The Chancellor of the Exchequer
moved the order of the day, for the House going into a Committee of Supply, to take into consideration the Message of the Prince Regent. On the motion, that the House do now resolve itself into the said Committee,
§ Mr. Creevey
objected to the Speakers leaving the chair. He did not wish that the discussion should take place now, but that it should be deferred to some future day. No difference of opinion could exist as to the necessity of a suitable provision being made for the Princesses. But his first general ground of objection to the proposition now made, an objection which he had staled on a former occasion, was, that the charge would fall upon the consolidated fund, to which the public creditor looked for his security, and which, in the last year, had fallen far short of its amount in the year preceding. It appeared flora the papers before the House, and now in his hand, that the revenue of the consolidated fund, up to the 5th of January last, had decreased in comparison of the year ending the 5th of January, 1811, to the amount of 3,500,000l. It could be shewn that the consolidated fund had decreased 1,000,000l. in the taxes which supplied it, while an additional charge of 1,500,000l. had been laid upon it. And although there was at this moments surplus of this fund, might not the time come when there should be none? and to this period they were bound, in their calculations, to look. They ought, therefore, to do now what they had done in 1786 and 1793, in the government of lord Grenville and lord Harrow by, appoint a committee to enquire into the state of the taxes, their produce and application, be- 123 fore they laid a new charge on the consolidated fund. He wished to know how ministers had it in view to remedy this great falling off. They could only do it in one of three ways—by interfering with the securities of the stockholder—by laying on new taxes to make up the deficiency—or by touching the sinking fund. Into ail these matters the House ought to enquire before they proceeded. The stock market was agitated by strong feelings of alarm and distrust, lest the stock holders should not in time receive their interest; and instead of adding yearly, and even monthly, to the charges upon the consolidated fund, which would soon be unable to bear them, the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer would do much better if he increased its amount by the abolition of the places of two useless Tellers of the Exchequer, and the office of Registrar of the Court of Admiralty, now held by lord Arden. Why this provision for their Royal Highnesses had not been suggested at the time when the late arrangements for the Household were under consideration, he did not know, nor why the Regent, out of the 130,000l. which had been given to him, and for which there was no application, could not spare the sum of 36,000l. for his royal sisters, especially since the 58,000l. paid by the King out of the Civil List, to the Queen, was not required from the Regent. With the subject of the separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales, he (Mr. Creevey) on this occasion, had nothing to do, although it did strike him as a little extraordinary, that no additional sum had been given to the future queen of Great Britain, at the time her august spouse was invested with the regal dignity. There was now no court to create expence; for the Princess of Wales, who was the representative of the Queen, from her situation, being separated from her husband, was not in a condition to employ the wonted splendour and shew of royalty. Her Royal Highness had only 17,000l. a year, when the Queens allowance was 58,000l. Here was at once a great saving, and there were also others, which rendered it very easy to provide for the Princesses, without laying an additional charge of 36,000l. a year on the people. He concluded by moving, as an amendment, to insert in the motion the words" this day month," instead of the word" now," for the purpose, in the mean time, of examining into the amount of, and charges upon the consolidated fund.
with respect to what had fallen from the hon. gentleman respecting the securities of stockholders, had to observe, that by an act of the 47th of the King, it was provided, that if in any quarter the consolidated fund should be found unequal to the charges on it, the first supplies of the year were to be applied in aid of it, and this he conceived was sufficient to make the Stockholders easy about their securities.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
had to offer a very few words on what had fallen from the hon. gentleman opposite, who had again stated what was likely to produce a very improper effect upon the public mind, if permitted to go abroad uncontradicted. The hon. gentleman had stated, that a diminution in the consolidated fund had taken place equal to 3,500,000l. and that thus the source to which the public creditor looked for security, was decreased in a degree to alarm him for his safety. But so far from this being the case, the amount of the difference between the years ending January, 1811, and January, 1812, was only 1,269,000l. and the hon. gentleman came to his erroneous conclusions by comparing the surplusses, and taking the additional difference of the war taxes into his calculation, which was not a just mode of trying the question. Neither was it a fair thing to draw a comparison between the best year the country ever knew, in point of revenue, and the last year, when the country was labouring under very considerable, pressure; and the new taxes, intended to make up the deficiency, had not had an opportunity of producing their effect, so as to come within the results of the year laid before the House. He hoped the House would, therefore, see no ground, from the statement of the hon. gentleman, to believe, that they needed to be under any apprehension, with respect to the security of the public creditors, in agreeing to the proposition for a provision to the Princesses, which would this night be made to them. If, as the hon. gentleman had seemed to wish, this subject had been considered at the time the princes household arrangements were made, the sum for which he should move in the committee must in justice have been added to what they had voted at that time; but it had been thought better to bring this subject forward by itself, and on that ground it was postponed. The hon. gentleman had seemed to think, the sum they were to be called upon for in the committee might have been easily spared out of the Civil 125 List. This might appear so to him, as he compared the 17,000l. given annually to the Princess of Wales, with the 58,000l. per ann. which had been given to the Queen by the King. The fact however was, that the same deductions were made from the Civil List in the hands of the Prince, as had been made from it when it was in the hands of the King, as her Majesty received her 58,000l. per ann. as formerly from the Civil List. The hon. gentleman was also mistaken in the sum which the Princess received, as he understood it to be 17,000l. including 5,000l. which she received as pin money, whereas she received 17,000l. exclusive of pin money. It had been augmented from 12,000l. to 17,000l. in consequence of its being thought necessary by the King to make a more ample provision for her than she had formerly enjoyed. In 1809, a representation was made to the duke of Portland, who then held the situation which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) now had the honour to occupy, that debts were due to various persons from the Princess of Wales, for which she had no means of providing. An investigation accordingly took place, and it was found that the debts amounted to 41,000l. Her income was at that time 12,000l. per annum, exclusive of 5,000l. pin money. The Prince, on that occasion, averse to any application being made to the public, took her debts upon himself, and at the same time conceiving that they might have been contracted in consequence of the insufficiency of her income to meet her expences, he augmented it to 17,000l. It was found on a farther investigation of the business, that her Royal High ness debts amounted to 8,000l. more, and this sum, in addition to the 41,000l. before mentioned, the Prince also took upon himself. On a Still more minute investigation of the subject, it was found that there was yet a small fraction more of 2,000l. and this last sum it had been thought reasonable that her Royal Highness herself should pay out of her increased income. The Prince thus, to prevent the charge being thrown on the public, took 49,000l. on "himself of the debts of the Princess, although his royal father would doubtless willingly have consented to disburse a sufficient sum out of the Droits of Admiralty. The hon. gentleman thought there was now a large disposable fund in the hands of the Prince. This was not the case, as so large a part of his income as 70,000l. had been given to a commission under the seal of the Duchy 126 of Lancaster, for the purpose of liquidating those debts which had before been under the consideration of that House. He strongly objected to postponing the committee.
§ Mr. Whitbread
concurred with his hon. friend in the propriety of postponing the committee for at least a month, not because the deficiency of the consolidated fund was so large as to shake the security of the public creditor, but because the statements of gentlemen on both sides of the House, holding the very same papers in their hands, were so contradictory as to prove, that a similar investigation to that which had taken place under lords Grenville and Harrowby, should be instantly commenced. He for one had understood that the Princesses were to live with the Queen, and on this account it was, he conceived, that the addition of 10,000l. had been made to her Majesty's income. He had told the right hon. gentleman, that even after that he supposed some provision would be proposed for the Princesses; but he thought that if such a provision were to be made for them, there was no necessity for adding 10,000l. to the income of the Queen. Unless that 10,000l. were given for the maintenance of the Princesses, it was difficult to imagine why it was granted, and the act itself afforded no information. It turned out however now, that the salary of the Princess of Wales was not sufficient, but why an addition had not been made to that the time, when for no reason on earth, 10,000l. per annum was voted to the Queen, and such immense, and almost unlimited grants were agreed to for the Prince, it was not easy to determine. His Royal Highness, however, took upon himself the discharge of the debts of his consort, but at a time when the Prince himself was deeply involved, from which embarrassments he was extricated out of the public purse in the most objectionable way that could be devised. It appeared to him to be one of the most complete juggles that was ever heard of, that a person should undertake to pay the debts of another to save the people that expence, while he came to get his own debts paid by that same people! The Prince undertook to pay the debts of the Princess of Wales, which he had no means of discharging, at a time when he was calling upon the public to enable him to pay his own. The House was told that a commission had been appointed to apply 70,000l. a year to discharge the debts of the Regent. 127 It was a commission created by, and might be absolved by the Prince, and there were no persons responsible—there were no advisers answerable for the due application of the enormous sum of 130,000l. which had been given as a privy purse without control. The Prince Regent enjoyed a privy purse of 130,000l. which was much more than that of the King, which, at its utmost, amounted to only 60,000l. Were they not then to view, with equal jealousy, the application of this sum in the possession of the Prince, exercising the powers of royally, as they were in the habit of viewing the uses made of a smaller sum by the King? Were they so little read in history as not to have heard of parliamentary influence? and were they not bound to guard against any chance of money granted to support the sovereign dignity, being applied to purposes unconstitutional and dangerous? He would like to hear from the right hon. gentleman if he was aware of the amount of the debts of the Prince Regent? if he knew the mode in which the money set apart was applied to their liquidation? or if he was answerable for the conduct of the commissioner to whom this office was intrusted? The creditors of his Royal Highness, by the mode now adopted, had no security at all for the settlement of their claims.—In his opinion the amount of these claims ought to he ascertained, the whole paid, and the grant of 70,000l. appropriated for that, purpose, revoked—This was the only way of doing justice to all parties, and guarding the creditors against any loss through the demise of the crown. On these considerations he had again to express his concurrence in the amendment that had been moved.
§ On this the motion was put and negatived without a division. The original question was then put and carried, and the House resolved itself into a committee accordingly.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
observed that the House roust be aware in what situation their royal highnesses the Princesses stood, with regard to the former parliamentary grant. An act had been passed in the 18th and another in the 39th of his present Majesty, empowering him to make a grant (contingently in the event of his Majesty's demise) of 30,000l. as an annuity to the four Princesses living at the time the acts were passed. In the event of these annuitants falling to three, they were each of them to have 10,000l. a 128 year; if they fell to two, 20,000l. a year was to be divisible between them; and if to one, the survivor to have 12,000l. a year. This was the provision which parliament had enabled his Majesty to make for the Princesses in the event of his demise; but the melancholy circumstances which had taken place in the royal family, rendered it necessary that the House should take into its consideration the condition of those Princesses in the same way as if the actual demise of his Majesty had taken place. The House were aware in what situation their Royal Highnesses now stood, as forming part of the domestic establishment at Windsor; and he did not know, therefore, that any provision, immediately to take place, might be necessary; but he thought it of importance that they should be placed in a condition which would enable them to form, their separate establishments if they wished it. It was his intention to propose, that to each of the four Princesses they should grant the sum of 9,000l. per annum, exclusive of the grant of 4,000l. each from the Civil List, which being during pleasure was not to be relied on as a certainty. He should therefore move for the sum of 36,000l. At the death of one of them he would propose, that the survivors should receive 10,000l. per annum each; at the death of a second, the two remaining to continue to receive 10,000l. each; and on the death of a third, the sole survivor to receive 12,000l. per ann. This arrangement, the difference in the times considered, he did not think would appear to the House as proposing an unreasonable advance on the sum originally named as a provision for the Princesses. He had no reason to suppose the Princesses would wish to remove from the establishment on which they were at present, but if they did not choose to remain there the whole year round, he thought it was unreasonable at the period of life to which they had attained, that they should not be allowed the means of fuming an establishment of their own, or of changing their residence at and period of the year for their health, convenience, or pleasure. He concluded by moving," That it is the opinion of this committee that an annuity of 36,000l. be granted to the King, to enable him to make a provision for the Princesses Augusta, Sophia, Elizabeth and Mary, instead of the annuity of 30,000l. formerly granted, to be payable out of the consolidated fund of Great Britain, and that it do supersede the former grants made in 129 the 18th and 39th of his present Majesty."
§ Mr. Tierney
presumed that the right hon. gentleman, in proposing to give 9,000l. a year to the Princesses, assumed as a fact that his Majesty was defunct with regard to them. His proposition, therefore was, that to the 7,500l. a year, to which they were entitled under the former act, 1,500l. more should be added; and in addition to this annuity, which they were now called on to vote, their Royal Highnesses received 4,000l. a year each from the Civil List, during the pleasure of the Prince Regent, making their whole annual income 13,000l. This sum, great as it was, he by no means considered as too great for the separate establishment of each; but it appeared by the act of 1799, that it was in the contemplation of parliament that the Princesses would live together, and why any gentleman should suppose, or take it for granted, that they would desire separate establishments, affectionately forming one family as they did at present, he could not conceive. In that point of view, then, presuming that their Royal Highnesses would not form separate establishments, he thought the sum too great. But there was another consideration which struck him as very important. Would there be any saving to the Civil List by this grant? At present there was a charge in the lord stewards department for table, attendants, dresses, &c. for the Princesses: was that to be continued: If it was, then a sum would be given to their Royal Highnesses which they did not want. His greatest objection to the present vote, however, was what he had stated on a former occasion, and which now no longer appeared a chimerical one. He alluded to the detached and piecemeal way in which the several additions to the Civil List had been made: first 10,000l. then 20,000l. and so on, without the House ever knowing precisely what it was about. The general increase upon the Civil List expenditure had been very great. Before they came to a determination, they ought, therefore, to examine thoroughly into the Civil List, and, form a comprehensive estimate of their revenue, and of the expences of that List, and of the royal family. Gentlemen were not, perhaps, aware of the extent to which these matters now went. He would read from a paper, he had in his band, a statement of the Civil List revenue and the allowances to the royal family The Civil List was esta- 130 blushed in 1804, at 960,000l. a year: from this had been deducted, in the way of expence, 133,000l. which was the same as so much being given to it, for that sum was still raised upon the public, and still paid to the Civil List. By an act of the present session, 124,000l. more were added, then 218,000l. out of the consolidated fund, as an allowance to the royal family; and if to this were joined the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster amounting to 10,000l.; and of Cornwall say to 15,000l.; the vote of this session to the Regent of 70,000l; another sum of 70,000l. granted to pay off income brances; the 4 and percent, duties, being 30,000l. and the sum now proposed by the right hon. gent. of 36,000l. the gross amount of the Civil List per annum, for the support of the royal family, would be at this moment 1,668,000l.; an enormous tax upon the liberality of the country. He hoped it would not be imputed to him that he wished to diminish the just and proper splendour of the crown; but he believed that there were great abuses in the expenditure of the Civil List, and he thought that the 36,000l. which they were now called upon to vote, might be saved from that Civil List by a due and fundamental enquiry into its several branches of expenditure. That enquiry, however, never could be efficiently made, because the right hon. gentleman, though he would grant a committee, had told them, "you may examine accounts, but you shall not examine persons;" and he must know that it was impossible to come at the bottom of the Civil List expenditure without examining persons. He put it to the hon chairman of that committee to say whether any progress had been made?—the answer must be "None," and he wished he had brought some of the papers in his pocket to shew the nature of the information they received. In the case of the foreign ministers, for instance, all they could learn respecting the difference between the estimate and the actual expence was, that the one was wrong and the other the fact. Looking at the question, therefore, in this point of view, he thought the House would confer a very hasty and ill advised grant, if they voted the sum without previous enquiry into those subjects. There was yet another observation with respect to the Civil List which he wished to make, and that was with respect to the provision which it contained for her royal highness the Princess of 131 Wales. He could see no reason why the Princess of Wales should be passed over with a comparatively inadequate provision.! He had heard the rumour, which he dared say was familiar to them all, of a separation between the high parties in question, but he knew nothing of this parliamentarily, and could only express his opinion, that the sum at present allotted to the Princess of Wales was, considering her situation, insufficient. She was the wife of the Regent, and as much the representative of the Queen as the Regent was the representative of his Majesty. The sum set apart for her was not enough to enable her to support the splendour of the character in the way to which the nation were entitled. But there was no splendour—there were no drawing rooms—or any expence of this kind now attached to the royal functions, and yet they were called upon, and had augmented the revenues applicable to that purpose. Of the separation to which he had alluded, every one spoke but the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who knew more about it than they did—he knew a great deal about it, he had acted as her Royal Highnesss counsel in the investigation which had been so much talked of, and if he so thought fit, might afford them information on the subject. It would be better to do this in an open manner, than to suffer his old client to be pared off with so scanty a subsistence—it would be better than to suffer these reports about his favourite Princess to be whispered about.—The right hon. gentleman was once her Royal Highnesss loudest champion, and yet he now consented to allow the Prince Regents wife to be passed over in this way, at a time when he was proposing provisions so ample to all the other female branches of the royal family.
§ Mr. William Smith
observed, that the present question included so much of a personal nature, that a member, standing forward on the occasion, was liable to be exposed to considerable obloquy, He had, in defiance of this risk, originally opposed the increased grant to the Princes, and now felt it to be his duty to follow the same course with respect to the Princesses. He could see no sort of occasion, at a period when the burthens of the people were so great, and the pressure of the time was so heavily felt by all—he could see no occasion for imposing this new load upon them; so far from it, in his opinion, it ought to be the last thing the House should 132 do. Since the charges, amounting to 135,000l. had been taken off the civil list, and that list had been very considerably added to, he could not but think it more eligible to bear this burthen, than that it should be laid on the people. The 30,000l. in the act of the 18th of his Majesty did not seem necessary, so long as the Princesses had their parents house to reside in; and it was in this view that its provisions were made—but now 36,000l. was proposed, with that conveniency still existing and likely to be taken advantage of. To a new grant, on this ground, he could see no good cause. There were different ways of acquiring popularity; and while some men might make themselves obnoxious, by pursuing the line of conduct he was now adopting, others might, by a contrary course, be making themselves acceptable to the higher powers. Few men in the habit of intercourse with those in a superior station, were able to resist the inclination of recommending themselves by consulting the wishes of their superiors; but how could this be reconciled with a sense of public duty? As for the splendour of royalty, he did not believe that the people of this country attached so much weight to that circumstance as the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Tierney) seemed to imagine. They were more interested in questions involving their constitutional liberties and rights. He was not for reducing the throne or its appearance, where that appearance was necessary for the good and credit of the nation; but he was averse to splendour, unconnected with these objects. If they looked to the affairs of Europe for the last ten years, they would see that, in proportion as the liberties of the several states were diminished, the splendours of royalty were increased. This comparison afforded no very happy augury on the present occasion. It had been said that the trappings of royalty were sufficient to maintain a republic. This he deemed to be an absurd idea. His opinions were that all that tended to the real safety of the state ought to be kept up—that the generosity of the public would amply provide for the expence attendant on this—and that it would be infinitely wiser, in the present situation of the country, for the royal family and its advisers to remember the sacrifices making by all classes to meet the exigencies and pressure of the times, and not to allow the mere decorations of royalty to add to their burthens and distress. One 133 great miscalculation appeared in this matter—What was given to the chief magistrate ought not to be niggardly, because the honour of the nation was implicated in the manner in which he sustained his rank. But here when, as his hon. friend had staled, the expence had increased while the splendour had diminished, he thought in time that parliament should inquire before it extended that expence.—He could not conclude without saying something about the provision for her royal highness the Princess of Wales. He observed, in the charges upon the civil list, 58,000l. for a queen dowager, who kept no court, and only 20,000l. for a queen who ought to keep a court; and surely that was a division which did not exactly accord with the splendour of the throne. When he considered that, and when he considered too that there had been two large grants made to two persons, without any of that splendour which such grants ought to produce, resulting from them, he thought it infinitely better to postpone the present vote.
would not think himself justified in voting for the motion, unless some additional reasons were adduced to remove the objections he still had on his mind. He had himself first objected to the perplexed manner in which the right hon. gentleman had brought forward the measures for the support of the royal family in the present circumstances; he had repeatedly called for a clear and distinct account on that head, and was convinced that the House could not in duly proceed to grant further sums without having first obtained such an account. The present motion was, besides, founded on grounds utterly false; it went, not to fulfil the provisions of former acts, but to anticipate them, and to give the Princesses the present enjoyment of those annuities, which, under those acts, they could not expect till after the demise of the King. The additional grant of 10,000l. to her Majesty had been granted on representations equally fallacious, made by the right hon. gentleman. What reasons did he submit to the House, to induce them to confer that additional 10,000l. a year upon her Majesty? Why, that it was very likely her Majesty would wish to change her residence, and would have to incur increased expences, in consequence of his Majesty's indisposition, whose equipages, carriages, horses, &c. served for the general accommodation of the royal family. 134 He did not pretend to know what actual increase of expence had been incurred by her Majesty for horses and carriages since that period, but he knew there was no apparent increase. A permanent increase of the civil list, to the amount of 70,000l. had afterwards been granted, under the supposition that it would defray all the charges of the former civil list, and that the Princesses would derive the same support from it, and continue to live with the Queen. But it was said now, in support of the present motion, that possibly they would not continue to live with their royal mother. He called upon the right hon. gentleman to reconcile the inconsistency of his different statements. He called upon him to state, what reasons he had to think that the Princesses would not continue to live as they had hitherto done. To the increase of the annuities, considering the change of the times, he would not perhaps have a material objection; but the anticipation of those annuities was a question widely different. The Princeses might continue to live with the Queen; his Majesty might still live many years, while the Princesses could enjoy the annuities intended for them by former acts of parliament, only on the demise of their royal father. On these grounds, and however willing he was, and should be at all times, to contribute to the comforts and splendour of the royal family, he must vote against the motion.
§ Mr. Fremantle
thought the proposed measure was due to the Princesses, from the situation in which they stood, and the distinguished and amiable characters they possessed. He certainly was of opinion, that if the enquiry into the civil list was gone into, the charge might be provided for without laying any additional burthen on the people, but in the mean time he could not suspend his vote. His right hon. friend who had just spoken, had asked upon what pretence the anticipation could be justified? he would answer, on the situation in which the Princesses stood, on the wish they must feel to be relieved from the daily observation of domestic calamity within the walls of the palace. The country was called upon, from a consideration of their age and situation, to make the grant. He had lived in the neighbourhood of the Princesses, had witnessed their charily, and heard of the good they did in the neighbourhood around them, and would consent most willingly to afford them the means of continuing 135 their benefactions. He separated the question entirely from that of the civil list,: and should give his vote in favour of it with the most heartfelt satisfaction.
§ Mr. D. Giddy
said, in reply to what; had fallen from a right hon. gentleman, that, as chairman of the committee on the; civil list expenditure, he should certainly; apply to the House for leave to examine persons as well as consider documents, if it should be found necessary for the elucidation of the subject referred to the examination of the committee.
conceived that the present application to parliament for additional sums to the royal family, while there were so many indications of distress throughout almost every part of the country, was exceedingly ill timed. At any rate, when an application was made on account of the Princesses, he hoped the right hon. gentleman opposite would give them some information, why no suitable provision was to be proposed for the Princess of Wales, the wife of the Prince Regent. He asked the right hon. gentleman, because he was aware, that no one knew more of the subject than he did—no one was more in the secret of what was called "the Delicate Investigation." Why was "he now, as wife of the Prince Regent, not to have the same state, the same drawing rooms, and the same splendour, as the wife of the King? What was there that had happened which made it improper that she should appear in the station of a queen at a time that her husband performed the functions of royalty, and represented the person of the King? Every body had heard a good deal about books that were to have been published, and libels that were suppressed; and they had seen advertisements in the newspapers offering large sums of money for suppressed copies of these libellous books. Now there certainly must be considerable information in some quarter or other about these matters, and as the right hon. gentleman had been long the confidential adviser and counsellor of her Royal Highness, he hoped that he would not now desert his friend in her utmost need, but that he Would state what was the reason for her being so neglected and passed by upon this occasion. As for himself, he did not, feel disposed to vote another shilling until the corrupt expenditure of the public money was restrained, and the necessary retrenchment made, both as to sinecures and other branches of the public expence.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
could not refrain from taking notice of the contradiction between the latter part of the hon. gentleman's speech and that which preceded it the hon. gentleman concluded by saving, that he would not vote a shilling of the public money till corruption and sinecure places were done away; and yet in the former part of his speech he "had asked, why had not the Princess of Wales drawing rooms like the Queen, and the same slate and splendour? The hon. gentleman should have been aware, however, that if she was to have this additional state and splendour, there must be an additional grant of money; and yet the hon. gentleman was not disposed to vote a shilling towards it. As to all the questions which had been put to him on the subject of the Delicate Investigation," he should say nothing. The difference alluded to was certainly an unfortunate circumstance; but neither as minister, nor confidential adviser of his Royal Highness did he feel himself called upon to make any specific statement to the House on the subject. With regard to the grant of an additional 10,000l. to the Queen, it was certainly given entirely independent of any consideration on account of the Princesses. The grant was to cover the additional expences to which her Majesty was likely to be put, in the present unfortunate situation of her royal husband, being deprived of the assistance which she would otherwise have derived from the royal establishment. In proposing it he had stated, that, as it could not be the wish of the House absolutely to compel her Majesty to reside constantly in the palace at windsor, it would be necessary to make an additional grant in order to allow her to change her residence if she thought proper. With respect to the increase of the civil list, as to which much had been said, it was to be borne in mind, that though there was an increase of expence to the country, yet there was a diminution to the Prince of Wales, when compared with what was received by his father. It was undoubtedly true, that the maintenance of the two separate establishments of his Majesty and the Prince of Wales, would require a larger sum than what would have sufficed for his Majesty alone. When he was upon the subject of the civil list, he would state that he was sure what had been said by an hon. gentleman was a mere inadvertency; but though the subject was perfectly well understood in, the 137 House, it was not understood elsewhere; for this had frequently been made a subject of wilful misrepresentation; and it had been contended that the whole of the civil list was disposable by his Majesty at his pleasure. With regard to the increase of the civil list, on account of the Royal Family, undoubtedly a family so large as her Majesty the Queen had been blessed with, did require a large sum from the nation; but it was unfair to consider the 218,000l. appropriated for this purpose, as an addition to the civil list expenditure, and to blend together in one list the expences of the younger branches of the family and the expences of the Prince of Wales. This was not a fair representation of the civil list. It was unfair to make any comparison between a civil list with the addition of so numerous a family, and a civil list before that family was in existence. The present situation of his Majesty naturally brought the present provision to the Princesses before the House. They were now equally, as in the case of his demise, deprived of the countenance and protection of their sovereign and their father. It was no doubt true, as had been stated by the right hon. gentleman, that the Princesses would be enabled to live with more splendour if they lived together; but the House would surely not eke and measure out their bounty to them in such a way as to compel them to live together. It was highly probable, however, that they would continue to live as they had hitherto done. Such would undoubtedly be their wish, as it must be the wish of every body else. The right hon. gentleman again (Mr. Ponsonby) thought that nothing whatever ought to be done on the present occasion; that the grant to the Princesses ought to be in a contingent situation so long as his Majesty should continue in existence, and that the Princesses, at whatever period of life they might be arrived, should always be necessarily resident in the house of the King and Queen. When the House, however, came to take into their consideration the situation of these persons, their lime of life, and the amiable character they had always maintained, he did not believe they would be inclined to deal with them in so hard a manner. It appeared to him, that there could indeed be no reasonable expectation that the result of any inquiries made by committees of that House, would point out any savings sufficient to supersede the necessity of coming to par- 138 liament for a provision for the Princesses, and it did not seem to him, therefore, to be proper, that the subject should be postponed till such an enquiry should be concluded. At all events, he thought the grant of what was necessary should be made now, and the savings which the committee should recommend might be made afterwards.
§ Mr. Whitbread
rose to defend the alleged inconsistency in the speech of his hon. friend (Mr. Bennet) who opposed the addition to the expenditure of the Civil List, and yet thought that an addition ought to be made to the income of the Princess Regent. It appeared to him, that in this there was no inconsistency; because his honourable friend and himself had no doubt, that if the expenditure were properly looked into, such retrenchments might be made as would enable the Princess Regent to be put in a situation to maintain such a splendour, as was suitable to her high rank in this country. Surely in this there was no inconsistency; and it was a fearful thing, and a just cause of alarm to the country, that notwithstanding all the grants which they had so lately made to the Prince Regent, if that happy restoration took place, an event which, every person in the country most anxiously looked to, the right hon. gentleman would still come down to the House with fresh demands on the people. The right hon. gentleman had told the House, that neither as servant of the crown, nor as adviser of his Royal Highness, would he say any thing on this subject; but the time was when the right hon. gentleman had not only said much on the subject, but had taken such measures as would have enabled all his Majesty's subjects to understand it. It was well known, that a book had been prepared by the right hon. gentleman for publication; that out of some fund, whether public or private he could not tell, the expence of the printing of this book was defrayed; that measures were taken that not only the subjects of this kingdom, but all the continent of Europe, should be made acquainted with it, but that suddenly the book had been suppressed, and the outstanding copies bought up at an enormous price, proceeding from what quarter he knew not. It appeared to him, therefore, that as counsel for her royal highness the Princess Regent formerly, and as the present adviser of the Prince Regent, the right hon. gentleman was placed in a situation which above all others 139 made it necessary for him to speak out on the present occasion. He could not conceive that the right hon. gentleman would now feel an inclination to be mule, when so recently he was disposed to have ten thousand tongues. For his part he would say, that not only was there no proportion between the sums of 58,000l. appropriated to the Queen, and the allowance to her royal highness the Princess Regent, but considering also, that this was not the sole allowance to the Queen, and that provision was also made for her at the royal table and otherwise, the different situation of the Princess of Wales, whom the public only knew to be living in retirement, sometimes at Blackheath, and sometimes at Kensington, could not fail to strike every person in the community. All that the public knew of her Royal Highness was, that she was not in the situation in which she ought to be; although the right hon. gentleman had written a book in her favour. They knew moreover that if ever she were to be put on a footing corresponding to her rank, they would be called upon for a fresh grant of money. The right hon. gentleman had told them, that the enquiry could be carried on as well after the present grant as before it. But it was very well known that the right hon. gentleman was very skilful when it suited his purpose, so to assort and regulate the documents produced by him, as to give that length to any enquiry which he thought proper. If the grant however were made dependent on the enquiry, the committee on the Civil List would not have the same long and unsatisfactory papers as they now had laid before them; and the chairman of the committee would soon find that many living witnesses would be speedily brought forward to remove every doubt or obstruction. He therefore conceived that when he opposed the resolution he was acting in consistency with his former vote for postponing the committee for a month.
thought it very unfair to rest the present question upon the merits and the virtues of the Princesses, who were the immediate subjects of the present discussion. This was invidious, as it threw a kind of odium on those who might oppose the grant, as if they were not as ready as others to acknowledge those merits and those virtues. The liberal grants, however, which parliament had formerly voted for the royal family, were not intended merely for their support, but for the support also 140 of that splendour and dignity which wag supposed to become the royal station, and for the benefit of the nation. It had, however, been complained of by many, that with increasing grants, we had diminished splendour. While the King enjoyed his health, he always kept up a court. He used to have two levees and a drawing room in the week, which gave his subjects, and particularly those who had petitions to present, sufficient access to his throne. Now these levees were very rare indeed; and subjects had had hitherto less access to the throne than when the King was in health. In the course of the present year only one court had been held. There was another point on which he wished for explanation: 70,000l. per annum had been granted as payment of certain debts which ought never to have been named in that House, as having been contracted in defiance of, and in the very teeth of an act of parliament. He would wish to know how long that 70,000l. annually was to be paid, or, when those debts of which parliament knew nothing should be satisfied, to what uses this sum would be applied?
felt himself called upon, to reply to something which had fallen from the right hon. gentleman opposite. He was, however, in part anticipated in what he wished to observe by his hon. friend, who had just sat down; because in his opinion, nothing was so unfair as to throw any thing like an odium on those who opposed such a measure as the present, by inferring that they entertained an inadequate opinion of the merits and characters of those, who were the objects of the bounty of the House. The merit of the Princesses made no part of the object of consideration of the House, otherwise, this grant would have been made many years ago; because they did not come into all the good qualities which they were in possession of, since the commencement of his Majesty's unfortunate malady. They were amiable before this period; but this was no part of the consideration of the case. The question was merely whether parliament ought to anticipate the period when they were engaged to make provision for the Princesses? The grounds which the House ought to consider, were, whether the Princesses were likely to be put into a situation speedily to incur greater expences than their present income could afford? But on this subject, the right hon. gentleman had no 141 information to communicate. He had just told the House, that the additional 10,000l. given lately to the Queen, was given to her on no other ground, but on account of her own additional expences. Now, he would appeal to the House, if the right hon. gentleman had not stated the expence the Queen would be put to on account of the Princesses as a reason for the grant, and if he had not particularly stated the expence of the removal from place to place of the royal daughters, as likely to make a part of that expence: yet it would now appear, from what had been stated that night to the House, that the grant to the Princesses was to enable them to remove from place to place when they should think fit to do so. Grants of this sort ought to be put on an intelligible fooling. Was it on account of the time of life of the Princesses? Then it could not be suitable to all of them, because they were not all of the same age. What, upon such a principle as this, the eldest ought to have had long ago, the youngest ought not, perhaps, to receive for many years. On these grounds he felt himself compelled to oppose the Resolution.
§ Mr. H. Thornton,
though he felt himself inclined to support a separate establishment for the Princesses, considered himself called upon to oppose the grant at present. Some enquiry ought to take place, proving the necessity of throwing such an additional burden on the people. He could see no inconvenience in the House waiting till the report of the committee on the Civil List came before them. For his part, he wished to adopt the prudent precaution of waiting the result of the investigations of that committee, before he would venture to throw the whole, or any part of such a burden on the people.
§ Mr. Wrottesley
agreed with the hon. gentleman who spoke last, that they ought to wait till the report of the committee was before them. He remembered well when the settlement of the civil list came lately under their consideration, that the right hon. gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did state, as a ground for the House to vote the 10,000l. to the Queen, that the Princesses would remain with her. He would now ask him—had he this grant then in contemplation? If so, had he treated the House fairly? For himself he thought the right hon. gentleman had not acted in a candid manner towards the House.
§ Mr. Barham
said, that he wished to put some questions to the right hon. gentleman, not as the confidential adviser of the Prince or his consort, but as the minister of this country. He wished to ask him in that capacity, why he had recommended an additional grant for the Princesses, and had entirely overlooked the person who was so much nearer to the throne than they were? He asked this question on public grounds, and he asked it of the right hon. gentleman, not as the adviser of the Prince, but as the minister of the country. Ha called upon the right hon. gentleman to state why no additional splendour was to be attached to the Princess of Wales, the wife of the Prince Regent.
§ Mr. Tierney
said, he rose to ask the right hon. gentleman no question, for he saw that he was likely to get no answer; but he thought they were entitled to conclude, from the sullen silence of the right hon. gentleman, that he sanctioned with his approbation the separation between the Prince and Princess. (Cry of No, no, from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.) The right hon. gentleman cried No—then let him give his reasons for his present conduct. (Cries of No, and Hear!) The Princess Regent had not one farthing more assured to her than 5,000l. She depended on the bounty of the Prince for the other 17,000l. which might be withdrawn tomorrow morning at his pleasure. If the Princesses were to be made independent, why was she not made independent? She ought, undoubtedly, to be independent.—(Cries of No, no! from the ministerial bench!) The right hon. gentlemen say "No, no!"—and I say, said Mr. Tierney," Yes, yes!—I call upon them for their reason why she should not be independent? Both the right hon. gentleman and the lord chancellor must have informed themselves fully with respect to her conduct. If there was any, thing in that conduct known to them, and unknown to the country, unworthy of her, the dignity of the country, and the dignity of the Prince Regent required of the right hon. gentleman to bring forward an accusation against her." He wished an answer. If they could prove any thing against the credit of the Princess, parliament ought to take even that away from her which they now allowed but if they could not, there was no reason why she should not be maintained suitably to her, rank in the state. If the King were to die tomorrow, and she was to come to the throne what would the right hon. 143 gentleman then do? Would there be no provision made for her similar to that which had been made for other queens of England? In the peculiar situation that the right hon. gentleman had stood, first as counsellor to the Princess, and now as minister and adviser to the Prince, there was no man capable of giving more information to the House. He wished to know why he had cast off one client to take a brief from another? He trusted that the right hon. gentleman was not the fomenter of the existing differences between the royal pair; and he really thought that he was bound, both to the country and his own character, to give some explanation of his conduct.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that as for what he was bound to do from regard to the country and his own character, he should always judge for himself. He did not know in what capacity, or with what exact view, the right hon. gentleman came forward thus to question him; but he had no objection whatever to state, that neither in his capacity of counsellor to her Royal Highness, nor in any other character whatever, had he any charge against her Royal Highness, or the means of bringing forward any charge, and that he never meant to cast the slightest reflection upon her. He would say nothing further on the subject. As to this discussion, he had no delegated authority; no commands to propose an additional grant for the Princess of Wales. Nevertheless, if he could collect that it was the sense of parliament that such additional provision should be made, he made no doubt but that he would shortly be fully authorized to recommend it.
§ Mr. Tierney
contended, that it was when grants were making for all the other branches of the royal family, that a proposal for an increased establishment of the Princess of Wales might be expected. But the right hon. gentleman now gave the House to understand, that if they absolutely would have it so, why then he would abate something of his dignity, and comply with their desire so far as to recommend a grant to her Royal Highness. But in saying that he was not authorised,—that he had no commands to bring forward such a measure, the right hon. gentleman was declaring, in other words, that he had not advised such a measure. He was glad, however, to have heard the right hon. gentleman state distinctly, that he knew no charge against her Royal 144 Highness as Princess of Wales. All he could conclude was, that as Princess of Wales, and wife of the Prince Regent, the right hon. gentleman and parliament knowing of no charge against her, she ought not to remain dependant on the pleasure of the Prince.
§ Mr. Courtenay
said this was the first time, he believed, that the House had been called on to prescribe what Message ought to be communicated to them from the crown. He thought there was a delicacy with respect to the Prince Regent and the Princess of Wales, which the House ought not to lose sight of.
§ Mr. C. Adams
considered this subject of the conduct and character of the Princess of Wales improperly introduced in the present question, and by a sort of side wind. Such a consideration was not before the committee, and he thought it unfair to hamper the right hon. gentleman in the way the right hon. gentlemen opposite were attempting.
§ Mr. Whitbread
reprobated the doctrine thrown out by the right hon. gentleman, that he felt himself called upon to give no advice, but that if the House should shew any disposition to provide for her royal highness the Princess Regent, he should feel it his duty to make the communication to the Prince Regent. The House had now heard from a person who was so well qualified to judge, first as counsel employed by her royal highness the Princess of Wales, and then afterwards as the minister of the crown, that the conduct of her Royal Highness was perfectly blameless. It was certainly a very great satisfaction to hear, that no imputation could be cast on the Princess of Wales. This was peculiarly satisfactory, as the right hon. gentleman could not forget that her Royal Highness once stood in his estimation as a person who had been stigmatized for impropriety of conduct, and that he published a Book for the express purpose of establishing her innocence, by the removal of those accusations. The right hon. gentleman would do well not to forget, however, that her Royal Highness still remained un indicated. It appeared to him, that there was nothing improper in taking this subject into consideration at the present time, when every branch of the royal family, but the Princess Regent, was provided for. When the right hon. gentleman made a demand of an establishment for the unfortunate monarch, of so many lords of the bed chamber, and so 145 many grooms of the stole (and be it remembered, that they could be employed only in giving accounts to his anxious subjects of the state of his Majesty's health, of which the public could get accounts only once in a month)—when the House saw large grants made to all the younger sons of his Majesty, and a grant of 9,000l. per annum asked for to each of the Princesses; he would put it to them if that was an improper time to come forward for the purpose of claiming some provision for a person in that high and exalted situation in which her Royal Highness was placed?—When the House heard from a person so well acquainted with the subject as the right hon. gentleman, that her Royal Highness was not in anywise blameable, when they heard this from the very man who would have proved to the world in his book that she was innocent, he would again ask if this was an improper time (o come forward with a proposal to parliament? It remained to be enquired, whether the funds already provided were or were not sufficient for that purpose.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
observed, that what he had stated with respect to the Princess of Wales, was, that neither in his situation as counsel to her Royal Highness, nor in any other character, was he conscious that there existed a ground of charge against her. He should always be prepared to make the same statement.
was of opinion that the only question now before the House was whether the annuity now proposed was fit to be granted to the Princesses? He was clearly of opinion it was no more than what was demanded, and of course the resolution had his decided support.
§ Mr. Ellison
agreed, that the only question now for the consideration of the House was, the propriety of the grant now proposed to the Princesses. Whether an additional establishment should be made for the Princess of Wales was not a question before the House. He must deprecate the manner in which the right hon. gentleman, (Mr. Perceval) had been catechised on this subject.—It was unparliamentary, indelicate, and improper.—With family matters that House had nothing to do, and in at all interfering, gentlemen might widen, instead of healing, any breach which unfortunately at present existed.
§ Sir J. Newport
rose to enter his protest against the doctrine laid down by the hon. gentleman who had just sat down, and 146 who so pointedly disapproved of what he termed catechising the right hon. gentleman opposite. So far from the questions which had been addressed to that right hon. gentleman being either improper, indelicate, or unparliamentary, in his opinion they were exactly the reverse of all these. When grant's were proposed to be made to remote branches of the royal family, what could be more natural, or more directly in order, than to ask why another person, more nearly allied to the throne, was alone passed by? On every proposition for a money grant, he had no hesitation in declaring it to be his decided conviction, that it was not only the right, but the duty of the House, to catechise the right hon. gentleman. On the subject which had been so repeatedly alluded to this night, there was, in his conception of it, something extremely mysterious, which required being accounted for; particularly, he thought the House was entitled to know from the right hon. gentleman, why he, who had been the advocate for her Royal Highness, should now have been converted into the person who was to withhold from her that justice to which she was entitled. He wished to ask too, whether the Book which the right hon. gentleman had at one time prepared for publication, had had the printers name affixed to it, as was required by law, or whether, as had been reported, it was printed in the right hon. gentleman's own house? He repeated, that he thought the House entitled to know on what ground the right hon. gentleman, who had formerly been so loud in declaring the innocence of her Royal Highness, abstained from reccommending that she should be placed in that rank in the country to which she was justly entitled? The Resolution was then put, and agreed! to without a division, and the House having resumed, the report was ordered to be received tomorrow.