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Letter from Lord Gwydir to
24. Queries to Lady Willoughby and
Furtherdeposition of R. Bidgood.
Letter from Sir Francis Millman
to the Lord Chancellor.
29. Deposition of Lord Cholmondeley.
30. The Report.
By the Copy which I have received of the Commission, or Warrant, under which the Inquiry has been prosecuted, it appears to be an instrument under your Majesty's Sign Manual, not countersigned, not under any seal.-It recites, that an Abstract of certain written Declarations, touching my conduct (without specifying by whom those Declarations were made, or the nature of the matters, touching which they had been made, or even by whom the Abstract had been prepared,) had been laid before your Majesty; into the truth of which it purports to authorize the four noble Peers, who are named in it, to inquire and to examine upon oath, such persons as they think fit; and to report to your Majesty the result of their Examination. By referring to the written Declarations, it appears that they contain allegations against me, amounting to the charge of High Treason, and also other matters, which, if understood
to be, as they seem to have been acted and reported upon, by the Commissioners, not as evidence confirmatory (as they are expressed to be in their title) of the principal charge, but as distinct and substantive subjects of examination, cannot, as I am advised, be represented, as in law, amounting to crimes. How most of the Declarations referred to were collected, by whom, at whose solicitation, under what sanction, and before what persons, magistrates or others, they were made, does not appear. By the title, indeed, which all the written Declarations, except Sir John and Lady Douglas's bear, viz. "That they had been taken for the purpose of confirming Lady Douglas's Statement," it may be collected, that they had been made by her, or at least by Sir John Douglas's procurement. And the concluding passage of one of them, I mean the fourth declaration of W. Cole, strengthens this opinion, as it represents Sir John Douglas, accompanied by his Solicitor Mr. Lowten, to have gone down as far as Cheltenham for the examination of two of the witnesses whose declarations are there stated. I am, however, at a loss to know, at this moment, whom I am to consider, or whom I could legally fix, as my false accuser. From the circumstance last mentioned, it might be inferred, that Sir John and Lady Douglas, or one of them, is that accuser. But Lady Douglas, in her written Declaration, so far from representing the information which she then gives, as moving voluntarily from herself,
expressly states that she gives it under the direct command of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and the papers leave me without information, from whom any communication to the Prince originated, which induced him to give such commands.
Upon the question, how far the advice is agreeable to law, under which it was recommended to your Majesty, to issue this Warrant or Commission, not countersigned, nor under seal, and without any of your Majesty's advisers, therefore, being on the face of it, responsible for its issuing, I am not competent to determine. And undoubtedly considering that the two high legal authorities, the Lord Chancellor, and the Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench, consented to act under it, it is with the greatest doubt and diffidence, that I can bring myself to express any suspicion of its illegality. But if it be, as I am given to understand it is, open to question, whether, consistently with law, your Majesty should have been advised to command, by this warrant or commission, persons (not to act in any known character, as Secretaries of State, as Privy Counsellors, as Magistrates otherwise empowered; but to act as Commissioners, and under the sole authority of such warrant, to inquire (without any authority to hear and determine any thing upon the subject of those Inquiries), into the known crime of High Treason, under the sanction of oaths, to be administered by them, as such Commissioners, and to report the result thereof to your Majesty. If, I say, there
can be any question upon the legality of such a Warrant or Commission, the extreme hardship, with which, it has operated upon me, the extreme prejudice, which it has done to my character, and to which such a proceeding must ever expose the person who is the object of it, obliges me, till I am fully convinced of its legality, to forbear from acknowledging its authority; and, with all humility and deference to your Majesty, to protest against it, and against all the proceedings under it.
If this, indeed, were matter of mere form, I should be ashamed to urge it. But the actual hardships and prejudice which I have suffered by this proceeding, are most obvious.
apon the principal charge against me, the Commissioners have most satisfactorily, and "without the least hesitation," for such is their expression, reported their opinion of its falsehood. Sir John and Lady Douglas, therefore, who have sworn to its truth, have been guilty of the plainest falsehood, yet upon the supposition of the illegality of this Commission, their falsehood must as I am informed, go unpunished. Upon that supposition, the want of legal authority in the Commissioners to inquire and to administer an oath, will render it impossible to give to this false-, hood the character of perjury. But this is by no means the circumstance which I feel the most severely. Beyond the vindicating of my own character, and the consideration of providing for my future security, I can assure your Majesty, that the punishment of Sir John and Lady Doug
las would afford me no satisfaction. It is not therefore with regard to that part of the charge, which is negatived, but with respect to those, which are sanctioned by the Report, those, which, not aiming at my life, exhaust themselves upon my character, and which the Commissioners have, in some measure sanctioned by their Report, that I have the greatest reason to complain. Had the Report sanctioned the principal charge, constituting a known legal crime, my innocence would have emboldened me, at all risques, (and to more, no person has ever been exposed from the malice, and falsehood of accusers) to have demanded that trial, which could legally determine upon the truth or falsehood of such charge. Though I should even then indeed have had some cause to complain, because I should have gone to that trial, under the prejudice, necessarily raised against me, by that Report; yet in a proceeding before the just, open, and known ́tribunals of your Majesty's kingdom, I should have had a safe appeal from the result of an er parte investigation. An investigation which, has éxposed me to all the hardships of a secret Inquiry, without giving me the benefit of secrecy; and to all the severe consequences of a public investigation, in point of injury to my character, without affording the any of its substantial benefits, in point of security. But the charges, which the Commissioners do sanction by their Report, describing them, with a mysterious obscurity and