ページの画像
PDF
ePub

** To the Honourable the Commons of the United

Kingdom, &c. 5* The humble petition of Major-General Sir John

Douglas, on behalf of himself and Charlotte Lady

Douglas his wife--i Sheweth-That your petitioners are advised that the depositions they made on their oaths, before the Lords Commissioners 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 a 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 petitioners may be subjected to the penalty of perjury if it be proved that they are false.

" Your petitioners therefore 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) jouN 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, he made some remarks upon the line of proceeding adopted by two daily papers, the Morn. ing Herald and the Post.

In the course of this long speech, Mr. Whitbread observed, when upon a former night, in this House, the Princess Avas pronounced innocent by the noble lord (Castlereagh), ha was proud of her triumph. A noble friend of her Royal Highness had done him the honour of asking his advice, and he on that occasion sketched out a letter of dignified submission from her to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and sent it to the Princess. She did him the honour of taking a copy of it in her own hand, with the intention of sending it to the Prince; but this healing and desirable step was prevented, by her receiving insormation, that Sir John and Lady Douglas were again under examination, and that too with the sanction of the Lord Chancellor. The letter he would read, if the House would indulge him.” The following is a correct copy :

" SIR;-I once more approach your Royal Highness, and can venture to assure you, sir, that if you will deign to read my letter, you will not be dissatisfied with its contents.

* The report made by certain Members of his Majesty's Privy Council, was communicated to me by Lord Sidmouth, and its contents appeared to those, upon whose advice I rely, to be such as to require on my part a public assertion of my innocence, and a demand of investigation. It cannot be unknown to your Royal Highness that I addressed a letter to the Lord Chancellor, and a duplicate of that letter to the Speaker of the House of Coinmons, for the purpose of its being communicated to the Houses of Parliament.

~ The Lord Chancellor twice returned my letter, and did not communicate its contents to the House of Lords,

The Speaker of the House of Commons thought it his duty to announce the receipt of my letter, and it was read from the chair. To my inexpressible gratification I have been informed, that, although no proceeding was instituted according to my re

quest, certain discussions which took place in that Honourable 1. House, have resulted in the complete, and unequivocal, and

universal acknowledgment of my entire innocence, to the satisfaction of the world.

" Allow me, sir, to say to your Royal Highness, that I ad. dress you now, relieved from a load of distress which has pressed upon me for many years.

" I was always conscious that I was free from reproach. 1 am now known to be so, and worthy to bear the exalted title of Princess of Wales.

“ On the subject of the confirmation of the Princess Charlotte, I bow, as becomes me, and with implicit deference to the opinion expressed by his Majesty, now that I have been made acquainted with it. His Majesty's decision I must always regard as sacred.

" To such restrictions as your Royal Highness shall think proper to impose upon the intercourse between the Princess Charlotte and myself, as arising out of the acknowledged exercise of your Parental and Royal Authority, I submit without observation; but I throw myselt upon the compassion of your Royal Highness, not to abridge more than may be necessary my greatest, indeed, my only pleasure.

“ Your Royal Highness may be assured; that, if the selection of society for the Princess Charlotte, when on ber visits to me, were left to my discretion, it would be, as it always has been, unexceptionable for rank and character. If your Royal Highness would condescend, sir, to name the society yourself, your injunctions should be strictly adhered to.

“I will not detain your Royal Highness I throw myself again on your Royal justice and compassion, and I subscribe myself, with perfect sincerity, and in the happy feelings of justified innocence, your Royal Highness's, &c. &c. &c."

Mr. Whitbread concluded by putting in copies of the Morning Herald of Saturday and Monday last, the parts of which alluded to were entered and read, and then moved an humble address to the Prince Regent, expressive of the deep concern and indignation which the House felt at publications of so gross and scandalous a nature, so painful to the feelings of his Royal Highness, and all the other branches of his illustrious family, and praying that his Royal Highness would be pleased to order measures to be taken for bringing to justice all the persons concerned in so scandalous a business, and particularly for preventing the continuance or repetition of so high an offence.

After some farther observations from Lord Castlereagh, the noble lord charged Mr. Whitbread “ with indulging in illiberal, unfair, and as he (Lord Castlereagh) thought, unparliamentary observations on the conduct of the Prince of Wales himself.”

Mr. Whitbread then moved, that the words of the noble lord be taken down. This being agreed to, Mr. Whitbread dictated the words used by Lord Castlereagh, and the noble lord declined to make any alteration therein.

Some farther discussion took place, and at length Lord Castlereagh proceeded with his speech. The debate was then coatinued, in which Mr. Ponsonby, Mr. Bathurst, Mr. Stephen, Sir Samuel Romilly, Sir Thomas Plomer, and Mr. Tierney bore the principal share.

Mr, Tierney (at the conclusion of his speech) moved an amendment, to which Mr. Whitbread consented. This amendment, upon the origiual motion, was, “That the printer and publisher of the Morning Herald, and of the Morning Post, should be called to the bar of the House to. morrow, (the 19th inst.), to answer by whose authority they had published the depositions before the Privy Council, and from whom they had received them.”

After some remarks from Mr. Ryder, Mr. C. Wynne, and Mr. Canning, Mr. Whitbread consented to withdraw his original motion, and Mr. Tierney's AMENDMENT was then put, and NBGATIVED, without a division.

Before the reader enters upon the perusal of the “ Book ITSELF,” some account of the circumstances which gave

risé to its important CONTENTS, may, perhaps, be acceptable. This indeed, is in some measure, necessary to the right understanding of that mass of extraordinary evidence now exhibited to the public.

In the beginning of November 1805, bis Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex made known to the Prince that Sir John Douglas had communicated to bim some circumstances in the conduct of the Princess of Wales, that it was of the utmost consequence to the honour of his Royal Highness, and to the security of the Royal Succession, should be made known to him ; and that Sir John said, he and his Lady were ready to give a full disclosure, if called upon. He added, that his Royal Highness the Duke of Kept had been partly acquainted with the matter a twelvemonth before.

[ocr errors]

In consequence of this, the Prince called on the Duke of Kent, to say what had been communicated to him, and why he had for a whole year kept from his knowledge a matter so interesting to the honour of the family. !

The Duke of Kent, in a written declaration, stated, that about the end of 1804, he had received a note from the Princess of Wales, stating, that she had got into an unpleasant attercation with Sir John and Lady Douglas, about an anonymous letter and a filthy drawing, which they, imputed to her Royal Highness. She requested the Duke of Kent to interfere, and

prevent its going farther. His Royal Highness ap. plied to Sir Sidney Smith, and through him had an interview with Sir John Douglas ; who seemed convinced that both the anonymous letters and the loose drawing were by the hand of the Princess, and that the design was to provoke Sir John Douglas to a duel with his friend Sir Sidney Smith, by the gross insinuation Aung out respecting the latter and Lady Douglas. The Duke of Kent, however, succeeded in prevail. ing on Sir John Douglas to abstain from his purpose of commencing a prosecution, or of stirring farther in the business

; as he was satisfied in his mind of the falsehood of the insinua. tion, and could not be sure that the fabrications were not some gossipping story, in which the Princess had no hand. Sir John, however, spoke with great indignation of the conduct of the Princess, and promised only that he would for the present ab. stain from farther investigation, but would not give him a promise of preserving silence if he should be farther annoyed.The Duke of Kent concluded with stating, that nothing was communicated to him beyond this fracas, and that having suc. ceeded in stopping it, he did not think it fit to trouble his Royal Highness with a gossipping story that might be entirely founded on the misapprehension of the offended parties.

Sir John and Lady Douglas then made a formal declaration of the whole narrative, as contained in their subsequent affidarits, before the Duke of York, on the 3d December, 1803.

This declaration was submitted by the Prince to the late Lord Thurlow, who said, that his Royal Highness had no alternative-it was his duty to submit it to the King, as the Royal Succession might be affected if the allegations were true. In the mean time, it was resolved to make farther inquiry, and Mr. Lowten, of the Temple, was directed to take steps accordingly.

The consequence was that William and Sarah Lampert (servants to Sir John Douglas), William Cole, Robert and Sarah Bidgood, and Frances Lloyd made declarations, the whole of which, together with that of Sir John and Lady Douglas, were submitted to his Majesty, who thereupon issued a warrant, dated the 29th May 1806, directing Lord Erskine, Lord Grenville, Earl Spencer, and Lord Ellenborough, to inquire into the truth of the allegations, and to report to him thereon,

« 前へ次へ »