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A necessity which I never could have been exposed to, even under this Inquiry, if more attention had been given to the examination of these malicious charges, and of the evidence on which they rest.
Much solicitude is felt, and justly so, as connected with this Inquiry, for the honour of your Majesty's illustrious Family. But surely a true regard to that honour should have restrained those who really felt for it, from casting such severe reflections on the character and virtue of the Princess of Wales.
If, indeed, after the most diligent and anxious Inquiry, penetrating into every circumstance connected with the charge, searching every source from which information could be derived, and scrutinizing with all that acuteness, into the credit and character of the witnesses, with great experience, talent, and intelligence could bring to such a subject; and, above all, if after giving me some opportunity of being heard, the force of truth had, at length, compelled any persons to form, as reluctantly, and as unwillingly as they would, against their own daughters, the opinion that has been pronounced ; no regard, unquestionably, to my
honour and character, nor to that of your Majesty's Family, as, in some degree, involved in mine, could have justified the suppression of that opinion, if legally called for, in the course of official and public duty. Whether such caution and reluctance are really manifest in these proceedings, I must leave to less partial judgments than my own to determine.
In the full examination of these proceedings, which justice to my own character has required of me, I have been compelled to make many observations, which, I fear, may prove offensive to persons in high power--Your Majesty will easily believe, when I solemnly assure you, that I have been deeply sorry to yield to the necessity of so doing. This proceeding manifests that I have enemies enough ; I could not wish unnecessarily to increase their number, or their weight. I trust, however, I have done it. I know it has been my purpose to do it, in a manner as little offensive as the justice due to myself would allow of; but I have felt that I have been deeply injured ; that I have had much to complain of; and that my silence now would not be taken for forbearance, but would be ascribed to me as a confession of guilt. The Report itself announced to me, that these things, which had been spoken to by the witnesses,“ great improprieties and indecencies of conduct," “ necessarily occasioning most unfavourable interpretations, and deserving the most serious consideration," “ must be credited till decidedly contradicted.” The most satisfactory disproof of these circumstances (as the contradiction of the accused is always received withcaution and distrust) rested in the proof of the foul malice and falsehood of my accusers and their witnesses, The Report announced to your Majesty that those witnesses, whom I felt to be foul confederates in a base conspiracy against me, were not to be suspected
of unfavourable bias, and their veracity, in the judgment of the Commissioners, not to be questioned.'
Under these circumstances, Sire, what could I do? Could I forbear, in justice to myself, to an-' nounce to your Majesty the existence of a conspiracy against my honour, and my station in this country at least, if not against my life? Could I forbear to point out to your Majesty, how long this intended mischief had been meditated against me? Could I forbear to point out my doubts, at least, of the legality of the Commission, under which the proceeding had been had: or to point out the errors and inaccuracies, into which thegreat and able men, who were named in this Commission, under the hurry and pressure of their great official occupations, had fallen, in the execution of this: duty? Could I forbear to state, and to urge, the great injustice and injury that had been done to my character and my honour, by opinions pronounced against me without hearing me? And if, in the execution of this great task, so'essential to my honour, I have let drop any expressions which a colder, and more cautious prudence, would have checked, I appeal toyourMajesty's warm heart;and generous feelings, to suggest my excuse, and to afford my pardon. :
What I have said, I have said under the pressure of much misfortune, under the provocation of great and accumulated injustice. Oh! Sire, to be unfortunate, and scarce to feel at liberty to lament; to be cruelly used, and to feel it almost an offence and a duty to be silent,
is a hard lot; but use had, in some degree inured
injuries imputed to me as faults ; to be called to account upon a charge, made against me by Lady Douglas, who was thought at first worthy of credit, although she had pledged her veracity to the fact, of my having admitted that I was myself the aggressor in every thing, of which I had to complain, has subdued all power of patient bearing ; and when I was called upon by the Commissioners, either to admit, by my silence, the guilt which they imputed to me, or to enter into my defence, in contradiction to it-no longer at liberty to remain silent, I, perhaps, have not known how, with exact propriety, to limit my expressions.
In happier days of my life, before my spirit had been, yet at all lowered by my misfortunes, I should have been disposed to have met such a charge with the contempt which, I trust, by this time, Your Majesty thinks due to it; I shoule have been disposed to have defied my enemies to the utmost, and to have scorned to answer to any thing but a legal charge, before a competent tribunal; but, in my present misfortunes, such force of mind is gone. I ought, perhaps, so far to be thankful to them for their wholesome lessons of humility. I have, therefore, entered into this long detail, to endeavour to remove, at the first possible opportunity, any unfavourable impressions ; to rescue myself from the dangers which the continuance of these suspicions might occasion, and
preserve to me your Majesty's good opinion, in whose kindness, hitherto, I have found infinite consolation, and to whose justice, under all circumstances, I can confidently appeal,
Under the impression of these sentiments I throw myself at your Majesty's feet. I know, that whatever sentiments of resentment; whatever wish for redress, by the punishment of my false accusers, 1 ought to feel, Your Majesty, as the Father'of a Stranger, smarting under false accusation, as the Head of your illustrious House, dishonoured in me, and as the great Guardian of the Laws of your Kingdom, thus foully attempted to have been applied to the purposes of injustice, will not fail to feel for me. At all events, I trust your Majesty will restore me to the blessing of your Gracious Presence, and confirm to me, by your own Gracious Words, your satisfactory conviction of my innocence.
sentiment of Gratitude and Loyalty, Your Majesty's most affectionate and dutiful Daughter-in-Law, Subject and Servant,
C. P. Montague-House, 2d October, 1806.