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rights ;" * but this omission, which appears to us justifiable under the circumstances, Mr. Greville shows us was due to the action of the king himself.t In the month of June, 1819, a communication appears to have been received from Mr. Brougham, the professional adviser of the princess, and understood to be charged with the confidential management of her affairs. The proposal contained in this communication was in substance, that her then income of £35,000 a year should be secured to her for life, instead of terminating with the demise of the crown; and that she should undertake upon that arrangement being made to reside permanently abroad, and not to assume at any time the rank or title of Queen of England. This proposal, however, being stated to be made without any authority from the princess, or knowledge of it on her part, the Government at that time replied that tiere would be no indisposition at the proper time to entertain the principle on which the proposal was grounded, if it met with the approbation of her Royal Highness on the king's accession. The ministers, reverting to Mr. Brougham's proposal, offered to raise the already handsome allowance to £50,000 a year, subject to the conditions before mentioned. Caroline, however, peremptorily declined the proposal, alleging that it had been made without her knowledge or sanction. Unfortunately, too, this offer when made to Caroline herself, was coupled with the intimation that if the queen should “be so ill-advised as to come over to this country, there must be an end to all negotiations and compromise.” I Considering the temper and disposition of the woman, the fact that she had demanded the insertion of her name in the liturgy, the haughty assertion of her claim “to be received and acknowledged as the Queen of England," and the communication made at the same time of her desire that a royal yacht should be in readiness to receive her at Calais, $ it appears to us a greater mistake on the part of the ministry could scarcely have been made. It aroused her woman's nature, and flaming with the anger and
resentment which she had nourished for so long a course of years, she boldly took up the gauntlet her enemies had flung at her feet, and crossed the Channel almost as soon as the astonished Government messenger himself.
The queen (for she was titular Queen of England now) arrived in London on the 7th of June : “the road was thronged with an immense multitude the whole way from Westminster Bridge to Greenwich. Carriages, carts, and horsemen followed, preceded, and surrounded her coach the whole way. She was everywhere received with the greatest enthusiasm. Women waved pockethandkerchiefs, and men shouted wherever she passed. She travelled in an open landau, Alderman Wood sitting by her side, and Lady Ann Hamilton [the Duke of Hamilton's sister and another woman opposite. ... The queen looked exactly as she did before she left England, and seemed neither dispirited nor dismayed."* In one of the popular satires of the day we see her standing on the balcony of Alderman Wood's house in South Audley Street, receiving and acknowledging the enthusiastic plaudits of her admirers. The very day she arrived at Dover, a royal message was sent down to Parliament, by which the king commended to the Lords an inquiry into the conduct of the queen ; while on the following day, Mr. Brougiram read in the House of Commons a message or manifesto from his client, declaring that her return was occasioned by the necessity her enemies had laid upon her of defending her character and conduct.
Both parties now stood irrevocably committed to the fatal measure. A secret committee of the House of Lords proceeded to open the celebrated green bag, which contained the reports of the Milan Commission ; and on the 4th of July they made their report, recommending a solemn inquiry into the conduct of the queen. Next day the Earl of Liverpool presented a “bill of pains and penalties” entitled, “An Act to deprive Her Majesty Queen Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of the title, prerogative, rights, privileges, and
The Bill of Pains and Penalties. and
exemptions of Queen Consort of this realm, and to dissolve the marriage between His Majesty and the said Caroline Amelia Elizabeth” on the ground of the grossly immoral conduct therein alleged against her.
The ill-advised proceedings once commenced, no time was lost in carrying them through. On the 7th of July the Italian witnesses in support of the bill (twelve in number) landed at Dover. The object of their visit soon became known, and on emerging from the custom house they were set upon and badly beaten by a furious crowd, composed principally of women. They were lodged in a building then separating the old houses of Parliament, which, with its enclosure, was called Cotton Garden ; the front faced the abbey, the rear the Thames. “The land entrance was strongly barricaded. The side facing Westminster Bridge was shut out from the public by a wall run up for the express purpose at a right angle to the Parliament stairs. Thus the only access was by the river. Here was erected a causeway to low-water mark; a flight of steps led to the interior of the inclosure. The street was guarded by a strong military force, the water side by gunboats. An ample supply of provisions was stealthily (for fear of the mob) introduced into the building; a bevy of royal cooks was sent to see that the food was of good quality, and to render it as palatable as their art could make it. About this building, in which the witnesses were immured from August till November, the London mob would hover like a cat round the cage of a canary. Such confinement would have been intolerable to the natives of any other country, but it was quite in unison with the feelings of Italians. To them it realized their favourite dolce far niente.' Their only physical exertion appears to have been the indulgence in that description of dance that the Pifferari have made familiar to the Londoner.”* Such was the residence of the Italian witnesses against the queen, and it is certain that if they had ventured beyond its precincts they would have been torn in pieces.
* “Fifty Years of my Life," by George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, vol. ii. p. 123.
The appearance which Caroline of Brunswick presented at her trial was an outrageous caricature, and is thus described by one then distinctly friendly to her cause—the Earl of Albemarle : “ The peers rose as the queen entered, and remained standing until she took her seat in a crimson and gilt chair immediately in front of her counsel. Her appearance was anything but prepossessing. She wore a black dress with a high ruff, an unbecoming gipsy hat with a huge bow in front, the whole surmounted by a plume of ostrich feathers. Nature had given her light hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion, and a good-humoured expression of countenance ; but these characteristics were marred by painted eyebrow's, and by a black wig with a profusion of curls, which overshadowed her cheeks and gave a bold, defiant air to her features." The names of the witnesses, and possibly the precise nature of the testimony against her, would seem to have been unknown to the queen, for we have it on record that when the first witness (Teodoro Majoochi, the celebrated “Non Mi Ricordo") was placed at the bar, on the 21st of August, Her Majesty, “uttering a loud exclamation, retired hastily from the House, followed by Lady Ann Hamilton.” * She evidently laboured under some strong emotion, whether of surprise or displeasure, or both, seems never to have been ascertained.
Among the general public, and even in the House of Commons itself, the falsehood of all that had been alleged on oath against the queen was assumed as an undeniable axiom ; the witnesses were loaded with the most opprobrious epithets, while those who had been concerned in collecting or sifting evidence were represented as conspirators or suborners. We shall see, when we come to speak of the caricatures of Robert Cruikshank, the light in which these unhappy witnesses were regarded by the graphic satirists on the popular side. Nevertheless, if their testimony is carefully read over by any unprejudiced person having any knowledge of the law of evidence, in spite of the badgering of Mr. Brougham, the admirable speech of that gentleman, and the testimony of the witnesses on the other side, I think he cannot fail to come to any other conclusion than that expressed by the then Lord Ellenborough, that Her Royal Highness was “the last woman a man of honour would wish his wife to resemble, or the father of a family would recommend as an example to his daughters. No man,” said his lordship, “could put his hand on his heart and say that the queen was not wholly unfit to hold the situation which she holds.” * He will see too, by reference to the report of the proceedings in the “Annual Register," that of the peers who decided to vote against the second reading of the bill on the ground of inexpediency, a large majority gave it as their deliberate opinion that the case had been proved against the queen.t In a very clever pictorial satire, published by S. Humphrey in 1821, the queen, Bergami, and a third figure (possibly intended for Alderman Wood) are represented as standing on a pedestal forming the apex of a slender stem labelled “ Mobility,” which rests on a base marked “Adultery.” The whole structure depends for support on a broom (in allusion of course to Mr. Brougham) and two frail pieces of wood, labelled respectively, “Sham addresses,” and “Sham processions,” which in turn rest on a slender railing, while a ladder on either side, marked “ Brass” and “Wood,” lend a further slight support to the very insecure fabric. The superincumbent weight of the queen and Bergami breaks the frail stem in pieces, and the three figures tumble to the ground together. The back of the design is occupied with scenes and incidents detailed in the evidence. A very clever caricature, without date (published by T. Sidebotham), I am inclined to assign to this period; and if so, it is one of the most plain spoken and telling satires ever published. It is entitled, City Scavengers Cleansing the London Streets of Impurities ; a placard which has fallen in the street sufficiently explains its meaning: “By particular desire of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, D- of K-t in the chair,
* “ Annual Register," 1820, p. 986. + Sce carica:ures of Robert Cruikshank, 1820.