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his debts and atone for past indiscretion by future economy? To do this would be his advice to his Royal Highness, were he to condescend to ask it is his closet. He gave it not, as he then mutt give it, for the fake of popularity, of which he wai Bo courtier, except as it followed an honest discharge of duty, and which he was never less likely to obtain than by .the course he was taking on the present occasion. If only 25,000!. were applied to the liquidation of his debts, his carriages, horses, servants, every article of his state would remind the Public of what it was much better the Public should forget; but let such a reduction as he proposed be made, and mens feelings would soon take a contrary turn; they would pant for the moment that should restore the Prince to the enjoyment ofhisfull income; and when it arrived, view his splendour with pride and satisfaction. Sixty-five thousand pounds with the income of the Dutchy of Cornwall, would form an adequate fund for the payment of his debts witbin a reasonable time.
It might be asked if the Prince could live in a way becoming his slate upon 6o,OOQl. a year? He would answer, No; not upon KX3,OOOl. a year; for is hecould, ministers, upon their own principles, would not be for giving him 125,0001. a year. But for a time he might spare his great officers of state, and other .expensive appendages of his rank, and the Public would gain a beloved and respected Prince of Wales. Upon ioo,O00'. a year h* would be-expected to maintain his full establishment with au inadequate income, and would neither be able to clear away hit old incumbrances, nor to avoid new. Upon 6o,OOol. he would he expected to consult nothing but his domestic satisfaction, and the honourable discharge of his just debts; and when he had once experienced the public esteem and affection that would soon follow such a plan, his suture years must be prosperous indeed, if he counted the years of his probation- the least happy of his life. All this might be done much sooner, and without expence to the Public. It had ever been his opinion that a land estate was the least proper of any for -the ■Crown, the most objectionable on account of the undue irv■fluence it was calculated to create, and the least likely to be profitably managed. The Dutchy of Cornwall, as he was in-foemed by persons well acquainted with it, might be fold for UoOjOOOl.; he would suppose for only 6oo,oool. The Prince .life-interest in it might be valued at 300,0001. and that sum applied to the payment of his debts. The remaining 300,000!. might be applied as Parliament should think fit—to the fu•ture provision tfor Princes of Wales, if they were so attached lo oustoms, merely because they were old, as to think it worth while to continue that whimsical fort of provision. T,heqe
Ii 2 would would remain 320,0001. of debt, which the fund he had mentioned would pay off in three or four rears, when hi» Royal Highness might resume his state, with the satisfaction that his indiscretions had not cost a penny to any one of those whose fellow-subject he was at present, and whose Sovereign he was one day tn be. The middle course proposed by the Right Hon. Gentleman would neither give splendour to the Prince nor comfort to the private gentleman; but above all, the people would see in it no atonement for past imprudence.
He next reviewed the plan of the Right Hon. Gentleman in 1782, with the measures taken in respect of his Majesty for the payment of the debts on the crvrl list, as well as the similar measures in 1784 and 1786, when the 50,000!. which had before been granted was taken back. Here comparing what might happen from the uncertain tenure of life, Mr. Fox asked, what security we should have m another Parliament, if similar debts on the civil list stiould be incurred, that they would not be paid in the fame manner? He conceived the House during the whole of the reign to be culpably liberal, and that must be the character of the House of Commons while the Crown exerts its influence upon it. He approved of taking measures to prevent future debts being contracted, provided the plan was to be general. If it were to apply to the Prince of Waks individually, it would not be a mark of respect but of degradation; if applied to all suture Kings and Princes, it should have his hearty support. It would relieve Parliament from the difficulty which always occurred when debts were contracted by the Royal Family, that unless provision was made for the payment at the public expence, the creditors must lose the money. In making the officers of a Prince responsible for all debts in their several departments, there appeared to be such inconveniences, as he thought could not be obviated.
Why had not his Majesty been advised to do something upon this occasion himself? Was it for the interest of regular government that Monarchs should never appear to their subjects to feel any portion of the public adversity} that they .stiould grow rich as the people were growing poor? In private families the indiscretion os a son was a misfortune which his family felt, and must make sacrifices to repair. The imprudence they all lamented was partly of this nature, and something might have been expected towards repairing it. One hundred thousand pounds would not have gone far in money, but it would have gone far in sentiment. It was not wise in those who talked of the dangers that threaten monarchy, to suffer Kings and Princes to be known only to the people by expences and taxes.
A more .-if A more unpleasant duty, Mr. Fox declared, he had. never performed in Parliament. The illustrious person whose he— • '_nour and interest, in conjunction with those of the Public, he :> -was anxious to promote, would not perhaps much relish what . "he had said, if it should be reported to him; but grateful as he • ; 4was for the personal notice and kindness with which his Royal Highness had sometimes honoured him, he never had spoken, •or would speak of him in that House, but relatively to his station, not to his own private feelings. The smallness of his income palliated his debts, and, had it not been for the promise in 1787, might have excused them. AU who knew him knew this to have been his constant opinion upon that point. The Prince had not been fairly dealt with, as to the revenue of theDutchy of Cornwall during his minority. What the Act; ■of Parliament gave to him frpm his birth, had been applied by successive ministers to the purposes of the civil list. It was a miserable plea to say, that the amount had been expended on his education. Would any man of fortune, whose son had a distinct income, charge him with the expences of his education? Mr. Fox concluded by observing, that his plan was to facilitate the extinction of the debts, and so was that of the Right Hon. Gentleman; but there was more risk in the latter, and if the Public rilks, the Public pays. This being the issue, he repeated that he would vote for making the allowance to the Prince of Wales 125,0001. but that he would oppose taking any notice of his debts, unless a large fund for liquidating them were appropriated in some such way as he had suggested. "Mr. Wilberforct began by observing that though he must consider it as an unfavourable circumstance, that he was about . to rife to deliver his sentiments immediately after the Right Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Fox) who had just fat down, on account of the comparison which must be drawn to his disadvantage; yet on another ground he could not but be glad that he had not caught the Speaker's eye, when he had risen at an earlier period of the debate, for when the proposition which had been originally moved and enforced by his Right Hjn. Friend, had been agreed to and supported by the Right Hon. Gentleman, he was sure he had at least heard all that was to be urged in vindication of it: It was a proposition from which he must reluctantly dissent, but he trusted he was not acting under the influance of prejudice, or passion, but determined on an impartial consideration of the important subject before them, and earnest in the pursuit of truth.
He must begin by returning his thanks to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for bringing the business forward in so fair a way: It had been distinctly stated, that we were now to leave
out out all consideration of the Prince of Wales'* debts, and that me had simply Dodetermine what, in the present circumstances of this country, was the allowance which we ought to make tohiro. It would be afterwards for the House to decide whether-or the principles of human nature, it would appear not only that such an allowance as they were now speaking os, ought to be different at different periods, and in different states of society, in order to render it most conducive to the intended end; but that as in more rude and barbarous times, when a general simplicity of living prevailed, it might best support the honour and credit of the crown for the King and his immediate connexions to live in great splendour and magnificence (for which therefore large revenues would be required); so in times of general luxury and extravagance, a certain chaste and dignified simplicity, when not sinking into any thing meanor sordid, would be likely to excite still greater respect and veneration. This was a principle, of the truth of which he was firmly convinced, though it might seem a little singular at first sight; and it would be found to hold true in every other instance wherein it was applicable as well as in that of the style of living: Every one would anticipate its application to works of literature and the fine arts, in which, at a more advanced period of society, a chaste simplicity was substituted in the place of finery and taudry decoration. Taking this principle into account, and adding it to the former considerations, drawn from the situation of the country, he must fay that he thought the sum of ioo,oool. per annum, exclusive of theDutchy of Cornwall, which was estimated at 13,000!. more, was a sufficiently liberal provision. Several arguments had however been urged to induce the House to accede to the proposal for the larger sum moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of 125,0001. besides the Dutchy of Cornwall. It was stated in the first place, that the smaller allowance was the fame which had been made to his Royal Highnefs's grandfather, and that, from the decreased value of money, it would by no means go so far now as formerly: But he must remind the House, that his Royal Highnefs's grandfather had a great family to maintain: And not to mention that this principle of regard to the decreased value of money, or the increased price of articles, was not one which had been admitted in the case of the public establishment of this country (he need only suggest the army and navy as proofs of his assertion), he mult observe that the principle applied less in the case of his Royal. Highness than in any other, because a considerable part of his expenccs consisted in fixed salaries to the various officers of his courts which were the fame now as they had been in the time of his grandfather.
to the liquidation of the debts. But this was not the iirbject then 'before them. That on which he had at present to make up his mind, without reference to the incumbrances, was merely what slrould be granted to the Prince of Wales. And finely ft would be impossible for him or for the House not to seel the peculiar circumstances under which they were to deter mine cm that point. Need he mention the immense debt which was already incurred during the present war, added to all our former 'burdens, and the indefinite amount of that which might yet remain behind? Need he insist on the distresses which at this moment the lower orders were experiencing from the unequalled price of-every necessary of lifer He could not but observe, that the Right Hon. Gentleman who had preceded htm (Mr. Fox),-had on the present occasion somewhat ■slurred over this part of the subject, which no man in general felt more strongly, or knew how to represent in more impressive terms. Need he suggest the endeavours which had been used to Tender a limited monarchy unpopular, by representing it to be a mode of government, wherein the many were to be taxed and impoverished, to supply the luxury and prodigality of a court, or urge the use which would be made in this connexion, of any grant upon the present occasion, which by moderate amd reasonable men might be deemed in any degree extravagant? Surely it would be sufficient to remind the House of these several topics, and every Gentleman's own mind would supply the various considerations they were calculated to suggest. _
Giving then their due weight to all these circumstances, the question to which he had to answer was this—what would be the proper allowance for the Heir Apparent to the Ctowd? He entirely agreed with his Right Hon. 'Friend, that this was no -private or personal, but a public and a.political question: They were bound indeed to grant to the Prince of Wales, as % man for whom it was incumbent on them to provide, whatever might be requisite'for his personal comfort; but beyond this, and considering him in his political capacity, it was their duty to investigate what allowance would best promote the end in view, that of giving credit and support tothe monarchy. He said he thought that Gentlemen hardly went deep enough in considering the subject. Ot) looking at all attentively into history, and examining