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there must be a wceful defect in the constitution which bas neglected to provide for a natter sa essential to the well-being of the community. Those members who talked with contempt of the impropriety of reading sermons on the profligacy of a prince, would do well to read the History of Modern Europe, and to learn what consequence have been produced by such profligacy, either real or impoted.
In the part wäich ministers have taken on this question, they seem to us to have been influenced by other considerations than what arose out of the evidence. In their private conferences with the Duke of York, they witnessed no doubt those strong asseverations of innocence which were afterwards communicated to the House, and which probably nuade an impression on their minds which counteracted the forse of the testimony delivered at the bar. With a full conviction of his innocence then (for that they felt such a conviction, it would be the height of injustice to doubt), thus acquired, they cannot, with propriety, be said to have formed their decision on the evidence. And, in that case, they acted neither as judges nor as jurors. Indeed, the resolution passed by the House has not assuined the shape of a judicial decision ; we are glad of it, for, as a judicial proceeding, we should have had insuperable objections to urge against it. We are thus constrained to regard it as a political measure: and here we deein it necessary to guard against any false impressions which our former obseryations respecting tire exercise of judicial power by the House of Commons may have excited. We are fully aware that the House have an unquestionable right to take cognisance of the imputed misconduct of the ministers of the crown; that it is their duty to investigate minutely my such imputation; and, having so done, to excercise their discretion as to the course proper to be pursued against the delinquents. This right they exercised, and this duty they performed, in their inquiry into the conduct of the Duke of York. And as to the ulterior mode of proceeding, we think it was a matter of expediency, whether they should address the King to remove him, or whetber they should prefer articles of impeachnient before the High Court of Parliament, And their decision, in this point, ought to have been regulated by a consideration of which made was best caloulated to promote the ends of public justice, and was most conducive to the public good. They might
be of opinion that there was not a sufficiency of legal evidence to bring home the charge of guilt to the party accused so as to justify a verdict of guilty, and, therefore, might deem it an unfite case for an impeachment; yet, at the same time, they might feel that the facts which had come out in evidence were sufficiently strong to bring home a moral conviction of guilt to the mind, and consequently to justify the House in voting an address to the throne beseeching his majesty to remove the commander-in-chief from his office. If they thought that by the latter mode of proceeding the ends of public justice would be better promoted than by the former, it would have been their duty to adopt it. It was by 'no means necessary for them to pronounce a judicial sentence of guilty or not guilty. They might perceive misconduct which rendered the Duke unfit for his office; but they might consider the imputed guilt as not satisfactorily proved: and, will it be contended, then, that, in such case, they would discharge their duty by passing a sentence of acquittal without any further proceeding? No, it would be their imperative duty, either to pass a resolution expressive of their sense of the transaction, or else directly to address the King for his removal. Viewing the question, then, in this light, we cannot but dissent from the opinions of those who insisted on the necessity of a direct verdict, and who denied the propriety of any other decision than such as would either absolutely condemn or fully acquit. Had it been a judicial proceeding indeed, this was the only course to pursue; but we cannot consent so to consider it, as it was marked by scarcely any one feature of a judicial investigation.
But, putting all connivance at corrupt practices out of the question, and even taking the case as stated by the warmest advocates of the Duke of York, that his royal highness, though incessantly with his mistress, was totally ignorant of frauds, of a most disgraceful and dangerous tendency, coupled with the name of the commander-in-chief (to use the language of Parliament), in which that mistress acted a principal part, we 'conceive it impossible to reconcile such ignorance with the attention and vigilance which the Duke was stated by Colonel Gordon to have uniformly displayed in the discharge of his official duties; or to impute it to any other cause than a culpable negligence which Rendered him unfit for his office. Again; we contend, that if, iş No. 129. Vol. 32. Mar. 1809.
a single instance, he suffered a military promotion to take place, to be expedited, delayed, or in any way affected, by the interposition of his mistress, that circumstance alone would be sufficient to require his dismission. We think, therefore, the Duke has, at last, acted judiciously in resigning his place. And, we trust, though now filled by a very worthy officer, that the office of commander-in-chief will never again be occupied by an individual. It is an office to which too much patronage is attached for an individual to enjoy, and there can be no reason to prevent the establishment of an Army Board, on the same plan and principle as the Board of Admiralty. Nor is it even necessary that a military man should be at the head of such a board, any more than it is that a naval officer should preside at the Admiralty. But, above all, we hope never to see a member of the royal family again placed in a situation of responsibility. We shall not be suspected of entertaining any undue prejudices against the family of a prince whom we love as a man, and revere as a monarch; but it is inpossible not to have perceived, even from Mr. Canning's speech, the extreme delicacy and difficulty of calling the King's son to account for his conduct. These considerations, which were pressed by Mr. Canning (though in such an investigation they ought not to have the smallest influence), could not fail to carry with them very great weight, and to make a very strong impression. The force of this argument, we are persuaded, will be felt, though its justice may not be acknowledged.
Respecting the conditional annuity granted by the Duke of York to his discarded mistress, the chancellor of the Exchequer acknoiva ledged that there was an awkwardness about it, which he could have wished had been avoided; he admitted that it would have been better that the annuity had been absolute than conditional; but from the Duke's refusal to pay it, he inferred a consciousness of innocence. Now, the demand of Mrs. Clarke, for the payment of her annuity, was either just or unjust ; and as no attempt has been made to prove it unjust, we must conclude it to have been just; for had it been possible to impeach its justice, we may be sure, from the uncommon pains which have been taken to give a black colouring to 'every one of her actions, it would have been done.' Was it fair, was it honourable, was it just, then, to refuse the payment of it? And the refusal, be it observed, appears to have been given before
her threats, which have been alleged to justification of it, were ultered. But, it has been asked, if the Duke was conscious of guilt, would he, for the sake of the paltry sum of 4001. a year, have néglected to secure the silence of one so able to inculpate him? We might answer this question by asking another-Coold the Duke beso weak as to suppose that so paltry a sum as 4001. per year could induce such a wonian as Mrs.Clarke, with whom he had long lived in a state of splendid luxury and boundless dissipation, to lead a correct, decorous, and retired life? But we are aware that interrogation is not argument; and we will candidly admit that there is niuch force in Mr. Perceval's objection to our inference, from the nature of this transaction. And had not his royal highness displayed so much weakness in other parts of his disgraceful intercourse with this woman, we should be disposed to yield to its cogency; but we certainly did believe that the annuity had been rendered conditional for the express purpose of securing Mrs. Clarke's silence; and notwithstanding what bas been said, that impression is not yet removed from our minds. Indeed Mr. Perceval has, by implication, admitted the impression to be the natural consequence of the conditional grant, as on no other ground, that we can imagine, could he have declared his opinion that it would have been preferable to make that grant absolute.
By what operation of the human mind any man could bring himsełf to consider the evidence of Dowler and Miss Taylor as inadınissible and incredible, it is impossible for us to conceive. Most conscientiously do we declare our entire belief of the perfect veracity of both those witnesses; nor can we imagine that any thing but a preconceived conviction of the total innocence of the Duke, could have led any man of sense and integrity to harbour a.
· doubt of their truth. That a mind so prepossessed might rather admit the falsehood of the evidence than the guilt of the accused, is conceivable; but it is not conceivable that any man, who allowed the conversation which Miss Taylor stated to have passed, in her presence, be. tween the Duke and his mistress, to have actually passed, could bring himself to believe that that conversation “could not with justice be interpreted into any proof that his royal highness-had a criminal knowledge of the transaction to which it related." We, on the contrary, insist, that if that conversation really passed, it could not, by possibility, bear any other interpretation. And yet has this belief been expressed by a larwyer, who did not hesitate farther to
assert, that there was not a tittle of evidence to support the charge of connivance at corrupt practices; and that the Duke had no know
of the transactions in which his mistress had been en. gaged. And thus far, after his note respecting Tonyn's case the authority of which was proved by as strong evidence as was ever brought to prove a similar case), after his conversation in the presence of Miss Taylor, and after his letter on General Clavering's business !! If any lawyer had ventured to make such assertions in a court of justice, he would have experienced such a reproof from the judge, as would have effectually prevented their repetition. This same lawyer, too, ventured to affirm, that “the British army had never distinguished itself more than at those periods, when the chief command of it was vested in a prince of the blood." This is a piece of historical information that is perfectly new to us. We are rather astonished that no member should have been tempted to ask the learned gentleman, whether the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl (of Peterborough, General Wolfe, Sir Ralph Abercrombie, or Sir John Stuart, were princes of the blood? and, also, who signed the Convention of Closter-Severn, who commanded at the siege of Dunkirk, and who concluded the Convention in Holland ? It iş not by such gross and fulsome adulation that the cause of royalty is to be served.
Another incredulous lawyer is stated to have said, that he did not believe that his royal highness knew that the Samuel Carter pran moted by him, and recommended by Lieutenant Suttun, was the bame person whom he hard seen behind Mrs. Clarke's chair, or her carriage. The plain fact was this; - that, more than three years before, this youth had been recommended by Lieutenant Sutton; but the recommendation had been totally disregarded. When, however, he became servant to the Duke of York's mistress, her intera position in his favour' was more effectual, and he was appointed to an ensigncy. Mrs. Clarke, it should be observed, was, in this case,
very unwilling evidence. It was not brought forward by ber, but against her wish and desire. There cannot, then, be the least ground for suspecting the truth and accuracy of her testimony our the subject. ! She states positively that the Duke of York did know that Carter was her footman ; and yet a lawyer rises in the House of Commons, and without the smallest probability to support him, contradicts her evidence, and states his disbelief of the fact!!!
We find ourselves obliged to notice an extraordinary position