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from the Prince of Wales to that parliamentary usage to have received house.
the Duke of York's sentiments in wri. 15.] The committee of the Lords ting, for the information and the not having compiutsd their search for guide of pofterity. precedents, there was no regular mo The Duke of Gloucester thought tion before the housc; but, in a con- that a perseverance in the discullion verfation, several lords deprecated, of the question would produce the as wishing to avoid a discussion of most mischievous consequences. If the question of Right, which they perfitted in, and brought before that found was about to be agitated in the house, his detestation of its promoters other house : and, so aver se were the was to great, that he thought he could royal fainily so that discussion, that not truit himself to declare his seathe Duke of York spoke their de. timents. cisive leotiments on the subject, in 16.] The report of precedents by a manner highly interesting, and with the lords committee not being yet a degree of modeity, that claimed and made, Lord Abingdon took occafion excited universal attention. He said, to give his decided sentiments on the that no claim of right had been made, question of right. Fearing we fhould on the part or on the behalf of his do injustice to the sentiments of this royal brother, who understood the noble lord, we will transcribe his facred principles which had feated own words :-"My lords, it is a the Houseot Brunswick on the throne question that the two houses of partoo well to assume or exercise any liainent demand the decifion of. It power, BE HIS CLAIM WHAT IT is a question that the king calls for, Might, not derived from the people It is a question that the Lord Chanby means of their representatives in cellor of England, as the keeper of parliament assembled. Knowing such the king's conscience, is bound in to be the principles of his Royal duty to have brought forward. It Highness, the Duke of York could is a question that the nation desee no occasion for the discussion of mands. It is a question due to pof a right that was not demanded ; it terity. It is a question I lament to would affli&t a family fufficiently al- find that any part of the House of ready agitated.
Brunswick Nould shrink from." Lord Stormont, in giving his fen The Commons ordered three new timents to the same purport, was writs to be issued, one for Devizes, called to order by Lord Sydney ; another for Beeralston, and a third and he was again reprimanded by for Weymouth; the two latter places others on the part of Lord Stormont; being vacated by an acceptance of infomuch that the minister hinted, places. This being the day appointthat there was other places where for considering the state of the personal insults might be answered nation, the house resolved itself into with more propriety. The storm, a committee for that purpose ; when however, fubfided, after a variety of the Chancellor of the Exchequer obexplanations.''
served, that since the Revolution no The Lord Chancellor acknow. question of equal magnitude had been ledged his concern that the question agitated in that house: the cafe then, of right had ever been started; but, however, was widely different ; the as it was, he did not think it possible two houses of parliament had to fill to recede. Of this opinion was fe. a throne that was absolutely unocveral other lords, particularly the cupied ; at present there was only a Earl of Stanhope, who, however, fufpenfion of royal power from a yiflied it had been consistent with temporary cause. li was therefore
che duty of the two houses not only his Majesty's said indifpofition, in co supply that insufficiency, but to such manner as the exigency of the provide for the safety of the true and case may seem to require."-Reactual posseflor of the crown, in solved, -III. “ That for this purdoing which they would at the same pose, and for maintaining entire the time secure the interests of the peo- constitutional authority of the king, ple. But previous thereto, a quef- it is necessary that the said Lords tion of the most important nature Spiritual and Temporal, and Comwas to be determined—Whether any mons of Great Britain, should den person whatever had a right to the termine on the means whereby the exercise of royal authority, as long royal assent may be given in parliaas it might be fufpended by his Ma- ment to fuch bill as may be passed jesty's indisposition; or whether such by the two houses of parliament, right was to be conferred by the respecting the exercise of the powers lords and commons in parliament af- and authorities of the crown, in the fembled ? It was the more necessary name, and on the behalf of the King, to decide this question, as several during the continuance of bis Mahints had been given, that a certain jesty's present indisposition." illustrious person ought to have af Mr. Pitt wished the committee to suined the reins of power, as soon reap every possible information from as that power became defective. In the precedents that had been adatl probability, if such a claim had duced. In the reign of Edward che not been started, a difcuffion of it Third, no heir apparent claimed would have been unnecessary ; but the exercise of fovereignty; the par'while such right was supposed to liament provided a council about exift, these houses had not a legal the king's person to act for him. In title to deliberate ;, therefore, before the time of Richard II. counsellors they could resolve, they must de were also appointed by parliament termine their own capacity. For this to adminifter the fovereign power. purpose the Chancellor offered three In the infancy of Henry VI. the resolutions to the committee, which, parliament was called together by as they may be useful to pofterity, the young king's second uncle, should a similar cafe happen, we though the first was alive, and that shall copy at full length.
assembly ratified the act, because it “ That it is the opinion of this was not held sufficient on the authocommittee-1. That his Majesty is rity of the duke. From these inprevented, by his present indispo- ftances it was plain, that no matter fition, from coming to his parlia- of right existed ; and from other ment, and from attending to public records, Mr. Pitt undertook to bufiness, and that the personal exer- prove, that the Cuftos Regni had necise of the royal authority is hereby ver poffeffed the whole rights of a for the present interrupted;"-which king: A case of severe illness ocresolution was agreed to unani- curred in the reign of Henry VI. mously.-11. “That it is the right but then the heir apparent was not and duty of the Lords Spiritual and of full age : to supply this variation Temporal, and Commons of Great from the present intance, recourse Britain now assembled, and lawfully, must be had to the principles of the fully, and freely representing all the constitution, and to the laws of the estates of the people of this realm, land. The parliament of that day, to provide the means of supplying besides providing for the moment, the defect of the personal exercise looked forward to the time when the of the royal-authority, arising from heir apparent would be of full age;
they confented that his powers temporary disease as a civil death, should be then increased, but, at the If a civil death was allowed to exift, faine moment, provided such limi- his Royal Highness muft immediration as most undeniably proved ately afcend the throne, as a king, any existing right. That case, without limitations, not as a regent, therefore, might be viewed as per under indispensable reftri&tions; for teetly analogous to the one under a civil death, like a natural death, conlideration. Lord Loughborough, 'was permanent. From the authoin the other house, had quoted a rity of Blackstone, there were but record to prove that the King and two cases where a man could be cithe Heir Apparent was the same villy dead; the one, his being ba. person ; the inference therefore was, nished from the realm by process of that on the indisposition of the common law; the other, his becomformer, the latter might assume his ing a monk professed, and thereby power : but the Chancellor declared, avoiding all secular concerns. His that men of great eminence and au- Majesty was not outlawed, nor had thority in the law, had drawn there- he renounced his powers ; he was from a far different conclusion. It visited by the affliction of God, was had allo been asserted by the advo- capable of taking remedies, and of
for the Prince of Wales's complying with medical restrictions; right, that if the parliament had there were strong and reasonable not been fitting, he muft have affumed hopes of a recovery; and yet, to royal power, if only for the purpose accomplish a particular purpose, that of calling those assemblies together; house was asked to declare their bebut this Mr, Pitt denied in a most loved and illustrious sovereign cistrenuous manner-remarking, that villy dead, to the total exclusion of as the welfare of the nation was his a future exercise of regal governprincipal motive, and as he had ment, more than what might be obe truth and justice on his side, he had tained from the good will and the only to compare the affertions of bounty of a dutiful fon! According his antagonilis made at different to the laws of the land, to the retimes, and as occafions suited, in cords of parliament, to precedent, erder to counteract and overthrow and to the constitution, the political their machinations. Mr. Pitt al. capacity of the king was, except on Jowed, that the Prince of Wales a forfeiture of the crown, ever poffeffed many good and eminent whole and entire ; and during that qualifications, and acknowledged political capacity, if any cause that he ought to be appointed sole ihould produce a suspension of its regent ; but asked the committee, powers, how could that defect be it that was a reason why the royal remedied but by the voice of the power should absolurely pass out of people ? precedent nor history had the hands of its present illustrious provided otherwise. The regent in poffeffor ? Our ancestors might, in the time of Henry VI, applied to that case, have enacted, That the care parliament for additional powers; of the person of the sovereign ought but they replied, that he had not to be vetted in the heir apparent. any right whatever to the exercife -Mr. Fox, in a preceding debate, of royal authority, neither by birth had declared that he conceived the nor by the will of his brother ; but present indisposition of his Majesty that what he poslessed, was intrufted in the light of a civil death. Mr. to him in care for the young king ; Pitt had not forgot it ; he asked tbe which was an evident proof, that committee, if they could consider a no right existed. Mr. Pitt was not
into thefe pages.
satisfied that a certain gentleman had commerce, and exalted our name lowered his tone, fince he first de- among foreign nations. clared the existence of a right in the Lord North's mocion was rejected Prince of Wales ; nor that a royal by a majority of fixty-four ; and the brother had vouched, that no fuch preceding refolutions were severally claim was intended : this had refer put and carried. It is impossible to ence only to present intentions ; it adduce a greater proof of the reafaid nothing as to what might hap- fonableness and propriety of the pen hereafter. Whatever danger arguments and precedents laid down might result from stirring the mo on the question of right by the tion, Mr. Pitt declared there could Chancellor of the Exchequer, in be done in its decifion; and it would the course of this day's debate. be injustice not to give that gentle. But as the readers of history are man the credit of his own affertion, entitled to every important occur That his measures were dictated rence, it behoves us to detail most from no other motives than the of the opposite opinions maintained safety of the king, the rights of by Mr. Fox, whose political conparliament, and the intereits of the sequence will often introduce him people.
But however confident the mini This gentleman looked on the Iter might be as to his intentions, and precedents quoted to be fo extremely however ably supported by the law absurd, that flesh and blood (bis own of the land and the principles of the words] could not let sucb errors reconstitution; it feems, that neither main unconfuted. The precedent the power of the one, por the juf- in the reign of Henry VI. did tice of the other, could quiet the not merit much attention, as that minds of gentlemen whofe ideas, period was peculiarly distinguished or perhaps whose views, bore an for anarchy and distraction of counopposite tendency: Lord North cil; and it was fingular chat such a begged the committee to confider, precedent fhould be urged in favour that they were little better than a of an elective regency, at a time convention, and that they pofseffed when the Speaker of the house was pot a whit more of authority; but in confinement by an order of the he allowed that it might be trained House of Lords, who had thes a. to fill up the deficiency in the third complete dominion of the execu• branch of the legiflature, without tive government, and whieb they faying what were the rights of any exercised in an arbitrary manner. one, unless a doubt had exifted of -Had one precedent been found the proper person to fill the regen- where an heir apparent, of full age cy. This noble lord, therefore, and ability, was not nominated moved that the chairman leave the to the reins of gorernment, during chair, and report progress; in which the incapacity or absence of the he was feconded by Mr. Powis, reigning monarch? The fact was, who thought the resolutions meant, that no such records could be found more than appeared on their surface. either in our hiftory or in the jour-. But Mr. Rolle, an independent nals of parliament. A right cercounty member for Devonfhire, tainly attached in the Prince of declared an oppofite opinion from Wales at the present moment; bat both the preceding speakers, and this right he is not at liberty to at the same time took occafion, to exercise till it is recognized by the express his admiration of the abili- two houses of lords and commons ries of Mr. Pitt, who had raifed our in parliament affembled: and this
opinion varied, he thought, from and ignorant ministers ; but it wa that maintained by Mr. Pite-That unmanly to give a fignal for plunthe two houses had a clear and in- der, when the object was a detence disputed right to elect a regent, ad less shipwreck. No claim had been libitum, either for a year or a month, set up; what was the ground of the as they should think fit; but that it refolution ? and what must therewould, in the present instance, before be the preamble to the bill? wrong to exercise that right. To " Whereas his Royal Highness elect to the regency whom the George Prince of Wales had not houses thought proper, was certainly preferred any claim to the regency contrary to the act of Queen Anne, of this realm, therefore it is requiwhich expressly declared, that the fite to declare that no such right fucceffion to the crown could not be exists !” He thought, and perhaps altered without the consent of the was happy to think, that the Chanking, lords, and commons. An cellor of the Exchequer had forfeitelečtive regency was pregnant with ed, and could not expect the Prince's as many dangers as an elective mo- favour, however praise-worthy fome narchy'; and what would be the of his measures had been, particufituation of a regent elected by that larly in detaching Holland from house? That of a mere phantom, the councils of France. For his a creature of their own, a mockery own part, though he could not and an insult on every maxim of boast of having rendered his coungovernment: it was a measure that try any very essential service, he would destroy that equal balance of was happy in the enjoyment of the power which upheld the fabric of Prince of Wales's confidence; but British liberty. Besides, were the to that confidence, nevertheless, he usual prerogatives to be abridged would not sacrifice the interests of in the regent, though the sovereign his country, whose perfect enjoy; could not exercise them, wherement of liberty might truly be dated could they be lodged ? Somewhere from the accefsion of the illustrious they must exift. The statute of House of Hanover. Charles the Second pofitively de It is not to be expected, that Mr. clares, that the two houses of par. Fox, after arguing, in contradiction liament cannot, of themselves, make to what appeared to be the fenfe o£ laws; and he who asserts the con- the committee, for a considerable trary is subjected to the penalty of time, would fit down unanswered. a premunire. As the resolution was The Chancellor of the Exchequer worded, the regent was to be ap- regretted the loss of the Prince of pointed for the purpose only of Wales's favour, especially as oegiving the royal aflent to such bills cafioned by an adherence to meaas might pass both houses of par- sures, which, as a servant of his liament, without the discretionary royal father, he had conceived juft power of refusing his concurrence; and reasonable. He congratulated and yet that resolution exprefly his political, if not potent, rival, itated that its object was to main- on the intelligence which was conlain the king's authority! When veyed by him, That the moment this honourable gentleman had been his Royal Highness was appointed one to declare, that the influence regene, a new administration was of the crown ought to be diminished, to be appointed; from which Mr. the king was not disabled by fick- Pitt intimated, that as the Prince ness; he was in the full plenitude seemed dangerously exposed to the of power, surrounded by obftinate advice of evil counsellors, no cir.