Obrazy na stronie

living in ease, splendour, and even extrava- | him not only not a bad example to married men, gance.

but to set a good example; and finally to render
all dispute about succession to the throne next
to impossible, and to prevent that which
Englishmen have always hated, that succes-
sion calling in foreigners to reign. These
were the purposes for which the nation had
made such great pecuniary sacrifices; and he
by his conduct to his wife defeated them all;
and by that conduct, and that conduct alone,
laid the foundation of all those discontents,
troubles, commotions, and all that waste of
money and that spilling of blood, to which I
have alluded in the first paragraph of this
present chapter; and of this fact no man,
when he is fully informed of all the circum-
stances, can possibly doubt.

49. With regard to the first of these duties, though the law restrained him in the choosing of a wife, this restraint was a condition upon which he was to enjoy royal magnificence and power; and, though it restrained him in his choice, it did not compel him to marry any body. A good and dutiful son, even in the lowest walks of life, will hesitate long before he marry against the wish of his father and family. So that there is no excuse to be built on this ground. He was perfectly free to refuse the hand of the lady that had been chosen for him; to take that hand was his own voluntary act; therefore, he was bound by every tie that ought to bind a husband; and, though personal affection was wanting, 51. The marriage, as we have seen, took were there not the dictates of justice? Was place on the 8th of April, 1795. On the 7th there not his solemn vow; did he not promise of January, 1796, two days only short of nine before God, that he would love and cherish months, the Princess was delivered of a and keep constant to this lady? Was there daughter, who was baptized by the name of not, supposing a want of every-thing else, CHARLOTTE, and of whose premature death I common humanity to tell him, that it was cruel shall in due time and place have to speak. to the last degree even to slight a person During these nine months even, the Princess situated as the Princess was, in a foreign has since complained, not only of neglect the country, cut off from home, parents, and most mortifying, but of indignities the most friends, surrounded with envious rivals and gross and insupportable. She was a woman satirists, and placed solely under his protec-of too high a spirit to endure this treatment tion and at his mercy? Amongst the honest unresented. Cruelty and cowardice always go boasts of England, is, that it possesses "manly together; or the former, at least, is never unhearts to guard the fair.” As far as belonged accompanied by the the latter. Men are cruel, to the people of England, the unfortunate in many cases, only because they are cowardly. CAROLINE experienced the literal truth of this The courageous robber even spares the life of poetic description; but, we shall presently see his victim; the cowardly one kills him, lest how it was exemplified in the conduct of him he should bring him to justice. The Princess who was one day to be their king, and the did not bear her ill-treatment with tameness; mildness of whose reign and generosity of she made her husband feel that she was not to whose character have been extolled by those be insulted with impunity; but this, of course, who were amongst his intimates and coun-only added to his antipathy; which at the end cillors.

of only one year and five or six days from the
day of the marriage, led to a message from
him to her proposing a separation from bed
and board. It was a lord who had the high
honour to deliver this message; it was a peer,
au hereditary law-giver, who was charged
with this noble mission, and who actually had
the mauliness to deliver the delicate message
to the wife and mother from his own lips.

50. As to his duty towards the nation, it bound him, in the first place, to refrain from any indulgence, from giving way to any passion, from doing auy-thing which, operating in the way of example, might be injurious to public morals. We are all aware of the powers of fashion; we know that iu dress, in eating, in drinking, in sports and pastimes of all sorts, the high are followed as nearly as 52. The Princess, however, very prudently possible by the low. As the servant-maid requested to have her husband's wishes stated imitates as nearly as possible the dress of her in writing; but she at once told the bearer of mistress, and the footman the airs of his the message, that though she must, of course, master, so will a people imitate, in a greater submit to the arrangement that the Prince or less degree, the example of their rulers. If might resolve on, she desired it might be snuff became sought after because it was by a clearly understood that any such arrangeshrewd tobacconist named "Prince's mixture," ment, if once made should be final, and that is it to be believed that ill-treatment of a wife under no circumstances he should retain the at Carlton House would not have its pernicious right to alter it. This answer produced the influence on every man at all prone to disre-written proposal, which must be preserved here gard the marriage vow? Besides, for what in the Prince's own words. Shameful words had the nation given to this prince such enor-to be by any man addressed to any woman. mous sums of money? For what had it a second time discharged the long score of his squanderings? For the purpose of seeing him lead a life of sobriety, order, and conjugal fidelity; for the purpose of seeing a family of children about him ; for the purpose of seeing

What must they be then when addressed by a
husband to a wife, and to a wife, too, with an
only child in her arms, and that child only
three months old! The man overcomes the
historian here, and makes him, for the honour
of his sex and country, recoil at the thought of

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

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.


de votre part la moindre reproche de duplicité. Comme 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.


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 53. It is unnecessary to remark on the rude-aware that the credit of it belongs to you alone. 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'étonne, 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.

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 Père, votre aveu et ma réponse. Vous trouverez çi incluse la copie de celle que j'ecris au Roy. Je vous en previens pour ne pas m'attirer

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. 1 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: in the 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

6th of May, 1796.


54. In these documents we have the real foundation of not only all the inquietudes, the scandal, the shame, the mortification, and the just reproach, which this king had to endure for the rest of his life, and the laughing holiday, in and about London, on the very day of his funeral; not only of these, for these

would, comparatively, be an insignificant mat- the prince auy 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 be 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 ralers 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 "not made us suitable to each other." Shame-roof after this scandalous insult on the wife, 57. For the parties to live under the same 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 27,0001. 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 Gospel of St. Luke, arose aod said, "I will go "to my father, and say unto him, Father, I "have sinned against heaven and before thee, "and am no more worthy to be called thy son.' But the father, like the English nation," while "he was yet a great way off, saw him, and ran, " and fell on his neck, and said unto his ser"vants, Bring forth the best robe and put it "on him; and put a ring on his hand; and "bring hither the fatted calf, and let us eat "and be merry." How like the conduct of this kind and good father to that of the English nation towards this prodigal Prince of Wales! If the parable had gone on to record that the prodigal afterwards became, though with experience to warn him, a greater prodigal than before, would it not also have recorded the punishment due to prodigality so incorrigible? 56. It is impossible to put upon this letter of

showed her little or no countenance; the nobility, notwithstanding the character and conduct that that word ought to imply, studiously shunned her the moment she was just when not deceived, felt for her as they cast off by her husband. The people, always ought, and upon all occasions that offered expressed their indignation at the treatment she had received. Cruel husband was not and never will be a title to respect in England. In no country is it, indeed, respected; but in England it is detested and abhorred. It was soon discovered that this unprotected foreign lady was not visited by the QUEEN; that she came into her presence only on state occasions; and that, in short, she had, of the whole family, no friend but the old king, who frequently went alone to visit her.

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

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 armis, 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.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

WHEREAS Our right trusty and wellbeloved Councillor Thomas Lord Erskine, Our Chancellor, has this day laid before Us an Abstract of certain written Déclarations 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 States 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 #


May it please your Majesty,

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 YOUR majesty having been graciously this sort of life appears to have been very far pleased, by an instrument under your mafrom his thoughts; for, as it was afterwards jesty's royal sign manual, a copy of which is amply proved, she was no sooner in her state annexed to this report, to "authorise, emof banishment, than means were set to work power, and direct us to inquire into the to obtain against her such evidence as would," truth of certain written declarations, touchif established, justify the husband in demand-"ing the conduct of her royal highness the ing a divorce. "Princess of Wales, an abstract of which 60. No steps were, however, openly taken," had been laid before your majesty, and to until the year 1806; though the pretended grounds of those steps had, some of them, ee isted 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 Chancellor, 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 insulting letter from the Prince to his wife, on the 30th of April, 1796. As we shall by-and-by see,

"examine upon oath such persons as we "should see fit, touching and concerning the "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 judgment into which we may have unintentionally fallen with respect to any part of this busi ness. On a reference to the above-mentioned declarations, as the necessary foundation of all our proceedings, we found that they con

sisted in certain statements, which had been Will before this royal highness the Prince of Wales, respecting the conduct of her highness the Princess. That these statements not only imputed to her royal highness great impropriety and indecency of behaviour, but expressly asserted, partly on the ground of certain alleged declarations from the princess's own mouth, and partly on the personal observations 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.

Charlotte his wife; who both positively swore, the former to fact of pregnancy of her royal highness, and the latter to all the important particulars contained in her former declarations, and above referred to Their examinations are annexed to this report, and are circumstantial and positive.

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 theu 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 These allegations thus made, had, as we be learnt which would be necessarily conclufound, been followed by declarations from sive on the truth or falsehood of these declaother persons, who had not indeed spoken to rations. So many persons must have been the important facts of the pregnancy or de- witnesses to the appearances of an actuallylivery of her royal highness, but had related existing pregnancy; so many circumstances other particulars, in themselves extremely must have been attendant upon a delivery; suspicious, and still more so when connected and difficulties so numerous and insurmountwith the assertions already mentioned. able must have been involved in any attempt 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 colla- This expectation was not disappointed. teral evidence, applying to other points of the We are happy to declare to your majesty our 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 Every sentiment of duty to your majesty, with the princess is the child of her royal and of concern for the public welfare, required highness, or that she was delivered of any child that these particulars should not be withheld in the year 1802; nor has any-thing appeared from your majesty, to whom more particu-to us which would warrant the belief that she larly belonged the cognizance of a matter of was pregnant in that year, or at any other state so nearly touching the honour of your period within the compass of our inquiries. majesty's royal family, and, by possibility, [To be continued.] affecting the succession of your majesty's

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

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 inves. tigation, 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 pursued 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.

We accordingly first examined on oath the


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 Winchester.

4. On the conduct of the Bishop of Winchester.

5. On the fate of the Tithes,

Kensington, 12th January, 1881.

Hampshire Parsons! My old ac-

principal informants, Sir John Douglas, and quaintances, how do you feel now?

« PoprzedniaDalej »