The Attempt on the Life of the Queen exactly as reported by The Graphic newspaper on 11th March 1882

INTENSE horror and alarm were created all over the country by the news that, on Thursday last week, an attempt had been made to shoot the Queen, but the assurance which was at the same time circulated that Her Majesty had escaped unhurt tended greatly to allay the excitement, and perhaps to lessen the universal feeling of indignation which the crime had excited. The intelligence that the Queen had not even been much alarmed by the occurrence which had so startled everyone else in the kingdom was in itself a relief to her anxious people, and a perfect flood of congratulatory messages was poured into Windsor from corporations and representative societies, as well as from individuals belonging to all classes of society, in all parts of the three kingdoms, as well as telegrams from the colonies and foreign countries.

The story of the crime is soon told: Her Majesty on reaching Windsor had left the train, and with Princess Beatrice had seated herself in a carriage drawn by a pair of greys, and the vehicle had just, started when the miscreant, Maclean, who was standing in the front row of spectators, drew a revolver from his breast, and fired. At the same instant, however, Mr. Superintendent Hayes, Mr. James Burnside, a local photographer, and several Eton boys rushed forward, and he was disarmed and arrested, whining pitifully to his captors to protect him from the just indignation of the crowd. Her Majesty’s carriage was driven on towards the Castle as though nothing had happened, but the Queen’s first care was to inquire as to the safety of her attendants, and her next to send cheerful telegrams to the Prince of Wales and the Premier, lest exaggerated reports might be circulated.

The prisoner was examined next day before the Windsor magistrates, and remanded until yesterday (Friday), being removed to Reading Gaol in the interim. From the evidence already taken it seems that the revolver was loaded with ball cartridge in three chambers, one of which only was fired, the bullet probably passing in rear of the Royal carriage as it was driven by, and, after striking against a railway truck, burying itself in the earth beyond, from whence it has since been recovered. Fourteen ball cartridges were also found in the possession of the prisoner, who, being examined by the police surgeon, was declared to be sane.

Since then, however, a number of statements as to his family and former career have been published, which, if true, can leave little doubt that he is a lunatic. When arrested he was in a wretched condition, and his own statement is that hunger drove him to the commission of the crime; though with a cunning which is perhaps indicative of madness he denies that he had any desire to do more than alarm the Queen, and thus call attention to what he considers to be his wrongs. Mad or sane, he appears to have been a lazy, loafing scoundrel, for whom no sympathy can possibly be felt; and, if any crumb of consolation can be found amid the sad circumstances of the case, it is that the dreadful crime so happily averted was not the outcome of any political disaffection. It is to be hoped that we shall profit by the lesson recently set us by our American cousins in the trial of Guiteau, and dispose of Maclean as quickly and quietly as possible.

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