Classic History Books


Great Britain and Her Queen - by Anne E. Keeling

Queen running in and out of the house all day long, often going out alone, walking into the cottages,
sitting down and chatting with the old women," the Prince free from trammels of etiquette, showing what

native charm of manner and what high, cultivated intelligence were really his. The impression is identical

with that conveyed by Her Majesty's published Journal of that Highland life; and, though lacking the

many graceful details of that record, the testimony has its own value. Happy indeed was the Sovereign

for whom the black cloud of those years showed such a silver lining! Other potentates were less happy,

both as regarded their private blessings and their public fortunes.

It would be agreeable to English feelings, but not altogether consonant with historic truth, if we could
leave unnoticed the scandalous attempts on the Queen's life which marked the earliest period of her reign

and have been renewed in later days. The first attacks were by far of the most alarming character, but Her

Majesty, whose escape on one occasion seemed due only to her husband's prompt action, never betrayed

any agitation or alarm; and her dauntless bearing, and the care for others which she manifested by

dispensing with the presence of her usual lady attendants when she anticipated one of these assaults,

immensely increased the already high esteem in which her people held her. The first assailant, a

half-crazy lad of low station named Oxford, was shut up in a lunatic asylum. For the second, a man

named Francis, the same plea could not be urged; but the death-sentence he had incurred was commuted

to transportation for life. Almost immediately a deformed lad called Bean followed the example of

Francis. Her Majesty, who had been very earnest to save the life of the miserable beings attacking her,

desired an alteration in the law as to such assaults; and their penalty was fixed at seven years'

transportation, or imprisonment not exceeding three years, to which the court was empowered to add a

moderate number of whippings - punishments having no heroic fascination about them, like that which

for heated and shallow brains invested the hideous doom of "traitors." The expedient proved in a measure

successful, none of the later assaults, discreditable as they are, betraying a really murderous intention. It

has been remarked as a noteworthy circumstance that popular English monarchs have been more exposed

to such dangers than others who were cordially disliked. It is not hatred that has prompted these assassins

so much as imbecile vanity and the passion for notoriety, misleading an obscure coxcomb to think

"His glory would be great
According to her greatness whom he quenched."

 

CHAPTER III. FRANCE AND ENGLAND.

It is necessary now to look at the relations of our Government with other nations, and in particular with
France, whose fortunes just at this time had a clearly traceable effect on our own.

For several years the Court of England had been on terms of unprecedented cordiality with the French
Court. The Queen had personally visited King Louis Philippe at the Chateau d'Eu - an event which we

must go back as far as the days of Henry VIII to parallel - and had contracted a warm friendship for

certain members of his family, in particular for the Queen, Marie Amelie, for the widowed Duchess of

Orleans, a maternal cousin of Prince Albert, and for the perfect Louise, the truthful, unselfish second

wife of Leopold, King of the Belgians, and daughter of the King of the French. It was a rude shock to all

the warm feelings which our Queen, herself transparently honest, had learnt to cherish for her royal

friends when the French King and his Minister, Guizot, entered into that fatal intrigue of theirs, "the

Spanish marriages." Isabella, the young Queen of Spain, and her sister and heiress presumptive, Louisa,

were yet unmarried at the time of the visit to the Chateau d'Eu; and about that time an undertaking was

given by the French to the English Government that the Infanta Louisa should not marry a French prince

until her sister, the actual Queen, "should be married and have children." The possible union of the

 

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