Page images

tome degree as an answer to another argument in favour of the* larger allowance, that not only the price of every article increased, but the ityk of living was itself extremely raised within the last sew years; whence it was contended, the Prince of "Wales must spend much nvire now than a Prince of Wales formerly, to maintain his relative situation. But he thought it was here also to be remarked, that the chief difference* in the manner of living consisted in this, that from the usual effects of increasing opulence, the lower and middle orders had gradually adopted the luxuries and refinements of the higher classes, and he-believed that to any one who would consult the page of history, it would appear that in the cafe of persons in the highest rank, like that of his Royal Highness, the style of living was not only not increased, but that it was actually diminished: They had fewer retainers than formerly, they had less numetous retinues, their entertainments were less costly and' magnificent. Any one might be satisfied of these things, who would look into some curious publications, concerning the manner osliving in Engtand in former times.

But the Right Hon. Gentleman, willing to bring forward the whole force of his artillery, had tried the effect of facetiousnefs as well as of serious argument; and by a pleasant story had ridiculed the idea of the Members of that House prescribing to the Prince of W»'es that simplicity and moderation of living, which they were themselves so flow to practise; but the Lady in question, it was to be observed, was acting in an individual, aud not in a judicial capacity. What would the Right Hon. Gentleman fay to a Judge upon the bench, who should declare that he must change the sentence of that raw which he was sworn ib pronounce, because he knew he was himself in some degree chargeable with the same offence? And was a legislative of less importance than a judicial function? He must remind the House that they were then in the exercise of a solemn duty, deliberating on the proper provision for the Heir Apparent of the Crown, bound to maintain a due regard on the one hand to the claims of his exalted station, and on the other to the peculiar circumstances of the times, and the interest of the people. Strongly impressed with a fense of its being incumbent on him to discharge with fidelity the duties of his important station, and knowing that it was one of his especial duties to watch over the interests of. the Throne, he must go on to speak his mind with fiecdom: He could not help confessing then, that in considering the amount of his Royal Highness's allowance, he must take into fm view the probable application of it; but it was more pleasing to express gratitude than censure, and it afforded him no small


satisfaction, thus publicly to declare the deep obligations Under •which he lay to their Majesties upon the throne, for their exemplary conduct, by which they had arrested the progress of licentiousness in the higher classes of society, and sustained the fainting morals of the age. If ever the scene should be

changed in these particulars But he would only add that

a French court would soon produce a French nobility, and a French capital, and these perhaps would be but too rapidly followed by a French revolution.

With regard to what had been insisted on of the Prince's increased expences, in consequence of his having become a married man, he thought 40,0001. a year was fully sufficient to cover that increased expence; he felt as much as any one the force of a topic, which had been powerfully urged, that of their being bound in honour to consider her Royal Highness the Princess, in this arrangement. He could not but believe however, that they gave her little credit for those feelings which he trusted she possessed, who conceived that she. would not be most gratified by her cause being considered as idea* tified with that of her husband, and by receiving that which with most cheerfulness and cordiality the people of England would bestow: He could not but flatter himself indeed, that both their Royal Highnesses, whatever might be the first emotions of the moment, would in the hour of recollection feel little obliged to those who could consider their interests and feelings as distinct from those of the people, whom they were one day to govern, and that they would learn rather to respect those who were too sensible of the blessings of a monarchy, to lessen the solid strength, by increasing the pageantry of the ccown, and endanger the loss of its best security, the cordial good-will and affection of the people at large. Mr. Wilberforce concluded with a few additional remarks, concerning the sale of the Dutchy of Cornwall, as suggested by Mr. Fox-, and the larger appropriation for payment of the Prince's debts, which if they were to be paid at all, he must certainly prefer to the smaller one suggested by the Chancellor of the Ex* chequer. He also approved in this cafe of Mr. Fox's idea of the Prince's living for a while as a private man, without a court, and remarked that to deprive their Royal Highnesses of this kind of state, would probably be to take away little or nothing from their happiness.

Mr. Fox, in explanation, said a life-interest in the Dutchy belonged to the Prince by Act of Parliament, and the reversion to_ the Public. If then, as in cafes of private property, the parties agreed to fell, the life-interest might be valued} and applying the amount to the immediate reduction of a debt . JT*u UL £ k Was was not putting the Public to one penny of expence, because the value of the reversion would still be at the disposal of the Public.

Mr. Yorle said, he could not answer to his constituents for voting more than too,oool. Any proposition for paying tlie debt?, ought to form a distinct consideration.

Mr. Poiuys agreed in general with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but hoped that what Mr. Fox had said, with respect to the sale of the Dutchy, would be very seriously attended to. He said, in proposing limitations or restrictions upon the income to be granted to his Royal Highness, he hoped he should not be suspected of a want of proper respect for that Illustrious Personage; but this proposition came on under circumstances totally unprecedented. In former cafes, •where a provision was made for a Prince of Wales, the revenue was paid out of the civil list, and therefore Parliament had no right to impose restrictions; but in the present instance, the Parliament were voting the public money, and to do it with jealousy was their duty.

Mr. Buxton begged to be heard a moment; (the House was very clamorous for the question.) He only wished to ask, whether the proposition relative to the Dutchy of Cornwall •would be acceded to. If it were to be sold, he should vote scathe larger'sum of i 25,0001., but if it were not, he most certainly would give his support to the amendment.

General Smith was for a very liberal allowance, which he said would be nothing without paying the debts. The income of the Dutchy of Cornwall having been spent by the Public during the Prince's minority, ou)jht to be made good to him "by the Public. He should not therefore feel the llij^jtest heJitation to give his vote for the larger sum proposed: He should even have had no objection if the sum had been still larger. He wished the House to take into their consideration the enormous expences which- a Prince of Wales was necessarily compelled to incur, which private men, however large their fortune, were exempt from. At the present period, the great increase of price in every article, rendered it proper for the House to make such a fair increase of revenue as would put his Royal Highness upon an equality with his predecessors. He contended, that the reason why his Royal Highness was so involved at present was, that when his establishment was first fixed, it was too small: -This compelled him to run in debt, and eaused all his subsequent perplexities.

Sir JViUi'am'Ptilteney was for relieving the Prince from his debts, but m such a way as that- the Public might;see what they ware doing, and for. making it impollible-.ilut any ot the

i . Royal Royal Family should contract debts in future. He would vote for the smaller sum, reserving the debts for suture consideration.

Mr. Este lamented the question had been brought on in the; manner it was. The House had been told they were not to take into consideration the payment of the debts on that evening, and yet an establilhment had been proposed, a great part of which it had been declared was intended to be appropriated towards the discharge of the debt. , j

Mr. Batiks was decidedly of opinion that the plan of the Chancellor of the Exchequer for liquidating the Prince's debs* in twenty-seven years was, in a great measure, nugatory, andput the risk ultimately on the Public to pay them. He was. therefore for adopting Mr. Fox's plan of applying 65,0001. together with the profits of the Dutchy of Cornwall, towards this dcsireable. end, which would effect it ii> a few years.

Mr. Maurice Robinson said a sew words; but the cry of Question! Question! was so loud that it was impossible to hear his speech.

Mr. T. Coke and General Macleod approved of Mr. Fox's plan.

- Mr. M. A. Taylor said he should vote for the Jargeivsiun. Is a commission were appointed to inquire into the debts, they might be reduced from 6oo,OOOl, to 400,0001. . He.' preferred paying them as Mr. Fox proposed. , .

Mr. Hufscy said, that while a fund was/ suffered tq go to waste that might be made productive, he sliould oppose taking money from any other.

Mr. R. Smith was for the amendment* He thought a plan for liquidating the debts in twenty-seven years, was no plan at all; and approved of Mr. Fox's proposition.

The Committee divided on Mr. Grey's amendment:
Ayes - - • 09 ',v

Noes - - ■ 260 .:: . .

Mr.HuJsey then moved, that the Chairman do now leave the chair (a form of opposing the main question without giving it a direct negative); upon which the Conamittecdtvidcri: 1 Ayes •- - ..-;."■?! 99 >: -. .j.,]. Noes ■- • 248 . ■ . , *•

The Committee then divided on the main, question!

Ayes - - - 24* ■' 7 ••' Noes - --• .10a The original resolution was then put and curried. .' On ihe other resolutions, or amendments moved to them; two more divisions took place; but strangers were not ad-.

K k z v mitted. mitted. The numbers on the two divisions were 99 to 248, and 100 to 241.

The Speaker having resumed the chair, the report was ordered to be received the next day.

Mr. Secretary Dundas presented the papers relative to the Ooriduct of Sir Charles Grey and Sir John Jervis in the West Indies.

Mr. Grey moved that the papers be printed; which was ordered.

Mr. Grey added, that as the session was far advanced, if the Hon. Gentleman who had moved for this inquiry, meant to found any motion upon the papers then before the House, he hoped he would lose no time in bringing it forward.

Mr. Barbam said he meant to take an early opportunity of bringing forward a motion.

Adjourned at half an hour past twelve.

Friday, May 15.

Received several Bills from the Commons, and some papers from the India House.

Read a third time and passed the several Bills on the New Taxes.

Adjourned to Monday.

Friday, May 15.


Ms. Barbam gave notice, that on Thursday se'nnight he would make a motion on the papers relative to the conduct of Sir Charles Grey and Sir John Jervis during their command in the West Indies.

Mr. Grey expressed -his surprise that the Hon. Gentleman should not have named an earlier day for his motion. The papers had been laid on the table the preceding day, and would be printed about the middle of the week. The Hon. Gentleman was perfectly apprized of their contents, for he had had the fame papers upon which he was to found his motion for inquiry, already six months in his possession. Was it fair in the Hon. Gentleman to bring forward his motion at 3 so

« PreviousContinue »