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me, on this trying occasion; and that your Majes ty's justice would not suffer your mind to be affected, to my disadvantage, by any part of a Report, founded upon partial evidence, taken in my absence, upon charges, not yet communicated to me, until your Majesty had heard, what might be alledged in my behalf, in answer to it. But your Majesty, will not be surprised, nor displeased, that, I, a woman, a stranger to the laws, and usages of
of your Majesty's kingdom, under charges, aimed, originally, at my life and honour, should hesitate to determine, in what manner I ought to act, even under the present circumstances, with respect to such accusations, without the assistance of advice in which I could confide. And I have had submitted to me the following observations, respecting the copies of the papers with which I have been furnished. And I humbly solicit from your Majesty's gracious condescension and justice a compliance with the requests, which arise out of them.
In the first place, it has been observed to me, that these copies of the Report, and of the accompanying papers, have come unauthenticated by the signature of any person, high, or low, whose veracity, or even accuracy, is pledged for their correctness, or to whom resort might be had, if it should be necessary, hereafter, to establish, that these papers are correct copies of the originals, I am far from ipsinuating that the want of such attestations was intentional. Nodoubt it was omit.
ted through inadvertence; but its importance is particularly confirmed by the state, in which, the copy of Mrs. Lisle's examination has been transmitted to me. For in the third page of that examination there have been two erasures ; on one of which, some words have been, subsequently introduced, apparently in a different hand-writing from the body of the examination ; and the passage as it stands, is probably incorrect, because the phrase is unintelligible. And this occurs in an important part of her examination.
The humble, but earnest request, which I have to make to your Majesty, which is suggested by this observation, is, that your Majesty would be graciously pleased to direct, that the Report, and the papers which accompany it, and which, for that purpose, I venture to transmit to your Majesty with this letter, may be examined, and then returned to me, authenticated as correct, under the signature of some person, who, having attes.. ted their accuracy, may be able to prove it.
In the second place, it has been observed to me, that the Report proceeds, by reference to certain written declarations, which the Commissioners describe as the necessary foundation of all their proceedings, and which contain, as I presume, the charge or information against my conduct. Yet copies of these written declarations have not been given to me. They are described indeed, in the Report, as consisting in certain statements, respecting my conduct, imputing not only, gross impro
priety of behaviour, but expressly asscrting facts of the most confirmed, and abandoned criminality, for which, if true, my life might be forfeited. These are stated to have been followed by declarations from other persons, who, though not speaking to the same facts, had related other particulars, in themselves extremely suspicious, and still more so, as connected with the assertions already mentioned.
On this, it is observed to me, that it is most important that I should know the extent, and the particulars of the charges or informations against me, and by what accusers they have been made ; whether I am answering the charges of one set of accusers, or more.
Whether the authors of the original declarations, who may be collected from the Report to be Sir John and Lady Douglas, are my only accusers; and the declarations which are said to have followed, are the declarations of persons adduced as witnesses by Sir John and Lady Douglas to confirm their accusation ; or whether such declarations are the charges of persons, who have made themselves also, the authors of distinct accusations against me.
The requests, which, I humbly hope, your Ma. jesty will think reasonable, and just to grant, and which are suggested by these further observations are,
First, That your Majesty would be graciously pleased to direct, that I should be furnished with copies of these declarations : and, if they are rightly described, in the Report, as the necessary founda.
tion of all the proceedings of the Commissio. ners, your Majesty could not, I am persuaded, but have graciously intended, in directing that I should be furnished with a copy of the Report, that I should also see this essential part of the proceeding, the foundation on which it rests.
Secondly, That I may be informed whether I have one or more, and how many accusers ; and who they are ; as the weight and credit of the accusation cannot but be much affected by the quarter from whence it originates.
Thirdly, That I may be informed of the time when the declarations were made. For the weight and credit of the accusation must, also, be much affected by the length of time, which my accusers may have been contented to have been the silent depositories of those heavy matters of guilt, and charge, and
Lastly, That your Majesty's goodness will secure to me a speedy return of these papers, accompanied, I trust, with the further information which I have solicited ; but at all events a speedy return of them. And your Majesty will see; that it is not without reason, that I make this last request, when your Majesty is informed, that, though the Report appears to have been made upon the 14th of July, yet it was not sent to me, till the 11th of the present month. A 'similar delay, I should, of all things, deplore. For it is with reluctance, that I yield to those suggestions, which have induced me to lay,
and Humble Daughter-in-law. Montague House. (Signed) C.P.
To the King