« ElőzőTovább »
with in them; from the employment being | (to which the rise of wages must be attriconstant, the work lighter, the provisions buted) and every man who escaped the better, together with the prospect of pre-press, was benefited by the advance of ferment to the meritorious, and the cer- wages, in proportion to the length of time tainty of provision for those who were dis- he escaped : that the power of pressing abled, by accident or infirmity, the seamen was not open to the temptation of abuse, prefer the navy to merchantmen. He as those only who ought to be the objects said it was not difficult to account for the of the press, were those whom the officers change of sentiments in war, every body would wish to take. It was not, as had knows the effect of a demand for labourers, been represented with so much eloquence, in every branch, on the price of labour; “ to drag the unoffending subject from his this was sensibly felt on an armament; the house and settled means of livelihood, to merchants were obliged to give greater adopt a new way of life, for which his wages, to induce men to quit other ways limbs and faculties are the worst calcuof life, and under these circumstances, it lated and fashioned by his Creator.” It was not to be expected, that any thing but was not the weak, timid, infirm landman, compulsion, would bring seamen, at the but the active, healthy, brave and pracusual wages, into the navy. The fate of tised seaman that was to be taken; ard the Register Act (which after a trial of fif. though it might be natural enough for teen years, at above 500,0001. expence, such men to prefer enormous gain, to the was repealed, as having produced no good service of their country, he could not effects, but occasioned much charge, vex- think them too hardly used, if they were ation, and trouble) proved how ineffectual compelled to defend that commerce, when prospects of future advantage were, when attacked, to which, in times of security, put into the scale against the temptation they owed their support, to assert the of a great present increase of wages. honours of their country, and share the
The expedients proposed by this plan, spoils of her enemies, and to vindicate would be found either impracticable, in their right, by their own actions, to the convenient to the state, or injurious to the name of an English seaman, which carried seamen. A limitation of the time of ser- with it respect in every part of the world. vice in war, without entering into argu. The question now was, whether the House ments of the inexpediency and impractica- would adhere to a practice, authorised by bility of discharging disciplined men, to the spirit of the constitution, and justified receive others in their room, at the mo- by the successful experience of all the ment of going upon service, or in distant wars of this country, or by adopting the countries, would be found impossible, motion, endanger the existence of our when it was considered, that the whole commercial interests and naval power. stock of seamen, in the merchant service, Sir George Savile said, this was the first in peace, did not exceed 60,000, and that time he had ever heard it asserted, in the the number employed as such, in a war, same debate, that neither peace nor war in the navy alone, amounted to 80,000: was a proper time for reformation. Some that it required no less than the enormous gentlemen said, war was not the proper wages given by the merchants, in war, to time for innovation, or reformation ; other tempt foreign seamen and natives, from gentlemen make a similar objection to a other occupations, to go in their ships, season of peace. He beggen leave to reaided by the many wise regulations and tort a simile in support of his sentiments, encouragements provided by the legisla- on this species of ministerial logic. A ture, to supply that stock, without afford-person who had a fire engine to dispose ing enough for a rotation; that this coun- of, offered it to his neighbour for sale, in try was not in a situation to make such an order, as he said, to preserve his house increase to the pay in the navy, and Mr. from fire. The neighbour replied, No, I Tomlinson seemed to be aware of that, do not want it, my house is not on fire, and proposed a limitation of the pay in mer- Anon, his house is on fire; he applies to chantmen, which so far from tending to the owner of the engine, and tells him how man the navy, would cut off the source much he is in want of it; but is answered, from which it was supplied, and instead of that it has been long since disposed of. benefiting, would materially injure the Mr. T. Townshend said, it was the first seamen; at present, those men who were time he ever heard a syllable offered against pressed at first, were no worse off, in point the principle of such a Bill; or the preof pay, than if no press had taken place, sent mode of pressing for the sea service defended. There had not been a great Supply to take into consideration his Maman, 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 Attorney 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 disburseman 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
52 Sir Edward Astley
tive estimates of the out-goings of the two
periods of eight years of the present reign, Noes Mr. Buller
with the like periods of the preceding Mr. Penton
reign, and demonstrated clearly, that take 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 expenrears 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; whether 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, fessions and occupations, which render after descanting pretty fully on these se- men at once useful and ornamental to soveral matters, said, he should have expect- ciety. Finally, his lordship observed, that ed a saving instead of a deficiency within the noble lord who now presides at the the last eight years, because the revenue Treasury, and made the present application, of the princess dowager of Wales had was minister in 1769, and came then, on ceased during the last five years, which the same errand, for a sum of money to the public had a right to expect, would pay the King's debts; and, as well as his have augmented the royal income to a very memory at this distance of time could considerable amount; nor had the expence serve him, he then assured the House, of the prince of Wales and the bishop of that he would never come again on a like Osnaburgh, amounted to a fourth of what purpose; but armed with precedents at all lapsed to the crown, by the death of that points, all his lordship, he presumed, had princess. The honour and dignity of the to do, was to tell the House, that the crown was the common pretext on which debt was contracted, and that it must be applications, such as the present, were al- paid. ways founded; of course, he should ex- Lord North said, before he should propect to hear them pervade the whole of ceed to answer the objections urged by the ministerial language of this day; but the noble lord, or answer any of the reain his opinion, if the minister had the ho- sons offered in support of the propriety nour and dignity of the crown at heart, he and necessity of such a measure, he would would have applied to parliament earlier ; beg leave to set his lordship right, in the nay, he would have annually applied to honour he had done him, by saying, he parliament, as the debt was incurred. Par- was at the head of the finances when the liament would most probably have taken, last application was made to parliament, or devised some mode of lessening the out for the discharge of the King's debts. He goings; of retrenching unnecessary ex- begged leave to assure his lordship he was peaces: they would, as a part of their not at the head of the finances; and his duty, have enquired into the state of the lordship must be convinced, he was not, expenditure of the Civil List revenue; and on recollection. He delivered the mesif they discovered, as most certainly they sage, it is true, because he was then at the must, any abuses, they would rectify Treasury board; but he begged leave to them, or totally remove the cause. Such a remind the House, as well as the noble lord, proceeding would have had several salutary that he did not promise, nor was he authoeffects, besides the mere saving; it would rized to promise, that future applications have rendered the King easy in his private of a similar nature would not be made. capacity as a gentleman ; it would have | He confessed, that the task was a disrendered any augmentation of the Civil agreeable one, taking it in the most faList revenue totally unnecessary; and it vourable light; and when he last came would have preserved, what no man in that upon a like errand, he little thought it House was more solicitous about, it would would have ever fallen to his lot again; have prevented the lustre and dignity of for as several of his predecessors, much the crown from being lowered and tarnish- his superiors in point of abilities, had coned; and its subjects from being burdened, tinued but a short time in administration, plundered, and oppressed. His lordship he never entertained the most distant idea, pressed, with great earnestness, and force or expectation, that he should again be of reasoning, the dangerous consequences compelled to repeat the same request ; whieh would probably arise from an aug- but at length, said his lordship, such is the mentation of the Civil List revenue, and stability of government, that an administhe consequent increase of the influence of tration can even outlive eight years ! His the crown, already become 'much too lordship then appealed to the sense of his powerful. He insisted, it would add to general expressions, when he delivered the that depravity of morals which was known royal message in 1769, and insisted, that so much to prevail; it would have the he never promised to restrain the Civil List same efect, that an uncontrolled revenue expences within any certain bounds, or has upon the people in arbitrary countries, pledged himself to prevent any future exwhere they follow and attach themselves In answer to the excess of expendito the court, in order to procure places ; ture, so much dwelt upon by the noble which prevents them from directing their lord, lie said, the last four of the eight pursuits to industry and those liberal pro- years, the expenditure had undergone a considerable decrease, nearly, if his me- wisdom and rectitude of his Majesty's mory served him right, to the amount of councils; and the esteem and confidence 100,0001. per annum. He said, that the of his subjects. The obligations were mulast year it had increased, and that for a tual, and justly merited ; and if such an very obvious reason ; because several influence as that described by the noble steady friends to government, natives of lord had really existed, he was perfectly America, and others, for their loyalty and satisfied his Majesty would employ it, not attachment to the crown and parliament in endeavouring to abridge the liberties of of Great Britain, had been stripped of their his subjects, or in acts of oppression, but property, and driven thence, without the in protecting them in the full enjoyment means of support; some without even the of everything which might promise to means of sustenance, to seek relief in this render them a prosperous, virtuous, and country. Many of these had been relieved happy people. As to the last objection by royal bounty, and had consequently made to the proposed augmentation, that considerably increased the out-goings; he it would, as in arbitrary countries, tend to believed to the amount of 27,0001. No hurt the morals of the people, and genenotice had been taken of several causes of rate place-hunters and idlers, who might expence that daily arose. If the princess be better employed, and thereby become dowager's death so far served to augment more useful to the state, he could not the royal revenue, the prince of Wales, the possibly trace the consequence; for he bishop of Osnaburgh, and prince William, 'knew no new places, or appointments, the remained to be taken out of it, to the amount present measure would give birth to; and of 12,0001. a year. Again, the increased as for such as were already established, he pensions to judges amounted to upwards did not think it was in the power of the of 4,0001. a year; for though no regular noble lord, or any other person, to reduce applications were made on that account, the number of those who make daily aphe thought that when great men had been plication for places, without he first underworn down by age and infirmities, it would took to reduce the number of places thembe extremely improper to neglect paying selves; for without such a previous reduca suitable attention to their rank and ser- tion, he was satisfied all other methods vices. He hoped, the Civil List expendi- would prove totally ineffective. ture, would not in future exceed 900,0001.
Mr. Wilkes said: per annum, because the 4 per cent. duties paid from the Leeward islands, and Mr. Speaker; there is not a gentlethe recovery of the American quit-rents, man in this House, or in the kingdom, after the present unnatural rebellion, would more anxious than I am, that the splendor form such a fund in support of the present and dignity of the crown of England should proposed establishment, as would render be maintained in its truest lustre, alsimilar applications to parliament totally though for above a course of fifteen years unnecesssary. The noble lord had said a I have received from the crown only a sucgood deal respecting the charge of ambas- cession of injuries, and never in any mosadors, and the excess of expenditure ment of my life the slightest favour. I under that head; but he was free to con- had the honour, Sir, of a seat in this House, tend, that if the noble lord thought it when the affair of the Civil List was first worth his while to inspect that article agitated in parliament in the beginning of again, he would find the expence of am- his present Majesty's reign, when every bassadors rather diminished than increas- good subject hoped to have more than the ed; were the allowance made to lord and idea of a patriot king. I then acquiesced general Howe deducted. The noble lord in the proposed grant. The acceptance of and his brother were paid as such, and an annuity of 800,000l. and the giving up having a secretary, the whole establish to the public the ancient, hereditary revement was what principally caused the in- nues of the crown, originated from the crease. His lordship entered into several throne. It was proposed to this House in computations, which controverted the facts the usual mode by Mr. Legge, then chanlaid down by the noble lord who spoke cellor of the Exchequer. Parliament first. He denied, that the influence of the adopted the proposition, and it was accrown had been on the increase, since cepted with gratitude by the King. The the accession of his present Majesty, but ministers of that time declared to this contended, that the strength of govern- House the King's entire satisfaction, and ment had been purely augmented by the that his Majesty should be happy to be
delivered from the disagreeable necessity called upon to pay that likewise, notwithof ever applying to parliament, like his standing the former bargain with the pubpredecessors, to make good the deficien- lic. The very proposal implies another cies of the Civil List. It was admit- violation of public faith. Sir, I will vented that the allowance was competent, ture to say, if we are indeed just trustees ample, most fully adequate to the wants, for the people, if we conscientiously reand even to the splendour of the crown. fect, that their wealth is intrusted to our Parliament granted all the sovereign asked, care, that we are the guardians of the puband made the grant in the very mode pro- lic purse, we ought to stop this growing posed by the minister. The Civil List Act evil, and reprobate the idea of suffering expressly declares in the preamble, that their money to be thus squandered, as 800,000l. per annum, was a certain and well as the country drained by a variety of competent revenue for defraying the ex- taxes. I must add, Sir, taxes imposed to pences of his Majesty's civil government, supply a profusion, which arises from a and supporting the dignity of the crown violation of a solemn compact with the naof Great Britain.” The nation thought tion, and renders the limitation of the exthemselves assured of not paying more pences of the crown by parliament the than 800,0001. per annum to the Civil List, most vague and absurd of all propositions. and gave that sum cheerfully for the trap- The power of controul of the expences of pings of royalty. In the speech at the the crown is the being and life of parliaclose of that session our gracious young ment. What traces do we now find of the monarch told us from the throne, that he existence of this power? Are the accounts could not sufficiently thank us, and that he on our table proofs of our boasted æconothought himself much obliged to us for my ? and is meanness thus nearly allied to what more immediately concerned him- prodigality? self. By this bargain, Sir, with the public, There is at present, Sir, a peculiar cruit was generally understood, and indeed elty in thus endeavouring to fleece the admitted at that time, that his Majesty people, when we are involved in a most would be a gainer of near 7,000l. per an- expensive, as well as unnatural and ruinnum. The noble lord with the blue rib- ous, civil war, and burthened with an bon has unfairly drawn his calculations enormous load of national debt, the intefrom only the last eight years of the late rest of which even we are scarcely able to king's reign. He ought to have taken the stand under. Is there no feeling for the whole of that reign together. In some sufferings of this impoverished country? years the Civil List was very deficient; Are the people really nothing in the scale in others it greatly exceeded the sum of of government? The principal of the na800,0001. as this is peculiarly a day of tional debt is stated to us at Midsummer dry calculation, I will observe that, from 1775 to amount to the astonishing sum the accounts delivered into parliament, it of 135,943,0511. and the interest to appeared, that in the 33 years of George 4,440,8211. Is this the time, Sir, that a the 2nd's reign, from Midsummer 1727 to minister can with an unembarrassed counMidsummer 1760, the Civil List produced tenance come to parliament to lay addionly 26,182,9811. whereas 800,0001. for 33 tional loads on an exhausted nation, and to years, amounts to 26,400,0001. so that there ask more of the people's money? When is a deficiency of 217,0191. The gain, the greatest sources of our commerce and therefore, on a net revenue of 800,0001. wealth are destroyed by the folly and wickis on an average above 6,5761. a year. edness of administration, when we have The sum of 800,0001. was at that time already spent in this unjust war above 19 thought abundantly sufficient to support millions, when above half our empire is the splendour of the crown, and the ma- lost, and those American friends, who jesty of this great people. His Majesty have assisted us so frequently and so powhas received besides 172,6051. the arrears erfully, are forced by our injustice to beof the late king's Civil List, 100,0001. on come determined enemies, and for their account of Somerset-house, and an addi- own safety to endeavour our humiliation, tional grant of 513,5111. in 1769, to dis- are we at such a moment as this to talk of charge all incumbrances. The death of the greatness of the crown, a crown shorn the princess dowager of Wales was a of half its beams? Are we to hear of the saving of 60,0001. a year, and of the duke happy state of the nation, when we have of York 12,0001. a year. Yet, Sir, we are lost more than we have retained of this now told of another debt of 618,3101. and divided empire, when new taxes and addi