Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thomas Denman.Engraving by Wm. Walker after a Painting by E.U. Eddis. London: Walker, 1849

King George III died on January 29, 1820. Disregarding all that had transpired between herself and her husband, now George IV, Caroline expected to be made the Queen Consort. She left Italy in a fury, but halted in France to give full dramatic effect to her intention to return to England. There was much unrest in England in the early months of 1820. Although the reasons for these uprisings and riots were unrelated to the Caroline and George affair, radicals and Whig politicians rallied around her. Their “tool” was about to return! Brougham was sent to France to offer Caroline 50,000 pounds a year and all the honor due a member of the royal family, but not the title of Queen, if she agreed to remain abroad. This offer was very close to what Caroline had asked before going abroad. Egged on by the politicians, she refused. Her arrival at Dover on June 5, 1820 was greeted by crowds of well-wishers. The crowds grew rowdier as she entered London.
While all this was transpiring, the Government sent the “Green Bags,” containing all of the eye witness accounts gathered against Caroline while abroad, to each house of Parliament. The material was handed over to a committee sworn to silence. Henry Brougham and Thomas Denman gave moving speeches in favor of public display of the material. It remained secret and a “Bill of Pains and Penalties” was instituted against Caroline. In effect, such a Bill was a trial without granting the usual rights to the accused (i.e. knowledge of those who would give testimony against the accused beforehand, etc.). Caroline and her advisers seized the dramatic moment. She moved to an ordinary house, rode in an ordinary coach, walked among her supporters, spoke humbly about Justice, etc. The newspapers ran with this new pose, and she improved upon it daily. Behind this ploy to bring people to her side, she was growing impatient. She sacked Brougham who had been writing her responses, and hired the more radical William Cobbett.

LC27 2.1

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