Abbildungen der Seite

fered which Mr. Burke had charged jesty's health and their opinion as to his the Committee with not having done recovery; because, that kind of examinatheir duty, was an inquiry into the skill tion would prove short indeed ; and might and prudence of Dr. Willis, which the be completed by making the number of Committee had no right to make, and questions the same as that of the physithat the circumstance on which he had cians. Mr. Windham argued the necesgrounded the strong language he had sity of sifting the grounds of the opinions used, was chiefly a question of reason and of the physicians, as well as of ascertainpropriety, and not directly in point to the ing the facts on which those opinions object before them; and therefore the rested. Committee, after being satisfied as to the Mr. Burke said, he had not complained immediate end of their inquiry, had of the Committee's having narrowed their thought it their duty, instead of frustrat- inquiry on the ground of their not having ing the expectations of that House and of continued lopg enough engaged, or made the public, by what they considered as a report sufficiently voluminous; but on unnecessary delay, to close their examina- account of their too strict observance of tions and make their report. The right the order by the authority of which they hop. gentleman, he conceived, could not had proceeded; nor had his objection be serious in objecting to the report being gone to the examining of two witnesses read, because it would be impossible for only, but a difference of opinion having him to introduce the motion of recommit- been stated by those two, he had conment, or any other respecting it, unless tended, that the other physicians ought to the report were first read pro formâ. It have been examined as to the grounds had been his intention to have moved, that of that difference of opinion, whence the order for going into the Committee the Committee might have fortified their on the state of the nation should stand for own minds, and enabled themselves to deThursday; but from the extreme length cide which opinion was right. The right of the report, it would be impossible to hon. gentleman had intimated that much have it printed and ready for delivery be- of the discussion which had kept the Comfore Thursday morning; and as it was vo- mittee sitting so long, had been owing to luminous, gentleman could not read it those who had differed in opinion. If the through in time to proceed upon it in the House would have a little patience, he besame day. He found himself under the lieved that it would be found to be othernecessity, therefore, of moving that the wise. With regard to his having introCommittee on the state of the nation, duced a point at the end of the inquiry, should stand for Friday.

which had led to collateral circumstances Mr. Windham said, that the first obser- not immediately relative or material, he vation he had to make on what had fallen appealed to the right hon.' gentleman, from the Chancellor of the Exchequer was, whether he had not, in the early part of that whether the report proved long or not, the examination, given way to members was a mere relative consideration. The of the Committee of greater weight and length or shortness of a report undoubtedly authority than himself; but, when he had depended on the importance and extent done so, he had expressly observed, that of the object to which that report was con before the inquiry closed, he should put fined, and it was of no consequence questions of the nature complained against. whether the Cominittee had deliberated If, then, he had been wrong at the end of one day or ten, or what was the number of the inquiry, he had been wrong at the be. sheets contained in the report. They had ginning, and ought to have been stopped been ordered to inquire touching the state at the outset. of his Majesty's health, and the probability! The question for reading the report was of his recovery, and they were to form put and carried; and as soon as the report their own judgment upon it, and report | had been read pro forma, Mr. Burke that judgment to the House. They could moved, " That the said report be re-comhave no judgment till they had inquired mitted,” which motion was negatived. It and obtained information, and that infor-was then ordered that the House should mation they were to receive through his resolve itself into a committee on the State Majesty's physicians. In order to obtain of the Nation on Friday. it, they must necessarily ask them questions of all sorts, and not merely as to their Jan. 16. Sir Robert Smyth rising, read knowledge of the present state of his Ma. l over the Colchester Election Petition, in

the same manner as on Monday. Herious that the House had made no such was aware tbat there must be some small order, the session not having been regu. irregularity in the House's proceeding to larly opened, and therefore the hon. ba. notice the petition, but as they had issued ronet, he presumed, had moved for leave writs, chosen a speaker, and exercised to bring up the Petition. The hon. baother important functions, he saw no ronet had stated, that a doubt being started reason for their stopping short, and refus. as to the propriety of the Speaker's issuing ing to take into consideration a complaint bis writ for the election of a representative of an improper return upon an election, of a vacant borough, he had risen and by the means of which, so considerable a declared his wish to have the representatown as Colchester, had remained mis- tion of the people in that House as full represented during the whole time that the and as complete as possible, during the Jate very important subjects of discussion discussion of those very critical and imhad been under agitation. He rather hoped portant questions, to which the exigency that no objection would be made to re- 1 of the times unfortunately gave occasion. ceiving the Petition, as on the day when The fact undoubtedly was so, and he still a doubt had been started, whether, under entertained the same opinion; but though the present circumstances of the House, he was very ready to take every proper the Speaker ought to issue his writ to step towards that end, yet as the other choose a representative for a vacant bo- business of the day pressed exceedingly, rough, a right hon. gentleman had advised, without meaning to decide at all upon the that the Speaker might issue his writ, and question that had been moved, he thought expressed an anxiety, that during the the most advisable mode for the House to agitation of questions so new, critical, and pursue, would be, to adjourn the debate important in their nature, as full a repre- upon it till the ensuing Monday, by which sentation of the people in that House as means, gentlemen would have had time to possible might be obtained. The subject look into Mr. Grenville's Bill, and make would justify much discussion ; but, as | up their minds as to the measure which other matter of infinite magnitude was might prove the most proper for their expected to occupy the attention of the adoption. House, respecting which the public cu- Sir Robert Smyth answered, that as the riosity was extremely impatient, he would town of Colchester was so respectable barely move for leave to bring up the in point of view, he thought its remainPetition.

ing unrepresented, while such critical, con. Mr. Dempster begged to remind the stitutional questions were daily agitating hon. baronet, that upon a former day he in that House, a matter of serious moment, had intreated bim to wave his intention of and had therefore felt it is duty to apprise agitating the Petition at present, and this, the House of the fact, and submit the because he thought that the House had Petition he had read, to their wisdom and no power to do any one matter of business | judgment. under the present circumstances, other The motion for adjourning the debate than what the necessity of the case abso- upon this question was put and carried. lutely required,

Mr. Pitt now moved, “ That the order of · Mr. Pitt said, that as the House had the day be read for the House to resolve met for the investigation of most impor- l itself into a committee to take into further tant business, respecting which the impa- consideration the State of the Nation.” tience of the public had risen to a great The same was read accordingly, with the height, he should not devote many mo- order for referring the several reports ments to the present subject. It appeared which had been brought up and read, to to him that the manner in which the Peti- | the Committee. The Speaker left the tion was brought forward, was different chair, and Mr. Brooke Watson took his from that in which petitions, in cases of seat at the table. election, were generally introduced, which / Mr. Pitt then rose. He opened his of itself was sufficient to show that the remarks, by expressing his concern at case was new. In general, petitions com- perceiving that the particular situation of plaining of undue elections and false the country called upon them to exercise returns, were brought and laid upon the a right, that had devolved upon them, in table, within fourteen days of the opening consequence of the melancholy situation of the session, in consequence of an order of bis Majesty, which rendered him incaof the House. At present, it was noto- pable of exercising the royal authority, Upon the present distressful occasion, it years, that the shortest was three months, behoved them to provide the means of and that the average five or six months." supplying the deficiency; but, in doing In saying even that, he should have said so, he trusted that it must be the wish of more than was necessary for any arguevery gentleman, that they should pro- ment on the principle on which he went. ceed in the manner the best calculated to What they had to provide for, therefore, give general satisfaction, and the most was no more than an interval, and he likely to secure the approbation of the ' flattered himself that it would prove but a people, who, he had the happiness to short interval. If, however, unfortunately, know, had generally attended every step his Majesty's illness should be protracted, which they had hitherto taken. He sin. they might leave it to parliament to do cerely wished, that every measure which what was at present clearly unnecessary he should have the honour to propose, to consider of a more permanent plan of might be fully discussed, and fairly de government. If they regarded the discided upon ; that the nature of the case, order not in itself incurable, every man the general principles on which they ought must admit that the provisions ought not to proceed, and the application of those to be permanent. Mr. Pitt now recapi. principles, might be clearly and distinctly tulated what had passed concerning the pointed out. In so doing, they would be subject upon the Tuesday se’nnight, and best enabled to meet the emergency which the line of argument that had been adopted, called upon them, and to provide for the which rendered it impossible for him to defect of the personal exercise of the royal avoid giving way to a more narrow and authority.

minute inquiry than had before takenThe business of the Committee lay in a place; and, however he might feel pain very parrow compass, notwithstanding the on account of some particular points which voluminous reports on the table. In the had passed in the Committee, he could not, report last delivered, there was abundant upon the whole, but rejoice that he had matter of confirmation to him, of the pro- given way, as it now appeared that the priety and prudence of those measures argument on which the right hon. gentlewhich he was, as the Committee were man over against him had relied, viz. that, aware, prepared to have proposed to them because a month had elapsed since the nearly ten days ago. But, though there former inquiry, his Majesty's cure was to was much material information in that be considered as the more improbable, report, there was no difference, in his was not grounded; and as, however much opinion, in the ground of what he had to the physicians disagreed in other points, offer, but that on the former day, as well they were unanimous that the probability as on the present, the Committee had of the cure rested precisely on the same more information before them, than was grounds as before;-a circumstance which, sufficient to bear out all that he should he was persuaded, would give as much submit to their consideration. Had he, pleasure to the right hon. gentleman as it on the former day, felt it necessary to had done to himself, state the ground on which he intended to With regard to the difference of opinia have built his proceeding, he should have between the physicians, as to the prospect stated it thus, “ That his Majesty was of a recovery, it appeared to bim to depend incapable of meeting his parliament, or on two circumstances, by which it could attending to public business; that the be decided on whose opinion the greatest unanimous opinion of his physicians was, reliance ought to be placed. The first that his Majesty's recovery was more pro-circumstance was the knowledge of the bable than the contrary, and that all the malady in general; and the second the physicians agreed that it was impossible knowledge of the particular case of the to ascertain when that so much wished-for patient. Three of his Majesty's physicians event might take place; but that those had been conversant with the malady. who were more immediately conversant ( Two others, thought not so conversant with the disorder with which his Majesty / were well acquainted with his Majesty's was afflicted, had declared that the majo habits. These two (sir George Baker, rity were cured ; and that one of the phy- and Dr. Warren) attended his Majesty sicians, the most conversant -of any, had for two hours each day; the three others stated, that the greatest length of time from the evening until eleven in the forewhich he had ever known the disorder to noon, Surely, it was natural for those continue, was a year and a half, or two who attended this Majesty most to be the best judges of his situation; and it was if an impropriety of transaction like that remarkable that Dr. Warren and sir was imputed, he would not believe it till George Baker were the least confident of it was distinctly ventural to be said, and a cure, and the other doctors had much when he used the term venture, he did not greater hopes ; but Dr. Willis, who at. mean to use it with regard to the exalted tended bis Majesty more than any of the station of the person in question, but with others, was more sanguine than them all. regard to the transaction itself; nor did Sir Lucas Pepys stated circumstances he (he repeated it) believe that any man which did not amount to a certainty of a would venture to charge blame of any cure, but which proved an abatement of kind on the respectable personage in queshis Majesty's disorder. Dr. Willis was of tion, who had lived for almost thirty years opinion that all the symptoms since the in this country without traduction, a pattime of the last examination, were more tern of the most unexampled affection, favourable. In a word, all the physicians domestic tenderness and virtue ; against agreed in the probability of his Majesty's whom the breath of calumny had not dared recovery, and that the length of the time to send forth even a whisper; and who had made no unfavourable changes : those, could not merit it at a moment, when too, who understood the disorder best, visited by a calamity which rarely befals thought it more favourable.

a private person, but which surely was not For his own part, he wished not to go a little aggravated when it becomes the lot at length in to the particulars of the last of the family of a person in so exalted a report, on which the Committee might rank as the sovereign of the country. As to safely rely, as there were those on the the fact itself, it appeared that Dr. Warren Committee who were anxious to sift, with allowed that apparent circumstances of an the most scrupulous accuracy, every point amendment began to appear; and there likely to prove his Majesty's recovery. was, in consequence, a wish on the part of There had been those who gave no con- her Majesty that the report might be such siderable degree of credit to Dr. Willis; as should give the public the most favourif, therefore, any observations should arise able account of his Majesty's health ; but from them, he conceived that they would would any man prove that any undue inbe made in the same spirit, and with the fuence had been used for that purpose ? same ability, as when they were urged in Mr. Pitt explained in what manner the the Committee above stairs. Upon this oc words “ a comfortable way," had been incasion, he felt it but common justice to com. troduced into the report, and then spoke mend the skill, integrity, and good sense of Dr. Willis, declaring that he was known of Dr. Willis, which were evinced under in the country where he lived, by his a severe cross-examination, calculated to character, and by the happiness which he puzzle simplicity, and leave the coolness had been the means of giving to the nume. which should, of necessity, accompany rous families who were bound to bless him the delivery of evidence, too unguarded. for the good effects of his skill. He menHowever it might suit with the political tioned another physician whose character intrigue of the times, or be convenient to was likewise high, but declared that if he circulate them at present in London and wished to draw a true conclusion of his its environs, he would not anticipate the Majesty's state of health, and prospect remarks which might be made; but, if of recovery he would wish to draw it there were any, such remarks to be ad. from Dr. Willis more than from any other vanced, he desired, if they chose to discuss | physician. the credit of either this or that physician, At length, Mr. Pitt adverted to the that they might understand the nature of situation for which they were to provide, the imputation. In the course of the and this situation was no less than the cesinquiry above stairs, a circumstance had sation of the personal exercise of the roy. come out, over which he would not draw al authority: a deficiency for which no a veil of delicacy, as he was not ashamed previous provision had been made. As to bring it forward. If it be stated to the cause of deficiency, he had every regthe discredit of any physician, that he had son to think, would prove but temporary, submitted to be unduly influenced by a they must deliberately consider what were great personage, let the committee know the cases for which they were to apply a to what physician the imputation of having remedy. The first object for which they consented to give an untrue account of had to provide, was to secure the estathe state of his Majesty's health applied : blishment of a government in the country,

[ocr errors][merged small]

equal to its safety and the dispatch of vest all the powers in one person? He public business. Out of the nature of laid particular stress on the Regency bill in such a provision another duty arose, of the reign of George 2, and observed, that equal importance to the other : and this there appeared at that time to have been was, to take care that the measure em- a wish on both sides of the House to doubt braced did not go beyond the necessity of what confidence should be placed in the the case. The Committee were to provide regent. They were afraid of making a prepowers for the exercise of the govern cedent, and therefore they gave the royal ment, and they must take care to place powers among many, appointing a council, those powers in proper hands; but, above without whose consent the regent could all things, to recollect that they were not take no important step whatever. The will placing a king on the throne. They were of the predecessor was, by one of the bills, to remember that the throne was full, that to be the system followed, while the heir no right any where existed to exercise the apparent continued a minor; principle royal authority, but that which was con- which he owned he thought went too far, ferred by that House; they were to take although it was a plausible principle, and care to provide against any embarrassment was apparently most applicable to the prein the resumption of the regal authority, sent case. After reasoning upon the three whenever God, in his providence, should different precedents, and touching upon permit the rightful holder again to ex-) the short protectorate of Richard 3, and ercise it. They were to provide only for the other protectorates or guardianships the necessity of the case, and not to ex- in the early periods of our history, and ceed it; and therefore the measures which endeavouring to demonstrate by arguhe should propose, would be to invest his ment, that as, in no preceding instance, all royal highness the Prince of Wales with the the powers of royalty were given to one whole royal authority, to be exercised in person, so, in the present instance, which the name, and on the behalf of his Majes certainly differed most essentially, they ty, under such limitations and restrictions | ought not to be, nor could they be, trustonly as should be provided. The princi- ed in the hands of one person, without ple was not new, although the circum- proving a hazardous, and, possibly, a prestances of the case happened to be unpre- judicial experiment, he declared that he cedented. No man would say, that the would give his vote for investing the Resame power which the principle exercised gent with all the powers which are neces. ought to be given to the delegate; and if sary, but would not agree to give any the House referred to precedents, they which were not requisite to carry on the would find that no one instance could be government of the country with energy met with of the whole of the royal prero- and effect. gatives having been so delegated. On the Mr. Pitt now observed, that he need contrary every precedent which bore the not trouble the House with his first resoSmallest analogy to the present situation, lution, as he had already stated its subevinced the direct contrary, and that stance and effect. The second resolution doubtless, with a view to facilitate and in- | (which he read) was, to restrain the Resure the resignation of the delegate, when gent from exercising one branch of the the principle should be competent to ex-prerogative peculiarly inherent in the ercise or to resume his authority. Refer- Crown, and this was, the power of grantring them to the Act of Queen Anne (the ing peerages, excepting to his Majesty's Act of Succession), the Regency Act of sons, being twenty-one years of age. George 2, and the Regency Act of the pre- This restriction he thought necessary, as sent King, Mr. Pitt added, let them look the Regent ought not to confer any grant to the case of a sovereign disabled by in. which might produce difficulties and emfancy. Was the regent of the country in- barrassments, when the happy hour of his vested with full and unlimited power to Majesty's restoration to his health should exercise the royal authority ? Undoubte arrive. The object of investing the Crown edly not. In the three regency bills in with the power of creating peers was, to the statute books to which he adverted, enable the Sovereign to distribute rewards were there not limitations ? There were to eminent merit, and to give the Crown in every one. All the powers might be the means of choosing persons who should given, but then they were not given to one add to the number of one of the branches person. What was the principle in a case of the legislature. The creation of peers of minority? It was thought unsafe to was one of those powers which belonged

[ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »