the expectation of peace increased; shortly afterwards, the Emperor and Empress of the French paid a state visit to this country, and were received with much enthusiasm, the Emperor being made a Knight of the Garter.

In February, a determined attack by the Russians upon Eupatoria was repulsed by the Turks; the defenders of Sebastopol, however, succeeded in occupying and fortifying an important position, afterwards known as the "Mamelon." The bombardment was resumed by the Allies in April, and a successful attack made upon Kertsch, from which the supplies of Sebastopol were mainly drawn; while a squadron under Captain Lyons destroyed the Russian magazines and stores in the Sea of Azov. General Canrobert was succeeded in the French command by General Pelissier, and on the 7th of June the Mamelon was taken by the French. A desperate but, as it proved, unsuccessful assault was then made by the Allies on the Redan and Malakhoff batteries; at this juncture Lord Raglan died, and was succeeded in the command by General Simpson.

The Vienna Conference proved abortive, Russia refusing to accept the third point, and though a compromise was proposed by Austria, which was favoured by the British and French Plenipotentiaries, their respective Governments did not ratify their views. The negotiations accordingly broke down, and Lord John Russell, on his return, used language in Parliament quite inconsistent with the view which it afterwards appeared he had urged at Vienna. He was loudly denounced for this, and, to avoid Parliamentary censure, again resigned office.

Among the measures which became law during the session, were those for enabling companies to be formed with limited liability, and for granting self-government to some of the Australasian Colonies. The Committee appointed by the House of Commons held its meetings in public (after a proposal to keep its investigations secret had been rejected), and, by the casting vote of the Chairman, reported that the late Cabinet, when directing the expedition to the Crimea, had had no adequate information as to the force they would have to encounter there; but a motion to "visit with severe reprehension" every member of the Cabinet was parried by carrying the "previous question."

In August, the Queen and Prince Albert paid a return visit to the French Emperor, and were received with great magnificence in Paris, while later in the year King Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia visited this country, and was made a Knight of the Garter. On the 9th of August, Sweaborg was severely bombarded by the allied fleets in the Baltic, and a forlorn attempt to raise the siege of Sebastopol resulted in another decisive success at the Tchernaya, the Sardinian contingent fighting with great bravery. Sebastopol fell on the 8th of September, after a siege of three hundred and forty-nine days; the citadel of Kinburn was bombarded and surrendered in October, after which General Simpson retired, in favour of Sir William Codrington. On the other hand, the fortress of Kars in Armenia, which had been defended by General Fenwick Williams, had to surrender to the Russian General Mouravieff, in circumstances, however, so honourable, that the officers were allowed to retain their swords, and their General received a Baronetcy and a pension of L1000 a year.



[Pageheading: THE FOUR POINTS]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

OSBORNE, 9th January 1855.

THE Queen received Lord Clarendon's box by special messenger yesterday evening. The acceptance by Russia of our interpretation of the four points[1] is a most clever, diplomatic man[oe]uvre, and very embarrassing for us at this moment, before Sebastopol is taken, and before Austria has been compelled to join in the war. It leaves us no alternative but to meet in conference, which, however, in the Queen's opinion, ought to be preceded by a despatch to Austria, putting on record our opinion as to the nature and object of the step taken by Russia, and the advantages she hopes to derive by it from Austria and Germany, and the disadvantages she expects to inflict on the Western Powers. As hostilities ought not to be interrupted unless the Russians give up Sebastopol and evacuate the Crimea (which would give rest and quiet to our poor soldiers), there still remains the hope of our getting the place before preliminaries of peace could be signed; and in that case a Peace on the four points would be everything we could desire, and much preferable to the chance of future convulsions of the whole state of Europe. Russia would then have yielded all our wishes for the future.

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