§ The House having resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of so much of the Speech of the Lords Commissioners 152 to both Houses of Parliament, of the 7th instant, as relates to his Majesty's Household,
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that in rising to submit to the Committee those measures, which, under existing circum stances, it might be proper for them to adopt, he felt it to be impossible to avoid adverting to what had been the course pursued in the last session of parliament. In doing this, it was not his wish to revive those controversies which had then taken place, but to take a proper view of what was the present state of the great object of their deliberations, as compared with hat it was at the former period. The House must feel with great regret the difference between the situation in which they were placed at present and that in which they had formerly stood. When last the subject came under their consideration, they could not but recollect how sanguine were their expectations of his Majesty's speedy recovery, and they must necessarily bear in mind what now was the prospect before them. Then, they had reason to hope that before any great length of time had elapsed, the Sovereign would be enabled to resume his kingly functions; but now, unfortunately, the prospect was very much darkened. In stead of having before them statements from the attendant physicians, declaring there was a great probability of his recovery, they had it now, on the authority of the same persons, that recovery was very improbable, although not altogether hopeless. It was impossible not to see that different circumstances must call forth different measures. The course of human action must necessarily be guided by events. It was not for men to foresee what would actually occur, and their best plans could only be formed to meet that which could rationally be expected. Formerly, when recovery was probable, it was their duty primarily to look to the restoration of his Majesty to health, and to the exercise of the sovereign authority, but, at the same time, to guard against any inconvenience that might arise from the temporary suspension of the kingly functions: now, when recovery was stated to be highly improbable, it was for them to look primarily to the improbability of his Majesty's resuming the sovereign power, not leaving out of sight that it was possible he might yet recover. Formerly, they were called upon to make and arrangement which it was probable circum- 153 stances would only render necessary for a short period; now, it was expedient to form one which might be expected to be permanent. The state of his Majesty's health, at present, was represented to be such, that recovery was very improbable, though not altogether hopeless. The physician who Was most sanguine, he meant Dr. Simmons, had stated, that in younger cases about half the number afflicted usually recovered; but in cases of persons who were more than seventy years of age, the recoveries were but as one in five. He had, however, added, that in the case of the King, from the singular strength of his Majesty's constitution, he should rather class him with those who were but of sixty, than with those who were seventy years of age. It was, therefore, their duty, under all the melancholy circumstances of the case, to consider that as one in five of those who were so afflicted when more than seventy years of age recovered, they were not to consider his Majesty's recovery as more hopeless than in that proportion, even if the extraordinary strength of his constitution furnished no additional ground for hope.
Bearing these considerations in mind, the right hon. gent. said he should now proceed to lay before the Committee what he conceived to be the principal objects which they had to keep in view. In the first instance, the exercise of the royal authority being suspended in the person of the King, it had been necessary for them to consider in what manner it should be supplied; and in the next place, they were to take into their consideration the nature of the provision which it would be necessary to make for the maintenance and comfort of the King daring his illness. With respect to the first, a provision had already been made for supplying the executive power, which gave to the Prince Regent the full powers of royalty at the expiration of six weeks from the commencement of the present session; so that, as the law now stood, by about the 18th of February, all the authority, as well as all the duties of the sovereign, would devolve on him; and, unless some provision were made for his Majesty's Household, the Civil List also. If nothing were done by Parliament, the executive power would be complete; but there would be no arrangement, for the maintenance and personal dignity and comfort of his Majesty. The House had had in their view, in the last session of Parliament, the necessity of 154 making such an arrangement, and therefore provided that the restrictions on the Regent should continue till six weeks after Parliament had met, in order to give them an opportunity of considering of what they were now called upon to consider, namely, of making a provision suitable to maintain the dignity, and supply the comforts which were necessary to his Majesty's present situation. On this subject, two considerations naturally suggested themselves; the first was, from what fund, and from what source, were the provision and attendants to be drawn? The second was, as to the nature and extent of the provision to be made? With respect to the first, he thought be need have no hesitation in saying, that his Majesty's present Civil List, and his present officers and servants, ought to constitute the fund and the source from which the necessary provisions and attendants should be taken. It was not in the ordinary coarse of thing, when making a provision for an individual in his Majesty's present situation, to draw it from any other source than that which might be considered as peculiarly his own. In making the arrangement which be should have the honour to propose, it was the duty of the Committee to look not only to the probability or improbability of his Majesty's recovery, but to have in their contemplation another event, which was perhaps more likely and more probable than his ultimate recovery. That event was a partial recovery, which, though not such as to fit his Majesty for resuming the reins of government, might yet afford him the means of tasting more comfort and enjoyment than he could participate in at present; a state in which he might be so far restored to reason, as to be sensible of what he was, and what he is. In the event of his so far awaking to a sense of his situation, it was natural to suppose that his feelings would be less hurt to find, not merely the same individuals about him who had formerly attended him, but the same officers he had been used to, than to find every thing changed, and himself attended by new officers, of whose names and of whose business he had previously no knowledge. The Committee would feel, that, in agreeing to any arrangement that might be proposed, it was their duty not to deny any thing that was necessary or desirable, but at the same time to be anxious, to pay proper attention to economy and to make the arrangement as little 155 burthensome to the public as possible. It was not, however, possible, for any one who took a view of the subject, to think that the double establishment necessary to maintain a Regent and a King, could be conducted at as little expence as the establishment of a King alone. Some additional provision, it would be seen, was necessary, and if a suitable and satisfactory arrangement could be made, which would not occasion an additional expence of more than 70,000l. per annum, he trusted the appropriation of such a sum to that purpose would not appear by any means an extravagant or imprudent arrangement. This increased expenditure, he proposed, should be met by an addition to the Civil List revenue of 70,000l.
If he was right in thinking that the present Household of his Majesty was that to which the Committee ought to look to supply his Majesty's future servants, he should propose to take from it the highest officer, namely, the Lord Steward, whose office had several duties belonging to it connected with the person who exercised the royal authority. The same, or nearly the same observation, would apply to the office of Lord Chamberlain, who had also important duties to attend to. It did seem necessary to pass over those two officers; and in the room of the first, he had to propose, that the first Gentleman of the Bed Chamber, commonly called Groom of the Stole, should be substituted. This officer, he thought, might properly be placed at the head of the Household attendant on his Majesty. It was obvious the officer so selected would of necessity have new duties to perform, as he should propose that the power of superintending the whole establishment should be vested in him. It was not, however, possible to suppose this officer could always be on the spot; he therefore thought it would be necessary to appoint a deputy for him. To fill this office he should propose that another individual of known name and rank, namely, the Vice Chamberlain, should be selected. Some of the Lords and Grooms of the Bedchamber, it would be expected, should still be continued about his Majesty. Four of each he thought would be sufficient amply to perform all the necessary duties, yet not too many for that purpose. He should therefore propose Majesty's that these should be selected from his present household. A Master of the Robes, he thought, and seven or eight Equerries, should also be con- 156 tinued. In this way, he thought there would be a sufficient number of persons in attendance on his Majesty at Windsor, or wherever else her Majesty should please to direct. There was also a person, perfectly well known, who had acted as Private Secretary to his Majesty, whom it would doubtless be thought proper to retain, and who would now act in the capacity of Private Secretary to her Majesty. He trusted it would be generally admitted to be right, that the portion of the royal Household which he bad above specified, should be entrusted to the superintendance of the same authority as that to which the custody of his Majesty's person was confided by Parliament; or, in other words, that the whole of it should be placed under the controul of the Queen. From this it would follow, that all those officers of this part of the Household, whom his Majesty had been in the practice of appointing, should, when the proposed establishment was carried into effect, be thereafter directly appointed by the Queen; and that the inferior officers of the Household should receive their appointments in the same way as had been customary in times past.
With regard to the mode of providing for the expences of this establishment, he thought it would be better to take annually a sum out of the Civil List revenue, equal to the estimated charges of the Household. If the charges should turn out more than the estimate, then application should be made to the Treasury for defraying this expence, who again should submit the sum to Parliament, to be voted for out of the supplies of the year. If any surplus should remain after defraying all the charges of the Household, then provision should be made that this surplus be paid into the Treasury. He had now to state, that according to the estimate which had been made, the annual sum of 100,000l. would be sufficient to discharge all the disbursements which his Majesty's Household would require, including also the salaries of the various officers whom he had enumerated. This estimate was founded on the expenditure at Windsor, during the year ending the 5th of July 1811, and would fully cover any additional expenditure that might arise from the appointment of any of the officers he had mentioned; as it was to be considered, that there would not, in future, be any reason for keeping up the same number of equipages and horses, as belonged to the 157 establishment at Windsor last year. Indeed, it would be perfectly extravagant to make any such supposition; and as the whole of the charges last year at Windsor, amounted to about 108,000l. he was justified in taking 100,000l. the sum he had formerly stated, as being sufficient to cover the expences of the establishment, including the salaries to the officers. In this way, ample means would be provided for, supporting the dignity and comfort which should surround his Majesty's person, and due checks would be formed against any unnecessary expenditure.
The next particular to which he conceived it his duty to call the attention of the Committee, was an arrangement for the situation of her Majesty, the Queen. It could not be expected that she should continue (as she had hitherto done in so exemplary a manner) stationary; and it could not be doubted, that if for her health or amusement she should find it necessary to remove to any other part, a greater ex-pence must be incurred, to meet which some increased provision ought to be made. This increase to the establishment of the Queen under all the circumstances, he was of opinion, ought to be permanent, and not for a few months; and therefore he should propose, that an annual addition of 10,000l. to her Majesty's income should be paid out of the Civil List. This would enable her Majesty to meet those expences which must inevitably be attached to her situation, under the proposed arrangement of his Majesty's Household.
The next thing to which he would direct the attention of the Committee, was to the Pensions and Allowances which his Majesty used permanently to bestow on the objects of his bounty. Those charges were always and very properly taken out of the privy purse; and as the Committee would certainly think it necessary to continue those grants, he imagined that there was no necessity for making any difference with regard to the fund out of which they should be satisfied. It was right, however, that some audit should be established with respect to those accounts; and for that purpose he would submit, that they should undergo a scrutiny in a Committee of expenditure, such as was established last year. This was the only charge attached to his Majesty's privy purse, but there might be others which, would be very properly referable to the same account. With regard to his Majesty's private property, it might perhaps 158 be thought reasonable, that the expences incurred for medical assistance should be satisfied out of that fund; but he had to inform the House, that the state of the revenue of the duchy of Lancaster was such, as that the excess of it, which was about 30 or 40,000l. might be applicable to heads of expence of that description. With respect to the arrangement of his Majesty's private property, three commissioners would be established for that purpose; one of whom ought to be, for every reason, a Master in Chancery, and the other two should be appointed by the queen and the Prince Regent. These commissioners should act under an oath, and an oath of secrecy; and to them, perhaps, it would be wise to refer the small pensions and allowances which he before said ought to be subjected to an audit. He had now nearly stated all that was necessary with respect to the establishments' for the King and Queen; and it was shortly, that 100,000l. should be taken from the civil list, for the purpose of defraying the expences of the establishment; and that, in addition, but 70,000l. including the 10,000l. to her Majesty, was to be provided for by the public.
He now arrived at the consideration of the situation in which his royal highness the Prince Regent would be placed, having the Civil List returned to him 100,000l. a year less than had been allowed to his Majesty. The most easy way to enable him to possess it to the same extent, would be to vote at once 100,000l. out of the consolidated fund, and extinguish his exchequer revenue. It was natural, however, to suppose, that the Prince had understood the income arising to him out of the Exchequer should be continued to him till he came into the possession of the monarchy itself. It therefore would not; be fair to him, or to those who might have claims on this revenue, to disturb that supply; and consequently, the sum wanted ought to be taken from some other quarter. The Committee might think it better to leave that revenue, which they knew amounted to 120,000l. subject at present to a deduction of 12,000l. per annum for the income tax (which would now cease), at the disposal of the Prince, and that it might be unjust to take from him the means of satisfying the claims on him. He would however propose, that of his Exchequer income, 50,000l. should be tranferred to the Civil List, instead of being paid to him, which would leave of 159 that fund 70,000l. untouched. It was to be presumed that the Household expences of the Regent, from the circumstance of his family being so much smaller than that of his Majesty, would not be so great. In taking therefore 100,000l. from the civil list for the purpose before stated, and adding to it from the Exchequer the sum of 50,000l. a diminution of 50,000l. would remain, which it was thought might be dispensed with on account of the Prince's smaller family, and consequently smaller expenditure. It would be an act of injustice, he must observe, if they were to transfer the Civil List to the Prince, as being solvent, to defray the expences of his Majesty, when it was notorious that this was not the fact. In order to fully explain this, he bad moved for the estimated charges on the Civil List Revenues, a they were laid before the House in 1804, together with the actual charges of each subsequent year. From these accounts it would be seen that in the year immediately following, namely, in 1805, the excess beyond the estimate was 120,378l. and in the subsequent years up to the present time, as follows:
The average, it would be seen, might be taken at 125 or 124,000l. annually. The Committee were aware how this excess had been met, that it had been paid, not out of the public revenue, but out of the funds arising from the excess of the Scotch Civil List, and the Admiralty Droits. The Committee would feel it improper to apply to the public to pay this excess as long as there were other funds to meet it, but it was necessary in the event of any increase of the excess to give parliament the earliest notice of it. It might have been expected, that when it was found the arrangements made in 1804 were insufficient to meet the charges of the Civil List, that some notice would have been taken of it; but no formal notice had been taken of it from that time to the present. He would propose that, as long as, by means of unappropriated funds, the annual average excess of 23 or 24,000l. could be met, it should be defrayed by no other, but if it should increase so as to exceed its present average by 10,000l. that should be deemed sufficient to bring the subject 160 before parliament to meet their animadversions, if they should be deserved.
In 1806 £.163,636 1807 138,406 1808 89,238 1809 193,142 1810 143,894 1811 110,010
He was afraid that his statement would not be clearly understood by many; but with the indulgence of the Committee, he would offer a few words on one other point. He thought it would be nothing but what must be felt to be perfectly reasonable to make some provision for the expences which had already been incurred by his royal highness the Prince Regent. When his royal highness first assumed the royal functions, with sanguine hopes that his Majesty would soon be restored to his people, he had declined receiving any assistance whatever. It could not, however, be supposed that he could assume the reins of government, in the name of his majesty, without incurring a very considerable ex-pence. To meet this he should therefore propose a grant of the sum of 100,000l. This sum, however, be begged the Committee to understand, was to be voted but for one year; because, though it might be necessary for the assumption of the royal functions, it might not be required for their permanent exercise. He had now stated all that it was necessary to bring before the Committee. The 100,000l. he had just mentioned, would, he thought, be deemed a very small sum when the object to which it was to be applied was considered. The 70,000l. to be added to the Civil List, was the only permanent charge to be made on the Consolidated Fund; and he trusted, the Committee would feel that the arrangements necessary to be made for the splendour of the Regent and the comforts of the King could not be accomplished at a less expence. The right hon. gentleman concluded with moving,
- 1. "That for making provision for the due arrangement of his Majesty's Household and for the exercise of the royal authority during the continuance of his Majesty's Indisposition, and for the purpose of enabling the Queen to meet the increased expence to which, in consequence of such indisposition, her Majesty may be exposed, there be granted to his Majesty, out of the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain, for that period, the additional yearly sum of 70,000l.
- 2. "That it is expedient that provision be made for defraying the expences incident to the assumption of the personal exercise of the royal authority by his royal highness the Prince Regent, in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty."
rose and said:—Sir, the 161 plan of the right hon. gent. appears to me to contain more matter of complexity than has ever been stated in parliament; and that, too, on a subject which might have been reduced to great simplicity. The first consideration is, what is the amount of the expence demanded from parliament, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on this occasion; and, secondly, what is the ground and necessity for that expence? In considering the subject, I must reverse the order which he has pursued, and apply myself to the latter part of his statement, in the first instance. He has there told us, that the Civil List is not adequate to meet those circumstances, for the support of which it is voted by parliament, and that, if We do not enlarge it, a permanent expence must be occasioned. That may be true; but as neither I, nor the House, are aware of the reason by which this effect is created, I cannot, with propriety, come to the conclusion drawn by the right hon. gent. Before parliament extends the amount of the Civil List, I consider it but just that proof should be adduced to shew that it is insufficient. The mere statement of the right hon. gent., that a deficiency had taken place in the Civil List department, is not enough to authorize the House in granting his request, when he asks for an additional, sum. It is the duty of parliament to inquire, and know how the excess of expenditure has been occasioned—whether by negligence or extravagance—and whether the evil can be remedied without application to the legislature? In Short, it should be made perfectly clear, that the assistance demanded is absolutely-necessary. The right hon. gent. has stated other branches of service connected with the Civil List, which, he thinks, in the existing state of things, must be increased; because the present circumstances will cause an increased expense. I protest, Sir, it strikes my mind, that the most simple and obvious method to have adopted would have been to lay the business fully before parliament, and to have said, "You have annually voted a certain sum for the due maintenance of the dignity of the Crown, and to defray the expence of his Majesty's government. By the law, as it exists at present, you have made an alteration as to the appropriation of part of the property so voted. By the expiration of the Restrictions, the Civil List is likely to be tranferred to him who acts for and on behalf of the individual 162 who wears the crown—the splendour of the crown is provided for by the vote of parliament, and the person who wears it should also be considered—give, therefore, to him who exercises the royal functions, all that has been heretofore considered necessary for the splendour and dignity of the crown, and leave to the heir apparent to decide on what is proper for the dignity and comfort of his Majesty." I think the exact state of the Civil List should be laid before the House, that we may be enabled to judge whether it is more than adequate to the expenditure of the royal family under the present circumstances—whether it is only equal to it, or whether it falls short of it. If the latter prove to be the fact, I am of opinion, that such assistance should be granted, as would place the Prince Regent in as good a situation, with respect to that fund, as was enjoyed by his Majesty when he acted as Sovereign of the country. This would be a plain and simple mode of proceeding. But the taking a sum from the Civil List, and giving it to the Prince—and then taking it from the Prince and giving it to the Civil List—introduces a degree of complexity into his plan, which, I am not ashamed to say, I cannot perfectly comprehend. The right hon. gent. has said, that the recent evidence of his Majesty's physicians rendered it peculiarly necessary to appropriate a considerable sum to the personal comfort and dignity of the Sovereign. Whenever such a peculiar necessity is made apparent, no man will more readily grant that which is required than I will; for no man' in the House is more firmly impressed with the conviction that what is proper should be conceded by parliament. But, I confess, I can find nothing in the evidence of the physicians, which can justify the right hon. gent. in his statement. He has said, that we ought to contemplate the probability of his Majesty arriving at a middle state—a state neither of soundness nor of unsoundness—neither of sanity nor of insanity—a sort of medium which, if it ever occurs, we may consider as the worst situation of his Majesty's life. For what could be worse, what could be more dreadful, than a lapse of his distemper on one day, and a partial restoration on the next, rendering him cognizant of his malady and thereby making him suffer ten thousand times more than he had ever before suffered? But, in the whole of the physicians' evidence, not a syllable is to be 163 found to support an expectation of this middle state. The right hon. gent., as well as myself, attended the Committee by whom the physicians were examined, and I suppose this notion of a vacillating state, between sanity and insanity, was in his mind then as well as now; yet, I put it to the right hon. gent., whether he asked a single question relative to the probability of his Majesty ever being placed in such a situation? The evidence given by the physicians does not support the assertion. All of them, except Dr. Simmons, have stated that his Majesty's recovery is highly improbable. One of them says, that it is all but hopeless; and another, that it is every thing but impossible. The right hon. gent. should, therefore, explain to the House, what foundation he has for entertaining the idea, that his Majesty will be restored to that non-descript situation to which he has alluded. As to the evidence of Dr. Simmons, little comfort can be derived from it; for, though he says he has known persons as old or older than his Majesty, and labouring under the same affliction, who had recovered, still it should be recollected that those instances were very rare; and, in answer to a question, he specifically stated, that he never knew a blind insane person recover his senses; he had known but seven or eight cases of that description, in the course of his practice, and all of them proved what he termed unfortunate. So that the right hon. gent. cannot make an application to the House for an addition to the Civil List, either on the evidence of Dr. Simmons, or any other of the physicians. I should be extremely glad to learn what there is in his Majesty's situation, which requires a large establishment about his person? Does he see any of those persons who are now attached to his Household? Certainly not. They must not approach him; and, if they did, his medical attendants would forbid it. On what account, then, is it, that a very considerable establishment is sought to be formed? The right hon. gentleman may say, his Majesty, perhaps, will regain a better state of health: we thought so last year, but we cannot think so now. If, however, he did unexpectedly recover from his insanity the law would make provision for his resumption of the royal authority; therefore, I see no necessity for the measure. Were his Majesty ready to resume the royal function, all the power and dignity of the sovereignty would immediately re- 164 vert to him, and thus all those proceedings be rendered nugatory. The House is told, that, on account of his Majesty's diminished establishment, with respect to horses and carriages, a sum of 10,000l. should be granted to the Queen. How can this diminution be of any importance to her Majesty? How can it affect her? When his Majesty was in health, be made use of the greater part of the establishment for his own purposes; now, when he is not in health, a reduction of course takes place. But, it is not a reduction which interferes with her Majesty's comfort and convenience. It is merely a diminution of that which is no longer necessary for the sovereign. Why, therefore, that circumstance should put the Queen to any additional expense, so as to render the proposed grant fit and proper, is entirely beyond my comprehension.—The right hon. gentleman has observed, that there were expences attached to the situation of his Majesty, when in health, which would not attend the Prince Regent, so that his establishment might be on a more limited scale than that of his royal father, the family of the Prince not being so extensive. I am too little acquainted with the details of the Civil List to hazard any opinion on the subject; but I think the proposed diminution will operate very forcibly, if the Prince Regent be expected to keep up the same degree of state and splendour as his Majesty did when he exercised the functions of royalty. For I am not of opinion, that the principal expences of the situation are incurred in the manner to which the right hon. gentleman alludes. The variation of three or four more or less in his own immediate family, can produce very little difference, to the Regent. But here I must repeat, that I cannot give a decided opinion; and that observation I may equally apply to every part of the right hon. gentleman's statement.—These are the principal objections which occur to me at present: the perplexity of the plan, in particular, I cannot get over. Parliament never was called on to grant money on an occasion, which demanded explanation more than the present. On this subject, most particularly, we ought to be convinced, that the application is well founded. It had often been alledged against us, that we are unnecessarily lavish of the public, money. Undoubtedly, I do not wish the House to take notice of any unjust remark which may be levelled at it, but I think we are 165 bound before we vote so large a sum, to make it clear to the public, particularly now, when their burthens are so great, that this additional grant is strictly warranted by the necessity of the case.—There is, Sir, another head of expence, on which I profess myself entirely ignorant—I mean the sum of 100,000l. proposed to be granted to the Regent to cover the cost incurred by his assumption of the government. In the last session, the Prince declined receiving any assistance on that account; but, the right hon. gentleman says, the inevitable expence was such as to justify the demand. It may be so; but the right hon. gentleman can expect no more from parliament than the expression of a willingness to grant whatever may appear proper under the specified heads of expenditure. I hope, therefore, he will not precipitate his Resolutions. If the House agree to them, I trust he will permit them to lie on the table for a few days, that gentlemen may have an opportunity of considering the subject; for, though I heard his statement with the utmost attention, and applied to it all the powers of my mind, I really did not comprehend it. I do not mean to protest peremptorily against every part of this plan, but I beg leave to enter my protest against being considered as having agreed to it wholly or partially. I desire information on the subject, by which my vote may be guided. I am perfectly willing to grant what the splendour, dignity, and comfort of the monarch may require, but I am determined grant no more.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
observed, that permitting the Resolutions to lie on the table, would give no insight whatever on the subject. Indeed, as such a proceeding would remove them farther from the consideration of the plan, as laid down in his statement, it would probably render the difficulty greater. They were pursuing the regular course of proceeding, as those Resolutions would come to nothing, except in the shape of a Bill. He was aware, when he made his statement, that the subject was a very complicated one, and, from time to time, he had expressed his apprehension to the Committee, that he should not be able to make it perfectly intelligible. In doing that, however, he referred the more detailed and accurate consideration of the plan to a future period, when the Bill should be brought in. Without those Resolutions being agreed to no Bill could be formed, and no intention 166 existed of bringing it in before Monday. When the right hon. gentleman stated that he did not comprehend the measure, he was at a loss to know what he did He seemed to think, with others, that the comforts of his Majesty should be attended to—but was that all? should they go no farther? Should they not still consider him as their king, and, though severely afflicted, not to be stripped of every vestige of dignity and splendour? The right hon. gentleman seemed to believe, from the statement of the physicians, that his Majesty's situation was completely hopeless, and that even a partial recovery could not be looked for at a future period; and, therefore that the provision to be made for him, should be merely that of a sick chamber. But the Committee would not coincide in such a principle, nor did the right hon. gentleman himself support it on a former occasion; for it would be utterly repugnant to the feelings of the country to divest his Majesty of every officer of dignity and character, who had heretofore been near his person. The right hon. gentleman had insinuated that he had not discharged his duty in the Committee, in not questioning the physicians as to the probability of his Majesty being restored to mental health; but he would ask in return, was there any thing in the state of his Majesty's health which required the particular inquiry on that point? and was it not necessary for parliament to make provision for the resumption of the royal authority in the person of the sovereign, if happily the period should arrive to enable his Majesty once more to exercise the functions of royalty? Was not the Committee aware, that up to the 5th of July (the period when the accession of disorder arose), his Majesty was in the habit of frequent communication with his family? On more than one occasion he himself had had the happiness of an interview with his Majesty, and had found him competent to all the purposes of common intercourse, and feelingly alive to the situation in which he was unfortunately placed; and though the accession prevented him from resuming the royal functions, yet he was capable of enjoying common intercourse, as far as the calamity under which he laboured would permit. Would the Committee, because his Majesty's calamity was great, abstain from rendering to him that comfort which, when rendered, would make it sit lighter? He was Confident they would not, and trusted there 167 fore that they would agree to the Resolutions.
said, that he had not expressed a wish, or manifested a feeling, whereby the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer could, in fairness, suppose, that he was inclined to aggravate the malady of his Majesty by a denial of any comfort which was proper for his situation. He only said, that there was not in the evidence one syllable or tittle which could give birth to the notion, or imagination, or dream of that middle state of recovery, on the hope of which the right hon. gentleman formed one of the branches of his arrangement. If he was to be asked whether he wanted to deprive his Majesty of every necessary comfort or every enjoyment compatible even with a state of recovery, he would answer, that the Civil List was in the hands of the Prince Regent; and that it was absurd and unfeeling to suppose that his royal highness would not take every care of his father. During the discussions of the last year, the Prince had been often calumniated; but to suppose that he would be thus unnaturally neglectful of his royal father's lamentable condition was, above all others that had yet been flung upon him by the right hon. gentleman, the grossest calumny, the foulest imputation. This should be shortly his reply; and with it he would content himself, as being quite unanswerable by the right hon. gentleman. Before he sat down, he begged to be allowed to ask one question; namely, whether in granting to his royal highness the 100,000l. for the expences necessary upon his assumption of the royal authority, it was done under the notion, that his claims for the arrears of the Duchy of Cornwall were totally given up and extinguished? If such a grant was recommended, from an understanding on the part of the right hon. gentleman that the Prince had relinquished his claims to those arrears, then such an avowal on the part of the minister would be a main ingredient in the opposition which his plan should receive from him.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, he had proposed nothing to the House connected with any claim of his Royal Highness on the arrears of the Duchy of Cornwall. He had formerly expressed his opinion, that it was a mistaken idea to suppose that any ground of claim did really exist. And as far as he could recollect the course of the debates upon the subject, 168 it appeared to him that the understanding of the House was, that his royal highness had totally relinquished every claim of that description.
said, that he did not want to know the right hon. gentleman's reasons, one way or the other; but had merely asked him, yes or no, as to the fact.
§ Mr. Tierney
said, he should not then express any opinion on the sum of 100,000l. proposed to be granted to the Prince Regent. It was needless, as the right hon. gentleman did not mean to move it that night. At a future period he should certainly feel it his duty to notice it. If, however, it were stated, with the concurrence of his Royal Highness, as necessary to make good such outgoings as had unavoidably been called for in the course of the last year, and for those which his assumption of the regal office, permanently, might now demand, he certainly would not oppose it.—He felt it to be his duty to say a few words, because he was placed in a very strange situation as to the vote he was called on to give. He could wish to have been allowed more time; first, that he might understand the plan; and next, that he might give it such full consideration as would enable him to vote correctly. Two points, of infinite importance, were brought before the Committee. One was a question purely of money, and one of a purely constitutional nature. He was called on to vote a large sum of money for the establishment of a second court, a thing unknown to the country and unrecognised by the constitution. His Majesty was still the sovereign of the country, and the Prince Regent was nothing more than a person substituted, by the vote of parliament, to perform the royal functions. He thought none of the splendour of the regal office could be said to belong to the man. No individual ever reigned more beloved than the unfortunate George the Third; no monarch deserved splendour more than he did; and, if his vote were demanded on the principle of his Majesty's virtues, he would willingly give it in support of his dignity; but, he must also contemplate the proper splendour of the executive power; not coming in contact or collision with any other power, but standing, as it should do, on the highest eminence. The plan of the right hon. gentleman seemed to be to give her Majesty, on behalf of her royal consort, a separate court, on one side, while, on the other, the Prince Regent, as exercising the royal authority, 169 should possess a second. Was this, he would ask, necessary? Sure he was, that it was most dangerous. The right hon. gentleman had demanded, would they reduce his Majesty's dignity to the mere situation of a person in comfortable circumstances? Certainly he would not. He would do much more. He would recollect what was due to his king. Yet, even if he acted much short of the plan proposed by the right hon. gentleman, he thought he could do abundance, to shew to the country and to the right hon. gentleman, that, in due regard to the true splendour of his Majesty, he was as anxious as any man. What did the right hon. gentleman propose? Her Majesty was to have under her control, a Groom of the Stole, a Vice-Chamberlain, a Master of the Robes, four Lords of the Bedchamber, four Grooms of the Bedchamber, seven Equerries, &c. &c. and, in order to take care of his private property, with which, he had been taught to believe parliament had no more to do than with the property of the king of France, three new officers were to be appointed. [The Chancellor of the Exchequer here said they were to be paid out of the estimated fund.] He did not care out of what fund they were to be paid; he had separated the question of money from that of the constitution. And could any man doubt that this establishment was set on foot for the purpose of creating a separate influence. The right hon. gentleman had said, that the provision in the Regency Bill, by which it was enacted that parliament should be sitting for six weeks before the restrictions could expire, was introduced to give the legislature an opportunity of making an arrangement similar to that which he had now proposed. Now, he (Mr. T.) knew no such thing. It was stated at the time, to have been introduced to give his Majesty, if he should recover, an opportunity of resuming the royal authority with the same advisers as when he left it; but it now seemed as if the project was, to make a bargain for not continuing the restrictions; to stipulate, that, before they were taken off; a separate court should be formed, at the head of which her Majesty was to be placed. Was this necessary? He would not answer the question, but he would state a fact to the House: his Majesty's illness had Continued for fifteen months, and, since the beginning of last July, the restrictions were not wanted; for, from the evidence given by the physicians, before 170 the Committee, no hopes were entertained of his Majesty's recovery after that period. What was the argument made use of when the Restrictions were proposed? They were admitted to be, pro tanto, an infraction of the constitution; but the necessity of the case was relied on What was that necessity? The probability of his Majesty's being able to resume his royal authority. The right hon. gentleman had said, "I will propose them for a year; but if before that time the case becomes hopeless, they may be taken off?" Now, mark the conduct he pursued. Ever since the middle of July, even Dr. Heberden had ceased to hope, and yet the right hon. gentleman postponed the meeting of parliament to such a period, as necessarily continued the restrictions longer than they otherwise would have existed. The right hon. gentleman ought to submit to the House and to the country his reasons for having extended that unconstitutional Bill, and they were all agreed that it was unconstitutional, one moment longer than was absolutely necessary.—Now, as to the necessity of the establishment, he would observe, that, during his illness, four lords of the bedchamber, and several other officers, were attached to his Majesty's household. He would ask, did any of them ever appear before him, or give any thing like a regular attendance? It was very astonishing, that while there was a hope of his Majesty's recovery, none of them came near him; but now, when the physicians were of opinion he could not get better, there must, forsooth, be a court formed round him. That was the plain matter of fact; and, if the right hon. gent. could not answer it, he had made out no case.—He would say no more on this part of the subject at present, and he hoped he had said nothing to displease any person [in a low tone—"I do not mean my political opponents, but her Majesty."]—He was anxious even to go out of the way, to guard himself from the possibility of misconception. With respect to the question of expence, it was clearly connected with the necessity of forming a second court; for, if that was unnecessary, the expence of part of the establishment must also be unnecessary. He should be glad to know—but did not then press for an answer—whether four new lords of the bedchamber were to be added to the Prince Regent's establishment, in the place of those in attendance on his Majesty. In his opinion, whatever was taken from the usual 171 establishment of his Majesty, when in the exercise of the royal functions, should be restored to the Regent by new appointments. As to the estimated expence, he understood that 100,000l. were to be taken from the Civil List, to support the dignity of the sovereign; together with a sum of 60,000l. for his privy purse, and 10,000l. from the Duchy of Lancaster, making 170,000l. From this 35,000l. must be deducted, leaving 135,000l. to defray the charges necessary for the care of the royal person. There were also 10,000l. to her Majesty, on which, as he wished to treat her with the most delicate respect, he would not say one word. That made 145,000. But the right hon. gentleman had omitted one point, namely, that as the Civil List now stood, her Majesty received 58,000l. from it. This would make a sum total of 203,000l. as the actual amount to be placed at her disposal, for the care of herself and of his Majesty. His objection here was, that splendid personages were to be placed round his Majesty, at the same time that the Queen also had splendid personages attached to her household. Why could not one Master of the Robes and one Treasurer serve for both? It was not well to let it go out to the country, that, in his Majesty's present state, a Master of the Robes was necessary to take care of his dress. The Civil List being reduced by the 100,000l. drawn from it, and the Prince Regent being obliged to throw 50,000l. into it, would leave him 120,000l.; 50,000l. which he gave in aid of the list, and 70,000l. which remained in his own hands as Prince of Wales. It had been said, that the diminished expences to which the Regent was liable, compared with those incurred by his Majesty, made up for the difference of income. That was a point that required explanation. If those of the royal family, who were formerly supported out of the Civil List by his Majesty, were not to look to the Prince Regent for support, if he was to be released from that burden, then, so far, there was a diminution of expence; but, if that was not the case, then he was not relieved one farthing. If the estimated 100,000l for his Majesty's support, included all who resided in his family, that was certainly a reason for expecting that 70,000l. would defray the Regent's expenditure. If the right hon. gentleman meant to inform them, that, notwithstanding the additional sums which they were called on to vote in aid of the 172 Civil List, parliament must look forward to an annual exceeding of 124,000l. on the average; although he could understand the assertion, yet, till the accounts were laid before him, he could not give an opinion on its accuracy. But, before his Royal Highness undertook to administer the Civil List, that question ought to be set at rest. They were told that the Civil List of Scotland, and the Droits of Admiralty, went to defray the exceeding, and if they were not sufficient, then the House would be called on. To this system parliament, by a side-wind, were desired to pledge themselves; but, until the necessity for 124,000l. was proved, he would not vote for it. The statement of the right hon. gentleman abounded more in circumlocutions and parentheses, than any speech, connected with accounts, he had ever heard. It made him suspect that those circumlocutions were introduced to entrap them. It was not his intention to trouble the House so far as to put the question to a vote; but he could not inner it to pass, without his protest against deeming himself pledged to support it in any future stage of the business.
§ Mr. Sheridan
did not intend to say any thing on the present occasion, but an expression had fallen from the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer in answer to a question from his right hon. friend, at which he was very much surprised. The question was, whether or not, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer had made no allusion to the Duchy of Cornwall, he considered the claim of the Prince of Wales as entirely abandoned? He answered that he had made no allusion to it: that in his opinion, the claim was utterly abandoned; and, looking to the course of the debates on the subject, the House, he believed, had been of the same opinion. Now, what was the fact? In the year 1802, when the present lord Manners, then Mr. Sutton, brought down the Message on this subject to the House, there was a general feeling in favour of the justice of the claim, and great credit was given to the Prince for not pursuing it at that time. In 1803, his Majesty's Message recommended the consideration of the Prince's debts to the House; and the 60,000l. per annum, which had been locked up for their liquidation, was liberated. He (Mr. Sheridan) had heard out of doors, that the Prince had relinquished his claim, and it was so stated in the loose reports of parliamentary debate, particularly in the Annual Re- 173 gister. On this authority, he supposed the right hon. gentleman bad founded his assertion. He would refer him to the Journals of the House, on which the Prince's Message, brought down by Mr. Tyrwhitt, was entered. Of that Message he would read a part, which would prove that the Prince had never relinquished his claims; for, however, as it concerned himself only, he might have felt inclined to do it, he could not, consistently with the principles of justice, as that property would descend to his heirs, and, even before them, he looked upon it as a fund belonging to his creditors. Mr. Sheridan then read the Message from the Journals as follows:—"Mr. Tyrwhitt, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and Private Secretary to his royal highness the prince of Wales, acquainted the House, that the Prince has felt, with the most sincere and affectionate gratitude, the gracious purpose of his Majesty, in recommending his present situation to the consideration of parliament:—That, having seen by the votes of the House of Commons, the manner in which they have received his Majesty's recommendation, the Prince deems it incumbent on him to express his warmest acknowledgment of their liberality. At the same time the Prince, though fully convinced of the propriety of resuming his state, and greatly regretting any circumstance which tends to disappoint the wishes of his Majesty or of the House upon that subject, yet feels himself bound explicitly to declare that there are still claims remaining upon his honour and his justice, for the discharge of which he must continue to set apart, in trust a large sinking fund, and consequently postpone, until the period of their liquidation, the resumption of that state and dignity, which, however essential to his rank and station, he knows, from dear-bought experience, could not, under his present circumstances, be resumed without the risk of incurring new difficulties. The Prince thinks that he owes it to himself and to parliament to make this declaration to them with the same distinctness as he stated it to his Majesty's government upon the first communication made to him of his Majesty's benign intentions. With respect to the Prince's claim to an account of the Revenues which accrued from the Duchy of Cornwall from the year 1762 to 1783, however strong his confidence in the validity of his, claim, a confidence fortified by the greatest legal authorities, yet, as he trusts 174 that, through the gracious interposition of his Majesty, and the liberality of parliament, he shall be enabled otherwise to provide for those demands on his justice which alone induced him to assert his right, he now cheerfully relinquishes his, suit, and has directed his law officers to forego all further proceedings."—This, Mr. Sheridan contended, was a mere withdraw, not ah abandonment of the Prince's claim, which remained in full force.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
felt himself called upon to offer a few observations, in consequence of the particular appeal which the right hon. gentleman bad thought proper to make to him, in the course of his speech. He begged leave to recal to the recollection of that right hon. gentleman, and of the Committee, that he had not drawn such a conclusion as was ascribed to him in the course of the observations which he had the honour to submit to their consideration that night, and he begged leave distinctly to disclaim all that reference to Parliamentary Reports, and the Annual Register, which the right hon. gentleman had thought proper to ascribe to him, and as for the extract from the Journals, which he had read, he was almost inclined to think that he had read it then for the first time. To recur, however, to what he had advanced in the course of the statement which he had the honour to submit to the Committee, he could not recollect that he had advanced any thing which expressed an opinion on the subject of those claims alluded to by the right hon. gentleman. He had been asked by one right hon. gentleman whether he had an Intention of bringing any thing forward on the subject of the revenue of the Duchy of Cornwall, to which he had a twofold answer to give. In the first instance, he had not any intention of bringing forward any mention of those claims, as he had always been of opinion, that there was no ground for them; but be had never stated that he had any instructions on the subject from his Royal Highness, nor after such a testimonial as had been read by the right hon. gentleman, was it likely that he should have received such instructions, nor was it consistent with the honour of the Prince, after directing, in terms, his law officers to relinquish the suit, in consequence of the aid afforded him by parliament. It was as little reconcileable with the enlightened mind and acknowledged abilities of the right hon. gentleman, to ima- 175 gine, that, by possibility, any communication of such a nature should be made to him. He thought, therefore, that on this point, he stood fairly With the House, beyond the liability of misconception.—He had never expressed any opinion as proceeding from his Royal Highness; he had only stated his own impression; and he left it to the candour of the House, whether any interpretation other than what he had stated could be fairly placed Upon what had fallen from him.—He would now trouble the Committee with a few words, in reference to some observations which had been made by the right hon. gentleman who had spoken last but one. He gave the right hon. gentleman all the credit he deserved, for those very liberal feelings he professed towards her Majesty, and the other branches of the royal family, while he had to lament, at the same time, that the remarks he made, unfortunately were applied to himself. Yet while he had to lament this circumstance, he could hardly suppose that the right hon. gentleman seriously imagined, that the new arrangement which he had submitted to the consideration of the Committee, was formed under the idea of any compromise, which was to barter the removal of the restrictions for the condition of establishing a new court. Did the right hon. gentleman suppose him capable of such a contract? Did he imagine that he could have submitted such a proposition in a conference with his sovereign and his master? It was an impression which he confidently hoped there was no mind so constituted in that House, as to receive or to entertain; and he could not help saying, that if the right hon. gentleman had made the smallest reserve of that candour in his favour, which he had displayed towards others, he could not have ascribed such a plan to him as that which he mentioned. In the proposition which he had made, he had been influenced by no sinister view whatever, nor could he have supposed that such would have been attributed to him. The right hon. gentleman had expressed a wish to know, how the sum of 100,000l. had any regard to the part of the royal family resident at Windsor, and to this he had to reply, that the object of the arrangement was, to cover that as well as the other expences he had enumerated; and he thought it a fair ground for stating, that the establishment of his Majesty was larger than that of the Prince could be at Carleton house. 176 With regard to the supernumerary lords of the bedchamber, he believed that their number had varied at different periods; there had been some addition at one time, and at no time had they been under twelve. This point, however, he conceived would remain to be decided by his Royal Highness's pleasure, and the whole arrangement had to pass through so many subsequent stages, that it would be unnecessary to enlarge on it at present. This too, he thought, offered a sufficient reason against retarding, in its present stage, the course of the proceedings, as the first step was essential to the advancement of the business. The resolutions did not go to pledge the Committee to too great an extent. The first stated the necessity of a grant of 70,000l. on the Consolidated Fund; and the second merely asserted the expediency of providing for the assumption of the royal authority by the Prince Regent. The sum could only be voted in a Committee of Supply, when it would be competent for any member to state his particular objections.
§ Mr. Sheridan
explained. The right hon. gentleman, he said, had not correctly stated the observations he had made. He believed the right hon. gentleman was as well versed in grammar as any man, and yet he was under some misapprehension here, for the words of the Message he had read certainly did not go to a positive relinquishment of his claims by his Royal Highness, but expressly mentioned, that although his royal father and parliament should exercise their liberality towards him, yet that, unless he had some further provision towards satisfying the claims of his creditors, he could not consider his right impaired, though he withdrew his suit at law against the King his father. He did not mean to say that the claim should be now revived, but be denied that it had been relinquished; and he would venture to say, if the right hon. gentleman' looked over the Journals before he went to bed, he would have the Candour to come down on the report tomorrow, and declare his error. He really wished he could hare some specific promise from him on the subject. In fact, most of the great legal authorities at that time (with the exception, perhaps, of the right hon. gentleman) had declared their opinion of the validity of the Prince's claims. The Master of the Rolls, if present, could confirm the opinion he then gave; and lord Thurlow had been of the same opinion.
§ Mr. C. Adams
said he did not rise to protract the debate, but merely to mate an observation on the insufficiency of Carleton house to accommodate the number of servants who must necessarily be in attendance in the household of the Regent. He therefore thought that an additional sum of a few thousands should be voted, and could not be of any material consequence.
§ The Resolutions were then put and agreed to, and the Report was ordered to be brought tomorrow.