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weight. As to my own, however, I tender it to your Majesty, in the most solemn manner, and if I knew what fact it was that I ought to contradict, to clear my innocence, I would precisely address myself to that fact, as I am confident, my conscience would enable me to do, to any, from which a criminal or an unbecoming inference could be drawn. I am sure, however, your Majesty will feel for the humiliated and degraded situation, to which this Report has reduced your Daughter-inlaw, the Princess of Wales; when you see her reduced to the necessity of either risking the danger, that the most unfavourable interpretations should be credited; or else of stating, as I am now degraded to the necessity of stating, that not only no adulterous or criminal, but no indecent or improper intercourse whatever, ever subsisted between Sir Sidney Smith and myself, or any thing which I should have objected that all the world should have seen. I say degraded to the necessity of stating it; for your Majesty must feel that a woman's character is degraded when it is put upon her to make such statement, at the peril of the contrary being credited, unless she decidedly contradicts it. Sir Sidney Smith's absence from the country prevents ny calling upon him to attest the same truth. But I trust when your Majesty shall find, as you will find, that my declaration to a similar effect, with respect to the other gentlemen referred to in this Report, is confirmed by
their denial, that your Majesty will think that in a case, where nothing but my own word can be adduced, my own word alone may be opposed to whatever little remains of credit or weight inay, after all the above observations, be supposed yet to belong to Mr. Cole, to his inferences, his insinuations, or his facts. Not indeed that I have yet finished my observations on Mr. Cole's credit; but I must reserve the remainder, till I consider his evidence with respect to Mr. Lawrence; and till I have occasion to comment upon the testimony of Fanny Lloyd. Then, indeed, I shall be under the necessity of exhibiting to your Majesty these witnesses, Fanny Lloyd and Mr. Cole, (both of whom are represented as so unbiassed, and so credible,) in flat, decisive, and irreconcileable contradiction to each other.
The next person, with whom my improper intimacy is insinuated, is Mr. Lawrence the painter.
The principal witness on this charge is also Mr. Cole. Mr. R. Bidgood says nothing about him. Fanny Lloyd says nothing about him; and all that Mrs. Lisle says is perfectly true, and I am neither able, nor feel interested, to contradict it. she remembers my sitting to Mr. Lawrence for my picture at Blackheath; and in London; that she has left me at his house in town with him, but she thinks Mrs. Fitzgerald was with us; and that she thinks I sat alone with him at Blackheath." But Mr. Cole speaks of Mr. Lawrence in a inanner that
calls for particular observation. He says "Mr. Lawrence the painter used to go to Montague House about the latter end of 1801, when he was painting the Princess, and he has slept in the house two or three nights together. I have often seen him alone with the Princess at 11 or 12 o'clock at night. He has been there as late as one and two o'clock in the morning. One night I saw him with the Princess in the Blue Room, after the ladies had retired. Some time afterwards, when I supposed he had gone to his room, I went to see that all was safe, and I found the Blue Room door locked, and heard a whispering in it; and I went away! Here, again, your Majesty ob
serves, that Mr. Cole deals his deadliest blows. against my character by insinuation. And here, again, his insinuation is left unsifted and unexplained. I here understand him to insinuate that, though he supposed Mr. Lawrence to have gone to his room, he was still where he had said he last left him; and that the locked door prevented him from seeing me and Mr. Lawrence alone together, whose whispering, however, he, notwithstanding overheard.
Before, Sire, I come to my own explanation of the fact of Mr. Lawrence's sleeping at Montague House, I must again refer to Mr. Cole's original declarations. I must again examine Mr. Cole, against Mr. Cole; which I cannot help lamenting it does
* Appendix (A.) No. 5.
not seem to have occurred to others to have done; as I am persuaded if it had, his prevarications, and his falsehood, could never have escaped them. They would then have been able to have traced, as your Majesty will now do, through my observations, by what degrees he hardened himself up to the infamy (for I can use no other expression) of stating this fact, by which he means to insinuate that he heard me and Mr. Lawrence, locked up in this Blue Room, whispering together, and alone. I am sorry to be obliged to drag your Majesty through so long a detail; but I am confident your Majesty's goodness, and love of justice, will excuse it, as it is essential to the vindication of my character, as well as to the illustration of Mr. Cole's.
Mr. Cole's examination, as contained in his first written declaration of the 11th of January, has nothing of this. I mean not to say that it has nothing concerning Mr. Lawrence, for it has much, which is calculated to occasion unfavourable interpretations, and given with a view to that object. But that circumstance, as I submit to your Majesty, increases the weight of my observation. Had there been nothing in his first declaration about Mr. Lawrence at all, it might have been imagined that perhaps Mr. Lawrence escaped his recollection altogether; or that his declaration had been solely directed to other persons; but as it does contain observations respecting Mr. Lawrence, but nothing of a locked door, or the whispering within it ;-how he happened at that time not to recollect, or if he recollected,
not to mention so very striking and remarkable a circumstance, is not, I should imagine, very satisfactorily to be explained. His statement in that* first declaration stands thus, "In 1801, Lawrence "the painter was at Montague House, for four or five days at a time, painting the Princess's picture. That he was frequently alone late in "the night with the Princess, and much suspicion was entertained of him." Mr. Cole's next† declaration, at least the next which appears among the written declarations, was taken on the 14th of Jạnuary; it does not mention Mr. Lawrence's name, but it has this passage. "When Mr. Cole found the drawing-room, which led to the staircase to the Princess's apartments, locked (which your Majesty knows is the same which the witnesses call the Blue Room,) he does not know whether any person was with her; but it appeared odd to him, as he had formed some suspicions." The striking and important observation on this passage is, that when he first talks of the door of the drawing-room being locked, so far from his mentioning any thing of whispering being overheard, he expressly says, that he did not know that any body was with me. The passage is likewise deserving your Majesty's most serious consideration on another ground. For it is one of those which shews that Mr. Cole, though we have four separate declarations made by him, has certainly made other statements which have not
* See Appendix (B.) p. 100. † Appendix (B.) p. 100.