Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/126

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64
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

a partner, she galloped through them, desiring all the guests to follow her example! It may be guessed whether the gentlemen were anxious to clap her at the opera again." Now this was the personage whom certain classes of the community persisted in regarding, sixty years ago, as a royal martyr. Small as is the respect or esteem which we owe to the memory of George the Fourth, we may almost sympathise with him when he calls such a consort "uncongenial."

A person so little fitted for the high position which she occupied was certain to give trouble; and as far back as 1806, her indiscreet conduct had induced the king [George III.] to grant a commission to Lords Spencer, Grenville, Erskine, and Ellenborough, to examine into the truth of certain allegations which had been made against her; and, although their report expressed the most unqualified opinion that the graver charges were utterly destitute of foundation, such report, nevertheless, concluded with some strictures made by the commissioners "on the levity of manners displayed by the princess on. certain occasions."[1] In consequence of this official report, the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, was subjected to regulation and restraint; they were allowed at first a single weekly interview, which, for some doubtless sufficient reason, was afterwards reduced to a fortnightly meeting.[2]

While pitying the mother, we seem scarcely justified in assuming, with our present knowledge of her obstinate nature and disposition, that these restrictions were imposed without some just and sufficient reason. It would seem to have come to the knowledge of the Princess Caroline in 1813, that the interdiction was intended "to be still more rigidly enforced,"[3] for on the 14th of January of that year we find that she wrote a letter to the Prince Regent, in which she complained that the separation of mother and daughter was equally injurious to her own character and to the education of her child.

  1. "Annual Register," 1813.
  2. Ibid. (Chronicle), 342.
  3. See the letter of the Princess of Wales, "Annual Register," 1813 (Chronicle), 342.