The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
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[Footnote 31: The Hon. Arthur Gascoigne Douglas (1827-1905), son of the nineteenth Earl of Morton; Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney, 1883-1905.]


[Pageheading: THE NEW CABINET]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 7th February 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that a difficulty has arisen in regard to the reconstruction of the Administration, which your Majesty might perhaps be able to assist in removing. It is considered by the Members of the proposed Cabinet to be a matter of great importance that Lord Lansdowne should not only be a Member of the Cabinet, but that he should also be the Organ of the Government in the House of Lords.

Viscount Palmerston pressed this upon Lord Lansdowne yesterday afternoon, and was under the impression that Lord Lansdowne had consented to be so acknowledged, with the understanding that Lord Granville, as President of the Council, should relieve him from the pressure of the daily business of the House, while Lord Clarendon would take the burthen of Foreign Office discussions, and that thus the ordinary duties of Leader of the House of Lords would be performed by others, while Lord Lansdowne would still be the directing chief, who would give a character and tone to the body. But Viscount Palmerston learns this morning from Lord Granville and Lord Bessborough that Lord Lansdowne does not so understand the matter, and is unwilling to assume the ostensible Leadership, even upon the above-mentioned arrangement, and that he wishes Lord Granville to be the Leader in the House of Lords.

Lord Granville, however, with reason urges that there are many members of the House of Lords who would show to Lord Lansdowne, from his long standing and high political position, a deference which they would not show towards Lord Granville, so much younger a man. If Lord Lansdowne were in Town, Viscount Palmerston would have gone to him strongly to entreat him to be the person to announce in the House of Lords the formation of a Ministry, and to continue to be the organ of the Government in that House, at least till Easter, and upon such matters and occasions as might require the weight of his authority; but if your Majesty were to view the matter in the same light in which it has presented itself to Viscount Palmerston, to the Chancellor, to Lord Clarendon, to Lord Granville and others, and if your Majesty should think fit to express an opinion upon it to Lord Lansdowne, such an opinion would no doubt have great weight with Lord Lansdowne.

Viscount Palmerston submits a list of the proposed Cabinet. Until Sir George Grey returns to Town this afternoon from Portsmouth, whither he went yesterday evening to take leave of his son, who has a commission in the Rifles,[32] and was to embark this morning for the Crimea, Viscount Palmerston will not know whether he prefers the Colonial Office or the Home Office. Whichever of the two he chooses, Mr Herbert will take the other. Viscount Palmerston does not submit to your Majesty the name of any person for the office of Secretary at War, as he proposes that that office shall merge in the office of Secretary of State for the War Department, and Viscount Palmerston suspends for the present any recommendation to your Majesty for the office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as that office may be made available for giving strength either in the House of Lords or in the House of Commons according to circumstances.


First Lord of Treasury Viscount PALMERSTON. Organ of the Government or } Marquis of LANSDOWNE. Leader of the House of Lords} Lord Chancellor Lord CRANWORTH. President of the Council Earl GRANVILLE. Privy Seal Duke of ARGYLL. Foreign Affairs Earl of CLARENDON. War Department Lord PANMURE. Home Office {Mr SIDNEY HERBERT { or Sir GEORGE GREY. Colonial Department {Sir GEORGE GREY or { Mr SIDNEY HERBERT. Admiralty Sir JAMES GRAHAM. Chancellor of Exchequer Mr GLADSTONE. India Board Sir CHARLES WOOD. Board of Works Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH. Post Office VISCOUNT CANNING.

[Footnote 32: George Henry Grey, afterwards Lieut.-Colonel of the Northumberland Militia, and Captain in the Grenadier Guards; father of the present Sir Edward Grey, M.P. He predeceased his father in 1874.]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 7th February 1855.

The Queen has just received Lord Palmerston's letter with the List of the Government, which she approves. She entirely agrees with him in the view he takes with respect to Lord Lansdowne's position in the House of Lords, and will write to him on the subject. From what he said, however, the Queen would hope that he would not be disinclined to make the announcement of the Government as well as to take the lead on all occasions of great importance.[33]

The Queen approves that the office of Secretary at War should remain open at present; but as regards the question itself of these two offices, she reserves her judgment till the subject is submitted to her in a definite form.

[Footnote 33: Lord Lansdowne consented, on particular occasions only, to represent the Government, but claimed to be himself the judge of the expediency or necessity of his doing so. The ministerial life of this doyen of the Whig Party spanned half a century, for he had, as Lord Henry Petty, been Chancellor of the Exchequer in the ministry of "All the Talents" in 1806-1807. Lord Granville now assumed the Liberal leadership in the Lords, which, as Lord Fitzmaurice points out, he held, with a brief exception of three years, till his death in 1891].


The Earl of Clarendon to Queen Victoria.

10th February 1855.

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and humbly begs to say that, with the permission of Lord Palmerston, and at the urgent recommendation of Lord Aberdeen and Lord Lansdowne, he has made to Lord John Russell the proposal to act as our negotiator at Vienna, which your Majesty was pleased to sanction on Wednesday night.[34]

Lord Clarendon thinks, that whether the negotiations end in peace or are suddenly to be broken off, no man is so likely as Lord John to be approved by the Country for whichever course of proceeding he may adopt, and it will be a great advantage that the negotiator himself should be able to vindicate his own conduct in Parliament.

Lord Clarendon has this evening received a very kind and friendly answer from Lord John, who is disposed to accept, but desires another day to consider the proposal.

As our relations with the United States are of the utmost importance at this moment, and as they have rather improved of late, Lord Clarendon humbly hopes he may be excused if he ventures to suggest to your Majesty the expediency of inviting Mr Buchanan[35] to Windsor.

[Footnote 34: In pursuance of the negotiations referred to (ante, p. 65), a conference of the Powers was held at Vienna. Lord John's view of the attitude which he hoped Great Britain would take up is clearly stated in his letter of the 11th to Lord Clarendon, printed in Walpole's Life of Lord John Russell, vol. ii. p. 242. He favoured the admission of Prussia to the Conference.]

[Footnote 35: American Minister to Great Britain, afterwards President of the United States.]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 10th February 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that having been very kindly received at Paris by the Emperor of the French, he thought it would be useful to write to the Emperor on the formation of the present Government, and he submits a copy of the letter[36] which he addressed to the Emperor.

The Emperor, when Viscount Palmerston took leave of him, signified his intention of writing occasionally to Viscount Palmerston, and that is the reason why Viscount Palmerston adverts to such communications in his letter.

Viscount Palmerston has just had the honour to receive your Majesty's communication of this day, and will not fail to bear in mind the suggestions which it contains.

[Footnote 36: Viscount Palmerston to the Emperor of the French.

LONDRES, 8 Fevrier 1855.

SIRE,—Appele par la Reine ma Souveraine au poste que maintenant j'occupe, je m'empresse de satisfaire au besoin que je sens d'exprimer a votre Majeste la grande satisfaction que j'eprouve a me trouver en rapport plus direct avec le Gouvernement de votre Majeste.

L'Alliance qui unit si heureusement la France et l'Angleterre et qui promet des resultats si avantageux pour toute l'Europe, prend son origine dans la loyaute, la franchise, et la sagacite de votre Majeste; et votre Majeste pourra toujours compter sur la loyaute et la franchise du Gouvernement Anglais. Et si votre Majeste avait jamais une communication a nous faire sur des idees non encore assez muries pour etre le sujet de Depeches Officielles, je m'estimerais tres honore en recevant une telle communication de la part de votre Majeste.

Nous allons mettre un peu d'ordre a notre Camp devant Sevastopol, et en cela nous tacherons d'imiter le bel exemple qui nous est montre par le Camp Francais. A quelque chose cependant malheur est bon, et le mauvais etat de l'Armee Anglaise a donne aux braves et genereux Francais l'occasion de prodiguer a leurs freres d'armes des soins, qui ont excite la plus vive reconnaissance tant en Angleterre qu'a Balaclava. J'ai l'honneur d'etre, Sire, etc. etc.,



Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 11th February 1855.

This letter gave us great uneasiness.... The sort of private correspondence which Lord Palmerston means to establish with the Emperor Napoleon is a novel and unconstitutional practice. If carried on behind the back of the Sovereign, it makes her Minister the Privy Councillor of a foreign Sovereign at the head of her affairs. How can the Foreign Secretary and Ambassador at Paris, the legitimate organs of communication, carry on their business, if everything has been privately preconcerted between the Emperor and the English Prime Minister? What control can the Cabinet hope to exercise on the Foreign Affairs under these circumstances?...

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 11th February 1855.

The Queen thanks Lord Palmerston for his letter of the 10th, and for communicating to her the letter which he had addressed upon the 8th to the Emperor of the French on the formation of the present Government, the copy of which the Queen herewith returns.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 16th February 1855. (Friday night.)

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that after he had made his statement this afternoon, a conversation of some length took place, in which Mr Disraeli, Mr Roebuck, Mr Thomas Duncombe, and several other Members took part, the subject of discussion being whether Mr Roebuck's Committee should or should not be appointed.

Viscount Palmerston is concerned to say that it was not only his own impression but the opinion of a great number of persons with whom he communicated in the course of the evening, including the Speaker, that the appointment of the Committee will be carried by a very great majority, perhaps scarcely less great than that by which the original Motion was affirmed; and it was also the opinion of good judges that a refusal to grant an enquiry would not be a good ground on which to dissolve Parliament and appeal to the Country. The general opinion was that the best way of meeting the Motion for naming the Committee which Mr Roebuck has fixed for next Thursday, would be to move some instruction to the Committee directing or limiting the range of its enquiry. This is a matter, however, which will be well considered at the meeting of the Cabinet to-morrow....

The reason alleged for the determination of Members to vote for Mr Roebuck's Committee is the general desire throughout the Country that an enquiry should be instituted to ascertain the causes of the sufferings of your Majesty's troops in the Crimea.

Queen Victoria to the King of Prussia. [Translation.]

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 20th February 1855.

DEAREST BROTHER,—I must not let Lord John Russell visit Berlin without personally recommending him to your Majesty—an honour which he deserves in a high degree, as a statesman of wide outlook, well-informed, and moderate. At the same time I may be allowed to repeat my conviction, which I have expressed several times already, that it appears to me impossible to obtain peace so long as Prussia continues indisposed to maintain, in case of necessity by force of arms, the principles publicly expressed in concert with the belligerent Powers and Austria.

Much blood, very much blood, has already been shed. Honour and justice force the belligerent Powers to make every sacrifice in continually defending those principles to the utmost. Whether diplomacy will succeed in saving Prussia from taking an active share in this defence—that remains the secret of the future, which the King of kings alone possesses!

Albert presents his homage to your Majesty, and I beg to be most cordially remembered, and remain as ever, my dear Brother, your Majesty's faithful Servant and Friend,


[Pageheading: MR GLADSTONE]

Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 21st February 1855.

I have just seen Mr Gladstone, who received my box so late that I did not wish to detain him more than a few minutes, as the Cabinet was waiting for him. I told him, however, the substance of Lord Palmerston's letter, and of the Queen's answer, the wisdom of which, he said, nobody could doubt for a moment, and added that the choice lying only between many evils, I hoped he and his friends would not strive to obtain an absolute good, and thereby lose the Queen the services of an efficient Government. He begged that I should rest assured that the first and primary consideration which would guide their determination would be the position of the Crown in these critical circumstances. He had had no opportunity of consulting these last days either Mr S. Herbert or Sir James Graham. But for himself he felt the greatest difficulty in letting the House of Commons succeed in what he must consider a most unconstitutional, most presumptuous, and most dangerous course, after which it would be impossible for the Executive ever to oppose again the most absurd and preposterous demands for enquiry.[37]

[Footnote 37: See post, 21st February, 1855, note 38.]

I asked, "But can you stop it?"

He answered: I believe Lord Palmerston made a mistake in not grappling with it from the first, and using all the power the Crown had entrusted to him, even ostentatiously, for the purpose. Now it might be most difficult—but it ought not to pass without a solemn protest on the part of the men who were not connected with the Government, and should not be supposed to have any other than the interests of the Country at heart. A Government was powerless in resisting such an encroachment of the House, where the whole Opposition, from personal motives, and the supporters of Government from fear of their constituents, were bent upon carrying it. Such a protest, however, might form a rallying-point upon which future resistance might be based, and the Country, now intoxicated by agitation, might come to its senses.

As to the strength of the Government, he believed it had very little at this moment in the House, and that such would be the case with any Government Lord Palmerston could form, he had foretold him, when Lord Derby had made him the offer to join an Administration of his forming. At this moment the secession of the Peelites would rather strengthen the Government than otherwise, as, from their connection with Lord Aberdeen, they had been decried in the Country with him, and the Whigs looked upon them with all the personal feelings of men deprived of their offices by them.

He agreed with me that in the present disruption of Parties, the difficulty of obtaining any strong Government consists, not in the paucity of men, but in the over-supply of Right Honourable gentlemen produced by the many attempts to form a Government on a more extended base. There were now at least three Ministers for each office, from which the two excluded were always cried up as superior to the one in power. He said this could not be amended until we got back to two Parties—each of them capable of presenting to the Queen an efficient Administration. Now the one Party did not support its Chief from personal rivalry—and the other, from the very feeling of its own incapacity, became reckless as to the course of its political actions.

He concluded by saying he felt it right to reserve his final determination till the last moment at which it would become necessary.



Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

DOWNING STREET, 21st February 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and feels extreme regret in having to state to your Majesty that Sir James Graham, Mr Gladstone, and Mr Sidney Herbert announced at the Cabinet Meeting to-day their determination to retire from the Government in consequence of their inability to consent to the nomination of Mr Roebuck's Committee.[38] No other Member of the Government has as yet intimated any intention to retire. Viscount Palmerston will assemble the remaining Members of the Government to-morrow at twelve to take into consideration the steps to be taken for supplying the places of the retiring Members.[39]

An endeavour has been made to induce Mr Roebuck to postpone the appointment of the Committee till Monday, but he will not consent to delay it beyond to-morrow, and he will insert in the votes to-night, to be printed to-morrow morning (in accordance with the rules of the House), the proposed list of names which have been settled between the Government and Mr Roebuck, and which seem to be unobjectionable, all things considered....

[Footnote 38: The retirement of the Peelites in a body from Lord Palmerston's Ministry is a curious instance of the tenacity of Party ties, since the prosecution of the enquiry into the conduct of the war affected the Whig as much as the Peelite section of the Aberdeen Cabinet. In reference to their reason for resignation (viz. that the investigation was a dangerous breach of a great constitutional principle, and that similar enquiries could never thenceforward be refused), see Parker's Sir James Graham, vol. ii. pp. 268-272.

The secession of the Peelites, however, did not make the Ministry a Whig Government. The last Whig Administration was that which left office early in 1852. Had Lord John Russell succeeded in his attempt on the present occasion, the Whig party might have endured co nomine; but Palmerston had, notwithstanding Cobden's distrust, been popular with the Radicals, and henceforward his supporters must be known as the Liberal Party.]

[Footnote 39: Sir Charles Wood became First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Vernon Smith succeeding him at the Board of Control), Sir George Lewis succeeded Mr Gladstone at the Exchequer, and the Colonial Office was offered to and accepted by Lord John Russell, who was at the moment in Paris on his way to attend the Vienna Conference.]

[Pageheading: CRIMEAN HEROES]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 27th February 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Since I last wrote to you, we have again had much trouble, as Van de Weyer will have informed you. We have lost our three best men—certainly from the purest and best of motives—but the result is unfortunate. Altogether, affairs are very unsettled and very unsatisfactory. The good people here are really a little mad, but I am certain it will right itself; one must only not give way to the nonsense and absurdity one hears.

Lord John's return to office under Lord Palmerston is very extraordinary![40] I hope he may do good in his mission; he is most anxious for it.

Many thanks for your kind letter of the 23rd. The frost has left us, which personally I regret, as it agrees so well with me; but I believe it was very necessary on account of the great distress which was prevalent, so many people being thrown out of employment.

The Emperor's meditated voyage[41]—though natural in him to wish—I think most alarming; in fact, I don't know how things are to go on without him, independent of the great danger he exposes himself to besides. I own it makes one tremble, for his life is of such immense importance. I still hope that he may be deterred from it, but Walewski was in a great state about it.

On Thursday we saw twenty-six of the wounded Coldstream Guards, and on Friday thirty-four of the Scotch Fusileers. A most interesting and touching sight—such fine men, and so brave and patient! so ready to go back and "be at them again." A great many of them, I am glad to say, will be able to remain in the Service. Those who have lost their limbs cannot, of course. There were two poor boys of nineteen and twenty—the one had lost his leg, quite high up, by the bursting of a shell in the trenches, and the other his poor arm so shot that it is perfectly useless. Both had smooth girls' faces; these were in the Coldstream, who certainly look the worst. In the Scotch Fusileers, there were also two very young men—the one shot through the cheek, the other through the skull—but both recovered! Among the Grenadiers there is one very sad object, shot dreadfully, a ball having gone in through the cheek and behind the nose and eye and out through the other side! He is shockingly disfigured, but is recovered. I feel so much for them, and am so fond of my dear soldiers—so proud of them! We could not have avoided sending the Guards; it would have been their ruin if they had not gone....

I must now conclude. Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 40: For twenty years Lord John Russell had been Leader of the Whig Party in the House, and Lord Palmerston subordinate to him.]

[Footnote 41: The Emperor had announced his intention of going to the Crimea, and assuming the conduct of the war. The project was most unfavourably regarded by the Queen and the Prince, by Lord Palmerston, and by the Emperor's own advisers. But the intention, which had been carefully matured, was arrived at in full loyalty to the Alliance with this country, and had to be tactfully met. Accordingly, it was arranged that when Napoleon was at the Camp in Boulogne in March, Lord Clarendon should visit him there, and discuss the question with him. Eventually, the Foreign Secretary persuaded the Emperor to relinquish, or at any rate defer, his expedition; a memorandum of what passed on the occasion was drawn up by the Prince from the narration of Lord Clarendon, and printed by Sir Theodore Martin. (Life of the Prince Consort, vol. iii. p. 231.)]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 1st March 1855.

The Queen thanks Lord Clarendon for his letter received this evening, and will return the enclosures to-morrow.

The Queen gathers from what she has read that the Emperor is bent upon going, and that nothing in the shape of remonstrance or argument will turn him from his purpose.

Should the Emperor's journey take place, Lord Cowley's accompanying him appears to the Queen in all respects a most useful step, and the Queen gives accordingly her permission for him to go.

The Emperor's taking the management of the whole Campaign, as well as the command of our Forces, entirely into his own hands, involves so many considerations that it may be worth considering whether we ought not previously to come to a more direct and comprehensive understanding with him, such as full and verbal discussion would alone afford—to which, in some shape or other, his present stay at Boulogne might afford some facilities.

[Pageheading: DEATH OF THE CZAR]

From Sir Ralph Abercromby.[42]

THE HAGUE. 2nd March 1855. (Received 3.45 P.M.)

The Emperor Nicholas died this morning at 1 A.M. of Pulmonic Apoplexy, after an attack of Influenza.[43]

[Footnote 42: Who had married the sister of Lady John Russell.]

[Footnote 43: Nothing had been known publicly of the Czar's illness, and the startling news of his death caused a sensation in England of tragedy rather than of joy. Mr Kinglake has vividly depicted the feelings of agony and mortification with which the news of the earlier Russian reverses had been received by Nicholas. On the 1st of March, he received the full account of the disaster at Eupatoria, after which he became delirious, and died on the following day. He had stated, in referring to the horrors of that Crimean winter, that Russia had still two Generals on whom she could rely: Generals Janvier and Fevrier; and Leech, with matchless art, now made his famous cartoon—"General Fevrier turned traitor," depicting Death, in the uniform of a Russian officer, laying his bony hand on the Emperor's heart.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 2nd March 1855.

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

The death of the Emperor of Russia may or may not produce important changes in the state of affairs. It is probable that the Grand Duke Hereditary will succeed quietly, notwithstanding the notion that a doubt would be started whether he, as son of the Grand Duke Nicholas, would not be superseded by his younger brother born son of the Czar.[44] It is possible that the new Emperor may revert to that peaceful policy which he was understood to advocate in the beginning of these transactions, but it is possible, on the other hand, that he may feel bound to follow out the policy of his father, and may be impelled by the headstrong ambition of his brother Constantine. At all events, this change at Petersburg should not for the present slacken the proceedings and the arrangements of the Allies.

The House of Commons has been engaged in discussing Mr Roebuck's proposal that the Committee of Enquiry should be a secret one. This proposal was made by the majority of the Committee on the ground that they anticipated a difficulty in conducting their enquiries without trenching on the delicate and dangerous ground of questioning the proceedings of the French. The proposal was objected to by Lord Seymour[45] and Mr Ellice, members of the Committee, by Sir James Graham as unjust towards the Duke of Newcastle, and others whose conduct ought to be enquired into with all the safeguards which publicity secures for justice, and not before a Secret Tribunal in the nature of an Inquisition. The general sense of the House was against secrecy, and Viscount Palmerston expressed an opinion adverse to it, on the ground that it could not be enforced because the Committee could not gag the witnesses, and that the character of secrecy would excite suspicion and disappoint public expectation. Sir John Pakington, a member of the Committee, was for secrecy, Mr Disraeli spoke against it, and the Motion has been withdrawn.

[Footnote 44: The eldest son, the Grand Duke Alexander (1818-1881), succeeded as Czar Alexander II.]

[Footnote 45: Lord Seymour (afterwards Duke of Somerset) drafted the Report of the Committee.]

Queen Victoria to the Princess of Prussia. [Translation.]

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 4th March 1855.

DEAR AUGUSTA,—The astounding news of the death of your poor uncle the Emperor Nicholas reached us the day before yesterday at four o'clock. A few hours previously we had learnt that his condition was hopeless. The news is sudden and most unexpected, and we are naturally very anxious to learn details. His departure from life at the present moment cannot but make a particularly strong impression, and what the consequences of it may be the All-knowing One alone can foresee. Although the poor Emperor has died as our enemy, I have not forgotten former and more happy times, and no one has more than I regretted that he himself evoked this sad war.[46] To you I must address my request to express to the poor Empress, as well as to the family, my heartfelt condolence. I cannot do it officially, but you, my beloved friend, you will surely be able to convey it to your sister-in-law as well as to the present young Emperor in a manner which shall not compromise me. I have a deep, heartfelt desire to express this. To your dear, honoured mother convey, pray, my condolence on the death of her brother....

[Footnote 46: The Queen records, in the Life of the Prince Consort, that she entertained a sincere respect for the Emperor personally, and received the news of his death with regret (vol. iii. p. 225, note).]


Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 5th March 1855.

The Queen is very anxious to bring before Lord Panmure the subject which she mentioned to him the other night, viz. that of Hospitals for our sick and wounded soldiers. This is absolutely necessary, and now is the moment to have them built, for no doubt there would be no difficulty in obtaining the money requisite for this purpose, from the strong feeling now existing in the public mind for improvements of all kinds connected with the Army and the well-being and comfort of the soldier.

Nothing can exceed the attention paid to these poor men in the Barracks at Chatham (or rather more Fort Pitt and Brompton), and they are in that respect very comfortable; but the buildings are bad—the wards more like prisons than hospitals, with the windows so high that no one can look out of them; and the generality of the wards are small rooms, with hardly space for you to walk between the beds. There is no dining-room or hall, so that the poor men must have their dinners in the same room in which they sleep, and in which some may be dying, and at any rate many suffering, while others are at their meals. The proposition of having hulks prepared for their reception will do very well at first, but it would not, the Queen thinks, do for any length of time. A hulk is a very gloomy place, and these poor men require their spirits to be cheered as much as their physical sufferings to be attended to. The Queen is particularly anxious on this subject, which is, he may truly say, constantly in her thoughts, as is everything connected with her beloved troops, who have fought so bravely and borne so heroically all their sufferings and privations.

The Queen hopes before long to visit all the Hospitals at Portsmouth, and to see in what state they are.

When will the medals be ready for distribution?


The Marquis of Dalhousie to Queen Victoria.

OOTACAMUND, 14th March 1855.

The Governor-General presents his most humble duty to your Majesty; and in obedience to the command, which your Majesty was pleased to lay upon him, that he should keep your Majesty acquainted with the course of public events in India, he has the honour to inform your Majesty that he has now felt it to be his duty to request the President of the Board of Control to solicit for him your Majesty's permission to retire from the office of Governor-General of India about the close of the present year.

The Governor-General begs permission respectfully to represent, that in January next, he will have held his present office for eight years; that his health during the last few months has seriously failed him; and that although he believes that the invigorating air of these hills will enable him to discharge all his duties efficiently during this season, yet he is conscious that the effects of an Indian climate have laid such a hold upon him that by the close of the present year he will be wholly unfit any longer to serve your Majesty.

Lord Dalhousie, therefore, humbly trusts that your Majesty will graciously permit him to resign the great office which he holds before he ceases to command the strength which is needed to sustain it. He has the honour to subscribe himself, your Majesty's most obedient, most humble and devoted Subject and Servant,


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 14th March 1855.

The Queen returns the letter and Despatches from Vienna. They don't alter her opinion as to our demands. Every concession in form and wording ought to be made which could save Russian amour-propre; but this ought in no way to trench upon the substance of our demands, to which Austria must feel herself bound.[47]

[Footnote 47: As has already been stated, the "Four Points" were the basis of the negotiations at Vienna; the third alone, which the Allies and Austria had defined as intended to terminate Russian preponderance in the Black Sea, caused difficulty.]


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

OSBORNE, 19th March 1855.

The Queen has read with the greatest interest Lord Cowley's three reports. The changeableness of the French views are most perplexing, although they have hitherto not prevented a steady course from being followed in the end. Lord Cowley seems to have been a little off his guard when he took the proposal of our taking Sinope as a second Malta or Gibraltar, for a mere act of generosity and confidence towards us. We must be careful not to break down ourselves the barrier of the "abnegation clause" of our original treaty.[48] The Austrian proposal can hardly be serious, for to require 1,200,000 men before going to war is almost ridiculous.

The Queen read with much concern the two simultaneous proposals from the King of Prussia's simultaneous Plenipotentiaries—both inadmissible, in her opinion. A very civil answer would appear to the Queen as the best, to the effect that, as Prussia was evidently not now in a mood to resume her position amongst the great Powers with the responsibilities attaching to it, we could not hope to arrive at any satisfactory result by the present negotiations, but shall be ready to treat Prussia with the same regard with which we have always done, when she shall have something tangible to propose.

[Footnote 48: I.e. the formal renunciation by the Allies of any scheme of territorial acquisition.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 19th March 1855.

With regard to the Expedition to the Baltic[49] the Queen concurs in believing it probable that we shall have to confine ourselves to a blockade, but this should be with the certainty of its being done effectually and free from any danger to the squadron, from a sudden start of the Russian fleet. Twenty sail of the Line (to which add five French) would be a sufficient force if supported by the necessary complement of frigates, corvettes, and gunboats, etc., etc.; alone, they would be useless from their draught of water, and if twenty ships only are meant (not sail of the Line), the force would seem wholly inadequate. The Queen would therefore wish, before giving her sanction to the proposed plan of campaign, to have a complete list submitted to her of what it is intended to constitute the Baltic Fleet.[50] We ought likewise not to leave ourselves destitute of any Reserve at home, which the uncertain contingencies of another year's war may call upon at any moment.

The Queen regrets Lord Shaftesbury's declining office, and approves of Lord Elgin's selection in his place.[51]

She thanks Lord Palmerston for the clear and comprehensive explanation of Sir George Lewis's Stamp Duties Bill,[52] and approves of Lord Palmerston's proposal for the adjournment of Parliament for the Easter holidays.

[Footnote 49: The expedition was commanded by Rear-Admiral Richard Dundas. About the same time Vice-Admiral Sir James Dundas retired from the Mediterranean Command, in favour of Sir Edmund Lyons.]

[Footnote 50: The allied fleet comprised 23 line-of-battle ships, 31 frigates and corvettes, 29 smaller steamers and gunboats, and 18 other craft.]

[Footnote 51: As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; Mr Matthew Talbot Baines was ultimately appointed.]

[Footnote 52: Imposing a penny stamp upon bankers' cheques, if drawn within fifteen miles of the place where they were payable.]

Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

OSBORNE, 22nd March 1855.

The other day, when the Queen spoke to Lord Panmure on the subject of the distribution of the Medal for the Crimean Campaign amongst the Officers, and those who are in this country, no decision was come to as to how this should be done. The Queen has since thought that the value of this Medal would be greatly enhanced if she, were personally to deliver it to the officers and a certain number of men (selected for that purpose). The valour displayed by our troops, as well as the sufferings they have endured, have never been surpassed—perhaps hardly equalled; and as the Queen has been a witness of what they have gone through, having visited them in their hospitals, she would like to be able personally to give them the reward they have earned so well, and will value so much. It will likewise have a very beneficial effect, the Queen doubts not, on the recruiting. The manner in which it should be done, and the details connected with the execution of this intention of hers, the Queen will settle with Lord Panmure, when she sees him in Town.

Will the Medals now be soon ready?


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 17th April 1855.

DEAREST UNCLE,—Your kindness will, I know, excuse any description of all that has passed, and is passing, and I leave it to Charles. The impression is very favourable.[53] There is great fascination in the quiet, frank manner of the Emperor, and she is very pleasing, very graceful, and very unaffected, but very delicate. She is certainly very pretty and very uncommon-looking. The Emperor spoke very amiably of you. The reception by the public was immensely enthusiastic. I must end here. Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 53: The Emperor and Empress of the French arrived on the 16th of April, on a visit to England. They were enthusiastically received both at Dover (notwithstanding a dense fog, which endangered the safety of the Imperial yacht) and on their progress from the South-Eastern terminus to Paddington. In passing King Street, the Emperor was observed to indicate his former residence to the Empress.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 19th April 1855.

DEAREST UNCLE,... I have not a moment to myself, being of course entirely occupied with our Imperial guests, with whom I am much pleased, and who behave really with the greatest tact.[54] The Investiture went off very well, and to-day (we came from Windsor) the enthusiasm of the thousands who received him in the City was immense. He is much pleased. Since the time of my Coronation, with the exception of the opening of the great Exhibition, I don't remember anything like it. To-night we go in state to the Opera. In haste, ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 54: A review of the Household troops in Windsor Park was held on the 17th, and a ball was given at the Castle in the evening. A Council of War on the 18th was attended by the Prince, the Emperor, and some of their Ministers; in the afternoon the Queen invested the Emperor with the Garter. On the following day the Emperor received an address at Windsor from the Corporation of London, and lunched at the Guildhall; the Queen and Prince and their guests paid a State visit to Her Majesty's Theatre in the evening to hear Fidelio. On the 20th the party, with brilliant ceremonial, visited the Crystal Palace at Sydenham, and were enthusiastically received by an immense multitude; another important Council, relative to the future conduct of the war, was held in the evening.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 24th April 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Many thanks for your kind letter of the 19th and 20th, by which I am glad to see that you were well. Our great visit is past, like a brilliant and most successful dream, but I think the effect on the visitors will be a good and lasting one; they saw in our reception, and in that of the whole Nation, nothing put on, but a warm, hearty welcome to a faithful and steady Ally. I think also that for Belgium this visit will be very useful, for it will increase the friendly feelings of the Emperor towards my dear Uncle, and towards a country in which England takes so deep an interest.

The negotiations are broken off, and Austria has been called upon to act according to the Treaty of the 2nd December. She intends, I believe, to make some proposal, but we know nothing positive as yet. In the meantime I fear the Emperor (I mean Napoleon) will go to the Crimea, which makes one anxious.... Ever your devoted Niece,


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 25th April 1855.

The Queen has read the letter of Lady —— to Lady Palmerston, and now returns it to Lord Palmerston.

She has to observe that it has been with her an invariable rule never to take upon herself the office of sitting in judgment upon accusations or reports against private character. No person therefore can have any reason to suppose that she will by marked neglect or manner appear to pronounce a verdict upon matters in which she is not the proper Court of Appeal.


The Emperor of the French to Queen Victoria.

PALAIS DES TUILERIES, le 25 Avril 1855.

MADAME ET BONNE S[OE]UR,—A Paris depuis trois jours, je suis encore aupres de votre Majeste par la pensee, et mon premier besoin est de Lui redire combien est profonde l'impression que m'a laissee son accueil si plein de grace et d'affectueuse bonte. La politique nous a rapproches d'abord, mais aujourd'hui qu'il m'a ete permis de connaitre personnellement votre Majeste c'est une vive et respectueuse sympathie qui forme desormais le veritable lien qui m'attache a elle. Il est impossible en effet de vivre quelques jours dans votre intimite sans subir le charme qui s'attache a l'image de la grandeur et du bonheur de la famille la plus unie. Votre Majeste m'a aussi bien touche par ses prevenances delicates envers l'Imperatrice; car rien ne fait plus de plaisir que de voir la personne qu'on aime devenir l'objet d'aussi flatteuses attentions.

Je prie votre Majeste d'exprimer au Prince Albert les sentiments sinceres que m'inspirent sa franche amitie, son esprit eleve et la droiture de son jugement.

J'ai rencontre a mon retour a Paris bien des difficultes diplomatiques et bien d'autres intervenants au sujet de mon voyage en Crimee. Je dirai en confidence a votre Majeste que ma resolution de voyage s'en trouve presque ebranlee. En France tous ceux qui possedent sont bien peu courageux!

Votre Majeste voudra bien me rappeler au souvenir de sa charmante famille et me permettre de Lui renouveler l'assurance de ma respectueuse amitie et de mon tendre attachement. De votre Majeste, le bon Frere,


[Pageheading: THE QUEEN'S REPLY]

Queen Victoria to the Emperor of the French.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, le 27 Avril 1855.

SIRE ET MON CHER FRERE,—Votre Majeste vient de m'ecrire une bien bonne et affectueuse lettre que j'ai recue hier et qui m'a vivement touchee. Vous dites, Sire, que vos pensees sont encore aupres de nous; je puis Vous assurer que c'est bien reciproque de notre part et que nous ne cessons de repasser en revue et de parler de ces beaux jours que nous avons eu le bonheur de passer avec Vous et l'Imperatrice et qui se sont malheureusement ecoules si vite. Nous sommes profondement touches de la maniere dont votre Majeste parle de nous et de notre famille, et je me plais a voir dans les sentiments que vous nous temoignez un gage precieux de plus pour la continuation de ces relations si heureusement et si fermement etablies entre nos deux pays.

Permettez que j'ajoute encore, Sire, combien de prix j'attache a l'entiere franchise avec laquelle Vous ne manquez d'agir envers nous en toute occasion et a laquelle Vous nous trouverez toujours prets a repondre, bien convaincus que c'est le moyen le plus sur pour eloigner tout sujet de complication et de mesentendu entre nos deux Gouvernements vis-a-vis des graves difficultes que nous avons a surmonter ensemble.

Depuis le depart de votre Majeste les complications diplomatiques ont augmente bien peniblement et la position est assurement devenue bien difficile mais le Ciel n'abandonnera pas ceux qui n'ont d'autre but que le bien du genre humain.

J'avoue que la nouvelle de la possibilite de l'abandon de votre voyage en Crimee m'a bien tranquillisee parce qu'il y avait bien des causes d'alarmes en vous voyant partir si loin et expose a tant de dangers. Mais bien que l'absence de votre Majeste en Crimee soit toujours une grande perte pour les operations vigoureuses dont nous sommes convenus, j'espere que leur execution n'en sera pas moins vivement poussee par nos deux Gouvernements.

Le Prince me charge de vous offrir ses plus affectueux hommages et nos enfants qui sont bien flattes de votre gracieux souvenir, et qui parlent beaucoup de votre visite, se mettent a vos pieds.

Avec tous les sentiments de sincere amitie et de haute estime, je me dis, Sire et cher Frere, de V.M.I. la bien bonne S[oe]ur,




Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.[55]

PICCADILLY, 26th April 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that the Members of the Cabinet who met yesterday evening at the Chancellor's were of opinion that the Austrian proposal adopted by M. Drouyn de Lhuys, even with his pretended modification, could not be described more accurately than in the concise terms of H.R.H. the Prince Albert, namely, that instead of making to cease the preponderance of Russia in the Black Sea, it would perpetuate and legalise that preponderance, and that instead of establishing a secure and permanent Peace, it would only establish a prospective case for war. Such a proposal therefore your Majesty's Advisers could not recommend your Majesty to adopt; but as the step to be taken seems rather to be to make such a proposal to Austria than to answer such a proposal which Austria has not formally made, and as M. Drouyn's telegraphic despatch stated that he thought that Lord John Russell would recommend such an arrangement to his colleagues, the Cabinet were of opinion that the best course would be simply to take no step at all until Lord John Russell's return, which may be expected to-morrow or next day, especially as Lord Clarendon had already, by telegraphic message of yesterday, intimated to the French Government that such an arrangement as that proposed by M. Drouyn, and which would sanction a Russian Fleet in the Black Sea to any amount short by one ship of the number existing in 1853, could not be agreed to by the British Government. Such an arrangement would, in the opinion of Viscount Palmerston, be alike dangerous and dishonourable; and as to the accompanying alliance with Austria for the future defence of Turkey and for making war with Russia, if she were to raise her Black Sea Fleet up to the amount of 1853, what reason is there to believe that Austria, who shrinks from war with Russia now that the Army of Russia has been much reduced by the losses of the last twelve months—now that her Forces are divided and occupied elsewhere than on the Austrian frontier, and now that England and France are actually in the field with great Armies, supported by great Fleets, what reason is there to believe that this same Austria would be more ready to make war four or five years hence, when the Army of Russia shall have repaired its losses and shall be more concentrated to attack Austria, when the Austrian Army shall have been reduced to its Peace Establishment, and when the Peace Establishments of England and France, withdrawn within their home stations, shall be less ready to co-operate with Austria in war? What reason, moreover, is there for supposing that Austria, who has recently declared that though prepared for war she will not make war for ten sail of the Line more or less in the Russian Black Sea Fleet, will some few years hence, when unprepared for war, draw the sword on account of the addition of one ship of war to the Russian Fleet in the Black Sea?

Such proposals are really a mockery.

[Footnote 55: It had long become evident that Russia would refuse assent to the Third Point, terminating her preponderance in the Black Sea, but Austria now came forward with a proposal to limit the Russian force there to the number of ships authorised before the war. This was rejected by Russia, whereupon the representatives of England and France withdrew from the negotiations. Count Buol, representing Austria, then came forward again with a scheme the salient features of which were that, if Russia increased her Black Sea fleet beyond its existing strength, Turkey might maintain a force equal to it, and England and France might each have a naval force in the Black Sea equal to half the Russian force, while the increase of the Russian fleet beyond its strength in 1853 would be regarded by Austria as a casus belli. These terms were satisfactory neither to the British Government nor to the French Emperor, so that it was learned with some surprise that Lord John Russell and M. Drouyn de Lhuys (the French Plenipotentiary) had approved of them. Upon the Emperor definitely rejecting the proposals, M. Drouyn de Lhuys resigned; he was succeeded as Foreign Minister by Count Walewski, M. de Persigny becoming Ambassador in London. Lord John Russell tendered his resignation, but, at Lord Palmerston's solicitation, and most unfortunately for himself, he withdrew it.]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 28th April 1855.

The Queen returns these very important letters. She thinks that it will be of great use to ask the Emperor to send M. Drouyn de Lhuys over here after having discussed the plans of peace with him, in order that he should hear our arguments also, and give us his reasons for thinking the terms acceptable. The influence of distance and difference of locality upon the resolves of men has often appeared to the Queen quite marvellous.


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.


MY DEAREST UNCLE,—On this day, the fifth birthday of our darling little Arthur—the anniversary of the opening of the Great Exhibition—the once great day at Paris, viz. the poor King's name-day—and also the birthday of the dear old Duke—I write to thank you for your kind and affectionate letter of the 27th. The attentat[56] on the Emperor will have shocked you, as it did us; it shocked me the more as we had watched over him with such anxiety while he was with us.

It has produced an immense sensation in France, we hear, and many of his political enemies, he says, cheered him loudly as he returned to the Tuileries. As you say, he is very personal, and therefore kindness shown him personally will make a lasting effect on his mind, peculiarly susceptible to kindness. Another feature in his character is that il ne fait pas de phrases—and what is said is the result of deep reflection. I therefore send you (in strict confidence) a copy of the really very kind letter he wrote me, and which I am sure is quite sincere. He felt the simple and kind treatment of him and her more than all the outward homage and display.

Please kindly to return it when you have done with it.

I am sure you would be charmed with the Empress; it is not such great beauty, but such grace, elegance, sweetness, and nature. Her manners are charming; the profile and figure beautiful and particularly distingues.

You will be pleased (as I was) at the abandonment of the journey to the Crimea, though I think, as regarded the Campaign, it would have been a good thing....

Lord John is returned. I can't say more to-day, but remain, ever your devoted Niece,


We have a Childs' Ball to-night.

[Footnote 56: An Italian, Giacomo Pianori, fired twice at the Emperor, while he was riding in the Champs Elysees, on the 29th of April; the Emperor was uninjured.]





Memorandum by Queen Victoria.


The recent visit of the Emperor Napoleon III. to this country is a most curious page of history, and gives rise to many reflections. A remarkable combination of circumstances has brought about the very intimate alliance which now unites England and France, for so many centuries the bitterest enemies and rivals, and this, under the reign of the present Emperor, the nephew of our greatest foe, and bearing his name, and brought about by the policy of the late Emperor of Russia, who considered himself as the head of the European Alliance against France!

In reflecting on the character of the present Emperor Napoleon, and the impression I have conceived of it, the following thoughts present themselves to my mind:

That he is a very extraordinary man, with great qualities there can be no doubt—I might almost say a mysterious man. He is evidently possessed of indomitable courage, unflinching firmness of purpose, self-reliance, perseverance, and great secrecy; to this should be added, a great reliance on what he calls his Star, and a belief in omens and incidents as connected with his future destiny, which is almost romantic—and at the same time he is endowed with wonderful self-control, great calmness, even gentleness, and with a power of fascination, the effect of which upon all those who become more intimately acquainted with him is most sensibly felt.

How far he is actuated by a strong moral sense of right and wrong is difficult to say. On the one hand, his attempts at Strasbourg and Boulogne, and this last after having given a solemn promise never to return or make a similar attempt—in which he openly called on the subjects of the then King of the French to follow him as the successor of Napoleon, the Coup d'Etat of December 1851, followed by great ... severity and the confiscation of the property of the unfortunate Orleans family, would lead one to believe that he is not. On the other hand, his kindness and gratitude towards all those, whether high or low, who have befriended him or stood by him through life, and his straightforward and steady conduct towards us throughout the very difficult and anxious contest in which we have been engaged for a year and a half, show that he is possessed of noble and right feelings.

My impression is, that in all these apparently inexcusable acts, he has invariably been guided by the belief that he is fulfilling a destiny which God has imposed upon him, and that, though cruel or harsh in themselves, they were necessary to obtain the result which he considered himself as chosen to carry out, and not acts of wanton cruelty or injustice; for it is impossible to know him and not to see that there is much that is truly amiable, kind, and honest in his character. Another remarkable and important feature in his composition is, that everything he says or expresses is the result of deep reflection and of settled purpose, and not merely des phrases de politesse, consequently when we read words used in his speech made in the City, we may feel sure that he means what he says; and therefore I would rely with confidence on his behaving honestly and faithfully towards us. I am not able to say whether he is deeply versed in History—I should rather think not, as regards it generally, though he may be, and probably is, well informed in the history of his own country, certainly fully so in that of the Empire, he having made it his special study to contemplate and reflect upon all the acts and designs of his great uncle. He is very well read in German literature, to which he seems to be very partial. It is said, and I am inclined to think with truth, that he reads but little, even as regards despatches from his own foreign Ministers, he having expressed his surprise at my reading them daily. He seems to be singularly ignorant in matters not connected with the branch of his special studies, and to be ill informed upon them by those who surround him.

If we compare him with poor King Louis Philippe, I should say that the latter (Louis Philippe) was possessed of vast knowledge upon all and every subject, of immense experience in public affairs, and of great activity of mind; whereas the Emperor possesses greater judgment and much greater firmness of purpose, but no experience of public affairs, nor mental application; he is endowed, as was the late King, with much fertility of imagination.

Another great difference between King Louis Philippe and the Emperor is, that the poor King was thoroughly French in character, possessing all the liveliness and talkativeness of that people, whereas the Emperor is as unlike a Frenchman as possible, being much more German than French in character.... How could it be expected that the Emperor should have any experience in public affairs, considering that till six years ago he lived as a poor exile, for some years even in prison, and never having taken the slightest part in the public affairs of any country?

It is therefore the more astounding, indeed almost incomprehensible, that he should show all those powers of Government, and all that wonderful tact in his conduct and manners which he evinces, and which many a King's son, nurtured in palaces and educated in the midst of affairs, never succeeds in attaining. I likewise believe that he would be incapable of such tricks and over-reachings as practised by poor King Louis Philippe (for whose memory, as the old and kind friend of my father, and of whose kindness and amiable qualities I shall ever retain a lively sense), who in great as well as in small things took a pleasure in being cleverer and more cunning than others, often when there was no advantage to be gained by it, and which was, unfortunately, strikingly displayed in the transactions connected with the Spanish marriages, which led to the King's downfall and ruined him in the eyes of all Europe. On the other hand, I believe that the Emperor Napoleon would not hesitate to do a thing by main force, even if in itself unjust and tyrannical, should he consider that the accomplishment of his destiny demanded it.

The great advantage to be derived for the permanent alliance of England and France, which is of such vital importance to both countries, by the Emperor's recent visit, I take to be this: that, with his peculiar character and views, which are very personal, a kind, unaffected, and hearty reception by us personally in our own family will make a lasting impression upon his mind; he will see that he can rely upon our friendship and honesty towards him and his country so long as he remains faithful towards us; naturally frank, he will see the advantage to be derived from continuing so; and if he reflects on the downfall of the former dynasty, he will see that it arose chiefly from a breach of pledges,... and will be sure, if I be not very much mistaken in his character, to avoid such a course. It must likewise not be overlooked that this kindly feeling towards us, and consequently towards England (the interests of which are inseparable from us), must be increased when it is remembered that we are almost the only people in his own position with whom he has been able to be on any terms of intimacy, consequently almost the only ones to whom he could talk easily and unreservedly, which he cannot do naturally with his inferiors. He and the Empress are in a most isolated position, unable to trust the only relations who are near them in France, and surrounded by courtiers and servants, who from fear or interest do not tell them the truth. It is, therefore, natural to believe that he will not willingly separate from those who, like us, do not scruple to put him in possession of the real facts, and whose conduct is guided by justice and honesty, and this the more readily as he is supposed to have always been a searcher after truth. I would go still further, and think that it is in our power to keep him in the right course, and to protect him against the extreme flightiness, changeableness, and to a certain extent want of honesty of his own servants and nation. We should never lose the opportunity of checking in the bud any attempt on the part of his agents or ministers to play us false, frankly informing him of the facts, and encouraging him to bring forward in an equally frank manner whatever he has to complain of. This is the course which we have hitherto pursued, and as he is France in his own sole person, it becomes of the utmost importance to encourage by every means in our power that very open intercourse which I must say has existed between him and Lord Cowley for the last year and a half, and now, since our personal acquaintance, between ourselves.

As I said before, the words which fall from his lips are the result of deep reflection, and part of the deep plan which he has staked out for himself, and which he intends to carry out. I would therefore lay stress on the following words which he pronounced to me immediately after the investiture of the Order of the Garter: "C'est un lien de plus entre nous, j'ai prete serment de fidelite a votre Majeste et je le garderai soigneusement. C'est un grand evenement pour moi, et j'espere pouvoir prouver ma reconnaissance envers votre Majeste et son Pays." In a letter said to be written by him to Mr F. Campbell, the translator of M. Thiers's History of the Consulate and Empire, when returning the proof-sheets in 1847, he says "Let us hope the day may yet come when I shall carry out the intentions of my Uncle by uniting the policy and interests of England and France in an indissoluble alliance. That hope cheers and encourages me. It forbids my repining at the altered fortunes of my family."

If these be truly his words, he certainly has acted up to them, since he has swayed with an iron hand the destinies of that most versatile nation, the French. That he should have written this at a moment when Louis Philippe had succeeded in all his wishes, and seemed securer than ever in the possession of his Throne, shows a calm reliance in his destiny and in the realisation of hopes entertained from his very childhood which borders on the supernatural.

These are a few of the many reflections caused by the observation and acquaintance with the character of this most extraordinary man, in whose fate not only the interests of this country, but the whole of Europe are intimately bound up. I shall be curious to see if, after the lapse of time, my opinion and estimate of it has been the right one.


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.


The Queen returns these interesting letters to Lord Clarendon. When the Emperor expresses a wish that positive instructions should be sent to Lord Raglan to join in a general forward movement about to take place, he should be made aware that Lord Raglan has been ready and most anxious for the assault taking place on the 26th, and that he only consented to postpone it for a few days at General Canrobert's earnest desire, who wished to wait for the army of Reserve. It should be kept in mind, however, that the English cannot proceed farther as long as the Mamelon has not been taken, and that as long as the French refuse to do this they must not complain of Lord Raglan's not advancing. The refusal to undertake this has, the Queen is sorry to say, produced a bad feeling amongst many of our officers and men, which she owns alarms her.[57]

[Footnote 57: General Canrobert was deficient in dash and initiative; he knew his defects, and was relieved of his command at his own request, being succeeded by General Pelissier.

On the 24th of May (the Queen's Birthday) a successful expedition was made against Kertsch, the granary of Sebastopol, and vast quantities of coal, corn, and flour were either seized by the Allies, or destroyed in anticipation of their seizure by the Russians.

On the 7th of June, the Mamelon (a knoll crowned by a redoubt and protected by the Rifle Pits) was taken by the French, and the Gravel Pits, an outwork in front of the Redan, by the English.]

[Pageheading: THE CRIMEAN MEDAL]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.


MY DEAREST, KINDEST UNCLE,—... The state of affairs is uncomfortable and complicated just now, but our course is straight; we cannot come to any peace unless we have such guarantees by decided limitation of the Fleet, which would secure us against Russian preponderance for the future.[58]

Ernest will have told you what a beautiful and touching sight and ceremony (the first of the kind ever witnessed in England) the distribution of the Medals was. From the highest Prince of the Blood to the lowest Private, all received the same distinction for the bravest conduct in the severest actions, and the rough hand of the brave and honest private soldier came for the first time in contact with that of their Sovereign and their Queen! Noble fellows! I own I feel as if they were my own children; my heart beats for them as for my nearest and dearest. They were so touched, so pleased; many, I hear, cried—and they won't hear of giving up their Medals, to have their names engraved upon them, for fear they should not receive the identical one put into their hands by me, which is quite touching. Several came by in a sadly mutilated state. None created more interest or is more gallant than young Sir Thomas Troubridge, who had, at Inkerman, one leg and the other foot carried away by a round shot, and continued commanding his battery till the battle was won, refusing to be carried away, only desiring his shattered limbs to be raised in order to prevent too great a hemorrhage! He was dragged by in a bath chair, and when I gave him his medal I told him I should make him one of my Aides-de-camp for his very gallant conduct, to which he replied: "I am amply repaid for everything!"[59]

One must revere and love such soldiers as those! The account in the Times of Saturday is very correct and good.

I must, however, conclude now, hoping soon to hear from you again. Could you kindly tell me if you could in a few days forward some letters and papers with safety to good Stockmar. Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 58: Prince Albert, in a Memorandum dated the 25th of May, emphasised the difficulties in the way of peace caused by the attitude of Austria, and the possibility of her passing from the one alliance to the other.]

[Footnote 59: He was made a C.B. and a Brevet-Colonel; and also received the Legion of Honour.]


Queen Victoria to Mr Vernon Smith.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 19th June 1855.

The Queen has received Mr Vernon Smith's letter on the subject of Lord Dalhousie's resignation and the appointment of a successor. She was somewhat astonished that the name of a successor to that most important appointment should for the first time be brought before her after all official steps for carrying it out had been completed. If the selection should now not receive the Queen's approval, it is evident that great awkwardness must arise.[60]

[Footnote 60: Mr Vernon Smith, in reply, referred to the statutory power then existing of the Directors of the East India Company to nominate a Governor-General, subject to the approbation of the Crown.]

Queen Victoria to Mr Vernon Smith.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 20th June 1855.

The Queen received Mr V. Smith's letter yesterday evening after her return from Chatham. She readily acquits him of any intentional want of respect towards her, or of any neglect in going through the prescribed forms with regard to the appointment in question, neither of which she meant to insinuate by her letter. But she does not look upon the question as one of form. She takes a deep and natural interest in the welfare of her Indian Empire, and must consider the selection of the fittest person for the post of Governor-General as of paramount importance. She had frequently discussed this point with Lord Palmerston, but the name of Lord Canning never occurred amongst the candidates alluded to. The Queen is even now quite ignorant as to the reasons and motives which led to his selection in preference to those other names, and Mr V. Smith will see at once that, were the Queen inclined to object to it, she could not now do so without inflicting a deep, personal injury on a public man, for whose personal qualities and talents the Queen has a high regard.

She accordingly approves the recommendation, but must repeat her regret that no opportunity had been given to her to discuss the propriety of it with her Ministers previous to the intention of the recommendation becoming known to all concerned in it.


General Simpson to Lord Panmure.[61] [Telegram.]

29th June 1855. (8.30 A.M.)

Lord Raglan had been going on favourably until four in the afternoon yesterday, when very serious symptoms made their appearance. Difficulty of breathing was experienced, which gradually increased. Up to five o'clock he was conscious, and from this time his strength declined almost imperceptibly until twenty-five minutes before nine, when he died. I have assumed the command, as Sir George Brown is too ill on board ship.

[Footnote 61: On the 18th of June, the fortieth anniversary of Waterloo, a combined attack by the English on the Redan, and the French on the Malakhoff, was repulsed with heavy losses. The scheme was that of Pelissier, and Lord Raglan acquiesced against his better judgment. The result depressed him greatly; he was attacked with cholera, and died on the 28th.]

Queen Victoria to General Simpson.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 30th June 1855.

Not being aware whether Sir George Brown is well enough by this time to assume the command of the Army, the Queen writes to General Simpson, as the Chief of his Staff, to express to him, and through him to the Army, her deep and heartfelt grief at the irreparable loss of their gallant and excellent Commander, Lord Raglan, which has cast a gloom over us all, as it must do over the whole Army.

But, at the same time, the Queen wishes to express her earnest hope and confident trust that every one will more than ever now do their duty, as they have hitherto so nobly done, and that she may continue to be as proud of her beloved Army as she has been, though their brave Chief who led them so often to victory and to glory, has been taken from them.

Most grievous and most truly melancholy it is that poor Lord Raglan should die thus—from sickness—on the eve, as we have every reason to hope, of the glorious result of so much labour, and so much anxiety, and not be allowed to witness it.

The Queen's prayers will be more than ever with her Army, and most fervently do we trust that General Simpson's health, as well as that of the other Generals, may be preserved to them unimpaired!

Queen Victoria to Lady Raglan.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 30th June 1855.

DEAR LADY RAGLAN,—Words cannot convey all I feel at the irreparable loss you have sustained, and I and the Country have, in your noble, gallant, and excellent husband, whose loyalty and devotion to his Sovereign and Country were unbounded. We both feel most deeply for you and your daughters, to whom this blow must be most severe and sudden. He was so strong, and his health had borne the bad climate, great fatigues, and anxieties so well, ever since he left England, that, though we were much alarmed at hearing of his illness, we were full of hopes of his speedy recovery.

We must bow to the will of God; but to be taken away thus, on the eve of the successful result of so much labour, so much suffering, and so much anxiety, is cruel indeed!

We feel much, too, for the brave Army, whom he was so proud of, who will be sadly cast down at losing their gallant Commander, who had led them so often to victory and glory.

If sympathy can be any consolation, you have it, for we all have alike to mourn, and no one more than I, who have lost a faithful and devoted Servant, in whom I had the greatest confidence.

We both most anxiously hope that your health, and that of your daughters, may not materially suffer from this dreadful shock. Believe me always, my dear Lady Raglan, yours very sincerely,



Queen Victoria to General Simpson.


When the Queen last wrote to General Simpson to express to him, and through him to her Army in the Crimea, her deep grief at the loss of their noble, gallant, and excellent Commander, it was not yet known that Sir George Brown would return home, and that the command of the Army would devolve upon General Simpson. She writes to him, therefore, to-day, for the first time as the Commander-in-Chief of her heroic Army in the East, to assure him of her confidence and support. It is as proud a command as any soldier could desire, but its difficulties and responsibilities are also very great.

General Simpson knows well how admirably his lamented predecessor conducted all the communications with our Allies the French, and he cannot do better than follow in the same course. While showing the greatest readiness to act with perfect cordiality towards them, he will, the Queen trusts, never allow her Army to be unduly pressed upon, which would only injure both Armies.

The Queen feels very anxious lest the fearful heat which the Army is exposed to should increase cholera and fever. Both the Prince and herself, the Queen can only repeat, have their minds constantly occupied with the Army, and count the days and hours between the mails, and it would be a relief to the Queen to hear herself directly from General Simpson from time to time when he has leisure to write.

The Prince wishes to be most kindly named to General Simpson, and joins with the Queen in every possible good wish for himself and her brave and beloved troops.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 12th July 1855.

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

Viscount Palmerston very much regrets to have to say that the adverse feeling in regard to Lord John Russell grows stronger and spreads wider every day, and there is a general desire that he should resign.[62] This desire is expressed by the great bulk of the steadiest supporters of the Government, and was conveyed to Lord John this evening in the House of Commons by Mr Bouverie on behalf of those members of the Government who are not in the Cabinet. Lord John has himself come to the same conclusion, and informed Viscount Palmerston this evening in the House of Commons that he has finally determined to resign, and will to-morrow or next day write a letter to that effect to be laid before your Majesty. Viscount Palmerston told him that however great would be the loss of the Government by his resignation, yet as this is a question which more peculiarly regards Lord John personally, his course must be decided by his own judgment and feelings; but that if he did not think necessary to resign, Viscount Palmerston would face Sir Edward Bulwer's Motion with the Government as it is.[63] He asked Lord John, however, whether, if he determined to resign, there was any arrangement which he would wish to have submitted for your Majesty's consideration, and especially whether, if your Majesty should be graciously pleased to raise him to the Peerage, such an Honour would be agreeable to him. He said that perhaps in the autumn such an act of favour on the part of your Majesty might fall in with his views and would be gratefully received, but it would not do at present, and should not be mentioned....

[Footnote 62: Lord John Russell had, as stated above, favoured the proposals of Count Buol at Vienna, compromising the Third Point to the advantage of Russia. The Ministry had disavowed this view, but Lord John had remained in office. On the 24th of May, Mr Disraeli moved a vote of censure on the Government for its conduct of the war, fiercely assailing Lord John for his proceedings both at Vienna and as Minister. In repelling the charge, Lord John made a vigorous speech disclosing no disposition to modify the British attitude towards Russian preponderance in the Black Sea, and Mr Disraeli's Motion was lost by a majority of 100. On a subsequent night he made a further speech strongly antagonistic to Russia, his attitude as to the Austrian proposals being still undisclosed to the public. But these speeches caused Count Buol to reveal the favourable view taken of his proposals by the English and French Plenipotentiaries, and Lord John Russell's inconsistency aroused widespread indignation.]

[Footnote 63: This Motion was one of censure on Lord John Russell for his conduct at Vienna, and it was deeply galling to be informed by subordinate members of the Government that, unless he resigned, they would support the vote of censure. Lord John bowed before the storm and retired from office.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 13th July 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and submits for your Majesty's gracious acceptance the resignation of Lord John Russell's office, which Viscount Palmerston trusts your Majesty will think is expressed in terms highly honourable to Lord John Russell's feelings as a man and as a Minister.

The step, Viscount Palmerston regrets to say, has become unavoidable. The storm of public opinion, however much it may exceed any just or reasonable cause, is too overbearing to be resisted, and Lord John Russell has no doubt best consulted his own personal interests in yielding to it. After a time there will be a reaction and justice will be done; but resistance at present would be ineffectual, and would only increase irritation.

Viscount Palmerston is not as yet prepared to submit for your Majesty's consideration the arrangement which will become necessary for filling up the gap thus made in the Government....

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 13th July 1855.

The Queen is much concerned by what Lord Palmerston writes respecting the feeling of the House of Commons. Lord John's resignation, although a severe loss, may possibly assuage the storm which he had chiefly produced. But she finds that Sir E. Lytton's Motion will be equally applicable to the Government after this event as it would have been before it. She trusts that no stone will be left unturned to defeat the success of that Motion, which would plunge the Queen and the executive Government of the Country into new and most dangerous complications. These are really not times to play with the existence of Governments for personal feeling or interests!

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 14th July 1855.

The Queen has received Lord Palmerston's letter of yesterday, and returns Lord John Russell's letter,[64] which reflects the greatest credit on him. The resignation had become unavoidable, and Lord Palmerston will do well to let the Debate go by before proposing a successor, whom it will be difficult to find under any circumstances. Having expressed her feelings on the position of affairs in her letter of yesterday, she will not repeat them here.

She grants her permission to Lord Palmerston to state in Parliament what he may think necessary for the defence of the Cabinet. She could have the Council here on Wednesday, which day will probably be the least inconvenient to the Members of the Government.

The Queen has just received Lord Palmerston's letter of last night, which gives a more cheering prospect.[65]

[Footnote 64: Stating that his continuance in office would embarrass and endanger the Ministry.]

[Footnote 65: In consequence of Lord John's resignation, the motion of censure was withdrawn.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, 24th July 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I feel quite grieved that it must again be by letter that I express to you all my feelings of love and affection, which yesterday morning I could still do de vive voix. It was indeed a happy time; I only fear that I was a dull companion—silent, absent, stupid, which I feel I have become since the War; and the constant anxiety and preoccupation which that odious Sebastopol causes me and my dear, brave Army, added to which the last week, or indeed the whole fortnight since we arrived here, was one of such uncertainty about this tiresome scarlatina, that it made me still more preoccupee.

The only thing that at all lessened my sorrow at seeing you depart was my thankfulness that you got safe out of our Hospital.... Ever your devoted Niece and Child,



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

OSBORNE, 27th July 1855.

The Queen has delayed answering Lord Clarendon's letter respecting Sweden till she received the first letter from Mr Magenis,[66] omitted in Lord Clarendon's box. Now, having read the whole of these documents, she confesses that she requires some explanation as to the advantages which are to arise to England from the proposed Treaty, before she can come to any decision about it. When a Treaty with Sweden was last in contemplation, she was to have joined in the war against Russia and to have received a guarantee of the integrity of her dominions by England and France in return; yet this clause was found so onerous to this Country, and opening so entirely a new field of questions and considerations, that the Cabinet would not entertain it. Now the same guarantee is to be given by us without the counterbalancing advantage of Sweden giving us her assistance in the war.

[Footnote 66: Mr (afterwards Sir) Arthur Charles Magenis, Minister at Stockholm (and afterwards at Lisbon), had written to say that an attempt was being made to change the partial guarantee of Finmark into a general guarantee on behalf of Sweden and Norway. An important Treaty was concluded between Sweden and Norway, and the Western Powers, in the following November, which secured the integrity of Sweden and Norway.]


Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

OSBORNE, 30th July 1855.

The Queen has received Lord Panmure's letter of yesterday evening, and has signed the dormant Commission for Sir W. Codrington. A similar course was pursued with regard to Sir George Cathcart. The Queen hopes that General Simpson may still rally. He must be in a great state of helplessness at this moment, knowing that he wants, as everybody out there, the advantages which Lord Raglan's name, experience, position, rank, prestige, etc., etc., gave him, having his Military Secretary ill on board, the head of the Intelligence Department dead, and no means left him whereby to gather information or to keep up secret correspondence with the Tartars—Colonel Vico[67] dead, who, as Prince Edward told the Queen, had become a most important element in the good understanding with the French Army and its new Commander, and not possessing military rank enough to make the Sardinian General[68] consider him as his Chief. If all these difficulties are added to those inherent to the task imposed upon him, one cannot be surprised at his low tone of hopefulness. As most of these will, however, meet every Commander whom we now can appoint, the Queen trusts that means will be devised to assist him as much as possible in relieving him from too much writing, and in the diplomatic correspondence he has to carry on. The Queen repeats her opinion that a Chef de Chancellerie Diplomatique, such as is customary in the Russian Army, ought to be placed at his command, and she wishes Lord Panmure to show this letter to Lords Palmerston and Clarendon, and to consult with them on the subject. Neither the Chief of the Staff nor the Military Secretary can supply that want, and the General himself must feel unequal to it without any experience on the subject, and so will his successor.

Prince Edward told the Queen in strict confidence that General Simpson's position in Lord Raglan's Headquarters had been anything but pleasant, that the Staff had been barely civil to him; he was generally treated as an interloper, so that the Sardinian and French Officers attached to our Headquarters observed upon it as a strange thing which would not be tolerated in their Armies, and that General Simpson showed himself grateful to them for the civility which they showed to a General Officer of rank aux cheveux blancs. These little details, considered together with the General's extreme modesty, enable one to conceive what his present feelings must be.[69]

[Footnote 67: Colonel Vico, the French Commissioner attached to Lord Raglan's staff, had died on the 10th.]

[Footnote 68: General La Marmora.]

[Footnote 69: The Russian resources for the defence of Sebastopol, both as to ammunition and provisions, were becoming exhausted, and a supreme effort was to be made, by massing more Russian troops in the Crimea, to inflict a decisive blow on the besieging forces of the Allies. Early on the morning of the 16th of August Prince Gortschakoff attacked the French and Piedmontese at the River Tchernaya. The attack on the left was repulsed by the French with the utmost spirit and with very little loss; while the Russian loss, both in killed and wounded, was severe. The Sardinian army, under General La Marmora, were no less successful on the right. The news of this victory did not reach England until the Queen and Prince had left for their visit to Paris.]

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