The Peel Web

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Peel's accident (1850)

Sir Robert ... went out on horseback at about five o’clock, attended by a groom, for his usual ride... Turning up Constitution Hill, nearly opposite the wicket that opens into the Green Park, he met Miss Ellis, one of Lady Dover’s daughters, who was also on horseback. He advanced to greet her; his horse made some resistance; it was an eight years’ old horse which Sir Robert had been riding for about two months. He was gently quieting the animal, when it suddenly shied again, and threw him over its head. He fell violently, with his face to the ground. Two persons who happened to be passing, lifted him up immediately; a physician from Glasgow, Dr. Foucart, who was also near at hand, came up, and asked him if he were hurt. ‘Yes, very much,’ replied Sir Robert with a deep groan, and before a carriage could be procured, he fainted. Mrs Lucas, who was passing, offered her carriage... . The carriage proceeded slowly through the Park to his residence in Whitehall Gardens.

He was carried into the nearest room, the dining room, and laid on a sofa. He never left that room alive, and all movement became so painful to him, that it was with the greatest difficulty he was removed from the sofa to an hydraulic bed, on which he lay in restless agony.

All physical pain troubled and agitated him strangely. After his fall, this disturbance, agitation, and aversion to pain, became so strong, that his physicians were unable to succeed in clearly ascertaining all the effects of the accident, and the full extent of the injury. Sir Robert objected to any examination, to any sort of contact; and fell into a state of alarming irritation when his medical attendants insisted.

It was not until after the death of Sir Robert Peel, that it was discovered that the fifth rib on the left side was also fractured, and had pressed upon the lung, and produced a congestion of that organ which, it is said, was the determining cause of death.

F. P. G. Guizot, Memoirs of Sir Robert Peel (London, 1857).

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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