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Title: Glimpses of King William IV. and Queen Adelaide - In Letters of the Late Miss Clitherow, of Boston House, - Middlesex. With a Brief Account of Boston House and the - Clitherow Family
Author: Clitherow, Mary
Language: English
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THE following pages are mainly compiled from certain letters by Miss
Mary Clitherow, which have come into the editor's possession. They
afford glimpses of the Court at that time, with reference not so much
to public functions as to their Majesties' more private relations with
persons honoured with their friendship. The reader will meet with few,
if any, references in them to leaders in political or philanthropic
movements or in the realms of literature or fashion; but it is not to
be inferred that these were regarded with disfavour or treated with
coldness by their Majesties, whose kindly interest in the well-being of
their people is notorious. There were in this short reign many
commanding personalities whose names must live in our history, and ever
be remembered With respect and gratitude. To name only a few: the Duke
of Wellington, Lords Grey, Melbourne, Brougham, Palmerston and
Shaftesbury, Sir Robert Peel, William Wilberforce, Sir Walter Scott,
Robert Southey, Thomas Campbell, S. T. Coleridge, Henry Hallam, Bulwer
Lytton and William Thackeray were among the leading spirits of the time.

With such, however, these pages have no direct concern. They treat of
personal friends whose interests lay neither in the Court nor in the
Senate, and whose aims had no taint of self-seeking. The knowledge that
William IV.'s intimate friends were high-minded, independent,
kind-hearted English gentlefolk assures us that the King's well-known
simplicity of taste was joined to a kindliness of heart, a sincerity of
character, and a devotion to duty which enabled him to maintain his
heritage of royal responsibility, and to hand it on to his successor
with its honour restored, its resources enlarged, and its security















IT seems almost incredible that in the twentieth century a station on
the Metropolitan Railway should stand amidst quite rural surroundings.
About Brentford,[*] however, there are still several fine properties
which have hitherto escaped the grip of the speculative builder--e.g.,
Osterley Park, the seat of the Earl of Jersey, and Syon Hill, the seat
of the Duke of Northumberland--and the immediate neighbourhood of
Boston Road is not yet covered with semi-detached villas, or sordid
streets of jerry-built cottages. It is nearly a quarter of a mile's
walk along the road leading from Hanwell to Brentford before one comes
to the first house on the right. Though not a mansion of the first
rank, it is of sufficient size and antiquity to arrest attention. This
is Boston House. It stands a little back from the high road, and the
handsome iron gates allow the passer-by a glimpse of its quaint gables
and narrow stone porch. It was built in 1622, and is a brick house of
three stories, with three gables in front, and a long range of offices,
etc., stretching from it on the north side.

[*] In a paper reprinted from _Home Counties Magazine_ for October,
1901, occur the following remarks in 'Royalty in the Parish': 'Edmund
the Atheling, also called Ironside, in 1016 was murdered at night in a
house at Brentford by his brother-in-law, Edric Steone. Henry VI. in
1445 held a chapter of the Garter at the Red Lion Inn, Brentford.
Charles I. witnessed the Battle of Brentford between his troops and
those of the Parliament in 1642 from the grounds of Boston House. But
it is not generally known that King William IV. and Queen Adelaide
dined at that house in 1834.'

The hall, which is not large, is surrounded by shields bearing the arms
of former owners of the manor. The first of these to the north of the
entrance is that of Edward I., who granted the manor to St. Helen's
Hospital in the City of London. Then follow those of Edward VI., who
granted it to the Duke of Somerset; Elizabeth, who granted it to
Robert, Earl of Leicester; Charles II. and William IV., who visited
Boston on several occasions. In addition to these are seen in order
those of other holders of the manor: Rollesby, who devised it to St.
Helens; St. Helen's; Edward, Duke of Somerset; Robert, Earl of
Leicester; Sir Thomas Gresham, who also owned Osterley; Sir W. Read; I.
Goldsmith. These are on the south side. On the north are Clitherow and
Hewett; Clitherow and Campbell; Clitherow and Barker; Clitherow and
Paule; Clitherow and Gale; Clitherow and Jodrell; Clitherow and Powell;
Clitherow and Kemeys; Clitherow and Pole; Clitherow and Snow.

The drawing-room, which is on the first floor, has a very fine moulded
ceiling with many beautiful medallions. These contain allegorical
representations of Peace and War, the five senses, the four elements,
the three Christian graces, etc. The mouldings and borders are picked
out in red, and the Latin names of the subjects are in gilt letters.
The walls of this room, as well as those of the dining-room and
library, are hung with many portraits of the Clitherow family by
leading artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among
these should be specially noted a pastile by Zoffany of Mr. and Mrs.
and Miss Child, taken in the porch at Osterley. Mrs. Child (_née_
Jodrell) was the sister of Mrs. Clitherow, and afterwards married
(1791) the third Lord Ducie. Miss Child married the tenth Earl of
Westmoreland, and became the mother of the Countess of Jersey. Here are
also to be seen examples of Rubens, Van Dyke, C. Lorraine, Sir P. Lely,
Sir G. Kneller, Romney, Zuccharo, Van Somers, Zoffany, and many others.
Behind the drawing-room is a State bedroom, the ceiling of which is
also moulded and coloured.

The grounds are extensive, and well planted with shrubs, roses, etc.
There are several fine trees on the lawn. A yew-tree with long branches
trailing near the house covers a circle of ground over seventy yards in
circumference, and a cedar, which was sown in 1754, is an exceptionally
fine specimen. To the east of the broad terrace lies the orchard, where
in June, 1834, the neighbours stared at the Royal party and got Queen
Adelaide's 'dress by heart,' while the haymakers cheered her Majesty
and quaffed their allowance of beer. [See Chapter VI.]

To the west of the lawn shady paths lead through a pretty wilderness to
the river Brent, beyond whose winding course there lies undulating and
well-timbered, park-like land, adjoining the grounds of Osterley--a
homely bit of characteristic English scenery.

This beautiful place, which is at present owned by the Rev. W. J.
Stracey Clitherow, formerly Fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, has
been in possession of the family since it was purchased by James
Clitherow in 1670. The family, though never ennobled, is an ancient
one, with a very honourable record. In the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries they resided at Goldmerstone, in the parish of Ash, near
Sandwich. The remains of several of the family lie in the parish church
there, and the brasses of two remain, though one is sadly mutilated.
This last is to the memory of Richard Clitherow, who was Sheriff of the
county of Kent in 1403, and 'Admiral of the seas from the Thames
eastward.' He married the daughter of Sir John Oldcastle, who, in right
of his wife, assumed the title of Lord Cobham,[*] and died for the
faith of Christ on Christmas Day, 1417, among the Lollard martyrs at
the gate of St. Giles' Hospital. The family was represented at
Agincourt in 1415; one sat for the county of Kent in Parliament in
1407, and another was Lord Mayor of London in 1635.

[*] From Sir John Oldcastle the Clitherows derive both their arms and
crest.  In the reign of George IV. the head of the family was Colonel
James Clitherow, born in 1766, who married Miss Jane Snow, of Langton,
Dorset. A portrait of him hangs in the library, painted by Romney in
the year 1785. He was a high-minded, accomplished, and conscientious
English gentleman, who took an active interest in many good works, both
of local and wider importance. He was actively interested in the
establishment of the Hanwell Lunatic Asylum, in the Board Room of which
his portrait by Pickersgill may still be seen. He was Chairman of the
Visiting Justices of the institution from its opening in 1832 till
April, 1839, and in 1835 he founded the charity (still in existence)
known as Queen Adelaide's Fund.

Colonel and Mrs. Clitherow's home at Boston House was shared by his
sister Mary, who was two years his senior. About the year 1824 they
became acquainted with the Duke of Clarence, afterwards King William
IV., who then resided at Bushey, of which park he was Ranger; and they
were admitted to an unusual degree of intimacy with their Royal
neighbours, observing in their intercourse with them an honesty not
usually found in courtiers, but quite in keeping with the family motto,
'Loyal, yet true.' So close did this intimacy become that, after his
accession, the King nicknamed Miss Clitherow 'Princess Augusta,' in
allusion to her being the old maid of the family as the Princess was in
his own, and when inquiring for her of Colonel or Mrs. Clitherow would
say, 'How is _your_ Princess Augusta?' her of Colonel or Mrs. Clitherow
would say, 'How is _your_ Princess Augusta?'

Although, however, the Clitherows were frequent guests at Windsor and
St. James's, they were not courtiers in the common acceptation of that
term. They sought neither place nor preferment, and received no signal
mark of Royal favour. Miss Clitherow never even attended a Drawing
Room, and the Colonel and his wife only appear to have done so on one
occasion, when the Queen remarked: 'I knew Miss Clitherow would not
come; it is too public. She had almost left off going out till we made
her come to St. James's.' Miss Clitherow was naturally of a quiet and
retiring disposition, while her own account of her introduction to the
Court, and of the independent spirit which pervaded the family, is
interesting not only in itself but as illustrating the kindly sincerity
of the King and Queen. Writing to an old friend in November, 1830, she

'I can hardly believe that I feel as much at home in the Royal presence
as in any other first society, but it is the fact. It is seven years
that my brother and Mr. [sic] Clitherow have been noticed, but I am
only just _come out_ now. For many years my health did not allow of my
dining out, and I got so out of the habit that I avoided it, and quite
escaped being asked to Bushey till the Duke became King. Before George
IV. was buried they were invited; no party but the Royal brothers and
sisters and the Fitz-Clarences. They did me the honour to talk of me,
the King calling me my brother's Princess Augusta, in allusion to my
being the old maid of the family, and then added: "I can't see why she
does not some out; you must dine here Tuesday, and bring her." So the
deed was done. Refuse I could not. I dined at Bushey, then twice at St.
James's, then on the Queen's birthday at Bushey, and then went to
Windsor Castle on Friday and stayed till after church on Sunday, and
now to dinner at St. James's last Monday. So that actually [in less
than five months] the little old maid of Boston House has dined seven
times with King William IV., and honestly I have liked it. There is a
kindness and ease in their manner towards us that must be gratifying
. . . and when we come home what a feeling of comfort we have in not
being obliged to live in that circle, with all the insincerity so often
belonging to courtiers! I am very sure my dear Jane's honest manner and
the sound judgment which she ventures to express to Her Majesty makes
her such a favourite. Much as we are noticed, we do not court them, and
never have asked the slightest favour. When they first went to Windsor
our friends said: "You must drive over and put your names down." "No,"
Mrs. Clitherow said, "we were asked to the Queen's birthday; I will not
go before the King's, it will look like pushing to be asked." And we
received our invitation to Windsor before we had called. When we came
away, the King expressed a hope to see us at Brighton, as he knew we
frequently went into Sussex. Our friends all were for sending us
thither, but it did not suit us. Don't you like independence? As soon
as they came to town we did put our names down. Miss Fitz-Clarence
writes herself to Mrs. Clitherow to inform her of her intended marriage
with Lord Falkland, and Mrs. Henry is employed to write and invite us
to dinner to meet our own friends. So I think we rather go the right
way to please them.'

Surely few families have taken their motto more faithfully as a guide
to their conduct!



THOUGH the reign of William IV. was free from any serious war, the
political condition of the country was such as to cause the King much
anxiety. The establishment of a popular Government in France under
Louis Philippe gave a great impulse to the enthusiasm which had been
growing in England for Parliamentary reform, which, through the growth
of large manufacturing centres since 1790, had become a more urgent
necessity every year. In 1795 Lord Grey brought forward a motion on the
subject, which was opposed by Burke and Pitt, and thrown out by a large
majority. The attention of the country was somewhat diverted from
reform during the war with France, which was brought to a close after
the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Its advocacy in Parliament was renewed
in 1817 by Sir Francis Burdett, while William Cobbett's pamphlets, and
large public meetings, often attended by riots, voiced the popular
feeling, which Parliament endeavoured to stifle, thereby only adding to
the discontent. Lord John Russell, in 1819, proposed resolutions in its
favour, but failed to carry them. Lord Liverpool's ministry, which
lasted till his death in 1827, was strenuously opposed to it, and
Canning's death in the same year was a further check to political

The General Election, consequent on the accession of William IV., was
favou[r]able to the supporters of reform, and the Duke of Wellington,
who had been Prime Minister for more than two years, roused a great
deal of feeling by declaring his unqualified disagreement with their
views. Before, however, any resolution was brought forward, the
Government was defeated on a motion connected with the Civil List, and
the Duke immediately resigned. On the night of his defeat, the
Clitherows were dining at St. James's, and the following extract from a
letter dated November 20, 1830, tells us of the reception of the news
at the Palace:

'We were at St. James's the night of the Duke's defeat in the House.
The King had a note, which he opened, and left the room, but soon
returned. Colonel Fred Fitz-Clarence came in, and told the Queen[*] of
it in German. Miss Wilson was sitting by me, and exclaimed, "Good God!"
in a low tone. I looked at her; she put up her finger, and afterwards
whispered what was said in German, but nothing transpired--not a
comment. It's the great secret at Court to smile and be cheerful and
attentive to the circle round you when the heart is sad, and it was
exemplified that evening.'

[*] Queen Adelaide was the eldest daughter of George Frederick, Duke of
Saxe-Meiningen, born 1792. By her marriage in 1818 to William IV. she
had two children, both of whom died in infancy.

The news appears from this to have fallen like a thunderbolt upon the
party, and the inference as to the Clitherows' views is that they were
supporters of the Duke. The letter proceeds to touch of matters of less
public importance, but illustrative of the King and Queen's interest in
local affairs and English industries:

'We had dined there, and it seems almost like vain boasting, but it was
a party made for us. When the King told Mrs. Henry to write and invite
us, he said: "I shall only ask Colonel Clitherow's friends that I have
met at Boston House." And it was the Duke of Dorset,[*] Lord[**] and
Lady Mayo, the Archbishop and Mrs. Howley, the rest of the company his
own family, the Duke of Sussex,[***] and a few of the
Household-in-waiting. There could not be a greater compliment. The Queen
shows a decided partiality for Mrs. Clitherow. In the evening she sat down
to a French table, and called to her to sit by her. The King came in and
sat down on the other side of Mrs. Clitherow. She rose to retire, but he
said: "Sit down, ma'am--sit down." Two boxes were placed before him,
and he said to Miss Fitz-Clarence[****]: "Amelia, I want pen and ink."
Away she went, and brought a beautiful gold inkstand, and he signed his
name, I am sure, a hundred times, passed the papers to Mrs. Clitherow,
and she to the Queen, who put them on the blotting-paper, then folded
them neatly and put them in their little case to enable them to pack
into the boxes again, conversation going on all the time. When the
business was over, the King took my brother to a sofa, and chatted a
long time, inquiring into the state of things in our neighbourhood,
policemen, etc. The Queen's new band was playing beautifully all the
evening, which she said she had ordered to have my brother's opinion.
The late King's private band cost the King £18,000 a year. It was
dismissed, and a small band is formed--I believe I may say all English,
and many of the juvenile performers whom she patronizes. Her dress was
particularly elegant, white, and all English manufacture. She made us
observe her blend was as handsome as Lady Mayo's French blend. "I hope
all the ladies will patronize the English blend of silk," she said. She
is a very pretty figure, and her dress so moderate, sleeves and
head-dress much less than the hideous fashion.'

[*] Charles Sackville Germain, fifth Duke of Dorset, K.G., was a son of
the first Viscount Sackville, and born 1767. He became Viscount
Sackville 1785, and succeeded his cousin, the fourth Duke of Dorset, in

[**] John Bourke, fourth Earl of Mayo, born 1766, succeeded his father
1794. Married Arabella, fourth daughter of W. M. Praed, Esq. His
brothers were Bishop of Waterford and Dean of Ossory.

[***] H.R.H. was the sixth son of H.M. George III., born 1773, and was

[****] The King's youngest daughter, by Mrs. Jordan; born 1807,
married, 1830, the ninth Viscount Falkland.



THE following long letter bears testimony to the King's conscientious
discharge of duty, to his anxiety with regard to public affairs, to the
Queen's devout religious spirit, and to her non-interference in

'April 13, 1831.

'How very odd it was that I should find your letter on the table
requesting to hear a little about Royalty on my return home from a
three days' visit to Windsor Castle, the beauty, splendour, and comfort
of which is not to be described! We were twenty-nine in the Castle, and
dined from thirty-four to thirty-six each day, and Sunday forty. The
King asked all the clergy who received him in the room before we went
into the Royal pews. I am sorry to say that service wants _reform_. We
were two hours and a half, the service very ill read, the quantity of
chanting not well done, and, to close all, we could not hear the
sermon. Mr. Digby, I think, was the preacher, and the text was
recommending mercy, but beyond that I never caught a sentence. The
Queen says when she is in church she likes to be serious, and to keep
her mind on religious thoughts. She cannot hear, her mind will wander,
so she reads a sermon, which she holds low out of sight. They generally
have the Dean, and he is dreadfully mumbling.

'On a Sunday they only have a carriage or two for those who cannot
walk. She never has her riding party, and often goes to the evening
service; but she dedicated the time to us to show us her walks,
flower-garden, a cottage that is building for her, her beautiful dairy,
with a little neat country body like our Betty at the farm, and her
labourers' cottages, whence out came the children running to her. One
had a kind word, another a pat on the head.

'Then we saw the farmyard, pigs, cows, etc. Then she took us all over
Frogmore Garden, which is extensive and very pretty, and then back by
dairy and slopes. We were absolutely _three hours_, walking a good
pace. We numbered about fourteen, but, with the usual thought, two
carriages were at Frogmore to convey home the tired ones. Only two gave
in. The day was very lovely, and her animation and spirits quite
delightful. And this is our Queen--not an atom of pride or finery, yet
dignified in the highest degree when necessary to be Majesty. God grant
her peace and comfort may not be broke in upon!

'The King is ten years older since he wore the crown. Princess
Augusta[*] assured us the Queen and themselves never name politics.
They say he is so harassed with business they try to draw his mind to
trifles--to the farm, the improvements, anything but State affairs. She
added: "The Queen is like my good mother--never interferes or even
gives any opinion. We _may_ think, we _must_ think, we _do_ think, but
we need not speak."

[*] H.R.H. was second daughter of H.M. George III.; born 1768, died

'Their Majesties are not seen till three o'clock. They breakfast and
lunch in their private apartments. Then she comes out and arranges the
morning excursions--all sorts of carriages and saddle-horses. She is a
beautiful horse-woman, and rides about three hours, a good, merry pace.
She sets forth with Maids of Honour and Ladies attendant, and generally
returns surrounded by the gentlemen only, for it is understood she
dispenses with their attendance the moment they get fatigued, and so
they sneak off one by one. There are plenty of grooms to attend.

'Mrs. Clitherow got a quiet ride with my brother and the Duke of
Dorset, whom the Queen always asks to meet us, as she always met him
here in former times. Jane returned for the gentlemen to attend the
Queen, and Jane and I went a long drive about the park with the
Princess Augusta, who was most chatty and good-humoured.

'On Sunday between church and luncheon we were summoned to the Queen's
own apartment to present to her a picture of Bushey House. We have a
young friend who has made a very pretty picture of old Boston House,
and the happy thought of getting Bushey struck my brother. The Queen is
so fond of Bushey! She looked some time at it, then turned to Jane and
said, "I shall value it. You know how I love dear Bushey; but I value
more the kind thought of having it painted for me." Jane told her when
she became Queen her happiest days were past, and she often reminds her
of it. She perpetually asks her questions, and says, "You are so
honest; you tell me true." She draws extremely well. She took a
likeness one evening of one of her beauties, Miss Bagot, and when she
was showing her portfolio everyone exclaimed it was so very like.

'Poor Mrs. Kennedy Erskine[*] was there. She lived in her own
apartments. Mrs. Fox,[**] her sister, and Miss Wilson took it by turns
to dine with her. She was only married four years, was doatingly fond
of her husband, and is left with three children.[***] The King went
every evening when he came from the dinner-room and sat half an hour
with her. On his return to the drawing-room the Queen had taken her
work and Jane Clitherow into the music-room, while I remained at her
table with the Princess Augusta. The King came up. "Ah, my two
Princesses Augusta, this is very comfortable; now to business.' She had
the official boxes, pen and ink all ready. He unlocked a box and set to
work signing, the Princess rubbing them on the blotting-book and
returning them into their cases. He signed seventy. Three times he was
obliged to stop and put his hand in hot water, he had the cramp so
severe in his fingers. When he signed the last he exclaimed, "Thank
God, 'tis done!" He looked at me and said: "My dear madame, when I
began signing I had 48,000 signatures my poor brother should have
signed. I did them all, but I made a determination never to lay my head
on my pillow till I had signed everything I ought on the day, cost me
what it might. It is cruel suffering, but, thank God! 'tis only cramp;
my health never was better." The Queen was all attention, came and
stood by him, but neither she nor the Princess said anything. When he
is in pain he likes perfect quiet and to be left alone.

[*] The King's fourth daughter, Augusta, born 1803, married, first,
1827, Hon. John Kennedy Erskine--he died 1831; secondly, 1836, Lord
Frederick Gordon.

[**] The King's second daughter, Mary; born 1798, married, 1824,
Colonel C. R. Fox, A.D.C. to the Queen.

[***] As her four children are subsequently mentioned, it may be noted
that a posthumous child was born two or three months after this letter
was written.

'On Monday morning all left the Castle, and the great square full of
carriages being packed was most amusing. The Queen stood at the Window
with us. There were three fours of the King's, and nineteen pair of
post-horses, besides the out-riders, guard of honour, etc., etc.

'My paper makes me end, or I could go on till to-morrow. Adieu, my good
friend! If I have amused you for a few minutes I am well repaid.

'My best remembrances to your trio.

'Yours truly, 'M. C.'



IN 1832 the cholera made its appearance in many parts of the country,
and claimed many victims. At Brentford the people disputed hotly about
it, some alleging it was not Asiatic cholera, fearing that the
prevalence of that epidemic would be detrimental to the little trade of
the town. At the parish meetings feeling ran so high that the
disputants almost came to blows, and Colonel Clitherow 'never had so
much difficulty in keeping them in decent order.'

In the autumn of the previous year Earl Howe[*] had been dismissed, at
the request of Lord Grey, from the post of Chamberlain to the Queen. As
this office had always been regarded as independent of the Ministry of
the day, the incident attracted a good deal of attention at the time,
and formed the subject of a question by Mr. Trevor in the House of
Commons, to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Althorp,
returned a diplomatic reply. Yet, however unusual the action taken by
the Government may have been, there can be little doubt that,
considering the feeling of the country respecting reform, their
decision was a wise one. Earl Howe had twice voted against the Reform
Bill, and it might have been inferred that he had been influenced in
this action by the Queen against the King's wish. His dismissal did
not, apparently, prevent rumours to this effect becoming current, and
the Queen and her friends were much annoyed at the imputations thus
implied and expressed. That these somewhat natural inferences had no
substantial foundation is made clear by a letter written from Boston
House, April 11, 1832:

[*] Richard William Penn Curzon-Howe, second Viscount Curzon; born
1796, created Earl Howe 1821, his maternal grandfather, the celebrated
Admiral, having previously borne that title.

'We are often annoyed at the unaccountable falsehoods put about of our
dear Queen. The world now says she and the King are on such bad terms
that she is going to Germany. My brother called on Lady Mary Taylour[*]
(she is Princess Augusta's Lady of the Bedchamber), who said she had
that morning read a letter from the Queen to the Princess, in which she
said she had been very unwell, her anxiety was so great about the
Princess Louise; her mother was ill, and her sister not coming, but,
she added, "My comfort and consolation is the extreme kindness of the
King. Nothing can exceed it.' This is from one you may believe. When we
were at the Pavilion, early in December, she was too ill to come out of
her room, but sent for Mrs. Clitherow after dinner, and she had a
_tête-à-tête_ with her for an hour. She spoke much of the insult to her
of dismissing Lord Howe, but what hurt her most was her fear lest the
King should be blamed, for she was sure he never would have done it
could he have helped himself. I think now, if you hear the report, you
may contradict it on sure grounds. I do believe her excellent and good.'

[*] Eldest daughter of the first Marquis of Headfort, born 1782.

Within a week or two after this, Colonel and Mrs. Clitherow again
visited Windsor by the Royal commands, and Miss Clitherow, in her
minute chronicle, shows that, while they cherished no pride of pomp or
station, they fully appreciated the honour of the King's friendship:

'BOSTON HOUSE, 'May 13, 1832.

'Thank God the cholera does seem subsiding! And in what mercy has that
scourge visited England compared to other countries! Yet, such is the
fatal blindness of the multitude, they see none of God's mercies, and
only provoke Him more and more by increasing wickedness. The downfall
of our Church seems the first object. But you know as much as I know,
and a truce with the subject.

'I will tell you of our Courtly doings, and how thankful we are that we
just take the cream, free and independent, without rank or place--no
troubles, turmoils, or jealousies. We receive the most flattering
notice--and it can be from no other motive than liking us--a rare
occurrence at Court, and of which we have a right to be proud.

'Lately a command came to my brother and Mrs. Clitherow to come to
Windsor Castle on the Monday and stay till the Wednesday. There were no
other visitors. Nobody breakfasts with the Queen or takes luncheon
unless sent for. You have your breakfast in your own sitting-room, or
at the general breakfast, as you prefer. We always take the latter, but
this visit Jane was with her at every meal, the King the only gentleman
admitted at breakfast, and only his sons, or very few, at luncheon.
Each evening the Queen called Jane to her sofa and work-table, where,
also, no one approaches but by her invitation, and on the Tuesday
morning the King took my brother all round the Castle with Wyattville,
giving orders and directions. I fear greatly the _improving mania_ is
coming upon His Majesty, which, in these times, will be very

'The Queen took my brother and Jane a long drive in her barouche.

'Now, in this kind of social visit you get at much of a person's mind
and opinions. The Queen seemed to enjoy a freedom of speech with
friends. Poor thing! how seldom can she feel that! She terms Jane her
"friend who tells her true." I can safely say, in contradiction to the
abominable reports circulated to her disadvantage, that she and the
King are on the best terms possible. In all her conversation, her
anxiety was on his account, lest he should get blamed. She has strong
sense and good judgment. She said: "I must have my own opinion, but I
do not talk to the King about it. It would only make him unhappy, and
could do no good."

'After the drive she took them into her room, and clasped a bracelet
round Jane's arm, begging her to wear it for her sake, and, as the
stone was an amethyst, the A would remind her of Adelaide, and then she
kissed her cheek. To my brother she presented a silver medallion of the
King, telling him her name was on the back, and he must keep it for her
sake. She always has something obliging and kind to say. She sent a
ticket for her box at Drury Lane. It was "Admit Colonel and Mrs.
Clitherow." Jane asked her if that meant two places. "No, no; the whole
box, to be sure. It holds eight. But, when I name one of you, I cannot
help naming both."

'King William IV. forgot little me when he sent his commands. On their
going in he said: "Where is Miss Clitherow? I hope illness has not
prevented her.' On an explanation, "Then next Monday meet us at dinner
at Bushey, and bring your sister with you.' And we did meet them. The
King came over with Wyattville to inspect Hampton Court Palace. The
Queen followed, to dine with him at their dear Bushey. They returned to
Windsor at ten, the Princess Augusta to town. Only Lady Falkland and
Miss Wilson attended the Queen. The company were the inmates of Hampton
Court, where we have never visited, and therefore to me the dinner was

At this time there was a grave political crisis through the action of
the House of Lords respecting the Reform Bill. The Cabinet advised the
King to create a batch of peers to form a Whig majority, as had been
done by Harley in 1711. This, however, the King refused to do, and Lord
Grey consequently resigned. The letters which passed between Lord Grey
and the King at this time are of considerable interest, and show that
the King exercised a greater influence and tact as a ruler than has
generally been ascribed to him. The Duke of Wellington was summoned,
but could not meet with sufficient support to accept office. Earl Grey,
therefore, returned to power, and the deadlock was removed by the King
persuading the Duke of Wellington and some of the peers who supported
him to absent themselves from the division on the Reform Bill, and thus
allow it to pass.[*] Miss Clitherow touches but lightly on this
subject, but it seemed desirable to put the facts before the reader.
Her letter proceeds:

[*] There are several letters on this subject towards the end of vol.
ii. of 'The Correspondence of the Late Earl Grey with H.M. King William
IV., and with Sir Hubert Taylor,' edited by his son, and published by
John Murray in 1867. Anyone desiring to have a clear idea of the
political anxieties which Miss Clitherow tells us harassed the King
would do well to consult this interesting work.

'The Thursday after we went to see Lady Falkland, who is on a visit to
papa King. We found her, her widowed sister Lady Augusta Kennedy, and
Miss Wilson very comfortably at work. They were the two Fitz-Clarences;
we saw a good deal of them when they lived at Bushey.

'A page soon came to conduct my brother to the King, another to desire
we would take luncheon in the Queen's room. On entering the King called
Jane by him, the Queen me; she rose up and shook hands with both. My
brother went down to the general luncheon. Nothing could be more
good-humoured and pleasant than they were. The King was cheerful but
silent; 'twas the day after Lord Grey's resignation. The Queen
certainly in particular good spirits; the King's firmness respecting
the making no peers had delighted her. They went to his apartments, and
we to Lady Falkland's, and were preparing to depart, when a message
came. The Queen had not taken leave of us, and hoped we were in no
hurry, but would stay and Walk with her. Of course we did. The party
consisted of the Queen, Miss Eden (Maid of Honour), Miss Wilson, Lord
Howe, Mr. Ashley, Mr. Hudson, Sir Andrew Barnard, and our three selves.
She took us through the slopes to her Adelaide Cottage and her
flower-garden to see Prince George of Cambridge at gymnastics, with
half a dozen young nobility from Eton, who came once a week to play
with him. We were walking nearly two hours. The Queen is very animated,
and Mr. Ashley and Mr. Hudson full of fun and tricks, and amused us all
much. In short, I have but one fear when with her--forgetting in Whose
presence I am; her manner is so very kind, but there is dignity with it
that keeps us in order.'

Before Miss Clitherow wrote again to her old friend, the Queen's little
niece, Whose illness has been already alluded to, had passed away. Her
Majesty was tenderly attached to the young Princess, and had shown her
every possible attention during her illness. She was greatly grieved at
her death, and the sorrow and anxiety seem to have affected her health
for some little time.

'WINDSOR CASTLE, 'September 3, 1832.

'Here I am writing with Royal pens, ink, and paper, which last I
dislike of all things, it being glazed.

'We have not seen our dear, amiable Queen since the Ascot week, and,
poor thing! she has gone through a great deal, but her conduct through
the whole was beautiful. Princess Augusta gave us the account of the
closing scene, and with tears in her eyes described the feeling and
resignation of the Queen, and the extreme kindness and attention of the
King to all her little wishes at the time of the funeral, which, by all
accounts, was the best managed and most affecting thing possible. She
has very much recovered her spirits, which are naturally very cheerful,
but she is still most miserably thin.

'The King is particularly well.

'The visitors here besides ourselves are the Duke and Duchess of
Gloucester[*]--she is too unwell to appear--Prince George of Cambridge;
the Duke of Dorset; Mademoiselle d'Esté; Sir Henry and Lady Wheatley,
with two daughters; Lady Isabella Wemyss (Lady of the Bed-chamber), a
most pleasing, lovely woman, sister to Lord Errol; Miss Johnson (Maid
of Honour); Miss Wilson (Bed-chamber-woman); Mademoiselle Marienne,
Lord and Lady Falkland, Sir Herbert and Lady Taylor, Sir Andrew
Barnard, Sir Frederick Watson, Colonel Bowater, Mr. Hudson, Mr.
Shifner, and Mr. Wood.[**] Princess Augusta and Lady Mary Taylour came
every day from Frogmore, which, with the household medical man, Mr.
Davis, makes a party of thirty, reckoned _here_ a small party.

[*] H.R.H. was the King's cousin, and the Duchess was the King's fourth
sister, Princess Mary.

[**] Many of these are obviously members of the household rather than

'The dinners are always princely, gold plate, quantities of wax-lights,
and servants innumerable, yet very agreeable and with less of form than
you could suppose possible.

'Yesterday threatened much rain, but after luncheon it cleared, and we
started, four carriages, four in each and a number on horseback, and
went to the Fishing Temple by the Virginia Water to see a model of a
vessel to be moved by clockwork. After seeing it exhibited we all took
boat, and in parties rowed about that beautiful lake. We had the
six-oared boat and various little boats. Prince George and Mr. Hudson
rowed Her Majesty about, and the whole had so much ease and good-humour
it was very delightful.

'Our evenings are always the same, the band playing most beautifully,
work-tables and cards for those who chuse.

'The first evening the Queen called us both to her table; the second
she sat with the Duchess of Gloucester till her bedtime, so that we had
not much of her company. She is always about some elegant work, which
she does remarkably well, and has a great deal of cheerful conversation.

'This is our third day, and we leave on Monday. Our invitations say
when we are to come and when to go, which is very agreeable. We have
our time to ourselves in our own sitting-room from breakfast till
luncheon at two.

'So I have scribbled to you, though no post goes till to-morrow. A trio
of kind regards.

'Yours truly, 'M. CLITHEROW.'



THE following year found Colonel Clitherow's time greatly occupied with
the treasurership of the Sons of the Clergy Corporation, and with a
visitation of their estates in various parts of the country, which he
found in such woeful condition that they would cost 'some thousands to
repair and rebuild, or their ruin was certain.' This visitation, which
took him and his party by slow stages as far as Yorkshire, probably
accounts for our finding but one letter about the Court this year. It
was written from Rise Park, the seat of their cousin, Mr. Bethell,
M.P., on October 1, 1833. After an account of their journeys, and a
description of Mr. Bethell's well-kept grounds, Miss Clitherow proceeds:

'Now, from the Fens I will take you to the Forest. The cottage where
George IV. lived so much has been pulled down, except a banquetting
room, the conservatory, and a few small rooms for the gardener. Here
the preparations were made for a morning fête on the Queen's birthday
[August 13], and, as a surprise to her, the magnificent Burmese tents,
which she had never seen, were put up. I never saw anything prettier
than the whole scene, and the day was lovely. The tents the most
brilliant scarlet, ornamented with gold and silver, silver poles, and a
silvered velvet carpet, embroidered with gold and silver. The hangings,
sofas, and seats were all of Eastern splendour, and at the end was a
large glass. The company was very select, and the morning dresses
becoming and elegant. Two bands of music (Guards) played alternately. A
guard of honour and numbers of officers were present. Everybody seemed
gay and in their best fashion. The King and Queen, with about forty
guests, dined in the room, about as many more in a long, canvas room.
The tables had fruit, flowers, ornaments, confectionery, a few pyramids
of cold tongue, ham, chicken, and raised pies. Then you had handed to
you soups, fish, turtle, venison, and every sort of meat. Toasts were
given, cannon fired, and both bands united in the appropriate national
airs. Altogether it was a sort of enchantment. At seven fifteen of the
King's carriages and many private carriages took the party to the
Castle to dress for an evening assembly, where about two hundred were
asked. We were the envy of many in being allowed to go home, having had
the cream of the day. Nothing could be a greater compliment than our
being asked in the morning. We were the only untitled people. The King
had filled the Castle, Round Tower, and Cumberland Lodge, and had not a
bed to offer. So he invited us, saying: "Come at three. We dine at
four. And then go away at seven, and be home by daylight, for we cannot
give you beds."

'To his own birthday [August 21] we had the general invitation for the
evening, and the old trio went from Boston House at seven, and got back
by two. The noble Castle, so lit up, was a magnificent sight. The Queen
was quite the Queen, for it was very mixed society--too much so for
Royal presence. The good-humoured King asks everybody, and it was a
crowd! But she sat with the Royal Duchesses only, attended by her
ladies, and she was dressed much finer than her usual style. She twice
conversed with us, and when she left the room came up to us, shook each
by the hand, and was so sorry we had to go home so far.

'My brother and Mrs. Clitherow called at Windsor to take leave before
we left home for so many weeks, and after luncheon with her and the
King, she took them into her own room to see a bust of the little niece
that she nursed with such motherly affection, Princess Louise, and then
gave them two prints of herself and two of Prince George of Cambridge,
the best likeness I have seen of her. She said, "One for Miss
Clitherow, the other for you two, because you are as one." All she does
in such a gracious, pretty manner.'

In the winter the Clitherows spent three days at Brighton, dining each
day at the Pavilion. The King was remarkably well, but the Queen
unfortunately was confined to her room, and was only able to see Mrs.
Clitherow on one evening. 'Then,' Miss Clitherow adds:

'She could really enjoy her society, which in the drawing-room is
impossible. Grandees must come in your way. Lady Falkland only was with
her, which made a trio.

'I hope you and your belongings are well, and, with our united, kind

'Believe me, 'Sincerely yours, 'MARY CLITHEROW.'



OUR next glimpse of their Majesties is not _from_, but _at_ Boston
House. This unsought honour was rather deprecated, though thoroughly
appreciated by their hosts, who, in spite of their intimacy with the
King and Queen, never made any pretension to be more than simple
gentlefolk. Colonel Clitherow was the first commoner whom William IV.
so honoured, probably the only one, and instances of other monarchs
doing the like must be few and far between. In this case, doubtless,
both their Majesties regarded it as an act of simple friendship, and
not in any way as one of condescension.

'BOSTON HOUSE, 'July 10, 1834.

'On June 28, 1884, their Majesties honoured old Boston House with their
company to dinner. They came by Gunnersby and through our farm at our
suggestion; it is so much more gentlemanly an approach than through Old

'The people were collected in numbers and Dr. Morris's school, and they
gave them a good cheer. We then let the boys through the garden into
the orchard by the flower-garden, where my brother had given leave for
the neighbours to be, and it seemed as if two hundred were collected.

'We had our haymakers the opposite side of the garden, and kept the
people, hay-carts, etc., for effect, and it was cheerful and pretty.
The weather was perfect, and the old place never looked better.

'They arrived at seven, and we sat down to dinner at half-past. During
that half hour the Queen walked about the garden, even down to the
bottom of the wood. The haymakers cheered her, and had a pail of beer,
and when she came round to the house, instead of turning in she most
good-humouredly walked on to the flower-garden, and stood five minutes
chatting to the party, which gave the natives time to get her dress by
heart. It was very simple--all white, little bonnet and feathers.

'The King had a slight touch of hay asthma, the Princess Augusta a
slight cold, and therefore they declined going out, which separated the
party, and was a great disappointment to the people. We had police
about to keep order, the bells rang merrily, and all went well. We
received them in our new-furnished library.

'When dinner was announced the King took Jane, my brother the Queen,
and they sat on opposite sides, the Duchess of Northumberland[*] the
other side of the King, Lord Prudhoe[**] the other side of the Queen,
General Clitherow and General Sir Edward Kerrison top and bottom, and
the rest as they chose--Princess Augusta, Lord and Lady Howe, Lady
Brownlow,[***] Lady Clinton,[****] Lady Isabella Wemyss, Colonel
Wemyss, Miss Clitherow, Miss Wynyard, Mrs. Bullock, and Mr. Holmes.
That makes nineteen. The Duke of Cumberland[*****] was to have been the
twentieth, but Mr. Holmes brought a very polite apology just as we were
going in to dinner. The House of Lords detained him.

[*] Wife of Hugh, third Duke, and daughter of the first Earl Powis. She
was governess to H.R.H. the Princess Victoria, our late gracious Queen.

[**] Algernon Percy, second surviving son of the second Duke of
Northumberland, F.R.S., and Captain R.N.; born 1792. Created Baron
Prudhoe 1816. On the death of his brother he succeeded to the dukedom,
which, on his death in 1865, passed to his cousin, the second Earl of

[***] Emma Sophia, daughter of the second Earl of Mount Edgecumbe; born
1791, married, 1828, the first Earl Brownlow. She was Lady of the
Bedchamber to Queen Adelaide.

[****] Widow of the seventeenth Baron Clinton, Lady of the Bedchamber
to Queen Adelaide. In 1835 she married Sir Horace Beauchamp Seymour,

[*****] He became King of Hanover on the death of William IV.

'As to the dinner, it was so perfect that it was impossible to know a
single thing on the table, and that, you know, must be termed a proper
dinner for such a party. My brother gave a _carte blanche_ to Sir
Edward Kerrison's Englishman cook, and, to give him his due, he gave us
as elegant a dinner as ever I saw. Our waiting was particularly well
done--so quiet, no in and out of the room. Everything was brought to
the door, and there were sideboards all round the room, with everything
laid out to prevent clatter of knives, forks, and plates. Etiquette
allows the lady's own footman in livery, and we had ten out of livery,
the King and Queen's pages, seven gentlemen borrowed of our friends,
and our own butler. They all continued waiting till the ladies left the

'We were well lit, wax on the table and lamps on the sideboards, and
many a face I saw taking a peep in at the windows. The room was cool,
for the Queen asked to have the top sashes down.

'The King was not in his usual spirits. He said had it been the day
before he must have sent his excuses. The Queen was all animation, and
the rest of the party most chatty and agreeable. The King bowed to the
Queen when the ladies were to move.

'Our evening was short, as they went at half-past ten. The Princess
played on the piano, and my brother and Mrs. Bullock sang one of
Ariole's duets at the Queen's request. When they went the sweep was
full of people to see them go, and their Majesties were cheered out of
the grounds.

'We had with us our little nephew Salkeld,[*] whom my brother puts to
Dr. Morris's school. He came in to dessert, a day the child can never
forget. The King asked him many questions, which he answered
distinctly, with a profound bow, and then backed away. He looked so
pretty, for the awe of Royalty brought all the colour to his cheeks. I
felt rather proud of him, he did it so gracefully. The Queen told him
she hoped he would make as good a man as his excellent uncle. After
dinner the Princess Augusta called him to her in the drawing-room,
saying, "I like that little fellow's countenance; he is quite a
Clitherow." She talked to him of cricket, football, and hockey, telling
him when she was a little girl she played at all these games with her
brother, and played cricket particularly well.

[*] He became a hero in the Indian Mutiny, losing his life in
volunteering to blow up the Cashmere Gate at Delhi in 1857.

'That we are proud of this day we cordially own, for my brother is the
first commoner their Majesties have so honoured; but we feel we ought
not to have done it. When Jane, with her honesty, told the Queen we
were not in a situation to receive such an honour, her answer was:
"Mrs. Clitherow, you are making me speeches. If it is wrong I take the
blame, but I was determined to dine once again at Boston House with

'The absurd conjecture of people at the expence of the day to my
brother induces me to tell you what it actually was, as we should be
ashamed at the sum guessed at. I have made the closest calculation I
possibly can, which includes fees to borrowed servants, ringers,
police, carriage of things from and to London, and I have got to £44.
Never was less wine drank at a dinner, and that I cannot estimate, but
£6, I think, must cover that. We had two men cooks, for he brought his
friend, and we got all they asked for. Really, I think we were let off
very well at £50.

'And now a word of our delights at the Abbey. The good Bishop of
Landaff, Copleston, gave us six reserve tickets, and we bought three.
Mrs. Bullock, Jane, and myself went twice, my brother three times, and
we all four went to the first rehearsal. We did enjoy it most

'I delight in the thought of you surrounded by your family party, and
wish I could peep in. Remember us most kindly to them.

'Ever yours affectionately, 'MARY CLITHEROW.'



'BOSTON HOUSE, 'August 28 [1834],

WE have been absent a week visiting different friends, and on our
return this morning took a Royal luncheon at the Castle. Our dear Queen
received us most kindly, and we sat with her for half an hour before
luncheon. Her conversation was most interesting. I wish I could give it
you word for word. It showed such a feeling, religious, good mind. It
was about her loss in one whom she termed a faithful servant, indeed a
friend--old Barton (only sixty-four, but he had a paralytic stroke two
years since, which had aged him very much), her treasurer. He was their
factotum at Bushey. The painful part of it, she said, was feeling that
she in a manner had been the cause; for the good old man was so
over-excited with joy at witnessing the enthusiastic reception she met
with on her return, he went out to meet her. The fatigue and excitement
were too much for him, and, after he got home, he had a stroke. He lost
all power of speech, but retained his senses, and, by pointing to
letters, made himself understood, and a dutiful and affectionate
message to the King and Queen was written and sent. The dear Queen
immediately wrote to him herself a letter, which was beautiful, so
kind, so pious. He answered his hour was come, and he was resigned.
Now, had you heard the manner in which she, in her pretty English,
described all this, you never would have forgotten it.

'I never saw her or the King look better. He had all his daughters with
him but Lady Mary Fox, who is abroad, and a swarm of grandchildren
running about the corridor, and Her Majesty playing with them, and
making them all happy and at ease.'

From the above we clearly see that Queen Adelaide had the power of
feeling and inspiring sympathy with dependents as well as friends, with
young as well as old. The following month the Clitherows again stayed
at the Castle in quite homely fashion.

'WINDSOR CASTLE, 'September 27, 1834.

'There is no company but ourselves and the Duke of Dorset;
consequently, we really enjoy the Queen. We set at her work-table in
the evening with the King, Princess Augusta, and the Duke of Dorset,
and really the cheerful, good-humoured conversation that goes on is
most agreeable. The Ladies-in-Waiting have two work-tables. The
gentlemen sit and chat with them, and there are generally four at
whist, the Queen's beautiful band playing in the anteroom.

'We came on Thursday. Friday we were on Virginia Water, with the
Guards' band playing in a barge moored. The weather was actual summer,
and we were rowed about for two hours--the King, Queen, and ten of us.

'To-day the Queen, Lady Isabella Wemyss, Mrs. Clitherow, and myself in
a barouche, my brother, with Miss Hope Jolynson, in a phaeton, drove
out for two hours in Windsor Park and Forest. The evening was lovely,
though we had heavy rain in the night and morning. The scenery is quite
magnificent, and the dear Queen's conversation was so interesting,
giving an account of her journey and adventures abroad. It was a drive
to be envied.

'We do not think the Queen looking well, though it is uncourtly to say
so. She is most miserably thin, and has a sad, wearing cough. However,
she assures us she is better. The oppression on her chest is removed by
a German medicine, which she has great faith in. I dread Brighton for
her, which never agrees.

'The King is uncommonly well. He is out all the morning inspecting his
farms, which they say he is getting into beautiful order, and to-day he
returned to them after luncheon, instead of driving out with the party,
as he generally does.

'Lady Augusta Kennedy and her four children are here. Lady Sophia
Sydney[*] and her three children live here. Sir Philip is backwards and
forwards. He is going on slowly at Penshurst, feeling, I suspect, that
it will be time eno' to live there should anything happen to prevent
their all living on "papa." Lady Augusta has a house at Isleworth near
us, which "papa" gave her, but lives a great deal here. Lady Falkland
is sadly out of health, and in town for advice. Her fine boy is left
here, and the King and Queen have all the children in the corridor
after luncheon to run about. It is so pretty to hear them lisp, "Dear
Queeny," "Dear King." She plays with them with such good-humour.

[*] The King's eldest daughter; born 1800, married, 1825, Sir Philip
Sidney, who was created Lord de Lisle and Dudley in 1835, his father
having in 1824 claimed that barony, though without success.

'Mademoiselle d'Esté is here. Lord Hill is coming to-day. We are to
leave on Monday.'

The next letter reminds us that, about this time, there were several
political crises, more or less acute. The tide of enthusiasm, which had
carried many measures of social importance, was beginning to abate, and
the first signs of the reaction that was setting in showed themselves
in differences among the Ministers. Mr. Stanley (afterwards Lord
Derby), Sir J. Graham, and two others disagreed with Lord Grey as to
the Act to compensate the Irish clergy, while Lord Althorp opposed Lord
Grey on the question of coercion in Ireland. Lord Grey, who was an old
man, retired in July, and Lord Melbourne succeeded to his place. These
dissensions led the King to believe that there was a Conservative
reaction, so he determined to dismiss the Ministry and send for the
Duke of Wellington. In the end, on the Duke's advice, Sir Robert Peel
became Premier, but only held office till April, 1835, when Lord
Melbourne was recalled to power. Again rumour was busy with the Queen's
name, and many suspected that the dismissal of the Whigs was due
largely to her influence. The following letter deals plainly with this,
and incidentally mentions the constitutional practice of the King
respecting even the Court appointments:

'BOSTON HOUSE, 'November 23, 1834.

'How do you feel on the sudden change in the political world? I
rejoice, but cannot envy the party who have taken the reins in these
ungovernable times.

'It is very sad they will not let the dear Queen alone. I believe from
my heart she has no more to do with it than you or I. Mrs. Clitherow
sat half an hour with her at St. James's, and she, who, is truth
itself, declared the first she knew of it was the King coming to her
room and telling her the Duke of Wellington was to dine with them, for
there was going to be a change of Ministers.

'She has not named a single person for any appointment, and will not,
she is determined. Jane expressed her hope that the Duke of Dorset
would again be Master of the Horse. The Queen replied: "There never was
a better; but, in the present state of the country, favouritism must be
quite out of the question." They must select the most influential men
in a political point of view. She regretted extremely that the King's
children, instead of rallying round the throne, were the first to send
in their resignations and to show such strong opposition to their
father's wishes. And we do hear from every quarter their conduct is
abominable, and the manner in which they speak of the Queen
unpardonable. Lord Erroll[*] went on so bad in a public coffee-room
that a gentleman cried out: "Shame! shame!" As far as we have ever
seen, she has shown them nothing but kindness, and their return is
ingratitude. Poor soul! her cough continues to wear her sadly, and she
is hardly stout enough to contend with all her annoyances,
notwithstanding the support of a clear conscience.

[*] William George, the Seventeenth Earl, had married Lady Elizabeth
Fitz-Clarence, the King's third daughter, and was Master of the Royal

'The Bishop of London and Mrs. and Miss Blomfield dine here to-morrow.
I mean to get this franked.

'I hope you are not annoyed with your winter cough, and that your
family are all well. Accept a trio of best wishes, and believe me,

'Yours sincerely, 'MARY CLITHEROW.'



'BOSTON HOUSE, 'July 13 [1835].

'WE were invited on Saturday to dine at Kew with their Majesties. It
was quite a social party, no company but ourselves and the Landgravine;
the rest were the ladies in attendance, the household, and the King's
family. We mustered thirty at dinner. They came down early in the day
to thoroughly enjoy the country. They walked about till luncheon; then
the Queen had her horse to ride, and little carriages, and they all
went to Richmond Park, and returned to dress for seven o'clock dinner.
They both seemed remarkably well. I had not been seen by the King for a
long time, and when I went in he expressed himself most glad to see me
quite well, and at dinner drank wine with me.

'When we went in to dinner, the Queen said: "Mrs. Clitherow, you must
sit by Lord Howe." The fact was she was expecting her sister to land
Sunday morning, and would have been at the water-side to receive her,
but she felt she ought to go to church with the King. Lord Howe told
her certainly; she could drive and meet her sister after church. Still,
her wish was to go to Deptford early, and she wanted somebody to second
that wish. She bid Lord Howe ask Mrs. Clitherow--"She will _say
honest_." The Queen is so quick, she discovered when they were
conversing on the subject, though they were at the very bottom of the
table, and addressed Mrs. Clitherow, "Are you for me, or against me?"
"I must agree with Lord Howe," was her answer. Now, I suppose there are
few women but my Jane who would not have advised according to the
Queen's wishes, and I am certain it is her honesty, so unlike a
courtier, that makes the Queen so partial to her. After dinner she
called Mrs. Clitherow to sit by her, and they conversed together the
whole evening. Her ideas and right way of thinking are quite delightful.

'I had a very amusing evening, for the good-humoured Landgravine called
me to her, and was full of fun and chat. She has a sweet countenance,
but her figure is extraordinary. "My dear," she said, "Augusta charged
me to tell you a charade--

'"Three shakes and a grin, Shake your tail and you're in."

She was in such a hurry to tell me I had not time to find it out; but
you may take your time, I shan't tell you. She laughed so hearty. She
seems to enjoy herself most exceedingly in her native land, and must be
in excellent health to go about as she does. Yet her figure looks as if
she was dropsical. She cannot stand long, and walks with difficulty; at
the Drawing Room she sits.

'The whole party left Kew for London at ten.

'We have been wondrous gay at both the fêtes at Syon House. As to the
first fête, I think it was the most perfect thing of the kind that
possibly could be. We were invited to a breakfast at three o'clock to
meet their Majesties, and we went according to orders; but the
breakfast proved a good dinner at seven. The day was lovely, the
company of the very first order, and the dresses most elegant morning

'The King did not come; he was overfatigued at the Waterloo dinner. The
Queen came at five. She and the Duchess of Northumberland led the way
to the famous conservatory, and all the party followed. I believe it is
reckoned the finest in Europe. The flower-garden, filled with all the
smart and the pretty, was really a sight of sights. There were chairs
and benches innumerable on the lawn, the Blues band of music, and
people amused themselves till dinner was announced. It was certainly
the most elegant party I ever was in, for the whole 524 guests followed
each other into the tent as quiet and orderly as into the dinner-room
at Windsor. The dinner was sumptuous. Three turkeys were drest, and
eight men cooks employed. A seat for everyone, a napkin, three china
plates, three silver forks, knife, and spoon. The waiters had only to
remove your plate. And such quantities of waiters! yet so quiet, no
bustle or clatter. We all came out of the tent together, when the house
was lit up, and you went in or staid out as you pleased. The great
drawing-room for tea and coffee, tables each side. And so the time
passed till it was dark enough for the fireworks, which were most

'The Queen was then ushered into the tent, which, like magic, had been
prepared for dancing. A very good floor, as clean as if no soul had
dined in the room. The tables were laid round the room on the floor to
make a platform to raise the sitters to look at the dancing. There were
two tiers of benches, so that really the room seemed hardly full. There
was a noble space for the dancers 180 feet long. Weippert's beautiful
band. I quite longed to dance. It was lit the whole length by large
handsome glass lanthorns, and round the tent was a broad border of
growing flowers and coloured lamps in festoons. Nothing could be
prettier. They had waltzes, quadrilles, gallopade, and reels. The Queen
went at eleven, and everybody was gone by one. Refreshments of all
sorts were provided at each end of the tent.

'The second fête rather failed, as the day it was to have been held was
so wet it was obliged to be put off; and then Royalty had gone to
Windsor, and thought it too far to come. Numbers also were engaged. We
were only asked in the evening, but everything was in as good style as
the first, only a different style of company. The fireworks equally
good, and the dancing, but the night was cold.

'The papers will have told you of my brother's success in Queen
Adelaide's Fund. It is most particularly gratifying to him. Ever since
the lunatic asylum was finished he has been wishing to establish this
fund, and was brought about by the Queen signifying to him that she
wished to subscribe to the lunatic asylum, about which he interested
himself so much. He told her it was a county asylum, not supported by
subscriptions, and then named this plan, which she eagerly acceded to,
and gave £100 and her name as patroness. He has got near £700, and does
not mean to be satisfied till he has £1,000, and as much more as he
can. I must conclude, as the man has called. Lucky for you.

'Your affectionate friend, 'M. C.'

The fund mentioned at the close of this letter was founded to assist
patients at the Hancock Asylum on their discharge, and is still in
existence. As this was due to Colonel Clitherow's initiation, it may be
well to mention here that another trace of his influence also remains
in the system of employing patients in occupations with which they were
previously acquainted, which was established during his chairmanship,
with very successful results.



AFTER a short illness, William IV. died at Windsor Castle on June 20,
1837. On July 17 Miss Clitherow wrote as follows:

'Thank you very much for writing to me. I always enjoy your letters,
and delight to hear from you. I feel I did not deserve it, so much time
has elapsed since I wrote to you. But I dislike writing when the
spirits are below par, and how could they be otherwise with the
afflicting event which has befallen the country? Great were our
apprehensions for the dear Queen when she was so ill and could attend
none of the State entertainments, but the King's death never entered
our ideas. On June 3 my brother went by command to Windsor. He sat with
the King while he ate his early dinner. He was cheerful and chatty, and
had only sent for him for the pleasure of seeing and conversing freely
with him, which he did for above an hour, and the last thing his
Majesty said was, "Thank you for coming; it always does me good to see
you, and very soon you and Mrs. Clitherow must come to Windsor for a
few days and your sister.' How little he thought his days were
numbered, and that he should never see him more! He then appeared so
little ill my brother returned home quite in spirits, and on the
twentieth he was dead--only seventeen days.

'Since the Queen Dowager got to Bushey Lady Gore has written to us. The
description of her resigned pious mind is beautiful, and Lady Gore[*]
assures us she really hopes her health has not materially suffered from
all she has gone through, particularly the last sad ceremony.

[*] Wife of General Hon. Sir Charles Gore, G.C.B., K.H., third son of
the second Earl of Arran, a Waterloo officer.

'My brother was deputed to present the address of condolence from the
magistrates to the Dowager Queen. He dreaded it, but he wrote to Lord
Howe to know how and when, and was answered--Queen Adelaide receives no
addresses; but those she received on the throne from the City, etc.,
those she must receive. We are delighted at this, as it was too much to
impose upon her. Addresses are pouring in from all quarters, and Lord
Howe is to receive them.'

As Queen Adelaide received no visitors, except such as she could not
refuse, in her widowhood, the King's death closed her intimate
intercourse with the Clitherows. It seems, however, just to the memory
of both the King and Queen to insert the following testimony to her
tender affection for her husband, and her delicacy of feeling
respecting his previous relations with Mrs. Jordan.

'BOSTON HOUSE, 'September 23, 1837.

'I dare say you look to me for some true account of our dear Queen
Adelaide. We have not seen her, but have been much gratified by her
recollection of us. She sent a most kind message by Mr. Wood, with the
little book he wrote at her command of William IV.'s last days--a copy
to my brother and one to me.

'Very lately we began to doubt whether we ought not to go to Bushey as
we used to visit her Majesty at Windsor, and Mrs. Clitherow wrote to
consult Lady Denbigh. She acted most kindly to us, for she waited an
opportunity of showing the note to the Queen. Her Majesty's answer was,
it would be a 'real comfort to her to see Mrs. Clitherow, but it would
open the door to so many; she could not without giving great offence.
Lady Denbigh added Her Majesty had received no one yet, except those
whom she was obliged to admit.

'Mrs. Clitherow dined in company with Miss Hudson, one of the Dowager's
Maids of Honour, whom we know very well. She gave a delightful account
of the dear Queen, her mind so peaceful, always occupied, much
interested with her sister and her children, constantly doing
charitable acts, and for ever talking of the King, and hoping she had
thoroughly done her duty. Miss Hudson was in waiting for five weeks,
and the first three she was very uneasy about Her Majesty's health, and
thought her sadly altered; but the last two her cough had almost
entirely ceased, and she had slept remarkably well.

'You have no doubt seen the book I allude to, for 'tis now to be had
for sixpence. Could anything be so extraordinary as the conduct of the
Bishop of Worcester? Her Majesty sent him a copy, and he sent it to the
editor of a newspaper. When the Queen read it in a public paper she was
very indignant, and the gentleman who was told by her to discover who
"the high dignitary in the Church" was, told us Carr, Bishop of
Worcester. The man who has been quite the _Court Bishop_ should have
known better.

'One act of the Queen Dowager I must tell you: the Queen sent a message
by Colonel Wood and Sir Henry Wheatley requesting she would take
anything she chose from the Castle; she selected two--a favourite cup
of the King's, in which she had given him everything during his last
illness, and the picture from his own room of all his family. It was a
singular picture, all the Fitz-Clarences grouped, and in the room Mrs.
Jordan hanging a picture on the wall, the King's bust on a pedestal,
and all strikingly like. I think it shows a delicacy of feeling to her
King which was beautiful. It was a picture better out of sight for his
memory. Now, this you may believe, for Colonel Wood told us. He
transacted the business, and Queen Adelaide has the picture.

'Believe me, 'Yours very truly, 'MARY CLITHEROW.'

Neither Queen Adelaide nor the three friends long survived the kindly
monarch they loved so well. Colonel Clitherow died in 1841; his sister,
who became totally blind, early in 1847; and his true and honest wife,
the last of the Boston House trio, died in March of the same year.



TO the letters already given, which cover the seven years of William
IV.'s reign, it seems appropriate to add two public utterances on the
occasion of his death. The cuttings containing them are pasted in a MS.
book belonging to Miss Clitherow's correspondent, himself a writer of
repute,[*] and are preceded by the following notes:

[*] The Rev. Edward Nares, D.D., Rector of Biddenden, Kent, and Regius
Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford.

'No King ever departed this life with less of blame attached to him as
a King, or with more credit as a well-meaning, good-natured,
high-minded man. No King ever more truly acted upon the noble
principles of Louis XII. in forgiving, as King, all offences committed
against him while Duke of Orleans. When the Duke of Wellington was the
Minister of George IV., he saw fit, with a view to retrenchment in the
public interest of unnecessary expenditure, to remove H.R.H. the Duke
of Clarence from the office of Lord High Admiral. When H.R.H. succeeded
to the Crown, not only was this not resented, but nothing could exceed
the attentions the Duke of Wellington was in the way of receiving from
His Majesty on all anniversaries of the Battle of Waterloo. He
constantly honoured the Duke with his company at dinner, and lamented
the necessity of being absent on June 18, 1837, only two days before he

'This striking instance of a greatness of mind highly becoming a King
of Great Britain was alluded to by the Duke of Wellington in the House
of Peers on the first day of their meeting after the King's demise.
There is extant in print what I believe to be a very authentic relation
of the magnanimity with which His Majesty, as King, forgave a bold
attack upon him as Duke of Clarence in his presence in the House of
Lords by the present Chief Justice of England, Lord Denman. I allude to
a memorable speech of the latter at the Queen's trial in 1820.

'Praises and commendations of Kings and Queens are so liable to the
suspicion of flattery that it cannot but be pleasant to a mind
constitutionally loyal to be able to produce testimony to that effect
of indisputable authority. In the course of a speech at the nomination
of candidates for North Lancashire, Lord Stanley, not long since a
member of a Whig Cabinet, said: "The country had just lost a Sovereign
whose virtues and transcendent attributes had earned for him an
immortal name. Those who knew least of His late Majesty did not
hesitate to ascribe to him an ever anxious delight in being kind and
affectionate to his people, attached to their wishes, and determined to
administer to their comforts. He thought little of himself when
promoting the happiness of those around him. Those who had ever an
opportunity of coming into immediate contact with the late Sovereign
could justly appreciate his excellent qualities. His attention to
business, his candour of manner in listening to the arguments of his
advisers, manifested a full knowledge of his constitutional duties. He
(Lord Stanley) had witnessed how His late Majesty had declined
asserting his prerogative when it in the slightest degree seemed to
interfere with public officers in the discharge of their public duties.
In the discharge of his duties as a Minister of the Crown it had
happened on three occasions that His Majesty had felt a deep interest
in the appointment of three individuals to office, and it did so happen
that he could not meet the private wishes of the Sovereign in making
those appointments, and he intimated to His Majesty the public grounds
on which he would rather they were not made. His Majesty immediately
with pleasure declined pressing his own views, which, he said, were
secondary compared with the public business of the country."'

This eulogium is confirmed by several passages in Miss Clitherow's
letters. The next extract is prefaced in her correspondent's MS. as

'Of the King's last moments nobody had a better account to give than
the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was with him, and who had it in his
power to bear undeniable testimony to the affectionate and unwearying
attentions of the Queen to the very last. Before His Majesty's funeral
I had this confirmed to me by the Archbishop himself, who also told me
that he had already seen the young Queen preside in three Councils with
singular propriety, dignity, and decorum, adding much in praise of the
good education she had received.'

Extract from the speech of the Archbishop (Howley) of Canterbury at a
meeting of the Metropolitan Churches' Fund:

'I attended on our late Sovereign during the last few days of his life,
and, truly, it was an edifying sight to witness the patience with which
he endured sufferings the most oppressive, his thankfulness to the
Almighty for any alleviations under his most painful disorder, his
sense of every attention paid to him, the absence of all expressions of
impatience, his anxiety to discharge every public duty to the utmost of
his power, his attention to every paper that was brought to him, the
serious state of his mind, and the devotion manifested in his religious
duties preparatory to his departure for that happy world where we may
humbly hope he has now been called. Three different times was I
summoned to his presence the day before his dissolution. He received
the sacrament first; on my second summons I read the Church Service to
him, and the third time I appeared the oppression under which he
laboured prevented him from joining outwardly, though he appeared
sensible of the consolation I offered him. For three weeks prior to the
dissolution the Queen had sat by his bedside, performing for him every
office which a sick man could require, and depriving herself of all
rest and refection. She underwent labours which I thought no ordinary
woman could endure. No language can do justice to her meekness and to
the calmness of mind which she sought to keep up before the King while
sorrow was preying on her heart. Such constancy of affection, I think,
was one of the most interesting spectacles that could be presented to a
mind desirous of being satisfied with the sight of human excellence.'

William IV.--a good husband, a good father, a good King, a good
friend--was indeed a happy contrast to the selfish, if more gifted,
brother who preceded him on the throne. He was an eminently
constitutional monarch, popular and patriotic. His reign was short,
and, though not free from riot and disturbance, was mainly
characterized by peace, retrenchment, and reform. Its social
legislation included the Reform Bill, the abolition of slavery, the
Factory Acts, the New Poor Law, and the Tithe Commutation Act, while
the modest grant of £20,000 per annum was the first recognition by the
State of its duty respecting the education of the people. At the same
time, the Empire was expanding, the colony of South Australia was
established, and its capital bore the name of the King's devoted and
sympathetic consort.

Thus the first steps were taken in many important movements for the
welfare of the people and the Empire, which, under his great and good
successor, were supported and developed, and the way was made plain for
the young Queen, to whom the nation looked with such well-founded hope,
whose long and glorious reign has been so abundantly blest, and whose
memory will ever be cherished with honour and respect.



*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Glimpses of King William IV. and Queen Adelaide - In Letters of the Late Miss Clitherow, of Boston House, - Middlesex. With a Brief Account of Boston House and the - Clitherow Family" ***

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