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Mr. Cole's examination before the Commissioners goes on thus:-"A short time before this, one night about twelve o'clock, I saw a man go "into the house from the Park, wrapt up in a
great coat. I did not give any alarm, for the "impression on my mind was, that it was not "a thief." When I read this passage, Sire, I could hardly believe my eyes; when I found such a fact left in this dark state, without any further explanation, or without a trace in the examination, of any attempt to get it further explained. How he got this impression on his mind, that this was not a thief? Whom he believed it to be? What part of the house he saw him enter? If the drawingroom, or any part which I usually occupy, who was there at the time? Whether 1 was there? Whether alone, or with my Ladies? or with other company? Whether he told any body of the circumstance at the time? or how long after? Whom he told? Whether any inquiries were made in consequence? These, and a thousand other questions, with a view to have penetrated into the mystery of this strange story, and to have tried the credit of this witness, would, I should have thought, have occurred to any one; but certainly must have occurred to persons so experienced, and so able in the examination of facts, and the trying of the credit of witnesses, as the two learned Lords unquestionably are, whom your Majesty took care
Appendix (A.) No. 5..
to have introduced into this Commission. They never could have permitted these unexplained and unsifted hints and insinuations to have had the weight and effect of proof.-But, unfortunately for me, the duties, probably, of their respective situations prevented their attendance on the examination of this, and on the first examination of another most important witness, Mr. Robert Bidgoodand surely your Majesty will permit me here, without offence, to complain, that it is not a little hard, that, when your Majesty had shewn your anxiety to have legal accuracy, and legal experience assist on this examination, the two most important witnesses, in whose examinations there is more inatter for unfavourable interpretation, than in all the rest put together, should have been examined without the benefit of this accuracy, and this experience. And I am the better justified in making this observation, if what has been suggested to me is correct; that, if it shall not be allowed that the power of administering an oath under this warrant or commission is questionable, yet it can hardly be doubted, that it is most questionable whether, according to the terms or meaning of the warrant or commission as it constitutes no quorum, Lord Spencer and Lord Grenville could administer an oath, or act in the absence of the other Lords; and if they could not, Mr. Cole's falsehood must be out of the reach of punishment.
Returning then from this digression, will your Majesty permit me to ask, whether I am to under
stand this fact, respecting the man in a great coat, to be one of those which must necessarily give occasion to the most unfavourable interpretations? which must be credited till decidedly contradicted? and which if true, deserve the most serious consideration? The unfavourable interpretations which this fact may occasion, doubtless are, that this man was either Sir Sidney Smith, or some other paramour, who was adinitted by me into my house in disguise at midnight, for the accomplishment of my wicked and adulterous purposes. And is it possible that your Majesty, is it possible that any candid mind can believe this fact, with the unfavourable interpretations which it occasions, on the relation of a servant, who for all that appears, mentions it for the first time, four years after the event took place; and who gives himself, this picture of his honesty and fidelity to a master, whom he has served so long, that he, whose nerves are of so moral a frame, that he starts at seeing a single man sitting at mid-day, in an open drawingroom, on the same sofa, with a married woman, permitted this disguised midnight adulterer, to approach his master's bed, without taking any notice, without making any alarm, without offering any interruption. And why? because (as he expressly states) he did not believe him to be a thief; and because (as he plainly insinuates) he did believe him to be an adulterer.
But what makes the manner in which the Com
missioners suffered this fact to remain so unexplained, the more extraordinary is this; Mr. Cole had in his original declaration of the 11th of January, which was before the Commissioners, stated "that one night, about twelve o'clock, he saw a person wrapped up in a great coat, go across the Park into the gate to the Green House, and he verily believes it was Sir Sidney Smith." In his declaration then, (when he was not upon oath) he ventures to state, "that he verily believes it was Sir Sidney Smith.' When he is upon his oath, in his deposition before the Commissioners, all that he ventures to swear is, "that he gave no alarm, because the impression upon his mind was, that it was not a thief." And the difference is most important. "The impression upon his mind was, that it was not a thief!!" I believe him, and the impression upon my mind too is, that he knew it was not a thief-That he knew who it was--and that he knew it was no other than my watchman. What incident it is that he alludes to, I cannot pretend to know. But this I know, that if it refers to any man with whose proceedings I have the least acquaintance or privity, it must have been my watchman; who, if he executes my orders, nightly, and often in the night, goes his rounds, both inside and outside of my house. And this circumstance, which I should think would rather afford, to most minds, an inference that I was not preparing the
Appendix (B) p. 98.
way of planning facilities for secret midnight assignations, has, in my conscience, I believe, (if there is one word of truth in any part of this story, and the whole of it is not pure invention) afforded the handle, and suggested the idea, to this honest, trusty man, this witness," who cannot be suspected of any unfavourable bias," "whose veracity in that respect the Commissioners saw no ground to question," and "who must be credited till he received decided contradiction," suggested, I say, the idea of the dark and vile insinuation contained in this part of his testimony.
Whether I am right or wrong, however, in this conjecture, this appears to be evident, that his examination is so left, that supposing an indictment for perjury or false swearing, would lie against any witness, examined by the Commissioners, and supposing this examination had been taken before the whole four.-If Mr. Cole was indicted for perjury, in respect to this part of his deposition, the proof that he did see the watchman, would necessarily acquit him; would establish the truth of what he said, and rescue him from the punishment of perjury, though it would at the same time prove the falsehood and injustice of the inference, and the insinuation, for the establishment of which alone the fact itself was sworn.
Mr. Cole chooses further to state, that he ascribes his removal from Montague House to London, to the discovery he had made, and the notice he had taken of the improper situation of Sir Sid