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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces part of
A Late Stuart Pretender

by George Sherburn

published by
The University of Chicago Press

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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 p131  Appendix I

"The Case of X against Y"

[This document, in Roehenstart's hand, was drawn up ostensibly so that he might have legal advice about going to law in order to recover his papers. As he drew the document he used the following cipher in order to conceal the names of persons involved:

X is Roehenstart
Y is the second Mrs. Coutts, widow of Thomas Coutts
A is Prince Charles Edward
B is Clementine Walkinshaw
C is Charlotte, Duchess of Albany
D is Roehenstart's fictitious Protestant father
E is Thomas Coutts, the banker

To facilitate reading the names have been inserted in place of these initials.]

In the following hasty sketch of a very intricate Case, it is necessary to enter into some previous explanation to convey, if possible, a full idea of the nature of the claim which Roehenstart has against Mrs. Coutts, and which he proposes to bring before a Court of Law.

Prince Charles Edward, a Roman Catholic of exalted rank, married Clementine Walkinshaw, who on this account changed her religion. There was issue a daughter Charlotte, who has been generally thought to be illegitimate, because the marriage of her parents was kept secret. No one took the trouble of contradicting this report, but she inherited her father's property, in spite of the artful designs of her paternal Uncle, who wanted to appropriate it to himself: — this circumstance and the Register of the marriage of Prince Charles and Clementine give the most decided denial to the erroneous supposition respecting the validity of the marriage, and settle the question at once.

It is also necessary to state that from the very peculiar and extraordinary situation of all the parties, the history of this family has been shrouded by a thick veil, which circumstances rendered imperious. This explains the cause of  p132 that mystery and reserve with which Roehenstart has always spoken on this subject, when obliged unwillingly to allude to it.

Charlotte was married to Roehenstart senior: — they had a son Charles, who was to be brought up in the Roman Catholic Religion; but at the death of Prince Charles, Roehenstart senior, who was a Protestant, immediately changed the plan, which, he had been compelled to adopt, in compliance with the wishes of his wife's family, and caused his son to be instructed in the Protestant Religion, which he has always professed. This sudden change incensed Clementine, and a total rupture between them was the consequence.

Clementine, who was residing on the continent at the time of the war which sprung up from the French Revolution, forwarded to Thomas Coutts, her private friend, in London, a Tin Box containing papers of the utmost importance to Roehenstart.

Clementine died at Fribourg, in Switzerland, when Roehenstart was in the Russian Army, and which of course prevented his going to a Country which was then under the control of France; but directly after the peace he hurried to Fribourg, and claimed and retrieved from her Executor, the property &c &c left by Clementine.

He then came over to England and saw Coutts, who was a Gentleman of great fortune, and had married a second wife.

Roehenstart was kindly received, and was in the habit of visiting and dining with them frequently. He made application to Coutts for the recovery of the Tin Box, the contents of which were of such great importance to him.

Coutts at first denied that he had ever received such a deposit, but Roehenstart brought to his recollection some circumstances referring to it, and shewed him besides a paper which mentioned that it had been forwarded to England to his care by Clementine.

Coutts then said that he had some confused idea that he had in fact received it, but he could not tell what had become of it.

Roehenstart explained his anxiety to one of Coutts's daughters, by his first marriage, who had been intimate with Clementine, and who was living at Coutts's house with her three daughters: — he told her in what an unfortunate situation he was placed by the loss of those papers, and how earnestly he wished to recover them.

Those four Ladies most kindly undertook to search for the Box amongst a great quantity of chests and trunks in the upper rooms of the house, and Roehenstart assisted them.

Mrs. Coutts went at the same time to the other house in Town, where Mr. Coutts's large concern was carried on, and she had the goodness to say to Roehenstart that she would make the strictest research in order to satisfy him.

At length Mrs. Coutts said the Box had been found in the latter house, and she appointed one of her husband's Clerks to look over a parcel of papers in conjunction with Roehenstart.

But Roehenstart most solemnly declares that the Box was not produced or  p133 shown to him. The only thing he saw was the before mentioned parcel of papers, and which were said by Mrs. Coutts to have been extracted from the Tin Box in question.

Unfortunately for him, those papers proved to be insignificant letters relating to various correspondences, but nothing was found which could in the least serve or interest Roehenstart.

Coutts is since dead, and his widow enjoys his fortune. — The widow who formerly had been all kindness to Roehenstart at once changed her manners towards him, without his having given her the slightest cause, and behaved even with rudeness to him, consequently he has not, for a long time, seen her, or any of the other members of the Family.

Roehenstart now confidently states that those papers which he claimed from Coutts were not only of the utmost importance to him, but would have been the means of his actually recovering various large sums of money &c. which had been reserved by Prince Charles Edward as a separate provision for him, and sent to that effect to the charge of his Grandmother, Clementine.

The sealed up Tin Box containing them, which was at first denied, Roehenstart has never seen, altho' some of its contents were shown to him.

Roehenstart is unwilling to draw an uncharitable inference, but justice obliges him to do so, well knowing that Coutts raised himself to great wealth partly through the means of Roehenstart's Grand father [Prince Charles].

Roehenstart is desirous of ascertaining whether measures can not be adopted to compel Mrs. Coutts to make him some indemnification for the great injury, and severe pecuniary loss he has sustained from having been deprived of these valuable documents, and he is confident that Mr. Coutts's wife and her three daughters, would all acknowledge that their father said in their presence, that he had received the Box, which declaration, with Roehenstart's entreaties, induced them to occupy two whole days in searching for it.

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Page updated: 10 Apr 17