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who believed that the conduct of During the course of these proher royal highness had not been ceedings respecting the princess of íree from blame, were decidedly of Wales, the ministry, as well as the opin:on that she had been most opposition, were placed in an awkunfairly and harshly treated, not ward and embarrassing situation ; only in the original report, but in and neither of them did themselves almost all the subsequent stages of much credit by the manner in the proceedings; while the very which they conducted themselves. great majority who had not a doubt Most of the ministers, it will be of her complete innocence, and recollected, had been the friends who even believed her conduct to and advisers of the princess when have been spotless in every respect the investigation into her conduct and on every occasion, was disposed first began; and as ministers of the to give a character to the proceed- prince they were now called upon ings against her, which we do not to desert the princess and her cause, think it safe to describe. In a very and to take up his views and intershort time, nothing was talked of ests. Hence it may be supposed, but the hardships of her case; and that their conduct on this occasion as the British nation is never slow was neither consistent nor digni10 sympathize with the afflicted, fied:~the conduct of the opposition
persecuted, the was not at all less reprehensible, princess of Wales, more particu- though it bore the appearance of larly as a female,-a deserted wife, being more consistent; for they -and the mother of the future so- still preserved the character of vereign of these realms-obtained friends of the prince of Wales, on this the most full portion of British occasion, though they were no sympathy and support. As soon longer the friends of the prince as her innocence was declared, by regent. the prince regent's ministers in par It will be seen from the parlia. liament, to be completely esta- mentary proceedings on this suba blished, addresses of congratulation ject, that the warmest friends and poured in to her from all quarters advocates of the princess were those of the kingdom ; and, for a season, who are considered as belonging to no individual ever possessed so no party ; especially Mr. Whitbread; much popularity as she did. But and certainly the whole of his behaviother events of greater national im- our does him great credit. Perhaps portance occurring, and the novelty no man's character suffered more on wearing off, before the conclusion this trying occasion than that of of the year the princess of Wales the earl of Moira : in the examina. was scarcely ever mentioned. But tion of some of the witnessés rethough the nation turned aside its specting the charge of pregnancy, attention and interest from her to he betrayed an apparent desire to other subjects, it still retained, in a discover evidence of its truth; and great degree, those feelings towards he seemed to have lent himself to the prince, which his behaviour to the prince's interest, through the the princess had given rise to; and whole transaction, in a no small share of his want of popu- neither becoming his rank, nor, bis larity may be attributed to his con- reputation for high and unsullied duct towards her.
Miscellaneous Topics connected with the Doniestic History of Great Britain dil
ring the Year 1813-Appointinent of a Vice-Chancellor--alleged Neces-
ESIDES the discussions on
of lord chancellor is one of the most specting the princess of Wales, elevated and arduous under the which took place in the year 1813, crown; and that, by uniting in the there are some other points con same person this office and that nected with what may be properly of speaker of the house of lords, termed the domestic history of the duties are necessarily very con. Great Britain, which require our siderably increased : some of the notice. These points are indeed most important duties which the of very inferior importance and in- chancellor, in his latter character of terest, compared with the two speaker of the house of lords, has to former; yet they ought not to be discharge, are those which concern passed over altogether in silence, as appeals: the house of lords is the they either serve to show the tem- highest court of appeal, in civil per and degree of knowledge on cases, in the kingdom; and the subjects connected with the wise appeal cases before it from England and prudent administration and are neither very numerous nor very well-being of states, possessed by important : yet those from Scota the people of this country, or they land- probably on account of the involve subjects more properly his different constitution and torical. The points to which we the civil courts theremare exceedallude, and to which we mean to ingly numerous, and often involve devote this chapter, are the ap- the disposal of property of great pointment of a vice-chancellor;- magnitude, as well as the allotment the catholics ;-the Orange lodges; of the highest hereditary honours -the debates on the war in Spain; in the staie. Strictly speaking, the -the regent's speech on the proro- whole house of lords ought to form gation of parliament;-and the re- this high and dernier court of apport of the corn committees peal; but the decision is left ge
nerally to the lord chanceilor, the mination, and a conscientious wish other law lords, and any ind vi. to do right, is a qualiiy of the duals who may feel iriterested in very first importance. However, the particular case : on the lord whether ent rely from the numerous chancellor, however, fail the prin- and important duties which he had cipal weight and respinsi ulity: he . to perform, or partly from this is supposed, ex officio, to have paid cause and his own individual chaparticular attention to all subjects racter and mode of transacting on which appeals are made to the business in the house of lords in house of lords. When this is con- appeal cases, the consequence was sidered, and it is further reflected, that these appeals were very much that by the very nature of a court in arrear; and it was found neof equity, the court of chancery, cessary for parliameat to adopt where he also presides, must be very some measure by which the arrear slow and deliberate in its proceed- might be brought up, and for the ings, and that all cases of difficulty future avoided. The subject unand extreme importance are almost derwent considerable discussion in certain to come before this court, parliament; and al length it was we need not be surprised if the determined to appoint a vice-chanbusiness were too much for one in- cellor. It is not our intention here dividual. In the court of chancery, to discuss the propriety of this deindeed, the lord chancellor has the termination at length, but merely assistance of the master of the rolls; as matter of history, and, that our but still the duties of the office are readers may have some grounds extremely arduous, and, to be strict. on which they may judge of the ly and conscientiously discharged, necessity of this new office, to state require a very considerable portion some facts, which were established of time and attention.
by the investigations of the comLord Eldon, who has held the mittee which was appointed by patoffice of lord high chancellor ever liament on this subject. since Mr. Fox's party went out of In the first place it appeared, power, is well known to be a man contrary to all probability and most scrupulously anxious to dis- expectation, that the number of charge his duty in such a manner as suits in chancery had not increased he thinks right; and for this pur- since the days of lord Hardwicke: pose, no case comes before him, this is a singular fact in the history either in the court of chancery or of the country, and to account for by appeal to the house of lords, on which, even which he does not bestow the most grounds, would carry'us beyond laborious and minute attention : our limits, as well as out of our he seems, indeed, to carry his scru- proper province : but some curious pulosity to an improper and preju- discussions on the national characdicial length; for it ought always ter, as indicated by this circumto be recollected, that in law, in stance, might be entered into ;-the some cases at least, nearly as much bearing of the fact on our mote mischief may ensue from a pro immediate and proper object, thie tracted determination as from one necessity of the new office, need not that is erroneous; and that in a be pointed out. judge, decision, accompanied and In the second place, as signing guarded no doubt by close eta. commissions of bankruptcy : forins
part of the duty of the lord chan- fered:-when the plan of appointcellor, it becomes necessary, in in- ing a vice-chancellor was first agivestigating this subject, to inquire tated, the expense of the appointinto their actual comparative num- ment was strongly objected to: to bers now and at former periods; this the supporters of the measure and it was found that during the replied, that the expense would not year 1812 they amounted to nearly come out of the pubiic purse; of double the usual number :--this course it was concluded from this fact is interesting, both as con- reply, that the lord chancellor, not nected with the commercial state being able himself to discharge all and history of the country, and as the duties of his office, would, on giving some insight into the revenue the appointment of an assistant, of the lord chancellor, and conse. cheerfully come forward and pay quently the propriety and justice, if that, assistant himself. When therean assistant were appointed him, fore it was proposed to take the that this assistant should be paid salary of the vice-chancellor from entirely by himself:-the average the “ Dead fund,” much surprise fee of a bankrupt's commission is was expressed ; but ministers and 15). the whole number in 1812 was the supporters of the measure con1800 ;-consequently from this tended, that the public purse did source the lord chancellor must not pay the salary, though it must have derived the sum of 27,0001. be evident that the money constiThe regular salary of the lord high tuting this fund, having no legal chancellor is 10,0001. his joint in- claimants, must be public property: come therefore will be 37,0001. at any rate, the expectation that
In the third place, it was fixed the lord chancellor would defray that the salary of the vice-chan- the expense of the appointment of cellor should be 50001. a year : a vice-chancellor was disappointed. there were of course two consider. With regard to the distribution of ations: the fund from which this the business, sir S. Romilly prowas to be paid; and the duties posed that the bankrupt cases which he ought to perform, in order should be withdrawn from the sumost effectually to lighten the of- perintendance of the chancellor, ard ficial burden of the lord chancellor. placed under that of the vice-chanIt was determined, after much dis- cellor : this, though containing a cussion, that the salary of the vice very feasible scheme, was rejected; chancellor should be paid out of the and it was ultimately determined “ Dead fund," a fund consisting that no defined and systematic divi. of money originally deposited by sion of business should take place ; private suitors, who, as well as all but that the vice-chancellor should their representatives, had died be assist his principal as he should fore their suits were terminated. direct. -That this fund should have been With respect to the catholics, it able to supply a salary of 5000l. is not our intention to enter on the per annum, proves most incon. justice of their claims in this place. testably the necessity of some re This has been done on different formation in the court of chancery. occasions in our former volumes: But with respect to the appropria. all we mean here is, to make some tion of this fund to this particular remarks on the rejection of the bill' purpose, one remark may be of- for their relief, and on the spirit
which they manifested, and the con lated to increase his character for duct which they pursued, in conse. steadiness of opinion, was unfortuquence of this rejection. The ca- nately confirmed by the circum. tholics had becn undoubtedly led to stance, that many of the meinbers expect that their claims would be of his household voted against the granted : and this expectation must catholics. The imagination natua have been evidently strengthened, rally passed from them to their when they found ministers not master ; and some persons thought making the catholic question a ca that they could thus account for binet question, but leaving it en- the disappointment of the hopes of tirely to its own merits and weight: the catholics. It was unfor: unale perhaps they might have been dis- for the ministers that the catholic posed to doubt of the sincerity of bill was thrown out, because they ministers on this occasion; and had conducted themselves, since this suspicion certainly would not they came into office, with so much have been weakened when they prudence, good sense, liberality, reflected that they were, for the and moderation, that the granting most part, the pupils and admirers of the catholic claims seemed alone of that Mr. Pitt, who always spoke wanting to render them such a miand voted for the abolition of the nistry, as every real and enlightenslave trade, yet was never able to ed friend to his country would wish effect it. There is, however, good to preside over its affairs and inreason to believe that ministers terests. It was unfortunate for the were sincere in their wishes that the nation, because, whatever opinion bill in favour of the catholics might may be entertained respecting the pass. How then came it, it will justice of the catholic claims, all naturally be inquired, that it was must allow that, by conciliating thrown out? The cause of its re- and attaching them to the constijection, the impartial bistorian is no tution, a great national good would doubt bound to state and explain, be effected; and that the bill which if he can get at it with certainty: was rejected, was brought into the but as only surmises and conjectures house under such favourable cir. were hazarded on this point, it may cumstances, as must have led the not only be just and fair, but pru. nation to hope that the day was dent in him not to attempt to trace near at hand, when their conciliathis unfortunate circumstance to tion and attachment would be the cause from which it is generally brought about. But it was pecusupposed to have proceeded.–We liarly unfortunate for the catholics call it an unfortunate circumstance; themselves, since it created jeaunfortunate for the prince re- lousies and divisions among that gent-for his ministers--for the body; and thus has weakened them nation at large-and for the catho so much, that they will never be lics. It was unfortunate for the able to come forward again with prince regent, because, though he equal probability of success. But was known to have been a friend to they have injured their own cause, catholic emancipation, before he not merely by their mutual jezbecame regent, yet a report had lousy, and their divisions, but also gone abroad that his opinions on in a much greater degree by the this subject were radically changed; violent and absurd conduct of some and this report, certainly not calcu. of their leading members. Much