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the staff by which it is produced have duties which cannot be intermitted. The permanent editorship of the great organ of national opinion is vested in the hands of the Queen, who is, however, forbidden to write any leading articles or to dictate the policy of the paper. The actual work of writing the leaders and providing for the news-editing or sub-editing of the Imperial news-sheet is entrusted to a temporary editor, who, as a rule, is changed after each Shareholders' meeting. The Permanent Editor has the sole right of nominating her temporary adjunct, limited by the condition that he must be a person who commands the confidence of the Editorial Council elected by the Shareholders. When she has nominated him, he must submit to her the names of all those to whom he proposes to give staff appointments. To each of these the Permanent Editor can, if she pleases, take exception, and to her objection the temporary editor must listen respectfully. He is not bound to respect the Permanent Editor's objections, but for the sake of peace and good working he finds it, as a rule, better not to persist in nominating any one to whom the Queen has a strong antipathy. After he has completed his staff, he is allowed to edit the Realm on his own lines, provided that he can keep his staff in harmony with his own views. But each of the more important heads of departments has opportunity of personal access to the Permanent Editor, and she has unlimited opportunity of communicating either with the staff as a whole or with individual members. Whatever she says must be listened to respectfully. Every memorandum she sends round must be read by every Minister; there is no limit to her liberty of initiative in council, or objection, wholesale or detail, to every important measure of the Administration. No decision of the Cabinet is valid unless approved of by her; she has a right to have everything explained to her; every despatch of any importance--twenty-eight thousand in one year, according to the Prince Consort—is sent to her, and nothing is concealed from her. It is obvious what a powerful position the Permanent Editor occupies. The mere right to be consulted, and have the opportunity of inspiring the temporary staff, gives her a position of influence in the conduct of the Administration immeasurably greater than that of any temporary editor.
But that is by no means all. The Permanent Editor, by the mere fact of being permanent, speedily acquires a prestige, an influence, and a store of experience which make her more than a match for any of the temporary staffs which run the Realm for periods of uncertain duration. The same permanence of office enables her to communicate confidentially with other permanents, whether in Germany, Austria, or Russia, in a way that it is impossible to those outside the Royal caste. She had been on the throne before Lord Rosebery was born. She was a Crowned Queen before Lord Salisbury was ten years old. She is the Nestor of the statesmen of Europe. Apart altogether from the mysterious charm of Royalty, she represents tradition, continued service, and unrivalled experience. The Cabinet secrets of all her Ministries have been familiar to her ; she has guided the Realm through scores of crises; she has at last acquired a position where influence has attained a degree of authority hardly to be distinguished from absolute power.
The temporary staff is no doubt allowed to run the Realm in minor matters very much as it pleases so long as it does not threaten the continuity, the stability, and the tranquillity of the immense concern whose Shareholders have trusted their interests to her care. But the moment danger threatens from any quarter, then the Permanent Editor asserts herself, and seldom asserts herself in vain. Like all trustees, she is opposed to policies of adventure. Her policy is peace; and on more than one occasion she has averted disastrous wars.
In the hands of the Permanent Editor lies the nominal right to appoint every Bishop of the Church, every Colonial Governor, every Ambassador. She is the fountain of honour. It can only reign garters and peerages through her sign manual. And this nominal right of appointment is often converted into actual power of appointment by the natural desire of the temporary staff to oblige their permanent chief, and by the fact that she is far better informed than they as to the qualities of the men and the extent to which they are persona gratæ at the Courts to which it is proposed to accredit them. What, for instance, can the Earl of Kimberley in a brief and embarrassed sojourn at the Foreign Office know of the ins and outs of all the international complications which are as familiar as household words in the mouth of the great Permanent Editor ? For the Queen not only reads the printed correspondence of the Ambassadors, of which a few shreds carefully cooked alone are printed in Blue Books; she can, and often does, carry on a direct personal private correspondence with these Ambassadors, Colonial Governors, Indian Viceroys, and the like,
Outside the one, two, or three narrowly restricted fields of party conflict, the Permanent Editor has more say in the settlement of everything than all the temporary staff put together. In the Army, in the Navy, in the Colonial Service, in India, and in Diplomacy the Permanent Editor is incomparably more influential, if she pleases to exert her influence, than the leaders of both parties put together. As a rule, the strength even of the most robust editor being limited, she does not interfere with the regular routine administration of the Realm. Editors-in-chief seldom concern themselves about news paragraphs or the placing of advertisements. Neither does the Queen disturb herself about the small things, the tithe of mint and anise and cumin. It is with the weightier matters that she deals. The goddess does not step out of the machine unless there is a complication worthy of so exalted an intervention to unravel. But-she is never beyond reach, and even in the smaller things she is more potent than any of her temporary assistants.
Looking, then, at the Realm as a newspaper, it is obvious that the position of Permanent Editor, even though it is limited by a prohibition of all direct contribution to the columns of the paper, is on the whole immeasurably more influential on all questions but those of direct party warfare than the position of the most influential of her advisers. While they technically advise her, she has a vantage point from which she can advise them, and while she is in theory deprived of all authority, in practice her sagacity, her experience, her opportunities make her virtually supreme.
In the preceding study of this series I showed how Her Majesty, though pitted single-handed against statesmen of both parties, had succeeded in compelling the adhesion of the whole nation to her Imperial policy. I shall now in a rapid survey of the history of the reign proceed to show how the Imperial Editor has often succeeded in controlling the policy and in guiding the rulers of the Realm over which she reigns.
II.-THE GIRL QUEEN.
The part played by the Queen as Permanent Editor of the Realm can best be illus trated by describing some of the things she has actually done in the sixty years of her reign; first, in the choice of her temporary assistants; and, secondly, in the promoting or opposing of policies at home and abroad. It is assumed too often that the Queen has no partialities and no policies. The very reverse is the case. Her Majesty has the strongest personal sympathies and antipathies, and there is no one of all her subjects who has more definite political opinions or who expresses them with such vigour and unreserve. There never was a human being less qualified for playing a colourless and neutral rôle than this strong-willed, clear-thinking daughter of the Tudors. At the beginning of her reign she allowed this vehemence of temperament to betray her into more than one false step ; but although years and a husband taught her to restrain the exuberance of her natural emotions within strait and narrow limits, Her Majesty has never been an extinct volcano. This renders all the more marvellous the scrupulous conscientiousness with which the Queen has restrained herself within the limits of Constitutionalism. No Minister, since the famous bedchamber incident, can accuse her of having overstepped by as much as a hair's breadth the boundary of her authority. Had she lived in the sixteenth century she could have queened it as royally in that age of ruffles and furbelows as Queen Elizabeth herself. But as she lived in the nineteenth, she repressed the visible manifestation of her authority. She gave none of her Ministers any opportunity of complaining of her loyalty, but she nevertheless left none of them under the delusion that their Sovereign had not a will and judgment of her own. These lost none of their force by being dammed up within strictly Constitutional lines.
I begin the record by describing the Queen's one mistake-a mistake publicly admitted and apologised for--but one which illustrates better than any other episode of the reign how much a Sovereign can do in a moment of crisis.
Lord Melbourne, the Prime Minister when the Queen came to the throne, had in the General Election of 1837 secured a majority in the House of Commons of twelve votes. He became the inseparable guide, philosopher, and friend of the young Queen. He saw her morning, noon, and night. She loved him as a daughter and followed him as a disciple. When in May, 1839, the Melbourne Government resigned, the blow fell upon her like a thunderclap. The cause hardly seemed to her to justify such a wrench. The Jamaican planters having abused their opportunity in that self-governed colony to thwart the will of the nation as to the treatment of their emancipated slaves, the Government proposed to suspend the Jamaican Constitution for five years. They expected to carry the second reading by twenty; they only escaped defeat by a majority of five. Thereupon they resigned. Lord John Russell was deputed to inform her of their decision.
Says Mr. Greville :
" The Queen has not been prepared for this catastrophe and was completely upset by it. Her agitation and grief were very great. In her interview with Lord John Russell she was all the time dissolved in tears; and she dined in her own room and never appeared on the Tuesday evening." She was only nineteen. At one stroke she was to lose her beloved Melb
ne, her trusty Lord John, and to be handed over to the austere ungracious Peel with his severe manners, and all for what? A reduction of the majority of twelve to five. The Ministry had not even been defeated. No wonder she chased against what almost appeared a desertion.
The young Queen at this time was not merely a politician with strong personal sympathies—that she has always been and is to this day-but she was a thoroughgoing partisan ; as much a Whig as Lord Melbourne, and much more dogmatical. For she was not without a certain priggishness of the nursery in those days, as, for instance, when she is said to have replied to Lord Melbourne's mild remark as to the expediency of some course he was recommending, “ I have been taught, my Lord, to judge between what is right and what is wrong, but expediency is a word I neither wish to hear nor to understand.” So hoity-toity a schoolgirl was she in those days.
The young Queen took sides sans phrase. Sir Theodore Martin in that monumental work of his which forms the great literary memorial of the first half of the reign, admits as much when he says :
" It cannot be denied that the young Queen’s warm, personal regard for Lord Melbourne and for the adherents of his Administration, who had surrounded Her Majesty since her accession, had not unnaturally caused her to drift into political partisanship. . . . The continuance of the state of things to which this led must have been productive of consequences the most mischievous."
No doubt. But the good Queen, with her pragmatical notions of right and wrong, her strong impulses, and the mounting pulse of Tudor blood, was not much given to count the cost. She wept, she entreated, not improbably she stormed, but Lord John Russell could only repeat that the Cabinet agreed they could not carry on, that the end had come, and that she would have to send for the other side. So he wrote out his resignation, to which the Queen replied as follows:
“The Queen received this morning Lord John Russell's letter, and she can assure him she never felt more pain than in learning from him yesterday that the Government had determined to resign. Lord John is well aware, without the Queen's expressing it, how much she was satisfied with the manner in which he performed his duties, which were performed in a manner which has greatly tended to the welfare and prosperity of this country."
But as Melbourne refused to carry on, she acted on his advice and sent for the Duke of Wel
lington. The hero of Wa
terloo seventy years
old, and extremely deaf.
The Queen told him
frankly she was very sorry
to part with her Ministers,
especially with Lord
Melbourne, who had been
to her almost a father.
The Duke, says Greville. sively pleased
with her behaviour and
her frankness. On his part
he was not less frank. “I
am too old and too deaf,”
he said, serve your
Majesty. The leader of the
House of Commons
Minister;" and he ad
vised her to send for Sir
Robert Peel and to give
him all her confidence.
“Will you de sire him to THE QUEEN IN 1843.
come to me?” the
(From a Miniature, dedicated to H.R.H. Prince Albert, said by Sir W. Ross, R.A.)
Queen. "Better write to
him yourself," said the Duke. “I will do so," she replied; "but go and tell him to expect my letter."
Mr. Brett, in his charming and instructive little book, " The Yoke of Empire," has given us various descriptions of Peel, as he appeared in those days to Disraeli, to Carlyle, and to others.
But he omits the picture of Peel to be found in Lord Shaftesbury's Diary, which perhaps helps us most to understand what subsequently occurred. We all know the kind of man Lord Shaftesbury was. His philanthropy has earned for him everlasting remembrance. But in those far-off days he was better known as a bigoted Protestant Evangelical, who wrote lamentations over the Queen's accepting the dedication of a book because it was written by a Unitarian, and who exulted greatly in rousing a popular frenzy on the subject of “ Papal Usurpations and the Spirit of Popery." Peel and Ashley took sweet counsel together on the delightful
subject of the approach of a great religious struggle—a kind of Papal-Protestant Armageddon. The Queen, without being giddy, was gay. Lord Melbourne was the last man in the world to inspire her with religious fanaticism. He was genial, easygoing, indifferent. To exchange him for Sir Robert Peel, with all his ill manners, his sombre, serious ways, and his anti-Papal forebodings, was almost more than she could bear. But to have to put up with Peel in the Closet, and Ashley in the Household, was really asking too much. Yet it was this, and nothing short of this, that confronted her when she refused to part with the Ladies of the Bedchamber. But this is anticipating
When the Queen received Sir Robert Peel she told him that she regretted the outgoing Ministers, and added, “ You must not expect me to give up the society of Lord Melbourne.” Peel acquiesced, not ungraciously. Then she said she hoped there would be no dissolution of Parliament. Peel demurred, with some surprise : it might be impossible to carry on without a dissolution. Then he began to talk of
some modification of the Ladies of the Household.” “ The Queen stopped him at once, and declared she would not part with any of them.” But at that first interview Sir Robert Peel failed to realise how keenly the Queen felt on the subject. “ She received him," says Greville “ (though she dislikes him) extremely well, and he was perfectly satisfied.” Next day he sent for Lord Ashley, and from the record of their interview, transcribed from the diary of the latter in Hodder's “Life of the Earl of Shaftesbury," it is evident that he had no idea from that first conversation how determined the Queen was that he should not interfere with her ladies. The extract is as follows:
“On morning of 9th May (Thursday) received letter from Peel desiring my instant attendance. Went thither . . . he opened conversation by saying that the sense of his responsibility weighed him down. •Here am I,' added he, .called on to consider the construction of the Queen's Household, and I wish very much to have your free and confidential advice on the subject. I remember that I am to provide the attendants and companions of this young woman, on whose moral and religious character depends the welfare of millions of human beings. What shall I do? I wish to have those around her who will be, to the country and myself, a guarantee that the tone and temper of their character and conversation will tend to her moral improvement. The formation of a Cabinet, the appointment to public offices, is easy enough ; it is a trifle compared to the difficulties and necessities of this part of my business. Now,' said he, will you assist me ? Will you take a place in the Queen's household? Your character is such in the country, you are so connected with the religious societies and the religion of the country, you are so well own, and enjoy so high a reputation, that you can do more than any
I am ashamed,' he added with emphasis, to ask such a thing of you; I know how unworthy any place about Court is of you; but you see what my position is."
Lord Ashley, instead of being complimented at this proposal to make him keeper of the morals and religion of the Court and the Queen, “felt his vanity not a little wounded ”—“a life at Court I had ever contemplated with the utmost horror.” The offer, in his eyes, “involved the absolute and painful sacrifice of everything I valued in public and private life.”... “ Nevertheless,” he told Peel, “ that as I believed the interests, temporal and eternal, of many millions to be wrapped up in the success of his Administration, and no man should live for himself alone, but should do his duty in that state of life to which it should please God to call him, I would, if he really and truly thought I could serve his purpose, accept, if he wished it, the office of Chief Scullion." “ I thought he would have burst into tears."
Sir Robert Peel with Lord Ashley, the destined custodian of the faith and morals of the Court, then drove off together to Buckingham Palace, and on their way down they talked over the Ladies of the Bedchamber, agreeing to do no more than was absolutely necessary. They parted at the Palace gates. But inside the Palace the statesman found his Sovereign in no mood to submit to his interference with her