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from Iiis Majesty. If the House should be of opinion, that the measure recommended ought to be adopted, he should hope, he confessed, that the Hon. Gentleman would not press the motion for a Calf of the House. He did not wish in any degree to disguise die magnitude and importance of the subject before them } nor did he mean to express less regret than was felt in common by every Member of that House, as to the occasion which called for their deliberation. At the same time he •wished to say, that it was evident from the Message, that his Majesty's intimation went not to the length of requiring a specific sum to be advanced for the present, in order to discharge the" principal of the debts os his Royal Highness. It was only to set apart a certain portion of that income which might be grantees by the liberality of Parliament, to the gradual discharge of the tlebts of his Royal Highness. Whatever, therefore, Parliament out of that liberality might be disposed to grant, was to be applied to free his Royal Highness from the demands of his ere-, ditors, a circumstance the most essential to the real splendour and dignity of his Royal Highness. If Parliament were to grant' an income to his Royal Highness, for the purpose of supporting that dignity and splendour, the first step certainly ought to 1 be to enable him to remove from his affairs all clogs and embarrassments. If it was the desire of the House that this should be done, they would refkct that it could not be done effectually, either to the satisfaction of the creditors of his Royal Highness* to his own cafe and comfort, or with any view to certainty, except by enabling him to allot out of his income a certain part, as much as might appear necessary for that purpose. If it should be sound that the whole sum which should be proposed for the establishment of his Royal Highness, was no more than the House would have been disposed to grant him* if his debts had never existed, in order to support his household, and to maintain his dignity, he trusted that the feelings of Hon. Gentlemen would be fully satisfied. When he looked at the grants made to the Prince of Wales, the grandfather of his present Royal Highness, at a time when the scale of expence of living, to a person of any rank, was not in any respect nearly so high as it was at present, he owned, at the same time that he lamented the necessity of the occasion, that the sum to be proposed for his Royal Highness now must be comparatively small. It would be but little more than had been granted to his grandfather, from the affection and the liberality, and he might add, the wisdom and the prudence of Parliament. The House was under the unfortunate necessity of cither determining to leave his Royal Highness without relief, or adopting the Vol. III. M mode
mode now proposed,or some such mode of relieving him; anct under all the circumstances, he trusted they would not be much inclined to narrow she amount. He thought it necessary to state thus much of the outline; a more particular discussion he thought it would not be proper for him to enter into in the present stage of the proceeding. This he would however add, that on the best consideration he had been able to give to the subject, and to every thing connected with it, he was ready to fay, that it was not only the interest of the Royal Family, but also the public duty of that House, which they all felt satisfaction in discharging, to be liberal in allowances of this description; because the people were materially interested in the comfort, and even in the splendour and dignity of the Royat Family in all its branches. "When these points therefore came to be considered, there would probably appear no necessity for that delay which a Call of the House must necessarily occasion. It could not be said to be a thing brought forward oi> a sudden, for an establishment for his Royal Highness had long been a matter of general expectation. Besides, there were other questions of great public importance relative to the political state of the country, remaining to be discussed. On the great question of peace and war, notice had been given of a discussion; so that there was no doubt that a full attendance would take place without a Call of the House, to enforce which would be attended with some inconvenience to individuals, and attended also with some delay osbusiness. He should therefore hope that the Hon. Gentleman would not persist in his intention, and .press for the Call. He concluded with moving, "That this Message be taken into consideration this day se'nnight." The question being put,
Mr. Grey said, no Member of that House, who felt it his duty to give any opposition to any part of the establishment of his Royal Highness, could help seeling the most unpleasant sensations; at the fame time, howevef that might be, he was persuaded that no Member who felt that to be his duty, would pass it by, because the task was disagreeable. In his opinion, a more important subject than this could hardly have come under the consideration of that House; particularly under the circumstances of this country at this moment. This was ths second application to Parliament to pay the debts of his Royal Highness, and that too after a solemn promise had been made that no future debt should be incurred. He did not mean to say that the Right Hon. Gentleman, who brought she subject forward, had any improper intention; but the manner in which he had brought it forward was, he seared, calculated tc
create create a misunderstanding with the Public. The Right Hon. Gentleman had treated this as an additional income to his Royal Highness. Let it however be done in what shape, or under what colour, it might, it was in substance neither more nor less than a provision from Parliament to pay the debts of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; and he thought there could not be a more improper mode of doing it than that of adopting apian by which the Public were likely to misunderstand the thing to be done. It would make no difference to the Public ultimately, if it were done in another manner, and it might as well be so done at once, viz. to pay the debts of "bis Royal Highness in a sum of money, and to create a tax avowedly and specifically for that purpose; it must come to that at last, and what was the use of disguising it? He wished the thing to be plainly, fairly, and distinctly done, that the fublic might clearly see what burdens they were to bear for his Royal Highness. Under these impressions he could not help thinking, that the mode proposed was objectionable, and that, after all that had been said, Parliament would be called upon, and that at no very distant period, to provide for an immense debt, on account of his Royal Highness. The Right Hon. Gentleman who brought this business forward had said, that considering all things, the sum proposed was not greater than the House would be disposed to grant to his Royal Highness, to support his splendour and .dignity, even if he had no debt. When the House came to consider the diminution of the national income, the increase of our burdens, and the still greater increase of them that we are to expect; considering likewise how very heavily the Public were taxed already, and how much more heavily they must still be taxed, he could not help saying that the Right lion. Gentleman's was not the best way of considering the subject. At a time when the cries of the starving poor were assailing us on all sides, he thought that the House would not be doing its duty, by granting establishments lo Princes, with a profusion unparalleled. He had heard much of the dignity of his Royal Highness. He was of opinion that the best dignity of the Prince of Wales would be maintained by his shewing a feeling heart for the poor, and that he was unwilling to add to their distresses. That would be dignity superior to anything he could gain by splendour of appearance. He left Gentlemen to judge whether they had any pleasing prospect from what was at present proposed. He would say no more at that moment; he was afraid of proceeding. He did not mean nor wish to give offence to that .August Personage. He hoped, however, the Call of the House would be enforced.
Mr. Cur-wen regretted, as much as any Member of that House, that there should be any objection to the measure; but he must perform his duty as a Member of Parliament. He must fay he was not satisfied. He wished to see some provisions, on which the House could rely, that no further debt should be incurred on the part of his Royal Highness. Some measure should be adopted to put that out of his power, and that measure should be brought forward for the consideration of the House. As to the observation of the Right Hon. Gentleman, that Parliament were to grant no more to his Royal Highness than would have been given to him if he had no debt, he must observe, it was not the way to proceed under the present condition of affairs. He wished Gentlemen to turn their eyes to a neighbouring country, and recollect what brought on its great convulsions; it was not from the exercise of tyrannical power, for the late government there was admitted to have been a mild one; it arose out of a lamentable negligence about the finances; it was that fort of negligence which plunged France into its calamities; It was not the extravagance of the Monarch, for no man was more economical than Louis XVI. but the extravagance of the Princes.—That truth, he trusted, would be well remembered. He was decidedly in favour of a Call of the House.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that the Hon. Gentle-, man who spoke last seemed to have forgotten part of the Message os his Majesty; by the last paragraph in it, he would fee that the very provision against incurring f urther debt was expressly recommended; he therefore desired that that part of the Message might be read, which was done.
Mr. Ponvys said, thai though he could not agree with the Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Grey), that the mode proposed by his Right Hon. Friend (Mr. Pitt) was the most exceptionable measure that could be adopted, yet lie thought the House ought to mark their sense of the novelty and importance of the occasion, by adopting the motion for the Call ot the House. He was averse to go much at large in the present stage of the business. He hoped the Right Hon. Gentleman would more fully explain the nature of the whole transaction, before lie called upon that House to come to any decision. Notwithstanding his reluctance to make any declaration, he could not help joining in the feelings which his Majesty himlclf had expressed in the Message. He must fay that he felt the deepest regret, that notwithstanding the paternal liberality of his Majesty, notwithstanding the loyal zeal which the House had manifested in making provision for the former debts, and the pledge which had then been given on the part of the Prince that no future application of that sort should be madex
srelU fresh obligations should have been contracted to so large an amount. It became matter of interesting inquiry by what means the King, the Prince, the Parliament, and the Public, had all been so grossly deceived. It would be proper that the persons from whose neglect or misconduct this glaring abuse of confidence had proceeded, should be pointed out. The Right Hon. Gentleman had not stated what degree of inconvenience would be incurred from the delay that would be necessary for the purpose of a Call os the House. He had admitted that it was a subject which demanded the fullest and most mature deliberation. He could not then see any reason why the motion for the Call should not be adopted. There were some inquiries which, he remarked, ought to precede any measure that might be adopted by the House. Ought the PubJic to be called upon to pay the price of indiscretions? Ought they to be rendered liable for expenccs, which perhaps ought never to have been incurred? Was there no part of the burden which could be removed from the shoulders of the Public, already so severely smarting with the necessary load of taxation, in order to be laid on the civil list? All these were questions, which, in his opinion, ought to receive a satisfactory answer before the House pledged themselves to any resolution, on the subject.
Mr. Montague said, that he coincided in opinion with the Hon. Gentlemen who had already spoken, that the importance of the subject was such, as called for the fullest attendance that could be obtained: He should therefore approve of a CalJ of the House. He did not wi(h, on the present occasion, to anticipate any thing that might more properly belong to the discussion of the Message itself. The only reason stated by the Right Hon. Gentleman why a Call should not take place was, that other important business, which would be likely to secure a full attendance, was appointed to be discussed about the same time that the Message would come under consideration: But if other important business was to be thrown into the scale along with this, which he should contend to be, of all others, the most important, this was only an additional reason why the Call ought to be adopted, The subject acquired a peculiar importance from the circumstances of the times. But ho considered it altogether as of too grave and weighty a nature for him to fay any thing further without the fullest deliberation. He should endeavour to come to the discussion without partiality, and without prejudice, prepared to act with an equal attention to the rights of the Prince, and the interests of the People. Such was, in his opinion, the line of procedure.