'We shall have to hang some,
& it should have been done before.'
As THE QUEEN'S CARRIAGE drove out of Windsor station yard on the late afternoon of 2 March 1882, she heard what she took to be an engine letting off steam. Then she saw people running about in all directions and a man being hustled away as two Eton boys hit him on the head and shoulders with their umbrellas. A superintendent of the Windsor police ran towards them and snatched a revolver from the man's hand. Brown was not as quick as usual in jumping down from his seat at the back of the carriage; and later the Queen described him as being 'greatly perturbed'. 1
The would-be assassin, who was driven off in a cab to the police station by the superintendent, was, so the Queen was sorry to learn, a Scotsman. His name was Roderick Maclean and he fancied himself as a poet. When he was searched the police found an example of his work, dedicated to the Queen, together with a letter from Lady Biddulph, the Master of the Household's wife, informing him that Her Majesty did not accept manuscript poetry. It was also discovered that Maclean, after suffering a serious head injury, had spent fifteen years in a lunatic asylum from which he had not long since been discharged. At his trial on a charge of High Treason at Reading Assizes, his defence counsel maintained that no one could doubt that he was still insane. This contention was supported by several medical experts. The Queen, however, would have none of it; and when Maclean was found not guilty of attempting to murder Her Majesty'on grounds of insanity', the verdict outraged her common sense.