The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
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Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

[OSBORNE, 7th August 1855.]

The Queen has read Sir B. Hall's[70] letter, and must say that she quite concurs in the advantage resulting from the playing of a band in Kensington Gardens on Sunday afternoon, a practice which has been maintained on the Terrace at Windsor through good and evil report, and she accordingly sanctions this proposal.[71] [She would wish Lord Palmerston, however, to notice to Sir B. Hall that Hyde Park, although under the management of the Board of Works, is still a Royal Park, and that all the Regulations for opening and shutting gates, the protection of the grounds and police regulations, etc., etc., stand under the Ranger, who alone could give the order Sir B. Hall proposes to issue....][72]

[Footnote 70: First Commissioner of Public Works; afterwards Lord Llanover.]

[Footnote 71: The Government granted permission for the Band to play, but the practice was discontinued in 1856. See post, 1st June, 1856, note 31.]

[Footnote 72: The portion of the letter within brackets was struck out of the draft by the Queen.]

[Pageheading: VISIT TO PARIS]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

ST CLOUD[73] 23rd August 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I do not intend to attempt any description, for I have no time for anything of the sort; besides, I have no doubt you will read the papers, and I know good Van de Weyer has written au long to you about it all. I will therefore only give in a few words my impressions.

I am delighted, enchanted, amused, and interested, and think I never saw anything more beautiful and gay than Paris—or more splendid than all the Palaces. Our reception is most gratifying—for it is enthusiastic and really kind in the highest degree; and Marechal Magnan[74] (whom you know well) says that such a reception as I have received every day here is much greater and much more enthusiastic even than Napoleon on his return from his victories had received! Our entrance into Paris was a scene which was quite feenhaft, and which could hardly be seen anywhere else; was quite overpowering— splendidly decorated—illuminated—immensely crowded—and 60,000 troops out—from the Gare de Strasbourg to St Cloud, of which 20,000 Gardes Nationales, who had come great distances to see me.

The Emperor has done wonders for Paris, and for the Bois de Boulogne. Everything is beautifully monte at Court—very quiet, and in excellent order; I must say we are both much struck with the difference between this and the poor King's time, when the noise, confusion, and bustle were great. We have been to the Exposition, to Versailles—which is most splendid and magnificent—to the Grand Opera, where the reception and the way in which "God save the Queen" was sung were most magnificent. Yesterday we went to the Tuileries; in the evening Theatre ici; to-night an immense ball at the Hotel de Ville. They have asked to call a new street, which we opened, after me!

The heat is very great, but the weather splendid, and though the sun may be hotter, the air is certainly lighter than ours—and I have no headache.

The Zouaves are on guard here, and you can't see finer men; the Cent Gardes are splendid too.

We drove to look at poor Neuilly on Sunday, the Emperor and Empress proposing it themselves; and it was a most melancholy sight, all in ruins. At le grand Trianon we saw the pretty chapel in which poor Marie was married; at the Tuileries the Cabinet where the poor King signed his fatal abdication. I wish you would take an opportunity of telling the poor Queen that we had thought much of her and the family here, had visited those spots which were connected with them in particular, and that we had greatly admired the King's great works at Versailles, which have been left quite intact. Indeed, the Emperor (as in everything) has shown great tact and good feeling about all this, and spoke without any bitterness of the King.

I still mean to visit (and this was his proposition) the Chapelle de St Ferdinand, which I hope you will likewise mention to the Queen....

The children are so fond of the Emperor, who is so very kind to them. He is very fascinating, with that great quiet and gentleness. He has certainly excellent manners, and both he and the dear and very charming Empress (whom Albert likes particularly) do the honneurs extremely well and very gracefully, and are full of every kind attention....

Instead of my short letter I have written you a very long one, and must end. Many thanks for your kind letter of the 17th.

How beautiful and how enjoyable is this place! Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 73: The Queen and Prince left Osborne early on the 18th in their new yacht, Victoria and Albert, for Boulogne, and the visit to France, which lasted nine days, was brilliantly successful. The Queen, in her Journal, recorded with great minuteness the details of this interesting time, and some extracts are printed by Sir Theodore Martin in The Life of the Prince Consort.]

[Footnote 74: Marshal Magnan had repressed an insurrection in Lyons in 1849, and aided in the Coup d'Etat of 1851.]


Queen Victoria to the Emperor of the French.

OSBORNE, le 29 Aout 1855.

SIRE ET MON CHER FRERE,—Une de mes premieres occupations en arrivant ici est d'ecrire a votre Majeste et d'exprimer du fond de mon c[oe]ur combien nous sommes penetres et touches de l'accueil qui nous a ete fait en France d'abord par votre Majeste et l'Imperatrice ainsi que par toute la Nation. Le souvenir ne s'effacera jamais de notre memoire, et j'aime a y voir un gage precieux pour le futur de la cordialite qui unit nos deux Gouvernements ainsi que nos deux peuples. Puisse cette heureuse union, que nous devons surtout aux qualites personnelles de votre Majeste, se consolider de plus en plus pour le bien-etre de nos deux nations ainsi que de toute l'Europe.

C'etait avec le c[oe]ur bien gros j'ai pris conge de vous, Sire, apres les beaux et heureux jours que nous avons passes avec vous et que vous avez su nous rendre si agreables. Helas! comme toute chose ici-bas, ils se sont ecoules trop vite et ces dix jours de fetes paraissent comme un beau reve, mais ils nous restent graves dans notre memoire et nous aimons a passer en revue tout ce qui s'est presente a nos yeux d'interessant et de beau en eprouvant en meme temps le desir de les voir se renouveler un jour.

Je ne saurais vous dire assez, Sire, combien je suis touchee de toutes vos bontes et de votre amitie pour le Prince et aussi de l'affection et de la bienveillance dont vous avez comble nos enfants. Leur sejour en France a ete la plus heureuse epoque de leur vie, et ils ne cessent d'en parler.

Nous avons trouve tous les autres enfants en bonne sante, et le petit Arthur se promene avec son bonnet de police qui fait son bonheur et dont il ne veut pas se separer. Que Dieu veille sur votre Majeste et la chere Imperatrice pour laquelle je forme bien des v[oe]ux.

Vous m'avez dit encore du bateau "au revoir," c'est de tout mon c[oe]ur que je le repete aussi!

Permettez que j'exprime ici tous les sentiments de tendre amitie et d'affection avec lesquelles je me dis, Sire et cher Frere, de votre Majeste Imperiale, la bien bonne et affectionnee S[oe]ur et Amie,


Je viens a l'instant meme de recevoir la si aimable depeche telegraphique de votre Majeste. Recevez-en tous mes remerciments les plus affectueux.


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, 29th August 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—Here we are again, after the pleasantest and most interesting and triumphant ten days that I think I ever passed. So complete a success, so very hearty and kind a reception with and from so difficile a people as the French is indeed most gratifying and most promising for the future. The Army were most friendly and amicable towards us also.

In short, the complete Union of the two countries is stamped and sealed in the most satisfactory and solid manner, for it is not only a Union of the two Governments—the two Sovereigns—it is that of the two Nations! Albert has told you of all the very extraordinary combinations of circumstances which helped to make all so interesting, so satisfactory. Of the splendour of the Fete at Versailles I can really give no faint impression, for it exceeded all imagination! I have formed a great affection for the Emperor, and I believe it is very reciprocal, for he showed us a confidence which we must feel as very gratifying, and spoke to us on all subjects, even the most delicate. I find no great personal rancour towards the Orleans. He has destroyed nothing that the King did, even to the Gymnastics of the children at St Cloud, and showed much kind and good feeling in taking us to see poor Chartres' monument, which is beautiful. Nothing could exceed his tact and kindness. I find I must end in a great hurry, and will say more another day. Ever your devoted Niece,



Queen Victoria to Baron Stockmar.

OSBORNE, 1st September 1855.

You continue to refuse to answer me, but I am not discouraged by it; but on the contrary must write to you to give vent to my delight at our triumphant, most interesting, and most enjoyable visit to Paris! The Prince has written to you, and given you some general accounts, which will please you, and the Times has some descriptions ... of the wonderful beauty and magnificence of everything. I never enjoyed myself more, or was more delighted or more interested, and I can think and talk of nothing else. I am deeply touched by the extraordinary warmth, heartiness, and enthusiasm with which we have been received by all ranks, and the kindness shown to every one has brought us all back—beginning with ourselves and ending with the lowest of our servants—full of gratitude, pleasure, admiration, regret at its being over, and a great desire to see such a visit renewed! It was touching and pleasing in the extreme to see the alliance sealed so completely, and without lowering either Country's pride, and to see old enmities and rivalries wiped out over the tomb of Napoleon I., before whose coffin I stood (by torchlight) at the arm of Napoleon III., now my nearest and dearest ally! We have come back with feelings of real affection for and interest in France—and indeed how could it be otherwise when one saw how much was done to please and delight us? The Army too (such a fine one!) I feel a real affection for, as the companions of my beloved troops!

For the Emperor personally I have conceived a real affection and friendship, and so I may truly say of the Prince. You know what I felt the moment I saw him and became acquainted with him, what I wrote down about him, etc. Well, we have now seen him for full ten days, from twelve to fourteen hours every day—often alone; and I cannot say how pleasant and easy it is to live with him, or how attached one becomes to him. I know no one who puts me more at my ease, or to whom I felt more inclined to talk unreservedly, or in whom involuntarily I should be more inclined to confide, than the Emperor! He was entirely at his ease with us—spoke most openly and frankly with us on all subjects—EVEN the most delicate, viz. the Orleans Family (this was with me, for I was driving alone with him), and I am happy to feel that there is nothing now between us which could mar our personal good entente and friendly and intimate footing. He is so simple, so naif, never making des phrases, or paying compliments—so full of tact, good taste, high breeding; his attentions and respect towards us were so simple and unaffected, his kindness and friendship for the Prince so natural and so gratifying, because it is not forced, not pour faire des compliments. He is quite The Emperor, and yet in no way playing it; the Court and whole house infinitely more regal and better managed than in poor Louis Philippe's time, when all was in great noise and confusion, and there was no Court. We parted with mutual sorrow, and the Emperor expressed his hope that we shall frequently meet and "pas avec de si grandes ceremonies"!

What I write here is my feeling and conviction: wonderful it is that this man—whom certainly we were not over well-disposed to—should by force of circumstances be drawn into such close connection with us, and become personally our friend, and this entirely by his own personal qualities, in spite of so much that was and could be said against him! To the children (who behaved beautifully, and had the most extraordinary success) his kindness, and judicious kindness, was great, and they are excessively fond of him. In short, without attempting to do anything particular to make one like him, or ANY personal attraction in outward appearance, he has the power of attaching those to him who come near him and know him, which is quite incredible. He is excessively kind in private, and so very quiet. I shall always look back on the time passed not only in France, but with him personally, as most agreeable. The Prince, though less enthusiastic than I am, I can see well, shares this feeling, and I think it is very reciprocal on the Emperor's part; he is very fond of the Prince and truly appreciates him. With respect to the War, nothing can be more frank and fair and honest than he is about it, but it makes him unhappy and anxious.

The dear Empress, who was all kindness and goodness, whom we are all very fond of, we saw comparatively but little of, as for really and certainly very good reasons she must take great care of herself....




Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

OSBORNE, 3rd September 1855.

The Queen has read the enclosed papers, and must express her strongest objection to a Naval Demonstration (which to be effectual must be prepared to pass on to measures of hostility), in order to obtain changes in the internal system of Government of the Kingdom of Naples.[75] England would thereby undertake a responsibility which she is in no way capable of bearing, unless she took the Government permanently into her own hands. The plea on which the interference is to be based, viz. that the misgovernment at Naples brings Monarchical institutions into disrepute, and might place weapons in the hands of the democracy (as put forth by Sir W. Temple),[76] would be wholly insufficient to justify the proceeding. Whether such an armed interference in favour of the people of Naples against their Government would lead to a Revolution or not, as apprehended by the French Government and disbelieved by Lord Palmerston, must be so entirely a matter of chance that it would be idle to predict the exact consequences. If 99 out of every 100 Neapolitans, however, are dissatisfied with their Government (as Lord Palmerston states), it is not unreasonable to expect that our demonstration may give them confidence enough to rise, and if beat down by the King's troops in presence of our ships, our position would become exceedingly humiliating.

Any insult offered to the British Government, on the other hand, it has a perfect right to resent, and to ask reparation for. The case, however, is a very unpleasant one. The Neapolitan Government deny having intended any slight on the British Legation by the order respecting the Box of the "Intendant du Theatre," which they state to have been general, and deny any intention to interfere with the free intercourse of the members of our Legation with Neapolitans, to which Sir W. Temple merely replies that notwithstanding the denial such an intention is believed by the public to exist.

The case becomes therefore a very delicate one, requiring the greatest care on our part not to put ourselves in the wrong.

It will be of the greatest importance to come to a thorough understanding with France, and if possible also with Austria, on the subject.

[Footnote 75: Lord Palmerston had suggested co-operation by England and France in obtaining the dismissal of the Neapolitan Minister of Police as an amende for an affront offered to this country, to be enforced by a naval demonstration, coupled with a demand for the liberation of political prisoners.]

[Footnote 76: The Hon. Sir William Temple, K.C.B. [d. 1856], only brother of Lord Palmerston, Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Naples.]

Lord Panmure to Earl Granville.[77]


10th September 1855.

Telegram from General Simpson, dated Crimea, nine September, one eight five five, ten nine A.M. "Sebastopol is in the possession of the Allies. The enemy during the night and this morning have evacuated the south side after exploding their Magazines and setting fire to the whole of the Town. All the men-of-war were burnt during the night with the exception of three Steamers, which are plying about the Harbour. The Bridge communicating with the North side is broken."

War Department, tenth September, one eight five five, four forty-five P.M....

[Footnote 77: Minister in attendance at Balmoral. The Queen and Prince occupied their new home for the first time on the 7th of September; it was not yet completed, but, the Queen wrote, "the house is charming, the rooms delightful, the furniture, papers, everything, perfection."]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BALMORAL CASTLE, 11th September 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—The great event has at length taken place—Sebastopol has fallen! We received the news here last night when we were sitting quietly round our table after dinner. We did what we could to celebrate it; but that was but little, for to my grief we have not one soldier, no band, nothing here to make any sort of demonstration. What we did do was in Highland fashion to light a bonfire on the top of a hill opposite the house, which had been built last year when the premature news of the fall of Sebastopol deceived every one, and which we had to leave unlit, and found here on our return!

On Saturday evening we heard of one Russian vessel having been destroyed, on Sunday morning of the destruction of another, yesterday morning of the fall of the Malakhoff Tower—and then of Sebastopol! We were not successful against the Redan on the 8th, and I fear our loss was considerable. Still the daily loss in the trenches was becoming so serious that no loss in achieving such a result is to be compared to that. This event will delight my brother and faithful ally—and friend, Napoleon III.—I may add, for we really are great friends; this attempt,[78] though that of a madman, is very distressing and makes one tremble....

We expect the young Prince Fritz Wilhelm[79] of Prussia on a little visit here on Friday.

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


[Footnote 78: As he was about to enter the Opera House on the evening of the 7th, the Emperor was fired at without effect by one Bellegarde, who had been previously convicted of fraud, on which occasion his punishment had been mitigated by the Emperor's clemency; he was now sentenced to two years' imprisonment.]

[Footnote 79: Only son of the Prince of Prussia, and afterwards the Emperor Frederick.]

[Pageheading: THE MALAKHOFF]

Lord Panmure to General Simpson.


12th September 1855.

The Queen has received, with deep emotion, the welcome intelligence of the fall of Sebastopol.

Penetrated with profound gratitude to the Almighty, who has vouchsafed this triumph to the Allied Armies, Her Majesty has commanded me to express to yourself, and through you to the Army, the pride with which she regards this fresh instance of its heroism.

The Queen congratulates her Troops on the triumphant issue of this protracted siege, and thanks them for the cheerfulness and fortitude with which they have encountered its toils, and the valour which has led to its termination.

The Queen deeply laments that this success in not without its alloy in the heavy losses which have been sustained; and while she rejoices in the victory, Her Majesty deeply sympathises with the noble sufferers in their country's cause.

You will be pleased to congratulate General Pelissier in Her Majesty's name upon the brilliant result of the assault on the Malakhoff, which proves the irresistible force as well as indomitable courage of her brave Allies.

Queen Victoria to General Simpson.

BALMORAL, 14th September 1855.

With a heart full of gratitude and pride, as well as of sorrow for the many valuable lives that have been lost, the Queen writes to General Simpson to congratulate him, as well on her own part as on that of the Prince, on the glorious news of the Fall of Sebastopol! General Simpson must indeed feel proud to have commanded the Queen's noble Army on such an occasion.

She wishes him to express to that gallant Army her high sense of their gallantry, and her joy and satisfaction at their labours, anxieties, and cruel sufferings, for nearly a year, having at length been crowned with such success.

To General Pelissier[80] also, and his gallant Army, whom the Queen ever unites in her thoughts and wishes with her own beloved troops, she would wish General Simpson to convey the expression of her personal warm congratulations, as well as of her sympathy for their losses.

The Queen intends to mark her sense of General Simpson's services by conferring upon him the Grand Cross of the Bath.

We are now most anxious that not a moment should be lost in following up this great victory, and in driving the Russians, while still under the depressing effect of their failure, from the Crimea!

[Footnote 80: He now became Duke of Malakhoff, and a Marshal of the French Army.]


Earl Granville to the Earl of Clarendon.

BALMORAL, 14th September 1855.

MY DEAR CLARENDON,—I was sent for after breakfast. The Queen and the Prince are much pleased with the draft of your Despatch to Naples; they think it good and dignified. With respect to the draft to Lord Stratford, instructing him to recommend to the Porte an application to the Austrian Government for the withdrawal or diminution of the Austrian troops in the Principalities, I have been commanded to write what the Queen has not time this morning to put on paper. Her Majesty does not feel that the objects of this proposed Despatch have been sufficiently explained. It does not appear to Her Majesty that, in a military point of view, the plans of the Allies are sufficiently matured to make it clear whether the withdrawal of the Austrian Army would be an advantage or a disadvantage. If the Allies intend to march through the Principalities, and attack Russia on that side, the presence of the Austrians might be an inconvenience. If, on the other hand, they advance from the East, it is a positive advantage to have the Russians contained on the other flank, by the Austrians in their present position. Looking at the political bearing of this move, Her Majesty thinks that it will not fail to have an unfavourable effect on Austria, who will be hurt at the Allies urging the Porte to endeavour to put an end to an arrangement entered into at the suggestion, or at all events with the approval, of the Allies. It cannot be an object at this moment, when extraneous circumstances have probably acted favourably for us on the minds of the Emperor of Austria and his Government, to check that disposition, make them distrust us, and incline them to throw themselves towards Russia, who now will spare no efforts to gain them. Her Majesty sees by your proposed Despatch you do not expect the Austrians to comply with this demand. Even if they consented to diminish the numbers of their Troops, they would do so only to suit their own convenience, and such diminution would in no ways decrease the evils of the occupation. Lastly, the Queen is of opinion that if such a proposal is to be made, it ought not to be done through Lord Stratford and the Porte, but that the subject should be broached at Vienna and the Austrian Government asked what their intentions are; that this would be the more friendly, more open, and more dignified course, and more likely than the other plan of being successful. Her Majesty, however, doubts that any such demand will be acceded to by the Austrians, and believes that their refusal will put the Allies in an awkward position.

This is, I believe, the pith of Her Majesty's opinions—there appears to me to be much sense in them—and they are well deserving of your and Palmerston's consideration. Yours sincerely,


[Pageheading: LIFE PEERAGES]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BALMORAL, 19th September 1855.

The Queen has to thank Lord Palmerston for his letter of the 16th. The want of Law Lords in the Upper House has often been complained of, and the Queen has long been of opinion that in order to remedy the same without adding permanently to the Peerage, the Crown ought to use its prerogative in creating Peers for life only. Lord Lansdowne coincided with this view, and Lord John Russell actually proposed a "Life Peerage" to Dr. Lushington, who declined it, however, from a dislike to become the first of the kind. Mr Pemberton Leigh has twice declined a Peerage, but the Queen can have no objection to its being offered to him again.[81]...

[Footnote 81: See ante, vol. ii., 25th January, 1851, note 1.]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 20th September 1855.

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

A Blue Ribbon has become vacant by the death of the late Duke of Somerset, and Viscount Palmerston having communicated with Lord Lansdowne and Lord Clarendon on the subject, would beg to submit for your Majesty's gracious consideration that this honour might be well conferred upon the Duke of Newcastle, who has been the object of much undeserved attack, though certainly from inexperience not altogether exempt from criticism, and who since his retirement from office has shaped his public course in a manner honourable to himself, and advantageously contrasting with the aberrations of some of his former colleagues.[82]

Your Majesty must no doubt have been struck with the vast accumulation of warlike stores found at Sebastopol. That there should have remained there four thousand cannon, after the wear and tear of the Siege, proves the great importance attached by the Russian Government to that Arsenal over which your Majesty's Flag is now triumphantly flying.

[Footnote 82: He had gone out to the Crimea, and entered Sebastopol with General Simpson. The Duke did not at this time accept the Garter, which was bestowed on Earl Fortescue. See post, 26th November, 1855, note 98.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BALMORAL, 21st September 1855.

The Queen is anxious to mark her sense of the services of the Army and Military Departments at home by conferring the rank of Field-Marshal on Lord Hardinge, who, from his position as Commander-in-Chief, and his long, distinguished services, has a strong claim to such an honour. Moreover, Marshal Vaillant receiving the G.C.B., whilst it has been thought more prudent not to accept the Legion d'Honneur for Lord Hardinge, makes it the more desirable. The Prince is now again the only Field-Marshal in the Army, which has always had several. The Queen thinks that Lord Combermere, being the second senior officer of the whole Army, a full General of 1825, might expect not to be passed over when Lord Hardinge is made. The only other General of distinction and seniority might be Lord Strafford, but he is only a full General of 1841. On this point Lord Palmerston might consult Lord Hardinge himself. If he and Lord Combermere alone are made, the honour is the greater for him.[83]

The Queen thinks likewise that Lord Panmure ought to receive a mark of favour and approval of his conduct on the occasion of the Fall of Sebastopol; either the Civil G.C.B. or a step in the Peerage—that of Viscount.[84]

Lord Palmerston would perhaps, without delay, give his opinion on these subjects to the Queen; the honours she would wish then personally to bestow upon the recipients, and she thinks the arrival of the official Despatches the right moment for doing so.

[Footnote 83: Lord Hardinge, Lord Strafford, and Lord Combermere were all made Field-Marshals.]

[Footnote 84: He received the G.C.B.]

The Prince Albert to the Earl of Clarendon.

BALMORAL, 21st September 1855.

MY DEAR LORD CLARENDON,—The Queen wishes me to send you the enclosed letters, with the request that they may be sent by messengers to Coblentz.[85]

I may tell you in the strictest confidence that Prince Frederic William has yesterday laid before us his wish for an alliance with the Princess Royal with the full concurrence of his parents, as well as of the King of Prussia. We have accepted his proposal as far as we are personally concerned, but have asked that the child should not be made acquainted with it until after her confirmation, which is to take place next Spring, when he might make it to her himself, and receive from her own lips the answer which is only valuable when flowing from those of the person chiefly concerned. A marriage would not be possible before the completion of the Princess's seventeenth year, which is in two years from this time. The Queen empowers me to say that you may communicate this event to Lord Palmerston, but we beg that under present circumstances it may be kept a strict secret. What the world may say we cannot help. Ever yours, etc.,


[Footnote 85: The Prince and Princess of Prussia were then at Coblentz.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BALMORAL, 22nd September 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I profit by your own messenger to confide to you, and to you alone, begging you not to mention it to your children, that our wishes on the subject of a future marriage for Vicky have been realised in the most gratifying and satisfactory manner.

On Thursday (20th) after breakfast, Fritz Wilhelm said he was anxious to speak of a subject which he knew his parents had never broached to us—which was to belong to our Family; that this had long been his wish, that he had the entire concurrence and approval not only of his parents but of the King—and that finding Vicky so allerliebst, he could delay no longer in making this proposal. I need not tell you with what joy we accepted him for our part; but the child herself is to know nothing till after her confirmation, which is to take place next Easter, when he probably will come over, and, as he wishes himself, make her the proposal, which, however, I have little—indeed no—doubt she will gladly accept. He is a dear, excellent, charming young man, whom we shall give our dear child to with perfect confidence. What pleases us greatly is to see that he is really delighted with Vicky.

Now, with Albert's affectionate love, and with the prayer that you will give your blessing to this alliance, as you have done to ours, ever your devoted Niece and Child,


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 22nd September 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs, in the first place, to be allowed to offer to your Majesty his most sincere congratulations upon the prospective arrangement which His Royal Highness the Prince Albert announced in his letter to Lord Clarendon, but which, for obvious reasons, should be left to public conjecture for the present. Viscount Palmerston trusts that the event, when, it takes place, will contribute as much to the happiness of those more immediately concerned, and to the comfort of your Majesty and of the Royal Family, as it undoubtedly will to the interests of the two countries, and of Europe in general....

Viscount Palmerston begs to state that the Professorship of Greek at the University of Oxford, which was held by the late Dean of Christchurch,[86] is still vacant, Viscount Palmerston having doubts as to the best person to be appointed. The present Dean of Christchurch admitted that the Professorship ought to be separated from the Deanery; he has now recommended for the Professorship the Rev. B. Jowett, Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College, who is an eminent Greek scholar and won the Hertford Scholarship; and Viscount Palmerston submits, for your Majesty's gracious approval, that Mr Jowett may be appointed.

[Footnote 86: The Very Rev. Thomas Gaisford, D.D., who was appointed Regius Professor of Greek in 1811, and Dean of Christchurch in 1831.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 31st October 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that he has this morning seen Lord Stanley, and offered to him the post of Secretary of State for the Colonies.[87] Lord Stanley expressed himself as highly gratified personally by an offer which he said he was wholly unprepared to receive, and which was above his expectations and pretensions; but he said that as he owed to his father Lord Derby whatever position he may have gained in public life, he could not give an answer without first consulting Lord Derby. Viscount Palmerston said that of course in making the proposal, he had taken for granted that Lord Stanley would consult Lord Derby first, because a son would not take a decision on such a subject without consulting his father, even if that father were merely in private life; and next because such a course would be still more natural in this case, considering Lord Derby's political position with reference to those with whom Lord Stanley has more or less been generally acting. Lord Stanley said that he should go down to Knowsley by the five o'clock train this afternoon, and that he would at an early moment communicate his answer to Viscount Palmerston; but he said that if he was to state now his anticipation of what Lord Derby would recommend and wish him to do, it would rather be to decline the offer.

[Footnote 87: Sir William Molesworth, who had represented Radicalism in the Cabinets of Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston, died on the 22nd, at the age of forty-five. The Premier thereupon offered the vacant place to Lord Stanley, one of his political opponents, then only twenty-eight, who was the son of the leader of the Conservative Opposition, and had already held office under his father. Lord Stanley's temperament was, in fact, more inclined to Liberalism than that of Lord Palmerston himself, and, twenty-seven years later, he took the office in a Liberal Government which he now declined.]

[Pageheading: MR SIDNEY HERBERT]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 10th November 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that in consequence of some things that passed in conversation at Sir Charles Wood's two days ago, when Mr and Mrs Sidney Herbert dined there, Sir Charles Wood is under a strong impression that Mr Herbert would be willing to separate himself from Mr Gladstone and Sir James Graham, and the Peace Party, and to join the present Government. Viscount Palmerston having well considered the matter in concert with Sir Charles Wood and Sir George Grey, is of opinion that it would be advantageous not only for the present, but also with a view to the future, to detach Mr Herbert from the clique with which accidental circumstances have for the moment apparently associated him, and to fix him to better principles of action than those by which Mr Gladstone and Sir James Graham appear to be guided. For this purpose Viscount Palmerston proposes with your Majesty's sanction to offer to Mr Herbert to return to the Colonial Office, which he held on the formation of the present Government.

Mr Herbert is the most promising man of his standing in the House of Commons, and is personally very popular in that House; he is a good and an improving speaker, and his accession to the Government would add a good speaker to the Treasury Bench, and take away a good speaker from ranks that may become hostile.

He would also supply the place of Lord Canning as a kind of link between the Government and some well-disposed members of both Houses who belonged more or less to what is called the Peel Party. It would be necessary, of course, to ascertain clearly that Mr Herbert's views about the war and about conditions of peace are the same as they were when he was a Member of the Government, and not such as those which Mr Gladstone and Sir James Graham have of late adopted.

If Mr Herbert were to accept, Sir George Grey, who has a strong disinclination for the Colonies, would remain at the Home Office; and if Lord Harrowby would take the Post Office, which must be held by a Peer, the Duchy of Lancaster, which may be held by a Commoner, might be offered to Mr Baines[88] with a seat in the Cabinet, and Mr Baines might perhaps, with reference to his health, prefer an office not attended with much departmental business of detail, while he would be thus more free to make himself master of general questions. Such an arrangement would leave the Cabinet, as stated in the accompanying paper, seven and seven; and if afterwards Lord Stanley of Alderley were added in the Lords, and Sir Benjamin Hall in the Commons, which, however, would be a matter entirely for future consideration, the equality of division would still be preserved.[89]

Viscount Palmerston finds that Mr Herbert is gone down to Wilton, and as Viscount Palmerston is going this afternoon to Broadlands to remain there till Tuesday morning, he proposes during the interval to communicate with Mr Herbert, Wilton being not much more than an hour's distance from Broadlands by the Salisbury railway.

[Footnote 88: Mr. Matthew Talbot Baines died prematurely in 1860. His abilities were of a solid rather than a brilliant kind.]

[Footnote 89: Mr. Labouchere became Colonial Secretary. See List of Cabinet as it stood in 1858, post, 25th February, 1858.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

BROADLANDS, 11th November 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that he has seen Mr Sidney Herbert, who declines joining the Government, because he thinks that his doing so would expose both him and the Government to the suspicion of having altered their opinions. The difference between him and the Government is not as to the necessity of prosecuting the war with vigour, but as to the conditions of peace with which he would be satisfied. He would consent to accept conditions which he is aware that the country would not approve, and to which he does not expect that the Government would agree. Viscount Palmerston will have to consider with his Colleagues on Tuesday what arrangement it will be best for him to submit for the sanction of your Majesty.


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 13th November 1855.

The Queen returns the enclosed most important letters. She has read them with much interest, but not without a very anxious feeling that great changes are taking place in the whole position of the Eastern Question and the War, without our having the power to direct them or even a complete knowledge of them.[90] Should Austria really be sincere,—if the Emperor Napoleon is really determined not to carry on the war on a large scale without her joining, we shall be obliged by common prudence to follow him in his negotiations. He may mistrust our secrecy and diplomacy, and wish to obtain by his personal exertions a continental league against Russia. The missions to Stockholm and Copenhagen, the language to Baron Beust and M. von der Pfordten and M. de Bourqueney's single-handed negotiation, seem to point to this. Can Russia have secretly declared her readiness to accept the "Neutralisation"? It is hardly possible, and if so it would be a concession we cannot refuse to close upon. Whatever may be the case, the Queen thinks it the wisest course not to disturb the Emperor's plans, or to show suspicion of them, but merely to insist upon the importance of the Army in the Crimea being kept so imposing that Russia cannot safely arrange her plans on the supposition of a change of policy on the part of the Western Powers.

Had the Queen known of Lord Cowley's letter a few hours earlier, she could have spoken to the Duke of Cambridge, who was here; as it was, both she and the Prince were very cautious and reserved in what they told him.

The Queen thought it right to let Sir Hamilton Seymour, who is staying here, see the letters, as his thorough acquaintance with the present position of affairs is most important.

[Footnote 90: The Emperor was now bent on the termination of hostilities, and the French and Austrian Governments had concerted proposals for peace to be submitted to Russia, with which they somewhat peremptorily demanded that England should concur. Lord Palmerston announced that, rather than make an unsatisfactory peace, he would continue the war without the aid of France. States such as Saxony and Bavaria favoured Russia, and Baron Beust and M. von der Pfordten, their respective Prime Ministers, had interviews with the Emperor, who was anxious for peace on the basis of the Third Point, on which, since the fall of Sebastopol, the Allies were in a better position to insist.]

Queen Victoria to Sir Charles Wood.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 16th November 1855.

The Queen wishes to draw Sir Charles Wood's attention to a subject which may become of much importance for the future. It is the absence of any Dockyard for building and repairing out of the Channel, with the exception of Pembroke. Should we ever be threatened by a combination of Russia and France, the absence of a Government establishment in the north would be very serious. It strikes the Queen that the present moment, when our yards hardly supply the demands made upon them, and when attention is directed to the Baltic, is a particularly favourable one to add an establishment in the Firth of Forth, for which the Queen believes the Government possess the ground at Leith. Such a measure would at the same time be very popular in Scotland, and by making the Queen's Navy known there, which it hardly is at present, would open a new field for recruiting our Marine.

Whether Cork in Ireland should not also be made more available is very well worth consideration.

The Queen would ask Sir Charles to communicate this letter to Lord Palmerston, who has always had the state of our powers of defence so much at heart.


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 19th November 1855.

The Queen has attentively perused the voluminous papers, which she now returns according to Lord Clarendon's wish.

An anxious consideration of their contents has convinced her that it would be the height of impolicy if we were not to enter fairly and unreservedly into the French proposal, and she wishes Lord Clarendon to express this her opinion to the Cabinet.

The terms of the Austrian Ultimatum are clear and complete and very favourable to us, if accepted by Russia.[91] If refused, which they almost must be, rupture of diplomatic relations between Austria and Russia is a decided step gained by us, and will produce a state of things which can scarcely fail to lead them to war.

A refusal to entertain the proposal may induce and perhaps justify the Emperor of the French in backing out of the War, which would leave us in a miserable position.

If we are to agree to the Emperor's wishes, it must be politic not to risk the advantage of the whole measure by a discussion with Austria upon minor points of detail, which will cost time, and may lead to differences.

[Footnote 91: The Queen and her Ministers, however, insisted that the neutralisation clause (the Third Point) should be made effective, not left illusory, and incorporated in the principal and not in a supplementary treaty. Modified in this and other particulars, an ultimatum embodying the Austrian proposals, which stipulated, inter alia, for the cession of a portion of Bessarabia, was despatched to St Petersburg on the 15th of December, and the 18th of January was fixed as the last day on which a reply would be accepted.]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Hardinge.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 22nd November 1855.

The Queen informs Lord Hardinge that on speaking to Sir Colin Campbell yesterday, and informing him how much she wished that his valuable services should not be lost to her Army in the Crimea, he replied in the handsomest manner, that he would return immediately—"for that, if the Queen wished it, he was ready to serve under a Corporal"! Conduct like this is very gratifying, and will only add to Sir Colin Campbell's high name; but, as by Lord Hardinge's and Lord Panmure's advice, the Queen has obtained from him this sacrifice of his own feelings to her wishes, she feels personally bound not to permit him to be passed over a second time should the Command again become vacant.

The Queen has had a good deal of conversation with him, and from what he told her, as well as from what she has heard from others, there seems to be a good deal of laxity of discipline—particularly as regards the officers—in the Army in the Crimea; and she thinks Lord Hardinge should give an order to prevent so many officers coming home on leave except when really ill. The effect of this on the French is very bad, and the Prince had a letter only two days ago from the Prince of Prussia, saying that every one was shocked at the manner in which our officers came home, and that it lowered our Army very much in the eyes of foreign Armies, and generally decreased the sympathy for our troops. We deeply regret the death of poor General Markham.[92]

[Footnote 92: He commanded the 2nd Division of the Army at the attack on the Redan, and after the fall of Sebastopol, his health, already shattered, broke down completely; he returned home, and died on the 21st of November.]



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 23rd November 1855.

The Queen has received Lord Clarendon's letter, and returns the very satisfactory enclosures from Lord Cowley. Count Walewski remains true to himself; yet the admission that the Neutralisation Clause ought to be part of the European treaty, and not an annex, which he makes, is the most important concession which we could desire. That the Sea of Azov is to be dropped the Queen is glad of, as it would appear so humiliating to Russia that Austria would probably decline proposing it. What the Queen is most afraid of, and what she believes actuates the Emperor also, is the consideration that Austria, made aware of the intense feeling for Peace a tout prix in France, might get frightened at the good terms for us she meant to propose to Russia, and might long for an opportunity given by us, in any unreasonable demand for modification, to back out of her proposal altogether. Lord A. Loftus in his last letter states that Baron Manteuffel[93] even was afraid of having admitted as proper, terms too hard upon Russia, since peace is wanted at Paris.

The course intended to be pursued by Lord Clarendon in summing up the whole question in a public Despatch seems quite the right one, as it would never do, on the other hand, to let England be considered as merely a la remorque of France, an impression unfortunately very prevalent on the Continent at this moment.[94]

As to Marshal Pelissier, the best thing the Emperor could do would be to recall him, and to put a younger and more enterprising man in his place. As we have got our hero coming home, his French colleague might be recalled also.

The Duke of Newcastle's letter is very interesting; the Queen will return it this evening. It confirms the truth of the axiom that a settled policy ought to precede a military plan of campaign, for which the Prince is always contending.

We have been much pleased with old Sir Colin Campbell, who is a thorough soldier, and appears not at all wanting in good sense. On asking him about our rising men, and the officer whom he would point out as the one of most promise, he said that Colonel Mansfield[95] was without comparison the man from whom great services could be expected both in the Field and as an Administrator. Lord Clarendon will be pleased to hear this, but will also not be surprised if the Queen should look out for an opportunity to reclaim him for the Army from the Foreign Office.

[Footnote 93: President of the Prussian Ministry.]

[Footnote 94: Lord Clarendon, in the letter to which this was a reply, observed that he had asked Lord Cowley to inform Count Walewski that he would have to learn that England was a principal in the matter, and "not a political and diplomatic Contingent."]

[Footnote 95: He had distinguished himself in the first Sikh War, and was in 1855 Military Adviser to the British Ambassador at Constantinople.]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 24th November 1855.

The Queen returns Lord Cowley's letter and General Pelissier's telegram. Lord Cowley is quite right in insisting upon a clear understanding between England and France before negotiations are entered into with Austria. To come to a speedy agreement, it will be wise to drop the minor points and insist upon the most important. These the Queen takes to be the incorporation of the Neutralisation Clause in the general Treaty, and the promise on the part of Austria not to accept and communicate to us counter-proposals from Russia. If France agreed to this, we might agree to the rest of the arrangement. General Pelissier's plan has the advantage of setting us free, but deprives us of the Sardinians in the field, an object the French have kept steadily in view. The Duke of Cambridge will come down here to-night, and we may then hear more on the subject.

The Queen of the French has been taken dangerously ill at Genoa; the Duc d'Aumale and Prince de Joinville have been summoned by telegraph. The Queen has asked the Foreign Office to telegraph to enquire after the Queen's state.


Queen Victoria to Sir William Codrington.[96]

WINDSOR CASTLE, 26th November 1855.

The first Despatches of Sir William Codrington, acknowledging his appointment to the Command of the Queen's gallant Army in the East, having arrived, she will no longer delay writing herself to Sir William, to assure him of her support and confidence in his new, proud, and important, though at the same time difficult position. She wishes to assure him of her confidence and support. It is with pleasure that she sees the son of her old friend and devoted servant, himself so distinguished in the sister Service, raised by his own merits to so exalted a position. Sir William knows the Queen's pride in her beloved Troops, as well as her unceasing solicitude for their welfare and glory, and she trusts he will on all occasions express these feelings from herself personally.

The Queen feels certain that Sir William Codrington will learn, with great satisfaction, that that distinguished and gallant officer, Sir Colin Campbell, has most readily and handsomely complied with the Queen's wishes that he should return to the Crimea and take command of the First Corps d'Armee. His presence and his assistance will be of essential service to Sir William Codrington, who, the Queen knows, entertains so high an opinion of him.

The Prince wishes his sincere congratulations and kind remembrance to be conveyed to Sir William Codrington.

The Queen would be glad if Sir William could—when he has leisure to do so—from time to time write to her himself, informing her of the state of her Army, and of affairs in the Crimea.

She concludes with every wish for his welfare and success.

[Footnote 96: Considerable difficulty had been found in appointing a successor to General Simpson, who had resigned a task which he found overtaxed his powers. Sir William Codrington was junior to three other Generals, who might have felt aggrieved by being passed over. The sagacity of the Prince found a way out of the difficulty by appointing two of the three to the commands of the two corps d'armee into which the Army had, at his instance, been subdivided. See ante. 22nd November, 1855, note 92.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 5th December 1855.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I must make many excuses for not writing to you yesterday, to thank you for your kind letter of the 30th, as on Friday and Saturday my time was entirely taken up with my Royal brother, the King of Sardinia,[97] and I had to make up for loss of time these last days. He leaves us to-morrow at an extraordinary hour—four o'clock in the morning (which you did once or twice)—wishing to be at Compiegne to-morrow night, and at Turin on Tuesday. He is eine ganz besondere, abenteuerliche Erscheinung, startling in the extreme in appearance and manner when you first see him, but, just as Aumale says, il faut l'aimer quand on le connait bien. He is so frank, open, just, straightforward, liberal and tolerant, with much sound good sense. He never breaks his word, and you may rely on him, but wild and extravagant, courting adventures and dangers, and with a very strange, short, rough manner, an exaggeration of that short manner of speaking which his poor brother had. He is shy in society, which makes him still more brusque, and he does not know (never having been out of his own country or even out in Society) what to say to the number of people who are presented to him here, and which is, I know from experience, a most odious thing. He is truly attached to the Orleans family, particularly to Aumale, and will be a friend and adviser to them. To-day he will be invested with the Order of the Garter. He is more like a Knight or King of the Middle Ages than anything one knows nowadays.

On Monday we go to Osborne till the 21st.

One word about Vicky. I must say that she has a quick discernment of character, and I have never seen her take any predilection for a person which was not motive by personal amiability, goodness, or distinction of some kind or other. You need be under no apprehension whatever on this subject; and she has, moreover, great tact and esprit de conduite. It is quite extraordinary how popular she is in Society—and again now, all these Foreigners are so struck with her sense and conversation for her age.

Hoping soon to hear from you again, and wishing that naughty Stockmar may yet be brought to come, believe me ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 97: King Victor Emmanuel was received with great cordiality by the English people, grateful for his co-operation and for the gallantry of his soldiers at the Tchernaya. Count Cavour accompanied him, and drafted the reply read by the King at Guildhall to the address of the Corporation.]

[Pageheading: GARTER FEES]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

DOWNING STREET, 11th December 1855.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty and submits a letter which he received a few days ago from the Duke of Newcastle declining the Garter. Viscount Palmerston on his return from Woburn, where he was for two days, saw the Duke of Newcastle, but found that the enclosed letter expressed the intention which he had formed. Viscount Palmerston would propose to your Majesty the Earl of Fortescue as a deserving object of your Majesty's gracious favour; Lord Fortescue held the high office of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and is a person highly and universally respected.[98]

Viscount Palmerston cannot refrain from saying on this occasion that he is not without a misgiving that the high amount of fees which he understands is paid by persons who are made Knights of the Garter may have some effect in rendering those whose incomes are not very large less anxious than they would otherwise be to receive this distinction; and he cannot but think that it is unseemly in general that persons upon whom your Majesty may be disposed to confer dignities and honours, either as a mark of your Majesty's favour or as a reward for their public services, should on that account be subject to a heavy pecuniary fine; and he intends to collect information with a view to consider whether all such fees might not be abolished, the officers to whom they are now paid receiving compensation in the shape of adequate fixed salary.[99] ...

[Footnote 98: Earl Fortescue received the Garter; he died in 1861.]

[Footnote 99: This reform was effected in 1905.]

Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 22nd December 1855.

The Queen has received Lord Panmure's answer to her letter from Osborne, and is glad to see from it that he is quite agreed with the Queen on the subject of the Land Transport Corps. She would most strongly urge Lord Panmure to give at once carte blanche to Sir W. Codrington to organise it as he thinks best, and to make him personally responsible for it. We have only eight weeks left to the beginning of spring; a few references home and their answers would consume the whole of that time! The Army has now to carry their huts on their backs up to the Camp; if it had been fighting, it would have perished for want of them, like the last winter. If each Division, Brigade, and Battalion has not got within itself what it requires for its daily existence in the field, a movement will be quite impossible.

The Queen approves the intended increase of Artillery and Sappers and Miners; but hopes that these will be taken from the nominal and not the existing strength of the Army.



After two years' duration, the Crimean War was terminated in March 1856, at a Conference of the Powers assembled at Paris, by a treaty the principal terms of which provided for the integrity of Turkey, and her due participation in the public law and system of Europe, the neutralisation of the Black Sea, and the opening of its waters to commerce (with the interdiction, except in a limited degree, of the flag of war of any nation, and of the erection by either Russia or Turkey of arsenals), free navigation of the Danube, cession of a portion of Bessarabia by Russia, and the reciprocal evacuation of invaded territories; the Principalities to be continued in their existing privileges under the suzerainty of the Porte and a guarantee of the Contracting Powers. No European protectorate was to be established over the Sultan's Christian subjects. Certain general principles of International Law were also agreed upon. In the course of the summer, the Guards made a public re-entry into London; and the Crimea was finally evacuated; great reviews of the returned troops taking place at Aldershot. The thanks of Parliament were accorded to the soldiers and sailors engaged, and peace-rejoicings celebrated on a great scale.

The Commissioners who had been sent out, nearly a year before, to the Crimea, to investigate the causes of the breakdown in various military departments, presented a Report, censuring several high officials; a Military Commission was accordingly appointed to investigate the Report, and after sitting for some months at Chelsea, completely exonerated the officials in question.

The Government having resolved to strengthen the administration of the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords, Letters Patent were made out purporting to create Sir James Parke, an ex-Judge, a Baron for his life, under the title of Lord Wensleydale. After frequent and protracted debates on this question, the Peers decided that such a patent conferred no right to sit and vote in Parliament. The Government gave up the contest by creating Sir James (who had no son) a hereditary peer.

The Czar Alexander was crowned at Moscow in September with great ceremonial, the Sultan being duly represented, while Lord Granville was present as special Ambassador for the Queen. The discovery of the cruelty with which political offenders were being treated in Neapolitan prisons led to the rupture of diplomatic relations between England in union with France on the one hand, and King Ferdinand on the other; while a dispute as to the enlistment of recruits for the English Army in the United States led to the dismissal of the British Minister at Washington, and to temporary friction between the two countries.

The provisions of the Treaty of Paris were not carried out without considerable procrastination on the part of Russia, which, by its method of evacuating Kars and surrendering Ismail and Reni, and by laying claim to Serpent's Island at the mouth of the Danube, compelled England to send a fleet to the Black Sea, to enforce strict observance of the Treaty. By the end of the year the matter was arranged, though in the meantime the possibility of Great Britain being represented at the Czar's coronation had been imperilled.

The abuses which had long existed in the Government of Oudh induced the Governor-General of India, early in the year, to issue a proclamation placing that kingdom permanently under the authority of the British Crown. Lord Dalhousie at this time retired from the office (which he had held for eight years) of Governor-General, and was succeeded by Lord Canning. It fell to the lot of the latter to announce the commencement of hostilities between this country and Persia, on the ground that the latter was endeavouring, in defiance of Treaties, to subvert the independence of Herat. The Shah had laid siege to the town, when, in December, the English fleet, under Admiral Sir Henry Leeke, attacked and captured Bushire on the Persian Gulf. Soon afterwards, Sir James Outram arrived on the scene from Bombay, and assumed the command.



Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 5th January 1856.

The Queen returns the drawings for the "Victoria Cross." She has marked the one she approves with an X; she thinks, however, that it might be a trifle smaller. The motto would be better "For Valour" than "For the Brave," as this would lead to the inference that only those are deemed brave who have got the Victoria Cross.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 7th January 1856.

The Queen has received Lord Clarendon's letter, and in answer to his question expresses her opinion that Lord Cowley's presence at the Council of War will be absolutely necessary.[1] She believes Lord Clarendon to be agreed with her, that the value of a plan of military campaign is entirely dependent upon the general policy which the Government intends to pursue. As none of our Commissioners at the Council of War are in the least acquainted with the latter, they might be drawn into plans which would not at all agree with it. Lord Cowley would take that part of the question into his own hands, in which it will be quite safe. The Queen thinks that it is of secondary importance whether Count Walewski attends or not, but that the Emperor cannot have the same need of his presence which we have of that of our Ambassador.

[Footnote 1: A satisfactory and speedy conclusion of hostilities appearing at this time far from probable, a Council of War to settle the course of operations was, at the Emperor's suggestion, summoned to meet at Paris. Lord Cowley, Count Walewski, Prince Jerome Bonaparte, and others, were present, besides Naval and Military representatives of the Allies, among whom was the Duke of Cambridge.]

[Pageheading: POLICY OF CAVOUR]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 9th January 1856.

The Queen has read Sir J. Hudson's[2] letter with much interest. There is much truth in what Count Cavour says, and it must ever be our object and our interest to see Sardinia independent and strong; as a Liberal constitutional country, opposing a barrier alike to unenlightened and absolute as well as revolutionary principles—and this she has a right to expect us to support her in.

But what she wants to obtain from Austria is not clear. She has no right, however, to expect further assurances from us on wishes which she seems even to be afraid to state distinctly.

It is clearly impossible to ask Austria to give up a portion of Italy to her, if nothing has occurred to make this necessary to Austria. At any rate Sardinia can have lost nothing, but on the contrary must have gained by the position which she is placed in as an ally of the Western Powers.

[Footnote 2: British Minister at Turin, and an enthusiastic sympathiser with Cavour. The latter had complained to him that if the Austrian proposals were accepted, and peace were made, Sardinia could expect no realisation of her cherished hopes, viz. Anglo-French support against Austria and against Papal aggression, increased political consideration in Europe, and the development of Constitutional Government.]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 11th January 1856.

The Queen now returns the draft[3] to Lord Bloomfield, which she could only write about in haste yesterday, as being of a nature not to be sanctioned by her. It is quite natural and excusable that our patience should at last be worn out by the miserable policy which Prussia is pursuing, but it can never be our interest openly to quarrel with her. This would be simply playing the game of Russia, who would thus be relieved from all attacks upon her and see the theatre of the war transferred to Germany; all other complications (which would arise therefrom)—ruinous to the best interests of the Western Powers as they would be—the Queen need not refer to. But when the draft concludes with a declaration to Prussia that England "considers her neutrality as now at an end," this is tantamount to a declaration of war! The late articles in our newspapers, and the language of Count Walewski to Lord Cowley, make the Queen doubly anxious to warn the Government not to let themselves be drawn on to such a policy.

[Footnote 3: The draft expressed disapproval of the silence maintained by the Prussian Government towards England with regard to the Austrian proposals, of the active measures adopted to induce the German Powers not to take part with Austria, as well as of the extended facilities afforded by Prussia to Russia for carrying on the war.]



The Emperor of the French to Queen Victoria.

TUILERIES, le 14 Janvier 1856.

MADAME ET CHERE S[OE]UR,—Votre Majeste m'ayant permis de lui parler a c[oe]ur ouvert toutes les fois que des circonstances graves se presenteraient, je viens aujourd'hui profiter de la faveur qu'elle a bien voulu m'accorder.

Je viens de recevoir aujourd'hui la nouvelle de la reponse de la Russie a l'Ultimatum de Vienne, et avant d'avoir manifeste mon impression a qui que ce soit, pas meme a Walewski, je viens la communiquer a votre Majeste pour avoir son avis.

Je resume la question: La Russie accepte tout l'Ultimatum autrichien sauf la rectification de frontiere de la Bessarabie, et sauf le paragraphe relatif aux conditions particulieres qu'elle declare ne pas connaitre. De plus, profitant du succes de Kars, elle s'engage a rendre cette forteresse et le territoire occupe en echange des points que nous possedons en Crimee et ailleurs.

Dans quelle position allons-nous nous trouver? D'apres la convention, l'Autriche est obligee de retirer son ambassadeur, et nous, nous poursuivons la guerre! Mais dans quel but allons-nous demander a nos deux pays de nouveaux sacrifices d'hommes et d'argent? Pour un interet purement autrichien et pour une question qui ne consolide en rien l'empire ottoman.

Cependant nous y sommes obliges et nous ne devons pas avoir l'air de manquer a nos engagements. Nous serions donc places dans une alternative bien triste si l'Autriche elle-meme ne semblait pas deja nous inviter de ne point rompre toute negociation. Or en reflechissant aujourd'hui a cette situation, je me disais: ne pourrait-on pas repondre a l'Autriche ceci: La prise de Kars a tant soit peu change nos situations; puisque la Russie consent a evacuer toute l'Asie Mineure nous nous bornons a demander pour la Turquie, au lieu de la rectification de frontiere, les places fortes formant tete de pont sur le Danube, tels que Ismail et Kilia. Pour nous, nous demandons en fait de conditions particulieres, l'engagement de ne point retablir les forts des iles d'Aland et une amnistie pour les Tartares. Mon sentiment est qu'a ces conditions-la la paix serait tres desirable; car sans cela je ne puis pas m'empecher de redouter l'opinion publique quand elle me dira: "Vous aviez obtenu le but reel de la guerre, Aland etait tombe et ne pouvait plus se relever, Sebastopol avait eu le meme sort, la flotte Russe etait aneantie, et la Russie promettait non seulement de ne plus la faire reparaitre dans la Mer Noire, mais meme de ne plus avoir d'arsenaux maritimes sur toutes ses rives; la Russie abandonnait ses conquetes dans l'Asie Mineure, elle abandonnait son protectorat dans les principautes, son action sur le cours du Danube, son influence sur ces correligionnaires sujets du Sultan, etc., etc. Vous aviez obtenu tout cela non sans d'immenses sacrifices et cependant vous allez les continuer, compromettre les finances de la France, repandre ses tresors et son sang et pourquoi: pour obtenir quelques landes de la Bessarabie!!!"

Voila, Madame, les reflexions qui me preoccupent; car autant je me sens de force quand je crois etre dans le vrai pour inculquer mes idees a mon pays et pour lui faire partager ma persuasion, autant je me sentirais faible si je n'etais pas sur d'avoir raison ni de faire mon devoir.

Mais ainsi que je l'ai dit en commencant a votre Majeste je n'ai communique ma premiere impression qu'au Duc de Cambridge, et autour de moi au contraire j'ai dit qu'il fallait continuer la guerre. J'espere que votre Majeste accueillera avec bonte cette lettre ecrite a la hate et qu'elle y verra une nouvelle preuve de mon desir de m'entendre toujours avec elle avant de prendre une resolution. En remerciant votre Majeste de l'aimable lettre que S.A.R. le Duc de Cambridge m'a remise de sa part, je la prie de recevoir la nouvelle assurance de mes sentiments de tendre et respectueux attachement avec lesquels je suis de votre Majeste, le bon frere et ami,


Je remercie bien le Prince Arthur de son bon souvenir.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 15th January 1856.

... The Queen will send her letter to the Emperor this evening for transmission to Paris. She will enclose it open to Lord Clarendon, who will seal and send it after having read it.

The Queen cannot conceal from Lord Clarendon what her own feelings and wishes at this moment are. They cannot be for peace now, for she is convinced that this country would not stand in the eyes of Europe as she ought, and as the Queen is convinced she would after this year's campaign. The honour and glory of her dear Army is as near her heart as almost anything, and she cannot bear the thought that "the failure on the Redan" should be our last fait d'Armes, and it would cost her more than words can express to conclude a peace with this as the end. However, what is best and wisest must be done.

The Queen cannot yet bring herself to believe that the Russians are at all sincere, or that it will now end in peace.

[Pageheading: THE QUEEN'S REPLY]

Queen Victoria to the Emperor of the French.

WINDSOR CASTLE, le 15 Janvier 1856.

SIRE ET CHER FRERE,—La bonne et aimable lettre que je viens de recevoir de la main de votre Majeste m'a cause un tres-vif plaisir. J'y vois une preuve bien satisfaisante pour moi que vous avez apprecie tous les avantages de ces epanchements sans reserve, et que votre Majeste en sent comme moi le besoin dans les circonstances graves ou nous sommes. Je sens aussi toute la responsabilite que votre confiance m'impose, et c'est dans la crainte qu'une opinion formee et exprimee par moi trop a la hate pourrait nuire a la decision finale a prendre que je me vois obligee de differer pour le moment la reponse plus detaillee sur les considerations que vous avez si clairement et si consciencieusement developpees. Cependant, je ne veux point tarder de vous remercier de votre lettre, et de vous soumettre de mon cote les reflexions qui me sont venues en la lisant. La Reponse Russe ne nous est pas encore arrivee; nous n'en connaissons pas exactement les termes; par consequent, il serait imprudent de former une opinion definitive sur la maniere d'y repondre, surtout comme le Prince Gortschakoff parait avoir demande un nouveau delai du Gouvernement Autrichien et de nouvelles instructions de St Petersbourg, et comme M. de Bourqueney parait penser que la Russie n'a pas dit son dernier mot. Nous pourrions donc perdre une chance d'avoir de meilleures conditions, en montrant trop d'empressement a accueillir celles offertes dans ce moment. Celles-ci arriveront peut-etre dans le courant de la journee, ou demain, quand mon Cabinet sera reuni pour les examiner. Nous sommes au 15; le 18 les relations diplomatiques entre l'Autriche et la Russie doivent etre rompues; je crois que notre position vis-a-vis de la Russie sera meilleure en discutant ses propositions apres la rupture et apres en avoir vu les effets. En attendant, rien ne sera plus utile a la cause de la paix que la resolution que vous avez si sagement prise de dire a tous ceux qui vous approchent qu'il faut continuer la guerre. Soyez bien sur que dans l'opinion finale que je me formerai, votre position et votre persuasion personnelle seront toujours presentes a mon esprit et auront le plus grand poids.

[Pageheading: THE BRITISH ARMY]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 17th January 1856.

The Queen returns the Duke of Cambridge's and Lord Cowley's letters, which together with the account which Lord Clarendon gives of his interview with M. de Persigny causes the Queen no little anxiety. If negotiations on a vague basis are allowed to be begun, the Russian negotiator is sure to find out that the French are ready to grant anything....

However, whatever happens, one consolation the Queen ever will have, which is—that with the one exception of that failure on the Redan, her noble Army—in spite of every possible disadvantage which any army could labour under, has invariably been victorious, and the Russians have always and everywhere been beaten excepting at Kars, where famine alone enabled them to succeed.

Let us therefore not be (as alas! we have often been) its detractors by our croaking.


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 17th January 1856.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and concludes that Lord Lansdowne informed your Majesty that the Cabinet, after hearing from Lord Clarendon a statement of the course of the recent negotiations as explained by the despatches which Lord Clarendon read, came to the decision that no further step should be taken, and no further communication should be made to the Government of France on the matters at issue, until the final decision of the Russian Government on the pure and simple adoption of the Austrian ultimatum[4] should be known. Viscount Palmerston begs to congratulate your Majesty upon the telegraphic message received this morning from Sir Hamilton Seymour, announcing that the Russian Government has adopted that Austrian ultimatum. So far so well, and the success which has attended firmness and steadiness of purpose in regard to those conditions may be looked upon as a tolerably sure indication that a perseverance in the same course will bring the Russian Government to consent to those remaining conditions which the Austrian Government has not yet (as it says) made known to the Cabinet of Petersburg.

With regard to the letter of the Emperor of the French to your Majesty, and the statements made to Lord Clarendon by the Count de Persigny as to the difficulties of the Emperor's internal position with respect to finance, and a general desire for peace throughout the Nation, Viscount Palmerston expressed his opinion to the Cabinet yesterday that all those representations were greatly exaggerated. He is convinced that the Emperor of the French is perfectly master of his own position, and that he can as to peace or war take the course which he may determine to adopt.

The cabal of stock-jobbing politicians, by whom he is surrounded, must give way to him if he is firm. They have no standing place in the confidence and respect of their fellow-countrymen, they represent nothing but the Stock Exchange speculations in which they are engaged, and the Emperor's throne would probably be stronger, rather than weaker, if they were swept away, and better men put in their places. And it is a very remarkable circumstance that at the very moment when your Majesty and your Majesty's Government were being told that the Emperor would be unable to go on with the war on account of the difficulty of finding money, the French Government was putting forth in the Moniteur an official statement showing that they have a reserve surplus of twenty-one millions sterling for defraying the expenses of a campaign in the ensuing spring, without the necessity of raising any fresh loan.

Viscount Palmerston fully concurs in the sentiment of regret expressed by your Majesty to Lord Clarendon that the last action of the war in which your Majesty's troops have been engaged, should, if peace be now concluded, have been the repulse at the Redan; but however it may suit national jealousy, which will always be found to exist on the other side of the Channel, to dwell upon that check, yet your Majesty may rely upon it that the Alma and Inkerman have left recollections which will dwell in the memory of the living and not be forgotten in the page of history; and although it would no doubt have been gratifying to your Majesty and to the Nation that another summer should have witnessed the destruction of Cronstadt by your Majesty's gallant Navy, and the expulsion of the Russians from the countries south of the Caucasus by your Majesty's brave Army, yet if peace can now be concluded on conditions honourable and secure, it would, as your Majesty justly observes, not be right to continue the war for the mere purpose of prospective victories. It will, however, be obviously necessary to continue active preparations for war up to the moment when a definite Treaty of Peace is signed, in order that the Russians may not find it for their interest to break off negotiations when the season for operations shall approach, emboldened by any relaxation on the part of the Allies induced by too ready confidence in the good faith of their adversary....

[Footnote 4: See ante, 19th November, 1855, note 91.]


The Duke of Cambridge to Queen Victoria.

TUILERIES, 20th January 1856.

MY DEAR COUSIN,—Your letters of the 14th and 18th have reached me, and I am happy to find by them that you approve in conjunction with the Government with what has been done by me and my colleagues whilst at Paris.[5] I have given all the messages and carried out all the instructions as contained in your letters, and I trust as far as possible I have been enabled to do some good. On the other hand, I cannot deny that the feelings universally expressed here as to the prospects of a speedy peace are so different from those felt in England, that it is extremely difficult to produce any impression in the sense that we could wish it. France wishes for peace more than anything else on earth, and this feeling does not confine itself to Walewski or the Ministers—it extends itself to all classes. The Emperor alone is reasonable and sensible in this respect, but his position is a most painful one, and he feels it very much. The fact is that public opinion is much more felt and more loudly expressed in this country than anybody in England at all imagines. No doubt the Emperor can do much that he wishes, but still he cannot go altogether against a feeling which so loudly expresses itself on all occasions, without thereby injuring his own position most seriously. I have written to Clarendon very fully on this subject, and have explained to him my reasons for wishing to return to England as soon as possible, now that our military mission is concluded. It is essential that I should see the members of the Government, and that I should communicate to them the exact state of feeling here and the views of the Emperor as to the mode of smoothing down all difficulties. This can only be done by a personal interview on the part of somebody thoroughly aware of the present position of affairs. Probably at this moment I am in a better position to do this than anybody else, from the peculiar circumstances in which I have been placed while here, and it is this feeling which makes me desirous to return to England with the least possible delay. It is my intention therefore to start with my colleagues to-morrow, Monday night, for England, to which arrangement the Emperor has given his sanction, and by which time he will be prepared to tell me what he thinks had best be done, from his view of the question. I think it my duty to communicate this to you, and hope that you will give my resolution your sanction. I beg to remain, my dear Cousin, your most dutiful Cousin,


[Footnote 5: At the Council of War. See ante, 7th January, 1856, note 1.]


Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 28th January 1856.

The Queen sends a letter which she wishes Lord Clarendon to give to General La Marmora.[6] We have been extremely pleased with him (indeed he is a universal favourite) and found him so sensible, mild, and right-minded, in all he says—and a valuable adviser to the King. The Queen wishes just to mention to Lord Clarendon that the Duke of Cambridge told her that the Emperor had spoken to him about what the King of Sardinia had said relative to Austria and France, asking the Duke whether such a thing had been said.[7] The Duke seems to have answered as we could wish, and the Queen pretended never to have heard the report, merely saying that as the proposed ultimatum was then much talked of, it was very possible the King might unintentionally have mistaken the observations of the Ministers and ourselves as to our being unable to agree, without great caution, to what appeared to be agreed on beforehand between France and Austria, and possibly might have in his blunt way stated something which alarmed the Emperor—but that she could not imagine it could be anything else. There seems, however, really no end to cancans at Paris; for the Duke of Cambridge seems to have shared the same fate. The two atmospheres of France and England, as well as the Society, are so different that people get to talk differently. It seems also that the King got frightened lest he should at Paris be thought too liberal in his religious views (having been complimented for it) which he was very proud of—and thought it necessary to tell the Emperor he was a good Catholic. This is not unnatural in his peculiar position. When Lord Clarendon goes to Paris, he will be able to silence any further allusion to these idle stories which only lead to mischief, and which even Lord Cowley seems to have made more of (as to his own feelings upon them) than was necessary, but that is equally natural. Speaking of his King—General La Marmora said: "Il ne dira jamais ce qu'il ne pense pas, mais il dit quelquefois ce qui serait mieux qu'il ne dit pas." He more than any other regrets the King's not having seen more of the world, and says his journey had done him a great deal of good.

[Footnote 6: The Sardinian Commander had been attending the Council of War at Paris.]

[Footnote 7: The King of Sardinia was reported to have told the Emperor that the latter's loyalty to the Alliance was questioned by Great Britain, and that it was conjectured in London that he was in favour of co-operation with Austria instead.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

28th January 1856.

The Queen returns to Lord Palmerston the draft of the speech, which she thinks extremely well worded, and which she therefore trusts will be (with the exception of those passages marked) as little altered as possible. Lord John Russell used to say that as soon as a speech was discussed in the Cabinet, it was so much pruned and altered as to lose all its force. The Queen must own that she is much alarmed at hearing that the papers of the War Council were to be printed and circulated amongst the Cabinet, as she fears that the secrecy, which is so necessary, upon which the Emperor laid so much stress, will be very difficult to be maintained. The Emperor's opinion at least, the Queen hopes, will not be printed or generally circulated?

The Queen must again press for a very early decision on the subject. If this is allowed to drag, it will appear, particularly to the Emperor, as if we were not really in earnest, though we stickled so much for our additional conditions, which might lessen the hopes of peace. Of course the Government must not give any answer on this subject—should Parliament be so indiscreet as to ask what the result of the deliberations of the Council of War has been.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

Windsor Castle, 29th January 1856.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—You will kindly forgive my letter being short, but we are going to be present this morning at the wedding of Phipps's daughter[8] with that handsome lame young officer whom you remember at Osborne. It is quite an event at Windsor, and takes place in St George's Chapel, which is very seldom the case.

Many thanks for your kind letter of the 25th, by which I am glad to see that dear good Philip has arrived safe and well and brought back de bons souvenirs. We shall always be happy to see him.

The peace negotiations occupy every one; if Russia is sincere, they will end most probably in peace; but if she is not, the war will be carried on with renewed vigour. The recollection of last year makes one very distrustful.

England's policy throughout has been the same, singularly unselfish, and solely actuated by the desire of seeing Europe saved from the arrogant and dangerous pretensions of that barbarous power Russia—and of having such safeguards established for the future, which may ensure us against a repetition of similar untoward events.

I repeat now, what we have said from the beginning, and what I have repeated a hundred times, if Prussia and Austria had held strong and decided language to Russia in '53, we should never have had this war!

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


[Footnote 8: Maria Henrietta Sophia, daughter of Sir Charles Beaumont Phipps, K.C.B., Keeper of the Privy Purse, married Captain Frederick Sayer, 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers.]


Queen Victoria to Miss Florence Nightingale.

WINDSOR CASTLE, [January] 1856.

DEAR MISS NIGHTINGALE,—You are, I know, well aware of the high sense I entertain of the Christian devotion which you have displayed during this great and bloody war, and I need hardly repeat to you how warm my admiration is for your services, which are fully equal to those of my dear and brave soldiers, whose sufferings you have had the privilege of alleviating in so merciful a manner. I am, however, anxious of marking my feelings in a manner which I trust will be agreeable to you, and therefore send you with this letter a brooch, the form and emblems of which commemorate your great and blessed work, and which, I hope, you will wear as a mark of the high approbation of your Sovereign![9]

It will be a very great satisfaction to me, when you return at last to these shores, to make the acquaintance of one who has set so bright an example to our sex. And with every prayer for the preservation of your valuable health, believe me, always, yours sincerely,


[Footnote 9: The presentation took place on the 29th of January. The jewel resembled a badge rather than a brooch, bearing a St George's Cross in red enamel, and the Royal cypher surmounted by a crown in diamonds. The inscription "Blessed are the Merciful" encircled the badge which also bore the word "Crimea."]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 7th February 1856.

With respect to Lord Clarendon's observation that he hopes that the Queen "will approve of his upholding the Sardinians in the Conference and in all other respects," she can only assure him that she is most sincerely anxious that he should do so, as the Queen has the greatest respect for that noble little country, which, since it has possessed an honest, straightforward as well as courageous King, has been a bright example to all Continental States.

The Queen rejoices to hear that Count Cavour is coming to Paris. The Queen hopes that the determination not to admit Prussia will be adhered to.[10] She hears that Baron Beust[11] means to go to Paris to represent the German Confederation; this should be prevented by all means.

[Footnote 10: Prussia was not admitted to the sitting of the Conference until a later stage.]

[Footnote 11: Prime Minister of Saxony.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 13th February 1856.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I had the happiness of receiving your kind letter of the 8th on Saturday, and thank you much for it. I gave your kind message to Colonel Phipps, who was much gratified by it. We came here in wretched weather yesterday, leaving Mamma still at Frogmore.

The Conferences will begin very shortly; Lord Clarendon starts for Paris on Friday. No one but him could undertake these difficult negotiations. No one can tell what the result will be—and I will say nothing, for I have too strong personal feelings to speak upon the subject.

With respect to your answer respecting your neutrality, and the possibility of your being obliged to break it, I must repeat that I see no possibility or eventuality that could oblige you to do so. Belgium of its own accord bound itself to remain neutral, and its very existence is based upon that neutrality, which the other Powers have guaranteed and are bound to maintain if Belgium keeps her engagements. I cannot at all see HOW you could even entertain the question, for, as I just said, the basis of the existence of Belgium is her neutrality.

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