HotFreeBooks.com
The Letters of Queen Victoria, Volume III (of 3), 1854-1861
by Queen of Great Britain Victoria
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Footnote 14: The Queen had written:—"There are people who pretend that the Emperor, who was once a member of the Carbonari Club of Italy, and who is supposed to be condemned to death by the rules of that Secret Society for having violated his oath to them, has offered them to pardon Orsini, if they would release him from his oath, but that the Society refused the offer. The fact that all the attempts have been made by Italians, Orsini's letter, and the almost mad state of fear in which the Emperor seems to be now, would give colour to that story." Orsini had written two letters to the Emperor, one read aloud at his trial by his counsel, Jules Favre, the other while lying under sentence of death. He entreated the Emperor to secure Italian independence.]



Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 12th March 1858. (Friday.)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

The Opposition benches very full; the temper not kind.

The French announcement,[15] which was quite unexpected, elicited cheers, but only from the Ministerial side, which, he confesses, for a moment almost daunted him.

Then came a question about the Cagliari affair,[16] on which the Government had agreed to take a temperate course, in deference to their predecessors—but it was not successful. The ill-humour of the House, diverted for a moment by the French news, vented itself on this head.

What struck the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the course of the evening most was the absence of all those symptoms of "fair trial," etc., which have abounded of late in journals and in Society.

Lord John said something; Mr Gladstone said something; but it was not encouraging.

Nevertheless, in 1852 "fair trial" observations abounded, and the result was not satisfactory; now it may be the reverse.

The House is wild and capricious at this moment.

Your Majesty once deigned to say that your Majesty wished in these remarks to have the temper of the House placed before your Majesty, and to find what your Majesty could not meet in newspapers. This is the Chancellor of the Exchequer's excuse for these rough notes, written on the field of battle, which he humbly offers to your Majesty.

[Footnote 15: Parliament reassembled on the 12th of March, and Mr Disraeli then stated that the "painful misconceptions" which had for some time existed between England and France had been "terminated in a spirit entirely friendly and honourable."]

[Footnote 16: Two English engineers, Watt and Park, had been on the Sardinian steamer Cagliari when she was seized by the Neapolitan Government, and her crew, including the engineers, imprisoned at Naples. At the instance of the Conservative Government, who acted more vigorously than their predecessors had done, the engineers were released, and L3,000 paid to them as compensation.]



[Pageheading: THE NAVY]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

OSBORNE, 15th March 1858.

The Queen sends to Lord Derby a Memorandum on the state of preparation of our Navy in case of a war, the importance of attending to which she has again strongly felt when the late vote of the House of Commons endangered the continuance of the good understanding with France. The whole tone of the Debate on the first night of the reassembly of Parliament has shown again that there exists a great disposition to boast and provoke foreign Powers without any sincere desire to investigate our means of making good our words, and providing for those means which are missing.

The Queen wishes Lord Derby to read this Memorandum to the Cabinet, and to take the subject of which it treats into their anxious consideration.

The two appendices, stating facts, the one with regard to the manning of the Navy by volunteers with the aid of bounties, the other with regard to impressment, have become unfortunately more lengthy than the Queen had wished, but the facts appeared to her so important that she did not like to have any left out.



Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 22nd March 1858. (Monday, half-past eight o'clock.)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

This evening was a great contrast to Friday. House very full on both sides....

Mr B. Osborne commenced the general attack, of which he had given notice; but, after five years' silence, his weapons were not as bright as of yore. He was answered by the Government, and the House, which was very full, became much excited. The Ministerial benches were in high spirit.

The Debate that ensued, most interesting and sustained.

Mr Horsman, with considerable effect, expressed the opinions of that portion of the Liberal Party, which does not wish to disturb the Government.

Lord John Russell vindicated the Reform Bill of 1832 from the attacks of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and with great dignity and earnestness.

He was followed by Mr Drummond on the same subject in a telling epigram. Then Lord Palmerston, in reply to the charges of Mr Horsman, mild and graceful, with a sarcastic touch. The general impression of the House was very favourable to the Ministry; all seemed changed; the Debate had cleared the political atmosphere, and, compared with our previous state, we felt as if the eclipse was over.



[Pageheading: RESIGNATION OF PERSIGNY]

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 23rd March 1858.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—You will, I trust, forgive my letter being short, but we have only just returned from Aldershot, where we went this morning, and really have been quite baked by a sun which was hardly hotter in August, and without a breath of wind....

Good Marie[17] has not answered me, will you remind her? I did tell her I hoped for her child's[18] sake she would give up the nursing, as we Princesses had other duties to perform. I hope she was not shocked, but I felt I only did what was right in telling her so.

I grieve to say we lose poor Persigny, which is a real loss—but he would resign. Walewski behaved ill to him. The Emperor has, however, named a successor which is really a compliment to the Army and the Alliance—and besides a distinguished and independent man, viz. the Duc de Malakhoff.[19] This is very gratifying.

In all this business, Pelissier has, I hear, behaved extremely well. I must now conclude. Ever your devoted Niece,

VICTORIA R.

[Footnote 17: Marie Henriette, Duchess of Brabant, afterwards Queen of the Belgians; died 1902.]

[Footnote 18: Princess Louise of Belgium was born on the 4th of February.]

[Footnote 19: Formerly General Pelissier; see ante, 14th September, 1855, note 80.]



[Pageheading: THE HOUSE OF COMMONS]

Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 23rd March 1858. (Tuesday.)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

The discussion on the Passport Question, this evening, was not without animation; the new Under-Secretary, Mr Fitzgerald,[20] makes way with the House. He is very acute and quick in his points, but does not speak loud enough. His tone is conversational, which is the best for the House of Commons, and the most difficult; but then the conversation should be heard. The general effect of the discussion was favourable to the French Government.

In a thin House afterwards, the Wife's Sister Bill was brought in after a division. Your Majesty's Government had decided among themselves to permit the introduction, but a too zealous member of the Opposition forced an inopportune division.

[Footnote 20: William Robert Seymour Vesey Fitzgerald, M.P. for Horsham 1852-1865. He was Governor of Bombay 1867-1872.]



Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 25th March 1858. (Thursday.)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

The Lease of the Lord-Lieutenancy was certainly renewed to-night—and for some years. The majority was very great against change at present, and the future, which would justify it, it was agreed, should be the very decided opinion of the Irish members. It was left in short to Ireland.

The Debate was not very animated, but had two features—a most admirable speech by Lord Naas,[21] quite the model of an official statement, clear, calm, courteous, persuasive, and full of knowledge; it received the praises of both sides.

The other incident noticeable was Mr Roebuck's reply, which was one of the most apt, terse, and telling I well remember, and not bitter.

[Footnote 21: Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, afterwards (as Earl of Mayo) Viceroy of India, assassinated in the Andaman Islands, 1872.]



[Pageheading: CAPTURE OF LUCKNOW]

Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 13th April. (Tuesday night.)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

The night tranquil and interesting—Lord Bury, with much intelligence, introduced the subject of the Straits Settlements;[22] the speech of Sir J. Elphinstone,[23] master of the subject, and full of striking details, produced a great effect. His vindication of the convict population of Singapore, as the moral element of that strange society, might have been considered as the richest humour, had it not been for its unmistakable simplicity.

His inquiry of the Governor's lady, who never hired any servant but a convict, whether she employed in her nursery "Thieves or Murderers?"—and the answer, "Always murderers," was very effective....

The Secretary of State having sent down to the Chancellor of the Exchequer the telegram of the fall of Lucknow,[24] the Chancellor of the Exchequer read it to the House, having previously in private shown it to Lord Palmerston and others of the late Government.

After this a spirited Debate on the conduct of Members of Parliament corruptly exercising their influence, in which the view recommended by the Government, through Mr Secretary Walpole, was adopted by the House.

[Footnote 22: These detached provinces were at this time under the control of the Governor-General of India; but in 1867 they were formed into a Crown Colony.]

[Footnote 23: Sir J. D. H. Elphinstone, Conservative member for Portsmouth, afterwards a Lord of the Treasury.]

[Footnote 24: Sir Colin Campbell had at length obtained entire possession of the city, which had been in the hands of the rebels for nine months.]



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 2nd April 1858.

MY DEAR UNCLE,—I am sure you will kindly be interested in knowing that the Examination and Confirmation of Bertie have gone off extremely well.[25] Everything was conducted as at Vicky's, and I thought much of you, and wished we could have had the happiness of having you there. I enclose a Programme. The examination before the Archbishop and ourselves by the Dean on Wednesday was long and difficult, but Bertie answered extremely well, and his whole manner and Gemuethsstimmung yesterday, and again to-day, at the Sacrament to which we took him, was gentle, good, and proper.... Now, good-bye, dear Uncle. Ever your devoted Niece,

VICTORIA R.

[Footnote 25: See the Prince Consort's letter to Stockmar, Life of the Prince Consort, vol. iv. p. 205.]



[Pageheading: NAVAL PREPARATIONS]

Queen Victoria to Sir John Pakington.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 12th April 1858.

The Queen has received Sir John Pakington's letter of the 10th, and thanks him for the transmission of the printed copy of his confidential Memorandum.

The object of the paper which the Queen sent from Osborne to Lord Derby was to lead by a thorough investigation to an exact knowledge of the state of our Naval preparations in the event of a war, with the view to the discovery and suggestion of such remedies as our deficiencies imperatively demand. This investigation and thorough consideration the Queen expects from her Board of Admiralty, chosen with great care, and composed of the most competent Naval Authorities. She does not wish for the opinion of this or that person, given without any responsibility attaching to it, nor for mere returns prepared in the Office for the First Lord, but for the collective opinion of Sir John Pakington and his Board with the responsibility attaching to such an opinion given to the Sovereign upon a subject upon which the safety of the Empire depends. The Queen has full confidence in the honour of the gentlemen composing the Board, that they will respect the confidential character of the Queen's communication, and pay due regard to the importance of the subject referred to them.



[Pageheading: PROCEDURE BY RESOLUTION]

Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 12th April 1858. (Monday night.)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

House reassembled—full. Chancellor of Exchequer much embarrassed with impending statement, on the part of your Majesty's servants, that they intended to propose Resolutions on the Government of India, instead of at once proceeding with their Bill.[26]

Received, five minutes before he took his seat, confidential information, that Lord John Russell, wishing to defeat the prospects of Lord Palmerston, and himself to occupy a great mediatory position, intended, himself, to propose the mezzotermine of resolutions!

Chancellor of Exchequer felt it was impossible, after having himself introduced a Bill, to interfere with the Resolutions of an independent member, and one so weighty and distinguished: therefore, confined his announcement to the Budget on Monday week, and consequent postponement of India Bill.

Soon after, Lord John rose, and opened the case, in a spirit most calm and conciliatory to the House, and to your Majesty's Government.

The Chancellor of Exchequer responded, but with delicacy, not wishing rudely to deprive Lord John of his position in the matter; deeming it arrogant—but the real opposition, extremely annoyed at all that was occurring, wishing, at the same time, to deprive Lord John of the mediatory position, and to embarrass your Majesty's Government with the task and responsibility of preparing and introducing the resolutions, insisted upon Government undertaking the task. As the Chancellor of Exchequer read the sketch of the Resolutions in his box, this was amusing; he undertook the responsibility, thus urged, and almost menaced; Lord John, though greatly mortified at not bringing in the Resolutions himself, for it is since known they were prepared, entirely and justly acquits Chancellor of Exchequer of any arrogance and intrusion, and the affair concludes in a manner dignified and more than promising. It is now generally supposed that after the various Resolutions have been discussed, and passed, the Bill of your Majesty's servants, modified and reconstructed, will pass into a law.

The Chancellor of Exchequer will have a copy of the Resolutions, though at present in a crude form, made and forwarded to your Majesty, that they may be considered by your Majesty and His Royal Highness. Chancellor of Exchequer will mention this to Lord Derby, through whom they ought to reach your Majesty.

After this unexpected and interesting scene, because it showed, in its progress, a marked discordance between Lord John and Lord Palmerston, not concealed by the latter chief, and strongly evinced by some of his principal followers, for example, Sir C. Wood, Mr Hall, Mr Bouverie, the House went into Committee on the Navy Estimates which Sir J. Pakington introduced in a speech, lucid, spirited, and comprehensive. The feeling of the House as to the maintenance of the Navy was good.

[Footnote 26: Lord Palmerston had obtained leave, by a large majority, to introduce an India Bill, vesting the Government of India in a Council nominated by the Crown. On his accession to office, Mr Disraeli proposed that the Council should be half nominative and half elective, and in particular that London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast should each be entitled to elect one member. These proposals were widely condemned, and especially by Mr Bright.]



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Malmesbury.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 1st May 1858.

The Queen has received a draft to Lord Cowley on the Danish Question,[27] which she cannot sanction as submitted to her. The question is a most important one, and a false step on our part may produce a war between France and Germany. The Queen would wish Lord Malmesbury to call here in the course of to-morrow, when the Prince could discuss the matter with him more fully.

[Footnote 27: The dispute as to the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. The German Diet had refused to ratify the Danish proposal that Commissioners should be appointed by Germany and Denmark to negotiate an arrangement of their differences. Lord Malmesbury had written that the Governments (including England) which had hitherto abstained from interference, should now take measures to guard against any interference with the integrity of the Danish Monarchy. The Queen and Prince considered that the attitude of the British Government was unnecessarily pro-Danish.]



[Pageheading: THE OUDH PROCLAMATION]

Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 7th May 1858.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

At half-past four o'clock, before the Chancellor of the Exchequer could reach the House, the Secretary of the Board of Control had already presented the Proclamation of Lord Canning, and the despatch thereon of Lord Ellenborough, without the omission of the Oudh passages.[28]

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has employed every means to recall the papers, and make the necessary omissions, and more than once thought he had succeeded, but unhappily the despatch had been read by Mr Bright, and a considerable number of members, and, had papers once in the possession of the House by the presentation of a Minister been surreptitiously recalled and garbled, the matter would have been brought before the House, and the production of the complete documents would have been ordered.

In this difficult and distressing position the Chancellor of the Exchequer, after consultation with his colleagues in the House of Commons, thought it best, and, indeed, inevitable, to submit to circumstances, the occurrence of which he deeply regrets, and humbly places before your Majesty.

[Footnote 28: See ante, Introductory Note to Chapter XXVII. The draft proclamation (differing from the ultimate form in which it was issued), with a covering despatch, were sent home to the Board of Control by Lord Canning, who at the same time wrote an unofficial letter to Mr Vernon Smith, then President of the Board, stating that he had not been able to find time before the mail left to explain his reasons for adopting what appeared a somewhat merciless scheme of confiscation. Lord Ellenborough thereupon wrote a despatch, dated the 19th of April, reprobating the Governor-General for abandoning the accustomed policy of generous conquerors, and for inflicting on the mass of the population what they would feel as the severest of punishments. This despatch was made public in England, as will be seen from the dates, before it could possibly have reached Lord Canning.]



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 9th May 1858.

The Queen has received Lord Derby's letter of last night, and was glad to see that he entirely concurs with her in the advantage and necessity of appointing a Commission to consider the question of the organisation of the future Army of India.[29] She only hopes that no time will be lost by the reference to the different bodies whom Lord Derby wishes previously to consult, and she trusts that he will not let himself be overruled by Lord Ellenborough, who may very likely consider the opinion and result of the labours of a Committee as entirely valueless as compared with his own opinions.

The Queen has not the same confidence in them, and is, therefore, doubly anxious to be advised by a body of the most competent persons after most careful enquiry.

[Footnote 29: The Queen had written that she thought the Commission should be composed of officers of the Home and the Indian Armies, some politicians, the Commander-in-Chief, the President of the Board of Control, with the Secretary-for-War as President.]



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 9th May 1858.

The Queen has received Lord Derby's letter of yesterday. She is very sorry for the further complication likely to arise out of the communication to the House of Commons of the despatch in full, which is most unfortunate, not less so than the communication of it previously to Mr Bright and his friends. The Queen is anxious not to add to Lord Derby's difficulties, but she must not leave unnoticed the fact that the despatch in question ought never to have been written without having been submitted to the Queen. She hopes Lord Derby will take care that Lord Ellenborough will not repeat this, which must place her in a most embarrassing position.



[Pageheading: ELLENBOROUGH'S RESIGNATION]

The Earl of Ellenborough to Queen Victoria.

EATON SQUARE, 10th May 1858.

Lord Ellenborough presents his most humble duty to your Majesty, and regarding the present difficult position of your Majesty's Government as mainly occasioned by the presentation to Parliament of the letter to the Governor-General with reference to the Proclamation in Oudh, for which step he considers himself to be solely responsible, he deems it to be his duty to lay his resignation at your Majesty's feet.

Lord Ellenborough had no other object than that of making it unmistakably evident to the Governor as well as to the governed in India that your Majesty was resolved to temper Justice with Clemency, and would not sanction any measure which did not seem to conduce to the establishment of permanent peace.[30]

[Footnote 30: On the same day Lord Shaftesbury in the Lords and Mr Cardwell in the Commons gave notice of Motions censuring the Government for Lord Ellenborough's despatch. The debates commenced on the 14th.]



[Pageheading: A CRISIS]

[Pageheading: ELLENBOROUGH'S STATEMENT]

Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 11th May 1858.

Lord Derby had an Audience at twelve o'clock. He said he had received a copy of Lord Ellenborough's letter, and had told him that should the Queen consult him (Lord Derby) he should advise her to accept the resignation, Lord Ellenborough had behaved in the handsomest manner, and expressed his belief that he had brought bad luck to the Government, for this was now the second difficulty into which they had got by his instrumentality, the first having been the Election Clause in the India Bill. Lord Derby hoped that this resignation would stop the vote of censure in the House of Commons, as the House could not hold responsible and punish the Cabinet for that with which they had had no concern. If the House persisted, it was clear that the motives were factious, and he hoped the Queen would allow him to threaten a Dissolution of Parliament, which he was certain would stop it. The Queen refused to give that permission; she said he might leave it quite undecided whether the Queen would grant a Dissolution or not, and take the benefit of the doubt in talking to others on the subject; but she must be left quite free to act as she thought the good of the country might require at the time when the Government should have been beat; there had been a Dissolution within the year, and if a Reform Bill was passed there must be another immediately upon it; in the meantime most violent pledges would be taken as to Reform if a general election were to take place now. Lord Derby concurred in all this, and said he advised the threat particularly in order to render the reality unnecessary; when she persisted in her refusal, however, on the ground that she could not threaten what she was not prepared to do, he appeared very much disappointed and mortified.

We then discussed the state of the question itself, and urged the necessity of something being done to do away with the injurious impression which the publication of the despatch must produce in India, as the resignation of Lord Ellenborough left this quite untouched, and Parliament might with justice demand this. He agreed, after much difficulty, to send a telegraphic despatch, which might overtake and mitigate the other. On my remark that the public were under the impression that there had been collusion, and that Mr Bright had seen the despatch before he asked his question for its production, he denied this stoutly, but let us understand that Mr Bright had known of the existence of such a despatch, and had wished to put his question before, but had been asked to defer it until Lord Canning's Proclamation should have appeared in the newspapers! (This is nearly as bad!!) The Queen could not have pledged herself to dissolve Parliament in order to support such tricks!

ALBERT.

It was arranged that Lord Derby should accept Lord Ellenborough's resignation in the Queen's name.



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Ellenborough.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 11th May 1858.

The Queen has to acknowledge Lord Ellenborough's letter, which she did not wish to do before she had seen Lord Derby.

The latter has just left the Queen, and will communicate to Lord Ellenborough the Queen's acceptance of his resignation, which he has thought it right to tender to her from a sense of public duty.



[Pageheading: LORD DERBY'S DESPATCH]

The Earl of Derby to Queen Victoria.

ST JAMES'S SQUARE [11th May]. (9 P.M., Tuesday.)

Lord Derby, with his humble duty, submits to your Majesty the expression of his hope that the discussion, or rather conversation, which has taken place in the House of Lords this evening, may have been not only advantageous to the Government, but beneficial in its results to the public service....

After the discussion, Lord Ellenborough made his statement; and it is only doing bare justice to him to say that he made it in a manner and spirit which was most highly honourable to himself, and was fully appreciated by the House.

Public sympathy was entirely with him, especially when he vindicated the policy which he had asserted, but took upon himself the whole and sole responsibility of having authorised the publication of the despatch—which he vindicated—and announced his own resignation rather than embarrass his colleagues. Lord Grey shortly entered his protest against bringing into discussion the policy of the Proclamation and of the consequent despatch, into which Lord Ellenborough had certainly entered too largely, opposing, very broadly, the principle of confiscation against that of clemency. Lord Derby followed Lord Grey, and after an interruption on a point of form, vindicated the policy advocated in Lord Ellenborough's despatch, at the same time that he expressed not only his hope, but his belief, that in practice the Governor-General would be found (and more especially judging from the alterations inserted in the last Proclamation of which an unofficial copy has been received) acting on the principles laid down in Lord Ellenborough's despatch. In the tribute which he felt it his duty to pay to the personal, as well as political, character of Lord Ellenborough, the House concurred with entire unanimity and all did honour to the spirit which induced him to sacrifice his own position to the public service; and to atone, and more than atone, for an act of indiscretion by the frank avowal that he alone was responsible for it. Lord Derby thinks that the step which has been taken may, even probably, prevent the Motions intended to be made on Friday; and if made, will, almost certainly, result in a majority for the Government.

Lord Derby believes that he may possibly be in time to telegraph to Malta early to-morrow, to Lord Canning. In that case he will do himself the honour of submitting to your Majesty a copy of the message[31] sent, though he fears it will be impossible to do so before its despatch. He proposes in substance to say that the publication has been disapproved—that Lord Ellenborough has resigned in consequence—but that your Majesty's Government adhere in principle to the policy laid down in the despatch of 19th April, and entertain an earnest hope that the Governor-General, judging from the modifications introduced into the amended Proclamation, has, in fact, the intention of acting in the same spirit; but that your Majesty's Government are still of opinion that confiscation of private property ought to be made the exception, and not the rule, and to be enforced only against those who may stand out after a certain day, or who may be proved to have been guilty of more than ordinary crimes.

Lord Derby hopes that your Majesty will excuse a very hasty sketch of a very large subject.

[Footnote 31: The Earl of Derby to Lord Lyons.

12th May 1858.

Send on the following message to Lord Canning by the Indian mail.

The publication of the Secret Despatch of 19th April has been disapproved. Lord Ellenborough has resigned office. His successor has not been appointed. Nevertheless the policy indicated in the above despatch is approved by Her Majesty's Government. Confiscation of property of private individuals (Talookdars and others) ought to be the exception and not the rule. It ought to be held out as a penalty on those who do not come in by a given day. From your amended Proclamation it is hoped that such is your intention. Let it be clearly understood that it is so. You were quite right in issuing no Proclamation till after a signal success. That once obtained, the more generous the terms, the better. A broad distinction must be drawn between the Talookdars of Oudh and the Sepoys who have been in our service. Confidence is felt in your judgment. You will not err if you lean to the side of humanity, especially as to nations of Oudh.

No private letters have been received from you since the change of Government.]



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

14th May 1858.

The Queen returns the extracts Lord Derby has sent to her. Lord Ellenborough's despatch,[32] now before her for the first time, is very good and just in principle. But the Queen would be much surprised if it did not entirely coincide with the views of Lord Canning, at least as far as he has hitherto expressed any in his letters. So are also the sentiments written by Sir J. Lawrence; they contain almost the very expressions frequently used by Lord Canning.

Sir J. Login,[33] who holds the same opinion, and has great Indian experience, does not find any fault with the Proclamation, however seemingly it may sound at variance with these opinions, and this on account of the peculiar position of affairs in Oudh. It is a great pity that Lord Ellenborough, with his knowledge, experience, activity, and cleverness, should be so entirely unable to submit to general rules of conduct. The Queen has been for some time much alarmed at his writing letters of his own to all the most important Indian Chiefs and Kings explaining his policy. All this renders the position of a Governor-General almost untenable, and that of the Government at home very hazardous.

[Footnote 32: This was a later despatch of Lord Ellenborough's, also in reference to the pacification of Oudh, and not shown to the Cabinet before it was sent.]

[Footnote 33: See ante, 23rd September, 1857, note 41.]



[Pageheading: LORD ABERDEEN CONSULTED]

[Pageheading: PREROGATIVE OF DISSOLUTION]

[Pageheading: STATE OF PARTIES]

Memorandum by Sir Charles Phipps.

[Undated. ? 15th May 1858.]

Upon being admitted to Lord Aberdeen, I informed him that the Queen and Prince were anxious to hear his opinion upon the present most unfortunate state of affairs, but that, knowing how easily every event was perverted in such times as the present, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness had thought that it might have been subject to misapprehension had he been known to have been at Buckingham Palace, and that I had been therefore directed to call upon him, with a view of obtaining his opinion and advice upon certain important points.

The first was the question of a Dissolution of Parliament in the event of the Government being defeated upon the question which was at present pending. I told him that I was permitted to communicate to him in the strictest confidence, that in a late Audience which Lord Derby had with the Queen, he had asked her permission to be allowed to announce that, in the event of an adverse majority, he had Her Majesty's sanction to a Dissolution of Parliament.

That the Queen had declined to give such sanction, or even such a pledge, and equally guarded herself against being supposed to have made up her mind to refuse her sanction to a Dissolution, had told Lord Derby that she could not then make any prospective decision upon the subject. I told him that in point of fact Her Majesty was disinclined to grant to Lord Derby her authority for a Dissolution, but that the Queen had at once refused to grant to Lord Derby her sanction for making the announcement he wished, as she considered that it would be a very unconstitutional threat for him to hold over the head of the Parliament, with her authority, by way of biassing their decision.

Lord Aberdeen interrupted me by saying that the Queen had done quite right—that he never heard of such a request being made, or authority for such an announcement being sought—and he could not at all understand Lord Derby making such an application. He knew that the Government had threatened a Dissolution, that he thought that they had a perfect right to do so, but that they would have been quite wrong in joining the Queen's name with it.

He said that he had never entertained the slightest doubt that if the Minister advised the Queen to dissolve, she would, as a matter of course, do so. The Minister who advised the Dissolution took upon himself the heavy responsibility of doing so, but that the Sovereign was bound to suppose that the person whom she had appointed as a Minister was a gentleman and an honest man, and that he would not advise Her Majesty to take such a step unless he thought that it was for the good of the country. There was no doubt of the power and prerogative of the Sovereign to refuse a Dissolution—it was one of the very few acts which the Queen of England could do without responsible advice at the moment; but even in this case whoever was sent for to succeed, must, with his appointment, assume the responsibility of this act, and be prepared to defend it in Parliament.

He could not remember a single instance in which the undoubted power of the Sovereign had been exercised upon this point, and the advice of the Minister to dissolve Parliament had been rejected—for it was to be remembered that Lord Derby would be still at this time her Minister—and that the result of such refusal would be that the Queen would take upon herself the act of dismissing Lord Derby from office, instead of his resigning from being unable longer to carry on the Government.

The Queen had during her reign, and throughout the numerous changes of Government, maintained an unassailable position of constitutional impartiality, and he had no hesitation in saying that he thought it would be more right, and certainly more safe, for her to follow the usual course, than to take this dangerous time for exercising an unusual and, he believed he might say, an unprecedented, course, though the power to exercise the authority was undoubted.

He said that he did not conceive that any reasons of expediency as to public business, or the possible effects of frequent general elections, would be sufficient grounds for refusing a Dissolution (and reasons would have to be given by the new Minister in Parliament), and, as he conceived, the only possible ground that could be maintained as foundation for such an exercise of authority would be the fearful danger to the existence of our power in India, which might arise from the intemperate discussion upon every hustings of the proceedings of the Government with respect to that country—as the question proposed to the country would certainly be considered to be severity or mercy to the people of India.

Upon the second point, as to a successor to Lord Derby in the event of his resignation, he said that the Queen would, he thought, have no alternative but to send for Lord Palmerston. The only other person who could be suggested would be Lord John Russell, and he was neither the mover of the Resolutions which displaced the Government, nor the ostensible head of the Opposition, which the late meeting at Cambridge House pointed out Lord Palmerston to be. That he was not very fond of Lord Palmerston, though he had forgiven him all, and he had had much to forgive; and that in the last few days it had appeared that he had less following than Lord John; but the Queen could not act upon such daily changing circumstances, and it was evident that Lord Palmerston was the ostensible man for the Queen to send for.

Lord Aberdeen seemed very low upon the state of public affairs. He said that the extreme Liberals were the only Party that appeared to gain strength. Not only was the Whig Party divided within itself, hated by the Radicals, and having a very doubtful support from the independent Liberals, but even the little band called the Peelites had entirely crumbled to pieces. In the House of Lords, whilst the Duke of Newcastle voted with the Opposition, he (Lord Aberdeen) had purposely abstained from voting, whilst, in the House of Commons, Cardwell moved the Resolution, and Mr Sidney Herbert would, he believed, vote for it; Gladstone would speak on the other side, and Sir J. Graham would also vote with the Government.

He concluded by saying that if the majority against the Government was a very large one, he thought that Lord Derby ought not to ask to dissolve; but that he knew that the members of the Government had said that the present Parliament was elected upon a momentary Palmerstonian cry, and was quite an exceptional case, and that they would not consent to be driven from office upon its verdict.



[Pageheading: THE QUEEN AND DISSOLUTION]

Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 16th May 1858.

We saw Lord Derby after church. He brought interesting letters from Lord Canning to Lord Ellenborough, of which copies follow here. It is evident that Lord Canning thinks that he is taking a most merciful course, and expects pacification from his "Proclamation," attributing the slow coming in of the chiefs to the Proclamation not being yet sufficiently known.

Lord Ellenborough's, and indeed the Government's, hearts, must have had curious sensations in reading Lord Canning's frank declaration, that he did not mean to resign on hearing of the formation of the Tory Government unless told to do so, and he had no fears that he would be treated in a way implying want of confidence to make him resign, feeling safe as to that in Lord Ellenborough's hands!

Lord Derby spoke much of the Debate, which he expects to go on for another week. He expects to be beaten by from 15 to 35 votes under present circumstances, but thinks still that he could be saved if it were known that the Queen had not refused a Dissolution, which was stoutly maintained by Lord Palmerston's friends. He begged again to be empowered to contradict the assertion. The Queen maintained that it would be quite unconstitutional to threaten Parliament, and to use her name for that purpose. Lord Derby quite agreed, and disclaimed any such intention, but said there were modes of letting the fact be known without any risk. We agreed that we could not enter into such details. The Queen allowed him (Lord Derby) to know that a Dissolution would not be refused to him, and trusted that her honour would be safe in his hands as to the use he made of that knowledge. He seemed greatly relieved, and stated that had he had to resign, he would have withdrawn from public business, and the Conservative Party would have been entirely, and he feared for ever, broken up. On a Dissolution he felt certain of a large gain, as the country was in fact tired of the "Whig Family Clique"; the Radicals, like Mr Milner Gibson, Bright, etc., would willingly support a Conservative Government.

ALBERT.



[Pageheading: COLLAPSE OF THE ATTACK]

Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.[34]

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 21st May 1858.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

The fullest House; it is said 620 Members present; it was supposed we should have divided at three o'clock in the morning; Mr Gladstone was to have spoken for the Government at half-past ten—very great excitement—when there occurred a scene perhaps unprecedented in Parliament.

One after another, perhaps twenty Members, on the Opposition benches, rising and entreating Mr Cardwell to withdraw his Resolution. After some time, silence on the Government benches, Mr Cardwell went to Lord John Russell, then to Lord Palmerston, then to Lord John Russell again, then returned to Lord Palmerston, and retired with him.

What are called the interpellations continued, when suddenly Lord Palmerston reappeared; embarrassed, with a faint smile; addressed the House; and after various preluding, announced the withdrawal of the Motion of Censure.

A various Debate followed; the Chancellor of the Exchequer endeavouring, as far as regards Lord Canning, to fulfil your Majesty's wishes. It is impossible to estimate the importance of this unforeseen event to your Majesty's servants. It has strengthened them more than the most decided division in their favour, for it has revealed complete anarchy in the ranks of their opponents. With prudence and vigilance all must now go right.

The speech of Sir James Graham last night produced a very great effect. No report gives a fair idea of it. The great country gentleman, the broad views, the fine classical allusions, the happiest all omitted, the massy style, contrasted remarkably with Sir Richard Bethell.

[Footnote 34: Lord Shaftesbury's Motion in the Lords had been lost by a majority of nine. In the Commons, Mr Cardwell was replied to in a brilliant speech by Sir Hugh Cairns, the Solicitor-General. The speeches of Sir James Graham, Mr Bright, and others, showed that the Opposition was disunited, and when it was understood that Mr Gladstone would support the Ministry, the Liberal attack collapsed. Mr Disraeli, deprived of the satisfaction of making an effective reply, subsequently compared the discomfiture of his opponents to an earthquake in Calabria or Peru. "There was," he said, in the course of a speech at Slough, "a rumbling murmur, a groan, a shriek, a sound of distant thunder. No one knew whether it came from the top or bottom of the House. There was a rent, a fissure in the ground, and then a village disappeared, then a tall tower toppled down, and the whole of the Opposition benches became one great dissolving view of anarchy."]



[Pageheading: CAUSES OF THE COLLAPSE]

[Pageheading: OFFER TO MR GLADSTONE]

The Earl of Derby to Queen Victoria.

ST JAMES'S SQUARE, 23rd May 1858. (Sunday night.)

Lord Derby, with his humble duty, gratefully acknowledges your Majesty's gracious letter just received, and the telegraphic message with which he was honoured in answer to his on Friday night. Your Majesty can hardly be expected to estimate, at a distance from the immediate scene of action, the effect of the event of that evening. It was the utter explosion of a well-constructed mine, under the feet, not of the assailed, but of the assailants; and the effect has been the greater from the immense attendance in London of Members of the House of Commons. No effort had been spared. Lord Castlerosse, only just married, had been sent for from Italy—but Lord Derby hopes that he had not been induced to come—for nothing. It is said that of the 654 Members of whom the House is composed, 626 were actually in London. The Government could rely on 304 to 308, and the whole question turned on the absence, or the conversion, of a small number of "Liberal" Members. The result is to be attributed to two causes; first, and principally, to the fear of a Dissolution, and to the growing conviction that in case of necessity your Majesty would sanction such a course, which had been strenuously denied by Lord Palmerston—and in which Lord Derby hopes that your Majesty will have seen that your Majesty's name has never, for a moment, been brought in question; and secondly, to the effect produced by the correspondence between the Governor-General and Sir James Outram.[35] And here Lord Derby may perhaps be allowed the opportunity of removing a misconception from your Majesty's mind, as to any secret intelligence or underhand intrigue between Lord Ellenborough and Sir James Outram, to the detriment of Lord Canning. Lord Derby is in the position to know that if there is one person in the world to whom Lord Ellenborough has an utter aversion, and with whom he has no personal or private correspondence, it is Sir James Outram. Anything therefore in common in their opinions must be the result of circumstances wholly irrespective of private concert. Lord Derby has written fully to Lord Canning, privately, by the mail which will go out on Tuesday; and while he has not concealed from him the opinion of your Majesty's servants that the Proclamation, of which so much has been said, conveyed too sweeping an Edict of Confiscation against the landowners, great and small, of Oudh, he has not hesitated to express also his conviction that Lord Canning's real intentions, in execution, would not be found widely to differ from the views of your Majesty's servants. He has expressed to Lord Canning his regret at the premature publication of the Draft Proclamation, at the same time that he has pointed out the injustice done both to your Majesty's Government and to the Governor-General by the (Lord Derby will hardly call it fraudulent) suppression of the private letters addressed to the President of the Board of Control, and deprecating judgment on the text of the Proclamation, until explanation should be received. Lord Derby cannot but be of opinion that this suppression, of which Lord Palmerston was fully cognisant, was an act which no political or party interests were sufficient to justify.

The state of the Government, during the late crisis, was such as to render it impossible to make any arrangement for filling up Lord Ellenborough's place at the Board of Control. Application has since been made to Mr Gladstone,[36] with the offer of that post, or of that of the Colonial Department, which Lord Stanley would give up for the convenience of your Majesty's Government, though unwillingly, for India. Mr Gladstone demurred, on the ground of not wishing to leave his friends; but when pressed to name whom he would wish to bring with him, he could name none. Finally, he has written to ask advice as to his course of Sir James Graham, who has returned to Netherby, and of Lord Aberdeen; and by them he will probably be guided. Should he finally refuse, Lord Stanley must take India; and the Colonies must be offered in the first instance to Sir E. B. Lytton, who probably will refuse, as he wants a Peerage, and is doubtful of his re-election; and failing him, to Sir William Heathcote, the Member for the University of Oxford, who, without official experience, has great Parliamentary knowledge and influence, and, if he will accept, is quite equal to the duties of the office. Lord Derby trusts that your Majesty will forgive this long intrusion on your Majesty's patience. He has preferred the risk of it, to leaving your Majesty uninformed as to anything which was going on, or contemplated....

If Lord Dalhousie should be in a state to converse upon public affairs, there is no one with whom Lord Derby could confer more confidentially than with him; nor of whose judgment, though he regrets to differ with him as to the annexation of Oudh, he has a higher opinion. He will endeavour to ascertain what is his present state of health, which he fears is very unsatisfactory, and will see and converse with him, if possible.

[Footnote 35: Especially Outram's remonstrance against what he considered the excessive severity of the Proclamation.]

[Footnote 36: See Mr Disraeli's curious letter printed in Morley's Gladstone, vol. i. p. 587, asking Mr Gladstone whether the time had not come when he might deign to be magnanimous. Sir E. B. Lytton accepted the office.]



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 4th June 1858.

The Queen has to thank Lord Derby for his satisfactory letter received yesterday. She has heard from Mr Disraeli to-day relative to the answer given by him to the question asked yesterday in the House of Commons as to what the Government meant to do.[37] He says that he hears there are rumours of other Motions on the subject. These the Queen hopes there will be no difficulty in defeating.

The Duke of Cambridge seems rather uneasy altogether, but the Queen, though equally anxious about it, owns she cannot contemplate the possibility of any real attempt to divest the Crown of its prerogative in this instance. The Army will not, she feels sure, stand it for a moment, and the Queen feels sure, that if properly defined and explained, the House of Commons will not acquiesce in any such disloyal proceeding.

The Queen does not understand Lord John Russell's voting with the majority, for she never understood him to express any such opinion.

[Footnote 37: A question was asked whether it was the intention of the Government to take any step in consequence of a resolution of the House in favour of placing the whole administration and control of the Army under the sole authority of a single Minister. Mr. Disraeli replied that "considering the great importance of the subject,... the comparatively small number of Members in the House when the division took pace, and the bare majority by which the decision was arrived at, Her Majesty's Government do not feel that it is their duty to recommend any measure in consequence of that resolution."]



[Pageheading: GOVERNMENT OF INDIA]

Mr Disraeli to Queen Victoria.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 24th June 1858.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer with his humble duty to your Majesty.

The India Bill was read a second time without a division.[38] Lord Stanley made a clear and vigorous exposition of its spirit and provisions; Mr Bright delivered a powerful oration on the condition of India—its past government and future prospects; the rest of the discussion weak and desultory.

No serious opposition apprehended in Committee, which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has fixed for this day (Friday)[39] and almost hopes that he may conclude the Committee on Monday. He proposes to proceed with no other business until it is concluded.

When the Bill has passed, the temper of the House, and its sanitary state,[40] will assist him in passing the remaining estimates with rapidity; and he contemplates an early conclusion of the Session.

It will be a great thing to have carried the India Bill, which Mr Thomas Baring, to-night, spoke of in terms of eulogy, and as a great improvement on the project of the late Government. It is, the Chancellor of the Exchequer really thinks, a wise and well-digested measure, ripe with the experience of the last five months of discussion; but it is only the antechamber of an imperial palace; and your Majesty would do well to deign to consider the steps which are now necessary to influence the opinions and affect the imagination of the Indian populations. The name of your Majesty ought to be impressed upon their native life. Royal Proclamations, Courts of Appeal, in their own land, and other institutions, forms, and ceremonies, will tend to this great result.

[Footnote 38: This was the third Bill of the Session, and was founded on the Resolutions, ante, 12th April, 1858, note 26. The Government of India was transferred from the dual jurisdiction of the Company and the Board of Control, to the Secretary of State for India in Council, the members of the Council (after the provisions for representing vested interests should have lapsed) to be appointed by the Secretary of State. A certain term of residence in India was to be a necessary qualification, and the members were to be rendered incapable of sitting in Parliament, and with a tenure of office as assured as that of judges under the Act of Settlement.]

[Footnote 39: The letter is ante-dated. The 24th of June was a Thursday.]

[Footnote 40: In consequence of the polluted condition of the Thames, the Government carried a measure enabling the Metropolitan Board of Works, at a cost of L3,000,000, to purify "that noble river, the present state of which is little creditable to a great country, and seriously prejudicial to the health and comfort of the inhabitants of the Metropolis."—Extract from the Queen's Speech, at the close of the Session.]



[Pageheading: INDIAN CIVIL SERVICE]

[Pageheading: THE SOVEREIGN'S PREROGATIVES]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

OSBORNE, 8th July 1858.

The Queen in reading in the papers yesterday, on her way here from the camp, the Debate in the House of Commons of the previous night, was shocked to find that in several important points her Government have surrendered the prerogatives of the Crown. She will only refer to the clauses concerning the Indian Civil Service and the right of peace and war.

With respect to the first, the regulations under which servants of the Crown are to be admitted or examined have always been an undoubted right and duty of the Executive; by the clause introduced by Lord Stanley the system of "Competitive Examination" has been confirmed by Act of Parliament. That system may be right or wrong; it has since its introduction been carried on under the Orders in Council; now the Crown and Government are to be deprived of any authority in the matter, and the whole examinations, selection, and appointments, etc., etc., are to be vested in the Civil Commissioners under a Parliamentary title.

As to the right of the Crown to declare war and make peace, it requires not a word of remark; yet Lord Stanley agrees to Mr Gladstone's proposal to make over this prerogative with regard to Indian questions to Parliament under the auspices of the Queen's Government; she is thus placed in a position of less authority than the President of the American Republic.[41]

When a Bill has been introduced into Parliament, after having received the Sovereign's approval, she has the right to expect that her Ministers will not subsequently introduce important alterations without previously obtaining her sanction. In the first of the two instances referred to by the Queen, Lord Stanley introduced the alteration himself; in the second he agreed to it even without asking for a moment's delay; and the Opposition party, which attempted to guard the Queen's prerogative, was overborne by the Government Leader of the House.

The Queen must remind Lord Derby that it is to him as the head of the Government that she looks for the protection of those prerogatives which form an integral part of the Constitution.

[Footnote 41: An important amendment made at the instance of Mr Gladstone provided that, except for repelling actual invasion or upon urgent necessity, the Queen's Indian forces should not be employed in operations outside India, without Parliamentary sanction.]



The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.

LAEKEN, 16th July 1858.

MY TRULY BELOVED VICTORIA,—Nothing can be kinder or more affectionate than your dear letter of the 13th, and it would have done your warm heart good to have seen how much I have been delighted and moved by it. I can only say that I love you both more tenderly than I could love my own children. When your plans will be nearer maturity, you will have the great kindness to let me know what will be your Royal pleasure, to enable me de m'y conformer bien exactement.

The feeling which occasions some grumbling at the Cherbourg visit[42] is in fact a good feeling, but it is not over-wise. Two things are to be done—(1) To make every reasonable exertion to remain on personal good terms with the Emperor—which can be done. One party in England says it is with the French nation that you are to be on loving terms; this cannot be, as the French dislike the English as a nation, though they may be kind to you also personally. (2) The next is, instead of a good deal of unnecessary abuse, to have the Navy so organised that it can and must be superior to the French. All beyond these two points is sheer nonsense.

After talking of Chambord,[43] to my utter horror he is here, and asked yesterday to see me to-day. It is not fair to do so, as the legitimists affect to this hour to consider [us] here as rebels. I could not refuse to see him, as, though distantly, still he is a relation; but I mean to do as they did in Holland, to receive him, but to limit to his visit and my visit our whole intercourse. If he should speak to me of going to England, I certainly mean to tell him que je considerais une visite comme tout a fait intempestive.... Your devoted Uncle,

LEOPOLD R.

[Footnote 42: On the 4th of August, the Queen and Prince, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, visited the Emperor and Empress at Cherbourg.]

[Footnote 43: See ante, 16th January, 1854, and note 5.]



[Pageheading: BRITISH COLUMBIA]

Queen Victoria to Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.

OSBORNE, 24th July 1858.

The Queen has received Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's letter.[44] If the name of New Caledonia is objected to as being already borne by another colony or island claimed by the French, it may be better to give the new colony west of the Rocky Mountains another name. New Hanover, New Cornwall, and New Georgia appear from the maps to be the names of sub-divisions of that country, but do not appear on all maps. The only name which is given to the whole territory in every map the Queen has consulted is "Columbia," but as there exists also a Columbia in South America, and the citizens of the United States call their country also Columbia, at least in poetry, "British Columbia" might be, in the Queen's opinion, the best name.

[Footnote 44: Stating that objections were being made in France to the name of New Caledonia being given to the proposed colony between the Pacific and the Rocky Mountains.]



[Pageheading: ARMY COMMISSIONS]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

OSBORNE, 29th July 1858.

The Queen has been placed in a most unpleasant dilemma by the last vote in the House of Commons;[45] she feels all the force of Lord Derby's objections to risking another defeat on the same question and converting the struggle into one against the Royal Prerogative; yet, on the other hand, she can hardly sit still, and from mere want of courage become a party to the most serious inroad which has yet been made upon it. It is the introduction of the principle into our legislation that the Sovereign is no longer the source of all appointments under the Crown, but that these appointments are the property of individuals under a Parliamentary title, which the Queen feels bound to resist. Lord John Russell's Motion and Sir James Graham's speech only went to the Civil appointments; but after their Motion had been carried on a division, Lord Stanley gave way to Sir De Lacy Evans also with regard to a portion of the Army! If this principle is recognised and sanctioned by the entire legislature, its future extension can no longer be resisted on constitutional grounds, and Lord John in fact reminded Lord Stanley that the latter had stated that he only refrained from making the application general from thinking it premature, himself being of opinion that it ought to be carried further, and yet its extension to the Army reduces the Sovereign to a mere signing machine, as, to carry the case to its extreme consequence, Law would compel her to sign the Commission for the officers, and they might have the right to sue at law for the recovery of their property vested in them by Act of Parliament (viz., their Commissions) if the Crown doubted for any reason the fitness of an appointment!! Have these consequences been considered and brought distinctly before Parliament? It strikes the Queen that all the Commons want is a Parliamentary security against the abolition of the Competitive System of Examinations by the Executive. Can this not be obtained by means less subversive of the whole character of our Constitution? The Queen cannot believe that Lord Derby could not find means to come to some agreement with the Opposition, and she trusts he will leave nothing undone to effect this.

[Footnote 45: The Lords Amendments on the subject of competitive examination were rejected by a majority of thirteen in the Commons, and, in the circumstances, Lord Derby had advised abiding by the decision and not risking another defeat.]



[Pageheading: NAVAL ESTIMATES]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

OSBORNE, 2nd August 1858.

The Queen feels it her duty to address a few lines to Lord Derby on the subject of the reports made to Sir John Pakington on the subject of the French Naval preparations, to which she has already verbally adverted when she saw Lord Derby last. These reports reveal a state of things of the greatest moment to this country. It will be the first time in her history that she will find herself in an absolute minority of ships on the sea! and this inferiority will be much greater in reality than even apparent, as our fleet will have to defend possessions and commerce all over the world, and has even in Europe a strategical line to hold extending from Malta to Heligoland, whilst France keeps her fleet together and occupies the centre of that line in Europe.

The Queen thinks it irreconcilable with the duty which the Government owes to the country to be aware of this state of things without straining every nerve to remedy it. With regard to men in whom we are also totally deficient in case of an emergency, a Commission of Enquiry is sitting to devise a remedy; but with regard to our ships and dockyards we require action, and immediate action. The plan proposed by the Surveyor of the Navy appears to the Queen excessively moderate and judicious, and she trusts that the Cabinet will not hesitate to empower its execution, bearing in mind that L200,000 spent now will probably do more work during the six or nine months for working before us, than L2,000,000 would if voted in next year's estimate, letting our arrears in the dockyards, already admitted to be very great, accumulate in the interval. Time is most precious under these circumstances!

It is true that this sum of money would be in excess of the estimates of last Session, but the Queen feels sure that on the faith of the reports made by the Admiralty, the Government would find no difficulty in convincing Parliament that they have been good stewards of the public money, in taking courageously the responsibility upon themselves to spend judiciously what is necessary, and that the country will be deeply grateful for the honesty with which they will have served her.

The Queen wishes Lord Derby to communicate this letter to the Cabinet.



Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

BABELSBERG, 15th August 1858.

The Queen has asked Lord Malmesbury to explain in detail to Lord Derby her objections to the draft of Proclamation for India. The Queen would be glad if Lord Derby would write it himself in his excellent language, bearing in mind that it is a female Sovereign who speaks to more than 100,000,000 of Eastern people on assuming the direct Government over them after a bloody civil war, giving them pledges which her future reign is to redeem, and explaining the principles of her Government. Such a document should breathe feelings of generosity, benevolence, and religious feeling, pointing out the privileges which the Indians will receive in being placed on an equality with the subjects of the British Crown, and the prosperity following in the train of civilisation.[46]

[Footnote 46: The draft Proclamation was accordingly altered so as to be in strict harmony with the Queen's wishes. See post, 2nd December, 1858, and note 52.]



[Pageheading: PROCLAMATION FOR INDIA]

Queen Victoria to Lord Stanley.

OSBORNE, 4th September 1858.

The Queen sends to Lord Stanley a Memorandum embodying her wishes with respect to the transaction of business between herself and the new Secretary of State. He will find that she has omitted any reference to Military appointments, as Lord Stanley seemed anxious to defer a settlement on this point; she expects, however, that in all cases in which her pleasure was taken by the Commander-in-Chief, even during the administration of the East India Company and Board of Control, the same practice will be continued unaltered.

The Queen has received Lord Stanley's letter of yesterday. He has given her no answer with respect to Sir James Melvill.[47]

Whenever the Proclamation is finally printed, the Queen would wish to have a copy sent her. A letter she has received from Lady Canning speaks of Lord Canning's supposed Amnesty in Oudh as a fabrication; she has sent the letter to Lord Derby.

[Footnote 47: The Queen had asked how it was that Sir J. Melvill's name was not included among those submitted to her for appointments in connection with the new military organisation in India. Sir James had been Financial Secretary, and afterwards Chief Secretary, for the East India Company. He now became the Government Director of Indian railways, and a Member of the Council of India.]



Memorandum by Queen Victoria.

OSBORNE, 4th September 1858.

The Queen wishes the practice of the Office[48] with reference to submissions to her to be as nearly as possible assimilated to that of the Foreign Office.

All despatches, when received and perused by the Secretary of State, to be sent to the Queen. They may be merely forwarded in boxes from the Office without being accompanied by any letter from the Secretary of State, unless he should think an explanation necessary. No draft of instructions or orders to be sent out without having been previously submitted to the Queen. The label on the boxes of the Office containing such drafts to be marked "For Approval."

In cases of Civil appointments the Secretary of State will himself take the Queen's pleasure before communicating with the gentlemen to be appointed.

Copies or a precis of the Minutes of the Council to be regularly transmitted to the Queen.

The Secretary of State to obtain the Queen's sanction to important measures previously to his bringing them before the Council for discussion.

[Footnote 48: The India Office.]



[Pageheading: LORD PALMERSTON]

Memorandum by the Prince Albert.

OSBORNE, 4th September 1858.

The most remarkable feature of the last Session of Parliament has been the extraordinary unpopularity of Lord Palmerston, for which nothing can account; the only direct reproach which is made to him, is to have appointed Lord Clanricarde Privy Seal, and to have been overbearing in his manner. Yet a House of Commons, having been elected solely for the object, and on the ground of supporting Lord Palmerston personally (an instance in our Parliamentary history without parallel), holds him suddenly in such abhorrence, that not satisfied with having upset his Government, which had been successful in all its policy, and thrown him out, it will hardly listen to him when he speaks. He is frequently received with hooting, and throughout the last Session it sufficed that [he] took up any cause for the whole House voting against it, even if contrary to the principles which they had themselves advocated, merely to have the satisfaction of putting him into a minority. How can this be accounted for? The man who was without rhyme or reason stamped the only English statesman, the champion of liberty, the man of the people, etc., etc., now, without his having changed in any one respect, having still the same virtues and the same faults that he always had, young and vigorous in his seventy-fifth year, and having succeeded in his policy, is now considered the head of a clique, the man of intrigue, past his work, etc., etc.—in fact hated! and this throughout the country. I cannot explain the enigma except by supposing that people had before joined in a cry which they thought was popular without themselves believing what they said and wrote, and that they now do the same; that the Radicals used his name to destroy other statesmen and politicians, and are destroying him now in his turn; that they hoped to govern through him, and that they see a better chance now of doing it through a weak and incapable Tory Government which has entered into a secret bargain for their support. Still the phenomenon remains most curious.[49]

[Footnote 49: Charles Greville, in his Journal (16th June 1858), noted the same circumstance, and drew the inference that Palmerston's public career was drawing to a close.]

Lord Palmerston himself remains, outwardly at least, quite cheerful, and seems to care very little about his reverses; he speaks on all subjects, bids for the Liberal support as before, even at the expense of his better conviction (as he used to do), and keeps as much as possible before the public; he made an official tour in Ireland, and is gone to visit the Emperor Napoleon at Paris; his Chinese policy upon which the general Dissolution had taken place in 1857 has just been crowned by the most complete success by the advantageous treaty signed at Pekin by Lord Elgin; and yet even for this the public will not allow him any credit. Lady Palmerston, on the contrary, is said to be very unhappy and very much hurt.

ALBERT.



[Pageheading: THE IONIAN ISLANDS]

Sir E. Bulwer Lytton to Queen Victoria.

COLONIAL OFFICE, 1st November 1858.

Sir E. B. Lytton, with his humble duty to the Queen, submits to your Majesty's pleasure the appointment of the Right Honourable W. E. Gladstone, as special High Commissioner to the Ionian Islands.

Differences of long standing between the Executive and Legislative branches of the Ionian Constitution, aggravated by recent dissensions between the Senate and Municipal Magistrature, render it very expedient to obtain the opinion of a statesman of eminence, formed upon the spot, as to any improvements in the workings and results of the Constitution which it might be in the power of the protecting Sovereign to effect. And Sir Edward thinks it fortunate for the public service that a person so distinguished and able as Mr Gladstone should be induced to undertake this mission.

Sir Edward ventures to add that, should Her Majesty be graciously pleased to approve this appointment, it is extremely desirable that Mr Gladstone should depart at the earliest possible day, and that Sir Edward may be enabled to make the requisite announcement to the Lord High Commissioner by the first mail.



[Pageheading: LORD STANLEY AND MR DISRAELI]

[Pageheading: SUGGESTED RESIGNATION]

Mr Disraeli to the Prince Albert.

GROSVENOR GATE, 18th November 1858. (Wednesday night.)

SIR,—After the Committee of the Cabinet on the Reform Bill, which sat this morning for five hours, Lord Stanley expressed a wish to have some private conversation with me.

Although I would willingly have deferred the interview till a moment when I was less exhausted, I did not think it wise, with a person of his temperament, to baulk an occasion, and therefore assented at once.

I give your Royal Highness faithfully, but feebly, and not completely, the results of our conversation.

1. With respect to the relations between his office and Her Majesty, he said he was conscious that they had been conducted with great deficiency of form, and, in many respects, in an unsatisfactory manner; but he attributed all this to the inexperience and "sheer ignorance" of a Department which had not been accustomed to direct communication with the Crown. Some portion of this, he said, he had already remedied, and he wished to remedy all, though he experienced difficulties, on some of which he consulted me.

He accepted, without reserve, and cordially, my position, that he must act always as the Minister of the Queen, and not of the Council, but he said I took an exaggerated view of his relations with that body; that he thoroughly knew their respective places, and should be vigilant that they did [? not] overstep their limits; that he had never been, of which he reminded me, an admirer of the East India Company, and had no intention of reviving their system; that the incident of submitting the legal case to the Council, etc., had originated in a demand on the part of the Commander-in-Chief, which involved, if complied with, a grant of money, and that, under these circumstances, an appeal to the Council was inevitable.

2. He agreed with me, that, on all military matters, he would habitually communicate with the Commander-in-Chief, and take His Royal Highness's advice on all such points; and that copies of all military papers, as I understood Lord Stanley, should be furnished to His Royal Highness.

3. Having arrived at this point, I laid before him the views respecting military unity, which formed the subject matter of recent conversations. Lord Stanley assented to the principles which I attempted to enforce; and in reply to my reminding him that the old military system of India had entirely broken down, he said he contemplated terminating the independent authority of the Commander-in-Chief at the inferior Presidencies, and of establishing the absolute and complete authority of Her Majesty's Commander-in-Chief in India. He did not seem to see his way to any further step at present, and I did not think it judicious on this occasion to press the subject further.

Throughout this interview, Lord Stanley's manner was candid, very conciliatory, and, for him, even soft. He was pleased to say that it was a source of great satisfaction to him that your Royal Highness had deigned to confer confidentially with me on the subject, and make me, as it were, a "Mediator" on matters which, he assured me with great emphasis, had occasioned him an amount of anxiety almost intolerable.

He had recurred, in the course of this interview, to a suggestion which he had thrown out on Tuesday, viz. that the difficulties of the position might be removed, or greatly mitigated, by his retirement from the office, and accepting, if his continuance in the Government was desirable, another post. I therefore thought it best at once to point out to him that such a course of proceeding would only aggravate all the inconveniences and annoyances at present existing; that his retirement would be the signal for exaggerated rumours and factious machinations, and would have the most baneful effect on the discussion in Parliament generally of all those military topics with which we were threatened; that, far from being satisfactory to Her Majesty and your Royal Highness, I was convinced that the Queen and yourself would hear of such an intention with regret.

Lord Stanley ultimately adopted entirely this view of his position, and he parted from me with an earnest expression of his hope that the painful misconceptions which had prevailed might at once, or at least in due course, entirely disappear.

This, Sir, is a very imperfect report of an important interview, but, as I collected from Lord Stanley, that nothing was really settled in his conference on Tuesday with Lord Derby and the Lord Chancellor, I have thought it my duty, without loss of time, to forward it to your Royal Highness, and have the honour to remain, ever, Sir, your most obedient and sincerely obliged Servant,

B. DISRAELI.



The Prince Albert to Mr Disraeli.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 18th November 1858.

MY DEAR MR DISRAELI,—I am very much obliged to you for your long letter after a Cabinet meeting of five hours, and subsequent interview with Lord Stanley, whom I am much pleased to hear you found so anxious to remedy the present state of things. I am glad that you made it clear to him that the Queen had never connected in her mind the objections which she felt bound to take with anything personal, which could be removed by Lord Stanley's relinquishing the Indian Secretaryship. The difficulty would still remain to be solved, only under additional complication and disadvantage. Lord Derby told me to-day that he was drawing up a Memorandum which, when seen by the Chancellor and Lord Stanley, was to be submitted to the Queen. Ever yours truly,

ALBERT.[50]

[Footnote 50: On the same day Lord Stanley wrote a lengthy letter to the Queen justifying the course he had taken.]



[Pageheading: THE INDIA OFFICE]

Queen Victoria to Lord Stanley.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 20th November 1858.

The Queen has received Lord Stanley's letter entering into the subject of the difficulties which have arisen in the conduct of the new Indian Department. She had from the first foreseen that it would not be an easy matter to bring the establishments of the old Company's Government to fall into the practice and usages of the Constitutional Monarchy, and was therefore most anxious that distinct rules should be laid down before the installation of the new Government, which unfortunately was not done, but she trusts will now be devised and adopted.

The Queen most readily gives Lord Stanley credit for every intention to remove the obstacles in the way of the solution of these difficulties as far as he was able, but she cannot but fear that the particular form in which the opinion of the Law Officers has been asked, and the fact [that] the eighteen members of the Council (all naturally wedded to a system under which they were trained) were made parties to the discussion between herself and her Secretary of State on these difficulties—must increase instead of diminishing them.

The account given by Mr Temple, together with the last printed letters and Memoranda from the Punjab, give us serious cause of apprehension for the future, and show that the British Army is the only safeguard at present.



[Pageheading: LORD CANNING'S PROCLAMATION]

Queen Victoria to Viscount Canning.[51]

WINDSOR CASTLE, 2nd December 1858.

The Queen acknowledges the receipt of Lord Canning's letter of the 19th October, which she received on the 29th November, which has given her great pleasure.

It is a source of great satisfaction and pride to her to feel herself in direct communication with that enormous Empire which is so bright a jewel of her Crown, and which she would wish to see happy, contented, and peaceful. May the publication of her Proclamation be the beginning of a new era, and may it draw a veil over the sad and bloody past!

The Queen rejoices to hear that her Viceroy approves this passage about Religion.[52] She strongly insisted on it. She trusts also that the certainty of the Amnesty remaining open till the 1st January may not be productive of serious evil.

The Queen must express our admiration of Lord Canning's own Proclamation, the wording of which is beautiful. The telegram received to-day brings continued good news, and announces her proclamation having been read, and having produced a good effect.

The Queen hopes to hear from Lord Canning, whenever he can spare time to write. She misses hearing from Lady Canning, not having heard from her since the 30th August; but the Queen fears that she is herself to blame, as she has not written to Lady Canning for a long time; she intends doing so by the next mail....

Both the Prince and herself hope that Lord Canning's health is now perfectly good, as well as dear Lady Canning's. We ask him to remember us to her, and also to Lord Clyde.

The Queen concludes with every wish for Lord Canning's success and prosperity, and with the assurance of her undiminished and entire confidence.

[Footnote 51: The Queen's Proclamation to her Indian subjects had been received by Lord Canning on the 17th of October, when he also learned that the title of Viceroy was in future to dignify the Governor-General's office.]

[Footnote 52: "Firmly relying ourselves on the truth of Christianity, and acknowledging with gratitude the solace of religion, we disclaim alike the right and desire to impose our convictions on any of our subjects." The Proclamation proceeded to state that all the Queen's Indian subjects should be impartially protected by the law, and live unmolested in the observance of their several religions.]



[Pageheading: FRANCE AND ITALY]

The Earl of Malmesbury to Queen Victoria.

LONDON, 10th December 1858.

The Earl of Malmesbury presents his humble duty to the Queen, and has already anticipated your Majesty's wishes respecting the Emperor Napoleon.[53] Lord Malmesbury has written to Lord Cowley a private letter, desiring him to show it to His Majesty. It is in the same sense as your Majesty's, and states that if he is anxious to improve the lot of the worst governed country, namely the Papal States, he should, instead of sulking with Austria, make an attempt with his Catholic brother to ameliorate the Papal Government. It is not for Protestant England to take the initiative, as her object would be misunderstood and attributed to sectarian motives; but England could give her moral support, and even her material aid eventually, if it were required to establish an improved Administration of the Roman States. Austria would gain by having a quiet frontier. The correspondence which took place in 1856 and 1857 between Lord Clarendon and Mr Lyons shows that this is the only effective way of ameliorating the condition of Italy without a war.

Lord Malmesbury thinks he can assure your Majesty that none is at present contemplated by the Emperor Napoleon (who has just contradicted the report officially), and Count Buol is of the same opinion. The latter is constantly hurting the vanity of the French Government by his irritable despatches, and neither party makes the slightest effort to command their temper; but it appears impossible that Napoleon can make a casus belli against Austria. Besides this, your Majesty may be assured that no warlike preparations are making in France, such as must precede such a plan as an Italian war.

Lord Malmesbury entirely agrees with your Majesty that it is desirable that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales should visit and remain at Rome incognito. It is also indispensable that when there His Royal Highness should receive no foreigner or stranger alone, so that no reports of pretended conversations with such persons could be circulated without immediate refutation by Colonel Bruce. Lord Malmesbury will instruct Mr Odo Russell to inform His Holiness of your Majesty's intentions in respect of the Prince.

[Footnote 53: Viz. that the Emperor's mind should be diverted from his project of originating a war in Italy. On the previous day Lord Malmesbury had written to the Queen: "Lord Clarendon may have told your Majesty that the Emperor Napoleon was so ignorant of the locality of Villafranca that he looked for it on the map in the Adriatic, and was confounded when Lord Clarendon showed His Majesty that it was the Port of Nice and ten miles from his frontier!"]



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

OSBORNE, 17th December 1858.

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I wrote in such a hurry on Wednesday that I wish to make amends by writing again to-day, and entering more properly into what you wrote about in your kind letter....

I really hope that there is no real desire for war in the Emperor's mind; we have also explained to him strongly how entirely he would alienate us from him if there was any attempt to disturb standing and binding treaties. The Empress-Dowager of Russia[54] is very ill, they say, with bronchitis and fever.

I did not tell you, that when we went on the 2nd to Claremont I was not pleased with the Queen's appearance. She had had a slight cold, and I thought her very feeble. They keep her rooms so fearfully [hot] that it must really be very weakening for her and predispose her to cold. I am ever, your devoted Niece,

VICTORIA R.

[Footnote 54: The Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (formerly the Princess Louise Charlotte of Prussia, sister to King Frederick William IV.), widow of the Emperor Nicholas.]



INTRODUCTORY NOTE

TO CHAPTER XXVIII

Parliamentary Reform was the question of the hour at the outset of the year 1859, and the Derby Government, though with difficulty able to maintain itself in power, took the courageous step of introducing a Reform Bill, the chief feature of which was the introduction of a franchise based on personal property. Mr Walpole and Mr Henley thereupon withdrew from the Ministry, and Lord John Russell, from below the gangway, proposed an Amendment, protesting against interference with the established freehold franchise, and calling for a larger extension of the suffrage in towns. Lord Palmerston and the Liberal Opposition supported the Amendment, while Mr Gladstone, who was opposed to most of the provisions of the Bill, supported it in preference to the Amendment, pleading, at the same time, for the retention of the small boroughs. The Ministry were defeated, and Parliament thereupon dissolved, but not until the civil functionaries and all ranks of the native and European army had received its thanks for the final suppression of the Indian Mutiny. The Ministry gained twenty-five seats at the polls, but were still in a minority, and as soon as it was known that Lord John Russell and Lord Palmerston were reconciled, the end was in sight. A hostile Amendment to the Address was carried by a majority of thirteen, but on Lord Derby's resignation, the Queen was placed in a dilemma by the competing claims of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell, who had each been Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party. Unwilling to be compelled to decide between them, she called upon Lord Granville to form a Ministry representative of all sections of the Liberal Party; but the difficulties proved insuperable, and Lord Palmerston eventually formed a Ministry in which the Whigs, the Peelites, and the Manchester School were all represented, though Mr Cobden declined to join the Government. Mr Gladstone, who had returned from the mission he had undertaken for the Derby Cabinet, and voted with them in the critical division, became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and kept his seat for Oxford University by a majority of nearly two hundred.

The continent of Europe was the scene of a contest between Austria on the one hand, who was struggling to maintain her position in Italy, and France with Sardinia on the other. Sardinia, under the guidance of Cavour, had joined the alliance of England and France against Russia; and in July 1858 an interview at Plombieres, under rather mysterious circumstances, between Cavour and Louis Napoleon, led to effective confederacy; a marriage, arranged or suggested at the same time, between Princess Clothilde of Sardinia and a cousin of the Emperor, brought the two illustrious houses still closer together. In the spring of 1859, Sardinia prepared to take up arms to resist Austrian predominance, and the assistance of the guerilla leader, Garibaldi, was obtained. Count Cavour, in reply to interrogatories from the British Government, stated officially his grievances against Austria, while Lord Malmesbury despatched Lord Cowley on a special mission to Vienna to mediate between Austria and France. In April, however, after a curt summons to the Sardinians to disarm had been disregarded, Austria invaded Piedmont, and Victor Emmanuel placed himself at the head of his army. The first engagement took place, with unfavourable results to the Austrians, at Montebello, followed by French victories at Palestro and Magenta. A revolution had meanwhile taken place in Florence. The Grand Duke had fled, and a Commissioner to administer the affairs of the Grand Duchy had been appointed by the King of Sardinia with the assent of the Tuscans, who now joined the Franco-Sardinian alliance, while risings also took place in Parma and Modena. The Austrians were again defeated at Malegnano, and, on the 8th of June, the French Emperor and King Victor Emmanuel entered Milan amid great enthusiasm. The bloody action of Solferino was fought on the 24th of June, but on the 11th of July a treaty of peace was, somewhat unexpectedly, concluded between the French and Austrian Emperors at Villafranca, under which an Italian Confederation was to be erected, Lombardy substantially ceded to Sardinia, the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the Duke of Modena reinstated, and Venetia, though included in the Confederation, to remain subject to the Imperial Crown of Austria; these preliminaries were subsequently converted into a definite treaty at Zurich. Meanwhile, the newly constituted representative Assemblies in Tuscany, Romagna, and the Duchies, unanimously pronounced for incorporation in the kingdom of Victor Emmanuel.

At home, on the 14th of October, the Queen opened the Glasgow waterworks at the outflow of Loch Katrine, the construction of which had necessitated engineering operations at that time considered stupendous; a few days later an appalling shipping calamity occurred, in the wreck of the Royal Charter near Anglesey, and the loss of 459 lives.



CHAPTER XXVIII

1859

Queen Victoria to Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 7th January 1859.

The Queen returns Mr Gladstone's letters, and gladly accepts his patriotic offer.[1] He will have difficulty in solving a delicate question, affecting national feeling, against time, but his offer comes most opportunely.

[Footnote 1: See ante, 1st November, 1858. Mr Gladstone had been sent to enquire into the causes of the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands with their High Commissioner, Sir John Young. He now offered to act himself for a limited time as High Commissioner, should it be decided to recall Sir John. He was succeeded in February by Sir Henry Storks.]



[Pageheading: NATIONAL DEFENCES]

Queen Victoria to the Earl of Derby.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 13th January 1859.

As the Cabinet are now meeting, and will probably come to a decision about the estimates for the year, the Queen thinks it her duty to urge upon them in the strongest manner her conviction that, under the present aspect of political affairs in Europe, there will be no safety to the honour, power, and peace of this country except in Naval and Military strength. The extraordinary exertions which France is making in her Naval Department oblige us to exercise the utmost vigour to keep up a superiority at sea, upon which our very existence may be said to depend, and which would be already lost at any moment that France were to be joined by any other country possessing a Navy.[2] The war in India has drained us of every available Battalion. We possess at this moment only fourteen old Battalions of the Line within the three kingdoms, and twelve Second Battalions newly raised, whilst our Mediterranean possessions are under-garrisoned, and Alderney has not as yet any garrison at all. Under these circumstances the Queen has heard it rumoured that the Government intend to propose a reduction on the estimates of 9,000 men for this year. She trusts that such an idea, if ever entertained, will upon reflection be given up as inconsistent with the duty which the Government owe to the country. Even if it were said that these 9,000 men have only existed on paper, and have not yet been raised, such an act at this moment would be indefensible; for it would require a proof that circumstances have arisen which make it desirable to ask for fewer troops than were considered requisite when the last estimates were passed, which really cannot be said to be the case! To be able to raise at any time an additional 9,000 men (in political danger) without having to go to Parliament for a supplementary vote and spreading alarm thereby, must be of the utmost value to the Government, and if not wanted, the vote will entail no additional expense.

England will not be listened to in Europe, and be powerless for the preservation of the general peace, which must be her first object under the present circumstances, if she is known to be despicably weak in her military resources, and no statesman will, the Queen apprehends, maintain that if a European war were to break out she could hope to remain long out of it. For peace and for war, therefore, an available Army is a necessity to her.

The Queen wishes Lord Derby to communicate this letter to the Cabinet.

[Footnote 2: The French Emperor had signalised the opening of a new year by an ominous speech. To M. Huebner, the Austrian Ambassador at Paris, who had attended, with the other foreign representatives, to offer the usual congratulations on the 1st of January, he observed: "I regret that the relations between our two Governments are not more satisfactory; but I beg you to assure the Emperor that they in no respect alter my feelings of friendship to himself."]



[Pageheading: THE POPE]

[Pageheading: THE POPE AND LORD PALMERSTON]

Mr Odo Russell[3] to Mr Corbett.[4]

(Submitted to Queen Victoria.)

ROME, 14th January 1859.

SIR,—I had the honour of being received by the Pope at a private audience this morning at the Vatican. No one else was present.

His Holiness, whose manner towards me was most kind and benevolent, said: "You are appointed to succeed a very good man,[5] for whom I felt great affection, and I regret that he has left Rome. You may be as good as he was, and we shall become friends, but I do not know you yet, and Mr Lyons I had known for many years; he is going to America, I hear, and he will find the Americans far more difficult to deal with than with us.

"I am much gratified to hear that the Prince of Wales is likely to visit Rome, and Her Majesty, I feel sure, has done well to allow him to prosecute his studies here. It will be an honour to me to receive him at the Vatican, and I beg that you will confer with Cardinal Antonelli[6] as to the best means of making the Prince's visit here useful and pleasant. We are anxious that all his wishes should be attended to, that he may preserve a pleasant recollection of Rome in the future. Alas! so many erroneous impressions exist about this country that I hope you will not judge of us too rashly. We are advised to make reforms, and it is not understood that those very reforms, which would consist in giving this country a Government of laymen, would make it cease to exist. It is called 'States of the Church' (Etats de l' Eglise), and that is what it must remain. It is true I have lately appointed a layman to a post formerly held by an ecclesiastic, and I may do so again occasionally; but, however small we may be, we cannot yield to outer pressure, and this country must be administered by men of the Church. For my part, I shall fulfil my duties according to my conscience, and should Governments and events turn against me they cannot make me yield. I shall go with the faithful to the Catacombs, as did the Christians of the early centuries, and there await the will of the Supreme Being, for I dread no human Power upon earth and fear nothing but God."

"But, Holy Father," I said, "you speak as if some great danger threatened Rome—is there any [real?] cause for apprehension?"

"Have you not heard," His Holiness answered, "that great excitement prevails throughout Italy?—the state of Lombardy is deplorable; evil spirits are at work even in my dominions, and the late speech of the King of Sardinia is calculated to inflame the minds of all the revolutionary men of Italy. It is true he says he will observe existing Treaties, but that will scarcely counter-balance the effect produced by other portions of his speech. News has also reached me of an extensive amnesty granted by the King of Naples—he did not yield to outer pressure, and he was right—but now, on the occasion of the marriage of his son, an act of clemency on his part is well advised."

"Is it true," I said, "that political prisoners are included in that Amnesty?"

"Yes," His Holiness answered; "I saw the name of Settembrini, and I think also of that other man in whom your Government took so much interest—his name begins with a 'P' if I remember rightly——"

"Poerio," I suggested.

"That is the name," the Pope continued; "and I fancy that all the other political prisoners will be released; they are to be sent to Cadiz at the expense of the King, they are to be clothed and receive some money, I believe, and after that arrangements have been made with the Minister of the United States to have them conveyed to that country; they are to be exiled for life. I hope this event may have the effect of making your Government and that of France renew diplomatic relations with Naples; I always regretted that rupture, but the King was right not to yield to outer pressure.

"It is lucky," the Pope ended with a smile, "that Lord Palmerston is not in office; he was too fond of interfering in the concerns of foreign countries, and the present crisis would just have suited him. Addio, caro," the Pope then said, and dismissed me with his blessing.

I then, according to usage, called on Cardinal Antonelli, and recounted to him what had passed. He confirmed all the Pope had said, but denied that there was any very serious cause for immediate apprehension of any general disturbance of the peace of Italy. I have, etc.,

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16     Next Part
Home - Random Browse