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"That the said petition be referred to a | Select Committee, to examine the matter thereof, and to report their observations thereupon to the House."

uncle, the late duke of Cumberland. It was not necessary for him to take notice of the early marriage of the late duke of Cumberland, but he would assert, that ministers ought long ago to have instituted some proceeding to elicit the truth. At present, it seemed to him that a committee was the only mode of proceeding, and for this reason he seconded the present motion.

It was

Mr. Hume said, he seconded the motion with great pleasure; not because he had any acquaintance with the petitioner, but because, after what had publicly occurred on the subject, it appeared to him that her claims had become a serious question which ought to be settled. Mr. Secretary Peel said, that the hon. The petitioner claimed to be a branch baronet had imposed upon him a duty of the royal family. Whether she was of rather an embarrassing nature. The so or not, he did not know; but mi- subject was so exceedingly ludicrous, that nisters, in defence of the dignity of the he really felt called upon to beg pardon of royal family, ought to take some steps the House for occupying its time regardagainst a supposed or real impostor, who ing it. It seemed that the hon. baronet in every newspaper had publicly asserted considered himself acting under the obliher right. It appeared that the petitioner gation of a royal command, believing the was in possession of certain documents, individual for whom he appeared, to be a one of them bearing the signatures of his princess of the blood. Such, certainly, late majesty, of Mr. Dunning, and other was not his (Mr. Peel's) opinion; and witnesses. This appeared to be a good upon the whole, perhaps, the best course document. The right hon. Secretary he could pursue was, to state that truth, seemed to intimate a doubt regarding it: and those facts which it was the object of but the signature of Mr. Dunning had the hon. baronet to elicit. To pass over been proved by the best evidence that the case in silence might, perhaps, concould be found. This document, formed firm groundless suspicions. He would the principal ground on which he (Mr. H.) therefore proceed to show, that this lady seconded the motion; for it appeared that was either herself practising the most imbis late majesty died without a will, and pudent imposture, or that she was the inin common acceptation it appeared to nocent dupe of others. The hon. baronet him that this paper was a will, and that it had omitted to state his case. could be so proved before the proper therefore necessary for him (Mr. Peel) courts. This lady had been imprisoned to detail it; and he would do so as shortly for debt, and her creditors had brought as possible. There were two brothers of her claim into court, demanding to be ad- the name of Wilmot; the one, Dr. Wilministrators of the personal property of mot, the other a Mr. Robert Wilmot. his late majesty. This ought to have been The person now claiming to be princess done by the party who took possession of of Cumberland was the daughter of the personal property of the late king, Robert Wilmot. Proof of her birth and for there was nothing in law, that he was baptism existed, and for aware of, that ought to have prevented it. time she had been contented with this The judge in the court to which the peti-humble origin. But in the year 1817tioner appealed, had not pretended to (very possibly before that date she had deny the authenticity of the documents. pretended to be other personages)-she He had only said, that he had no authority discovered that she was not the daughter to take cognizance of the claim. He him- of Robert Wilmot, but of the late duke of himself had seen a document in the late Cumberland, brother to his late majesty, duke of Kent's own hand writing, stating Geo. 3rd. She did not then, indeed, that lord Warwick had told his royal pretend that she was the legitimate but highness the whole transaction, as also the illegitimate daughter; and, in 1817, that he had been ordered by his late ma- a petition, signed "Olivia Serres," was jesty not to disclose it until after his presented to his majesty by a person on majesty's death. The duke of Kent was her behalf, which contained these words so convinced that this statement was true, that, under his own hand-writing, he had promised to pay this woman a certain sum of money; thus showing that he believed her to be the legitimate daughter of his VOL. IX.

considerable

." May it please your royal highness to attend to the attestations which prove this lady to be the daughter of the late duke of Cumberland by a Mrs. Payne, the wife of a captain in the navy. Mrs. Payne was

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the sister to Dr. Wilmot, and this lady was born at Warwick, and the attestation of her birth is both signed and sealed by the matron and the medical attendant." This petition went to prove that she was the illegitimate daughter of the duke of Cumberland; but in 1819 the lady became dissatisfied with this distinction, and then she discovered, and produced attestations to prove, that she was the legitimate offspring of the duke of Cumberland by the daughter of Dr. Wilmot. She alleged, that Dr. Wilmot had a daughter who was privately married to the late duke of Cumberland in 1767. It was known that the duke of Cumberland was in fact married, not to Miss Wilmot, but to Mrs. Horton, in 1769. Of course, the ground of the petitioner's claim was, that the duke of Cumberland had been guilty of having been married to her mother two years before his union with Mrs. Horton. After the death of lord Warwick, and of every party who could prove the signatures, the petitioner produced several documents to show that there had been a private marriage in 1767, and that she was the offspring of it. The marriage at that date would have been legal; the royal marriage act not then having been passed. She also produced various papers to account for the secret having been so mysteriously kept till the year 1819.

were easily detected. But if he could show, as he was prepared to do, that two of the documents were forgeries, the presumption would be complete that the rest were not more authentic. He would take the two most important documents-the supposed will of his late majesty, and the pretended certificate of the private marriage. The petitioner claimed 15,000l. under an instrument which she called a will, signed on the 2nd of June, 1774, by his late majesty, and witnessed," J. Dunning, Chatham, and Brook." The terms of the bequest were singular. It was headed G. R. "In case of our royal demise, we give and bequeath to Olive, our brother of Cumberland's daughter, the sum of 15,000l., commanding our heir and successor to pay the same privately to our said neice, for her use, as a recompense for the misfortunes she may have known through her father." It would be observed, that this paper was witnessed, among others, by lord Chatham in 1774; but that nobleman had resigned his office in 1768, and never afterwards held any public employment. In 1772, he made a speech in direct opposition to the king's government; and, on the 20th of January, 1775, he moved an address to his majesty, to withdraw the troops from Boston. Those who knew the sentiments of his late majesty on the subject of the American war, would find it difficult to believe, that under such circumstances he would select lord Chatham to be his confident in a private transaction such as the one in question. But, on a reference Mr. Secretary Peel added, that they to the recorded speech of lord Chatham had not been forthcoming until the death on that occasion, it would be found that of every party whose signatures they pur- that noble lord actually commenced it ported to bear: even the accoucheur who with these words: "As I have not the attended her mother, died in 1818, a honour of access to his majesty, I will year before the claim was advanced. endeavour to transmit to him, through The attesting witnesses were, Mr. Dun- the constitutional channel of this House, ning, lord Chatham, and lord Warwick, my ideas of America, to rescue him from and their names were used to prove a the misadvice of his present ministers."* secret marriage, and the consequent birth But there was another of this lady's docuof a child in 1772-no other, as was pre-ments, said to be signed by lord Chatham, tended, than the present Mrs. Serres. To account for the long belief that she was really the daughter of Mrs. Wilmot, she asserted that Mrs. Wilmot having been delivered of a still-born child, the petitioner, the daughter of the duke of Cumberland, was substituted for the sake of concealment, and that Mr. Dunning and lord Chatham had consented to that substitution. The story was full of fabrications from beginning to end. They

Sir G. Noel interposed to state, that the late lord Warwick had given the papers in question to the duke of Kent. The petitioner did not obtain them until after the death of lord Warwick.

of a still more extraordinary nature. Would the House believe that a man of lord Chatham's known character would have done so dishonourable an act as to put his hand to a certificate like that to which his signature appeared to be appended: It began-"To be committed to the flames after my decease;" and it testified, "that the duke of Cumberland

See Parl. History, v. 18, p. 149.

tioner, on that very day, March 4, 1767, he was resident there, as it appeared by the books of the college, that he quitted Oxford on the 5th of March, 1767. So much for Mr. James Wilmot. But still the signatures of the late lord Warwick and of J. Adder remained to be disposed of. The late lord Warwick, by the paper, appeared to have signed "Brooke," his father being still alive; but unluckily again, the late lord Warwick, before he succeeded to the title, had always signed

having subjected himself to the crime of bigamy, we have agreed to let his daughter Olive be the sacrifice." It was signed "Warwick and Chatham." It was on the 20th of January, 1775, that lord Chatham had made his motion respecting the troops at Boston, and in six weeks afterwards it would not be easy to guess on what service his lordship was employed. His name was appended to a document couched in these terms-" The princess Olive, only child of Henry Frederick, duke of Cumberland, and bred" Greville." He was so named in the up as my brother Robert's daughter, may be known by a large brown spot." [Laughter, and cries of Where? where?" He should touch upon the brown spot by and by. He hoped that hon. members would restrain their curiosity upon this point for a few moments. If they did not think fit to satisfy themselves upon the subject, he would inform them, that according to the grave testimony of lord Chatham, the said large brown spot was of a liver colour, and that its situation was on the right ribs of her highness the princess Olive of Cumberland. [Much laughter.] It was in deed putting the distaff into the hands of Hercules to call upon lord Chatham to bear witness to this delicate but important fact. Nor was it very likely that the authentic signature of Mr. Dunning should be affixed to this pretended bequest. However, whether it were or were not, this document was comparatively unimportant; because, if the marriage really took place, Mrs. Serres was to all intents and purposes, princess of Cumberland, and nothing could defeat her claim to that title. It was necessary, therefore, to examine the certificate of the marriage, which was dated March 4, 1767, and was in these words "I hereby certify that Henry Frederick, duke of Cumberland, was this day married to Olive Wilmot, and that such marriage has been legally and duly solemnized, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England." It was signed "James Wilmot," present "Brooke," "J. Adder." "G. R." was also appended, but for what purpose did not appear. This document was intended to make out that the marriage was solemnized by James Wilmot, the real uncle of the petitioner. It was often astonishing to see, in how many points, a fabricated story might be detected. Now, it was a fact, that James Wilmot was a fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, and unfortunately for the peti

entry of the burial of his wife. His servants knew him by that title only, and in that title his father's property was bequeathed to him. He (Mr. Peel) was in possession of a letter from the present lord Warwick, stating that the title of lord Brooke had not been borne by any eldest son but himself. The fabricator of this instrument had therefore been misled by the present practice of the family. As to the signature "J. Adder," a person had been sent down to Warwick to inquire if there existed any recollection of such a person; and by the residents he was rather startled to be informed, that the medical attendant of the Warwick family certainly was a Dr. Adder. On further investigation, it turned out, however, that the real name of the gentleman was James Haddow; that he came from St. Andrew's, and that the people of Warwick generally, in speaking of Dr.. Haddow, had omitted the H in his name altogether, and had substituted an R for a W at the end of it. Here, again, vulgar mispronunciation had misled the framer of this precious piece of imposture. Having touched upon these prominent points, he apprehended that he had said enough to satisfy the House. [Cheers from all sides.] It was needless, therefore, to go into other documents; and even the hon. baronet himself, with all the fealty he had professed, would probably admit that the claim of the lady was disproved. If, however, the hon. baronet was inclined to persevere in her cause, there was one pretension, on which he (Mr. Peel) did not wish to throw the least discredit. He held in his hand a manifesto signed "Olive," and claiming the high dignity of princess of Poland, by virtue of her relationship to Augustus Stanislaus, as she here pretended that the duke of Cumberland married Olive, the legitimate daughter of the king of Poland. It concluded in these terms-" Alas! be

loved nation of our ancestors, your Olive lives to anticipate the emancipation of Poland. Invite us, beloved people, to the kingdom of our ancestors, and the generous humanity and wise policy of the emperor Alexander will restore the domain of our ancient House." It went on to assure the Poles, that her legitimacy, as princess of Poland, had been fully proved in England. Thus it appeared that this lady had two strings to her bow. With her claim to be a Polish princess he had not the slightest wish to interfere, but should sit down satisfied with having shown that she had no pretension whatever to that rank in England.

Sir Gerard Noel, in reply, contended that the House ought not to be satisfied by the pleasantry of the statement of the right hon. gentleman. Assertion was no proof. If lord Chatham were out of office, it did not show conclusively that he had not signed the documents bearing his name. If the right hon. gentleman had nothing to fear, why did he not consent to the committee? He should press the question to a division, if he stood alone, and did not retract an iota of what he had stated.

The hon. baronet, on consulting with one or two members near him, afterwards said, that he would not be so impertinent as to trouble the House to divide. The motion was therefore instantly and loudly negatived.

BRITISH ROMAN CATHOLICS TESTS REGULATION BILL.] Lord Nugent having moved the order of the day for the second reading of this bill,

Sir G. Hill said, that he rose for the purpose of expressing his unqualified dissent to the measure. Those who advocated the bill did so from an opinion that the peaceable demeanour of the English Roman Catholics entitled them to at least a participation of equal privileges with those of that persuasion in Ireland, whose conduct was the very reverse. He wished, however, to warn the gentlemen of this country against a measure which had produced such injurious consequences in Ireland, where, he would assert, they had not enjoyed one year of substantial tranquillity since 1793, when the elective franchise had been conceded to the Catholics. Whereas, from 1783 to 1793, when they had no such privilege, the country was at peace. If this bill was passed, he was convinced that energies

which had long lain dormant, would be roused, and all the ambition which belonged to the Catholic religion would be called into action.

Mr. W. Bankes could not suffer any stage of this bill to pass, without entering his protest against it. He objected to it altogether, notwithstanding the anomaly in the condition of the English and Irish Roman Catholics.

The Attorney General would not now oppose the bill, but he wished to state his objections to the clause which went to relieve every person from the oath of supremacy.

Mr. Peel said, that in the present bill he saw many objectionable clauses, which he would not, however, discuss in the present stage; but he could not help objecting to the removal of the oath of supremacy on the part of those who were candidates for office. As far as regarded the elective franchise, he had no objection to grant it to the English Roman Catholics without any restriction: but, as a qualification for office generally, he considered the oath to be indispensable. The Catholic would otherwise be put on a more favourable footing than the Protestant or Dissenter.

Mr. Bankes thought the bill should not proceed until the House was in possession of better information, as to the object of it, than had yet been afforded. The phraseology of the bill was by no means correct or explicit, even as to the purposes suggested by the noble lord himself. Did the noble lord mean to say, that English Roman Catholic subjects were to take no oath at all? Were those subjects not even to be bound by the same obligations as Protestant Dissenters and Church of England men? He contended, that if the bill now introduced should ever pass the House, it would be necessary very considerably to extend the present list of excluded persons. His main objection to the bill referred mainly to the constitution of the British parliament: for he was decidedly adverse to extending to Roman Catholic subjects the elective franchise in any degree. With respect to Scotland, the principle of the noble lord's bill would embrace the repeal of the act of Union.

Mr. Wetherell said, that he should now content himself with briefly recording his objections to the bill; but in the committee he should feel it his duty to oppose almost every line which it contained. It

was at present so worded, as to exact nothing short of the dissolution of the principles of the test and corporation acts. The bill was then read a second time.

HOUSE OF LORDS.

Thursday, June 19.

STATE OF IRELAND.] The Duke of Devonshire rose to submit his promised motion on the State of Ireland, and spoke nearly as follows:-My lords; it was not my intention to occupy the time of your lordships until an opportunity should present itself on the discussion of the subject which was expected before this to have been brought under the consideration of this House. But fearing that the delay which has occurred in another place might prevent that discussion from coming on in due time, and feeling, that it would be a great misfortune if this session of parliament were suffered to terminate its proceedings without allotting one night at least to the consideration of the State of Ireland-of the wrongs of its people of the acts and conduct of its government; I have, therefore, my lords, however ill qualified to discuss a subject so important and so comprehensive, yet, trusting to the indulgence of this House, and to the active support of the noble friends by whom I am surrounded, stept forward to call your attention to the state of Ireland, to the sufferings, and just complaints of the people. My lords, I am the more desirous to do so, because it is easy to foresee that we shall be again called upon to continue that rigorous and coercive system under which Ireland is suffering-under which she has suffered so deeply and so long. My lords, I am most anxious to suggest to the House the means that strike my mind, as best calculated to lead the way to the mitigation of those evils which have damped the energies, and retarded the progress of improvement in a country rich in natural advantages, and richer still in the character of its inhabitants.

My lords, the distracted state of Ireland at this moment, the distress and discontent which prevail there, shew that there is something essentially wrong in the nature of its government. Where a people are suffered to live under the fair protection of just and equal laws-where industry is encouraged and rewarded, and the necessaries and comforts of life are enjoyed, it is scarcely possible to suppose that the

people would wantonly put to hazard the security of themselves and their families, for the purpose of actively engaging in a conspiracy against the authority of the government and the laws-a course of conduct which would, sooner or later, lead to shame and punishment. My lords, in a country where the laws are not respected by the people, and the people are not protected by the laws, it follows that the system of government is defectivethat the laws have not been sufficient to eradicate evils which have been fostered by ancient prejudices and a long course of bad administration. It is, therefore, in such a state of things, the duty of the legislature to adjust a new and improved system, to the end that the people may be righted and the government strengthened. My lords, we are all acquainted with the melancholy truth-not only that the state of Ireland is alarming, but that it is most difficult to devise a speedy and effectual remedy. But surely, my lords, it cannot be too strongly impressed on the minds of your lordships, seeing that laws are actually in progress to suspend the most dear and valuable rights of the people of Ireland, that those rights ought not to be interfered with, without at least an attempt being made by the House, to ascertain the causes of the present discontents, to remove prevailing abuses, and to place in their stead a wise, a liberal anda permanent system of government.

My lords, in tracing the present evils of Ireland, it cannot be denied that the state of the laws which affect and degrade the Catholic population is one great and prevailing cause of discontent. My lords, whilst all relaxation of those laws is sternly refused-a course equally opposed to the principles of sound policy and of public justice-it is in vain to hope that any human power can establish the real and permanent tranquillity of Ireland. My lords, it is high time for the House to take into its consideration the state of the Catholic question. Until you set that question at rest, by conceding to the people their rights, it is impossible for you to abandon that system of exclusion, of partiality, and of injustice which has so long prevailed-it is impossible to mitigate the evils that have sprung from that system-or to conciliate the majority of the people, who differ in religious opinions from the Established church. It would be very foolish to say that the adjustment of the Catholic question would

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