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for any other purpose, than an ostenta. I gency, in like manner as he undoubtedly tious display of the confidence reposed in would be excluded from the throne, on himself. To the House of Brunswick this the natural demise of his father, or prede. country stood, in an eminent degree, in- cessor. But then, the bill of exclusion to debted; and, indeed, few 'princes ever pass in such case, must be the work of the deserved the love of their subjects more legislature complete, and not the act of than the princes of that house. Since two branches of the legislature only. Let their accession to the throne, their go-the Committee consider the danger of vernment had been such as to render it making any other person regent besides highly improbable, that there should ever the Prince of Wales! If the two Houses be ground for an act of exclusion to pass, could choose a regent, they might choose to set aside one of their heirs from the whom they pleased ; they might choose a succession, or that such a circumstance foreigner, a catholic (for the law defines should ever become a necessary subject not the regent) who, while he held the of contemplation. If the princes of the power of the third estate, might prevail House of 'Brunswick had, at any time, on the other two branches of the legisladiffered with their subjects, it had been ture to concur with him, alter or set aside only on collateral points, which had been the succession, and turn away the house of easily adjusted in parliament. No one of Brunswick, and put them in the situation the princes of that House had ever made of the house of Stuart. any attempt against the constitution of He perceived that this doctrine was the country; although, had such a mis- deemed extravagant, but he meant to put chievous design been meditated, a party an extravagant case; he had not, however, could have been found in existence, and put an impossible one; let them turn to ready to abet them in any scheme, the the favourite period of our historý-fablackest and most fatal that ever tyrant vourite at least with the other side of the devised against the liberties or the hap. House that day—the reign of Henry 6, piness of his subjects. The love, there and they would find that Richard, Duke fore, of the people was due to the illus of York, took advantage of his power as trious family on the throne, in so peculiar protector of the kingdom, and actually and eminent a degree, that every circum- disinherited the Prince of Wales and the stance which looked as if it could at any whole line of Lancaster, though they were distance endanger the hereditary right of more nearly allied and had much better the House of Brunswick to the succession, pretensions to the crown than the house ought to be guarded against with peculiar of York. The same dismal scene which jealousy.
had disgraced our annals at that period, * Exclusive of the concurrence of the might be acted over again, if the two public voice, not only the spirit of the Houses of Parliament ever concurred to constitution pointed out the heir apparent subvert the constitution, by assuming to as the fittest person to be regent, but the themselves the exercise of the royal preact of settlement might be defeated if his rogative, and arrogating the right to leroyal highness were passed by, and the gislate and make law in the teeth of the doctrine of the right hon. gentleman car- statute of the 13th of Charles 2, which he ried into effect. In adhering to the prin- had, on a former day, found occasion to ciples of the act of settlement, there could mention, and which not only declared, be no danger. If, as the hon. and learned that the two Houses of Parliament could gentleman had said, there should be a not make laws without the consent and Prince of Wales, whose political principles concurrence of the king, but also declared, were so depraved, that, in opposition to that whoever should presume to affirm the his own natural interests, he should have contrary, should be guilty of high treason, followed the example of Charles 1, and and incur the pains and penalties of a James 2, either in one instance, indica- premunire. . ting a determination to become a lyrant To make a law for the appointment of and destroy the liberties of his subject, by a regent, he considered, so far as it went, subverting the constitution, or in the as a conversion of the succession to the other, by connecting himself with France monarchy from hereditary to elective; and the political enemies of his country, and what sort of a constitution that was that every thing fatal was to be dreaded which had an elective monarchy, Poland, from his government, such a Prince of and the miserable condition of its subjects, Wales ought to be excluded from the re- sufficiently evinced. The right to make
laws rested only in the legislature com- encroachment on the part of the Commons, plete, and not in the concurrence of any or to resist any faction in the House of iwo branches of it. Upon that very prin. Lords. In the one case, by a dissolution, ciple was our constitution built, and on the king might resist the attempt on his the preservation of it did its existence pregrogative, and by an increase of the depend. Were the case otherwise, the peerage he might quell the other. The constitution might be easily destroyed, power of giving either an assent or dissent because if the two branches could assume from any bill, operated equally against the the power to make law, they might, in single design of one, or the confederate that law, change the genius of the third union of both Houses to trench on the estate. The present situation of affairs constitutional rights of the Crown; and, had been compared to the revolution, but, great as obvious was the disadvantage of in fact it was no way similar. The throne subjecting the sovereign to such diffihad then been declared vacant, and the culties, as he would be liable to encounter, rest of the constitution remained. Now, were the power of dissolution, of increase the throne was declared full, but its autho- of peerage, and of the right of giving the rity was suspended. At the period of the assent or dissent to bills taken away. If Revolution, the convention which was there was to be a monarch, the monarthen assembled, conscious that they could chical power ought to be entire, and for not make any change in the genius of the this indisputable reason; because the monarchy, until they bad a head, first re- name and rank of a king without the posstored the third estate, and then defined session of regal powers, was a being which its power. Whereas the Committee were did not come within the reach of human called on to proceed in a different way; conception, If it appeared to the House first, to new-cast the office, and then to that the royal prerogative ought to be cire , declare the officer. And what must be cumscribed, let them invest a proper perthe situation of a regent elected by that son with it, and then openly and manfully House ? He must be a pageant, a puppet,contend for the circumscription or dimia creature of their own, “ sine pondere nution of its powers ; but to aim at an ad. corpus,” an insult and a mockery on every versary incapable of resistance was neither maxim of government!
brave nor noble. Mr. Fox defined the nature and cha- Mr. Fox pointed out the danger of racter of the three estates. The constitution making the regency elective, and of the supposed each of its three branches to be two Houses setting aside the hereditary independent of the other two, and actually right to it; insisting that the possession of hostile; and if that principle was once the Crown, and of the executive authority, given up, there was an end to our political must, in the nature of things be governed freedom. Suppose that the Crown and by the same principles. In order to illus. the House of Lords could make laws trate this, he put the case of a Polavder without the concurrence of the House of asking an Englishman whether the moCommons, or the Crown and the Commons narchy of Great Britain was hereditary or independent of the Lords, or the two elective? Any man, familiar with the theHouses of Parliament without the Crown; ory of the constitution would naturally In either case the constitution was gone. I think, that the ready answer would be that The safety of the whole depended on the it was hereditary. But if the doctrine of jealousy of each against the other; not on that day prevailed, the answer must be,,“ I the patriotism of any one branch of the cannot tell; ask his Majesty's physicians.” legislature, but rather on the separate in. When the King of England is in good terests of the three, concurring, through health, the monarchy is hereditary; but different views, to one general good, the when he is ill, and incapable of exercising benefit of the Community-a principle the sovereign authority, it is elective.” congenial to human nature, prone to the The assertion, that the British monarchy extension of power, and to the depression was elective, was, however, so palpably of a rival! All these principles and ar- hostile to the principles of the constiturangements would be destroyed by the tion, that it would not be tolerated for a present project, which would radically moment. How, then, was the difficulty to alter the government, and of consequence, be surmounted? A subtle and politic law. overturn the constitution.
yer might be found, who would plausibly Mr. Fox explained the particular powers) advance, that though it must be allowed of the Crown to defend itself against any that the monarchy was hereditary, the
executive power might be elective. Thus, tutional curtailment of any obnoxious and the crown and its functions might be se- dangerous prerogative. Moderate men, parated, as if they were in their nature he was aware, thought this a violent docdistinct, whereas, the one was the essence, trine ; but he had uniformly maintained it; and the other the name. Mr. Fox here and the public bad derived advantage pursued his argument in an hypothetical from its having been carried into effect. dialogue between the Englishman and the He desired to ask, however, if this was an Pole, with the occasional aid of the politic occasion for exercising the constitutional lawyer, to reconcile contradictions and power of resisting the prerogative or the explain apparent impossibilities, ridiculing influence of the Crown in that House ? He the argument of the gentlemen of the long had ever made it his pride to combat with robe, that the political, as well as the na the Crown in the plenitude of its power tural capacity of the King, remained whole and the fulness of its authority; he wished and entire, although he was declared inca- not to trample on its rights, while it lay pable of exercising his regal functions. If extended at their feet, deprived of its the Crown was to have no functions, why functions, and incapable of resistance. Let there should be a king, was beyond his the right hon. gentleman pride himself on imagination to discover. The legal me-a victory obtained against a defenceless taphysics which distinguished between the foe! Let him boast of a triumph where no Crown and its functions, were to him un- battle had been fought, and, consequently, intelligible. The investigators should be where no glory could be obtained! Let schoolmen and not statesmen, fitter for him take advantage of the calamities of colleges of disputation, than a British human nature ; let him, like an unfeeling House of Commons, if a question that so lord of the manor, riot in the riches to be deeply involved the existence of the con- acquired by plundering shipwrecks, by stitution, were to be thus discussed: and, rigorously asserting a right to the waifs, where was that famous dictum to be found, estrays, deodands, and all the accumulated that expressly described the Crown as produce of the various accidents which guarded by such sanctity, and left its misfortune could throw into his power! powers at the mercy of every assailant? Let it not be my boast, said Mr. Fox, to
Having contended, that such was the have gained such victories, obtained such absurdity of legal metaphysics, and called triumphs, or availed myself of wealth so upon the gownsmen to show him the dictum acquired! which supported the opposite assertion, Mr. Fox declared, that all the labour that the Prince of Wales had no more of the Committee appointed to search for right to exercise the sovereign authority precedents had been fruitless, for that not during his Majesty's incapacity, than any one of the precedents applied. If they other individual subject, Mr. Fox adverted tended to prove any thing, it was to esto a part of the argument advanced against tablish the prince's right: since, in all of him, and including an allegation, that he them, the nearest relative to the crown, had deserted the cause which he had here-if in the kingdom, had been appointed the tofore been supposed to claim the peculiar regent, and especially a Prince of Wales, merit of standing forth on all occasions to in the reign of Edward 3, his son, comdefend; and thus manifested an inattention monly called the Black Prince, was deto the privileges of the House of Commons, clared regent, at only thirteen years of against the encroachments of the preroga- age, during the invasion of France by his tives of the crown. Upon this occasion, father; and, afterwards, during the abMr. Fox remarked, that his own resistance sence of Edward and the prince, his broagainst the latter, when it had been thought ther, Lionel, duke of Clarence was apincreasing unconstitutionally, were well pointed. The regencies in the reign of known. The influence of the Crown had Henry 6, proved the right of the Prince been more than once checked in that of Wales the more fully, because, in that House, and he really believed, to the ad- reign, the right of the Prince of Wales vantage of the people. Whenever the was recognized, although he was not a executive authority was urged beyond its 1 year old, in the very patent which apreasonable extent, it ought to be resisted, I pointed the Duke of York protector. Mr. and he carried his ideas on that head so Fox now observed, that an hon. gentlefar, that he had not scrupled to declare, I man had, in the course of the debate, that the supplies ought to be stopped, if chosen to remark, that the Chancellor of the royal assent were refused to a consti- the Exchequer stood higher in the opinion
of the public, 'at present, than he (Mr. | Exchequer with a determination to legis.
measures adopted to detach Holland from Mr. Fox said he would again call in its connexion with France. The whole question the necessity for the present pro- conduct of that transaction, as well as its ceeding, and urge the fallacy of pretend issue, was wise and vigorous, laudable and ing, that the opinion, which he, as a pris effectual, and he was happy to take that vate member of that House, had delivered, opportunity of delivering his sentiments and the opinion, which his noble and concerning his ministerial conduct, upon learned friend (lord Loughborough) had this occasion. Of his other measures, he delivered elsewhere, made it necessary. certainly entertained a very different opiHe reprobated the indecency of selecting nion. The right hon.gentleman, however, the arguments of his noble and learned appeared to have been so long in the poss friend, and falsely applying them merely session of power, that he could not endure for the purpose of placing them in a ridi- to part with it; he had experienced the culous point of view. The right hon. gen- full favour of the Crown, and enjoyed the tleman. must have known, that the argu- / advantage of exerting all its prerogatives ; ments of his noble and learned friend were and, finding the operation of the whole arguments merely advanced to prove that not too much for the successful carrying the Prince of Wales, as Prince of Wales on of the government, he had determined and heir apparent, had rights peculiar and to cripple his successors, and deprive them distinct from those of ordinary subjects, and of the same advantages which he had posnot with a view to prove his right to exer- sessed, and thus circumscribe their power cise the sovereign authority. The manner, to serve their country, as if he dreaded, therefore, in which the right hon. gentle. that they would shade his fame. Let the man had answered those arguments be- right hon. gentleman for a moment suptrayed a narrowness of mind which he had pose, that the business of detaching Hol. not imagined the right hon. gentleman land from France, or any contingency of would have condescended to have ac- equal importance, remained to be exeknowledged.
cuted; he must know, that there would be ; Mr. Fox desired to know the use of no power in the country, to seize the adbringing forward a question of right, when vantage, if the right hon. gentleman's printhe expediency of constituting the Prince ciples were right. For his own part, Mr. of Wales regent was, on all hands, agreed Fox declared, that he could not avoid callupon. He charged the Chancellor of the ing most fervently upon every honest mem(VOL. XXVII.)
ber of that House, not to vote, without fore disposed to envy and obstruct the perfectly understanding what the question credit of those who were to be his sucwent to, as well as the other resolutions. cessors. Whether to him belonged that With regard to the right hon. gentleman's character of mischievous ambition, which motives, he knew not what they were, but would sacrifice the principles of the conif there was an ambitious man in that stitution to a desire of power, he must House, who designed to drive the empire leave to the House and the country to into confusion, his conduct, he conceived, determine. They would decide, whether, would have been exactly that which the in the whole of his conduct, during this right hon. gentleman, had pursued. unfortunate crisis, any consideration which
The Resolutions moved, appeared, in affected his own personal situation, or any his opinion, as insidiously calculated to management for the sake of preserving convey a censure on the sentiments, power, appeared to have had the chief which he delivered, while they served as share in deciding the measures be had an instrument of evasion of an assertion, 1 proposed. As to his being conscious that highly revolting to the public mind, made he did not deserve the favour of the Prince. by the right hon. gentleman himself. This he could only say, that he knew but one he reprobated as a pitiful shift, totally way, in which he, or any man, could deirreconcilable with the confidence which serve it; by baving uniformly endeavoured, the right hon. gentleman placed in the in a public situation, to do his duty to the expectation of a majority. In majorities, King his father, and to the country at Mr. Fox declared he had no great trust; large. If, in thus endeavouring to deserve he had for many years had the mortifica- the confidence of the Prince, it should tion to find himself in a minority in that appear, that he in fact had lost it, however House; and yet, upon a change of situa- painful and mortifying that circumstance tion, he had generally found, that the might be to him, and from whatever cause majority, who had before divided against it might proceed, he should indeed regret him, divided with him. For more than it, but he could boldly say, that it was imeighteen years of his political life, had he possible he should ever repent of it. been obliged to stem the torrent of power, The right hon. gentleman had thought and sometimes he had enjoyed the satis proper to announce himself and his friends faction of finding himself in a majority of to be the successors of the present admi. he same parliament, of which, in the nistration. He did not know on what au. prosecution of the same principles and the thority the right hon. gentleman made declarations of the same designs, he had this declaration ; but, he thought, that before been only supported by a minority, with a view to those questions of expe· Mr. Pitt observed, it was not without diency, which the right hon. gentleman some astonishment that he discovered, had introduced, both the House and the that the right hon. gentleman had thought country were obliged to bim for this seaproper, particularly in the latter part of sonable warning of what they would have his speech, to digress from the question to expect. The nation had already had of right, which was then before the experience of that right hon. gentleman House, in order to enter upon the question and his principles. Without meaning to of expediency, and that not so much for use terms of reproach, or to enter into the purpose even of discussing that expe any imputation concerning his motives, it diency as to take an opportunity of intro- could not be denied, that they were ducing an attack of a personal nature on" openly and professedly active, on the him. The House would recollect, whe- / ground of procuring an advantage, from ther the manner in which he had opened the strength of a party, to nominate the the debate, either provoked or justified ministers of the crown. It could not be this animosity. This attack, which the denied, that it was maintained as a fundaright hon. gentleman had just now made, mental principle, that a minister ought he declared to be unfounded, atrogant, at all tiines so to be nominated. He and presumptuous. The right hon. gen- would therefore speak plainly. If pertleman had charged him, as acting from a sons, who possessed these principles, were mischievous spirit of ambition, unable to in reality likely to be the advisers of the bear the idea of parting with power, which Prince, in the exercise of those powers he had so long retained ; but not expect - which were necessary to be given, during ing the favour of the prince, which he was the present unfortunate interval, it was conscious he had not deserved, and there. the strongest additional reason, if any were