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shall be represented by a good substantial pledge in Chancerythey must be wards of the Court. Here, then, is a law which, if it be bad, has the additional hideous feature of being a cruelty if it be good, it is made useful to the public in the proportion only of about one in ten thousand.
To show how preposterous, how abortive, even to its becoming ridiculous, this law is, we need only take the case before us. Mr. Wellesley is now re-married; it is no stretch of fancy to suppose him blessed with three children more, who shall be called after the maternal name, the Patterson Wellesleys. We have, then, on the one hand, the Long Wellesleys, and on the other the Patterson Wellesleys, all infants of Mr. Wellesley. The little Longs are withdrawn from the care of their father, because he is declared to be unfit for the duties of a parent. What is to be done with the little Pattersons ? Are they, in due time, to be abstracted from their father's arms, and heaven and earth to be ransacked for a competent Dominie to teach them virtue? No, indeed; the poor Pattersons are abandoned to their father; he may bring them up if he choses, in the popular arts of breaking windows, prostrating the guardians of the night, instituting weekly series of rows in peaceful neighbourhoods; the perverse father is at liberty to initiate them in the elegant amusements of “ Hell and Tommy,”* and, by due course of instruction, to lead them to the foot of the gallows, if he pleases. The Chancellor stirs not; he has no bowels for the Pattersons, for they keep no account in the great Equity Bank of the Nation; their names are not to be found in the alphabet of the Chancery Register. Again, still further to show in what admirable keeping our protecting laws are, we find, from Mr. Wellesley's own statement, that he is in possession “ of a great deal of Church preferment,” in the regulation of which the state has no power to interfere. Thus, then, we have the same individual declared unfit to take care of his own children, at the same time that he is allowed to place his creatures alongside the fountain of religion, to impart its waters in whatever measure, and in what quality they may.
The overwhelming objection, as we think, to this law of the Chancellor's is, that it cannot be carried into effect without involving a series of acts which are perfectly revolting. It is a violation of human nature, and it can only be maintained by constant violations of a similar character. Qualis ab incepto, processit. We shall illustrate this from the present case. Mr. Hutchinson, the solicitor opposed to Mr. Wellesley, states, in one of his affidavits, “ that, under the peculiar circumstances of this case, the allowing
* “ We have been informed that Mr. Pitman took great pains to counteract the ill effects of Mr. Wellesley and others urging them (the boys) to play Hell and Tommy, 8c., as soon as their studies were over.”—Miss E. T. Long's Letter to Mr. Hutchinson.
Mr. Wellesley to make presents to his children, or grant indulgences, was inconsistent with the declaration of Lord Eldon, which was to the effect, that it was better they should not be at all supported by their father, but out of their own fortunes, than that they should be under his influence or control; and that presents to children of their tender age would, in his (deponent's) opinion, operate on their minds as bribes, and that they would be taught to look on the person who most indulged them, as their best and kindest friend, and he, the said Mr. Wellesley, would thus acquire an undue influence over them, which might be used for the worst of purposes, and purposes prejudicial even to the infants themselves.” To explain this passage, Mr. Wellesley says, “I gave my eldest son a writing portfolio, and writing materials, to make him more orderly in keeping his papers." This is not all. Dr. Bulkeley, a witness opposed to Mr. Wellesley, states, as an unpardonable iniquity, we presume, on the authority of the Master Wellesleys, that their father, during an interview which he had with them at Eton, gave them 51. a piece, and promised to send them horses, guns, &c.! To crown this part of their case, the Solicitor-General undertakes to vindicate the alarms of Mr. Hutchinson :
"" And I think,” said the learned Gentleman in his argument before the Lord Chancellor in July last,“ Mr. Hutchinson has stated fairly enough, and makes a very fair observation, that as Mr. Wellesley has not that power of coercion over them, on his side it was all benefit, and therefore all presents, without any power of coercion by the father, whether there was not a danger to be apprehended—to lead to a mistaken notion, and to induce them to suppose that every body meant to injure them except their father, by sending them presents when he had not the power of coercing them.”'p. 39.
Who will believe that a sentiment like this escaped from the lips of a parent-a sentiment which the cold-hearted philosophy of a Machiavel almost would disown. Exiled from his children for pearly three years, his natural anxiety to rejoin them increased by the manner in which their separation was effected the father of these devoted infants at length is admitted to their presence. To the little catalogue of their wants and wishes he listens with the indulgence of a parent, and distributes amongst them what money he had in his possession at the time. To this circumstance Mr. Wellesley alludes in his affidavit before the Court of Chancery :
“He admits, that before leaving them, (the children), he divided between them what money he had in his pocket, which amounted to five pounds a-piece ; but that he did not do this until he had learnt from them that their allowance was only two shillings a-week ; that it was customary to give treats to their schoolfellows; and that they had got into debt at different shops to the amount of two or three pounds each.” .
Meeting his children under the circumstances he did, to have refused almost to coin his heart into drachmas, and lay them at the feet of the interesting suppliants, would have argued an obduracy of feeling in the father, which ought to have drawn down upon him the very sentence of divorce from the society of his children, under which he is actually labouring. But to pervert so obvious an effusion of natural affection as we have described, into a selfish calculation ou the part of the father, in order to carry some sinister purpose into effect, shows the sort of materials which this case
requires to support it. . And what has been the effect on the children of all this state solicitude, this anxiety to sow in their susceptible minds the principles of rectitude? We contend, that to have suffered the young Wellesleys to take the chances of other children, to have allowed them to remain under the exclusive control of their natural guardian, would have shown, in those who had the discretion of doing one thing or the other, a far more friendly disposition to the children, and an infinite deal more of prudence, than are seen in the course which has been taken. Must not the youths have known that their father was living? Why was it, then, that when any other child of their acquaintance was reared up by his parent, they alone should be deprived of the tender care of a father ? Children reason more shrewdly than is commonly supposed. They must be told, they must find out one way or another that this parent has forfeited his natural rights, that he is deemed unworthy of the parental office, and that he is no longer deserving of that affection and respect which nature and religion alike require them to bestow on him.
“ Honour thy father,” utters the awful voice of Religion. “ Despise thy father,” proclaims the good Lord Chancellor's Dominie to the perplexed pupils, for can it be otherwise than upon the fullest understanding of the unworthiness of their father to associate with them, that children of any feeling would consent to remain separated from so dear a relation ? And when we hear Lord Eldon, who is re-echoed by the Solicitor-General, condescend to the mockery of recommending that “these new guardians, to whom the custody of the children is given, should cherish in them, to the utmost, a love and affection towards their father !” we cannot but feel amazed at an insult so cold and gratuitous. “Your father, my little fellows," must the pedagogue repeat, “is an arrant rascal, but your love and affection for your only parent must not abate on that account. He would teach you to be sure to lie, to drink, to become rakes and profligates; he would ruin you, in short, body and soul, if you were left in his power; but mind, you must cherish for him, nevertheless, the affection which is due to the best of fathers.” Why, what would any body suppose the result of such hypocrisy to be, but to open the young gentlemens' eyes, and to awake them to a sense of that premature independence which they could thenceforward enjoy? What is the actual fact in this case? We shall briefly offer a reply. For three years nearly after the order of separation had been pronounced, Mr.
Wellesley had not seen his children. Their education was superintended during this time by the Misses Long, of course by means of fitting instructors. We find that at the end of the term just mentioned, Mr. Wellesley is admitted to an interview with the young gentlemen. į "" He was grieved," he deposes in one of his affidavits, “ to learn that
they bad been placed low in the fourth form of the school, and that his eldest. son had been placed higher than he otherwise would have been, in order
that he might be on a par with his younger brother; and that although ** they had been nearly five years under Mr. Pitman, as their private tutor, * they had received repeated punishment for their inability, and would not be able to maintain even their present low position in the school; that his eldest son had been punished because he was unable to do his lessons, and to construe what he called • Long Ovid,' meaning, as this deponent believes, the Metamorphoses of that poet; and he also found, upon examination, that his said sons were almost ignorant of the rudiments of the
Latin language, and had nearly entirely forgotten the Italian and French .. languages, in both of which they had attained very considerable proficiency when they left him.”-pp. 63, 64.
Mr. Wellesley continues in a subsequent part of his affidavit, " Deponent was much surprised to hear his said sons (more especially the eldest) swear, and interlard his conversation with oaths; and this having been often repeated, he, this deponent, said, ' So, my dear, I find
you have not forgotten to swear: how is this? you swear worse than ever - you did when I was with you. To which his said son replied, • Oh!
every body swears here, masters, boys, and all :' upon which this deponent I asked what his aunts said to it, and he answered, “Oh! they jaw 11s ... sometimes.”—p. 65. do Can any thing be more shocking-at the same time, can any
thing be more natural and consistent than the results which are ? here disclosed ? Is it not evident, even from this scanty view of 1 the conduct of the young men, that they feel themselves released
from any moral obedience to any authority whatever : they may be flogged ; they may be degraded to a back form at Eton; but their evil propensities flourish, and their aspirations after pleasure acquire strength by their captivity. As a necessary consequence of their peculiar position, they are sought after by the contending parties as sources of evidence for each to support his views : one day they are sifted by Dr. Bulkeley, another they are examined by Mr. Wellesley. To the former, they are represented to state that they were advised by their father to drink, smoke, and do as they pleased, and that he did not care a d-n for the Chancellor; whilst Mr. Wellesley exhibits a document, the contents of which were taken down from the dictation of the children, and parts of which are in the following words :
“They lost, all of a sudden, not quite all my letters to them. At Brighton, persons dressed in white, like ghosts, used to come and search their drawers when they were in bed. They tied a horse to dry linen across
the room to their fingers, as they were in bed : the people fell over it. They believed these people used these means to ascertain if I had any correspondence with them. They got swords and armed themselves to attack these persons; the swords were always taken away every night.'-pp. 41, 42.
• Their aunts eat a great deal indeed, and drink too. William says they drink two bottles a day-one of port and one of sherry; and he thinks that pretty well for women!!!
• He says, when they write a common note, every second word is scratched out, and the dictionary constantly used; therefore they cannot be very clever.'-p. 42.
We do not, God knows, put these assertions on record with the view of dishonouring the reputation of the ladies who are thus so freely dealt with. The calm dignity with which they meet these degrading imputations, is one of the surest tests of their innocence. All we ask public attention to, is the degree of proficiency in the art of representation to which these candidates for manhood must have arrived, when, out of the very same transactions, they are able to furnish, (if the witnesses are to be believed,) materials that are thought useful on both sides of the question.
Deeply commiserating the lot of these youths, and scrupulously anxious to avoid a single word that may be calculated to prejudice them in the public mind, we yet ask this question : remaining beneath the paternal roof, subject to such disposition as their father, in obedience to the ordinary regulations of society must have made with respect to them, would those boys have been exposed in such a situation to a tithe of the corrupting influence, or to any thing like the unequal ordeal which “their youth suffered” since their removal from a parent's protection ? Say wbat we will, natural affcction will vindicate itself at last. Parents were made long before Chancellors, and it is not by the bye-laws of a presumptuous tribunal, that the pulsation of kind towards kind is to be ordered even in these days. Mr. Wellesley may entertain very objectionable notions about education, but our life on the event, if even his cunning would not, at last, convince him, that the best patrimony he could provide for his children, would be a merited good character. The crime of these Chancery proceedings against Mr. Wellesley is, that starting on an inhuman principle, they
endeavour to blacken human nature down to the degree that · will apparently justify them in the application of this principle :
they show no mercy to an erring mortal; all refuge for the penitent sinner is cut off, and that pathetic lamentation, such as a Rachel once sent forth for her children because they were not, is denounced as the language of disrespectful importunity, and made the pretext for perpetuating the very grievance which is sought to be removed.
From all that we have now said, the reader will be able to infer our opinion as to where the real strength of Mr. Wellesley's case