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traordinary efforts seem to cost him nothing. He dined at Holland House yesterday, and stayed till eleven at night, talking de omni scibili, - French cookery, Italian poetry, and so on. I understand that experienced lawyers do not augur favorably of the case from what they have heard. He commented upon what had been said by the witnesses with infinite ingenuity, but he spoke but little of any other testimony in which he could encounter their evidence.” 1
The evidence for the defence was closed October 24; and Mr. Denman, declining a pressing offer of time in which to prepare himself, proceeded at once to sum up the queen's case. It is im
ossible to dwell upon the merits of his argument, which was long remembered on account of its vivisection of the king, and its defiant attack on the Duke of Clarence, who was present at the time. He was followed by Dr. Lushington, on behalf of her Majesty, and by the Attorney General and Solicitor General in reply. The House adjourned on the 30th of October to November 2d. On the 6th of November, after five nights of stormy debate, the bill was passed to a second reading, by a vote of 123 to 95; a majority of 28 being in favor of it. On the 10th, there were 108 for the third reading, to 99 against it; the majority being now reduced to 9, owing to the objection of the bishops and some lay peers to the retention of the divorce clause. Lord Dacre was about to present a petition from her Majesty, praying to be heard by counsel against the passing of the bill.
“ The Earl of Liverpool said that he apprehended such a course would be rendered unnecessary by what he was about to state. He could not be ignorant of the state of public feeling with regard to this measure, and it appeared to be the opinion of the House that the bill should be read a third time, only by a majority of nine votes. Had the third reading been carried by as considerable a number of peers as the second, he and his noble colleagues would have felt it their duty to persevere with the bill, and to send it down to the other branch of the legislature. In the present state of the country, however, and with the division of sentiment so nearly balanced, just evinced by their lordships, they had come to the determination not to proceed further with it. It was his intention, accordingly, to move that the question, that the bill do pass, be put on this day six months.” 2
This question was carried nemine contradicente. 1 Letters, 267, 268.
2 The Report of the Queen's Trial : by J. Nightingale. 3 vols. London, 1821. A very much condensed report may be found in the “Annual Register," 1820, vol. lxii. part 2, pp. 961-1152.
The bill having been thus abandoned by the ministry, the queen was nominally acquitted. The rejoicings among her friends were great, and the enthusiasm of the lower classes of the people sincere and loud; while there was a universal feeling of satisfaction that this disgusting and protracted public scandal had come to an end. Notwithstanding the popular detestation of the king, and the manifest unfairness of his throwing stones at the queen; notwithstanding the violent protestations of her counsel of their conviction of her innocence; notwithstanding the firm support which she received throughout the trial from certain of the lords; notwithstanding many of the most important witnesses against her broke down under cross-examination,- yet there were such a multitude of witnesses against her, and they hung together so well in the main features of the adverse evidence, which could not have been the result of drilling by the Milan Commission, or justly attributable to the proverbial falsity of Italian evidence, and she was so much damaged by her own witnesses; her mode of life had been so coarse and indiscreet previous to her leaving England; her husband's cruelty had been such an incentive to wickedness; her early training had been so deficient; and her ideas had always appeared so loose and irregular, - that the fact of her guilt presses in the most conclusive manner on the mind of the modern reader.
It is certainly most unlikely that more than half of a body as independent and as little open to outside influences as the House of Lords should have declared her guilty, if she were not really so on the evidence. It must be remembered, too, that some of those who voted against the bill stated that they did so, not because of their belief in the queen's innocence, but on the ground of the unconstitutionality and inexpediency of the bill. Respectable English people, to say nothing of noblemen and persons of distinction, travelling on the continent, certainly shunned her society, which they would hardly have done without the strongest reasons for so doing, considering their predilections for royalty. Her admitted conduct, behavior of which there was no doubt, had always been, to say the least, offensive. There was, it must be confessed, little in her to admire, less to love, and nothing whatever to respect.
1 Residence at the Court of London, 1819–1825 : by R. Rush. 345.
? It has been hinted that Lord Brougham himself really entertained no doubts of her guilt. - Saturday Review, May 16, 1868.
Her counsel's experience as to their fees, as related by Lord Brougham himself, is curious, considering that ample means had been provided by the government, both for her defence and for her personal comfort.1
“In the acts which caused this celebrated princess to be sometimes taxed with the habitual ingratitude of her caste, something may always be allowed for inconsistency and want of reflection. A striking instance of this occurred on the defeat of the bill in 1820. Mr. Brougham waited upon her to announce it, and tender his congratulations. She instantly said that there was a sum of £7,000 at Mr. D. Kinnaird's (the banker's), which she desired him to take, and distribute £4,000 of it among his learned coadjutors. This he of course refused. Her Majesty would take no refusal, but the day after recurred to the subject and insisted on bis laying her commands before her other counsel. They all joined in the respectful refusal. A few weeks after, Mr. Kinnaird suggested that the salaries of her law officers were in arrear, they never having been paid. The sum was under £200, but she peremptorily refused to have it paid off, and both this arrear, and all their other professional emoluments, on the ordinary scale, were first paid after her decease, by the treasury, among the other expenses of the cause.” 2
Her popularity, which had not been deeply rooted, soon died out. In her subsequent injudicious struggles for recognition as queen, in which the short and wretched remnant of her life was occupied, it is to be regretted that she was aided and abetted by Mr. Brougham. The magnificent preparations for the gorgeous scene of his coronation which George IV. was making were somewhat marred by the announcement from the queen that she intended to be crowned on the same day and at the same place. Mr. Brougham appeared in support of her claim before the Privy Council on the 5th of July, 1821, and made an extended argument which “ seemed,” according to Lord Eldon, “ to most there, to prove the very reverse of any such claim, as a right.” 3 The Privy Council, on the 10th, unanimously determined that she was not entitled of right to be crowned at any time. Notwithstanding this the queen made an attempt to enter Westminster Abbey early on the morning of the coronation day. She applied in vain at every door, and, meeting with a mortifying repulse, retired heartbroken and in tears. She survived not quite three weeks longer,
and was pursued with contumely even in death. Her funeral was mean and unbecoming, the procession was hustled about the streets by the soldiery, and forcibly excluded from the city of London, and it was not till the body was deposited in the tomb of her fathers that the wearied frame obtained any repose. a fit close of the melancholy tragedy of her life.
A clergyman of the established church, named Blacow, was prosecuted in the Court of King's Bench by Mr. Brougham, acting as the queen's Attorney General, for having published a libel against the queen in a sermon delivered by him after she had solemnly attended divine service in St. Paul's Cathedral in order to return thanks for the withdrawal of the bill of pains and penalties. The spirit displayed in the sermon was most unchristian, and the language most foul and unbecoming the occupant of a pulpit. Mr. Brougham after her death obtained a conviction to three months' imprisonment. The heads of the Durham Cathedral refused to allow its bells to be tolled after the queen's death, a last mark of respect to lier memory which the remainder of the clergy of the city neglected to pay. The “Durham Chronicle,” in an article wbich appeared in its columns three days after, commented most severely on the withholding of the simple tribute ordinarily paid on the death of any member of the royal family. Mr. John Ambrose Williams, the supposed publisher of the stricture, was prosecuted by information for libel on "the clergy of Durham.” Mr. Brougham was of counsel for the defendant, and procured a substantial acquittal of his client; the proceedings, which had been protracted for more than a year, being finally abandoned by the prosecution, on Mr. Brougham's obtaining a rule to show cause why the judgment against his client should not be arrested. In his speech for the defence Mr. Brougham was unsparing of the clerical offenders, lashing them most mercilessly with the keenest satire, the most intense scorn, and the most delicious irony. As a
1 " There is an end, I cannot say of her checkered life, for her existence was one continual scene of suffering, of disquiet, of torment, from injustice, oppression, and animosity, by all who either held or looked up to emolument or aggrandizement, all who either possessed or courted them; but the grave has closed over her unrelenting persecutions. Unrelenting I may well call them, for they have not spared her ashes. The evil passions which beset her steps in life, have not ceased to pursue her memory, with a resentment more relentless, more implacable, than death.” — Lord Brougham, Speeches, i. 304.
model of invective it is almost unsurpassed; but, unfortunately, there is no room now to give quotations from it.
In connection with the queen's trial, Mr. Rush relates the following incident:
“It is worth a passing notice, that during the adjournment of this momentous trial, Mr. Brougham attended the assizes at Yorkshire, and engaged in a cause on behalf of a poor old woman, upon whose pig-cot a trespass had been committed. It was on the side of a common of upwards of one hundred acres, upon about five yards of which the pig-cot was alleged to have encroached. The poor woman had paid the lord of the manor a yearly rent of sixpence for it, and sixpence on entering. The pigcot having been pulled down, the jury found for the old woman, and gave her forty shillings damages. To have been counsel for the queen of the realm, and in such a case as this at the same time, is illustrative of the English bar; and individually, of Mr. Brougham.” 1
After the queen's death, all her counsel were for many years excluded from their fair professional advancement. Mr. Brougham and Mr. Denman were obliged to abandon the rank they had held during her trial, and to return to stuff gowns again. This was principally owing to Lord Eldon's violent enmity to his political adversaries in the profession, he himself acknowledging that he had obstructed their rise, although he afterwards endeavored to throw the blame on the king, whose ill-will had undoubtedly influenced the Lord Chancellor.2
In Trinity term, 1827, he received a patent of precedence at the bar. The tardy honor of being made a king's counsel, which he received this year, he owed to the generosity of Mr. Canning, who had forgotten their quarrel in Parliament in 1823, and who on becoming Prime Minister had offered Mr. Brougham the office of
1 Residence at the Court of London, 1819–25, p. 340.
Lord Brougham, in commenting on the removal of Lord Erskine by the Prince of Wales from the office of Attorney General to his Royal Highness, in consequence of his having defended Thomas Paine when prosecuted for the “Rights of Man," thus refers to his own treatment by George IV., in revenge for his long-continued support of the queen :
"Certain it is, that the outrage on all common decency of punishing an advocate because he does his duty to his client, was then first perpetrated. But it was afterwards repeated by the same artist in a much more celebrated instance ; and the later did not tend to obliterate the recollection, or to hide the shame, of the earlier offence." Erskine's Speeches, vol. i., p. xvii.