HL Deb 25 January 1819 vol 39 cc80-1
The Earl of Liverpool

having moved the order of the day, and the reading of that part of the Speech of the Lords Commissioners which related to the death of the queen, and the care of his majesty's person, proceeded to address the House on the subject of which he had given notice. The death of the queen—that calamitous event, which their lordships and the nation had deplored, and for which he had recently called upon their lordships to offer their condolence to the Prince Regent—now imposed upon him the duty of proposing a measure relative to the trust of the king's sacred person. When, about eight years ago, their lordships were called upon to consider this important question, they had judged it right that the custody of his majesty's person should be vested in the hands of one individual, and that that individual should not be the person who was placed at the head of the government. He thought then, and remained still of the same opinion, that their lordships had come to a judicious decision. It was not a decision adopted on any principal of jealousy of the head of the government, but was one which could not fail to be most agreeable to that illustrious person himself. Their lordships then resolved to commit the custody of the king's person to that individual to whom, from connexion, character, and rank, it was most proper the sacred trust should be consigned. In consequence of the lamented decease of her majesty, their lordships had now to consider of the best means of supplying her place with respect to this important trust. He believed he should anticipate their lordships wishes by proposing his royal highness the duke of York. Whether their lordships considered the relation in which that illustrious person stood, his character, or his previous conduct, it appeared that the office which it was necessary to supply could not be intrusted to one better calculated to fill it. It was, therefore, his intention to introduce a bill for placing the custody of the King's person in the hands of the duke of York. The trust he should propose would, as it had hitherto been, be undivided; but undoubtedly, as in the case of the queen, subject to the assistance of a council. He was persuaded that this arrangement would fully meet their lordships approbation. If, on a question of this kind, personal feelings were to have any weight, and he knew no reason why they should not, some additional motive might be assigned for the mode of conferring this important office, and a motive which would have due consideration with their lordships: that was, that if his majesty could himself declare in whose hands he would desire this trust to be placed, it was certain that he would assign it to the illustrious individual named in this bill. With these observations he should offer the bill to their lordships for a first reading. It was confined to the object he had stated, and the re-appointment of the council which acted under the former bill. Blanks would be left for this purpose, which he would propose to fill up with the same names; but it would be necessary to supply the place of one member of the council by a new appointment, in consequence of the death of the lord chief-justice of the court of King's-bench.

The bill was then read a first time, and ordered to be printed.