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- Lectures and Essays - 40/67 -

his own image, in the image of God created He him." "O Mamma," cried the Princess, "not Dr. Pratorius!"

Stockmar's administrative genius effected a reform in the Royal household, and as appears from his memorandum, not before there was occasion for it. "The housekeepers, pages, housemaids, etc., are under the authority of the Lord Chamberlain; all the footmen, livery-porters and under-butlers, by the strangest anomaly, under that of Master of the Horse, at whose office they are clothed and paid; and the rest of the servants, such as the clerk of the kitchen, the cooks, the porters, etc., are under the jurisdiction of the Lord Steward. Yet these ludicrous divisions extend not only to persons, but likewise to things and actions. The Lord Steward, for example, finds the fuel and lays the fire, and the Lord Chamberlain lights it. It was under this state of things that the writer of this paper, having been sent one day by Her present Majesty to Sir Frederick Watson, then the Master of the Household, to complain that the dining-room was always cold, was gravely answered: 'You see, properly speaking, it is not our fault, for the Lord Steward lays the fire only, and the Lord Chamberlain lights it.' In the same manner the Lord Chamberlain provides all the lamps, and the Lord Steward must clean, trim and light them. If a pane of glass or the door in a cupboard in the scullery requires mending, it cannot now be done without the following process: A requisition is prepared and signed by the chief cook, it is then countersigned by the clerk of the kitchen, then it is taken to be signed by the Master of the Household, thence it is taken to the Lord Chamberlain's office, where it is authorized, and then laid before the Clerk of the Works under the office of Woods and Forests; and consequently many a window and cupboard have remained broken for months" Worse than this--"There is no one who attends to the comforts of the Queen's guests on their arrival at the Royal residence. When they arrive at present there is no one prepared to show them to or from their apartments; there is no gentleman in the palace who even knows where they are lodged, and there is not even a servant who can perform this duty, which is attached to the Lord Chamberlain's department. It frequently happens at Windsor that some of the visitors are at a loss to find the drawing-room, and, at night, if they happen to forget the right entrance from the corridor, they wander for an hour helpless, and unassisted. There is nobody to apply to in such a case, for it is not in the department of the Master of the Household, and the only remedy is to send a servant, if one can be found, to the porter's lodge, to ascertain the apartment in question." People were rather surprised when the boy Jones was discovered, at one o'clock in the morning, under the sofa in the room adjoining Her Majesty's bedroom. But it seems nobody was responsible--not the Lord Chamberlain, who was in Staffordshire, and in whose department the porters were not; not the Lord Steward, who was in London, and had nothing to do with the pages and attendants nearest to the royal person; not the Master of the Household, who was only a subordinate officer in the Lord Steward's department. So the King of Spain, who was roasted to death because the right Lord-in-Waiting could not be found to take him from the fire, was not without a parallel in that which calls itself the most practical of nations. Stockmar reformed the system by simply inducing each of the three great officers, without nominally giving up his authority (which would have shaken the foundations of the Monarchy), to delegate so much of it as would enable the fire to be laid and lighted by the same power. We fancy, however, that even since the Stockmarian reconstruction, we have heard of guests finding themselves adrift in the corridors of Windsor. There used to be no bells to the rooms, it being assumed that in the abode of Royalty servants, were always within call, a theory which would have been full of comfort to any nervous gentleman, who, on the approach of the royal dinner hour, might happen to find himself left with somebody else's small clothes.

In 1854 came the outbreak of public feeling against Prince Albert and Stockmar, as his friend and adviser, to which we have referred at the beginning of this article. The Prince's lamented death caused such a reaction of feeling in his favor that it is difficult now to recall to recollection the degree of unpopularity under which he at one time laboured. Some of the causes of this unpopularity are correctly stated by the author of the present memoir. The Prince was a foreigner, his ways were not those of Englishmen, he did not dress like an Englishman, shake hands like an Englishman. He was suspected of "Germanizing" tendencies, very offensive to high churchmen, especially in philosophy and religion. He displeased the Conservatives by his Liberalism, the coarser Radicals by his pietism and culture. He displeased the fast set by his strict morality; they called him slow, because he did not bet, gamble, use bad language, keep an opera dancer. With more reason he displeased the army by meddling, under the name of a too courtly Commander-in-Chief, with professional matters which he could not understand. But there was a cause of his unpopularity scarcely appreciable by the German author of this memoir. He had brought with him the condescending manner of a German Prince. The English prefer a frank manner; they will bear a high manner in persons of sufficient rank, but a condescending manner they will not endure; nor will any man or woman but those who live in a German Court. So it was, however, that the Prince, during his life, though respected by the people for his virtues, and by men of intellect for his culture, was disliked and disparaged by "Society," and especially by the great ladies who are at the head of it. The Conservatives, male and female, had a further grudge against him as the reputed friend of Peel, who was the object of their almost demoniac hatred.

The part of a Prince Consort is a very difficult one to play. In the case of Queen Anne's husband, Prince George of Denmark, nature solved the difficulty by not encumbering his Royal Highness with any brains. But Prince Albert had brains, and it was morally impossible that he should not exercise a power not contemplated by the Constitution. He did so almost from the first, with the full knowledge and approbation of the Ministers, who had no doubt the sense to see what could not be avoided had better be recognised and kept under control. But in 1851 the Court quarrelled with Palmerston, who was dismissed from office, very properly, for having, in direct violation of a recent order of the Queen, communicated to the French Ambassador his approval of the coup d'etat, without the knowledge of Her Majesty or the Cabinet. In 1854 came the rupture with Russia, which led to the Crimean war. Palmerston, in correspondence with his friend the French Emperor, was working for a war, with a separate French alliance. Prince Albert, in conjunction with Aberdeen, was trying to keep the Four Powers together, and by their combined action to avert a war. Palmerston and his partizans appealed through the press to the people, among whom the war feeling was growing strong, against the unconstitutional influence of the Prince Consort and his foreign advisers. Thereupon arose a storm of insane suspicion and fury which almost recalled the fever of the Popish Plot. Thousands of Londoners collected round the Tower to see the Prince's entry into the State Prison, and dispersed only upon being told that the Queen had said that if her husband was sent to prison she would go with him. Reports were circulated of a pamphlet drawn up under Palmerston's eye, and containing the most damning proofs of the Prince's guilt, the publication of which it was said the Prince had managed to prevent, but of which six copies were still in existence. The pamphlet was at last printed _in extenso_ in the _Times_, and the bottled lightning proved to be ditchwater. Of course Stockmar, the "spy," the "agent of Leopold," did not escape denunciation, and though it was proved he had been at Coburg all the time, people persisted in believing he was concealed about the Court, coming out only at night. The outcry was led by the _Morning Post_, Lord Palmerston's personal organ, and the _Morning Advertiser_, the bellicose and truly British journal of the Licensed Victuallers; but these were supported by the Conservative press, and by some Radical papers. A debate in Parliament broke the waterspout as quickly as it had been formed. The people had complained with transports of rage that the Prince Consort exercised an influence unrecognised by the Constitution in affairs of State. They were officially assured that he _did_; and they at once declared themselves perfectly satisfied.

Our readers would not thank us for taking them again through the question of the Spanish marriages, a transaction which Stockmar viewed in the only way in which the most criminal and the filthiest of intrigues could be viewed by an honest man and a gentleman; or through the question of German unity, on which his opinions have been at once ratified and deprived of their practical interest by events. The last part of his life he passed in Germany, managing German Royalties, especially the Prince and Princess Frederick William of Prussia, for whom he had conceived a profound affection. His presence, we are told, was regarded by German statesmen and magnates as "uncanny," and Count K., on being told that it was Stockmar with whom an acquaintance had just crossed a bridge, asked the acquaintance why he had not pitched the Baron into the river. That Stockmar did not deserve such a fate, the testimony cited at the beginning of this paper is sufficient to prove. He was the unrecognised Minister of Constitutional Sovereigns who wanted, besides their regular Parliamentary advisers, a personal adviser to attend to the special interests of royalty. It was a part somewhat clandestine, rather equivocal, and not exactly such as a very proud man would choose. But Stockmar was called to it by circumstances, he was admirably adapted for it, and if it sometimes led him further than he was entitled or qualified to go, he played it on the whole very well.


A discussion which was raised some time ago by a very pleasant article of Professor Wilson in the _Canadian Monthly_ disclosed the fact that Wright's "Life of Wolfe," though it had been published some years, was still very little known. It is not only the best but the only complete life of the soldier, so memorable in Canadian annals, whom Chatham's hand launched on our coast, a thunderbolt of war, and whose victory decided that the destiny of this land of great possibilities should be shaped not by French but by British hands. Almost all that is known about Wolfe is here, and it is well told. Perhaps the biographer might have enhanced the interest of the figure by a more vivid presentation of its historic surroundings. It is when viewed in comparison with an age which was generally one of unbelief, of low aims, of hearts hardened by vice, of blunted affections, of coarse excesses, and in the military sphere one of excesses more than usually coarse, of professional ignorance and neglect of duty among the officers, while the habits of the rank and file were those depicted in Hogarth's _March to Finckley_ that the life of this aspiring, gentle, affectionate, pure and conscientious soldier shines forth against the dark background like a star.

Squerryes Court, near Westerham, in Kent, is an ample and pleasant mansion in the Queen Anne style, which has long been in the possession of the Warde family--they are very particular about the _e_. In later times it was the abode of a memorable character in his way--old John Warde, the "Father of Fox-hunting." There it was that the greatest of all fox-hunters, Asheton Smithe, when on a visit to John Warde, rode Warde's horse _Blue Ruin_ over a frozen country through a fast run of twenty-five minutes and killed his fox. On the terrace stands a monument. It marks the spot where in 1741, James Wolfe, the son of Lieut-Col. Wolfe, of Westerham, then barely fourteen years of age, was playing with two young Wardes, when the father of the playmates approached and handed him a large letter "On His Majesty's Service" which, on being opened, was found to contain his commission in the army. We may be sure that the young face flushed with undisguised emotion. There cannot be a greater contrast than that which the frank, impulsive features, sanguine complexion, and blue eyes of Wolfe present to the power expressed in the commanding brow, the settled look, and the evil

Lectures and Essays - 40/67

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