Obrazy na stronie

the intention of the advice which has now been given to the Prince Regent, and the probability that there may be ultimate objects in view, pregnant with danger to the security of the succession and the domestic peace of the realm.

Under these circumstances, even if the Princess's duty towards herself could suffer her to remain silent ; her sense of what is due to her daughter, and to the highest interests of the country, cempel her to make this communication to the House of Commons.

The Princess of Wales encloses a copy of the correspondence which has passed, and requests Mr. Speaker to communicate it to the House of Commons.

Connaught-House, June 3, 1814.

That this application to Parliament was ill-timed on the part of her Royal Highness, cannot be questioned ; and, indeed, in many respects, it may be considered as altogether a question to which the interference of Parliament could not be expected. The adviser of this measure being well versed in parliamentary forms, and properly acquainted with the extent of the powers of Parliament, should have known that the House could not be called upon to interfere in mere matters of etiquette, nor to settle the difference between man and wife, however exalted their station might be.

An address was moved to the Prince Regent, to acquaint the House by whom the advice was given, on which his Royal Highness was induced to form the fixed and unalterable determination never to meet her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, upon any occasion, either in private or public. The motion was, however, afterwards withdrawn, on the understanding that some steps



would be taken to remedy the grievance complained of.

The approaching nuptials of the Princess Charlotte with the hereditary Prince of Orange still engrossed the public attention ; and no little degree of surprise was excited that no official communication had yet been made to the House of Commons upon the subject. Day after day, a question was directed to the ministers, inquiring the exact state of the intended union; and whether any, or what impediments existed to its fulfilment: the invariable answer was, that no commands had been yet received to make any communication upon the subject.

In regard to the union of the Princess Charlotte with the Prince of Orange, it has before been stated that no personal objection to his Serene Highness existed on the part of the Princess Charlotte; but there is something more required, in order to render a marriage productive even of common happiness, than the mere absence of any personal objection.

It may indeed be urged, that royal riages, founded, as they generally are, on political motives, are not to be viewed through the same medium as those which take place in the humbler spheres of life ;- and that, as the object is seldom the choice of the heart, all that can be rationally required is the absence of positive dislike. It is, however, a fortunate case for the daughters of royalty, that, although they possess not the power


of choosing the individual to whom they will give their hand, they yet have the privilege of rejecting any one selected by others; although, in a political point of view, the greatest possible advantage might accrue to the nation from the alliance. It is certain that the Prince of Orange failed in gaining, even in a slight degree, the affections of the Princess Charlotte; she esteemed and respected him as an individual ;-he had assisted in fighting the battles of her country ; and, in his moral character there was not any thing which called for marked reprehension ; but, when he appeared before her in the character of a suitor, the affections of the heart were then to be called into play; and, powerful as those affections would have reigned in the breast of the Princess Charlotte, had she met with an individual congenial with herself, yet there was not that marked character in the Prince of Orange in unison with her own, which could call into action the latent springs of her love.

In the progress of this intended marriage, the views and interests of different parties clashed most powerfully; and the result, which in a short time displayed itself, may, in a great degree, be ascribed to the impossibility which the Princess Charlotte foresaw of bringing those jarring interests to any agreeable point of reconciliation.

On the part of her mother, the most decided objection existed to the union of her Royal Highness with the Prince of Orange ; on the grounds, that, as his Serene Highness was entirely under

the influence, and acted, on all occasions, in strict conformity with the views of the Prince Regent, she saw no prospect of any amelioration in her situation resulting from the union; but, on the contrary, that the Princess Charlotte, being then constantly under the surveillance of her husband, would be still more liable to a restricted intercourse with herself; and a knowledge must be necessarily obtained of certain points connected with her own situation, which could not fail to 'draw down upon her head the severe displeasure of the Prince Regent. The Prince of Orange, in the opinion of the Princess of Wales, had offered to her a direct personal affront. She was the mother of his intended consort; and whatever difference might exist between the Prince Regent and herself, she did not deem it becoming in the individual who had declared himself her future son-in-law, to espouse the part of the father against the mother, and to treat the latter with every mark of disrespect. Was the mother of the Princess Charlotte, whose hand he was then suing for, not worthy of any personal attentions on the part of the suitor ?-and, in a cool discussion of the grounds of that neglect, what other construction could be attached to it, than that he believed in the calumnies which had been promulgated against her, and, consequently, deemed her unworthy of his attentions? But, was this a conduct likely to instil into the heart of the Princess Charlotte any love or affection for him ?-did it open to her,

when by her marriage she would be emancipated from parental control, any cheering prospect of alleviating the situation of her mother, and rendering her hours more happy, by a more frequent communication with her ? Did it not rather, on the contrary, expose her to a source of continual quarrel and dissension, from which the connubial state should be exempt? In the frequent conversations which took place between her Royal Highness and the Prince of Orange, this subject was often brought upon the tapis; and the latter, being once asked by the Princess, to what line of conduct she should be obliged to conform in regard to her mother? she was answered, that, as far as her visits to her mother extended, they would be allowed ; but that her mother should never enter the house of the Prince of Orange. Then, said the Princess Charlotte, rising indignantly from her chair, never will the Princess Charlotte of Wales be the wife of the Prince of Orange !

Amongst the illustrious visitors attracted to this country by the important changes in the political relations of Europe, was the sister of the Emperor Alexander, the Duchess of Oldenburgh ; and the customary civilities passed between the duchess and the Princess Charlotte. The duchess was a female gifted with no common endowments, whether regarded in a personal or intellectual point of view.

The ascendeney which she gained over every one with

« PoprzedniaDalej »