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Nothing, Mrs. Clarke may be assured, but indisposition, and wanting in the pleasure of having anything successful to report, could have so long prevented my calling on or sending to her.
In whatever communication may have been made to Mrs. Clarke's lawyer, I am indignant that such terms as "either deceiving, or laughing at you" should form a part of it, having reference to me; for while I lament my total inability to serve Mrs. Clarke, I am ready to confess, that in the few interviews I had the honour to hold with her, her conduct and conversation demanded nothing but my respect and the good wishes I bear her.
The whole of the public business was for a time suspended, in the investigation of these charges against the Duke of York, and perhaps on no occasion was more acrimony evinced by the opponents of the Duke, or a more ardent zeal displayed by all the adherents of the Court, to bring off the royal delinquent in triumph. The voice of the public was, however, against his Royal Highness, and the facts which were proved were so glaringly corrupt and immoral, that the Duke saw it no longer possible to stem the torrent which poured from all sides so rapidly against him, and therefore adopted the wiser plan of a voluntary resignation rather than that of a compulsory dismissal. On the 20th of March, therefore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose in the House of Commons, and stated, that he had to communicate to the House, that his Royal Highness the Duke of York, of his own accord, spontaneously waited on his Majesty, and resigned the high office which he had so long held, as Commander-in-chief, into his Majesty's hands. The motives for his Royal Highness having taken that step at this particular time, appeared to him so proper, that he entertained the most sanguine hopes, they would prove satisfactory to the House. The substance of the communication was to the following effect,
That the House of Commons, after a long and full investigation into the conduct of his Royal Highness, as Commander-in-chief, having passed certain resolutions, declaring their conviction of his innocence, and acquitting him of those criminal charges which had
been moved against him, he thought he might now tender a resignation of the office he held of Commander-in-chief, without appearing to shrink from those charges, or that he ever entertained a doubt of his innocence being fully proved. That the motives which induced him to approach his Majesty, who, as a kind and indulgent father and gracious Sovereign, had conferred on him this high command, in order to request he would again receive them, were that, having obtained so complete an acquittal of all corrupt motives, and of all participation or connivance at corruption, with which he had been charged, he was desirous of giving way to that public sentiment which those charges, however ill founded, had unfortunately drawn on him. That it did not become him to give up a situation in which his Majesty's confidence had placed him, without expressing a hope that, during the period of fourteen years he had had the honour to hold it, his Majesty had been convinced that he had done everything in his power to promote the interests of the service, and to evince his constant regard for the welfare and prosperity of the army.'
This communication having been made to his Majesty by his Royal Highness, his Majesty had been most graciously pleased to accept it.
Mr. Bragge Bathurst then moved the following resolution
That, while the House acknowledges the beneficial effects resulting from the services of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, during the time of his being Commander-in-chief, they had observed with the greatest regret that, in consequence of a connexion most immoral and unbecoming, a pernicious and corrupt influence had been used in respect to military promotions, and such as gave colour to the various reports respecting the knowledge of the Commander-in-chief of these transactions.'
To which Lord Althorpe moved an amendment
"That the Duke of York having resigned, the House did not now think it necessary to proceed further on the minutes of evidence taken before the committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of the Duke of York, as far as relate to his Royal Highness.'
He had purposely put in the word 'now,' because he thought the Duke of York ought not at any time hereafter to be restored to his late situation as Commander-in-chief; and if he should, the House would resume their proceedings upon the charges.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer next moved, that the word 'now' should be left out of Lord Althorpe's amendment; when it was carried by a majority of 123.
Thus ended this important investigation-a circumstance which threw a deep gloom over the happiness of the royal family; and it is believed to have been one of the principal causes which led, in a short time, to the return of that malady with which the King had been previously afflicted, and from which he never fully recovered.
We have already traced the rise and progress of several of the chosen favourites of the Prince of Wales; and as we shall have shortly to introduce to the notice of our readers another of the vagaries of fortune, in the person of the successor of Sir John M'Mahon, we shall, at this time, briefly state the manner and place in which this new favourite was found.
His Royal Highness was one evening on a friendly visit at the house of Lord Melbourne, at Whitehall; and on his return. at two o'clock in the morning, he perceived a young man. lying huddled up beneath the portico of the noble lord's house, where he had crept to avoid the inclemency of the weather, it having rained very hard during the evening.
His Royal Highness accosted the young man, who replied that he had come from the country, and had neither parents nor home. The Prince observed to his attendants, that the youth must not remain there to perish, and ordered him to follow the carriage to Carlton House. On their arrival he directed every necessary refreshment to be given him, and that he should be put into a comfortable bed. In the morning his Royal Highness again interrogated the boy, and finding him to tell a true and artless tale, immediately directed that he should be em
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ployed in the household, having first given orders that he should be newly clothed.
A few years more, and we shall find this houseless wanderer the companion of the Prince of Wales, and, in the year 1830, enjoying one of the most honourable offices which the sovereign can bestow upon a subject.
END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
LONDON:-W. CLOWES, Stamford-street.