Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

your majesty's royal sign manual, a period been brought up by her royal copy

of which is annexed to this re. highness in her own house, and under port, to “ authorize, empower, and her immediate inspection. direct us to enquire into the truth of These allegations thus made, had, certain written declarations, touching as we found, been followed by decla. the conduct of her Royal Highness rations from other persons, who had the Princess of Wales, an abstract of not indeed spoken to the important which had been laid before your ma. facts of the pregnancy or delivery of jesty, and to examine upon oath such her royal highness, but had related persons as we should see fit, touching other particulars, in themselves exand concerning the same, and to report tremely suspicious, and still more so to your majesty the result of such when connected with the assertions alexaminations.” We have, in dutiful ready mentioned. obedience to your majesty'scommands, In the painful situation in which his proceeded to examine the several wit royal highness was placed, by these nesses, the copies of whose depositions communications, we learn that his roywe have hereunto annexed ; and, in al highness had adopted the only course further execution of the said com- which could, in our judgment, with mands, we now most respectfully sub- propriety be followed.' When informmit to your majesty the report of these ations, such as these, had been thus examinations as it has appeared to us : confidently alleged, and particularly but we beg leave at the same time detailed, and had been, in some degree, humbly to refer your majesty, for supported by collateral evidence, apmore complete information, to the plying to other points of the same naexaminations themselves, in order to ture (though going to a far less ex. correct any error of judgment, into tent), one line only could be pursued. which we may have unintentionally Every sentiment of duty to your fallen, with respect to any part of this majesty, and of concern for the public business. On a reference to the above- welfare, required that these particulars mentioned declarations, as the neces- should not be withheld from your masary foundation of all our proceedings, jesty, to whom more particularly bewe found that they consisted in cer- longed the cognizance of a matter of tain statements, which had been laid state, so nearly touching the honour before his Royal Highness the Prince of your majesty's royal family, and, of Wales, respecting the conduct of by possibility, affecting the succession her royal highness the princess. That of your majesty's crown. these statements, not only imputed to Your majesty had been pleased, on her royal highness great impropriety your part, to view the subject in the and indecency of behaviour, but ex- same light. Considering it as a matpressly asserted, partly on the ground ter, which, on every account, demandof certain alledged declarations from ed the most immediate investigation, the princess's own mouth, and partly your majesty had thought fit to com. on the personal observation of the in. mit into our hands the duty of ascerformants, the following most impor- taining, in the first instance, what detant facts : viz. That her royal high- gree of credit was due to the informness had been pregnant in the year ations, and thereby enabling your ma1802, in consequence of an illicit in- jesty to decide what further conduct tercourse, and that she had in the same to adopt concerning them. year been secretly delivered of a male On this review, therefore, of the child, which child had ever since that matters thus alleged, and of the course

hitherto pursued upon them, we deem- ed. We are happy to declare to your ed it proper, in the first place, to exa- majesty our perfect conviction that mine those persons in whose declara- there is no foundation whatever for tions the occasion for this enquiry had believing that the child now with the originated. Because if they, on being princess is the child of her royal highexamined upon oath, had retracted or ness, or that she was delivered of any varied their assertions, all necessity for child in the year 1802 ; nor has any further investigation might possibly thing appeared to us which would have been precluded.

warrant the belief that she was pregWe accordingly first examined on nant in that year, or at any

other

peoath the principal informants, Sir John riod within the compass of our enquiDouglas, and Charlotte his wife, who ries, both positively swore, the former to The identity of the child, now with his having observed the fact of the the princess, its parentagę, the place pregoancy of her royal highness, and and the date of its birth, the time and the latter to all the important particu- the circumstances of its being first ta. lars contained in her former declaration, ken under her royal highness's protecand above referred to. Their exami. tion, are all established by such a connations are annexed to this report, and currence, both of positive and circumare circumstantial and positive. stantial evidence, as can, in our judg

The most material of those allega- ment, leave no question on this part of tions, into the truth of which we had the subject. The child was, beyond been directed to enquire, being thus all doubt, born in the Brownlow.street far supported by the oath of the par- hospital, on the 11th day of July, 1802, ties from whom they had proceeded, of the body of Sophia Austin, and was we then felt it our duty to follow up first brought to the princess's house in the enquiry by the examination of such the month of November following: other persons as we judged best able Neither should we be more warranted to afford us information, as to the facts in expressing any doubt respecting the in question.

alleged pregnancy of the princess, as We thought it beyond all doubt stated in the original declarations ;-a that, in this course of enquiry, many fact so fully contradicted, and by so particulars must be learnt which would many witnesses, to whom, if true, it be necessarily conclusive on the truth must in various ways have been known, or falsehood of these declarations. So that we cannot think it entitled to the many persons must have been witnesses smallest credit. The testimonies on to the appearances of an actually exist. these two points are contained in the ing pregnancy ; so many circumstances annexed depositions and letters. We must have been attendant upon a real have not partially abstracted them in delivery ; and difficulties so numerous this report, lest, by any unintentional and insurmountable must have been in- omission, we might weaken their ef. volved in any attempt to account for fect ; but we humbly offer to your the infant in question, as the child of majesty this our clear and unanimous another woman, if it had been in fact judgment upon them, formed on full the child of the princess ; that we en deliberation, and pronounced without tertained a full and confident expecta- hesitation, on the result of the whole tion of arriving at complete proof, ei- enquiry: ther in the affirmative or negative, on We do not, however, feel ourselves this part of the subject.

at liberty, much as we should wish it, This expectation was not disappoint- to close our report here. Besides the

allegations of the pregnancy and delic to any thing unnecessarily said or done very of the princess, those declarations, by us. on the whole of which your majesty All which is most humbly submit. has been pleased to command us to en- ted to your majesty. quire and report, contain, as we have (Signed) ERSKINL, already remarked, other particulars re

SPENCER, specting the conduct of her royal high

GRENVILLE, ness, such as must, especially consider. July 14, 1806.

ELLENBOROUGIL. ing her exalted rank and station, ne. A true copy, eessarily give occasion to very unfa

(J. Becket.) yourable interpretations.

From the various depositions and copy of the Princess of Wales's Letter proofs annexed to this report, particu.

to the King. Iarly from the examinations of Robert Bidgood, Wm. Cole, Frances Lloyd, Blackheath, Aug. 12, 1806. and Mrs Lisle, your majesty will per.

Sire, With the deepest feelings of ceive that several strong circumstances gratitude to your majesty, I take the of this description have been positively first opportunity to acknowledge hasworn to by witnesses, who cannot, in ving received, as yesterday only, the our judgment, be suspected of any un- report from the lords commissioners, favourable bias, and whose veracity, in which was dated from the 14th of July. this respect, we have seen no ground It was brought by Lord Ershine's to question.

footman, directed to the Princess of On the precise bearing and effect of Wales; besides a note enclosed, the the facts thus appearing, it is not for contents of which were, that Lord us to decide ; these we submit to your Erskine sent the evidences and report majesty's wisdom; but we conceive it by command of his majesty. I had to be our duty to report on this part reason to flatter myself that the lords of the enquiry, as distinctly as on the commissioners would not have given in former facts; that, as on the one hand, the report, before they had been prothe facts of pregnancy and delivery perly informed of various circumstanare to our minds satisfactorily dispro ces, wbich must, for a feeling and deved; so, on the other hand, we think licate-minded woman, be very unplea. that the circumstances to which we sant to have spread, without having now refer, particularly those stated to the means to exculpate herself. But have passed between her royal highness I can, in the face of the Almighty, and Captain Manby, must be credited assure your majesty that your daughuntil they shall receive some decisive ter-in-law is innocent, and her conduct contradiction ; and, if true, are justly unquestionable ; free from all the inentitled to the most serious consider. decorums and improprieties, which are ation.

imputed to her at present by the lords We cannot close this report, with. commissioners, upon the evidence of out humbly assuring your majesty, persons who speak as falsely as Sir that it was, 'on every account, our John and Lady Douglas themselves. anxious wish, to have executed this Your majesty can be sure that I shall delicate trust, with as little publicity be anxious to give the most solemn as the nature of the case would possi. denial in my power to all the scandal. bly allow; and we entreat your majes. ous stories of Bidgood and Cole ; to ły's permission to express our full per. make my conduct be cleared in the suasion, that if this wish has been dis most satisfactory way, for the tranappointed, the failure is not imputable quillity of your majesty, for the ke

your

nour of your illustrious family, and the heart, to express my gratitude for the gratification of your afflicted daughter- kindness and protection which I have in law. In the mean time, I can safely uniformly received from your majesty. trust your majesty's gracious justice to I needed no caution or reserve, in exrecollect, that the whole of the evi- pressing my confident reliance, that dence on which the commissioners that kindness and protection would have given credit to the infamous sto. not be withdrawn from me on this ries charged against me, was taken be. trying occasion, and that your majes. hind my back,

without my having any ty's justice would not suffer mind opportunity to contradict or explain to be affected to my disadvantage, by any any thing, or even to point out those part of a report, founded upon partial persons, who might have been called evidence, taken in my absence, upon to prove the little credit which was charges not yet communicated to me, due to some of the witnesses, from until your majesty had heard what their connection with Sir John and might be alleged, in my behalf, in anLady Douglas; and the absolute false.. swer to it. But your majesty will not hood of parts of the evidence, which be surprised nor displeased that I, a could have been completely contradict, woman, a stranger to the laws and ed. Oh! gracious king, I now look usages of your majesty's kingdom, unfor that happy moment, when I may der charges, aimed originally at my be allowed to appear again before your life and honour, should hesitate to de majesty's eyes, and receive once more termine in what manner I ought to the asgurarice from your majesty's own act, even under the present circummouth that I have your gracious pro- stances, with respect to such accusa. tection ; and that you will not discard tions, without the assistance of advice me from your friendship, of which your in which I could confide. And I majesty has been so condescending to have had submitted to me the followgive me so many marks of kindness ; ing observations, respecting the copies and which must be my only support, of the papers with which i have been and my only consolation, in this coun. furnished. And I humbly solicit from try: I remain, with sentiments of the your majesty's gracious condescension highest esteem, veneration, and un- and justice, a compliance with the rofeigned attachment,

quests which arise out of them. Sire,

In the first place, it has been obser. Your majesty's most dutiful, ved to me, that these copies of the resubmissive, and humble port, and of the accompanying papers,

daughter-in-law and subject, have come unauthenticated by the sig

(Signed) CAROLINE. nature of any person, high or low, To the king.

whose veracity, or even accuracy, is

pledged for their correctness, or to Aug. 17, 1806.

whom resort might be had, if it should Sire,-Upon receiving the copy of be necessary hereafter to establish, the report, made to your majesty, by that these papers are correct copies of the commissioners, appointed to en- the originals. I am far from insinuaquire into certain charges against my ting that the want of such attestations conduct, I lost no time, in returning was intentional. No doubt it was to your majesty, my heartfelt thanks omitted through inadvertence, but its for your majesty's goodness in com- importance is particularly confirmed manding that copy to be communica- by the state in which the copy of Mrs ted to me.

Lisle's examination has been transmit. I wanted no adviser but my own ted to me; for in the third page of

me.

it.

that examination, there have been two me, and by what accusers they have erasures, on one of which some words been made ; whether I am answering have been subsequently introduced, the charges of one set of accusers, or apparently in a different hand-writing more ; whether the authors of the orifrom the body of the examination, and ginal declarations, who may be collectthe passage, as it stands, is probably ed from the report to be Sir John and incorrect, because the phrase is unin. Lady Douglas, are my only accusers ; telligible ; and this occurs in an im- and the declarations which are said to portant part of her examination. have followed, are the declarations of

The humble, but earnest request, persons adduced as witnesses by Sir which I have to make to your majesty, John and Lady Douglas to confirm which is suggested by this observation, their accusation ; or whether such des is, that your majesty would be graci. clarations are the charges of persons, ously pleased to direct, that the re- who have made themselves also the port, and the papers which accompany authors of distinct accusations against it, and which, for that purpose, I venture to transmit to your majesty with The requests, which I humbly hope this letter, may be examined, and then your majesty will think reasonable and returned to me, authenticated as cor- just to grant, and which are suggested rect, under the signature of some per- by these further observations, are, son, who, having attested their accu- First, That your majesty would be racy, may be able to prove

graciously pleased to direct, that I In the second place, it has been ob. should be furnished with copies served to me, that the report proceeds, these declarations; and, if they are by reference to certain written decla- rightly described in the report, as the rations, which the commissioners de necessary foundation of all the proceed. scribe as the neces

essary foundation of ings of the commissioners, your majesty all their proceedings, and which con- could not, I am persuaded, but have tain, as I presume, the charge or in- graciously intended, in directing that formation against my conduct. Yet I should be furnished with a copy.

of copies of these written declarations the report, that I should also see

this have not been given to me. They are essential part of the proceeding, the described indeed, in the report, as con. foundation on which it rests. sisting in certain statements, respecting Secondly, That I may be informed my conduct, imputing, not only gross whether I have one or more, and how impropriety of behaviour, but express- many accusers ; and who they are; as ly asserting facts of the most confirm the weight and credit of the accusa. ed and abandoned criminality, for tion cannot but be much affected by which, if true, my life might be for- the quarter from whence it originates

. feited. These are stated to have been Thirdly, That I may be informed of followed by declarations from other the time when the declarations were persons, who, though not speaking to made. For the weight and credit of the same facts, had related other par- the accusation

must also be much afticulars, in themselves extremely sus- fected by the length of time which my picious, and still more so, as connected aceusers may have been contented to with the assertions already mentioned. have been the silent depositories of those

On this, it is observed to me, that heavy matters of guilt and charge i it is most important that I should and, know the extent, and the particulars

Lastly, That your majesty's good. of the charges or informations against Dess will secure to me a speedy retun

« PoprzedniaDalej »