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who should hint or imagine that they wished to take any political advantage of differences subsisting between any branches of the royal family; -on the contrary, there was no circumstance to which they looked forward with more anxiety and zeal, than that the illustrious son should be restored as fully and speedily as possible to the royal arms, and the confidence and affections of his father.
But in addition to the expressions of which he had already taken notice, there was another which he reflected on with very great attention, and which, coming as it did, from the minister on a former day, was the more entitled to serious observation ;he meant an insinuation that there were circumstances which must come out in the discussion of this question, to shew the impropriety of granting the assistance required. On a suggestion such as this, it would be ridiculous, indeed, for any person to obtrude himself without, at least, sufficient authority; and for his part he could declare, on the very best and the highest authority, that neither the friends of the Prince, nor his Royal Highness himself, had any other wish, than that every circumstance in the whole series of his conduct should be most minutely and accurately inquired into; and those who felt most for his situation were ready to meet, and anxious to enter upon, every species of investigation that should be suggested. It was His Royal Highness's decided wish that no part of his conduct, circumstances, or situation, should be treated with ambiguity, concealment, or affected tenderness; but that whatever related to him should be discussed openly, and with fair, manly, and direct examination. Mr. Sheridan remarked, that he expected that long before this the aukwardness of discussion would have been prevented by relief from another quarter; and such was the reluctance which he felt in agitating the question in a hostile manner, that, short as the period was between this and the day announced for the motion, he still ex
pected that something might be done in the way of accommodation, so as to render it unnecessary. Every person was convinced how much the circumstances of the Prince were in need of assistance; and he was much surprized that, feeling as they do, even His Majesty's ministers should not, if necessary, have used their influence long before this to obtain so wished-for an object. Whatever was brought forward (Mr. Sheridan asserted) he knew would meet with an unequivocal and complete reply, such as, he was assured, His Royal Highness would himself give as a peer of Great Britain, were a question of this nature to be agitated in another house. How far such a discussion might be proper, he left to the feeling of the gentleman to whom he alluded to decide.
Mr. Rolle, Mr. Dempster, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Hussey, Mr. Powys, Mr. Drake, and Mr. Alderman Watson, having delivered their sentiments upon the subject,
Mr. Sheridan rose again, and contended, that the respectful manner in which the address to His Majesty would be couched, must do away all apprehensions of jealousy or disunion arising from the subject of the proposed motion. Were any such effects expected, it should have been the duty of ministers to obviate them, by anticipating the purpose of what the alderman intended to submit. Nor was he able to comprehend why the notice of this measure should have produced any alarm amongst the country members, who must be aware that the Prince should not be suffered to continue in such embarrassed circumstances; and that the motion must inevitably come from one quarter or the other. With regard to the mode of the motion being brought forward, he was of opinion that the proposed one was the best which could be adopted ;for as to the amount of his Royal Highness's debts, he believed that this could not well be ascertained, his creditors being so grateful for the liberal man
ner in which he acted, that they had not yet brought in their accounts. However, the necessity of the case made it indispensable to use some means; and he would put it to either side of the house, or any individual in it, whether, after what had passed, there was any possibility of the motion been given up. Insinuations had been thrown out in the first instance, and converted into assertions this day, which the honor and feelings of the parties made it necessary to have explained; and should the gentlemen engaged now recede from the measure, the natural inference would be on the part of the public, that they were afraid of the circumstances which were threatened to be brought against them; and, not daring to meet the discussion, were at last reduced to forego their motion.
Mr. Sheridan said, some honorable gentlemen had thought proper vehemently to express their anxious wishes that the business should be deferred; but the right honorable gentleman himself (Mr. Pitt) had erected an insuperable bar to such a measure. He appealed to the right honorable gentleman's own candor, whether that house, whether the country, whether all Europe, could form any other opinion of such behaviour, than that the Prince had yielded to terror what he had denied to argument. What could the world think of such conduct, but that he fled from enquiry, and dared not face his accusers? But if such was the design of such threats, he believed they would find that the author of them had as much mistaken the feelings, as the conduct of the Prince. With respect to its being supposed that the party with whom Mr. Sheridan had the honor to act, had been guilty of fomenting the unhappy divisions which were conceived to exist in the royal family, he said, that the charge was as false as it was foolish. Such a difference, so far from assisting, must materially injure those who were not admitted into His Majesty's councils, and whose opposition was not founded on
any little personal animosities, but on broad, solid, constitutional grounds.
The Speaker put an end to the question for the present, by calling upon Alderman Newnham to bring up a petition which he had in his hand. Mr. Pitt afterwards renewed the subject, and declared that he had been greatly misunderstood, if it was conceived that he meant to throw out any insinuations injurious to the character of the Prince of Wales. The particulars, to which he alluded, and which he might find it necessary to state fully to the house, related only to his pecuniary affairs, and to a correspondence that had taken place on that subject; and which he thought would satisfy the house of the impropriety of complying with the proposed motion.
Mr. Sheridan said, that he was extremely glad that the right honorable gentleman had explained himself; because, most undoubtedly, as he had left the subject the other day, the interpretation of the right honorable gentleman's declaration had been the very construction which the right honorable gentleman had now so fully cleared himself from having any intention to convey. As to the matter, Mr. Sheridan observed, that he thought any sort of allusion would have been in the extremest degree indelicate and disrespectful. The right honorable gentleman, however, had entirely cleared his mind from any farther conception, that he meant to make any allusion which could have any thing to do but with the pecuniary embarrassments of his Royal Highness.
AFFAIRS OF THE PRINCE OF WALES.
Mr. Newnham made a few observations upon what had passed on the 27th. He remarked, that much had been said of the tenderness of the ground upon which he trod, and of the dangerous consequences that might arise from his perseverance. He declared himself totally ignorant of the grounds of those apprehensions, with which others were so unavoidably filled. If there was danger in the measure, let those who gave occasion to it tremble at the consequences. He saw none; the Prince saw none; and it was by his express desire that he now gave notice he should pursue his design. Highly honored, as he conceived himself to be, by the Prince's confidence upon this occasion,
he was not to be intimidated; and he could assure the house, thất neither was his Royal Highness to be deterred from his purpose by the base and false rumours which were spread abroad concerning him. Mr. Fox, who had been absent on the former debate, came down this day with immediate authority from the Prince of Wales, to assure the house, there was no part of his conduct that he was either afraid or unwilling to have investigated in the fullest manner. With regard to the private correspondence alluded to, he wished it to be laid before the house, because he could take upon himself to assert, that it would prove the conduct of his Royal Highness to have been in the highest degree amiable, and would present as uniform and perfect a picture of duty and obedience, as ever in any instance had been shewn from a son to his father, or from a subject to his sovereign. With respect to the debt, which was the cause of his present difficulties, the Prince was willing, if the house should deem it necessary, to give a fair and general account, in writing, of every part of it. With regard to allusions made by one member to something full of danger to the church and state, he wished he had spoken more explicitly. If he alluded to a certain low and malicious rumour which had been industriously propagated without doors, he was authorized to declare it to be a falsehood. He thought that a tale, fit only to impose upon the lowest of the vulgar, could not have gained credit for a moment in that house. To this Mr. Rolle replied, that Mr. Fox had said, the fact alluded to was impossible to have happened. They all knew, indeed, that there were certain laws and acts of parliament which forbade it, and made it null and void; but still it might have taken place, though not under the formal sanction of law; and upon that point he wished to be satisfied. Mr. Fox observed, that though what he had said before was, he thought, sufficient to satisfy every candid and liberal mind, he was willing, if possible, to satisfy the most perverse. When he denied the calumny in question, he meant to deny it, not merely with regard to the effect of certain existing laws, but to deny it in toto, in point of fact as well as law. The fact not only never could have happened legally, but never did happen in any way whatsoever; and had, from the beginning, been a base and malicious falsehood. Mr. Rolle rose again, and desired to know whether what Mr. Fox had last said was to be understood as spoken from direct authority. Mr. Fox replied, that he had direct authority.
Mr. SHERIDAN contended, that it would be extremely unhandsome in the honorable gentleman, who had called upon his right honorable friend to say whether he spoke from direct authority or not, to sit silent after having received so explicit an
Mr. Rolle replied, that nothing which the honorable gentleman could say would induce him to act otherwise, than to his judgment