The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence between the Years 1837 and 1861 - Vol. 3

By Queen Victoria; Viscount Esher et al. | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTORY NOTE TO CHAPTER XXIX

AT the end of 1859, Mr Cobden had offered his services to the Government to negotiate a commercial treaty with France, and had been warmly encouraged in the scheme by Mr Gladstone. In January 1860, he was officially appointed a Plenipotentiary, with Lord Cowley, for this purpose, and on the 23rd of that month the treaty was signed. It included mutual remissions and reductions of import duties, and was contingent on obtaining the assent of the British Parliament, but neither party was fettered by any engagement not to extend similar concessions to other countries. In February, on the introduction of the Budget, the treaty was brought before the House of Commons, and ratified by a great majority; at the same time Mr Gladstone abolished a large number of import duties, but increased the income-tax for incomes over £150, from ninepence to tenpence in the pound. His proposal to repeal the paper duties was rejected by the Peers, the majority in its favour in the Commons having sunk to nine. A Commons Committee was appointed to deal with this conflict between the Houses, and resolutions defining the powers of the Peers in money bills were passed by the Lower House, Lord Palmerston clearly showing himself in sympathy with the Lords. Mr Gladstone expressed a desire to resign, in consequence of his difference with his colleagues, while Lord Derby and Lord Malmesbury intimated privately that they would support Lord Palmerston in office against any Radical secession. A Reform Bill of Lord John Russell, reducing the Borough Franchise to £6, and making a moderate redistribution of seats, was received with indifference, and eventually dropped.

Italian affairs mainly absorbed the attention of the country. The intended international congress was abandoned, owing to the attitude adopted by the French Emperor towards the Pope, but the former now obtained the annexation of Savoy and Nice, not, as had been arranged in 1858 as a reward for assisting to set Italy free "from the Alps to the Adriatic"--an ideal which had not been realised--but as a price for assisting Piedmont to incorporate the Central Italian Provinces. The annexation was strongly resented, and suspicions of French designs were aroused to such an extent as to give a substantial impetus to the Volunteer movement in this country. By the summer, 130,000 Volunteers had been enrolled, and, at a review in Hyde Park, 21,000 men marched past the Queen, while in August, in consequence of the same apprehensions, it was decided by a large

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The Letters of Queen Victoria: A Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence between the Years 1837 and 1861 - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents iii
  • List of Illustrations vii
  • Introductory Note To Chapter XXIII 1
  • Chapter XXIII 1854 3
  • Introductory Note - To Chapter XXIV 63
  • Chapter XXIV - 1855 65
  • Introductory Note To Chapter XXV 158
  • Chapter XXV - 1856 160
  • Introductory Note - To Chapter XVII 223
  • Chapter XVII - 1857 225
  • Introductory Note - To Chapter XXVII 261
  • Chapter XXVII - 1858 263
  • Introductory Note To Chapter XXVIII 307
  • Chapter XXVIII - 1859 309
  • Introductory Note To Chapter XXIX 379
  • Chapter XXIX - 1860 382
  • Introductory Note - To Chapter XXX 420
  • Chapter XXX - 1861 422
  • Index 479
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