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themselves of the true value of Sir Johu and Lady Douglas's oaths, and therefore did not think it worth while to ask them any further questions.
His Royal Highoess the Duke of Kent, as appears by his narrative, * was convinced, by Sir Sidney Smith, that these letters came from me. His Royal Highness had been applied to by me, in consequence of my having received a formal note from Sir John, Lady Douglas, and Sir Sidney Smith, requesting an audience inmediately; this was soon after my having desired to see no more of Lady Douglas. I conceived, therefore, the audience was required for the purpose of remoustrance, and explanation upon this circumstance, and as I was determined not to alter my resolution, nor admit of any discussion upon it, I requested his Royal Highness, who happened to be acquainted with Sir Sidney Smith, to try to prevent my having any further trouble upon the subject. His Royal Highness saw Sir Sidney Smith, and being impressed by him with the belief of Lady Douglas's story, that I was the author of these anonymous letters, he did that which naturally became him, under such belief; he endeavoured, for the peace of your Majesty, and the honour of the Royal Family, to keep from the knowledge of the world, what, if it had been true, would have justly reflected such infinite disgrace upon me; and it seems, from the narrative, that he procured through Sir Sidney Smith, Sir John Douglas's assurance that he would, under existing circumstances, remain quiet, if left unmolested. “ This result (his Royal Highness says) he communicated to me the following day, and I seemed satisfied with it. And undoubtedly, as he only communicated the result to me, I could not be otherwise than satisfied; for as all that I wanted was, not to be obliged to see Sir John and Lady Douglas, and not to be troubled with them any more, the result of his Royal Highness's interference through Sir Sidney Smith, was to procure me all that I wanted. I do not wonder that his Royal Highness did not mention to me the particulars of these infamous letters and drawings which were ascribed to me; for as long as he believed they were mine, undoubtedly it was a subject which he must have wished to avoid ; but I lament, as it happens, that he did not, as I should have satisfied him, as far at least as any asssertions of mine could have satisfied him, by declaring to him, as I do now most solemnly, that the letter is not mine, and that'I know nothing whatever of the contents of it, or of the other papers ; aud, I trust, his Royal Highness, and every one else who may have taken up any false impression concerning them to my prejudice, from the assertion of Sir John and Lady Douglas, will, upon my assertion, and the evidence of Lord Cholmondeley, remove from their minds this calumnious falsehood, which, with many others, the malice of Sir John and Lady Douglas has endeavoured to fasten upon me.
To all these papers Lady Douglas states, in her Declaration, that, not only lierself and Sir Jolin Douglas, but Sir Sidney Smith, would have no hesitation in swearing to be in my hand-writing.-What says Lord Cholmondeley ? |--" that he is perfectly acquainted with my manner of writing. Letter A. is not of my hand-writing; that the two papers marked B. appear to be wrote in a disguised hand; that some of the letters iu them remarkably resemble mine, but, because of the disguise, he cannot say whether they are or not, as to the cover marked C. he did not see the same resemblance.” Of these four papers (all of which are stated by Lady Douglas to be so clearly and plainly mine, that there can be no hesitation upon the subject), two bear no resemblance to it, and although the other two, written in a disguised hand, have some letters remarkably resembling mine, yet, I trust, I shall not, upon such evi.
* Appendix (B.)
+ Appendix (A.)
dence, be subjected to so base an imputation; and really, Sire, I know not how to account for the Commissioners examining and reporting upon this subject in this
For I understand from Mrs. Fitzgerald, that these drawings were produced by the Commissioners to her; and that she was examined as to her knowledge of them, and as to the hand writing upon them; that she was satisfied and swore that they were not my haud-writing, and that she knew nothing of them, and did not believe they could possibly come from any lady in my house. She was shewn the seal also, which Lady Douglas, iv her Declaration), says, was “the identical one with wbich I had summoned Sir Johu Douglas to luncheon.” To this seal, though it so much resembled one that belonged to herself, as to make her hesitate till she had particularly observed it ; she was at last as positive as to the hand-writing; and having expressed herself with some feeling and indig. nation at the supposition, that either I, herself, or any of my ladies, could be guilty of so foul a transaction, the Commissioners tell her, they were satisfied, and believed her; and there is not one word of all this related in her examination. Now, if their Lordships were satisfied from this, or any other circumstance, that these letters were not my writing, and did uot come from me, I can account for their not preserving any trace of Mrs. Fitzgerald's evidence on this point, and leaving it out of their Inquiry altogether ;: but, if they thought proper to preserve any evidence upon it, to make it the subject of any examination, surely they should not have left it on Lord Cholmondeley alone; but I ought to have had the benefit of Mrs. Fitzgerald's evidence also. But, as I said before, they take no notice of her evidence; way, they finish the Report, they execute it according to the date it bears, upon the 14th of July, and it is not until two days after. wards, namely, on the 16th, that they examine Lord Cholmondeley to the handwriting with what view and for what purpose, I cannot even surmise: but with whatever view, and for whatever purpose, if these letters are at all to be alluded to in their Report, or the examinatious accompanying it, surely I ought to have had the benefit of the other evidence, which disproved my connection with them.
I bave now, Sire, gone through all the matters contained in the examination, on which I think it, in any degree, necessary to trouble your Majesty with any observa. tions.-For as to the examination of Mrs. Townley the washerwoman, if it applies at all, it must have been intended to lave afforded evidence of my pregnancy and miscarriage. And whether the circumstance she speaks to was occasioned by my having beeu bled with leeches, or whether an actual miscarriage did take place in my family, and by some means linen belonging to me was procured and used upon the occasion; or to whatever other circumstance it is to be ascribed, after the manner, in which the Commissioners have expressed their opinion, on the part of the case respecting my supposed pregnancy, and after the evidence on which they formed their opinion, I do not conceive myself called upon to say any thiug upon it; or that any thing I could say could be more satisfactory than repeating the opinion of the Commissioners, as stated in their Report, viz.--" That nothing had appeared to them which would warrant the belief that I was pregnant in that year (1802), or at any other period within the compass of their Inquiries-that they would not be warranted in expressing any doubt respecting the alledged pregnancy of the Princess, as stated in the original declarations, a fact so fully coutradicted, and by so niany wituesses to whom, if true, it must in various ways have been known, that we cannot think it entitled to the smallest credit.
There are indeed some other matters mentioned in the original declarations, which I might have found it necessary to observe upon; but as the Commissioners do not appear to have entered into any examination with respect to them, I content myself
with thinking that they had found the means of satisfying themselves of the utter falsehood of those particulars, and therefore that they can require no contradiction or observation from me.
On the declarations, therefore, and the evidence, I have nothing further to remark And couscious of the length at which I have trespassed on your Majesty's pa. tience, I will forbear to. waste your time by any endeavour to recapitulate what I -have said. Some few observations, however, before I conclude, I must hope to be permitted to subjoin.
In many of the observations which I have made, your Majesty will observe that I have noticed what have appeared to me to be great omissions on the part of the Commissioners, in the manner of taking their examinations; in forbearing to put any questions to the witnesses, in the nature of a cross-examination of them ;-to confront them with each other; and to call other witnesses, whose testimony must either have confirmed or falsified, in important particulars, the examinations as they have taken them, It may perhaps occur, in consequence of such observations, that I am desirous that this Luquiry should be opened again ; that the Commissioners should recommence their labours, and that they should proceed to supply the defects in their previous examina. tions, by a fuller execution of their duty. I therefore think it necessary, most distinctly and emphatically to state, that I have no such meaning; and whatever may be the risk that I may incur of being charged with betraying a consciousness of guilt, by thus flying from an extension or repetition of this Inquiry, I must distinctly state, that so far from requesting the revival of it, I humbly request your Majesty would be graci. ously pleased to understand me as remonstrating, and protesting against it, in the strongest and most solemu manner in my power.
I am yet to learn the legality of such a Commission to inquire, even in the case of High Treason, or any other crime known to the laws of the country. If it is lawful in the case of High Treason, supposed to be committed by me, surely it must be lawful also in the case of High Treason supposed to be committed by other subjects of your Majesty.
That there is much objection to it, in reason and principle, my understanding assures me. That such Inquiries, carried on upon ex parte examination, and a Report of the result by persons of high authority, may, nay must, have a tendency to prejudice the character of the parties who are exposed to them, and thereby influence the further proceedings in their case ;--that are calculated to keep back from notice, and in security, the person of a false accuser, and to leave the accused in the predicament of neither being able to look forward for protection to an acquittal of himself, nor for redress to the conviction of his accuser.-That these and many other objections occur to such a mode of proceeding, in the case of a crime known to the laws of this country, appears to be quite obvious.--But if Commissioners acting under such a power, or your Majesty's Privy Council, or any regular Magistrates, when they have satisfied themselves of the falsehood of the principal charge, and the absence of all legal and substantive offence, are to be considered as empowered to proceed in the examination of the particulars of private life; to report upon the proprieties of domestic conduct, and the decorums of private behaviour, and to pronounce their opinion against the party, upon the evidence of dissatisfied servants, whose veracity they are told to hold up as unimpeachable, and to do this without permitting the persons whose conduct is inquired into to suggest one word in explauation or contradiction of the matter with which they are charged ; it would, I submit to your Majesty, prove such an attack upon the security and confi. dence of domestic life, such a means of recording, under the sanction of great names and high authority, the most malicious, and foulest imputations, that no character could
“ THE BOOK," CONTAINING THE INQUIRY
possibly be secure; and would do more to break in upon and undermine the happiness and comfort of life, than any proceeding which could be imagined.
The public in general perhaps may feel not much interest in the establishment of such a precedent in my case. They may think it to be a course of proceeding scarcely applicable to any private subject ; yet, if once such a court of honour, of decency, and of manners, was established, many subjects might occur to which it might be thought advisable to extend its jurisdiction, beyond the instance of a Princess of Wales. But should it be intended to be confined to me, your Majesty, I trust, will not be surprised to find that it does not reconcile me the better to it, should I learn myself to be the single instance in your kingdom, who is exposed to the scrutiny of so severe and formi. . dable a tribunal. So far therefore from giving that sanction or consent to any fresh inquiry, upon similar principles, which I should seem to do, by requiring the renewal of these examinations, I must protest against it; protest against the nature of the proceeding, because its result cannot be fair. I must protest, as long at least as it remains doubtful, against the legality of what has already passed, as well as against the legality of its repetition. If the course be legal, I must submit to the laws, however severe they may be. But I trust new law is not to be found out, and applied to my case. If I am guilty of crime, I know I am ameuable, I am most contented to continue so, to the impartial laws of your Majesty's kingdom; and I fear no charge brought against me, in open day, under the public eye, before the known tribunals of the country, administering justice under those impartial and enlightened laws. But secret tribunals, created for the first time for me, to form and pronounce opinions upon my conduct, without hearing me ; to record, in the evidence of the witnesses which they report, im. putations against my character upon er-parte examinations,-till I am better reconciled to the justice of their proceedings, I cannot fail to fear. And till I am better informed as to their legality, I. caunot fail in duty to my dearest interests, most solemnly to reinonstrate and to protest against them.
If such 'tribunals as these are called into action against me, by the false charges of friends turned enemies, of servants turned traitors, and acting as spies; by the foul con. spiracy of such social and domestic treason, I can look to no security to my honour in the most spotless and most cautious innocence.
By the contradiction and denial which iu this case I have been enabled to procure, of the most important facts which have been sworn against me by Mr. Cole and Mr. Bid. good ;-by the observations, and the reasonings, which I have addressed to your Majesty, I am coufident, that to those whose sense of justice will lead them to wade through this long detail, I shall have removed the impressions which have been raised against me. But how am I to insure a patient attention to all this statement? How many will hear that the Lord High Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, the First Lord of the Treasury, and one of your Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, have reported against me, upon evidence which they have declared to be unbiassed and unquestionable; who will never have the opportunity, or if they had the opportunity, might not have the inclination, to correct the error of that Report, by the examination of my statement.
I feel, therefore, that by this proceeding, my character has received essential injury.-For a Princess of Wales to have been placed in a situation, in which it was essential to her hovour to request one gentleman to swear, that he was not locked up at midnight in a room with her alone; and another, that he did not give her a lascivious salute, and never slept in her house, is to have been actually degraded and disgraced.--I have been, Sire, placed in this situation, I bave been cruelly, yöur Majesty will permit me to say so, cruelly degraded into the necessity of making such requests. A necessity which i
never could have been exposed to, even under this Inquiry, if more attention had been given to the examination of these malicious charges, and of the evidence ou which they rest.
Much solicitude is felt, and justly so, as connected with this Inquiry, for the honour of your Majesty's illustrious family. But surely a true regard to that honour should have restrained those who really felt for it, from casting such severe reflections on the character and virtue of the Princess of Wales.
If, indeed, after the most diligent and anxious inquiry, penetrating into every circumstance, connected with the charge, searching every source from which information could be derived, and scrutinizing with all that acuteness, into the credit and character of the witnesses, which great experience, talent, and intelligence could bring to such a subject; and, above all, if after giving me some opportunity of being heard, the force of truth had, at length, compelled any persons to form, as reluctantly, and as unwillingly as they would, against their own daughters, the opinion that has been pronounced; no regard, unquestionably, to my honour and character, nor to that of your Majesty's family, as, in some degree, involved in mine, could have justified the suppression of that opinion, if legally called for in the course of official and public duty. Whether such caution and reluctance are really manifest in these proceedings, I must leave to less partial judgments than my own to determine.
In the full examination of these proceedings, which justice to my own character has required of me, I have been compelled to make many observations, which, I fear, 'may prove'offensive to persons in high power-Your Majesty will easily believe, when I solemnly assure you, that I have been deeply sorry to yield to the necessity of so doing. This proceeding manifests that I have enemies enough ; I could not wish unnecessarily to increase their number, or their weight. I trust, however, I have done it. I know it has been my purpose to do it, in a manner as little offensive as the justice due to myself would allow of; but I have felt that I have been deeply injured ; that I have had much to complain of; and that my silence now would not be taken for forbearance, but would be ascribed to me as a confession of guilt. The Report itself announced to me, that these things, which had been spoken to by the witnesses, “ great improprieties and indecencies of conduct,” “ vecessarily occasioning most unfavourable interpretations, and deserving the most serious consideration," " must be credited till decidedly contradicted." The most satisfactory disproof of these circumstances (as the contradiction of the accused is always received with caution and distrust). rested in the proof of the foul malice and falsehood of my accusers and their witnesses. The Report announced to your Majesty that those witnesses, whom I felt to be foul confederates in a base conspiracy against me, were not to be suspected of unfavourable bias, and their veracity, in the judgment of the Commissioners, not to be questioned.
Under these circumstances, Sire, what could I do? Could I forbear, in justice to myself, to announce to your Majesty the existence of a conspiracy against my honour, and
my station in this country at least, if not against my life? Could I forbear to point out to your Majesty, how long this intended mischief had been meditated against me ? Could I forbear to point out my doubts, at least, of the legality of the Commission, under which the proceeding had been had ? or to point out the errors and inaccuracies, into which the great and able men, who were named in this Commission, under the hurry and pressure of their great official occupations, had fallen, in the exécution of this duty ? Could I forbear to state, and to urge, the great injustice and injury that had been done to my character and my honour, by opinions pronounced against me without hearing me? And if, in the execution of this great task, so essential to my honour, I have let drop any expressions which a colder, and more cantious prudence,