Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Lincoln's Inn Fields, Sept. 2nd, 1806.

THE Lord Chancellor has taken the earliest opportunity in his power, of complying with the wishes of Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. He made the promise of other copies, without any communication with the other Commissioners, wholly from a desire to shew every kind of respect and accommodation to Her Royal Highness, in any thing consistent with his duty, and, not at all, from any idea, that the papers, as originally sent, (though there might be errors in the copying) were not sufficiently authenticated. An opinion which he is obliged to say he is not removed from; nevertheless, the Lord Chancellor has a pleasure in conforming to Her Royal High'ness's wishes, and has the honour to enclose the attested copies of the Depositions, as he has received them from Earl Spencer.

To Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.

SIRE,

To the King.

IMPRESSED with the deepest sentiments of gratitude, for the countenance and protection which I have hitherto uniformly received from your majesty, I approach you, with a heart undismayed, upon

this occasion, so awful and momentous to my character, my honour, and my happiness. I should indeed, (under charges such as have now been brought against me,) prove myself undeserving of the continuance of that countenance and protection, and altogether unworthy of the high station, which I hold in your Majesty's illustrious family, if I sought for any partiality, for any indulgence, for any thing more than what is due to ine in justice. My entire confidence in your Majesty's virtues assures me, that I cannot meet with less.

Sir

The situation, which I have been so happy as to hold in your Majesty's good opinion and esteem; my station in your Majesty's august family; my life, my honour, and, through mine, the honour of your Majesty's family have been attacked. John and Lady Douglas have attempted to support a direct and precise charge, by which they have dared to impute to me, the enormous guilt of High Treason, committed in the foul crime of Adultery. In this charge, the extravagance of their malice has defeated itself. The Report of the Lords Commissioners, acting under your Majesty's warrant, has most fully cleared me of that charge. But there remain imputations, strangely sanctioned, and countenanced by that Report, on which I cannot remain silent, without incurring the most fatal consequences to my honour and character. For it states to your Majesty, that "The circumstances detailed against me must be credited, till they are decisively contradicted."

[ocr errors]

To contradict, with as much decision, as the contradiction of an accused can convey; to expose the injustice and malice of my enemies; to shew the utter impossibility of giving credit to their testimony; and to vindicate my own innocence, will be the objects, Sire, of this letter. In the course

of my pursuing these objects, I shall have much to complain of, in the substance of the Proceeding itself, and much in the manner of conducting it. That any of these charges should, ever, have been entertained, upon testimony so little worthy of belief, which betrayed, in every sentence, the malice in which it originated; that, even if they were entertained at all, your Majesty should have been advised to pass by the ordinary legal modes of Inquiry into such high crimes, and to refer them to a Commission, open to all the objection, which I shall have to state to such a mode of Inquiry; that the Commissioners, after having negatived the principal charge of substantive crime, should have entertained considerations of matters, that amounted to no legal offence, and which were adduced, not as substantive charges in themselves, but as matters in support of the principal accusation; That through the pressure and weight of their official occupations, they did not, perhaps, could not, bestow that attention on the case, which, if given to it, must have enabled them to detect the villany and falsehood of my accusers, and their foul conspiracy against me; and must have preserved my character from the weighty imputation which the

authority of the Commissioners, has, for a time, cast upon it; but, above all, that they should, upon this ex parte examination, without hearing one word that I could urge, have reported to your Majesty, an opinion on these matters, so prejudicial to my honour, and from which I can have no appeal, to the laws of the country, (because the charges, constituting no legal offence, cannot be made the ground of a judicial inquiry ;)—These and many other circumstances, connected with the length of the Proceeding, which have cruelly aggravated, to my feelings, the pain necessarily attendant upon this Inquiry, I shall not be able to refrain from stating, and urging, as matters of serious lamentation at least, if not of well-grounded complaint.

In commenting upon any part of the circumstances, which have occurred in the course of this Inquiry, whatever observations I may be compelled to make upon any of them, I trust, I never shall forget what is due to officers in high station and employment under your Majesty. No apology, therefore, can be required for any reserve in my expressions towards them. But if, in vindicating my innocence against the injustice and malice of my enemies, I should appear to your Majesty not to express myself with all the warmth and indignation, which innocence, so foully calumniated, must feel, your Majesty will, I trust, not attribute my forbearance to any insensibility to the grievous injuries I have sustained; but will graciously be

pleased to ascribe it to the restraint I have imposed upon myself, lest in endeavouring to describe in just terms, the motives, the conduct, the perjury, and all the foul circumstances which characterize, and establish the malice of my accusers, I might use language, which, though not unjustly applied to them, might be improper to be used, by me, to any body, or unfit to be employed by any body, humbly, respectfully, and dutifully addressing your Majesty.

That a fit opportunity has occurred for laying open my heart to your Majesty, perhaps, I shall, hereafter, have no reason to lament. For more than two years, I had been informed, that, upon the presumption of some misconduct in me, my behaviour had been made the subject of investigation, and my neighbours' servants had been examined concerning it. And for some time, I had received mysterious and indistinct intimations, that some great mischief was meditated towards me. And, in all the circumstances of my very peculiar situation, it will not be thought strange, that however conscious I was, that I had no just cause of fear, I should yet feel some uneasiness on this account. With surprise certainly, (because the first tidings were of a kind to excite surprise,) but without alarm, I received the intelligence, that, for some reason, a formal investigation of some parts of my conduct had been advised, and had actually taken place. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, on the 7th of June, announced it to me.

« PoprzedniaDalej »