"The Queen ahd Her "Permanent Minister"


Albert, Prince Consort

The task of writing the Life of Prince Albert presents peculiar difficulties. It is not enough to depict the personal development of a Prince who, richly endowed by nature, attained with astonishing rapidity the conspicuous station for which he was destined: the circle of interests in which the husband of the Queen of England moves, must, in fact, comprise all the events which make up the history of the time. The Royal Widow, some years after the death of her husband, caused a collection of his most important Speeches to be published: these the Editor, Sir Arthur Helps, accompanied with a prefatory sketch of his character; the volume also contained a memoir of the Prince, setting forth his personality in a clearer light. A few years afterwards General Grey's account of the early years of the Prince Consort appeared; it was drawn up by the direction and with the co-operation of the Queen herself. The later Leaves from a Journal, by the Queen, contains descriptions of the private life of the Royal Family; but the Memoirs of Baron Stockmar, a work which throws a clearer light than any other on the history of our time, first enabled us to understand with deeper insight the position occupied by Prince Albert. Still, there remained the necessity for a complete account of that rich life; and this Sir Theodore Martin supplied in his magnificent work.

(Based on several works relating to the life of the Prince Consort, and on more recent publications {Grreville Memoirs, 2nd and 3rd series, 1887, St. Petersburg und London, von Graf Vitzthum, 1887, etc.).

Like General Grey's, it was written at the suggestion and with the collaboration of the Queen/who also added many notes with her own hand. On this account it may be thought that the work cannot be absolutely impartial. And yet we may even now affirm that history will preserve this portrait in all its essential features: for seldom has a prince in so important a station tested every step he took, as Prince Albert did; his course of action invariably followed the general principles by which he was directed. Now, the information communicated by Sir Theodore Martin explains the origin of every decision, of every step,- and we thus obtain a mental image of the man which not only agrees with that which we have derived from other sources, but is such as can hardly suffer essential modification by farther researches into the history of our time. Prince Albert's life, therefore, as a whole, stands out clearly before us.

Albert, second son of Ernest I.; Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and the Princess Louise of Mecklenburg, was born on the 26th of August, 1819, at the Roseuau, a summer palace near Coburg. The marriage of his parents was an unhappy one, and was dissolved in 1824. The Duchess died in 1831; and the children were brought up under the guardianship of their step- grandmother, the Dowager-Duchess of Gotha. United in the closest bonds of affection with his elder brother, the present Duke, Albert showed himself from a very early age to be a sweet, thoughtful boy. He was fond of chess, but at the same time delighted in nature, and enjoyed all bodily exercises. The quiet course of instruction under the Councillor Florschütz, was interrupted for the first time when - in the summer of 1832 - the young Princes accompanied their father to Brussels on a visit to their uncle Leopold, who had ascended the Belgian throne in the previous year. Their stay in the grand old city, with its art-treasures and its active political life, made a lively impression on the Prince, then a lad of thirteen. Next followed, between 1835 and 1837, visits to Mecklenburg, Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, and London. In London, in the year 1836, he saw for the first time the Princess Victoria, who was of the same age as himself. She lived at that time with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and a few months afterwards ascended the throne of England. The brothers then went to the University of Bonn. After a yearns study, they were separated for the first time: the elder entered the Saxon army; Prince Albert visited Italy. He was accompanied by Freiherr von Stockmar; and this journey marks the beginning of a relationship so beautiful and so fruitful, that the like of it has very rarely existed between a mature and experienced man and a young prince. Stockmar was a devoted German patriot. He had followed Prince Leopold of Coburg to England on the occasion of his marriage with the Princess Charlotte; he was that Prince's physician-in-ordinary, and became his friend and adviser. During the negotiations respecting the thrones of Greece and Belgium, he became initiated in international olitics, and succeeded in winning the complete confidence of English statesmen; while his relations with them enabled him to understand thoroughly the nature and working of the English Constitution. On the accession of the young Princess Victoria, he was selected by her uncle. King Leopold, with the consent of Ministers, to attend her as a confidential adviser. His position was not openly defined, and could not well be, since English custom does not recognize the post of Cabinet-councillor. He carefully avoided mixing himself up in English state afiairs; and, being as free from vanity as he was discreet, he kept himself quite in the background, so that he never became an object of suspicion to the Ministers, although they knew that the Queen consulted him on all afiairs of moment. He ever remained a paternal friend of the Queen and, in a special sense, of her husband. Stockmar had from the outset recognized the rare gifts of the Prince, and his pure nobility of mind; but he was by no means dazzled in regard to his pupil. King Leopold, who, had Princess Charlotte lived, would have been consort of an English queen, and who, though he never filled the office, yet well knew how to estimate, through his long residence in England, the difficulties attaching to it, - asked Stockmar if he thought his nephew a suitable husband for the Queen. Stockmar answered that he was not yet sufficiently acquainted with the Prince to express a judgment on the question. "He is said to be circumspect, discreet, and even now cautious. But all this is not enough. He ought to have not merely great ability, but also a right ambition and great force of will as well. To pursue for a life-time a political career so arduous, demands more than energy and inclination; it demands also that earnest frame of mind which is ready of its own accord to sacrifice mere pleasure to real usefulness. If he is not satisfied hereafter with, the consciousness of having achieved one of the most influential positions in Europe, how often will he feel tempted to repent what he has undertaken! If he does not from the very outset accept it as a vocation of grave responsibility, on the efficient fulfilment of which his honour and happiness depend, there is small likelihood of his succeeding." With the express purpose of becoming better acquainted with the Prince, Stockmar accompanied him to Italy. He doubted at first whether the Prince possessed sufficient energy to cope with the difficulties of such a station, and lamented his disinclination to mental exertion, and his indifierence to political questions. But he had the satisfaction of seeing the young man's noble will and sense of duty overcome all external and internal obstacles. Stockmar did not fail to make joyful acknowledgment of the change; he had an ideal, and each step which the Prince took on the right path was for Stockmar only a new occasion to fire him with the desire to come nearer to that ideal. "I counsel you," he writes at a later time, "never to relax in putting your magnanimity to the proof, never to relax in logical separation of what is great and essential from what is trivial and of no moment; never to relax in keeping yourself up to a high standard, - in the determination daily renewed to be consistent, patient, courageous, and worthy" (Martin, i. p. 91.) ..."Avoid going into details of administration, which will only bewilder you." ..."To the pure in soul lay your heart open, and give trust for trust. The impure keep at arm's length, and that with dignity and firmness. Let that which decides your course be firm conviction, based on clear perception and love of truth. ...Only through intellectual attrition (and that you can have only by intercourse with able men) are those sparks produced which make it possible for you at once to recognize a new truth. ...One must spare one's self in little things in order to handle great ones worthily. ...A man ought always to call the sum-total of his actions up into his full consciousness. A man acting from the purest motives, and guided by reason and truth, must make up his mind to see his acts misunderstood and his meaning distorted. Such a man, therefore, must never lose belief in his own worth, nor in the fruits which will assuredly spring from it. The stupidity and ingratitude of those to whom you have given proofs of a trusting and friendly disposition, cannot change the consequences of your acts into their opposites. They will remain for ever true acts of friendship, and continue to operate when the mist in which stupidity and ingratitude try to envelop them shall have been long dispelled. Therefore my counsel is summed up in two words: Great thoughts and a pure heart!"

Soon after the journey to Italy, of the advantages of which the Prince availed himself to the full, the idea of his marrying the Queen of England, - an idea warmly cherished by his grandmother, and actively supported by King Leopold, - now took a more definite shape. Prince Albert and his elder brother arrived at Windsor on the 8th of October, 1839, on a visit; and on the 15th, the Queen told him that her choice for life had fallen on him. He responded with all the warmth of youth, and no one can read without emotion the letters in which he announced his young happiness. They were married on the 10th of February, 1840.

The conviction which the Queen expressed in announcing her engagement to the Privy Council - that her decision would, under the blessing of Almighty God establish her domestic happiness, and advance the interests of her country - was fully borne out by the marriage. This formed, in fact, a blessed turning-point in English history. George III. was, whatever we may think of his policy, every inch a king. His firmness of character and his private virtues won for the throne dignity, respect, and love. At the end of the eighteenth century the monarchy was as popular in England as it had been under Elizabeth. But the reigns of George IV. and William IV. did much to weaken this influence, and to shake the loyalty which in the Englishman is so natural a quality. Instead of the union of political firmness with domestic happiness to which the people had become accastomed, they saw a throne occupied by political weakness united with an immoral private life, without beings as it was in the reign of Charles II. the centre of literature and wit; indeed the Court had little or no sympathy with the intellect of the country.

(When the Duchess of Gloucester asked the Queen whether she did not feel very nervous in communicating the intelligence of her engagement to the Privy Council, she replied, "Yes, but I did a mach more nervous thing a little while ago." "What was that?"- "I proposed to Prince Albert." --Greville, 23rd Nov.)

But loyalty, rapidly on the decline, was waked up to a new life when a girl ascended the throne, one who united ingenuous amiability with a dignity far beyond her years. In the period before the marriage, some incidents connected with the Court had led to party dissensions which found expression in the debates of the Lower Hoase on the naturalization of the Prince, and on his annuity. Among these was the "bed-chamber question," as it was called, which arose from the Queen having refused, on the formation of a new ministry by Sir Robert Peel, to part with her Whig ladies of honour. Such causes of discord ceased the moment Prince Albert was settled in his position. For that position he was by his natural gifts singularly well fitted. Had he been a prince like one of the great Hohenzollerns, who would have striven to promote personal government in the interest of the people, he would have brought kingship in England into a very critical situation: a prince of the Savoy type, on the other hand, -brave, energetic, affable, fond of sport, -might have been a favourite with the aristocracy, but not with the people at large.

(On this point Greville has the following remarks: - "1837, 30th August: All that I hear of the young Queen leads to the conclusion that she will some day play a conspicuous part, and that she has a great deal of character. It is clear enough that she had long been silently preparing herself ...for the situation to which she was destined. Melbourne, who is not a man to be easily captivated or dazzled, ...thinks highly of her sense, discretion, and good feeling; but what seem to distinguish her above everything are caution and prudence, the former to a degree which is almost unnatural in one so young." -3rd November: "She conducts herself with surprising dignity, the dignity which proceeds from self-possession and deliberation. The smallness of her stature is quite forgotten in the majesty and gracefulness of her demeanour."- 1838, 25th March: "From the moment she learned that she was Queen, ...as if inspired with the genius and spirit of Sixtus V., she asserted her dignity and her will." - 29th June: "It is, in fact, the remarkable union of naïveté, kindness, nature, good-nature, with propriety and dignity, which makes her so admirable and so endearing to those about her, as she certainly is. I have been repeatedly told that they are all warmly attached to her, but that all feel the impossibility of for a moment losing sight of the respect which they owe her. She never ceases to be a Queen, but is always the most charming, cheerful, obliging, unaffected Queen in the world." - l839, 27th November: "The Queen settled everything about her marriage herself, and without at all consulting Melbourne on the subject, not even communicating to him her intentions. And when he asked, she said she had nothing to tell him. ...If she has already shaken off her dependence on Melbourne, and begins to fly with her own wings, what will she not do when she is older and has to deal with ministers whom she does not care for?"

Prince Albert brought to the throne precisely what the throne required. By a married life which might serve as a model for that of every private citizen, he restored its moral dignity. The nation saw a royal household in which vice not only was not the fashion, but in which it did not venture to show itself. La Beine a rendu le mariage populaire en Angleterre was the observation of Persigny. At the same time the Prince established a connection between the Court and all intellectual interests, to which, ever since the Stuart times, it had been a stranger; and everybody was forced to admit that the husband of the Queen was one of the ablest men in the kingdom.

It is very doubtful whether England would, without serious commotion, have weathered the year 1848, if the Crown had not in this way been established in the affections of the nation. Although this fact was manifest to everybody at the time, it is only quite recently that the nature and significance of this royal marriage have come fully into view.

Stockmar's Memoirs are in this and in many other particulars supplemented by the work of Sir Theodore Martin. For example, it is touching to observe how the Queen, in so far as the Prince is concerned, completely sinks the sovereign in the wife. The beloved husband is the pride and crown of her life; every recognition which his merits; receive from public opinion, or from important personages, fills her with a joy which finds the warmest expression in her letters; every slight or humiliation which he has to endure is felt by her far more keenly than by himself. "I write to you" she says in a letter to Stockmar of the 1st of February, 1854, after a debate in Parliament on the status of the Prince, "I write to you in the fulness of joy at the triumphant refutation of all the calumnies in the two Houses of Parliament last night. The position of my beloved lord and master has been defined for once and all, and his merits have been acknowledged on all sides most duly." And shortly afterwards, on the anniversary of her wedding-day, she continues: "This blessed day is full of joyful and tender emotions. Fourteen happy and blessed years have passed, and I confidently trust many more will, and find us in old age, as we are now, happily and devotedly united! Trials we must have, but what are they if we are together?"

This love of a noble woman was indeed richly deserved by such a man. We know of no example of a prince who, possessing the highest intellectual powers, has devoted himself so absolutely and so unselfishly to a task so onerous. His conception of his duty he himself clearly expounded in a letter to the Duke of Wellington, in which he explains why he could not fall in with the Duke's proposal that he should accept the office of Commander-in-chief: "My position is a most peculiar and delicate one. Whilst a female sovereign has a great many disadvantages in comparison with a king, yet, if she is married, and her husband understands and does his duty, her position, on the other hand, has many compensating advantages, and, in the long run, will be found even to be stronger than that of a male sovereign. But this requires that the husband should entirely sink his own individual existence in that of his wife - that he should aim at no power by himself or for himself - should shun all contention, assume no separate responsibility before the public, but make his position entirely a part of hers - fill up every gap which, as a woman, she would naturally leave in the exercise of her regal functions - continually and anxiously watch every part of the public business, in order to be able to advise and assist her at any moment in any of the multifarious and difficult questions or duties brought before her, sometimes international, sometimes political, or social, or personal. As the natural head of her family, superintendent of her household, manager of her private affairs, sole confidential adviser in politics, and only assistant in her communications with the officers of the Government, he is, besides the husband of the Queen, the tutor of the Royal children, the private secretary of the Sovereign, and her Permanent Minister."

That the Prince was qualified to carry out this programme to the letter, is proved in every page of Sir Theodore Martin's work.

Certainly the Prince, and also the Queen, had in Stockmar the inestimable advantage of a confidential adviser such as has very rarely stood beside a royal pair to help them in the discharge of royal duties. And Stockmar did not stop at mere advice: like faithful Eckart, of the German legend, when the Prince needs to be told the truth, he tells it in the most unreserved manner. When, for example, the Prince writes that he had drawn up for the King of Prussia a memorandum on the reform of the German Bund, Stockmar declares plainly that he regards the Prince as wholly unqualified for such a task, on the ground that his long absence from Germany had rendered it impossible for him to judge accurately of the forces which were working among the people in the direction of reform, and which were of an anti-dynastic character. Again, when the Prince, towards the end of the year 1853, writes in a rather desponding tone of the unmeasured slanders with which he was assailed in society and in the press, Stockmar replies: "I cannot wish, hard as you may have been hit, that you should have been spared this experience. You could not marry the Queen of England without meaning, and without being bound, to become a political soldier. A mere garrison life, however, never makes a soldier, and, some household disagreeables apart, you have led hitherto nothing but a peaceful, comfortable, pampering, and enervating garrison life."

To be sure, Stockmar, on his part, had the advantage of writing to a prince who not only could bear to hear the truth, but who was himself an earnest truth-seeker; nevertheless Stockmar's merits are undoubtedly great, in that he unremittingly strengthened the Prince in doing the right, and steadily pointed out the rocks which it behoved him to avoid. His merits, too, are all the greater, that he submitted to hold in perfect self-abnegation a position of high influence - always remaining in the background, always leaving the honour of having seen what was right, to those who stood on the official platform, and sacrificing his personal wishes to the duty of caring for others. M. van de Weyer, formerly Belgian ambassador in London, reports some remarks of Stockmar's which, in this connection, are very striking: "If you are consulted by princes to whom you are attached, give your opinion truthfully, boldly, without reserve or reticence. Should your opinion not be palatable, do not, to please them, deviate for a moment from what you think the truth. You may in consequence be some time out of favour, treated with neglect or coldness; and when they come back (for back they will come, if you remain honest and firm), never complain of the treatment you have received, never try to make them own how right you were, and how wrong they have been. It must be enough for you that you should, for their good and the good of the country, act according to the principles, the soundness of which is thus acknowledged." (Martin, i. 77, 78.)

(Mr. Gladstone, in discussing Sir Theodore Martin's book, says finely: "Prince Albert was fortunate in his wife, uncle, and tutor, but how completely did the material answer to every touch it received!"

This determined self-effacement explains why it was that English statesmen, without distinction of party, bore without jealousy Stockmar occupying a position really so important, though to the outer world so undefined. "They trusted him absolutely," says Van deWeyer, "not merely because they recognized his political gifts and his disinterestedness, but because they all felt that with him they were in safe hands, that he would never betray them, never expose their weaknesses, their mistakes, their faults, - never play one of them against the other, never enter into any secret intrigue and use his position to injure them in the good opinion of the Sovereign or of the public." Palmerston said of him that he was the only perfectly disinterested politician he had ever known, and Lord Aberdeen bore this testimony to him: "I have known men as clever, as discreet, as good, and with as much judgment; I never knew any one who united all these qualities as he did." And his royal friends handed his memory down in the words inscribed on his monument, erected at Coburg (after a design by the Crown Princess of Prussia, now the Empress Victoria): "A faithful friend loveth more and sticketh closer than a brother."

But Prince Albert did credit to such an instructor. The position which he took up when yet a very young and, therefore, an inexperienced man, presented uncommon difficulties. If his splendid and attractive personality, and the circumstance that the Queen, from pure inclination, had chosen him for her husband, spoke in his favour from his very entrance on public life, - on the other hand, he had many prejudices to meet and overcome in the Court, in society, and among the public generally. The aristocracy, especially the Tories, despised the small German Courts as poor and uncivilized; in larger circles the "foreigner" was regarded as a representative of Continental absolutism. On the question of the Princess naturalization and of his allowance, he was subjected to humiliations which, with a little more prudence on the part of the Minister, might have been avoided. It was a blunder in Lord John Russell to stand out for 50,000£.; for surely he might have known that the proposal would not pass. The question of precedence could have been settled without difficulty; for, since the Queen had power to confer precedence on the Prince everywhere except in Parliament and in the Privy Council, - and since the Dukes of Sussex and Cambridge, who were alone concerned, made no objection, - those painful discussions in Parliament might have been avoided - especially as, in the long run, the question was left undecided. The Prince overcame all these obstacles by his tact, prudence, and firmness: he avoided all coming forward as a politician, carefully felt his way, drew information from all sides, and rapidly attained a position which was absolutely unassailable, and which those who were ill-disposed towards him had to take into account.

("There is not much sympathy for the lucky Coburgs in this country" Greville, Feb. 1840)

So rapid, indeed, was the reaction in his favour, that, when in July, 1840, a Bill was introduced, conferring on him the regency in case the Queen should die, leaving a child, only a single voice was raised against it in the Upper House. Lord Melbourne was of opinion that this would not have happened three months before: "we owe it," he said, "exclusively to the character of the Prince." He devoted himself with zeal to everything affecting the welfare of the working classes, or that concerned science and art; and in connection with these subjects he delivered speeches in which his opponents, with the best will in the world, could have found nothing to object to. And yet even in this sphere of activity he never placed himself prominently before the public. "I cannot bear," he said, "to be praised at meetings; it looks as if I were made use of as an advertisment, and as a means of drawing a full house." As little did he allow himself to be cast down by opposition. We see, for example, in Sir Theodore Martin's book, how great were the obstacles he had to overcome in connection with the Great Exhibition - which was his idea, and which was crowned with so much, success. He also gained great credit for the manner in which he ordered the Royal household. According to the traditional arrangement, no fewer than three dignitaries divided among them the management of it; and of course the greatest confusion and wastefulness prevailed. To do away with this state of things required the labour of years, and the vanquishing of much personal opposition; but the Prince gradually established proper order; and when at a later time the Government informed the House of Commons that the expenses incurred in connection with the numerous visits of crowned heads, were defrayed from the resources of the Royal household without burden to the State, Sir Robert Peel expressly added an acknowledgment of the excellent order which prevailed there. The Prince was able to bring about such order only through his being master in the house, however little he allowed the outer world to see that he was. When, in 1858, Count Vitzthum inquired of him whether and when Prince George of Saxony might pay a visit to the Queen, Prince Albert took the almanac and immediately answered, "On the 2nd of April we have the confirmation of the Prince of Wales; no occasion for the visit of a Catholic prince at that: telegraph that the Prince will be welcome at Windsor, from the 5th to the 9th of April."

His chief interest naturally was, and continued to be - politics; and it is surprising to see how soon he grew into a true statesman. On questions of internal policy he stood firmly by the principles of the English Constitution; but held that if the power of the Crown was limited to a very narrow area, it was its duty to preserve intact what it still possessed; and he declared that it was a gross error to suppose that the English Constitution reduced the Sovereign to a nullity, or demanded from him only inactivity and indifference. He rejected the shallow formula: "Le roi règne mais ne gouverne pas"

" Cousin," he said, on reading the Introduction Politique of that philosopher, "underrates the mental and moral qualities which are requisite in a constitutional sovereign. In truth the greatest mental and moral power is requisite to attain self-abnegation and self-repression; and these are more essential qualities in a constitutional than in an absolute sovereign." "Why," he writes, on another occasion, "are princes alone denied the privilege of having political opinions, based on concern for the national interests, the honour of their country, and the welfare of mankind? Are they not placed in a more independent position than any other politician in the state? Are not their interests most intimately united with those of their country? Is not the sovereign the natural protector of its honour? Is not he of necessity a politician? Ministers change, and lose, when they retire, - what they have before possessed, - the best means of becoming informed. The sovereign still remains in power, and these means are still at his disposal. The most patriotic of ministers has to think of his party; and therefore, of necessity, his judgment is often influenced by party considerations. Not so the constitutional sovereign, - He is exposed to no such disturbing forces. As permanent head of the nation, he has only to consider what is necessary for its well-beipg and honour. His accumulated knowledge and experience, his calm and practised judgment stand at the service of the ministry for the time being, without distinction of party."

(On this subject an excellent remark was made by the witty Grand Duchess Helena. She asked Thiers if the saying was his; and when he, with some self-complacency, said that it was, replied: "J'y consens, pourvu que je sois le ministre et vous le roi."

It was therefore a cardinal principle with the Prince that the Crown should stand above parties. Even before his marriage he had requested the Queen to choose the personages of her household not accordiog to party views, but on account of character, cultivation, and merit. The Queen had ascended the throne when the Whigs were in power, and she had a warm feeling of attachment to Lord Melbourne, who instructed her in affairs; but when that ministry became weak, Prince Albert brought about a rapprochement between the Court on the one hand, and the Tories, in the person of Sir Eobert Peel, on the other. With him the Prince was very soon united in a friendship based on mutual esteem. The Prince held the view that the Crown should honestly support any ministry which had a majority, and did not actually prejudice the interests or the honour of the country. But since the ministry in England, at any given time, is a committee of the dominant party in the House of Commons, he would not give up the control of ministers by the Sovereign in the actual executive proper; and in that particular he saw in himself the natural and effectual support of the Sovereign. With all his modesty and reserve towards the outer world, he contended for this, as a right and a duty, against stubborn ministers; he had to contend, too, against the calumnies and accusations of the public, which, as he once very strikingly said, believed it had been betrayed because it deceived itself; and he ultimately extorted the acknowledgment in both Houses of Parliament that he exerted only that influence to which he had a right. But with all his tact and his purity of motive, he could not have used it without his remarkable political endowments. I will, in regard to home questions, adduce only one example, which shows that he, the "foreigner," judged more accurately than English statesmen. In September, 1850, the Pope had issued a brief whereby the Catholic hierarchy of England was restored; as an immediate consequence, many Englishmen went over to the Catholic Church. This raised a general storm. Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, in a public letter, called the brief "an insolent and wily attack of the Pope on our Protestantism," and declared it contained "an assumption of supremacy which, even in Catholic times, would have been incompatible with the spiritual independence of the nation." At the same time he denounced the traitors in the English Church (the Ritualists) who "had led their flocks step by step to the abyss." But when the time came to pass from words to deeds, it appeared that it was by no means so easy to repel the attack with effect. The Bill introduced by the Government satisfied nobody; then the Government wavered, and at last passed a weak measure, which remained a dead letter, and the whole thing was ultimately abandoned. The Queen and Prince Albert looked upon the matter in a quite different light. The Queen did, indeed, take the trouble to receive and answer the addresses and deputations which were sent up on this occasion; but she declared she would never consent to utter one word which breathed the spirit of intolerance. Sincere Protestant as she was (she said), and strongly as she condemned those who, calling themselves Protestants, were not Protestants at all, yet she lamented the unchristian and intolerant spirit which showed itself in many meetings; and she could not bear to hear the violent abuse of the Catholic religion - abuse so cruel and so painfuT to many good and innocent Roman Catholics. Prince Albert drew up a memorandumin which he states the gist of the whole question in a single sentence: "The common cause of discontent ...appears to be the introduction of Romish doctrines and practices by the clergy of England, contrary to the will and feelings of the Protestant congregations, under the assumption that the clergy alone had any authority in Church matters." ..."The remedial principle is - that the laity have an equal share of authority in the Church with the clergy; that no alteration be made without the formal consent of the laity ; nor any interpretation given of articles of faith without their concurrence. This principle once recognized as law, a whole living Church constitution will spring from it." Could the weakness of the English Church - a constitution, ever tending towards Catholicism, coupled with doctrines of the Reformation- be more strikingly indicated? Would Ritualism have grown to its present consequence, threatening as it does to shatter the Church, if new life had been given to Convocation by the introduction of the lay element?

The Prince's striking ability is still more clearly shown in the region of foreign politics. As respects his plans of reform for Germany, Stockmar was quite right in describing them as impracticable; but how masterly is the following character-sketch of Frederick William IV. - written à propos of a speech delivered by the King at the opening of the United Diet in 1847. "Those who know and love the King recognize him and his views and feelings in every word, and will be grateful to him for the frankness with which he expresses them; but if we put ourselves into the position of a cold critical public, our heart sinks. What confusion of ideas! And what boldness in a king to speak extempore; and at such a moment, and at such length, not only to touch all the most terrible and difficult topics, but to plunge into them slap-dash, to call God to witness, to promise, threaten, protest, etc. The King lets himself be misled by similes which captivate his fancy, which he carries out only so far as they suit his purpose, and which frequently by no means reflect the true state of things, but satisfy because they are clever and suggestive. This makes close discussion with him impossible. ...Then the King runs another risk in this, that he adopts subjective feelings and opinions as the motive principle of his actions, and then not only acts upon them, but also desires that, as these feelings and opinions are dear and sacred to him, they should be the same to everybody else, no matter whether they are even affected by them in the slightest degree or not. ...To this class belong those feelings of piety towards the late King (Frederick William III.) which only the son can feel, and those favourite maxims which have a special truth for him, springing as they do out of certain favourite studies and lines of thought [Martin, i., 408]. Pius IX. is the counterpart of Frederick William IV. - great impulse, half-digested political notions, little acuteness of understanding, with much feeling and sensitiveness to outward influences. "He makes shipwreck on the belief that he can set peoples in motion, and yet hold in his hand the direction and the spread of the movement."

"A remarkable display of the eloquence which stirs the heart, but leaves the intellect unsatisfied," says Martin (i. p. 406).

The frank and unprejudiced views of things taken by the Prince, and also by the Queen, are everywhere apparent. Of the Emperor of Russia the Queen writes: "He is a harsh and stem-looking man. ...The expression of his eyes is severe, and unlike anything I ever saw before. He gives the impression of a man who is not happy, and on whom the burden of his immense power and position weighs heavily and painfully. ...Very clever I do not think him, and his mind is not a cultivated oue. His education has been neglected. Politics and military affairs are the only things he takes great interest in. ...He is sincere, I am certain - sincere even in his most despotic acts - from a sense that it is the only way to govern, ...and he is kept in utter ignorance of many things which his people carry out in corrupt ways."

The remarkable affair known as the question of the "Spanish Marriages" is now completely cleared up; and, so far as I know, the correspondence of royal personages on the question is given in Sir Theodore Martin's work for the first time. On a visit which the Queen and the Prince paid to the King of France at the Château d'Eu (the first meeting between an English and a French Sovereign since that of Francis I. and Henry VIII.), the understanding between the Governments regarding this question seemed to be established; but even thus early an acute observer remarked: "On joue bien la comédie à Paris, et je ne suppose pas qu'on la joue moins bien au Château d'Eu." Louis Philippe was ashamed to inform the Queen of the solution arrived at, which would of necessity have demonstrated that he had not kept his word; he therefore employed his wife to tell her. The dignified reply of the Queen, on receiving intelligence of the double marriage, is very characteristic; and the ample statement in which she proves to the Queen of the Belgians that the King of France did not fulfil his promise, is absolutely conclusive. The words of Metternich on this occasion are remarkable: "Tell M. Guizot from me," he wrote to the Austrian Ambassador at Paris, "that one does not with impunity play little tricks with great countries. He knows that I do not think much of public opinion; it is not one of my instruments, but it has its effect. The English Government have done their best to establish Louis Philippe in public opinion. They can withdraw what they gave, and I have always said, the moment he loses that, he is on the very verge of a war, and his is not a dynasty that can stand a war" (Martin, i. 376). How soon was this prophecy to be fulfilled! The Emperor Nicholas very naturally rejoiced that his apprehensions in regard to the understanding of the Western Powers were removed; it was thus evident that that had been the cause of his assumed indifference to the policy of France, and his contempt for the French nation. A breach of public law in the annexation of Cracow was the first consequence of the alienation of England, whose protest against it was as ineffectual as that of France. But as for Louis Philippe, his diplomatic triumph at Madrid proved only a step towards destruction: having succeeded in making his ministers subservient to his personal wishes, he allowed himself to be lulled into a false security, boasted of the harmony of his "pays légal"; and forgot that pliant servants and factitious majorities drag down a constitutional sovereign with them in their fall.

Bunsen, again - whom in many respects the Prince esteemed highly - was a man he thoroughly understood. When Bunsen went in 1848 to Frankfort, - in order, as he expected, to assume the direction of foreign affairs, - the Prince wrote to Stockmar: "May he be fortunate in those about him, for he is impressionable, and the readiness with which he assimilates other men's ideas exposes him to this danger, that he examines and advocates both sides of the question in succession, before drawing the deduction that finally determines his views. This once done, these are generally very correct, and by reason of the preliminary process are based upon a principle. But if he is forced to act before he has worked out his conclusions, it is often a mere toss-up which side he will adopt. It will always be difficult for a Prussian official to stand between the Archduke, the Paulus Church, Berlin, and Potsdam, and not to run his head against the whole four" (Martin, ii. p. 98). In these words is clearly set forth the reason why during those year's all Bunsen's endeavours of necessity came to nothing.

But even in questions affecting specially British interests, the Prince judged with more acuteness than the leading English statesmen. When, in 1847, the reforms of the Pope produced general excitement in Italy, Palmerston came forward with the proposal to send Lord Minto, Lord Privy Seal, to Rome, in order to encourage the movement. Prince Albert was decidedly opposed to the project. People in England (he held) were far too much inclined to plunge into constitutional reforms, states which no-wise desired them, or were not ripe for them; whereas no nation ought to be pressed in development beyond its natural pace, or have thrust upon it anything alien to its character. We ought simply, he maintained, to adhere to the principle of non-intervention as towards Austria, and explain to her that England would not tolerate violent interference with reforms which the Italian Goveraments intended to introduce. So frank a course might, perhaps, appear rash; but, if taken in time, it would forestall complications, and win for England the approval of all independent states. Lord Minto, on the other hand, if the step contemplated were taken, would occupy a totally false position; Austria would at once place herself in a hostile attitude, and would be secretly supported by France; he would possess very little real influence, and yet he would be held responsible for everything that went amiss. Lord Russell said that, in case Lord Minto went to Rome, we must have "settled intentions;" but, on the contrary, it was absolutely necessary to have these settled intentions before our minds, in order to decide whether the despatch of Lord Minto were, on the whole, advisable. - So argued the Prince, but the wise counsel was not listened to; and the consequences were exactly those which he had predicted. The autocratic Governments charged England once more with promoting disorder for selfish objects; the Progressist party believed they would find in Lord Minto a support for their advanced views; and when they were disappointed, they rewarded with hatred the zeal which Palmerston had shown on their behalf. The Prince's counsel in 1848, in the afiair of the mediation between Austria and Sardinia, was as fruitless: he advised that our efforts should be limited to what was attainable; and that we should assume, as a basis of peace, that Lombardy should be joined to Sardinia, and that Austria should retain Venice. This arrangement had been proposed by the Cabinet of Vienna through Herr von Hummelauer, who had been expressly sent to London for the purpose; but Palmerston rejected the proposal: he held Italy as lost to Austria because he wished it; and only after Radetzky's victory did he come forward with a proposal of mediation, when there was no longer anything to mediate about. "We are too foolishly Charles-Albertish," said the Prince, - quite truly; and the result was simply the subjugation anew of both provinces. It is manifest that, in spite of all natural endowments, and all the advantages which the position of the Prince conferred upon him, so profoundly just a judgment in political questions could be attained only through great and systematic labour. There is no royal road in the study of politics any more than in the study of mathematics. Personal converse with statesmen, a careful study of despatches, parliamentary debates, and the press, with solid historical acquirements - these laid the foundation for his political discernment. Ministers found him perfectly familiar with the facts relating to their departments; ambassadors were astonished to see how much at home he was in the sphere of their activity; diplomatists who went to a new post, acknowledged that they had received from him the most valuable information regarding the relations on which they were about to enter. Yet he did not stand stubbornly by any opinion which he held. "Prince Albert," says Count Vitzthum, "is one of those candid princes who can tolerate the expression of an opinion different from their own." Among his other labours, he carried on an extensive correspondence; and his reading, as is shown by his memoranda of studies, ranged over the most diverse subjects. He often allowed himself too little sleep, and was already seated at his green lamp by seven o^clock on a winter's morning. Recreation he meted out to himself usually in too small quantity. He not seldom felt exhausted under the manifold claims upon his energies: but in the air of Balmoral and Osborne he always recovered, in a short time, his old freshness and vigour; there he devoted himself to sport, gardening, music - (he was an excellent performer on the organ) - and, above all, to his family.

Of special interest is the copious information we now possess in regard to Palmerston's personality and policy, and his relations with the Queen and to his colleagues. This information is all the more important, as it enables us to study the man in his outward acts, and to do full justice to his merits as a minister. With all his brilliant gifts and astonishing energy, he appears to have been frivolous, quarrelsome, and dogmatic; and was therefore constantly involved in angry political and personal broils. He was always mixing himself up in the internal affairs of foreign states, by giving advice which nobody asked for; in this way he, very naturally, irritated the sensibilities of the governments concerned, and brought defeat either upon England or upon his protégés. Sometimes he tried to gain his point through sheer brutality. The latter course he adopted in the Padjico question; the former, when he first promised to help the Sicilian insurgents, and then left them in the lurch. Now, the Queen had no idea of putting up with such conduct. In a long conversation (February, 1850), Prince Albert explained the humiliating position in which Palmerston placed the Queen in the eyes of all the world. Everybody, he said (in effect), knew that she disapproved of what he did in her name. The other sovereigns made strong and repeated complaints; and yet she was unable to prevent what she felt to be inexpressibly distressing and humiliating. The Prince added, that he understood perfectly the constitutional position of the Sovereign, and was aware that it was the duty of the Government to carry out the policy which the nation desired and approved; but the nation, he insisted, did not approve of Palmerston;s conduct, - nor did his colleagues, - but yet, through their weak compliance, he was permitted to bid defiance to the Sovereign, the Government, and public opinion. The Queen found in Russell no support or relief: remonstrances addressed to himself had availed nothing. Personally the Prince found Palmerston affable and friendly, but it was impossible to induce him to adopt a different course, nor could one depend on what he said, or what he promised. - After the Queen saw that mere complaints were useless, she sent, on the 12th August, 1850, to Lord John Russell, the Premier, a Memorandum in which she laid down clearly the course she desired the Foreign Minister to pursue. And the Prince told Palmerston by word of mouth that the Queen knew her duty as a Constitutional Sovereign too well, not to subordinate her personal views to those of her Government; she knew that she entered the battle along with her ministers, and had to bear the blows which were directed against them. For that reason she had a right to expect that, before any policy had been finally decided upon, or sent up for her sanction, she should be put in complete possession of all facts and reasonings bearing on the question; whereas she, as matters stood, hardly ever found any business which had not been already touched, hardly a question on which the Government was not already bound by pledges, while the facts were in a very meagre form communicated to her. She desired further that, when she had given her consent to a measure, the policy in regard to it should not be arbitrarily changed, that no steps should be concealed from her, and that her name should not be used without her sanction. Palmerston promised to comply with these demands - but did not keep his word. On the visit of Kossuth, towards the end of 1851, he had yielded to the decision of the Cabinet not to give him a public reception; yet he accepted an address from the English Radicals, in which he was thanked for his efforts to restore the illustrious patriot and exile to liberty; while the Emperors of Austria and Russia were called "detestable and abominable, murderers, merciless despots and tyrants." He did indeed observe that he could not be expected to agree with all the expressions used; but for the rest, declared himself highly flattered and exceediugly pleased by the address! This reckless conduct towards two sovereigns with whom England stood in most friendly relations naturally produced a very great commotion; the Queen was deeply grieved, and expressed her mortification in strong terms. Palmerston got out of the difficulty by a subterfuge: he might, he said, very possibly have lost, through his unreserved outspokenness, the good-will of the Emperor of Austria, but not that of the English people; whereupon he received the appropriate rejoinder: "It is no question with the Queen whether she pleases the Emperor of Austria or not, but whether she gives him just ground of complaint or not. And if she does so, she can never believe that this will add to her popularity with her own people,"

Immediately on this incident followed the transaction which led to Palmerston's fall. On the first intelligence of the coup-d'état in Paris, it was agreed between the Queen and her ministers that, in regard to that event, the government should take up an attitude entirely passive and expectant; in opposition to this, the Minister expressed to the French ambassador his full approval of what had been done! His dismissal followed as a matter of course. He was not dismissed at the instance of the Queen; she, following Stockmar's wise advice, acted with great circumspection. Stockmar argued that this would be too much even for Russell. And so, indeed, it was, Russell's patience was exhausted, and he proposed the dismissal. The Queen's Memorandum was read aloud in the House of Commons, and was regarded on all sides as so unimpeachably in the right, that Palmerston had to submit in silence to his condemnation.

Thr Eastern Question was now once more presenting itself, as it does periodically, for solation; and the Prince saw with great uneasiness the approach of its inevitable complications. Public opinion demanded war with Russia and unfortunately the English statesmen treated the question with by no means the requisite consistency and breadth of view. "Aberdeen" wrote the Prince to Stockmar, "is quite right in thinking that we should treat our enemies as honourable men; but that is no reason for assuming that they really are honourable men; yet that is what he does and he maintains that he is right." In a "Memorandum for the consideration of the Cabinet" of the 21st October, 1853, he explains with admirable clearness the nature of the difficulty, and England's position in relation to it. After briefly recapitulating the several stages of it, he says: "Throughout the transaction, then, we have taken distinctly the part of Turkey as against Russia. The motives which have guided us have been mainly three: - (1) We considered Turkey in the right, and Russia in the wrong; and could not see without indignation the unprovoked attempt of a strong Power to oppress a weak one. (2) We felt the paramount importance of not allowing Russia to obtain in an underhand way, or by a legal form, a hold over Turkey, which she would not have ventured to seek in open conquest. (3) We were most anxious for the preservation of the peace of Europe, which could not fail to be endangered by open hostilities between Turkey and Russia. These motives must be pronounced just and laudable, and ought still to guide our conduct. By the order to our fleet, however, to protect the Turkish territory, and by the declaration of war, now issued by the Turks, the third and perhaps most important object of our policy has been decidedly placed in jeopardy. In acting as auxiliaries to the Turks, we ought to be quite sure that they have no object in view foreign to our duty and interests: that they do not drive at war, whilst we aim at peace; that they do not, instead of merely resisting the attempt of Russia to obtain a protectorate over the Greek population incompatible with their own independence, seek to obtain for themselves the power of imposing a more oppressive rule of two millions of fanatic Mussulmans over twelve millions of Christians. ...If our forces are to be employed for any purpose, however defensive, as an auxiliary to Turkey, we must insist upon keeping not only the conduct of the negotiations, but also the power of peace and war, in our own hands. ...It will be said that England and Europe have a strong interest, setting all Turkish considerations aside, that Constantinople and the Turkish territory should not fall into the hands of Russia, and that they should in the last extremity even go to war to preyent such an overthrow of the balance of power. This must be admitted, and such a war may be right and wise. But this would be a war, not for the maintenance of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, but merely for the interests of the European powers of civilization. It ought to be carried on unshackled by obligations to the Porte, and will probably lead, in the peace which must be the object of this war, to the obtaining of arrangements more consonant with the well-understood interests of Europe, of Christianity, liberty, and civilization, than the reimposition of the ignorant, barbarian, and despotic yoke of the Mussulmans over the most fertile and favoured portion of Europe."

Lord Aberdeen quite agreed with this, but did not act accordingly; in fact, he contrived to hold language to the Russian Ambassador which the latter construed as evidence of an unconquerable repugnance to an active policy on the part of England. Even Lord Clarendon's trust in the good faith of the Czar was still unshaken, in spite of the results (which he knew) of the interviews that Sir Hamilton Seymour had with the Emperor Nicholas, and in spite of Menschikoffs appearance at Constantinople and his bearing there. Lord Clarendon's trust arose simply from his desire for peace. Even when Russia occupied the Danubian Principalities there were those who still clung to the belief that the crisis would be tided over by diplomatic means. But, guided by Lord Stratford, the only statesman who pursued a consistent policy (- he was supported in London by Palmerston), the Porte rejected certain vague proposals for mediation, and Count Nesselrode, to whom Prince Albert applied the phrase, "S'il parle, il est perdu," justified this step by writing a note, couched in ambiguous language, but which, in fact, maintained Russians claims in all their integrity. Therefore the attempt of the Emperor Nicholas, who addressed the Queen in an autograph letter, and asked her de juger entre lui et le gouvernement anglais,"failed of success. The situation was now such that Lord Clarendon was forced to make the confession - not very flattering to the abilities of English statesmen - "We are drifting into war;" but, on the arrival of the news that the Turkish fleet had been destroyed at Sinope, this warlike tendency carried all before it. Lord John Russell immediately charged the Russian Government with breach of faith; and, by way of reply, the Russian Government hinted at the existence of a secret understanding with England. To disprove the insinuations of Russia, the Foreign Office published the despatches of Sir Hamilton Seymour. This rendered the breach irremediable; the alliance with France was concluded, and war was declared on the 27th of March, 1854.

To this period belongs an attack on Prince Albert, which, though maliciously designed, served only to I strengthen his position. Lord Palmerston knew that it was the Prince who had chiefly objected to his arbitrary dealings, and believed that he owed to the Prince his dismissal from office after the coup-d'état. When, therefore, during the vacillations of the latter end of 1853, he, for a short time, left the Ministry, under a pretext, in order to protest against its want of energy, - he availed himself of his freedom, to start a newspaper campaign against the Prince. The latter was charged with unjustifiable interference in the business of the Government, and with carrying on anti-English intrigues with the German courts. The weakness of Aberdeen, which was so lively a cause of concern to the Prince, was laid at his door; and thus public opinion, embittered by the dilatory ways of the Ministry, was roused against him; in fact, matters went so far that the Queen had to consider the propriety of opening Parliament alone, the Prince, it was hinted, not being secure against insults from the populace. The Prince behaved admirably under the circumstances: he took a ride on horseback, unattended, on the morning before the opening of Parliament, to show that he was not afraid. This had its effect: when he drove in the afternoon to Westminster by the side of the Queen, both received a very enthusiastic reception from the crowd. Lord Aberdeen and Lord John Russell in both Houses of Parliament denounced in strong lauguage the slanders of the Radical newspapers. Lord John claimed on principle the right of the Prince to act as first political adviser of the Queen; the Opposition, through Lord Derby and Mr. Walpole, agreed with all that had been said in praise of the Prince. Thus the issue of the affair was very favourable to him; it also strengthened the positipn of the Crown. The Queen, who, it may well be supposed, had been deeply pained at finding that this was the sort of gratitude her husband received for his incessant labour, and who felt the arrows aimed at him to be intended for herself, wrote to Stockmar on the 15th of April, 1854: "That black time when foul calumny strove to blind our deluded people, vanished from the hour Parliament spoke of it; and this serves to show how it was got up, and how little it had taken root", Aberdeen was right when, in a letter to the Prince, he affirmed that after the destruction of the edifice of lies and misrepresentation, a great reaction was certain to follow - a reaction great in proportion to the injustice of the attack. The status and the acts of the Prince were never again called in question, - except, indeed that so late as December, 1854, the silly jealousy of "foreign influence" burst into a temporary flame in the Roebuck Committee for inquiring into the conduct of the war. Even Palmerston gave him ample satisfaction when he became Prime Minister, and was brought into constant personal contact with him. Returning from a visit to Paris in 1855, he said to a friend: "We have a far greater and more extraordinary man at home (than the Emperor Napoleon); the Prince Consort would not consider it right to have obtained a throne as the Emperor has done; but in regard to the possession of the soundest judgment, the highest intellect, and the most exalted qualities of mind, he is far superior to the Emperor. Till my present position gave me so many opportunities of seeing his Royal Highness, I had no idea of his possessing such eminent qualities as he has, and how fortunate it has been for the country that the Queen married such a Prince."

When England and France had become allies. Napoleon wished to come into personal relations with the Prince, and invited the latter to pay him a visit in the camp at Boulogne. The visit passed off very satisfactorily. Prince Albert found the Emperor affiable, modest, - but not well instructed in history or politics, except in so far as these related to the Napoleons. Striking remarks alternated with very superficial ones. He admired the English Constitution without knowing much about it; and was astonished to hear that the Queen read all despatches. He contented himself, he said, with extracts, but he kept in important places trustworthy persons who sent reports direct to him. Nor was he less ignorant of the English finances; and he was very much surprised to learn that the Government had undertaken to increase the taxes by fifteen millions sterling in order to defray the expenses of the war, without having recourse to a loan. The bread tariff he declared to be necessary for France, because the people became ungovernable when bread was dear, - though this arrangement had cost the city of Paris sixteen million francs during the previous year. The remarks of the Prince on the silly endeavours of the French after "equality" (which he held to be incompatible with true liberty) and on the pernicious doctrines involved in Rousseau's "Social Contract," seemed to impress him; but he thought authors exerted, on the whole, very little influence in France: the only thing the people knew was the name- Napoleon. Former governments had tried to govern by relying upon the support of the one million of educated people; he sought to do so by the aid of the other nine-and-twenty millions. As regarded the army, he admitted that the war had found him impourvu and the entire war material had to be renewed. He intended to harden the troops by making them live in camps; he attached a good deal of importance to the alterations introduced by him into the artillery, - but modestly admitted that he had no experience in the practical duties of a commander. With respect to Germany, he shared with all Frenchmen the fear of her attaining unity, and spoke in favour of the "trias" (or tripartite division of power), which Prince Albert proved to his satisfaction to be an impossible arrangement, - as Prussia could never be detached from the rest of Germany. He frankly acknowledged that it was his ardent wish to see Lombardy freed from Austrian misgovernment, and Poland restored to her position as a nation. The Schleswig-Holstein question he considered too complicated for him to give himself much trouble about it; and he was very much astonished to hear from the Prince that by the London treaty of 1852, England and France had only played Russia's game.

The meeting was of great political importance, for it strengthened the alliance of the Western Powers. It also led the Emperor to entertain the highest opinion of the Prince, whom he called "une les intelligences les plus supérieures de l'epoque;" he blamed his Ambassador in London for not having given him sufficient information about the Prince, and thus put him in a position to estimate rightly the influence such a man exercised in the counsels of England. Later on he wrote to the Queen: "Lorsqu'on a su apprécier les connaissances variées et le jugement élevé du Prince, on revient d'auprès de lui plus instruit et plus apte a faire le bien."

While the two Governments were thus closely united in policy, events at the theatre of war were anything but satisfactory. The Emperor Napoleon had, in the spring, communicated to the Cabinet a project for an attack on Sebastopol; this step was popular in England, and Prince Albert approved of it, because, as he told Count Vitzthum, the Russians in that fortress were a standing menace to Constantinople, and their power in the East depended upon Sebastopol: therefore it must be destroyed. The event showed that this waa an error: the whole course of the war was hampered by the siege of the fortress; and in the long run, when, it was taken, very little advantage was gained, notwithstanding the large sacrifices that had been made. Then, again, the really vulnerable point of Russia in the South was the Caucasus, the tribes of which only waited for the signal to revolt. The operations, too, before Sebastopol dispelled great illusions, especially some that were cherished in England. At the instance of the Prince a camp was formed, in the summer of 1853, at Chobham, in order to mass troops from the different garrisons; from this the camp at Aldershot was developed at a later time. But the English army was in truth not fit for what was required of it in the war. The gallant but ill-advised charge under Lord Cardigan at Balaclava, cost the best part of the cavalry; the infantry fought heroically against huge odds at Inkermann, but their ranks were fearfully thinned. General Canrobert, an eye-witness, said at a later time to Count Vitzthum, "L'infanterie anglaise est la première du monde." But every day fresh masses of Russians, set free by the occupation of the Principalities by Austria, poured into Sebastopol. England was, as she was soon forced to see, face to face with a tedious siege; and to carry on a siege, it was necessary to hurry up reinforcements as fast as possible. The Prince, in a letter to Lord Aberdeen, urged that energetic steps should be immediately taken to send them, and sketched a plan of the necessary measures; but the Cabinet could come to no decision, and it was not till the end of the year that his proposals were accepted. Militia regiments were despatched to the Mediterranean stations in order to set free, and render available for the war in the Crimea, the garrisons of line troops that held them; and a Foreign Legion was formed. To the dismal tale of losses in action, which reduced the English army to 10,000 men, was soon added intelligence of the distress which the troops were suffering from a defective commissariat, and the total absence of organization.

(This was indeed urged upon the Government by the late Mr. Laurence Oliphant, who knew the country, of his work: The Trans- Caucasian Campaign, of the Turkish Army under Omer Pasha, 1856; and Lady Grant-Duff's Essay on Oliphant in the Contemporary Review for February, 1889.)

Prince Albert was indefatigable in his endeavours to remedy these evils; but once more he found himself baffled by the obstacles raised by a dilatory, cumbrous routine. At last a storm of public indignation broke loose, and under stress of this, after the opening of Parliament, - which faithfully reflected the opinion of the country, - the Aberdeen Ministry fell, and Lord Palmerston returned to power as head of a new Administration. Prince Albert, though disliking him, was too patriotic not to recognize that Palmerston, especially as he was in high favour with Napoleon, was the man for the crisis, - and gave him ungrudging support. A sudden change was wrought in the miserable condition of affairs; the Commissariat was efficiently organized; and in the next spring Lord Eaglan had once more under his command an army of 30,000 men. The French alliance was considerably strengthened by a visit of the Emperor and Empress of the French to the Queen in April,- 1855. But in the meantime the siege of Sebastopol made very unsatisfactory progress: and the negotiations carried on at the Vienna Conference remained without result.

(Count Vitzthum relates the following, to show the confusion which reigned in the War Department: "It is reported that the troops require gloves. The Secretary for War, the Duke of Newcastle, immediately orders 40,000 pairs to be forwarded. The Secretary at War, Mr. Sidney Herbert, does not hear of this order, and orders 50,000 pairs to be forwarded. The 90,000 pairs of gloves reach their destination all right, are served out - and are found to he utterly useless. Lord Baglan, in the strongest terms, begs that winter clothing for his troops and also medicines and lint may be sent out. Accordingly, a ship-load of these is despatched. The vessel actually arrives at Balaclava, but returns to England without breaking bulk, because there was nobody to receive the cargo! Thus hundreds of thousands are squandered, and the army perishes of cold and hunger." (Vol. i. p. 160-German Edition.)

The attack on the Redan (June 18th) failed; the Parliament exhausted itself in fruitless squabbles; Lord Russell's feeble action in Vienna was so violently condemned that only by his resignation was a ministerial crisis a verted. At last (September), the Malakoff was captured by the French; but the English general, Simpson, had to report that "the English attack on the Redan had not succeeded." Towards the end of November, Kars fell, though defended with great gallantry by General Williams. In September, Napoleon had broached to the London Cabinet the question of the restoration of Poland; Clarendon did not fall in with his views. On the 22nd of November, the Emperor addressed a letter to the Queen, in which he put the choice between a total rearrangement of the map of Europe and a Peace negotiated on conditions in regard to which he had already come to an understanding with Austria. The English Grovernment found itself in a very difficult predicament, which the Queen explained, as did the Prince, in a letter in answer to the King of the Belgians, who all along was urgent in favour of peace. In England the war was more popular than ever, and the national amour-propre was not satisfied with the part played by the army before Sebastopol, and with the trifling success attained by the fleet in the Baltic. There was now an efficient army; enormous preparations were made for the campaign of the following year, and hopes were entertained that even Cronstadt would be destroyed. The Crown and the Ministry could not act in deference to personal predilections and dynastic interests, as Napoleon did; but, inasmuch as they could not afford to come to a downright breach with the Emperor, they were forced to be content with enlarging, and at the same time making more stringent, proposals for an ultimatum to be addressed to Russia. It was supposed that the ultimatum, so modified, would not be accepted at St. Petersburg. When it was accepted, England found herself in a very difficult position at the Paris Conference. For the Emperor of the French, covered with flattery by Russia, and won by Count Orloff's frank admission of former blunders, was only too desirous to yield, in so far as he himself was concerned. But yet he was very loyal to the alliance, - and, in fact, furnished the sole support that England possessed. She was, for the rest, completely isolated. Therefore the Queen and the Prince insisted - and they were the first to do so - that the peace negotiations should be carried on in Paris. Prince Albert was very decidedly opposed to allowing Prussia to take part in these negotiations; and it was only when all the essential points were settled, that her plenipotentiaries were invited to join in the proceedings. As matters stood, England had to be satisfied with what she could get; and, in matter of fact, the peace was pretty much what the Prince described it to be, in a letter written in the spring to King Leopold: "At any rate, the object which we set before us has not yet been fully attained, and to the present moment I have not seen, and am not now able to discover, the slightest indication that Russia has abandoned her intention to be paramount in the East." Lord Clarendon, who was one of the signatories of the peace, had the same feeling, for his words were: "Nous avons fait une paix, mais pas la paix."

Though politics and questions relating to the War made the largest demands on the energies of the Prince, he did not neglect other interests. This is shown by a series of speeches delivered during these and the following years, at the laying of foundation-stones, or the inauguration of institutions devoted to art, to charity, and to the well-being of the people. In the course of his life in England, a period of twenty years, he was actively connected with the erection of a number of remarkable buildings. Osborne, in the Isle of Wight, is his work; so is Balmoral, the beautiful Highland residence of the Queen, completed and occupied in 1855. In 1856 were opened the great ball and concert-rooms in Buckingham Palace, the space hitherto available being altogether insufficient for the number of guests. The art treasures of Windsor were arranged and increased. The Prince caused photographs to be taken of all the drawings of Raphael, wherever they were to be found; he made a large collection of copper-plate engravings and etchings, and brought together several hundreds of miniatures. But he laboured for the People as well as for the Court. The Crystal Palace at Sydenham, Victoria Park, the great Military Hospital at Chelsea, the South Kensington Museum, which has done so much to advance art-industry in England, and which is now so flourishing, - and the Royal Albert Hall, - not opened till several years after his death, - these are all creations of his artistic taste and his watchful care. His correspondence was so heavy that he was often at a loss how to find time for it. Among his correspondents was Don Pedro, the young King of Portugal, who, during a visit, took such a liking to the Prince, that he did nothing without consulting him, and wrote to him almost every day. - The masterly speech which the Prince made in 1860, in opening the International Statistical Congress, made a profound impression on that assembly.

The Prince found his chief pleasure in his family, which had now considerably increased. The children were growing up. As in the earlier years, so to the end of his life, nothing broke the harmony of that happy home. Sincere affection bound together the parents themselves, and parents and children. Every success achieved by the Prince, every recognition of his merits, the Queen celebrates as an honour done to herself. How happy she is when (in 1857) she can give her beloved his due official position, by conferring on him the title of Prince Consort! And how truly is this devotion returned by the Prince, who cannot be separated a single day from his wife without giving her the most accurate account of everything that happens!

The most important event in the widening family circle was the betrothal and marriage of the Princess Victoria to Prince Frederick William of Prussia, afterwards Emperor of Germany. The parents were well satisfied with the union (which, notwithstanding a virulent article in the Times, soon became very popular); yet the parting with their daughter, now in the first bloom of womanhood, was naturally a very bitter trial. "My heart was very full writes the Prince the day after her departure, when yesterday you leaned your forehead on my breast to give free vent to your tears. I am not of a demonstrative nature, and therefore you can hardly know how dear you have always been to me, and what a void you have left behind in my heart: yet not in my heart, for there assuredly you will abide henceforth, as till now you have done, - but in my daily life, which is evermore reminding my heart of your absence."

The parents accompanied the farther movements of the young couple with the liveliest interest and satisfaction, - receiving from them letters containing accounts of everything that happened to them. The letters of the Prince showed how assiduously he endeavoured to give the young wife good counsel. "You have now entered upon your new house," he writes on February 11th [1858], "and been received and welcomed on all sides with the greatest friendship and cordiality. This kindly and truthful advance of a whole nation to an entire stranger must have kindled and confirmed within you the determination to show yourself in every way worthy of such feelings, and to reciprocate and requite them by the steadfast resolution to dedicate the whole energies of your life to your new home". (Martin, iv. 172.) A letter of February 17th strikes a more serious note: - Your festival time, if not your honeymoon, comes to an end to-day; and on this I take leave to congratulate you, unfeeling though it may sound, for I wish for you the necessary time and tranquillity to digest the many impressions you have received, and which otherwise, like a wild revel, first inflame, and then stupefy, leaving a dull nerveless lassitude behind. Tour exertions, and the demands which have been made on you, have been quite immense; you have done your best, and have won the hearts, or what is called the hearts, of all. In the nature of things we may now expect a little reaction. The public, just because it was rapturous and enthusiastic, will now become minutely critical, and take you to pieces anatomically. This must be kept in view, although it need cause you no uneasiness, for you have only followed your natural bent, and have made no external demonstration (nichts äusserlich 'affichirt') which did not answer to the truth of your inner nature. It is only the man who presents an artificial demeanour (Wesen) to the world who has to dread being unmasked." (Martin, iv. 175, 176.)

Any one who reads between the lines of Sir Theodore Martin's book will see that the young Princess, in spite of her domestic happiness, had to contend with many difficulties in her new sphere, and that these very probably made her sigh for the old home. The following letter of the Prince (April 28th, 1858) seems to refer to some manifestation of despondency on her part: - "What you are now living through, observing, and doing, are the most important experiences, impressions, and acts of your life, for they are the fruit of a life independent and responsible to itself. That outside of and in close proximity to your true and tranquillizing happiness with dear Fritz your path of life is not wholly smooth, I regard as a most fortunate circumstance for you, inasmuch as it forces you to exercise and to strengthen the powers of your mind. Only keep a constant guard upon yourself, and be not seduced by familiarity into approval of that which, while it was unfamiliar, the reason could not recognize as either good or fitting (zweckässig). This it is which makes the difiference between a feeble soul and a strong one, that while the former suffers itself to be the slave of circumstances, the latter accommodates itself to them on rational grounds and keeps its judgment unfettered. - I am delighted to see by your letter of the 24th, that you deliberate gravely upon your budget, and I will be most happy to look through it, if you send it to me; this is the only way to have a clear idea to one's-self of what one has, spends, and ought to spend. As this is a business of which I have had long and frequent experience, I will give you one rule for your guidance in it, viz. to set apart a considerable balance pour l'imprévu. This gentleman is the costliest of guests in life, and we shall look very blank if we have nothing to set before him." (Martin, iv. 217, 218, 315.)

Besides this constant interchange of thoughts and feelings, plans for seeing one another were soon formed and carried out. In Potsdam and in Coburg the parents met daughter and son-in-law. Between the two latter the first shoots of new family happiness had already appeared. These visits enabled the Queen and Prince to see once more their good old friend Stockmar, who, from the year 1857, dared not any more venture on the journey to England. But the noble and sagacious old man continued to communicate confidential advice by letter as long as the Prince lived, and the latter gave him accurate intelligence on all the events - great and small - of his life.

The period between the conclusion of peace, March, 1856, and the middle of 1857, passed quietly. The war with Persia about the occupation of Herat, begun on very absurd grounds by Palmerston, was ended by the Peace of Paris; the Prince was in consequence able, undisturbed, to devote all his efforts to the improvement of the condition of the working-classes. Working-men's dwellings were built, places of recreation established, which afforded healthy and innocent amusement; the porters and dock labourers of the port of London were delivered by the Prince from the misery of the truck-system which then prevailed: his warm heart and clear head were at the service of all sufferers. He was specially interested in the Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester, which was opened in the spring of 1857, and in an improved arrangement of the galleries and museums of London. But in the early summer came the first gloomy tidings of the threatened rising in India. The Prince and the Queen had, to the very utmost of their power, opposed the demand, which had found expression in Parliament, for a large reduction in the military forces created with such exertions during the Crimean war. They were apprehensive that England would find herself without resources in case some unforeseen emergency should occur. Lord Palmerston felt that they were justified in their opposition, and warned Parliament that the worst course a great and rich country could take for preserving peace, was to deprive itself of the means of defence. But he had not the courage to face manfully the current of opinion: a reduction in the expenditure and the lowering of the income-tax were demanded; Palmerston agreed to a reduction which he was destined to repent in the course of a very few months. "If" wrote the Queen to the Minister, when the first evil tidings came, "we had not reduced in such a hurry this spring, we should now have all the men wanted". But even then the Ministry could not gather its energies and take the course demanded by the situation; it denied the magnitude of the danger, and contented itself with slowly sending small detachments of troops to India. The Prince, who immediately saw the danger, could by no means put up with this dilatory procedure. His energy roused up the Ministers from their unpardonable apathy; all the available troops were flung on Indian soil with the utmost despatch, and two able generals. Sir Colin Campbell and Havelock, were entrusted with the command. Under them the British troops, by stubborn bravery, won victories in spite of huge disparity of numbers - victories that covered them with glory; only then was India conquered. But the Prince saw that it was not enough merely to avert the danger for the moment. The system of governing such an empire through the East India Company with concurrent, imperfectly defined authority lodged in the Ministry, had outlived its time; an army and government acting in unison must be created. The Queen addressed to the Ministry a vigorous communication, in which she required: (1) That India should never again be left without a European army of adequate strength; and (2) that the European army of India should be placed directly under control of the Crown. Both measures were carried, but only after stubborn opposition.

(Very beautiful is the letter written by the Queen to Sir Colin Campbell after the capture of Lucknow. She commends his gallant deeds (which she rewarded with a peerage), and gently blames him for being too careless in exposing his valuable life. (Martin, iv. 128.)

Already in the autumn of 1857, Palmerston had proposed a new order of things, by which the government of India should be lodged, not in the Company - a body of traders - but in the Crown. His fall, in the beginning of 1858, prevented the execution of his plans, and the Derby Ministry had to carry out the project. That Ministry, indeed, seemed, in a manner, specially called to the work; for Mr. Disraeli, the leader of the Lower House, had, at the outbreak of the Mutiny, insisted that the Crown and the people of India must be drawn into closer relations. But the blundering of the Indian Minister, Lord Ellenborough, spoiled all. Palmerston's Bill very properly lodged the Government of India in a Council, freely appointed by the Crown, and consisting of men of at least ten years experience in the Indian Service. Ellenborough, on the other hand, made the unfortunate proposal that four members of the Council should be elected by the holders of Indian stock, and by civil and military officials who had been at least ten years in the Indian service; and that five other members should be elected by the ten-pound householders of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Belfast. The Queen expressed the most decided objections to the whole elective idea, especially to the capricious favouring of those five cities; but Lord Ellnborough persisted in his view of the case, and so brought on the Government a decided defeat in Parliament; for the whole idea of election was rejected. Not content with this, Lord Ellenborough shortly afterwards placed the Government in a very awkward predicament, by criticizing severely in a despatch, published without the knowledge of his colleagues, a proclamation of the Governor-General of India, Lord Canning, who throughout the Mutiny had acted with the greatest prudence and vigour. This brought matters to a crisis, and the blundering minister was forced to resign. The Opposition, in order to ruin the Cabinet, wished to fasten upon it the responsibility for this blundering; but in this, owing to divisions in the Opposition itself, it did not succeed, and the measure was now passed - in the form of a series of Resolutions of the House. In June, Disraeli was able to report to the Queen that the success of the Bill was assured: "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 imaginations of the Indian populations. The name of your Majesty ought to be impressed upon their native life." The spirit in which the Queen assumed her new dignity is shown in her instructions to Lord Derby, when she was about to be proclaimed. He was to draw up the Proclamation, keeping before his mind the thought that a woman was addressing, as ruler, more than 200,000,000 Asiatics, in assuming direct sovereignty over them, after a bloody civil war; and he was to announce to them the principles on which her Government would be founded. "Such a document should breathe feelings of generosity, benevolence, and religious toleration, and point 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 civilization. Her Majesty wishes expression to be given to her feelings of horror and regret at the result of this bloody civil war, and of pleasure and gratitude to God at its approaching end, and her Majesty thinks the Proclamation should terminate by an invocation to Providence for its blessing on a great work for a great and good end."

During these years, strained relations existed with France. The alliance had always rested more upon the personal predilections and interests of Napoleon III. than upon any real understanding between the two nations. The alliance, moreover, became of necessity weaker, when the restless imagination of the Emperor pursued new alliances, and aimed at changes, of a radical character, in the map of Europe; and when, too, Russia was trying with all the arts of flattery to ensnare him. The visit of the Grand Duke Constantino did not quite answer the expectations that were entertained of it: it was counterbalanced by the invitation which the Duke received from Osborne, where he had a most polite reception. A more significant circumstance was the appointment of Gortchakoff as foreign minister of Russia. At an earlier period he had been sent as ambassador to Stuttgart, in order to draw France from the alliance with England which was then impending; and there, on one occasion, he observed to his French colleague: "Vous savez, la ligne du Rhin s'obtient à St. Petersbourg." Walewski had been drawn into the current of Russian influence. Morny had represented France with unparalleled splendour at the coronation in Moscow, and had returned with a Russian wife and a most decided leaning towards a Russian alliance. All these things could not but exercise an influence on Napoleon; only Persigny, ambassador in London since 1855, stood by the English alliance, and on that account came into unfriendly relations with Walewski. The first appearance of discord between the two nations arose in connection with the settlement of the Danubian Principalities. The Emperor had now become quite indifierent to the independence of Turkey, for which he had formerly drawn the Sword.

(The Emperor said to Count Vitzthum, when the Count paid him a visit in 1858, "La nation que je suis appelé á gouverner ne connait pas l'Angleterre, ignore ses institutions et n'apprécie pas comme moi les intéréts réciproqties que protège notre alliance. Les deux peuples ne se connaissent pas et ne s'aiment guère." (Vitzthum, ii. p. 238.)

On the frustration of his plan of handing over the Principalities to Austria as a compensation for the cession of Lombardy to Sardinia, he became convinced (under Roumanian influence) that the best arrangement would be - to unite the Principalities under a foreign prince, who should recognize the suzerainty of Turkey. Russia was also for the union, but under a native prince, because she hoped to keep a native prince dependent on herself. Sardinia and Prussia also agreed to the union arrangement; but Austria and the Porte offered determined opposition. England was at first inclined to it, but afterwards became convinced that it must issue in the weakening of Turkey. Then followed the elections for the Moldavian Divan, which were held in terms of the Peace of Paris, in order to ascertain the will of the people in regard to the constitution. The majority of members returned in these elections the French agents found to be averse to the union of the two provinces under one head. Thereupon France, charging the Porte with influencing the elections and with other dishonourable acts, demanded that the returns should be quashed and new elections held. This demand met with a flat refusal at Constantinople, - purely. Napoleon maintained, at the instigation of Lord Stratford. France, Russia and Sardinia threatened to break off diplomatic relations.

(At Osborne the Prince asked him whether he was still inclined to maintain the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, which England was determined by all means to preserve. The Emperor replied that, personally, the integrity of the Ottoman Empire was a matter of indifference to him, and that he could have no sympathy for a miserable people like the Turks. If, however, the question was put to him as a politician, it was a very different affair; and naturally he was not disposed to give up the original object of the alliance, for which France had made so many sacrifices.)

The tension was now so great that Persigny rushed off to Paris, - "pour sauver mon Empereur des mains des imbecilés." He represented so strongly the dangers attending a breach with England, that Napoleon determined to beg of the Queen a meeting at Osburne. The Queen (although she does not care to receive foreign guests in the Isle of Wight) complied very willingly, because the visit would give an opportunity for the frankest interchange of views; especially for the reason expressed by Palmerston: - "Prince Albert can say to the Emperor many things that we cannot say".- This the Prince did, and in the most unreserved manner. He pointed out to Napoleon that the latter, in his policy regarding the Principalities, was playing Russia's game, since the object she persistently aimed at was the dismemberment of Turkey, and that she beheld with great satisfaction his dispute with England. The Emperor denied this, - contending that if the two Danubian states were pacified and united under a foreign prince, they would form an actual barrier against Russia, - whereas their existing condition constantly gave her opportunity for interference. He reproached England for her connection with Austria, of whose duplicity Russia had lately produced fresh proof: while she was protesting to the Western Powers that she occupied the Principalities in order to keep the Russians out of them, she was assuring Russia that she took this course simply to set the Russian army free to act against the allies (Martin, iv. p. 107). Prince Albert replied that this did not at all astonish him; but if Austria was insincere, Russia was ten times more so; farther, that England had formed no alliance with Austria, - having merely agreed with her as to the course of action to be pursued on this particular question. Then, with the co-operation of the statesmen on each side, namely, Palmerston and Clarendon, Walewski and Persigny, - an agreetnent was arrived at: the Moldavian elections were to be cancelled, and new election writs issued under the superintendence of a European Commission: on the other hand, the plan of uniting the Principalities was to be abandoned. Palmerston, at the suggestion of the Prince, threw the substance of the discussions into the form of a memorandum, and laid this before Walewski. The latter, though acknowledging its correctness, refused to sign it, or to regard it as an official document. His Government, he explained, desired to keep the satisfaction which the Sultan was to offer, distinct from the arrangement in regard to the Principalities; and it must not appear as if France had purchased the one by yielding on the other. Walewski's action later on showed that his refusal had been due to other considerations; for the next year. Napoleon returned to the policy of uniting the Principalities, maintaining that he had changed his attitude, not on this point, but on that of setting a foreign prince at the head of affairs, - whereas the English policy, as manifested at Osborne, contemplated only identity in form of government, not a political connection. The whole question was settled by the Paris Conference of August, 1858: the form of government in the two Principalities was to be the same - like institutions existing in the two; but by the appointment of a ministry and legislature for each, the political separation was maintained. Meantime, both provinces frustrated the arrangement, by electing the same person, Major Couza, as Hospodar; and from that moment the movement towards unity advanced apace. It is very much to be doubted whether England and Prince Albert were right in their policy on this question. The main point was, to remove the Principalities from under the influence of Russia; and, since the most effectual means of securing this - namely, incorporation with Austria, - had broken down, clearly the best course was to secure to the states the greatest possible independence; it was, of course, to combat this that Russia opposed the appointment of a foreign prince. - Only under the Hohenzollern dynasty has the independence of Roumania been achieved. The statement that it has been achieved is nowise contradicted by the forced alliance of 1877; for surely it is manifest that a small state, left in the lurch by the great Powers, is in no condition to prevent a conflict between two powerful neighbours.

Of more importance than the interchange of views on this question were the conversations on political affairs generally, which the Prince had with the Emperor. He did not conceal from Napoleon that Russia's efforts to win the favour of France were regarded with distrust in England, and that this distrust would find new support in Napoleon's projected meeting with the Emperor Alexander at Stuttgart. The Emperor affirmed that this distrust was unfounded; he had, he said, responded to the many advaoces of Russia with so much coldness, that she might well be hurt at the reception accorded to her. "bons procédés;" then, in contrast to his action, the Emperor Alexander, in answer to a proposal for reconciliation made to him by Austria, had said he felt no bitterness, but that any understanding he might come to with Austria must not be used against France, which he considered as his friend: " C'était, il faut le dire, très bien de la part de l'Empereur." The Prince merely replied that, in his interviews with the Emperor Alexander, he would do well to reflect of how long standing the connection between the Northern Courts had been, and that everything he said in Stuttgart would certainly be known to them. Further, that Austria, if she saw her interests in jeopardy, could in three days conclude a peace with Russia, and that therefore Napoleon had every reason to conciliate Austria. This danger, of the renewal of the alliance of the Northern Powers against France, brought the French Emperor to a special project of his own. This was nothing less than the revision (asserted by him to be, in his view, absolutely necessary) of the treaties of 1815, - which, he said, stood as a monument of the European coalition against France. The Prince expressed the most decided objection to this. The treaties, he said, were the result of a war which had devastated Europe for five-and-twenty years. They were not inviolable, as the example of Belgium, Neuenburg, and Napoleon's own elevation to the imperial throne clearly proved; but the general revision of them would certainly let loose all bad passions, and could lead only to war; for all the Powers would come forward with mutually opposing claims. Moreover, none of the European Powers would run the risk of meddling with the status quo on the Continent, unless by so doing some material advantage was to be gained; and if all of them desired advantages, how could they hope to win them, save by a general war? The Emperor acknowledged the difficulties of the case, but remarked that the Emperor Alexander, who, at his suggestion, had been sounded by Count Morny, had (à propos of the conversations between his father and Sir Hamilton Seymour) declined to enter upon the subject, but had yet thought that a good deal could be done. For example: The Duke of Brunswick had no heirs, the Northern nations desired a Scandinavian union; again, if Denmark were united with Sweden, and England did not become jealous over the acquisition of Kiel, Holstein might fall to Prussia. The Prince replied that Brunswick would fall by right to Hanover; that against any strengthening of Prussia, England felt no jealousy, but that the Holsteiners did not wish to become Prussian; they were a German people, and demanded that their connection with Schleswig should be maintained. The Emperor observed that this was a very complicated question; also that he believed there were to be found outside of Europe, better means "pour rendre de grands bien-fails au monde." He would like to make the Mediterranean Sea, not into a French, but into a European lake. Spain might have Morocco; Sardinia, a portion of Tripoli; England, Egypt; Austria, a part of Syria, - "et que sais-je ?" All these were magnificent countries, though, owing to their abominable governments, they had ceased to be productive for purposes of civilization; besides. France wanted an outlet for her restless spirits. - The Prince felt relieved when the Emperor got upon comparatively chimerical projects, and only remarked that the possession of Algeria did not tell in favour of such outlets: Algeria had hardly absorbed all the restless spirits of Paris. He added that the French had no talent for colonization, but this the Emperor would by no means admit. On the whole, the visit served to re-establish relations; but, from a political point of view, the alliance was at an end; and although, when the Emperors met shortly afterwards at Stuttgart, no settled policy was agreed upon, yet they mutually promised to aim at an understanding in all European questions. Napoleon, in visiting the Prince, had hoped to win him over to support his designs; but the Prince declined to bind himself in regard to unforeseen events, which the Emperor could bring to pass at his pleasure. The sting of this refusal remained, although they parted, to all appearance, good friends. A year and a half later the Prince expressed his opinion of the Emperor as follows: - "I should not like to call the Emperor inscrutable (unberechenbar). I see in him no enigma. The events we have yet to expect will, upon the whole, not surprise me. He is, as he himself may sometimes think, the creature of a fatal destiny. His actions are the logical consequences of given premises. He wills far less often than he must. He is more to be pitied than blamed. His whole power is based upon falsehood. His system rests upon unsolved and insoluble contradictions which assert themselves in mutual antagonism and which must bring his system, if not himself, to a tragic end. To reconcile these contradictions is impossible. Napoleon would like to be Emperor by the grace of God, and at the same time par la volonté nationale. He can be either one or the other, but never both together. In France his power, if not derived from, at least rests upon, the Catholic priesthood. In Italy he is compelled, in order to escape the daggers of Orsini's confederates, and to redeem the promises made to the Carbonari, to threaten and attack the Romish Church. In like manner, 'l'Empire c'est la paix'; stands in direct contradiction to the need of giving employment to his army. Eventually he will not be able to live without the halo of a campaign on the Rhine. Even in apparently minor matters, the Nemesis of these insoluble contradictions pursues him. Take merely the architectural embellishment of Paris. Enormous sums were lavished to stop the mouths of hungry workmen; whole quarters of the town were pulled down and built up again. But when the work is finished, there will be no one in the most beautiful metropolis of Europe rich enough to enjoy its beauty. The most extraordinary thing is that the Emperor is really sincere in both directions. He honestly believes what he says, and just as honestly in what he will say to the contrary to-morrow. That things have gone tolerably hitherto is owing to his undeniable cleverness and to a certain exercise of prudence. But with all his gifts he is unable to appreciate that irreconcilable conflict of ideas of which he is sure in time to be the victim. He is no philosopher. You will not be surprised to hear that I have vainly endeavoured to make this clear to honest Persigny." (Vitzthum, Engl. Trans, vol. p. i 8-20.)

The most decided effect was produced on the policy of Napoleon by the criminal attempt of Orsini; for a time, indeed, it shook the Emperor's powers of judgment and self-control, - causing him to give ear to pernicious counsels. Demands, accompanied by threats, were addressed to Sardinia, Switzerland, and Belgium. It was not attempted to treat England in a like fashion, but Walewski sent a despatch to Persigny, the French ambassador in London, complaining in strong language that the English right of asylum favoured the designs of murderers, and expressing in so many words the expectation that the British Government would give guarantees that there should be no repetition of such criminal undertakings - guarantees which could not be refused by any state to a friendly neighbour. This complaint was all the more unjustifiable, as the English police had informed the French, fourteen days before, that Orsini was leaving England to commit a murderous outrage on the Emperor, and had, at the same time, communicated all particulars necessary for the arrest of the criminal. However, Lord Palmerston complied with the request, and introduced a Bill which made conspiracy to murder a crime punishable with from three to five years penal servitude. The Bill passed the first reading, - 299 voting for it,against it 99; but the publication in the Moniteur of the addresses of certain French colonels, treating England openly as an enemy, - and of Walewski's despatch, caused a complete revolution in public opinion. It was supposed the Government had yielded to threats; and although the Emperor gave expression to his regret at the publication, the supporters of the Bill were in a minority on the second reading. Lord Derby undertook the formation of a new ministry; he allowed the Conspiracy Bill to drop, and dismissed, in the proper way, the complaints in the Walewski despatch. However deeply the Emperor was mortified, he was forced, nevertheless, to the conviction that no ministry could carry out the measures demanded; he therefore strove to make the best of a bad business; and when Persigny, who had been especially active in pressing Palmerston to introduce the Bill, and was deeply chagrined at his fall, resigned his post, the Emperor sent in his place the Duke of Malakoff. The latter openly expressed his disapproval of the provocation offered by the military men; and, on the release of Bernard, the accomplice of Orsini, observed to the Prince: "Il faut rester impassible pour ces sortes de chases et laisser couler l'eau sous le pont."

But the attempt on the Emperor's life produced a profound impression upon him. Orsini's adjuration that he would become the liberator of Italy had affected him deeply, and gladly would he have pardoned the conspirator. Thenceforth he stood, as the Prince Regent of Prussia strikingly expressed it later on, under stress of "la guerre ou le poignard". This state of affairs Cavour very cleverly availed himself of, and in a secret meeting with the Emperor at Plombières it was arranged (without a suspicion on the part of the French ministers of what was going on) that, in certain contingencies, France would support the erection of Northern Italy into a kingdom, and with this object would come to the help of Sardinia in a war against Austria. Savoy and Nice were offered to the Emperor as compensation; a marriage between Prince Napoleon and the daughter of Victor Emmanuel was to seal the alliance. To this alliance the Emperor attached the greatest importance, the Czar having told him in Stuttgart that he might do what he pleased in regard to Italy; that he, for his part, would, under no circumstances, interfere. Of this meeting with Cavour, so important in its consequences, nothing was divulged at the time; but when shortly after the Queen and the Prince, in response to a pressing invitation from Napolefon, went over to Cherbourg, they found a certain constraint in his manner, notwithstanding all his politeness and his assurances that he would stand by the English alliance. The compact which he had just made, and which he well knew would meet with the disapproval of the Queen and the Prince, was a bar to the frankness of former times. Napoleon tried once more to gain the Prince over to his proposals for rearranging the map of Europe; but these the Prince rejected for the reasons he had before advanced, namely, that in English opinion there were no surer means of causing the complications that were dreaded than to enter into engagements in regard to contigencies, - since, in that case, one party, whose interest it was to bring about changes, could exert moral pressure on another, so as to force it into action. Such a part no British statesman - and least of all himself - would ever consent to play. This view of the case Napoleon regretted, as but an English theory, and in his judgment completely erroneous. Of what had taken place at Plombières the Prince had an inkling, but he knew nothing for certain, the secret having been well kept; and he supposed the Emperor had promised to help Sardinia only in case of an attack. The first indication the Emperor gave of his views was in a conversation with the English ambassador. Lord Cowley, à propos of certain violent articles in the London press on his war preparations. He remarked that this attack, in face of his friendly attitude towards England, might make the continuance of the alliance impossible. He affirmed that he had no ambitious intentions, but that if other countries were aggrandized, France could not remain in the background. During the war with Russia he became convinced no Peace could be satisfactory without the restoration of Poland; he had approached Austria in the hope that she would help him in this great work. "She left me," he said, "in the lurch; and, therefore, after the Peace I engaged in the improvement of the position of Italy; and, on this account, Russia made advances to me." In answer to a question of Lord Cowley, he admitted that Russia had not promised him positive assistance; and, as events soon showed, Russia was determined to look quietly on, enjoy Austria's embarrassments, and make her feel how much she had lost in forfeiting the friendship of Russia. But the Czar's government all the while took good care not to lend its support to any policy having for its object the establishment of an Italian kingdom. The Foreign Minister, Lord Malmesbury,was not inclined to take these symptoms seriously; but the Prince was convinced that the Emperor contemplated war, - especially when he heard that Napoleon, when Palmerston paid a visit to him, had talked about driving the Austrians out of Italy. There followed, in the new year's letter to the Queen, the announcement of the approaching marriage of Prince Napoleon; immediately after that, the strange greeting of Baron Hübner, and Victor Emmanuel's speech from the throne. - One cannot help thinking that the policy of England, and also of the Prince, at this stage of the Italian question, was not particularly happy; what undoubtedly influenced it was the fact that, as a counterbalance to the Franco-Russian rapprochement, England and Austria in Eastern affairs, especially in the question of the Danubian Principalities, had acted in close accord.

(Later on -January 20th, 1859- he told Lord Cowley that Bussia had promised, in case of war, to place on her frontier an army which would keep Austria and Prussia in check. The Russian ambassador in Berlin, Baron Budberg, confirmed this statement in answer to a question of Schleinitz, - asserting that Russia could never allow Austria to come victorious out of a war with France, because she could never come to an understanding with Austria in regard to Turkish affairs (Martin, iv. 426). Russia's attempts at a subsequent period to gain the support of France in return for her aid to France in the then existing situation, were unsuccessful (v. 14).

The aim was, to deprive the Emperor of every pretext for violent measures, in order eventually to put him completely in the wrong; but in this course no account was taken of the exasperation prevailing in Austria, and the haughty attitude assumed by the Imperial Cabinet, by which the susceptibilities of Prussia were wounded, she being treated almost as a vassal. At Vienna during that time the design was entertained of placing Henri V. on the French throne, after the anticipated defeat of Napoleon! That ,the situation in Italy was permanently untenable seemed clear, "Austria," wrote Stockmar, "is, in my eyes, only a geographico-political necessity of the treaties of 1814-15. Amid the changes to which all human affairs are subject, can this necessity last for ever?" But it was also clear that Napoleon was determined to force the pace. England had now the alternative: either to allow him a free hand, though within certain bounds, and under prescribed conditions; or, in face of the dangers which such a war might entail, offer him a determined opposition: in which latter case the support of Prussia was assured. England did neither the one thing nor the other. She wearied herself in exhorting Napoleon to abandon his mischievous designs; spoke strongly of the sacredness of treaties - which yet she had not the determination to maintain by force of arms. She tried mediation, and sent Lord Cowley to Vienna, where his exertions were, of course, utterly futile, since the real question at issue was left untouched; for the rest, these exertions only served to embarrass Austria, and to put Napoleon into very bad humour.

(The French ambassador at Turin, Prince Latoar d'Auvergne, declared in February: "Non seulement nous prendrons la première occasion de faire la guerre, mais nous chercherons un prétexte." -Sir J. Hudson to Lord Malmesbary, February 28th.) Ne vous offensez pas, ceci n'aboutira à rien," said Napoleon to the Sardinian ambassador. During Cowley's mission Napoleon signed the secret treaty with Cavour, after which the latter uttered the memorable exclamation, "Je le tiens!"

In his suspicious mood he hit upon the idea that the Prince, with the King of the Belgians and the Duke of Coburg, was working for an offensive alliance of England, Austria, and Prussia, against him. He complained that England, ever devoted to her own selfish interests, slandered and wronged him in every possible way. In answer to a letter on the subject from the Queen, he referred, as if hurt and irritated, to those hostile elements in England which, under cover of appeal to treaties, really aimed at depriving France of her legitimate influence in Europe. - Nor does Prince Albert seem to have been more happy in his advice to Prussia. The latter being pressed by France to declare herself neutral, the Prince Regent (afterwards the Emperor William) had despatched Count Perponcher to London, in order to come to an understanding with England in view of certain eventualities, and to ascertain what course, if they arose, she would take. The Prince replied that to support France was out of the question; for the rest, that England never involved herself in such binding declarations in regard to possible contingencies. Prussia ought to arm; to hurry forward the organization of the forces of the Bund, and thus, sword in hand, to await events, - which usually fell out otherwise than expected. The true strength and safety of governments in these days lay in public opinion, formed and enlightened by free discussion. In public opinion were to be sought the guiding star and also the warrant for the actions of governments. That Prussians voice should be loud and firm was the main condition of her safety and strength. "My advice to you would therefore be: call this power into play; this it is which will keep France and Russia in check, unite Germany, and place the ultimate decision in your hands."

These counsels proved themselves in the progress of events, to be of very little value. Of what profit was it that, as the Prince wished, Freiherr von Schleinitz explained to the English Government, in the manner specified, Prussia's position in regard to the coming conflict, and strongly emphasized the duty of Germany? The Government had not made up its mind to act. When once Napoleon's determination to push on in Italy was manifest, all that Prussia could do was, either to oppose him boldly, or to let him have his own way, and with his permission take in hand the question of the Duchies. bat she decided on neither the one course nor the other: she exasperated Austria and her adherents by leaving the former in the lurch; while by her obscure policy and armed interposition, she contributed to the inconclusive Peace of Villafranca. The Prince acknowledged in the autumn that Prussia was thoroughly discredited; yet this was the result of his own counsels. Manifestly he trusted too much in the affair to the mere force of Liberal principles; for these, in foreign politics, are powerless, unless accompanied by determined action. The continued attempts at mediation on the part of England - thwarted, as they were, by the proposal of Russia, then in complete agreement with Napoleon, for a Conference, designed to throw everything into confusion- only served to give the Emperor time and make his game the easier. This was, to render the situation so intolerable for Austria, that she must resort to an ultimatum. In such a posture of affairs, what effect could be expected from the Queen's imploring the Empress Regent to urge the Emperor not to push the war beyond the frontiers of Sardinia, but to rest content with repelling the Austrian invasion from Sardinian territory?

("The result,"said Napoleon, "must be war, or else a full satisfaction for me.")

The position of England became still more critical from the circumstance that the leaders of the Opposition, Russell and Palmerston, now turned out the Derby Ministry, and adopted a totally new line of action. Both were devoted friends of Italy, though Russell by no means shared Palmerston's trust in Napoleon, To obviate the danger of a Franco-Russian alliance, and to take the wind out of the sails of Prince Gortchakoff in Paris, they laid down as their programme the complete evacuation of Italy by Austria; and they were greatly provoked by the Villafranca arrangements, which so deceived the hopes of the Italians. The discord was heightened on the appearance of the pamphlet, Le Pape et le Congrès, and the annexation of Nice and Savoy. The Emperor was so incensed against England on account of her opposition to the annexation,that at a reception, he made an attack on Lord Cowley, - reproaching him, in the presence of the Russian ambassador, with the conduct of his Government. But the ambassador would not put up with this, - remarking that he was prepared for any discussion, but that it was not consistent with his dignity to suffer the Emperor to criticize his Government to the Russian ambassador in his hearing, nor even to himself, in the hearing of the Russian Ambassador. But since, in regard to Savoy also, England was not determined to act, her ill-humour availed nothing. The Emperor, by threatening to occupy Bologna and Florence, compelled Cavour to yield: and four months elapsed after the cession of Savoy and Nice before the farce of taking the votes began, - that is, a period during which the French agents had time to get round the voters. Cavour, after being forced to swallow the bitter pill, said, with truth, to Benedetti, after the signing of the treaty, "Et maintenant vous voilà nos complices."

(For the history of the annexation, of the Souvenirs Politiques (Ch. zi.) of Dr. Kern, at that time Swiss Minister at Paris.)

France could never afterwards oppose the Italians. For England and for Germany the precedent set in the Savoy affair was ominous, as the first practical application of the theory of natural boundaries, - "sur le versant des Alpes;" and people in France spoke openly of carrying out the principle on the Rhine frontier. But the Prince could hardly have expected success when, to promote German unity, he advised Russell to inspire, as far as possible, the smaller Courts of Germany with confidence in Prussia, which alone, as he explained, could afford them protection. The words, excellent enough in themselves, used by the Prince to Count Vitzthum, fell therefore on no very genial soil. His opinion was that only by allowing Prussia to take the lead in all military and diplomatic affairs could Germany secure welfare and happiness. Those same Courts knew, too well, that the Unity spoken of could be achieved only at the expense or their sovereign rights, and therefore was possible only through blood and iron.

On the 1st of June the Moniteur contained a manifesto of Napoleon, the object of which was to re-establish confidence - now shattered - in the pacific disposition of France. But, as Prince Albert said, it is not given to every one to recover what has once been lost. Under pretence of wishing to dispel the apprehensions of Germany, the Emperor invited the Prince Regent of Prussia to a meeting at Baden-Baden. It was surmised at the time that his real intention was to induce the Regent to look favourably on the Rhine frontier, in consideration of an increase to Prussia in Germany; but, at a later time, Prince Albert learned on good authority that the Emperor based his plans for the aggrandizement of France on territorial changes in the East of Europe, through the cession of the Danubian Principalities to Austria. He did not take into account the certain opposition of Russia; of course, Russia put a decided veto on the project. The Prince Regent, with a true appreciation of the situation, removed all distrust on the part of the German princes as to the nature of the meeting, by bringing about their participation in it; thus the Emperor could do nothing but give the most emphatic assurances of the peacefulness of his intentions; for (as he said), nothing was farther from his desire than the annexation of German territory to France. He denied all participation in the pamphlet entitled L'Empereur et la Prusse, which demanded the Rhine frontier, and he regretted its publication - (yet it was known to have appeared under permission of the Government); public opinion in Germany (he continued) was so much excited by the spirit of faction, that he did not know what to do in order to calm it. "Nothing easier," was the answer of the Prince Regent; he had only to make the same peaceful declarations to all the princes then present in Baden, and his views would be known widely enough.

This wise and dignified policy on the part of Prussia naturally met with the warmest approval in England. It was perceived that the Emperor felt himself compelled to keep the peace at least for that year, but confidence in him was not restored. On the contrary, the works for the defence of England were zealously pushed forward. Parliament voted 9,000,000£. (of which 2,000,000£. were for the current year), to place the fortifications and other means of defence on a footing commensurate with the dignity and the safety of the country. The enthusiasm of the nation in the undertaking was so great, that, as early as June, 1860, 130,000 volunteers went up to London in detachments, at their own expense, in order to give proof, in the presence of the Queen, of their readiness for war. The Prince encouraged this movement to the utmost of his power, for he had long seen how defective was the organization of the English army and navy. Several important proposals of reform, especially in regard to the navy, emanated from him, and were produced in memoranda drawn up with his own hand, and displaying an astonishing acquaintance with the subjects discussed. The Manchester leaders, Bright and Cobden, wished to base the security of England on the commercial treaty concluded with France, and attacked expensive establishments as holding out a challenge; but Palmerston, amid loud applause, replied that these defence works formed the sole basis of really friendly relations with France: "So long as we are vulnerable, we offer temptation for attack. If we render an attack not only dangerous but hopeless, it will never be tried."

The progress of the Italian movement, which occupies an important place in vol. v. of Sir Theodore Martin's book, need not be farther discussed at present. Lord Russell wavered between his Italian sympathies, which moved him to go much further than Napoleon, and distrust of Napoleon himself. When, in consequence of the rapid growth of the young Apennine Power, France demanded, as it was reported, a fresh equivalent in the island of Sardinia, the English ambassador at Turin declared that his government would regard such a surrender (though indeed it was never contemplated) as a casus belli. On the other hand, the idea which Napoleon, in the beginning of 1861, broached to Lord Cowley, - namely, that Austria might sell Venice to Italy, and for the half of the sum received, acquire Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Porte - mightily pleased the two Italian enthusiasts in the English Cabinet ("our two old Italian masters," as Lady William Russell called them), who expressed, in naive fashion, their deep regret, when the Austrian Government rejected the plan as quite inadmissible!

After an Irish trip, the Prince returned from Balmoral to Windsor in October, 1861, to all appearance, in good health. The death of the Duchess of Kent had deeply aflfected him, as well as the Queen; but, on the other hand, the beautiful life of his family circle was developing as he would have wished. The Princess Alice was the affianced of Prince Louis of Hesse; the Prince of Wales had returned from a tour in Canada and the United States, where he had received an enthusiastic welcome; and he had now gone into residence at Cambridge. Prince Alfred, after an examination, in which he acquitted himself well, had started on his training trips. But the health of Prince Albert himself had been for a long time shaken: he had often to complain of feverishness, and the feverish attacks exhausted his strength, especially as he was not accustomed to take care of his health, but, to go on, come what might, with his daily work: he discharged his social duties as usual, though he often felt it very fatiguing to do so. The sudden death of King Pedro moved him deeply. "The frightful event in Portugal stands in strong outline before our eyes" he wrote to his daughter in Germany, on the occasion of her twenty-first birthday. "Without the basis of health it is impossible to rear anything stable. Therefore see that you spare yourself now." This was the last letter which the Princess received from her father's hand. A thorough wetting which he got while paying a visit to Sandhurst, brought on violent rheumatic pains; from a visit to Cambridge to see his son, he returned still worse. Yet be bore up with all his might against the attacking enemy. The Trent difficulty with the United States he comprehended in all its importance, and devoted to it his last, striking memorandum, which contributed powerfully towards the settlement of that difficult and dangerous question.

Lord Palmerston, who saw him on the 3rd December, was shocked at his appearance, and requested that other physicians should be called in. There came better days, when the Prince had Scott read to him, but on the 11th came a decided change for the worse: the lungs became affected, and the patient began to wander. In a lucid moment he recognized the Queen, and called her his "good little wife" (gutes Frauchen), On the evening of the 14th the end came. The Queen, kneeling by the bedside, held his left hand, which was already growing cold; on the other side was the Princess Alice; at the foot knelt the Prince of Wales and the Princess Helena. About eleven o'clock he passed peacefully away.

Inscrutable are the ways of Providence. In a short space, two men were called hence, who, according to human calculation, seemed almost indispensable to their country and to Europe - Cavour and Prince Albert. A rich life hero came to an early close: the children to whom guidance was so important were fatherless; -the exalted Lady to whom, for more than twenty years, the Prince had been husbahd, friend, counsellor and guide, was utterly broken-hearted. All the statesmen who had enjoyed close intercourse with him acknowledged that England, in whose service he had consumed his strength, was infinitely his debtor, that the gap caused by his death was not to be filled, - that the loss was irreparable. Subsequent events have shown that, with Prince Albert, there disappeared from European politics and English public life a guiding hand, whose influence was all the greater as it never came prominently before the eyes of men. What he was to his wife, what he did for England, few, during his lifetime, ever knew. The ministers were bound, according to his wish, to keep the secret; but, when he died, "the past," as Count Vitzthum well says, "suddenly revealed itself in concern about the future." The voice of envy was silent. With its Queen, the whole nation mourned for Albert the Good. We can now estimate Prince Albert in his private and public character. Many a monument in stone and bronze has been raised to his memory, but the worthiest memorial is that which the Queen has raised to her husband, now at rest. She has caused his life to be written; she has herself diligently laboured at the work; and she has produced a grand and attractive figure of that imperial statesman whom England and Germany will for ever proudly call their own.

Source: The Yoke of Empire: Sketches of the Queen's Prime Ministers; By Reginald B. Brett, 1896
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