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SIR WILLIAM YOUNG TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Thursday, Dec. 11th, 1788. MY DEAR LORD,
I did not receive your kind letter of Dec. 2nd, until my arrival last night from the House of Commons, when it was too late to write, and the conversation which then arose was of so important a nature, that it was not practicable or proper to steal a moment from the debate, or to send a line respecting it ere it was closed, and the subject took a decisive turn, which was after the post hour.
To a friendship so dear and honourable to me as yours, and shown me by so many instances of goodness, the best answer I can make is, through life, by a return of grateful attachment, honour, and disinterestedness; and in these, if I aught know myself, I shall never fail.
Of the momentous business opened last night, I can only say that our astonishment is only to be equalled by the spirits we are in, on viewing the grounds Mr. Fox hath abandoned to us and left our own. Lord Radnor, who breakfasted with me this morning, told me he understands that Fox's doctrine, “ that the Prince of Wales was Regent, invested with full regal authority immediately and de jure on the incapacity, however temporary, of the King, and that the two Houses of Parliament had no right to debate thereon even,” came from that constitutional lawyer, Lord Loughborough. Radnor's further remark, that Fox, having on a former occasion sought to trespass on the royal just prerogative, had now completed his attack on the Constitution, in denying the rights of Lords and Commons, is worthy observation. Talbot, who made one of my morning's levée, told me that at White's last night, all was hurra! and triumph. Charles Sturt and other youngsters took part at the bar, to echo the “ Hear, hear," from Fitzpatrick and Burke, of
Fox's doctrine ; yet the “Hear, hear," was but little caught or repeated, though given loudly. Looking back to the history of this “Man of the People," and to his present conduct, in despite of his talents of logical discrimination, I begin almost to doubt whether his weakness or profligacy is transcendant. Pitt's language was most masterly and decisive; and has been done but little justice to in the papers of this day. The general tenor of subject they will give you, but what I have seen does not touch on the overthrow of Fox's resort to the doctrine that Parliament was of “Kings, Lords, and Commons; that no two branches thereof could make a law,” by the just and constitutional distinction between the two Houses making a law, and the providing or giving efficiency to the third executive branch of Legislature in cases of defect, whatever it may be. The report of the physicians being ordered to be printed, will be out to-morrow, when I will send it, with a few remarks. Our great days are to be Monday and Tuesday.
It will scarcely escape your Lordship’s penetration, that when Fox said recognition of the Prince's claim de jure to be the sole right and province of Parliament, implied an act of the House to debate, and, if to debate, to decide upon. So idle is genius! I see through the motive power : if Parliament has a right to confer power, it has a right to say what sort of power. So far Fox's penetration reached, and so he boldly denied the major of the proposition; and then, in a puzzle for consistency of popular attachment to good old rights of the Lords and Commons, and his subscription to the pillar at Runnymede, run into the contradiction of admitting the major in shape of recognitions. It is impossible yet to foresee what tergiversation will take place, or how many will sacrifice their principles to the rising sun; forgetting that apostacy to honest principles requires that there should be a transcendancy of merit of another sort-namely, of great ability to be useful to make that apostacy acceptable or the object of remuneration. Hating the traitor and loving the treason, is a state maxim to be remembered by those whose treason is scarcely ever to be regarded while themselves are the objects of civil contempt. Yet some hold a language of doubt. One or two, whom I will not yet name, I told if they had not made up an opinion, they had better ask their constituents for one. It seems to me, that the business must close in a resort to the sense of the nation. In what shape such resort may possibly, I think not probably, be made, is serious indeed. But the violence of the faction of Fox portends every evil. Perhaps, however, and most likely, the resort to a new election, may give us time to grow cool, and close matters there. Adieu, for the day. Ever, my dear Lord, in truth and affection, Your devoted friend and servant,
LORD BULKELEY TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Stanhope Street, Dec. 1lth, 1788. MY DEAR LORD,
The scene here is a very busy one, and I never was so interested in any public measures in my life as in the support of Mr. Pitt and the King at this moment, looking upon it as my duty to do all in my power to stem the torrent of profligacy which the Opposition and their King seem determined to hazard with the good sense, decency, and character of the country. I really do see such things, and hear of such doings, that my tolerant spirit cannot forgive, and if you had not very good information of them, I should think myself bound to treat you with them. The Nevilles, Fortescues, Jemmy, and the General, being in town, we make a very strong corps together; and we are sent to White's every night to gain intelligence for our ladies, who are not a little animated in favour of the good cause. Charles Fox and Pitt were at issue yesterday in the House, when the former advanced the most extraordinary doctrines, considering his former opinions in the Whig Club and in Parliament on constitutional points. I hope the nation will see what lengths he is capable of going when it answers his purposes. I do not hear of many rats running as yet, except the Duke of Queensbury, Lord Brudenell, and W. Gerrard, Hamilton, and Sir Robert Smyth, but probably some more dirty dogs will follow them. The Chancellor seems very sour and crusty, and certainly does not like Pitt, but I cannot believe he will do otherwise than right on this momentous occasion.
We sat yesterday till eight, in the Lords, and thought Lord Camden imprudent in touching upon what had passed in the Commons the day before, as it gave the Opposition an excuse for being violent; it, however, had one good effect, that the Chancellor opened enough of his sentiments to show that he means to stand by his colleagues. His speech was not long, but one of the finest I ever heard, and made so strong an impression, that we gave him a merry “ Hear, hear,” which you know is not very frequent in the House of Lords. I think we shall carry the question of restrictions very powerfully in the Lords, as I hear of no rats but the Duke of Queensbury, the Duke of St. Albans, and Lord Rodney. In the Commons, a great deal will depend on the state of the King's health at the time the question comes on, and on the previous activity of Pitt and his two secretaries, in talking a little to dubious friends, which they have not time nor inclination to do, notwithstanding so much depends upon it.
Adieu, my dear Lord. Our joint and kindest love and remembrance attend you both.
Yours ever, &c.
Pray order your secretary to send me word of the number and income of the tide-waiters' offices which you can spare me, as I have dependants enough if they are as highly paid in Ireland as in England. In the meantime I give you the name of John Thomas, for one of them. Did you ever promote one Alexander Gammach, tide-waiter at Belfast ? Pray do before you quit Ireland.
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Dec. 11th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
You will, no doubt, be as much surprised as I was, to find that the notion of the Prince of Wales's right was brought forward yesterday by Fox in the House of Commons. It was a matter of no less astonishment to many of his own friends, who were by no means prepared for the assertion of such a doctrine. One should lose oneself in conjecture, by attempting to find out what motive can have induced him to take exactly the most unpopular ground on which their side of the question can be rested. I was not in the House; but I find there was an impression on our friends, that in his second speech he had rather seemed desirous of stating the proposition less strongly.
Our present idea is, that it will be right, in consequence of this debate, that nothing should be moved on the first day (which, I think, cannot be till Wednesday) beyond the abstract proposition, as maintained by Pitt; namely, that in every case of suspension or interruption of the personal exercise of the royal authority, otherwise than by death, the care of making provision for the emergency rests with the two Houses of Parliament. These are not the words, but the substance. A stronger question we cannot desire.
12th.-I intended to have sent this off to you yesterday; but was kept in the House of Lords till it was too late. You will see by the papers, better than I can pretend to retail it, what passed there. The doctrine, as stated by Lord Loughborough, was not quite so strong as Fox's; but is sufficiently so, to be