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England. He would be bold to say, nay they all knew, that the doing so would be a loss of time, for there existed no precedents whatever, that could bear upon the present case. There might have been an incompetency, there might have been an inability in former monarchs, to direct the reins of government; but if such a misfortune had happened to the country, it had happened at a time when there was not the alleviation of a natural substitute. The circumstance to be provided for did not depend upon their deliberation, it rested elsewhere. There was then a person in the kingdom, differing from any other person that any existing precedents could refer to, an heir apparent of full age and capacity to exercise the regal power. It behoved them, therefore, not to waste a moment unnecessarily, but to proceed with all-becoming speed and
come forward fairly, and avow it at that instant. If the Prince of Wales did not instantly claim those powers to which, from analogy, from history, and from the spirit of the constitution he was clearly entitled ; if he acted in a manner more suited to his character and education; that moderation should be their strongest incitement to do him justice. The Prince, Mr. Fox said, had been bred up in those principles which had placed his illustrious house upon the throne, andwith a known reverence and regard for those principles, as the true fundamentals of our glorious constitution, in the maintenance of which his family had flourished with so much prosperity and happiness as the sovereigns of the British empire. Hence it was, that his royal highness chose rather to wait the decision of parliament, with a patient and due deference to the constitution, than urge a claim which, he trusted, a majority of that house and of the people at large admitted, and which, he was persuaded, could not reasonably be disputed.-But, asked Mr. Fox, ought the Prince of Wales to wait unnecessarily? Ought his royal highness to wait while. precedents were searched for, when it was known that none bore upon the case, which so nearly concerned him, existed. In the deference and forbearance of the Prince they were not to forget his right. In all their observations, they should remember that there was such a claim existing, and it should serve to hasten their decisions, as far as was consistent with the magnitude of the occasion.
Mr. Pitt immediately commenced a very warm reply. The doctrine advanced by Mr. Fox, be said, was itself, if any additional reason was necessary, the strongest and most unanswerable for the appointment of the committee he had moved for, that could possibly be given.—If a claim of right was intimated (even though not formally) on the part of the Prince of Wales, to assume the government, it became of the utmost consequence to ascertain from precedent and history, whether this claim were founded, which, if it was, precluded the house from the possibility of all deliberation on the subject. In the mean time, he maintained, that it would appear from every precedent, and from every page of our history, that to assert such a right in the Prince of Wales, or any one else, independent of the decision of the two houses of parliament, was little less than treason to the constitution of the country. He pledged himself to this assertion, that in the case of the interruption of the personal exercise of the royal authority, without any previous lawful provision having been made for carrying on the government, it belonged to the other branches of the legislature, on the part of the nation at large (the body they represented) to provide according to their discretion for the temporary exercise of the royal authority, in the name and on the behalf of the sovereign, in such manner as they should think requisite, and that, unless, by their decision, the Prince of Wales had no right (speaking of strict right) to assume the government any more than any