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Solicitor-General, with whom I dined, said he understood to be firmness on the part of Rolle, in his intention at a proper time to come forward.
To our question of right, on Tuesday the previous question is expected from Opposition; and that they will be stronger on that point than any other, from having the timidity of some, co-operate with the interestedness of others. The list on that day will be worth marking. I trust we shall yet have a great majority of Parliament who will not submit to be dragooned out of their privileges and freedom by an Irish Brigade.
Grattan is every day under the gallery, not admiring, I hope, the Captains Sheridan and Burke. I know not which side he leans to.
Adieu, my dear Lord. My wife desires to forward her kindest wishes and best respects to the Marchioness, with your most affectionate and devoted friend's,
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Dec. 14th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I received this morning your letter of the 8th, and am very sorry that I am so hurried to-day as to make it absolutely impossible for me to enter into the subject which you discuss, in the manner which I should wish. You will collect from a former letter my general notions upon it, but I doubt whether those inay not be considerably varied by the consideration which you suggest of being able to carry more for the King by remaining, than otherwise.
I have had a good deal of conversation with Pitt on the subject. He promises me that he will, immediately after Tuesday, discuss it thoroughly with me, and enable me to send you his decided opinion how you ought to act. I find, from what he says, that he apprehends Lord Thurlow's opinion to be
contrary to ours. This, however, seems immaterial, except with a view to future support, and, probably, cannot easily be brought to a point, as no Cabinet measure or instructions can be grounded upon it. The idea still continues of proceeding by Bill; and as we preface that with an assertion of the right in both Houses, it must still be a considerable time before any measure can come in question with respect to Ireland.
I believe we shall word the proposition in a less abstract form, and apply it more particularly to this individual case, still, however, asserting the right.
The account is less favourable to-day, notwithstanding that of yesterday. I saw a letter from Willis to Pitt, in which he said that the King “had passed the day calmly, and was, in other respects, much the same as yesterday.” Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.
MR. W. W.GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Dec. 15th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I had yesterday some conversation with Pitt on the subject of your letter, which I had received in the morning.
On the best consideration, we agreed that the line I before mentioned to you is the best which you ought to follow; that you should write a letter, to be delivered immediately upon the Prince of Wales being Regent, to state the doubts, to suggest the solution of Lords Justices, to desire His Royal Highness's commands upon the danger of giving offence here, by the appearing to raise difficulties in Ireland. This was agreed to be more proper, even to the King, than leaving them to open the Parliament. Pitt has received a very haughty letter from the Prince of Wales to Thurlow, complaining of his general behaviour to him, and of his not having bad Pitt's plan communicated to him, and ordering Thurlow to require him to send it to him in writing. Pitt has sent a respectful answer, disclaiming any disrespect to him; but saying that he does not think it proper to do this until the question of right has been discussed.
It is reported that the four Princes of the blood met yesterday, and agreed to refuse the Regency under any limitations, and this is to be declared in the House of Commons to-morrow. I have reason to believe this to be true. Pitt saw the Queen yesterday; I do not know what passed, though I think he is satisfied.
I enclose a letter from Camplin, upon which you must decide. I have not yet seen Captain Nugent, who has sent me a letter from you, but his business is wholly out of our cognizance. Ever most affectionately yours,
W. W. G.
When Pitt was at Kew he saw Willis, who told him that he did not think the difference in the King's state within these last two days, of the smallest importance. That this sort of fluctuation was naturally to be expected, and did not in any degree diminish his hopes, which are as sanguine as ever.
MR. W. W. GRENVILLE TO THE MARQUIS OF BUCKINGHAM.
Whitehall, Dec. 17th, 1788. MY DEAR BROTHER,
I have nothing to add to what I said in my last letter, on the interesting subject of your situation and conduct in the events that may most reasonably be expected to arise. It appears, however, to me, to be of the utmost importance that you should not neglect for a moment taking the opinion of the law servants of the Crown in Ireland, with respect to the operation of a new patent granted by a Parliamentary Regent here, under the English Great Seal, previous to any proceeding having been held in Ireland. I have a real confidence in Fitzgibbon's honour; but I think this a point of much too great importance to yourself, to be vested on verbal opinions. You may, and I think ought, both to keep these written opinions secret, and to require them to do so; but as soon as you have received them, you should, I think, transmit them to Lord Sydney, to remain in his office. You will observe that the ground is now in some measure cleared for you by the declaration of right, which we came to last night, and which will certainly be agreed to by the House of Lords. I expected to have been able to send you an exact copy of the resolutions, but am disappointed. You will, however, probably see them in the “Morning Chronicle,” if that comes out early enough for the post. The first states the fact of the King's present inability to attend to business, “and that the personal exercise of the royal authority by His Majesty is thereby for the present interrupted.”
The second: “That it is the right and duty of the Lords and Commons (describing them as in the preamble to the Bill of Rights) to provide the means of supplying the defect in the personal exercise, &c., in such manner as the exigency of the case may appear to them to require.”
The third : “That for the above purpose, and for maintaining entire the constitutional authority of His Majesty, it is necessary that the said Lords and Commons should determine on the means by which the royal assent may be given in Parliament to such Bill as may be passed by the two Houses, respecting the exercise of the royal power, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, during the continuance of His Majesty's indisposition.”
I believe I have given you very nearly the words, which I ought to remember, having employed very near the whole of two days in settling them with Pitt and our lawyers.
Our principle is, that the King's authority remains entire. That no legislative act can be done but with the formal sanction of his assent. That no person can take upon him to
give that assent, except by the direction and authority of the two Houses, who have the right, in the present emergency, to act for the King; but must, even in doing that, adhere as nearly as possible to the forms of the Constitution.
Fox opposed these resolutions, in one of the best speeches I ever heard from him ; but I think indiscreetly supporting and enforcing all his old ground of the Prince of Wales's right. Towards the end, he made a violent personal attack on Pitt, intimating that he was desirous, through envy, to weaken the hands of those who were to be his successors. This opening was not neglected by Pitt, but laid hold of in a manner which enabled him to speak of his own conduct towards the King and the Prince, and towards the country in the present moment, and to contrast it with that of his opponents. I never heard a finer burst of eloquence, nor witnessed such an impression as it produced. But you will know all this better from the papers.
The division exceeded our expectations. All the neutrals, and many of the wavering people, and some of the most timid of our friends, were against us, on the ground of the inexpediency of agitating this question. You will also naturally see that something is to be allowed for the impression of two Princes of the blood speaking; one of them to assure the country that the Prince of Wales would not urge this claim, and both beseeching, as a sort of personal point, that it might not be made necessary to come to a division upon the question. Still, however, the impression which the claim itself had made on the country, was such that it was a point of real duty to quiet people's minds upon it. But it cannot be surprising, that under all these circumstances, and under the fear of some unexplained danger, many people should be caught by a previous question. I was a little mortified at finding our friend Sir P. P. among these. I had no previous intimation of this till I saw him in the division, nor have I bad any opportunity of conversing with him since. I am not sure that he did not