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where the Queen and another Royal Personage completed what had been so skilfully begun; and the important resolution was forth with taken to retain Mr. Perceval and his colleagues in the Ministry.
I shall now give the Statement of the whole transaction, which Mr. Sheridan thought it necessary to address, in his own defence, to Lord Holland, and of which a rough and a fair copy have been found carefully preserved among his papers :
Queen-Street, January 15, 1811. “Dear HOLLAND, “As you have been already apprised by His Royal Highness the Prince that he thought it becoming the frankness of his character, and consistent with the fairness and openness of proceeding due to any of his servants whose conduct appears to have incurred the disapprobation of Lord Grey and Lord Grenville, to communicate their representations on the subject to the person so censured, I am confident you will give me credit for the pain I must have felt, to find myself an object of suspicion, or likely, in the slightest degree, to become the cause of any temporary misunderstanding between His Royal Highness and those distinguished characters, whom His Royal Highness appears to destine to those responsible situations, which must in all public matters entitle them to his exclusive confidence.
“I shall as briefly as I can state the circumstances of the fact, so distinctly referred to in the following passage of the Noble Lord's Representation :
“But they would be wanting in that sincerity and openness by which they can alone hope, however imperfectly, to make any return to that gracious confidence with which Your Royal Highness has condescended to honour them, if they suppressed the expression of their deep concern in finding that their humble endeavours in Your Royal Highness's service have been submitted to the judgment of another person, by whose advice Your Royal Highness has been guided in your final decision on a matter in which
they alone had, however unworthily, been honoured with Your Royal Highness's commands.'
“I must premise, that from my first intercourse with the Prince during the present distressing emergency, such conversations as he may have honoured me with have been communications of resolutions already formed on his part, and not of matter referred to consultation, or submitted to advice. I know that my declining to vote for the further adjournment of the Privy Council's examination of the physicians gave offence to some, and was considered as a difference from the party I was rightly esteemed to belong to. The intentions of the leaders of the party upon that question were in no way distinctly known to me; my secession was entirely my own act, and not only unauthorised, but perhaps unexpected by the Prince. My motives for it I took the liberty of communicating to His Royal Highness, by letter,* the next day, and, previously to that, I had not even seen His Royal Highness since the confirmation of His Majesty's malady.
“ If I differed from those who, equally attached to His Royal Highness's interest and honour, thought that His Royal Highness should have taken the step which, in my humble opinion, he has since, precisely at the proper period, taken, of sending to Lord Grenville and Lord Grey, I may certainly have erred in forming an imperfect judgment on the occasion, but, in doing so, I meant no disrespect to those who had taken a different view of the subject. But, with all deference, I cannot avoid adding that experience of the impression made on the public mind by the reserved and retired conduct which the Prince thought proper to adopt, has not shaken my opinion of the wisdom which prompted him to that determination. But here, again, I declare, that I must reject the presumption that any suggestion of mine led to the rule which the Prince had prescribed to himself. My knowledge of it being, as I before said, the communication of a resolution formed on the part
This Letter has been given in page 532. .
of His Royal Highness, and not of a proposition awaiting the advice, countenance, or corroboration, of any other person. Having thought it necessary to premise thus much, as I wish to write to you without reserve or concealment of any sort, I shall as briefly as I can relate the facts which attended the composing the Answer itself, as far as I was concerned.
“ On Sunday, or on Monday the 7th instant, I mentioned to Lord Moira, or to Adam, that the Address of the two Houses would come very quickly upon the Prince, and that he should be prepared with his Answer, without entertaining the least idea of meddling with the subject my. self, having received no authority from His Royal Highness to do so. Either Lord Moira or Adam informed me, before I left Carlton-House, that His Royal Highness had directed Lord Moira to sketch an outline of the Answer proposed, and I left town. On Tuesday evening it occurred to me to try at a sketch also of the intended reply. On Wednesday morning I read it, at Carlton-House, very hastily to Adam, before I saw the Prince. And here I must pause to declare, that I have entirely withdrawn from my mind any doubt, if for a moment I ever entertained any, of the perfect propriety of Adam's conduct at that hurried interview ; being also long convinced, as well from intercourse with him at Carlton-House as in every transaction I have witnessed, that it is impossible for him to act otherwise than with the most entire sincerity and honour towards all he deals with. I then read the Paper I had put together to the Prince,-the most essential part of it literally consisting of sentiments and expressions, which had fallen from the Prince himself in different conversations; and I read it to him without having once heard Lord Grenville's name even mentioned as in any way connected with the Answer proposed to be submitted to the Prince. On the contrary, indeed, I was under an impression that the framing this Answer was considered as the single act which it would be an unfair and embarrassing task to require the performance of from Lord Grenville. The Prince approved the Paper I
read to him, objecting, however, to some additional paragraphs of my own, and altering others. In the course of his observations, he cursorily mentioned that Lord Grenville had undertaken to sketch out his idea of a proper Answer, and that Lord Moira had done the same,-evidently expressing himself, to my apprehension, as not considering the framing of this Answer as a matter of official responsibility any where, but that it was his intention to take the choice and decision respecting it on himself. If, however, I had known, before I entered the Prince's apartment, that Lord Grenville and Lord Grey, had in any way undertaken to frame the Answer, and had thought themselves authorised to do so,
protest the Prince would never even have heard of the draft which I had prepared, though containing, as I before said, the Prince's own ideas.
“His Royal Highness having laid his commands on Adam and me to dine with him alone on the next day, Thursday, I then, for the first time, learnt that Lord Grey and Lord Grenville had transmitted, through Adam, a formal draft of an Answer to be submitted to the Prince.
“ Under these circumstances I thought it became me humbly to request the Prince not to refer to me, in any respect, the paper of the Noble Lords, or to insist even on my hearing its contents ; but that I might be permitted to put the draft he had received from me into the fire. The Prince, however, who had read the Noble Lords' Paper, declining to hear of this, proceeded to state, how strongly he objected to almost every part of it. The draft delivered by Adam he took a copy of himself, as Mr. Adam read it, affixing shortly, but warmly, his comments to each paragraph. Finding His Royal Highness's objections to the whole radical and insuperable, and seeing no means myself by which the Noble Lords could change their draft, so as to meet the Prince's ideas, I ventured to propose, as the only expedient of which the time allowed, that both the Papers should be laid aside, and that a very short Answer, indeed, keeping clear of all topics liable to disagreement, should be immediately sketched out and be submitted that
night to the judgment of Lord Grey and Lord Grenville. The lateness of the hour prevented any but very hasty discussion, and Adam and myself proceeded, by His Royal Highness's orders, to your house to relate what had passed to Lord Grey. I do not mean to disguise, however, that when I found myself bound'to give my opinion, I did fully assent to the force and justice of the Prince's objections, and made other observations of my own, which I thought it my duty to do, conceiving, as I freely said, that the Paper could not have been drawn up but under the pressure of embarrassing difficulties, and, as I conceived also, in considerable haste.
“ Before we left Carlton-House, it was agreed between Adam and myself that we were not so strictly enjoined by the Prince, as to make it necessary for us to communicate to the Noble Lords the marginal comments of the Prince, and we determined to withhold them. But at the meeting, with Lord Grey, at your house, he appeared to me, erroneously perhaps, to decline considering the objections as coming from the Prince, but as originating in my suggestions. Upon this, I certainly called on Adam to produce the Prince's copy, with his notes, in His Royal Highness's own hand-writing.
“Afterwards, finding myself considerably hurt at an expression of Lord Grey's, which could only be pointed at me, and which expressed his opinion that the whole of the Paper, which he assumed me to be resposible for, was drawn up in an invidious spirit,' I certainly did, with more warmth than was, perhaps, discreet, comment on the Paper proposed to be substituted ; and there ended, with no good effect, our interview.
“Adam and I saw the Prince again that night, when His Royal Highness was graciously pleased to meet our joint and earnest request, by striking out from the draft of the Answer, to which he still resolved to adhere, every passage which we conceived to be most liable to objection on the part of Lord Grey and Lord Grenville.
“On the next morning, Friday,-a short time before he