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COBBETT'S WEEKLY POLITICAL REGISTER.

VOL. XXIII. No. 14.] LONDON, SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 1813.

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TO JAMES PAUL,

OF BURSLEDON, IN LOWER DUBLIN TOWN-
SHIP, IN PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, IN THE
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA; ON MATTERS
RELATING TO HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE
PRINCESS OF WALES.

Letter VI.

[Price 1s.

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bility; and, as the Princess's defence does, in my opinion, demolish the testimony of the other three, Mrs. Lisle alone remains as a witness whose testimony has some weight. It was, therefore, in the opinion of Mr. Whitbread, of great consequence to explain every circumstance relating to the mode which the Four Lords pursued in getting at and in recording this testimony. I will not, for fear of mistakes, attempt to make any abstract, or abridgment, of his speech upon this occasion; but, will insert it just as I find it reported in the Times newspaper of the 18th of March, that being the fullest report that I have been able to find of Mr. Whitbread's speech, which, as far as related to the subject before us, was as

My dear Friend,

This Letter will conclude the remarks which I mean to address to you, relative to the interesting affair of the Princess of Wales. I have, indeed, already gone into the whole of the subject as far as it is necessary for me to go into it, seeing that the Defence of the Princess leaves so very little to be said by any one. But, there have follows: "He must," he said, "trouble arisen certain matters, forming the sequel" the House for a few minutes with some of the disclosure, which are well worthy" passages in Mrs. Lisle's evidence, relaof your attention; and, of these, the most "tive to the Princess and Captain Manby. important are, the debates, or, rather, the" Mrs. L. could not say there was any atremarks and counter-remarks, which have tachment; and she never saw any kissing been made in the two Houses of Parlia-"hands, &c. He wished to confine himment, relative to the deposition of Mrs." self to material points. After the eviLisle, which deposition you will find in"dence was given, the depositions were the Register, at page 393. "taken; and he was not surprised, under

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MR. WHITBREAD, in the House of Com-" all the circumstances, at Mrs. Lisle's mons, on the 17th of March, last past, re-signature to the deposition; but he was, ferred to this affidavit, or deposition, and he must confess, surprised to find leading he animadverted upon the conduct of the questions put to her by his Learned Four Lords, who took it down. The Four "Friend, the Lord Chancellor Erskine; Lords, in their place, in the House of" questions on which that Noble and LearnLords, a few days afterwards, entered into "ed Lord, when an advocate, would have an explanation, vindicated their own con- expired, sooner than have permitted to duct, and spoke in very severe terms of the" be answered by any witness of his, on a attack which had been made upon them. "trial in a Court of Law. One would be Before I enter further into this matter, I" tempted by the deposition to think, that beg you to observe, that it is of very great "Mrs. L. said all in one breath as it' were. importance; because, as you will have" The question in the examination was put perceived, of the whole of that crowd of" to Mrs. L. "Did Captain Manby sit witnesses, who were examined upon this" next to the Princess at dinner?". Yet, in occasion, Mrs. Lisle is the only one, to "the deposition, it seemed as if she stated whose testimony the Princess appears to at-"it voluntarily. Then Lord Erskine asks tach any importance; and, indeed, she is Mrs. L. "whether they all sat just as the only witness whose testimony seems to "the four Noble Lords sat round their merit any serious refutation. She is, as "table with her ?" Mr. W. remarked on was observed in my last Letter, one of the "various other questions put to Mrs. L., four persons, upon whose testimony the" and expressed his astonishment that so charge of impropriety of conduct did, in" many leading questions should have been the eyes of the Four Lords, rest for credi"What! did the Princess

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put to her.

"and Captain Manby sit apart? What, if " putation upon her! Let Gentlemen "sitting together, do you suppose they" bring to their consideration the situation "talked about?" Lords Erskine and El- "of their own wives, sisters, and daugh"lenborough put these questions; and then "ters. When they left home to attend "the deposition is to go out to the world "to their public or private business, would "to impress the sense of guilt on the part they not treat with contempt and scorn, "of the Princess. The answer of Mrs. L. "evidence such as this, if it was attempted regarding the conversation was, that she" to charge criminality upon it? (Hear, * did not listen to it. Then Lord Erskine hear.) They might be disposed to pro"desires her to answer him, as a woman "secute the calumniator: but Her Royal

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Highness did not stand in the situation "of a person for whom such steps could "be taken. He was ashamed of some

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of reason, character, and of knowledge "of the world, whether the Princess's "conduct was proper for a married woman "he puts it to her honour as a mother? Really, there never was a question put to a female witness which could make the chords of sensibility vibrate more strongly in her heart. The answer was col"lected, dignified, affectionate, and mo

parts of the examination. It was asked, "whether she went out with Mr. Hood in a whiskey? Whether he drove it? This was something like the inode of cross"examination..Who was there besides "Mr. Hood's servant?' Was he a man

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therly, for the question referred to her" "own family: my daughter," she says, "" lived well with her husband." To the "question again, whether the Princess "lived as a married woman ought? Mrs. "L.'s answer was, not like the statement in "the deposition. Lord Ellenborough, in

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or a boy? (A laugh.) How often "did she go out so? Was it fair-play "to the Princess to extract answers in that "manner? Then they came to Mr. Chester, who was stated to be a pretty young man.' (A laugh.) This was too ludicrous to be serious, and yet too "serious to be ludicrous. The inference "seemed to be, that there was a prepos "session for him, because he was handsome. It was asked, 'Is he not handsome? The answer was, pretty!" "All that was nauseous had been read; "but he should notice one point: the wit

deed, said to the Chancellor," I suppose "you'd put it as any married woman."

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"What did you ever think of the "Princess's talking with Captain Manby?" "was another question: but these were "never answered, though we had some"thing about them in the deposition. He "was sorry to be obliged to animadvert 66 upon the conduct of the four Noble "Lords Commissioners; but he should be "doing injustice to the cause of justice, if

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ness was asked, 'Do you recollect the "Princess getting up and going ont of her room into another at night, for a light?' Answer, I do.' Why,' say two lawyers, did she get up in the night? "(laugh.) Yet this was in the deposi "tion; and the shakers of heads continued

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to shake, because Mrs. Lisle had deposed so and so. That was not a fair construction of Mrs. L.'s evidence, if "the examinations were read. I heard Her Royal Highness say," says the wit ness, that she had been ill, and that "her candle was gone out.' Was not the "Princess to be in a situation common to

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he did not say, that, if the accused had "been provided with an advocate, wit"nesses would have been protected, or prevented from answering many inter-" "rogatories that were put to them. The "Princess, says Mrs. L., is free and "condescending.' That,' says the Chancellor, is not my question.' I thought,'" that the Princess liked says Mrs. L., "to talk with Captain Manby, rather than "with the Ladies.' Let the House recol"lect, that there were, and are attached to the Princess, persons of high consi"deration; yet could any body doubt that "when new society, which afforded new "topics of conversation, broke in upon the sameness-the fatigue of retired and "mock royalty,-debarred from many 66 sources of 66 amusement,-yet uncompen"sated by even the trappings of her state, "could any body doubt, or be surprised," with the Princess; and he was left at "Lord Sheffield's. Then for Captain "Moore. He dined there, and where, it

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mysterious transaction. (Hear.) Mr. "Chester, it seems, walked out twice

that the Princess should find something "in it agreeable? Yet that was an im

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every subject of the realm? The public "mind must form her shield, and her

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protection. Read the evidence, and say "whether she has not a right to be treated

as innocent, till she be proved guilty. "Mrs. L.'s testimony gives an easy, na"tural, and probable solution, of this

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"was asked, did he go afterwards? Why," seem to involve a dereliction of his duty; "down stairs: she sent him for a book." but he trusted nothing should so far "How long was he in gelling it?'"make him forget that duty, as to touch "Twenty minutes. Then it was asked," upon matters by whose disclosure it "how long he staid the second time. This" might be impaired. But the character 60 part of the examination was as much like" of his Noble Colleagues must not be left 66 an imputation on Mrs. Lisle, as upon "to suffer through his silence. They "the Princess. Well then: the Princess" were all placed in the strange and hard "actually made Captain Moore a present "situation where they must be condemned "of a silver inkstand! Mrs. L. saw him" unheard, or look for an imperfect vindi

afterwards on the Princess Charlotte's" cation by the scantiness of their right to birth day, when he went away before 66 explain. But nothing should prevent "the rest of the company. He (Mr. W.)" him giving the fullest denial to the ca"might now go to Mr. Lawrence, and so lummy in question,—that Joulest, basest, 16 on to the end of the chapter in the same " and most malignant calumny that could "manner. He had, he conceived, done" have been thrown out against men in " enough in referring to this book; and "the situation which he and his Noble "he clearly saw that the notes of the ex- "Colleagues had held. It would be "amination took the sling entirely out of remembered that some years since His "the depositions." Majesty had been advised to issue a "Commission for an inquiry into matters "which involved some eminent persons in "this country. In that Commission his (Lord Ellenborough's) name was in

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This was the speech of Mr. WHITBREAD, as reported in the news-papers. He had, by some means, obtained a written copy of the questions put to the witnesses. This paper, it seems, he read to the house,serted, without his knowing any thing of making his remarks on it as he proceeded. "the matter. Once engaged by His MaNo notice, in public, was taken of this, "jesty's command, he did his duty to the by the Four Lords, till the 22d of March, "best of his power. But it was in the when they all four spoke of it in the House "performance of at duty that some per

of Lords. Lord Ellenborough, the Lordson, with the most abandoned and de"testable slander, had dared to charge "him with a gross act of dishonesty; him,

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on whose character for integrity, dili"gence, and care, depended more of the

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property and interests of the people than on those of any other man in the country; yet of him, it was foully and slander"ously alleged, that he had falsified the "evidence given before the Commission, "giving in as a document, evidence that

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was not received, and suppressing that "which was actually given. This was all lie-a vile slander,—all false as Hell. "He would not violate the propriety of that House; he knew the respect and "decency which it required; but he must 'give the lie to falsehood. He should now "trouble the House with a short statement

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Chief Justice, led the way; and, as the other three gave their full assent to the correctness of his statement, I will not insert any of their speeches except his, which I take from the Report, published in the Times news-paper of the 23d of March, and which report gave it in the following words.

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"Lord Eilenborough commenced by "saying, that he had to trouble their Lordships on an occasion, in which many "motives concurred to make him come "forward reluctantly. The House would "understand, that the circumstance to "which he alluded, was connected with" "the mention of individuals whom his respect would not allow him lightly to name. He was aware, that in coming "forth to clear himself, there might be of facts. In the course of the inquiry an imputation of weakness and irritation "his Noble Colleagues thought it proper "under the charge which forced him for- to have some person to take down and "ward; but then it was necessary that" arrange the evidence. His Majesty's "truth should be told: there were cases, "Solicitor General at that time, (Sir "in which all of respect that we could feel" Samuel Romilly,) was the person fixed "for general opinion,-all of credit that on. One evening the Commission havwe could claim with the world,-all ho-" ing met, and the witnesses being in at

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67 nour and propriety urged us on exculpa-" "tion. Auother reason still might retard

tendance, it was thought better not to "defer the examination, and lose the even"ing, though from some circumstance or

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him, he was a Privy Councillor: go

ing into a question of this nature might" other Sir Samuel Romilly was not in

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"attendance. The messenger sent for" Now what was the case in which leading "him could not find him, and the exami-" questions could be put? It was, where "nation proceeded. The Commissioners" there were contending parties; and lead"requested that he (Lord Ellenborough)," ing questions were only improper when 63 as he had been in the habit of taking" the counsel might be suspected of in"down evidence, and probably took down "structing his own witness. But the Judge "in the year twice as much as any man in" had a right to put any question which "the kingdom, should take down the evi-" appeared to him likely to elucidate the "dence of the witnesses in attendance." truth. There was another case, when "He declared upon the most sacred asse- "the witness was adverse; but here the "veration that could be made,-the most" rule had its exceptions, and nothing to "solemn sanction of an oath,—that every "be derived from it could impeach the "word of that deposition came from the "putting of any questions by Commissioners "lips of the witness in question,-that" who could have had no object but the truth. 68 every word of it was read over to her,- "It remained for this stupid and cursed "if not paragraph by paragraph, as it was" impudence,-for impudence was a curse, "taken down, certainly all after it was "to add another query, and gravely de"taken, and every sheet signed with "mand why the examination had not been "her name. If it would not be going" written in question and answer. But "into the particular disclosure, which "was there a man grey-headed in the law. 66 nothing could induce him to allow or "who had ever heard of such a thing? "advise, the bare inspection of the paper" If the whole of the facts could be de"would be enough to shew that fabrica- "tailed, no prejudice on the subject could ❝tion was impossible. It was full of in- "lie on the minds of the public for an "terlineations; the mind of the party was "instant. But as a Privy Councillor he "expressed in its language, any man" could not address the Prince Regent "might have seen, în its changes and cor- "for that purpose--( Hear)-One of the "rections, that the deposition went to most alarming symptoms of the age was, "ascertain the full meaning of the witness, "that brutal and savage indifference with "and could not have been the work of "which men threw about slander at the "him or the other Commissioners. 66 He highest characters: this was tossing "might, at least, from his station, take "firebrands,' and then saying,' am I not "the credit of laborious accuracy; and he" in sport?' But in the whole transaction, "would venture to say, that not one word," he and the Noble Commissioners, he "was in that written deposition which had "must be allowed to say, felt, not perfect "not been spoken by the witness. But" indifference, (for who could feel indif"how absurd was the charge! Would "ference?) but a single desire to do their "his Noble Colleagues have suffered him duty-Hear!). He was sorry to have to vitiate the evidence! Would they so far troubled the House. His purpose "have allowed him to set down a word on was not vindictive, but exculpatory. "the paper which was not deposed by the "For whatever punishment the offence "witness? He had every reason, from "might call, he would call for none;he "the most perfect recollection, to say," was only desirous to stand unimpeached "that the paper in question contained the" in the opinion of the country, and honest "whole evidence--and nothing but the" in the eyes of his fellow-men." "evidence of the witness. Their Lord- My Lord, the Chief Judge, appears to "ships would forgive him for those repe"titions; but when they shewed so just a "jealousy of the reputation of their body, "when it was so important that his (Lord "Ellenborough's) integrity should stand "without suspicion, from the multitude of ❝ interests connected with it,-their Lord"ships could not blame him for standing "forth to repel in the strongest manner so base and impudent, and miscreant an im"putation. (Hear.) Nay, the thing was "foolish as well as wicked. It was despi"cable from its very stupidity. It charged "him with putting leading questions.

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have been very much enraged upon this occasion. He appears to have been greatly moved. He appears to have been in a passion, as people call it. But, before I make any remark on the merits of this dispute between the Four Lords and Mr. Whitbread, it will be necessary to pursue the matter as it proceeded in parliament, where, on the 23d of March, Mr. Whitbread, having, in the meanwhile, applied to Mrs. Lisle, produced a letter, signed by that lady, stating, that the paper, which he had sent to her (the same which he had read in the House) was a correst

answers, as she had written the whole down, immediately after the examination took place. He also entered into an explanation as to the nature of the animadversions which he had made upon the conduct of the Four Lords; and said, that he had not accused them of putting a false deposition upon paper; that he had not accused them of any fabrication; that he had not said, that they had been guilty of any falsification of testimony; but, that he had said, that leading questions were put, and that, if the evidence had been inserted by question and answer, instead of putting down the answers only, Mrs. Lisle's testimony would have appeared in a very different light from what it did; and this appears to have been the impression on the mind of Mrs. Lisle herself; for, otherwise, why did she write down the questions and answers upon going home from the Commissioners ?

copy of the questions put to her and of her | Lisle, who had read and signed her deposition, seems to have thought it necessary to guard against this; for, upon her going home, she wrote down the answers as contained in her deposition, and she put to them the questions, by which those answers were drawn forth. This she regarded as an act of justice due to Her Royal Mistress, and, as appears from her Letter to Mr. Whitbread, she immediately gave Her Royal Highness a copy of the whole of the examination, in question and answer; and, as you will perceive, Her Royal Highness says, in one part of her defence, that, in such a case, the questions as well as the answers ought to have been subjoined to the Report.

The main points to be considered here are, first, whether leading questions ought to have been put by the Four Lords upon such an occasion; secondly, whether they ought to have reported the evidence in question and answer, or only in the an

Upon this second point, the Lord Chief Justice defied any man to cite an instance, in which the minutes of a Judge had been taken down in any other way than that in which Mrs. Lisle's deposition had been taken down; and, in the House of Commons, Mr. Whitbread was told, that he ought to have known, from his attendance at the Quarter Sessions, that such was the universal practice; and that, therefore, he ought to have considered it as proper in this case.

Now, observe, it must here be supposed, that the reprovers of Mr. Whitbread spoke either of depositions or examinations previous to trial; or, of examinations before a court and jury; and, I am of opinion, that neither of these furnishes a case in point. As to the first, the examinations thus taken do not serve as the ground of any final decision; the party accused may be held to bail or committed upon them; but, he is afterwards to be tried; the whole is to be heard over again before other magistrates and before jurors, who are to decide upon the case; but, who are not to decide, till they themselves have

swers.

Mr. Whitbread has, by the writers in some of the news-papers, as well as by the Four Lords, been charged with ignorance, because he complained of the putting of leading questions. It is very well known, that, what is called a leading question is sometimes intended or has an obvious tendency to draw from a witness that which is not true; or, at least, to point out to him what to say; and, such questions are not allowed to be put by the advocate on whose side the witness is brought; but that any question may be put by the adverse advocate, or by the Judge, because they cannot be suspected of any desire to tutor the wit-heard the witnesses speak; till they themness. Therefore, as applicable to the selves have heard the questions as well as present case, Lord Ellenborough is report- the answers. In the case of Mrs. Lisle's ed to have said, that "nothing could im- deposition, there was no after examination "peach the putting of leading questions by to take place. The King, to whom the "the Commissioners, who could have no deposition was sent along with the Report "object but the truth." No: certainly. upon it, was to form his judgment upon God forbid that I should say, that they the answers only. The difference here is had any object but the truth; but, still, so manifest and so important that it needs when a deposition, consisting, in part, of nothing further to make you fully sensible answers to leading questions, came to be of it. published to the world, such deposition might be understood in a sense different from that in which a simple declaration, or narration, of the witness would be understood; and, indeed, in this case, Mrs.

As to examinations before a court and jury, it is very true, that the Judge makes a minute of the answers only. When he sums up the evidence, he seldom says a word about the questions, and merely tells

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