« PoprzedniaDalej »
to have introduced into this Commission. They never could have permitted these unexplained and unsifted hints and insinuations to have had the weight and effect of proof.-But, unfortunately for me, the duties, probably, of their respective situations prevented their attendance on the examination of this, and on the first examination of another most important witness, Mr. Robert Bidgoodand surely your Majesty will permit me here, without offence, to complain, that it is not a little hard, that, when your Majesty had shewn your anxiety to have legal accuracy, and legal experience assist on this examination, the two most important witnesses, in whose examinations there is more inatter for unfavourable interpretation, than in all the rest put together, should have been examined without the benefit of this accuracy, and this experience. And I am the better justified in making this observation, if what has been suggested to me is correct; that, if it shall not be allowed that the power of administering an oath under this warrant or commission is questionable, yet it can hardly be doubted, that it is most questionable whether, according to the terms or meaning of the warrant or commission. as it constitutes no quorum, Lord Spencer and Lord Grenville could administer an oath, or act in the absence of the other Lords; and if they could not, Mr. Cole's falsehood must be out of the reach of punishment.
Returning then from this digression, will your Majesty permit me to ask, whether I am to under
stand this fact, respecting the man in a great coat, to be one of those which must necessarily give occasion to the most unfavourable interpretations? which must be credited till decidedly contradicted? and which if true, deserve the most serious consideration? The unfavourable interpretations which this fact may occasion, doubtless are, that this man was either Sir Sidney Smith, or some other paramour, who was adinitted by me into my house in disguise at midnight, for the accomplishment of my wicked and adulterous purposes. And is it possible that your Majesty, is it possible that any candid mind can believe this fact, with the unfavourable interpretations which it occasions, on the relation of a servant, who for all that appears, mentions it for the first time, four years after the event took place; and who gives himself, this picture of his honesty and fidelity to a master, whom he has served so long, that he, whose nerves are of so moral a frame, that he starts at seeing a single man sitting at mid-day, in an open drawingroom, on the same sofa, with a married woman, permitted this disguised midnight adulterer, to approach his master's bed, without taking any notice, without making any alarm, without offering any interruption. And why? because (as he expressly states) he did not believe him to be a thief; and because (as he plainly insinuates) he did believe him to be an adulterer.
But what makes the manner in which the Com
In consequence of this, the Frince called on the Duke of Kent, to say what had been communicated to him, and why he had for a whole year kept from his knowledge a matter so interesting to the honour of the family.
The Duke of Kent, in a written declaration, stated, that about the end of 1804, he had received a note from the Princess of Wales, stating, that she had got into an unpleasant altercation with Sir John and Lady Douglas, about an anonymous letter and a filthy drawing, which they imputed to her Royal Highness. She requested the Duke of Kent to interfere, and prevent its going farther. His Royal Highness ap. plied to Sir Sidney Smith, and through him had an interview with Sir John Douglas; who seemed convinced that both the anonymous letters and the loose drawing were by the hand of the Princess, and that the design was to provoke Sir John Douglas to a duel with his friend Sir Sidney Smith, by the gross insinuation flung out respecting the latter and Lady Douglas. The Duke of Kent, however, succeeded in prevailing on Sir John Douglas to abstain from his purpose of commencing a prosecution, or of stirring farther in the business; as he was satisfied in his mind of the falsehood of the insinuation, and could not be sure that the fabrications were not some gossipping story, in which the Princess had no hand. Sir John, however, spoke with great indignation of the conduct of the Princess, and promised only that he would for the present abstain from farther investigation, but would not give him a promise of preserving silence if he should be farther annoyed.— The Duke of Kent concluded with stating, that nothing was communicated to him beyond this fracas, and that having succeeded in stopping it, he did not think it fit to trouble his Royal Highness with a gossipping story that might be entirely founded on the misapprehension of the offended parties.
Sir John and Lady Douglas then made a formal declaration of the whole narrative, as contained in their subsequent affidavits, before the Duke of York, on the 3d December, 1803.
This declaration was submitted by the Prince to the late Lord Thurlow, who said, that his Royal Highness had no alternative-it was his duty to submit it to the King, as the Royal Succession might be affected if the allegations were true. In the mean time, it was resolved to make farther inquiry, and Mr. Lowten, of the Temple, was directed to take steps accordingly.
The consequence was that William and Sarah Lampert (servants to Sir John Douglas), William Cole, Robert and Sarah Bidgood, and Frances Lloyd made declarations, the whole of which, together with that of Sir John and Lady Douglas, were submitted to his Majesty, who thereupon issued a warrant, dated the 29th May 1806, directing Lord Erskine, Lord Grenville, Earl Spencer, and Lord Ellenborough, to inquire into the truth of the allegations, and to report to him thereon.