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there are of most unimpeachable reputation, of most unsullied and unsuspected honour, character, and virtue, whose conduct, though living happily with their husbands, if submitted to the judgment of persons of a severer cast of mind, especially if saddened, at the moment, by calamity, might be styled to be “ flirting." I would not, however, be understood as intending to represent Mrs. Lisle's judgment as being likely to be marked with any improper austerity, and therefore I am certaju she must either have had no idea that the expressions she has used, in the mapuer which she used them, were incapable of being understood, in so serious a light as to be referred to, amongst circumstances deserving the most serious cousideration, and which must occasion most unfavourable interpretations; or she must by the imposing novelty of her situation, in private examination before four such grave characters, have been surprised into the use of expressions, which, with a better opportunity of weighing them, she could either not have used at all, or have accompanied with still more of qualification than that, which she has, however, iv some degree, as it is, annexed to them.
But my great complaint is the having, not particularly, Mrs. Lisle's opinion, but any person's opinion, set up, as it were, in judgment against the propriety of my private conduct. How would it'e endured, that the judgment of one man should be asked, and recorded in a solemn Report, against the conduct of another, either with respect to bis behaviour to his children, or to his wife, or to any other relative? How would it be endured, in general, and I trust, that my case ought not, in this respect, to form an exception, that one woman should in a similar manner be placed in judgment upon the conduct of another. And that judgment be reported, where her character was of most importance to her, as amongst things which must be credited till decidedly contradicted? Let every one put these questions home to their own breasts, and before they iinpute blame to me, for protesting against the fairness and justness of this procedure, ask how they would feel upon it, if it were their own case ?
But, perhaps, they cannot bring their imaginations to conceive that it could ever become their own case. A few months ago I could not have believed that it would have been mine.
But the just ground of my complaint may, perhaps, be more easily appreciated and "felt, by supposing a more familiar, but an analogous case. The High Treason, with which I was charged, was supposed to be committed in the foul crime of adultery. What would be the impression of your Majesty, what would be the impressiou upon the mind of any one, acquainted with the excellent laws of your Majesty's kingdom, and the admirable administration of them, if upon a Commission of this kind, secretly to inquire into the conduct of any man, upon a charge of High Treason against the state, the Commissioners should not only proceed to inquire whether, in the judgment of the, witness, the conduct of the accused was such as became a loyal subject; but, when the result of their Inquiry obliged them to report directly against the charge of treason, they, nevertheless, should record an imputation, or libel, against his character for loyalty, and reporting, as part of the evidence, the opinion of the wituiess, that the conduct of the accused was such as did not become a loyal subject, should further reporty that the evidence of that witness, without specifying any part of it, must be credited till decidedly contradicted, and deserved the most serious consideration? How could he appeal from that Report? How could he decidedly contradict the opinion of the witness ? Sire, there is no difference between this sapposed case ayd mine but this :that, in the case of the man, a character for loyalty, however injured, could not be destroyed by such an insinuation_his future life might give him abundant opportani. ties of falsifying the justice of it; but a female character, once so blasted, what hope or chance has it of recovery?
Your Majesty will not fail to perceive, that I have pressed this part of the case with an earnestuess, which shews that I have felt it. I have no wish to disguise from your Majesty, that I have felt it, and felt it strongly. It is the only part of the case, which I conceive to be in the least degree agaivst me, that rests upon a witness who is at all worthy of your Majesty's credit. How unfair it is, that any thiug she has said should have pressed against me, I trust I bave sufficiently shewn. In canvassing, however, Mrs. Lisle's evidence, I hope I have never forgot what was due to Mrs. Lisle. I have been as anxious not to do her injustice, as to do justice to myself. I retain the same respect and regard for Mrs. Lisle now, as I ever had. If the unfavourable impressions, which the Commisioners seem to suppose, fairly arise out of the expressions she has used, I am confident they will be understood in a sense which was never intended by her. And I should scorn to purchase any advantage to myself, at the expence of the slightest imputation, unjustly cast upon Mrs. Lisle, or any one else.
Leaving, therefore, with these observations, Mrs. Lisle's evidence, I must proceed to the evidence of Mr. Bidgood. The parts of it which apply to this part of the case, I mean my conduct to Captain Marby at Montague-house, I shall detail. They are as follow.* “ I first observed Captain Manby came to Montague-house either the end of 1803, or the beginning of 1804. I was waiting one day in the anti-room; Captain Manby had bis hat in his hand, and appeared to be going away; he was a long time with the Princess, and, as I stood on the steps waiting, I looked into the room in which they were, and in the reflection on the looking-glass I saw them salute each other, I mean that they kissed each other's lips. Captain Manby then went away. I then observed the Princess have her handkerchief in her hands, and wipe her eyes, as if she was cryiug, and went into the drawing-room.” In his second deposition, t on the 3d July, talking of his suspicions of what passed at Southend, he says, " they arose from seeing them kiss each other, as I mentioned before, like people fond of each other ;--a very close kiss."
In these extracts from his depositions, there can undoubtedly be no complaint of any thing left to inference. . Here is a fact, which must unquestionably occasion almost as unfavourable interpretations as any fact of the greatest impropriety and decorum, -short of the proof of actual crime. And this fact is positively and affirmatively sworn to. And if this witness is truly represented, as one who must be credited till he is decidedly contradicted; and the decided contradiction of the parties accused, should be considered as unavailing, it constitutes a charge which cannot possibly be answered. For the scene is so laid, that there is no eye to witness it, but its own; and therefore there can be vo one who can possibly contradict him, however false his story may be, but the persons whom he accused. As for me, Sire, there is no mode, the most solemn that can be devised, in which I shall not be anxious and happy to contradict it. And I do bere most solemuly, in the face of Heaven, most directly and positively affirna, that it is as foul, malicious, and wicked a falsehood, as ever was invented by the malice of man. Captain Manby, to whom I have been under the necessity of applying for that purpose, in the deposition which I annex most expressly and positively devics it also. Beyond these our two denials, there is nothing which can by possibility be directly opposed to Mr. Bidgood's evidence.---All that remajas to be done is to examine Mr. Bidgood's credit, and see how far he deserves the character which the Commissioners give to him.--How unfoundedly they gave such a character to Mr. Cole, your Majesty, I am satisfied, must be fully conviuced.
I suppose there must be some mistake, I will not call it by any harsher name, for I think it can be uo more than a mistake, in Mr. Bidgood's saying, that the first time he
knew Captain Manby come to Montague-house was at the end of 1803, or beginning of 1804 ; for he first came at the end of the former year;* and the fact is, that Mr. Bidgood must have seen him then.-But, however, the date is comparatively immaterial, the faet it is, taat is important. And here, Sire, surely I have the same complaint which I have so often urged.
I would ask your Majesty, whether I, not as a Princess of Wales, but as a party accused, had not a right to be thought, and to be presumed innocent, till I was proved to be guilty? Let me ask if there ever could exist a case, in which the credit of the witness ought to have been more severely sifted and tried ? The fact rested solely upon his single assertion. Howerer false, it could not possibly receive contradiction, but from the parties. The story itself surely is not very probable. My character cannot be considered as under inquiry; it is already gone, and decided upon, by those, if there are any such, who think such a story probable. That in a room, with the door open, and a servant known to be waiting just by, we should have acted such a scene of gross indecency. The indiscretion at least might have rendered it improbable, even to those whose prejudices against me might be prepared to conceive nothing improbable in the indecency of it. Yet this seems to have been received as a fact that there was no reason to question. The witness is assumed, without hesitation, to be the witness of truth, of unquestionable veracity. Not the faintest trace is there to be found of a single question put to him, to try and sift the credit which was due to him, or to his story.
Is he asked, as I'suggested before should have been done with regard to Mr. Colem to whom he told this fact before? When he told it? What was done in consequence of this information? If he never told it, till for the purpose of supporting Lady Douglas's statement, how could he in his situation, as an old servant of the Prince, with whom as he swears, he had lived twenty-three years, creditably to himself, account for having concealed it so long? And how came Lady Douglas and Sir John to find out that he knew it, if he never had communicated it before! If he had communicated it, it would then have been useful to have heard how far his present story was consistent with his former; and if it should have happened that this and other matters, which he may have stated, were at that time, made the subject of any Inquiry; then how far that Inquiry has tended to confirm or shake his credit. His first examination was, it is true, taken by Lord Grenville and Lord Spencer alone, without the aid of the experience of the Lord Chancellor, and Lord Chief Justice ; this undoubtedly may account for the omission ; but the noble Lords will forgive me if I say, it does not excuse it, especially as Mr, Bidgood was examined again on the 3d of July, by all the Commissioners, and this faet is again referred to them, as the foundation of the s!ispicion which he afterwards entertained of Captain Manby at Southend. Nay, that last deposition affords on my part, another ground of similar complaint of the strongest kind. It opens thus: Princess used to go out in her phaeton with coachman and helper, towards Long Reach, eight or len times, carrying luncheon and wine with her, when Captain Manby's ship was at Long Reach, always Mrs. Fitzgerald with her. She would go out at one, and return about five or six o'clock, sometimes sooner or later."
The date when Captain Manby's ship was lying at Loug Reach, is not given; and therefore whether this was before or after the scene of the supposed salute does not appear. But for what was this statement of Mr. Bidgood's made ? Why was it in troduced? Why were these drives to Long Reach with luncheon, 'connected with Captain Manby's ship lying there at the time, examined into by the Commissioners? The first point, the matter foremost in their minds, when they called back this wituess for his
re-examination, appears to have been these drives towards Long Reach.-Can it have been for any purpose but to have the benefit of the insinuation, to leave it open to be inferred, that those drives were for the purpose of meeting Captain Manby? If this fact was material, why in the name of justice was it so left? Mrs. Fitzgerald was mentioned by name, as accompanying me in them all; Why was not she called? She perhaps was my confidante; no truth could have been hoped for from him ;--still there were my coachman and helper, who likewise accompanied me; Why were they not called ? they are not surely confidantes too. But it is, for what reason I cannot pretend to say, thought sufficient to leave this fact, or rather this insinuation, upon the evidence of Mr. Bidgood, who only saw, or could see, the way I went when I set out upon my drive, instead of having the fact from the persons who could speak to the whole of it; to the places I went to; to the persons whom I met with,
Your Majesty will think me justified in dwelling upon this, the more from this cir. cumstance, because I know, and will shew to your Majesty, on the testimony of Jonathan Partridge, which I annex, that these drives, or at least one of them, have been already the object of previous, and, I believe, nearly cotemporary investigation. The truth is, that it did happen upon two of these drives that I met with Captain Manby; IN ONE of them that he joined me, and went with me to Lord Eardley's, at Belvidere, and that he partook of something which we had to eat; that some of Lord Eardley's servants were examined as to my conduct upon this occasion; and I am confidently informed that the servants gave a most satisfactory account of all that passed; nay, that they felt, and have expresscd some honest indignation at the foul suspicion which the examination implied. On the other occasion, having the boys to go on board the Afric caine, I went with one of my Ladies to see them on board, aud Captain Manby joined us in our walk round Mr. Calcraft's grounds at Ingress Park, opposite to Long Reach, where we walked, while my horses were baiting. We went into wo house, and on that oceasion had nothing to eat.
Perfectly unable to account why these facts were not more fully inquired into, if thought proper to be inquired into at all, I return again to Mr. Bidgood's evidence. As far as it respects my conduct at Montague-house, it is confined to the circumstances which I have already mentioned. And, upon those circumstances, I have to further observation, which may tend to illustrate Mr. Bidgood's credit, to cffer. But I trust if, from other parts of his evidence, your Majesty sees traces of the strongest prejudices against me, and the most scandalous inferences drawn from circumstances, which can ir no degree support them, your Majesty will then be able justly to appreciate the credit due to every part of Mr. Bidgood's evidence.
Under the other head, into which I have divided this part of the case, I mean my conduct at Southend, as relative to Captain Mauby, Mr. Bidgood is more substantial and particular.* His statement ou this head begins by shewing that I was at Southend about six weeks before the Africaine, Captain Manby's ship, arrived; that Mr. Sicard was looking out for its arrival, as if she was expected ; and, as it is my practice to require as constart a correspondence to be kept up with my charity boys, wheu on board of ship, as the nature of their situation will admit of, and as Mr. Sicard is the persou who manages all matters concerning them, and enters into their interests with the most friendly anxiety, he certainly was apprised of the probability of the ship's arrival off Southend before she came. And here I may as well, perhaps, by the way, remark, that as this correspondence with the boys is always under cover to the Captain, this circumstance may account to your Majesty for the fact, which is stated by
* See Appendix (A.)
some of the witnesses, of several letters being put into the post by Sicard, some of which he may have received from me, which were directed to Captain Manby.
Soon after the arrival of the Africaine, however, Bidgood says, the Captain put off in his boat. Sicard went to meet hiin, and immediately brought him up to me and my Ladies; he dined there then, and came frequently to see me. It would have been as candid if Mr. Bidgood had represented the fact as it really was, though, perhaps, the (circumstance is not very material :-that the Captain brought the two boys on shore with him to see me, and this, as well as many other circumstances connected with these boys, the existence of whom, as accounting in any degree for the intercourse between me and Captain Manby, could never have been collected from out of Bidgood's depositions, Sicard would have stated, if the Commissioners had examined him to it.
But though he is thus referred to, though his name is mentioned about the letters seut to Captain Manby, he does not appear to have been examined to any of them, and all
that he appears to have been asked is, as to his remembering Captain Mauby visiting at Montague-house, and to my paying the expence of the linen furniture for his cabin. But Mr. Sicard was, I suppose, represented by my enemies to be a confidaut, from whom no truth could be extracted, and therefore that it was idle waste of time to examine him to such points; and so unquestionably he, and every other honest servant in * my family, who could be supposed to know any thing upon the subject, were sure to be represented by those, whose conspiracy aud falsehood, their honesty and truth were the best means of detecting. The conspirators, however, had the first word, and, un-fortunately, their veracity was not questioned, nor their unfavourable bias suspected.
Mr. Bidgood then proceeds to state the situation of the houses, two of which, with a part of a third, I had at Southend. He describes No. 9, as the house in which I slept; No 8, as that in which we dined; and No. 7, as containing a drawing-room, to which we retired after dinner. And he says, “ I have several times seen the Princess, after having gone to No. 7, with Captain Manby, 'and the rest of the company, retire with Captain Manby from No. 7, through No. 8, to No. 9, which was the house where the Princess slept. I suspect that Captain Manby slept very frequently in the house. Hints were given by the servants, and I believe that others suspected it as well as myself."-_What those hints were, by what servants given, are things which do not seen to have been thought necessary matters of inquiry; at least there is no trace in Mr. Bidgood's, or any other witness's examination, of any such inquiry having been made.
In his second deposition, which applies to the same fact, after saying that we went away the day after the Africaine sailed from Southend, he says, “Captaiu Manby was there three times a week at the least, whilst his ship lay for six weeks off Southend, at the Nore; he came as tide served in a morning, and to dine, and drink tea. I have seen him next morning by ten o'clock. I suspected he slept at No. 9, the Princess's. She always put ont the candles herself in the drawing-room at No. 9, and bid me not wait to put them up. She gave me the orders as soon as she went to Southend. I used to see water jugs, basons, and towels, set out opposite the Princess's door in the passage. Never saw them so lest in the passage at any other time, and I suspected he was there at that time; there was a general suspicion through the house. Mrs. and Miss Fitzgerald there, and Miss Hammond (now Mrs. Hood) there. My suspicions arose from seeing them in the glass, &c. as mentioned before. “ Her behaviour like that of a woman attached to a man; used to be by themselves at luncheon, at Southend, when the ladies were not sent for, a number of times. There was a poney which Captain Manby used to ride; it stood in the stable ready for him, and which Sicard used to ride." Then, he says, the servants used to talk aud laugh about Captain Mauby, and that it was matter of discourse amongst them; and this, with what has been alluded to