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would have assumed if he had returned shortly after the fall of Pretoria, and they cannot have failed to cast some shadow over his interview with the Queen at Osborne. He landed at Cowes and proceeded immediately on a visit to her Majesty, who conferred upon him an earldom, with a special remainder to his daughters and their heirs, in succession, and the Order of the Garter. Although each day's news showed how much Lord Roberts had been obliged to leave for others to do, there was a universal feeling that all that he had done had been well done, and that the country was under a deep debt of gratitude to him. At Paddington Station, on January 3, he was received by the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of York, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, the Duke of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family, and an assemblage of eminent officers. Thence he passed by a route kept by troops, gaily decorated, and lined by enthusiastically welcoming multitudes, to Buckingham Palace, where he was entertained at luncheon, the Heir Apparent and his Consort acting as host and hostess, and a large company of the most distinguished persons in the land being invited to meet him. The popular greeting, both in London, at Southampton, and at stations along the line of route from the port to the capital, was extremely cordial, and even affectionate. What may be called the generals military pet name of “Bobs” was constantly heard in the shouts of welcome which his appearance excited, not only immediately after his arrival, but in many subsequent months. Rarely, indeed, has any soldier attained precisely the kind of hold on the public heart then enjoyed by Lord Roberts. The regard felt for him had sprung quite as much from the popular recognition of chivalry and absence of self-seeking in his character as from the admiration and gratitude called forth by his military achievements, conspicuous as those had been on many fields. It was felt to be in accord with his temperament that he should take the earliest opportunities available to him of shifting to the account of others as much as possible of the honour paid him for the recovery of success after repeated reverses suffered by British arms in South Africa. Thus at Southampton, in response to the bestowal upon him of the freedom of that city, after expressing his great regret that contrary to the hopes he had cherished “a troublesome and destructive war still continued and had to be put a stop to,” Lord Roberts said (Jan. 3): “I have no fear whatever but that this muchdesired object will be achieved ere long under the able guidance of the distinguished general officer to whom the conduct of the final stages of the war has been entrusted. As chief of the staff of the Army in South Africa, Lord Kitchener has been my right-hand man throughout the campaign, and I am deeply indebted to him for his wise counsels and his ever-ready help. No one could have laboured more strenuously or in a more selfeffacing manner than Lord Kitchener has done. He has helped
me most loyally and without the slightest idea of self-aggrandisement. There is another debt of gratitude which I owe, and which I sometimes doubt I shall ever be able fully to repay, and that is to the grand men I had the privilege to command, and to whose courage, devotion and gratitude I feel that I owe the high distinction which you have to-day conferred upon me. The skill of the commanders, the intelligence of the staff, the self-sacrificing heroism of the regimental officers, the bravery of the rank and file, the uncomplaining fortitude of both officers and men, and the courtesy and chivalry displayed by all ranks to the women of the country in which our fighting has been carried on are a source of pride and gratification to me and will never be forgotten by me.” The emphatic and comprehensive character of the tribute conveyed in the last sentence just quoted to the admirable behaviour of our soldiers in South Africa, to non-combatants as well as in the field of battle, was of special value in relation to accusations of misconduct and cruelty which had been to some extent, and were to be increasingly, put about by the hostile critics of the war in foreign countries. In respect to the task with which Lord Kitchener had still to cope, Lord Roberts had said at Cowes on the previous day, in reply to an address of welcome from the people of the Isle of Wight, that he doubted whether the difficulties of that task were sufficiently appreciated by those who were unacquainted with South Africa. They consisted, he said, partly in the “marvellous mobility of the enemy,” but mainly in the “vast extent and absolute barrenness of the country” in which the operations were being carried on. “Nevertheless," continued Lord Roberts, “we need have no fear as to the result if we make our enemies clearly understand that we are determined, however long the war may last and whatever it may cost, to bring it to a successful issue, and not to allow the fruits of the past year's trials and labours to be thrown away.” “The soldiers of Great Britain," he added, “and the soldiers of Greater Britain have pulled together as brothers fighting under one common flag and owning allegiance to one common Sovereign, beloved and revered equally by all. These unanimous outbursts of loyalty must, I think, be extremely gratifying to her Majesty and must be considered eminently satisfactory by all her Majesty's loyal subjects. For with our Empire firmly knit together we need fear no outward foe, so long as we are careful ourselves to see that there is no weak point in our armour.”
The fact that, immediately upon his return home, Lord Roberts took over the duties of Commander-in-Chief unquestionably encouraged in the public mind the hope that the very numerous “weak points” in our military administration which had been painfully brought to light during the course of the war, and which had done much to add to the difficulties of our generals in the field, would be intelligently and firmly dealt with. Satisfaction was also felt at the spirit in which the new head of the Army asked that all banquets which had been arranged in connection with his return should be deferred indefinitely in view of the present unhappy circumstances in South Africa.
There was very little political speaking during the first part of the month, but on Jan. 14, at the annual dinner of the Willenhall District Council, Sir Henry Fowler struck a strongly patriotic note. He took the opportunity, in view of the gravity of the Imperial situation, to express confidence in our officers engaged in the war, “ above all in their distinguished Commander-in-Chief, Lord Kitchener,” and also in the “ gallant men, soldiers and sailors, Reservists, Volunteers and Colonials, who were doing their best and enduring hardships for the Empire." Sir H. Fowler called attention to a phrase used in an address which a certain number of burghers in the Orange River Colony had issued to their brethren in South Africa with a view to the restoration of peace, as throwing a clear light on one of the disputed aspects of the origin of the war. “We have fought,” these burghers said, “ to get South Africa under one flag.” “There was no talk there,” said Sir H. Fowler, “about franchise, of independence, of capitalists, of the Outlanders. They had hit the right nail on the head. They had revealed the truth, and were honourable men. They had been fighting to 'get South Africa under one flag,' and England had been doing the same. That fight was inevitable. No diplomacy could have prevented it. The contest was bound to come sooner or later. It might have come at a time when England was involved in difficulties elsewhere. Our position in the matter, however, was clear. We were fighting for South Africa to be under one flag, and that flag was the Union Jack." Then, as if in response to Lord Roberts's above-quoted declaration at Cowes as to the spirit of unshakable determination in which the conflict must be carried on by England, Sir H. Fowler went on to say that “they had to recognise, and they wished Europe to recognise, that the people of this country, and the Parliament of this country, had definitely made up their minds that the fight in South Africa was a fight to the finish. They in England must put aside party recriminations and differences and determine upon the supremacy of Great Britain in South Africa. We had also made up our minds that all sections of the residents in South Africa, be they Boers or natives, should have all the rights, all the liberties, and all the equality in every respect which had been and was the right of all the other subjects of the British Crown in every part of the world. And the sooner the better. We meant that the people who inhabit South Africa should be endowed liberally, amply, and ungrudgingly with those institutions of self-government, that freedom of management for their own affairs, which had redounded so much to the happiness of the British colonies, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere, and which had not
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only benefited the people who lived under them, but had also strengthened--as they had seen-in the hour of stress the whole of the British Empire.”
On January 14° Lord Roberts paid a second visit—this time a private one-to the Queen at Osborne, her Majesty being evidently anxious, with his aid, now that he had had the opportunity of fully reviewing all the news received since he left Cape Town, to form a clear view of the South African situation. On this occasion, as was understood afterwards, some considerable anxiety was felt by those nearest to the Queen as to the fatigue which would be entailed on her Majesty by a conversation upon so anxious a topic with her distinguished guest, for she had already begun to show signs of cerebral oppression. She declined, however, to have the interview in any way curtailed, and by a supreme effort of will constrained her declining powers to carry it through. In the same week the Queen's unfailing sympathy with the sorrows of her subjects, of whatever rank and on whatever scale, was manifested by a message of sympathy and a gift of 201. to the surviving sufferers from a disaster to the Shetland fishing fleet. The death of Dr. Creighton, Bishop of London, on January 14, at the early age of fifty-eight, after a long and distressing illness, was alike in its public and its private aspects a very melancholy event. His force of character, his great learning, especially in the field of history, his intellectual distinction and practical wisdom, the breadth of his sympathies and his strenuous devotion to the arduous task of administering the great See which he had only occupied for four years, had attracted to Bishop Creighton the admiration and respect of persons of the most widely divergent views, despite the irony to which he was much addicted, and which is a quality apt to excite suspicion and even resentment among Englishmen. A great part had been anticipated for him in the guidance of the life of the Church of England in what promised to be anxious times, and the regret caused by his death was very genuine and widespread. On January 17 it was announced that Mrs. Creighton had received the following message from Princess Christian :
“The Queen desires me to express to you her deep and heartfelt sympathy in your great loss, which she deplores, not only on her own account but on that of the Church, to which he was so valuable. May I add my own sincerest sympathy?"
On the following evening, that of Friday, January 18, there appeared in the Court Circular the ominous announcement that the Queen had not lately been in her usual health, that the ** great strain upon her powers " entailed by the events of the past year had “rather told upon her Majesty's nervous system," and that it had, “therefore, been thought advisable by her Majesty's physicians that the Queen should be kept perfectly quiet in the house, and should abstain for the present from
transacting business.” The instinct of a devoted people at once perceived that bebind this carefully worded announcement lay facts of the most gloomy significance. Nor was it possible, even if the desire had existed, to veil any longer the grave condition of the Queen's health. At noon on Saturday, January 19, a bulletin, signed by Sir Douglas Powell and Sir James Reid, physicians-in-ordinary, was issued at Osborne, stating that the Queen was suffering from “great physical prostration,” accompanied by “symptoms that caused anxiety.” At midnight on Sunday, January 20, her Majesty's condition had “become more serious, with increased weakness and diminished power of taking nourishment.” During that Sunday the congregations in every place of worship throughout the British Empire were obviously possessed by one engrossing anxiety. The only approximately correct comparison illustrative of the universal state of feeling would be to say that the public demeanour was as if a very dear and deeply respected friend or relative of every one had been attacked by dangerous illness. With singularly correct appreciation the Figaro said that Queen Victoria was “ to the English more than a Queen, being, as it were, the head of all English families,” so that "filial piety” would animate the prayers offered in all churches for her recovery. The bitterest cynic could not doubt the intense earnestness of the petitions offered everywhere for the restoration of the Queen's health and the further prolongation of a life so intimately associated with everything best in English history through two generations. On Monday, January 21, the acute strain of public anxiety was very slightly relaxed. In the forenoon came the announcement, signed by the physicians already mentioned and by Sir Thomas Barlow, physician-extraordinary to her Majesty, and a special authority on diseases of the brain, that the Queen had “slightly rallied ” since midnight, had taken more food, and had some refreshing sleep. But it was added that the symptoms which gave rise to most anxiety were those which pointed to " a local obstruction in the brain circulation.” In view of this bulletin, grave as it undoubtedly was, having regard to the Queen's age, some hope was cherished in the public mind. Much satisfaction was also found in the telegrams, of which all the newspapers were full, bearing witness, not only to the absolute oneness of feeling existing throughout the Empire as to the critical condition of its beloved head, but also to the profound respect and regard entertained for the Queen in all countries of the civilised world, including those in which for many months past there had been manifold exhibitions of unfriendliness towards England. With these tributes, which, like the one quoted above from the Figaro, were often very bappily phrased, there came also the expression of much sincere sympathy with English anxiety. Two things availed to touch and gratify British feeling more than anything else at this moment of distress. First, there was the manner in which the German Emperor broke off all the cele