The Mother Of All Obituaries
(too old to reply)
2006-01-26 06:40:00 UTC
I've just noticed that Queen Victoria has died. Her obituary appeared in The
New York Times three days ago, some one hundred and five years late. This
will undoubtedly disturb Terry Ellsworth, but when he discovers the length
of her obituary he will certainly forgive The Times for being a little
I know you are all thinking, "But Little Jimmy, your post is off-topic! This
an opera newsgroup!" Patience, dear readers, patience . . I was just on the
verge of stepping smartly into compliance with rmo's On-Topic Laws by
relating this charming account of Q. Victoria's first encounter with Bizet's
Carmen. Whether it was also her last encounter with Carmen I cannot say.
Anyhow, Queen Marie of Romania, Victoria's granddaughter, wrote her
recollection of the event:
"Towards the end of her life, Queen Victoria, who, for endless decades,
because of her widowhood, had shut herself away from all worldly amusements,
began to take great interest in theatrical art, opera, drama or comedy.

"So unspoilt was dear Grandmamma in all things concerning amusements, that
her joy and interest in these performances was almost childlike.

"During one of my rare visits to England after my marriage, I witnessed one
of these performances. Being the guest of honour that evening, I had been
placed on the Queen's right.

"The curtain went up. The representation happened to be Carmen, an opera
quite familiar to me, but which the Queen was witnessing for the first time.
We were sitting very near the stage and I noticed that Grandmamma was not
only following the music with keen interest, but also the plot of the play.
Somewhat bewildered by the passionate story, she kept asking me questions,
which were not easy to answer owing to the loudness of the music and the
unequal heights of our chairs.

"Grandmamma was evidently enjoying it. She shrugged her shoulders from time
to time and there was a half-smile on her lips.

"The first act over she turned to me for fuller explanations about the
story. With a very young woman's diffidence I tried to impart to my
grandparent my knowledge of Carmen's rather wild tale. Grandmamma's shy
little smile broadened, this was the sort of story that did not often reach
her ears.

"The curtain went up for the second act. Carmen with her smuggler associates
was becoming wilder and wilder. I no longer remember who was singing the
part, but her acting was as good as her voice so that she was indeed
fascinating to watch. The irresistible "Toreador" made his entry which gave
Carmen the occasion to exert her wiles, which were followed by her
passionate display of temper when poor Don José hears the trumpet call of
duty and tries for the last time to save his soldier's honour. It was all
very realistic; most of us in the room had seen it before, but to Grandmamma
it was an exciting revelation. Leaning towards me, her eyes full of dawning
comprehension, she nevertheless presses me for further explanations which,
with flaming cheeks, I give as best I can. Grandmamma raises her fan to her
face, she is delightfully, pleasurably scandalized, but she understands;
leaning towards me, her fan still over her mouth, she whispers: 'But then,
oh my dear child, I am afraid she's really not very nice!'

"Dear old Grandmamma! No, Carmen was certainly not very nice, her morals
were abominable, not at all in keeping with your irreproachable court, but
all the same how you enjoyed the excitement of being so deliciously


January 23, 1901


Longest Reign In English History

The Story of Victoria's Life and Queenhood

Grief for Her Husband

She Was at One Time Much Criticised for Living in Seclusion

The Monarch Just Dead Witnessed the Growth of the British Empire to the
Greatest in the World


The reign of Queen Victoria, who came to the throne of her ancestors in
1837, was the longest in English history; indeed, it was one of the longest
in the history of Europe, whether the ancient nations or the modern be
considered. English reigns remarkable for length are those of Henry VI., 39
years; Henry VIII., 38; Elizabeth, 45; Edward III., 50; Henry III., 56, and
George III., 60. It thus appears that the only reigns besides Victoria's
that exceeded fifty years are those of Henry III. and George III. In the
case of Henry, however, it is to be borne in mind that he ascended the
throne when only a boy of ten, with Pembroke and others as Regents, while
George III. during the last ten years of his life was a hopeless lunatic,
and his son served as Regent until his death. Victoria's more than half
century of reign began when she was a grown-up woman and legally of age. No
Regent was necessary. At the time of her death also she was the oldest
monarch that ever ruled Great Britain.

French history, however, supplies us with a reign considerably longer than
hers, that of Louis XIV., who sat on the throne of France from 1643 until
1715, a period of seventy-two years, of which only nine belong to the
Regency of Anne of Austria. But German history yields us no parallel.
Neither the Carlovingian, the Hohenstaufen, the Hapsburg, nor the Austrian
line affords a single reign that exceeded fifty years in length. Nor does
the long line of Roman Emperors who ruled in Rome supply an instance of such
length of regal days in power. The longest reign was that of Constantine the
Great, 31 years; the next longest that of Valentinian III., 30 years, while
reigns so celebrated in Roman annals as those of Tiberius, Claudius,
Domitian, Trajan, and Diocletian extended over only 23, 13, 15, 19, and 21
years, respectively. If we include the later Eastern Empire, one reign of 56
years (Basil II., who had a colleague for seven years) is found and one of
48 (Constantine VII., who had several colleagues). But this is the best Rome
can show.

In another and greater sense, however, was this reign a memorable one in
English history. Literary endeavor and the search for knowledge in no other
single reign, save that of Elizabeth, made such splendid contributions to
the stock of new facts and written words that men will not willingly let
die. Science in this reign made such extraordinary additions to almost every
department of knowledge and industry that there is no other reign to be
mentioned in the same sentence. The scientific results achieved by the mind
of man in the age of Victoria stand alone as at once the wonder and the
blessing of mankind.

Many former reigns contributed their shares to the dominions over which
Victoria ruled, but no former sovereign actually reigned over anything like
so extensive an area as she. In her time vast areas were added to the
British Empire in Africa, India, and the Pacific, so that it was never quite
so true as in her time that the British Empire was one on which the sun
never set. Never before could it have been said by Webster with the same
truth, in that fine and famous sentence of his, that the British Empire was
one "whose morning drum beat, following the sun and keeping company with the
hours, circles the earth with one continuous and unbroken strain of the
martial airs of England."

Parentage and Childhood

Though the family name of Queen Victoria was Guelph, and though the royal
house to which she belonged was that of Hanover, the blood that coursed
through her veins was a mixture of blood that had furnished England with
sovereigns before the time of the Norman William down through the eight
hundred and more years that had elapsed with the death of George III. When
the Saxon Matilda became the Queen of Henry I., the Saxon and Norman lines
were united on the English throne, and it was a daughter of Matilda, married
in France, who brought in the Plantagenet line. Through a marriage with
Elizabeth of York the Tudor family gained the Plantagenet blood, and by a
marriage with the Princess Margaret, sister of Henry VIII. and daughter of
Henry VII., the Scotch house of Stuart gained the blood of the Tudors.

From this house of Stuart, Victoria claimed her crown. Elizabeth, Queen of
Bohemia, eldest daughter of James I., first of the Stuart Kings of England,
had a daughter, Sophia, who became the wife of Ernest August of Hanover, and
thus the mother of that son who became King George I. of England. Elizabeth
of Bohemia was a devoted Protestant, though as a child she had been reared
in Catholic surroundings. Her life as a Queen was a stormy and eventful one,
for those were days when religion and war were natural associates. Her
steadfast devotion to Protestantism cost her much. Her faith was sorely put
to the test throughout many years, but Protestants in England got to regard
her as a kind of martyr. She could little have believed, however, that such
momentous results to her family were to ensue from this devotion. It was
that vital point in England's Constitution which secures crown to "heirs of
the body, being Protestant," which made a descendant of hers two generations
later King of England, and thus set up the Hanoverian line.

George III. was the father of a numerous family. Nine were sons, of whom two
died young, and six were daughters. The eldest son, afterward George IV.,
had only one child by his Queen, and this a daughter who died childless soon
after marriage. Frederick, the second son, having no children, died before
his elder brother, thus making William, the third son, the successor after
George IV. William was the father of two daughters, but both died in their
infancy. Other children he had had, but they were illegitimate. Owing to the
long Continental wars of the period and the Royal Marriage act, this son,
William, and the next, Edward, Duke of Kent, had remained unmarried until
they were middle-aged men. The death of George IV.'s daughter and only child
had now made the question of succession very serious. These two sons and the
seventh son, Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, were accordingly instructed with
their duty to find wives of princely birth, and all three in the same year
espoused each a Princess. Two of them, William and Edward, were married on
the same day. It was William's fortune, as already said, to lose the two
daughters that came to his marriage with the Princess, but Edward, who was
blessed with only one daughter, like Viola, she was "all the daughters of
her father's house, (and all the brothers, too") not only did not lose the
child, she lived to become the illustrious Victoria, Queen and Empress.

The bride whom the Duke of Kent had chosen was already a widow. Her first
husband had been the Prince of Leiningen. She was a daughter of the house of
Saxe-Coburg, had had two children by her first marriage, and was now a
little over thirty years of age and beautiful. The Duke of Kent, when he
married her, was a tall and rather stoutish man of fifty-eight. For various
reasons, one of them the want of means to live becomingly in England, they
made their home in the Castle of Amorbach, in Bavaria, which was part of the
inheritance of the Duchess's young son by her first husband.

In a short time there was promise of a child, and the Duke, anxious that the
possible heir to the British throne should be born in England, concluded to
go with his wife to London. They obtained apartments within the plain brick
walls of Kensington Palace. So poor was he that the help of friends was
required to make the change; none of these friends, however, were his
brothers; the brothers were unfriendly to the Duke. In Kensington Palace the
apartments assigned to them were those which had been added to the old
palace by Sir Christopher Wren. Here, on the 24th of May, 1819, was born the
future Queen of England.

From her mother the infant received the name of Victoria, and from the
Emperor of Russia that of Alexandrina. For some years she was commonly known
as the Princess Drina, the name Victoria being substituted later on in her
girlhood. Considerable pomp attended the infant's baptism. The gold font
which had long been in a state of disuse was brought from the Tower, and the
Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London were in attendance to
perform the ceremony. Among those present was Prince Leopold, brother of the
child's mother, afterward King of the Belgians, and then the childless
widower of that Princess Charlotta, who had been the only heir of George IV.
Prince Leopold was a devoted brother and uncle. The future of the Duchess
was not bright, and to this brother she became deeply indebted for practical
assistance through many years. When the child was six months old she was
taken by her parents to Sidmouth, on the Devonshire coast, and here in a
cottage the Duke soon afterward met his death. He had come home one day with
his feet wet, after a long walk, and had stopped to play with his daughter
before changing his boots. A chill was the result, and a fatal attack of
inflammation of the lungs ensued. Extremely odd was it that the father of
Victoria should be a man who did not marry until he was fifty-eight, who
should then have a child in a year, and should die seven months after the
child was born.

This misfortune to the Duchess was attended by others. George III. died soon
afterward, and as his successor had had an unfriendly feeling for his
brother Edward, little help was to be expected now for Edward's widow and
daughter, who had been deprived by Edward's death of all means of
subsistence. It was in this emergency that Prince Leopold's brotherly
generosity became of such value to the stricken family. Back to Kensington
they went, and thence to Claremont, the house which belonged to Leopold, and
where his short married life had been spent. Here he often received his
sister and niece for long periods, and saw that their wants were supplied.
Years afterward Victoria said the days she spent at Claremont were the
happiest of her childhood. All the more creditable was the devotion of
Prince Leopold when it is recalled that the child born to him, dead a few
years before Victoria's birth, had it lived, would have been the direct
heiress to the throne.

For many years after her birth, Victoria's position as heir apparent was
doubtful. George IV. was still alive, hating his Queen, and might live to
have another wife, and by her have children. Even so late as 1830, when that
grossly-dissolute King ended his life, the life of William IV. stood between
her and the throne. William, however, had no legitimate heir; he was nearly
sixty-five and in rather poor health, and the likelihood that he would now
have issue was extremely small. Victoria had not been brought up with any
assurance that she was heir to the throne. Strict orders were in force that
no one should speak to her on the subject. Economy in expenditures was found
necessary by her mother. For a Princess, the life of the child was one of
very straitened circumstances. Even when her income was only a child's
pocket money, she was taught to limit her expenditures by the amount of
money she possessed. Stories told to show the enforcement of this rule of
her mother's easily explain those habits of economy and saving for which, as
Queen, Victoria became a subject of captious criticism from English

When William IV. became King, Victoria was twelve years old. Statesmen then
saw as all but inevitable that this little girl was to be the future Queen,
and a bill was brought into Parliament making the Duchess of Kent Regent in
case her daughter, by the death of William ere she came of age, should be
called upon to take the crown. Matters having gone this far, it was thought
time for her to know her position as a Princess. The story told is that her
governess contrived to convey the information by placing in one of her books
a genealogical table showing the fact. Finding this table and examining it,
the Princess one day said to the governess, "I never saw that before," to
which answer was made: "It was not thought necessary you should, Princess."
"I see I am nearer the throne than I thought," said she. "So it is, Madam."
After a pause the Princess, lifting up the forefinger of her extended right
hand, remarked: "How many a child would boast, but they don't know the
difficulty. There is much splendor and there is much responsibility." At the
coronation of William she had not been allowed to appear; nor was she
brought forward into prominence in the Court circle. For this her mother was
upbraided on one occasion by the King at his own table, and a scene of
distress ensued, in which Queen Adelaide was put to confusion and the
Princess brought to tears. From the atmosphere of the Court she was withheld
so far as possible, and travel in England was made a leading feature in her
education. Cities and towns, cathedrals and historic houses were visited and
careful knowledge of them obtained.

On the Throne

In England eighteen is the age at which a royal Princess reaches her
majority. Victoria passed this period on May 24, 1837, on the morning of
which day she was awakened by a serenade. Among her many presents was a
piano sent by the King, who lay then on a bed from which he did not rise.
Less than a month afterward, on June 20, at 2:20 A.M., the King breathed his
last, at Windsor. Immediately after this a carriage drawn by four horses and
containing the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain departed
for Kensington Palace, and at 5 o'clock dashed up the central avenue that
led to the door. What followed has been described in the "Diary" of Miss

"They knocked, they rang, they thumped for a considerable time before they
could arouse a porter at the gate; they were again kept waiting in the
courtyard; then turned into one of the lower rooms, where they seemed to be
forgotten by everybody. They rang the bell and desired that the attendant of
the Princess Victoria might be sent to inform her royal Highness that they
requested an audience on business of importance. After another delay and
another ringing to inquire the cause, the attendant was summoned, who stated
that the Princess was in such a sweet sleep that she could not venture to
disturb her. They then said: 'We are come on business of State to the Queen,
and even her sleep must give way to that.' It did, and to prove that she did
not keep them waiting, in a few moments she came into the room in a loose
white nightgown and shawl, her nightcap thrown off and her hair falling upon
her shoulders, her feet in slippers, tears in her eyes, but perfectly
collected and dignified."

About the first words the young Queen spoke when she was told the news were
to request the Archbishop to pray for the widowed Queen Adelaide. When they
had departed she went to her mother and informed her of the mighty change in
her fortunes. Then she addressed a letter of condolence to her aunt
Adelaide, asking her to remain at Windsor as long as she pleased. The letter
was addressed "To her Majesty the Queen." She was reminded that she ought to
write instead, "To her Majesty the Queen Dowager," but her answer was: "I am
aware of that, but I will not be the first to remind her of her altered
position." It was arranged that a Council should be held that day at
Kensington. The hour fixed was 11 A.M. In Greville's "Diary" the following
account of this Council, which a familiar picture by Sir David Wilkie has
made well known, is given, and Greville was not a man given to emotion:

"Never was anything like the first impression she produced, or the chorus of
praise and admiration which it raised about her manner and behavior, and
certainly not without justice. It was very extraordinary, and something far
beyond what was looked for. Her extreme youth and inexperience, and the
ignorance of the world concerning her, naturally excited intense curiosity
to see how she would act on this trying occasion, and there was a
considerable assemblage at the palace, notwithstanding the short notice that
had been given. She was plainly dressed and in mourning. After she had read
her speech and taken and signed the oath for the security of the Church of
Scotland, administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Privy Councilors
were sworn; the two royal Dukes first by themselves, and, as these old men,
her uncles, knelt before her swearing allegiance and, kissing her hand, I
saw her blush up to the eyes, as if she felt the contrast between their
civil and their natural relations, and this was the only sign of emotion
that she evinced. Her manner to them was very graceful and engaging; she
kissed them both and rose from her chair and moved toward the Duke of
Sussex, who was furthest from her and too inform to reach her. She seemed
rather bewildered at the multitude of men who were sworn and who came one
after the other to kiss her hand; but she did not speak to anybody, nor did
she make the slightest difference in her manner, or show any in her
countenance to any individual of any rank, station or party. I particularly
watched her when Melbourne and the Ministers, and the Duke of Wellington,
and Peel approached her. She went through the whole ceremony, occasionally
looking at Melbourne for instruction when she had any doubt what to do,
which hardly ever occurred, with perfect calmness and self-possession, but
at the same time with a graceful modesty and propriety particularly
interesting and ingratiating.

On the following day occurred the ceremony of the proclamation, when,
according to custom, the Queen made her appearance at the open window in St.
James's Palace, surrounded by the great nobles of the realm in their robes
of state. At Kensington a range of apartments separate from her mother's
were at once set apart for her use, and there she lived until July 13, when
she left the home of her childhood for Buckingham Palace. She did not go to
Windsor until the September of that year, and she then reviewed her troops
from on horseback. She opened the first Parliament of her reign in November,
and in the following June she was formally crowned in Westminster Abbey.
Harriet Martineau, an eye-witness, has described that scene with much
felicity. "The throne," says she, "covered, as was its footstool, with cloth
of gold, stood on an elevation of four steps in the centre of the area. The
first peeress took her seat in the north transept opposite at 6:45, and
three of the Bishops came next. From that time the peers and their ladies
arrived faster and faster. Each peeress was conducted by Goldsticks, one of
whom handed her to her seat and the other bore and arranged her train on her
lap and saw that her coronet, footstool, and book were comfortably placed.
About 9 the first gleams of the sun started into the Abbey, and presently
traveled down to the peeresses. I had never before seen the full effect of
diamonds. As the light traveled, each lady shone out as a rainbow. The
brightness, vastness, and dreamy magnificence of the scene produced a
strange effect of exhaustion and sleepiness."

Wife and Mother

Albert, Prince Consort of England, was the second son of Ernest, Duke of
Saxe-Coburg- Gotha, and was born Aug. 26, 1819, so that he was three months
younger than Victoria. Five years after his birth his father and mother had
separated, two years later the mother was divorced, and in 1831 she died,
having never seen her son since the separation. Prince Albert first saw the
Princess Victoria in the Spring of 1836, when he made a visit to England
with his father and his elder brother. The visit lasted a month, and the
cousins are believed to have parted very reluctantly. Victoria, in a letter
to her uncle, begged him to "take care of the health of one now so dear to
me, and to take him under your special protection." From a much earlier time
the idea of a union between these two had been entertained at Saxe-Coburg,
and as Victoria's accession became more and more a certainty it took firm
hold. Meanwhile, great care was taken with the education of the Prince. For
one thing, it was necessary that he should know English. The position he was
likely to fill was kept clearly in view.

When Victoria had become Queen, Albert wrote that he had heard with great
satisfaction of the "astonishing self-possession" she had shown. "You are
Queen," said he, "of the mightiest land of Europe. In your hand lies the
happiness of millions." Albert was not Victoria's only suitor. She was
indeed a great catch; there was none like her in Europe. There had scarcely
been one like her in England since Elizabeth. She was sought by Prince
Alexander of the Netherlands, by Prince Adalbert of Prussia, by Duke Ernest
of Wurtemberg, and even, it is said, by Prince George of Cambridge, her
cousin, afterward the Duke of Cambridge, and whose morganatic wife, Mrs.
Fitz-George, died early in 1890, the only wife he ever chose to have. Albert
well understood how the strict etiquette of the Court obliged the Queen to
take the initiative, and hence, on his second visit, in October, 1839, when
the purpose of his visit was clearly understood, he waited anxiously for
some sign of the Queen's decision in his favor. This he had the happiness to
obtain on the second evening of his visit, at a ball, when she gave him her
bouquet, and he received a message from her that she desired to speak with
him on the following day.

Victoria up to this time had been somewhat reluctant to consider an
immediate marriage, as she thought both herself and Albert too young, but
State reasons and the wise influence of Prince Leopold, who was uncle to
both, prevailed to change her inclinations. In the following year occurred
the wedding. Albert landed at Dover and went thence to Canterbury and
London, being received at Buckingham Palace at the hall door by the Queen
and her mother, attended by the whole household. In order that the people
might be better pleased the Queen decided upon noon as the hour for the
wedding, instead of the evening hour common with royal persons. The wedding
took place in the Chapel of St. James's Palace, and thence Queen and Prince
were driven to Windsor, the roads being lined with rejoicing crowds. Three
days were passed at Windsor and then they returned to London to receive the
congratulations of the people.

One of the most charming and wholesome domestic pictures that royal lives
have afforded is furnished in the married life of Albert and Victoria. Its
influence on English domestic life in general must have been far-reaching.
Prince Albert was a man of honest purposes and devoted affections; he was
endowed with noble ambitions guided by intelligence. Painting, etching, and
music were accomplishments that afforded amusement to both, and the Prince
was a man of taste and skill in landscape gardening. He loved a country life
and early hours. To these tastes the Queen learned to conform, though she
had formerly preferred town life; in fact, she became eventually as fond of
the country as was he. Many glimpses of their domestic occupations and
manners are afforded in the biography of the Prince and the journals kept by
the Queen, which were made public several years ago. Elsewhere interesting
glimpses have also been given. One of the most interesting is contained in a
letter from Mendelssohn to his mother. He had been asked by the Prince to
play on the organ at Buckingham Palace and called by appointment. "I found
him alone," says Mendelssohn, "and as we were talking the Queen came in
also, alone, in a simple morning dress. She said she was obliged to leave
for Claremont in an hour, and then, suddenly interrupting herself exclaimed:
'But, goodness, what a confusion!' for the wind had littered the whole room
and even the pedals of the organ (which, by the way, made a very pretty
figure in the room) with leaves of music from a large portfolio which lay
open. As she spoke she knelt down and began picking up the music. Prince
Albert helped, and I, too, was not idle."

The difficulties encountered at the outset of this union were incident to
the peculiar relations of the Queen and Prince. Head of the family though
the Prince was in his position as husband, his place in public affairs was
necessarily subordinate. Great tact and a large amount of genuine sense and
right feeling were necessary on his part to make the path a smooth one.
Undoubtedly the common judgment now is that he bore himself with conspicuous
good sense and dignity in this trying situation. His character was naturally
strong. His disposition was essentially resolute, and a proper degree of
independence was essential to his happiness. In the royal household many
were reluctant to surrender the powers they had formerly exercised, and
others were disappointed that the husband of the Queen was a foreigner. To a
friend the Prince wrote, in the May following his marriage, that his
difficulty was to fill his place "with proper dignity," because he "was only
the husband and not the master of the house." The Queen, however, soon
showed her determination that in all matters not affairs of State the Prince
was to exercise paramount authority. Sir Theodore Martin, the biographer of
the Prince, says the example of the Queen was itself "enough to quell
resistance," while the Prince's own "tact, forbearance, and superior grasp
of mind were not long in removing every obstacle to his legitimate

"In finding his right position in regard to public affairs, the Prince had
to feel his way cautiously and to inspire confidence in his ability and tact
no less than in his freedom from personal ambition." A large degree of
credit for his success belongs to Baron Stockmar, who, along with Prince
Leopold, had been and still continued to be an efficient and successful
guide and adviser to the Prince. No act of the Prince's life at this time
showed his sense of his position with better effect on the English people
than his letter to the Duke of Wellington declining to become Field Marshal
Commander in Chief of the English Army. In this letter he said he had
resolved "to sink his own individual existence in that of his wife; to aim
at no power by himself or for himself; to shun all ostentations; to assume
no separate responsibility before the public; to make his position entirely
a part of hers."

The Queen became the mother of nine children. The first was born in
November, 1840. This was the Princess Royal, (Victoria by name,) who
afterward (1858) was married to the Crown Prince of Prussia, and has since
become known as the Empress Frederick of Germany. On Nov. 9, 1841, was born
Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, who married the Princess Alexandra of
Denmark in 1863. The third child was Princess Alice, born in 1843, married
to Prince Louis of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1862, and who died in 1878. The fourth
was Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, born in 1844, married to the Grand Duchess
Marie Alexandrovna of Russia in 1874, assumed the title of Duke of
Saxe-Coburg Gotha, and died July 30, 1900; the fifth was Princess Helena,
born in 1846, and married in 1866 to Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein;
the sixth, Princess Louise, born in 1848, and married to the Marquis of
Lorne in 1871; the seventh, Arthur, Duke of Connaught, born in 1850, and
married to the Princess Louise of Hohenzollern in 1879; the eighth, Leopold,
Duke of Albany, born in 1853, married to the Princess Helene of
Waldeck-Pyrmont in 1882, and died in 1884, and the ninth and last, Beatrice,
born in 1857, married to Prince Henry of Battenberg in 1885, and widowed,
Jan. 20, 1890.

These children of the Queen, with one exception, have each had children of
their own. A few years ago the record stood: The Princess Royal, six, of
whom the present Emperor of Germany is the oldest; the Prince of Wales, six,
of whom one died in infancy, and the eldest of whom, Albert Victor, born in
1864, died in July, 1892, leaving his brother, the Duke of York, heir to the
throne after his father; Princess Alice, one; the Duke of Edinburgh, five;
Princess Helena, (sometimes called Princess Christian,) four; Princess
Louise, none; the Duke of Connaught, three; the Duke of Albany, one, and
Princess Beatrice, two. Several of the Queen's grandchildren are already
married, and she has been for some years a great- grandmother. First among
them is the present Emperor of Germany, whose first child was born in 1882;
another is his sister Sophia, married to the Crown Prince of Greece, and
another, the daughter of the Prince of Wales, married in 1889 to the Duke of
Fife, a marriage which gave satisfaction in England for the negative reason
that it was not contracted with a prince of German blood. Antipathy to
German Princes is now an instinctive feeling to a large class of the English
people. It dates back to the beginning of the Hanoverian line, early in the
eighteenth century. A saying of Lord Chesterfield's illustrates how deep
this feeling was in his time. There had been discussion of the Stuart
Pretender. Chesterfield said England ought to contrive to make him Elector
of Hanover, for this would make it certain he could never mount the throne
of England.

At the time of her first jubilee, which was celebrated with extraordinary
splendor on a perfect June day in 1887, the Queen had thirty-one
grandchildren living and six great- grandchildren. The second or diamond
jubilee, ten years later, celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of her
succession, was equally impressive in its pageantry.

Until Her Widowhood

The domestic life of the Queen for the twenty years her husband lived was
singularly happy. Fate seemed to shower upon her every blessing to which a
woman could aspire. It was not an eventful twenty years; eventful years are
seldom years of happiness. The record of this period, besides the birth of
children, embraces travel to various parts of her dominions and the
Continent, return visits from European sovereigns, the purchase and
enlargement of country homes, and the education of her children. Following
the christening of the Prince of Wales with much state and splendor in 1842
came the visit of the King of Prussia, against which various Courts had
intrigued in vain; then the first visit to Scotland, which she was
subsequently to love so well, and then her visit to King Louis Philippe of
France. The year 1844 was marked by several royal visits to London. First
came the King of Saxony, then the Emperor of Russia, and then the King of
the French. In 1845 the Queen went to Germany with the Prince, and was
entertained by the King of Prussia.

A few years of married life had inspired a wish for homes remote from
London. In September, 1846, possession was taken of the house at Osborne, on
the Isle of Wight. It was private property, and the Prince enlarged and
beautified it, bestowing upon it the best products of his taste in landscape
gardening. The pride of the Prince in this place was that he made his
farming pay. The place was really created by him. Even the trees in most
cases owed their existence to him. By his will the Prince made Osborne the
personal property of the Queen. In 1846 the royal family sailed around the
west coast of Scotland, visited the Duke of Argyll, and explored Fingal's
Cave. "It was the first time," wrote the Queen, "that the British standard
with the Queen of Great Britain and her children had ever entered Fingal's
Cave, and the men gave three cheers, which sounded very impressive there."

This visit renewed the Queen's liking for the Scotch Highland countries, and
desire for a home there took definite form when her physician recommended
the air and climate. The Balmoral property was then acquired. It was only a
small castle, with a picturesque tower and a garden in front. Improvements
on a vast scale were necessary ere it should take on its present fine
proportions. It is built of red granite, in baronial style, with gables and
turrets and a square clock tower. Like Osborne, Balmoral is private
property. In the Autumn of 1855, when the Queen first occupied Balmoral,
news reached her by telegraph of the fall of Sebastopol. Bonfires were
lighted on the hills to commemorate the event. Here came in that Autumn the
Crown Prince of Prussia to woo and win the eldest daughter of the Queen, who
is now the Empress Frederick.

One of the royal visits that belongs to those happy twenty years was a visit
to Ireland, one of three or four made by the Queen. It occurred in 1849, and
was the first royal visit to Ireland since 1821. She landed in the Cove of
Cork, on a spot to which was given the name of Queenstown. She went on to
Dublin, and expressed much delight at the enthusiasm with which she was
received. Waving her handkerchief from the paddlebox as the royal yacht was
about to sail away, an old woman in the crowd below called out to her: "Och,
Queen darlint, make one of the childer Prince Patrick and ould Oireland will
die for ye!" Ten months later the Queen's fourth son was born. She named him
Arthur, after Ireland's greatest soldier, the Duke of Wellington, and
Patrick, after Ireland's patron saint.

Early in the sixties, sorrows thick and first came upon the Queen. Her
mother, after a surgical operation upon her arm, was taken with a chill, and
when the Queen arrived was unconscious. She died without recognition.
Relatives of Queen and Prince by marriage, the King of Portugal and his
brother, Prince Ferdinand, died of typhoid fever. Then came the unlooked-for
illness of the Prince Consort. "Am full of rheumatic pains," wrote the
Prince in his diary, "and thoroughly unwell. Have scarcely closed my eyes at
night for the past fortnight." He had grown gradually worse, when news came
of the seizure of Mason and Slidell from the British steamer Trent.

Lord John Russell advised the Queen to demand reparation and forwarded a
dispatch for her approval. The terms of this dispatch seemed to the Prince
too harsh. He wrote out his objections, telling the Queen he could scarcely
hold his pen while doing so. These suggestions were adopted.

Late in December the Prince Consort breathed his last. The body was
deposited in the royal vault in St. George's Chapel, and subsequently
removed to the splendid mausoleum erected to hold it.

Victoria's life after her husband died continued for many years to be one of
quiet seclusion. Her people saw little or nothing of her, and the projects
with which she was occupied for doing honors in public to his memory were,
for the most part, the only ones in which she manifested particular
interest. So prolonged was this devotion of hers that many criticisms were
at length made on the seclusion of the Queen. Radical leaders were not slow
to make use of these circumstances and to point out her obligations to the
country as things to which private sorrows should give way. One would search
long to find a record of such absorbed devotion on the part of a reigning
monarch. The memorials erected in Albert's honor suggest in their way the
most notable that history records. On the Appian Way, beyond the walls of
Rome, the wealthiest Roman of his time reared "a stern round tower" to the
memory of his wife, which survives to our time as one of the most
interesting monuments that the traveler in that land beholds. On the banks
of a river in a land over which Victoria ruled, another eminent man set up a
memorial to his wife, in what we know as the Taj Mahal, which has come to be
accepted as the most beautiful architectural tribute that exists in memory
of a lost wife, Victoria's tributes were to a lost husband.

The Prince Consort had been dead not three months when the Queen laid at
Frogmore the first stone of the mausoleum that now holds his dust. A few
years later she began at Balmoral the immense cairn bearing the inscription,
"To the Beloved Memory of Albert, the Great and Good Prince Consort, Erected
by His Brokenhearted Widow, Victoria, 21 August, 1862." Six of her children
("my poor six orphans" she called them) placed each a stone upon this pile.
Granite without mortar was used in its construction, the shape being that of
a pyramid. In various cities, among them Edinburgh and Aberdeen, statues of
the Prince Consort were set up, and in London the colossal Albert Memorial,
which was for a long time a spot of extensive pilgrimage to all visitors to
London. In 1867 she laid the foundation stone of the Albert Hall of Arts and
Sciences, in which was carried out a project the Prince had in hand when he

These years in the sixties were of further note in a domestic way for
marriages, deaths, and births. In 1863 the Prince of Wales completed his
twenty-first year, and was married. One of the grandest sights London had
seen was the reception it gave to the bride of the Prince, the beautiful
daughter of the King of Denmark. On hilltops throughout England, Scotland,
and Wales, were set beacon lights. The marriage took place in St. George's
Chapel, at Windsor, and was witnessed by the Queen from a recess or closet.
She was still in deep mourning, and did not join the wedding party. Another
marriage of special interest occurred in 1870, being that of Princess Louise
and the Marquis of Lorne. This was a union between a Princess and a subject,
as was the Fife marriage of 1889. Old George III. would never have
sanctioned such a union. His Marriage act forbade it, except with the
approval of the reigning sovereign.

Private grief came to the Queen in 1864, when her uncle Leopold, then King
of the Belgians, passed away; he had been a friend of great value to the
Princess Victoria in her childhood, and she felt the loss keenly. The five
years now past had taken from her not only this uncle, who was like a father
to her childhood, but her husband and her mother. Six years later came the
illness of the Prince of Wales, when his life was for some days in great
danger from typhoid fever. On his recovery the Queen went in state to St.
Paul's Cathedral to give thanks, and the day was made a national festival.
It was a day in February, and she sat in an open carriage with the Prince at
her side. The route going lay along the Strand and Fleet Street, and
returning along Oxford Street. In August of the same year a visit was paid
to Edinburgh, when the Queen occupied rooms in the historic Palace of
Holyrood. In September her half-sister, the Princess Hohenlohe-Langenburg,
to whom she was much attached, died.

After the Franco-Prussian war England received the royal French exiles.
Chiselhurst, in Kent, became the home of the failed Emperor, his wife, and
son, and much kindness was shown to them by the Queen, who retained for many
years afterward a special fondness for the afflicted ex-Empress Eugenie.
When Napoleon died, in 1873, 40,000 persons were said to attend his funeral,
2,000 of them being French. The Queen in that year received a visit from the
Shah of Persia and the Czar of Russia, whose daughter had just become the
wife of the Queen's second son.

With Lord Beaconsfield as Prime Minister in 1877 a new eminence was acquired
by the Queen. She was made Empress of India, and proclamation of the fact
was formally made in the old Mogul capital of Delhi, as well as at Calcutta,
Bombay, and Madras. She opened Parliament in person that year and did Lord
Beaconsfield the great honor of a visit to his home, Hughenden Manor, where
she took luncheon and planted a tree. In December of the next year, on the
seventeenth anniversary of her father's death, died Princess Alice, and in
March, 1884, another child of the Queen, the Duke of Albany, died. Readers
will not fail to recall the message sent to Mrs. Garfield on the death of
the President: "Words cannot express the deep sympathy I feel with you at
this terrible moment. May God support you as He alone can!" Another event,
the marriage of Princess Beatrice, in 1885, should be added to this domestic
record. She was the youngest of the Queen's children and had long been her
mother's inseparable companion. Mr. Frith, the artist who painted a picture
of the Prince of Wales's marriage, related that he once asked the Princess
at Windsor if she would not have liked to be one of the bridesmaids at her
brother's wedding. "No, I don't like weddings," she said. "I shall never be
married; I shall stay with Mamma." This undoubtedly was the fate already
fixed up as in store for her. Her marriage, however, was at the time
understood to have taken place with the understanding that she was not to
leave her mother. Her husband died in 1896.

Queen Victoria's life was several times in danger from violence. Serious
illness she never knew until the last. When a Princess, some shot from a gun
accidentally passed very near her. After she was a Queen repeated attempts
were made to shoot her. Four months after her marriage, a young bartender
out of employment fired at her twice while she was riding with the Prince at
Windsor, both shots missing them. In the next year a man snapped a pistol at
her carriage window as she was returning from church in London, but the
charge failed to go off. On the day after this man's sentence of death was
commuted to transportation for life another pistol was snapped at her
carriage, but it, too, missed fire. Other attempts were made in later years,
but the Queen was never hit. She appears to have been as safe from harm as
Washington appeared to be to the Indians, who thought he bore a charmed

Reform Bills and Ireland

From the foregoing review of what may be called the personal side of the
Queen's life the course of this article naturally reverts at this point to
the public measures and events of this remarkable reign. When Victoria
assumed the crown, English statesmen had been for some years occupied with
measures of electoral reform. The new Ministry, headed by Lord Grey, that
came into power with the accession of William IV., in 1830, prepared a bill
in March of the next year, and after a dissolution finally carried it in the
Commons in September on a third reading by a majority of 100. But the Lords
postponed the reading of it for six months and Parliament was prorogued. In
December of the same year, when Parliament reassembled, what was known as
the act of 1832 was read in the Commons without division, and in March went
to a third reading by a majority of 116.

In the House of Lords the fate of the measure was not so happy. By a
majority of 9 it got to a second reading in April, 1832, but before further
progress was made a motion that enfranchisement should precede
disenfranchisement led to a majority vote of 35 against the Ministry, which
resigned two days later. Great public excitement ensued on this defeat.
Prominent in opposition to the measure had been the Duke of Wellington,
whose fall as Prime Minister before Earl Grey was due to his declaration
against any kind of Parliamentary reform. This opposition made the Duke
extremely unpopular for a time. On the anniversary of his victory at
Waterloo he was hooted by a mob in London, and he considered it necessary to
protect the windows of his town residence, Apsley House, by iron shutters.
Late in the year 1832 the bill was at last made a law, Earl Grey having been
induced to resume office on obtaining power from the King to create enough
new Peers to secure a majority.

By this reform bill 56 boroughs in England, containing populations of less
than 2,000 each, were disfranchised, 30 others were reduced to one member
only, 22 new ones were created with power to send two members, and 20 others
with power to send one. These boroughs which had been disfranchised were
rotten boroughs. Victoria thus ascended the throne with a Parliament elected
very differently from the Parliaments former sovereigns had met on their
accession, and the note of progress having been thus auspiciously sounded, a
new era in Parliamentary government was about to open. If her reign did not
see this reform act passed, she was the first English sovereign who had not
to recognize these rotten boroughs.

Later on in her reign reform bills became familiar subjects in Parliamentary
life. Twenty- two years after William IV. had set his name and seal to the
act of 1832 Lord John Russell introduced a new bill, but the war with Russia
in the Crimea led to its withdrawal. Five years later Mr. Disraeli brought
in a bill, and it was rejected. In the following year Lord Palmerston
brought forward a bill, only to withdraw it. Other bills followed in rather
rapid succession, to meet no better fate. Great reform meetings were held in
the large towns, one in London in 1866 having as a feature a procession of
25,000 men, and one in 1867 a procession of 18,000. As a result, finally,
was passed the act which received the royal assent in August, 1867. By this
the franchise was granted in boroughs to householders rated for relief of
the poor and to lodgers resident for twelve months and paying £10 a year,
and in counties to persons of property of a clear annual value of £5, and to
occupiers of lands or tenements paying £12 a year.

Reform acts of later date were those of 1884 and 1885, which, together, form
an enactment which has been pronounced "the most extensive reform ever
attempted in England." By the one of 1884 the suffrage which in 1867 had
been conferred upon householders and lodgers in boroughs was now extended to
the same classes in counties. Household suffrage was thus established for
counties as well as boroughs. It applied to Scotland as well as England, and
was extended to Ireland. England thenceforth practically has possessed
universal suffrage.

Just as bills for reform of the suffrage have been an almost constant
feature of Parliamentary discussion, so has the Irish question; this
question, like the poor, England has had always with her. The legislative
union of the two islands was only two years old when Emmet's insurrection
occurred. This was in 1803. Seventeen years later George IV. made his visit.
Then, in 1829, was passed the Roman Catholic Emancipation act, and in 1831
the Irish Reform act, results closely linked with the public career of
Daniel O'Connell. When Victoria came to the throne the poor laws were before
Parliament, and a year later were ready for her signature. In 1840 was
formed the Young Ireland Party, followed by the great repeal movement;
O'Connell's trial for political conspiracy and his conviction, the failure
of the potato crop, O'Connell's death, the transportation of O'Brien,
Meagher, McManus and O'Donoghue in 1849, the Queen's visit a month later,
and the Fenian agitation, begun in 1864, with the trials and executions in

With Gladstone as Prime Minister, after these Fenian affairs came the
passage of the bill which in 1869 disestablished and disendowed the Irish
Church. It was three years later that a Home Rule Party was heard of,
through the leadership of Isaac Butt, but an abler and stronger man, Charles
S. Parnell, soon superseded him, and the formidable Land League movement was
organized. Land acts passed under Gladstone's rule had changed considerably
the system of tenures in Ireland. When, in 1881, the Land League was
suppressed, it made its appearance again with a new name, the National
League. A period of lawlessness, unusual for a long period in Ireland, now
ensued and culminated in the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr.
Burke, the Chief and Under Secretaries for Ireland, followed by the severe
Crimes act, which may have prevented other atrocities, though it did not
easily restore good order. Later events are more familiar still, and
especially The London Times's case against Mr. Parnell, the Pigott
forgeries, and the long- drawn-out commission.

Chartism and Corn Laws

Connected with these reform movements early in Victoria's reign was the
agitation to which the name Chartism was given. It dates from a period
shortly after the act of 1832 was passed, that act being regarded as not
sweeping enough, and took its name from the demand made on Parliament for a
people's charter. Six points in this charter were universal: suffrage, vote
by ballot, annual Parliaments, payment of members, abolition of property
qualification, and equal electoral districts. For the most part the
Chartists were men from the lower classes. A year after Victoria became
Queen they held meetings in various parts of England, armed with guns and
pikes and carrying torches, and a proclamation was issued against them. For
some time they held a sort of Parliament of their own, and in 1848 they
arranged to hold a monster meeting in Kensington Common and march to
Westminster with a petition to Parliament. It was their intention to bring
out 200,000 persons at this meeting, and the authorities were greatly
alarmed. Public buildings, including the Bank of England, were fortified by
military forces under the Duke of Wellington, and special policemen,
numbering 150,000, were sworn in, one of them being Louis Napoleon,
afterward Emperor of the French. Estimates of the number who attended the
Chartist meeting have been as low as 20,000. Probably 50,000 is near the
truth. Slight encounters with the police occurred, and then the procession
dispersed. The monster petition they were conveying to Parliament had been
signed by nearly 6,000,000 names. It was sent to Parliament in detached
rolls, in several cabs. With this extraordinary effort the career of the
Chartists came practically to an end. One of the chief causes of this was
the prosperity which now returned to English industries consequent on the
repeal of the corn laws in the Ministry of Sir Robert Peel.

The celebrated league formed to secure the repeal of these laws, which
levied duties on the importation of corn into England, the word corn being
equivalent to breadstuffs, was founded at Manchester in 1838. Among its
supporters were John Bright, Richard Cobden, and Charles Villiers. Meetings
soon began to be held in various English towns, and in 1842 a fair held at
Manchester realized $50,000 for the league. In the same year 600 deputies
from provincial associations held a meeting in London, and the league in the
same year began to raise $250,000 for printing pamphlets and sending out
lecturers. In March, 1843, an important meeting was held in Drury Lane
Theatre. London, and in 1845 immense meetings were held in Manchester and a
bazaar was opened in Covent Garden, London, the Manchester meetings helping
forward the league's ambition to raise $1,250,000 for the expenses of this
war on the corn laws. For a time Sir Robert Peel held out against the
arguments of Cobden and Bright, but at last, in 1846, a bill introduced by
him was passed and assented to by the Queen. This famous bill reduced the
duty on wheat to 4s. (when brought in at or above 53s.) until February,
1849, after which date it became 1s. per quarter only on all kinds of
imported grain, whatever the price. In 1860 even this duty of 1s. per
quarter was taken off, so that complete free trade in corn existed
thenceforth in England.

Chinese and Crimean Wars

The first years of Victoria's reign were years of peace; until the war in
the Crimea began, (sixteen years after her accession,) England was little
disturbed by her foreign relations. Indeed, the state of Europe in general
throughout that period was one of unusual quiet, so far as rivalry among the
nations was concerned. Whatever of disturbance occurred was in home affairs
rather than foreign. More than one reigning monarch was made anxious for the
security of his throne. In France the monarch had good reasons for his
anxiety, for he lost his throne altogether and, unregal King that he was,
departed for England under the name of Smith. Europe still retained a very
vivid recollection of the wars of Napoleon. England's mighty effort against
the Emperor had cost her Treasury a very pretty sum of money, and she was
more than willing to live at peace with the other powers while recovering
her strength. Reform bills in Parliament, moreover, and the corn law
agitations, with the attendant commercial depression, afforded her ample
occasions for the exercise of wisdom and statesmanship.

Save for the war with China, begun in 1839 and ended with the peace of
Nankin late in 1842, England had no war on her hands until the portentous
cloud arose on the Bosporus in 1853. Visits from the Emperor of Russia and
the Kings of France, and visits of the Queen to the Kings of France and
Prussia, and not wars, had been the international events of the time.
Wellington and Sir Charles Napier, the soldiers of a former generation, had
died, and so had Thomas Moore and Wordsworth, poets who had long since done
their work and were already stepping aside for Browning and Tennyson.

This war in China, like many of England's wars, was a war for trade. Opium
in the first instance was the cause. Mandarins had complained bitterly of
the introduction of opium by the English merchants, and for years had
attempted to prevent its importation. That the mandarins were disinterested
is shown by the fact that when in April, 1839, some 20,000 chests were
handed over they destroyed them. The precise occasion for declaring war was
the Chinese demand made in this year for the surrender of opium. Peace was
not formally secured until July, 1843. By the terms of this treaty England
was to receive from China the sum of $21,000,000, and Hongkong was ceded to
her in perpetuity, while Canton, Amoy, Foo-Choo-Foo, Ning-Po, and Shanghai
were thrown open to British trade, and British Consuls were permitted to
reside there.

The war in the Crimea was an outgrowth of designs respecting Turkey long
entertained by Russia. When the Czar Nicholas in 1844 made his visit to
London he conversed with Wellington and Lord Aberdeen in regard to the
dissolution of the Sultan's empire. Later on a formal communication, which
was kept a state secret for ten years, was sent to London by the Czar's
Minister, and the Czar had several conversations on the same subject with
the British Envoy at St. Petersburg. It was in one of these conversations
that the Czar compared Turkey to "a sick man" who was in a state of
decrepitude and at the point of death. His proposal related to the
disposition of the dying man's property. He had no objection to English
possession of Egypt, but would not consent to its establishing itself on the

Some years later dispute arose between Russia, as representing the Greek
Churches, and France, representing the Latin ones, as to the exclusive
possession of the holy places in Palestine. A commission appointed by Turkey
decided in favor of Russia. The French accepted this decision, though
reluctantly. Further claims on Turkey were then made by Russia. A
protectorate was demanded for herself over the Greek Christians who resided
in Turkish dominions. The Sultan regarded this as inimical to his own
authority, and the Russian Minister, his ultimatum having been rejected,
departed from Constantinople. The Sultan then appealed to his allies, and
the English and French fleets advanced for his protection. By July, 1853,
the Russians had entered Moldavia; by September English and French ships
were in the Dardanelles; in October Turkey had declared war against Russia,
and two weeks later had committed the first act of war by firing on a
Russian flotilla. The Danube remained the scene of operations for some
months, but the scene gradually advanced eastward, with engagements at
Rustchuk, Silistria, Odessa, and the blockading of the mouths of the Danube
by the allies.

Operations in the Crimea began properly with the landing of the armies of
the allies in September, 1854. In that month 65,000 men, with 5,000 horses
and 50 pieces of artillery, went ashore in the Bay of Eupatoria and marched
in the direction of Sebastopol. They met the Russians at the River Alma, and
after a severe engagement, in which the Russians lost 5,000 men and the
allies 3,400, forced them to retreat to Sebastopol, where preparations were
made for the defense of the fortress. Balaklava was seized by the British,
and early in October the attack on the fortress was begun. It was impossible
to make an attack from the water, as the Russians had sunk vessels at the
entrance to the harbor. The incidents of this celebrated siege need only be
named here. They include the battle of Balaklava, with the charge of the
light cavalry, which Tennyson has celebrated; the defeat of the Russians at
Inkerman, Florence Nightingale's work in the hospitals, tales of great
suffering from cold weather, the death of the Czar Nicholas, the siege of
Kars in Armenia and Gen. Williams's long defense, the retirement of the
Russians to the north forts and the destruction of their fleet, the
explosion of 100,000 pounds of powder in the French siege train at Inkerman
with great loss of life, the destruction of the Sebastopol docks, and the
treaty of peace concluded in Paris in March, 1856.

England lost in this war nearly 24,000 men, of whom 270 were officers. Those
killed in action and who died of wounds numbered 3,500; cholera caused the
death of 4,244, and other diseases nearly 16,000. The losses of the French
were 63,500 men, and of the Russians nearly half a million, according to
English statistics. England added to her national debt in consequence of
this war the sum of $200,000,000.

Mutiny in the East

One year later occurred in India the first incidents of that famous mutiny,
the suppression of which was to tax the best energies of England's
administrators and soldiers for more than two years to come. In the year
1857-8 was to occur the hundredth anniversary of the battle of Plassey, the
winning of which battle by Clive had laid the foundation stone of the
English dominion. It had long been predicted by native astrologers that on
this anniversary the English power would come to an end. The first serious
consequences of native belief in the prediction were shown in a mutinous
spirit that broke out among the sepoy soldiers when it was decided that a
new kind of cartridge and rifle should be used. Use of this greased
cartridge was regarded as involving defilement to a Musselman and sacrilege
to a Hindu, and a cry of danger to caste and creed spread rapidly. It was
said that the cartridges were greased with hog fat; that to use them a
native would sin against his religion; that the English desired him to do so
in order to make him an easy convert to Christianity. Disturbances broker
out and massacres of Europeans were committed. Mutineers who marked to Delhi
were joined by the garrison there, a second butchery was committed, and a
restoration of the Mogul Empire was proclaimed.

Delhi became thenceforth a centre of revolt. Risings soon occurred in the
Northwest Provinces and at Benares, while at the military station of
Cawnpore several thousand sepoys revolted under Nana Sahib and committed the
famous massacre of June 27, in which neither age nor sex was spared. Other
revolts and other massacres occurred, and in Oude, a recently annexed
kingdom, took on the character of a popular insurrection. Lucknow was the
capital of Oude, and nearly every regiment there and elsewhere in Oude
mutinied. Allegiance to the ex-King of Oude was proclaimed, and a siege of
Lucknow, then commanded by Sir Henry Lawrence, was begun. The other brother
was then in the Punjab, and by his genius the Punjab was saved after a few

In this mutiny the rebels had an immense advantage because of the small
number of European troops in the country. Delhi was the object of the first
movement against them, and, after a siege of three months, was taken and the
King sentenced to perpetual exile. Sons and a grandson of his were captured
outside the city by Capt. Hodson, who shot them with his own hands. Gen.
Havelock, who had collected a small force at Allahabad, then moved on
Cawnpore. Shortly before his entry into the town, more than two hundred
women and children were made the victims of a second massacre. Havelock
pursued Nana Sahib and defeated him, and then, having been joined by Gens.
Outram and Neill, pushed on to relieve Lucknow, where Henry Lawrence had
died of a wound some weeks before. Neill was killed in action soon after,
and Havelock died two months after Neill.

In the meantime Sir Colin Campbell had arrived in India with the rank of
Commander in Chief. Later on in the new year European troops landed in
Calcutta, but Sir Colin at Cawnpore in December had defeated Nana Sahib and
the 25,000 rebels under him. Troops from the Punjab were then supplied by
John Lawrence, and Lucknow was gradually retaken. When Gwalior had been
secured in June, 1858, the last great battle of the mutiny had been fought,
although some resistance was maintained until February, 1859. In the Spring
and Summer of that year the whole population was disarmed; over 1,200 forts
were destroyed, and over 1,300,000 arms surrendered. A result of this
mutiny, and a point of great moment in India's history, was the formal
transfer of the direct Government of India from the East India Company to
the British Crown. Many natives thought the company an individual, and that
the Queen had hanged him for his offenses and then taken matters into her
own hands. In November, 1858, Victoria was proclaimed in the principal
places of India, and thus became the sovereign to that country in a sense
which no other British monarch had been before her. The proclamation of
Victoria as Empress of India occurred in London in May, 1876, and in the
Indian cities in January, 1877.

Later Wars

Wars of lesser moment during Victoria's reign need only be referred to
briefly. A second one was waged in China, and in 1860 Pekin was entered by
the English. In 1867-8 occurred the war in Abyssinia. English missionaries
and others had been held in confinement by King Theodore, and Sir Robert
Napier was sent with an army to demand their release. He met the King in
battle and overthrew him, then entered and destroyed Magdala, and, the King
having committed suicide, his crown and royal mantle were found and taken to
England as a present to the Queen. Early in March 1874, Sir Garnet Woiseley
returned from a successful expedition against the Ashantees. Then followed,
in 1878, the Russo-Turkish war and the treaty of Berlin, by which England
acquired Cyprus. Wars in Afghanistan and Zululand (in the latter the Prince
Imperial of France lost his life) came then, and next the Egyptian campaigns
with the battle of Tel-el-Kebir and the death of Gordon at Khartoum. War
affected the conquest of Burmah and its annexation.

Such an incident as Lord Kitchener's conquest of the dervishes and overthrow
of the Mahdi in the Soudan, though undertaken in the cause of Egypt, add to
the military glory of Victoria's reign. The military operations in South
Africa need only be briefly referred to. There had been more or less trouble
between the English colonists and the Boers for many years and the series of
incidents that began with the Jameson raid and included the trial of Cecil
Rhodes and the still unfinished Boer war cannot yet be viewed in

Victoria and Elizabeth

The reign of Victoria in many points suggests a comparison with the reign of
Elizabeth, for one thing in its length, for another in its illustrious men,
for another in the changes wrought in the conditions of the people. But the
lands over which Elizabeth was Queen were very different in area and
importance from those which acknowledged Victoria as sovereign. Elizabeth
was really the Queen of a very small territory and a very small people. The
only one of England's present vast colonial and dependent territories that
was then hers was Newfoundland. England possessed nothing in Australasia
until 1787, nothing in Africa until 1787, nothing in Asia until 1785. Save
her American dependencies she has acquired nearly everything outside the
British islands in this century. Scotland itself was not united with England
until the death of Elizabeth brought James VI. of Scotland to the English
throne as King of the two countries.

The England of Elizabeth then comprised England proper, Ireland,
Newfoundland, and what other lands, now part of the United States, she could
properly call her own. The area of England proper is 50,823 square miles,
that of Wales 7,363, of Ireland 32,531, of Newfoundland 40,200, or a total
of 130,817 square miles for the kingdom of Elizabeth. This is actually an
area considerably less than the area of Bechuanaland, in South Africa, which
England acquired in 1885. It is less than the area of the State of
California and only about one-half the area of Texas. Victoria reigned over
an area of 9,720,000 square miles, or more than seventy times the area of
Elizabeth's empire.

In population the showing, could we possess exact figures, would be no less
surprising. England, with Wales, has to-day a population of about
32,000,000. This showing makes it appear that within this century the
population of England and Wales has more than trebled, for the census of
1801 gave a total of only 8,892,536 souls. If anything like this increase
went on during the 200 years between Elizabeth and George III., we may
accept the population in Elizabeth's time as only a very few millions. With
Ireland and Newfoundland added, the total could not have reached 8,000,000.
Now the population of the lands over which Victoria reigned shows the mighty
total of 388,000,000 souls, or more than forty times 8,000,000. A similar
statement of comparisons for the trade of England, for her national wealth,
her army, and her navy, did we possess the statistics, would be as
startling. Elizabeth's England was really about as much like Victoria's
England as the Rome of Scipio (purely an Italian State) was like the Rome of
Hadrian, (practically the known world or, as Gibbon put it, "the fairest
parts of the earth and the most civilized portions of mankind.")

But if the lands over which Elizabeth reigned possessed in population only a
fortieth of what was possessed by those Victoria claimed, and an area of
only one-seventieth of Victoria's area, Elizabeth's power as a sovereign was
far greater than Victoria's. Real power Victoria never had; she reigned, but
did not govern. Elizabeth governed as well as reigned. Dr. Augustus Jessopp
has said of Elizabeth that "her name will go down to posterity as one of the
great personages of history, the virgin Queen, who, by sheer force of
character, gained for herself the credit of all the grand achievements which
her people effected in peace or war, whose name was held in something more
than honor from Persia to Peru, from Russia to Algiers; who crushed the
tremendous power of Spain, broke forever the spiritual tyranny of Rome, and
lifted England into the first rank among the kingdoms of the world."

England's present Constitution differs vastly from the Constitution of
Elizabeth's day. That broadening down of popular Government "from precedent
to precedent" which Tennyson refers to has made the English monarch hardly
more than a symbol of the State, a sort of perpetual President, shorn of
real authority, but hedged about with stately homes and elaborate
ceremonial. In a nominal sense the Crown is the Executive, but in such a
sense only. Real authority lies in the Cabinet, which has come to absorb the
functions of the old Privy Council, or "the King in Council." The Cabinet
owes its existence and the tenure of its place to Parliament, and
Parliament, in turn, owes its life to the people. Any Cabinet failing of a
majority in the House of Commons ceases to be useful and retires; its
successor is the creation, not of the Queen, but of Parliament, and hence
indirectly of the people.

Apologists for monarchy as it exists today in England pretend for it only
authority and influences of another sort. Walter Bagehot has said for it
that it "retains the feelings by which the heroic Kings governed their rude
age, and has added the feelings by which the Constitutions of later Greece
ruled in more refined ages." He then proceeds to illustrate how a family on
a throne is "an interesting idea," how the Government is strengthened "with
the strength of religion"; how the monarch is useful as the head of society
and morality, and how a monarch without power enables the real rulers to
change without heedless people knowing it. He thinks it well that the masses
do not know how near they are to elective government in England; they are
not fit for it, and did they realize the fact as it is they "would be
surprised, and almost tremble."

Vast, then, as has been the change in the area and population of the British
Empire since Elizabeth, the change n the authority of the sovereign is quite
as impressive. It is certainly curious, and it is also an instructive
commentary on the efficiency of popular government, that England's empire
has expanded almost in exact proportion to the decay of the personal
authority of her sovereigns.

No account of the life and reign of Victoria would be complete which failed
to give due prominence to the influence of her personality all over the
world and frequently in grave crises. Her example as a wife and mother and
as a potentate adhering to the spirit as well as the tenets of Christianity
in all her public acts has been generally recognized and admired. By her own
people her assertion, in a public address, after the diamond jubilee in
1897, that she hoped to reign until the end of her life, was heartily

England's Vast Possessions

A detailed statement of England's colonies and dependencies is worth
attention here. In Europe she has Gibraltar, Malta, and Gozo, with a total
population of 184,879. In Asia her possessions consist of Aden, Brunei,
Ceylon, Cyprus, Hongkong, India, the Indian Feudatory States, the Keeling
Islands, the Kuria Muria Islands, Labuan, North Borneo, Perins, Sarawak, and
the Straits Settlements. The total population of these lands is 261,564,000
souls, and the total area 1,903,800 square miles. This Asian population is
more than twice as large as the population of all the lands ruled over by
the Czar of Russia, and this Asian territory of England is very nearly as
large as European Russia and two-thirds as large as the United States.

In Africa, England possesses Ascension Island, Basutoland, Bechuanaland,
Berbera, British East Africa, Cape Colony, Gambia, the Gold Coast, Lagos,
Matabeleland, Mauritius, Natal, the Niger Districts, Nyassaland, St. Helena,
St. Paul and Amsterdam, Sierra Leone, Socotra, Tongaland, Zambezia, Zanzibar
and Pemba, Ibea, and thence to the Egyptian frontier, the Northern Lomal
coast, Tristan d'Acunha, and Zululand. The total area for Africa is
2,462,436 square miles, and the total population, 39,836,600.

On the American side of the globe England's possession are these. The Bahama
Islands, Barbados, Bermudas, Canada, Falkland Islands, Guiana, Honduras,
Jamaica, Turk's Island, Leeward Islands, Newfoundland, South Georgia,
Trinidad, Tobago, and the Windward Islands, a total area of 3,648,236 square
miles (the area of the United States, including Alaska, is 3,501,404,) and a
population of 6,235,211.

In Australasia the British Empire claims the following: The Cook
Archipelago, the Fiji and Rotumah Islands, the Kermadec Islands, New South
Wales and Norfolk Islands, New Guinea, New Zealand, Queensland, South
Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, Auckland, and several
small islands. For this region the total area is 3,270,532 square miles, and
of population 3,675,811.

A grand total for the colonies and dependencies, with the figures for Great
Britain and Ireland as made up just before the census of 1891 in the United
Kingdom, gave a total of 11,355,057 square miles and a total population of
366,642,105 for all the English possessions, against 108,814,172 souls in
all the Russian lands and 8,644,100 square miles. From these figures it may
be seen to what surprising extent the English Empire surpasses the Russian
in area and population. The area of the Chinese Empire is 4,179,559 square
miles, but in population, according to the imperfect estimates, the English
Empire is outdone by the Chinese; the figures are 404,000,000 souls.

The lands that came to England in Victoria's time are many. First should be
named India itself, for, as already stated, it was governed by the East
India Company (of course by authority from Parliament) down to the time of
the mutiny. Only then did it pass under the direct administration of the
Crown. Other points and countries to be named are: Aden, (1838,) Brunei,
(1888,) Cyprus, (1878,) Keelling Islands, (1857,) Labuan, (1846,) Perim,
(1855,) Sarawak, (1888,) Basutoland, (1868,) Bechuanaland, (1885,) Berbera,
(1884,) Gold Coast, (1861,) Lagos, (1861,) Matabeleland, (1888,) Natal,
(1838,) Niger Districts, (1885,) Socotra, (1875,) Zululand, (1886,) Cook
Archipelago, (1888,) Kermadec Islands, (1886,) New Guinea, (1884,) New
Zealand, (1841,) Queensland, (1859,) and South Australia, (1836.)

England's colonial possessions are of three classes. First come the Crown
colonies, like Gibraltar and Hong-Kong, which are controlled entirely by the
home Government; second, are those like Natal and Ceylon, which have
representative government, in which the Crown retains only the right of veto
on legislation and the home Government the control of public officers; and
third, those like Canada and Queensland, which possess responsible
government, the home Government having no control over any public officer,
though the Crown retains the right to veto on legislation. There are also
protectorates, with Governments more or less organized, under Crown

Great Facts of the Reign

It is not in wars and mutinies, not in State pageants, with coronations,
marriages, or funerals, not in acts of Parliament or the talk of
Parliamentary leaders that the real glory of an enlightened monarch's reign
will be found. The condition of the people, the advances they have made in
material well-being and other means to happiness, the intellectual products
of great minds made accessible to all--these and the like of these make for
real glory and greatness. Above most things also was Victoria's reign, a
reign in which industrial affairs were transformed as never before. The
story of what machinery and steam and electricity have done is, if properly
looked at, a more moving story than any Crimean war or Indian mutiny
affords. Their influence has pervaded every class in the British Empire, and
they will still be exerting their influence when this century shall have
long since rounded out its full hundred years.

Three inventions of great moment--the spinning jenny, the spinning machine,
and mule were, it is true, all made in the course of the reign of George
III.; they had in reality begun to prepare the way, as it were, for the
commercial expansion which became an accomplished fact in the reign of
Victoria. Before the age of Victoria, Watt also had made practical use of
the power of steam, just as great progress had been made in the study of
electricity. But it was in Victoria's time that the electric telegraph, the
telephone, and the electric light came into the service of man, and in hers
that the vast improvements made in our methods of locomotion were
accomplished. One or two short lines of railroad existed when she came to
the throne, but they were so insignificant that the present system
practically belongs in its creation and extension to the years of Victoria.
There is no space to enlarge here upon the mighty transformation in the
commercial, social, political, and physical world which has been brought
about by this single fact in the Englishman's history.

Connected in a very practical way with it belongs another, dating almost
from the first month of the reign. In the year 1837 Rowland Hill was
advocating, with all the zeal and courage of a man who knew he was right,
the establishment of a uniform system of penny postage, and early in 1840 he
saw the system carried into effect. Early in 1890 occurred the jubilee
anniversary of this event, and it was duly celebrated throughout England. In
order to realize what was the change wrought by Rowland Hill, it is well to
recall that the ordinary postal rates before his reform came into effect
were these: For any place not exceeding 15 miles in distance, 8 cents; for
any not exceeding 20 miles, 10 cents; not exceeding 30 miles, 12 cents; not
exceeding 80 miles, 16 cents; not exceeding 170 miles, 18 cents; not
exceeding 230 miles, 22 cents; not exceeding 300 miles, 24 cents, and so on,
increasing 2 cents for every additional 100 miles. By this system a letter
from London to Liverpool was charged 20 cents, and one from London to
Edinburgh 24 cents. How the substitution for this system of a uniform penny
rate, combined with regular and rapid railway mail trains, has operated for
the advancement and happiness of mankind is obvious to any one. Had the
reign of Victoria no other great achievements to record besides these of
cheap postage and rapid travel by steam, it would still deserve to be ranked
among the great epochs of English civilization. Later years, however, have
seen the penny-postage system in some ways superseded by the telegraph--even
a telegraph that connects continents otherwise divided by great oceans--and
still later ones have seen the telephone disputing with the telegraph its
claims to usefulness in the service of man.

With respect to the marine steam engine, the fact is not quite so
impressive, it having been in use for some years before the locomotive had
become familiar, but the reign has witnessed mighty advances over what had
been previously done. Screw propellers were not in successful operation
until the year of the Queen's ascension, and it was in the year 1838 that
the Great Western startled most living men by steaming from Bristol to this
city in eighteen days. Closely related to the growth of England's cotton
industries has been this vast improvement in the methods of transporting the
raw material. Instead of slow-sailing ships, there have been fast steamers;
instead of weeks, voyages have become matters of days. Steam, moreover, as a
stationary motive power has made such strides forward that the inventions of
Arkwright, Hargreaves, and others have become powers of vaster meaning to
the cotton and woolen industries than ever was dreamed of by the men of an
earlier reign. Skilled labor to guide these machines has been superseded by
mechanical contrivances propelled by steam, so that the total cost of
attendance upon a pair of self-acting mules carrying 2,000 spindles has been
reduced to about $15 a week.

Connected by a natural link with these inventions has also been the
expansion of the iron industries of England. Railways called for iron, other
machinery called for it, and the use of iron, instead of wood in
shipbuilding and other kinds of building brought about colossal
transformations. In 1837 the total yearly output of crude iron in England
was only about 1,000,000 tons. Now it is over 8,000,000 tons. Twenty years
after 1837 an invention was applied in iron manufactures which has wrought
great changes in the world. This was Sir Henry Bessemer's process for making
steel by blowing air into molten pig iron. This process, supplemented by the
Gilchrist-Thomas process, has caused the price of steel to be greatly
reduced, so that steel competes with iron now for many purposes of
construction, notably in railroad rails and building beams and girders.

To these inventions, and their influence on the convenience with which the
burdens of life are borne, must be attributed the growth in England's
population. Until the opening of the century fewer than 11,000,000 souls
lived in Great Britain; this number by 1841 had become nearly 19,000,000,
and it is now somewhere about 41,000,000. No less than 22,000,000 souls, or
more than the total for 1801, have been added in the time of Victoria. With
this growth of population there came, as was inevitable, greater demands on
existing means of subsistence, followed by want and distress that gave such
peculiar force to the anti-corn law agitation, of which record is made
elsewhere in this article. Besides its effect on the case with which men
obtained their daily bread, probably the most momentous results of the
repeal of the corn laws were political. By means of that law was shattered
the political power of the old landed interests of England. Combined with
the great reform bills by which household suffrage has finally been secured
for counties and boroughs alike, it has wrought a revolution in the
political texture and capacities of the English people, only the more
marvelous because of the peaceful methods by which it was acquired.

Victorian Literature

If we turn now to the literature of this reign a noble and lasting output
will be found, and under this head may be included books produced by men of
science, like Darwin, Lyell, and Spencer, who have given us books as
epoch-making as any the mind of man ever produced. It is not for
contemporaries to say if the verse of Tennyson and the prose of Macaulay,
Carlyle, and Thackeray will live with the corresponding products of the mind
made by Pope or Dryden, by Fielding or Hume, in previous reigns; but we may
assume with some confidence that the chances are good for a reasonable
degree of immortality. Some of the great writers or a former age still lived
on when Victoria came into her royal possessions. For the most part they had
done their best work, however, and they properly belong to the last of the
Georges. Among these were Wordsworth, who did not die until 1850; Southey,
who died in 1843; Landor, who lived on until 1864; Moore, who died in 1852,
and Campbell, in 1844.

Macaulay was thirty-seven years old at Victoria's accession, but he had not
published any collected series of his essays; he had not published his
"Lays," and more than ten years were to elapse before the first volumes of
his "History" were to see the light. Tennyson was twenty-seven years old in
the year 1837, and had been before the public with "Poems by Two Brothers,"
"Poems, Chiefly Lyrical," and the volume of 1833. He had been criticised
with severity, and notably so by "Christopher North." For the next nine
years he was to remain silent, but when, in 1842, he came forth again it was
to win very general recognition as a poet of the finest order. The poetry of
Mrs. Browning almost exclusively belongs to this reign, and so does that of
her husband. "Pauline" had previously appeared without Browning's name; in
1836 he first attracted real attention by his "Paracelsus." Matthew Arnold's
first success, the poem on Cromwell, dates from 1843. Swinburne was born in
the year of Victoria's accession. Dickens's first volume, "Sketches by Boz,"
came out in 1836, and a year later Thackeray, then ambitious to be an artist
and not an author, was offering Dickens to undertake the illustrations for
"Pickwick." Ere the genius of George Eliot should become known twenty years
were to elapse. Carlyle had written many of his essays, his "Schiller," his
"Sartor," and was then in the midst of his "French Revolution," but still
waiting for the day when literature should raise him above actual want. He
had arrived in London from Craigenputtock three years before, and had made
his home in a house that "remnant of genuine old Dutch-looking Chelsea" in
which he was to die, a lonely and brokenhearted old man, more than forty
years afterward.

Succession To the Throne

No Interregnum Under the British Constitution--The Sovereign Never Dies

Albert Edward, Prince of Wales for more than 59 years, is now "Edward VII.,
by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,
King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India." There is no such thing as an
interregnum in the unwritten British Constitution, the force of which is by
no means lessened by the fact that it exists as a "legal fiction."

In spite of the fact that from the moment of Queen Victoria's death the
Prince of Wales became King, with all the powers and rights attached to the
monarchy, the ceremony of coronation possesses in the British regime
considerably more importance than in some monarchies. Queen Victoria
succeeded to the throne on June 20, 1837, and was crowned on June 28, 1838.
About the same interval of time will probably be allowed to intervene before
Edward VII is crowned.

The ceremony of coronation, in the case of the English Kings, grew out of
the other ceremony of anointing the monarch, with which it is now combined.
The most significant portion of the ceremony as it has existed in England
for the last 200 years is the solemn "coronation oath." This is virtually a
double pledge--a pledge by the King that he will preserve the established
laws, and a pledge by the people, represented by some great functionary,
that they will be faithful subjects.

The modern form of the coronation oath dates from the coronation of William
and Mary, in 1689. In that year the oath was made at every point more
precise and explicit than before, and in particular there was added an
express engagement on the part of the sovereign to maintain "the laws of
God, the true profession of the Gospel, and the Protestant reformed religion
as it is established by law." It provides, further, that the King shall
preserve to the Bishops and clergy, and the churches committed to their
charge, all their actual and legal rights and privileges. The intention of
this pledge is to restrain the King in his administrative, not his
legislative, capacity. It binds him to preserve the established law, not to
refuse his assent to any future modification of that law that may be made by

The oath which is administered to the new monarch immediately after his
succession is another form of the coronation oath.

It will thus be seen that, while the new King has succeeded to the throne,
the coronation that must follow will set the seal on his accession. This
state of things is different from the custom in many European countries,
where the ceremony of coronation seems gradually to be dying out. Kaiser
Wilhelm has never been crowned; neither have the rulers of Greece and

The accession of the new ruler of the United Kingdom will be followed
immediately by the "proclamation," when the King will appear, probably at
Buckingham Palace, and a herald will announce that there is a new King. The
Mayors of all cities will also announce the event. Certain oaths will be
administered to Edward VII. at his first Privy Council, but the "coronation
oath" can only be administered at the ceremony which gives it its name.

Although the succession to the Crown is automatic, this is not the case with
the transferrence of the title of Prince of Wales. Therefore, that title
belongs to the sovereign, having been founded by a historic act, which is
too well known to need recapitulation. However, the title "Prince of Wales"
has been taken by the eldest son of the sovereign for many hundreds of
years, and there is not the slightest doubt that one of the first official
acts of Edward VII. will be to confer it by royal letters patent upon the
Duke of York.

In the few hours or days between Queen Victoria's death and his elevation to
the Princedom of Wales, the true title of the heir apparent to the throne
will be Duke of Cornwall. Unlike the princedom, this title passes
automatically and carries with it the income of £50,000 a year. One of the
principal sources of revenue of the heir to the throne.

The new ruler of the United Kingdom was born on Nov. 9, 1841, and created
Prince of Wales on Dec. 4 of the same years.

America's Debt To Victoria

The Queen Averted War Over the Mason-Slidell Incident of the Rebellion

At one time Queen Victoria, acting on the advice of the Prince Consort, was
virtually the sole means of preventing war between Great Britain and the
United States.

Sympathy in Great Britain, at the opening of the civil war in this country,
was decidedly with the South. When the first few months of hostilities
showed a check to the Union forces, there were boasts that the rebels would
win, and the British sympathizers were only awaiting an opportunity to show
something more effective than sympathy.

It was at this time that serious cause for friction occurred between the
Northern States and Great Britain. Mason and Slidell, the Confederate
envoys, were taken from the British ship Trent on the high seas by the San
Jacinto and held as prisoners. Secretary of the Navy Welles declared that
the action of Capt. Wilkes of the San Jacinto had the "emphatic approval of
the Navy Department," and the House of Representatives voted a resolution of
thanks to Capt. Wilkes.

The action was taken in the United Kingdom as a deliberate violation of
neutrality and an expression of hostility. The papers demanded war, and even
the British public was roused to the extent of holding public meetings
calling for revenge. Preparations for war were made, and to Earl Russell,
the Foreign Secretary, was intrusted the task of formulating a virtual

His lordship prepared the demand, and wrote it in language so insulting that
a tenth-rate power could hardly have acceded to it without losing all trace
of self-respect. The demand had to be submitted to her Majesty, who had
insisted from the time she began to reign on all her rights as sovereign,
particularly in questions of international importance.

The Prince Consort was lying ill unto death. When the dispatch arrived, the
Queen, worn out by nursing her husband, had gone out for a short drive. The
demand to the United States, which called for the return of the Confederates
within seven days, got into the hands of the Prince Consort. He took a pen,
for the last time in his life. He changed the demand so that it could be
complied with by this country without sacrifice of dignity. When the Queen
returned she made up her mind instantly to consent to the dispatch of the
demand in the form to which it had been altered by Prince Albert. The
arguments of Lord Russell were of no avail, and he had to give way.

What followed is a matter of history. A friendly answer was returned by the
United States, and the two Confederate envoys were given up. What would have
happened without the counsel of Albert and the firm stand of Victoria can
only be surmised.

The tone of Lord Russell's demand before it was modified may be judged by
another dispatch to the British Minister to Washington, which was not
submitted to the Queen:

"Should Mr. Seward ask for delay," wrote the Earl, "you will consent to a
delay not exceeding seven days. If, at the end of that time, no answer is
given, or if any other answer is given except that of compliance with the
demands of her Majesty's Government, your lordship is instructed to leave
Washington with all the members of your legation and to repair immediately
to London. You will also communicate Mr. Seward's answer to Vice Admiral
Milne (of the British Atlantic Squadron) and to the Governors of Canada,
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Jamaica, Bermuda, and such other of her
Majesty's possessions as may be within your reach."

The Queen's Wealth

Few Persons Know Its Amount--Estimated at £6,000,000

Only the confidential clerks at the famous old London banking house of
Coutts & Co., with the Keeper of the Privy Purse and one or two unofficial
friends of Queen Victoria, are aware of the extent of the fortune which is
left by her Majesty. There is no doubt, however, that this fortune is a very
large one, some estimates placing it as high as £6,000,000.

Until the later years of her life, after the death of the Prince Consort,
the Queen was unable to save much. After her bereavement, the comparative
retirement in which she lived made an enormous reduction in expenses
possible, while her private estate was augmented from other sources. Her
father, the Duke of Kent, left her nothing. Indeed, he was on the verge of
bankruptcy during the greater portion of his life. From Prince Albert the
Queen inherited the greater portion of his estate of £600,000, while a
fortune of £500,000 came to her in an entirely unexpected manner. There was
a certain private gentleman named John Camden Nield, the son of a goldsmith
who had been employed by George III., who lived in a miserly fashion solely
that he might leave his accumulated wealth to Queen Victoria. He bequeathed
to her every penny he possessed, leaving his relatives unprovided for. This
injustice the Queen did not tolerate. She accepted the gift, but provided
that annuities be paid to Mr. Nield's relatives. It is said that the
interest on the £500,000 has been allowed to accumulate, until the amount
has been nearly doubled.

The allowance made by Parliament to the Queen has been £385,000 a year, of
which amount nearly £70,000 was for personal expenses and unappropriated.
The revenues from the Duchy of Lancaster brought her Majesty's income up to
over £100,000 annually, the proportion of which that has been saved in the
last thirty years can only be guessed at.

The value of the presents given to her Majesty on various occasions has been
enormous. Especially valuable were the gifts she received at her two
jubilees. Her private plate alone is said to be worth considerably over

The disposition to be made of the Queen's estate is as much a mystery as the
size of the estate itself. It is regarded as probable that little or nothing
will go to the King, as he will be provided for by Parliament, which may
also pay his debts, if they are of an extent calculated to embarrass him.


Thanks to The New York Times and to Queen Marie of Romania, with a tip of my
hat to the Romanian Mint Rubbing Association.

2006-01-26 11:42:57 UTC
Are you sure that this exact same story wasn't told about Eleanor Roosevelt?
Post by LJO
I've just noticed that Queen Victoria has died. Her obituary appeared in
The New York Times three days ago, some one hundred and five years late.
This will undoubtedly disturb Terry Ellsworth, but when he discovers the
length of her obituary he will certainly forgive The Times for being a
little tardy.
I know you are all thinking, "But Little Jimmy, your post is off-topic!
This an opera newsgroup!" Patience, dear readers, patience . . I was just
on the verge of stepping smartly into compliance with rmo's On-Topic Laws
by relating this charming account of Q. Victoria's first encounter with
Bizet's Carmen. Whether it was also her last encounter with Carmen I
cannot say. Anyhow, Queen Marie of Romania, Victoria's granddaughter,
"Towards the end of her life, Queen Victoria, who, for endless decades,
because of her widowhood, had shut herself away from all worldly
amusements, began to take great interest in theatrical art, opera, drama
or comedy.
"So unspoilt was dear Grandmamma in all things concerning amusements, that
her joy and interest in these performances was almost childlike.
"During one of my rare visits to England after my marriage, I witnessed
one of these performances. Being the guest of honour that evening, I had
been placed on the Queen's right.
"The curtain went up. The representation happened to be Carmen, an opera
quite familiar to me, but which the Queen was witnessing for the first
time. We were sitting very near the stage and I noticed that Grandmamma
was not only following the music with keen interest, but also the plot of
the play. Somewhat bewildered by the passionate story, she kept asking me
questions, which were not easy to answer owing to the loudness of the
music and the unequal heights of our chairs.
"Grandmamma was evidently enjoying it. She shrugged her shoulders from
time to time and there was a half-smile on her lips.
"The first act over she turned to me for fuller explanations about the
story. With a very young woman's diffidence I tried to impart to my
grandparent my knowledge of Carmen's rather wild tale. Grandmamma's shy
little smile broadened, this was the sort of story that did not often
reach her ears.
"The curtain went up for the second act. Carmen with her smuggler
associates was becoming wilder and wilder. I no longer remember who was
singing the part, but her acting was as good as her voice so that she was
indeed fascinating to watch. The irresistible "Toreador" made his entry
which gave Carmen the occasion to exert her wiles, which were followed by
her passionate display of temper when poor Don José hears the trumpet call
of duty and tries for the last time to save his soldier's honour. It was
all very realistic; most of us in the room had seen it before, but to
Grandmamma it was an exciting revelation. Leaning towards me, her eyes
full of dawning comprehension, she nevertheless presses me for further
explanations which, with flaming cheeks, I give as best I can. Grandmamma
raises her fan to her face, she is delightfully, pleasurably scandalized,
but she understands; leaning towards me, her fan still over her mouth, she
whispers: 'But then, oh my dear child, I am afraid she's really not very
"Dear old Grandmamma! No, Carmen was certainly not very nice, her morals
were abominable, not at all in keeping with your irreproachable court, but
all the same how you enjoyed the excitement of being so deliciously
2006-01-26 16:40:28 UTC
Post by REG
Are you sure that this exact same story wasn't told about Eleanor Roosevelt?
Not exactly. I think she was watching Carmen Miranda at the time.

LJO, easing gracefully into his anecdotage . .
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
2006-01-26 20:52:15 UTC
OK Boy!!! You got trouble with Carmen Miranda? ;-))

Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Post by LJO
Post by REG
Are you sure that this exact same story wasn't told about Eleanor Roosevelt?
Not exactly. I think she was watching Carmen Miranda at the time.
LJO, easing gracefully into his anecdotage . .
2006-01-26 21:14:04 UTC
Post by Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
OK Boy!!! You got trouble with Carmen Miranda? ;-))
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Ay, Caramba no!
2006-01-26 21:43:21 UTC
Was "Miranda" our gypsy's last name? Didn't they name a Supreme Court
decision after her?

Post by Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
OK Boy!!! You got trouble with Carmen Miranda? ;-))
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Post by LJO
Post by REG
Are you sure that this exact same story wasn't told about Eleanor Roosevelt?
Not exactly. I think she was watching Carmen Miranda at the time.
LJO, easing gracefully into his anecdotage . .
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
2006-01-26 22:17:33 UTC
Dear Paolo: Dick!@! ;-)

Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Post by donpaolo
Was "Miranda" our gypsy's last name? Didn't they name a Supreme Court
decision after her?
Post by Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
OK Boy!!! You got trouble with Carmen Miranda? ;-))
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Post by LJO
Post by REG
Are you sure that this exact same story wasn't told about Eleanor Roosevelt?
Not exactly. I think she was watching Carmen Miranda at the time.
LJO, easing gracefully into his anecdotage . .
2006-01-26 23:20:26 UTC
Richie yerself :>)))!!!!!

Dov'e FAUST, already???????

Post by Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Post by donpaolo
Was "Miranda" our gypsy's last name? Didn't they name a Supreme Court
decision after her?
Post by Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
OK Boy!!! You got trouble with Carmen Miranda? ;-))
Jon E. Szostak, Sr.
Post by LJO
Post by REG
Are you sure that this exact same story wasn't told about Eleanor Roosevelt?
Not exactly. I think she was watching Carmen Miranda at the time.
LJO, easing gracefully into his anecdotage . .
2006-01-26 16:05:37 UTC
And here I thought you'd found a lost Gertrude Stein libretto, "The
Mother of All Obituaries."

-david gable
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