Last Days of Glory --The Death of Queen Victoria

Clydeside Capital, 1870-1920

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert,
page 7 of 13

tower and garden in front, with a high, wooded hill. At the back there is a wood down to the Dee, and hills all around.” She then goes on, in the homeliest fashion, to describe the dainty, snug little rooms; and this she does with a doting fondness which betrays greater affection for the tiny Highland home than for the gilded halls and carved oaken corridors of regal, ancestral Windsor. She talks, too, of the joy they had in watching the flight of the curlews and the hovering of the hawks above the firs, and describes the leistering of salmon in the Dee, by scores of men, many of them in kilts, with more relish than she would have done over the finest masquerade or tournament in Christendom! An entry in her diary for Sunday, 29th October, 1854, the sad year of the Crimean War, has a special interest to all of us in Glasgow, as it has reference to one of our city’s sons whose memory will ever be dear to us, the late Rev. Norman Macleod: “We went to the kirk, as usual, at 12 o’clock. The service was performed by Dr. Norman Macleod, of Glasgow, and anything finer I never heard. The sermon, entirely extempore, was admirable; so simple, and yet so eloquent and beautifully put. The text was from the account of the coming of Nicodemus to Christ by night. The second prayer was very touching; his allusions to us were so simple, saying, after his mention of us, ‘Bless their children.‘ It gave me a lump in my throat, as also when he prayed for the dying, the wounded, the widow and the orphan.” Ever since “the desire of her eyes was taken away” she seems to have had an increasing affection for Balmoral. ’Twas there that the happiest seasons of her life were spent with him she loved so well, and to this quiet home she still clings, and in it finds that retirement so congenial to her for contemplation and quiet life.

Up till the opening of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Britain, and Europe indeed, had enjoyed an unbroken peace of forty years’ duration. It had been fervently hoped by the illustrious originator of this exhibition, and by those who aided in bringing it to a splendid issue, that the event would inaugurate an era in which strife and war would be minimised, and the civilising influences of peace, Christianity, and commerce would, if slowly, yet none the less surely revolutionize the world. Events, however, by what men would call the grimness of Fate, but what in reality was the eternal and immutable law of cause and effect, turned out otherwise. Instead of heralding a reign of lasting peace, the Exhibition seemed to inaugurate an era of wars, some of which in their great magnitude and stupendous results have not been equalled in modern history. The Crimean war, as we all know, broke out almost immediately after the self-congratulations and excitement in connection with the Exhibition had subsided. This was followed by the Indian Mutiny, with all its horrors, and the brilliant deeds of daring and bravery which its suppression evolved. Then came the war between the Federal and the Confederate States of America, a war which, with all its calamities, had a glorious issue, the freedom of the slaves. Europe again took up the war-torch as America threw it down, and then followed the war between the Sardinian kingdom, for which Garibaldi so nobly fought, and the despicable and doomed Neapolitan States. After this came the Seven Weeks’ war between Austria and Prussia; and lastly, that terrible Seven Months’ war which so humiliated France and laid her at the feet of the conquering German.

There is neither space nor need here to discuss the long-standing and complicated Eastern Question which led to the Crimean War. The casus belli, or reason for fighting, lay in Russia’s threatening to seize a portion of Turkey in


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