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powers of government than any other person in the realm.
In the upper bouse of parliament, a similar motion for a committee was made by Lord Camden (lord president of the council) on the following day, and as Mr. Fox's doctrine had excited a large share of the public attention, as well on account of the talents and estimation of the character by whom it was delivered, as from the circumstance that he was well known to be high in the confidence of the Prince of Wales, it was particularly alluded to by Lord Camden in the speech with which he introduced his motion. Lord Loughborough (then Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas), who headed the Prince of Wales's party in the House of Peers, and was supposed to look forward to the post of chancellor, in the event of the Prince's having been declared regent, rose to
vindicate the sentiments of Mr. Fox. His lordship observed, that there was an act of King Charles II. by which it was expressly declared, that no law could in any case be made, but by the authority of the three branches of the legislature;. and that any man asserting the contrary would be liable to the penalties of high treason. Could anything therefore be more absurd than to say, that the two houses of parliament, which could not even make a turnpike act, might dispose, by their own authority, of the executive government ?
There were only two cases, his lordship maintained, in which the throne could become vacant, and the interference of the two houses of parliament be requisite to fill it: the one was a total subversion of the government by a breach of the original compact, as in the case of an abdication of the crown; the other, when the royal line became extinct, and the King at his decease left no heir. It had been declared, that the Prince of Wales had no more right than any private subject. Could this be true ? Was the Prince of Wales a common subject ? Did not the law, as expounded by Lord Coke, describe him to be one and the same person with the King? Was it not equally high treason to compass or imagine the death either of the one or the other ? It happened that at this time that the two houses were legally assembled under the king's writs; but, if the case had been otherwise, it would surely have been warrantable for the Prince of Wales, as heir apparent, to have issued writs, and called a parliament. Lord Loughborough was far from meaning that the Prince could violently rush into the sovereignty, but thought, that upon the authentic notification of the King's incapacity to the two houses of parliament, the Prince ought of right to be invested with the royal authority. He next begged leave to remind his hearers that there was a neighbouring kingdom that stood connected with us, and acknowledged allegiance to the British crown. If the regency was declared to be elective and not hereditary, how could we be sure that they would not chuse a regent of their own, and thus lead to endless confusion and embarrassment ?
Lord Stormont supported the principles of Lord Loughborough, adducing a similar argument from the act of union with Scotland, and concluded with recommending an immediate address to the Prince of Wales, entreating him to assume the exercise of the royal authority.
Lord Thurlow expressed extreme concern, that
difference of opinion should be likely to arise on a question so peculiarly critical and delicate. Ile observed, that nothing he had yet hcard gave satisfaction to his mind, and he therefore wished, previous to the declaration of his opinion, to have the full advantage of every precedent and every analogy that could be found. He added, however, that the doctrine maintained by Lord Loughborough was perfectly new to him, and that much stress could not surely be laid on a metaphorical expression, such as had been cited from Lord Coke. At the same time he commended that nobleman for having spoken of the Prince of Wales in the abstract, without affecting to rest any part of his argument on the personal virtues of the present heir apparent, who should always have his applause, when the expression of it would not be an act of impertinence.