Page images
PDF
EPUB

and whom the House would no doubt re- 1 and a sincere admiration of its invaluable joice to see again in the chair. But it forms of proceeding, may be considered might be objected, that that gentleman as sufficient qualities for such a choice,already filled a very high political situa. I believe they belong in common to every tion, from which he could not be removed member of this House :- and so far unwithout imminent danger to the public questionably, if the House shall think fit

This objection was, however, to grant its indulgent support to any of its easily to be got over, for the gentleman members in that high office, he may acnow proposed for the chair would, with complish much; although if that support perhaps equal ability, fill that high minis- be withheld, or withdrawn, his best enterial office ; for great offices had a won- deavours will be ineffectual. I have only derful power in bringing out latent talents, to add, that my humble services are at the which even the possessors did not dream disposal of the House; and whether they that they possessed, until thus placed in shall be pleased to accept, or reject them, an eminent station. There was a certain no event can diminish my respect for its friction connected with a great place, that determinations. elicited a blaze of abilities equal, if not Mr. Charles Dundas frankly confessed superior, to the office itself. Besides, the that, in point of abilities, he could not office of Speaker disentangled the mind come in competition with the learned from all the shackles of partiality; the gentlenian who spoke last. His habits of practice of that impartiality begot a prin- life precluded him from such pretensions. ciple which made a man stifle even his They were the habits of a country genprivate wishes; and if he afterwards passed tleman, who aimed at nothing more than into a greater situation, he carried that honestly doing the business of his constiprinciple of impartiality along with him. tuents in parliament. The eminent talents This the House must have seen realized which distinguished the two hon. gentle, very recently ; for this habit of the chair men who had lately filled the chair, bad: so prevailed of late with a right hon. gen- given him a full idea of the great qualities tleman (whom he wished to see again in necessary to the discharge of such an that office) that after several hours con- arduous duty, and made him sensible that test, it was impossible to say whether that he was incapable of the same exertion. right hon. gentleman, on the occasion al- He hoped, therefore, he should be perluded to, was more disposed to support mitted to decline an office which he was his old friends or his new allies. Perhaps, not qualified adequately to fill, and that however, there might be some parliamen- the hon. gentleman who made the motion tary impediment in the way of his re- in his favour would withdraw it. election to the place of Speaker: if so, Mr. Ormsby said, it was highly gratifyMr. Ley would explain. All that he had ing to Irishmen, that his majesty had been in view was to see every man in the station pleased to reward, with a high situation for which he was best fitted.

in Ireland, a right hon. gentleman who Mr. Abbot said :-In offering myself to had been so eminent for his political serthe notice of the House upon the present vices in this country; and at the same occasion, it is impossible that I should time he must observe, that by the vote of not feel the strongest emotions of respect that day, the sister kingdom would lose to the House, and gratitude to my friends. as useful and persevering a friend, as ever But I cannot persuade myself that the bad the management of her affairs. The partiality and kindness of my hon. friends, right hon. gentleman now proposed to fill who have stood forward to-day, can be that chair, had shown as much zeal to accepted by the House as proofs of my promote the best interests of Ireland as fitness for the high and honourable office ever any man had done; the whole island which is now vacant.

To reflect upon

was unanimous in his praise. the learning, the talents, and the virtues The question being put by the clerk, which have for so many centuries succes- “ That the right hon. Charles Abbot do sively dignified that Chair, must fill any take the Chair of this House, as Speaker," man with a just apprehension of his own was agreed to. Whereupon Mr. Abbot insufficiency to execute its various duties was conducted to the chair by the master with the dignity and ability which so im of the Rolls and Mr. Baker; where, standportant a trust demands. If, indeed, an ing upon the upper step of the chair, he ardent zeal for the constitution, a rooted again addressed himself to the House, and attachment to the privileges of this House, made his respectful acknowledgments to the House, for the high honour conferred the House to appoint the committee, that upon him; and assured the House that it the result will convince every member should be his constant endeavour to merit that the causes which have occasioned their good opinion, by a diligent and im- this accumulation were, in a great degree, partial discharge of his duty. And then unavoidable. It will be recollected, that he sat down in the chair; and the mace sixteen years have now elapsed since the (which before lay under the table) was arrangements and schedules were made, laid, by the serjeant, upon the table. And with reference to the various branches of Mr. Secretary at War congratulated Mr. the civil list to be provided for by parliaSpeaker elect. After which the House ment. Let the House recollect what has adjourned. On the following day, Mr. been the operation of the numerous artiAbbot was presented in the House of cles of expenditure of which that civil Peers, for the royal approbation, and list is composed. Let gentlemen advert to approved of by the king.

their own domestic concerns, and they

will not be at a loss to account for a very King's Message respecting the Civil large portion of that debt, the particulars List.] Feb. 15. Mr. Chancellor Adding- of which are submitted to the House in ton presented the following Message from these accounts. Sir, it would be inconhis Majesty:

sistent with the purpose for which the « GEORGE R.

committee is to be appointed, if I were “ His Majesty feels great concern in to enter into an enumeration of the reacquainting the House of Commons, that ceipts or expenditure of the civil list. All the provision made by parliament for de- I wish is, that the House should go to the fraying the expenses of his household and inquiry without any preconceived opinion, civil government has been found inade- with respect to the nature of the debt, or quate to their support.-A considerable the circumstances which have led to its debt has in consequence been unavoidably accumulation. If the committee should incurred, an account of which he has be appointed, when the report shall have ordered to be laid before this House. been made, I should wish the discussion His Majesty relies with confidence on the should be as minute and ample as the imzeal and affection of his faithful Commons, portance of the subject undoubtedly rethat they will take the same into their quires. At present I shall move, “ That early consideration, and adopt such mea- a committee be appointed, to take into sures as the circumstances may appear to consideration the several accounts which them to require.

G. R.were yesterday presented to the House The Message was ordered to be referred by Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, by to a Committee of Supply; and on the his majesty's command, relating to his following day, the chancellor of the ex- majesty's civil list; and that they do exchequer, by command of his majesty, pre- amine the said accounts, and report the sented the accounts respecting the civil same, as they shall appear to them, togelist.

ther with their observations thereupon,

to the House." Debate in the Commons on appointing a Mr. Manners Sutton (Solicitor General Committee to consider the Civil List Ac- to the Prince of Wales) said :-I hope, counts.] Feb. 17. Mr. Chancellor Ad- Sir, it will not be deemed improper in me dington rose and said :-Sir; I rise in to state to the House a circumstance pursuance of notice, to move that the relative to the affairs of his royal higliness several accounts relative to the expendi- the prince of Wales, which appears to me ture of the civil list, be referred to a com- nccessary to be mentioned. It is well mittee. If I were to follow the practice known, that the revenues of the duchy of usually adopted upon these occasions, I Cornwall are a part of the revenues of should merely move, that the said accounts the crown, till the birth of the eldest son be referred to a committee of supply. But of the king ; and that on the birth of such it appears to me to be due to the House, eldest son the title becomes immediately to the public, and to his majesty himself, vested in bim as proprietor of the duchy, that the circumstances which have occa- with all the rights, immunities, and privisioned 'such an accumulation of debts as leges belonging to the same. Of course, appears upon these accounts should be these revenues are a fund to be secured fully iovestigated, as I am thoroughly during the minority of the prince of convinced, if it should be the pleasure of Wales, for his benefit. In the present [VOL. XXXVI.)

[Y]

[ocr errors]

instance, these funds were not 80 applied, | purse. Whether the revenues of the duchy but were applied in aid of the civil list, of Cornwall were applicable to the prince which must have been increased from of Wales as an establishment for him till other sources if these funds had not the year 1781, or not, yet, giving credit existed. Therefore, in taking the account, for the deduction and the allowance by though it may be said to be a question his majesty, there would still remain, due between his majesty and the prince of to his highness, for the residue of the Wales, yet in reality, the question arises revenue of his duchy a sum of at least between the prince of Wales and the between 6 and 700,0001. Now, Sir, in public. The public have received that the several provisions made for the estarevenue which was the property of the blishment of the prince of Wales, as heir prince of Wales. If that could be a apparent to the crown, this was never question between his majesty and the taken into consideration ; and I am conprince of Wales, I know his royal high- vinced, it never could have been conness would readily consent to forego much sidered that any of the supplies voted by of his right-he would sacrifice any thing the House to his royal highness were into the feelings of his majesty on such a tended as a satisfaction, in lieu of the resubject. The House may rest assured, venue of the duchy of Cornwall. If I that what I have stated are the genuine am not in an error, the account will sentiments of the prince of Wales ; but, stand thus: In 1781, there was a sum Sir, this is certainly not a question be- of 60,0001. voted to defray those extween his majesty and his royal highness penses which occur to every one in the it is a claim he has on the public, for that outset of life, and naturally to be exwhich the public have received and not pected with regard to the heir apparent. accounted for. When I state that the in 1787, there was a further sum of prince of Wales has an undoubted right 160,0001. and 20,000l. for completing to the dukedom of Cornwall, I state it Carlton-house. In 1795, there was not on my own opinion, but I speak from sum of 20,0001. granted for the purpose the concurrent testimony of many of the of defraying the expenses of the marmost eminent men in the profession of the riage of his royal highness with the law; and particularly of one of the princess Caroline. The whole of this most experienced and learned men at the amounts to 260,000l.; and with respect bar, I mean Mr. Mansfield, who in con- to those items which relate to Carltoncurrence with another gentleman of equal house, the money ought not to be concelebrity, has given the most decided opi- sidered as spent by the prince of Wales, as nion in favour of the right. I am aware, it was laid out in the completion of a that some years ago, when this question building in which the public has an inwas likely to be agitated, two very high terest. This will reduce the sum received and distinguished persons expressed by his royal highness to about 240,0001. doubts as to the right; but if the same a sum very short of what he is entitled to. state of facts had been laid before the I have certainly not taken into this callearned gentleman to whom I have alluded, culation the annual income voted by parand

my learned friend on my left hand, liament to the prince of Wales. It would they would not, I am persuaded, have ex- be very unreasonable, indeed, that the pressed any doubt as to the right of the income of his royal highness should be prince of Wales to the revenue of his diminished, because he happens to be a own property. The amount of this re- creditor of the public. If we compare venue, from the year 1762, the period of the income granted to the present heir the birth of the prince of Wales, to the apparent, with that which was allotted by year 1783, when his royal highness came parliament to his predecessor, the father of age, is little short of 400,0001. Cal. of his majesty, it will be found that, with culating this fund, with the rate of in- reference to the different periods, the terest, it would have amounted, upon a amount is nearly the same. In 1742, the fair estimation, to 900,0001. I do not sum of 100,0001. a-year was granted to mean to say, that some deduction should bis royal highness Frederick prince of not be made on account of the expenses Wales. He was then only twenty-four of the prince of Wales during his mi- years of age; and it was stated, that an nority for this I deduct 12,0001. a-year, income to such an extent was not entirely granted out of the civil list, and 6,0001. necessary to defray his expenses, but to more provided out of his majesty's privy enable him to support his rank and dig.

ll

nity. The income to the present prince the former. As to the rights of the prince of Wales was, in 1783, 50,0001. In 1787 of Wales to the revenues of the dukedom it was increased to 60,0001., and in 1795 of Cornwall, though they unquestionably to 120,0001., of which 70,0001. a-year was exist, yet I admit it is not the business of appropriated, by act of parliament, to the the chancellor of the exchequer to assert liquidation of his debts. Every one knows them. If the House shall think proper, how much his royal highness has reduced at any time, further to investigate this every expense in his establishment. I matter, it will be my duty to afford every think, when I state what has been, and is, assistance in my power; but the House the income of the present prince of Wales, will forgive me for observing, that I think and compare it with what was the income a motion upon such a subject would come of his grandfather, prince Frederick, with more propriety from some gentleman when I state, that in 1742, 100,0001. was who is better known to the House than I Det thought too much for those necessa- have the honour to be. ries and luxuries which a prince has a Mr. Fox said :-Sir, I feel myself called right to expect, it will not be conceived, upon to say a few words. The House, I by any one, that the income of his royal am sure, is much obliged to the hon. gen. bighness has been increased n account tleman for his very clear and able stateof any debt supposed to be due to his ment of the claims of the prince of Wales royal highness from the public. I hope, to the arrears of the duchy of Cornwall. Sir, in making this statement, I have not I agree almost in every thing he has said, said any thing that for a moment may and sincerely hope that the matter will be excite an idea, that his royal highness has seriously taken up by the House. Inotonly authorised me to express, on his part, any agree with the positions of the hon. gendisappointment or dissatisfaction, or that tleman, but I highly approve of the way he means to make the least complaint of in which he has unfolded them. If I do the proceedings of parliament with regard not agree with him when he says that no to him: on the contrary, I know his royal blame is to be attached to the present or highness feels impressed with gratitude former administration, I must admire his for the obligations he owes to this House. prudence in making the concession. But I am persuaded he is satisfied, that, when I must beg leave to set him right, when ever his interest has been the subject of he says that his royal highoess's claims deliberation, the House has discharged its have never been asserted. That they duty to the public and to himself. I have have never been effectually asserted, I been anxious to state thus much, that the allow. I myself have had the honour to House and the public should be in full state them several times, and to urge that possession of the fact. It is important to they should be satisfied. If I do not now the prince of Wales, that the public should make any motion in support of them, it is know, that great as are the expenses im not that my opinions are changed, but posed on him by his high rank and illus- because I judge, from past experience, trious situation, they have not fallen heavy that there are others by whom they may on the people of the country, or added to be asserted with greater effect. In my the distress and difficulty of the times. opinion, his royal highness's claims are Looking, Sir, to the accounts, and con- just; at any rate, they are well entitled to sidering them in the point of view in which a candid discussion. The hon. gentleman I have submitted them to the House, I says, he will press no motion, but will am convinced it will be found, that his leave the subject to be taken up by others. royal higliness has not received more than In this I must differ from him. I think he is entitled to, but that a considerable his royal highness could not have been balance is due to him, and that he is the better advised than to make this applicacreditor, and not the debtor, of the public. tion to the House. I am clearly of opiI have been desirous of removing any nion, that the sums voted to pay his royal wrong impression which might have been highness's debts ought to be deducted, entertained with respect to that illustrious whatever may be said of the 60,0001. personage, in whose honour and welfare granted him on coming of age. But it is every well-affected man in the kingdom is the duty of the House, either immediately 80 deeply interested. I hope I have said to allow him the remainder, or to declare nothing that has the remotest tendency that his demands are groundless. He has either to embarrass the present govern- laboured under hardships, and suffered vexment, or to reflect upon the conduct of tion which, to an individual of any rank,

adding or

2

must be almost insupportable. All his prie place previous to this committee being vate affairs have been disclosed; his debts gone into, I readily support the motion, have been stated and commented upon; But I should be extremely sorry if this when, if he had received what was due to vote should be construed into an acquia him, he never would have had occasion to escence in the prayer of the message. apply for assistance. You have conferred | On a future occasion I shall deliver my upon him as a favour, what perhaps you sentiments more at large; at present I would have been unjust in withholding shall content myself with laying down one from him; and perhaps he had a right to general principle :-It is a material feamore than he has ever obtained.--The ture in our history, that, ever since the learned gentleman said, his royal highness Revolution, immediately upon the acceshas never complained of the restrictions sion of the prince to the throne, a grant has under which he has been laid. If he were been made of the civil list for life. Upon dissatisfied, I am the person whom he this point, considerable contrariety of ought chiefly to blame: the measure of opinion prevailed, and some imagined appropriating 70,0001. a year to the liqui- that the grant should only be from year dation of his debts was of my proposal. to year. Strong arguments in support of His royal highness knows that, besides this opinion may be advanced, but it is the respect I owe to him as heir apparent not necessary here to adduce them. I to the crown, he has ever had my best shall merely say, that I have long consiwishes for his honour, prosperity, and dered the question with all the attention happiness. I therefore found it painful of which I am capable, and that, after the to propose such a step, but I considered most mature deliberation, I am persuaded it as my duty. I thought 120,000l. by no that our ancestors were wise in granting means too large an income to be granted the civil list for life. When the question to his royal highness, If Frederick is revived, if my advice be taken, their prince of Wales, in 1742, was allowed example will be imitated. But, though an 100,0001., 125,0001. was by no means an ample provision is made, it ought to be increased allowance. There is another limited; a contrary system combines the mode in which its amount may be esti- disadvantages of both the others. If the mated : let it be compared with the civil civil list is frequently brought into parlialist, and particularly with the sums appro- ment for aid, the provision is without priated to those parts of it which corres- limits. To say that expense has been inpond with the establishment of the prince. creased by unforeseen circumstances, is It will then be seen, that it was liberal, nugatory ; every period is subject to a but by no means extravagant. Why, variation of circumstances ; and to pretend then, did I suggest and support a scheme that, on this account, the allowance should which reduced it to 50,000l.? His allow- be varied, is directly to abet the system ance was at first too small, and the debts of granting the civil list from year to incurred, through this ill.judged parsi- year. If you cannot judge what will be mony, I thought the House bound to dis. a sufficient allowance for a series of years, charge. But when a settlement had been a grant for life is absurd. Why will you made, and his royal highness, though im- vote 800,0001. a-year, when you are not prudently, had professed himself satisfied, sure but 1,000,0001. or 1,200,0001. will be

did not think it consistent with his required? The public in this way must honour to accept of money from the pub- be losers. The allowance cannot be lic to pay the debts which he had subse- diminished, whatever happy change of quently incurred. If this reasoning was circumstances should occur; and whenjust, and if this plan was judicious, they ever there is a pretended occasion for in. will apply equally well to the civil list; creased expense their burthens are aug, and I should think most meanly of myself mented. I am friendly to a grant for indeed, if I should not act in the same life; but it is of the essence of such a pro: manner to his majesty himself, This will vision that it should be strictly limited. be a most material consideration, when I would have his majesty's ministers suit the report of the committee shall come to the expenses to the provision, not the be discussed. I believe there was nothing provision to the expenses. These appli, wrong in showing the usual respect to his cations are founded upon quite a different majesty by referring his speech to a com- principle, and suppose that the limitation mittee of supply; and as it is very neces- of a particular suna by parliament is. a sary that an investigation should take mere form, and that every expense, how,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »