Friday, 5 August 2011

The Conspirator

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm hoping to catch up with Robert Redford's new movie "The Conspirator". This historical epic  tells the story of Lincoln's assassination (146 years ago) and its aftermath -- specifically, the tale of Mary Surratt, the first woman ever executed by the federal government. In telling the story, Redford decided to dismiss the drama and  energy of the hunt for the assassin John Wilkes Booth (according to the history books), and to spend his time on Surratt's peculiar tale, as well as the intricacies of the  legal system -  so the film promises to be an interesting one on a number of levels.

So given the topicality of the Conspirator film, I thought I would publish this personal letter dated April 29th, 1865: Queen Victoria, still grieving and "utterly broken-hearted" following the death of Prince Albert four years previous, writes an empathetic letter of condolence to Mary Todd Lincoln following the recent assassination of her husband, Abraham Lincoln

The actual text reads:

April 29, 1865

Dear Madam,

Though a Stranger to you I cannot remain silent when so terrible a calamity has fallen upon you & your Country & must personally express my deep & heartfelt sympathy with you under the shocking circumstances of your present dreadful misfortune —

No one can better appreciate than I can, who am myself utterly broken-hearted by the loss of my own beloved Husband, who was the Light of my Life, — my Stay — my all, — what your sufferings must be; and I earnestly pray that you may be supported by Him to whom Alone the sorely stricken can look for comfort, in this hour of heavy affliction.

With the renewed Expression of true sympathy, I remain,

dear Madam,

Your Sincere friend

Victoria Rg

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