was encouraging correspondence between masses of people brought up to look upon letter writing as a grace of the upper classes.
There was also an awakening of conscience among the rich who began to endow schools and institutions for the poor. Perhaps the most romantic gift was that of George Peabody, an American of English yeoman stock, who gave a quarter of a million pounds to build dwelling houses for the poor in London. The Queen was so touched by the gesture that she felt she should "in some way mark her appreciation of this benevolence shown by a foreigner to the poor." She wrote to Mr. Peabody of his
"princely munificence"and offered him a baronetcy, which he declined. She asked him therefore to "accept a miniature portrait of herself" which was specially painted and sent to him in America. 2
With enlightenment came intelligent interest in health. Cures for cholera were found and there was already a venereal disease hospital in London. At first, the secretary considered that because of "the special character" of the institution it was "not easy" for him to "plead in public" for support. But it was one of the many signs that the millions were beginning to enjoy the advantages that come with enlightenment and education.
IT HAS been said that Queen Victoria 'lost us Ireland." The story of the afflicted country is too confused for blame to be loaded on any one Briton, but the Queen's neglect of the Irish, whom she never liked, certainly contributed to the troubles of the nineteenth century. In all the years of her rule the Queen spent less than five weeks in Ireland and almost seven years in Scotland. She wrote1 to her uncle of the country surrounding her Scottish home,
"The mountains seem fresh from God's hand."Her feelings about Ireland were otherwise.
When the Queen's Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands was published there was a chorus of praise. One of the few who regretted the book was Lady Augusta Stanley who said that if the Queen had "settled on" Ireland instead of Aberdeenshire,
"the ecstasies and interests that would have grown up would have been just as great,"and that "Fenianism would never have existed." 2 Lady