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It is worth while to lay a little stress upon this element in the Imperial factor known as the Monarchy. It is too often ignored. To the immense majority of her subjects the Queen only appears personally as a sympathising woman whose letters of comfort and of condolence always appear after any great disaster that has carried death into a multitude of humble homes. But those who stand within the magic circle of the Sovereign's service are aware that Her Majesty is in a very real sense the fount of honour, and the dispenser of the guerdons to win which men have always been glad to die. Readers of Elizabethan literature do not need to be reminded of the talisman of Empire which England enjoyed in the romantic devotion inspired by the Virgin Queen. Even
the modern novel reader
whois familiar with “ West
ward Ho!" will remember
how the love of their royal
Mistress in spired the
knights of that heroicage
to their greatest deeds of
chivalry. But because our
Queen is matron and
takes no pleasure in being
hailed Cynthia or
Gloriana, or because no
modern Spenser has dedi
cated to her a modern
". Fa e r y Queen," it is
too often forgotten that her
servants and courtiers who
do herbidding on land and
sea are just as susceptible to
the charm of a Queen's
praise as were the Raleighs,
the Drakes, and the Sid
neys of the Court of Eliz
abeth, We may depend
upon it that Sir George
Grey flushed with as keen a SIR BARTLE FRERE, BART., P.C., G.C.B., G.C.S.I.
joy when he received this (From a photo by Elliott and Fry.)
“private letter” by the
Queen's command, as was ever experienced by Lord Grey of Wilton on learning the Queen's good pleasure with his pacificatory work in Ireland. We no longer write or sing of her gracious Majesty as
but we bask none the less in the rays of her light, and profit more than we can realise in the incentive which the consciousness of her sympathetic eye gives to all knightly souls within the world-wide circuit of the Empire.
Sir George Grey was by no means exceptional in finding a ready and sympathetic listener in the Queen. During his stay in South Africa, Sir Bartle Frere had, at the Queen's desire, written regularly to her, and she had evinced the greatest
interest in, and clearest understanding of, what had passed there. Writing on October 16th, 1880, after his recall, Sir Bartle Frere declared that "nothing could be more kind or more constitutional than the kindness of the Queen to her recalled Governor, and I felt as I travelled home that there were other beings besides Katie's dog who would gladly 'die for the Queen.''
The experience of great Imperial administrators in India resembles that of Sir George Grey and Sir Bartle Frere. Take, for instance, the last letter which Lord Ellenborough, as Governor General, addressed to the Queen :
“ Amidst all the difficulties with which he has had to contend in India, aggravated as they have been by the constant hostility of the Court of Directors, Lord Ellenborough has ever been sustained by the knowledge that he was serving a most gracious mistress, who would place the most favourable construction upon his conduct ; and he now humbly tenders to your Majesty the expression of his gratitude, not only for
those marks of Royal favour
with which it has been intimated
to him that it is your Majesty's
intention to reward his ser
vices, but yet more for that
constant support which has ani
mated all his exertions, and has
mainly enabled him to place
India in the hands of his suc
cessor in a state of universal
peace, the result of two years of
victories, and in a condition of
prosperity heretofore une
known." There is
something of the old Eliza
bethan ring in these
tences. But the more
closely we look into the
matter the more striking
does the parallel between
Victoria and Elizabeth
for instance, quotes in
" Westward Ho!" with
admiration the letter
which Sir Walter Ra
leigh wrote by Elizabeth's
command to Sir Hum
phrey Gilbert, in which he
says: - Her High
ness willed me to send you
word, that she wished you
great good hap and safety to she were there (Engraved from a drawing by Mayall.)
your ship as if
in person, desiring you to have
care of yourself as of that which she tendereth ; and, therefore, for her sake, you must provide for it accordingly.'
“Who would not die, Sir," said Sir Humphrey, “for such a woman !” as he showed the letter to Amyas Leigh. But in the letter of our own Queen to Sir Colin Campbell (Lord Clyde) after the relief of Lucknow, there is a passage which is even better than Elizabeth's :
“Writing on January 19th, 1858, the Queen wrote to Sir Colin Campbell expressing her feelings of pride and satisfaction at the glorious victories of himself and his heroic troops.' Then she added, * But Sir Colin must bear one reproof from his Queen, and that is that he exposes himself too much. His life is most precious, and she intreats that he will neither put himself where his noble spirit would urge him to be—foremost in danger-nor fatigue himself so as to injure his health.'”
Another story, of which Mr. Castell Hopkins also reminds us, recalls still more vividly the power and might of a Queen's influence upon the warriors of her Court
" It was at the close of the Crimean War, and Sir Colin Campbell was so jealous and angry at the appointment of a junior to the chief command there, after General Simpson's retirement, that he refused at first to go out again when it was thought that the war would be continued. But,' declares Sir Archibald, ‘he yielded his own inclination eventually to that of the Queen, who, at Windsor, it is said, asked him to sit beside her on the sofa, and burst into tears at his continued refusal. He respectfully kissed Her Majesty's hand, and said he could hold out no longer. It is not indeed difficult to understand a chivalrous soldier giving way at the sight of any woman's tears, though this statement is no doubt an exaggeration of what did actually occur. The Queen herself tells the story a little differently in a letter to Lord Hardinge, and states that after expressing the earnest hope that his valued services would not be lost to the country in the Crimea, he replied that he would return immediately, “ for that, if the Queen wished it, he was ready to serve under a corporal.'
The picturesque figures of the Raleighs and Grenvilles and Drakes and Gilberts of the Elizabethan Court, with their fine phrases and courtly homaging, were not more romantic than the great captains and rulers who have found in the praise of Queen Victoria their richest reward. Read, for instance, what Lord Dalhousie wrote in thanking her for the gracious words with which she welcomed home her Viceroy from his arduous post :
“Such gracious words from a Sovereign to a subject as those with which your Majesty has greeted his return to England create emotions of gratitude too strong and deep to find fitting expression in any other than the simplest words. Lord Dalhousie, therefore, respectfully asks permission to thank your Majesty from his inmost heart for the touching and cheering welcome home, which he feels to be the crowning honour of his life.” Of the worthies of the Victorian era we may say :
“Servants in Queen, and Queen in servants blest ;
Your only glory, how to serve her best ;
Which knows no check of foemen, wind or tide.”
“I see no chance of public usefulness in such a state of things as we are now reduced to. I often think of our dear Queen, and feel how completely she is not only our main, but our only stay. There is still some chivalry and much loyalty in England; and the throne, occupied as it now is, may keep us above the waters.” May and did. With but a pronoun changed, statesman, warriors, and governors, under the Queen, have found the wondrous cheer of Her Majesty's unfaltering voice:
“We listening, learned what makes the might of words,
Manhood to back them, constant as a star;
And sent our boarders shouting; shroud and spar
The winds with loftier mood.
And shall we praise ? God's praise was hers before,
Herself our bravest crown." Nor is it only as the Lady of the Tournament that the Queen is serviceable to the Empire. Her censure is sometimes as grateful as her praise. There was only one silver lining to the blackness of the cloud which covered Britain when Khartoum fell. It was supplied by the knowledge of that memorable telegram en clair which Her Majesty dispatched to her Cabinet. In the sixteenth century Elizabeth would have boxed their ears. In the nineteenth, Victoria buffeted them not less smartly by her telegram. And it was marvellously comforting to the nation, mourning its heroic dead,
to know that the Queen had rebuked so severely those whose procrastination had led to the sacrifice of General Gordon.
Sir George Grey continued to do everything that could be done to aid the Indian Government in its struggle with the mutiny. He emptied his own stables, and dismounted his cavalry, in order to furnish the Indian army of deliverance with remounts, while all the resources of South Africa in stores and munitions of war were drained to supply the
needs of the Empire. Mr. (From a photograph from the Stereoscopic Co.)
W. L. Rees, from whose in
teresting history of the "Life and Times of Sir George Grey” most of these details are drawn, says :
“This was all done without any authority from the Home Government, and simply upon Sir George Grey's own belief that it was necessary for the safety of the Empire.
** These active measures were watched with the keenest interest and delight by Her Majesty and the Prince Consort. In a letter to Mr. C. J. McCarthy on the 24th of October, 1857, Lord Houghton writes :
“• I hear the Queen is in great admiration of Sir George Grey at the Cape, having sent his carriage horses to India and going afoot. What the Queen really admired was the whole conduct of the Governor, the troops, the horses, the specie, the artillery and the munitions of war, the China Army, and the continued reinforcements of every kind, sent in the face of the evident disbelief of Lord Canning in their necessity or the gravity of the crisis which had arisen in India, and in spite of his assertions that he wanted nothing but a few horses, and that it was a mistake to suppose the outbreak a mutiny.
“. Ministers in London said nothing. They regarded coldly the efforts made by the Governor at the Cape. The Queen and Prince Albert alone perceived and appreciated the value of the services rendered by Sir George Grey. Yet these steps were taken against the advice of the Governor-General, and at a fearful personal risk.'”
Before finally denuding the Colony of all its garrison, Sir George Grey, acting in the spirit of ancient chivalry, and dealing with savage chiefs as if they also were men of knightly spirit, visited personally all the great chiefs whose enmity might have endangered the colonists. Riding night and day across the plain and through the Kaffra. rian highlands, he sought out the fastnesses in which the chiefs abode, and told them all. He told them of the mutiny, and declared his intention to
DOWNING STREET. send every man and horse that
(From a photograph by the Stereiscopic Co.)
could be spared to assist the Queen in suppressing the rebellion in India. He appealed to them to give him an assurance that in the absence of the troops they would loyally assist in maintaining order and preserving peace. Touched by the manly appeal to the latent chivalry of the savage heart, one chief after another pledged his word to the Governor of the Queen, and not one of these pledges was ever broken. Thus says Mr. Rees :
* All South Africa reposed peacefully while the desperate struggle was proceeding in Bengal, and tribes once savage in their hatred of the British Government gave the great Queen and her Governor their sympathy.
Sir George Grey in the midst of his pre-ooupations in South Africa wrote strongly recommending that the offer of his old friends the Maoris of New Zealand should be accepted, and that a couple of regiments of Maoris should be raised for service in India : “If you won't utilise their fighting instincts in the service of the Empire, you will have to use the forces of the Empire to suppress them." Downing Street refused to listen to his advice or to heed his warnings. Four years later the great Maori war began.
V.—THE GRATITUDE OF DOWNING STREET! Meanwhile Downing Street was making trouble enough at his own door. The German Legion raised for service in the Crimean War had been disbanded and its members located as military settlers in the Cape. The Cape colonists objected to receive the men unless they were accompanied by their women. Downing Street, being consulted, authorised Sir George Grey to give the assurance that the soldiers should be accompanied or immediately followed by German families containing sufficient numbers of young women among whom they could find wives. The soldiers came. But the women did not. As Downing Street cheated the Hottentot soldiers of three-fourths of their pension, so they defrauded the German Legion of seven-eighths of the promised women. The Governor protested against this gross breach of faith. Downing Street quibbled, prevaricated, and finally repudiated its obligations. Meanwhile the disbanded legionaries, left without wives, became a source of alarm to the staid farmers amongst whom they were settled. The Governor at last was driven to arrange for the importation of German women through the firm of Godeffroi of Hamburg, the cost of their transport being secured by debentures issued by the Kaffrarian Government, the sum to be repaid with interest by the colonists. No sooner had the first consignment been successfully married, than Downing Street interfered forbidding any further imports of German women on the ground that it was contrary to national policy,-a curious plea from Ministers of a Queen who had imported her own husband from Germany, and who themselves had originally proposed to settle 20,000 Germans at the Cape. A bitter wrangle ensued, but in the end Sir George Grey carried his point, not without difficulty. The importation was successful, and the immigrants repaid every farthing of the passage money.
But owing to the limitation of the scheme many Germans remained unmarried. The Government of Bombay apprehending a serious rising in the Presidency, at its wits' end for white troops, dispatched a despairing appeal to Sir George Grey. No one ever appealed to him when the Empire was in peril, and appealed in vain. Sir George Grey promptly responded to the appeal of Lord Elphinstone by re-enlisting all the Germans who were not married and sending them over to Bombay, where they enabled the Government to surmount its difficulties. Bombay was grateful. The Queen was well pleased. But Downing Street was furious, and hinted not obscurely that Sir George Grey might count himself lucky if he escaped punishment for action so unlawful and subversive of the Constitution.