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“With respect to the proposed limitation of the authority to be entrusted to me, I retain my former opinion :"-and in the other, the expression of any decided opinion upon the constitutional point is thus evaded :-“For such a purpose no restraint can be necessary to be imposed upon me.” Somewhat less vague and evasive, however, was the justification of ihe opinion opposed to that of the prince, in the following sentence : -“ That day, when I may restore to the king those powers which, as belonging only to him,* are in his name and in his behalf,” &c., &c. This, it will be recollected, is precisely the doctrine which, on the great question of limiting the prerogative, Mr. Fox attributed to the Tories. In another passage, the Whig opinion of the prince was thus tamely surrendered : “Conscious that, whatever degree of confidence you may think fit to repose in me," &c. †
The answer, thus constructed, was, by the two noble lords, transmitted to the prince, who, "strongly objecting" (as we are told) “ to almost every part of it,” acceded to the suggestion of Sheridan that a new form of answer should be immediately sketched out, and submitted to the consideration of Lord Grey and Lord Grenville. There was no time to be lost, as the address of the Houses was to be received the following day. Accordingly, Mr. Adam and Mr. Sheridan proceeded that night, with the new draft of the answer, to Holland House, where, after a warm discussion upon the subject with Lord Grey, which ended unsatisfactorily to both parties, the final result was that the answer drawn up by the prince and Sheridan was adopted
Lord Grey and Lord Grenville immediately sent in a dignified but injudicious reply, remonstrating with the regent,
• The words put in italics in these quotations are, in the same manner, underlined in Sheridan's copy of the paper.
† On the back of Sheridan's own copy of this answer was found written by him the following words : “Grenville's and Grey's proposed answer from the prince to the address of the two Houses ;-very flimsy, and attempting to cover Grenville's conduct and consistency in supporting the present restrictions at the expense of the prince.”
about which Sheridan addressed the following letter to Lord Holland :
“Queen Street, January 15, 1811. “DEAR HOLLAND, “ As you have been already apprised by his Royal Highness the prince that he thought it becoming the frankness of his character, and consistent with the fairness and openness of proceeding due to any of his servants whose conduct appears to have incurred the disapprobation of Lord Grey and Lord Grenville, to communicate their representations on the subject to the person so censured, I am confident you will give me credit for the pain I must have felt, to find myself an object of suspicion, or likely, in the slightest degree, to become the cause of any temporary misunderstanding between his Royal Highness and those distinguished characters, whom his Royal Highness appears to destine to those responsible situations which must in all public matters entitle them to his exclusive confidence.
“I shall as briefly as I can state the circumstances of the fact, so distinctly referred to in the following passage of the noble lord's representation
“But they would be wanting in that sincerity and openness by which they can alone hope, however imperfectly, to make any return to that gracious confidence with which your Royal Highness has condescended to honour them, if they suppressed the expression of their deep concern in finding that their humble endeavours in your Royal Highness's service have been submitted to the judgment of another person, by whose advice your Royal Highness has been guided in your final de cision on a matter in which they alone had, however unworthily, been honoured with your Royal Highness's commands.'
“I must premise, that from my first intercourse with the prince during the present distressing emergency, such conversations as he may have honoured me with have been communications of resolutions already formed on his part, and not of matter referred to consultation, or submitted to advice. I know
that my declining to vote for the further adjournment of the Privy Council's examination of the physicians gave offence to some, and was considered as a difference from the party I was rightly esteemed to belong to. The intentions of the leaders of the party upon that question were in no way distinctly known to me; my secession was entirely my own act, and not only unauthorized, but perhaps unexpected by the prince. My motives for it I took the liberty of communicating to his Royal Highness, by letter, the next day, and previously to that, I had not even seen his Royal Highness since the confirmation of his Majesty's malady.
"If I differed from those who, equally attached to his Royal Highness's interest and honour, thought that his Royal Highness should have taken the step which, in my humble opinion, he has since, precisely at the proper period, taken, of sending to Lord Grenville and Lord Grey, I may certainly have erred in forming an imperfect judgment on the occasion, but, in doing so, I meant no disrespect to those who had taken a different view of the subject. But, with all deference, I cannot avoid adding, that experience of the impression made on the public mind by the reserved and retired conduct which the prince thought proper to adopt, has not shaken my opinion of the wisdom which prompted him to that determination. But here, again, I declare, that I must reject the presumption that any suggestion of mine led to the rule which the prince had prescribed to himself, my knowledge of it being, as I before said, the communication of a resolution formed on the part of his Royal Highness, and not of a proposition awaiting the advice, countenance, or corroboration of any other person. Having thought it necessary to premise thus much, as I wish to write to you without reserve or concealment of any sort, I shall as briefly as I can relate the facts which attended the composing the answer itself, as far as I was concerned.
“On Sunday, or on Monday the 7th instant, I mentioned to Lord Moira, or to Adam, that the address of the two Houses would come very quickly upon the prince, and that he should
be prepared with his answer, without entertaining the least idea of meddling with the subject myself, having received no authority from his Royal Highness to do so. Either Lord Moira or Adam informed me, before I left Carlton House, that his Royal Highness had directed Lord Moira to sketch an outline of the answer proposed, and I left town. On Tuesday evening it occurred to me to try at a sketch also of the intended reply. On Wednesday morning I read it, at Carlton House, very hastily to Adam, before I saw the prince. And here I must pause to declare, that I have entirely withdrawn from my mind any doubt, if for a moment I ever entertained any, of the perfect propriety of Adam's conduct at that hurried interview; being also long convinced, as well from intercourse with him at Carlton House as in every transaction I have witnessed, that it is impossible for him to act otherwise than with the most entire sincerity and honour towards all he deals with. I then read the paper I had put together to the prince,—the most essential part of it literally consisting of sentiments and expressions which had fallen from the prince himself in different conversations; and I read it to him without having once heard Lord Grenville's name even mentioned, as in any way connected with the answer proposed to be submitted to the prince. On the contrary, indeed, I was under an impression that the framing this answer was considered as the single act which it would be an unfair and embarrassing task to require the performance of from Lord Grenville. The prince approved the paper I read to him, objecting, however, to some additional paragraph of my own, and altering others. In the course of his observations he cursorily mentioned that Lord Grenville had undertaken to sketch out his idea of a proper answer, and that Lord Moira had done the same,-evidently expressing himself, to my apprehension, as not considering the framing of this answer as a matter of official responsibility anywhere, but that it was his intention to take the choice and decision respecting it on himself. If, however, I had known, before I entered the prince's apartment, that Lord Grenville and Lord
Grey had in any way undertaken to frame the answer, and had thought themselves authorized to do so, I protest the prince would never even have heard of the draft which I had prepared, though containing, as I before said, the prince's own ideas.
“His Royal Highness having laid his commands on Adam and me to dine with him alone on the next day, Thursday, I then, for the first time, learnt that Lord Grey and Lord Gren. ville had transmitted, through Adam, a formal draft of an answer to be submitted to the prince.
“Under these circumstances I thought it became me humbly to request the prince not to refer to me, in any respect, the paper of the noble lords, or to insist even on my hearing its contents; but that I might be permitted to put the draft he had received from me into the fire. The prince, however, who had read the noble lords' paper, declining to hear of this, proceeded to state how strongly he objected to almost every part of it. The draft delivered by Adam he took a copy of himself, as Mr. Adam read it, affixing shortly, but warmly, his comments to each paragraph. Finding his Royal Highness's objections to the whole radical and insuperable, and seeing no means myself by which the noble lords could change their draft so as to meet the prince's ideas, I ventured to propose, as the only expedient of which the time allowed, that both the papers should be laid aside, and that a very short answer, indeed, keeping clear of all topics liable to disagreement, should be immediately sketched out and be submitted that night to the judgment of Lord Grey and Lord Grenville. The lateness of the hour prevented any but very hasty discussion, and Adam and myself proceeded, by his Royal Highness's orders, to your house to relate what had passed to Lord Grey. I do not mean to disguise, however, that when I found myself bound to give my opinion, I did fully assent to the force and justice of the prince's objections, and made other observations of my own, which I thought it my duty to do, conceiving, as I freely said, that the paper could not have been drawn up but under the