[Illustration: The Princess Charlotte. – Sir Tho^s Lawrence pinx^t – J. A. Vinter, lith. – Day & Son, Lith^rs. to the Queen]
MISS CORNELIA KNIGHT,
LADY COMPANION TO THE
PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES.
WITH EXTRACTS FROM HER JOURNALS AND ANECDOTE BOOKS.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
LONDON: W. H. ALLEN AND CO., 7, LEADENHALL STREET. MDCCCLXI.
A BOOK of this kind scarcely needs a sponsor. It carries the impression of its authenticity on every page. A few words, however, may be said about the circumstances of its publication. In the expectation that I should find in them materials for an interesting work, the papers from which these volumes have been compiled were given to me, some years ago, by the family into whose hands they passed on Miss Knight’s death. On examining them, I found that they consisted of a considerable number of journal-books, the dates of which covered more than half a century, and an unfinished autobiographical memoir, written principally on loose sheets of paper. The latter had obviously been commenced at a very late period of life, and had been interrupted by death. The Journals, however, supplied all that was needed to complete the Memoir to the very end of the writer’s life. Indeed, the continuous Memoir had been written from the Diaries, with only occasional additions supplied by the recollection of the writer, and was, in many places, little more than a transcript of them.
As I had no doubt that the Autobiography had been written with a view to publication, after, if not before, the author’s death, I felt that in giving it to the world I should only be carrying out the intentions which, had she lived, Miss Knight would herself have fulfilled. And, on consideration, I could see nothing to be deprecated in the fulfilment of those intentions. It is true that a very considerable portion of the manuscript related to the private concerns of the Royal Family of England. But, even if the publications of Madame D’Arblay, Lady Charlotte Campbell, Lord Malmesbury, the Duke of Buckingham, and others, had not rendered all scruples on this score almost an over-refinement of delicacy, it was to be considered that nearly half a century had passed since the principal events recorded by Miss Knight had occurred, and that really those events, however private and domestic in their origin, had grown into legitimate history, and might properly be so treated. Indeed, it might fairly be questioned whether they could ever be considered as anything else. For, although I cannot subscribe to the doctrine that there is one Family in England which has no private history (such being the penalty exacted for its greatness), it is sometimes in the very nature of things that privacy is impossible, and that the affairs of royalty, whatsoever may be their delicacy, become public history before they are a day old. And it is so notorious that this was especially the case during the years of the Regency and the early part of the reign of George IV., that if it were not that the literary tendencies of the age are towards premature revelations, indicating a total disregard of the sanctity of domestic life, and that any kind of protest against it may do some good, I should have thought it altogether a work of supererogation to say a word in defence of the publication of such a Memoir as this.
Moreover, these volumes, though not the least interesting, are perhaps the most harmless of their class. Miss Knight was no retailer of prurient scandal or frivolous gossip; she had too good a heart to delight in the one, and too good a head to indulge in the other. Some, therefore, may think that she neglected her opportunities, and that her Memoirs are wanting in piquancy of revelation and vivacity of style. But it appears to me that the very simplicity of the narrative greatly increases its value. There is such an entire absence of everything like effort to produce effect, that the reader is irresistibly impressed with the conviction that he has before him the inornate truth, and that he may confide in every statement of the narrator.
Whilst, therefore, I had no scruples on the score of publication, I had, on the other hand, a very strong impression that by publishing these papers, and thus contributing an important addition to existing materials of history illustrative of the reign of George III. and the Regency, I should render a service to Literature and to Truth. But my time was engrossed by other occupations, and I know not when these volumes might have been prepared for the press if it had not been for assistance very cordially rendered by my friend, Mr. James Hutton, of whose intimate acquaintance with the social history of England in the Georgian era no better proof could be afforded than that which speaks out from his interesting volume on English Life “A Hundred Years Ago.” To him, indeed, is to be assigned any praise that may be due for the editing of these volumes, for his, in a much higher degree than mine, have been the intelligence, the industry, and the care bestowed upon them.
The story of Miss Knight’s life is soon told. The daughter of Admiral Sir Joseph Knight, an officer of well-deserved reputation, she was born about the year 1757. Her childish years appear to have been spent in London, where she received an excellent education, and made the acquaintance, as a girl, of Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke, Reynolds, and other celebrities of the age. In 1775, Sir Joseph Knight died; and shortly afterwards, Lady Knight, being in straitened circumstances, and having failed to obtain a pension from the Crown, turned her back upon England, and, taking Cornelia with her, travelled through France, and finally fixed her residence in Italy.
During a space of some twenty years after their departure from England, they appear to have oscillated between Rome and Naples, mixing in the best society of those cities, and seeing much both of the political and prelatical sides of Italian life. That in spite of these environments, Cornelia Knight remained both a good Protestant and a loyal Englishwoman we have the best possible proof in her Memoirs and Journals. Living in a revolutionary period, she had a hatred of revolutions, and was a Tory and a Bourbonite in every pulse of her heart.
At Naples, Lady Knight and her daughter became the familiar friends of Sir William and Lady Hamilton; and when, after the victory of the Nile, Nelson sailed into the Bay and delivered the Royal Family from the dangers which beset them, it was only consistent with the general kindliness of the hero’s nature that he should have taken a deep personal interest in the welfare of the widow and daughter of a brother officer. In return, Miss Knight celebrated his victories in patriotic verse, and was called by the naval officers of the time “Nelson’s poet laureate.”
In 1799, Lady Knight died, at Palermo, and Cornelia, in fulfilment of her mother’s dying injunctions, placed herself under the protection of the Hamiltons. In the following year she accompanied them and Lord Nelson to England—being then about forty-two years of age.
In England she found many friends, with whom she had first become acquainted on the Continent, and the circle was soon widened, including in it some of the most distinguished persons of the age. In this society she did not move merely on sufferance. Miss Knight enjoyed at this time considerable reputation as a lady of extensive learning and manifold accomplishments. She had written some books, which, being in the stately classical style, hit the taste of the age; and she was celebrated for her extensive acquaintance with ancient and modern languages. Being a person of high principle, of a blameless life, and altogether a gentlewoman, it was not strange that, possessing also those intellectual gifts, and having numerous influential friends, she should have recommended herself, or been recommended by others, to the favourable notice of the Royal Family of England. Among her friends was Mr. Pitt, whose opinion it was that the education of the young Princess Charlotte of Wales could be entrusted to no fitter person.
Other arrangements were made for the early instruction of the Princess; but Miss Knight had been marked out for a Court life, and in 1806 she became one of the attachées of Queen Charlotte, and took up her residence at Windsor.
There she remained during a period of about seven years, at the end of which, having been included in some new arrangements which were being made for the household of the Princess Charlotte, then growing into womanhood, she left the Court of the Queen (who never forgave her for the desertion) and settled at Warwick House, which was then the domicile of the young Princess, adjoining the residence of her father.
Here Miss Knight sojourned, in attendance upon the Princess, until the eventful July of 1814. The papers had called her, and she is still called in contemporary memoirs, the governess of the Princess Charlotte. But she repudiated this title, and claimed her right official nomenclature of “lady companion” to the Princess. That she had a difficult part to play at Warwick House is certain; that she did not pass the ordeal unscathed is not surprising. Her conduct in the trying circumstances in which she was thrown appears to have been straightforward and honourable; but the Prince Regent, not understanding it at the time, resented it, and Miss Knight was dismissed.
Throughout the year 1815 and the early part of 1816, Miss Knight resided principally in London. In the spring of the latter year she went abroad, and the record of the next twenty years is one of almost continuous wandering. In France, Italy, and Germany she spent the greater part of her remaining life. The restoration of the Bourbons made Paris a point of attraction to her, and there she appears to have been greatly esteemed by the Royal Family, especially by Charles X., who had a high opinion of her learning, and was wont to ask her, after any interval of absence from his capital, what new language she had learnt. In Germany she spent some time at the Court of Würtemberg, and also at that of the petty principality of Hesse-Homburg—both of which were connected by marriage with our own Royal Family. And so her wanderings were continued into the year 1837, in the December of which she died, after a short illness, at Paris, in the eighty-first year of her age.
In her later years she devoted herself more to Society than to Literature, and she gave nothing to the world beyond a few fugitive pieces. But she seems to have contemplated some more extended works, of which some fragments remain among her papers. These are principally chapters of Italian or German romances, suggested by the scenes of her travels. But it appears to me that the very qualities which impart so much value to her narration of facts incapacitated her for the achievement of success as a writer of fiction. She was, in truth, anything but an imaginative person. The works which she published have little in them to attract the present generation, but in that respect they do not differ much from the writings of most of her contemporaries. No one reads “Dinarbas” now-a-days; but is “Rasselas” a popular work with the rising generation?
But even by her own generation it is probable that Miss Knight herself was held in greater esteem than her works. Madame Piozzi called her the “far-famed Cornelia Knight.” Everybody, indeed, knew her. There was scarcely a city of any note in Southern Europe in which she was not well known—and to know was to esteem and admire her for all her fine qualities of head and heart. How many friends she had, and in how many parts of the world, these volumes pleasantly indicate; and, although they are remarkably free from every kind of egotism, it is impossible not to gather from them that Miss Ellis Cornelia Knight was an amiable and accomplished person, of high principles and a blameless way of life, worthy to be held in remembrance as a bright exemplar of that best of all womanhood, an English gentlewoman.
J. W. KAYE.
Norwood. Whitsuntide, 1861.
CONTENTS TO VOL. I.
Parentage of Miss Knight—Anecdotes of her 1 Father—Her early Days—Education—Society—Sir Joshua Reynolds—Burke—Goldsmith—Baretti—Anecdote of Dr. Johnson—Death of Admiral Knight
Paris—Lalande and Boscovich—Toulouse—Archbishop de 23 Brienne—His Character and Conduct—The Emperor Joseph II.—Floral Games—A Philosophical Knight of Malta
Montpellier—The Archbishop of Narbonne—Liberal 34 Views of Commercial Policy—Society at Montpellier—Departure for Italy
Rome—Cardinal de Bernis—Roman Society—Roman 49 Morals—Anecdotes of Cardinal de Bernis, M. de Choiseul, the Duc de Crillon, and others
Residence at Rome—Ceremony at St. 61 Peter’s—Midsummer Madness—Anecdote of M. Clermont—The Ambassador and the Actress—Pope Ganganelli
Naples—The King and Queen—Nismes—Vienne—The 91 Embassy from Tippoo Sahib—Genoa—Rome—The Revolution and the Papacy—Arrival of the French Troops
Sir William Hamilton—Expected Arrival of a British 105 Squadron—State of Feeling at Naples—The King and Queen—Arrival of Nelson—His Reception—Excitement at Naples
Palermo and the Sicilians—Events at Naples—Death 132 of Lady Knight—The Hamiltons and Lord Nelson—Execution of Caraccioli—Arrival of Sir Arthur Paget—Departure for Malta
Departure from Palermo—Leghorn—Journey 146 homewards—Alfieri—Haydn—Klopstock—Reception of Nelson—England—Society there—Lord and Lady Nelson
Society in England—Elizabeth Carter—Arrangements 164 at Court—Miss Knight enters the Queen’s Service—State of the King’s Health—Death of the Princess Amelia
State of the Court—The Regency—Princess of 179 Wales—Princess Charlotte—Arrangements for the Education of the Princess—Miss Knight becomes Lady Companion
Life at Warwick House—A Royal 199 Dinner-party—Princess Charlotte’s Companions—Dinner at the Duke of York’s—Ball at Carlton House—Treatment of the Princess Charlotte
The Letter in the Morning Chronicle—The Prince and 216 Princess of Wales—Painful Position of the Princess Charlotte—Father and Daughter—The Princess in Retirement—The Delicate Investigation—Behaviour of the Princess Charlotte
Life at Warwick House—The Princess Charlotte’s 231 Establishment—Her Wardrobe—The Duchess d’Angoulême—A Dinner at Carlton House—The Duke of Gloucester—The Duke of Devonshire
Festivities at Carlton House—Complaints and 244 Accusations—Letter to Lady Liverpool—Visit to Sandhurst—Arrival of the Prince of Orange—A Suitor for the Princess Charlotte—Royal Match-Making—Letter to the Princess Charlotte
Return to Warwick House—The Prince of 263 Orange—Manœuvring—The Princess Charlotte Betrothed—Feelings of the Princess—The Great Frost
The Great Frost—Domestic Amusements of the 272 Princess Charlotte—Projected Marriage with the Prince of Orange—The Question of Residence—Anxieties of the Princess—Tortuous Negotiations
The Allied Sovereigns—Rupture with the Prince of 295 Orange—Prince Leopold—Family Scenes—Letter of the Princess Charlotte—Her Escape from Warwick House—Scene at Carlton House—The Princess in Durance
PAGE Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Williams 313 Lord Nelson’s Journey Home 319 The Princess Charlotte and her Mother 323 Opening of the Coffin of Charles I 333 The Orange Match 335
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS KNIGHT.
PARENTAGE OF MISS KNIGHT—ANECDOTES OF HER FATHER—HER EARLY DAYS—EDUCATION—SOCIETY—SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS—BURKE—GOLDSMITH—BARETTI—ANECDOTE OF DR. JOHNSON—DEATH OF ADMIRAL KNIGHT.
MY ancestors, on my father’s side, lost a very considerable landed property from their attachment to the cause of royalty, during the unfortunate reign of Charles the First. My grandfather had a trifling employment in Cornwall, where my father, his youngest son, was born. The latter entered the naval service of the Crown at the age of fourteen, on board a ship of war, commanded by his brother. He had previously received a good education, and had attained as much classical knowledge as could be expected at so early a period of life; and what is very remarkable, though constantly and almost exclusively engaged in the duties of his profession, he never forgot his Greek and Latin.
That singular character, Wortley Montagu, was on board my uncle’s ship, and, of course, became much acquainted with my father, insomuch that when my uncle was appointed to the command of another ship, and took his brother with him, Montagu would stay no longer, and suddenly disappeared. This was the commencement of his wanderings, as I was told by an old gentleman who had been his tutor, and who was struck by my resemblance to my father at nearly the same age as that at which he had known him.
During half a century my father served his king and country with unremitting zeal and attachment. He was present at most of the memorable sieges and engagements of his time, and died at the age of sixty-six, a rear-admiral of the white squadron and a knight.
Unassuming, disinterested, and possessing the nicest sense of honour, he never received a reprimand from a superior officer, and never injured the character of one under his command by a complaint to the Board of Admiralty. Strict in the performance of his own duty, he exacted the same from others. He was known to be kind, as well as just; he was beloved, and he was obeyed.
When very young, he had married a lady, by whom he had a son and two daughters. His son died a captain in the army before my father married his second wife, my mother, a lady of an Essex family, whose crest was a _tortoise_, while that of my father was an eagle on a spray. This contrast of the slow and the swift is not more remarkable than that of the histories of the two families. As the ancestor of my father, Sir Joseph Knight, lost his estates in Cheshire and part of Whittleby Forest on account of his supporting the cause of Charles the First, so Sir Anthony Dean, one of my mother’s family, a warm partisan of the Commonwealth, having exchanged one of his Essex estates with Colonel Sparrow for Hyde Park, was deprived of the latter at the Restoration, and without receiving what he had given up, was obliged to relinquish the property belonging to government.
My mother was, however, no friend of revolutions; and her principles in that respect perfectly agreed with those of my father. She had great quickness of perception, wit, and vivacity, a happy facility in conversation, and a singular frankness of temper. I never knew any one who better combined economy with the most disinterested generosity, or the most affectionate warmth of heart with the keenest satirical penetration. She was feared by some, but loved by many. She had read much, but having lost her mother at her birth, and having been brought up in the country at a time when education had not made general progress, she was resolved that I should not labour under the same disadvantage, and her ideas on the subject were very extensive. Had I possessed half her acuteness of mind, firmness of character, and buoyancy of spirits, there is nothing that I might not have attained, from the pains that she took with my education.
The first event which I can recollect was the return of my father from the West Indies, where he had been left for some time after the conclusion of peace, with the command at the Havannah, until that place was restored to Spain by the new treaty. I remember being carried up the ship’s side, when I was taken by my mother to Portsmouth to meet him. The height of the ship and the waves of the sea left a strong impression on my mind.
My father liked the Spaniards, as I afterwards heard him say, and as my mother used to tell me in later times. He was friendly and kind to them, and they are not forgetful of benefits, nor, alas! of injuries.
One of the Judges of the Havannah, hearing Captain Knight called by his christian as well as his family name at a dinner-party, sprang from his chair and flew into my father’s arms, calling him his preserver, his benefactor. It seems, that when this Spaniard was very young, and on his first voyage to the West Indies, he had been taken prisoner by an English ship of war, on board of which my father was a lieutenant. Seeing the distress and fright of the youth, who, having just left his parents, loaded with valuable gifts, relics, and keepsakes, trembled for his treasures, and who, having been used to every comfort at home, was wretched in his present situation, my father gave him up his own cabin, took care of his property, and made him perfectly easy and happy.
Remembering all this with the most grateful feeling, the Spaniard, then in one of the highest offices of the Havannah, pressed my father to come to his house, and offered him every attention; but he declined it, for, as he said, he knew the man would want him to accept valuable presents, and he might offend him by refusing. He, indeed, constantly refused what might be called remuneration of any kind; and was of opinion that no man in a public situation could be just or independent unless he kept clear of such obligations.
On the day of my completing my fifth year I was taken to the school of Mesdames Thompets, four sisters from Switzerland, to which I was to go as a parlour day-boarder, three times a week, for the purpose of learning to dance and to speak French. This was certainly no hard injunction, and I had some young friends there; but it was long a great distress to me, and I dreaded the three unfortunate days to a degree not to be described.
On the intermediate days I had masters at home. One of these was M. Petitpierre, who had been a pastor of the Swiss church of Neufchatel, and had been dismissed by the synod of that place for having preached a doctrine which was not approved. He, it seems, pleaded that he had only, when ordained, promised to interpret the Scriptures to the best of his knowledge and comprehension; but the heads of his Church said that his doctrine, which implied the non-eternity of punishments, might not be dangerous for themselves, who were enlightened men, but would be greatly so for their wives and servants.
Frederick, King of Prussia, as in some measure sovereign of Neufchatel, interfered in behalf of Petitpierre, but without success; and he is said to have finished by remarking, “Eh bien! si messieurs de Neufchatel veulent être damnés à toute éternité, ainsi soit-il!”
M. Petitpierre had a great number of scholars in London, and was certainly an excellent master. He taught me French, Latin, the elements of Greek, and of the mathematics, with geography and history. He was a man of great simplicity of manners, and I had a sincere regard for him. He was the protector and comforter of all the Swiss who wanted his assistance, and generally esteemed by those who were settled in our country.
At length, the sister of one of those, who had chiefly caused his banishment, happened to be in great difficulties, from which he extricated her; and she wrote to her brother, saying that the man whom the synod had exiled was the guardian angel of his countrymen and countrywomen in England.
Petitpierre was, in consequence of this, and, perhaps, other letters of similar import, recalled to Neufchatel, by a solemn deputation of the synod, to his brother’s house. He went and paid a visit to his friends, but did not settle in his native country till after the death of his wife.
The too famous Marat was a Swiss physician, and used to visit at the school. All that I can recollect of him were his person and countenance, which were very repulsive.
The dancing-master was Novere, brother of the celebrated ballet-master of that name. It is, I believe, impossible for any one to have been a more proper instructor—graceful without affectation, a good time-ist, and, I believe, a good domestic character in private life. As he had many scholars—he and Gallini being the dancing-masters the most in fashion—he made some money, and bought, as he said, “an estate for himself and his _ancestors_.”
* * * * *
Sir Joshua Reynolds was, during my childhood, the painter in fashion, and his house was the resort of the men of letters most known at that time. He had living with him an unmarried sister (Miss Frances Reynolds), for whom my mother had a real friendship. She was an amiable woman, very simple in her manner, but possessed of much information and talent, for which I do not think every one did her justice, on account of the singular _naïveté_ which was her characteristic quality, or defect, for it often gave her the appearance of want of knowledge. She was a good painter and musician, and I have seen some of her poetical compositions, which have appeared to me very pleasing, and in good taste.
I used often to pass the day with her, when she would give me instructions in drawing, and as I was very intimate with her younger niece, we used to pass much time in rooms where the portraits of most of the celebrated beauties, men of letters, and politicians of the time, were exposed to view.
Sir Joshua Reynolds was a very popular person. All seemed satisfied with their portraits, and he had the art of rendering the costume picturesque, without departing from the mode of the time so as to make the resemblance less striking. There was in his paintings a fascination which still, in great measure, prevails, though many are faded; and the drawing was always correct. I believe he was good, friendly, and benevolent in a high degree. His pronunciation was tinctured with the Devonshire accent; his features were coarse, and his outward appearance slovenly, but his mind was certainly not inelegant, and the graces which he did not himself possess he could confer on his pictures. Sir Joshua loved high company, and wished his house to be considered as a Lyceum. In this he had Rubens and Vandyke in view. He was, indeed, surrounded by the wits and men of learning, and their society was harmonised by the goodness of his disposition, and the purity of his sister’s character and manners.
Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, Baretti, Langton, Beauclerk, and Mrs. Montagu, were often his guests. As President of the Royal Academy, the speeches of Sir Joshua Reynolds were admired for the style, though probably not for the matter of them. He was, I suppose, assisted by his literary friends, and more particularly by Johnson. Michael Angelo was his idol. Sir Joshua had been at Rome while young, but before he left England he had painted several portraits of sea officers, friends of Lord Edgecombe, which portraits are, I imagine, still to be seen at that most beautiful place Mount Edgecombe. I recollect seeing at Devonport the portrait of an old lady of ninety, of the same date, and I think it is one of his best performances. The colours, too, had not faded, as in many of his later works.
I recollect being delighted with the conversation of Mr. Burke, amused by the buffoonery of Goldsmith, and disgusted with the satirical madness of manner of Baretti, whose work, entitled “Frusta Literaria,” had, I believe, been the principal cause of his leaving Piedmont. He was, however, a great favourite in this society, and was warmly supported when he had to take his trial for having stabbed a man who insulted him one night in the street. He was acquitted, because it was considered to have been done in self-defence. Being a foreigner, he was probably more frightened than he might have been had he known our country better, and he used, therefore, a weapon not common with us, though it might be in Piedmont. I was then a child; but I remember being so shocked at his shaking hands with me, that I said to my mother at night, “Did I ever think I should shake hands with a murderer!” It is certain that Baretti was a man of great learning and information.
Goldsmith was, I feel sure, very good-natured, and though neither his features, person, nor manners had anything of grace to recommend them, his countenance, as far as I can recollect, was honest and open, and in his behaviour there was something easy and natural, removed from vulgarity no less than from affectation. His buffoonery, of which I have spoken, was a sort of childish playfulness, such as drinking off a glass of water reversed on the table without spilling a drop, and similar tricks. On some occasion—I forget what—he was told that he must wear a silk coat, and he purchased one second-hand, which had been a nobleman’s, without observing that there was visible on the breast a mark showing where a star had been. He was beloved, and his death was truly lamented.
The observations of so young a child as I then was can be of no consequence, but of all these personages the one whom I liked best was Mr. Burke, perhaps because he condescended to notice me. Of Mrs. Montagu, all that I can remember is that she called me “a stupid child,” because I did not find out the puzzle of a gold ring which she wore.
As to Johnson, he was always kind to me, but he was very intimate at our house, had a high opinion of my father, and conversed willingly with my mother, who never failed to contradict him when she was not of his way of thinking, and yet never received from him a disagreeable reply.
An elderly lady, named Williams, who had been a friend of his wife, lived with him. Though blind, and suffering very much from a pain in the head, she acted as his housekeeper, and managed all the affairs of his domestic life. Born in a respectable station, she had been well educated, but had no fortune. She had high principles, great strength of mind, and a sound judgment. Her manners were perfectly good, and her taste in literature correct. She was of a Welsh family, and had lost her sight irrecoverably when a young woman; but it was wonderful to see how little trouble she gave; she worked well, and even made her own gowns. My mother had a great regard for her, and she often passed the day with us.
I remember going with Mrs. Williams and Mr. and Mrs. Hoole to see the tragedy of “Cyrus,” written by Mr. Hoole, in imitation of the “Ciro” of Metastasio, Mrs. Yates taking the part of Mandane.
The King of Denmark was at that time on a visit to England, and gave a masquerade ball at the Opera House, for which, of course, everybody was anxious to get tickets. In the epilogue to “Cyrus,” amongst other satirical strokes, as usual, on the habits and customs of the times, were the following lines:
With us what griefs from ills domestic rise, When now a beau, and now a monkey dies! In this our iron age, still harder lot, A masquerade—no tickets to be got!
On the following morning, after the first hearing of this epilogue, tickets were left at the door of Mrs. Yates.
This, I have been told, was the first masquerade given in London after the death of George the Second, who was very fond of them, and seldom missed them at the theatre. George the Third did not approve of an amusement which he thought might lead to much that was wrong. He did not, however, refuse his brother-in-law, though he endeavoured to persuade him to give a fête of another description, and all he could afterwards do was not to encourage masquerades by his presence.
To return to Mr. Hoole. I was captivated by his translation of Tasso’s “Jerusalem,” which certainly has great merit. To translate from Italian into any other language is more than difficult; whereas the Italians can translate any author, not only of the dead but of the living languages, with the greatest facility, and with a correctness delightfully intelligible to the readers of their own country—an advantage also enjoyed by the Germans in a high degree.
When I first knew Dr. Johnson, I was a little afraid of his deep tone of voice and great wig; but when I had reached my seventh or eighth year, I was accustomed to all this, and felt grateful for his indulgence.
He was introduced to George the Fourth, then a child, in the library at St. James’s. He asked the young prince some questions about his studies, and when he took leave of him, said, “God bless you, sir! and make you as good a man and as great a king as your father.”
The ideas of Johnson on social order were carried so far, that when he wanted to send for his favourite cat he would not order his servant, who was a negro, to procure it, saying that it was not good to employ human beings in the service of animals; he therefore went himself on the errand. When I went abroad, Dr. Johnson gave me his blessing, and exhorted me not to become a Roman Catholic, adding, that “if I extended my belief, I might at length turn Turk.” I was insensible of the goodness of the advice, because I knew it to be unnecessary, and was therefore hurt at the supposition. Indeed, I still think, that if Dr. Johnson had possessed as much discrimination of character as learning, he would rather have advised me to remember I was a Christian, and never allow vanity or the love of pleasure to lead me into follies unworthy of that sacred character. I should have _felt_ that I wanted such advice, and, probably, should have often thought of it, _at least_ with gratitude.
Johnson was a sincere lover of equal justice, and though feeling great respect for the distinctions of rank and lawful authority, he was far from being servile, or what is called a courtier.
He had a great respect for men who served their country by sea or land, and was heard to say that, let a man be ever so distinguished for rank or abilities, he could not help thinking that he must, when in company with an officer of long and splendid services, feel himself his inferior.
He was very curious to see the manner of living and the discipline on board a ship of war, and when my father was appointed to the command of the _Ramilies_, of seventy-four guns, and to sail with the command of a squadron for Gibraltar, at the time when a war with Spain was expected, Johnson went to Portsmouth, and passed a week on board with my father. He inquired into everything, made himself very agreeable to the officers, and was much pleased with his visit.
When he was conveyed on shore, the young officer whom my father had sent to accompany him, asked if he had any further commands. “Sir,” said Johnson, “have the goodness to thank the commodore and all the officers for their kindness to me, and tell Mr. ——, the first lieutenant, that I beg he will leave off the practice of swearing.”
The young man, willing, if possible, to justify, or at least excuse, his superior, replied that, unfortunately, there was no making the sailors do their duty without using strong language, and that his Majesty’s service required it. “Then, pray, sir,” answered Johnson, “tell Mr. —— that I beseech him not to use one oath more than is absolutely required for the service of his Majesty.”
Among the persons of talent whom we knew, I must not forget Gainsborough. He might be said to be self-taught. I have heard my mother, who knew all about Essex and Suffolk people, say that his father kept a shop, and he was obliged to pink shrouds, &c. Every spare moment he gave to drawing. He studied every tree in the counties in which he lived, and was never out of England. Had he studied in Italy, he would not only have been the first of English painters, but probably would have formed a school in this country. His genius was very great. His landscapes are Nature itself, and his portraits, though perhaps not so fascinating as those of Sir Joshua, were correct likenesses. He had an almost equal talent for music as for painting, and I never saw an artist who had less presumption or vanity.
* * * * *
My father sailed for Gibraltar with a convoy of troops for that garrison; but, peace being settled, he brought back others in exchange. On his return, he was ordered to pay off the ships of war then at Chatham, and afterwards appointed to the command of the _Ocean_, of ninety guns, a guard-ship at Plymouth.
Thither we removed, and had a house in the square of what was then called Plymouth Dock. Admiral Spry commanded the fleet there; but as he was in Parliament, and often absent, my father, who was senior officer, had the duty of commander to perform during three-fourths of the year. Spry had an estate in Cornwall, and was a great friend of my father, in whom he placed the highest confidence, otherwise I do not believe that he would have made such frequent and long absences, for he was a sensible man and a good officer, though not fond of being confined to a seaport.
Whatever was _duty_ was preferred by my father to every other consideration; and he not only took the greatest pains to acquit himself of that which was his portion at Plymouth, but was most hospitable and kind to the officers under his command, and to all the foreigners who either came on service or were recommended to him on visits of pleasure or curiosity. Among the latter were several Russian noblemen, and the Duc de Guignes, the French ambassador at our Court.
It was my father who despatched a frigate, under the command of Captain Macbride, to convey the unfortunate Queen Matilda from Copenhagen to Germany; and on that occasion he acted with a dignity similar to that shown by our minister Sir Robert Keith; for he would not allow any of the Danish noblemen to hand the Queen into the barge, saying, “No, gentlemen, her Majesty is now under the protection of England.”
Sir Edward Hughes, Captain Barrington, Captain Fielding, and other officers commanding guard-ships, were constantly at our house. Captain Vandeput, who commanded a frigate, hearing that my father had a girl who was learning Italian, lent me his library, during a long cruise. It consisted of several books in that language, as well as in French.
I had a few lessons in Greek from the chaplain of the dockyard; but, in most respects, I had not here much assistance in continuing my studies; and from the circumstances in which we were placed, I was thrown more into society than was expedient at so early a period of my life; but, at the time, I was, of course, pleased with it to a certain degree, though I can now remember little that was interesting during our residence at Devonport.
No man, I think, was more generally beloved than Captain Barrington. His eldest brother, Lord Barrington, was long Secretary to the War Department, and had considerable influence; but Captain Barrington, who was unassuming and unambitious, seemed never to avail himself of this circumstance, unless by being the first to get his ship out of dock, or any other exigency of service, not perhaps being even conscious that his situation in life gained him this advantage with the persons on whom the business depended.
He was an enemy to all ostentation, kept a good table on board his ship, but without magnificence, that he might not hurt the feelings of his brother officers, who were not in circumstances as easy as his own. He was very charitable, and he paid for all the letters which came to the seamen under his command. It was remarked that there never was a dinner at which eight or ten sea officers were assembled without Barrington’s health being drunk.
One of his lieutenants, Mr. Blenkett, had been long known to my mother. He had wit and talent, knowledge of the world, and literary acquirements. When abroad, he used to correspond with my mother, and his letters were very amusing.
Bath was at that time a very fashionable place, and Mr. B., having leave of absence for two or three weeks, sent to my mother from thence the following lines, which he had composed doubtless in imitation of the “Bath Guide:”
MISS DOLLY DAPPERLOVE TO MISS BIDDY BLOSSOM.
I am all in a flurry! would you think it, my dear, That sweet little creature, Bob Jervis, is here? There is no alteration, except that he’s older, And has got a small beard, which makes him look bolder. He’s so smiling and nice, so neat and so trim, That the ladies can look at no mortal but him; When he enters the rooms the girls giggle and flirt, While my hero, Bob Jervis, remains quite unhurt; For he knows that his figure must charm every fair, And to conquer their hearts he need only appear. So ladies no longer your charms try in vain, ’Tis for me that Bob Jervis has come back again.
These lines were inserted in a newspaper, and they were the portrait of a Mr. D——, chaplain to one of the guard-ships, who was also on leave of absence at Bath. He was a very little man, and a great dandy. The officers made a great joke of his attention to his person and dress; and one evening at the Assembly, when he was about to dance with a very tall young lady, Captain M—— ran and pushed him a stool, desiring him to mount on it. He took all this very good naturedly, and, notwithstanding this little weakness in his character, he was a man of learning and taste in literature.
On our return to town, my father asked for the Newfoundland command; but received a very flattering letter from Lord Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, implying that he deserved everything, but that the appointment was already promised. He was already in a very indifferent state of health, and lived but a few months after he was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the White. He died at Harwich, whither he had gone that he might have sea-bathing, and was interred in the family vault of my mother in the Chapel Royal, where I have since erected an humble monument to his memory and to that of my mother. His last meal consisted of a little fruit and a glass of wine, which I gave him, and which he drank to the health of his king, “wishing him out of all his trouble,” for the American business was then the theme of all politicians.
After this he begged my mother to read to him “The Sermon on the Mount”—a part of Scripture which he particularly loved. While she was reading, he expired. Nearly all the inhabitants of Harwich followed him to the grave, and many wore mourning for some days.
After this irreparable loss, we passed the winter in London. My mother applied for a pension, and a memorial of my father’s services, which she presented to the king at St. James’s, was drawn up by Dr. Johnson. It was graciously received, but Lord Sandwich having observed that she was not in absolute want, the request was not granted.
My mother, then finding that she could not live in London with that propriety which she had at heart, made up her mind to go abroad, with the intention of remaining three years on the Continent—a plan very congenial to my own wishes. She offered to take my sister with us, but she preferred remaining in England with a very amiable woman, an old friend of my mother. This lady was the widow of a clergyman, and my sister had already passed some years with her to finish her education, as she was not more than twelve years old when my father married for the second time. She afterwards married the Rev. Maurice Mosely, and died without children.
My mother’s first cousin, Sir Philip Staples, was at that time Secretary to the Admiralty. He was a man of talent and information, fond of the arts, and agreeable in society; but, for some years, we had seen little of him, on account of a dispute between a sister who lived with him and my mother. He was always on good terms with my father, and was present at the opening of his will.
PARIS—LALANDE AND BOSCOVICH—TOULOUSE—ARCHBISHOP DE BRIENNE—HIS CHARACTER AND CONDUCT—THE EMPEROR JOSEPH II.—FLORAL GAMES—A PHILOSOPHICAL KNIGHT OF MALTA.
IN the spring of 1776, we embarked at Dover for Calais, and arrived at Paris with letters for Lord Stormont (but he was absent), for Colonel St. Paul (secretary of embassy), &c., and for Lalande and Boscovich, two famous scientific men.
The Faubourg St. Germain was at that time the part of the town to which all strangers resorted. I was struck with the contrast between London and Paris. The houses, of which there are so many, particularly in that part of the town, _entre cour et jardin_, appeared to me to be immense—a Swiss porter with a splendid costume at every door, and carriages sweeping in and out with gold coronets, and coachmen driving with bag-wigs. The ladies full dressed in the morning; gentlemen walking with bags and with swords; and children in dress-coats skipping over the kennels I had seen in the country towns; but in Paris they were not trusted to walk in the bustle of the streets.
We went to see everything during the fortnight of our stay at Paris that could well be seen, and were often accompanied by the astronomer royal, M. de Lalande, for whom Dr. Shepherd, an old friend of my mother, who was Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge, had given her a letter.
M. de Lalande was a man of great scientific knowledge, and had also published a “Voyage d’Italie,” of which it is said that when he asked a Venetian senator how he liked it, the answer was, “Monsieur de Lalande nous désirons tous que vous fassiez un second voyage.” It is so long since I read it, and when I did I was very young, and did not know Italy, that I cannot say whether the skilful evasion was or was not a fair criticism; but it is probable that Lalande, like many others of all nations, was not just to a country which is so much visited and so little known—from whom, however, I am happy to except Eustace.
To return to Lalande. I must do him the justice to say that I do not recollect his making any remark, or using any expression, which might denote a disrespect for religion, though he had the reputation, unfortunately, of being an atheist. I think it difficult, if not impossible, that an astronomer should be one, but I have heard that, when delivering a lecture on this science, he happened to say, “Providence directed so and so,” and that he corrected himself, adding, “I beg pardon; I mean Nature.” However this may have been, I believe it is certain that, having been brought up at a college of Jesuits, he wished to become one of that order, but was prevented by his father, for which many years after he expressed some regret. “For,” said he, “if I had become a Jesuit, I should have had better health, deeper knowledge, and some religion.”
Boscovich was an ex-Jesuit, a Dalmatian of the city of Ragusa, so famous for its men of learning and science. He was not only a good mathematician and astronomer, but also a good Latin poet; he had the talent, which many others of his countrymen have possessed, of composing with great facility extempore verses in Latin.
Two lines of his epigram on the planets may be thus translated:
’Twixt Mars and Venus as this globe was hurled, ’Tis plain that love and war must rule the world.
In the present time (1835), I should change or correct it thus:
So Boscovich has sung, but now ’tis plain, That fear of war and love of money reign.
There was something so natural and good natured in his manner it was impossible not to like him. On his first visit to us, as he was going away he mistook the door, and opened that of an inner room. Finding his mistake, he said to my mother, “No doubt you have heard that the Jesuits are capable of all that is bad, but do not think I was going to commit a robbery.” He composed an extempore distich in verse, and I am sorry I did not ask him to write it down.
His place at Paris was “Inspecteur de l’Optique de la Marine,” a place created for him by his friend M. de Vergennes, then Prime Minister. He lived there in the best society, and was generally esteemed.
On the second Sunday after our arrival at Paris we went to see the court and gardens of Versailles, and took our stand among many others in the great gallery to see the King and Queen and their attendants pass to their chapel.
I was not so much struck with the beauty of Marie Antoinette as with the gracefulness of her person, and the very pleasing smile with which her salutation was accompanied, for she noticed us as she passed. Louis XVI. appeared grave and rather melancholy.
We saw the Comte and Comtesse d’Artois at dinner, and it was impossible not to be charmed with the liveliness and elegance of figure which characterised Charles X., who was then a “winged Mercury,” and whose open-hearted, benevolent countenance still retains a charm which neither years nor misfortunes can ever destroy.
At the door, talking to some one of her acquaintance, stood the Princesse de Lamballe, handsome and distinguished in her appearance. How painful it is to recur to scenes which recal to the mind the dreadful events which occurred a few years afterwards.
We left Paris for Toulouse, taking the road of Orleans and Limoges, a long and tiresome journey, with little interesting or picturesque.
Montauban I thought prettily situated, and it put me in mind of Rinaldo, Bradamante, and other personages with whom Ariosto had made me acquainted.
At length, after six days’ posting, we reached the Palladian City, as Toulouse was called in old times, and it still, in some measure, deserved the appellation, as it could boast of three academies—des Sciences, des Beaux Arts, and des Belles Lettres—the last of which is so well known by the name of _les Jeux Floraux_.
We spent the winter in this capital of Languedoc, were well lodged, and had no want of society. At that time many of the first families of the province went rarely to Paris. They had large and handsome houses at Toulouse, where they spent the winter, as they spent the summer on their estates. There was no _Chambre des Pairs_ or _des Députés_ to take them to the metropolis, and unless they had employment at Court, or business to call them thither, they preferred remaining where they were both honoured and valued.
Toulouse was an archbishopric, and also at that time the seat of one of those Courts of Justice now abolished, which were called Parliaments.
That of Toulouse had the reputation of being corrupt and prejudiced, an accusation which in many respects was unfair. The affair of Calas, whose father was executed for supposed murder, had made a great noise. The liberals and philosophers had taken it up warmly; but, after all the inquiries we could make of unprejudiced persons, we never could decide whether the sentence was just or unjust.
From the time of the wars of the Albigenses, religious intolerance has unfortunately been prevalent on both sides of the question, and has been constantly productive of bloodshed and discord. The Protestants were violent Calvinists, and many of their antagonists bigoted Jansenists. The first, on account of their republican ideas, were often supported by the revolutionary party, which was then forming, and making great progress.
The high clergy were very tolerant, very charitable, and very delightful in society; perhaps not always sufficiently strict to the rules of that exact morality which is expected in the profession to which they were devoted. But it may be said of many of its members, who were afterwards victims of their loyalty and principles, what the celebrated Duke of Marlborough said of himself, “that he could more easily die a martyr than live a saint.”
In this number we cannot include M. de Brienne, who was at that time Archbishop of Toulouse. It was not his fate to die a martyr. He became Archbishop of Sens and Prime Minister; but his success in that post did not come up to the expectations which had been formed from his talents in the administration of his diocese and in society. He had a sensible countenance, an active person, and great facility of expression. By all accounts his quickness of comprehension was such as hardly to give time to others to explain themselves, for he seemed to understand every subject more clearly than the person whom it chiefly concerned.
It was said that Louis XVI. would not allow Monsieur de Brienne to be Archbishop of Paris on account of his connexion with a certain lady, and that the archbishop parodied on this occasion a song in the “Chasse d’Henri Quatre:”
Si le roi Louis Voulait me donner Paris, sa grande ville, Et qu’il me fallût quitter L’amour de ma mie— Je dirais au roi Louis: Reprenez votre Paris, J’aime mieux ma mie, o gué! J’aime mieux ma mie.
Whether Monsieur de Brienne said or sang these lines, I know not; but I have heard he had no taste for music, for, being at the Sistine Chapel at Rome in the Holy Week, he had allowed that the singing was very fine; on which a friend said to him, “I see you begin to like music.” He is reported to have answered, “No, I cannot go so far; but I can now comprehend that a person may be fond of music without being either a fool or a madman.” It is a pity he did not write more, for his preface to the “Memoir of Monsieur de Brienne,” who was a page of Louis XIV., is very good, and the style excellent.
He visited his diocese every year, but did not remain long at a time. He was there while we were at Toulouse to receive the Emperor of Germany, Joseph II., who travelled in the most unostentatious manner, under the title of Count Falkenstein. At his departure he thanked the archbishop for his hospitality, but declined his offer of accompanying him to the next place whither he was going, saying, “I cannot think of taking you from a city where your duty requires your presence.”
The emperor knew very well what he was saying, and the archbishop answered with a bow.
In one of the little towns of Languedoc through which Joseph passed, a lady of the place heard some one complain that the “empereur n’a point de cortége,” on which she wrote the following lines:
La bienfaisance le précède La modeste vertu se tient à son côté. A la vertu l’humanité succède, Et la marche finit par l’immortalité.
To which she annexed the title of “Cortége de l’Empereur.” I believe the original history of “The Maid and the Magpie,” which has given occasion to such pretty operas, was a circumstance that happened at Toulouse. A lady missed her jewels, and knowing that it was impossible that any one but her own maid could have entered the room at the time, the poor girl was imprisoned, tried, and executed. The jewels were afterwards found on the roof of the house, and a magpie was discovered to have been the thief. In one of the chapels of the cathedral there was always a lamp burning for the repose of her soul, on this account, and the family of the lady used to pray there.
The inhabitants of Toulouse had a taste for poetry, and many agreeable compositions in different kinds of metre were often read at the academy of the “Jeux Floraux,” an institution which is said to have owed its commencement to a lady named Clémence Isaure, of whose history, unfortunately, nothing more is known, to the great annoyance of whichever academician has the task of pronouncing an eulogium on this their benefactress, as is done regularly once a year. The prizes distributed on these occasions for the best compositions are flowers, in silver gilt (vermeil), appropriated to each different species of poetry. This institution dates from the early times of the Troubadours. The patois of Languedoc is an offspring of their language, and in some respects it resembles the Spanish.
One of these discourses, at the Floral Games, was read by the Chevalier d’A——, a knight of Malta, and a man of some little taste in literature. He was excessively lively, though not young; and he had many Italian books. We were not at the ceremony of pronouncing his vows, which took place while we were at Toulouse; but he told us that when he rose from this awful renunciation of the world, the first person he saw was Lady L——, a person very different in appearance from most of her countrywomen, for, though an Irishwoman, she was remarkably plain. “My first thought,” added the Chevalier d’A——, “then was, ‘Well, if all women are like Lady L——, there will be no great sacrifice in renouncing them.’” There was a convent of ladies, of the Order of Malta, which he took us to see. It was built in an elegant style of Italian architecture, and the ladies received us with great politeness. This Order dated from the time of the Crusades; and they had to make the same proofs of gentle blood for the same number of generations as the knights.
MONTPELLIER—THE ARCHBISHOP OF NARBONNE—LIBERAL VIEWS OF COMMERCIAL POLICY—SOCIETY AT MONTPELLIER—DEPARTURE FOR ITALY.
ABOUT the middle of November we left Toulouse. The weather was lovely, with a clear frosty sunshine. We embarked on a large boat belonging to the province, in company with the “Inspecteur des Travaux,” who was on his way to Montpellier, to make his annual report to the Assembly of the States. The canal of Languedoc, one of the greatest benefits which France derived from the reign of Louis XIV., and which forms an inland communication between the ocean and the Mediterranean, is really interesting. In one place it passes through a mountain, by an excavation some eighty fathoms in length, and in another goes over a bridge, under which flows a river. We halted every night, and slept in the boat, as there were three rooms, while the men-servants slept on shore. At Béziers, which is situated on a considerable eminence, it is reported that there is in every house a chamber, called “La Camerette,” reserved for the mad members of the family, there being always at least one in that condition. The inhabitants of this town are said to be the liveliest people in France, and it is probably that circumstance which gave rise to this ridiculous story. My mother’s carriage having been sent on before us to this place, we now pursued our journey by land, and proceeded by the high road to Montpellier, a city very famous for the purity of its air, and on that account the resort of strangers in search of a better climate than their own. Hence it has given its name to so many places in England as a recommendation of the air. “Mais tout passe, tout lasse, et tout casse!” Montpellier is no longer in fashion, though its situation remains the same, its air is as good as ever, and the same medicinal virtues reside in its waters. It has, not unhappily, been called a “magazine of houses,” for the streets are neither wide nor regular, though the houses are generally good, and some of them very handsome, particularly in what was called “la Grande Rue.”
We were present at the opening of the Assembly of the States on the 27th. It was held in a great hall in the Hôtel de Ville. At the upper end was a throne, under a canopy of crimson velvet. Long benches were ranged on each side, and parallel rows in front below, with a table covered with green cloth. The galleries and the rest of the hall were filled with spectators. First entered the Archbishop of Narbonne, at the head of the clergy; the bishops, in their violet robes, covered with fine lace; and the “grands vicaires” representing the prelates who were absent, in black cassocks. They took their places on the right hand of the throne, which was occupied by the Comte de Périgord as soon as he came in, followed by the barons and by the gentlemen who acted as representatives of the absent nobles. The count and barons were robed in black velvet mantles lined with gold stuff, hats with long feathers hanging over them, and their hair dressed with two queues. The barons took their places on the left, and below sat the “tiers état,” consisting of deputies from the towns. The “greffiers” and lawyers were at the table. On the left hand of the count, and above the barons, sat the intendant of the province, M. de St. Priest, and two treasurers of France, in black, with black caps, surmounted by a tuft. A greffier having read the commission which the Count de Périgord, as commandant of the province, had received from the king to hold the States, the count made a speech, complimenting the intendant, the barons, and the bishops, and particularly the Archbishop of Narbonne, whom he characterised as “a prelate who supported the interests of the people at court without flattery, and the interests of the court with the people without ostentation.” The Assembly now became very attentive, for the archbishop was to speak, and his eloquence was much admired. He began his discourse by dwelling on the utility of commerce, in all nations and ages, towards the civilisation of mankind. Industry was the only true road to improvement. In old times it was through commerce and industry that the Phœnicians and their colonists, the Carthaginians, had risen to eminence. The Romans, indeed, disdained to acquire riches except by conquest, but they protected and encouraged commercial pursuits in their tributary provinces, and by this policy supported their state, and enabled themselves to pursue their astonishing career. And when the Roman empire was overthrown by the Goths, a small number of fugitives settled on the little islands in the bosom of the Adriatic, and a flourishing republic arose out of this refuge for a few unfortunate exiles. But this republic fell into insignificancy, because the people became ashamed of the honourable industry of their ancestors, and preferred an inglorious pomp and idleness. The example, however, had not been lost upon England and Holland, as witness the flourishing state of the English navy, and the tranquil riches and peaceful security of the Dutch in the midst of powerful and envious nations. The speaker then lamented that France, which possessed so many and such superior advantages, situated between two seas, in the centre of Europe, under the most favourable sky, and inhabited by a people of the most active disposition, was yet by no means so commercial as she ought to be. Louis XIV., he said, would have afforded encouragement to the commerce of his kingdom, had he not been hurried away by an ill-judged ambition, and thus compelled to leave that essential duty to the care of his minister, the great Colbert. That statesman, however, signally erred in laying restraints upon commerce, for it would have been far better to have suffered the trifling inconveniences resulting from certain commodities leaving the country and being useful to foreign nations, than to renounce the great advantages which arise from the communication of new discoveries and inventions, or from superior perfection in those already made. Instead, therefore, of laying the restraint he intended upon abuses, Colbert fostered the worst of all, monopoly. The archbishop then reverted to the unhappy fanaticism which had driven so many industrious citizens to seek refuge in the open and liberal arms of England and Holland, which nations were amply repaid for their generosity by the stimulus given to their commerce, and the improvements introduced into all useful arts, by those grateful exiles. Louis XV. had proper views on these subjects, but was prevented from carrying them into execution by the troubles of the times and the narrow-mindedness of his ministers. Under the present government, however, everything might be hoped for from the known good disposition of the king towards his people, and especially in this province, where his Majesty’s gracious intentions were so well understood and seconded, &c. &c.
At the close of this speech, which had a very good effect, the governor, the intendant, and the treasurers, as commissaries for the king, left the Assembly, and were accompanied to the door by the archbishop and bishops, who then returned to their seats, the archbishop occupying the throne. The hour of the next meeting having been fixed, mass was said by the archbishop’s almoner, and served by his grace’s footmen in livery. The prelates, the intendant, the treasurers, and barons afterwards dined with the governor in their robes, with their hats on, which, however, they took off while they stood up to drink the health of the king, the queen, and the royal family. We went to see this ceremony, which was called “le Dîner du Roi.” At six we went dressed to the governor’s, who received the visits of the ladies, and afterwards to Mme. l’Intendante’s, where a supper was laid out for all who chose to stay.
On the 2nd of December the Assembly met, that the king’s commissaries might ask for the “don gratuit” from the province. The demand was made by the intendant, in what struck me as being a very authoritative style. The Archbishop of Narbonne replied in a manner equally pathetic and spirited. He lamented that, at a season dedicated to joy and festivity, the misfortunes of the province should cast a cloud over the public cheerfulness. He remarked, that after a long and severe winter the distress of the inhabitants had not been mitigated by a genial spring and summer, in the happiest country as to situation that could be imagined, inhabited by a people endowed with the most industrious activity, and enjoying a climate which drew so many illustrious strangers from less favoured lands. He pointed out in the most lively colours the losses sustained by the province from the frosts, which had destroyed nearly all the vines, and from the failure of a most promising harvest. Nor could the unhappy people hope for any alleviation of their distress while subjected to such heavy imposts. It was dreadful, he said, to find, after fifteen years of peace, that the taxes were still the same as in time of war, though it was right to expect that they should be taken off. The province was, therefore, in no state to give any further testimony of duty than what they had already afforded. Then, with respect to commerce, if the unhappy laws, dictated by rigour rather than by prudence, were allowed to prevail, Languedoc would be utterly ruined, as the manufacturers, deprived of all power of extending their views, would necessarily give up all emulation and desire of improvement. He then observed that, although the neglect of public statutes was injurious to a country, even that perhaps was a less evil than the observance of pernicious ones. As an example, he mentioned the manufacturers of woollen cloths, who, perceiving that the dyes of France were inferior to the texture while the reverse was the case in the Levant, had acquired and introduced into this province the beautiful hue which is in use among those nations. This, strictly speaking, was contrary to law, but it had been of infinite benefit to France.
This archbishop was of a commanding figure, and had a fine open countenance. By birth he was an Irishman, being brother to Lord Dillon, but he was brought up in France, and, while still very young, was present at the battle of Fontenoy. Subsequently he went into the Church, and became possessed of great benefices and considerable influence. He belonged to that class of prelates called “Evêques Administrateurs,” but he was liberal-minded and charitable. At a later period he behaved in a very proper and dignified manner, when the revolution broke out, and at length retired to England, where he died at an advanced age in 1803 or 1804. We were introduced to him at Montpellier, and he invited us to dinner, when his conversation was lively and agreeable, intermixed with sallies of wit and pleasantry in the best taste.
The Comte de Périgord was a truly worthy man; and, what is singular, was free from the prejudice at that time general in France in favour of America. He could not bear the idea of being at peace with England, and yet supporting rebels against their sovereign. The Comtesse de Périgord was dead. She was a beautiful woman, and Louis XV. fell in love with her, which made her persuade her husband to leave the Court. He never knew her reason till the king gave him the distinguished post he still held in 1777, at the same time telling him that he owed it to the virtue of his wife, for that he could not bear it should be supposed that so worthy a nobleman had left the Court in disgrace. When we were at Montpellier an English gentleman, named Langlais, was staying with the count, which compelled the latter to enter his deceased wife’s dressing-room, as it was occupied by his guest. Though several years had passed since her death, he had never before ventured to look into it. His suppers were splendid, attended by guards, and his liveries magnificent. His parties were also very pleasant and cheerful. It is painful to add, that this excellent man, who was equally loyal to his king and beneficent to the poor, was uncle of the Bishop of Autun, M. de Talleyrand. The Comte de Périgord was not possessed of such brilliant talents as his nephew, but was distinguished rather for plain sense and rectitude of principles. In person he was dignified and elegant. I have since become acquainted with his descendants, and I must add that they have inherited his virtues.
The intendant, M. de St. Priest, and the treasurers also had parties, at which my mother usually played whist, while I sat by her side at the corner of the table, finding plenty of idlers to chat with, for which I sometimes received from my mother very proper lectures. It might be said to be my first entrance into the world; and, excepting two or three of my fellow-countrywomen, there were no young unmarried women at these parties, as it was not the custom in France. We supped once with the treasurer of the province. His house was not large, but well furnished, and the supper, I remember, was thought to be remarkably fine, with respect both to the eye and the palate. The place of treasurer _gave_ nobility, and of course the treasurers were rich, expensive, and not in the list of “good company,” though visited by everybody at these seasons. I believe the post was always purchased.
To the honour of Montpellier it must be observed, that, although there were many Calvinists in the place, there was not that dissension and hatred between the followers of the two religions that always existed at Nismes, and evident proofs of this were given during the revolution. I am sorry to say that M. de St. Etienne, who was a pastor here, did not do credit to his cloth in this respect, for he was very violent, and worthy to have belonged to Cromwell’s Independents. But many Roman Catholic priests were saved by the Protestant inhabitants of Montpellier. I remember we were much struck by the showy dress and variegated plume of feathers worn by a young woman at a concert at which we were present, and we were told that she was the wife of a Protestant minister—in fact, of M. de St. Etienne himself.
It was not without regret that we quitted Montpellier on the 13th of December, and arrived the same afternoon at Nismes. Here we inspected the various Roman remains, under the guidance of M. Séguier, the naturalist and antiquary, and on the 16th we reached Marseilles. At this seaport we were detained by the bad weather until the 29th of January (1777), when we embarked on board a “Senau,” which my mother had hired to convey us to Civita Vecchia, as we had been told at Montpellier that that was the quickest mode of conveyance, and that probably we should not be above a day or two on our passage. We started with a fine north-west wind, which shifted in the course of the evening to the east, and we were obliged to put back and run into La Ciotat, a safe little port, seven leagues distant from Marseilles by the road. It was late in the evening of the 3rd of February before our captain would again venture out to sea, but next day we were glad to run for shelter into Toulon Roads. Fortunately, we happened to be acquainted with two French naval officers who were stationed there, and who showed us every attention. The command of ships in the French navy did not depend on rank in the service as with us. An “enseigne de vaisseau” might command a sloop, but they had many more steps, and were longer in getting on than our officers at that time. In general, the French navy was composed of men of fashion, belonging to the highest families, and great interest was required to support them in the service. They had, by a recent order, destroyed the places of commissioners, and all was in the hands of sea officers, by which change many abuses were stopped, and their navy was in a much better condition than it had been for many years, or perhaps ever before.
We remained at Toulon until the 10th, when we made another attempt to reach the Italian shores, but on the following afternoon again found ourselves in our old lodgings. As the wind continued very high and unfavourable, we stayed here till the 17th, and on the previous day went to a “piquenique” at a little country-house not far from the town. We were about fifty in number, of whom fifteen were ladies. We dined early, and afterwards danced. Most of the company were of the first families of Provence, all good humoured and well bred. Their dancing was excellent, and their cheerfulness unwearied.
At last we got fairly under weigh, and were within eight leagues of Civita Vecchia on the 19th, when a contrary wind sprang up, and we were miserably tossed about all night, the weather very bad, the people praying to St. Anthony, and the ship under little government. Late in the afternoon of the 20th we succeeded in landing at a wretched little place in Tuscany, belonging to the King of Naples, in what was called “i Presidj di Toscana.” Its name was Santo Stefano, a small village, with a castle and an insignificant garrison to keep off ships coming from the Levant. Next day, the 21st, we went on shore, but could find no house where we could get a bed. We were afraid to sleep on board, because we heard that the Moorish pirates sometimes came here and cut vessels out of the harbour. We were, therefore, very anxious to get away, and having received flowers, salads, and civil messages from the governor, we at length summoned up courage to call upon him and inquire if there were any means of reaching Rome, for we were still fifteen leagues by sea from Civita Vecchia.
The governor, an elderly man named Latil, a Provençal, was very obliging, but kept his hands in a muff, and apologised for not having called upon us, because he had unfortunately caught a complaint in his hands which rendered him unfit for society. He told us we must go by Orbitello, the capital of the Presidj, and there procure horses for our journey. A Walloon officer, who happened to be at the governor’s, obligingly offered to accompany us, and accordingly, in the afternoon of the 28th, we embarked in a small felucca, another following in tow with our carriage. We rowed about three miles, when we arrived at a neck of land, and were taken ashore on the men’s shoulders, the carriage being put into a cart with all our baggage. We walked across this sandy neck of land to the Lake of Orbitello, where we embarked as before, and happily arrived at the town, situated in the midst of the lake, and much resembling a fish in water.
Captain Sougnez, the Walloon officer, offered us the use of his house, but we went to the inn, which was not a very bad one, considering the unfrequented situation of the place. The beds had muslin curtains, but there were no glass windows in the room, only shutters, and the adjoining apartment was a great hall, which served as the public ball-room every night during Carnival. As far as I recollect, the price of entrance was the value of twopence; the company consisting of all ranks of people, but chiefly of soldiers and their wives. They danced till three or four in the morning, but neither intoxication nor indecorum of any kind appeared amongst them.
On the 1st of March the officers of the garrison invited us to a ball. They danced minuets for five hours of the time. The manners of the ladies were quiet and proper, though not elegant, and their dress no very happy imitation of the French. On the following day we went to see a comedy, entitled “Il Napolitano a Parigi,” acted in a barn by soldiers. The sergeants and corporals, for distinction, acted the female parts, and hid their moustaches as well as they could. They looked oddly, but they really were good comedians.
The four horses which we had been obliged to send for from Viterbo having at length arrived, we were enabled to resume our journey on the 7th, accompanied by Captain Sougnez, who was so good as to give us his protection for the first day’s journey. We finally reached Rome late in the afternoon of the 9th of March, on the fortieth day after our departure from Marseilles, and engaged apartments in the Piazza di Spagna.
ROME—CARDINAL DE BERNIS—ROMAN SOCIETY—ROMAN MORALS—ANECDOTES OF CARDINAL DE BERNIS, M. DE CHOISEUL, THE DUC DE CRILLON, AND OTHERS.
DURING the first two years after our departure from England, I attended so little to political occurrences that they found no place in my journal; yet it was an eventful period, for although war with France had not commenced, the assistance given by the French to the Americans, then in arms against our Government, rendered it inevitable. While we were at Marseilles the news arrived of Lord Cornwallis being made prisoner; and while at Toulon great preparations were making for the war with England, which was then imminent, and which soon afterwards broke out. There, however, _we_ heard no illiberal remarks against England.
At the time of year when we arrived in Rome that city was full of strangers. Amongst others, there were the Prince of Saxe-Gotha, Mr., Mrs., and Miss J. Pitt, Mr. and Mrs. Swinbourne, Sir Thomas Gascoyne, Sir Francis and Miss Holbourn, Mr. Henderson, Lord Lewisham, Justice Welsh and his daughter, Lord Duncannon, Comte Dillon, Comte Edouard Dillon, and Mr. T. Dillon, Chevalier Jerningham, Mr. and Mrs. O’Reilly, Sir Robert and Lady Smith, Lady Euphemia Stewart, Lady Margaret Gordon, Mr. Stuart Mackenzie and Lady Betty, Mrs. Gibbs and Miss Stevens, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. Rooke, Mr. Perry, the Rev. Mr. Sherlocke, Mr. and Mrs. Petty, Mr. and Mrs. Craddock Hartopp, Mrs. Chantrey, Mr. and Mrs. Gore, Miss and Miss Emily Gore, Sir Carnaby and Mrs. Haggerstone, the Bishop of Derry, Mrs. and Miss Louisa Hervey, Mr. Curzon, Mr. Slade, Sir Edward Hales and son, the Abbé Preston, &c. &c.
We had letters to several persons, and more particularly to Cardinal de Bernis, the French ambassador, who at that time had his amiable niece, the Marquise du Puy-Montbrun, and her married daughter of sixteen, the Vicomtesse de Bernis, with her husband and his brother, the Abbé de Bernis, staying in his house. From his rank, influence, and fortune, the Cardinal de Bernis made the most splendid figure at Rome. He was then about sixty-two years of age, and still more celebrated for his writings and the elegance of his manners than for having been prime minister of France. He inhabited the Palazzo de Carolis, a very considerable building, opposite the church of San Marcello, on the Corso. We were invited there to a conversazione, which began at half-past seven, or one hour of the night, according to the Italian dial. At this period of the year twenty-four o’clock is at about half-past six; it is never earlier than five or later than eight, but it is regulated by the sunset. The “conversazioni di prima sera” were without cards, while those of “seconda sera,” at which cards were played, began at two hours of night, and the company were all assembled by three; that is, about half-past nine. After passing through the hall of the Palazzo de Carolis, filled with servants in livery, and the first ante-room, filled with attendants of a higher order, we found the cardinal in one of the first rooms, which was called the “Stanza dei Boccetti,” on account of a sort of billiard-table at which he used to play, where the balls are thrown by the hand (similar tables were in all the great houses in Rome). We passed on through a suite of fine rooms, and in the farthest, which is a noble gallery, with columns of “giallo antico,” we found the Marquise du Puy-Montbrun, some ladies, and many gentlemen. Ices, lemonades, &c., were served, but no cards. A few nights afterwards we were introduced by the marchioness to the Princess Santa Croce at her conversazione, which was one of those “di seconda sera,” where some people played, but more looked on.
The Palazzo Santa Croce was full of fine pictures, and the company numerous, though, owing to the size of most of the fine houses at Rome, there was never any crowding at an assembly; for the Roman nobility, the corps diplomatique, and strangers who were well recommended, could alone be admitted to the conversazioni; and at the most forty ladies were to be seen there, the nobility not being numerous, and as the old ladies did not go, and no unmarried ones, unless engaged or on the point of becoming nuns, the men were in much greater strength; for, besides the heads of families, the younger brothers, cardinals, prelates, officers, &c., amounted to a considerable number. People began to come about nine, and went away about half-past eleven.
When a lady went to a conversazione, her servants called out “Torcie!” and two servants of the house would come down, each with a torch, to light her up the stairs. Sometimes at very great assemblies, or at a fête, the court and the whole staircase were as light as day with torches placed everywhere. At such times they were not called for. Great order was observed to prevent all confusion of carriages, which drove in at one gate and out at another, generally through a colonnade, or at least a covered portico. When any particular occasion rendered it necessary, from fear of a crowd, soldiers were stationed to regulate the approach to the house, and to keep the coachmen in order. The master or mistress of the house always remained near the door, and the groom of the chambers announced the visitor, who had been before announced to him through the different rooms by the footmen, valets, &c., according to their several degrees. Everybody was full-dressed, and this formality of entrance saved people from trouble, who otherwise would not know whither to go, or where to find the person to whom they were going.
Great propriety of manner, with much wit and cheerfulness, characterised the Roman society. The ladies sat still till they engaged in cards, and the men stood round and chatted with them, or sat down beside them if there was a vacant chair. The system of regularity prevailed to such an extent at Rome, that the ladies usually went to the same part of the room, and almost to the same chair, so that it was very easy for their acquaintance to find them. The Romans, more than any people I have ever known, followed the maxim of never interfering with the habits and customs, the pleasures, or even the prejudices of others. “Live and let live” was their practice no less than their principle, and this had a happy influence in staying the progress of scandal, which was certainly less prevalent at Rome than in most places.
I cannot deny that the custom of having “cavalieri serventi” was pretty general. Some ladies went alone, some with their husbands, and some with their brothers-in-law; but these were comparatively few. Yet I firmly believe that many of those intimacies, which are so much criticised in other countries, were perfectly innocent, and it was very usual to go into company attended by two, sometimes by three, gentlemen. Very respectable young women did this, and it was certainly the safest way. These made her party at cards; and when she left the assembly she wished them “good night,” and went home with her husband. Light characters were thought ill of at Rome, as they are everywhere, though they were not so much pulled to pieces. Women never went together to parties unless for the purpose of a presentation or a masquerade: if a lady was invited to a dinner party, her husband also was asked.
But what I particularly admired in the society there was, that character was so justly estimated. The Romans had wonderful tact and penetration in discovering and appreciating the merit of their fellow-citizens, and also of strangers whom they had an opportunity of knowing, either personally, or from their works or actions. They weighed everything, and their judgment was very correct.
The theatres were open only during Carnival, that is to say, between Christmas and Easter. No women were allowed to appear upon the stage. All conversazioni, except those of old ladies or of cardinals, were suspended during Carnival, unless on a Friday, when there was no opera. For the first four nights it was the custom that everybody should go dressed, and even those who had boxes of their own liked, on these occasions, to go to the ambassadors’ boxes, where they were more in sight, and certainly had the best view. The Governor of Rome had the middle box on the second tier, which was counted the best, and the ambassadors of France and Spain were on each side of him, the other ambassadors following. These and the governor were alone permitted to have lights in their boxes, and for the first four nights the latter used to send ices and biscuits round to all the boxes of the three lower tiers—there were, in all, six tiers—beginning with the corps diplomatique.
We frequently accompanied Madame du Puy-Montbrun, and the society in our box usually consisted of the old Prince of Palestrine, the Abbé de Bernis, and the Chevalier du Theil, “un savant très caustique,” whom the Court of France had sent to examine certain manuscripts in the Vatican, and who lived at Cardinal de Bernis’. We had also occasional visitors from the corps diplomatique. Madame du Puy-Montbrun was correct and serious, handsome, sensible, and only thirty-six. I was _very_ young and _very_ animated, but vainly would any of the gay prelates or young travellers have endeavoured to effect a comfortable entrée. Madame du P. was reserved, and the old prince and the chevalier were immovable, and the only prelate who was not old but very agreeable, was Monsignor la Somaglia, belonging to a noble family of Parma. He was a man of elegant learning and manners, but by the gay was accused of too much devotion.
I shall here insert a few anecdotes and bons mots which I collected during our lengthened residence in Rome.
M. de Choiseul, when he was ambassador of France at Rome, used to say there were only two ways of managing the Italians, “danaro o bastone.” One day he addressed the Pope (Lambertini), at an audience, in such an authoritative tone, that his holiness rose from his chair, and said, “Mi faccia la finezza di mettersi quà, signor ambasciadore.” This same Pope once asked a lady how she liked Rome, and whether she had seen all the ceremonies, &c. She answered that she had seen everything except a “sedia vacante;” whereupon the Pope got up directly from his chair, and said, “There is one, madam.”
A cardinal, in conversation with a prelate whose whole study was how to obtain promotion, happened to remark that he himself had very good health. “Ah,” said the other, “how do you manage that? For my part, I am always ailing.” “Why,” replied the cardinal, “the reason is, that I wear my hat on my head, but you have it in your heart.”
The Abbé G., who is said to be the son of a shoemaker, was one day complaining that he could not go to the Constable Colonna’s because his carriage was not ready; a bystander remarked, that he was not surprised, for, as the Abbé’s father was dead, his shoes might probably want mending, and that consequently he could not walk. A very elegant Grand Vicaire once asked a physician from what stock this Abbé G. was derived. The physician took him into a shoemaker’s shop, and striking his hand on the block—in French called “souche”—upon which they cut the leather, he answered, “Voici, monsieur, la souche dont sort la famille de l’abbé.”
The French farmers-general adopted many ingenious contrivances for advancing their fortunes. A certain chancellor of France having lost a dog of which he was very fond, one of these individuals procured another very like it, and dressing himself up in a wig and gown like that worn by the chancellor, he accustomed the animal to take sweetmeats from his hand, but to fly at every one else. Having sufficiently trained him, he carried him to the chancellor, and declared that he had found the dog that was lost. The chancellor was delighted, and an acquaintance was thus formed which largely contributed to the advancement of the dog-trainer. Another of this worthy’s schemes was to serve mass to Cardinal de Fleury, and instead of the usual wine to give him Madeira or Malaga.
The Cardinal de Bernis remarked to M. le Duc de Crillon that his head was filled with poetry, and that he remembered all the agreeable poets he had read forty years ago as if it were yesterday. “Your eminence has only to remember yourself,” said the duke. “That is the very one I would choose to forget,” replied the cardinal. The Spanish ambassador once asked this same duke of what country he was; for, said he, “you are a lieutenant-general in the service of Spain, a lieutenant-general in the service of France, and an Avignonese duke.” “Sir,” answered M. de Crillon, “I am everywhere a subject of the Pope; I am a Frenchman at Madrid, and a Spaniard at Paris.”
The Marchesa Lepri received company four days after her husband’s death. The Abbé de Bernis went, among others, and found her in bed, suffering from a cold, with her hair full dressed, and nothing over it, and reposing on the pillow. The bed was in the middle of the room, and without curtains. The ambassadress of Bologna was one of the guests, and many gentlemen were there.
M. Amelot, they say, was advised by his friends to retire, and ask for a dukedom. He did so, and received for answer: “Ce n’est pas la saison pour faire du camelot (Duc Amelot).”
The Duc de Crillon, of whom I have already made mention, asked of the Bishop of Mirepoix a benefice for his brother. The bishop refused, saying, “Sir, I repent of having given him the last one, for he was not a Grand Vicaire, as you pretended that he was; and,” added he, “vous êtes un imposteur, et le Pape le sait.” The duke, angry at being called an impostor, replied, “Monseigneur, vous êtes un sot, et Dieu le sait.”
Cardinal de Bernis once observed that he wondered how any person could fear death, for, said he, “ce n’est rien de fort difficile, car je vois que chacun s’en tire.”
RESIDENCE AT ROME—CEREMONY AT ST. PETER’S—MIDSUMMER MADNESS—ANECDOTE OF M. CLERMONT—THE AMBASSADOR AND THE ACTRESS—POPE GANGANELLI.
ON the 28th of June, 1780, being St. Peter’s-eve, we went to a house near the bridge of St. Angelo to see the Constable Colonna conveying the tribute-horse, which was annually presented to the Pope by the King of Naples. The procession commenced with the Pope’s light horse, sent to escort the constable. Then came the servants of several cardinals and princes in their liveries, in attendance upon some of their gentlemen on horseback with black mantles. The constable’s were the last, with their mantles turned back with gold stuff. Next followed the horse, richly caparisoned, the present—a silver flower—being carried on his back. Behind the animal came the constable, preceded by his pages in lilac and silver, and by his first gentlemen. He was dressed in light brown, with a mantle, and was mounted on a beautiful horse: he himself was a pretty figure. His state carriages followed him. The first was a chariot, which belonged to his uncle, Cardinal Pamfili, when he was nuncio in France, and the second one was a coach, richly ornamented, belonging to the King of Naples, whom he represented as ambassador; the rest were of various colours, but all drawn by fine horses. When they arrived at St. Peter’s, the guns of St. Angelo were fired, and after them a volley of musketry. We entered St. Peter’s a few minutes before the Pope came in to receive the constable. He was carried on men’s shoulders down the body of the church, attended by the cardinals. The horse was then brought in and led up to the altar, when he received a slight tap with a wand, and immediately knelt down, and the Pope gave him his benediction. The statue of St. Peter was dressed in gold stuff, with a ring on its finger, rare jewels on its breast, and a tiara on its head. Large candle-sticks with lighted tapers were placed in front, and a guard of soldiers stationed to check the indiscreet devotion of the saint’s votaries; but the black face and hands of the statue had a comical effect. The church was hung with crimson velvet and gold, the great altar finely arranged, and festoons of artificial flowers hung round the silver lamps that surrounded it. The throne of the Pope was set out for next day’s mass, and the whole building in perfect “fiocchi.” The constable returned in his state coach, drawn by six horses.
During the great heats of July, 1781, many people went mad. Amongst others, a bricklayer, in his madness, killed a priest near St. Pietro in Vincoli, and then went to his work. His master, observing that his hands were bloody, told him he looked as if he had been killing somebody. He said, so he had; that he had just killed a priest. On this his master, being frightened, gave him some money, and advised him to run away. He went towards the Coliseo, where he killed, at one stroke, a very beautiful woman, then broke in two places the arm of another woman who was walking with her, and wounded a priest who came to her assistance. In short, they say he killed, or wounded, seven persons. He was at last secured, and thrown into prison. Many other madmen have tried to fight, but people were put on their guard, and precautions taken to prevent any violence. One of the madmen, meeting the Pope in St. Peter’s, said he would confess to him, and tell him all the evils the poor experienced from bad bread and dear oil. Another beat the statue of St. Peter; it was reported he had beaten that of Pasquin. Four barbers, also, counterfeited madness, but were taken up, and two of them sent to the galleys for ten years, and the others sentenced to be hanged.
A story is told of M. Clermont, ambassador of France at the Court of Naples, that he became very attentive to an actress known as “La Balduzzi.” M. de Bièvre, calling upon him one morning, found him in his garden gathering flowers. So he asked him what he was doing; when the ambassador replied that he was gathering “garofolis” for the Balduzzi. “Ah, monsieur,” exclaimed the other, “gare aux folies!” This M. de Bièvre complained one day that Colonel Chrysti was very tiresome. “He is a very honest man,” remarked a gentleman who was present, “he is _a Swiss_.” “Eh bien, donc,” cries M. de Bièvre, “il faut le mettre à la porte.”
Mr. Jenkins, our banker, having remarked that he didn’t know what Mr. Pigot would think of the race on the Corso, he who had been so celebrated on the turf: “Well,” said Mr. Hodges, “he can now be celebrated on the _pavé_.”
When Pope Ganganelli died, who had made a great favourite of Padre Buontempi, a monk of his own order, some one put an umbrella up over Pasquin’s statue, with a writing, “E finito il buon tempo.” At another time, a wag wrote on this statue, in answer to the question, “Che fa Roma?” “Opera di misericordia. Veste i Gnudi ed arrichisce gli Onesti.” Gnudi was the name of a person who came from Cesena with Don Luigi Onesti, the Pope’s nephew, and was previously in the greatest poverty. In the chapel, too, of the new sacristy, where an inscription testified that it was built in consequence of the _vota publica_, a paper was affixed with these lines:
Publica! mentiris, non publica vota fuêre, Sed tumidi capitis vota fuêre tui.
His Holiness was so much offended, that it was said he would have put the author to death for his impertinence, if he could have found him. The Italians used to say of the Pope’s arms, in which were stars, an eagle, and the wind blowing on fleurs-de-lys: “L’Aquila è andata in Germania, i Gigli in Francia, le Stelle sono tornate nel cielo, e non gli è rimasto altro che il Vento.”
The Cavalier Guglielmi, about this time, asked the Cardinal Secretary-of-State to promote his brother to a better post. The cardinal, taking snuff, replied, negligently, with the common proverb, “Chi sta bene, non si muova.” The cavalier took no immediate notice of this answer, but after a little while, imitating the cardinal’s action, he said: “Vostra eminenza, mi ricordo, era nunzio a Bruxelles, e stava bene, ma voleva qualche cosa di più, e fu fatto nunzio a Napoli; stava benone, ma voleva qualche cosa di più, e fu fatto cardinale; stava ottimamente, ma voleva qualche cosa di più, e fu fatto segretario di stato; vedo chi sta a maraviglia, ma chi sa se ancora non vuole qualche cosa di più.” The cardinal felt the rebuke, and gave the desired post to Cavalier Guglielmi’s brother.
It was also some time in the year 1781 that I became acquainted with the following instance of gratitude on the part of a Turk, and which was then of quite recent occurrence. The commander of a merchantman of Leghorn was taken by an Algerine corsair, after making a gallant defence. He was carried to Algiers, and exposed for sale in the market-place, where he was soon observed by a Turkish merchant, who bought him immediately, without further inquiry. While he remained between hope and fear of his future situation, the Turk asked him whether he knew him. He replied that he could not recollect ever having seen him. The Turk then said: “I have not bought you for your harm, but for your good. I am the man you took prisoner some years since, and whom you treated with such humanity, and afterwards set at liberty. I mean, therefore, to make you free, and will give you a ship larger than that you have lost, and will freight it with corn, which is here at a very low price. And when you return to Leghorn you will make what profit you can upon it, only restoring to me the original price of the corn; all the rest, together with the ship, is at your service.” The grateful and generous Turk fulfilled his promise; and the man returned to Leghorn, and disposed of his cargo to great advantage.
Mr. Jenkins told us of a curious affair that happened at Urbino. The governor of that town, Monsignor Lucchesini, whose power was almost absolute, being offended with the nobility of the place because they had beaten one of his servants, searched through the records for some obsolete law with which he could plague them. He found an obsolete ordinance, which forbade the nobility of Urbino to stir out at night without carrying torches, which all Italians have a great aversion to doing. So he insisted upon this law being put in force, and, when they refused to obey, he ordered the barigel to compel them to do so. That officer, however, told him that he dared not act against all the principal families of the town; but the prelate still remained obstinate. Whereupon all the families of the nobility assembled, and agreed to go with their torches to the door of a lady’s house, whom monsignor visited every evening by stealth. Accordingly, they posted themselves at the door just at the time he usually went away, and he had the pleasure of being escorted home in the full light of all their torches.
One day in September, as the Pope was talking to his nephew, he observed that he made no answer, and asked him the reason. The latter made signs that there was somebody listening at the door. The Pope instantly got up, went to the door, and, flinging aside the curtain, found there Monsignor di Spagna, whom, it is said, he beat pretty handsomely for his impertinent curiosity—others, however, deny the latter part of the story.
On the 23rd of December, 1783, we met the Emperor Joseph II. at the Princess Santa Croce’s conversazione. His Majesty was travelling incognito as Count Falkenstein. As we entered the grand apartment we saw him standing near the door with Cardinal de Bernis by his side, and surrounded by all the men in the room, which was very full. He was in a plain uniform, blue with red lappels, and had much the look of a military man. His figure was good, and his eyes very fine. We had not, however, a good opportunity of observing him, as the apartment was so crowded in the part where he stood. The cardinal told him who we were, and he made us very polite bows, after which we went off in search of seats. The emperor talked a good deal to those near him, and stayed about half an hour, but he had been there some time before we entered, and had made a previous visit to the Princess Doria.
His Majesty had arrived that morning from Florence a little before noon, without having given any notice to the Pope. About one, his Holiness was sitting with Don Luigi, his nephew, and the Bailli Antinori, his familiar friend, and finding that he had still some time to spare before his usual hour for going out, he went into his closet to write a letter. Just then a favourite valet-de-chambre ran into the room, and told Don Luigi that Cardinal Hertzan, the emperor’s representative, was ascending the staircase, and demanded an immediate audience. Greatly agitated by this announcement, Don Luigi knocked at the door, and informed Pius VI., who was not less disconcerted. Presently, the valet again hurried in, and said that the emperor also was there. Don Luigi thereupon told his uncle, who threw open his closet door just as the emperor and the cardinal entered the apartment through the opposite door. When his imperial visitor rose to take leave, Pius VI. conducted him through the apartments of the Countess Matilda into St. Peter’s. The Pope then proposed that they should offer up a prayer together, and invited the emperor to kneel by his side on a prie-Dieu, with two cushions, but the latter flung aside the one intended for himself, and knelt down on the bare floor. “Then,” said Pius, “I, too, must kneel on the floor: I cannot take this place.” “You may do as you please,” replied the emperor, “but I always kneel so.” He made a very short prayer, and, wishing the Pope good morning, went to see the Museum, and at four o’clock dined with Cardinal Hertzan, at whose house he had alighted.
On the following day he dined with one of the generals who accompanied him, at a lodging-house in the Piazza di Spagna, and, according to his usual custom, sent down a large fish from the table to the mistress of the house. As he was going away, an immense number of the populace, who had collected round the door, began to cry aloud, “Viva l’imperadore!” “Viva Cesare!” His Majesty stopped a moment, and made them a sign to be quiet, and then jumped into his carriage and drove off. In the evening the emperor was present at the Duchess Bracciano’s, and afterwards at Princess Altieri’s, who had lighted up her house, of which he complained, as he does not permit the slightest ceremony, not even torches on the staircase.
On Christmas-day, Joseph II. and Gustavus III., King of Sweden, who had arrived at a late hour of the previous evening, attended high mass at St. Peter’s. The behaviour of the emperor was particularly decorous, without any affectation or hypocrisy. The king at first hesitated about kneeling, and asked the emperor what he should do. “Do as I do,” replied Joseph. “But I am not of your communion,” rejoined the other. “Well,” resumed the emperor, “believe what you will, but as you came here of your own choice, you should act so as not to scandalise others.” Gustavus took the hint, and knelt down.
The next evening we went to Cardinal de Bernis’, who had illuminated his house, and was to give a concert in honour of the King of Sweden. The day before he invited the emperor, who said that, if the concert were given as a compliment to the king, he would certainly come, as he had no objection to partake of fêtes, provided they were not offered to himself. But, he added, if his eminence sent a single torch to him on the stairs, he should instantly retire. There was a vast deal of company assembled on the occasion, and it was remarked that it was like the East Indies—all heat and diamonds.
About seven o’clock the King of Sweden, who was travelling under the title of the Comte de Haga, came in, followed by two gentlemen. The Princess Santa Croce took him by the hand, and introduced him to everybody in the room. His Majesty was dressed in a satin coat, wearing his order, &c.; but there was nothing remarkable in his figure or address, except an air of levity and affectation. Very different in this from the emperor, of the perfect ease and propriety of whose conduct too much cannot be said in praise. The latter talks to all around him with the utmost politeness, but carefully avoids giving any trouble to others, and never suffers any one to take liberties with himself. A Roman gentleman went up to him at Cardinal de Bernis’, and said that he had the honour of being acquainted with his Majesty. “What majesty?” asked the emperor, looking around. “There is no majesty here.” “Oh!” insisted the gentleman, “my family is too much attached to the House of Austria for me not to know that I must address you as your Majesty.” “If you speak to the Comte de Falkenstein,” said Joseph, “he will answer you. But if you speak to the emperor, it is taking a great liberty to address him first.” At this concert his Majesty stayed rather less than an hour, and heard Marchesi sing one song, after which he ran off in great haste.
The King of Sweden, however, remained to supper, and did not leave till two in the morning. He had also dined at the cardinal’s, and professed himself wholly attached to the Court of France. At supper his Majesty was seen to scratch his head with his fork, and also with his knife, and afterwards to go on eating with them. Before his departure from Rome for Naples, the emperor had a very satisfactory interview with the Pope, who appeared more cheerful afterwards. It is said that his Holiness reminded his Majesty that his ancestors had more than once been indebted for their crown to the See of Rome. The emperor’s munificence was much spoken of. He gave five hundred sequins to the mistress of the lodging-house in the Piazza di Spagna where he used to sleep, and bestowed upon her husband an employment in the Milan post-office. At the Museum he left fifty sequins, and a similar sum at the library, &c., and scattered a great deal of money among the populace. On one occasion the emperor asked several questions of a footman, who answered him readily, in ignorance of his rank, and so much pleased his Majesty that, on leaving the man, he gave him three sequins for his company. At another time he sent for a dish of coffee from the coffee-house, and laid a baiócco and a half on the saucer to pay for it, but gave a sequin to the boy who brought it. In this respect he was very different to the King of Sweden, of whom it was said:
Il Conte de Haga tutto vede, e niente paga.
As he was returning from Naples, the postilions contrived to upset his imperial Majesty’s carriage; whereupon he gave each of them three sequins to comfort them under their mishap. Everybody agreed that Joseph II. had conducted himself so as to win the hearts of all Rome, and this without the slightest derogation to his own dignity. Several anecdotes were told of his Majesty, illustrating his kindly disposition and dry humour. When he was attending mass at St. Peter’s, some one remarked that Cardinal Orsini had so bad a voice that he could not intone the Gospel. “Se non intona,” replied the emperor, “non stuona.” Seeing the Pope’s niece seated near the door, he asked her, “Lei sta quà per mangiar il prossimo?” As she did not appear to understand him, he added, “Perchè prende il fiato di tutti quelli che entrano.”
At the Duchess Bracciano’s the emperor was standing in the middle of the room, engaged in general conversation, when some ladies who had followed him and the King of Sweden about everywhere, again came up to him. He took a snuff-box out of the Venetian ambassador’s hand, and showed them the lid; on it was painted the portrait of the Grand Signor. At Vienna his Majesty used to dismiss all the soldiers from the palace at ten o’clock. Not a single sentinel was stationed in the imperial apartments. Even at the camp he had never more than two guards, and those he chiefly employed as messengers. In driving about the streets of his capital he was attended by only one servant, and not unfrequently he accompanied ladies in their private carriages. If he happened to be unwell, he would invite every evening four or five ladies of the first distinction to keep him company. A horse was always kept ready saddled, so that if he heard of a fire he was almost immediately upon the spot. While at Rome, his Majesty went to see the caves of the Capucins, where human bones and skulls were arranged in a very fanciful manner. Looking round him, he asked: “What will these good people do at the day of judgment, now that you have mixed their bones so?” An old Capucin, who was kneeling close by, and who, though at prayer, overheard the emperor, made this reply: “Ci pensa chi l’ha fatti.” One day the emperor, while walking about the Villa Medici, inquired of the guarda-roba what he meant to do with his children. The man answered, that he intended to bring two of them up as priests, if they would study. The emperor then said that their studying was of no great consequence, for, if they could barely read and write, they might hope to become prelates, cardinals, the Pope himself.
His majesty entertained a very poor opinion of the Roman clergy. On his return to Vienna, after his first journey into Italy, his mother, the Empress Maria Theresa, asked him to give her some account of Rome. “I can do it in a few words,” he replied: “great luxury, little religion, and much ignorance.” While visiting the hospital of Santo Spirito, the emperor remarked that it was a great expense. “Yes,” said a bystander; “but your Majesty is at a still greater expense for the maintenance of three hundred thousand soldiers.” “You may add sixty thousand to that number,” replied Joseph; “but the money is all spent in the State, and, by keeping up so large an army, I save the lives of many of my subjects, who would otherwise perish in the wars my powerful neighbours would raise up against me if I were not so well prepared.” He was out hunting one day with the King of Naples, when the latter expressed a wish to see Count Falkenstein at the head of a hundred thousand men. “Well,” answered the other, “if you like, I will send a hundred thousand of my troops here, and come and command them.” Upon this the king exclaimed, in the lazzaroni dialect, which he generally used: “Malora, ci vuoi assassinar.”
When the Emperor Joseph was at Florence, he thought to give the fourth son of the Grand-Duke of Tuscany the colonelcy of a regiment that was just then vacant, and called to him to approach, in the presence of his father and mother. Taking a paper out of his pocket, he said that he had just returned from Rome, and brought him a brief from the Pope for a cardinal’s hat. The boy, who was not eleven years of age, reddened with indignation, and presently burst into tears. The emperor then embraced him, and told him it was a colonel’s commission, whereupon the little prince danced about the room with the greatest delight, much to the satisfaction of his uncle.
At Milan, a poor woman petitioned the emperor on behalf of her husband, who had been kept in prison seventeen months by order of Count Belgiojoso, for having killed a hare on his estate. The same evening his Majesty happened to meet the count in company, and telling him he was sorry to hear that he preferred his game to the good of his fellow-creatures, ordered him to set the man at liberty immediately, and make his family amends for the sufferings they had sustained through his absence, by giving them a florin a day for the time the poor fellow was in prison. “And,” continued the emperor, “to avoid all temptation to play the tyrant, do away with your game preserves.”
There was much ill-natured gossiping this year on the subject of the Countess of Albany and Count Alfieri. The moment the countess heard that the Pretender was lying at the point of death, she forwarded the news to Cardinal York, at Frascati, who instantly hastened to Florence to see his brother. On his return to Rome, he spoke only a few cold words to the countess, but informed the Pope that it was his brother’s wish that his wife should either dismiss Count Alfieri and return to him, or go into a convent. The countess thereupon wrote a letter to the Pope, in which she cleared her own character, and declared that if Count Alfieri’s visiting her gave his Holiness any displeasure, she was quite sure she could prevail upon that gentleman to leave Rome. The Pope replied that he approved of her conduct, and had no doubt of its correctness, but as the cardinal disapproved of the count’s visit to her house, it might be as well to request his absence, taking care, however, to do it in such a manner as not to offend him, or any other gentleman who visited her. The cardinal, it is said, told every postilion on the road from Florence to Rome the bad opinion he had of his sister-in-law and Count Alfieri, and he held the same discourse with all the shabby people about Frascati. It was generally believed that the Grand-Duchess of Tuscany was the originator of all this disturbance, from jealousy of her husband, who was partial to the cause of the unfortunate lady. The count informed the Countess de Château-Dauphin that he had good reason to believe that the Pretender meant to have him assassinated. He afterwards consented to quit Rome for a time, and travelled through France to England.
The countess’s mother, the Princess de Stolberg, arrived in Rome soon after this with her youngest daughter, a chanoinesse. The cardinal offered them apartments in his house at Frascati, which they declined, but they consented to dine with him one day when he came into the town. In April, 1784, through the mediation of the King of Sweden and Baron Sparr, articles of separation were agreed upon and signed by the count and countess, the former fully vindicating his wife’s reputation. She entered very fully with us into the details of the sufferings she had undergone during the twelve years of her married life. The count, she said, was constantly and madly drunk, and seldom had a moment of reason. He was ever talking about his restoration, or abusing the French and the Pope. He was equally covetous and extravagant. His own table was always sumptuously provided, but he would grudge the countess a little mutton broth in the morning. She acknowledged he had one good quality—he never betrayed a secret, and never disclosed who had belonged to his party until after their death; nor would he ever listen to any ill-natured things said of people. He once crossed over into England after the rebellion, and was in London, but he never would mention in what year; the countess, however, was pretty sure that it was in the year after the rebellion. She spoke of him with great calmness and compassion, and thought, drinking apart, that he was a less despicable character than Cardinal York.
About this time I gathered some anecdotes about preachers. The Marquis de Montreuil told me of a preacher who, in the year of the Jubilee (1775), exhorted the people to repentance in such forcible terms, that a woman stood up on a chair and confessed publicly all her sins. A moment afterwards, a man got up and declared that she was his wife, and a very good woman, but she was a little mad, so they must not believe what she had said. Several other women at the same time made public confession, and were sent by the cardinal-vicar to religious houses, where they were clothed and fed for some months.
The Cardinal de Bernis gave me two anecdotes of missionary preachers in Languedoc. One of them said to his hearers that they were not ashamed to live in the mud of their sins, but were ashamed to confess them publicly. If it were not so, why did they not hide their heads in the mud in token of repentance? It so happened that they were just then standing in a very muddy place, and in obedience to the preacher they all plunged their heads into the mire, standing with begrimed faces to hear the remainder of his discourse. The other missionary used to carry a death’s head about with him, which he dressed up in the cap and ornaments then in fashion among ladies of rank. This skull he would throw down on the floor of the pulpit, and talk to it, answering himself in a low voice, to imitate that of a woman. “Qui êtes-vous?” “Je suis une marquise.” “Êtes-vous dame de la cour?” “Oui, monsieur, je suis dame de la reine.” “Où êtes-vous?” “Dans l’enfer, monsieur.” “Et pourquoi cela?” To this last question he used to give answers that embodied satirical allusions to the doings of the most celebrated women of fashion.
One of the missionaries, at that time preaching at Santa Maria, in Trastevere, also took a death’s head about with him, which he tossed up and down like a ball. When the Duke de Bracciano opened the box which he had held for the missions, in the garb of a penitent, he found scarcely any money in it, but plenty of bits of wood, buttons, &c. &c. At first he flew into a violent passion, thinking it to be an impertinence levelled at himself personally, but he was soon pacified on discovering that all the other gentlemen employed in the same business had been treated in a similar manner.
The Duke of Parma used frequently to clothe himself in a friar’s robe and live ascetically. One day he remarked to the duchess that her head-dress was not becoming. “Oh!” said she, “è bello e buono per un frate.” For her part she spent much of her time in hunting, and loved to wear man’s attire. The Emperor of Austria told the duchess, his sister, if she would come to Rome while he and the King of Sweden were there, they might have great luck at a game much played at Vienna, in which the best hand consists of two kings and a card called “la matta” (the fool).
The King of Sweden remained in Rome till the middle of April, 1784. The night before he set out for Naples he presented the Cardinal de Bernis with a snuff-box, on which was his portrait, set in brilliants, valued at sixty thousand livres. He also gave one to the Chevalier de Bernis, estimated at fifteen thousand livres, and a similar one to the major-domo, besides leaving five hundred sequins for the cardinal’s servants. A few days before his majesty’s departure, he was received at the Arcadia by the name of Anaxander, and verses were composed in his honour, after the fashion known as a Corona, the last line of each piece being the first of the following one. Most of these effusions referred chiefly to Queen Christina, the great patroness of the Arcadia, but some of them also eulogised the king, and alluded to his assumed name as King of Men. I don’t think his Majesty understood these allusions, for he told me in the evening that his name was “Anaxamandre.” He seemed, however, much gratified by the compliments paid to him, but remarked that he did not deserve them. What he had done, he added, might make some figure in _history_, but not in _poetry_.
The King of Sweden also presented to the Pope three caskets, containing Swedish medals, ninety of which were of gold and one hundred and fifty of silver. His Holiness made a handsome return by a present of two large mosaics and two pieces of tapestry, besides some prints by Piranesi. One of the mosaics alone was worth more than the whole of the Swedish medals, but the king set down on a piece of paper the cost of his own and the Pope’s presents, and made out that the latter was not worth half as much as the former.
One night, at Monsignor de Bayane’s, an air balloon was sent up to gratify his Swedish Majesty, whose arms were painted upon it, with the motto: “Ce n’est pas un conte.” The king amused himself with making all kinds of ridiculous experiments with Naples biscuits, in concert with the Princess Santa Croce.
Being at supper once with the King and Queen of Naples, the latter asked Gustavus a number of questions about his revolution (in 1772), which he answered in monosyllables, with evident reluctance. At last she inquired what the Queen of Sweden was doing all that time. “Why,” said he, “she remained shut up in her own room, awaiting the event. What have women to do with political affairs?” However, he kissed the queen one evening as he was taking leave of her, in the presence of the king, her husband, who exclaimed: “Malora! in faccia mia!”
About this time I made the acquaintance of Lieutenant Koehler, General Elliott’s aide-de-camp during the siege of Gibraltar. He said that the general used to rise every morning at four, but scarcely ever went to bed before twelve or one, and even then was continually awakened to hear the reports from the different batteries of every circumstance that happened in the enemy’s camp. While the floating batteries were burning, he exclaimed: “They will make us pay for them; for they have a hundred thousand witnesses to prove that it was we who set them on fire.” As he walked up and down, watching the conflagration, he caught himself humming one of his favourite airs: “Le matelot brûle au milieu des flots.”
While General Elliott was planning the great sortie that destroyed the Spanish works, he did not speak of it to any one. But when he had arranged and decided upon every part of the manœuvre, he sent for the commanding officers, and explained his intentions to them, appointing each to a particular duty. He then ordered all the suttling-houses to be closed, in order that the men might be quite sober, and even when they were under arms he kept them waiting for four hours, so that if any of them should happen to have been drinking they might have time to recover from the effects. He then said he should accompany them to the gate, but no one knew that he meant to go any further, though his aide-de-camp had observed that his great-coat—which he wore with a belt, and called his “kitchen fire”—stuck out more than was usual over his ordinary small sword. But when he arrived at the gate he threw off his coat, and ordered some one to carry it home, and it was then seen that he had his fighting sword on, slung by a belt over his shoulder. As the path was exceedingly difficult, many of the soldiers offered their arm to steady him, but he told them that they would have enough to do to take care of themselves, and so contented himself with leaning on his aide-de-camp’s shoulder. When they reached the Spanish lines he exclaimed: “We have had a run for it, but it has been the right way.”
After having completely destroyed the enemy’s works, he walked with the slowest pace and most majestic demeanour. If any man happened to be wounded, the general always inquired closely into the circumstances of the case, and severely rebuked any officer who did not take good care of the lives of his men. If any man was killed, he always asked if he had left a wife or family, and made it his business that they should be provided for. Every morning he visited the hospital, to see that it was kept perfectly clean, and the patients properly attended to. The first lemons in his garden were always sent there, and whatever else was likely to contribute to the comfort of the sick and wounded.
Whenever he wanted to propose some new scheme which he had designed in his own mind, General Elliott used to go to the persons to whose department it belonged, and mention the matter to them as if asking their opinion. By degrees he would insinuate his own idea into their heads, and then applaud them for it, as if it were their own, and invite them to carry it out immediately. They would thus set about the performance with greater alacrity, and the general never claimed any merit for his original idea, but generously relinquished the credit to others. He likewise banished all libertinism and dissipation from the garrison, setting himself a good moral example, as he did of activity and industry. At the same time, he was particularly attentive to procure for his officers every comfort in his power, and his own table was remarkably elegant and agreeable. At dessert he always had vast quantities of natural flowers, and in the spring, when he gave the grand dinners after reviewing the regiments, he used to raise columns of hoops covered with canvas, all wreathed round with natural flowers. He had a good library, and passed a portion of every evening in reading the works of ancient authors, particularly Cæsar’s Commentaries.
In the early part of the siege there was a great dearth of firewood, until a violent storm drove towards them almost an entire forest, which the Spaniards had cut down. The garrison was occupied for three days in getting it in, and when this supply was nearly exhausted, some old fire-ships sent against them by the enemy were secured, which lasted them for the rest of the time.
An officer was walking one day in his garden, which was a very beautiful one, and had been of great service to the men, and he thought with sorrow how soon everything in it must perish from want of water. He was a remarkably devout man, and began praying for rain. Suddenly a shell from the enemy flew over his head, and struck the rock at a few yards’ distance. Instantly a plentiful stream of water gushed forth, which sufficed for the entire garrison, and never failed them.
At another time, General Elliott was walking in his own garden with two of his aides-de-camp. It was a few nights before the affair of the floating batteries, and a little after midnight. He was conversing with his companions about these expected ships, wondering where they would be moored, and calculating the means of destroying them, when a ball of fire sprang from behind a certain part of the rock and fell into the sea. Raising his hand with characteristic vivacity, he exclaimed, like a Roman of the ancient times, “I accept the omen.” It was afterwards ascertained that the spot where the meteor first appeared was the site of the batteries that destroyed the ships, and that the spot where it fell was the exact part of the bay in which those ships were moored.
The general encouraged the country people to bring in provisions, by telling them to sell their things as dear as they could. In consequence of which, they would run any risk to supply the garrison. He used to say that it made his heart ache to see the great dinners that were carried to the batteries for the officers, while the children were dying of hunger in the streets. To set an example of abstinence, he himself lived for several days on six ounces of rice per diem.
The following parody on the old song of The Vicar of Bray was a great favourite with the general:
And this is law I will maintain, My tune it ne’er shall alter, That whosoe’er is King of Spain, _We_ will keep Gibraltar.
In the course of this year I picked up also the following anecdotes. Captain Bonapace said that there was an old gentleman, seventy-five years of age, living at Venice, whose father still allowed him only a very small weekly sum for pocket money. One day a beggar asked him for alms. “Come volete,” he exclaimed, “che il figlio del padre eterno vi dia qualche cosa?”
A Turk, who had been converted to the Roman Catholic religion, being rebuked for eating fowl on a Friday, sprinkled a little water upon it, saying: “As a drop of water turned me into a Christian, why should not a drop of water turn that fowl into a fish?”
Sir James Hall told us, that when Sir Robert Keith introduced Mr. Trevelyan and Mr. Lemon to Count Kaunitz, the latter asked: “Ces messieurs parlent-ils Français?” “Fort bien, fort bien, monsieur,” replied Mr. Lemon. “Pour moi,” said the count, “j’aimais mieux ces Anglais qui venaient autrefois, et qui parlaient mal le Français.” “Dans ce cas-là,” answered Sir Robert, “vous serez très content de ces messieurs-ci.”
The Pope sent to the Grand-Duke of Tuscany, and asked him, as a favour, to change one hundred thousand crowns’ worth of “cedules.” The grand-duke expressed his readiness to do so if his Holiness would allow him to buy as many oxen as he pleased in the Papal territories without paying the usual tax. To this the Pope agreed, and the grand-duke bought up an immense quantity of cattle, for which he paid in the “cedules” he had just been changing.
NAPLES—THE KING AND QUEEN—NISMES—VIENNE—THE EMBASSY PROM TIPPOO SAHIB—GENOA—ROME—THE REVOLUTION AND THE PAPACY—ARRIVAL OF THE FRENCH TROOPS.
WE left Rome on the 2nd of May, 1785, and reached Naples in the afternoon of the 5th. The dress of the common people was very slight, though very often exceedingly picturesque. The women wore their hair in the style of antique statues, and none of them had any stays. Ladies even of the highest rank went about with only a ribbon tied round their head, and seemed by no means scrupulous as to etiquette. Many of them kept running footmen, but these were very dirty. A black petticoat and a mantle that covered the whole figure were generally worn by all women, except those of the lowest orders.
A few days after our arrival we witnessed the funeral of an infant. The corpse was dressed in red and silver, and laid upon an immense and magnificent bier borne by eight young men, in fancy costumes, with plumes of feathers on their heads to represent angels, but much more resembling stage figurants. Two persons walked in front, carrying gold vases filled with flowers. The priests were in their usual place, and last of all came the coffin, decorated with yellow and silver. Refreshments were handed round at the house, and sugar-plums thrown out of the window into the street, as it is considered a matter for rejoicing that the child should have died before it could have committed sin.
We were presented to the queen by the Duchess d’Andria. Her Majesty stood beside a great table in a large room, and with only two candles lighted. She asked us two or three common-place questions, and then made us a civil curtsey, whereupon we took our leave. Her Majesty was not at all well dressed, nor was she at all graceful. She is said to have a fine hand and arm, which she leaned upon the table. She spoke to us in French. Many other ladies were presented at the same time, the duchess calling their names in order from a list she held in her hand.
The queen used to be subject to fits of devotion, at which times she stuck short prayers and pious ejaculations inside of her stays, and occasionally swallowed them. The king used to pass our house on his way to the lake where he caught the gulls that he sold to the fish-dealers. He weighed the birds with his own hands, and was very careful to be paid in good money.
We remained at Naples till the latter part of May, 1786, when we proceeded to Marseilles in a small sailing vessel. On our arrival at that port the custom-house officers came on board, and were very troublesome, though we had nothing contrary to their laws. It was impossible, indeed, not to remark a change in the manners of the French since we last resided in that country. The revolutionary spirit had made great progress during the few years that had elapsed, though it had not yet reached its acme. Injurious reflections were just beginning to be cast upon Marie Antoinette, and all sorts of reports were being spread abroad of a character to bring the “haute société” into discredit.
After staying a few days at Marseilles we went for a week to Avignon, and thence to Nismes, where we remained for nearly a year. The larger portion of the inhabitants were Calvinists, but the bishop was kind and liberal to all who stood in need of his assistance, and never omitted to send invitations to the higher order of Protestant gentlemen. Individuals, however, of the two persuasions were not equally tolerant. If a Catholic were invited to dine with a Protestant on Friday or Saturday, he was certain not to find anything he could eat; and if a Protestant happened to dine with a Catholic on a fast day, there was never anything but fish and vegetables. Nevertheless, the society of Nismes was very agreeable, and there were good families residing in the neighbourhood who were very sociable.
In the following spring we removed to Vienne, with which we were so well pleased that we resided there until the beginning of May, 1789. An embassy from Tippoo Sahib passed through Vienne in July, 1788, on its way from Marseilles to Paris. The ambassadors consisted of a warrior dressed in white, said to be the king’s son-in-law, with his two sons who were learning French, and of a man of letters and a man of law. They travelled only from eleven to four, fearing the cold of the morning and evening. The whole town turned out to see them. The warrior laughed much on seeing abbés and ladies standing together, and said that the latter took a great liberty in touching persons who were sacred. He was also much grieved for the women who were not married, and thought they were not fairly treated.
From Vienne we descended the Rhône to Avignon, and thence proceeded by way of Aix to Toulon. The country was filled with soldiers, and the townspeople were breaking out into riots by reason of the heavy taxes and the high price of bread. We were detained at Toulon several days waiting for a French felucca from Antibes, as there was a nest of Barbary corsairs among the Iles d’Hyères which rendered Italian vessels unsafe. As it was, we crept along the coast, and landed at Nice, Frejus, and Savona, being greatly delayed by contrary winds. However, on the eighteenth day after our departure from Toulon, we reached Genoa in safety. Society was then on a very magnificent footing in that aristocratic republic. Both men and women of the higher classes were familiar with both French and Italian, though they generally used the Genoese dialect. Many of them were also well acquainted with English, and, as in other parts of Italy, most of the men were good classical scholars. They were not, perhaps, so fond of music and painting as in the south, and yet the noble pictures in their churches and palaces bore evidence to the taste of the nation for the latter art.
All the nobility dressed in black, the men invariably, and the ladies when at the Doge’s palace and the large parties called the “Quarante.” It was considered their court dress, and was rarely worn for mourning. Indeed, it was the custom for the nobles to mention in their wills that they desired no mourning should be worn for them. The assemblies derived their name of “quarante” from their having been originally given by forty of the principal families in succession. There were not nearly so many families of distinction when we were at Genoa, but these parties were nevertheless very splendid, the houses being brilliantly illuminated within and without, and sumptuously adorned with choice tapestry and costly furniture. The nobility seldom gave grand dinners, but when they did it was in the very best style. They were for the most part engaged in commerce, and very keen in business matters.
I remember that after one of their great dinners a servant, who was carrying coffee round, let the tray fall, and broke a very valuable service of china. The master of the house took no further notice of the accident than to tell the man to bring some more coffee. One of the guests, who came from another part of Italy, remarked how patiently he bore this loss, although he had been so angry only the day before because his people were burning two small candles, instead of one, in the office. The host smiled, and said: “O! questa è altra cosa: qui si spende, là si guadagna.”
It was a rare circumstance for Genoese noblemen to enter a foreign service, nor was the military profession generally held in high regard. One evening I was sitting by a lady at one of the parties of the “quarante,” when a young officer came up and spoke to my companion. After conversing a little while he moved away again, when she whispered to, me: “Though he is in uniform, I can assure you that he is a gentleman.” Very few of the Genoese noblemen cared to enter the army, but many Corsican noblemen still remained in the service, though that island no longer belonged to the Republic. The generalissimo, or rather the secretary-at-war, was a senator, and wore the black “toga” of his order. I saw him once review the troops in that dress, with a very fine lace braid. He sat in an arm-chair at a table, with pens, ink, and paper before him—his secretaries standing by the side of the table—while the soldiers were performing their military evolutions.
With respect to the naval service, however, it was very different—the frigates and galleys being commanded by young men of the highest families. For the same reason that the Genoese nobles would not serve in the army, they refused to be sent as ministers to foreign courts—ambassadors they had none. Every noble was “a sovereign,” and as such could not be a servant, even of the government, so simple citizens, or gentlemen from provincial towns, were employed as envoys of the republic.
There was one inconvenience, of a singular kind, which we never quite got over. The money of many different countries was current in Genoa, but changed in value every week. This at first puzzled us not a little, but a gentleman of our acquaintance afterwards used to call upon us every Saturday at noon, and tell us the rates of exchange for the following week. Still it was a matter of some trouble in paying a bill to calculate the different values of Austrian, Papal, Piedmontese, Tuscan, and French coins, all of which were mixed together in the money we received from our banker. The coin of the Republic was rare, and much sought after.
We liked Genoa much, but were compelled to leave it when the intrigues of the revolutionary government of France rendered this city an undesirable residence for English families. On our way to Rome we stayed a few days at Parma, the sovereign of which was greatly beloved by his subjects, for, it was said, he had never refused a petition, and never imposed a new tax. There was no appearance of poverty in his states, and I never saw a more happy people. How he and his country were treated by the French republicans is matter of history. Both Parma and Piacenza were free cities.
A few years after this visit I became acquainted with a regular canon of the great church of Piacenza, and who, according to custom, had his own confessional box. One day, after the French occupation of the country, he entered the church, with the intention of taking his own seat, but was surprised at not finding the confessional in its proper place. After looking about for it in all directions, he found it in a gallery lying on its side, and on the top of it the dead body of a French soldier, which three surgeons, or surgeon’s mates, of that army were busily skinning. Horrified at the sight, he asked the meaning of this ghastly proceeding, and was told that some scientific men had discovered that the human skin made excellent leather. It had, therefore, been ordered that all dead bodies should be skinned, for the purpose of providing boots and shoes for the soldiers.
From the Duchy of Parma we proceeded to Bologna, and thence to Florence, which we greatly admired. The Tuscans, of all classes, appeared to me to be a very polished people, as if still retaining traces of their early civilisation. The peasants were far superior in every respect to those of other countries, and fewer crimes were at that time committed in Tuscany than in any other part of Europe.
On the 30th of April, 1791, we once more found ourselves in Rome.
The two French princesses, Madame Adelaide and Madame Victoire, aunts of Louis XVI., were lodged at Cardinal de Bernis’. The cardinal having declined to take the oath of allegiance to the republic, was no longer ambassador; but he still kept up his Friday evenings’ conversazioni, at which the princesses appeared, and were very courteous and affable. Madame Adelaide still retained traces of that beauty which had distinguished her in her youth, and there was great vivacity in her manner, and in the expression of her countenance. Madame Victoire had also an agreeable face, much good sense, and great sweetness of temper. Their dress, and that of their suite, were old-fashioned, but unostentatious. The jewels they brought with them had been sold, one by one, to afford assistance to the poor émigrés who applied to the princesses in their distress. They were highly respected by the Romans; not only by the higher orders, but by the common people, who had a horror of the French revolution, and no great partiality for that nation in general.
It was in January, 1793, that the revolutionary propagandism first came into actual collision with the Pope’s government. A Frenchman named Basville, who had been secretary to Lafayette in America, had been sent from Paris to induce Pius VI. to acknowledge the republic, and permit the republican arms and three-coloured cockades to be publicly displayed in Rome. The Pope, however, resolutely refused to recognise any government in France but that of the king.
The students at the French Academy, who were nearly all democratical, then took down the statue of Louis XIV., the founder of that institution, and gave a banquet in honour of the occasion. Every one present wore a red cap on his head, or had a small one suspended from a ribbon round his neck.
On the 12th of January, Major Flotte arrived from Naples, and went straight to the Cardinal Secretary-of-State, whom he informed that his orders were to give the Pope only twenty-four hours to decide whether he would, or would not, recognise the republic; and that if his Holiness did not, within that space of time, allow the republican insignia to be put up, it would be considered as equivalent to a declaration of war. The Pope desired the Cardinal Secretary-of-State to intimate to M. Flotte that his resolution was already taken, and that if the republican insignia were placed up anywhere in public, he would not be answerable for the insults his countrymen might receive from the Roman people. On being told this, M. Flotte replied in a loud voice, that if any insults were offered, five hundred thousand Frenchmen would come to avenge them, and would leave not a single stone upon another.
In the afternoon of the following day a great crowd assembled in the Corso near the Academy of France, and after it was dark set fire to it. For some hours they promenaded the streets, shouting “Viva il Papa!” “Viva la Santa Chiesa!” We opened our windows to look at the people as they walked past in a very orderly manner. They looked up, and in a cheerful tone desired us to cry “Viva il Papa!” which we did very willingly, and added “Viva mille anni!” for which they applauded us. One of them, however, a well-dressed young man, said, with an air of drollery, “But will you cry ‘Viva la Santa Chiesa?’” “Vivan tutte le Chiese!” cried I; to which he replied, “Brava! bravissima!”
Early in the afternoon of the 14th, Basville and Flotte drove out of the French Academy with republican cockades in their hats, and in those of the coachman and footman. Basville’s little boy was in the carriage with them, and kept waving out of the window a three-coloured flag, while they shouted to the people, “Romani, viva la libertà!” “Giù la cocarda!” was the only reply they received. But as they would neither take the cockades out of their own hats, nor allow the coachman to remove his, the crowd became furious, and ordered the driver to turn the horses’ heads homewards.
A pistol being fired from the carriage, whether by Flotte or Basville was never known, the people threw a volley of stones at them, and pursued them to the house where Basville was staying. The latter received a mortal wound, after having slightly wounded some of the populace. Flotte jumped out of a window when the mob rushed into the house, and took refuge with an old Roman marchioness. The furniture was broken into fragments and flung into the streets, but nothing whatever was stolen. Basville’s wife and child fell upon their knees and begged for their lives, upon which the people turned away in disgust, and indignantly asked, “If they thought they were going to hurt women and children?” Flotte and Madame Basville were afterwards sent off by night to Naples, the Pope giving each of them forty-five crowns to pay their travelling expenses.
In the course of the next few days it was estimated that nearly three thousand Frenchmen fled from Rome, some in carriages, others on horseback, and others, again, on foot. Basville died of the injuries he had received, and among his papers was found an unfinished treatise in his handwriting, the object of which was to prove that the monarchical form of government was the only one suited to the French nation.
For several days after this disturbance the people used to stop all carriages in the streets, and make their inmates cry “Viva il Papa!” Among others, they stopped that of Prince Augustus, but some dragoons rode up, and told them it was a son of the King of England. The prince, however, said that he would very willingly cry “Viva il Papa!” to which they responded with “Viva il Rè d’Inghilterra!” A few houses were attacked, and some windows broken, but order was soon restored, beyond an attempt to attack the Ghetto, the Jews’ quarter, which was prevented by the soldiers, assisted by several noblemen of influence. The mob went first to St. Peter’s, and asked for the Pope’s benediction, before proceeding to vent their fury upon the Jews; and this gave time for the adoption of measures of repression.
It is not my intention, however, to write a history of the political events which occurred during our residence at Rome. We remained there unmolested until the occupation of that city by the French troops under General Berthier in February, 1798, when with some difficulty we effected our escape to Naples.
SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON—EXPECTED ARRIVAL OF A BRITISH SQUADRON—STATE OF FEELING AT NAPLES—THE KING AND QUEEN—ARRIVAL OF NELSON—HIS RECEPTION—EXCITEMENT AT NAPLES.
ON the 4th of June (1798), the birthday of our good and gracious sovereign George III., Sir William Hamilton gave a grand dinner, to which he invited all the English then residing at Naples. As soon as the dessert was placed upon the table he rose to propose the king’s health, after which he announced what, he said, was certain to afford the greatest satisfaction to the assembled company—the speedy arrival of a British squadron in the Mediterranean. This intelligence, he added, had been communicated to him in a letter from the Earl of St. Vincent, off Gibraltar, informing Sir William that he would immediately despatch this squadron, under the command of Sir Horatio Nelson, to oppose the French fleets and protect the states of our allies.
It would be vain to attempt to describe the sensation produced by this speech. Week after week, month after month, had our eyes been directed towards the sea without ever discovering a friendly sail, unless it were some little privateer with a still smaller prize. I remembered the praises and civilities bestowed upon a Ragusan commanding a “letter of mark,” who had displayed considerable bravery and seamanship in capturing a French vessel. But now we considered ourselves perfectly safe under the protecting shield of a British admiral, and that admiral a Nelson, with a Troubridge for second in command, and under his orders a Saumarez, a Hood, and others who had so gallantly distinguished themselves as to be commonly called “the fire-eaters.” Daily did we look out for our destined protectors, and an excellent telescope we possessed was placed at the window every morning, and never removed till after sunset.
At length we perceived a group of lofty masts and sails between the Island of Capri and the furthest point of the coast beyond Posilippo. A sloop was sent forward in advance, bringing the commodore, to obtain, if possible, intelligence of the French fleet under Admiral Brueys, conveying General Bonaparte and his army. Malta had already surrendered to the enemy, but whither they had since directed their course could not be positively ascertained. Many and various were the conjectures hazarded on the subject, but Sir William Hamilton had entirely failed to gain any reliable information as to their movements. The sloop then returned to the squadron, and before morning not a mast was in sight.
Our conversation by day and our dreams by night had for their sole and only subject the expected meeting of the hostile fleets. The Court of Naples had not publicly renounced its neutrality, though its dislike of the common enemy, and its wishes for the success of the allies, on which, indeed, its own safety depended, were well known to all parties. The common people generally agreed with the Court, but many of the young nobles were infected with the revolutionary spirit. Endowed with more imagination than judgment, and greatly addicted to dissipation, they were anxious to throw off all inconvenient trammels; or, if led by their genius to nobler pursuits, they were captivated by the false theories of the philosophers then in fashion, and who had been among the first victims to the revolution they had evoked.
It must also be borne in mind, that at that time there existed two opposite national parties. Although the war of 1745 had placed the Spanish branch of the House of Bourbon on the throne, the Queen herself was an Austrian, and was supposed to be partial to her native country. The Spanish families established in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and the adherents of Spain, were secretly, if not avowedly, her enemies. Spain had taken part with France, and many Neapolitans and Sicilians of high rank were in the Spanish service. It is but just, however, to remark, that amongst those who were warmly attached to this party, there were many who, disgusted by the system of cruelty and irreligion then prevailing in France, felt a natural horror in the presence of the revolutionary agents, and heartily wished for their expulsion from the country. The Italians in general were at that time well affected towards the English, and certainly the majority of the inhabitants of Naples anticipated with pleasure the arrival of a British fleet.
The impatience of our naval heroes to discover the French fleet was scarcely greater than that which we felt to hear of their success. We knew that they had touched at Syracuse, and we hoped that they might follow the directions they would probably receive there, for the Sicilians, an acute people and sworn enemies of the French, were the most likely to obtain correct information as to the movements of the latter.
Our telescope was constantly directed towards the entrance of the beautiful bay, the prospect of which we so perfectly enjoyed from our windows. At length, one morning, while I was reading to my mother, I happened to turn my eyes towards the sea, and thought I discerned a sloop of war in the offing. I consulted the glass, and found that I was not mistaken. I also plainly saw that a blue ensign was hoisted, but this was no proof that the vessel belonged to the squadron of Sir Horatio Nelson, for blue was also the colour of Lord St. Vincent’s flag. My attention was instantly distracted from my book, and my dear mother was rather displeased with my evident preoccupation, for I did not venture to confess my hopes lest I should raise hers too high, and cause her the pain of disappointment.
I forget what I was reading, but it was something that peculiarly interested my mother, and she began at last to think that I could not be so negligent without a cause of some importance. She rose from her seat, and went to the telescope. The sloop was now approaching nearer and nearer to the land. The book was laid aside, and we alternately kept an eye at the glass. Presently we saw a boat put off from the shore, and pull out to the ship. Two officers were on deck, and drew near to the side. We clearly distinguished a gold epaulet on the shoulder, and this was quite sufficient to convince us that one was the commander of the sloop and the other a captain going home with despatches. News of a victory, no doubt. We observed the gestures of the officers while they were conversing with the persons in the boat, Englishmen resident at Naples. We fancied we could see them, with the commotion natural to sailors, and particularly on such an occasion, depict by their action the blowing up of some ships and the sinking of others.
Our conjectures were soon happily realised. The vessel was the _Mutine_, to which Captain Hoste, who had distinguished himself as lieutenant on board the flag-ship, had been appointed in the room of Captain Hardy, who had been posted to succeed Captain Berry, sent home with the news by another route. Captain Hoste had been sent by Sir Horatio to Naples with despatches for Sir William Hamilton, and to convey Captain Capel, who was to proceed to England. The battle of the Nile had been fought and won. Never, perhaps, was a victory more complete. What a deliverance for Italy! What a glory for England! The cause of religion, of justice, of humanity had triumphed!
Old General di Pietra, one of the few survivors of the gallant band who had assisted in the conquest of Naples during the war between Spain and Austria, lived in a house adjoining our hotel, and there was a door of communication between them. He had been very attentive to us, and we met excellent society at his table, for he delighted in giving dinner parties. We knew his anxiety to receive the earliest accounts of the meeting of the two fleets, and my mother desired me to give him the first intelligence. I ran to the door, and the servant who opened it, and to whom I delivered my message, uttered exclamations of joy, which were heard in the dining-room, where the general was entertaining a large party of officers. The secretary was instantly sent to me, and I was obliged to go in and tell my story. Never shall I forget the shouts, the bursts of applause, the toasts drank, the glasses broken one after another by the secretary in token of exultation, till the general, laughing heartily, stopped him by saying that he should not have a glass left to drink Nelson’s health in on his arrival.
The first care of Sir William Hamilton was to take Captain Capel to the palace. The king and queen were at dinner with their children, as was their custom, for they dined very early. As soon as the king heard the good news, he started up, embraced the queen, the princes, and the princesses, and exclaimed, “Oh, my children, you are now safe!”
Cardinal York was then at Naples, having fled from Rome to avoid falling into the hands of the French. Sir William Hamilton, on his return from the palace, met him in his carriage, called to the cardinal’s coachman to stop, and, getting out of his own carriage, he went up to the cardinal’s, and said: “I beg pardon of your eminence for stopping your carriage, but I am sure you will be glad to hear the good news which I have to communicate.”
The cardinal, rather surprised, asked, “Pray, sir, to whom have I the honour of speaking?”
“To Sir William Hamilton.”
“Oh! to the British minister,” rejoined the cardinal. “I am much obliged to you, sir; and what is the news?”
Sir William then gave an account of the victory as succinctly as he could. The cardinal, agitated and rejoiced, said, “But may we depend on the truth of this great affair? There are so many false reports.” Sir William then introduced Captain Capel, saying, “This gentleman, a brother of Lord Essex, was in the action, and is going home immediately with the despatches.”
“In that case, sir,” said the cardinal to Captain Capel, “when you arrive in England, do me the favour to say that no man rejoices more sincerely than I do in the success and glory of the British navy.”
The effect produced by this event was instantaneously perceptible. The French consul, M. de Sieyès, brother of the celebrated Abbé Sieyès, did not venture to show himself on his balcony, and even Madame Sieyès and her pug were seldom visible. The joy was universal, and the impatience for the arrival of the victors daily increased in intensity. Two ships of the line at length appeared in sight. The weather was particularly calm, and a great number of boats went out to meet them, conveying not only English residents, but many of the natives likewise. The king himself went in his barge, followed by a part of his band of music in another, and several of the foreign ministers and others joined in the glad procession. I was with Sir William and Lady Hamilton in their barge, which also was followed by another with a band of musicians on board. The shore was lined with spectators, who rent the air with joyous acclamations, while the bands played “God save the King” and “Rule Britannia.”
As we approached the two ships we made them out to be the _Culloden_, Commodore Troubridge; and the _Alexander_, Captain Ball. We first rowed up to the _Culloden_, which had suffered considerably from running aground in the Nile, and was going to Castellane to be repaired. Commodore Troubridge came into our barge, and we then pulled on to the _Alexander_, on board of which we found several French prisoners, and among others Admiral Blanquet du Cayla, a man of good family, but an enthusiastic republican. He had fought his ship the _Franklin_ most bravely, for there was scarcely a gun left undismounted when he consented to surrender, and he himself was wounded. Captain Ball, one of the most gentlemanly men breathing, was very courteous to his prisoners; and as his ship was nearest, and chiefly instrumental to the blowing up of _L’Orient_, the flag-ship of Admiral Brueys, he and his officers and men were peculiarly anxious to save as many of the enemy’s people as possible, and at the hazard of their own lives rescued a great number from the flames and from the sea.
The King of Naples did not go on board either of the ships, but from his barge saluted the officers on deck. His Majesty had expressed his desire to be incognito, so as not to give the trouble of paying him the usual honours. Sir William Hamilton, observing some of the seamen looking earnestly out of the portholes, said to them, “My lads! that is the king, whom you have saved, with his family and kingdom.” Several of the men answered, “Very glad of it, sir—very glad of it.”
Two or three days later (September 22) the _Vanguard_, with the flag of Sir Horatio Nelson, came in sight; and this time the concourse of barges, boats, and spectators, was greater than before. The _Vanguard_ was followed by two or three ships of the line, which had been in the engagement. It would be impossible to imagine a more beautiful and animated scene than the bay of Naples then presented. Bands of music played our national airs. With “God save the King” they had long been familiar, but for the present occasion they had learned “Rule Britannia” and “See the conquering hero comes.” No Englishman or Englishwoman can hear those airs without emotion in a foreign land, however trifling may be the effect they produce in our own country; but under such circumstances as these they create a powerful excitement.
We rowed out to a considerable distance, following the king, who was anxious to greet his deliverers, as he did not scruple to call them. Sir Horatio Nelson received his Majesty with respect, but without embarrassment, and conducted him over every part of the vessel, with which he seemed much pleased, and particularly so with the kindness and attention shown to the wounded seamen, of whom there were several on board. The king afterwards sat down with us to a handsome breakfast, at which I remarked a little bird hopping about on the table. This bird had come on board the _Vanguard_ the evening before the action, and had remained in her ever since. The admiral’s cabin was its chief residence, but it was fed and petted by all who came near it, for sailors regard the arrival of a bird as a promise of victory, or at least as an excellent omen. It flew away, I believe, soon after the ship reached Naples.
Just before we sat down to breakfast the Bailli Caraccioli made his appearance, and congratulated Sir Horatio on his victory with seemingly genuine sincerity. That unfortunate man, however, had before this conceived a jealous resentment against the hero of the Nile. We had been in the habit of meeting him at General di Pietra’s, and some days before the arrival of the _Vanguard_ he told me that in the engagement off Corsica, in which he as commander of a Neapolitan frigate had joined the squadron under Admiral Hotham, Nelson had passed before him, contrary to the directions previously issued. This he thought very unfair, because British officers had frequent opportunities of distinguishing themselves, which was not the case with his own service. He was a man of noble family, about fifty years of age, a Bailli of the Order of Malta, and a great favourite at Court, being charged with the nautical education of Prince Leopold, the king’s second son, then nearly nine years old.
After the king had taken his leave, Sir William Hamilton asked the admiral to make his house his head-quarters, and accordingly Sir Horatio accompanied us ashore. In the evening the minister’s house was illuminated in the most splendid manner, and many of the English residents followed the example. Every imaginable honour was paid by the Court to Admiral Nelson. General Sir John Acton, who was commander-in-chief, prime minister, &c., was very zealous in the cause of the allies, and at a dinner-party which he gave, the young Prince Leopold was sent by the queen, accompanied by the bailli, with a very gracious message from her Majesty to Sir Horatio, regretting that she had not yet been able to see him, as for some days she had been very unwell.
A grand ball was also given in honour of the British admiral by Count Francis Esterhazy, and on the 29th of September Sir William Hamilton celebrated Nelson’s birthday by a splendid fête. At the extremity of the saloon where we danced was a rostral column, on which were inscribed the names of the heroes of the Nile, while a profusion of flowers and a magnificent illumination added to the brilliancy of the entertainment. Nothing could be more gay than Naples at that period. All anxiety and fears were forgotten. Nor was the homage paid to our admiral confined to the higher classes. It was impossible for him to appear in the streets without being surrounded and followed by crowds of people, shouting out “Viva Nelson!” Indeed, our officers and men were invariably treated with the utmost respect and cordiality, and were hailed as the deliverers of the country. Not a dissentient voice was ever heard. It was also very gratifying to hear the praises bestowed in society upon the firmness of our excellent sovereign, and on the sagacity of his ministers.
The French being in possession of Rome were masters of the post-office, and thus in a great measure enabled to prevent the communication of any exact intelligence as to the progress of the war. The Romans, however, are a people not easily duped. So, when they were commanded to illuminate their houses for a pretended victory gained by the French navy at the Nile, they guessed the truth, and hung out lanterns, representing St. Michael subduing the enemy of mankind. The authorities at Paris were rather more modest than their subordinates at Rome, and contented themselves with describing the affair as a drawn battle. I remember that one day when we were rowing round some of the ships that had been taken in the engagement, Sir William Hamilton remarked, “Look at these, and ask how they can call it a drawn battle.” Nelson answered: “They are quite right; only they drew the blanks and we the prizes.”
The foreigners who were obliged to remain at Rome were naturally anxious to obtain correct accounts of what was passing elsewhere. Of this number was the excellent Angelica Kauffman, who was civilly treated, however, by the French, as they rather paid court to artists, though one of their generals and his aide-de-camp made her paint their portraits gratuitously, and all the pictures they found in her house belonging to Austrians, Russians, or English, were carried off by them. These were tolerably numerous, as there had been for some time past no means of forwarding them to their respective destinations. I used to send her the news in terms of art, calling the French “landscape painters,” and the English “historical painters.” Nelson was Don Raffaell; but I recollect being puzzled how to inform her that our fleet was gone to Malta, until I thought of referring her for the subject of “the picture” to a chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, well knowing that the Book in which that island was mentioned was not likely to be opened by the inspectors of the post. To another lady I was in the habit of writing in the millinery style, giving descriptions of gimps and ribands; and to Monsignor Maretti, who was with the Pope in his confinement at Valence, I conveyed intelligence, as fragments of ancient Greek tragedies found amongst the MSS. in the library of Capo di Monte. He had lately translated into Italian verse the “Seven against Thebes,” and the “Agamemnon” of Æschylus; and these were subjects that had very little interest for our enemies.
It is with pleasure that I reflect upon the comfort which these pretended fragments afforded to our friend and his venerable master, who bore his captivity with wonderful fortitude. Lord St. Vincent had issued orders to all his cruisers that in case they fell in with the Pope at sea—for it was reported that he was to be sent to Spain or elsewhere—they were at once to set him at liberty, and escort him whithersoever he pleased to go, deferring the performance of every other duty to the accomplishment of this one. I communicated this order to Monsignor Maretti in the manner above described, and it excited the most lively gratitude in the breast of the aged sovereign. His last brief, as I afterwards learned from Monsignor Maretti, was addressed to the Roman Catholic bishops and clergy then in England, exhorting them so to conduct themselves as to show their gratitude to the king and people of that country for the protection and hospitality they enjoyed.
“God save the King” was, of course, often sung amongst the English at Naples, and the following stanza was added to the national anthem:
Join we great Nelson’s name, First on the roll of fame, Him let us sing; Spread we his fame around, Honour of British ground, Who made Nile’s shores resound— “God save our king!”
The French officers of rank who had been made prisoners were permitted to return to France on their “parole.” When Admiral Blanquet du Cayla left the _Alexander_, he called on the French consul, whose apartments adjoined ours. As he entered the room, we heard M. Sieyès exclaim, “Oh! how delighted I am to see you, my dear admiral, out of the hands of those abominable Englishmen!” Du Cayla instantly replied: “Say nothing against the English, consul. They fight like lions, and they have treated me and my officers and men most kindly.” Without any intention to listen, it was impossible to avoid hearing much that was said in the adjoining room. I have no doubt our neighbours listened when Sir William Hamilton brought the officers to give us an account of the victory, for their child made a prodigious noise with his drum at the door which communicated with both apartments. It was natural enough they should be grieved, but it was an odd way of showing their vexation.
In the midst of all this festivity, however, the Neapolitan government soon became aware of the necessity of raising an army to check the further progress of the French arms in Italy. With this object in view, they applied to Austria for a general to organise and command their troops. Mack was the general solicited for this purpose, and the king invited Sir William Hamilton and Lord Nelson—for he had been created a peer in honour of his victory of the 1st of August—to be present at the review, which was to take place at a short distance from the capital. They went, and on their return reported favourably of the appearance of the soldiers, though they seemed surprised that General Mack should have said that he only regretted such a fine army would not have to encounter an enemy more worthy of its prowess. This boastful security appeared to them very extraordinary, for there was no doubt that the French were still just as formidable as in their more chivalrous times.
The Neapolitan army soon afterwards marched to Rome, and took possession of that city, after its evacuation by the French. The King of Naples entered in triumph, and appointed some members of the Roman nobility to form a provisional government during the absence of their sovereign. Their tenure of office, however, was very brief. The French returned in such force that the Neapolitans had barely time to secure their own retreat, leaving the provisional governors to shift for themselves. Fortunately they had still a few blank passports left, and having filled them up with their own names, they sought safety in instant flight.
Like a dark cloud announcing a tremendous storm, the enemy kept gradually approaching. A very indifferent understanding existed between the Austrians and Russians in those parts of Italy where they were acting in assumed co-operation. The populace of Naples, and many of the higher orders, indeed, stoutly affirmed that they would never suffer their king and his family to fall into the hands of the enemy; but still it was thought more prudent to make preparations for departure. Unfortunately, there was no English ship of war then in the bay, except that which bore the flag of Lord Nelson, and a frigate with a Turkish ambassador on board, attended by a numerous suite. A Portuguese squadron, however, was lying there, and also a fine Neapolitan man-of-war, commanded by Prince Caraccioli, and likewise another ship of the line; but it was the opinion of the Court, that although the bailli himself was trustworthy, the same reliance could not be placed in his crew. It was therefore resolved that the royal family should go with Lord Nelson.
How far these suspicions were well founded I cannot say, but I have no doubt that this step hastened the desertion of Prince Caraccioli. We met him about this time at a dinner-party at General di Pietra’s, and I never saw any man look so utterly miserable. He scarcely uttered a word, ate nothing, and did not even unfold his napkin. However, he took the ships safe to Messina, where they were laid up in ordinary.
Notwithstanding the secrecy observed with respect to the intended departure of the king and the royal family, his Majesty’s intention was generally known and lamented. We were informed of it by Sir William Hamilton, but with injunctions of strict secrecy, and permission was even refused us to give a hint to the Roman exiles who were staying in the same hotel as ourselves. We packed up everything as quietly as possible. We dared not venture out, as we knew not at what time we might be sent for to embark, and we were equally ignorant of the destination of our voyage.
The populace had become very riotous, crowding about the king’s palace, beseeching his Majesty not to leave them. It was even unsafe for strangers to be in the streets, unless well known; for all foreigners were liable to be mistaken for Frenchmen. Day after day passed away in anxious expectation, until one evening, just as we were retiring to rest, an officer from Lord Nelson’s ship, attended by some seamen, made his appearance, and told us that a boat was waiting to take us on board. We hastily paid our bill, and sent an ambiguous message to our Roman friends, which would put them on their guard. We then accompanied the officer to the shore. Both he and his men were armed.
The night was cold, for we were in the month of December (21st), and it was between twelve and one before we were in the boat. There were several persons already in it, and an English child fell into the water, but was taken out unhurt. We had a long way to go, for the ships had cast anchor at a great distance from the city, to be beyond the range of the forts in the event of treachery or surprise. When he came alongside the admiral’s ship, the captain, Sir Thomas Hardy, stepped into the boat, and told my mother that the ship was so full there was no room for us. In vain we entreated to be taken on board. The thing was impossible. We must take our passage in a Portuguese man-of-war, commanded by an Englishman, who had formerly been a master in our navy, but had now the rank of commodore. There was no alternative; but we were some time before we reached the ship to which we had been consigned. The young midshipman who conducted us was constantly jumping about in the boat to keep himself from falling asleep, for during the last forty-eight hours he had been unceasingly engaged in getting the baggage and numerous attendants of the royal family on board.
We reached our destination about two in the morning, and were ushered into the chief cabin, where we found many ladies of different countries. One only—a Russian lady of high rank and great wealth—had a bed to sleep in, the others being obliged to content themselves with mattresses laid on the floor. We now learned that we were bound for Palermo, and it was a great satisfaction to us to receive this confirmation of our previous hopes.
The manners of the commodore were by no means prepossessing, but he was apparently annoyed at having his ship so crowded with helpless passengers. All the ships of the Portuguese squadron were commanded by Englishmen, except the flag-ship, the captain of which was a French emigrant nobleman. The admiral himself was a well-bred, good-natured man, much liked by all his acquaintances, and on the best terms with Lord Nelson and all the officers of our fleet.
After an uncomfortable night, we rose to witness so violent a storm that no communication could take place between the ships. We obtained, however, a small cabin for our exclusive use, which was an unspeakable comfort.
On the following morning, the weather being more calm, we perceived on Lord Nelson’s ship the signal for sailing; but none on the other ships. Our feeling of “desertion” is not to be described, and the murmurs and animadversions we were constrained to overhear, added not a little to the painful sensations we ourselves experienced. Presently, however, we perceived a barge making towards us. It was that of Captain Hardy, whom Lord Nelson had sent with a message to my mother, expressive of his concern that he could not take us on board his own ship, and informing us that the _Culloden_, Captain Troubridge, was shortly expected from Leghorn, and would, if we wished it, convey us to Palermo. Captain Hardy then returned to his ship, and soon after we saw the anchor weighed, and Lord Nelson, with the king and queen and royal family of Naples, sailed out of the bay. It is impossible for any one who has not been in similar circumstances to imagine the feeling of helpless abandonment which I then experienced. Accustomed to look up to our squadron as our sole protection, having little or no confidence in the persons with whom we were left, and hearing of nothing but revolutionary horrors, I was really miserable, though perhaps very silly for being so.
By-and-by we were joined by two cardinals, both men of excellent family, and far advanced in life. The Portuguese admiral had given orders that they should be treated with the utmost attention, and one of the ship’s officers was obliged to resign his cabin to them. By all accounts it was a miserably dirty hole, and smelt so strongly of rotten apples that it was impossible to sleep in it. The valet of one of the cardinals, however, threw the apples overboard, and by so doing grievously offended the officer whose property they were, and drew from him expressions by no means respectful to the dignitaries of the Church. But the entire crew was a strange medley of negroes, mulattoes, and people of different nations, without order, discipline, or cleanliness.
On the 24th December, 1798, Captain Wilmot, of the _Alliance_, came into the bay from a cruise, and kindly invited us the same evening to go on board. He told us that he was to sail on the following morning for Palermo, and offered us a passage in his ship. My mother, however, from a motive of delicacy towards Lord Nelson, who had arranged for our going in the Portuguese vessel, declined his offer, but after his departure, observing how uncomfortable the two cardinals were, she gave them a note for Captain Wilmot, who at once took them, on board, and showed them every possible kindness. Not being gifted with my mother’s fortitude, I passed the night in misery, anticipating every imaginable misfortune, until at last she took compassion on my nervous feelings, and consented to change, if the _Alliance_ should not have sailed before the morning.
As the next day was Christmas, we were obliged to wait until the first mass was said before we could get a boat to take us off. At length we reached the _Alliance_, and were heartily welcomed by Captain Wilmot. We found our two good cardinals most grateful for the comforts that had been provided for them, and much pleased with the change from the Portuguese man-of-war. We weighed anchor about dinner-time, and Captain Wilmot begged me to explain to the cardinals how sorry he was that he could not do the honours of his table. He came down for a moment, however, and drank their health, and expressed his good wishes _for the season_. They returned the compliment, and both of them were so much affected by his kindness that they could scarcely utter their acknowledgments. Captain Wilmot afterwards begged me to order anything they might like to have, in case they wished to keep a fast-day during the voyage. “How different is this treatment,” said one of them, “to what we experienced on board a ship belonging to persons of our own religion.”
A violent storm came on during the night, and early in the morning Captain Wilmot knocked at the door of our cabin to say that we were safe, but that he had found it necessary to return to our old moorings. The storm had, indeed, been tremendous, and we were, not without reason, uneasy about the admiral’s ship, for the wind was contrary, and the sea running very high.
When the Portuguese admiral, who was also commander-in-chief on this station, heard of our return, he sent orders to Captain Wilmot to assist in saving the stores in the dockyard that had not been sent to Sicily, and in destroying what could not be removed, so that the enemy might find as little as possible that was likely to be of any service to them. Count de Thurn, an officer of distinction in the Neapolitan service, though an Austrian by birth, brought these instructions, and lent his aid in carrying them out. He afterwards received despatches for the king, and accordingly took his passage with us, as did also the Russian minister, a man of considerable information, and a great lover of antiquities. We also picked up Lord Nelson’s chaplain, who had been accidentally left behind.
PALERMO AND THE SICILIANS—EVENTS AT NAPLES—DEATH OF LADY KNIGHT—THE HAMILTONS AND LORD NELSON—EXECUTION OF CARACCIOLI—ARRIVAL OF SIR ARTHUR PAGET—DEPARTURE FOR MALTA.
AT last we got fairly off, and, after a voyage of thirty hours, arrived in sight of Palermo. Accustomed as I had been to the lovely and magnificent scenery of Italy, I was not less surprised than delighted with the picturesque beauty of the Sicilian coast. Then, when the prospect of the city opened upon us, with the regal elegance of its marble palaces, and the fanciful singularity of its remaining specimens of Saracenic architecture, it was like a fairy scene, and would have charmed me beyond measure had not my poor mother fallen seriously ill in consequence of her long exposure in the boat on the night we left Naples.
On our arrival we heard sad accounts of Lord Nelson’s voyage. Exposed to all the fury of the storm which we had escaped, the flag-ship had been in the greatest danger, and had suffered considerably in her masts and rigging. Prince Albert, the king’s youngest son, had died of sea-sickness, and his funeral was the first welcome which this noble island could give to the royal personages who now took refuge on its shores.
It was, I think, on the 1st of January, 1799, that we landed, and went to the only hotel then in Palermo, the same that is mentioned by Brydone in his Travels, and being shown into the only tolerable room, if such it might be called, we observed the portrait of the mistress of the house in the costume which he describes.
We were, in all, about two thousand persons who left Naples at that time. The French entered the city about a fortnight after the king’s departure, and took possession of the castles, but they seldom ventured into the streets except in large parties, as the lazzaroni were greatly irritated against them. The environs, too, swarmed with armed peasants, under the command of Cardinal Ruffo, a man of singular ability and decision of character, and endowed with every advantage of mind and body that is sought for in a military leader. Though a cardinal, he had never taken holy orders, and, previous to his elevation to the purple, had been treasurer to the Pope.
It was some time before I could remove my mother from the miserable hotel in which we were lodged, and opposite to which was the principal gaol of the town. As the street was narrow we could hear the groans and lamentations of the wretched creatures all through the night. One of the prisoners, however, used to stand at his grated window with his guitar, on which he played exceedingly well.
At length we took apartments on the Marino, a magnificent promenade of considerable length. It consisted of a row of good houses, some of them really handsome buildings, a wide road for carriages, and along the sea-shore a terrace for foot passengers, with statues of the kings of Sicily at regular intervals. The Marino led to a beautiful garden named the Flora Reale, for in Sicily all gardens are called Flora, and in the summer-time bands of music used to play there for the entertainment of the company. The garden belonged to the king, and near it was a very pretty villa, which Sir William Hamilton occupied until he moved to a larger one near the Mole.
The Sicilians appeared to me to be an active and intelligent people. It was wonderful to see the improvements and resources which started up in Palermo after the arrival of so many strangers. It seemed as if the inhabitants wanted nothing but encouragement for their industry. There was something in the shape and colour of their eyes, in the regularity of their features, and in the expressiveness of their countenances, that indicated their Grecian origin, while the curious vestiges of Moorish architecture, and many other reminiscences of that nation, added to the interest which they inspired. Traces of the Norman conquest, too, were observable in the fair complexions and light hair which, so rare in Southern Italy, were here by no means uncommon.
The Sicilian dialect, also, has caught something of the different languages spoken by the various peoples who have successively inhabited the island, though softened by the poetical genius of the natives, and rendered suitable for verse. The peculiarity of Sicilian music is mentioned by Dr. Burney in his history of that science. It was delightful to hear it on fine moonlight nights from the vessels and boats that entered or crossed the bay. The sailors used to sing many of those hymns which afterwards had such great success in England.
Of flowers they were particularly fond, and cultivated them with great care. They also displayed great taste in arranging flowers to decorate their rooms, and in the adjustment of drapery. The rocky ground and coast of Palermo were covered with the Indian fig, or prickly pear as we call it. The leaves are very large, and the fruit, which the common people devour greedily, is said to be remarkably wholesome. The Sicilians generally enjoyed excellent health, and I suppose there is hardly any civilised country where so little medicine is taken. Cold water was the usual prescription for bruises and abrasions, and it always worked a speedy cure, after more scientific applications had failed.
A grand dinner was given on the 4th June, 1799, at our minister’s, and there was a ball at Court in the evening. About this time I remarked a very singular phenomenon. I observed a little island opposite to us, of a picturesque form, and apparently not much more distant than Capri is from Naples. Whenever there were a few light clouds in the horizon I could clearly distinguish it, but if the sky happened to be entirely cloudless, I could see nothing of it. In answer to my inquiries, I was told that there was no such island visible, and that I must have mistaken a cloud for one. Still I persisted in my belief, because it had always the same shape, and at last I sketched it. On showing this drawing to some of our officers, they said that it resembled one of the Lipari islands which lies at a short distance from the rest of the group. The image of this islet had been reflected on the light clouds when they were at a certain angle to its image in the sea, something in the way of the fairy palaces at Messina of which so much has been said.
Soon after our king’s birthday most of our ships sailed for Naples, where Captain Foote, in conjunction with Cardinal Ruffo, had already succeeded in checking the progress of the enemy. A capitulation had been accepted, which was not sanctioned by the Court, and afterwards became the cause of much animadversion. Commodore Troubridge very wisely forbore interfering with the political concerns of the Neapolitan government. He had the command of the ships which were now despatched for the recovery of that kingdom, and proved completely successful. The islands were retaken, and the fortresses surrendered, with the assistance of a very few regular troops, Neapolitans and Russians. The commander of the Russian troops had said that the Castle of St. Elmo could not be taken in less than three months, and by an army some thousands strong. The commodore, however, captured it in a fortnight, with a few hundred seamen and others. The Sicilians would have it, that it was through the help of Santa Rosalia, whose festival occurred about that time.
The king then went with Lord Nelson to take once more possession of his capital, where he established a council of regency, and afterwards returned to Palermo, where the queen and the royal family had remained.
It was during the absence of our fleet and of Sir William and Lady Hamilton, who had accompanied the king, that my mother’s lengthened sufferings came to an end, and that I was deprived of her enlightened judgment for my protection and guidance, and of her animated and instructive conversation for my comfort and delight. She had sustained many trials with fortitude and dignity. Her mind was clear and penetrating, and her heart warm and generous.
When Sir William Hamilton and Lord Nelson came to take leave of her before their departure for Naples, she had particularly commended me to their care, and, previous to their embarkation, Sir William and Lady Hamilton had left directions with Mrs. Cadogan that, in case I should lose my mother before their return, she was to take me to their house. That lady came for me, and I went with her to our minister’s, knowing that it was my mother’s wish that I should be under his protection; and I must say that there was certainly at that time no impropriety in living under Lady Hamilton’s roof. Her house was the resort of the best company of all nations, and the attentions paid to Lord Nelson appeared perfectly natural. He himself always spoke of his wife with the greatest affection and respect; and I remember that, shortly after the battle of the Nile, when my mother said to him that no doubt he considered the day of that victory as the happiest in his life, he answered, “No; the happiest was that on which I married Lady Nelson.”
It is painful to reflect on the scenes that passed at Naples; and no one can have a greater dislike than myself to political executions, because, however legally just they may be, they are revolting to humanity, and do no good to the cause which they are meant to uphold. On the contrary, they create a feeling of exasperation, and excite compassion in favour of the guilty. But it is only right to say that Caraccioli was taken in arms against the forces of his sovereign, that he was tried by a court-martial of Neapolitan officers, and executed on board of a Neapolitan ship. I grieved for his fate, and still more for his defection, but many strange misrepresentations have been circulated on this subject. The queen, who has been accused of so much vindictive cruelty, was, to my certain knowledge, the cause of many pardons being granted. And there was one lady in particular whom she saved, who was her declared enemy, and at the head of a revolutionary association.
There was for many months a Spanish squadron at Palermo, that being a neutral port, but it dared not venture out to sea for fear of being taken by our ships, which kept a sharp look-out after it. The officers seemed to be quite domiciliated at Palermo, and the commodore appeared to be a very good-natured, obliging man, though, from etiquette, he could not visit the English.
Lord Keith, who had the chief command in the Mediterranean, arrived one day, with his lady, on board the _Queen Charlotte_, a noble three-decker. He often slept on shore at our minister’s, and always brought with him his flag-lieutenant and secretary. He expressed himself glad to see me, from having known and esteemed my father, and he was very civil to everybody, though, from his desire to restore the discarded _queues_, he afforded not a little embarrassment to many of the younger officers. Lord William Stuart used to tie a few hairs together, and, whenever he met Lord Keith, made him the drollest bow imaginable, twisting his head round to show the attempt at a pigtail. Lord William had great comic humour, and was an excellent dancer, but as commander of a ship of war, the _Lion_, he was strictly exact to his duty, and never made a difficulty or complained of a hardship.
And at that time our officers had much to contend with, for, notwithstanding the good intentions and wise regulations of Lord Spencer, who was First Lord of the Admiralty, the demands upon him were so numerous and extensive from our various squadrons employed in every part of the globe, that great delay sometimes occurred in sending off stores and provisions. Many of our captains, to my knowledge, did not spare their own purses that their men might be supplied with such wine, and food as were required for the preservation of their health. It is no less worthy of remark that I cannot recal to mind a single scandalous story relating to any of our officers serving in that gay and fascinating latitude. There were no duels, no rioting. Our people were beloved and respected by the inhabitants, and maintained the reputation, which they had acquired by their victories, of being the guardians and preservers of Italy and her islands.
The _Généreux_, a French ship of the line, which had escaped from the battle of the Nile, and taken refuge in the port of La Valetta, in Malta, was captured by our cruisers while endeavouring to gain Toulon. When Lord Nelson heard the good news, he exclaimed, “Ah! she knew that she belonged to us, and her conscience would not let her stay away any longer.” This affair was also the occasion of another additional stanza being inserted in the national anthem.
While thus we chant his praise, See what new fires blaze! New laurels spring! Nelson! thy task’s complete; All their Egyptian fleet Bows at thy conqu’ring feet To George our King!
The _William Tell_ was also taken, after a sharp conflict, and the sea was cleared of the enemy.
Sir Charles Stuart, having been sent into Sicily with a few troops under his command, drew up a plan for the defence of the island in case of attack. This paper, at the request of Sir William Hamilton and Lord Nelson, I translated into Italian, as I did many papers in that language into English. As they were confidential, I have, of course, kept no copies.
Previous to the French invasion, Sir William Hamilton had applied for leave of absence to visit his property in Wales, adding that if he could not obtain this favour, for which he had asked more than once, he should be obliged to tender his resignation. No notice whatever was taken of this application at the time, but, at a moment when he least expected it, he received a letter from the Foreign Office, informing him that his request was granted, and that Sir Arthur Paget was to succeed him as minister. He was, I believe, very sorry, but made no complaints, candidly admitting that he did once say he must give up his post.
When Sir Arthur arrived, nothing could be more amiable than his conduct towards Sir William, who, on his part, showed him every attention, and gave him much confidential information likely to be of great service to him in his new situation. Sir William also took care to inform the Court of Naples, and all persons of influence, of the family, connexions, and political principles of the new minister, so that proper respect should be paid to him. I am convinced, however, that Sir William himself felt great regret at leaving the Two Sicilies. Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, the antiquities of all descriptions which he had made his study, the climate, the mode of life, all this was hard to leave. He was truly beloved by the people of the country, and I heard a sensible Neapolitan nobleman make the remark, that during the thirty years Sir William Hamilton had resided at that Court, he had never injured any one, but had always employed his influence to benefit the deserving.
Sir William had a well-selected, though not large, collection of paintings, vases, and other works of art. He was fond of music, and had an excellent taste. His first wife was an admirable performer on the pianoforte. The second one, not having enjoyed the same advantages of education, had no scientific knowledge of music, but an ear and a voice that left nothing to be desired. She was possessed, indeed, of great natural genius, which, added to her beauty, had completely fascinated Sir William. She made herself very useful in public affairs during the distressing circumstances which took place in consequence of the French Revolution. Altogether, she was a singular mixture of right and wrong.
Lord Nelson’s presence being much needed at Malta, to direct the operations of the blockading squadron, Sir William and Lady Hamilton decided on accompanying him. At first I declined being one of the party, but when I heard that it was the admiral’s intention to visit Syracuse, and perhaps other parts of the island, I could not resist the temptation, nor was I disappointed in my expectations.
DEPARTURE FROM PALERMO—LEGHORN—JOURNEY HOMEWARDS—ALFIERI—HAYDN—KLOPSTOCK—RECEPTION OF NELSON—ENGLAND—SOCIETY THERE—LORD AND LADY NELSON.
WE sailed from Palermo on the 23rd of April, 1800, on board the _Foudroyant_, of eighty guns, with the flag of Lord Nelson, and commanded by Sir Edward Berry. The party consisted of Sir William and Lady Hamilton, another English lady and gentleman, an old Maltese nobleman, and myself. The officers of the ship were in their turns invited to dinner: the table was good, but unostentatious. In the great cabin were many new publications, sent from England by Lady Nelson to the admiral. A carving in wood of an immense three-coloured plume of feathers, which ornamented the cap of the figure of William Tell, when the ship so named struck to the _Foudroyant_; four muskets, taken on board the _San Josef_, by Nelson, in the battle off Cape St. Vincent, and the flag-staff of _L’Orient_, saved from the flames when that ship was blown up in the battle of the Nile, formed the chief ornaments of the cabin, and gave occasion to the following lines, which were sung by one of the company, to the old tune of “Hearts of Oak.” They were addressed to a lady who was leaving Sicily with great reluctance.
Come, cheer up, fair Delia! forget all thy grief; For thy shipmates are brave, and a Hero’s their chief. Look round on these trophies, the pride of the Main; They were snatch’d by their valour from Gallia and Spain.
Behold yonder fragment: ’tis sacred to fame; ’Midst the waves of old Nile it was saved from the flame— The flame that destroy’d the new glories of France, When Providence vanquish’d the friends of blind Chance.
Those arms the San Josef once claim’d as her own, Ere Nelson and Britons her pride had o’erthrown. That plume, too, evinces that still they excel— It was torn from the cap of the famed William Tell.
Then cheer up, fair Delia! remember thou’rt free; And ploughing Britannia’s old empire, the sea, How many in Albion each sorrow would check, Could they kiss but one plank of this conqu’ring deck.
Owing to the contrary winds, we experienced some difficulty in threading the Straits of Messina, but on the 1st of May we landed at Syracuse, and spent two days in seeing all that is interesting in that ancient city.
Late in the evening of the 3rd we joined the blockading squadron off Malta, on which island we remained till the 20th, occasionally dining at the governor’s, Captain Sir Alexander Ball’s, and sometimes at the quarters of General Graham, afterwards Lord Lynedoch.
On the last day of May we were again in the harbour of Palermo, but on the 8th of June we sailed for Leghorn, having on board the Queen of Naples, her three unmarried daughters, and the young Prince Leopold. The Duc de Berri accompanied the royal party on board, and shed tears as he took leave of them. It was said that he had come to Palermo in the hope of marrying the eldest princess, but I know not how the affair came to be broken off. On the anchor being weighed, her Majesty exclaimed with delight, “Leghorn! Leghorn!” no doubt as being on the way to her native land (Austria). But, for my part, I left Sicily with great pain, for it was also severing myself from Italy, where I had spent so many years of happiness.
Before landing at Leghorn the queen presented Lord Nelson with a medallion, on one side of which was a fine miniature of the king, and on the other her own cipher, round which ran a wreath of laurel, and two anchors were represented supporting the crown of the Two Sicilies, designed by her Majesty herself. This device was executed in large diamonds, and was therefore of great pecuniary value. The queen also gave a very handsome snuff-box, set with diamonds, to Sir Edward Berry, and was always very liberal in her presents to our officers.
While the queen was yet undecided as to the route she was to take, news arrived of the battle of Marengo, and of the consequent surrender of Genoa. Our situation soon became very alarming, for the French army, under General Bonaparte, kept steadily advancing, and at last occupied Lucca, whence one night’s march might have brought them to Leghorn. It must be owned, to the credit of the inhabitants of that city, and especially of the common people, that they were most anxious to take up arms against the French, and repeatedly solicited the Austrian governor to allow them to do so. They also pressed him to permit the disembarkation of General Abercrombie and the English troops from Minorca, but he would not give his consent, as the Austrians had concluded a truce with the French after their defeat at Marengo. The enemy, however, did not scruple to pass the limits assigned to him; but the Emperor of Austria was at that time very ill served, and the consequences were fatal to Italy.
The people after a while became infuriated at not being suffered to defend their city, and, breaking into the arsenal, got possession of a quantity of muskets and other arms. They also called upon Lord Nelson to place himself at their head, but at length he succeeded in pacifying them, and then caused the queen’s jewels and other valuables to be carried on board the _Alexander_, to which he had transferred his flag on the departure of the _Foudroyant_. Our whole party soon afterwards embarked, with the intention of sailing round the peninsula to Trieste; but this plan was given up, and it was resolved that we should travel by land to Ancona, and thence proceed in an Austrian vessel to that port.
My dismay was now great, for we had to pass within a mile of the advanced posts of the French army; and even the officers and crew of the _Alexander_ were shocked at the idea of the danger to which their admiral was going to expose himself. However, we again landed, and pushed on through the heat and dust of the day to Florence, which we reached in the afternoon of the 12th of July. The following day I passed in the company of the Countess of Albany and Count Alfieri.
The latter showed me some of his unpublished manuscripts. It was only within the last few years that he had studied the ancient Greek literature, and his style was, in consequence, wonderfully improved. He also showed me his “Miso-Gallo,” a satire on the French, which he was desirous of publishing in England, and asked me to take it thither for that purpose. But when I asked for it next morning he appeared greatly agitated, and said he could scarcely forgive himself for having proposed such a thing. If we happened to be stopped by the French, and this MS. were found among my baggage, nothing, he was certain, could save me from being imprisoned, if not guillotined. He further declared that he had not been able to sleep all night through the reproaches of his conscience, and he positively refused to give it to me.
After a tedious, fatiguing, and somewhat hazardous journey, we at length reached Ancona in safety, and found there a Russian squadron on the point of sailing to Corfu. The commanding officer, however, consented to take the queen and all her party to Trieste, and on the 2nd of August (1800) we landed at that port.
Great curiosity was expressed to behold the hero of the Nile at every place on the road to Vienna. I cannot say that I enjoyed the journey, for I was dreadfully fatigued, far from well, and uneasy on many accounts, besides being a good deal injured by the carriage being overturned in which I was travelling. At Vienna, whenever Lord Nelson appeared in public, a crowd was collected, and his portrait was hung up as a sign over many shops—even the milliners giving his name to particular dresses—but it did not appear to me that the English nation was at all popular. The people generally were opposed to the war with France, which had proved so unfavourable to them, for, although the troops were brave and loyal, they were not well commanded.
We had often music, as the best composers and performers were happy to be introduced to Sir William and Lady Hamilton. I was much pleased with Haydn. He dined with us, and his conversation was modest and sensible. He set to music some English verses, and, amongst others, part of an ode I had composed after the battle of the Nile, and which was descriptive of the blowing up of _L’Orient_:
Britannia’s leader gives the dread command; Obedient to his summons flames arise: The fierce explosion rends the skies, And high in air the pond’rous mass is thrown. The dire concussion shakes the land: Earth, air, and sea, united groan. The solid Pyramids confess the shock, And their firm bases to their centre rock.
Haydn accompanied Lady Hamilton on the piano when she sang this piece, and the effect was grand. He was staying at that time with Prince Esterhazy, and presided over the famous concerts given by that nobleman at his magnificent palace in Hungary. At one time the prince had an intention of giving up these concerts, and told Haydn that the next one would be the last. It was a very fine one. Towards the conclusion, Haydn composed a finale so melancholy, so touching, that it drew tears from many of the audience, and he had given orders that while it was playing the lights should be gradually extinguished. All of which made such an impression upon the mind of the prince, that he abandoned his intention of discontinuing these concerts.
Prince Stanislaus Poniatowski, whom I had known at Rome, and who quitted that city when the French took possession of it in 1798, was then living at the Château of Lichtenstein, near Vienna, and came to see me. He invited us all to dine with him, and he received us with great cordiality, and showed us his magnificent collection of jewels, with some of the largest pearls ever seen. This prince possessed every advantage which nature and fortune could bestow. A fine person, an immense fortune, the faculty of speaking every language, and a distinguished rank in life. He declared himself an enemy to all melancholy, and yet I never saw a person whom I thought less happy. It was said that he had been disappointed with regard to the crown of Poland, a hope of obtaining which had been held out to him by the Empress Catherine.
On the 27th of September we proceeded on our travels, and on the morrow arrived at Prague, where the hotel at which we alighted was splendidly illuminated in honour of Lord Nelson—the host, however, not forgetting to charge for the lights in his bill. On the 1st of October we embarked on the _Elbe_ at Lowositz, and reached Dresden the following evening. Mr. Elliot, brother of Lord Minto, was at that time British minister in Saxony. He was very fond of Dresden, and said it was a _good sofa_ to repose upon, for, of course, there was not much diplomatic business to be done. We dined with him at a very pretty villa, where he and his family were passing the summer months, and where his beautiful children were running about the garden like so many Cupids and Psyches. He was much beloved at Dresden, and I believe all strangers who were willing to be sociable were sure of being kindly treated in that capital.
We again embarked on the _Elbe_ on the 10th for Hamburg. The fine bridge was crowded with spectators to see Lord Nelson depart, as was the shore, and every window that commanded a view of the river. As we stopped every night, we were eleven days in reaching our destination, and latterly we were sometimes rather short of provisions, as our caterer—our “jackal,” as we called him—was not always able to procure sufficient supplies for the party.
At Hamburg we found many remarkable persons of different nations, all of whom seemed anxious to become acquainted with the hero of the Nile. The Baron de Breteuil, so well known in the annals of French diplomacy, was living in an elegantly furnished villa, with his grandson-in-law, M. de Montmorency. He invited us to breakfast, and we there met the Duc de Guignes, who was ambassador in England when my father commanded as senior officer at Plymouth, and whom the latter had entertained on board his ship, the _Ocean_. All these were men of the highest rank, and of the most elegant manners of the _vieille cour_. After breakfast came General Dumouriez, who had been very curious to see Lord Nelson, though he did not wish to show too much _empressement_. However, these two distinguished men took a great fancy to one another, and we saw much of the general during our stay at Hamburg.
Dumouriez was in person short, and far from handsome, though his appearance was prepossessing and his manners very natural. There was an apparent frankness in his conversation, which could not fail to please, and he possessed the art of saying agreeable things without descending to flattery, and seemed perfectly to understand the character of those with whom he associated, after a very short acquaintance. He had been both a lawyer and a soldier, and I used to fancy that I could trace in him the distinctive features of both professions. He was at that time regarded as a decided Royalist, and was said to be in correspondence with Louis XVIII. He had, however, no objection to talk of the battle of Jemmapes, and showed us a box, with the portrait of a lady on it, which he said was presented to him, just after the victory, by an officer who came with despatches, and who, after congratulating him upon his success, produced this box, and added, “General, voilà votre récompense.” With this lady he was then living at a little village near Altona. She was a widow, and had a son in the Danish service. Dumouriez, at that time, maintained himself by his writings, and Lord Nelson forced him to accept a hundred pounds, telling him that he had used his sword too well to live only by his pen. He was said to be very poor, and his poverty did him honour, as it proved that he had not abandoned the revolutionary party from motives of private interest.
The celebrated German poet Klopstock was also settled at Hamburg. We went to visit him, which seemed to give him great pleasure. While there, the door opened, and a grave-looking personage, in canonicals, entered the room with a Bible in his hand. He walked up to Lord Nelson, and asked him to write his name on a blank page of the book. With this request Lord Nelson willingly complied, and the clergyman gave him his blessing and withdrew. Mrs. Cadogan and I supped one evening with Klopstock and his wife, a pleasing-featured, fat, fair woman, much younger than himself, and a good musician. He read to me some passages of his “Messiah,” and his room was hung with drawings by Füger, of subjects taken from that poem. At that time Klopstock was chiefly engaged in writing odes, very sublime, but too metaphysical to be easily understood.
The magistrates of Hamburg must have exercised great vigilance and good sense to keep their city in such good order, for it was filled with such strange characters that I could compare it to nothing but the banks of Lethe.
On the 31st of October we went on board the _King George_ mail-packet, and, after a stormy passage, landed at Great Yarmouth on the 6th of November, having crossed the bar just in time to avoid a tremendous gale, which must at least have driven us out to sea again for several days. Lord Nelson was received with all due honours, which were rendered still more interesting to the good people of the town from his being a native of Norfolk. He was drawn in his carriage to the hotel by the populace, and the Mayor and Corporation came to present him with the freedom of the city.
At his own request public service was performed in the church, to return thanks for his safe return to his native country, and for the many blessings which he had experienced. As he entered the church the organ struck up “See the Conquering Hero comes.”
When we arrived in town, Sir William and Lady Hamilton went with Lord Nelson to dine with his father and Lady Nelson, and I, with Mrs. Cadogan, to an hotel in Albemarle-street. In the evening Sir Thomas Troubridge called upon me. He was at the point of starting for Torbay, being appointed captain of the Channel fleet, under Lord St. Vincent. He advised me to go to my friend Mrs. Nepean, whose husband was Secretary to the Admiralty, and who, on the following day, made me take possession of a room in her house till her children came home for the holidays. Sir William and Lady Hamilton also left the hotel to occupy a house in Grosvenor-square, which had been lent to them by Mr. Beckford, whose wife, Lady Margaret, had been a relative of Sir William.
Nothing could exceed the kindness I received from Mr. and Mrs. Evan Nepean, in whose house I resided more than three weeks, and was afterwards a constant guest at their dinner-parties, where I had the advantage of meeting the most celebrated persons of the time. The two statesmen whom I found most agreeable in society were Mr. Windham and Lord Castlereagh. One day I heard Mr. Pitt give an account of what had passed in the House of Commons on the preceding evening, and was astonished at the oratorical energy and correctness of expression with which he rendered, and perhaps embellished, every speech, without having the slightest intention of doing more than relating what had actually passed.
Some of the official gentlemen appeared to me conceited and coldly satirical, as I have since observed to be the case with many amongst our men of letters. There is something in the southern Italians, and indeed in most of the men and women of that country, so natural and unaffected, that it is impossible not to remark the artificial manners of some great capitals. I observed that in morning visits, for example, it was not only the same style of dress, but that nearly the same topics of conversation, the same time of staying, and the same expressions would be used by almost every lady who made her appearance. It was in vain that I tried to feel at home in my own country; but what surprised me most of all was the general cry of poverty, distress, and embarrassment. I had been accustomed to see foreign nations look up to England as the most flourishing and potent of countries, and to regard it as the laurel-crowned island, the safeguard of Europe. And now that I was arrived in this highly favoured land, I heard nothing but complaints of the impossibility of going on any longer, with wishes for peace, &c. &c. Then, the darkness and the shortness of the days seemed to me so strange. “How do you like London?” said I, one day, to my old Italian friend, Andrea Plaudi. “I dare say, madam,” he answered, “that I shall think it a very fine city when it comes to be daylight.” He had heard of northern countries where, in the middle of winter, there was no daylight for weeks together, and he fancied that was the case in London. I myself felt rather surprised at returning from a round of morning calls by lamplight, and at dining about the time when I had been used to see supper served up. The months of November and December are certainly not the most favourable season for a stranger to visit London, and a stranger I felt myself to be after having resided so long in other countries.
However, I must say that I was most kindly received by many who had known me in early youth, or whom I had met in Italy. It was there I had become acquainted with Lord Macartney, and now his amiable and excellent wife—a daughter of Lord Bute, George the Third’s first minister—came to see me, with Lady Aylesbury, a most delightful person, from whom I afterwards received every mark of friendship and good will. Lady Macartney was also constantly obliging and good to me. The first party to which I went in London was a concert at her house, where I saw the Prince of Wales hand in Mrs. Fitzherbert in the most respectful manner imaginable.
I dined one day with Sir William and Lady Hamilton in Grosvenor-square. Lord and Lady Nelson were of the party, and the Duke of Sussex and Lady Augusta Murray came in the evening. Lord Nelson was to make his appearance at the theatre next day, but I declined to go with the party. I afterwards heard that Lady Nelson fainted in the box. Most of my friends were very urgent with me to drop the acquaintance, but, circumstanced as I had been, I feared the charge of ingratitude, though greatly embarrassed as to what to do, for things became very unpleasant. So much was said about the attachment of Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton, that it made the matter still worse. He felt irritated, and took it up in an unfortunate manner by devoting himself more and more to her, for the purpose of what he called supporting her. Mischief was made on all sides, till at last, when he was appointed to the command of the squadron in the Downs, which was to sail for Copenhagen—his brother and sister-in-law, with Sir William and Lady Hamilton, being with him at Deal—he wrote to Lady Nelson, giving her credit for perfectly moral conduct, but announcing his intention of not living with her any more. This was certainly not in his thoughts before he returned to England, for I remember his saying, while we were at Leghorn, that he hoped Lady Nelson and himself would be much with Sir William and Lady Hamilton, and that they would all very often dine together, and that when the latter couple went to their musical parties, he and Lady Nelson would go to bed. Even at Hamburg, just before we embarked, he purchased a magnificent lace trimming for a court dress for Lady Nelson, and a black lace cloak for another lady who, he said, had been very attentive to his wife during his absence.
SOCIETY IN ENGLAND—ELIZABETH CARTER—ARRANGEMENTS AT COURT—MISS KNIGHT ENTERS THE QUEEN’S SERVICE—STATE OF THE KING’S HEALTH—DEATH OF THE PRINCESS AMELIA.
AT the change of administration in February, 1801, the king appointed Earl St. Vincent First Lord of the Admiralty, intimating to him that it was in consequence of his great victory in 1797. Mr. Addington succeeded Mr. Pitt as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, and preliminaries of peace were signed with Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic. Mr. Nepean continued Secretary to the Admiralty, and Sir Thomas Troubridge and Admiral Markham became two of the new Lords, with apartments at the Admiralty. To be near my friends I took apartments close to Whitehall, and passed much of my time with them, going frequently to the Opera with Sir Philip and Miss Stephens, and to the Concerts of Ancient Music with Lady Macartney. Lord and Lady Bruce, whom I had known in Italy, came to town in the spring, as did also Lord and Lady Rolle, all of whom were very kind to me. The Prince and Princess Castelcicala—the former was the Neapolitan minister—likewise showed me every attention.
Mr. Pitt and his friends, who had quitted office because the country was clamorous for peace, had promised to support Mr. Addington’s administration; but the harmony that existed between the two parties was not of long duration. The reform of abuses in the Navy-office and dockyards excited a loud outcry against Lord St. Vincent and his adherents, and even Mr. Nepean took part against him. Sir Philip Stephens, however, like a prudent man long used to office, kept on good terms with all parties. He was the oldest member of Parliament, having represented Sandwich fourteen times.
About this time I became acquainted with Lady Macartney’s sister, Lady Lonsdale, a very agreeable person, and a great favourite with everybody. It was remarked, that if you had to invite to a dinner-party some who were intimate with one another and others who were not, and a lady were wanted to complete the arrangement, Lady Lonsdale was the person to be asked, as she was certain to be agreeable to all parties. I was likewise introduced by Lord Abercorn to the well-informed, mild, and amiable Dr. Howley, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. Early in 1802 I was presented to their Majesties at a drawing-room by Lady Aylesbury, and was received very graciously.
The people of England had been very desirous to have peace, but they soon perceived how little they had gained by it. It is the custom of the nation every now and then to be seized with a violent mania, but its good sense speedily recals it to a proper understanding of its real duties and interests. The war was, therefore, renewed, and carried on with vigour, though nothing was spoken of for some time but the threatened invasion. A gentleman, who was fishing in a sequestered spot not far from London, was accosted by an old woman of the neighbourhood, who entered into conversation with him on various matters. After a little he asked her if she were not alarmed about Bonaparte’s landing on the island. “Oh dear, no!” she answered. “I am up to all that. He was expected here when I was a young woman, and he nearly came. At that time they called him the Pretender, and now they call him Bonaparte.”
In the course of the following winter I frequently called upon Mrs. Elizabeth Carter, the translator of “Epictetus.” She was a person of excellent principles and solid good sense. She used to say, “There are two men of great talent who now govern the world: the one, Bonaparte, with his sword; and the other, Mr. Pitt, with his money.” With respect to women, she once remarked: “It is thought that men have all the advantage over us in this world, but I think we have one invaluable advantage over them—we are not obliged to be politicians.” She used to dine out every day with different friends while in London, though far advanced in years, and I often met her at Lady Charlotte Finch’s.
Of that charming person it would be difficult to say enough. She was the daughter of the Earl of Pomfret, and passed the early part of her youth at Florence, with her mother, whose correspondence with the Duchess of Somerset has been published. They had destined her in marriage to the son of the duchess, but he died before the ceremony could take place, and she afterwards married Mr. Finch, a brother of the Earl of Winchilsea. As soon as the Prince of Wales was born she took her station by his cradle, on being appointed governess to the royal infant and his future brothers and sisters. She had continued in the exercise of that duty till they were all grown up, and never was any one in a similar employment more sincerely or more justly esteemed and beloved. Her judgment was clear, and her manners perfect. I have always thought it equally honourable to her royal pupils and to herself, that, however differing in pursuits and disposition, they were all warmly attached to Lady Charlotte Finch, and never varied in their affection for her. It might truly be said of her that she was “formed to make virtue amiable.” I spent many pleasant hours with her, her daughters, and grand-daughters, and indeed the whole month of October, 1804, at her son Lord Winchilsea’s seat, in Rutlandshire.
One morning in March, 1805, Lady Aylesbury communicated to me the queen’s wishes with regard to myself. Her Majesty had been pleased to express a desire that I should be attached to her person without any particular employment, but that I should be lodged at Windsor, in a house belonging to her Majesty, and with a maid in her service to do the work of the house. Her Majesty added, that she would allow me three hundred pounds a year, and that I should be present at her evening parties, when invited, and always on Sundays and red-letter days, and be ready to attend upon her in the morning when required to do so; but that I should have leave to visit my friends, particularly when their Majesties were at Weymouth, where my services would not be wanted. This proposal I accepted gratefully, and the more so that it was quite unsolicited on my part.
A short time before it had been reported, and even in the public prints, that Lady Aylesbury was to be governess to the Princess Charlotte, who was then nine years of age, and that I was to be sub-governess, but nothing of the kind was ever mentioned to me. Since then, indeed, I have had reason to believe that Mr. Pitt wished it should be so, but Lady Aylesbury declined, on account of the employments she held about the queen, as she was one of the senior ladies of her bedchamber. Lady Aylesbury and the Dowager Lady Ilchester shared this service between them, while the king and queen were stationary at Windsor, but both accompanied their Majesties to Weymouth. The former, as I have already said, was a most agreeable and amiable person. She was the eldest sister of Lord Moira, afterwards Marquis of Hastings, and was perfectly well-bred and natural in her manners, and to myself the kindest of friends. She took me one morning to the queen, after the arrangement had been made, and in June I received my first summons to Windsor. I stayed there for a fortnight before their Majesties and the princesses removed to Weymouth, where they had been in the habit of passing two or three months every summer. But this was their last visit to that watering-place, for the king was now losing his eyesight very fast.
In December I became a resident at Windsor. The unmarried princesses, who were still at home, were very kind and gracious to me. The Dukes of Cumberland and Cambridge were often at the Castle in the evening, but the Dukes of York and Clarence seldom, if ever, slept there. The queen had her ladies and those of the princesses to dine with her, and the king came in at the dessert, for he dined at an early hour. The aides-de-camp, and other gentlemen on service, dined at the Upper Lodge. It is difficult to form an idea of a more domestic family in any rank of life, or a house in which the visitors—for those on duty were considered as such—were treated with greater attention.
The queen used often to call for me between ten and eleven on her way to Frogmore, where she liked to spend her mornings. She was fond of reading aloud, either in French or English, and I had my work. Her library there was well furnished with books in those languages and in German, and she was so good as to give me a key, with permission to take home any that I liked. Sometimes we walked in the gardens of that pleasant place, Princess Elizabeth being usually of our party, and not unfrequently Princess Mary. The Princesses Augusta and Sophia rode with the king. The Princess Elizabeth had a pretty cottage and garden at Old Windsor, where she would sometimes in summer give little fêtes. It was at Frogmore that the queen generally celebrated the birthdays of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, as they were both in August, while Princess Elizabeth did the same for the Duke of Clarence’s birthday, which was also in that month. And in November the queen gave a fête for those of the Princesses Augusta and Sophia.
[At this point the autobiography breaks off suddenly, and a blank also occurs in the rough diaries. The former recommences in October, 1809, and the latter some months earlier, but the entries are wholly devoid of interest until the end of May, 1810.]
The year 1810 was a very melancholy one at Windsor. The attempt to assassinate the Duke of Cumberland caused great disquietude. Then followed the afflicting illness which ended in the death of the amiable Princess Amelia. And, lastly, the malady that overwhelmed our excellent sovereign cast a gloom over the Castle, which was never removed during the remainder of my stay in its neighbourhood.
It was only a few days previous to the king’s birthday that the Duke of Cumberland was awakened by an assassin. He defended himself, but received several wounds. One of his people, a Piedmontese, named Sellis, was found with his throat cut in his bedroom, which was not far from the duke’s. Another page, an Irishman, who used to sleep in a closet adjoining the room of his royal highness, was not forthcoming at the moment, though it was the duke’s orders that every one should be at home by eleven o’clock. His excuse was, that he had gone to sup with his wife on some dainty that had been sent to her. A pair of slippers, with the name of Sellis inside, was found in a closet within the duke’s room, and the result of the inquest was a verdict that Sellis had been the assassin, and had afterwards committed suicide. Still there were some circumstances that threw a doubt upon his guilt. The slippers were old, and the name written in them appeared to be in French, whereas Sellis was a Piedmontese, and there were reasons for supposing that it was a greater person who had counselled the crime. Sellis was left-handed, but one of the physicians who examined the body said that a left-handed man could not have cut his throat in the manner indicated by the wound; another surgeon, however, said that he could. The duke gave a pension to his Irish page, and dismissed him. This man had a brother who had a good appointment in Windsor Castle, and a family, but he resigned, and went away. The duke was removed to Carlton House by the orders of the Prince of Wales, who watched over him with great tenderness until he was perfectly recovered, although from difference of political views they had not been on the best terms previous to this sad affair. It was the fashion to go and see the duke’s apartments, which for several days were left in the same state as when he was removed. The visitors discovered traces of blood upon the walls, &c. &c., but, for my part, I did not join the crowd whose curiosity led them to this horrid scene.
I come now to a most melancholy time. Dear Princess Amelia, who had derived no benefit from a lengthened visit to Weymouth, was removed to Windsor, and inhabited a lodge near the Castle. Day by day she sank more and more under her great sufferings. Though pale and emaciated, she still retained her beauty. She wished to live, but was thoroughly resigned when she found there was no hope of her remaining long upon earth. Her sentiments of piety were pure, enlightened, and fervent. I saw her a few days before her death, when, taking off her glove, she showed me her hand—it was perfectly transparent.
She was particularly fond of music, but latterly could not bear the sound of a pianoforte even in another room. The Princess Augusta thereupon gave her a bird which sang very sweetly, and with a very soft note, and she took pleasure in listening to it. When the king saw his beloved daughter for the last time, she said to him, “Remember me, but do not grieve for me.” Alas! the king was soon no longer himself. Her illness and the loss of Hanover preyed sadly upon his mind.
I shall never forget the last evening of my seeing him. It was the anniversary of his accession. The whole family, except the Queen of Würtemberg and dear Princess Amelia, were present when he entered the room, the queen holding his arm. As he went round the circle as usual, it was easy to perceive the dreadful excitement in his countenance. As he could not distinguish persons, it was the custom to speak to him as he approached, that he might recognise by the voice whom he was about to address. I forget what it was I said to him, but shall ever remember what he said to me: “You are not uneasy, I am sure, about Amelia. You are not to be deceived, but you know that she is in no danger.” At the same time he squeezed my hand with such force that I could scarcely help crying out. The queen, however, dragged him away. When tea was served, I perceived how much alarmed I had been, for my hand shook so that I could hardly take the cup.
When the king was seated he called to him each of his sons separately, and said things to them equally sublime and instructive, but very unlike what he would have said before so many people had he been conscious of the circumstance. I never did and never will repeat what I then heard, and I sincerely believe that all present felt as I did on that occasion. His Majesty had a long conversation with Count Munster on the affairs of Hanover, so that it could only be understood by those who were acquainted with the German language. I was then convinced of the very deep impression made on him by the fate of that country. On the following evening I was not at the Castle, and it was the last on which he appeared in society.
Princess Amelia expired on the birthday of the Duke of Kent, who had had some dispute with the Duke of York, then commander-in-chief. I was told, however, by Lady Aylesbury, who was in waiting, and had dined quietly with the melancholy party of the royal family, that the Duke of York said to her, in a whisper: “Though this is a sad day, I must drink the health of poor Edward.”
Two days afterwards Princess Augusta sent for me, and as I was sitting with her, one of her dressers entered the room with a birdcage in her hand, and her fingers in her eyes. “Princess Amelia,” she said, “gave orders before her death that this bird should be returned to your royal highness; but not on the day she died, nor the day after, that it might not afflict you too much in the first hours of your grief. But she wished you to know how much she was obliged to you for giving it to her, and what a comfort its sweet voice had been.”
Two ladies sat up with the corpse every night until the time of the funeral. I was directed to perform this duty one night with Lady George Murray. We were in a room adjoining that in which was the coffin, with the doors open. On the table was a book, which had been a favourite with Princess Amelia. It was Tillikeper’s “Thoughts on Religious Subjects,” and many of them had a pencil mark. The passages thus distinguished testified to the feelings and judgment of the Princess, and I asked leave to transcribe them into the copy of that work which she herself had given to me.
The King recovered sufficiently to be told of her death, and he arranged everything relating to the ceremony of the funeral. It appeared, indeed, that before his late serious attack he had made some preparations for this event, although, in the wanderings of his imagination, he could not think her in danger. However this might be, the matter was settled very properly. One of the Queen’s ladies was to go as chief mourner, followed, of course, by others belonging to the Princesses; but, although I had no engagement of that kind, the King chose that I should have a place in the procession, knowing how sincerely I was attached to the Princess. I also heard that when lying on her death-bed, that the two persons whom the Princess most warmly recommended to her father, were Mrs. Williams—who had been her nurse, and was then attending her—and myself. I was also named amongst the few persons to whom she desired that remembrances should be given.
For the anthem the King had selected a passage from the sixteenth Psalm, which used to be often sung by the Princess and her father. The conclusion, “In thy presence is gladness, and fulness of joy,” raised my spirits from the depression into which they had fallen; and, when I returned home, gave me a better night’s rest than I had enjoyed for some time.
STATE OF THE COURT—THE REGENCY—PRINCESS OF WALES—PRINCESS CHARLOTTE—ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE PRINCESS—MISS KNIGHT BECOMES LADY COMPANION.
THE amendment in the state of the King’s mind was only temporary. From this time he was lost to his family and to his subjects; but his name was still held sacred—he was still beloved and respected. Among the aberrations of his mind there was one which must greatly have contributed to his comfort. He fancied that Princess Amelia was not dead, but living at Hanover, where she would never grow older, and always be well. He endeavoured to impart the same consolation to one of his physicians, who was lamenting the loss of his wife, by telling him that she was not dead, but living at Hanover with Amelia.
I did not quit Windsor even for a day during the remainder of the winter. The drawing-rooms were suspended, and even at the Castle the Queen only received her family, and the persons attached to her service, in her private apartments. Very early in the spring her Majesty, perceiving that I had a very bad cold and cough, insisted on my going into Devonshire, where I was invited to stay with Lord and Lady Rolle till they came to town. The weather was beautiful, and my health was gradually restored.
The autumn of 1811 was particularly fine. The comet made a magnificent appearance, and seemed to clear the atmosphere from storms and rain.
The year 1812, remarkable in history on many accounts, was the last which I passed at Windsor. The Regency was now established, fêtes were given at Carlton House, and the Queen and Princesses went occasionally to town. Several birthdays also were kept at Frogmore, and at Princess Elizabeth’s cottage at Old Windsor.
Princess Charlotte was now in her seventeenth year, and was for some time a visitor at the Castle. Her governess, Lady de Clifford, having gone to town on account of illness, the Queen commanded me to be present at her Royal Highness’s lessons; or, I should rather say, asked me to be present when her sub-preceptor, Dr. Short, read to her. She was at that time allowed to dine once a fortnight with the Princess of Wales, her mother, at Kensington Palace. I was appointed to accompany her, and received my instructions accordingly. I was not to leave Princess Charlotte one moment alone with her mother, nor prolong our stay beyond a certain hour. When we arrived, the Princess of Wales proposed our seeing the state apartments in Kensington Palace, which occupied our time till dinner was served; after which, Lady Charlotte Campbell, who was in waiting on the Princess of Wales, played and sang to Princess Charlotte. The Princess of Wales made me sit by her side on the sofa, and was very gracious.
I must say that I neither saw nor heard anything extraordinary during this visit. Her Royal Highness desired me to give her duty to the Queen, with her thanks for having allowed her daughter to come that day. Of course I executed this commission when I attended Princess Charlotte to the Castle, where we arrived before the party was over. On our way from Kensington to Windsor the carriage stopped, and Lord Yarmouth, who was at that time the most intimate friend of the Prince Regent, came up to the door to speak to the Princess. He, no doubt, afterwards informed the Prince that all was right.
Towards the end of this year I had leave from the Queen to go to town in consequence of a message from Lady Charlotte Rawdon, who wished me to assist her in watching over the sick-bed of her excellent sister, Lady Aylesbury, who had long been in a sad state of health, and was now extremely ill. Lady Aylesbury had been to me more than a sister, and her death was a heavy blow to me. I was standing with Lord Hastings beside her bed when she expired, with a calmness that had never forsaken her during all her sufferings.
During the time I was tending Lady Aylesbury’s sick-bed, I had frequent letters from the Royal Family, and wrote daily accounts to her Majesty. She came to town one day, and sent for me. I think it was the day before Lady Aylesbury died. Her Majesty, after inquiring whether any hope remained, told me that a change was about to take place in Princess Charlotte’s establishment, that Lady de Clifford had resigned, and that the Duchess-Dowager of Leeds was to be governess; besides whom, there must be a lady or two. She asked me whether I thought Lady Charlotte Rawdon would be a proper person; but desired I would not say a word to her on the subject. I stated some difficulties which I thought would render this choice inconvenient, and, at the same time, hinted what Lady Aylesbury, I knew, wished, and what I thought might do very well, namely, that Miss Rawdon should be about the Princess Charlotte. The Queen seemed rather embarrassed: and dismissed me, as she was going out. I had some hours before received a letter from Princess Mary, hinting to me the same question about Lady C. Rawdon, which I had communicated to Lady Aylesbury, whose sentiments on the subject I therefore knew.
In my other letters from the Castle I had learned the scene which had taken place. Princess Charlotte, having nearly attained her seventeenth birthday (which took place on the 7th January, 1813), had written a letter to Lord Liverpool, expressing a desire that, as she understood Lady de Clifford had resigned, she might have no other governess, but an establishment of her own, and ladies in waiting. As I did not hear this from Princess Charlotte herself, or see the letter, I cannot exactly say how it was worded, but I believe she wrote it by the advice of Miss Mercer Elphinstone, her old and intimate friend, with whom she was not at that time allowed any communication, on account of opposition principles, which, since the change of the Prince’s politics, he had forbidden. The resignation of Lady de Clifford, and the consequent arrangements, had been studiously kept from her Royal Highness, and she was terrified as to what was to be her lot when she discovered these circumstances. How she found means to write to Miss Elphinstone, or hear from her, I know not, but imagine it was through the Princess of Wales. I have always thought that the advice was suggested to Miss Elphinstone chiefly by Lord Erskine. However this may be, the Prince was violently angry when he heard of the letter, and took Lord Eldon (the Chancellor) down with him to Windsor, where, in the Queen’s room, before her Majesty, Princess Mary, and Lady de Clifford, in a very rough manner the learned Lord explained the law of England as not allowing her Royal Highness what she demanded; and on the Prince’s asking what he would have done as a father, he is said to have answered, “If she had been my daughter, I would have locked her up.” Princess Charlotte heard all this with great dignity, and answered not a word; but she afterwards went into the room of one of her aunts, burst into tears, and exclaimed, “What would the King say if he could know that his grand-daughter had been compared to the grand-daughter of a collier?”
Things were in a most uncomfortable state after this scene, when Sir Henry Halford told me what arrangements were intended. To soften matters with the Princess, yet not entirely to yield to her demands, he said the Duchess of Leeds was only to have the name of governess, and that her Royal Highness was to have two ladies, to be called “ladies companions;” the first title they had thought of, “ladies assistants,” looking too much like governance. That at first they had thought of Miss Vernon, but it would not do; next of the two Miss Townshends, sisters of Lord Bayning, and nearly related to Lord Cornwallis. At least, he said the appointment was or would be offered to one of them. I then mentioned Miss Rawdon, desired he would call on her, as she was then ill, and expressed my sentiments as to her understanding and accomplishments. This Sir Henry did, and, I believe, spoke to the Queen on the subject; but soon after, on the 12th, as I was at dinner at Lord Moira’s, I had a note from him hinting a wish that I would myself be one of Princess Charlotte’s ladies. I answered this note in very positive terms, by saying that nothing short of an absolute command of her Majesty, to whom I was bound by gratitude and attachment, could allow me to accept it.
Sir Henry called next day, and told me the Prince, in his visit to the Duchess of Leeds, which had lately taken place, concurred with her in anxiously wishing me to be with Princess Charlotte, and added, that my accepting the situation would facilitate the appointment of Miss Rawdon as my colleague. I could only repeat, as an answer, what I had written in my note to him. He went to Windsor next day, and in the evening of the 14th I received a most pressing letter from him, desiring that I would come to Windsor as soon as possible, stating that the Prince was to be there next day with the Duchess of Leeds (who with great difficulty had been persuaded to accept the office), that nothing was wanting to quiet the mind of Princess Charlotte but my presence, that I must take the rank of honourable to dine with them, that I might write a letter to the Queen expressing concern at leaving her, but that she might have the comfort of considering that, when the year of governance was over, I should remain in the family, &c. &c. &c. There was a postscript, in which it was said that the hope of Miss Rawdon coming in should not be given up.
With this letter came two from Princess Elizabeth, one of which was written by the Queen’s desire to give me a hint that the Prince wished I should come forward to assist him, with many flattering expressions on her own (Princess Elizabeth’s) part; but adding that the Queen would not bias me either way. The other letter was a private one, in which she urged me to write a letter to the Queen, showing an inclination to accept, and offering to consider myself still as _in her service_, or terms to that effect, which letter Princess Elizabeth wished me to enclose to her. There was also a letter from Princess Sophia, and one from Princess Mary, the first to persuade me to accept the employment from the unhappy persecuted state of Princess Charlotte, and the regard she had for me; the second, adding to these motives the fullest promises of support from the Prince and the _national_ benefit, which Sir Henry had also pleaded. All I could resolve was to write a few lines to the Queen, telling her Majesty I should be at Windsor next day (January 13), at three, to take her pleasure on the subject of Princess Elizabeth’s letter.
At the appointed hour, at which the Regent and Duchess of Leeds were also to arrive, I reached Windsor, and found waiting for me at my own door a servant of Madame Beckersdorff with a letter from the Queen, which was to have been sent to town, but which her Majesty, finding I was coming to Windsor, desired Madame Beckersdorff would get conveyed to me before I came to the Castle. The first part of this letter was relative to the Queen’s pecuniary affairs, which were embarrassed, and on which she desired I would consult Mr. Claridge, her man of business, more particularly as the death of Lady Aylesbury, and the advanced age of Lord Aylesbury, rendered it essential they should in some measure be settled, but insinuating that, instead of paying off her debts entirely, when the arrangement was made, and that interest was settled for money borrowed, a sum might be applied to further improvements at Frogmore and the farm; the last page of the letter was relative to what she was pleased to call a more important subject, the desire of the Prince, as hinted by Sir H. Halford, that I should be about the Princess Charlotte. In this she said she would not bias me, but she doubted whether my health was equal to it; and, after intimating some displeasure at Sir Henry for the proposal, and great affection for me, she evidently showed that she wished me to remain with her till death. One of the expressions was, that Lady Aylesbury was the first, and I was the second.
This letter, the receipt of which I was not to own, hurt me excessively. I saw that the Queen wished me to take the refusal on myself, that she might not offend the Prince. I recollected Lady Aylesbury having owned to me that she was obliged to refuse in a similar manner (putting it on Lord Aylesbury’s unhappiness if she was much away from him), when the King wanted her and myself to be about Princess Charlotte in 1805. In consequence of which she remained, and I became a member of the Queen’s family. I thought of a letter I had received from her Majesty just after Lady Aylesbury’s death, in which she enclosed one for Lord Bruce, desiring he would be reconciled to his sisters, and at the same time saying, as I had lost so good a friend, she would do everything to make my life comfortable.
In all this there seemed to me much difficulty to encounter. I could not find it in my heart to devote myself till death to the Queen’s service, sacrificing the pleasing idea of rendering happy the life of a persecuted young creature whose talents and disposition appeared to me worthy of a better lot than as yet had fallen to her share. Perhaps also my pride had been somewhat hurt, by the Queen not always, as I thought, feeling properly my situation, and I will not say that I had not some wish for a more active and more important employment than that which I held at Windsor, dull, uninteresting, and monotonous. Every year more and more confined, and, even from the kindness of the Royal Family, condemned to listen to all their complaints and private quarrels. I certainly hoped to get honourably out of it, but I did feel attachment for the Queen, and even this letter which annoyed me excited my gratitude.
I therefore went with a heavy heart, after an hysterical fit, to the Castle, and entering Madame Beckersdorff’s room, requested she would inform the Queen that I was there. This she would not do, but said the Queen would ring for me when she wanted me, as she knew I was coming. I waited till past five, when the bell rang. Madame Beckersdorff went, and returned with a message from the Queen, to say that it would be better both for her and myself that we did not meet till next morning at eleven.
In the evening Sir Henry called, on his way to town, and said the Prince was just gone, and had desired him to tell me that all was settled, and that next day I should receive the formal proposal. I told him I feared it would not do, for that I knew the Queen wished me to refuse, but that I would write next day.
On the 16th, at eleven, I went to the Queen, who was in bed with a severe cold. She was evidently embarrassed, asked me several questions relative to Lady Aylesbury’s illness and death, and the affairs of the family. She inquired how Lord Bruce had taken the letter she wrote to him. I could not say he was pleased, and she said I might have kept it back, as she sent it open to me with that design, and had expressed herself so in her letter to me. I answered, that I could not feel myself authorised to do that, and our conversation was very _gênante_, till at last we got on the subject of Princess Charlotte. The Queen spoke of her with all the prejudice and enmity which she had for years imbibed against her, related to me all that had passed between her Royal Highness and the Chancellor, and considered her dignified behaviour as hardness of heart. Before she dismissed me, she said I should receive a letter from the Duchess of Leeds, to propose the employment to me.
I then requested to be informed positively what was her Majesty’s pleasure on the subject, hinting, at the same time, that I thought Princess Charlotte would do all her family could reasonably wish, if she were made happy and treated with confidence, and I might be able to do good and promote harmony, but that I wished to act as her Majesty most desired. The Queen inquired if I could recommend anybody, a sufficient proof that she was resolved, if possible, I should not be that person. I said I could only recommend Miss Rawdon, and repeated poor Lady Aylesbury’s wishes on the subject. The Queen said she had spoken to the Prince, but was fearful it would not do, and then said she would get the Duchess to write to Lord Cornwallis, to urge the Miss Townshends to accept. When I left the room, I said I would send her Majesty a copy of my answer to the Duchess of Leeds when I received the letter.
In the ante-room this letter was given me by Madame Beckersdorff. It was a very handsome one, and expressed the united wishes of the Queen, Prince Regent, and Princess Charlotte, as well as her own. I took it home with me, and after some debate with myself, I wrote an answer, declining the proposal, from the sole motive of not thinking myself at liberty to leave her Majesty’s service. It was worded in the most respectful terms relative to the Prince and Queen, and expressed my attachment to Princess Charlotte. I sent a copy of this letter to the Queen, and at the same time wrote to the Duchess of Leeds, to ask when I might call on her at the Lower Lodge, where she was already settled with Princess Charlotte.
My letter to the Queen went at five, and at half-past six I took my refusal to the Duchess, who expressed the greatest concern, and said all in her power to persuade me to accept the situation, not having entertained the smallest suspicion of any difficulty remaining. I left her, and at the bottom of the stairs found the page, who desired I would walk into the library, where I found Princess Charlotte. I had seen her for a moment when I went in, and was received by her with all the warmth of affection; but she was anxious to learn what had passed between the Duchess and me, and was in an agony of grief and resentment when she found I had been obliged to refuse, though she assured me, when I took leave of her, that _I was fully justified with her_. I did not name to her the Queen’s letter to me, but only said I could not leave her Majesty without an absolute command.
I returned home, and heard nothing from the Queen. Next morning (17th) I received a very urgent letter from Princess Mary, who was beyond measure hurt at my refusal, and used every possible argument to induce me to retract it. She said the Queen had never treated me as she ought, had never placed me in my proper situation, that the Prince was most desirous to do this, and intended that I should become one of his family; that I should always dine with him when Princess Charlotte did, whether the Queen was there or not, and that the whole family would support me through everything. I heard, likewise, from Princess Sophia, whose arguments were of a different nature, being chiefly addressed to my feelings with respect to Princess Charlotte, and wishing to see me, though not urging it if I felt it improper.
I had informed her Majesty the preceding morning that with her permission I should go to Town at one, having other papers of Lady Aylesbury’s to destroy. I went to the two Princesses who had written to me, and told them that if the Regent, after my refusal (which they said would throw him into the greatest difficulties), still condescended to wish that I should be with Princess Charlotte, I had thought of a plan which might succeed, and set things to rights with the Queen. My mind was made up as to the letter I would write to her Majesty, but what I suggested to the Princesses was that the Regent should send Lord Moira to me to renew the negotiation, and then apply to the Queen to lay her commands on me. To this Princess Mary most cordially and thankfully acceded, and I left her room without seeing the elder Princesses.
I called on Madame Beckersdorff, to inquire after the Queen’s cold, and to ask if there were any commands for me, but received none. I had no answer whatever to my letter, but only heard that her Majesty had announced the night before, at the party, my refusal of the appointment about Princess Charlotte. At one I went to Town, and dined with Lady Bruce. Soon after dinner, Sir Henry Halford called, and asked to speak with me. He came from the Regent, and said his Royal Highness was grieved and disappointed beyond measure at my refusal, but that he intended next morning to send Lord Moira to me to remove my scruples, and to assure me of the pains he would take to settle the mind of her Majesty on the subject.
On the 18th, Lord Moira came and told me how very anxious the Regent was for my coming into his service, and how embarrassed he would feel himself if I continued to refuse. He offered to go himself, or send a messenger if he was prevented from going, to persuade the Queen to lay her commands on me to accept, and should not be easy until the affair was settled. Lord Moira, however, agreed with me that it would be more fair, as well as more respectful, for me to write, at the same time, to the Queen, and give her the reasons for my listening once more to the proposals made me. The Prince, likewise, wished me to write to the Duchess of Leeds, informing her of my willingness to accept, for fear she might have orders to make fresh applications to the Miss Townshends, or to propose the employment to others. This I did; but although my letter was directed very properly, she did not receive it till six days after date, and it was said that it went by mistake to the young Duke of Leeds in Yorkshire.
In my letter to the Queen I gave her my opinion with respect to her affairs, assuring her that I had copied that part of her letter which related to them, and had afterwards destroyed the whole; that I should speak to Mr. Claridge as soon as he came to Town on the subject she desired; and I also offered some arrangements which I thought would serve to free her Majesty from embarrassment, and particularly the loan of one thousand pounds, without interest, a sum which I knew the Queen was at that time very desirous to procure, and which, added to the salary I gave up, and the house which she might let, would set her completely at her ease in respect to Frogmore and the farm. To this letter I received, next day, two answers: the one, relative to my offer, of course private; and the other, respecting my acceptance of the employment. Both were resentful and bitter to a high degree. I was at Lady Bruce’s when they arrived, and I was hurt beyond expression. I immediately wrote a short note to Lord Moira, expressive of my feelings, and giving up both situations. I took it to his house, where I found Lady Loudon and Lady Charlotte Rawdon, and afterwards himself. The ladies approved of my feelings; but Lord Moira did not. He thought my nerves ought to be braced against marks of resentment which he did not think I had deserved. I did not mention to them the pecuniary part of the correspondence, nor is it known to any human being except one friend, who will never repeat it. On the 20th and 21st I remained ill at home; I was rendered so miserable by the Queen’s letters that I would not receive Lady Loudon, who called, or listen to the suggestions of Sir Henry, who strongly pressed me to retract, or at least suspend, my resolution. I had letters from all the Princesses, written in the kindest and most urgent terms, to move me to accept the offered place; but I resisted.
On the 22nd, Lord Moira called and informed me of the result of a letter which the Prince had written to the Queen, enclosing one from himself to the Prince. There was a positive command, as he said, contained in her Majesty’s answer (which he had read) that I should accept the place offered me; and he said that, when the Prince saw him, he had embraced him with the greatest joy, and said that it was to his Lordship that he owed whatever was agreeable to him. Every promise of support and of remaining in the family was repeated, as it was in a letter which Lord Moira wrote to me on the 20th, when I was ill.
On the 23rd, in the evening, I went to Warwick House, where I was to meet Princess Charlotte on her arrival in Town. She came about nine, attended by the Duchess of Leeds, having dined with the Princess of Wales at Kensington, and received me in the most gracious and cordial manner.
The last thing I did before I left my old lodgings to enter on my new duties, was to write a respectful letter to the Queen expressive of the deepest regret at having offended her, and of the sincerest attachment. This letter was never answered.
LIFE AT WARWICK HOUSE—A ROYAL DINNER-PARTY—PRINCESS CHARLOTTE’S COMPANIONS—DINNER AT THE DUKE OF YORK’S—BALL AT CARLTON HOUSE—TREATMENT OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
WARWICK HOUSE, in which Princess Charlotte and I, with an excellent family of old servants, were now the only residents, was an old moderate-sized dwelling, at that time miserably out of repair, and almost falling to ruins. It was situated at the extremity of a narrow lane with a small court-yard and gates, at which two sentinels were placed. On the ground floor was a hall, dining-room, library, comptroller’s-room, and two very small rooms, with a good staircase, and two back staircases much the reverse. Above was what was called the waiting-room, of very moderate dimensions, where Princess Charlotte took her lessons in the morning; a good drawing-room, her Royal Highness’s bedroom and dressing-room, or closet off it for a maid; my sitting-room adjoining, and my bedroom, both small, the latter particularly so. Yet, for a private family, it was far from being uncomfortable, though anything rather than royal. The drawing-room and Princess Charlotte’s bedroom, with bay-windows, looked on a small garden with a wall, and a road which divided it from the gardens of Carlton House, to which there was a door of communication.
Nothing could more perfectly resemble a convent than this residence; but it was a seat of happiness to Princess Charlotte compared with the Lower Lodge at Windsor, and she was anxiously desirous to remain in Town as much as possible. It was announced to us that we were to be one week in Town and one at Windsor; that when in Town we were to dine at Carlton House, to go to the Play and Opera, and to have a party at Warwick House, besides balls and great parties at Carlton House. Invitations were already sent out for a ball, which was to take place on the 9th of February, previous to which there was to be a Drawing-room.
On the 24th, which was Sunday, we went to the Chapel Royal, the Duchess of Leeds and I attending her Royal Highness; and we found the Duke of Cambridge there. We were told that the Prince would come in the course of the morning to Warwick House, and dressed early to receive him. He came not; the Duchess dined with us; and Sir Henry Halford came in the evening with a message from the Prince, to say that we were to dine with him next day. On the 25th we went at seven, and I was presented to the Regent in form. There was no lady to meet us but Miss Goldsworthy. The Dukes of York, Cumberland, and Cambridge were there; Lord Yarmouth, the Chancellor, Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, and Colonel Bloomfield. The royal Dukes were all very gracious, and promised their support, which I asked; the Duke of Cumberland only saying, I wanted no support but that of my own talents and merits. The Princes showed off; learning and information were the order of the day. Lord Yarmouth was very attentive, and sarcastically answered the Chancellor’s exaggerated delight in the sufferings of Bonaparte’s army, and the cruelties of the Russians. At ten we were ordered into the next room to take coffee, and then went home.
The lower apartments of Carlton House, in which we dined, were close, and too warm. They were fitted up with great splendour and elegance, and contained some good pictures, and much ornamental decoration of bronze and china. The Prince’s table was well served in every sense of the word, and he did the honours of his house well, though not with sufficient ease, and rather with assumed than real self-possession. He talked but little to Princess Charlotte, and not with the manner or voice of affection. His greatest attentions were for Miss Goldsworthy, which, in one point of view, was amiable, but which, from subsequent circumstances and conduct, proves what were the ideas and intentions of the Prince at that early period of the new arrangements. Every consideration was to be sacrificed to the plan of keeping the Princess Charlotte as long as possible _a child_; and, consequently, whoever belonged to her was to be thought a nurse or a preceptress, inferior, of course, to the nurses and preceptresses of the Princesses her aunts.
On the 27th we returned to Windsor, which was at that time considered as the _chef-lieu_; but Princess Charlotte had a very troublesome cold, and the Lower Lodge was so damp, that Sir Henry Halford seemed disposed to listen to her remonstrances, and willing to persuade the Prince to let her remain in Town when she next went thither (which was to be on the following Monday, 1st of February), at least until her cold should be perfectly removed. She was indeed by no means well; for, besides her cold, she had a little nervous fever, occasioned by all she had gone through, and particularly the scene with the Chancellor.
At Windsor we found Lady Catherine Osborne and her governess, who were allowed to live in the house with us. The good Duchess of Leeds was a Miss Anguish, daughter of a Norfolk lawyer, and, with her sisters, had been noticed for singing agreeably Handel’s music. The late Duke of Leeds married her, when Lord Carmarthen, having been divorced from his first wife, by whom he had the present Duke and other children, one of whom was married to Lord Chichester, a friend of the Regent, and employed by him to negotiate with his stepmother the present arrangements, though Sir Henry Halford was the principal agent. The Duchess had two children of her own, Lord Sidney Osborne, who has the Beaulieu estate; and Lady Catherine, an elegant little girl of fifteen, who danced well, could play a little on the pianoforte, and speak a little French. She was to be a companion to Princess Charlotte, and it was proposed she should have, when in Town, parties of young ladies not presented—that is to say, children’s balls.
All this was evidently pursuing the plan of protracted infancy, and was to be grafted on the education of a schoolboy, which had been the King’s plan, to a certain degree, and to which the Prince had added lessons of politics from Mr. Fox’s school, and had ordered that Mr. Adam and Dr. Short should give her instruction in the laws of England, of which she was to make an abstract. But when the Prince’s politics changed, and Princess Charlotte, in understanding, penetration, and stature, was become a woman, desirous to acquire more knowledge of public affairs and general society, alive to everything, and capable of forming a judgment for herself, the new plan of sending her back to the nursery was adopted, and everything was done to promote it.
Such was the situation of affairs into which I perhaps heedlessly had plunged myself, and I was romantic enough to think I could be of use; and when Lord Moira was endeavouring to persuade me to accept the place offered me, I told him my sole motive then was to assist in rescuing a noble young creature from surrounding persecution, to give her room to show what she really was, misunderstood as she appeared to be, and certainly capable of becoming a blessing to her country, or the reverse. For her character was such, I said, as not to promise mediocrity, and much must depend upon the discipline of the next year or two. Measures such as had recently been pursued with her must drive her, I urged, to despair, and spoil her disposition, if not counteracted by affection and tenderness. Talents and genius must be encouraged to become useful. If endeavours are made to lower or extinguish them, what must be the result? As I spoke, I saw the tears roll down the cheeks of Lord Moira, and he said, “This is what I felt for her father; he _was_ everything that was amiable, and _still_ I cannot help loving him.”
It was necessary that I should be presented to the Queen in my new capacity, but the Duchess of Leeds was ill. Lady Harcourt, the Queen’s lady in waiting, was also not well, and it was not till Sunday, the 31st, that it was decided Lady Isabella Thynne, in waiting on the Princesses, should present me. This was necessary, as we were to dine next day with the Princess of Wales, on our way to Town, and it was right I should first pay that respect to the Queen.
Nothing could be more disagreeable. Her Majesty, however, spoke to me, for she inquired after Princess Charlotte, but added, she did not believe she was very ill. I was soon dismissed, and went round to all the Princesses, who received me very kindly, and lamented the coldness with which I was treated.
Soon after I returned to the Lodge, the Queen and Princesses came to visit Princess Charlotte.
The Duchess being in her room, not ready, I received them at the door, and followed them up-stairs. The Queen did not command me to be seated, and as soon as the Duchess made her appearance I left the room. Princess Elizabeth afterwards said, that when Miss Goldsworthy was their sub-governess the Queen never let her sit down when talking to them as children. I said that that was not a case in point, for that I was not a sub-governess, nor was Princess Charlotte a child; that as I was always accustomed to sit in her Majesty’s presence, it was evident she resented my leaving her, but that whatever the Queen chose to do I should never lose the respect and attachment I had for her. I found, however, from general conversation, that the object was to consider me as a sub-governess, and a paragraph of that nature was put in the papers, which I insisted on Sir H. Halford mentioning to the Prince, and getting it contradicted in the same paper, which was done—the Prince remarking they might as well call me Lord Chancellor.
On the 1st of February we went to dine with the Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, and I was presented to her. She would not let me kiss her hand, but embraced me. She was civil, but rather cool, to the Duchess of Leeds. The Duke of Brunswick dined with us. Lady Charlotte Campbell and Miss Hayman were in waiting, and Lady Carnarvon also dined. The Duke of Kent’s band was in attendance. The Duke of Brunswick appeared grave and reserved, but very civil. The Princess talked much to me about Princess Charlotte, seemed anxious for her welfare, and expressed great satisfaction at my appointment.
On the 3rd of February, Princess Charlotte was invited to dine at the Duke of York’s, to meet the Queen and Princesses, and I was asked for the evening, with the very fair excuse that the dining-room was so small that it would not hold even the Princesses’ or Duchess’s ladies. I dined at Lord Moira’s, who, with Lady Loudon, was also asked to the evening party. The apartments were, indeed, all very small, and very unfit for a royal Duke or Commander-in-Chief. Lady Anne Cullen Smith (sister of Lord Wellesley, and formerly married to a brother of Lord Southampton, by whom she has two daughters, the Miss Fitzroys) was the Duchess’s only lady in waiting. Her manners were elegant, and her daughters accomplished and agreeable. I had seen them one morning at Warwick House, for they had formed an intimacy with Princess Charlotte at Oatlands. The Prince, when he came up to shake hands with me, whispered to me that he supposed Mary had said something to me which I would remember. I asked Princess Mary, in the course of the evening, what the Prince meant, and she answered, “Oh, nothing; he is only afraid lest Charlotte should like the Duke of Gloucester; and there is no danger. He wanted me to set you on your guard.”
While I was talking to the Miss Fitzroys and others, the Chancellor came up to me, and began to shake me violently by the hand, which rather surprised me, as we had never been introduced to each other. He was not quite sober. He said he hoped I did not believe all the nonsense about his ill-treatment of Princess Charlotte, of which no doubt I had heard a lamentable story; and was going on, when I stopped him by saying that Princess Charlotte had not conversed with me at all on the subject, and that if any one had mentioned it to me it was the Queen. Not content with this, he came up to me in the same manner after the Royal Family had gone down to supper, and entered again on the subject, in a very confused tone. I put him off by saying that really it was not my business to interfere in the Princess Charlotte’s concerns, that I had only the honour of attending her, and that the Duchess of Leeds was the person who had the responsibility. This I said in a good-humoured way, and got rid of him at last.
On the 4th I went with Princess Charlotte to the Duke of Cumberland’s apartments at St. James’s, where she was to meet the Queen and Princesses, previous to the drawing-room, to which she was not to go. I left her there, and went to the drawing-room. As soon as I had been _seen_ by the Queen, for I was not spoken to, I returned to her Royal Highness, who in the mean while was left with the Duchess of Leeds, and she took her turn of going into the drawing-room. Princess Charlotte was greatly hurt by being thus treated as a child, but made no complaints, and was good natured with her family.
She met them that day at dinner at the Duke of Cambridge’s, and I was asked for the evening party there. His house, though not very large, is handsome and comfortable. There was a little music in the evening, and everything passed in tolerable good humour. Next day, the 5th, we dined quietly tête-à-tête to prepare for the ball in the evening. Princess Charlotte’s spirits were worn out with anxiety respecting her mother. She had heard that her visits at Kensington were to be less frequent in future, and her mind was harassed by various things. She felt nervous when the hour of dressing approached, but came out looking beautiful, and with proper self-possession. Her dress was white and silver, and she wore feathers for the first time. The Duchess and I were in white and gold. When we arrived at Carlton House, her Royal Highness, with the Duchess of Leeds, went into the room where the Royal Family were assembled, and I joined the Princess’s and Princess Sophia of Gloucester’s ladies till the company was assembled, when we all entered the ball-room.
The state apartments at Carlton House were certainly magnificent, and everything well regulated. They were well lighted, and were superior to anything I had seen in England; but the classical taste and sober dignity of Italy, with the grandeur of its spacious habitations, eclipse in my mind all I have seen elsewhere, and render Carlton House nothing more than a nobleman’s dwelling expensively furnished. The best part of the fête appeared to me the respect paid to the Royal Family of France. Indeed, the Regent, ever since he came into power, has invariably shown the most independent and honourable feeling. Princess Mary opened the ball, and danced with the Duke d’Angoulême. Princess Charlotte stood next her with the Duke of Clarence. The dresses were splendid, and the supper, in the apartments below, all that it should be. The Queen seemed to enjoy it, and retired, apparently unfatigued, at five or six in the morning.
That day Princess Charlotte dined at Carlton House, and I went in the evening. I found her looking very unhappy, and she told me there was something going on to vex her—that she had overheard a conversation about the Duchess of York, who had invited herself to dine with her on the following day—and that she was sure something had gone wrong. I comforted her as well as I could; but I soon found from Princess Mary that she was blamed for “having invited” the Duchess, and asked whether she chose to have Lady Anne and the Miss Fitzroys to meet her. Princess Mary said that it was wrong to do this without consulting the Duchess of Leeds, and also that the Duchess of York did not wish to meet Lady Anne, for that, though she was her lady, she did not like her, and that it would be better to get rid of this dinner party.
The Prince took me aside this evening, and talked to me for a long while against the Princess of Wales, and the little regard she had shown for Princess Charlotte when a child, and how by her negligence there was a mark of the small-pox on Princess Charlotte’s nose, having left her hands at liberty; whereas _he_ used continually to watch beside her cradle. He said very severe things of the Princess of Wales in every way, and even accused her of threatening to declare that Princess Charlotte was not his daughter. I really had not remarked this little blemish on the smooth and beautiful skin of my young Princess, and should have had great difficulty in forbearing to smile at the seriousness with which that important misfortune was mentioned, if I had not been horrified by the rest of the conversation. The Prince also warned me against Lady Jersey, whom he had observed talking to Princess Charlotte the night before at the ball, and said he did not choose she should be too intimate at Warwick House, but did not give any particular reasons for it.
All this appeared to me the more extraordinary, as really the Regent can speak well, rationally, and with eloquence—or, at least, with great plausibility. What could I think of such a mixture of serious and frivolous complaint, when I might have expected discrimination of character to guide me in what advice I was to give the Princess—views for the future and regulations for the present, which the important station she was one day to fill, and the very delicate situation in which she was placed for the time present, seemed to render essentially requisite? I really knew not what to answer, and could only assent to his wishes or remarks in general terms.
When we returned home, Princess Charlotte was greatly agitated, and insisted on knowing the whole of Princess Mary’s conversation with me. She had heard most of it, and I concealed nothing from her in that respect; but I was less communicative with respect to my lesson from the Regent. I told her what he said about Lady Jersey, and I hinted that he had expressed his regard for her in preference to her mother, because he had insisted on my so doing. Princess Charlotte said she had of late received much more kindness from her mother than from the Prince, but that their unfortunate quarrels with each other rendered their testimonies of affection to her at all times very precarious. As to Lady Jersey, she said she knew not what the Prince had against her. He had been the first to urge her visiting his daughter, and Lady Jersey declared she would come unless she heard from his own lips a positive revocation of the order. Lady Jersey was now going out of town, so that all difficulties on that subject were suspended.
The affair of the Duchess of York and Lady Anne Smith hurt Princess Charlotte exceedingly; she had a great regard for the Miss Fitzroys, and she thought the Duke and Duchess of York two of her best friends. She therefore resolved to clear up the point with the Duchess, and therefore wrote her a note on the subject, desiring her to put off the party if she thought it more prudent so to do. What the Duchess had or had not said I cannot determine, but that trifling circumstance made a “tracasserie” of long duration. The Duchess wanted to exculpate herself with Lady Anne, who, scandal said, was jealous of her. Lady Anne wrote to Colonel Taylor at Windsor, he told it to Princess Mary, and she wrote me a letter, complaining I had betrayed confidence, after a friendship of so many years.
At last, however, the Duke of Cambridge called on me, and, I believe, set all to rights as far as I was concerned; for I not only told him that I could not deceive Princess Charlotte, whose ears were very quick, and who insisted on knowing the whole, but that I had promised never to deceive her; and that also I had not the slightest idea that Princess Mary wished what she said to me on the subject of the Duchess and Lady Anne to be a secret kept from Princess Charlotte; that I had rather considered it as a warning which it was my duty to repeat; and that the whole would have ended quietly if the Duchess had left it where it was. The Duke said that it had better have rested with the Princess Charlotte’s being to blame in not consulting the Duchess of Leeds. _That_, I said, had no effect; for her Royal Highness would not be persuaded to consider her as more than a nominal governess, and I had some difficulty in making things go on as well as they did in that quarter.
Sir Henry Halford, however, who was the person always employed at that time, settled the business of putting off the dinner party, by coming to say from the Queen, that as the Princess Charlotte was not well enough to go back to Windsor, she could not be well enough to see company at dinner, and the Duchess of York prudently declined it. The Prince Regent was supposed not to know anything of this affair, and perhaps really did not. I feel almost ashamed of spending ink and paper on such trifles, but they show the style of treatment adopted towards the future Queen of England.
THE LETTER IN THE “MORNING CHRONICLE”—THE PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF WALES—PAINFUL POSITION OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE—FATHER AND DAUGHTER—THE PRINCESS IN RETIREMENT—THE DELICATE INVESTIGATION—BEHAVIOUR OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
A VERY few days after this first fête, at which Princess Charlotte made her appearance, the _Morning Chronicle_ exhibited a letter from the Princess of Wales to the Regent, complaining of her daughter not being allowed to join in society, to acquire knowledge of the world, &c. Another complaint was her not being permitted to see her oftener; and the most serious one, that she was not _confirmed_. This letter had been sent to the Prince a month before, and a copy of it to Lord Liverpool. That to the Prince had been returned unopened, and had it rested there it would have been very well, but it was injudicious to print it in the papers, and more particularly at a time when Princess Charlotte had just appeared in public, and had been allowed to visit her mother twice in the space of eleven days, instead of once a fortnight, which had been the rule for some time past. I have no doubt that these two last visits had been so contrived on account of the letter; but _that_ the world could not know, and with many people it put the Princess of Wales in the wrong. It produced a visit to me from Colonel Mac Mahon, with a command from the Prince to write a note to the lady in waiting of the Princess of Wales, to say that, “in the absence of the Duchess of Leeds, I was commanded to inform her that Princess Charlotte could not dine at Kensington that day, as had been intended.”
Poor Princess Charlotte was thrown into agonies of grief by all these discussions, and always remarked that she could not have three days’ peace, and trembled continually for what was to come next.
The Prince Regent had, I think, made one or two visits to Warwick House since I came into office; but soon after that message through Colonel Mac Mahon, he called one morning with Lord Liverpool, and desired I would go down to the latter while he spoke to Princess Charlotte, as Lord Liverpool would explain to me on what business they were come.
I found Lord Liverpool, as I thought, very uncomfortable. He seemed too much embarrassed to begin the conversation, and I said the Prince Regent had told me his Lordship would explain to me the business on which they were come, which, as far as I could comprehend, related to the Princess of Wales. Lord Liverpool said it did, and that it gave him great pain, that it was altogether a most unfortunate business, and that no one could feel it more unpleasantly than he did. He did not appear willing to say more, and I had no desire to ask questions. Our conversation, therefore, turned on Lady Liverpool for a few minutes, when the page came in to say that the Prince Regent desired we would both walk up-stairs.
I found the Regent and Princess Charlotte standing near the chimney. She looked penetrated with grief, and spoke not a word. The Prince said he wished Lord Liverpool, as his confidential servant, and me, as Princess Charlotte’s friend, to hear him repeat what he had been saying to her, namely, that an investigation was being made with respect to the conduct of her mother, on the result of which depended her ever being allowed to visit her again, and that in the mean while her usual visits must be suspended. He added, that it was a very serious investigation, and most probably would end in a manner most painful; but that, whatever way it ended, his treatment of Princess Charlotte would be equally kind and considerate, as he should not consider her accountable for the faults of her mother.
Princess Charlotte was dreadfully overcome when he addressed this to Lord Liverpool and me, and her behaviour sufficiently indicated how painful it was to her that family dissensions of so delicate a nature should be brought before a minister and an attendant. The Prince dismissed Lord Liverpool, saying that he would not detain him, as he knew he had much to do; and I saw Princess Charlotte in such distress, that I ventured to say I hoped the Prince would allow her to lie down. On this she roused herself, and with great dignity said she was not ill. However, the Prince soon after took his leave, and desired I would come with him.
I followed him into the library, where he told me that he was surprised at Charlotte’s behaviour; for that she had taken everything he had said to her, while they were alone, perfectly well. I answered, that the Prince’s own feelings would suggest to him that what her Royal Highness could bear from him, she could not support to hear mentioned before subjects and persons unconnected with the family; that I was sure of her attachment to him, but that if she did not feel for her mother (however faulty), she could not have the proper sentiments of a daughter for him. He took this remarkably well, and said he certainly felt for her; but it was better not to deceive her, and that the business would end very seriously. He added, that he had promised to communicate to her the result of the investigation, and would call on her the next day, or the day after.
Many days passed, and no visit from the Prince. He sent one or two messages to excuse himself, and we heard that every one talked of this unhappy affair. Sir John and Lady Douglass had lodgings in Pall-Mall, or St. Alban’s-street, and were constantly with the inhabitants of Carlton House, as we were told. At length Princess Charlotte grew so very anxious that she wrote an affectionate note to the Prince, requesting to see him, which he answered very kindly, but said it was better they should not meet for the present, as when all was settled they might afterwards meet constantly with pleasure. Many more days elapsed, during all which time Princess Charlotte never went out. Lady Liverpool came one day, and was very anxious she should be amused by little parties at Carlton House, or asked to go to the play or opera. But Princess Charlotte constantly replied, that it would ill become her to appear in public while her mother was under a cloud of so tremendous a nature. At length the Miss Herveys, daughters of Mrs. Fremantle, and very intimate at Windsor Castle, called one morning and told her that if she did not appear in public her character would be lost, for that the most injurious stories were circulated about her and Captain Fitzclarence. _This_ had its effect with Princess Charlotte, and she resolved to take an airing in the Park.
This was on the 22nd of February, and we afterwards went almost every day for an hour or two up and down the road where only royal carriages are allowed to go. What mischief was intended by this story of Captain Fitzclarence it is impossible to learn; but it is certain that he neither came to Warwick House, nor sent a letter, during all the time I was with Princess Charlotte, nor do I believe he ever had, or that she had ever entertained a partiality for him. He left his name at the door, as others did, before he went abroad, and when he returned.
But Sir Henry Halford had, before Miss Hervey’s visit, taken great pains to persuade Princess Charlotte to go out, on the score of her health; and it was evident to me that the great anxiety was to prevent the world from thinking that she took much interest in her mother’s concerns.
At length, one day, the Duchess of Leeds remained at Warwick House while we went for our drive in the Park, and at our return we learned that she had been sent for to Carlton House. When she came back, she told me that the Princess’s affair had finished dreadfully, and that the paper would be sent at eight o’clock to be read to Princess Charlotte, before her and me. Princess Charlotte wished we should be alone, and appointed the Duchess to return at eight, declaring that if Lord Liverpool or the Chancellor came to read the paper she would not listen to it, for that _in her eyes_ her mother _must_ be innocent.
At eight the paper came, sealed and directed to the Duchess of Leeds, who arrived a moment after, and who, with great delicacy, put it into the hands of Princess Charlotte. This conduct on her part had great weight with Princess Charlotte, and from that moment she always treated her with more cordiality than she had before done, though she was never uncivil to her, and very kind to Lady Catherine.
Her Royal Highness ran over the paper, and then said, “I have no objection to any one hearing this.” She read it then aloud, and it implied nothing more than the result of the former investigation in 1806, and the consequent advice that Princess Charlotte should only be allowed to see her mother with the same restrictions as before. This very extraordinary termination of the business, after all that had been said, was a great comfort to Princess Charlotte, but did not increase her affection for the Prince. Addresses were now pouring in on all sides to the Princess of Wales, congratulating her on “having escaped a conspiracy against her life and honour.” Mr. Whitbread spoke in the House as her champion, and she became exceedingly popular.
On the 23rd of March the Duchess of Brunswick died. Sir Henry Halford brought the news to me at eleven at night. Princess Charlotte was much affected, and lamented not having lately visited her. But she had kept away from delicacy, on account of the painful affairs relative to the Princess of Wales. She wrote immediately to the Prince, to the Princess, and to the Duke of Brunswick. Next day she wrote to Princess Sophia of Gloucester, who was particularly attached to the Duchess; and the Duke of Gloucester sent a gentleman to me to inquire after Princess Charlotte. It was wonderful to see the kindness and energy with which this young person of seventeen acted on this occasion. She wished to have gone to see the Duchess, her grandmother, after her death, for her mind was not easy at having kept away from her during the last month or two; but Lady Anne Smith and the Duchess of Leeds—particularly Lady Anne—persuaded her not to go.
I must own that I had rather encouraged this idea when she started it, for I thought it proceeded from the best of motives, and I considered that royal personages are in general less prepared for the troubles of this life, because they are spared almost all painful and disagreeable scenes. Everybody, however, chose to interfere with respect to Princess Charlotte, under pretence of excessive anxiety for her happiness and welfare.
On the 25th the Prince called, and offered to Princess Charlotte that she should visit her mother at Blackheath. She went, attended by the Duchess and myself, on the 26th, and we passed a very quiet and comfortable day. The Princess of Wales looked better than I ever saw her. She appeared to be affected and subdued, and was particularly so when we came away, saying how uncertain it was when she should be allowed to see her daughter again. Lady Charlotte Lindsay was in waiting.
About this time Miss Mercer Elphinstone came to Town, and Princess Charlotte wrote to ask the Regent’s permission for seeing her; which was granted. It was evident that this had been arranged beforehand, and that the conditions were that Miss Mercer, who had more influence than any one with Princess Charlotte, should open her eyes to her mother’s imprudence, and break the confidential intimacy between them. That this intimacy must in some degree be prejudicial to Princess Charlotte there were reasons enough to prove; but great delicacy was requisite on this subject, and perhaps not quite sufficient was observed, which gave room for false rumours amongst some Opposition people (particularly the violent ones) that Princess Charlotte was won over by fêtes and balls, and had given up her mother. These rumours were, I believe, underhand, seconded by the agents of Carlton House, who had before spread the most infamous falsehoods about Captain Fitzclarence, &c.
I soon perceived the change, and also some difference of conduct towards myself. Princess Charlotte left off shaking hands with me when we met in the morning and parted at night—a circumstance trifling in itself, and unnecessary where people live in the same house together; but it was accompanied by hints that when she had an establishment her ladies should be kept at a distance, and a short time after that her ladies ought to be Peeresses, or of the highest connexions. I could easily guess whence all this was derived, but I said nothing.
One evening, however, Lady Anne Smith speaking very kindly of the advantage she thought Princess Charlotte had reaped from my being with her, her Royal Highness seemed embarrassed, which upset me; I burst into tears, and was obliged to remain in my room that evening. Next day Princess Charlotte hinted something about jealousy, of which I took no notice; but I perceived her mind had been poisoned.
I resolved, however, to go on doing my duty, and could not blame her for preferring the advice of a person whom she had known intimately for many years, who was shrewd, had talents, and a decision of character often very useful. It appeared to me an amiable trait in Princess Charlotte’s character, and, as she did not treat me ill, I could not bring myself to be angry with her, though it necessarily changed my mode of proceeding. I could no longer be as open as I had been; and though I did not deceive her, and, when necessary, told her exactly what I thought, I was obliged to be on my guard, and to wait sometimes for days before I could hint anything which I was anxious for her to know. Miss Mercer appeared shy of me; and things were in this state when we were asked one day to dinner at Carlton House. It was just after the discovery of the body of Charles I. in the subterranean chapel at Windsor, and the Prince was acting the manner of decapitation on my shoulders. He was in good humour, and had given to Princess Charlotte the centre sapphire of Charles’s crown, which he had received with the papers of the Stuart family from Rome. This dinner party was very dull. It consisted of Miss Goldsworthy and the Duke of Clarence (both of whom fell asleep after the second course), the Duke of Cambridge and Colonel Bloomfield.
About a week after, on the 11th of April, we were sent to Windsor for a fortnight, as Easter was approaching. Princess Charlotte, whose real goodness of heart could not be entirely warped, took me in the carriage with her straight to the Castle, where the Duchess was to meet us. I was anxious to take my leave when I had accompanied her into the room, and I had written to Miss Roberts to say I would dine with her, but it was agreed that as the Queen and Royal Family were just going into the dinner-room, Princess Elizabeth should ask whether I was to dine there. To me nothing could be so disagreeable. The answer of the Queen was, that as I was there I might stay; but I was afterwards told that she had said to the Duke of Cambridge, as he handed her in, that she now did more for the Prince’s daughter than she had ever done for her own children; for that she never sat down with their sub-governesses. This being repeated to me by the Princesses, I found it necessary to write the following letter to the Prince on the subject, more particularly as other affronts of a similar nature were put upon me:
MISS KNIGHT TO THE PRINCE REGENT.
SIR,—As I am well aware of the many and important occupations which engross the time of your Royal Highness, I am sincerely concerned at being under the necessity of arresting your attention for a few moments; but I am convinced that your Royal Highness would think me unworthy of the situation in which you have been pleased to place me, if I could tamely submit to the treatment which I have experienced since my arrival at Windsor.
As it was past five when we reached the Castle on Sunday, the Queen said that I might remain to dinner, but that in allowing this she did more for your Royal Highness’s daughter than she had ever done for her own, as she was not used to sit down with their _sub-governesses_. This, I understand, was not only said at that moment, but had also been her Majesty’s expression at other times when speaking of me; and if reminded that I had the honour of being one of the _ladies companions_, and not _sub-governess_, to the Princess, her Majesty had always said that she considered it as the same thing.
Since the dinner of Sunday, I have not been admitted into her Majesty’s presence, and while I make this representation to your Royal Highness, as explaining the reason why I am thus prevented from doing my duty in attending Princess Charlotte, I by no means wish to force myself into the Queen’s society; and I beg leave to remark that were Princesses alone, or the daughters of Peers, allowed to dine with her Majesty, I perhaps, _individually_, should have no reason to complain; but that, as your Royal Highness well knows, is far from being the case. I must therefore remember that my father was a gentleman, descended from an ancient family; that he served his King and country with uninterrupted loyalty, zeal, and distinction; that he died an admiral, and had, some years before, received the honour of being made a knight banneret under the Royal standard, and of dining with his Majesty.
I must therefore consider that neither my birth nor my situation about her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte render me unworthy of being admitted to her Majesty’s table and parties, and I must look on the exclusion as proceeding from personal displeasure, which I lament having incurred, notwithstanding my dutiful and respectful attachment. I therefore fully confide in the honourable feelings of your Royal Highness, under whose protection I am proud of considering myself, and whose promises of support are indelibly engraved on my memory. I trust I shall never be undeserving of them either in conduct or gratitude, nor of the happiness I feel in belonging to her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte.
I am, Sir, &c.
Princess Charlotte wrote two letters to her father on the same subject; but some persons, anxious to complain of the Queen, and to make her proceedings appear in a worse light, advised her to add that the Queen was not civil to the Duchess of Leeds, and other complaints, which rendered my grievances only a part of the whole.
Whatever the Regent might think, he sent no answer to me either by letter or word of mouth, and he made Sir Henry Halford answer Princess Charlotte in a manner very unsatisfactory. Towards the end of the fortnight Lady Catherine and I had two invitations to the evening parties, but it was altogether very odious and uncomfortable, and I was not less pleased than Princess Charlotte to return to town, which we did on the 29th.
LIFE AT WARWICK HOUSE—THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE’S ESTABLISHMENT—HER WARDROBE—THE DUCHESS D’ANGOULÊME—A DINNER AT CARLTON HOUSE—THE DUKE OF GLOUCESTER—THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE.
THE life we led at Warwick House was exactly that of a child and her nurse. Dr. Short, her Royal Highness’s sub-preceptor, a good sort of Devonshire man, with some classical knowledge, very little taste, an honest heart, but over-cautious temper, fearful of offending, used to come every morning and read English to her Royal Highness from eleven to twelve, at which hour he was succeeded by Mr. Sterkey, minister of the Swiss church, who read French to her; a man of good manners for his station, and of a pliant disposition, ready to do anything not actually wicked, and, I believe, an excellent husband and father. As to Küper, the German preceptor, I could not get her to let him give his usual lessons. She thought him a spy, and perhaps not entirely without reason; but he might have been useful with respect to information, for he was a learned man, and did not want judgment with regard to Greek and Latin, as well as the German language. Mrs. Miles, her music mistress, used frequently to give her lessons in the evening; and she had instructions on the guitar, first from Ventura, a Venetian, who sang prettily, and had practical facility, and afterwards from Vacari, a scientific professor of music, and an excellent player on the violin, who had left the band of the King of Spain, and whose wife was a Spaniard, and taught Princess Charlotte the wild Spanish manner of playing, which the Miss Fitzroys also imitated very happily.
The Bishop of Salisbury used to come three or four times a week, and “do the important” as her Royal Highness’s preceptor. He had expressed great satisfaction at my coming into her service, and had, I know, wished it many years before; but however willing I was to be on the best terms with the Bishop, and to induce Princess Charlotte to treat him with attention, I could not but see how narrow his views, how strong his prejudices, and how unequal his talents were to the charge with which he had been entrusted by the good old King, much against the Prince’s inclination. The Bishop’s great points were to arm Princess Charlotte against the encouragement of Popery and Whig principles (two evils which he seemed to think equally great), and to appear himself a man of consequence. His best accomplishment was a taste for drawing, and a love of the fine arts. I have often put him in a good humour by showing him a drawing, or forwarding his proposals of accompanying Princess Charlotte to exhibitions. Indeed, though she was not fond of the Bishop’s company at any time, and more particularly after two o’clock, when it had been decided by the Prince that he had nothing more to do at Warwick House, she would good naturedly allow him to be our cicerone on these occasions, and nothing could gratify him more, except a Garter ceremony, on which occasion he never failed to make his appearance at Warwick House in his dress as Chancellor of the Order.
The Bishop having been preceptor to the Duke of Kent, and living much at Windsor, where he was formerly a canon, had imbibed the bad style of manners belonging to that place, and as it was not grafted on any natural or acquired elegance, he was in that respect also unfit for his situation; added to which, his temper was hasty, and his vanity easily alarmed. His disputes with Lady de Clifford had been terrible, and he seemed now to bless himself that things went on so well and so quietly. Indeed, I thought it important they should do so, and the good Duchess of Leeds had no inclination to quarrel with anybody. Provided that she might ride two or three times a week at Hall’s—a second-rate riding-school—on an old quiet horse for exercise, get into her shower-bath, and take calomel when she pleased, dine out, and go to all parties when invited, shake hands with everybody, and touch her salary, she cared for nothing more, except when mischievous people to plague her, or curious gossips to find out what was going on, talked to her about Princess Charlotte’s petticoats being too short, of her Royal Highness nodding instead of bowing, or talking to the maids of honour at chapel between the prayers and the sermon.
On these occasions the poor Duchess became bilious, cried in her sleep, and begged and prayed me next day to talk to Princess Charlotte, for she did not like to venture on anything herself, unless driven to the last extremity. The financial department being wholly in her keeping, this was a very sore subject. Princess Charlotte had been, until just before Lady de Clifford left her, allowed ten pounds a month for pocket money; more than which she lost at cards at Windsor, for her Royal Highness was not fond of play, and still less of the practice of having her hand made for her to the detriment of others; therefore she, of course, seldom won a pool at commerce, and Lady de Clifford was obliged, to furnish her with money for her little charities out of the eight hundred pounds a year allotted for her wardrobe. Before she left her Royal Highness she increased the monthly allowance to fifteen pounds, saying they could not lessen it; and this was all Princess Charlotte had absolutely at her own disposal; and now that balls and birthdays necessarily took up so much money for dresses, which the Prince and Royal Family expected should be new and splendid, the difficulties were great.
Mrs. Louis, a German, Princess Charlotte’s second dresser, and now the only one capable of exertion (for Mrs. Gagarin was in a dying state), possessed taste and economy superior to anything I ever saw, added to excellent principles of religion and morality, and a constant cheerfulness of temper. She was invaluable from all points of view. Her contrivances with respect to her Royal Highness’s wardrobe, to which she gave the appearance of novelty at a very trifling expense, were truly praiseworthy in a situation where extravagance and airs are so apt to characterise the menial servants of Princesses. But with all this economy, eight hundred pounds a year could not do more than dress her Royal Highness with propriety.
Fortunately, she was not desirous of sacrificing either time or treasure on her toilette, but she liked pictures, and specimens of the fine arts of every description; and she loved nothing so much as making presents of valuable trinkets to her young friends, who were ready enough to accept them, and the poor Duchess had really sufficient cause for crying in her sleep when quarter-day came about. Yet it is astonishing to think with what propriety, order, and regularity the house went on, with such small funds as were allowed. Fourteen thousand pounds was the average expense, from which pensions to the amount of nearly two thousand pounds a year, and salaries which could not amount to less than four thousand pounds more, were to be subtracted, a steward, page, two dressers, and a proportionate number of servants to be maintained, carriages and horses kept, and, in short, all the expenses of a family paid, excepting her Royal Highness’s saddle horses, which were kept at Carlton House stables.
Mrs. Gagarin, who had lived with Princess Charlotte from her infancy, was an excellent person; she was an Englishwoman, but in her youth had been unfortunately married to a Russian Prince, whom she afterwards discovered to be the husband of another, and whom she therefore left without even claiming a provision. This was told me in confidence by Princess Charlotte, who had almost a filial regard for her. Mrs. Gagarin had one daughter, whom she had placed, after giving her a good education, as governess in a Scotch family, where she became acquainted with a worthy clergyman named Wightman, and was engaged to him. Some months before I came to Princess Charlotte, Mrs. Gagarin had fallen into a bad state of health, and her daughter came to stay with her. Why I cannot tell, but the Queen and Princesses had been much displeased with this, and with the notice which Princess Charlotte took of her; and after giving up the plan of dismissing all the servants, which had been their intention when the Duchess and I came into office, they at least took care that Miss Gagarin should be married as soon as possible, and sent away with her husband to a small living near Bath, given him by the Bishop of Salisbury, whither Mrs. Gagarin was also sent, on pretence of change of air being beneficial to her health, but in fact hoping she would not return, for this was confessed to me. However, though far from recovering, she was most anxious to return as soon as the weather allowed her to travel; and we had her back. Every care, every attention which the kindest and most considerate affection could suggest were bestowed on her by Princess Charlotte. While she was capable of taking airings, her Royal Highness constantly sent her out in a carriage, and when she grew so weak as to be confined to her room, visited her two or three times a day, carried her in her arms to the window, and exerted every faculty to soothe and comfort her. Indeed, Princess Charlotte was kind and benevolent to all her servants, yet never condescended to any unbecoming familiarity with them, or treated them with more confidence than could be justified by their stations and conduct. They all idolised her.
On the 5th of May I went in the evening to the Duchess d’Angoulême, who had sent the Duke de Sérent to say she was in town, and desired I should be presented to her, as I had been to the King, Monsieur, and the Duke d’Angoulême at Carlton House. I went about eight, and found her in a small house in South Audley-street, belonging to Monsieur. She received me very graciously, and placed me beside herself; the room was full of French emigrants, a foreign minister or two, and two or three other strangers. Her profile was good, and she would have been beautiful had not early misfortune nipped the blossom. Her figure stooped, but it was rather a good one. Her dress particularly plain and unassuming; her manner perfectly unaffected; her voice rather too loud, and her articulation rather too quick to be pleasing, otherwise than by a tone of sincerity, which was very striking. The manners of Monsieur were perfect, and his countenance still very pleasing. The Duchess de Coigny struck me as singularly well bred and agreeable.
The Queen and Princesses came to town pretty often, and at those times we went to Carlton House, usually the Princess and Duchess to dinner, and all of us in the evening.
On the 12th there was a ball there, and also on the 1st of June. The next day, the Duchess being ill, I had to accompany Princess Charlotte to dinner at Carlton House. The Queen, two of the Princesses, and a small party dined there. The Hertfords, Liverpools, Cholmondeleys, Hampdens, and Lord St. Helens, were the usual set, and were there that day. The Prince was uncommonly gracious to me, and it was settled that I was to go to Windsor with Princess Charlotte on the 4th of June (the King’s birthday), dine at Frogmore, and come back the next day. We went, and the Prince was again all courtesy. He seemed very anxious that the Duchess of Leeds should send the Queen a letter of mine, which she had never seen, and which he and good Princess Augusta thought would restore me to her favour. At all events, he desired I would not be uneasy, and that although the Queen might be angry with me herself, he was sure she would be much more angry with any one who should speak against me. He was in high good humour, but in the midst of it, tapping me on the shoulder, said, “Remember, however, my dear Chevalier, that Charlotte must lay aside the idle nonsense of thinking that she has a will of her own; while I live she must be subject to me as she is at present, if she were thirty, or forty, or five-and-forty.” This, of course, I did not repeat to her Royal Highness.
The Prince had desired Princess Charlotte to make him a present of her portrait, and she had for some time been sitting to Sanders for that purpose. He is an excellent painter, but uncommonly slow. She wished it should be finished against the 12th of August, as a present to her father on his birthday; and we used to go very often to his study for these sittings. Sanders is a very particular man, very correct, very religious. So far from taking the liberty of admitting any one when her Royal Highness was there, it was with great difficulty we could prevail on him to let in Miss Mercer, Lady Tavistock, Lady Jersey, or the Miss Fitzroys, when the regent particularly desired it; and it certainly was an annoyance to a nervous man, peculiarly anxious for the success of this picture, to have a set of women come and give their opinions, and afterwards talk over the balls and parties of the night before. Princess Charlotte, however, could not sometimes resist letting in these tormentors of poor Sanders; and she had so little amusement in general, that anything of this kind was an object to her. She listened with avidity to all the accounts her friends gave of the assemblies and other amusements of which she could not partake; and they would sometimes come for a little while in the evening, before they went to their gayer parties. Our only other entertainment was driving in the park, and when that was objected to, on the road.
On the 17th of May we had visited the Princess of Wales on her birthday, but were not allowed to dine there.
On the 30th of June there was a magnificent ball at Carlton House, and the evening before we had been at the Duke of York’s. The Duke of Gloucester was there, sat down by Princess Charlotte, and talked to her. This displeased the Prince, and there was much conversation with Lady Liverpool, who walked up and down the room, and was at last sent to desire that her Royal Highness would change places with Lady Bathurst, who sat on the other side of her. This she would not do, but walked into the next room. The Duke was greatly offended, and his sister much hurt. After the Queen, Prince, and Princesses were gone, Princess Charlotte apologised to the Duke and Princess Sophia of Gloucester for what had passed. This gave occasion to the Duke, who had been only talking to her before on indifferent subjects, to say that he meant to take no liberty, but that she might consider him as devoted to her, and ready to come forward whenever she would cast her eyes on him. Princess Charlotte came home indignant and hurt at having been watched and worried, and the ball was not so pleasant to her as it otherwise would have been.
The Duke of Devonshire used alternately to dance with Princess Charlotte and Princess Mary, not less, and generally more, than two dances at every ball. The Prince encouraged this, on account of his rank, and also from a regard for him on his late mother’s account; and ministers were supposed to encourage it, because they hoped the attractions of Princess Charlotte might attach him to Carlton House, and so to the Prince, and so on to their side of the House in Parliament.
The Duke was by no means insensible to the charms of his future Queen. Followed by all the mothers and all the misses in London, because he was the yet unmarried Duke of Devonshire, it is probable that he might wish to be liked for himself alone, and this must be the case if Princess Charlotte liked him. His ambition, also, might be roused, and he might, and perhaps unfortunately did, feel really attached to her. A good young man, of a benevolent heart, moderate abilities, and romantic turn (which I understand was the case with him), might easily fall into such a snare. He was very attentive, and Princess Charlotte’s friends were, almost all, very intimate with him. Miss Mercer Elphinstone was supposed to like him, to wish to marry him, and to be playing a deep game, so that when he was disappointed of Princess Charlotte, he might take her, out of gratitude for her good offices. This ill-natured story was too ridiculous to be believed; for if Miss Mercer wished to marry him, she could not at the same time wish to encourage his attachment to a beautiful young Princess of seventeen, who was generally thought the handsomest woman in the ball-room (for dress became her particularly), and who must, at all events, eclipse a woman of twenty-eight, whose great fortune would be no attraction to the Duke. I heard this story from every one, but did not believe it. The Duke of Devonshire paid great attention to all Princess Charlotte’s friends, and also to the Duchess of Leeds. As to myself, I was not acquainted with him, and rather avoided being so, that I might not be suspected of carrying on any intercourse between him and Princess Charlotte.
FESTIVITIES AT CARLTON HOUSE—COMPLAINTS AND ACCUSATIONS—LETTER TO LADY LIVERPOOL—VISIT TO SANDHURST—ARRIVAL OF THE PRINCE OF ORANGE—A SUITOR FOR THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE—ROYAL MATCH-MAKING—LETTER TO THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
ON the 6th of July we were at the magnificent breakfast given at Carlton Gardens, followed by a ball. The news of the battle of Vittoria added splendour to the fête, and the letter of the Prince to Lord Wellington, with the marshal’s staff which he was to send him, and that taken from the enemy, were the lions of the day. It was a fine day, and the gardens really looked very gay, but Princess Charlotte had just before, on the 1st of the month, lost poor Mrs. Gagarin, and was deeply affected by her loss. She might be said to have known no other mother; and her fortitude as well as tenderness, on this occasion, showed itself in every possible way, to the great honour of her heart and head. Mrs. Wightman arrived too late to see her mother alive. Princess Charlotte saw her after her death; it was the first corpse she had seen; she took with her into the room an intimate friend of the deceased, and to her, and to all who were attached to Mrs. Gagarin, she was invariably affectionate and beneficent. She was very low for a long time afterwards, though she endeavoured to suppress and conceal her feelings.
We continued to visit Sanders, as the time approached for going into the country; and Princess Charlotte was anxious that the picture should be finished. We also took long airings before and after dinner, and everything that could divert her thoughts from the loss she had sustained was, I thought, necessary to be done, and her life was so monotonous, that any other young person must have felt it excessively dull.
About this time, the middle of July, her Royal Highness being really by no means well, wrote a letter to her father, to request that she might be allowed to go to the sea-side which was recommended by Sir Henry Halford, and which all the medical people said she ought to visit every year till she was five-and-twenty, as she had been accustomed to do till she went to Windsor in 1812. She sent for Mr. Adam, Miss Mercer’s uncle, and the Prince’s chancellor, on this business. The request was not granted; the Prince was much displeased, and said that she was quite well. He also sent Sir Henry to me, to complain of our having been seen driving twice one day on the Chiswick road, when the Duke of Devonshire was giving a great breakfast there. I said the fault was mine, as I had proposed to drive that way that Princess Charlotte might see the carriages; that her life had so little variety in it, and her health and spirits were at that time so indifferent, that I was anxious to do anything that could cheer her. The Prince scarcely called once in two months, and she saw none of her family except at the Carlton House parties.
Another heavy complaint was our going to the painter’s. I agreed that it would have been better if he could have painted at Warwick House, but the light would not have suited him for a large picture, and I desired Sir Henry to assure the Prince how scrupulously careful Mr. Sanders was as to quiet and privacy, insomuch that he would not let in his friend and patroness Lady Charlotte Campbell, and I added that the picture was for the Prince, as Lady Liverpool well knew, for she had discovered that such a picture was painting, had been to see it, and we had told her its destination. In the midst of all this sudden fit of ill humour we were ordered to Windsor, and arrived there on the 31st, to the great displeasure of Princess Charlotte.
The next day, 1st August, her Royal Highness and the Duchess of Leeds dined at the Castle, and the Duchess came home to me crying at night, having been severely reprimanded by the Queen and Prince Regent for her own conduct and mine. The stories of the Duke of Devonshire, with exaggerated circumstances, were called up, and, as far as I could understand from the Duchess’s mutilated account, I was more blamed than herself. As I found there was no possibility of my justifying myself with the Prince, and still less with the Queen, I was so shocked that I really became quite ill, and I wrote the following letter to Lady Liverpool, in which I defended both Princess Charlotte and myself:
Lower Lodge, Windsor, August 3, 1813.
MY DEAR LADY LIVERPOOL,—I am convinced no apology is necessary for the trouble I am about to give you, when I consider the length of time in which I have had the honour of being known to you, the respect I entertain for the memory of your respected mother, whose good opinion of me when I was young, and you were a child, was always particularly flattering to me, and, more than all, the good sense and delicacy of principle for which you are distinguished.
I confess I have been extremely hurt since my arrival at Windsor, on finding that my conduct with respect to Princess Charlotte has been blamed by her Majesty and the Prince Regent. I have had no opportunity of justifying myself with the latter, as he left this place without seeing me; and with the former I can have no explanation, as her Majesty does not speak to me, and has declared she will have no further communication with me since I left her service for that of her grand-daughter. It is needless to recapitulate _why_ I did so, _how much_ I was _urged_ to it, or what _promises_ of _support_ were made me. I must, however, confess that I made no conditions, except that I could not be a spy on Princess Charlotte; and I will only say that I have had no other support than the great good sense, the excellent disposition, and affectionate heart of this young Princess, who, providentially, being a very superior creature to what girls of seventeen generally are, has not taken advantage of the circumstances in which I was placed, but has acted in such a manner as to convince me I was perfectly right when I said that reliance might safely be placed on her honour and nobleness of temper, and that the only control under which she could properly act was that of confidence and affection.
As to myself, the various and often very difficult trials I have had to encounter through life, have, I trust, made known to my friends that I have always at least wished to act with propriety, and it is certainly not now that I should begin to adopt an opposite plan of conduct. What false reports, or exaggerated statements may, from idleness or envy, have been carried to the Prince Regent, or to the Queen, I know not, and therefore do not condemn them for what they said; but this I can solemnly declare, that since I have had the honour of belonging to Princess Charlotte, I have seen no impropriety of conduct which could have justified a complaint on my part, and that had I seen any, such was my confidence in her candour and condescending kindness to me, and such was my strong sense of duty, that I should undoubtedly have made proper, though respectful, representations to her Royal Highness on the subject; but, deprived as she is of those domestic comforts and amusements which girls of her age in a less elevated station enjoy, and which even the Princesses her aunts have always enjoyed with their Royal parents, I must have had a heart of a very strange composition if, amidst all her privations (and some of them it is to be remembered of the most trying nature), I could have contradicted her for trifles innocent in themselves, and by so doing have lost that confidence which could alone give me a shadow of authority over her actions and proceedings.
I have for the last six months given up all visits to my friends, all avocations connected with my duty at Warwick House, and, in short, everything that could deprive me of the power of saying that I had done my duty, and that I could answer for the conduct of Princess Charlotte at every hour and moment of the day and night.
You will not think this an intrusion on your time, my dear Lady Liverpool. The subject is in itself of sufficient importance; and the temperate conduct of Lord Liverpool, as well as the moral propriety and domestic happiness which secure to you both the esteem of the public, are so many reasons for making me desirous of standing well in your opinions, that I cannot deny myself the satisfaction of explaining what I feared might be misinterpreted to his lordship and to you.
Believe me, &c.
Lady Liverpool wrote a courteous answer, but which, in one respect, was unsatisfactory, as it implied that my justification depended on Princess Charlotte’s conduct, whereas I endeavoured to prove that the want of support I had experienced, contrary to all promises made me, rendered it not only difficult, but even impossible, to be of any other use than what Princess Charlotte’s confidence and good nature might allow. I showed her my letter before I sent it, and afterwards the answer.
Miss Mercer came about this time to stay two or three days at Windsor, on a visit to Princess Charlotte; but not having leave to sleep in the house, I got a room for her at Mrs. Hallam’s, who was absent. She was evidently annoyed at my having written to Lady Liverpool, her friend Lady Bathurst and Lady L. being _dear friends_ and _great enemies_—at least, according to Miss Mercer’s representations; and perhaps it was really the case, but I felt I had done right, and I told Princess Charlotte there was no dependence to be placed on any of these people, hinting to her that most probably their only reason for paying court to Miss Mercer was to make her useful, and that everybody said the consent for her Royal Highness seeing Miss Mercer again had only been given to detach her from the Princess of Wales. Of course Princess Charlotte repeated this to Miss Mercer, and the effect it had was to make that young lady particularly attentive to me. She wrote to me after her departure in the most confidential and flattering manner, particularly explaining a circumstance in which it appeared that the Princess of Wales had acted very imprudently with respect to Princess Charlotte, and in which she (Miss M.) interposed in the properest manner. I was pleased with this, and from that time Miss Mercer and I were on the best terms, and, as I thought, in common with her Royal Highness, treated every subject in the most confidential manner.
The Prince Regent’s birthday, 12th August, was kept at the new Military College at Sandhurst, where the Queen was to present new colours to the Cadet Battalion. All the Royal Family, the ministers and their wives, and a few others, were present. The Bishop of Salisbury had previously consecrated the chapel, and Sir Alexander Hope, whose heart seemed quite devoted to this interesting colony, was all attention and propriety. His sister, the Dowager Lady Melville, lately appointed one of the Ladies of the Bedchamber to the Queen, assisted Lady Hope in doing the honours; as did the sister of the latter, Lady Hampden. The Prince did not speak to Princess Charlotte, the Duchess, or me, but looked as if he wished to annihilate us. However, the day in other respects passed very well, and the establishment was highly deserving of praise. The Royal Family dined in the house, the rest of the company under tents in the garden, and in the evening there was a little dance of five or six couples, promoted by the Duke of Clarence. The day had been remarkably hot, and the evening was a beautiful moonlight. When the Queen was about to depart, the Prince Regent was not to be found, and we afterwards learned that he, with the Duke of York, Prince of Orange (the father), and many others, were under the table. The Duke of York hurt his head very seriously against a wine cellaret. In short, it was a sad business. We went home very quietly in an open carriage by the lovely moonlight.
On the 16th, the Duke of York’s birthday, arrived the hereditary Prince of Orange with the account of a great victory gained by Lord Wellington over the French army, commanded by Soult. A large party dined that day at Frogmore, of whom I was one, and we expected to see the hereditary Prince, but the Regent did not bring him. The Regent was in no better humour than on the 12th, but Lord Yarmouth paid great court to the Princess Charlotte, to the Duchess, and to me. The Prince Regent would not come to see the Princess Charlotte at the Lower Lodge, and gave, as an excuse, that he could not bear to see those d—— ladies, meaning the Duchess and myself—so, at least, we were told. Had I been the Duchess I think I should have resigned; but perhaps not, as I thought this species of conduct, without any real ground, was possibly meant to force us to this step by making our lives disagreeable. I told Sir H. Halford so, and he asserted the contrary.
Soon afterwards, we had an invitation to dine at Lord Liverpool’s, at Coombe Wood, to meet the Queen and Princesses. Lady Liverpool sent the invitation to the Duchess, and next morning I received a private letter from her, mentioning the company we were to meet, and particularly all the young ladies, who, she hoped, might be pleasant society for Princess Charlotte, recommending to my notice a young person, a relation of hers, whose timidity would require support. The Oranges were not mentioned, neither was it said at the Castle that they were to be there; but Princess Charlotte had private information to that effect, and, I believe, it was to have been so. On which account her Royal Highness availed herself of the excuse of not being well, put on a blister a day sooner than she had intended, and did not go.
I was sorry for this, because, if it was a trick, it was one easily foiled by dignity of conduct; and I was more sorry for her Royal Highness’s going very soon after to the Egham races, though she was not well enough to do more than sit in her carriage. Her mind was worried, she had a pain in her side, and her health always suffered from the climate and water of Windsor, as well as the constant worry.
Sir H. Halford was at this time continually at the lodge, a great favourite of the Duchess, and constantly charged with messages from the Castle. One of his affairs there was to negotiate a marriage between the Duke of Brunswick and Princess Mary, of which it was to be understood the latter knew nothing. Poor Princess Charlotte was most willing to do all she could to persuade her uncle to this step, but it would not do, and, I dare say, was never forgiven by the Prince, if he knew it; which most probably he did. For neither Princess Mary nor Sir H. Halford would have ventured without being sure of his approbation, and the subsequent conduct of the Prince Regent to the Duke manifestly proved his displeasure. Hints were given with great caution of wishes in favour of the Prince of Orange, but Princess Charlotte had shown so great a dislike to that business, that nothing was said openly.
At last, in consequence of a confidential conversation between Princess Charlotte and Princess Mary, I found the latter had warmly recommended marriage to the former, and next evening there was a long interview with Sir Henry; after which Princess Charlotte told me she had brought him round with respect to one person. I could not guess whom she meant, but thought it might be the Duke of Kent. She said, “No, it was the Duke of Gloucester;” and in the evening she told me that they all wanted her to marry, and that she saw they wished for the hereditary Prince of Orange, but that she would never marry him, and had told Sir Henry that the Duke of Gloucester was the most eligible person, and the one she would prefer.
I felt rather hurt that she should have committed herself in this manner, more particularly as I was sure she had no partiality whatever for the Duke; but I answered that it certainly was a marriage which in the eye of reason could not be disapproved, but that I was convinced neither the Regent nor any of the family would hear of it, the Duke’s politics being a sufficient bar, added to the want of birth on his mother’s side. Besides, I could not help reminding her of the difference of age, and, I added, I never saw anything to make me believe she liked him. Princess Charlotte answered that all this was perfectly true, but that she could never expect to marry from inclination, and that the Duke’s character and temper were so good that she might reasonably look forward to being treated with kindness, and to see her husband esteemed by the nation.
In all this I heartily concurred, but still I felt exceedingly surprised at her having started it so suddenly, and augured nothing good from the proceeding. I expressed my astonishment to Sir Henry, and, at the same time, my total ignorance of the measure until it had taken place. When Sir Henry returned next time from town, he said that the Prince had taken it more calmly than he had expected, and that he would come very soon to Windsor and talk it over with Princess Charlotte, but that he could not give hope that the result would be favourable. I begged only that the Prince would see his daughter at the Lower Lodge, as she always felt hurt at being only sent for to the Castle for the purpose of seeing him in her aunt’s room.
The Prince came, and to the Lower Lodge. Princess Charlotte was desirous that I should see him first, and I met him on the stairs. He at first looked displeased, but I entered into an explanation with him on the former grievances, and cleared up the falsehoods. I heard what he chose to say on the present subject with proper respect, and he became very good-humoured towards me; but when Princess Charlotte came in, although he did not raise his voice, and said he would be very calm and very affectionate, he was certainly as bitter as possible on the Duke of Gloucester, and not a little so to Princess Charlotte. He positively refused giving his consent to this union, but added, what I thought most important, that so far from ever wishing to control her inclinations, he would not even urge her to comply with any proposals by recommendatory means. He said he was himself too severe a sufferer to wish any other person, and especially a child of his own, to know the misery of an ill-assorted marriage; that he would invite over many of the Princes of the Continent (for that a subject of England she could not marry), and she might then have her choice; that with respect to the hereditary Prince of Orange, whom she seemed to apprehend being forced on her, he would not bring him to Frogmore on the Duke of York’s birthday, that she might not think he meant to recommend him (he took occasion, however, to praise him several times during this visit); and he ended by saying that her happiness and her honour were the wishes nearest to his heart.
When he took leave of her, and remained with me, he expressed great displeasure, and hinted a suspicion of her doing all this as a blind, and of her being attached to the Duke of Devonshire. I defended her on that point, but said that I regretted her having proposed the marriage with the Duke of Gloucester in the manner she had done, and that I wished to prevent her having such long conferences with Sir Henry, farther than medical advice might render them necessary, as I was mindful of his Royal Highness’s injunction of not leaving her alone with gentlemen; an injunction which my own sense of propriety rendered unnecessary. The Prince said that Sir Henry was the friend of the family, and that he had not the slightest objection to her being left alone with him; on the contrary, he had often sent messages by him.
I could never discover who had advised Princess Charlotte to this step, but I am convinced it was brought on by Princess Mary and Sir Henry urging the necessity of her marrying. I was very uneasy about it, but I wished to impress on her mind that she had so far gained a great point in having the Prince’s promise that he would never force her inclinations, and that she could always refer to this promise in case of necessity. But the fact was, they were using every means to bring about a marriage with the Prince of Orange, without choosing to appear in it, or to give her the merit of consenting from a feeling of duty. Underhand means of all sorts were put in practice, and Lady Anne Smith and her daughters, while staying at Oatlands, came over to make a visit, and warmly advocated the cause.
About this time her Royal Highness, by the advice of Miss Mercer, with whom she constantly communicated, entered into another correspondence, which promised great utility. Politics were not concerned in it, and nothing could be more correct than the advice given with respect to her filial duty, as well as other points of her conduct. To this friend she communicated what had passed with her father, and the advice was, if possible, to comply with his wishes with regard to the Prince of Orange, but if resolved to marry the Duke of Gloucester, to wait patiently until the age of twenty-one, when more efficacious measures might be pursued. This adviser professed himself the friend of the Duke, but certainly was fair and impartial in the manner in which he wrote.
As she was to be eighteen on her next birthday, she was very anxious about the establishment which she doubted not then to obtain, and as it evidently appeared to me, from her conversation, that she had been advised to have none but people of high rank about her, and young people, I thought it necessary to write her the following letter, which I gave into her own hand, expressing my wish to leave her entirely at liberty with respect to myself.
MISS KNIGHT TO THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
MY DEAREST MADAM,—There is a subject on which I have for some time wished to speak to your Royal Highness, but finding that my feelings will not allow me to mention it without being completely overcome, I think it best to trouble you with a few lines of explanation, as I am sensible it is not right to defer it longer.
The time for your Royal Highness having a new establishment is rapidly approaching, and I know your way of thinking is not only so just and honourable, but also so kind and considerate, that you may perhaps feel embarrassed with respect to me. I therefore wish that you should consider yourself perfectly at liberty.
It is needless to repeat what passed when I entered into the service of your Royal Highness. Had I not been assured that it was your particular desire, I should not have yielded to the Prince’s entreaties. I thought I saw a noble disposition misunderstood, great talents unperceived or discouraged, and strong feelings so harassed as to be rendered dangerous to their possessor. I flattered myself that I might at least be a negative comfort, and by perhaps soothing, certainly not tormenting, give scope for the display of those amiable and exalted qualities which vexation and contradiction might tarnish. Thus far I trust I may have succeeded; and I shall therefore retire in some measure satisfied with what I have done, and with the most ardent and fervent prayers for the happiness of my ever-dear Royal mistress. I am no longer young; my spirits have been broken by the vicissitudes and sorrows of a life of disappointments. I have no connexions, and few friends left who can promote the interests of your Royal Highness, or give support to me in the slippery path which I have already found so difficult to tread. It is therefore perhaps better, both for your Royal Highness and myself, that I should retire, even if you wished me to remain, and also that, when I retire, I should withdraw myself entirely. The pang will be dreadful when I am obliged to leave you; for the romance of my life has been attachment, and I feel for your Royal Highness an interest of which, after various afflictions I had experienced, I no longer thought myself capable; that interest I shall still feel, but it will occasion me less pain at a distance than were I to see you only now and then, after having passed so many months constantly in your society.
I trust I need not add that every confidential communication with which you have been pleased to honour me shall be sacred, and that the very few friends with whom I shall associate for the remainder of my life will hear nothing from me but expressions of gratitude for your goodness.
I shall also for ever feel grateful to the Prince for having placed me with you; but should he (from a recollection of the promise he made Lord Moira never to give me up) urge you to retain me in your service, I beg you will not think yourself under any necessity to comply with his request. I may be proud, but I do not think that I am either interested or ambitious. I will stay while I can be of any the slightest service to your Royal Highness, but I will never be a burden to you, or prevent you from filling a place about you more worthily.
I trust your Royal Highness will not consider what I have said as a liberty. I feel it as an urgent though a very painful duty, and must therefore risk the consequences. That every blessing may attend you, will be to my latest hour the prayer of,
My dearest madam,
Your Royal Highness’s
Most dutiful and most devoted servant,
ELLIS CORNELIA KNIGHT.
Lower Lodge, Windsor, Oct. 27, 1813.
I was much overcome, and ill for two days after writing this letter, which I believe hurt her; but she said nothing to me on the subject, and we went on as usual at Windsor, never so comfortable as in town, but no disputes. We had Vacari there and Vitalba (the drawing-master). I persuaded her to invite the Queen and Princesses, with their own society, to some music, and it succeeded very well.
RETURN TO WARWICK HOUSE—THE PRINCE OF ORANGE—MANœUVRING—THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE BETROTHED—FEELINGS OF THE PRINCESS—THE GREAT FROST.
AFTER Princess Augusta’s birthday, the 8th of November, we returned to town, and the Princess Charlotte seemed to feel happy and comfortable in being restored to the quiet life of Warwick House.
This quiet did not last long. Towards the end of the month Sir Henry Halford urged the business of the hereditary Prince of Orange, insomuch that Princess Charlotte came up much annoyed, after a long interview with him; but Lady Anne Smith was, I believe, more successful, and after a very long conference with her, on the 29th of November, I heard Princess Charlotte say that the Prince of Orange was certainly adored in the army, and that not only Lord Wellington, but all his brother officers, particularly John Fremantle, spoke most highly of him. I saw something was passing in her mind, but I never pressed to obtain her confidence.
Miss Mercer was still at Plymouth; the Miss Herveys, _i.e._ Lady Knightley and Miss Hervey, daughters of Mrs. Fremantle, had, no doubt, worked hard, as far as their influence would go, in favour of the Prince of Orange, but the aversion of Princess Charlotte, till the evening I have been just mentioning, was so great, that nothing could persuade her even to speak of him with patience.
On the 1st and 2nd of December the Queen and two Princesses being in town, we passed the evening at Carlton House. A print of the hereditary Prince was placed on a chair to be looked at, and Princess Charlotte thought it not ugly. The Prince was mighty busy and good humoured. He made Princess Charlotte a present of a belt sent him from Turkey, to which he had added a diamond clasp. The belt was studded with rose-diamonds. I heard him joke about a ring, and I saw little Lord Arran hold up his hand in a mysterious way to one of the Princesses, and heard him say, “It will do, it will do!” All this convinced me of what was going on, and I heard that despatches had been received from Lord Wellington, stating that the Prince of Orange was to come over to see his father, who shortly before had returned to Holland, and was proclaimed Prince of the Netherlands.
On the 4th, after Princess Charlotte had seen Sir Henry Halford for a quarter of an hour, she told me she was to dine next day at Carlton House. I asked if the Queen and Princesses were come back to town. She said no; that she was to go attended by the Duchess, and to meet only a very small party. I said then I supposed the Prince of Orange was to be there. She said, Yes, he was just arrived. I was shocked at the suddenness and want of confidence in all this; but I felt I had no right to interfere. She was complying with the wishes of all her family; and I only said that I thought she did right to see the Prince of Orange, and to see him without prejudice; but that I also hoped she would take time for consideration in a case where the happiness of her life was concerned. She seemed agitated and unwilling to speak on the subject; in short, not daring to trust herself. She said she expected the Prince, and must write a note to say so. He came, and saw her alone; after which, I asked whether there were any orders for me the next day. She said, none. I then said that I should not go in the evening, as I was always ordered to do when she dined there; but that I begged, if I were missed, that her Royal Highness would tell the Prince that I would not intrude on what appeared to be so private a party.
Next morning, the 5th, we went to chapel, as usual, and I told the Duchess of Leeds that a print of the Duke of Devonshire, which had been hanging up with other portraits, for some time, in one of the rooms (a print which the Duchess of Leeds had herself brought from the Duke of Devonshire, as it was a private plate, and wanted, she thought, like many others, for the History of England which we were illustrating)—that this print was taken down and given to Lady Anne Smith, and that of the Prince of Orange placed in its room. The Duchess rejoiced at this, as also that she was to meet the Prince of Orange at dinner.
When we came home, Princess Charlotte, contrary to custom, shut herself up in her own room, and only came out of it dressed for dinner. Her toilet was by no means _recherchée_. She was dressed in violet satin, trimmed with black lace, and looked pale and agitated. I sat up for her return, which was about one in the morning, and she told me in confidence she was engaged to the Prince of Orange. I could only remark that she had gained a great victory over herself. She answered, “No, you would not say so if you were to see him; he is by no means as disagreeable as I expected.” She mentioned his having spoken very handsomely at dinner of the old liberties of Holland, and said that in the evening the Regent took them both into a room, where they walked up and down together for some time; after which he took her apart, and said, “Well, it will not do, I suppose?” That she answered, “I do not say that. I like his manner very well, as much as I have seen of it.” Upon which the Prince was overcome with joy, and joined their hands immediately. She told me the Prince of Orange had praised the Fitzroys very much at dinner, as also Colonel Hervey, Mrs. Fremantle’s son, and had said that he had promised to ask for his being made aide-de-camp to the Regent.
Next day the Prince of Orange came to make his visit with Lord Bathurst, the Regent being busy. He shook hands with me very good humouredly when I was introduced by Princess Charlotte. I thought him particularly plain and sickly in his look, his figure very slender, his manner rather hearty and boyish, but not unpleasant in a young soldier. The day after, the 7th, he came with the Regent, who left them together, and sat down with me by the fire in the adjoining room (with only a passage, at least, between us). He told me _in confidence_ that the Princess Charlotte was engaged to the young Prince of Orange, but that he would not have her inform anybody, not Miss Mercer, nor her uncles, till he should give her leave; that he should acquaint the Queen and Princesses with it; that the marriage would not take place till spring, as the young Prince was now going to join his father for the settlement of the Dutch affairs, and that, as I remained now the friend of Princess Charlotte, no new arrangements being to be made until the marriage, he desired I would give her good advice, particularly against flirtation. He said she should go to Windsor for a week towards Christmas to be confirmed, and afterwards to take the sacrament with the family, and he should meet her there; but that he could not give her any dance on her approaching birthday, as no one would be in town, and he himself was going to the christening of the young Marquis of Granby at Belvoir Castle. I asked if it was his pleasure that I should go to Windsor with her Royal Highness, and he said, “_Most certainly_.”
While we were talking, we heard Princess Charlotte break forth into a violent fit of sobs and hysterical tears. The Prince started up, and I followed him to the door of the other room, where we found the Prince of Orange looking half-frightened, and Princess Charlotte in great distress. The Prince Regent said, “What! is he taking his leave?” She answered, “Not yet,” and was going to her own room; but the Prince took him away, said it was time for him to go to the great City dinner, for which he had stayed, and they parted.
When they were gone she told me what was the cause of her sudden transport of grief. He had told her it was expected she should reside every year two or three months in Holland, and even, when necessary, follow him to the army; that the Prince and his ministers had not thought it advisable to tell her this, but that, as he always wished they should be open and fair with each other, he was resolved to tell her; that he was quite an Englishman himself, and hoped she would invite over what friends she liked, and that, with respect to her ladies, he only recommended one, which was one of the Fitzroys, and should himself prefer Georgiana. _This_ pleased poor Princess Charlotte, but she had never entertained the slightest suspicion that she should be obliged to leave England. I reminded her of a conversation I had related to her a few days before, when Mrs. T. told me she had heard “the Regent and his daughter were on bad terms because she would not marry the Prince of Orange,” and I had answered that it was not true, as he had never been proposed to her. On which Mrs. T. said she should be sorry for one reason, as I should then probably go with her _to Holland_.
As Princess Charlotte had, however, consented to these temporary absences, I endeavoured to make the best of it to her, and on her saying she would not _ask_ any one to go with her, I volunteered my services, which she accepted with great feeling and pleasure, and, I afterwards heard, expressed herself with great satisfaction at my having made the offer. She seemed, however, by no means pleased at the idea of going over for a short time, and said I had lived so much abroad that I could not have the same feelings on the subject as she had.
When the Duchess came to dinner, we repeated to her what had passed, and I gave her the Regent’s message. She offered to go as much as her family duties would admit. Before Princess Charlotte was to go to Windsor to be confirmed, she was really mortified by a letter of Princess Mary, hinting that it would be better I should not come. I begged she would not think of it, and told her I was sure of the Queen never forgiving my having left her; that it was better I should not go. However, I was hurt by this as well as by several other similar circumstances, but I availed myself of the opportunity of passing two days with Lord St. Vincent at Rochetts, and on my return found a very flattering letter from Princess Elizabeth, and a very kind one from Princess Augusta, with an account of all that had passed. Soon after the return of the Princess Charlotte to town on the 27th, came on one of the thickest, most oppressive, and lasting fogs I ever witnessed; I was ill all the winter with a violent cold and cough, and actually I found it scarcely possible to breathe. Thus ended the year 1813.
THE GREAT FROST—DOMESTIC AMUSEMENTS OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE—PROJECTED MARRIAGE WITH THE PRINCE OF ORANGE—THE QUESTION OF RESIDENCE—ANXIETIES OF THE PRINCESS—TORTUOUS NEGOTIATIONS.
ON the 1st January, 1814, Princess Charlotte went to dine at Windsor, attended by the Duchess, and the fog was so thick that I could not go to Lord Bruce’s, where I had promised to dine. Her Royal Highness returned the next day, and on the 7th, which was the anniversary of her birthday, her eighteenth birthday, to which she had looked forward in hope of an establishment and comparative liberty, she had only permission to make a morning visit to her mother, to which she was accompanied by the Duchess of Leeds; and in the evening we had Vacari and Dizzi, who gave her lessons on the harp, for the purpose of having a little music. The upper servants, and the tradespeople and their wives, had a dance in the dining-room. The Dukes of Kent and Sussex called in the evening to see her.
The fog, which had disappeared on the 6th, was succeeded by very severe frost and snow, which lasted for many weeks, and at last rendered the roads almost impassable. We scarcely saw anybody except the masters, the Duchess and Lady Catherine, and the Miss Fitzroys, who arrived in town soon after the 7th. We took airings in the park when the weather permitted, read, drew, &c. Music was also a great resource to Princess Charlotte, and we went one evening (the 29th) to the Duchess of Leeds’, who gave a ball for children. Princess Charlotte was very kind to the young Princes of Brunswick, whom her uncle, when he left England, had particularly recommended to her. She had them to dine with her that day, and took them with us in the evening.
In the beginning of February the Prince Regent, who had been far from well since his return from the Duke of Rutland’s, and other places where he had been visiting, sent for me one morning. He was sitting on a sofa in his bedroom, looking very ill and weak. He said there was an unpleasant circumstance had happened, but nothing that he was so angry at as to make Princess Charlotte or me uneasy. The Duke of York, he said, had shown him a paragraph in the papers about a fine carriage building for Princess Charlotte at Birch the coachmaker’s, and, out of friendship for him, being the brother nearest his own age, had told him all about this Birch, who was a protégé of the Duke of Kent, &c. &c. I explained to him the circumstance as well as I could, for it was, of course, the Duchess who had ordered this carriage when the three years’ job of the former one had expired, which was while we were at Windsor, and, as I understood, the Duke of Kent was consulted previously by Lady de Clifford on similar affairs. I also told the Prince the account of the new carriage had been misstated in the papers if it was said to be green, as it was yellow, like all the carriages belonging to his Royal Highness, and I could not think it was put in by Birch himself, as the description was not correct.
The Prince said that his coachmaker, who had served him for many years, had made heavy complaints, &c. &c. He spoke much of the Duke of Kent, and also of the Duke of Sussex, but attached more deceit and deep-laid plans to the former. He read one part of a letter he was writing to the Duke of Cambridge, promising to visit Hanover in the course of the summer, and seemed to have perfectly forgiven the Duke of Cumberland for having made his appearance at Hanover before Bernadotte, which had been much criticised, and had, it was said, excited his displeasure. In short, he seemed willing to talk, and kept me a long while; spoke of the King as having always done justice to _his_ honourable principles, even when they were at variance on some points; complained of being much exhausted from having been kept low for many days, and really, I must say, he affected me. He mentioned Princess Charlotte spending too much with jewellers, and said it was fruitless to conceal anything from him, for tradespeople would talk, and it came to his knowledge. He thought it very shameful in young ladies of immense fortunes to take valuable presents from Princess Charlotte.
I took this opportunity to say I had made an agreement with her Royal Highness, as I had done with Princess Amelia, that no presents should be made to me, as, where confidence was placed, it would hurt me if one human being could suppose I availed myself of it for interested motives. He burst into tears when I mentioned Princess Amelia, and regretted he could not more fully comply with her last wishes, seemed embarrassed, and excessively overcome. At last he let me go, saying that Charlotte must be content without amusements that spring, as he could not give any entertainments under present circumstances. I said her Royal Highness’s music and drawing, with her books, made the time pass, and that I was endeavouring to amuse her by little musical proverbs and entertainments. He said all that was very well, but she must not now think of frivolity; she was to be married, and must think of the duties of a wife.
On my return to Warwick House, I found Princess Charlotte very uneasy to know what had passed, and why I had been kept so long.
That evening she acted with Lady Catherine and the Miss Fitzroys, a little French proverb I wrote for her; and this amusement was continued for some time. I wrote two others, and, as she was beginning to sing with Lindley, they were of use in that respect, and still more so in giving her more facility for speaking French. Only the Duchess and I, with the upper servants and masters, were the audience. The weather was very severe; we scarcely saw any one, but the days passed quietly and not uncomfortably. I wrote Italian songs, which she set to music, or got Lindley or Vacari to set them. She composed waltzes, &c. Sometimes, when all other resources failed, we sent for old Vitalba, the drawing-master, to come in the evening, and she would make drawings with him, with stumps burned in the candle, which had a very good effect.
The Prince was much worse after I saw him; indeed, I believe in imminent danger for a day or two. When he got a little better, the Queen and Princesses came to see him, and the Duke of York came over to fetch Princess Charlotte, who made him a half-hour or an hour’s visit; but was not asked to dine with the family. The Prince was in bed.
On the 2nd of March, Princess Charlotte and I were sent for to Carlton House. The Prince was better, but had his leg on a chair. The object of our coming was for her Royal Highness to see the letters from the sovereign of the Netherlands and his son to ask her (formally) in marriage: they were brought over by Baron Van der Duyn de Maasdam, who was said to be the principal agent in the Dutch counter-revolution, and he was also the bearer of a portrait of the Prince of Orange. The following day was appointed for Lord Liverpool to introduce him and M. Fagel, the Dutch Ambassador, to Princess Charlotte.
They came, and the Duchess and I were present. They did not bring the picture to Warwick House, but afterwards gave it to the Duchess. Fifteen thousand pounds were sent by the House of Orange for jewels, which the Prince said Princess Charlotte herself should choose, and Bridge was accordingly sent to receive her orders, the Regent having announced that when he knew what she chose he should order his own present for her.
Parliament was to meet on the 21st (of March), and it was supposed the intended marriage would be then announced. It had been announced to the States of Holland, which seemed irregular; but that was attributed to the pressure of circumstances, and it was evident that ministers had been most anxious to obtain Princess Charlotte’s consent at the time they did, to strengthen the means of executing their plans in Holland and the Netherlands.
Miss Mercer came to town, and Lady Anne and the Fitzroys faded before her. Princess Charlotte grew uneasy with respect to the article of residence, and explained her sentiments on that subject to the hereditary Prince with great frankness. He answered in the same manner, and appeared to wish that their residence for a considerable portion of the year should be fixed (by Parliament) in England. He did not appear himself to like Holland, but at length his letters showed that he could do nothing to prevent their residing there, and by the arrangements making for houses there, and none here, it was clear enough what the intentions were.
Affairs began to take the most favourable turn on the Continent. Ministers, particularly Lord Liverpool, had evidently wished to make peace with Bonaparte; but it was said the Prince never did, and his gentlemanly, noble conduct to the Bourbons during their adversity makes me willing to believe he was sincere in wishing their restoration. News arrived of the defeat of the French army by Lord Wellington, and of Bordeaux opening its gates and declaring for the Bourbons.
On the 23rd and 24th we were at Carlton House, the Queen and two Princesses being in town, and a small party meeting them there. On the 29th the Queen came again, and we were that evening at Carlton House, the next at the Duke of York’s, and the 31st at Carlton House, where the party was rather larger. That day arrived the Grand-Duchess Catherine, widow of a Prince of Oldenburg, and sister of the Emperor of Russia. This was the lady who had been so much talked of last spring for the Prince Regent, in case he could have got a divorce from the Princess; and as Count Munster was shut up with him many hours every day at that time, it was supposed he was managing the affair. However that might be, there was great bustle between Lady Liverpool and Princess Elizabeth, about arrangements for her reception. Count Lieven, the Russian Ambassador, was closeted in another room, and word was at last brought that she was gone to bed, but would be introduced to the Queen next day, and would afterwards dine and spend the evening at Carlton House.
Princess Charlotte was ordered to be present at this audience, attended by the Duchess of Leeds, and the Grand-Duchess afterwards called to leave her name at Warwick House. In the evening there was a large party at Carlton House, and a concert, which annoyed the Grand-Duchess so much that she left the room abruptly. It seems that music overcame her nerves. She was said to have frequent faintings, and to have scarcely slept at all since the death of her husband.
This sentimentality in a great politician, not to say intrigante, appeared to me very extraordinary. Her figure was slight and well-formed, her complexion good, her eyes fine, and her manners dignified, called graceful, but I think not gracefully feminine, at least not when she spoke, her nose Calmuck, and, altogether, I thought her very like what I remembered her father, only I liked his manners better. She had with her a Prince Gagarin and a Princess Volkonskoi, apparently a good kind of woman, daughter of the famous Prince Repnin, and a Mademoiselle Aladensky, who had been her governess—a sensible woman, who did not appear to me very good natured; both were elderly, and plain in their dress.
Princess Charlotte was much pleased with the Grand-Duchess, and returned her visit very soon, stayed a long while, and returned enchanted with her. The Duchess of Leeds had accompanied her Royal Highness, but had not been admitted into the private room. She sat with the ladies. Princess Charlotte told me the Grand-Duchess had complained of the assiduities of the Duke of Clarence, of his vulgar familiarity, and of his want of delicacy, had called the Prince Regent “un voluptueux,” and had talked very confidentially to her.
I was shocked at all this, but at the same time knew not how to prevent mischief. The Prince sent Sir Henry Halford to me to desire I would keep Princess Charlotte from going too often to the Grand-Duchess, but I could not prevent her coming to Warwick House, nor could I well blame Princess Charlotte for being pleased with the conversation of a sensible woman of a rank similar to her own. The Grand-Duchess hinted to her that she thought of marrying the Archduke Charles, and Princess Charlotte told her that many persons had supposed that she was to marry the Regent if he could have found cause for a divorce. She answered that she was so much attached to her brother the Emperor, that for his sake and the public good she would have done whatever he wished, but that now she had seen the Regent she could never think of marrying him. She expressed great esteem and even preference for the Duke of Sussex, and he was so much pleased with it that he conceived the highest opinion of her.
On the 5th (of April), while she was making a visit to Princess Charlotte, I received a note from Lord Bathurst, to inform the Princess that the allies had entered Paris on the 31st of March. This delightful intelligence was soon followed by that of Bonaparte’s defeat and abdication, and the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne of their ancestors. A general illumination took place, and joy and good order reigned throughout the metropolis.
Poor Princess Charlotte was far from happy. On the 16th of this month (April) she wrote a letter to her father, humbly requesting to see the marriage contract, a sketch of which she heard from the Prince of Orange had been shown to him; she expressed her uneasiness at not hearing of a house or establishment, and begged that insertion might be made in the contract of an article to prevent her being taken or kept out of England against her inclinations. To this the Prince returned no answer, but on the 18th sent for me, and appeared greatly enraged, but promised forgiveness if she would withdraw her letter; otherwise, he said he must bring the matter before his Cabinet, declared that he had no intention to banish her, but that the duty of a wife was to follow her husband; that perhaps he might have to build a house for her, and that in the mean while, when she came to England, she might be at Carlton House. He said that neither her Royal Highness nor the hereditary Prince had any business to see the contract; that it had been sent to the sovereign of the Netherlands because it was a matter to be settled by fathers, but that the great provision of 50,000_l._ a year which was to be made, and the clause that her eldest son was, as the future Sovereign of England, to be sent when between three and four years of age over for education here, proved that no harm was intended her; that the second would be Sovereign of Holland, and educated there. He insisted on my repeating all this, and desired I would come back at twelve next day with her answer.
The answer which I took next day was not such a one as to procure me a favourable reception, for Princess Charlotte adhered firmly, though respectfully and very affectionately, to the purport of her first letter. However, I found the Prince less violent than the day before, but very uneasy. He recapitulated all that, he said, had passed with respect to Princess Charlotte’s engagement with the Prince of Orange, declared that he had not the slightest idea himself of the Prince of Orange being arrived, until Sir Henry brought him Princess Charlotte’s message, desiring to meet him at dinner next day, &c. &c. I was kept a long while, and at length dismissed, with the arrangement that the Duke of York would be sent to talk to Princess Charlotte on the subject.
When I returned, her Royal Highness positively denied having given any such message to Sir Henry Halford. The Duke of York and Mr. Adam came on the following day, and the Duke wished me to leave the room, though Princess Charlotte was desirous I should stay. When they were gone she seemed hurt and agitated, and said the Duke was to come next day for her answer, but that she would write to prevent it, as it was very painful to her, from her affection for him, to disagree with him. Mr. Adam soon after came back, and asked for me. He told me the Prince did not mean I should leave the room; that, on the contrary, he wished me to be present, and had now sent him to repeat to me all the arguments they had used with Princess Charlotte, that I might impress them on the mind of her Royal Highness, but that he could not stay now, as he was expected on business, and would return in the evening.
He came, and recapitulated what he had said in the morning with respect to Princess Mary, daughter of James the Second, and the Prince of Orange, &c. &c. He remarked, it was supposed Princess Charlotte must have legal advisers, as her letters were not those of a woman. I said that he must recollect, she had gone through a course of study on the laws of England, and by his own observation to me one evening at Carlton House, was allowed to be mistress of the subject. He smiled, and said her Royal Highness turned his arms against himself. He was in the midst of this when Princess Charlotte entered the room with the letter which she had been writing, as she said she would, to the Duke of York, and put it into Mr. Adam’s hand that he might read it; after which she sealed it and left the room. He conjured me to follow her and prevent its going; but before I arrived at the drawing-room it was gone. Miss Mercer was with her all the time. Her Royal Highness had been reading the passage in Burnet, where he mentions the provision made by the Peers to prevent Queen Mary the First from being taken out of the kingdom by Philip of Spain, &c. &c.
Next day the Duke of York came and desired to speak with me. He repeated to me all the arguments before used, and added that Princess Charlotte laboured under a great mistake, for that she seemed to consider herself as heir-apparent, whereas she could hardly be considered as presumptive heiress. He was very anxious to see her; but she refused it in the most peremptory manner, and was displeased with my pressing it, as she said I knew the pain it gave her.
After this, several letters passed between her Royal Highness and the Duke of York on the subject of their conversation, but without producing any change of sentiments on either side.
During this time the King and Royal Family of France, who had remained in England (for Monsieur and his two sons were gone) came to town in the Prince Regent’s carriages, accompanied by himself in state. We saw the procession from the Grand-Duchess’s apartments at the Pulteney Hotel, where Princesses Elizabeth and Mary were invited. The Prince and Royal Family had taken no notice of Princess Charlotte on this occasion. The Grand-Duchess had called on her that morning, and it was by chance, or, rather, because we could not get through the crowd, that we stopped at the Pulteney Hotel, for we were going to see the procession in the Park. However, the Grand-Duchess was very civil to Princess Charlotte, and asked her in. We found the Duchess of Leeds and Lady Catherine there, brought by Mrs. Robinson and Princess Volkonskoi. This neglect pressed hard on Princess Charlotte’s spirits, and her aunts appeared cool. After the procession was gone by a breakfast was served, and on our way home the acclamations and throng of the populace would scarcely allow us to get on. Whenever Princess Charlotte appeared this was now the case, though she by no means sought it.
The Duchess d’Angoulême, attended by the old Duchess de Sérent, came the day before the procession to visit Princess Charlotte, and the day after it her Royal Highness, attended by the Duchess of Leeds and myself, went to take leave of this excellent and interesting Princess. I could not have formed an idea of such self-command and composure as I saw in her behaviour at both these interviews, and at so trying a moment. The Royal Family of France left England, and as soon as the Regent returned from Dover, whither he accompanied them, he sent for me, and expressed violent displeasure at Princess Charlotte having made the acquaintance of Madame Tatischeff, a Polish lady, the wife of a Russian, who was going Ambassador to Madrid. He said that not only she was a woman of slight character, but, with her husband, was caballing to marry her Royal Highness to one of the Russian Princes.
In April, the Prince asked if I knew what was the object of Tatischeff’s mission to Paris (whither he was gone to join the Emperor)? I said I knew nothing of it, except that he had asked my commands, and I had given him a letter to an old friend, M. de B., at Carlton House, where there had been a great party to take leave of the Bourbons. The Prince said he was gone to settle this marriage with one of the Emperor’s brothers; that he knew Princess Charlotte had given the commission to Madame Tatischeff. I said it was impossible, for that I was always present; that Count Woronzow introduced Madame Tatischeff, who was married to his nephew, to Princess Charlotte, at Carlton House, and that when I heard reports against her character, I also heard that Lady Pembroke, who is remarkably correct herself, had made inquiries and found them to be false; that I saw no harm in her, and that her intimacy at Warwick House had been much less than was represented. The Prince said that it was the morning we were at the Pulteney Hotel to see the Bourbons pass, that the Princess Charlotte had given the commission to Madame Tatischeff; that she had also written her letters, which Madame T. had sent to Russia, and that one of his Ministers had informed him of all this. He held a letter in his hand, but did not show me the name. I assured him her Royal Highness had written no letters to Madame T., that I had written one to that lady while she was at Brighton, and several notes in town; but that there was one circumstance which might appear suspicious, and I would tell him fairly what it was. Princess Charlotte had, as his Royal Highness knew, a wish to obtain the order of St. Catherine, and he had said that she could not have it till she was married. On being engaged to the Prince of Orange she had expressed this wish to Madame Tatischeff, whose principal intercourse was with respect to bonnets and gowns; but Madame T. had written to me from Brighton, asking whether the Princess would really like to have this order, and whether I thought his Royal Highness would permit her to accept it, if offered by the Emperor. I answered, that I was sure it would please the Princess, and considering the friendship between his Royal Highness and the Emperor, I did not think he would disapprove of it. As secrecy was recommended, I had expressed myself in such and such terms, which I repeated. I saw that Count Lieven, or rather Madame de Lieven, who hated Madame Tatischeff, and was hated in return, had a hand in this mischief; but I took the Prince’s orders, which were to forbid Madame T. the house; and when I returned home I wrote to Count Woronzow explaining the circumstance to him, and begging, in the most delicate manner I could, that he would prevent Madame Tatischeff’s further visits.
Shortly afterwards, I was called down stairs early one morning to a Captain St. George, who said he was just arrived from Holland, and sent by Lord Bathurst. I found it was the Hereditary Prince of Orange, and apologised for having made him wait, and for his having been shown into the Comptroller’s room. He asked to see Princess Charlotte, who was not up. She was not well, and greatly annoyed by this arrival. However, at last she consented to see him, and received him in a very friendly manner, assured him she had no complaint to make against him, and promised he should see copies of all her letters on the subject of residence, which were sent to him the same day at Lord Bathurst’s. He said he had not seen the Prince Regent, and went from us to Carlton House. An hour or two afterwards he flew back, said the Prince desired they should both go over, and that all would be forgiven. To this Princess Charlotte would not consent, as she was now fearful of being taken by surprise, and most earnestly entreated to be left quiet for the rest of the day. I prevailed with the young Prince to settle this with the Regent, and except a note in the evening to urge her to say what were her demands, that he might write them to his father, nothing more was done that day by the Hereditary Prince. A correspondence now took place between them, and he used to come daily to see me in the library, and to talk over the letters and answers, as Princess Charlotte did not think proper to see him till it should be settled whether she should have security or not for remaining in England, save for temporary absences at her own choice. As soon, however, as he received an answer to a letter which he said he had written to his father on the subject, he asked leave to show it to Princess Charlotte, as it was favourable to her conditions, and from that time he came every evening. Lord Liverpool, after several fruitless attempts to persuade her Royal Highness to give up her demands, at length consented to the insertion of such an article as she wished, and nothing was now required but the formal assent of the Prince of the Netherlands. In the mean while, the Princess of Wales, with whom Princess Charlotte had had very little communication this year, enclosed to her a note from the Queen, who was about to hold two Drawing-rooms at Burlington House, excluding her from coming to them, on the plea that the Prince did not choose to meet her anywhere. This hurt Princess Charlotte exceedingly; and she at first doubted whether she would go to the Drawing-room in case it were intended she should: indeed, the order for her going to it did not arrive till two days before, and she had scarcely time to have a proper dress made up. She was not allowed to dress at home, lest it should be considered that she was going in state, and though she was then lame, having hurt her knee, it was proposed she should dress in Princess Elizabeth’s apartments at the top of the Queen’s house. To this the surgeons Keate and Clive objected; but we had to go at twelve, and a room on the second floor was given her to dress in. The day before this Drawing-room arrived the answer of the Prince of the Netherlands, consenting to her remaining in England. The young Prince showed her his father’s letter to that effect; but by that letter it plainly appeared that there had been instructions given him from England.
THE ALLIED SOVEREIGNS—RUPTURE WITH THE PRINCE OF ORANGE—PRINCE LEOPOLD—FAMILY SCENES—LETTER OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE—HER ESCAPE FROM WARWICK HOUSE—SCENE AT CARLTON HOUSE—THE PRINCESS IN DURANCE.
SOON afterwards arrived the Emperor of Russia and the King of Prussia, with the Hereditary Princes of Prussia, Würtemberg, and Bavaria; Prince William, second son of the King of Prussia; his two brothers, Prince Henry and Prince William; Prince Augustus, cousin to the King and Lieutenant-General of the Artillery; Prince Anthony de Radzivil, the husband of Princess Louisa of Prussia; the Prince of Oldenburg; Prince Frederick, nephew of the King of Prussia, and many general officers; amongst the rest, Blücher and Platoff. London was out of its senses, and nothing but amusement was going on. Princess Charlotte was at one dinner at Carlton House to meet these royal personages; but at no other of the parties, either there or at Lord Stafford’s, Lord Cholmondeley’s, or any other house where they and the Regent were invited.
The Regent came one morning with the Bishop of Salisbury: seemed greatly out of humour, and wished Princess Charlotte to relinquish, as a mark of civility to the House of Orange, the insertion of the article. This she respectfully declined. The Queen bought her wedding clothes, and told her she need have only one court dress, as hoop petticoats were not worn in Holland. This, and a letter which she received from Princess Mary just before the Sovereigns were about to leave England, saying that as soon as they should be gone it was the intention of the Prince to send for the Orange family, and to have the wedding immediately, threw her into great alarm, and induced her to resolve on having an explanation with the Prince of Orange. He amused himself very well all this time, danced at all the balls, went to Oxford, and everywhere. At his return from Oxford the explanation took place, and it finished by a rupture of the marriage.
All the Princes visited Princess Charlotte, and I was particularly pleased with the manners of the Russians. There appeared to be great information, dignified affability, and no affectation amongst them. Their appearance was also highly in their favour, for most of them were handsome and fine figures. The Emperor of Russia came three or four times with his sister to Warwick House. They became violent advocates for the Prince of Orange, after the rupture of the marriage, and, I believe, in consequence of a long conversation the Regent had with the Grand Duchess, in which he is thought to have painted his daughter in no very pleasing colours. However that might be, when we went to take leave of these Russians, the day before their departure, at five o’clock, by the Grand Duchess’s appointment, she took Princess Charlotte into a private room, and afterwards came out of it leaving her alone with the Emperor, having herself to receive the visits of the Duke d’Orleans, the Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Sophia Matilda. To this I respectfully objected, and requested I might be allowed to join Princess Charlotte. This she at first refused, and said she was very safe with the Emperor; but I said it was the Regent’s order that she should not be left without the Duchess of Leeds or myself, even when her own uncles visited her.
She then unwillingly let me go, and I had some difficulty in getting past the Russian servants, who stood at the door of the room, where I found the Princess Charlotte with the Emperor. She seemed agitated, and he was persuading her to see the Prince of Orange, _who was in the house_;—I should rather say endeavouring to persuade her, for she had no inclination to give way. A newspaper lay on the table. He went up to it, and pointing to the name of Mr. Whitbread, he said she was giving up an excellent marriage, one essential to the interests of her country, and all to be praised by “a Mr. Whitbread.” As he addressed this speech to me, I answered that his Majesty was much mistaken if he supposed that gentleman or any other had influenced Princess Charlotte’s conduct. “Really?” he replied. I repeated the assertion, which Princess Charlotte herself confirmed, and the Emperor then asked me to persuade her Royal Highness to see the Prince of Orange, and renew the acquaintance. I answered that I had no right to interfere, and that a matter of such importance and delicacy could only be decided by her Royal Highness herself and the Regent. The Emperor, finding at last that he could gain nothing, took his leave on the entrance of his sister, and said he must join the Duke of Gloucester and the Prince of Orange. She did not renew her solicitations, but took an affectionate leave of Princess Charlotte, and kissed me.
After the Sovereigns were gone, we heard that the King of Prussia had insisted on the Prince of Orange (who had remained incognito) leaving the country, and had expressed himself with great moderation and propriety on the subject of the marriage being broken off. Prince Radzivil stayed some time longer, and we saw him twice or thrice. His friend, Prince Adam Czartorisky, a Pole of great influence in his own country, and who had been Prime Minister of Russia, had been introduced, and called to take leave. We heard nothing from Carlton House; and Princess Charlotte’s knee still suffering from the hurt it had received, increasing in pain from the sleepless nights she endured and the agitation of her mind, which also had an effect on her general health, Baillie, Clive, and Keate, who attended her, gave it in writing as their opinion that she ought to go to the sea-side for two or three months. About this time the Bishop, who often saw the Chancellor and Lord Liverpool, and was also, I believe, employed by the Regent, who formerly disliked and despised him, hinted to Princess Charlotte in a private conversation, and to me _on paper_, as I wrote to him on the subject, that unless Princess Charlotte would write a submissive letter to her father, and hold out a hope that in a few months she might be induced to give her hand to the Prince of Orange, arrangements would be made by no means agreeable to her inclinations. Her Royal Highness wrote to the Regent a most submissive and affectionate letter, but held out no hope of renewing the treaty of marriage.
This letter was sent on Saturday, the 9th of July. We heard various reports of the intentions of the Regent: it was said that I and the servants were to be dismissed, and that an apartment was being fitted up for Princess Charlotte at Carlton House. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, a handsome young man, a general in the Russian service, brother-in-law to the Grand-Duke Constantine, and a great favourite with the Emperor of Russia, told Miss Mercer Elphinstone many of these particulars. He had been once at Warwick House, the Duchess of Leeds and myself being present. Miss Mercer Elphinstone, who was intimately acquainted with him, came in while he was there. He paid many compliments to Princess Charlotte, who was by no means partial to him, and only received him with civility. However, Miss Mercer evidently wished to recommend him, and when we drove in the Park, he would ride near the carriage, and endeavour to be noticed. There were reasons why this matter was by no means agreeable to Princess Charlotte. However, he certainly made proposals to the Regent, and, though rejected, found means to get into his favour. In the mean while, it was reported that he was frequently at Warwick House, and had even taken tea with us, which not one of the Princes had done except Prince Radzivil, whom we invited to sing and accompany himself on the guitar. We heard that Lady Ilchester and Lady Rosslyn were talked of as being about Princess Charlotte, and I had hints from some of my friends, particularly from Lady Rolle, that a change was about to take place.
However, the letter of the 9th remained unanswered till the 11th, on which day the Bishop was detained almost the whole morning at Carlton House, and at five Princess Charlotte and I were ordered to go over. Her Royal Highness was too ill to obey; but I went, and found the Regent very cold, very bitter, and very silent. I, however, took the opportunity of contradicting any false reports he might have heard relative to the Prince of Saxe-Coburg, and he answered that this Prince was a most honourable young man, and had written him a letter which perfectly justified himself, and said that he was invited by Princess Charlotte; but that it was Prince Augustus of Prussia, and not he, who was in the habit of going to Warwick House. I justified Prince Augustus, as he well deserved; and apologised for Princess Charlotte’s not coming over to Carlton House. The Prince said she must either come the next day, or Baillie must come to say she was not capable of walking over.
With this melancholy prospect I returned to my anxious Princess, whom I found with Miss Mercer, and told all that had passed. Miss Mercer expressed considerable displeasure at the conduct of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg; and that evening Princess Charlotte told the page that it was possible all the servants might be sent away, but that she would never forget them, and would take them again whenever it was in her power. She also wrote the following most energetic letter to the Bishop, asserting her own innocence and mine:
FROM PRINCESS CHARLOTTE TO THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY.
Monday night, July 11, 1814.
MY DEAR LORD,—As I saw your carriage for some time this evening in my yard, I had hoped you would have come through Warwick House, and that I should have been able to have spoken to you, as I gave orders in case you did to show you into the drawing-room.
Being disappointed in this, I take up my pen to say that you cannot but suppose Miss Knight informed me of all that passed, which, as it relates more to her than to myself, I still more deeply feel.
I believe your Lordship has known me long enough to know that severity of any kind rather injures than does a cause good _with me_, whereas kindness may do a great deal; at all events is more difficult to withstand. Anything but my friend’s or my character being _aspersed_ I may submit to quietly; but this I neither can nor _will do_, as I owe it to myself positively to _declare the whole allegation to be false_ and _a base lie_, to answer some very deep design which I cannot guess, as I am far from entering into any cabals. My word has as yet been doubted by no one, and as likely, therefore, to be believed as _any foreigner, or native_. Feeling the consciousness as I do of innocence, both as to myself and Miss Knight, I feel in the most lively manner the scene of to-day, and what I have to expect to-morrow. But I can assure you no such violent accusations or measures will have any effect on me, but have the most fatal upon their inventors and advisers, as I do not see why my character or Miss Knight’s should be aspersed with impunity any more than any one’s else. I shall therefore never cease till I have discovered and brought to light who are my base calumniators with the Prince. I regret exceedingly your having been partaker of so unpleasant a scene, and still more of the little influence you have with the Prince to vindicate a person you have brought up from childhood, or those attached to her. Either Miss Knight or myself will inform the Prince of Mr. Keate’s visit tonight, who is coming to examine my knee, with which I am suffering more than I have done for some time owing to the highly anxious morning I have passed.
Next day, Baillie said she was quite capable of going over, and advised her so to do, but she was really so ill and so much affected, that it was impossible. Her Royal Highness, therefore, wrote to the Regent, entreating he would come to her. The Duchess of Leeds, who, unfortunately, had been ordered to send in her resignation some time before, but still came as usual to Warwick House, called that morning, but I could not persuade her to stay till the Prince’s arrival, as she said he might think it improper her being there. About six he came, attended by the Bishop only (as I supposed), but he came up alone, and desired I would leave him with Princess Charlotte. He was shut up with her three-quarters of an hour, and afterwards a quarter more with the Bishop and her Royal Highness. The door then opened, and she came out in the greatest agony, saying she had but one instant to speak to me, for that the Prince asked for me. I followed her into her dressing-room, where she told me the new ladies were in possession of the house; that I and all the servants were to be dismissed; that she was to be confined at Carlton House for five days, after which she was to be taken to Cranbourne Lodge, in the midst of Windsor Forest, where she was to see no one but the Queen once a week, and that if she did not go immediately the Prince would sleep at Warwick House that night, as well as all the ladies. I begged her to be calm, and advised her to go over as soon as possible, assuring her that her friends would not forget her. She fell on her knees in the greatest agitation, exclaiming, “God Almighty grant me patience!” I wished to stay and comfort her, but she urged me to go to the Prince, for fear of greater displeasure.
I went to him, and he shut the door; the Bishop was with him. He told me he was sorry to put a lady to inconvenience, but that he wanted my room that evening for the ladies, repeating what Princess Charlotte had already told me. I asked in what I had offended, but he said he made no complaint, and would make none; that he had a right to make any changes he pleased, and that he was blamed for having let things go on as they had done. He repeated his apology for putting a lady to the inconvenience of leaving the house at so short a notice, and I replied that, my father having served his Majesty for fifty years, and sacrificed his health and fortune to that service, it would be very strange if I could not put myself to the temporary inconvenience of a few hours. He then said that in the arrangements at Carlton House there was a room which I might have for a night or two, if I had nowhere to go. This I declined, thanking him, but saying that I had lodgings, which fortunately were now vacant; and that Lord and Lady Rolle, who seemed to know much more of the business than I did, had, to my great surprise, offered me their house for the last fortnight. I then made a low curtsey to him, and left the room.
What was my astonishment when I could not find Princess Charlotte anywhere, and when at length Miss Mercer and her maid, who had come (as was often the case) to dress her before dinner, appeared from my bedroom, the latter crying, and Miss Mercer saying she supposed Princess Charlotte was gone to her mother!
The Prince came forward when I returned to the dressing-room, and I brought Miss Mercer, who desired I would do so, that she might not be suspected of anything clandestine. She told him, that as she was dressing herself in Princess Charlotte’s bedroom, she heard her say she would go to her mother (Lewis, the dresser, thought when she took her bonnet she was going to Carlton House), and before they could prevent it she had disappeared. The Prince was very cool, and rather seemed pleased, saying he was glad that everybody would now see what she was, and that it would be known on the Continent, and no one would marry her. Miss Mercer cried, and said she hoped he did not think _her_ to blame. I was indignant at the abuse cast upon Princess Charlotte. The Bishop and Miss Mercer offered to go and look for her, and proposed my accompanying them, which I refused, saying I should wait, for that I did not wish to be in _that house_—meaning the Princess of Wales’—but that if I went, and Princess Charlotte asked me to stay with her, I could not refuse remaining with her _there or in a prison_.
They went off, and I withdrew to my own room, whence I sent to Lady Salisbury, requesting she would lend me her carriage, which she promised to send me when it had taken her to the Opera at nine. About that hour the Bishop returned. He did not come to me, but I heard he was gone over to Carlton House; that he had found Princess Charlotte, but had not brought her with him. I therefore went immediately to Connaught-place, and asked to see Princess Charlotte alone. Lady Charlotte Lindsay, in waiting on the Princess of Wales, came out to me and told me that her Royal Highness was with her mother, Miss Mercer Elphinstone, and Mr. Brougham, in the next room, and the Princess of Wales desired I would walk in. She added how much the Princess had been surprised when she heard by a messenger despatched from the house to Blackheath (whither she had gone on business) that Princess Charlotte was there, and not finding Mr. Whitbread and another member—I forget whom—to advise with, had sent for Mr. Brougham, and that before she got home Princess Charlotte had sent for the Duke of Sussex. I still begged to see Princess Charlotte alone, to which Lady Charlotte Lindsay seemed willing to consent; but Miss Mercer, who came in, said she had promised the Regent not to leave her alone with any one. I said, rather stiffly, that she might with me, and her Royal Highness withdrew with me into the part of the room separated by columns, where I gave her her seals, to which was annexed a key, and a letter which had come during her absence. She met me with great joy, and told me I was to stay with her, for she had written offering to go to her father on that condition, and that she should retain her maid, and receive the visits of Miss Mercer.
We waited some time for the return of the Bishop with the answer to these proposals, and at length I offered to go to Carlton House, and endeavour to see the Prince. I did, but could not see him. I was told I might see the Chancellor or Lord Liverpool. I answered I was ready to see either of them, when I was ushered into a room where the Chancellor and Lord Ellenborough were seated at each end of a long table. The former informed me the Bishop was returned with the answer that her Royal Highness must submit unconditionally, on which I replied that I had nothing more to do, but return to her, and take her maid and night-things, as she might be obliged to remain that night in Connaught-place. Lord Ellenborough said I should do better to remain, as it would be a comfort to her to find me there. I told him he was not aware of my dismissal, and of the order given me not to remain that night in the house, at which he seemed surprised, and I afterwards learned from one of his friends that he had been taught to believe all these coercive measures were only in consequence of Princess Charlotte’s escape to her mother.
I went back to Princess Charlotte, taking with me Mrs. Lewis, her dresser; and when I arrived, I found the Bishop had stated she must submit to return to her father unconditionally, holding out the hope that Miss Mercer would be allowed to visit her. I saw the letter she had written. It was very flattering to me; but I did not wish to have been made an object of controversy between her and her father. It was two in the morning before the Duke of York arrived to take her away. I was too much affected to follow her down stairs. I fell into hysterics; but when I went down to the Princess of Wales, Miss Mercer, the Duke of Sussex, and Mr. Brougham, who were assembled below, I learned it was with difficulty the Princess of Wales had persuaded the Duke to take Mrs. Lewis in the carriage. He had a paper in his hand when he came in, but did not unfold it; and I afterwards heard from the Duke of Sussex that a hackney-coach followed him with the Chancellor and two other lawyers in it, as also that when dear Princess Charlotte arrived at Carlton House, she was made to remain in the court-yard for more than half an hour, while they were debating within how they would receive her. The ladies appointed to be her attendants were, Lady Ilchester, Lady Rosslyn, Mrs. Campbell, who had formerly been her sub-governess, and the two Miss Coates, nieces of Lady R. Miss Mercer took me home between three and four, and next day I called at the gate of Carlton House, and sent up a message to inquire after her Royal Highness’s health. Lady Rosslyn sent down a very civil message to say she was well, and sent her love to me. A few days after, before she was taken to Cranbourne Lodge, which was on the Monday, she found means, through Miss M., I believe, to send a letter written (on paper she had _stolen_) with a pencil, to be forwarded by me to the Duke of Sussex. His Royal Highness called and read it to me, and it contained a melancholy description of the manner in which she was confined and watched night and day. I wrote a note the day before her departure to Lady Ilchester, which was very civilly answered by Lady Rosslyn. Mine only contained good wishes for her Royal Highness’s recovery, and a request that she might be assured of them.
DR. JOHNSON AND MRS. WILLIAMS—LORD NELSON’S JOURNEY HOME—THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE AND HER MOTHER—OPENING OE THE COFFIN OF CHARLES I.—THE ORANGE MATCH—FLIGHT OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
DR. JOHNSON AND MRS. WILLIAMS.
IN Croker’s Edition of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, chap, x., there is an extract from a letter addressed by Lady Knight to Mr. Hoole, referring to the incident narrated at pages 14-15 of the Autobiography:
“Dr. Johnson’s political principles ran high, both in Church and State: he wished power to the King and to the heads of the Church, as the laws of England have established; but I know he disliked absolute power: and I am very sure of his disapprobation of the doctrines of the Church of Rome, because, about three weeks before we came abroad, he said to my Cornelia, ‘You are going where the ostentatious pomp of Church ceremonies attracts the imagination; but if they want to persuade you to change, you must remember that by increasing your faith you may be persuaded to become Turk.’ If these were not the words, I have kept up to the express meaning.”
With reference to Dr. Johnson’s visit to a man-of-war, an account of which is given at pages 15-16, Mrs. Piozzi says, at p. 285 of her “Anecdotes,” &c., that “the roughness of the language used on board a man-of-war, where he passed a week on a visit to Captain Knight, disgusted him terribly. He asked an officer what some place was called, and received for answer that it was where the loplolly man kept his loplolly: a reply he considered, not unjustly, as disrespectful, gross, and ignorant.” On this Croker remarks: “Captain Knight, of the _Belle Isle_, 74, lay for a couple of months of 1762 in Plymouth Sound, and may have been visited by Reynolds and Johnson; but it is unlikely they passed a week on ship-board.” (Note to chap. liii. Boswell’s Johnson.) But it was the _Ramilies_ off Portsmouth, not the _Belle Isle_ off Plymouth, that was visited by the great lexicographer.
The following reminiscences of Mrs. Williams were sent by Lady Knight, from Rome, to Mr. John Hoole, and by him contributed to the _European Magazine_ for October, 1799:
“Mrs. Williams was a person extremely interesting; she had an uncommon firmness of mind, a boundless curiosity, retentive memory, and strong judgment: she had various powers of pleasing; her personal afflictions and slender fortune she seemed to forget when she had the power of doing an act of kindness: she was social, cheerful, and active, in a state of body that was truly deplorable. Her regard to Dr. Johnson was formed with such strength of judgment and firm esteem that her voice never hesitated when she repeated his maxims or recited his good deeds, though upon many other occasions her want of sight had led to her making so much use of her ear as to affect her speech. Mrs. Williams was blind before she was acquainted with Dr. Johnson: her account of Mrs. Johnson was, that she had a good understanding and great sensibility, but inclined to be satirical. Her first husband died insolvent: her sons were much disgusted with her for her second marriage; perhaps because they, being struggling to get advanced in life, were mortified to think she had allied herself to a man who had not any visible means of being useful to them. However, she always retained her affection for them. While they resided in Grough-court, her son, the officer, knocked at the door and asked the maid if her mistress was at home. She answered, ‘Yes, sir; but she is sick in bed.’ ‘Oh,’ says he, ‘if it is so, tell her that her son Jervas called to know how she did,’ and was going away. The maid begged she might run up and tell her mistress, and, without attending his answer, left him. Mrs. Johnson enraptured to hear her son was below, desired the maid to tell him she longed to embrace him. When the maid descended the gentleman was gone, and poor Mrs. Johnson was much agitated by the adventure: it was the only time he ever made an effort to see her. Dr. Johnson did all he could to console his wife; but told Mrs. Williams, ‘Her son is uniformly undutiful; so I conclude, like many other sober men, he might once in his life be drunk, and in that fit nature got the better of his pride.’
“Mrs. Williams was never otherwise dependent on Dr. Johnson than in that sort of association which is little known in the great world. They both had much to struggle through, and I verily believe that whichever held the purse, the other partook what want required.
“She had many resources, though none very great: with the Miss Wilkinsons she generally passed a part of the year, and received from them presents, and from the first who died a legacy of clothes and linen. The last of them, Mrs. Jane, left her an annual rent; but from the blundering manner of the will, I fear she never reaped the benefit of it. That lady left money to erect an hospital for ancient maids; but the number she had allotted being too great for the donation, the Doctor said it would be better to expunge the word _maintain_, and put in, to starve such a number of old maids. They asked him what name should be given it. He replied, ‘Let it be called Jenny’s Whim’ [the name of a place of popular entertainment].
“Lady Phillips made her a small annual allowance, and some other Welsh ladies, to all of whom she was related. Mrs. Montagu, on the death of Mr. Montagu, settled on her ten pounds per annum. When the first ten were sent her, they were accompanied with a letter telling her that, before she sent her that sum, she had taken care that the future payments should not depend upon her own precarious life, for that it was fixed to her by deed. Mrs. Williams’s gratitude was great and sincere: and on showing the letter before the Doctor to the present writer, and my testifying my joy at it, ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘the good lady has given Willy a treasure here, and is laying up one for herself.’
“As to her poems, she many years attempted to publish them: the half-crowns she had got towards the publication, she confessed to me went for necessaries, and that the greatest pain she ever felt was from the appearance of defrauding her subscribers: ‘But what can I do? the Doctor always puts me off with, “Well, we’ll think about it;” and Goldsmith says, “Leave it to me.”’ However, two of her friends, under her directions, made a new subscription at a crown, the whole price of the work, and in a very little time raised sixty pounds. Mrs. Carter was applied to by Mrs. Williams’s desire, and she, with the utmost activity and kindness, procured a long list of names. At length the work was published, in which is a fine-written but gloomy tale of Dr. Johnson. The money Mrs. Williams had various uses for, and a part of it was funded. As near as I can calculate, Mrs. Williams had about thirty-five or forty pounds a year. The furniture she used was her own; her expenses were small; tea and bread-and-butter being at least half of her nourishment. Sometimes she had a servant, or charwoman, to do the ruder offices of the house; but she was herself active and industrious. I have frequently seen her at work. Upon remarking one day her facility in moving about the house, searching into drawers, and finding books without the help of sight, ‘Believe me,’ said she, ‘persons who cannot do these common offices without sight, did but little while they enjoyed that blessing.’ Scanty circumstances, bad health, and blindness, are surely a sufficient apology for her being sometimes impatient; her natural disposition was good, friendly, and humane. She was in respect to morals more rigid than modern politeness admits; for she abhorred vice, and was not sparing of anger against those who threw young folks into temptation. Her ideas were very just in respect to the improvement of the mind, and her own was well stored. I have several of her letters; they are all written with great good sense and simplicity, and with a tenderness and affection that far excel all that is called politeness and elegance. I have been favoured with her company some weeks at different times, and always found her temper equal, and her conversation lively. I never passed hours with more pleasure than when I heard her and Dr. Johnson talk of the persons they valued, or on subjects in which they were much interested. One night, I remember, Mrs. Williams was giving an account of the Wilkinsons being at Paris, and having had consigned to their care the letters of Lady Wortley Montagu, on which they had bestowed great praise. The Doctor said, ‘Why, Madam, there might be great charms to them in being entrusted with honourable letters; but those who know better the world, would have rather possessed two pages of true history.’
“One day that he came to my house to meet many others, we told him that we had arranged our party to go to Westminster Abbey, would not he go with us? ‘No,’ he replied, ‘not while I can keep out.’ Upon our saying that the friends of a lady had been in great fear lest she should make a certain match for herself, he said, ‘We that are _his_ friends have had great fears for him.’
“He gave us an account of a lady, then lately dead, who had made a separate purse from her husband, and confessed to the sum in her last moments; but before she could tell where it was placed, a convulsion finished her. The poor man said he was more hurt by her want of confidence in him than the loss of his money. ‘I told him,’ said he, ‘that he must console himself, for perhaps the money might be found, and he was sure his wife was gone.’
“I talked to her (Mrs. Thrale) much of dear Mrs. Williams. She said she was highly born; that she was very nearly related to a Welsh Peer; but that though Dr. Johnson had always pressed her to be acquainted with her, yet she said she could not; she was afraid of her. I named her virtues: she seemed to hear me as if I had spoken of a new-discovered country.
“I think the character of Dr. Johnson can never be better summed up than in his own words in ‘Rasselas’, pp. 246, 247. He was master of an infinite deal of wit, which proceeded from depth of thought, and of a humour which he used sometimes to take off from the asperity of reproof. Though he did sometimes say very sportive things, which might be said to be playing upon the folly of some of his companions, and though he never said one that could disgrace him, yet I think, when the man is no more, the care should be to prove to steady uniformity in wisdom, virtue, and religion, and not to add those matters which could be of no force but as the occasion called them forth. His political principles ran high, both in Church and State: he wished power to the King and to the Heads of the Church, as the laws of England have established, but I know he disliked absolute power; and I am very sure of his disapprobation of the doctrines of the Church of Rome; because, about three weeks before we came abroad, he said to my Cornelia, ‘You are going where the ostentatious pomp of Church ceremonies attracts the imagination; but if they want to persuade you to change, you must remember that by increasing your faith you may be persuaded to become Turk.’ If these were not the words, I have kept up to the express meaning.
“I have no patience of the manner in which Mrs. Williams is mentioned, with insinuations of the great weight she was on Dr. Johnson. (By Mrs. Piozzi, in her ‘Anecdotes.’) She was of a very good family: her Welsh friends made her a constant allowance, and the Miss Wilkinsons were liberal to her. She got a hundred and fifty pounds by her poems. I well remember her saying one day that she would have bought some tea, but wanted the money. The Doctor replied, ‘Why did you not ask me?’ She replied, ‘I knew you had none.’ He answered, ‘But I could have borrowed it.’ She, who knew him better than any person living, once said that ‘He never denied his advice or his purse to any one that asked.’ She had strong sense, excellent principles, and a cheerful mind; but, oppressed with blindness, pain, and poverty, her temper might be soured. But who would have borne such heavy afflictions so well as she did, or have been so useful as she really was? But please to consider, when you come to narrate particulars, how, without intention, you lessen fame. You will find in some lines I have writ, that I expose the poverty of my friend, and the weaknesses that only proceeded from a state of mortality.”
LORD NELSON’S JOURNEY HOME.
[The following are the extracts from Miss Knight’s correspondence with Sir E. Berry, referred to at p. 151:]
“Leghorn, July 2, 1800.
“DEAR SIR,—The very great, indeed, I may say, fraternal care you had the goodness to take of me while I was on board the _Foudroyant_, and the very sincere esteem I shall always have for Sir Edward Berry, induces me to trouble you with these few lines, as you will be desirous to hear of Lord Nelson, and the plan proposed for the party. The Queen wishes, if possible, to prosecute her journey. Lady Hamilton cannot bear the thought of going by sea; and, therefore, nothing but impracticability will prevent our going to Vienna. Lord Nelson is well, and keeps up his spirits amazingly. Sir William appears broken, distressed, and harassed.
“July 16th.—It is, at length, decided that we go by land; and I feel all the dangers and difficulties to which we shall be exposed. Think of our embarking on board small Austrian vessels at Ancona, for Trieste, as part of a land journey! to avoid the danger of being on board an English man-of-war, where everything is commodious, and equally well arranged for defence and comfort; but the die is cast, and go we must. Lord Nelson is going on an expedition he disapproves, and against his own convictions, because he has promised the Queen, and that others advise her. I pity the Queen. Prince Belmonte directs the march; and Lady Hamilton, though she does not like him, seconds his proposals, because she hates the sea, and wishes to visit the different Courts of Germany. Sir William says _he_ shall die by the way, and he looks so ill, that I should not be surprised if he did. I am astonished that the Queen, who is a sensible woman, should consent to run so great a risk; but I can assure you that neither she nor the Princesses forget their great obligations to you. If I am not detained in a French prison, or do not die upon the road, you shall hear from me again.
“Ancona, July 24, 1800.—As I find delays succeed each other, and England still recedes from us, I will not omit at least informing you of our adventures. We left Leghorn the day after I wrote to you by Mr. Tyson, and owing more to good fortune than to prudence, arrived in twenty-six hours at Florence, after passing within _two miles_ of the French advanced posts. After a short stay, we proceeded on our way to this place. At Castel San Giovanni, the coach, in which were Lord Nelson and Sir William and Lady Hamilton, was overturned; Sir William and Lady Hamilton were hurt, but not dangerously. The wheel was repaired, but broke again at Arezzo—the Queen two days’ journey before them, and news of the French army advancing rapidly, it was therefore decided that they should proceed, and Mrs. Cadogan and I remained with the broken carriage, as it was of less consequence we should be left behind, or taken, than they. We were obliged to stay three days to get the coach repaired; and, providentially, Arezzo was the place, as it is the most loyal city in Tuscany; and every care, attention, and kindness that humanity can dictate, and cordiality and good manners practise, were employed in our favour.... Just as we were going to set off, we received accounts of the French being very near the road where we had to pass, and of its being also infested with Neapolitan deserters; but at the same moment arrived a party of Austrians, and the officers gave us two soldiers as a guard. We travelled night and day; the roads are almost destroyed, and the misery of the inhabitants is beyond description. At length, however, we arrived at Ancona, and found that the Queen had given up the idea of going in the _Bellona_, an Austrian frigate, fitted up with silk hangings, carpets, and eighty beds for her reception, and now meant to go with a Russian squadron of three frigates and a brig. I believe she judged rightly; for there had been a mutiny on board the _Bellona_, and, for the sake of accommodation, she had reduced her guns to twenty-four, while the French, in possession of the coast, arm trabaccoli and other light vessels that could easily surround and take her. This Russian squadron is commanded by Count Voinovitsch, a Dalmatian, who, having seen his people ill-treated, and their colours destroyed by the Germans last year at the siege of Ancona, made a vow never to come ashore, and keeps it religiously, for he has not returned the Queen’s visit. I fancy we shall sail to-morrow night or the next morning. Mrs. Cadogan and I are to be on board one of the frigates, commanded by an old man named Messer, a native of England, who once served under Lord Howe, and has an excellent reputation. The rest of our party go with the Queen, and say they shall be very uncomfortable. Lord Nelson talks often of the _Foudroyant_, whatever is done to turn off the conversation; and last night he was talking with Captain Messer of the manœuvres he intended to make in case he accepted of another command. In short, I perceive that his thoughts turn towards England, and I hope and believe he will be happy there. The Queen and her daughters have been very kind to me, especially when I was ill; and poor Sir William suffered much when he left me at Arezzo. The Queen speaks of you often, and always with the highest esteem. Our party is very helpless; and though it is their own fault that they have brought themselves into these difficulties, I cannot help pitying them, and have the comfort to be of some use to them. Lord Nelson has been received with acclamations in all the towns of the Pope’s States. Success attend you. Where shall _we_ be on the 1st of August? The Queen asked me for the christian and surname of all the captains of the Nile. I am ashamed of the length of this letter, but it is pleasant to forget oneself for some moments, and renew a quarter-deck conversation. Our cots are ready, and the carriages on board, or I should not have had spirits to write so much.
“Trieste, August 9th, 1800.—As I know you will be anxious to hear how Lord Nelson proceeds on his journey, and as new delays continually occur, I will not refuse an opportunity offered me by Mr. Anderson, the Vice-Consul. Perhaps I am a little interested in the affair; for, as I have small comfort in my present situation, my thoughts willingly recur to the Mediterranean, where there were always resources to be found. I told you we were become humble enough to rejoice at a Russian squadron conveying us across the Adriatic; but had we sailed, as was first intended, in the imperial frigate, we should have been taken by eight trabaccoli, which the French armed on purpose at Pisaro. Sir William and Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson give a miserable account of their sufferings on board the Commodore’s ship (Count Voinovitsch). He was ill in his cot; but his First Lieutenant, a Neapolitan, named Capaci, was, it seems, the most insolent and ignorant of beings. Think what Lord Nelson must have felt! He says a gale of wind would have sunk the ship. I, with Mrs. Cadogan, came in another ship, commanded, as I believe I told you, by an Englishman, a Captain Messer, a plain, good man, who behaved with distinguished bravery last year at the siege of Ancona, and who was kind and attentive beyond description.... Poor Sir William Hamilton has been so ill that the physicians had almost given him up: he is now better, and I hope we shall be able to set off to-morrow night for Vienna. The Queen and thirty-four of her suite have had fevers: you can form no idea of the _helplessness_ of the party. How we shall proceed on our long journey is to me a problem; but we shall certainly get on as fast as we can; for the very precarious state of Sir William’s health has convinced everybody that it is necessary he should arrange his affairs.... Poor Lord Nelson, whose only comfort was in talking of ships and harbours with Captain Messer, has had a bad cold, but is almost well, and, I think, anxious to be in England. He is followed by thousands when he goes out, and for the illumination that is to take place this evening, there are many ‘Viva Nelsons!’ prepared. He seems affected whenever he speaks of _you_, and often sighs out, ‘Where is the _Foudroyant_?’”
THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE AND HER MOTHER.
[The following is the letter alluded to at page 216:]
_The Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent._
“SIR,—It is with great reluctance that I presume to obtrude myself upon your Royal Highness, and to solicit your attention to matters which may, at first, appear rather of a personal than a public nature. If I could think them so—if they related merely to myself—I should abstain from a proceeding which might give uneasiness, or interrupt the more weighty occupations of your Royal Highness’s time. I should continue, in silence and retirement, to lead the life which has been prescribed to me, and console myself for the loss of that society and those domestic comforts to which I have so long been a stranger, by the reflection that it has been deemed proper I should be afflicted without any fault of my own—and that your Royal Highness knows it.
“But, Sir, there are considerations of a higher nature than any regard to my own happiness, which render this address a duty both to myself and my daughter. May I venture to say—a duty also to my husband, and the people committed to his care? There is a point beyond which a guiltless woman cannot with safety carry her forbearances. If her honour is invaded, the defence of her reputation is no longer a matter of choice; and it signifies not whether the attack be made openly, manfully, and directly, or by secret insinuation, and by holding such conduct towards her as countenances all the suspicions that malice can suggest. If these ought to be the feelings of every woman in England who is conscious that she deserves no reproach, your Royal Highness has too sound a 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 purposely refrained from making any representations which might then augment the painful difficulties of your exalted station. At the expiration of the restrictions 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 could never 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, and held 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: but I will not disguise from your Royal Highness what I cannot for a moment conceal from myself—that the serious, and it soon 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 it 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 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 the attendance of 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 show by a new example the liberal affection of a free 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 most devoted and most affectionate consort, cousin, and subject,
(Signed) “CAROLINE LOUISA.
“Montague House, January 14, 1813.”
[The following is the text of the official report referred to at page 223:]
“The following members of his Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, viz.:
“His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Hon. the Lord High Chancellor, his Grace the Archbishop of York, his Grace the Lord Primate of Ireland, the Lord President of the Council, the Lord Privy Seal, the Earl of Buckinghamshire, the Earl of Bathurst, the Earl of Liverpool, the Earl of Mulgrave, the Viscount Melville, the Viscount Sidmouth, the Viscount Castlereagh, the Right Hon. the Lord Bishop of London, the Right Hon. Lord Ellenborough, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench, the Right Hon. the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Duchy, his Honour the Master of the Rolls, the Right Hon. the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, the Right Hon. the Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, the Right Hon. the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, the Right Hon. the Dean of the Arches;
“Having been summoned by command of your Royal Highness, on the 19th of February, to meet at the office of Viscount Sidmouth, Secretary of State for the Home Department, a communication was made by his Lordship to the Lords then present, in the following terms:
“‘My Lords,—I have it in command from his Royal Highness the Prince Regent to acquaint your Lordships that a copy of a letter from the Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent having appeared in a public paper, which letter refers to the proceedings that took place in an inquiry instituted by command of his Majesty in the year 1806, and contains among other matters certain animadversions upon the manner in which the Prince Regent has exercised his undoubted right of regulating the conduct and education of his daughter the Princess Charlotte; and his Royal Highness having taken into his consideration the said letter so published, and adverting to the directions heretofore given by his Majesty, that the documents relating to the said inquiry should be sealed up, and deposited in the office of his Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State, in order that his Majesty’s Government should possess the means of resorting to them if necessary, his Royal Highness has been pleased to direct that the said letter of the Princess of Wales, and the whole of the said documents, together with the copies of other letters and papers, of which a schedule is annexed, should be referred to your Lordships, being members of his Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, for your consideration; and that you should report to his Royal Highness your opinion, whether, under all the circumstances of the case, it be fit and proper that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulations and restrictions.’
“Their Lordships adjourned their meetings to Tuesday, the 23rd of February; and the intermediate days having been employed in perusing the documents referred to them, by command of your Royal Highness, they proceeded on that and the following day to the further consideration of the said documents, and have agreed to report to your Royal Highness as follows:
“In obedience to the commands of your Royal Highness, we have taken into our most serious consideration the letter from her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales to your Royal Highness, which has appeared in the public papers, and has been referred to us by your Royal Highness, in which letter the Princess of Wales, amongst other matters, complains that the intercourse between her Royal Highness, and her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, has been subjected to certain restrictions.
“We have also taken into our most serious consideration, together with the other papers referred to us by your Royal Highness, all the documents relative to the inquiry instituted in 1806, by command of his Majesty, into the truth of certain representations respecting the conduct of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, which appear to have been pressed upon the attention of your Royal Highness in consequence of the advice of Lord Thurlow, and upon grounds of public duty, by whom they were transmitted to his Majesty’s consideration; and your Royal Highness having been graciously pleased to command us to report our opinions to your Royal Highness, whether, under all the circumstances of the case, it be fit and proper that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint.
“We beg leave humbly to report to your Royal Highness, that after a full examination of all the documents before us, we are of opinion that, under all the circumstances of the case, it is highly fit and proper, with a view to the welfare of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, in which are equally involved the happiness of your Royal Highness in your parental and royal character, and the most important interests of the State, that the intercourse between her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales and her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint.
“We humbly trust that we may be permitted, without being thought to exceed the limits of the duty imposed on us, respectfully to express the just sense we entertain of the motives by which your Royal Highness has been actuated in the postponement of the confirmation of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, as it appears, by a statement under the hand of her Majesty the Queen, that your Royal Highness has conformed in this respect to the declared will of his Majesty, who had been pleased to direct that such ceremony should not take place till her Royal Highness should have completed her eighteenth year.
“We also humbly trust that we may be further permitted to notice some expressions in the letter of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, which may possibly be construed as implying a charge of too serious a nature to be passed over without observation. We refer to the words—“suborned traducers.” As this expression, from the manner it is introduced, may, perhaps, be liable to misconstruction (however impossible it may be to suppose that it can have been so intended), to have reference to some part of the conduct of your Royal Highness, we feel it our bounden duty not to omit this opportunity of declaring that the documents laid before us afford the most ample proof that there is not the slightest foundation for such an aspersion.”
“C. CANTUAR, ELDON, E. EBOR, W. ARMAGH, HARROWBY, P. C. WESTMORELAND, C. P. S. BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, BATHURST, LIVERPOOL, MULGRAVE, MELVILLE, SIDMOUTH, J. LONDON, ELLENBOROUGH, CHARLES ABBOTT, N. VANSITTART, C. BATHURST, W. GRANT, A. MACDONALD, W. SCOTT, J. NICHOLL.”
[Subjoined is the reply of the Princess of Wales to the above:]
“Montague House, March 1.
“The Princess of Wales informs Mr. Speaker that she has received from Lord Viscount Sidmouth a copy of a report made to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent by certain members of his Majesty’s Privy Council, to whom it appears that his Royal Highness was advised to refer certain documents and evidence regarding the character and conduct of the Princess of Wales. This report is of such a nature, that her Royal Highness is persuaded that no person can read it without considering it to contain aspersions on her character, though its vagueness renders it impossible to be precisely understood, or to know exactly with what she is charged. The Princess of Wales feels conscious of her innocence, and considers it due to herself, to the two illustrious Houses with which she is connected by blood and marriage, and to the people of this country, in which she holds such a distinguished rank, not to acquiesce for a moment in the reflections which have been cast upon her honour. The Princess of Wales has not been permitted to know on what evidence this report has been founded, nor has she had any opportunity of being heard in her own defence. What she knew on the subject was only from common rumour, until she received the report; nor does she know whether it proceeded from persons acting together as a body, to whom she could make her appeal, or only as individuals. Her Royal Highness throws herself upon the wisdom and justice of Parliament, and desires the fullest investigation of her conduct during the time that she has resided in this country. She fears no scrutiny, provided she be tried by impartial judges, in a fair and open manner, consistent with the laws of the land. Her Royal Highness wishes to be treated as innocent, or to be proved guilty. She desires Mr. Speaker to communicate this letter to the Hon. the House of Commons.”
OPENING OF THE COFFIN OF CHARLES I.
[The following is the passage from Sir H. Halford’s narrative referred to at page 227—_note_:]
“On removing the pall, a plain leaden coffin, with no appearance of ever having been enclosed in wood, and bearing an inscription, “King Charles, 1648,” in large legible characters, on a scroll of lead, encircling it, immediately presented itself to view. A square opening was then made in the upper part of the lid, of such dimensions as to admit a clear insight into its contents. These were, an internal wooden coffin, very much decayed, and the body carefully wrapped in cerecloth, into the folds of which a quantity of unctuous or greasy matter, mixed with resin, as it seemed, had been melted, so as to exclude as effectually as possible the external air. The coffin was completely full; and from the tenacity of the cerecloth, great difficulty was experienced in detaching it successfully from the parts which it enveloped. Wherever the unctuous matter had insinuated itself, the separation of the cerecloth was easy; and when it came off, a correct impression of the features to which it had been applied was observed in the unctuous substance. At length the whole face was disengaged from its covering. The complexion of the skin of it was dark and discoloured. The forehead and temples had lost little or nothing of their muscular substance: the cartilage of the nose was gone; but the left eye, in the first moment of exposure, was open and full, though it vanished almost immediately, and the pointed beard, so characteristic of the period of the reign of King Charles, was perfect. The shape of the face was a long oval; many of the teeth remained, and the left ear, in consequence of the interposition of the unctuous matter between it and the cerecloth, was found entire.
“It was difficult at this moment to withhold a declaration, that notwithstanding its disfigurement, the countenance did bear a strong resemblance to the coins, the busts, and especially to the pictures of King Charles I. by Vandyke, by which it had been made familiar to us. It is true that the minds of the spectators of this interesting sight were prepared to receive this impression: but it is also certain that such a facility of belief had been occasioned by the simplicity and truth of Mr. Herbert’s narrative, every part of which had been confirmed by the investigation, so far as it had advanced; and it will not be denied that the shape of the face, the forehead, and eye, and the beard, are most important features by which resemblance is determined.
“When the head had been entirely disengaged from the attachments which confined it, it was found to be loose, and, without any difficulty, was taken up and held to view. It was quite wet, and gave a greenish red tinge to paper, and to linen which touched it. The back part of the scalp was entirely perfect, and had a remarkable fresh appearance; the pores of the skin being more distinct, as they usually are when soaked in mixture; and the tendons and ligaments of the neck were of considerable substance and firmness. The hair was thick at the back part of the head, and in appearance nearly black. A portion of it, which has since been cleaned and dried, is of a beautiful dark brown colour; that of the beard was a redder brown. On the back part of the head, it was not more than an inch in length, and had probably been cut so short for the convenience of the executioner, or perhaps by the piety of friends soon after death, in order to furnish memorials of the unhappy King.
“On holding up the head to examine the place of separation from the body, the muscles of the neck had evidently retracted themselves considerably; and the fourth cervical vertebra was found to be cut through its substance, transversely, leaving the surfaces of the divided portions perfectly smooth and even, an appearance which could have been produced only by a heavy blow, inflicted with a very sharp instrument, and which furnished the last proof wanting to identify King Charles I.
“After this examination of the head, which served every purpose in view, and without examining the body below the neck, it was immediately restored to its situation, the coffin was soldered up again, and the vault closed.
“Neither of the other coffins had any inscription upon them. The larger one, supposed on good grounds to contain the remains of King Henry VIII., measured six feet ten inches in length, and had been enclosed in an elm one two inches in thickness; but this was decayed, and lay in small fragments near it. The leaden coffin appeared to have been beaten in by violence about the middle, and a considerable opening in that part of it exposed a mere skeleton of the King. Some beard remained upon the chin, but there was nothing to discriminate the personage contained in it.
“The smaller coffin, understood to be that of Queen Jane Seymour, was not touched; mere curiosity not being considered by the Prince Regent as a sufficient motive for disturbing these remains.”
THE ORANGE MATCH.
[The following extract from the Duke of Buckingham’s “Court of the Regency” may be read with interest in illustration of the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of the Autobiography:]
“The Grand-Duchess of Oldenburg contrived to obtain considerable influence over the Princess Charlotte, and persuaded her to reject the Prince of Orange. The object of this was not suspected at the time; but it was a Russian intrigue that, shortly afterwards, fully explained itself. Some amusing speculations respecting this Russian Princess are indulged in by the authoress of the ‘Diary of George IV.,’ vol. iii. p. 48. The Prince Regent is stated to have kept her under strict _espionage_ to make her marry one of his brothers—the Grand-Duchess had already (had) one husband—and to prevent her having any communication with the Princess of Wales, which was possible any day during her stay in England through a third party. The real object of the visit of the Duchess of Oldenburg could not have been suspected, or the Prince Regent would not have placed her exactly in that position in which she could succeed with the greatest ease. The writer especially adds in a subsequent page: ‘The Regent evidently wished his daughter to take the Prince of Orange; otherwise, why should he, who was so careful in excluding from Princess Charlotte’s society any one inclined to encourage her in independent principles, have permitted her to be intimate with this cunning Russian lady, _whose very eyes betrayed the wily nature of her character_?’
“It was said that the Princess Charlotte’s insurmountable objection to the union arose from repugnance to quitting her own country; but Lord Clancarty was commissioned to propose her constant residence in England, should the marriage take place.
“Some amusement may be found in tracing the course of this Russian intrigue. In January, 1814, the Emperor expressed to Lord Castlereagh the strong interest he felt in the proposed marriage of the Princess Charlotte and the Prince of Orange, and was extremely desirous that himself and his sister, the Grand-Duchess Catherine, should be permitted to visit England. A month or two subsequently, Russia exhibits much solicitude to obtain a direct interest in the affairs of Holland. A little later this Grand-Duchess precedes the Emperor as a visitor to England, and immediately endeavours to obtain the confidence of the Princess Charlotte, who thenceforth becomes intractable on the subject of the proposed alliance. Lord Castlereagh wrote to Lord Clancarty on the 26th of June: ‘The circumstances attending the rupture of the marriage are still mysterious;’ but the mystery, shortly afterwards, began to unfold itself. The Emperor returned to his own dominions by way of Holland, and immediately a marriage was rumoured between its hereditary Prince and the Grand-Duchess Helen. ‘Connected with this,’ writes Mr. George Jackson, at Berlin, ‘is the expectation affected to be entertained of Russia procuring East Friedland for the Duke of Oldenburg.’... In September the Czar allowed it to be known at St. Petersburg, _as a secret_, that a marriage was contemplated between the Prince of Orange, who had been invited to Russia, and the Grand-Duchess Anne. The following summer they were married.
“The Duchess of Oldenburg was also suspected of being a means of communication between the Princess Charlotte and her mother, and was evidently regarded by the latter with more than ordinary admiration.... Encouraged by a such a friend and such a mother, the young Princess proceeded on a course that her warmest friends regarded with deep concern.
“The intrigue that was going on at last became known to the Prince Regent, and his Royal Highness, accompanied by the Bishop of Salisbury, suddenly presented themselves (_sic_) at the residence of the Princess Charlotte, Warwick House, and announced their intention of taking her with them to Carlton House. The Princess having obtained leave to retire—probably to prepare for her journey—at once hurried down a back-stairs into the street, called a hackney-coach, and drove to her mother’s town residence, Connaught House. Her escape having transpired, her retreat was soon ascertained, and the Duke of York and the Lord Chancellor were sent to bring her back. It so happened that the Princess of Wales was then secretly negotiating with the Government for the means of travelling abroad, and feared that this step of the Princess Charlotte might compromise her, and prevent the fulfilment of her desire to leave the country, she therefore not only did not give her daughter a cordial reception, but absolutely persuaded her to go back before the arrival of the deputation sent for her by the Prince Regent. This advice was very far from agreeable. But we must allow Lord Eldon to relate the curious sequel. ‘When we arrived, I informed her a carriage was at the door, and we would attend her home. But home she would not go. She kicked and bounced, but would not go. Well, to do my office as gently as I could, I told her I was sorry for it; for, until she did go, she would be obliged to entertain us, as we would not leave her; at last she accompanied us.’
“Such an event could not pass without exciting much observation, and exaggerated accounts were circulated. The House of Lords, on the 18th of July, was startled with a violent speech from the Duke of Sussex, which included a variety of questions, referring to this transaction, addressed to Lord Liverpool, who did not think proper to answer one of them, but insisted on the Prince Regent’s right to control his own child, and the impropriety of any interference on the part of the House of Lords. The Duke, not being satisfied, gave notice of a motion. The Lord Chancellor followed with some stringent observations to the same purpose as that of his colleague, and there the discussion terminated. On the 25th his Royal Highness made another speech, in which he withdrew his motion, as Lord Grey acknowledged, by his advice.”
FLIGHT OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
[With reference to the events narrated in the last chapter of this volume, Lord Brougham observes, after contradicting Lord Eldon’s statements:]
“When the Princess’s escape became known at Carlton House (for it is not at all true, as stated by Mr. Twiss, that the Prince and Bishop went to see her at Warwick House to inform her of the new constitution of her household, and that she asked leave to retire, and escaped by a back staircase), the Regent sent notice to the heads of the law, and of his own Duchy of Cornwall establishment. Soon after these arrived, each in a separate hackney-coach, at Connaught-terrace, the Princess of Wales’s residence. These were the Chancellor, Lord Ellenborough, Mr. Adam, Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall, Mr. Leach, the Bishop of Salisbury, and afterwards the Duke of York. There had already come to join the Princess Charlotte, Miss Mercer, now Lady Keith and Countess of Flahault, who came by the Regent’s express desire as his daughter’s most confidential friend; Mr. Brougham, for whom the young Princess had sent, as a person she had already often consulted; the Duke of Sussex, whose attendance he had taken the precaution of asking, knowing that he happened to dine in the immediate neighbourhood; the Princess of Wales, too, had arrived from her villa at Blackheath, where she was when Mr. Brougham and Miss Mercer arrived; her Royal Highness was accompanied by Lady Charlotte Lindsay, then in waiting. Dinner had been ordered by the Princess Charlotte, and the party, except the Duke of Sussex, who did not immediately arrive, were at table, when from time to time the arrival of the great personages sent by the Regent was announced as each of their hackney-coaches in succession came into the street. Some were suffered to remain in these vehicles, better fitted for convenience than for state; but the presumptive heiress to the Crown having chosen that conveyance, it was the humour of the party which she now delighted with her humour, and interesting by her high spirits, like a bird flown from a cage, that these exalted subjects should become familiar with a residence which had so lately been graced with the occupancy of their future Sovereign. Exceptions, however, were made, and the Duke of York immediately was asked into a room on the ground floor. It is an undoubted fact that not one of the persons sent by the Regent, not even the Duke of York, ever was in any of the apartments above stairs for one instant until the young Princess had agreed to leave the house and return home. The Princess of Wales saw the Duke of York for a few minutes below, and this was the only communication between the company above and those below, of whom all but the Duke and the Bishop remained outside the house. After a great deal of discussion, the Princess Charlotte asked Mr. Brougham what he, on the whole, would advise her to do. He said, ‘Return to Warwick House, or to Carlton House, and on no account pass a night out of it.’ She was exceedingly affected, even to tears, and asked if he too refused to stand by her. The day was beginning to break; a Westminster election to reinstate Lord Cochrane (after the sentence on him which abolished the pillory, and secured his re-election) was to be held that day at ten o’clock. Mr. Brougham led the young Princess to the window, and said, ‘I have but to show you to the multitude which in a few hours will fill these streets and that park—and possibly Carlton House will be pulled down—but in an hour after the soldiers will be called out, blood will flow, and if your Royal Highness lives a hundred years it will never be forgotten that your running away from your home and your father was the cause of the mischief; and you may depend upon it the English people so hate blood that you will never get over it.’ She at once perceived the truth of this statement, and, without any kind of hesitation, agreed to see her uncle below, and accompany him home. But she told him she would not go in any carriage except one of her father’s, as her character might suffer; she therefore retired to the drawing-room until a royal coach was sent for, and she then went home with the Duke of York.”—_Law Review_, No. XI., 280, _as quoted in Lord Campbell’s “Life of Lord Eldon_,” p. 314.
END OF VOL. I.
C. WHITING, BEAUFORT HOUSE, STRAND.
Her works are “Dinarbas,” a sort of supplement to Johnson’s “Rasselas,” published in 1790; “Marcus Flaminius: a View of the Military, Political, and Social Life of the Romans,”—a classical novel in two volumes, which, originally published in 1792, reached a second edition in 1808; and “A Description of Latium, or La Campagna di Roma, with Etchings by the Author,” which appeared in 1805.
Sir Joseph, then Lieut. Knight, obtained his first ship, the _Ruby_, 50, on the 31st July, 1746, and in the following year he sailed with Admiral Boscawen’s fleet to the East Indies, whence he returned with Commodore Lisle’s squadron, of which he took the command, as senior captain, on that officer’s death at the Cape of Good Hope. In 1758, Captain Knight was appointed to the _Fougueux_, 64, and greatly distinguished himself under Admiral Keppel at the attack on the French settlement of Goree on the African coast. He afterwards commanded the _Belleisle_, and, in 1770, took out troops to Gibraltar in the _Ramilies_, 74. On his return he was appointed to the _Ocean_, 90, stationed at Portsmouth. At the grand naval review on the 24th June, 1773, he was knighted by his Majesty on board the _Barfleur_, under the royal standard of England. On the 31st of March, 1775, Sir Joseph Knight was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral of the white, but died on the 8th of September following, after spending fifty-two years of his life in the service of his king and country.
Wortley Montagu, son of the famous Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and the first Englishman ever inoculated. He showed early symptoms of an unsettled character, impatient of control, by three times running away from Westminster School. Later in life he turned Roman Catholic, and subsequently embraced Mahomedanism. He was the author of “Reflections on the Rise and Fall of the Ancient Republics.”
Sir Anthony Dean was great-grandson of Mr. William Dean, a Lancashire gentleman, who united the three manors of Hosedens, Caxtons, and Dynes, about the year 1575. Sir Anthony, says Holman, “being very much addicted to the Parliamentary cause, and presuming the structure then raised would have stood for ever, exchanged his fair estate here with Colonel Sparrow for Hide Park, which that colonel had obtained in consideration of his zeal for the same prevailing cause. Thus he lost the substance for the shadow.” The crest of the Dean family was: On a torse ermine, and sable, a boar’s head couped or, muzzled gules.
Miss Palmer, frequently mentioned in Madame D’Arblay’s Memoirs. After Sir Joshua’s death she married Lord Inchiquin.
Bennet Langton, who succeeded Dr. Johnson as Professor of Ancient History in the Royal Academy.
The well-known Topham Beauclerk, son of Lord Sydney Beauclerk, of whom Dr. Johnson said: “Beauclerk’s talents were those which he had felt himself more disposed to envy than those of any he had known.”
Joseph Baretti was a native of Piedmont. He published an Italian and English dictionary, and several other works of less importance. Miss Burney says of him in 1779: “Baretti worries me about writing—asks a million of questions of how much I have written, and so forth, and when I say ‘Nothing,’ he raves and rants and says he could beat me.” He was for some years Foreign Secretary to the Royal Academy.
Mrs. Elizabeth Montagu, author of an “Essay on the Genius and Learning of Shakspeare.” She also wrote three “Dialogues of the Dead,” which were printed with Lord Lyttleton’s.
Mrs. Anna Williams was the daughter of a Welsh physician. Miss Burney calls her “an exceeding pretty poetess.” She died in 1783.
John Hoole, the translator of Tasso, Ariosto, &c. He was born in 1727, and died in 1803.
This is an error. Mrs. Yates certainly spoke the Epilogue, but she took the part of Aspasia. Miss Hopkins appeared as Mandane.
Frederick of Denmark, when crown prince, married Louisa, youngest daughter of George the Second.
The Princess Caroline Matilda, posthumous child of Frederick, Prince of Wales, was married to Prince Christian, afterwards King of Denmark. She died at Zell, in Hanover, in 1775.
The “New Bath Guide,” by Christopher Anstey, of whom Miss Burney sarcastically remarks: “If he could but forget he had written the “Bath Guide,” with how much more pleasure would everybody else remember it.”
In this year Miss Knight’s journals commence. The title-page of the first volume bears the motto:
“Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum, Tendimus in Latium.” VIRGIL.
John Chetwode Eustace, a Roman Catholic clergyman, and author of “A Classical Tour in Italy.” He died at Naples in 1815.
M. Mignet, in his lectures on the history of the League, dryly remarked: “Les Jesuites, pour arriver à leurs fins, osèrent tout—même le bien.”
In another note-book Miss Knight observes of M. de Brienne: “His manners were elegant, but not conciliating, and his effrontery appeared to me astonishing.... He was of an ancient and distinguished family, and, probably, had he been brought up to a military profession, would have been a man of honour and agreeable in society. I believe he was liberal, and in many respects useful in his diocese. He was at the head of those who were called ‘Evêques Administrateurs,’ in opposition to the ‘Dévôts,’ or pastoral bishops: both had their defects, and helped on the Revolution in different ways; for the first were too often libertines, and the second intolerant and illiberal.”
The singular liberality of this discourse, viewed with reference to the time and place of its delivery, and to the profession of the speaker, is beyond all praise. The archbishop was nearly a century in advance of his age.
François Joachim Pierre de Bernis belonged to a noble but impoverished family, whose paternal estate was near Pont St. Esprit, in Languedoc. He had a great talent for Anacreontic poetry, and his verses were lively and elegant, but too highly coloured for young readers. Though short, and by no means remarkable for beauty of face or figure, he was, when young, universally known as _le joli petit abbé_, and _l’aimable abbé_. In his early years he was often subject to great pecuniary embarrassments, but was always cheerful, always the gentleman, and always well received. He gained the favour of Madame de Pompadour by his verses, and of the king by a memoir on the dispute between the Parliaments and the Jesuits. He was sent as minister to Venice, and while there took priest’s orders, lest the Princesse de Rohan should ask him to marry her on the death of her husband, who was then past recovery. The princess and he had long been attached to one another, but he considered himself too much her inferior both as to rank and fortune to make a graceful figure in the world. His conduct on this occasion did not forfeit him the friendship of the princess, for she left him her entire fortune at her death; but he nobly gave it up to the Rohans, reserving for himself only a ring, on which was a Moor’s head, and this he wore as long as he lived, in remembrance of her. On his return to France he was made prime minister, but was soon displaced by the Choiseul party. He was then created a cardinal, but lived in a sort of disgrace until the accession of Louis XVI., when he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary of his Most Christian Majesty at the Court of Rome, whither he had gone for the Conclave of Ganganelli. He was subsequently dismissed from this post for refusing to take the oath exacted by the revolutionists, and was deprived of the revenues of his benefices in France. He had, however, a pension from Spain, and he received at his house in Rome, where he still continued to reside, Mesdames Adelaide and Victoire, the daughters of his old master, Louis XV. He bore his change of fortune with dignity and temper, and died about eighteen months before the French took possession of Rome.—_From MS. Notes by Miss Knight._
The dinner-hour was two o’clock, and the company generally dispersed at four, or a little after, so that between that and the Ave Maria, or close of day, there was time for those, who did not go home to sleep, to visit anything they wished to see.—_MS. Note by Miss Knight._
“By bribing or beating.”
“Do me the favour to place yourself here, Signor Ambassador.”
Literally, “a vacant seat,” but a term applied to the ceremonies on the death of a pope.
“In fiocchi” is equivalent to our phrase “in gala costume.” It was derived from the tassels with which the horses were ornamented in state processions. Hence, probably, the vulgar phrase “in full fig,” and “figged out.”
“What is Rome about?” “Works of mercy. She clothes the naked, and enriches the honest.”
“The Eagle has gone to Germany, the Lilies to France, the Stars have returned to the sky, and nothing remains but the Wind.”
“Your eminence, I remember, was nuncio at Brussels, and stood well, but wished for something more, and was made nuncio at Naples; stood better, but wished for something more, and was made cardinal; stood excellently well, but wished for something more, and was made secretary-of-state. I see that you stand marvellously well now, but who knows if you will not again wish for something more?”
_Bargello_, a sheriff.
General Kinsky, who generally accompanied Joseph II. on his travels, was sent for the night before his Majesty set out for Italy, but could not be found. The next morning he waited as usual upon the emperor, who told him he was going to make a tour. He then walked down stairs, and desired the general to get into the carriage that was standing at the door. “Where is your Majesty going?” asked the general. “To Italy,” replied the emperor. “But I have nothing ready.” “It does not signify: a few shirts can be got anywhere.”—_Miss Knight’s Journal._
The Princess Croce was of a lively disposition. Being at St. Peter’s on Good Friday, when the people were going up to kiss the relic of the Cross, she said to the gentlemen who were with her, but loud enough to be heard by the whole congregation, “This is _my_ fête, so you ought to kiss me.”—_Miss Knight’s Journal._
An English lady remarked of Marchesi’s singing: “Cela est fort joli, mais il ne va pas au cœur.” To which the emperor dryly replied: “Ces choses doivent aller prémièrement à la tête, et ensuite au cœur,” and turned on his heel and moved away.—_Miss Knight’s Journal._
A small copper coin worth about three-farthings.
Count Haga sees everything, and pays nothing.
“If he does not intone he will not get out of tune.”
“Do you stand here to eat your neighbour?”
“Because you catch the breath of all who come in.”
The original scene of a popular anecdote is laid by Miss Knight in Florence. One of the miscellaneous entries in her journal for the year 1783 records how a Moorish ambassador was greatly fêted in that city, but was chiefly pleased with a grand ball at which all the Florentine nobility were present. It must have cost a great deal of money, he said, to pay so many women for dancing.
The Princess Louisa Maximiliana of Stolberg-Gœdern married Charles Edward Stuart, commonly called the Young Pretender. At his death, in 1788, she removed to Paris, accompanied by Count Alfieri, the famous poet, to whom she is said to have been subsequently united by marriage. Miss Knight takes a more favourable view of the countess’s conduct and character than was altogether justified by the real facts of the case.
Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart, brother of Prince Charles Edward, born in 1725, was made a cardinal in 1747 by Pope Benedict XIV. His valuable collection of paintings and antiques was plundered by the French in 1788, and his property confiscated. He then removed to Venice, where he endured considerable privations, until George III., hearing of his distress, generously bestowed upon him a pension of 4000_l._ a year. The cardinal returned to Rome in 1801, and continued to reside there until his death in 1807. His learning, piety, and virtues commanded the esteem of his contemporaries, with the exception, apparently, of his sister-in-law and her immediate circle of friends.
The Pretender himself told the Commander D’Olomieu that he was in England in the year 1752, at the invitation of the minister, and that he saw many people and was well received, though the person at whose house he lodged knew not who he was. At Dover he went to the house of a gentleman who belonged to the opposite party, but who treated him with great respect and civility.—_Miss Knight’s Journal._
The Commander D’Olomieu told me, that when the Bailli de Suffren brought over in his xebecque M. de Choiseul and his lady, the duke being then appointed ambassador at the Court of Rome, the latter presented him with a handsome snuff-box with the portrait of the duchess. The bailli took a key out of his pocket, wrenched off the portrait, which he kept, and returned the box to the ambassador.—_Miss Knight’s Journal._
The King of Sweden appears to have been partial to this kind of entertainment, if we may judge from an interesting letter, descriptive of an ascent in his presence, dated from Naples February 19, which appeared in the _European Magazine_ for April, 1784. Gustavus III. was mortally wounded, March 16, 1792, at a masked ball, by Ankerstroem, an officer dismissed from the Guards.
General Elliott was himself the most abstemious man in the garrison, his diet being exclusively confined to vegetables, milk, puddings, and farinaceous food.
This was not the only poetical effusion of the gallant general. He also composed the following lines on a young lady who died in consequence of dancing too much, and drinking too much lemonade, at a ball:
“Do you know who’s gone away? Do you know who’s gone away? The masquerade and lemonade Have done for Jenny Conaway.” _Miss Knight, on the authority of Lieutenant Koehler._
“How can you expect that the son of the eternal father should give you anything?”
“I rested afterwards at the house of a Monsieur Loriol. He was an old man, with a white ribbon in his button-hole, and a good-humoured countenance, which became ten times more beaming upon our informing him, when he made the inquiry if I knew the Lady K., as he called her, that I was acquainted with her. ‘Ah!’ said he, ‘she is an excellent lady; she lived here eighteen months, and made drawings of all the ruins in this neighbourhood. She had a very cross mother, but was herself a most amiable person;’ and then he showed me two of Miss K.’s gifts to himself, a pocket-book and snuff-box, of which, with some Derbyshire spar, he seemed very proud.”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary &c_., vol. ii.
At Savona, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Lady Knight and her daughter received many civilities from the French consul—Signor GARIBALDI, a Genoese.
“Oh! that is quite another thing. Here we spend money—there we make it.”
It was during her residence at Genoa that Miss Knight published her first work, “Dinarbas,” a continuation of “Rasselas.”
In the course of the preceding year Miss Knight brought out a work in two volumes, entitled “Marcus Flaminius, or a View of the Life of the Romans,” of which Miss Burney said: “I think it a work of great merit, though wanting in variety, and not very attractive from much interesting the feelings. But to Italian travellers, who are classy readers, I imagine it must be extremely welcome, in reviving images of all they have seen, well combined and contrasted with former times of which they have read. The sentiments interspersed are so good, I wish for more; and the principles that are meant to be recommended are both pure and lofty. It is not a work which you will read quickly through, or with ardour, but it is one, I think, of which you will not miss a word.”—(_Madame d’Arblay’s Diary_, vol. v.) In 1805, Miss Knight published also a quarto volume, entitled “A Description of Latium, or La Campagna di Roma,” a work displaying a sound knowledge of classical literature, together with a familiar acquaintance with the places she describes.
Even the Protestantism of Dr. Johnson might have forgiven this as an outburst of anti-republican zeal. See _antè_, Chapter I.
The late Duke of Sussex.
Sir William Hamilton, who was at that time sixty-eight years of age, had been for nearly half that period British minister at the Court of Naples. He had then been married to Lady Hamilton nearly seven years.
There was at that time a treaty between Naples and France, by which the former bound herself not to admit more than two English ships of war at a time into any Neapolitan or Sicilian port.
Maria Caroline, daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria. She was married, in 1768, to Ferdinand IV., King of Naples, son of Charles III. of Spain. A woman of great feminine beauty, but of a masculine understanding, she has earned for herself an unhappy notoriety in history as a princess of a cruel and ferocious nature, pitiless and unscrupulous in the attainment of her ends. But it may be doubted whether her vices have not been exaggerated both by English and French historians. At all events, it should be borne in mind that she was mated to a very weak prince, and that his feebleness rendered necessary, in the troublous times in which their lot was cast, an assertion of her masculine strength.
Afterwards Sir W. Hoste, K.C.B. His Memoirs and Correspondence were published by Lady Hoste in 1833.
Afterwards Admiral the Honourable Sir Bladen Capel, K.C.B. Hoste and Capel brought a letter of introduction from Nelson to Lady Hamilton, in which he says: “I beg leave to introduce Captain Capel, who is going home with my despatches, to your notice. He is a son of Lord Essex, and a very good young man. And I also beg your notice of Captain Hoste, who to the gentlest manners joins the most undaunted courage. He was brought up by me, and I love him dearly.”
There is some error in these statements. Captain Capel, not Captain Hoste, was appointed to the _Mutine_ on the promotion of Captain Hardy. Hoste was appointed to her afterwards. The battle of the Nile was fought on the 1st of August. The despatches were not received in London till the 2nd of October.
Afterwards Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge.
This is the Captain, afterwards Sir Alexander, Ball, of whom Coleridge has given an interesting account in one of the numbers of the _Friend_. There was an early coldness between him and Nelson, but the great storm of the 20th of May, 1798, had brought them together, under very interesting circumstances, and a close friendship was cemented between them. Captain Ball was created a baronet in 1801, and was for some time governor of Malta, where he died in 1809.
In Nelson’s published correspondence there is a letter to his wife descriptive of his reception at Naples. The following passage will be read with interest:—“I must endeavour to convey to you something of what passed; but if it were so affecting to those who were only united to me by bonds of friendship, what must it be to my dearest wife, my friend, my everything which is most dear to me in this world? Sir William and Lady Hamilton came out to sea, attended by numerous boats, with emblems, &c. They, my most respectable friends, had nearly been laid up and seriously ill; first from anxiety, then from joy. It was imprudently told Lady Hamilton in a moment, and the effect was like a shot; she fell apparently dead, and is not yet recovered from severe bruises. Alongside came my honoured friends; the scene in the boat was terribly affecting; up flew her ladyship, and exclaiming, ‘Oh, God! is it possible?’ she fell into my arm more dead than alive. Tears, however, soon set matters to rights, when alongside came the king. The scene was, in its way, as interesting; he took me by the hand, called me his deliverer, his preserver, with every other expression of kindness. I hope some day to have the pleasure of introducing you to Lady Hamilton; she is one of the very best women in the world; she is an honour to her sex.” The hero was then drifting to his destiny. It may be stated here that Nelson—then Captain Nelson—had first made the acquaintance of the Hamiltons at Naples in 1793. He had made a strong impression on them both. Sir William had predicted that, though only a little fellow, and not very handsome, he would live to become the greatest man that England had ever produced.
This was the unfortunate Prince Caraccioli, whose execution has thrown so deep a shadow over the history of the connexion between Nelson, Lady Hamilton, and the Queen of Naples.
Sir John Francis Edward Acton, Bart., of Aldenham, Salop, born 1736 or 1737, after a chequered and romantic career, became the favourite of Queen Caroline of Naples, the prime minister, and commander-in-chief of the naval and military forces of that kingdom. He bore an implacable enmity to the French, which appears to have been cordially reciprocated, for after the complete overthrow of the Austro-Neapolitan army under General Mack, the French insisted upon General Acton’s retirement from public affairs, and at a later period (1803) he was compelled to withdraw into the island of Sicily. He died at Palermo in the year 1811. All the biographical notices of this remarkable man, being evidently derived from one common unauthentic source, are equally full of errors and misstatements. His brother, Joseph Edward, was also in the Neapolitan service, and was appointed governor of Gaeta. It is said that he was originally in the French army, and was present at the battle of Rosbach, but at the outbreak of the Revolution emigrated to Naples. The Acton family were Roman Catholics. The Neapolitan minister left two sons, the second of whom became a cardinal. The widow of the younger brother (Baron Acton) married the present Lord Granville.
Pius VI. was removed to Valence, notwithstanding his ill health and advanced age, on the 14th July, 1798, and died there on the 29th August, 1799, in his eighty-second year.
Miss Knight is somewhat unjust to the French general, Lespinasse, whose portrait Angelica painted gratuitously. It was done by her own desire, as an acknowledgment of the kind and courteous treatment she had experienced at his hands, her house being specially exempted from having soldiers billeted on it.
Sir Harris Nicolas says that this verse is attributed to a Mr. Davenport. It was, in reality, written by Miss Knight herself.
Admiral Blanquet, whose flag was on the _Franklin_ (80), was taken with his ship in the battle of the Nile. He was a brave and an honest man, distinguished for his candour and ingenuousness.
The _Vanguard_, Nelson, had left Naples for Malta in October, but had returned to the former place early in November. Miss Knight thus records his arrival in her Journal:—“_November 5, 1798._—Appeared in sight Admiral Nelson, in the _Vanguard_, with the _Minotaur_, Captain Lewis, from Malta, and they were all day coming in; but the admiral came on shore at four o’clock, and went immediately to Caserta, where he was scarce arrived when the hereditary princess was brought to bed of a daughter, and the bells were ringing, guns firing, &c. Next morning the admiral presented to the king the French colours taken at Gozo, telling his Majesty that he had sixteen thousand more subjects than before.”
Killed very shortly afterwards at the defence of St. Jean d’Acre, under Sir Sidney Smith.
“As there is but one inn in Palermo, we were obliged to agree to their own terms (five ducats a day). We are but indifferently lodged; however, it is the only inn we have yet seen in Sicily, and may be said to be the only one in the island. It is kept by a noisy, troublesome Frenchwoman, who, I find, will plague us.... She is as fat as a pig, and as ugly as the devil, and lays on a quantity of paint that looks like a great plaister of red morocco. Her picture is hanging in the room where I am now writing, as well as that of her husband, who, by-the-by, is a ninny: they are no less vile curiosities than the originals. He is drawn with his snuff-box open in one hand, and a dish of coffee in the other, and at the same time ‘fait l’aimable à madame.’ I took notice of this triple occupation, which seemed to imply something particular. She told me that the thought was hers; that her husband was exceedingly fond of snuff and of coffee, and wanted by this to show that he was still more occupied with her than with either of them. I could not help applauding the ingenuity of the conceit. Madame is painted with an immense bouquet in her breast, and an orange in her right hand, emblematic of her sweetness and purity, and has the prettiest little smirk on her face you can imagine. She told me that she insisted on the painter drawing her ‘avec le souris sur le visage,’ but as he had not esprit enough to make her smile ‘naturally’ she was obliged to force one ‘qui n’étoit pas si joli que le naturel, mais qui vaudroit mieux que de paroître sombre.’”—_Brydone’s Tour through Sicily and Malta._ Letter xxi.
“As for Sicilian airs, which are graceful and pathetic,” &c.—_History of Music_, vol. iv.
Mrs. Cadogan was mother of Lady Hamilton. In one of the supplementary chapters of Mr. Pettigrew’s Life of Nelson, it is stated that Lady Hamilton, “by her connexion with Mr. Greville, is reputed to have had three children, named Eliza, Anne, and Charles. She always passed for their aunt, and took upon herself the name of Harte. In the splendid misery in which she lived, she hastened to call to her her mother, to whom she was through life most affectionate and attentive, _and she passed by the name of Cadogan_.” There is a little confusion in this. It does not appear very plainly whether Emma or her mother, at that time, passed by the name of Cadogan. Mr. Cadogan and Alderman Smith paid the last expenses ever incurred in the name of Lady Hamilton, and the former gentleman brought Nelson’s daughter from Boulogne, and handed her over to the motherly care of that hero’s sister, Mrs. Matchan.
Among other statements was one to the effect that the queen was on board, and witnessed the execution.
The Honourable George Keith Elphinstone, second son of Lord Elphinstone, was created Lord Keith, for his services, in 1797, at the Cape.
This stanza was written by Miss Knight, whom the officers of the fleet called Nelson’s “charming poet-laureate.” Mr. Pettigrew, in his Life of Nelson, says that it was written on the occasion of the capture of the _Guillaume Tell_, the following having been previously written to celebrate the capture of the _Généreux_:
“Lord, thou hast heard our vows! Fresh laurels deck the brows Of him we sing. Nelson has laid full low Once more the Gallic foe; Come let our bumpers flow To George our King.”
Mr. Pettigrew prints the first part of this stanza:
“While thus we chant his praise, See what new _glories_ blaze, New _trophies_ spring.”
The Queen of Naples was in despair about the supersession of Sir William Hamilton, and used to write, at this time, about the “fatal Paget,” the “inevitable Paget,” in terms of pitiable distress.
For an interesting sketch of the chequered career of this lady, and for an able vindication of her character, see the Appendix to Pettigrew’s Life of Nelson, and _Blackwood’s Magazine_ for April, 1859, No. dxxxiv.
Lord Nelson also kept in his cabin a coffin made out of the mainmast of _L’Orient_, presented to him by Captain Hallowell, of the _Swiftsure_. See Southey’s Life of Nelson.
The passion, in those days, for Delias and Celias was unconquerable, else “Emma” would have been quite as metrical and much less pedantic. Mr. Pettigrew has printed these lines with the substitution, or perhaps restoration, of Emma for Delia, as “A Song addressed to Lady Hamilton on her Birthday, April the 26th, 1800, on board the _Foudroyant_, in a gale of wind.”
Nelson shifted his flag to the _Alexander_ on the 28th of June. On the 24th, Lord Keith, commander-in-chief, had arrived at Leghorn. He thought that Nelson was too much disposed to employ his Majesty’s ships in the service of the Queen of Naples, and the _Foudroyant_ was ordered off to Minorca to be refitted. Lord Keith, however, authorised Nelson to receive the Queen and her family on board the _Alexander_, and to convey her to Palermo or any other desirable port. Her Majesty, alarmed by the attitude of the populace of Leghorn, embarked on board the _Alexander_ on the 9th of July, but landed again on the following day, and started for Florence. Nelson, the Hamiltons, and Miss Knight followed.
For a more detailed account of this journey, see a letter from Miss Knight to Sir E. Berry, given in the Appendix. It is taken from the fourth volume of the Nelson Despatches, edited by Sir Harris Nicolas.
Harrison, quoted by Sir H. Nicolas, says the 26th. It is stated, too, that on the 29th (Nelson’s forty-second birthday) a grand fête was given to him by the Archduke Charles. It is strange that it should not have been recorded by Miss Knight if it actually occurred.
Baron de Breteuil returned to France in 1802, but never again took part in public affairs.
This is an error. At the age of eighteen, young Dumouriez distinguished himself at an affair of the advanced posts, under Marshal d’Estrées, and in the following year he obtained a cornetcy of horse.
Sister of the famous _émigré_, Count de Rivarol.
Southey tells this anecdote with more point. “A German pastor,” he says, “between seventy and eighty years of age, travelled forty miles with the Bible of his parish church, to request that Nelson would write his name on the first leaf of it. He called him the Saviour of the Christian world. The old man’s hope deceived him.”—_Southey’s Life of Nelson_, chap. vi.
Klopstock lost his first wife, Margaret Müller, in 1758, and regretted her loss until his own death, and his remains were laid in the same tomb. His second wife, Madame de Winthem, whom he married in 1791, was a lady of excellent character and rare merit: she was a widow at the time of her marriage with Klopstock.
A German portrait-painter, patronised by the Empress Maria-Theresa. He is best known, however, by his illustrations of Klopstock’s “Messiah.”
The Wrestlers’ Arms.
“The year 1800, though marked by no great political event, obtained a disastrous celebrity as a year of scarcity. At the commencement of harvest the rain descended in torrents, the lowlands were deluged with water, the crops were spoiled, the price of wheat rose to more than 120s. a quarter, and people resorted to all sorts of devices to economise the consumption of bread. Potatoes, potato flour, and rice, were the ordinary substitutes, and an Act of Parliament forbade the bakers to sell any but whole meal bread.”—_The Diaries and Correspondence of the Right Hon. George Rose_, vol. i. p. 280.
Sister of Lord Moira, afterwards Marquis of Hastings. In the two following chapters of this Memoir there is frequent notice of Lady Aylesbury.
Mrs. Fitzherbert must, at that time, have been in her forty-fifth year. She was about twenty-nine when she first attracted the attention of the Prince of Wales, who was six years her junior. They were married according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, on the 21st of December, 1785. When Miss Knight met Mrs. Fitzherbert on the occasion referred to (1800-1), the prince had been married for some time to Caroline of Brunswick. That ill-omened event took place on the 8th of April, 1795.
Daughter of the Earl of Dunmore. Lady Augusta was married to Prince Augustus (Duke of Sussex) at Rome, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and afterwards at St. George’s, Hanover-square. She had two children by the prince, but after her marriage was declared illegal, she refused to have further intercourse with him.
The Rev. William Nelson, who succeeded to the earldom on Nelson’s death, but left no issue.
The preliminaries were signed in London on the 1st of October, 1801, and in Paris on the 5th of the same month. The Treaty of Peace was concluded at Amiens on the 27th of March, 1802, and war again declared on the 18th of May, 1803.
Son of the Marquis of Aylesbury.
Correspondence of Henrietta Louisa Fermor, Countess of Pomfret, and Frances, Countess of Hartford, afterwards Duchess of Somerset.—Three vols. 8vo. London: 1805.
On the 31st of May the Duke of Cumberland returned to town from a dinner at Greenwich, in order to be present at a concert for the benefit of the Royal Society of Musicians. He retired to rest about one o'clock, and awoke a little after two, in consequence, as he thought, of a bat flying about the room. He had actually, however, received a severe sword-cut on the head, which was quickly followed up by a second. As his royal highness sprang out of bed the assassin cut him across the arm, and, in all, inflicted some half-dozen wounds before the duke could make his escape from the room. His cries quickly brought an English valet (Neale) to the spot, when a sabre belonging to the duke was found on the floor of the bedroom. Sellis, his Corsican or Italian valet, was then discovered stretched on his bed, partly undressed, and with his throat cut from ear to ear. The circumstantial evidence in proof of his guilt was conclusive, though many calumnious stories were afterwards circulated tending to criminate the duke himself, who had stood godfather to Sellis's last child. At the coroner's inquest the jury brought in a verdict of "felo de se," and the body of the wretched man was accordingly buried in "the high road" in Scotland-yard.
The Princess Amelia was born on the 7th of August, 1782, and died on the 2nd of November, 1810. From her earliest infancy she was extremely delicate, and perhaps for that reason was the especial favourite of the king. His malady was greatly aggravated by the shock which he sustained one day when he visited her during her last illness. The princess slipped upon his finger a ring, containing a lock of her hair under a crystal, and beneath the hair were inscribed her name and the words “Remember me.”
Previously Princess Royal of England.
This would have been a gross breach of etiquette. In Madame d’Arblay’s Memoirs there are some good-naturedly satirical directions given as to the conduct to be observed in the presence of royalty. “You must not upon any account stir either hand or foot. If, by chance, a black pin runs into your head, you must not take it out. If the pain is very great, you must be sure to bear it without wincing; if it brings the tears into your eyes, you must not wipe them off; if they give you a tingling by running down your cheeks, you must look as if nothing was the matter,” &c. &c.—Vol. ii. p. 407.
Lady George Murray was widow of Lord George Murray, Bishop of St. David’s. George the Third, proposing to appoint her preceptress to Princess Charlotte in 1805, commanded Mr. Rose to state distinctly what he knew about that lady. Mr. Rose then said, “that as a girl she was remarkably amiable, and very innocent; that she had been married when little more than a child to a young man under age; that she had conducted herself most unexceptionably, to say the least, both as a wife and mother; that he had never heard a syllable to her disadvantage, but much in her commendation.”—_Diaries and Correspondence of the Right Hon. George Rose_, vol. ii.
The pall was supported by the Viscountess Cranley, Lady E. Thynne, the Countess of Ely, and Lady G. Murray. The chief mourner was the Countess of Chesterfield, whose train was borne by Lady Halford, the wife of the eminent physician, supported by the Countesses of Macclesfield and Ilchester. The ladies attendant on the Queen and Princesses who were present on this occasion were Lady Albinia Cumberland, Miss Goldsworthy, Mrs. Williams, Hon. Mrs. Fielding, Hon. Mrs. Egerton, Hon. Miss Townshend, Madame and Mademoiselle Beckersdorff, Miss Knight, Mrs. Adams, Miss Montmollin, Miss Planta, Miss Gaskin, Miss Byerley, Mrs. Davenport, and Mrs. Robinson. The funeral took place in the evening of the 14th of November.
The words of the concluding verse of the sixteenth Psalm: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The comet of 1811 was first discovered at Viviers by M. de Flanguergues on the 25th March. It was seen at Marseilles by the Messrs. Pons on the 11th April, and at Paris on the 20th May. It then became invisible until some time in August, when it was first seen in England. Its nearest approach to the earth was on the 24th of October, on which the _Gentleman’s Magazine_ remarks: “We regret to say that the awfully sublime stranger will not much longer appear to the same advantage to our view.” The length of its tail was conjectured to be between twenty and thirty millions of miles.
The Princess’s governesses were the Countess Elgin and Baroness de Clifford. In 1809, Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury, was appointed her Royal Highness’s preceptor, with Drs. Nott and Short as his assistants.
Afterwards Lady Charlotte Bury, authoress of “A Diary Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth,” and of many now forgotten novels, such as “The Disinherited,” “The Devoted,” “Flirtation,” “Fortune-Hunting,” &c.
Lady Aylesbury died in Seymour-street, on the 8th of January, 1813.
Lady Aylesbury’s niece.
Daughter of Lord Keith; afterwards Baroness Keith (1823)—married in 1817 the Count de Flahault, the present (1860-61) French Ambassador at our Court.
Lord Eldon’s grandfather, William Scott, of Sandgate, was “said to have been clerk to a ‘fitter,’ and who, in the latter part of his life, himself became the owner of several ‘keels’—a ‘fitter’ being the person who buys and sells coals between the owner of the mine and the shipper, and who conveys them in ‘keels,’ or barges, from the higher parts of the Tyne to Newcastle or Shields, where they are loaded for exportation.”—_Lord Campbell’s Life of Lord Eldon._
Lady Charlotte Campbell thus relates this scene at second-hand: “Sunday, 17th (January), Lady de Clifford came and told the Princess all the story of the Regent’s scolding Princess Charlotte over again, and repeated what he had said in respect to her never having an establishment till she married. He had also, she said, called her a fool, and used other violent language. The Chancellor told the Princess Charlotte that if she had been his daughter, and had written him such a letter, he would have locked her up till she came to her senses. ‘Rather violent language,’ said Lady de Clifford, ‘for a coal-heaver’s son to the future Queen of England.’”—_Diary Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth_, vol. i.
Lord Moira’s wife, a Countess in her own right.
In Lady C. Campbell’s “Diary Illustrative of the Times of George the Fourth” there occurs the following entry, under the date of the 24th of January: “She (the Princess Charlotte) told her mother that there had been a great battle at Windsor between the Queen and the Prince; the former refusing to give up Miss Knight from her own person to attend on Princess Charlotte as sub-governess; but the Prince Regent had gone to Windsor himself, and insisted on her doing so, and the ‘old begum’ was forced to submit, but has been ill ever since, and Sir Henry Halford declared it was a complete breaking up of the constitution (to the great delight of the two Princesses who were talking about the affair). Miss Knight was the very person they wished to have; they think they can do as they like with her.” Upon this the editor remarks in a footnote: “In this idea their Royal Highnesses were much mistaken; for Miss Knight was a person of uncompromising integrity and steady rectitude of conduct. A devoted royalist, but not a sycophant, no one has proved more than she has the fallaciousness of Court favour. The Queen Charlotte never forgave her for having left her service to attend the young Princess Charlotte, and the Regent afterwards dismissed her in an unjust manner from the post in which he had himself placed her, and which every one who knows Miss Knight is confident she never was unworthy of.”
Warwick House stood at the end of Warwick-street, which stretches from Cockspur-street towards Carlton House-terrace, but terminates in a cul-de-sac. The site of the house itself, between which and the gardens of Carlton House there appears to have been a private communication, is now occupied by some livery stables. Warwick House was formerly the residence of Sir Philip Warwick, the well-known Royalist writer, who was born there in 1609. The street, which was built at a later date, was called after the Warwick family, and still retains the name.
Sister of Colonel Goldsworthy, one of the royal equerries most frequently mentioned in Madame D’Arblay’s Memoirs. She was very deaf, and in the habit of falling asleep at the dinner-table.
Daughter of Thomas Anguish, Esq., a Master in Chancery.
Catherine Anne Sarah, daughter of fifth Duke of Leeds, born 1798; married, in 1819, to J. Whyte-Melville, Esq., of Bennochy.
“He (Prince Regent) was indeed,” said the Duke (of Wellington), “the most extraordinary compound of talent, wit, buffoonery, obstinacy, and good feeling; in short, a medley of the most opposite qualities, with a great preponderance of good, that I ever saw in any character in my life.”—_Raikes’s Journal_, vol. i.
“Miss Knight is appointed sub-governess to the Princess Charlotte of Wales in the room of Mrs. Udney, who retired with Lady de Clifford.”—_Morning Chronicle_, January 30.
“Miss Knight, who succeeds Mrs. Udney as sub-governess to the Princess Charlotte, is the daughter of the late admiral who died in the Mediterranean, and who, when in Italy with her father, may be remembered by her verses on the transactions then occurring there. Since her return she has been in attendance on the Queen.”—_Morning Chronicle_, February 1.
“Miss Knight is not appointed sub-governess to her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte. Miss Knight is one of the _ladies companions_ to her Royal Highness, and is the daughter of the late Sir Joseph Knight.”—_Morning Chronicle_, February 4.
This contradiction, however, did not remove the impression that Miss Knight was the governess of the Princess. Sir Harris Nicolas, in his edition of the “Correspondence of Lord Nelson,” speaks of her as “preceptress” and “sub-governess,” and Lord Colchester, in his journal, does the same.
Nephew of George the Third, and brother of Queen Caroline, afterwards killed at Quatre-Bras.
The Duke of York’s country residence.
The Duke of Gloucester was first cousin of the Regent. He died on the 20th of November, 1834, at Bagshot, after a painful illness of fifteen days, aged fifty-nine. He married in 1816 the Princess Mary, his cousin, sister of the Regent. “He was not a man of talent, as may be inferred from his nickname of _Silly Billy_, but he was a quiet, inoffensive character, rather tenacious of the respect due to his rank, and strongly attached to the ultra-Tory party. His father, the late Duke, married Lady Waldegrave; thus he was uncle to Mrs. Darner.”—_Raikes’s Journal_, vol. i.
According to “The Mirror of Fashion,” Miss Knight wore on this occasion “a dress of orange-coloured satin, with draperies of silver gauze, tastefully separated with net silver rolio, forming a lacing between each, through which the colour of the satin under-dress was discovered; the whole trimmed with handsome silver cords and tassels; robe, black velvet.”
Cambridge House, South Audley-street.
“The Mirror of Fashion” informs us that Miss Knight’s dress was “of white net, spangled all over with gold, and ornamented with broad borders, with wreaths of fancy flowers, over a rich white satin slip.”
Afterwards William the Fourth.
This letter occupied a column and a half of the _Morning Chronicle_ of the 10th of February, and is dated from Montague House, January 14, 1813. On the 11th of February that journal gave the following account of the mode by which the letter in question had come into its possession: “It was transmitted on the 14th ult. to Lord Liverpool and Lord Eldon, sealed by Lady Charlotte Campbell as lady in waiting for the month, expressing her Royal Highness’s pleasure that it should be presented to the Prince Regent; and there was an open copy for their perusal. On the 15th, the Earl of Liverpool presented his compliments to Lady Charlotte Campbell, and returned the letter unopened. On the 16th, it was returned by Lady Charlotte, intimating that as it contained matter of importance to the state, she relied on their laying it before his Royal Highness. It was again returned unopened, with the Earl of Liverpool’s compliments to Lady Charlotte, saying that the Prince saw no reason to depart from his determination. On the 17th, it was returned in the same way by command of her Royal Highness, expressing her confidence that the two noble Lords would not take upon themselves the responsibility of not communicating the letter to his Royal Highness, and that she should not be the only subject in the empire whose petition was not to be permitted to reach the throne. To this an answer was given that the _contents_ of it had been made known to the Prince. On the 19th, her Royal Highness directed a letter to be addressed to the two noble Lords, desiring to know whether it had been made known to his Royal Highness by being read to him, and to know his pleasure thereon. No answer was given to this letter, and therefore, on the 26th, she directed a letter to be written expressing her surprise that no answer had been given to her application for a whole week. To this an answer was received addressed to the Princess, stating that in consequence of her Royal Highness’s demand, her letter had been read to the Prince Regent on the 20th, but that he had not been pleased to express his pleasure thereon. Here the correspondence was closed, and some days after this copies of the letter were in circulation, but we know not from what quarter they originated.” The letter will be found in the Appendix.
The Princess of Wales then resided at Brandenburg House, at Kensington.
Lord Liverpool was, at that time, Prime Minister. His premiership commenced in 1812, and ended in 1827.
Major-General Sir John Douglass had declared that the Princess of Wales was delivered of a child in 1802. This vile calumny was refuted by the evidence adduced before Lords Grenville, Spencer, Erskine, and Ellenborough, sitting in commission, in 1806. After Sir John’s revival of this disproved slander, he was suspended from employment about the Duke of Sussex, expelled from a masonic lodge, and spoken of with contempt by Lord Castlereagh in the Upper House, and by Mr. Whitbread in the House of Commons.
One of the sons of the Duke of Clarence (by Mrs. Jordan), and, therefore, first cousin of the Princess. There is subsequent mention of this calumny at page 226.
The report of the commission appointed to investigate the conduct of the Princess of Wales is given in the Appendix.
Mother of the Princess of Wales. Her Royal Highness died at her lodgings in Hanover-square.
The Princess of Wales had, at this time, taken up her residence in the village of Charlton, near Blackheath.
Sir Henry Halford’s very interesting account of the opening of the coffin of Charles the First is given in the Appendix.
Daughter of Dr. Roberts, Provost of Eton, then deceased some years.
Lady Charlotte Campbell says in her Diary: “Her (the Princess’s) legs and feet are very pretty; her Royal Highness knows that they are so, and wears extremely short petticoats. Her face would be pretty, too, if the outline of her cheeks was not so full.”
The following is the letter referred to in the text. It is addressed to the Duchess of Leeds:
“Jan. 16, 1813.
“MADAM,—Nothing can exceed my gratitude to the Prince Regent for the confidence he has been pleased to place in me. It will be imprinted deeply on my mind while I have life.
“My attachment to the Princess Charlotte is very great, and there is nothing I would not do to prove it. I am also most sensible of your Grace’s kindness; but, although her Majesty has been graciously pleased to say that she leaves me unbiased as to my decision, duty and gratitude oblige me to consider myself as belonging to her, and therefore not at liberty to accept what would have otherwise been my ambition.
“As this is _my only_ cause for declining the honour offered me, I will entreat your Grace to communicate it to the Prince, and to believe me, madam,” &c.
The following is the Prince’s letter:
“Carlton House, July 3, 1813.
“MY DEAR LORD,—Your glorious conduct is beyond all human praise, and far above my reward; I know no language the world affords worthy to express it. I feel I have nothing left to say, but devoutly to offer up my prayers of gratitude to Providence, that it has in its omnipotent bounty blessed my country and myself with such a general. You have sent me, among the trophies of your unrivalled fame, the staff of a French marshal; and I send you in return that of England. The British army will hail it with enthusiasm, while the whole universe will acknowledge those valorous efforts which have so imperiously called for it. That uninterrupted health, and still increasing laurels, may continue to crown you through a glorious and long career of life, are the never-ceasing and most ardent wishes of, my dear Lord,
“Your very sincere and
“G. P. R.
“The Marquis of Wellington.”
“July 1. At Warwick House, Mrs. Gagarin, many years an affectionate and faithful attendant of the Princess Charlotte of Wales. Her last moments were solaced by the condescending and unremitting attentions of her Royal Highness, reflecting a lustre on the native goodness of her heart, superior to all the appendages of her exalted rank.”—_Gent. Mag._, August, 1813.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall.
The subjoined letter, from Lord St. Vincent to Miss Knight, relates to this subject:
“MY DEAR MADAM,—Under the circumstances you were placed in, nothing could be better judged than your letter; the reply wore the finesse of a courtier; the means of applying an antidote to the poison are difficult in a position surrounded by spies, prone to put that construction upon actions which they think will be most pleasing to the persons who listen to them, mixed with envy and malice. Truth will in the long run prevail; in the mean while you have a powerful shield in the correctness of your conduct through life, and the integrity with which you have performed the important duties of your present station. I dread the effect these miserable subterfuges may have upon the young lady’s mind, happily formed to resist attempts to make her a hypocrite; yet to have the movement of her muscles watched, and a wrong interpretation put upon all her actions, must produce an ill effect, in the practice of concealment of thought at least, if not driven to carry it farther. One should have expected that her openness of character would have created confidence.
“I rejoice that your health does not suffer under these painful restrictions and suspicions. You have the most ardent wishes for the continuance of it and every other blessing, of
“Your truly affectionate,
“Rochetts, Aug. 23, 1813.”
The Governor of the Military College, Sandhurst.
Afterwards first King of the Netherlands.
“The Duke of Brunswick is very-near being a handsome man; his figure is light and graceful; and were it not that he carries his head ill, he would be a noble-looking creature. His eyes are deep sunk in his head, more so than I ever saw in any one, and his brows are remarkably prominent, with shaggy eyebrows. This circumstance gives him a sombre expression, and indeed the whole cast of his countenance is gloomy, but his features are regular; and, when he smiles, there is a transitory sweetness which is very striking, by the contrast to his usual severity of expression. In manner he is very reserved—stiff and Germanic. He remained some time conversing with his sister (Princess of Wales) in German, eyeing the lady-in-waiting occasionally askance. He seemed glad to take his leave.”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i.
“May 31, 1814. The latter (Princess Charlotte) told her mother, the last time they met, that she was determined not to marry the Prince of Orange; that ‘his being approved of by the Royal Family was quite sufficient to make him disapproved of by her; for that she would marry a man who would be at _her_ devotion, not theirs. Marry I will,’ said she to the Princess of Wales, ‘and that directly, in order to enjoy my liberty, but not the Prince of Orange. I think him so ugly that I am sometimes obliged to turn my head away in disgust when he is speaking to me.’
“‘But, my dear,’ replied her mother (at least so her Royal Highness told me), ‘whoever you marry will become a king, and you will give him a power over you.’
“‘A king! Pho, pho! _Never!_ He will only be _my first subject—never my king!_’”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i.
There is apparently an error of a week in this—the date should be the 11th. See note, _infra_, page 268.
“Sunday, January 9.... There was hung in the apartment one portrait, amongst others, that very much resembled the Duke of D. I asked Miss Knight whom it represented; she said that was not known; it had been supposed a likeness of the Pretender when young.”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i.
There is evidently some confusion of dates in this narrative. It was on the 14th December that the grand City banquet was given at the London Tavern in honour of the hereditary Prince of Orange—the Duke of Clarence in the chair. According to Lord Colchester (Diary), the young Prince did not arrive from Spain before the 11th of December.
Purposely erased in the original journal.
“The frost was ushered in by a fog which, for its intensity and duration, has seldom been equalled. This began about five in the evening of Monday, December 27th.... The Prince Regent, intending to pay a visit to the Marquis of Salisbury at Hatfield House, was obliged to return back to Carlton House, after one of his out-riders had fallen into a ditch on this side of Kentish Town, and which short excursion occupied several hours. Mr. Croker, of the Admiralty, also wishing to proceed on a visit northward, wandered in the dark several hours without making more than three or four miles’ progress.... There is nothing in the memory of man to equal the late fall of snow, which, after several shorter intervals, continued incessantly for forty-eight hours, and this, too, after the ground was covered with a condensation, the result of nearly four weeks’ continued frost. Almost the whole of the time the wind blew continually from the north and north-east, and was intensely cold.”—_Universal Magazine_, January, 1814.
The thaw did not commence until the 6th of February, 1814, and a fair was held on the Thames for several weeks. “Paths were formed,” says the _Universal Magazine_ for March, “both direct and diagonal from shore to shore; and frequent cautions were given to those heroines whose curiosity induced them to venture on the glassy plane, to be careful _not to slip off the kerb_. The votaries of Terpsichore amused themselves with the mazy dance, in which they were accompanied principally by Pandean pipes, while others diverted themselves with skittles; and the well-known cry of ‘Up and win ’em’ resounded from the voices of numerous vendors of savoury pies, gin, and gingerbread, &c. Most of the booths were distinguished by appropriate signs; there were the Watermen’s Arms, the Crown, the Magpye, the Eelpot, &c.; and one wag had a notice appended to his tent that several feet adjoining his premises _were to be let on a building lease_.”
The _Morning Chronicle_ of January 6th gives the following account of the christening at Belvoir:
“The baptismal ceremony of the infant Marquis (who, to use the phrase of a nurse, ‘is as fine a little fellow of four months old as ever was seen’) took place at six o’clock in the evening (4th January, 1814). The sponsors were—
H.R.H. the Prince Regent - in person,
H.R.H. the Duke of York - in person,
Her Grace the Duchess-Dowager of Rutland, proxy for H.M. the Queen.
His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury arrived at the Castle early in the morning, and he performed the baptismal ceremony with solemnity and graceful expression, assisted by the Rev. John Thornton, Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Rutland, who made the responses.... A discharge of fifteen cannon from the Castle announced the event,” &c. &c. There are long accounts in the papers of the time of the festivities at Belvoir Castle. The Prince Regent’s subsequent illness may be thence easily accounted for.”
“A singularly neat and very elegant landau will be launched in a few days by H.R.H. the Princess Charlotte of Wales. It is built by Messrs. Birch and Son, Great Queen-street, Lincoln’s Inn-fields. The carriage is beautifully finished. The body is painted a fine light green, emblazoned with arms, supporters, &c., with mantles on the panels. On the side panels is a beautiful _à la Grecque_ border, enclosing the cipher C. P. W., with a coronet above. The same ornaments are placed on the door rails; very superb silver joints, lamps, and other appropriate ornaments, extremely neat; the lining is a fine scarlet cloth, with rich gold lace and fringe; the hammercloth is, agreeable to royal etiquette, composed of scarlet cloth, very full, with a purple velvet border, and trimmed with gold lace. Outside elbows are introduced, but the projection is upon so moderate a scale that they are scarcely perceptible. The carriage is a very light compass perch painted yellow, picked out with maroon colour, hung upon whip springs, two feet six inches from the ground; silver hoops to the wheels; an upright coach-box, made in the usual style, but not fixed.”—_Morning Chronicle_, February 3rd, 1814.
This statement was contradicted in the same paper on the following day “by authority.”
“The Baron Van der Duyn Van Maasdam, Grand Master of the Household to his Royal Highness the Prince Sovereign of the Netherlands, whose presentation to the Prince Regent at a private audience on the 9th inst (March), accompanied by M. Fagel, the regular ambassador, was notified in the _Gazette_ of Saturday last, as having come on a special mission from the Court of the Hague, has been sent over to make a demand in form of the Princess Charlotte’s hand in marriage for the hereditary Prince of Orange. The sanction of the previous consent and approbation of the Prince Regent, the Princess herself, and of the whole Court and Government, has already smoothed the way to the arrangements of this important and auspicious union, which must, however, according to the established etiquette among crowned heads, be demanded by embassy after it has been agreed upon by the parties; and the settlements and provisions resulting from the exalted condition and prospective sovereign duties of the personages to be married, must be reduced into a treaty by plenipotentiaries specially appointed. M. Van Maasdam is charged with full powers for this purpose on the part of the Prince Sovereign of the Netherlands.”—_Morning Chronicle_, March 17, 1814.
It had been adjourned to that date.
See Lord Colchester’s Journal, under date February 28. “At Lord Sidmouth’s office met Lord Liverpool; talked over the proceedings upon the intended marriage of the Princess Charlotte to the hereditary Prince of Orange, which is to be communicated to Parliament before Easter.”
“May 21, 1814. The Prince of O——e, it is said, wishes his wife to go with him to his own Dutch land, and so does the Prince Regent, who does not like a rising sun in his own: but report also whispers that the _rising sun_ is aware of this, and will not consent to the marriage, unless she is allowed to shine in her own dominions.”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i.
Subsequently married to the Crown Prince of Würtemberg.
Prince Nicolas Wasiliwitch Repnin, nephew of Count Panin, minister and favourite of the Empress Catherine. As Russian Ambassador at the Court of Stanislaus Poniatowski, he virtually governed Poland from 1764 till 1770, when he joined the army under Count Romanzoff, and greatly distinguished himself in the campaign against the Turks. In after years he gained more than one victory over that enemy, and also became the successful rival of Prince Potemkin. He was raised to the rank of Field Marshal by Paul I., and was sent to Berlin rather as a negotiator than as an ambassador. He died at Moscow in 1801.
And in their persons, too. Lord Colchester speaks of them as “two ugly old women.”
“The Duchess of Oldenburg is spoken of as a very clever woman, and I am inclined to believe the truth of the report, by the observation she seems to take, not only of our places of entertainment, but of everything best worth seeing in this country. I understand she is a great favourite of Princess Charlotte, and gives her (as it is supposed) excellent advice about her conduct.”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i.
On the 20th of April, 1814.
Count Woronzow died in England on the 18th June, 1832. His daughter married the Earl of Pembroke, and was the mother of Lord Herbert of Lea. The Count left one son, whose name, as Prince Woronzow, became familiar to English ears during the Crimean war.
“Judge of the transport with which I seize my pen to apprise you that my daughter has acted with the greatest firmness, promptitude, and energy of character possible in the very intricate business concerning her marriage. She has manœuvred and conquered the Regent so completely, that there can be no more doubt that the marriage is broke off. The Prince Hereditary of Orange was secretly sent for by the Regent, and arrived under the feigned name of Captain St. George. Under that same name he presented himself next day at Warwick House early in the morning. She was in bed, and had not expected him in this country; Miss Knight received him. She had afterwards a long conversation with him, in which she showed him every letter that had passed between her father and her upon that subject. She then declared to him that she never would leave this country, except by an Act of Parliament, and by her own especial desire. She then desired that he might retire, and that she would not see him again till these matters were settled. Two days after he came again and brought a message from the Regent, in which he proposed to her that he would forgive and forget everything, and that she should immediately come to him, and that everything should be arranged in the most amicable manner. She declared that she would not see her father, or any of the family, till their consent to her remaining in this country had been obtained, or that otherwise the marriage would be broke off. She has received no answer since the course of a week from her father, and she supposes that the papers have been sent to Holland, to make the family there also a party concerned in a new political question for the future happiness of England. It has, in my opinion, nothing at all to do with the Dutch family. The Duchess of Oldenburg, I believe, is her chief adviser, and as she is a clever woman, and knows the world and mankind well, my daughter cannot be in better hands.”—_Extract of Letter from the Princess of Wales in Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i. See Appendix.
“We are now fitting up the Duke of Cumberland’s house, to receive Alexander (Emperor of Russia) in, because we have none of our own. And in the mean time our future son-in-law lodges at his tailor’s! because he has neither house nor hotel to put his head in; and though we drink his health occasionally with three cheers, and twice as many speeches, we do not love him well enough to give him a good bed anywhere.”—_Extract of Letter from Lord Granville to the Marquis of Buckingham, dated “Camelford House, May 9, 1814.” Memoirs of the Regency_, vol. i.
There was precedent for this—see following extract from preamble of the statute 1 Mary, sess. 3, chap. 2, relating to the proposed marriage of Philip and Mary: “That the said Lord Prince shall not lead away the foresaid most Noble Lady out of the borders of her Highness’s realme, unless she herself desire it, nor carry the children that shall be borne of his matrimony out of the same realme of England; but to the hope of succession to come, shall there suffer them to be nourished and brought up, unless it shall be otherwise thought good by the consent and agreement of the nobilitie of England.”
“While every one in the three kingdoms was under the influence of excitement, it was not to be expected that her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales would remain unmoved. The Queen was about holding two Drawing-rooms, and as the Prince Regent intended to be present, his Royal Highness had requested her Majesty to intimate to the Princess of Wales his determination not to meet her, either in public or in private. The Queen was thus placed under the painful necessity of intimating to her Royal Highness that she could not be received at her Drawing-rooms. This was quite sufficient provocation for the inflammable nature of the Princess, and the following day her Royal Highness addressed the Queen at considerable length, apparently acceding to the prohibition, but threatening to appeal to the public. Her Majesty answered with characteristic dignity, which elicited a rejoinder from her angry daughter-in-law, which produced only a simple acknowledgment from the Queen. She then addressed herself to the Prince Regent, referring, as usual, to the declaration of her entire innocence by the Government in 1807, and giving him to understand that they _must_ meet at the approaching marriage of their daughter, and at their _coronation_; adding, that the prohibition was rendered intolerable, in consequence of the distinguished visitors then flocking into the country; one of whom, the illustrious heir of the House of Orange, had ‘announced himself to me as my future son-in-law.’”—_The Duke of Buckingham’s Memoirs of the Regency_ vol. ii.
Mr. Methuen, on the 4th of June, proposed in the House of Commons “that an humble address be presented to the Prince Regent, praying that he would be graciously pleased to acquaint the House _by whose advice he had been induced_ to form the unalterable resolution of never meeting her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, on any occasion, either in public or private.” After a brief and unimportant discussion, the motion was withdrawn.
“Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte arrived a few minutes after one o’clock, accompanied by Miss Knight, in an elegant and particularly neat and light state carriage, with three footmen and the coachman in new state liveries. She was received by the Duchess of Leeds and the dresser, who had previously arrived in her plain carriage, to attend her Royal Highness in dressing in a court dress for the first time, yesterday being her Royal Highness’s first appearance at a public Drawing-room. At the close of the Drawing-room, on her Royal Highness leaving the Palace, the Prince of Orange handed her Royal Highness to her carriage.”—_Morning Chronicle_, June 3, 1814.
Prince Alexander of Oldenburg was a child in the third year of his age.
“June 17, 1814. Before the Princess (of Wales) dismissed Lady ——, Miss ——, or myself, she received a letter from Princess Charlotte, telling her mother the match between herself and the Prince of Orange was entirely off, and at the same time enclosing a copy of a letter she had written to the Prince of Orange, in which she alludes to some point of dispute which, it seems, remained unsettled between them; but Princess Charlotte does not precisely name what that point was, and chiefly rests her determination of not leaving this kingdom upon the necessity of her remaining in England to support her mother. The whole letter turns upon the Princess of Wales —it is extremely well _written_, and very strong. I conclude the words are Miss Knight’s, but the sentiments, for the _present_ moment, are Princess Charlotte’s.... I know too much of all parties to believe that Princess Charlotte, in her heart, quarrelled with her lover from any motive of real tenderness towards her mother. I believe that what the Princess of Wales told me some time ago is perfectly true, namely, that her daughter did not at all admire the Prince of Orange, and only wanted to be her own mistress; and now finding, I conclude, that that end would not be answered by marrying him, she has determined to break off the engagement.”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. i.
“Widow of a Colonel Campbell, who went out governor to Bermuda, or Bahama (I forget which), and died on his arrival there. Of this lady he (George the Third) had received a most favourable account from an authority he respected.”—_Diaries of the Right Hon. G. Rose._
“July 26, 1814. I received several letters from England to-day. Mrs. —— says: ‘The Princess Charlotte went with a heavy heart, I hear, yesterday to Cranford Lodge [Cranbourne Lodge] (I think that is the name of the place), Windsor Park. She has, of all her friends, only been allowed to see Miss Mercer. Miss Knight has not been suffered to return to her. The courtiers say all is made up, but no one believes them; how can they, while she is _a state prisoner_?’”—_Lady C. Campbell’s Diary_, vol. ii.
“MY DEAR MADAM,—I cannot think the request in your note can be inconsistent with my orders, and I will certainly communicate the contents of your note to her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte.
“I am, dear madam,
“Your obedient servant,
It may be interesting to observe the manner in which these events were recorded by the journals of the day. The following is from the _Morning Chronicle_:
“An extraordinary sensation was yesterday produced by the report of an event which took place on Tuesday evening.
“It is perfectly known that the intended marriage between the Princess Charlotte of Wales and the Hereditary Prince of Orange was broken off in consequence of the dread which her Royal Highness felt of being taken out of the country at a time when considerations of the highest importance demanded her continuance in it. From the time of the breaking off this negotiation, attempts have been incessantly made, if not to renew it, at least to show the high offence which she had given; and her Royal Highness has suffered the most cruel agitation, although her health was so seriously affected as to demand the most lenient attention, and particularly that her mind should be kept free from all harassing disturbance. Her physicians had, some time ago, given a written certificate that the complaint of her lameness required sea bathing and sea air; and we have reason to believe that this certificate was laid before the Prince Regent some days ago.
“On Tuesday evening his Royal Highness the Prince Regent entered Warwick House, and, without any previous notice, informed the Princess Charlotte that Miss Knight and all her household, as well as all the servants attending upon her, were dismissed, and that her Royal Highness must forthwith take up her residence in Carlton House, and from thence to Cranford Lodge [Cranbourne Lodge], where the Countess-Dowager of Rosslyn, the Countess of Ilchester, the two Miss Coates, and Mrs. Campbell, were actually in the next room in readiness to wait upon her; and this intimation was made in terms of unusual severity, as it was accompanied by a declaration that she was to be under their sole superintendence, and that she was neither to be permitted to receive visits or letters. In this embarrassing situation, and under the agony of despair, she ran out of Warwick House, threw herself into a hackney-coach, and drove to Connaught-place, the residence of her mother. The Princess of Wales was absent, but a groom was despatched to Blackheath, to request her immediate return to town. The groom met her Royal Highness on the way, and delivered the Princess Charlotte’s note acquainting her with the event; upon which the Princess of Wales drove to the Parliament House, and eagerly inquired for Mr. Whitbread, who was absent, and for Earl Grey, who had left town several days before. She then went on to her own house at Connaught-place, where her daughter communicated the particulars we have stated, and where Mr. Brougham, who had been sent for to Mr. Michael Angelo Taylor’s, had arrived.
“The flight of the Princess from Warwick House was soon made known to the Prince Regent, at the Duke of York’s, where a great party were assembled. Notice of it was also sent to the Queen, who had a card party, and which she instantly left. A council was called, and Lord Ellenborough and Lord Eldon were consulted. Rumour says that a habeas corpus was to be issued to bring back the person of her Royal Highness to Carlton House. But the Duke of York and three of the Prince Regent’s people went to Connaught House, and stated to her Royal Highness her father’s commands to conduct her back. Mr. Brougham had previously acquainted her Royal Highness that, by the laws of the land, she must obey her father’s command; and when the Duke of York gave her an assurance that she should not be immured, nor treated with the severity which had been threatened, she consented to return with him, and, accordingly, at a little past three o’clock yesterday morning, her Royal Highness was conveyed to Carlton House, where she now remains, all the persons by whom she has been served being removed from attendance on her person, except Mrs. Lewis, who had followed her to Connaught House with her night-clothes, and who was permitted to return with her in the carriage along with the Duke of York.”—_Morning Chronicle_, July 14, 1814.
Mrs. Piozzi says: “He never read but one book, which he did not consider as obligatory, through in his whole life; and Lady W.’s Letters was the book.”—_Anecdotes of Johnson_, p. 259.
The Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas was prevented by indisposition from attending during any part of these proceedings.
On the 19th of July the Duke of Sussex “put some most important questions to the Ministers respecting Princess Charlotte, which they refused to answer, and thus admitted the inferences to which the questions point. It appears that his Royal Highness had concurred in the advice given to the Princess Charlotte by Mr. Brougham respecting her return to Carlton House. The first was, Whether the Princess Charlotte had been allowed personal intercourse with her friends since Tuesday last? Secondly, Whether she had been allowed to write and receive letters, and whether she had been allowed the use of pen, ink, and paper? Third, Whether she had been, and now was, under restraints from which persons not in actual imprisonment are free? Fourth, Whether the physicians of her Royal Highness had last year certified, by a writing under their hands, as they have this year, that the sea is necessary for her recovery from her complaints? Fifth, Her Royal Highness being considerably past the age at which the Legislature has repeatedly recognised the capacity of heirs to the Crown to exercise its powers without assistance, whether any steps had been taken to form an establishment for her Royal Highness suited to her exalted rank in the State, and fitted to prepare her for the functions she will one day be called on to exercise?”—_Morning Chronicle_, July 20.
● Transcriber’s Notes: ○ All footnotes were gathered into one final section of the book. An entry was added to the Table of Contents for it. ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was silently corrected. ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected. ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only when a predominant form was found in this book. ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).