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Database: December 16, 1867

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ACS DB Royal Correspondence 2

TO LORD STANLEY

The Queen has received Lord Stanley's letter of the 12th.

She cannot doubt that is Lord Stanley's wish to observe the constitutional practice of taking the Queen's pleasure before he forwards despatches of any importance to their destination. But she cannot approve of the irregular habit which has crept in, of sending off despatches without her sanction having been previously obtained, trusting to the power of cancelling them by telegraph, if disapproved. She would therefore certainly wish that the old custom of obtaining her approval before they are sent, should be resumed.

The Queen is not aware that she has ever failed in at once returning any box marked "immediate," and when she is at Windsor not even a single post need be lost by reference to her. She must also remark with respect to the despatch in question, that though dated the 9th, it was only sent from the Foreign Office on the evening of the 10th, and reached her on the 11th.

The Queen would further observe, that Lord Stanley's remark that there is "a wide difference between the expression of a personal opinion in conversation, and the formal giving of advice by the Government, etc.," does not hold good; as the moment such conversations are recorded, in official despatches supposed to have received the sanction of the Soverign, they entirely lose their character as private and personal communications.

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