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This letter having been read, some conversation took place between Mr. Whitbread and Lord Castlereagh on the subject; but as the promised motion of Mr. Cochrane Johnstone * stood for the 14th of March, here the matter rested for the present.
This letter was not communicated to the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor conceiving that he was restrained by a sense of duty, from reading it to that House.
On the 4th of March, Mr. Cochrane Johnstone proceeded to bring on his motion, and the Speaker having called on him, Mr. Lygon moved the standing order of the House, and, consequently, the doors were closed, and all strangers excluded. The sitting being thus rendered secret, Mr. Bennett, moyed an adjournment, upon which the House divided : Ayes,
109 The adjournment being thus negatived, Mr. Cochrane Johnstone said, that he would follow the example of the honourable member, who had moved to clear the gallery, by exercising his right also of not bringing forward the motion of which he had given notice,
The proceedings in the House of Commons or the 6th of March, appear to have been of the highest importance, since they amounted to a complete vindication and acquittal of the Princess of Wales, not only from all the charges, but from all the aspersions that have been thrown out against her Royal Highness.
Upon the meeting of the House on this day,
Mr. Lygon moved that strangers should not be admitted after the division on the Brecon Canal Bill, and Mr. Bennett
* Notice of this motion on the subject of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, was given by the Honourable Cochrane Johastone, on the 25th of February last.
'mooved an adjournment, to establish his right of meeting tha clearing of the gallery on such ground. He did not, however, " persist in dividing upon the question.
Mr. Cochrane Johnstone then rose in pursuance of his no, tice and said, that it was the undoubted right of the honourable member (Mr. Lygon) to act as he had done, in clearing the House of strangers ; if, however, this precaution had been taken under the impression that any thing he had to say should be unbecoming the respect he owed to that House, or inconsistent with what was due to the feelings of every branch of the Royal Family; such apprehensions were utterly unfounded, He thought it a duty he owed, in the first instance, to the Princess of Wales, to declarė, that for the motion he was about to submit, he had no authority from her ; that he had had no communication with any person or persons whatsoever, and that the proceedings originated entirely and exclusively with himself.
The honourable member proceeded to observe, that it was well known that a commission had been granted by the King in 1806, to four noble lords, Grenville, Spencer, Erskine, and Elļenborough, to examine into certain allegations that had been preferred against the Princess of Wales. He tien tend the whole of the report niade by the commissioners abovë stated, containing the most unqualified opinion; that the charge próduced by Sir John and Lady Douglas against the Princess of Wales, of having been delivered of a child in the year 1802, was utterly destitute of trath. It added, that the birth and real mother of the child, said to have been born of the Princess, had been proved beyond all possibility of doubt. The report concludes with sbine objections nade by the commis, sioners, to the manners, or to levity of manners, upon different occasions, in the Princess.
The honourable member next proceeded to state', that the paper he should now read, was a document which he was ready to prove at the bar of the House was dictated by Lord Eldon, Mr. Perceval and Sir Thomas Plomer, though signed by the Princess of Wales ; it was a letter written, or purporting to be
written, by her Royal Highness to the King, on gth October, 1806, as a protest against the report of the Commissioners, just detailed ; the letter being read at length appeared to be a formal and elaborate criticisin upon the nature of the commission under which her conduct had been reviewed ; it asserted in the most unqualified terms her own innocence, and called the charges of her accusers a foul and false conspiracy made ex-parte, and affording no appeal. Upon this letter being read, the honourable member observed, that he fully con. curred in the sentiments it expressed upon the subject of the commission, and that he insisted that the charge against the Princess before that Tribunal, by Sir John and Lady Douglas, was nothing short of treuson ; that if the commissioners had power to acquit her Royal Highness of the crime charged, they had equally the power to cunvict her : what was the state of that country in which such a thing were even possible ? Be
sides he inquired, what became of Sir John and Lady Douglas? If he were rightly informed, they still persisted in the same story; if all they maintained were so notoriously false, why were they not prosecuted ? The bonourable member went on to remark, that he understood no proceedings of the late Privy Council, except the report, bad been transmitted to the Princess of Wales.
This was the case in 1806, but he submitted that copies of all those examinations should be given to her. The honourable member then concluded by moving, first, a very long resolution, containing nearly the wbóle of the report of the Commissioners in 1806, with his own reasoning upon the illegality of such a commission, and terminating with expressing the expediency of a new and different trial of, or inquiry into, the same subject; the second motion was, for a variety of papers connected with this subject, from 1806 to the present time*.
A very animated debate ensued, in which Lord Castlereagh, Mr. Whitbread, and Şir Samuel Romilly, were the principal speakers
* The whole of these interesting and important documents will be found in the present work,
Upon the question being put, Mr, Cochrane Johnstone's motion WAS NEGATIVED WITHOUT A DIVISION.
Thus terminated, for the present, this memorable debate, which involved consequences of the last importance to the nation.
From these proceedings in the Holise of Commons, may be inferred a perfect acquittal of her Royal Highness. No actual criminality was, or could be imputed to her Royal Highness; no case whatever was made out; no matter existed against her Royal Highness to become the subject of Inquiry, and therefore further inquiry was accounted super
Notwithstanding this decision, however, on the 15th of March, Mr. Whitbread gave notice, in the House of Commons, of his intention to move on the 17th of this month for an Address to the Prince Regent, praying his Royal Highness to order a prosecution to be instituted against Lady Douglas, for the evidence given by her Ladyship, respecting the Princess of Wales.
Upon the meeting of the House of Commons on the 18th instant, after the transaction of some routine business, Mr. Whitbread said, “ I hold in my hand a petition that I received just before my arrival in this House, which I was requested to lay before it. On perusing it I find that it is worded in a manner perfectly respectful, and I therefore told the individual who delivered it into my care, that I felt it niy duty, as a member of parliament, to present it. It is the petition of Major General Sir John Douglas, on behalf of himself and Charlotte Lady Douglas, his wife. I remarked that the form of the signature was not perfectly regular ; but I added, that I did conceive, that notwithstanding this informality the House would receive it as the petition of Sir John Douglas, though not as the joint petition of bimself and his wife.-I, therefore, move for leave to bring up this petition."
The question having been put, Mr. Whitbread brought up the petition, which was read by the Clerk, nearly in the following words :
* To the Honourable the Commons of the United
Kingdom, &c. * The humble petition of Major-General Sir John
Douglas, on behalf of himself and Charlotte Lady
Dougl. his wife--* Sheweth-That your petitioners are advised that the depositions they made on their oaths, before the Lords Commisa sioners appointed by his Majesty for investigating the conduct of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, on or about the first of Jan. 1806, were not made on such judicial proceedings, or before such a tribunal as could legally support à prosecution for perjury against them.
* Feeling the fullest confidence in those depositions, and in the justice of their cause, they are ready and desirous, and hereby offer to re-swear to the truth of such depositions before any tribunal competent to administer an oath, that your peti tioners may be subjected to the penalty of perjury if it be proved that they are false.
* Your petitioners thereforė pray that your Honourable House will adopt such proceedings as in your wisdom may be thought proper, to re-swear them to their depositions before such tribunal as would legally subject them to a prosecution for such depositions, should they be proved to be false : it being their anxious desire not to deliver themselves through any want of legal forms.
(Signed) John DOUGLAS."
Mr. Whitbread moved, that the petition be laid upon the table, and it was ordered accordingly.
Mr. Whitbread again rose; and having taken a view of the whole affair relative to the conduct of her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, be made some remarks upon the line of proceeding adopted by two daily papers, the Morning Herald and the Post.
In the course of this long speech, Mr. Whitbread observed, to when upon a former nights in this House, the Princess