Military Galantry – or The Soldiers cowardly retreat to save his Bacon; at the expence of his fair Inamorata.

Tags: Williams .
Military Galantry – or The Soldiers cowardly retreat to save his Bacon; at the expence of his fair Inamorata.
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A scene by the side of the road between two signposts, one pointing To Cheltenham and the other To Gloucester. A handsome, well dressed woman kneels in the road, her elegant bonnet lying in the dust beside her. She holds out her hands imploringly, grasping his sash, to a tall soldier, wearing military uniform and a cocked hat, who pulls away from her and holds up a banner inscribed Letters to amuse the Public expose the Writer and save my Pocket. A bunch of love letters (heavily overscored and crossed out) is nailed to the banner shaft. In the background on the left a stagecoach (inscribed Waterhouse & Co) drives past, its coachman and passengers commenting disapprovingly on the scene. The lady is Mrs Waterhouse, wife of a stagecoach proprietor of Lad Lane, London, and the soldier is Colonel William Fitzhardinge Berkeley (1786-1857), eldest son of the 5th Earl of Berkeley, born before his father’s marriage. Berkeley (whose scandalous career had long been notorious) and Mrs Waterhouse had become lovers some years previously. In 1821 he wished to part from her, threatening to publish her love letters (thus ruining her reputation) to him in order to save himself the expense of settling money on her.
Berkeley’s father the 5th Earl, Frederick Augustus, was a minor at his father's death, succeeding in June 1766. He married Mary, daughter of William Cole, at Lambeth, 16 May 1796, a previous marriage having, it was alleged, been celebrated between them at Berkeley by the vicar of the parish on 30th March 1785. This alleged ceremony was, however, kept secret until after the Lambeth marriage, the lady being known between the two dates as Miss Tudor. The Earl died in 1810, and his son who was then M.P. for the county of Gloucester, applied to inherit as 6th Earl. In March 1811 the committee of privileges decided that the Berkeley marriage was ‘not then proved,’ and William's claim was refused. Colonel William Berkeley received the castle of Berkeley and the other estates of the late Earl by will, and on 2nd July, after the adverse decision of the lords' committee, claimed a writ of summons as baron, pleading his right as possessor of the castle. The claim was fully laid before the committee of privileges 1828-9, but again failed. Berkeley was eventually created Baron Segrave in 1831 and Earl Fitzhardinge in 1841. BM 14274.