ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

mot made use of the great seal on ceeding sanctioned by our anthis occasion, said, that it did not cestors in 1688, namely, an adappear to him how he could have dress to his Royal Highness the employed it to draw money from Prince of Wales, to take upon the exchequer for such services him the civil and military admias these.

nistration of affairs, and the disSome observations of earl Spen• posal of the public revenue,

until cer relative to the application of the means of supplying the defect the privy.seal for this purpose, in the exercise of the royal authocalled up the Earl of Westmor- rity should be finally adjusted. land, who declared that, as far as The relation of the proceedings he was concerned, if the neces- in the two houses during the sity of coming before parliament, debates on the several clauses of or of having recourse to the issuing the Regency bill is involved in of a warrant by the lords of the singular perplexity, resulting from treasury, could have been averted the fluctuations of party and the by the exercise of the privy-seal, vacillations of opinion, whence he, as being intrusted with the proceeded a .variety of amendkeeping of that seal, should have ments and re-amendments, adbeen willing to have taken upon mitted in one house, and rejected himself the responsibility of affix. in the other, according to the ing the seal.

prevalent feelings of the day. In After · some other lords had several of the contested points spoken, and some amendments had the ministers were defeated; and been moved, which were nega. at one time it seemed probable tived, the report was agreed to, that the proposed restrictions and a message was ordered to be would be in great part annulled; sent to the commons, desiring a but at the actual passing of the conference on the subject of the bill, it appeared that they had resaid resolution.

covered their ground, a circumA protest against the resolution stance that may reasonably be atwas, however, entered on the Jour- tributed to the flattering reports nals, signed by 21 lords, in the of the King's progress in amepdfollowing terms:

ment, which excited sanguine ex“ Dissentient, 1. Because the pectations that a very short period principle on which the resolution would intervene before he would is founded would justify the as- be in a capacity for resuming the sumption of all the executive royal authority. It was doubtpowers of the crown by the two lessly recollected, that in 1789 a houses of parliament, during any recovery had taken place wbile suspension of the personal exer- parliament was still occupied with cise of the royal authority.

discussions concerning a regency 2. Because this unprecedented bill; and a majority looked forand unconstitutional

ward rather to the revival of the might have been avoided without present administration, than to the injury, to the public service, by temporary transfer of power to resorting (as was suggested in a new one. After, therefore, the the debate) to the mode of pro- draught of the proposed bill had

[merged small][ocr errors]

measure

[ocr errors]

for the issue of sums of money for proposed of getting over the diffithe service of the army and navy. culiy was an assumption of the They give a copy of the oath of executive power by the two houses office taken by them, the tenor of of parliament, for which they had wbich they conceive prohibitory no authority. The question being of their complying with the requi. at length called for several amendsition made to them.

ments were proposed, the ten, After the house had resolved it. dency of which was to limit the self into a committee for the dis. sums to be drawn by the treasury, cussion of this matter, the chan- and to ensure their application. cellor of the exchequer made a These were all negatived, and the speech introductory to the follow- question was carried without a ing motion :" That it is the division: the report was then opinion of this committee, that it brought up, and ordered to be is necessary, in the exigencies of communicated to the lords. the present conjuncture, that, until On January 5th, the resolutions due provision shall be made for of the commons being brought up supplying the defect in the royal to the lords, produced a debate, authority, such sums as have been opened on the part of ministers by appropriated for the services of the the Earl of Liverpool. He was navy and army, by the act of last followed by Lord Grenville, who session of parliament, and other declared that he was still of opiacts for enabling his Majesty to nion, that the ministers in this raise three millions, should be business had acted in a manner as issued, in conformity with said acts injurious to the real interests of accordingly; and that it is expe- the country, and as subversive of dient that the lords commissioners the principles of the constitution, of his Majesty's treasury should be as it was possible for them to have required to issue their warrants to done. After various observations the auditor of the exchequer, for concerning the law with respect the payment of such sums as the to issues from the treasury, and exigency may render necessary; the illegality of the act required and that the said auditor and off from himself, he concluded that it cers of the exchequer are autho- was the duty of parliament to rerized and commanded to pay obe- lieve the country from its present dience to the warrant in this be difficulties in as short a time as half, and to pay such sums as ap- possible, during the crippled state pear necessary, according to the of the executive government. He warrant of any three or more of said, he meant to accede to the the lords commissioners of the resolution proposed to their lordtreasury, which they may issue ships, because he felt the inconfrom time to time."

venience of delaying the issuing A long debate ensued, in which of public money; but he conthe members of opposition argued demned in the highest degree the that the exigency of the case arose conduct of those by whom the from the delays of the ministry in necessity had been created. supplying the deficiency in the The lord chancellor, in answer royal authority, and that the mode to those who might ask why he had

an

[ocr errors]

mot made use of the great seal on ceeding sanctioned by our this occasion, said, that it did not cestors in 1688, namely, an adappear to him how he could have dress to his Royal Highness the employed it to draw money from Prince of Wales, to take upon the exchequer for such services him the civil and military admi. as these.

nistration of affairs, and the disSome observations of earl Spen. posal of the public revenue, until cer relative to the application of the means of supplying the defect the privy.seal for this purpose, in the exercise of the royal autho. called up the Earl of Westmor. rity should be finally adjusted. land, who declared that, as far as The relation of the proceedings he was concerned, if the peces in the two houses during the sity of coming before parliament, debates on the several clauses of or of having recourse to the issuing the Regency bill is involved in of a warrant by the lords of the singular perplexity, resulting from treasury, could have been averted the Auctuations of party and the by the exercise of the privy-seal, vacillations of opinion, whence he, as being intrusted with the proceeded a variety of amendkeeping of that seal, should have ments and re-amendments, adbeen willing to have taken upon mitted in one house, and rejected himself the responsibility of affix in the other, according to the ing the seal.

prevalent feelings of the day. In After some other lords had several of the contested points spoken, and someamendments had the ministers were defeated; and been moved, which were nega. at one time it seemed probable tived, the report was agreed to, that the proposed restrictions and a message was ordered to be would be in great part annulled; sent to the commons, desiring a but at the actual passing of the conference on the subject of the bill, it appeared that they had resaid resolution.

covered their ground, a circumA protest against the resolution stance that may reasonably be atwas, however, entered on the Jour. tributed to the flattering reports nals, signed by 21 lords, in the of the King's progress in amendfollowing terms:

ment, which excited sanguine ex“ Dissentient, 1. Because the pectations that a very short period principle on which the resolution would intervene before he would is founded would justify the as- be in a capacity for resuming the sumption of all the executive royal authority. It was doubtpowers of the crown by the two lessly recollected, that in 1789 a houses of parliament, during any recovery had taken place while suspension of the personal exer- parliament was still occupied with cise of the royal authority.

discussions concerning a regency 2. Because this unprecedented bill; and a majority looked forand unconstitutional

ward rather to the revival of the might have been avoided without present administration, than to the injury to the public service, by temporary transfer of power to resorting (as was suggested in a new one. After, therefore, the the debate) to the mode of pro- draught of the proposed bill had

measure

undergone some inconsiderable the chancellor on this account of alterations, it was presented to the a crime little short of treason, and Queen and the Prince of Wales forcibly urged the necessity of for their acceptance, wbich was making effectual provision in the signified by those personages by present bill against the recurrence their separate answers addressed of a similar circumstance. The to both house's jointly. In that of chancellor defended himself with the prince, a regret was delicately vigour, and professed his readiness expressed that he had not been to submit the whole of his conallowed the opportunity of mani- duct on this occasion to the strict festing, by his conduct,

what were est investigation. Before the house his reverential feelings towards rose, Lord King, on the ground of his father and sovereigo; and he this charge, moved, that the name accepted the office of regent, re of Lord Eldon be expunged from stricted as it was, “ still retaining the list of the Queen's council. every opinion expressed by him On a division, there appeared for on a former occasion."

the motion 64, against it 189, According to the plan adopted Further proceedings on this subby the ministers in conformity to ject will hereafter be mentioned. the precedent of 1789, the great

Both houses being finally agreed seal was affixed to a commission on the clauses of the regency bill, for the opening of parliament, the great seal was affixed to it by which ceremony took place on commission, and on February the January 15th; and on the 17th), 5th it received the royal assent. the regency bill was committed. Strong protests were however Its clauses underwent fresh dis- made to the last by the opposition cussion in its passage through the members against the fiction em. two houses, and various amend- ployed of signifying the King's ments were proposed by the op- assent by the great seal to an act position, but were negatived by founded on that very incapacity the ministerial majorities. The which disabled him from performlast stand was made upon the du- ing any legislative function; and ration of the restrictions, which the expedient was condemned in Lord Grenville attempted to re- unqualified terms as fraudulent duce from twelve months to six, and unconstitutional. On the but without success. In the de. other side, it was not denied that bate on this topic Lord Grey re- there existed an irregularity in the newed, with greater force, a case; but it was contended, that charge which he had on a former the peculiar circumstance occa. occasion brought against the lord sioning the suspension of the royal chancellor, respecting his conduct authority, for which no legal proin setting the great seal to a com- vision had been made, rendered mission for giving the royal as- some irregularity unavoidable, and sent to various bills in 1804, while that the application of the great the King, who in that year suf- seal was the least that could be fered a return of his infirmity, was devised. The speech which on yet in a state requiring medical this question appeared to make superintendance. He arraigned the greatest impression was that of Mr. Abbott, speaker of the would end as it began, by the house of commons, who had necessity of having the King's hitherto taken no part in the de- signature, without his personal bates, and whose station and cha- violation, set to an act upon the racter gave the stamp of import authority of parliament. But why ance and impartiality to his opi- should parliament resort to such nion. After citing examples to a course, when it could at once, prove that the great seal was to by its own authority, direct the be considered not only as the great seal to be applied to the organ of the royal will, but as the commission for giving the royal seal of the united kingdoms of assent to the regency bill? Great Britain and Ireland, and Of the clauses in the bill, the that it was by no means unusual most important of those relating to for parliament to direct and con- the Regent himself are the followtrol its application, he said, “ buting :-He is to exercise in the even if the proceeding upon which name of his Majesty the royal the two houses had hitherto acted authority belonging to the crown. were now to be abandoned, the He is to be deemed a person holdRegent, in the course of a few ing an office in trust, and is to weeks, would have to come down conform to the statutes relating to look to parliament for a confirma- persons under that circumstance; tion of his authority. They had no he is restrained from granting power by their address to autho- peerages, or summoning heirs-aprize the Regent to perform any parent, or appointing to titles in legislative act. If he were then abeyance; likewise from granting to take upon him the exercise of offices in reversion, or for a longer the powers of government by an period than during pleasure, exaddress, he would still have to look cept those which by las are to parliament for a confirmation granted for life, or during good of his authority; he would then behaviour, and except pensions to have to put the name of the King, the chancellor, judges, &c. These by bis great seal, to the act for restrictions to continue sill after establishing his own power with- the 1st of February, 1812, and out the consent of the King, in . then to determine, provided parthe same manner as this is pro- liament shall be then assembled, posed to be done by parliament and have been sitting six weeks to the commission for giving the previously, royal assent to the regency bill. With respect to the Queen, the In what manner could he other. act vests in her the care of his wise give the royal assent to the Majesty's person during his inact but in the name of the King ? disposition, with the sole direction In his own name, he understood of such portion of his household as some gentlemen to state ; but by shall be deemed requisite for due what authority? He could have attendance on his person, and the no power to do that but by the maintenance of his royal dignity, authority of parliament; and if and the full power of nominating his signing could not be valid to all vacancies of officers of his until authorized by parliament, household, with the exception of then the proceeding by address the lord-chamberlain, the gentle.

« 前へ次へ »