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whom various officers in their several departments may spend - even just what they please, and often with an emulation of expense, as contributing to the importance, if not profit, of their several departments. Thus much is certain : that neither the present nor any other First Lord of the Treasury has been ever able to take a survey, or to make even a tolerable guess, of the expenses of government for any one year, so as to enable him with the least degree of certainty, or even probability, to bring his affairs within compass. Whatever scheme may be formed upon them must be made on a calculation of chances. As things are circumstanced, the First Lord of the Treasury cannot make an estimate. I am sure I serve the king, and I am sure I assist administration, by putting economy at least in their power.
We must class services; we must as far as their nature admits) appropriate funds; or everything, however reformed, will fall again into the old confusion.
Coming upon this ground of the civil list, the first thing in dignity and charge that attracts our notice is the royal household. This establishment, in my opinion, is exceedingly abusive in its constitution. It is formed upon manners and customs that have long since expired. In the first place, it is formed, in many respects, upon feudal principles. In the feudal times, it was not uncommon, even among subjects
12. the lowest offices to be held by considerable persons,- persons as unfit by their incapacity as improper from their rank to occupy such employments. They were held by patent, sometimes for life, and sometimes by inheritance. If my memory does not deceive me, a person of no slight consideration held the office of patent hereditary cook to an Earl of Warwick :
the Earl of Warwick's soups, I fear, were not the better for the dignity of his kitchen. I think it was an Earl of Gloucester who officiated as steward of the household to the Archbishops of Canterbury. Instances of the same kind may in some degree be found in the Northumberland house-book, and other family records. There was some reason in ancient necessities for these ancient customs. Protection was wanted ; and the domestic tie, though not the highest, was the closest.
The king's household has not only several strong traces of this feudality, but it is formed also upon the principles of a body corporate : it has its own magis trates, courts, and by-laws. This might be necessary in the ancient times, in order to have a government within itself, capable of regulating the vast and often unruly multitude which composed and attended it. This was the origin of the ancient court called the Green Cloth, — composed of the marshal, treasurer, and other great officers of the household, with certain clerks. The rich subjects of the kingdom, who had formerly the same establishments, (only on a reduced scale,) have since altered their economy, and turned the course of their expense from the maintenance of vast establishments within their walls to the employment of a great variety of independent trades abroad. Their influence is lessened; but a mode of accommodation and a style of splendor suited to the manners of the times has been increased. Royalty itself has insensibly followed, and the royal household has been carried away by the resistless tide of manners, but with this very material difference : private men have got rid of the establishments along with the reasons of them ; whereas the royal household has lost all
that was stately and venerable in the antique manners, without retrenching anything of the cumbrous charge of a Gothic establishment. It is shrunk into the polished littleness of modern elegance and personal accommodation; it has evaporated from the gross concrete into an essence and rectified spirit of expense, where you have tuns of ancient pomp in a vial of modern luxury.
But when the reason of old establishments is gone, it is absurd to preserve nothing but the burden of them. This is superstitiously to embalm a carcass not worth an ounce of the gums that are used to preserve it. It is to burn precious oils in the tomb; it is to offer meat and drink to the dead: not so much an honor to the deceased as a disgrace to the survivors. Our palaces are vast inhospitable halls. There the bleak winds, there “Boreas, and Eurus, and Caurus, and Argestes loud,” howling through the vacant lobbies, and clattering the doors of deserted guardrooms, appall the imagination, and conjure up the grim specţres of departed tyrants, — the Saxon, the Norman, and the Dane,- the stern Edwards and fierce Henrys, - who stalk from desolation to desolation, through the dreary vacuity and melancholy succession of chill and comfortless chambers. When this tumult subsides, a dead and still more frightful silence would reign in this desert, if every now and then the tacking of hammers did not announce that those constant attendants upon all courts in all ages, jobs, were still alive,- for whose sake alone it is that any trace of ancient grandeur is suffered to remain. These palaces are a true emblem of some governments: the inhabitants are decayed, but the governors and magistrates still flourish. They put me in
mind of Old Sarum, where the representatives, more in number than the constituents, only serve to inform us that this was once a place of trade, and sounding with the busy hum of men,” though now you can only trace the streets by the color of the corn, and its sole manufacture is in members of Parliament.
These old establishments were formed also on a third principle, still more adverse to the living economy of the age. They were formed, Sir, on the principle of purveyance and receipt in kind. In former days, when the household was vast, and the supply scanty and precarious, the royal purveyors, sallying forth from under the Gothic portcullis to purchase provision with power and prerogative instead of money, brought home the plunder of an hundred markets, and all that could be seized from a flying and hiding country, and deposited their spoil in an hundred caverns, with each its keeper. There, every commodity, received in its rawest condition, went through all the process which fitted it for use. This inconvenient receipt produced an economy suited only to itself. It multiplied offices beyond all measure, — buttery, pantry, and all that rabble of places, which, though profitable to the holders, and expensive to the state, are almost too mean to mention.
All this might be, and I believe was, necessary at first; for it is remarkable, that purveyance, after its regulation had been the subject of a long line of stat utes, (not fewer, I think, than twenty-six,) was wholly taken away by the 12th of Charles the Second; yet in the next year of the same reign it was found necessary to revive it by a special act of Parliament, for the sake of the king's journeys. This, Sir, is curious, and what would hardly be expected in so reduced a
court as that of Charles the Second and in so improved a country as England might then be thought. But so it was.
In our time, one well-filled and well-covered stage-coach requires more accommodation than a royal progress, and every district, at an hour's warning, can supply an army.
I do not say, Sir, that all these establishments, whose principle is gone, have been systematically kept up for influence solely: neglect had its share. But this I am sure of: that a consideration of influence has hindered any one from attempting to pull them down. For the purposes of influence, and for those purposes only, are retained half at least of the household establishments. No revenue, no, not a royal revenue, can exist under the accumulated charge of ancient establishment, modern luxury, and Parliamentary political corruption.
If, therefore, we aim at regulating this household, the question will be, whether we ought to economize by detail or by principle. The example we have had of the success of an attempt to economize by detail, and under establishments adverse to the attempt, may tend to decide this question.
At the beginning of his Majesty's reign, Lord Talbot came to the administration of a great department in the household. I believe no man ever entered into his Majesty's service, or into the service of any prince, with a more clear integrity, or with more zeal and affection for the interest of his master, and, I must add, with abilities for a still higher service.
service. Economy was then announced as a maxim of the reign. This noble lord, therefore, made several attempts towards a reform. In the year 1777, when the king's civil list debts came last to be paid, he explained very