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forget me, if I forget the constitution of this country !-that constitution which placed my family upon the throne of these realms; that constitution which has been long our pride, and the envy of all surrounding nations; and, for the want of which blessing, they have all been confounded into one horrible mass of anarchy, ruin and despair, while we stand secure of revolutions, firm as a rock; as a great beacon of civil, constitutional, and religious liberty, in the midst of a subjugated and desolated world ; that constitution for which my family have pledged themselves to live and die.'
The Duke of York followed on the same side; but his speech, in point of argument, was merely an echo of some of the sentiments so ably expressed by his royal brother.
We are now arrived at the important point of the celebrated restrictions which were imposed on the Prince of Wales, as Regent; and which, although accepted of, and acted under, were well known not to be very palatable to his Royal Highness, nor agreeable to those who expected to profit by the exercise of an unlimited power. On the 31st of December, the House of Commons, after a conference with the Lords, resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, on the state of the nation, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer rose and stated, that the resolutions declaring the King's incapacity to exercise the royal functions having been agreed to by the Lords, it now remained for the Commons to consider of the measures that were proper to be adopted, to supply the defect in the executive government. He then stated, it would be his duty to submit a proposition to the House, calling upon his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to take upon himself the exercise of the royal authority, subject to certain restrictions in the use of it, and which restrictions it was intended should be limited in point of duration. He would propose, in the first place, that the Regent should not have the power of creating peers ; in the second, that he should be debarred from granting places or pensions for life ; and the third restriction would apply to making provision for the custody of 25.
his Majesty's person, which he would propose, should be confided to the Queen, and a council nominated to assist her. He, therefore, accordingly moved the first resolution as follows :
• Resolved, That for the purpose of providing for the exereise of the royal authority, during the continuance of his Majesty's illness, in such manner, and to such extent, as the present circumstances and the urgent concerns of the nation appear to require, it is expedient that his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, being resident within the realm, shall be empowered to exercise and administer the royal authority, according to the laws and constitution of Great Britain, in the name and on behalf of his Majesty, all authorities, prerogatives, acts of government, and admiuistration of the same, that belong to the King of this realm to use, execute, and perform, according to the law thereof, subject to such limitations and exceptions as shall be provided,'
Having entered fully into the principles of that resolution he proceeded to read the following ones.
• Resolved, That the care of his Majesty's royal person, during the continuance of his Majesty's illness, shall be committed to the Queen's most excellent Majesty; and that her Majesty shall have the power to remove from, and to nominate and appoint such persons as she shall think proper, to the several offices in his Majesty's household ; and to dispose, order and manage all other matters and things relating to the care of his Majesty's royal person, during the time aforesaid ; and that, for the better enabling her Majesty to discharge this important task, it is also expedient that a council shall be appointed to advise and assist her Majesty in the several matters aforesaid; and with power, from time to time, as they may see cause, to examine, upon oath, the physicians and others attending his Majesty's person, touching the state of his Majesty's health, and all matters relating thereto.
• Resolved, That the power so to be given to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, shall not extend to the granting of any rank or dignity of the peerage of the realm to any person whatever, except to (persons who have rendered eminent service to the country, by sea or land.)
• Resolved, That the said power shall not extend to the granting of any office whatever in reversion, or to the granting of any office, salary, or pension, for other term than during his Majesty's pleasure, except such offices as are by law required to be granted for life or during good behaviour, and except — (An exception will here be introduced in favour of persons rendering eminent services to the country by sea or land.)
• Resolved, That, the said power shall not extend to the granting of any part of his Majesty's real or personal estate, except as far as relates to the renewal of leases.'
To the first of these resolutions an amendment was moved by the Honourable Mr. W. Lambe, to leave out all the words which contained the restrictions: it was however lost by the trifling majority of 24; and in a division respecting the second resolution, the majority was only 16. The fourth resolution, respecting the King's private property, was unanimously agreed to, and the consideration of the fifth resolution was postponed to the following day.
On that day, 1st January, 1811, the House met, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer briefly recapitulated the arguments which he had previously used, recommendatory of the adoption of the resolutions, when Earl Gower moved an amendment, to leave out certain words in the second resolution, after the words Queen's most excellent Majesty,' respecting the power of the Queen in removals, &c., and to insert words to the following effect, together with the sole direction of such persons and establishment, as are suitable in the present circumstances to the care of the King's sacred person and royal dignity
The speeches of Sir Samuel Romilly and Mr. Whitbread, in support of this amendment, and in annulling every restrictiou whatever upon the Regent, made a powerful impression upon the House, and on a division taking place, ministers were left in a majority against them of 13.
On the following day, Lord Porchester moved as an amendment to the first resolution, that the words “subject to such limitations and exceptions as shall hereafter be provided,' be left out.
On this amendment the brilliant powers of Sheridan were exerted with extraordinary effect; he entered into a far more extensive view of the subject than any of the speakers who had preceded him, and the character which he drew in this speech of Buonaparte will always stand on record as one of the most forcible delineations which was ever drawn of that extraordinary man. He closed his speech with these memorable words— Whatever are my hopes and views of reform, I say now, as I have ever said, that we are struggling to preserve a condition of society far above that which the other civilized nations of the world have attained. Is this then the moment to fetter or restrict the constitutional powers of him whom the public voice has unanimously called to preside over our destiny during the unhappy indisposition of his Sovereign and father ? Shall we send him forth with a broken shield and half a spear to that contest, on the issue of which depend not alone the safety of Great Britain, but the rights and happiness of mankind ?
Mr. Perceval then moved as an amendment to Lord Porchester's amendment, That the Queen have unlimited power over the household. On a division the ministers were again left in a majority against them of three. The resolutions, therefore, as presented to the Lords, went to restrain the Regent from the granting of peerages, &c., for a limited term; but they granted him the whole of the household, except what the two Houses might in their wisdom deem suitable to the care of his Majesty's person.
The resolutions passed in the House of Commons came on for discussion in the House of Lords on the 4th of January ; but the arguments used by the Peers, in support of and against the resolutions, were so similar to those used by the Commons, that it is unnecessary to enter into any exposition of
them. On the first resolution, however, Lord Lansdowne moved an amendment for leaving out the words subject to such restrictions,' &c., and on a division, ministers were left in a minority.
Lord Liverpool then proposed the omission of the privilege which had been supported by his friend, Mr. Perceval, in the Commons, namely, that of granting peerages for extraordinary naval and military services; and certain opposition lords, who preferred the full restriction to an invidious distinction, voting on this occasion with the ministers, the numbers were for Lord Liverpool's amendment-Contents, 106; Non-contents. 100.-This amendment being agreed to by the Commons, the resolutions were passed, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer then stated. that as the two Houses had now agreed on their resolutions, he trusted they would also concur in appointing a committee to attend his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and her Majesty the Queen with the resolutions which the two Houses of Parliament had agreed to. The committee who were to wait upon the Prince should inform him that the two Houses of Parliament, considering on the means of supplying the deficiency in the royal authority, had resolved to empower his Royal Highness to take upon himself the office of Regent, subject to such limitations and restrictions as appeared to them to be proper in the present circumstances; and they were also to express their hope that, in his regard for his Majesty and the nation, his Royal Highness would take upon himself the weighty and important trust reposed in him, as soon as a bill should be passed for that purpose.
A resolution to the above effect was 'moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was agreed to unanimously, and ordered to be communicated to the Lords in a conference.
On the 8th, the Earl of Liverpool rose and stated, that their Lordships were now arrived at that point of time in their proceedings upon the important business of supplying the existing defect in the exercise of the royal authority, at which they were called upon, in conformity to the precedent on which