Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

nel Wardle assented, and the motions jor Dodd, who was in the confidence were then agreed to.

of the latter, walked publicly arm in If Colonel Wardle had been wise, arm with Hague, one of the foulest he would have closed his political libellers that ever polluted a free career with his * triumph over the press. The surmises which arose from Duke of York. Had he then reti- these circumstances were so generally red, it would have been with an un. whispered, that the Duke of Kent sullied and unsuspected character, thought proper to notice them puband even those who most regretted liclyin the House of Lords. “Certain the consequences of the investigation insinuations,” he said, “had which he had excited would have gone abroad, whereby the Feb. 7. respected his couduct. But when he public were led to suppose advanced into the foremost ranks of that dissentions existed between him the radical reformers, he injured him and his royal brother, whose conduct self in the esteem of the better part of was under inquiry. Such reports the people, and he forfeited it entire. were unfounded and untrue, and he ly by the egregious foly of his eco- was happy in making the declaration, nomical plans. Perhaps the favour that no professional dispute had ariof the populace consoled him, and sen between them, nor did there exthis did not fail him in all the morti- ist any such schism in the royal fafications which he was destined to mily. So far was he from thinking undergo.

that there was any thing improper At the very commencement of the in the conduct of his royal brother, inquiry, some of those persons who he was fully persuaded that all the look most closely into political in- charges against him were false, and trigues, suspected that Colonel War- would be proved to be so." dle was instigated or encouraged by Of course these rumours were now some of the royal family themselves. silenced, and indeed it soon became A rumour had been prevalent, about apparent that, if any disagreement two months before the business came had actually existed between the broforward, that the Duke of York had thers, the investigation was proceed. threatened, in Bond street, to horse. ing to a length which must deeply whip one of the Prince of Wales's wound the whole royal family. household, for endeavouring to get Shortly afterwards, the expectations some of his letters from Mrs Clarke. of that part of the public who deIt was remarked that Cclonel War- light in scandal,—always unhappily de sate in that seat for Oakhamp- the greater part-were excited by an ton, to which the prince was suppo- announcement that Mrs Clarke was sed to have nominated a member in about to publish memoirs of her own the last Parliament ; that Cobbett, life, containing facts illustrative of whose most virulent malice was al. the inquiry, and many letters from ways aimed at the Duke of York, the duke. That which should have never breathed even a hint of censure been done earlier was done now, and towards either the Prince of Wales farther scandal prevented by suppressar the Duke of Kent; and that Ma- ing the publication : 70001., it was

* The most curious monument of his triumph, was the resolution of thanks fiom Sheffield, the signatures to which filled forty skins of parchment, and extended to 351 yards in length.

said, was paid her, and an annuity of whole years of labour will be saved." 4001. secured to her and her child. It seemed as if the agitators supporen,—the same yearly allowance which sed, that the opening

of these seven would have prevented all this expo- seals was the main sign to be fulfilsure. Ten thousand copies of the led before they obtained possession work had been printed; they were of their political New Jerusalem. burnt at the printer's, and all the par- While Mrs Clarke was in the ties concerned declared upon oath, odour of popularity, Colonel Wardle that no vestige either in printor in ma- affirmed, at a public meeting, that nuscript was preserved, except a single he believed she came forward in the copy, which, according to the state. investigation purely from a wish to ment, was secured under seven seals. serve the public. A few days, how. The motive for preserving this seems ever, after the close of the to have been, lest any other copy, in session, he was sued in the July 3. spite of the oath, should have been Court of King's Benth, secreted for the purpose of after by an upholsterer, for the amount publication, in which case, a compa- of goods furnished to Mrs Clarke by rison with this would afford the his order, and the jury found a vermeans of stopping the publication, dict against him. Colonel Wardle or at least of punishing the breach immediately published a letter in the of contract. Upon the first rumour newspapers to the people of the uni. of this negociation the agitators were ted kingdoms, saying, that his counexceedingly indignant. The people sel being satisfied in their own minds “ had a right," they said, " to know that theevidence to be brought against all that Mrs Clarke knew about pub- him was altogether insufficient, did lic matters,” and “she must be a not comply with his earnest request, woman divested of all sentiments of (repeated to them in writing during honour if she supprest these me. the trial in the strongest terms,) that moirs.” When the suppression was Major Dodd and some other witnes. effected, Colonel Wardle was called ses, who had been subpæna'd, should upon by the most conspicuous of the be examined: “ their testimony," he demagogue journalists to recover the said, “would, he knew, be in direct book from the Aames. “You must,” contradiction to what had been sworn said he, “ have seen some of the con- against him. Under these circumtents. If possible give us those con- stances the verdict was obtained. tents; and if you can get us, at the There only remains for me now," he same time, a copy of another work continued, “ to declare before my of somewhat the same sort, printed God and my country, that it was privately, about two years and a half obtained by perjury alone ; and I do ago, it would add to the value of pledge myself to prove that fact the the collection.--These are the things, earliest moment the forms of the law and the only things, which the na. will allow me to do so.” In pursu. tion wants at this time. These books ance of this pledge, Colonel Wardle would be of much more real service prosecuted Mrs Clarke, the upholto England than all the horse and sterer and his brother, for a conspifoot in the country. It is impossi- racy. The facts which appeared upble that all the copies can be destroy on the trial shook the credit of all pared. Let us have these books, and ties. It appeared that the upholsterer

had been in the habit of vouching The squabble between Mrs Clarke for Mrs Clarke's respectability ; and, and Colonel Wardle, and the discoon the other hand, her attorney swore very that she had bargained for (by that he had advised Colonel War. her own account,) or at least expectdle to withhold this man's evidence ed to be paid for her evidence, would from the House of Commons, be. have invalidated her testimony against cause he did not think he would con- the duke, if it had been unsupported ; ceal the truth, and even if he would, but the principal facts rested upon had not head enough to evade the documents so unexpectedly produced, question ; so that if he were brought and, in themselves, so unexceptionaforward, the fact that Colonel War. ble, that it was needless to take her die had furnished Mrs Clarke's house, oral evidence into consideration, when —that is, had purchased herevidence, the merits of the case were weighed. -would be discovered. Colonel War- Herends were now effectually served ; de swore in direct contradiction to she had compelled her former associthis. No person had been present at ate in the charges to pay her for her the interview; and it was, therefore, services, and she had succeeded in obimpossible to know which spoke the taining an annuity from the royal fatruth. The jury decided in favour mily, besides a large sum of money of the attorney, he having the fewest immediately paid. But she also could ostensible motives for falsehood; and not be contented with success ; the they consequently acquitted the de. spirit of mischief possessed her, and fendants. Yet Colonel Wardle had having profited so well by the sup; produced such testimony on his part, pression of one book, she hoped still and had delivered his own evidence to make her market of public curioin so direct and unembarrassed a man- sity, by publishing another. In this per, that no person knew what to be- she professed to lay open the whole lieve. The esteem of the wise he had secret history of her connection with already forfeited, but his popularity Colonel Wardle, and Major Dodd, remained unshaken. The former ver- whom she now haled equally, because dict with the costs burthened him upon the second trial he had appeared with the payment of 12001., and this a witness against her. The object new trial added materially to his ex- of her story was, to persuade the pences ; a subscription was immedi- world that these persons were instiately opened to indemnify him. Se- gated by the Duke of Kent to oververal thousands were subscribed ; the throw his brother, in hopes that he same spirit of vulgar insult was dis- himself might be appointed complayed in the mottos and assumed mander-in-chief in his stead; but that names, as in the case of Miss Taylor, they, while acting under his influence, and the large proportion of the sum had deeper views of their own, and which was contributed in shillings, aimed at nothing less than a total resixpences, and even pence, by jour- volution. Major Hogan's pamphlet, Deymen and artificers of the lowest she athrmed, was one of the fruits class

, evinced what interest the mob of this plot; and the lady in the bahad taken in the progress of this bu- rouche, who left the bank bills at his siness

, and how deeply they were im- hotel, she declared was Mrs Wardle, bued with the principles of the de- who was imprudent enough to go with magogue journalists.

her own serrants in ber own livery.

This, she said, Colonel Wardle him- to stand well with the country in ge. self had told her. The Duke of neral.” This declaration was made Kent, with a condescension which in the form of questions addressed to must not be condemned, because its Major Dodd, in the presence of the motive was so commendable, thought Earl of Harrington and Colonel it necessary to counteract immediate. Vesey, and Major Dodd, in the most ly a charge, at the very idea of which, positive and unequivocal language, he said, every honest man must re- confirmed it, declaring also, that he coil with horror and indignation. He, never had, in any manner, given any therefore, declared that he had nei. person reason to suppose that the ther directly nor indirectly, sanction- Duke of Kent approved of the proed, advised, nor encouraged any at- ceedings against the commander-intack upon the Duke of York; never chief, but on the contrary always ex. hadany acquaintance of any kind with pressed his knowledge that his royal Mrs Clarke, Colonel Wardle, or any highness felt very differently. of the persons employed in bringing The suspicion which his royal the investigation forward ; never had highness thus repelled, in a manner expressed himself inimically to the so honourable to his feelings, had Duke of York, even when in the most been brought on him by Major Dodd's confidential moments he had given conduct. There was nothing but vent to his wounded feelings upon this which could afford any colour to professional subjects; had invariably Mrs Clarke's accusation, and that expressed his regret when any person accusation, it must be remembered, attempted to do justice to his cha- was not only unsupported by any racter at the expence of his brother, other external evidence, but was even and so far from sanctioning, appro. in itself, and all its parts, improbable, ving, or rejoicing in the proceedings –whereas in the Duke of York's against him, had uniformly lamented case, what could be more likely than them. “ It was not,” he said, “with- that a man should be influenced by out sincere concern that he found his mistress ? But if any thing in vinhimself under the necessity of enter. dication of the Duke of Kent could ing thus publicly into a vindication be required after his solemn declaraof his conduct. But he was confi. tion, it was to be found in the whole dent that every liberal mind would character of Mrs Clarke's * book, give him credit for taking a step which evinced her to be a thoroughwhich he felt due to his character, ly worthless, malicious, and mischieand to the honour and dignity of his vous woman. family, and which marked his anxiety

*One thing, and only one, in the book deserves notice; it is a letter from Dr O'. Meara to Mrs Clarke's brother, in vindication of himself. As the name of this Irish dignitary became so conspicuous in the course of the inquiry, it would be unjust to withhold his defence : such as it is, it follows.

“ MY DEAR SIR,–I congratulate you on the victory Mrs Clarke has gained over the mushroom patriot ; I think we could give him le coup de grace. I have collected sone curious particulars of his own campaign in Ireland; one most horrible, and which will be proved on oath. One day during the rebellion, he met a poor man near Athy, with a satchel on his back, containing an axe, an auger, a saw, &c.; be immediately concluded that the poor man was a rebel, having such dangerous wea

pons concealed in a sack. In vain the poor man declared that he was a carpenter, and that these were his tools. The colonel could not be convinced, and he ordered his head to be sawed off, which was done on the spot. I hope Mrs Clarke, now that she has past through this ordeal trial, will have no objection to state the truth for my private and personal friends. She told me that she did not intend to mention my name; that she was forced by Mr Wardle to embellish as she did with respect to me. The blow was aimed at the established church, to stab it through the sides of a clergyman; the reformists and methodists being leagued together to pull down both church and state.

“My letters in defence of the duke were not mentioned, which was the ground and cause of my introduction to him: and his royal highness having thanked me for writing those letters, I ventured to ask him for the chaplaincy of the royal yacht, and for which he promised to apply, on my forwarding to him a letter of recommendation from some bishop, and which I did from Bath, directed to Portmansquare. This fact I wish to have cleared up, to shew the archbishop and my friends here.

“ Cobbett says I preached at Weymouth from under the wing of Mrs Clarke, whereas it was the year before I preached before the royal family, viz. 1994. In the microcosm of London, it is difficult to distingui-h ladies under protection from ladies of fashion ; each of these orders borrows the manners of the other, and they act their parts as naturally, it was no wonder a man of so much simplicity was deceived by the illusions of graceful manners and modest discourse. The Goddess Hecate, who presided over magic and enchantments, was the same with Luna and Diana. Mrs Clarke could personate this divinity with ease, assuming all her forms, attributes, and functions: and Mr 0. assured me she was a widow in the last month of her grief.—The masquerade was continued by the visits of ladies of fashion at her house, and the visiting cards of many of high consideration, &c.

“ The letter of mine which was found by the secret committee, and which has been so much misrepresented, as an indecent production, was an answer to a hoaxing letter I got from Mrs Clarke, in which she said, she was tired of the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, &c. ; that Mary Magdalene was not more penitent and intreating that I would comfort the weak-hearted, and find out for her a cheap and safe asylum in Ireland. I answered the epistle of this witty piece of Eve's flesh ir print, and for which the saints and reformers have splashed me with abuse. Mrs Clarke got back this letter, and I hope she will preserve it and the archbishop's letter.”

With respect to the charge against Colonel Wardle in this curious production, Mrs Clarke herself, while half affecting to credit it, and forcing it into notice by printing the whole story in capital letters, could not help betraying her conviction of its falsehood. It is undoubtedly a most absurd and outrageous falsehood, though it may not impossibly be reported and sworn to in Ireland. Of the history of Conel Wardle's campaigns, however, in that country, the less that is said the better : but it is not amiss that he should be reminded of them, when, in bis tender mercies for the Irish, he ascribes all their disaffection, and all their wretchedness, to the Catholic restrictions, and proposes to remedy all grievances, and save two millions yearly, by rendering the Catholics eligible to scats in Parliament and the forty offices.

« ForrigeFortsett »