Obrazy na stronie

nocent of every charge preferred against i more especially as the Report and the her; not only of every charge of criminality, Depositions must necessarily find their way but also of every charge of indecency or lo ihe knowledge of so many persons. It impropriety or indiscretion of conduct; and was impossible, that, when so many I am further assured, that you will agree persons were examined, the purport of with me, that there are comparatively very ihe accusations should remain a secrel. few married women, though living hap. Indeed it was very well known; and it pily with their husbands, whose conduct is also very well known, that it gave would bear such a scrutiny as that which rise to very serious doubts and unfavourthe conduct of this calumniated Lady has able impressions. Was it not, then, very been coinpelled to undergo. Tried and re- hard upon the accused party, that the actried and tried again and again; rummaged cusation should have been réceived and reand sisted and bolted as it has been, through corded, and reported upon by a tribunal, statements and declarations and depositions whose incompetence on her side was such and minutes and debates and pamphlets as not to constitute perjury any thing that and paragraphs, it comes out at last with might be sworn falsely against her? Such, out any thing sticking to it, which the most however, now appears to have been the modest and happy married woman in the fact; and upon that fact I shall not, for I world might not own without a blush; and, am sure it is quite unnecessary, offer you after having carefully read and impartially any further observation of mine, being weighed every word of these documents, Iconvinced that you will want no one to asmost solemnly declare, that, if I had a sist you in forming a correct opinion with daughter (wenty years married, I should respect to it. think myself a happy and a fortunate father, Sir John Douglas, however, has preif as little could be said against her conduct sented a petition to the House of Commons, as has been proved against the conduct of on behalf of himself and of Charlotte, his the Princess of Wales.

wife, praying the House to put them in a You will naturally be anxious to know, situation to re-swear all that they have whether any ineasure, and what, has been before sworn. That the prayer of this adopted by the ministry, the parliament, petition could not be granted, they knew or the people, in consequence of the dis- very well. However, as the petition was closure, which has now, fortunately for the upon the Table of the House, Mr. Cochcause of truth, taken place. By the mi- RANE. JOHNSTONE, one of the members, nistry no measure has, as yet, been adopted. upon the ground, that, while it so lay, In parliament there have been some move without any opinion of the House proments, but, hitherto, without producing nounced upon it, it seemed to receive some any measure of a decided character. A degree of countenance from the House, motion has been brought forward by Mr. moved, on the 24th instant, the following Whitbread for the prosecution of Sir John resolution : “ That the petition of Sir John and Lady Douglas for perjury; but was “ Douglas, in behalf of himself and of given up, upon its appearing, that they " Charlotte his wife, is regarded by this could not be so prosecuted, having given " House as an audacious effort, to give, their oaths before persons, acting in a capa- " in the eyes of the nation, the colour of city which did not make it perjury for any r6 truth to falsehoods before sworn 10, one lo swear falsely before them. Of this, " during the prosecution of a foul and deas you will perceive, the Princess complains" testable attempt against the peace and in her defence. And, surely, it was very happiness, the honour and life of Her hard for her to have her conduct tried, to Royal Highness the Princess of Wales." have evidence touching her honour and her This motion, upon the ground of there life, taken down before a tribunal, whose being no documents regularly before the competence did not extend far enough to House, whereon to ground such a resoluallow of false swearers being prosecuted for tion, was got rid of by a motion to adperjury. This should have been thought journ; but, during the debate that took of before the warrant was issued; for, it place, it was avowed on all hands, that seems to me, that the hardness of the case ihe opinion which the resolution expressed is without a parallel. If the oaths had was perfectly just. Not a single man was been taken before the Privy Council, or found in the House to attempt to justify, before magistrates, a prosecution for per- to excuse, or to palliate the conduct of the jury might have followed; and, it is to be petitioners; and, therefore, the effect of greatly lamented, that this most important the motion of Mr. COCHRANE JOHNSTONE circumstance was not attended to in time; upon the public mind has been just the same as it would have been if the motion doubt, that, though acquitted upon all had been carried by an unanimous vote of capital points, she was still an immoral the House.

woman ; an opinion, too, which I will The public feeling, which was before fairly avow, was neither removed nor strong on the side of the injured Princess, shaken by her public reception at court and has now received the sanction of the con- her restoration to apartments in one of the viction of her perfect innocence; and, Royal Palaces; acts which, without being which is well worthy of remark, this con- over-suspicious, I might, and indeed, I viction has been produced, in general, by the did, ascribe to mere prudence, which must reading of the Evidence only; for, there is have dictated to the whole of the Roval. not, up to this hour, one person out of fifty Family to use all the means in their power thousand in the kingdom, who has read the to cause a veil to be drawn for ever over Defence, contained in the letter of the 2d of the whole transaction. I was, moreover, Oct., the greater part of which I now pub- influenced in the forming of this opinion lish in this Double Number. What, then, by the total silence of the Princess herself: must be the feelings of the people, when time for, one must have actual experience of and circumstances shall have enabled them forbearance and magnanimity like hers, to read and well reflect on that Defence before one can possibly believe in their exand the Affidavits in support of it ?

istence. If I viewed the matter in this Another thing worthy of remark; is, light, how must others, with less opporthat those news-papers, which, upon the tunity of getting at the truth, have viewed appearance of Her Royal Highness's Letter it ? Certainly in a light less advantageous to the Prince, and upon that of the far to the Princess, who, it appears to me, better letter which she addressed to the must have had very faithless advisers; or, Speaker of the House of Commons; those she could not, for so long a time, have news-papers, which called her a misguided remained silent. woman, an unfortunate woman, a rash

The fact which first led me to suppose, that I woman, who taunted her with the evidence had formed a wrong opinion upon this point, i

was informed of about eighteen months ago. It of Cole, Bidgood, and Fanny Lloyd, and was this; that a certain Noble Earl, well known who menaced her with a new Inquiry ; to be much attached to the Priuce, had expendthose same news-papers, perceiving the ed, through the hands of a gentleman, some hununiversal cry excited by their baseness, THE BOOK. What could this be for? What accompanied with a disclosure of all the could be the motive? From that time I began dark machinations of her vindictive ene- to think, that the Princess was not so very mies, have, all of a sudden, turned round, guilty; and, when, soon afterwards, Mr. Per. and, while they have become her panyge. author of the Book ; when he, who was now

ceval, who was well known to liave been the rists, have fallen, in the most violent become the prime Minister of the Prince, and manner, upon Sir John and Lady Douglas ; who had been chosen to that office to the exjust as if the conduct of these persons were

clusion of the Prince's old friends; when, in not now what it always had been known open parliament, be explicitly declared, the Printo be! You will be shocked to hear of that had been preferred against her, I could no

cess to be perfectly innocent of all the charges such a perversion of that noble instrument, longer doubt of her perfect innocence; and, the Press; but, my friend, you must be from that hour, as the pages of my Register wiń here, and be acquainted with the means show, I did all in my little power to inculcate

the same opinion on my readers. made use of to move that instrument; you When the Prince was addressed by the City must see the working of the secret wheels, of London upon his being constituted Regent, I before you can have a sufficient horror of the thought that the Princess ought to have been cause of so apparently unaccountable an effect. addressed too. I think so still ; and, if she had, For my own part, I confess, that, with at that time, been placed in a situation to hold a

court, THE BOOK would still, in all human out any motive whatever to bias my judg- probability, have slept in quiet. The want of ment, I, for a long while, for several wisdom in the advisers of the Prince and the years, thought the Princess guilty to some

sense and courage of the Princess have combined

to order it otherwise ; and, I should be a very considerable exlent. The very existence of

great hypocrite if I were now to affect to be sorry a commission to inquire into her conduct for it. The disclosure will

do great good in many was sufficient to produce that impression ways, while to the nation at large, and especially in my mind; and this, added to the tales to the calumniated Princess, it is impossible and anecdotes which were circulated with that it should do any barm. With this remark I

leave you to the pernsal of the Princess's defence, an industry and in a way, of which you, well satisfied, that you will need nothing more who live in a happy ignorance of the crafty to enable you to form a correct judgment upon intrigues of this scene, cannot form the every part of this memorable transaction.

I remain your faithful friend, most distant idea, had left me in little

Botley, 26 Mar. 1813, WM, COBBETT. THE BOOK.

can be any question upon the legality of such a Continued from page 416.)

Warrant or Commission, the extreme hardship with which it has operated upon me, the extreme

prejudice which it has done to my character, and such persons as they think ht: and to report to to which such a proceeding must ever expose your Majesty the result of tireir Examination. the person who is the object of it, obliges me, By referring to the written Declarations, it apo till I am fully convinced of its legality, to forpears that they contain allegations against me, bear from acknowledging its authority; and, amountiog to the charge of ligh Treason, and with all humility and deference to your Majesty, also other matters, which, if understood to be to protest against it, and against all the proceed. as they seem to have been acted and reported ings under it. If this, indeed, were matter of upon, by the Commissioners, not as evidence mere form, I should be ashamed to urge it. But confirmatory (as they are expressed to be in the actual hardships and prejudice which I have the title) of the principal charge, but as distinct suffered by this proceeding are most obvious; and substantive subjects of examination, can for, upon the principal charge against me, the not, as I am advised, be represented as in law, Commissioners have most satisfactorily, and amounting to crimes. How most of the De- “ without the least hesitation," for such is their clarations referred to were collected, by whom, expression, reported their opinion of its false. at whose solicitation, under what sanction, hood. Sir John and Lady Douglas, therefore, and before what persons, magistrates, or others, who have sworn to its truth, have been guilty of they were made, does not appear. By the title, the plainest falsehood; yet upon the supposition indeed, which all the written Declarationis, of the illegality of this Conimission their false except Sir John and Lady Douglas's bear, viz. hood must, as I am informed, go nopunished. «That they had been taken for the purpose Upon that supposition, the want of legal authoof confirming Lady Douglas's Statement,” it rity in the Commissioners to inquire and to admay be collected that they had been made by minister an oath, will render it impossible to give her, or, at least, by Sir John Douglas's pro- to this falsehood the character of perjary, Bat curement. And the concluding passage of one this is by no means the circumstance which I feel of them, I mean the fourth declaration of W. the most severely. Beyond the vindicating of Cole, strengthens this opinion, as it represents my own character, and the consideration of proSir John Donglas, accompanied by his Solicitor viding for my future security, I can assure your Mr. Lowten, to have gone down as far as Chel Majesty, that the punishment of Sir John and tenham for the cxamination of two of the wit. Lady Douglas would afford me no satisfaction, desses whose declarations are there stated. I It is not, therefore, with regard to that part of am, however, at a loss to know, at this mo. the charge which is negatived, but with respect ment, whom I am to consider, or whom I could to those which are sanctioned by the Report, Legally fix, as ny false accuser. From the cir- those, which, not aiming at my life, exhanst themcumstance last mentioned, it might be inferred, selves upon my character, and which the Commisthat Sir John and Lady Douglas, or one of them, sioners have, in some measure, sanctioned by is that accuser. But Lady Douglas, in ber their Report, that I have the greatest reason to written Declaration, so far from representing complain. Had the Report sanctioned the printhe information which she then gives, as mov. cipal charge, constituting a known legal crime, ing voluutarily from herself, expressly states my innocence would have emboldened me, at ali that she gives it under the direct command risques (and to more no person has ever been ex. of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, posed from the malice and falsehood of accusers) and the papers leave me without information, to have demanded that trial, which could legally from whom any conimanication to the Prince determine upon the truth or falsehood of such originated, which indaced him to give such charge. Though I should even then, indeed, commauds.

l'pon the question, how far have had some cause to complain, because I the advice is agreeable to law, under which it should have gone to that trial under the preju. was recommended to your Majesty to issue this dice necessarily raised against me by that ŘeWarrant or Commission, not countersigned, nor port; yet, in a proceeding before the just, open, under Seal, and without any of your Majesty's and known tribunals of your Majesty's kingdom, advisers, therefore, being, on the face of it, re I should have had a safe appeal from the result sponsible for its issuing, I am not competent to of an ex parte investigation; an investigation determine. Aud undoubtedly, considering that which has exposed me to all the hardships of a the two high legal authorities, the Lord Chancel secret Inquiry, without giving me the benefit of lor, and the Lord Chief Justice of the King's secrecy, and to all the severe consequences of a Bench, consented to act under it, it is with the public investigation, in point of injury to my greatest doubt and diffidence that I can bring character, without affording me any of its sub myself to express any suspicion of its illegality stantial benefits in point of security. But the But if it be, as I am given to nnderstand it is, charges which the Commissioners do sanction by open to question, whether, consistently

with law, their Report, describing them with a mysterious your Majesty should have been advised to coin. obscurity and indefinite generality, constitute, mand, by this warrant or commission, persons as I am told, no legal crime. They are described (not to act in any known character, as Secreta.

as “ instanees of great impropriety and indecenries of State, as Privy Counsellors, as Magistrates cy of behaviour,” which must occasion the otherwise empowered, but to act as Commission" most unfavourable interpretations, and they ers, and ander the sole authority of such warrant) are reported to your Majesty, and they are stated to inquire, (without any authority to hear and de- to be," circumstances which must be credited termine any thing npon the subject of those in-" till they are decisively contradicted." From quiries) into the known crime of bigh treason, this opinion, this judgment of the Commissioners under the sanction of oaths, to be administered bearing so hard upon my character (and that a by them as such Commissioners, and to report the female character, how delicate, and how easily result thereof to your Majesty. I, I say, there to be affected by the breath of calumny, your Majesty well knows), I can have no appeal ; ( other proceedings may be had against me (desirfor, as the charges constitute no legal crimes, able as it may have been thought that the Inqniry they cannot be the subjects of any legal trial. should have been of the


nature which has, in this I can call for no trial

. I can, therefore, instance, obtained), your Majesty would be grahave no appeal; I can look for no acquittal. ciously pleased to require to be advised, whether Yet this opinion, or this judgment, from which ny guilt, if I were guilty, conld not be as effec I can have no appeal, has been pronounced tually discovered and punished, and my honour against me upon mere ex parte investigation. and innocence, if innocent, be more effectually

-This hardship, Sire, I am told to ascribe to secured and established by other more known the nature of the proceeding under this Warrant and regular modes of proceeding. Having, or Commission;

for had the inquiry been entered therefore, Sire, upon these grave reasons, veninto before your Majesty's Privy Conncil, or be tured to submit, I trust without offence, these fore any magistrates, authorized by law as such, considerations upon the nature of the Commisto inquire into the existence of treason, the sion and the proceedings under it, I will now known conrse of proceeding before that Council, proceed to observe upon the Report and the

ex. or such magistrates, the known extent of their aminations; and, with your Majesty's permissiou, jurisdiction

over crimes, and not over the pro- I will go through the whole matter, in that course prieties of behavionr, would have preserved me which has been observed by the Report itself, from the possibility of having matters made the and which an examination of the important mat subjects of inquiry, which had in law no substan. ters that it contains, in the order in which it tive criminal character, and from the extreme states them, will naturally suggest.The Rehardship of having my reputation injured by ca- port, after referring to the Commission or War. lumny altogether unfounded, but rendered at rant under which their Lordships were acting, once more safe to my enemies, and more injuri- after stating that they had proceeded to examine ous to me, by being uttered in the course of a the several witnesses, whose depositions they proceediug assuming the grave semblance of legal annexed to their report, proceeds to state the form. And it is by the nature of this proceed effect of the written declarations, which the ing (which could alone have countenańced or ad Commissioners considered as the essential founmitted of this licentious latitude of inquiry into dation of the whole proceeding. « That they the proprieties of behaviour in private life, with were statements which had been laid before His which no court, no magistrate, no public law has Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, respecting any authority to interfere), that I have been de the conduct of Her Royal Highness the Princess; prived of the benefit of that entire and unquali- that these statements not only imputed to Her fied acquittal and discharge from this accusation, Royal Highness great impropriety and indecency to which the utter and proved falsehood of the of behaviour, but expressly asserted, partly on accusation itself so justly entitled me. I trust, the ground of certain alleged declarations from therefore, that your Majesty will see, that if this the Princess's own mouth, and partly on the perproceeding is not one to which, by the known sonal observation of the informants, the followlaws of your Majesty's kingdom, 1 ought to be ing most important facts, viz. that Her Royel subject, that it is no cold formal objection which Highness had been pregnant in the year 1802, in leads me to protest against it.I am ready to consequence of an illicit intercourse, and that acknowledge, Sire, from the consequences which she had in the same year been secretly delivered might arise to the public from such misconduct of a male child, which child had ever since that as have been falsely imputed to me, that my ho- period been brought up by Her Royal Highness nour and virtue are of more importance to the in her own house, and under her immediate inState than those of other women. That my con- i spection. These allegations thus made, had, as duct, therefore, may be fitly subjected, when ne the Commissioners found, been followed by de cessary, to a severer scrutiny. But it cannot clarations from other persons, who had not, infollow, because my character is of more import- deed, spoken to the important facts of the preg. ance, that it may, therefore, be attacked with nancy or delivery of her Royal Highness, but more impunity, And as I know, that this mis, had related other particulars, in themselves ex chief has been pending over my head for more tremely suspicious, and still more so, when con. than two years, that private examinations of my nected with the assertions already mentioned. neighbours' servants, and of my own, have, at The Report then states, that, in the painful situ. times, during that interval, been taken, for the ation in which His Royal Highness was placed by purpose of establishing charges against me, not, these declarations, they learnt that he had adopt indeed, by the instrumentality of Sir John and ed the only course which could, in their judg. Lady Douglas alone, but by the sanction, and in ment, with propriety be followed, when informa the presence of the Earl of Moira (as your Ma- tions such as these had been thus confidently

aljesty will perceive by the deposition of Jonathan leged and particularly detailed, and had in some

Partridge, which I subjoin); and as I know also, degree been supported by collateral evidence, and make appear to your Majesty likewise by the applying to other points of the same nature same means, that declarations of persons of up (though going to a far less extent), one line could questionable credit respecting my conduct, at- only be pursued.”—“Every sentiment of duty testing my innocence, and directly falsifying a to your Majesty, and of concern for the public most important circumstance respecting my sup. welfare, required that these particulars should posed pregnancy, mentioned in the declarations, not be withheld from your Majesty, to whom on which the Inquiry was instituted; as I know, more particularly belonged the cognizance of a I say, that those deelarations, so favourable to matter of state, so nearly touching the honour me, appear, to my infinite prejudice, not to have of your Majesty's Royal Family, and by possibi. been communicated to your Majesty when that lity affecting the succession to your Majesty's Inquiry was commanded; and as I know not crown." The Commissioners, therefore, your how soon nor how often proceedings against me Majesty observes, going, they must permit me to may be meditated by my enemies, I take leave say, a little out of their way, begin their Report to express my humble trust, that, before any by expressing a clear and decided opinion, that His Royal Highness was properly advised (for, upon His Royal Highness as liis child. Nay, they your Majesty will undoubtedly conclude, that, were to believe, that I had stated, and that Lady upon a subject of this iniportance, His Royal Douglas had believed the statement to be true, Highness could not but have acted by the advice that I had in fact attempted to suckle it, and only of others), in referring this complaint to your gave up that part of my plan, because it inade Majesty, for the purpose of its undergoing the me nervous, and was too much for my health. investigation which has followed. And unques- And, after all this, they were then to believe, tionably, if the charge referred to in this Report, that having made Lady Douglas, thus unnecessa, as made by Sir Johu and Lady Douglas, had been rily, the confidant, of this most important and presented under circumstances in which any rea- dangerous secret; having thus put my character sonable degree of credit could be given to them, and my life in her hands, I sought an occasion, or even if they had not been presented in such a wantonly, and without provocation, from the mamer as to impeach the credit of the inform- mere fickleness and wilfulness of my own mind, ers, and to bear internal evidence of their own to quarrel with her, to insúlt her openly and vioincredibility, I should be the last person who lently in my own house, to endeavour to ruin her would be disposed to dispute the wisdom of the reputation; to expose her in iufanious and indeadvice which led to make them the subject of cent drawings enclosed in letters to her husband. the gravest and most anxious inquiry. And your The letters, indeed, are represented to have been Majesty, acting upon a mere abstract of the de- anonymous, but, though anonymous, they are clarations, which was all that, by the recital of stated to have been written with my own band, the warrant, appears to have been laid before soundisguised in peamanship and style, that your Majesty, undonbtedly could not but direct every one who had the least acquaintance with an inquiry concerning my conduct. For though either, could not fail to discover them, and (as it I have not been furnished with that abstract, yet it were throngh fear, lest it should not be suffi. I must presume that it described the criminatory ciently plain froni whom they came) that I had contents of these declarations, much in the same sealed them with a scal, which I had shortly bemanner as they are stated in the Report. And fore used on an occasion of writing to her husthe criminatory parts of these declarations, if band. All this they were to believe upon the viewed without reference to those traces of ma- declaration of a person, who, with all that loyallice and resentment with which the declarations ty and attachment which she expresses to your of Sir John and Lady Douglas abound; if ab. Majesty and His Royal Highness the Prince of stracted from all these circumstances, which shew Wales, with all her obligation to the whole Royal the extreme improbability of the story, the Family (to whom she expresses herself to be length of time which my accuser had kept my bound by ties of respectful regard and attach. alleged guilt concealed, the contradictions ob- ment, which nothing can ever break), with all servable in the declarations of the other wit- her dread of the mischievous consequences to nesses, all which, I submit to your Majesty, are the country which might arise from the disputed to an extent to cast the greatest discredit upon succession to the crown, on the pretensions of an the truth of these declarations ;-abstracted, 1 illegitimate child of mine, nevertheless contisay, from these circumstances, the criminatory nued, after this supposed avowal of my infanıy parts of them were unquestionably such as to and my crime, after my supposed acknowledg. have placed your Majesty under the necessity of ment of the birth of this child, which was to oc. directing some inquiry concerning them. But casion all this mischief, to preserve, for near a that those, who had the opportunity of reading twelvemonth, her intimacy and apparent friendthe long and malevolent narration of Sir John ship with me. Nay, for two years more, after and Lady Douglas, should not have hesitated be that intimacy had ceased, after that friendship fore they gave any credit to it, is matter of the had been broken off, by my alleged misbehaviour greatest astonishment to me.The improbabi- to her, continued still faithful to my secret, and lity of the story would of itself, I should have never disclosed it till (as her declaration states it) imagined (unless they believed me to be as in- “ The Princess of Wales recommenced a fresh sane as Lady Douglas insinuates), have been suf- “ torrent of outrage against Sir John; and Sir ficient to have staggered the belief of any unpre-“ John discovered that she was attempting to judiced mind: for, to believe that story, they “undernsine his and Lady Douglas's cliaracter." were to begin with believing, that a person guilty Those, then, who had the opportunity of seeof so foul a crime, so highly penal, so fatal to ing the whole of this Narrative, having had their her honour, her station, and her life, should gra- jealousy awakened by these circumstances to the tuitously and uselessly have confessed it. Such improbability of the story, and to the discredit a person, under the necessity of concealing her of the informer, when they came to observe, pregnancy, might have been indispensably oblig- how maliciously every circumstance that imaed to confide her secret with those, to whom she gination could suggest, as most calculated to was to look for assistance in concealing its conse- make a woman contemptible and odions, was quences. But Lady Douglas, by her own ac- scraped and heaped np together in this Narracount, was informed by me of this fact, for no tive, must surely have had their eyes opened purpose whatever. She makes me, as those who to the motives of my accusers, and their minds read her declarations cannot fail to have observ- cautioned against giving too easy a credit to ed, state to her, that she should, on no account, their accusation, when they found my converbe intrusted with any part of the management sation to be represented as most loose, and inby which the birth was to be concealed. They famous, my mind uninstructed and unwilling to were to believe also, that, anxious as I must have learn ; my language, with regard to your Majesty been to have concealed the birth of any such and the whole of your Royal Family, foully dischild, I had determined to bring it up in my own respectful and offensive ; and all my manners house; and what would exceed, as I should ima- and habits of life most disgusting, I should have gine, the extent of all human credulity, that I fattered myself, that I could not have been, in ħad determined to suckle it myself: that I had character, so wholly unknown to them, but laid my plan, if discovered, to have imposed it that they must have observed a spirit, and a

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