« ПредишнаНапред »
his creditors suffer so material a loss. Indeed, with such feelings, it was impossible he should be at ease till that loss were made good. Mr. Addington replied, as to any loss that might have been incurred by a discount on the debentures, it was only that loss which attended a depreciation of the public funds. They might have sunk with the funds; but this was solely imputable to the management of those who held them. The speech of Mr. Fox, on this occasion, was of no great length. His arguments were not materially different from those employed by Mr. Sheridan. He concluded with the following observations: —He (the o should not be condemned to do at forty what he had done at the age of twenty, to enter upon an establishment to which his income was inadequate. The wisdom and liberality of parliament should guard him against such difficulties. From what they had lately witnessed, they should be induced to forget the past. It was evident that his royal highness had
of late redeemed his character, by
the most prudential regard to pecuniary affairs, and by a system of a conomy which it was scarcely natural to expect in such a situation. What, before, was reluctantly, might now be joyfully performed; and the house should no longer hesitate in hastening the moment, when his royal highness might be restored to that state of splendor and magnificence, of which the circumstances of his birth and expectations should never be disrobed. Mr. Banks strongly objected to the resolution then §. the committee, because it went to debar the prince of Wales from pursuing
that claim which he had on the re
tained 2 What was in future to become of the money during the minority of a prince 2 and was he to understand that it should not be applicable to his use?. He certainly thought that the legal claim of the prince ought to be pursued. He saw no inconvenience whatever that could arise from a petition of right. He highly approved of the order of proceeding that had been followed last session; and he could not agree with the measure them roposed. Sir Ralph Milbanke, lord Castlereagh, and Mr. Fuller, spoke in favour of the motion.—The resolution was agreed to without a diviSIOn. On the 28th of February a message from his royal highness the prince of Wales was delivered to the house by Mr. Tyrwhitt in his royal highness's name. The message stated that the prince of Wales had felt with the liveliest sense of affection and gratitude the ind solicitude expressed by his majesty for the situation of his affairs, and his majesty’s liberal recommendation thereof to the consideration of parliament; that,
having seen, from the note of the
proceedings of the house of commons, the liberal measures they had been pleased to adopt relative to him in consequence of his maW. messages, the prince of ales felt it incumbent upon him to express the deep sense of gratitude which he entertained for the liberal
liberal and generous conduct of the house towards him, and to assure the house their kindness had made upon his mind the most lasting impression. But the prince, notwithstanding the generosity evinced towards him on this occasion, felt himself bound to declare that he was still exposed to debts for which no provision had been made, but which he felt himself bound in honour to discharge; and therefore, notwithstanding the kind solicitude expressed by the house for the speedy resumption of the state and dignity appertaining to his rank, he must still be obliged to appropriate to the discharge of those debts a large sinking fund out of his own annual income. And, however solicitous he may be to comply with the wishes expressed by the house for the speedy resumption of the dignities appropriate to his station, yet he knew but too well, from dear-bought experience, that it would be impracticable to make such resumption for some considerable time, without the risk of being involved in new embarrassments. The prince, confident of his just claims to the revenues arising from the duchy of Cornwall from 1762 until he came of age, and with such confidence founded upon legal opinions of the
first authority, naturally looked
to arrears due on that ground as a source of complete extrication: but, however, strong were his claims upon this ground, he preferred the alternative of a firm reliance on the justice and generosity of parliament, and now totally relinquished those claims for ever; to which purpose he had given the necessary directions to his lawofficer to discontinue all further proceedings on the subject.
Mr. Calcraft rose to give notice of his intention to bring forward, at an early day, a motion on the subject of the prince of Wales's affairs; and on the 4th of March he introduced his promised motion. Mr. Calcraft prefaced his proposition by declaring that he never had had any communication on the subject with the illustrious personage to whom it alluded, nor with any other person, save one. The motion was to the following effect: “That the house, anxiously desirous to give full effect to the important objects contained in his majesty's most gracious message of the 16th of February, do appoint a select committee to inquire into the embarrassments of the prince of Wales, and into the most effectual means of relieving them as soon as possible, in order to enable his royal highness to resume the splendor and dignity attached to his exalted station.” Mr. Erskine was desirous of removing all idea that the prince had any concern or interest in the present motion; and he assured the house that he had no other anxiety on his mind than an ardent wish that the public should not suppose that the prince had received the bounty of the house and not acted according to its intentions in granting it, by immediately resuming the dignity and splendor which were the immediate intentions of the grant. Mr. Johnstone stated that he felt himself bound to object in the most decided manner to the motion; at the same time he yielded to no man in respect for the prince, whose many noble and amiable qualities he acknowledged. But he did not consider himself at liberty to consult his feelingsdo e
the disposal of the public money, at a period when forty millions annually were raised from the subject, when even that enormous revenue was inadequate to the expenditure, and when, above all, we could only consider ourselves as preparing for another great and arduous struggle, which was to decide even on our existence as a nation. When new burthens were to be imposed upon the public, he expected that it would be shown what was the correspondent benefit that the public was to derive; and though he felt that to maintain in due splendor all the branches of the royal family was essential to the true interests of the country, he must contend that no arguments were stated to prove the necessity of revoking those *: ments which parliament, after great deliberation, had adopted in 1795. At that period a considerable ferment, a considerable degree of jacobinical spirit, prevailed; and therefore it might have been argued that it would be dangerous to abridge the people of any of that splendor which certainly had its effect on the multitude. But now the whole people were united in loyalty to the king, affection to the prince, and attachment to the constitution: and what they chiefly desired to behold in the royal family was, a sensibility of the many burthens by which they were oppressed. But other #. tlemen talked of the rights of the prince resulting from the duchy of Cornwall. This question was discussed in 1795, when relief had
liberality of the country, to renew the claim of right. On this, however, he was not inclined to insist; especially as, in the last year, the prince was desired to present his claims to legal discussion. Why was not that discussion brought to an issue 2 No difference could arise between the king and the prince, as was stated: for, the revenues having been applied to the public service, the public was answerable, and the king had no more to do with the suit than with any other in which he was made defendant in the way of form. But there existed another good reason why the suit should not be prosecuted—that it could produce nothing : for, admitting the prince entitled to the revenues of the duchy of Cornwall from the hour of his birth, the amount was 234,000l. Now during the last twelve years of his minority there had been issued by regular payments 128,000l.; extra payment, 50,000l. ; half of 32,000l. paid jointly to the duke of York and himself, 16,000l. ; allowing that the expenses of the first nine years of his minorit
were 5,000l. per annum (which could scarcely be too much, as 6,000l. was now allowed for the princess of Wales), 45,000l., the the whole expenditure was 239,000l., to be set against a receipt of 234,000l., during the prince’s minority. But was this all 2 There had been paid 60,000l. on his coming of age; 219,000l.
in 1787, and 52,000l. in 1795, be
yond the fixed and regular allowances. So that, on the whole, there were payments to the amount of 570,000l. to be opposed to a claim of 234,000l. He stated these facts because he considered the people of England insulted when they were told that his royal high
ness had made a sacrifice by condescending to accept between two and three millions. If that measure were adopted, it proceeded from the generosity and liberality of the nation; for no claim of right did exist. It was fit and proper the public and the house should know the true state of this question, and he was conscious he had discharged his duty in stating these facts. - Mr. Tierney, after commenting at some length on what had been said on the subject, adverted to the latter part of Mr. Johnstone's speech. He observed that the insult which was mentioned was an insult which was very easily resented; and that was, by showing how the account betwixt his royal highness and the public actually stood. When the whole account came to be fully examined, he did not believe that almost any one of these statements would be found to be correct. Among the articles charged on the prince to the public, were the expenses of his education. This, however, was totally incorrect, as the expenses of his education were defrayed, not out of the consolidated fund, but paid from the civil list. The receipts from the duchy of Cornwall were stated at 234,000l.; and to be deducted from this sum, he allowed the 125,000l. which had been given for the payment of his royal highness's debts. The sums expended on Carleton-house he could not allow to be fairly placed to his royal highness's account. If a prince of Wales were to be maintained at all, it was proper he should be maintained in a style suited to his rank and prospects. The whole amount of the sums which had been advanced for his royal highness being fairly consi
dered, it would, he contended, be found that he was the least expensive prince of Wales that ever existed. If the accounts were fairly balanced, it would, he was persuaded, be found that 30,000l. was the amount of the whole of what had been advanced by the public
by extraordinary grants. Mr. .
Tierney concluded with the following observation :-A proposition, he said, had been made by ministers for giving his royal highness an establishment suitable to his station ; which, from an official communication, the house was assured was totally inadequate to the end in view. A secret, therefore, was in the possession of ministers respecting the cause which rendered it impossible for his royal highness to resume his dignity immediately after the additional grant was conferred. This secret the house had a right to obtain; and it was with this view he sat down by giving his hearty assent to the motion. The chancellor of the exchequer
royal highness and his creditors.
had been prepared and submitted to his inspection, and the propositions -tounded on it declared by him to be according to his wishes, he was justified in concluding that it was a motion to which his confidential friends would not be disposed to give their support. Mr. Fox supported the motion with his accustomed energy. Mr. Canning said the right honourable the chancellor of the exchequer had proposed a certain sum— namely, an addition of 60,000l. or 70,000l.—to the income of his royal highness. That sum was found inadequate to fulfil the object for which it was proposed. He felt anxious
anxious to know what was the precise object to be obtained, and what was the amount of the sum requisite for its accomplishment. Until the precise sum of that amount was ascertained, he should not pledge himself to any particu lar measure. . Mr. Sheridan spoke in favour of the motion. . In the course of his speech he adverted to the statement of Mr. Johnstone respecting the revenues of the duchy of Cornwall. He observed, though the accuracy of that gentleman in figures had been complimented by the chancellor of the exchequer, that accuracy had commenced in miscalculation and ended in false inference. That honourable gentleman declared himself sorry that a compromise had taken place. He, on the contrary, rejoiced at it, because much disagreeable consequence o result from the prosecution of the suit to the legal advisers of his royal highness, who
would give no advice inconsistent.
with his honour. The honourable gentleman conceived it an insult to the public to suppose that there was any balance due to his royal highness on the arrears. He was as little inclined to insult the public as the honourable gentleman; but he could not conceive the public so irritable as to fly into a rage
at being called on to enter into an account on a matter in which the best informed persons were of opinion that there was a large balance against it. Mr. Sheridan ridiculed very happily the arguments of those who objected to the motion on the ground ofoeconomy; and concluded by observing, that he could hardly be suspected of having any interested view in supporting this motion; but he thought it a weak thing, that, after wehad voted away 250,000,000l.for the support of the thrones of Europe, an object in which we failed, we should not give a 100,000l. to maintain the dignity of our own, an object which we could not fail to accomplish. , Lord Hawkesbury spoke against the motion. Many other members also spoke on this occasion. On the question being called for, the house divided : For the question, 184—Against it, 189— Majority, 45. It is proper to add, that the further progress of this business was stopped the liberality of the prince of Wales himself; who, on the country being likely to be involved in an expensive war, de.# it to be understood that at such a crisis he would not add to the public burdens. .
Causes: hich led to the Renewal of the Dispute with France.—Unjust Conduct of the Prench towards British Property.—Projects of Aggrandisement.— Commercial Agents.—Sebastiani’s Mission.—Interference “...ith the British Government.—Malta.-French Preparations.—Alarm of the British Go:ernment.—His Majesty's Message to both IHouses of Parliament— Debates on that Subject—In the House of Lords—In the Commons.—Ad
T; treaty of Amiens, which had not yet been a twelve
month in operation, was now, from the perfidy and insatiable ambi