The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
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MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I cannot have your kind and confidential letter of the 15th answered, and therefore write to-day to thank you for it. You may rely on our divulging nothing. We are, however, both very anxious that dear Pedro should be preferred.[47] He is out and out the most distinguished young Prince there is, and besides that, good, excellent, and steady according to one's heart's desire, and as one could wish for an only and beloved daughter. For Portugal, too, an amiable, well-educated Queen would be an immense blessing, for there never has been one. I am sure you would be more likely to secure Charlotte's happiness if you gave her to Pedro than to one of those innumerable Archdukes, or to Prince George of Saxony. Pedro should, however, be written to, if you were favourably inclined towards him.

I must end now, hoping soon to hear from you again. Pedro is just nineteen; he can therefore well wait till he has completed his twentieth year. Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 47: Both the Queen and King Leopold were desirous of arranging a marriage between King Pedro and the Princess Charlotte, which, however, did not take place. See post, 10th October, 1856, 16th June, 1857, and 3rd May, 1859.]


Queen Victoria to the Empress of the French.


Septembre 1856.

Je regrette autant que V.M.I. les divergences existantes entre les vues de nos deux Gouvernements au sujet du Traite de Paris.[49] [Il est impossible pour nous cependant de ceder aux Russes les demandes qu'ils mettent en avant, seulement parcequ'elles sont soutenues par la France. Le fait est que] Ma maniere d'envisager la situation actuelle est celle-ci: les Russes ne cessent de suivre la meme politique des le commencement de la complication Orientale jusqu'a present. Ils cedent ou la force majeure les y contraint, mais tachent de se reserver par des chicanes ou subterfuges les moyens de reprendre a un temps plus opportun leurs attaques sur l'independance et l'integrite de cette pauvre Turquie. [Nous au contraire sommes determines.] La France et l'Angleterre au contraire ont manifeste leur determination de la sauver et de l'assurer contre ces attaques. C'etait la la cause de la guerre; c'etait la le but de la paix; mon Gouvernement n'oserait le sacrifier vis-a-vis de mon peuple par complaisance envers l'Empereur de Russie. Un coup d'oeil sur la Carte, par exemple, demontre qu'en detruisant Ismail, Kilia, etc., etc. [(acte auquel nous ne venons qu'a present d'apprendre que la France avait donne son assentiment a notre insu)] la Russie a prive l'aile droite de la nouvelle ligne de frontiere de toute defense; tandis qu'en substituant le nouveau Bolgrad a celui connu au Congres elle pousserait un point strategique au centre, couperait la partie cedee de la Bessarabie du reste de l'Empire Ottoman, et se mettrait a meme de devenir de nouveau maitresse de la rive gauche du Danube, quand elle le voudra. Comme dans ce cas [nous] nos deux pays sont tenus par Traite a reprendre les armes, il me parait de notre devoir a prevenir de tels dangers. Ces dangers seront ecartes a l'instant que la France s'unira a nous pour tenir un langage ferme a la Russie, qui tache de nous desunir et il ne faut pas qu'elle y reussisse.

Je vous exprime la toute ma pensee, sachant que l'Empereur attend une franchise entiere de son amie, convaincue aussi, que si son opinion differe de la mienne, c'est du au moins d'importance qu'il attache peut-etre aux points en dispute avec la Russie, et a un sentiment de generosite envers un ennemi vaincu, auquel il me serait doux de m'abandonner avec lui, si je pouvais le faire de maniere a concilier les interets de la Turquie et de l'Europe.

[Footnote 48: This is the original draft, which appears to have been modified later by the omission of the sentences in brackets.]

[Footnote 49: The Treaty had involved the restitution of the fortress and district of Kars to Turkey. The Russians, however, delayed the stipulated evacuation in an unwarrantable manner. Ismail also was included within the portion of Bessarabia to be ceded to Turkey, but, instead of surrendering it intact, the Russians destroyed its fortifications; they also laid claim to Serpent's Island at the mouth of the Danube, which was within the ceded portion, and of Bolgrad, the future ownership of which was, owing to the inaccuracies of maps, in dispute. The English Government sent a fleet to the Black Sea to enforce the obligations of the Treaty, while the French Government seemed to make unnecessary concessions to Russia.]


The Earl of Clarendon to Queen Victoria.

TAYMOUTH, 21st September 1856.

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and humbly ventures to express his opinion that the Empress might think the tone of your Majesty's letter rather too severe. It is by no means severe, but perfectly just and true as regards the conduct of Russia and France, and on that very account it might wound the amour-propre of the Emperor.

Lord Clarendon ventures to suggest the omission of the second sentence beginning by "il est impossible," and of the parenthesis at the bottom of the second page.[50] In the concluding sentence it might perhaps be better to say "la France et l'Angleterre" instead of "nous," which would possibly be taken as an announcement of separate action. Your Majesty might perhaps think it right to add after the last words "tels dangers"—"ces dangers seront ecartes a l'instant que la France s'unira a nous pour tenir un langage ferme a la Russie qui tache de nous desunir et il ne faut pas a s qu'elle y reussisse."[51]

[Footnote 50: I.e. the passage from "acte auquel" to "notre insu."]

[Footnote 51: The Prince wrote in reply to this letter: "The draft of letter to the Empress of the French has been altered in every particular as you suggest, and I will send you a corrected copy of it by to-morrow." See post, 10th November, 1856, note 54.]

Queen Victoria to the Duke of Cambridge.

BALMORAL, 22nd September 1856.

MY DEAR GEORGE,—I waited to thank you for your letter of the 17th till I had received Mary's from Lord Clarendon, which I did yesterday morning, and which I now return to you. It is admirably written, and does dear Mary the greatest credit; she puts it on the right ground, viz. that of the Protestant feeling which should always actuate our family, and to this we now must keep. It effectually closes, however, the door to all Catholic proposals—whether from Kings or Princes, which makes matters easier.

I must say, however, that I think it very wrong of certain ladies to have spoken of Mary's feelings and wishes on the subject, which has no doubt encouraged the idea when they had no reason for doing so.

I am very glad that the decision has been so entirely dear Mary's own, and that she is convinced of my anxious wish for her happiness and welfare—which I have as much at heart as if she were my own sister.

It is very necessary, however, that not a word should be breathed of this whole affair, and I trust that you will caution your mother and sisters and their relations to be very silent on the subject, as it would be otherwise very offensive to the King.

With Albert's love, ever your very affectionate Cousin,



Queen Victoria to Viscountess Hardinge.

BALMORAL, 26th September 1856.

MY DEAR LADY HARDINGE,—Where can I find words to express to you our deep heartfelt sorrow at the sad and totally unexpected news conveyed to us by telegraph yesterday.[52]

My first thought was for you, dear Lady Hardinge, whose whole existence was so completely bound up in his, that this blow must be awful indeed. We feel truly and sincerely what we, and the country, have lost in your dear, high-minded, noble husband, whose only thought was his duty. A more loyal, devoted, fearless public servant the Crown never possessed. His loss to me is one of those which in our times is quite irreparable. Added to all this we have ever had such a true affection and personal friendship for dear Lord Hardinge, and know how warmly these feelings were requited. All who had the pleasure of knowing him must ever remember his benevolent smile and kind eye.

But I speak of ourselves and of what we have lost, when I ought only to express our sympathy with you, in your present overwhelming loss, but I could not restrain my pen, and the expression of our feelings may perhaps be soothing to your bleeding heart.

Most truly also do we sympathise with your children.

Pray do not think of answering this yourself, but let us hear through your son or daughter how you are. Ever, dear Lady Hardinge, with the sincerest regard and truest sympathy, yours affectionately,


[Footnote 52: Lord Hardinge, who had only temporarily rallied from the stroke he had received at Aldershot, died on the 24th.]


The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 10th October 1856.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA,—Since your kind letter of the 2nd I have not had any communications from you. I can well understand that it grieves you to leave the Highlands. It is not a great proof of the happiness of human kind, that all love to be elsewhere than at the place where their real residence is, notwithstanding all songs of home sweet home, etc. I plead quite guilty to this, though I used to be much attached to my old home at Coburg and to Claremont. That the weather should have been unfavourable is a great pity; here we have had a most beautiful and mild weather till the 8th, when a severe thunderstorm put an end to it.

Poor Lord Hardinge! I believe after all, though all these people pretend not to mind it, that the Press killed him. I once told Lady Maryborough and the late Duchess of Wellington that it was fortunate the Duke cared so little for the Press. "Care little," they said; "why, nothing annoys and irritates him more." I find it natural; doing one's best, working with all one's nerves, and to be abused for it, is not pleasant.

To explain the real state of dear Charlotte's affair I enclose the only copy of my letter which exists, and pray you kindly to send it me back. My object is and was that Charlotte should decide as she likes it, and uninfluenced by what I might prefer. I should prefer Pedro, that I confess, but the Archduke[53] has made a favourable impression on Charlotte; I saw that long before any question of engagement had taken place. The Archduke is out at sea, and nothing can well be heard before the 25th of this month. If the thing takes place the Emperor ought to put him at the head of Venice; he is well calculated for it.

I am going on the 15th to Ardenne for a week. I have been since that revolution of 1848 kept away from it almost entirely, compared to former days. And now, with my best love to Albert, I must end, remaining ever, my dearest Victoria, your truly devoted and only Uncle,


[Footnote 53: The Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph of Austria, afterwards Emperor of Mexico.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BALMORAL, 13th October 1856.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I am truly thankful for your kind letter and the very confidential enclosure which I return, and which has interested us both very much, and is truly kind and paternal. I still hope by your letter that Charlotte has not finally made up her mind—as we both feel so strongly convinced of the immense superiority of Pedro over any other young Prince even dans les relations journalistes, besides which the position is so infinitely preferable. The Austrian society is medisante and profligate and worthless—and the Italian possessions very shaky. Pedro is full of resource—fond of music, fond of drawing, of languages, of natural history, and literature, in all of which Charlotte would suit him, and would be a real benefit to the country. If Charlotte asked me, I should not hesitate a moment, as I would give any of my own daughters to him were he not a Catholic; and if Charlotte consulted her friend Vicky I know what her answer would be as she is so very fond of Pedro.

14th.—I could not finish last night, and so continue to-day. I shall be most anxious to hear from you about Charlotte, when a final decision has been taken.

Since the 6th we have the most beautiful weather—with the country in the most brilliant beauty—but not the bracing weather which did one so much good; yesterday and to-day it is quite warm and relaxing. Albert has continued to have wonderful sport; not only has he killed seven more stags since I wrote, but the finest, largest stags in the whole neighbourhood—or indeed killed in almost any forest!...

Ever your devoted Niece,



Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 9th November 1856.

The Queen has received Lord Panmure's two boxes of the 4th. She is glad to hear that the Military and the Defence Committees of the Cabinet are to be reassembled. The absence of all plans for our defences is a great evil, and hardly credible. There should exist a well-considered general scheme for each place supported by a detailed argument; this when approved by the Government, should be sanctioned and signed by the Sovereign, and not deviated from except upon resubmission and full explanation of the causes which render such deviation necessary; no special work should be undertaken which does not realise part of this general scheme. The Queen trusts that Lord Panmure will succeed in effecting this.

It is very much to be regretted that so few of the soldiers of the German Legion should have accepted the liberal terms of the Government. Those should, however, be made to sail soon.

The returns of the different Departments for the last quarter show a lamentable deficiency in small arms. Fifty-two thousand three hundred and twenty-two for the whole of the United Kingdom is a sadly small reserve to have in store; we should never be short of 500,000. The Queen was struck also with the little work done at Enfield. It appears that during the whole quarter this new and extensive establishment has completed only three muskets!

With regard to some of the barracks, the tenders have not even yet been accepted, although the year is nearly drawing to a close. The Queen hopes soon to receive the returns for the Fortification Department, which is fully two months in arrear....

With respect to the list for the Bath, the Queen is somewhat startled by the large number. Before sanctioning it, she thinks it right to ask for an explanation of the services of the officers, and the reasons for which they are selected for the honour. She returns the list for that purpose to Lord Panmure, who will perhaps cause the statement to be attached to each name. This, of course, does not apply to the foreigners. Amongst the Sardinians, however, the Queen observes the absence of the names of the Military Commissioners attached first to Lord Raglan and afterwards to General Simpson. The first was a Count Revel, who has frequently applied for the honour, and the Queen thinks ought to have it.

[Pageheading: FRANCE AND RUSSIA]

The Earl of Clarendon to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 10th November 1856.

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty, and humbly begs to transmit a letter from the Empress which was left here this afternoon by M. de Persigny, who also left a despatch from Count Walewski, of which Lord Clarendon begs to transmit a copy.[54] It is a most unsatisfactory result of all the tripotage that has been going on, as it is an invitation pur et simple to reassemble the conference with Prussia, and to abide by the decision of the majority.

Lord Clarendon is to see M. de Persigny to-morrow morning.

[Footnote 54: Count Walewski had written to Count Persigny: "The communications which I have received give us cause to fear that Her Majesty's Government may persist in declining the proposal to reassemble the Conference.... We only know of five Powers which have had an opportunity to express an opinion on the point at issue.... It appears that Sardinia has not yet formed her decision. We cannot therefore foresee in what sense the majority will pronounce, and it is evident to us that the reunion will realise the object desired, that of bringing on a decision which cannot be questioned by any one, seeing that it will have been obtained by the concurrence of the Representatives of all the Powers."]

[Pageheading: NEUCHATEL]

The Empress of the French to Queen Victoria.

COMPIEGNE, le 7 Novembre 1856.

MADAME ET TRES CHERE S[OE]UR,—Je viens apres plus de deux mois m'excuser pres de votre Majeste d'une faute bien involontaire; par quelques mots que Persigny m'a dit j'ai cru comprendre que votre Majeste s'etonnait que je ne lui eusse pas ecrit en reponse a sa lettre. La seule crainte d'ennuyer votre Majeste m'a empeche de le faire, je croyais d'ailleurs que vous n'aviez pas besoin d'assurances sur la bonne foi et surtout sur la bonne volonte de l'Empereur.

J'espere que grace a Dieu tous les petits differens qui ont surgi dans ces derniers temps s'aplaniront, car c'est l'interet des deux pays, et le v[oe]u le plus cher que nous puissions former.[55]

L'Empereur a ete bien peine d'apprendre les fausses suppositions auxquelles out donne lieu un desaccord momentaire; il n'aurait jamais suppose que le desir de maintenir un engagement pris peut-etre meme trop a la hate, mais dont un honnete homme ne peut se departir ait pu faire croire que l'alliance avec votre Majeste ne lui etait pas tout aussi chere et tout aussi precieuse qu'auparavant; il est heureux de penser que la reunion de la conference sera un moyen de tout arranger, puisque l'opinion de la Sardaigne n'etait pas encore connue; elle creera par sa voix une majorite, et le Gouvernement francais ne faisant rien pour influencer l'opinion du Piemont, le cabinet de votre Majeste peut sans concession accepter cette combinaison. Je ne saurais assez dire combien pour ma part je suis tourmentee, car je voudrais partout et en tout voir nos deux pays marcher d'accord et surtout quand ils ont le meme but. Nous sommes a Compiegne depuis trois semaines, l'Empereur chasse souvent, ce qui l'amuse beaucoup et lui fait beaucoup de bien...

L'Empereur me charge de le mettre aux pieds de votre Majeste. Je la prie en meme temps de ne point nous oublier aupres du Prince Albert, et vous, Madame, croyez au tendre attachement que [je] vous ai voue et avec lequel je suis, Madame et tres chere S[oe]ur, de votre Majeste la toute devouee S[oe]ur,


[Footnote 55: Besides the complications arising out of the procrastination of Russia, in carrying out the Treaty of Paris, an international difficulty had lately arisen in Switzerland. A rising, professedly in defence of the hereditary interests of the King of Prussia, took place in the Canton of Neuchatel, but was suppressed, and some of the insurgents taken prisoners by the Republican Government. The King of Prussia virtually expressed his approval of the movement by claiming the liberation of the prisoners, and his action was, to some extent, countenanced by the French Emperor. The matter was finally adjusted in 1857.]

[Pageheading: M. DE PERSIGNY]

The Earl of Clarendon to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 11th November 1856.

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and humbly begs to transmit the letters which arrived yesterday together with a copy of Count Walewski's despatch.

Lord Clarendon begs to return his thanks to your Majesty for allowing him to see the Empress's letter.... The letter does not seem to require an answer at present.

Lord Clarendon had a conversation of two hours this morning with M. de Persigny, who fought all his battles o'er again, but did not say much beyond what Lord Cowley had reported. He is quite sure that the Emperor is as staunch as ever to the Alliance, and that he believes all his own personal interests as well as those of France are bound up with England. He said, too, that the Empress was not the least taken in by the flatteries of Russia, which she estimates at their juste valeur.

M. de Persigny seems to have performed an act of painful duty and rather of true devotion, by giving the Empress some advice about her own conduct and the fate she was preparing for herself if she was not more properly mindful of her position and the obligations it entails. Lord Clarendon has seldom heard anything more eloquent or more touching than the language of M. de Persigny in describing what he said to the Empress, who appears to have taken it in the best part, and to have begun acting upon the advice the next day. M. de Persigny has no doubt that Count Walewski will soon be removed from his present office, and will be promoted to St. Petersburg, but Lord Clarendon will wait to believe this until it is a fait accompli, as it is more likely than not that when M. de Persigny is no longer on the spot to urge the Emperor, Count Walewski will resume his influence.

Count Walewski's despatch made a very unfavourable impression upon the Cabinet, who were of opinion that upon such an invitation and such slender assurances respecting the course that Sardinia might take, we ought not to give up our solid and often repeated objections to reassembling the Congress—at all events it was considered that we ought to have a positive answer from Turin before we gave a final answer....


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 13th November 1856.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that Sir Alexander Cockburn[56] accepts the office of Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, but expresses a strong wish not altogether to be shut out from Parliamentary functions. His health, which has frequently interfered with his attendance in the House of Commons, makes him feel uncertain as to the future, and he is not desirous of being immediately placed in the House of Lords, but he would be glad to be allowed to look forward to such a favour from your Majesty at some future time if he should find his health stand sufficiently good to give him a fair prospect of being useful in the House of Lords. He says that with the Baronetcy of an uncle he will succeed to an estate of L5,000 a year, independent of what he has realised by his own professional exertions; and that consequently there would be a provision for a Peerage. Viscount Palmerston begs to submit for your Majesty's gracious approval that such a prospect might be held out to Sir Alexander Cockburn. The Chancellor and Lord Lansdowne and Lord Granville concur with Viscount Palmerston in thinking that much public advantage would arise from the presence of both Sir Alexander Cockburn, and of the Master of the Rolls,[57] in the House of Lords, and there are numerous precedents for the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and for the Master of the Rolls being Peers of Parliament.[58] Their judicial duties would no doubt prevent them from sitting in the morning on appeal cases, but their presence in the evening in debates in which the opinions and learning of men holding high positions in the legal profession would be required, could not fail to be of great public advantage. Of course any expectation to be held out to Sir Alexander Cockburn would for the present be a confidential and private communication to himself....

[Footnote 56: Sir Alexander Cockburn's parliamentary success dated from his speech in the Don Pacifico debate; see ante, vol. ii., p. 252, note 23. He was made Solicitor-General shortly after, and then Attorney-General, being reappointed to the latter office in the end of 1852. He had defended both McNaghten and Pate for attacks on the Queen's person. The uncle whom he soon afterwards succeeded as baronet was now Dean of York.]

[Footnote 57: Sir John Romilly, created a peer in 1866.]

[Footnote 58: E.g., Lord Eldon in the former office; Lord Langdale in the latter.]


The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 21st November 1856.

MY DEAREST VICTORIA,—On Vicky's sixteenth birthday I cannot write on black-edged paper, it looks too gloomy, and I begin by wishing you joy on this day, with the sincere hope that it will also dans l'avenir prove to you one of satisfaction and happiness. I must now turn to your kind and affectionate letter of the 19th. I was sure that your warm heart would feel deeply the loss we have sustained.[59] You must, however, remember that you were ever a most affectionate sister, and that Charles was fully aware and most grateful for these your kind and sisterly sentiments. The real blow was last year; if that could have been mitigated, life might have been preserved under tolerable circumstances. As things, however, proceeded, if the present attack could have been warded off, Charles's existence would have been one of the most awful suffering, particularly for one whose mental disposition was quick and lively. Your sentiments on this occasion do you honour; it is by feelings like those you express that evidently der Anknuepfungspunkt with a future life must be looked for, and that alone with such sentiments we can show ourselves fit for such an existence.

For your precious health we must now claim that you will not permit your imagination to dwell too much on the very melancholy picture of the last moments of one whom you loved, however natural it may be, and however difficult it is to dismiss such ideas.

Feo feels all this in a most beautiful and truly pious way. It is strange that November should be so full of sad anniversaries. I can well understand what Vicky must have suffered, as it could not be expected that Fritz Wilhelm could quite understand her grief....

Now I must leave you, remaining ever, my beloved Victoria, your truly devoted Uncle,


My best love to Albert.

[Footnote 59: The Queen's half-brother, Prince Charles of Leiningen, had died on the 13th.]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 24th November 1856.

The Queen approves the recommendation of Mr Bickersteth[60] for the vacant Bishopric of Ripon, but she cannot disguise from herself that however excellent a man Mr Bickersteth may be, his appointment will be looked upon as a strong party one, as he is one of the leaders of the Low Church Party; but perhaps Lord Palmerston may be able in the case of possible future appointments to remove any impression of the Church patronage running unduly towards party extremes.

[Footnote 60: Mr Bickersteth (a nephew of Lord Langdale, a former Master of the Rolls) was then Rector of St Giles'. Lord Palmerston had written that he thought him well qualified for a diocese "full of manufacturers, clothier-workmen, Methodists, and Dissenters."]

[Pageheading: THE QUEEN'S GRIEF]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 26th November 1856.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I was again prevented from writing to you yesterday as I intended, by multitudinous letters, etc. I therefore come only to-day with my warmest thanks for your most kind, feeling, and sympathising letter of the 23rd, which I felt deeply.

Poor dear Charles, I loved him tenderly and dearly, and feel every day more how impossible it is that the great blank caused by his loss should ever be filled up, and how impossible it is to realise the dreadful thought that I shall never see his dear, dear face again in this world! All the accounts of his peaceful death, of his fine and touching funeral, seem to me to be the descriptions of another person's death and burial—not poor dear Charles's.

Don't fear for my health, it is particularly good—and grief never seems to affect it; little worries and annoyances fret and irritate me, but not great or sad events. And I derive benefit and relief both in my body and soul in dwelling on the sad object which is the one which fills my heart! The having to think and talk of other and indifferent things (I mean not business so much) is very trying to my nerves, and does me harm.

Vicky is well again, and the young couple seem really very fond of each other. We have from living [together] for twelve days—as we did entirely alone with him and Vicky in our own apartments—got to know him much more intimately, and to be much more a notre aise with him than we could be in the London season, and he is now quite l'enfant de la maison! He is excellent and very sensible. I hope that you may be equally pleased and satisfied with your future son-in-law.

I must now conclude in great haste; excellent Stockmar is particularly well and brisk. Ever your devoted Niece,


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 8th December 1856.

Lord Palmerston's explanation of Lord Panmure's object in proposing the appointment of a Director-General of Education of the Army in the Civil Department of its Government has but confirmed the Queen's apprehensions as to the effect of that step, if sanctioned. The Queen has for some time been expecting the proposal of a well-digested and considered plan for the education of the officers of the Army, and knows that the Duke of Cambridge has had such a one elaborated. Surely, in the absence of any fixed and approved system of education, it would be most imprudent to establish an Office for the discharge of certain important functions which are not yet defined. The Queen must therefore ask that the system of education to be in future adopted should first be submitted to her, and afterwards only the plan for the machinery which is to carry this out, the fitness of which can only be properly judged of with reference to the object in view.

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Clarendon.

OSBORNE, 12th December 1856.

The Queen returns the enclosed letters. Sir H. Bulwer's is a clever composition, showing his wit and powers of writing.

The Queen has never, however, seen anything from him producing the impression that great and important affairs would be safe in his hands.

The mission to Washington will be difficult to fill.[61] Is it necessary to be in a hurry about it? Lord Elgin is sure to perform the duties very well, but is his former position as Governor-General of Canada not too high for him to go to Washington as Minister?...

[Footnote 61: A complaint had been made by the Government of the United States of the unlawful enlistment in that country of recruits for the English army, and Mr Crampton, the British Minister at Washington, had been dismissed. Diplomatic relations were resumed after a suspension of some months; and Lord Napier was appointed British Minister in March 1857.]


Memorandum by Queen Victoria.

OSBORNE, 15th December 1856.

The Queen has seen the Memorandum which the Maharajah Dhuleep Singh has sent to the East India Company; she thinks all he asks very fair and reasonable, and she trusts that the East India Company will be able to comply with them. As we are in complete possession since 1849 of the Maharajah's enormous and splendid Kingdom, the Queen thinks we ought to do everything (which does not interfere with the safety of her Indian dominions) to render the position of this interesting and peculiarly good and amiable Prince as agreeable as possible, and not to let him have the feeling that he is a prisoner.

His being a Christian and completely European (or rather more English) in his habits and feelings, renders this much more necessary, and at the same time more easy.

The Queen has a very strong feeling that everything should be done to show respect and kindness towards these poor fallen Indian Princes, whose Kingdoms we have taken from them, and who are naturally very sensitive to attention and kindness.

Amongst all these, however, the Maharajah stands to a certain degree alone, from his civilisation, and likewise from his having lost his kingdom when he was a child entirely by the faults and misdeeds of others.[62]

[Footnote 62: In reply, Mr Vernon Smith stated that he had brought all the Queen's wishes before the Company.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 18th December 1856.

In answer to Lord Palmerston's explanation with regard to Colonel Lefroy's[63] appointment, the Queen has to say, that if he is to be made Inspector of Regimental Schools, she has no objection; but she must protest against his being made Director of Education for the Army generally. We want a Director-General of Education very much, but he ought to be immediately under the Commander-in-Chief, if possible a General Officer of weight, assisted by a Board of Officers of the different Arms.

Education ought to be made one of the essential requisites of an officer, and the reports on his proficiency ought to go direct through the proper superior from the bottom to the top, particularly if selection by merit is to receive a greater application for the future. If for his military proficiency and moral discipline, an officer is to be responsible to his Military chief, but for his mental acquirements to a Civil department, the unity of the system will be broken and the Army ruined; and this must be the case if the superintendence of the education is separated from the Military command.

The subject of Military Education has, as Lord Palmerston says, often been discussed in Parliament, which expects that some sufficient arrangement shall be made for it. But the mere creation of a place for an officer, however meritorious, to find him an equivalent for one which has to be reduced, can hardly be so called, and may even defeat the object itself. This subject is a most important one, and ought to be thoroughly examined before acting. The Queen understands that the Duke of Cambridge has transmitted to Lord Panmure a complete scheme, which must be now before him. If Lord Palmerston, Lord Panmure, the Duke of Cambridge, and the Prince were to meet to consider this scheme, and the whole question in connection with it, the Queen would feel every confidence that a satisfactory decision would be arrived at.

[Footnote 63: John Henry Lefroy, who now became Inspector-General of Army Schools, was an artillery officer of considerable scientific attainments. Many years later he was K.C.M.G. and Governor of Tasmania.]

[Pageheading: BESSARABIA]

The Emperor of the French to Queen Victoria.


MADAME ET TRES CHERE S[OE]UR,—Le Prince Frederic Guillaume m'a remis la lettre que votre Majeste a bien voulu lui donner pour moi. Les expressions si amicales employees par votre Majeste m'ont vivement touche et quoique je fusse persuade que la diversite d'opinion de nos deux Gouvernements ne pouvait en rien alterer vos sentiments a mon egard, j'ai ete heureux d'en recevoir la douce confirmation. Le Prince de Prusse nous a beaucoup plu et je ne doute pas qu'il ne fasse le bonheur de la Princesse Royale, car il me semble avoir toutes les qualites de son age et de son rang. Nous avons tache de lui rendre le sejour de Paris aussi agreable que possible, mais je crois que ses pensees etaient toujours a Osborne ou a Windsor.

Il me tarde bien que toutes les discussions relatives au Traite de Paix aient un terme, car les partis en France en profitent pour tenter d'affaiblir l'intimite de l'alliance.[64] Je ne doute pas neanmoins que le bon sens populaire en fasse promptement justice de toutes les faussetes qu'on a repandues.

Votre Majeste, je l'espere, ne doutera jamais de mon desir de marcher d'accord avec son Gouvernement et du regret que j'eprouve quand momentairement cet accord n'existe pas.

En la priant de presenter mes hommages a S.A.R. la Duchesse de Kent et mes tendres amities au Prince, je lui renouvelle l'assurance de la sincere amitie et de l'entier devouement avec lesquels je suis, de votre Majeste, le bon Frere et Ami,


[Footnote 64: A settlement with Russia of the disputed Bessarabian frontier was at length decided upon, on lines suggested by the Emperor to the British Government.]

The Earl of Clarendon to Queen Victoria.

THE GROVE, 22nd December 1856.

Lord Clarendon presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and humbly begs to transmit a letter from Lord Cowley, which contains the report of a curious conversation with the Emperor, and which might make a despatch not very unlike Sir H. Seymour's when he reported the partitioning views of the Emperor Nicholas.[65]

It is curious that in both cases the bribe to England should be Egypt. The Emperor of the French said nothing about the share of the spoils that France would look for, but His Majesty means Morocco, and Marshal Vaillant[66] talked to Lord Clarendon of Morocco as necessary to France, just as the Americans declare that the United States are not safe without Cuba....

[Footnote 65: See ante, 9th May, 1854, note 30. The Queen does not appear to have preserved a copy of Lord Cowley's letter.]

[Footnote 66: Minister of War.]


Queen Victoria to the Emperor of the French.

CHATEAU DE WINDSOR, le 31 Decembre 1856.

SIRE ET CHER FRERE,—Je saisis avec empressement l'occasion de la nouvelle annee pour remercier votre Majeste de son aimable lettre, en vous priant d'agreer mes bons v[oe]ux autant pour le bonheur de V.M. que pour celui de l'Imperatrice et de votre fils.

La nouvelle annee commence encore avec le bruit des preparatifs de guerre, mais j'espere qu'on restera aux preparatifs et apres le rapprochement qui a eu lieu entre vous, Sire, et la Prusse, j'ai toute confiance qu'il vous sera possible d'assurer une solution pacifique de cette question Suisse,[67] malheureusement envenimee par l'amour-propre froisse de tous cotes.

Je suis bien heureuse que nos difficultes survenues a l'execution du Traite de Paris soient maintenant entierement aplanies et que ce que V.M. signalait dans votre lettre comme une esperance soit a present une realite. Rien ne viendra desormais, je l'espere, troubler notre bonne entente qui donne une garantie si importante au bien-etre de l'Europe. Nous avons ete bien contents d'apprendre que notre futur gendre vous ait tant plu; il nous a ecrit plein de reconnaissance de l'aimable accueil que vous lui avez donne et plein d'admiration de tout ce qu'il a vu a Paris.

Ma mere se remet peu a peu de la terrible secousse qu'elle a eprouvee, et me charge ainsi que le Prince de leurs felicitations pour le jour de l'an.

J'embrasse l'Imperatrice et me dis pour toujours, Sire et cher Frere, de V.M.I., la bien affectionnee S[oe]ur, et fidele Amie,


[Footnote 67: See ante, 7th November, 1856, note 55.]



The closing months of 1856 had witnessed the beginning of a dispute with China, a party of Chinese having boarded the lorcha Arrow, a vessel registered under a recent ordinance of Hong Kong, arrested the crew as pirates, and torn down the British flag. The Captain's right to fly the flag was questionable, for the term of registry, even if valid in the first instance, which was disputed, had expired (though the circumstance was unknown to the Chinese authorities), and the ship's earlier history under the Chinese flag had been an evil one. But Sir John Bowring, British Plenipotentiary at Hong Kong, took punitive measures to enforce treaty obligations; Admiral Seymour destroyed the forts on the river, and occupied the island and fort of Dutch Folly. In retaliation, the Chinese Governor Yeh put a price on Bowring's head, and his assassination, and that of other residents, by poison, was attempted. The British Government's action, however, was stigmatised as highhanded, and a resolution censuring them was carried in the Commons, being moved by Mr Cobden and supported by a coalition of Conservatives, Peelites, and the Peace Party,—Lord John Russell also opposing the Government. In consequence of this vote, Parliament was dissolved, and at the ensuing election the Peace Party was scattered to the winds; Bright, Milner Gibson, and Cobden all losing their seats. Lord Palmerston obtained a triumphant majority in the new House of Commons, of which Mr J. E. Denison was elected Speaker in succession to Mr Shaw-Lefevre, now created Viscount Eversley. At the end of the year an ultimatum was sent to Governor Yeh, requiring observance of the Treaty of Nankin, Canton was bombarded, and subsequently occupied by the English and French troops.

Hostilities with Persia were terminated by a treaty signed at Paris; the Shah engaging to abstain from interference in Afghanistan, and to recognise the independence of Herat.

A century had passed since the victory of Clive at Plassey, but the Afghan disasters and the more recent war with Russia had caused doubts to arise as to British stability in India, where the native forces were very large in comparison with the European. Other causes, among which may be mentioned the legalising of the remarriage of Hindoo widows, and a supposed intention to coerce the natives into Christianity, were operating to foment dissatisfaction, while recent acts of insubordination and symptoms of mutiny had been inadequately repressed; but the immediate visible provocation to mutiny among the Bengal troops was the use of cartridges said to be treated with a preparation of the fat of pigs and cows, the use of which was abhorrent, on religious grounds, both to Hindoos and Mohammedans. The Governor-General assured the Sepoys by proclamation that no offence to their religion or injury to their caste was intended; but on the 10th of May the native portion of the garrison at Meerut broke out in revolt. The Mutineers proceeded to Delhi, and were joined by the native troops there; they established as Emperor the octogenarian King, a man of unscrupulous character, who had been living under British protection.

Great cruelties were practised on the European population of all ages and both sexes, at Lucknow, Allahabad, and especially Cawnpore; by the end of June, the Sepoys had mutinied at twenty-two stations—the districts chiefly affected being Bengal, the North-West Provinces, and Oudh. To cope with this state of things, a large body of British soldiers on their way to China were diverted by Lord Elgin to India, and a force of 40,000 men was despatched from England round the Cape; while Sir Colin Campbell was sent out as Commander-in-Chief. Meanwhile reinforcements had been drawn from the Punjab, which had remained loyal. Lucknow was for a long time besieged by the rebels, and Sir Henry Lawrence, its gallant defender, killed. The garrison was reinforced on the 25th of September by General Havelock; but the non-combatants could not be extricated from their perilous position till November, when the Garrison was relieved by Sir Colin Campbell. Delhi was taken in the course of September, but a considerable period elapsed before the rebellion was finally suppressed. Summary vengeance was inflicted on the Sepoy rebels, which gave rise to some criticism of our troops for inhumanity; but Lord Canning, the Governor-General, was no less severely blamed for his clemency; and the general verdict was in favour of the measures adopted by the military and civilian officers, whose zeal and capacity suppressed the Mutiny.

Before the Dissolution of Parliament, Mr Gladstone and Mr Disraeli had joined in an attack on the budget of Sir George Lewis, and the Peelite ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed for the moment disposed definitely to return to the Conservative party. To the Divorce Bill, the chief legislative result of the second Session, Mr Gladstone gave a persistent and unyielding opposition: but it passed the Commons by large majorities; a Bill for the removal of Jewish disabilities was much debated, but not carried. In August, another visit, this time of a private character, was paid by the Emperor and Empress of the French to the Queen at Osborne. In the middle of November a series of commercial disasters of great magnitude took place. The Government, as in 1847, authorised the infringement for a time of the Bank Charter Act, and a third session was held to pass an Act of Indemnity.



Queen Victoria to Mr Labouchere.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 8th January 1857.

The despatches from Sir George Grey[1] which the Queen returns are most interesting. The two chief objects to accomplish appear to be the bringing the Kaffirs in British Kaffraria within the pale of the law, so that they may know the blessings of it—and the re-absorption, if possible, of the Orange River Free State. To both these objects the efforts of the Government should be steadily directed.

[Footnote 1: See ante, 26th July, 1856. The task of dealing with the Hottentots and Kaffirs, and coming to an understanding with the recalcitrant Boers, was a difficult one.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

BROADLANDS, 13th January 1857.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and he and Lady Palmerston will have the honour of waiting upon your Majesty as soon as he is able to move. He is, however, at present on crutches, and can hardly expect to be in marching order for some few days to come. With regard to the matters that are likely to be discussed when Parliament meets, Viscount Palmerston would beg to submit that the one which has for some months past occupied the attention of all Europe, namely, the execution of the Treaty of Paris, has been settled in a manner satisfactory to all parties; and this is not only a great relief to the Government, but is also a security for the continuance of the Anglo-French Alliance, which would have been greatly endangered by the discussions and explanations that might otherwise have been forced on.

The various questions of difference between your Majesty's Government, and that of the United States, have also been settled, and the diplomatic relations between the two countries are about to be replaced upon their usual footing. This result will have given great satisfaction to the commercial and manufacturing interests.

Some discussion will take place as to the Expedition to the coast of Persia, and some persons will, of course, find fault with the whole policy pursued on that matter; but people in general will understand that Herat is an advanced post of attack against British India, and that whatever belongs nominally to Persia must be considered as belonging practically to Russia, whenever Russia may want to use it for her own purposes.

The outbreak of hostilities at Canton[2] was the result of the decision of your Majesty's officers on the spot, and not the consequence of orders from home. The first responsibility must therefore rest with the local authorities, but Viscount Palmerston cannot doubt that the Government will be deemed to have acted right in advising your Majesty to approve the proceedings, and to direct measures for obtaining from the Chinese Government concessions which are indispensable for the maintenance of friendly relations between China and the Governments of Europe.

Of domestic questions, that which will probably be the most agitated will be a large and immediate diminution of the Income Tax; but any such diminution would disturb the financial arrangements of the country, and it is to be hoped that Parliament will adopt the scheme which will be proposed by Sir G. C. Lewis, by which the Income Tax would be made equal in each of the next three years, the amount now fixed by Law for 1857 being diminished, but the amount now fixed by Law for 1858 and 1859 being increased....

Viscount Palmerston hears from persons likely to know, that the Conservative Party are not more united than they were last Session. That Mr Disraeli and the great bulk of his nominal followers are far from being on good terms together, and that there is no immediate junction to be expected between Mr Disraeli and Mr Gladstone.[3]

Mr Cobden has given it to be understood that he wishes at the next General Election to retire from the West Riding of Yorkshire. The real fact being that the line he took about the late war has made him so unpopular with his constituents that he would probably not be returned again.[4]

Viscount Palmerston has heard privately and confidentially that Lord John Russell wrote some little time ago to the Duke of Bedford to say that it had been intimated to him that an offer would be made to him if he were disposed to accept it, to go to the House of Lords and to become there the Leader of the Government. In case your Majesty may have heard this report, Viscount Palmerston thinks it right to say that no such communication to Lord John Russell was ever authorised by him, nor has been, so far as he is aware, ever made, and in truth Viscount Palmerston must candidly say that in the present state of public opinion about the course which Lord John has on several occasions pursued, he is not inclined to think that his accession to the Government would give the Government any additional strength.

[Footnote 2: See ante, Introductory Note, to Chapter XXVI. The difficulty with China had arisen out of her refusal to throw open the city of Canton to European trade in conformity with the Treaty of Nankin, ante, vol. i. 23rd November, 1842. Sir John Bowring, Chief Superintendent of Trade (and, in effect, British Plenipotentiary) at Hong-Kong, had resented this, and the feeling thus engendered had come to a crisis on the occasion of the seizure of the crew of the Arrow.]

[Footnote 3: The probability of this combination was now being perpetually mooted, and, in fact, the two ex-Chancellors combined in attacking the Budget.]

[Footnote 4: He stood instead for Huddersfleld, and was defeated by an untried politician; one Liberal (the present Lord Ripon) and one Conservative were returned unopposed in the West Riding.]


Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 25th February 1857.

The Queen would wish to know before she approves of the appointment of Mr Alford, of Quebec Chapel, to the head Deanery of Canterbury, whether he is a very Low Churchman, as Lord Palmerston will remember that he agreed in her observation after the appointment of several of the Bishops, that it would be advisable to choose those who were of moderate opinions—not leaning too much to either side. Extreme opinions lead to mischief in the end, and produce much discord in the Church, which it would be advisable to avoid.[5]

With respect to the Garter, which the Duke of Norfolk has declined, she approves of its being offered to the Duke of Portland.[6] She thinks that the one now vacant by the death of poor Lord Ellesmere[7] might most properly be bestowed on Lord Granville—he is Lord President and Leader of the House of Lords, and acquitted himself admirably in his difficult mission as Ambassador to the Emperor of Russia's Coronation.

Should Lord Palmerston agree in this view he might at once mention it to Lord Granville.

[Footnote 5: The Deanery was offered to and accepted by Mr Alford.]

[Footnote 6: William John Cavendish Bentinck-Scott, fifth Duke (1800-1879). He did not accept the honour, which was conferred on the Marquis of Westminster.]

[Footnote 7: Lord Francis Egerton had inherited a vast property from the third and last Duke of Bridgewater (the projector of English inland navigation), and was created Earl of Ellesmere in 1846. The Garter was accepted by Lord Granville.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 28th February 1857.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and has seen Mr Hayter[8] this morning, and finds from him that the disposition of the House of Commons is improving, and that many of the supporters of the Government who had at first thought of voting with Mr Cobden[9] are changing their minds. It has been suggested to Viscount Palmerston that it would be useful to have a meeting of the Party in Downing Street on Monday, and that many wavering members only want to have something said to them which they could quote as a reason for changing their intended course; and Viscount Palmerston has given directions for summoning such a meeting.

Lord Derby has had meetings of his followers, and has told them that unless they will support him in a body he will cease to be their leader, as he will not be the head of a divided Party. Viscount Palmerston can scarcely bring himself to believe that the House of Commons will be so fickle as suddenly and without reason to turn round upon the Government, and after having given them last Session and this Session large majorities on important questions, put them in a minority on what Mr Disraeli last night in a few words said on the motion for adjournment described as a Vote of Censure. With regard, however, to the question put by your Majesty as to what would be the course pursued by the Government in the event of a defeat, Viscount Palmerston could hardly answer it without deliberation with his colleagues. His own firm belief is that the present Government has the confidence of the country in a greater degree than any other Government that could now be formed would have, and that consequently upon a Dissolution of Parliament, a House of Commons would be returned more favourable to the Government than the present. Whether the state of business as connected with votes of supply and the Mutiny Act would admit of a Dissolution, supposing such a measure to be sanctioned by your Majesty, would remain to be enquired into; but Viscount Palmerston believes that there would be no insurmountable difficulty on that score. He will have the honour of waiting upon your Majesty at a little before three to-morrow.

[Footnote 8: Mr (afterwards Sir) William Hayter, Liberal Whip, the father of Lord Haversham.]

[Footnote 9: See ante, Introductory Note, to Chapter XXVI. Mr Cobden's motion of censure affirmed that the papers laid on the table of the House did not justify the violent measures resorted to by the Government at Canton in the affair of the Arrow. He was supported by Lord John Russell, Mr Roebuck, Mr Gladstone, and Mr Disraeli, the latter emphatically challenging the Premier to appeal to the country.]

The Prince Albert to Viscount Palmerston.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 3rd March 1857.

MY DEAR LORD PALMERSTON,—The Queen has this moment received your letter giving so unfavourable an account of the prospects of to-night's division. She is sorry that her health imperatively requires her going into the country for a few days, and having put off her going to Windsor on account of the Debate which was expected to close yesterday, she cannot now do so again to-day. She feels, however, the inconvenience of her absence should the division turn out as ill as is now anticipated. The Queen could not possibly come to a decision on so important a point as a Dissolution without a personal discussion and conference with you, and therefore hopes that you might be able to go down to-morrow perhaps for dinner and to stay over the night.

The Queen feels herself physically quite unable to go through the anxiety of a Ministerial Crisis and the fruitless attempt to form a new Government out of the heterogeneous elements out of which the present Opposition is composed, should the Government feel it necessary to offer their resignation, and would on that account prefer any other alternative.... Ever, etc.,



Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.[10]

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 5th March 1857.

(Quarter to Eight.)

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that his communication to the House of an intention to give the constituencies of the country an opportunity of judging between the present Government and any other administration which might be formed, has been on the whole well received, and, with the exception of Mr Gladstone, most of the persons who spoke intimated a willingness to allow without interruption the completion of such business as may be necessary before the Dissolution. Mr Disraeli said that he and those who act with him would give all fair assistance consistent with their opinions, but hoped nothing would be proposed to which they could reasonably object. Mr Gladstone, with great vehemence, repelled the charge of combination, evidently meaning to answer attacks made out of the House....

The result of what passed seems to be that no serious difficulty will be thrown in the way of an early Dissolution.

[Footnote 10: Mr Cobden's motion was carried by 263 to 247, and Lord Palmerston promptly accepted Mr Disraeli's challenge to dissolve Parliament.]

Earl Granville to Queen Victoria.

[Undated. ? 16th March 1857.]

Lord Granville presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to submit that Lord Derby made a speech of two hours, in which he glanced at the present state of affairs.[11] He made a personal attack on Lord Palmerston, and described his colleagues as cyphers and appendages. The rest of his speech was of a singularly apologetic and defensive character. He was quite successful in clearing himself from an understanding—not from political conversations with Mr Gladstone.

Lord Granville, in his reply, was thought very discourteous by Lord Malmesbury and Lord Hardwicke, who closed the conversation.

[Footnote 11: Lord Derby's resolutions in the Lords, which were to the same effect as Mr Cobden's motion, were rejected by 146 to 110. On the 16th of March Lord Derby took the opportunity of announcing the views of his chief supporters in reference to the General Election.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.[12]

PICCADILLY, 18th March 1857.

... Viscount Palmerston begs to state that the Speaker has chosen the title of Eversley, the name of a small place near his residence[13] in Hampshire, all the large towns in the county having already been adopted as titles for Peers. The ordinary course would be that your Majesty should make him a Baron, and that is the course which was followed in the cases of Mr Abbot made Lord Colchester, and Mr Abercromby made Lord Dunfermline; but in the case of Mr Manners Sutton a different course was pursued, and he was made Viscount Canterbury. The present Speaker is very anxious that his services, which, in fact, have been more meritorious and useful than those of Mr Manners Sutton, should not appear to be considered by your Majesty as less deserving of your Majesty's Royal favour, and as the present Speaker may justly be said to have been the best who ever filled the chair, Viscount Palmerston would beg to submit for your Majesty's gracious approval that he may be created Viscount Eversley. It will be well at the same time if your Majesty should sanction this arrangement that a Record should be entered at the Home Office stating that this act of grace and favour of your Majesty being founded on the peculiar circumstances of the case, is not to [be] deemed a precedent for the cases of future Speakers.

Lord Canterbury was also made a Grand Cross of the Civil Order of the Bath; it will be for your Majesty to consider whether it might not be gracious to follow in all respects on the present occasion the course which was pursued in the case of Mr Manners Sutton.

[Footnote 12: On the 9th, Mr Speaker Shaw-Lefevre had announced in the House of Commons his intended retirement from the Chair, which he had occupied since 1839, when his election had been made a trial of strength between parties. He was voted an annuity of L4,000 a year, and created Viscount Eversley, receiving also the G.C.B.]

[Footnote 13: Heckfield Place, near Winchfield.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 24th March 1857.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—... The Opposition have played their game most foolishly, and the result is that all the old Tories say they will certainly not support them; they very truly say Lord Derby's party—that is those who want to get into office coute que coute—whether the country suffers for it or not, wanted to get in under false colours, and that they won't support or abide—which they are quite right in. There is reason to hope that a better class of men will be returned, and returned to support the Government, not a particular cry of this or that.... Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 14: In his address to the electors of Tiverton, the Premier declared that "an insolent barbarian, wielding authority at Canton, had violated the British flag, broken the engagements of treaties, offered rewards for the heads of British subjects in that part of China, and planned their destruction by murder, assassination, and poison." The courage and good temper displayed by Lord Palmerston, and the energy with which he had carried the country through the Crimean struggle, had won him widespread popularity, and the Peace party were generally routed, the prominent members all losing their seats. The Peelite ranks were also thinned, but Lord John Russell, contrary to general expectation, held his seat in the City. There were one hundred and eighty-nine new members returned, and the Ministry found themselves in command of a handsome majority.]

Earl Granville to Queen Victoria.

[Undated. ? 19th May 1857.]

Lord Granville presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to submit that the Lord Chancellor made the best statement he has yet done, introducing his Divorce Bill.[15]... Lord Lyndhurst made a most able speech in favour of the Bill, but wished it to go further, and give permission to a woman to sue for a divorce if she was "maliciously deserted" by her husband.... The Bishop of Oxford pretended that he was not going to speak at all, in order to secure his following instead of preceding the Bishop of London; but upon a division being called he was obliged to speak, and did so with considerable force and eloquence, but betraying the greatest possible preparation. The Bishop of London, after showing that the Bishop of Oxford's speech was a repetition of Mr Keble's speech, made an excellent answer. The Debate was finished by the Duke of Argyll.

For the Bill, 47. Against it, 18.

[Footnote 15: Before this date a divorce could only be obtained in England by Act of Parliament, after sentence in the ecclesiastical Court, and (in the case of a husband's application) a verdict in crim. con. against the adulterer. The present English law was established by the Bill of 1857, the chief amendment made in Committee being the provision exempting the clergy from the obligation to marry divorced persons. Bishop Wilberforce opposed the Bill strenuously, while Archbishop Sumner and Bishop Tait of London supported it. Sir Richard Bethell, the Attorney-General, piloted the measure most skilfully through the Commons, in the teeth of the eloquent and persistent opposition of Mr Gladstone, who, to quote a letter from Lord Palmerston to the Queen, opposed the second reading "in a speech of two hours and a half, fluent, eloquent, brilliant, full of theological learning and scriptural research, but fallacious in argument, and with parts inconsistent with each other."]


[Pageheading: THE EMPEROR'S VISIT]

The Earl of Clarendon to the Prince Albert.

20th May 1857.

SIR,—I have the honour to inform your Royal Highness that I have had a very long and interesting conversation with M. de Persigny to-day. He told me of the different Utopias which the Emperor had in his head, of His Majesty's conviction that England, France, and Russia ought between them to regler les affaires de l'Europe, of the peu de cas which he made of Austria or any other Power, and of the various little complaints which His Majesty thought he had against Her Majesty's Government, and which had been magnified into importance by the malevolence or the stupidity of the persons who had more or less the ear of the Emperor.[16]

M. de Persigny told me also that in a conversation with the Emperor at which he had taken care that Count Walewski should be present, he had solemnly warned the Emperor of the danger he would incur if he swerved the least from the path of his true interest which was the English Alliance, that all the Sovereigns who were flattering and cajoling him for their own purposes looked down upon him as an adventurer, and no more believed in the stability of his throne, or the duration of his dynasty, than they did in any other events of which extreme improbability was the character; whereas the English, who never condescended to flatter or cajole anybody, but who looked to the interests of England, were attached to the French Alliance and to the Sovereign of France because peaceful relations with that country were of the utmost importance to England. France was the only country in Europe that could do England harm, and on the other hand England was the only country that could injure France—the late war with Russia had not the slightest effect upon France except costing her money, but a war with England would set every party in France into activity each with its own peculiar objects, but all of them against the existing order of things—l'ordre social serait bouleverse and the Empire might perish in the convulsion.

The result of this and other conversations appears to be an earnest desire of the Emperor to come to England on a private visit to the Queen, if possible at Osborne, and at any time that might be convenient to Her Majesty. M. de Persigny describes him as being intent upon this project, and as attaching the utmost importance to it in order to eclairer his own ideas, to guide his policy, and to prevent by personal communication with the Queen, your Royal Highness, and Her Majesty's Government the dissidences and mesintelligences which the Emperor thinks will arise from the want of such communications.

I fear that such a visit would not be very agreeable to Her Majesty, but in the Emperor's present frame of mind, and his evident alarm lest it should be thought that the Alliance has been in any way ebranlee, I cannot entertain a doubt that much good might be done, or, at all events, that much mischief might be averted by the Emperor being allowed to pay his respects to Her Majesty in the manner he proposes.

I have discussed the matter after the Cabinet this evening with Lord Palmerston, who takes entirely the same view of the matter as I have taken the liberty of expressing to your Royal Highness. I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, Sir, your Royal Highness's most faithful and devoted Servant,


[Footnote 16: A difference had arisen as to the future of the Principalities—France, Sardinia, and Russia favouring their union, while England, Austria, and Turkey held that a single state, so formed, might become too Russian in its sympathies.]

The Prince Albert to the Earl of Clarendon.

OSBORNE, 21st May 1857.

MY DEAR LORD CLARENDON,—I have shown your letter to the Queen, who wishes me to say in answer to it that she will, of course, be ready to do what may appear best for the public interest. We shall, therefore, be ready to receive the Emperor, with or without the Empress, here at Osborne in the quiet way which he proposes. The present moment would, however, hardly do, Drawing-rooms and parties being announced in London, Parliament sitting, and the Season going on and the Queen having only a few days from the Grand Duke's visit to her return to Town. The latter half of July, the time at which the Queen would naturally be here and the best yachting season, might appear to the Emperor the most eligible, as being the least force.

Till then a cottage which is rebuilding will, we hope, be ready to accommodate some of the suite, whom we could otherwise not properly house.

I have no doubt that good will arise from a renewed intercourse with the Emperor; the only thing one may perhaps be afraid of is the possibility of his wishing to gain us over to his views with regard to a redistribution of Europe, and may be disappointed at our not being able to assent to his plans and aspirations.


[Footnote 17: See post, 4th August, 1857, note 30.]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 16th June 1857.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—The christening of little Beatrice[18] is just over—and was very brilliant and nice. We had the luncheon in the fine ball-room, which looked very handsome. The Archduke Maximilian (who is here since Sunday evening) led me to the chapel, and at the luncheon I sat between him and Fritz. I cannot say how much we like the Archduke; he is charming, so clever, natural, kind and amiable, so English in his feelings and likings, and so anxious for the best understanding between Austria and England. With the exception of his mouth and chin, he is good-looking; and I think one does not the least care for that, as he is so very kind and clever and pleasant. I wish you really joy, dearest Uncle, at having got such a husband for dear Charlotte, as I am sure he will make her happy, and is quite worthy of her. He may, and will do a great deal for Italy.[19]...

I must conclude for to-day, hoping soon to hear from you again. Ever your devoted Niece,


[Footnote 18: Princess Beatrice (now Princess Henry of Battenberg) was born on the 14th of April.]

[Footnote 19: The tragic end of a union which promised so brightly came in 1867, when the Archduke Maximilian, having accepted the Imperial crown of Mexico, offered to him by the Provisional Government, was shot by order of President Juarez. The Empress Charlotte had come to Europe a year earlier to seek help for her husband from the French Emperor. In consequence of the shock caused by the failure of her mission, her health entirely gave way.]

[Pageheading: THE INDIAN MUTINY]

Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 26th June 1857.

... Viscount Palmerston is sorry to have received the accompanying account of the extension of the Mutiny among the native troops in India, but he has no fear of its results.[20] The bulk of the European force is stationed on the North-West Frontier, and is, therefore, within comparatively easy reach of Delhi, and about six thousand European troops will have returned to Bombay from Persia. It will, however, seem to be advisable to send off at once the force amounting to nearly eight thousand men, now under orders for embarkation for India; and when the despatches arrive, which will be about the middle of next week, it will be seen whether any further reinforcements will be required.

The extent of the Mutiny appears to indicate some deeper cause than that which was ascribed to the first insubordination. That cause may be, as some allege, the apprehension of the Hindoo priests that their religion is in danger by the progress of civilisation in India, or it may be some hostile foreign agency.

[Footnote 20: Alarming accounts of disturbances in India had been received for some weeks past, but Lord Palmerston failed to grasp the gravity of the situation. Even after the intelligence reached England of the mutiny of the native regiments at Meerut, on the 10th of May, and of the horrible massacres of women and children, the Ministry did not fully realise the peril threatening our Indian possessions.]


Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

[Undated, ? June 1857.]

The Queen thinks that the persons decorated with the Victoria Cross might very properly be allowed to bear some distinctive mark after their name.[21] The warrant instituting the decoration does not style it "an Order," but merely "a Naval and Military Decoration" and a distinction; nor is it properly speaking an order, being not constituted. V.C. would not do. K.G. means a Knight of the Garter, C.B. a Companion of the Bath, M.P. a Member of Parliament, M.D. a Doctor of Medicine, etc., etc., in all cases designating a person. No one could be called a Victoria Cross. V.C. moreover means Vice-Chancellor at present. D.V.C. (decorated with the Victoria Cross) or B.V.C. (Bearer of the Victoria Cross) might do. The Queen thinks the last the best.

[Footnote 21: The Victoria Cross had just been instituted by Royal Warrant, and the Queen had, with her own hand, decorated those who had won the distinction, in Hyde Park, on the 26th of June.]


Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 29th June 1857.

The Queen has to acknowledge the receipt of Lord Panmure's letter of yesterday. She had long been of opinion that reinforcements waiting to go to India ought not to be delayed. The moment is certainly a very critical one, and the additional reinforcements now proposed will be much wanted. The Queen entirely agrees with Lord Panmure that it will be good policy to oblige the East India Company to keep permanently a larger portion of the Royal Army in India than heretofore. The Empire has nearly doubled itself within the last twenty years, and the Queen's troops have been kept at the old establishment. They are the body on whom the maintenance of that Empire depends, and the Company ought not to sacrifice the highest interests to love of patronage. The Queen hopes that the new reinforcements will be sent out in their Brigade organisation, and not as detached regiments; good Commanding Officers knowing their troops will be of the highest importance next to the troops themselves.

The Queen must ask that the troops by whom we shall be diminished at home by the transfer of so many regiments to the Company should be forthwith replaced by an increase of the establishment up to the number voted by Parliament, and for which the estimates have been taken, else we denude ourselves altogether to a degree dangerous to our own safety at home, and incapable of meeting a sudden emergency, which, as the present example shows, may come upon us at any moment. If we had not reduced in such a hurry this spring, we should now have all the men wanted!

The Queen wishes Lord Panmure to communicate this letter to Lord Palmerston. The accounts in to-day's papers from India are most distressing.

Queen Victoria to Lord Panmure.


The Queen has received Lord Panmure's letter of yesterday. She has sanctioned the going of four Regiments to the East Indies. With regard to the reduction of the garrison of Malta to four Regiments, she hopes the Government will well consider whether this will not reduce this valuable and exposed spot to a state of insecurity.

The Queen is sorry to find Lord Panmure still objecting to a proper Brigade system, without which no army in the world can be efficient. We want General Officers, and cannot train them unless we employ them on military duty, not on clerks' duty in district or colony, but in the command of troops. The detachment of Regiments is no reason for having no system, and the country will not pay for General Officers whose employment is not part of a system; our Army is then deprived of its efficiency by the refusal to adopt a system on the part of the Government.

[Pageheading: DELHI]

[Pageheading: GRAVE ANXIETY]

Viscount Canning to Queen Victoria.

CALCUTTA, 4th July 1857.

Lord Canning presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and although unable to give to your Majesty the complete details of the capture of Delhi, and of the defeat of the rebels in that city,[22] as he has long desired to do, he can at least announce to your Majesty that the city is in the possession of the British troops, under Major-General Sir Henry Barnard; and that nothing remains in the hands of the insurgents except the Palace or Fort, in which they have all taken refuge. This was the state of things on the 13th and 14th of June, the latest day of which any certain accounts have been received from Delhi; but nothing was likely to interfere with the completion of the capture within forty-eight hours.

This event has been long and anxiously awaited, and the time which has elapsed has cost England and India very dear. Many precious lives have been lost, and much heartrending suffering has been endured, for which there can be no compensation. The reputation of England's power, too, has had a rude shake; and nothing but a long-continued manifestation of her might before the eyes of the whole Indian Empire, evinced by the presence of such an English force as shall make the thought of oppositon hopeless, will re-establish confidence in her strength.

Lord Canning much fears that there are parts of India where, until this is done, a complete return to peace and order will not be effected. Wherever the little band of English soldiers—little when compared with the stretch of country over which they have to operate—which Lord Canning has at his disposal has shown itself, the effect has been instantaneous.

Except at Delhi, there has scarcely been an attempt at resistance to an European soldier, and the march of the smallest detachments has preserved order right and left of the roads. The same has been the case in large cities, such as Benares, Patna, and others; all going to prove that little more than the presence of English troops is needed to ensure peace. On the other hand, where such troops are known not to be within reach, anarchy and violence, when once let loose, continue unrestrained; and, until further additions are made to the English regiments in the disturbed districts, this state of things will not only continue, but extend itself. The fall of Delhi will act to some degree as a check; but where rapine and outrage have raged uncontrolled, even for a few hours, it is to be feared that nothing but the actual presence of force will bring the country into order.

Lord Canning rejoices to say that to-day the first Regiment of your Majesty's Forces destined for China has entered the Hooghly. Lord Canning did not scruple, knowing how much was at stake, earnestly to press Lord Elgin to allow those forces to be turned aside to India before proceeding to the support of your Majesty's Plenipotentiary in China;[23] and to this, so far as regards the first two Regiments, Lord Elgin readily assented. From what Lord Canning has ventured to state above, your Majesty will easily understand the satisfaction with which each new arrival of an English transport in Calcutta is regarded by him.

As yet no military operations south of Delhi have been undertaken. Next week, however, a column composed of your Majesty's 64th and 78th (Highland) Regiments will reach Cawnpore[24] and Lucknow, in the neighbourhood of which it is probable that an opportunity will offer of striking a decisive blow at the band of rebels which, after that in Delhi, is the strongest and most compact. But Lord Canning greatly doubts whether they will await the onset. Unfortunately, they may run away from the English troops, and yet prove very formidable to any who are weaker than themselves—whether Indians or unarmed Europeans.

Your Majesty is aware that in the critical condition of affairs which now exists, Lord Canning has felt himself compelled to adopt the measure of placing the King of Oudh in confinement in Fort William, in consequence of the use made of his name by those who have been busy tampering with the Sepoys; and of the intrigues which there is good reason to believe that the Minister of the King, who is also in the Fort, has carried on in his master's name.[25] The King has been, and will continue to be, treated with every mark of respect and indulgence which is compatible with his position, so long as it may be necessary that he should be retained in the Fort.

Lord Canning earnestly hopes that your Majesty and the Prince are in the enjoyment of good health, and prays your Majesty to be graciously pleased to accept the expression of his sincere devotion and dutiful attachment.

[Footnote 22: After the outbreak at Meerut in May, the fugitive Sepoys fled to Delhi, and endeavoured to capture the magazine, which, however, was exploded by British soldiers. Delhi was not captured until September (see post, 25th September, 1857). On the 11th of July, the Government received intelligence of the spread of the Mutiny throughout Bengal, and the resulting diminution of the Indian Army.]

[Footnote 23: For Sir George Grey's action at Cape Town, in reference to the troops destined for China, see his Memoir, in the Dictionary of National Biography.]

[Footnote 24: On the 4th of June, two native regiments had mutinied at Cawnpore, and the English residents, under General Sir Hugh Wheeler, were besieged. After many deaths and much privation, the garrison were induced by the perfidy of Nana Sahib, who had caused the Cawnpore rising, to surrender, on condition of their lives being spared. On the 27th of June, not suspecting their impending fate, the enfeebled garrison, or what was left of it, gave themselves up. The men were killed, the women and children being first enslaved and afterwards massacred. On the 16th of July, General Havelock defeated Nana Sahib at Cawnpore, the city was occupied by the English, and a sanguinary, but well-merited, retribution exacted.]

[Footnote 25: The ex-King had been living under the protection of the Indian Government. The arrest took place early in June at his residence at Garden Beach.]


Viscount Palmerston to Queen Victoria.

PICCADILLY, 27th July 1857.

Viscount Palmerston presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to state that Mr Disraeli this afternoon, in a speech of three hours, made his Motion on the state of India. His Motion was ostensibly for two papers, one of which does not exist, at least in the possession of the Government, and the other of which ought not to be made public, as it relates to the arrangements for defending India against external attack. He represented the disturbances in India as a national revolt, and not as a mere military mutiny; and he enumerated various causes which in his opinion accounted, for and justified this general revolt. Some of these causes were various measures of improved civilisation which from time to time during the last ten years the Indian Government had been urged by Parliament to take. Mr Vernon Smith followed, and in a very able speech answered in great detail Mr Disraeli's allegations. Sir Erskine Perry,[26] who evidently had furnished Mr Disraeli with much of his mistaken assertions, supported his views. Mr Campbell, Member for Weymouth, who had been many years in India, showed the fallacy of Mr Disraeli's arguments, and the groundlessness of many of his assertions. Mr Whiteside supported the Motion. Lord John Russell, who had after Mr Disraeli's speech communicated with the Government, expressed his disapprobation of Mr Disraeli's speech, and moved as an Amendment an Address to your Majesty expressing the assurance of the support of the House for measures to suppress the present disturbances, and their co-operation with your Majesty in measures for the permanent establishment of tranquillity and contentment in India.[27] Mr Mangles, the Chairman of the Directors, replied at much length, and very conclusively to Mr Disraeli's speech. Mr Liddell, with much simplicity, asked the Speaker to tell him how he should vote, but approved entirely of Lord John Russell's address. Mr Ayrton moved an adjournment of the Debate, which was negatived by 203 to 79. Mr Hadfield then shortly stated in his provincial dialect that "we can never keep our 'old upon Hindia by the Force of Harms." Mr Disraeli then made an animated reply to the speeches against him, but in a manner almost too animated for the occasion. Mr Thomas Baring set Mr Disraeli right, but in rather strong terms, about some proceedings of the Committee on Indian Affairs in 1853, with regard to which Mr Disraeli's memory had proved untrustworthy. Viscount Palmerston shortly made some observations on the Motion and the speech which had introduced it; and the Motion was then negatived without a division, and the Address was unanimously carried.

[Footnote 26: Chief Justice of Bombay 1847-1852, and M.P. for Devonport 1854-1859.]

[Footnote 27: "One of those dry constitutional platitudes," said Mr Disraeli in reply, "which in a moment of difficulty the noble lord pulls out of the dusty pigeon-holes of his mind, and shakes in the perplexed face of the baffled House of Commons." Mr Disraeli was admittedly much annoyed by the statesmanlike intervention of Lord John.]


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, 27th July 1857.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—At this very moment the marriage[28] is going on—the Knot is being tied which binds your lovely sweet child to a thoroughly worthy husband—and I am sure you will be much moved. May every blessing attend her! I wish I could be present—but my dearest Half being there makes me feel as I were there myself. I try to picture to myself how all will be. I could not give you a greater proof of my love for you all, and my anxiety to give you and dearest Charlotte pleasure, than in urging my dearest Albert to go over—for I encouraged and urged him to go though you cannot think combien cela me coute or how completely deroutee I am and feel when he is away, or how I count the hours till he returns. All the numerous children are as nothing to me when he is away; it seems as if the whole life of the house and home were gone, when he is away!

We do all we can to feter in our very quiet way this dear day. We are all out of mourning; the younger children are to have a half-holiday, Alice is to dine for the first time in the evening with us; we shall drink the Archduke and Archduchess's healths; and I have ordered wine for our servants, and grog for our sailors to do the same.

Vicky (who is painting in the Alcove near me) wishes me to say everything to you and the dear young couple, and pray tell dear Charlotte all that we have been doing....

Here we are in anxious (and I fear many people in very cruel) suspense, for news from India. They ought to have arrived the day before yesterday.

On Thursday, then, we are to have Prince Napoleon, and on the following Thursday the Emperor and Empress; and after them for one night, the Queen of Holland,[29] whose activity is astounding—and she sees everything and everybody and goes everywhere; she is certainly clever and amiable....

Now, with our children's affectionate love, ever your devoted Niece,


Pray offer my kind regards to all your visitors, even to those whom I do not know. I only hope my dearest husband will tell me all about everything. Vicky is constantly talking and thinking of Charlotte.

[Footnote 28: Of the Princess Charlotte to the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian at Brussels.]

[Footnote 29: Sophia Frederica, born 1818, daughter of King William I. of Wuertemberg.]

[Pageheading: THE MILITIA]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 2nd August 1857.

The Queen has to thank Lord Palmerston for his letter of the 27th July.

The embodying of the Militia will be a most necessary measure, as well for the defence of our own country, and for keeping up on the Continent of Europe the knowledge that we are not in a defenceless state, as for the purpose of obtaining a sufficient number of volunteers for the Army.

The Queen hopes, therefore, that the Militia to be embodied will be on a proper and sufficient scale. She must say, that the last accounts from India show so formidable a state of things that the military measures hitherto taken by the Home Government, on whom the salvation of India must mainly depend, appear to the Queen as by no means adequate to the emergency. We have nearly gone to the full extent of our available means, just as we did in the Crimean War, and may be able to obtain successes; but we have not laid in a store of troops, nor formed Reserves which could carry us over a long struggle, or meet unforeseen new calls. Herein we are always most shortsighted, and have finally to suffer either in power and reputation, or to pay enormous sums for small advantages in the end—generally both.

The Queen hopes that the Cabinet will look the question boldly in the face; nothing could be better than the Resolutions passed in the House of Commons, insuring to the Government every possible support in the adoption of vigorous measures. It is generally the Government, and not the House of Commons, who hang back. The Queen wishes Lord Palmerston to communicate this letter to his Colleagues.

[Pageheading: THE NAVY]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Palmerston.

OSBORNE, 4th August 1857.

The defenceless state of our shores, now that the Army has been reduced to eighteen effective Battalions, and the evident inclinations of the Continental Powers, chiefly France and Russia, to dictate to us with regard to the Oriental Question, makes the Queen naturally turn her attention to the state of our naval preparations and force.

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