§ The order of the day being read for resuming the discussion upon the Conduct of the Duke of York; and the Address of Mr. Wardle, and the Resolutions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer being read,
§ Mr. Bankes
rose, pursuant to notice, to bring forward his promised Amendment. In venturing, he said, to stand forward upon this question; in taking the liberty to state the opinion with which his mind was impressed, and in which he differed from many persons whom he esteemed and respected; in attempting to discharge the important duty imposed upon him as a member of that house, he should regret if any gentleman on either side could suppose him capable of contriving any expedient, or availing himself of any intricacy founded merely upon parliamentary practice, to add to the length of the debate, or to embarrass the course of proceeding upon which either side might have determined. He protested against the idea that the motion he proposed to submit was merely of a preliminary nature, and referring only to a point of form. No, it comprehended the whole case under consideration, for it meant this, that after all the circumstances which had been disclosed before the Committee, that house was bound to pronounce an opinion, and to lay that opinion before his majesty, and not confine itself to the mere insertion of a Resolution upon its Journals. The house should take care, in a case of this nature, that it should not be entrapped; that it should not be betrayed into an inefficient proceeding. If the first Resolution proposed by his right hon. friend (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) were agreed to, how was the house sure that any further Resolution Would be adopted? But even if the further propositions of the Chancel- 270 lor of the Exchequer were acceded to, was it possible that they could be satisfactory to the house or to the country? It was impossible that any member who examined the whole of the evidence could be contented with stopping, where his right hon. friend recommended. At the same time, that he was ready to agree with the first Resolution submitted by his right hon. friend, he could not bring his mind to concur in his other inferences. He would acquit the Duke of York of personal corruption, but there were other and important points involved in the case under consideration, of which he could not acquit him. Other members, among whom were several of his friends, felt themselves in the same situation, and were of opinion that the house should come to a decision upon the whole of the case at once. In the course of proceeding, which he meant to propose, he was guided by the precedents of 1755, and 1783, which he had examined with the aid of his right hon. friend in the chair, whose advice and accuracy the house was well qualified to appreciate; grounding himself upon those precedents, he protested against the attempt to subdivide the measure. He was ready to say, that he wished most anxiously this discussion had never arisen. For, however well inclined he was to give credit to the motives of every hon. member, his apprehension in this case was that the result would be rather more detrimental than beneficial. So far from appearing in the business as a volunteer, he could as-sure the house that his only object in standing forward was, that, as they had thought proper to engage in it, they should pursue that course which was best calculated to advance their own character, and to promote the ends of justice. He believed he could safely state, that no man entered into this inquiry in the first instance with more reluctance, or attended to its progress with more feeling, than he did. (A cry of hear! hear!). But justice must be done. After all the house had heard of the dishonourable transactions, developed at the bar; after the inquiry had gone so far, that it could not be interrupted; after the house had gone into its disgusting details, and was thus forced to meet the question, it must come to some decision. It was his anxious hope, that it should do honour to itself by that decision. That no consideration should reconcile it to any line of conduct that could reflect disgrace upon its character 271 and consequence in the country. At all events, it was his resolution not to disgrace himself.—Into any particular examination of the evidence it was not his intention to enter. That examination had indeed been already so ably and luminously presented to the house by his right hon. friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose ability every one who heard him must admire, as to render it unnecessary for him to follow in the same track. Whatever difference of opinion might exist as to the justice of his conclusions, it would be admitted that he stated the evidence with fairness, although the impressions made upon his honourable mind were quite opposite to those which he and several other gentlemen entertained. The evidence applicable to the main points of the case had, also, been very ably and powerfully urged by another hon. gent. on the other side (Mr. Whitbread). Therefore he felt it unnecessary for him to detain the house by any analysis of this nature. He should confine himself to the general results, and the particular grounds of the belief which produced the proposition he was about to submit.—At the outset of this discussion, he could not help disapproving of the doctrine, which seemed to be held, that the house should shut its eyes against any sort of defence. For himself, he would say, that he did not think that an entire defence had or could be made out for the object of the accusation; but yet when the house assumed a judicial character, it was fair to let in any defence that might be offered. His opinions as to the propriety of the house assuming such a character at all were well known. His wish at all times was, that they should studiously avoid acting in such a character. For he could fairly say, that whenever they had acted in that capacity, they had seldom done themselves honour. In the case under discussion, however, they had decided differently, and acting as judges, the accusation and the defence were to be fairly and fully weighed from the evidence before them, and from that evidence the house was bound to decide. Upon the nature of that evidence, he had heard many extraordinary doctrines. He was particularly surprised to hear it seriously laid down, that because some of the witnesses had in some instances contradicted themselves, or were contradicted by others, that it therefore followed they were entitled to no attention whatever; that the house should not 272 decide from any part of their evidence; What! was the house to be precluded from considering and discriminating the parts of a witness's testimony, which was credible, and the parts which were of an opposite nature? He really thought his right hon. friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, quite erroneous in his argument, that because certain witnesses were exceptionable in some parts of their testimony, that testimony should be blotted out altogether. Was that the rule in any court of law or elsewhere? was it in fact a rule in either our public or private affairs? Did it follow, or was it an opinion any where entertained, that because a person tells many falsehoods, that person tells no truths? No: such a rule should not influence the house, whose duty it was to examine the whole of the evidence, and to extract from it carefully so much as was credible and applicable to the question at issue. This was the rule of a court of law, where no witness was ever thrown aside, however prevaricating or contradictory in some respects his testimony might be, if in any respect it bore internal evidence of credibility, or was supported by corroborating circumstances. Applying this principle to the examination of the evidence before the house, every gentleman must be enabled to form an opinion as to the degree of credit due to each, and how that credit should operate upon his judgment, in the decision he was come to upon the whole of the case. With regard to the witnesses to whom his right hon. friend would apply his rule of exclusion, he was free to confesss that the principal (Mrs. Clarke) did appear to him to have very little regard for truth. In fact, he hardly ever saw a person to whom truth and falsehood were so indifferent (a cry of hear, hear, from the Treasury Bench)—but yet, were not many material parts of this woman's evidence corroborated by other and indisputable testimony?—What was to be thought of the documents so unexpectedly found; of the Note, he would not say so miraculously, as applied to such a thing, but certainly, in so extraordinary a manner preserved and produced to the house? After such discoveries and corroborations, did it follow from Mrs. Clarke's contradictions of herself, or her contradictions by others, that there was not a word of truth in her evidence? There were then four principal points in which he thought this witness's testimony incontrovertibly estab- 273 lished, and the first was by the evidence of Miss Taylor. The attempts made to invalidate this girl's testimony, were, he must confess, not at all convincing to his mind. As to the chief ground of impeachment, namely, her connection with this woman, that was so naturally and satisfactorily accounted for by her relationship, that the objection to her evidence was entitled to no weight whatever. There were some points on which her refusal to answer, or her evasion, might appear to excuse some question as to her credit, but it could not be said to invalidate her testimony. Indeed, there was an internal evidence in the thing itself to which this witness's evidence applied, which rendered it irresistibly strong. After repeating the words mentioned by this witness, and reflecting upon their character, particularly from comparison with the Duke of York's own Letter, would not any man feel it difficult not to believe that the conversation referred to did actually take place. From this loose conversation indeed, it was fairly to be inferred, as his right hon. friend near him (Mr. Bathurst) had staled, that the Duke must have entertained a suspicion of Mrs. Clarke's improper meddling in military transactions. But he would go farther than his right hon. friend, and say, that it warranted a belief that there was between the Duke of York and Mrs. Clarke a constant and unreserved intercourse and communication upon military subjects. It was asked, how it happened, that this was the solitary remark Miss Taylor heard the Duke of York ever make to Mrs. Clarke upon military matters? and this question was emphatically put by persons disposed to discredit this witness. Indeed they seemed to argue that such a circumstance tended to produce that effect. Now, in his judgment it must have a directly opposite bearing. It is said, or at least insinuated, that Miss Taylor, as the connection of Mrs. Clarke, came before the Committee as the member of a conspiracy; that of course she could not be much under the restraint of truth. But, if that were really the case, that she was capable of saying any thing, was it not probable that other words would have been put into her mouth? There- were frequent opportunities in the case of Knight and Brooke's exchange; it would have been of great importance to a conspiracy to have had Miss Taylor state at once, that she was present when Mrs. Clarke re- 274 ceived the 200l. from Knight, and when upon the night before the Duke of York went to Weymouth, she gave the note in his presence, to a servant, to get it exchanged, after telling his royal highness how she obtained it. Upon such an occasion as this, had Miss Taylor been a person of no veracity, her evidence would have been valuable. Indeed, it would have been a clumsy contrivance to produce so many witnesses about sending a note through town to be exchanged, when the object could have been at once settled by Miss Taylor's evidence, had she been of the accommodating character which some gentlemen would impute. And here he would ask any member of that house, or any man of common sense out of it, whether, if this story about the exchange of the note had been really a fabrication, some such direct evidence as he had mentioned would not have been adduced to support it?—Now, as to the mysterious Note, he would observe, in the first instance, that this note seemed to him the most unsatisfactory thing for any purpose that could be imagined. With regard to the similarity of hand-writing, that was so difficult to be ascertained, as appeared from the evidence, as must be known from every man's experience, that he should not dwell upon that point. But there was a substantive internal evidence connected with this note, that excluded the suspicion of forgery. It was written, it was stated, with a view to impose upon Tonyn. But if that was really the case, was that the sort of note likely to be sent? Here was a woman with no regard as to the means of accomplishing her objects, and capable of forgery. If she wished to forge a note for the purpose of imposing on Tonyn, of inducing him to suspend his intention of withdrawing the money he had lodged for his promotion, by impressing upon his mind that she had influence with the Duke of York, what was the kind of note she was likely to have written, in order to produce that effect? Why, something of this nature,—"If you please, Tonyn's promotion shall cease;" and what should prevent her from subscribing the Duke's name, particularly when the note was to be shewn to a man who did not probably ever see his royal highness write. But even suppose he were familiar with the Duke's hand-writing, the house had the evidence, of Town, that Mrs. Clarke could imitate his royal highness's signature so accurate- 275 ly, that it was scarcely possible to discriminate. The mysterious note, however, was taken by Sandon, (who, however objectionable in other respects, was not to be discredited on this point) to capt. Tonyn, and it had the effect, it appears, of dissuading that officer from withdrawing his money, which money Mrs. Clarke afterwards received upon his promotion. That this promotion had gone on in the most regular way was no doubt in proof before the house. But it was not, therefore, clear, that the Duke of York did not derive any pecuniary advantage upon such promotion. Although it might not, indeed, be an operative motive on the Duke's mind in the grant of promotions, there was nothing in the evidence to negative the idea that he had a knowledge of Mrs. Clarke's receiving a compliment upon the grant of particular promotions.—On the contrary, there was much that served to cast doubt and hesitation upon that point, particularly with regard to French's Levy, the circumstances of suspicion connected with which were irresistibly strong, although they did not involve any thing to sustain the charge of personal corruption or participation of profit on the part of the person accused. In fact, there were some parts of the case before the house from which it was impossible not to suspect that the Duke of York had, at least, some general knowledge of the conduct of Mrs. Clarke. This was too manifest, from his own letters, to be successfully denied for a moment. His right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had, no doubt evinced a great deal of ingenuity in his endeavour to prove that the Duke's allusion to gen. Clavering was nothing more than a mere reply to inquire upon a military subject, which the Duke might have given to any person in Charing Cross, without feeling or exciting any suspicion of an improper nature, as well as to this woman, his connection with whom had proved so unfortunate for his character, and so seriously discreditable to him in public opinion. But could this exertion of ingenuity have effect upon the judgment of any impartial man who read the whole of the letters alluded to?—Then as to the letter referring to O'Meara; did not this serve to prove the influence of Mrs. Clarke? What, indeed could have originally induced this foolish ambitious man, who was so anxious to preach before royalty, to take his testimonials to such a woman, but the notority of that influence? 276 Was there a man who could doubt the influence after the reading of these letters? Could his right hon. friend himself (considering probabilities) suppose from the nature of the connection subsisting between the Duke of York and Mrs. Clarke; from the description of feeling which these letters betrayed, that any subject which materially engaged the mind of his royal highness was likely to be concealed from, that woman? It was just as possible to believe such a thing as that his royal highness upon crossing the street, or going from the Horse Guards to Gloucester-place, totally lost sight of that business which must have so much occupied his-attention. No doubt the hon. and learned gent. who made a statement to the house that the Duke of York had never had any communication with Mrs. Clarke upon military subjects, stated only what he believed to be true and only what the Duke of York himself might have believed also, considering the fallibility of human memory. But it was against the reasonable presumptions of probability, against the general conceptions of human nature; against obvious inferences from evidence in the allegations of unquestionable documents, to believe that such communications had not frequently and unreservedly taken place.—Having stated the prominent points in the evidence which lie deemed material for the consideration of the house, upon the decision to which he wished it to come, he thought it necessary to add, that he saw nothing, acting judicially, which would warrant the house in taking any farther criminal proceeding, because no personal corruption appeared to attach to the accused. The assurance of this fact must be a source of peculiar comfort to the parental feelings of the sovereign when he should be assured that the charge having been made, it proved to be unfounded, and that assurance would form a part of his Address. But with that he meant to connect some points upon which he thought it absolutely impossible to give a negative, notwithstanding the ingenious display of his right hon. friend.—Here the hon. gent. entered into an examination of the letters found in the custody of capt. Sandon, and which Mrs. Clarke never could have expected to see produced upon any occasion; she in one or two of them requested that they might be burned. From one of these letters he observed, that a very extraordinary inference was attempted to be drawn. He alluded to the 277 letter in which Sand on is requested not to enter her box at the play, not however because the Duke was to be there, no, but because he was to be accompanied by Greenwood, who might speak ill of Sandon. From this letter an inference was attempted to be drawn, most singularly indeed, that Mrs. Clarke was anxious to conceal her military transactions from the Duke of York. But, what was the fact? Was it not that she, as it appeared in evidence, never desired to conceal Sandon from the Duke, but from Greenwood, between whom and Mrs. Clarke a strong jealousy existed, as well as between that woman and colonel Gordon. To this jealousy it was owing that caution was employed; that measures were always taken that any application for promotion by Mrs. Clarke should go in the regular way; that official forms should be attended to, in order to blind Gordon and Greenwood, and to avert the consequences of their jealousy or suspicions.—There was another point in the case disclosed to the house, which he was sorry to see gentlemen so anxious to overlook and separate from the main question. But there was no question, in his mind, of more importance. That house was the guardian of the liberty and property of the people; but it was the guardian of something more, he meant public morality; and it should take care to discharge the important duty which belonged to it in this respect. If it kept that duty at all in view, even in the present lax state of morals, how was it possible to overlook the immoral connection which was coupled with those transactions; to let that which had given so much offence to all good men; which had produced so much public scandal, escape without reprehension or example? Such conduct in such a quarter could not, consistently with its own honour, be passed lightly over by that house. He trusted it would not: he felt that it ought not, and therefore he had introduced a censure upon it, into the Address he had to propose. Under all the circumstances, he was decidedly of opinion, that that house would not do its duty to the country, to its sovereign, nor to itself, if it did not communicate its sentiments to his majesty, that after what had been disclosed, the Duke of York could not any longer, at this time, remain an useful servant of the public. (A loud cry of Hear, hear!).—The Address proposed by his right hon. friend, he observed, was a mere echo of a Letter, recently presented to that house, in a very 278 extraordinary, and in his mind in a very exceptionable manner. It was the custom to say, that the Address of the house to any Speech from the throne, was generally the echo of the Speech; but he never could suppose it possible to be said, that the Address of that house should be the echo of a Letter (loud cries of Hear, hear!). In this case, however, it might be said with justice; and he never could persuade himself to subscribe to such an echo. He hoped the house would manifest an equal unwillingness to do so. If the house could not only endure to receive a letter, which was itself an infringement on its privileges, but could submit to send an Address to his majesty, in obedience to that letter, it must be contented to sink in its own estimation and that of the country. Let the proceeding of the house be guided by proper motives, and spring from a pure source, and the country would do justice to its conduct, while it must retain its own good opinion.—Differing so decidedly as he did from his right hon. friend, in the conclusions to which his mind had come upon the evidence, he could admit nothing more than that it was barely possible his right hon. friend might be right. But that he was not so that house would, he hoped and trusted, for its own credit and character, prove by the decision it pronounced upon this important question. Mr. Bankes then concluded with proposing as an Amendment upon the Amendment of the right hon. gent. (Mr. Bathurst),
"That an humble Address be presented to his majesty, to state to his majesty, that information has been communicated to this house, of various corrupt practices and abuses having prevailed in the disposal of Commissions and Promotions in his majesty's Land Forces, into which this house has diligently examined; and that we feel ourselves obliged to acquaint his majesty that the result of our inquiries into the truth of these transactions, by the examination as well of oral evidence as of various documents, has convinced us that such corrupt practices and abuses have unquestionably existed.—To assure his majesty that it is highly satisfactory to this house to find no ground in any of these proceedings for charging his royal highness, the Commander in Chief, with personal corruption or participation in any profits derived through undue means; but that while we readily do justice to the exemplary regularity with which business is conducted in 279 his department, and the salutary regulations which have been introduced by his royal highness, some of which are calculated to prevent such practices as have been brought under our review, we are obliged to express our opinion that such abuses could scarcely have prevailed to the extent to which they have been proved to exist, without having excited the suspicion of the Commander in Chief; and we humbly submit to his majesty, even if it can be presumed that abuses so various and so long continued, could have prevailed of his royal highness, whether the command of the army can with propriety be continued, or ought in prudence to remain any longer in his hands.—To express to his majesty that the abuses, which have been disclosed during the progress of this examination, have unveiled a course of conduct of the worst example to public morals, and highly injurious to the cause of religion, which if not discountenanced by his majesty and by this house cannot fail to have a pernicious effect upon those main springs of social order and well regulated society, which it has been his majesty's uniform care to support and strengthen by his counsels, and to illustrate by his example."
observed that the distinction taken by the last speaker, appeared to him to be one of the most extraordinary that he ever recollected since he had the honour of a seat in that house. He felt the greatest confidence that the house would come to a just and conscientious decision on this subject, which was one of the most important that had fallen tinder the cognizance of parliament within his memory. There were many members, who, in their capacity of magistrates, must have acquired a very competent knowledge of the principles of the laws of evidence, and it was upon these principles only that they could decide respecting the credibility of the evidence they had heard at their bar. That house he would always consider as the representative body of the empire; and though there might be occasions in which it might be proper to defer to popular opinion, yet he was certain they would never sacrifice their own dignity and the principles of justice to any popular cry. He felt confident, therefore, that the ultimate decision of the house would be satisfactory to the public.—There were two questions before the house. The first was, Whether his royal highness the Duke of York was 280 implicated in these transactions of personal corruption or corrupt connivance. A question would arise upon this, as to what the proceedings of the house should be. The second question was, Whether, even in the supposition of his royal highness being acquitted of corruption or criminal participation, there was not sufficient evidence before the Committee that his conduct had been incorrect, and was therefore liable to censure. These two questions, in his opinion, embraced the whole of the proceedings before the house. The Address moved by the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) related to the first question; the Amendment proposed by his right hon. friend the second. That Amendment proposed to lay aside any vote of an Address, but to come to certain Resolutions on the most material part of the case. The first of these Resolutions proposed, indeed, to come to a distinct vote on the subject. The object of the second Amendment (that proposed by Mr. Bankes) was to set aside the proceeding by Resolution, and restore the original Address. This, he maintained, would be the effect of it; for though the second Amendment and original Address appeared to be different in some points, yet in substance they were precisely the same, as he would be able to shew presently. He would not ascribe to the hon. member who had just say down any intention of embarrassing the proceedings of the house, by rendering them difficult and intricate; but if he had any such intention, he certainly could not have adopted any proceeding better calculated to attain such an object than that which he had just submitted to the house. It was intricate and complicated to the last degree. He was satisfied his object rather was to simplify, but he did not think that the Amendment he proposed would have that effect; yet he would suggest, that as the hon. gent. objected to certain words in the last paragraph of the second Resolution, it might have been a more eligible way for that hon. gent. to have waited until that second Resolution was under the immediate discussion of the house. Instead of the house having to decide upon the original proceeding, namely, the Address, they would have to determine between the two Amendments—He requested the indulgence of the house, while he briefly adverted to the evidence they had heard at their bar. It appeared from this, that Mrs. Clarke had lived with 281 the Duke of York for about two years and a half, and it was made a charge against his royal highness, that during that time she by her agents had engaged in an extended system of corruption relating to promotions in the army, and other appointments. Towards the middle or the end of 1806, his royal highness found reason to part with this woman, and it was deeply to be regretted that he had not come to this resolution much sooner. These corrupt transactions must therefore have occurred in the interval between the beginning of 1804 and the period when she was discarded. It appeared also from the evidence, that his royal highness had a great affection for this unfortunate woman, and that he placed unlimited confidence in her. The testimony of this woman was the chief support of the different charges that were preferred. Now, for himself, he would say, that he would give no credit whatever to the testimony of Mrs. Clarke, as affecting the D. of Y., except where it was corroborated by others. She had the strongest motives for endeavouring to destroy the character of the Duke. Wounded pride; the fallen and embarrassed state in which she was; revenge, and that fixed hate, which, when it once took root in a female breast, was hardly to be satiated, urged her on and produced those various contradictions in her evidence, which stripped it of all credit. It was not possible, that any man, who was not unaccountably prejudiced by something extraordinary in the manner or habits of that woman, would believe what she said, if it was uncorroborated by other testimony. There w-as one circumstance in this evidence, not hitherto adverted to. It would seem, from her representation, that she was a married woman, who had been seduced from her husband by his royal highness. Her whole life, as far as came within their knowledge, was a direct contradiction to that statement. The Duke of York found her as he had left her. The fact was, that she had previously lived with Mr. Ogilvie, (or he lived with her) an army agent, who afterwards became a bankrupt, and from whose hands she came, deeply versed in all the mysteries of army-jobbing, to the Duke of York. In this school, a woman of her talents could not but have made great proficiency in that science which she so dexterously and successfully practised, while under the protection of his royal highness. According to her account, it was not until some time 282 after the establishment at Gloucester-place was set up, when she discovered that the allowance was not sufficient to maintain it, that she felt herself under the necessity of taking up this system. But let gentlemen examine the Minutes, and there they would find it in evidence that the proposal for French's levy was made on the 1st of Feb. 1804, before the establishment at Gloucester-place was set up, or just as it had commenced. In fact, she began to put her knowledge in practice, before, by her own account, she became in the least embarrassed. Was he not justified in saying that this woman came out of Mr. Ogilvie's hands, well acquainted with all the mysteries of military services? When Mrs. Clarke was asked on her examination, what could induce her to adopt this system of trafficking in military promotions, she replied, her distresses, occasioned by finding that her allowance was not sufficient to defray the expence. Let the house consider dates a little. It had been stated by Mrs. Clarke herself, that no proceeding of the sort to which he had alluded, took place until some months, he believed half a year, after she had got to Gloucester-place. The establishment of Gloucester-place commenced about Jan. 1804. Now it was to be observed, that the first proposal made by col. French to raise a levy, was dated the 1st of Feb. 1804. (He was fully satisfied that Mrs. Clarke was acquainted with col. French and capt. Sandon, during her connection with Mr. Ogilvie). Col. French's proposals were accepted in April 1804. It was impossible therefore, that the statement made by Mrs. Clarke, that her having meddled with military transactions, was attributable to her distresses, could be true; for it was evident, that she must have been negociating with col. French and capt. Sandon in Feb. and March 1804, and it was not in the least credible, that her distresses could have commenced at that early period. This appeared to him to be a complete contradiction of one of the most material points of Mrs. Clarke's evidence, and to shake the superstructure which she had endeavoured to build on her falshood. It was proved, by her connection with Sandon and French, that the story of her distress was invented to bolster up that fact. With respect to what she said on the subject of French's Levy, the hon. gent. who spoke last said it was strongly corroborated by the terms of the levy itself, and the evidence of Miss 283 Taylor. Now, with regard to Miss Taylor, he had a very strong suspicion on his mind whether any credit was due to her evidence. That part of her evidence with respect to her knowledge of Mrs. Favery, did appear to him not a little extraordinary. She admitted that she knew Airs. Favery, but that she never recollected whether she ever went by the name of Farquhar. It was impossible she could have forgotten such a circumstance; or, if she had, how were they to reconcile it with her tenaciousness of memory in recollecting, verbatim almost, a conversation which had taken place so many years before, when this strong circumstance in her evidence was coupled with the fact of her being an old and intimate friend of such an abandoned woman as Mrs. Clarke? He confidently put it to the house whether, as to the issue of this conversation having or not having occurred, they could find the Duke guilty either of personal corruption or criminal connivance, upon such evidence. He at the same time admitted the great probability of the Duke having occasionally conversed with this woman on military matters. She had evidently a great share of his confidence, and it was natural to suppose that in a connection of so tender a nature, the Duke might have, in the most innocent manner, referred to such military business as at any particular time much engrossed his thoughts. It appeared that he was displeased with the manner in which col. French's levy went on, and it was therefore not unlikely that in a momentary effusion of anger, he had expressed himself indignantly against French, and that the expressions he then used might be at this length of time so coloured as to bear upon a charge of corruption. Miss Taylor might, perhaps, be incapable of submitting to be instrumental to this, but it was still to be recollected that she was in long and close intimacy with Mrs. Clarke, and that Mrs. Clarke had served her. As for Mrs. Clarke, he believed her capable not only of applying falsely such a conversation, but of engrafting it upon the false foundation of a malicious charge. But taking the words as deposed to by Miss Taylor, still they did not warrant the construction, that the Duke of York had any personal knowledge of the criminal transactions passing between Mrs. Clarke and col. French; but not only would he say that no corruption was proved, but he denied that there was any ground for concluding the Duke of 284 York guilty of criminal connivance, for who would take upon him to say, that it had been proved that the Duke of York knew of Mrs. Clarke's receiving money from col. French, for the raising this levy, though there could be no doubt that a woman of her abandoned nature would not hesitate to charge the Duke as a participator in her own guilt; like another harpy, she would fly to the feast to taint, and to destroy. It was not possible to say what she would not attempt to do; but the house would know well to what limit they would believe her.—The charge respecting col. French's Levy had been already so ably handled, that he should not trouble the house with a repetition of the arguments which had already been so ably put.—With respect to Tonyn's case, the only circumstance that connected it with the Duke of York was the Note which had been found in Sandon's possession. But it was very doubtful on the face of it, whether that note was written by his royal highness or not. So much doubt, indeed, had he about it, that he could not reconcile his mind to believe that it was, and that it related, as charged, to a criminal transaction. He rather believed that it had been forged by Mrs. Clarke for the purpose of defrauding Tonyn, through the medium of her agent Sandon. No one who considered the abandoned character of this woman could hesitate to believe that she seized on every thing within her reach, with the rapacity of a harpy. It had been proved that she possessed great facility in the imitation of hand-writing. The character of her own hand-writing had some resemblance to that of his royal highness the Duke of York. Many gentlemen, well acquainted with various hands, whose business it was to detect forgeries, and in which they shewed themselves very clever and intelligent, had doubts as to the Note being the hand-writing of the Duke. Indeed, any member, who took the trouble of carefully examining Mrs. Clarke's letters, would perceive, that they contained a basis for a facility of imitating the Duke's hand and there were two short notes of his loyal highness, in particular, which, she might make use of as autographs to counterfeit the Duke's writing. Mrs. Clarke had an interest in forging this note. It was to procure for her the speedy payment of 500l. But whether the note was forged or not, it was of such a vague description that it could not be received as evidence. It was without a date, and. the 285 name of Tonyn, a name by no means uncommon, might refer to some other individual of that name. In an inquiry, the tendency of which was to inflict such a severe punishment as that proposed, it was most essential that not any documentary evidence should be admitted, the authenticity of which was not completely established. On Carter's case he would say but little, as any imputation against his royal highness on the subject of his promotion seemed to be given up by all sides of the house. There was great reason to suppose, that the Duke knew he was the son of captain Sutton, and it is possible that he might have attended his person. But his royal highness had shewn, that he had always been very anxious about the character of the army, and that he was careful that no improper persons should intrude into it. It was one of the chief and first objects of his care, when he took the command of the army; the character of which was far different now from what it was when he was put at the head of it.—With regard to Shaw's appointment, he should not detain the house a moment on it. There was no irregularity in any instance relating to it. He was placed on the half-pay as a matter of course. The pencilled note, so much insisted on, did not retard his appointment for a moment. It did not appear, from the documents in colonel Gordon's office, that any letter had been ever written, of which the presumed rejection of his proposal was the basis.—The next case was that of Dowler; and here he must say there was no credit whatever due to the testimony of this man. For years he had been the favourite paramour of Mrs. Clarke, long before she came to live with the Duke, He had expended considerable sums on her, and nothing was more likely than that he should have had recourse to this stratagem to get 1,000l. out of old Mr. Dowler, for the purpose of expending it on this woman. It was proved that they were in the habit of drawing bills on each other, and one of these, to the amount of 300l. was discounted at Parker's, and remained unpaid to this day. There was no doubt on his mind that the application in favour of Dowler came from sir Brook Watson. It appeared from the correspondence with the Treasury, that three out of the five assistant commissaries for which he applied had been recommended by him. This presumption was corroborated by Dowler himself; for in his conversation 286 with an hon. member of the house (Alderman Combe), he said that he was persuaded he obtained his appointment through sir Brook Watson. He should say no more respecting the criminal part of the transaction. If the Duke wished to make a profit of his patronage, had he not hundreds of ensigncies and cornetcies every year at his disposal which he might have turned to account? The sale of these commissions might have produced him thousands if he was base and mean enough to endeavour to derive advantage from the power of disposing of them. Was it to be supposed then, that he would employ this woman in this abominable traffic for the sake of a few hundreds? He would say one word more respecting French's levy. The expence of it did not exceed 41l. per man; a very reasonable, price, considering the difficulty of obtaining men at that time. It did not, in fact, cost as much as other levies that were at the same time on foot.—He would now examine the second question. The question was, supposing the Duke to be guilty of the criminal transaction, what was the proceeding to be taken? The Address left every thing undefined; it asserted nothing, and he trusted the house would not agree to it. If the Duke of York was criminal, why not send him to trial at once? Why not impeach him before his peers of high-crimes and misdemeanors? If he was found guilty by that tribunal, parliament could not go too far. It would be the duty of both houses of parliament to bring in a Bill for his exclusion from the throne. He had no hesitation in saying, that, if he was guilty of these practices, he never ought to sit upon the throne. This was the constitutional law of the land. It was the penalty of apostatizing from the established religion of the state. The brilliancy of the crown would be tarnished, the ermine that decorated the royal robes would be sullied, if a prince so disgraced should ever be destined to wear them. It was impossible that a prince, convicted of such practices, could sit upright upon his throne, or look his people in the face. These would be the consequences of acceding to this address. With respect to the undue influence said to be exerted over the Commander in Chief, and the extent to which it was exercised, he thought that on a fair examination of the evidence it would appear that not one of these promotions were in themselves improper. They would have taken place without the 287 interference of Mrs. Clarke. There was nothing improper or detrimental to the public service in them. But his hon. friend said she had an interest in advancing these promotions. How did it appear? Was it from the letter respecting gen. Clavering's application? It was very natural that, between a lady and a gentleman living together on the terms these did, such a communication might take place without any corrupt view whatever. Mrs. Clarke said at the bar that she had between 50 and 60 letters of the Duke of York, and yet this was the only instance in their correspondence relating to military promotion. He was astonished, therefore, the hon. member should assert, that it was clear that the Duke of York was in constant habits of communicating with Mrs. Clarke on military matters, when there was only one solitary instance, in which it appeared to have taken place; if there were any other instances, the house might be assured that either Mrs. Clarke, or the hon. member who preferred the charges against his royal highness, would not have neglected to avail themselves of such documents. As to Dr. O'Meara, it was to be lamented that the Duke, on such a recommendation, should have interfered for this man, or made use of the expression that he did respecting him. No such connection should have existed.—He must again recur to Tonyn's note. He could not consider it as affecting the Duke in the smallest degree.—In his opinion, there was no proof before the house that could warrant it to inflict so heavy a punishment upon his royal highness as his removal from the command of the army, whatever censure it might, in its wisdom, determine to pass on him. The object of the Address as well as the Amendment seemed to be to remove the Duke from the command of the army. If he were brought to the necessity of agreeing to such an Address, as he undoubtedly was not, he should still extremely deplore such a circumstance as affecting the interests, the discipline, and the felings of the army. Much had been said of the danger of placing the princes at the head of any establishments, on account of their not being responsible. But look at the military history of the country, and it would be found that the army never was in such good condition as when our princes were at the head of it. This was the case in the time of king William, who was himself a soldier, and who managed 288 the whole of the administration of the army with the assistance of Mr. Braithwaite. It was also the case when the army was under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, in the war of the Succession, when it was crowned with eternal glory by the victory of Minden, and the names of Townshend and others were rendered illustrious under the councils of lord Chatham. In addition to these instances, there was the army formed by the Duke of York, than which there could not be a better. No man would deny that it was equal to any in Europe. This the country owed to the indefatigable zeal and application of the Duke of York. It was impossible, therefore, not to deplore that such a man should be removed from it, and that the command should be placed in the hands of a person or persons, he would not say, not fit for it, but certainly not so fit as his royal highness.—One word as to responsibility. Could any one say that the Duke was not responsible? What was he now? Was he not now in fact upon his trial? Might he not be called upon to pay the penalty of the neglect that was imputed to him, of the corruption of which he was accused?—In the four transactions which were brought forward, there was not, he would contend, the smallest proof of personal corruption, or corrupt participation; and so absolved, was he to be removed from his command, and loaded with indignity, because a popular cry had been industriously raised against him? Was it becoming the dignity of that house, out of mean and slavish deference to this popular cry, to adopt the Resolution proposed? to humour this most inconsiderate and unjust disposition, circulated with a rapidity and malignity quite inconceivable? It was natural that the people should complain on many occasions, and it was fitting that the house should sympathize with them; but this was a humour that was not always to be indulged. The people were never long in discovering their errors, and experience proved, that they felt no extraordinary gratitude to those who were the means of involving or continuing them in the wrong path. Let the house speak out manfully, and say, if it was not prepared to resist this Address, to remove the Duke of York from the command of the army, as well as the popular cry, which, by what fell from the hon. gent., he must consider as the foundation of it.
§ Mr. Leach.
Sir; I am unwilling upon this most important occasion, to give a silent vote; I am anxious to state the grounds upon which my judgment has been formed, but I can assure the house that I shall occupy but a small portion of their time. It will be enough for my purpose to consider the subject in a general point of view, without feeling myself called upon to enter into a particular or minute detail of all the evidence. I cannot concur with either of the two addresses originally submitted to the house. I cannot concur with them, because they do not contain a complete acquittal of h. r. h. as well with respect to the charge of connivance, as the charge of corruption. I cannot concur with them, because the removal of h. r. h. from the important office, which he has so long filled with advantage to the public, is one object of both addresses. It is admitted, that h. r. h. cannot be convicted of corruption or corrupt connivance in the transactions which have taken place, unless credit be given to the Evidence of Mrs. C. Upon the best view I can take of the subject, I think Mrs. C. is not entitled to credit as to any circumstance with regard to which it can be fairly imputed to her, that she had a motive for concealing the truth. I think she is not entitled to credit, because we find her contradicted by most unimpeachable witnesses, because her testimony is in itself, in some points inconsistent and contradictory, and because there are parts of her testimony which are in their own nature wholly incredible. The house will pardon me if in adverting to these topics I am under the necessity of reading a few passages in the evidence; I will first refer to the particular evidence in which she is contradicted by Mr. Knight. In speaking of the testimony of Mr. Knight, I do not mean to advert to the conversation which Mr. Knight states to have passed in 1804, because the length of time which has since passed, may be thought to account for some difference between them in that respect. But I shall refer to the conversation which took place shortly before they were called to your bar, and in which you will find there is positive contradiction between them. Mr. Knight's account of that conversation is this: The question asked of him was, Have you seen Mrs. C. within the last month, and how did it happen that you saw her? His answer is, She wrote to 'beg that I would come to her about a month ago, to which letter I made no 290 reply; she wrote a second letter, as far as my recollection serves me, about 10 days ago. I went to her and she asked me the name of the officer who had ex- changed with my brother, I told her. She made a number of complaints of her having been ill treated by the D. of Y. that he had deserted her, and left her in debt, I think, about 2,000l. and that she was determined unless she could bring him to terms to expose him in the man- ner she is now endeavouring to do. I said, that that was her affair, but that I trusted, she would not introduce either me or my brother, she said, O good God, by no means, it is not my intention, you can have nothing to do with it that passed in the drawing-room, and I took my leave, and heard nothing of her since, and I was very much surprised to hear of my name being mentioned in the way in which it has, I was thunderstruck at its being done without any notice. Mr. Knight here says, that Mrs. C. told him, that she had been ill-treated by the D. of Y., and deserted by him, and left in debt, and that if he did not pay those debts she would certainly expose him. Now, Sir, upon this subject, Mrs. C. was questioned in the manner I shall state; she was asked, 'Have you not stated that 'if h. r. h. did not come to your terms you 'would expose him?' She says, 'I told Mr. William Adam, in a letter, that if he did not fulfil his promises and the Duke's, by paying me the annuity for which Mr. Adam was the guarantee, and which Mr. Adam promised me should be regularly and punctually paid me, that I should be necessitated to expose h. r. h.'s letters, that was all.—Have you never said; that if h.r. h. did not come to your terms, you would expose him? No, never in my life.—Never to any one? Never to any one whatever, nor is it 'willing at all in me now, I was very angry 'in that letter, and perhaps Mr. Adam will produce it, that goes to the worst part 'that ever I said, or acted.—Is it only in one letter that you have threatened to expose h. r. h.? Two I have written to; Mr. Adam, that is all to any one.—Were there threats in both the letters? They are not threats, I solicited.—Did you I say in those letters that you would expose; 'h.r. h.? Mr. Adam I suppose has the, letters, and if he is in the house will per- haps produce them.—Did you accom- pany your solicitations by saying that if they were not complied with, you would 291 expose the Duke?—I do not recollect that I did, but you had better ask for the letters.—Did you never make any de- duration of that sort to any other person?' No, never.—Did you never state to any other person, that if your term? were not complied with, you would expose the Duke, or use any terms to that effect? I have told you before I did not.—Are you quite certain of that? Yes, quite.' Is not Mrs. Clarke here, therefore, flatly contradicted by a most unimpeachable witness. The hon. gent. whose speech last night made such an impression upon the house, stated, that there was no contradiction between Mrs. Clarke and Mr. 'Knight, but the hon. gent. had certainly overlooked the material parts of their evidence. Now, Sir, the next case in which she is contradicted by an unimpeachable witness, is that in which she is contradicted by the hon. gent. who has taken the lead on this enquiry. Mrs. Clarke was asked by the Attorney General on Wednesday, the first day of her examination,—' Did you see col. Wardle yester- 'day?' She answers, 'I think I did.—' Have you any doubt, are you not cer- 'tain that you saw him yesterday? No, 'I did not see him yesterday.—Are you 'certain now, that you did not see him yes- 'terday? I think that I am, I do not 'think I was at home all day.' Now, Sir, how does the fact stand, according to the testimony of the hon. gent. who leads this enquiry. He states that he called upon her on that Tuesday about eleven or twelve o'clock in the forenoon, that he then went with her, in her carriage, to the end of the King's road, that he called upon her again about three o'clock in the afternoon of that day, and staid with her about half an hour, and that he afterwards saw her, in her drawing room, about nine o'clock that evening. Now, Sir, can it be believed that Mrs. C. who had seen this gentleman three times in the course of that day, could the very next day have forgotten that she had ever seen him once. And it is not plain, more especially to gentlemen who witnessed the mode in which she gave this testimony, that after she had first answered according to the truth, that she had seen col. Wardle on that day, she implied from the manner in which the question was repeated that there was something wrong in her having so seen him, and she therefore without the least, hesitation utters a deliberate falsehood Mrs. Clarke is next, sir, distinctly contradicted by the rev. 292 Mr. Ellis, a most respectable witness, with whom Mrs. Favery lived as a servant. Mrs Clarke is asked, 'Were you in the 'habit of any intimacy with Mrs. Favery 'at the time she lived with Mr. Ellis,' she I answers 'No.' She is then asked, 'Did you 'ever call upon her at Mr. Ellis's?' She answers, 'I do not recollect that I ever did; 'I called to letch her away once when I 'wanted her, 1 believe, a hackney coach- 'man fetched her and a young lady.' Mr. Ellis says that Mrs. C. called repeatedly upon Mrs. Favery while she was in his service, that she staid sometimes half an hour and sometimes an hour, that her visits appeared to him to be very familiar, and that from the familiarity which subsisted between them he surmised that they were relations. Mrs. Favery's evidence puts Mrs. C.'s relationship to her out of all doubt, but Mrs. C. was ashamed of it and thought lit to deny it. And then without the least hesitation she denied every circumstance of her intimacy with her from which that relationship might be presumed. Thus, throughout her evidence, wherever you can find any motive, however slight, for her concealing the truth, you may be quite certain that falsehood will follow. It cannot, sir, be necessary to multiply the instances of these contradictions; and I have surely now a right to Say that Mrs. C. is not entitled to credit because she is contradicted by most unimpeachable witnesses. I have stated, as the second reason for disbelieving her, that her evidence is in itself in some points inconsistent and contradictory; upon this head, after the time which I have occupied, upon the first point, I need only refer the house I to her evidence as to Mr. Dowler. When I first examined as to Mr. Dowler, she slated that she had seen him only twice since his arrival from Portugal, once in the evening, on which she was then examined; and once before on a Sunday. She afterwards on a subsequent day acknowleged that she had seen him also on the very Thursday on which he reached London; and that she passed that night with him at the coffee house in Saint Martin's Lane. It is not surprizing that she should have desired to conceal the circumstance; of her having passed that night with him; but it was not for that purpose necessary to deny that she had ever seen him before the Sunday. And the circumstance of her having seen Mr. Dowler on the Thurs-I day is by no means immaterial to the case; for this immudiate opportunity of 293 concert and arrangement gives a very different complexion both to her testimony and to Mr. Dowler's. Sir, the part of her testimony which appears to me in its own nature so incredible as to be of itself sufficient to destroy all pretension to her obtaining any belief, is her statement that the D. of Y. told her, "that if she was " clever she need never want money." Is there a man in this house, or in the country, who can believe that the D. of Y. could have debased and lowered his mind to such a feeling and such an expression. We are not, however, left to say from inference and presumption that this cannot be true; all the facts of the case utterly disprove it if the D. of Y. had been capable of looking to the profits of Mrs. C.'s scandalous traffic for defraying the expences of the establishment in Gloucester Place, is it possible that your inquiry should have been confined to four instances of such contracts. Your table would have groaned under them, and you would have had, not four, but 400 or 4,000 instances. Sir, having thus stated my reasons for thinking that Mrs. C. is a witness who cannot be believed when any motive can be fairly imputed to her for concealing the truth, it remains to be considered whether you can trace any motive which is to affect her testimony with regard to the D. of Y. And here, sir, we are not left to inference or conjecture, the conversation with Mr. Knight, and the letters to Mr. Adam, prove beyond a possibility of doubt the malice and resentment with which she was determined to pursue the D. of Y. in case he did not comply with her demands. But it is said that in many most material points the evidence of Mrs. C. is confirmed by other testimony, and that however little credit may be due to her when unsupported, you cannot fail to believe her in those instances where she is corroborated by other testimony. I entirely agree with this proposition. The first instance, and perhaps the most important, is the note of the D. of Y. in which it is said, 'I have just received your note, 'and Tonyn's business shall remain as it 'is.' I believe this note to be the handwriting of the D. of Y. It is plain upon the evidence, and is indeed admitted, that this note could not be written upon the occasion and for the purpose stated in capt. Sandon's testimony. I can very well account therefore for the mistake in h. r. h.'s mind, as to this note, from his having coupled it with the purpose im- 294 puted to it by capt. Sandon. Knowing that there was no such purpose he believed there was no such note. I consider this note as conclusive evidence that the D. of Y. did listen to Mrs. C. on the subject of major Tonyn's promotion; but as it cannot apply to the occasion referred to by capt. Sandon; and as many meanings may be applied to it in which, it would be perfectly innocent, it can upon no principle be received, unexplained and unintelligible as it is, as evidence of the Duke's knowledge of Mrs. C.'s corrupt motive in this transaction. The circumstance next in importance as corroborating Mrs. C. is the evidence of Miss Taylor, and I will take the liberty of referring particularly to it. She is asked, 'Were you 'in the habit of visiting in Gloucester Place when Mrs. C. was under the protection of the D. of Y.? Very frequently.—Did you ever hear the D. of Y. speak to Mrs. C. respecting col. French and his levy? Once only.—Relate what passed at that time. The Duke's words were, as nearly as I can recollect, 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.' Turning to Mrs. C.I think "he said, 'How does he behave to you, Darling?' or some such kind words as he 'used to use; that was all that was.said.—' Do you recollect any thing further passing 'than what you have stated? Mrs. C. 'replied, 'Middling—not very well; 'that was all that 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."—I do not think there is enough of imputation on Miss Taylor's evidence to warrant me in believing that the whole of this conversation is fabricated. There is other testimony which satisfies me that Mrs. C, did apply to the D. of Y. upon the subject of col. French's Levy. I believe that a conversation to some such effect did pass. Suppose it passed in the very words here stated: the Duke's words were 'I am con- 'tinually worried by col. French, he worries me continually about the levy business, how does he behave to you, Darling?' What is the natural import of these words; why merely this, does he plague you as he plagues me? I admit that Miss Taylor certainly means to give a different sense to this.—But though I do believe that a conversation to some such effect did 295 pass, yet there is in my mind enough of imputation upon Miss Taylor's testimony to satisfy me that she did, at the suggestion of Mrs. C. endeavour to give a false colour to this conversation. Now, in order to try whether I do justice to Miss Taylor in the respect, let us see what she said upon her last examination. She is asked: 'After an interval of four years you recollect a particular expression without any inter- vening circumstance ever having happen- ed to call it to your remembrance? O yes, I have thought of it since, though I have not mentioned it.—You had never mentioned it to any body before you mentioned it to Mrs. C. three weeks ago? I believe not.—What brought it into your thoughts so now and then? The curiosity that I mentioned before respecting a man I was not allowed to see.—Can you recollect what passed with Mrs. C. three weeks ago upon the occasion of this conversation? No, na thing.—Not one expression or circum- stance that passed three weeks ago with, Mrs. C.? No, I do not recollect any.—'Is your memory so defective as to have forgotten all that passed in the conversation three weeks ago with Mrs. C. That is very possible, for it did not interest me at all.—Where was it that Mrs. C. brought to your recollection or enquired about col. French? At her house in Westbourne place.—Was it at that time proposed to bring the subject for ward in an inquiry? I do not know. about that.—Was any body present when this passed between Mrs. C. and you? I believe not.—Have you forgotten that too? Yes.—Now, Sir, is it credible that Miss Taylor could have forgotten every, circumstance of a conversation which passed with Mrs. C. only three weeks before, not upon a common occurence, but upon so remarkable a fact as the D. of Y.'s declaration respecting col. French?—If this be not credible, then Miss Taylor wilfully suppresses the circum stances of this conversation; and must wilfully suppress them, because they would affect the credit of her testimony.
It is next reasoned upon as a remarkable presumption in favour of Mrs. C's evidence, that her traffic did not begin till she lived in Gloucester-place- It is said, that the ex-pence of the establishment in Gloucester-place made the traffic necessary; and, therefore it is that a coincidence is formed between the commencement of the ex-pence and the manner of supporting it. 296 Now, sir, what I believe and charge against Mrs. C. is, that she professed to have an influence which she did not possess; and that the credit of that influence was the capital with which she traded as an army broker. But she could never have this credit until she lived under the ostensible protection of the D. of Y. in Gloucester place; and till that time, therefore, she had no capital with which she could begin her trade. Another presumption urged to support the evidence of Mrs. C. and to prove the criminal connivance of the D. of Y. is, that h. r. h. must have known that Mrs. C. could have no motives of friendship towards those for whom she solicited his patronage, and no other therefore than the corrupt motive of profit. If the facts warranted this presumption, the argument would be conclusive; but the evidence proves that, so far from this being the case, Mrs. C was surrounded by the friendship of many most respectable persons; and that for some of these she actually did solicit favours of h. r. h. from no motive of pecuniary profit. As far, therefore, as influence goes, it is at least fair reasoning to say, that Mrs. C. represented herself to h. r. h. as acting, in all instances, upon those motives of friendship on which she is proved to have acted in, many instances. The very powerful presumptions which, on the other hand, tend utterly to destroy all credit to Mrs. C's testimony, were stated by my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in so forcible and convincing a manner, that I shall not waste the time of the house by a single observation upon them. It is further said, that if we look at particular instances in which the D. of Y. acted at the solicitation of Mrs. C, the very circumstances afford evidence of corrupt connivance on the part of h. r. h. in the pecuniary profit of Mrs. C, for that his conduct is otherwise unaccountable. The instances selected for this purpose, are those of col, French, col. Shaw, and Samuel Carter. It is said, that col. French's levy was so disadvantageous to the public, that the D. of Y. must have acted in it with gross partiality, and therefore with corrupt connivance. For the sake of the argument, let it be supposed that the levy was disadvantageous, and that the Duke acted with partiality. Does it follow that h. r. h. knew that Mrs. C. had a corrupt motive for recommending col. French, and may not his affection for this woman sufficiently account for his partiality towards a person 297 so strongly supported by her. But I cannot admit the tact, that the agreement for col. French's levy was disadvantageous to the public. If I understand the case, the evidence affords no such conclusion. The business of the levy was conducted regularly at the office. It is true that it ultimately failed, after a considerable expence had been incurred. But if the result was disadvantageous to the public, it was, at least, as disadvantageous to col. French and his colleague capt. Sandon. It is in evidence, that col. French and capt. Sandon lost 3,000l. by this transaction, in which it is supposed, that a corrupt degree of favour was extended to them.—With respect to col. Shaw, it is alledged, that, after his appointment to the office of barrack-master, he failed in his pecuniary engagements to Mrs. C.; and that she, therefore, out of all course, caused him to be put on half-pay, and the corrupt connivance of the D. of Y. is from thence inferred. Now it appears from the evidence, that the appointment of barrack-master was obtained for col. Shaw, by sir Harry Burrard; and that it was absolutely one of the conditions upon which the appointment was given, that he, col. Shaw, be placed on half-pay. The case of Samuel Carter is so disposed of by the general feelings of the house, that it is unnecessary to refer to the subject. I must say, however, that I am far from being persuaded that h. r. h. did know that the Samuel Carter, whom he promoted, was the person he had seen behind the chair of Mrs. C.; that he had this knowledge, vests upon Mrs. C.'s testimony alone. Now to try this by the probability of the thing, it must be assumed that Mrs. C, when she recommended Samuel Carter, desired to succeed in her recommendation, that she could, therefore, have the address to keep back any circumstance that was in its nature an obstacle to his promotion. It could not escape her, that it must be an obstacle to his promotion that he had served behind her chair. I think it highly probable, therefore, that she did, in fact, conceal this circumstance from the D. of Y.—Sir, it is upon these considerations and from that view of the case which was taken by the right hon. gent. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in as powerful and impressive a speech as ever was delivered in this house, that I cannot concur in any proposition which does not amount to a full and absolute acquittal of h. r. h. of all corruption and of all connivance in 298 the corrupt practices of Mrs. C. Upon another point, however, I cannot bring myself to concur with that right hon. gent. or with any other gent. who has yet spoken. If the D. of Y. be innocent of all corruption and corrupt connivance, I cannot feel the propriety of any parliamentary interference by resolution or address, either for the purpose of deprecating the immoral connection which has been discovered, or for the removal of h. r. h. from his situation as Commander in Chief. I lament as much as any man can do that this immoral connection ever should have existed. I lament the public scandal which the exposure of it has occasioned; but I cannot think that we are to sit here to pass resolutions of moral censure. But as we can have nothing to do with this connection, unless it shall appear to have affected the official conduct of h. r. h, no gentleman will, I think, state as an abstract principle, that no person can be fit for the office of Commander in Chief, who, in any instance of official patronage, lends himself to such an influence as Mrs. C.'s.; No gentleman will, I think, contend, that if a Commander in Chief for 16 years discharged the duty of his high office with unprecedented advantage to the public, that he ought to be removed because he, in one instance, listened to the recommendation of such a person as Mrs. C.; and, upon that recommendation, promoted a most meritorious officer. It is obvious, therefore, that the question as to the effect of such a connection upon official situation, is a question of extent and quality; of extent, as it regards the number of persons promoted by it; of quality, as it regards the fitness or aptness of the persons promoted. Is it possible, therefore, that those who think the D. of Y. innocent of all corrupt motive, can consider that he ought to be removed from his office, because they may believe upon the evidence, that, in three or four instances, he listened to the applications of Mrs. C. in favour of persons who had just claims to promotion. —I have but one word more to add. Almost every gentleman, who has spoken in favour of the address, has exhorted the house to do its duty to the public. I know no other way by which gentlemen can do their duty to the public, than by examining the evidence with diligence and impartiality, and by pronouncing honestly the best, judgment which they can form upon it. If it be meant that any opinion formed out of doors is to guide the decision of this 299 house, I am sure that those who shall act upon such a principle, would not serve, but betray the best interests of the public. It is, I think, a libel upon the good sense and justice of the country to state that the public have yet formed any thing like a settled opinion upon the subject; though no one can doubt, considering the publicity of our proceedings, that strong prepossessions may have been created in the minds of many. But the public know that those prepossessions have been formed upon an imperfect statement of the evidence. They know that this is a case which depends altogether upon the credit due to witnesses; and that those only can fully estimate that credit who have witnessed the conduct and demeanour of the witnesses while giving their testimony. They know that it is not to be expected from any person who has not the duty of a judge to perform, to submit to the laborious and painful investigation and comparison which can alone enable us to decide faithfully upon the effect of the voluminous evidence which the case has produced. All the rational part of the public will suspend their opinion until this house shall have pronounced its decision; and if this be pronounced, as I am sure it will be, impartially and honestly, it will doubtless be sanctioned by the settled judgment of the country.
expressed his satisfaction at having given way to the learned member who spoke last. He was anxious to hear his sentiments on the important subject before the house; because, from his high professional character, he was led to entertain strong hopes, that they would accord with the view which other able men had taken of the question. He agreed with him, perfectly, that the question was to be decided by the evidence before the house, but upon the closest attention that he had been able to give to that evidence, he was led to draw from it a conclusion quite different to that deduced by the hon. and learned gentleman.—But, before he should notice what had fallen from that hon. and learned gent. he should say a word or two upon what had been urged by the right hon. gent. opposite (Sir. Yorke). With respect to what had been stated by the right hon. gent. on the floor, on the proceeding proposed by the hon. gent. (Mr. Bankes), he would refer to the explanation given by that hon. gent. The hon. gentleman who proposed that proceeding, had explained its nature in a few 300 words, and fully demonstrated, to the satisfaction of the house, that the course he recommended was neither involved in intricacy, nor embarrassed with difficulty. It was perfectly clear, that no question coulci exist as to its regularity, and he was confident that no doubt could be entertained as to its propriety. The reason which the hon. gent. assigned for the mode of proceeding which he had recommended, was, that he did not think the case such an one as ought to be met by Resolutions, and therefore he had proposed an Address in the spirit of the original motion, and differing only in form. He also stated, that it was desirable to reduce the whole into one connected intelligible question., which it would not be difficult to decide upon; and in order to prevent the case from being split and divided, as in the manner proposed by the hon. gentlemen opposite.—The right hon. gent. in the course of his speech had protested against the proceedings of that house being controuled by public opinion. He could not conceive what had occasioned this observation, or to what it applied. He was sure that there had been nothing in the speech or Address of his hon. friend, nor in the Address of the other hon. member, that could afford a ground for supposing that they had been framed with a view to meet the bias of public opinion, or that the house was called upon to agree to either for that purpose. Of this he was certain, no attempt of that kind was intended; and if it were, he would be the last man to justify such an attempt. He remembered, a few years ago, he had ventured, with some friends, to avow sentiments and opinions in that house, in the teeth of a very strong impression of public opinion, for which at the time they had been held up to the odium and execration of the public. He could appeal to what passed on that occasion, whether he was a person likely to fall in with public opinion, unless it was consistent with his own best judgment to do so. In commenting upon the motion which had been submitted that night, the right hon. gent. had observed, that they were bound to impute the most proper motives to their members for any course they might think proper to recommend. He could not perceive the necessity or propriety of this observation: was it meant as an insinuation, that his hon. friend acted from improper motives? He would boldly ask the house to pronounce, whether there were any grounds for such 301 an imputation? He was sorry to observe, that when the conduct of a member might be imputed to motives perfectly natural and proper, gentlemen travelled out of their course in order to convey these illiberal insinuations. No man had a right to impute improper motives to a member in the discharge of his public duty, where the whole might, as was here the case, be the result of the purest and most laudable intention. The patriotic object of his hon. friend was to do his duty to his country by a noble and courageous attempt to overthrow abuses.—There was another observation in the speech of the right hon. gent. which, though not equally offensive with that he alluded to, was still no less strange and unaccountable. That right hon. gent. had said, that he was of opinion that the result of the present business would be injurious rather than beneficial. Good heavens! was it not extraordinary, when abuses were proved to exist, when every gentleman admitted the connivance of the D. of Y. (No, No, No, from several members) when it was admitted at least, that h. r. h. had formed a connection which made him liable, under the fascinations of his mistress, to do improper things, which connection was in itself improper, and in the course of which abuses had taken place, that a person, who was himself an advocate of reform, should have made use of such expressions r It was his own opinion, that if any thing Could be beneficial to the country, it was the detection of abuses; and if the house would pursue its views, and prosecute the great business of detecting abuses, exposing delinquencies, and publishing offenders where offenders should be found to exist, it was his firm conviction, that this proceeding, which originated with his hon. friend, for with him it had originated, would be more beneficial to this country, and do more to defend it against all foreign foes, that any thing that could happen in the ordinary progress of its affairs.—Before he should come more particularly to notice the learned gentleman's statement, he had an observation or two to make upon a topic which had been adverted to by the right hon. gent. upon the floor. That right hon. gent. had, before the close of the proceed—ing, the minutes of which they were then considering, called upon several general officers, members of that house, and examined them touching the Discipline and State of the Army. That state of the army, as proved in the evidence so ob- 302 tained, the right hon. gent. had urged as a defence of the D. of Y. Admitting the state of the army to be such as was represented, and of his own knowledge, he did not know whether it was or was not so; admitting all this, however; whether the army was or was not highly disciplined, had nothing to do with the question. If the punishment of the D. of Y. was the matter in issue, the state of the army might be urged in extenuation; but it had nothing whatever to do with the matter before the house. Various objections had been started by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his able speech, which were purely of a technical nature, against the Address moved by his hon. friend. Amongst others, he had stated what had been stated over and ever before, that as a charge of corruption had been preferred, it was the duty of the house to come to some direct decision upon it, and that they were bound not to flinch from that duty. Now, with regard to this charge of corruption, and the idea of not flinching from their duty, they had but to refer to their journals and records to ascertain how these, points stood. They would then have to oppose record to record, as speech was opposed to speech; and the comparison would shew the precise state of the case. The record they had then under consideration, was the Report of the proceedings of the Committee appointed to inquire into the conduct of h. r. h. the D. of Y. In that there was no record of a charge of corruption against the Commander in Chief. But if the amendment of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, should be agreed to, then it would appear upon the Journals, when hereafter they might be referred to, that a charge of corruption had been preferred against the D. of Y. in that house, but that the house had gone out of the inquiry without instituting any further proceeding, the charge not having been substantiated. —Another objection started by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to the Address of his hon. friend, was, that it did not go the whole length which the right hon. gent. desired; and here he must make an observation upon a remark of that right hon. gent. that the Address was not the Address of his hon. friend, but the production of those who had cooler heads, who thought more, but who wished themselves to flinch from the question. At all times he was an enemy to such insinuations; more particularly when they 303 were obviously unfounded. He did not know to whom the insinuation applied, or whom the right hon. gent. meant, when he used the words 'cooler heads,' and applied the denomination 'designing men.' But it was futile in the extreme to urge such objections. Whoever might have drawn up the Address, it was the measure of his hon. friend, and it was unfair, un-parliamentary, and approaching to disorder, when any member proposed any measure, to say that it was not his measure. There was much in the Address which he approved, and would support, even though it did not go the length which the right hon. gent. wished, or which even he would himself have desired. But when the right hon. gent. found fault with the Address, for not going the length he desired, could he not perceive any motive of delicacy, with respect to the rank of the person to whom it referred, for not stating all that had been proved upon the subject? He thought that the house would act wisely, as he was convinced his hon. friend had judiciously, in not introducing stronger words into the Address, which would have only the effect of wounding paternal feeling, and disgracing a personage, but a few steps removed from the throne. Though the Address might not go to the extent of the facts which had been proved, he, without flinching from his own opinion, must approve of the delicacy, that stopped short of the extreme limit of the matters in proof.
The Charges brought by his hon. friend against the D. of Y. were; first, the permission of the interference of Mrs. Clarke in army promotions, &c: 2ndly, doing so with the knowledge that this interference was the consequence of corruption. These were the charges; and these, his lordship contended, had been made out. The most material witness in support of them was Mrs. C. It had been said that the blandishments of Mrs. C. had blinded him, (lord F.) and that therefore he could not view her testimony with sufficient impartiality. Any imputation of that sort against him he could pass over and despise. All he would say was, that he certainly was not conscious of having in the least deserved such an imputation. He had examined the evidence with the most rigid impartiality, and found, that Mrs. C. had made out all the charges, and that her testimony, in many of the most material points, was fully confirmed by other witnesses, and by documents and letters. An 304 hon. judge over the way, (Mr. Burton) began by attacking the evidence of Mrs. C, because she was an accomplice; and asserted, that her testimony ought not to be received unless corroborated by others.
§ Mr. Burton
here interposed, as he said, for the purpose of saving the time of the noble lord and of the house, by re-stating what he had said on the occasion alluded to. He did not think he had said, but he was certain he did not mean to say, that an accomplice was not to be received as a witness, but not to be believed unless corroborated by other unimpeached testimony. An accomplice was a witness competent, but not credible, except corroborated.
resumed. He was persuaded that there was but little difference in the distinction of the learned gent. that an accomplice was to be received, but not believed, as a witness. He would read to the house, not what he could take upon himself to say but what he understood from those better qualified to judge, was understood to be the admitted and acknowledged law upon this subject, and he should then leave it to the house to judge whether there was any thing in the distinction of the learned gentleman. The authority from which he was to quote was the 4th volume of Mr. Leach's Report of Crown Law. The case to which he would refer was that of James Martin and Thomas Robbins, who had been tried for highway robbery before Mr. Justice Buller, and convicted upon the simple evidence of an accomplice. The robbery had been committed on a night so dark as to preclude the possibility of the party robbed being able to identify the robbers. One of the three was admitted an evidence for the Crown, and the other two were convicted upon his testimony. The case, however, was reserved by Mr. Justice Buller, and the decision of the twelve Judges was unanimously given, "That an accomplice alone was a competent witness, and if the Jury weighing the probabilities of the case should think him worthy of credit, and convict the accused party, that such conviction was legal: that the distinction between competence and credibility had been long settled, that if any question respecting the competence of a witness arose, the Judge was to determine it; but that on a question respecting credit, it was to be left to the Jury to decide, whether the witness was worthy of credit." (Hear, hear, hear!) By the cheering of the hon. 305 gentlemen, they seemed to think they had gained some advantage, but he was ready to add, what would shew, that he had no wish to take advantage of them, because it made against his own argument. It was held, that this case was not accurately reported. It should have been reported, "That the Judge, in summing up, ought to warn the Jury against believing such witness, but if they should give him credit, and convict, that such conviction was legal." Now, why had he quoted this case? It was not for the purpose of maintaining that the testimony of an accomplice was to be received as that of a person totally free from suspicion, but to shew that it was not to be wholly over-looked, and that if it was corroborated by circumstances or other testimony, it was sufficient to support a conviction.—On this point, of the credibility of the testimony of accomplices, he should be glad to hear the hon. and learned gent., the Solicitor General, who had been counsel on an election committee where a case of a somewhat similar nature had occurred. lie would appeal to him, whether the figure made by Maltby, by Donovan, by Sandon, or any of the least credible witnesses in the present inquiry, made any thing like so bad a figure as that of one Drake who had been a witness on that occasion; yet he recollected that the learned gent, supported the testimony of that witness by an able speech. [See vol. 9, p. 23.] But he would not lay too much stress on the arguments of counsel, lest he should again meet with a reproof from the Attorney-General, for assigning them a degree of weight which they did not deserve. He would, however, call the recollection of the learned gent, to the conversation which he then had with him, when he contended, that if we were to exclude the evidence of accomplices, we could in many cases have no evidence at all. Supposing, for a moment, the D. of Y. to be guilty of the practices, now laid to his charge, from the nature of the case, it was impossible to convict him except on the evidence of accomplices.
With respect to the testimony of Mrs. Clarke it had beenurged against it, that her motives cast a cloud upon her evidence, and that therefore she was not to be believed. This point had been so well and so ably argued last night by an hon. gent. (Mr. Whitbread), that it would be only necessary for him briefly to refer to it. Mrs. C. was said to have been actuated 306 by malice and revenge. It was a strange proof of malice and revenge, as that hon. gent, had well observed, to have spent days in burning the proofs—and from those which had accidentally been saved, it was pretty clear of how much importance these proofs might be. The right; hon. gentlemen had argued upon the fewness of the cases which had been produced. If practices of this kind had been permitted, he said, ten thousand such cases might have happened in the time when the D. of Y. and Mrs. C. lived together, and the table might be groaning under the load of charges which might be brought forward;—why—if the documents had not been destroyed, if memory had not failed, as it was proved to have done in many instances, it was likely that many more charges of a similar kind might have offered. But the documents had been destroyed, the memory of many cases was past, and the wonder was not, that so few had been produced, but that they were so numerous, and that the proof was at all so complete.
He should next remark upon the offensive terms in which the manner of bringing this business forward had been observed upon, and his hon. friend represented as the agent of Mrs. C. Those who held such language could not of their own knowledge know any thing of the matter, and, in his opinion, they had no right to represent the case as they had done. But, the fact was, that the case was directly the reverse. His hon. friend had been in town preparing these cases, and providing the materials of bringing them to some effectual issue, long before he had known Mrs. C. He had acted upon the occasion, in an open, fair, manly, and patriotic manner, which justly entitled him to the thanks of that house, and to the gratitude of the country. In the progress of his inquiries, his hon. friend found that he could not substantiate, by proof, the cases he was investigating, until he could find Mrs. C. The difficulties he had to encounter in his progress, were such as would have deterred from persevering in his purpose any person of a less decisive character, or of a mind not so courageous. Some time elapsed before Mrs. C. could be found; whatever gentlemen might think, there was some difficulty in finding that lady. (A laugh; and hear, hear!) He stated what was the fact—(Hear, hear, hear!) — What he knew to be the fact. (Hear, hear!) I Mrs. C. was his hon. friend's witness. It 307 was he that brought her to their bar. It was to support his charges, and at his instigation, that she was called to give the evidence which she had done at the bar of that house.
He should here state by the way, that it bad been objected against Mrs. Favery's evidence, that it was marked by forgetful-Hess. Was that the failing of Mrs. C.'s testimony? fie could appeal to the recollection of the house, whether want of memory had been the defect in her evidence, or whether she had not in every case, outrun the progress of examination, and detailed circumstances often by no means connected with the immediate subject of inquiry? A great part of the matter in proof had come out as it were by accident, in her various examinations; and, however extraordinary some of her declarations appeared at the time, they had all turned out to be founded in fact. Many of the cases had been mentioned by her when site had every reason to suppose that the documents which could substantiate them, had been destroyed at Hampstead (Hear, hear!). When she first mentioned General Clavering, was she not disbelieved? When she mentioned Dr. O'Meara, was she not discredited, laughed at? Was not the case the same in almost every other instance, and yet when the papers were produced, had she not been found correct and well founded in all her statements? It was therefore not a defect of memory that, was the fault in her evidence. She did forget however, and did not hesitate to state it. She forgot Tony nyn's case, and even after she had seen the examination of Sand on, declared that she did not remember more than she did before. If she had been engaged in a conspiracy, could she not have stated that she recollected it; could she not have said, after having passed a night on her bed, that she then did call to mind the transaction?, She had said the same of the Note, and yet when it was shewn to her, she instantly admitted it was the Duke's writing, and that Sandon must have stolen it from her. Had they not seen the witness Sandon at their bar; did they not bear his evidence, and were they not aware of his motives for concealing this Note? He believed him capable of stealing the Note, and he was sure the house could not be of any other opinion.
He had here an observation to make upon that Note, which had been erroneously called a mysterious Note, but which 308 he most solemnly believed to be the band-writing of the D. of Y. Of this he was convinced from the following consideration. The water-mark upon the paper was dated 1803; the writing was in an obscure manner; it was addressed to a feigned name; the termination of the Note itself was in the words "God bless you;" and a blur appeared towards the bottom upon it. This last circumstance amounted to a strong internal evidence of the au~ thenticity of the Note. An hon. member, whom he did not see in his place, had made the ingenious remark upon this Note, that if any person had intended to forge it, where the writing was so small in quantity, he would rather write it over again than retain it with that blur. Then there was the testimony of col. Gordon, generals Brownrigg and Hope, and of the learned gent. Mr. Adam, all of whom admitted that the hand-writing was like that of h. r. h., and none of them would say that it was not his hand-writing. Besides, all the clerks of the Bank, with the exception of one, whose peculiar business it was to ascertain the identity of signatures, had stated it to be the hand-writing of the Duke. The house, in admitting the latter persons to be examined, had, in his opinion, disgraced itself. He was sorry such testimony had been received. In Courts of Law it was admissible to prove the sameness, but never the difference of handwriting. He should be sorry to stake his character, or any thing he valued, on the proof that a written paper was not his hand-writing.
In order to invalidate the testimony of Mrs. C. the right hon. gent. and the learned gent, who had just spoken, had adverted to some contradictions in her evidence. The learned member (Mr. Burton) had stated on a former night that these contradictions were not fewer than 28 in number; but he had particularized only one. He was, therefore, left to consider those imputed contradictions which had been observed upon by others. The first contradiction was that in which her testimony was supposed to be contradicted by that of Mr. Knight, about the injunctions to secrecy from the D. of Y. But the transaction occurred four years ago, and it was natural to think that she would be anxious not to make any incautious exposure of her practices, lest they should be put a stop to. As to the contradiction, in a more recent instance, the noble lord proved from a reference to the Minutes, 309 that the appearance of contradiction might have arisen from misconception. — The noble lord then proceeded to take a view of the other contradictions said to exist, and by ingenious comment and clear elucidation endeavoured to shew, that there really existed no contradiction at all.—He then proceeded to comment on other parts of the evidence. It had been argued, that because Miss Taylor did recollect precisely the phrase that had been made use of, that therefore she ought not to be believed. She never had seen col. French; and it must be allowed, that the expression, if used, was a very remarkable one, and likely to be remembered. If she had visited Mrs. C. it would be recollected that she was a relation of her's; and was Miss Taylor to be held up to the country as a liar, who was totally unworthy of credit, for no other reason but that her brother had married Mrs. C.'s sister? The examination had already proved of the most serious consequence to Miss Taylor; and it was hard that she should be set down as altogether unworthy of belief, merely because she was connected with Mrs. C. It must occur to the hon. gentlemen on the other side of the house, that there were numerous instances among the higher orders in life, where not only men but women of character did associate with females, whose characters were very doubtful, and perhaps very little better than that of Mrs. C. Now, there ought to be something of equal justice among the different orders of society, and that equal justice would not be done, if Miss Taylor was to be discredited, because she did not belong to the higher class of society, and because her parents were poor. The examination of Miss Taylor had been conducted in such away (he did not mean to throw blame upon any body for it) that it had produced her absolute ruin. Her father was a ruined man, her mother in jail for debt, and she, a virtuous young girl [a laugh from the Ministerial Benches]— he should repeat, a virtuous young girl (and however the gentlemen on the other side of the house might laugh at the term, he would say there, was nothing in the evidence, nothing in the deportment of Miss Taylor at the bar, which justified them in their merriment, or at ail contradicted the justice of the term as applied to her)— he would repeat, this virtuous young girl, when her family was in their distress, took a boarding-school for the support of herself and her younger sister, She had a dozen 310 pupils before she was summoned to attend that house as a witness; and in consequence of the answers which had been extorted from her in the course of her examination, nine of them had been withdrawn. Her creditors soon found out her misfortunes, and no time was lost in laying an execution on her goods; her furniture had been all seized, the carpets torn off the floors, and she herself obliged to seek an asylum in a friend's house. And yet, although such distress and ruin had been occasioned in her little establishment, it appeared that all the debts which she owed in the world amounted only to about 150l. He did not mean to impute any intentional harshness in the cross-examination, neither to the learned gent. (the attorney general) nor to the right hon. gent, the Chancellor of the Exchequer; without having any personal acquaintance with that right hon. gent, he was perfectly convinced, that he would be one of the last men in the house to be guilty of such harshness intentionally (hear, hear!). He did not mean to say, that such a course of examination might not have been necessary, and he was sure that the right hon. gent, would not have resorted to it, if he had not thought it necessary; but he could not give the same measure of praise to others. If there was in that house a member who had gone about in all directions to find out evidence, to impeach Miss Taylor—if having every previous opportunity of examining in private the witnesses he meant to bring forward, he yet chose to bring forward at random those charges against her which made a cross-examination necessary, which was so useless to the main point at issue, but so painful to the feelings of the witness, he would say, that to the want of care and want of candour of that hon. member, this cruelty was to be imputed. If Miss Taylor was not now to be considered a credible witness, she must be considered in the same light on every other occasion, as the same reason must always subsist, namely, that her parents were poor, and that Mrs. Clarke was her sister-in-law.—As to the contradictions of witnesses at the bar, he really was not surprised if Mrs. Clarke had fallen into some contradictions; but he was really surprised that she had not fallen into more. When a woman was placed at the bar, surrounded by gentlemen whom she had never seen before, examined in an irregular manner, and for such a length of time that she was ready to drop from fa- 311 tigue, it was really wonderful that she had tailed into so few contradictions.
The noble lord next claimed the indulgence of the house in expressing an opinion very different from what had been generally given with respect to the evidence of colonel Gordon. Most gentlemen who had spoken, appeared to admire his wonderful memory and accuracy of statement. He considered his statement in a very different light. In the first place, he thought that col. Gordon, when at the bar, exhibited a flippancy, a superiority of manner, and a dictatorial way of giving opinions to the house, which were by no means proper for a witness at their bar. He could have hardly assumed a more dictatorial manner if he had really been Commander in Chief, as his evidence went near to establish. It had been imputed to Mr. Dowler as a great fault, not that he stated what was false, but that he concealed the truth. Now, it appeared to him, that this charge seemed to apply more strongly to the testimony of col. Gordon. On the first day he was examined, he did not say a word about the pencil-marks which had been written on the official document respecting the exchange of colonels Knight and Brooke. This most important fact was only discovered accidentally, when he was ordered several nights after to produce other documents. Colonel Gordon, at the early part of his examination, declared that it was an invariable rule that inferior officers could never rise above their superiors in the same regiment. It afterwards however turned out, that this invariable rule had been oftentimes broken. Col. Gordon had said, that he never knew an instance of a person being promoted to the rank of Captain without service, and when he was examined on the charge respecting captain Maling, this evidence appeared most conclusive. The charge appeared to have so completely failed in the proof that his honourable friend wished to withdraw it. No! no! however, resounded from the other side of the house. The friends of his royal highness triumphantly stated that this charge having been once brought, must be disposed of. It happened that a question or two more put to col. Gordon, proved that there was another capt. Maling, who had been raised to that rank without seeing any service, and with whom col. Gordon was intimately acquainted and in the habit of meeting very day in his office; and with, respect 312 to whom the charge did apply. The mistake which his hon. friend had made, was only about Christian names, and yet col. Gordon never chose to say any thing about the other captain Maling, to whom lie knew the charge did apply, until a direct question was accidentally put to him, which he was of course obliged to answer. Did not this conduct in col. Gordon look like a wilful suppression of facts most important in the case? Col. Gordon had also represented at first, that it was impossible that the Duke of York could expedite the exchange; and that every attempt of that sort must be extremely futile, and would not expedite it one half minute. From the evidence, the natural impression would be, that the Duke could not have interfered, as his interference would have been futile; and yet, afterwards, this word futility was explained away, and made only to apply to the days for laying military papers before his majesty.—He found himself also obliged to make an observation or two (he hoped it would be without offence,) on some contradictions in the testimony of an hon. and learned member, (Mr. Adam.) In the first place, that hon. and learned gent, had stated, "that he was for a long time perfectly acquainted with the pecuniary transactions of his royal highness, who stated to him all his embarrassments with the greatest accuracy; and he could take it upon himself to say, that Mrs. Clarke's account of loans negociated for the Duke of York was untrue." Afterwards it appeared, by his own evidence, that he only knew a part of the Duke's pecuniary arrangements; and it had been proved by Mr. Comrie, that Mr. Adam himself did know of a negociation for a loan for 10,000l.; afterwards it appeared by the evidence of written documents, that he did know of and was applied to by Kennet, who proposed to negociate a loan for the Duke of no less than 70,000l. to be secured by annuity. There appeared another very great contradiction in the evidence of Mr. Adam. He had stated that he recollected from the investigation that he had set on foot, that the cause of separation between the Duke and Mrs. Clarke was something about a bill and goods delivered. In this he appeared to be contradicted by the men who conducted the investigation, as neither Mr. Lowten nor Mr. Wilkinson confirmed this statement. The hon. and learned member also asserted on the part of his royal highness, that the Duke had 313 assured him that he seldom, or he might say never, permitted Mrs. Clarke to speak to him about military matters. That assertion, however, had been most completely disproved by the Duke's letters— Now, when it was shewn that both colonel Cordon and Mr. Adam had fallen into these inconsistences in their evidence; when it was recollected that those gentlemen had been examined with all the tenderness and respect due to their rank in life, and that Mrs. Clarke, on the contrary, had been examined in a hostile way, and for a much greater length of time; it would not be surprising that she should have fallen into some contradictions on lesser points, when those gentlemen had fallen into contradictions on essential points. It would be recollected that Mrs. Clarke had been examined eight times, for near three hours at a time; that she experienced no favour, but, on the contrary, was examined on every subject on which it would be most painful for her to answer; and some of those contradictions, which had been relied on, had come out at the end of a long and harrassing examination, when contradictions might naturally be expected. Considering all the unfavourable circumstances under which she was examined, he really thought that she was as good and credible a witness as ever attended at the bar of that house. When the twelve Judges of the land had laid it down, that an accomplice, if considered a credible witness, was sufficient to prove a case, even where the life of a subject was at stake, he should say, that believing Mrs. Clarke to be, in every respect, a credible witness, it was his firm opinion, that by every principle of law and reason, the Duke must -necessarily be considered guilty of corruption. The case did not rest on the testimony of Mrs. Clarke alone, for never was evidence more fully corroborated. The first strong circumstance of corroboration was, the ex-pence of the establishment in Gloucester-place. He was surprised, that the hon. and learned gent, who had preceded him, (Mr. Leach), had travelled out of the record, and argued upon things merely asserted, as if they had been proved. What sort of a story was that which had been told about the Duke's manner of drawing on his bankers? If the Duke wanted 200l. and meant to give 100l. to Mrs. Clarke, was it credible that he would have taken the trouble to draw two drafts instead of one? If Mrs. Clarke had expended 314 the sums she stated, it would not be wonderful, as she was known to be a thoughtless woman, of dissipated and expensive habits. Mrs. Clarke, however, did not forget, but stated particulars, which could not be contradicted. She had said, that in her establishment in Gloucester-place, she kept six or eight horses, two carriages, eight or nine men-servants, man-cook, &c.; that she entertained expensively, gave champagne, and lived in the highest stile in town; and that she had, besides, a country-house, where two or three servants were always kept. Now, whether the Duke allowed her one thousand a year, or two thousand, it was evidently insufficient to support such an establishment. It appeared to him that less than 10,000l. a year would not have done it. He was sure that he could not keep up such appointments under 10,000l. a year, but he should suppose that such a thoughtless woman as she was would have expended above double that sum. That the Duke did not allow her money sufficient to support this establishment, was a thing that was highly probable, when it was considered that the Duke was at that time a most distressed man, as she had represented him to be. The loan that he was negociating with Kennet at that precise time shewed that he was a very distressed man. It appeared that in consequence of this negociation about a loan, Kennet was recommended by the Duke of York to a high situation; and it was contrived that sir Horace Mann should be applied to, to support this recommendation, in order to make it appear more regular. This Kennet was known at the time to be a man of the worst character, and afterwards stood in the pillory. Now, if Kennet instead of applying for himself had happened to have had a son a captain whom he wished to be promoted to a majority, could any body doubt that it would have been done for the corrupt consideration of his assistance in the loan that was to be negotiated? Who would then believe that, being ready to recommend Kennet, or any body who would negociate loans for him, being distressed, as he had been proved to be, having a woman whom he loved so passionately, and whose wishes he was so unable to gratify [a laugh], he could have refused to allow her to receive some money for her interference in the disposal of a few commissions?
Before he concluded, he could not avoid paying his tribute of admiration to the 315 firmness which had been displayed by his hon, friend (colonel Wardle), in bringing forward these charges, and in the investigation which had so long occupied the attention of the house. He had had to struggle against the authority and influence of the D. of Y. in the plenitude of his power, and at the head of an army more extensive than at any former period. He had to contend against ministers, who took upon themselves (he would not say improperly) the situation of Advocates for his royal highness, rather than his Judges. He had been impeded in his investigation by unwilling witnesses, from whom it was almost impossible to extract the truth. After his hon. friend had first brought forward his charges, he could not avoid hearing his expulsion rumoured, and yet, notwithstanding all those obstacles and difficulties, he had come forward manfully to prove his case, and had proved it, as he conceived, to the perfect satisfaction of every unprejudiced man. It was to be recollected also that a threat of infamy had been thrown out against him by a right hon. Secretary (Mr. Canning) in the most offensive manner: and that right hon. gent, well knew how to assume the most offensive manner. [A cry of Order! and the Speaker reminded the noble lord that such expressions were too personal.] He would say that he did not believe that the right hon. Secretary meant to apply this term to that Conspiracy which had been talked of, (as his meaning was endeavoured to be explained away by some of his friends) but that he did mean what he said—that infamy was to attach either upon the accuser, or the accused, and he had repeated the word ac user every time he had opened his mouth since. The evidence was now over, and his hon. friend had not only proved his charges, but had proved a great deal more than he had stated, and yet the right hon. Secretary had not yet come forward to retract that expression. If then the right hon. gent, should not express by his vote, that the infamy attached to the person accused, and did not withdraw the expression with respect to the accuser, he thought that if infamy must attach somewhere, it should remain with him who had used the expression. This threat appeared to be thrown out with no other view than to damp the zeal and exertions of his hon. friend.— Another right hon. gent. (Mr. Yorke) who, at first, talked of a Jacobin Conspiracy, had the manliness to disavow any intention 316 of applying the term, in any degree, to his hon. friend. Another right hon. gent, who commonly sat on the same side of the house with his lordship (Mr. Sheridan), had also taken upon him to throw down the gaunt-let to his hon. friend, and to animadvert on his conduct, because, forsooth, he had not taken his sago advice! Even the getting witnesses lo give evidence at the bar of the house, was a matter of the utmost difficulty. It was viewed with equal horror, as if the persons called on had been to be carried as culprits to the bar of the Old Bailey. Whatever might, however, be the opinion of the public, some honour, instead of infamy, would attach to the conduct of his hon. friend. Wherever he went, he would be accompanied by the love and gratitude of his fellow countrymen, and by their admiration for that matchless and persevering resolution which had enabled him to surmount so many and such great obstacles. Publicity was what the friends of h. r. h. affected to court: the publicity they had demanded had been obtained. He thought it ill became them now to complain of the public mind being led astray, by misrepresentations in newspapers. He did not know what misrepresentations were alluded to; but, for his part, he was quite astonished at the accuracy with which the, examinations had been detailed. Before he sat down, he could not avoid saying, that the house had now an opportunity of retrieving what, he believed, they had lost in public opinion. He could recommend to them nothing better ban to recollect that prayer which was always said before the house entered upon business, imploring the Almighty "to enable them to lay aside all private interests, prejudices, and partial affections." If they did so, and came to the vote as Judges, and not Advocates, he had little doubt of the result. His feeling was for a Resolution much stronger than what was proposed, he should, however, give his Vote most sincerely in favour of the Resolution which had been proposed by his hon. friend.
§ Mr. Speaker
; I am sure the house will not be surprised that I should take the first moment to present myself to you after what has fallen from the noble lord, respecting the testimony which I have been called upon to give in this proceeding.
After having passed my life as it were in tills house, or in its presence; having been 317 a member of this house before the noble lord was born: having had the honour of a seat here from 1774 to 1796. and generally taking a pretty considerable share in its business and discussion; after having, in the year 1796, retired from this house to pass my time almost constantly in its presence in the discharge of professional duties, in which I trust I have never dishonoured myself; having returned again to this house in 1806, the representative of as enlighten ed a body of constituents as any in the kingdom, and chosen on principles of perfect freedom, I cannot but be most anxious to maintain and vindicate that character, to preserve to myself that reputation with this house and with the public, which I hope I may have acquired by a long public life of activity, industry, and independence.
Sir, I am not so weak, and I trust I do not so ill understand the situation in which I have lately been placed, as to take offence at the noble lord for having observed upon my evidence—every person who is a witness is liable to have his testimony discussed with freedom—justice, which is no respecter of persons, requires it. But when the noble lord has slated that I have given inconsistent evidence; that I have been contradicted by other witnesses; and that I have varied in my testimony in material parts of this case, it is most natural that I should not let an instant intervene in calling the attention of the house to the evidence which I gave, and to which the noble lord refers, and I have no doubt that I shall convince even the noble lord himself, that he has beer, completely mistaken in ail that he has said respecting my testimony.
Sir, I am sorry to consume the time of the house with what may be supposed to be personal matter, but it is essential to justice as well as to myself that the matter should be cleared up, that the evidence which I have given should he well understood.—The noble lord first states that my evidence hits been inconsistent in the account which I have given of my connexion with the financial concerns of the royal Duke; that I at one time held out that I was acquainted with the whole of h. r. h.'s concerns in that respect, and then confined it to my situation as his trustee. If gentlemen will look to the evidence which I gave on the first day of this proceeding they will find that on that day I stated distinctly that the only funds of h. r. h. the applica- 318 tion of which fell within my knowledge, were those which were appropriated to his creditors: that I knew nothing of the application of that part of his income which he reserved for his own expenditure; that I could not tell whether a private pension to this or that person was or was not paid. This appears from my testimony in the printed evidence. On a future day an hon. gent., now under the gallery, (Mr. C. Adams) asked me, Whether the annuity was or was not paid to Mrs. C.? To which I answered by referring to my former evidence, by which he would see that T could know nothing respecting the payment or non-payment of the annuity. The same gent, on a subsequent day examined me again respecting the payment of the annuity, and if the noble lord will look to that part of the testimony, he will find my evidence to be perfectly conformable to that which I have already stated. On this part, therefore, of my testimony, I hope the house will be satisfied that there is nothing contradictory.
The noble lord next asserts that I was contradicted by Mr. Comrie, in the evidence which I had given respecting a loan which was proposed to be made by the D. of Y. Here the noble lord is again in a mistake. I never gave any testimony whatever relating to that subject; there is, I will venture to say, nothing of the kind to be found in my evidence, ft is very true that in a speech which I made on the day in which the hon. gent. (Mr. Wardle) opened these charges, I did state to the house that I had uniformly found h, r. h. to be accurate in his statements respecting his pecuniary obligations, and that the correctness of his statements in that respect, afforded a strong presumption in my mind of his correctness in other respects; that I had likewise every reason to believe that in every case where there had been any proposal made to him to raise money, that he had referred to me. Now it was professedly to contradict this part of my speech that Mr. Comrie was called by the hon. member, (Mr. Wardle) and it will be seen, that instead of contradicting, Mr. Comrie distinctly confirms my statement in my speech on the first day of these proceedings; for Ire says in his evidence, that bet had been referred by the D. of Y. to me, and was asked by the Duke (to whom he went upon the subject of a loan on mort* gage of 10,000l.) whether he knew Mr. Adam of Bloomsbury-square. Mr. com- 319 rie answers thus:—"I said not personally, but by reputation I knew him to be a man of very high character. I shortly afterwards called on Mr. Adam—we proceeded to discuss the business—Mr. Adam said h. r. h. had occasion for that sum, I think he said to complete the payment of some tythes in the vicinity of Oatlands; and that h. r. h.'s solicitors, Messrs. Farrers, would send me the abstract, which they did. In the mean time I applied to a rich client, who agreed to lend the money. The abstracts were referred to a conveyancer by me, who made some queries. In the mean time the money was ready to be advanced; and the abstracts were returned to Messrs. Farrers to answer the queries; but they were never sent back to me, and the loan was afterwards declined, and Messrs. Farrers desired me to send in my bill."
Here again I think the house will be satisfied that I have been confirmed most positively by Mr. Comrie; a witness called by the promoters of these charges under the express declaration that he was to contradict, not what I had given in evidence, but what I had stated in a speech.
The next matter of which I am accused by the noble lord is for inconsistency in the evidence which I gave in Kennett's case. Now I must submit to the house that it is not quite correct in the noble lord, to charge that evidence with inconsistency which is characterized only by want of recollection; there was nothing that should have fixed my recollection particularly to that case, I had very little share in it, and had left town immediately on its commencement, and did not return till its conclusion. I stated to the house in my evidence that until the first witness to it, Mr. Duff, by something he said, and by the description he gave of Kennett, recalled it to my memory, that it had totally escaped me that such a person or such a transaction had ever existed. Mr. Duff's testimony had revived my memory, and when two short notes of mine were put into my hand by the noble lord, and a short letter written from my residence in Scotland, my memory became more clear: but I cannot say that even now, after all that has been said on the subject, that I have any distinct memory respecting it; a circumstance which will not seem strange to those who are accustomed to go through much business; but surely there is nothing in all this nor in any of the evidence which I 320 gave on that subject, that warrants the charge of my having given inconsistent or contradictory testimony on the subject of Kennett's loan.
The next charge made against me by the noble lord, is, that I gave an inconsistent account of the cause of the Duke's separation from Mrs. C. Here again I am confident that I shall satisfy the house, that the noble lord's charge against me is without foundation.—The noble lord said that I put it upon the ground of pecuniary matters, and that it was because her conduct had prejudiced h. r. h.'s name, with regard to money. And when Mr. Lowden and Mr. Wilkinson were called, they did not confirm me in that part of my evidence.
The house will give me leave to observe that I stated the circumstance of money, as one ingredient only in the cause of separation; that I stated the account of Mrs. C.'s conduct in other respects, which had been the subject of investigation, to be the cause, and indeed to afford the principal reasons for the separation, as they had been the principal grounds of the investigation which had been directed. I submit that when I was asked at different times as to one cause of separation, namely, money, it was not to be supposed, that because I did not repeat every other cause, that I therefore excluded them—it would be hard indeed if witnesses were in that way to be convicted of contradictory testimony. When I stated a single cause in answer to a question applying to that single cause, the other causes must, in justice and in common sense, be held to operate in my mind, and to make part of my testimony. But it was said that I was not confirmed by Mr. Lowten and Mr. Wilkinson—the house will recollect that I went through a long examination by an hon. baronet (sir T. Turton) on that subject—that he asked me among other things, whether I had ever seen the narrative respecting Mrs. C.'s conduct, from the time I had caused it to be delivered to h. r. h. on the 7th of May 1806, now near three years ago—I said I never had, that I had not had any opportunity of refreshing my memory with its I contents, and that I had made no written memorandum of the transaction. I conceived upon that distant recollection of a long paper, that the pecuniary matter must have been contained in it. And here I must beg leave to call the attention of the house to what my conduct has been throughout this anxious, and to me most partial- 321 larly distressing case. I have been ready, I think the house will do me the justice to say, to answer every question at any moment; but I have myself uniformly abstained from examining the witnesses, except three or four short questions put to col. Hamilton, in order to ascertain that he had not had any communication whatever with me, from the Sunday when he told me that the note respecting Tonya was destroyed. I did not put a question to any witness, during this proceeding, until Mr. Low ten was at the bar; and to him at the close of his examination, I only put three questions, to ascertain whether a certain cause, Turner v. Mary Anne Clarke, had been entered for trial at the Westminster Sitting, after Hiliary Term 1806, being the cause in which it appeared that the D. of Y. had been subpoenaed. In this situation I thought it my duty to leave that case; and I certainly agree that it does not appear from the testimony of Mr. Lowten and Mr. Wilkinson, that I obtained the information respecting the money transactions which were among the causes of the separation; but that my information must have been derived from another source. That my information was correct I shall immediately shew from the evidence of a witness to whom the noble lord gives the most perfect and implicit credit; and I am astonished after what fell from my hon. friend near me, (Mr. Whitbread) on this very point, that the noble lord should have made the observations he has made respecting my testimony on this head of the evidence; for my hon. friend in the course of his very able and powerful speech, referred to a passage in Mrs. C.'s evidence, which I shall state a little more at large than he did. In the evidence, Mrs. C. is asked, "Do you know why the D. of Y. withdrew his protection from you? Mr. Adam states that it was in consequence of my pleading my marriage to a bill of 130l.; but I can prove the contrary to that, as I had done it once before, and he knew it; and the man had sent threatening letters to him, and to the whole of h. r. h.'s family; his name is Charman, a silversmith in St. James's-street: I have my own opinion of the separation.— Did h. r. h. assign any reason for it? No, he did not; but I guess the reason.—Was it on account of your interferences in Military Promotions? No, it was what Mr. Adam stated, upon money matters, but not that one of the bill."—So that it is quits manifest that the only 322 error in my testimony, is an inaccurate recollection in the source of my information, which is extremely natural at such a distance of time, and when, a reference to the persons employed in some of the most important parts of the investigation was extremely likely to create an opinion or belief that that was the source.—The only other point in which the noble lord charges me with inaccuracy, is what telates to the account I gave of the D. of Y.'s declara-ratious as to his correspondence with Mrs. Clarke on Military Promotion.
The noble lord says that I first admitted that the royal Duke had corresponded with her on military subjects—that I had afterwards contradicted that, and desired that answer to be altered. Now, sir, I think I here I have some reason to complain of the noble lord for not slating this transaction exactly as it took place, as that statement I am confident would of itself completely satisfy the house that I had done nothing but what was most perfectly right and fair, according to the most rigid rule,; and, as long as it is permitted by the course of proceeding in every court the kingdom, for a witness who makes the application within proper time, to correct his testimony, I must be held to have acted with perfect correctness.—After having been obliged to give a very long answer upon the subject of the note regarding Tonya's promotion; and after two or three short answers on that subject as to what the Duke had said to me regarding that note, the noble lord put the following question to me. "Did he (the D. of Y.) state to you that he had never written to Mrs. C. on the subject of military affairs?" I answered, "He always stated to me, that to the best of his recollection he had never written to Mrs. C. on the subject of military affairs; but that if he had done it, it must have been very rarely."
Upon considering this answer it appeared to me to be very inaccurate, because the latter part of it was giving the result which I had drawn from what the Duke said tome, whereas to make evidence correct the fact or declaration should be given for those who are to judge to draw the conclusion; and the evidence should not contain the inference or conclusion of the witness, as this answer did. Accordingly as soon as the examination of the witness next called was concluded, I desired that my answer might be read, not to expunge what I had said, but leaving that as it ori- 323 ginally stood, to correct it and to leave the whole on the evidence. Accordingly in the next page but one my correction appears. I desired the latter part of the answer to be left out, viz. the words "or if he had very rarely."—The noble lord immediately asked me "Did the D. of Y. state to you that he did not recollect ever having written to Mrs. C. about any military business whatever?"—To which I answered "The D. of Y. certainly stated to me that he did not recollect to have written to Mrs. C. on any military matter whatever. He afterwards said that if he had ever written to Mrs. C. on any military matter whatever, it must have been in answer to some questions put in some letter of hers; and h. r. h. said expressly that when she once stated something to him early in their acquaintance, respecting promotion in the army, he said that was a business he could not listen to, and he never heard more of it afterwards."
Now, sir, what I have to submit is that there is not the least ground in this case, any more than in all the others, for the charge made by the noble lord; but that the evidence I gave at first was an impression on my mind, a conclusion drawn by me, which was unfit to stand as evidence; that the correction was as instantaneous as the nature of the thing would admit; that it was perfectly correct in point of time and circumstance, and that the manner in which the evidence now stands, is the correct mode of giving testimony of this sort, namely, to give, as near as memory will serve, the expressions of the person whose declarations are the subject of inquiry. On these grounds I feel perfectly satisfied that I could not injustice either to the royal Duke, the house or myself, permit the evidence to stand in the shape in which I originally gave it.
I trust, sir, I have now done enough to satisfy the house, and even to satisfy the noble lord, that my testimony in all the parts of it has been uniformly consistent, and that the observations made on it by the noble lord are without any foundations. Sir, it is most painful to me to have occupied so large a portion of the time of the house, at so late an hour, with a matter which, though important evidence in the cause, is yet so personal. I have felt much and deeply throughout the whole of this proceeding. It is impossible—it would have been unnatural for me, considering the situation in which I have so long stood 324 with the royal person accused, not to feel deeply interested in what relates to his fame, his honour, and his station. Sir, I hare besides had the feelings nearest and dearest to my heart torn by the representation of weekly journals, on a subject on which it would be unfit and offensive for me to detain the house; yet I cannot refrain from stating that it has been remarked in those publications that the backs of 1,000 men were exposed to the commander of a battalion—that the government of a corps should not be exposed to the heated passions of youth. From these general observations it is natural to conclude that the evils alluded to, namely, severity of punishment and irregularity of discipline, must have prevailed in the particular case in which the promotion is censured; and thus the calumny is spread and gains belief, while I have it not in my power to shew that no corps in the service could boast of fewer corporal punishments than that in question, and that every means from the first entry of that officer to the command, has been directed with a view to promote regularity of behaviour and useful military pursuits, while there has never been any thing like severity of military discipline.
But, sir, I have to beg pardon of the house for permitting myself to be led by the wounded feelings of a parent to this allusion, and I will now proceed to examine the question before us, I am anxious to do so with a mind as judicially framed as I can bring to any subject, and if in endeavouring to secure the attention of a numerous and popular audience I speak with more eagerness than becomes a judge, they will consider the matter and not the manner, and in attending to the mode of reasoning I trust they will pardon the eagerness in which I may announce myself.
If I had been able to address the house after the speech of the right hon. gent. (Mr. Bathurst) and after all those who have spoken until my hon. friend near me (Mr. Whitbread) spoke, I should have had no occasion to have entered into the question, of how far the royal Duke was involved in the corruption which Mrs. C. has proved against herself, or in any knowledge of or connivance at that corruption. Because except the speech of the hon. mover of this inquiry, that of my hon. friend Mr. Whitbread and that of the noble lord who spoke last, every speaker on this subject hitherto, 325 has in distinct terms declared that the D. of Y. was entirely innocent of corruption, or of connivance at Mrs C.'s corruption. But corruption or connivance is now contended for by these three gentlemen, and therefore it is necessary to discuss the evidence according to that view of the case. But before I enter upon the evidence it is most material to consider the precise nature of the question before the house. The hon. gent, who proposed the inquiry, moved an Address, calculated to charge the D. of Y. with corruption or connivance, and therefore to remove him from his situation; upon that the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved an amendment, which is to leave out the Address and substitute Resolutions, expressing first, that it is fit we should resolve as to the guilt or innocence, and secondly, to resolve that the royal Duke is not guilty of the corruption or connivance with which he is charged; and then he means to follow these Resolutions with an Address which is to convey them to his Majesty, but upon that it is unnecessary at present to say any thing.
Since the amendment of my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the hon. gent, below me (Mr. Bankes) has moved another Address, and the right hon. gent, below him (Mr. Bathurst) has given notice of a Resolution which is to free h. r. h. from any charge of corruption, but to fix upon him the charge of having permitted Mrs. C. to communicate with him and to interfere on the subject of military promotion. The simple question therefore for the house to consider, is, whether it is most proper to proceed by Address or by Resolution, and whether the Resolution proposed by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is not the fit Resolution to be come to. It is material therefore in the present state of the question to consider whether justice does not require that the house should come to a fair distinct question, of guilty or not guilty, and on the determination of that question to build your future measures.
With that state of the question in view, I shall proceed to observe on the Evidence. In considering this case, it is the duty of the house to bear in mind a dogma of one of the most profound philosophers, and most eminent lawyers that this country ever produced: Lord Bacon, I think, says, "In matters of judgment do not by strains of art or wit seek to play prizes, but carry the lanthorn of justice (which is the evi- 326 dence) before your eyes upright to light "you to the just conclusion."
I am anxious to make this the rule and guide of my conduct in this most important and interesting case, but I shall not travel through matter which has been already fully discussed; I shall content myself by merely referring to those observations, which have established the conclusions which I agree to. The numerous contradictions and their effect, which have been stated so conclusively, and with so much perspicuity and ability, by my learned friend (Mr. Leach), I shall not repeat. The detection of false testimony accomplished so perfectly by the speech of my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I should never think of following with any observations of mine to the same effect. As that speech, which was eminent for its eloquence and reasoning, was still more so for the strain of sincerity which pervaded it and rendered it peculiarly impressive, had its full effect with the house, I shall therefore leave all his topics upon the effect of his speech. But it still remains to be considered what the plan and nature of the testimony is which was to be given, and by attending to its mode and character it will be seen how completely fallacious it is, and how it has tailed.
Mrs. C. was necessarily the principal witness in all the cases: to fix the guilt of corruption on h. r. h. But to illustrate my view of the subject it will be sufficient if I consider her testimony, and that which was to confirm her, in the three cases of Knight's Exchange, French's Levy, and Tonyn's Promotion. In all of them, and in all the other transactions, there is a character belonging to Mrs. C.'s testimony, most material to be attended to. She inculcated (according to the account of all the witnesses) the greatest secrecy while the business was going forward; Dr. Thynne is enjoined to secrecy, Mr. Knight is enjoined to secrecy, Corri is enjoined to secrecy, and all his papers are directed to be destroyed, Sandon in every letter is enjoined to secrecy. To one who will attentively and impartially consider her situation, it, cannot fail to appear that her motives for secrecy were of the most urgent nature; she had to conceal her transactions from the Duke, to prevent his suspecting them, and to hide from him the objects of her inquiries; she had to conceal it even from, her agents, in case they should discover 327 that she had not the influence with the Duke that she pretended to have; for it is manifest from the whole circumstances of the case, and only contradicted by her declarations, that she had not the means of obtaining the objects which she pretended. The very few instances in all the numerous transactions of the office of Commander in Chief which she seems to have had any hand in proves this; the correspondence with Sandon clearly shews it, and her continuing the transactions after her separation from the Duke, and still holding herself out as having the power to influence him, likewise shews that it must have been her object to conceal that she might prevent those she imposed upon discovering her want of influence. Ail these causes combined to induce her to inculcate secrecy during the progress of the transactions, and accordingly she inculcates secrecy in the strictest manner to every body pending the transaction; this is universal and invariable; it is the result of the testimony of all the witnesses, and of the evidence which arises out of the transaction and documents; yet now when she gives her testimony she would have it to be believed that there was no attempt a! secrecy; that her injunctions to secrecy were useless; that the whole was carried on with so little reserve, that it was the subject of conversation at her table, and that it was a matter which she conducted with so little caution that it must have been known to every servant in her house; that she pinned the list of promotions to the curtain of her bed, so that all who could read might read it, and tell it to them who could not; this marks such an inconsistency of proceeding, that it is quite manifest that the secrecy inculcated, pending the transactions, was enforced in order to prevent the Duke from coining to the knowledge of the proceedings, to keep her agents and those she imposed upon equally in the dark, while on the other hand, the publicity, the openness, the disclosure at her table and to her whole family, is now brought forward to this house in order to fix, what it is the whole object of the case and of her as the accuser, namely, to use every means to get the Duke's knowledge of the corrupt part of the transaction to be believed.— This contradiction of testimony between her and the other witnesses, taken in a general view, without entering into particular contradictions, is most important in the consideration of this case, and when cou- 328 pled with the minute facts and circumstances of inconsistency which have been established against her, shakes her credit to the foundation.
There is another most important view of this subject, as it regards the character of the evidence. Mrs. C. is to prove the fact, that Knight's exchange, that French's levy, that Tonyn's promotion, were obtained by her influence; but this by itself is mere interference without corruption, and although this might be supposed to warrant such a motion as has been opened by the right hon. gent. (Mr. Bathurst) on which I shall make some observations hereafter; it does not establish the crime of corruption in the D. of Y. which Mrs. C. as his accuser was determined to make good; to do that she must make good his knowledge of her corrupt transactions; she therefore is to prove that the Duke knew that she took money. It is perfectly clear that her saying so would not be sufficient to establish by credible testimony the existence of that knowledge, and that taken by itself, in a case where no contradiction could be given to it, where she had such avowed motives for such a charge, and where the whole tenor of the Duke's official duty repelled the inference, it must fall to the ground. The plan of the evidence is therefore to endeavour by corroborating facts and confirmatory proof to give effect to her declarations of the Duke's knowledge of her guilt, and consequently to fix his guilt. Accordingly in all the cases, more or less, her evidence is attempted to be aided in this way, by confirmatory proof. Now if the corroboration is sound; if the confirmatory evidence is clear and certain, the declarations, absurd and incredible as they are, would have something to support them. Even the declaration which she gave in evidence, that the Duke said," if she was clever she need never want money," might receive some credit and obtain some belief, if supported by collateral and confirmatory facts; but if on the contrary the corroborating facts, which are all of her suggesting, all equally brought forward by her the accuser, are unsound, if they will not bear the test, but fall from under her, then no credit whatever is to be given to her declarations of the Duke's knowledge of her corruption; on the contrary, all belief of it must be refused, and the whole must vanish as a false fabricated story. Having no basis but that which we all know, and which is true, namely, that col. Knight and col. Brooke exchanged, that 329 col. French had a levy, and so on, but that she procured them for the parties, far less that she informed the Duke that she got money for so doing, must become utterly devoid of credit, and be rejected as untrue, when it rests merely on her unsupported unconfirmed declarations.
In the first case, namely, the exchange of col. Knight, the corroborating circumstances by which she means to give credit to her declaration of the Duke's knowledge of the money transaction, is the slip of paper on which the names were written, and the changing the bank note; as to the first of these, the slip of paper, my hon. friend near me (Mr. Whitbread) seemed to rely on that as a very material circumstance of confirmation. He says, how should she have thought of saying that she shewed the Duke the slip with the names of Knight and Brooke, given her by Dr. Thynne, if she had not done it. Now to my conception this is no feature of confirmation; she knew then, she may have heard since, that the names were so communicated to her, and it was as easy for her to state that she shewed the paper as that she mentioned the names; but this is not confirmation of corruption, it is at most only confirmation of interference, and as far as it yet goes is quite innocent, except in this last light. To establish the Duke's knowledge of the corruption, she introduces the changing of the notes which she received from Mr. Knight. Now it is very material to attend to the detail of the evidence in this part of the case, and I think it will be found that it is accompanied with such circumstances in the representation of it, as to leave it entirely without effect, as evidence of corroboration.
In the evidence, Mrs. Clarke says that Dr. Thynne made the proposal to her to get the exchange, and it appears from the Doctor's evidence and from Mr. Knight's, that the object was to get her to expedite the exchange, that she was to have 200l. for it, that it was paid after the exchange was gazetted; Mr. Knight thinks in two notes of 100l. each sent in the morning to her. Mrs. C. says that she told the Duke they were to make her some sort of compliment, but she does not say what it was to be; but on the evening of the day on which she received the money she intimated to him that she had received it, and she represents that it was sent in a bank note of 200l. Now this representation, which differs from Mr. Knight's is very material to be attended to, not because it dif- 330 fers from Mr. Knight's, but because her account of the amount of the note is most important in considering the truth or falsehood of the story which she brings forward to confirm her evidence, and by which she attempts to fix on the Duke, the knowledge of her corrupt dealing. It is farther material to attend to the very words which she uses to establish the Duke's knowledge of her having received the money. She is asked, "After receiving the 200l. do you recollect at any time making that known to the Commander in Chief? Yes, I do.— When did you mention it to him? The same day.—What passed upon the subject? I only merely said they had kept their promise.—Did the Commander in Chief know the amount of the money you had received? He knew the amount, because I shewed him the note and I think, got one of his servants to exchange it for me through his royal highness."
Before I observe on the singular nature of this confirmatory evidence, founded on the note being changed by the Duke's means, it is most material to remark, that she states the payment to have been made in one note of 200l.; that she says she shewed the Duke the note, establishing that she shewed him a note of 200l., and that she got one of his servants to exchange it, that is, that she in the presence of h. r. h. got a note of 200l. ex-changed; a note of that amount is thus said by her three or four different ways to have been the note received of Mr. Knight, and that note so received is fixed upon as the note which was sent to be exchanged. The amount of the note, the time it was to be exchanged, an unusually late hour for such a thing, the mode by which it was procured to be exchanged, are all things which must have fixed the amount, and the other facts, distinctly in the memory of the witness, if they had been true. The witness thus makes a first representation of the changing the note, and the representation is, "I think I got one of his servants to exchange it for me through h. r. h."—Here, in the first account of the change of the note, she introduces it in a way to connect it, but not very positively, with h. r. h. Preparatory to her being to bring it home positively to be his r. h.'s act, so as to fix him with the knowledge of a 200l. bank note in her possession changed by his means and by his order, leading to the inference, that he directed a bank note in her possession to be changed, too large for her to be possessed of, unless by such means as these in question.
331 The second account of the change of the note, is thus: she is asked, "What time of the year was it?" she answers, "h. r. h. was going down to Weymouth on the night that I changed the note, which was the reason that I got the note changed; my servants could not get it changed, and his servant got it changed for me."
Here it is still one note, and therefore a note such as she before stated it to be of 200l. which is to be chauged, and now it is stated that her servants could not get it changed, that the Duke's servant did get it changed, and this is stated positively as a distinct well recollected fact, namely, that a fruitless attempt to get change for a 200l. bank note was made by her servant, and that the change was effected by the Duke's servant late at night, "in the end of July or beginning of August." AH this is in the evidence, and is given upon the examination in chief, that is, the first examination. She afterwards on the same evening, in the examination by my learned friend the Attorney General, on being asked what circumstances respecting the transaction she had not mentioned to col. Wardle, she says, "I did not mention to col. Wardle that I shewed the note to h. r. h. nor did I tell him that his royal highness got change for it; it was for me he got change; he was going out of town at 1 o'clock, and I at 4, and I wanted the change to leave some with my servants in town, and some I wanted with me." Here again the note is represented as one note, and must be of 200l. as stated before. Here again it was represented that it was changed, and in very peculiar terms, for it is represented here that h. r. b. got change for it, and got change for it for her, so that it may not be mistaken, but that it may be taken as a firm undoubted assertion that h. r. h. was the person to order or direct the change to be got for a 200l. bank note, at a late hour, by his own servant, her servant having failed to get it changed for her, thus meaning to identify h. r. h. with changing the note got for procuring the exchange for col. Knight. It must therefore be taken that in her first taken nation she gave clear distinct unhesitating testimony, that b. r. b. procured a bank note of 200l. to be exchanged for her at a late hour in the end of July, 1805.
In the close of her evidence, on the first day, in answer to a question whether it was the same day, (meaning the day she was paid the money by Mr. Knight) that she desired the Duke to get the note changed 332 for her, she says, "I did not desire h. r. h. to get it changed for me, he wished it himself, as I could not do it." This closes the evidence respecting the changing the note, on the first day of her examination,—and again leaves it as the note originally spoken of,—a 200l. bank note,—and is meant to fix the getting it changed as the act of h. r. h.
There is one other question put relating to this matter, which may as well be observed on now; she is asked "what was the name of the servant by whom the note was changed?"—she answers, "I do not know —I am sure it is a very unusual thing to ask servants their names."—Now, sir, it is impossible to pass over this answer without observation; and it is as well, as it falls in the way, to observe upon it now. Does it not characterize the testimony of this witness, and shew that her mind is disposed to evade the truth, by avoiding an answer to the question I Would any one conclude from this testimony that there was but one servant of the D. of Y's who ever went to Mrs. C.'s house? Yet that only one servant of h. r. h. ever went there is established to be the fact, not only by the evidence of that servant, but by the concurring testimony of Mrs. C.'s servants. How the name of Ludowick, the Duke's servant, who alone attended h. r. h. in Gloucester-place, could be unknown to Mrs. C. it is difficult to conceive. But it is easy to find a reason to account for her desire to hold out by her answer that more than one servant of h. r. h. attended there, and why she wished to avoid giving a direct answer as to the name of the servant who was said to be employed in changing the note.
I now return to the subject of changing the note, and I have to request the attention of the house to this; that having stated four accounts of the changing of the note, all referring to a note of 200l. and all intended to establish that the Duke interfered to get the note changed, knowing how she had got it; that it was got changed by his servant and by his order. There is next to be considered a fifth account, which appears in the evidence, which was given in her examination. It was on Thursday, the 9th of February. The question is material, it is this: "You stated, on the first day of your examination, that a bill of 200, which you received from Mr. Knight, was sent from your house to be changed by a servant of the D. of Y.; how do you know it was taken by a servant of h. r. h. and not one of your own servants." Now mark the answer, and 333 bear in recollection, that on the first day of her examination she represented it. thus: "My servant could not get it changed; his servant got it changed; h. r. h. got change for it; it was for me he got it changed." These are the answers she makes on the first day. But now in her fifth account, in answer to the question of "how do you know it was taken by a servant of the Duke, and not one of your own," she says, "I believe that I did not state that it was h. r. h.'s servant who took it, but that h. r. h. had something to do with changing that note." Can there be a more palpable direct deviation from her original accounts given on the first day, from the impression attempted to be made by her testimony on the first day, and that which she now states? She now wishes to have it believed that h. r. h. had only something to do with it, whereas before h. r. h. got change for it; she now believes that she did not state that it was h. r. h.'s servant who took it, whereas before she stated, and the whole import of the evidence rests on it, that it was his servant who took it to be changed; and she even assigned as a reason for his servant having taken it, that her servants could not get change for it. Can any thing be more decisive than this as to the credit of this witness?— Can any thing establish more conclusively that the evidence of confirmation set up to support her testimony in this case falls from under her, and that it rests upon her own incredible declarations only, that all her transactions in these matters were made known to the Duke. But when it is discovered that there is a direct motive for this change of story, and for this contradiction in her evidence, when it shall, as it does, appear from what follows, that there is a motive for this change, the strength of the observation against her testimony is greatly increased.
When she gave evidence to this point on the 9th of February, she had learnt that her story would not be confirmed by the testimony of her butler, Pierson; she had seen, that witness on the Saturday, or the Monday, after her first examination, and had got an account from him that he was the person who had gone to change the note; that the Duke, according to Mr. C.'s account of Pierson's story, desired him, Pierson, to go to Stephen's, in Bond-street, his wine-merchant, to get the change. It became necessary that her evidence should be made to fall in with his account, and 334 accordingly she says, that she "believes she did not slate that it was h. r. h.'s servant who took it, but that h. r. h. had something to do with it;" an account which coincides with what she says she had learnt from Pierson, but directly contradicts what she herself had before said, to render the transaction respecting the change of the note confirmatory of her declarations as to the Duke's knowledge of her receipt of money for military promotion. Now the accounts given by Pierson, and that given by her, as Pierson's account to her, even if true, do not confirm her in her declarations. She says, Pierson called it a 50l. note; but in her evidence she has always referred to a 200l. bank note, and no other. Pierson, on his first examination, says, that the note which Ludowick changed, was changed in the morning, not in the evening; that it was given by the housekeeper; and that it was some morning, a little time before Mrs. C. went to Worthing, in 1805. When asked if he saw a note given to Ludowick to change in the evening, he says, he did not. This evidence, therefore, cannot avail. But he is called back on a future day, it being represented by the honourable mover of these charges that on his first examination he bad laboured under a head-acb,wbich deprived him of his memory. He has his former evidence read to him, and is asked if he has any alteration or addition to make to it, he says, "no alteration;" and then goes on to say, "one night that the D. of Y. went to Weymouth, about 11 o'clock I was sent out to get a bill changed; I went out and got it changed, and brought it in to Mrs. C, who looked, it over and said it was all right. The Duke was present when I received it from Mrs. C. and gave it back to her." He says, "he thinks it was 100l., but is not certain. That he got it changed at Byfield and Bridge-man's, confectioners; Mr. and Mrs. Bridge-man changed it; that he went to Stephen's, in Bond-street, and they could not do it for him." Here is not one word of the Duke directing him to Stephen's, nor any evidence of h. r. h. interfering, or having any thing to do with it, further than being present.
is called, and she says "she remembers Pierson calling in the end of July, 1805, with a note; she cannot recollect exactly what passed, but she did not change the note. She did not see the note, but thinks he said it was 100l." Ludowick in his evidence proved to be the only ser- 335 vant of h. r. h. who ever attended him in Gloucester place, says, that be never was sent with any note to change from Gloucester-place. So that this confirmatory evidence to support Mrs. C.'s declarations of the Duke's knowledge of her guilt is reduced to nothing. The 200l. note turns out not to be a 200l., but a 100l. note; and according to Mrs. C.'s own account of Pierson's testimony, a 50l. The order of the Duke to his servant to get changed what her servants could not get changed, proves to be without foundation. Whatever note was carried, was done by her servant, not by the Duke's,—by her orders, not by the Duke's and where it was changed, or whether it was ever changed does not appear. It is clear, from Pierson's evidence that it was not changed at Stephens's; and it is clear from Mrs. Bridgeman's evidence that it was not changed by her.
The main confirmation brought forward by her to support her evidence being thus in the end absolutely given up and controverted by her concluding declaration, it seems unnecessary even to refer to the contradictions which have been so incontrovertibly established by my learned friend (Mr. Leach.) I should not therefore, even allude to what she said with regard to the time of her application to the Duke for the exchange, were it not important to observe, that when she differs as to the time, from Mr. Knight, and Dr. Thyune, that the time she fixes for having made her application is material, because it proves her determination to ascribe a time near the gazetting, in order to shew the influence she possessed, and with what dispatch she promoted the exchange; but in doing so she fixes on a day, unfortunately, subsequent to that on which it appears by the official documents that the exchange was accomplished.
The knowledge, then, which the D. of Y. had of her share in this transaction is reduced to her mere declaration, unsupported by any other testimony of any kind; and as she is discredited in the very circumstances which she brings forward as corroborative, there cannot be any conclusion of guilt, or of a guilty knowledge or connivance on the part of h. r. h.
I come now to the confirmatory, or corroborative evidence, in the case of French's levy, and I think I shall be able to shew, that that evidence is equally ineffectual, as to the proof of the D. of Y.'s knowledge of the corrupt transactions respecting it; and that the payment of money for that levy by 336 French, or Sandon, to Mrs. C, was never known to h. r. h. The evidence of confirmation in this case consists; First, of the manner in which the levy was disbanded, or put an cud to; Secondly, in the circumstance of the plate having been bought from Parker by her payment of 500l. of that money, as part of the price of it, and that the remainder of the payment, the Duke knowing this first source, was paid by h. r. h.; Thirdly, the conversation related by Miss Taylor.
The first of these grounds arises out of the documents, and does not originate with Mrs. C. The two last originate entirely from her, and under circumstances such as will receive, when I come to them, observations which I conceive to be of the utmost importance in order to destroy this testimony, and to shew that it falls from under her. As to the first it has been observed by my hon. friend (Mr. whitbread) and by the noble lord who spoke last, that the unwillingness with which the Duke put an end to the levy, and the gentle terms in which he expressed himself when he did disband it, are strong circumstances to prove that he knew of the benefit which Mrs. C. derived from it. In this part of the case there are many observations to be made which I shall omit, because they have been already made, and as I think, conclusively; I shall confine myself merely to the facts which relate to the levy being put an end to.
It appears that representations came from Dublin early in January, 1805, respecting the impediments to the recruiting levy; that h. r. h. immediately ordered an inquiry into it; that this, however, did not prevent the Commander in Chief from directing gen. Whitelocke to communicate to col. French his determination to discontinue the levy, unless a very considerable increase should take place in the numbers recruited. Gen. whitelocke's letter is dated the 2nd of February, 1805, and appears clearly to be in obedience to the D. of Y.'s commands. Here there is evidence that h. r. h. had taken steps to announce the eventual discontinuance of the levy. This at least is no proof that he was apprehensive of any discovery. The correspondence afterwards with Mr. Kirkman takes place, and by a letter dated 14th of April, from gen. Whitelocke to col. Gordon, which must have reached the 15th, the conduct of the temporary serjeants in London, is represented as disgraceful. On the 16th of April, 1805, h. r. h. writes to 337 the Secretary at War, that his Majesty had been pleased to approve of the discontinuance of the levy which he had recommended to his Majesty. It is contended that the manner in which h. r. h. expresses himself is so gentle, that it indicates a knowledge of the corrupt practices which existed between Mrs. C. and col. French. On this I have to observe, first, that the letter of h. r. h. contains impressions conformable to the letter on which he acted, secondly, that it seems most extraordinary that more should be required than the act of discontinuance; that act constitutes the real substantial injury to French. The corps had been a most losing concern to him. he had paid a large sum to Mrs. C, and was left in debt to his agent. The continuance of the corps might have relieved him, the discontinuance ruined him. It was the act of discontinuance, therefore, that he must have felt: and it was that act, if the duke had been apprehensive of discovery, which he must have resisted and avoided; yet he stopped the levy the very day after he received Whitelocke's letter. The language, therefore, which he used to the Secretary at War in his official letter, could not operate as an alleviation in the mind of col. French for such an injury, and the mere fact that the Duke did discontinue the levy is of itself sufficient to shew that he did not act under any apprehension. But, sir, the whole tenor of the conduct of h. r. h. shews, that he had no apprehension for any discovery in any part of his conduct. When he separated from Mrs. C, when upon a full knowledge of her character from the written report which I conveyed to him, his mind was satisfied, he took his determination with a firmness, he suppressed his affection with a resolution quite inconsistent with the fear of discovery. When she attempted to renew the intercourse, he was equally firm in withstanding it. In the non-payment of the annuity there is again proof of his acting from motives which shewed no fear of a discovery of any knowledge, on his part, of her corrupt conduct. The same conclusion is to be drawn from the conduct of h. r. h. when I communicated to him her letters of June, 1808, which contain a direct threat of discovery, and that it amounted to something serious. From the time that these letters were written, whatever might have been the wish, or inclination, respecting the annuity before that period, whatever might have been proper to have been 338 done in it, it became impossible for h. r. K to act otherwise than he did. He. shewed no inclination whatever, as I have stated in my evidence, to give way to that threat, and no fear or apprehension of any thing that she could communicate. The royal Duke certainly never shewed any inclination by acting the unbecoming part of compromise, or settlement, in consequence of that threat. And h. r. h., I trust, knew me too well to suppose that I would have been the agent in such a transaction, if he had been so inclined.
On the whole I cannot help being clearly of opinion, that there was nothing in the Duke's general conduct which denoted a fear of discovery; and, in the particular instance of discontinuing the levy, the language in which it was conveyed does not afford an argument to that effect, especially when put against the act itself, (which was the real injury) which had been long resolved upon; and the resolution having been announced two months and more before the accomplishment of it, gave room for such communications as might have excited apprehension if there had been guilt; yet nothing of the kind appears.
I now come to the question of the purchase of the plate, and the corroboration supposed to be derived from the mode in which it was paid.
This testimony was opened by the hon. gent, on the day on which he preferred his Charges, and must have proceeded distinctly from the information of Mrs. Clarke. It was meant to shew that the D. of Y. knew of the first payment for the plate being made by Mrs. C.; and that he knew that it was made by money derived from French for having promised him his levy, that the Duke by paying the balance must have known the source from whence Mrs. C. derived the money, which made the first payment.—In order to shew how fallacious this part of the confirmatory testimony is, it is necessary to examine the account, and to discuss the evidence which relates to it. The sum total at the debit side is 1821l. and a fraction. The first payment 011 the credit side is 500l. said to be paid by Mrs. C. from French's money. Now it is material to observe, that this payment was made on the 18th of May, 1804; from whom it comes does not appear on the face of the account, only that the account is entitled as the account of Mrs. Clarke.
The next payment is 200l. the 12th of July, by a bill at two mouths, but whose bill does not appear on the face of the ac- 339 count; but it is to be remarked, that there is a long interval between the first and second payment, consequently whatever connexion the D. of Y. may have with the second payment, there is no necessary connexion between the first and the second, from which to infer, or even to conjecture, that he knew any thing of the sort. Having made these observations, respecting the account, I must now turn to the evidence of Mr. Dockery. That witness is asked "Whether lie knows that the plate was sent to Gloucester-place for the inspection of the D. of V. and Mrs. Clarke?" he answers, "Not to my recollection." "Whether he recollects the D. of Y. and Mrs. C. going to Birkitt's to examine the plate? No."—There is then no evidence whatever of the D. of Y. having ever Keen the plate in company with Mrs. C. or any evidence of his having ever seen it at all.— The witness is next asked as to the payment of the plate. He says, 500l. was paid when delivered, the remainder was settled by bills at different dates. He does not know by whom the 500l. was paid: but it was paid in two notes of 300l. and 200l. The evidence then is entirely defective as to who paid the money; and whoever paid it, there is not the smallest proof that the D. of Y. was privy to its payment; nor is it to be inferred, or conjectured even, that it was known any how to h. r. h. that it was paid on account of She plate; and the account is not one to which the D. of Y. had any access, or with which he had any privity.—The witness then says, "That the bills by which the remainder was paid, were drawn, by Mrs. C upon the D. of Y.; and that they were afterwards paid by the Duke by drafts on Coutts and Co.; that he offered the bills to the Duke as they became due, but that h. r. h. never spoke on the subject of the service."
From this, then, it appears that the Duke, as the bills became due, gave orders for them, but that he attained no knowledge of the transaction by any conversation with the witness, and there is no evidence of his having obtained any from any other quarter, consequently all that can be said to have been known by h. r. h. was, that he was to pay bills for a service of plate to the amount of something more than 1,300l. Here it is necessary again to turn to the account. From the debit side of the account it appears that the value of the plate was 1,363l.; and from the credit side of 340 the account it appears that the Duke paid 1,321l.; the other part of the account relates to the other matter with which the Duke had no connexion; and whether the 500l. was specifically applied to the plate, or not; or whether the Duke was thus taken in to pay what remained due of Mr. Birkitt's bill, of a different date from the service of plate. The first on the l6th of May, the other, the 16th of June, is of no importance in the present consideration. The question here is, as to the Duke's knowledge of the 500l. having been paid for the plate in part, and having been the 500l. paid by French to Mrs. C. First, then the 500l. being French's money, is not made out, nor is there the slightest evidence that it was French's money. Secondly, 500l. being paid at all for the plate, to the knowledge of the D. of Y. is not made out. The only thing that is made out is the payment of an account equal to the service, by the Duke, and therefore his knowledge of the payment of the 500l. being paid for the plate is negatived; and thus this piece of corroboratory evidence, ushered to with so much particularity by the Mover of these Charges, and suggested to him by Mrs. C. falls from under them, and leaves the case on her unsupported assertion, unless the evidence of Miss Taylor is to be considered as conferring that support on Mrs. Clarke's evidence.
But, Sir, before I leave this question of the plate, I must request the attention of the house to a collateral matter introduced by my hon. friend, (Mr. Whitbread.) My hon. friend in a very eloquent passage of his speech, endeavouring to impress a sort of lesson of political morality on the house, mentioned that this plate was the due de Berri's plate, a prince of the monarchy of France, who had been driven by the misfortune of revolution into this country, and by necessity had been obliged to part with this service of plate: and he seemed to infer from his statement, and from the lesson which it might teach, as if the Royal Duke had known and permitted the plate of the unfortunate due dc Berri to become the property of Mrs. C. Now, Sir, I do feel extremely anxious to remove the possibility of such an impression in addition to all the other unfavourable views that are now endeavoured to be attached to the character of the royal Duke. His having given this plate to such a person, with such a knowledge, is a thing he is incapable of; and by looking at the evidence, it appears 341 that the witness who states it to have belonged to the due de Bern, states in the answers which immediately follow, that the D. of Y. never saw the plate, or knew to whom it belonged.
I shall now endeavour to discuss the subject of Miss Taylor's evidence, in a manner that I trust will not raise a prejudice against me, even by those who are the most anxious to protect Miss Taylor. I am aware how ineffectual it is to attempt to do any good with any tribunal, especially with a popular tribunal like this, by counteracting their prepossessions. I see that in many there is a prepossession in favour of Miss Taylor, or rather a prejudice against the manner in which she has been cross-examined, and in which evidence has been brought to discredit her. Without admitting that these prepossessions are well-founded; but on the contrary, considering the course taken as perfectly legitimate, I do not feel it necessary for my argument to call that course in aid. The noble lord (Lord Folkestone,) has told us, that Miss Taylor has suffered cruelly in consequence of what passed in this house respecting her. If that be so, I say sincerely, that I am very sorry for her sufferings; but I cannot therefore agree, that the rules of justice are not to be followed out, that witnesses are not to be detected, that they are not to be traced in their lives and connections, and that their evidence is not to be commented upon, whatever the consequence may be. It is a misfortune, but it is one in which all of us in our turn must be liable for the sake of justice. The noble lord, who commiserates Miss Taylor, does not think therefore that he should abstain from the most severe observations on other witnesses, lie attacks, without reserve, the official veracity and the correctness of col. Gordon's testimony, (a witness above all exception,) without consideration as to the effect it may have; and in doing so, he does his duty, when he makes the observation which his conscience justifies, and his judgment dictates. But while I say this in defence of justice, I do not require it to serve use in the course which I shall take in discussing Miss Taylor's evidence. In my view of it, her character, her course of life, her connexions, shall not have a single observation made upon them.
On this subject I beg the most serious attention of the House, as I conceive it, in the view I take of it, to be one of the most important features in this most cruel, most 342 extraordinary, and unprecedented case-The nature of the evidence which Mis Tay; lor has given, is well known to the law upon which it will appear that much doc-trine of great importance is to he found. It is in ordinary criminal cases known as evidence of confession. In other words it is the verbal, declaration of the party, brought against him to convict him; and, though admissible, is invariably considered as the slightest and most ineffectual of all testimony, unless supported by a strong foundation of fact, that is, by the res gestœ, and without such support is not permitted to have any influence in any case civil or criminal. Now, before I cite authority on this subject, permit me to state some principles and rules which govern in matters of evidence of this nature. If I were asked what legal demonstration is, I should say that legal demonstration is that evidence, in which, if the witness speaks true, the fact to which he speaks must be true. That it is the highest evidence which human affairs admit of from the testimony of witnesses. Thus an event, which happens in the sight of the witness, must be believed to he true, provided the witness who proves it is a witness of veracity. In proportion as the matter to be given in evidence falls short of that character, in the same proportion (however pure and credible the witness) the testimony falls short of legal demonstration. And in the same proportion the conviction to arise from it diminishes. Now the evidence of verbal declaration, of words spoken, or conversations held, is directly the reverse of that which I have termed legal demonstration, for in all testimony of this kind, the witness may be the witness of perfect truth, and yet the fact to which he speaks may not be true; nay it may be perfectly false: or, to speak more correctly, it may be true in the conception and belief of the witness, according to his recollection, and yet' in fact different, and give an impression perfectly different from the words spoken.
There is another character belonging to this species of evidence, very material to be attended to, namely, that it is impossible to contradict it. It is a declaration in words, and all that can be said by any other witness, than the witness who proves them, is, that he did not hear the party speak them. When two persons are present to set: an act done, you can have contradictory proof. The negative can be proved; but in the case of verbal declaration, the negation 343 cannot be established: it is remarked therefore by all law authors on this subject, that the witness to confessional evidence, or verbal declarations, cannot, in those courts where oaths are administered, he indicted for perjury. Accordingly, Mr. Justice Blackstone in his Commentaries says, 'Words are the weakest and most 'suspicious testimony, seldom remembered 'accurately, or reported with due precision, 'and incapable in their nature of being 'disproved by other negative evidence.' That incomparable judge and writer, who at once breathes the spirit of liberty and justice, Mr. Foster, of whom it was truly said, that his works would last as long as the constitution of England should endure, says, "Words are transient and fleeting as the wind, easily misunderstood, and often misreported; whether through ignorance, inattention, or malice, it mattereth not lo the defendant, he is equally affected in either case; and they are extremely liable to misconstruction, and withal this evidence is not in the course of things to be disproved by that sort of negative evidence by which the proof of plain facts may be, and is so often confronted. Hasty confessions made to persons having no authority to examine, are the weakest and most suspicious of all evidence: as proof of them may be too easily procured, and cannot be by any means contradicted."
If these doctrines and principles are applicable to any case, I am sure it must be allowed, that they are applicable to that under consideration; for a case of verbal declaration snore fraught with every circumstance, which leads to the disbelief of its accuracy never was attempted to be brought before any tribunal.
First of all, it will he recollected, and I beg the attention of the House to this most important observation, that the testimony given by Miss Taylor; her confirmation of the evidence of Mrs. C.; the existence of such a person, or of such a proof, was never hinted at by the mover of these Charges, when he opened them; nay, it appears that it was not only not known to that gent. but that it could not be known to him, and that it has been thought of and discovered by Mrs. C. since the Charges were brought, and yet this was a Charge in which corroborating evidence had been thought of before hand, but was made to rest at the opening upon the payment for the plate, and on that alone. Another proof that no confirmation by Miss Taylor was then thought of.
344 Dates here are of the greatest importance. The hon. gent. made his opening speech on the 27th January. The evidence was opened on the 1st of February. Miss Taylor in her second examination is asked, "Did you at any time afterwards have any conversation with Mrs. C. relative to the observations of the D. of Y. upon Col. French's business? Not till within three weeks or a month.— What was the conversation you had at that lime?— She asked me if I recollected the D. of Y. mentioning Col. French's name in my presence. I immediately recollected the circumstance and told her." She says this passed within three weeks or a month. A month will carry it to a day or two before the time of the opening; three weeks wilt carry it to the day of the evidence beginning. Now is it probable, nay, is it possible, if a piece of confirmatory evidence so relied on as this, had been known at the time of the opening, that in the intercourse between the hon. mover and Mrs. C. it would not have been known to him, and if known, that it would not have been stated.
What I have to remark on this evidence, is, first, the different manner in which she proves the different parts of the conversation. The first branch she speaks of most positively. She says, "The Duke's words were, as nearly as I can recollect, 'I am continually worried by col. French; he worries me continually about his levy business, and is always wanting something more in his own favour.' Then turning to Mrs. C, I think he said, 'how does he behave to you? She said, middling, not very well." Being desired lo relate the rest, she says, "the Duke said, 'Master French must mind what he is about, or I'll cut him up and his levy too.' That was all he said." Now, sir, it is clear, that the middle part of the conversation is that which infers guilt; the first part and the last part are perfectly innocent; might have been spoken at any time, and before any body; and may be admitted to have been spoken by the D. of Y. without prejudice. It is remarkable that she asserts the first passage of the conversation with a very firm recollection, and she recites the last part with perfect confidence; but she interposes a most material term of qualification where she introduces the second, which is what the whole turns upon. She then says, "I think the Duke said, 'how does he behave to you'?" This part of the conversation, the shortest branch of it, the easiest recol- 345 lected, the most likely to be impressed upon the mind, because it is that which disclosed or confirmed the guilty knowledge, consisting of a few words, she speaks of with doubt and hesitation. She introduces it with 'I think': she is afraid of being too certain; she speaks like a person who had something infused into her memory recently, which had not been there before; but in the long passage which precedes it, and in the passage which follows it, she introduces no such qualification. Now observe, when this conversation is said to have passed. It must have passed, if it passed at all, early in the spring of 1805, for the levy was put an end to on the 16th of April, 1805; that is very near four years ago. Now, if the principles which I have laid down; if the doctrine which I have derived from the most pure legal sources are well founded as to recent declarations, as to words spoken within a short time and under circumstances which excite accuracy of recollection; they are much more suited to affect the credit due to an account of words spoken at a very distant period under no particular circumstances, not likely from any cause ever to have been called up in the witness's memory, and never brought to her recollection by any conversation, or any other course, until three weeks before the evidence is given, and then brought to her recollection by Mrs. C., after the accusation had been instituted, and while it was proceeding; when the impressions arising from the proceedings were calculated to mislead the witness, and to induce the accuser to create or encourage a false impression. But this is not all; the manner in which this is brought out, I mean the manner in which Mrs. Clarke's reminding Miss Taylor is brought to the knowledge of the house, is most material. Miss Taylor is examined on the 9th of February, the first time. She then gives an account of the conversation, but there is not in that day's evidence one word of her having had any conversation with Mrs. C. upon the subject. On the 22nd of February she is examined a second time; and being asked, "If at any time afterwards she had any conversation with Mrs. C. relative to the Duke's observation on French's business." She answered, "Not till within these three weeks or a month. That Mrs. C. asked her, if she recollected the D. of Y. mentioning col. French's name in her presence; and she said I immediately recollected the 346 circumstance and told her." And she there goes on to say, "that she does not recollect what Mrs. C. said upon it."
Here then there is distinct evidence of two things, most important in the consideration of evidence of this description. First, that during all the intermediate period that passed, now three years and eleven months ago, she never had mentioned it to any body, that even at this time, that is three weeks or four weeks since, she does not suggest the subject from her own memory. But it remains there, dead and inanimate, until it is revived by a question from Mrs. C. Is evidence to a verbal declaration, which passed in a conversation at such a distance of time, likely to be correctly what passed at that time; or more likely to partake of the character which would be given to it by the person who received it? Can evidence, the most weak and uncertain, the most discouraged for that reason in all criminal proceedings, be held sufficient, in any respect, to fix guilt, of so mean a sort, upon such a person as the D. of Y.; or could it be permitted, in any case, in any court, to have the least influence as confirmatory testimony. But there is still something behind, still farther to destroy the effect of this weak and most suspicious of all evidence. On the day on which Miss Taylor was examined last, the 22nd of February, Mrs. C. is likewise examined, and she was examined before Miss Taylor; so that Mrs. C. could not then know what questions would be put to Miss Taylor. It was, therefore, her object, conformably to the plan of the evidence, to give the utmost belief to the Duke's free communications in the presence of Miss Taylor. Mrs. C. is asked, "If, in the presence of Miss Taylor, the D. of Y. and yourself ever talked of military promotions?" To which she answers, "I am sure I cannot say; the Duke was very fond of Miss Taylor, and he did not mind what he said before her." Now, first of all, it is a little singular that a person who, within three weeks or a little more, had reminded Miss Taylor of French's levy, should have so little recollection of what the Duke had said before Miss Taylor. In the next place, it was calculated to produce an impression, that the Duke was very open before Miss Taylor, even on military subjects, and that he saw her often, and familiarly. Yet, in the course of the same evening, Miss Taylor, who gives the evidence already stated, respecting the being reminded by 347 Mrs. C. of the conversation respecting French, represents herself as having never heard Mrs. C. and the D. of Y. converse on military promotions. And, in another part of the same testimony, she declares, that she has no memory of any thing that passed in the conversation three weeks ago upon the subject of this conversation which passed nearly four years ago; and yet she recollects with precision, at this distance of time, the terms and words of that conversation. Now, without imputing to her in this argument any thing that affects her veracity, giving her credit at present for having been in the D. of Y.'s society at Gloucester-place, (though Mrs. C.'s servant, Pierson, the butler, who was always in attendance when the Duke was there, says that Miss Taylor never was there,) giving her credit for a regard to truth, as far as her memory will serve her, I conclude, and with confidence too, that the criminating part of this confirming testimony cannot be taken to be true. It conies at such a distance of time, from a witness who recollects so little of what has passed recently, with impressions made upon her mind so calculated to give it a bias, that though the witness may, according to her confession, speak true, the declaration which she states, cannot be true, but must fall within all the exceptions which I have taken to this sort of evidence, and for which I have cited the greatest authorities.
There still remains behind, however, some evidence upon this part of the case, which has not been touched upon by any person who has yet spoken, which seems to bear very strongly on the credit due to the memory of Miss Taylor, and which likewise strongly affects her credibility in point of veracity. In the evidence of Miss Taylor given the first day of her examination, she is questioned particularly as to the time when this conversation took place, and she says it was at the time that she removed with her father's family from Bayswater to Islington. In order to ascertain when this was, it will be necessary to look particularly to the evidence which she gives as to her places of residence. She says, "I lived at Chelsea from last Michaelmas twelvemonth." This carries the commencement of her residence at Chelsea to Michaelmas, 1807; she lived at Kentish-town immediately before that, and she says, "I lived there not three quarters of a year." This carries the commencement of her living there back to Christmas, 1806, at farthest; 348 she had gone from Islington to Kentishtown, and she is asked how long she lived at Islington; she answers "a little more than a year." This would carry her beginning to live at Islington, and her leaving Bayswater, back to Christmas, 1805, or a little before that period; however, when she is asked again about the length of time she resided at Bayswater, she enlarges the time. The first question is, "How long did you reside at Islington? A little more than a twelvemonth.—How much more? Seven or eight months." Now seven or eight months seem an odd explanation of little more than a year. But suppose this to be correct, though I knew it not to be so, and that it will be impossible to prove that she remained at Bayswater longer than Michaelmas, 1805; the eight months, a tolerable stretch for a little more than a year, carries it back to the month of May, 1805. Now the levy was discontinued on the 16th of April, 1805; the notice of its discontinuance was on the 2nd of February, 1805; consequently, the conversation, to be true, could not have passed later than the interval between the 2nd of February and the 16th of April; and the time which Miss Taylor assigns for having heard it, after stretching that time to the utmost, explaining a little more than a year by seven or eight months, fixes a time for it, after the levy was at an end. If this is to be taken as a correct account of the time, it is fatal to her veracity; if it is to be considered as erroneous, it is fatal to the correctness of her memory. In either case, it is destructive of her testimony, as to evidence of the description in question, which, to be available, must come from a mind capable of clear and accurate recollection, so as to insure to a certainty that the words repeated were the words spoken; whereas, we have here an additional instance (to put it in the most favourable light), of the vagueness of her recollections. On these grounds, sir, the conclusion which I draw is, that the evidence to corroborate Mrs. C., in the case of French's levy, completely fails; and that this case again rests upon Mrs. C.'s unconfirmed assertion, and upon that the D. of Y. cannot be held to be guilty of participation in, or a connivance at, her corrupt dealings, considering the nature of that testimony, and the influence which dictates it.
I come now to the matter of Tonyn's promotion, and having consumed so much time, at so late an hour on the other sub- 349 jects, On this I shall be extremely short. If this case had stood as it did at first, no question could have been made to involve the D. of Y.'s criminal knowledge of Mrs. C.'s receipt of money. It then jested merely on her assertion, and the documentary evidence which, proving the nature and circumstances of the promotion, completely controvert any conclusion injurious to the Duke. But the mysterious note, as it has been justly called, gives a colour to that charge which makes it necessary for me to say a word or two upon it. With regard to the hand-writing of the note, it would be indelicate in me, having been one of the witnesses on that subject, to say a word; but supposing it to be the handwriting of the Duke, I submit that there is nothing to connect it with pecuniary guilt, and that there are circumstances which render it impossible so to connect it. The note from Mrs. C. to Sandon, received the 17th of August, 1804, shews that she had not taken any such mode of stopping the promotion, but if she had taken any, she took it in conversation; and that she had no means of accomplishing it. Now the cover which accompanied the note, as Sandon slates, is dated 23rd August, and as the promotion was then both made and published in the Gazette, it was too late, by that means, to have been of any use. It must apply, therefore, if applicable at all, to some point of time which does not suit the money transactions, and is to be placed as proof of mere interference. In that view, ii falls within that head of the subject which is proposed to be taken up by the right hon. gent. on the floor (Mr. Bathurst), to which I shall now take the liberty of calling the attention of the house.
The proposition of the right hon. gent. is ushered in with a positive declaration of the Duke's innocence, as to all pecuniary corruption, either by participation, knowledge, or connivance: but he considers it necessary to resolve, that there has been a dangerous interference in matters of military promotion by Mrs. C., and this ought to be particularly marked by the house. It is impossible, sir, to consider this in any light, but one as a motion to remove the royal Duke from his office, as Commander in Chief: because, certainly, if the resolution which he proposes were to pass, h. r. h. could not remain in office under such a stigma. The question then is fairly this: are the three cases of interference, which are said to be proved, and there are but three, 350 enough to warrant such a proceeding, when taken against the whole strain and tenor of his official life. There is the case of Tonyn's promotion, which the note may be said to bring home to h. r. h., as a mere matter of interference. There is the case of the letter about Clavering, from which it appears, that she wrote to him, and that he answered her, and did not find fault with her for writing to him on military appointments. But, farther than this, it proves nothing; for the terms of the answer set aside the application; and, lastly, the case of that poor young man, Carter, whose case seems as it were by unanimous consent to have been given up from pity, and which in mercy should never have been brought forward at all; a case in which the application had been made by an officer, at a former period, and whose natural son gen. Rochfort represents Carter to be; whose letters prove his education to have been excellent, and that he has been only brought back to a rank in life from which he had been driven by misfortune, and by the poverty of his real and reputed parent. Sir, I have been no adulator of the royal Duke; whenever my duty has required it, I trust that I have stated, with the respect due to his rank, but with the firmness due to truth, and to an honourable discharge of my duty, what appeared to me to be fit and necessary. I trust that I shall not now be considered to flatter, when I say, that it would be strange indeed, to visit such services as the D of Y.'s, for such and so few causes of improper interference, with such severity as the right hon. gent.'s censure. Is it to be said, that because a person, living in the connexion in which Mrs. C. lived with h. r. h., had a slight influence, or a slight interference, in the disposal of a few commissions, that this, is to stamp him with a crime, and to operate his removal from office? Is it possible in human nature to prevent a person in that situation from having the knowledge of many things that are proceeding in a manner the most innocent, and to prevent such a person, if she is so inclined, from availing herself of such knowledge? Is it possible, that what occupies a person during the day should not make part of his conversation in the evening, and that he should not, in a moment of relaxation, or from feelings of affection, express himself innocently, respecting persons who have been the subject of his consideration during the hours of business? I trust, sir, that there is still liberality enough in the world to see this subject in 351 this light; and that it would be too much to say, that fourteen years of incessant labour, for many many hours in the day, and every day of the year; admirable regulations for the comfort of the soldiers, for the education and support of their children, and for the military education of officers; the laws for which brought forward by the royal Duke fill your Statute-book and lead your table; that the constant, and conscientious, and pure discharge of his duty, from 1795 to 1804 without spot or fault; again, during the two years when Mrs. C. lived in Gloucester-place without spot or fault, unless these three instances are to be considered as such, and from that time to the present, with equal diligence and with equal honour, with so extensive a patronage never misused; that all this, set against the two instances in which he answered her letter and note, and the single instance in which he promoted Carter, supposing it to be at her desire, should not avail? I am sure this is not the way in which this house and this country have been accustomed to judge. Sir, I have now concluded my observations upon this most anxious, most interesting, and most unprecedented proceeding; in which the conduct of the royal Duke has been sifted in his most unguarded moments. His conversation, and his declarations of the most unreserved nature, brought in every shape, and from every quarter against him; and I feel satisfied, that I have staled grounds for my judgment in this case, which would guide my conscience on the most solemn occasion. I have omitted many topics, on which I might Lave observed, but I trust that the house will consider this as a tribute due to them for their kind attention, and not from any feeling that I have not strong reasons to give for my conclusions of innocence on the points which I have passed over, as well as on those on which I have been observing.
But before I sit down I cannot forbear mentioning an anecdote which discloses at once the correctness of sentiment, the justly laudable anguish of feeling, and the firmness of mind, of h. r. h. in respect to this most distressing, unfortunate, and calamitous proceeding, which shews, that his anxious attention to his official duties, to the interests, and even to the gratification of others, were unabated, while his mind was torn and agitated with the accounts of this proceeding; and while it displays his attention to the interests of a most gallant and meritorious officer, it serves to explain, by 352 a most apt illustration, how innocently h. r. h. might communicate that knowledge which might enable a designing and unprincipled person to accomplish the purposes of illicit and shameful gain.
At a period of this proceeding when some matter had been brought forward, which, when conveyed to h. r. h. affected him deeply, by finding the meanness of pecuniary corruption cruelly and falsely imputed to him; at a moment when his heart was wrung with this imputation, so that the utmost exertions of his fortitude, could hardly restrain his tears; he communicated to me the promotion of gen. Graham, (lately a Member of this house) a person whose high character is well known; whose peculiar turn to military affairs has greatly distinguished him; whose promotion had, at a former period, been refused, for reasons which were then thought conclusive; with regard to whose promotion the objections had been removed by subsequent events, and the long continuation of voluntary services. This gallant officer, who fought at the battle of Corunna, and stood by the side of his friend, sir John Moore, when he fell, gen. Hope had recommended to the Commander in Chief, at the dying request of sir John Moore, in order that lie might get his rank. When h. r. h. communicated this subject to me, under the circumstances which I have just set forth, he said, "I know, from your attachment to Graham, that it will give you pleasure to learn that I have passed a great part of this morning in writing to his Majesty my reasons for thinking that the obstacles to col. Graham's promotion are removed; and I trust I have given such reasons as will induce his Majesty to authorize the promoting him to the rank of major-general. The King's answer has not yet come back, but I impart the matter to you because I know how much you will be gratified in being told what is so truly interesting and important to your friend." I felt the kindness of the communication, and being particularly impressed with the whole scene, with the excess of feeling, the fortitude in repressing it, and the kindness in devoting himself, under these circumstances, to the interests of others, that I could not refrain from shewing and expressing what I felt. After a little time h. r. h said, "you may now discover from the communication which I have imparted to you, several days before it can be known to the public, how I may have been abused in similar cases, and by what means com- 353 munications, which might drop in conversation with motives perfectly pure on my part, might be turned to purposes the most criminal and corrupt. If I had mentioned such a matter as col. Graham's intended promotion in the parlour at Gloucesterplace, I have now reason to see that a communication, innocent on my part, would have been immediately made the subject of a base and scandalous traffick, from which I could not be secured by the honour of the man who was the object of promotion." Sir, it is impossible that these circumstances should not make a deep impression on the house, and it would be a strange perversion of understanding to say, that such a communication violated the rule I have given in evidence as to the Duke's conduct, in not communicating with Mrs. C on these subjects. I mean his having said "that when Mrs. C., early in their acquaintance, stated something to him relative to promotion in the army, that that was business he could not listen to." It is no violation of this rule that in his ordinary unreserved conversation with a person in whom he implicitly confided, and of whom he had then no earthly distrust, that he should accidentally mention subjects of this nature. And every candid and honourable mind will allow that it is impossible in the intercourse of life that men should be tied up to such strictness, or that any body, in the least acquainted with the world, can impute such conversation as a matter of crime.
Sir, I shall trouble the house no farther than merely to state, that these views of the different parts of this extensive question satisfy me, that in a case of this nature, the principles of substantial justice render it much more fit to proceed by Resolution than by Address; that the proceeding by resolution leads to a decision on the justice of the case, without being obstructive of any ulterior measure. But in address you involve the question of justice and of policy; by resolution you separate them, and by separating justice from policy in the first instance, you do not exclude the exercise of your discretion as to any ultimate measure, by address, or by any other course consistent with the rules of Parliament, and the principles of justice.
§ Mr. William Smith
said, that many observations had been made on the conduct of the house towards the hon. mover of this business. That of the gentlemen with whom he usually acted, he thought perfect- 354 ly right, and was ready to defend it. The hon. gent. had entered on the affair without concert, Lad therefore taken on himself all the responsibility, and with the exception almost exclusively of the noble lord (Folkestone), who had subsequently afforded him much assistance, was entitled to nearly equal merit and praise. Many and serious impediments had, by powerful persons, been thrown in his path; it had been unfairly attempted to terrify, and even to brow-beat him; but all these things he had manfully resisted and despised. He had set a noble example, and deserved well of his country; but it did not follow from thence, that it would have been proper for those who were generally supposed to act together in opposition to the present administration, to have taken up as in a body, the accusation of the royal Duke; nor did he think that such conduct on their parts, would have been deemed right, or even decent, by the public.—Much has also been said of the influence which the general opinion ought to have on the decision of this question in the house, and though the point was delicate, he was ready to declare his sentiments. He had always been and still continued a firm and a zealous advocate for Reform in Parliament, and would be ashamed to leave the adversaries of that important measure in full possession of one of their strongest and most favourite arguments; that those who owed their seats to popular elections, would always be afraid to stem the tide of popular opinion, though they should be convinced of its opposition to justice.—He believed that on the present occasion, the most severe sentence would be the most popular; but he thought it his own and every man's duty to use the advantages which his situation afforded him for forming the best judgment in his power, and then to act upon it; trusting, if he suffered for the moment, that the good sense and candour of his constituents, would eventually do him justice also. But he should then be especially careful to free himself from every other bias; as, if any influence whatever were to be permitted, it ought without doubt to be that of the public sentiment in infinite preference to any other; that, even if mistaken, would probably be honest and uncorrupt, at least (which some others might not) and therefore least likely to injure the general welfare.—The evidence has been so fully discussed on both sides, particularly by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his hon. 355 friend (Mr. Whitbread) that little remained to be added with advantage; and he should confine his remarks to a few points in three or four of the cases, which appeared to have been less noticed by" other gentlemen. With respect to the famous Note relating to Tonyn, whatever might be thought of its importance, he thought its genuineness most irrefragably established. In addition to the utmost similarity of Writing and expression, on examination of about a dozen of the notes and letters of the Duke's, written at different times and places, he had found all but one, on the same paper with that in question, and several sealed with the same seal; while among forty of Mrs. C.'s now before the house, produced by accident, not selected by herself, there was not one scrap of paper similar to the duke's, nor a fragment similar to the seal. In short, no argument could be adduced to maintain it's being a forgery, which would not render it impossible to prove any document whatever, and must not go almost the length of asserting, that the greater the appearance of truth, the greater the probability of falsehood. Other and strong circumstantial presumptions in its favour, had been too often urged to be repeated by him. As to the commission given to Carter, he had at first observed the fact with pleasure, and had it been the theme of a novel, it would doubtless be applauded. The objection to it was of a different kind, and the army would regard it with displeasure, that feeling must spring from the tainted channel, through which the favour had flowed. A similar remark might be made on Major Turner's case. Allowing for argument, the permissibility of listening in very particular cases, to such species of information as Mrs. Lucy Sinclair Sutherland's, an unsuperable objection lies to it, when proceeding from so suspicions a quarter; from one who appears to have been as well known to the Commander in Chief as Mrs. C. herself, and to whom therefore it was unjust and indecent to pay that attention; neither could he forbear observing on the weakness of attributing inconsistency to those who contended for giving credit to Mrs. C., while they refused to h. r. h. the liberty of listening to Mrs. Sinclair Sutherland. How different were the cases; by a connection with the Duke of his own choice, was Mrs. C. forced on the unwilling attention of the house; a similar connection, equally of his own choice, made his attention to Mrs. Sutherland most indecent and 356 unfit.—Miss Taylor's name he would not for his own sake have brought again into discussion, especially as her evidence, however authentic, was not in his opinion, incapable of explanation, which did not necessarily imply corruption to the Duke, but he felt himself compelled to protest against a principle attempted to be established, as he thought most cruel and unjust; that it was allowable to make insinuations destitute of proof, in the course of cross-examination, tending to destroy the character of a witness, in order to take the chance of saving the party accused; to the infliction of such vicarious suffering he would never consent. In common justice, this mode of extorting truth was frequently practised with a severity so harsh and disgusting as to disgrace the professors of the law, and in which they were protected only by the dignity and authority of the place in which they stood; but the practice itself found its justification only in the necessity of obtaining truth, on the sudden as it were, during the course of the trial, from persons of whom the counsel had probably no previous knowledge. Can these reasons be alledged for the torture of Miss Taylor.—Aperto vivere vote, which was formerly the privilege of virtue, was now incidentally become in a considerable degree a salutary restraint upon vice. How, then, came it to pass that all the multitude of assessors, collectors, surveyors, inspectors of taxes, parochial and general, windows, houses, and property-lax, with all the runners of the police offices, all the Townshends and Macmanuses, and other myrmidoms of Bow-street, had never been able to establish against this poor unfortunate female, one single distinct proof of misconduct, to authorise the insinuations against her; if so, with what humanity or justice had she been pointed at with the finger of scorn, as a mark of infamy? was it a crime generally to be a witness? or only for an humble individual to appear against a Prince? If so, it ought to have been recollected that she was forced thither, and was reluctant for a very powerful reason; "she had three brothers in the Army." However in contending against this principle, the hon. member meant to declare it as his decided, and he believed impartial opinion, that neither in Miss Taylor's nor in any other evidence, he could find sufficient ground to convict the D. of Y. of corrupt participation in the practices of Mrs. C. But going thus far, it might be asked 357 of him, on what ground he could wish the removal of the Duke from his high situation? In this he saw no inconsistency; sufficient reason for that measure seemed to him still to remain; in the interference which he had permitted in official matters, proved beyond all doubt to the just offence, and perhaps to the great injury of the army. The extreme scandal of public decency, the thoughtlessness and folly at least, which pervaded the whole transaction, and which those who felt themselves bound to acquit h. r. h. of the other branch of the charge, were compelled as an unavoidable alternative to admit; to all this the country neither, could nor would shut their eyes, and if the house were so disposed, they could not thereby save the Duke's character, though in the attempt they might lose their own. It had been said that the house had no concern with the mere vices of public men, nor ought to take upon itself the office of a Censor Morum. This he thought true as to conduct merely private and personal. With this it would be unwise and absurd in Parliament to interfere; but when these vices were so intimately mixed with the official conduct of men in great public situations, the house he thought was bound not to pass them by; if on such weakness in high places, that house could not act as censor, vigilant for the interests of society, where could any such power be found?—It was of the utmost importance to distinguish between indulgent allowance of private failings, and that indifference to all matters of this nature, when the notice of them could not be avoided, as tended to debase that standard of public morals, which ought to be maintained as high as possible, Altius ibunt, &c. "They highest reach who for the summit strain." Men whose notions were not corrupted, might recover from great failings, but none could ever attain to great excellence, who did not set out with a lofty aim, and if once the springs of morals were vitiated, and whenever the mounds of law were transgressed; a torrent equally foul and rapid would oversweep the land. Was it not by personal as well as political corruption, that Charles II. was reduced to become the miserable and despised tool of a foreign enemy? Nay it was not improbable that this degradation of the crown rendered the expulsion of his successor more easy? on the contrary, with all the hypocrisy alledged against Cromwell, was not the apparent morality of his time connected with a wisdom and vigour 358 in the government, which made the name of England universally respected abroad, though under the despotism of an usurper.—The hon. Member concluded by prefering the measure suggested by his hon. friend (Mr. Bankes) to those proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and rather than concur in the Address which followed, he would consent never again to set his foot in the house.