Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

A NARRATIVE OF EVENTS
THAT LED TO THE PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS.

For some months, so many hints, advertisements, and notices appeared in the daily Papers, and in various other ways, that the public mind was in some measure prepared to ex. pect a full disclosure of the proceedings relative to her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. The following occurrence was the first that strengthened the conviction of every observer on this subject.

On the 14th of January 1913, a sealed letter was transmitted to Lord Liverpool and Lord Eldon, by Lady Charlotte Campbell, as lady in waiting for the month, expressing her Royal Highness's pleasure that it should be presented to the Prince Regent; and there was an open copy for their perusal. On the 15th, the Earl of Liverpool presented bis compliments to Lady Charlotte Campbell, ard returned the letter unopened. On the 16th, it was re:urned by Lady Charlotte, intimating, that as it contained matter of importance to the state, she relied on their laying it before bis Royal Highness. It was again returned unopened, with the Earl of Liverpcol's compliments to Lady Charlotte, saying, that the Prince saw po reason to depart from his determination. On the 171h, it was returned in the same way by command of ber Royal Highness, expressing her confidence that the two noble Lords would not take upon themselves the responsibility of not communicating the letter to his Royal Highness, and that she should not be the only subject in the empire whøse petition was not to be permitted to reach the throne. To this an answer was given, that the contents of it had been made known to the Prince. On the 19th, ber Royal Highness directed a letter to be addressed to the two noble Lords, desiring to know whe:her it had been made known to his Royal Highness by being read to bim, and to know his pleasure thereon. No answer was given to this letter, and therefore, on the 26th, she directed a letter to be written, expressing her surprise that no answer bad been given to her application for a whole week. To this an answer was received, addressed to the Princess, stating, that in consequence of her Royal Highness's demand, her letter had been read to the Prince Regent on the 231, but that he had not been pleased to express his pleasure thereon. The following is a copy of this important document:

“ SỊR, It is with great reluctance that I presume to obtrude myself upon your Royal Highness, and to solicit your attention to matters which may, at first, appear rather of a personal than a public nature. If I could think them so-if they related merely to myself-I should abstain from a proceeding which might give uneasiness, or interrupt the more weighty occupations of your Royal Highness's time. I should continue in silence, and retirement, to lead the life which has been prescribed to me, and console myself for the loss of that society and those domestic comforts to which Į bave so long been a stranger, by the reflection that it has been deemed proper that I should be afflicted without any fault of my own and that your Royal Higbness knows it.

“ But, Sir, there are considerations of a higher nature than any regard to my own happiness, which reader this address a duty both to myself and my daughter. May I venture to say—a duty also to my husband, and the people committed to his care? There is a point beyond which a guiltless woman cannot with safety carry her forbearance. If ber honour is invaded, the defence of ber reputation is no longer a matter of choice; and it signifies not whether the attack be made openly, manfully, and directly-or by secret insinuation, and by holding such conduct towards her as countenances all the suspicions that malice can suggest. If these ought to be the feelivgs of every woman in England who is conscious that she deserves no reproach, your Royal Highness has too sound a judgment, and too nice a sense of honoury not to perceive, how much more justly they belong to the mother of your daughter-the mother of her who is destined, I trust at a very distant period, to reigo over the British empire.

“ It may be kuown to your Royal Highness, that during the continuance of the restrictions upon your royal authority, I purposely refrained froan making any representations which miglit tben augment the painful difficulties of your exalted station. At the expiration of the

restrictions, I still was inclined to delay taking this step, in the hope that I' might owe the redress I sought to your gracious and unsolicited condescension. I have waited, in the fond indulgence of this expectation, until, to my inexpressible mortification, I find that my unwillingness to complain, has only produced fresh grounds of complaint; and I am at length compelled, either to abandon all regard for the two dearest objects which I possess on earth, mine own bonour, and my beloved child, or to throw myself at the feet of your Royal Highness, the natural protector of both.

“) presume, Sir, to represent to your Royal Highness, that the separation, which every succeeding month is making wider, of the mother and the daughter, is equally injurious to my character and to her education. I say nothing of the deep wounds which so cruel an arrangement inflicts upon my feelings, although I would faio hope tbat few persons will be found of a disposition to think lightly of these. To see myself cut off from one of the few domestic enjoyments left me-certainly the only one upon which I set any value, the society of my child-involves me in such misery, as I well know your Royal Highness could never inflict upon me if you were aware of its bitterness. -Our intercourse has been gradually diminished. A single interview, weekly, seemed sufficiently hard allowance for a mother's affections, That, however, was reduced to our meeting once a fortuight; and I now learn that even this most rigorous interdiction is to be still more rigidly enforced.

“ But while I do not venture to intrude my feelings as a mother upon your Royal Highness's notice, I must be allowed to say, that in the eyes of an observing and jealous world, this sepa. ration of a daughter from her mother, will only admit of one construction-a construction fatal to the mother's reputation. Your Royal Highness will also pardon me for adding, that there is no less inconsistency than injustice in this treatment. He who dares advise your Royal Highness to overlook the evidence of my innocence, and disregard the sentence of com. plete acquittal wbich it produced; or is wicked and false enough still to whisper suspicions in your ear, betrays his duty to you, Sir, to your daughter, and to your people, if he counsels you 10 permit a day to pass without a further investigation of my conduct. I know that no such calumniator will venture to recommend a measure which must speedily end in his utter cunfusion. Then let me implore you to reflect on the situation in which I am placed: without the shadow of a charge against me--without even an accuser-after an inquiry that led to my ample vindication, yet treated as if I were still more culpable than the perjuries of my suborned traducers represented me, and held up to the world as a mother who may not enjoy the society of her only child.

“ The feelings, Sir, which are natural to my unexampled situation, might justify me in the gracious judgment of your Royal Highness had I no other motives for addressing you but such as relate to myself. But I will not disguise from your Royal Highness what I cannot for a mo. ment conceal from myself, that the serious, and it soon may be, the irreparable injury which my daughter sustains from the plan at present pursued, has done more in overcoming my reluctance to intrude upon your Royal Highness, than any sufferings of my own could accomplish; and if for her sake I presume to call away your Royal Highness's attention from the other cares of your exalted station, I feel coufident. I am got claiming it for a matter of inferior importance either to yourself or your people.

“ The powers with which the Constitution of these realms vests your Royal Highness in the regulation of the Royal Family, I know, because I am so advised, are ample and unquestionable. My appeal, Sir, is made to your excellent sense and liberality of mind in the exercise of those powers; and I willingly hope that your own parental feelings will lead you to excuse the anxiety of mine for impelling me to represent the unhappy consequences which the present system must entail upon our beloved child.

“ It is impossible, Sir, that any one can have attempted to persuade your Royal Highness, that her character will not be injured by the perpetual violence offered to her strongest affections, the studied care taken to estrange her from my sociey, and even to interrupt all communication between us. That her love for me, with włom, by bis Majesty's wise and gracious arrangements, she passed the years of her in fancy and childhood, never can be extinguished, I well know, and the knowledge of it forms the greatest blessing of my existence.

“ But let me im plore your Royal Highness to reflect how inevitably all attempts to abate this attachment, by forcibly separating us, if they succeed, must injure my child's priuciples if they fail, must destroy her happiness.

“ The plan of excluding my daughter from all intercourse with the world, appears to my humble judgment peculiarly unfortunate. She who is destined to be the sovereign of this great country, enjoys pone of those advantages of society which are deemed necessary for imparting a knowledge of mankiud to persons who have infinitely less occasion to learn that important lesson ; and it may so happen, by a chance which I trust is very remote, that she should be called upon to exercise the powers of the Crown, with an experience of the world more confined than that of the most private individual. To the extraordinary talents with which she is blessed, and which accompany a disposition as siugularly amiable, frank, and decided, I wil. lingly trust much; but beyond a certain point the greatest natural endowments cannot struggle against the disadvantages of circumstances and situation. It is my earnest prayer, for her own sake as well as her country's, that your Royal Higbness may be induced to pause before this point be reacbed.

“ Those who have advised you, Sir, to delay so long the period of my daughter's commencing her intercourse with the world, and for that purpose to make Windsor her resides:ce, appear pot to bave regarded the interruptions to her education which this arrangement occasions; both by the impossibility of obtaining the attendance of proper teachers, and the time unavoidably consumed in the frequent journies to town, which she must make, unless she is to be secluded from all intercourse, even with your Royal Highness and the rest of the Royal Family. To the same unfortunate counsels I ascribe a circumstance in every way so distressing both to my parental and religious feelings, that my daughter has never yet enjoyed the benefit of confirmation, although above a year older thau the age at which all the other branches of the Royal Family bave partakeu of that solemnity. May I earnestly conjure you, Sir, to hear my intreaties upon this serious matter, even if you should listen to other advisers on things of less near concerament to the welfare of our child!

“ The pain with which I have at length formed the resolution of addressing myself to your Royal Highness is such as I should in vain attempt to express. If I could adequately describe it you might be enabled, Sir, to estimate the strength of the motives wbich have made me submit to it. They are the most powerful feelings of affection, and the deepest impressions of duty towards your Royal Highness, my beloved child, and the country, which I devoutly hope she may be preserved to govern, and to shew, by a new example, the liberal affection of a free and generous people to a virtuous and constitutional Monarch. “ I am, Sir, with profound respect, and an attachment which nothing can alter,

Your Royal Highness's
Most devoted and most affectionate

Consort, Cousin, and Subject,

(Signed) CAROLINE LOUISA." “ Montague House, Jan. 14, 1813."

Various Cabinet Meetings and Proceedings succeeded this letter almost immediately.

We must now advert to another circumstance connected with the lovestigation. The Prina cess Charlotte having been indisposed, previously to the Fete given by the Prioce Regent, at Carlton House, on the 5th of February, and this illness afterwards increasing, her Royal Highness was necessarily obliged to defer her return to Windsor. In consequence of this, the Princess of Wales, on the 8th of February, addressed herself to Lord Liverpool, desiring that he would communicate to the Prince Regent ber Royal Highness's intention to visit the Princess Charlotte at Warwick-house. Lord Liverpool replied, that he was happy to announce the Princess Charlotte so much better, that her Royal Highness would be able to visit the Princess of Wales, at Kensington Palace, on the following Thursday, February the 11th. On that morning, the Princess of Wales received information that the Princess Charlotte was refused coming

Upon this, the Princess of Wales again addressed Lord Liverpool to kuow the reason, none having been assigned, for the Princess Charlotte's being thus suddevly prohibited from giving the meeting to her royal mother, and when and how soon her Royal Highness might expect to see the Priucess Charlotte. To this inquiry, the Princess of Wales received the following reply from Lord Liverpool :

(COPY.)

Fife-House, Feb. 14, 1813. “ Lord Liverpool has the honour to inform your Royal Highness, that is consequence of the publication, in the Morning Chronicle of the 10th inst, of a letter addressed by your Royal Highness to the Prince Regent, his Royal Highness thought fit, by the advice of his confidential servants, to signify his commands that the intended visit of the Princess Charlotte to your Royal Higbuess, on the following day, should not take place.

“Lord Liverpool is not enabled to make any further communication to your Royal Highness on the subject of your Royal Highuess's note."

To this letter, the Princess of Wales commanded Lady Anne Hamilton, her Lady in Waiting, to reply, as follows, Lord Liverpool:

Alontague-House, Blackkeath, Feb. 15, 1813. " Lady Anne Hamilton is commanded by her Royal Highness tbe Princess of Wales to represent to Lord Liverpool that the insidious insinuation, respecting the publication of the letter addressed by the Princess of Wales, on the 14th of January, to the Prince Regent, conveyed in his Lordship’s reply to her Royal Highuess, is as void of foundation and as false as all the former accusations of the traducers of her Royal Highness's honour in the year 1806.

“ Lady A. Hamilton is further commanded to say, that dignified silence would have been the line of conduct the Princess would have preserved upon such insinuation (more than unbe. coming Lord Liverpool), did not the effect arising from it operate to deprive ber Royal Highness of the sole real happiness she can possess in this world--that of seeing her only child. And the confidential servants of the Prince Regent ought to feel ashamed of their conduct towards the Princess, in avowing to her Royal Highness their advice to the Prince Regent, that upon unauthorised and unfounded suppositions, a mother and daughter should be prevented from meeting—a probibition positively against the law of nature. Lady Anne Hamilton is commanded further to desire Lord Liverpool to Jay this paper before the Prince Regent, tbat his Royal Highness may be aware into what errors his confidential servants are leading bim, and will involve him, by counselling and signifying such commands."

Here closed the correspondence.

The Cabinet meetings still continued to be held, and the Princess of Wales not being in formed concerning the nature, form, and object of their proceedings, her Royal Highness, on the 27th of February, addressed the sæbjoined letter to the Earl of Harrow by :

Feb. 27, 1813. “ The Princess of Wales has received reports from various quarters of certain proceedings lately held by his Majesty's Privy Council respecting her Royal Highness; and the Princess bas felt persuaded that these reports must be unfounded, because she could not believe it possible that any resolution should be taken by that most honourable body in any respect affecting her Royal Higbness, upon statements which she bas had no opportunity of answering, explaining, or even seeing

« The Princess still trusts that there is no truth in these rumours; but she feels it due to herself to lose no time in protesting against any resolutions affecting her Royal Highness, which may be so adopted.

“ The Neble-and Right Honourable persons who are said to have been selected for these proceedings, are too just to decide any thing touching her Royal Highness, without affording her an opportunity of laying her case before them. The Princess has not had any power to choose the Judges before whom any inquiry may be carried on; but she is perfectly willing to have her whole conduct inquired into by any persons who may be selected by her accusers. The Princess only demands that she may be heard in defence or in explanation of her conduct, if it is attacked; and that she should either be treated as innocent, or proved to be gullty."

A copy of the Report of the Honourable the Privy Council having been laid before the Prince Regent, was transmitted to her Royal Hignness by Viscount Sidmouth, on the evening of the day on which the above letter was sent ;-and Lord Harrowby replied to her Royal Highness, by letter, to this effect. The Report is as follows :

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT.

The following Members of his Majesty's most Hono able Privy Council, viz:His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Right Hon. Lord Ellenborough, Lord Chief The Right Hon. the Lord High Chancellor, Justice of the Court of King's Bench, His Grace the Archbishop of York,

The Right Hon. the Speaker of the House of His Grace the Lord Primate of Ireland,

Commons, The Lord President of the Council,

The Rigbt Hon. the Chancellor of the ExcheThe Lord Privy Seal,

quer, The Earl of Buckinghamshire,

The Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Ducby, The Earl of Bathurst,

His Honour the Master of the Rolls, The Ea:l of Liverpool,

The Right Hou, the Lord Chief Justice of the The Earl of Mulgrare,

Court of Common Pleas, The Viscount Melville,,

The Right Hon. the Lord Chief Baron of the The Viscount Sidmoath,

Court of Exchequer, The Viscount Castlereagh,

The Right Hon. the Judge of the High Court The Right Honourable the Lord Bishop of of Admiralty, London,

The Right Hon. the Dean of the Arches ; Haviug been summoned by command of your Royal Highness, on the 19th of February, to meet at the office of Viscount Sidmouth, Secretary of State for the Home Department, a commu• nication was made by his Lordslip to the Lords then present, in the following terms :

“ My Lords--I have it in command from his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, to acquaint your Lordships, that a copy of a letter from the Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent having appeared in a public paper, which letter refers to the proceedings that took place in an Inquiry instituted by command of his Majesty, in the year 1806, and contains, among other matters, certain animadversions upon the manner in which the Prince Regent has exercised his undoubted right of regulating the conduct and education of his daughter the Princess Cbarlette; and his Royal Highness having taken into his consideration the said letter so published, and adverting to the directions heretofore given by his Majesty, that the documents relating to the said Jequiry should be sealed up, and deposited in the office of his Majesty's principal Secretary of State, in order that his Majesty's Government should possess the means of resorting to them if necessary; bis Royal Highness has been pleased to direct, that the said letter of the Princess of Wales and the whole of the said documents, ioget ber with the copies of other letters and papers, of which a schedule is annexed, should be referred to your Lordships, being Members of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council, for your cousideration : and that you should report to his Royal Highness your opinion, whether, under all the circumstances of the case, it be sit and proper that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter the Princess Charlotte, should contiuue to be subject to regulations and restrictions."

Their Lordships adjourned their meetings to Tuesday, the 23d of February; and the intermediate days having been employed in perusing the documenis referred to them, by command of your Royal Highness, they proceeded on that apd the following day to the further consideration of the said documents, and have agreed to report to your Royal Highness as follows:

« In obedience to the commands of your Royal Highness, we have taken into our most serious consideration the letter from her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, to your Royal Highness, which has appeared in the public papers, and has been referred to us by your Royal Highness, in which letter the Princess of Wales, amongst other matters, complains that the intercourse between her Royal Highness, and her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, has been subjected to certain restrictions.

“ We have also taken into our most serious consideration, together with the other papers referred to us by your Royal Highness, all the documents relative to the Inquiry instituted in

« PoprzedniaDalej »