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the regent should have power to dispose of the droits of the crown and of the admiralty.
97. Here was a sort of partnership sovereignty established : a sort of probationary royalty in the regent; and it is truly curious, that, in the preamble of this act, the act is ascribed to the king himself, whose exercise of the royal authority the same bill declares not to be in existence.
“ Be it enacted by the king's most “excellent majesty, by and with the consent of “ the lords spiritual and temporal and the com
mons;" though it says, in the same sentence, that the personal exercise of the royal authority by his majesty is interrupted. At any rate, it was an act passed without the assent of either king or regent. But the great and interesting question was, not whether the act were agreeably to the laws and constitution of the country or not; not whether it was right or wrong thus to defer the full exercise of the royal authority for a year; but whether, limited as the powers were, the prince, upon being invested with them, would take his old friends and companions, the Whigs, to be his ministers. This was tbe great question that agitated the country, and particularly those who belonged to the two political factions. Men in general, unacquainted with the hidden motives that were at work, no more expected that PERCEVAL and ELDON would continue for one moment to be ininisters under the regent, than they
expected the end of the world. They saw in
the very men who had protected his wife in 1806 and 1807; they saw in these men those who had actually turned out his friends, because they had given her that protection; they saw in these men those who had notoriously made it a point to keep in the back ground not only all his favourites, but himself; and they saw in these men the persons who, when, at last, compelled to put a regency into his hands, had so put it with all the trammels and all the de. grading conditions contained and expressed in the Regency Bill just described. How, then, were people in general to imagine that he would retain these men in power for one single moment beyond that the arrival of which would enable him to discard them? They had left him full power to choose his ministers, and, of course, to put all the immense patronage into their hands ; and who was to believe that he would choose Perceval and Eldon (and their colleagues) to be the organs of his will and the
of his will and the possessors of all this patronage; and that he could leave his own friends, to whom and to whose political principles he stood so firmly pledged, still bereft of all those powers and emoluments for which they had so long been sighing? Yet, this he did! He had protested against the limited regency; he had complained that it would deprive him of the power of doing the good that he sought for the
country; his brothers had joined him in the complaint; his friends had protested still more vehemently, and had accused the promoters of the limitation of endeavours to subvert the kingly government: and yet he chose for his ministers the very men who had been the promoters, and, in fact, the doers of all these things so bitterly complained of!
98. But, those who did not look beyond the surface, did not perceive that PERCEVAL and ElDON had still the PRINCESS in their hands; that they had THE BOOK in their hands: the people did not perceive this, and the Whigs themselves seem to have forgotten it; for they were all on tip-toe expecting to be called in to supply the place of ELDON and PERCEVAL. Before the passing of the bill, a deputation from the two Houses of Parliament waited upon the prince and upon the queen, describing to each of them the substance of the bill which was intended to be passed. The prince expressed his regret at the restrictions which it was intended to impose, but, nevertheless, accepted the regency on these terms. The queen was all acquiescence, of course; but now came the great point to be settled; namely, whether the Tories or the Whigs were to be ministers; and this point was settled in favour of the former ! The message from the prince to PERCEVAL upon this occasion, is a couple of documents which do not admit
of description or abbreviation ; we must, therefore, have them here at full length. They should be read with great attention, because we shall
, by-and-by, be fully enabled to judge of their sincerity and consistency; and enabled also to penetrate completely into the motives of this decision of the prince, which filled the whole country with surprise, and plunged into despair those seekers after power and emolument who had so long been called his friends.
THE PRINCE REGENT'S LETTER.
Carlton House, February 4, 1811. The Prince of Wales considers the moment to be arrived, which calls for his decision with respect to the persons to be employed by him in the administration of the executive government of the country, according to the powers vested in him by the bill passed by the two Houses of Parliament, and now on the point of receiving the sanction of the great seal. The prince feels it incumbent upon him, at this precise juncture, to communicate to Mr. Perceval his intention not to remove from their stations those whom he finds there, as his majesty's official servants. At the same time the prince owes it to the truth and sincerity of character, which, he trusts, will appear in every action of his life, in whatever situation placed, explicitly to declare, that the irresistible impulse of filial duty and affection to his beloved and afflicted father, leads him to dread that any act of the regent might, in the smallest degree, have the effect of interfering with the progress of his sovereign's recovery.—This consideration alone dictates the decision now com. municated to Mr. Perceval.-Having thus performed an act of indispensable duty, from a just sense of what is due to his own consistency and honour, the prince has only to add, that among the many blessings to be derived from his majesty's restoration to health, and to the personal exercise of bis royal
-functions, it will not, in the prince's estimation, be the east, that that most fortunate event will at once rescue him from a situation of unexampled embarrassment, and put an end to a state of affairs ill calculated, he fears, to sustain the interests of the United Kingdom, in this awful and perilous crisis, and most difficult to be reconciled to the genuine principles of the British constitution.
MR, PERCEVAL'S ANSWER.
Downing-Street, February 5, 1811. Mr. Perceval presents his humble duty to your royal highness, and has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your royal highness's letter of last night, which reached him this morning.–Mr. Perceval feels it his duty to express his humble thanks to your royal highness for the frankness with which your royal highness has condescended, explicitly, to communicate the motives which have induced your royal highness to honour his colleagues and him with your commands for the continuance of their services, in the stations intrusted to them by the king. And Mr. Perceval begs leave to assure your royal highness, that, in the expression of your royal bighness's sentiments of filial and loyal attachment to the king, and of anxiety for the speedy restoration of his majesty's health, Mr. Perceval can see nothing but additional motives for their most anxious exertions to give satisfaction to your royal lighness, in the only manner in which it can be given, by endeavouring to promote your royal highness's views for the security and happiness of the country.-Mr. Perceval has never failed to regret the impression of your royal highness, with regard to the provisions of the regency bill, which his majesty's servants felt it to be their duty to recommend to parliament. But, he ventures to submit to your royal highness, that, whatever difficulties the present awfulcrisis of the country and the world may create in the administration of the executive government, your royal highness will not find them in any degree increased by the temporary suspension of the exercise of those branches of the royal prerogatives wbich bas been introduced by parliament, in conformity to what was in