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The motion, thus intended, was considered by the members present as having no precedent, and as being, in its consequences, highly alarming. Mr. Rolle (member for Devonshire) declared, “ T'hat there were reports, of a tendency to affe&t the conftitution of this country, in CHURCH and STATE, and till those reports were cleared up, and certain explanations given, he should not be for voting a single shilling.” Several members, Mr. Powys, Mr. Hussey, Mr. BROOK WATSON, and others, stood up in their places, all deeply impressed with the magnitude of the business, and deprecating the motion. The Minifter, likewise, appeared adverte to a motion so novel, and so much againft all form and precedent; adding, that however painful it might prove, he must discharge his duty to the Crown, wichout wanting, at the same time, due respect for the Prince. On a subsequent day, Mr. Fox went to the House, and declared, that " he had the best authority to contradi& all reports in toto." What those reports were, was not mentioned, in dire& terms, by Mr. Rolle, and men were left to their own conjectures, as to the specific matter denied by Mr. Fox. The pamphlet before us ascertains it with precision; and as this business muft, hereafter, form a portion of our hiftory, we think it not improper to give the following abftract of what Ms. Horne Tooke has said on the occasion :
This “ Letter to a Friend," is dated April 1787, and pure ports to have been written while the business was depending in parliament. The points, which the writer has in view, are three : That the Prince was actually married to Mrs. Fitzher. bert; That such marriage is good and legal ; and laftly, That it cannot be affected by the Act of Settlement. Mr. Horne Tooke lets out with an opinion, that the queftion, then before the House of Commons, would be blinked on both sides: from the Ministerial fide he did not expect a fincere discharge of duty to the King, nor, from the Opposicion, a more firm attachment to his Royal Highness. The Ins would, most probably, do enough to keep in, without hurting their future interests; and the Outs, having a regard to nearer, and of course dearer, contingencies, would not go the whole length in their adherence to the Prince. Both parties would act with a double prospect, and between both, the truih would be kept concealed, without afford. ing to the people at large any useful or solid information. • In order, therefore, to dispel the mist, the letter-writer tells us, in plain terms, that he concludes • Mrs. Firzherbert to be, in all respects, legally, really, worthily, and happily for this country, hér Royal Highness the Princess of Wales,' This, he says, has been lü circulated through the nation, that it were a ridiculous affe&tation to be any longer delicate about the matter; and, therefore, Mr. H. Tooke says, it is believed by him, on folid grounds,
that the Prince of Wales is married to the late) Mrs. Fitzher. bert; that the measure, while it was yet in contemplation, was known to him, on good authority; and that he has felt much joy in its completion.
We are not told the grounds upon which his belief is founded; but the fact now stands roundly asserted. He wonders that the friends of his Royal Highness stood aloof, affecting to disbelieve the story, or to keep it secret, whereas the honour of all con: cerned required, that it should be made as authentic and public as possible.
The marriage, he admits, has been held both improper, and legally imposible. Improper, because the lady was an English subject, and not descended from a sovereign house. To this he answers, that such marriages, at all times within memory, were in use with the sovereigns of this kingdom, uninterrupted till the accession of the present family on the throne. He observes, that Queen Elizabeth, the two immediate predecessors of George the First, and the house of Stuart itself, with the very sovereign under whom the house of Hanover claims, were all the issue of such a match. Five sovereigns of the house of Tudor were the issue of such matches, and no mischief ever did, or could arife to this country. He will not admit the idea that a beautiful English woman is unfit to be the companion of an English prince; and the ladies, no doubt, will be obliged to him for so polite an argument. The policy, he says, is new, and im. ported into this kingdom with the house of Hanover. By the law of succeßion in Germany, the issue of an unequal match, namely, of a sovereign married to a subject not descended from a sovereign house, is excluded from the inheritance; and for this reason, the children of Prince Louis of Wirtemberg, eldeft ne. phew of the reigning Duke, will be postponed to the issue of a younger branch. We are further told, that the rule is now adopted in England, to secure the succession of the King of Great Britain to the Electorate of Hanover. It was with this view, he says, that the ridiculous notion of impropriety was introduced into this kingdom. Mr. Tooke thinks that the Prince, who should by an improper match separate Hanover from Great Bricain, would do a public service to both countries : the event, he says, is much to be wilhed for, and the obligation would be great to English beauty and merit. By this view of the business, he Aatters himself that the people of England will be reconciled to the marriage, when, like himself, they shall know it to be true.
The validity of the marriage is: his next confideration. By the 12th of the King, such a match is declared to be illegal, since it is thereby provided, that (excepting the issue of Prinrefjes, who have married, or may marry with foreign families),
« No descendant of the body of George the Second shall be ca. pable of contracting matrimony without the King's consent un, der the great seal, and declared in council; provided nevertheless, that after the age of twenty-five, if any such descendant shall give notice to the King's Privy Council of an intention to contract a marriage, then, at the expiration of twelve calendar months, it shall be lawful to contract such marriage, unless, in the mean time, both Houses of Parliament Iball declare their disapprobation.” Such is the substance of the act, and consequently the marriage in question (which Mr. Tooke asserts to be founded in fact) must in point of law be null and void. Before the Prince's age of twenty-five, the King's consent under the great seal was not given ; and fince that age, no such intention bas been notified to the Privy Council, so that Parliament might take cognizance of it. A lawyer would therefore declare che marriage void. But Mr. H. Tooke contends for its validity. The A&t of Parliament, according to him, is null and void. It encroaches on natural rights. You cannot give a lease of a pump, without the right to draw water, No A&t of Parliament can restrain our eye-fight, hearing, eating, or digeftion. The statute in question is worse than caftration : it condemns to ceJibacy, without a limited period, unless the King, like the Pope, fhall grant a dispensation to restore the dignity of manhood, and give leave to use the natural rights of an animal. From these premises it is inferred that the Act of the 12th of the King is no more than a mam law. Mr. H. Tooke adds, that their Royal Highneffes (as he believes their marriage to have been solemnized) may reft assured that the honourable union between them is not only in conscience, but in law, firm, good, valid, and legal.' On this matter we shall not hazard any opinion. It is not for us to settle either the law or the fast. Should the question ever arise, the lawyers of the day will discuss it, and the statute book will be dogs-eared throughout the kingdom.
The third part of Mr. Tooke's argument still remains. The Act of Secilement stands in his way. By the i W.& M, Stat. 2, cap. 2, sier. 9, it is enacted, that “ Every person, who shall pro. fess the Popish religion, or marry a Papift, shall be excluded, and be for ever incapable to inherit, pofleis, or enjoy the crown of this realm and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belong. ing; and in all such cases, the people are absolved from their allegiance." This Act is further confirmed by the 12 and 13 W. III. 6. 2, by which the crown was settled in the house of Hanover.
To these laws Mr. H. Tooke makes no objection. On the contrary, the people, he says, were well authorised (for it is their natural right) to fix and determine upon what conditions they will accept a sovereign. He thinks that Mr. Rolle, alarmed as
the independent. But thought. Rolle fe the i
he was for the safety of Church and State, [why do we always put the Church first?] behaved in Parliament with an open, manly, and independent spirit, which certain small wits have endeavoured to decry. But though wits may Aatter themselves that they have sterling talents, Mr. Rolle seems to have chat about him which is better than genius, and in the long-run will leave his adversaries at a distance behind. Manly as it was in this gentleman to avow his apprehenfions for the Constitution, Mr. H. Tooke has no such alarm : his answer is, Whatever reli. gious opinion Mrs. FITZHERBERT may or may not have for. merly contracted (a matter perfectly indifferent)-her ROYAL Highness is not a Papift.' He does not object to the clause, which excludes all of that religion, but wishes other passages in the Act of Settlement were as ftrictly observed ; in particular that which provides, that no person holding offices or places of profit under the King, or receiving pensions from the Crown, Thall be capable of a seat in the House of Commons. This, he says, was basely surrendered to Queen Anne, within five years after it was enacted. For the restoration of this clause, he is willing to barter the Papilt marriage, being more willing to trust the Sovereign with a Papift wife, than with a corrupt Parliament. He concludes his letter with an inference from all that he has faid, namely, that his Royal Highness's marriage is neither un. usual, improper, imposible, illegal, nor affected by the Act of Settlement.
In this manner Mr. Horne Tooke goes through the three proposicions he set out with, viz. That the Prince is married ; 2dly, That his marriage is legal; and 3dly, Unimpeached by the Act of Settlement. But ftill one thing ítares him in the face, and in consequence of this, he tells us, in a postscript, that since the conclusion of his letter, he has been informed, by news paper authority, that the marriage in question has been formally and solemnly disavowed in the House of Commons; the very suppofia tion treated as absurd, and the report, originating in wilful malice and vulgar calumny. But this news paper authority he will not believe. It tends to lessen the character of the lady, and the Prince is not capable of such conduct. A lady's character is bartered away for money. A Prince's honour, once sacrificed, can never be retrieved. The complaint that the heir apparent was reduced to the ftate of a private gentleman, was the very reason why his income should not be enlarged. That date resumed would be a demand for a suitable income. But a compromise took place: the debts are to be paid, Carlton-house to be completed ; and (since it is denied that the Prince is married) no augmentation of income, till he does marry. In the whole transaction, it is the opinion of our Author, that the Ad. miniftration and Oppofition have concurred in nothing, but un.
is til one thing in a poftrcip, by newspaper To
blushingly to palm a falsehood on the world.-The pamphlet concludes with a serious with that both King and Prince would be convinced, that neither of them can be faithfully served by their respective adherents. He therefore presumes to recommend to both, a cordial and affectionate concurrence of sentiment: dilo union between them will ever be the signal for infidelity.
Thus we have laid before our Readers a brief, but full, account of this extraordinary publication. The question, to which it relates, is of importance, but whether any, and what credit is due to the proposition advanced by Mr. Horne Tooke, we leave as a point of curious speculation to more able politicians than we pretend to be. For us, we can say nothing to the great and leading problem, which may be considered as the basis of the work. The Author has thought proper to hazard bimself in a business of great nicety. The grounds of his political creed are best known to himself. Without taking upon us to accuse him of rashness, we only venture to say, that the strong assertion, contained in this work, ought to be built upon the fureft foundation; and, even in that case, after so public a denial, as was delivered in the House of Commons, had the pamphlet been entirely suppressed, the sacrifice to politeness would, perhaps, not have been too great. As to the Author's opinion of eventual happiness, either to THE PARTIES, or to the PUBLIC, from lo queftionable a transaction, it seems to be matter of PROPHECY : but of the truth or falsehood of that PROPHECY our children and grandchildren may, at some remote period of time, be the best judges.
Art. XVI. Seduction : a Comedy. As it is performed at the Theatre
I to be the circumstance on which the Author chiefly values himself, and on which he wishes to build his reputation. This claim, in modern times, seems to be novel. Horace has long ago said that a play of this rational and useful cast will always, by the critic of sound judgment and the people at large, be preferred to those productions, which have nothing to boast of but the meretricious ornament of language, and the trick and cun. ning of the scene. Of our former dramatic writers, STEELE and Cubber beft understood and practised Horace's rule. Inftru&tive leitons for the conduct of life are inculcated in the four comedies left by Sir Richard Steele, and the Provoked and Careless Husband, will be lasting monuments of Cibber's regard for the utility of the drama. But the example of those succeffful writers has been but little followed. The dramatists of our