The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37
"Let us make a Free Queen."
"Let us make a Free Queen."
The Sign Manual Act is passed on the grounds that it does not signify who signs Military Commissions. If it does not signify, why is the Bill introduced? The Bill was entitled Officers' Commission Bill. The selection of that title has been the result of considerable care, and shows the purpose of concealment. The interference with the Prerogative is kept out of view. Not a member of either house ever asked whether the proposal came from the Queen. Not a member of either house ever asked whether it came from the Horso Guards. They did not even venture to ask whether the Queen or the Commander-in-Chief had knowledge of this Bill.
Why these questions were not publicly put is explained 'by the substitution amongst political men of what is called "Reason of State" for sense, honor, and patriotism. "Reasons of State" means the purpose of destroying the Laws and Institutions for the benefit of the persons who possess what is called "power," or who aspire to possessing it.
Up to the present hour the Queen has refused the Sign-Manual to the Declaration of Paris which deprived England of her material strength. The Sign-Manual must therefore he made to appear to be, and to be in effect of no value.
The Ministers of the King were the servants of the King, hut the Ministers of our Queen are not so; being imposed on her by the House, they are her masters. She has no means of communicating with her Parliament but through them, nor indeed with her people. Those who have in vain petitioned against this Bill during its progress through both Houses are now petitioning the Queen to refuse her assent to it; but those petitions can only reach her through the very persons whose conduct they denounce.
Victoria, be it remembered, is the first English Sovereign whose dependence upon the Parliamentary-appointed Ministers is thus absolute. Because she is the first who was deprived of a permanent Private Secretary belonging to neither party; this being arranged between the leaders of the two factions on her accession, and therefore when too page 36 inexperienced to understand the meaning of it. Her husband was afterwards supposed to fulfil that office for her. Now that he is no more, the words Private Secretary has been again heard of, but in a very different sense, namely, as being appointed by Lord Palmerston.
It has therefore become the duty of both houses of Parliament to protect the Queen from her Ministers. Unless they do so, the station of Sovereign of these realms becomes a slavery more bitter and more degrading than has ever yet fallen to the lot of human being.
The Queen, it must be recollected, is a human being, and not an autonomon. She has, in the highest sense, to participate in the performance of every administrative function. These take their being in and are constituted solely by the operation of her will. And yet she is debarred—absolutely debarred—from every faculty enjoyed by and every duty enjoined on every co-existent individual throughout the Empire. She is to have the benefits of the counsel of no fellow-creature. She is debarred from the entertaining of any opinion. There is no coolie transported to the west—there is no slave working in a sugar-pluntahon, in such a predicament.
The person thus circumstanced is one of exquisite sensibility, extensive knowledge, indomitable industry, and inflicted—as it must be said under the circumstances—with a conscientious sense of the importance of her duties, and the most affectionate regard for the welfare of her people. Standing amidst the surrounding corruption a phenomenon.
The contemplation of this position to those of a finer temper, and approaching her near enough to observe it, has unfortunately not the effect of nerving them for an effort to obtain freedom for their Queen. It merely frightens them from the subject; for not having framed the purpose of making a Free Queen, they resign themselves to accepting things as they are, as the only alternative to the other course—Revolution.
If you had a Revolution, you would only have to come back to what is now proposed to you to prevent a Revolution. You would have to respect the personality of a President. A Congress legislating on the Sign-Manual is capable of extinguishing a Republic as well as a Monarchy.page 37
By destroying the East India Company the rights of the people and the princes of India are extinguished. Those sovereigns have been mediatised by converting them into subjects of Queen Victoria. Meanwhile that Sovereign has been reduced below their level; for allowing them palaces and revenues, they are remitted from functions, whilst is required from our Queen a nominal and lying participation in the acts to which she is constrained, and the nominal conferring by her of the offices of trust upon individuals whom she knows and abhors.
"Let us make a free Queen!"