§ The order of the day being read, for resuming the adjourned debate on the Evidence taken before the Committee, respecting the Conduct of h. r. h. the Duke of York,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
resumed his speech. After thanking the house for the indulgence which had been afforded to him by the adjournment, and after shortly recapitulating the points of the Case which he had observed upon the day before, and making some additional observations on, col. French's Levy, he proceeded as follows:
The Case, sir, of col. Shaw, which I am now proceeding to examine, will be found extremely to deserve the attention of the 115 house; and I wish particularly to direct that attention to the evidence of Mrs. C, upon this charge; because it will appear that it is most completely falsified. It is not merely that there is reason to doubt of her truth, but there is distinct and full evidence of her falsehood. She states, that col. Shaw promised her a remuneration of 1,000l. in the event of his obtaining a situation upon the staff; that he wished to be colonel of the Manx Corps in the Isle of Man, where his father had been deputy governor. She is then asked, "Do you mean to say that you applied for this situation for him?" She says, "Yes, I did; but there were stronger claims in another quarter." Her examination thus continues: "Did you then apply for any other situation for him?" "Yes, I did." "What was that?" "That which he now holds." "Do you know what that is?" "Barrack-Master at the Cape of Good Hope; Barrack-Master-General, I believe." "Did you receive any pecuniary consideration in consequence of this appointment?" "Yes, I did." "What did you receive?" "500l." "Do you recollect how you received that money?" "I had 300l. from col. Shaw, and 200l. brought by some man, I understood it was a clerk of Coutts's, but I am not positive, and on that account had a great mind to send it back again, thinking it would be made public?" "Were you satisfied with this 500l.?" "No, I was not." "In consequence of your not being satisfied with the 500l. did you make any complaint through the Commander iii Chief?" "Yes, I did." "What was the consequence of such complaint?" "H. r. h. said, he had told me all along, that I had a very bad sort of a man to deal with, and that I ought to have been more careful, and that he would immediately put him upon half-pay." "Do you know whether major Shaw was put upon half-pay, in consequence of that?" "He sent me several letters, complaining, but I did not trouble myself much with reading them: one of the letters I gave in to-night, I believe. I thought him already too well off, for his conduct to me."—This is her evidence with respect to col. Shaw: so that the house may observe, that she confirms the statement of the hon. gent., in his opening, namely, that in consequence of her having been disappointed in receiving the money she expected from col. Shaw, and which he had promised her, she complained to the Commander in Chief, who thereupon reduced him to half-pay. As 116 to the further application of col. Shaw, she says, she paid no attention to it, because she considered that person to have been already too well used.
Now, sir, if the house will indulge me with their attention, I will undertake to prove that this letter of col. Shaw, the very document which she brings forward, and refers to as part of her story, is utterly inconsistent with the story she relates. Her story is, that in consequence of col. Shaw's-failure to perform his promise, she had got him put upon half-pay: Is it possible that this letter, if it was written to appease her resentment, to implore her forgiveness, and a renewal of her kindness, would take no notice of his offence? would he take no notice of his obligation, under his former promise, when he is offering fresh terms? would he not have said, I have broken my faith; you have done me no more than justice; but forgive me, I will pay you the 500l. Perhaps it will be said, he could not afford it: but that is not so. He offered her more than what he owed her. Under the former promise he owed her, according to her story, 500l. His present letter offers her 300l. per annum. Would he not have pointed out the superior value of the new offer? nay, would he not, instead of a new offer, have begun at least by undertaking to pay what was due under the former? But the letter contains no offer of the kind; it promises her 300l. a year, while he continues at the Cape of Good Hope. It does not advert to any one thing that is consistent with the story of Mrs. C. He complains of the circumstance of his having been put upon half-pay; he excepts against it, not as an act of her's, but upon the ground, that the practice and custom of the army did not warrant his being put upon half-pay. He says, "Put me in the situation I have been deprived of, do away the present evil, and unite the appointments I have mentioned, and I will annually remit 300l. whilst I remain; remember, do me justice: Let not any thing prevent this; allow not self or family, ever to have to say that we owed misfortunes to such a hand."—Mrs. C. says, "He sent me several letters, but I did not trouble myself much with reading them: one of the letters I gave in to night." Will any body believe, sir, that this letter, offering 3O0l. a year to Mrs. C, was not worth her reading? Are we to be So imposed upon, so duped by Mrs. C, as to believe her when she asserts so improbable a falsehood?
117 Having now shewn, sir, how this document disproves the evidence of Mrs. C., the house will be prepared the better to follow the evidence, by which the true history of col. Shaw's appointment is detailed. It appears distinctly, that the promotion of col. Shaw was recommended, and pressed with great earnestness, by sir H. Burrard, and that the terms upon which he was to receive it, were explained to him in the first letter, which gen. Burrard wrote to him upon the subject.—Sir H. Burrard appears to have been impressed with sentiments of gratitude and friendship towards the father of this gentleman, and to have wished to do all in his power for his advancement. He had made repeated applications to the Commander in Chief, which were not attended with success; and he renewed them again and again. But all this is turned to the account of the accusation: "Sir H. Burrard could not succeed, but" Mrs. C. interferes, and success follows of course." Unfortunately however, for that observation, it is not true; Mrs. C.'s application, according to her evidence, had failed as well as sir H. Burrard's: but sir H. Burrard's letter to col. Gordon, explains the case. He says, "To shorten the business, I send you Shaw's letter, which is nothing more than to say, that he will gratefully accept, if the Deputy Barrack-Mastery can be obtained with the rank of lieut.-col., and go there in three weeks. I explained that, and also, that if it could be obtained, he would be put on half-pay, as soon as it could be done. His request is to come to London immediately, if he can succeed." —He does succeed, and then there is a letter from col. Shaw to general Burrard, in which he expresses himself in these terms. "I am just honoured with your letter, and I trust you will believe, that I feel, though I shall not attempt to express, my gratitude for your present and many kindnesses towards me, and I can only add, that my sense of obligation can alone cease with my existence. I have, as far as the present time allowed, given every consideration to the proposal you have made me, and should conceive myself most fortunate in succeeding to it, and should be ready to proceed in the time you mention. I have only to request, that should the decision prove favourable, that I might be permitted an immediate leave of absence, as I should have a great deal to arrange in regard to my family." This is the answer of col. Shaw to sir H. Bur- 118 rard, who had been soliciting and recommending his appointment with so much zeal and perseverance. Sir H. Burrard states the fact, that his being put on half-pay, would be one of the conditions of his acceptance of the appointment; and col. Shaw expresses, in terms of gratitude, as strong as possible, his obligation, and his anxious desire to accept the situation, although that condition was explained to be annexed to it. Now, sir, if all this be so, and no rational man can doubt it, what pretence is there upon this evidence, for believing Mrs. C, when she says, that col. Shaw was reduced to half-pay on her special application? But then, it may be asked, how are we to account for col. Shaw's letter?—How are we to account for his applying to Mrs. C. at all? or for his applying to get rid of the condition, under which he had consented to accept his office?—There is no difficulty in accounting for this at all. Col. Shaw, no doubt, was imposed upon by Mrs. C, to believe that she had interested herself for him, and that she had influence with the Duke — as she had imposed upon Mr. Knight, as she had imposed upon major Tonyn, and many others; and the application to get rid of the condition under which he had consented to accept his office, proceeded from a principle which frequently actuates mankind: col. Shaw had been very desirous of the appointment, and was glad to receive it, upon the terms of being put upon half-pay; but having gained the object he was anxious to obtain, he felt as impatient as ever for fresh advantages. Having accepted the office with that condition, secure of the office, he wished to be released from the condition. This, sir, is the plain and obvious meaning of col. Shaw's letter. And I do protest, that I leave this case with a perfect confidence, that no man who understands it, will ever refer to it again, except for the purpose of disproving the evidence of Mrs. Clarke.
The next Case, which it will be necessary to advert to, is that of Mr. Dowler, I incidentally mentioned this case yesterday. It is not one in which h. r. h. is charged with having done any thing improper as Commander in Chief; but as it is one in which money is said to have been paid for an appointment, and as Mrs. C. says, with h. r. h.'s knowledge; though it be not in the Duke's own department, it equally reflects upon the honour of h. r. h.—The case however rests wholly on the 119 evidence of Mr. Dowler and Mrs. C. I did submit to the house, yesterday, my impression respecting Mr. Bowler's and Mrs. C.'s testimony in this case, and I think if I was disposed to go at any length-into their evidence, I should be told it was unnecessary; and that it did not appear to be of a nature, which entitled either that gent., or Mrs. C, to the least degree of credit. He says, that he gave Mrs. C. 1,000l. for a situation in the Commissariat Department: whether he did actually give her 1,000l. is one question, and if lie did, on what account he give it, is another. What renders it very improbable, that he should have given so large a sum at all, is, that at this very time you will find Mrs. C. and Mr. Dowler, raising money upon their bills. Nothing can be looser, or more unsatisfactory than his evidence. He asserts, that he assisted her with many large sums to a considerable amount: yet, except in one instance, in which he paid for a carriage, he cannot recollect any one of them: they were not intended as presents, but as loans; yet he has no memorandum, no. trace of any item by which he could ascertain the amount of them. Besides this, it certainly appears, he was her most favoured paramour, and that they had a variety of transactions together. If he paid her any money, therefore, the probability is, that it would not have been on account of any exertions of hers, to obtain for him a situation in the commissariat; but that it should be referred to some other account arising out of the intimacy which subsisted between them, and the disposition which he consequently must have had to assist her. The house will not fail to recollect, that he gave a very different account to an hon. member of this house, a friend of his, of the source from which he derived this appointment, at the time it took place; and surely his contemporaneous account to his friend is more entitled to credit, than that by which, after having been closetted and bedded with Mrs. C., he comes to fix guilt and conviction on h. r. h. These are the impressions on my mind: I cannot flatter myself, that either with respect to this, or other cases, I shall be uniformly successful in carrying that conviction to the minds of all those who hear me, which I certainly feel upon them myself; but I do trust that this fair and candid examination of these charges, will make a due impression on this house, and upon the country; and will bare the effect of correcting the 120 erroneous impressions which have been made out of it, by those imperfect and garbled publications of the evidence, by which the public mind has been unjustly prejudiced and poisoned against the D. of Y. We all know, sir,(and I wish we may not, some of us, be influenced by them); but we all know, that partial accounts of the evidence have gone forth in the public prints, in weekly and diurnal papers, accompanied, in many instances, by comments and observations, most industriously and wickedly calculated to prejudice a case under trial, in a manner which, if they had been circulated in allusion to any other prosecution, any ordinary court of justice in the country engaged in the trial of it, would have thought a sufficient ground for suspending the trial, and for not permitting the minds of those who were to decide upon it, to be brought warm to the decision, under such injurious impressions. These impressions, however, I trust will now be done away, by the candid and judicial manner in which the evidence will be examined in this house, and the decisive judgment which I trust will be pronounced upon it. The next Case is that of Kennett; upon which I shall not trouble the house at much length. The hon. gent, has passed it by altogether, referring the house to some friend of his, who, he tells us, is to go at large into it. It is in vain for me, therefore, to attempt by anticipation to answer the observations which I have not yet heard; but if gentlemen will look into this case, they will find from col. Taylor's evidence, that Kennett introduced himself to the D. of Y., as a person who could procure him a large sum of money upon certain securities on Oatlands, and other property belonging to h. r. h. That Kennett was an arrant swindler, I have no doubt: he has been convicted of a most fraudulent transaction, and has stood in the pillory: but that occurred long after this transaction for the loan, and consequently afforded no means to h. r. h., or anyone else at that time, to know any thing of his character. Col. Taylor's memory of the transaction seems to be very imperfect. He states, that Kennett volunteered his services to procure this loan; that he told him he was very much supported by sir H. Mann, with whom he had been very long acquainted; "And he told me that sir H. Mann had desired him to say, he should feel very much obliged to me, if I could use my influence with the D. 121 of Y, to assist him in obtaining a situation." Col. Taylor says, this reference to sir H. Mann, was subsequent to the offer of the loan, at the next or some subsequent meeting. There is a letter from sir H Mann, in which it appears, sir Horace had made an application for him, and was interested in his success. It is in these words, "I shall rejoice exceedingly at your success, if it can be an object with you to obtain a situation in such a climate. The channel you mention, may be more efficacious than the exertion of my interest, which I will strenuously renew, if it is necessary, &c." Under these circumstances, col. Taylor makes the application to the D. of Y., who does in consequence recommend him to Mr. Pitt, through Mr. Long, for the place in question. He is disappointed in his object: the office is refused to the Duke's request. Mr. Kennett renews his application to the Duke; and there are two drafts of a letter or letters produced; both written on the same sheet of paper. And though col. Taylor (expressing at the same time, the imperfection of his recollection) thinks two letters were received by him to the effect of these drafts, yet there is upon the face of them, evident marks, that they were only two drafts of the same letter. They are both interlined, but the first much the most so. It is very inaccurately worded; it is first drawn up as if he was soliciting the place for a gentleman in the city, and then altered as if it was for himself; in which sense the latter draft stands; and this latter does seem in all probability the one which was sent. I make these observations, because it is only in the first draft, that there is any reference to a place, as in connexion with the loan. Besides this, col. Taylor says, he believes the letters were not shewn to the D. of Y., though he dares say, that he acquainted him with their substance; and if the letter copied from the first draft was not sent at all, or was not distinctly explained to the Duke, there is nothing whatever in this, but that the man who had offered to provide a loan for the Duke, did, in communication with col. Taylor by using sir H. Mann's name, procure col. Taylor to influence the D. of Y. to second sir H. Mann's application for a place for him; that he did so apply; that that application failed; that he renewed it for another with equal bad success; and at last, that col. Taylor having learnt that he was a man of bad character, communicated that information to the 122 Duke, and that h. r. h. as soon as he had heard it told col. Taylor to have nothing more to do with him.—Now, sir, not knowing what is to be said upon this case, I must leave it here, and I trust the hon. gent, who is to take it up, will deal fairly and candidly by it. Till those observation* are made, of course they cannot be replied to, and I must therefore leave them to be observed upon, by those who are to follow him.
With respect to the Case of Elderton, the hon. gent, was equally short in his observations; and, perhaps, it might be sufficient for me merely to observe that this case not only does not concern any appointment in the gift of h. r. h., (being for a Paymastership,) but also that there is not the slightest trace of any money having been received by Mrs. C. or any one else, as connected with the appointment. But amongst Mrs. Clarke's letters which were brought from Hampstead, there is one connected with this case, which it is extremely important to observe upon. It is a letter from Elderton, thanking the D. of Y. for having confirmed the leave of absence from his regiment granted him by gen. Abercrombie. I conceive this, sir, to exhibit another and a striking instance of Mrs. C.'s mode of imposing on persons, and making them believe she had those means of influence which she certainly did not possess. The D. of Y. had nothing to do with granting or confirming this leave of absence: It rested with the commander of the regiment. Yet Elderton writes to the D. of Y., that it is impossible for him to express his obligations to the Duke upon this subject. Where is this letter found? It was not in its proper custody (as lawyers express it); it was not found where it might have been expected, and where it would have been, if it had ever been delivered to the D. of Y. It is a letter without a cover, the direction is on the same sheet, and there is not, nor ever was, a seal on it. What then is the inference which is to be drawn from these circumstances? The obvious inference is, that Mr. Elderton intended to forward this letter to the D. of Y., through Mrs. C.; that he sent it therefore under cover of a letter to her, and left it unsealed, desirous that she should see the manner in which he expressed himself. How happens it to be still with Mrs. C, found among her letters, and unsealed? Obviously for this reason: she never delivered it to the D. of Y. She had, no doubt, represented to 123 Elderton, that she would procure from h. r. h. this favour; magnified the difficulty of procuring it; and when it was obtained from the commander of the regiment, by his own application alone, assumed the merit of the success, ascribing it to her interference with the Duke; and Elderton, impressed with this opinion, writes this letter of thanks, which of course she could not deliver, but, suppressing it, left it among her own papers.
The next Case which seems to have made some impression upon the house, is the case of maj. Turner. The documents respecting it will be found in the Evidence of the 14th of February. This is the case of a gentleman who is desirous that he may be permitted to resign. His letter, requesting the acceptance of his resignation, arrives at the same time with a letter from a Mrs. Sinclair Sutherland, which desires that h. r. h. will not give him the opportunity of resigning, as "he has behaved with unkindness towards a lady, who merited different treatment, and it is of importance to her to know where to find him for these six months; and if he quits the regiment, he means to secrete himself from her." She adds; "The general knows all about it, and can corroborate what I say, if necessary." The Duke, upon the receipt of this letter, suspends the acceptance of the resignation, till he receives the result of the enquiry which he ordered to be made of gen. Cartwright, the colonel of the regiment, to whom he supposed Mrs. Sinclair to refer him for the particulars and the confirmation of her complaint.
Upon this the hon. gent, says that the Duke is highly to blame; and he asserts with great indignation, that h. r. h. must have known who this Airs. Sutherland was: that she was a woman of bad reputation, a prostitute, and consequently a person on whose statement no reliance could be placed, and no step ought to have been taken or suspended, to the prejudice of the character or interests of an officer in the army.
Sir, I hardly knew how to trust my tense of hearing, when I heard the hon. gent, make this observation. Does the hon. gent, really think that no attention ought to have been paid to such information? Does he really mean, that because a charge or a statement is made against any man by a prostitute, that it ought to be wholly disregarded and disbelieved an account of the character of the person 124 who makes it? Does the hon. gent., who has not hesitated to prefer such serious charges against the son of his sovereign, on the statement and information of Mrs. C.—does he, who has thought the assertion of such a woman a sufficient ground for him to rise in his place, and undertake to prove h. r. h. to be guilty of corruption—does he, who has thought himself justified to pledge himself and his character, in moving for an enquiry into the conduct of the Commander in Chief upon such a foundation—does he say that the communication of Mrs. Sutherland ought not to have been acted upon because she was a prostitute? Is it for him to say that the D. of Y. was inexcusable in paying attention to a suggestion, coming from so corrupt a source? Is this candid dealing towards the D. of Y., on the part of the hon. gent, at a time when the hon. gent. is a candidate for public favour, and is exalting himself in the public opinion, by having done the same thing as that which he thus censures in h. r. h.? But what does the D. of Y. do upon the information in question? Nothing that he would not have done upon the receipt of an anonymous letter, containing the same matter— He directs enquiries into the truth of it. It may indeed be said, that an anonymous letter may be a better thing to be relied and acted upon, than a letter signed by a person who is known, and known to be of bad character. But what, in this case, is the conduct of h. r. h.? He makes an enquiry of the general, to whom he is referred by Mrs. Sutherland. It is not on Mrs. S.'s authority that he is disposed to act, but he applies for information to the colonel of the regiment.
The hon. gent, says, the resignation of major Turner was still delayed!—no such thing, sir! the hon. gent, could not have read the letter of gen. Cartwright to the end—what does the general say in that letter, addressed to col. Gordon? He says, "In reply to your enquiries respecting the scrape in which it appears that capt. Turner has got with some woman of moderate repute, I have to say that I am entirely ignorant of every thing which relates to this matter; but for your satisfaction will endeavour to inform myself of particulars, which when obtained, shall be transmitted to you." I am afraid of trusting to my own memory, as the hon. gent, has already thought proper to doubt the accuracy of it? but as far as I can recollect, he did not read this concluding passage of gen. Cart- 125 Wright's letter: but reading only that part of it which contains the statement of his ignorance of the whole matter, the hon. gent, built his charge against the D. of Y. that he did still delay to accept the resignation of major Turner. If he had read the next sentence, he would have found there was no room for this observation. It was delayed, indeed, till gen. Cartwright procured the further information which he promised; the result of the enquiry was satisfactory; and immediately on the receipt of the answer of gen. Cartwright, enclosing the extract of col. Mundy's letter, the Duke submitted major Turner's resignation to his majesty, which was accepted; and we find major Turner writing a letter to col. Gordon, bearing date the next day to that on which gen. Cartwright's letter, containing that extract, is dated, in which he states, that he has just received information that his resignation is accepted. It was not, therefore, delayed an hour after the enquiry had been made.
Here is, therefore, a charge brought against an officer, with respect to which it might have been proper to have retained him in the service, (because such a complaint against an officer, might amount to a military offence of ungentleman-like conduct.) It was proper, therefore, not to let him leave the service, till it was enquired into—it is enquired into without delay—and as soon as a satisfactory account of the fact is received, his resignation is admitted. The hon. gent, opposite to me, seems to doubt the accuracy of what I am stating: let him refer to the minutes, and he will find that on the 5th of September, the letter, containing the proposal to resign, is transmitted to col. Gordon; on the 14th is the answer of gen. Cartwright to the enquiries made by col. Gordon, stating that he should endeavour to inform himself of particulars; on the 22d is the letter of gen. Cartwright, containing the result of his enquiries; and on the 23d is the letter of gen. Turner, stating that he has received the information that his resignation is accepted;—so that it appears that the business of major Turner's resignation was carried into effect within three weeks after he made his first application! but here again I must observe, that upon a question, which is a question of corruption, we are endeavouring to enquire into facts, which can in no degree apply to that charge.
The next case to which the hon. gent, deferred, in one which was so ably handled 126 by my hon. and learned friend (Mr. Burton) behind me, and explained in a manner so congenial to my own feelings, that I shall not think it necessary to occupy much of the attention of the house in adverting to it. I mean the case of Samuel Carter: with respect to that case, I am sure it is impossible for the house to have any other feeling, than that it affords an instance of humane consideration of those who contributed to the advancement of that unfortunate young man. What is the case of Carter? There is no part of the conduct of Mrs. C, by which, in my opinion at least, she so much redeems herself from the infamy, which otherwise attaches upon her, as by her conduct with respect to Samuel Carter. The house may recollect when the case of Carter was introduced, and she was asked whether she had a foot-boy of that name, she replied, apparently hurt by the question, "Yes, I had; but col. Wardle told me he would not mention that." It is the case of a poor boy recommended in the year 1801 to h. r. h. by an officer, capt. Sutton, who represented that he was the orphan of a wounded officer, who had lost his life in the service of his country. There seems to be a doubt. whether there might not have been some disguise in this representation, and whether he was capt. Sutton's own son, or the son of a brother-officer. But, at all events, this was the representation made of his case to h. r. h. It appears the lad was well brought up; that capt. Sutton took a personal care of his education; that he treated him in the way, which has been stated by a most respectable witness, gen. Rochfort; and that he gave him an education which perfectly qualified him for the situation, to which he was afterwards advanced by the kind interposition of the D. of Y. It seems that the first application in his favour was made in 1801, just at the time, when the house will recollect, there was a considerable reduction in the army, and consequently, when a commission could not easily be obtained. His distressed circumstances led to his living under the protection of Mrs. C., and he was in this situation of dependence in Mrs. Cs family, when h. r. h. gave him the commission. He is described, indeed, as a footboy, a description, no doubt, below his station, and given to degrade and disgrace him: he no doubt was living with Mrs. C. in a state of dependence, he is proved to have waited behind the chair of the D. of Y., at her table and once (or 127 twice at most,) to have gone out behind her carriage. But it is likewise proved by Mrs. Favery, that he wore no livery, and received no wages. The hon. gent, indeed has described him not only as a foot-boy, but that he had lived in that capacity with Mrs. C. for twelve months. This is, evidently, a mistake; it was in May, 1804, that the commission was given him. Mrs. C.'s establishment in Gloucester-Place did not begin till some time at the commencement of the year 1804; so that instead of his having been there twelve months, he could not have lived with her there above four months. Under these circumstances then, what is it that h. r. h. has done by the grant of this commission to an unfortunate lad, which is hostile and injurious to the honour, and character, or feelings of the army? Application had been made in his favour at a period considerably prior to h. r. h.'s connexion with Mrs. C; the D. of Y. had probably forgot the recommendation altogether, but having engaged in this most unfortunate connexion with Mrs. C, he meets with this young lad, and he is reminded of the Former application, and of his own promise: and he does that, which instead of offending the army, reflects a lustre, as it appears to me, on the character of h. r. h. and exhibits his humanity and generosity in a light which the army must be differently constituted from what it is, if they do not approve and applaud rather than condemn. He rescues this unhappy, unfriended youth, from the humble and degraded station in which his poverty had un him; he revives those hopes which his birth and education might justly have led him to cherish, and which his own promise to capt. Sutton had encouraged; and he removes him to a situation for which he had been long before recommenced, and recommended as the son of a brave and meritorious officer, who had bled and died in the cause of his country. Now, sir, I would appeal confidently to the feelings and justice of that very army, whose feelings are supposed to be offended by this appointment; I would appeal to the feelings of the house and of the country, whether an act like this is to be imputed to the D. of Y. as a crime! If a man is to be punished for his vices, it may be well! but let him not be punished for his virtues!—and this act, I feel confident, that every humane feeling that can or ought to influence the mind of an honour-able and good man, will dispose us unani- 128 mously to approve and applaud as a virtue.
I do not wonder indeed, that when this case was first mentioned to the house, it should have excited a considerable sensation, and that there should have been a disposition to attach blame to h. r. h., for raising unto the honourable rank of an officer, in the British army, a lad of obscure birth and immoral connexions, with no other pretensions than the recommendation of such a woman as Mrs. C.: I do not wonder that it should have given rise to sentiments of indignation; but satisfactorily explained as it has been, and when all the circumstances attending it (circumstances so honourable to the D. of Y.) have been examined, I should indeed be surprised if the house should view it in an unfavourable light, or should fail to set it down, not amongst the crimes, but high amongst the merits and virtues of h. r. h., as an act marked by nothing but the liberality and benevolence which prompted it. That the commission, which was given to this young man, was not disposed of to a person unworthy of his situation, is manifested by the letters, which, subsequent to his appointment, he wrote to Mrs. C. These letters are in evidence; the house is aware of them, they do him honour. There is a sentiment of liberal gratitude, breathing through the whole of them, which proves the qualities of his heart, as well as the progress of his education. The D. of Y. must at least have the satisfaction of believing now, and nothing but a total want of candour would presume, that he had not good reason to expect before, that the youth to whom he had extended his protection, instead of being a disgrace, would be an honour to the army. He is now, as we are given to understand, upon the staff, in the West-Indies, not promoted to that station by the recommendation of the D. of Y.; but recommended by his own good conduct, which the general whom he served, had the opportunity of observing, and the just discrimination to reward. I do sincerely hope, and trust, that wherever what has passed in this house may be heard or read, it may not make any impression on the minds of the brother-officers of this young man, injurious to him in his professional character, or ruinous to his future prospects: and I am confident the house would deeply lament; I am sure, that all those gentlemen, who in the first instance, before this case was fairly brought under their examination, considered it in the 129 Strongest and most prejudiced point of view, would extremely regret, that this case should ever have been introduced, if it should be attended with a result so cruel, so unjust, and so unmerited by the person whose appointment has been the object of our enquiry.
The case I am now coming to, is one, which unquestionably is of the greatest importance; for it is one, which gentlemen on t he other side of the house suppose to bear the hardest against the D. of Y. I allude to the letter from h. r. h. to Mrs. C, in which the name of gen. Clavering is introduced. Whether it is a case which merits the observations that have been made upon it, will be for the house to judge, after I have drawn their attention to the circumstances with which it is connected. To my mind, it certainly does not appear to possess the importance which others have bean disposed to attach to it. The letter of h. r. h., is in all our memories. I will state the exact terms of the passage which refers to gen. Clavering; they are these: "Clavering is mistaken in thinking that any new regiments are to be raised; it is not intended; only second battalions to the existing corps: you had better, therefore, tell him so, and that you were sure there would be no use in applying for him." The hon. gent, made an observation upon this letter, which indeed astonished me; he said, that this letter appeared to have been written with great caution by h. r. h.: If any gentleman will read this letter, without suffering his mind to be actuated by a most uncommon degree of prejudice, I am sure he will not think that caution is its true characteristic. There certainly is no appearance that it was ever intended for the public eye; it is little calculated to be dissected and commented upon in the manner it has been. Who, except the hon. gent, himself, is so biassed by ins views of this case, as to say, that this is a letter which has been written with premeditated caution and circumspection? that it has been written so guardedly, as to suggest to the hon. gent., that h. r. h. anticipated, while he was writing it, the possibility of its coming under the public eye, and that he guarded himself in his expressions accordingly? I am persuaded, sir, on the contrary, that every unprejudiced mind will see in the language of it the strongest marks of the most unreserved, and confidential communication. But, sir, it is necessary to refer to some refer letters, which we have in evidence, 130 and which have passed between gen. Clavering and Mrs. C. which will afford a useful comment upon the letter under consideration. I much deceive myself, if it will net appear from these letters, compared especially with gen. Clavering's evidence, that she was corresponding with gen. Clavering and the D. of Y., at a sort of cross-purposes, receiving applications in cue sense, and answering them in another. It, appears from gen. Clavering's own evidence, that he had offered 1,000l. to Mrs. C. for a regiment. I conceive that we cannot give a date to this offer at any other period than just about the date of the Duke's letter. It should seem, that in consequence of this offer Mrs. C. made some application to h. r. h., and that this letter from the D. of Y., in which gen. Clavering's name is mentioned, was the answer to it. It is evident, that no mention was made of the offer of this 1,000l. If it had been mentioned, it is impossible that the answer of the D. of Y. should not have taken some notice of that circumstance; he must cither have been disposed to encourage or resist it, but evidently he does neither; we must conclude therefore, that she did not mention it. Yet how is it, consistently with the supposition of the Duke's knowing of her corrupt practices, that we can account for her omitting to mention it? It is the largest offer which appears at any time to have been made to her; and would not the D. of Y., if ha knew, if he approved, if he encouraged these practices, if he profited by them; would he not have received with eagerness an application of this sort? But as the truth unquestionably is, that h. r. h, was wholly ignorant of these transactions, and would have discarded Mrs. C. the moment he suspected them, her silence is easily accounted for. I wish to bring the attention of the house pointedly to the date of the letter: the letter written by the D. of Y., is dated Sandgate, August 24, 1804; and we have a letter from gen. Clavering, dated Bishop's Waltham, 5th Sept., 1804. This letter, from its context, is evident Ivan answer to one which the general had received from Mrs. C.; probably the letter which conveyed to him the representation which Mrs. C. made of the Duke's answer to that application for a regiment, winch she was to make in consequence of the offer of the 1,000l. What that answer was, we see in the letter in which gen. Clavering's name is mentioned, and which probably reached her on the 25th 20th 131 of August. Now, let us see gen. Covering's reply to Mrs. C., and from that we shall judge how correctly she must have Stated to gen. Clavering the substance of the Duke's letter. The reply is in these words, "My dear Mrs. C, you mention that h. r. h. did not comprehend my proposal. My idea was this, the Defence Act, article 30, states 'that men to be raised by that act, are not compellable to serve out of the United Kingdom, and Islands immediately attached; and in 32, 'That they shall not remain embodied for more than six months after the peace:" then he says, we have always experienced the fatal effects of disbanding corps at an apparent conclusion of war; and then he proposes enlistment from the militia. Now, sir, let me ask any man, whether this has any relation to the letter written by the D. of Y.? Gen. Clavering had said, that be was desirous of recruiting from the militia, and probably suggested that as the means of procuring a regiment, for which he was to give Mrs. C. 1,000l. Then Mrs. C. asks the D. of Y., whether any new regiments are to be raised? he informs her that no new regiments are to be raised: and then her reply to gen. Clavering must have been, for there is no possibility of accounting for gen. Covering's letter in any other manner, that the D. of Y. does not understand his proposal; and this answer amuses him into the belief, that the D, of Y. is really considering of his offer: he proceeds to explain his plan, upon the supposition, that the Duke requested the explanation.
Again, sir, let me ask, where is this letter found? If the D. of Y. was really desirous of information on any military plan suggested by gen. Clavering, would Mrs. C. have kept the general's letters which detailed that information? Would she not have forwarded gen. Clavering's letter to h. r. h.? And would it not, therefore, have been with h. r. h.? And yet this letter, as well as the letter from Mr. Elderton, is found with Mrs. C, who never thought of delivering either of them to the Duke. But she would have us believe, that he left letters, after having read them, lying about carelessly, and that she, therefore, put them amongst her own. If that were so, we should have found other letters in her possession, which might more naturally have been expected to be in the Duke's. But except these two, none such are found in the possession of Mrs. C.: what the house will think of this, I know 132 not; but I have convinced myself, at least, that I perceive in it a proof, that Mrs. C. was playing her old game with this general, as she had done with others; and that, instead of this being a case which should induce us to believe that there was any corrupt participation or connivance on the part of the D. of Y. in the offer of gen. Clavering, it is one which makes it impossible to believe h. r. h. had any knowledge whatever of these transactions. It is a case, indeed, which shews that on a subject upon which h. r. h. could have no reason, public or private, for withholding the information from anyone, he did not refuse to tell Mrs. C, that there were "no new regiments to be raised." It does prove that, in the unsuspecting state of communication between, them, upon a subject of such perfect indifference, as, whether new regiments were to be raised, or only second battalions, h. r. h. did not reject and resent her attempts to obtain this information. But his omitting to do so, is the utmost extent of his offence; it cannot be carried further: — and to estimate the degree and nature of that offence, we must keep in mind, that this gen. Clavering is an officer of high rank, of most respectable connexions; and whom the Duke could, consequently, riot have suspected of being concerned in any dishonourable traffic, either with Mrs. C, or any one else. We cannot, indeed, but feel, surprised, that such a person should have applied to the Duke through Mrs. C.: but what account this artful woman gave of her acquaintance with gen. Clavering, we do not know, though we have every reason to believe, that Mrs. C.'s invention would have furnished her with an account sufficiently plausible to impose upon h. r. h., to think it not unnatural.
The expression concerning Dr. O'Meara, which occurs in the letter from Weymouth, has certainly made considerable impression; it will doubtless be recollected, that it has no reference to any military transaction, nor has it any connexion therefore with the conduct of h. r. h. in his character of Commander in Chief. That Dr. O'Meara, a person so well recommended and thought of by the bishop of Tuam, should have sought his introduction to the Duke through Mrs. C. is most extraordinary, and it is undoubtedly much to be regretted. The fact that he did so, cannot be doubted. The Duke's letter to Mrs. C. says, that Dr. O'Meara 133 called upon him, and that he delivered to him her letter. It is indeed, much to be wished that h. r. h. had thought and felt that a clergyman who sought to be introduced through such a channel, from that very circumstance, deserved not to be noticed; but it certainly does appear, and I regret it. as much as any man, though I cannot see in it any public or official offence, that h. r. h. informs Mrs. C. that Dr. O'Meara wished for an opportunity of preaching before his majesty, and that the D. of Y. expresses his intention of endeavouring to procure him the means of having his wishes gratified.
Now, sir, I shall proceed to make some remarks on the parcel of letters that were found in capt. Sandon's custody: there are several of these, with respect to which, I cannot but be anxious to offer a few observations. We find much in the evidence which has already been examined, to convince us that h. r. h. was not acquainted with Mrs. C.'s corrupt dealings, and that she was extremely anxious they should not come to his knowledge; and many of the letters which were found in San don's custody, will be found of great importance, as strongly confirmatory of the same fact. There is a note from Mrs. C, addressed to col. Sandon, in these words: —"Mrs. Clarke's compliments await col. Sandon, thinks it best for him not to come to her box this evening, as Greenwood comes with both the Dukes this evening, and of course will watch where their eyes direct now and then; and should he see and know col. Sandon, may make some remark, by saying or talking of the levy business, and it may be hurtful to his and Mrs. Clarke's future interests."—Here is a circumstance which proves that Mrs. C. was apprehensive lest her practices should be discovered by her being seen at the Opera in company with capt. Sandon, and that Mr. Greenwood would have an opportunity of remarking upon the subject of col. French's levy. It is obvious, therefore, that the connection of capt. Sandon with Mrs. C. is to be kept out of the sight of the D. of York. That there is another letter, in which there are still stronger observations. This letter is as follows,—"Dear sir, ere I leave town, I scratch a few lines, begging you to be on your guard in every point; but of my name in particular, for the future never breathe it. I am confident you have a number of enemies; yesterday, the—" (Duke of course) "was assailed from seven 134 or eight different persons, with invective against you; he is a little angry at something, yet will not tell it me. I think this fellow, Kennett, tries his friends—they laid fine complaints against you:—Did you tell Zemminees, that as soon as Tonyn was gazetted, you would get him done in the same way, and that I was the person?— Let me see you on Monday. Adieu; I am interrupted." Here is another occasion in which she cautions capt. Sandon not to mention her name: she apprizes him that something has occurred, which makes it a matter of delicacy; she fears to be implicated, she knows not what it is the Duke has learnt, but she fears that Sandon may have said something about her interference for Zemminees, and for Tonyn; she requests him to be particularly cautious of mentioning her name—in strong earnest terms, "never to breathe it," —that no opportunity may be afforded of giving encouragement to the belief of any thing that may be stated concerning them. These are some of the observations which, seem to me to be material, and to arise fairly out of these letters.—There are unquestionably many more. I shall not trouble the house by going through the whole of them: I am so sensible of the extreme length at which I have occupied the attention of the house, that I do not think I should be justified in doing more than noticing those letters, which appear to me the most important. There are some few, certainly, of that description. One letter, to which I would particularly desire their attention, will be found directed to capt. Sandon; it is in 'these terms:—"My dear sir, I am vexed to death, you well know the state of my finances—I hit upon Spedding for Tuesday, when, behold, the regiment he is in did their exercise so bad, that the Duke swore at them very much, and has stopped the promotion of every one in it." Now, that is not the fact, for col. Gordon, in his evidence, says, that their promotions were not stopped, and the gazettes are produced which shew that their promotions were actually going on at the time. This then is a false fact communicated by Mrs. C. to capt. Sandon, for the purpose of making some impression or other, with a view to her design; probably, having made some undertaking with Spedding, which she found would not be accomplished, she invented this circumstance to serve as an apology for her failure. Here then follows, in the same letter, a passage for which I can- 135 not account:—"He said so much to the colonel (Wemyss I think), that if he had been a gentleman he would have given up: but he intends looking over the memorial to-day, as S. has not been long in that regiment, and he is an old officer; so that you see, if he gets his promotion, how very much he ought to be indebted to my good offices. I must beg hard for him. The Duke is very angry with you, for when he last saw you, you promised him 300 foreigners, and you have not produced one. O yes, Master Sandon is a pretty fellow to depend on. I wish I had it upon Eustace first. I told you, I believe, that they must be done gradually, his clerks are so cunning. Get Spedding to write out a list of his service, and send it to me, as a private thing to shew him, not addressed to any one."
From the circumstance which is mentioned of the 3C0 foreigners, it is inferred that h. r. h. gave authority to raise German levies. There is no document in the office of col. Gordon, that brings to light any thing upon the subject; there is no proof, nothing in the evidence, nothing that shews there was any authority given for raising such levies. Therefore, what this means I am at a loss to guess: we hare nothing before us that throws the least light upon it. The house, however, cannot conclude that Mrs. C. had issued letters of service, and that it was under the authority of Mrs. C., the 300 foreigners were to be raised; and I cannot, therefore, see how this circumstance of the supposed foreign levy can bear upon the case, one way or the other. As to capt. Spedding, we hear still more of him. There is this passage in a subsequent letter, "Dear sir, pray what can Spedding mean by asking on Thursday through gen. Tonyn for leave to go upon half-pay, 'tis odd behaviour, and you must think that some one thinks me used very ill.—Of course, till this is fully explained, I shall drop all thoughts of any thing else."—With respect to capt. Spedding, it will be found that he had been making an application for promotion; that sir A. Clarke had been referred to, and that it appeared sir Alured knew nothing of him.—Application is afterwards made, through gen. Tonyn, that he may be permitted to go on half-pay; and then Mrs. C. complained of Spedding going to gen. Tonyn, to procure his assistance in effecting that which she thought ought to have been done through her, and affects to represent the Duke (for she must mean h. 136 r. h., by the certain person) as thinking her used very ill upon the occasion; which had it been true, as she would have had it believed, would have led to the disappointment of capt. Spedding in the application which so displeased him. How is the fact? He does succeed in that application which he made through gen. Tonyn; he failed in those which he made through her.
There is another letter, in the same parcel, written by Mrs. C, in which, speaking of capt. Spedding, she says, "he must advance 200l. more."—It is evident, front all these circumstances, that she was anxious to procure the promotion of capt. Spedding; that if her application succeeded, she would have had the benefit of putting that 200l. in her pocket; and her want of success is a convincing proof, that she did not possess the influence she pretended. It is not, that there was any insurmountable objection to capt. Spedding; he does succeed in one of his objects, but it is only when he applies through another quarter; and his success, when he succeeded, cannot be referred to Mrs. C.; though his failure, when he failed, would certainly not have occurred, if she could have prevented it. The important result, therefore, of this case of capt. Spedding, is this: it exhibits Mrs. C, in the first place, inventing and representing a false fact, respecting the stoppage of promotion in his regiment, as the reason why she could not procure him the promotion, which she had given him reason to expect. Whether she ever made any application to the Duke about him, or only pretended to make one, cannot be ascertained; there is no confirmatory evidence upon that point at all: if she did not make such application, it can only be accounted for by her knowing, that it would not be received if-she made it; but if she did make the application, as she pretends, then the failure proves her want of influence; and, therefore, on either supposition, capt. Spedding's case, when attentively considered, is decisive against the truth of her story, and in favour of the Duke of York.
There is another point to which I must now refer, though I will not go into it at any length, because I cannot pretend entirely to understand it. I mean that relating to the letters, of which the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) obtained possession from Mrs. C. It is a fact involved in such confusion, that it is very difficult to ascertain the truth of it. It will be found in part 137 of Mrs. C.'s examination on this subject, that she is desired to look at the letter to Mr. Donovan, of the 28th January. She is asked, "Did you give these letters to Mr. Wardle, in order to facilitate any negociation?" she says, "Yes! not the letters that col. Wardle ran away with, but letters of field-officers to recommend two or three lieutenants to companies; they were to give more than the regulation;— three or Jour hundred pounds." Now, the expression in her letter to Donovan, cannot possibly refer to the letters of field-officers; the passage is, "I must be candid and tell you, that in order to facilitate some negociations, I had given him (meaning Mr. Wardle) a few of your letters—in one, you speak of the queen, in another, of two deaneries," I do not, however, refer to this passage now, to trace that contradiction, but for the purpose of shewing with what unreserved facility Mrs. C. states and invents facts, when it is her interest to vilify the character of any person connected with the D. of Y. She adds, in the passage of the evidence to which I last referred, "I understood from Mr. Donovan that Greenwood was to have some part, Froome another, himself a share, and me: these young men were to pay, I think, four hundred over the regulation, and that it was the last job Greenwood was to give Froome; that it was to complete a very old promise of the D. of Y. Mr. Donovan told me he must have the recommendation of a member of parliament, or a general officer, to cover himself."
Now this observation of Mrs. C.'s, introduced for no other purpose but to bring in Mr. Greenwood's name with disrespect, and to represent him as desirous of obtaining a job for Froome, upon an old promise of the D. of Y., the profit of which all these parties were to share amongst them, is not only false, but has really no verisimilitude. It supposes Mr. Greenwood employing Mr. Donovan, to procure Mrs. C. to obtain the signatures of some general officers to certain recommendations to lieutenancies; which recommendations the D. of Y. was to act upon, to execute an old promise of his own; as if Mr. Greenwood and the D. of Y. together, could not have procured the promotion, without the help of Mrs. C. It is likewise impossible, utterly impossible to be believed, that Mr. Donovan could be thus making use of Mr. Greenwood's name, to obtain money in partnership with Mrs. C, at this time: it happened but the other day, in this very year; 138 it could not be a case in which she was to avail herself of her influence with the D. of Y.: it is a striking instance, therefore, of that barefaced disregard of truth which characterizes so many parts of the testimony of this woman. She affects to say, that she was to get the signatures of some persons through Mr. Wardle, by which her impositions were to be carried on for the benefit of Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Froome, Mr. Donovan, and herself. I say, sir, that this is so outrageously incredible, that it is of no use to advert to it, except as it may expose the temerity of her assertions, and her indifference even to the credibility of what she invents; or except as it may expose the distress which she was put to, to explain the passage in her letter to Donovan, in which she represents her having put certain letters of his into Mr. Wardle's hands, to facilitate some negociations. For that, in a job in which Mr. Greenwood was concerned, Donovan would be employed by Greenwood to procure assistance from Mrs. C, is utterly absurd. Whether the hon. sent, (colonel Wardle) did undertake to procure the signatures which were wanted on this occasion; or whether these letters were put into his hands to facilitate any, and what negociations, I must leave to the house to collect, if it can, from the evidence; I confess, I can collect no certainty from it myself.
In the course of the observations which I have submitted to the house, I have taken notice of every thing upon which an unfavourable conclusion against the D. of Y. has been grounded, except the circumstance of the payment made by h. r. h. for the plate; and the rate of Mrs. C.'s expences and establishment: these remain to be considered. The purchase of plate is argued upon thus: plate to a certain amount was bought for the use of Mrs. C.: she paid, as she says, towards this purchase, 500l. the identical 500l. which she receved from col. French, on account of his levy; and the D. of Y. paid for the remainder. Upon these facts it is presumed, that the D. of Y. must have known the whole price which was to be given for the plate; that he must have undertaken to make her a present of it; that he must have known of Mrs. C.'s part payment of that price; that he must have known from what source she derived the means of making it;—and upon these few facts, aided by these several presumptions, it is concluded that, as he was relieved, to the amount of this 500l. from the necessity of 139 paying for the whole, he actually and personally profited to that extent, from the transaction of French's levy.—To meet this argument, it is right to see how the circumstances respecting the payment for this plate stand in the evidence, independent of Mrs. C.'s statement. The way evidence in which that evidence is given, by Mr.: Burkitt, is by exhibiting the debtor and; creditor accompt of the sale of this plate in his books; and the first article of that accompt is this: "the whole of the above-mentioned articles for 1,303l. 14s. Od." Then follows a statement of various particulars of charge for other articles of plate, together constituting a total of 1,821l. 11s. 4d.; on the other side of the accompt, there appears a payment of "500l. by cash, on account, on the 18th of May, 1804:" and all the other payments that make up the difference, appear to have been furnished by drafts and bills, which are proved to have been payable, and paid by the Duke of York.
It is observable that the first payment, which reduces this accompt to nearly the sum paid by the D. of Y., is 500l. By whom this was paid, or how, does not appear. Mrs. C. tells us it was by her, and with the money before alluded to. It no where appears, except from Mrs. C, that the D. of Y. was aware of the whole of the demand, and that it amounted to so large a sum as 1,321l. what t he D. of Y. paid was 1,321l. If he had paid 1,363l. 14s. it would have appeared that he had paid the whole that was due for the purchase of the duke of Berri's service of plate. He did not pay for it exactly, but he paid within 42l. of it. Now as he did actually pay so nearly the whole of what that service cost, will the house upon no better evidence than Mrs. C.'s, conclude that he knew any thing of her payment of 500l.? Or, if he did, that he knew from what source she obtained it? This circumstance took place very shortly after the setting up of the establishment in Gloucester-Place. Mrs. C. says, she was not in debt at that time. Is there any proof that the Duke might not have had reason to suppose that Mrs. C. had some little money of her own? or, when we re collect that Mrs. C. herself admits that 500l.:was about that very time furnished by the D. of Y. to her, to purchase articles of plate and linen; might he not suppose, that this payment to the extent of 500l. or part of it at least, was made out of that very sum which he had provided 140 himself? In short, sir, I feel confident that these circumstances, when fairly examined, will never be considered as any confirmation of Mrs. C.'s evidence.
I next proceed to advert to the argument founded on the rate of expence incurred in Mrs. C.'s establishment, as compared, with her means of supporting it. The house will recollect, that I was authorized by h. r. h., to make a statement of his expenditure on account of Mrs. C, as far as he now could trace it, with any correctness and precision. But, sir, I do not feel it necessary to refer to that statement, as the fair result of Mrs. C.'s several examinations and cross-examinations on this head, together with other evidence before us, brings the expence so near to. the sum to which I stated, that it will in effect, and for the purpose of the argument, be the same; and it is more regular, no doubt, to found my observations upon the evidence, than upon that statement.—In the first place, Mrs. C. states that nearly all the furniture in Gloucester Place was supplied by the D. of Y. and a great part of the wine.—Now the greater part of the expence which was included in the statement I was authorized to make consisted in the purchase of furniture and wine, and a sum of 5,000l., which was incapable of distinct proof, because it had been delivered over by h. r. h. to Mrs. C. herself, without any intermediate witness to prove the fact. But her evidence confirms that fact, that all the money which she received was from the D. of Y. himself, and not through any agent employed to pay her? and therefore, actual proof of the payment cannot be had in any other way than from the statement of h. r. h. But, though Mrs. C. did say in one part of her evidence, that she never received any more money from h. r. h., than 1000l. per annum, (and upon that unqualified assertion it was, that the great and unfavourable impression upon this head was made upon the house;) yet we find Mrs. C. admitting, that "once or twice, h. r. h. gave me small. bills for three or four hundred pounds, but they were his own signing and drawing up:—it was to get my necklace, or something in that way, from Parker's in Fleet-Street." Here then is an instance of the D. of Y. furnishing Mrs. C. with small bills, as she calls them, for three or four hundred pounds; for the purpose of doing what? to take articles out of pawn. Undoubtedly, the articles were placed in pawn to raise money: 141 The Duke furnishes Mrs. C. with money to get them out of pawn; and in so doing, he as effectually furnishes her with money for her expences, as if he had advanced it in the first instance. She is asked whether h. r. h. did not pay 15,O00l. for her during the three years she was with him. Her reply is, "Do you include h. r. h. paying for the house before I went into it, or keeping me and the establishment? Including every thing, all the advances that were made? I cannot tell what he paid for the house; I can tell what my lawyer got for it." It seems that her lawyer had a mortgage upon it for 12 or 1,400l.; therefore, if the house sold, as she believes it did, for 4,400l., a sum would have remained sufficient for the payment of all her debts, according to the amount at which she stated them herself, namely, 3,000l. Then here is evidently a supply left in her hands by the D. of Y., sufficient to enable her to discharge all the debts she had incurred:— Upon being asked, "Were you paid no more money besides the 1,000l. a year?" —she answers, "No, I was not: I certainly complained to h. r. h., and he said he would make some future arrangement." What that future arrangement was to he, does not appear. She admits afterwards, when she has been very much harassed for any thing, and could not get it from other quarters, and there was nothing in view, "His r. h. would then bring me 100l. extra, or two perhaps, but I do not recollect ever two, I do one or so, one now and then, but not often." But besides these occasional payments, it appears that h. r. h. looked forward to the time when he might make a better arrangement for her. He had incurred a considerable expence in furniture, and such articles, upon the first formation of the establishment at Gloucester-place; but as this would not be to occur again, he would be more at ease to defray other expences, and to discharge the debt which she might then be contracting.
In Parker's books, it further appears, that a bill was drawn, which I have before adverted to, by Mr. Dowler on Mrs. C.; and some by herself, on Mr. Farquhar. These bills were not paid when due; but they were taken up afterwards, by the D. of Y.: and putting all these things together, it will appear, that the expence for furniture and wine, the regular payments, and these various sums together, make the expenditure of the D. of Y., during his connection with Mrs. C, amount 142 to about 20,000l.; though the actual advances of money are not accounted for to a greater amount than 5,000l. in the two years and a halt; and this nearly tallies with the authorised statement which I made to the house. These, sir, are the facts; and what is the inference that the hon. gent. would draw from them? That h. r. h., knowing the expensive nature of the establishment in Gloucester-place, must have known that it could not be defrayed by what he advanced, and therefore, that it was supported by the corrupt means which Mrs. C. mentions; that he must have been conscious that he was supplying that establishment, with means very scanty, and extremely inadequate. Mrs. C. tells you, that in one instance, when her necessities obliged her to apply to the Duke, he referred her to her ingenuity, telling her that "if she was clever she need never want money." Does it not occur to the house, how inconsistent the evidence of Mrs. C. herself is upon this very point? Docs Mrs. C. ever insinuate that he answered her subsequent applications by such a reference? Does it not on the contrary appear, that she was monthly, weekly, daily, pressing him over and over again for money, and, according to her statement, pressing him in vain? If her evidence is entitled to the least credit, what would have been the reply of the D. of Y. to her applications? "You surely do not come to me for money: you are under no necessity of applying to me for that which I have told you I have not the means of giving you: you have only to come to me for commissions, by the sale of which, you will be enabled to have an ample supply." Such, if Mrs. C.'s evidence were true, would have been the language of the D. of Y.; such would have been the terms in which he would have answered any application from her for money. There are no less than 4,000 military commissions, of various descriptions, that pass through his office, on an average, in the year. During the time she was with him, there must have passed about 10,000. Could she, if she had possessed his authority to make money by her cleverness out of these commissions, have ever been id want of 100l. or even of 1,000l.? Impossible t Her distress, her debts, her repeated applications to the Duke for money; his supplying her with one or two hundred pounds only, at a time; his referring her to the prospect of a new arrangement,—are all, to my mind, and I am confident they must be so to 143 every man who will view them fairly and candidly, decisive proofs, that h. r. h. never sanctioned or authorised, or connived at, these transactions. And this inadequacy of h. r. h.'s allowance to her establishment, coupled with her repeated applications to him for money, so far from affording an inference against the D. of Y. is strong and conclusive for him. There certainly does appear to have been, on the part of h. r. h., an indifference with regard to his pecuniary Concerns. There was a backwardness to look into his accounts, which generally is the case with persons whose accounts are in such a state, that it is unpleasant to look at them; but there is nothing which furnishes the slightest ground for charging the D. of Y. with any knowledge or suspicion that Mrs. C. was supplying any part of her extravagance from these corrupt sources.
I cannot bring my observations to a conclusion, without pressing upon the attention of the house, the very extraordinary exhibition which Mrs. Favery has made at out-bar. She appears, beyond all doubt, to be the half-sister of Mrs. C—the daughter of Mr. Farquhar, Mrs. Clarke's father, by a former wife. There is, I admit, no distinct evidence on the subject; but when Mrs. Favery's evidence, from page 459 to page 460, is examined; when her account of taking the name of Farquhar, to obtain more respect, as she says, is considered; that she married in the name of Farquhar, though she declares that her real name was Favery; Mrs. Farquhar, the mother, paying bills for her; and if we then attend to her answers to the following questions, there can be no doubt of the fact:—"You are not Mrs. Farquhar's daughter?"— "No; I positively am not Mrs. Farquhar's daughter." "Are you not Mrs. Farquhar's husband's daughter, by a former wife?"—"I cannot answer you that question; but I am not the present Mrs. Farquhar's daughter, I can assure you." "Cannot you answer that question?"— "No, I cannot indeed." "Why. cannot you?"—"Supposing I did not know my father or my mother; I cannot swear to that: I cannot tell what they did with me when I was young:" and then, after several other questions and answers— "But you will not state that you were not the daughter of Mrs. Farquhar's husband by another wife?"—she answers, "I cannot say any thing about it; but I can say I am not this Mrs. Farquhar's daughter; that I can answer to,"
144 It is no unfair inference, that she was related, and that nearly, to Mrs. C, but that it was an object to Mrs. C.'s credit and vanity that the relationship should not appear. But what was her story, her most false story, as it came out on the cross-examination of my learned friend? She told us that she had lived with a Mr. Ellis, who was now dead; that he was a carpenter; that he kept a house in one place, and a shop in another, and she could not tell us the situation of either. Yet Mr. Ellis is alive; he was no carpenter; she knew him to be alive; she knew him to be a respectable clergyman: but having lived with him as Mrs. Farquhar, and not as Mrs. Favery; having been recommended to him by Mrs. C. under the name of Farquhar, she thought it necessary to mislead the house from finding Mr. Ellis, who would detect her falsehood. It appears afterwards, that she learnt that Mr. Ellis was summoned to this bar to contradict her. Site then attempts to make her peace with him; she knows where he lives; she goes to him; she accounts for her not having given a true account of him, because she thought it would be disagreeable to him to be brought forward: whereas it was her own falsehood which imposed upon the house the necessity of calling him.—On Mr. Ellis being produced, Mrs. Favery is contradicted, and Mrs. C. is contradicted too, who also says, she never knew Mrs. Favery under any other name than Favery. This gentleman, Mr. Ellis, a clergyman, a most crelitable and respectable witness, against whom there has not been the slightest insinuation or suspicion, tells us, that he received Mrs. Favery into his service under the name of Farquhar, upon a character given of her by Mrs. C, to whom he applied, enquiring after her by that name; that upon his application, she answered for her; and, by the character she gave of her, Mrs. Favery obtained the situation in this gentleman's family,—not under the name of Favery. I say, but of Farquhar: and further, that while she was there, Mrs. C. came to see her, and visited her under circumstances of great apparent familiarity. Yet Mrs. C. told us, that she never knew Mrs. Favery by any other name than Favery, and that she must have assumed the name of Farquhar unknown to her. Now, sir, let me ask whether there is any thing that can shew a greater disregard to truth, both on the part of Mrs. Favery and Mrs. C, than 145 this evidence? However painful it may be supposed to have been to the feelings and vanity of Mrs. C, to admit the fact of her relationship to Mrs. Favery, yet no one, who was not as depraved in disposition, and as destitute of every principle of truth, as she is, would so deliberately have sacrificed her veracity to her vanity. This is a strong feature in the case. It shews what sort of people we have to deal with: it shews Mrs. C. will not only speak falsely herself, but bring witnesses knowingly and voluntarily to do the same; that they are not independent witnesses speaking to independent falsehoods; but that they both come forward prepared to relate the same story, the falsehood of which has been so fortunately and so satisfactorily detected: and yet, sir, after this detection, we are deliberating whether, resting upon Mrs. C.'s evidence, we shall convict h. r. h. of the charge with which she accuses him!
I will not trespass on the time of the house, by recalling its attention to those presumptions which my learned friend has referred to, arising in favour of h. r. h., from the character of the persons whom he has selected to surround him in the discharge of his high official duties. If h. r. h. had been laying these plans of iniquity and corruption, which have been so falsely imputed to him, would he have surrounded himself with such honourable persons to overlook and scrutinize his conduct? Would he have made choice, as his advisers, of persons of such high and uncorruptible integrity; officers of high rank and distinguished merit, than whom the whole army could not have presented characters more alien from any thing that bears the least resemblance to corruption? I need only mention the name of gen. Calvert; every one who knows him, can bear testimony to the estimation in which he is held, not only by the army, but by all who have any means of knowing him: col. Gordon has spoken his own testimony, and in giving evidence in this case, has established his own character.—With respect to others who have been employed about h. r. h., similar observations might be justly made; and as far as any general presumptions and general impressions may have arisen in the house from any other circumstances, injurious to. the D. of Y., I trust, they may be well and effectually met by these considerations to which I have last referred: considerations which would of themselves be sufficient to re- 146 move any impressions which-could be made by such testimony as that, which I have at so. much length, and I flatter myself, so satisfactorily, commented upon and exposed.
I have now, sir, gone through this case with the various observations which I have deemed necessary; and I think, I have shewn enough, in the first place, to make it clear, that the house is called upon in the fair discharge of its duty, under the particular circumstances of this important case, to give their opinion decidedly, Aye or No, upon the question of the guilt or innocence of h. r. h. After that opinion shall have been pronounced, there will then remain the consideration of what it will be proper for the house further to do upon this subject; and whether the address I have proposed is the most fit to be adopted: that address will then remain to be compared with what has been proposed by the hon. gent. But, whatever the house may think with reference to any ulterior proceeding, they cannot, I am sure, so far demean themselves, as to shrink from declaring their opinion upon the question of guilt. Of this also I am convinced, that if the house acts up to its own character and dignity, as I am satisfied it will, it must abandon the Address of the hon. gent. For, what does that address express, as the result of this serious and most important enquiry? It states, that the house has discovered the existence of a variety of malpractices and abuses of office, and that h. r. h. could not be well ignorant of them; but whether he is guilty of having had participation in them, or whether he is altogether innocent, the substantive address to the King is to remove him from his high situation. Now I say, whether he is guilty or whether he is innocent, is a question which is anterior to that which respects his removal, and upon the decision of which must depend what remains to be done. If the hon. gent, had so framed his address, his speech, and his charge, as to have done away the imputation of corruption, and had suggested any other grounds for the removal of the D. of Y., it would have stood very differently, and would not have been open at least to the objection, which I am now urging; but even then, if the house should think, that independent of the charge of corruption, there are other grounds for his removal, the course which the hon. gent, has pursued, is not that which this house has adopted on any former occasion, or can adopt con- 147 sistently with its character in the present. The whole speech of the hon. gent, goes to the charge of corruption; and then, for fear of wounding the paternal feelings of his majesty, he declines informing him of what has been the result of our deliberations: He declines letting his majesty know, that his son is innocent; and yet lie will not state that he is guilty! But I feel convinced, that I need not labour this point any further: I am satisfied the house will manfully and unequivocally pronounce its opinion; and whatever objections may be taken to our proceedings, there shall not, if my opinion shall prevail, be any ground for objecting to them, as disgracing the character of the House of Commons, by shrinking from the decision of the great question of corruption; a question however, upon which, according to the view which I have taken of this case, I can anticipate only a favourable decision.
When therefore the house shall have agreed, as I trust it will, to the resolution declaring, That there is no ground for charging h. r. h. with corruption, or connivance at Mrs. C.'s corrupt practices; they will then have to consider, what further notice, by way of address or resolution, they will take of the different matters which have appeared before us; and whether that which will remain, when we have decided against the charge of corruption, and upon which we shall have to mark our dissatisfaction, regret, and displeasure, is such as to require that we should address his majesty for the removal of h. r. h.; or, whether it will be sufficient to express our regret for the past and our hope for the future, in such manner as may enable his majesty, consistently with the honour of h. r. h. and of the army, to retain him in his present situation.—I trust the house will adopt the latter: and I do feel persuaded, that the house cannot be disposed to confound so much all the faults and distinctions between one offence and another, as to give sanction to the principle on which the address of the hon. gent, proceeds. The foundation, and the whole matter of the hon. gent.'s Address is, that if the D. of Y. is guilty of corruption, he ought to be removed; but that if he is not guilty, it must be the same; in short, that whether he is guilty of base corruption in the discharge of his public duty; or whether he is guilty of having yielded most unhappily to a most unworthy connection, his punishment should be equal!—such a 148 total want of discrimination and distinction between one offence and another, so pernicious to the best interests of justice and of morals, I do confidently feel, that it is impossible for this house to adopt.
When the House has disposed of the first great question of public and official guilt, (a question which I conceive to be in its nature purely judicial, and which I trust, they will dispose of on judicial principles, with the severity of judges determining conscientiously on the evidence,) they will then consider the remaining question, as no longer a judicial one; not to be disposed of on the strict principles of judicial severity, but upon principles of general policy and expediency.— I am far, sir, from being desirous of conveying an opinion, that policy should generally be considered as wholly separated from morality and religion, or even as not being most intimately blended and united with them; or that, in this particular case, political considerations connected with the individual, whose conduct is the subject of our enquiry, should exclude either those feelings or those expressions, which considerations of morality and religion may suggest.—I mean no such thing; policy, as well as a sense of what is due to morality requires of us, that the facts which have appeared before us, should not pass unnoticed; and therefore the acquital of h. r. h. from all charge of public delinquency, so as to render his removal from office wholly unnecessary, could not, without some expression of our feelings, on the other parts of the case, be a satisfactory, a seemly, or a justifiable termination of this enquiry.—But what I do mean is, that when we do enter into the consideration of what may be proper to be done in respect of this part of the case; called upon by what we conceive to be due to a sense of public morals and of religion; we should not only not forget to have some indulgence for human frailties as a part of our morality, and with whatever severity we ought to judge ourselves, that in judging of others, charity is a part of our religion, and therefore temper and measure out our justice accordingly;—but that we should also, feeling as statesmen upon this particular question of what is to be done towards the Duke, take into our gravest consideration, the circumstances of expediency and policy, connected with it; and view the question, in all the various and important bearings, which it has upon the public interests of the country at 149 large:—admitting,certainly, as I have admitted, that considerations of morality and religion have most important bearings upon those interests.
Those, indeed, if there are any such, who think that the army has been ill-administered under the D. of Y.; who think that h. r. h. is an unfit person to hold the situation he has so long filled in it; who think, that during fourteen or fifteen years which this illustrious prince has been at the head of the military department of the country, the army has not prospered under his command—that the regulations which he has introduced have not been most beneficial—that he has not, as a father, watched over its interests, increasing the comforts of the soldier—promoting the interest of the meritorious officer—establishing charitable and useful institutions for the orphans and children of soldiers— providing for the better education of officers in military knowledge;—that he has not laboured, and successfully, for the improvement of the discipline of the army, and has no merit for having brought it to the highest standard of perfection at which it exists at this day: those who think thus of the D. of Y, may undoubtedly, with a just regard to the interests of the country and of the army, wish for his removal, upon grounds totally independent of this enquiry:—and if they can look to any probable arrangement which may furnish the army with a better Commander in Chief; if they see the means of obtaining such an arrangement, by which there would be less room for the exercise of party feelings, less jealousies s, less interference of improper influence in military promotions; that the removal of administrations will less effect the claims of merit, and destroy the fair prospects and regular pretensions of officers; they may then, politically speaking, not unwisely seize this opportunity of accomplishing what they would deem a great public benefit, in procuring his removal. But those, on the contrary, who upon a near and accurate inspection of all these circumstances, think otherwise; those who think we should in vain look to supply the place of h. r. h. by any person so well qualified to fill it, will deprecate his removal as a national calamity; and if they see no ground for charging him with public guilt, will feel anxious to retain him:—and whatever measure of censure or regret they may think proper to adopt, will feel it an important consideration so to temper the seve- 150 rity of their censure, as not to accompany it with any thing that shall necessarily compel the removal of h. r. h. from the situation of Commander in Chief;—but above all, they will abstain from addressing for any removal connected with this enquiry; because such an address, so connected, would necessarily imply an opinion of some corruption, which I trust this house will negative, or some guilty participation in the offences which, this enquiry has brought to light.
Long as I have trespassed on the patience and attention of the house, I still am sensible that I have omitted many observations which ought in justice to this case to be pressed upon their consideration. In an examination of so long a case, or rather of such a variety of cases, it could scarcely be otherwise; and I must trust that whatever may have been my omissions, the further debate will supply them.
I should now conclude, sir, but for the necessity of adverting to what fell from the hon. gent, towards the close of his speech.—The hon. gent, observed that " The country would decide on the conduct of the Commander in Chief. The country would decide on his own conduct —that the country would decide on the conduct of this house." If the object of this observation was merely to remind us, that as public characters, we ought to keep in view the opinion' of the public; that it becomes us to take a proper estimate of its value, as all our hopes of public usefulness must be founded on the good opinion and confidence of the country, I perfectly agree with him; and if his observation is to be carried no further, and implied no more, I have no objection to it; but if it may be supposed to refer to any existing impression which may have been made out of this house in the public mind, to which the opinion of this house must conform, or that the country will, as the hon. gent, expresses himself, decide against the conduct of the house, I deprecate the doctrine as most unconstitutional and as most unjust. What, sir ! have we been sitting week after week upon a painful examination of this case, and are we at last to decide, not upon our own view of the evidence which we ourselves have heard, but upon the opinion which has been formed of it by others? An opinion, too. now formed? Formed, through the mos. indecent abuse of the liberty of the press-upon those garbled extracts of the evi- 151 dence which have been circulated during the enquiry, and commented upon with an industry as unprecedented as it was malicious. Are we to be threatened with the judgment of the country upon our conduct, if we do not bend our decision to such an opinion? Against the doctrine that this house is to decide upon any opinion but its own, even when sitting in its legislative Capacity,—I beg leave to enter my strongest protest: but that this house can think, that in a case of a judicial nature, on which we are to decide upon the interests and honour of an individual, we ought so to be influenced by an opinion which we must know to have been so mischievously excited, I cannot, and I will not believe.
We must, sir, I admit, for the efficiency of our measures, and for the dignity of our character, keep in view the public opinion; we should so conduct ourselves, that our conduct ought to be approved by our constituents and our country; and we may confidently trust, that if we do our duty conscientiously, the enlightened understandings of the people will give us credit for having done it faithfully, however it may be at variance with their present impressions. If there are those, who forming a premature judgment have thought differently, they will retract their erroneous opinions, and they will do justice to their representatives, provided-their representatives do justice to themselves—provided they do not desert the station, and surrender the functions which they hold under the constitution of the country.
If these are not the sentiments by which the House of Commons is to regulate itself, the House of Commons will not only lese its influence; but if to flatter the people, or basely to court their favour, we surrender our correcter judgments to their misguided and inflamed impressions, we desert our duty, we abandon our trust; our place, our functions in the constitution are gone. It were better there should be no house of commons at all; it were better at once to accept as our constitution a wild unrepresented democracy, without the controul of the house of commons, or parliament, than to degrade ourselves by consenting to become the mere instruments of that democracy, to adopt its opinions, and to register its laws.
I do hope, sir, and feel confident, therefore, that the house will put out of its consideration, every thing derived from any other quarter than from the evidence and 152 argument heard within the house itself. The hon. gent, says, that "The country will decide upon his conduct:" I also feel, sir, that the country will decide upon mine; and in the conduct which I pursue, I do look for the judgment which my constituents and my country will ultimately form upon the propriety of that conduct, and feel that they will estimate my public character accordingly; and, I trust, I shall not be considered as arrogating any thing too much for myself, when I say that I have as much to lose as the hon. gent.; that I have an interest in the public opinion not less deep than the hon. gent, himself. In the course I have pursued, whatever I have done has been open, it has been avowed, it has been before the house and the country. I have neither disguised my first impression and prejudice against the hon. gentleman's statement, nor my opinion as I have formed it upon the evidence as it has proceeded. I have no hesitation in saying, that I have thought that in many views of this subject, and on several occasions, it has presented alternatives extremely difficult of choice. In the outset of the business it was extremely difficult to determine whether the most eligible mode to be adopted would be the open and public enquiry which has been chosen, or an enquiry before a select or secret committee; upon the whole, I certainly did think, not without being sensible of much of the inconvenience which might attend it, that the most public enquiry, especially as it was anxiously sought for and preferred by the royal Duke himself, would be the most satisfactory, and therefore the best.—The house adopted it. And although I certainly do feel much of the inconvenience which has arisen out of this publicity, yet there has nothing occurred upon the whole that has led me to repent that choice, which in a difficult and distracting case I then thought right to recommend. I think now, that if h. r. h. is acquitted, as I think he ought, and as I trust he will, of these foul charges, that the acquittal will be more satisfactory to ourselves, and to the country, than if the enquiry had been less public. That the enquiry, if it had been less public, would have been attended with some advantages, is obvious; but it is, equally obvious, that those advantages would have been counterbalanced by accompanying inconveniences. If any impression should have arisen in the public mind, that the true state of the evidence had been suppressed, and 153 that the privacy of the enquiry had been used as the means of screening the object of it from the censure or the punishment that he deserved, we should then have had reason to repent of such privacy. Now, sir, the grounds upon which the house of commons will come to its determination, will be those which may be as well known to the public as to themselves. But whether this determination was right or not, the choice being once made, we could not have the benefits of publicity without its attendant evils. It was necessary that we should be consistent; and to have withdrawn any part of our proceedings from the public, to have acted on the wish to suppress or conceal any part of the case, would have created more suspicion, than if our inquiry had originally been conducted in a less public manner. Throughout the whole of these proceedings, therefore, I have felt, that if we erred at all, we should err more safely by extending the range of enquiry even beyond what might perhaps be deemed its proper limits, than to contract it. Upon these, and upon all other points which have occurred during the whole course of the proceeding, I have never shrunk from avowing my share in them, and have openly stated and explained the reasons for my conduct; my conscience tells me I have acted faithfully and justly. Towards the royal duke I confess I have acted with an earnestness, and an anxiety, equal to what I should have felt if it had been the cause of my brother; and in the proposition which I tender to the house, I protest that I feel it to be the same, which under similar circumstances I should be bound to propose, if h. r. h. were a perfect stranger to me.—It is in my judgment that which the demands of public justice, and public policy, require at our hands. What the result will be, the house will determine; and as far as I am concerned, I can assure the hon. gent., that with respect to my constituents, (who are, I must take leave to tell the hon. gent., an extremely numerous body, with as extended and popular a right of election as any in the country,) I am not apprehensive, if my conduct is rightly understood by them, that there is any part of it, by which I shall incur the risk of forfeiting that confidence, which I have so long enjoyed, which I regard as the best test of my public character, and which I esteem as a possession of the highest value. I shall now trouble the house no further, but conclude with moving 154 the amendment, which I have before explained. (See page 111.)
considered the address moved by the hon. gent. who opened the debate so objectionable, that it was impossible for him to give it his concurrence. But, disapproving as he did of the original address, he felt as strong an objection to the course proposed by his right hon. friend who had just sat down. He, however, intirely concurred in the view of his right hon. friend, that it was absolutely necessary for the house to come to some decision upon the leading question respecting the charge of corruption. As to the various ways in which this may be done, it was his opinion that a resolution would be the most proper and parliamentary. The address of the hon. gent, involved an alternative which would have the effect of leaving the question of corruption undecided, which, as well in justice to the illustrious person accused, as from a regard to the judicial character of that house, and to the consistency of its proceedings, it was their duty to give judgment upon. With the principle of the resolutions of his right hon. friend, so far as related to the acquittal of h. r. h. the D. of Y. of personal corruption, he perfectly concurred. But at the same time he should prefer some more comprehensive resolutions which should embrace at once all the parts of the case; for there were other charges, as well as that of personal corruption, respecting military matters, upon which the house was bound to pronounce an opinion. His principal objection, therefore, to the amendment of his right hon friend, was, that his right hon. friend did not propose to do enough in the first instance, and yet, when that should be done, that what he proposed to do afterwards appeared to be both from its tone and its manner quite superfluous—if not something more than superfluous. Considering as he did the mode of* proceeding by resolution as the most proper and constitutional, he could not concur in the simple course by address, nor in the amendment of his right hon. friend, which consolidated both. If the house should agree to the resolution, he could not perceive any necessity for resorting to an address. According to his apprehension, unless the house had something to communicate to his majesty respecting the result of its proceedings, it was neither advisable nor constitutional to vote an address. He was disposed to pay every regard to the con- 155 nection between the illustrious person accused and his majesty, on such an occasion, but still he must contend that, in a parliamentary sense, that house was not called upon to communicate by address to his majesty the proceedings it may think proper to resort to upon the subject. His majesty would be made acquainted with them through the same channels of information, by which he learned the proceedings of either house of parliament. It would be absurd to lay at the foot of the throne, an address merely containing an account of their proceedings. The preferable step, in his opinion, would be, to take the sense of the house on a resolution, that h. r. h. had by his conduct exposed himself to undue influence in the discharge of his important duties. Should the house determine in the affirmative on this resolution, it might be acted upon by h. r. h. and considering the relation that existed between his majesty and h. r. h., he did conceive that this would be greatly preferrable to any address to the king, conveying the sentiments of the house upon the subject. He concurred entirely in the opinion of his right hon. friend, that no corrupt motives could be imputed to h. r. h,; but, painful as the declaration was, it was a duty imperative upon him to state, that in the view which he had taken of the evidence, it appeared to him too clearly established, that h. r. h. had exposed himself to an undue influence. There was no occasion then for multiplying resolutions preparatory to the last; when one resolution might answer the purpose sufficiently; for it was more manly in the house to come to a direct and positive opinion at once. The first resolution therefore of his right hon. friend appeared to him quite unnecessary, as not being very material to the subject of the charge. What he should propose was, that the house should come to a resolution acquitting h. r. h. of personal corruption, but, at the same time so clearly and decidedly intimating its opinion upon the other parts of the case, that h. r. h. should feel the necessity of resigning, rather than that the parental feelings of his majesty should be disturbed by an address from that house for the removal of his own son. Every part of the case, which disclosed any ground of blame attributable to the D. of Y. might and ought to form part of this resolution. He was ready to repeat that he most fully acquitted h. r. h. of all personal corruption; but there were other parts of his con- 156 duct which called for reprehension, and would fully justify the Resolution, which it was his intention to propose. Something more in the way of censure, than the Resolutions proposed by his right hon. friend, was essentially necessary; if it were only for an admonition and example to other princes. But there was still more due to public morality. Of the whole of the latter part of the second Resolution of his right hon. friend he decidedly disapproved; because it appeared to be grounded solely on a letter lately received by that house from h. r. h., and of which letter he could not persuade himself to approve. What, was it because the D. of Y. had thought proper, in that letter, to express "regret that a connection should ever have existed, which had thus exposed his character and honour to public animadversion," that that house should express a confident expectation, as the address of his right hon. friend stated it, that, "on the expression of h. r. h.'s regret, that house was confident, that h. r. h. will keep in view the uniformly virtuous and exemplary conduct of his majesty, since the commencement of his reign, and which has endeared his majesty to all his subjects?" It was evident, from the depositions, that though nothing appeared to implicate the D. of Y. in the charges of personal corruption, yet Mrs. C. had applied to h. r. h. upon the subject of military promotions; and that, instead of being repelled, or receiving a warning not to meddle with such business in future, her applications had been most graciously attended to. If this circumstance did not, as it certainly did not, amount to a proof of personal corruption, he would ask any man whether the encouragement of such interference on the part of such a woman did not tend directly to corruption? Indeed the actual existence of this corruption had been clearly proved, and the direct interference of Mrs. C. in military promotions was most manifest from the letter respecting the application of gen. Clavering. For though his right hon. friend had endeavoured, in a very able and ingenious speech, to impress the house with an opinion, that the words of the Duke's letter to Mrs. C, referring to gen. Clavering might be, or were, merely an answer on the part of h. r. h. to an application for information with regard to the rumoured design of raising new regiments, and by no means involved any interference or request upon the subject of mili- 157 tary promotion; was it possible, he should ask, that his right hon. friend, before he attempted to inforce such an opinion, could have read the whole of the letter alluded to? What were the words quoted by his right hon. friend? His attention had been confined to this sentence, "Clavering is mistaken, my angel, in thinking that any new regiments are to be raised; it is not intended, only second battalions to existing corps." But what immediately follows? "You had better, therefore, tell him so, and that you were sure, that there would be no use in applying for him." Could any one mistake the meaning of this sentence? And after reading it could any one assert, that Mrs. C. had not interfered and exercised influence with the D. of Y. in the subject of military promotions? This letter rendered the thing obvious and glaring; and how was the army to feel under such circumstances; how were its interests, respectability and consequence consulted, when a general officer found it expedient to make an application to such a woman upon a military subject? When such an officer had done so, was it not fair to infer that others had likewise made such applications—nay, was it not in proof before the house that the fact was so? With respect to the character of the witnesses that had been brought forward, he contended, that however suspicious that character, however they might be justly accused of being at least accomplices in the crime which they professed to expose, yet when their testimony was corroborated by indisputable documents, it ought unquestionably to have its due weight. When he considered the manner in which a military subject was touched upon in the letter from the D. of Y. to Mrs. C., he could not resist the conclusion, that the letter from Mrs. C., in which this answer originated, must have contained something more than a bare inquiry whether any new regiments were or were not raising. In his opinion, it must have conveyed to the Duke Mrs. C.'s request that h. r. h. would give gen. Clavering one of those regiments which she presumed were about to be raised. Was not this a decisive proof of the existence of her influence? If this influence was not notorious, what could have induced a gentleman of gen. Clarering's situation and professional rank to apply to Mrs. C, for the purpose of furthering his advancement? Another proof of the existence of that influence, or what was 158 almost as bad, of the general belief, that such influence did exist, was the circumstance of Dr. O'Meara having applied for her interference on his behalf. How could either of these gentlemen have thought of applying to Mrs. C., if the fact of her possessing influence were not notorious, and how could that have became matter of notoriety, if there had not been some sufficient ground for presuming it? This, therefore, was a proof of the existence of such influence, against which it was impossible for the house to shut its ayes. Having formed a connection with such a worthless woman, it was not surprising that h. r. h. should by degress allow her to posses an influence over him which was certainly unjustifiable. The right hon. gent, then alluded to the testimony of Miss Taylor, which he considered as affording proof of Mrs. C's influence over the D. of Y. He next proceeded to take a view of the case of major Tonyn, as it substantiated the existence of influence, and here took occasion to express his conviction that the note, which had given rise to so much discussion, was the handwriting of the D. of Y. The name of major Tonyn was in this note correctly spelled; whereas in all Mrs. C.'s notes, the name had been spelled with an I, even down to the time of major Tonyn being gazetted. But a considerable degree of the impression created by that note must be done away, when it was known that that officer had various sorts of business at the Horse Guards, and that Mrs. C. was often applied to, merely to give information of what progress had been made in transactions connected with that office, through her connection with the Duke. On the case of Samuel Carter, he was not desirous of pressing inquiry. It was a generous transaction on the part of h. r. h. and Mrs. C, and ha would only observe, that it was unlikely that lieut. Sutton's recommendation, four years previous to his obtaining the commission, was the cause of his appointment. From all the circumstances, he conceived that it mast be evident to the mind of every man, that there had been a constant influence acting upon h. r. h., which in many instances had decided his conduct, and was to a certain extent prejudicial to the interest of the army. This was a part of the case not touched either in the Address of the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle), or in the Resolutions of his right hon. friend (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), which many would think 159 not the least important in this matter. Disapproving therefore as he did of the original motion and of the amendment, both in point of form and substance, he should think it his duty, unless some other gentleman took the matter up in the light in which he viewed it, to propose other terms for the house, expressing its sentiments in a manner more consistent with the circumstances of the case, and more congenial to the feelings of the illustrious personage under whom the army had flourished for many years. Without intruding his proposition at present, however, he should only suggest what he thought would be most proper upon such an occasion; namely; "That, while this house acknowledges the beneficent efforts of the regulations adopted and acted upon by his royal highness in the general discharge of his duties as Commander in Chief, it has observed with the deepest regret, that in consequence of a connection the most immoral and unbecoming, a communication on official subjects, and an interference in the distribution of military appointments and promotions, has been allowed to exist, which could not but lead to discredit the official administration of his royal highness, and to give colour and effect, as they have actually done, to transactions the most criminal and disgraceful."
§ Mr. Whitbread.
—Much as it was my wish to have followed the Chancellor of the Exchequer in this debate, I am now glad that the rt. hon. gent., who last addressed you, has interposed; and that the house has had the advantage of hearing his clear and judicious statement of that part of the voluminous mass of evidence upon your table, to which he has chosen more particularly to advert. It will save you the trouble of hearing any thing from me on that head of the subject. His deductions are fair and perspicuous; his arguments sound, and such, as I think, no man can overturn. I agree entirely in the conclusions he has drawn, and think he has put the house in possession of all that can be urged in support of them.—In the speech which he concluded this evening, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has surpassed himself. I can with truth say, that, in my opinion, a better speech has never been delivered by any living member of the House of Commons. Greatly as I differ from him, on the subject now under deliberation, I could not withhold my tribute of applause, and admiration, to the talents which he 160 has displayed. If, unhappily, the D. of Y. shall fall under the censure of this house, certain I am that his misfortune will not have arisen from the want of an advocate in the administration, willing, and able to defend his cause. I confess that, at first, I was much affected by the ingenious eloquence of the right hon. gent.; but, reflection has restored the impressions, which the hearing, and consideration of the evidence, had previously made upon my mind, and those impressions I am about to submit to the house. Sir, although I have the misfortune to differ from the right hon. gentleman, respecting the Charges against the D. of Y., I am nevertheless, fully prepared to admit that he has been actuated by conscientious motives. In his speech there has been a perfect consistency with the sentiments he has uniformly maintained. I purposely make this early admission, in order that, if I should hereafter find it necessary to animadvert with severity upon any parts of that speech, it may be imputed to the nature of the subject, and not to a deficiency of respect for the intentions, or personal character of the speaker.—Sir, the right hon. gent. began, and concluded his speech, with vehement attacks on my hon. friend, the mover of the great question now before the house. I own, I was not a little surprised, to hear my hon. friend arraigned for having said, that the country, after the event of this discussion, would sit in judgment on the conduct of the House of Commons. I cannot, in that expression, discover any thing inconsistent with the spirit of our functions, or the usage of our debates. Nothing of an improper or unconstitutional interference was, I am sure, intended by ray hon. friend, in his candid and manly appeal to the people. He had a right to make it. In making it, he might justly feel great pride; and he has certainly not exceeded the bounds of his parliamentary duty. But it is singular enough, that such observations should come from the Chancellor of the Exchequer; whose administration was ushered in by a threat from his colleague, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that if the house did not support the king's ministers, an appeal should be made from it to the people. The house was not found sufficiently pliant, and the threat was carried into execution; when the people, to whom the appeal was to be made, had been by the vilest arts excited to temporary madness. Such an accusation then comes with ill grace from the 161 right hon. gent. and has no foundation in propriety or truth. The right hon. gent. also complains, that through an indecent abuse of the Liberty of the Press, garbled extracts from the evidence have been circulated and commented upon with industrious malignity in the numerous diurnal and weekly publications; that gross libels are sent forth against the I), of Y. and he still maintains that there is a plan, the object of which is, to write down the house of Brunswick, and to bring the royal family into contempt. If an3' such false libels there are, uttered in furtherance of so base a scheme, I call upon his learned Associate at his right hand (the Attorney General) to discover and bring to punishment the authors. He cannot be accused of any want of discernment, or of inactivity in his office. But, perhaps, by the word Libels, it may be intended to mark with reprobation the strictures upon the present proceedings of this house. I have read many of those strictures; in which there are, doubtless, occasional misrepresentations, some of them of a nature to be complained of by the right hon. gentleman and the supporters of the Duke of York.—Of others, I myself, and those who think the accusations against h. r. h. well founded, have equal reason to complain. Even to-morrow there may be much foul and gross misrepresentation of what I shall say this night. Such circumstances are to be lamented. Notwithstanding,—I take it to be highly beneficial that free comments should be made on our conduct. I must, however, be permitted to observe, that the right hon. gent. triumphantly forced into publicity these proceedings. The evidence has gone forth by authority. Could he expect that on a question of such vital interest, the press would be silent? or that the public would refrain from commenting on that which the house directed to be laid before it?— Sir, the right hon. gent. has answered these questions himself. He has acknowledged that nothing has occurred which leads him to repent of a choice which in a difficult case he thought it right to recommend; that the grounds of our determination will be as well known to the public as to ourselves; and that we could not have the benefit of publicity without its attendant evils. With this recapitulation of his own sentiments, I shall dismiss that part of his appeal to the feelings of his audience.— Sir, I shall here notice another passage, towards the conclusion of the speech of 162 the right hon. gent. calculated to work upon our passions. It is that in which he hinted at the practical inconvenience of removing the D. of Y. from the office of Commander in Chief.—He tells us that if the D. of Y. is removed, a species of military interregnum will be created; and we are bid to recollect, there is none other who can supply his place.—Sir, I hope we have men who can supply his place.—I hope we have many officers fit to succeed the D. of Y.—We are told in an animated enumeration of the services rendered by the D. of Y. to the army, to recollect whom it is we are proposing to remove. His attentive regard 10 the interests of the officer, and to the comfort of the soldier; the establishment of charitable institutions under his auspices, for the support and protection of the widows and orphans of those who have fallen in the service of their country, are pathetically displayed before us. The political inconvenience of having any but a member of the royal family in this high situation, whom the different changes of administration do not affect, and who, therefore, cannot be induced to sacrifice the interests of the army to party purposes, is artfully stated. Above all, we are reminded, that in voting for his removal, we vote for the degradation of a -member of the royal family: and we are told of our deep interest in upholding the character of every descendant from the throne. Sir, I am not now disposed to question the truth of the panegyric bestowed upon the Commander in Chief: the usefulness of his regulations in the army; the claim he has upon the gratitude of the officer, and the affection of the soldier or his pure administration of the patronage of the profession, as fat-as relates to politics. But these merits cannot avail him against his own acts; and must not be allowed to influence our determination in opposition to that which has been proved. I wish to uphold the character of the royal family, and should have been glad to prevent the degradation of the D. of Y.; but to attempt the latter would be vain, he has made it impossible. Moreover, I am compelled to say, that to me there appear the strongest objections to the placing any member of the royal family in a responsible employment. Such are the salutary prejudices of mankind, that it is impossible for us to treat this royal personage as we would do any other public servant.
Such is the fascination of Royalty! see 163 how its magic shield is thrown over the D. of Y.! Put out of the question for a moment the charge of connivance at corruption. Does any man think that if a tenth part of those things which by universal consent have been brought home to the D. of Y., and which the right. hon. gent. has proposed to the house to censure, had been proved upon any other subject, filling the same office, he could have retained his situation for a single hour? Would it have been endured, that any person except one of the blood royal should have remained Commander in Chief of the military force of the United Kingdom, for a moment, after the disclosure of only a few of the facts, which have been unhappily proved at your bar? Sir the state must not he left without remedy for the evils which, unredressed, would lead to its destruction. If the delinquencies of the Commander in Chief cannot be punished, for fear of degrading the D. of Y., I deem it a matter of deep regret that he was ever appointed to that office; and a conclusive argument is afforded to me, against any branch of the royal family ever in future filling a situation of public trust.—Sir, I would willingly check myself. I wish not to enter into a detail of the failings of the D. of Y. Each of us has but too many. God have mercy upon us all! But if there are, in the conduct of the D. of Y., immoralities of such a nature, as that, connected with his high station, the indulgence of them threatens to bring this country to its ruin; if the proof of such immoralities is brought before us, we must not, we cannot, shut our eyes, and say we do not see them. Having seen them, and witnessed the miserable result to which they have led, we must dismiss all inferior considerations; we have but one course to pursue.—Sir, these observations are wrung from me. I do not, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer was pleased to insinuate against the members on this side of the house, wish to catch at every thing I can find against h. r. h. Such imputation was unjustly cast upon us. We have no pleasure in detecting the faults of the D. of Y., but we owe a duty to the public, and, however painful, we must perform it. Here I am led to notice what was said by a learned gentleman, (Mr. Burton,) in the early part of this debate. His speech has been greatly extolled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. His advanced age, and judicial character, added to his unfortunate depri- 164 vation of sight, to which he himself alluded, insure attention, and give due weight, to every thing he utters in this house. He has endeavoured also to throw an artificial solemnity over the whole; by reminding us how soon, in the course of nature, he will have to appear before the last dreadful tribunal: by way of impressing upon our minds a sense of the inflexible adherence to truth with which he feels himself compelled to speak. Such warning, Sir, was superfluous. The youngest amongst us who is not guided by a consideration, that in this cause he ought to decide according to the dictates of his conscience; and that he moves under the eye of Him who sees all our actions and knows the inmost recesses of our hearts, is not likely to have his feelings sharpened as he advances in age. In the midst of life, we are in death: and many who have not numbered the years of the learned judge, may sooner than him, reach that goal to which all men are perpetually approaching. But notwithstanding his advantages, for advantages he has, as an orator in a popular assembly composed of men of liberal feelings like this; I must take leave to treat the speech of that learned gentleman, with as little ceremony as I should that of any other member. That honourable and learned gent. began his speech, by informing us, that he had a partiality for my hon. friend (Mr. Wardle,) and that his prejudices, if any, were against the D. of Y. (Murmurs of No! No!) I certainly understood the honourable and learned gentleman so to say; that he came to the consideration of this subject, with some prejudice against the D. of Y. but with great partiality for the integrity, the honour, the courage, of my honourable friend. He, good easy man, had lent too ready an ear to the reports industriously circulated against the reputation of the D. of York. He had given credit to those calumnious libels, which he had been induced to read; whether out of respect to their authors, or from the ingenuity of the performances, he has not vouchsafed to tell us; and it was only by the evidence produced at your bar, that he was happily undeceived; that he discovered his own error, and the immaculate conduct of the D. of York. Sir, I came to the question, under the same impressions as the learned judge, as far as they regard my honourable friend, of whose integrity I felt sure; but my impressions differed from his, as 165 relating to h. r. h., for I disbelieved the stories told of the Duke of York. I shall hereafter have occasion to return to the speech of the learned judge, and to examine how far prejudices and partialities have produced their usual effects upon his judgment.—Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, having delivered to us a precept not to deal in unhandsome insinuations against each other, alluding to what has passed in the course of former debates, proceeded to state that he was quite sure, that my hon. friend (Mr. Wardle) had not consulted his own manly feelings in offering his proposition to the house: that it was the production of cooler heads, of men who carry their meaning beyond that of my hon. friend, and further than they care to let him know. Insinuating, that he is under the direction of some unnamed persons. If the right hon. gent. means to say, that my hon. friend has lent himself, to further the selfish views of mischievous people, or that he himself entertains any views, other than those which an honourable man ought to entertain, and such as are unworthy of an independent member of parliament, those assertions I would venture flatly to deny.—Who are the persons he means to designate as men of cool heads, I know not. The right hon. gent. has not told us. If by mixing himself in counsel with cooler heads, was meant, that my hon. friend had in a matter of such difficulty and importance consulted men on whose ability and judgment he had reliance; it charges him with no more than his duty, and may be received as a compliment. Assuming the expression to have been ironical, it deserves the contempt of my hon. friend, notwithstanding the quarter from which it came.—As nothing, sir, was ever more interesting to the public, than this whole proceeding, and as it is essential the world should know who the conspirators are, if any there be, or rather who they are not, I shall beg leave to advert to the origin of the accusation, which I do for no other purpose, than that my hon. friend may stand on his proper ground. Sir, it is far from being matter of reproach to a member of parliament, that he asks the advice, or assistance of other members, in any business he may undertake, or to any member that he affords them, but I think it right, that the fact should appear as it really is, even in a minute particular. — It has been supposed, that in the beginning my honourable friend had advisers, whom he 166 did not chuse to bring forward, and who dared not avow themselves. Such a sup position is as unfounded, as it is unworthy of my honourable friend, and of those who have supported him. Some things were said in the earlier part of the investigation, evidently with a view to induce a disclaimer of all connection with my hon. friend, and his cause: and some advantage was attempted to be taken of him in that way, at the time when one of the charges which he exhibited against the Duke was supposed to have failed; which charge, although I do not yet assert that it is proved, bears a very different aspect from what it did on that day. I own, I then thought the whole of the charges, would ultimately amount to nothing. We had then a good deal of idle vaunting. It was said, there were persons behind the curtain, who sheltered themselves in silence. The case was deemed desperate. But the moment when the case of my hon. friend appeared desperate was not, in: my mind, the moment for me to disclaim him, or to state that I was not his adviser. The dictates of generosity forbad it. The attack which was made was unparliamentary and irregular. Sir, no member of this house has a right to call upon another of its members, to state, what share he has had, or whether he has had any share, in advising the commencement of any measure. From the manner of it, I supposed the attack was directed against me,c although, when repeatedly called upon, the right hon. gent. (Mr. Secretary Canning) who made it, did not think proper to say so. This is the fit and convenient time to say that I did not advise any part of this proceeding. It is now many years since an intimate acquaintance commenced between my hon. friend and me. Events separated us, and for nearly twenty years our intercourse had been interrupted. It was renewed in this house. Before my hon. friend gave public notice of his intentions, he called upon me, and told me the Charges he intended to produce, and stated the nature of the evidence by which they were to be supported. I frankly told him that the substance of the thing appeared to me incredible, that the testimony by which his allegations were to be made good, was of the most doubtful sort, and that there seemed to be many links deficient in the chain of proof. I warned him of the heart-burnings which the discussion of such a subject would excite; of the numerous enemies he would create; 167 and I painted to him in strong colours, the storm to which in the event of failure, he would inevitably be exposed. He was, however, resolved. Finding him so, I told him,—Since you are determined to bring forward these Charges, I shall attend in my place in the house of commons: upon, a. bare statement of the facts, I shall vote for a committee to enquire into them, and I think no man will be found to vote against it.—Such, sir, is the history of all the communication I have had with my lion, friend upon this subject, except some casual conversation on meeting him twice accidentally, in the street, of the duration of a very few minutes only. Thus ends the tale of my advice to my hon. friend, and of the share which I have taken in secret, of the assistance I have given him behind the curtain. What share in the business I have taken before the curtain, it is needless for me to say. The house has seen it. Sir, I understand, that my hon. friend, in my absence, was generous and kind enough to use expressions very flattering to me, for which I thank him; confessing at the same time, that I did for him no more than I should think myself bound to do for any other member of parliament in the same situation. My object was to see fair ploy. I mean nothing injurious to gentlemen on the other side of the house. They had their feelings as I had mine. They viewed things through one medium, I through another. My object was such as I am bound to believe theirs to have been. My endeavours are, as I am bound to suppose theirs are, directed to the attainment of justice; and through the medium of justice, of tranquillity to the public mind. There have perhaps been many occasions on which my honourable friend had a right to expect assistance from the learned members on the other side of the house, but it has not been afforded to him on any. Again, sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has alledged unmanliness of conduct against my hon. friend, for the manner in which he has thought proper to shape his address. He does not scruple to say of him, that he now flies off, that he flinches from that; with which he had, at first, the rashness to charge the D. of Y., that he shrinks from the execution of his duty, that he meanly endeavours to dispose of the whole by a measure framed with complicated ambiguity. Has he indeed done so? Has he flinched from the Charges which he has exhibited against the D. of Y.? Do the advocates of h. r. h. really think so? Does my hon. friend 168 acknowledge that he has left the Charges unproved? Does he not assert that he has now given full proof that the D. of Y. knew the transactions, in which Mrs. C. was engaged for military promotions, in the name, and under the auspices of h. r. h.? Does he not say that he has proved a direct communication from Mrs. C. to h. r. h. of the names of those whom she wished to have promoted in the army; that he promised to promote them; that they were actually promoted; and that there appeared, for some of such promotions, n* reason upon earth, except the recommendation of Mrs. C.? Does he not manfully say that these things are proved r Weil then, what objection does there lie against my hon. friend on the ground of manly conduct in debate? what would his opponents have of him? But it seems that the manner in which the address moved by my hon. friend is worded, is obnoxious to every sort of reproach. It is stated by the. learned judge to be fraught with cruelty and injustice: and the right hon. gent, has characterized it as adopted for the purpose of presenting an insidious alternative, with a view to catch the straggling votes of those, who, disbelieving the accusation, may have public or personal motives for wishing for the removal of the D. of Y. Can there be any persons, members of this house, to whom the imputation conveyed by such condemnation of the motion will apply? Upon whom has the right hon. gent. fixed his eye? Sir, I disclaim, as a supporter of the address, the motives ascribed to the mover for the construction of it, by both those learned gentlemen. I conceive, that it is highly commendable for its temperance and moderation. It conveys indeed, a direct, and clear communication to the throne, on the conduct of the D. of Y., but in language, such as I presume to think ought, upon such an occasion, to be used at the foot of the throne. It speaks of the Commander in Chief, in terms which convey no personal disrespect: and in which neither the dignity of the sovereign, nor the feelings of the father, are insulted. How whimsical are the objections urged against my hon. friend! The right hon. gent. now objects, or, affects to object, to the address, because it is not sufficiently decisive; meaning, if in this place any meaning such an expression has, that it is not sufficiently severe against h. r. h. But, if my hon. friend had adopted language less mild, I am confident we should have been told 169 of the cruelty of addressing the throne in terms unnecessarily harsh. "Could you not adopt a milder tone?" "What necessity for harsh language, the meaning would have been perfectly intelligible without it?" and such remarks would have been well applied. Sir, this is but a common-place way of meeting any proposition, however framed. It is couched in terms of mildness, and therefore is not sufficiently direct and manly. Had the false and affected manliness for which these gentlemen are now such advocates, been adopted, they might then with some shew of justice have made the outcry we should have been sure to have heard against it for its severity and harshness. I think, the language of the address now before us, is in the just medium between the extremes; it is decorous to the throne, and at the same time expressive of a determined spirit on the part of the commons. Sir, the long experience, and known parliamentary skill of the right hon. gentleman render it beneath him to talk of entrapping members into a vote for the whole of the address of my hon. friend, when they do not believe the charges of corruption brought against the D. of Y.; because the address also contains assertions relative to other parts of the conduct of h. r. h. which they think deserving of censure. I was even surprized that the learned judge should have condescended to state, that a majority might vote for this address, upon different and even contradictory grounds. How little acquaintance with parliamentary form does it require to avoid such a snare. Amend the address! leave out the parts which charge a knowledge of corrupt practices, and retain the rest! You, who think that of the corruption proved, it was possible he should be ignorant: yet agree with us in declaring that after such influence as has been unquestionably demonstrated, it is not expedient he should remain at the head of the army! Thus the Gordian-knot is untied, the snare is thus easily escaped. But, sir, it was never planted. Observe too, that the right hon. gent. has a formidable lecture ready for h. r. h. The Duke does not escape without chastisement from his hands. He wishes the house of commons gravely to submit to the throne that "under the cover of a connexion formed by h. r. h. the existence of which has caused in us the most sincere regret and concern, transactions of the most criminal and disgraceful mature have been carried on: and that an 170 opportunity has been thus afforded of coupling the name of the D. of Y. with such transactions; whereby the integrity of his conduct in the discharge of the duties of his high office has been brought into question." We are all agreed then, as to the fact thus strongly stated in the proposed address of the right hon. gent. If that be so, we say, the D. of Y. cannot, retain his office, it would be dangerous to the public that he should do so. No, says the right hon. gent., it is so, but it would be contrary to the interests of the country that he should be removed from his office. Let the house and the country judge between us. But I think I have shewn the accusation against my hon. friend on the structure of his address to be ill founded. Sir, for the whole of that address I shall vote: and I will add that few of the opinions expressed by my horn friend (Mr. Wardle) upon this matter, are substantially different from my own. I cannot disguise my conviction as a member of parliament, after having heard and most attentively considered the whole of the evidence, that the D. of Y. could not possibly be ignorant of the corruptions, which have been related by Mrs. C. at your bar. Sir, if I thought the D. of Y. innocent, I would eagerly say so, in term* as unambiguous, as I now say that I think he is guilty.—That is to a degree guilty—I say to a degree guilty; for there are in my estimation many shades of difference, and many degrees of guilt. The monstrous doctrine of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that in point of moral turpitude, personal corruption, or connivance at corruption, are the same thing, and especially in this case, needs but to be stated to be exposed. It is a fallacy, which must have been thrown out to mislead us; to the consideration of which I shall hereafter return. Sir, I feel no disposition whatever to respect the veil of sanctity, which, as a last resource, the right hon. gent. has made a faint attempt to throw over the royal Duke. The question of Prerogative was slightly hinted at, but instantly abandoned. Another objection, however, has been urged in a shape as formidable as it could be made to assume, which, (if attended to) would go the length of precluding us from voting any censure against the D. of Y., whatever may be our impressions as to his delinquency. We are warned against voting this address relative to the D. of York, because he may eventually ascend the throne: And upon 171 this possible contingency, the Chancellor of the Exchequer dwelt at great length. He painted to us the evils to be expected, from the degradation of a character, to whom we might hereafter be bound to look up as our sovereign. I think after what has been shewn, there is no way left for the restoration of the character of the D. of Y., but through his submission to the censure of the House of Commons. Through that ordeal he must pass. Then indeed if the event alluded to should take place, the clouds of these days, so far from obscuring, may add lustre to his reign. He who ascended the throne after having incurred the censure of the representatives of the people, would by his submission to that censure have recognized the power of that tribunal, to which the people of the British empire can appeal in case of any extraordinary emergency—he would have felt that in England, all that is connected with royalty, is subject to the law, and not above it—that the eventual heir to the throne has no exemption from those penalties, which attach upon him, as upon the most obscure inhabitant of the realm. —If by the dispensations of Providence it should hereafter happen that the IX of Y, should rule over this people, it may be well for him, and for us, that in the school of adversity he should have been taught the lessons of temperance and wisdom. Then may he rise, as many of illustrious birth and character have done before him, purified and greater by misfortune: better qualified for the discharge of the important duties he would have to perform. —Sir, I cannot be led astray from my duty, by such a consideration, however specious, and however dextrously urged. — Sir, I have been compelled to dwell at considerable length, upon the general topics urged by the right honourable gentleman and the learned judge, and something more remains to be done before I go into an examination of the particular cases: but I will not apologize, for the question is of the first magnitude. It is no less than a question upon the life and death of the character of the D. of York. Were we to be guided by the same rules which the learned judge has thought proper to lay down for the direction of his own mind, and the detail of which, for the benefit of others, he considered the most useful service he could render to the house, we should be reduced to a very7 strange situation. After having employed some weeks in the examination of 172 witnesses with great assiduity and perseverance, he calls upon us to discard the testimony of every one in the least material. Much of that testimony, the learned gent. has informed us, ought not to have been received, and he has given us the reasons why he did not stop it at the time. Indeed, sir, I think-that the evidence of every material witness must be blotted out, before we can vote for the resolution of acquittal proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I cannot consent to part with them, upon the mere authority of the learned gent., however much I may be inclined to respect it. The doctrine laid down by the learned judge, (whose dicta the Chancellor of the Exchequer leant upon, without affording much additional support to them, from his own legal stores) on the subject of the testimony of accomplices, was pushed to an extent infinitely beyond the opinions of the most eminent men of the profession, as far as my very limited information goes. I dare say the learned-judge has always acted in his own court upon the rules he has in this debate propounded to us, and the unconfirmed evidence of an accomplice in a crime, has never, I am sure, by him, been left to a jury; but if what the learned gent, has asserted to be his practice, had generally prevailed, many murders would have gone un punished; the real perpetrators of which have now suffered for their crimes. The unconfirmed testimony of an accomplice, even according to the practice of the courts, where stricter rules are adhered to, than are consistent with the usage, or would be beneficial in the proceedings, of this house; and in cases of capital offences too, is left to a jury, with such observations only, as the particular circumstances of the case may demand from the bench. We cannot, then, strike out the evidence of any witness who has appeared at your bar, merely because that witness is an accomplice. But the principal witness, Mrs. C. in whom, if there be a scintilla of truth, the D. of Y. is allowed to be guilty, is a woman of infamous character, and therefore she is not to be credited. The learned judge has carried it so far, (and the Chancellor of the Exchequer is very little behind him), as to assert, that she is of a class which makes her society contamination. Sir, I, for one, cannot admit of this sweeping disqualification of witnesses by classes. It is as barbarous, as it is extravagant. To what length would it lead 173 us? Shall we, an assembly of men, sitting in judgment upon a cause submitted to our decision, (in the conscious purity, I suppose, of our own lives, in the very point which is to operate the incapacity of unhappy women), decide, that because a woman has sacrificed the distinguishing virtue of the female sex, she has therefore forfeited all pretensions to credit? How base and unworthy a decision should we thus make? Sir, I need hardly call to your recollection, the illustration given by the Spectator of the general injustice of men towards the weaker sex; of the licentious freedom with which they treat the female character, and of their grounds of retaliation, if they had but the same means of giving them vent. The reply of the lion to the sculptor carries too keen an edge, I think, not to have been felt by every man who reads it. Of the treatment of those wretched outcasts from all the dignity, the ties, the comforts and endearments of social life, whom men first pretend to worship, then ruin, and then hold in contempt and abomination, I cannot speak in terms sufficiently strong to express my sense of its grievous injustice, or of their hard fate, and deplorable wretchedness. Shall we add to their miseries, the overwhelming disgrace of a total incapacity to utter truth? If the case were reversed, and they were to sit in judgment on men; which of them would not be able to convict some one man of perjury, of the basest and most detestable kind? But we all demand to be believed upon our oaths; aye, and upon our honours too. True it is, from step to step some prostitutes are led to such a total depravation of the moral sense, that their powers of distinguishing between truth and falshood are utterly extinguished, and from the circumstance of their initiation in one vice, they become capable of all. Let us recollect, however, that we have had examples of great depravity exhibited before us from other descriptions of witnesses. That the conviction of depravity in one, or more than one, of a particular class or profession, does not disqualify the whole of that body. If it did, I fear that Captains would fare ill hereafter in courts of justice, fur we have capt. Sandon now confined in Newgate expiating the offence of his gross prevarication at your bar. Alas, sir, could we believe even General Officers, if the fault of one were to disqualify all? Gen. Clavering we cannot be- 174 lieve, and if bound by the rules of impartial justice, because we cannot believe him, he must be sent to Newgate also. Chastity is a great virtue, but there is a commandment as binding as the one which imposes the obligation of chastity, wherein it is said, "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour." Sir, there is nothing in the character of the life led by Mrs. C. which disqualifies her as a witness in a court of justice. In cases of property, witnesses of her description have often given decisive testimony. There happens to be a remarkable instance which but lately occurred in the courts below, where two decisions were given in the case of a will, upon the sole testimony of such a witness; and her veracity was not then questioned, nor has it since been impeached*. The instances are innumerable wherein convicts have suffered death on the sole testimony of witnesses of a lower degree, and of more dissolute lives. Mrs. Clarke then, Sir, appears to me, to be a witness, whose testimony must have weight, although she is stiled an accomplice, and although she has led a dissolute life. It is not for either of those two reasons that you can strike your pen through the evidence she has delivered. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has boldly stated, that in the whole course of his professional life, he never met with a witness so wholly unworthy of credit as Mrs. C.; and, having made as much as he could of the general disqualifying circumstances which, he says, attend her, he has recourse to her palpable contradictions and detected falsehoods. That she is open to the imputation of self-contradiction, and detected falsehood, I am not prepared to deny; but, that those falsehoods and contradictions leave her without a spark of credibility, I do deny; and that her evidence upon oath, in a court of justice, would be received, I firmly believe. As to her contradictions. Let us have some feeling of justice towards her in a situation so difficult, as to have obtained indulgence for all the persons who have ever been placed in it. Did any witness, with the most upright intentions, fortified by the habits of business, and possessed of the greatest ability, ever go through a long examination at, the bar, amidst the numerous, desultory,*Mr. Whitbread is supposed to have alluded to the evidence of Mrs. Carey, taken in two on the will of Mr. Smith Owen.175 irrelevant, and perplexing questions, which are perpetually asked, with perfect accuracy and consistency, without one slip or one contradiction? Sir, the thing is, I believe, impossible. To demonstrate it to be so, I need only say, that it has not happened to col. Gordon himself. But in all other cases allowance is made. Some witnesses are permitted to explain or correct their evidence; for others, a liberal construction is put by the house upon inconsistencies which, under such circumstances, are excusable; if not of that grave and wilful cast to call for punishment, (none fell upon Mrs. Clarke). For her no allowance is to be made. She had united, for her discomfiture, the first legal talents, and the greatest authority of the house; and every slip, in the course of an examination of extreme length and severity, is to be noted down as destructive of her credibility. Sir, this proves too much, and therefore is good for nothing. I shall hereafter examine the particular contradictions, and the nature of the falsehoods, in which she has been detected. The accidental introduction of colonel Gordon's name in this part of my speech, leads me to notice a glaring mistake into which the learned gent, has fallen. When stating the presumptions in favour of the D. of Y., he told us, that he could not have been in the remotest degree acquainted with the foul transactions going on; for he had fenced himself round against malpractices, by such characters as Brownrigg and Lorraine, and by the adoption of Gordon, as his bosom friend and the observer of all his actions.—Sir, the learned gent, must excuse me. Such is not the state of the case. Col. Gordon does not appear to have been the bosom friend of the D. of Y. He was officially employed by the D. of Y., and a better officer was never appointed to any situation. Unhappily he was not the depository of the secrets of the Duke; if he had, there would have been none such as we have heard, to be divulged. Sir, the house will recollect, that the truth of all the transactions imputed to his royal highness is consistent with the most perfect official regularity. Nay, it was almost necessary to the scheme, if such a scheme existed. It would, indeed, have been an act of inconceivable insanity for the Commander in Chief to have attempted such practices at the Horse-Guards. No, sir, it is not at the Horse-Guards nor at home, nor under the eye of col. Gordon; but abroad, at the house of Mrs. C, before 176 the matters came to the office, that this scene of corruption is laid, and with a studious and successful endeavour to elude the vigilance of all official persons. Again, the right hon. gent, insists, that Mrs. C. is not to be believed because she comes here, urged by sentiments of rancour, hatred and malice, against the D. of Y., because she is irritated by his desertion of her, because she threatened to expose him upon his non-compliance with her terms, and finally because she has brought him here for the purpose of exposing him. Sir, if my belief of her, is to depend upon my opinion that the assertions I have just quoted, are well founded or otherwise, I should be compelled to believe, because I do not find a solid foundation for any one of them. First, Sir, I deny that there has appeared, in the examination of Mrs. Clarke at the bar of this house, any symptoms of a deep-laid plan of revenge. It would not indeed be very extraordinary, if Mrs. Clarke, should be actuated by strong feelings of resentment; for upon the case disclosed, the conduct of the D. of Y. in withholding from her the annuity he had promised her, does not appear to me to be justified by any conduct of hers, and is far from creditable to him. I have formed my opinion on this matter not upon the statement of Mrs. C. alone; but upon that statement confirmed by the evidence of Mr. Lowten and Mr. Wilkinson, who were called to prove, what had been communicated to the house by my hon. friend Mr. Adam, for whom I have the highest respect, but who in fact did not quite make good all that he had been led to believe was true. I agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the annuity ought to have been given unconditionally, and that the amount of it ought to have been more liberal. I see- no pretence for the non-payment of it. It is not proved to us that she used the D. of Y.'s name for the purpose of obtaining money after their separation. Even if she had, I should have thought it a harsh measure, to have punished her by depriving her of the only means she had of subsistence; which punishment at the same time would have been wholly ineffectual to its purpose, or indeed must have counteracted it. But the penalty was never incurred, for it is not proved that she acted at any time incorrectly, according to the interpretation of the word given by my learned friend. Be that as it may, I deny that the irritation produced in her mind by this natural cause of re- 177 sentment against the Duke, is such as ought to make us incredulous of what she says. In the next place I do not agree with the right hon. gent. that she has threatened to expose h. r. h. for the purpose of extorting money from him. True it is, that driven to great pecuniary distress, she did inform my learned friend Mr. Adam, that she should be under the necessity of having recourse to the means which were in her power to obtain a supply. Sir, I refer to the letter addressed by Mrs. C. to Mr. Adam of the 19th June 1808. I protest, I see nothing in that letter which can justify the expression applied to it by the right hon. gentleman. Her repeated applications to the D. of Y. had failed; three quarters only of her miserable pittance had been paid. She was then compelled to solicit, for that is the expression, of h. r. h., the payment of the arrear due, and a security for the future payments. She states her necessities to be very pressing, and that the Duke knows them to be so. She adds that if he refuses, she has no other mode, of supplying her immediate wants, than to publish all the circumstances of their connexion. At the same time she expresses the strongest wish that her request may be complied with, both for his sake and her own. Not receiving any answer to this letter, she was induced to write another, couched in stronger terms than the former, still alledging the strong temptation of her poverty, still praying not to be driven to extremities; but by no means amounting to that style of menace which ought to induce us to discredit her. The solution of all this is simple and easy, without having recourse to the existence of those deep-laid plans which are represented as intended finally to produce the exposure of these unhappy transactions at your bar. Sir, the persons best acquainted with Mrs. C. were also acquainted with her distresses, and with the connexion which had so long subsisted between her and the Duke, and must have known her to be possessed of materials, which if wrought into a publication, would produce a considerable sum of money? Was it not natural they should suggest to her such a step for her convenience, and their own? Was it not probable that the fact of her having such documents should be rapidly conveyed from mouth to mouth, till at last it would come to the knowledge of persons who would make her considerable offers? Was not the 178 temptation in that case strong? and are the terms in which the existence of that temptation was communicated, (in candour left me ask it?) are those terms so highly offensive, and of such a menacing nature as they are represented to be? I contend they are not. Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us that it was quite impossible for the Duke to comply with Mrs. Clarke's request, that if he had done so, he would have exposed himself to conclusions, most injurious to his reputation. Sir, again I differ from the right hon. gentleman. I think that the D. of Y., if he had been well advised, would have complied with her just request. Nay, sir, the pledge of his word could alone be redeemed by his so doing. Her claim upon him has been talked of. She made no claim. He had voluntarily offered the annuity. It is preposterous to say, that the refusal of the D. of Y. to accede to the terms proposed, is a conclusive proof of his innocence. Sir, again the proof goes too far. I would ask of any man who hears me, whether, putting out of the question all connivance at corruption, or any letters or documents from which it may be inferred, would he not have given a large sum to have stifled the publication of such trash as has been read at your table. But trash as it is, it was money's worth. Sir, I own, that he who would risk such an exposure, might in my opinion possibly have risked much more, from negligence, inattention, or in the confidence that she would not have the courage to publish.
I wish, sir, that the annuity had been paid with all my heart. It ought to have been paid. The painful exhibition we have witnessed would then have been spared. You, sir, would have been spared the trouble of listening to the reasoning, upon which I build my conviction of the guilt of the D. of Y. The house would have been spared the shame, and the public the disgust, too fatally attending this whole proceeding.
Irritated as she must have been, reasonably irritated, against the D. of Y., did she preserve the materials with care, by which alone she could have carried her plans into execution? Would she, in that case, have given her letters in heaps to the landlord of the house where she lodged, to have been burned? some of them have been preserved in an extraordinary manner, and were produced, not by herself, but against her; nevertheless, confirming many of 179 those parts of her evidence, which appeared the most improbable and extravagant.
Sir, I do not find, in the evidence which she delivered at the bar, any indications of such feelings of vengeance. Did she immediately and eagerly produce the fatal manuscripts of the royal Duke, which are now recorded upon the Minutes of evidence? Did not a circumstance of a most important nature intervene, between the first examination of Mrs. C. and the production of those letters? Had not gen. Clavering voluntarily appeared at the bar, for the avowed purpose of impeaching her credibility? This witness introduced himself to the house, by a formal application to the Attorney General; stating that he had something of great moment to communicate. We were all anxious to know what this communication, could be No one doubted, but that its effect would be the destruction of Mrs. Clarke as a witness. It very soon appeared to the house, that the General had not very correct ideas of the nature of evidence, and that the ground, upon which he attempted to impeach her credibility by the assertion she had made to him relative to her living with a Mr. Mellish, was not tenable. But he flatly contradicted her, as to his canvassing some members of parliament at her instance, to vote for a particular measure; and he asserted, with the greatest solemnity, that he never was acquainted with any person, who ever asked Mrs. C. to use her influence with the Commander in Chief, on the subject of army promotions.
It has been well stated by an honourable member, that he who ventures to impeach the testimony of another, should himself come with clean hands. That gen. Clavering came with clean hands all must have agreed; and although, when scrutinized, his evidence amounted to nothing in point of falsifying the testimony of Mrs. C., the language of the hour was, that general Clavering had thrown discredit upon her; the prevailing opinion in the house, the triumphant statement of the friends of the D. of Y. was, that after such an attack on the part of a person of high honour and consideration, who had been acquainted with her for some years, no faith could be given to any thing she said.
Then, and not till then, did Mrs. C. produce the letter from the D. of Y., which mentions the name-of gen. Clavering, and disproves the assertion he had made at your bar. Then, and not tilt then, did she 180 tell the story of her having made an application to the Commander in Chief, on the behalf of that very man, who had officiously presented himself to impeach her credibility, whilst she had in her power the means by which she afterwards proved, that he, and not herself, had given false witness. Then, and not till then, did she produce under the D. of Y.'s hand-writing, a confirmation of the improbable tale she had related, about the recommendation of Dr. O'Meara to a bishopric. Who for a single moment believed that story when it was first told? Who did not treat it as a fiction of her own brain, a pure romance? Who could have believed that she could have produced a letter written by the Commander in Chief, to shew that a clergyman of the established church, of dignity sufficient to aspire to the mitre, had placed himself under the protection of Mrs. Clarke, and that h. r. h. had condescended to assist the views of that reverend divine upon her recommendation? that she could produce a document signed by the archbishop of Tuam, (not indeed addressed to her, but to Dr. O'Meara himself) genuine however and undisputed? Sir, if the plans of vengeance ascribed to her by the right honourable gentleman had been so deeply laid as he contends they were, if she had been actuated by that deadly hatred and malice which he has so forcibly pourtrayed, if she had brought the D. of Y. here for the purpose of exposing him, would not these letters have been put in front of the battle? Would she have waited till gen. Clavering had awakened her recollection to their existence; till it became necessary to expose to the world which was the false witness? till it became necessary to shew that the circumstance of a clergyman asking, receiving, and finding effectual to a certain extent, her protection, was no romantic tale, but a simple narrative of a fact? Sir, I have seen no traces in her conduct, either in her applications to my learned friend Mr. Adam, in her examination in chief, or in her cross-examination, which lead me to disbelieve her because she acts under the baneful influence of the passions imputed to her. True it is, that when from the hoards of Mr. Nicholls, whom the learned judge has considered the sheet anchor of testimony, but who appears to me dishonestly to have retained letters committed to his servant, for the express purpose of being destroyed, and under the implied engagement that they 181 should be destroyed; and who afterwards unjustly withheld from her the property which he had thus fraudulently obtained; when from the hoards of Mr. Nicholls, and amongst the number of those letters which had been thus accidentally preserved, there did appear recorded in the hand-writing of gen. Clavering, in characters as black as Erebus, a further condemnation of that witness, and another conclusive contradiction of the evidence which he had given, a smile of satisfaction did overspread her countenance: and if she was gratified by this complete over- throw of her adversary; by the detection of one who, she thought, owed her something of kindness and had repaid her with ingratitude, who, in his attempts to destroy her, had so egregiously duped himself; I own for one, I can forgive it. I can pardon the emotion of pleasure which I perceived, and do not ascribe it to any other than the uncontroulable impulse of our nature. To gen. Clavering is to be attributed, and to his interference, the disclosure of some of the circumstances which bear the hardest upon the D. of Y.; and he came before you to impose his own statements upon the house under the mask of exposing the falsehoods of others. Sir the right hon. gent. has been induced to confess, (what was sufficiently obvious,) that Mrs. Clarke completely foiled all her examiners. The right hon. gent. has endeavoured to account for the fact, in a manner which is not satisfactory to me. He has told us, in terms which I am not inclined to contradict, of her sarcastic insolence, and playful pleasantry, her general cleverness and versatility, her art and trick in answering those questions which she chose to answer, her dexterity in evading others, and misleading the examiner, and of her unblushing effrontery. This I acknowledge to be a true representation, as far as it goes. Added to all this, she displayed a great deal of firmness and consistency; and there we shall find the true solution of her success, his failure, and that of his learned colleagues. Am I to be gravely told that an examination, conducted by the persons of the nation selected, as it is presumed, because their natural abilities and their acquirements are superior to those of other men (the present Attorney General and the Chancellor of the Exchequer who was lately Attorney General, assisted by a corps-de-reserve, to give advice, and to step forth upon an emergency, with nume- 182 rous watchers to take up every slip or failure, and turn it to the best account,) against an unlearned woman, submitted to the process of examination, cross-examination, and reexamination, at various times, for hours together; incurring the displeasure of the house, ordered out on a sudden, and on a sudden recalled, and immediately proceeded with; ending with the humiliating confession, "She has baffled us all." Am I to be told, that this examination has failed through the art, dexterity, pertness, wit, and playfulness of the witness? Sir, I must ascribe such success, and such discomfiture, to other causes. I cannot be persuaded that any thing, but a foundation of truth, could have supported Mrs. C. against the combination of talents, experience, and power, arrayed against her. I have no faith in the dexterity of witnesses; nor do I believe it possible, that address can prevail against acuteness, when unsupported by the truth. Sir, I have seen many an artful, dexterous witness overthrown; and I would rather risk the success of a cause upon the evidence of the dullest witness ever exhibited, intending to speak the truth, in defiance of the most acute examiners; than upon the ingenuity of the most dexterous witness that ever appeared in court with a contrary intention. I will not pay so ill a compliment to the learned gentleman, hi* associates, or to the right hon. gent. himself, as to accede to his position. They have not been all defeated by the superior ability of their frail antagonist. Sir, concurring in some part of the censure upon the witness, I think some indulgence also may be extended to her. Her sex, the novel situation in which she was placed, the extraordinary and interesting scene; herself the object of the eager curiosity of every eye in the house, are all to be taken into consideration. If some flippancy at the beginning produced a great deal of mirth, was it extraordinary, that she should persevere in a course which had produced that effect? The house must take some share of the blame. If hon. members would indulge in merriment, they could only expect a continuance of the display which had excited it. It was not to be expected, that questions asked in the midst of laughter should be answered with that steadiness and decorum, which the witness was afterwards, inconsistently enough, reminded, was demanded by the dignity of this house. Sir, I believe I have drawn a true picture of the levity of 183 the witness and of the conduct of the house; however reprehensible that conduct now appears. Sir, the learned judge has said, that, upon hearing the evidence read to him, he has discovered, and caused to be noted down, no less than twenty-eight contradictions of assertions made by Mrs. Clarke, by herself, and by other unimpeached witnesses. The learned gent. however, named only a very few of those contradictions; the remainder he has, as he informed us, in his pocket. I have not had the benefit of seeing them. I am therefore quite unable to discuss them. But it is fair and candid to suppose, that the learned gent. has put forward those which made the strongest impression upon his mind, and appeared to him of the greatest value. I will examine them. They amount to this, that Mrs. C. having been asked, whether she ever passed herself for a widow, or for the wife of Mr. Dowler, flatly denies that she ever did so: in which she is contradicted by different respectable witnesses. By whom is her testimony upon these points impeached? By witnesses who are all unimpeachable? By no means. Unless the being called on the part of the D. of Y, can purge off all impurities, and impart veracity and integrity. First, I will consider the evidence of that tremendous witness, Mr. Nicholls, upon whom so much stress has been laid! Before I agree in the opinion expressed of his purity, I must revert to the manner in which he became possessed of the letters which he produced; and to the fact, that, having possessed himself of them in the clandestine manner proved upon him, he dared refuse to give them up to the right owner? He knew they were sent down to be burnt. He knew their contents; for he had read them after the investigation began. He knew that they affected the character of Mrs. C. and were material to her support. According to the evidence given by Mr. Lowten, he trusted him, Mr. Lowten, with a slight examination of the letters, which Circumstance he did not mention himself. Now, sir, after such conduct, I cannot assent to the perfect purity of Mr. Nicholls.
Does he prove what the learned judge asserts, that Mrs. C. made him believe that she was married to Mr. Dowler? There is a positive contradiction to his own testimony out of his own mouth, as to his belief of her being the wife of Mr. Dowler, because he has stated, that he never applied to Mr. Dowler for the satisfaction of his debt. We must not forget the 184 acute question put by my noble friend with which that part of the examination was closed: "Did you ever apply to Mr. Dowler for the satisfaction of your debt?" and the short conclusive answer "Never." Sir, when Mr. Nicholls has so positively contradicted himself, by such an avowal, I must be excused for not laying very great stress on the parts of his evidence, which go to the contradiction of another witness; especially when I consider that amongst all the letters, found in his possession and elsewhere, there is not a single scrap of paper addressed to her under the name of Dowler, and that Nicholls himself says she never was called, or Went by the name of Dowler.
In corroboration of the evidence of Mr. Nicholls, (which was quite needful,) we have the master and the waiter of Reid's hotel, who tell you that for the purpose of meeting together at that hotel, Mrs. C. pretended to be, and was supposed by Mr. Reid and his servant to be the wife of Dowler; and that he should not otherwise have suffered her to come into his house. Upon a review of the conduct of Nicholls, respecting the letters of Mrs. Clarke; I am not uncharitable in doubting, whether she ever told him she was a widow. That he did not believe her to be Mr. Dowler's wife, he has convinced us. As to what passed at Reid's Hotel, when the question is, whether we shall or shall not believe Mrs. C, it amounts in my mind absolutely to nothing. I am speaking only for myself, other gentlemen have a right to think differently from me, but if this were a case of life and death, I should leave this sort of contradiction wholly out of my mind, So help me God! Sir, I perceive marks of surprize in the countenances, and I hear it testified by the acclamations of the gentlemen on the other side of the house, at what I have now said. I am speaking only for myself, and showing how my mind has been, brought to the belief of the facts alledged. I will repeat the sentiment: and I declare, that the evidence given by Nicholls, Reid, and his waiter, all put together, would not weigh one feather with me, in a case of life and death, towards inducing me to disbelieve the testimony of Mrs. Clarke. Let us for the sake of common sense, common candour, and common honesty, call to our remembrance the earlier period of our to how many will it have occurred to have made a wife by name, of her who was no wife at all? 185 We really ought to dispose of that point, by the bare recollection of past scenes, and the wanderings of our youthful days.
As to the evidence of Mr. Few the auctioneer, the learned judge did not lay much stress upon it. Mr. Few told us, that in ordering some goods Mrs. C. talked of her late husband, and that her servant had once told him, upon his perceiving a cocked hat on the sopha, in her house, that her mistress was a gay young widow, and had lately been at a masquerade. Mr. Few not having been paid punctually, pursued her with great acrimony, he advertised and exposed her; but finally, she did, notwithstanding her coverture, satisfy his demand. Again I say, if this were a case of life and death, I would not discard the testimony of Mrs. C, upon the evidence of Mr. Few. Mrs. Clarke acknowledged that she had in moments of levity called herself a widow, and that she had once represented herself to be so to a Mr. Sutton at a court martial. Mr. Sutton was called to prove that she had sworn she was a widow. That attempt failed. Mr. Sutton's evidence did not even go so far as her own statement. She said she had represented herself as a widow. He did not re-collect that she so described herself. He rather thinks Mr. Smithies her solicitor so described her, but he is quite sure, and indeed the minutes of the court martial, where Mr. Sutton acted as deputy judge advocate, shew it, that she did not swear that she was a widow., and that no question was ever put to her, whether she was a widow or a wife. Here the whole of the case rested on the part of the learned gentleman; and from the testimony which I have examined, he told us, Mrs. C. had been so contradicted, that she was not worthy of belief. Let the house determine with what justice.
Sir, the situation of those who have heard the evidence delivered vivâ voce by the witnesses, differs materially from the situation of such as have only had the opportunity of reading it. The demeanour of a witness, and the manner in which the evidence is delivered, may fairly be taken as a part of the evidence itself. The manner and demeanour of examiners must also be taken into the account. Harrassing peevishness on the one side, may beget corresponding feelings on the other, and witnesses may be sometimes taunted and provoked into answers, which a cool by stander may think improper, but of which the full advantage sought, ought not to be 186 allowed to those who have questioned them. I was led to the observation upon the advantage possessed by the hearers, over the readers of evidence from a re-collection of that part of the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, wherein he dwelt upon the contradiction given to Mrs. C, relative to the condition in life of her husband, by Mr. Stowers.
I ought to apologize to the right hon. gent, for having interrupted him, and given him the trouble to read the whole of that evidence through. But the impression upon me, that Stowers intended to apply his answer, to the last question proposed to him, "You know nothing about the matter of your own knowledge?" "I do not," to the whole of his previous examination, was so strong, that I could not resist it. I admit that, had I simply read the minutes, I might have supposed, the question and answer cited, referred exclusively to the period of her having parted with her husband. So I must leave it. Myself persuaded that the answer of Stowers referred to the whole of his evidence; but admitting that, as it stands, the words may be limited to a part of it only; that the condition in life of Mrs. C.'s husband has, in itself, nothing to do with the question, is clear. Let it be recollected too, that in all her answers to that point, she spoke with much guard, and qualified them by a reference to what he had told her.
Of all the attempts made to contradict Mrs. C, winch I have enumerated, none appear to mo, to have been successful. Some of them have triumphantly established her most doubtful, and improbable assertions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, after stating the more general contradictions to the assertions made by Mrs. Clarke, has dwelt at considerable length and with great force upon the contradictions which are given to her repeated affirmations, that she did not desire the transactions in which she engaged, to be kept secret from the D. of Y.; and in the case of Brooke and Knight, the right hon. gent. finds two or three witnesses who flatly contradict her on this point. The right hon. gent, admits that my hon. friend, who spoke immediately after the learned judge in this debate, (Mr. Curwen) has made a very fair remark. I think the remark fair, and the argument which arises out of it, unanswerable. It is this. Such injunctions to secrecy were utterly inconsistent with the story which she 187 told to these persons, of her being able to obtain the favours for which they paid her, by means of her influence over the D. of Y. only; and that to pretend that all this must be kept from the D. of Y., was to mar her own plot, and to declare her own inability to perform her engagements. The right hon. gent. has not been able to get over that remark. After all the labour he has bestowed upon it, it remains in the force it originally possessed: proving that the witnesses cited by the right hon. gent. must have mistaken general injunctions of secrecy, for such particular cautions respecting the Duke himself, as the words did not imply. Dr. Thynne tells you that she talked a great deal about secrecy, and the danger of the affair transpiring. "Whether she meant the secret to be kept from the D. of Y. as well as the rest of the world, Dr. Thynne says is, to him, mere matter of surmise. Mr. Knight says that Mrs. C. expressly told him that she had applied to the D. of Y., on behalf of his brother, and as expressly tells us, that she wished the matter to be kept a secret, lest it should come to the ears of the Duke of York. The influence exercised over the D. of Y., nay, a conspiracy with the D. of Y. for corrupt purposes, is quite compatible with the injunction of secrecy, to which evidence has been given. Mrs. C. never could have suspected that any person with whom she trafficked, would be so simple as to go to the D. of Y., and thank him personally for favours purchased of her. Supposing, for one moment, that the D. of Y. could so far have degraded himself as to enter into a league with Mrs. C. for such bad purposes, would not the first injunction given by him have been, "Take care whom you recommend; and above all see that you can be sure of the secrecy of the parties: for if it should once transpire, that such things are done, the whole will be at an end, and we must be ruined." It was most improbable that Mr. Knight should address the Duke, and thank him for having, at the instance of his mistress, promoted the interest of his brother: but it was not improbable, that without such injunction of secrecy, the thing might be talked of, and come round in the most unpleasant manner to the ears of the D. of Y.: and if it did come round to the ears of the D. of Y., it is pretty evident, that it would be known to Gordon and others, and that it would be impossible to continue the traffic. The whole therefore is consistent. There is no necessity for discarding 188 one part of the evidence, to give value to the other. It all hangs together. The right hon. gent, has truly stated that Corri, and his wife, Hovendon and Sandon, all speak to this point. Corri particularly says, that about the month of July 1804, there was a great noise, that Mrs. C. desired he would burn all his papers; alledging that the Duke was closely watched by Green-wood and Gordon. Mrs. C. states a conversation (pretended if you please) to have taken place between herself, and the D. of Y., respecting a person "who had only played with her, and come to her for the purpose of making a talk." She admits, that she did desire Corri to burn all his papers, and might have said that the Duke was angry with her for being incautious. No deduction can be more absurd than that the ignorance of the D. of Y. must be the consequence of the secrecy enjoined.
It has been proved, that besides the times Mrs. C. acknowledged to have seen Dowler, since his return from Portugal, she had passed the night with him at Reid's Hotel. Can it cannot be insisted upon, that the omission in her evidence of such a fact ought to be taken into our consideration. Is it surprizing, that a woman should have concealed such a meeting from the knowledge of this assembly? I will venture to say that such concealment would not operate to her discredit in any court of justice. But, the denial on the part of Mrs. C, and the equivocation of Dowler, on the subject of this interview, is to work wonders for the light hon. gent., and both these witnesses are to be destroyed at a blow. I crave a little indulgence for them both. The right hon. gent. here broke forth in a strain of indignant eloquence. "Here, said he, at last, I have discovered that midnight conspiracy, in which was engendered the foul tale of Dowler's payment to Mrs. C, of her application to the D. of Y-, and of his consequent appointment to the commissariat, of a piece with all those other conspiracies against the tranquillity and fame of h. r. h." Sir, all this is gratuitous assumption on the part of the right hon. gent., none of it is proved: and although some conversation might have passed between them, at Reid's, on the interesting topics of the day, I must suppose there were other objects in view, and that if no investigation had been on foot, the meeting would have taken place. To the credit of Mr. Dowler I shall presently speak.
189 Sir, I have detained the house thus long, labouring to set before you, in as clear light as I can, the reasons upon which I have founded my opinion, that the evidence of Mrs. C. cannot be entirely discarded, as the chancellor of the exchequer and the learned judge have contended that it ought to be. I have watched with anxious attention every step she has taken. I think I have perceived a substantial connection in the whole of her story. I have witnessed most extraordinary confirmations of her evidence from sources authentic, unexpected, and quite independent of her controul. I have said, I was moved by the parts of the eloquent pleading of the right hon. gent, last night. Since I quitted the house, every waking hour has been employed in comparing the evidence with the inferences drawn from it by those who differ in opinion from me; and the result is, not that I think Mrs. C. a witness free from suspicion, not that I think all the stories she tells ought to be credited, not that her unsupported testimony ought to go to the conviction of any person arraigned, but that there is in her a scintilla of credibility: the existence of which, with all his original prejudices, the learned judge has thought proper to deny. Whither does that lead me?—Sir, I must add, that I think the presumptions are against the Duke of York. The learned judge attempted to establish a presumption in favour of his royal highness from the circumstance of the very limited number of transactions which took place, amongst the multitude of promotions. He has used a figurative expression to illustrate his meaning. If such had been the case, said he, there never would have been any want of money. The mill might always have been set to work. Sir, the house must recollect, that the wind did not always serve. Times and opportunities were to be watched. All was to be made to correspond with the routine of office. Great stress has been laid on the evidence of col. Gordon, and nothing has been said in commendation of that hon. officer to which he is not, in my opinion, entitled. His official arrangements, his unremitting and punctual attention to his duties, his integrity and uniform correctness, I admit and admire. A more perfect system of business than that which he has devised for the office of Commander in Chief has probably never been framed; and a more firm perseverance in executing that system was never known. But col. Gordon has 190 said, in his evidence, that he was not in the habit of any confidential communication with the Duke of York, except on official business. We are told, that strict injunctions were given to recommend none but proper persons. Surely, surely, if there was a connivance on the part of the Duke of York, it would be folly to say that the vigilance of twenty Gordons might not have been eluded. One circumstance of presumption against the Duke has occurred to me within these few hours, which is of some weight. It appears, that the D. of Y. was acquainted with Mrs. C. some time before she was settled in Gloucester-place. That happened in the beginning of the year 1804. Previous to that period, we do not know that there was trafficking for a single commission. The moment that expence began, began also the shameful sale of Mrs. C.'s influence. The coincidence is remarkable, and deserves to be attended to. Allow that the Duke might, by bare possibility, be ignorant of her corrupt agreements; that he permitted her interference and influence is fatally proved. The presumption is strong that he connived at her mercenary purposes, and that presumption is founded on the daily experience of human nature. Do we not see in innumerable instances the utter impossibility of stopping when the career is once begun?
Pendens retinacula tendit,Instat equis auriga, neque audit currus habenas.Alas, there is no controul! With the unbounded affection he felt for this woman, is it not to be believed that he would have allowed her to take money from the pockets of officers for the pretended purpose of furthering or obtaining that which would have been equally done without her interference? And might he not have laid this unction to his conscience; that the service did not suffer? Supposing his connivance to such an extent, I deny that his guilt is of so deep a dye as it would have been, if he had been convicted of gross personal corruption. The right hon. gent. also, has endeavoured to build an argument upon the very small number of facts respecting which any attempt has been made to produce proof before this house; and he has asked whether it is not miraculous, admitting the connivance of the D. of Y., that no more than the few cases stated should have come to light? I would ask in return, whether it is not much more miraculous that a private individual like my hon. friend, 191 who so courageously and at such imminent hazard to himself, has charged the son of his sovereign, a man for fifteen years past Commander in Chief of the army, with all the means which his station has afforded him to form an extensive party of friends and supporters indissolubly attached to his interests, should have been able to prove one charge, than that many should have; escaped detection? What effect could a wretch arraigned at the bar of a court of justice hope to produce upon a jury, by telling them that the fact charged and proved ought not to be believed, because his opportunities of committing the same sort of offence had been numerous, and none other had been brought home to him. It never could be accepted as a defence to say, the theft of a shilling, proved upon the prisoner, is not true, because he might have stolen thousands, and he has not been detected in so doing. The single offence subjects the convict to the penalty of the law: in suffering the punishment affixed to it, all his misdeeds are expiated. From miracles, the right hon. gent. descended to possibilities. Is it possible, said he, that the D. of Y. should have so conducted himself? Time was, that I asked that question. But, we have here before us, [holding up the evidence] with sorrow and deep regret I say it, damning proof of the fact. Let me not be misunderstood. I do not believe that the D. of Y. was guilty of so base and foul a crime, as that he pocketed or coarsely partook of the wages of iniquity; but I cannot disbelieve his privity to the existence of corruption. Is it possible the D. of Y. could have defied her if he had not been conscious of his innocence? So should I have said heretofore. Extraordinary instances of blindness have since been developed. In 1808 Mrs. C. wrote to the friend of the D. of Y. soliciting the payment of her annuity, and in default declaring that she must publish. Who, that had committed even the follies proved, would not have thought an oblivion of them cheaply purchased by the payment of a stipulated annuity of 400l. a year? Yet the D. of Y. defied this publicity. A volume of nonsensical letters might have been put forth to the world, which he and his friends would afterwards have given the world to have retrieved. Yet this serious risk was incurred. Might not others more serious have been ventured?
Sir, as considerable stress had been laid upon, the profuse expence in Gloucester 192 place, and the inadequacy of the means, afforded by the D. of Y., for its supply, the right hon. gent, was provided with a statement, from authority, of the sums of money paid and the valuables furnished, by h. r. h. I do not question the accuracy of the statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but I must remark upon it, that the only effect it can have is, to confirm the testimony of Mrs. C.: for it corresponds with her account, almost to a fraction. It by no means accounts for the mode in which the expence of that establishment was defrayed, even so as to have kept it on from day to day.
The learned judge, in order to account for the insensibility displayed by the D. of Y. to the inadequacy of the supply afforded by him, when compared with the extravagant outgoing, favoured the house with au anecdote, neither curious, nor valuable. He informed us, that more than forty years ago, he was told by one of the preceptors of the young princes, that though they were quick at learning; though it was easy to teach them Latin, or Greek, or arithmetic, he could not teach them the value of money. The learned judge, I suppose, argues that such incorrigible ignorance has grown up with them, and therefore this Duke of York stands excused. That princes understand such subjects less than other men is too true, we have had much experience of the fact. Restricted, as royalty unhappily is, from all equal intercourse, and associations with mankind, it is not possible princes should have notions so correct upon some matters as those who are born to inferior, but not less enviable stations. But, sir, when we recollect that at the period alluded to by the learned and honourable member, one of these princes was only seven, and the other only five years of age, we shall not be so much surprized at their want of comprehension in a matter wherein all knowledge must be derived from experience; as we should have been, had we been told, that the royal children had imbibed any thing like a correct or definite idea upon it. It would indeed have been a prodigy of acquirement. I have listened, in common life, to a child of about the same age, inquiring what could be the use of money, of which he had heard so much? For his part, he could not tell why people wanted it. He had every thing for his use and amusement without it, he did not want money. Of what good could that be?—Forty 193 years have since passed over the head of the Duke of Y., and have they brought with them no additional information, and no experience? It may be thought that he ought to have had some knowledge of the value of money, at the time he accepted the office of Commander in Chief. It is not an office, in which the pecuniary transactions are extensive, but such ignorance as the learned gentleman would attribute to the D. of Y., is not consistent with a due performance of his duty. — From pecuniary embarrassment, he might have derived a salutary lesson. To say that he did not know the value of money is but a weak defence against the strong presumption created, by what is proved to have happened in Gloucester-place. When he sat down to the exquisite dinners, and saw the retinue of servants; the carriages and horses, the lavish profusion in every way, and knew how slender were the means he contributed towards the expenditure, I think it absolutely impossible that his suspicions should not have been excited. When, amidst boundless waste, he heard perpetually of distress, when the applications of creditors were incessant, and he knew that he but rarely afforded any relief from their importunities;—when things occasionally came to such a pass, that the woman he adored was compelled, in order to procure a temporary supply, to part with her jewels and other ornaments; to divest herself of the dearest objects of her vanity, when these pledges were again redeemed: carriages, horses, expences of every description renewed; unceasing clamour, no money ! yet the establishment not broken up ! Is it possible that under such glaring circumstances, the D. of Y. could be blind to the fact, that the recommendations she presented to him, were the sources whence she drew the means of continuing her wasteful but tottering establishment? Had Mrs. C. applied only in favour of her relations, and known friends, his suspicions might have slept. Had she intreated him to promote a brother, that would have caused no alarm. If with a gentle rebuke at the application, and a request that it might not be repeated, the man had been promoted, I do not think much blame would have been imputable, and a meritorious person might have been placed in the army. But, when the D. of Y. saw, that applications were daily, and hourly, made on the behalf of persons with whom Mrs. C. had no family alliance, 194 for whom she could feel no warm interest, and with many of whom she could have no justifiable acquaintance, can it be believed, by any rational man, that he was not only ignorant, but unsuspicious of the existence of corruption?
Col. French! Capt. Sandon! were these the friends of Mrs. C.? Perhaps, however, the proof of her interference, on their behalf, will not be admitted. But, gen. Clavering ! In whose case Mrs. C. has the confirmatory testimony of the D. of Y. What friendship, acquaintance, or connexion, could be supposed to exist between her and gen. Clavering? The Duke must have known the tie between that officer, and his mistress, was to be the same as that, which connected her with the rest of the crowd of candidates for her favour. Gen. Clavering has told us that he offered Mrs. C. 1,000l. for her influence. Look at the character of the letter from Sandgate, of the 24th of August, on the subject of Clavering. Is there any surprize expressed? does he rebuke her for her application? On the contrary, in terms of the fondest endearment he tells her, "Clavering is mistaken, my angel! in thinking any new corps are to be raised, you had better therefore tell him so, and that you are sure there will be no use in applying to me." Is not the inference clear, that if Clavering had not been mistaken, but had applied for anything which could have been granted, her application would have been useful. Does not this expression go a great way to confirm that part of Mrs. C.'s evidence, where she says, "if the applications were improper, he told me to say I could not interfere, without saying I had mentioned the matter to him." But, supposing it possible that the D. of Y.'s suspicions might not have been awakened by this, added to the other and indiscriminate recommendations of military men, what shall we say, when she stepped beyond that profession; to her application in favour of Dr. O'Meara? upon what plausible footing can that be put? How came he acquainted with Mrs. C.? What was the bond of union between them? The Doctor had his credentials; a general letter of character addressed to himself, from one of the highest dignitaries of the church of Ireland, the archbishop of Tuam. A reverend doctor of the church, with a character from an archbishop, skulking and watching the door of the mistress of the D. of Y., soliciting and cringing for ecclesiastical preferment at the feet of Mrs. 195 C.!!! How did he win her good graces? What entitled him, or could, in the opinion of the D. of Y., have entitled him to the letter of recommendation, which Mrs. C. told us she gave to Dr. O'Meara? which fact is confirmed by the letter of the D. of Y. himself. Again, in that letter, does he express any surprize at the recommendation? Does he hesitate about the course he shall pursue? No. The thing requested by the Doctor, in consequence of her introduction of him, is set about. "The Doctor wishes to preach before royalty. If I can put him in the way of it I will." It is afterwards accomplished. What a recommendation! What a subject! What a profanation of the pulpit! Whoever, after a due examination of this case, can believe that the D. of Y. thought all the recommendations of Mrs. C. were disinterested, and gratuitous, the pure effects of friendship, must be (I was almost tempted to say) wilfully blind. I will not take up the time of the house, by dwelling any longer on this part of the subject. The circumstances which I have thus brought together, to me carry conviction.
Sir, there is a case which has excited a strong sensation in the public mind, and as it is the only one, in the view of which I agree with the right hon. gent., I the rather mention it now. It will be needless to dwell upon it at any length, but I cannot pass it by in silence. I mean the case of Samuel Carter. I sincerely wish it had never been brought forward, and it is so far from my desire to aggravate, that I should be much rejoiced, if I could mitigate the prejudice which exists upon it. The learned judge has in my opinion ridiculously overstated the circumstances of extenuation, which in the opinions of the most rigid, it must be allowed, accompany it. When the learned gent. talked of the situation of pages to the royal family, that persons of superior rank claim it as a privilege, and consider it as an honour, to wait upon princes, and applied that, to the condition of a foot-boy in the house of the mistress of the D. of Y., who is proved to have gone behind her carriage, and to have done all the work of a menial servant; it will be well if such an overstrained defence does not excite additional prejudice against the person in question; at best such reasoning can only create a smile. But, sir, take the case as it is. It does not in my mind at all operate against the D. of Y. It is not of that unseemly character of actions, into 196 which many, before upright and independent, have been betrayed, when once they have laid their heads in the laps of those Dalilahs, where so many Samsons have been shorn of their strength. The learned judge will perceive, that I do not feel it necessary to press this instance into the service, to prop a falling cause. I will admit, that it is honourable to the D. of Y.; and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has declared, that if one trait that has been disclosed, can in the slightest degree retrieve the infamy of Mrs. C.'s character, it is her conduct towards Samuel Carter. He will not be surprized, that I should go a little further, and consider her conduct towards Samuel Carter, as meritorious, and generous. The affectionate and natural effusions of gratitude, contained in the letters written to her by Samuel Carter, could not have been addressed to a person incapable of acts of kindness and humanity. Sir, I think the right hon. gent. might have added to this trait, respecting Carter, the behaviour of Mrs. Clarke towards captain Sutton, the reputed father of Samuel Carter. How severe a satire did she pass, in the short uncontradicted history she gave of the life and death of that gallant officer of artillery! He had sung to the gay, and revelled with the great; he had been the welcome guest of every festive board; the esteemed friend of princes! But when the spirits ebbed, and the voice was no longer tuneful, whilst disease slowly dragged him to an early grave, he lingered and died in poverty and neglect; a debtor to the kindness and bounty of Mrs. C. alone. Sir, I feel it a duty enjoined by every principle of justice, as well as of humanity, to express my anxious hope that nothing which has passed in this house may injure the fortune of the young man: for he appears to have conducted himself with unimpeached propriety of conduct. I should be deeply grieved if his continuance or advancement in the army should be rendered incompatible with his feelings. Speaking in this house, and looking at those who in this Country have risen to power,Nam fulgente trahit constrictos gloria curruNon minus ignotos generosis.Knowing how much the country is benefitted by open competition for honours, I may venture to hope the liberality of the British army will convince them, that, however justly the pride of ancestry may be felt, high birth is not an 197 indispensible requisite in the profession of arms. The generals of the French emperor, himself a mart of birth comparatively obscure, have been uniformly selected for their merit without regard to their extraction or former occupations. With what ability they have executed the commands entrusted to them, is but too well known throughout Europe. Sir, the former low situation of Carter would have been no impediment to his rising to the highest military rank in the army of France: I confidently hope that the officers of that of England will not deem it necessary to alter their conduct towards him on account of the early incidents of his life thus accidentally made public. (No, No, No!) I joyfully receive these symptoms of the feeling of the house. I have stated my sentiments as strongly as I could, for although the appointment of Samuel Carter shews the wide, extent of influence exercised by Mrs. C., I wish it had not become a subject of discussion; and I would ward off, if I could, all the injury he might otherwise suffer from it.
In examining the case of the exchange between Brooke and Knight, it is impossible for me to persuade myself that there are not, independent of the testimony of Mrs. C., many circumstances which ought to induce a belief that her influence was exerted for the purpose of forwarding that exchange; and that the D. of Y. knew the terms upon which that influence was obtained. Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in order to invalidate the whole of this case, endeavours to shew, and I will admit that he does so with success, that the account of the dates given by Mrs. C. as to the period of the application, said to have been made to the Duke of York, for the purpose of forwarding the exchange, and the appearance of the official confirmation of it in the Gazette, is inaccurate; and therefore, that no such application or interference could have taken place. Sir, I admit the premises, but I deny the conclusion. Mrs. C.'s account of the dates is erroneous, but she may nevertheless have interfered. The right hon. gent. calls for a degree of official regularity from Mrs. C., which is not, I think, necessary to render her evidence credible; and he does not take into his account the loose nature of such business; that this transaction took place between three and four years ago, and that Mrs. C. enters a general protest against an accurate recollection of days and dates. That Mr. Knight had 198 found his brother's promotion was stopped, for some reason or other in the office; that he imagined, upon the suggestion of Dr. Thynne, that Mrs. C. could remove the obstacle; that the exchange did, after Mr. Knight's application to Mrs. Clarke, proceed; that it was effected; and that Mr. Knight thought it was effected through the influence of Mrs. C. there can be no doubt. Mr. Knight has proved it: and that he actually paid her the 200l. Another circumstance, if unexplained, would go to strengthen the evidence. I mean the pencil memorandum which has been so much alluded to. The terms of that memorandum, "Cannot be acceded to, his royal highness does not approve of the exchange proposed," would naturally lead any one who reads it, to suppose, that the whole matter was then at an end. But col. Gordon, whom I hold to be truth itself, has informed you, that these words did not imply a decisive and final refusal; only, that further inquiry should be made; which further inquiry having been made, and the result appearing favourable, the exchange was in the common course allowed to proceed. After this declaration from col. Gordon, I can lay no stress upon words which otherwise would have appeared to me so important. They were written by colonel Gordon, and intended only for his own information. They can be properly construed by no one but colonel Gordon: as the hieroglyphics which I have in my hand, whereby I have noted such parts of the speech of the right hon. gent. as I wish to remark upon, can be understood and explained only by myself who made them. There is a minute circumstance which merits observation. Dr. Thynne tells us, that he gave in the names of Brooke and Knight, with an account of the exchange desired, upon a slip of paper to Mrs. C. Mrs. C. informs us, without any attempt having been made to shew a conspiracy between her and Dr. Thynne, or her knowledge of what Dr. Thynne had said, that she gave the Duke of York the slip of paper delivered to her by Dr. Thynne after dinner. Mrs. C. says, she received the compliment in a bank note of 200l., which note she shewed to the Commander in Chief; and, "she thinks she got it changed by one of his servants, through h. r. h." The right hon. gent. has bestowed a great deal of labour upon this part of the evidence. He has assumed more than is the fact. 199 Mrs. C., you will observe, thinks only that she got the note changed by one of the D. of Y.'s servants. The right hon. gent. argues as if she had all along positively asserted it. Then Ludowick Orramin was called to prove that he was the only one of the Duke's servants who ever attended in Gloucester-place; and that he never, upon any occasion, got change for a bank note whilst there. I think it quite clear, that he did not get change for the bank note in question; but, from subsequent testimony, it appears to me equally clear, that his memory fails him as to his not having got change at any time for any note. Sir, there is a troublesome witness in this part of the case; one David Pierson, whom it became necessary for the chancellor of the exchequer and the learned judge to remove before they could make their way. To knock his brains out was impossible. He had none. But he was to be destroyed as a witness; and the right hon. gent. has thought proper to impeach his testimony, because he came to amend his evidence on a day following that of his first examination; and because, as he would insinuate, his illness was altogether pretended; and that he had concerted his second appearance with Mrs. C. Sir, of all the preposterous suppositions that ever were hazarded, that of a conspiracy between Mrs. C. and David Pierson, appears to me to be the most so. Why, Sir, the whole evidence goes to disprove the possibility of a conspiracy, if such a thing had been pre-supposed. Sir, I am simpleton enough to believe, that Pierson did labour under the infirmity which he has stated the first time he was called to the bar; that he did then forget the circumstance of his having been sent to get a large bank note changed, and that, what he afterwards told you, of his having been sent to get a note of considerable value changed, and that he did get it changed at some one of the places he mentioned, is true. The right hon. gent. has asserted, that Mrs. C., after the examination of Ludowick, shaped her evidence so as, in some degree, to make it meet his, as well as to introduce the second evidence of Pierson. I believe that whatever opinion may have been formed of Mrs. C. in other respects, no one takes her to be a fool; and yet, if the assertion of the right hon. gent. be true, she must be one of the most foolish women that ever lived. Look at the way in which she introduces this second evidence of Pierson. This cunning contriver of 200 the conspiracy tells you, that she had seen the person, who is supposed to have conspired with her, for the purpose of imposing upon the house in a second examination, a confirmation of a story, which she had previously told, (of a bank note for 200l. having been changed on a certain night from Gloucester-place;) but that he, when called upon, would not confirm her allegation. He would say "that it was a note for 50l., and not for 200l. as she had stated, with which he was intrusted, and for which he actually did get change." (Afterwards, at your bar, he said it was a bank note of 100l.) This is to tell you, in plain terms, I have endeavoured to suborn a witness, I have endeavoured to effect a conspiracy with a person to support a part of my evidence against the D. of Y., and my associate will not bear me out in my allegation. This is not all. The witness returned, and the right hon. gent. would have you believe, that Pierson was not only asked by Mrs. C. to be, but was, a party to the conspiracy. He was far too dull and stupid to be selected by her for a conspirator. Sir, the conspirators do not agree in the same story even in their examinations in chief, to which any dolt might be tutored; and yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer is convinced, that the second evidence of Pierson is the result of a conspiracy formed between him and Mrs. Clarke. I do not apply myself to the reasoning of the learned judge on this part of the case, who has palpably mistaken Pierson's evidence.— The disjointed nature of the evidence on this case disproves a conspiracy; and I put it to the good sense and candour of the house to decide, whether Pierson is, or is not, what I believe him to be, the witness of truth. Sir, the result is, that an exchange had been negociated between Brooke and Knight, and was stopped; that Mrs. Clarke's good offices were solicited; that the exchange proceeded, and was completed; that the stipulated sum of 200l. was paid to Mrs. C. for her supposed interference; and that, on the night of the D. of Y.'s departure for Weymouth, a large bank note was given to one of the servants of Gloucester-place to be changed, and was changed. So far, independent of the testimony of Mrs. C. Upon her evidence depends, taken together with all the confirmations it has received in various points, whether the D. of Y. listened to her interference, and knew of her receiving a pecuniary recompence. By my vote 201 I shall decide what I think upon these points.
Having attempted to destroy this fabrication of an under conspiracy in the case of Brooke and Knight, I pass to the consideration of the case of major Tonyn, which has some very remarkable features. In the case of Tonyn, all the official transactions were conducted with perfect regularity. No clue whatever was afforded to the detection of any improper proceeding, which the keenest eye, or the most suspicious jealousy, could take up. All was, according to the expression of the right hon. gent., demonstrably uniform, regular, and official; and yet, that Mrs. C.'s influence was sold, and exerted; and, that it was recognized by the Duke of York, is, as demonstrably certain. The prejudices of the right hon. gentleman, which he faintly suspects may disable him from forming a correct judgment, can alone have led him to assert that this case is utterly destitute of every thing which can constitute a charge against h. r. h. Notwithstanding the characters of Donovan and Sandon, the only witnesses to the preliminary part of this case, I think it has not been disputed, that the influence of Mrs. C was sought, through the medium of Sandon, by Donovan, for the purpose of forwarding the promotion of capt. Tonyn; and that the sum of 500l. was actually paid by major Tonyn upon the accomplishment of his wishes. I will just notice that Sandon, who has told you, that he paid several sums of money to Mrs. C. on his own account, and that of col. French, but believed that both he and French had been duped by her; for that, in fact, she had no such influence as she pretended to have; (capt. Sandon was always incredulous upon this subject, and had communicated his incredulity to col. French!) did, after that transaction, bargain with Donovan to procure that influence which he did not believe to exist, and received a valuable consideration upon the performance of that which he declares it was not in Mrs. C.'s power to perform. Sir, I allow it to have been proved, that on the 27th of June 1803, gen. Tonyn, the father of capt. Tonyn, and the commanding officer of the regiment in which he served, did recommend his son to the Commander in Chief for a majority; that capt. Tonyn did present a memorial to the same effect in March 1804; and that an official answer was returned by col. Clinton, saying, that his application should 202 be considered on a favourable opportunity: that, in August 1804, an augmentation did take place of 50 battalions, and that Tonyn was then appointed to a majority, together with 52 others, whose names appeared in the same gazette. It must, however, be conceded to me, to have been as fully proved, that major Tonyn believed the influence of Mrs. C. would expedite his promotion; that he deposited 500l. in the hands of Mr. Gilpin, a very respectable army clothier; and at length, that on being gazetted, he was so well convinced the influence he had intended to purchase, had been efficacious, that he actually paid the money: having, in the interval between the deposit and the final payment, threatened, on account of the delay, to withdraw it.—In this case we find the mysterious note which has been mentioned by the right hon. gent. and the learned judge. It has been swelled into a size and importance which by no means belong to it, by the manner in which it was originally announced; by the extraordinary circumstances attending its production, and by the fruitless attempts which have since been made to invalidate it. I believe it to be genuine. Sir, I was one of the depositaries of the secret, that such a note had existed, and from the manner in which the communication was made to me, by my learned friend Mr. Adam, I thought the note was as dead as Homer, and so I am sure did he. I therefore waited patiently for the moment, at which the friends of the Duke should deem it most convenient to disclose the conduct of capt. Sandon to the House: and my only duty was, to watch that such disclosure was at some time or other made. The Chancellor of the Exchequer selected the time he thought the most opportune. I have since learnt, with great astonishment, that before he entered upon his narrative, he was given to understand the note was still alive. I have to complain of the right hon. gent. that he did not explicitly state the fact, of which he had become possessed, to the House: and that he stopped short in the examination of capt. Sandon, at the very point where it became the most necessary to press him. Where the right hon. gent. paused, I took up the examination of the witness. Suspicion had been excited in my mind, by the tenour of Sandon's answers, that the note was still in existence. I intimated those suspicions to the right hon. gent. across the table. My attempts to extract the truth, were followed up by 203 my learned friend (sir Samuel Romilly); and at length the note was extorted from the reluctant witness, by the hand of power. Sir, I impute not any sinister motives to the right hon. gent.; I am bound to believe that he acted with perfect purity. But I think his judgment failed him, when he withheld from the house the information he had then recently received, and when he stopped in the examination of capt. Sandon. At length the note was produced. Having heard that the D. of York had protested before God, that he had never written such a note, that it was a base forgery; and relying on that solemn protestation, I looked at the paper with the greatest jealousy, and my impression at the first view was, that it was forged. I looked at it again, and I altered my opinion. I have since examined it repeatedly. I have heard the evidence which has been produced upon it, and I firmly believe it was written by the Duke of York. The examination of col. Gordon to the handwriting persuaded me it was the note of h. r. h.; the evidence of general Hope strengthened that persuasion; that of my learned friend Mr. Adam put it beyond all doubt.
An extraordinary course was then pursued by the house, in recurring to evidence of less value; after the hand writing of the D. of Y. had been proved, by the witnesses the most competent to decide upon it. The gentlemen from the Bank and the Post Office were brought before you. A species of testimony which would not, according to the rules at present observed in the courts (Mr. Nesbitt tells you such examinations have been discontinued) have been admitted, elsewhere. Their evidence all tended to confirm, if confirmation had been required, the direct evidence; except that of Mr. Nesbitt: and he closed a long examination, in Which he was convinced that the note was not of the D. of Y.'s writing, by telling us 'that he felt himself an incompetent witness to such kind of examinations; because his constant practice has been with regard to signatures only.' The testimony of Mr. Bliss was very curious. He would have had no doubt on comparing the papers, of the note having been written by the D. of Y., if he had not seen Mrs. C.'s hand-writing in some other letters lying upon your table. An observation manifestly arising out of a prejudgment of the case, in consequence of the assertion known to have been made by the D. of Y., that the note was a forgery. 204 After all this evidence, can I believe my ears? Did the learned judge really say, in the sight of Heaven, that he entertains doubts as to the genuineness of the note? In the case of life, liberty or character, would he, in the discharge of his judicial functions, discard this writing as spurious? He does still doubt. Then, neither if one were to come from the dead could he be convinced. It was reserved for the right hon. gent. to lay any stress upon such rubbish, as the evidence of Town: whom I think it was disgraceful to call. To believe it possible that Mrs. C. should, without any circumstance leading to it, inform a man with whom she had no acquaintance, but as a drawing master, that she could forge the signature of the D. of Y., and immediately set about it, in his presence, requires more credulity than I am possessed of; especially, when Mr. Town acknowledges that she wrote nothing but the signature; and that he does not know which of three distinct words that signature was. The right hon. gent. has spoken with bitterness, of the avowal made by Mrs. C., that she could imitate the hand-writing of different persons, and that she had frequently amused herself by so doing: building upon that avowal alone, a presumption, that Mrs. Clarke herself was the authoress of the supposed forgery. No part of the examination of Mrs. C. touching this matter, has impressed me with such a belief. It was not with the infamous audacity ascribed to her, that she boasted at the bar, of her power to imitate the writing of different hands. She did indeed, upon a very pointed examination, acknowledge, that she had in sport tried to imitate the hand-writing of others; and she treated the questions then put to her in a manner, not entirely unmerited; but the inference, drawn by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is unjustifiable. She, in common with every subject of the realm, has a right to be considered innocent, until she is proved to be guilty. The ground was shifted at one time, and the guilt of forgery was to be laid upon capt. Sandon: that did net succeed. The conduct of capt. Sandon is, I think, easily explained. He intended, in the first instance, to favour the Duke of York, by withholding the note. If he had succeeded in his plan, hereafter, the note would have been produced; and compensation no doubt would have been expected for service done and performed.
I cannot forget the striking passage in the 205 statement, made by col. Hamilton, of what passed between him and Sandon. Although capt. Sandon could not bring them to his recollection, I have no doubt of his having uttered the words, "The note is destroyed, and they have forgotten it." Evidently showing his belief in its authenticity, and describing the party, which he intended to benefit by his conduct. Sir, after all I have said, I have a right to argue upon the note as genuine. Granted, says the rt. hon. gent. for the sake of the argument! what then is proved? how does this note connect itself with Tonyn's transaction? where does it dovetail in? I confess, I am at a loss for the meaning of the note. I do not see any part of the proceeding, with which it can be made exactly to tally: but because we cannot find a place which it fits, are we therefore to exclude it altogether from our consideration? The right hon. gent. cannot seriously hazard such advice. By this note, it is, in another instance, substantiated that Mrs. C. did possess influence over the mind of the D. of Y.; that she did interfere in military promotions; that the Duke did write to her in more cases than one of that nature. For the D. of Y. to allow of the interference of Mrs. C., there could only be one of two motives, a connivance at the corruption of his mistress, or a desire to flatter her, and court her favour. But did he not, at all events, sanction her corruption, by abandoning himself to the blind infatuation of the love he bore her. Human nature has been always the same, under the influence of that fatal passion.
With unresisted might, the monarch reigns,He levels mountains, and he raises plains;And not regarding difference of degree,Abas'd your daughter, and exalted me.On the mighty effects of love it were superfluous to dwell; mankind have bowed to its irresistible controul. Mrs. C. was an adept in the knowledge of the human mind when once subdued by that passion; and she has most happily illustrated the state of the lover, in the sprightly device, mentioned by the gallant officer (col. M'Mahon) in his note which was read the other night. Cupid is represented riding on the back of an animal, not more celebrated for his patience than his obstinacy; with this inscription;Tels sont mes sujets.The Case of Tonyn, so far as it goes, in proof of the sway exercised over the Commander in Chief by the object of his 206 affection, is conclusive. The whole world, with the right hon. gent. to lead it, cannot overthrow the facts. How far the connivance of the Commander in Chief, at the corruption practised by Mrs. C. is in my opinion satisfactorily made out in this Case, also, I shall by my Vote hereafter decide.
Sir, the right hon. gent., throughout the whole of his able speech, was fighting with a two-edged sword; every argument he used, every position he took, might, by a person of ability equal to his own, be successfully turned against himself. If I possessed talents equal to those of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with his own weapons I would cut him to pieces. Mrs. Clarke said, that she had no re-collection of the existence of this note. The right hon. gent. presumes that she is guilty of a base falsehood, and tells you it is impossible she should have forgotten it. I will not be so uncharitable towards the witness. I believe she had the note from the D. of Y., and that she did forget its existence. I will not even be so uncharitable towards the D. of Y. as not to suppose it may have been written, and forgotten by him. I will not be so bold as the right hon. gent. and for the purpose of strengthening my case, brand any person with infamy, upon the presumption of a recollection unsupported by the experience of my own imperfect memory. The right hon. gent. must be now aware, that if he disbelieves the evidence of Mrs. C. as to her want of recollection in this matter, he justifies those who, being persuaded of the authenticity of the note, disbelieve the solemn asseveration of the Commander in Chief.
Sir, I have before adverted to the demeanour of the witnesses at your bar, and I cannot help recalling the recollection of the house to the conduct of Mrs. C. upon the memorable occasion of the production of this note. Were you in the house, Sir, at the time the committee were engaged in that part of the investigation? if you were, you could not fail to be an attentive observer of that interesting scene. You must well remember how positively she had denied the possibility of the existence of such a note; the confidence with which she declared that she never could have given to any one, a paper in the D. of Y.'s hand-writing. After the house was in full possession of all the case, the note itself being upon your table, she was again called in; her denial was fixed upon her by every probing question which the ingenuity of a cross-examiner could devise. 207 She was put à la question, and, the scene having been wrought to the highest pitch, the paper was put into her hand. A breathless expectation was entertained of her total discomfiture. We were all ready to exclaim, Quousque tandem abutêre? What was our disappointment and surprise, when, with unruffled composure, and a simplicity which could not be feigned, she said, the note was in the D. of Y.'s hand-writing, and must have been in her possession. Sir, I think you will agree with me, that this could not have been acted. For one, I was ready to exclaim, as I am now ready to assert, Truth upon my oath!
The case which I shall think it right next in order to advert to, is that of col. French's levy. Here again recourse is had to the old, and only expedient for acquitting the Duke of York, and the direct witness to the fact is to be destroyed. That witness is Miss Taylor. She was subjected to a long and severe examination from Several honourable and learned members of this house, and for her cross-examination the powers of the learned gentleman over against me (the solicitor general), were reserved. He had acted more as prompter during the former part of the enquiry; but upon this occasion he made his appearance on the stage. He suddenly came amongst us like a sportsman mounted upon a fresh horse towards the close of a chase. He drove away at a furious rate: but his career, like that of many a sportsman in the same situation, was soon stopped by a most disastrous tumble. A slight mistake was committed. Unfortunately no previous enquiry had been made into the nature of the testimony which was to be given by the witness called to contradict Miss Taylor. The learned gentlemen would hardly conduct themselves in other places with that degree of indiscretion which they have manifested in this. I suppose they generally inform themselves what their witnesses will say. By omitting such precaution in this case, they have brought themselves to signal disgrace. My hon. friend was accused in the early part of these proceedings, of having had too much intercourse with the witnesses whom he called; and a good deal of stress has been laid upon the embarrassed answers given by him to questions put with so much asperity and hostility, as was well calculated to disturb the recollection, and confuse the mind of a member of parliament not very conversant in matters of business. It is the only 208 way in which I can account for the sort of answers given by my hon. friend: but of this I am sure, that it was his duty to extract from the witnesses, before they appeared at your bar, every thing they could say when placed there; and therefore, that he could have no desire of concealment. The prompt avowal of constant communication was the most honourable to him, and the most consistent with his duty to the house. I charge the right hon. gent. and his learned associates, with not having sufficiently informed themselves of the value of the evidence of the witnesses which they have produced. If they had, I think Dederick Smith would never have been called. He, I will venture to say, and I will presently prove it, has not invalidated, but confirmed Miss Taylor as a witness. The experience of gen. Clavering ought to have been a warning. By his friends, and not by his accusers, the case has been set up against the D. of Y. My hon. friend ventured to sea in a skiff; he has been placed on board a man of war. His r. h. must unfortunately abide the consequences of their indiscretion. When the testimony of Miss Taylor is pronounced by the right hon. gent. to be unworthy of credit, on what foundation does that serious and cruel imputation rest? why, truly, on this for one: that the father of Miss Taylor has passed, and been commonly known by the name of Chance, as well as that of Taylor, of which circumstance she has denied any personal knowledge. On this single ground, if there were no other, or rather on this single presumption, (for there is no proof of the fact), the gentlemen on the other side of the house are bold enough to assert, that she is not entitled to be believed.
This, sir, had I not actually heard it, I could not have believed. It is necessary to examine the ground of this utter annihilation of her testimony. I have stated the charge, let us proceed to consider how it is supported. In her examination, the mildness of which cannot yet have been forgotten, she was asked, 'Do you mean to state that you never heard any body call your father by the name of Chance?' She answered, 'No, I do not think I ever did. — Have you a doubt about it? None.' Then, sir, the learned gent., (the solicitor general), collecting himself in his might, with that importance and solemnity which I have experienced when he wishes to dive into the very soul of a witness, and with those awful tones 209 which have penetrated me upon other occasions, addressed this young woman, 'Then you mean to state that he has always passed by the name of Taylor. To the best of my knowledge.' 'Recollect yourself, whether you mean to persevere in that; that throughout the whole time you have known your father, you never knew him called by any other name than the name of Taylor.' 'Never, throughout the whole time I have known him.' 'Do I understand you to say, that during all the time you have known him you never yourself, or in your presence, never heard any body else, call him by the name of Chance? 'No, never.' To overturn the evidence so extorted from this unfortunate, and persecuted young woman, Mr. Dederick Smith was called the very next witness, and from the questions asked of him by the cross-examiners of Miss Taylor, it seemed as if they entertained no doubt, of removing, hors de combat, her interesting and damning evidence, without further trouble. Now, sir, for Mr. Dederick Smith. He knows the witness; he knows her mother; and he knows her father; and he knows that his name is Thomas Chance. Very well; all very glib, smooth, and plausible. Mr. Smith has bought land, which was conveyed to him by the father of Miss Taylor, by the name of Thomas Chance. By the bye, it would have been more satisfactory if Smith had produced the deed of conveyance signed by the said Thomas Chance. We might, perhaps, have found an alias; Thomas Chance, otherwise Taylor. I should like to have seen how the vendor had written his name. But he says Taylor did convey land to him by the name of Chance. This same Smith says, that when first he knew the father of Miss Taylor, and for many years after, it was by the name of Taylor. It seems, however, that enquiring for him once at the Stock-exchange, he could find no such man as Taylor; but at last he discovered whom he sought under the name of Thomas Chance. Smith was brought here to destroy the testimony of Miss Taylor. I have a right to sift the consistency of his own, and I shall not be restrained by any morbid sensibility from so doing. Smith says, 'I found out then,' that is at the time he sought for him at the Stock-exchange, 'that his name was Chance.' 'At what time did you find out that the name of this person was Chance? I cannot exactly say the time; but it was when I wanted him to do business for me 210 at the Stock-exchange. By what name did the person of whom you are speaking go, when you were first acquainted with him? He went by the name of Thomas Taylor About how long may it be, that you apprehended the true name of this party to be Chance? My memory will not furnish me with that; but it is several years ago.' Mark the extraordinary circumstances, to apply no other epithet, of Mr. Smith's first introduction to Mr. Chance. Mr. Smith, after an acquaintance of several years with a man, whom he only knew, and had never heard of, but by the name of Taylor, at last finds out, that his friend had been for years deceiving him by the assumption of a false name. His name was not Taylor, but Chance. I think the feelings of most men would have been disconcerted by such a discovery; and if Mr. Chance had, for so many years, concealed his real, under the fictitious name of Taylor, Mr. Smith might naturally have concluded, there was some strong motive for such deception. It is a circumstance very likely to destroy all confidence. Most extraordinary however it is, Smith's confidence was not thereby diminished one jot. He immediately employed his old friend under his new name, without any enquiry, to transact his business as a stock-broker, and must, therefore, necessarily have entrusted him with his property. This Mr. Chance, who, we are told, had failed, having subsequently acquired landed property, he, Dederick Smith, paid for and accepted a conveyance of that land from his old friend Thomas Taylor, under the name of Thomas Chance. I do not, sir, mean to say, that all this is impossible, but the degree of Mr. Smith's confidence is to me incomprehensible.
I have dwelt upon this part of Mr. Smith's evidence so long, because it is material the house should properly appreciate the character of a witness, by whom the destruction of another witness is attempted: that the house should properly appreciate the talents of the right hon. gent. who has worked with such tools for the defence of the Duke of York.
I shall now proceed to investigate the nature of the proof we have from the mouth of Smith, that Miss Taylor knew personally that her father went by the name of Chance; and that she had heard him called by that name in her presence. Mr. Smith tells us, that Mr. Taylor lived in Normanton-street and at Bayswater, 211 and he adds, during the whole of that time, I never knew him by any other name than that of Taylor, nor my family, never any of them knew him, by any other name. To the best of my knowledge he was universally known by the name of Taylor in that neighbourhood, and by no other name.' He recollects that Mrs. Taylor, (the mother) and Miss Mary Ann Taylor, called one day at his house, and that Mrs. Taylor wanted to borrow some money upon a security which she had with her. He is then asked, 'Did you state to them that Mr. Chance was coming to your house that morning? I did —Did they know him to be the person you knew as Mr. Taylor? Yes.' (Mark, how positive.) He was then asked, 'Did Mary Ann Taylor make any observation upon your stating that Mr. Chance was coming? She laughed, and said to her mother, we will say we only paid Mr. Smith a morning visit.' This was again put to him with some slight variation. 'What did Mrs. Taylor and Miss Taylor, or either of them, say or do, in consequence of your telling them Mr. Chance would be there that morning? Miss Taylor told her mother, we will tell my father (I think, I won't be positive), if he comes, that we only paid Mr. Smith a morning visit. They stopped a bit, and then went away.'
Here then we have in the evidence of Mr. Smith, a direct contradiction to the evidence of Miss Taylor. Had the examination closed with the question and answer last-mentioned, the purpose for which Smith was called would have been answered. Fortunately for this persecuted young woman, and for the cause of truth and justice, he did not leave the bar until two more questions had been put to him; his answers to which changed the whole face of affairs. 'Are you quite sure, when you told Mrs. Taylor and her daughter this person was coming, you made use of the name of Chance? Are you quite sure you did not say Mr. Taylor is coming? I am not quite sure; I think I said Mr. Taylor, by way of a compliment!!!' Now what shall we say of this man, who after stating positively, in answer to a question put to him, that he told Mrs. and Miss Taylor, that Mr. Chance was coming to his house; that they knew the person he so called Chance to be, in fact, Mr. Taylor, the father of the witness who preceded him, and that 212 she laughed at his saying Mr. Chance was coming? What shall we say of this man, who is to overturn the testimony of Miss Taylor, when, in his very next answer, 'he is not quite sure of having used the name of Chance at all. He thinks he said Taylor by way of a compliment?'— Thus, sir, the very foundation of that proof, which was to convict Miss Taylor of falsehood, of which the defenders of the Duke of York made themselves so certain, to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer stooped, is at once overturned by a single kick from Dederick Smith himself.—The evidence of Smith, which I have already recapitulated, can only be surpassed in absurdity and inconsistency by his concluding answer. He is asked, 'Have you any means of knowing that Miss Mary Ann Taylor knew her father by the name of Chance? and if you have, what are those means? I have no means of knowing that she did. What, sir, had he no means of knowing that she knew her father by the name of Chance? Had he not told us the very minute before, that Miss Taylor laughed at his saying Mr. Chance was coming, and that she and her mother both knew him (Chance) to be Mr. Taylor.— Sir, the whole merit of Smith's testimony, if merit it can be admitted to have, is, that he has firmly rivetted that which he was brought here to disprove and to cancel. I intreat the pardon of the house for having detained them on points so minute; but as the value of the evidence of the persons brought to destroy the credibility of Mrs. C. and her conspirators, has been highly estimated, I trust I shall be excused for the humble attempt I am now making to set before you its real worth. Sir, I am at a loss to describe my feelings inspecting the active persecution this unfortunate young woman has endured from the first moment of her appearance at your bar; but, if ever there was a woman, whose case ought to call forth the compassion of the public, that woman is Miss Taylor, so far as relates to the examinations to which she has been, exposed in this house; and the imputations cast upon her character and veracity. Now it is proper I should look at the true state of the question, with respect to this alleged double name. Is there a man in this great metropolis so ignorant, as not to know, that many of those who traffic in the lottery have found their account in assuming certain appropriate and 213 enticing names, with reference to the blind goddess who presides over that annual scandal and reproach to this enlightened and moral nation. Hazard, Burne, and Co.; Richardson and Goodluck. Why not Taylor and Chance? The fact, I suppose to be, that Mr. Taylor assumed the name of Chance as a name of business, on the Stock-exchange, by which he chose to be known in his transactions in the funds and in the lottery. But can gentlemen imagine, that when Mr. Richardson retires to his family, his children or his servants would accost him by the name of Goodluck.— The opulence, long standing and established respectability of some of the gentlemen to whom I have adverted, renders it natural, that they should be indifferent to the knowledge their families may have of their addition of fictitious names; but the obscurity of Mr. Taylor makes it probable, that his assumption of the name of Chance was wholly unknown to his daughter, as it had been for so many years to his intimate friend, Dederick Smith. Smith himself gives a very substantial reason in his corrected evidence for having said Taylor and not Chance, 'It was by way of compliment to Mrs. and Miss Taylor!' He dropped the name of Chance out of delicacy to the wife and daughter. Knowing that his friend Taylor had for so many years concealed that name from him, he inferred that if the wife and daughter were ignorant of his having assumed it, the discovery might give them pain. This is the real explanation of the compliment Dederick Smith paid, by using the name of Taylor instead of Chance. So much for Mr. Dederick Smith. Of him, I take it for granted, we shall never again hear one syllable from those who brought him forward.
Sir, there has been another attack on the credibility of Miss Taylor, more furious and formidable in its nature, than that which was made through the assistance of Smith. Another circumstance is relied upon by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the learned Judge, as being of itself sufficient to render her testimony unworthy of credit. The defenders of the D. of Y. have taken two strings to their bow. Upon trial, both will prove useless. The masked battery of Dederick Smith has failed. We have now to encounter the forlorn hope.
Miss Taylor was brought to the bar of the house to give evidence on the charges before us. Having given that evidence, having had her feelings tortured by a com- 214 pulsory acknowledgment of domestic calamity; having answered the almost innumerable irrelevant questions, with which her temper might have been disturbed; having been sifted to the very bran for her knowledge of the circumstances, to which she had been privy, respecting Mrs. C. and the D. of Y. we are told by the greatest authorities in the house, that she is not to be believed. Not to be believed! For what reason? The accusation of Smith has been completely dissipated by himself. Aye, very true; but Miss Taylor was acquainted, intimately acquainted, with Mrs. Clarke. She was her associate and companion. Upon this important accusation I have three short observations to make. First, if Miss Taylor had not been acquainted with Mrs. C. she never could have been examined at the bar of the house; she could have had nothing to tell. 2dly, The same objection might be urged against every other person who has been acquainted with Mrs. C. (Do the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the learned Judge see, how dangerous it is to proclaim the contagion of her acquaintance; how dangerous to affix indelible infamy on all those who have been so unfortunate as to become accidentally known to that woman?)—and 3dly, If Miss Taylor's acquaintance with Mrs. C. is to stamp her with discredit, was it not worse than superfluous in the right hon. gent., was it not absurd and cruel to torment a witness, who could not utter a word to be believed, with questions about Mrs. C. and Mrs. Favory, her father and her mother, about her own legitimacy, and an infinity of circumstances, which excited disgust at the time, and which appeared to have no relation to the question before us? (I said, during the examination, that whatever the appearances might be, I could not, in my own mind, decide, whether the right hon. gent. was, or was not, unnecessarily harsh towards Miss Taylor, because I did not know how far the issue might, or might not, justify the course he took. I am now ready to express my decided opinion, that the line of examination was oppressive).
Those gentlemen, who now so loudly exclaim against the credibility of Miss Taylor, because she was intimate with Mrs. C., and who were amongst the foremost and most pertinacious of her cross-examiners, have betrayed some want of judgment, in bringing forward this charge after she has answered every question they chose? 215 to put to her. To have given any force to what they now assert, they should have stopped, the moment her intimacy with Mrs. C. was announced. Then it was they should have protested against her evidence. What, intimate with Mrs. C.? There is an end of you! You are not a credible witness! We shall not ask you another question. Let those examine you, who chose so to waste their time. You are intimate with Mrs. C. and we shall not give credit to one word you say. We protest against you. Had the gentlemen seized that moment, there would have been something like consistency in their conduct. Instead of acting in that manner, they called her back, and the very first question put, on her re-examination, was, Have you not said you were very intimate with Mrs. Clarke, and frequently visited in Gloucester-place? Yes. Away they then went into a long examination. Sir, the conduct of those who persevered in the second examination of Miss Taylor, after the discovery I have mentioned, either in the hope that she might contradict herself, or that something might be extracted from her favourable to the cause which they defend; and who now tell you that Miss Taylor is not to be believed, because she was intimate with Mrs. C. reminds me of the admonitory injunction of the Mock-Inquisitor in Cil Blas, to the witness whom he examined respecting the mode of life of the Merchant of Xelva.—'Recollect,' says he, you are not to say one word in favour of Samuel Simon; you are only to tell all you know against him. But, in this case, it was reversed; every thing was to be said in favour of, but nothing against the Duke of York. So long as there was the smallest chance, the remotest hope of over turning the charges, or her own evidence, by the cross-examination of Miss Taylor, the gentlemen on the other side persevered, and if any thing could have been extracted contradictory to the evidence of Mrs. C., depend upon it, we should have heard nothing of the defect of credit in Miss Taylor, by reason of her intimacy with Mrs. C. That very intimacy would have been urged to give force to her evidence. But every tortuous effort of legal ingenuity having been exhausted to take off the force of the evidence which she did give, the resource of Dederick Smith having been in vain attempted, they are reduced to this miserable, paltry subterfuge; and turning short round, they tell us, 'Miss Taylor is 216 a witness totally unworthy of credit, because she was acquainted with Mrs. C.' just as if that was a discovery of the present moment; just as if, had her evidence been favourable, Miss Taylor would not have been held up by them as a very paragon of veracity ! Sir, I really blush for those who have so inexorably persecuted this young woman; who have resorted to such shifts to get rid of these damning, facts; and who, if you would allow them the benefit of their own inferences, as I will now prove to them, to the house, and to the world, would destroy the man whom they undertake to defend. They do not see where they are going. Where is the effect of the imputation of infamy on every one, who has had an acquaintance with Mrs. C. to terminate? Miss Taylor is accused, nay convicted, on her own confession, of the inexpiable crime of having been acquainted with, protected, assisted, relieved, and harboured by Mrs. C.—Gracious God ! What, sir, is no person credible who has ever kept company with Mrs. C.? Is Dr. O'Meara, a clergyman recommended by the archbishop of Tuam, one of the dignitaries of the church of the united empire, not credible because he was known to Mrs. C.?—The worthy, grateful, but unfortunate Samuel Carter, is he an outcast from courts of justice, because he was protected by Mrs. C.?—Captain Sutton: is a perpetual stain to be fixed on his memory; is his veracity to be eternally impeached, because he was known to Mrs. C., and by her preserved from the extremity of want?—The baroness Nolleken, it is indisputably proved, under her own hand, not only kept company with, but was an intimate acquaintance of Mrs. C., Is she, therefore, not to be believed?—Sir, I would ask, Did not the D. of Y. keep company with Mrs. C.? Was he not her intimate acquaintance? Was not that royal personage actually harboured under her roof? Do we not trace him into her arms? Will they then consign him with the rest to eternal infamy and discredit?—Equal justice must be done, and his is the most aggravated case of all!!! Sir, the right hon. gent., in his zeal for the defence of the accused, has strangely overshot his mark. I think he must now be willing to retract all he has said, of the infamy attaching upon persons acquainted or connected with Mrs. Clarke. I have something more to say on that subject. Of all the persons whom I have named, who may justly claim belief, notwithstand- 217 ing the imprudent anathema of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Miss Taylor is the only one who has any justification for her intimacy with Mrs. Clarke. The right hon. gentleman was silent on the material fact proved, of a family connexion between the two. Miss Taylor's brother is married to Mrs. Clarke's sister. Her justification is complete. A circumstance from the existence of which such harsh and unwarranted inferences were drawn, is properly accounted for. Has it happened to the rt. hon. gent. in the course of the experience he has acquired of the world, to find, that where the path of chastity has been deserted, all communication with the sinner and every branch of her family has been cut off? Sir, I feel that the arguments used by the right hon. gentleman in this part of the case, are weak; that they do not deserve the labour I bestow upon them: but I am unwilling in such a case as this, that a mole hill should remain unlevelled. I cannot pass over the cruelty of the rt. hon. gent. towards Miss Taylor in the observations he has made upon the profession she had undertaken for the maintenance of herself and her sister. Was it not enough that her means of procuring her livelihood had been destroyed in consequence of her examination at the Bar? Was it not enough that her scholars had all left her? That her creditors had pursued her, and seized upon her goods? That she was thrown destitute and friendless upon the world without the power of doing that mischief to society which the imagination of the rt. hon. gent, created, and which his eloquence stated in terms of such gross exaggeration? Was it necessary for him to trample upon her when fallen, and to taunt with the bitterness of reproach the victim he had so largely contributed to destroy? Had she herself been shewn to have been a woman of doubtful character, the fact of her keeping a boarding-school would not therefore have rendered her unworthy of belief as a witness. But no stain upon her has been discovered: and no pains, I will venture to say, have been spared, to detect any that might have been supposed to exist. Into what inconsistencies with his general philanthropic character has the rt. hon. gent. been betrayed? Provide a Refuge for the Destitute! Build Penitentiaries wherein to place abandoned females, and thereby reclaim them to the paths of virtue! send them again forth to the world to gain the bread of industry, in the service of 218 the moral and the good! Establish Magdalen Hospitals, and associate for the Suppression of Vice! But, if you find a lowly woman endeavouring to preserve herself from infamy by habits of industry, with unimpeached propriety of conduct; should she unfortunately have any family connexion with one of immodest life, hunt her out, persecute her, hold her forth as practising a standing fraud upon the public: Ruin her, leave her no resource to satisfy the cravings of hunger but prostitution. Then you may undertake the work of regeneration; you may raise her from the abyss into which you have hurled her. She may then become a fit member of general society, capable of undertaking any of the duties of life!
Now, Sir, for an examination of the evidence given by Miss Taylor, which is very short, and relates only to one conversation at which she was present, between the Duke of York and Mrs. Clarke. She says that the Duke of York told Mrs. Clarke "that col. French worried him continually about the Levy business, and was always wanting something more in his own fa-favour. Turning to Mrs. Clarke, I think he said, How does he behave to you Darling? or some such kind words as he used to use. Mrs. Clarke replied, Middling not very well. The Duke afterwards said, Master French must mind what he is about or I shall cut up him and his Levy too." Upon this narrative of what passed in the presence of Miss Taylor, the rt. hon. gent. has made several observations; tending to shew that the conversation itself is invented. That Mrs. Clarke is the authoress, Miss Taylor the instrument, and that not one syllable of it ought to be believed. First, he confidently states, that, at the distance of time at which this conversation is said to have taken place, it is quite impossible Miss Taylor should be able to remember it. I cannot but observe, how very unequally the rt. hon gent. treats the two witnesses, Miss Taylor and Mrs. Clarke. With Mrs. Clarke it is quite impossible she should forget, with Miss Taylor it is quite impossible she should remember. He uses them at discretion, just as it suits his purpose. He creates impossibilities both ways, which do not in fact exist: Thereby shewing that he argues upon no fixed or settled principles of reasoning, or experience; and that his conclusions are not to be accepted without the most scrupulous examination. Sir, it must be admitted. 219 that it is difficult to give a correct account of a conversation after a considerable lapse of time, and especially if it shall have passed only in our presence, and we have had no interest in it: except, there shall have been some exciting cause of an uncommon nature, such as would be likely to fix it in the memory. In this case there was such a cause, and very likely to produce such an effect. It was the Duke of York, the Commander in Chief of the army, speaking for the first time in the presence of Miss Taylor, on the business of his office. It is highly probable that this single conversation would make an impression never to be effaced. Upon that ground therefore I find no difficulty in believing that Miss Taylor might recollect every word that passed. As to the words themselves: a good deal of weight would be given to the evidence respecting them in my opinion; if I could ascertain whether they were on were not such words as the Duke of York would in all probability have used, if he had talked with Mrs. Clarke on such subjects. There are some persons with whom I am intimately acquainted, whose words when repeated I should immediately recognize, and be able at once to declare that they were uttered by such a person, without the name being mentioned. I had never the honour of being in company with h. r. h., it is therefore impossible for me to form any judgment on that matter: but there are many who hear me who are able to put the evidence of Miss Taylor to this, amongst many other tests, of its truth. The right hon. gent. again flies to the refuge of a conspiracy, and Miss Taylor, he tells us, is a witness instructed by Mrs. C. If I could allow this to be the case, again I should say, that, acute and ingenious as Mrs. C. shewed herself to be, in the sharp encounter of wits, which she so effectually sustained against the learned gentlemen on the other side, as to set them all fast; and in which she must have been so confident of her own superiority, that I think when she next wants legal advice she will not apply, as she did at the outset of her examination, to the crown lawyers: acute and ingenious as she has shewn herself, she is a very bungling conspirator, a miserable instructor of a witness. The conversation would have been more direct, or it would have been supported by others, confirming it. To me it bears the character of truth. —Sir, I have given, as I hope, a dispassionate, deliberate, and candid account of all 220 the circumstances attending the witness, Mary Ann Taylor, and of the evidence given by her. I cannot forget the general tenour of all the questions put to her, nor the last question of her first examination. The whole, I believe, has excited a feeling of great indignation in the public mind: for a credible witness and an innocent member of society has been brought to him. I can boldly say, that I am divested of all the feelings of an advocate, and that it is my wish to act in the impartial character of a judge. I do here then most solemnly declare my belief that Miss Taylor has spoken the truth. Independent of this testimony, which, if true, makes the Duke of York an accessary to the corrupt practices of Mrs. C.; (for I cannot admit of the forced constructions attempted to be put upon the words she has recorded:) the infamous Levy of col. French bears the strongest marks of corruption from the beginning to the end, and of the connivance of the Commander in Chief in that corruption. Here, Sir, we have the fact that the influence of Mrs. C. over the Commander in Chief was hawked about for sale. Cockayne informed Sandon that business in the army might be accomplished through a person who had power with the D. of Y. Cockayne introduced the parties to Corri the music-master. Corri, with a proper degree of mystery, introduced one of them to Mrs. C. Great pains have been taken to shew that Mrs. Favery was the sister of Mrs. C, that Miss Taylor was intimately acquaints ed with her; but it would have been much, more material, if it could have been done, to have shewn that some previous intimacy or acquaintance had existed between col. French or capt. Sandon and Mrs. C., to have accounted for her interference on their behalf, and to have taken out the sting from the evidence of Miss Taylor.—No such thing has been attempted.
Let me pause, however. Perhaps I do not sufficiently respect the urgent motives that are said to have justified the Letter of Service to French and capt. Sandon. Col. French was known to be an able recruiter; men were wanted, and men must be had. Why! we have no proof that col. French had at any preceding period rendered the essential service described to the army by his ability in recruiting: therefore no advantage can be allowed to the assertion, which I have also heard flatly contradicted. But we have had proof that all the officers opposed themselves strongly to 221 the issue of the Letter of Service. It was obnoxious to them all. Gen. Hewitt, lord Cathcart, gen. Taylor, all declared their marked disapprobation of it either in its origin or its progress; but the influence of Mrs. Clarke for a time surmounted every obstacle. The Letter of Service was signed. Extraordinary indulgences were from time to time granted. The bounties were increased, the standard reduced, the limitation of age extended: and it was not till the misconduct of the principals and their subordinates had become so gross, and the remonstrances so strong, that the one could no longer be palliated, or the other evaded, that the Levy was discontinued. True it is, as has been stated by the right hon. gent. that the first representation on the situation of the Levy in Ireland came from colonel French; but had he not felt that he was under powerful protection, would he have dared to make such a representation as he did against gen. Taylor, with his consciousness of the facts with which that officer would be able to charge him or his agents? Read the letter of quartermaster Fawcett, wherein he talks of the sermons of gen. Taylor; the sarcastic insolence with which he describes what passed at the Inspector General's office in Dublin; his sketch of the conversation which took place at the time: "the men and the money, and the money and the men, till he was quite tired of it." Well, indeed, might a faithful servant of the public preach about the men and the money and the money and the men, and apply the word crimp! Well might the quarter-master sicken at the words! Look at the dispute about the beating order of O'Reilly, and judge whether a support more powerful than internal consciousnes of right, was not relied upon by col. French when he made the representation! Look at the answer of gen. Taylor, and judge whether it would have been possible for the Commander in Chief to have allowed the Levy to continue for a moment after the infamous transactions stated in that letter, but for some powerful charm. The insolence of the persons employed, and their avarice; the complete failure of the engagement entered into, the frauds practised upon the recruits, and the enormous expence to government there described, could not have been tolerated unless the Commander in Chief had been bound by some spell superior to his general sense of duty! that spell was the reward of 500l. 222 paid to Mrs. C. at the outset; and the 850l. in addition, paid at various times, up to the period at which the Levy was, by the irresistible force of its own internal corruptions and frauds, discontinued. I do not mean to say, that the D. of Y. knew of the specific sums bargained for. Sir, the right hon. gent. has condescended to tell us, (he cannot hope we shall condescend to believe him) that after the statement made by gen. Taylor, "that the raising of the men produced by colonel French, had actually cost government 150l. for each," the Duke of York had allowed the Levy to be continued from motives of œconomy. This from the Chancellor of the Exchequer! The machinery had been erected at such an enormous expence; and therefore it was better to try whether it could not pump up more men for the service of the country. This is too bad! At length, however, the machine was removed to There the nuisance became intolerable. This "able recruiter" having upon an engagement to produce 5,000 men in 13 months, produced much less than 200 men in 12 months, each man having cost government 150l. Col. Robinson, the Inspecting Field Officer of the London district, having represented to gen. Whitelocke, "that the conduct of the temporary Serjeants of col. French's Levy, was in every respect infamous and disgraceful to the service; and that in addition to their various crimes and irregularities, they were then actually employed in crimping for other corps, and most particularly for the additional force," (The men thus described are the persons whom it is stated in col. French's memorandum, it would be necessary to employ, as steady and experienced Serjeants) the Levy was at length discontinued. But in terms of mildness ill suited to the conduct of those who had engaged in it, and the representations which had been made of the behaviour of those employed in their service. Sir, I refer to the letter addressed by the Commander in Chief to the Secretary at War, dated April 16, 1805, signed "Frederick." Unabashed by the detection of their former proceedings, these gentlemen returned to the charge, and solicited a renewal of their Letter of Service, with a modification of the original terms; but it was too rank. Whatever might have been the disposition, it was impossible to accede to the proposal, and it was rejected.
The right hon. gent, has endeavoured to shew, that because the D. of Y. ven- 223 tured to order the discontinuance of the Levy at all, he could have known nothing of the corrupt agreement by which it was brought about. Sir, I deny the inference. The Levy was continued to the detriment of the service, and the shameful waste of the public money, till its farther continuance was absolutely impossible. The disreputable nature of French's Levy had excited attention at the time. In consequence of a motion of a right hon. friend of mine (Mr. Elliott) who had been in Ireland, and had there become acquainted with the transaction; a motion had been made and returns produced to this house, which are now before me, and not till after that period does it appear that any steps were taken to put an end to so gross an abuse.
The right hon. gent. asks us, whether we believe that the D. of Y. would have exposed himself to the vengeance of these men, if he had really been acquainted with their corruption. Would he not, says he, have provided for them after some manner? Sir, he might well defy them. They were themselves accomplices in the guilt. Moreover, they owed to their agent the sum of 3,800l.; a pretty effectual bridle to the licentiousness of their tongues! and after experience has shewn that it is not quite so easy a matter, as the right hon. gent. would, for a temporary purpose, represent it to be, to attack a Commander in Chief armed at all points like the D. of Y. They might have proclaimed it at Charing Cross. Would any have listened or believed? They must at the same time have been the heralds of their own condemnation. Nothing is proved; no presumption is supported by the fact so stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Sir, I feel the task I have undertaken, to be arduous and afflicting. I must deliver opinions which nothing but my consciousness of my duty to the public and to my own integrity, could prevent me from withholding. In that duty, however, I am determined to persevere. I do avow, then, my firm conviction, expressed without fear or hesitation, but with unfeigned sorrow, that the D. of Y. must have been privy to the corruption of Mrs. C. respecting French's Levy; perhaps without knowing the details. Of those even, from causes which I shall hereafter touch upon, it will be difficult for his friends to plead his complete ignorance. Sandon has affected to say notwithstanding he paid his own and colonel French's money in sums so considerable to Mrs. 224 Clarke, that he did not think she had any influence. Can any man believe such an assertion after an examination of the letters produced by the officer of your house from capt. Sandon's chamber, together with the Note respecting Tonyn? Is there not evidence in those letters that she gave him and French instructions how to proceed: at what hours to go to the Horse-Guards, how to be dressed? has he not told you, that he did wait upon the D. of Y. accordingly? did he not find that she was acquainted with the different official changes? when col. Clinton was to quit his situation, and when col. Gordon was to replace him in the office? Were not all these notes preserved and docketed by him? It he had found her account erroneous in any particular, would he not immediately have returned and stated, in the familiar language which seems to have been pretty current amongst all the parties concerned, "How is this, Mrs. Clarke? You have given me false accounts. You have pretended to influence, which you do not possess. All this is a mere humbug! I must have my money back; I shall not suffer myself to be so imposed upon." No such thing. All fell out as she told him it would. He paid the 500l. and continued to make his payments until the bubble finally burst by the misconduct of the Levy.
The letters themselves bear marks of authenticity from the originality of the expressions they state to have been uttered by the D. of Y. They are of a character not easily to have been invented. I know it has been proved upon Mrs. C. that up to this very period she has sold influence she does not possess, and that she has defrauded persons of their money, and written the same sort of letters as those now under our consideration. Sir, I can answer that, by saying, that if she was drawn into the course of corruption she pursued whilst living with the D. of Y., the poverty to which she was afterwards reduced by the withholding of her annuity, may have compelled her to engage in those swindling transactions with which she is now justly charged. Here I must say, I tax myself with a degree of forbearance which I have thought blameable from the moment. I mean for not interfering in the protection of a witness at your bar, when I felt that such witness was not treated with the fairness all witnesses have a right to claim. The letters found at capt. Sandon's lodgings, were put into Mrs. C's 225 hand, in order that she might prove the hand-writing; at the same time she was strictly ordered not to read the contents of the letters. "Say whether that is your hand-writing, but do not read a word." Such treatment was not justifiable. I reproach myself for not having remonstrated against it at the time. She had a right to look at the contents of the letters. Many alterations, additions, and interpolations, might have been made without her knowledge. She had a right to examine and to discriminate. She however did not hesitate; she owned them all, with a fearlessness which was remarkable, although she knew not their contents, although they must deeply implicate her. and although she had guarded against their preservation as far as she could, by adding to almost every one, "burn this as soon as read."
I do not waste the time of the house by repeating the observation I have made in the case of Tonyn; (which is equally applicable to the case now before us) that the Levy went through all the official forms. I proceed to the consideration of an important link in that chain of circumstances which seems to bind the D of Y. to a knowledge of the details of this transaction. Sir, there is a specific tangible fact respecting the memorable service of Plate purchased with a part of the money received from col. French, and the balance satisfied by the bills of the Commander in Chief. Here again the right hon. gent. and his learned friends, in their eagerness to impugn the testimony of Mrs. Clarke, completely out-stepped the bounds of prudence. The indefatigable industry with which every collateral source of information was raked through, and carefully sifted in the hope of fixing a direct falsehood on Mrs. C. has only tended to prove the truth of her assertion, and the fact appears to me to be established by circumstantial evidence as strongly as fact can be so substantiated. In her second examination Mrs. C. was asked to state any particular sum or sums which had been paid to her on account of col. French's levy. She answered without hesitation, "I recollect. having received one sum of 500 guineas; (Bank notes making up the sum of guineas) and I paid 500l. of it to Birkett, for a service of plate, and h. r. h. paid the remainder of it by his own bills." —Then it was we first heard of the splendid service of plate, which the right hon. gent. has reminded us, had descended, from the proud possession of a prince of 226 the blood royal of France, to that last refuge of the indigent and unfortunate, the shop of a pawn-broker; and had thence been removed by means, such as these, to grace the side board of the mistress of a prince of the blood royal of England.
To dispose of her assertion as to this fact, which, independent of its general connexion with the charges against the Duke of York, had awakened feelings of the strongest interest, became eminently important; and the greatest efforts were made to overturn it. Vain attempt! Sir, had the most strenuous advocates of the credibility of Mrs. C. been employed to elicit corroborating facts by which her testimony might be supported, they could not have been more successful than were the active agents of the D. of Y. to that purpose. Unluckily for h. r. h. the pertinacious disposition which they manifested to deny every thing, had the effect of proving every thing.—When Mrs. C. first asserted that she had received 500 guineas from col. French, for the exertion of the influence which she possessed over the D. of Y., the fact was denied. Then came Sandon's corroboration, which drove them out of that hold; and then Mr. Parker exhibited the account from the late Mr. Birkett's book; and in that account was seen an item of 500l. corresponding in date and amount precisely with her assertion. The ground was immediately shifted, and, from endeavouring to show that Mrs. C. had invented the story, the gentlemen demanded, where was the scintilla of proof, of the D. of York's privity? As to his having given his acceptances for the remainder of the purchase money of the service of plate, he knew nothing about the matter. True it was, that in the account produced by Mr. Parker, it appeared, that the balance had been paid in bills at various dates from two to twelve months; but it was an abominable falshood of Mrs. Clarke, to say, that these bills were the acceptances of the D. of Y. In order to sift this matter to the bottom, recourse was had to the books of Messrs. Marsh & Co., the bankers of the late Mr. Birkett; and Mr. Wm. Tyson, one of their clerks, attended with them at the bar. The evidence of this gentleman was given with some reluctance, as those who recollect it will doubtless admit. He was first asked, "Have you got any account of checks of his royal highness the Duke of York that were sent into your house by the 227 late Messrs. Birkett of Princes-street? Not any. Being afterwards asked, You have stated that you have examined Messrs Birkett's account, and find in that account no checks whatever by his royal highness, as having passed through your hand?" he gives the following answer, "My instructions were to see what checks were drawn by Birkett's and Dockery in favour of Mrs. Clarke, which I have done." Here then, was a witness from whom nothing was obtained to support Mrs. Clarke; and it was clear, that the Duke of York had had nothing to do with the payment to Birketts. The whole of this was, like the rest of Mrs. Clarke's assertions, a mere fabrication. At length, however, Mr. Timothy Dockery, who had been, first the journeyman, and afterwards the partner, of Mr. Birkett, was called to state his knowledge of the transaction; and his evidence, though very far from being willing, at once terminated the triumph of those honourable and learned gentlemen. Respecting the examination of this service of plate by the Duke of York and Mrs. C. previous to the purchase, Mr. Dockery had no recollection, and he had no knowledge with respect to the bargain. "The bargain concerning that plate was not made in my presence." He at that time held only the place of journeyman in the house, and therefore may have been really unacquainted with the terms of the bargain. As however, he was soon afterwards taken in as partner, it is very difficult to believe that he was absolutely ignorant not only of the real purchaser, but of the terms upon which the purchase was made. Nothing, however, on that point, could be extracted from him, and if his then master, Mr. Birkett, had ever mentioned the customer he had had the good fortune to meet with for this plate, (a circumstance in itself highly probable) he did not recollect any thing about the matter. The first thing he admitted he knew, was, that the plate was purchased from Mr. Birkett. This, as he must have assisted in delivering the plate, was no very extraordinary piece of information. As to the sum to be paid for it, he knew nothing but by referring to the book. He did not know that any part of it was sent to Gloucester-place for inspection, nor could he recollect either Mrs. C. or the D. of Y. calling at the shop for that purpose. Respecting the payments, his memory was better, "Do you recollect any 228 thing with regard to the payment for that plate? "Yes; 500l. was paid at the time the plate was delivered, and the remainder was settled by bills at different dates. The 500l. was not paid to myself, but it was paid, I believe, to Mr. Birkett." "Do you know by whom it was paid?" "I do not." Thus far Mr. Dockery's testimony cast no light upon the matter, it was still involved in mystery, for the D. of Y. was still out of sight. Not a word was dropped by which he could be implicated by the evidence of this witness, any more than by that of the clerk of Messrs. Marsh and Co. At length Mr. Dockery, who had not any knowledge of the party who had paid the 500l., told the house, that the remainder was paid in bills drawn by Mrs. Clarke. There we got a step further. Mr. Dockery was then asked, "Upon whom were they drawn?" When, to the astonishment of those gentlemen who had been so vehement in denying the privity of the D. of Y. to any part of the transaction, Mr. Dockery answered, "The Duke of York." Mr. Dockery himself presented all these bills to the D. of Y. as they became due: And by the D. of Y. they were paid to Mr. Dockery, by drafts on the house of Messrs. Coutts and Co.— Thus then, the fact of the D. of Y.'s privity, was, to my mind, indisputably established: And what makes this statement dove-tail in with the whole transaction, is, that Mr. Dockery speaks to the payment of 121l., the balance of that account, by a draft of his royal highness on Messrs. Coutts and Co. on the 23d of July. The fact is clearly brought home to the D. of Y. by the evidence of Mr. Dockery; who, as I have already stated, was not a very willing witness, of which, if any proof were wanting, it may be worthy of remark, that although the D. of Y. paid him these sums of money at different payments, yet he affirms, that he cannot recollect the D. of Y. ever speaking to him at all respecting the service of plate, or any thing that he said. The right hon. gentleman feels no surprise at this. He deems it impossible to recollect a conversation which passed at such a distance of time. I am astonished that the witness cannot call to mind what passed between him and a personage of such distinguished rank in the country, upon a business so novel and extraordinary, as the one in which he was then engaged. From the evidence of Mrs. C., 229 the corroboration of it given by Sandon, the coincidence in the account produced by Mr. Parker, and lastly, the evidence of Mr. Dockery, I believe not only that the D. of Y., as is proved, paid for the remainder of this plate, but that Mrs. C. had obtained, by reason of her influence with the Commander in Chief, that sum of 500 guineas out of which she paid the 500l. on account to Birkett; and believing that, can I doubt the knowledge of the Duke of York of the source from whence she had derived the means of paying at one time, so large a sum of money? The Duke of York must have known what was the cost of the plate, that is clear; that he must also have known 500l. on account to have been paid by Mrs. C., is equally clear; for he could not have given his acceptances for the remainder of the plate, and have paid the balance of the account, without having seen that account stated, when the payment of the 500l. would have stared him in the face, being the first item on the credit side.—Now, sir, if the allowance of Mrs. Clarke was 1,000l. per annum, would not the Duke of York, if he had been ignorant of the sources from whence Mrs. Clarke obtained 500l. have taken the alarm? would not his personal feelings have been roused by such a circumstance? Sir, it is impossible that he could have been ignorant of the real nature of Mrs. Clarke's connection with col. French. This verily in my conscience I believe!
Sir; We cannot help being forcibly reminded by the incidental circumstances of this case, how deeply nations are concerned in the private conduct of those connected with the monarchs appointed to rule over them. I have said, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has called to our recollection, that this service of plate belonged to the Duke de Berri, a branch of the house of Bourbon, once so mighty and illustrious. The last unhappy sovereigns of that family were murdered by their own subjects, and the few of its members who survived the promiscuous carnage of those bloody days, driven from their native home, are wanderers on the face of the earth, or supported by the charitable munificence of this country: affording a melancholy but instructive lesson, of the near connexion subsisting between the private lives of princes and the fate of nations. It might have been expected, that the Duke of York would have started at the name of the Duke de Berri, and 230 contemplating his sad reverse of fortune, would have resolved upon such an alteration of life and conduct, as would have precluded the necessity of this painful enquiry. He might have reflected on the state to which a man of such high descent was reduced, on that surprizing vicissitude of human affairs, which had driven to such expedients for support, in the metropolis of the kingdom which had for centuries been contending against the ambition of his family, a near relation of the ruined throne of France. He might have accepted the warning thus offered. A man of sound understanding could hardly have overlooked it. Tracing effects to their true causes, he might have seen that the revolution, of which that royal house and its appendages have been the peculiar victims, and which has in its consequences convulsed the whole moral state of Europe, was brought about, not by the theories of speculative men, but by the vices of individuals, and the foul corruptions of the state: finally drawing down upon the innocent as well as upon the guilty, one universal ruin. Such were the real causes oft he destruction of the ancient monarchy of France. It has been truly said, that philosophy has no such triumphs to boast. In the national effects produced by the vices and follies of the higher orders of society, are to be found the reasons which take the matters now under our consideration, out of the private transactions of the Duke of York. It is the influence which the moral behaviour of persons of exalted rank has upon the public weal, which gives such vast importance to all they do, and makes it decisive of the fate of empires. Let us for the sake of example trace back the history of France to the La Valieres, the Montespans, the bigotted Maintenon, through the profligate period of the regency, down to the Pompadours, and the wretched du Barrè, who lived to suffer in that Revolution, which was hastening to it's fatal crisis, with the velocity of a comet, unperceived by those who were indulging in their gorgeous vices. Look how the strength of France was blasted, how England flourished in her decline! When vice and corruption reigned paramount in France, was not France humbled to prostration before the power of England? To what cause but that of the weakness produced by her corruption, can that prostration be ascribed? Sir, I feel that I have dwelt at great length upon so painful a topic, but this instance of the 231 instability of all human greatness, is so striking, that I could not refrain from expressing my astonishment, that it failed to make such an impression on the mind of the Duke of York, as to induce him to abandon the course of life in which he was engaged, and to trace back his steps to the paths of prudence and decorum. At the bare possibility that his name might be implicated in deeds so odious, he might have shuddered. This magnificent and awful monument of fallen pomp and greatness, might have served for the remainder of his life, as a beacon to direct his course: and he might have thanked his Creator for his rescue from the abyss over which he hung, with a resolution immoveably fixed, thereafter to lead a life of virtue!
Sir, I now come to Mr. Dowler, whose case appears to me to bear still stronger proof of the corrupt influence of Mrs. Clarke, than any of those which have been brought before us. It has been contended by the right hon. gent. that the testimony of Dowler ought to be rejected, on the ground of his having been convicted of falsehood, or at least, of his evidence having received from an hon. member of this house, Mr. Alderman Combe, such contradiction as renders Mr. Dowler unworthy of belief. This, sir, I positively deny. The substance of Mr. Combe's evidence is, That having been acquainted with Mr. Dowler, and his misfortunes on the Stock Exchange, he had heard with pleasure of his having obtained an appointment in the Commissariat, but that he at the same time heard this appointment had been obtained through the influence of Mrs. Clarke. On meeting Mr. Dowler in the street, he, Mr. Combe, being on horseback, and Mr. Dowler on foot, and separated by a press of carriages, (and as Mr. Dowler states by the unruliness of Mr. Combe's horse,) Mr. Combe congratulated Mr. Dowler on his good fortune, and asked him whether he had obtained his situation through Mrs. C.'s influence, or by the interest of Mr. Brook Watson. To which Dowler's reply was, "Oh! by Mr. Brook Watson's." This assertion is denied by Mr. Dowler, and indeed, if it was made, turns out not to have been true. But, sir, let us deal a little fairly by the witness, and try whether the falsehood, admitting it to have been such, is of a nature to make us reject all Mr. Dowler may ever after say as a witness. Was it an examination on oath? was it a judicial enquiry of 232 any sort? was it even a conversation of a strict and severe character? By no means, It was of that loose desultory sort, where no right existed in the one to demand, nor any obligation lay on the other to disclose, what had passed. We are told, and it is not improbable, that strict secrecy had been enjoined to Dowler. That moralist must have been able to balance himself with great success, upon the pinnacle of perfection he has attained, who can undertake to say he has never made a greater deviation from truth, than the one here ascribed to Mr. Dowler. Listen a little to Mr. Alderman Combe, and hear whether his opinion of Mr. Dowler's integrity is weakened by the circumstance to which he has himself given evidence. He is asked, "From your own knowledge of Mr. Dowler, do you believe him to be a man of integrity? Perfectly so. I would have recommended him to any situation for which he was a candidate." Sir, the Chancellor of the Exchequer may hold this cheap; but I have a very great value for the opinion of Mr. Alderman Combe. I believe him to be an excellent judge of mankind. I have great confidence in his tact, and I am sure no consideration would induce him to represent a man as one of perfect integrity, who, in his opinion, had been guilty of gross deliberate falsehood. The right hon. gent. thought, if he could extinguish the character of Dowler, the glaring case of the commissariat would be extinguished with it. Of Mr. Dowler there is no concurrent recommendation at all. He stands upon the influence of Mrs. C. alone. No trace has been discovered of any other support. That Mr. Dowler exercises the duties of the commissariat is before our eyes; how he became commissary, no man can tell.
Every nook and corner of the treasury has been ransacked. The soothsayers have been consulted. The wise men have opened the books of the mysteries, wherein are recorded the applications, promises, and performances. A former secretary of the treasury has applied to the stores of his memory; the present secretary has carefully reviewed every paper in his possession. The universal return has been "Non est inventus." Mr. Commissary Watson from the grave disclaims him. Dowler indeed, himself, has mentioned one person who might have thrown some light upon the matter, but he has never been called. Mr. Dowler has said, that 233 Mr. Vernon of the treasury told him, "I believe you are going to be appointed "assistant commissary. I have no doubt the appointment will take place, it has been signified from the board." Why was not Mr. Vernon, who is now alive, brought before us, to tell us what he knew about this appointment?
I have no doubt that Dowler has spoken the truth. The right hon. gent. cannot do that which is impossible even to Jupiter himself. He cannot call back the past day. He cannot annul the appointment. He cannot rail the seal from off the bond. Divest Dowler of the protection of Mrs. C, he stands alone, perfectly insulated, without friend, connexion, or recommendation; yet he did obtain an appointment. He served in South America and Portugal with the king's forces, from whence he returned, providentially as it would appear, to give his testimony at the bar of this house. To the D. of Y. Dowler must have been an object of personal aversion. But the money which he produced, secured the influence of Mrs. Clarke, and her influence over the Commander in Chief secured a recommendation which was sure of success. Such is the story he has told. Circumstances strongly corroborate the statement he has made, not a shadow of contradiction is given to any part of it. I believe it to be true.
I now come to the case of Mr. Elderton, who was appointed pay-master to a regiment. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said, that paymasterships are not in the appointment of the Commander in Chief, and he is certainly right. But will the right hon. gent, pretend to say that the recommendation of the D. of Y. to such an appointment would have no influence? Mrs. Clarke applied to the D. of Y., and the D. of Y. mentioned it to Mr. Greenwood. Had that no weight? But the D. of Y. never applied formally to Mr. Greenwood on the subject, and never directly recommended him to his notice. What trifling is this! do not we all know how the matter passed? The D. of Y. said to Mr. Greenwood, "Mr. Elderton will call upon you about a paymastership." Verbum sat. Greenwood bowed, and the thing was done without another syllable. Mr. Greenwood had only to see the man was duly qualified. It was indisputably by the influence of Mrs. Clarke alone the appointment was obtained: and what, like many other circumstances attending this investigation, is almost miraculous, the 234 letter of thanks addressed by Elderton to the D. of Y. was produced from the repository of Mr. Nichols. Of the existence of such a letter Mrs. Clarke was utterly ignorant at the time she told her story. Sir, the right hon. gent, has endeavoured to throw some doubt upon the existence of the real influence of Mrs. C. in this case of Elderton, because the letter of thanks addressed to the D. of Y. upon his appointment was found amongst papers belonging to Mrs. Clarke, because it was not, according to technical language, in it's proper custody. Sir, is the right hon. gent, so little versed in the ways of the world, as to suppose that all papers communicated by Mrs. Clarke to the D. of Y. would be consigned to the care of some official person, and that if this letter was really written in the way, and upon the occasion stated by Mrs. Clarke, it would have been found amongst the papers of h. r. h.? No. If in the hours of familiar intercourse it was shown to him, as it most probably was, it would have been glanced over, and immediately thrown aside, with the same carelessness and indifference which Mrs. Clarke herself displayed with regard to all the important papers which at different times came into her possession. A carelessness so substantiated as to make it morally impossible she should have acted from any fixed design of vengeance against the Duke of York. There remains but one more case to be disposed of, which is that of Kennett. I should wish to go into it, but I have trespassed so long upon the indulgent patience of the house, that as it is but collateral I will dismiss it with a very short I observation. It proves to what shifts the D. of Y. had recourse for the purpose of raising money. It shews to what purpose he would have applied the adventitious influence which he possessed in consequence of his high situation. Taken with all the other facts upon which I have felt it necessary to dwell, it adds to the general mass of proof of the existence of corruption.
Sir, at the outset of these inquiries, the friends of the Duke of York might have had some plausible pretence for talking of Conspiracies against him, and through him against the Royal House of Brunswick. It was in consonance with the feelings of some hon. gentlemen to speak of the existence of such traitorous designs with a pomp and solemnity which would better have become the great Roman Orator, when he divulged to the astonished Senate the 235 plot which had been formed for his assassination, the subversion of the state, and the massacre of the best men of the republic. But what is become of such Conspiracy now? We find all the reputed conspirators disagreeing and quarrelling with each other. Yet the more they quarrel the more they strengthen the charges against the Duke of York. Look at the reluctance with which Donovan, a notorious trafficker in the sale of real and pretended influence, gave his evidence. Recollect his gross prevarication on the first day of his examination. Did he conspire against the Duke of York? Did Sandon conspire against the D. of Y.? Look again, and see how these witnesses, who evidently had very different objects in view, than to oppress the Duke of York, have entrapped themselves into evidence, which has had a fatal effect in the minds of many upon the character of h. r. h.? The right hon. gent, to the last exclaims Conspiracy! and yet when he has wanted to support an argument, he has deigned to summon these pygmies to his assistance. In one case, I remember, where he was in the greatest streight, he set number against value, as if one Gordon was not worth a whole kingdom, filled with Donovans, Sandons, and such a tribe. Sir, in order to carry this Conspiracy into effect, a special interference was necessary. Dowler arrived from Portugal, and Sandon from Spain, at the very moment. I do not know whether the right hon. gent, thinks these extraordinary coincidences were brought about by the machinations of Mrs. Clarke. In my opinion the men arrived most providentially for the service of the nation, to confirm the testimony she had given.
Sir, there is one part of the written, evidence which has foiled the ingenuity of the right hon. gent., and he has fairly declared that he can give no explanation of a fact, the existence of which however he does not deny. I mean that part of the correspondence of Mrs. Clarke where she talks of the introduction of foreigners into the British service. Aye, and of Catholics too! I do not imagine, any more than She right hon. gent., that Mrs. Clarke granted regular letters of service; but I apprehend that through her influence, facilities were given for raising the men described. I wonder the right hon. gent, did not take the alarm at the introduction of Catholics, that that did not strike him as one of the features of the Conspiracy. Catholics filling up the ranks of the British army! 236 Catholics sanctioned by a Royal Duke! flat Popery! Why, sir, this was paving the way for the Pope to become Commander in Chief!!! Most happy, sir, should I be to see that class of my fellow citizens restored to the privileges to which they are entitled, and of which they have been deprived by those arbitrary acts, which ought long since to have been repealed. Sir, I disregard the clamour I have excited by the expression I have just used, and I repeat it. The acts which deprive that oppressed part of our fellow subjects of their common rights, even of the privilege of bleeding for their country, but under the heaviest penalties, are arbitrary, cruel, and unjust; and if the greatness of this empire is to be maintained, they must be repealed. But, I will not now be led further by feelings which I own have strong possession of my mind. The train of reasoning used by the right hon. gent, to prove the existence of conspiracies and plots, appears to me absurd. That a Conspiracy, however, has existed for the destruction of the Duke of York, I am compelled to admit. That such conspiracy was forming by the rankest jacobins this or any other country has at any time produced, is indisputably true.
Sir, it has been said, that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. It may with equal force be asserted, that the follies of princes are the food of the jacobins. The underling conspirators were Donovan, Sandon, Maltby, and all that crew connected and supported by the corruptions which took their source in the Duke of York's fatal abandonment of himself. Where were the more select meetings of the chief conspirators held? In Gloucester-place. Who, unconscious of his own danger and disgrace, presided in the chair? The Duke of York.—At the orgies of Gloucester-place, the genius of jacobinism displayed his fullest state.That dreadful masquervjder—There foremost at the banquet and the ball,He led the dance, and threw the deadly die:Nor ever failed the midnight bowl to crown.Gaily carousing midst his gay compeers,Inly he laugh'd, to see them laugh at him,As absent fur.Let the true method be taken, and this malignant spirit, will be quelled. Expel jacobinism from the palaces and chambers of the great, and it will no longer be found in the hovels of the lowly and the poor. My honourable friend who has made the motion which I support, 237 is no jacobin, but the true anti-jacobin, who would save the Duke of York from the fangs of those vultures and harpies who fatten upon the corruption they create. Of the publications, not to say libels, with which the press has teemed against my hon. friend, and all who in these perilous times have dared be honest, I cannot speak without contempt. If to gloss over to the public the errors of princes and the weakness of ministers,; if to jingle in rhyme, and to turn patriotism into ridicule, be the test of anti-jacobinism, then has not my hon. friend any claim to that appellation. But, if to stand forward for the relief of royalty from the machinations of a profligate crew; if to oppose the hydra of corruption, be the business of a true anti-jacobin; then is my hon. friend an anti-jacobin in the most legitimate and extensive sense of the term.
In the early part of these debates it was said, by a right hon. secretary, that whatever might be the result of the Charges, infamy must fall somewhere. Sir; there was something shocking in the efforts made, and the language used, to deter my hon. friend from persevering in the difficult task he had undertaken. I would now ask of that right hon. gent., Where is the infamy to fall? That it falls upon my hon. friend no man will now have the boldness to assert. Will the right hon. gent, and the other defenders of the Duke allow that it rests upon the head of his royal highness? No. Where then is it to be placed? It must return whence it came. It is in the custody of the right hon. gent, until he shall think proper to tell us where is now its appropriate place.
Sir; my hon. friend is not one of those grovelling despicable characters, who give birth to plots and conspiracies, which exist only in their own fancies, and are promulgated only for their own purposes. He is not one of those who paint in odious colours all who stand between them and their own wishes. He is not one of those most pernicious of jacobins, who would approach the throne with the fatal language of falsehood and adulation. He has shewn himself courageous, candid, and consistent; nor can any eulogium which can fall from my lips, add to the sum of his merits, or to the esteem in which he is held by a grateful country. Let the house of commons follow his example in the courageous discharge of its duty. The country totters to its ruin: but it may yet be saved.
238 Let us forthwith set about the work of Reform. Let the house of commons shew that true regard for the throne which consists in taking the measures best calculated for its preservation. That throne is the most powerfully supported which has its foundation in the hearts of the people. There fix it, by shewing to the people of England your determination to support their rights, and to destroy corruption, in however lofty a branch the canker may be found.—In so doing you will act nobly by the Duke of York himself. Let the censure passed upon him by this house be remembered only as the chastisement by a parent of a beloved child, whose welfare and happiness are the only objects of the infliction. Let us by voting the address proposed avert the fatal consequences which I greatly apprehend may result from a refusal to do justice to the feelings of the country.
Sir, I cannot pass over the Letter which his royal highness has been advised to address to this house. It was an act of great impropriety. I will not now say what might be urged upon the manifest infraction of our privileges; for such is the importance of the main subject of our debate, it absorbs all other considerations. It is a melancholy task he has imposed upon the representatives of the people to pronounce upon his guilt or innocence, after having solemnly pledged his word to his utter ignorance of facts to which it is charged that he was privy. Against the conviction which I feel upon this point arising out of the proofs, what can I put which ought to make the scale preponderate? The honour of a prince! Sir, what is the honour of a prince more than the word of a man? If the pledged honour of the Duke of York is suffered to have the slightest weight in our deliberations, against the evidence of facts proved at the bar of this house, there is an end at once to all freedom of discussion; all inquiry must hereafter be fruitless. There was no necessity for this assertion on the part of the Duke of York. The alternative to which we are reduced by it, is by no means honourable to him, and very miserable to us.
What can avail such asseverations? the hour must come when all distinctions will be levelled by death. The innocence and guilt of all will at some time appear: but to the protestations of the accused, we must turn a deaf ear. Have we not heard wretches led to execution, with the rope 239 about their necks, on the brink of eternity, in. the last vain hope of escaping from punishment, call on their Maker to witness that innocence which could not by possibility exist. Sir, such protestations are horrible to my ear, feeling as I feel, and acting as I shall be compelled to act, when called upon to give my verdict as a member of this house.—It has been confidently asserted by the right hon. gent, that the public virtue of this kingdom is now eminently conspicuous; that there never was a period of our history, when public men could with less justice be charged with corruption. If by corruption the right hon. gent. means to confine himself simply to peculation, and direct coarse bribery by money, I may be disposed to agree in the justice of his remark, but let me add the reason. A spirit of enquiry is alive. Men do not chuse to have their names recorded in the blue books which lie upon your table. Detection is more likely, and therefore we act under stronger restraints.
Such things, however, have been brought to light, as render the admission I have made, doubtful in the extreme. For the rest, Corruption, by the means of patronage and influence, has been extended till it's limits have vanished from our sight. Corruption to the very core! However we may flatter ourselves, that poison, more to be dreaded than all the hostile efforts of Buonaparté, is making an unheeded, but certain and rapid progress; it hourly saps the state, and if not checked, it must speedily prove fatal. I conjure the house of commons, instantly to set about the grand work of reformation in every department. Let not a moment be lost! for in reform, temperate and rational reform, lies the only hope of salvation. We must reform, or we shall perish!
Sir, I trust we shall hear no more of prosecutions for libels on the Duke of York, on the subject of army promotions. Vile and calumnious as such publications have been I hope they will be suffered to rest. After what has been seen, we know too well what foundation has been given, upon which such false and exaggerated statements have been built. Let a veil be thrown over the past. It is for the interest of the community that it should. I know that in some gentlemen there is a disposition to restrain the press. Its perfect freedom is in my opinion as essential to liberty, as the circulation of the blood to the existence of animal life. Its licen- 240 tiousness is under the controul of the law. If, then, the learned gent, shall think it right to draw the vengeful pen of indictment, let him not forget the well known pamphlet called the Plain Statement, which issued from the press in the course of the last summer, than which a more calumnious libel was never uttered, either against the Duke of York, or against the British constitution. The fact charged by the greatest characters of the present reign, that there does exist an interior cabinet, controuling the operations of the executive servants of the crown, and thwarting their measures, is there directly avowed; and the Duke of York is named as the head of that dark and dangerous cabal. If any thing calls for prosecution, it is that, the grossest of all the calumnies which have been published against his royal highness.
Sir, the indulgence with which I have been heard, demands my unfeigned acknowledgments. I have laid before you my whole heart, upon this most anxious and important subject. I have delivered my opinion, fully, freely, without hesitation or reserve. If my reasoning shall at all have tended to elucidate a matter involved in much intricacy, and where the chain of evidence is difficult to follow, it will be satisfactory to me, to think that my labours may have conduced to assist in forming the opinions of others. I should, however, be unfeignedly sorry to have given a false interpretation to any thing which has fallen from the witnesses, or unduly to bias the opinion of any member of the house.
I will now conclude by again calling upon the house of commons, carefully to perform the solemn duty which they owe to their constituents. In this awful crisis of our fate, the safety of England depends upon the firmness and decision with which this house shall execute its trust. The passing moment is big with danger. The plague is amongst us. Bring incense quickly. This house alone can effectually interpose: alone can stand between the living and the dead, and stay the plague!!!
The Attorney General
(Sir Vicary Cibbs) —Sir, some of the observations of the hon. gent., (Mr. Whitbread) who has just sat down, were applied personally to me and to my conduct in the official situation which I have the honour of filling. With respect to those observations I shall not detain the house by entering into any consideration of them, but content myself 241 with saying, that I shall always proceed upon those principles and in that line of conduct which in my own view are best calculated to enable me to discharge faithfully, strictly, and impartially that duty which in my official character I owe to the public. The hon. gent, in the opening of his address stated to the Louse that he thought it impossible any gentleman could be found who would differ from him in the conclusions which he could draw; and at the close of his speech he disclaimed all idea of prevailing upon any man to give a vote to which he was not led by the conviction of his own understanding. I cannot help thinking that unless the hon. gent. can lead others into his opinions, by the weight of authority which he is conscious of possessing, there is very little danger of his doing it by the course of reasoning which he has on this occasion pursued.
The question before the house cannot, I think, be distinctly understood without separating the different parts of the address which is proposed to us. It states first, that various corrupt practices and abuses have for a long time existed in the disposal of commissions and promotions in the army: It then declares, that in the opinion of the. house such abuses could not have existed for so long a time without the knowledge of the Commander in Chief: And then it proceeds to say, that even if they could be presumed to have existed without the knowledge of the Commander in Chief, still this house are of opinion that his majesty cannot safely or prudently any longer suffer the command of the army to remain in his hands; and it concludes with expressing an opinion, that on these grounds h. r. h. ought to be removed from the command. The existence of various corrupt practices and abuses is not disputed. The material question is, whether these abuses were known to the D. of Y. The main ground of charge against him is, that they were carried on with his knowledge and approbation. Of this we ought to acquit him; or, if we think there is good ground for the charge, to put it in a course of legal enquiry". The present address, instead of doing this, endeavours to fix upon h. r. h. the imputation of guilt, without affording him an opportunity of defending himself against it. Is it fit we should leave this matter so? When the Charges were opened by the hon. gent., he stated that he should fix upon this illustrious 242 person the knowledge of, and connivances in, practices of the most flagitious description. When such a statement, distinctly and positively made, was the foundation of the enquiry, is it consistent with justice, either to the D. of Y. or to the public, that we should step aside from the consideration of a charge so made, and come to a resolution, that the D. of Y. ought not to be continued in his present office, whether the charge be true or false? That surely would be neither a just nor a candid mode of dealing with any man, not with the meanest person in the country, if he were charged with so serious an offence. Were he guilty or innocent I should consider him intitled to a direct decision upon the fact, and it is with me an unanswerable objection to the present address that it contain? no such decision. It is said by those who support this address, that thinking the D. of Y. guilty, as they do, it was impossible for them to have proposed a less offensive or more lenient measure.
Without considering further the mildness or justice of a measure, which leaves an infamous charge upon the party accused, and excludes him from all possibility of referring that charge to the judgment of any legal tribunal, I shall proceed to consider the grounds upon which this opinion, so unfavourable to h. r. h., is founded; and I am satisfied that a fair examination of the evidence will lead us to a very different conclusion. I agree that in an enquiry of this sort we are to deal with the D. of Y. precisely as we would deal with the meanest individual in the land; but if we are to allow him no favour he is yet entitled to the same measure of justice, and surely you would not, as has been done here, make it a matter of reproach to the meanest individual, that in addressing those before whom he was accused he had declared himself innocent; you would not impute it to him as an additional offence, that he had declared that the offence with which he was charged could not be brought home to him by evidence. To load him with the crime of having denied that he was guilty is a little too hard; and I think, that if the hon. gent, had made candour and liberality as much the rule and law as he has the subject of his discourse, he would not have urged this as a topic of aggravation against the illustrious person whose conduct Js now the subject of our enquiry.
When I say the D. of Y. is to be dealt with in the same manner as any other in- 243 dividual, I claim for him, without favour or prejudice, the same consideration of his case which any other individual would be intitled to.
Coming to the consideration of such a question as this, I should look to the charges originally made against the party accused—to the manner in which the evidence had been brought forward against him—to the character and demeanour of the different witnesses—to the motives by which they may have been influenced—to the consistency or inconsistency of their testimony, and to the support or contradiction which they met with from the evidence of others; above all I should examine and consider, whether any part of the case be clearly a fabrication, and by whom, because the testimony of those who appear to have invented or supported any charges which they knew to be false ought to be rejected altogether as wholly unworthy of credit. Upon these principles we should examine that part of the case which imputes to the Duke a knowledge of corrupt practices that have been proved, and which I take to be the substantive charge against him. When we have arrived at our conclusion upon this, the subsequent measures to be founded upon it admit of a very different consideration. They may be measures of policy, but this is a question of justice; and I perfectly agree with my rt. hon. friend, that upon this first question, Whether the D. of Y. has or has not criminally connived at these practices, which we must all admit to be criminal, our enquiry is strictly judicial, and we ought to proceed in it upon judicial principles. The hon. gent. who last addressed the house was sensible of this, and before he entered upon an examination of the different charges, he felt that it was incumbent on him to take off, as far as he was able, observations which have been made, affecting the credit of the most material witness, the only one I may say by whom any attempt is made to fix this knowledge upon the D. of York. I speak of Mrs. Clarke, and to render her a credible witness in this judical enquiry was the object of his labour: over her he endeavoured to throw his broad shield, and in protecting her he was not sparing in his attack on those who presumed to invade the sacredness of her character for veracity. He seemed to enjoy the expression of my hon. friend, that those who had attempted to cross-examine Mrs. C. were foiled by her—a circumstance not much to be 244 wondered at, considering the support which she received, and to which the hon. gent, contributed his share,—the laugh of approbation which was sure to follow every impertinet observation, by which she always endeavoured to evade such questions as she found it inconvenient or unpleasant to answer. He exults in this triumph of a bold and shameful witness; he attacks those who in the progress of the enquiry presumed to question the credibility of her testimony; and he maintains that she stands wholly uncontradicted in every part of her evidence, except one: in one part he admits she is contradicted by Mr. Stowers, but even this he supposes to arise from a misunderstanding of what Mr. Stowers meant, and with this exception he insists that every one of those who have come forward to contradict Mrs. C. have been foiled in the attempt. Upon this I think the whole question turns. For if Mrs. C, who alone pretends to say that h. r. h. knew, and approved of her corrupt practices, is contradicted upon other points by credible witnesses, her general credit is destroyed, and this charge will remain wholly without support.
I know not why the honourable gentleman says that Mr. Stowers must have been misunderstood. Mrs. C. being questioned upon the state of her family and connexions, repeatedly denied that to her knowledge her husband had been a stonemason. Mr. Stowers says, that he knew him publicly carrying on that business in an open stone-mason's yard, for some, years, and that during this period Mrs. C. was living with him, and one if not more of their children was born. I see no pretence for misunderstanding in this. It is a direct contradiction of Mrs. C, and shews that she is utterly regardless of truth. The hon. gent, then says, "you pretended to contradict her by the evidence of Mr. Nicholls of Hampstead and how does he contradict her? Mrs. C, upon her examination at the bar, told you that she had never said she was married to Mr. Dowler. Nicholls says, that when she first went to live at his house she represented that she was a widow, but when Mr. Dowler visited her there she pretended he was her husband, which pretence Mr. Nicholls must have very well understood, and could never have believed the fact, and what a contradiction, he says, is this?" In my apprehension, if Mrs. C.'s and Mr. 245 Nicholls's evidence be fairly stated, it is a very serious contradiction. She thought it material to support her credit by denying that she had ever assumed a false character, and with this view she asserted most positively at the bar that she never had represented herself as a widow, and never had said that she was married to Mr. Dowler. Mr. Nicholls gives the most pointed contradiction to both these assertions, he states that she took his house as a widow, and that on Mr. Dowler's arrival there afterwards, she said she had been privately married to him, and had a particular reason for wishing to conceal it, which reason was, that if the D. of York knew she was married, he would send Mr. Dowler out of the kingdom. I cannot frame to my mind a contradiction more direct and positive than this. How then is it to be got rid of? The hon. gent., feeling that he could no otherwise protect Mrs. C, than by disgracing this witness, attempts to discredit Mr. Nicholls, by charging him with having basely, dishonestly, and corruptly (I use his own words) withheld certain letters from her. By what facts is this heavy charge supported? Mrs. C. having a bundle of letters, which she considered as waste paper, gave them the maid servant of the house to light the fire with. There they remained unconsumed until the matter of our present enquiry was publicly talked of Curiosity led Mr. Nicholls then to examine the letters, some of which he thought related to this subject. A day or two before his examination here, and after he had notice that his attendance would be required, Mrs. C. demands the letters of him, and being then a considerable creditor of hers he claims a right to retain them until his debt is discharged. I find nothing which deserves the epithets of base, dishonest, or corrupt in this; nothing which should lead us to withhold from the witness our fullest credit; and if he be worthy of belief, he established two direct contradictions against Mrs. C, and I may add, that in one of them, I mean the fact of her having passed for Dowler's wife, he is confirmed by Mr. Reid, the master of the hotel at which they slept. Before I dismiss Mr. Nicholls's evidence, it may be proper to observe, that when he applied to Mrs. C for a debt which she owed him, he was answered by a letter, threatening to charge him with having forged a will, under which he held an estate. To those who do not shut their eyes against the truth, 246 this furnishes a pretty good clue to the motive of her present conduct.
The hon. gent. treats as lightly another contradiction, arising out of the proof that she had passed a night with Mr. Dowler at this same hotel. You attempt, he says, to contradict and discredit her, because she denies that fact, and because she denies that she went by the name of Mrs. Dowler; and then, he says, how many of us, referring to our younger days, may recollect persons whom we have permitted to pass under names we knew did not belong to them; and he observes truly, that it would be harsh and unjust to bring forward such transactions for the purpose of affecting our credit. Sir, it is not the transaction itself, but the denial of it, which brings discredit on the party. Nay, if Mrs. C. had only wished to conceal from the house her criminal connexion with Mr. Dowler, we should have been ready to overlook it; but she had another purpose in view. It was most material for Mrs. C. and Mr. Dowler to persuade the house that they had had little or no communication with each other, before they appeared at your bar. Mrs. C. is examined to that fact: she said she had seen him once only before they met at this house. Was it only to conceal the scene that passed at Reid's hotel, that, she denied the fact of her having seen Mr. Dowler? No, sir, it was to lead the house into a belief that he wished not to appear as a witness, that he called upon her merely, as he had stated, to beg himself off* and that they had had no opportunities of conferring together upon the subject of their testimony. As to Mr. Dowler, the hon. gent. says he is not contradicted at all. I say, that his evidence amounts to a denial that he had seen Mrs. C. since his return from Portugal, excepon the Sunday at her own house, and after wards on their attendance here. Let us refer to it. "You arrived from Portugal on Thursday last? Yes. Have you seen Mrs. C. since your return from Portugal? Yes. When did you see Mrs. C. since your return from Portugal? On Sunday last. Have you seen her since? I saw her just now in the witnesses room. Was any body with Mrs. C. when you saw her? I waited upon her to request that I might not be called as a witness, seeing the circumstance of col. Trench's levy in the newspaper. I saw her address in the newspaper." Yet now it is fully proved, that Mrs. C. flew to Mr. Dowlers arms on the moment of his arrival.
247 The hon. gent, says, that Mr. Dowler never did state that he did not pass the night with Mrs. C. at the hotel, and upon that he founds a most violent attack upon my learned friend, who asserted that Mr. Dowler had been contradicted. He states him as a person standing unimpeached and without contradiction. He admits it is proved that Mr. Dowler slept with Mrs. C, but he says that Mr. Dowler had not denied it. In all fair construction of his evidence he had denied it. His account agreed with Mrs. C.'s, their evidence was directed to the same object, and both are met by the same contradiction.
The hon. gent, in the next place, insisted that Mr. Knight had not in any respect contradicted Mrs. C, at least that he had not materially done so. Now, looking at the evidence with all the attention which I am master of, I find it impossible to reconcile their testimony. If the hon. gent, does not strike out the evidence of the one he must of the other, for Mr. Knight says positively, she desired that the business night not be mentioned to the D. of. Y.: she as positively denies it. Mr. Knight declares she said she would expose, the D. of Y., as she is now attempting to do, if she could not bring him to terms, and this also she as positively denies. What then can the hon. gent, mean, by saying that Mr. Knight does not contradict Mrs. Clarke?
There was another contradiction which the hon. gent. probably felt too strong to be got over, and therefore left it untouched. I aliude to that which regards Mrs. Favory. Mrs. C. says, she only knew her by the name of Favory, and that she never knew her by any other name; yet it appears, upon the evidence of Mr. Ellis, a respectable clergyman, that Mrs. C permitted Mrs. Favory to take her name of Farquhar; that she visited her at Mr. Ellis's where she lived under that name; that she enquired for her by that name; and that under that name she gave her the character which introduced her to the service of Mr. Ellis. All these appear to me material contradictions to Mrs. C.'s evidence; they shew in her an absolute disregard to truth, and leave her entitled to no credit with the house. All of them, except the last, the hon. gent, has laboured to explain away, but I think most unsuccessfully. His strenuous endeavours to do it shew how important a point in the case he felt this to be, and therefore I have attempted to follow him in his arguments, and to shew their insufficiency. If her credit be effectually impeached, as 248 I think it is, the charge of corruption against h. r. h. will, in my opinion, be left altogether without support; for all the arguments by which it is attempted to fix this charge upon the Duke rest substantially upon her evidence alone.
It is said that the general expenditure in Gloucester-Place greatly exceeded the sums allotted by h. r. h. to Mrs. C, and must have convinced him that she supplied herself by these corrupt practices. But upon whose credit does this rest, except Mrs. C.'s? The money with which she was supplied passed personally from the D. of Y. to her; the extent of these supplies rests upon her assertion only, and we are desired to take it upon her single credit that those supplies were as inadequate as she has staled to her apparent expenditure. When we follow the hon. gent, in his consideration of the particular cases charged against the D. of York, we shall find that here also he relies upon Mrs. C.'s evidence, and that these very cases furnish additional reason for discrediting her. The first to which he applies himself is the exchange between col. Knight and col. Brook, and he urges as a confirmation of Mrs C.'s testimony that the 200l. which she stipulated for upon the completion of the exchange, was actually paid to her when that event took place. It was so, but in what does this confirm her? In a fact, which never was controverted, that she had made a corrupt contract for 200l. which sum she actually received. The fact disputed, that upon which the whole question turns, is, whether this passed with the knowledge of the D. of Y., and in this she is confirmed by no one; but she so frames her story, that fortunately for the cause of truth, it is contradicted by certain indisputable facts, of which she was ignorant at the time, and therefore did not render it consistent with them. The facts within her knowledge were, that she had deluded Dr. Thynne and Mr. Knight into a belief that by her influence with the D. of York she could effect this exchange—that under this delusion they had promised her 200l. when the exchange should be effected—that it appeared in the Gazette on the 30th July that she received the 200l. in a bank note on the 31st—that in the night of the 31st the D.of Y. set: out for Weymouth, and she was herself' going out of town the next morning. To these facts, she adds, from her own I invention, the following: that two or three days, she is sure not more than 249 three, before col. Knight was gazetted, she applied in his favour to the D. of Y., and stated that she was to receive a pecuniary compliment for her interest—that the Duke raised some objections, but promised that he would do it—that after dinner on the 31st she shewed the bank note, which she had received, to the D. of Y., and desired that one of his servants might get it changed, as she wanted the money for her journey the next day, and that one of the Duke's servants did accordingly get it changed for her. It was material that she should bring the time of her pretended application to the D. of Y. as close as possible upon the completion of the exchange, because the exchange immediately following her request, would more naturally be ascribed to her influence. For this reason she persists in saying, that no more than three days intervened between her application to the Duke and the gazetting of col. Knight, and if this were so, her application must have been at least as late as the 27th of July, and the Duke must then have raised his objections to the exchange, but still have promised to do it. She perceived no danger in this statement of dates, she saw that it gave a colour of probability to her story, and therefore she persisted in it. She was not then aware that this exchange, for which she pretends to have obtained the Duke's consent, by means of a bribe, and against his better judgement, on the 27th, had actually received the Duke's hat on the 23d, was approved by his Majesty on the 24th and was not inserted earlier in the gazette, because by some accident the papers were not returned from Windsor with his Majesty's signature in the usual course. All this appears from written documents, which cannot deceive. There is the memorandum in the office of the Commander in Chief that h. r. h. had approved this exchange on the 23d. There is a letter from Mr. Huskisson to col. Gordon, on the 23d soliciting the appointment of a relative, of his to succeed col. Knight; there is col. Gordon's answer on the same 23d, stating that h. r. h. had on that day confirmed the exchange between col. Knight and col. Brooke. About these facts there can be no mistake, and they shew to demonstration that the thing had been completed several days before Mrs. C. pretends that she prevailed upon the Duke, by this most corrupt and infamous bargain, to accede to it. If 250 Mrs. C. had known these facts, her tale would not have been inconsistent with them. As far as her knowledge extends, all her statements are not only plausible, but incapable of contradiction, and it is only by opposing to her testimony facts against which she could not be guarded, because she was ignorant of them, that so deep laid a plan of malice and mischief could possibly be detected.
But this is not the only instance in which she is discredited by her own contrivance. In order to fix h. r. h. with the odium of this bribe, she says, that she produced the note before him after dinner on the 31st of July, and prevailed upon him, as she thinks, to send out one of his servants to get it changed. Fortunately but one servant, Ludowick Orraman, ever attended the Duke in Gloucester Place—he is called as a witness and denies that he ever changed such a note. In this he pointedly contradicts Mrs. C. It is curious to observe the course which they pursue to get rid of this contradiction. They first call Pierson, Mrs. C.'s butler, who recollects the night in 1805 on which the Duke went to Weymouth, but has no recollection that Ludowick Orraman was sent out on that evening to change a note., and he says, that some morning a little before this time, Mrs. Favory, the housekeeper, desired Ludowick to get a note changed, which he did, but the amount he knows not—this did not suit their purpose. Mrs. C. had stated, that after dinner, on the 31st of July, 1805, she produced the note to the D. of York, and the Duke that evening sent one of his servants at her desire, to get it changed. In this she had been contradicted by Ludowick Orraman, the only servant who ever attended the Duke there. Something must be done to mend this. Accordingly she is asked, on a subsequent day, how she knows that this bill was taken out by a servant of h. r. h.'s, and not one of her own, and she then says, she does not believe that she stated that h; r. h's, servant had taken it out, but only that h. r. h. had something to do with changing the note, that she had conversed with Pierson, upon the subject, who told her, he remembered on the evening that the Duke went to Weymouth, he had tried all over the neighbourhood to get a large note, he thought a 50l. note, changed, but could not; that he went into the parlour with it and the Duke said, go to my wine merchant at Stephens's hotel, and say you come from me; that he had before called 251 at confectioner, but could not do it there, and afterwards got it I changed at Stephens's. This is Mrs. C.'.s; account of what Pierson told her. Now let us hear Pierson for himself, when he is called up a second time. He admits that he had seen Mr. Wardle, and conversed with him upon the subject, since his last examination? he had a head ache then which prevented him from remembring what he is now about to state. He now remembers, that about eleven o'clock of the night on which the Duke went to Weymouth, he received a bill from Mrs. C. to get changed, and that he did so, and brought back the change to her, the Duke being with her both times; that he thinks! if. was 100l. (not 50, as Mrs. C. had said) that he had been at Stephens's, not By field's, and they could not do it for him, and that he actually did get it changed at By field's, the confectioner's, and not at Stephens's. If Mrs. C.'s testimony needed any further contradiction, Pierson, has compleated it; and those who will take the trouble of examining this part of the case must find in it sufficient reason for withholding all credit from such a witness. It is not enough to say, that she has failed in her proof of his charge; she has shewn, that she was herself the sole inventor of it, that she invented it from motives of revenge against the D. of Y., for the purpose of fixing infamy upon his character; and when it appears that she had acted upon this principal in one instance, who can believe her in any other. If any of her charges had been founded in fact, none would have been added from invention. The detection of one as the work of her contrivance disposes of all which depend upon her testimony.
The hon. gent, next proceeds to the consideration of Major Tonyn's Case: he says, there was an attempt to delay this appointment, meaning, I suppose, to find an application for the Note, which has been so much discussed, but if we look through the evidence we shall find that no delay whatever took place. In this, as well as in the exchange between Knight and Brooke, the documents are all regular, the recommendations are such as justify, and almost call for the promotions which took place. Prom March to August, 1804, nothing is done in his favour because no opportunity presented itself. In August, 1801, when a large augmentation of the army took place, col. Gordon is directed by the Commander in Chief to make out a 252 list of senior officers from the book of recommendations for promotion. No instructions came from the D. of Y. to insert any particular name; col. Gordon wrote out the list with his own hand, inserting maj. Tonyn's name as it occurred in the book. His name, with that of many others junior to him, was laid before the king on the 9th of August, and on the 18th his promotion was in the gazette. Nothing can be more regular than this, nothing can savour less of preference. But it is said that Mrs. C. had an engagement from maj. Tonyn for 500l. to be paid to her upon his obtaining his promotion, and that the D. of Y. knew this, and therefore promoted him. I doubt not that she had this engagement, and that she received the 500l. from maj. Tonyn for her pretended services, but that the Duke knew this rests upon her assertion alone, and contradicted as she has been in so many particulars, practised in assailing her enemies by false accusations, proved, in one instance at least, to have invented an infamous charge against the D. of Y., which she knew to be false, I think it impossible that upon this point she should gain any credit. With respect to this Note, I admit that the ballance of evidence is in favour of its being the Duke's handwriting, but it falls in with no part of these charges, it proves nothing against him; those who were active in the business, Mrs. C. herself can ascribe no effect to it, nor has any one ventured a probable conjecture upon the occasion which produced it, or the sort of enquiry which it was intended to satisfy. It may tend to perplex and puzzle, but it can lead us to no rational conclusion, and therefore ought to be laid out of our consideration.
The next Case upon which the hon. gent, comments is that of French and Sandon's levy. For this Mrs. C. received at first 500l. and then various other sums from capt. Sandon. The Duke, she says, knew this, and was induced by it to grant the letter of service; but this too she alone says, and all the circumstances of the Case tend to negative her assertion. Every precaution was taken to guard the public from imposition, and to exclude the parties from all undue advantage. The terms were submitted to gen. Hewitt, who was known to entertain a prejudice against recruiters, and col. Lorraine tells us that he thinks harder conditions were from this cause laid upon this levy than on any other. Such was not the conduct which 253 the D. of Y. would have dared to hold with men to whom he had basely sold their appointment.
If the establishment in Gloucester-place was to be fed, as has been, suggested, by the price of this levy, so much time would never have been consumed in consideration and enquiry, nor would the contractors at last have been screwed up to such hard terms. But the service was ill performed, and the levy unsuccessful. Be it so; but does this give any countenance to the charge upon h. r. h. that he sold the letter of service when throughout the whole negociation his object was to cut down the profits of the recruiters, and make as advantageous a bargain as possible for the public? But he suffered the levy to continue after strong complaints of misconduct in col. French. It is true he did so, after complaints sent from Ireland by and against col. French, because in the want of men, which was then felt, he thought it expedient upon the whole to make some further trial of it, but, after a few months, finding that it was not likely to answer, he discontinued it altogether, and rejected col. French's pressing applications to revive it upon any terms. This he would not have dared to refuse if the levy had originated in a base and corrupt contract for money, nor would col. French have permitted him to do it without reproaches of such a nature as he must have attended to. But it is said, that the Duke's knowledge of the corrupt contract in this business of French's levy is confirmed by the evidence of Miss Taylor. She states, that once only when she and Mrs. C. and the D. of Y. were together, she heard the Duke speak of French and his levy, and as nearly as she could recollect, he said, "I am continually worried by col. French. He worries me continually about the levy business, and is always wanting something more in his own favour:" and turning to Mrs. C. she thinks he said, "how does he behave to you, darling?" or some such words as he used to use; that was all that was said. She is then asked, "Do you recollect any thing further passing than what you have stated?" Mrs. C. replied, "middling, not very well; that was all she said—Was that the whole of the conversation? No.—Relate the rest? The Duke said, "Master French must mind what he is about, or I shall cut up him and his levy too." Miss Taylor appears to have been upon terms of intimate connexion with Mrs. C, and when I find her so connect- 254 ed, I am, by that circumstance, led to examine the probability of her evidence. In the first place these are the only words-she remembers: upon every other subject her memory is a blank: I do not know how to account for her remembering this, and this only. She is afterwards examined as to when she communicated this' to Mrs. C, and upon that point she remembers nothing. This accuracy of memory in one instance, and forgetfulness in the other, lead me to look out for other circumstances, from which I may form a judgment as to the probability of her story. Mrs. C. says, that the D. of Y. was very fond of Miss Taylor, that he conversed a great deal with her, and that she was one of those who were frequently received into his society at Mrs. C.'s; if this be so, the servants out of livery, who constantly waited upon the D. of Y. and Mrs. C, must know it. Now what say the servants upon this subject. Mrs. Favory, it is true, states, that Miss Taylor was in the habit of being often in company with Mrs. C. and the D. of Y.; but her credit is given up on all sides, and there ends the evidence that connects Miss Taylor and the D. of Y.: there is no other proof of their being ever in company together. If she had been received in the society of the Duke, this must have been known to several of the witnesses who have been examined; the servants out of livery to whom I have alluded, Pierson for instance, and Macdowal who have' both been examined. Mrs. C. has said, that the D. of Y. was fond of Miss Taylor; Pierson states, that Miss Taylor was very intimate with Mrs. C, but being asked whether she was ever admitted when the D. of Y. was there, and in his company, he says he never saw her in company with the D. of Y. Macdowal says, he knows Miss Taylor—that he has seen ladies with the D. of Y., but knowing Miss Taylor he cannot say he has ever seen her there—he has seen other ladies. These are persons who had constant and daily opportunities of observing the fact, and if it was true, as Mrs. C. states, that the Duke was so particularly fond of Miss Taylor, is it possible that they should not once have seen her in his company? Her account is in itself to the last degree suspicious, and it is rendered absolutely incredible by the want of that confirmation, which, if it were true, it must have received from the servants.
Another pretended confirmation of Mrs. C.'s evidence, as it regards French's levy, 255 is this they say; that in 1804 Mrs. C was indebted to Birkett and Parker in the sum of 1821l. 11s. 4d. for plate; that on the 18th of May Mrs. C. paid them 500l; that the Duke afterwards paid them the remaining 1321l. by bills at different dates; that the 500l. which she paid was the sum which she received for French's levy, and that as the Duke paid the remainder only, he must have known that she received this sum, and so applied it. This is a most ingenious course of argument for fixing so base a crime upon h. r. h. Let us examine how nearly it touches him. The only fact brought home to his knowledge is, that he gave Birkett and Co. his acceptances to the amount of 1321l. for a debt of Mrs. C.'s; but that Mrs. C. had ever paid them the further sum of 500l; that that 500l. proceeded from French's levy, (if it really did so); or that the amount of her debt to Birkett and Co. had called for the further payment of that or any other sum to them, were facts wholly out of his knowledge; nor is it suggested that any part of the evidence shews him to have been acquainted with them. With those who attend to assertions made in argument, not to the evidence, this may have weight; but the only fact proved against the Duke is, that he paid 1321l. for Mrs. C. to Birkitt and Co. The rest cannot affect him, because, he was ignorant of it.
I think that I have gone through all the observations which the hon. gent, made upon the military appointments; and I have endeavoured to give them such answers, as they appeared to me to call for and to deserve. The view which I have taken of them leads me to a conclusion, the reverse of that which he has formed; and for this obvious reason, that I have taken into my consideration many facts which he, thinking them probably immaterial, did not state; and I exclude many upon which he relied, because I think them unsupported by any credible testimony.
I shall now follow the hon. gent. to his observations upon the case of Mr. Dowler, whose evidence I understand him to say, remains wholly without exception. The charge is, that Mr. Dowler gave Mrs. C. 200l. and agreed to give her 800l. more, if she could procure him an office in the commissariat through her influence with the D. of Y.; that she accordingly applied to h. r. h., stated to him the contract which she had made, and through his interest actually obtained tile office; and it 256 is said that Mr. Dowler, having no funds of his own, prevailed upon his father to supply him with the money for this specific purpose. That Mr. Dowler's father was prevailed upon* to supply him with money under this pretence, and that Mr. Dowler paid it to Mrs. C, may be true. From his earliest youth, he had been led by her into a fatal course of expence and profligacy. There is little doubt, that while he was in business, he had fed her extravagance with money which ought to have been more honestly applied. When he had failed in business, and was sent back to a state of dependance upon his father, this disgraceful connexion was still continued; the same infatuation still possessed him; and I wonder not to find, that when he had no means of his own to satisfy Mrs. C.'s demands upon him, he had recourse to such an artifice for drawing from his father the sum which he wanted. Mr. Dowler labours to persuade us that no other interest was made for him, and therefore the appointment must have been procured by h. r. h.; but his evidence is far from satisfactory to me on this point. The hon. gent., professing to answer the objections which have been urged against Mr. Dowler's testimony, insists with great force, that, in no part of his evidence he has contradicted himself. Be it so, I must still have a much better reason given for believing him, before I can give credit to his testimony. It never was said by any one, that he had contradicted himself, and the hon. gent, alters the state of the objection in order to prepare it for his answer. It Was urged, and I am very sure the hon. gent., from the diligence of his attention, must have satisfied himself, that Mr. Dowler, if he does not contradict himself, is contradicted by the admitted facts in the case; and that he is contradict in important parts of his evidence; and in this form only was the objection to his credit stated. I observed upon this objection, perhaps somewhat out of place, while I was commenting upon the contradictions given to Mrs. C, and therefore I shall not at this late hour detain the house much further upon it. That Mr. Dowler and Mrs. C. wished to deceive the House into a belief that they had no opportunity of communicating together upon the subject of this enquiry, is evident. With this view, although they had past the first night after his arrival and part of the next day together, he endeavours to mislead the house by stating in effect that he had seen her but once; 257 that he obtained a knowledge of her residence merely by seeing her direction in the newspapers; and that he went to her only for the purpose of persuading her not to make use of his name. To me this is not an unimportant fact! It is an artful misrepresentation in which both concur for the purpose of imposing upon the house, and it casts a slur upon the credit of both; but it is said that his account is supported by the absence of all evidence to disprove it; that if the appointment was not procured, as he represents, the recommendations which obtained it, might have been produced. You have recourse to the records of office and to the evidence of many secretaries and under secretaries of the Treasury; and why, it is tauntingly asked, after proving every thing of this sort in all the other cases by regular official documents, do not you prove it by the same means in this? This argument proceeds altogether upon the omission of a material fact which was fully proved in the case. The office of commissary passes through the Treasury. No record is kept there of recommendations to such offices, and therefore none could be produced, or referred to. In all the other cases, the appointment passes through the office of the Commander in Chief; in that office a record of the recommendations is regularly preserved; and in each case therefore it has been produced and found perfect.
Observe, how artfully this case is selected. It is more than probable that Mr. Dowler owed his appointment to the disinterested application of sir Brook Watson. He has himself said that he did so, and this, if untrue, was a dangerous assertion, when made, as it was open to immediate contradiction; but now all is safe: sir Brook Watson, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Dowler's father, all are dead, and with them all possibility of direct contradiction is at an end. I cannot, under these circumstances, act upon the credit of Mr. Dowler's testimony. I cannot help suspecting a witness who has such a horror of corruption, except where it is practised for his own benefit. Even if you believe him, his evidence goes not a step towards fixing the charge of corruption, which we are now considering, upon the D. of Y. His knowledge of the supposed bribe to Mrs. C, still rests upon her evidence alone. All that Mr. Dowler says may be true, and the Duke may have been wholly ignorant of it; but I confess it appears to me more probable, that the money was paid upon a very different con- 258 sideration; and, that Mr. Dowler was, to a certain extent at least, the accomplice, and not the dupe, of Mrs. Clarke.
These I think were the cases, and this the reasoning upon which the honourable gentleman founded his opinion, that the D. of Y. was privy to the corrupt practices of Mrs. Clarke. He touches lightly upon the cases of Elderton, Kennet, and Clarke; but as he built no argument upon any of them, I shall not at this late hour call them to the attention of the house. I wished to consider fully all that his diligence and ability had been able to produce upon the most important question for our consideration, the personal corruption imputed to h. r. h., because in it I. knew that I should find every thing that could be brought with any appearance of effect to favour the opinion which he has adopted, I do not regret that the time which this has required, has obliged me to leave many topics of the case untouched, which, in the course of the debate, will fall into better hands. After a patient and, I hope, an impartial examination of the evidence, I am firmly persuaded that there is no ground to charge the Duke with any knowledge of these corrupt practices. I therefore shall vote for the Amendment proposed by my right hon. friend, (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) by which, if it be carried, the house will put a negative upon that charge.
I am aware, that when this has been disposed of, there will remain much, which, to grave and thinking minds, must furnish matter of deep regret, and which will demand our very serious consideration. The connexion which h. r. h. formed with this woman, the ill-placed confidence which he reposed in her, the fraudulent practices which she was enabled to build upon this, and the danger to which his character, so important to be kept high in the estimation of the public, has been thereby exposed: these are matters which, I think not lightly of, either in a moral or political point of view, but it is our duty at present, so at least I consider it, to view them politically as they may affect the state and discipline of the army, in which the interests of the public are so much, involved, and to provide against any mischief which we may think likely to result from them hereafter in that quarter. That we should not suffer these things to pass by without expressing our disapprobation of them is generally agreed. To what extent this disapprobation should be 259 expressed, and whether any, and what measure shall be recommended to his majesty upon it, are subjects upon which different opinions seem at present to prevail. There are some gentleman who think that, though the Duke be cleared from all suspicion of participation in this corrupt traffic, and from all knowledge of its existence, yet, that the other circumstances which have been disclosed to us render it neither prudent nor safe to leave the command of the army in his hands; and that we ought therefore to present an address to the throne, praying that h. r. h. may be removed from his office of Commander in Chief. This is the language of the address which was originally proposed. Another hon. gent. has proposed a. resolution, the terms of which, as far as I caught them, must, if they are adopted, render it impossible for h. r. h. to continue in the command. Both of these measures seem to me to be so harsh, that I think we ought not without the clearest necessity to adopt either of them. Another opinion is, that although we ought not to let this part of the case pass by without expressing our disapprobation of the transactions which it involves, yet we should not do it in such terms as will render the removal of the D. of Y. from his office a necessary consequence. The amendment proposed by my right hon. friend has been formed upon this view of the case, and appears to me, I confess, the fit course to be adopted by the house. It must be recollected, that, in considering this question, we should look to the facts as they now stand; for we are to decide what in the present state of things is fit to be done. It should be remembered, that all those corrupt practices to which any evidence has been applied, were confined to the period of h. r. h.'s connexion with Mrs. C.; that they are wholly of her contrivance; and if we lay her testimony out of the case, as surely we must, they were carried on for her benefit alone, without the knowledge of the Duke: that this connexion, which commenced in 1804, or late in the preceding year, was broken off early in 1806: that neither before it commenced nor for the three years since it was discontinued is there the least suspicion that similar abuses have been practised by any person connected with the Duke. The utmost industry has been used to discover such abuses, and bring them home to h. r. h., but in vain. The hon. gent., who instituted this accusation, pursues the clue 260 which is held forth to him in major Hogan's pamphlet, the most virulent of all the publications against the D. of Y. He seeks intelligence in that quarter, from which the author declares that any member of parliament may receive information upon the facts stated by him in his pamphlet, lie admits that he could obtain none. All this diligence of enquiry has not been able to produce a single instance of abuse practised by any person in the Duke's household, or under his protection, since Mrs. C. was separated from him. We have then the experience of three years, that these practices have ceased. If we look to the order and regularity with which business is carried on in the office of the Commander in Chief, they pass all belief. It was not credible, that transactions of such an extent could have been conducted with so much method, or so faithfully and accurately recorded. But this, it has been said, is not owing to the Duke, it is the work of col. Gordon, and. the whole was arranged and executed by him. Col. Gordon's merits are above all praise, and this house can never forget how excellent a servant he has been to the public, but I think we should deal unjustly by h. r. h., if we allowed him no credit for selecting such an officer. Col. Gordon's character was well known before he entered upon his present employment; and if h. r. h. could have so debased himself as to mix, in this infamous traffic which was pursued by Mrs. C, he never would have received into his office such a check as col. Gordon must have been upon him. During a period of fourteen years h. r. h. has served the public with unremitted diligence, and has brought our army into the state of order and discipline in which we now see it. Against the merits of these services we are to place the abuses, which, for somewhat more than two years, Mrs. C. was enabled to practise by means of the unfortunate connection which h. r. h. had permitted to subsist between them. That they were injurious to the credit o f the army, and that if there be any danger of their recurring, effectual measures should be taken to prevent it, no one can doubt. With this object in my view I am sensible that it is a matter of very grave consideration what course we ought to pursue: it has its difficulties on one side as well as the other: it is important, as it regards this illustrious person, against whom, recollecting the benefit which we have derived from his ser- 261 vices, we ought not to come to a more severe decision than the necessity of the case would justify: it is also important, as it regards the public, whose interest it is our first duty to secure. I need not say, that from a regard to the paternal feelings of his majesty, we shall hesitate before we inflict what he must feel as the severest wound, though we shall not on this account abstain from adopting any measure of severity which the public safety requires. If, upon a due consideration of the circumstances which have been laid before us, we think the interest of the public cannot be secured without a resolution which must have the effect of driving h. r. h. from the office of Commander in Chief, or obliging his majesty to remove him from it, however harsh this measure may appear to us, however repugnant to our feeling and inclinations, we must not shrink from it; but, before we determine, let us examine the facts which are in proof; let us look to the past and the present state of things, and judge from them what is likely to take place in future. If I thought that by not adopting a severe resolution against h. r. h., the security and welfare of the army would be placed in any hazard; if I thought that those regulations, which have been so wisely planned and established by him, would not be executed; if I thought those admirable laws framed by this illustrious person for the good order and conduct of the army, would be relaxed; if I thought that such consequences as these would result from our preferring a mild and lenient to a more severe course of proceeding, I should be one of the first to recommend and support a measure of a different description; but if, on the contrary, I think that no such effects would follow; if, looking to what has been brought under our view in the course of this enquiry, I find that not a single instance has been adduced of an improper military promotion, (for I do not think that the case of Samuel Carter will, after what the hon gent. who spoke last has said upon it, be again brought forward as grave matter of reproach) that during a period of 14 years, the most accurate and severe scrutiny has Hot produced an instance in which any one of those salutary regulations of which the gallant officers examined at your bar, spoke so highly, has been disregarded or relaxed; when I consider these things which speak so loudly for the general merits of the Commander in Chief, and the bene- 262 fits which the army has derived from his care, surely the house cannot think I am unmindful of the interest of the public, and the duty I owe to the country, if I am unwilling to act with more than necessary severity towards the illustrious person, whose general merits are so universally acknowledged. If you want to know how your army is officered, look to the manner in which it has conducted itself in the field. See whether it has uniformly supported its own honour, the glory of the country, and the splendor of his majesty's arms, when under any circumstances in any country or climate it has encountered his foes. Remember how often the valour and discipline of our troops, and the conduct and ability of the officers who led them against the enemy, has merited and received the thanks of this house. Is it to be believed, that officers advanced by corruption, or an army led by such officers could ever have achieved those acts of valour which will be remembered and celebrated to the end of time, which have rendered them the dread of their enemies, and entitled them to the everlasting gratitude of their country. But it is said that worthy and meritorious as these officers are, and justly as they were entitled to their promotion, they may still have obtained a preference through the influence of Mrs. C. Really, sir, when not an officer is even stated to have been promoted by her influence, whose merit did not qualify him for his station; when not a single instance, has occured in which any one could say that the officer who was advanced was not in every respect fit for the situation to which he was raised, I have hardly coolness to enquire into the cause of such promotions. But, will the hon. gent, opposite, or any other hon. gent., tell me, that the fact of a single officer having been preferred through the influence of Mrs. C, is satisfactorily proved? That Mrs. C. received money from some who were promoted, as the price of her supposed interest in their favor, I admit. The house has seen enough of Mrs. C. to form a judgment what she is capable of attempting, and to what lengths she will go. Mrs. Clarke is a woman who possesses an uncommon degree of art and readiness. She sees with a quick eye how things are going on in the world. She knows, how to represent herself to Mr. Maltby, as a person who still has credit with those in power, that she may still make a profit of her pretended interest; and I believe 263 that she is as able to procure promotions now as she ever was. She looked round the military world, and informed herself how military promotions were going forward, what solicitations were made for them, by what recommendations they were supported, and what was the probability of their success. She had her emissaries to insinuate that by her credit these promotions might be secured: through them she sold an influence which she did not possess, and stipulated for the payment of the price when that should be done, which she had no share in procuring. She risked nothing in this. She observed what applications were likely to succeed; she made her arrangements accordingly; if the thing failed she remained as before; if it succeeded, she took the credit to herself, and received the price of her pretended interference. She pursued a plan like that which was once for a long time practised most successfully by a debtor in Newgate. He had observed that of the convicts who were sentenced to death, several were always reprieved; and that the reprieves were always granted to those whose crimes were not attended with any circumstances of particular aggravation. Building upon this, he represented to each set of convicts, that he possessed a secret but powerful interest with certain persons in office, and that by his means reprieves had often been procured. He prevailed upon each of them to deposit a sum of money in his hands, under a promise that he would exert himself to procure reprieves for them, and return their money to those for whom he should be unsuccessful. Without moving a step in their favour, he quietly waited for the result. To those who were reprieved, he represented, that they owed their escape to his interposition, and he retained the reward of his pretended services: to those who were left for execution he returned their money, that he might secure his own credit for future occasions of fraud. Very like this has been the conduct of Mrs. C: she sees how the current of military promotions runs on: she discovers who is likely to succeed; she promises that influence which she does not possess, to these whom she has reason to believe will obtain their object by other means: she imposes upon their credulity, by persuading them that she exerts a secret influence in their favour. If the appointment takes place, well and good, she gets her reward: if it fails, she is but where she was, and only regrets 264 that her pretended application has been unsuccessful. Now this, I verily believe, has been the course of her practice, and I am satisfied that there is no more ground for criminating the D. of Y., on account of the bribes thus artfully obtained by her, than for charging the Secretary of state with corruption on account of those reprieves, upon the expectation of which the debtor in Newgate levied his contributions upon the convicts. If then these abuses originated with Mrs. C, were practised secretly by her for her own benefit, and ceased when her connexion with the Duke was broken off; if from the time when h. r. h. entered upon the duties of his office his constant labours have been exerted in endeavouring to repress abuses of this sort, many of which he soon discovered highly detrimental to the service: if for the purpose of correcting them he established regulations of the most wise and salutary description: if those salutary regulations established by him have been, and continue to be, uniformly and rigorously enforced, do I endanger the credit or honour of the army by proposing to this house a resolution short of that which must necessarily remove him from his office? I think not. The abuses which are complained of, disgraceful as they were to the parties concerned in them, had produced no practical mischief in the army; for three years they have ceased to exist, and there is no danger of their recurring. Does any man suppose that h. r. h. is not fully sensible of the extreme peril to which his character has been exposed by this unhappy connexion, or that the circumstances attending this enquiry have not made an indelible impression on his mind? Can any one imagine that being acquitted of all that is base in these charges, and temperately but firmly reproved for what we may still think reprehensible in his conduct, he will not return more cautious and vigilant than ever to the duties of his office? Experience has taught him, that the indulgence of a vicious passion may lead to disgrace without guilt; and I am satisfied that he will hereafter guard himself carefully against that temptation by which he has so severely suffered. For these reasons I shall support the amendment which was proposed by my right hon. friend. I join in acquitting h. r. h. of corruption, because I think there is no credible evidence in the case which fixes upon him a knowledge of Mrs. C.'s practices; and with respect to what remains 265 of blame in his conduct, I think it not of so grave a nature as to call for his removal from an office which he has hitherto filled with so much benefit to the public service.
§ Mr. Bankes
rose, amidst the repeated cries of Adjourn '. adjourn ! He said it was not his intention to intrude himself upon the notice of the house, at that late hour, but as he meant to move an Amendment upon the original motion, he was desirous of making a few general observations upon the nature and extent of that Amendment. The Amendment, he said, suggested that night, by a right hon. friend (Mr. Bathurst) would form the basis of that which he should have the honour of submitting for the approbation of the house, and he trusted it would not only meet the justice of the case, but be free from objection. In the view, however, he had taken of the subject, though he was prepared to proceed, if the house were disposed to hear him, yet he thought it advisable to avail himself of the few hours reflection the adjournment would give him, and to consult further with his friends upon a point that called for such grave and mature consideration. It was, he said, his intention to propose the abridgment of much of the Address as it was originally moved, and to add to it a paragraph, that should negative the conclusion of personal corruption or criminal participation or accession on the part of his royal highness. It was also his intention to propose that that part of the address which went to the dismissal of h. r. h. should be left out; but at the same time, that the Amendment should be so worded, that it should express the decided opinion of the house, that his royal highness the Duke of York at present could not continue to hold the office of Commander in Chief. Having said that, he should, without further remark, proceed to move that the house do adjourn.
§ The motion was then carried, and the house adjourned at half past four on Friday morning.