Imatges de pÓgina

be found wanting in candour and gratitude-nor forgetful of the care that every individual should feel for the good opinion of the public,

6.666 I am, Sir,

"""Your much obliged, humble Servant,

"It should have been before stated, that upon settling the annual allowance to Mrs. Jordan, every thing in the shape of a money transaction was brought to account; and that the most trifling sums even, upon recollection, were admitted; and interest being calculated upon the whole, in her favour, to the latest period, the balance was paid over by me, on the part of the Duke, and for which I hold Mrs. Jordan's receipt. It should also be understood, that up to the day of their separation, Mrs. Jordan had received a large annual allowance from his Royal Highness.

"A cessation of correspondence between Mrs. Jordan and myself ensued, until September, 1815, when I most unexpectedly received a note from her, requesting to see me immediately. I found her in tears, and under much embarrassment, from a circumstance that had burst upon her, as she said, 'like a thunder storm.' She found herself involved to a considerable amount by securities, which all at once appeared against her, in the form of bonds and promissory notes, given incautiously by herself, to relieve, as she thought, from trifling difficulties, a near relation, in whom she had placed the greatest confidence.


"Acceptances had been given by her in blank, upon stamped paper, which she supposed were for small amounts, but which afterwards appear to have been laid before her capable of carrying larger sums.

"She was fearful of immediate arrest. She wished to treat all her claimants most fairly and honourably, and to save, if possible, the wife and children of the person who had so deceived her, from utter ruin. She could not enter into negociations with her creditors unless at large; and, apprehending that if she remained in England, that would not long be the case, she instantly adopted the resolution before-mentioned, of going to France.

"A list of creditors was made out, and an arrangement was in progress to enable her to return to this country. All she required, in order to set her mind at ease on the extent of the demands that might be out against her was, that the person who had plunged her into all these difficulties should declare, upon oath, that the list he had given to her included the whole. This the party from time to time refused to do; and disappointed thus in the hope she had so fondly cherished, of again returning to this country, and seeing those children for whom she had the most tender affection, she sunk under the weight of her afflictions, and in the month of June, 1816, died at St. Cloud."'—vol. ii. PP. 345-352.

Mr. Barton has not, however, told the whole truth, for the settlement which appears under his representation to be so munificent, was restricted by some very serious conditions. For instance, if Mrs. Jordan returned to the stage, she was to give up her four daughters and their allowance, and she was not to be permitted to see them. In point of fact, she did return to the stage-she was perhaps obliged to do so. She was yet young enough to be able to ensure a provision for her future years from her theatrical exer

tions, seeing that her existing income was no more than sufficient to meet the current expences. After her restoration to the stage, Mrs. Jordan was threatened with the exaction of certain claims, for which she, with astonishing facility, had rendered herself responsible-she was compelled to fly to the continent, where, with an income very much reduced, she languished for a short time, and died. There is enough to show, that Mrs. Jordan almost gave up herself and her resources to a male relation, whom it would have become Mr. Boaden to have openly and manfully designated. But it is quite surprising to us that no one of her former friends ever thought of seeking the unhappy fugitive, and giving her that consolation of which she stood so much in need. Mr. Boaden denies absolutely that Mrs. Jordan died in poverty, because he cannot suppose that such a catastrophe was possible with the enjoyment of such an income as was settled upon her. But he forgets what she must have contributed to defray the expences, which she had so heedlessly incurred for others. Might she not have anticipated the revenue of future years to meet the exigencies that so unexpectedly crowded upon her? How, therefore, can it be unreasonable to suppose that she felt the gripe of poverty in her last moments?

But, however the facts may be on this and some other interesting points of Mrs. Jordan's melancholy story, the biographer before us furnishes nothing that throws new light upon them. By a strange confusion of dates and documents, he raises a perplexity in the mind of his readers, in the obscurity of which the real delinquents, he appears to hope, may be able to retire unnoticed and unknown. But the facts are too powerful in themselves to be finally misunderstood.

We cannot take leave of Mr. Boaden without firmly and honestly protesting against the whole spirit of his book. We never have been amongst those who look for independence or sound ethics amongst the theatrical fraternity. Let them keep their morals to themselves, and as long as they do so, they may provoke no observation. But when one of them adventures to guide the public mind upon the interpretation of a series of events, which are calculated to have a manifest control over the domestic system of this country, it becomes necessary to examine ais authority and challenge his competency in other respects. Mr. Boaden's book is an apology for the prince's conduct. The last man in England to sympathise with such an advocate is the illustrious individual himself. That the laws of the country which relate to the education and settlement of the members of the Royal family, open the doors to much temptation and irregularity, cannot be denied. But for a single privation of this nature, they have a thousand privileges. If any one shall say that wedded happiness, consistent with the peculiar laws which affect his condition, is not within the grasp of a Prince of the Blood, we shall bring the case of the royal personage himself, as an overwhelming proof of the

contrary. But at the worst, though we should extend a compassionate indulgence to the prince, who engaged himself in one of those unfortunate alliances, to which the sanction neither of religion nor the law had been extended, still the open, unblushing, and, we had almost said, obtrusive exhibition of such a state of relation, ought never to be passed over without the most marked censure. The ostentatious manner in which Mrs. Jordan was held forth in the highest quarters, as in every substantial respect the spouse of the Duke of Clarence, was calculated to create in her mind a conviction, that as nearly all the components of the married state were to be found in the peculiar alliance which she had formed, the permanency which it involves would not have been wanting. But in this confidence she was cruelly deceived; and the contrast produced in her situation, by her fall from the rank and consideration which she had so long enjoyed, to obscurity, neglect, and poverty, must have been one of the chief causes that led to her untimely and melancholy death. And yet, when we consider the uniform conduct of Mrs. Jordan, during a twenty years' ordeal, under the most trying circumstances that a female can be placed in, we must feel that she little deserved that her fate should have been so aggravated. Of all the celebrated women, from Precia and Chelidonis, to the days of Maintenon and Cayla, who were remarkable for their influence over princes and men of power, no one seems to have held such influence with less detriment to the public interest, than the lady of whom we are speaking. Even in our own day, there has been an instance of a woman adopted from the lowest depths of society, by a member of the very highest class, only to be swayed in his official conduct by her corrupt and capricious authority.* The delicacy of such forbearance as Mrs. Jordan exercised, during her ascendancy over the Prince, ought not to have been forgotten by those who affected to do justice to her memory. Nor should we fail to bear in mind the example of meek resignation to her calamities, which she afforded after her separation. She preserved a most heroic silence even unto the grave, touching that crisis of her life in which she was undoubtedly the largest sufferer,-leaving the world entirely to conjecture as to the real party to whom blame was to be attached. She must be allowed, therefore, the exalted praise of having met her unexpected misfortunes with the dignity of virtue, and of furnishing, notwithstanding the number and force of her provocations, an eminent exception to the truth of that lamentable but just character of her sex, so well described by the Roman poet,

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See a passage in Cicero in Verrem, describing the influence of the Mary Ann Clarke of his day, over the Prætor Verres.- -The " Alii nummos numerabant, alii tabulas obsignabant," is as true as to modern London as it was as to ancient Rome,


ART. IV.-1. The Keepsake for 1831. Edited by Frederick Mansel Reynolds. 8vo. pp. 320. Eighteen embellishments. London: Hurst and Co., and Jennings and Co.

2. The Landscape Annual-The Tourist in Italy. By Thomas Roscoe Illustrated from Drawings, by S. Prout, Esq., F.S.A., painter in Water Colours to His Majesty. 8vo. pp. 271. Twenty-six embellishments. London: Jennings and Co. 1831.

3. The Gem, a Literary Annual. 12mo. pp. 276. Twelve embellishLondon: W. Marshall. 1831.


4. The Remembrance. Edited by Thomas Roscoe. 16mo. pp. 260. Thirteen Embellishments. London: Jennings and Co. 1831.

5. Le Keepsake Français, ou Souvenir de Littérature Contemporaine orné de dix-huit gravures Anglaises. 1831. 8vo. pp. 302. Paris: Giraldon Bovinet et Co. London: Whittaker and Co.

6. The Talisman; or Bouquet of Literature and the Fine Arts. 8vo. pp. 288. Eighteen Embellishments. London: Whittaker and Co. Paris: G. Bovinet et Co.

THIS is the third article which has been demanded of us for the Annuals of the present season. There are still six of these candidates for public favour soliciting our votes and interest against ten others whose claims we have already noticed; and we are not sure that there may not be yet in the back ground, as many more, waiting for recommendation. They seem to be multiplying upon us as rapidly as the butterflies, when the summer comes, and with almost as little reflection, as much beauty and merriment, and quite as short a tenure of existence. They dazzle at first, and are pursued for awhile, but their highly coloured attractions soon fade, and, poor things, they become shamefully neglected.

We have, long since, thought that the business of Annuals was overdone. We believe that most persons, including even the publishers and editors, the last, naturally, to admit such a truth, are now convinced of it. These works do not now sell as formerly; the market is glutted, the public are satiated with so many gew-gaws. The rivalry amongst them has been principally directed towards the embellishments; to captivate the eye has been the great object, although every man must know, from his own experience, that the sense of vision is one which soon wearies of indulgence. The gratification of the mind has been treated altogether as a secondary consideration. In this respect, the Annuals have been upon the decline, since the second or third year after their first appearance; and although it would not be just, to say that they have, as yet, reached their lowest point of literary worthlessness, yet we cannot contend that they are very far from it. They are, more and more, becoming the prey of a herd of inferior writers, whose names are unknown in any other branch of letters; and if, now and then, a new author appear amongst them, he is, most probably, some dull

patrician, who thinks he can shine in print, and who has influence. enough to get his lucubrations inserted between the splendid engravings, which embellish these volumes.


In no other work of the kind, is this mixture of bad literary taste with high excellence in art, so uniformly to be found, as in the Keepsake.' We do not recollect, in the four or five numbers of it which have been published, a single composition, in verse or prose, that would be worth preserving. It looks invidious, and, perhaps, unjust, that we never give any other than an unfavourable opinion of this publication, so far as its letter press is concerned. We cannot help it. For our own justification, we appeal to every body who has the least pretension to critical knowledge, or to common sense. We can have no motives for running down the 'Keepsake,' or any other annual, even if we were disposed, as we know that we are not, to violate the ordinary rules of fairness and good feeling. We confess that sometimes we are excited to something like indignation, when, invited, as it were, by a ruby silk binding, gilt edging, and a glorious company of engravings, to a banquet, apparently magnificent, we lift the shining covers and find nothing beneath them, except attenuated slices of cold ham, a few unsavoury stews, thin gruel for soup, tough mutton for venison, and tanned leather for pastry. It does raise our ire to see so much costly preparation thrown away; and, in a national sense, we are ashamed to see some of the finest specimens of art, of which our annual publications can boast, go forth to the world, to Germany and France particularly, where our literature is so well known and so highly respected, accompanied by such paltry tales, such miserable verses, such wretched attempts at the grand, the affecting, or the ludicrous, as those which dishonour the embellishments of this volume.


We open it, and what meets our eye at the commencement? A namby-pamby gossiping essay upon a liaison, which subsisted between the celebrated Lord Chesterfield and Lady Fanny Shirley! that is to say, an unlawful connexion between a profligate nobleman, a scoffer at religion,' a 'gambler,' 'heartless and unfeeling in his character,' as the author admits, and withal, a married man, with a vain and depraved woman, who, in consequence of that liaison, remained single all her life! In those memoirs of questionable utility, in which the vices of the great are painted by persons who have witnessed them; such a subject as this might, at least, be consistently treated. But to place it in the front of a volume, which is almost certain to fall into the hands of young ladies, and, indeed, to be read by them, we may say exclusively, we do think, without being very austere in our morality, was not in the best taste. Mr. Agar Ellis, the author of this essay, would not, we presume, like to be called upon, by his daughters, for an explanation of the word liaison; still less for a commentary upon that passage in his character of Lord Chesterfield, in which the

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