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That I should ever wish to drop my connection with
you is not likely. My attachment to you was formed at a period of life when attachments are indissoluble; and I think of you with the same interest and affection which I have ever felt. But you are not steady in answering my letters; and without mutual punctuality in this respect, correspondence is apt to languish between persons who are near each other, and reminded of the duties of friendship by daily occurrences. How much more likely is it to languish, without such punctuality, between those who have three thousand miles of ocean between them, -- whose habits, engagements, and connections are essentially different, and whose only means of intercourse and connection are the letters they interchange with each other!
Be you punctual; so will 1.
Before this reaches you, you will have heard that King George the Third is become deranged. His disease came on suddenly on the evening of the 22d of October, and is likely to be productive of change, not only in the administration of our government but in its principles. The great genius, who has raised the nation from unequalled humiliation and disgrace to unequalled prosperity and glory, is likely to be removed from the helm; and, under the auspices of the Prince of Wales, a set of men are likely to come into office, who are singularly able, and singularly unprincipled; and to whom no scheme of ambition will appear either too difficult or too dangerous. In the mean time, Mr. Pitt is taking measures to limit this daring ambition. Instead of admitting the claim advanced by Mr. Fox, for the Prince of Wales, of his having an inherent right to all the powers and prerogatives of the crown during the King's indisposition, he has declared in the House, that the Prince has no right at all, excepting what is derived from the authority of the Lords and Commons; and he has carried a vote of the two Houses, to this effect, in the face of the Opposition, the Prince himself, and all the other princes of the blood.
He has agreed, however, to appoint the Prince, Regent, with power to change the mi. nistry, but without the power of increasing the peerage, or granting places in reversion. He refuses him, likewise, the patronage of the bedchamber, and some other sources of influence. After a violent struggle, the Prince and his associates have sunk under the ascendant of this wonderful man ; the House of Commons have acceded to his proposals, by a majority of seventythree, and the Lords are certain to follow. Thus, you see, a change is introduced into the principles of our government, and the executive power is to be administered, with many of its prerogatives curtailed. Thus, also, the Lords are formed into a firm aristocracy, capable of resisting the people on the one hand, and the Prince on the other. However much we may admire the vigour with which these points have been proposed and carried, and however proper they may appear in the present instance, yet there are some men, who are fearful of these innovations, and who foresee a danger of their being drawn into future precedents, fatal to the monarchy and to the peace of the nation. For my own part, I have no fears of this kind, as these changes are only introduced for the present new situation of things, and are to continue only till the King recovers his reason, or is removed from the earth. In the mean time, I see, with mingled admiration and astonishment, a young man, not yet thirty, beating down an opposition formed of the royal family and almost all the great families in the kingdom, and disposing of the crown of the first nation on earth, on certain conditions, of his own making, to the heir-apparent. In truth, however, this triumph is not the triumph of talents only, but of integrity. The nation, sick of the perfidy and profligacy of its older politicians, has ranged itself under the banners of this illustrious young man, in perfect reliance, not on his abilities only, but on his unspotted probity and honour.
But you are, I presume, so much of an American, as not much to relish these praises. You, perhaps, consider the laurels gained by a British statesman as laurels on the brow of an enemy, and the renovated strength and vigour of Britain you may perhaps consider as hostile to the American States. Nothing of this kind, however, ought to be apprehended. The states of America, at present, hardly form an object of British politics, which are directed chiefly to the continent of Europe, where, by a happy conjuncture of things, the nation has obtained a degree of influence and respect equal to the consequence of her most prosperous days.
Write to me soon, and fully, and believe me always, Yours, most affectionately,
Liverpool, April 8th, 1789. MY DEAR DOCTOR, A SHIP sailing in a few days for Virginia, I
the pen to tell you that I am alive and well, and to enquire after your health and prosperity. To the information respecting myself and family, which I conveyed to you in
last letters by the - I have little to add.
Since that time, I have your favour by Mr. Slinger, accompanying the first volume of the Debates of the Virginia Convention, on which I set a high value. I have read these debates with much attention. I doubt not that they have been corrected by the speakers themselves, and that they will be handed down to posterity, as authentic documents for the history of Virginia. As you have desired me to remark on them, I will do it with pleasure, leaving it to you to decide how far my opinions are just.
The debates certainly turn on the most important of all subjects, the formation of a