Page images
PDF
EPUB

Lord Thurlow desired him to tell the waș, 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- aud 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 Comipissioners, 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, that no more recent parts of these transactions. 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 apthe 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 refrom other 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 Maof 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 printed, 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 he 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 case, 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 Jy 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, he contended, no check ought to be put to the propagation of doubt could reasonably be entertained. He ambiguous reports, It appeared that her

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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 de. it was read to his Royal Highness, and he 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 but 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 not of graver im- to be innocent!' "* The Speaker of the port might be sent to a jury. Here then, House of Lords has twicereturned her it would

appear, there must be doubts as to letter, as we heat, unopened. You, Sir, the succession to the Throne! When the addressing the Speaker) have, with great Noble Lord and his colleagues framed propriety, submitted 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 moved as an amendment to 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

66 of her innocence, or they never would have to the Prince Regent, praying that a copy recommended her to risk such a publication of the Report to which her Royal High to the world. Mr. W. then commented ness had referred, be laid before the on the various circumstances connected with House." the transactions of 1807, when an unani- LORD CASTLEREAGH was sorry to trouble mous opiņion 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 criinina- 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 rested on evidence as he had met it in a manly manner, and under such circumstances as to 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. He denied 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 party to the advice of Mr. Perceval, in his had, in that advice, the satisfaction of professional capacity. He disclaimed any being joined by Mr. Perceval, who was not knowledge of the circulation of paragraphs then in the Cabinet, but a professional reflecting on her Royal Highness. He man. All he should say was, that he wished she had still such advisers as Mr. never discovered any just foundation for the Perceval ; then such a letter would have charges made against the Princess. Cerneither been written nor published. As tainly he was not one of her advisers now. to the letter being returned unopened, it The situation he held would probably have was an unfortunate circumstance attached precluded him from that: but he had not to the separation of the Prince and Princess, been applied to, and he presumed her Royal that all correspondence had been at an end, Highness employed those in whom she had lest it might aggravate the existing misun- more confidence. derstanding.

That was not the first letter The Hon. MR. BRAND admitted the which had been so returned. The restrictions competency of the Privy Council in the on the intercourse between the Princess and case they had before them; but contended, her daughter was not of that vindictive that their report exposed the affairs of the nature, which might be called punish- country to much difficulty and danger. He ment. The alteration in the visits from made various animadversions on the speech once a week to once a fortnight, was made of the Noble Lord, and concluded by obwhen the

young Princess went to Windsor, serving, that if they refused to entertain to prevent the interruption of her education the application of the Princess, they reby too frequent visits to town, and was not fused justice to the first subject in the intended to be continued when she should country. returg to London to reside. All the cir- Mr. Stuart WÖRTLEY said, he felt cumstances of this part of the case, he did warmly on the subject as a man of honour. not feel justified'in submitting. They had He could not vote either for the original appeared, however, sufficient to men of as motion, or for the amendment: but yet he honourable minds as the Hon. Gentleman. did not think that the Noble Lord had He must say, that the publication of the given a satisfactory answer to either of them. letter was such an appeal to the country He was extremely averse to seeing the against the Prince Regent, and such an ap- Royal Family dragged, year after year, bepeal to the daughter against the father, as fore the House of Commons. He thought to render every change in the plan impos- the Noble Lords, the Commissioners, went sible. Of all the passages in it, he most further, in the first instance, than the case disapproved of that canting one about Con- seemed to require; and that they should firmation. There was no restraint on the liave confined themselves to the criminal intercourse between the Princess of Wales, charge alone, with a view to the possible and the Rev. Bishop of Exeter : and if she proceedings on which their advice was had communicated with that Prelate, she taken. The first report of some of the premust have known that the King, from reli- sent Ministers advised the King to receive the gious motives, had enjoined that her con- Princess ; and now this last Report raked firmation should not take place till she at- up old documents, on which they had actained the age of 18. His Royal Highness quitted her Royal Highness before. If the had condescended to advise with his ser- Prince Regent had said,

husvants in his anxiety to discharge every part band, and as the father of your child, I of his important trusts with the greatest choose to restrict you to visiting her once attention to the public welfare. He should in a week,” the public might have been resist, therefore, the production of the do- satisfied with an arrangement which it was cuments, since no parliamentary ground his right to make, if he thought fit. could be alleged for it.

however, should have been Sir Thomas Plumer having been per- aware, that his own conduct, at those pesonally alluded to, hoped for a short indul- riods, when those accusations were going gence. He did not know whether he was on against -, would not accused of once being her Royal Highness's and he thought that the R--Flegal adviser : whether it was for the ad- ought not to be insensible to the events vice he then gave; or for his now having which had taken place on the Continent. eeased to be one of her Royal Highness's Mr. W. Smith thought, that if a sister legal advisers. In 1806, he waited on her of his were treated as the Princess of at her request, and gave his professional Wales had been, he should feel extremely advice. Had he done wrong in that? He sore. He regretted much that he could not should not disclose that evidence ; but he see very clearly how redress was to be af

As your

a

a

.

forded; and he objected to the amendment, like the Noble Lord, had some share in not for the reasons stated by the Noble the transaction of 1807, and he considered Lord, but becalise he knew not by what the decision then pronounced as a verdict of mode of proceeding it could be followed up. complete acquittal. If he considered the pre

MR. PONSONBY felt peculiar pain in dif- sent Report as a revival of former charges, fering from the amendment proposed by he would not, had he been in the Councils his Hon. Friend. He knew no parliamen- of the Prince Regent, have advised His tary grounds on which to address the Royal Highness to sign the Commission ; Prince Regent to lay the papers before the he should have contented himself with saya House. If they had the Report before ing, that as a father, His Royal Highness them, it would not enable them to form an had a right to control his own family, and accurate judgment of the case ; nor could as a Sovereign to educate the heir to the he find any consideration that would jus- throne. After the explanations of the tify the interference of the House of Com- Noble Lord, he did not think the proceedmors. The Prince Regent had the power ing liable to that objection. He should, of any father to say how often, under all therefore, oppose the present motion, trustcircumstances, his wife should visit his ing that no future motion of the same kind daughter: and as a Sovereign, he had the would come before the House. Every man farther right of superintending the educa- who looked to the consequences of angry tion of the heiress to the Crown. - He dis- discussions and protracted debates on such avowed

any

advice to, or interference with subjects, would think no period so proper the conduct of the Princess on his own to terminate them as the present. part, and on that of any of those with Mr. Bracce Bathurst justified himself whom he was in the habit of acting. He and his, Colleagues in the course they had deprecated all attempts to get into power taken. by exciting family feuds and dissensions. MR. CANNING explained. He wished that all could lay their hands on The SOLICITOR-GENERAL thought it was their hearts and say the same.

enough to justify the last report that the LORD CASTLEReagh disclaimed every Speaker's name was signed to it. When imputation of that nature.

the Princess made a complaint on so soMR. WHITBREAD in explanation said, lemn a point as Confirmation, it became that the Report threw a doubt on the inno- His Royal Highness to refer it to those venecence of the Princess of Wales. He had, rable advisers whose names were in the therefore, wished for its production, in- Commission. Alluding to an expression of tending to have moved for such farther do- Mr. Whitbread's, referring to the opinion cuments as the case might seem to require: signed by His Royal Highness's legal adbut the testimonies borne, in the course of visers, and wishing he had him in the this debate, in her favour, had greatly sus- same situation in which he (the Solicitorpended the necessity of his motion. General) had had many in his fortunate

MR. CANNING observed, that painful practice, he said that he should have then as this debate must be to all, he had de had nothing to fear; for the dread of crossrived a great consolation and satisfaction examination vanished where there was nofrom hearing what had just fallen from the thing to conceal. He, together with Mr. Hon. Gent, who spoke last, which did him Adam and Mr. Jekyl, had certain paas much credit as the ability and zeal with pers referred to them, on which they gave which he had supported his motion of amend- an opinion; but which he never since saw, ment. The only case which could have till it was made public. supported such a motion as that proposed, MR. WHITBREAD explained. had been done away by the honourable and MR. YORKE expressed his hope, that the repeated sentences of acquittal which had Mover would withdraw the original motion. been pronounced for Her Royal Highness Mr. COCHRANE JOHNSTONE declined in the course of the debate. He should doing so, and said, he considered this as therefore vote against the motion, or the the proudest day in his life. amendment, with a full conviction that he

The Amendment and original Motion was doing what public duty required, and were negatived without a division.--Adwhat every proper feeling.justified. He journed.

a

[ocr errors][merged small]

VOL. XXIII, No. 12.] LONDON, SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 1813. [Price Is.

.

353)

(354 NOTICE.

possession of some facts relative to the en

deavours that were still making for the The present Double Number of the Re

same purpose; but, still I said, that the gister contains all the Depositions against Book would come out. I assured my read, the PRINCESS OF WALES; the Double Num-ers, in the most unqualified terms, that they ber, to be published next week, will con of the famous BOOK.

would, at no very distant day, see the whole tain the whole of her defence; and thus, Since the date of my last letter to you, these two Double Numbers will contain the BOOK, the real, the genuine Book, every word of what has been called THE has made its appearance in print, in a com?

plete form, in an octavo volume, and being BOOK.

page

for

page and word for word with the N. B. The Index to the last volume of original work. Thus, then, my prophecy the Register will be published in a few is fulfilled; and, though prophets are said

not to be honoured in their own countries, weeks.

I ought, I think, to expect my due share of credit in yours.

With such a mass of matter before us ; TO JAMES PAUL,

overlaid, as we now are, with materials OF BURSLEDON, IN Lower Dublin Town- for comment, it is no easy thing to deter

SHIP, IN PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, IN THE mine where to begin. After a little reState of PENNSYLVANIA; ON MATTERS flection, however, it appears to me to be RELATING TO Her Royal HIGHNESS THE the best way, to set out by giving you a PRINCESS OF Wales.

short bistory of this Book, and, before we Letter IV.

come to an examination of its contents, as

they affect the Princess of Wales, to shew London, 19th March, 1813. you what were the uses which political My dear Friend,

and party intrigue has made of those conYou must remember, that, while I was tents. in Newgate for writing about the flogging The history of the Book is this: When of the English Local militiamen at the the Princess of Wales, in consequence of town of Ely, and the employment of Ger- the Letter of the Prince, which you have man troops upon the occasion; you must already seen, quitted Carleton House, she remember, that, while I was in that jail, went to reside in a house called Montague and not many months before the expiration House, at Blackheath, near Greenwich, of my two years, and the payment of a fine which is about five or six miles distant from of a thousand pounds, which the Prince London. There, in the year 1801, she Regent received in behalf of his Royal, became accidentally acquainted with a Ludy Father, who, during my imprisonment, Douglas, the wife of Sir John Douglas, was become incapable of governing in per- who, as an officer of marines, greatly disson; you must remember, that, at the tinguished himself at the siege of St. Jean time here referred to, I confidently pre D'Acre, whien that place was so bravely dicted, and, indeed, positively asserted, defended by Sir Sidney Snyith against Buothat the BOOK would coine oui in spite of naparté. Lady Douglas and her husband all that could be done to prevent its pub. soon became extremely intimate with the lication. It was notorious, that many Princess, who, according to the statement thousands of pounds had been expended in of Lady Douglas, seems to have been very order to prevent the appearance of this fund of her indeed.

This intimacy conBook; it was notorious that the most ex- tinued until 1804, when the Princess, after traordinary means had been resorted to in some previous bickerings, dismissed Lady order to secure that object ; and I was in Douglas from her society.

M

« PreviousContinue »