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to afford us information, as to the facts in question.
We thought it 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 persons must have been witnesses to the appearances of an actually 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 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 entertained a full and confident expectation of arriving at complete proof, either in the affirmative or negative, on this part of the subject.
This expectation 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 that she was pregnant in that year, or at any other period within the compass of our inquiries.
The indentity of the child, now with the Princess, its parentage, the place and the date of its birth, the time and the circumstances of its
being first taken under Her Royal Highness's protection, are all established by such a concurrence both of positive and circumstantial evidence, as can, in our judgment, leave no question on this part of the subject. The child was, beyond all doubt, born in the Brownlow-Street Hospital, on the 11th day of July, 1802, of the body of Sophia Austin, and was first brought to the Princess's House in the month of November following. Neither should we be more warranted in expressing any doubt respecting the alleged pregnancy of the Princess, as stated in the original declarations; a fact so fully contradicted, 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. The testimonies on these two points are contained in the annexed depositions and letters. We have not partially abstracted them in this Report lest, by any unintentional omission, we might weaken their effect; but we humbly offer to Your Majesty this our clear and unanimous judgment upon them, formed on full deliberation, and pronounced without hesitation, on the result of the whole Inquiry.
We do not, however, feel ourselves at liberty, much as we should wish it, to close our Report here. Besides the allegations of the pregnancy and delivery of the Princess, those declarations, on the whole of which Your Majesty has been pleased to command us to inquire and report, contain,
as we have already remarked, other particulars respecting the conduct of her Royal Highness, such as must, especially considering her exalted rank and station, necessarily give occasion to very unfavourable interpretations.
From the various depositions and proofs annexed to this Report, particularly from the examinations of Robert Bidgood, William Cole, Frances Lloyd, and Mrs. Lisle, Your Majesty will perceive that several strong circumstances of this description have been positively sworn to by witnesses, who cannot, in our judgment, be suspected of any unfavourable bias, and whose veracity, in this respect, we have seen no ground to question.
On the precise bearing and effect of the facts thus appearing, it is not for us to decide; these we submit to Your Majesty's wisdom: But we conceive it to be our duty to report on this part of the Inquiry, as distinctly as on the former facts: that, as on the one hand, the facts of pregnancy and delivery are to our minds satisfactorily disproved, so on the other hand we think, that the circumstances to which we now refer, particularly those stated to have passed between Her Royal Highness and Captain Manby, must be credited until they shall receive some decisive contradiction; and, if true, are justly entitled to the most serious consideration.
We cannot close this Report, without humbly assuring Your Majesty, that it was, on every account, our anxious wish, to have executed this delicate trust, with as little publicity as the nature of the case would possibly allow; and we entreat Your Majesty's permission to express our full persuasion, that if this wish has been disappointed, the failure is not imputable to any thing unnecessarily said or done by us..
All which is most humbly submitted to Your
The Depositions which accompanied this Report will be found in Appendix (A.) numbered from
1 to 29.
Blackheath, Aug. 12, 1806.
WITH the deepest feelings of gratitude to your Majesty, I take the first opportunity to acknowledge having received, as yesterday only, the Report from the Lords Commissioners, which was
dated from the 14th of July. It was brought by Lord Erskine's Footman, directed to the Princess of Wales; besides a note enclosed, the contents of which were, that Lord Erskine sent the Evidences and Report by commands of his Majesty. I had reason to flatter myself that the Lords Commissioners would not have given in the Report, before they had been properly informed of various circumstances, which must for a feeling, and delicate-minded woman, be very unpleasant to have spread, without having the means to exculpate herself. But I can in the face of the Almighty assure your Majesty that your Daughter-in-law is innocent, and her conduct unquestionable; free from all the indecorums, and improprieties, which are imputed to her at present by the Lords Commissioners, upon the evidence of persons, who speak as falsely as Sir John and Lady Douglas themselves. Your Majesty can be sure that I shall be anxious to give the most solemn denial in my power to all the scandalous stories of Bidgood, and Cole; to make my conduct be cleared in the most satisfactory way, for the tranquillity of your Majesty, for the honour of your illustrious family, and the gratification of your afflicted daughter-inlaw. In the mean time I can safely trust your Majesty's gracious justice to recollect, that the whole of the evidence on which the commissioners have given credit to the infamous stories charged against me, was taken behind my back, without my having any opportunity to contradict or explain