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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and that the result of it will be greatly to be lamented ;
but still he could not advise your Majesty to seek to
avert it by the acquiescence in demands amounting to
the abrogation of important civil rights and to the

1 Sir James Graham's letter is printed in the Annual Register for 1843. A
petition in answer was drawn by the Assembly and presented to Parliament
by Mr Fox Maule. After the debate on it in the Commons, preparations
were made throughout Scotland for the secession of the non-intrusionists,
as they were called, which event took place on 18th May 1843, when about
500 Ministers, headed by Chalmers, seceded from the Old Kirk, and founded
the Free Church.

2 John Abercrombie (1780-1844) one of the chief consulting physicians
in Scotland, and a great medical writer. He left the Established Church.

8 Sir George Sinclair (1790-1868), M.P. for Caithness-shire, was a sup-
porter of the Anti-Patronage Society, and joined the Free Church.
VOL. i. 36


establishment in Scotland of an ecclesiastical domina-
tion independent of all control. . . .

He is very confident that your Majesty will feel
that in the present state of the controversy with the
Church of Scotland, there is peculiar reason for taking
the greatest care that every minister presented to a
Crown Living should be not only above exception, but
should, if possible, be pre-eminently distinguished for
his fitness for a pastoral charge.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

BROCKET HALL, 30th December 1842.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He has been much delighted this morning
by receiving your Majesty's letter of the 28th. He
was the more gratified, as he had begun to be a little
annoyed at being such a very long time without hearing
from your Majesty.

Lord Mahon has sent Lord Melbourne his book. 1
Lord Melbourne has not yet read it, but he has read
the review of it in the Quarterly, which seems to be
a sort of abstract or abridgment of the book. The
effect of writing it in French has naturally been to
direct all attention and criticism from the merits of
the work to the faults of the French. People who
have read the work speak of it as entertaining, and
the times are curious and interesting. The characters
engaged in them, striking and remarkable. Lord
Melbourne is very glad to hear that Pottinger's con-
duct is so universally approved. He always appeared
to Lord Melbourne to be a man of great ability, resolu-
tion, and discretion, and Lord Melbourne much rejoices
that he has turned out so.

Hallam's opinions Lord Melbourne believes to be in
general sound, and such as have been held and approved
by the most able and constitutional statesmen in this

Lord Melbourne is much rejoiced to hear of the

1 Essai sur la vie du grand Condi, afterwards published in English.


Princess and the Prince of Wales, and also that your
Majesty is pursuing your studies quietly, cheerfully,
and happily.

Lord Melbourne is very sensible of the interest
which the Baron takes in his health and which he
warmly reciprocates. There is no man whom he
esteems more, nor of whose head and heart he has
a better opinion.

We expect here to-morrow the Duchess of Suther-
land * and Lady Elizabeth Gower, 2 who have been kind
enough to propose to pay Lord Melbourne a visit

1 Formerly Mistress of the Robes.

2 Afterwards Duchess of Argyll.


REPEATED debates took place during the year (1843) on the Com
Laws, the agitation against them steadily growing, Mr Cobden
coming on one occasion into violent conflict with the Premier.
The events of the previous year in Afghanistan were also the subject
of constant discussion in Parliament. A movement of some import-
ance took place in Wales in opposition to the increasing number
of toll-bars, bands of rioters dressed in women's clothes and known
as " Rebecca and her daughters," demolishing the gates and
committing acts of greater or less violence. A verse in Genesis
(xxiv. 60) fancifully applied gave rise to this name and disguise.

In Scotland the system of private patronage in the Established
Kirk had become very unpopular, the Act of Anne in favour of
the nomination by lay patrons, and the control given to the Law
Courts over the revising action of the Presbytery being ultimately
modified by a declaration of the General Assembly known as the
Veto Act. But it was decided in what was called the Strathbogie
case that the veto was illusory, the disruption of the old Kirk
followed, and on 18th May Dr Chalmers and five hundred other
ministers seceded from it in order to form the Free Church.

In Ireland the agitation for Repeal was at its height. O'Connell,
supported by the Nation newspaper, founded a Repeal association
in Dublin, and monster meetings were held on Sundays on some
conspicuous spot of free and historic associations, to claim the
re-establishment of a Parliament on College Green. It was believed
that a quarter of a million people were present on one occasion,
and the Government, alarmed at the absolute power wielded by
O'Connell over these huge bodies of men, resolved to prohibit the
meetings, and somewhat tardily issued a Proclamation against
that announced for Clontarf on 8th October. O'Connell accord-
ingly disbanded the meeting, but his action did not please his
more zealous supporters, and his ascendancy came to an end. The
agitation collapsed and the principal actors were arrested.

A military duel fought in the summer of this year, in which
a colonel in the army was shot by his brother-in-law, made the
code of honour existing on the subject a burning question, the
criminal law of homicide being the same then as now. On Prince
Albert's suggestion the question was taken up by the heads of the
Army and Navy, and the Articles of War were in the following
year amended so as to admit of an apology and a tender of redress.

The better feeling existing between this country and France
enabled the Queen and Prince to visit Louis Philippe at the
Chateau d : Eu.



Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

WINDSOR CASTLE, kth January 1843.

DEAREST UNCLE, ... We have been very gay ;
danced into the New Year, and again last night, and
were very merry, though but a very small party ;
young and old danced. Good Lord Melbourne was
here from Saturday till this morning, looking very
well, and I almost fancied happy old times were
returned ; but alas ! the dream is past ! He enquired
much after you.

Now adieu ! Ever your devoted Niece,


Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians.

CLAREMONT, 10th January 1843.

MY DEAREST UNCLE, I am happy to write to
you again from this so very dear and comfortable
old place, where you will have heard from Louise
that we arrived with our dear Pussy on Thursday
last. We are all so particularly well, including
Pussy, that we intend, to my great delight, to
prolong our stay till next Monday. This place has
a peculiar charm for us both, and to me it brings
back recollections of the happiest days of my otherwise
dull childhood where I experienced such kindness



from you, dearest Uncle, which has ever since con-
tinued. It is true that my last stay here before I
came to the Throne, from November '36 to February
'37, was a peculiarly painful and disagreeable one,
but somehow or other, I do not think of those times,
but only of all the former so happy ones. Victoria
plays with my old bricks, etc., and I think you would
be pleased to see this and to see her running and
jumping in the flower garden, as old though I fear
still little Victoria of former days used to do. She
is very well, and such an amusement to us, that I
can't bear to move without her ; she is so funny and
speaks so well, and in French also, she knows almost
everything ; she w r ould therefore get on famously
with Charlotte. . . .

Might I ask you some questions about Joinville's
match, 1 which interests me much ? First of all, have
you heard of his arrival at Rio ? Secondly, if the
Donna Francesca pleases, is he empowered at once
to make the demand, or must he write home first ?
How nice it would be if the two marriages could
take place at once, but I suppose, under any circum-
stances, that could not be. . . .

Alexandrine is nearly quite recovered ; she writes
such pretty, affectionate, kind letters, poor dear child,
and is so fond of Ernest. I must say I think he
seems improved, as he likes to live quietly with her,
and speaks of her too with the greatest affection.

Now, my dearest Uncle, let me take my leave,
begging you to believe me always, your devoted

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

BROCKET HAI.L, I2lh January 1843.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty, and thanks your Majesty much for your
letter of the 9th inst. which he received yesterday.

1 He was married to the Princess Francesca of Brazil on 1st May.


Every letter that he receives from your Majesty brings
back to his mind the recollection of times, which,
though they were clouded with much care and anxiety,
were still to Lord Melbourne a period of much happi-
ness and satisfaction. . . .

Hallam has not written a History of the Church,
but in all his books there is necessarily much about
the Church, and much that is worthy of mention. A
short History of the Church is, Lord Melbourne fears,
not to be found, the subject is so large and so difficult
that it cannot be treated shortly. Dr Short 1 has
written and published a clever, brief, and distinct
summary, but it relates principally to the Church of
England, and in order to be fully understood, requires
to be read by one who has already some acquaintance
with the subject.

The book which your Majesty remembers Lord
Melbourne reading is the production of Dr Waddington, 2
whom your Majesty, under Lord Melbourne's recom-
mendation, made Dean of Durham, which dignity he
now holds. It is a very good book.

Adolphus's 3 History is by no means a bad book,
and will give your Majesty the facts of the beginning
of the reign of George III. well and accurately
enough. The Duke of Sussex once told Lord
Melbourne that he had asked his father whether
Adolphus's account of the beginning of his reign
was correct, and that the King had replied that
substantially it was so, but that there were some
mistakes, and that what had been done by one person
was often attributed to another. Adolphus's History
will receive some illustration from Horace Walpole's
letters of that period. . . .

Lord Melbourne thinks that he is really getting rid
of the gout, and gathering strength. He still has
some doubt whether he shall be able to go up for

1 Bishop, then of Sodor and Man, afterwards of St Asaph. His book, a
Sketch of the History of th Church of England, was published in 1832.

2 George Waddington (1793-1869), Dean of Durham, published in 1833
the History of the Church from the Earliest Apes to the Reformation.

8 John Adolphus, barrister, wrote a history of England from 1760 to 1783.


the meeting of Parliament. Lord Melbourne begs to
renew to your Majesty the warm and respectful assur-
ance of his gratitude and attachment.

Queen Adelaide to Queen Victoria.

CANFOIID HOUSE, Friday, 13th January 1843.

MY DEAREST NIECE, ... As you take so kind
an interest in our dear Thesy, 1 I send you a letter
which I have received from her mother-in-law, with
an excellent account of her and her infant. Her
happiness is a great blessing, and I thank God that
she is so well this time. Can you imagine her with
two boys? It seems so odd, for it is but a short
time since she was here with us. How time flies
rapidly. I own I was not a little surprised to find
that you are probably the godmother; or is the little
boy only to be named after you ? I remember well
what you said to me when I was asked to be the
godmother of the first boy, " that I could not accept
it" as I must not take the responsibilities attached
to a sponsor with a Roman Catholic child. On that
ground alone, and having learned your opinion which
sanctioned my own, I refused it then at the risk of
offending the dear parents. Now, after all that was
said on the subject, if you have accepted the offer of
becoming sponsor to this little Victor, YOU, as the
Head of the English Church, give to understand that
/ was wrong in my notions of the duties which our
Church imposes upon sponsors, having refused what
you accepted. I tell you fairly and openly that it has
vexed me, but of course I say this only to yourself,
dearest Victoria, and not to any one else, for it does
not become me to find fault with what you please to
do. But I could not entirely pass it over in silence,
and regret that my former refusal must now become
doubly annoying to my relations. I beg your pardon
for thus frankly stating my feelings to you on a subject

1 Princess Therese, daughter of the Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillinffsfiirst,
and wife of Prince Frederick Charles of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg.


which I shall now dispatch from my mind, and I trust
you will not take it ill, and excuse me for having
mentioned it to you alone. . . . Your most attached
and devoted Aunt, ADELAIDE.

Queen Victoria to Queen Adelaide.

CLAREMONT, 15th January 1843.

I am at a loss to comprehend, my dear Aunt, what
you mean by saying that you refused being godmother
to Thesy's first child, as / had sanctioned your doing
so. I never remember even talking to you on the
subject, but only heard from Mamma that you had
refused doing so which I was surprised at. I there-
fore felt no hesitation in accepting the offer of Thesy,
particularly as I am already godmother to one of the
children of Prince Esterhazy's daughter. I am grieved,
dearest Aunt, that this occurrence should annoy you,
but I can assure you that I do not remember ever
having spoken to you on the subject at all.

Lord Stanley to Queen Victoria.

DOWNING STREET, 19th January 1843.

Lord Stanley with his humble duty submits to
your Majesty that in pursuance of the permission
which your Majesty was pleased to give him
personally, he has this day offered to Sir Charles
Metcalfe 1 the Governor- Generalship of Canada ; and
Lord Stanley has much satisfaction in adding that the
offer has been readily and thankfully accepted. This
appointment, Lord Stanley is convinced, is, under
the circumstances, the best which could have been
made, and he believes not only that it will be
generally approved, but that Sir Charles Metcalfe's
long experience and tried discretion will afford the
best prospect of conducting the affairs of Canada

1 Metcalfe had had a long Indian career, and for a year had been Provisional
Governor-General, when he removed the restrictions on the liberty of the
Press. He was created a peer in 1845, but never took his seat He resigned
his post at the end of that year, and died soon after.


safely and successfully through the present crisis.
As Sir Charles Metcalfe will naturally be anxious
previous to his embarkation (which, however, will
probably not take place for at least six weeks) to
have the honour of being presented to your Majesty
on his appointment, Lord Stanley hopes he may be
honoured by your Majesty's commands as to the
time when it may be your Majesty's pleasure to
admit him to an audience. Perhaps Sir Charles's
attendance after the Council at which your Majesty's
Speech on the opening of the Session has to be settled,
may give your Majesty as little trouble as any time that
could be named.

The above is humbly submitted by your Majesty's
most dutiful servant and subject, STANLEY.

Sir Robert Peel to the Prince Albert.

WHITEHALL, 20th January 1843.

Sir, I have the painful duty of acquainting your
Royal Highness that Mr Drummond, my Private
Secretary, was shot at this day about quarter past
three o'clock, in the neighbourhood of Charing Cross. 1

Two pistols were discharged, the first close to Mr
Drummond's back, the second after the assassin had
been seized by a policeman.

The ball entered in the back and has been extracted,
after passing round the ribs. I have just left Mr
Drummond's house. No vital part appears to have
been injured, and there is no unfavourable symptom

The assassin gives his name MacNaghten, and
appears to be a Glasgow man.

Two five pound notes were, I understand, found
upon his person, and a receipt for 750 given to
Daniel MacNaghten, confirming, therefore, the man's
account of his name.

1 Edward Drummond had been Private Secretary to Canning, Ripon, and
Wellington, as well as to Peel, and was very popular; he was in his fifty-first
year. He had just left his uncle's Bank at Charing Cross, when he was shot.


We have not hitherto been able to discover that
this man had any alleged grievance or complaint
against the Treasury or any public office.

He has been loitering about the public offices for
the last fortnight, and being questioned, I understand,
some days since, by the Office Keeper of the Council
office, said he was a policeman. This, of course, for
the purpose of evading further enquiry.

The policeman who apprehended the man, says
that he heard the man exclaim after firing the shots :
" He or she (the policeman is uncertain which) shall
not disturb my peace of mind any more."

These are all the particulars I have heard or
learned. I am afraid I have given them to your
Royal Highness in a hurried manner. I have
thought it better to convey this information to Her
Majesty, through the kind intervention of your
Royal Highness, than by a direct communication to
the Queen.

I have the honour to be, Sir, with sincere respect,
your Royal Highness's most faithful and humble

Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 21st January 1843.

Sir Robert Peel begs leave to mention to your
Majesty a fact which has not hitherto transpired and
of which he was not aware until he had an interview
this morning with Sir James Graham.

On the Inspector Tierney going into the cell of
MacNaghten this morning, he said to MacNaghten :
" 1 suppose you are aware who is the person whom
you have shot?

He (MacNaghten) said: "Yes Sir Robert Peel."

From this it would appear that he had mistaken
Mr Drummond for Sir Robert Peel.

The Magistrate thought it better not to have
this evidence at present placed on record.


Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 25th January 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and has the very painful duty to
report to your Majesty the fatal consequences of
the attack on Mr Drummond.

He breathed his last this morning about half-past
ten o'clock.

A very unfavourable change took place last night,
and no hopes were entertained after seven o'clock in
the evening.

This sad event has had such an effect on Lady
Peel, and all the circumstances attending it are so
distressing to Sir Robert Peel, that relying upon your
Majesty's great kindness, he ventures to express a
hope that your Majesty will have the goodness to
permit Sir Robert and Lady Peel to remain for the
present in London, or should your Majesty desire
to see Sir Robert Peel before Wednesday next, to
allow him to wait upon your Majesty in the morning
of any day which your Majesty may be pleased to

He need scarcely assure your Majesty that nothing
but such a sad event as that which has occurred
would induce him to prefer this request to your

Sir Robert Peel encloses such further information
as has reached him respecting MacNaghten.

He does not hesitate to send to your Majesty
every word of information of the least importance
which he receives. . . .

The evidence of his mental delusion is strong, but
it must be borne in mind that he was exactly the
instrument which others would employ.

Sir Robert Peel has no reason for surmising this
to be the case, but the possibility of it ought not
and shall not be overlooked.


Sir Robert Peel to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 25th January 1843.

Sir Robert Peel presents his humble duty to
your Majesty, and makes no apology for frequently
writing to your Majesty on the painful subject in
respect to which your Majesty has manifested so
deep an interest.

Sir Robert Peel humbly thinks that your Majesty's
observations with respect to the clear distinctions
in the cases of insanity are most just. It will be
most unfortunate indeed, if the Law does not attach
its severest penalty to a crime so premeditated and
so deliberately and savagely perpetrated, as that of

The Jury are, however, the sole judges on this
point, that is to say, it rests with them exclusively,
either to find an absolute verdict of guilty of murder,
or to acquit on the ground of insanity.

MacNaghten will be charged with the offence of
murder, and every effort will be made to bring him
to condign punishment.

His Counsel will probably endeavour to establish
his insanity.

Nothing can be more collected and intelligent in
many respects than his conduct in prison. He was
conversing with the gaoler, and seemed not dis-
inclined to unburden his mind, when he suddenly
stopped and enquired from the gaoler whether such
conversations as that which he was holding went
beyond the prison walls.

On being informed that no security could be given
that they would remain secret, he said he should hold
his tongue, but that all would come out by and by.

Sir Robert Peel takes the liberty of enclosing
for your Majesty's perusal, a note which he has
just received from Miss Emily Eden, sister of Lord
Auckland, and of Mrs Charles Drummond.

If it should be in your Majesty's power to assign
apartments at some future period to Miss Drummond,


who lived with her brother Edward, and was mainly
dependent upon him, it would be a very great comfort
to a lady of the most unexceptionable conduct, and
most deeply attached to her poor brother.

Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria.

BROCKET HALL, 25th January 1843.

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your
Majesty. He has been much gratified this morning
by receiving your Majesty's letter of the 23rd ; he has
determined upon following your Majesty's advice, and
upon not hazarding the throwing himself back by
coming up to London and attempting to attend the
House of Lords at the commencement of the Session.
The assassination of Mr Drummond, for Lord Melbourne
fears it must be called so, is indeed a dreadful thing.
Lord Melbourne is not surprised, for people are very
apt to turn all their wrath and indignation upon the
man from whom they actually receive an answer,
which they do not like, without in the least consider-
ing whether he is really responsible for it. Lord
Melbourne used often to be himself assailed with threats
of personal violence. Sometimes he took notice of
them by swearing the peace against those who used
them, and having them bound over in sureties.
Sometimes he disregarded them, but he does not
think it either prudent or justifiable entirely to neglect
such intimations. Lord Melbourne does not wonder
that this event brings to your Majesty's recollection
what has taken place in your own case.

Hallam is, in Lord Melbourne's opinion, right about
Ireland. Her advocates are very loud in their outcry,
but she has not really much to complain of.

Lord Melbourne was very glad to hear of the
marriage of Prince Augustus of Coburg with the
Princess Clementine, as he apprehends that the con-
nection must be very agreeable to your Majesty.

Lord Melbourne begs to be respectfully and affec-
tionally remembered to His Royal Highness.


Sir James Graham to Queen Victoria.

WHITEHALL, 28<A January 1843.

Sir James Graham, with humble duty, begs to inform
your Majesty, that the prisoner Daniel MacNaghten
was fully committed for trial this afternoon. He was
not defended before the Magistrates ; but in his manner
he was quite cool, intelligent, and collected ; he asked
no questions, but he expressed a wish to have copies
of the Depositions.

His trial will probably commence on Friday or
Saturday next, and there is reason to believe that, at
the request of his relatives in Glasgow, Counsel will be

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 46 of 52)