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it appears, treasured up all the gossip with which his friend could supply him. This gentleman (vol. i., p. 145) gives his lordship an account of the origin of the feud subsisting between these exalted personages, in the following terms :
While the Princess Charlotte was at Oatlands, she was endeavouring to dance the Scotch step called the Highland fling, and there was a laugh in endeavouring to make Adam (who was one of the party) teach her. The Prince got up and said he would show her; and in doing so evidently wrenched his ancle this took place ten days ago, since which he has never been out of his bed. He complained of violent pain and spasmodic affection; for which he prescribed for himself, and took a hundred drops of laudanum every three hours. He will sign rothing, and converse with no one on business (I speak up to yesterday); and you inay imagine therefore the distress and difficulty in which Ministers are placed. The Duke of Cumberland is going about saying it is all sham, and that he could get up, and would be perfectly well if he pleased. I protest, I think he is so worried and perplexed by all the prospect before him, and by the necessity which now arises for his taking a definitive step, that it has harassed his mind and rendered him totally incapable, for want of nerves, of doing anything; and in order to shun the necessity, he encourages the illness and continues to lie in bed.(pp. 145, 46).
This is certainly a deplorable picture of the head of the British Government, in a period of peril and of
While the forces of Napoleon were once more compassing the destruction of our national liberties-while our armies in Spain were pre-paring for that heroic effort for the subjugation of the French authority in the south, which resulted in the capture of Madrid-while we were threatened much as we are threatened now with hostilities from the other shores of the Atlantic,-never was greater injustice encountered by an able Administration.
To continue, however, this family portraiture, Mr. Freemantle tells Lord Buckingham in another letter, that-
There has been a complete quarrel between him (the Regent) and the Duke of C, for the cause I before mentioned to you, and another subject relating to a German officer of the 15th Dragoons. The Prince has had no explanation with him, but
has determined never to see him alone; and now, when he calis, the Prince always keeps some one in the room.—(p. 162).
This amusing gossip, Mr. Freemantle proceeds to give as the grounds of a yet more deadly quarrel between the Dukes of Cumberland and Clarence. The interference of his Royal Highness of Cumberland turned, on this occasion, upon the fair sex :
You have probably heard all the history of the Duke of Clarence. Before he went to Ramsgate he wrote to Lady C L
to propose, who wrote him [Mr. Freemantle is evidently toe ardent a gossip to be very grammatical] a very proper letter in answer, declining the honour in the most decided terms. After his arrival, he proposed three or four times more: and on his return to town, sent her an abstract of the Royal Marriage Act, altered, as he said it had been agreed to, by the Prince of Wales, whom he had consulted; and also conveyed the queen's best wishes and regards-to neither of whom he had said one word on the subject (!) Upon finding she had accepted Pole (who, by-the-bye, is solely indebted to him for this acceptance) he wrote to Lord Keith to propose for Miss Elphinstone, who in the most decided and peremptory terms rejected him he is, notwithstanding, gone to his house (!)
During all this, when he returned to town, he wrote to Mrs. Jordan at Bushy, to say she might have half the children-viz,, five; and he would allow her £800 per annum. She is most stout in rejecting all compromise till he has paid her what he owes her; she stating that during the twenty years she has lived with him, he has constantly received and spent all her earnings by acting; and that she is now a beggar by living with and at times supporting him. This she repeats to all the neighbourhood of Bushy, where she remains and is determined to continue.
While all his (the Duke of Clarence's) gallantry was going on at Ramsgate, the Duke of Cumberland, who must interfere in everything, apprised Mrs. Jordan of what he was doing. Mrs. Jordan then writes him a most furious letter, and another to the Duke of Cumberland, to thank him for the information. By mistake, she directs them wrong, the consequence of which is that there has been, of course, a scene between the two brothers, &c.
Now it is impossible to imagine charges more discrediting than these to the character of King William IV. To begin with, while there is already a lady at Bushy by whom he has had
a family of ten children, he solicits marriage with a high-born and accomplished lady (whose name is not to be concealed by the initials), whom he knows that he can no more render his wife than he can render Mrs. Jordan his wife. No sooner is this proposal rejected, than he is described by Mr. Freemantle as repeating it, and supporting the application by three flagrant falsehoods. He first tells the lady, who is supposed to be ignorant as to the power of the Crown to repeal an Act of Parliament, that he has obtained from the Prince an alteration of the Marriage Act, which he must have well known that the Regent had no power to change. Secondly, it appears (if this writer is to be credited) that he had never seen the Prince on the subject: and thirdly, the message from the Queen, evidently conveyed with a view of intimating the roval favour towards the lady in question, was, it appears, a fraud and a lie.
No sooner, again, is this lady engaged to another, than he precipitately transfers his affections to a daughter or ward of Lord Keith. He declines to take a refusal; and a Duke of the blood royal goes to the house of a modern peer, to "re-open the question," and possibly to be kicked out. Then there is the discrediting circumstance of Mrs. Jordan telling all the inhabitants of Bushy, that (somewhat inverting the usual relations of life) the Duke of Clarence has not kept her, but that she has kept the Duke; that she is now a beggar for her generosity and folly; and that the Duke purposes to pay her a certain sum sufficient to keep herself and half her children, in lieu of his squandering, during twenty years, of all her earnings as an actress! Then finally comes the meddling of the Duke of Cumberland, the inadvertence of Mrs. Jordan in putting the wrong letters into the wrong envelopes; and the scene ends in an explosion between the two Dukes, something between a comedy, a tragedy, and an extravaganza!
We must say, here, as dispassionate critics, that we think that the Duke of Buckingham, before he published such charges against the conduct of a Sovereign whose latter years at least have endeared his memory to his people, ought to have produced some
corroborative evidence of their truth. These letters generally emanate from quarters which preclude our dismissing the statements they contain as idle fabrications. It is, therefore, only fair to all parties that the character of any man, living or dead, high or low in social station, should not be thus carelessly dealt with, and be made dependant upon the gossip of a courtier. We hope that his Grace, in another edition of this book, will give us some careful annotation on points of importance such as that of which we now speak. They will greatly increase the merit of his work, and they may afford scope for the development of the critical abilities of which he shows himself to be possessed.
We now pass to some very cu rious correspondence, illustrative of the internal dissensions subsisting between the different parties in the State. The authorship of these communications is left in obscurity. They are addressed to "the Marquess of Buckingham;" but his Grace studiously conceals the name of the writer, which leads to a plausible supposition that they must be written by a living politician; and that politician, too, one who had access to the politi cal secrets of the day, if not a cabinet minister.
The Prince, it appears from these letters, cordially hated Mr. Percival; and that minister, it seems, held office on the precarious tenure of the royal indolence. The Regent, in truth, would rather go on with a minister whom he mistrusted and despised, than encounter the embarrassments of a change.
Here is an instance of the cordiality subsisting between Prince and minister:
The little scheme I enclosed your lordship for the proposed double establishment to be moved for the next day of the meeting of Parliament, was perfectly correct. .
but some restlessness of Percival's upon that point induced him to reopen it very unex pectedly by a fresh project, that the grant to defray the early expenses of the Regency should only extend to £100,000 instead of £150,000, as at first agreed on; which, after a severe struggle with himself, and no small bitterness towards Mr. Percival, to whom he made use of the following strong language:"Sir, I am not afraid of your bringing the whole of my debts before the country, provided you don't misrepresent me ;” he consented to take, &c.; p. 171.
correctly states, "for a recompense from Government for the losses he had experienced in Russia." But his Grace has repeated the old story, that the murderer had committed this deed in enmity with the minister for the course which he had taken. We believe it to be beyond question that Bellingham mistook the premier for Lord Granville, who had been sent into the Baltic after the treaty of Tilsit, and to whose conduct in mat ters originating from that embassy, Bellingham's grievances were, in his own mind at least, to be ascribed.
The Prime Minister, however, thus suddenly lost to his country, Government fell into total confusion.
To this the embarrassed minister rising hopes of the Opposition were ef replies:
"I mean that it was the King's positive and declared intention to give it to Dean Legge."
"Mr. Percival," said the Prince, "if I had any direct intimation of what were really the King's wishes upon the subject, I would not only make Dean Legge Bishop of Oxford, but Archbishop of Canterbary, if it were in my power; but as this is not the case, I shall make my own Bishop. And further, I desire never to hear what were the King's wishes upon such subjects through a third person."
fectually damped by the extraordinary animosity which the Prince had begun to conceive for them. Mr. Thomas Grenville tells us (vol., i., p. 300) that, "Lord Carysfort quotes Lord Grey for saying that the Prince, the day before yesterday, in speaking of the opposition, said his own friends had behaved to him like scoundrels, but that Lord Grenville he had no complaint against.'
The story of the famous Liverpool Administration is soon told. The im
portant question now submitted to the ministers was, whether, on their agreeing to the premiership of any public man then in the cabinet, they could carry on the Government without a junction either with Lords Grey and Grenville, or with Lord Wellesley and Mr. Canning. So doubtful were the answers returned individually to this question, which the Prince had instructed the Chancellor to propound, that a negotiation with the latter was resolved on.
Lord Liverpool (says the Duke) made his first proposal to Mr. Canning on the 17th of May, the details of which have been recorded in a minute; for, in all these transactions, the parties treated with insisted that everything should be put into black and white. This was taken down by them, and corrected, and authenticated by the opposite negotiator.
The minute then proceeds to state that it was understood that Lord Castlereagh was to preserve the position in the Government and in the House of Commons he at present held; that his colleagues were desirous that Lord Liverpool should be at the head of the Administration, which was known to the Prince Regent; and that no change was anticipated in the policy of the Govern ment towards Roman Catholics.-p. 306
While the Prince, under these difficulties, was once more relasping into his normal lethargy, and was resolved rather to put on with the headless administration which now nominally conducted the state, a motion was carried in the House of Commons at the instance of Mr. Stuart Wortley, calling on the Regent to establish " a strong and efficient administration." This produced the immediate resignation of the headless Cabinet. The Prince now hoisted general signals of distress. He first sent for Lord Wellesley. The Wellesley negotiation seems to have been based on the double principle of the inclusion of Roman Catholic claims, and the exclusion of petticoat government. The Duke tells quoting from Mr. Grenville—
The Catholic question, however, presented an effectual barrier to a Conservative reunion. After some negotiation between Canning and Lord Liverpool, and again between him and Lord Grenville, everything again fell through. The formation of a Government seemed as hopeless a task as the dethronement of Napoleon. Wellesley finally resigned the commission.
Lord Liverpool appears to have been now charged to concert a Government at all risks and hazards. The only interesting feature in the commission which devolved on this minister is to be found in the endeavours by which it was sought to establish a concert between Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Canning. The interview here brought about between the two rivals is thus vividly described by the anonymous correspondent of Lord Buckingham:
"In two days after this, Canning and Castlereagh had the proposed meeting, which apparently was a very cordial one; shaking hands, mutual acknowledgments of heathappiness at meeting-professions of regard
-wish for renewal of connexion, and great admiration of each other's talents, integrity,
&c., were interchanged.
It was first mooted that Canning should return to his old situation at the Foreign Office, to which Castlereagh agreed, on its being expressly stipulated in writing that he
was to continue to manage the House of Commons-a point which he would not. holding himself successor of the great and good Mr. Perceval,' ever recede from. To this Mr. Canning objected (proposing a compromise). This proposition Castlereagh positively rejected, repeating the same thing over and over again, of his pious regard to the memory of Mr. Perceval, &c.; and the meeting broke up re infecta."pp. 399-400.
Thus, then, the disseverance of Canning from the high Tory party took place from 1812 to 1822—a period of ten years at the close of which he succeeded, on the catastrophe which occurred to Castlereagh (then Lord Londonderry), to the Foreign Office and the lead in the House of Commons. He had, indeed, at an intervening period accepted the subordinate position of President of the Board of Control-a policy which must imply that he had lived to regret his refusal of the offer of the Foreign Office in 1812. Indeed, if Canning had foreseen the glorious period which was about to open upon Europe in that juncture, in which a British minister could do more by diplomacy than by his position upon the treasury bench, there can be no doubt he would have cheerfully surrendered the leadership to Lord Castlereagh; and would have maintained, titularly as a subordinate minister, the primacy in parliament. This, we think, was not only the most unfortunate step in Mr. Canning's career, but it was a blunder upon his part; for he ought to have seen that his splendid oratorical and debating abilities would have cast into the shade the nominal leadership of his rival, whatever had been the prominence which events might have given to his departmental functions. In truth, the only means of attaining a practical equality between Canning and Castlereagh, was by conceding to the latter, as he perhaps himself foresaw, a titular superiority.
The second volume of the Memoirs of the Regency has far less merit than the first. His Grace of Buckingham gives a long and not unin
teresting narrative of Queen Caroline, then Princess of Wales; but there is very little of a novel character to be gleaned from this dissertation; nor are any illustrative letters annexed of any considerable value. The subject, indeed, of the Regency was scarcely one which naturally admitted of two such bulky volumes as those which have been devoted to it. There is also a long discussion on the subject of the Holy Alliance, without the merit of a communication of further knowledge on the designs by which its originators are generally supposed to have been actuated.
We feel called upon, however, to advert to the chapter relating to the death of Sheridan; because his Grace has republished without comment the story which until lately received general credit, and which ascribed to the Prince of Wales a total neglect of that great man in his distress. The duke has further quoted the insolent lines applied to the Prince by Tom Moore, as a characterisation of his behaviour to Sheridan.
Now it happens that the publication of Moore's Memoirs by Lord John Russell, elicited, from another quarter, the publication of a statement made by the Prince himself, on the first appearance of this charge shortly after the orator's death, being an unequivocal and also a very circumstantial contradiction of the accusation. According to this counterstatement [See a recent number of the Quarterly Review, containing a review of Moore's Memoirs, evidently from a very old and recognisable hand], it appears that Sheridan, after being defeated in his election in 1812, received a generous offer of the Prince's assistance to ensure his election by some other constituency; on terms, indeed, somewhat controlling his independence, yet such as Sheridan would generally not have hesitated to have accepted in haste and evaded at leisure. Sheridan, while rejecting this offer, writes to a friend proposing to raise an intrigue" which should induce the Prince to advance £4,000, in order to enable him "to buy a borough." He obtains the money; and the Prince finally discovers the imposition. From that time all communications cease between Sheridan and the Court. At length, in 1816, the Prince's secretary
informs his master that an applica tion has been made on behalf of Sheridan, who is represented to be dying in circumstances of destitution. The Prince immediately advances £500. Mr. Sheridan's friend is "with difficulty induced to accept so much as £200." This, however, he does take to expend on the comforts of the dying orator. Three days afterwards he returns to the Prince's secretary, asserting that Mrs. Sheridan's friends had taken care that "he should want for nothing," and restores the £200. The Prince hears no more till he learns that Sheridan is dead.
This is the simple statement of George IV. made impromptu, on learning the calumny circulated by Moore, and taken down at the time of its delivery. Now is it possible to believe that the Prince could have betrayed the impudence requisite for the spontaneous fabrication of a story so circumstantial? And, even supposing that such a story could have been thus concocted, it is obvious that no man would have ventured thus to put on record a deliberate and monstrous lie, while there were those living who would have been as able as they would have been willing emphatically to contradict it. We certainly think, therefore, that it is high time that such a stigma upon the Regent should be removed; inasmuch as there is a vast preponderance of evidence and of probability
in favour of the statement communicated by the Prince,
It is difficult to surmise, amid as well the variety as the splendour of the intellectual development which adorned the period of the Regency and of the reign of George III., what will be the ultimate character which history will impart to it. If we remember the complaint of Cicero against Rome, in the age of its transcendant glory, that it had produced many illustrious generals, but very few even tolerable orators, we may look back with peculiar pride on this splendid passage in English history, as representing an epoch which filled all the theatres of political life with the grandest and most capacious intellect that the world has seen. There we find at once statesmen, orators, and generals, such as no other country ever before excelled, and such as few other countries ever before pro