300 THE CECILS
maintained a special interest in foreign affairs, and the policy which resulted in the Japanese Alliance of 1902 was approved of, and controlled by him.
The death of Queen Victoria, in January, 1901, was another break with the past, and to few of her subjects can the sense of personal loss have been greater than to Lord Salisbury. Following the example of his illustrious ancestor, this " greater Cecil of a greater Queen " served his Sovereign with a devotion and loyalty which won her utmost confidence and esteem. Bishop Boyd-Carpenter records that she " spoke with admiration of Lord Salisbury, as of one in whom she had great confidence. The impression left on my mind was that she gave him, if not the highest, an equal place with the highest among her ministers." He adds that " the two Prime Ministers who held high place in her mind, were Sir Robert Peel and Lord Salisbury," and she thought the latter " greater than Lord I Beaconsfield." 1
On the conclusion of peace with the Boers (May 3ist, 1902), there was no longer any valid reason to defer his retirement, though, if it had not been for King Edward's unfortunate illness, he would have remained Prime Minister until after the Coronation. On July nth he placed his resignation in the hands of the King, who was then convalescent, and thus ended his long
1 Some Pages of My Life, by the Rt. Rev. W. Boyd-Carpenter, late Bishop of Ripon.