« ElőzőTovább »
formed the duty had 51. a year for his tradesmen. Again, the poor menial sertrouble. Many similar instances might be vants, who had no other means whatever mentioned. I have selected this one. But of support, and who had six quarters to return to the more immediate object, wages due to them, how pitiable and disthe increase of expenditure in my office. tressing must their situation be! Their This has arisen from a variety of circum- complaints were sufficient to penetrate a stances, such as the prodigious advance on heart the most obdurate; and he solemnly all the necessaries and luxuries of life, the protested, that his own situation was nearly increase of the royal family, of attendants, as much to be pitied, being necessarily nurses, tables, &c. Even the very reform obliged to hear those stories of distress I made in the early part of his Majesty's and wretchedness, without having it in his reign, has added, instead of diminishing power to alleviate or remove them. He the expence. By that establishment, se even sacrificed the privileges of his place; veral persons who had board wages allowed those vacancies which he had a right to them, but who gave little or no personal dispose of, he bestowed upon several of attendance, are now obliged to perform them, in order to soften and blunt their their duty. They claim the benefit of the miseries. He did not claim this privilege establishment then made, and are obliged of appointing as a right inherent in his ofat the same time to have tables allowed fice, but a permission his royal master inthem, because it is indispensably necessary | dulged him with, in common with his prethat they should always be ready to attend. decessors wlio had occupied the same high There are now no less than 23 tables kept, post. And to add to the situation of the 11 of which are for the nurses, there be crown creditors, the dread of a demise ing so many of that description. It is nec suspended over their heads was enough to cessary that each should have a separate bring them to the very brink of despair. table, for who would trust two women at Great stress had been laid on the 100,0001. the same table, and expect they would augmentation, as if that sum was to be long agree?
drawn out of the pockets of the people, · He recollected a circumstance, which already too heavily burthened with taxes. would, he believed, fully establish the idea This was a fallacious method of stating that urged by the noble mover of the Address, matter; for he appealed to their lordships, and the other noble lords who spoke in if it was not a received opinion, that every support of it; which was, the offer made estate in this country is taxed at the rate by the late sir John Barnard of farming of 10s. in the pound. The Civil List is the duties appropriated for the payment of known to be subject to the heaviest taxes the Civil List, at 900,0001. per annum. It that are laid, and is equally burthened was never imagined that the public, had with the land. If, therefore, one half rethe ofter been accepted of, were to reap turns in taxes, the proposed increase the benefit of the 100,0001. surplus; on would not be actually more than 50,0001. the contrary, it was then urged as an argu. out of the public purse, instead of 100,0001. ment, that the crown had a revenue fully which it was represented to be. sufficient to maintain its lustre and dignity, His lordship concluded with debating if it had been properly managed
| the point of influence, so pointedly stated His lordship then drew a most melan- / in the amendment; on the contrary, he choly picture of the domestic situation of thought that whatever tended to make the the sovereign, and how far his feelings, as / sovereign easy in his domestic situation, a man and a master, were daily wounded ; and independent of the minister, served as nay, he asserted, that they had totally so much power to be used for the benefit broke his peace of mind, and pursued him of the people, not against them. The to his most secret retirements. He ap situation of his Majesty, said his lordship, pealed to their lordships, if there was one was much to be lamented a few days since. of them could rest quietly on his pillow, | It was such as I have described it. Supwhile he was conscious at the instant that pose a minister a fortnight ago should tell his servants and tradesmen were rendered his Majesty that he could not come to parmiserable on his account; threatened per- / liament; suppose he should threaten, or haps, with the want of the necessaries of had threatened to resign, what could his life, or with bankruptcy and ruin. The Majesty do? What would not he promise very coal-merchant who served the hous- | or grant a minister, circumstanced as he hold, had, he said, 6,0001. due to him; must have been? It is true, we may supso it was in proportion with all the other pose, that though the minister had resigned, [VOL. XIX.]
your lordships, when you received the message, would have complied; but give me leave to tell you, my lords, it would have raised and increased difficulties: it might not defeat the measure; it would nevertheless create divisions here; it would tend to divide ministers more than they are already, and God knows they are divided enough ! On the whole, I would never have the King dependent on his mimisters, which, while his affairs are distressed, must always be the case. He is not his own master. The ministers have it in their power to dictate their own terms. He must grant whatever favours they chuse to ask; he is left no will of his own: they tell him they will resign, and abandon the very measures, perhaps, they have been the contrivers of, while the King labours under difficulties such as the present. The Marquis of Rockingham animadverted upon some violent expressions which had fallen from a noble lord high in office (lord Suffolk). The words, he said, were, “That the conduct of what was called in this country opposition, was detestable, dangerous, and unconstitutional.” This was a heavy charge for no other crime than barely differing from the noble lord and his colleagues in office. But he presumed, that the charge was founded on the important discoveries of Mr. Brown Dignam, and those made concerning Mr. Sayre, the banker. It was, indeed, a sure means of rendering any man, or set of men, detestable, when spies and informers were employed and paid to forge plots and conspiracies against the state. Mr. Sayre was to have possessed himself of the Tower, and the person of the King, if Mr. Richardson were to be believed; and several of the most respectable characters in both Houses, if Mr. Brown Dignam was to be credited, were concerned in a conspiracy against the life of his Majesty. This kind of policy seemed at first sight somewhat extraordinary, but it nevertheless answered certain purposes, upon a narrower inspection. It served to account, in part, for the disposition of the secret-service money, and at the same time to substantiate the charge, that the conduct of what was called opposition, was detestable. To be sure, the money laid out in this manner was well spent, and the authority on which the charge was founded truly respectable ! He supposed the noble lord would explain what he meant; because, however authentic the information might have been,
on which his charge was o it was confined to a few, and could not be supposed to reach the conduct of all those who were called opposition in this country.
The Earl of Suffolk denied that he made use of the word “detestable,” and did not think it fair nor parliamentary to have expressions imputed to him which he never used; [Here their lordships looked. at each other with astonishment, but even if he had, he thought himself fully justified in making use of it: for he was sincerely of opinion, that the conduct of opposition merited both the contempt and detestation of every man who wished well to his country. I do in my conscience and soul believe, that the detestable conduct of those called opposition in this country, has been as instrumental in rendering the present administration popular, as the wisdom and rectitude of their measures. I do in my conscience and soul believe, that their detestable conduct has increased the majority in both Houses; and I am in my very soul and heart convinced, that they have rendered themselves so universally detestable, by the mode and complexion of their opposition, that many members who were doubtful as to the justice and expediency of the meaSures j by the King's servants, have attached themselves to administration, and voted with them, solely on that account. His lordship denied, without reserve, that Dignam had given any information against the noble and honourable persons alluded to by the noble marquis. He was ashamed to hear Dignam's name mentioned in such a respectable assembly; but since it was, he could affirm, that the manner it was represented was ill-founded. He was neither encouraged to tell lies nor truth; nor was he paid for what he did tell. His story was worthy of attention: it was plausible, and full of every appearance of truth. It would have been extremely improper to refuse to listen to it; and administration, he affirmed, conducted themselves with the utmost propriety. They listened, but did not believe; and took the necessary, the most efficacious means to discover the truth; and when they found him to be an impostor, they abandoned him to the laws. And he begged leave to repeat once more, before he sat down, that the conduct of those called the opposition, was detestable; and though Dignam was an impostor, he had other proofs, and those of such a nature, as not to admit of a doubt, that
opposition deserved that public detestation, whom God long preserve. It is therefore, which they were notoriously known to be taking the matter in either light, an idle held in.
and ill-founded argument. If he had no The Earl of Shelburne said he should specific or rightful claim on the appro. abstain, out of respect to his sovereign, priated duties, he of course lost nothing;.! and their lordships, from animadverting on if he had, and made a fair, equitable' the indecent charges, and the coarseness agreement, he is manifestly bound by it. of expression that accompanied them, | As to the accounts; they were fallacious which fell from the noble lord who spoke and defective. They were defective, belast. They would have been unworthy of cause they came unaccompanied by a notice at any time; the present, for the single voucher : accounts unvouched, reason before assigned, would be particu- | were in fact no accounts. Those lying on larly unseasonable. He professed his as- | the table stated such and such sums, istonishment at the language held by the sued under the heads therein enumerated, friends of the Address. The Civil List but make no mention to whom, or on revenues were described as so much here. what account. The only fact that can be ditary property; they were represented as gathered from them, is, that certain sums an entailed estate, and deductions drawn were paid, but on what account the House from that supposition, shewing, that the is not informed, po more than if no such crown had an absolute, distinct property transaction had ever happened. But if in the duties appropriated for the mainte the accounts were defective, there was an · nance of the civil government, independent article stated in the produce of the Civil of parliament, than which nothing can be List revenues, which contained the grossest farther from the true state of that matter. imposition on the very face of it. If one The duties alluded to at no time belonged false article in any account could be to the crown, they were at the disposition proved, and it was manifest that the imof parliament; king William had 4,0001. position got into it by design, it was a fair per week taken from him, though the na deduction to say, that the whole account tion were under such singular obligations was false. From the manifest defectiveto him. The grants of the forfeited | ness of the accounts, for want of vouchers estates, which formed part of them, were and specification, and the gross imposition resumed in the next reign, and applied to of this one article he was about to men. the exigencies of the state. In the reign tion, he was fairly justified in saying, that of queen Anne, 7001. per week was the whole was one scene of delusion. The charged on the Post-office, which was part point was this, the increase on the here. of the Civil List revenue; and several ditary revenue was stated in the account other parts of it were applied to particular to amount to upwards of 30,0001. a year, uses, and to the exigencies of the war. which, by the bye, was the greatest part It was, therefore, to the last degree pre of the excess of the appropriated duties, posterous, and fallacious, to suppose the / which, in the whole, according to the muagreement made by his present Majesty tilated accounts on the table, amounted to was any act of concession in him. He re no more than 70,0001. per annum. Now, linquished nothing; he gained nothing. upon inspection, it came out, that this inHe accepted the bounty of parliament. crease was not on what was improperly
The offer came from himself; and it may called the appropriated duties, according be presumed, that the noble lord who then even to the language of administration, enjoyed his confidence, advised him to de. but upon the parliamentary duties. This mand such an income as would be ade. excess, or surplus of 30,0001. arose from quate to the maintenance of the crown the increase of the Post-office fund, which with dignity and splendor. But even if was created by the Post-office Act of the his Majesty had the option we hear this 5th of his present Majesty, to which the day so loudly contended for, the agree-crown had not the most distant pretence. ment was solemn and specific, and ought from this incontrovertible fact, he drew not to be receded from. It must have this conclusion, that the accounts were no been in his Majesty's contemplation at less defective and informal, than they were that time to marry. He must have pro- fallacious and impositious. vided accordingly for the necessary ex. The noble lord (Talbot) had referred to · pences attending such a state, and the a fact, which, if taken in his lordship's own probability of having a numerous issue, way, proved nothing; and proved at the which the event has since proved, and same time, that it was mere argument, and
that nothing serious was intended when the offer was made. The noble lord asserted, that sir John Barnard offered to farm the Civil List revenue at 900,000l. per annum. What would that prove, supjoš he had offered double that sum ? ut, says the noble lord, it was used in argument to shew the Civil List revenue was improperly managed. Be it so; it was a good argument to shew, that parliament had no right to make good the deficiencies when the duties, instead of falling short of the 800,000l. would have produced another hundred; but it was impossible sir John Barnard, or the parliament, could have meant, that if the duties had produced the 900,000l. the crown would have been entitled to the surplus; because the very demand then made implied a right to a specific sum, and not to the duties. If the duties belonged exclusively to the crown, the crown must have been satisfied with the produce; if they did not, but were pledged to it for a specific sum, the crown had a right to ap# to parliament to make good that sum. inally, taking the offer as a matter of mere argument, it was plain that sir John was out in his computation, for the whole of the duties have hitherto amounted to no more than 870,000l. per annum. His lordship concluded with a general account of the degeneracy of the people at large, the pernicious consequences of faction, of patronage, of borough hunting, of contractors and their contracts, of peculations and corruption at home, of the increased influence of the crown, and a variety of other circumstances of singular importance. He observed, that the influence of the crown was not the only influence which tended to bring this nation to slavery, destruction, and ruin; nor was the all-powerful effects of corruption confined to parliament; the whole mass of the o: were corrupted, or corruptible. o man scarcely possessed a political right in the state, who did not wish to part with, or sell it for as much money as it would bring at market. The nation was composed of buyers and sellers. Every man wished to purchase, or dispose; and when he purchased, it was always with an intention to dispose. Which of their lordships who lived in the neighbourhood of a borough, did not wish to bring that borough over to be at his own disposal; and which of them was it, that having it in his possession, did not wish to derive advantages suited to its value, or the peculiar
temper and disposition of the possessor? Where was the !. that was not to be bought, or influenced: Or, if such a phoenix could be found, where was the borough or city that could long withstand the temptations or arts employed to rob it of its integrity or influence, or mislead its judgment 2 What cannot be effected by fraud, corruption, or, force, is brought about by various other methods. Contracts and contractors, and the inexhaustible source of influence derived through these fruitful channels, have done wonders; and have succeeded in cases, where bribes, places, and pensions, from insuperable impediments, must have for ever failed. Contracts not only answer purposes in parliament, but from their fertile and happy nature, flow through twice ten thousand channels. The great contractors have their different contracts; those again are divided and subdivided almost ad infinitum ; so that scarcely a man, who possesses any property throughout the kingdom, but finds it his interest to prolong a war, by which, though the public may be ruined, he is sure to be rendered opulent. This influence, growing from contracts, has risen to a pitch hitherto unparalleled. It has got among the directors of great companies, and extended itself among their creatures and dependants. While government serves them as chosen friends, it enables them to be the chosen friends of government. To answer the purposes of patronage, it has been extended to some of the nabobs of Leadenhall-street, who not content in the pillage of the East, and of plunging us into a war to enable them to pillage the West, have now contracts heaped upon them, lest they should be tempted to pay any attention to the interests of the Company, contrary to the opinion of the noble lord who has employed the power, riches, and patronage ythe Company, in supporting his favourite measures on the opposite side of the globe. Indeed, the present minister had surpassed all his predecessors, in drawing advantages from having it in his power to oblige his friends with contracts; for his predecessors usually waited till applications were made, but his lordship had improved upon this general rule of disposing of them: he was too mindful of his friends to neglect them when so fortunate an opportunity offered to oblige them. He accordingly saves them the trouble of asking; loth to offend their delicacy, he meets them more than half-way. The
power of influence, though general, is not, considered, was a very great sum; it would however, universal. There are some who pay the interest of this year's loan; it have the virtue, perhaps, to withstand it; would prevent the people, already most and even in the mercantile world there are cruelly over-burdened with taxes, from many who plainly perceive its tendency, being heavier loaded; it would, if approand dread its evil effects. He was lately priated to the purpose of supplying other in conversation with one of the latter de- taxes, under which the poor were sufferscription, on the subject of the place of ing, occasion joy and gladness to millions chamberlain, who told him, that the profits of miserable, though industrious poor ; it of that officer's place was mostly drawn would answer for the duties now raised on from the interest accruing on the money, leather, soap, candles, and salt; it would the property of the corporation, lying in let in the light by day, and be the cause his hands. Why is not the money put into of cheering the lonely, miserable, dusky the Bank ? Such is the credit of the Bank mansions of the poor labouring part of the at present, replied the gentleman, that I community by night; in fine, instead of firmly believe, if such a proposition were corrupting the morals of all ranks, of inmade to the city of London, they would | fluencing parliament, and of furnishing not accede to it. His lordship then re- means to the idle, extravagant, and propeated several instances of the shameful fligate, of wallowing in vice, riot, luxury, peculation of the public money in almost and dissipation, it might be happily emevery department of the state; and parti- | ployed in rendering the poor, oppressed cularly one which lately happened respect and industrious part of the community ing the extra revenue, which, with every more easy and comfortable in their other of the kind, substantially helped to destined situations, and be the means of create the very debt now desired to be relieving them from those intolerable bur. paid off; that was the secretary to a com- | thens, which no people under heaven but mission, which was to hold out nothing themselves this moment endure. but death or slavery to America; yet that The question being put on the Amendvery secretary had lately a pension granted ment, the contents were 20, non-contents on duties raised on part of that country, 96. on the 44 per cent. duties, unjustly raised The Duke of Grafton repeated his foron some of the sugar islands; a tax merely mer proposition, that he would, if a comlaid on by virtue of prerogative; a tax mittee were appointed, prove to the satis. which would be hardly defended by a ma. faction of the House, that 800,0001. would jority of that House who had so often de- be an ample revenue to support, not only clared, that the British parliament alone the honour and dignity, but the lustre and had a right to levy duties on the subjects splendour of the crown. He intreated adof the British empire, and not the King ministration to consent to the proposition, by his bare proclamation ; and a tax, he as the only means of preventing the further trusted, for the honour of the legislature, increase of that influence, which threatenand the preservation of the rights of the ed to overwhelm this once glorious empire people, he should one day see reprobated in inevitable destruction. He then moved as utterly illegal and unconstitutional. | the previous question.
His lordship concluded by making some The Earl of Suffolk opposed the inten strictures on what fell from the noble lord ed effect of the motion. He said, sixteen who seconded the motion, relative to the years experience had afforded the fullest average difference of the last 16 years ex- | proof that 800,0001. was not adequate to penditure, and the Civil List revenue when the support of his Majesty's houshold, and augmented to the sum proposed, which the expences of his civil government; that difference was represented as a trifle, the minister who was at the head of the though according to the noble lord's own finances, was known to be equally able confession, it amounted to 30,0001. per and frugal, and no less honest than either; annum. This, his lordship said, was very and that under so good a prince, assisted strange language indeed; and that too by such a minister, parliament had every from a noble lord who was entrusted, with right to be persuaded that the public others, with the care of the national money was wisely laid out, and faithfully finances. He supposed the noble Jord applied. looked upon the whole 100,0001. but as a The question being put on the duke of trifle ; yet he begged leave to assure his Grafton's question, the contents were 98, Lordship, that 100,0001. when properly non-contents 28. The main question on