Racialism was a scourge of the age; it went hand in hand with belief in the appropriateness of Britain's global dominion. For a dark-skinned Indian to be put very nearly on a level with the queen's white servants was all but intolerable, for him to eat at the same table as them, to share in their daily lives was viewed as an outrage. Yet the queen was determined to impose harmony on her household. Race hatred was intolerable to her, and the "dear good Munshi" deserving of nothing but respect. When complaints were brought to her, Victoria refused to believe any negative comments about Karim.
Mrs Brown - Wikipedia
She accepted Karim's explanation that Ali had found the brooch and that it was customary in India to keep anything that one found, whereas the rest of the Household thought Ali had stolen it. The Queen, influenced by the Munshi, continued to write to Lord Lansdowne on the issue of Tyler's promotion and the administration of India. She expressed reservations on the introduction of elected councils on the basis that Muslims would not win many seats because they were in the minority, and urged that Hindu feasts be re-scheduled so as not to conflict with Muslim ones.
Lansdowne dismissed the latter suggestion as potentially divisive,  but appointed Tyler Acting Inspector General of Prisons in September To the Household's surprise and concern, during Victoria's stay at Balmoral in September , she and Karim stayed for one night at a remote house on the estate, Glas-allt-Shiel at Loch Muick. Victoria had often been there with Brown and after his death had sworn never to stay there again. In , the Queen had Karim's portrait painted by Heinrich von Angeli. According to the Queen, von Angeli was keen to paint Karim as he had never painted an Indian before and "was so struck with his handsome face and colouring".
- Freerunning (German Edition).
- Abdul Karim (the Munshi) - Wikipedia.
- Ella vuole ed io torrei, No. 8 from La Finta Semplice, Act 1, K46a (K51) (Full Score);
- Room 8 Mystery Theater: The Case of the Murdered Chicken.
Nevertheless, the Viceroy agreed to find a grant for Karim that would provide about rupees annually, the same amount that an old soldier could expect after performing exceptionally. Apart from wasteland, there was little government-controlled land near Agra; thus Lansdowne was having trouble finding a suitable plot. On the same day, Lord Lansdowne telegraphed the Queen to let her know that a grant of land in the suburbs of Agra had been arranged.
Abdul Karim (the Munshi)
Abdul Karim, at the age of 26, had received a perpetual grant of land representing an income of more than double that amount in recognition of his services as a member of your Majesty's Household. Lansdowne visited Agra in November He and the Munshi met, and Lansdowne arranged for Karim to be seated with the viceregal staff during a durbar.
In , after Karim's return to Britain, he asked Reid to send his father a large quantity of medicinal compounds, which included strychnine , chloral hydrate , morphine , and many other poisons. Reid calculated that the amount requested was "amply sufficient to kill 12, to 15, full grown men or an enormously large number of children" and consequently refused. In May , the Munshi returned to India on six months' leave; on his return, his wife and mother-in-law accompanied him. Both women were shrouded from head to foot and travelled in railway compartments with drawn curtains.
Victoria wrote, "the two Indian ladies I have just been to see the Munshi's wife by Royal Command. She is fat and not uncomely, a delicate shade of chocolate and gorgeously attired, rings on her fingers, rings on her nose, a pocket mirror set in turquoises on her thumb and every feasible part of her person hung with chains and bracelets and ear-rings, a rose-pink veil on her head bordered with heavy gold and splendid silk and satin swathings round her person.
She speaks English in a limited manner Dr Reid never saw Mrs Karim unveiled, though he claimed that whenever he was called to examine her, a different tongue was protruded from behind the veil for his inspection. In , the Munshi's name began to appear in the Court Circular among the names of officials accompanying the Queen on her annual March trip to the French Riviera.
The popular idea in Italy is that the Munshi is a captive Indian prince, who is taken about by the Queen as an outward and visible sign of Her Majesty's supremacy in the East.
By , Victoria was sending notes to Karim signed in Urdu. The Munshi was perceived to have taken advantage of his position as the Queen's favourite, and to have risen above his status as a menial clerk, causing resentment in the court. On a journey through Italy, he published an advertisement in the Florence Gazette stating that "[h]e is belonging to a good and highly respectful famiely [ sic ]".
Lord Lansdowne's term of office ended in , and he was replaced by Lord Elgin. Ponsonby's son Frederick was Elgin's aide-de-camp in India for a short time before being appointed an equerry to Victoria. Victoria asked Frederick to visit Waziruddin, the "surgeon-general" at Agra. At Christmas , the Munshi sent Lord Elgin a sentimental greeting card, which to Victoria's dismay went unacknowledged.
Frederick wrote to Elgin in January that Karim was deeply unpopular in the Household, and that he occupied "very much the same position as John Brown used to". Hamilton thought Karim was not as dangerous as some supposed but that he was "a stupid man, and on that account he may become a tool in the hands of other men. Victoria had arranged for a female doctor to examine the Munshi's wife in December , as the couple had been trying to conceive without success. In March as members of the Household prepared to depart for Cimiez for the Queen's annual visit, they insisted that Karim not accompany the royal party, and decided to resign if he did so.
When Harriet Phipps , one of the Queen's maids of honour , informed her of the collective decision, the Queen swept the contents of her desk onto the floor in a fury. She thought their distrust and dislike of Karim was motivated by "race prejudice" and jealousy. After the distress of , Victoria sought to reassure the Munshi. She had already exasperated prime minister William Gladstone and her courtiers with her reluctance to discharge simple duties such as opening the new Blackfriars Bridge in London. But the thing that was putting the monarchy itself at risk was more serious.
It was so sensitive it could only be hinted at in speech and could certainly not be put into writing. In Grey's eyes the year-old Queen, still grieving over the deathof her beloved husband Prince Albert seven years earlier, had taken leave of her senses. She had forged a close personal friendship with a rough-spoken Scottish ghillie from her Balmoral estate, John Brown.
This man, seven years her junior, had become her constant companion, standing guard outside her room at Windsor Castle, relaying messages to senior courtiers and barring entry to some of the highest people in the land. Frequently tipsy, he had made the Queen his drinking partner and she in return was widely believed to have made him her lover. The Victorian writer Wilfrid Scawen Blunt said it was the talk of the royal household that Brown was "the Queen's stallion". Having worked on the subject of Queen Victoria for many years I have to confess to the rather unsatisfactory answer that I feel unable to make up my mind.
We will probably never know the truth but Victoria's latest biographer AN Wilson admits it's the first thing everyone wants to know about. Born in the local village of Crathie, the year-old Brown went to work as an outdoor servant at Balmoral when Prince Albert first leased the castle in The young Queen took a shine to him in the happy days of her marriage but her world fell apart when her husband died aged just 42 in She fell into a deep depression and by the end of her second daughter Princess Alice noticed that rides with Brown in the pony cart were virtually the only things that perked her mother up.
She recommended the ghillie be brought to England and from then on he became the Queen's constant companion - bringing her morning correspondence, staying while she worked on it, taking her for rides and acting as her gatekeeper. He had a lively sense of humour, was abrasive with pompous courtiers and unlike virtually everyone else, including her children, wasn't frightened of her and so treated her as a human being.
She used him to summon members of the household, which he often did in direct language that they regarded as ill-mannered. Grey particularly detested him, refusing to accept messages from the Queen if Brown conveyed them.
Did Queen Victoria secretly marry servant John Brown?
It was in Springfield where Brown first revealed the elements of what would become the final act of his life: Living with black families was a clear indication of Brown's commitment to a biracial society. In , reacting to the Fugitive Slave provisions of the Compromise of , Brown returned to Springfield and established the League of Gileadites. Dedicated to protecting escaped slaves from slave catchers, the League was a concrete expression of Brown's visceral distaste for federal complicity with the institution of slavery.
Essentially a new constitution for a slavery-free United States, the document stated that:. In , John Brown learned of abolitionist Gerrit Smith's offer of free land to blacks in the Adirondacks. Whereas slavery, throughout its entire existence in the United States, is none other than a most barbarous, unprovoked, and unjustifiable war of one portion of its citizens upon another portion-the only conditions of which are perpetual imprisonment and hopeless servitude or absolute extermination-in utter disregard and violation of those eternal and self-evident truths set forth in our Declaration of Independence:.
Therefore, we, citizens of the United States, and the oppressed people who, by a recent decision of the Supreme Court, [The Dred Scott Decisions] are declared to have no rights which the white man is bound to respect, together with all other people degraded by the laws thereof, do, for the time being, ordain and establish for ourselves the following Provisional Constitution and Ordinances, the better to protect our persons, property, lives, and liberties, and to govern our actions 4. This was a clear statement of Brown's opposition to slavery and his dedication to equality. Yet for Brown, it was not words, but actions, that seared his name into the pantheon of American history.
Speaking to the community of former slaves in Canada, Brown announced his plan to invade the American South and foment a slave rebellion using the mountains of western Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama to provide cover for his uprising. It would be this uprising that occupied much of his travel, speaking, and fundraising between and his death in Brown's first overt public action took place in May of In Kansas, Brown led a group of men on a raid that killed five proslavery men along the Pottawatomie Creek.
Though Brown claimed not to have participated in the actual murders, the brutality of the act has come to symbolize the violence that struck Kansas territory as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of Violence as a tool for change was again employed by Brown in in Missouri. Brown entered Vernon County, just across the Kansas border, and attacked several proslavery farmers, stole horses and wagons, and secured the freedom of eleven enslaved persons.
After traveling more than a thousand miles over eighty-plus days, Brown delivered the newly liberated former-slaves into the hands of Canada and freedom. Secretly funded by six abolitionists from Massachusetts, armed with thousands of pikes purchased in Connecticut, driven by his deep disdain for slavery, and supported by twenty-one other men, Brown headed to western Maryland to reconnoiter for his final attempt to foment a rebellion aimed at destroying the institution of slavery.
The raid on the federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry, Virginia was initiated on the evening of October 16, In what quickly developed into a rout, more than half of Brown's followers were killed and the remaining eight, including Brown, were captured the following day. Indicted, found guilty, and sentenced to die, John Brown was hanged in Charlestown, Virginia on December 2, 5. Students are asked to describe the emotions each image evokes, identify elements of the piece that help to communicate the artist's perspective, and describe the individual in the image.
Be it a graphic novel, statuary, Currier and Ives prints, New Deal—sponsored murals, the art of Jacob Lawrence, or daguerreotypes, John Brown's visual depictions vary in subtle and not so subtle ways. My students are immediately attracted to both the images and the overt discrepancies in how Brown appears and is depicted.
Students often describe Brown as a crazy old man, a savior, or a dedicated abolitionist. They are fascinated with how Brown looks in the photographic images as well as how various artists have presented him. Of particular interest is the evolution of the apocryphal image of Brown kissing a slave child on the steps of the Charlestown jail.
The Bigger Picture
The poet's first three stanzas eloquently describe Brown's final act: John Brown of Osawatomie spake on his dying day:. And round the grisly fighter's hair the martyr's aureole bent! The notion of Brown consecrating his sacrifice for slaves with a kiss to the cheek of a slave child found visual form in the painting, John Brown on His Way to Execution by Louis Ransom. It was further popularized by an Currier and Ives colored lithograph entitled John Brown , and subtitled Meeting the slave-mother and her child on the steps of Charlestown jail on his way to execution.
Finally, in , Thomas Hovenden painted his memorialization of the mythical kiss in his Last Moments of John Brown See cover image 7. This introductory element of the lesson fertilizes the pedagogical ground for growing a deep and meaningful investigation of Brown. Meeting the slave-mother and her child on the steps of Charlestown jail on his way to execution. A precursor of Thomas Hovenden's painting on the cover of this issue, it offers a darker, more symbolic depiction of the mythical event. To Brown's left, we see his elderly jailer, a wealthy slaveholder, and a militia member dressed in an aristocratic uniform.
To his right stands the embodied spirit of the American Revolution somberly assessing the scene and a soldier pushing back an enslaved woman who suckles her light-skinned child, perhaps the product of a rape by her master. Behind her stands a broken and neglected statue of Justice. A one-page biographical reading, assigned for homework, is used to structure class discussion of Brown's upbringing, his early efforts to address slavery in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the events leading up to his attack on the federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry.
To firmly place Brown's actions within the growing sectional mentality of the s, I discuss with students the various sectional reactions to Brown's failed raid. With the contrasting images of Brown fresh in their minds, I inform students that it is their task to determine how Brown should be memorialized historically. To deepen their analysis of Brown, students are assigned one of several readings.
Historiographically, the discussion of Brown has evolved from the hero-worship of James Redpath and Oswald Garrison Villard to critical analysis of his mental state as found in the work of Bruce Catton and James C. Students are organized so that all of the six sources are represented within a group. Each student then presents the interpretation of John Brown expounded by their source.
Next, to assist students in better understanding each perspective, I identify some relevant background information of the various authors and the time period in which they wrote. It is important to ensure that students consider authorship, context, and subtext as they derive information from a historical source.
By confronting the milieu in which Malcolm X spoke about Brown, or how personal biography impacts Villard's telling of the Brown story, students are forced to consider the sources not as words, but as a perspective informed by and reflecting the social, cultural, economic, and political background of the author and the time period of its construction.
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