Imatges de pÓgina


conclusion; as, I firmly believe, was that of all the senior officers of the squadron.

“ I must, then, leave you altogether to yourself in this matter; merely suggesting the danger, in all cases of this sort, of an over-though natural, as scarcely avoidable-partiality for one's hero.

“ As minutes of evidence are always of use, though those of a log-book or a ship's journal, from their cut and dry record of facts, are not very amusing, I send you a copy of the flag ship's log for the time actually engaged, that is—from our appearing before to after repassing the Dardanelles,” &c. &c.

The gallant officer thus concludes:

“ I will only add, that, with the exception of the greatly calamitous Walcheren expedition, this to Constantinople was the most crudely planned—rash-and insufficient, that, to use the term-ever left the British shores ; and that, as it was, its escape from destruction was next to miraculous.”

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We are now about to narrate the expedition, and, if we still feel induced to suppose that it would better have prospered under the control of Sir Sidney Smith, we think so, solely because he had more accidental advantages for its happy accomplishment than Sir John Thomas Duckworth.

But before we proceed to it, we must devote one chapter to some very important affairs that were transacting in England at the time, and which materially affected the character of our officer.


The Princess of Wales's vindication against the charges

affecting her and Sir Sidney Smith.

WHILE Sir Sidney Smith was thus actively and usefully employed in the service of his country abroad, men's minds were put almost into an universal agitation by a most delicate investigation at home, an investigation that deeply implicated the honour of the future Queen of England, together with that of many persons of high character, some of whom had made the nation their debtors by the value of their official exertions, and, among these, we are sorry to say, that our hero stood prominently forward.

It was the natural consequences of Sir Sidney's brilliant achievements, and his position in society, to be much sought for, and greatly admired. To these advantages he added a graceful vivacity of manner, tinctured, at times, with an eccentricity as engaging as it was original. These physical advantages, and the fluency of his conversation, replete with anecdote, made him a dangerous man in female society, to which, we are bound to state, he was always most chivalrously partial.

His high connexions, and his deserved reputation, at length brought him within the circle over which Caroline Princess of Wales presided with so much imprudence and good-heartedness. His conduct, at that period, will ever be involved in an impenetrable darkness--a darkness made the more deep and inscrutable by the solemn and yet ridiculous attempts of commissioners and privy counsellors to dispel it. We have carefully perused and reperused all the depositions sworn to as affecting the continence of that unfortunate Princess, during her residence on Blackheath, and the only safe conclusion at which we can arrive is, that the laxity of morals, and the licentiousness of the manners of almost all concerned in that investigation, make us feel shame for the conduct, with but a few exceptions, for all the parties concerned.

Whether the attractions of Sir Sidney Smith, were only incitements to, or actually the cause of criminality with the Princess, he now only knows. That he was much in her society, that his conversation amused and his attentions pleased this unfortunate woman, cannot be doubted. It is also no less certain that he was discovered in her company at times, and in situations, that neither befitted her rank, nor his position as a future subject to the heir apparent.

This intercourse, of whatever nature it might have been, continued with unabated strictness for several months. To render it the more uninterrupted, Sir Sidney went and partly resided with his old companion in arms, Sir John Douglas, the. huband of that Lady Douglas who, throughout these transactions, procured for herself an unenviable notoriety.

Having thus made himself conveniently proximate to the Princess, he was seen for weeks daily in her society; and being thus unguarded in his conduct, he gave too much scope for the voice of scandal to breathe guilt upon the fame of a person, already too much open to suspicion, and, as moralists, we are bound to say, to leave a stain of no very light dye upon his own.

We wish to tread lightly upon the ashes of the dead, who, when living, we think was hardly dealt with. We shall, therefore, not go into details of the evidence which imputed criminality


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