Province of Canada
The Province of Canada was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of 1837–1838; the Act of Union 1840, passed on 23 July 1840 by the British Parliament and proclaimed by the Crown on 10 February 1841, merged the Colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada by abolishing their separate parliaments and replacing them with a single one with two houses, a Legislative Council as the upper chamber and the Legislative Assembly as the lower chamber. In the aftermath of the Rebellions of 1837–1838, unification of the two Canadas was driven by two factors. Firstly, Upper Canada was near bankruptcy because it lacked stable tax revenues, needed the resources of the more populous Lower Canada to fund its internal transportation improvements. Secondly, unification was an attempt to swamp the French vote by giving each of the former provinces the same number of parliamentary seats, despite the larger population of Lower Canada.
Although Durham's report had called for the Union of the Canadas and for responsible government, only the first of the two recommendations was implemented in 1841. For the first seven years, the government was led by an appointed governor general accountable only to the British Crown and the Queen's Ministers. Responsible government was not to be achieved until the second LaFontaine–Baldwin ministry in 1849, when Governor General James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin agreed to request a cabinet be formed on the basis of party making the elected premier the head of the government and reducing the Governor General to a more symbolic role; the Province of Canada ceased to exist at Canadian Confederation on 1 July 1867, when it was divided into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Ontario included the area occupied by the pre-1841 British colony of Upper Canada, while Quebec included the area occupied by the pre-1841 British colony of Lower Canada. Upper Canada was English-speaking, whereas Lower Canada was French-speaking.
The Province of Canada was divided into two parts: Canada West. Canada East was what became of the former colony of Lower Canada after being united into the Province of Canada, it became the province of Quebec after Confederation. Canada West was what became of the former colony of Upper Canada after being united into the Province of Canada, it became the province of Ontario after Confederation. The location of the capital city of the Province of Canada changed six times in its 26-year history; the first capital was in Kingston. The capital moved to Montreal until rioters, spurred by a series of incendiary articles published in The Gazette, protested against the Rebellion Losses Bill and burned down Montreal's parliament buildings, it moved to Toronto. It moved to Quebec City from 1852 to 1856 Toronto for one year before returning to Quebec City from 1859 to 1866. In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the permanent capital of the Province of Canada, initiating construction of Canada's first parliament buildings, on Parliament Hill.
The first stage of this construction was completed in 1865, just in time to host the final session of the last parliament of the Province of Canada before Confederation. The Governor General remained the head of the civil administration of the colony, appointed by the British government, responsible to it, not to the local legislature, he was aided by the Legislative Council. The Executive Council aided in administration, the Legislative Council reviewed legislation produced by the elected Legislative Assembly. Sydenham came from a wealthy family of timber merchants, was an expert in finance, having served on the English Board of Trade which regulated banking, he was promised a barony if he could implement the union of the Canadas, introduce a new form of municipal government, the District Council. The aim of both exercises in state-building was to strengthen the power of the Governor General, to minimise the impact of the numerically superior French vote, to build a "middle party" that answered to him, rather than the Family Compact or the Reformers.
Sydenham was a Whig who believed in rational government, not "responsible government". To implement his plan, he used widespread electoral violence through the Orange Order, his efforts to prevent the election of Louis LaFontaine, the leader of the French reformers, were foiled by David Willson, the leader of the Children of Peace, who convinced the electors of the 4th Riding of York to transcend linguistic prejudice and elect LaFontaine in an English-speaking riding in Canada West. Bagot was appointed after the unexpected death of Thomson, with the explicit instructions to resist calls for responsible government, he arrived in the capital, Kingston, to find that Thomson's "middle party" had become polarised and he therefore could not form an executive. The Tories informed Bagot he could not form a cabinet without including LaFontaine and the French Party. LaFontaine demanded four cabinet seats, including one for Robert Baldwin. Bagot became ill thereafter, Baldwin and Lafontaine became the first real premiers of the Province of Canada.
However, to take office as ministers, the two had to run for re-election. While LaFontaine was re-elected in 4th York, Baldwin lost his seat in Hastings as a result of Orange Order violence, it was now that the pact between the two men was completel
Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne
Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, was a British statesman who served successively as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. In 1917, during the First World War, he wrote to the press vainly advocating a compromise peace, he has the distinction of having held senior positions in both Liberal Party and Conservative Party governments. The great-grandson of the British Prime Minister Lord Shelburne, the eldest son of Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 4th Marquess of Lansdowne and his wife, Emily, 8th Lady Nairne, Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice was born in London in 1845, he held the courtesy title Viscount Clanmaurice from birth until 1863 and the courtesy title Earl of Kerry until he succeeded to the marquessate in 1866. Upon his mother's death in 1895, he succeeded her as the 9th Lord Nairne in the Peerage of Scotland. After studying at Eton and Oxford, he succeeded his father as 5th Marquess of Lansdowne and 6th Earl of Kerry at the early age of 21 on 5 June 1866.
He was heir to a vast estate, including Bowood House, an Irish estate of over 121,000 acres, great wealth. At one of his inherited properties, Derreen House, Lord Lansdowne started to create a great garden from 1871 onwards. For most of the rest of his life, he spent three months every year at Derreen. Lord Lansdowne entered the House of Lords as a member of the Liberal Party in 1866, he served in William Gladstone's government as a Lord of the Treasury from 1869 to 1872 and as Under-Secretary of State for War from 1872 to 1874. He was appointed Under-Secretary of State for India in 1880, having gained experience in overseas administration, was appointed Governor General of Canada in 1883; the present-day town of Lansdowne, Garhwal in Uttarakhand, was established in 1887 and named after him. Lord Lansdowne was Governor General during turbulent times in Canada, his Irish connections made him unpopular with the Catholic Irish element. Sir John A. Macdonald's government was in its second term and facing allegations of scandal over the building of the railway, the economy was once again sliding into recession.
The North-West Rebellion of 1885 and the controversy caused by its leader, Louis Riel, posed a serious threat to the equilibrium of Canadian politics. To calm the situation he travelled extensively throughout western Canada in 1885, meeting many of Canada's Indian peoples, his experiences in western Canada gave Lansdowne a great love of the Canadian outdoors and the physical beauty of Canada. He was an avid fisherman, was intensely interested in winter sports, his love of the wilderness and Canadian countryside led him to purchase a second residence on the Cascapédia River in Quebec. Lansdowne proved himself an adept statesman in helping to negotiate a settlement of a dispute between Canada and the United States in 1886-87 over fishing rights, he was a supporter of scientific development, presiding over the inaugural session of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1884. Lord Lansdowne departed Canada, "with its clear skies, its exhilarating sports, within the bright fire of Gatineau logs, with our children and friends gathered round us" to his regret.
He gave his wife a great deal of the credit for his success in Canada. One of her happiest and most successful endeavours while at Rideau Hall was a party she threw for 400 Sunday school children. Lady Lansdowne was decorated with the Order of Victoria and Albert and the Imperial Order of the Crown of India. Lord Lansdowne's military secretary, Lord Melgund became Lord Minto and served as Governor General between 1898 and 1904. Lord Lansdowne was appointed Viceroy of India in the same year; the viceroyalty, which he held from 1888 to 1894, was offered to him by the Conservative prime minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, marked the pinnacle of his career. He worked to reform the army, local government and the mint. There was a Anglo-Manipur War in 1890, in which Manipuri were suppressed, Lansdowne securing the death penalty for the leader in the face of considerable opposition from Britain, his attempt in 1893 to curtail trial by jury was, over-ruled by home government. He returned to England in 1894.
His policies exacerbated tensions between Muslims. Upon his return, as a Liberal Unionist, he aligned with the Conservative Party; the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, appointed Lord Lansdowne to the post of Secretary of State for War in June 1895. The unpreparedness of the British Army during the Second Boer War brought calls for Lansdowne's impeachment in 1899, his biographer, considers that he was unjustly criticized for British military failures: the good minister, he took full responsibility and said nothing. After the Unionist victory in the general election of October 1900, Salisbury reorganised his cabinet and gave up the post of Foreign Secretary, appointing Lansdowne to replace him. Lansdowne remained at the Foreign Office under Salisbury's successor Arthur Balfour; as British Foreign Secretary, he signed the 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance at his London home and negotiated the 1904 Anglo-French Entente Cordiale with the French foreign minister, Theophile Delcassé. On 15 June 1903, he made a speech in the House of Lords defending fiscal retaliation against countries with hig
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George, he issued the Balfour Declaration in November 1917 on behalf of the cabinet. Entering Parliament in 1874, Balfour achieved prominence as Chief Secretary for Ireland, in which position he suppressed agrarian unrest whilst taking measures against absentee landlords, he opposed Irish Home Rule, saying there could be no half-way house between Ireland remaining within the United Kingdom or becoming independent. From 1891 he led the Conservative Party in the House of Commons, serving under his uncle, Lord Salisbury, whose government won large majorities in 1895 and 1900. A brilliant debater, he was bored by the mundane tasks of party management. In July 1902 he succeeded his uncle as Prime Minister, he supported Jackie Fisher's naval innovations. He secured the Entente Cordiale with France.
He cautiously embraced the imperial preference championed by Joseph Chamberlain, but resignations from the Cabinet over tariffs left his party divided. He suffered from public anger at the stages of the Boer war and the importation of Chinese labour to South Africa, he resigned as Prime Minister in December 1905 and the following month the Conservatives suffered a landslide defeat at the 1906 election, in which he lost his own seat. After re-entering Parliament at a by-election, he continued to serve as Leader of the Opposition throughout the crisis over Lloyd George's 1909 budget, the narrow loss of two further General Elections in 1910, the passage of the Parliament Act, he resigned as party leader in 1911. Balfour returned as First Lord of the Admiralty in Asquith's Coalition Government. In December 1916 he became Foreign Secretary in David Lloyd George's coalition, he was left out of the inner workings of foreign policy, although the Balfour Declaration on a Jewish homeland bore his name.
He continued to serve in senior positions throughout the 1920s, died on 19 March 1930 aged 81, having spent a vast inherited fortune. He never married. Balfour trained as a philosopher – he originated an argument against believing that human reason could determine truth – and was seen as having a detached attitude to life, epitomised by a remark attributed to him: "Nothing matters much and few things matter at all". Arthur Balfour was born at Whittingehame House, East Lothian, the eldest son of James Maitland Balfour and Lady Blanche Gascoyne-Cecil, his father was a Scottish MP. His godfather was the Duke of Wellington, he was the eldest son, third of eight children, had four brothers and three sisters. Arthur Balfour was educated at Grange Preparatory School at Hoddesdon and Eton College, where he studied with the influential master, William Johnson Cory, he went up to the University of Cambridge, where he read moral sciences at Trinity College, graduating with a second-class honours degree. His younger brother was the Cambridge embryologist Francis Maitland Balfour.
Balfour met his cousin May Lyttelton in 1870 when she was 19. After her two previous serious suitors had died, Balfour is said to have declared his love for her in December 1874, she died of typhus on Palm Sunday, March 1875. Lavinia Talbot, May's older sister, believed that an engagement had been imminent, but her recollections of Balfour's distress were not written down until thirty years later; the historian R. J. Q. Adams points out that May's letters discuss her love life in detail, but contain no evidence that she was in love with Balfour, nor that he had spoken to her of marriage, he visited her only once during her serious three-month illness, was soon accepting social invitations again within a month of her death. Adams suggests that, although he may have been too shy to express his feelings Balfour may have encouraged tales of his youthful tragedy as a convenient cover for his disinclination to marry. In years mediums claimed to pass on messages from her – see the "Palm Sunday Case".
Balfour remained a lifelong bachelor. Margot Tennant wished to marry him, but Balfour said: "No, not so. I rather think of having a career of my own." His household was maintained by Alice. In middle age, Balfour had a 40-year friendship with Mary Charteris, Lady Elcho Countess of Wemyss and March. Although one biographer writes that "it is difficult to say how far the relationship went", her letters suggest they may have become lovers in 1887 and may have engaged in sado-masochism, a claim echoed by A. N. Wilson. Another biographer believes they had "no direct physical relationship", although he dismisses as unlikely suggestions that Balfour was homosexual, or, in view of a time during the Boer War when he replied to a message while drying himself after his bath, Lord Beaverbrook's claim that he was "a hermaphrodite" whom no-one saw naked. In 1874 Balfour was elected Conservative Member of Parliament for Hertford until 1885. In spring 1878, he became Private Secretary to his uncle, Lord Salisb
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe, he was heir apparent to the British throne and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. He was heir presumptive to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until before his marriage he renounced his right to the duchy, which devolved to his younger brother Alfred. During the long reign of his mother, he was excluded from political power, came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite, he travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties, represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but despite public approval his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother; as king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War.
He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor; the Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including steam turbine propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis, resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords. Edward was born at 10:48 in the morning on 9 November 1841 in Buckingham Palace, he was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was christened Albert Edward at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 25 January 1842.
He was named Albert after his father and Edward after his maternal grandfather Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. He was known as Bertie to the royal family throughout his life; as the eldest son of the British sovereign, he was automatically Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth. As a son of Prince Albert, he held the titles of Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duke of Saxony, he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 8 December 1841, Earl of Dublin on 10 September 1849 or 17 January 1850, a Knight of the Garter on 9 November 1858, a Knight of the Thistle on 24 May 1867. In 1863, he renounced his succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in favour of his younger brother, Prince Alfred. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined that their eldest son should have an education that would prepare him to be a model constitutional monarch. At age seven, Edward embarked on a rigorous educational programme devised by Prince Albert, supervised by several tutors.
Unlike his elder sister Victoria, Edward did not excel in his studies. He to no avail. Although Edward was not a diligent student—his true talents were those of charm and tact—Benjamin Disraeli described him as informed, intelligent and of sweet manner. After the completion of his secondary-level studies, his tutor was replaced by a personal governor, Robert Bruce. After an educational trip to Rome, undertaken in the first few months of 1859, he spent the summer of that year studying at the University of Edinburgh under, among others, the chemist Lyon Playfair. In October, he matriculated as an undergraduate at Oxford. Now released from the educational strictures imposed by his parents, he enjoyed studying for the first time and performed satisfactorily in examinations. In 1861, he transferred to Trinity College, where he was tutored in history by Charles Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History. Kingsley's efforts brought forth the best academic performances of Edward's life, Edward looked forward to his lectures.
In 1860, Edward undertook the first tour of North America by a Prince of Wales. His genial good humour and confident bonhomie made the tour a great success, he inaugurated the Victoria Bridge, across the St Lawrence River, laid the cornerstone of Parliament Hill, Ottawa. He watched Charles Blondin traverse Niagara Falls by highwire, stayed for three days with President James Buchanan at the White House. Buchanan accompanied the Prince to Mount Vernon, to pay his respects at the tomb of George Washington. Vast crowds greeted him everywhere, he met Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Prayers for the royal family were said in Trinity Church, New York, for the first time since 1776; the four-month tour throughout Canada and the United States boosted Edward's confidence and self-esteem, had many diplomatic benefits for Great Britain. Edward had hoped to pursue a career in the British Army, but his mother vetoed an active military career, he had been gazetted colonel on 9 November 1858—to his disappointment, as he had wanted to earn his commission by examination.
In September 1861, Edward was sent to Germany to watch military manoeuvres, but in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark and his wife Louise. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had decided that Edward and Alexandra should marry, they met at Speyer on 24 September under the auspices of his elder sister, who ha
H. H. Asquith
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith known as H. H. Asquith, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916, he was the last prime minister to lead a majority Liberal government, he played a central role in the design and passage of major liberal legislation and a reduction of the power of the House of Lords. In August 1914, Asquith took the British Empire into the First World War. In 1915, his government was vigorously attacked for a shortage of munitions and the failure of the Gallipoli Campaign, he failed to satisfy critics. As a result, he was forced to resign in December 1916, he never regained power. After attending Balliol College, Oxford, he became a successful barrister. In 1886, he was the Liberal candidate for a seat he held for over thirty years. In 1892, he was appointed as Home Secretary in Gladstone's fourth ministry, remaining in the post until the Liberals lost the 1895 election. In the decade of opposition that followed, Asquith became a major figure in the party, when the Liberals regained power under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in 1905, Asquith was named Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In 1908, Asquith succeeded him as Prime Minister. The Liberals were determined to advance their reform agenda. An impediment to this was the House of Lords, which rejected the People's Budget of 1909. Meanwhile the South Africa Act 1909 passed. Asquith called an election for January 1910, the Liberals won, though were reduced to a minority government. After another general election in December 1910 he gained passage of the Parliament Act 1911, allowing a bill three times passed by the Commons in consecutive sessions to be enacted regardless of the Lords. Asquith was less successful in dealing with Irish Home Rule. Repeated crises led to gun violence, verging on civil war; when Britain declared war on Germany in response to the German invasion of Belgium, high profile conflicts were suspended regarding Ireland and women's suffrage. Although more of a committee chair than a dynamic leader, he oversaw national mobilisation; the war became bogged down and the demand rose for better leadership. He was forced to form a coalition with the Conservatives and Labour early in 1915.
He was weakened by his own indecision over strategy and financing. Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in December 1916, they fought for control of the fast-declining Liberal Party. His role in creating the modern British welfare state has been celebrated, but his weaknesses as a war leader and as a party leader after 1914 have been highlighted by historians. Asquith was born in Morley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the younger son of Joseph Dixon Asquith and his wife Emily, née Willans; the couple had three daughters, of whom only one survived infancy. The Asquiths were an old Yorkshire family, with a long nonconformist tradition, it was a matter of family pride, shared by Asquith, that an ancestor, Joseph Asquith, was imprisoned for his part in the pro-Roundhead Farnley Wood Plot of 1664. Both Asquith's parents came from families associated with the Yorkshire wool trade. Dixon Asquith inherited the Gillroyd Mill Company, founded by his father. Emily's father, William Willans, ran a successful wool-trading business in Huddersfield.
Both families were middle-class, Congregationalist, politically radical. Dixon was a mild man, cultivated and in his son's words "not cut out" for a business career, he was described as "a man of high character who held Bible classes for young men". Emily suffered persistent poor health, but was of strong character, a formative influence on her sons. In his younger days he was called Herbert within the family, his biographer Stephen Koss entitled the first chapter of his biography "From Herbert to Henry", referring to upward social mobility and his abandonment of his Yorkshire Nonconformist roots with his second marriage. However, in public, he was invariably referred to only as H. H. Asquith. "There have been few major national figures whose Christian names were less well known to the public" according to biographer Roy Jenkins. He and his brother were educated at home by their parents until 1860, when Dixon Asquith died suddenly. Willans took charge of the family, moved them to a house near his own, arranged for the boys' schooling.
After a year at Huddersfield College they were sent as boarders to a Moravian Church school at Fulneck, near Leeds. In 1863 Willans died, the family came under the care of Emily's brother, John; the boys went to live with him in London. The biographer Naomi Levine writes that in effect Asquith was "treated like an orphan" for the rest of his childhood; the departure of his uncle severed Asquith's ties with his native Yorkshire, he described himself thereafter as "to all intents and purposes a Londoner". Another biographer, H. C. G. Matthew, writes that Asquith's northern nonconformist background continued to influence him: "It gave him a point of sturdy anti-establishmentarian reference, important to a man whose life in other respects was a long absorption into metropolitanism."The boys were sent to the City of London School as dayboys. Under the school's headmaster, the Rev E. A. Abbott, a distinguished classical scholar, A
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth
John French, 1st Earl of Ypres
Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, known as Sir John French from 1901 to 1916, as The Viscount French between 1916 and 1922, was a senior British Army officer. Born in Kent to an Anglo-Irish family, he saw brief service as a midshipman in the Royal Navy, before becoming a cavalry officer, he distinguished himself on the Gordon Relief Expedition. French had a considerable reputation as a womaniser throughout his life and his career nearly ended when he was cited in the divorce of a brother officer whilst in India in the early 1890s. French became a national hero during the Second Boer War, he won the Battle of Elandslaagte near Ladysmith, escaping under fire on the last train as the siege began. He commanded the Cavalry Division, winning the Battle of Klip Drift during a march to relieve Kimberley, he conducted Counter-insurgency operations in Cape Colony. During the Edwardian Period he commanded I Corps at Aldershot served as Inspector-General of the Army, before becoming Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1912.
During this time he helped to prepare the British Army for a possible European War, was one of those who insisted, in the so-called "cavalry controversy", that cavalry still be trained to charge with sabre and lance rather than only fighting dismounted with firearms. During the Curragh incident he had to resign as CIGS after promising Hubert Gough in writing that the Army would not be used to coerce Ulster Protestants into a Home Rule Ireland. French's most important role was as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force for the first year and a half of the First World War, he had an immediate personality clash with the French General Charles Lanrezac. After the British suffered heavy casualties at the battles of Mons and Le Cateau, French wanted to withdraw the BEF from the Allied line to refit and only agreed to take part in the First Battle of the Marne after a private meeting with the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, against whom he bore a grudge thereafter. In May 1915 he leaked information about shell shortages to the press in the hope of engineering Kitchener's removal.
By summer 1915 French's command was being criticised in London by Kitchener and other members of the government, by Haig and other senior generals in France. After the Battle of Loos, at which French's slow release of XI Corps from reserve was blamed for the failure to achieve a decisive breakthrough on the first day, H. H. Asquith, the British Prime Minister, demanded his resignation. Haig, French's trusted subordinate and who had saved him from bankruptcy by lending him a large sum of money in 1899, replaced him. French was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces for 1916–18; this period saw the country running short of manpower for the Army. Whilst the Third Battle of Ypres was in progress, French, as part of Lloyd George's manoeuvres to reduce the power of Haig and Robertson, submitted a paper, critical of Haig's command record and which recommended that there be no further major offensives until the American Expeditionary Force was present in strength, he became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1918, a position he held throughout much of the Irish War of Independence, in which his own sister was involved on the republican side.
During this time he published an inaccurate and much criticised volume of memoirs. French's family was related to the French/De Freyne family which had gone to Wexford in the fourteenth century and had substantial estates at Frenchpark, Roscommon. French always regarded himself as "Irish", although his branch of the family had lived in England since the eighteenth century, his father was Commander John Tracey William French, RN, of Ripple Vale in Kent, who had fought at Navarino and under Napier in support of Dom Pedro in the Portuguese Civil War. His mother was Margaret Eccles from Glasgow, after suffering a breakdown after her husband's death, was institutionalised after being diagnosed as insane, she died in 1867. He was educated at a Harrow preparatory school and Eastman's Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth before joining the Royal Navy in 1866, he joined the Royal Navy because it gave him a chance to leave home four or five years earlier than the Army. From August 1866 he trained on board the three-decker battleship HMS Britannia at Dartmouth.
He obtained only an "average" certificate, which required him to do a further six months training on board another ship—the frigate HMS Bristol at Sheerness from January 1868—before qualifying as a midshipman. In 1869, he served as a midshipman on HMS Warrior, commanded by Captain Boys, an old friend of French's father, she patrolled off Spain and Portugal. While in Lisbon, French was able to ride over Wellington's old battlefields. During his service, he witnessed the accidental sinking of HMS Captain, he resigned from the Royal Navy in November 1870, as he was discovered to be acrophobic and to suffer from seasickness. French joined the Suffolk Artillery Militia in November 1870, where he was expected to put in about two months a year with the regiment, he failed his exams for a regular commission, had to hire a new tutor, losing the fees he had paid in advance to the previous one. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars on 28 February 1874, a prestigious regiment whose officers drank claret for breakfast, but there is no evidence that he eve