§ The order of the day being read, for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, upon the Bill for making provision for the better support and arrangement of his Majesty's Household, and for the care of his Majesty's real and 332 personal property during the continuance of his Majesty's indisposition; it was ordered, on the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, That it be an instruction to the Committee, that they have power to divide the Bill into two bills, if they think fit. On the motion, that the Speaker do leave the chair,
§ Mr. Tierney
rose, and expressed himself extremely anxious, that what he should say on this occasion might not be misconceived or misrepresented. The subject was one of much delicacy, and at the same time of so great importance, that while they inquired into it, on one handy with tenderness and respect, they ought, on the other side, to be allowed full and complete opportunity of understanding what they were doing, and this was the more necessary for him to insist upon, as he, was sure there were many gentlemen who, neither from a perusal of the Bill, of the papers on the table, or of all the information they had before them, could be aware of the extent to which the measure went. Rising as he did at this moment, it might be supposed that he would go into the minutiæ, and answer the variety of statements contained in the papers produced; but the contrary was his intention, for he could see no good purpose that could be answered, and no real utility that could be produced by an investigation of detached papers and figures. From all these it was impossible for him to make up his mind on the question, and when he could not see his own way, it was not his design to call on other gentlemen to follow a course, in which he could not be their guide. In saying this, it was far from his intention to insinuate that there' had been any backwardness or unwillingness in the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer to produce all the information called for. The papers were on the table, and for aught he knew they were correct and fair; but then they did not afford the information desired; they only gave a comparative statement of the expenditure on the Civil List for a few years, while be wanted to know; whether in any of these years it was possible to have made a retrenchment? And this appeared to him to be the more necessary to be ascertained, as that expenditure, from the year 1804, had proceeded upon estimate, and that estimate had been greatly exceeded. Thee expence of the Lord Steward's department, for instance, instead of 65,000l. a year, at which it had been calculated in 333 1804, the next year rose to 84,000l. it was the existence of such facts as these that induced him to call on the House, to examine the matter in detail before they agreed to a new and permanent arrangement: and for this purpose it was his opinion that a Committee above stairs should be appointed, instead of proceeding in the blind and uninformed way they were now, by the right hon. gentleman opposite, advised to pursue. The House ought not to be contented with the mere information given by ministers, they ought to inquire into the subject themselves. Not that he meant to throw any imputation op the right hon. gentleman opposite, who had freely given an account of the expenditure of the Civil List, which, as far as the figures went, he had no doubt was correct; but it afforded no insight into the state of the vouchers, why they had augmented in amount, and how the money had been called for; and without this it was of little or no consequence to, the House to know, that instead of the estimated 10,000l. the expence of foreign ministers had amounted to 83,000l. for instance, if they could not at the same time ascertain why this was so, and what were the circumstances which demanded so great an increase. He might also offer similar observations respecting the Lord Chamberlain's department, but it was unnecessary to enter into these partial details, when they were of necessity shut put from a comprehensive and general view of the question, in all its bearings and branches. His object was, that every thing belonging to the Civil List might be put on a footing honourable to the crown, and consistent with its dignity and splendour; at the same time that every thing should be open to the public, whose interest ought to be consulted in any arrangements about to be made. Although in this sense he was an advocate for the strictest practical economy, yet he begged it to be understood, that there was not a man, in the country who would less entertain a wish to abridge, in the slightest degree, either the pomp or splendour of royalty. But, in his mind, the expenditure might be made much more palatable to the public, without being made less in amount; and it was more to the mode in which the business was conducted, than to any objection which from his present information, he could have to its extent, that he was, in every point of consideration, decidedly adverse. On this 334 ground it was that he opposed the motion for the Speaker's now leaving the chair. He wished to have a distant day fixed for that, as the matter now stood; and he would have opposed the motion altogether, as he thought the bill ought not at all to be entertained, but from a consideration of its proposed purpose, to provide for the comfort and maintenance of the monarch in his distressed condition. It purported to make a provision for his Majesty in his illness, and he would not, by opposing it altogether, expose himself to misconstruction; but his opinion of the measure was fixed; and though he might not deem it expedient, from the circumstances he had noticed, to go to the length he should otherwise have been inclined to go, yet neither would he bring himself to acquiesce in a measure which seemed every way so prejudicial to the interest of the state And here he could not help calling the attention of the House to one part of the Bill, which he knew not by what mean" had crept into it, as it made no part of the instructions to those appointed to frame it. He alluded to that part relating to his Majesty's Private Property. On this subject he found himself in great difficulty and was not aware of any argument that, could shew the propriety; of legislating upon it. He would say nothing of the amount to which, on the accumulation of many years, it must have risen, but he might state that he could not nor did he believe any gentleman who heard him could come to a determination thus incidentally to bestow upon it legislative recognition. The Bill called on them to appoint three commissioners to superintend this fund, out of which they were to be paid 1,000l. per annum each, and the House might readily form an idea of what that sum must be which could afford so large a proportion for the mere auditing. He should be the last man in the House to hurt the feelings of the royal family, but, as a member of parliament, he must protest against their recognizing this fund, uninformed as they were as to its amount and nature. He must also protest against the oath intended to be administered to these commissioners, by which they would be bound never to betray the "secrets of the prison house." By this means, if any part of this fund, which he did not mean to say was the case,—if any part of it should have arisen from sources not intended to have constituted private property, or to have been employed for private purposes, then parliament 335 would be excluded from the possibility of ascertaining the fact, and consequently from applying a remedy to the evil. In discussing this part of the, subject he was conscious of the delicacy of his situation, and that he was speaking of things not ordinarily within the view of parliament; that he was consequently liable to misinterpretation, and in some quarters, of wilful misinterpretation; he therefore wished that those royal personages most interested were present in the House to hear his sentiments. He was anxious that every syllable he uttered should be dealt out With becoming respect to the monarch and those nearest concerned, but at the same time he could not consent to give more than was consistent with the circumstances and honour of the country. With this impression, he hoped the House would allow him to go rather more into detail than he otherwise should have gone; and he should not have done so, were it not a question of the greatest importance in every point of view.—The Bill professed to be "a Bill for making provision for the better support and arrangement of his Majesty's household, and for the care of his Majesty's real and personal property during the continuance of his Majesty's indisposition." Now, the House would consider the circumstances under which the Bill so framed came for discussion. An act passed for settling the regency for 12 months under certain restrictions, which act had very nearly expired. The restrictions contained in that act were such as the prince of Wales felt were not only painful, but injurious and insulting to the character of his royal highness. Since the passing of that act up to the present moment, his royal highness had conducted himself in such a manner, as not only to call forth the admiration of the country, but also to remove any suspicion, (if any man had suspicion lurking in his mind at the time the act passed), that his future conduct would not be regulated in the same manner. The whole of his royal highness's conduct had been directed by attention to the comforts of his royal father, and which had on all occasions done credit to himself, and would give the lie direct to any insinuations to the contrary. There was nothing in his royal highness's past conduct that could lead him to a suspicion that if he was clothed with full powers he would abuse those powers. What was the return which his royal highness had met with? By this new 336 Bill he was to be treated as a person not fit to be trusted—as if he had not atoned for any supposed or imaginary errors by the rectitude of his conduct, and consequently had not wiped off that dark distrust which had dictated the measure 12 months since. (Hear, hear, from the ministerial benches, accompanied with a smile!) The right hon. gentlemen seemed amused with these opinions, but he did not see much of comicality in them, and he would endeavour to convince the right hon. gentlemen so. In considering the act, he must make two assumptions. In the first place, that it would in substance place his royal highness on the throne permanently, (in the event that what all desired did not fortunately happen) and that it would make such arrangements that his Majesty might, if happily he could, resume the royal authority. Secondly, that his royal highness ceased to be prince of Wales on that assumption, and of course whatever was vested in him as prince of Wales, was at an end also; that was to say, the executive government would be entirely in him. But the principles which he had assumed would be violated by this Bill; for last year the country only recognized one Court.—Parliament were now called upon to establish two courts. With respect to the establishments of these courts, many gentlemen who had not heard the speech of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer in detailing the plan, would be totally in the dark. It was proposed to vote 70,000l. per annum in addition, and to make his royal highness a present of 100,000l. Now when he asked for explanation on this subject, how was he answered? Why, the right hon. gentleman, as he understood the plan, had stated it to be this: His Majesty had a civil list revenue of 950,000l. (putting out of the question the revenues arising from the duchies of Cornawll and Lancaster); out of that list he paid 60,000l. to the prince of Wales; he therefore had at his disposal an available income of about 900,000l. Of that sum it was proposed to take 170,000l. namely, 100,000l. for his Majesty's household, 60,000l. for his privy purse, and 10,000l. for her Majesty's additional expenditure. This gross sum of 170,000l. deducted from the 900,000l. would leave a clear income of 730,000l. This was ope side of the question. On the other it was proposed to add the sum of 70,000l. which would bring it to 800,000l. to which must be 337 added also, 50,000l. to be given to his' royal highness as prince of Wales, making in the whole 850,000l. leaving the civil list revenue in the hands of his royal highness, 50,000l. less than what his royal father enjoyed. Now, whether the sum so proposed to be given was more or less than enough to maintain the dignity of the sovereign, he was not at present prepared to say, and therefore it was necessary the House should be informed. It had been stated, too, by the right honourable gentleman that his Royal Highness would defray the expence of the Windsor establishment when there, out of the revenue thus appropriated for this purpose; but with respect to Carlton House, there was no precise information given: and he had only to observe, that the prospect held out to the country was likely to be falsified in the same manner as the Estimates of 1804 had been. There were 170,000l. taken from the civil list and 120,000l. added to it; but then they were also to recollect that the Prince of Wales enjoyed an exchequer income beyond what was appropriated to the civil list, of 70,000l. which, on the whole, made his income 20,000l. a year more than that enjoyed by his Majesty. But this was not all. This sum was to form a fund, over which parliament was to have no controul. He did not doubt that it would, by the Prince Regent, be applied most honourably and properly; but, as a member of parliament, he must declare it to be a monstrous proposition, that the person entrusted with the royal functions should have a fund of 70,000l. uncontrolled by parliament, and only appearing in a parenthesis in the speech of the minister. This alone was, in his opinion, a sufficient objection to the bill; but there were many others. Her Majesty was appointed to the control of the king's household, with 170,000l. a year as one civil list, and another civil list was granted to the Prince Regent. By this plan two privy purses were established. The Prince of Wales, indeed, as administering the royal authority, was certainly entitled to that appendage to royalty; but he could see no reason for the same being continued to the King in his retirement. Would the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer tell him, which of the two came under Mr. Burke's bill? How were the charges on the privy purse to stand? Were they to remain on that left with the Queen for his Majesty, 338 or be transferred to that which accompanied the Regent? If not so transferred the Regent would have 130,000l. not under parliamentary control; and if they were, her Majesty would have 70,000l. a year to pay physicians, and the surplus would go to the augmentation of that private property, the amount of which they had no means of ascertaining, but which must already be enormous. The consequence was, that the privy purse, instead of belonging to the office of king, came to belong to the man, which was a complete perversion of its meaning and intention. Would the House, then, act honourably towards the country if they agreed to this vote of money, apparently to augment a fund already abundantly too large? He could not think that even 35,000l. could be expended annually on physicians; but if twice that sum were necessary, let it be shewn, and he was ready to vote it; but he never' would consent to recognize a privy purse to the king as a man, which was wisely given to him by parliament, as connected with the office of the kingly government. This also formed one of his main objections to the measure. The bill, he was aware, was not easily comprehended; but now, when gentlemen must see to what an objectionable extent it went, he put it to the House, whether they could consent to pass it, before they had every particle of information connected with it before them? He must remind them, that in what they were now doing they must consider themselves as providing for a new reign; and could they consent to do this on the loose and imperfect statements of which they were in possession? If they did, they ran the risk of placing the Prince Regent in a situation attended with the most unpleasant circumstances. He ought to ascend the throne with the confidence of the people; and could this be the case if he was put in possession of a fund which no king before ever possessed? The right hon. gentleman had said that the sum of 70,000l. was to be placed in the hands of the Prince to meet certain engagements of honour. And here he would discharge his duty and speak out. These engagements of honour must mean debts—they could mean nothing else; every man in the country knew the situation of his royal highness, and would at once understand them in that light, and that this 70,000l. was to be applied 339 in gradually liquidating these debts of his royal highness. This was the sum and substance of the right hon. gentleman's statement to the House, that on the faith of the income of 120,000l. his royal highness had entered into certain engagements of honour If these engagements were sifted, it would be found that no other reproach could attach to his royal highness on account of them than a want of attention to his affairs, negligence, and perhaps some degree of profusion. He should, in his own opinion, be wanting in his duty, if he did not say to the House that they ought to meet this difficulty fairly. He did not mean to say that this sum, which was now proposed to be left to the uncontrouled disposal of the Prince Regent, should be assigned to commissioners for the liquidating and discharging his royal highness's debts. This, he hoped in God, would not be attempted to be done, though he still thought it better than to vote an uncontrouled sum to the Regent; but he would say to them, If you wish that his royal highness should possess the confidence and affections of the country, do not leave this stain upon him. He would say to them, if you are really as liberal as you would wish to be thought, pay off the debts of his royal highness at once. While he said this, he knew that he was stating what, to many, would appear a very unpopular proposition, but caring nothing as to what construction might be put upon his conduct, or whether he might offend the high, or offend the low, he would say, that the Prince's debts, unless it could be shewn that they were disgracefully contracted, ought to be paid by parliament, and that if they were merely the fruit of negligence or profusion, as he was convinced would be found to be the case whenever they were investigated, he was ready to vote for their payment. He really could not conceive how a more disgraceful line of conduct could be adopted, than to embarrass the Prince Regent with the discharge of a debt, the nature and extent of which was not publicly known. It looked, in fact, as if something monstrous was considered to exist in those debts, which could not be avowed. It was well known that his Majesty, having no resources of his own, had the debts of the Civil List paid by the nation; and the Prince, while he had separate funds of his own, was no doubt to be called upon to discharge his own debts out of those funds; but now, when he had no separate funds, 340 his debts ought in like manner to be discharged by the nation. The consequences of this conduct, of thus placing the debts of his royal highness in this alarming and disadvantageous point of view, would readily, in his mind, occur to every one—deprived of this controul of the funds destined for his father, and bound to the discharge of engagements of honour, to whom, and to what extent no man could tell. In times like these, was it not highly dangerous to the throne, that it should be so manacled and fettered? There was a clause in the Bill, to which he would briefly advert. It is stated that since 1804, the charges of the Civil List have exceeded the funds by about 124,000l. annually. It might turn out that this was very correct, and that this excess was justifiable. Perhaps, then, his royal highness would soon experience something like the embarrassments of his father. How, then, would he be enabled to discharge these engagements of honour? It was proper to observe, that the Prince's debts had never yet been in any manner discharged by the nation, but had hitherto been liquidated out of his own funds up to the last two years.—On all these grounds he was desirous, before he came to a decision, of having a full view of every particular connected with this important subject, and that the Prince Regent should be placed on the throne with a mind free from embarrassment, that he might employ it in the great public duty imposed on him. The House ought to see every thing arranged and established on a solid footing, and at the same time so liberal and splendid, as to be equally honourable to the givers and to the receiver. But he objected to slurring over any part of this important matter: such a mode of proceeding was neither fit for royalty or the plain dealing of that House. Why, then, were they called on to vote by piecemeal? Why to slur over the provision which they would necessarily be called on, and ought to make for the amiable Princesses, who, they were told, would live, when in town, with the Regent, and when in the country with the Queen. Was this a treatment fitting the age and character of these princesses? The House ought at once to make a suitable provision for them. It was well known that in 1804, 20,000l. was allowed to the Queen on account of the encreased expences to which she was exposed on their account.—But the whole of the present proceedings carried suspicion on the face of them. It was 341 evident that there was every disposition to liberality in the House—a disposition to do every thing becoming the splendour and dignity of the throne and the royal family Why, then, did not the right hon. gentleman come forward at once, and take from the country what every man was ready to give, provided it was not greater than the funds and exigencies of the country would allow If they did not enter at present upon a full arrangement, every year they went on they would be continually exposed to a fresh discussion on the subject of the Civil List. It was true they were told that the average excess had been hitherto discharged out of the Droits of Admiralty and the excess of the Scotch Revenue, and that if the expenditure of his royal highness should exceed that average excess, it would be necessary to come to parliament. What was this, he would ask, but an indirect statement, that an addition was to be made to the Civil List to the amount of this average excedent, while in the outset he was to be curtailed of 50,000l. enjoyed by his father. The fact was, that this was a plan to keep the Prince Regent always in restraint, always under the necessity of applying for something from ministers, for which, no doubt, he was to give something to ministers in return. Their conduct appeared here in the most artful light. He wanted, therefore, to see the Prince entirely free from ministers. During the whole of the last reign, animosities had taken place respecting the paying off the debts contracted by the Civil List. Why, then; would not the minister at once come down, and ask from the House, he would not say a lavish grant, but such a sum as they ought to grant? Was it the way that the Civil List ought to be provided for at the commencement of a reign, to tell the House that the excedent of 124,000l. was to be paid out of the Droits of Admiralty and Scotch Revenue? Every thing on this business was left unexplained, and the House was left completely involved in doubts and perplexities. Throughout the whole Bill, there was an apparent distrust of his royal highness, while every thing was calculated to appear like very great kindness to him. In place of the 100,000l. taken from the Civil List, 70,000l. was to be given him, for which he was to be under no controul, But this was one side of the picture only, and it was proper also to look at the other. Here, then, was a settled distrust manifested respecting the 342 intention of his royal highness; he was considered by them as incapable, and unfit to be trusted with the management of his; father's servants; the father was placed under the controul, not of his son, but of others. The distrust entertained of the Prince Regent was the real reason for all this conduct. Was there any person, he would ask, averse to the entrusting the care of his Majesty's person to the Queen? But he could not see how, admitting that his Majesty should really want those lords of the bed-chamber and equerries now to be allowed him, there was any difficulty in supposing that her Majesty would desire some of her own retinue should be delegated to attend upon him. Did they suppose that the. Prince Regent would turn off his Majesty's old servants? The whole Civil List had last year been granted for his Majesty; and he would ask, what proportion of all the numerous retinue had ever attended upon his Majesty? It would appear that in April only one lord of the bed-chamber and one equerry had really waited upon him; but since July this had been altogether discontinued. What was all this for, then, he would ask, if there was not a distrust of the Prince? Why was the Queen to be placed at the head of a separate Court? (hear, hear!) He meant nothing here, but that she was to have the separate and uncontroulable power not controulable even by the Treasury, of the 110,000l. augmented by that part of the privy purse which was also at her disposal. Her Majesty was to have no fewer than 21 servants at her disposal for the support of the dignity and splendour of the King! Her Majesty had also an establishment of her own as Queen Consort, and this was a necessary part of the Civil List, and composed part of the splendour of the throne; but now all this was to be withdrawn from it. And was this not a new court, if a sum of 220,000l. was to be voted to her Majesty, with a Master of Horse, and the other officers which went in the train of a court? If all that did not constitute a separate court, he really did not know what a separate court meant. He did not mean to say that her Majesty would differ with the Prince Regent, but he would say, then, that if they pulled together, there would be an increased influence, which it was proper also not to lose sight of. His royal highness would have occasion to supply, for his own establishment, all the servants taken away from him to the other, and this would necessarily 343 occasion an increase of influence. But should there at any time be any difference, (he did not mean to say any personal difference, for that he was convinced would never take place between his royal highness and her Majesty, but any political difference between them), then the Prince Regent would feel himself checked by the measures of a rival court. All this was the necessary continuance of the system of last year. Did his royal highness approve of those restrictions, by which the Queen's power was placed above his own? The Queen was placed over a separate court, and armed with separate power and separate patronage. This, he would say, ought not to be the case, and he was sure that he was then saying that which if her Majesty could hear him say, she would have no hesitation in thanking him for. He did not mean to say that her Majesty would ever condescend to carry on intrigues against the administration; but this could be very well done by others in her name, who might find it very convenient to have a separate court to fall back upon, for the purpose of playing off their manœuvres. It was possible that this Bill might have been submitted to his royal highness, but yet not sufficiently explained to him; for it was almost impossible to conceive that if it were explained, he could ever approve of such a Bill. In this Bill could they find any real advantage resulting to the comforts of his Majesty, or any gratification to the private feelings of the Queen, from the plan of the right hon. gentleman? What he wanted was, that the custody of the King should be entrusted to her Majesty; but while he said this, he wished to have a distinct sum voted, in addition to the Civil List, that his royal highness might be enabled to make the proper arrangements for his father. Those who objected to such a measure could only object to it from thinking that the intentions of the nation towards the King would be interrupted by his royal highness. But he would ask, if any son could have possibly shewn more attachment to a father, or any Prince have possibly behaved with more decorum to the King, than his royal highness had done. He would put it to the House then, whether they thought the present Bill ought to be allowed to pass into a law? He would repeat it, that it was the duty of parliament at the present moment, to take the whole arrangement of the Civil List, 344 and of his Majesty's household into their consideration. What would be the harm then, he would ask, in waiting till they had sufficient information, and sufficient time to consider all this? But the right hon. gentleman had said that, if the bill should not now pass, the restrictions would expire on the 18th, of February, and the consequence would be, that the Prince would be left completely without controul. Now, if there was any subject on which he should wish the free and unfettered consent of the Prince, it was that of his future establishment, as he certainly was of opinion that any concession of his royal highness to the public would come with much more grace from him in the plenitude of his power, than at a time like the present, when it looked as if they were driving a bargain with him before he could get out of the situation. All that could take place on the 18th of February, would be that those disgraceful clauses would be done away, by which the Regent was prevented from making peers, and otherwise curtailed of the necessary powers of government. Did the right hon. gentleman really think that any thing improper would take place on the part of the Prince in the course of one fortnight? It would be satisfactory to the country, that a proper confidence should be reposed in the Prince Regent, and that proper means should be taken for placing him with sufficient dignity on the throne. The Parliament was itself responsible for the manner in which that was performed, and was bound to take care that he should be freed from any incumbrances which could, in the slightest manner, interfere with the splendour of the monarchy. He would conclude with thanking the House for the attention they had shewn him. He had conformed himself at present to the principles of the bill, without going into that detail, to which he might afterwards be inclined to enter in the committee. He did not wish to embarrass the government, but he could not help expressing his disapprobation of going into a committee at present on the bill, thinking that it would be preferable to put it off to a distant day, and wishing that a committee should be appointed for entering into an immediate investigation of all the matters, which could throw light upon the subject.
said be was of opinion, that the House would not discharge their duty to the public if they agreed to the 345 arrangement in the manner proposed by the Bill, and did not provide for the independence of the Prince Regent by an adequate Civil List. They were also bound-to take those wholsome precautions recommended by the constitution for securing responsibility in the expenditure. The right hon. gentleman who spoke last, had not entered into the details of the subject, and he should follow his example; at the same time he should observe upon one or two cases, in which he hoped he should not be accused of entertaining any narrow or mean views. He was disposed to think, that, making proper allowances for the alteration in the value of money, the expence in various departments of the Civil List would not be found to have exceeded that of the best times of our history; but when, in 1304, they were called upon to vote an excess of 200,000l. he would venture to state, that if there was not such a fund as the Droits of Admiralty, the excess would not have taken place; ministers would have economised better. This was enough to prove the impolicy and the improvidence of not adhering to the custom of our ancestors, by limiting the amount of the Civil List, without admitting the supply of any contingent funds. He made no charge against any one, for the practice had obtained in all administrations, in that of Mr. Pitt, in that of lord Grenville, and in that of his right hon. friend the present Chancellor of the Exchequer; but that was no reason why it should be permitted, now that it was brought before the attention of the House. With respect to the Droits of Admiralty, some persons contended, that they belonged to his Majesty, upon the same grounds that all his other property did, but even if that were the case, it furnished no reason why they should not be regulated by parliament. He conceived that, even if his Majesty were in perfect health, it would be competent to them to debate upon all his revenues. If not, they had taken an unwarrantable liberty indeed, in voting for Mr. Burke's Bill. They had also taken a great liberty in regulating the amount of pensions to be granted out of the Scotch hereditary revenues. If it was said, that this competency was restricted to emergencies only, then he would answer, that this emergency had now occurred; so that the only question was, whether it became them to take a narrow and limited view or a large one. There was great force in what the right hon. gentleman 346 who spoke last had said, as to the power and authority granted to the Queen. It was known that there were six persons under her influence in the House of Peers, and four in the House of Commons, and he thought it a necessary step to provide, that those gentlemen who were appointed to the different offices described in the Bill, should not have seats in that House. The importance of settling a specific sum for the Civil List, was great in point of economy, and if they legislated without a view to it, they would not do their duty. With regard to the Droits of Admiralty and other funds, much more might be said; but it was a disagreeable subject to touch upon, even though he could not be supposed to entertain a wish to make any invidious personal allusion. There was one instance, however, which proved in a remarkable manner the importance of adhering to the strict principle of the Civil List. The services of sir Sidney were well known; and no grant that any minister could propose for him would be refused by parliament; but he found that in 1811 a sum of 7,375l. had been paid to sir Sidney Smith, under the head of extraordinary disbursements, for services performed in Egypt and Syria in 1798. Sir Sidney Smith deserved this in a tenfold degree, for he rated high his services, not only in the repulse of the French at Acre, but also in the negociations carried on for producing their departure from Egypt. But if it was fitting to make this grant, why had it been delayed for so many years? This could not have happened if the principle of the Civil List had been adhered to. The House had a right, in his opinion, to regulate these Droits; and now was the time. It would be infinitely better to raise the Civil List at once to the probable amount of the expenditure, and to compel the minister to come to parliament; and account for every excess in that expenditure. He would not, however, vote against the Bill, though he had thought it right to make these observations that the House might be in possession of his view of the subject.
Mr. Matthew Montague
begged leave to explain under what circumstances the payment to sir Sidney Smith had been made. The truth was, that it was a mere discharge, without even interest, of a debt due for money advanced, and he thought if it was justifiable under any circumstances, it was so in the present instance. It ought not to be believed that the grant 347 alluded to by his hon. friend was given as a remuneration or reward, for the public were yet indebted to him for conveying the court of Lisbon to the Brazils. He thought it but fair that this noble and generous person should have the advantage of an explanation on this subject, that it might be seen there was nothing like a surreptitious grant connected with his name.
said, he did not state that the sum granted to sir Sidney Smith was out of the Droits of Admiralty, but out of the fund of extraordinary disbursements. He found that the claim was of twelve years standing, and concluded if that claim were just, that government must be wrong in withholding it.
assured his hon. friend that he had stated the fact correctly, and that so far from that gallant officer being repaid, part of his pay as captain was withheld, while absent on another service.
§ Sir Thomas Turton
confessed, that he felt considerable difficulty in objecting to a Bill which had for its object the maintenance of an establishment for a king so severely afflicted as the monarch of Great Britain, though he felt it his duty to express his decided opinion against the principle of it. From particular circumstances, he had not had it in his power to pay due attention to the voluminous documents laid upon the table, but even from the cursory manner in which they had fallen under his observation, he thought he could point out items in them which would render the addition of the 70,000l. proposed by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer wholly unnecessary. He requested members to direct their attention to the head of the diplomacy of the country: in the year 1804, the estimate for this expence, it would be remarked, was 62,000l. and yet the expenditure exceeded 158,000l. being an excess of no less than 96,000l. It might very reasonably be supposed, that some years ago, 62,000l. would not be deemed an extravagant sum, but in the present situation of the country, where we had so little occasion for diplomatic missions, surely it would not be denied that the excess of 96,000l. was a little extraordinary. It might be reckoned invidious to mention names; and no one, he hoped, could believe him capable of doing so from any unworthy motive; but he could not help adverting to the sum paid on account of the marquis Wellesley's mission to Spain. 348 Nearly 16,000l. had been advanced for that occasion, and the sum was stated under two years (1810–11), though this nobleman, it was well known, had returned in a few months from the time of his departure on that mission. Yet for these few months nearly 16,000l. had been charged. This was a prominent feature. It, however, might possibly he a very proper item; but he wished to know that it was so; and that he could not know without further investigation, Such an investigation, therefore, he could not in justice to his constituents dispense with, and would do every thing in his power to promote it. The House had, as yet, no good grounds to proceed upon. Without agreeing exactly with his right hon. friend near him, he also was disposed to be liberal in his grants to the crown; but he repeated, that they would not do justice to their constituents, if they added one shilling to the public burthens without knowing the grounds on which they acted. They ought to be prepared to state fully the reasons of their proceedings to their constituents; and this he could not do without more accurate information on this subject. Possibly an explanation might be given in the course of this debate, and he should be glad to hear it, for he was not hostile to the principle of the Bill. He thought it absolutely necessary, however, that ministers should be under the necessity of applying to parliament for supplying any excess in the Civil List expenditure. The best plan would be to raise the Civil List at once to the probable amount of the expenditure, as had been suggested by a right hon. gentleman opposite; and that if any excess should take place, the minister should be obliged to apply to parliament, without the power of making up the difference out of the admiralty droits, or any other fund not under the control of the legislature.
§ Mr. Whitbread
said, that there could be no question but that the claims of sir Sidney Smith deserved the highest regard; and, that his services were beyond all praise which it was in his power to bestow, was equally clear; but it appeared from what had fallen from several hon. gentlemen, that the House had an imperious duty to discharge with respect to that gallant officer; it owed to the Hero of Acre, (whose name, indeed, wanted no epithet) an opportunity to explain the item to which his name was affixed: it was not now a question whether his services merited the reward, which would be carried, 349 were it put, by acclamation; but it was a debt due to him to allow him, before a committee of that House, to justify or explain-that claim which appeared in the documents produced. Not less was explanation due to the hon. gentleman sitting next to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (Mr. Arbuthnot,) for whom he had much private regard, than it was to sir Arthur Paget and the marquis Wellesley, whose names were likewise inserted. Why some of those items had remained so long on the Civil List, and why debts so long due had not been before liquidated, was an inquiry which the public had a right to demand: they had a right to know in the first place, whether the sums stated to have been discharged, were in reality paid; and whether in the second place being so paid, they were due for services performed or debts incurred. What was the fact with regard to marquis Wellesley? After the noble marquis had received his appointment on a mission to Spain, he lingered several months in this country under circumstances peculiarly suspicious, every expence was gone to suited to the dignity of an ambassador from Great Britain; and yet when the accounts under the Civil List were produced, no less a sum than 16,000l. was charged in addition to the amount already incurred. He was charging nothing against any individuals: no doubt upon investigation it would turn out that the payments had been properly and necessarily made, but the country, the House, and the individuals themselves demanded, that, before a committee, the fullest explanation should be given. Before he could suffer the Speaker to quit the chair, for the purpose of going into a committee on the bill now depending, he called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to assign some reasons, if any such existed, why the examination required should not be made. Hitherto the right hon. gentleman had sat in perfect silence, not condescending to make any reply, and the House was required, hoodwinked and blindfold, to declare by this Bill that the excess of 124,000l. ought to be incurred the last enactment scarcely contemplated the possibility of such an increase, but it provided, that if it should ever occur, application was to be made to parliament. Had that application ever been made? No. And the reason was obvious; ministers had had recourse to a contingent fund, out of which they discharged the arrears, and of which contingent fund parliament had not, at the 350 time when the former bill passed, the remotest conception. Would it at that time have been believed, that the arrears would amount, during 9 years, to the enormous sum, annually, of 124,000l.? And how did it come out that such was the fact? Not in any regular official way, but by a side wind when the present bill was brought forward. He thought that before it should pass, it was incumbent on ministers to explain to the House how it happened that the expences of the Civil List regularly exceeded the sum voted for it by about 124,000l. It might possibly be the case that the grant for the Civil List was below the necessary expenditure of it by that sum; but if such were the case, ministers ought to have laid before parliament the causes of this necessity. When the allowance for the Civil List was settled by parliament, they never contemplated that their grant would have been so far deficient; and if it was true, that for the last 9 years it was absolutely necessary that the expenditure should exceed by 124,000l. the sum allowed, parliament ought not to be left to guess at this necessity; but it should have been distinctly stated to them. By the letter of the act regulating the Civil List, it was necessary to come to parliament whenever the expenditure exceeded the income. The framers of that act had not conceived any other way of supplying a deficiency. They had never taken into their contemplation secret funds which could be applied to that purpose, such as the droits of admiralty, the proceeds of the duchy of Lancaster, and other things of that description. If the House Were now to pass this bill as presented, they would be recognizing the necessity of an excess in the expenditure above the income of the Civil List, to the amount of 124,000l. annually, without having any proper information out of what fund this deficiency was to be supplied. He had no information which would justify him in voting, that it was necessary that the expenditure of the Civil List should exceed the income settled by parliament in so large a sum as 124,000l. annually, and, therefore, until he had such information he could not see how it would be possible for him to sanction that propositioh by his vote. Independent of this consideration, there was something in the title of the present bill to which be felt the most serious objections. In the title of the bill, a necessity was stated for making provision for the better support 351 and arrangement of his Majesty's household. Now, it appeared to him that there was no such necessity; for when the whole government of the country was about to be confided to the Prince, it would be a supposition highly injurious to the feelings and character of a most affectionate son, to imagine that he would not be sufficiently attentive to whatever belonged to the care and comfort of his royal father, without the provisions of an act of parliament. The bill appeared to him unnecessary for what was its professed object, and to be really intended for no other purpose but to create separate sources of influence, which, in any change of circumstances, might operate very prejudicially to the interests of the country. The bill went to establish two separate courts. If those two courts drew together, it was evident that the influence of the crown would be very much increased; but if they were not to draw together, the public business might be much impeded. At present the House could know nothing of the intentions of the Regent but through those ministers who made him. Those ministers had made him say, that it was necessary for parliament to make this provision for his royal father; but to those who know the feelings of his royal highness, that provision would appear most unnecessary. When he looked at the bill now presented to the House, he could not avoid asking where was the necessity of all this machinery? why were the claims to be imposed so unnecessarily numerous? Let the claims on the honour of the Prince, let his debts, for that was the plain meaning of the word, be discharged. They had been long due, and an annual sum had been set apart for their liquidation, which, it was supposed, would have been effected before the year 1811. That, however, did not appear to be the case, and they were then called on to grant to his royal highness the sum of 100,000l. and an annuity of 70,000l. for an unlimited period, to discharge debts, which, whatever was their amount, must necessarily be limited. Was this right? Were the House of Commons to believe that his royal highness owed those debts without having received any communication from him? This was not the mode pursued in the year 1803. But it was not the fashion with ministers to advise his royal highness to make any communication. No; they were to guess that he wanted 100,000l. and they were to vote it; they were to suppose that he 352 needed 70,000l. per annum, and it was to be paid, from an intuitive conviction, that his royal highness owed it. Was that a situation in which the House ought to be placed? Why were they not apprised of the state of the debt? Why were they not informed how many years this annuity should be allowed for its discharge? Was it customary to vote 100,000l. in money, and 70,000l. per annum indefinitely, not for the payment of the Prince's debts (for he would not believe any were due till it was proved), but as a source of secret influence, which might be exerted in parliament, either for the crown or against it? This bill teemed with influence: under it, three commissioners were appointed to take care of his Majesty's property; these gentlemen were to take an oath of secresy, so that the parliament could know nothing of their proceedings: to the Queen, who was their mistress, to the Prince, who was not their master, they were bound to explain all their acts; but they must conceal every thing from the Commons' House of Parliament, who ought to be acquainted with every farthing expended. He conceived it right, in an argument of this kind, to put extreme cases; and he would ask, as had been done by an hon. baronet (sir F. Burdett), whom he did not then see in his place, suppose this money was laid out in the purchase of Cornish boroughs, suppose it was expended in procuring seats in that House, for the benefit of the real and personal estate of the King, though, in a narrow view, he might benefit by it, still, being destructive of the constitution, must it not ultimately be destructive of the monarch? When the two courts were constituted, a factious opposition from the Queen's court might be experienced by the ministers of the Regent, who were the proper ministers of the crown.—There was another point on which he would shortly touch. It appeared on the face of the bill, that the Prince Regent was willing to give up 50,000l. per annum out of his private Exchequer annuity. For his part, the moment the Prince assumed the reins of government, he thought that the Exchequer income should be merged altogether in the Civil List, that it should be completely put an end to; and, if a necessity existed for more, a new fund should be created. What he here complained of was, that no proof was laid before the House, to shew that the Prince had really given up this sum, although that principle was acted upon. 353 They had received no message on the subject; and, when the Journals came to be made up, he was sure nothing would appear to support the supposition, that the Prince had given up this property. On all these points he had wished for explanation, but he had received none. He had not had the good fortune to hear the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer's statement. It had, however, been detailed to him by others; but, had he even heard it, he was convinced he should have discovered sufficient objectionable matter in it, to hare induced him to oppose the bill going into a committee. Within a few days, papers had been laid before the House, many parts of which required explanation. The grants to the marquis Wellesley and sir Sidney Smith, which, doubtless, could be satisfactorily explained, demanded some farther information. No explanation had been afforded of the occasional disbursements; and here he must observe, that in the accounts from the Lord Chamberlain's department, many names were omitted, which, in the committee, he should call for There he would also ask why the predecessor of the hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Arbuthnot) was not named, because part of the expence was said to have been incurred by him in his mission to Constantinople? He could wish the postponement of the committee, that information might be received on those subjects. But even if that were conceded, the principle of the bill was such that he could not support it.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
began by observing, that the hon. gentleman who had just sat down, had complained of his having abstained from offering to the House any remarks or explanations on the subject before them. He could assure the hon. gentleman and the House, that no indisposition of that nature existed in his mind. He was anxious to give as satisfactory an explanation as possible of the various topics comprised in the bill; and he had withheld that explanation until the present moment, in order to give himself an opportunity of collecting the various objections which different hon. gentlemen entertained towards the measure. Had he risen immediately after the right hon. gentleman who opened the debate, he should have been precluded from hearing the observations of the several hon. gentlemen who followed. At the same time, while he frankly declared 354 that he had not the slightest disinclination to explain that which required explanation, he trusted that the hon. gentleman who had just sat down, would not succeed in convincing the House, because he himself had fallen into a great misconception on the subject, that, therefore, his misconception and the misconceptions of others, not only called on him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) to tender to the House an explanation of the point so conceived, but also called on the House to go into an enquiry on the subject. He rather thought indeed, that the whisper of the hon. gentleman's friend while the hon. gentleman was in the midst of his misconception, and which convinced him of his error, would sufficiently shew him that on that point at least, there was no necessity for any such enquiry as would impede the progress of the bill. He felt happy that he had waited for the speech of the hon. gentleman who had just sat down, for until the delivery of that speech, he was at a loss to know, from what he had before heard, how to address his arguments. He was uncertain whether the observations of the preceding speakers were in opposition to the principle of the bill or not. The question before the House was, whether or not the objections to the bill were of such a description, that it was their duty not to proceed with it without that detailed inquiry which had been so strongly recommended. The hon. gentleman had pointed out several items in the papers, into which he wished that some inquiry might be made, before he could acknowledge the necessity of agreeing to the grants in the bill. If on a view of the expences of the Household, and of the charges likely to be brought upon it, it should satisfactorily appear that no more was asked for, than what was indispensible, no inquiry could then be deemed necessary; but should any jealousy exist in the House with respect to any particular points, it would then become a different question, namely, whether that inquiry ought not rather to take place hereafter, than interrupt the important business in hand. Although on a general view of the civil list, it might appear completely satisfactory, that no greater sum was required than that which was sufficient to defray the expences of the household, there might be some points requiring subsequent detailed information. He would call in aid 355 of his argument, an observation made by the hon. gentleman himself, who entertained such a distrust of all estimates of the civil list, that he apprehended his royal highness the Prince Regent, by taking it at 50,000l. less than that which his royal father had received, would take it in a state insufficient to meet the charges to which it would be liable. This might be a very reasonable apprehension, but if so, there could be no reason in the apprehension that the grants proposed in the bill were too extensive, and demanded a previous inquiry. With regard to the observations on the expences in the Lord Steward's department; although those expences had unquestionably increased considerably at the period alluded to, it was almost certain, that in the estimate, the existing expenditure of the year in which it was taken, had been only partially considered. Much had also been said of the grants to Foreign Ministers. The right hon. gentleman who opened the debate, had said, generally, that a great number of those sums ought to be explained, but had not stated any particular item. The hon. gentleman, however, who had last spoken, had particularised several sums, which appeared to him objectionable on the face of them, and required explanation. The first thing which seemed to strike the hon. gentleman with surprise on this subject was, that when the number of missions at different courts were lessened, the expences should be increased. The House would observe, however, that there was no increase in the salaries. On the contrary, in the salaries there was a considerable diminution. But the hon. gentleman and the House ought to know (and in saying this, he went a great way towards giving the explanation required), that in the state in which things were on the continent, it would not be wise in many cases to send missions on an established salary. The duration of those missions was not likely to be long. In preference, therefore, it was advisable to send special missions; but the expences of these missions were defrayed in a very different manner from the others. The hon. gentleman declared, that an explanation on this subject was due to marquis Wellesley, who, by a misconception, he stated, had received the expences described in the papers over and above his salary. It was no such thing. The noble marquis had not received a farthing 356 of salary on account of his mission to Cadiz. He had not received a farthing as a remuneration for his services. But the hon. gentleman characterised the expences as large, and seemed to think they were disproportioned to the length of the service by which they had been incurred. Now, it was very evident that the expences of a person going to any place in the character of an ambassador for a short time, must be much greater in pros-portion than the expences of a person going to any place in the character of an ambassador for a long period. The hon. gentleman also declared, that a debt of explanation was due to sir Sydney Smith. The House had already heard an explanation on that subject, and amply sufficient it was. They had heard that the money which he had received was in return for expences incurred many years ago. "Oh then," said the honourable gentleman, "the country ought sooner to discharge this obligation." But let it be recollected at what a distance these services were performed—in Egypt and the coast of Syria: what a difficulty there existed to procure vouchers of the expences: how frequently sir Sydney Smith was absent from the country; and consequently interrupted in the arrangement of the accounts; how anxious he naturally was that there should be every possible degree of exactitude on the subject; and it would not appear surprising that some delay had taken place. If, however, more explanation was thought necessary, he had no objection to the production of the details from the different offices: but he was confident it would not be found in those details that any sum had been given to sir Sydney Smith as a remuneration for his services. All that had been given was merely a remuneration for his expenditure. Let the hon. gentleman consider the nature of sir Sidney Smith's services, the character of the people with whom he had to deal, and the effectual way in which he discharged the trust reposed in him, and he did not think that he himself would deem the sum stated to be greater than, under all the circumstances of the case, it was proper to expend. (Hear, hear, from Mr. Whitbread!) The hon. gentleman cheered this observation, and yet it tended completely to confute his argument. Let the hon. gentleman cease either his objection or his applause. The two were incompatible. If, on showing that 7,000l. was paid to sir Sidney 357 Smith for his expences when employed, half in a military and half in a diplomatic character in Egypt and Syria, the hon. gentleman intimated that he did not think it an extravagant sum.; on what principle could he say that there was due to sir Sydney Smith's honour and character any explanation, but simply a statement on what ground the expences were incurred? Parliament being employed, under the recommendation of the Speech from the throne, in making a provision for his Majesty's household, the hon. gentleman suddenly interrupted them in the midst of the business: "Oh, oh!" says he, "here is an item of 7,000l. to sir Sydney Smith; I do not think the sum excessive; I do not want any explanation for our own satisfaction; but for the purpose of clearing the honour and character of sir Sydney Smith, pray suspend all your proceedings, and arrest the progress of the bill at present under the consideration of the House."—The observations of the hon. gentleman on the expences to foreign ministers were all general, except those which related to sir Sydney Smith, the marquis Wellesley, Mr. Arbuthnot, and sir A. Paget.—The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, he trusted, that whatever might be due to any other party, he had not left the character of sir Sydney Smith exposed to any cloud or stain; and therefore the fine figure which the hon. gentleman so eloquently introduced of the debt of explanation due to sir Sydney Smith on this occasion, might serve to wind up a magnificent period in the hon. gentleman's speech, but had no relation whatever to the subject before the House. The same remark was equally applicable to what the hon. gentleman had said of his right hon. friend near him (Mr. Arbuthnot). The sum paid to his right hon. friend was distinctly and simply a return for the expences and losses which he had incurred during the mission on which he had been sent. Before any jealousy was allowed to exist on these subjects, at least justice ought to be done to those who were connected with them. Did the hon. gentleman conceive it possible that the affairs of a great nation such as England could be successfully carried on in such missions as he had described, if the individuals employed in hose missions found themselves actually ruined in the discharge of the important trust reposed in hem? Let the House consider the manner in which, Mr. Arbuthnot's mission terminated; he was obliged to 358 make a precipitate retreat. The hostility of the court at which he was a resident rendered it necessary for him to do so. He was compelled to leave every thing behind him. Not a single article of the charge was there that had not undergone the strictest scrutiny by the Treasury, and all that really was paid over to Mr. Arbuthnot was merely a fair return for the losses which he had inevitably sustained. When this occurrence took place he and his right hon. friend were perfect strangers to each other. Mr. Arbuthnot was not then secretary to the treasury, so that it could not be suspected that any undue influence existed favourable to his right hon. friend but unjust to the public. These observations would serve as an answer to all remarks on missions abruptly terminated. It was but just that the individuals who suffered, should successfully apply to the country for redress. If, however, any further scrutiny on the subject were thought necessary, let it be entered into, but let not the progress of the Bill before the House be impeded by a circumstance so little connected with it.—He came now to the consideration of what had been said respecting the commissioners whom it was proposed to appoint, for the purpose of managing his Majesty's private property. On this subject he certainly had on a recent occasion replied across the table to a question put to him, by a right hon. gentleman opposite, that it was his intention to propose salaries to these commissioners to be paid out of the proceeds of the property itself. He had since, however, reason to believe that he should be able to find persons who would willingly take upon themselves that charge, without receiving any salary; and he should therefore omit in the Bill all mention of salary whatever. The right hon. gentleman professed to feel great difficulty in legislating at all on the king's private property: so should he. But unquestionably, as his private property, his Majesty had a right to expect that it should not be lost to him. The right hon. gentleman, after the profession of difficulty in legislating on the subject, proceeded to the conclusion, that the king's private property was a thing which might be taken from his Majesty without any ceremony. He did not think that many of those who in the first instance were of opinion that it was an extremely delicate thing to legislate respecting this king's private property, would immedidiately afterwards manifest a disposition to 359 jump at it, and take it away altogether. If at the end of the year the expence should exceed the estimate by 10,000l., that excess should be communicated. Undoubtedly this provision would not ensure the nonoccurrence of any excess; but it would insure this; that the error, if any should take place, would be known and declared in the time of the minister under whom it had occurred, and that parliament should have the opportunity, in his presence, of considering how far it was or was not justifiable.—Another objection made to the measure by the right hon. gentleman, related to the manner in which the funds granted to his royal highness the Prince Regent were left at his disposal. In the first place he could not agree with the right hon. gentleman, that parliament were making final arrangements as for the Prince's coming to the throne. They were only making arrangements for the better management of the Household during his Majesty's indisposition. It was no final arrangement, as for the Prince's coming to the throne. It would not be dealing fairly with the House to say there was complete and utter despair of the king's resuming the royal authority. Nothing existed to justify so dark and gloomy a view of the subject. If, therefore, parliament kept in mind the possibility of his Majesty's recovery, they must also keep in mind the possibility of the Regent's return to the situation of Prince of Wales. How, therefore, would they be justified, under such circumstances, in breaking down his Exchequer revenue? With respect to another part of the subject connected with his royal highness, on this as well as on all other questions, wherever there was an alternative, the side which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) took was always pronounced to be erroneous by the right hon. and hon. gentlemen opposite. They had so pronounced his proposition in the present instance. Had he come down to parliament with that which they now affected to prefer, he had himself not the smallest doubt but they would have been equally alert in their objections, and would have referred to what had passed on a former occasion. He should in that case have been asked by them, whether it was fair again to bring a matter before parliament, which had already been decided upon, and upon which it had given warning to future creditors of his Royal Highness that they would enjoy no legal obligation for the payment of their demands. 360 This, he was persuaded, had he proposed the measure now recommended by the right hon. gentlemen opposite, would have been the ground which they would have taken; unless, indeed, he had experienced a singular good fortune, of which no precedent existed. He was persuaded, however, and he trusted that the House would think with him, that the mode proposed by the Bill, was the mode most consistent with their duty, both to his Royal Highness, and to the country. It had been asked, if it was intended to constitute two privy purses? Certainly, it was intended to give his royal highness the Prince Regent a privy purse. To this the right hon. gentleman had no objection. Then as to the charges incurred during the present reign, it surely would not be right to encumber the Regent with them, nor with the, expences of the medical men, which the unhappy state of his Majesty rendered it necessary should be about his person. All these charges would come with propriety out of the 60,000l. allotted to his Majesty for such purposes. Adverting to what had been said by the right hon. gentleman respecting the Princesses, he observed that he had been very much misunderstood on that subject. The right hon. gentleman asserted that he had said, that when the Princesses were in town they would live with the Prince, and that when they were in the country they would live with the Queen. He had said no such thing. When asked if any arrangements had been made on the subject, he had replied that he had received no commands to make any distinct statement upon it to the House; but that it did appear to him a thing desirable, and that it would appear to parliament desirable, to make some arrangement for that purpose. Deprived of that aid which their royal highnesses had been accustomed to receive from their father, he did conceive that their situation might afford a proper subject for the deliberation of parliament, to consider whether any, or what assistance should be furnished them.—There was one point of the new arrangement, however, on which both the right hon. and hon. gentlemen had thought fit to lay great stress. It was that part of the establishment which was reserved to attend on his Majesty's person, and which was to be under the controul of her Majesty. There were various objections to this part of the proposition: the first was to the extent of the establishment so reserved. It might be recollected, that on a former 361 occasion he had stated it to be his opinion that the House would not do well if they provided in this respect, as if his Majesty must remain in the unhappy state in which he was at present placed: and that they ought to consider the possibility of his regaining complete consciousness, even should he never be enabled to resume the reins of government. But he was accused of not having put questions on this subject to the physicians. There was no reason for putting them. They had distinctly stated that there were intervals in which he was capable of enjoying the society of his family.—("Not since July," from the Opposition Benches.)—That was true; but there was no reason to conclude that the thing was impossible; and when cases of a similar description were considered, it appeared that it was not less probable since that period that his Majesty should recover the consciousness to which he alluded, than that "before that period he should have recovered the power of being able to exercise the royal authority. If, therefore, the House at all took this circumstance into consideration they must determine that something like the dignity of a king should surround his Majesty, and surely that which was proposed was not too much for such a purpose. But the principal objection, it seemed, lay to this establishment being placed under the controul of the Queen. The hon. gentleman affected to perceive in that circumstance symptoms of a continuance of that most determined and settled distrust of his royal highness the Prince Regent, which, according to him, had pervaded the whole of the propositions which he had thought proper, on a former occasion, to submit to the adoption of parliament. Now, really, if the hon. gentlemen opposite could find out any motive by which the most despicable and most foolish of men could possibly be induced, under the present circumstances, to evince a deep and marked disrespect towards, and distrust of, his royal highness the Prince Regent, he left them to enjoy their discovery. For his part, he was not conscious of any feeling in his own mind so absurd. But let the House see what those who were so tenderly anxious about the Prince Regent's feelings and character proposed. They contended, that because his Royal Highness was worthy of confidence (in which he cordially concurred with them), that therefore the whole controul of his royal father's household should be left in his hands. 362 They thought this would conduce to his ease and comfort. For his part, he could not conceive a more invidious situation than that in which such an arrangement would place the Prince Regent, nor could he imagine any thing more revolting to his royal highness's feelings. The hon. gentleman opposite acknowledged that the care of his Majesty's person ought to be entrusted to the Queen. If, therefore, any distrust of his royal highness existed, here was distrust of the blackest kind. But, surely, if it was right that the person of his Majesty should be placed under the care of the Queen, it was also right that the attendants of his Majesty should be placed under her Majesty's controul; and he was persuaded that nothing could be more grateful to his royal highness's feelings than that it should be otherwise arranged. The right hon. gentleman, however, seemed to think that he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) and those with whom he had the honour to act, had no means of knowing the sentiments of his royal highness, because of the restrictions under which he was placed. But he would ask the House whether; if his royal highness really thought that his ministers were insulting and degrading him, there was any thing in these restrictions so soon about to expire, which would so restrain him in the exercise of the royal functions as to induce his royal highness not to withdraw the sanction of his authority from such servants? But if it were supposed that ministers were ignorant of the Prince's pleasure, at least it ought not to be supposed that they would be so absurd as to propose any thing to parliament highly offensive to his royal highness. The House ought rather to believe that the subject had been submitted to the mature consideration of his royal highness; that his royal highness had been advised to adopt the plan which had been submitted to parliament; and that that advice had been accepted. No one could suppose for a moment that his royal highness was not as free to change his ministers, or that he did not possess as much authority in his councils, as if those restrictions which were so soon to terminate, had already expired. With regard to the situation in which his royal highness would have been placed, had the controul over his Majesty's person, and the invidious task of doling out such a portion of the Civil List as he thought proper, been committed to him, he had no hesitation in saying, that 363 the situation in which the Bill before the House would place his royal highness, manifested a much more delicate attention to his character and feelings. Had the other course been pursued, had it been proposed by him to transfer the whole controul to his royal highness, then he should have been told (and told with infinite justice) that it was casting an invidious task upon his royal highness, and laying by in order to have a future opportunity of insinuating that the royal father had been neglected by the royal son. On this and on every other occasion, he had proposed that which had appeared to him to be the best plan. The hon. gentlemen opposite called it the worst, but at least he hoped the House and the country would think it much better than any thing they had suggested. What evils did not the hon. gentleman affect to see in this proposed establishment! What patronage! Four lords of the bedchamber! and all the pages! Then so many seats in parliament! and that was the retreat he had prepared for himself! This had been called a new court. As individuals surrounding the monarch, they were unquestionably a court. But there was nothing new in this. When his royal highness the Prince of Wales arrived at that period of life when an establishment became necessary for him, an establishment was formed, and parliament entertained no apprehensions of the influence which his court would occasion. Surely the constitution of England was not so nicely balanced that four lords of the bed chamber could overturn it, even with the addition of all the pages. He could not conceive that, either in or out of the House, there could exist on the one hand any rational apprehension of the constitutional jealousy which the co-operation of the two courts might be the means of occasioning; or, on the other hand, any rational apprehension of the inconveniences which the hostility of the two courts might be calculated to promote or produce. Minuter details he would reserve for the Committee. He had gone as far as he could to obviate the general objections to the measure. He trusted the House would feel that no one could vote against the principle of the Bill who did not think that it was radically wrong to propose any arrangement before the expiration of the restrictions—that it was improper to surround the King with any dignity, and equally improper to entrust the Queen with the controul of those individuals 364 who were to be in attendance on her royal consort's person. If the arrangements were too extensive, in the Committee they might be curtailed; if they were too limited, in the Committee they might be increased. The general principle was that on which the House had at present solely to decide.
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
thanked the hon. gentleman opposite for the opportunity which he had afforded him of assuring the House that he was anxious that the fullest and most unreserved examination should take place into the accounts which had been alluded to. He must also express his acknowledgments to the hon. gentleman for the handsome manner in which he had been pleased to speak of his private life, and he hoped, when the accounts were examined, the hon. gentleman would see nothing in his public conduct, which would preclude him from a continuance of his good opinion. Unquestionably, the sums in the accounts to which he had alluded were large. He felt that an explanation was necessary, both for his own sake and for that of the country, and he repeated, that he was really and sincerely anxious to afford all the information on the subject that it was in his power to provide. He flattered himself, that until that elucidation should take place, the candour of the House would rescue him from any unjust or ungenerous imputations on his conduct.
said, it was a great mistake on the part of the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to suppose that either his right hon. friend (Mr. Tierńey), or his hon. friend (Mr. Whitbread) had, in any unqualified manner, condemned the charges that appeared under the head of extraordinary disbursements, still less had they condemned the individuals to whose names those charges had been annexed; it was unfair in the right hon. gentleman to argue as if they had done so, when the least consideration must have reminded him that they had not. What was the simple statement of the question? A considerable increase to the expences of the Civil List was proposed, and not a single voucher or document was laid before the House to shew the necessity of that increase, save the mere naked assertion that there was an excess in the expenditure over the income. Was this, he asked, a parliamentary ground? From what did this excess proceed? Ought not parliament to know the cause of the excess before they proceeded to discharge 365 it? Did they know that extravagance in the expenditure was not the cause? And before they were satisfied that it was not the cause, how could they vote that the mere fact of that excess was sufficient ground for granting what that very fact might turn out to be the best ground for refusing? This was the general reasoning of his hon. friends; and yet the right hon. gentleman thought that he treated that reasoning fairly and frankly, when he overlooked the general principle upon which it rested, and turned aside to trifle upon personal allusions that were never meant, that could not apply, and by his hon. friends, at least, had never been intended. Was the right hon. gentleman serious when he affected to think that his hon. friend meant to censure the conduct or invalidate the claims of sir Sidney Smith? The right hon. gentleman must know that every thing opposite to censure was meant. Was there anything personally invidious in the manner in which his hon. friend had commented upon the charges annexed to the name of the hon. gentleman who spoke last? What had that hon. gentleman himself admitted? he had frankly stated, that the sums were of a nature that required, that called for explanation: and yet the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer thought it a high crime and misdemeanor against the private feelings of those gentlemen, to require that explanation which one of them had volunteered to declare as essentially necessary to the satisfaction of himself, the House and the country: and yet, with this evidence before them, it was, in the judgment of the right hon. gentleman, criminal even to suggest the propriety of furnishing the House with this information, which was the full extent of the offence laid to the charge of his hon. friend: He had only asked that these monies should be accounted for, and would any man lay his hand upon his heart and say, that there was then before him sufficient evidence to justify the vote of these respective charges? Did any man know how they had been incurred? And would they vote to defray them without first knowing that? He had been accused of not understanding the plan of the right hon. gentleman. He could not help his understanding, and he was but too well aware of its slowness of comprehension to attempt to stand up in that place in defence of it; but his dullness on this occasion was not without very high sanction. For it appeared that the 366 right hon. gentleman himself did not at first fully understand his own scheme. He had, upon the night of introducing it to the House, proposed the appointment of three commissioners to superintend the private property of the king, and to each of whom he proposed to give a salary of 1,000l. a year. This the right hon. gentleman did from not understanding the nature of the property so to be audited; but when the matter became gradually more intelligible to the right hon. gentleman, then he was of course enabled to render it more intelligible to others.—With regard to the remarks that had been made as to the opinions of the Prince, or the distrust shewn towards him as Regent, he should dismiss them with one observation, that he thought it neither constitutional nor very respectful towards that House, to introduce into the midst of its discussions any mention of the feelings or motives of the head of the executive government, to influence or sway the proceedings of a British House of Commons. He thought therefore that the right hon. gentleman would have acted more wisely in abstaining from observations affecting whatever might be supposed to be the motives of the Prince as Prince Regent, at the same time that he entirely concurred with him in thinking that the present ministers came before parliament with all the sanction that the constitution gave to the reputed servants of the crown, in originating any measure in that House.—He had two objections to the principle of the Bill. The first was, that it did not give the entire administration of the household to the Prince. This the right hon. gentleman described as placing the Prince Regent in an invidious situation. Now he thought otherwise: he was not to presume that there could possibly exist a minister so lost to every sense of public or private duty, as to be capable of advising the Prince Regent to do one act that could tend in the slightest manner to diminish the means of comfort and consolation, of which the unfortunate state of his royal parent was susceptible. Secondly, as to the property of the Prince, he did not see why that of the Regent should be less than that of the King; and as to the engagements of honour, he asked what parliamentary knowledge they had of those engagements? Besides, he spoke as a member of parliament, when he said that he felt an unconquerable objection to any branches of the royal family receiving any 367 grants but what were publicly given by parliament; and there ought to have been a message to that House from the Prince; it would have been the more dignified and constitutional mode of proceeding; there would have been no reluctance on the part of that House to deal most liberally with the Prince. Before he sat down, he must advert to the ridicule which the right hon. gentleman had thrown around what was thought by him to be a vain fear of danger resulting from the existence of two courts. They ought, however, to bear in mind the lessons of history upon this subject, and to legislate, not according to their well grounded hopes of what would happen, but according to their remoter fears of what might happen. Her Majesty had, independently of this new court, 58,000l. These together conferred a power and influence which, in other hands, might lead to considerable abuse. The right hon. gentleman concluded by expressing his determination to oppose those parts of the Bill to which his objections applied.
§ Mr. Adam
said he should shortly trouble the House, by stating why he should vote for the Speaker's now leaving the chair. The principle of the Bill was one in which almost every gentleman agreed; but when he looked at the clauses of the Bill, every single clause seemed to raise a distinct principle. If that was so, in a measure of so much importance, which went to the very foundation of the monarchy, which was not at present complete, he was of opinion no time should be lost in going into the committee. He should not now enter into the details of the Bill, as these might be so much better discussed in the Committee, where they would not be under the fetters by which they were bound in the House. There was only one clause to which he should now allude, and if it should receive a minute discussion in the Committee, he pledged himself to meet it, and to give such an explanation on the subject as, he trusted, would prove satisfactory. The clause to which he alluded was that by which it was proposed that 50,000l. a year should be transferred from the Exchequer Income of the Prince Regent, to the Civil List, while the remaining 70,000l. was retained by his Royal Highness. He trusted he should be able to satisfy the mind of every man of honour and of honesty, that this was an arrangement strictly becoming, and the very best, which, in the circum 368 stances of the case, could he resorted to. There was another clause, which regarded the expenditure under the Civil List, as to the items of which there were at present a number of documents on the table of the House. These it would be still competent to look into, even after the present Bill had been passed into a law. They were introduced into this Bill, that it might appear, that, at the time when his Royal Highness took on himself the administration of the Civil List, it was inadequate to the purposes for which it was granted, and that this inadequacy was not imputable to his Royal Highness. He thought the present was the most fit of any Bill that he ever recollected on the table of that House, to go to a Committee, because every clause in it went to a separate measure.
§ Mr. Tierney
explained, that his object was not to oppose the Bill going to a Committee, although, if he consulted his own individual feelings, he might even have gone that length. His object at present was, only to postpone going into the Committee for a time, till they could procure information on certain points which were necessary to be ascertained, in order to enable the House to come to a fair understanding of the measure.
§ The House then divided, on the question that the Speaker do now leave the chair. Ayes 141—Noes 59—Majority 82.
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, J.||Hamilton, Lord A.|
|Adair, R.||Halsey, J.|
|Althorpe, Lord||Herbert, Hon. W.|
|Babington, T.||Horner, F.|
|Baring, A.||Hutchinson, C.|
|Barnard, S.||Howard, W.|
|Bennett, Hon. R. H. A.||Howarth, H.|
|Brand, Hon. T.||Hume, W. H.|
|Brougham, H.||Jackson, J.|
|Busk, T.||Knight, R.|
|Colborne, N. W. R.||Kemp, T.|
|Combe, Harvey||Lamb, Hon. W.|
|Creevey, T.||Littleton, W. H.|
|Cuthbert, J. R.||Lloyd, H.|
|Dundas, L.||Macdonald, J.|
|Duncannon, Lord||Martin, H.|
|Eden, Hon. G.||Mathew, Col. M.|
|Elliott, W.||Moore, P.|
|Ferguson, Gen.||North, D.|
|Folkestone, Lord||Ord, W.|
|Frankland, W.||Ossulston, Lord|
|Fremantle, W. H.||Parnell, H.|
|Giles, D.||Phipps, Gen.|
|Gower, Lord||Prettie, Hon. F. A.|
|Greenhill, R.||Ponsonby, G.|
|Grenfell, P.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Guise, Sir Wm.||Sharp, R.|
|Smith, J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Scudamore, R. P.||Wrottesley, H.|
|Turton, Sir T.||Vernon, G. G. V.|
§ Mr. W. Smith
was shut in, and counted, against his inclination, with the Majority; but by the same accident, general Phipps was shut out, and counted with the Minority.
The House having gone into a Committee on the Bill, the first clause, granting to his Majesty, during his indisposition, a farther sum, to be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain, was read, and the blanks were filled up with 70,000l. to commence from the 18th February 1812.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
proposed that the other clauses down to clause 14th should be postponed, it being his intention to divide the Bill into two, and to incorporate the clauses omitted into a separate Bill.
The 14th clause being read, by which it is declared that his Royal Highness the Prince Regent has been graciously pleased to declare his intention of transferring the sum of 50,000l. issued to him annually from the exchequer, in aid of the revenues of the Civil List.
§ Mr. Tierney
wished to know where that declaration of the intention of his Royal Highness was to be found.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
apprehended, that the statement of the ministers of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that such was his intention, was sufficient. If gentlemen should be of opinion, however, that this was not enough, it might be sufficient, on a future day, to signify his Royal Highness's assent in a more formal manner.
§ Mr. Tierney
was of opinion, the consent should come from the Prince of Wales, and not from the Prince Regent.
§ Mr. Whitbread
asked, did not the right hon. gentleman think that the consent, or whatever else he wished to call it, should be brought forward in a more formal manner? in such a way, at least, as that it might appear on the Journals? Should it not be in the form of a message?
§ Mr. Fremantle
was of opinion, that till they saw the declaration of his Royal Highness, the House could not proceed a single step.
did not wish to be captious, but still he did not see how the Committee could proceed, no consent or declaration of his Royal Highness having been referred to them.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, he believed it would be better, as a matter of form, that the chairman should report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
The chairman accordingly put the question, which was agreed to, and the House resumed, when the chairman obtained leave for the Committee to sit again that night.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
then signified the consent of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent to the appropriation of the 50,000l. a year from his Exchequer Income, as specified in the Bill.
§ The Speaker
said, that this was exactly-similar to a case in the year 1760, when the King's consent was presented to a Bill then depending, in which his Majesty was interested.
§ Mr. Tierney
contended, that a consent of this kind ought to be in writing. It ought, he should imagine, to be by message; and that, too, not from the Prince Regent, but from the Prince of Wales, the latter being the character in which the consent was given.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, his Royal Highness combined both characters in himself, and he unquestionably had his Royal Highness's authority to declare the present consent on his behalf.
§ The Speaker
said, the Prince of Wales surely could not be divested of any property standing in his name without his own consent. The House however had, on such occasions, often thought it convenient to go through even to the last stage, before any consent was given. Such consent must undoubtedly be ready to be given, whenever required, and must in all cases be produced before the passing of the Bill; but there was no occasion, nor was it the practice that this should be done by message: if consented to, that consent was taken verbally.
§ Mr. Tierney
still submitted that the consent ought to be by his Royal Highness in his capacity of Prince of Wales.
§ Mr. Adam
said, that there was no doubt of the identity of person in the Prince of Wales and Prince Regent. This was a matter of state, and the proper persons to be conferred with by his Royal Highness on such occasions, were, unquestionably, his ministers, and it was they, of course, who were to signify his Royal Highness's consent to this measure. It might seem absurd in him to say, if his right hon. friend chose to separate the Prince of Wales from the Prince Regent, that he 371 was ready to give the consent of the Prince of Wales to this measure; though he must say, that the proper consent had already been given by, the right hon. gentleman, who had been conferred with by his Royal Highness, as having the arrangement of the whole of the business.
§ Mr. Speaker
said, in point of form, the whole was now complete, and the only entry necessary to be made on the Journals was, that the measure was consented to on the part of his royal highness.
The House again resolved into a committee on the Bill, when
§ Mr. Brand
objected to the sum of 70,000l. remaining at the disposal of the executive in addition to the present Civil List. He wished to know, why the whole 120,000l. which formed the Exchequer income of the Prince of Wales, was not transferred to the Civil List, instead of the 50,000l. as specified in the clause in question? He put the question in hopes of the promised explanation from his hon. and learned friend.
§ Mr. Adam
said, a considerable deal of reference had been made to some peculiarities in the situation of his royal highness the Prince Regent, which some gentlemen called honourable obligations, and which others gave the real term, debts. It was of very little importance, however, what denomination was applied to them. From the year 1795, his royal highness had not been in the course of managing his own affairs, but the course was, when an account was not paid after the lapse of a quarter, that the person claiming it should give ten days notice to the proper officer, and if he failed to give such notice, the demand could not afterwards be recovered; or if the officer neglected to give it in, he himself became liable to pay it. It was impossible that in such an establishment, things could go on with such strictness as this, and it was an additional trait in his royal highness's honourable character, that he would not suffer any persons to be sufferers by omissions such as these. It so happened that in 1803, there were debts which could not be liquidated; and at this time, three times 60,000l. were given to his royal highness by anticipation. There were a number of obligations of honour due by his royal highness. One of them being a debt to the Elector of Hesse, or as it was then called, the Foreign Loan. One half of these were to be paid by commissioners appointed for the purpose; and the other half being an 372 obligation of honour, his royal highness took on himself. There were a number of creditors, from whose accounts a deduction of ten per cent. was taken by the persons appointed to investigate them. From many this deduction was properly made, and from others not. But his royal highness thought himself in honour bound to pay this to them all. It was at this time clearly understood that his income was to suffer no defalcation, but that a certain proportion of it was to be applied in payment of his debts. The income tax had then ceased, but being soon after renewed, by the strict letter of the law, his royal highness became subject to the property tax, by which means 12,000l. a year of that fund, which his officers had calculated upon for the discharge of his debts, was swallowed up, and produced a considerable embarrassment. In these circumstances they went on for two or three years; and in the years 1808 or 1809 there were other demands of a personal nature which fell on his royal highness, and he, anxious to save the public from any fresh burden on account of his family in a time of war, himself discharged this obligation, to the amount of 49,000l. These different sums, on which he had no idea he should have been called on to pay, amounted to 175,000l. These were assets which his royal highness had a right to calculate on, and which would have gone a considerable length in the payment of his debts. There was, however, another peculiarity in the situation of his royal highness. He lived in a royal palace, and for his house, unlike all other royal palaces, he had been obliged to pay taxes and other burdens, even where the furniture was not his own, to the amount of upwards of 4,000l. a year. He had even laid out sums of money in repairing and beautifying what was really a royal palace. These sums in the whole would' go nearly to the full payment of all the debts of his royal highness, excluding the foreign claims. Up to the year 1809, his royal highness had paid 12,000l. a year to the Princess of Wales, and from that time he had encreased it to 17,000l. So that the amount of his obligations at this moment exceeded 53,000l. a year; and, in the situation in which his royal highness was now placed, having to step from Prince of Wales to Prince Regent, his first wish was, that those obligations of honour should, not be defeated, while at the same time as little additional burden 373 as possible should; be thrown on the country. If there was a measure, calculated to effect this object, he (Mr. Adam) thought the present was that measure. From 16 to 17,000l. a year additional was necessary to liquidate all these demands, and his royal highness could not, in these circumstances, propose to hand over to the Civil List a greater sum than 50,000l. a year. He was in hopes, however, that the affairs of the Civil List might after this be carried on without any additional burden to the country; The Prince of Wales made no additional charge on the public on his own account. Supposing for a moment he was to give up the 70,000l.? Suppose he was to come to parliament, and ask of them as he did before? If he addressed himself ad verecundiam of gentlemen, he could not doubt that they would think it proper that the whole amount of his royal highness's debts should be paid. He (Mr. Adam) could say, that it was not the intention of his royal highness to set up his claim on account of Cornwall; but, to his mind, it formed a strong feature in his royal highnesses case. Taking all the sums he had expended, and by which he had improved the royal palaces; all the sums he had paid, which never Prince before paid, amounting altogether to upwards of 300,000l. besides his claim on account of Cornwall, on which subject anxious and deliberate opinions had been given, all in his royal highness's favour, by a Lord Chancellor of England, a Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and a Chief Justice of the court of Common Pleas: when these things were considered, and when his royal highness came and asked of parliament only to enable him to fulfil the honourable obligations he had entered into, he asked, ought not such a claim to pass, not only as necessary, but by acclamation? He (Mr. Adam) was one of the persons by whom the trust to which he alluded was formed; and he could say, that not only had it not been impeded, but it had been accelerated by his royal highness. From his own property of Cornwall, about 60,000l. had been received, all of which had gone in discharge of his royal highness's debts, except 3,000l. Of these he (Mr. Adam) himself had sent 1,000l. to one, another 1,000l. to a second, and the third 1,000l. to a third object of liberality, which did honour to the heart of his royal highness, [Hear, Hear!] Of the trustees by whom his royal highness's 374 affairs were managed, he should say nothing. The House would form their own judgment on that head. Besides himself, they consisted of col. M'Mahon and Mr. Courts, his royal highness's banker. He trusted they had at least acted like honest men.—The hon. and learned gentleman concluded in words to the following effect: I have now said all that is necessary to give the Committee a just impression of the situation and conduct of his royal highness. I trust I have done it with perfect respect and order as it regards the House, with sincerity to the country, and with fidelity to the Prince. This is probably the last act of my parliamentary life—the last time I shall have an opportunity of addressing you within this House. Circumstances which it is of no consequence to the world to know, have rendered it necessary for me to resume my professional avocations. I hope, however, I may indulge that elation of mind which can alone result, from a consciousness of having acted right, and that I am closing a long political life, with the reflection that I have honestly discharged my duty. [Hear! hear!]
§ Mr. Brand
stated, that if the explanation which had been just given by his hon. and learned friend had been offered in an earlier stage of the debate, he should not have troubled the House with his objection. Although he was of opinion, that the present mode of meeting the exigency was not well selected; still he thought, after the candid statement just made, the House would no longer object to relieving the embarrassments of the Prince.
§ Mr. Tierney
said, that after the full and satisfactory statement of his respected friend, there could be but one feeling in that House, or the country, on the subject of the Prince's conduct as to his honourable engagements; nor could he help observing that there was no one to whom the honourable fulfilment of an honourable engagement could be better entrusted, than to one of such acknowledged accuracy and fidelity. It appeared that the Prince's debts were in a train to be disbursed, when the plan was prevented, partly by the visitation of Providence and partly by the provisions of an act of that House. As the Prince had been placed in an unexpected situation, in which it was the duty of parliament to assist him, it was their duty to interfere between the Prince and his creditors', and to relieve those embarrassments, which its own enactments had brought 375 on; yet he disapproved of the proposed method of extinguishing these difficulties; it was one by which no saving would accrue to the country, and which would put the Prince under the unpleasant appearance of drawing annually a large sum from the public. He hoped, therefore, that some member of higher authority than himself, and whose character and rank might place him beyond suspicion of a sinister motive, would speedily bring forward a specific motion to place the Prince in that situation in which all his well-wishers must wish to desire him, with his mind free from all anxiety, and capable of devoting its entire faculties to the public service.
§ The 14th clause was then passed.—On the 15th cause being read,
§ Mr. Giles
opposed it, principally on the ground that it was incorrect to say that the deficiencies had been all made up, those arising in the year 1811 being not yet supplied.
§ Mr. Brougham
objected strongly to what was here proposed; that in addition to a civil list already amounting to upwards of 1,000,000l. a still farther addition of 124,000l. should be made, and, that, too, out of a secret fund, without being appropriated by parliament.—He also opposed the manner proposed by the right hon. gentleman of filling up the blank, because e found that the estimate of 1804 was framed upon three different successive Reports of Committees of that House, and he therefore submitted an amendment, which he did not wish however to press to a division, "That instead of applying to parliament when the excess rose to 120,000l. the application should be made as soon as such excess amounted to the sum of 10,000l."
A division being now called for, the gallery was cleared, and the numbers appeared to be 105 for the clause, 33 against it. The other clauses being then read, the House resumed, and the Report was ordered to be received tomorrow.