Declaration of the Prince Regent, October 10, 1745
A printed version of the text can be found on pages 234 - 237 of volume 1 of Great Britain: The Lion at Home, edited by Joel H. Wiener (New York: Chelsea House, 1974).
Charles, Prince of Wales, etc., Regent of the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, and the Dominions thereunto belonging: Unto all Hhis Majesty's subjects, of what degree soever, greeting.
As soon as we, conducted by the Providence of God, arrived in Scotland, and were joined by a handful of our Royal Father's faithful subjects, our first care was, to make public his most gracious declaration; and in consequence of the large powers by him vested in us, in quality of Regent, we also emitted our own manifesto, explaining and enlarging the Promises formerly made, according as we came to be better acquainted with the Inclinations of the people of Scotland. Now that it has pleased God so far to smile on our undertaking, as to make us master of the ancient Kingdom of Scotland, we judged it proper, in this public manner, to make manifest what ought to fill the hearts of all His Majesty's subjects, of what nation or province soever, with Comfort and satisfaction.
We therefore hereby, in His Majesty's name, declare, that his sole intention is to re-instate all his subjects in the full enjoyment of their religion, laws, and liberties; and that our present attempt is not undertaken, in order to enslave a free people, but to redress and remove the encroachments made upon them; not to impose upon any a religion which they dislike, but to secure them all in the enjoyment of those which are respectively at present established among them, either in England, Scotland or Ireland; and if it shall be deemed proper that any further Security be given to the established Church or clergy, we hereby promised, in his name, that he shall pass any law that his Parliament shall judge necessary for that purpose.
In consequence of the rectitude of our royal father's intentions, we must further declare his sentiments with regard to the national debt: that it has been contracted under an unlawful government, nobody can disown, no more than that it is now a most heavy load upon the nation; yet, in regard that it is for the greatest part due to those very subjects whom he promises to protect, cherish and defend, he is resolved to take the advice of his Parliament concerning it, in which he thinks he acts the part of a just Prince, who makes the good of his people the sole rule of his actions.
Furthermore, we here in his name declare, that the same rule laid down for the funds, shall be followed with respect to every law or act of Parliament since the Revolution; and, in so far as, in a free and legal Parliament, they shall be approved, he will confirm them. With respect to the pretended union of the two Nations, the King cannot possibly ratify it, since he has had repeated remonstrances against it from each Kingdom; and since it is incontestable, that the principal point then in view, was the exclusion of the Royal Family from their undoubted right to the Crown, for which purpose the grossest corruptions were openly used to bring it about: but whatever may be hereafter devised for the joint benefit of both Nations, the King will most readily comply with the request of his Parliaments to establish.
And now that we have, in His Majesty's name, given you the most ample security for your religion, properties and laws, that the power of a British sovereign can grant; we hereby for ourselves, as heir apparent to the Crown, ratify and confirm the same in our own name, before Almighty God, upon the faith of a Christian, and the honour of a prince.
Let me now expostulate this weighty matter with you, my father's subjects, and let me not omit this first public opportunity of awakening your understandings, and of dispelling that cloud, which the assiduous pens of ill designing men have all along, but chiefly now, been endeavouring to cast on the truth. Do not the pulpits and congregations of the clergy, as well as your weekly papers, ring with the dreadful threats of popery, slavery, tyranny and arbitrary power, which are now ready to be imposed upon you, by the formidable powers of France and Spain? Is not my royal father represented as a blood-thirsty tyrant, breathing out nothing but destruction to all those who will not immediately embrace an odious religion? Or, have I myself been better used? But listen only to the naked truth.
I, with my own money, hired a small vessel, ill provided with money, arms or friends; I arrived in Scotland, attended by seven persons; I publish the King my father's Declaration, and proclaim his title, with pardon in one hand, and in the other liberty of conscience, and the most solemn promises to grant whatever a free Parliament shall propose for the happiness of a people. I have, I confess, the greatest reason to adore the goodness of Almighty God, who has, in so remarkable a manner, protected me and my small Army through the many dangers to which we were at first exposed, and who has led me in the way to victory, and to the capital of this ancient Kingdom, amidst the acclamations of the King my father's subjects: why then is so much pains taken to spirit up the minds of the people against this my undertaking?
The reason is obvious, it is, lest the real sense of the nation's present sufferings should blot out the remembrance of past misfortunes, and of the outcries formerly raised against the Royal Family. Whatever miscarriages might have given occasion to them, they have been more than atoned for since; and the nation has now an opportunity of being secured against the like for the future.
That our family has suffered exile during these fifty seven years, everybody knows. Has the nation, during that period of time, been the more happy and flourishing for it? Have you found reason to love and cherish your governors, as the fathers of the people of Great Britain and Ireland? Has a family, upon whom a faction unlawfully bestowed the diadem of a rightful Prince, retained a due sense of so great a trust and favour? Have you found more humanity and condescension in those who were not born to a Crown, then in my royal forefathers? Have their ears been open to the cries of the people? Have they, or do they consider only the interest of these nations? Have you reaped any other benefit from them, than an immense load of debts? If I am answered in the affirmative, why has their government been so often railed at in all your public assemblies? Why has the nation been so long crying out in vain for redress against the abuse of Parliaments, upon account of their long duration, the multitude of place-men, which occasions their venality, the introduction of penal Laws, and in general, against the miserable situation of the Kingdom at home and abroad? All these, and many more inconveniences must now be removed, unless the people of Great Britain be already so far corrupted, that they will not accept of freedom when offered to them; seeing the King, on his Restoration, will refuse nothing that a free Parliament can ask, for the security of the religion, laws and liberty of his people.
The fears of the nation from the powers of France and Spain, appear still more vain and groundless: my expedition was undertaken unsupported by either: but indeed, when I see a foreign force brought by my enemies against me, and when I hear of Dutch, Danes, Hessians, and Swiss, the Elector of Hanover's allies, being called over to protect his government against the King's subjects, is it not high time for the King my father, to accept also of the assistance of those who are able, and who have engaged to support him? But will the world, or any one man of sense in it, infer from thence, that he inclines to be a tributary prince, rather than an independent monarch? Who has the better chance to be independent on foreign powers? He, who with the aid of his own subjects, can wrest the government out of the hands of an intruder: or he, who cannot without assistance from abroad, support his government, though established by all the civil power, and secured by a strong military force, against the undisciplined part of those he has ruled over for so many years? Let him, if he pleases, try the experiment, let him send off his foreign hirelings, and put the whole upon the issue of a battle; I will trust only to the King my father's subjects, who were or shall be engaged in mine and their country's cause: But, notwithstanding all the opposition he can make, I still trust in the justice of my cause, the valour of my troops, and the assistance of the Almighty, to bring my enterprise to a glorious issue.
It is now time to conclude, and I shall do it with this reflection. Civil wars are ever attended with rancour and ill will, which party-rage never fails to produce in the minds of those, whom different interests, principles or views set in opposition to one another; I therefore earnestly require it of my friends to give as little loose as possible to such passions; this will prove the most effectual means to prevent the same in the enemies of our royal cause. And this my declaration will vindicate to all posterity the nobleness of my undertaking, and the generosity of my intentions.
Given at our Palace of Holy-rood-house the tenth day of October, One thousand seven hundred and forty five.
By His Highness's Command.
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