§ Public expectation probably never rose so high as on this evening, in consequence of the expected discussion in the House of Commons on the subject of the Princess of Wales's Letter, and the explanation which was naturally looked for. An immense crowd assembled in the avenues of the House, and the gallery door not being opened till five o'clock, after two ballots had been gone through, there was ample time for the crowd to accumulate. The Gallery, on its being opened, was immediately filled, and great numbers, disappointed of admission, were compelled reluctantly to take their departure.
§ It had been rumoured for two or three days previously, that the bringing in the question relative to the Princess of Wales, would be the signal for some member to move the standing order for the exclusion of strangers. It was doubted, however, whether any member would execute so unwelcome a task. Events proved this rumour to be well founded, and Mr. Lygon was the member who volunteered his services to close the doors. A great number of peers were below the bar anxious to hear the discussion, who of course were, equally with other strangers, compelled to quit the House. In consequence of the sitting being thus rendered secret, Mr. Bennet moved an adjournment, upon which the House divided, Ayes 139; Noes, 248. Majority, 109. The adjournment being thus negatived,
§ Mr. Cochrane Johnstone
rose and said, that as the hon. gentleman opposite had cleared the gallery, he should not bring forward his motion that night, but reserve to himself the right of renewing it on any future occasion.
wished to be informed by 1107 his Majesty's ministers, whether it was their intention to bring forward any motion on the subject of the Letter addressed by her royal highness the Princess of Wales to the Speaker, and which had been communicated to the House?
said, it was his intention to avail himself of the first opportunity to give such explanations as his duty required from him. It would not, however, be taking a fair part towards her Royal Highness, if after throwing herself on the House as she had done, he should originate any question. It was a singular situation in which her Petition stood, if there was no individual in the House to explain the nature of her complaint, and to propose some remedy for it. If any person was prepared to come forward, then it would be for the House to determine what course it was most proper for it to pursue. He was certainly the last person who could be charged with that task, but he should have no reluctance to explain such matters as his duty would allow him to speak of on a proper occasion.
§ Mr. Whitbread
said, he was surprised that the noble lord did not, on the day the Letter from the Princess of Wales was read to the House, give notice of some motion on so important a proceeding; it was due to her Royal Highness, to the House, and to the public, that some investigation should follow such an appeal as had been made to them. No similar application was ever placed on the table without some proceeding suitable to its degree of importance. He did not know that the noble lord, or the Speaker, were called to that council, till he read the Pilot Newspaper of that evening, containing what was said to be the Report alluded to in the Letter of the Princess of Wales, and signed by 22 members of the council. The House, in his opinion, could not be satisfied without further explanation; and it was the duty of ministers, in the first instance, to have moved for an authentic copy of the Report that was agreed to*. It was also right that the*The following is a Copy of the said Report:
§ REPORT, &c. TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT—February 1813.
§ The following Members of his Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, viz.
§ His grace the archbishop of Canterbury, the right hon. the Lord High Chancellor,1108
§ House should know what was referred by his royal highness the Prince Regent to the council, as the foundation of their Report, whether it was the Report of 1806, or the Minute of Council of 1807, signed by lord Eldon, the noble lord, and the member for Liverpool, (Mr. Canning) in which her Royal Highness was declared to be wholly innocent. If the Report contained in the Pilot paper was correctly given, he concurred with her Royal Highness, that aspersions were cast upon her which tended to the insecurity of the state. For there certainly was one passage so ambiguously worded, that an inference might be drawn from it, that her Royal Highness had been guilty of great misconduct; whilst it also might bear the construction, that she was no farther blamable than for such things as might be considered but trifling offences. Under this impression he again said it became the noble lord to move for the Report. The transactions ought not to be kept secret. He was neither the adviser or counsellor of her Royal Highness, but it should be seen whether or not the noble lord had not been both her acquitter and accuser.
replied, that he would not consent to be put on his defence for any petition, or to give any explanations, if no individual thought proper to submit a motion upon it. It was his duty as a privy counsellor not to disclose the secrets of the council without the permission of the crown—nothing should induce him to swerve from his course of duty; but at the same time he would say, that he had given no advice which he was not willing to avow and to defend. If the hon. member had read the Report, he would find it was not open to the construction put upon it. The question for the consideration of the council was not one of charge, but one relating to regulations under which her Royal Highness was to be allowed to see her daughter.
§ Mr. Whitbread
then read the Report, and said the public were ignorant of all the circumstances which had induced the
§ his grace the archbishop of York, his grace the Lord Primate of Ireland, the Lord President of the council, the Lord Privy Seal, the earl of Buckinghamshire, the earl Bathurst, the earl of Liverpool, the earl of Mulgrave, the viscount Melville, the viscount Sid mouth, the viscount Castlereagh, the right hon. the lord bishop of London, the right hon. lord Ellenborough, 1109 Council to make such a Report. Was the Report of 1806 referred to, to refresh the memory of those who were in the old cabinet, or that of 1807, to give information to the present ministers? It should be remembered
§ lord chief justice of the Court of King's bench; the right hon. the Speaker of the House of Commons, the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. the Chancellor of the Duchy, his honour the Master of the Rolls, the right hon. the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas,* the right hon. the Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer, the right hon. the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, the right hon. the Dean of the Arches. Having been summoned by command of your Royal Highness, on the 19th of February 1813, to meet at the office of viscount Sidmouth, secretary of state for the home department, a communication was made by his lordship to the lords then present in the following terms:—
"My lords; I have it in command from his royal highness the Prince Regent, to acquaint your lordships, that a copy of a Letter from the Princess of Wales to the Prince Regent having appeared in a public paper, which Letter refers to the proceedings that took place in an inquiry instituted by command of his Majesty, in the year 1806, and contains, among other matters, certain animadversions upon the manner in which the Prince Regent has exercised his undoubted right of regulating the conduct and education of his daughter the Princess Charlotte; and his Royal Highness having taken into his consideration the said Letter so published, and adverting to the directions heretofore given by his Majesty, that the documents relating to the said inquiry should be sealed up, and deposited in the office of his Majesty's principal secretary of state; in order that his Majesty's government should possess the means of restoring to them if necessary; his Royal Highness has been pleased to direct, that the said Letter of the Princess of Wales, and the whole of the said documents, together with the copies of other letters and papers, of which a schedule is annexed, should be referred to your lordships, being members of his Majesty's
*The Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas was prevented by indisposition from attending, during any part of these proceedings.
§ that her Royal Highness had no privy council, no members of parliament at her command. But if no other member would submit a motion to the House on her petition, he would do so,
§ most honourable privy council, for your consideration; and that you should report to his Royal Highness your opinion, whether, under all the circumstance" of the case, it be fit and proper that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint:—"
§ Their lordships adjourned their meetings to Tuesday the 23d February; and the intermediate days having been employed in perusing the documents referred to them, by command of your Royal Highness, they proceeded on that and the following day to the further consideration of the said documents, and have agreed to report to your Royal Highness as follows:—
§ In obedience to the commands of your Royal Highness, we have taken into our most serious consideration the Letter from her royal highness the Princess of Wales to your Royal Highness, which has appeared in the public papers, and has been referred to us by your Royal Highness; in which letter the Princess of Wales, amongst other matters, complains that the intercourse between her Royal Highness and her royal highness the Princess Charlotte, has been subjected to certain restrictions.
§ We have also taken into our most serious consideration, together with the other papers referred to us by your Royal Highness, all the documents relative to the Inquiry instituted in 1806, by command of his Majesty, into the truth of certain representations, respecting the conduct of her royal highness the Princess of Wales, which appears to have been pressed upon the attention of your Royal Highness, and to have been transmitted by your Royal Highness, in consequence of the advice of lord Thurlow, and upon grounds of public duty, to his Majesty's confidential servants, by whom they were submitted to his Majesty's consideration. And your Royal Highness having been graciously pleased to command us to report our opinions to your Royal Highness, whether, under all the circumstances of the case, it be fit and proper, that the intercourse between the Princess of Wales and her daughter, the Princess Charlotte, should 1111 though this was peculiarly the duty of the noble lord. It was sufficient for a member of parliament in his common capacity, to say he would wait and give his opinion, but such was not the duty of the noble lord as a minister of the crown in that House in such a case.
§ continue to be subject to regulation and restraint—
§ We beg leave humbly to report to your Royal Highness, that after a full examination of all the documents before us, we are of opinion, that under all the circumstances of the case, it is highly fit and proper, with a view to the welfare of her royal highness the Princess Charlotte, in which are equally involved the happiness of your Royal Highness in your parental and royal character, and the most important interests of the state, that the intercourse between her royal highness the Princess of Wales and her royal highness the Princess Charlotte, should continue to be subject to regulation and restraint.
§ We humbly trust that we may be permitted, without being thought to exceed the limits of the duty imposed on us, respectfully to express the just sense we entertain of the motives by which your Royal Highness has been actuated in the postponement of the Confirmation of her royal highness the Princess Charlotte, as it appears, by a statement under the hand of her majesty the Queen, that your Royal Highness has conformed in this respect to the declared will of his Majesty, who had been pleased to direct, that such ceremony should not take place till her Royal Highness should have completed her 18th year.
§ We also humbly trust that we may be further permitted to notice some expressions in the Letter of her royal highness the Princess of Wales, which may possibly be construed as implying a charge of too serious a nature to be passed over without observation. We refer to the words—"suborned traducers." As this expression, from the manner in which it is introduced, may, perhaps, be liable to be understood (however impossible it may be to suppose that it can have been so intended), to have reference to some part of the conduct of your Royal Highness, we feel it our bounden duty not to omit this opportunity of declaring that the documents laid before us afford the most ample proof, that1112
§ out of a statement found in a public newspaper, nor would he have said so much, had it not been endeavoured to impute intentions to the government which they never formed.
§ Mr. Whitbread
was not calling in question the intentions but the acts of ministers—their intentions he did not know.
§ there is not the slightest foundation for such an aspersion.
|E. EBOR'||J. LONDON,|
|HARROWBY, P. C.||CHAS. ABBOT,|
|WESTMORELAND, C. P. S.||N. VANSITTART,|
|(A true Copy)||SIDMOUTH.|
§ The following are the Documents referred to in the preceding Report:
§ LETTER addressed by Her Royal Highness the PRINCESS of WALES, to the PRINCE REGENT, dated Montague House, January 14, 1813.
§ Sir; it is with great reluctance that I presume to obtrude myself upon your Royal Highness, and to solicit your attention to matters which may, at first, appear rather of a personal than a public nature. If I could think them so—if they related merely to myself—I should abstain from proceedings which might give uneasiness, or interrupt the more weighty occupations of your Royal Highness's time. I should continue, in silence and retirement, to lead the life which has been prescribed to me, and console myself for the loss of that society and those domestic comforts to which I have so long been a stranger, by the reflection that it has been deemed proper I should be afflicted without any fault of my own—and that your Royal Highness knows it.
§ But, Sir, there are considerations of a higher nature than any regard to my own happiness, which render this address a duty both to myself and my daughter. May I venture to say—a duty also to my husband, and the people committed to his care? There is a point beyond which a guiltless woman cannot with safety carry1113
§ intention of ministers to take any other notice of the Letter, addressed to the Speaker of that House by the Princess of Wales?
§ her forbearance. If her honour is invaded, the defence of her reputation is no longer a matter of choice; and it signifies not whether the attack be made openly, manfully, and directly—or by secret insinuation, and by holding such conduct towards her as countenances all the suspicions that malice can suggest. If these ought to be the feelings of every woman in England who is conscious that she deserves no reproach, your Royal Highness has too sound a judgment, and too nice a sense of honour, not to perceive, how much more justly they belong to the mother of your daughter—the mother of her who is destined, I trust at a very distant period, to reign over the British empire.
§ It may be known to your Royal Highness that during the continuance of the restrictions upon your royal authority, I purposely refrained from making any representations which might then augment the painful difficulties of your exalted station. At the expiration of the restrictions I still was inclined to delay taking this step, in the hope that I might owe the redress I sought to your gracious and unsolicited condescension. I have waited, in the fond indulgence of this expectation, until, to my inexpressible mortification, I find that my unwillingness to complain, has only produced fresh grounds of com plaint; and I am at length compelled, either to abandon all regard for the two dearest objects which I possess on earth, mine own honour, and my beloved child, or to throw myself at the feet of your Royal Highness as the natural protector of both.
§ I presume, Sir, to represent to your Royal Highness, that the separation, which every succeeding month is making wider, of the mother and the daughter, is equally injurious to my character and to her education. I say nothing of the deep wounds which so cruel an arrangement inflicts upon my feelings, although I would fain hope that few persons will be found of a disposition to think lightly of these. To see myself cut off from one of the very few domestic enjoyments left me—certainly the only one upon which I set any value, the society of my child—involves me in such misery, as I well know your Royal Highness could never inflict upon1114
said, that whenever any intention of that nature was entertained by the Prince Regent's ministers, due notice would be given of it,
§ me if you were aware of its bitterness. Our intercourse has been gradually diminished. A single interview weekly seemed sufficiently hard allowance for a mother's affections—That, however, was reduced to our meeting once a fortnight; and I now learn that even this most rigorous interdiction is to be still more rigidly enforced.
§ But while I do not venture to intrude my feelings as a mother upon your Royal Highness's notice, I must be allowed to say, that in the eyes of an observing and jealous world, this separation of a daughter from her mother will only admit of one construction—a construction fatal to the mother's reputation. Your Royal Highness will also pardon me for adding, that there is no less inconsistency than injustice in this treatment.—He who dares advise your Royal Highness to overlook the evidence of my innocence, and disregard the sentence of complete acquittal which it produced—or is wicked and false enough still to whisper suspicions in your ear, betrays his duty to you, Sir, to your daughter, and to your people, if he counsels you to permit a day to pass without a further investigation of my conduct. I know that no such calumniator will venture to recommend a measure which must speedily end in his utter confusion. Then let me implore you to reflect on the situation in which I am placed; without the shadow of a charge against me—without even an accuser—after an enquiry that led to my ample vindication—yet treated as if I were still more culpable than the perjuries of my suborned traducers represented me, and held up to the world as a mother who may not enjoy the society of her only child.
§ The feelings, Sir, which are natural to my unexampled situation, might justify me in the gracious judgment of your Royal Highness, had I no other motives for addressing you but such as relate to myself. But I will not disguise from your Royal Highness what I cannot for a moment conceal from myself, that the serious, and it soon may be, the irreparable injury which my daughter sustains from the plan at present pursued, has done more in overcoming my reluctance to intrude1115
§ Lord Milton
thought it the bounden duty of ministers to take up the business, which was of the greatest importance in every point of view, and not of so trivial a nature as the noble lord affected to consider it.
§ upon your Royal Highness, than any sufferings of my own could accomplish; and if for her sake I presume to call away your Royal Highness's attention to the other cares of your exalted station, I feel confident I am not claiming it for a matter of inferior importance either to yourself or your people.
§ The powers with which the constitution of these realms vests your Royal Highness in the regulation of the royal family, I know, because I am so advised, are ample and unquestionable. My appeal, Sir, is made to your excellent sense and liberality of mind in the exercise of those powers: and I willingly hope that your parental feelings will lead you to excuse the anxiety of mine for impelling me to represent the unhappy consequences which the present system must entail upon our beloved child.
§ Is it possible, Sir, that any one can have attempted to persuade your Royal Highness, that her character will not be injured by the perpetual violence offered to her strongest affections—the studied care taken to estrange her from my society, and even to interrupt all communication between us? That her love to me, with whom, by his Majesty's wise and gracious arrangements, she passed the years of her infancy and childhood, never can be extinguished, I well know, and the knowledge of it forms the greatest blessing of my existence.
§ But let me implore your Royal Highness to reflect how inevitably all attempts to abate this attachment, by forcibly separating us, if they succeed, must injure my child's principles—if they fail, must destroy her happiness.
§ The plan of excluding my daughter from all intercourse with the world, appears to my humble judgment peculiarly unfortunate. She who is destined to be the sovereign of this great country, enjoys none of those advantages of society which are deemed necessary for imparting a knowledge of mankind to persons who have infinitely less occasion to learn that important lesson: and it may so happen, by a chance which I trust is very remote, that she should be called upon to exercise1116
declared, that whenever the gallery was cleared, he should persist in moving an adjournment and he now again moved that the House should adjourn.
§ the powers of the crown, with an experience of the world more confined than that of the most private individual. To the extraordinary talents with which she is blessed, and which accompany a disposition so singularly amiable, frank, and decided, I willingly trust much; but beyond a certain point the greatest natural endowments cannot struggle against the disadvantages of circumstances and situation. It is my earnest prayer, for her own sake as well as her country's, that your Royal Highness may be induced to pause before this point be reached.
§ Those who have advised you, Sir, to delay so long the period of my daughter's commencing her intercourse with the world, and for that purpose to make Windsor her residence, appear not to have regarded the interruptions to her education which this arrangement occasions; both by the impossibility of obtaining the attendance of proper teachers, and the time unavoidably consumed in the frequent journies to town, which she must make, unless she is to be secluded from all intercourse, even with your Royal Highness and the rest of the royal family. To the same unfortunate counsels I ascribe a circumstance in every way so distressing both to my parental and religious feelings, that my daughter has never yet enjoyed the benefit of confirmation, although above a year older than the age at which all the other branches of the royal family have partaken of that solemnity. May I earnestly conjure you, Sir, to hear my intreaties upon this serious matter, even if you should listen to other advisers on things of less near concernment to the welfare of our child?
§ The pain with which I have at length formed the resolution of addressing myself to your Royal Highness is such as &c. should in vain attempt to express. If I could adequately describe it, you might be enabled, Sir, to estimate the strength of the motives which have made me submit to it. They are the most powerful feelings of affection, and the deepest impressions of duty towards your Royal Highness, my beloved child, and the country, which I devotedly hope she may be preserved to1117
§ hon. member should think it right to persist in his motion, and thus impede the progress of the public business. The House, he thought, should mark its sense of such conduct. He had once been a
§ govern, and to shew by a new example the liberal affection of a free and generous people to a virtuous and constitutional monarch.
§ I am, Sir, with profound respect, and an attachment which nothing can alter, your Royal Highness's most devoted and most affectionate consort, cousin, and subject,
§ CAROLINE LOUISA.
Copy of a REPORT made in 1806, by the four Commissioners appointed by the King, viz. lord Erskine, (Chancellor,) lord Grenville, First Lord of the Treasury, lord Spencer, Secretary of State, lord Ellenborough, Chief Justice of the King'-bench, to examine into the conduct of her royal highness the Princess of Wales.
§ May it please your Majesty,
§ Your Majesty having been graciously pleased by an instrument under your Majesty's royal sign manual, a copy of which is annexed to this Report, to authorize, empower, and direct us to enquire into the truth of certain written declarations touching the conduct of her royal highness the Princess of Wales, an abstract of which had been laid before your Majesty, and to examine upon oath, such persons as we should see fit touching and concerning the same, and to report to your Majesty the result of such examinations; we have, in dutiful obedience to your Majesty's commands, proceeded to examine the several witnesses, the copies of whose depositions we have hereunto annexed; and in further execution of the said commands, we now most respectfully submit to your Majesty the report of these examinations, as it has appeared to us. But, we beg leave at the same time, humbly to refer your Majesty for more complete information, to the examinations themselves, in order to correct any error of judgment into which we may have unintentionally fallen, with respect to any part of this business. On a reference to the above mentioned Declarations as the necessary foundation of all our proceedings, we found that they consisted in certain statements which have been laid before his royal highness the Prince of Wales, respecting1118
§ marked man, and was near having his house pulled about his ears, for doing his duty in a similar manner. He did not hesitate to say, that unless the House marked the enforcement of the standing order as
§ the conduct of her royal highness the Princess of Wales; that these statements not only imputed to her Royal Highness great impropriety, and indecency of behaviour, but expressly asserted, partly on the ground of certain alledged declarations from the Princess's own mouth, and partly on the personal observations 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 we 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 stated other particulars in themselves extremely suspicious, and still more so when connected with the assertions already mentioned. In the painful situation, in which his Royal Highness was placed by these communications, we learnt that his Royal Highness had adopted the only course, which could, in our judgment, with propriety, be followed, when informations such as these had been thus confidently alleged, and particularly detailed, and had been in some degree 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 by possibility affecting the succession of your Majesty's crown. Your Majesty had been pleased on your part to view the subject in the same light. Considering it as a matter which in every respect demanded the most immediate investigation, your Majesty had thought fit to commit into our hands the duty of ascertaining, in the first instance, what degree of credit1119
§ their ancient and indisputable right, gentlemen had better go home to their respective counties.
§ was due to the informations, and thereby enabling your Majesty to decide what further conduct to adopt concerning them. On this review, therefore, of the matters thus alleged, and of the course hitherto pursued upon them, we deemed it proper, in the first place, to examine those persons in whose declarations the occasion for this enquiry had originated; because, if they, on being examined on oath, had retracted or varied their assertions, ail necessity of further investigation might possibly have been precluded. We accordingly first examined on oath the principal informants, sir John Douglas, and Charlotte his wife, who both positively swore, the former to his having observed the fact of the pregnancy of her Royal Highness, and the latter to all the important particulars contained in her former declaration, and above referred to. Their examinations are annexed to this Report, and are circumstantial and positive. The most material of these allegations, into the truth of which we have been directed to enquire, being thus far supported by the oath of the parties from whom they had proceeded, we then felt it to be our duty to follow up the enquiry, by the examination of such other persons as we judged best able to afford us information as to the facts in question. We thought it beyond all doubt, that in the course of enquiry many particulars must be learnt which would be necessarily conclusive on the truth or falsehood of these declarations, so many persons must have been witnesses to the appearance of an actual existing pregnancy; so many circumstances must have been attended upon a real delivery, and difficulties so numerous and insurmountable must have been involved, in any attempt to account for the infant in question, as the child of another woman, if it had been in fact the child of the Princess, that we entertained a full and confident expectation of arriving at complete proof, either in the affirmative or negative, on this part of the subject.
§ This expectation was not disappointed. We are happy to declare our perfect conviction that there is no foundation whatever for believing that the child now with the Princess of Wales is the child of her1120
§ was placed in his hands, of moving an adjournment whenever he thought proper; and that he would not be deterred by the threats of any man, however high in authority, from doing his duty. He also
§ Royal Highness, or that she was delivered of any child in the year 1802; nor has any thing appeared to us which would warrant the belief that she was pregnant in that year, or at any other period within the compass of our enquiries. The identity of the child now with the Princess, its parents, age, the place and date of its birth, the time and circumstance of its being first taken under her Royal Highness's protection, are all established by such a concurrence both of positive and circumstantial evidence as can in our judgment leave no question on this part of the subject. That child was beyond all doubt born in Brownlow-street-hospital, on the 11th day of July, 1802, of the body of Sophia Austin, and was first brought to the Princess's house in the month of November following. Neither should we be more warranted in expressing any doubt respecting the alleged pregnancy of the Princess, as stated in the original declaration, a fact so fully contradicted, and by so many witnesses, to whom, if true, it must in various ways be known, that we cannot think it entitled to the smallest credit. The testimonies on these two points are contained in the annexed depositions and letters. We have not partially abstracted them in this Report, lest by an unintentional omission we might weaken their effect; but we humbly offer to your Majesty this our clear and unanimous judgment upon them, formed upon full deliberation, and pronounced without hesitation, on the result of the whole enquiry. We do not, however, feel ourselves at liberty, much as we should wish it, to close our Report here. Besides the allegation of the pregnancy and delivery of the Princess, those declarations, on the whole of which your Majesty has been pleased to command us to enquire and report, contain, as we have already remarked, other particulars respecting the conduct of her Royal Highness, such, as must, especially considering her exalted rank and station, necessarily give occasion to very unfavourable interpretations. From the various depositions and proofs annexed to this Report, particularly from the examinations of Robert Bidgood, William Cole, Frances Lloyd, and Mrs. Lisle, your1121
§ begged leave to remind the House, that when his late right hon. friend (Mr. Fox) was exhausted by his attention to public duties, those very gentlemen who now objected to the question of adjournment had repeated it fourteen or fifteen times in the
§ Majesty will perceive that several strong circumstances of this description have been positively sworn to by witnesses, who cannot, in our judgment, be suspected of any unfavourable bias, and whose veracity, in this respect, we have seen no ground to question.
§ On the precise bearing and effect of the facts thus appearing, it is not for us to decide: these we submit to your Majesty's wisdom; but we conceive it to be our duty to report on this part of the enquiry, as distinctly as on the former facts, that as on the one hand the facts of pregnancy and delivery are to our minds satisfactorily disproved; so on the other hand we think that the circumstances to which we now refer, particularly those stated to have passed between her Royal Highness and captain Manby, must be credited until they shall receive some decisive contra diction; and if true, are justly entitled to the most serious consideration. We can not close this Report without humbly assuring your Majesty, that it was on every account our anxious wish to have executed this delicate trust with as little publicity as the nature of the case would possibly allow, and we entreat your Majesty's permission to express our full persuasion, that if this wish has been disappointed, the failure is not imputable to any thing unnecessarily said or done by us; all which is most humbly submitted to your Majesty.
|July 14, 1806.||ERSKINE.|
|(A true Copy)||GRENVILLE.|
MINUTE OF COUNCIL, April 22, 1807.—Present, The Lord Chancellor (Eldon,) the Lord President (Camden,) the Lord Privy Seal (Westmoreland,) the Duke of Portland, the Earl of Chatham, Earl Bathurst, Viscount Castlereagh, Lord Mulgrave, Mr. Secretary Canning, Lord Hawkesbury.
§ Your Majesty's confidential servants have, in obedience to your Majesty's commands, most attentively considered the original Charges and Report, the Minutes of Evidence, and all the other papers1122
§ same night. If the House persisted in excluding strangers front their gallery, the public would consider parliament as a secret tribunal, which sought to shelter itself from public opinion.
§ submitted to the consideration of your Majesty, on the subject of those charges against her royal highness the Princess of Wales.
§ In the stage in which this business is brought under their consideration they do not feel themselves called upon to give any opinion as to the proceeding itself, or to the mode of investigation in which it has been thought proper to conduct it. But adverting to the advice which is stated by his royal highness the Prince of Wales to have directed his conduct, your Majesty's confidential servants are anxious to impress upon your Majesty their conviction, that his Royal Highness could not, under such advice, consistently with his public duty, have done otherwise than lay before your Majesty the Statement and Examination, which were submitted to him upon this subject.
§ After the most deliberate consideration, however, of the evidence which has been brought before the Commissioners, and of the previous examinations, as well as of the answer and observations which have been submitted to your Majesty upon them, they feel it necessary to declare their decided concurrence in the clear and unanimous opinion of the Commissioners confirmed by that of all your Majesty's late confidential servants, that the two main charges alledged against her royal highness the princess of Wales, of pregnancy and delivery, are completely disproved, and they further submit to your Majesty their unanimous opinion, that all the other particulars of conduct brought in accusation against her Royal Highness, to which the character of criminality can be ascribed, are either satisfactorily contradicted or rest upon evidence of such a nature, and which was given under such circumstances, as render it, in the judgment of your Majesty's confidential servants, undeserving of credit.
§ Your Majesty's confidential servants, therefore, concurring in that part of the opinion of your late servants, as stated in their Minute of the 25th January, that there is no longer any necessity for your Majesty being advised to decline receiving he Princess into your royal presence,1123
§ reason assigned for moving the question of adjournment was what he complained of, and not the question itself.
said, that he had shewn his disapprobation of the question of adjournment by voting against it, as he should do again if driven to that necessity.
§ humbly submit to your Majesty, that it is essentially necessary, in justice to her Royal Highness, and for the honour and interests of your Majesty's illustrious family, that her royal highness the Princess of Wales should be admitted, with as little delay as possible, into your Majesty's royal presence, and that she should be received in a manner due to her rank and Station, in your Majesty's court and family.
§ Your Majesty's confidential servants likewise beg leave to submit to your Majesty, that considering that it may be necessary that your Majesty's government should possess the means of referring to the true state of this transaction, it is of the utmost importance that these documents, demonstrating the ground on which your Majesty has proceeded, should be preserved in safe custody; and that for that purpose the originals, or authentic copies of all these papers, should be sealed up and deposited in the office of your Majesty's principal Secretary of State.