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with in them; from the employment being constant, the work lighter, the provisions better, together with the prospect of preferment to the meritorious, and the certainty of provision for those who were disabled, by accident or infirmity, the seamen prefer the navy to merchantmen. He said it was not difficult to account for the change of sentiments in war, every body knows the effect of a demand for labourers, in every branch, on the price of labour; this was sensibly felt on an armament; the merchants were obliged to give greater wages, to induce men to quit other ways of life, and under these circumstances, it was not to be expected, that any thing but compulsion, would bring seamen, at the usual wages, into the navy. The fate of the Register Act (which after a trial of fif. teen years, at above 500,000l. expence, was repealed, as having produced no good effects, but occasioned much charge, vexation, and trouble) proved how ineffectual prospects of future advantage were, when put into the scale against the temptation of a great present increase of wages. The expedients proposed by this plan, would be found either impracticable, inconvenient to the state, or injurious to the seamen. A limitation of the time of service in war, without entering into arguments of the inexpediency and impracticability of discharging disciplined men, to receive others in their room, at the moment of going upon service, or in distant countries, would be found impossible, when it was considered, that the whole stock of seamen, in the merchant service, in peace, did not exceed 60,000, and that the number employed as such, in a war, in the navy alone, amounted to 80,000: that it required no less than the enormous wages given by the merchants, in war, to tempt foreign seamen and natives, from other occupations, to go in their ships, aided by the many wise regulations and encouragements provided by the legislature, to supply that stock, without affording enough for a rotation; that this country was not in a situation to make such an increase to the pay in the navy, and Mr. Tomlinson seemed to be aware of that, and proposed a limitation of the pay in merchantmen, which so far from tending to man the navy, would cut off the source from which it was supplied, and instead of benefiting, would materially injure the seamen; at present, those men who were pressed at first, were no worse off, in point of pay, than if no press had taken place,
(to which the rise of wages must be attributed) and every man who escaped the press, was benefited by the advance of wages, in proportion to the length of time he escaped: that the power of pressing was not open to the temptation of abuse, as those only who ought to be the objects of the press, were those whom the officers would wish to take. It was not, as had been represented with so much eloquence, “to drag the unoffending subject from his house and settled means of livelihood, to adopt a new way of life, for which his limbs and faculties are the worst calculated and fashioned by his Creator.” It was not the weak, timid, infirm landman, but the active, healthy, brave and practised seaman that was to be taken ; and though it might be natural enough for such men to prefer enormous gain, to the service of their country, he could not think them too hardly used, if they were compelled to defend that commerce, when attacked, to which, in times of security, they owed their support, to assert the honours of their country, and share the spoils of her enemies, and to vindicate their right, by their own actions, to the name of an English seaman, which carried with it respect in every part of the world. The question now was, whether the House would adhere to a practice, authorised by the spirit of the constitution, and justified by the successful experience of all the wars of this country, or by adopting the motion, endanger the existence of our commercial interests and naval power. Sir George Savile said, this was the first time he had ever heard it asserted, in the same debate, that neither peace nor war was a proper time for reformation. Some gentlemen said, war was not the proper time for innovation, or reformation; other gentlemen make a similar objection to a season of peace. He begged leave to retort a simile in support of his sentiments, on this species of ministerial logic. A person who had a fire engine to dispose of, offered it to his neighbour for sale, in order, as he said, to preserve his house from fire. The neighbour replied, No, I do not want it, my house is not on fire. Anon, his house is on fire; he applies to the owner of the engine, and tells him how much he is in want of it; but is answered, that it has been long since disposed of. Mr. T. Townshend said, it was the first time he ever heard a syllable offered against the principle of such a Bill; or the present mode of pressing for the sea service
defended. There had not been a great | Supply to take into consideration his Ma. man, who directed the affairs of this coun- jesty's Message of the 9th being moved, try for the last century, who did not ac- Lord John Cavendish moved, “ that the knowledge the necessity of framing some said order be discharged.” His lordship law, to prevent the evils proposed to be stated his objections on two grounds ; first, remedied, by a Bill of the nature now on the manifest defectiveness of the acmoved for. There might have been dif- counts; and secondly, to the excess of exferences in opinion as to the provisions of penditure. The former, he said, came unacthe Bill, but never a single difference, as companied by any voucher, or collateral, to the propriety of providing a certain or explanatory observation, that could number of seamen, within a certain period, give them an air of authenticity, worthy on the probable approach of a war, or the of the attention of that House ; the latter, time of being actually engaged in one. | relative to the excess of expenditure,
The Attorncy General said, he never re- came tolerably well vouched, and bore the collected that a motion was made to bring most ample and authentic testimony, that in a Bill, without at the same time ex. the excess had arisen from causes which plaining the heads and main objects of the would not bear the light. The manner of Bill to the House, in order that the House fabricating the accounts, and of stating might be enabled, in the first instance, to the excess, helped to explain each other. judge of its propriety. The hon. gentle. The accounts just stated the disburse. man had evidently departed from that fun ments, without telling to whom, or for damental rule of parliamentary usage; and, what particular service: the excess, of as he had, he should oppose his motion. course, was the consequence of such a The House divided :
statement; and shewed, that it arose, but Tellers.
not why it should be provided for. His
lordship next went into several comparaYeas ŞMr. Temple Luttrell- .7'. Sir Edward Astley - 8
tive estimates of the out-goings of the two ŠMr. Buller - - - -•} 106
periods of eight years of the present reign, Noes Mr. Penton ....S
with the like periods of the preceding
reign, and demonstrated clearly, that tak So it passed in the negative.
ing the 16 years of the present reign, and
comparing them with 16 years of the late The King's Message respecting the Ar reign; or taking an average of the expenyears of the Civil List.] April 9. The diture of both reigns, that, making every King sent down the following Message to allowance for increase of family, and the Commons :
advanced price of the necessaries of “ George R.
life, the fair expenditure of his present “ It gives his Majesty much concern, to Majesty ought to be some thousand find himself obliged to acquaint the House pounds a year less than his predecessor. of Commons with the difficulties he labours His lordship next separately observed under, by reason of debts incurred by the on the heads under which the excess expences of his household and of his civil / arose; on the cofferer's account, board government; which, being computed on / of works, pensions, annuities, secret serthe 5th day of January last, do amount to vice, and ambassadors : he took a particumore than 600,0001. His Majesty relies lar view of each of them, and shewed, that on the loyalty and affection of his faithful instead of increasing, they ought, from Commons, of which he has received so every appearance without, and from every many signal proofs, for enabling him to motive within, to have been considerably discharge this debt; and that they will, at lessened. He adverted to a saying of the same time, make some further provi. James the 1st, that we ought to have an sion, for the better support of his Majes| army of ambassadors ; wbether such an ty's household, and of the honour and army were now necessary, when we aldignity of the crown."
ready were burthened with a standing Ordered to be referred to the Commit army, he would not pretend to decide : tee of Supply. A similar Message was sent but he was certain, if the gross sum chargto the Lords.
ed in the account was truly stated, we at
least paid for an army of ambassadors. We Debates in the Commons on the Arrears ought to have a larger corps of diplomaof the Civil List.] April 16. The order tics than even the negociating James had; of the day for going into a Committee of for certainly they cost us almost as much
as his whole household. His lordship, after descanting pretty fully on these several matters, said, he should have expected a saving instead of a deficiency within the last eight years, because the revenue of the princess dowager of Wales had ceased during the last five years, which the public had a right to expect, would have augmented the royal income to a very considerable amount; nor had the expence of the prince of Wales and the bishop of Osnaburgh, amounted to a fourth of what lapsed to the crown, by the death of that princess. The honour and dignity of the crown was the common pretext on which applications, such as the present, were always founded; of course, he should expect to hear them pervade the whole of the ministerial language of this day; but in his opinion, if the minister had the honour and dignity of the crown at heart, he would have applied to parliament earlier; nay, he would have annually applied to parliament, as the debt was incurred. Parliament would most probably have taken, or devised some mode of lessening the out. goings; of retrenching unnecessary expences: they would, as a part of their duty, have enquired into the state of the expenditure of the Civil List revenue; and if they discovered, as most certainly they must, any abuses, they would rectify them, or totally remove the cause. Such a proceeding would have had several salutary effects, besides the mere saving; it would have rendered the King easy in his private capacity as a gentleman; it would have rendered any augmentation of the Civil List revenue totally unnecessary; and it would have preserved, what no man in that House was more solicitous about, it would have prevented the lustre and dignity of the crown from being lowered and tarnished; and its subjects from being burdened, plundered, and oppressed. His lordship pressed, with great earnestness, and force of reasoning, the dangerous consequences which would probably arise from an augmentation of the Civil List revenue, and the consequent increase of the influence of the crown, already become much too powerful. He insisted, it would add to that depravity of morals which was known so much to prevail; it would have the same efect, that an uncontrolled revenue has upon the people in arbitrary countries, where they follow and attach themselves to the court, in order to procure places; which prevents them from directing their Pursuits to industry and those liberal pro
fessions and occupations, which render men at once useful and ornamental to society. Finally, his lordship observed, that the noble lord who now presides at the Treasury, and made the present application, was minister in 1769, and came then, on the same errand, for a sum of money to pay the King’s debts; and, as well as his memory at this distance of time could serve him, he then assured the House, that he would never come again on a like purpose; but armed with precedents at all points, all his lordship, he presumed, had to do, was to tell the House, that the debt was contracted, and that it must be paid. Lord North said, before he should proceed to answer the objections urged by the noble lord, or answer any of the reasons offered in support of the propriety and necessity of such a measure, he would beg leave to set his lordship right, in the honour he had done him, by saying, he was at the head of the finances when the last application was made to parliament, for the discharge of the King's debts. He begged leave to assure his lordship he was not at the head of the finances; and his lordship must be convinced, he was not, on recollection. He delivered the message, it is true, because he was then at the Treasury board; but he begged leave to remind the House, as well as the noble lord, that he did not promise, nor was he authorized to promise, that future applications of a similar nature would not be made. He confessed, that the task was a disagreeable one, taking it in the most favourable light; and when he last came upon a like errand, he little thought it would have ever fallen to his lot again; for as several of his predecessors, much his superiors in point of abilities, had continued but a short time in administration, he never entertained the most distant idea, or expectation, that he should again be compelled to repeat the same request; but at length, said his lordship, such is the stability of government, that an administration can even outlive eight years! His lordship then appealed to the sense of his general expressions, when he delivered the royal message in 1769, and insisted, that he never promised to restrain the Civil List expences within any certain bounds, or pledged himself to prevent any future excess. In answer to the excess of expenditure, so much dwelt upon by the noble lord, he said, the last four of the eight years, the expenditure had undergone a considerable decrease, nearly, if his memory served him right, to the amount of 100,000l. per annum. He said, that the last year it had increased, and that for a very obvious reason ; because several steady friends to government, natives of America, and others, for their loyalty and attachment to the crown and parliament of Great Britain, had been stripped of their property, and driven thence, without the means of support; some without even the t means of sustenance, to seek relief in this country. Many of these had been relieved by royal bounty, and had consequently considerably increased the out-goings; he believed to the amount of 27,000l. No notice had been taken of several causes of expence that daily arose. If the princess dowager’s death so far served to augment
the royal revenue, the prince of Wales, the ,
bishop of Osnaburgh, and prince William, remained to be taken out of it, to the amount of 12,000l. a year. Again, the increased pensions to judges amounted to upwards. of 4,000l. a year; for though no regular applications were made on that account, he thought that when great men had been worn down by age and infirmities, it would be extremely improper to neglect paying a suitable attention to their rank and services. He hoped, the Civil List expenditure, would not in future exceed 900,000l. er annum, because the 4% per cent. uties paid from the Leeward islands, and the recovery of the American quit-rents, after the present unnatural rebellion, would form j. a fund in support of the present proposed establishment, as would render similar applications to parliament totally unnecesssary. The noble lord had said a good deal respecting the charge of ambassadors, and the excess of expenditure under that head; but he was free to contend, that if the noble lord thought it worth his while to inspect that article again, he would find the expence of ambassadors rather diminished than increased; were the allowance made to lord and general Howe deducted. The noble lord and his brother were paid as such, and having a secretary, the whole establishment was what principally caused the increase. His lordship entered into several computations, which controverted the facts laid down by the noble lord who spoke first. He denied, that the influence of the crown had been on the increase, since the accession of his present Majesty, but contended, that the strength of govern
ment had been purely augmented by the $
wisdom and rectitude of his Majesty’s
councils; and the esteem and confidence of his subjects. The obligations were mutual, and justly merited ; and if such an influence as that described by the noble lord had really existed, he was perfectly satisfied his Majesty would employ it, not in endeavouring to abridge the liberties of his subjects, or in acts of oppression, but in protecting them in the full enjoyment of every thing which might promise to render them a prosperous, virtuous, and happy people. As to the last objection made to the proposed augmentation, that it would, as in arbitrary countries, tend to hurt the morals of the people, and generate place-hunters and idlers, who might be better employed, and thereby become more useful to the state, he could not possibly trace the consequence; for he knew no new places, or appointments, the present measure would give birth to ; and as for such as were already established, he did not think it was in the power of the noble lord, or any other person, to reduce the number of those who make daily application for places, without he first undertook to reduce the number of places themselves; for without such a previous reduction, he was satisfied all other methods. would prove totally ineffective.
Mr. Wilkes said:
Mr. Speaker; there is not a gentleman in this House, or in the kingdom, more anxious than I am, that the splendor and dignity of the crown of England should be maintained in its truest lustre, although for above a course of fifteen years I have received from the crown only a succession of injuries, and never in any moment of my life the slightest favour. I had the honour, Sir, of a seat in this House, when the affair of the Civil List was first agitated in parliament in the beginning of his present Majesty’s reign, when every good subject hoped to have more than the idea of a patriot king. I then acquiesced in the proposed grant. The acceptance of an annuity of 800,000l. and the giving up to the public the ancient, hereditary revenues of the crown, originated from the throne. It was proposed to this House in the usual mode by Mr. Legge, then chancellor of the o: Parliament adopted the proposition, and it was accepted with gratitude by the King. The ministers of that time declared to this House the King’s entire satisfaction, and that his Majesty should be happy to be
delivered from the disagreeable necessity of ever applying to parliament, like his predecessors, to make good the deficiencies of the Civil List. It was admitted that the allowance was competent, ample, most fully adequate to the wants, and even to the splendour of the crown. Parliament granted all the sovereign asked, and made the grant in the very mode proposed by the minister. The Civil List Act expressly declares in the preamble, that 800,000l. per annum, “was a certain and competent revenue for defraying the expences of his Majesty's civil government, and supporting the dignity of the crown of Great Britain.” The nation thought themselves assured of not paying more than 800,000l. per annum to the Civil List, and gave that sum cheerfully for the trappings of royalty. In the speech at the close of that session our gracious young monarch told us from the throne, that he could not sufficiently thank us, and that he thought himself much obliged to us for what more immediately concerned himself. By this bargain, Sir, with the public, it was generally understood, and indeed admitted at that time, that his Majesty would be a gainer of near 7,000l. per annum. The noble lord with the blue ribbon has unfairly drawn his calculations from only the last eight years of the late king's reign. He ought to have taken the whole of that reign together. In some years the Civil List was very deficient; in others it greatly exceeded the sum of 800,000l. As this is peculiarly a day of dry calculation, I will observe that, from the accounts delivered into parliament, it appeared, that in the 33 years of George the 2nd's reign, from Midsummer 1727 to Midsummer 1760, the Civil List produced only 26,182,9811. whereas 800,000l. for 33 years, amounts to 26,400,000l. so that there is a deficiency of 217,019l. The gain, therefore, on a net revenue of 800,000l. is on an average above 6,576l. a year. The sum of 800,000l. was at that time thought abundantly sufficient to support the splendour of the crown, and the majesty of this great people. His Majesty has received besides 172,605l. the arears of the late king's Civil List, 100,000l. on account of Somerset-house, and an additional grant of 513,511 l. in 1769, to discharge all incumbrances. The death of the princess dowager of Wales was a saving of 60,000l. a year, and of the duke of York 12,000l. a year. Yet, Sir, we are now told of another debt of 618,340l. and
called upon to pay that likewise, notwithstanding the former bargain with the public. The very proposal implies another violation of public faith. Sir, I will venture to say, if we are indeed just trustees for the people, if we conscientiously reflect, that their wealth is intrusted to our . care, that we are the guardians of the public purse, we ought to stop this growing evil, and reprobate the idea of suffering their money to be thus squandered, as well as the country drained by a variety of taxes. I must add, Sir, taxes imposed to supply a profusion, which arises from a violation of a solemn compact with the nation, and renders the limitation of the expences of the crown by parliament the most vague and absurd of all propositions. The power of controul of the expences of the crown is the being and life of parliament. What traces do we now find of the existence of this power Are the accounts on our table proofs of our boasted oeconomy 2 and is meanness thus nearly allied to prodigality ? There is at present, Sir, a peculiar cruelty in thus endeavouring to fleece the people, when we are involved in a most expensive, as well as unnatural and ruinous, civil war, and burthened with an enormous load of national debt, the interest of which even we are scarcely able to stand under. Is there no feeling for the sufferings of this impoverished country 2 Are the people really nothing in the scale of government? The principal of the national debt is stated to us at Midsummer 1775 to amount to the astonishing sum of 135,943,0511. and the interest to 4,440,821 l. Is this the time, Sir, that a minister can with an unembarrassed countenance come to parliament to lay additional loads on an exhausted nation, and to ask more of the people's money : When the greatest sources of our commerce and wealth are destroyed by the folly and wickedness of administration, when we have already spent in this unjust war above 19 millions, when above half our empire is lost, and those American friends, who have assisted us so frequently and so powerfully, are forced by our injustice to be
come determined enemies, and for their
own safety to endeavour our humiliation, are we at such a moment as this to talk of the greatness of the crown, a crown shorn
of half its beams? Are we to hear of the
happy state of the nation, when we have lost more than we have retained of this divided empire, when new taxes and addi