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were so intimately connected with the question which was to be brought forward by an honorable gentleman on a subsequent day that it was of material importance to the House to know the fact; and to be informed, if the intention was put aside, on what grounds that had occurred. It had been generally believed, circumstances closely connected with the object of the honorable gentleman's motion were the cause of that which had taken place; it had been stated this day, in the very streets, that her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales had declined
farther proceedings in the intended marriage, on account of the situation of her royal mother; if that was the case, it undoubtedly must endear her Royal Highness to every generous and feeling heart; it would prove, that the subject on which the House were not to touch, as too delicate for their investigation, had risen to such great political importance, that it might very possibly operate to prevent this most beneficial and desirable union. In order to ascertain the fact, the honorable baronet, his honorable friend, had proposed a question to the right honorable gentleman, which had been very unsatisfactorily evaded; he was sure that the right honorable gentleman and his colleagues could not be disposed to trust the discussion of a subject, so interesting and important, to the close of the session ; and nothing was more certain, than that after the business of next week, no great attendance could be expected in Parliament.
In the hope, therefore, of obtaining satisfactory information, or, at least, with the determination that his wish to do so should be recorded in the Journals, he would move, “ That an humble address be presented to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, praying that he would be graciously pleased to acquaint the House, if there be a treaty of marriage on foot between her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales, and the hereditary Prince of Orange.”
Sir Matthew White Ridley, bart., seconded the motion. He flattered himself that the answer to the question which he had put to the right honorable gentleman, would have proved satisfactory. As that, unfortunately, had not been the case, he was gratified to find the subject taken up by one who was so much more able to do justice to it than himself. His honorable friend had stated many reasons for expecting that the House would be put in possession of some information on the subject. Another, which he (Sir M. W. Ridley) had heard, and which still more convinced him of the expediency of bringing the subject under the consideration of Parliament, was the report that, in the event of the marriage taking place, her Royal Highness might be induced to quit the country. This supposition rendered him more than ordinarily anxious that the real state and nature of the whole proceedings should be laid before the House.
Mr. Stephen, said, that the honorable gen
tleman (Mr. Whitbread) had redeemed himself from the charge of disorder, by reducing his observations to a formal motion. If every thing that was within the rules of order, was also within the rules of propriety--within the rules of delicacy--within the rules of public decency-then the honorable gentleman's conduct might have been not only orderly, but it might have been delicate; it might have been decent; for aught he knew, it might have been discreet. But if, in defending himself from the charge of disorder, the honorable gentleman had exposed himself to other imputations ;-if it should be the opinion of a great majority of the House, that he had not exonerated himself from all impropriety, by the mere reduction of his observations into a formal motion,--then he (Mr. Stephen) must regard that motion as the most indisereet, as the most indelicate, as the most indecent. (,Order! Order!) Mr. Stephen repeated, that his observations were not intended to apply to the honorable gentleman, but to his proposition, which he would again say was most indiscreet, most indelicate, and most indecent; and this he would assert, not only with regard to the proposition itself, but with regard to some of the circumstances stated by the honorable gentleman in support of it. What the fact was, the House knew not; the honorable gentleman assumed it; but was Parliament, on the strength of that assumption, not only to break into the sanctity and delicacy
of conjugal relations, but also upon all those of a parental nature ? As well as being most indelicate, the proposition made by the honorable gentleman was most wanton ; for he himself stated, that the intended engagement, which was the object of it, had been relinquished. Would it be to treat rank and sex with respect, to drag into public view all the delicate circumstances of a proceeding, which, according to the honorable gentleman's own declaration, was not likely to be completed ? What would the honorable gentleman think of such a proposition, if it regarded his sister or his daughter? Was it compatible with the attention due to the delicacy of the female character, to expose all the circumstances of an abortive negotiation, such as that which the honorable gentleman had described ; and this after it had been distinctly stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that his Majesty's ministers were authorized not to make any communication to Parliament on the subject? (Hear! hear!)-He understood the cause of the cheer from the honorable gentlemen opposite; he had inadvertently misplaced a word ;-he had said, that his Majesty's ministers were authorized not to make any communication. He was not afraid ofany such united hostility, however clamorous; it would only recoil on those from whom it proceeded. Ifever there was a motion which required a regular notice; if ever there was a case in which the House ought to have time for consideration;
if ever there was a subject on which ministers should have an opportunity afforded them for digesting their answer, it was the present. It was under the impression of this conviction, that, although he saw his right honorable friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer preparing to rise, he had ventured to claim the attention of the House. It was most unfair to take his Majesty's ministers in this manner by surprise, and suddenly to place them in a situation of difficulty, for no other purpose than to afford the honorable gentleman a vehicle for observations, which it would have been better he had never uttered.
Mr. Robinson was of opinion, that much unnecessary warmth had been exhibited in this discussion ; à discussion which took place solely because one honorable gentleman having asked a question, and having been told that his Majesty's ministers were not authorized to make any communication to parliament on the subject, another honorable gentleman thought proper to make a motion relative to a proceeding of which the House, as a house of Parliament, had no knowledge whatever. If his Royal Highness the Prince Regent had made any communication to the House on the subject, and if a considerable period had elapsed since that communication to the House, there might be some ground to call on Parliament to acquiesce in the honorable gentleman's motion; but as far as he knew, the House, as a house, were not aware even of the existence