Obrazy na stronie

inference, I must leave them to draw it. For I cannot deny that it has happened, and happened frequently; not only with Sir Sidney Smith, but with many, many others; gentlemen who have visited me; tradesmen who have come to receive my

orders; masters whom I have had to instruct me, in painting, in music, in English, &c. that I have received them without any one being by. In short, I trust I am not confessing a crime, for unquestionably it is a truth, that I never had an idea that there was any thing wrong, or objectionable, in thus seeing men, in the morning, and I confidently believe your Majesty will see nothing in it, from which any guilt can be inferred. I feel certain, that there is nothing immoral in the thing itself; and I have always understood, that it was perfectly customary and usual for ladies of the first rank, and the first character, in the country, to receive the visits of gentlemen in a morning, though they might be themselves alone at the time. But, if, in the opinions and fashions of this country, there should be more impropriety ascribed to it, than what it ever entered into my mind to conceive, I hope your Majesty, and every candid mind, will make allowance for the different notions which my foreign education, and foreign habits may have given me.

But whatever character may belong to this practice, it is not a practice which commenced after

my leaving Carlton House. While there, and from my first arrival in this conntry, I was accustomed, with the knowledge of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and without his ever having hinted to me the slightest disapprobation, to receive lessons from various masters, for my amusement, and improvement; I was attended by them frequently, from twelve o'clock to five in the afternoon ;-Mr. Atwood for music, Mr. Geffadiere for English, Mr. Toufronelli for paintiag, Mr. Tutoye for imitating marble, Mr. Elwes for the harp. I saw them all alone ; and indeed, if I were to see them at all, I could do no otherwise than see them alone. Miss Garth, who was then subgoverness to my daughter, lived, certainly, under the same roof with me, but she could not be spared from her duty and attendanee on my daughter. I desired her sometimes to come down stairs, and read to me, during the time when I drew or painted, but my Lord Cholmondely informcd me this could not be. I then requested that I might have one of my bed-chamber women to live constantly at Carlton House, that I miglit have her at call whenever I wanted her; but I was answered that it was not customary, that the attendants of the Royal Family should live with them in town; so that request could not be complied with. But, independent of this, I never concaived that it was offensive to the fashions and manners of the country to receive gentlemen, who might call upon me in a morning, whether I had or had not any one with me; and it never occurred to me to think that there was either impropriety or indecorum in it, at that time, nor in continuing the practice at Montague House. But this has been confined to morning

visits, in no private apartments of my house, but in my drawing-room, where


ladies have, at all times, free access, and as they usually take their luncheon with me, except when they are engaged with visitors, or pursuits of their own, it could but rarely occur that I could be left with any gentleman alone for any length of time, unless there were something in the known and avowed business, which might occasion his waiting upon me, that would fully account for the circumstance.

I trust your Majesty will excuse the length at which I have dwelt upon this topic. I perceived, from the examinations, that it had been much inquired after, and I felt it necessary to represent it in its true light. And the candour of your Majesty's mind will, I am confident, suggest that those who are the least conscious of intending guilt, are the least suspicious of having it imputed to thein; and therefore that they do not think it necessary to guard themselves, at every turn, with witnesses to prove their innocence, fancying their character to be safe, as long as their conduct is innocent, and that guilt will not be imputed to them from actions quite indifferent.

The deposition, however, of Mr. Cole is not confined to my being alone with Sir Sidney Smith. The circumstances in which he observed us together he particularizes, and states his opinion. He introduces, indeed, the whole of his evidence by saying that I was too familiar with Sir Sidney Smith



but as I trust I am not yet so far degraded as to have my character decided by the opinion of Mr. Cole, I shall not comment upon that observation. He then proceeds to describe the scene which he observed on the day when he brought in the sandwiches, which I trust your Majesty did not fail to notice, I had myself ordered to be brought in. For there is an obvious insinuation that Sir Sidney must have come in through the Park, and that there was great impropriety in his being alone with

And at least the witness's own story proves, whatever impropriety there might be, in this circumstance, that I was not conscious of it, nor meant to take advantage of his clandestine entry, from the Park, to conceal the fact from my servant's observation. For if I had had such consciousness, or such meaning, I never could have ordered sandwiches to have been brought in, or any other act to have been done, which must have brought myself under the notice of my servants, while I continued in a situation, which I thought improper, and wished to conceal. Any of the circumstances of this visit, to which this part of the deposition refers, my memory does not enable me in the least degree to particularize and recal. Mr. Cole may have seen me sitting on the same sofa with Sir Sidney Smith, Nay, I have no doubt he must have seen me, over and over again, not only with Sir Sidney Smith, but with other gentlemen, sitting upon the saine sofa ; and Itrust your Majesty will feel it the hardest thing imaginable, that I should be called upon to ac


count what corner of a sofa I sat upon four years ago, and how close Sir Sidney Smith was sitting to

I can only solemnly aver to your Majesty, that my conscience supplies me with the fullest means of confidently assuring you, that I never permitted Sir Sidney Smith to sit on any sofa with me in any manner, which, in my own judgment, was in the slightest degree offensive to the strictest propriety and decorum. In the judgment of many persons perhaps, a Princess of Wales should at no time forget the elevation of her rank, or descend in any degree to the familiarities and intimacies of private life. Under any circumstances, this would be a hard condition to be annexed to her situation. Under the circumstances, in which it has been my misfortune to have lost the necessary support to the dignity and station of a Princess of Wales, to have assumed and maintained an unbending dignity would have been impossible, and if possible, could hardly have been expected froni me.

After these observations, Sire, I must now request your Majesty's attention to those written declarations which are mentioned in the Report, and which I shall never be able sufficiently to thank your Majesty for having condescended, in compliance with my earnest request, to order to be transmitted to me.

From observations upon those declarations themselves, as well as upon comparing them with the depositions made before the Commissioners, your Majesty will see the strongest reason for discrediting the testimony of W. Cole,

« PoprzedniaDalej »