Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/127

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Adverting to the restricted intercourse between them, she observed that in the eyes of the world, "this separation of a daughter from her mother would only admit . . . of a construction fatal to the mother's reputation. Your Royal Highness," she continued, "will pardon me for adding that there is no less inconsistency than injustice in this treatment. He who dares advise your Highness to overlook the evidence of my innocence, and disregard the sentence of complete acquittal which it [i.e. the inquiry of 1806] produced—or is wicked and false enough still to whisper suspicions in your ear, betrays his duty to you, sir, to your daughter, and to your people, if he counsels you to permit a day to pass without a further investigation of my conduct. . . Let me implore you to reflect on the situation in which I am placed, without the shadow of a charge against me, without even an accuser after an inquiry that led to my ample vindication, yet treated as if I were still more culpable than the perjuries of my suborned traditcers represented me, and held up to the world as a mother who may not enjoy the society of her only child."

No possible objection can be taken to this letter; indeed, by whomsoever it was penned, taken altogether it was an admirable composition. If, however, we are to credit the statement of Mr. Whitbread, made in the House on the 5th of March, 1813, it was thrice returned to the writer unopened. But the princess, as we shall find, was not a person to be intimidated by any amount of rebuffs. "At length that letter [we quote Mr. Whitbread] was read to him [the Prince Regent], and the cold answer returned was, that ministers had received no commands on the subject."[1] The letter found its way into the public prints, and then, and not till then, if we are to believe Mr. Whitbread, his Royal Highness directed that the whole of the documents, together with her Royal Highness's communications to himself, should be referred to certain members of the Privy Council, who were to report to him their opinion, "whether under all the circumstances . . . it was fit and proper that the

  1. See speech of Mr. Whitbread, "Annual Register," 1813 (20).