History In Ink® Historical Autographs
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Queen Victoria grants her approval to the appointment
of a Major General as commandant in the Royal Regiment of Artillery
Alexandrina Victoria, 1819–1901. Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 1837–1901; Empress of India, 1876–1901. Bold approval signature, Victoria R, on an 8” x 12½” letter dated March 12, 1852, by Field Marshal Henry Hardinge, GCB, PC, 1st Viscount Hardinge, 1785–1856, seeking The Queen’s consent to the appointment of an artillery general.
A week after he became Master-General of the Ordnance, Hardinge requests Queen Victoria’s approval of the appointment of a major general as Colonel Commandant in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. The Queen grants her assent by her signature at the top of the letter.
Hardinge writes, in full: “I have the honor to Report to Your Majesty the Death of Major General Richard John James Lacy Colonel Commandant in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, which took place on the 9th Instant. / I beg permission to submit to Your Majesty’s gracious favor the appointment of Major General Frederick Campbell to the vacant Batallion, that Officer being the Senior on the List. / Which is submitted to Your Majesty by Your Majesty’s most devoted Subject and Servant / Hardinge” The last eight words, “by Your Majesty’s most devoted Subject and Servant,” and Hardinge’s signature are in Hardinge’s hand.
Hardinge saw action in the Peninsular War and the Hundred Days campaign. He later served as a member of Parliament before serving as Secretary of War under Prime Minister the Duke of Wellington. He was appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland for five months before returning to his position as Secretary of War and then, in 1844, becoming Governor-General of India. On March 5, 1852, a week before he wrote this letter to Queen Victoria, Hardinge became Master-General of the Ordnance, a high-ranking military position responsible for a plethora of British military activities. Just over six months later, on September 28, 1852, Hardinge succeeded Wellington as commander-in-chief of the British Army.
Except for the last two lines, the body of this letter is in the hand of a secretary. As noted, Hardinge has written “by Your Majesty’s most devoted Subject and Servant” and has signed the letter. His handwriting and signature are bolder than the rest of the body of the letter. Hardinge’s autograph material appears to be scarce.
Queen Victoria has signed with a beautiful 3” signature in brown ink in the blank upper left margin.
The letter is mostly clean and bright, although there is some soiling at the edges. The letter has three horizontal folds, none of which touches either Queen Victoria’s or Hardinge’s signature. There are handwritten administrative notes near the top edge of the letter, a black oval received stamp in the upper right corner, and a penciled identification note on the back. There are mounting traces on the bottom quadrant of the letter on the back. Overall the letter is in fine to very fine condition.
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