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These reflections naturally arise out of the subject which occupies the following pages of this publication. Since the reign of Henry the Eighth, Great Britain has possessed no Queen, whose character and personal history will bear any comparison in point of interest, with that of her late Majesty Queen Caroline. And though it must be admitted that we of the present generation, are placed too near the scene of action to take an enlarged, comprehensive, and impartial survey of the whole concatenation of extraordinary occurrences which have transpired in our days, and in which the subject of this Memoir was fated to sustain so tragical a part; it is nevertheless, of the last importance that the people of this country should be put in possession of those facts and documents, which shall qualify them in their more deliberate moments, when the effervescence of party feeling shall have subsided, to form a correct and deliberate judgment on points, concerning which they are at present unhappily divided.
It is in the hope and confident expectation of being able to contribute somewhat towards the public satisfaction, in a case in which that public feels so acutely, that the Author of these volumes presumes to solicit the attention of his cotemporaries to their contents. Partial Memoirs and garbled accounts of this illustrious personage, hastily compiled for the purpose of sale, by persons who knew no more about her than what they were able to collect from the daily papers, have profusely issued from the press. With such productions, the present work disdains to urge any competition. Had the Author not been in possession of more authentic sources of information, or had he nothing better to communicate than the stale and hackneyed topics which have occupied the pages of his predecessors, he certainly should not have taken up his pen upon the present occasion, nor obtruded himself
the notice of the public. But, after the signal proofs which he has been compelled, in his own defence, to produce, of his competency to the task which he has undertaken, he trusts he may be excused from enlarging further on this subject.
It is certainly a very just observation, which Dr. Middleton makes in his Life of Cicero, that Biographers are too apt to be partial and prejudiced in favour of their subject, and to give us panegyric instead of history. They work up their characters as painters do their protraits; taking the praise of their art to consist, not in copying, but in adorning nature; not in drawing a just resemblance, but in giving a fine picture. Aware of this common prejudice, the Author has endeavoured to divest himself of it as far as he was able, though he cannot flatter himself with the hope of having completely succeeded. This is a point, however, which must be left to the decision of the judgment of his Readers, who, if they should occasionally meet with expressions that have been extorted from him, by what has appeared to him to be cruel and unmerited treatment, will in justice recollect, that it is certainly more excusable in a biographer to err on that side, than to be cold and reserved in doing justice to the dead, through the fear of being thought partial, or giving offence to the living Inducements to partiality, arising from personal favour, however, are certainly in the present instance wholly out of the question. The Writer has been under no temptation to dissemble facts or pervert the truth. Whenever his own sentiments are expressed, they are always the genuine convictions of a mind which scorns to varnish falsehood, or impose upon others what he does not himself believe. He has been solicitous to abstain from all unnecessary censure and angry feeling, from a full persuasion that if the facts now submitted to the judgment of the public, do not themselves produce conviction, no intemperate warmth on the part of the Writer can give them effect. Assuredly no pains have been spared in investigating evidence, in order to ascertain the truth and establish facts; and the public may rest fully satisfied that the Author has sufficient regard for his own reputation, to secure him from the meanness of sporting with their credulity.
In preparing these pages for the press, the Author would gladly have availed himself of a longer interval, and of more leisure for digesting his materials, than he has been enabled to snatch from the daily avocations of a laborious profession; and, in this respect, he must claim the indulgence of his readers. Various circumstances, however, with which it is unnecessary to trouble the public, have induced him to this early appearance at their tribunal, not doubting that he shall experience the candour which is due to a young author, under circumstances so unfavourable.
He now only detains the Reader, while he expresses his grateful acknowledgments for the kind assistance which it has been his happiness to receive, in preparing his work, from individuals, as distinguished for their rank, as they are eminent for their talents and their public and
private virtues. The information which they have so liberally communicated, has left him little more to do than embody in a succinct narrative what their suggestions supplied, and give form and symmetry to the whole.
To the German friends of the Queen, he is indebted for many interesting particulars, relating to the earlier period of her eventful history. The statements now produced respecting the Investigation of 1807, are not taken from anonymous publications, or unauthenticated documents; but are the result of the biographer's own patient and laborious investigation: and he can, therefore, pledge himself for their general accuracy. And should it hereafter appear that in any particulars he has erred, through inadvertency or incorrect information, the public may depend upon his taking the earliest opportunity, and the speediest means, of apprising them of his error, and rectifying whatever is inaccurate.
The documents which could not be conveniently interwoven in the narrative, but which are necessary to substantiate some of its allegations, are added by way of APPENDIX. Those contained in No. I. relate to the minor charges brought against her Majesty in 1807, and which were