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MEMOIRS OF 11. R. H.
Harrowby replied without delay to his Royal Highness by letter.
The Report is as follows:
To his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, the Members of bis Majesty's most honorable Privy Council; viz., his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, &c. &c., having been summoned by command of your Royal Highness, 'on the 19th of February, to meet at the office of Viscount Sidmouth, Secretary of State for the Home Department, a communication was made by his Lordship to the Lords then present, in the following terms:
MY LORDS, I have it in command, from his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, to acquaint your lordships, that a copy of a letter from the Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent having appeared in a public paper, which letter refers to the proceedings that took place in an inquiry instituted by command of his Majesty, in the year 1806, and contains, among other matters, certain animadversions upon the manner in which the Prince Regent has exercised his undoubted right of regulating the conduct and education of his daughter the Princess Charlotte ; and his Royal Highness having taken into his consideration the said letter so published, and adverting to the directions heretofore given by his Majesty, that the documents relating to the said inquiry should be sealed up, and deposited in the office of his Majesty's principal secretary of state, in order that his Majesty's government should possess the means of resorting to them if necessary; his Royal Highness has been pleased to direct, that the said letter of the Princess of Wales, and the whue of the said documents, together with the copies of other letters and papers, of which a schedule is annexed, should be referred to your lordships, being members of his Majesty's most konorable privy council, for your consideration ; and that you
should report to his Royal Highness your opinion, whether, under all the circumstances of the case, it be fit and proper that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales, and her daughter the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulations and restrictions."
“ Their lordships adjourned their meetings to Tuesday the 23d of February; and the intermediate days having been employed in perusing the documents referred to them, by command of your Royal Highness, they proceeded on that and the following day to the further consideration of the said documents, and have agreed to report to your Royal Highness as follows :
" In obedience to the commands of your Royal Highness, we have taken into our most serious consideration the letter from her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales to your Royal Highness, which has appeared in the public papers, and has been referred to us by your Royal Highness ; in which letter the Princess of Wales, amongst other matters, complains that the intercourse between her Royal Highness and her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, has been subjected to certain restrictions.
“ We have also taken into our most serious consideration, together with the other papers referred to us by your Royal Highness, all the documents relative to the inquiry instituted in 1806, by command of his Majesty, into the truth of certain representations, respecting the conduct of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, which appear to have been pressed upon the attention of your Royal Highness, in consequence of the advice of Lord Thurlow, and upon grounds of public duty; by whom they were transmitted to his Majesty's consideration; and your Royal Highness having been graciously pleased to command us to report our opinions to your Royal Highness, whether, under all the circumstances of the case, it be fit and proper, that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint:
“ We beg leave humbly to report to your Royal Highness, that, after a full examination of all the documents before us, we are of opinion that, under all the circumstances of the case, it is highly fit and proper, with a view to the welfare of her Royal Highness
the Princess Charlotte, in which are equally involved the happiness of your Royal Highness, in your parental and royal character, and the most important interests of the state,—that the intercourse between her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, and her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint.
“ We humbly trust that we may be permitted, without being thought to exceed the limits of the duty imposed on us, respectfully to express the just sense we entertain of the motives by which your Royal Highness has been actuated in the postponement of the confirmation of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte; as it appears, by a statement under the hand of her Majesty the Queen, that your Royal Highness has conformed in this respect to the declared will of his Majesty ; who had been pleased to direct, that such ceremony should not take place till her Royal Highness should have completed her eighteenth year.
“ We also humbly trust that we may be further permitted to notice some expressions in the letter of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, which may possibly be construed as implying a charge of too serious a nature to be passed over without observation. We refer to the words— suborned traducers. As this expression, from the manner it is introduced, may, perhaps, be liable to misconstruction (however impossible it may be to suppose that it can have been so intended) to have reference to some part of the conduct of your Royal Highness; we feel it our bounden duty not to omit this opportunity of declaring, that the documents laid before us, afford the most ample proof, that there is not the slightest foundation for such an aspersion.
(Signed) C. Cantuar,
Chas. Abbot, Eldon,
N. Vansittart, E. Ebor,
C. Bathurst, W. Armagh,
E. W. Grant, Harrowby, P. C. Sidmouth,
A. Macdonald, Westmoreland, C.P.S. J. London,
Of the respective merits of the letter of the Princess of Wales, many discordant opinions prevailed; some saw in it a desire for the early introduction of her daughter into fashionable life; and others, a mere wish that she should not be deprived of those innocent pleasures, which a more enlarged intercourse with some of the accomplished females of our nobility would grant her. The Princess complained of the total exclusion of her royal daughter from that social and cheerful communication with young ladies of her own age, which would, in some re. spects, prepare her for that public entrance into the world, which she was soon destined to encounter. It conveys a severe reflection on the British nobility, to suppose that not one of their daughters were worthy either of corresponding or of residing with the Princess Charlotte as a friend or a companion ; but to such an extent was this exclusion from the society of ladies of her, own age carried, that when, during one of the visits of her Royal Highness to the sea-coast, she formed an intimacy with, and conceived a partiality for a young lady of distinction, who had frequent opportunities of enjoying the honor of conversing with her Royal Highness, and a wish was expressed, on the part of the young Princess, to carry on a correspondence with the young lady by letters, a superior authority stepped in, and the correspondence was stopped. The young lady, here alluded to, is the daughter of the lata
Earl of Shaftesbury, a nobleman in strict coincidence with the policy of the ministers. No objection could therefore have arisen to the correspondence on the score of politics.
It is curious to trace the manner in which this celebrated letter at last reached the hands for which it was destined.
It was transmitted, on the 14th of January, to Lord Liverpool and Lord Eldon, sealed, by Lady Charlotte Campbell, the lady in waiting for the month, expressing her Royal Highness's pleasure, that it should be presented to the Prince Regent, and there was an open copy for their perusal.
On the 15th, the Earl of Liverpool presented his compliments to Lady Charlotte Campbell, and returned the letter unopened.
On the 18th it was returned by Lady Charlotte, intimating, that as it contained matters of importance to the state, she relied on their laying it before his Royal Highness. It was again returned unopened, with the Earl of Liverpool's compliments to Lady Charlotte, saying, that the Prince saw no reason to depart from his determination.
On the 17th, it was returned in the same way by command of her Royal Highness, expressing her confidence, that the two noble lords would not take upon themselves the responsibility of not communicating the letter to his Royal Highness, and that she should not be the only subject in the empire, whose petition was not permitted