« ElőzőTovább »
buried in St. Paul's; that spacious cathedral was particularly calculated for monuments: it was now a mere desart, while Westminster-abbey was over crowded. He dwelt much upon the virtues of the noble lord; and though he knew that there had been some shades in his character, for it was in some degree impossible to be in nature a great character without faults, yet they were so brightened by the resplendent glory of his virtues, that they were to him now, since his death, perfectly invisible. He did not agree with the right hon. gentleman that politicians were unfit for the government of the city: the city politicians had before now saved the city; and it was to the firmness of their politics that the House owed their existence; that a sheriff, a privilege singular in its kind, could appear at their bar; or indeed that there had been any parliamentary bar for them to appear at. The petition, he declared, was worded in a manner which did the composers of it no less honour for the patriotic and respectful sentiments it breathed, than for the elegance and beauty of the stile in which it was written. As to the place of the earl’s interment, he hoped the House would not interfere, and rob his family of a right of which it were a species of sacrilege to deprive them—that of depositing where they should think fit the remains of this great ancestor, the pride and boast of their family, and the source of future emulation to glorious deeds, such as his example might prompt them to. The Petition was ordered to lie on the table.
Non-contents 16; and proxies being called for, the proxies for the original motion were 8, against it 4 ; so that the numbers for the attendance of the House of Lords on the funeral of William earl of Chatham, were 19, Non-contents 20, proxies included.
June 2. The order of the day being read for the third reading of the Bill, intitled, “An Act for settling and securing a certain annuity on the earl of Chatham, and the heirs of the body of the late William Pitt earl of Chatham, to whom the earldom of Chatham shall descend, in consideration of the eminent services performed by the said late earl to his Majesty and the public,” - The Duke of Chandos said, he was compelled, by his duty as a member of that House, and from a regard to his country, to oppose the passing of the Bill. His objection would not be direct against the principle of providing for the family of the deceased earl, but against the duration of the provision. The ground of objection was, the inability of this country to increase the additional burthens under which it now laboured; the immense national debt; the great interest paid to the public annuitants; the prospect, nay almost certainty, of a foreign war; all these furnished the strongest incentive to public economy. This was not a time to scatter the national treasure with a profuse or careless hand. If the Bill had made a provision for the present noble earl and his descendants, he should not, probably, have opposed it; but it was framed so as to give the family a perpetuity of 4,000l. per ann. Grants in perpetuity were taxes in perpetuity on the subject, and ought, therefore, to be cautiously and rarely ratified by parliament. The people were already taxed very . and, from the present situation of public affairs, the exigencies of the state might make it necessary to impose additional burthens; on which special consideration, it behoved their lordships, as the guardians of the state and nation, to permit no new tax to be imposed, unless warranted by evident necessity. He disapproved of the Bill on another account, that of precedent; as it would open a door for applications of a similar nature, from men in high stations; from men greedy of emolument, who would be ready at all times not to rate their services at their true value, or their rewards according to the abilities of the state, but to [4 KI
their own inordinate desires, and the means of gratifying them; or, having the art of rendering themselves popular, without perhaps a tythe of the deceased earl's merit, might, in an unguarded moment, procure similar grants, till the load of taxes so created would become insupportable. His grace said, that if the rule of rewarding men in perpetuity was to prevail, without disparaging the services of the deceased earl, there would be found several persons now living of equal pretensions. He could name more than one man in that House— one of them, a noble lord, by whose valour and skill in his profession, it was probable, their lordships were in a capacity to deliberate and attend on the present occasion 4. Hawke.) The commander of our
rces, during the late war in Germany, had, besides, performed very signal services for this country; yet neither of those gallant commanders had annuities settled upon them in perpetuity. He was not averse to the principles of the Bill, and only objected to the manner and the time, the granting a perpetual rent charge on the eve of a bloody and expensive war: the first was an objection he would not give up; and if a perpetuity was insisted on, he should feel himself obliged to give the Bill a direct negative, If, therefore, the present Bill should pass, the public finances must be loaded with additional burthens, which it was by no means in a state to support; or injustice must be done to those of equal merit, but not so high in parliamentary favour. If, indeed, the recommendation had originated with the sovereign, it would have come properly, because it might be properly restrained. By this reservation, his Majesty would have it his power to reward proper objects, and , keep the only precedent existing, that of the great duke of Marlborough, within its proper limitations. His grace made several other observations, all which went substantially to the following several points: to put a negative to the Bill, for he proposed no amendment; to suggest the impropriety of making it perpetual, while his arguments were against the Bill entirely: to shew that the nation was not equal to make it perpetual, while he seemed to wish that the provision might be made as long as the title of Chatham continued in the descendants of the living earl; to assert, that lords Hawke, Amherst, prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and some others, had performed as great services for this country as the late earl of Chatham; that the King on the throne,
for the time being, was the best, or rather only judge, of the deserts of the servants of the public: and to hint to parliament, that the Bill was far from being an acceptable present at the Queen's house. The Earl of Abingdon. I rise, my lords, to express my concern for the opposition that has been given to this Bill: an opposition not only ill-founded in itself, but, I fear, is not much to the honour of this House... I say, my lords, that this opposition is ill-founded; for after the Commons, who are the purse-keepers of the nation, have thought fit unanimously to apply the public money to this service, opposition on this ground comes with a very ill grace from us. But what is the reason given for the opposition ? It is said, that the nation is ... with debt, and cannot bear the expence. Indeed, my lords, this is a weighty reason, if it were better applied. Look into the papers now upon your table, you will there find millions that have been squandered away. Look into your Journals, and you will find those very squanderers protected, by the dead majorities of this House, even from censure. And, shall we turn our eyes from a vicious profusion, and look with economy upon a virtuous application of the public money? No, my lords, let us not by such a contrast of conduct, expose ourselves to so much censure. Sorry am I to find a greater spirit of liberality among the Commons than is to be found among the Lords: that what the Commons have done In 3 great scale, we would confine within a lesser circle; although, too, my lords, the object of their bounty is one of the members of our own body. I trust, therefore, that this motion will be withdrawn; that it may not be said, that whilst we are giving pensions, titles, and preferments to those who deserve the axe or the halter, we are withholding the reward of services from others, who have a claim upon the public to it. - . The Duke of Richmond agreed with the noble earl entirely on his ideas respecting public economy. He was perfectly satisfied there never was a time when enquiries into the expenditure of public money was become more necessary; because there never was a period at which public profu. sion was so much countenanced; nor at which this country called for a more strict frugality. He thought, however, that at the conclusion of a session was no proper time to set about a reformation. Several endeavours had been made relative to this
subject, but they were all strangled in mark of his sovereign's bounty, by being their birth, by the previous question. If called into a very high post, attended with the noble duke was nevertheless serious in great emoluments[Lord Privy Seal], when his opinions, and meant to abolish sipecure | it was well known that his lordship’s explaces; to strike off additional salaries, &c. treme bad state of health rendered him he was very willing to co-operate in that very incapable of assisting in his Majesbusiness with him, and to give him every ty's councils. Those, he contended, were assistance in his power; but not on the fully adequate to his services. The only present occasion, when their lordships were ! precedent was that of the duke of Marl. debating upon making a provision for the borough. The duke's abilities as a statesfamily of a man who had rendered such man and a general were conspicuous. He signal services to this nation.' Such in- was appointed ambassador to negociate stances of national gratitude were neces- | and settle the terms of the Grand Alliance; sary; and though he did not coincide in which, in its progress, afterwards broke the opinion, at all times, with the deceased power of France, and set limits to the amearl, he could not but consider him as a bition of Louis 14. Yet when, by his great man, and a public character, whose great talents for negociation, he had efservices were well deserving that tribute to fected so desirable an event, as bringing his memory, the present Bill was about to Holland and the German powers into the pay. He perfectly agreed with the noble alliance, the queen having settled 5,000%. earl, who spoke last, that the present set of per annum during her own life, sent a ministers rather merited the axe or halter, message to the Commons to make it perthan the honours and rewards which had petual. After a full consideration of the been so profusely lavished upon them; and message, the Commons refused to 'com: yeț, what they possessed already was not ply; and it was not till four years afterdeemed sufficient: for one of them (lord | wards, after repeated victories, and rendere North) he understood, was shortly to be ap- ing his name celebrated in all parts of Eu: pointed to a sinecure place of 5,0001. a year, rope, and a terror to France, that parliathat of the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports. ment made the queen's grant perpetual, Was the noble duke, who opposed the None of their lordships had a fuler sense Bill, serious? If he was, why not promote of the services of the deceased earl than he an enquiry into sinecure places, and there. I had; but he presumed to say, that the by.render an essential piece of service to precedent of the conduct of parliament, his country, by endeavouring to procure a respecting the duke of Marlborough, was, total abolition of them? This would shew, a good ground on the present occasion, that the noble duke did not mean to use against establishing a new precedent, the argument of public economy and pub- which might, in times to come, be produclic inability, only one way; that his oppo tive of great inconvenience, and mischief. sition was to things, not persons; that he But though every other objection against was solely actuated by public motives, not the Bill were done away, the time was to: private considerations : in short, to testify, tally improper, for several reasons. He that as he knew what faction was capable heartily agreed, that this was not a proper of doing, he was resolved to prevent its time to be lavish of the public money, effects, without any regard to persons or when we had the most urgent calls for it; parties.
when the strictest æconomy ought to be The Lord Chancellor opposed the prin observed throughout every department of ciple as well as provisions of the Bill; and the state ; and that so great a sum as did not approve of making it either a tem- | 4,000l. per ann. was to be given, not to porary or perpetual provision. He did not the person who had performed the serwish to take off from the services of the vices, but to his family, and that at the deceased earl; they had been fully ac- end of 16 years. This with me, said his knowledged by his sovereign, and amply lordship, is a circumstance which operates provided for. The noble earl, when he most powerfully against the Bill; why not first retired from office, had a pension of 'make this provision in his life-time? The 3,0001. peri annum settled on him during truth is, such an expectation did not his own life, and that of his lady and eldest exist ; nor, were it made, would it proson : a provision, let him be permitted to .bably have succeeded: the answer would say, fully equal to the services performed have been, The noble lord is already proby the deceased earl. In à few years af- vided for; he has acknowledged his being terwards, his lordship received a further contented with what his sovereign has al
ready done for him; and, since that period, except in the instance alluded to, he has not been in a situation to serve his country, nor, of course, to seek further . on the ground of subsequent merit.—He said he never could agree, that the Lords, by either amending or rejecting a money Bill, thereby invaded the province of the other House; for he was satisfied, that their lordships were as much trustees for the people, as the Commons: o were, besides, either individually, or collectively, materially interested, both as contributors and as a legislative body. He did not see on what foundation their lordships could with justice pass the present Bill, while a brave admiral, one of their own body s". Hawke) whose naval services could not be too highly extolled; and a most able officer at the head of the army last war (prince Ferdinand) went unnoticed and unrewarded, in the manner now proposed. As to the plea, that the Commons had passed the Bill, and that his Majesty assented, he wished their lordships to consider, that the matter was first agitated in the other House, of a sudden and at midnight; that the address to the King was of course moved hastily, and as hastily carried. His Majesty, thus applied to, was in a great measure obliged to comply. He spoke likewise very strongly against the mode in which the matter originated. He insisted, it was out of the natural course; it ought to have come from the crown alone; and that circumstance weighed sufficiently with him to reject the Bill.—Before he concluded, he declared, he saw no reason for the nation to despond because the earl of Chatham was no more. There still remained as firm well-wishers to their country, and as capable of doing it essential service, as the noble earl. Whenever danger threatened, Englishmen naturally felt a proper spirit to defend their country, and attack their enemies. That spirit was now shewing itself in every corner of the island. Lord Camden said, he was sorry to hear any comparisons made between the services of the noble earl and those of any other eminent characters, either living or dead. The noble duke who spoke first, and the learned lord on the woolsack, had both held forth in the highest strains of panegyric on the memory of the late duke of Marlborough; and very deservedly. They had dwelt on the scenes of his victories, and in their zeal seemed to forget those of the deceased earl; but if they
wanted to be reminded of them, he could tell their lordships, from the extremest east, where the sun rose, to the setting of that glorious luminary in the western horizon; in every quarter of the globe to the earth's remotest bounds, where the arms of Britain were borne triumphant; where operations by sea or land were invariably accompanied by conquest, by reputation, extension of commerce, and all the advantages and glories united, which have at former periods been separately the effects of successful war, or of the enjoyment of the blessings of peace; the East Indies, Africa, the West Indies, North America, the coast and territories of our enemies in Europe; all bear testimony to the services of the noble earl, whose merit had been endeavoured that day to be thrown so much into the shade. His lordship was proceeding with great energy, when he was interrupted from the woolsack. the Lord Chancellor moving to have the Commons' Journals of 1702 and 1706 read; in proof of his assertions, respecting the conduct of parliament towards the duke of Marlborough confirmed. This interruption was looked upon as disorderly by the House ; and the noble lord was desired to proceed in his speech. His lordship observed, that according to what had been thrown out by the noble duke who spoke first, the alteration proposed by his grace would operate as an entail, and could not go further than the son of the present noble ear!; he wished therefore to know from his grace, whether that was what he meant? [Told it was.] His lordship then went on. On the first ground, that of inability; he said the annuity was made chargeable on the Aggregate Fund, which could continue no longer than this country remainedinastate of prosperity, it being the residue of the produce of all the taxes, after the interest was paid to the public creditors. While, therefore, that fund, that depended on the sources of wealth and commerce, which the noble earl had been so successful in promoting and extending, continued to have a residue after discharging the prior demands on it; the inability of paying the annuity could not exist. If ever that fatal period should arrive, when the fund was unequal, then most certainly the provision must cease, and the descendants of the noble earl suffer in the general wreck and ruin of their country. The learned lord who spoke last, had laid the chief stress of his argument, upon
the noble earl’s being fully rewarded for his services, and the impropriety of doing that at the end of 16 years, which should have been done in his life-time; and presuming on that ground, that his o: as well as the nation, looked upon it that he had made a provision for the deceased earl, fully adequate to his services. I will tell the noble and learned lord what came within my own knowledge, which will be a complete answer to every suggestion of this kind. When I had the honour of occupying a very high post in the same administration with the deceased earl, his state of health was indifferent, and his life thought to be in danger. Soon after his recovery, I had the honour of an interview with his Majesty; and the conversation turning on the illness of the earl of Chatham—I shall never forget the words, nor the gracious manner in which they were delivered : * If he had died,” said his Majesty, “I should have looked upon myself bound to make a provision for his family.” His lordship made use of several rea. sons, to shew that the affair of the duke of Marlborough was very dissimilar in a variety of respects, and that no one particular properly applied as to the two cases, but the acknowledged merits of the noble duke and the deceased earl. He observed, that much had been said on the danger of establishing precedents. There were but two, should the present Bill pass, since the Conquest. He wished there were more; and he was sure there never was a fitter time, when encouragements ought to be held out, to stimulate men to great and glorious actions, than the present. He would, besides, wish their lordships to recollect, that the deceased earl received his death blow in the service of his country; he received it in that House, whilst he was endeavouring to assist in warding off the danger which threatened Great Britain. He was sorry to behold the present opposition, because it betrayed symptoms which portended no good, and looked as if the seeds of envy were not exterminated. He was in hopes, envy would have died with the noble earl, and have slept with him in his grave. The noble and learned lord had said, that the Bill originated at midnight, and that the King was in some measure obliged to comply with the request in the Address voted § the other House; he had it in his power to set the noble lord right, and to contradict the assertion. The Bill was not
brought in on a sudden, nor was the House taken by surprize. On the contrary, some days elapsed, and notice was previously given, not by an address at midnight, but in open day, that such a Bill was intended to be brought in, and the motion was carried mem. con. both in respect of the vote for paying the noble earl’s debts, and for settling an annuity on his family. And as to the real sentiments of his Majesty, he had already given an indisputable proof of what they were, though allusions of a contrary tendency had been thrown out; a declaration within his own positive knowledge, and which endeared his Majesty to him more than ever. It made him love and admire him as a benevolent prince, as really the king and father of his people; and every way worthy of a dominion over their affections, as well as their persons. Admiral Hawke and prince Ferdinand of Brunswick had been alluded to by the learned lord, as having essentially served this country; most certainly they had, and undoubtedly their merit as professional men was unquestionable; but to whom ought it to be ultimately ascribed: To the earl of Chatham; the one was his admiral, the other his general. The battles they fought were battles of his planning; and so far from their individual merits lessening that of the deceased earl, or diminishing the value of his services, they went directly to increase and enhance both. . The noble duke who rose first, pointed out the necessity of introducing economy into the state; the noble duke’s argument was unanswerable in point of principle, and the spirit of it was pursued in the present Bill. True economy, both respecting the public and individuals, which required the same measure, was to spare, not waste. It consisted in a fitness of expence; in a proper liberality, guarded by a becoming prudence and frugality. The times called for the exertion of the first rate abilities in the public service. Such a mark of national attention as the present Bill manifested, would encourage able men to step forward, and do their utmost to merit and gain the applause of their country. Narrow notions of interest, fear of leaving their families unprovided for, and such sort of ideas, which swayed men's minds and prevented them from venturing forth, would be done away, in consequence of parliament's affording a proof, that the nation considered itself as the guardian of the families of those who had essentiall served it, when they were no more. His