Queen Victoria’s birthday and marriage celebrated, 1840

British Packet and Argentine News, 6th June 1840

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Grand Dinner    Entertainment    The Ball    Ladies' Dresses
Guest List    Guests in alphabetical order    Banquet Room    Conclusion

Grand Dinner in honor of Queen Victoria's marriage
On the 25th inst., H.B.M.’s Minister Plenipotentiary, John Henry Mandeville, Esq., gave a grand dinner in commemoration of the anniversary of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and in honor of her Marriage, at which were H.E. Brigadier General Juan Manuel de Rosas, Governor and Captain General of the Province, Don Felipe Arana, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Don Manuel Insiarte, Minister of Finance, Generals Soler, Guido, Pinedo, Rolon and Corbalan, the Chevalier Don Luís Souza Diaz, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from H.M. the Emperor of Brazil, Don Manuel Sequiera Lima, Chargé d’Affaires from H.M. the Emperor of Brazil to the Republics of Peru and Bolivia, Don Antonio Diaz, Minister of War and Finance of the Oriental Republic, Captain Robert Russel of H.B.M.’s ship Actaeon, Captain William J. Belt, of the United States ship Marion, and Dr. James Lepper, Physician to the British Legation.

H.E. the Governor, in full uniform, accompanied by his Ministers, proceeded to the residence of Mr. Mandeville, at the entrance of which they were received by that gentleman, also in full uniform. The dinner was of the most sumptuous description, and the dining-room was decorated with the Argentine and British flags entwined around the portrait of H.M. Queen Victoria.

At the termination of the repast, H.E. the Governor requested Mr. Mandeville and the other gentlemen to accompany him in the following toast—“To the health and glory of H.M. Queen Victoria; To H.R.H. Prince Albert her Illustrious Consort; and to the prosperity and happiness of the British Nation.”

Mr Mandeville then gave—“To the Argentine Confederation, and may the friendly relations which subsist between them, under the auspices of its Illustrious Chief, and Great Britain be perpetual.”

Government-House Entertainment.
In the evening of the same day a magnificent Ball and Supper were given by H.E. the Governor at the Government-House, in celebration of the above mentioned interesting events. The invitation cards issued on the occasion were highly complimentary to our Sovereign and Country, and to our Minister, J. H. Mandeville, Esq., in particular; stating that, in acknowledgement of the kind feelings the Government of H.B.M. have ever evinced towards this Republic since its independence, their friendly interest in behalf of the Argentine Confederation, especially in the present question of the blockade, the constant expression of sympathy of the British Nation, the distinguished and kindly offices for which this country is indebted to J. H. Mandeville, Esq., H.B.M.’s Minister Plenipotentiary, and other unequivocal proofs of his friendship towards the Republic and the person of H.E. the Governor; the latter had accepted his invitation to dinner, and, in reciprocity, would, at its conclusion, give a Ball at the Government-House, to which the British Minister and his guests would accompany H.E.

From 8 o’clock to 11 the rumbling of carriages proceeding and returning was incessant. Ascending the brilliantly illumined staircase of the principal entrance and passing along the equally well lighted gallery, the ladies were conducted to a handsome ante-chamber provided with every article necessary for the reparation of any derangement in the toilette. From this apartment they were ushered by gentlemen in waiting indiscriminately into one of the three ball saloons. At the extremity of the gallery a place was fitted up, with every convenience, for the reception of the hats and cloaks of gentlemen, who, upon divesting themselves of their encumbrances, repaired directly to the ball rooms.

H.E., with Mr. Mandeville and company, did not arrive till 11 o’clock. Upon the announcement of his approach, the gentlemen in the saloons ranged themselves in a double line, in order to greet his arrival; but H.E. avoided the éclat of the intended reception by entering by the private staircase. In the meantime the band of the guard of honor in attendance in the court-yard struck up the National Air and God save the Queen. His Excellency, Mr. Mandeville and the accompanying guests, seated themselves in one of the elegant drawing-rooms, where they were waited upon by several of the company, and after a short time had elapsed, the Governor and Mr. Mandeville advanced to the door of the adjoining ball-room, when many presentations took place, among whom the ladies formed a large proportion. H.E. received their compliments and gratulations with a complaisance and cheerfulness peculiar to himself, having something jocose and piquant to say to each and every one of them.

Immediately on the arrival of H.E. dancing commenced. The three spacious saloons appropriated for this purpose, were fitted up with the greatest taste and elegance, the Argentine and British flags entwined being conspicuously displayed in each. A large-sized portrait of H.E. decorated the front wall of the second saloon. In one of the other rooms the Declaration of the Independence of the Argentine Republic enclosed in a rich frame, was suspended; and, in the third, that of the United States, similarly placed.

Each ball-room was provided with a forte-piano accompanied by an efficient orchestra conveniently located in an adjoining lobby. The blaze of six chandeliers emitting the light of nearly two hundred spermaceti candles of pink and white colour, cast a soft and luxuriant brilliancy throughout. The votaries of Terpsichore must have felt well satisfied—and so it seemed they did from the untiring alacrity with which they skipped on the “light fantastic toe.” The grave minuet, the gay quadrille, the mazy contre-danse, the whirling gallopade, and the sprightly Federal, alternatively afforded occasion for the display of the sylphlike figures and graceful motions of the lovely females who glided before the eye of the enraptured beholder.

Amidst such a scene of loveliness and amiability it is impossible for us to particularize, yet we cannot pass over in silence the admiration excited by the fascinating manners of Doña Manuelita Rosas, the accomplished daughter of H.E. Her hand was generally sought in the dance, and no request was rejected, so that she had not a moment’s repose—indeed, she seemed most happy when contributing to the happiness of others.

Each ball-room was successively honored with the presence of H.E. and Mr. Mandeville, who traversed the saloons arm in arm, cordially returning the salutations and compliments addressed to them.

During the whole evening refreshments of every description were served to the ladies and gentlemen, in the different handsomely arranged apartments appropriated to this purpose. Nothing was wanting that could contribute to the enjoyment of the company, and every thing was of the first quality and served in the very first style.

Other rooms elegantly adorned, and provided with that much prized comfort of the Englishman—the grate and fire—were reserved for card-playing and tertulia, but every gentleman present evinced his good taste by preferring the society of the charming ladies who graced the ball-rooms.

Sensible as we are of the interest which the fair portion of our readers will feel to have a correct description of so important a part of a Grand Ball, as the ladies’ dresses, we regret that our incompetency to do it justice, forces us to confine ourselves to the following general remarks.

The ladies, one and all, displayed on this occasion, more than their accustomed taste and elegance in their attire. The dresses of the married ladies were generally of plain and figured silks and satins of dark tints, such as the claret, violet, and fawn color, with rich trimmings of blonde or velvet and ornaments to correspond with the color of the dress.—The most prevailing colors of the young ladies’ dresses, were white and rose, with a few exceptions of straw and other delicate fancy hues, and consisted chiefly of muslin, tulle, gauze or blonde lace, whose ample folds, while they set off to great advantage the nymph-like forms of the wearers, waved gracefully as they glided through the mazes of the dance. These dresses were generally worn over a white or rose colored silk or satin under-dress.

The daughter of H.E. the Governor and other ladies of the family being still in mourning, wore rich black velvet dresses.

The ornaments most worn consisted of ear-drops and necklaces of brilliants, (some of them of great value,) pearls, topaz, gold, &c.; and a profusion of finger rings of brilliants, whose glittering sparks literally dazzled the sight.

The head-dresses were generally low, agreeably to the prevailing fashion, the temples being covered by braids of hairs or clusters of curls:—a few white or rose colored flowers, or silver, pearl or brilliant ornaments completing the whole. The native ladies wore the Federal device, consisting of a small red bow placed at the left side of the head—two ladies only wore feathers.


His Excellency the Governor and the Señorita Manuela Rosas.

Don Felipe Arana, Minister for Foreign Affairs, lady and the Señorita Mercedes Arana.

Don Manuel Insiarte, Minister of Finance, lady and daughter.

John Henry Mandeville , Esq. , Minister Plenipotentiary of H.B.M.

The Chevalier Don Luis Souza Diaz, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from H.M. the Emperor of Brazil, and private secretary.

Don Manuel Sequiera Lima, Chargé d’Affaires of H.M. the Emperor of Brazil to Peru and Bolivia, lady, and private secretary.

Don Antonio Diaz, Minister of War and Finance of the Oriental Republic, lady and the Señoritas Alsira, Fatima, and Micaela Diaz.

Baron Picolet d’Hermillon, Consul General of H.M. the King of Sardinia.

Charles Bunge, Esq., Consul of H.M. the King of Holland.

Alfred M. Slade, Esq., Consul of the United States of North America, lady and Miss Agnes Slade.

John C. Zimmermann, Esq., Consul for the City of Hamburgh, lady and Miss Leonora Zimmermann & Dr. James Lepper, Physician to the British Legation.

All the Diplomatic and Consular Agents were in full uniform.

Officers of H.B.M.’s ship Actaeon. Captain Robert Russel, Lieuts. Alfred N. Fairman and James A. Mends, Lieut. of Marines Henry Arnold, Surgeon John Dunlap, Purser John H. Hutchings and son (Captain’s Clerk), and Midshipman Lambert.

Officers of United States ship Marion. Captain William J. Belt, Lieuts. George A. Prentiss and Edward Middleton, Purser E. A. Watson, Passed Midshipmen Thomas A. Mix, Francis Winslow and George Wells, assistant surgeon Wheelwright.

Officers of H.B.M.’s brig Camelion. George Martin Hunter, Lieut. Commanding, Surgeon Edward Johnson. All the above-mentioned officers were in uniform.

The Rev. the Vicar General of the Diocese,
President of the Honorable House of Representatives, Dr. Don Miguel Garcia.
Don Agustin Garrigós, Under Secretary for the Home Department, and lady.
Don Manuel Irigoyen, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and daughter.
Señor Bernardo Victorica, Chief of Police, and lady.

Miguel E. Soler, lady and daughter,
William Brown and lady,
Tomas Guido and lady,
Lucio Mancilla and lady,
Agustin de Pinedo and lady,
Mariano B. Rolon and lady,
Jose Ruiz Huidobro and daughter,
Felipe Heredia and the lady of the deceased General Alejandro Heredia,
Pedro Lenguas, lady and two daughters.

Colonels Pedro Ramos, Francisco Erezcano, Francisco Crespo, Nicolas Martinez Fontes, lady and daughter, Bonifacio Ramos, Valerio Sanchez, Martin Hidalgo, Julian Gonzalez Salomon, Mariano Maza, Casto Caceres, Andres Sagui, Francisco Biedma, Francisco Quevedo, Roman Quevedo.

Lieut. Colonels Ramon Bustos, Martin Santa Coloma, Manuel Maestre and lady.

Miguel de Riglos and lady,
Pedro Vela and lady,
Vicente Peralta and lady,
Nicolas Mariño and lady,
Pedro Plomer and daughter,
Joaquin Revillo and lady,
Rafael Bosch and lady,
Juan Manuel Larrazabal and lady,
Dr. Gonzalez Peña and lady,
Pedro Romero lady and daughter,
Gabriel Munilla and two daughters,
Jose Antonio Anavitarte, lady and daughter,
Nicolas Martinez Fontes and lady,
Eleuterio Monteagudo and lady,
Eustaquio Jimenes and lady,
Juan Rafael Oromi and lady.

Doña Mercedes Fuentes de Rosas,
Maria Josefa de Ezcurra,
Juana de Ezcurra,
Carmen Quinanilla de Alvear,
Virginia Alvear,
Joaquina Alvear,
Dolores Fernandez de Qua, Jesus Quiroga, Mercedes Quiroga,
Maria Antonia Belaustegui,
Señora de Arrotea, Mercedes Arrotea, Amalia Arrotea,
Eusebia Lasala,
Juana Guillerma Irigoyen de Castellanos,
Magdalena Olavarria,
the lady and daughter of Col. Joaquin Ramiro,
S. Blanco and J. Inchaurregui,
Corina Rosas,
Dolores Marcet.

Felipe de Ezcurra,
Francisco Belaustegui,
Alvaro Alsogaray,
José Ezcurra,
Felipe de la Paz Arana,
Luis Belaustegui,
Tomas Guido,
Torcuato Alvear,
Dr. Fernando Cordero,
Manuel Mancilla,
Benedicto Maciel,
Vicente Corbalan,
Victorino Peña,
Eulogio Blanco,
Tomas Garcia de Zuñiga,
Bonifacio Huergo,
Lorenzo Torres,
Marcos Agrelo,
Juan Antonio Agrelo,
Emilio Agrelo,
Jose Maria Irigoyen,
Fermin Irigoyen,
Manuel Irigoyen,
Emilio Irigoyen,
Pedro Pinedo,
Federico Pinedo,
Agustin Pinedo,
Adolfo Mancilla,
Manuel Nuñez,
Fernando Cordero,
Elias Buteler,
Sr. Llerena.

Thomas Duguid and lady,
Jonathan Downes and lady,
Thomas Armstrong and lady,
George Dowdall and lady,
John Dalton and lady,
Robert Macalister and lady,
John Macfarlane and lady,
Edmund Mackinlay and lady,
William A. Rhodes and lady,
Joshua Thwaites and lady,
Bartholomew Foley and lady,
Nelson Hartwig, lady and Miss Aurelia Becke,
James Kiernan, lady and Miss Catherine Kiernan,
John B. Kiernan and lady,
George Frank and the Misses Sophia, Louisa and Clara Frank.

Mrs Mackinlay and Miss Mackinlay,
Mrs Macdonnell,
Mrs M’Dougall,
Miss Morrison,
Miss Barton,
Miss Ellen Campbell,
Miss Cliff.

Reverend William Brown.

Peter Sheridan,
James Sheridan,
Hugh Sheridan,
John Harrat [Harratt],
Patrick Maclean,
Thomas Sillitoe,
William Gilpin,
David Smith,
John Smith,
Thomas Jones,
William Stewart,
Richard Hargreaves,
Daniel Mackinlay,
Samuel R. Phibbs,
Stephen Puddicomb,
Angus Wright,
F. A. Clint,
Stephen Hallet,
Henry W. Gilbert,
George S. Fairfield,
Freeman H. Bangs,
Joseph Mohr,
D. B. R. Dickinson,
Stewart Douglas,
Richard Carlisle,
Thomas Shaw,
George Walker.

The company consisted of about 500 persons, including 200 ladies. We can offer no other apology for the numerous omissions which will be noticed in the above list, than the impossibility to supply the deficiencies from memory.

This splendid saloon, with its gorgeously garnished table presented, at the entrance, a most delightful coup d’oeil, the effect of which was enhanced by the brilliancy of the illumination produced by three large chandeliers and numerous other lights, some of which were placed in a magnificent candelabria of exquisite workmanship. Over the mantle-piece hung entwined the National flag of the Republic and the Union Jack of Old England, and beneath them a rich frame in which were enclosed, on a pink damask field, the portraits of H.M. Queen Victoria and H.R.H. Prince Albert, and those of H.E. the Governor and his late Consort, the lamented Doña Encarnacion Ezcurra de Rosas.

Along the centre of the table rose up in stately grandeur five large ornamental pyramids of fruit and confectionery, that in the middle from its colossal proportions towering above the rest in Chimboraso-like majesty. About half past 2 o’clock, a portion of the company, preceded by H.E. the Governor and Mr. Mandeville, were ushered to the supper-table, at the head of which H.E. took his seat, supported on the right by J. H. Mandeville, Esq., and the Minister of Finance, and on the left by the Inspector General and the Minister for Foreign Affairs: the rest of the table, which could accommodate about sixty persons was occupied by ladies, upon whom the gentlemen waited with becoming gallantry and courtesy.

On the entrance of H.E. two military bands stationed in the adjoining gallery struck up the National Anthem, followed by God Save the Queen. One party of ladies being served, another was conducted to the table—and when all the fair portion of the company had been duly attended to the gentlemen supplied their places. Ten successive parties, four of ladies and six of gentlemen, sat down to the festive board.

H.E. the Governor and Mr. Mandeville remained until all the ladies had been served, the Minister for Foreign Affairs presiding whilst the gentlemen partook of the sumptuous repast. The table groaned under the profusion of the choicest viands, prepared in a manner to defy the criticism of the most fastidious epicurean. The wines—from the exhilarating Champagne to the gentle Bordeaux—were of exquisite quality, and circulated freely round the board. The whole service of the table was of the most elegant porcelain and finest glass. Indeed, every thing was grand, and on the grandest scale of taste and magnificence. The two military bands in the gallery continually enlivened the convivial scene, by playing select and popular airs, symphonies, &c., of the first composers.

Whilst one portion of the company were regaling themselves in the banquet-room, those who remained in the ball-saloons enjoyed, with unabated enthusiasm, the bustling amusement of the dance. Refreshed by the substantial cheer of the festive board, the whole company, on returning, successively joined, with new vigour, in the mirthful exercise.—Thus continued the joyous scene till the rays of the rising sun of the 26th burst in upon the indefatigable votaries of the nimble-footed goddess, who were at this moment heartily engaged in the gambols of the merry Cielito. The appearance of the great luminary—the tutelary deity of the antient Incas—was hailed with the sublime strains of the National Anthem, chanted by the whole company standing, including H.E. the Governor. On the conclusion of this heart-stirring composition, God Save the Queen was struck up by the band, and sung by the English gentlemen present in chorus. Enthusiastic cries of Viva S. M. la Reina Victoria! Viva el Ilustre Restaurador de las Leyes! Vive el Sr. Ministro Britanico! followed this majestic air, accompanied by a grand discharge of rockets. The company then took leave of their magnificent entertainer, H.E. and Mr. Mandeville departing shortly afterwards and thus concluded a festivity never surpassed on any previous occasion in the capital of the civilization of the South.

H.E. and Mr. Mandeville were received with due honors by the guard belonging to the battalion Libertad stationed in the court-yard, the balconies fronting which, we should have before stated, were handsomely decorated with flags. H.E., accompanied by the Minister of Finance and attended by an Aide-de-Camp, proceeded directly in his carriage to his private residence. Mr. Mandeville was escorted to his dwelling, by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended by another Aid-de-Camp.

We could fill pages with what has been related to us respecting the impression produced on the company by the dignified frankness, jovial discourse and quick repartee of H.E. the Governor. He seemed greatly to enjoy the scene, rallying by his kindness, his affability and his example those who did not enter fully into its spirit. He was viewed with intense interest by all, not only from its being the first public occasion on which he had appeared, since the melancholy bereavements with which he has been visited, but from the celebrity which political events have given to his name in all parts of the world. He was truly “The observ’d of all observers.”

No eulogium can be too great on the Managers of this grand entertainment. Through their well concerted arrangements and selection of expert attendants the most admirable order prevailed, and general satisfaction was given. Nay, the company were more than satisfied—they were grateful for the marked attentions which each and every one received. The gentlemen who composed the Committee of management were General Lucio Mancilla, Colonel Mariano Maza, Major Pedro Ximeno, Señor Agustin Garrigó, Señor Juan Manuel Larrazabal.

The Masters of the Ceremonies who, under the active superintendence of General Mancilla, officiated most efficiently on the occasion, were Colonel Francisco Erezcano, Señores Benedicto Maciel, José Maria Sagasta, Luis Aldao, Adolfo Mancilla, Carlos Ezcurra.

The need of praise is likewise due to Mrs. Smith for the excellent manner in which the viands were prepared. Suffice it to say that the well-earned fame of the late Doctor, was fully sustained by his representative. Nor must we withhold the commendation to which M. Monguillot is entitled for the delicate and first-rate style in which the sweet-meats and pastry were furnished. He might fairly compete with the far-famed Gunter of Berkely-square.

During the night of the 25th, until past 7 in the morning of the 26th, flights of rockets, ever and anon let off from the court-yard, threw a glow of brilliancy over the festive roof till the final close of the enchanting scene.

© The form of presentation of this information is the copyright of Jeremy Howat, December 2006

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