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Chapter II, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7 page 2

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"The principal ministers went in daily danger of their fives. Lord Sidmouth never drove out without a case of loaded pistols on the seat of the carriage, ready for instant use; and when either of them was recognised in the public! streets, he was sure to be greeted by groans and hisses, and sometimes by more formidable missiles."

Mr. Freemantle, writing to the marquis of Buckingham, asks: - "How can all this end? It has not a little benefited her cause that it appears how much the king personally has prepared the evidence by his emissaries abroad, and more particularly by his Hanoverian engines. I assure you I am quite low-spirited about it. One cannot calculate on anything less than subversion of all government and authority if this is to go on, and how it is to end no one can foresee. The press now is completely open to treason, sedition, blasphemy, and falsehood, with impunity This alone, if it continues, must debauch the public mind. I want some volunteer establishments to be formed, or something to be done, without a moment's delay, by the well disposed and loyal who have influence to check the torrent, and to guard against the explosion which must inevitably take place. The king here confines himself to the cottage; has hourly messengers - that is, dragoons - who are posted on the road by dozens, and we hear is in a state of the greatest irritation; but he is very seldom seen; and this is only what one picks up. You have no conception how thoroughly the public mind, even in this neighbourhood, is inflamed by this melancholy subject; and how the queen is still supported." ("Memoirs," Ac., by the Duke, vol. I. p. 45 - 67.)

The gravity of the situation is strikingly presented in a letter from lord Eldon to his brother, during a visit to Encombe. Writing thence, he says: -

" I was saluted at Ringwood by a collection of people shouting into my coach, while changing horses, ' Queen Caroline for ever! ' and I had the same salutation from passengers on the road. Here they have settled all matters, because they say, sweepingly, Italians are not to be believed. In short, the cause here is all against the king. I have long thought that the effect of recrimination will be produced, even if evidence of recrimination should be refused.

"The received notion, that this would be treason if committed here, must be looked to. Suppose it had been committed here; adultery on his part would have been no defence - could not have been given in evidence. See, then, what would be the case - she is convicted; does he pardon, so as to save her life? If he can't have a divorce, because of adultery on his part, he must either let the law take its course against her, and divorce by execution, or take the pardoned traitor to his arms, to love and cherish. Notwithstanding all that can be said, I should, if I were to decide to-day, argue the case as if recrimination had been proved."

The danger of civil war was felt to be so great that earnest attempts were made to conciliate the queen, and to effect a compromise. Mr. Wilberforce was very zealous in this matter. He wrote to the king, entreating him to restore the queen's name to the liturgy. This was a vital point. The ministry had expressed their intention to resign if this must be done. Mr. Wilberforce headed a deputation from the house of commons, who proceeded to her residence, in full court costume. He describes her manner as " extremely dignified, but very stern and haughty." He got no thanks from either party for his attempts at negotiation. He was very much abused by Cobbett, and other writers on the popular side. " What a lesson," he exclaimed, " it is to a man, not to set his heart on low popularity, when, after forty years' disinterested public service, I am believed to be a perfect rascal! " ("Wilberforce's Life," vol. v., pp. 65 - 68.) Lord John Russell published a letter, addressed to Mr. Wilberforce, urging him to interfere again, and expressing the opinion that, perhaps, the fate of the country was in his hands. "Alas!" wrote the venerable philanthropist, "surely we never were in such a scrape. The bulk of the people, I grant, are run mad, but then it was a species of insanity on which we might have reckoned, because we knew their prejudices against foreigners, their being easily led away by appeals to their generous feelings; and then the doses with which they are plied are enough to intoxicate much stronger heads than most of theirs." Again he observes, " I feel deeply the evil that so bad a woman as I fear she is should carry the victory by sheer impudence - if she is guilty - and assume the part of a person deeply injured." The state of feeling between the belligerent parties is thus described by the lord chancellor: -

" You will see, by the impressions of the seal on this scrap, that cabinets are quite in fashion; daily, nightly, hourly cabinets are in fashion. The lower orders here are all queen's folks: few of the middling or higher orders, except the profligate, or those who are endeavouring to acquire power through mischief. The bulk of those who are in parliament are afraid of the effect of the disclosures and discussions which must take place if there is not some pacific settlement. The queen is obstinate, and makes no propositions tending to that - at least, as yet. The king is determined, and will hear of none - of nothing but thorough investigation, and of what he, and those who consider themselves more than him, think and talk of - thorough exposure of Q., and divorce. To this extent parliament will not go; but, amidst this mess of difficulties, something must arise in a few days, or it will happen. I think, in a few days, that the king will try whether he cannot find an administration which can bring parliament more into his views than the present ministers. I do not see how matters can go on a week longer with the present administration remaining. I think no administration, who have any regard for him, will go to the length he wishes, as an administration, and if they will, they cannot take parliament along with them. That body is afraid of disclosures - not on one side only - which may affect the monarchy itself."

Mr. Brougham and Mr. Denman met the duke of Wellington and lord Castlereagh on the 15th of June, to discuss an adjustment; when it was laid down, as a preliminary, that the queen must not be understood to admit, nor the king to retract, anything; and that the questions to be examined were - the future residence of the queen; her title, when travelling on the continent; the non-exercise of certain rights of patronage in England; and the income to be assigned to her for life.

This fourth topic the queen desired might be altogether laid aside in these conferences; and the differences which arose upon the first proposition prevented any discussion on the second and third. They suggested that her majesty should be officially introduced by the king's ministers abroad to foreign courts, or, at least, to the court of some one state which she might select for her residence; and that her name should be restored to the liturgy, or something conceded by way of equivalent, the nature of which, however, was not specified by her negotiators.

It was answered that, on the subject of the liturgy, there could be no change of what had been resolved; that, with respect to her residence in any foreign state, the king, although he could not properly require of any foreign power to receive at its court any person not received at the court of England, would, however, cause official notification to be made of her legal character as queen; and that a king's yacht, or a ship of war, should be provided to convey her to the port she might select.

These conditions were wholly declined by the queen, and on the 19th of June the negotiations were broken up. On the 22nd two resolutions were passed by the House of Commons, declaring their opinion that, when such large advances had been made toward an adjustment, her majesty, by yielding to the wishes of the house, and forbearing to press further the propositions on which a material difference yet remained, would not be understood as shrinking from inquiry, but only as proving her desire to acquiesce in the authority of parliament.

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