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Chapter IV, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7


The Queen's Trial - The Evidence - The Defence.
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On the fourth day, after the conclusion of his address, the attorney-general proceeded to call his witnesses. Before the examination commenced, the rolling of the drums without announced the arrival of the queen, who entered and took her seat, looking more animated and cheerful than usual. The first witness called was Theodore Majocci, a robust man, with large whiskers and bushy hair. The queen, on hearing his name, turned quickly round, screamed loudly, and exclaimed, "What, Theodore! " She then darted from her seat, to her apartment, though she had not been in more than three minutes when this occurred. Her friends asserted that the exclamation was, "Oh, traditore!" (oh, traitor! ("Diary of the Times of George IV.," vol. II, p. 348.)) for what reason does not appear, unless to imply that he was a perjurer. The effect upon the house was electrical. A long pause succeeded. Peers, counsel, strangers, looked as if they doubted the evidence of their eyes and ears; not a word was spoken, and five minutes elapsed before the proceedings were resumed.

Majocci stated that he had been in the service of the princess three years, and deposed to a number of the facts and circumstances referred to by the attorney-general. He was cross-examined by Mr. Brougham. While the cross-examination was proceeding, the queen entered the house, and took her seat as before, their lordships rising and bowing to her. She departed before its conclusion, receiving the same mark of respect. The cross-examination was continued next day. The queen came into the house as usual, and on passing Majocci, cast upon him a look of stern reproach, and then instantly averted her eyes from him.

Gaetano Paturga was the second witness called. He was rather a shabbily-dressed, ill-looking man, about thirty years of age. He had seen the princess and Bergami walking together on the deck, arm in arm. He had also observed them in various situations, sometimes sitting on a gun, their arms being round each other to support them, as the gun was too small. He had seen the princess and Bergami sitting on the bed.

The next witness examined was Vincenzo Gargulio, the owner and captain of the vessel called Industry, which had been engaged to carry the princess of Wales from Augusta to Tunis, and thence to Greece and the Holy Land. He deposed that he had made arrangements for the party before they came on board, and that the princess had them altered immediately after her arrival, causing a door in the dining-room to be closed, which was nailed up accordingly. After the first two nights Bergami had his bed removed into the saloon, from which he could see the princess in her bedroom when the door was open. Also that she had a tent erected for herself on deck, in which there was a sofa and a travelling bed; that Bergami slept in one of these, and the princess in the other, till they arrived at the port of Auzo. He had seen Bergami lying on his back in bed, and the princess sitting near him. He was with her on all occasions, even when she went to take her bath. The princess used to walk arm in arm with Bergami on deck, and sit with him with his arm round her waist.

Captain Pechell was produced to state that he had refused to dine with the princess when she was on board because Bergami, whom he had known as a menial servant, was at her table, not thinking it becoming his position as a naval officer to associate with such a person.

Captain Briggs, of the royal navy, gave similar testimony as to Bergami dining with the princess. And he also stated that she altered his arrangements about the beds on board the Leviathan. The apartment next her own, which he intended for the ladies, she appropriated to Bergami.

Pietro Cuchi deposed that he saw Bergami in the princess's bedroom, with only his dressing-gown and drawers on; and also that he had seen them through a key-hole.

Barbara Crautz, a German, stated that she saw Bergami's bare arm round the neck of the princess, who jumped up and was frightened when witness entered (here the queen rose hastily from her seat, and withdrew, followed by lady Anne Hamilton). She also mentioned other proofs of improper familiarity.

The Italian witnesses often created amusement, when under examination, by the frequent answer, "Non mi ricordo." The most important of the set was Mademoiselle Dumont, a maid, who had always been about the person of the princess, waiting on her and assisting at her toilet. She was clever and ready, answering with fluency and precision the questions put to her. Her direct examination was calculated to make a great impression upon the house against the queen. She confirmed generally the evidence given by the other foreign witnesses as to the position of the beds, and the intimacy between the queen and Bergami. Among other things, she stated that she had in her suite the mother and sister of Bergami, his brother, and one of his cousins. The sister Faustina was a married woman, and had her husband also in the house. She stated that at Jerusalem the Order of St. Sepulchre was conferred upon Bergami; and that while there the princess created the Order of St. Caroline, of which she made him grand master, and of which he afterwards wore the decorations. She stated that at the Villa d'Este the queen and Bergami performed together at a theatre; he dressed and dancing like harlequin, and she dressed like columbine. He had a little daughter named Victorine, not by his wife, of whom the princess was particularly fond, and whom she caused to sleep in her own room. This little girl had worn ear-rings, which her royal highness took in exchange for others, and wore them in her own ears. She also wore ear-rings which had been worn by Bergami himself. Thus she had two rings upon each ear. She had made him presents of gold and diamonds. She had seen his black silk cravat and his slippers in the bedroom of the princess. She had seen him pass into her room at night. Bergami had purchased a house and estate, which was called La Barona, and afterwards the Villa Bergami, where the royal party lived for some time. The princess was accustomed to address him in terms of endearment, such as - "My heart." While at La Barona, balls were given to people of low condition and bad character, who behaved very improperly. Bergami told a story to the princess about the conduct of some of them in the presence of witness, so indecent, that she refused to repeat it. In consequence of this refusal, everything about the " indecent story " was expunged from the official report of the evidence. She had seen the princess with her head leaning against Bergami's arm, and his other arm round her waist. The princess and Bergami sat together for their busts. She once appeared in pantaloons at Pesaro, when Bergami said, " Oh, how pretty you are. I like you much better so." She was then at her toilet, and her neck was stripped. When parting on one occasion, they took each other by the hand, and the princess said, " Adieu, mon cœur; adieu, mon cher ami." And Bergami said," Adieu, au revoir." The princess told witness that she intended to have masses said for the soul of Bergami's father.

This witness was cross-examined by Mr. Williams. Though her evidence was interpreted, it appeared that she had been in England thirteen months and that she had taken lessons in English four or five months, and could speak it, though not with ease. She had been called Colombier in England. She would not swear that she had not been called the countess Colombier. In common with the other Italian witnesses she had been examined before the Milan commissioners, and since she came to this country she had been sworn before a magistrate as to the truth of her depositions.

When this avowal was made, Mr. Brougham interposed, and said he was decidedly of opinion, that if a case like the present came before any of the ordinary tribunals, the court itself would interfere. It appeared that this witness had been sworn out of court, and in the absence of the parties opposed to the bill, before a magistrate. This appeared to have been done after the proceedings had been instituted in that court. When it was known that the witness had to appear there, she had been taken before a magistrate, and sworn to her deposition. How far the privileges of that house and the interests of justice were interfered with by such a course of proceeding, their lordships were most competent to decide; but he must submit to their consideration that such was not the course which ought to have been adopted by the opposite party.

Mr. Williams had one observation to make. Their lordships were aware of the manifold dangers which might arise from a practice like that which was now called in question. Every witness was supposed to come into court for the purpose of telling the truth, the whole truth, on both sides. If a party were pledged by an oath to an ex-parte statement of the case, was there not reason that party, bound to such statement by the solemn obligation of an oath, would be liable to be prejudiced against one party, and in some measure restrained from telling the truth, or, according to the language of the law, the whole truth? By that proceeding, of which he complained, it appeared to him that the conscience of the witness about to appear in court would no longer be at liberty to give that testimony which it was desirable, for the purpose of justice, should be obtained.

The lord chancellor would give it as his opinion without any doubt, that the effect of the practice in question could not go to the extent supposed by the learned counsel for the defence. If the credit of the witness would be affected by anything that might transpire, that would be open to remark when the whole case could be understood.

A great sensation was caused in the house by the production of two letters, the authorship of which the witness acknowledged. They disclose the motives of her conduct in appearing as a witness for the prosecution. She said, addressing the queen: -

"It is on my knees that I write to my generous benefactress, beseeching her to pardon my boldness; I am convinced that if her royal highness knew the frightful state into which I am plunged, she would not be offended at my temerity. A crowd of reflections on the past goodness of her royal highness, and on my apparent ingratitude, overwhelm me. May her royal highness deign to take pity on me; may she deign to restore me her precious favour, which I have unhappily lost by the most deadly imprudence.

" I dare again to conjure, to supplicate, the clemency and compassion of her royal highness, that she will grant me the extreme favour of destroying those two fatal letters. To know that they are in the hands of her royal highness, and that they will constantly bear testimony against my past conduct, kills me. The aversion which I have merited on the part of her royal highness, instead of diminishing, would be increased by reading them. I permit myself to assure her royal highness that it is only the granting of these two favours which can preserve my life and restore to me that repose which I have lost. My fault, it is true, is very great, and irreparable; but love is blind: how many faults has he not caused even the greatest of men to commit! "

In the second letter, addressed to her sister, Mdlle. Dumont says: -

" Can you not, my dear, divine the cause of all my sadness? Alas! was it not the regret of having quitted her royal highness, and of knowing that she suspected my character, and taxed me with ingratitude? Oh, God! I would surrender half my life, could she but read my heart; she would then be convinced of the infinite respect, the unlimited attachment, and the perfect affection I have always entertained for her august person. How often, in a numerous circle, have I, with enthusiasm, enumerated her great qualities, her rare talents, her mildness, her patience, her charity; in short, all the perfections which she possesses in so eminent a degree! How often have I seen my hearers affected, and heard them exclaim that the world is unjust, to cause so much unhappiness to one who deserves it so little, and who is worthy of being happy!

" But I had almost forgotten to confide to you a thing which will surprise you as much as it has me. The 24th of last month I was taking some refreshment at my aunt's, when I was informed an unknown person desired to deliver me a letter, and that he would trust it to no one else. I went down-stairs, and desired him to come up into the room. Judge of my astonishment when I broke the seal; a proposal was made for me to set off for London, under the pretence of being a governess. I was promised high protection, and a brilliant fortune in a short time. The letter was without a signature; but, to assure me of the truth of it, I was informed I might draw on a banker for as much money as I wished. Can you conceive anything so singular? Some lines escaped from the pen of the writer discovered to me the cheat, and I did not hesitate to reply in such terms as must have convinced him I was not quite a dupe. Notwithstanding all my efforts, I could draw no ├ęclaircissement from the bearer; he acted with the greatest mystery. You see, my dear, with what promptitude the enemies of our generous benefactress always act. There must be spies continually around her, for, no sooner had I left Pesaro, than it was known, with all its circumstances, in the capital of Europe. They thought to find me a person revengeful and ambitious, but, thank God, I am exempt from both those feelings; and money, acquired at the expense of repose and duty, would never tempt me, though I should be at the last extremity.

" Dear sister - If you dare, place me at the feet of her royal highness, beseeching her to accept my humble respects. Do not fail, I entreat you, when she speaks of me, to endeavour to convince her my repentance is still the same; that I conjure her to restore me to her favour. Tell me, if her royal highness is still so enraged against me, and if there is not any appearance of a pardon; but tell me always the truth. Try, also, to persuade her royal highness that I am, and always shall be, so entirely devoted to her, that no sacrifice I could make for her would appear too great, and that she may even dispose of my life, which shall for ever be consecrated to her service. Tell the baron, also, that I am very sensible of his remembrance, and beg him to accept the assurance of my perfect acknowledgment. Embrace for me the charming Victorine. Repeat also my thanks to the count, and assure him I shall never forget his kindness. Remember me to the countess, Madame Livia, and Mr. William, begging them to receive the assurance of my sincere friendship. If I were to tell you all those who send you salutations, I should want two more pages, for every one is interested for you, and they never cease to wish for your happiness. Believe, however, the most sincere wishes are made by us.

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Pictures for Chapter IV, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7

Trial of Queen Caroline
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Queen Caroline
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Great Seal of George IV
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Mr Denman
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Queen Caroline
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