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authority of the Commissioners, has, for a time, cast upon it; but, above all, that they should, upon this ex parte examination, without hearing one word that I could urge, have reported to your Majesty, an opinion on these matters, so prejudicial to my honour, and from which I can have no appeal, to the laws of the country, (because the charges, constituting no legal offence, cannot be made the ground of a judicial inquiry ;)—These and many other circumstances, connected with the length of the Proceeding, which have cruelly aggravated, to my feelings, the pain necessarily attendant upon this Inquiry, I shall not be able to refrain from stating, and urging, as matters of serious lamentation at least, if not of well-grounded complaint.
In commenting upon any part of the circumstances, which have occurred in the course of this Inquiry, whatever observations I may be compelled to make upon any of them, I trust, I never shall forget what is due to officers in high station and employment under your Majesty. No apology, therefore, can be required for any reserve in my expressions towards them. But if, in vindicating my innocence against the injustice and malice of my enemies, I should appear to your Majesty not to express myself with all the warmth and indignation, which innocence, so foully calumniated, must feel, your Majesty will, I trust, not attribute my forbearance to any insensibility to the grievous injuries I have sustained; but will graciously be
pleased to ascribe it to the restraint I have imposed upon myself, lest in endeavouring to describe in just terms, the motives, the conduct, the perjury, and all the foul circumstances which characterize, and establish the malice of my accusers, I might use language, which, though not unjustly applied to them, might be improper to be used, by me, to any body, or unfit to be employed by any body, humbly, respectfully, and dutifully addressing your Majesty.
That a fit opportunity has occurred for laying open my heart to your Majesty, perhaps, I shall, hereafter, have no reason to lament. For more than two years, I had been informed, that, upon the presumption of some misconduct in me, my behaviour had been made the subject of investigation, and my neighbours' servants had been examined concerning it. And for some time, I had received mysterious and indistinct intimations, that some great mischief was meditated towards me. And, in all the circumstances of my very peculiar situation, it will not be thought strange, that however conscious I was, that I had no just cause of fear, I should yet feel some uneasiness on this account. With surprise certainly, (because the first tidings were of a kind to excite surprise,) but without alarm, I received the intelligence, that, for some reason, a formal investigation of some parts of my conduct had been advised, and had actually taken place. His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, on the 7th of June, announced it to me.
He announced to me,-the Princess of Wales, in the first communication made to me, with respect to this proceeding, the near approach of two attornies (one of them, I since find, the solicitor employed by Sir John Douglas), claiming to enter my dwell ing, with a warrant, to take away one half of my household, for immediate examination upon a charge against myself. Of the nature of that charge, I was then uninformed. It now appears, it was the charge of High Treason, committed in the infamous crine of adultery. His Royal Highness, I am sure, will do me the justice to represent to your Majesty, that I betrayed no fear, that I manifested no symptoms of conscious guilt, that I sought no excuses to prepare, or to tutor, my servants for the examination which they were to undergo. The only request which I made to his Royal Highness was, that he would have the goodness to remain with me till my servants were gone; that he might bear witness, that I had no conversation with them before they went. In truth, Sire, my anxieties, under a knowledge that some serious mischief was planning against me, and while I was ignorant of its quality and extent, had been so great, that I could not but rejoice at an event, which seemed to promise me an early opportunity of ascertaining what the malice of my enemies intended against me.
It has not been, indeed, without impatience the most painful, that I have passed the interval, which has since clapsed. When once it was not only
known to me, but to the world (for it was known to the world) that Inquiry of the gravest nature had been instituted into my conduct, I looked to the conclusion, with all the eagerness that could belong to an absolute conviction, that my innocence, and my honour, to the disgrace and confusion of my accusers, would be established; and that the groundless malice, and injustice of the whole charge would be manifested to the world, as widely as the calumny had been circulated. I knew that the result of an ex parte inquiry, from its very nature, could not, unless it fully asserted my entire innocence, be in any degree just. And I had taught myself most firmly to believe, that it was utterly impossible, that any opinion, which could, in the smallest degree, work a prejudice to my honour and character, could ever be expressed in any terms, by any persons, in a Report upon a solemn formal Inquiry, and more especially to your Majesty, without my having some notice, and some opportunity of being heard. And I was convinced, that, if the Proceeding allowed me, before an opinion was expressed, the ordinary means, which accused persons have, of vindicating their honour and their innocence, my honour and my innocence must, in any opinion, which could then be expressed, be fully vindicated, and effectually established. What then, Sire, must have been my astonishment, and my dismay, when I saw, that notwithstanding the principal accusation was found to be utterly false, yet some of the wit
nesses to those charges which were brought in support of the principal accusation,--witnesses, whom, any person, interested to have protected my character, would easily have shewn, out of their own mouths, to be utterly unworthy of credit, and confederates in foul conspiracy with my false accusers, are reported to be "free from all suspicion of unfavourable bias;" their veracity, "in the judgment of the Commissioners, not to be questioned;" and their infamous stories, and insinuations against me, to be "such as deserve the most serious consideration, and as must be credited till decisively contradicted."
The Inquiry, after I thus had notice of it, continued for above* two months. I venture not to complain, as if it had been unnecessarily protracted. The important duties, and official avocations of the Noble Lords, appointed to carry it on, may naturally account for, and excuse, some delay. But however excusable it may have been, your Majesty will easily conceive the pain and anxiety, which this interval of suspense, has occasioned; and your Majesty will not be surprised, if I further represent, that I have found a great aggravation of my painful sufferings, in the delay which occurred in communicating the Report to me. For though it is dated on the 14th July,
* The time that the Inquiry was pending, after this notice of it, is here confounded with the time which elapsed before the Report was communicated to Her Royal Highness. The Inquiry itself only lasted to the 14th or 16th of July, which is but between five and six weeks from the 7th of June.