PP/GC/LE/139A Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis, to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding the issue of keys for cabinet boxes, 8 February [1861]
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Secretary of State for Home Affairs], Home Office, [Whitehall, London], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: he encloses a reply from Phipps with regard to keys for the cabinet boxes. 8 Feb [1861] Enclosed is a letter from Sir Charles Beaumont Phipps, [Keeper of the Privy Purse], Buckingham Palace, London, to Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Secretary of State for Home Affairs]: the application for the keys was made to assist the Queen, the Prince, and some of the public departments rather than Grey or Phipps. Not infrequently a box is sent, addressed to him, containing papers to which he is requested to obtain the Queen's signature and to return them forthwith. There is no means of acertaining the contents of the boxes other than by sending to the Queen or the Prince and asking them to unlock them. This seem indecorous. Recently, a box arrived late in the evening. One of the Prince's secretaries was staying at Phipps's house and opened the box for him. Inside the box were papers and a request that they be returned that night. If it had not been for the secretary's presence, Phipps he would not have been able to perform his duty. "I did not think therefore that I was making an extraordinary request in asking that over nights participate in a confidence shared by not a few." Lord Palmerston's answer is indisputable, but Phipps hopes that it did not enter anyone's mind that either he or Grey would open a box not addressed to them, or send despatches not intended for their perusal. 5 Feb 1861
Two papers
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Sir Charles Beaumont Phipps, Keeper of the Privy Purse
General Charles Grey, unofficial Private Secretary to Queen Victoria
Victoria, Queen of England
Prince Albert, Prince Consort
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