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This interference on the part of the lished; and I further say, that I think the people is the more necessary, and at public should wait and HEAR Sir John the same time more likely to be proper, as and Lady Douglas, before it makes up both the great political factions have left its mind as to the guilt of either of them.] Her Royal Highness to her fate, or, rather, have, each in its turn, been her MR. COCHRANE JOHNSTONE then rose. enemies. Nay, they have not only by His motion, he stated, originated entirely turns disclaimed her cause ; but they have with himself
, without any communication both of them accused her of having resorted with other persons. He even did not to the support of the “ enemies of social know that he should find one Member to “ order and regular government;" that is second it. He had transmitted to the to say, men who meddle with politics Princess of Wales, and to the King's Miwithout pocketing, or wishing to pocket, nisters, a copy of the Resolutions he inthe public money. These are, in our tended to propose.
He then referred to country, called Jacobins and friends of the Report made by the Commissioners of Buonaparlé; and to these men the factions, the Privy Council, at the command of His who fight for the public money, have ac- Majesty, in 1806; and the authenticity of cused the Princess of resorting for advice which, he said, he was enabled to prove and support. If this accusation be 'true at the bar, if required to do so. He read (and I have no inclination to deny it), it over the charges made against Her Royal appears that she has not made a bad choice Highness at the time, and many of the at last. She has not been betrayed this particular items of those charges, with the time, at any rate. Until now her conduct concluding Report. The Princess, he has been an object of calumny with her stated, had, on receiving a copy of that enemies and of suspicion with many good Report, addressed a letter to His Majesty, people ; but, by following the advice of a copy of which he read, (this letter was the Jacobins, she has silenced the former of considerable length), the authenticity of and removed the doubts of the latter. If which he was also prepared to substantiher husband were to take a little advice ate. The letter alluded to the malice of from the same source, it would, I am per- her enemies,--to her not being called upon suaded, be full as well for him. The to make a fair defence,--and to the parties Princess has, in fact, made her appeal to not being credible witnesses. That Report the people. She has published her com- was signed by the four Lords, Spencer, plaint. She has called upon the people Grenville, Erskine, and Ellenborough. for their opinion upon the merits of her In March, 1807, a change took place in case; and, though that opinion has been His Majesty's Councils, and Mr. Perceval pronounced without hesitation in private, then prevailed upon the King to restore it wants, in order to give it its full effect, the Princess to favour: and she was acto be expressed in a public, solemn, and cordingly again received at Court. Since authentic manner.
that time no material change had occurred In a future Letter it will give me great in her situation till recently, when she had pleasure to tell you that this has been done ; received a communication from the Earl of and, in the meanwhile, I remain your Liverpool, by which she was informed, faithful friend,
that her accustomed intercourse with the WM. COBBETT. Princess Charlotte was to be abridged.
This produced Her Royal Highness's Let
ter to the Prince Regent, and led to the REPORT
late reference of the case to certain Mem. (Copied from the Times Newspaper of the 6th bers of the Privy Council. In his opinion, March)
the four Lords Commissioners in 1806 had of a Debate in the House of Commons on the 5th of March, 1813, relalive 10 ing their opinion on the Princess's conduct,
gone beyond their authority, in pronouncHer Royal Highness the Princess of as they had done. The charge against Wales.
Her Royal Highness was no less than (N.B. I insert this Report just as I find High Treason. If, as Magistrates, they it printed ; but, I think it right to observe, had a right to examine witnesses to the that it is said to be a very imperfect sketch facts, yet he conceived that they had no of the real debate; and I think it my duty right to pronounce either her condemnato stale most distinctly,--that I do not im- tion or her acquittal. That Report, therepute perjury to Lady or Sir John Douglas ; fore, as far as concerned their judgment, i merely show what other editors have pub- he looked upon as of no effect in law. La.
dy Douglas's deposition, who swore to the the Throne, as required the interference of pregnancy in 1802, remained uncontra- Parliament. He should not enter into any dicted. In what a state would the country detailed inquiry as to the legality of the be placed, if this proceeding was again to Privy Council acting as a tribunal in their be called for, and the evidence of Lady proceedings on this subject; but he would Douglas produced ; while that of witnesses state, that he was perfectly satisfied, that on the other side, could not, from death they were fully competent to inquire, or other causes, be obtained ? It was, whether there were, or were not, sufficient therefore, the bounden duty of Parliament grounds of charge for putting the Princess to provide against such an event. He of Wales on her defence. The present called to the recollection of the House, that motion, however, did not go to the extent no proceedings had been instituted against of settling the question, whether any such Sir John or Lady Douglas, for defaming proceedings were, or were not, necessary. the character of the Princess. He thought But he must say, that if the Commissioners that the confidential servants of the Prince were not competent to decide upon the Regent ought to send the Princess copies charges against her Royal Highness of beof all letters and papers concerning hering pregnant in the year 1802, the House conduct since 1806, as far, at least, as it of Commons was certainly not the proper was alluded to in the proceedings on the tribunal for deciding on such a question.late Report. A strict and impartial inves- If, on the other hand, no actual criminality tigation of her conduct ought certainly to was imputed to her Royal Highness, that take place. In the task he had under. House was equally an improper tribunal for taken, he was actuated only by a conscien- deciding on that question. If, again, every tious sense of his duty as a Meinber of shade in the conduct of the Princess of Parliament. After various other remarks, Wales, from the highest degree of guilt the Hon. Member concluded by moving down to the lowest levity, were to be consitwo Resolutions. The first was of great dered, that House was not, certainly, the length, recapitulating the contents of all place where such matters should be discussthe reports and papers concerning Hered. He must also observe, that if any unRoyal Highness. The second was for an fortunate disputes or disunions existed beAddress to His Royal Highness the Prince tween any members or branches of the Regent, praying His Royal Highness to lay Royal Family, any discussion in the House the whole of the documents before the of Commons could serve only to increase House, together with all other papers re- alienation, to augment the evil, and to lative thereto.
widen the breach. The only solid practiMR. JOHN WHARTON seconded the mo- cal ground, therefore, on which Parliation.
ment could proceed, would be, that doubts LORD CASTLEREAGH rose and said, he attached to the succession to the Crown. felt that he should act most consistently But in the present case there was not the with his duty in confining himself to expla- smallest doubt entertained upon that subnation, with respect to parts of the Hon. ject. The Commissioners in 1806, from Member's speech, which would tend to their known character, and high legal quaguard the House against those false impres- lifications, were certainly fit persons to desions which it might otherwise excite. The cide upon that question ; and they had demode of proceeding adopted by the Hon. cided, and no doubts remained on their Member was somewhat singular. His first minds that required the necessity of ParliaResolution was, in fact, even in his own mentary interposition. They did not make . view of it, without any proof. His second a comparative inquiry into the weight of Resolution called for those very papers, as the evidence of Lady Douglas, as comparmatters of information, on which his first ed with, or contrasted to, that of other Resolution was founded; as if they were witnesses ; but they decided, that they had matters of certain knowledge. He did not traced the whole history of the child so mean to urge it in the way of cavil against completely and satisfactorily, that no posthe proceeding, but surely if there were sible doubt could remain that it was not any grounds for the Resolutions, the second born of the Princess of Wales, but of anoshould have betu the preliminary one; as ther woman, named Sophia Austin. Nor, the first, in its order, could by no possibi- indeed, did this decision rest only on their lity be adopted by the House. The only Report, for it was afterwards referred to object of the information called for, seem- other confidential servants of His Majesty, ed to be to persuade the House, that such who gave a solemn judgment, confirming serious doubts existed as to the succession to the Report of the first Commissioners. The supposed doubt respecting the succession, which was to have the evidence reduced to was, therefore, rebutted by the authority writing, in order to subinitting it to legal of the first Commissioners of the first Ca- consideration. Then his Royal Highness binet; and also by that of the subsequent felt it to be his duty to communicate the Cabinet, to whom the matter was referred, charges to his Royal Father, with whom, and who confirmed the same judgment. If and with whose Cabinet, and not with his any doubt found its way into the mind of Royal Highness himself, the whole affair Parliament, he would not deny, in the ab-had from that time remained. He could stract, that no case might exist, as to the really see no pecessity for pursuing the subquestion of Succession, which it might beject of this discussion any farther. It could the duty of Parliament to examine; but not be properly brought forward, except would the Honourable Gentleman say, that on the presumption that some doubts existafter all those authorities which he had stated relative to the succession to the Crown; ed, it would be regular or rational for Par- and he trusted, that in what he had said, liament to interfere ? Would not such in- he had convinced the House that no such terference rather serve to originate doubts, doubts did exist. Calling for further inwhere no doubts existed; and give counte- formation, if agreed to, would only be the nance to suspicions, contrary to the repeat means of gratifying private curiosity, by ed declarations of all parties, that no case making Parliament the instrument of prowhatever had been made out, to require curing that gratification, that taste for ca. any such interference on the part of Parlia lumny, which was so much the rage at the ment? The Hon. Gentleman himself had present moment. He should trust to the made his statement in such a manner as to indulgence of the House, to explain farther shew that he entertained no doubts upon in reply, in case other circumstances were the subject : yet when neither he, nor any touched upon, which might render farther other Member, had any doubt respecting explanations necessary: and he hoped that the legitimacy of the Succession, he called the House would not tolerate suspicions or upon Parliament to legislate. It was per- doubts, where none whatever existed, by fectly true that there had been no prosecu- adopting the motion of the Hon. Gentle tion entered into, of Lady Douglas: her man. evidence was taken by the Commissioners SIR SAMUEL ROMILLY commenced by in the discharge of their duty; and the observing, that the Hon. Member (Mr. Hon. Gentleman should have stated in can. Cochrane Johnstone) had indulged himself dour, that the first Cabinet recommended in terms of such strong censure of the Ad. that no proceedings should be had, unless ministration of 1806, as to renderit im. the Crown Lawyers deemed it advisable to possible for him to preserve silence. No prosecute Lady Douglas for perjury. A man who knew them, would throw the case was laid before them; and though they slightest shade of disrespect or suspicion on were satisfied as to the perjury, they, ne- the conduct of those four Noble Lords, vertheless, saw great difficulties in the way who composed that Commission of Inquiof establishing it by legal evidence, and, ry. With respect to himself, he had to therefore, they did not advise prosecution. say, that he was consalted by his Royal If he were so disposed, he might use some Highness, in his professional capacity, upgrounds of personal complaint against the on the subject; and was, he believed, se, Hon. Member, for he had transgressed the lected for that purpose, by the recommenrules of his parliamentary duty, in stating dation of the late Lord Thurlow, that he that Mr. Perceval had prevailed upon the might give his opinion on this very delicate Cabinet to espouse the cause of the Prin- investigation. After having considered it cess of Wales. The Cabinet had acted de- with the utmost care and anxiety, he adliberately and conscientiously in the busi- dressed a Letter to his Royal Highness, ness, and had advised that there were no containing his sentiments on the matter, reasons why her Royal Highness should not in December, 1505. After he gave that be admitted again to the presence of the opinion, his Royal Highness took every Sovereign, agreeably to the recommenda- possible means to ascertain what credit was tion of the former Cabinet, with whom, in- due to the parties, whose testimony had deed, it had originated. The Hon. Mem- been given. In the change of Administra ber had stated with a marked emphasis, tion which shortly followed, he had the that Lady Douglas's evidence was given by honour of being appointed Solicitor-Genecommand of his Royal Highness the Prince ral; and, in March, 1806, he received Regent. In this matter, the Prince Re- His Majesty's commands to confer with gent followed the advice of Lord Thurlow, Lord Thurlow on this important business, Lord Thurlow desired him to tell the was, therefore, of opinion, that the motion Prince of Wales, that the information was ought to be negatived. of a nature much too important for his Roy. MR. WHITBREAD observed, that the al Highness not to take some proper steps Hon. Member who had brought forward in consequence. This he communicated to the present motion had stated his intention the Prince of Wales, and in a short time to him; and he had told him, that he afterwards, the facts as stated, were sub- thought his first Resolution could not be mitted to some of the King's Ministers. adopted. He, therefore, did not rise in An authority was then issued under the support of it, for he concurred in much that King's Sign Manual to certain Members of had fallen from the Noble Lord opposite; the Privy Council, to take up the investi- and thought that, at this period at least, gation of the whole of the case. Many no such motion should be entertained by meetings were held, and many witnesses the House, as might render it the vehicle were examined thereupon; and" he (Sir S. of communicating to the public at large, Romilly) was the only other person pre- those matters which it was much better sent besides the Commissioners, at these should be suppressed. He must, howexaminations, which were conducted by ever, remind the Noble Lord of his exthe four Noble Lords mentioned, and he pression of his readiness to make explanatook down all the depositions. He must tions, particularly with respect to the declare in the most solemn manner, thai no more recent parts of these cransactions. If inquiry was ever conducted with greater the House dismissed this subject without impartiality, nor was there ever evinced a any farther explanations or proceedings, more anxious desire to discharge justly a the Princess of Wales would, in his mind, great public duty. With respect to the be grossly injured. Her Royal Highness propriety of instituting proceedings against complained to the House, of vague, and Lady Douglas, he should beg to state, that ambiguous blame thrown upon her, and the objections to the institution of such pro- demanded explanation at least. By the ceedings, did not arise from any doubts of common uncontradicted rumour, it apo the right of the Commissioners to adminis- peared that she had addressed a letter to ter an oath, as some persons had insinuated, the King, impeaching the proceedings of nor indeed from any doubt as to whether the four Noble Lords who were the Comthe facts sworn to were true or false, but missioners in 1806; and it should be ree from otficr circumstances. He was prepar- membered, that in so doing, she was uned to maintain, that the legality of the derstood to be acting under the advice of Commission, composed of certain Mem- Mr. Perceval. Lord Eldon, it was also bers of His Majesty's Privy Council, re- stated, approved of that letter. The same quired no other authority but the authority was said of Sir T. Plumer, now His Ma. of the King, directing them to inquire into jesty's Attorney-General, who, being prethe circumstances of a charge of High sent, could contradict the assertion if it Treason : and that it was not only their were untrue. He wished to know from right, but their duty to go into such inqui- the Noble Lord opposite, whether with ry. Ought a bill, for instance, to be sent the privity and knowledge of those persons, down, at once, to a Grand Jury of the and for the purpose of making Her Royal county of Middlesex, without any prelimi- Highness's innocence manifest to the nary proceedings? No man, he believed, world, a work was not priuted, intended who was acquainted with the duty imposed to be published and circulated throughout upon the King's Privy Councillors, would England and Europe ? When the Noble hazard such an assertion. It was their du- Lord talked of an appetite for slander and ty to inquire into all matters of a treasona- calumny, was hę not aware that newspable nature, before they referred them to pers had lately teemed with paragraphs the regular tribunals for trial. In the recent and extracts, the tendency of which was ease, for instance, of Margaret Nicholson, to libel the Princess of Wales ? Was not the Privy Council found the woman to be the public mind in a state of agitation insane ; and no proceedings whatever were on this subject, which it was highly exinstituted against her. Sir Samuel Romil. pedient to allay? Nobody doubted that Lady ly argued at some length, in proof of the Douglas was a perjured person; but though legal right of the Privy Council to act as a that was not doubted, she still remained a tribunal of investigation for the purpose competent witness: and, therefore, some specified, of which, be contended, no check ought to be put to the propagatiou of doubt could reasonably be entertained. He ambiguous reports. It appeared that her Royal Highness, finding the intercourse | her, and to receive her at once, in the between her and the young Princess was manner due to her exalted rank and station restricted more and more, addressed a let in the community! But now, in 1813, ter to the Prince Regent, which was twice was raked up the old evidence of 1806, by returned unopened. At length, it seems, some of those very persons, in order to deit was read to his Royal Highness, and the fame her, and punish her by additional cold answer returned was, that Ministers restrictions! Ought she to submit to these had received no commaands on the subject. imputations? Ought not that House to That letter at last found its way into the interfere? The Noble Lord, indeed, had public prints; and then his Royal High- observed, that any of her Royal Highness's ness, not as the Head of his Family, but as legal advisers who chose to do so, might Prince Regent, by the advice of Ministers, come forward in her behalf. There was a summoned a Privy Council to consult what time when she did not want legal advisers, he should do: and the extraordinary advice —when Mr. Perceval, and Lord Eldon, and of this Privy Council to his Royal High- others, were her legal advisers ! But one ness was, not to refer to the present con- of them was now dead, and the others had duct of the Princess of Wales, but to the become mute! He had declared last night, evidence of 1806 or 7! Was there ever that if no one else did, he would stand up, advice so preposterous, and so cruel! The not as her advocate, but for the cause of levities of her Royal Highness in 1806 | justice. She ought not to be the only were to be punished in 1813, more severely person in this country, so famed for its huthan was thought necessary in former years, manity, without a friend, or a legal adby increased restrictions and restraints : viser." What recourse was left to her bui Mr. W. then adverted to the opinion lately an appeal to the justice of Parliament ? given by the legal advisers of the Prince Her request to the Prince Regent was siRegent, which had but recently been made milar to that of Anne Boleyne to Henry the known, and which stated, that, according, VIIIth, Prove me guilty, or admit me to their experience, cases noi of graver im- to be innocent !' “ The Speaker of the port might be sent to a jury. Here then, House of Lords has twice returned her it would appear, there must be doubts as to letter, as we hear, unopened. You, Şir, the succession to the Throne! When the addressing the Speaker) have, with great Noble Lord and his colleagues framed propriety, submitied the letter which you their last Report, had they not all this have received, to our consideration. Suppose before them? If so, let the House see you had refused to present her petition! It what this Cabinet did, who, in 1807, pro- might have happened, Sir, that nobody nounced a verdict of entire acquittal on the else would have presented it. The Hopart of her Royal Highness, and who fast- nourable Gentleman, who is the mover of ened such serious imputations on her in this question, once gave in a petition, 1813! By the advice of Lord Eldon and which he told me 135 Members had reMr. Perceval, as it was understood, the fused to present. This might have been Princess of Wales threatened publicity to the situation of the Princess of Wales."'. the former proceedings, and then she was Mr. W. then inoved as an amendment 10 re-admitted at Court. Her advisers must, the motion, that after the word that,' the at that period, have been fully persuaded following should be adopted : “ An address of her innocence, or they never would have to the Prince Regeut, praying that a copy recommended her to risk such a publication of the Report to which her Royal Highto the world. Mr. W. then commented ness had referred, be laid before the on the various circumstances conuected with House." the transactions of 1807, when an unani- Lord CASTLEREAGH was sorry to trouble mous opinion was declared, that all the the House a second time, but trusted to particulars of the Princess's conduct, to their indulgence. He could assure the which any character or colour of crimina- Hon. Gentleman who spoke last, that he lity could be ascribed, were either satis was glad to find the question in his hands, factorily contradicted, or reșted on evidence as he had met it in a manly manner, and under such circumstances as 10 render it had put it on the true grounds, of an attack unworthy of credit. This was a complete on the Ministers of the day. verdict of not guilty. The King had been that the opinions of the Members of the previously advised to receive her Royal Privy Council who signed the minute were Highness, with a reproof for her unguarded binding on all the Ministers of the day, conduct ; but those ministers advised no who were not then consulted; or that he, reproof, and called on His Majesty to restore as a Minister, could be viewed as any