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by possibility affecting the succession to your Majesty's crown."
The Commissioners, therefore, your Majesty observes, going, they must permit me to say, a little out of their way, begin their Report, by expressing a clear and decided opinion, that his Royal Highness was properly advised (for your Majesty will undoubtedly conclude, that, upon a subject of this importance, his Royal Highness could not but have acted by the advice of others,) in referring this complaint to your Majesty, for the purpose of its undergoing the investigation which has followed. And, unquestionably, if the charge referred to, in this Report, as made by Sir John and Lady Douglas, had been presented under circumstances, in which any reasonable degree of credit could be given to them, or even it they had not been presented in such a manner, as to impeach the credit of the informers, and to bear internal evidence of their own incredibility, I should be the last person, who would be disposed to dispute the wisdom of the advice which led to make them the subject of the gravest and most anxious Inquiry. And your Majesty, acting upon a mere abstract of the declarations, which was all, that by the recital of the warrant, appears to have been laid before your Majesty, undoubtedly could not but direct an Inquiry concerning my conduct. For though I have not been furnished with that abstract, yet I must presume that it described the criminatory contents of these declarations, much in the saine manner, as
they are stated in the Report. And the crimina tory parts of these declarations, if viewed without reference to those traces of malice and resentment, with which the declarations* of Sir John and Lady Douglas abound; if abstracted from all these circumstances, which shew the extreme improbability of the story, the length of time which my accusers had kept my alleged guilt concealed, the contradictions observable in the declarations of the other witnesses, all which I submit to your Majesty, are to an extent to cast the greatest discredit upon the truth of these declarations ;—abstracted, I say, from these circumstances, the criminatory parts of them were unquestionably such, as to have placed your majesty under the necessity of directing some Inquiry concerning them. But that those, who had the opportunity of reading the long and malevolent narration of Sir John and Lady Douglas, should not have hesitated before they gave any credit to it, is matter of the greatest astonishment
The improbability of the story, would of itself, I should have imagined (unless they believed me to be as insane as Lady Douglas insinuates,) have been sufficient to have staggered the belief of any unprejudiced mind. For to believe that story, they were to begin with believing that a person guilty of so foul a crime, so highly penal, so fatal to her honour, her station, and her life, should gratuitously, and uselessly, have confessed it. Such a person under the necessity of concealing her pregnancy, * See Appendix (B.)
might have been indispensably obliged to confide her secret with those, to whom she was to look for assistance in concealing its consequences. But Lady Douglas, by her own account, was informed, by me of this fact, for no purpose whatever. She makes me, as those who read her declarations cannot fail to have observed, state to her, that she should, on no account, be entrusted with any part of the management by which the birth was to be concealed. They were to believe also, that, anxious as I must have been to have concealed the birth of any such child, I had determined to bring it up in my own house; and what would exceed, as I should imagine, the extent of all human credulity, that I had determined to suckle it myself:† that I had laid my plan, if discovered, to have imposed it upon his Royal Highness as his child. Nay, they were to believe, that I had stated, and that Lady Douglas had believed the statement to be true, that I had in fact attempted to suckle it, and only gave up that part of my plan, because it made me nerVous, and was too much for my health. And, after all this, they were then to believe, that having made Lady Douglas, thus unnecessarily, the confidante, of this most important and dangerous secret ; having thus put my character, and my life in her hands, I sought an occasion, wantonly, and without provocation, from the mere fickleness, and wilfulness of my own mind, to quarrel with her, to insult her openly and violently in my own house, to * See Appendix (B) p. 61. Ibid. p. 61. Ibid. p. 76.
endeavour to ruin her reputation; to expose her in infamous and indecent drawings enclosed in letters to her husband. The letters indeed are represented to have been anonymous, but, though anonymous, they are stated to have been written with my own hand, so undisguised in penmanship and style, that every one who had the least acquaintance with either, could not fail to discover them, and, (as if it were through fear, lest it should not be sufficiently plain, from whom they came,) that I had sealed them with a seal, which I had shortly beforc used, on an occasion of writing to her husband. All this they were to believe upon the declaration of a person, who, with all that loyalty and attachment which she expresses to your Majesty, and his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, with all her obligation to the whole Royal Family, (to whom she expresses herself to be bound by ties of respectful regard and attachment which nothing can ever break ;) with all her dread of the mischievous consequences of the country, which might arise, from the disputed succession to the Crown, on the pretensions of an illigimate child of mine, nevertheless continued, after this supposed avowal of my infamy, and my crime, after my supposed acknowledgment of the birth of this child, which was to occasion all this mischief, to preserve, for near a twelvemonth, her intimacy and apparent friendship with ine. Nay for two years more, after that intimacy had ceased, after that friendship had been broken off, by my alleged misbehaviour to her,
continued still faithful to my secret, and never disclosed it till (as her declaration states it) "The "Princess of Wales recommended a fresh torrent "of outrage against Sir John; and Sir John disco"vered that she was attempting to undermine his "and Lady Douglas's character."
Those, then, who had the opportunity of seeing the whole of this Narrative, having had their jealousy awakened by these circumstances to the improbability of the story, and to the discredit of the informer, when they came to observe, how maliciously every circumstance that imagination could suggest, as most calculated to make a woman contemptible and odious, was scraped and heaped up together in this Narrative, must surely have had their eyes opened to the motives of my accusers, and their minds cautioned against giving too easy a credit to their accusation, when they found my conversation to be represented as most loose, and infamous; my mind uninstructed and unwilling to learn; my language, with regard to your Majesty and the whole of your Royal Family, foully disrespectful and offensive; and all my manners and habits of life most disgusting, I should have flattered myself, that I could not have been, in character, so wholly unknown to them, but that they must have observed a spirit, and a colouring at least in this representation, which must have proved much more against the disposition, and character of the informers, and the quality of *See Appendix, p. 9.