her and her daughter ; and, I am sincerely of opinion, from a full view of her character and disposition, as exhibited in the whole of these documents, that provided no restraint had been laid upon the indulgence of her maternal affections, she would, without much repining, have persevered in her magnanimous silence. But, when she saw herself deprived of that indulgence; when she saw her intercourse with her only child was more and more restrained; when she saw the likelihood of an approaching total exclusion from that child, and took into her view the effect which the notoriety of that exclusion must have upon her reputation, she found it impossible longer to withhold the statement of her grievances.

Even now, even after the writing of her last letter to the Prince ; aye, and after the publishing of that letter, all might have been quietly set at rest, if the Prince had found advisers to recommend the acceding to her reasonable request. Such advisers he did not find ; and we have the consequences before us.

Upon the Report of the Privy Council to the Prince dated on the 19th of February, 1813, I will not make any comment; and, will only request you, my honest friend, first to read the Minute of the Cabinet of 21st of April, 1807, and see who it is signed by ; then to read the defence of the Princess together with her letter of the 16th of February, 1807, as you will find them in my next Number; then to read carefully the Report of the Privy Council of 19th February, 1813, and see who that is signed by; and then to pass your judgment upon the conduct of the parties concerned.

This Report of the Privy Council brought forth the Princess's Letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons. That Letter would probably have produced the effect that has since been produced; but, the motion of Mr. Cochrane Johnstone did it more speedily. That motion drew from the ministers a full and complete acknowledgment of the innocence of the Princess; and that acknowledgment has drawn forth, through the channel of a paper, the property of a Reverend Divine, who has recently been made a Baronet, a publication of the Depositions AGAINST the Princess ; but, with shame for my country, with shame for the English press; and with indignation inexpressible against its conductors, I say it, while the documents against her have all been poured forth in hasty succession, her defence; her able, her satisfactory, her convincing, her incontrovertible answer to all, and every one of the charges against her, and her exposure of the injustice and malice and baseness of her enemies, have been carefully, by these same prints; the prints attached to both the political factions, been kept from the public eye!

Anything so completely base as this I do not recollect to have before witnessed, even in the conduct of the London press; but, my friend, this nefarious attempt to support injustice will not succeed. In the present Double Number of my Register I have inserted all the Evidence against the Princess ; in another Number, next week, of the same description, I shall insert the whole of her defence; and, thus you will have before you the whole of what has been called THE BOOK. You will then be at no loss to decide upon every point relating to this important affair, and upon the conduct of all the parties, who, by these documents, will be brought under your view.

In the meanwhile I must beg leave to point out the necessity of reading all the subjoined documents with great care. Every word will be found


to be of importance, when you come to the perusal of the Princess's defence. I shall bave great pleasure in publishing and in circulating it through the world, and when that is done, let her base enemies “ go to supper with what appetite they may.”

I am your faithful friend,



Of Bursledon, in Lower Dublin Township, in Philadelphia County,

in the Stute of Pennsylvania;




(Political Register, March, 1813.)

“ Heav'n has no curse like love to hatred turn'd,
"Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d."-CONGREVE.

LETTER V. My dear Friend,

In my last Letter I gave you a brief history of THE BOOK, and showed you, as clearly as I was able, what effects it had produced as to political changes in the government. 1, at the same time, laid before you all the depositions against Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, together with the beginning of her defence. The remaining part of that defence I continue to this Letter ; and, wlien you have read it, together with Her Royal Highness's Letter to the King of the 16th of February, 1807, you will bave the whole of the case before you.*

So satisfactory to my mind is that defence; so completely does it do away every charge against her honour ; so quickly does it dissipate, in my view of it, every doubt that could have been raised in the mind of any rational man, that I am utterly at a loss to find words to express my astonishment, that His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, should have found advisers, weak enough (for 1 will forbear to apply to them any harsh epithet) to recommend the raising of any obstacle to the giving of the injured Princess those external marks of complete acquittal, which she so justly demanded, and with which, it appears, her moderation would have been contented. Indeed, when you take an impartial view of the case up to the close of her Letter of the 16th of February, 1807, you will be at a loss to say which feeling is strongest in your bosom : that of ad. miration of her moderation and magnanimity; or, of indignation against the wretches who had manifestly conspired, with the most deliberate malice, against her reputation and even against her life.

Exalted as the parties concerned are in rank, important as every thing must be which is so closely connected with their character and honour;

These Documents are too long to be inserted, but “the Book” has been so often republished, that it is common enough.-ED.

yet, such is the ability with which this defence was conducted, that, merely as a specimen of excellence in this sort of productions it will, I am persuaded, live and be admired, long after the cause of it shall have become of no interest to the world. I hated Perceval when living; I hate his memory now that he is dead; because I regard him as having been a bitter enemy of the liberties of my country. But, I should tacitly belie my conviction, I should commit an act of violence on my own mint, were I to abstain from expressing my admiration of this defence, as doing equal honour to the heart and to the talents of its author ; who, from the first page to the last, shines, not only as a wise counsellor, an able and zea. lous advocate, but as an ardent, a steady and disinterested friend ; and, really, I look upon it as a fortunate circumstance for the character of the country, that, while England had produced wretches so vile as to conspire against the life of an innocent and friendless woman, England also fur. nished the man able and willing to be her protector.

This defence being, in all its parts, so complete, I should not trouble you with any observations of my own on any part of the evidence or proceedings, and should merely give you my reasons for believing, that the conduct of the Princess, up to this very hour, has been such as to merit full approbation ; but, as endeavours are still making, in some of the de. testable newspapers in London, to give the air of truth to the refuted calum. pies of the Douglases and others, I think it right to point out for your special notice some few of the circumstances of the case.

There is an observation, made by some persons, in these words : “ There, surely, must be something in all this. How could such a story as that of Lady Douglas have been all invented ?" This is a very absurd way of reasoning ; for, if one part of a story be hatched, why not the uhole? It is not the practice either of courts of justice or of individuals to give credit to any part of a story, upon the principal facts of which the narrator has been fully proved to have spoken wilfully false. If any man were to tell you, that I had defrauded him of a ten-pound-note, and that, upon the same occasion, I had been guilty of blasphemy, would you, when you had seen the former clearly disproved, attach any credit to the latter? Would the man, who could invent the former charge, scruple to invent the latter also ? Would that malice, which proved the mother of the one, be insufficient for the producing of the other ? The consistency of the different parts of a story, all coming from the same person, or from a set of conspirators, argues little in support of its credibility : for, if one sits down to invent, especially when there is an abundance of time, it is entirely one's own fault if the several parts of the story do not agree. You do not read Romances and Plays; but, if you did, you would not set any part of them down for realities, because all the parts correspond with each other. They are fabulous, they are the work of invention, from the beginning to the end ; and so, it appears to me, were all the minor circumstances, related by the Douglases and others, tending to corroborate the main facts, and to render complete and successful the great plot of this disgraceful drama. The main allegations having been proved to be false, and none of the rest having been proved to be true, we must necessarily, in common justice to the accused, regard the whole as a mass of falsehoods.

Indeed, it is impossible for any man, when he has read the whole of the documents, to entertain the smallest doubt of the ionocence of the Prin. cess as to everything which has been alleged against her ; but it apo pears to me to be very essential for us to inquire, how these infamous charges came to be made. And, here I think, we shall find all the marks of a deliberate and settled conspiracy against her, originating to all outward appearance, with the Douglases.

We see, that, from 1801 to 1804, there was an intercourse of friendship existing between Sir John and Lady Douglas and the Princess ; and, it is not till after the former are discarded by the latter that the accusations appear to have been hatched; or, at least, to have assumed any thing of a systematic form. Soon after this, we find Sir John Douglas receiving, as his wife says, anonymous letters, containing lewd drawings, exhibiting Lady Douglas as committing adultery with Sir Sidney Smyth; and of these she says, the Princess of Wales was the author. This fact of the authorship is clearly disproved by the most satisfactory of evidence, positive as well as circumstantial. And, now, mark; this fact being proved to be false, what other conclusion can we draw from its having been advanced, than that the Douglases wrote the letters themselves to themselves with a design of imputing them to her Royal Highness, and thus to furnish themselves with some excuse for the treachery, to say the very least of it, of Lady Douglas ? For, you will observe, that, upon the supposition of all the allegations of Lady Douglas, being true, nothing could clear her of the charge of perfidiousness to the person, who, in the warmth of her friendship and the plenitude of her confidence, had committed to her breast secrets affecting her life.

Having thus prepared the way; having provided themselves with an excuse, though a very unsatisfactory one, for the divulging of secrets, which they could not in any case, and under any degree of provocation, divulge without subjecting themselves to the charge of perfidy, they appear to have set themselves to work to get a way opened for their information to the Prince of Wales; and, at last, in December, 1805, they draw up and sign their STATEMENT in order to its being laid before him.

If this statement was believed, as it appears to have been, by His Royal Highness's advisers; for, my respect for the person, whom I obey as my sovereign, will permit me to speak, in this case, only of his ad. visers. If this statement was believed by them, there can be no doubt of the propriety, and, indeed, of the absolute necessity, of submitting the matter to the consideration of the King. Different men see the same thing in a different light; and, for my part, I am convinced, that if my own sister had laid such a statement before me, relative to the conduct of even a suspected wife, I should, at once, have treated it as a tissue of abominable falsehoods; the reasons for which I will now give you.

The statement of Lady Douglas, as well as her deposition, clearly show, that her making of it originated in revenge.

There are those, who, roused in the way of suspicion, by a view of the whole affair, are inclined to ascribe the accusation to another origin, and to suppose, that the Douglases went to live at Blackheath for the express purpose of carrying on a conspiracy against the Princess. But, an impartial examination of the several parts of the proceeding rejects this opinion ; and, it is manifest that the charges had their origin in the revenge of this woman. Therefore, if her statement had been laid before me, as an adviser of the Prince, I should, without going into the utter improbability of the story itself, have said, that a woman, in whose bosom the

passion of revenge was so strong as to goad her on to take away the life of another woman, after months and years for cooling and reflecting ; I should have said, that a woman, in whose bosom the passion of revenge was so strong as this, was a person not to be believed in anything that she might say with regard to the object of that revenge.

Then, I should have observed, that she sets out with a self-evident falsehood; for she asserts, that it was a sense of duty; the fear of seeing spurious issue on the throne, her loyalty, her gratitude towards her Sovereign and the Royal family; she asserts, that it is this sense of duty, which has wrung the awful secret from her, and induced her to be guilty of a most atrocious breach of confidence. But, with this sense of duty in her mind; with all this loyalty and gratitude in her heart; and with this patriotic fear of seeing spurious issue on the throne, she keeps the secret locked up in her breast from 1802 to 1805. Was that to be believed ? If she really were under the influence of the motives, which she pretends to have been under when she made the statement; how came that influence to have had no weight at an earlier period ?- If such had really been her motives in making the communication, the year 1802 was the lime for making it, when she first was told of the pregnancy, or, at any rate, when she saw the child, especially as that child was a male, and, of course, the heir to the throne; and when she reflected, moreover, that she might die, and that, from the death of herself or other persons, the impossibility of preventing the danger she feared might soon arrive. Therefore, it is manifest, that, in making the communication to the Prince, she could not be actuated by motives of duty and of loyalty; and, seeing her declaration thus bottomed in falsehood; seeing it thus ushered in by a flagrant though hypocritical lie; I should, if I had been an adviser of the Prince, said, that nothing flowing from such a source is to be believed, or paid the smallest attention to.

Then, as to what she says about the licentious behaviour of the Princess, and her disrespectful language towards the King, the Queen, and the Royal Family, I should have observed, that, though the informant pretends to have been shocked at the indecencies and immoralities of all this, and though people were obliged to send their daughters out of the room to prevent them from hearing the language of the Princess, the informant continued to be intimate with her, and even to court her acquaintance, for years after she was the eye and ear witness of these indecencies; and. what is singular enough, one ground of her pretended complaints against the Princess, is, her children were not admitted, upon a particular occasion, to that, as she paints it, scene of open indecency and debauchery, Montague House! Upon a view of all these circum. stances, could I have believed, that she had seen anything to shock her in the behaviour of the Princess ? Could I have believed a word of her story ; and could I have refrained from advising the Prince, not to believe a word of that story?

Upon her own showing, I should have seen in Lady Douglas a traitor to her friend from motives of revenge; I should have seen in her a hypocritical pretender to loyalty and patriotism; and should have seen part of ber revenge arising from her children not being admitted where she herself had been shocked at the constant indecencies of the scene, and where other persons had sent away their children from a fear of their being corrupted. But, besides all this, I must have believed Her Royal Highness to have been wholly bereft of her senses before I could believe,

« ForrigeFortsett »