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“ will comply with my humble, my earnest, and 6 anxious requests. Your majesty, therefore, « will not be surprised to find that the publica“tion of the proceedings alluded to will not be 66 withheld beyond Monday next !
76. The publication was delayed, however; it never appeared until 1813; and then, as will be shown in due time and place, it was brought forth by the acts of the writer of this history, had it not been for whom, the probability is, that it never would have appeared at all, or, at least, during the reign of George IV. And now I have to unfold an intrigue, the like of which has scarcely ever been heard of, and in the history of which we shall see how a whole nation was made to suffer for these whims (to give them the mildest terms) of one single man. The requests of the princess were granted; she was received at court, and into the royal family; she had apartments allotted her in Kensington Palace. But, as all the world saw, these outward signs did not clear her of all suspicion. The newspapers had, for seven months, been ringing with the criminations and recriminations, those on her side had repeatedly threatened publication; on the other side it was stated, that she had not been entirely acquitted; even the newspapers of the outfaction allowed that she had been guilty of some 66 trifling levities," and that the king had given her a gentle reprimand. Therefore, to be re
ceived at court, and to have apartments in a palace, were not enough to wipe away all imputation. It was known that a royal commission had been sitting on her conduct; it was acknowledged that she had been reprimanded; and, therefore, it was impossible that some suspicion should not remain against her, until the whole affair should be made public. This, there . fore, she ought to have done; and her not doing was, as we shall see in time, the cause, and the sole cause, of all those indignities and calamities which marked the remainder of her life, and that finally brought her to an untimely end.
77. How came she, then, not to do this? The answer to this question developes the grand intrigue above alluded to; but to give this answer properly, we must now go back, and get into party-politics. We have seen (in paragraph 70) that a new ministry, called the Whigs, was formed in February, 1806; that this ministry contained the most distinguished friends of the prince; and that it was not until they came into power that the prince laid before the king, through the chancellor, the charges against his wife. The new opposition consisted, of course, of those who had been in the ministry of Pitt, and who were now out of place. There were the then late chancellor, Eldon, the Dundasses, Lord Castlereagh, Jenkinson, Canning, Huskisson, and some others of less note; but there
now came a man amongst them, who soon surpassed all the rest in power as well as in impudence and insolence towards the people. This was that SPENCER PERCEVAL, of whose signal death we shall have to speak by and by! This man, a sharp lawyer, inured, from his first days at the bar, to the carrying on of state prosecutions; a sort of understrapper, in London, to the attorneysgeneral in London, and frequently their deputy in the counties ; a short, spare, pale-faced, hard, keen, sour-looking man, with a voice well suited to the rest, with words in abundance at his command, with the industry of a laborious attorney, with no knowledge of the great interest of the nation, foreign or domestic, but with a thorough knowledge of those means by which power is obtained and preserved in England, and with no troublesome scruples as to the employment of those means.
He had been solicitor-general under Pitt up to 1801, and attorney-general under Addington and under Pitt up to February, 1806. This man became the adviser of the princess, during the period of the investigation and correspondence, of which we have just seen the history; and, as we are now about to see, the power he obtained, by the means of that office, made him the prime minister of England to the day of his death, though no more fit for that office than any other barrister in London, taken by tossing up or by ballot,
78. At the close of paragraph 75, we have seen that the king was told that the publication would take place on the Monday. That Monday was the 9th of March. In this difficulty what was to be done? The Whig ministry, with their eyes fixed on the probable speedy succession of the prince, or, at least, his accession to power, the king having recently been in a very shakey state; the Whig ministry, with their
eyes fixed on this expected event, and not perceiving, as Perceval did, the power that the unpublished book (for “ The Book” it is now called) would give them with the prince as well as with the king ; the Whig ministry would not consent to the terms of the princess, thinking, too, that in spite of her anger and her threats, she would not throw away the scabbard as towards the king.
79. In the meanwhile, however, Perceval, wholly unknown to the Whigs, had got the BOOK actually printed, and bound up ready for publication, and it is clear that it was intended to be published on the Monday named in the princess's letter; namely, on the 9th of March, unless prevented by the king's yielding to the wishes of Perceval. He did yield ; that is to say, he resolved to change his ministers ! А ground for doing this was, however, a difficulty to be got over. To allege and promulgate the true ground would never do ; for then the public
would have cried aloud for the publication, which contained matter so deeply scandalous to the king and all the royal family. Therefore another ground was alleged ; and herein we are going to behold another and another important consequence,
and other national calamities, proceeding from this dispute between the prince and his wife.
80. This other ground that was chosen was the CATHOLIC Bill. The Whigs stood pledged to pass a law for the further relief of the Roman Catholics. They had in September, 1806, dissolved the parliament, though it was then only four years old, for the purpose of securing a majority in the House of Commons; and into this new House, which had met on the 19th of December, 1806, they had introduced the Catholic Bill, by the hands of Mr. Grey (now become Lord Howick) with the great and general approbation of the House, and with a clear understanding, that, notwithstanding all the cant and hypocrisy that the foes of the Catholics had, at different times, played off about the conscientious scruples of the KING, the king had now explicitly and cheerfully given his consent to the bringing in of this bill. What, therefore, was the surprise of every-body, when on the 13th of March (mark the dates), it began to be rumoured through the newspapers, that the king had changed his mind about the CATHOLIC Bill; that his scruples of