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The letters of Queen Victoria : a selection from Her Majesty's correspondence between the years 1837 and 1861 : published by authority of His Majesty the king (Volume 1) online

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has just seen Mr Landseer.

Mr Landseer repeated his expressions of deep and
sincere gratitude for the favour and kindness with
which your Majesty had contemplated his claims for
professional distinction, but appeared to retain the
impression that he had yet scarcely done enough to
entitle him to the honour which it was contemplated
to bestow upon him.

In the course of conversation he observed that he
was now occupied upon works of a more important
character than any that he had yet completed, and
mentioned particularly an equestrian portrait of your

1 See p. 126.




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1842] ATTACK ON THE QUEEN 499

Majesty. He said that when these works were finished,
and should they prove successful and meet with your
Majesty's approbation, he might feel himself better
entitled to receive a mark of your Majesty's favour.
As these were evidently his sincere impressions and
wishes, Sir Robert Peel forebore from pressing upon
him the immediate acceptance of the honour of
Knighthood.

Queen Victoria to The King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 31st May 1842.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, I wish to be the first to
inform you of what happened yesterday evening, and
to tell you that we are saines et sauves. On returning
from the chapel on Sunday, Albert was observing
how civil the people were, and then suddenly turned
to me and said it appeared to him as though a man
had held out a pistol to the carriage, and that it had
hung fire ; accordingly, when we came home he
mentioned it to Colonel Arbuthnot, who was only to
tell it to Sir J. Graham and Sir Robert Peel, and
have the police instructed, and nobody else. No one,
however, who was with us, such as footmen, etc.,
had seen anything at all. Albert began to doubt
what he believed he had seen. Well, yesterday
morning (Monday) a lad came to Murray (who of
course knew nothing) and said that he saw a man
in the crowd as we came home from church, present
a pistol to the carriage, which, however, did not go
off, and heard the man say, " Fool that I was not to
fire ! " The man then vanished, and this boy followed
another man (an old man) up St James's Street
who repeated twice, " How very extraordinary ! " but
instead of saying anything to the police, asked the
boy for his direction and disappeared. The boy
accordingly was sent to Sir Robert Peel, and
(doubtful as it all still was) every precaution was
taken, still keeping the thing completely secret, not
a soul in the house knowing a word, and accordingly



500 THE ATTEMPT REPEATED [CHAP.

after some consultation, as nothing could be done,
we drove out many police then in plain clothes
being distributed in and about the parks, and the
two Equerries riding so close on each side- that they
must have been hit, if anybody had ; still the feeling
of looking out for such a man was not des plus
agr cables ; however, we drove through the parks, up
to Hampstead, and back again. All was so quiet
that we almost thought of nothing, when, as we drove
down Constitution Hill, very fast, we heard the report
of a pistol, but not at all loud, so that had we not
been on the alert we should hardly have taken
notice of it. We saw the man seized by a police-
man, next to whom he was standing- when he fired,
but we did not stop. Colonel Arbuthnot and two
others saw him take aim, but we only heard the
report (looking both the other way). We felt both
very glad that our drive had had the effect of having
the man seized. Whether it was loaded or not we
cannot yet tell, but we are again full of gratitude to
Providence for invariably protecting- us ! The feeling
of horror is very great in the public, and great affec-
tion is shown us. The man was yesterday examined
at the Home Office, is called John Francis, is a
cabinet-maker, and son of a machine-maker of
Covent Garden Theatre, is good-looking (they say).
I have never seen him at all close, but Arbuthnot
gave the description of him from what he saw on
Sunday, which exactly answered. Only twenty or
twenty-one years old, and not the least mad but
very cunning. The boy identified him this morning,
amongst many others. Everything is to be kept
secret this time, which is very right, and altogether
I think it is being well done. Every further particular
you shall hear. I was really not at all frightened,
and feel very proud at dear Uncle Mensdorff calling
me " sehr ??mthig," which I shall ever remember with
peculiar pride, coming from so distinguished an officer
as he is ! Thank God my Angel is also well ! but he
says that had the man fired on Sunday, he must have



1842] LETTER FROM QUEEN ADELAIDE 501

been hit in the head ! God is merciful ; that indeed we
must feel daily more ! Uncle and cousins were quite
horrified. . . . Ever your devoted Niece, VICTORIA R.
You will tell Louise all of course.

Queen Adelaide to Queen Victoria.

BUSHY HOUSE (Monday night), May 1842.

MY DEAR NIECE, I must write a line to express
to you what I felt when I took up the newspapers
which informed me of what had happened yesterday.
Is it possible ? can it be true ? was my first question.
However, the detailed accounts leave no doubt that
a pistol was pointed at you again, though not fired.
It is really shocking that such wretches exist who
dare tempt (sic) to alarm you though in this instance
there was nothing alarming except the evil spirit which
inspired the boy.

How grateful must we not feel to our merciful God,
who protects you so visibly, and gives you courage and
confidence in Him, who is and ever will be your safest
guide and support. Trust in Him and you will not fail
to be well guided.

I hope it is true that you were not aware of what
had happened when you went to church, not to be
disturbed in your devotions, and that the account did
not agitate you.

Edward 1 came yesterday from town, but he knew
nothing but that a pistol had been taken from a man
in the Park. We hardly believed the story till the
papers informed us of the truth. Pray say to dear
Albert what 1 feel for and with you both., and how I
thank God and pray that His merciful protection may
never fail you.

We are going to Frogmore to-morrow, and from
there shall drive in the Park and to St. George's Chapel.
I hope the weather will be as fine as it was to-day.
God bless and guard you ever and ever ! dearest
Victoria, prays your most devotedly attached Aunt,

ADELAIDE.

1 Prince Edward of Saxe- Weimar.



502 LETTER FROM LORD MELBOURNE [CHAP, xi

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 1st June 1842.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He was much shocked at learning, which
he did not do until six o'clock yesterday evening, the
event which took place on Monday. After what
took place on Sunday, it must have been a trial to
your Majesty's nerves, and still more to those of the
Prince, to go out on Monday ; but it appears to Lord
Melbourne that your Majesty judged quite correctly
in doing so. Lord Melbourne hardly knows what to
say of this repeated attempt. It is a depravity and
a malice as unintelligible as it is atrocious. Lord
Melbourne is at least as grateful as any one of your
Majesty's subjects, and the gratitude is universal and
fervent for your Majesty's safety.

Lord Melbourne had ridden over in the morning
to visit Lord and Lady Uxbridge in their rural
retirement, and upon his return to Brocket Hall,
about six o'clock, found the morning newspaper with
the accounts of what had happened. If they had
sent him down a messenger on Monday night, which
it would have been better to have done, he would have
been yesterday in his place in the House of Lords.

Lord Melbourne found Uxbridge enveloped in
parcels and boxes, which he was busy unpacking,
Lady Uxbridge reclining by the stream under the
shade of a plane-tree, and the two young ladies some-
what pensive. The place looked beautiful, but Lord
Melbourne fears that all its beauty will not be a com-
pensation to them for London at this time of the year.



Sir James Graham to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 1st June 1842.

Sir James Graham, with humble duty to your
Majesty, submits a copy of the Answer to the Address ;
and an alteration has been made in the Answer



1842] THE ADDRESS 503

which Sir James Graham hopes may render it con-
formable to the tender and generous feelings which
your Majesty has deigned to express with reference
to the Prince.

The two Houses of Parliament followed the exact
precedent which had been established in Oxford's
case; and although the life of the Prince, so dear
to your Majesty, is highly valued by all your loving
subjects, yet the crime of treason attaches only to
an attack on the sacred person of your Majesty ; and
the expressions used by Parliament with reference
to these atrocious crimes, when directed against the
Sovereign, are necessarily inapplicable to any other
person, and could not be used with propriety. Hence
the omission in the former case of all allusion to the
Prince ; and the silence of Parliament on the present
occasion is to be ascribed to the same cause not to
any cold indifference, which the general feeling of
attachment to the Prince entirely forbids.

The above is humbly submitted by your Majesty's
dutiful Subject and Servant, J. R. G. GRAHAM.



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, 6th June 1842.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, I was sure of the kind
interest you would take in the event of the 29th and
30th. I am most thankful for your very kind, long
letter of the 3rd, which I received the day before
yesterday. I have so little time as we are just
setting off for Ascot that 1 can hardly write anything
to you. There seems no doubt whatever that Francis
is totally without accomplices, and ji mauvais sujet.
We shall be able probably to tell you more when we
see you. I am grieved that you have deferred your
visit again. We are then to expect your arrival
either on the Tuesday or Wednesday ? Very thankful
we should be soon to hear whom you bring with
you.



504 SUCCESSES IN AFGHANISTAN [CHAP, xi

Dear Uncle and the Cousins are delighted with
Windsor, and the weather is beautiful, only unfortu-
nately too hot to be pleasant. I rode on my little Barb
at a review of Cavalry at Wormwood Scrubbs on
Saturday, dont je suis bien fiere. Now adieu ! dearest
Uncle. In haste, your devoted Niece, VICTORIA R.

Lord Fitzgerald and Vesd to Queen Victoria.

INDIA BOARD, 7th June 1842.

Lord Fitzgerald, with his most humble duty to your
Majesty, humbly acquaints your Majesty that despatches
have been this day received from the Governor-General
and the several Presidencies of India.

They announce a signal victory, achieved by Sir
Robert Sale and his admirable garrison. 1

The circumstances attending his glorious success,
and the consequences likely to result from it, are
amongst the most important of this hurtful war.

They are described in Sir Robert Sale's Report, as
published in the Bombay Gazette, a copy of which is
most humbly submitted to your Majesty.

The despatches further bring the gratifying in-
telligence that General Pollock had forced the
Khyber Pass, and, defeating the enemy on every
point, had surmounted the chief obstacles of that
dangerous defile. 2

1 Sir R. Sale, who with his column had thrown himself into Jellalabad on
13th November 1841, and had heard Brydon's narrative, made a sortie on
7th April, and secured a great victory over Akbar Khan, whose force out-
numbered Sale's by five to one.

2 General Pollock, whom Auckland had selected for the command, and
who found everything in confusion on the frontier, swept the Khyber Pass
of the enemy, and joined Sale. The insurrection had spread to Candahar,
where General (afterwards Sir William) Nott, was in command with a force
of 10,000 men. He heard of Macnaghten's murder on 31st January, and,
like Sale, refused to follow the order received (under coercion, as he believed)
from Elphinstone to return to India. On the contrary, he ordered all
Afghans to leave Candahar, marched out himself and attacked and dispersed
the enemy, 12,000 strong ; while a flank movement made by the enemy on
the city was repulsed with great loss. General (afterwards Sir Richard)
England started from Quetta with reinforcements, but met with a reverse at
Haikalzai ; meanwhile also Colonel Palmer had had to make terms at
Ghuznee, and had to encounter treachery. Nott, who was badly in want of
money and ammunition for the troops, sent imperative orders to General
England to reinforce him, which he did early in May.



1842] SIR R. SALE AND GENERAL POLLOCK 505

The relief of the brave men under Sir Robert Sale,
to which their own gallantry and their late victory have
so mainly contributed, may now be regarded as certain
from the success of General Pollock's advance.

It is with regret that Lord Fitzgerald has to
add that the citadel of Ghuznee has surrendered on
the faith of a capitulation, perhaps already violated,
and that General England, who had marched with a
convoy of treasure, and other supplies for the Army
at Candahar, had been forced to retrace his steps,
and had arrived at Quetta.

At the same time, however, General Nott had
dispersed considerable assemblages of rebel tribes,
whom he had defeated with loss, while an attack
made during his absence on the city of Candahar
had been effectually repulsed by that portion of his
force which had been left for its defence.

The -Governor - General having proceeded in person
to the North - Western Provinces of Bengal, had
issued at Benares General Orders congratulating the
army on the return of victory to its ranks, and on
the fresh lustre thus added to your Majesty's Arms.

FITZGERALD AND VESCI.



Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 10th June 1842.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He has thought it better not to interrupt
your Majesty with letters during the bustle of the
last week, but he cannot omit to express to your
Majesty how much he was struck with the letter of
the 2nd inst. which he received, and how entirely he
concurs in the justice and propriety of your Majesty's
feelings and observations. Let us hope that we shall
have no more of these horrid attempts, which are
generated by the wild notions of the time, and by
the expectation, extravagant and unfounded, so
industriously inculcated into the public mind, of
advantages to be derived from change and confusion ;



506 DEBATE ON THE INCOME TAX [CHAP. M

Lord Melbourne anxiously hopes that the painful
impressions which such events are calculated to
produce upon your Majesty's mind, and which they
necessarily must produce, will pass away and that
nothing will happen to renew and revive them.

Lord Melbourne is happy to hear from Normanby
that everything passed off well and successfully at
Windsor and at Ascot. The last is always rather a
doubtful and disagreeable ordeal to pass through.

We should have got through the debate upon
the Income Tax this evening in the House of Lords,
if Lansdowne had not unfortunately this morning
had an access of gout in the hand, which prevented
him from attending, and obliged the debate to be
deferred. Lord Melbourne hopes that the resolution
which Lansdowne is to move 1 is put in such a shape
as to vindicate our course, and at the same time not
to condemn that which has been adopted overmuch,
not to pledge us for the future. . . .

Lord Melbourne earnestly hopes that your Majesty
is well and not too much affected by the heat of this
weather, which does not suit Lord Melbourne very
well. In conjunction with a large dinner which we
had at the Reform Club in honour of the Duke of
Sussex, it has given Lord Melbourne a good deal of
headache and indisposition. The Duke was in very
good humour, and much pleased with the dinner, but
he was by no means well or strong.

Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 14th June 1842.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, Though I shall have the
inexpressible happiness of seeing you and dearest
Louise so soon, I write these few lines to thank you
for your very kind letter of the 9th. We arrived
here yesterday morning, having come by the railroad,

1 This Resolution was in favour of altering the corn, sugar, and timber
duties, in preference to imposing an income tax. It was negatived by 112
to 52.



1842] QUEEN'S FIRST RAILWAY JOURNEY 507

from Windsor, in half an hour, free from dust and
crowd and heat, and I am quite charmed with it. 1
We spent a delightful time at Windsor, which would
have been still pleasanter had not the heat been such,
ever since Saturday week, that one is quite overcome ;
the grass is quite brown, and the earth full of wide
cracks ; there has not been a drop of rain since the
24th, my birthday ! We rode and walked and danced,
and I think I never was better than in all this fatigue
and exercise. . .

I get every day fonder of dearest, excellent Uncle
Mensdorff and the dear cousins, who are so amiable
and good and unassuming ; really, in society they keep
quite in the background. They are out and out the
nicest cousins we have. I am sure what I can do
for them I shall be too happy to do. Alexander is
the most distinguished and solid, but Alphonse and
Arthur the most unassuming. There is something so
peculiarly good in dear Arthur ! and they are all five
so fond of Pussy, and she so fond of them. . . . Ever
your devoted Niece, VICTORIA R.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 13th June 1842.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and offers many thanks for the letter, which
he received yesterday evening. Lord Melbourne is
very glad to hear that your Majesty has enjoyed in
the society of your near and dear relations so much
happiness, which, like all other things, must have its
portion of alloy in their departure. Lord Melbourne
was much pleased with the short conversation which
he had with Count Mensdorff at Stafford House, and
it is highly interesting to see at this distance of time
a man who has been engaged in affairs so important
and of so awful and melancholy a character. Your

1 This was the Queen's first journey on the Great Western Railway. The
Prince had often used it, and had been known to say, on descending from the
train, ' Not quite so fast next time, Mr Conductor, if you please." Acworth,
The Railways of England, p. 17.



508 THE INCOME TAX BILL [CHAP.

Majesty is surely right in terming your cousins young
men ; if the health and constitution be good, thirty-six
is a young man, twenty-nine and thirty-two very young
men, and twenty-five quite a boy. The weather has been
very hot but very fine. The rain was so much required
that Lord Melbourne cannot lament its coming, but he
also regrets the hot suns which it has banished.

The course which had been taken upon the Income
Tax in the House of Commons, 1 contrary to Lord
Melbourne's wish and opinion, rendered it impossible
for Lord Melbourne directly to support the Bill
in the House of Lords without offending and sep-
arating himself from the whole body of those who
supported the last Government.

He therefore acquiesced in the resolution, which
was moved by Lord Lansdowne, and which did not
oppose the measure, but declared that it might have
been avoided if the course which we had proposed
had been taken. In the debate Lord Melbourne
argued as strongly as he could in favour of the
tax, and ended by declaring that if it was imposed,
he could not pledge himself for the future against
maintaining and even extending it. Lord Melbourne
is anxious to make this explanation of his conduct
to your Majesty, and hopes therefore that your
Majesty will forgive his writing thus much upon
this subject. Lord Melbourne very much lamented
that the business did not terminate as amiably as it
began, and that a contest should have been got into
respecting the third reading of the Bill ; but con-
sidering that the measure had passed by accident
through its first stages without any debate, and that
there were Lords who were still desirous of speaking
upon it, it was imprudent of the Ministers not at
once to give another day for that purpose, especially
as they were sure to be compelled to do so by repeated
motions of adjournment.

The feelings which your Majesty expresses upon

1 Lord John Russell had strenuously opposed the Income Tax Bill, but
had been defeated by large majorities.



1842] CONVICTION OF FRANCIS 509

the conviction of this man 1 are natural, and such as
must arise in your Majesty's bosom ; but Lord
Melbourne knows very well that your Majesty will
at once see the necessity of not yielding to your own
feelings, and of leaving the issue entirely in the hands
of your advisers.

Without any reference to personal or particular
circumstances, without adverting to your Majesty's
age, sex, qualities mental or personal, without attend-
ing to any sentiments of attachment or affection
which may be felt for your Majesty's person, it must
be remembered that your Majesty's life is, from the
position which you occupy and the office which you
fill, the most important life in these realms ; it is also
too clear that it is the most exposed life in the country,
the life the most obnoxious 2 to danger ; and therefore
it is a duty to throw around it every protection which
the law and the execution of the law can afford.

Lord Melbourne was sure that your Majesty, being
fond of speed, would be delighted with the railway.
Lord Melbourne hopes that your Majesty was not much
affected by the heat, which he feared that you would be.

Has your Majesty read the last volume of Madame
D'Arblay's (Miss Burney) Diary, which contains the
account of her service in the family of George III. ? 8
It is a curious [work], gives a curious account of the
interieur, and shows the King and Queen and the
Princesses in a very amiable light.

The Earl of Aberdeen to Queen Victoria.

FOREIGN OFFICE, 2Sth June 1842.

Lord Aberdeen with his humble duty, begs to
enclose for your Majesty's information a list of the
presents brought by the Envoy of the Imam of
Muscat for your Majesty.

1 Francis was tried on 17th June, and convicted. The death sentence was
commuted to one of transportation for life.

2 Used in the classical sense of " exposed to " ; cf. " obnoxia fato."

8 The first five volumes were published this year, Madame D'Arblay having
died in 1840, at the age of eighty-seven. Croker somewhat rancorously
attacked them in the Quarterly, to which Macaulay replied in the Edinburgh.



510 PRESENTS FOR THE QUEEN [CHAP.

Lord Aberdeen will attend to-morrow with the
Envoy, at the hour your Majesty has been pleased
to command ; and he will suggest that the presents
should be sent previously to the Palace, in order to
be laid before your Majesty.

[List of Articles sent for Her Most Gracious Majesty,
The Mighty Queen, a trifling Gift scarce worth
being mentioned.]

Two Pearl Necklaces,

Two Emeralds,

An Ornament made like a Crown,

Ten Cashmere Shawls,

One Box containing four Bottles Otto of Roses.

Four Horses, before mentioned in a former letter, but
for the transmission of which no opportunity offered in
Bombay, but now sent in my own ship. Through your
kindness have those things taken 1 from Ali bin Nassur,
and make an excuse for me to Her Most Gracious
Majesty, and peace be on you !

Lord Fitzgerald and Vesd to Queen Victoria.

INDIA BOARD, 4<A July 1842.

. . . From the seat of war, the intelligence is most
satisfactory. The conduct of the army, its perseverance
and its courage, have not been surpassed in the military
history of British India.

Recent events have not, however, changed the views
of Lord Ellenborough as to the general policy which he
recommends to be pursued.

He regards as the best result of that success which
has attended the Arms of your Majesty, that it admits
of withdrawing, without dishonour, the British force to
positions of safety, having certain and uninterrupted
communications with the British territory.

From other quarters the reports are equally favour-
able. The successful advance of a division commanded

1 I.e., accept.



1842] ANOTHER ATTACK ON THE QUEEN 511

by Brigadier- General England may be regarded as
ensuring the safety of the force at Candahar.

In the Indian Dominions and in the native Army
the best spirit prevails.

All of which is most humbly submitted to your
Majesty, by your Majesty's most dutiful Subject and
Servant, FITZGERALD AND VESCI.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

SOUTH STREET, 4</ July 1842.



Online LibraryUnknownThe letters of Queen Victoria : a selection from Her Majesty's correspondence between the years 1837 and 1861 : published by authority of His Majesty the king (Volume 1) → online text (page 41 of 52)