Page images
PDF
EPUB

her. Her eldest son had been distinguishing himself in the Peninsular war, and his spirited and ardent mind was not, she thought, to be insulted in his parent, while he was applauded by his country.

But the complexion of juries was changeable, judges sometimes fastidious, — counsel frequently scurrilous and brutal, and, making a scripture of their briefs, pursuing their instructions to an extent that confounds all evidence, tortures and disfigures all fact, and looking at their success for their client as the sole object of him who paid the fee, placard their coarse dexterity to secure retainers, and, like the professors of another black art, are contented to set to mercenary sale the immortal part of the profession, its devotion to justice.

While she, therefore, was wisely decided against this sort of warfare, one of a different kind ere long excited all her sensibility — the great battle of Talavera. Her comforter, too, was at Brighton, but his attention to her feelings was amiably on the alert to relieve them.

“Bushy, Thursday, August 17, 1809. “I am very vain, but still I have judgment enough not to be fond of doing that which I know I do very ill. Still I feel pleasure in writing to you, who so kindly enter into all my feelings. You may easily guess what they were last Monday night, when I heard the account of the battle of Talavera. Five thousand killed ! the duke at Brighton! I went to bed, but not to sleep.

“ The duke set out at five o'clock on the Tuesday, to be the first to relieve me from my misery. I am mentally relieved, but it has torn my nerves to pieces. I have five boys, and must look forward to a life of constant anxiety and suspense. I am at present very ill. Excuse this hasty scrawl, and believe me, “ Your ever obliged,

“ DORA JORDAN.”

CHAPTER X.

Attachments of the Princes — Prince of Wales - Duke of

York — Duke of Clarence – The Picture of the Felicity of Bushy - Its Interruption — The Scene at Cheltenham

- And Mrs. Jordan's Letters on the Separation - The Result in a Generous Provision for Mrs. Jordan and the Children.

EFORE I can possibly touch upon any

disagreement between the royal duke

and Mrs. Jordan, it seems necessary to look at the position of some other members of his illustrious house, and inquire how far it was calculated to fulfil the wishes of their venerable parent, their condition in the state, or the reasonable expectations of the public. As I consider the union of the Prince of Wales with his cousin, the Princess Caroline of Brunswick, to have disposed for ever of the question as to Mrs. Fitzherbert, nothing beyond an idle curiosity can exist, to know whether, with benevolent intention, in any form, a ceremony of marriage, known at the time by both to be invalid, passed between the parties. I always considered Horne Tooke's pamphlet on the subject to be designedly mischievous. He calls the lady in question, throughout, her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales ; talks of the marriage as positive, and compliments her Royal Highness on her exalted station, and the public on her eminent virtues, and at the same time points out, with peculiar industry, the provisions of the Act which constitutes the marrying of a papist a forfeiture of the crown of these realms. The degrading notion, that there is an impropriety in the marriage with a subject, in other words, “ that a beautiful English woman is unworthy to be the companion of an English prince, is a ridiculous phantom, imported into this land only with the house of Hanover.” Assuming the marriage to be indubitable, and that the lady in question was a papist, he thus boldly and characteristically expresses himself: “I should be more than willing, even anxious, to barter the papist marriage for the responsibility of counsellors, and the independence of the representative body, being much more easily contented to trust the sovereign with a papist wife than with a corrupt Parliament.” To be sure; nor would his trust be any considerable burden to him with such

[ocr errors]

a Parliament as he fancied incorrupt, opposed to everything like rank and preëminence, and before whom monarchs and nobles would be as dust in the balance.

One of his best sophisms is the utterly refusing to believe that any disavowal of the marriage in question ever was or could be given from authority. “I consider,” says he, “the story of a disavowal to be itself an additional slander on a much misunderstood and misrepresented young man. I have no doubt (for he is young, and a prince) that some things (though I know them not) might possibly be changed for the better in his conduct. But I will not believe that at any time, and least of all in the moment and manner as reported, such a disavowal (be the marriage true or false), or anything tending to lessen the character of the lady, could possibly be authorised by him. No, I will never believe it, because I remember very well what a half-civilised barbarian [Peter the Great] replied to his uncivilised counsellors, who advised him to give up a man, not a woman, to the extreme necessity of his situation. No,' replied the prince, I can resign my dominions, even up to the walls of my metropolis, for in happier circumstances they may hereafter

« PreviousContinue »