Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

stated, that she had been cleared of this, I see, been productive of very important
but that other imputations remained. There consequences,' not only to this country but
fore, said she, let me appear at court, and to all those countries which have been affect-
then the nation will be convinced, that Ied by the measures of our cabinet,
am cleared of every thing of which I have
been accused; or, said she, if you refuse " MINUTE OF CABINET, Downing-
me this request;

if
you

refuse me this open "street, January 25, 1807. testimony of your conviction of my inno

PRESENT. cence, let me be proved to be guilty in a “ The Ld. Chancellor, Lord Vis. Howick, fair and open manner. Let me be proved | " Lord President, Lord Grenville, to be guilty, or let me be treated as inno- “ Lord Privy Seal,

Lord Ellenborough, cent.

so Earl Spencer,

Mr. Sec. Windham, Nothing could be more reasonable, no- “ Earl of Moira,

Mr. Grenville, thing more fair, nothing more just than “ Lord Henry Petty, this; but, the King, who seems, through " Your Majesty's confidential servants the whole of the transactions, to have act- “ have given the most diligent and attened the part of an iinpartial judge as well as " tive consideration to the matters on which of a considerate and kind parent, was hain- | " your Majesty has been pleased to require pered by the previous decision of the Four "their opinion and advice. They trust Lords, which left a stain upon the Prin-" your Majesty will not think that

any apocess's character. In this emergency he did " logy is necessary on their part for the dewhat a King of England ought to do. He “lay which has attended their deliberareferred the Letters of the Princess to his “tions, on a subject of such extreme imconstitutional advisers, the ministers; and “ portance, and which they have found to be bade them, after perusing and considering of the greatest difficulty and embarrassall that the Princess had to say, give him " ment.- -They are fully convinced that their opinion and advice as to the course he " it never can have been your Majesty's ought to pursue.

"intention to require from them, that The ministers (the Whigs you will ob- “ they should lay before your Majesty a serve) appear to have been greatly puzzled detailed and circumstantial examination upon

this occasion. They were involved in and discussion of the various arguments a dilemma out of which it was impossible and allegations contained in the letter for them to get. They were compelled, "submitted to your Majesty, by the Law either to advise the King to suffer the Prin- “ Advisers of the Princess of Wales. cess to come to court, or not to suffer her " And they beg leave, with all humi. to come to court. If the latter, they ran "lity, to represent to your Majesty that the risk of all the dangers of an open expo

" the laws and constitution of their counsure of all that has now been exposed. “ try have not placed them in a situation in They ran the risk of the publication of which they can conclusively pronounce Lady Douglas's Statement and Deposition; " on any question of guilt or imocence afof Mr. Edmeades's deposition; and of all“ fecting any of your Majesty's subjects, the other depositions, proving so clearly “ much less one of your Majesty's Royal what had been going on against the Prin- " Family. They have indeed no power or

But, on the other hand, if they ad-“ authority whatever to enter on such a vised the King to receive the Princess at " course of inquiry as could alone lead to court, what would that advice have amount-" any final results of such a nature. The ed to with regard to the judgment of the “ main question on which they had conFour Lords, who had made the Report of “ceived themselves called upon by their 14th July, 1806, and who were four out of duty to submit their advice to your Mathe eleven members of the Cabinet, not for-" jesty was this,-- Whether the circumgetting that Earl Moira was a fifth?

siances which had, by your Majesty's In this dilemora the ministers, in Cabi- " commands, been brought before them, net Council asseinbled, took a course which “ were of a nature to induce your Majesty generally, if not always, proves fatal to “to order any further steps to be taken those who pursue it; that is to say, a middle upon them by your Majesty's Governcourse; and, on the 25th of January, 1807," ment? And on this point they humbly after long and repeated deliberations, laid " submit to your Majesty that the advice before the king the result, in the following " which they offered was clear and unequiminute, which you will read with great " vocal. Your Majesty has since beer attention, seeing that it has, as you will " pleased further to require that they

cess.

66 that

should submit to your Majesty their opi. nuary, 1807. Dales must now be strictly, " nions as to the answer to be given by your attended to. The Princess, upon receiv“Majesty to the request contained in the ing this message, immediately wrote to “ Princess's letter, and as to the manner in the King, intimating to him, that she “ which that answer should be communi- would wait upon him at Windsor, on the “cated to Her Royal Highness. They Monday following. The King, the mo“ have, therefore, in dutiful obedience to ment he received her letter, wrote back,

your Majesty's commands, proceeded to that he preferred receiving her in London, " re-consider the whole of the subject, in " upon a day subsequent to the ensuing " this new view of it; and after much de- ' week.To this letter the Princess re“ liberation, they have agreed humbly to turned no answer, and waited, of course, " recommend to your Majesty the draft of a to hear from the King, respecting the time “ Message, which, if approved by your for her reception, when he should come to " Majesty, they would humbly suggest London. All these Letters, you will bear

your Majesty might send to Her Royal in mind, make part of THE BOOK, and " Highness through the Lord Chancellor. will appear in my next Number. * Having before hunbly submitted to your Thus, then, every thing appeared to be

Majesty their opinion, that the facts of settled at last. The Princess had obtained " the case did not warrant their advising her great object: that is to say, her re

any

further steps should be taken admission to court; and here, perhaps, the upon it by your Majesty's Government, whole affair would have ended, and the " they have not thought it necessary to ad- world would never have been much the “ vise your Majesty any longer to decline wiser for what had passed. But, now,

receiving the Princess into your Royal just when the Princess was about to be presence. But the result of the whole received at court, all the charges against case does, in their judgment, render it her having been shown to be false; just as indispensable that your Majesty should, the King was about to receive her back into by a serious admonition, convey to Her his presence and thus to proclaim her in

Royal Highness your Majesty's expecta- nocence to the world; just as her suffer"stion that Her Royal Highness should be ings of almost a year were about to be put " more circumspeci in her fulure conduct ; an end to, and she was anxiously expecting, " and they trust that in the terms in which every hour, a message from the King ap" they have advised, that such admonition pointing the time for her waiting upon " should be conveyed, your Majesty will him; just then, all was put a stop to, and "s not be of opinion, on a full consideration the King acquainted her, that he had been " of the evidence and answer, that they requested to suspend any further steps in “ can be considered as having at all exceed the business! And by whom, think you, "ed the necessity of the case, as arising out was this request made? Why, BY THE " of the last reference which your Majesty PRINCE OF WALES HIMSELF! The has been pleased to make to them. Prince had, as the King informed the

In this minute of the cabinet there are Princess on the 10th of February, 1807, evident marks of timidity. At every period made a formal request to him, to suspend you see the hesitation of the parties from all further steps ; that is to say, to put off whom it came. It was not till nearly four receiving the Princess, till.....

.. till months, you will perceive, after the date when, think you? Why, till he (the of the Princess's letter of defence, that Prince) should be enabled lo submit to the they made this minute; and, you will per- king a statement which he proposed to make ceive, too, that, in the mean while, the lo him upon the papers relating to the Princess had written, on the 8th of De- Princess's defence, after consulting with his cember, 1806, another letter to the King, own lawyers ! urging a speedy decision on her case. She It was now that the serious work began. had manifestly the strong ground, and the It was now that the advisers of the Princess cabinet were puzzled beyond all descrip- began to change the lone of her letters, tion.

and, from the plaintive to burst forth into The King, agreeably to the advice of the indignant. Her Royal Highness anhis cabinet, seut a message to the Princess, swered the King's letter on the 12th of Fe. through the Lord Chancellor, Erskine, bruary, 1807, intimating her design to containing the admonition, recommended represent to him in another letter the variin the minute of Gabinet above inserted. ous grounds on which she felt the hardship This message was sent on the 28th of Ja- of her case, which was done in a letter dated the 16th of February, 1807, in a struction as ministers. Upon this ground, most able manner. This is the document, therefore, they were turned out, as all the which, above all the rest, is worthy of your world thought; and away went this “ most attention, Perceval was, 1 dare say, the “ Thinking nation" to a new election, sole aurhor of it, and it does infinite ho- bawling out bigotry on one side, and nonour to him as a man of talents. Whether popery on the other! for reasoning, language, or force, I never But, you see, my friend, that there read any thing to surpass this letter. The really appears to have been no choice left reasoning is clear as the brook and strong as to the King. He, very likely, had sin. the torrent; the language is dignified while cere scruples as to the Catholic Bill, and the feelings it expresses are indignant'; and, had, in some sort, had it forced upon him; in short, it makes out such a case, it pre- and, that being the case, he had a right to sents such a picture, that I no longer am make the Bill the ground of the dismission surprised at the pains whiclı' were after- of his ministers; but, that the case of the wards taken to conciliate its author and to Princess of Wales would have produced keep it froin the eye of the world. Who the same effect, is the Bill had not existed, could have been the Prince's advisers upon there can, I think, not be the smallest this occasion; who could have been the doubt. In short, there appears to have cause of drawing forth this terrible letter 11 been no other way left of getting rid of a presume not to say ; but, certainly, there thing, which must have operated most injune er existed in the world a man exposed ricusly in the opinions of the world to one, to the advice of more indiscreet or more at least, of the parties concerned ; and, I faithless friends.

think, you will agree with me, that His Ål the close of this letter (and now, as Majesty, in this case, acted the part of a the plot thickens, you must pay close at- prudent man, and of a kind and considerate tenien to dates); at the close of this let-| father. He had read all the documents, ter, which, you will bear in mind, was and especially the famous letter of the dated on the 16th of February, the Prin- Princess of the 16th of February; and be cess, for the first time, THREATENS saw the consequence of a publication of AN APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC, un those documents; therefore, he took, as · less she be speedily received at Court, auds you will see, the effectual means of

prealso allowed some suitable establishment venting that publication. If as much good in some one of the Royal Palaces, if not in sense had lately prevailed, we should not Caricion House. To this letter, however, now have these documents to make our reshe received no answer; and, on the 5th of marks on. March, which was on a Thursday, she The Whig ministry being removed, the wrote to the king to say, that, unless her four Lords and Lord Moira, and all those requests were granted, the publication who were called the Prince's friends, being would not be withheld beyond the next out of the cabinet and out of place, there Monday, which would have been on the remained no longer any obstacle to the re9th of March, 1807. The publication ceiving of the Princess at Court; and, acdid not appear, but Mr. Perceval was cordingly, on the 21st of April, 1807, the Chancellor of the Erchequor in less than fif- following Minutes of Council were laid bedern days from thal time!

fore the King, as a prelude to that step. We all remeurber how sudden, how surprising, frow anaccountable, that change 4. MINUTE OF COUNCIL, The cause was stated to be the

“ APRIL 21, 1807. Catholic Bill ; but, at the time, all men

PRESENT, expressed their wonder that that cause 4 The Lord Chancellor (ELDEN) should have been attended with such an " The Lord President (CAMDEN) effect. The Bill had been, by the Whig 56 The Lord Privy Seal (WESTMORLAND) ministry, introduced into Parliament with " The Duke of PORTLAND the understood approbation of the King; 16 The Earl of CHATHAM and the Whigs, clinging to place, had with. 66 The Earl of BATHURST drawn the Bill, upon some objection being

** Vicount CASTLEREAGH started on the part of the King. But, this " Lord MULGRAVE would not do; the King insisted upon their "Mr. Secretary CANNING signing a promise that they would never " Lord HAWKESBURY. mention such a Bill to him again. This " Your Majesty's confidential servants they could not do without ensuring their de" have, in obedience to your Majesty's

was.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ commands, most attentively considered the honour and interests of your Majesty's "the original Charges and Report, the " Illustrious Family, Chae Her Royal High" Minutes of - Evidence, and all the other ness the Princess of Wales, should be ad" papers. submitted to the consideration of " mitted wilk as little delay as possible, "your Majesty, on the subject of those " into your Majesty's Royal Presence, and " charges against Her Royal Highness the " that ske should be received in a manner 6 Princess of Wales.- - In the stage in " due lo her rank and slalion, in your 6+ which this business is brought under" Majesty's Court and Family.- -Your “their consideration, they do not feel them." Majesty's confidential servants also beg “ selves called upon to give any opinion as

“ leave to submit to your Majesty, that "to the proceeding itself, or to the mode considering that it may be necessary that "of investigation in which it has been "your Majesty's Government should pos-, " thought proper to conduct it. But ad sess the means of referring to the state of “ verting to the advice which is stated by this transaction, it is of the utmost im" His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales "portance that these documents, demon“ to have directed his conduct, your Ma. " strating the ground on which your Ma... "jesty's confidential servants are anxious" jesty has proceeded, should be preserved " to impress upon your Majesty their con- " in safe custody; and that for that pur“viction that His Royal Highness could "pose the originals, or authentic copies of “not, under such advice, consistently with “ all these papers, should be sealed up and “ his public duty, have done otherwise " deposited in the office of your Majesty's " than lay before your Majesty the State" Principal Secretary of State." 6-ment and Examinations which were sub"mitted to him upon this subject. -- 66 CABINET MINUTE, April 21, 1807. “ After the most deliberate consideration,

PRESENT, “ however, of the evidence which has “ been brought before the Commissioners, The Lord President

" The Lord Chancellor The Earl of Bathurst

Viscount Castlereagh " and of the previous examinations, as well. The Lord Privy Seal Lord Mulgrave 56 as of the answer and observations which “ The Duke of Portland Mr. Secretary Canning “ have been submitted to your Majesty

“ The Earl of Chatham Lord Hawkesbury. "upon them, they feel it necessary to de- 6 Your Majesty's Confidential Servants " clare their decided concurrence in the think it necessary to notice, in a separate " clear and unanimous opinion of the Com- " Minute, the request of Her Royal High

missioners, confirmed by that of all your eness the Princess of Wales, that for her

Majesty's late confidential servants, that's ipore convenient attendance at your Mac “the two main charges alleged against " jesty's Court, some apartment should be “Her Royal Highness the Princess of allotted to her in one of the royal palaces; “Wales, of pregnancy and delivery, are" although it appears to your Majesty's "completely disproved ; and they further “ Confidential Servants that some arrange“ submit to your Majesty, their unani- ' ment in this respect may be supposed

mous opinion, that all the other particu- naturally to arise out of the present state “ lars of conduct brought in accusation of this transaction, yet they humbly con

against Her Royal Highness, to which “ceive that this is a subject so purely of a " the character of criminality can be " private and domestic nature, that your " ascribed, are either satisfactorily contra- “Majesty would not expect froin them any dicted, or resi upon evidence of such a particular advice respecting it.”.

nature, and which was given under Thus ended the matter at that time. The 5 such circumstances, as render it, in the Princess was, soon afterwards, received at "judgment of your Majesty's confidential court with great splendour, and she had “ servants, undeserving of credit -- apartments allotted to her in Kensington " Your Majesty's confidential servants, Palace, which is situated at but about two " therefore, concurring in that part of the miles from St. James's. 66 opinion of your late servants, as stated Up to this inoment the conduct of Per" in their Minute of the 25th January, ceval seems to have been perfectly honour. " that there is no longer any necessity for able. He might possibly have ambitions

your Majesty being advised to decline views from the beginning. He might posreceiving the Princess into your Royal sibly think that one way to power was presence, humbly submit to your Ma- through the gratitude of the Princess, at

jesty; that it is essentially decessary, in some distant day; but, in the outset of the "justice to Her Royal Highness, and for business, he could hardly have entertained

[ocr errors]

&

an idea of things taking the sudden turn Princess; and, it was his failing to do that they took in ihe month of March, 1807: this, which lias, step by step, finally led indeed, it was impossible; for how was he, to the present disclosure. He had, inwho had written the Princess's defence, deed, doue much for the Princess ; he had and so clearly seen her innocence, to fore- cleared her of every imputation; he had see, or to suppose it possible, that any restored her to the court; he had replaced obstacles would be opposed to her reception, her in a palace; but, her husband being even after an udmonition had been given now exalted, her non-exaltation operated her? Up to this period, therefore, the with regard to her character in nearly the conduct of Perceval appears to have been same way as her exclusion from court had truly honourable ; he had proved himself formerly operated. Therefore she had a to be a wise adviser, and a most able and new ground of complaint ; the imputation zealons advocate. He found the Princess against her. honour was revived, not in banished from the court and the royal words, but in the want of acts, more espepalaces, and loaded with numerous imputa- cially as her defender was now placed on tions. He cleared her of them all, and the highest pinnacle of power. restored her to that situation which was the In this light the Princess herself, from object of her prayer.

her last letter to the Prince, seems to have We are now to view his subsequent viewed the matter; for, she there says, conduct towards her, and herein it is that that she has waited with patience, since he was, as appears to me, wanting in his the establishment of the Regency, to see duty both to the Prince and Princess. He what would be done. I, for my part, and others, had contrived, by one means strongly urged, at the time, the propriety and another, to suppress THE BOOK, of giving her an establishment suitable to which was ready for publication when he the new rank of her husband, and especially was made minister. But, the Princess the means of enabling her lo hold a court. had been received at court, she was inha- This was not listened to. The ministers biting a palace, and the affair was at rest. seem to have thought it best to leave her in There was no blame, therefore, in the comparative obscurity; but, her own spirit suppression; but when the REGENCY and her consciousness of innocence, have came to be established in the person of the defeated their views. Still, however, all Priuce; when the husband came to be ex. might have remained undisturbed, if a free alted to the rank, the power, and splen- intercourse had been permitted between her dour of a King, how could Perceval recon and her daughter ; and, I am sincerely of cile it with the letter of 16th February, opinion, from a full view of her character 1807, and with the minute of the 21st of and disposition, as exhibited in the whole April in that year, to leave the Princess of of these documents, that, provided no reWales, the wife of the Regent, in her straint had been laid upon the indulgence of former comparatively obscure and penu- her maternal affections, she would, without rious state ? How came he to do this ; much repining, have preserved in her magand that, too, at a time when he was so nanimous silence. But, when she saw her. amply providing for the splendour and self deprived of that indulgence ; when she power of the Queen, and was granting the saw her intercourse with her only child was public money for the making of new esta- more and more restrained; when she saw blishments for the maiden sisters of the the likelihood of an approaching, total ex-'

clusion from that child, and took into her Alas! We are now to look back to that view the effect which the notoriety of that wonderful event, the choosing of Perceval exclusion must have upon her reputation, for minister by the Regent, the choosing of she found it impossible longer to withhold the author of the letter of 16th February, the statement of her grievances. 1806, to the exclusion of those who had Even now, even after the writing of her always been called the Prince's Friends. last letter to the Prince; aye, and after the The Prince was certainly advised by pru- publishing of that letter, all might have dent men, when he took this step; for he been quietly set at rest, if the Prince had avoided a certain evil at the expense of no found advisers to recommend the acceding certain, and, indeed, of no probable, good to her reasonable request. Such advisers that a change of ministry would have ef- he did not find ; and we have the consefected. But, I blame Perceval for keeping quences before us. his place without stipulating for, or with- Upon the Report of the Privy Council to out doing, something in behalf of the the Prince dated on the 19th of February,

***

Regent ?

« AnteriorContinuar »