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satisfy your curiosity, that I have not regularly communicated to you as it arose.
You seem to have mistaken some expression in one of my letters, and to have understood that the proposition itself relating to the Regency was to have been brought forward on Thursday last. You will since have seen, that the preliminary steps require so much time, that it must still be Monday, or more probably Wednesday next, before anything can be moved. But you say that you have received no communication of the extent or wording of that plan, so as to consider its legal or political effect towards Ireland. On this, I can only say, that long before the outlines of that plan were finally settled, even, I believe, in Mr. Pitt's mind, certainly long before they were at all agreed upon by the Cabinet, I communicated them to you distinctly, and at length. There has since been no variation in these. With respect to the precise wording of the plan, I do not know that this is yet decided upon; nor do I suppose it can be so, till within a few hours of its being moved. But as to any legal effect which it can have upon Ireland, I have certainly failed in what I intended to do, if I have not stated to you a clear opinion, that no measure taken in Parliament here can possibly affect Ireland any otherwise than as a precedent, which every Irishman must think himself bound to follow, who does not wish to separate the two countries. It surely could not be your wish, nor would it be desirable, to attempt to pledge any Irishman one step beyond that general proposition, that whatever is done by the authority of the British Parliament as to England, must be done in Ireland by the authority of the Irish Parliament; but that the latter will grossly betray the interests of their own country, if they do not adopt the English measure, whatever that may ultimately be. I trust that we shall be able to carry the measure here, such as I stated to you long ago, some time before your Parliament meets; but if it should fail, and any different form be established, I hope we should be the last men in the two countries to wish to disunite them on this ground.
I cannot but repeat, that the expressions and style of your letter have hurt me sensibly. I do not believe, that if you were living in Pall Mall, you could be more distinctly or regularly informed of what passes. You will, of course, hear in Dublin, as you would in Pall Mall, an infinite variety of foolish reports, as is naturally the case when every man has his own speculation. You cannot, I am sure, think it possible that I can even enumerate, much less argue upon, or contradict all these ; but I cannot, at this time, after some reflection, call to my mind any point of the smallest consequence in our present situation with which I am myself acquainted, and which I have omitted to state.
With respect to your own particular situation, I conceive that it is not possible that things can be brought to the point of affecting that for several weeks to come. The measure which is to be brought forward here will, of course, meet with violent opposition; and cannot, according to my calculation, be completed, so as to put the Prince of Wales in possession of the Regency, till the first or second week in January. I think as soon as you receive the notification that this measure has passed in England, it would be right for you to write a very short letter to the Secretary of State, mentioning in a very few words the opinions of lawyers there, that your patent can be vacated only by a Regent appointed by the Irish Parliament, suggesting the expedient of Lords Justices; and then desiring to know His Royal Highness's pleasure, whether he chooses that under those circumstances you should meet the Parliament, for the purpose of laying before them the circumstances of the present situation, or whether you should name Lords Justices, and who they should be. You see, I put this on the supposition that you are not immediately removed, which, for many reasons, I think unlikely. You know my opinion has always been that the Prince would not negotiate, and I am every day more confirmed in it. But I think it may be a question, whether he may not choose to look about him a little. Perhaps, however, in order to anticipate any sudden step, you would do well to send a letter such as I mention, so as to reach England a few days before the measure can pass, and to be here ready to be laid before him when he does accept. In a point of such importance, it seems to me that it would be proper that you should have, for your own justification, the written opinions of your lawyers on the point I mention, but not to send them over here. I mention this as a general idea ; but wish you to consider it, because I am sure, in general, the less you write on this subject the better, in order that you may not give ground of misquoting, or misrepresenting what you say.
As to the idea of vesting the Government in Lords Justices, or taking any step for throwing up the Government in the interval, except with the consent and by the direction of the Prince of Wales, I should most earnestly deprecate it for a thousand reasons; but, above all, for the impression which it would give here of abandoning the interests of this country in Ireland, for the sake of adding to the confusion, and creating factious difficulties. I think your line clear, and that you have nothing to do but to sit still saying or doing nothing till our measure passes. You then ask the Prince of Wales whether he chooses that you or any Lords Justices should meet Parliament; and if he directs you to stay, you have nothing to do but to express to anybody that asks you, your wish that the English measure should be precisely followed. Whatever, under such circumstances, is the conduct of the Irish Parliament, you cannot be responsible for it, unless you make yourself so.
There is another urgent reason against your taking any step for breaking up your Government: the King is daily getting better, and has been continuing so to do ever since Sunday. Willis's examination before the Committee yesterday, was all but decisive as to the certainty of his recovery in a short time. I will send it to you in the course of to-morrow, or the next day; but these are the material parts. He is asked what hopes he entertains of the King's recovery? He says he entertains great hopes; that if it was the case of a common man, he should have no doubt of his recovery; but in the King's situation, his own reflections on his situation, when he begins to recover his reason, may retard the cure. (A good lesson, by the bye, to the Prince of Wales, &c.) He says he cannot yet affirm that there are signs of convalescence, but that there is everything leading to it; particularly that the irritation has almost entirely subsided, which must precede convalescence, or any appearance of it. He is asked with respect to his own experience, &c. ? He says, that of ten patients brought to him within three months of their being attacked, nine have recovered. That the smallest time he remembers, is six weeks or two months from their being brought to him; the longest, a year and a half; the average, about five months.
With this account, it is not very sanguine to hope that the King's actual recovery may take place before the measure can pass here; or, at least, such a prospect of it as may make it absolutely impossible for the Prince, whatever his disposition may be, to change the Government. If the amendment continues, it may even be a question whether further adjourment may not be thought right, though the inconveniences of this, particularly with respect to foreign affairs, are so great that it must not be done but upon very strong grounds indeed.
The nonsense about dissolution has been talked in England as well as in Ireland; but I cannot persuade myself that it really comes from Lord Loughborough. It has not made its fortune much here. Anybody who had the smallest knowledge of the general turn and bent of the public mind, both in and out of Parliament, would not have broached so foolish an idea.
I told you, in one of my former letters, that I was utterly at a loss to guess what Bernard's motive was for going to Ireland in the moment which he chose. I stated my wishes against it; but I saw that there was some mystery behind, which he did not wish to explain, and therefore I pressed him no more about it.
Adieu, my dear brother. I hate writing anything to you, which can bear even the appearance of complaint. I feel for the disagreeableness of your situation at this moment: being at a distance from the scene of events which interest you so much, and from any conversation with those in whom you most confide. But I am sure you will, on reflection, acquit me of any want of attention to you on the head of communication.
I am much obliged to you for your anxiety about myself. I had a slight attack of fever for a day or two; but it is now entirely gone.
Five o'clock. I am just returned from the Committee, who have finished the examination of the physicans. The examinations of to-day are not very material; but as far as they go, they confirm our favourable hopes. Another account is just come from Kew, that the King has continued better ever since the account of this morning, which is the public one.
Pitt is to move to-day for the Committee of Precedents. Fox told us he meant to say a few words against it, as unnecessary, but not to divide ; so I shall not go down again.
The notion of the Prince of Wales not accepting, seems to lose ground; and all these favourable accounts of the King are evidently strong grounds of argument for our measures.