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6 arrived for vigorous measures, and the feeling of the
country is up to support them, if Government will • bring them boldly forward. The measures immediately * wanted, according to my views, are' ... and then he enumerates six measures, of which the fourth is the • obtaining the power for the Crown of enlisting • foreigners, and the fifth, “immediate steps for the *formation of foreign legions, to be attached eventually • to Lord Raglan. The Prince adds: “These measures "might be taken on the responsibility of the Govern• ment, awaiting an Act of Indemnity, or might be
laid before Parliament, convened for the purpose. • Pray consider this with your colleagues.' Mr. Martin goes on to record that this letter was read by Lord Aberdeen to the Cabinet the same day; but they • were opposed, as we learn from the Prince's Diary, to • the proposal to raise a Foreign Legion, and to the com• pletion of the Militia by ballot.' However, “ within a
few weeks every one of the Prince's suggestions bad • to be adopted, and in the short session of Parliament 6 at the end of this year measures were passed, but not
without vehement opposition, to authorise the raising of a Foreign Legion, and to enable the Government to send the Militia to the stations in the Mediterranean, and so to make the regiments there available for • service in the Crimea.''
It appears from this account that some of the Prince's measures met with opposition from the general body of the Cabinet, and were also vehemently resisted in Parliament. Whether these measures were good or bad, there is at least suggested the possibility that they
| Life of the Prince Consort, vol. iii. p. 146.
The Foreign Legion.
were acquiesced in by the Cabinet against their own judgment and in deference to the judgment or influence of the Prince Consort, and that, in commending them to Parliament, the Cabinet, while seeming to urge the results of their own unbiassed deliberations, were in fact complying with a recommendation from a quarter of overwhelming moral weight, and yet to which they could not make even the most covert allusion. The policy of raising a Foreign Legion, however tempting from the pressing circumstances of the day, stands out in a clearer light when regarded in view of the rupture with the United States which it nearly produced during the year 1856, when Mr. Crampton, the British Minister at Washington, received his passports from the President and left the country, because of charges which had been made against the British Government of violating the neutrality of the United States by enlisting recruits for the British service. A resolution was introduced into the House of Commons alleging that “ the conduct of Her Majesty's Government in the • differences with the United States on the question of • enlistment has not entitled them to the approbation
of the House.' Lord Palmerston succeeded in evading the resolution by the use of his habitual adroitness in returning the charge of exciting differences between the two countries on the supporters of the Resolution. He tried to show that the effect of such a discussion would be “to excite a spirit of resentment towards our ' neighbours and kindred in the United States,' and that this was not the way to persuade the American people • to cultivate the most friendly relations with England.'' An instance of still more marked and questionable intervention on the part of the Prince Consort in the affairs of Government is supplied by the strong partisanship he exhibited in respect to the policy of carrying on the war, when propositions for peace were under discussion in the House of Commons in May, 1855. Mr. Disraeli, on the 24th of May, moved a resolution by which the House was called upon to express . its dissatisfaction with the ambiguous language and uncertain conduct of Her Majesty's Government in reference to the great question of peace or war,' and to declare that it would continue to give every support 'to Her Majesty in the prosecution of the war until • Her Majesty should, in conjunction with her allies, • obtain for the country a safe and honourable peace.' In the course of the debate Mr. Gladstone explained the views of those former members of Lord Aberdeen's Cabinet who, with himself, had lately seceded from Lord Palmerston's Government. He urged the making of peace on the terms offered by Russia, and argued that the limitation of the Russian fleet now demanded was an indignity to Russia. He said that all the terms originally insisted upon had been substantially conceded, and that it would be immoral, inhuman, and unchristian to protract the war not for terms but for military success. On the 3rd of June, 1855, while some of the stages of the whole debate were not yet completed, the Prince Consort wrote a letter to Lord Aberdeen with the obvious purpose of inducing him to use his personal influence over the members of his late Cabinet to persuade them to desist from placing obstacles in the way of actively prosecuting the war. The Prince writes as follows: “I had sent Colonel Phipps to your house to
| Life of Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, 1846–1865, by the Hon. Evelyn Ashley, M.P., vol. ii. p. 122.
The Prince to Lord Aberdeen.
• know whether you were in town, and whether it would • be convenient to you to come here [to Buckingham 'Palace] for a few minutes before dinner. He has not • found you at home, and I am therefore compelled to • write to you upon a subject which would have been • much better treated in conversation than it can be in • a hurried letter-I mean the line which your former • friends and colleagues, with the exception of the Duke • of Newcastle, have taken about the war question. It • has caused the Queen and myself great anxiety, both ó on account of the position of public affairs, and on • their own account. As to the first, any such declara'tion as Mr. Gladstone has made on Mr. Disraeli's (motion must not only weaken us abroad in public esti'mation, and give a wrong opinion as to the determi• nation of the nation to support the Queen in the war ' in which she bas been involved, but render all chance • of obtaining an honourable peace without great fresh • sacrifices of blood and treasure impossible, by giving • new hopes and spirit to the enemy. As to the second, • a proceeding which must appear to many as un patri• otic in any Englishman, but difficult to explain even
by the most consummate oratory on the part of states• men who have, up to a very recent period, shared the 6 responsibility of all the measures of the war, and that
have led to the war, must seriously damage them in • public estimation. The more so, as, having been pub• licly suspected and falsely accused by their opponents of having, by their secret hostility to the war, led to
all the omissions, mistakes, and disasters, which have 6 attended the last campaign, they now seem to exert • themselves to prove the truth of these accusations, and (as Americans would say) to “realise the whole 6 "capital” of the unpopularity attaching to the authors
of our misfortunes, whom the public has for so long • a time been vainly endeavouring to discover. How• ever much on private and personal grounds I grieve • for this, I must do so still more on the Queen's behalf, • who cannot afford in these times of trial and difficulty " to see the best men in the country damaging them
selves in its opinion to an extent that seriously impairs “their usefulness for the service of the State.' The letter concludes with the words : 'I write all this now,
because the adjourned debate is to be re-opened toomorrow, and I could not reconcile it to myself not to
put you in possession of all I feel upon this subject, "which I know you will receive in the same spirit in which it is given.'
After citing this letter, Mr. Martin says that it seems to have had little effect in modifying the views • of Mr. Sidney Herbert or Sir James Graham, who
both spoke in the debate and strongly advocated a • cessation of the war on the terms offered by Russia.' In a letter written on the 7th of June by the Prince Consort to Baron Stockmar, he says: “Our debate is still • proceeding, and, as you will have seen, Cobden and • Graham have made Russian speeches. I wrote a
fiery (geharnischten) letter to Aberdeen, to which he • would not reply in writing, but preferred paying me a
visit yesterday. In a two-hours' discussion I think "I satisfied him, that Palmerston has acted precisely 6 as Aberdeen would have acted, although the suspicion • that Palmerston did not wish for peace may quite • possibly be well founded.' Mr. Martin, in commenting on the debate, says that the eloquence of Mr. · Cobden, Mr. Bright, Sir James Grabam, and Mr.