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The House were soon to be called upon tO/give their gtiirantee to the Austrian loan; and the principle upon which this was to be done, was to enable the Emperor to repel die ■wild and democratic doctrines of the French. He thought that the fame principles which would induce the House to adopt that measure, should incline them to relieve his Royal Highness, and to place him in a state worthy of a Prince. There appeared to him something contradictory in the liberality of the House; for at one moment they voted fifty thousand pounds per annum to the Princess, in cafe she survived the Prince, and yet, during the life of his Royal Highness, they would expose her to all the difficulties which must necessarily attend his Royal Highness if the debts were riot liquidated.
Mr. Buxton said, the sum of one hundred and twenty-five thousand pounds a year was voted to maintain the necessary splendour of the Prince for the benefit of the Public, and not for the payment of his debts. He wished the several points' had been brought forward in such a manner as to afford the House an opportunity of voting upon each of .them separately.
Lord William Rtijsel spoke in favour of the motion; but added, that, if the House resisted it, and came to decide upon the question—-Whether the larger or the smaller sum was to be granted? he would certainly vote for the smaller. He had, upon a former night, voted for the smaller sum, upon the conviction that his duty to his constituents required it. He could not avoid expressing his sincere hope that those who advised his Majesty, would suggest to him the propriety of coming forward upon this occasion, and participate in the burdens of the people. With respect to another plan which had been suggested for the payment of the debts, by an Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hussey), by the sale of the Crown lands, he hoped that Gentleman would persist in his plan, and for one it should have his hearty support.
Mr, Bouverie said, that, as the House had once already paid the debts of his Royal Highness, and that under the pledge that no such embarrassment should again happen, they could not, consistently, vote away the public money for such a purpose. Another thing that he wished the House to advert to was, that a Right Hon. Gcntleirian on the bench below him had on a former night said, that, if the debts were to be paid, some preventive measure should be adopted against the possibility of any such debts being incurred in time to come: This he thought absolutely necessary, and that if ought to extend to all the Royal Family,
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Mr. Fox said, that he certainly wished some scheme to be adopted, to prevent similar embarrassments in future; and that it should apply, to all Princes of Wales : But that was not immediately connected with the motion then before the House.
Mr. Bouverit said, he must move an amendment to the instruction, by inserting, after the word bis, in that part of the message which provides " against bis incurring any debts," the words " or any other branch of the Royal Family."
The Chaucellot of the Exchequer said, he must oppose the amendment; because it was the wish of every person in the House that the motion should be as much simplified as possible, which would not be the case if that amendment took
Elace. He confessed, that he had no objection to what had een suggested by the Right Hon. Gentleman over against him—that all Princes of Wales in future ought to be prevented from getting into similar situations: The other branches, of the Royal Family were by no means in similar situations; and he thought the Hon. Gentleman would, upon reconsideration, agree to withdraw his motion.
Mr. Bouverie, with leave of the House, withdrew his. amendment.
Mr. W. Smith spoke against the motion, because the House, and the Public, had a right to know the amount and the nature of the debts before they were called upon to pay them. He was the more convinced that there was a necessity for some inquiry of this sort, because, without going into the business, of probable extortion, by blood fuckers, leeches, and other such terms which had been used, it was clear, that the more those debts could be reduced with justice, the more easily they would be paid off".
Mr. Francis said, that as this question was likely to go to a division, and as the attention of the Public was attracted, not only to the general resolutions of the House in this business, but to the particular conduct of individuals, he was very desirous that the principles on which he had already voted, and those on which he meant to vote that night, should be exactly understood. An explanation was the more necessary, because, by the form of proceeding which had been observed, the vote given did not express or convey the real meaning and full intention of the person who gave it. On the face of the vote itself it did not appear whether, for example, a person who voted for the higher establishment, meant that evety part of it should or should not be applied to the discharge of debt, or whether lie who voted for the lower sum, did or did not mean to exclude himself from all the consideration of the debts and incumbranecs. That, as it did not depend on him
to to alter the mode of proceeding, he was forced to vote simply, yes or no, to the motions as they came before him. When the question was put to him on a former occasion, what establishment he would vote for upon a general view of the provision fit for the Heir Apparent, combined with the situation of the country, and abstractedly from any consideration whatsoever of his Royal Highnefs's debts and incumbrances; for that was precisely the state in which the quqstion came before him; the answer he gave it by his vote was, that one hundred thousand 'pounds was sufficient. But he did not mean by that vote to preclude all consideration whatever of the debts. He knew that it was a cafe of necessity, which sooner or laser would force itself on the attention of Parliament, and with greater disadvantage the longer it was put off.
The House had determined in favour of the higher establishment, and he must take it for granted that the House would adhere to that resolution. 'The question, therefore, before 'him at present was, whether he would or would not concur "with a proposition made by his Royal Highness himself, to apply a considerable portion of the sum they have already ■voted, and which, whether so applied or not, would be equally a burden on the people, to the discharge of his debts, or whether that whole income should be lest without any obligation upon it, and finally, perhaps, to be spent without having •contributed materially to that very service, on account of which, in the minds of many Gentlemen, the higher establishment had been consented to. This being strictly the state of the question then to be determined^ he did not fee how he could conscientiously, or with justice to the Public, refuse his assent to the proposition aS it stood.
Sir John Call argued for an immediate discharge of the debt. The best and least burdensome way of providing for it, he took to be, the sale of the Dutchy os Cornwall, which from calculations he had made, he conceived would in every respect be advantageous to the Public, and relieve the Prince from his embarrassments.
Mr. Wilberforte thought that some inquiry ought to be made, as to the manner in which the debts hat! been contracted, because it might be productive of some advantage. He had voted for the smaller sum on a former night, and though he had every wish to allow a proper and splendid establishment to the Prince, he must consider the present urgent necessity for economy.
Mr. Maurice Robinson spoke against the motion.
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The M.JItr of the Ro!U (Sir R.P. Arden) observed, that to those Who had differed on the allowance of ioo.ocol. and 125 cool, to the Prince, it was stil! competent to revise their ©pi-iion.
Mr. Burdon thought on the contrary, that the House was pledged to the vote which it had given on the former occasion. He nevertheless thought it his duty to oppose any additional burden being laid upon the country, and would throughout oppose the scheme os paying those debts.
Mr. Sturt said he recollected to have been in the House during the last Parliament, when in 1787 his Majesty's minister had brought down a message from the Jving, recommending the payment of the Prince of Wales's debts, but upon the express condition that no suture application of the same nature should be made; and the minister had g~ne the length of assuring the House, that he, individually, would refuse to bring down any message of the kind again; he was therefore surprised at the present proceeding, and must insist that no Member who was in the House at that time, could consistcntlv, or with any propriety, agree to pay the Prince's debts a second time j and if they did, he saw no security but that they might be called upon again.
Sir William Dolben agreed to vote for the instruction moved, because formerly the House had only the assurance of the minister upon the subject, but the message os that day expressed, that hit. Royal Highness himself was desirous to avoid suture embarrassment, and upon this assurance he had great reliance. With regard to Hanover, he doubted whether hi3 Majesty received from that Electorate any thing after defraying its expenduure; and as to the Dutchy of Cornwall, if the Prince of Wales, from the time he was born, became entitled to the reVenues of it, aud that they had not been accounted for, it might be matter of inquiry; but he saw no reason that the country had to look to his Majesty for the payment of any part of these debts.
Mr. Bankes said, he conceived the voting of any sum for tlje establishment of the Prince, to be totally distinct from voting money to pay his debts, which he thought the House ought not to be called upon to do, aster the message that had been recorded on their journals in 1787. With regard to what had been said respecting the marriage, he did not conceive that the House was at all implicated, or in any degree a party to it; the debts were notorious before that event took place, and it might have been concluded without their knowing any thing ot the matter. The payment of debts must
always always be unpleasant to that House. He did not approve of measures that went only to check such things, and thought that the only way to prevent them in future was, by not paying the debts incurred in the present case.
Mr. Simmer said, it was difficult to speak on an affair of such a delicate nature, that the accounts which were the subject of the present discussion, that the items could not be laid on the table. In his opinion the creditors should be lest to their fate. They must have known that the revenues of the Dutchy of Cornwall, and the furniture of Carlton House, were all they had to rely on for their indemnification. If they went beyond the amount of those, they were aware of the risk, and should abide the consequences. The question before the House was simply, Whether they should entertain any discussion respecting the debts of the Prince of Wales? His opinion went most strongly to negative any such proposition. He found, from the general tenor of the arguments of different Gentlemen on that night, that a doubt seemed to arise as to the principle on ■which the larger sum was voted, whether it was with the intent that a certain portion should be applied for the liquidation of the debts of his Royal Highness, or whether it was intended that the whole of that sum should go entirely to his establishment. He would propose an amendment to the motion of the Right Hon. the Chancellor of the lixchequer, which might tend more fully to explain the intentions of those Gentlemen who voted for the larger sum.
The amendment was to th« following" effect: "That so much of the original motion as related to the liquidation of the debts of his Royal Highness, from his annual establishment of 125,000!. should be omitted."
Mr. Grey seconded the amendment, because he thought it tended to simplify the motion; he thought those who, like himself, were willing to give the Prince a proper and suitable allowance, but at the same time were of opinion that the House had nothing to do with his debts, had not been fairly dealt with. Upon a former occasion many had voted for the larger simi, because they thought it necessary to the splendour of his establishment, who would not have voted for it if they had thought any part of it was to be appropriated to the paymdnt of his debts. However, the House was not pledged by any thing that had been done, and might alter it if they should think proper; it was not one of those cases where money had been advanced in consequence of a resolution of the House, which ought always to be confirmed. He declared himself to be entirely against the payment of the debts in any way, as i question that ought not to be entertained in the House. He 1 considered