§ Mr. Biddulph
having maintained, on a former night, that the interest and sinking fund for the sum wanted for the service of the year, might be found without imposing any new taxes on the subject, had to propose certain Resolutions with a view to that object, which he hoped the house would allow to be laid on the table, and to be printed, in order to their being taken into consideration on a future day.—On the suggestion of the chancellor of the exchequer, it was agreed, that the Resolutions should be read, and the debate arising on them adjourned to Friday fortnight.—Several Resolutions relating to the amount of Supplies voted, the surplus of the Consolidated Fund, &c. were read and disposed of accordingly, but on a Resolution proposing the sale of some parts of the Hereditary Revenue of the crown,
§ The Speaker
stated, that it was contrary to precedent that the house should interfere with the hereditary revenue of the crown, without the authority of a special communication from his majesty.
§ Mr. Biddulph
proposed to reconcile this 62 proposition to the forms of the house, by making it the subject of a recommendation, or in some other way, so as to have it brought under the consideration of the house.
§ Mr. Lethbridge
hoped the hon. gent. would withdraw his motion. It was quite improper to think of interfering with the hereditary revenue, without his majesty's permission, intimated either by a special message or by his confidential advisers.
§ Mr. Biddulph
refused to withdraw his motion, and thought the difficulties of form ought to be accommodated rather than made a bar to the consideration of a proposition, the object of which was to save the subject from any additional burthens this year. As certain property, such as warehouses and legal quays, had been purchased by money from the Consolidated Fund, and vested in his majesty, so he thought parts of the other property of the crown might be granted for the service of the public. He did not mean to touch any property essential to the dignity, splendour, or comfort of the crown. The property he alluded to consisted chiefly of detached houses and small pieces of land in Piccadilly, and other parts of the town, to the sale of which he could not see any good ground of opposition. He would give a schedule of this property in due time. It consisted, first of property attended with constant loss; secondly, of trifling rents, which had constantly declined in value from the time of Philip and Mary, when they were worth 5,100l. to the present time, when they were worth only 1500l. and still falling off; thirdly, of detached houses, such as he before alluded to. This species of property was unavailable, either to the dignity or interest of the crown, and he was sure his majesty would have no difficulty to make it matter of arrangement to alleviate the burthens of his people.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
expressed his readiness to abandon the Bills he had introduced to provide for the interest and sinking fund for the sums wanted for the public service, if the hon. gent. could devise means of answering these claims without new taxes. He would be grateful, even, for any suggestion that could tend, to diminish the taxes he had felt himself called upon to propose; but he did not see how what the hon. gent. proposed, so 63 far as he understood it, applied to the service of the present year. It was true, that some unproductive parts of the hereditary revenue had already been sold; but it was by the advice of the crown, and in consequence of recommendations founded upon proper inquiries and investigation. It was true that legal quays and warehouses had been purchased by the public and vested in the crown, and that considerable sums had been paid for them to the amount of 3 or 400,000l. But though the public might have thought it right to purchase at a high price, for public accommodation, the good will of individuals who had a vested right in these possessions, it did not follow that the property was of that value, or that it would produce near so much on a re-sale. With respect to the parts of the hereditary revenue, which the hon. gent. wished to make subject to parliamentary disposal, it was now matter of consideration with the surveyors and commissioners under the direction of the crown, how to dispose of the unprofitable part of this revenue, and to vest the produce in profitable property. It was, however, a step that ought not to be taken without mature consideration. Though there was an impediment of form, which precluded the house from entertaining the Resolution, the hon. gent. might rest assured that his suggestion would not be left unattended to.
§ Mr. Biddulph
replied, that he was very willing to withdraw the resolution, if the rt. hon. gent. would endeavour to procure for the object of it the recommendation of the crown.—On the suggestion of the Speaker, the last Resolution was withdrawn, and the consideration of the other Resolutions was postponed to the 25th of this month.