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operation of a law, insomuch as it would supply an admitted deficiency in the personal exercise of the royal authority by creating an efficient third estate. If there existed an inherent right in the prince to assume the office of regent, the same as there would undoubtedly have existed an inherent right to the throne in the case of the natural demise of the crown, it was manifestly absurd to talk of creating that right by the interposition of any foreign power: and, if there did not exist any such inherent right, in his royal highness, a proposition admitted by the opposition who proposed to invest him with the right by address, then it was certainly competent to the two houses of parliament, in proceeding to supply the deficiency in the executive, to adopt which ever course might seem in their wisdom best calculated to meet the emergency. The extraordinary power thus accidentally thrown into the hands of parliament arose out of the necessity of the case, and was to be limited by that necessity; and perhaps it would have been a wise measure in parliament, immediately upon the restoration of the. royal authority, if they had proceeded to provide, by legislative enactment, against a similar contingency, and declared the right of assuming the functions of regent, tó belong, in all such cases, to the heir apparent, he being of full age and capacity to discharge the duties of the station. As, however, there existed on the statute book no law at the time we are speaking of, which pointed out
Address proposed by Graitan. 159 the course of proceeding under such a circumstance, and as neither the principle nor practice of the constitution regarded the heir apparent to the throne as possessing any inherent right to the erown but by the natural demise of the existing holder, it followed, as a matter of course, that no other than the august power of parliament could supply the temporary deficiency, and to that power equally belonged the mode of supplying it.
Mr. Grattan, urged every argument in support of his view of the question, which in his comprehensive mind could devise; and concluded an able speech with moving *, that an humble address be presented to his royal highness to take upon himself the government of this realm, during the continuation of his majesty's present indisposition, and no longer, and under the style and title of prince regent of Ireland, in the name of his majesty, to exercise and administer, according to the laws and constitution of this kingdom, all regal powers, jurisdiction and prerogatives to the crown and government thereof belonging. The attorney general opposed this motion with singu. lar firmness and ability; but it was supported by so many who had hitherto voted for government, that the minister did not dare go to a division, and it was accordingly carried without one. A simi: lar motion was made by Lord Charlemont, in the lords, and carried by a majority of nineteen.
This address, thus forced upon the ministry, met with every official obstruction that could be thrown in the way of its final destination. When both houses waited upon the lord lieutenant with it, and requested him to transmit it to his royal highness, his excellency refused to comply, upon the grounds, that his sense of his official duty and of the oath he had taken, prevented him fran laying an address before the prince, purporting to invest his royal highness with powers to assume the government of the realm, before he should be enabled by law so to do. In consequence of this refusal, Mr. Grattan moved, that a competent number of members should be appointed to present it to his royal highness. This motion was carried by a majority of 130 against 74. The lords appointed the Duke of Leinster, and Lord Charlemont, and the commons, Messrs. Conolly, J. O'Neil, W. B. Ponsonby, and J. Stewart, com. missioners, to present the address to the prince of Wales. This committee. arrived in London, on the 25th Feb. 1789, and the day following presented their address to the prince of Wales at Carlton House. By this time, however, the convalescent state of his majesty rendered the pur. port of it of no avail, but the answers returned by his royal highness, may be seen in the appendix *.
Meanwhile Mr. Brownlow proposed a short money bill, in order to prevent the lord lieutenant
See Appendix, No. IV,
Profligacy of the Irish Parliament. 161 from exercising his right of proroguing or dissolving the parliament. The attorney general observed, upon this, that it reminded him of Lord Townshend's proroguing the parliament. He recollected, when next they met, they voted him an address of thanks, which address cost the nation half a million of money. He hoped, never again to see half a million of the people's money employed to procure an address from their i representatives *. Such was an Irish parliament! at that time, perhaps, the most corrupt public body existing in the universe! The majority of its members acted upon a system of open and avowed profligacy. Thus, when it was thought the Prince of Wales would become regent, and bring his friends into power, the Marquis of Buckingham, whose Tecall was confidently calculated on, was, not only deserted by his venal satellites, but reviled by them.
* This shameless threat of parliamentary venality was thus forcibly alluded to by Mr. Grattan in his Answer to Lord Clare's Speech; p. 18. “ Half a million or more was es. pended some years ago to break an opposition: the same, or greater sum may be necessary now; so said the principal servant of the crown. The house heard him; I heard him : he said it, standing on his legs, to an astonished and indige nant nation, and he said it in the most extensive sense of bribery and corruption. The threat was proceeded on; the peerage was sold; the cailiffs of corruption were every where; in the lobby, in the street, on the steps, and at the door of every parliamentary leader, whose thresholds were worn by the members of the theu administration, offering titles to some, amoesty to others, and corruption to all."
Mr. Grattan obtained three triumphs against the ministers : but mark the difference when it appeared that his inajesty's recovery was likely, and the continuance of the same men in power, certain. That same distinguished patriot, eagerand anxious to avail himself of the new born zeal of his political converts, immediately pressed, in parliament, the consideration of all those topics most loudly called for by the popular feeling, viz. the police bill, the pension bill, a place bill, a responsibility bill, and an absentee bill. Upon each of these measures he was successively left in decreasing minorities. The king had recovered, and the “ caitiffs of corruption” recovered also their wonted alacrity for place, power and profit. On the 25th of May, 1789, the parliament was prorogued.
No other event of importance occurred during the administration of the Marquis of Buckingham. He had become extremely unpopular, because he was the decided supporter of Mr. Pitt's system of government. To this radical cause of discontent were added some minor ones. Notwithstanding his boasted principles of economy, he had resorted to a very liberal scheme of corruption, in order to beat down a formidable opposition, and he had been successful. He increased the pension list 13,000 per annum; and excited general disgust by the marked manner in which he resumed (if resumable) all places and profits that were in the possession of those who had voted for the address to the Prince of Wales. Extraordinary inarks of