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in parliament, they made their election of the representatives; but when they sat in a committee above stairs, to try whether A. or B. was entitled to a seat as representative for such or such a borough, they sat as judges, and their report was an adjudication of the right of A. or B,
" In this situation did the house stand at present; they had not a legislative power, for the invigorating principle which
life and action to that power was wanting. As the monarchy was, on every principle of the constitution, hereditary, so, of consequence, was the exercise of the executive power; and the house, in its deliberation, was not at liberty to exercise its discretion, or to chuse a parliamentary regent; they were not to consider, whether they were about to make a prudent election, but bound to pronounce a just judgment.
." He had, in terms the most explicit and unequivocal, asserted it as his opinion, that when that and the other house of parliament declared his majesty incapable of exercising the royal authority, that was the precise period when the Prince's right attached, and when that house ought not to delay in restoring the royal authority. Had he not said, that the same principles which made the crown hereditary made the executive power and the government of the country hereditary likewise ? Upon that ground it was, that he had argued as he had done, and that he conceived to be the nature of the Prince of Wales's right. He could not therefore be supposed to mean, that the Prince would be justifiable, when the houses were sitting, in taking upon himself the powers and authority of regent, until they were adjudged to him by parliament. If there was no parliament either sitting or existing, then, indeed, it would have been the duty of the Prince of Wales to have called a convention of the lords and commons; to whom the cause of their being so called might have been explained, and by whom his right, and the circumstances in which it originated, might be recognized ; and that then being met by him, as exercising the delegated functions of the royal power, they would become a legal parliament.
Having thus, as he hoped, clearly explained his meaning, he was free to acknowledge, that more difference of opinion prevailed respecting the right of the Prince of Wales to exercise the royal authority, under the circumstances so often stated, than he could have expected; but much of that difference of opinion, he found, arose more from some nice, logical, and
legal distinctions, taken between the words right and claim.; distinctions, in his mind, more equivocal than solid and substantial, and which were rested on arguments, which, he confessed, his understanding was too dull to comprehend. One idea he had learnt was, that it was allowed by some, that the Prince of Wales had an irresistible claim, which the parliament could not reject or refuse, whenever it was made, without forfeiting their duty to the constitution. To that idea, he, for one, had no objection; because he knew no difference between an irresistible claim, and an inherent (right. In another place the right of the Prince of Wales had been gone into deeply, and that by persons every way qualified to discuss it, who gave all their sanction and authority to his opinion.
If the Prince of Wales had done him the honour to have asked his ad
vice how to proceed, he should have told him, as parliament was assembled, that his royal highness might have sent a message to either house, or to both houses of parliament, stating his claim, and calling upon them to decide upon it. But, as he had said on a former day, his royal highness's forbearance was such, that he would send his claim to neither house of parliament; but would wait patiently, and with due deference, being conscious that the two houses ought to find that claim, and restore the royal authority. Mr. Fox said, he could not help thinking, that the conduct of his royal highness deserved the commendation he had bestowed on it, and was entitled to universal applause. He declared, he had sanguine hopes, that in the adjustinent of a business of so delicate and important a nature, men of every description would have concurred in