Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

putting the words upon record. But not only is this demanded by truth and justice; it is necessary to a clear understanding of the most important transactions of the regency and the reign of this king.

Windsor Castle, April 30, 1796.

MADAM,

As Lord Cholmondeley informs me that you wish I would define, in writing, the terms upon which we are to live, I shall endeavour to explain myself upon that head, with as much clearness and with as much propriety as the nature of the subject will admit. Our inclinations are not in our power, nor should either of us be held answerable to the other, because nature has not made us suitable to each other. Tranquil and comfortable society is however in our power; let our intercourse therefore be restricted to that, and I will distinctly subscribe to the condition which you required through Lady Cholmondeley, that even in the event of any accident happening to my daugh. ter, which I trust Providence in its mercy will avert, I shall not infringe the terms of the restriction, by proposing at any period a connexion of a more particular nature. I shall now finally close this disagreeable correspondence, trusting that as we have completely explained ourselves to each other, the rest of our lives will be passed in uninterrupted tranquillity. I am, Madam,

With great truth,

Very sincerely yours, GEORGE P.

(Signed)

53. It is unnecessary to remark on the rude. ness and grossness of this letter; they are too obvious not to fill every one with disgust; but taking subsequent events in view, it is curious that the writer, even at so early a period, should have anticipated the possibility of some accident happening to the infant daughter! His pious reliance on the mercy of Providence to spare the life of his child, while he was casting off the mother to whose breast that child was clinging, does, perhaps, surpass any-thing of the kind ever heard of before. To this letter the Princess sent an answer, in French, on the sixth of May, in the following words:

L'AVEU de votre conversation avec Lord Cholmondeley, ne m'étoune, ni ne m'offense. C'étoit me confirmer ce que vous m'avez tacitement insinué depuis une année. Mais il y aurout après cela, un manque de delicatesse ou, pour mieux dire, une bassesse indigne de me plaindre des conditions, que vous imposez à avous même.

de votre part la moindre reproche de duplicité. Comine je n'ai, dans ce moment, d'autre protecteur que Sa Majesté, je me'n rapporte uniquement à lui. Et si ma conduite merite son approbation, je serai, du moins en partie, consolée.

Du reste, je conserve toute la reconnoissance possible de ce que je me trouve par votre moyen, comme Princesse de Galles, dans une situation à pouvoir me livrer sans contrainte, à une vertu chère à mon cœur, je vieux dire la bienfaisance. Ce sera pour moi un devoir d'agir de plus par un autre motif, sçavoir celui de donner l' exemple de la patience, et de la resignation dans toutes sortes d'épreuves. Rendez-moi la justice de me croire, que je ne cesserai jamais de faire des vœux pour votre bonheur, et d'être votre bien devouée. (Signed) CAROLINE. Ce 6 de Mai, 1796.

TRANSLATION.

THE avowal of your conversation with Lord Cholmondeley neither surprises nor offends me. It merely confirmed what you have tacitly insinuated for this twelvemonth. But after this, it would be a want of delicacy, or rather an unworthy meanness in me, were I to complain of those conditions which you impose upon yourself.

I should have returned no answer to your letter, if it had not been conceived in terms to make it doubful, whether this arrangement proceeds from you or from me, and you are aware that the credit of it belongs to you alone.

The letter which you announce to me as the last, obliges me to communicate to the King, as to my Sovereign and my Father, both your avowal and my answer. You will find enclosed the copy of my letter to the King. I apprise you of it, that I may not incur the slighest reproach of duplicity from you. As I have at this moment no protector but His Majesty, I refer myself solely to him upon this subject, and if my conduct meets his approbation, I shall be in some degree at least consoled. I retain every sentiment of gratitude for the situation in which I find myself, as Princess of Wales, enabled by your means, to indulge th free exercise of a virtue dear to my heart, I mean charity.

It will be my duty likewise to act upon another motive, that of giving an example of patience and resignation under every trial.

Do me the justice to believe that I shall never cease to pray for your happiness, and to be, Your much devoted

Je ne vous aurois point fait de réponse, si votre lettre n'étoit conçue de maniere à faire douter, si cet arrangement vient de vous, ou de moi; et vous sçavez que vous m'annoncez l'honneur. La lettre que vous m'annoncez comme la dernière, m'oblige de communiquer au Roy, comme à mon Souverain et à mon just reproach, which this king had to endure Père, votre aveu et ma réponse. Vous trou- for the rest of his life, and the laughing verez çi incluse la copie de celle que j'ecris au | holiday, in and about London, on the very day Roy. Je vous en previens pour ne pas m'attirer of his funeral; not only of these, for these

CAROLINE.

6th of May, 1796.

54. In these documents we have the real foun

dation of not only all the inquietudes, the scandal, the shame, the mortification, and the

would, comparatively, be an insignificant mat- the prince any other construction, than that ter; but the foundation also of mischievous it meaned to tell the princess, that he should appointments and measures innumerable; the no longer be bound by his marriage-vow, and foundation, and the sole foundation, of the that he absolved her from hers; in short, that long-continued and disastrous power of Per-he meaned to live with what women he pleased, ceval, Eldon, Liverpool, Sidmouth, Castle- and that she might live with what men she reagh, and Canning; the cause, in short, of pleased! Besides the scandal; besides the the waste of hundreds of millions of money, shame brought upon the nation; for, it must the cause of national disgrace in war, the bear the shame of being under rulers thus cause of laws, the stain of which will never be acting; besides these, here was laid the pretty effaced, and, finally, the real root of that mass certain foundation of a disputed succession; of suffering on the part of the people of this and even if this were never to take place (and once happy nation, which suffering, arrived at we very narrowly escaped it) what Englishman the utmost veage of endurance, now threatens must not have blushed at the thought of the the very existence of the state, now causes to prospect of being governed by a king who totter to its base that famous fabric of govern- had given to his wife and the mother of his ment, which, for so many ages, was the pride child (who would naturally succeed him on of Englishmen, and the admiration of the the throne) a license like that expressed in this world. letter? But, about the character or feelings of the nation, he seems, in this case at any rate, to have cared nothing. His own mere animal pleasures appear to have been his only care. Yet, he was now thirty-four years of age, and within one year of that age which the sober, cautious and wise Americans have deemed, by their laws, an age sufficient for the man who is to be the CHIEF MAGISTRATE of their great Republic.

55. This is ascribing great effects to an apparently inadequate cause; but the sequel will prove the truth of what is here asserted. The Wrath of Achilles," sung by Homer and Pope, was not Greece, a more "direful spring of woes" than the conduct of this royal husband was to England. And what was his apology for that conduct?" Our inclinations are not "in our power, nor should either of us be "answerable to the other, because nature has 57. For the parties to live under the same "not made us suitable to each other." Shame-roof after this scandalous insult on the wife, ful words! Was this the language of the was impossible. The Princess soon after"first gentleman in England?" And was it wards went to reside in a house at BLACKfor this that this generous nation had loaded HEATH, in the parish of Greenwich, and on him with luxuries out of the fruit of its cares the side of the very beautiful park there, and toils Was it for this that his enormous which is at a distance of about five miles debts had been twice discharged; that 27,000l. from St. James's Palace in Westminster. At had been given to defray the expenses of his this place, which has become memorable from marriage,, 28,000 for additional jewels and the subsequent transactions connected with plate, and 26,000l. to beautify the matrimonial it, she resided in a sort of "humble retiremansion; and was it for this that, after all ment," as she afterwards described it, "bahis squanderings, the nation still gave him" nished, as it were, from her husband, and 138,000l. a year, and settled on his wife a" almost estranged from the whole of the jointure of 50,000l. a year! Was this the re- "royal family, having no means of having turn that he made for indulgence, kinduess," recourse, either for society or advice." Beand generosity, which,all the circumstances sides which, she could write and speak Engconsidered, never was surpassed by the con-lish but very imperfectly; and as, from the duct of any nation in the world. The PRO- very first, from the day of her arrival in this DIGAL SON, as described in that most beauti-sountry, the QUEEN and the PRINCESSES ful of all beautiful writings, the parable in the showed her little or no countenance; the Gospel of St. Luke, arose aod said, "I will go nobility, notwithstanding the character and "to my father, and say unto him, Father, I conduct that that word ought to imply, stu"have sinned against heaven and before thee, diously shunned her the moment she was "and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' cast off by her husband. The people, always But the father, like the English nation, while just when not deceived, felt for her as they "he was yet a great way off, saw him, and ran, ought, and upon all occasions that offered "and fell on his neck, and said unto his ser- expressed their indignation at the treatment "vants, Bring forth the best robe and put it she had received. Cruel husband was not "on him; and put a ring on his hand; and and never will be a title to respect in England. "bring hither the fatted calf, and let us eat In no country is it, indeed, respected; but in "and be merry." How like the conduct of England it is detested and abhorred. It was this kind and good father to that of the English soon discovered that this unprotected foreign nation towards this prodigal Prince of Wales! lady was not visited by the QUEEN; that she If the parable had gone on to record that the came into her presence only on state occasions; prodigal afterwards became, though with ex- and that, in short, she had, of the whole faperience to warn him, a greater prodigal than mily, no friend but the old king, who frequently before, would it not also have recorded the went alone to visit her. punishment due to prodigality so incorrigible? 56. It is impossible to put upon this letter of

""

58. This conduct in the female part of the royal family greatly offended the nation, and

[ocr errors]

justly offended it. What! the people exclaimed, do they see their daughter and sisterin-law, and she their niece and cousin too, driven from her husband's roof with a baby three months old in her arms, of which baby they are the grandmother and the aunts; do they see this, and feel no compassion for the sufferer, though a stranger in the land, and though they know that she has thus been punished and degraded for no fault, and in violation of the most solemn vows; do they see this, and by keeping aloof from, not only give her no support or consolation, but tacitly tell the world that there is some just cause for her banishment! This conduct gave great offence to the English nation, who, with the exception of the aristocracy, did itself everlasting honour, by its conduct towards the persecuted lady; showed a love of “ fair play,” of that proneness to take part with the weak against the strong which has ever been amongst its best characteristics. And the royal family have not failed to experience the natural effects of this feeling in the nation, whose regard for that family has never been what it was before the period now under consideration.

|

the plot was hatching during the w hole of the ten years; and the reasons why it was attempted to be put in execution now, and not before, will be stated by-and-by, and will be found to be a matter of great importance, connected as those reasons were w ith political measures deeply affecting the inte rests of the country.

GEORGE R.

WHEREAS Our right trusty and wellbeloved Councillor Thomas Lord Erskine, Our Chancellor, has this day laid before Us an Abstract of certain written Declarations touching the Conduct of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales: We do hereby authorise, empower, and direct, the said Thomas Lord Erskine, Our Chancellor; Our right trusty and right well-beloved Cousin and Councillor George John Earl Spencer, one of Our Principal Secretaries of State; Our right trusty and well-beloved Councillor William Wyndham Lord Grenville, First Commissioner of our Treasury; and Our right trusty and well-beloved Councillor Edward Lord Ellenborough, Our Chief Justice, to hold Pleas before Ourself, to inquire into the truth of the same, and to examine upon oath such Persons as they shall see fit, touching and concerning the same, and to report to Us the result of such Examinations.-Given at Our Castle of Windsor, on the twentyninth day of May, in the forty-sixth year of Our Reign. G. R.

59. But, alas! the sufferings of the unfortunate Princess were not to end here; here they but made a mere beginning; her banishment was the smallest part of what she was destined to endure. If, indeed, she had been permitted to enjoy that "tranquil and comfortable society," which the Prince, in giving her her discharge, said was "within their power," she might, though injured and insulted, have led a life free from anxiety, particularly as she might with justice have discarded from her mind all regard for, and care about, him. But, to suffer her to lead this sort of life appears to have been very far from his thoughts; for, as it was afterwards amply proved, she was no sooner in her state of banishment, than means were set to work to obtain against her such evidence as would," if established, justify the husband in demanding a divorce.

THE WARRANT.

THE REPORT.
Muy it please your Majesty,

YOUR majesty having been graciously pleased, by an instrument under your majesty's royal sign manual, a copy of which is annexed to this report, to "authorise, em

power, and direct us to inquire into the truth of certain written declarations, touch"ing the conduct of her royal highness the "Princess of Wales, an abstract of which "had been laid before your majesty, and to "examine upon oath such persons as we "should see fit, touching and concerning the

60. No steps were, however, openly taken, until the year 1806; though the pretended grounds of those steps had, some of them, eristed five years before. These steps were: 1. A COMMUNICATION to the King, by the Prince of Wales, of certain information that he had received relative to the conduct of his wife; 2. A WARRANT of the King, authorising and commanding the Lord Chanceffor, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the First Lord of the Treasury, aud the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, to inquire into the truth of the allegations, and to report the result to the king. When we have these documents recorded, we shall have before us the true source of more cabal, intrigue, and mischief, than ought to exist in any nation in ten centuries. The steps were the natural offspring of the cruel and insultingness. On a reference to the above-mentioned letter from the Prince to his wife, on the 30th declarations, as the necessary foundation of of April, 1796. As we shall by-and-by see, all our proceedings, we found that they con

same, and to report to your majesty the "result of such examinations," we have, in dutiful obedience to your Majesty's commands, proceeded to examine the several witnesses, the copies of whose depositions we have hereunto annexed; and, in further execution of the said commands we now most respectfully submit to your majesty the report of these examinations as it has appeared to us: but we beg leave at the same time humbly to refer your majesty, for more com plete information, to the examinations themselves, in order to correct any error of judg ment into which we may have unintentionally fallen with respect to any part of this busi

66

66

sisted in certain statements, which had been | Charlotte his wife; who both positively swore, laid before his royal highness the Prince of the former to his having observed the fact of Wales, respecting the conduct of her royal the pregnancy of her royal highness, and the highness the Princess. That these statements latter to all the important particulars connot only imputed to her royal highness great tained in her former declarations, and above impropriety and indecency of behaviour, but referred to. Their examinations are annexed expressly asserted, partly on the ground of to this report, and are circumstantial and certain alleged declarations from the prin- positive. cess's own mouth, and partly on the personal observation of the informants, the following most important facts; viz.: That her royal highness had been pregnant in the year 1802, in consequence of an illicit intercourse, and that she had in the same year been secretly delivered of a male child, which child had ever since that period been brought up by her royal highness, in her own house, and under her immediate inspection.

The most material of those allegations, into the truth of which we had been directed to inquire, being thus far supported by the oaths of the parties from whom they had proceeded, we then felt it our duty to follow up the inquiry by the examination of such other persons as we judged best able to afford us information as to the facts in question.

We thought it beyond all doubt that, in this course of inquiry, many particulars must be learnt which would be necessarily conclusive on the truth or falsehood of these declarations. So many persons must have been witnesses to the appearances of an actuallyexisting pregnancy; so many circumstances must have been attendant upon a delivery; and difficulties so numerous and insurmount able must have been involved in any attempt

These allegations thus made, had, as we found, been followed by declarations from other persons, who had not indeed spoken to the important facts of the pregnancy or delivery of her royal highness, but had related other particulars in themselves extremely suspicious, and still more so when connected with the assertions already mentioned. In the painful situation in which his royal to account for the infant in question, as the highness was placed by these communications, child of another woman, if it had been in we learnt that his royal highness had adopted fact the child of the princess; that we enterthe only course which could, in our judg-tained a full and confident expectation of ment, with propriety be followed. When in- arriving at complete proof, either in the formations such as these had been thus con- affirmative or negative, on this part of the fidently alleged, and particularly detailed, and subject. had been in some degree supported by collateral evidence, applying to other points of the same nature (though going to a far less ex-perfect conviction that there is no foundation tent), one line only could be pursued. whatever for believing that the child now with the princess is the child of her royal highness, or that she was delivered of any child in the year 1802; nor has any-thing appeared to us which would warrant the belief that she was pregnant in that year, or at any other period within the compass of our inquiries. [To be continued.]

This expectation was not disappointed. We are happy to declare to your majesty our

Every sentiment of duty to your majesty, and of concern for the public welfare, required that these particulars should not be withheld from your majesty, to whom more particularly belonged the cognizance of a matter of state so nearly touching the honour of your majesty's royal family, and, by possibility, affecting the succession of your majesty's

crown.

Your majesty had been pleased, on your part, to view the subject in the same light. Considering it as a matter which, on every account, demanded the most immediate investigation, your majesty had thought fit to commit into our hands the duty of ascertaining, in the first place, what degree of credit was due to the informations, and thereby enabling your majesty to decide what further conduct to adopt concerning them.

On this review, therefore, of the matters thus alleged, and of the course hitherto pur-Winchester. sued upon them, we deemed it proper, in the first place, to examine those persons in whose declarations the occasion for this inquiry had originated. Because if they, on being examined upon oath, had retracted or varied their assertions, all necessity for further investigation might possibly have been precluded.

PARSONS, We accordingly first examined on oath the Hampshire Parsons! My old ac principal informants, Sir John Douglas, and quaintances, how do you feel now?

TO

THE HAMPSHIRE PARSONS.

1. On the blame ascribed to me with regard to the disturbances.

2. On the Special Works at Winchester.

3. On the effects of the Works at

4. On the conduct of the Bishop of Winchester.

5. On the fate of the Tithes.

Kensington, 12th January, 1831.

[ocr errors]

66

When, in March, 1817, you met at working man was worse fed and worse Winchester to congratulate the Prince clad than the felons in the hulks and Regent on his narrow escape" in the jails; but, then, the same thing had Park, and to thank the Parliament for been told the Parliamentary Commitpassing the Power-of-imprisonment tees by witnesses that they themselves Bill, I told you, in answer to LOCKHART, had chosen. Nothing can be truer that, before ten years were at an end, than that I have, over and over again, you must begin to look about you, if asserted that the labourers were put up you meaned to keep the tithes. I was to auction, and their labour sold for wrong, but only in point of time; I was certain terms, just as it done with only two years in advance of the fact. regard to the negroes in Jamaica; but, But this, the most important of the then, the same thing is stated in evisubjects on which I am about to address dence taken down by the Parliamentary you, I must reserve for the close of my Committees, and printed at the people's letter. But, upon the whole, before I expense, while I print at my own exgo any further, how do you feel, par-pense. What blame then attaches to me sons? And did you, when you were hunt- in this case? I confess, "I am free to ing me about, from the year 1805 to confess," as the sensible collective has the year 1817, inclusive, anticipate this it, that I have said, that the misery was state of things? I often enough told the cause of the crime, and that the law you that it would come; but did you had no terrors, because the working anticipate it? And now let me pro- people were better off in jail than at their own homes; but then Sir E. E. somebody, Chairman of the Quarter Sessions of Warwickshire, and all his brother magistrates, have, in formal resolutions, said the same thing. Why not fly at them? Why not fly at the Parliament, who published all the evidence mentioned above?

66

ceed in the order above laid down.

1. On the blame imputed to me as to the cause of the popular commotions. It is very true, parsons, that I have, long and long ago, foretold what has now happened. I have been, for about six-and-twenty years, predicting that, if such a change were not made as would better the lot of the labourers, a terrible convulsion would take place. I have always said, that Englishmen would not, like Irishmen, lie down by hundreds and die quietly from starvation. It is very true that I have, for about ten years, inveighed as bitterly against making Englishmen draw carts like cattle, full as bitterly as the Duke of Richmond did last winter, that being the very first time that the matter was ever even alluded to in Parliament, though the Parliament had plenty of proofs of the disgraceful fact given tual means of prevention were not in evidence before their Committees. adopted! Fly at him then, parsons; It is very true, that I have, for many deal with him first, and then come at years, been complaining that the la-me. Ah! but Earl Stanhope did not bourers carried potatoes (accursed hog-write the History of the Protestant food) to field, instead of the bread Reformation! He did not tell all the and meat and cheese that they used to nation what was the origin, the intencarry thither; but, then, the Parlia- tion, and the former application of ment had the same thing in evidence tithes and of Cathedral and Bishop's before their Committees so long ago as and College revenues! And, therefore, the year 1821. It is very true, that I he may take a horse when I do not dare have long been saying, that the honest look over the hedge.

Aye, but I not only related the sufferings and described the degradation of the labourers, but I foretold that they would not endure it for ever, and that they would finally break forth and attack the rich. It is very true, that my words might amount to this; but then EARL STANHOPE said the same thing, in his place in Parliament, last year, only he said it without any reserve. He said, that there was an open breach between the poor and the rich, and that they would soon come to blows, if some effec

« PoprzedniaDalej »