Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Shooting Victoria

"Shooting Victoria" by Paul Thomas Murphy documents in detail the seven assassination attempts made upon Queen Victoria, many during the years 1842 to 1850.
"There was Edward Oxford, a bartender who dreamed of becoming an admiral, who was simply shocked when his attempt to shoot the pregnant Queen and Prince consort made him a madman in the world’s eyes. There was hunchbacked John Bean, who dreamed of historical notoriety in a publicized treason trial, and William Hamilton, forever scarred by the ravages of the Irish Potato Famine. Roderick MacLean enabled Victoria to successfully strike insanity pleas from Britain’s legal process. Most threatening of all were the “dynamitards” who targeted her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee—who signaled the advent of modern terrorism with their publicly focused attack." (Source: Amazon)
None of her attackers were given the death penalty, and only one a life sentence (the one who attacked her twice). Three of the attackers (including the crazy man that chased her) went to a mental asylum, though one of them was released after 7 years and allowed to leave the country. Two of the attackers were transported to Australia for 7 years, one received only an 18-month sentence, and one was caned 20 times and given a 1 year prison sentence. Victoria wasn’t thrilled about all of the light sentences. At the Queen’s insistence, the laws were changed so that defendants could be found both “insane” AND “guilty”. 

Many years ago I discovered a dust-covered novel of a fictional account of an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria - "Chase Royal" by Donald Seaman.  Murphy's book brought this novel back to my mind - another must read for those who love their Victoriana.

No comments:

Post a Comment