24 APRIL 1880, Page 4



WE deprecate very strongly the attempts which have been made in many Tory journals, and, we regret to say, in a few Liberal ones, to bring the Queen's name into the dis- cussion on the Premiership. It is a sound tradition of the modern Constitution of Great Britain which leaves the Throne in shadow, and not the least of the offences of Lord Beacons- field is the persistency with which he has endeavoured to drag it into the fierce light which in England pours upon all poli- tical transactions. The entire history of the past forty years, and the memoirs that have appeared, even the "Life of the Prince Consort," with its occasional indiscretions, all show that the Queen is a truly Constitutional Sovereign, who intends to maintain full accord with her people, and to govern through responsible advisers, and who is thoroughly conscious that while Ministries and Ministers pass and repass, the Monarchy, which preceded, will survive them all. That her Majesty may have personal preferences it is easy to allow, though they are probably much fainter in colour than is supposed, Kings training themselves to regard all statesmen equally as their servants ; but no such.preference would in a grave crisis influence her Majesty's inner judgment. Neither the Queen nor the Prince Consort liked Lord Palmer- ston, whose independence, on one celebrated occasion at least, reached discourtesy ; but Lord Palmerston, nevertheless, when summoned by the people, became Premier, and died almost dictator, supported as fully by the Sovereign as by Parlia- ment. It could not, indeed, be otherwise. Every Sovereign, however Constitutional, thinks of the interests and the history of his dynasty, of the past and the future, looks slightly down upon the parties, as contending beneath the Throne, and re- gards any serious difference with his people not as a moment- ary incident, but as one having far-reaching consequences. To be out of accord with the nation is, in such a position, to be in danger,—not in danger, in a solid Monarchy like ours, of disloyalty, far less of Republicanism,—but of a growth of those ideas which Monarchs instinctively dislike, of a distrust which in an excited time might end in a national demand for the elec- tion of the Premier by the same machinery as the Speaker is elected. Constitutional Kings know perfectly well that, whether their thrones are self-supported or not, their power rests on the trustfulness of the nation, and Queen Victoria is the last person on earth to forget or disregard a principle upon which she has invariably based all public action. The people confide in her as above the parties, and she must be above them. We believe that every story of settled or deep unwillingness on the part of the Queen to receive Mr. Gladstone as head of the new Government has its origin in party malignity, so deep that it cared nothing for the popularity of the Throne, in com- parison with the luxury of imagining a slight to a victorious opponent. Liberals who are also Monarchists may fairly regret that the Queen, with her long experience and cool judgment, did not instantly recognise the situation, and break the official etiquette which bound her to send for the recog- nised leader of the majority, in one House or the other. But State forms have their use, and it must not be forgotten that until Lord Harlington reached Windsor, her Majesty had no official adviser to state clearly and finally the character, wishes, and composition of the new House of Commons. The Queen has no obligation to receive rumour ; the Press, with its imbecile discussion of what was past a doubt, could and did give no light ; and it is not malicious to conceive that but little carne from a departing Ministry still bewildered by its unexpected fall. The instant the situation becomes clear, Mr. Gladstone will be summoned, and will be as loyally and sincerely supported by the frankest and most truthful of Sovereigns as was ever any predecessor. The policy his Government may pursue has nothing to do with the matter, for it can have no complete policy until it has dis- cussed one with the Sovereign, and received her comments, We wonder whether those who put forward these obnoxious hints think that the Queen is blind to the character of the marvellous event which has occurred, or the profound security of her throne and dynasty which it has so conclusively de- monstrated. We have had in a month something like a revolution, a policy destroyed, a Government scattered to the winds, a dominant party dismissed into obscurity. The con- test has been marked by unusual bitterness, the agitation has been felt throughout the world, the excitement has actually killed men, and throughout it all not only has the Throne been as safe as ever, but the serenity of the atmosphere about it has never been disturbed. The wildest orator has only asked for a change of her Majesty's advisers. When it is over, the Sovereign is left unfettered, to summon, at her own time and in her own way, the advisers to whom the nation has pointed by its votes. The ohange is effected rapidly and noisily, yet without shaking a single institution, without attack or defence of the Crown, without impinging in the slightest degree on the deep respect in which its wearer is held. No such scene is possible in any other country, nor in any is the Throne at once so sheltered and so secure ; and the reason is as clear to her Majesty as to her oldest statesmen. The nation never loses its profound confidence in her sympathy and her judgment, never doubts for an instant that her Majesty, once informed of facts, will realise its expressed wishes, and join with it in confiding power to the statesmen upon whom both rely. That a break in that confidence may occur some day is conceivable, but it certainly will not occur in the life-time of a Queen who has formed, and counselled, and agreed with fourteen successive Ministries, and has done it all so well, that to this hour there is not a household in Great Britain where men do not say that the best guarantee for a Constitu- tional throne is that it should always be occupied by a woman. It is no light thing to have impressed such a conviction as that upon a stubbornly self-willed people like the British, or to be certain of going down to history as the Sovereign who, in a reign of half-a-century, had made Constitutional Monarchy the ideal government of half the civilised nations of the worle. In the call of the nation and the Queen to Mr. Gladstone, is the best guarantee that this people, at once so independent and so Monarchical, will never even consider the advantages. of a Republic.