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" The Queen having considered the proposal made to her yesterday by Sir R. Peel to remove the ladies of her bed-chamber, cannot consent to adopt a course which she conceives to be contrary to usage, and which is repugnant to her feelings."

To this communication Sir R. Peel returned the following reply: - " Sir R. Peel presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and has had the honour of receiving your Majesty's note this morning. Sir R. Peel trusts that your Majesty will permit him to state to your Majesty his impression with respect to the circumstances which have led to the termination of his attempts to form an administration for the conduct of your Majesty's service. In the interview with which you honoured Sir R. Peel yesterday morning, after he had submitted to your Majesty the names of those he proposed to recommend to your Majesty for the principal executive appointments, he mentioned to your Majesty his earnest wish to be enabled, by your Majesty's sanction, so to constitute your Majesty's household that your Majesty's confidential servants might have the advantage of a public demonstration of your Majesty's full support and confidence, and at the same time, so far as possible, consistent with such demonstration, each individual appointment in the household should be entirely acceptable to your Majesty's personal feelings. On your Majesty's expressing a desire that the Earl of Liverpool should hold an office in the household, Sir R. Peel immediately requested your Majesty's permission at once to confer on Lord Liverpool the office of lord steward, or any other office which he might prefer. Sir R. Peel then observed that he should have every wish to apply a similar principle to the chief appointments which are filled by the ladies of your Majesty's household; upon which your Majesty was pleased to remark, that you must retain the whole of these appointments, and that it was your Majesty's pleasure that the whole should continue as at present, without any change. The Duke of Wellington, in the interview to which your Majesty subsequently admitted him, understood also that this was your Majesty's determination, and concurred with Sir R. Peel in opinion that, considering the great difficulties of the present crisis, and the expediency of making every effort, in the first instance, to conduct the public business of the country with the aid of the present parliament, it was essential to the success of the mission with which your Majesty had honoured Sir R. Peel, that he should have such public proof of your Majesty's entire support and confidence, as would be afforded by the permission to make some changes in your Majesty's household, which your Majesty resolved on maintaining entirely without change. Having had the opportunity, through your Majesty's gracious consideration, of reflecting upon this point, he humbly submits to your Majesty that he is reluctantly compelled, by a sense of public duty, and of the interests of your Majesty's service, to adhere to the opinion which he ventured to express to your Majesty."

Having read those letters, Sir Robert Peel said that he made the demand from a sincere belief that it was impossible for him duly to administer public affairs without the fullest proof that he possessed the confidence of Her Majesty. "Could I," said Sir R. Peel, "look around me, and not see that it was my absolute duty to this country, and above all to Her Majesty, to require that every aid that could be given me should be given? What were the questions which would immediately press for my decision? The state of India, the state of Jamaica, the state of Canada would all require my immediate consideration, and with respect to some of them the proposal of legislative measures also. I considered the internal state of this country; I saw the insurrection in the provinces; I saw the letter of the noble lord opposite (Lord John Russell), inviting the respectable part of the population of this country to form themselves into armed societies for resisting outrage. Surely, sir, in addition to the ordinary difficulties besetting the course of a prime minister, these are circumstances which rendered that position at the present moment peculiarly onerous and arduous . . . . Sir, let me take that particular question on which my chief difficulty would arise. Who can conceal from himself that my difficulties were not Canada; that my difficulties were not Jamaica; that my difficulties were Ireland? (Ironical cheers.) I admit it fully, and thank you for the confirmation of my argument which those cheers afford. And what is the fact? I, undertaking to be a minister of the Crown, and wishing to carry on public affairs through the intervention of the present House of Commons, in order that I might exempt the country from the agitation, and possibly the peril of a dissolution - I, upon that very question of Ireland, should have begun in a minority of upwards of twenty members. A majority of twenty-two had decided in favour of the policy of the Irish Government. The chief members of the Irish Government, whose policy was so approved of, were the Marquis of Normanby, and the noble lord opposite, the member for Yorkshire (Lord Morpeth). By whom are the two chief offices in the household at this moment held? By the sister of Lord Morpeth and the wife of Lord Normanby. But the question is, would it be considered by the public that a minister had the confidence of the Crown, when the relatives of his immediate political opponents held the highest offices about the person of the Sovereign? My impression decidedly was that I should not appear to the country to be in possession of that confidence; and that impression I could not overcome, and upon that impression I resolved to act. Who were my political opponents? Why, of the two I have named, one, the Marquis of Normanby, was publicly stated to be a candidate for the very same office which it was proposed I should fill, namely, the office of prime minister. The other noble lord (Morpeth) has been designated as the leader of this house; and know not why his talents might not justify his appointment, in case of the retirement of his predecessor. Is it possible - I ask you to go back to other times; take Pitt or Fox, or any other minister of this proud country, and answer for yourselves this question - is it fitting that one man shall be minister, responsible for the most arduous charge that falls to the lot of man, and that the wife of the other - that other his most formidable political enemy - shall, with his express consent, hold office in immediate attendance on the Sovereign? Oh, no; I felt it was impossible. I could not consent to this. Yes," continued Sir Robert Peel, "feelings more powerful than reasoning on those precedents told me that it was not for my own honour or the public interest that I should consent to be minister of England. The public interest may suffer nothing by my abandonment of that high trust; the public interest may suffer nothing by my eternal exclusion from power. But the public interest would suffer, and I should be abandoning my duty t myself, my country, and above all, to the Queen my sovereign, if I were to consent to hold power on conditions which I felt to be, which I had the strongest conviction were incompatible with the authority and with the duty of a prime minister."

Lord John Russell, in reply, said that when Lord Melbourne took leave of Her Majesty after having tendered the resignations of the Cabinet, he advised her to send for the Duke of Wellington. With respect to the household, Lord Melbourne informed the Queen that, in latter times, when a change of administration took place, the great offices of the household, as well as all such as were held by members of either House of Parliament, were at the same time vacated. But with respect to the ladies of the bed-chamber, Lord Melbourne had given no advice to Her Majesty, as that was a point on which he did not suppose any question would arise. He remarked that there seemed to be a misunderstanding between the Queen and Sir Robert Peel on that point. The impression on Her Majesty's mind was, that the principle contended for went to the extent of subjecting the entire household to change at the recommendation of the minister. It was under this impression that Her Majesty declined to adopt a course which she believed to be contrary to usage and repugnant to her feelings. But he added that, in Her Majesty's view of the case, it would have been equally repugnant to her feelings and destructive to her comfort, whether the change were total or partial. He referred to several precedents in English history, to show that the power claimed by the right hon. baronet was greater than any ever before conferred on a similar occasion. Sir Robert Peel had spoken of his difficulties with respect to Canada, India, Jamaica, and more especially to the state of Ireland. But he would gain no strength with regard to those questions by imposing on Her Majesty a condition which was repugnant to her feelings. Lord John Russell further stated that the Queen was pleased to ask him whether he thought she was justified in making that refusal; and upon his answering in the affirmative, she observed that, as she had hitherto given her support to the administration, she hoped he would consider himself bonnd to support her in return. A cabinet council was held the next day, at which they adopted a resolution to the effect that they were not of opinion that the ladies of Her Majesty's household should be required to go out upon a change of ministry.

Sir Robert Peel said he would only reply on one point. The noble lord inquired whether Her Majesty did not say to him that it was her intention to have acted towards him with openness and fairness. Her Majesty certainly did say so, and he had conveyed that impression when he stated that nothing could be more constitutional than the whole of Her Majesty's conduct.

On the following evening a similar explanation was given by Lord Melbourne in the Upper House. Having explained why he resigned on a former occasion, the noble lord said, "And now, my lords, I frankly declare that I resume office unequivocally and solely for this reason, that I will not abandon my Sovereign in a situation of difficulty and distress, and especially when a demand is made upon Her Majesty with which I think she ought not to comply - a demand, in my opinion, inconsistent with her personal honour, and which, if acquiesced in, would make her reign liable to all the changes and variations of political parties, and render her domestic life one constant scene of unhappiness and discomfort."

The Duke of Wellington spoke in a tone of great moderation and dignity of feeling. He expressed his perfect indifference to reports. He had served his country through evil report and good report, unmoved by either one or the other. He certainly was surprised at being charged with having ill-treated his Sovereign on this occasion. He could have no object in entering into public life again, but to serve her. He said there was all possible difference between the household of the Queen Consort and the household of the Queen regnant; that of the former, who is not a political person, being comparatively immaterial. The public, he said, would not believe that the Queen had no political conversation with the ladies of her household, and that political influence was not exercised by them, particularly considering who the persons were who held those situations. He believed the history of the country afforded a number of instances in which secret and improper influences had been exercised by means of such conversations. He had a somewhat strong opinion on the subject. He had himself filled the office of the noble viscount, and had felt the inconvenience of an anomalous influence, not exercised, perhaps, by ladies, but exerted by persons about the Court, and that simply in conversations; and the country was at that moment suffering from secret influence of the same description. He concluded by expressing his admiration of the personal demeanour of Her Majesty in those proceedings, which he characterised as displaying a readiness and firmness much beyond her age.

Lord Melbourne distinctly denied the existence of any such secret influence as that referred to by the noble duke.

These explanations in Parliament created an extraordinary sensation throughout the country. It was noticed as a singular fact that in the evening ministerial organ, the Globe, the following paragraph appeared on the 9th, before the negotiations with Sir Robert Peel had been made known to the public, and a day before the Queen's determination had been conveyed to Sir R. Peel: - "The determination which it is well known Her Majesty has taken, not to allow the change in the Government to interfere with the ladies of her Court, has given great offence to the Tories." The Hon. William Cowper, nephew and private secretary to Lord Melbourne, in an address to the electors of Hertford, said, "Every dictate of feeling, of honour, of loyalty, and justice impels me, at all hazards, to support our Queen in her noble resistance to the cruel attempt so unworthily made to wrest from Her Majesty a prerogative hitherto unquestioned, and to usurp the power of dismissing, at the Ministers' will, those ladies of her Court whom, from their sympathy and devotion, and from long acquaintance, Her Majesty could look upon as friends." Mr. Cowper subsequently explained these remarks by declaring that the statements which had been made in Parliament since his first address had certainly removed all ground for ascribing any but proper and loyal motives to the leaders of the Tory party in their late negotiations Lord Brougham was extremely indignant at the con duct of the Ministers and their partisans on this occasion. He said that they had made an appeal " to the credulity and passions of the multitude by the most scandalous misrepresentations, by slander the most despicable - so ridiculous, so contemptible, that it had never been surpassed; " and he declared that it had ended "in the most signal failure, the most utter and total failure he had ever known."

Addresses were poured in to the Queen from all parts of the country, some congratulating her on the return of Lord Melbourne and Lord John Russell to office, others praying that she would again call to her councils the Duke and Sir Robert Peel. An address to these statesmen from Shrewsbury declared the indignation and contempt of the inhabitants at the calumnious charges made against them for factious ends.

The matter was discussed in the House of Lords on the 31st of May, when it was brought forward by Lord Winchilsea. Lord Melbourne, in reply, admitted that the difficulties with which he had to contend in carrying on the government of the country were still undiminished, at least by any abandonment of principle on his part, and that the Government would still be conducted on those principles on which it had originally been formed - namely, the principles of progressive reform. Lord Brougham again vehemently denounced the conduct of the ministers with reference to the ladies of the bed-chamber. " The name of the Sovereign/' he said, " had been put forward and tendered to the country in lieu of all explanations, and the private personal feelings of that illustrious Princess had been made the topic of every riotous meeting - of all the demagogues who have set to work to support a sinking administration. For themselves, the Ministers had nothing to say - no measure to propose, no defence to make of their policy, but the cry of ' The Queen! the Queen! the Queen! ' and to sum up all in the words of a kinsman of his noble friend and his private secretary - ' Sir Robert Peel's attempt to form a Government was defeated by two ladies of the bed-chamber.' "

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