Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Feeling, Sire, strongly, that I have much to complain of, that this foul charge should have been so readily credited to my great prejudice, as to have occasioned that advice to be given, which recommended the transmission of it to your Majesty, (who, once formally in possession of it, could not fail to subject it to some inquiry. I have dwelt, perhaps, at a tedious length, in disputing the propriety of the Commissioner's judgment, in thus approving the course which was pursued. And, looking to the event, and all the circumstances connected with it, perhaps I have reason to rejoice that the Inquiry has taken place. For, if three years concealment of my supposed crime, could not impeach the credit of my accusers, three times that period might, perhaps, be thought to have left that credit still unimpaired. And, had the false charge been delayed till death had taken away the real parents of the child, which Lady Douglas charges to be mine ; if time had deprived one of those servants and attendants who have been able so fully to disprove the fact of my alleged pregnancy, I know not where I could have found the means of disproving facts and charges, so falsely, so confidently, and positively sworn to, as those to which Lady Douglas has attested.

Following, as I proposed, the course taken in the Report, I next come to that part of it, to which, unquestionably, I must recur with the greatest satisfaction ; because it is that part, which so com

pletely absolves me of every possibly suspicion, upon the two material charges, of

pregnancy and childbirth.

The Commissioners state in their Report,* that they began by examining “on oath the two prin“cipal informants, Sir John and Lady Douglas, who “ both positively swore, the former to his having ” observed the fact of pregnancy, and the latter to “ all the important particulars contained in her “ former declaration, and above referred to.t “ Their examinations are annexed to the Report, “ and are circumstantial and positive.”—The most material of " the allegations, into the truth of which

they had been directed to inquire, being thus far supported by the oath of the parties from whom

they had proceeded,” they state,..“ that they « felt it their duty to follow up the Inquiry by the “ examination of such other persons, as they

judged best able to afford them information, as “ to the facts in question.”. “ We thought it,” they say, “ beyond all doubt, that in this course “ of Inquiry many particulars must be learnt which *** would be necessarily conclusive on the truth or « falsehood of these declarations. So many per

sons must have been witnesses to the appear

ances of an actual existing pregnancy, so many « circumstances must have been attendant upon

a real delivery, and difficulties so numerous and ” insurmountable must have been involved in any

[ocr errors]

* See Rep. p. 6.

† See Appendix (A.) p. 49.

« attempt to account for the infant in question, as “ the child of another woman, if it had been, in fact, the child of the Princess; that we entertain" ed a full and confident expectation of arriving at “ complete proof, either in the affirmative, or

negative on this part of the subject.” “ This expectation,” they proceed to state,

was not disappointed. We are happy to declare to

your Majesty, our perfect conviction that there " is no foundation whatever for believing that the "child now with the Princess, is the child of Her

Royal Highness, or that she was delivered of any child in the year 1802 ; nor has any thing

appeared to us which would warrant the belief 6. that she was pregnant in that year, or at any “ other period, within the compass of our in“ quiries.”—They then proceed to refer to the circumstantial evidence, by which they state that it was proved that the child was, beyond all doubt, born in Brownlow-street Hospital, on 11th July, 1802, of the body of Sophia Austin, and brought

house in the month of November following. “ Neither should we," they add, “ be more “ warranted in expressing any doubt respecting “ the alleged pregnancy of the Princess, as stated “ in the original declarations; a fact so fully con" tradicted, and by so many witnesses, to whom, “ if true, it must, in various ways, have been

known, that we cannot think it entitled to the « smallest credit.” Then, after stating that they have annexed the depositions from which they have

to my

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

collected these opinions, they add. We humbly "offer to your Majesty our clear and unanimous " judgment upon them, formed on full deliberation, " and pronounced without hesitation, on the result “ of the whole Inquiry.”

These two most importaut facts, therefore, which are charged against me, being so fully, and satisfactorily, disposed of, by the unanimous and clear judgment of the Commissioners; being so fully and completely disproved by the evidence which the Commissioners collected, I might, perhaps, in your Majesty's judgment, appear well justified in passing them by without any observation of mine.-But though the observations which I shall make, shall be very few, yet I cannot forbear just dwelling upon this part of the case, for a few minutes ; because, if I do not much deceive myself, upon every principle which can goveria the human mind, in the investigation of the truth of any charge, the fate of this part of the accusation must have decisive weight upon the determination of the remainder.---1, therefore, must beg to remark, that Sir John Douglas* swears to my having appeared, some time after our acquaintance had commenced, to be with child, and that one day I leaned on the sofa, and put my hand upon my stomach, and said, “ Sir John, I shall never be Queen of England,': and he said, “ Not if you don't deserve it,” and I seemed angry at first.

* See Appendix (A.) P, S,

This conversation, I apprehend, if it has the least relation to the subject on which Sir John was examined, must be given for the purpose of insinuating that I made an allusion to my pregnancy, as if there was a sort of understanding between him and me upon the subject, and that he made me angry, by an expression which implied, that what I alluded to would forfeit my right to be Queen of England. If this is not the meaning which Sir John intends to be annexed to this conversation, I am perfectly at a loss to conceive what he can intend it to convey.-Whether at any time, when I may have felt myself unwell, I may have used the expression, which he here imputes to me, my memory will not enable me, with the least degree of certainty, to state. The words themselves seem to me to be perfectly innocent; and the action of laying my hand upon my breast, if occasioned by any sense of internal pain at the moment, neither unnatural, nor, as it appears to me, in any way censurable. But that I could have used these words, intending to convey to Sir John Douglas the meaning, which I suppose him to insinuate, surpasses all human credulity to believe. I could not, however, forbear to notice this passage in Sir John's examination, because it must serve to demonstrate to your Majesty, how words in themselves most innocent, are endeavoured to be tortored, by being brought into the context with his opinion of my pregnancy, to convey a meaning most contrary to that, which I could by possibility

« PoprzedniaDalej »