« 前へ次へ »
too sound judgment, and too nice a sense of honour, not to perceive how much more justly they belong to the mother of your daughter--the mother of her who is destined, I trust at a very distant period, to reign over the British empire.
It may be known to your Royal Highness, that during the continuance of the restrictions upon your royal authority, I still was inclined to delay taking this step, in the hope that I might owe the redress I sought to your gracious and unsolicited condescension. I have waited, in the fond indulgence of this expectation, until, to my inexpressible mortification, I find, that my unwillingness to complain has only produced fresh grounds of complaint, and I am at length compelled either to abandon all regard for the two dearest objects which I possess on earth,—mine own honour and my beloved child-or to throw myself at the feet of your Royal Highness, the natural protector of both.
I presume, Sir, to represent to your Royal Highness, that the separation, which every succeeding month is making wider, of the mother and the daughter, is equally injurious to my character and to her education. I say nothing of the deep wounds which so cruel an arrangement inflicts upon my feelings ; although I would fain hope that few persons will be found of a disposition to think lightly of these. To see myself cut off from one of the very few domestic enjoyments left me—certainly the only one upon which I set any value—the society of my child, involves me in such misery, as I well know your Royal Highness never could inflict upon me, if you were aware of its bitterness. Our intercourse has been gradually diminished ;—a single interview, weekly, seemed sufficiently hard allowance for a mother's affections ; --that, however, was reduced to our meeting once a fortnight, and I now learn that even this most rigorous interdiction is to be still more rigidly enforced. But while I do not venture to intrude my feelings as a mother upon your Royal Highness's notice, I must be allowed to say, that in the eyes of an observing and jealous world, this separation of a daughter from her mother will only admit of one construction-a construction fatal to the mother's reputation. Your Royal Highness will also pardon me for adding, that there is no less inconsistency than injustice in this treatment. He who dares advise your Royal Highness to overlook the evidence of my innocence, and disregard the sentence of complete acquittal which it produced, or is wicked and false enough still to whisper suspicions in your ear, betrays his duty to you, Sir, to your daughter, and to your people, if he counsels you to permit a day to pass without a further investigation of my conduct. I know that no such calumniator will venture to recommend a measure which must speedily end in his utter confusion. Then, let me implore you to reflect on the situation in which I am placed, without the shadow of a charge against me; without even an accuser; after an inquiry that led to my ample vindication, yet treated as if I were still more culpable than the perjuries of my suborned traducers represented me, holding me up to the world as a mother who may not enjoy the society of her only child.
The feelings, Sir, which are natural to my unexampled situation, might justify me in the gracious judgment of your Royal Highness, had I no other motives for addressing you but such as relate to myself. The serious, and soon it may be, the irreparable injury which my daughter sustains from the plan at present pursued, has done more in overcoming my reluctance to intrude upon your Royal Highness than any sufferings of my own could accomplish. And if for her sake I presume to call away your Royal Highness from the other cares of your exalted station, I feel confident I am not claiming this for a matter of inferior importance, either to yourself or your people.
The powers with which the constitution of these realms vests your Royal Highness in the regulation of the royal family, I know, because I am so advised, are ample and unquestionable. My appeal, Sir, is made to your excellent sense and liberality of mind in the exercise of those powers ; and I willingly hope, that your own parental feelings will lead you to excuse the anxiety of mine, for impelling me to represent the unhappy consequences which the present system must entail upon our beloved child.
Is it possible, Sir, that any one can have attempted to persuade your Royal Highness that her character will not be injured by the perpetual violence offered to her strongest affections—the studied care taken to estrange her from my society, and even to interrupt all communication between us? That her love for me, with whom, by his Majesty's wise and
gracious arrangements, she passed the years of her infancy and childhood, never can be extinguished, I well know, and the knowledge of it forms the greatest blessing of my existence. But, let me implore your Royal Highness to reflect how inevitably all attempts to abate this attachment by forcibly separating us, if they succeed, must injure my child's principles—if they fail, must destroy her happiness.
The plan of excluding my daughter from all intercourse with the world appears, to my humble judgment, peculiarly unfortunate. She who is destined to be the sovereign of this great country, enjoys none of those advantages of society, which are deemed necessary for imparting a knowledge of mankind to persons who have infinitely less occasion to learn that important lesson ; and, it may so happen, by a chance which I trust is very remote, that she should be called upon to exercise the powers of the crown, with an experience of the world more confined than that of the most private individual. To the extraordinary talents with which she is blessed, and which accompany a disposition as singularly amiable, frank, and decided, I willingly trust much ; but beyond a certain point, the greatest natural endowments cannot struggle against the disadvantages of circumstances and situation.
It is my earnest prayer, for her own sake as well as for her country's that your Royal Highness may be induced to pause before this point be reached.
Those who have advised you, Sir, to delay so long the period of my daughter's commencing her intercourse with the world, and, for that purpose, to make Windsor her residence, appear not to have regarded the interruptions to her education which this arrangement occasions, both by the impossibility of obtaining proper teachers, and the time unavoidably consumed in the frequent journeys to town which she must make, unless she is to be secluded from all intercourse, even with your Royal Highness and the rest of the royal family. To the same unfortunate counsel I ascribe a circumstance, in every way so distressing, both to my parental and religious feelings, that my daughter has never yet enjoyed the benefit of confirmation, although above a year older than the age at which all the other branches of the royal family have partaken of that solemnity. May I earnestly conjure you, Sir, to hear my entreaties upon this serious matter, even if you should listen to other advisers on things of less near concernment to the welfare of our child.
The pain with which I have at length formed the resolution of addressing myself to your Royal Highness is such, as I should in vain attempt to express. If I could adequately describe it, you might be enabled, Sir, to estimate the strength of the motives which have made me submit to it; they are the most powerful feelings of affection; and the deepest impressions of duty towards your Royal Highness, my beloved child, and the country, which I devoutly hope she may be preserved to govern, and to shew, by a new example, the liberal affection of a true and generous people to a virtuous and constitutional monarch. I am, Sir, with profound respect, And an attachment which nothing can alter,
Your Royal Highness's
CAROLINE LOUISA. MONTAGUE House, 14th January, 1813.
This is a letter in masquerade, forced and unnatural. It is difficult to say who was its author. It bears the marks of being the composition of more than one writer. It would be convincing, were it sincere, but it is sneering and insincere. On a cursory reading, it appears dignified and temperate, but there is an under current in every sentence which might be construed into a totally different meaning from that which it conveys on its surface. Upon the whole, it appears to me to have been more likely to give offence and irritation, than to obtain any favour by conciliation and entreaty. The latter part, most especially, is jesuitical and dictatorial : it is one thing to ask a favour, another to demand a right; it is one thing to set forth a moral right, another a legal claim ; it is one thing to sue as a wife, another to command as a queen. How difficult to join these different claims and make them coalesce !
But in this instance, as in most others, the happiness and welfare of the individual were lost sight of, and she was the tool of a party. Yet it is just possible, that whoever drew up this document (destined hereafter to be recorded in the page of history) had a feeling of interest and compassion for the unhappy woman whose cause it professed to espouse, -only that feeling was subservient to their own. But there is seldom any unmixed motive to instigate human actions ;—the bad or the good may predominate, but they are both there, and are generally so commixed, that, till time has sifted the grain from the chaff, they cannot be separated.
Tuesday.—Mr. Whitbread has made the finest speech that ever was heard ; most of his auditors were in tears, (said Mr. Bennet,) but all agreed in their admiration of the manly and forcible eloquence he displayed. There was no division. He read a letter from the Princess of Wales to the Prince, written after what he termed her last triumph, and written in an humble conciliatory tone, when the news came of another secret investigation now going on, and the pen fell from her hands at this intelligence. The house were all electrified, say my informants. Mr. Tierney spoke, and Lord Castlereagh. The latter floundered deep in the mire of duplicity and meanness. But Mr. Canning made an elaborate speech, saying that it were better all this business should end for ever; that the Princess was proved pure and innocent, but that if further private malice was at work against her, it would then be the duty of the house to take cognizance of the affair.
Extract from a Letter, from THE HON. ANNA)
S[EYMOUR] D[AMER). I consider Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales being sent abroad without a specific cause, as not only improbable but impossible, under our good laws; but I do fear and believe that some machinations, in the way of trial and