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thought the boldest disciple of that great master of paradox; and nobody, indeed, could justly deny him the honour to which he aspired. His arguments had the merit of being new and ingenious, but yet they did not seem likely to make converts. Paradoxical they might be, but they did not equal or come near the extravagance of an assertion which he was sorry to hear fall from his hon. friend (Mr. Rice) “that the debts of the crown were the debts of the public, and however incurred, must be paid by the public.” If this doctrine were true, what had the House more to do, than to come at once to the vote? No one that walked the streets could doubt the existence of such a debt, and whether it was roduced by necessity or by the most scanous profusion, was an object above their consideration. The ministers of the crown had incurred the debt; the representatives of the people were under an obligation to pay it out of the purse of their constituents. He could not, however, persuade himself that, upon recollection, his hon. friend would continue to support that position; and indeed he thought he perceived by his countenance that he wished to retract it. He then proceeded to consider the motion itself as made by lord John Cavendish, which he said, would be found to be the constant practice of the House on messages of this kind, except in the precedent of 1769, when the message was at oncereferred to the committee of supply. He thought there could be no suspicion of a want of respect for the crown, in following the former precedents, which had an appearance more becoming parliament, as they implied a desire to examine into the causes of the debt. The mode proposed at present was to pay the debt, and increase the revenue without any such investigation. He dreaded the principle upon which we were going to increase the Civil List more than the vote itself. For it was assumed, that the revenues applicable to the late king's Civil List being improved, the King had a right to what was called an indemnification for what his Majesty had casually lost, by accepting of the annuity of 800,000l. Now, he did not conceive that it could be supposed that those duties having been given upon a supposition that they would amount to 800,000l. a year, or thereabouts, the crown had a right to the further amount of them, let them increase ever so much. That this argument was still more extraordinary
when we considered, that one of them, if not more, had been increased by acts of parliament subsequent to the Civil List Act. The revenue he alluded to was that of the Post-office, which was improvedby restraining the privilege of franking. According to that principle, the people were to o the crown for the additional burthens that had been laid upon themselves. He was not sure that there had not been more alterations in other revenues, which were formerly appropriated to the King's Civil List: if there were, the same argument would apply to them. Another branch which had increased of late years was the seizure of uncustomed goods. He was at a loss to know how to account for that increase. Smuggling, to be sure, is of late years much increased, to a very dangerous height: but as the public lose a great deal more by the customs being defrauded by the smuggler, than they get by the seizures, he could not think it very just that they should pay for that loss. This matter would have been easier to ascertain, if the account of the amount of the duties formerly applicable to the Civil List, had not been made up in a very extraordinary manner: and what is more extraordinary, is, that pains must have been taken to make it unintelligible. In 1726 those accounts were produced to shew the amount, and likewise the desiciencies of those duties; every branch of revenue was thus stated separate, as it was received from the office of customs, excise, post office, exchequer, &c. but in the resent instance all those branches were umped together, and set down without distinction in one column. The sums given by different acts of parliament, and which must always be the same in every ear, were indeed separated into four coumns; by this means all investigation of the separate articles of the duties was carefully prevented: and if it was not for that purpose, that the account was made up in this whimsical manner, it was not easy to assign the true reason. He then observed upon the applications to parliament, on account of the Civil List, in the reigns of queen Anne, George the 1st, and George the 2nd. As to queen Anne, when it was considered that she had contributed 100,000l. a year out of her Civil List, to the expence of the war, as well as that the parliament had diverted some of the Civil List revenues to public services, it was unnecessary to say how just a claim that princess had to the assist
to the independence of this country; but / recognized at the Revolution, and entered we were not always to see the noble lord in into a history of the Civil List from that the place he now filled ; and when another period downwards, to prove that to agree should come without the same virtue, and with the motion of the day, was to follow the same talents, we might see the dis- up the idea of the revolutionists: and congraceful days of Charles the 2nd renewed, cluded, by saying, that if our national reand another Dunkirk sold to relieve the spect was to be preserved, and our interembarrassments of a scanty revenue. nal freedom to be rendered more secure
He next stated an opinion which he by an addition to the revenue of the crown, professed had at first sight a paradoxical we ought cheerfully to unite in a measure appearance, but he thought the paradox that would give comfort and dignity to a would vanish upon a state of the argu- | prince so bighly virtuous and respectable. ment. It was that increasing the revenue Mr. T. Townshend assured Mr. Adam of the Civil List would add security to the that he had too much respect for his perliberty of the subject. That prerogative son and his talents to presume to treat his having been done away at the Revolution, arguments with ridicule or with levity. influence, it was now thought, had taken | He hoped, however, that his expressing its place, and was the disease which threat- / his surprise at the novelty of the argui. ened our constitution. The way, there. ments would not be construed into dis. fore, to prevent the evils of influence, was respect : and if, upon his bare recital of to keep it from acting, or allowing it to act them, the House should receive them the in as few instances as possible. If we could second time in the same manner as they prevent its operation in ten instances, by had done the first, he trusted that recepadmitting it in one, we might by this means tion would not be attributed to any levity award the blow, and perhaps destroy the in the person who repeated them. He disease that threatened our liberty. It owned that his dull imagination would was, therefore, better to give an adequate never have enabled him to conceive that a revenue to the crown, than to suffer re- time when we were engaged in an enorpeated applications to parliament for the mously expensive war, was the hour of all payment of arrears ; which, by being re. | others the most proper to give away a large peated every two or three years, would sum of public money; or that such a conmake the importance of the grant dwindle duct would impress our enemies with fear, into the same insignificance that attended and that such profusion would give them a the common and most trivial operations of higher opinion either of our strength or of parliament; and that this day would cease | our wisdom. to be, as it now was, a day of terror to the He could not help agreeing with the minister. He said, there was a great and hon. gentleman in his apprehensions of marked distinction to be attended to in the increase of the influence of the crown. this argument, between the Civil List or He thought with him, that it threatened revenue of the crown, and the revenue of the annihilation of any balance or proporparliament. That distinctions of this na. tion between the different branches of the ture were essential to the existence of the legislature. But he had always supposed constitution, as they steered us between the that influence to arise from the great rehorrors of despotism and the evils of a revenues and emoluments which were in the public. The first revenue was subject of disposal of the crown. He therefore imacalculation, and an adequate sum ought to gined, that an increase of influence, rather be fixed, that applications for arrears might than a decrease of it, was likely to be the be avoided : the other could not be matter consequence of an increase of those reveof calculation, at any distant period of | nues. He was so bigotted to these opi. time, as it altered with the necessity of nions, that he had found himself inclined the times. Besides, it was that revenue to doubt, for once, the solidity of the reawhich supported our fleet, maintained our soning of the hon. gentleman. He could army, paid the interest of our national not help thinking that his talents had a debt, the revenue upore which our liberty, little failed him. He was at first at a loss dignity, and independence rested. That to what cause he should attribute it, but if any minister should dare to encourage recollecting the enthusiastic terms in which an idea that could render that revenue in the hon. gentleman mentioned a lately dedependent of parliament, no punishment ceased, learned, and ingenious author could be too bad for his crime. He (Mr. Hume) he could not help thinking then shewed that this distinction had been that the gentleman was ambitious of being [VOL. XIX. ]
thought the boldest disciple of that great / when we considered, that one of them, if master of paradox; and nobody, indeed, not more, had been increased by acts of could justly deny him the honour to which parliament subsequent to the Civil List Act. he aspired. His arguments had the merit | The revenue he alluded to was that of the of being new and ingenious, but yet they Post-office, which was improved by restraindid not seem likely to make converts. ing the privilege of franking. According to Paradoxical they might be, but they did that principle, the people were to pay the not equal or come near the extravagance crown for the additional burthens that had of an assertion which he was sorry to hear been laid upon themselves. He was not fall from his hon. friend (Mr. Rice) “ that sure that there had not been more alterathe debts of the crown were the debts of tions in other revenues, which were forthe public, and however incurred, must be merly appropriated to the King's Civil paid by the public.” If this doctrine were | List: if there were, the same argument true, what had the House more to do, than would apply to them. to come at once to the vote? No one that Another branch which had increased of walked the streets could doubt the exist- late years was the seizure of uncustomed ence of such a debt, and whether it was goods. He was at a loss to know how to produced by necessity or by the most scan account for that increase. Smuggling, to lous profusion, was an object above their be sure, is of late years much increased, to consideration. The ministers of the crown a very dangerous height: but as the pubhad incurred the debt; the representatives lic lose a great deal more by the custoins of the people were under an obligation to being defrauded by the smuggler, than pay it out of the purse of their consti- they get by the seizures, he could not tuents. He could not, however, persuade think it very just that they should pay for himself that, upon recollection, his hon. that loss. This matter would have been friend would continue to support that po- easier to ascertain, if the account of the sition: and indeed he thought he per- amount of the duties formerly applicable ceived by his countenance that he wished to the Civil List, had not been made up to retract it.
in a very extraordinary manner: and what · He then proceeded to consider the mo. is more extraordinary, is, that pains must tion itself as made by lord John Cavendish, have been taken to make it unintelligible. which he said, would be found to be the In 1726 those accounts were produced to constant practice of the House on mes- shew the amount, and likewise the defi. sages of this kind, except in the prece- ciencies of those duties; every branch of dent of 1769, when the message was at revenue was thus stated separate, as it was once referred to the committee of supply, received from the office of customs, ex. He thought there could be no suspicion of cise, post office, exchequer, &c. but in the a want of respect for the crown, in follow. present instance all those branches were ing the former precedents, which had an lumped together, and set down without . appearance more becoming parliament, as distinction in one column. The sums they implied a desire to examine into the given by different acts of parliament, and causes of the debt. The mode proposed which must always be the same in every at present was to pay the debt, and inyear, were indeed separated into four cocrease the revenue without any such inves- lumns; by this means all investigation of tigation. He dreaded the principle upon the separate articles of the duties was care. which we were going to increase the Civil fully prevented: and if it was not for that List more than the vote itself. For it was purpose, that the account was made up in assumed, that the revenues applicable to this whimsical manner, it was not easy to the late king's Civil List being improved, assign the true reason. the King had a right to what was called He then observed upon the applications an indemnification for what his Majesty to parliament, on account of the Civil List, had casually lost, by accepting of the an- in the reigns of queen Anne, George the nuity of 800,000/. Now, he did not con- | 1st, and George the 2nd. As to queen ceive that it could be supposed that those Anne, when it was considered that she duties having been given upon a supposi. had contributed 100,0001. a year out of tion that they would amount to 800,0001. her Civil List, to the expence of the war, a year, or thereabouts, the crown had a as well as that the parliament had diverted right to the further amount of them, let some of the Civil List revenues to public them increase ever so much. That this services, it was unnecessary to say how argument was still more extraordinary just a claiin that princess had to the assist
not as yet, even so much as the colour of an answer been given. There was one article however, which he could not pass over without mentioning; and presumed, it struck every gentleman present as well as himself with astonishment. It was the sum of 513,000l. stated under the head of the Board of Works, in the course of the last eight years, without telling to whom the money had been paid, on what account it had been paid, or on what palace, house, so garden, or place, the money had een expended. He observed the conduct of the minister, in 1769, though the noble lord now disclaimed the appellation, was much less reprehensible than now. He then acted openly, and came boldly to parliament to demand a round sum, without account. “I want the money; I cannot wait; grant it now, and you shall have the account next year.” On this occasion, parliament had the option to grant or refuse; to take his word, or disbelieve it. New men, new measures; the noble lord tells you this day, very gravely, that he was not then first minister; but that since, he has become one entirely on his own bottom; that accounts ought to precede the grant; but when the accounts come to be examined, what do they turn out 2 No accounts at all; but a detail of arbitrary sums, for ought we know, set down according to the fanciful ideas of several persons who wrote them; and all consolidated into one round sum, which we are called upon to grant out of the purses of our constituents, without being satisfied that a single item is fairly or perfectly stated; unless we trust to the integrity of ministers, and the fidelity of their subordinate instruments. Well, taking it for granted, that the sums are truly stated, why trouble the House with such an account at all, unless to add mockery to contempt, and blend insult with derision. When we had no account, we trusted to ministers. Now that we have an account, we are equally compelled to be satisfied with their bare word. So, that taking the matter in its true light, the present proposition is neither more nor less, than a demand the minister makes on parliament for 618,000l. which he says was expended in the public service; but of the reality of such expenditure, we properly know no more than we do of any sum of a like amount, expended by any prince in Europe. We are precisely as well informed now how this debt was incurred, by the curious account lying on the table,
as we were in 1769, without any account.— He next attacked lord North on his denying he was minister when he brought a like message, eight years since, and obtained the object of his errand. This he treated as the most shameful and barefaced evasion. He declared the senti-. ments of that administration, which from his post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, of which he formed a part, he stood therefore doubly bound, both as an individual, and a member of the cabinet. In the next F. as he was the bearer of the message, e stood pledged as the messenger, or the representative of the sovereign. The message was to demand a certain sum of money to pay the King's debts; the condition that accompanied it, though not contained in the message, was, that no applications of a like nature would be made hereafter. Who was to impart them to the House? The bearer of the message, and no other. But, allowing that the noble lord was neither bound, as a member of the cabinet, an individual, or messenger representing his sovereign, he stood nevertheless in a mixt official and ministerial situation, from which it is impossible for him to recede; he came to parliament, as the minister of the House of Commons, and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was responsible as minister, for his ministerial assurances, as much then, as at present; and as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was bound by the nature of his office to know that his assurances were founded in truth. Take, then, the matter in the noble lord's own way; does he not stand on the precise ground he did then 2 Did he not come in 1769, as well as in 1777, as minister of the House of Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer, not as first lord of the Treasury, and prime minister? But convict the noble lord on any or all of these grounds, and he still imagines he can evade his pursuers. He says he never gave any such promise. Will his lordship rest his justification on that alone 3. If he does, I pledge myself to prove he did; if he will not, but will contend, that he is not bound in one event by a promise, which he denies in the other, I submit whether in the opinion of all impartial men, the noble lord be not in fact convicted on both grounds. If, however, he should still rest his defence, on his not being responsible for any acts of his, ministerial or official, he would nevertheless on the present occasion, out of regard to his own honour and character, recommend to his lordship, to consent to
crown was nearly trebled since the time of | by retrenchment of expences, was the sir R. Walpole. He observed, upon a only method by which those evils could be comparison of the suspicious articles of restrained. The noble lord would, in a Pensions, Annuities, and Secret Service, few weeks at farthest, call upon every gen. in the last eight years of the late king, and tleman in England, to contract bis ex. the eight years in which the present debt pences; let him set us the example. In has been incurred, a considerable exceed a committee upon the Message, the House ing in the latter period of 257,7031. It might see where savings might be made. is observable, that the last eight years of If the noble lord was serious in his intenthe late king included the greatest part of tions of lessening the expences of the the laie glorious war, during which there crowd, the authority of parliament would certainly must have been occasion for no strengthen his hands, and furnish him small sum of secret service money for pur. | with a weighty answer to unreasonable soposes truly national.
1 licitors. Mr. Grenville, whose memory If the noble lord would set himself se- the noble lord sometimes affected to treat riously to work at a reduction of expences, with veneration, was not more conspicuhe was confident, it might be effected with ously serviceable to the public in any part out meddling with any thing, in which his of his character, than in the steadiness and Majesty's private comfort, the dignity of perseverance with which he gave his nethe crown, or the service of the public gative to the importunate demands of ra. were concerned. The foundation of his pacious and insatiable courtiers. confidence was this; that Mr. Grenville, If the noble lord was not sincere in his in office, as well as out of office, declared professions of economy, the committee the 800,0007, to be sufficient. Being call. could, and ought to controul him. With the ed upon to know if he intended to increase assistance of parliament, an honest minister the Civil List, that minister treated the might do great good. Without parliament report as a calumny. He said in the thought this was an object of enquiry, he strongest terms, that while he continued foresaw little good would be done. The minister, he never would ask for any aug. principle upon which this sum, and the mentation, or for any sum on account of increase of the establishment were dethe Civil List : perhaps that declaration manded, was a progressive one: he saw might be among the reasons of his dismis. plainly, that in making this demand, a sion. The noble lord chuses to avoid that foundation was laid for making further apconsequence, and says, “ God forbid that plications. Parliament ought to he wil. I should lose my office.” When he is fully blind upon no part of this business.
uestioned upon the subject of the increase He was afraid, that this branch of the leof expence of the Civil List, he answers gislature had been for some time declining undoubtedly in a much more becoming in the opinion of the people. He, who manner than Mr. Grenville did, “ If you wished it to resume its former lustre and will contrive, that nobody shall be desir- | importance, thought it could not seize upon ous of places and pensions, I will cease to a more favourable opportunity than the Jay burthens upon the public, to provide present. He thought no way could be for suitors for places and pensions. This more likely for them to regain the confianswer never occurred to Mr. Grenville; dence of the nation, than by shewing perhaps it was not so well suited to those themselves, what it was their right and times, as to the present, any more than to their duty to be, the guardians of the the grave character of that minister. purse of the public, and with it of the liber
Upon the whole, Mr. T. was of opinion, ties of their country. that resolving the House into a committee Mr. Fox, after describing what he termon the Message, was a more parliamentary ed the wanton profusion of ministers for a measure, than referring it to the com- series of years back, in the several great mittee of supply: that in the latter, the departments of the state, and the shame. House could only consider of the sum to less prodigality which prevailed in the disbe voted ; in the former, the whole ques. position of the revenues of the Civil List, tion would be open to discussion. A minute predicted a day of reckoning, when pro discussion was necessary in times like bably ministers would not be permitted to these. The public burthens were increas. pass such accounts, as those lying on the ing rapidly; the power of the crown gain. | table. He told the House, that he should ing ground upon the people in the same not go over the items that had been al. proportion. Economy, real æconony, ready mentioned ; and to which, there had