came in August, with the fall of Melbourne's government and the elevation of Peel and the Tories to power.
BARON STOCKMAR wrote to the Prince, in January, 1854,
"I love and honour the English Constitution from conviction, for I think that, under judicious handling, it is capable of realising a degree of legal civil liberty which leaves a man free scope to think and act as a man. Out of its bosom single and solely has sprung America's Free Constitution, in all its present power and importance ... in my eyes the English Constitution is the foundation-corner and cope-stone of the entire political civilisation of the human race, present and to come."
Stockmar, described by Lord Palmerston as having "one of the best political heads" he had ever met with, had forced this conception of British political life and aims on Prince Albert from the beginning. In 1840, while at Windsor, the Prince had taken a course in the Laws and Constitution of England from a distinguished scholar who arrived each day, as the tutors had arrived when he was a bov. Having mastered the subject, he induced the Queen to read Hallam Constitutional History of England, with him, in the evenings, after dinner.
This preparation helped the Prince during the startling political crisis in May, 1841, when Melbourne's government was defeated on the budget, which showed a deficit. The elections which followed brought the Tories into power. Lord Melbourne was ousted and the Queen had to accept Sir Robert Peel as her Prime Minister, Lord Aberdeen as Foreign Secretary, and the Duke of Wellington as leader in the House of Lords.
At first, all the Queen's old prejudices became rigid, as she thought of Sir Robert Peel, that "Protectionist," that "cold, odd man," taking Lord Melbourne's place. Lord Melbourne pressed her to hold out the olive branch to the Tories. He rose far above party politics and rancour in the way he tried to smooth the path for Peel to whom he sent a message, advising him how to break down the Queen's stubbornness.
"The Queen is not conceited,"he told his successor.
"She is aware there are many things she cannot understand and she likes to have them explained to her elementally, not at length and in detail, but shortly and clearly."