« ForrigeFortsett »
hopes of recovery were confidently en to the civil list; and an addition of • tertained, was still bound to keep in 70,0001. per annum could not in such view the chance of, at least, a partial circumstances be deemed extravagant. re-establishment of his majesty's health, He then proceeded to state, that as in the provisions to be made for the the lord steward and lord chambercare of the royal person, and the dig- lain had important duties to perform nity of the sovereign.
immediately connected with the royal Mr Perceval came forward at a very functions, it would be necessary that early period of the session, with a plan these officers should be placed round for the arrangement of his majestys the person of the regent, who was to household. He stated, that when this be invested with the royal authority. melancholy subject had last engaged In the room of the first, therefore, it the attention of parliament, sanguine was proposed, that the first gentleman expectations were entertained of the of the bed-chamber should be substiking's recovery; that so long as such guted as the chief officer of the king's hopes could be indulged, it was the household ; that the vice-chamberlain duty of the legislature to look chiefly should be appointed his deputy; that to the restoration of his majesty to four lords and as many grooms of the health and to the exercise of the sove. bed-chamber, a master of the robes, reign authority, guarding at the same and seven or eight equerries, together time against any inconvenience which with his majesty's private secretary, might arise from the temporary sus should form the new officers of the pension of the kingly functions : That proposed establishment, which, of the legislature was now called upon course, must be placed under the conact in very different circumstances ; troul of the queen, to whom the care that an arrangement, not of a tempora- of his majesty's person had been enry, but of a permanent nature, was de. trusted : That the expenses of this manded,-an arrangement which should establishment, in so far as an estimate neither imply a confident hope nor an could be formed from the expenditure absolute despair of the king's restora- at Windsor during the year ending 5th tion to health: That the measures July, 1811,would not exceed 100,0001. adopted last year had made full provi. This sum, Mr Perceval proposed to sion for supplying the exercise of the take from the civil list, provision being royal authority, and as the law now made at the same time, that a deficit, if stood, by the 18th of February all the such should occur, should be supplied authority, as well as all the duties
of the upon an application to the treasury, sovereign, would devolve on the Prince the propriety of which should be af. Regent; and as the civil list would also terwards judged of by parliament, and of course be transferred to his royal the sum voted out of the supplies for highness, it became necessary to make the year. That in the circumstances some provision for the personal com in which the queen was placed, disfort and dignity of the king : That charging, as she had done with exem. his majesty's present civil list was the plary fidelity, the duties which she proper fund for such provision, and his owed to her royal consort, and thur present officers and servants, the pro- incurring an extraordinary expendio per attendants for him during his ill. ture, it seemed proper that her majesness: That as separate establishments ty should have a small addition made for a regent and a king would now be to her income, not exceeding 10,0001., necessary, some addition must be made which sum should be paid out of the
civil list. It was further proposed, as his royal father, and had no occathat the pensions and allowances which sion, of course, for so considerable an the king had been in use to grant to expenditure. It would have been very the objects of his bounty, should be unfair, however, to transfer the civil paid as formerly out of the privy list to his royal highness as if it had purse; that the expences incurred for been solvent, and quite sufficient to de. medical assistance should be paid out fray the royal expenses, when it was of the revenue of the duchy of Lan- known that from the year
1804 down. caster, on which an excess had arisen wards, an annual deficit had occurred of 30,000l. or 40,0001. annually; and, of 24,0001. which had hitherto been lastly, that a commission of three per- supplied from the excess of the Scots sons should be appointed, one of them civil list and the admiralty droits. Mr to be a master in Chancery, and the Perceval, therefore, proposed that this other two to be named by the queen deficiency should still be supplied in the and the Prince Regent, for the ma same manner, unless it should increase nagement of the king's private pro- so far as
so far as to exceed its present average perty. The commissioners were to be by 10,0001. when the subject should be entrusted also with the power of au
submitted to the consideration of parditing all accounts of pensions and al- liament. It was finally proposed, that lowances taken out of the privy purse. 100,0001. should be voted to meet the
Such were the arrangements propo- expences which the prince had incur. sed with reference to the king's house- red, or might yet incur, on his assumphold. To the Prince Regent, how. tion of the royal authority ; a compenever, the civil list would, in this man sation which he had generously decliner, be returned 100,0001. a-year less ned to receive, so long as he had reathan had been enjoyed by the king; son to flatter himself that the change and it might be thought most advisable in his condition might be temporary, at once to vote the above sum out of but which had now become indispenthe consolidated fund, and to extin- sable by the altered circumstances in guish the exchequer revenue payable which the country was placed. to the prince. But as his royal high The minister had no sooner deveness had very naturally believed that loped his plan, than a desire was mathe income arising to him out of the nifested to obstruct the progress of exchequer should be continued until the measure, which the immediate ex. he should come into possession of the piration of the restrictions on the monarchy itself; and as many persons Prince Regent rendered it necessary had claims upon this revenue, which to accelerate. Mr Ponsonby demandamounted annually to 120,000l., it ed an account of the reasons which had would not have been equitable, in such occasioned the deficiency in the civil. circumstances, to disturb the supply. list ; he censured the perplexity of the There could be no great inconvenience, minister's plan ; denied the propriety however, in transferring 50,0001. out of forming any establishment which of the exchequer revenue of the prince, should cast a magnificence around the to meet in part at least the deficiency king, which he was no longer capaof the civil list, leaving the remaining ble of enjoying ; and insisted, above all, 70,0001. untouched ; and although that suitable provision should be made there must still be a deficit of 50,0001. for the prince, in whom the royal authis sum might be dispensed with, as thority was now to be vested, leaving it the prince had not so large a family to his royal highness to decide on what
* might be proper for the dignity and mean nothing else than to create a se
comfort of his father. Mr Ponsonbycret and a dangerous influence ; to perhaps forgot that the deficiency in the oppose the splendour, the influence, civil list, although a very proper sub. and intrigue of her majesty's court to ject in other circumstances for the con- the legitimate authority of the Prince sideration of parliament, had no imme. Regent's. The minister, in short, by diate connection with the measure then placing grooms of the bed-chamber, proposed to the house. He forgot also, masters of the robes, and equerries, at when he objected to the household the disposal of the queen, must cerestablishment, that his majesty, al- tainly have intended to subvert the though severely afflicted, was still the constitution ! Mr Tierney conde. king of England, and could not, in de- scended to make some observations, cency even,
be entirely stripped of dig- which were not very worthy of the nity and splendour ; and he must have occasion. “ His objection," he said, - forgotten also, what was at that mo “ was, that splendid personages were
ment in evidence before the committee, to be placed round his majesty, at the that, since his lamented indisposition, same time that the queen also had his majesty had been in the habit of splendid personages attached to her communicating with his family and his household. Why could not one masministers ; that he had shewn himself ter of the robes and one treasurer competent to all the purposes of ordi serve for both? It was not well to let nary intercourse, and feelingly alive to it go out to the country, that in his his unfortunate condition. In circum majesty's present state a master of the stances such as these, which might robes was necessary to take care of still recur, even if a sense of decorum his dress.” had not opposed all miserable plans These objections having been overof economy, the feelings of humanity ruled, a bill was brought in to make would have exclaimed against them. provision for the better support of his Had the suggestion of Mr Ponsonby, majesty's household, and for the care which was enforced by many of his of his majesty's real and personal profriends, “ that it should be left to the perty during the continuance of his heir-apparent to decide upon what was indisposition. Mr Tierney renewed proper for the dignity and comfort of his attack. He contended, that as his majesty,” been adopted by parlia- the civil list had been maturely arment, his royal highness must have ranged in the year 1804, and as there been placed in a situation very dis- had, from that year downward, been tressing to his delicacy.
a regular excess in the departments of Other objections were made to the the lord steward, the lord chambere proposed plan by Mr Tierney. It lain, &c. an account should be laid was a most alarming thing, in his opi- before parliament, shewing the amount nion, that two courts should be created; of the charges and the reasons of the that the Prince Regent, exercising the excess. This proposal was readily acroyal functions, should have a splen- ceded to; but when the accounts did court, while the queen should al were produced, Mr Tierney expressed so have her court, to the support of his dissatisfaction with them; and, in which the enormous sum of 100,0001
. conjunction with other members of was to be applied ! What object could the house, renewed his opposition to the ministers have in view by a pro- the bill. He began, by paying some cceding so extraordinary ? they could merited compliments to the character
of the Prince Regent. Alluding to priety of which there could be no the act of the preceding year, by doubt, his royal father, in the condiwhich his royal highness had been tion to which he was reduced, could called to the regency, Mr Tierney re- certainly have no occasion for such a marked, “ that the restrictions con- purse ; that the privy purse belongtained in that act were such as the ed to the office, not to the person
of Prince of Wales felt were not only the king ; that, instead of leaving to painful, but injurious and insulting to the uncontrolled disposal of the prince the character of his royal highness. an annual sum of 70,0001., parliament Since the passing of that act up to ought at once to interpose and pay the present moment, his royal high. the debts which his royal highness had ness had conducted himself in such a contracted ; and that it would be much manner, as not only to call forth the more creditable to the house to enter admiration of the country, but also on a thorough revisal of the civil list, to remove any suspicion, (if any man and establish it upon a footing suithad suspicion lurking in his mind at able to the dignity of the crown, and the time the act passed), that his fu- the generosity of the nation, than to ture conduct would not be regula- add to a revenue, which had been found ted in the same manner. The whole inadequate to the purposes to which it of his royal highness's conduct had was destined. The right honourable been directed by attention to the com- gentleman then proceeded in a strain of forts of his royal father, and had on argument, calculated to sow distrust all occasions done credit to himself, betwixt the prince and the ministers, for and would refute any insinuations to whom his royal highness had by this the contrary. There was nothing in time indicated a predilection. "If they his royal highness's past conduct that did not enter at present upon a full arcould lead him to a suspicion, that rangement," said he, "every year they if he was clothed with full powers went on they would be continually ex. he would abuse those powers.” Mr posed to a fresh discussion on the sub Tierney, however, contended, that the ject of the civil list. It was true, they measure before the house, was one of were told, that the average excess had great financial but still greater political been hitherto discharged out of the importance ; that, although the Prince droits of admiralty and the excess of Regent was now to be permanently the Scotch revenue, and that if the ex. invested with the royal authority, and penditure of his royal highness should
revenues of the sovereign, exceed that average excess, it would he was still left in possession of part be necessary to come to parliament. of a revenue which belonged to him What was this, he would ask, but an only as Prince of Wales, and which indirect statement, that an addition ought now to fall into the exchequer; was to be made to the civil list to the that the result of the arrangement amount of this
average excedent, would be such as to place at the disa while in the outset he was to be curposal of his royal highness a civil-list tailed of 50,000l. enjoyed by his farevenue exceeding that which his roy- ther? The fact was, that this was a al father had enjoyed by 20,0001. a- plan to keep the Prince Regent al. year; that a part of this large fund ways in restraint, always under the was to be placed beyond the controul necessity of applying for something of parliament ; that if the prince were from ministers, for which, no doubt, to have a privy purse, as to the pro- he was to give something to ministero
to enjoy the
in return. Their conduct appeared ment had increased, it was said, at a pehere in the most artful light. He riod when the country seemed to have wanted, therefore, to see the prince no opportunity of sending out diploentirely free from ministers. During matists; and some minute objections, the whole of the last reign, animosi- which it were useless to recapitulate, ties had taken place respecting the were made to the various items of paying off the debts contracted by the charge. If the house should pass the civil list. Why, then, would not the bill, it must, without information, reminister at once come down, and ask cognise the necessity of an excess in from the house, he would not say a the expenditure above the revenue of lavish grant, but such a sum as they the civil list to the amount of 124,0001. ought to grant? Was it the way that annually. The provision for paying the civil list ought to be provided for the prince's debts was described as at the commencement of a reign, to highly irregular. No application of tell the house that the excedent of this kind ought to have been made to 124,0001. was to be paid out of the parliament in any other shape than droits of admiralty and Scotch reve. that of a message from the prince. ? Every thing in this business was Mr Whitbread summed
up left unexplained, and the house was guments of opposition, and concluded left completely involved in doubts and with the following piece of declamaperplexities. Throughout the whole tion, which may afford a tolerably bill, there was an apparent distrust of fair specimen of his eloquence. “This his royal highness, while every thing bill,” said he, “ teemed with influ. was calculated to appear like very ence : Under it three commissioners great kindness to him. In place of were appointed to take care of his the 100,0001. taken from the civil list, majesty's property ; these gentlemen 70,0001. were to be given him, for were to take an oath of secrecy, so which he was to be under no controul. that the parliament could know nothing But this was one side of the picture of their proceedings ; to the queen, only, and it was proper also to look at who was not their mistress, to the the other. Here, then, was a settled prince, who was not their master, they distrust manifested respecting the in- were bound to explain all their acts ; tentions of his royal highness; he was but they must conceal
every thing considered by them as incapable and from the Commons' House of Parlia. unfit to be trusted with the manage- ment, who ought to be acquainted ment of his father's servants ; the fa- with every farthing expended. He ther was placed under the controul, conceived it right, in an argument of not of his son, but of others. The this kind, to put extreme cases; and distrust entertained of the Prince Re- he would ask, as had been done by 'an gent was the real reason for all this honourable baronet (Sir F. Burdett), conduct."
whom he did not then see in his place, Mr Tierney took the lead in these suppose this money was laid out in the discussions on the part of opposition; purchase of Cornish boroughs, supbut objections of a different kind were pose it was expended in procuring started by other members. Complaints seats in that house, for the benefit of were made of the obscurity of that part the real and personal estate of the of the civil-list accounts which was king, though, in a narrow view, he comprehended under the head of di- might benefit by it, still, being deplomacy. The charge in this depart- structive of the constitution, must it