Imatges de pÓgina

who could lend himself for one mo- they had offered. The preamble to ment to the belief, that ministers the bill appeared to him equally irregave credit to the preamble of the concileable to the alleged facts of the bill.

case. He did not wish to treat the Mr Brougham's speech being con. subject with levity, yet it appeared to cluded, Mr Denman obtained permis- him that they had been rehearsing the sion to delay his address to the House School for Scandal—that they had till next day. He expressed strongly been performing a solemn farce. Had his sense of the importance of his of- Malvolio really intrigued with his misfice-an office which, in the present tress ? or had the other servants quarhour of trial and of difficulty, he pri- relled with the steward, and determized far more highly than the proud- ned to seek revenge? A trial her est favours which royalty could con- Majesty had challenged; but she refer in the moment of prosperity. The garded the bill as no trial as a procommittee had not acted in any de- ceeding calculated only to bewilder gree as a grand jury; they had mere- and betray, and as to the justice of ly found that there was room for so- which the public would have a right lemn inquiry, but had not pronounced to entertain strong suspicions. Mr any opinion upon the facts, nor re- Denman referred in the same tone as commended the proceeding by bill. Mr Brougham, to the disgraceful case The charge of a degrading intimacy of Lord Strafford. When he comwas one toovague to become the object menced his address, his royal client of legislative or judicial investigation. had not entered the House, and thereThe familiarity and openness of man- fore he now, in her presence, once ners, which was generally graceful more appealed to their lordships to and engaging, might appear blame- avert this public mischief-miscalled able to persons of a reserved and au- a trial. Her Majesty was departing stere character. Anne Boleyn, whose from no principle in making this apinnocence was generally acknowled- peal : she still challenged a trial, but ged, had been remarked by Hume as a fair trial ; she was not satisfied that having a certain gaiety, and even le. her accuser should send sealed bags vity of manner, which exposed her to of papers to the most distinguished the malice of her enemies.

of her judges, or that the final senmarkable instance of familiarity with tence should be pronounced by himpersons of low station, occurred when self. Was this a bill of divorce, or the illustrious party was Prince of was it not; and was divorce ever Wales, during which period a note granted, except when the complainwas once delivered to him, commen- ing party was free from blame? Let cing in this way," Sam Spriggs, of their Lordships, then,suppose the case the Cocoa-tree, sends his compliments of a young and accomplished woman to his Royal Highness.” The Prince, coming to these shores from a foreign on afterwards meeting with MrSpriggs, country, with prospects of splendour observed to him, “ This may be very almost unparalleled; that on her arwell between


me, Sam ; but, rival, instead of meeting an affectionfor God's sake, do not play these ate husband, she found an alienated tricks with our high fellows; it would mind : that the solemnities of marrinever do with Norfolk or Arundel.” age did not prevent his being still surThe learned Counsel then urged the rounded by mistresses ; that the birth inconsistency of the charges made by of a child, instead of affording a pledge ministers with the proposals which of mutual regard, became the signal

A re

of aggravated insult, and was shortly troduction of a measure like that befollowed by her expulsion from the fore their lordships, one peer could husband's roof. That, even then, uncrown the Queen, another peer spies were placed over her to report or might uncrown the King ; and he to fabricate stories of her conduct. If, would say further, that the public after all these circumstances, an ex opinion, which, after all, must dispose parte inquiry took place and termina- of crowns, and sceptres, and kingted in a complete acquittal; and, in doms, would receive the same bias consequence of that acquittal, she with equal facility. It was very rewas restored to society and to the markable, but their lordships would embraces of a father by whom she well remember, that the origin of the was never deserted ; if

, subsequently, French Revolution was marked by she had been induced to go abroad, calumnies and libels against the French and the same machinations were re- Queen-imputations against that unnewed against her, in the hope that fortunate woman, which were coupled what had failed in England might with slanders and insinuations against succeed in Italy, and the charges, all that was pure, and noble, and howhich had before been blown to atoms nourable, in France. Their lordships by argument and ridicule, might at would recollect that eventful and length avail, if not to convict, at least gloomy period, when the unhallowed to blacken, to degrade, and to de- hands of desperate men were raised stroy ; in a case like this, where the against insulted royalty- a period at husband has thus shewn himself indif- which, as had been well observed by ferent to the honour and happiness of an elegant writer (Mr Burke), all the his wife-where he has abdicated all beautiful delicacy of the female chathose duties which alone gave him the racter was violated and despised—a rights of a husband-would their lord- period at which that modest sensiships listen for one moment to his tiveness, that sacred purity, which case ? It appeared, that this question impose upon man “all those moral might at some distant period lead to obligations which the heart owns, a disputed succession. If his Majes- and which the understanding ratifies, ty should again marry, and a child, were lost in the licentious profligacy the fruit of that marriage, be born, of the day; when it had become a there might yet remain in moral and common observation, that “a king religious

minds a doubt as to the va- was but a man-a queen was but a lidity of that marriage, and whether woman-a woman was but an animal, its offspring had a just title to the and that animal not of the highest crown. Mr Denman then referred, in order." The greatness of the female the same tone as his precursor, to character consisted in throwing from certain proceedings in 1809, relative it, to an immeasurable distance, that to an illustrious person, the heir-ap- species of impertinence and intrusion parent to the throne. So, with re- which would presume to violate, by gard to the other Royal Dukes of the unwarranted inquiries, the sanctity of same illustrious family, the same ob- domestic privacy; and upon these jection might perhaps be addressed grounds alone he might rest his only to them, if their conduct for six whole and general defence, if it were necesyears were to be examined with a view sary, of the Queen, against a measure of detecting scandalous freedoms or intended to exclude from the throne adulterous intercourse. If by the in- her who ought to adorn it--who came here with every expectation, with sent, by any thing but their own asevery reasonable hope, of sharing it sertion. They had been reasoned -and who, it was now attempted to upon, however, as if certain and inbe argued, had forfeited-not forfeit- disputable; and the passions and feeled, indeed, but had lost—her justings of their lordships had been workclaim to it. The learned Counsel ed upon accordingly by speeches of then urged the religious, as well as the most extraordinary eloquence, the civil character of marriage, on which impressions of which he implored them he was particularly anxious that Dr to efface from their minds. The simLushington should be heard; he re- ple dry question before them was, presented the hardship which his il- whether the bill was sustainable upon Iustrious client suffered, in the sub- principle. The learned Counsel then stitution of a bill of pains and penal- stated the grounds on which an imties, for a judicial proceeding; he pro- peachment could not lie, and consetested in her name against the former quently a legislative proceeding was measure, and he concluded, “I beg necessary. If he had not known it to to say, my Lords, that whatever may be the opinion of others, in whose lebe enacted—whatever may be done gal judgment he could confide, that by the exertions of any individual, the charge contained in the preamble by the perversion of truth, or through of this bill did not amount to high the perjury of witnesses--whatever treason-an opinion which fortunatebe the consequences which may follow, ly was now formally sanctioned by and whatever she may suffer— I will, the highest authorities that could be for one, never withdraw from her those referred to, he would not have presentiments of dutiful homage which sumed to stand at their lordships' bar I owe to her rank, to her situation, to as the advocate of the present course her superior mind, to her great and of proceeding. That uncertainty was royal heart; nor, my Lords, will I ever now removed, and he boldly challenpay to any one who may usurp her ged his learned friends to the arguMajesty's station, that respect which ment, and defied them to produce a belongs alone to her whom the laws single case in support of their asserof God and man lave made the Con- tion, that the facts alleged in the presort of the King, and the Queen of amble of this bill would bear out an these kingdoms."

impeachment, and that, consequently, The Attorney-General could not an impeachment was the course that help remarking the extraordinary li- ought to have been adopted. The cence taken by the learned Counsel. learned Counsel reprobated the manInstead of arguing strictly on the prin ner in which the witnesses had been ciple of the bill,they had gone into state. treated, as suborned, perjured spies, ments of facts, which, although they calumniators, and traducers. This were all introduced into this part of was tampering with their lordships' the case as facts, he must contend were feelings, and treating the subject quite not yet founded on the evidence be- unfairly at a time when they had not fore their lordships ; by assumptions, heard a single deposition. His learngratuitously made ; and by calumnies ed friends had much abused the liber-(an expression by which he meant ty they had obtained, of arguing now not the slightest disrespect to his against the principle of the bill. How learned friends, but he must repeat it) should he be arraigned if he so far -by calumnies, unsupported, at pre- forgot himself as to expatiate on the enormities of the charge contained in on, they would see the necessity and the preamble of this bill against a per- the propriety of the course that had son of the high rank of Queen, then been resorted to. The question was indeed a Princess, but niece to the late a momentous one, affecting not only King of Prussia, and next in rank to the parties immediately concerned, the Queen of England? How should he but the dignity and honour of the be arraigned by his learned friends, if country itself. "If innocent, however," he in the present stage were to enlarge continued the learned gentleman,“the on the evidence about to be produced party accused need not fear your lordThe pain of the task would be great ships' judgment. If guilty, I am sure enough, God knew, when the neces- that nothing can be stated which will sity arrived. The present bill was no induce you to swerve from the path more an ex post facto law, than every of duty ; but that, fearless of popular divorce bill was. Her Majesty would clamour, you will put your hands to be deprived of no means of defence as your hearts, and decide conscientiousQueen, which she would have enjoy- ly and justly. By your lordships' ed as Princess of Wales. She courted decision you will satisfy the public, inquiry; and the present bill afforded that while the meanest subject in the the means of as complete and fair in- realm is protected by innocence, the quiry, as either impeachment or any highest subject cannot offend with other measure would have done. His impunity.” mind was in no degree affected by

The Solicitor-General equally conthe declamatory topics in which the demned the course followed by the other side had indulged. He felt that gentlemen on the other side. Instead he was addressing a grave assembly, of temperately discussing a grave, composed of persons of the highest dry, constitutional question, they had rank, attainments, and honour, in the indulged in personal invective, and country; and he knew that on such the most unfounded aspersions. The an occasion appeals to the passions, question appeared to him very simhowever they might excite admira- ple. By a technical distinction of tion for the advocate at the bar, would law, the Queen Consort, committing ultimately be of no effect. Their lord- adultery with a foreigner abroad, ships were not to be made, either by could not be brought in as guilty of entreaty, by hints, or by menaces, to high treason. Yet, if the Queen Con. swerve from the straight-forward sort was guilty of a crime but one path of duty. He was aware that shade removed from the highest crime this, as it had been called by his known to the law-of the deepest dye learned friend Mr Denman, was a either in a religious, a moral, or a ci. tremendous inquiry: he knew that vil point of view—was a person so the peace of the country might be regardless of what she owed to the affected by it; but he knew also that country, to the crown, and to her clamour would have no effect on their rank, to sit on the throne by the side lordships' minds. He was not ap- of the monarch of these realms? Could palled; he did not fear for the fu- he address an assembly of men of hoture: he had such confidence in the nour, stating that such scandalous good sense of the country, that he conduct had taken place, and at the felt assured, when the facts were be- same time affirm that the person who fore them which had hitherto been had been guilty of it was worthy to concealed, and in ignorance of which remain upon the throne of England ? their minds had artfully been wrought The pains and penalties attached to

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this bill, were no greater than in any sional and unprofessional advisers of common case of divorce; and was the Queen. În touching on recrimithe King to have less means of re- nation, his learned friends had introdress than the humblest individual ? duced a topic, from which their minds It appeared to him that there could must have revolted, and which they be no necessity so great as that which could not but know to be inapplicacalled for the present inquiry ; the ble. They had even advanced the necessity of not allowing such a se extraordinary proposition, that there ries of conduct as was here charged was no difference between adultery to pass with impunity, and the indi- committed by a man and a woman. vidual so demeaning herself to sit on But why was this topic introduced ? the throne of these realms. He agreed, For a most strange and unjustifiable indeed, that silence upon this subject purpose. He should have thought could hardly be purchased at so dear that the common feeling of delicacy a price: but the moment the Queen and humanity, which he knew perchallenged inquiry, the moment she vaded the bosoms of his learned asserted her innocence, the moment friends, would have compelled abstishe set her foot in the country, and nence at least on this point. It was claimed her rank and privileges as an unwarrantable, because an unneQueen Consort, it became impossible cessary, attack upon an illustrious to shun this dreadful proceeding personage, whose conduct had been Bills of pains and penalties had been twice dragged before the House. His as old as the constitution, and were great talents and popularity throughessential to it. The case of Strafford out the country might at all times, was wholly inapplicable ; the injustice but more particularly at the present of it consisted in the Houses having moment, have shielded him from so been overawed by violence and cla. cruel and so wanton an assault. mour out of doors. It had been said, Knowing from what quarter it prowho was the complaining party? Trué ceeded, it filled him with surprise and it was, that the King was not here the amazement. It had been insinuated complaining party ; it did not suit his that her Majesty had been encourahigh character and station to come ged to go abroad, that she might fall before this court as the complaining a victim to a foul conspiracy. Was party; but, knowing the facts of the this meant as a charge against minicase, he pursued the course befitting sters? Was it possible to suppose that his dignified and princely capacity; such detestable wickedness could enhe ordered the papers to be laid be- ter into the minds of the basest in sofore the parliament, that it might deal ciety, much less into the minds of men with the case as to its wisdom might refined by education, polished by in. seem meet.

Thus he became a con- tercourse with the highest classes, and senting, though not a complaining, raised by their talents to the highest party. It had been the misfortune of functions of the state? He would no these proceedings, from the com- longer follow the wandering course mencement, and through every stage, of his learned friends, but would only that collateral topics, calculated to remind the House, that the question excite prejudice, and to inflame the "before them simply related to the mode passions of the multitude—to create of proceeding, and he trusted they distraction in the country, and to shake would find no reason for altering that the very foundations of the monarchy, which they had deliberately adopted. had been introduced by the profes- Mr Brougham replied at some

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