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papers in Great Britain, the United States, and the Colonies for the cordiality with which the previous issues of the HANDBOOK were welcomed. The reviews and the sales of the preceding volumes justified the belief that Diplomatists, Publicists and others were in need of a work which gave them in a reasonable compass the essential parts of current State Papers.
THE QUEEN—THE KING.
A COMPILATION of the official literature of the great affairs of State should not go forth without an expression of profound sorrow for the loss sustained by the Empire and the World by the death of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. None but the statesmen who, by the privilege and necessity of their station and duties, were brought into personal relationship with her can know how much the Diplomacy and Government of the country owe to her knowledge, her sterling common sense, judgment, strength of will, and invincible love of peace. In the writings of the Queen, in public speeches, in biographies of Prime Ministers who preceded her in death, and in the reminiscences which have added so much to the bulk of our recent literature, a fitful light is cast upon her incessant labours in co-operation with—and, indeed, in the direction of the statesmen of her time. Not until documents are accessible revealing the inner history of Diplomacy more thoroughly than do the Papers selected by Party Governments for publication in times of crisis, will the light become constant and full. And not until a writer arises competent to deal with the masses of private documents left by the Sovereign and others, and to produce a History of the Reign worthy of her and her Era, shall we know with adequacy and exactness how great and beneficent was the influence she wielded. But what can be learned from sources open to all confirms the universal conviction that the Queen was a great Stateswoman and herself a Maker of History. Her acts as Ruler are not to be dissociated from the information and counsel given her by her Ministers, for she was a Constitutional Sovereign in harmony with the conditions of a limited Monarchy; but even a superficial acquaintance with the story of Diplomacy during her reign is sufficient to prove that almost from the first she exercised an active and important influence in matters of high policy, and that, during the past quarter of a century, her power of guidance and control over the affairs of the Empire was as great as, if not greater than that of her ablest and most influential Ministers. No later contemporary of hers can have made a closer study of events. None could bring to bear upon their daily developments a surpassing or even an equal degree of experience and sagacity.
This pre-eminence in the policies of her time is the only aspect of her life which should be touched upon in a work concerned with statesmanship and government. Other characteristics of her personality and reign must be passed over. The purpose is served when recognition is made of her direct contributions to that form of history of which Despatches and the like are the raw materials, and when admiration is expressed of the unflagging interest she took in questions of Administration within her Empire. The varied interests of an ever expanding Realm had no more painstaking and sympathetic student than Queen Victoria ; and her conspicuous success as Ruler is due as much to the strenuous labour by which she familiarised herself with the problems that come and go, as to her goodness and greatness
as a woman.
As she is succeeded by a Prince of mature age, linked by family ties and personal popularity with the reigning families of Europe, and enjoying the esteem of Englishmen in a degree second only to that accorded to his Mother, there is every likelihood that, in so far as a Sovereign can add to the greatness of the State, the reign of Edward VII. will be a continuation and expansion of the glories of that of his immediate predecessor. Such is the flexibility of the English Constitution that there is abundant scope for the energies of a man of supreme abilities as King. In the affairs of Empire there is room for a race of Kings who shall be something more than symbolic figureheads--who shall play a greater part than that of successive Presidents of a brilliant Court and mere dispensers of Royal hospitality, of honours, and of social privilege. The system of Party Government is breaking down. In the public mind there is no longer that passionate and prejudiced affection or hatred for this Party or for that, which was the predominant characteristic of political life when Government was restricted to the few and when the many continued to be dissatisfied with the share grudgingly conceded to them. The domestic shibboleths of Party life have lost their meaning. In their stead there is a concen. tration of sentiment upon the Sovereign as the representative of the unifying forces within the Empire. There is a demand for one Party only—the Party of Patriotism and Capacity, by whatever name of the past it may still be called, Incumbent though it be upon the Sovereign to hold aloof from groups with sectional interests—to see the life of the Realm clearly and to see it wholethe closer his identification with all the elements of political ability in the State from whatever quarter they may come, the brighter the prospects of Empire and the greater the chances of a glorious reign. Under the British Constitution and in the peculiar circumstances of the time with the great Colonies in the full vigour and ambition of early manhood-no limit can be set to the power and usefulness of a King who shall exhibit the qualities of a leader of men. The problem of the immediate future is the complete unification of the British Empire and the better development of its inherent resources. By progress on these lines the Realm can be made so strong politically and so rich materially as to be proof against armed attack and successful in commercial war. How far a Party system of Government can either help or retard a solution of this problem must remain a matter of individual opinion. But it is tolerably clear that whichever Party in England shows the greater courage and initiative in unifying the Empire politically and in encouraging the development of the Colonies and Protectorates, will attract to itself all that is best and most capable in the other, and will, in fact, become overwhelmingly predominant in the Empire. Will the King prove himself capable of handling so great a force ? That a great Imperial Party is now in process of formation everyone can see: it exists in the imagination of countless Englishmen and in the mind of almost every Colonist; and in the Colonies the attachment to the Parent State and desire to share in her glories and perils is a stronger factor than we island dwellers yet realise. What is needed is a statesman with the power to give form and substance, in a workable scheme of Imperial Federation, to the common aspiration for unity. Given a King with a policy of unification, and given a statesman able to interpret a Royal ambition shared by the race, and there exist the elementary conditions of success. Whether such an ambition will be cherished by Edward VII., and whether he will be so fortunate as to find a coadjutor able to realise it for him and his people, none can tell; but here, no doubt, is Kingly work for him or his descendants. The Sovereign in whose reign the Empire is Federated will have done a great historic act by carrying to its logical conclusion the movement for unity which-though having its origin in racial sentiment and political necessity-derived its chief force from the passionate attachment of the Colonial populations to Victoria. Time will be needed before so great a Constitutional change can be made such as is here foreshadowed; but events march swiftly in an age of steam and telegraphs. No one foresaw the military and political consequences which arose in the Colonies from the war in South Africa. Who knows what may yet happen to quicken the pace? The visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York to Australia may of itself do much. But speculation upon the coming consolidation of the Empire need not be further pursued ; all will hope that the Sovereign will further the cause and that definitive results will be reached_if not in his time, then in that of his son. It is of these larger political ideals-ideals in which the local questions of Great Britain and Ireland are merged into the greater issues of Imperial unity and of the relationship of the British States with other Powers-that the subjects of the deceased Monarch will have thought in uttering the historic formulaGod Save the King!
The following are the official announcements in connection with the death of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and the accession of His Majesty King Edward VII. :
(From a Supplement to the London Gazette Extraordinary of Tuesday,
the 22nd of January.)
Wednesday, January 23, 1901.
Whitehall, January 23, 1901. On Tuesday afternoon, the twenty-second of January instant, at half-past six o'clock, our late Most Gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria expired at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, in the eighty-second year of Her age, and the sixty-fourth year of Her reign. This event has caused one universal feeling of regret and sorrow to Her late Majesty's faithful and attached subjects, to whom she was endeared by the deep interest in their welfare which She invariably manifested, as well as by the many signal virtues which marked and adorned Her character.
Upon the intimation of this distressing event, the Lords of the Privy Council assembled this day, at St. James's Palace, and gave orders for proclaiming His present Majesty, who made a most Gracious Declaration to them, and caused all the Lords and others of the late Queen's Privy Council, who were then present, to be sworn of His Majesty's Privy Council.
Whereas it has pleased Almighty God to call to His Mercy Our late Sovereign Lady Queen Victoria, of Blessed and Glorious Memory, by whose Decease the Imperial Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is solely and rightfully come to the High and Mighty Prince Albert Edward: We, therefore, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of this Realm, being here assisted with these of Her late Majesty's Privy Council, with Numbers of other Principal Gentlemen of Quality, with the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of London, do now hereby, with one Voice and Consent of Tongue and Heart, publish and proclaim, That the High and Mighty Prince, Albert Edward, is now, by the Death of our late Sovereign of Happy Memory, become our only lawful and rightful Liege Lord Edward the Seventh, by the Grace of God, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India : To whom we do acknowledge all Faith and constant Obedience, with all hearty and humble Affection ; beseeching God, by Whom Kings and Queens do reign, to bless the Royal Prince Edward the Seventh, with long and happy Years to reign over Us.
Given at the Court at Saint James's, this twenty-third day of
January, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred
and one. George
M. E. Hicks-Beach Arthur
St. John Brodrick Christian, Prince, Schleswig-Holstein
Knutsford F. Cantuar
Balfour of Burleigh Halsbury, C.
George Hamilton Devonshire
Walter H. Long Norfolk, E. M.
Argyll Pembroke and Montgomery
Alverstone Charles T. Ritchie
A. Akers-Douglas J. Chamberlain
Cork and Orrery Cadogan
A. L. Smith Fife