Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/131

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CAROLINE SOLICITS PERMISSION TO TRAVEL.

time you have selected for this proceeding is calculated to make it peculiarly galling. Many illustrious strangers are already arrived in England; among others, as I am informed, the illustrious heir of the house of Orange, who has announced himself to me as my future son-in-law. From their society I am unjustly excluded. Others are expected, of rank equal to your own, to rejoice with your Royal Highness in the peace of Europe. My daughter will for the first time appear in the splendour and publicity becoming the approaching nuptials of the presumptive heiress of this empire. This season your Royal Highness has chosen for treating me with great and unprovoked indignity; and of all his Majesty's subjects. I alone am prevented by your Royal Highness from appearing in my place, to partake of the general joy, and am deprived of the indulgence of those feelings of pride and affection permitted to every mother but me." Poor mother! who may help pitying her! Her most prejudiced enemy will admit that this was an eloquent and noble protest. Had she only maintained this language and attitude, we should justly assign to her a place amongst the royal martyrs of history. Naturally this barbarous, impolitic treatment soured her, as it would sour even the sweetest disposition. In an evil hour for her, and we may add for this country, she solicited and obtained permission to travel abroad.

No sooner was she freed from the restraints which had surrounded her at home, than her conduct not only makes us doubt whether she had any hand in the composition of this maternal appeal, but appears to justify the conclusions at which the commissioners of 1806 and 1813 seem to have arrived. Her temper was obstinate and wilful. She knew that she was watched; and from a spirit apparently of wanton mischief, designed with the view doubtless of annoying her enemies, she indulged in a series of the most extraordinary and undignified vagaries. She took into her service and received into her closest confidence and favour persons of the lowest position. It was impossible for rumours of her extraordinary eccentricities not to reach, not only the ears of those who detested her, but in an imperfect and incorrect degree those of the general