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same month, their Majesties, accompanied by the Princesses, &c. visited Drury Lane theatre, to see She would and She would not, and the Humourist, of Mr. Cobb, a farce that had heen recommended by Edmund Burke to Sheridan, in the year 1785. His Majesty had just entered the box, when a man starting up from the front of the pit, levelled a horse pistol at the King, which he discharged. The monarch, advancing to the front of the box, waved his hand to the Queen, in order to deter her from entering, and then, to dispel all apprehension among the audience respecting his safety, laying his right hand upon his breast, bowed in acknowledgment for the extreme anxiety manifested by the crowds assembled.
Hatfield was secured, but so great was the general horror evinced, that Mrs. Jordan was obliged to present herself, who gave assurance to the audience “ that he was perfectly se. cured, and properly attended,” when the play was ordered to proceed.
The Drury Lane company, and more partieularly Mrs. Jordan, had long lamented that the political sentiments of Mr. Sheridan should prove a bar to the visits of their Majesties to that theatre; however, from some speeches that had been delivered in parliament, and the patriotic sentiments put into the mouth of Rolla, by the manager, it began to be inferred that the King would be led to repeat his visits. This supposition was strengthened by a knowledge that the Princesses were particularly anxious to witness the performances of the lady, who had so completely captivated their royal brother. Such had been the feeling entertained, prior to the above incident, which it was apprehended, would at once put a stop to any further attendance on the part of George the Third, and the Royal Family.
Mrs. Jordan, on the 18th of January; 1800, was delivered of a daughter, at Bushy Park, which circumstance acted as a bar to her appearance in public, until the 12th of March, when she personated the Country Girl, with all the fascinations attending its representation in younger days.
Perhaps, no man ever suffered more from public calumny than
did the Duke of Clarence, on account of his connection with Mrs. Jordan. Circumstances of the most degrading nature were bruited abroad relative to his conduct towards her, and particularly to his receipt of her salary at the Theatre, his royal Highness being frequently seen at the Treasury door in her carriage, whilst Mrs. Jordan went in to receive the amount that was due to her. We have reason to believe, that there was a good deal of exaggeration in the business; for the mere circumstance of his royal Highness attending Mrs. Jordan to the Theatre, did not imply that he went thither for the express purpose of appropriating to himself the sum that she had to receive To such a length, however, was the calumny carried against his royal Highness, that it was publicly stated in one of the daily journals, that his royal Highness extended his influence over Mrs. Jordan to that length as to prohibit her appearing on the boards of the Theatre, unless her salary was paid before hand. It cannot be denied that the Duke's exchequer at that time was in a very low condition; and, when it is considered, as it will be afterwards shewn, that the salary which Mrs. Jordan received was not appropriated to an accumulating fund, but that it was expended by her, or by some one else ; the conclusion, perhaps, is not wholly devoid of truth, that his royal Highness did actually appropriate to himself the earnings of his mistress, por is there anything wonderful or extraordinary in this, as numerous instances might be recorded of the uses to which beings under the human shape, and calling themselves noblemen and gentlemen have converted their mistresses ; nay, it is by no means a secret, that in numerous instances, the salaries derived from professional avocations, have not unfrequently been applied to the use of such protectors.
If, however, the public were highly dissatisfied with the connection of the Duke of Clarence, and Mrs. Jordan, they were more especially so, as she was likely to produce him a large family, for the support of whom, the people of this country would be burdened in some way or the other. The public indignation burst forth on account of the fete that was given at Bushy Park in celebration of the Duke of Clarence's birth-day, at which, every principle of decorum was violated, and the first characters of the land degraded themselves in being the guests of the acknowledged Mistress of a Prince of the blood royal. The following is the account of the fete as given in the Courier newspaper.
“ The Duke of Clarence's birth-day was celebrated with much splendour in Bushey Park, on Thursday. The grand hall was entirely new fitted up with bronze pilasters, and various marble imitations ;---the ceiling was correctly clouded, and the whole illuminated with some brilliant patent lamps suspended from a beautiful eagle. The dining room, in the right wing, was fitted up in a modern style, with new elegant lamps at the different entrances. The pleasure ground was disposed for the occasion, and the servants had new liveries. In the morning, the Dukes of York's and Kent's Bands arrived in caravans ;-after dressing themselves, and dining, they went into the pleasure grounds, and played alternately some charming pieces. The Duke of Kent's played some of the chorusses and movements from Haydn's Oratorio of the Creation, arranged by command of his Royal Highness, for a band of wind instruments. About five o'clock the Prince of Wales, the Dukes of York, Kent, Sussex, and Cambridge, Colonel Paget, &c. arrived from reviewing the German Legion. After they had dressed for dinner, they walked in the pleasure grounds, accompanied by the Lord Chancellor, Earl and Countess of Athlone and daughter, Lord Leicester, Baron Hotham and Lady, Baron Eden, the Attorney General, Colonels Paget and M. Millon, Serjeant Marshall, and a number of other persons. At seven o'clock, the second bell announced the dinner, when the Prince took Mrs. Jordan by the hand, led her into the dining rooin, and seated her at the top of the table. The Prince took his seat at her right hand, and the Duke of York at her left; the Duke of Cambridge sat next to the Prince, the Duke of Kent next to the Duke of York, and the Lord Chancellor next to his Royal Highness. The Duke of Clarence sat at the foot of the table.”