The Letters of Queen Victoria. A Selection from Her Majesty’s Correspondence between the Years 1837 and 1861. Volume 2 (1844-1853)


Arthur Christopher Benson, Viscount Esher

Series: Historical Figures
BISAC: HIS015000

In her early years, Queen Victoria formed the habit of methodologically preserving her private letters. After her accession to the throne, she treated her official papers similarly and bound them into volumes, resulting in what might be the most extraordinary series of State documents in the world. This book, originally published in 1908, is a collection of those letters that serve to bring out the development of the Queen’s character and disposition and to give typical instances of her methods in dealing with political and social matters. Nothing comes out more strongly in these documents than the laborious patience with which the queen kept herself informed of the minutest details of political and social movements both in her own and other countries.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 (1844). Duc de Bordeaux —Hanoverian Orders—Domestic happiness—Death of the Duke of Coburg—Lord Melbourne on old age—Recall of Lord Ellenborough—Uncle and niece—Lord Ellenborough’s honours—Prince de Joinville’s brochure —The Emperor Nicholas—A great review—At the Opera—The Emperor’s character—The Emperor and Belgium—Crisis in Parliament—The King of Saxony—Lord Ellenborough and India—England, France, and Russia—France and Tahiti—King Louis Philippe expected—Arrangements for the visit—Queen Louise’s solicitude—Arrival of King Louis Philippe—A successful visit—The King’s departure—Opening of the Royal Exchange—Gift to the Prince of Wales—Education in India

Chapter 2 (1845). The Spanish marriages —Position of the Prince—Title of King Consort—Purchase of Osborne—Maynooth grant—Religious bigotry—Public executions—Birthday letter—Princess Charlotte—Vacant Deanery—Wine from Australia—King of Holland—Projected visit to Germany—Question of Lords Justices—Visit to the Château d’Eu—Spanish marriages—The Prince criticised—Governor-Generalship of Canada—Corn Laws—Cabinet dissensions—Interview with Sir Robert Peel—Lord John Russell suggested—Attitude of Lord Melbourne—The Queen’s embarrassment—Attitude of Sir Robert Peel—Lord Stanley resigns—The Commandership-in-Chief—Duke of Wellington— King Louis Philippe—Anxiety for the future—Insuperable difficulties—Lord Grey and Lord Palmerston—Lord John Russell fails—Chivalry of Sir Robert Peel—He resumes office—Cordial support—The Queen’s estimate of Sir Robert Peel—Lord Stanley—The Prince’s Memorandum—Comprehensive scheme—The unemployed—Lord Palmerston’s justification—France and the Syrian War—Letter to King Louis Philippe—Ministry reinstated

Chapter 3 (1846). Sir Robert Peel’s speech —Extension of Indian Empire—Bravery of English troops—Death of Sir Robert Sale—Memorandum by the Prince—Celebration of victory—Letter from King Louis Philippe—Irish Crimes Bill—Attack on Sir Robert Peel—His resignation—Intrigues—End of Oregon dispute—Sir Robert Peel’s tribute to Cobden—New Government—Cobden and the Whigs—Parting with the Ministers—Whig jealousies—A weak Ministry—Anxieties—French Royal Family—Spanish marriages—Portugal—Prerogative of dissolution—Views of Lord Melbourne—The Prince and Sir Robert Peel—Proposed visit to Ireland—Government of Canada—Wellington statue—Lord Palmerston and Spain—Instructions to Mr Bulwer—Don Enrique—Sudden decision—Double engagement—The Queen’s indignation—Letter to the Queen of the French—View of English Government—Letter to King Leopold—Baron Stockmar’s opinion—Letter to Queen Louise—Lord Palmerston and the French—Princess of Prussia—England and the Three Powers—Interruption of entente cordiale —Spanish marriages—Peninsular medal—Duke of Wellington’s view—England and Portugal—The Queen’s decision on Peninsular medal—Cracow

Chapter 4 (1847). England and Portugal —Peaceable policy advised—Spain and Portugal—Sir Hamilton Seymour—Septennial Act —Church preferments—Jenny Lind—Wellington statue—Prosperity in India—General election—Earldom of Strafford—Mission to the Vatican—Portugal—Crisis in the City—Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland—Mr Cobden—Foreign policy—Queen of Spain—Queen of Portugal—Hampden controversy—Lord Palmerston’s despatches—Civil war in Switzerland—Letter from King of Prussia—The Queen’s reply—The Bishops and Dr Hampden

Chapter 5 (1848). Death of Madame Adélaïde —Grief of Queen Louise—The Queen’s sympathy—England and the Porte—Improvements at Claremont—Revolution in France—Flight of the Royal Family—Letter from King of Prussia—Anarchy in Paris—Queen Louise’s anxiety—Revolution foreseen—England’s hospitality—New French Government—British Consul’s plan—Escape of the King and Queen—Graphic narrative—Plan successful—Arrival in England—Reception at Claremont—Letter of gratitude—Flight of Guizot—Royal fugitives—Orleanist blunders—Letter to Lord Melbourne—The Czar on the situation—State of Germany—Chartist demonstration—Prince Albert and the unemployed—Chartist fiasco—Alarming state of Ireland—Conduct of the Belgians—Events in France—Anxiety in Germany—Italy—Spain—The French Royal Family—Affairs in Lombardy—Sir Henry Bulwer—Lord Palmerston’s justification—Instructions to Sir H. Seymour—Lord Palmerston’s drafts—England and Italy—Lord Minto’s mission—Duchesse de Nemours—Commissions in the Army—Northern Italy—Irish rebellion—Minor German states—An ambassador to France—The Queen’s displeasure—Opening the Queen’s letters—Lord Palmerston and Italy—Austria declines mediation—Austria and Italy—In the Highlands—The Queen and Lord Palmerston—Affairs in the Punjab—Hostility of the Sikhs—Greece—State of Germany—Letter of the Prince of Leiningen—Sir Harry Smith at the Cape—Governorship of Gibraltar—Mediation in Italy—Death of Lord Melbourne—The Orleans family—Letter from the Pope—The French President—Relations with France—England slighted

Chapter 6 (1849). Letter to the Pope —Letter from President of French Republic—Lord Palmerston and Naples—The army in India—State of the Continent—France and the President—Gaelic and Welsh—Lord Gough superseded—End of the Sikh War—Courage of Mrs G. Lawrence—Letter from King of Sardinia—Novara—The Queen fired at by Hamilton—Annexation of the Punjab—Drafts and despatches—Schleswig-Holstein Question—Proposed visit to Ireland—Irish title for the young Prince—Cork and Waterford—The Irish visit—Enthusiasm in Ireland—Brevet promotions—New Coal Exchange—Critical position of Germany—Death of Queen Adelaide

Chapter 7 (1850). Grand Duchess Stéphanie —The Draft to Greece—Lord Palmerston’s explanation—Lord John Russell’s plan—Suggested rearrangement— Status quo maintained—Baron Stockmar’s Memorandum—State of France—The Prince’s speech—Lord Palmerston and Spain—Lord Howden—The Koh-i-noor diamond—A change imminent—Lord John Russell’s report—Sunday delivery of letters—Prince George of Cambridge—The Earldom of Tipperary—Mr Roebuck’s motion—Lord Stanley’s motion—Holstein and Germany—Lord Palmerston’s explanation—The Protocol—Christening of Prince Arthur—Don Pacifico Debate—Sir Robert Peel’s accident—Letter from King of Denmark—Death of Sir Robert Peel—The Queen assaulted by Pate—Death of Duke of Cambridge—Prince of Prussia—The Foreign Office—Denmark and Schleswig—Sir Charles Napier’s resignation—Lord Palmerston—Lord Clarendon’s opinion—Duke of Bedford’s opinion—Lord John Russell’s report—Press attacks on Lord Palmerston—Duties of Foreign Secretary—Death of King Louis Philippe—Visit to Scotland—Illness of Queen Louise—Attack on General Haynau—Note to Baron Koller—The Draft gone—Lord Palmerston rebuked—Holstein—A great grief—Mr Tennyson made Poet Laureate—Ritualists and Roman Catholics—Unrest in Europe—England and Germany—Constitutionalism in Germany—Austria and Prussia—Religious strife—England and Rome—Lady Peel—The Papal aggression—Ecclesiastical Titles Bill

Chapter 8 (1851). Life Peerages —Diplomatic arrangements—Peril of the Ministry—Negotiations with Sir J. Graham—Defeat of the Government—Ministerial crisis—The Premier’s statement—Lord Lansdowne consulted—Lord Stanley sent for—Complications—Fiscal policy—Sir James Graham—Duke of Wellington—Difficulties—Lord Aberdeen consulted—Lord Stanley to be sent for—His letter—Lord Stanley’s difficulties—Mr Disraeli—Question of dissolution—Explanations—Lord Stanley resigns—His reasons—The Papal Bill—Duke of Wellington—Appeal to Lord Lansdowne—Still without a Government—Lord Lansdowne’s views—Further difficulties—Coalition impossible—Income Tax—Free Trade—Ecclesiastical Titles Bill—Confusion of Parties—New National Gallery—The great Exhibition—Imposing ceremony—The Prince’s triumph—Enthusiasm in the City—Danish succession—The Orleans Princes—Regret at leaving Scotland—Extension of the Franchise—Louis Kossuth—Lord Palmerston’s intentions—A dispute—Lord Palmerston defiant—He gives way—The Queen’s anxiety—Lord Palmerston’s conduct—The Queen’s comment—Death of King of Hanover—The Suffrage—The Coup d’État —Louis Bonaparte—Excitement in France—Lord Palmerston and Lord Normanby—State of Paris—Lord Palmerston’s approval—Birthday wishes—The crisis—Dismissal of Lord Palmerston—Inconsistency of Lord Palmerston—The Prince’s Memorandum—Lord Clarendon—Discussion on new arrangements—Count Walewski informed—Lord Granville’s appointment—The Queen’s view of foreign affairs—Our policy reviewed—Difficulty of fixed principles—Prince Nicholas of Nassau— Te Deum at Paris

Chapter 9 (1852). Denmark —Possible fusion of parties—Orleans family—Draft of the Speech—Women and politics—New Houses of Parliament—Lord Palmerston’s discomfiture—M. Thiers—The Prince and the Army—Pressure of business—Defeat on Militia Bill—Interview with Lord John Russell—Resignation of the Ministry—The Queen sends for Lord Derby—Lord Derby and Lord [page viii] Palmerston—New appointments—New Foreign Secretary—Interview with Lord Derby—Louis Napoleon—Audiences—Ladies of the Household—Lord Derby and the Church—Adherence to treaties—The Sovereign “People”—New Militia Bill—England and Austria—Letter from Mr Disraeli—”Necessary” measures—Question of dissolution—Lord Derby hopeful—Progress of democracy—England and Italy—Militia Bill carried—France and the Bourbons—Louis Napoleon’s position—Excitement at Stockport—The Queen inherits a fortune—Death of Duke of Wellington—Military appointments—Nation in mourning—Funeral arrangements—Anecdote of Napoleon III.—England and the Emperor—National defences—Financial arrangements—Lord Dalhousie’s tribute—Funeral ceremony—Confusion of parties—Lord Palmerston’s position—Mr Disraeli and Mr Gladstone—Recognition of the Empire—Budget speech—Letter to the French Emperor—Secret protocol—Difficult situation—The Queen’s unwillingness to decide—Injunctions to Lord Derby—Defeat of the Government—Lord Derby’s resignation—Lord Aberdeen sent for—His interview with the Queen—Lord Aberdeen in office—Lord John Russell’s hesitation—Letter from Mr. Disraeli—The Queen’s anxiety—Christmas presents—Lord Derby’s intentions—New Government—Mr Gladstone at the Exchequer—The Emperor’s annoyance—Appointments—Protracted crisis—The Cabinet—Lord Derby takes leave—Letter from Lady Derby—Change of seals—Peace restored—A strong Cabinet

Chapter 10 (1853). The Emperor’s annoyance —Headmastership of Eton—Marriage of Emperor of the French—Mademoiselle Eugénie de Montijo—Baron Beyens on the situation—Emperor of Russia and the Turkish Empire—Lord John Russell and leadership of House of Commons—Count Buol and refugees—Kossuth and Mazzini proclamations—Want of arms for the Militia—Russian fleet at Constantinople—French irritation—Russia’s demands—Russia and England—Liberation of the Madiai—Letter from Emperor of Russia—Birth of Prince Leopold—Mr Gladstone’s budget speech—Congratulations from the Prince—India Bill—Emperor of Austria—Church of England in the Colonies—Oriental Question—Death of Lady Dalhousie—Lord Palmerston and Lord Aberdeen—Russia, Austria, and Turkey—England’s policy—The Queen’s views on the Eastern despatches—Proposed terms of settlement—Lord John Russell’s retirement—Letter from the Emperor of Russia—Lord Stratford’s desire for war—Letter to the Emperor of Russia—France and the Eastern Question—Letter from the Emperor of Russia—Reform Bill—Lord Palmerston’s position—Lord Lansdowne’s influence—Resignation of Lord Palmerston—Lord Stratford’s despatch—Draft to Vienna—Return of Lord Palmerston to office

List of Illustrations

H.M. Queen Victoria, 1843.
From the picture by F. Winterhalter at Windsor Castle

H.M. Marie Amélie, Queen of the French, 1828.
From the miniature by Millet at Windsor Castle

“The Cousins.” H.M. Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Nemours, who was a Princess of Saxe-Coburg and first cousin to the Queen and the Prince Consort.
From the picture by F. Winterhalter at Buckingham Palace

Baron Stockmar.
From the portrait by John Partridge at Buckingham Palace

Field-Marshal The Duke of Wellington, K.G.
Believed to be by Count d’Orsay.
From a miniature at Apsley House

Publish with Nova Science Publishers

We publish over 800 titles annually by leading researchers from around the world. Submit a Book Proposal Now!