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character, and from the extreme hardship of having my reputation injured by calumny altogether unfounded, but rendered at once more safe to my enemies, and more injurious to me, by being uttered, in the course of a proceeding, assuming the grave ́semblance of legal form. And it is by the nature of this proceeding, (which could alone have countenanced or admitted of this licentious latitude of inquiry, into the proprieties of behaviour in private life, with which no court, no magistrate, no public law has any authority to interfere,) that I have been deprived of the benefit of that entire and unqualified acquittal and discharge from this accusation, to which the utter and proved falsehood of the accusation itself so justly entitled me.
I trust therefore that your Majesty will see that if this proceeding is not one to which, by the known laws of your Majesty's kingdom, I ought to be subject, that it is no cold formal objection which leads me to protest against it.
I am ready to acknowledge, Sire, from the consequences which might arise to the public, from such misconduct as hath been falsely imputed to me, that my honour and virtue are of more importance to the state than those of other women. That my conduct therefore may be fitly subjected, when necessary to a severer scrutiny. But it cannot follow, because my character, is of more importance, that it may therefore be attacked with more impunity. And as I know, that this mischief has been pending over my head for more
than two years, that private examinations of my neighbours' servants, and of my own, have, at times, during that interval, been taken, for the purpose of establishing charges against me, not indeed by the instrumentality of Sir John and Lady Douglas alone, but by the sanction, and in the presence of The Earl of Moira (as your Majesty will perceive by the deposition of Jonathan Partridge which I subjoin ;*) and as I know also, and nake appear to your majesty likewise by the same means, that declarations of persons of unquestionable credit, respecting my conduct, attesting my innocence, and directly falsifying a most important circumstance respecting my supposed pregnancy, mentioned in the declarations, on which the Inquiry was instituted; as I know, I say, that those declarations, so favourable to me, appear to my infinite prejudice, not to have been communicated to your Majesty, when that Inquiry was commanded; and as I know not how soon nor how often, proceedings against me may be meditated by my enemies, I take leave to express my humble trust, that, before any other proceedings may be had against me, (desirable as it may have been thought, that the Inquiry should have been of the nature, which has, in this instance, obtained,) your Majesty would be graciously pleas ed to require to be advised, whether my guilt, if I were guilty, could not be as effectually dis
See the depositions at the end of this letter,
coveted and punished, and my honour and innocence, if innocent, be more effectually secured and established by other more known and regular modes of proceeding.
Having therefore, Sire, upon these grave reasons, ventured to submit, I trust without offence, these considerations upon the nature of the Commission, and the proceedings under it, I will now proceed to observe upon the Report, and the Examinations; and, with your Majesty's permission, I will go through the whole matter, in that course which has been observed by the Report itself, and which an examination of the important matters that it contains, in the order in which it, states them, will naturally suggest.
The Report, after referring to the Commission or Warrant under which their Lorships were act¬ ing, after stating that they had proceeded to exa, mine the several witnesses, whose depositions they annexed to their Report, proceeds to state the ef fect of the written declarations, which the Com missioners considered as the essential foundation of the whole proceeding. "That, they were statements which had been laid before his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, respecting the conduct of her Royal Highness the Princess; that these statements, not only imputed to Her Royal Highness, great impropriety and indecency of behavir our, but expressly asserted, partly on, the ground of certain, alleged declarations from the Princess's own mouth, and partly on the personal observation
of the informants, the following most important facts; viz. that her Royal Highness had been pregnant in the year 1802, in consequence of an illicit intercourse; and that she had in the same year, been secretly delivered of a male child; which child had ever since that period been brought up by her Royal Highness in her own house, and under her immediate inspection. These allegations thus made, had, as the Commissioners found, been followed by declarations from other persons, who had not indeed spoken to the important facts of the pregnancy or delivery of her Royal Highness, but had related other particulars, in themselves extremely suspicious, and still more so, when connected with the assertions already mentioned. The Report then states, that, in the painful situation in which his Royal Highness was placed by these declarations, they learnt that he had adopted the only course which could, in their judgment, with propriety be followed, when informations such as these had been thus confidently alleged and particularly detailed, and had in some degree been supported by collateral evidence, applying to other points of the same nature (though going to a far less extent,) one line could only be pursued."
"Every sentiment of duty to your Majesty, and of concern for the public welfare required that these particulars should not be withheld from your Majesty, to whom more particularly belonged the cognizance of a matter of state, so nearly touching the honour of your Majesty's Royal Family, and
by possibility affecting the succession to your Majesty's crown."
The Commissioners, therefore, your Majesty observes, going, they must permit me to say, a little out of their way, begin their Report, by expressing a clear and decided opinion, that his Royal Highness was properly advised (for your Majesty will undoubtedly conclude, that, upon a subject of this importance, his Royal Highness could not but have acted by the advice of others,) in referring this complaint to your Majesty, for the purpose of its undergoing the investigation which has followed. And, unquestionably, if the charge referred to, in this Report, as made by Sir John and Lady Douglas, had been presented under circumstances, in which any reasonable degree of credit could be given to them, or even it they had not been presented in such a manner, as to impeach the credit of the informers, and to bear internal evidence of their own incredibility, I should be the last person, who would be disposed to dispute the wisdom of the advice which led to make them the subject of the gravest and most anxious Inquiry. And your Majesty, acting upon a mere abstract of the declarations, which was all, that by the recital of the warrant, appears to have been laid before your Majesty, undoubtedly could not but direct an Inquiry concerning my conduct. For though I have not been furnished with that abstract, yet I must presume that it described the criminatory contents of these declarations, much in the saine manner, as