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and embarrassing exigency, was such as did great credit to his judgment and principles.
As soon as he found that the question of his right to the regency, as stated by Mr. Fox, had excited considerable alarm in both houses of parliament, and throughout the nation in general, he anxiously endeavoured to avert the farther discussion of this delicate topic. For this purpose a declaration was made by Mr. Fox, in the House of Commons, that the opinion he had delivered was in his private capacity, and without the Prince of Wales's authority; and the Duke of York, in the House of Peers, after a modest introduction, soliciting the indulgence of his hearers, as being unaccustomed to public speaking, said, " that no claim of right had been made on the part of the Prince; and he was confident that his royal highness understood too well the sacred
principles which seated the house of Brunswick on the throne of Great Britain, ever to assume or exercise any power, be his claim what it might, not derived from the will of the people, expressed by their representatives, and their lordships in parliament assembled. It was upon this ground that he must hope, that the wisdom and moderation of all considerate men, at a moment when temper and unanimity were so peculiarly necessary, on account of the dreadful calamity, which every description of persons must, in common, lament, but which he more particularly felt, would make them wish to avoid pressing a decision, which certainly was not necessary to the great object expected from parliament, and which, in the discussion, must be most painful to a family already sufficiently agitated and afflicted. Such,” his royal highness observed in conclusion, were the sentiments of an honest heart, equally influenced by duty and affection to his royal father, and by attachment to the.constitutional rights of his subjects; and he was confident, that if his royal brother were to address them, in his place, as peer of the realm, these were the sentiments which he would distinctly avow.”
This declaration, which was confirmed by his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, though it produced a very favourable impression, failed of preventing the further discussion of the question of the Prince's right to the regency.
Mr. Fox, in the House of Commons, with that generous zeal which so eminently distinguished his character, and which is so well described by his able biographer, Mr. Fell *, strenuously disclaimed any assertion of right on the part of the Prince, but maintained his former opinion, " that from the moment that the two houses of parliament declared the King unable to exercise the royal sovereignty, from that moment, a right to exercise the royal authority, with all its functions, attached to the Prince of Wales, for the time such incapacity might exist."-" The idea,"
* See Mr. Fell's " Memoirs of the Public Life of the late Right Honourable Charles James
” to quote the words of Mr. Fox's biographer,
which he meant to convey was this, that the exercise of the royal authority was the right, under such circumstances, of the Prince of Wales, but he had spoken of it as a right and not a possession. Before the Prince could exercise that right, he must appeal to the court, competent to decide, whether it belonged to him or not, and
Fox,” a work equally honourable to the talents and the sound political principles of that spirited writer.
from the adjudication of that court receive the possession. With the lords and commons of Great Britain rested the adjudication of the Prince of Wales's right, and by them he was to be put into possession. But, in considering this, they were not to exercise discretion, whether he was, or was not, the
proper person to exercise that right, but whether or not he really had it; they were not then in the capacity to legislate, but only to judge, functions, which they all knew to be clearly distinct. The more clearly to understand this, it was necessary to explain the precise meaning of the word election, and to contrast it with the term adjudication. That house could legislate and provide such measures as it deemed adviseable for the public interest. When they individually gave their votes for such persons, whom they thought most proper to represent them