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_November 27th._–The Club was brilliant with the Duc d’Aumale, Wolseley, Lord Derby, and Coleridge. Boehm and Maunde Thompson were elected.

_December 1st_.–To All Souls, Oxford. Prothero, Dicey, Oman, George Curzon, &c. Stayed over Sunday.

_27th_.–To Timsbury: thence to Foxholes on the 29th.

_January 15th_, 1889.–Returned to London.

_From M. B. St.-Hilaire_

_Paris, January 20th_.–It was very good of you to think of my book on ‘L’Inde Anglaise,’ and I thank you for the ‘Edinburgh Review’ which you have sent me. I read the article with great interest. It is very well done, and I beg you to thank the author in my name for having taken the trouble to read me with so much attention and good will. I do not think I have exaggerated the danger which threatens your great enterprise in India. The Transcaspian Railway, which will very soon run from Samarkand to Tashkend, seems to me one source of it. Yours will, indeed, soon reach to Candahar; but Russia is at home in the country, whilst England is very far off. The magnanimous confidence you have in your own strength is most praiseworthy–provided that your watchfulness is not allowed to slumber…. Meanwhile I remain constant in my admiration of what the English are doing in India; and the administration of Lord Dufferin may well confirm me in my opinion. There is nothing like it, or so great as it, in the history of the past.

_From Lord Dufferin_

British Embassy, Rome, January 27th.

My dear Reeve,–Many thanks for your letter of the 16th. As you may well suppose, I am delighted with Lyall’s article; for he is acknowledged, both by Indian and by so much of English public opinion as knows anything of the matter, to have been the best Indian public servant that the present generation has produced. In addition, or, as perhaps some would say, in spite of possessing real literary genius, he proved himself a most wise, shrewd, and capable administrator. I do not believe he made a single mistake during his whole career. At all events, I never heard of his having done so; and a slip is scarcely made in India without the fact being duly recorded. What pleases me most is that the kind words he uses about myself should be embedded in the exposition of his own opinions upon Indian questions–opinions full of acuteness, justice, and knowledge. It is these that will really make the article interesting to your readers, and consequently give a greater importance to what he has said about me than otherwise would have been the case. I have obeyed your orders in regard to sending a copy of my speech to M. Barthelemy St.-Hilaire.

The social history of the season is adequately chronicled in the Journal:–

_February 5th_.–The Ogilvies in London.

_22nd_.–Mr. Gollop [Mrs. Reeve’s father] died; born October 11th, 1791. Christine had been down just before.

_March 12th_.–The Club. Good party: Lord Salisbury, Walpole, Tyndall, Hooker, Hewett, Lecky, Lyall, A. Russell, Layard, and self.

_March 20th_.–Meeting at Lord Carnarvon’s about the bust of Sir C. Newton.

_25th_.–Breakfast at Sheen House with Comte and Comtesse de Paris, to meet Lefèvre-Pontalis and Bocher.

_28th_.–Lunched with Major Dawson at Woolwich and went over the Arsenal. Very interesting.

_April 12th_.–Meeting for Matthew Arnold’s Memorial. 7,000 _l_. raised.

_May 4th_.–Dined at the Royal Academy dinner. Sat by Horsley, Tyndall, and Chitty.

_From Sir Arthur Gordon_

_May 5th_.–You may rely upon it that I am absolutely right as to the Russian Memorandum–Lord Malmesbury does not himself assert that he ever saw it, which, had it existed, he must have done when Foreign Secretary. I cannot, of course, expect you to attach the same weight that I do to what I may call the personal reasons which make me utterly incredulous of Lord Malmesbury’s story; but there are other reasons for doubting it, some of which may have already occurred to you. One is the alleged form of the document, which is said to be signed by the Emperor, the Duke, my father, and Sir R. Peel. Lord Malmesbury prides himself on the knowledge of diplomatic forms and etiquettes derived from his grandfather’s papers. He might have known that the signature of an engagement by a Sovereign (and such a Sovereign!) on the one side and _three ministers_ of another Sovereign on the other (thereby putting them on species of equality) was an impossibility. Such a paper, if it existed, would be signed either by _both_ Sovereigns or by the ministers of both. I think I may say with confidence that the Emperor Nicholas was a most unlikely man to perform such an act of condescension. And why should he? He had his confidential minister with him. Another, and I think fatal, objection is that neither my father nor Lord Clarendon were altogether absolute fools, and when, in answer to the Emperor’s challenge, they published the secret memorandum which had till then been handed on privately from minister to minister, they knew what they were about, and would never have put it into the power of the Emperor to retort that _that_ was not what he referred to, but to a paper which would not improve the cordiality of the Anglo-French alliance. Again, is it likely that, if the Emperor had entered into such an agreement, he would take the trouble to write another long memorandum, containing the ‘substance’ of his discussions with the English ministers? This is the memorandum which was sent in a private letter, which I possess, from Count Nesselrode to my father; which was handed from minister to minister, and which was published in 1854. The original draft, Count Nesselrode said, was in the Emperor’s own hand. I have another little bit of evidence which I think also goes to prove that no such agreement was entered into in 1844, as Lord Malmesbury supposes. In 1845 Count Nesselrode visited England. My father, writing to the Queen, gives an account of his conversations with Nesselrode, and says: ‘His language very much resembled that held by the Emperor; and _although he made no specific proposals_, his declarations of support, in case of necessity, were _more_ unequivocal.’ (The italics are mine.) Could he have written this if he had already, some months before, signed an agreement with the Emperor, which was both unequivocal and specific?

_From the Comte de Paris_

Sheen House, 7 mai.

Mon cher Monsieur Reeve ,–Nous aussi, nous n’avons pas oublié votre présence à notre mariage le 30 mai 1864. La Comtesse de Paris et moi nous sommes bien touchés de la manière dont vous nous le rappelez, et je vous remercie de tout coeur de ce que vous me dites et des voeux que vous m’adressez en cette occasion. Au milieu de toutes les vicissitudes de notre vie pendant ces vingt-cinq ans nous avons été constamment soutenus par le bonheur domestique que cette union nous a donné et par toutes les satisfactions que nous ont causées nos enfants.

Lorsque j’ai reçu votre lettre j’allais vous écrire, ainsi qu’à Madame Reeve, de vouloir bien venir ici le 30 mai dans l’après-midi: nous recevons entre 2 et 5 tous les amis qui viendront fêter cet anniversaire avec nous. Je me souviens bien que Madame Reeve était avec vous à la chapelle de Kingston, mais ma mémoire n’est pas sûre en ce qui concerne Madame votre fille. Je vous serais bien reconnaissant de me faire savoir si elle était avec vous ce jour-là. En attendant je vous prie de me croire Votre bien affectionné,


The Journal notes:–

_May 7th._–The Club: Due d’Aumale, Lord Salisbury, Wolseley, Carlisle, A. Russell, Hewett, Stephen–very brilliant.

_8th_.–Returned to Foxholes.

_16th_.–Drove to Heron Court. Lord Malmesbury dying.

_17th_.–Lord Malmesbury died. 22nd, attended his funeral in Priory Church. 29th, to London.

_30th_.–The silver wedding of the Comte and Comtesse de Paris at Sheen. All the French Royalties, Prince of Wales, &c. About five hundred people; 169 persons still alive who were at the wedding in 1864. A silver medal was sent to all the survivors.

_From M. B. St.-Hilaire_

_Paris, June 6th_.–If I am free in the autumn, it will give me great pleasure to pay you another visit at Foxholes; the first has left a pleasant memory, and I ask no better than to repeat it. But, without having to complain of old age, I find more difficulty in going about. I am not exactly ill, but my strength gradually fails–a sign that the end is not far off.

I foresaw that General Boulanger would have no success in England; you are much too serious for such a nature as his. His popularity diminishes daily; and if the Cabinet act with judgement from now to the October elections, I have no doubt they may regain public favour. The triumph of Boulangism would be the signal for horrible anarchy at home and war abroad, provoked by the madmen who had climbed into power.

Monarchy, in the person of the Comte de Paris, is losing rather than gaining ground here. If France should ever return to a dynasty, it would be more likely to be the Bonapartes. The terrible name of Napoleon has still an immense _prestige_, however unworthy his successors.

M. St.-Hilaire’s visit did not come off. The Journal mentions many dinners, receptions, and garden parties in town during June and July, and eleven days in August on board Mrs. Watney’s yacht ‘Palatine,’ to see the naval review on the 5th. ‘Very rough weather all the time.’ In September a journey to Edinburgh and on the 14th to Chesters, chronicled as ‘my first visit to my daughter.’ A week later Reeve returned south; and, paying a few short visits on the way, including a day at Knowsley, was back at Foxholes by the 26th.

_From Count Vitzthum_

Villa Vitzthum, Baden Baden, August 30th.

My dear Mr. Reeve,–I beg to send you the proofs of the preface and contents, in order to show you the plan of my book.

I am very sorry that you do not approve of the account I have given of our interview in September 1866. It was unfortunately too late to cancel the letter, but nothing would prevent leaving it out if those memoirs should ever be translated. On further consideration, and after reading the foregoing pages, you will find, I am sure, that your comment on the situation in September 1866 was not only correct, but very valuable. The peace of Europe then was threatened by two eventualities, of which one happened: by an ostensible alliance between Prussia and France, or by an immediate war between both. Rouher and Lavalette worked very hard for the alliance, and your sound judgement indicated the consequences which such an alliance would have had. I quite agree with you about these relations. But the opinion of a man like you is a fact, and an important fact; because you have been in those days what they call a representative man; because you represented a great portion of the Liberal party. It does not take one iota off the value of your opinion–which, you may depend upon it, was correctly recorded–if the course of events took another turn, and if this monster alliance remained a dream of adventurous French politicians. The thing was on the cards.

As for Napoleon’s malady, all I can say [is] that Nelaton, who then was consulted for the first time, wrote a letter to King Leopold of Belgium, stating that it was very probable the Emperor of the French would be found any morning dead in his bed, and that he would most likely die before the end of November. Very truly yours,


In consequence of this letter Mr. Reeve wrote to Mr. T. Norton Longman:–

_Foxholes, September 3rd._–Count Vitzthum is about to publish two more volumes of his political reminiscences during his mission in London. I send you the index of the work, from which you will see that it contains a good deal of matter, anecdotes, &c., of interest to English readers. You will judge from the result of the former work whether you think it worth while to engage in the publication of a translation of these later volumes. But, as I am going away till the end of the month, I cannot negotiate with Count Vitzthum or with the translator, and I must beg you to take that upon yourself.

A month later, however, on October 2nd, he wrote that, after seeing the book, he was of opinion that it would not stand translation. It was reviewed in the ‘Edinburgh’ of January 1890, but was not translated.

_From Lord Derby_

_November 11th_.–I have only begun the Life of Lord John. It would be a very difficult one to write in a spirit at once of fairness and friendship. My impression of the man was and is that he was more thoroughly and essentially a partisan than anyone I have known; and sometimes open to the comment, that he seemed to consider the Universe as existing for the sake of the Whig party. Perhaps this would not strike anyone who was trained up in the same school, as strongly as it did me. On the other hand, I think he was more generally consistent, and had fewer of his own words to eat, than any politician of his time or of ours. His religious politics were his weak part; they were rather narrow and sectarian. I suppose he was forced by the Court into his quarrel with Palmerston; which was the trouble of his later official life, and caused these uneasy struggles to recover a lost position which did him harm. But with all drawbacks he has left an honoured and distinguished name. Do you think there is any ground for the idea which Lady Russell puts about that, if he had lived till now, he would have gone for Home Rule?



The very wide range of Reeve’s studies has appeared from many indications scattered through these pages, and it has been seen how, at different times, he was occupying himself with various subjects far outside the ordinary course of reading. These were, however, connected by some general idea which pervaded the whole. Of natural science he knew little. As a boy, the study of mathematics was irksome to him and repulsive, nor was he at any later time more favourably inclined towards it. His acquaintance with astronomy, chemistry, physics, and the cognate sciences was very limited–not more, perhaps, than he picked up in his careful and intelligent study of the articles published in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ during the forty years of his editorship. His real knowledge was confined by a band of history, but of history in its very widest sense, including not only war and politics and law, but political economy, literature, religion, and superstition. Of military science he had read sufficient to take a technical interest in the details of battles and campaigns, and he was perhaps one of the first landsmen of this age to understand the ‘influence of sea-power.’ His attention had been called to this at a very early period in his career by the utter collapse of Mehemet Ali in Syria; and reasoning on that, he had learned that ‘sea-power,’ or, as he preferred to call it, ‘maritime-power,’ controlled and directed affairs with which, at first sight, it seemed to have absolutely nothing to do.

Long before Captain Mahan began to teach, or to write those admirable works which came as a revelation to the English and the European public, he had opened the pages of the ‘Edinburgh Review’ to writers who, in different ways and in different degrees, were inculcating the same doctrine, which during the long peace, and by reason of the overwhelming superiority of the allies in the Russian war, had been almost forgotten, even by professional men. It would not be difficult to show how, during the thirty years which preceded the publication of Captain Mahan’s ‘Influence of Sea-Power,’ its most important theories were illustrated and discussed in the pages of the ‘Review.’ The following, by one of the most accomplished officers in our navy, refers to such an article in the January number:–

_From Captain Bridge, R.N._

_January 19th_.–As an Englishman and a sailor, I feel it to be a duty again to congratulate you on the article ‘Naval Supremacy,’ &c., in the new number of the ‘Edinburgh Review.’ That article and the one concerning which I previously addressed you can hardly fail to do good. The Maurician school and its ‘two Army-corps and a cavalry division,’ which were to be launched at the Caucasus, must have received a severe check from the earlier article. The disaster-breeding facts of the fort-builders can hardly survive many more such assaults as that so sharply driven home in ‘Naval Supremacy.’ The opinions of the writer of the latter, I venture to think, foreshadow those of the Navy on the subject of huge ships and huge guns. I hold it to be highly beneficial to the country that the editor of the ‘Edinburgh Review’ should have so keen an appreciation and, for a civilian, so rare a knowledge of naval affairs.

_From Lord Derby_

_April 3rd_–What a new Europe is beginning! Bismarck dismissed; Emperors holding Socialist conferences; more attempts to murder the Tsar; strikes all over the world; Germans going to Prussianise Central Africa! No want of novelty in our time and amusing enough, if one is far enough off.

_From the Duc d’Aumale_

_Chantilly_, 14 _juin_.–Où diable avais-je la tête, mon cher ami? (ne montrez pas ce préambule à nos amis puritains.) Je croyais bien vous avoir écrit que je comptais passer la mer vers le 22, dîner avec le Club le 24, embrasser mes neveux et nièces de toutes générations, voir quelques amis, et rentrer ici vers la fin de la semaine. Je persiste dans ce projet, _weather permitting_; c’est-à-dire sauf le cas de tempête que l’on est bien forcé de prévoir avec une pareille saison. A bientôt donc, s’il plaît à Dieu. Je finis mieux que je ne commence, et je vous serre la main.

H. D’O.

_From the Duc d’Aumale_

_Chantilly_, 26 _juillet_.–J’essaye de chasser par le travail les préoccupations qui m’obsèdent. Je n’y réussis pas toujours. Est-ce l’effet de l’âge? mais je suis de plus en plus anxieux sur l’avenir de mon pays et même de l’Europe. Nous sommes dans le faux depuis 1848, et il est sorti de la guerre de ’70 un état de choses bien périlleux.

Au revoir et mille amitiés.

The diary and the correspondence for the rest of the year are singularly barren of interest. A troublesome attack of sciatica in the end of July led to Reeve’s being advised to try Harrogate, whither he accordingly went in the beginning of August. He found the place–possibly also the water–disagreeable, and after a week’s stay he went on to Bolton Abbey, to Minto, and to Chesters. By the end of the month he was back at Foxholes, where he remained throughout September. Early in October he went for a ten days’ visit to Knowsley, where he met Froude and the Duc d’Aumale, with whom he returned to London. Then to Foxholes for a month, coming up to town in the middle of November, and–with the exception of a week at Easter–staying there till May 1891.

_From Lord Derby_

_Knowsley, January 20th_.–What do you think of Home Rule in its present phase? Chamberlain says it is dead; I say it is badly crippled, but capable of a good deal of mischief still. I see no new question coming forward, except that of strikes, eight-hours legislation, and Socialism generally.

Do you ever see the ‘New Review’? I picked it up yesterday, and read a very pretty Socialist programme by Morris and a Mr. Bernard Shaw, whom I never heard of before, but who is apparently rather clever and rather cracked. I suspect ideas of that class are making progress.

This letter, though not calling for any hurry, Reeve answered immediately, as was his general custom. It was indeed only by this prompt attention that, with the enormous correspondence which he carried on, he could prevent an accumulation which would have been overwhelming.

_To Lord Derby_

62 _Rutland Gate, January 21st_.–I think Home Rule, as an English party cry, has received a death blow, and cannot be used to bring a party into power. But Ireland remains open, an eternal field of agitation, and the Irishmen are still in the House of Commons. Perhaps the want of funds may embarrass them. I have not seen the ‘New Review,’ but there is a vast deal of lawlessness and wild speculation in the air, injurious to the first conditions of social life, and I confess I have no unbounded confidence in the boasted good sense of the English people; they are very ignorant and very selfish. No one tells them so many sensible home truths as yourself. As for the strikes, the strikers are the greatest sufferers.

I have published a remarkable article on the fiscal system of the United States–by an American–which I hope you will read. My contributor thinks there are great difficulties ahead in America, and Mr. Blaine’s bluster is an attempt to direct public attention into another channel.

I have been laid up for some days with a cold and gout, but have been out to-day and am better. I never remember so terrible a winter; but we hope it is passing away, though it is still freezing here.

_Foxholes, May 12th_.–I was sorry to leave London without seeing you and Lady Derby again; but the Fates were against me: you were laid up with cold, and I have been troubled for some weeks with sciatica, which impedes my movements. I hope you have shaken off your attack and will get out of town. The atmosphere of London seems to be in a very noxious state, and I don’t know that the atmosphere of the House of Commons is much better. A committee of the whole House strikes an outsider as the clumsiest machine for legislation that was ever invented.

An unlimited power of moving amendments brings us to the same results as the Polish Veto.

I hope to come up to the dinners of The Club on June 2nd and 16th. On the latter day the Duc d’Aumale will dine with us, so I trust you will keep it free.

_From Lord Derby_

_May 13th_.–You are quite right about the House of Commons. They will pass the Land Bill, I suppose, but scarcely anything else. Most of the obstruction is unintended; loquacity, vanity, and fear of constituents do more mischief than faction. I am not sure that it is an unmixed evil that the legislative coach should be compelled to drive slowly.

For Reeve the principal social event of the year, or rather the one most out of ordinary course, was the conferring an honorary degree on the Duc d’Aumale by the University of Oxford. Of the preliminary step no record remains, but it would seem that at a very early stage Reeve was requested to sound the Duke, who wrote on November 30th, 1890, that he should feel greatly honoured if the University of Oxford should confer on him the degree of D.C.L.–‘si pauvre légiste que je sois.’ On this Reeve wrote to Dr. Liddell, then Dean of Christ Church, [Footnote: After having held this office for thirty-six years, Dr. Liddell retired in 1891, and died at the age of 87, on January 18th, 1898.] who replied on December 2nd:–

Dear Mr. Reeve,–I shall be proud to propose H.R.H.’s (the Duc d’Aumale’s) name for an Honorary Degree at the next Encaenia. This will not be till June 17th, 1891. I hope his R.H. will be my guest on the occasion. Meantime, it is our rule that no mention should be made of the name to be proposed. Yours very truly,


Other correspondence about this there was, and on February 25th, 1891, Dr. Liddell again wrote:–

The arrangements you suggest for the Duc d’Aumale will suit very well. Of course it is running it rather fine to arrive at 11.13; but we will see about this as the time approaches. Meantime I must ask you and the Duke’s friends not to say anything about the matter at present. I shall have to give notice to our Council in May. A fortnight after, his name will be submitted to ballot; and though there can be no reasonable doubt that H.R.H.’s name will be received with acclamation, they make a great point of secrecy till the ballot takes place.

Perhaps about the beginning of May you will be so good as to send me a complete statement of H.R.H.’s claims to an Honorary Degree. I know much about them, but should be glad to be fully equipped.

_From the Duc d’Aumale_

_Chantilly_, 9 _juin_.–Bon! très cher ami, nous irons, s’il plaît à Dieu, ensemble à Oxford, le 17, par 9.55 en cravate blanche. Je compte arriver le 14 au soir à Claridge’s, où je serai présent le lundi, 15, de 10 à midi, et de 6 à 7; le mardi, 16, de 10 à midi. Si vous pouvez venir m’y voir, je serai très heureux, car j’ai encore besoin de quelques renseignements complimentaires.

Vous m’avez offert l’hospitalité du Dean, et je lui ai écrit que je l’acceptais. Mais en quoi consiste cette hospitalité? Simple luncheon suivi d’un départ, ou dîner et coucher au doyenné? Je ne voudrais pas manquer de courtoisie; but above all I would not intrude–et je suis _très disposé_ à me retirer de très bonne heure. Seulement j’aimerais à être fixé pour prendre tous mes arrangements.

The Journal simply notes that on June 16th the Duc d’Aumale dined at The Club; and on the 17th ‘with Duc d’Aumale to Oxford, where he was made D.C.L. Lunch at All Souls; very pleasant day.’ Reeve left early and returned at once to Foxholes.

_From the Duc d’Aumale_

_Chantilly_, 1er _juillet_.–Après votre départ de Christ Church [Oxford] le 17 nous avons eu le ou la ‘Gaudy.’ Ainsi que vous l’aviez prévu, j’ai dû dire quelques mots à peine préparés. Comme il n’y avait pas de _reporter_, et que je n’avais aucune note, et comme l’auditoire, y compris nos Seigneurs les évêques, avait accueilli mon _speech_ avec bienveillance, je l’ai noté sur le papier–comme disent les musiciens–avant de me coucher. Vous avez été presque mon parrain à Oxford, je vous en dois bien la copie. C’est, en tous cas, un témoignage de ma fidèle amitié.

The speech which follows, although delivered under circumstances which necessitated a complimentary tone, is a more than usually graceful tribute to our old Universities, and the introduction of the little analogue is singularly happy. The Duke, whose letters to Reeve are all in French, wrote this _verbatim_ as here given, in correct English, perfectly well spelt.

Mr. Dean, my Lords and Gentlemen,–Let me first express how highly I prize the honour which has been conferred upon me to-day, and how glad I am to be so connected with your illustrious University. I have always admired the University of Oxford. I have more than once visited this town, when I received a princely hospitality in the noble baronial halls of this neighbourhood–Nuneham, Blenheim–or when I was quietly living on the banks of the Avon. Often I brought here my French friends, and I tried to explain the peculiarities, the complicated machinery of this illustrious corporation; to show how, remaining faithful to the traditions, preserving your old customs, you did not remain deaf to what might be said without, nor blind to the movement of the world; how, slowly perhaps, but prudently, step by step, you managed to bring the necessary changes, the wanted modifications, so as to keep pace with the times without breaking with the past.

‘Mais c’est le couteau de Jeannot que cette Université,’ said one of my interlocutors. Well, I will give you the tale of Jeannot’s knife.

There was once a young peasant called Jeannot, and he had a knife of which he took great care. He found that the blade was rusting and he changed the blade. Then he found that the handle was decaying from dry-rot, and he changed the handle; and so on. His friends laughed at him, and would not take the same care of their knives, which they lost–one breaking the blade, another the handle. But Jeannot, having always kept his knife in good order, could always make use of it, cleverly and powerfully.

Well, I think there is some analogy between the tale of this humble man and the history of your great University. It seems to me I see the huge frame of a large fabric which has stood for centuries glorious and proud. The stones are changed, the bricks, the mortar, or the roof are renewed; and the fabric still stands through the ages, through the storms, glorious and proud. And I hope it will so remain and stand everlasting, with its old frame and the new materials; and I wish glory and prosperity to the University of Oxford.

To all who have thought of my name and conferred upon me the honour I have just received, and to those who have given me such a kindly reception, I send my best thanks, and I wish prosperity and success.

At this time, and indeed ever since his retirement from the Council Office, Reeve’s chief work was in connexion with the ‘Review;’ but he also did a very great deal as literary adviser of the Longmans. He had indeed, to some extent, acted in this capacity ever since he undertook the conduct of the ‘Review;’ the two offices fitted into and were supplementary to each other; and it will be remembered that in 1875 [Footnote: See _ante_, p. 243.] he had contemplated retiring from the public service, with the view of undertaking the main responsibility of this work for the firm. Circumstances had delayed his retirement; but by an arrangement with the firm in 1878, which continued in force during the rest of his life, the number of works he examined and reported on was considerably increased, and must have been very large. Books in French, German, or Italian offered for translation, MSS. in English offered for publication–whatever there was of grave, serious, or important, as well as a good deal that was not, was sent to him for a first or a revised opinion. And this opinion was given very frankly, and most commonly in the fewest possible words: ‘My advice is that you have nothing to do with it’ was a not unfrequent formula. Another, less frequent, was, ‘He–the aspirant to literary fame and emolument–can neither write nor spell English;’ ‘I wish they wouldn’t send their trash to me’ was an occasional prayer; ‘Seems to me sheer nonsense;’–‘What a waste of time and labour!’–‘It is very provoking that people should attempt to write books who cannot write English,’ were occasional reports. Of course many of his judgements were very different: ‘A work of great interest which must have a large sale;’ ‘Secure this if you possibly can;’ ‘A most able work, but will scarcely command a remunerative sale;’ ‘Not worth translating, but send me a copy for the “Review,”‘ are some of his more favourable verdicts. But in all cases the judgements were sharp and decisive; there was about them nothing of the celebrated ‘This work might be very good if it was not extremely bad,’ or its converse. These reports were, of course, in the highest degree confidential; and, especially of the unfavourable ones, Reeve made a point of forgetting all about the origin of them. On one occasion, when a reference was made to a work he had reported on a few weeks before, he wrote in reply, ‘The numerous MSS. &c. sent for an opinion leave no trace on my memory.’

As it was with printed books and larger MSS., so it was with articles submitted for the ‘Review;’ but he did not encourage casual contributions, and seldom–perhaps never–accepted any without some previous understanding. The political articles and the reviews of important books were almost invariably written in response to a direct invitation; but whether the articles sent in were invited or offered, he equally reserved the right to express his approval or disapproval or disagreement, and to insist, if necessary, on the article being remodelled or withdrawn. Such an insistence is more than once noticed in his correspondence, quite irrespective of the high reputation of the author. Probably every one whose contributions have been at all numerous has had an opportunity of noticing how perfectly candid and yet how courteous his remarks always were. If an article pleased him, he said so in terms that from anyone else might have seemed extravagant. Many letters of this type might be given; one must suffice, written to a valued contributor, dead, unfortunately, many years ago–Colonel Charles Cornwallis Chesney:–

_C. O., February 26th, 1873_.–I received the proofs of your article on Lee last night, and therefore I conclude that you have received them also. I don’t exaggerate the least when I say that the article strikes me as a _chef d’oeuvre_ of military biography. You have drawn a most heroic character with peculiar grace and fervour, and the account of the military operations is singularly clear and interesting. It only strikes me that you have repeated the comparison with Hannibal rather too often.

Pray be so good as to return the proofs to _me_ as soon as you can, that I may have the article made up and printed off. I feel infinitely obliged to you for it.

The value of such praise was heightened, its apparent extravagance done away with, by the knowledge that dissatisfaction would be expressed in language equally unmistakable, and that either by the contributor or the editor the modifications which seemed to him desirable would be made. It was partly because he reserved to himself this power and accepted all the responsibility, that he insisted so strenuously on the anonymous character of the articles. But more even than that was his abhorrence of anything like ‘log-rolling,’ which, in his opinion, was inseparable from signed reviews. To the very last he discouraged, and indeed openly expressed his disapproval and dislike of the presumably inspired announcements of authors’ names in the ‘Athenaeum’ or other journals. Here is an extract from a letter dated October 6th, 1891, which illustrates this objection:– ‘The only objection I have to the republication of articles with the name of the writer is that it destroys their anonymous character, which ought especially to be retained when they contain criticism of contemporaries.’ So careful was he lest anything might warp the perfect fairness of criticism, which should ‘nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice.’ I, who write these lines, can say positively, after having written for the ‘Review’ under Reeve for upwards of twenty years, that in all that time I never received a hint or suggestion that any book should be dealt with otherwise than on its merits; and whilst engaged on this present work I have learned, for the first time, that men whose books I have reviewed, not always favourably, were personal friends of the editor. The following letter, addressed to Mr. T. N. Longman, is merely a concrete illustration of this:–

_December 26th_, 1891.–I thought it best to tell Froude frankly that the review of his book [Footnote: The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon,’ in the _Review_ of January 1892.] in the ‘Edinburgh’ would be an unfavourable one. At the same time I disclaimed in the strongest language any disposition to make a personal attack on himself. Unfortunately he seems to ascribe adverse criticism of his works to personal animosity, which, in his case, is entirely wanting.

It is a painful necessity. Froude and his book are too important to be passed over in silence. But the judicial character and consistency, and I may say honour, of the ‘Review’ absolutely require that the truth should be told about the book. I should consider it a derogation to my duty to the ‘Review’ if, from personal motives or affection, I suppressed an adverse criticism of a work which imperatively demands an answer. The independence of the ‘Review’ requires an independent judgement; but I expressly stipulated with the writer of the article that he should abstain from _bitterness_, which was carried too far in Goldwin Smith’s article on the same subject in 1858. The ‘Review’ is pledged to the views already expressed on that occasion.

I have therefore modified as far as possible any expressions which appeared to be of too censorious a character; but it is impossible to avoid condemning a mistaken book because the author is a personal friend. _Judex damnatur si nocens absolvitur_ is our motto.

Froude does not like Mr. Gardiner’s book. He says, ‘It’s a menagerie of tame beasts.’ I think very highly of the book; and as we differ, I have yielded to his wish to be released from the engagement.

Nobody can regret more than I do any differences between old friends; but my duty is to look solely to the consistency and integrity of the ‘Review,’ without which criticism is worthless; and this consideration leaves me no other course.

Another point, of a similar nature, I can illustrate by my own experience. I had undertaken, at Reeve’s request, to review a rather important historical work published by Longmans, but on reading it was so unfavourably impressed by it that I wrote to say that the best thing I could do would be to return the volumes; that the book was bad, and if I reviewed it I must say so; but that doing this in the publisher’s own Review would have a certain resemblance to seething a kid in its mother’s milk, and might probably be objected to. ‘Not a bit of it,’ was the sense of the reply I received by return of post: ‘a bad book may be the text for an interesting article, and we have nothing to do with who published it.’ So I expressed my opinion of the book in very plain terms; the review was printed exactly as I wrote it, and the editor thanked me warmly for what he was pleased to speak of as an ‘excellent article.’ It may, perhaps, be assumed that this was not an isolated case; but written evidence of any others is not before me.

After returning from Oxford, Reeve spent the rest of the year at Foxholes, He had intended going to London and possibly to Scotland in October, but an accidental stumble in his library over a heavy despatch box made a nasty wound on the left shin, which took many weeks in healing and prevented his travelling till the middle of December. On the 19th he went to town, where, with the exception of some short visits to Bath or to Foxholes, he remained till June, dining several times at The Club, entertaining at home in his customary manner, and keeping up a constant–almost daily–correspondence, such as has been indicated, with the Longmans, for the most part with the head of the firm, whom he had known from childhood and habitually addressed by his Christian name.

As he returned to Foxholes the country was in the throes of a general election. Tired, it would seem, of steady and consistent government, it longed for a change–anything for a change; and so opened the door for an administration whose almost avowed object was to play skittles with the Constitution–to bowl down the Union, the Established Church, the House of Lords, the rights of property, and any other little trifles that were sacred to law and religion. It was with deep regret that Reeve watched the overthrow of what he considered the true Liberal party, and he wrote to Mr. T. Norton Longman:–

_Foxholes_, _July 14th_–The results of the elections are far worse than could be expected. Some of them are very odd. I have to deplore the defeat of many of my friends. I suppose the Queen will have to make up her mind to a ministry composed of men she abhors; but the majority will have in it inherent weakness and the seeds of dissolution.

I have found it difficult to say anything about the elections and have been as short as possible.

From a somewhat different point of view, he wrote a few days later to Lord Derby:–

_Foxholes, July 22nd._–I have, of course, been watching with great interest the progress of the elections, and I am happy to say that Hampshire, like all the southern counties, comes out with a clean Unionist bill. If the ultimate majority was to be small, is it not better to be in opposition than in power? Mr. Gladstone’s position, as the man responsible for the conduct of affairs, is much less desirable than that of Lord Salisbury, for he has the better half of the country dead against him. How curious it is to trace on the map in the ‘Times’ the old traditions of Saxon, Celtic, Mercian, and Danish origin in the counties of England, Ireland, and Wales! Are the Celts to govern the Saxons?

Early in August Reeve was visited at Foxholes by Count Adam Krasinski [Footnote: Son of Ladislas and grandson of Reeve’s early friend Sigismond Krasinski. He was born in 1870, and married at Vienna in 1897.]–a connecting link with the past, the merry days when he was young; and on Krasinski’s departure, he went north to visit some friends in Wales and thence on to Chesters.

Parliament met on August 4th, and on a simple motion of want of confidence, as an amendment to the Address, the Ministry was defeated. Lord Salisbury resigned, and Mr. Gladstone came into office with a Cabinet in which every shade of unconstitutional opinion and every socially destructive fad were fully represented. Reeve consoled himself with the belief that such a ministry could not last. To Mr. T. Norton Longman he wrote:–

_Chesters, August 22nd_.–I have been paying some visits in Wales and have come on here, where Mrs. Reeve preceded me. We find the Ogilvies very flourishing, and the place beautiful. Here, at least, it is not hot, which seems to be the grievance elsewhere.

We are going to Rutland Gate on Friday and to Foxholes on Monday, and shall remain there, except for a visit to a neighbour.

I think Mr. Gladstone’s Ministry a wretched affair. The old ones are worn out, and the young ones are not broken in, and bring no weight at all. The sole gratification of every one of them is absolute submission and obedience to the Chief. But he will have some troublesome outsiders.

_Foxholes, September 7th_.–We shall stay here till October 6th, when I mean to come to London for two or three days, on our way to Knowsley. The world seems fast asleep after the excitement of the summer, and people have nothing to talk or write about but the cholera–which is not amusing.

It was whilst at Chesters that Reeve received a curious note from the Marquis of Lorne, written to ‘The Editor of the “Edinburgh Review,”‘ as to a total stranger:–

Osborne, August 21st.

SIR,–I have found a number of original unpublished letters written by the Duke of Argyll in 1705 and the Earl of Leven in 1706, from Edinburgh, to Queen Anne and Godolphin, on the measures taken in the Scots Parliament for the Union between England and Scotland, and am writing a notice of and giving extracts from these papers, and wish to ask if you would care to have this notice as an article in your ‘Review.’

I remain, yours faithfully,


Reeve’s answer corrected the mistake, and in forwarding the MS. referred to, to Foxholes, Lord Lorne wrote:–

Kensington Palace, September 5th.

My dear and ancient friend and editor,–I did not know, to my disgrace, that you are still in command. I never thought when the grey mare subsided under you at Inveraray, in–year, [Footnote: Blank in the original; meaning presumably–‘so long ago that I’ve forgotten.’ Reeve’s one recorded visit to Inveraray was in August 1858 (_ante_, vol. i. p. 395), when the Marquis of Lorne was a boy of thirteen.] that in 1892 I should be writing to you about proofs! It makes me feel young again to think of you in your old capacity. If old times’ gossip suits the ‘Review,’ please send the proofs to me here–to Kensington Palace–whence, if I be away, they will be forwarded to me.

Yours very faithfully,


A few days later came the following letter from Count Adam Krasinski, to whom, when at Foxholes, Reeve had given the letters of his grandfather, Sigismond Krasinski.

Royalin, September 10th.

SIR,–On arriving in Warsaw a few days ago, I took the liberty of sending you some bottles of wine from our cellar, among which is some Hungarian Tokay, one of the oldest wines we have, bought by my great-great-grandfather, the father of General Vincent, in the year of the latter’s birth. I hope you will be so good as to accept this little present and make it welcome; for, being young myself, I have chosen an old ambassador to thank you for your kindness to me. I can never sufficiently thank you for the charming way in which you have made me the handsome present of my grandfather’s correspondence, which is of inestimable value to me. The more I read it the more I realise its value. It contains the whole developement of a noble character, and a fine nature, set forth in long, full, and frequent letters to a trusted friend. And what a pleasure it is to have the answers of this friend, so clearly showing your relations to each other, and the reciprocal influence of two minds! Thanks, and again thanks.

I am very well, and am at present with my stepfather in the Grand Duchy of Posnanie. Our plans for the winter are not yet fixed. Paris attracts me greatly; but, on the other hand, I am advised to go to Heidelberg, where there is better air and a milder climate. In any case, I will endeavour to revisit England next year, and so recall myself to your memory.

Agréez, Monsieur, l’expression de ma très grande considération, à laquelle je joins des sentiments respectueux pour Madame votre femme.


To Mr. Norton Longman at this time Reeve wrote–primarily on the business of the ‘Review,’ but incidentally on a literary conundrum which was just then causing a little excitement:–

_Foxholes, September 16th_.–I do not think the translation of a French book on Political Economy is _primâ facie_ advisable. But the book seems (from the accounts in the ‘Nation’) to be so excellent that I should be glad to see it, and may have it reviewed in the ‘Edinburgh.’ The title is, ‘Le Capital, la Spéculation et la Finance au XIXe Siècle;’ par Claudio Jannet. Published by Plon.

No one who knew Sir Richard Wallace could believe that he wrote ‘The Englishman in Paris.’ I said from the first that it was a mere collection of old gossip to be passed off on the English public as something racy. If Grenville Murray were alive, this is exactly the sort of thing he would have done. But Grenville Murray left a son, who must now be grown up, and who may have inherited some of his father’s sinister talents. They have lived for many years in Paris. Sir Richard Wallace was the very type of a gentleman of the highest breeding–rather stern, melancholy, not at all humorous, and incapable of vulgarity or pretence.

October slipped away in visits to Stratton (Lord Northbrook’s) and to Knowsley, and the remainder of the year for the most part at Foxholes. In December Reeve was proposing to have a review of Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff’s ‘Life of Sir Henry Maine,’ and consulted the author as to who would be the best fitted to write it. This is what Sir Mountstuart wrote in reply:–

_Twickenham, December 11th_.–I am very proud to find that so excellent a judge thinks well of my little memoir of Maine. As to the article about which you write, I think Sir Frederick Pollock would be very much the best man to undertake it–the only man who could tell us, without any bias, what I exceedingly want to know: how much of Maine’s juridical speculations, especially in ‘Ancient Law,’ is finally accepted. He may say that he has said his say about Maine; but he has not; he has said a little, but I am sure he has a great deal more to say. I wish to know the real value of each of Maine’s books…. I am writing a quite small book about Renan–the only great Frenchman of our day whom you did not know very well.

The next was a Christmas greeting from Lord Derby, with an interesting comment on the situation in France:–

_Knowsley, December 5th_.–Thanks for your letter of inquiry and good wishes; the latter are cordially returned. Lady Derby joins me in the hope that the coming year may be one of health and happiness to you and yours. I cannot give a very rosy account of myself, being still ill and weak; even if all goes well, I expect to have to lead in future a life of quiet and privacy. My days of speeches are almost certainly ended; and after forty-four years of public life, I do not much regret it.

The developement of events in 1893 will be interesting to watch. All reports agree that Gladstone is taking the work of his office very easily, and that he leaves nearly everything to his colleagues. That will not be so easy in the Session. The Cabinet will be prevented by fear of ridicule from breaking up on the Irish Bill, but all their friends and backers seem prepared for its failure.

You are a hopeless pessimist as to French affairs. They certainly are not going on smoothly, but where is the new Boulanger? Bourbons and Bonapartes are played out; and France might advertise for a dictator without finding one. If that be so, what threatens the republic? A socialist outbreak would only strengthen it. Surely a nation may go on muddling its affairs a long while without mortal harm.

Waddington, I am told, was informed by his friends that he had no right to remain a Senator without taking his seat, and that he must give up one position or the other. This is the excuse made for his recall. The truth, I suppose, is that his place was wanted. He will be a real loss.

With the new year the party from Foxholes came to town, and there Reeve was laid up with a serious illness which lasted nearly a month. The Journal notes on February 7th–‘I attended a dinner of The Club, and resigned the treasurership, which I had held for twenty-five years.’ A corresponding entry a month later, on March 7th, is ‘At the third dinner of The Club. Lord Salisbury came “to my obsequies” and Gladstone wrote to me. Grant Duff elected to the treasurership.’

Sir Mountstuart Grant Duff has been so good as to amplify this by a note from his own diary. ‘At the dinner on February 7th, 1893’–he writes–‘I was in the chair…. Reeve made a statement for which he had prepared me by letter, to the effect that his great age, breaking health, and frequent absences from London, would oblige him to resign ere long the treasurership of The Club–the only office which exists in connection with it. He has held it for some five-and-twenty years, and it is not surprising that his voice faltered as he addressed us….

_March 21st_–Dined with The Club, taking my seat for the first time as treasurer. After the last meeting mentioned, Reeve wrote to me to say that there was a feeling in favour of my becoming his successor, and asked whether I should object. I replied in the negative, and on the 7th I was unanimously elected, upon the proposal of Sir Henry Elliot, who was in the chair, and was seconded by Lord Salisbury.’

Of the correspondence of this period there is little. Lord Derby, who was almost, or quite, the last of his political correspondents, was too ill to write, and died on April 21st. On the 27th Reeve attended the funeral service at St. Margaret’s. Letters relating to the ‘Review,’ of course, continued. Here are three referring to a political problem which, so lately as five years ago, few could have the patience to be bothered with. That Reeve, at his advanced age, could take it up with such interest is a strong proof of the vitality and even freshness of his intellect.

_To Rear-Admiral Bridge_

62 Rutland Gate: April 27th.

My dear admiral,–I wish you would read an article in ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’ for May (just out) on the Russian occupation of Manchuria. I never read a more impudent piece of _blague._ —— must have written it. Nobody else would boast of swindling the Chinese with a false map.

This induces me to ask whether you could not give me a short article for the ‘Review’ on The Russians on the Pacific’ and the naval effects of their position at Vladivostock. They have made it a fortress, but it will take a long time to make it a settlement. But it may become important.

Yours very faithfully,


_April 30th._–I am very glad you will revert to the North Pacific. You should refer to your excellent article of 1880, which I have read over again. It seems to exhaust the subject as far as relates to the settlements on the Amoor, and even as to Vladivostock; but I suppose that thirteen years have materially augmented the strength of Russia on the Pacific, and any additional information would be valuable.

_Foxholes, May 23rd_.–I am much obliged to you for your interesting article. I think the best heading would be ‘Russia on the Pacific.’ As I am much pressed for room, I have ventured to excise some of your introductory remarks, which are not essential to the main objects of the paper; but when you come to positive business at Vladivostock, all that you say is most excellent and important. I believe the Siberian railroad–like the line to Samarkand–is only a single line. Such a line 5,000 miles long is a very ineffective instrument for military and commercial purposes. How much can it carry, allowing for return trains, chiefly empty? Where is Russia, with a debt equal in charge to our own, to find forty millions sterling for such a work, which would be wholly unproductive? It is true that, by employing troops and Turkomans, the work may be done cheaply; but all this will take a long time.

I am very glad you touch on the question between France and Siam: it is a serious one.

In the early days of July the Reeves settled down for the summer at Foxholes, avoiding the great heat, with the thermometer at 80° F. when in London it was reaching as high as 93° F. In the beginning of September Reeve, together with his wife, returned to London, crossed over to Boulogne, and so to Chantilly, where, as the guests of the Due d’Aumale, they spent his 80th birthday. They stayed there till the 12th, and returned, again by Boulogne and London, to Foxholes. It was his last visit to the France he had loved so well. The year was in many respects a sad one. His own health was becoming very uncertain, and gout, feverish colds, and violent bleeding of the nose laid him up for weeks at a time. The deaths of his friends, too, recurring in rapid succession, were frequent reminders of what he had written nearly sixty-two years before: ‘Between seventy and eighty there rarely remains more than one change to be made.’ [Footnote: See _ante_, vol. i. p. 17.] He had now exceeded the higher limit, and it happened that the obituary of 1893 contained an unusual number of men of high literary and scientific distinction. Through all, however, Reeve’s head remained clear, and his work was seldom disturbed. There is no sickness or feebleness in the following:–

_To Mr. T. Norton Longman_

_Foxholes, October 3rd._–I have read a great part of the ‘Life of Pusey’–an appalling book from the length of the letters in it. In my opinion it lays bare, as nothing else has done, the total weakness and inconsistency of the Tractarians, and their absolute disloyalty to the Church of England. It is very difficult and very important to find a suitable person to review such a work, for it must be done in the spirit of the articles of Arnold, Tait, and Arthur Stanley, which express the principles of the ‘Edinburgh Review.’ I incline to think it had better be done by a layman. The parsons are all hostile to their own Church.

_To Rear-Admiral Bridge_

62 _Rutland Gate, November 12th._–We are come to town, and I hope it will not be long before I have the pleasure of seeing you. Meanwhile, I have been reading again the article on Mediterranean Politics which you gave us last autumn. The combination of the French and Russian fleets seems to me to be a matter of grave importance. Both those countries are unhappily animated by very hostile intentions to us. They have discovered that it is only by a superiority of sea power in the Mediterranean that they can accomplish their twofold object, which I take to be for Russia to force the Dardanelles and for France to compel us to evacuate Egypt. This seems to me to be the _but_ of the alliance, in as far as it is an alliance. It is all very well to talk of our maritime supremacy, but have we got it? You know, and I do not. But to my mind, the worst is that we have got a Government–or rather a minister–profoundly incapable of foreseeing a great emergency or providing against it. It is quite possible that the Gladstone administration may be blown up by a tremendous catastrophe. These thoughts perplex me; but I hope you will tell me that I am quite wrong and that Britannia rules the waves.

An exceptional chance gives us a picture of Foxholes, at this time, when twenty years’ occupation had enabled its owner to perfect all the details which go to make up comfort.

During his absence in London in the beginning of 1894, he let it, for the only time, to his friend, Lord Hobhouse, for many years a member of the Judicial Committee, and just then convalescent after a serious illness. A couple of notes which Lord Hobhouse wrote during his four weeks’ tenancy may be classed as ‘Interiors’ or ‘Exteriors’ from the practical point of view.

Foxholes, February 16th.

My dear Reeve,–I imagine that this morning Mrs. Reeve will have got a note from my wife telling her of our settlement here. I was contemplating ‘a few words’ to you, when Lady H. told me of her writing; and now comes your letter, partly of welcome, partly of information.

I don’t think it possible that we could be more happily housed. Size, arrangement, warmth, beauty, inside and out, evidences everywhere of cultivated taste and refined pursuits–all is calculated for enjoyment and repose, probably for anybody, certainly for an invalid. I have established myself in a corner of the library–which, partly from its intrinsic advantages and partly from the presence of a thick cushion in the seat of the armchair, I conjecture to be yours–between the writing desk and the N.W. bookcase, with the N.E. window at my back and my legs protruding beyond the jamb of the mantelpiece into the sacred [Greek: temeuos], which is guarded by a low marble fence, and over which the fire which I worship has sway. Both by day and by night the situation is perfect for distribution of light and warmth. And I can read almost all my waking hours; for all through my illness my head has been clear. My principal embarrassment is to choose among the many temptations with which your goodly bookcases beset me. However, after reading Traill’s ‘William III.’ (a rather thin composition, I think) I have settled into Gardiner’s ‘Civil War,’ which is much more solid and satisfying.

This morning I have been reading your little notice of Lord Derby; and I think you do not speak at all too highly of his capacity for examining political and social movements. In 1880 I delivered a lecture, which was printed and circulated, on the eternal division of political tendencies–movement and rest; and I took Lord Derby (then temporarily in the Liberal Camp) as the best type of conservatism; cool, patient, keen, sceptical, critical, just, impartial, with a mind always open to conviction, but refusing to move until convinced. Such men are an invaluable element in the deliberative stages of every question; but their very critical powers paralyse action, and when movement becomes necessary their hesitations are a drawback. I fancy that Cornewall Lewis was just such another, but I did not know so much about him….

For me, I improve, slowly but enough, I think, to show at least that our move was not premature. In the pick of the day (would that it were always afternoon) I am able to walk for an hour or more, and I get good sleep in the most luxurious of beds. Pray give my kind remembrances to Mrs. Reeve, and believe me,

Sincerely yours,


_Foxholes, March 6th._–Alas, alas! time flies away, and pleasant things come to an end, and I shall not have many days’ more enjoyment of your charming house and library and outlook. But my time has not been wasted. I have recovered strength, a good deal more than I expected, and am probably now–at all events hope, by our return next Monday or Tuesday, to be–able to re-enter the ordinary routine of life. Of course, we have had, like other people, a great deal of blustering wind–for the most part from north-west–very cold and very noisy in your chimneys. But there has also been a great deal of sunshine with the gales, and the exposure of your house to south-east has, on most days, given us a sheltered walk. Moreover, your soil is so porous and absorbent, that one gets dry walking immediately after rain. I have only been kept indoors two days since our arrival.

A few letters from Reeve himself show the continued activity of his mind, and at the same time his consciousness of, his readiness for, the end which was drawing nigh.

_To Mr. T. Norton Longman_

_Foxholes, May 29th._–Lord Derby’s Speeches contain more political wisdom than any other book of our time. I think people will find out its permanent value.

_June 13th._–I have nothing to correct or alter in the Greville Memoirs, and am glad to find that some sale of them goes on.

I am much touched by the [approaching] death of Coleridge, whom I have known so well and so long. I expect he will not survive to-day. He dined with us at The Club on April 24th, and was then very well. _Sic transit._

_Foxholes, October 23rd_.–The notices of our old friend Froude [Footnote: He died on October 20th, in his 77th year.] have been very gratifying–especially the leader in the ‘Times.’ He leaves the world quite glorified, and they now find out what a great man he was. I wonder whether you are going to attend the funeral. I never send wreaths on such occasions, but if I ever did send one it would be now, for I am truly affected by the loss of such a friend. The newspapers seem to have discovered that there were some big men in the last generation, and that there are very few of them in the present.

_Rutland Gate, February 16th, 1895._–I am pretty well–not worse than usual; but I don’t go out.

My dear old friend, Lady Stanley of Alderley, died this morning. She was only ill four days, and expired without pain or suffering at eighty-seven. To me an irreparable loss, and to a vast circle of descendants and friends. [Footnote: Among Reeve’s papers there are a great many letters from Lady Stanley of Alderley, telling plainly of the long and close friendship between the two. Unfortunately, there are no available letters from Reeve to her.]

_To Rear-Admiral Bridge_ [Footnote: At this time Commander-in-Chief in Australian waters.]

62 Rutland Gate, May 2nd.

My dear admiral,–I wish you were in reach of us, to discuss the extraordinary events which are taking place in the North Pacific, to which your articles on that subject have for some time pointed; but no one foresaw the sudden uprising of Japan.

It seems to me that, in spite of her victories, Japan is in a very critical position, politically speaking. She lies between two huge empires, and she has undertaken to occupy more than she can hold. Her position is absolutely fatal to the grand design of Russia, of crossing the north of Asia to the Pacific, and I expect Russia will not submit to it. But Russia would find it extremely difficult to carry on military and naval operations at such an enormous distance from her base. I doubt whether she could destroy the Japanese fleet, and it certainly is not for our interest that it should be destroyed. The disposition here is to observe strict neutrality and watch the course of events.

It is curious that nobody points out that the United States are the country with the largest future interest in the Pacific, and that they must have a voice in this controversy. It also largely affects our own Australian colonies. A Russian establishment in Corea would effect a momentous change in the Pacific, and Japan will doubtless resist it to the uttermost.

We are very dull here. Lord Rosebery has sunk into complete insignificance, and his state of health is doubtful. The Government is rotten, but continues to hold together. I think something must occur before long to stir the waters.

We are going to Foxholes on May 20th to stay there. I have spent a dreary winter, being unable to go out, but I am not seriously ill–suffering chiefly from old age. Mrs. Reeve sends you her kind regards, and I am always

Yours very faithfully,


* * * * *

_To Miss A. M. Clerke_

_Foxholes, September 8th_.–Many thanks, dear Miss Clerke, for your elegant and instructive Life of the Herschels; they could not have had a more accomplished biographer, if they had waited for it another century. Your article on Argon fills me with amazement and admiration. How can the human mind fathom such things! I beg you to send me the corrected proofs to-morrow by return of post, as I want to make it up immediately. If anything new is said on the subject at the British Association, you can add a note to be printed at the end of the number.

To-morrow is my 82nd birthday–probably the last. But I am not ill, only feeble and tired of living so long.

Yours most faithfully,


_To Captain S. P. Oliver, R.A._

_Foxholes, September 12th._–I have sent your corrected proofs [Footnote: ‘The French in Madagascar,’ October 1895.] to Spottiswoode, with a few slight suggestions of my own. They will send you a revise…. I see you have now so far modified your opinion that you think with me that the position of the French is most critical. Unless they can announce some signal success in the next two weeks, there will be a disaster and an awful row. I see by the map that on the 5th of this month they were still at Andriba, which I take to be about three-fifths of the distance to Antananarivo. They have been five months getting there, and as they advance the difficulty of bringing up stores, supplies, and reliefs increases, and will increase. In my opinion, the Hovas are quite right _not_ to treat for peace till they see what the rains will do for them. I hope they will hold out, but avoid fighting.

Captain Oliver writes that ‘One of Reeve’s last pieces of work connected with the “Edinburgh Review” must have been the paragraphs which he substituted for my ending to the article. He was doubtful of the eventual French success, whereas I felt pretty certain that affairs would terminate as they have done in that island.’ The forecast of the result of a complicated business was erroneous, but to make one at all, and to commit it to paper, was a remarkable display of energy in a dying man who was now in his eighty-third year.

_To Mr. T. Norton Longman_

_Foxholes, September 12th_.–Thanks for your birthday congratulations, but I doubt whether great age is a subject of congratulation at all.

_29th_.–I am extremely feeble, faculties low, eyesight weak. I should like, if I live so long, to edit the January number of the ‘Review;’ but after that I must stop.

_October 2nd._–Much obliged to you for your very kind note…. You will doubtless pay me on November 15th the sum due then; but I wish to say that I cannot go on to receive remuneration for services I am scarcely capable of rendering. Therefore this payment in November will be the last on that account [as literary adviser].

This was probably the last letter Reeve wrote with his own hand. For several months he had been very much of an invalid, though he had persisted in continuing his work, in which he found distraction and relief. And no complaint passed his lips. ‘The kindest thing you can do for me,’ he said to his anxious wife, ‘is to leave me alone.’ He made a point of coming down to breakfast; but his strength was gradually failing, and he moved with difficulty. His medical attendant recommended an operation, but this he was unwilling to undergo, feeling doubtful whether at his advanced age it could be successful. Sunday, October 13th, he passed in the library among the books he prized. He dictated a letter, listened to the Psalms of the day, and asked his wife to read also the First Epistle General of St. Peter. In the afternoon Dr. Roberts Thomson and Dr. Davison saw him, and after a consultation wrote to the distinguished specialist, Mr. Buckston Browne, to be prepared to come on receipt of a telegram. On Monday Reeve was unable to get up; he consented to undergo the operation, and Mr. Browne was telegraphed for. On his arrival, about 7 o’clock in the evening, it was decided to lose no more time. The operation was successfully performed, under chloroform, and everything, the surgeons hoped, would go well. And this they repeated for the next few days; the wound, they thought, was closing nicely. At 82, however, wounds do not close readily, and Reeve’s system was weakened by some years of bad health. He never regained entire consciousness; and though from time to time he gave some directions about the ‘Review,’ they were not intelligible to those who heard; they probably had no meaning even to himself. On Monday, October 21st, at half-past one in the morning, ‘the one last change was made,’ and he passed away peacefully and without suffering.

In a letter of sympathy to Mrs. Reeve Dr. Roberts Thomson wrote:–

‘I was very much struck with your husband’s wonderful patience when I saw him, and the calm way in which he was able to face the future–whatever it had in store for him. It is some consolation to know that he did not suffer much, and that perhaps, had he recovered from the illness, his health would have been so affected that great valetudinarianism would have been inevitable. To him, this would have been suffering; and for his sake we are thankful that he was spared it.’

His remains were interred in the Brookwood cemetery at Woking on October 24th.

He died, literally in harness. On Saturday, October 12th, he dictated a last letter on the business of the ‘Review;’ and his indistinct words during the few days of partial unconsciousness showed that his mind was still endeavouring to fix itself on what had occupied it for so many years.

It was in his editorial capacity that I, who write these lines, first knew him in 1866, though I did not make his personal acquaintance till 1877, when he was a few months over 63. I found him a tall, stout, and–though not strictly handsome–a good-looking man, who might very well have passed for ten years younger than he actually was, and whose burly figure might have seemed more at home in the covers or the turnip-fields than in the Privy Council Office; his weight, which cannot, even then, have been much under eighteen stone, must have stopped his hunting some time before. But in his manner there was no trace of this fancied rusticity–how could there be, indeed, in one trained in society almost from the cradle?–and his voice was soft and musical. I have seen it stated that he was pompous, self-assertive, and dictatorial. That his manners, formed by his mother and his aunt on eighteenth-century models, and perfected in Paris among the traditions of the _ancien regime_, had about them nothing of the ‘hail fellow, well met’ fashion of the present day is very certain, and, joined to his height (about 6 ft. 1 in.) and his great bulk, may sometimes have given him the appearance of speaking _de haut en bas_, and must, unquestionably, have enabled him to repress any unwelcome or undue familiarity. As an editor, of course, he was dictatorial. We may talk of the Republic of Letters; but in point of fact a successful journal is and must be an autocracy. In his private capacity, I never found in his conversation that habit of ‘laying down the law’ which some, with probably inferior opportunities of judging, have complained of. Of his untiring application and power of work enough has already been said; but the uniform good luck which attended him through life is worthy of notice. In the course of eighty-two years he experienced no reverse of fortune, no great disappointment, and–with the one, though terrible, exception of the death of his first wife–no great sorrow beyond what is the lot of all men. We know that fortune favours the brave. It favours also those who to ability and temper join prudence, courtesy, and careful, systematic, painstaking industry.

At the age of 82 Reeve had outlived all of his contemporaries–the men who had associated with him and worked with him in his youth. Their opinion of him is only to be gauged by the fact that, with but few and easily explained exceptions, the friendships of his early manhood were broken only by the grave. The number of friends of forty or fifty years’ standing who died during the last decade of his life is very remarkable. As these are wanting, I am happy in being able to conclude this tribute to his memory by two appreciations, one English, the other French; the first, from and representing the ‘Edinburgh Review’ to which it was contributed in January 1896, by Mr. W. E. H. Lecky.

‘Although it has never been the custom of this “Review” to withdraw the veil of anonymity from its writers and its administration, it would be mere affectation to suffer this number to appear before the public without some allusion to the great Editor whom we have just lost, and who for forty years has watched with indefatigable care over our pages.

‘The career of Mr. Henry Reeve is perhaps the most striking illustration in our time of how little in English life influence is measured by notoriety. To the outer world his name was but little known. He is remembered as the translator of Tocqueville, as the editor of the “Greville Memoirs,” as the author of a not quite forgotten book on Royal and Republican France, showing much knowledge of French literature and politics; as the holder during fifty years of the respectable, but not very prominent, post of Registrar of the Privy Council. To those who have a more intimate knowledge of the political and literary life of England, it is well known that during nearly the whole of his long life he was a powerful and living force in English literature; that few men of his time have filled a larger place in some of the most select circles of English social life; and that he exercised during many years a political influence such as rarely falls to the lot of any Englishman outside Parliament, or indeed outside the Cabinet.

‘He was born at Norwich in 1813, and brought up in a highly cultivated, and even brilliant, literary circle. His father, Dr. Reeve, was one of the earliest contributors to this Review. The Austins, the Opies, the Taylors, and the Aldersons were closely related to him, and he is said to have been indebted to his gifted aunt, Sarah Austin, for his appointment in the Privy Council. The family income was not large, and a great part of Mr. Reeve’s education took place on the Continent, chiefly at Geneva and Munich. He went with excellent introductions, and the years he spent abroad were abundantly fruitful. He learned German so well that he was at one time a contributor to a German periodical. He was one of the rare Englishmen who spoke French almost like a Frenchman, and at a very early age he formed friendships with several eminent French writers. His translation of the “Democracy in America,” by Tocqueville, which appeared in 1835, strengthened his hold on French society. Two years later he obtained the appointment in the Privy Council, which he held until 1887. It was in this office that he became the colleague and fast friend of Charles Greville, who on his death-bed entrusted him with the publication of his “Memoirs.”

‘Mr. Reeve had now obtained an assured income and a steady occupation, but it was far from satisfying his desire for work. He became a contributor, and very soon a leading contributor, to the “Times,” while his close and confidential intercourse with Mr. Delane gave him a considerable voice in its management. The penny newspaper was still unborn, and the “Times” at this period was the undisputed monarch of the press, and exercised an influence over public opinion, both in England and on the Continent, such as no existing paper can be said to possess. It is, we believe, no exaggeration to say that for the space of fifteen years nearly every article that appeared in its columns on foreign politics was written by Mr. Reeve, and the period during which he wrote for it included the year 1848,–when foreign politics were of transcendent importance.

‘The great political influence which he at this time exercised naturally drew him into close connexion with many of the chief statesmen of his time. With Lord Clarendon especially his friendship was close and confidential, and he received from that statesman almost weekly letters during his Viceroyalty in Ireland and during other of the more critical periods of his career. In France Mr. Reeve’s connexions were scarcely less numerous than in England. Guizot, Thiers, Cousin, Tocqueville, Villemain, Circourt–in fact, nearly all the leading figures in French literature and politics during the reign of Louis Philippe were among his friends or correspondents. He was at all times singularly international in his sympathies and friendships, and he appears to have been more than once made the channel of confidential communications between English and French statesmen.

‘It was a task for which he was eminently suited. The qualities which most impressed all who came into close communication with him were the strength, swiftness, and soundness of his judgement, and his unfailing tact and discretion in dealing with delicate questions. He was eminently a man of the world, and had quite as much knowledge of men as of books. Probably few men of his time have been so frequently and so variously consulted. He always spoke with confidence and authority, and his clear, keen-cut, decisive sentences, a certain stateliness of manner which did not so much claim as assume ascendency, and a somewhat elaborate formality of courtesy which was very efficacious in repelling intruders, sometimes concealed from strangers the softer side of his character. But those who knew him well soon learnt to recognise the genuine kindliness of his nature, his remarkable skill in avoiding friction, and the rare steadiness of his friendships.

‘One great source of his influence was the just belief in his complete independence and disinterestedness. For a very able man his ambition was singularly moderate. As he once said, he had made it his object throughout life only to aim at things which were well within his power. He had very little respect for the judgement of the multitude, and he cared nothing for notoriety and not much for dignities. A moderate competence, congenial work, a sphere of wide and genuine influence, a close and intimate friendship with a large proportion of the guiding spirits of his time, were the things he really valued, and all these he fully attained. He had great conversational powers, which never degenerated into monologue, a singularly equable, happy, and sanguine temperament, and a keen delight in cultivated society. He might be seen to special advantage in two small and very select dining clubs which have included most of the more distinguished English statesmen and men of letters of the century. He became a member of the Literary Society in 1857 and of Dr. Johnson’s Club in 1861, and it is a remarkable evidence of the appreciation of his social tact that both bodies speedily selected him as their treasurer. He held that position in “The Club” from 1868 till 1893, when failing health and absence from London obliged him to relinquish it. The French Institute elected him “Correspondant” in 1865 and Associated Member in 1888, in which latter dignity he succeeded Sir Henry Maine. In 1870 the University of Oxford conferred on him the honorary degree of D.C.L.

‘It was in 1855, on the resignation of Sir George Cornewall Lewis, that he assumed the editorship of this “Review,” which he retained till the day of his death. Both on the political and the literary side he was in full harmony with its traditions. His rare and minute knowledge of recent English and foreign political history; his vast fund of political anecdote; his personal acquaintance with so many of the chief actors on the political scene, both in England and France, gave a great weight and authority to his judgements, and his mind was essentially of the Whig cast. He was a genuine Liberal of the school of Russell, Palmerston, Clarendon, and Cornewall Lewis. It was a sober and tolerant Liberalism, rooted in the traditions of the past, and deeply attached to the historical elements in the Constitution. The dislike and distrust with which he had always viewed the progress of democracy deepened with age, and it was his firm conviction that it could never become the permanent basis of good government. Like most men of his type of thought and character, he was strongly repelled by the later career of Mr. Gladstone, and the Home Rule policy at last severed him definitely from the bulk of the Liberal party. From this time the present Duke of Devonshire was the leader of his party.

‘His literary judgements had much analogy to his political ones. His leanings were all towards the old standards of thought and style. He had been formed in the school of Macaulay and Milman, and of the great French writers under Louis Philippe. Sober thought, clear reasoning, solid scholarship, a transparent, vivid, and restrained style were the literary qualities he most appreciated. He was a great purist, inexorably hostile to a new word. In philosophy he was a devoted disciple of Kant, and his decided orthodoxy in religious belief affected many of his judgements. He could not appreciate Carlyle; he looked with much distrust on Darwinism and the philosophy of Herbert Spencer, and he had very little patience with some of the moral and intellectual extravagances of modern literature. But, according to his own standards and in the wide range of his own subjects, his literary judgement was eminently sound, and he was quick and generous in recognising rising eminence. In at least one case the first considerable recognition of a prominent historian was an article in this “Review” from his pen.

‘He had a strong sense of the responsibility of an editor, and especially of the editor of a Review of unsigned articles. No article appeared which he did not carefully consider. His powerful individuality was deeply stamped upon the “Review,” and he carefully maintained its unity and consistency of sentiments. It was one of the chief occupations and pleasures of his closing days, and the very last letter he dictated referred to it.

‘Time, as might be expected, had greatly thinned the circle of his friends. Of the France which he knew so well scarcely anything remained, but his old friend and senior, Barthélemy St.-Hilaire, visited him at Christ-Church, and he kept up to the end a warm friendship with the Duc d’Aumale. He spent his 80th birthday at Chantilly, and until the very last year of his life he was never absent when the Duke dined at “The Club.” In Lord Derby he lost the statesman with whom in his later years he was most closely connected by private friendship and political sympathy, while the death of Lady Stanley of Alderley deprived him of an attached and lifelong friend.

‘Growing infirmities prevented him in his latter days from mixing much in general society in London, but his life was brightened by all that loving companionship could give; his mental powers were unfaded, and he could still enjoy the society of younger friends. He looked forward to the end with a perfect and a most characteristic calm, without fear and without regret. It was the placid close of a long, dignified, and useful life.’

The second, the French appreciation, was spoken at the meeting of the ‘Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques,’ on November 16th, 1895, by the Duc d’Aumale, who, after regretting his absence on the previous occasion when the President had announced the death of their foreign member, Mr. Henry Reeve, continued:

‘Je n’aurais sans doute rien pu ajouter à ce qui a été si bien dit par M. le Président, mais je tenais à rendre personnellement hommage à la mémoire d’un confrère éminent, pour lequel je professais une haute estime et une sincère amitié, et je demande à l’Académie la permission de lui adresser quelques mots.

‘Qu’on l’envisage au point de vue littéraire ou au point de vue social, la figure d’Henry Reeve était essentiellement originale, et il devait ce caractère non seulement à la nature de son esprit, mais à l’éducation qu’il avait reçue. Sur la base anglaise de la forte instruction classique son père [Footnote: A momentary lapse of memory. It is scarcely possible that the Duc d’Aumale did not know that Reeve’s father died whilst Reeve was still an infant, and that his education was directed by his mother.] voulut ajouter le couronnement des hautes études continentales, et, pour que cette culture intellectuelle n’eût rien d’exclusif ou d’absolu il fit choix de Genève et de Munich. C’cst dans ces deux villes, dans ces deux grands centres intellectuels, que Reeve passa une partie de sa jeunesse. Ce séjour dans des milieux si différents laissa dans son esprit une double impression qui se refléta sur toute sa vie.

‘Peu de personnes, de nos jours, ont aussi bien connu que lui cette charmante et originale société de Genève, qui semblait dater du dix-huitième siècle, et qui en a si longtemps conservé les traditions. C’est là qu’il acquit la connaissance approfondie de notre langue; il en avait saisi les nuances délicates; il connaissait toute notre littérature. Je ne connais guère d’étrangers qui puissent parler, comprendre, écrire le français mieux que lui.

‘L’allemand ne lui était pas moins familier. Le séjour à Munich lui inspira aussi le goût des arts envisagés à un point de vue qui n’est pas tout à fait le nôtre. Dans un petit volume, oeuvre de jeunesse, “Graphidae,” il traduisit sous une forme poétique l’impression que lui avaient laissée les oeuvres des premiers maîtres italiens. On y retrouve, avec la mesure qui etait un des caractères de cet esprit bien pondéré, la trace des théories qui prévalaient alors dans l’Allemagne méridionale.

‘À d’autres points de vue ce long séjour à l’étranger lui avait laissé des traces plus profondes encore. Il en avait rapporté une sorte de cosmopolitisme éclairé, tempéré, entretenu par ses nombreuses relations. Je ne veux pas dire qu’il ne fut pas Anglais avant tout. Passionnément patriote–et ce n’est pas moi qui lui en ferai un reproche–il épousait les passions, les colères de son pays, mais sans rudesse, sans hauteur, sans haine ou mépris des autres peuples, sans préjugés contre aucune nation étrangère.

‘Il ne cessa d’entretenir des relations intimes et constantes avec tout le parti libéral français (je prends le mot libéral dans le vrai sens, le sens le plus large), depuis M. le Duc de Broglie et M. Gruizot jusqu’à notre vénéré confrère M. Barthelémy Saint-Hilaire.

‘Malgré son impartialité j’oserai dire qu’il avait une certaine faiblesse pour la France. Certes il n’aurait jamais épousé la cause de la France engagée contre l’Angleterre; mais quand il voyait la France et l’Angleterre d’accord sa joie était vive. Et lors de nos malheurs, sans prendre parti dans la querelle, il n’a jamais cachée la sympathie que lui inspirait la France vaincue.

‘Je ne sache pas que Reeve ait écrit aucun ouvrage de longue haleine, sauf certaines traductions difficiles, importantes: quelques-unes rappellent à cette compagnie des noms qui lui sont chers–la “Vie de Washington,” par Guizot; la “Démocratic,” de Tocqueville, un de ses plus intimes amis.

‘Il n’a pas pris une part directe au mouvement des affaires de son pays, n’ayant siégé ni dans le parlement ni dans aucun cabinet; mais son influence était considérable: sans cesse consulté, souvent chargé de messages importants; enfin sa plume, sa plume surtout, ne restait jamais inactive, et ses écrits portaient coup. Le “Times” l’a compte longtemps parmi ses principaux collaborateurs; plus tard il se recueillit et se consacra exclusivement à la direction de la “Revue d’Edimbourg,” dont il avait été longtemps un des principaux redacteurs. [Footnote: The Duke would seem to have misunderstood Reeve’s position, or, more probably, his memory was confused by the lapse of forty years. Reeve was never _’un des principaux rédacteurs’_ of the Edinburgh Review. Till he became sole editor and, in a literary sense, autocrat, he had no part in the conduct of it, nor was he a constant contributor (cf. _ante_, vol. i. p. 173).]

‘Je n’ai pas besoin de rappeler à l’Académie quel rôle appartient à “l’editeur” dans les grandes revues anglaises, quelle part il prend au choix des sujets, à la rédaction des articles, quelle autorité il exerce, ni de m’etendre sur l’histoire du plus ancien, je crois, des recueils périodiques, assurément un des plus importants. La “Revue d’Edimbourg” est plus qu’un simple organe; souvent elle donne la note, la formule des idées acceptées par le parti dont elle continue d’arborer les couleurs sur sa couverture bleue et chamois, les couleurs de M. Fox.

‘J’ai dit que Reeve n’avait pas pris part au gouvernement. Il exerçait cependant une charge, un veritable office de judicature, dont les attributions ne sont pas d’accord avec nos moeurs et dont le titre même se traduit difficilement dans notre langue. Attaché au Conseil privé comme _Appeal Clerk_, puis comme Registrar, il jugeait des appels des îles de la Manche. [Footnote: This, as has been seen (ante, vol. i. pp. 85-6), is a very inexact and imperfect description of Reeve’s duties, either as Clerk of Appeals or as Registrar.] On comprend qu’une connaissance si parfaite de la langue et des usages français le qualifiait particulièrement pour remplir ces fonctions, quand on songe que la langue officielle de ces îles est encore aujourd’hui le français et que dans les questions de jurisprudence la coutume de Normandie y est constamment invoquée.

‘Officiellement Reeve était sous les ordres du secrétaire du Conseil privé, et ces rapports de subordination avaient créé des relations intimes entre son supérieur et lui. M. Charles Gréville avait tenu la plume du Conseil dans des circonstances deélicates et s’était trouvé mêlé à une foule d’incidents; en mourant il chargea Reeve de publier ses mémoires. Cette publication eut un grand retentissement.

‘Reeve était fier d’appartenir à votre compagnie. Lorsque l’Université d’Oxford me conféra le degré de docteur il était près de moi. “Rappelez-vous,” me dit-il en souriant, “que l’Académie des Sciences Morales a sa part dans l’honneur que vous venez de recevoir.” Fort répandu, fort apprécie dans le monde, il menait de front ses travaux littéraires, ses devoirs de juge, ses relations sociales, ses excursions; son activité était extraordinaire. La goutte le gênait quelquefois, et d’année en année ses visites devenaient plus fréquentes.

‘Il avait bâti au bord la mer, en face de l’île de Wight, sous un climat doux, une charmante villa, où il aimait a s’enfermer avec ses livres, poursuivant ses travaux auprès de la digne et gracieuse compagne de sa vie. Ses dernières années s’écoulèrent ainsi entre cette résidence et la maison bien connue de Rutland Gate, où sa table hospitalière était toujours ouverte à ses amis de France ou d’ailleurs. C’est à Foxholes que la mort est venue le chercher.

‘Je n’ai pas la préention de prononcer devant vous l’éloge d’Henry Reeve; la competence me manque comme la preparation. En vous rappelant quelques traits de cette noble figure je voulais, comme je vous l’ai dit tout à l’heure, acquitter une dette de coeur envers un ami qui, jusqu’aux derniers moments de sa vie, m’a prodigué les marques d’affection. Il voulut célébrer à Chantilly le 80e anniversaire de sa naissance, et un de ses derniers soucis était de réclamer les bonnes feuilles du septième volume de “L’Histoire des Condé,” dont il voulait rendre compte dans sa Revue. [Footnote: The present writer feels a personal satisfaction in adding that one of the last letters which Reeve dictated about the work of the _Review_, was to him, asking him to undertake this article.]

‘La mémoire du philosophe, du lettré, de l’érudit, dn confrère éminent, de l’homme bon et aimable, mérite de rester honorée dans notre compagnie.’


It has been seen (_ante_, vol. ii.) that Reeve intended quoting Lord Stanmore’s letter on the formation of the Aberdeen Cabinet, in a future edition of the ‘Greville Memoirs.’ There seems, however, to have been no opportunity for doing so, and the letter has remained buried in the columns of the ‘Times’ of June 13, 1887, becoming each year more and more inaccessible. As relating to an interesting point raised by the ‘Greville Memoirs,’ and also as, to some extent, carrying out Reeve’s intention, it is here reprinted, with Lord Stanmore’s express permission.

_To the Editor of the ‘Times’_

Sir,–It is only recently that the two new volumes of the ‘Greville Memoirs’ lately published have reached Ceylon. I fear that before this letter can arrive in England the interest excited by their appearance will have passed away, and that, consequently, comments upon their contents addressed to you may seem as much out of place as would a letter written for the purpose of correcting some error in any well-known collection of memoirs which have been long before the world. It is therefore not without some hesitation that I venture to request permission from you to point out the inaccuracy of a statement which appears near the commencement of the first of these two volumes, and casts an undeserved imputation upon the conduct, in 1852, of the chief members of the Peelite party.

Mr. Greville, under the date of December 28, 1852, writes thus:–

‘Clarendon told me last night that the Peelites have behaved very ill, and have grasped at everything; and he mentioned some very flagrant cases, in which, after the distribution had been settled between Aberdeen and John Russell, Newcastle and Sidney Herbert–for they appear to have been the most active in the matter–persuaded Aberdeen to alter it, and bestow or offer offices intended for Whigs to Peelites, and in some instances to Derbyites who had been Peelites’ (vol. i.).

In the next two pages lie comments with severity on the selfishness and shortsightedness of the Peelites in reference to this matter. Now, the reflection thus cast on the foresight and disinterestedness of the Peelite leaders is in no wise warranted by the facts. What really occurred at the formation of the Cabinet of December 1852 was, in truth, the exact reverse of what is stated in Mr. Greville’s pages. It was not the Peelites, but Lord John Russell and the Whigs, who, after the list of the Cabinet and of the chief officers of the State had been agreed on between Lord Aberdeen and Lord John Russell, and had been submitted to and approved by the Queen, objected to the composition of the Cabinet as ‘too Peelite,’ and strove to change the arrangements made originally with Lord John Russell’s entire acquiescence. I will not, however, occupy your space with remarks of my own; I will at once produce incontestable proof of what I have asserted. I have now before me a manuscript journal kept by Sir James Graham, and from it I quote the following extracts. In reading them it should be borne in mind that the proposed distribution of offices agreed on between Lord Aberdeen and Lord John Russell had been formally approved by the Queen on December 23rd.

_December 24th_.–‘Lord John Russell most unexpectedly raised fresh difficulties this morning, on the ground that the Whigs are not represented in the new Cabinet sufficiently. He wished that Sir F. Baring should be placed at the Board of Trade to the exclusion of Cardwell; that Lord Clarendon should have the Duchy, with a seat in the Cabinet; and that Lord Granville should be President of the Council. He thus proposed at one _coup_ an infusion of three additional Whigs, and talked of Lord Carlisle as the fittest person for the Lieutenancy of Ireland. It became necessary to make a stand and to bring the Whigs to their ultimatum. Lord Aberdeen consented to Lord Granville as President, and proposed that Lord Lansdowne should sit in the Cabinet, without an office. This proposition, which reduced the Whig addition, from three to two, saved the Board of Trade for Cardwell, but excluded both him and Canning from the Cabinet. Lord John did not regard it as satisfactory, and fought the point so long and so pertinaciously, that the new writs could not be moved to-day, and the House was adjourned till Monday. Towards evening, at the instance of Lord Lansdowne, Lord John Russell yielded an unwilling assent to Lord Aberdeen’s last proposals…’

_December 25th_.–‘Lord John Russell is very much annoyed by the disparaging tone of the articles in the “Times,” which, while it supports Lord Aberdeen, attacks him [Russell] and the Whigs. He is still also dissatisfied in the exclusion of Lord Clarendon and of Sir George Grey from the Cabinet, and thinks that the Whig share of the spoil is insufficient. It is melancholy to see how little fitness for office is regarded on all sides, and how much the public employments are treated as booty to be divided among successful combatants. The Irish Government, also, is still a matter of contest. The Whigs are anxious to displace Blackburne and to replace him with Brady, their former Chancellor; they are jealous also of St. Germans and Young, as Lord-Lieutenant and Chief Secretary, and want to have Lord Carlisle substituted for the former. I discussed these matters at Argyll House with Lord John and Lord Aberdeen. If we three were left alone, we could easily adjust every difficulty; it is the intervention of interested parties on opposite sides which mars every settlement…’

_December 27th_.–‘The Whigs returned to the charge, and claimed in a most menacing manner a larger share of the minor offices. Sir C. Wood and Mr. Hayter came to me in the first instance and tried to shake me individually in my opinion. I was stout and combated all their arguments, which assumed an angry tone. We came to no satisfactory conclusion in my house, and the discussion was adjourned to Lord John’s. I found Lord John more amenable to reason; but the whole arrangement was on the point of being broken off. It was 1 o’clock. The House of Commons was to meet at 2 by special adjournment, and the writs were to be issued punctually at that hour. Sir C. Wood intimated that unless some further concessions were made the arrangement was at an end, and that the moving of the writs must be postponed. I said I should go down to the House, and make then and there a full statement of the case, and recall by telegraph my address to the electors of Carlisle, which declared my acceptance of office. This firmness, coupled with my rising to leave the room, brought the gentlemen to reason. I had a note in my pocket from Lord Aberdeen, which placed the Duchy of Lancaster at their disposal, and Strutt was in the House ready to receive it at the hands of Lord John. This offer was snatched immediately; Strutt was consulted and accepted on the spot, and Hayter was sent to the House of Commons, and he moved the writs of the Cabinet Ministers, of Strutt also, and of Baines…’

_December 28th_.–‘The contest as to minor offices was renewed with equal pertinacity, but with less effect, after the moving of the principal writs. A battle was fought for the Great Seal of Ireland, which was ultimately yielded to Brady, the ex-Whig Chancellor. This concession was no sooner made than an attempt to force Reddington as the Under-Secretary for Ireland was commenced. He, being a Catholic, had consented to the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill, against his private judgement and in defiance of his coreligionists. His appointment would have been war with the Brigade, and it was necessary to refuse it peremptorily. The dissatisfaction of Lord Clarendon and of Lord John Russell was eagerly expressed, but was ultimately mitigated by the offer to Reddington of the Secretaryship of the Board of Control. The suggestion that Lord John might provide for him abroad was not so favourably entertained. I have never passed a week so unpleasantly. It was a battle for places from hostile camps, and the Whigs disregarded fitness for the public service altogether. They fought for their men as partisans, and all other considerations, as well as consequences, were disregarded. Lord Aberdeen’s patience and justice are exemplary; he is firm and yet conciliatory, and has ended by making an arrangement which is, on the whole, impartial and quite as satisfactory as circumstances would permit.’

The evidence of Sir James Graham on points of fact will hardly be disputed, nor will it be denied that he, who took an active part in the construction of the Government and was in the most intimate confidence of Lord Aberdeen, was in a better position for knowing what passed than Mr. Greville, who was dependent on the information which he received from others. But if any confirmation be desired it will be found in the extracts which I add from the correspondence of Lord Aberdeen. The Queen, as I have before said, approved the lists submitted to her on December 23rd. The same evening, Lord John Russell wrote to Lord Aberdeen as follows:–

‘I am told that the whole complexion of the Government will look too Peelite. G. Grey suggests, and I concur, that Clarendon should be President of the Council immediately, and when he leaves it someone else may be named–Harrowby or Granville. I am seriously afraid that the whole thing will break down from the weakness of the old Liberal party (I must not say Whig) in the Cabinet. To this must be added:–President of the Board of Trade, Postmaster, Chief Secretary for Ireland, all in Peelite hands. I send a note which Bessborough has given me, and which is said to convey the opinion of the Irish Liberal members. _It is not very reasonable_, but I think Blackburne should be changed for Moore, and St. Germans for Lord Carlisle. Palmerston consents to Bernal Osborne. You should write or see Cranworth. Forgive all this trouble.’

Lord Aberdeen replied:–

‘I do not admit the justice of the criticism made on the composition of the Cabinet, if you fairly estimate the persons and the offices they fill. I do not object to Clarendon; but my fear is that he will not be able to do the business of the office in the House of Lords, and we are so weak there that I entertain very great apprehensions.’

Lord John rejoined:–

‘What I suggest is (1) that, as I have frequently proposed, with your consent, Lord Granville should be Lord President; (2) that Sir F. Baring should be President of the Board of Trade, with a seat in the Cabinet; (3) that Clarendon should at once enter the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; (4) that Lord Stanley of Alderley should be Vice-President, not in the Cabinet. Let me add to what I have said that ten Whigs, members of former Cabinets, are omitted in this, while only two Peelites are omitted, and one entirely new is admitted–Argyll. Let me propose further that the minor posts be recast with less disproportion. Cardwell ought not to have office while Labouchere, Vernon Smith, and others are excluded.

‘Pray let me have an answer before the writs are moved. I have sent for F. Baring. If he will not join, G. Grey will.

‘P.S.–About Ireland afterwards.’

On the receipt of this letter Lord Aberdeen wrote to the Queen that it put it entirely out of his power to go to Windsor on that day as had been intended, and that ‘he regretted to say that the new propositions, which had been made by Lord John that morning, although the scheme submitted to the Queen had been approved of, were so extensive as very seriously to endanger the success of his [Lord Aberdeen’s] undertaking.’

It appears to me to be thus shown, beyond dispute or question, that it was the Whigs and not the Peelites who, after the distribution of offices had been fully agreed on, and approved by the Queen, sought to modify the arrangements effected. Whether the Whigs had or had not cause for their discontent is another question, on which it is unnecessary now to enter. That such discontent was (considering their numerical strength) extremely natural, none can deny. That, on the other hand, it would have been impossible to exclude Sir James Graham, Mr. Gladstone, or the Duke of Newcastle from a Cabinet formed and presided over by Lord Aberdeen, and that the important share taken by Mr. Sidney Herbert in the overthrow of Lord Derby’s Government rendered him also entitled to claim Cabinet office, most men will admit.

While anxious to correct a statement which appears to me injurious to the reputation of public men, some of whom are still living, I trust I may be permitted at the same time to record my strong sense of the general accuracy of Mr. Greville’s information. Where his notes are inaccurate, their inaccuracy may, I believe, be more generally accounted for by his omission in those cases to insert in his diary (as in many other instances he has done) a subsequent correction of the erroneous reports which had in the first instance reached him.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,