« PoprzedniaDalej »
Windsor Castle, February 10, 1807. As the Princess of Wales may have been led to expect, from the King's letter to her, that he would fix an early day for seeing her, his Majesty thinks it right to acquaint her, that the Prince of Wales, upon receiving the several documents, which the Kiug directed his Cabinet to transmit to bim, made a formal communication to him, of his intention to put them into the hands of his Lawyers ; accompanied by a request, that his Majesty would suspend any further steps in the business, until the Prince of Wales sbould be enabled to submit to him, the statement which he proposed to make. The King therefore considers it incumbent upon bim to defer paming a day to the Princess of Wales, until the further result of the Prince's intention sball have been made known to him.
GEORGE R. To the Princess of Wales.
Montague-House, February 12th, 1807 SIRE, I received yesterday, and with inex pressible pain, your Majesty's last communica. tion. The duty of stating, in a representation to your Majesty, the various grounds upon which I feel the hardship of my case, and upon which I confidently think that, upon a review of it, your Majesty will be disposed to recal your last determination, is á duty lowe to myself: and I cannot forbear, at the moment when I acknowledge your Majesty's letter, to announce to your Majesty, that I propose to execute that duly without delay.
After having suffered the punishment of banishment from your Majesty's presence, for seven months, pending an Inquiry, which your Majesty had directed into my conduct, affecting both my life and my hơnour; after that Inquiry had, at length, terminated in the advice of your Majesty's confidential and sworn servants, that there was no longer any reason for your Majesty's declining to receive me; if after your Majesty's gracious communication, which led me to rest assured that your Majesty would appoint an early day to receive me ;-if after all this, by a renewed application on the part of the Prince of Wales, upon whose communication the first Inquiry bad been directed, I now find that that punishment, wbich has been inflicted, pending a seven months Inquiry before the determination, should, contrary to the opinion of your Majesty's servants, be continued after that determination, to await the result of some new proceeding, to be suggested by the lawyers of the Prioce of Wales ; it is impossible that I can fail to assert to your Majesty, with the effect due to truth, that I am, in the conscious. ness of my iopocence, and with a strong sense of my unmerited sufferings, your Majesty's, most dutiful, and most affectionate, but much injured Subject and Daughter-in-law,
C. P. To the King
SIRE -By my short letter to your Majesty of the 12th instant, in answer to your Majesty's communication of the 10th, I notified my intention of representing to your Majesty the various grounds, on wbich I felt the hardship of my case ; and, a review of which, I confidently hoped, would dispose your Majesty to recal your determinatiou to adjourn, to an indefinite period, my receptiou into your Royal presence; a determination, which, in addition to all the other pain which it brought along with it, affected me with the disappointment of hopes, which I bad fondly cherished, with the most perfect confidence, because they rested on your Majesty's gracious assurance.
Independently, however, of that communication from your Majesty, I sbould have felt myself bound to have troubled your Majesty with much of the contents of the presept letter,
Upon the receipt of the paper, which, by your Majesty's commands, was transmitted to me by the Lord Chancellor, on the 28th of last month, and which communicated to me the joyful intelligence, that your Majesty was “advised, that it was no longer necessary for you to decline receiving me into your Royal preseuce," I conceived myself necessarily called upon to send an immediate answer to so much of it as respected that intelligence. I could not wait the time, which it would have required, to state those observations, which it was impossible for me to refrain from making, at some period, upon the other important particulars which
that paper contained. Accordingly, I answered it immediately; and, as your Majesty's gra.. cious and instant reply of last Tbursday fortnight, announced to me your pleasure, that I should be received by your Majesty, on a day subsequent to the then ensuing week, I was led must confidently to assure myself, that the last week would not have passed without my haviog received that satisfaction. I therefore determined to wait in patience, without further intrusion upon your Majesty, till I might have the opportunity of guarding myself from the possibility of being misunderstood, by personally explaining to your Majesty, that whatever observations I had to make upon the paper so communicated to me, ou the 28th ultimo, and whatever complaiots respecting the delay, and the many cruel circumstances which bad attended the whole of the proceedings against me, and the unsatisfactory state, in wbich they were at length left by that last communication, they were observations and complaints which affected those only under whose advice your Majesty had acted, and were not, in any degree, intended to intimate even the most distant insinuation against your Majesty's justice or kindness.
That paper established the opinion, which I certainly had ever confidently entertained, but the justness of which I had not before any document to establish, that your Majesty had, from the first, deemed this proceeding a high and important matter of state, in the consideration of which your Majesty-bad not felt yourself at liberty to trust to your own generous feelings, and to your own Royal, and gracious judgment. I never did believe, that the cruel slate of anxiety, in which I had been kept, ever since the delivery of my answer, (for at least sixteen weeks) could be at all attributable to your Majesty; it was most unlike every thing which I had ever experienced from your Majesty's condescension, feeling, and justice; and I found, from that paper, that it was to your confidential servants I was to ascribe the length of banishment from your presence, which tabey, at last, advised your Majesty, it was no longer necessary should be continued. I perceive, therefore, what I always believed, that it was to them, and to them only, that I owed the protracted continuance of my sufferings, and of my disgrace; and that your Majesty, considering the whole of this proceeding to have been insti. tuted and conducted, under the grave responsibility of your Majesty's servants, had not thought proper to take any step, or express any opinion upon any part of it, but such as was reconimended by their advice. Infuenced by these seatiments, and anxious to bave the opportuvity of conveying them, with the overflowings of a grateful heart, to your Majesty, what were my seusations of surprise, mortification, and disappointment, on the receipt of your Majesty's letter of the loth instant, your Majesty may conceive, though I am utterly unable to express.
That letter announces to me, that his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, upon receiving the several documents which your Majesty directed your Cabinet to transmit to him, made a personal communication to your Majesty of his intention to put them into the hands of his lawyers, accompanied by a request, that your Majesty would suspend any further steps in the business until the Prince of Wales should be enabled to submit to your Majesty the statement which he proposed to make; and it also announces to me that your Majesty therefore considered it incumbent on you, to defer naming a day to me, until the further result of the Prince of Wales's intention should have been made known to your Majesty.
This determination of your Majesty, on this request, made by his Royal Highness, I bumbly trust your Majesty will permit me to entreat you, in your most gracious justice, to reconsider, Your Majesty, I am convinced, must have been surprised at the time, and prevailed upon by the importunity of the Prince of Wales, to think this determination necessary, or your Ma. jesty's generosity and justice would never have adopted it. And if I can satisfy your Majesty of the unparalleled injustice and cruelty of this interposition of the Princes of Wales, at such a time, and under such circumstances, I feel the most perfect confidence that your Majesty will hasten to recal it,
I should basely be wanting to my own interest and feelings, if I did not plainly state my sense of that injustice, and cruelty; and if I did not most loudly complain of it. Your
Majesty will better perceive the just grounds of my complaint, when I retrace the course of these proceedings from their commencement.
The four noble Lords, appointed by your Majesty to inquire into the charges brought against me, in their Report of the 14th of July last, after baving stated that his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales bad had laid before him, the charge which was made against me by Lady Douglas, and the declaration in support of it, proceed in the following manner :
* “ In the painful situation in which his Royal Highness was placed by these communications, we learnt that his Royal Highness had adopted the only course which could, in our judgment, with propriety be followed. When informations such as these had been confidently alleged, and particularly detailed, and had been in some degree supported by collateral evidence, applying to other facts of the same nature, though going to a far less extent, one line only could be pursued.
“ Every sentiment of duty to your Majesty, and of coucern for the public welfare, required that these particulars should not be with held from your Majesty, to whom more particularly belonged the cognizance of a matter of state, so nearly touching the honour of your Majesty's Royal Family, and, by possibility, affecting the succession of your Majesty's crown.
“ Your Majesty had been pleased, on your part, to view the subject in the same light.Considering it as a matter which, on every account, demanded the most immediase investi. gation, your Majesty had thought fit to commit into our hands the duty of ascertaining, in the first instance, wliat degree of credit was due to the information, and thereby enabling your Majesty to decide what further conduct to adopt respecting them.”
His Royal Highness then, pursuing, as the four Lords say, the only course which could in their judgment, with propriety, be pursued, submitted the matter to your Majesty.-Your Mac jesty directed the Inquiry by the fợur noble Lords:-The four Lords in their Report upon the case, justly acquirted me of all crime, and expressed (I will not wait now to'say how unjustly) the credit which they gave, and the consequence they ascribed to other matters, which they did not, however, characterize as amounting to any crime.-To this Report I made my answer.---That answer, together with the whole proceedings, was referred by your Majesty to the same four noble Lords, and others of your Majesty's confidential servants. They advised your Majesty, amongst much other matter (which must be the snbject of further observations), that téere was no longer any reason why you should decline receiving me.
Your Majesty will necessarily conceive that I have always looked upon my banishment from your Røyát presence, as, in fact, a punishment, and a severe one too. I thought it sufficiently hard, that I should have been suffering that punishment, during the time that this Inquiry has been pending, while I was yet only under accusation, and upon the principles of the just laws of your Majesty's kingdom, entitled to be presumed to be innocent till I was proved to be guilty. But I find this does not appear to be enough in the opinion of the Prince of Wales. For now, when, after this long Inquiry into matters wbich required immediate investigation, I have been acquitted of every thing which could call for my bapishment from your Royal presence;-after your Majesty's confidential servants have thus expressly advised your Majesty that they see no reason why you should any longer decline to receive me into your presence'; after your Majesty had graciously notified to me yoar determination to receive me at an early day, bis Royal Highness interposes the demand of a new delay; desires your Majesty not to take any step; desires you not to act upon the advice which your own confidential servants have given you, that you need no longer decline seeing me; not to execute your inten. tion and assurance that you would receive me at an early day ; --because he has laid the documents before his lawyers, and intends to prepare a further statement. And the judgment of your Majesty's confidential servants is, as it were, appealed from by the Prióce of Wales (whom, from this time, at least, I must be permitted to consider as assuming the character of my accuser);-the justice due to me is to be suspended, while the judgment of your Majesty's sworn servants is to be submitted to the revision of my accuser's Coupsel; and 1, though acquitted, in the opinion of your Majesty's confidential servants, of all that should
* Report, p. 2. ante,
induce your Majesty to decline seeing me, am to have that punishment which had been inflicted upon me, during the Inquiry, continued after that acquittal, till a fresh statement is prepared to be again submitted, for aught I know, to another Inquiry, of as extended a con. tinuance as that wbich has just terminated.
Can it be said that the proceedings of the four noble Lords, or of your Majesty's confi. dential servants, have been so lenient, and considerate towards me and my feelings, as to induce a suspicion that I have been too favourably dealt with by them; and that the advice which has been given to your Majesty, that your Majesty need no longer decline to receive me, was bastily and partially delivered ? I am confident that your Mijesty must see the very reverse of this to be the case--that I have every reason to complain of the inexplicable delay which so long withheld that advice. And the whole character of the observations with which they accompanied it, marks the reluctance with which they yielded to the necessity of giving it..
For your Majesty's confidential servants advise your Majesty, “ that it is no longer necessary for you to decline receiving me into your Royal presence.” If this is their opinion and their advice now, why was it not their opinion and their advice four months ago, from the date of my answer? Nay, why was it not their opinion and advice from the date even of the original Report itself? For not only had they beeu in possession of my answer for above sixteen weeks, which at least furvished them withall the materials on which this advice at length was given, but further, your Majesty's confidential servants are forward to state, that after having read my observations, and the affidavits which they annexed to them, they agree in the opinions (not in any single opinion upon any particular branch of the case, but in the opinions generally) which were submitted to your Majesty, in the original Report of the four Lords. If therefore (notwithstanding their concurrence in all the opinions contained in the Report) they have nevertheless given to your Majesty their advice, “ that it is no longer necesary for you to decline receiving me;"--what could have prevented their offering that advice, from the 14th of July, the date of the original Report itself? Or what could have warranted the withholding of it, even for a single moment? Instead, therefore, of any trace being observable, of hasty, precipitate, and partial determination in my favour, it is impossible to interpret their conduct and their reasons together, in any other sense than as amcanting to an admission of your Majesty's confidential servants themselves, that I have, in consequence of their withholding that advice, been unnecessarily and cruelly banished from your Royal presence, from the 14th of July to the 28th of January, including a space of above six months; and the effect of the interposition of the Prince, is to prolong my sufferings, and my disgrace, under the same banishment, to a period perfectly indefinite.
The principle which will admit the effect of such interposition now, may be acted upon again; and the Prince may require a further prolongation, upon fresh statements, and fresh charges kept back possibly for i he purpose of being, from time to time, conveniently interposed, to prevent, for ever, the arrival of that hour; which, displaying to the world the acknow, ledgment of my unmerited sufferings and disgrace, may, at the same time, expose the true malicious and unjust quality of the proceedings wbich have been so long carried on against me.
This un seasonable, unjust, and cruel interposition of his Royal Highness, as I must ever deem it, has prevailed upon your Majesty to recal, to my prejudice, your gracious purpose of receiving me, in pursuance of the advice of your servants. Do I then flatter myself too much, when I feel assured, that my jusl entreaty, founded upon the reasons w bich I urge, and directed to counteract only the effect of that unjust interposition, will induce your Majesty to return to your original determination ?
Restored, however, as I should feel myself, to a state of comparative security, as well as credit, by being at length permitted, upon your Majesty's gracious reconsideration of your last determination, to have access to your Majesty ; yet, under all the circumstances under wbich I should now receive that mark and confirmation of your Majesty's opinion of my innocence, my character would not, I fear, stand cleared in the public opinion, by the mere fact of your Majesty's reception of me. This revocation of your Majesty's gracious purpose has Aung an additional cloud about the whole proceeding, and the inferences drawn in the public mind, from this circumstance, so mysterious, and so perfectly inexplicable, upon any grounds which are open to their knowledge, has made, and will leave so deep an impression to my prejudice, as scarce any thing, short of a public exposure of all that has passed, can possibly efface.
The publication of all these proceedings to the world, then, seems to me, under the present circumstances, (whatever reluctance I feel against such a measure, and however I regret the hard necessity which drives me to it) to be almost the only remaining resource, for the viodication of này bonour and character. The falsehood of the accusation is, by no means, all that will, by such publication, appear to the credit and clearance of my character ; but the course in which the whole proceedings have been carried on, or rather delayed, by those to whom your Majesty referred the consideration of them, will shew that, whatever measure of justice I may have ultimately received at their hands, it is not to be suspected as arising from any merciful and indulgent consideration of me, of my feelings, or of my case.
It will be seen how my feelings had been harassed, and my character and honour exposed, by the delays which have taken place in these proceedings: it will be seen, that the existence of the charge against me had avowedly been known to the public from the 7th of Juwe in the last year. I say known to the public, because it was on that day that the Commissioners, acting, as I am to suppose (for so they state in their Report) under the anxious wish that their trust should be executed with as little publicity as possible, authorized that unnecessary insult and outrage upon me, as I must always consider it, whicb, however intended, gave the utmost publicity and exposure to the existence of these charges-I mean the sending two attornies, armed with their Lordships' warrant, to my house, to bring before them, at once,
about one half of my household for examination. The idea of privacy, after an act so much calculated, from the extraordinary nature of it, to excite the greatest attention and surprise, your Majesty must feel to have been impossible and absurd; for an attempt at secrecy, mystery, and concealment, on my part, could, under such circumstances, only have been construed into the fearfulness of guilt.
It will appear also, tbat, from that, time, I heard nothing authentically upon the subject till the 11th of August, when I was furnished, by your Majesty's commands, with the Report. The several papers necessary to my understanding the whole of these charges, in the authentic state in which your Majesty thought it proper, graciously to direct, that I should have them, were not delivered to me till the beginning of September. My answer to these various charges, though the whole subject of them was new to those whose advice I had recourse to, long as that answer was necessarily obliged to be, was delivered to the Lord Chancellor, to be forwarded to your Majesty, by the 6th of October; and, from the 6th of October to the 28th of Jauuary, I was kept in total ignorance of the effect of that answer, Not only will all this delay be apparent, but it will be generally shewn to the world how your Majesty's servants bad, in this important business, treated your daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales; and what measure of justice she, a female, and a stranger in your land, has experienced at their bands.
Undoubtedly against such a proceeding. I bave ever felt, and still feel, an almost invincible repugnance. Every sentiment of delicacy, with which a female mind must shrink from the act of bringing before the public such charges, however conscious of their scandal and falsity, and however clearly that scandal and falsity may be manifested by the answer to those charges; -the respect still due from me, to persons employed in authority under your Majesty, bowever little respect I may have received from them;--my duty to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales ; --my regard for all the members of your august family;~my esteem, my duty, my gratitude to your Majesty,~my affectionate gratitude for all the paternal kindness which I have ever experienced from you;my anxiety not only to avoid the risk of giving any offence or displeasure to your Majesty, but also to fly from every occasion of creating the slightest sentiment of uneasiness in the mind of your Majesty, whose happiness it would be the pride and pleasure of my life to consult and to promote; all these various sentiments have com