Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/124

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Caroline of BrunswickAs in 1809 a revengeful and unscrupulous woman had succeeded in exposing the reputation of a member of the Royal family to public opprobrium, so, in like manner, in 1820, a woman, and no less a person in this instance than a titular queen of England, was the means of dragging the crown itself through the mire of a disreputable scandal. That Caroline of Brunswick was an uncongenial and unfitting consort; that she was an utterly unfit and improper person to occupy the exalted position of Queen of England, there can be no manner of doubt. But to the question whether it was wise, politic, or dignified to subject her conduct (however morally criminal) to the reproach of a public investigation, there can be but one answer.

The marriage of Caroline, daughter of Charles, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, with George, Prince of Wales, was solemnized on the 8th of April, 1795. Exactly one year afterwards, and three months after the birth of their child, the Princess Charlotte, the pair separated. The separation was effected at the instance of the prince, and the reasons for his wishing to live apart from her are assigned in a letter which he sent her Royal Highness through Lord Cholmondeley: "Our inclinations" he told her, "are not in our own power; nor should either be answerable to the other because nature has not made us suitable to each other. Tranquil and comfortable society is, however, in our power; let our intercourse therefore be restricted to that."

Sixty years have elapsed since this miserable woman died, and we who are no longer biassed by the political leanings which more or