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KING'S ILLNESS.-THE REGENCY.
(Political Register, February, 1811.)
“ The hope of the HYPOCRITES shall perish."
I Repeat my motto; and the denunciation I have no fear of seeing completely verified. The hypocritical editor of the Courier and the crew of hypocrites who approve of his efforts, all this base, canting crew, now driven to their resource, crocodile tears, will not find, any longer, a cloak sufficiently thick to disguise them.
Gulls as the people of this country have long been, they are not any longer to be cheated by this hypocrite and his like. It is hypocrisy that has, for years, been the bane of England; but, I do trust, that it will now, by being unmasked, be deprived of its power to do us further mischief.
In my last, I exposed an attempt, on the part of the Editor of the Cou. rier and his brother hypocrites, to make the people believe, that all those, who were for using extreme caution in again imposing upon the King the functions of royalty, meant to dethrone him. I exposed this attempt pretty well; and showed how base and wicked were the motives from which it had manifestly proceeded. I showed, that the assertions of the hypocrites were false; and that, as a last resource, they bad resorted to cant and crying with a view to calumnious insinuations against the Prince of Wales, calculated to excite the foulest suspicions against him, and to render him odious in the eyes of the people. The gist of what they were, and still are, endeavouring to inculcate, is this : That the "new men, as they call them, have discovered a disposition, nay, and a resolution, to dethrone the King ; because they have recommended great caution to be observed in calling upon him again to exercise the kingly office. This is the point, at which they are incessantly labouring; with efforts directed to this point, they fill column after column; and, it is easy to see, that they do, and must include the Prince amongst the “
new men.” That there is ground for great caution no one will, I think, deny, after what has recently come to light. Nevertheless, this same hypocritical writer and his brother hypocrites, who furnish matter for his paper, are still endeavouring to prevail upon the public to consider as an act of hostility to the King, every effort that is made to provide against a premature resump: tion of the royal authority on the part of the King.
I shall, in the present Number, notice, in a particular manner, and, I trust, fully expose, another of these attempts to cajole the people ; and, when I have done that, I shall examine into the truth of these venal men's assertions respecting the Charges of Lord Grey against the Lord ChanCELLOR. They assert these charges to be groundless; and, it, therefore, becomes us to refer to dates, and to compare them and the Evidence of the Physicians with the statements of Lord Grey. For, though the speech of his lordship was plain and full, as to all points, still it was impossible for any man (especially under a prohibition to take any speech in short hand) to give it perfectly correct even as to the substance; much less to give it in detail,
With the whole of the Evidence before me, and with the history of the times referred to, also before me, I shall, I trust, be able to give a more full and clear statement of the matter, than has yet reached the public eye.
But, I must first notice the article, above alluded to, in the Courier of the 30th of January ; because in this article the reader will have a view of another of the tricks, which the hypocrites are playing off for the purpose of keeping up their deceptions a little longer. They are hard put to it. They know not what to be at; and, though as cunning as Old Satan himself, they do, I verily believe, begin to despair of gulling and cheating the public any longer. The dullest of the people now begin to see them in their true colours. The exposures have been so often repeated, that, at last, they begin to have effect.
The trick which I am now about to notice is an attempt at alarm; an attempt to cajole the people into a belief, that those who protest against using the King's name before he is restored to a perfectly sound mind, wish to set him aside ; wish to do some violent act of injustice towards him.
" The attempts,” says this venal hypocrite, who really appears to me to be pretty nearly a match for an old North-of. England political acquaintance of mine, whom I have, for many years, called Hypocrisy Personified, and who, to a Lazarus-like look given him by nature, bas added all that art can afford, and who is, even in this age, certainly the most consummate hypocrite in existence. Talk of the Saints of the LongParliament! There was not one of them fit “ to hold a candle to him." -Yet, this creature, the most perfect of his kind, and who has duped nearly as many people as were duped by Mahomet, or any other of the lucky impostors that have lived in the world ; even this hypocrite is not far out-done by these venal men, these MEAN, MERCENARY and MALIGNANT men, upon the writings of one of whom I am now about to comment.
“ The attempts," says he,“ daily making to prepare the public mind for set“ ting the King aside, altogether, cannot fail of exciting alarm. The design was “ scouted with indignation by both Houses of Parliament, on the first day of its “ meeting, but it has ever since been disclosing itself, and certainly is acting
upon. We have already given very striking proofs of this from the Journals. “ Men startled at these things at first, but silence and impunity make them “ bold. The Weekly Register, and others of the same character, deprecate the
return of the King to power till he is quite well, by which they mean something “ better than at his age he is ever likely to be, allowing him to be as well in mind € as ever. Out of mere kindness to the King they would not allow him to return u to the fatigues of business. One member of the House of Commons asserts, " that a man subject to hurries never can be fit to reign, and Sir F. Burdett last " week roundly affirmed, the King could never be fit to govern at his age; with “ his blindness, and liable as he is to derangement. Thus the design proceeds."
What design? What design have we? What do we mean, or what can we mean, more than we say ? We“ deprecate the return of the King to power till he is QUITE WELL.” And what, then ? To be sure we deprecate it ; and are we not right in so doing ? Ought he, in mere common mercy to himself, to be permitted to resume his authority before he is quite well ? Are we not right to express our opinions, that he ought not to be called upon to resume his authority ; to exercise the powers of life and death; to make war and peace : are we not right in deprecating the idea of his being called upon to resume such powers until he be quite well ? Aye, and was I not right, when, about a fortnight ago, I took timely opportunity to suggest the propriety of some measure to prevent him from being so called upon, until there had been some months, or weeks, at least, of probation, after complete recovery? Was not this right? Will any man now deny, that the suggestion was proper ? Indeed, it arose out of a perusal of the very evidence upon which Lord Grey has made his late statements, in the House of Lords, and upon which Lord King founded his motion for erasing the name of Lord Eldon from the list of the Queen's Council.
But, this venal man says, that, by the words quite well, we mean
something better than the King, at his age, is ever likely to be.” His age! Age does not naturally deprive men of the use of their senses. The age of the King is not very great. There is Mr. BARON MASERES at the age of eighty, writing with as much clearness and strength as he did at the age of forty. We say nothing about the age of the King. His is by no means an age to produce mental feebleness. But, we see, in the evidence upon oath, that he is in a state of mental derangement; that he has been in that state now three times within eleven years; and, we also read in that evidence, that he was in that state while his assent was given to many acts of parliament, some of them granting away crown lands and imposing penalties of death; this we see, and seeing this, are we to be accused of designs to set him aside ; because we wish, that there should be clear proof produced of his being quite well, before he is again called upon to exercise the Royal Authority ?
All this is equally false with the former. Mr. Wood gave no preference to the son before the father. He imputed no wrong to the King ; but he censured the measures of his ministers; and he expressed his hope, that such men would be chosen to succeed them, as would adopt better measures. It is false, therefore, to say, that the Prince was set up in preference to the King. But, let the reader bear with me while I once more remark, that this is the constant practice of those hypocrites who call themselves “ the King's friends.” Every thing you say against the measures of the government, they immediately apply it to the hing; and it cannot be forgotten, that they have invariably acted thus.
“ Another most unconstitutional doctrine,” continues this venal writer, " ad"vanced in many quarters, but particularly in the Common Council by Mr. “ ALDERMAN Wood, is, the preference given to the Prince of Wales as our Chief “ Magistrate in consequence of its being known, that he will adopt measures “ different from those of his father, that he will grant Catholic emancipation, con“ ciliate Ireland, &c. For these and similar reasons they express a wish that “ his Royal Highness should wield the Sovereign authority instead of his Majesty. “ To proceed on such principles is to do neither more nor less than to elect a “King. The Prince is to be chosen in preference to George the Third, because “ he will do better things. If such atrocious doctrines as these are to be listened “ to. there is an end of our Constitution! It may be discovered that Sir Francis “ Burdett would do better things still than the Prince of Wales, and, upon the
same principles, propositions might be entertained of vesting him with the
sovereign anthority. Such language tends to bring upon us the evil of an elec" tive monarchy like that of Poland, which no doubt would speedily involve us “ in a similar destruction with that which has annihilated Poland as a nation. “ All this erroneous view of things arises from the very false grounds upon " which the restrictions on the Regency have been debated by the Opposition, “they wishing to act as if they were appointing a King, instead of appointing a “ deputy for a King during a temporary indisposition, as if the Throne were
vacant, not as it really is, full. "Such doctrines are truly alarming. They " tend strongly and rapidly to a Revolution, to scenes of confusion and anarchy long “ unknown in this happy land.”
As to what this bypocrite says about the dangers of making this an elective monarchy, what a fine slap in the face he gives here to all those, and to himself amongst the rest, who have contended for restrictions, and have denied the right of the Prince to be sole Regent! This charge, if due to any body, belongs to them. If there really be any danger in the notion of an elective monarchy, on their heads be the consequences, and not on ours, who have all along, contended, that the whole of the Royal powers and prerogatives, without any dividing, chipping away, or reserving, ought to have been, at once, and without any delay, given to the Prince, who is the undoubted heir to the throne and to every thing attached to it.
But, the truth is, that the hypocrites know not what to say; they are at the last gasp ; even lying and crying begin to fail them; and it is little wonder, that they forget what they are about. The wonder, and, to the country, the shame, is, that they should not, before now, have been sunk quite into the earth ; that they should still dare to show their faces above ground; much less to send forth their verbose columns of cant, in various shapes, and under various names, as they have yet the assurance to do.
We now come to the other subject of which I proposed to treat ; namely, the state of the King in the years 1801 and 1804, at times when several very important acts were performed in his name, and, apparently, with his approbation and authority.
The public need not be told what has recently passed upon this subject in the House of Lords ; for, certainly, never was there any thing that attracted more general observation, or that excited a more general or higher interest. It has, since it took place, been the great topic of conversation with every body.
In my last, I inserted the speeches of Lords Grey and Eldon and the motion of Lord King. These were ali less full than was to be desired; but, I took the fullest reports I could find, and the substance was pretty nearly, in all probability, preserved.
Nevertheless, it is possible to put the matter in a plainer light than it there appears; and, this it shall now be my endeavour to do.
But, I have first to observe, that in another part of this Number, I have inserted the whole of the Evidence of Drs. Willis and HEBERDEN, as given upon oath before the Lords' COMMITTEE a few weeks ago. These two persons attended the King upon the former occasions of his mental derangement.
This Evidence should be carefully read, particularly that of Dr. HEBERDEN, upon which the charges of Lord Grey were founded.*
I have also inserted, in this Number, a Protest of certain Lords, upon the subject of the motion for erasing Lord Eldon's name, in
These documents are too long to be inserted here; but they are to be found in the Parliamentary Debates for the year 1811.- ED.