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1838 - Incredibly Early Queen Victoria and Lord John Russell Signed License
to Colonel Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant - Double Knight of the Empire

Item Ref:  BSL - Victoria - 1838

Queen Victoria Rex

Lord John Russell

Victoria Regina
(1819- 1901)
Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792 – 1878)

In the First Year of Her Reign, By the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Scotland, Defender of the Faith - Queen Victoria's Official 1838 License to Knight Colonel Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant permitting him to wear the Honours of his Spanish Knighthood at the Royal Court in addition to his English Knighthood. Victoria's Fine Bold Signature, is joined by the signature of Lord John Russell as Home Secretary later to be twice Prime Minister of Great Britain.  A Beautifully Preserved and Handsome Royal License.

Biographical Note

Known as Lord John Russell before 1861, the 1st Earl Russell was a Whig  politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In 1834, when the leader of the Commons, Lord Althorp, succeeded to the peerage as Earl Spencer, Russell became the leader of the Whigs in the Commons, a position he maintained for the rest of the decade, until the Whigs fell from power in 1841. In this position, Russell continued to lead the more reformist wing of the Whig party, calling, in particular, for religious freedom, and, as Home Secretary in the late 1830s, played a large role in democratizing the government of British cities. At the time of this royal license he was acting as Home Secretary for Prime Minister Lord Melbourne as they guided the young Queen Victoria through her early years as Monarch. The Whigs were turned out in 1841 but regained power in 1846 as Russell became Prime Minister, a role he reprised in 1865. An interesting sidebar is that Gaspard's brother Denis Le Marchant ended up being Lord Russell's Under-Secretary for the Board of Trade in 1847 and succeeded in getting Gaspard appointed to the Lt. Governorship of Newfoundland.

Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant (1803 - 1874)

Gaspard Le Marchant was born of a distinguished Guernsey family in 1803 in England. He enjoyed a successful Military Career, becoming one of the youngest officers in the British Army to command a regiment. He served both on behalf of the Crown as well as in Foreign Service for the King of Spain. He was knighted by both Spain and Great Britain and served as a Colonial Administrator, first as Lt. Governor of Newfoundland (1847-1852), then promoted to Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia (pursuant to this Royal Appointment 1852-1858), later holding the post of Governor General of Malta (1859-1864), and finally ending his career as Commander-in-Chief of Madras in India (1865-1868). An interesting side note is that when he left the military to enter administration, he went to Wellington and asked if it was wise, to which Wellington suggested that it would enhance his career. But he never left colonial administration and missed the Crimean War where many of his peers advanced past him to become Major Generals.

4 page Document – Signed and Dated: May 4th 1838
Text as Follows:

                                                           [signed] Victoria Rx

Victoria, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen Defender of the Faith. To Our Right Trusty and Right Entirely beloved Cousin and Councillor Bernard Edward Duke of Norfolk Earl Marshal and Our Hereditary Marshal of England Knight of Our Most Noble Order of the Garter Greeting Whereas the Queen Regent of Spain hath been pleased to confer upon Our Trusty and Well beloved Major Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant Knight of the Third Cass of the National and Military Order of St. Ferdinand and Brigadier General in the Service of the Catholic Majesty the Insignia of a Supernumerary Knight of the Royal and Distinguished Order of Charles the Third in testimony of Her Royal Approbation o his Services in the Action of the 1st of October 1836 and being graciously pleased to approve thereof Know Ye that We of Our Princely Grace and Special Favour have given and granted and by these Presents to give and grant unto him the said Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant our Royal License and Permission that he may avail himself of the said Mark of her Catholic Majesty’s Favour and accept and wear the Insignia of a Supernumerary Knight of the Royal and Distinguished Order of Charles the Third and that he may enjoy all the rights and privileges thereunto annexed:

Our Will and Pleasure therefore is that You Bernard Edward Duke of Norfolk to whom the cognizance of matters of this nature doth properly belong do require and command that this Our Concession and Especial Mark of Our Royal Favour together with the relative Documents to be registered in Our College of Arms to the End that Our Officers of Arms and all others upon occasion may take full notice and have knowledge thereof: And for so doing this shall be your Warrant.

Given at Our Court at Saint James’s this fourth day of May 1838 in the First year of Our Reign.

By Her Majesty’s Command
[signed] J Russell [Home Secretary]

Docketed as follows on third page:
Recorded in the College of Arms London together with the relative Document pursuant to a warrant from the Earl Marshal of England this tenth day of May 1838.
[signed] Charles George Young
York Herald [of Arms in Ordinary] & Register

The Earl Marshal, a hereditary office held by the Duke of Norfolk, oversees the College of Arms and although not a member of that body himself, arms may not be granted without his consent. It is the Earl Marshal who must make application to the Monarch and upon approval then usually turns the heraldic process over to the professional heralds of the College. Sir Charles George Young went on to become the Garter Principle King of Arms in 1842 - Herald of England.

Docketed as follows on fourth page:
License - Major Sir John Gaspard Le Marchant to accept and wear the Insignia of a Supernumerary Knight of the Order of Charles the Third
[signed] Wm Woods Clarenceux [Herald of England]
Herald College London

Sir William Woods (Clarenceux) was then the Garter Principle King of Arms in 1842 - Herald of England and was succeeded in this office by the above mentioned Charles George Young. The Herald of England - Garter - is the senior King of Arms and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms. He is responsible to the Earl Marshal for the running of the College. Garter is the principal adviser to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom with respect to ceremonial and heraldry, with specific responsibility for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for Commonwealth realms of which The Monarch is Sovereign.

Document Specifications:  This is a beautiful Autographed Document dated May 4th 1838, a 4 page folded small folio, writing only on three pages, measures 8" x 12½" (folded as shown). Queen Victoria's Signature is Bold across the top and below to the Left is the Embossed Official Seal of Paper over Wax - Inscribed within are the Shield, and in Latin, "Queen of Britain by the Grace of God", and with the Motto of the Order of the Garter- "Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense" (liberally translated as: shame to one who thinks evil of honor). Also Revenue Stamped with an albino £1 10Sh Embossed Stamp and a docketing Seal "London 8 5 38" in circle with crown in Black. Great Seal is shown folded but actually extends out past the shown margin to the left. On the second page Lord John Russell has signed as the Home Secretary. Some very slight fold tears, minimally invasive and well away from any text, signature or seals. Watermarked "J&M 1837" and Royal Watermark.  An incredibly early Queen Victoria Signature and future two-time Prime Minister signature granting a License to one of the Major Colonial Administrators and War heroes of the Empire. A beautiful document showing the Proper Procedure to Request, Approve and Record an Official Royal License to Wear Honours.

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.

End of Item - BSL - Victoria 1838

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