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Lord John Russell presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and has the honour to state that the Kennington Common Meeting has proved a complete failure.
About 12,000 or 15,000 persons met in good order. Feargus O'Connor, upon arriving upon the ground in a car, was ordered by Mr Mayne [the Commissioner of Police] to come and speak to him. He immediately left the car and came, looking pale and frightened, to Mr Mayne. Upon being told that the meeting would not be prevented, but that no procession would be allowed to pass the bridges, he expressed the utmost thanks, and begged to shake Mr Mayne by the hand. He then addressed the crowd, advising them to disperse, and after rebuking them for their folly he went off in a cab to the Home Office, where he repeated to Sir George Grey [the Home Secretary] his thanks, his fears, and his assurances that the crowd should disperse quietly. Sir George Grey said he had done very rightly, but that the force at the bridges should not be diminished.
Mr F. O'Connor - 'Not a man should be taken away. The Government have been quite right. I told the Convention that if they had been the Government they never would have allowed such a meeting.'
The last account gave the numbers as about 5,000 rapidly dispersing. The mob was in good humour, and any mischief that now takes place will be the act of individuals; but it is to be hoped the preparations made will daunt those wicked but not brave men.
The accounts from the country are good. Scotland is quiet. At Manchester, however, the Chartists are armed, and have bad designs. A quiet termination of the present ferment will greatly raise us in foreign countries.
Lord John Russell trusts your Majesty has profited by the sea air.
A letter from Lord John Russell to Queen Victoria, 2 p.m. 10 April 1848.
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