« AnteriorContinuar »
of the example of the whole nation, you] those which poor old crazy Peg is said to
will, I am sure, readily allow. It is not only the duty, but it is the interest, of the people to step forward and cause themselves to be heard upon such occasions. To hold their tongues, in such cases, is tacitly to acknowledge that they are nothing, and, of course, that their opinions may safely be despised by their rulers.
have employed. What was Peg's penknife when compared to the conspiracy against the Princess? To be sure, in this case, the carrying up of an address will be attended with no creation of Knights. This is, really, the only difference in the two cases; except that in the present case the party to be addressed stands in need of the support of the people.
It would give me, on another account, singular satisfaction to see the Princess receive those marks of the approbation of the people. Those marks of approbation could not fail to make on her mind, as well as on the mind of her daughter, who has so strong an affection for her, an impression favourable to popular rights; to endear the people to them, and to show them, that, after all, the preservation of the people's liberties and privileges is the best guarantee, is far more efficacious than armies and sinecure place-men, in the support of the throne and the Royal Family. When the City of London shall have carried their Address to the Princess of Wales; when they shall have expressed their detestation of the conspiracy against her life and honour, Her Royal Highness and her Daughter will have to compare the conduct of the people with that of those orders, whom the enemies of liberty have represented as the great props of the throne. What an useful lesson will this be to give to her, who, in the course of nature, is destined to be our Sovereign! It ought to make, and I have no doubt that it will make, a strong and lasting impression upon her mind; that it will arm her before-hand against those parasites (never wanting to a court), who would persuade her that every right possessed by the people is so much taken from her; that it will lead her to respect instead of despising, to confide in instead of suspecting, to love and cherish instead of hating and harassing, the people, whose good sense, whose love of justice, whose
Nevertheless, I have heard, and, indeed, not with much surprise, that there are certain persons in the City of London, attached to the faction called the Whigs, who are disposed to discourage these public demonstrations of the feeling of the people. It is easy to conceive, that they must dislike any thing tending to throw a slur upon
party; they know, that it was their party, who, with the Princess's defence before them, hesitated four months before they advised the King to receive her at court, and then only accompanied with an admonition, that admonition which every human being is now ready to pronounce judgment upon. An address to Her Royal Highness would necessarily be a condemnation of the Whig ministry; and, therefore, it is that its partisans are endeavour ing to prevent such a measure on the part of any portion of the people.
But, was there ever so fit an occasion for an address? When the King was thought to have been in danger from the pen-kuife of a poor old mad-woman, addresses of loyalty, affection, and of congratulation at his escape, poured in from every county, city, and town in his dominions; and, shall those who were filled with horror at the attempt of Peg Nicholson, be silent at the discovery of the attempt of Lady Douglas and her coadjutors? Shall those who were so loud in their cries of abhorrence on the former occasion, be now dumb as posts? The life of the King was then attempted; and has not the life of the Princess of Wales been now attempted? Aye, and by means, too, much more infamous than
abhorrence of baseness and cruelty, have proved the best safe-guards of the life and
honour of her Mother.
I have now, my good friend, completed the task which I had imposed upon myself. I have done all that lay in my power to make the innocence and the injuries of the Princess of Wales known to the world; and, though, in the performance of this task, I have been animated with a consciousness that I was discharging a sacred duty to my country, I have derived additional satisfaction from the ever-recurring thought that I was addressing myself to you, and giving you, if that death which you fear not has not yet closed your eyes, a renewed proof of my unalterable gratitude and esteem. WM. COBBETT. Bolley, 2d April, 1813.
(Continued from page 480, and concluded.) pretend to say-I mean on occasion of two water parties which I intended, one of which did not take place at all, and the other not so carly in the day as was intended, nor was its object ef fected. Once I intended to pay Admiral Montague a visit to Deal; but wind and tide not serving, we sailed much later than we intended; and instead of landing at Deal, the Admiral came on board our vessel, and we returned to East Cliff in the evening; on which occasion Captain Manby was not of the party, nor was he in the Downs but it is very possible, that having prepared to set off early, I might have walked down towards the sea, and been seen by Fanny Lloyd. On the other occasion, Captain Manby was to have been of the party, and it was to have been on board his ship. I desired him to be early at my house in the morning, and if the day suited me, we would go. He came; I walked with him towards the sea, to look at the morning; I did not like the appearance of the weather, and did not go to sea. Upon either of these occasions Fanny Lloyd might have been called up to make breakfast, and might have seen me walking. As to the orders not having been given her over night; to that I can say nothing.But upon this statement, what inference can be intended to be drawn from this fact? It is the only one in which F. Lloyd's evidence can in any degree be applied to Captain Manby; and she is one of the important witnesses referred to, as proving something which must particularly, as with regard to Captain Manby, be credited till contradicted, and as deserving the most serious consideration. From the examination of Mrs. Fitzgerald I col lect, that she was asked whether Captain Manby ever slept in the house at East Cliff; to which she, to the best of her knowledge, answers in the negative. Is this evidence then of Fanny Lloyd's relied upon, to afford an inference that Captain Manby slept in my house; or was there at an im
proper hour? or in a manner, and under circum stances, which afforded reason for unfavourable
interpretations? If this were so, can it be be lieved that I would, under such circumstances, have taken a step, such as calling for breakfast, at an unusual hour, which must have made the fact more notorious and remarkable, and brought
the attention of the servants, who must have waited at the breakfast, more particularly and pointedly to it?
But if there be any thing which rests, or is supposed to rest, upon the credit of this witness-though she is one of the four, whose credit your Majesty will recollect it has been stated that there was no reason to question, yet she stands in a predicament in which, in general, at least, I had understood it to be supposed, that the credit of a witness was not only ques tionable, but materially shaken. For, towards the beginning of her examination, she states, that Mr. Mills attended her for a cold; he asked her if the Prince came to Blackheath backwards and forwards; or something to that
effect: for the Princess was with child; or looked as if she was with child. This must have been three or four years ago. She thought it must be some time before the child (W. Austin) was brought to the Princess. To this fact she positively swears, and in this she is as positively contradicted by Mr. Mills; for he swears, in his deposition before the Commissioners, that he never did say to her, or any one, that the Princess was with child, or looked as if she was with child;--that he never thought so, nor surmised any thing of the kind. Mr. Mills has a partner, Mr. Edmeades. The Commissioners therefore, conceiving that Fanny Lloyd might have mistaken one of the partners for the other, examine Mr. Edmeades also. Mr. Edmeades, in his deposition, is equally positive that he never said any such thing-so the matter rests upon these depositions; and upon that state of it, what pretence is there for saying, that a witness who swears to a conversation with a medical person, who attended me, of so extremely im portant a nature, and is so expressly and decidedly contradicted in the important faet which she speaks to, is a witness whose credit there appears no reason to question? This important circumstance must surely have been overlooked when that statement was made. But this fact of Mr. Mills and Mr. Edmeades's contradiction of Fanny Lloyd, appears to your Ma jesty, for the first time, from the examination before the Commissioners.-But this is the fact which I charge as having been known to those who are concerned in bringing forward this information, and which, nevertheless, was not communicated to your Majesty.-The fact that Fanny Lloyd declared, that Mr. Mills told her the Princess was with child, is stated in the declarations which were delivered to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and by him forwarded to your Majesty. The fact that Mr. Mills denied ever having so said, though known at the same time, is not stated.- That I may not appear to have represented so strange a fact, without sufficient authority, I subjoin the declaration of Mr. Mills, and the deposition of Mr. Edmeades, which prove it. Fanny Lloyd's original declaration which was deli vered to His Royal Highness, is dated on the 12th of February. It appears to have been taken at the Temple; I conclude therefore at the chambers of Mr. Lowten, Sir John Douglas's
tified in saying, that neither His Royal High ness, nor your Majesty, any more than myself, had been fairly dealt with, in not being fully informed upon this important fact; and your Majesty will forgive a weak, unprotected woman, like myself, who, under such circumstances, should apprehend that, however Sir John and Lady Douglas may appear my ostensible accusers, I have otker enemies, whose ill-will I may have occasion to feur, without feeling myself assured, that it will be strictly regulated, in its proceeding against me, by the principles of fairness and of justice.I have now, Sire, gone through all the evidence which respects Captain Manby; whether at Montague House, Southend, or East Cliff, and I do trust, that your Majesty will see, upon the whole of it, how mistaken a view the Commissioners have taken of it. The pressure of other duties en
solicitor, who, according to Mr. Cole, accom. panied him to Cheltenham to procure some of these declarations. On the 13th of February, the next day after Fanny Lloyd's declaration, the Earl of Moira sends for Mr. Mills, upon pressing business. Mr. Mills attends him on the 14th; he is asked by his Lordship upon the subject of this conversation; he is told he may rely upon his Lordship's honour, that what passed should be in perfect confidence; (a confidence which Mr. Mills, feeling it to be on a subject too important to his character, at the moment disclaims;)—that it was his (the Earl of Moira's) duty to his Prince, as his counsellor, to inquire into the subject, which he had known for some time.-Fanny Lloyd's statement being then related to Mr. Mills, Mr. Mills, with great warmth, declared that it was an infamous falsehood.-Mr. Lowten, who appears also to have been there by ap-grossing their time and their attention, has pointment, was called into the room, and he made them leave the important duties of this furnished Mr. Mills with the date to which Fan-investigation, in many particulars, imperfectly ny Lloyd's declaration applied. The meeting discharged a more thorough attention to it ends in Lord Moira's desiring to see Mr. Mills's must have given them a better and truer insight partner, Mr. Edmeades, who, not being at into the characters of those witnesses, upon home cannot attend him for a few days. He whose credit, as I am convinced, your Majesty does, however, upon his return, attend him on will now see, they have without sufficient reason the 20th of May: on his attendance, instead relied. There remains nothing for me, on this of Mr. Lowten, he finds Mr. Conant, the ma- part of the charge to perform; but, adverting gistrate, with Lord Moira. He denies the con- to the circumstance which is falsely sworn versation with Fanny Lloyd, as positively and against me by Mr. Bidgood, of the salute, and peremptorily as Mr. Mills. Notwithstanding the false inference and insinuation, from other however all this, the Declaration of Fanny facts, that Captain Manby slept in my house, Lloyd is delivered to His Royal Highness, un- either at Southend, or East Cliff, on my accompanied by these contradictions, and for-own part most solemnly to declare, that they warded to your Majesty on the 29th. That Mr. are both utterly false; that Bidgood's asser. Lowten was the Solicitor of Sir John Douglas tion as to the salute, is a malicious slanin this business, cannot be doubted, that he derous invention, without the slightest shadow took some of those declarations, which were of truth to support it; that his suspicions laid before your Majesty, is clear; and that he and insinuations, as to Captain Manby's having took this declaration of Fanny Lloyd's, seems slept in my house, are also the false suggestions of not to be questionable. That the inquiry by his own malicious mind; and that Captain Manby Earl Moira, two days after her declaration was never did, to my knowledge or belief, sleep in taken, must have been in consequence of an my House at Southend, East Cliff, or any other early communication of it to him, seems ne- house of mine whatever; and, however often he cessarily to follow from what is above stated; may have been in my company, I solemnly prothat it was known, on the 14th of May, that test to your Majesty, as I have done in the Mr. Mills contradicted this assertion; and, on former cases, that nothing ever passed between the 20th, that Mr. Edmeades did, is perfectly him and me, that I should be ashamed, or unclear, and yet, notwithstanding all this, the willing that all the world should have seen. And fact, that Mr. Edmeades and Mr. Mills con- I have also, with great pain, and with a deep tradicted it, seems to have been not commu- sense of wounded delicacy, applied to Captain nicated to His Royal Highness the Prince of Manby to attest to the same truths, and I subWales, for he, as it appears from the Report, join to this letter his deposition to that effect. forwarded the declarations which had been de- I stated to your Majesty, that I should be obliglivered to His Royal Highness, through the ed to return to other parts of Fanny Lloyd's Chancellor, to your Majesty: and the declara- testimony;-At the end of it she says, "I never tion of Fanny Lloyd, which had been so falsi- told Cole that M. Wilson, when she supposed fied, to the knowledge of the Earl Moira and the Princess to be in the library, had gone into of Mr. Lowten, the Solicitor for Sir John the Princess's bed-room, and had found a man Douglas, is sent into your Majesty as one of there at breakfast with the Princess; or that the documents, on which you were to ground there was a great to do about it, and that M. your inquiry, unaccompanied by its falsification Wilson was sworn to secrecy, and threatened to by Mills and Edmeades; at least, no declara- be turned away, if she divulged what she had tions by them are amongst those, which are seen." This part of her examination, your Matransmitted to me, as copies of the original jesty will perceive, must have been called from declarations which were laid before your Ma-her, by some precise question, addressed to her, jesty. I know not whether it was Lord Moira, with respect to a supposed communication from or Mr. Lowten, who should have communicated her to Mr. Cole. In Mr. Cole's examination, this circumstance to His Royal Highness, but there is not one word upon the subject of it. In that, in al fairness, it ought unquestionably to his original declaration, however, there is; and have been communicated by some one. there your Majesty will perceive, that he affirms the fact of her having reported to him Mary Wilson's declaration in the very same words in which Fanny Lloyd denies it, and it is therefore evi
- dare not trest myself with any inferences from this proceeding; I content myself with remarking, that it must now be felt, that I was jus
dent that the Commissioners, in putting this had seen and related to Fanny Lloyd, they could question to Fanny Lloyd, must have put it to not have been at a loss to have discovered which her from Cole's declaration. She positively de- of these witnesses told the truth. They would nies the fact; there is then a flat and precise have found, I am perfectly confident, that all contradiction, between the examination of Fanny that Mary Wilson ever could have told Fanny Lloyd and the original statement of Mr. Cole. Lloyd, was that she had seen Sir Sidney and myIt is therefore impossible that they both can have self in the blue room, and they would then have spoken true. The Commissioners, for some rea- had to refer to the malicious, and confederated son, don't examine Cole to this point at all; don't inventions of the Bidgoods and Mr. Cole, for the endeavour to trace out this story; if they had, conversion of the blue-room into the bed-room; they must have discovered which of these wit- for the vile slander of what M. Wilson was supnesses spoke the truth, but they leave this contra- posed to have seen, and for the violent effect diction not only unexplained, but uninquired after which this scene had upon her. I say their conand in that state, report both these witnesses, federated inventions, as it is impossible to suppose Cole and Fanny Lloyd, who thus speak to the that they could have been concerned in inventtwo sides of a contradiction, and who therefore ing the same additions to Fanny Lloyd's story, cannot by possibility both speak truth, as wit-unless they had communicated together upon it. nesses who cannot be suspected of partiality, And when they had once found Mrs. Bidgood and whose credit they see no reason to question, and Mr. Cole, thus conspiring together, they would whose story must be believed till contradicted. have had no difficulty in connecting them both -But what is, if possible, still more extra- in the same conspiracy with Sir John Donglas, ordinary, this supposed communication from F. by shewing how connected Cole was with Sir Lloyd to Cole, as your Majesty observes, relates John Douglas, and how acquainted with his proto something which M. Wilson is supposed to have ceedings, in collecting the evidence which was seen and to have said; yet though M. Wilson to support Lady Donglas's declaration. appears herself to have been examined by the Commissioners ou the same day with Fanny Lloyd, in the copy of her examination, as delivered to me, there is no trace of any question relating to this declaration having been put to
For, by referring to Mr. Cole's declaration, made on the 23d of February, they would have seen that Mr. Cole, in explaining some observation about Sir Sidney's supposed possession of a key to the garden-door, says that it was what "Mr. Lampert, the servant of Sir John Douglas, " mentioned at Cheltenham to Sir John Douglas "and Mr. Lowten."-How should Mr. Cole know that Sir John Douglas and Mr. Lowten had been down to Cheltenham, to collect evidence from this old servant of Sir John Douglas? How should he have known what that evidence was? unless he had either accompanied them himself, or at least had had such a communication either with Sir John Douglas, or Mr. Lowten, as it never could have occurred to any of them to have made to Mr. Cole, unless, instead of being a mere witness, he were a party to this accusation? But whether they had convinced themselves, that Fanny Lloyd spoke true, and Cole and Mrs. Bidgood falsely; or whether they had convinced themselves of the reverse, it could not have been possible, that they both could have spoken the truth; and, consequently, the Commissioners could never have reported the veracity of both to be free from suspicion, and deserving of credit.--There only remains that I should make a few observa tious on what appears in the examinations rela tive to Mr. Hood (now Lord Hood), Mr. Chester, and Captain Moore: aud I really should not have thought a single observation necessary upon either of them, except that what refers to them is stated in the examinations of Mrs. Lisle.With respect to Lord Hood, it is as follows:I was at Catherington, with the Princess; re"member Mr. (now Lord Hood) there, and the Princess going out airing with him, alone in "Mr. Hood's little whiskey; and his servant was "with them; Mr. Hood drove, and staid out "two or three times; more than once; three or "four times. Mr. Hood dined with us several times; once or twice he slept in a house in the garden; she appeared to pay no attention to "him, but that of common civility to an inti "mate acquaintance." Now, Sire, it is undoubt edly true that I drove out several times with Lord Hood in his one-horse chaise, and some few times, twice, I believe, at most, without any of my servants attending us; and considering the
And I have not less reason to lament than to be surprised, that it did not occur to the Commissioners, to see the necessity of following this inquiry still further; for, if properly pursued, it would have demonstrated two things, both very important to be kept in mind in the whole of this consideration. First, how hearsay representations of this kind, arising out of little or nothing, become magnified and exaggerated by the circulation of prejudiced or malicious Reporters; and, secondly, it would have shewn the industry of Mr. and Mrs. Bidgood, as well as Mr. Cole, in collecting information in support of Lady Douglas's statement, and in improving what they collected by their false colourings and malicious additions to it. They would have found a story in Mrs. Bidgood's declaration, as well as in her husband's (who relates it as having heard it from his wife), which is evidently the same as that which W. Cole's declaration contains; for the Bidgoods' declarations state, that Fanny Lloyd told Mrs. Bidgood, that Mary Wilson had gone into the Princess's bed-room, and Irad found Her Royal Highness and Sir Sydney in the most criminal situation; that she had left the room, and was so shocked, that she fainted away at the door. Here, then, are Mrs. Bidgood and Mr. Cole, both declaring what they had beard Fanny Lloyd say, and Fanny Lloyd denying it. How extraordinary is it that they were not all confronted! and your Majesty will see presently how much it is to be lamented that they" were not; for, from Fanny Lloyd's original declaration, it appears that the truth would have come out, as she there states, that, "to the best of her knowledge, Mary Wilson said, that she had seen the Princess and Sir Sydney in the Blue" Room, but never heard Mary Wilson say she was so alarmed as to be in a fit." If then, ou confronting Fanny Lloyd with Mrs. Bidgood and Mr. Cole, the Commissioners had found Fanny Lloyd's story to be what she related before, and had then put the question to Mary Wilson, and had heard from her what it really was which she
ing to examine Mrs. Lisle upon my attention to Mr. Chester, my walking out with him, and, above all, "as to his being a pretty young man,"
conceive it to be so intended), I am sure your Majesty will see, that it is the hardest thing ima ginable upon me, that, upon an which passed in Lady Sheffield's house, on a visit to her, Lady Sheffield herself was never exainined; for, if she had been, I am convinced that these noble Lords, the Commissioners,never could have put me to the painful degradation of stating any thing upon this subject.The statement begins by Mrs. Lisle's inquiring, what company was there? aud Lady Sheffield saying, "only Mr. John Chester, who was there by Her Royal Highness's orders; that she could get no other company, on account of the roads." Is not this, Sire, left open to the inference that Mr. John Chester was the only person who had been invited by my orders? If Lady Sheffield had been examined, she would have been able to have proinduced the very letter in which, in answer to her Ladyship's request, that I would let her know what company it would be agreeable for me to meet, I said, "every thing of the name of North, all the Legges, and Chesters, William and John, &c. &c. and Mr. Elliott." Instead of singling out, therefore, Mr. John Chester, I included him in the enumeration which I made of the near relations of Lady Sheffield; and your Majesty, from this alone, cannot fail to see how false a colour even a true fact can assume, if it be not sufficiently inquired into and explained.As to the circumstances of my having been taken ill in the night, being obliged to get up, and light my candle; why this fact should be recorded, I am wholly at a loss to conceive. All the circumstances, however, respecting it, connected very much as they are with the particular disposition of Lady Sheffield's house, would have been fully explained, if thought material to have been inquired after, by Lady Sheffield herself; and I should have been relieved from the painful degradation of alluding at all to a circumstance which I could not further detail, without a great degree of indelicacy; and as I cannot possibly suppose such a detail can be necessary for my defence, it would, especially in addressing your Majesty, be wholly inexcusable. With respect to the attention which I paid to Mr. Chester, and my walking out twice alone with him for a short time, I know not how to notice it. At this distance of time I am not certain that I cau, with perfect accuracy, account for the circumstance. It appears to have been a rainy morn ing; it was on the 27th or 28th of December; and whether, wishing to take a walk, I did not desire Lady Sheffield, or Mrs. Lisle, or any Lady to accompany me in doing what, in such a moraing, I might think might be disagreeable to them, I really cannot precisely state to your Majesty.
-But here, again, perhaps, in the judgment of some persons, may be an instance of familiarity, which was not consistent with the dignity of the Princess of Wales, but, surely, prejudice against me and my character must exceed all natural bounds in those minds in which any inference of crime or moral depravity can be drawn from such a fact. As to Captain Moore, it seems he was left alone with me, and twice in one afternoon, by Mrs. Lisle; he was alone with me half an hour. The first time Mrs. Lisle left us, her examination says, it was to look for a book which I wished to lend to Captain Moore. How long
At first, Sire, as to what relates to Mr. Chester. If there is any impatation to be cast upon my character by what passed at Sheffield-place with Mr. Chester (and by the Commissioners return-she was absent on that occasion she is not asked,
time of life, and the respectable character of my Lord Hood, I never should have conceived that *I incurred the least danger to my reputation in so doing. If, indeed, it was the duty of the Commissioners to inquire into instances of my condact, in which they may conceive it to have been less reserved and dignified than what would properly become the exalted station which I hold in your Majesty's Royal Family, it is possible that, in the opinions of some, these drives with my Lord Hood were not consistent with that station, and that they were particularly improper in those instances in which we were not attended by more servants, or any servants of my own. Upon this I have only to observe, that these instances occurred after I had received the news of the la ́mented death of your Majesty's brother, the Duke of Gloucester, I was at that time down by the sea-side for my health. I did not like to forego the advantage of air and exercise for the short remainder of the time which I had to stay there; and I purposely chose to go out, not my own carriage, and unattended, that I might not be seen, and known to be driving about (myself and my attendants out of mourning) while His Royal Highness was known to have been so recently dead. This statement, however, is all that I have to make upon my part of the case; and whatever indecorum or impropriety of behaviour the Commissioners have fixed upon me by this circumstance, it must remain; for I cannot deny the truth of the fact, and have only the above explanation to offer of it. As to what Mrs. Lisle's examination contains with respect to Mr. Chester and Captain Moore, it is so conpected, that I must trouble your Majesty with the statement of it altogether.
"I was with Her Royal Highness at Lady Sheffield's, at Christmas, in Sussex. I inquired what company was there when I came; she said, only Mr. John Chester, who was there by Her Royal Highness's orders; that she could get no "other company to meet her, on account of the roads and the season of the year. He dined and slept there that night. The next day other company came; Mr. Chester remained. I heard her Royal Highness say she had been ill in the night, and came out for a light, and lighted her candle in her servant's room. I returned from Sheffieldplace to Blackheath with the Princess; Captain Moore dined there; I left Lim and the Princess twice alone, for a short time; he might be alone half an hour with her in the room below, in which we had been sitting. I went to look for a book to complete a set Her Royal Highness was lending Captain Moore. She made him a present of an inkstand, to the best of my recollection. He was there one morning in January last, on the Princess Charlotte's birth-day; he went away before the rest of the company. I might be about twenty minutes the second time I was away, the night Captain Moore was there. At Lady Sheffield's Her Royal Highness paid more attention to Mr. Chester than to the rest of the Company. I know of Her Royal Highness walking out alone; twice, with Mr. Chester, in the morning alone; once, a short time, it rained; the other not an hour, not long. Mr. Chester is a pretty young man; her attentions to him were not uncommon; not the same as to Captain Manby."