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ed with some dcgTee of risk to the Public, but it was one of the. unfortunate considerations, which could not be separated from the present discussion, and except some other mode could be found consistent with justice, propriety, and policy, they were driven to that option. He concluded with moving,
"That the entry in the Journal of the House, of the nth day of July 1711, of his Majesty's molt gracious Message to this House might be read.'"
And the fame being read accordingly,
«' That this House will, on Monday morning next, resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of providing for the appropriation of an annual sum out of the consolidated fund, for the liquidation of such of the debts, now owing by his Royal Highness lhePi ince of Wales, as may remain unpaid, in the t vent of the decease of his Royal Highness."
Sir William Young said, he w ished that other means had been resorted to for discharging the debts of the Prince of Wales. Because he was attached to the Royal Family he did not wish that the debts should be taken notice of at all. The subject was extremely obnoxious out of doors, and he was at a loss to conceive how the debts came to be mentioned at all in that House. The mode of procedure adopted by the Hon. Gentleman tended to degrade the Prince os Wales •, it put him, as it were, in leading-strings, and held him out as unworthy of confidence.
Mr. Fox said, that he conceived no such construction could apply to any measures taken to rcguk'.te the expenditure of his Royal Highness as would warrant its being said that he was either degraded or disgraced. When the House voted for Mr. Burkc's Bill, they had acted in the fame spirit. He then conceived that the elevated situation of his Majesty gave a right to that House to lay him under the restrictions which they at that time imposed; and that in so doing the House neither manifested want of respect nor want of confidence ; because, proud as his situation is, the King owns no greater station than that of servant of the people. Before, in the present instance, he consented to burden the people, he wished to know, whether what he should grant would be effectual for the purpose for which it was demanded. As far as he understood, there was no compulsion upon the creditors to accept of the terms meant at present to be offered. He did not wish to impose an adilition.il burden upon the Public without some reasonable certainty that it would really be effectual,—The whole of the business had been conducted unfortunately. There ought first to have taken place some arrangement between the Prince and his creditors, that it might be known what terms would be accepted, if a certain security was given. Every step they proceeded they had to encounter new difficulties. The Right ■ Hon. Gentleman had intimated his intention to sill up the blank in the Committee with the whole additional sum of 65,0001. and the revenue of the Dutchy of Cornwall. He certainly did not think the sum of 78,0001. a year too large for the purpose of liquidating the debt. But how was the Right Hon. Gentleman to get at the revenue of the Dutchy of Cornwall? as he understood that the present income of his Royal Highness was conveyed in trust for the benefit of his creditors. It was very unfortunate that the House should be called to impose a contingent burden upon the Public, without either the certainty os relieving the Prince of Wales, or of satisfying his just creditors. He was now called upon to perform • the last disagreeable task which had fallen to his sliare'inthe present discussion. He had not flattered the people, because he had voted for the larger sum; he had not flattered the Prince, because he had pretty plainly explained his fense of the manner in which that sum ought to be appropriated; nor would he, in what he had to say, flatter that other party, whose immediate savour might be deemed still more important. He sincerely lamented that as a ground of proceeding Parliament had received no intimation from his Majesty, that in any possible contingency he fliould take upon himself the charge of the debts.—They might then have had the consolation to say that it was a transaction which had been equally unfortunate for all parties; that the Public had suffered from the imposition of an additional burden; that the Prince had suffered from a diminution of splendour, and that his Majesty had suffered in common with his family and his people. If the Bill went forward, he certainly mould vote for the appropriation of the 78,0001. which the Right Hon. Gentleman had slated would extinguish the debt in about nine years. The risk of the Public in that case was certainly not great; but why, he asked, should the Public be subjected in this instance to anycontingent risk? He adverted to the case of Frederick Prince of Wales, whose income had been increased from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand pounds, and had still been charged upon the civil list. He proposed to move that in case of the demise of the Prince of Wales, the portion of his debts, which should then remain unpaid, should be defrayed out of the civil list. It might be said, would not so large a defalcation oblige Parliament to grant an additional supply to the. civil list? To this he would only answer, that it would then remain for Parliament to consider what were the peculiar cir* Vol. III. 3 R cum.
cumstances of the time, and whether the state of the civil list was such as called upon them for an additional sum. Whea the civil list was increased by accidents—he did not mean to an inconsiderable amount; he particularly alluded to the death of the Princess Amelia—he never had heard of any message stating to the House that it had been freed from such incumbrance. If the civil list likewise was lightened of some of the buidens with which it was at present charged, it might then be adequate to undertake the discharge of tlie debts; if not, it would be for Parliament to consider, according to the circumstances of the time, what supply it would be proper to grant.
Some Gentlemen had lamented that the Prince's debts should be mentioned at all in a Parliamentary way, after the promise contained in the message of 1787. As to that promise, it might have been made precipitately, and without consideration; but the House in the address recited that promise—the Prince knew that, and by accepting the terms, deliberately bound himself. He for his part felt that so much, that'at first he thought to give his voice for the income, but to leave the debts out of the question as a family concern. He adverted to the argument that had been urged, that Parliament were bound to. provide for the debts as having approved of the marriage Of his Royal Highness; how much more then his Majesty, who was an immediate party in the contract? Was he to be supposed the only one of the inhabitants of this country who was ignorant of the embarrassments under which his son laboured? Gentlemen should recollect that the marriage was concluded without the knowledge of the House, and would, but for the casual interruption of a bad season, have been consummated before Parliament met. Nothing but absolute political necessity could induce him to lay any additional burden upon the Public. In the present discussion he considered the Public as having one and the fame interest, and he thought that the memoiyof the transaction ought to be extinguished as soon as possible. He was perfectly convinced that if his Royal Highness was assisted by the credit of his Royal father, that with the annual appropriation of 78,000!. the creditors would be perfectly disposed to be satisfied with their security.
Mr. Powys declared, he was put under considerable embarrassment by this question.—The late communication of his Royal Highness had induced him to give his vote, though he had before resolved to refuse entertaining the debts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had a harder talk to perform than ever ftdl to the lot of any minister or Parliament, so that he
long long doubted whether he should not, in regard to his own honour, decline; but he had acted as a more faithful servant of the Crown and the Public, to go through with it: For his part, he had gone as far as consistently with his duty he could gO; it was still his opinion that no burden, either directly Or indirectly, ought to be laid upon the people, and that some other resource might be found, either in the Dutchy of Cornwall, or the civil list.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to state some facts in explanation as to the state of the civil list. In cafe of the demise of the Prince of Wales, it would be relieved from 6o,oool. but liable to a jointure of 50,0001. for her Royal Highness. If the Prince should leave issue, there would remain only io,oool. and 13,0001. Some provision must in that case be made for the infant Heir Apparent to the Crown. If he should leave no issue, the Duke of York would then succeed to the Dutchy of Cornwall, and be left with an income of 40,0001. after the House had expressed their sense that a sum of 125,000!. was necessary for an establishment to a Prince of Wales; so that, either directly or indirectly, some burden must ultimately fall upon the Public.
Mr. jeiyll said, they had arrived at the most important crisis of the business, viz. whether a contingent or remote burden should be imposed on the people i After the heavy and oppressive load of taxes already sustained by them, he would not consent even to a contingent burden upon the people, nay not even to add the weight of a single hair to their burdens, unless it could be made out that they had no other resource to look to. A temporary alienation of the Dutchy of Cornwall, it had been stated by an Hon. Baronet (Sir John Call), might produce a considerable sum, and contribute to the improvement of a part of the country highly susceptible os improvement, and at present fertile in little else but Members of Parliament. Voting 125,0001. for the establishment of the Prince of Wales, was not liberality but justice, as every man who considered the relative value of money must be convinced that a less sumrould not be sufficient for the establishment the Prince was expected to maintain. After praising their own liberality, they were proceeding to appropriate the greater part of the sum to the liquidation of his Royal Highnefs's debts, which they profesied to make no provision for at tha expence of the Public. The legal opinion that the Duke of York, in case of the demise of the Prince 6s Wales, would succeed of right to the Dutchy of Cornwall, was not a formal opinion, but one incidentally thrown out upon the interpretation of the word Priiwgmitus, in deciding upon a very dif
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ferent question. Lord Coke had been of an opinion on this point, and that opinion had been collaterally opposed by a velry eminent authority, Loid Chancellor Hardwicke; but what Lord Hardwicke had said was only ai guendo. He had said, that primogenkus was not the Latin for first-born; and that other sons might inherit the patrimony of the firstrborn; but this, as he had said before, was only an opinion delivered arguendo. No reason had yet been given why a resource might not be found in the sale, of the Crown lands. With respect to the revenues of the Dutchy of Cornwall, from the birth of the Prince to his attaining the age of twenty-one, he conceived that the commissioners to be appointed by the Bill must haw powers to inquire into debts due to the Prince, as well as into debts due by him, and thar it would be their duty to inquire into this master, and sue for the recovery of the money if necessary. He wished to see Royal resources applied to the relief of Royal embarrassments.
Mr. Alderman Neivnham thought, that as it was intended to establish a commission armed with Parliamentary powers, and that every creditor would be obliged to prove his claim upon oath, there would be many persons who would not submit their claims to investigation at all; and those of a great many more would be found replete with extortion. This would reduce the sum to be paid; and it was for the honour of the nation as well as the Prince, that he should be left unincumbered. The Alderman said, Gentlemen had talked much of deference to the sentiments of-the people upon this occasion. He believed they were rather leading than following the sentiments of the people, by a conduct which would not long be popular. The Prince of Wales, from amiable manners, if placed in any other station, would have been considered as the first Gentleman in he country; and, when it was seen that he was sacrificing nis state, to prevent accumulating burdens upon the Public, the people would soon call upon Parliament to relieve him from his embarrassments.
Sir William Miltier said, he had been told, that the Prince intended making such an arrangement as was row proposed,
before any application was made to Parliament. He was
persuaded that the King did not come forward to the relief of the Prince because he had not the means •, but the revenue of the Uutchy of Cornwall ought to be inquired into, that justice might be done to all parties.
The jft/oniey General (Sir John Scott) expressed himself truly sensible how necessary it was for that House to consider the essential interests of the Prince of Wales; but it would not be to study his fundamental and permanent interests, if they