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I have the honour of informing you, that, in consequence of the peculiar circumstances of the moment, it has been judged expedient to issue orders, preventing all ships under Swedish or other neutral colours, from entering any port or place on the coast between the Humber and the Downs, with the exception of Yarmouth Roads and the Downs, to which places they will be still permitted to resort.
I have lost no time in enabling you to make an early communication of the measure which the kin has thought fit to adopt, as it is his majesty's anxious wish that the
trade of neutral nations may be lity of a military command :
Carlton House, July 18, 1803. Sir, The subject on which I address you presses so heavily on my mind, and daily acquires such additional importance, that, notwithstanding my wish to avoid any interference with the disposition made by his majesty’s ministers, I find it impossible to withhold or delay an explicit statement of my feelings, to which I would direct your most serious considerations. When it was officially communicated to parliament that the avowed object of the enemy was a descent on our kingdoms, the question became so obvious that the circumstances of the times required the voluntary tender of personal services; when parlialiament, in consequence of this representation, agreed to extraordinary measures for the defence of these realms alone, it was evident the danger was not believed dubious or remote. Animated by the same spirit which pervaded the nation at large, conscious of the duties which I owed to his majesty and the country, I seized the earliest opportunity to express my desire of undertaking the responsibiI neither neither did, nor do, presume on supposed talents as entitling me to such an appointment. I am aware I do not possess the experience of actual warfare; at the same time I cannot regard myself as totally unqualified or deficient in military science, since I have long made the service my particular study. My chief pretensions were founded on a sense of those advantages which my example might produce to the state, by exciting the loyal energies of the nation, and a knowledge of those expectations which j public had a right to form as to the personal exertions of their princes at a moment like the present. The more elevated my situation, in so much the ef. forts of zeal became necessarily #.". and I confess, that, if duty not been so paramount, a reflexion on the splendid achievements of my predecessors would have excited in me the spirit of emulation; when, however, in addition to such recollections, the nature of the contest in which we are about to engage was impressed on my consideration, I should, indeed, have been devoid of every virtuous sentiment, if I felt no reluctance in remaining a passive spectator of armaments, which have for their object the very existence of the British empire. Thus was I influenced to make my offer of service, and I did imagine that his majesty's ministers would have attached to it more value. But when I find that, from some unknown cause, my appointment seems to remain so long undetermined ; when I feel myself exposed to the obloquy of being regarded by the country as passing my time indifferent to the events which menace, and in
sensible to the call of patriotism, much more of glory, it then behoves me to examine my rights, and to remind his majesty's ministers that the claim which I have advanced is strictly constitutional, and justified by precedent; and that in the present situation of Europe, to deny my exercising it is fatal to my own immediate honour, and the future interests of the crown. I can never forget that I have solemn obligations imposed on me by my birth, and that I should ever show myself foremost in contributing to the preservation of the country. The time is arrived when I may prove myself sensible of the duties of my situation, and of evincing my devotion to that sovereign, who by nature as well as public worth commands my most affectionate attachment. I repeat, that I should be sorry to embarrass the governmentatany time, most particularly at such a crisis : but, since no event in my future life can compensate me for the misfortune of not participating in the honours and dangers which await the brave men destined to oppose an invading enemy, I cannot forego the earnest renewal of my application. All I solicit is a more ostensible situation than that in which I am at present placed ; for situated as I am, as a mere colonel of a regiment, the major-general commanding the brigade, of which such a regiment must form a part, would justly expect and receive the full credit of pre-arrangement and successful enterprise. I remain, Sir, , Very sincerely, yours, (Signed) G. P. R. H. Henry Addington, &c. (H2)
"The F. of Wales repeated his application in a letter dated 26th July. An answer from Mr. Addington informs his royal highness that his first letter has been laid before his majesty, who had referred to the answers which his majesty had judged it necessary to return to similar representations— which in obedience to the commands of his royal highness, had been laid before his majesty upon former occasions. The prince then desired his note of the 26th of July to be laid before his majesty, which was accordingly done. His majesty referred to the order he had before given Mr. Addington; with the addition—that the king's opinion being fixed, he desired that no further mention should be made to him on the subject. The following letter was then written by the prince to the king.
LETTER TO THE KING, Sir, A correspondence has taken place between Mr. Addington and myself on a subject which deeply involves my honour and character. The answers which I have received from that gentleman, the communication § he has made to the house of commons, leave me no hope but in appeal to the justice of your majesty. ... I make that apF. with confidence, because "I eel that you are my natural advocate, and with the sanguine ho that the ears of an affectionate father may still be opened to the supplications of a dutiful son. I ask to be allowed to display the best energies of my character; to shed the last drop of my blood in support of your majesty's per
son, crown, and dignity; for this
is not a war for empire, glory, or dominion, but for existence. In this contest, the lowest and humblest of your majesty's subjects have been called on; it would therefore little become me, who am the first, and who stand at the very footstool of the throne, to remain a tame, an idle, and lifeless spectator, of the mischiefs which threaten us, unconscious of the dangers which surround us, and indifferent to the consequences which may follow. Hanover is lost—England is menaced with invasion—Ireland is in rebellion— Europe is at the foot of France. At such a moment the prince of Wales, yielding to none of your servants in zeal and devotion—to none of your subjects in duty—to none of your children in tenderness and affection—presumes to approach you, and again to repeat those offers which he already made through your majesty's minister. A feeling of honest ambition, a sense of what I owe to myself and to my family—and, above all, the fear of sinking in the estimation of that gallant army which may be the support of your majesty’s crown and my best hope hereafter, command me to persevere, and to assure your majesty, with all humility and respect, #. conscious of the justice of my claim, no human power can ever induce me to relin
quish it. Allow me to say, sir, that I am bound to adopt, this line of conduct by every motive dear to me as a man, and sacred to me as a prince. Ought I not to come forward in a moment of unexampled difficulty and danger? Ought I not to share in the glory of victory, when I have every of to ose lose by defeat? The highest places
in your majesty's service are filled by the younger branches of the royal family; to me alone no place is assigned. I am not thought worthy to be the junior major-gemeral of your army. If I could submit in silence to such indignities, I should indeed deserve such treatment, and prove to the satisfaction of your enemies, and my own, that I am entirely incapable of those exertions which my birth and the circumstances of the times peculiarly call for. Standing so near the throne, when I am debased, the cause of royalty is wounded; I cannot sink in public opinion, without the participation of your majesty in my degradation. Therefore every motive of private feeling and of public duty induce me to implore your majesty to review your decision, and to place me in that situation, which my birth, the duties of my station, the example of my predecessors, and the expectations of the people of England intitle me to claim.
Should I be disappointed in the hope which I have formed, should this last appeal to the justice of my sovereign, and the affection of my father, fail of success, I shall lament in silent submission his determination; but Europe, the world, and posterity, must judge between tlS.
I have done my duty; my conscience acquits me; my reason tells me that I was perfectly justified in the request which I have made, because no reasonable arguments have ever been adduced in answer to my pretensions. The precedents in our history are in my favour; but if they were not, the times in which we live, and especially the exigencies of the present moment, require us to become an example to our posterity,
No other cause of refusal has or can be assigned, except that it was the will of your majesty. To that will and pleasure I bow with every degree of humility and resignation; but I can never cease to complain of the severity which has been exercised against me, and the injustice which I have suffered, till I cease to exist.—I have the honour to subscribe myself, with all possible devotion, Your Majesty's most dutiful and affectionate Son and Subject, Brighton, Aug. 6. (Signed) G. P.
FROM the KING.
Windsor, 7th Aug. 1803.
My Dear Son, Though I applaud your zeal and spirit, of which, I trust, no one can suppose any of my family wanting, yet, considering the repeated declarations I have made of my determination on your former applications to the same purpose, I had flattered myself to have heard no further on the subject. Should the implacable enemy so far succeed as to land, you will have an opportunity of showing your zeal at the head of your regiment. . It will be the duty of every man to stand forward on such an occasion; and I shall certainly think it mine to set an example in defence of everything that is dear to me and
to my people.
I ever remain, my dear Son, Your most affectionate Father, (Signed) G. R.
FROM the PRINCE To The kin Ga Sir, Brighton, 23d Aug. 1803.
I have delayed thus long an answer to the letter which your majesty did me the honour to write, from a wish to refer to a former correspondence which took place between us in the year 1798. Those (H3) letters letters were mislaid, and some days elapsed before I could discover them: they have since been found. Allow me then, sir, to recal to your recollection the expressions you were graciously pleased to use, and which I once before took the liberty of reminding you of, when I solicited foreign service, upon my first coming into the army. They were, sir, that your majesty did not then see the opportunity for it; but if anything was to arise at home, I ought to be “first and foremost.” There cannot be a stronger expression in the English language, or one more consonant to the feelings which animate my heart. In this I agree most perfectly, with your majesty—“I ought to be the first and foremost.” It is the place which my birth assigns me—which Europe—which the English nation expect me to fill—and which the former assurances of your majesty might naturally have led me to hope I should occupy. After such a declaration, I could hardly expect to be told that my place was at the head of a regiment of dragoons.
I understand from your majesty, that it is your intention, sir, in pursuance of that noble example which you have ever shown during the course of your reign, to place yourself at the head of the people of England. My next brother, the duke of York, commands the army; the younger branches of my family are either generals or lieutetenant-generals; and I, who am the prince of Wales, am to remain a colonel of dragoons. There is something, so humiliating in the contrast, that those who are at a distance would either doubt the reality, or suppose that to be my fault which is only my misfortune.
Who could imagine, that I, who
am the oldest colonel in the service, had asked for the rank of a general officer in the army of the king my father, and that it had been refused me ! I am sorry, much more than sorry, to be obliged to break in upon your leisure, and to trespass thus a second time on the attention of your majesty. But I have, sir, an interest in my character more valuable to me than the throne, ahd dearer, far dearer, to me than life. I am called upon by that interest to persevere, and I pledge myself never to desist till I receive that satisfaction which the justice of my claim leads me to expect. In these unhappy times the world, sir, examines the conduct of princes with a jealous, a scrutinising, a malignant eye. No man is more aware than I am of the existence of such a disposition, and no man is therefore more determined to place himself above all suspicion. In desiring to be placed in a for: ward situation, I have performed one duty to the people of England; I must now perform another, and humbly supplicate your majesty to assign those reasons which have induced you to refuse a request which appears to me and to the world so reasonable and so rational. I must again repeat my concern that I am obliged to continue a correspondence which I fear is not so grateful to your majesty as I could wish. I have examined my own heart—I am convinced of the justice of my cause—of the purity of my motives. Reason and honour forbid me to yield: where no reason is alleged, I am justified in the conclusion that none can be