ページの画像
PDF
ePub

of the informants, the following most important facts; viz. that her Royal Highness had been pregnant in the year 1802, in consequence of an illicit intercourse, and that she had in the same year, been secretly delivered of a male child ; which child had ever since that period been brought up by her Royal Highness in her own house, and under her immediate inspection. These allegations thus made, had, as the Commissioners found, been followed by declarations from other persons, who had not indeed spoken to the important facts of the pregnancy or delivery of her Royal Highness, but had related other particulars, in themselves extremely suspicious, and still more so, when connected with the assertions already mentioned. The Report then states, that, in the painful situation in which his Royal Highness was placed by these declarations, they learnt that he had adopted the only course which could, in their judgment, with propriety be followed, when informations such as these had been thus confidently alleged and particularly detailed, and had in some degree been supported by collateral evidence, applying to other points of the same nature (though going to a far less extent,) one line could only be pursued.”

“ Every sentiment of duty to your Majesty, and of concern for the public welfare required that these particulars should not be withheld from your Majesty, to whom more particularly belonged the cognizance of a matter of state, so nearly touching the honour of your Majesty's Royal Family, and

[ocr errors]

by possibility affecting the succession to your Majesty's crown.”

The Coinmissioners, therefore, your Majesty observes, going, they must permit me to say, a little out of their way, begin their Report, by expressing a clear and decided opinion, that his Royal Highness was properly advised (for your Majesty will undoubtedly conclude, that, upon a subject of this importance, his Royal Highness could not but have acted by the advice of others,) in referring this complaint to your Majesty, for the purpose of its undergoing the investigation which has followed, And, unquestionably, if the charge referred to, in this Report, as made by Sir John and Lady Douglas, had been presented under circumstances, in which any reasonable degree of credit could be given to them, or even if they had not been presented in such a manner, as to impeach the credit of the informers, and to bear internal evidence of their own incredibility, I should be the last person, , who would be disposed to dispute the wisdom of the advice which led to make them the subject of the gravest and most anxious Inquiry. And your Majesty, acting upon a mere abstract of the declarations, which was all, that by the recital of the warrant, appears to have been laid before your Majesty, undoubtedly could not but direct an Inquiry concerning my conduct. For though I have not been furnished with that abstract, yet I must presume that it described the criminatory contents of zhese declarations, much in the saine manner, as

they are stated in the Report. And the criminat tory parts of these declarations, if viewed without reference to those traces of malice and resentment, with which the declarations* of Sir John and Lady Douglas abound; if abstracted from all these circumstances, which shew the extreme improbabi. lity of the story, the length of time which my accusers had kept my alleged guilt concealed, the contradictions observable in the declarations of the other witnesses, all which I submit to your Majes. ty, are to an extent to cast the greatest discredit upon the truth of these declarations ;-abstracted, I say, from these circumstances, the criminatory parts of them were unquestionably such, as to have placed your majesty under the necessity of directing some Inquiry concerning them. But that those, who had the opportunity of reading the long and malevolent narration of Sir John and Lady Douglas, should not have hesitated before they gave any credit to it, is matter of the greatest astonishment

to me.

The improbability of the story, would of itself, I should have imagined (unless they believed me to be as insane as Lady Douglas insinuates,) have been sufficient to have staggered the belief of any unprejudiced mind. For to believe that story, they were to begin with believing that a person guilty of so foul a crime, so highly penal, so fatal to her honour, her station, and her life, should gratuitously, and uselessly, have confessed it. Such a person under the necessity of concealing her pregnancy,

* See Appendix (B.)

in

might have been indispensably obliged to confide her secret with those, to whom she was to look for assistance in concealing its consequences.

But Lady Douglas, by her own account, was informed, by me of this fact, for no purpose whatever. She inakes me, as those who read her declarations cannot fail to have observed, state to her, that she should, on no account, be entrusted with any part of the management by which the birth was to be concealed.* They were to believe also, that, anxious as I must have been to have concealed the birth of any

such child, I had determined to bring it up my own house; and what would exceed, as I should imagine, the extent of all human credulity, that I had determined to sucklé it myself:t that I had laid my plan, if discovered, to have imposed it upon his Royal Highness' as his child. Nay, they were to believe, that I had stated, and that Lady Douglas had believed the statement to be true, that I had in fact attempted to suckle it, and only gave up that part of my plan, because it made me nervous, and was too much for my health. I And, after all this, they were then to believe, that 'having made Lady Douglas, thus unnecessarily, the confidante, of this most important and dangerous secret ; having thus put my character, and my life in her hands, I sought an occasion, wantonly, and without provocation, from the mere fickleness, and wilfulness of my own mind, to quarrel with her,' to insult her openly and violently in iny own house, to

* See Appendix (B) p. 61. ^ Ibid. p. 61. 1 Ibid. p. 76.

[ocr errors]

endeavour to ruin her reputation ; to expose her in infamous and indecent drawings enclosed in letters to her husband. The letters indeed are represented to have been anonymous, but, though anonymous, they are stated to have been written with · my own hand, so undisguised in penınanship and style, that every one who had the least acquaintance with either, could not fail to discover them, and, (as if it were through fear, lest it should not be sufficiently plain, from whom they came,) that I had sealed them with a seal, which I had shortly beforc used, on an occasion of writing to her husband. All this they were to believe upon the declaration of a person, who, with all that loyalty and attachment which she expresses to your Majesty, and his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, with all her obligation to the whole Royal Family, (to whom she expresses herself to be bound by ties of respectful regard and attachment which nothing can ever break ;) with all her dread of the mischievous consequences of the country, which might arise, from the disputed succession to the Crown, on the pretensions of an illigimate child of mine, nevertheless continued, after this supposed avowal of my infamy, and my crime, after my supposed acknowledgment of the birth of this child, which was to occasion all this mischief, to preserve, for near a twelvemonth, her intimacy and apparent friendship with me. Nay for two years more, after that intimacy had ceased, after that friendship had been broken off, by my alleged misbehaviour to her,

« 前へ次へ »