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The king's illness was made the occasion on February 27 of a motion by Sir Robert Lawley for the adjournment of the house of commons. This was parried by Addington with the statement that there was no necessary suspension of such royal functions as it might be necessary for His Majesty to discharge at the present moment. The emphasis here obviously lay on the word "necessary". A still bolder course was adopted shortly afterwards by the lord chancellor. When on March 9 the king's assent to several bills was given by commission, Fitzwilliam raised not unreasonable doubts as to whether the king was capable of resuming the functions of government. Eldon, however, declared that, as the result of a private interview with the king, he had come to the conclusion that the royal commissioners were warranted in assenting to the bills in question. Whether the chancellor was justified in assuming this responsibility must remain doubtful; at all events Pitt seems to have determined that the time was now ripe for a ministerial crisis. He had on February 27 criticised both the military and naval defences of the country, but he would not directly attack the government till the king's health was in a better condition. At last, on March 15, the first attack was made. Pitt selected the weak point in the administration. St. Vincent's obstinacy in refusing to believe in the possibility of a renewal of hostility and his excessive economy had brought about a marked deterioration in the strength and quality of the fleet. Pitt accordingly moved for an inquiry into the administration of the navy. Fox dissociated himself from Pitt's attacks on the first lord of the admiralty, but supported the motion on the ground that an inquiry would clear St. Vincent's character. On a division the government had a majority of 201 against 130. On the 19th, however, Pitt refused to join the Grenvilles in supporting Fox's motion for the re-committal of the volunteer consolidation bill. On the following day Eldon made overtures to Pitt, and on the 23rd Pitt dined tête-