Slike strani


June 15. The bill being reported, ge- Wales. If this was a fund for the supneral Smith moved a clause, “ directing port of the state and dignity of the Prince the commissioners to institute suits for of Wales, it was certainly intended that trying the right of his Royal Highness to the appropriation of it should prevent any the rents, issues, and profits of the duchy expense from falling either upon the civil of Cornwall, which accrued due between list, or the public. The public would the time of his birth and his attaining the then have a right to set off against the age of twenty-one years, and for obtain amount of tire income, during the minoring an account of such rents, issues, and ity, any expense which might have been profits, and for compelling the payment of incurred on account of his Royal High. the balance of such account."

This amounted to upwards of The Attorney General began with ad- 300,0001. He conceived the present dismitting, that he had not been quite accu- cussion could have no other effect than rate in the statement which he bad for- that of stirring a difficult and abstruse merly given on the subject. The duchy question, without any chance of practical of Cornwall was a tenure neither held by benefit either to the Prince or the public. knights service, nor by soccage; it was Neither the Prince himself, his creditors, of a nature so peculiar, as to be difficult nor parliament, had proceeded upon a for him to describe. The exact nature and supposition of any such sum being due to extent of this species of estate was not him. legally defined. He therefore could but Mr. For said, he saw the business in a speak on general principles, and those very different light; and even if the asprinciples he must derive from the usages sumptions of the right hon. gentleman which were made under former princes in were right, he thought a very opposite the disposition of this estate. From conclusion was to be drawn from them. hence, seeing that it was neither a tenure What the attorney-general had said, had in knights service, nor a tenure in soccage, only confirmed him in his former opinion and this he proved from the reigns of Ed- upon the subject. He had stated, that ward 3rd Henry 7th, and Charles 1st, this was a fund granted for the support of when this right was called into debate, he the state and dignity of the Prince of would define it as nothing else than as a Wales; but this was not the only fund fund appropriated by the original grant conceived to be necessary, since afterof parliament for the maintenance of the wards the principality of Wales and the Prince of Wales-who had very properly earldom of Chester, were granted for the been represented as “ major à die nativi- same purpose.

He conceived what had tatis. In support of this opinion, he went been urged, that the expense would fall through the different cases which had been upon the public, to be a most unseemly brought forward. The question of the argument. Natural feeling suggested right of the Prince he confessed to be that the king, like every other father, exceedingly difficult. If this was a fund ought to be chargeable with the educafor the support of the Prince of Wales tion of his own son; and because parliafrom the period of his birth, the king, as ment had paid a debt of the civil-list, to his natural guardian, had the disposal of the amount of 600,0001. it was not to be that fund during his minority. The diffi- inferred, though it might probably have culty was increased by the long period been the case, that they would, with the which had intervened since that minority, same facility, have paid a debt of 800,0001. which would render any claim on the part He conceived it to be of the utmost imof the Prince extremely doubtful in the portance to ascertain what was due to decision, if it was at all oper to be the Prince, at a moment when they were brought forward.

complaining of his debts, and talking of Mr. Pilt said, that if there existed any the liberality which they had shown in claim, it was a claim upon the public. their conduct towards hiin. The revenues of the duchy of Cornwall The Solicitor General said, that the had been applied in aid of the civil-list; as House had formerly acted upon the consi. such, they had been recognized by parlia- deration of his majesty's applying the rement, by whom the debts of that civil-list venues of the duchy of Cornwall to the had been more than once paid. But it civil list; nor could he think the Prince was next to be considered, how far, in had any interest in the present motion. point of substantial justice, any thing was The Prince's claim, if he had any, ought due from the public to the Prince of to be left to a court of law-a remedy to which it would not be for the Prince's ho- of a death required, for it was bona fide, nour to resort.

the property of the king, until a son be Mr. Sheridan said, that from the mode born, and then he preserves it at discreof proceeding adopted by the House, the tion, apportioning as much of it as may be Prince's character was implicated in the needful for the education of the prince. question, inasmuch as it would decide Here, too, the obligation of the father difwhether or not he could pay his debts, fers from all common obligations of a si. and assume the splendour befitting his milar nature, which appears to be the distation in any reasonable time. His rect tendency of the grant for making the income he received originally burthened prince the pupil of the nation; for alwith pensions to the amount of 8,0001, a though the king would certainly possess year, and deducting rent and taxes, the as much paternal care for the education of whole sum left him by the bill, would not one child as another, and although in chiexceed 48,0001., a year. To this sum he valry, where a son inherits an estate in his was to be restricted for ten years, obliged own right, the father is obliged to maintain to dismiss gentlemen from his service who, and educate him for a certain term of years, perhaps, had formed their dependence yet the duchy of Cornwall seems to be upon him, and unable to appropriate any given, especially for this distinction, in the thing to benevolence or charity, which, io eldest son of the king. Hence he conceiva mind like his, must be a great mortifica ed that the king might appropriate whattion. There was no man more inclined to ever sums he pleased for his own use, unthose generous virtues which adorn hu- til the livery was given. There was no manity. To all those, therefore, who re- trace of any account rendered on this subspected the feelings and happiness of his ject ; and he was of opinion, that to unra. Royal Highness, it must be of importance vel the whole of this proceeding would to iry, whether just and honourable means neither contribute to the character of the might not be found to prevent such de Prince, nor to that of parliament. pression of his spirit, such retrenchments The question being put, that the said from hisincome. Gentlenien no longer main- clause be brought up, the House divided : tained the illegality of his claim, they ad

Tellers. mitted it to be a question of considerable

General Smith doubt; why should not this doubt be clear

:} 40 ed? We do not officiously intrude this bu

Mr. Grant siness on the Prince ; he has applied to us;


::} 97 we have undertaken the management of his affairs, subjected him to restrictions and June 17. On the order of the day for yet we cannot shut our eyes to the fact the third reading of the bill, that he may be entitled to a large proper- Mr. Hussey said, that he objected to ty. The House were making themselves the bill altogether, because it went to lay trustees for his whole property, and in that an additional burthen of 65,0001., on the character they were bound in honour to in: people. He had formerly suggested a quire what money was due to him, as well plan for removing this burthen. His proas what debis he owed.

position was the sale of the forest lands, Mr. William Grant showed that the or landed revenue of the crown, when he duchy of Cornwall materially differed was told by the attorney general, that it from soccage and a tenure in chivalry, - was tantamount to a burthen on the conand was

a tenure sui generis. By the solidated fund. This he denied, and destatute of Edward 3rd, it was granted sired that part of the Journals to be read for “ the sustentation of the princely es- which contained the 121h report of the tate," and hence it was evident that the commissioners of accounts, on the 25th royal beir was peculiarly di-tinguished, of May 1792 stating, what small sums and during his minority was considered as were paid into the exchequer in consethe pupil of the nation. In knights ser- quence of the frequent gifts of Crown vice the inheritor possessed the estate im- lands. After this, he had no doubt but as mediately on the death of the tenant, and the 65,0001., when taken from the consothenceforward the award was made ; þut | lidated fund was a burthen, so if it were the death of the tenant must be first sup- to be raised by the sale of Crown lands, it posed, before there could be any claim. i would be a benefit, inasmuch as it would Now, in respect to the inheritance of the decrease the patronage of the crown, and duchy, there was no death, nor supposition improve many thousand acres of land.

Yeas {Mr. Lambton


[ocr errors]


Mr. Rose considered it as the same them, he believed to have fair and just thing, since the money arising from the claims upon his Royal Highness : those revenues of the Crown lands was applied creditors were ill-treated by this measure ; to those contingencies for the public ser- they would lose four or five per cent. for vice, which must otherwise be defrayed discount of the debentures, after their from the consolidated fund.

claims should be allowed; so that, after Mr. Fox said, that the reason why no all, the tradesmen would not have the assistance could be derived from the Crown whole of their demands settled. Think. lands on the present occasion was one ing, therefore, that the public and the very easy to guess, though very difficult Prince were ill treated, he found himself to he stated, by those who were most im- bound to oppose the bill altogether. mediately interested. It was a fund, The question being put, That the said which had been stated as a resource by a bill be now read the third time, the House very respectable committee of that House; divided : but any proposition to resort to it was

Tellers. sure to meet with resistance, because it was found to afford a source of influence. Yeas

54 The Solicitor General said, there could not be a greater extravagance than to sell

Mr. Sheridan

10 the Crown lands at this period, when they

General Tarleton would not fetch a fourth part of their va- So it was resolved in the affirmative. lue. With respect to the application of the profits of them to the present bill, Debate in the Lords on the Prince of which was a quarterly annuity, he was at Wales's Annuity Bill.] June 24. Lord a loss to conceive how it could be done. Grenville having moved the order of the

General Smith wished to hold out to day for the second reading of this bill, the public, the claim which the Prince Lord Cholmondeley stated, that he was had to the revenue of the duchy of Corn- authorized by his Royal Highness to say, wall. He strongly insisted on the infer- " That he would acquiesce in whatever ence to be drawn from the opinion given measures the wisdom of parliament might by the first law officer of the crown, that think fit to recommend.” the right of his Royal Highness to the The Duke of Clarence said, that he rose amount of that revenue was doubtful. to deliver his sentiments, before an oppor

Mr. Sheridan said, he must oppose the tunity had been afforded to noble lords bill, because it went to burthen the public to mingle political observations with the with taxes to the amount of 65,0001. As discussion. Whatever were his sentito the arrears of the duchy, they ought to ments with respect to the bill, he should be accounted for to the Prince. It was certainly vote that it might pass. Though an unfortunate circumstance for his Royal he objected to its principle there were Highness that his advisers thought so parts of it which met with his entire approlightly of his claim. But, if he had his bation. He should chiefly confine his obformer advisers, who were honourable and servations to that part of it which related to learned gentlemen, he had no doubt but the provision to be made for the payment that the claim would be made; for they of the creditors. It naturally and properwere the friends of the Prince, and not ly became an object to grant a suitable less his friends for being also the friends establishment to the Prince on account of of the public. He proceeded to show his marriage. In granting this establishthat this measure was not an establishment ment, it might have been supposed that for the Prince suitable to his rank and dig. the Prince had now come to an age, at nity; he therefore, for one, should not con- which he was fully capable of acting for sider this subject as closed, but open for himself, and would of his own accord have discussion at any future time. He thought been disposed to take measures to free that a sum of money ought to be raised himself from any incumbrances which he immediately for the discharge of the debts; might have contracted. But instead of for by the present plan the Prince's name allowing him the incrit of taking measures would appear indorsed on all his bills for of his own accord to pay his creditors, eight or nine years together. This was the authors of the bill had taken the poimproper with regard to the creditors also, pularity of such a step out of his hands. whom some gentlemen put together as a That other provision, which made the difgang of robbers in a lump, but many of ferent officers of his Royal Highness responsible for the expense incurred under their powers in support of the measure of their several departments, he highly ap- granting a subsidy of 200,0001. a year, to proved. He conceived it to be a measure the king of Sardinia, a sum of 1,200,0001. extremely necessary for the dignity and to the king of Prussia, and lately the comfort of every Prince of Wales. A loan of 4,600,0001., to the Emperor. But Prince of Wales, by a particular law, be though on these occasions, they displayed came of age at 18, while every other sub- all their stores of animated language, when ject was not of age till 21. A young man they brought forward the situation of his at that age, when the passions were at royal brother, they prefaced what they had their height, and in his situation, might to propose with the expressions—“ an be led into expenses beyond his income, unpleasant task-an arduous undertaking and which, perhaps, might border on ex--the distresses of the people in consetravagance. Such a circumstance he quence of the war-the regret of laying could not consider as a serious reflection additional burthens on the public;" yet if on a young man of eighteen. Those who they had adopted, with respect to his had been concerned in bringing forward royal brother, a language somewhat more this business, had so managed, as to take favourable, they would not have had a away all popularity from the Prince in or- vote less to the present bill. The obloquy der to center it in themselves. He should that had been thrown upon the Prince had not, on the present occasion, betray any not been confined to the speeches in the thing that had passed in private conversa- other House but people out of that tion. But it was a notorious fact, that when House had been employed to write and the marriage of his Royal Highness was publish the most indecent and scurrilous agreed upon, there was a stipulation that pamphlets, painting the Prince's conhe should, in the event of that union, be duct in the basest colours, and endeavour. exonerated from his debts. What could ing to lessen him in every shape in the his Royal Highness understand by this, eyes of the public. He remarked on the but that measures would be taken for the situation of the Princess of Wales, a lovely immediate exoneration of those debts; not and amiable woman torn from her family'; that they should be left hanging over for for though her mother was the king's sister, the space of nine years. The authors of she might still be said to be torn from her the bill had stated, that the credit and sta- family, by being removed from all her bility of the throne depended upon the early connexions ; what must be her feelsupport of the independence and dignity ings from such circumstances attendant of every pranch of the royal family, parti. on her reception in a country where she cularly of the Prince of Wales. Was the had a right to expect every thing befitting method they had taken the best calculated her high rank, and the exhalted station to to support that dignity and that indepen- which she was called? As a friend to the dence? His Royal Highness had, indeed, Prince, he, however, would not oppose expressed his acquiescence in whatever the passing of the bill, for he was conmeasures the wisdom of parliament might vinced that the sooner it was passed, the think fit to recommend. But what was sooner would its absurdity and malignity the situation in which he was placed ? appear. If the arrears of the duchy of The bill was, in one point of view, a pub. Cornwall were due to the Prince during lic bill, as was every bill which related to his minority, that question would quickly any part of the royal family; but it was be brought forward, and he trusted that more strictly a private bill, as nothing the learned lord before whom it would could be done without the consent of the come to be argued in his judicial capacity, Prince. Advantage, then, had been taken and whose justice could not be impeached, of the difficulties in which he was involved would throw no impediment in the way of in order to procure from him this consent. its speedy decision. If the Princess had He was forced to express his acquiescence, children, an event which might soon be in order that something might be done. expected to take place, the very movers He was in the situation of a man, who, if of the bill would be convinced of its he could not get a haunch of venison, absurdity and inhumanity, and would would rather take any other haunch than themselves be obliged to come forward

He knew persons in another with amendments on its present provisions. place, who possessed great powers of elo- The bill was then read a second time. quence, and abundant choice of animated Lord Grenville said, it was evident that expressions. Those persons had exerted no grant wade to the Prince, could be

go without

rendered effectual for his ease and com- to adopt. He concluded with moving, fort, unless means were at the same time that the bill be committed. taken to relieve him from his embarrass.. The Duke of Bedford said, he felt conments. It became necessary, therefore, siderable pain in being obliged to blame the to make provisions with a view to that ob- rash extravagance of the Prince : he had ject. The interference of parliament less difficulty in adverting to the conduct could alone effect what was desirable with of his majesty, as he knew that ministers respect to the Prince himself, or give were responsible for the part which he had proper security to his creditors. It was been advised to take on the present occasatisfactory to know that his Royal High- sion. He certainly would have opposed ness was disposed to acquiesce in whatever the bill, had not the Message been that measures parliament might think fit to re- day brought down to the House, stating commend. He had a clear and decided the acquiescence of his Royal Highness. opinion, that the grant to be made by the The bill itself he considered as extremely present bill to his Royal Highness was not objectionable, as it referred to two points, more than what constituted a proper esta- which were in themselves perfectly disblishment for the maintenance of his state tinct. He certainly approved of the conand dignity. Out of that grant, however, duct of ministers in having stated in the a very large sum was to be appropriated message to parliament that his Royal to the discharge of his debts. The ques- Highness was much encumbered with tion, then, was, whether, under the pre- debts. But the conduct which he thought sent circumstances, parliament ought to that they ought to have adopted was, have taken upon itself the payment of the either to have voted the necessary sum for debts, and to have assigned the whole of his establishment, and left it to himself to the establishment unincumbered to his take the proper measures for satisfying his Royal Highness ? He was persuaded that creditors, or to have waited tlll such time the illustrious personage himself would as he had chosen to come forward to renot, under all the circumstances of the quest the assistance of parliament for the times, have desired any proposition to have purpose of their liquidation. Considerbeen made to pay his debts, which should ing the rise of all articles, he did not have had the effect to leave him in posses. think an addition of 25,000/. above what sion of his full and unincumbered income. had been granted to former princes of If it was necessary to make provision for Wales too much on the present occasion ; the support of the state and dignity of the but he was surprised that ministers, who Prince of Wales, and the grant made by had formerly thought so much smaller a the bill was not more than ought to be as- sum adequate for his establishment, should signed for that purpose, the next point now think that the alteration in his circumwas, what sum ought to be appropriated stances required so large an addition as out of the grant for the payment of debts? 75,000l. However disposed he might be On the one hand was the consideration of to censure the extravagance of the Prince, that state, which it was necessary to sup- he was not one of those who thought that port, and which must unavoidably be cur- it ought to be magnified into a crime. tailed by any large appropriation; and on There were several considerations which the other, the consideration of the much tended to extenuate the conduct of the longer period during which the Prince Prince. They ought to recollect bis age, would be left under his embarrassments, the situation in which he was placed, and if only a small sum should be set apart the insufficiency of his income to support towards the liquidation of debt. He must the splendor necessary for his rank. He own that the proportion set apart for this thought that it would have been much purpose was a much larger one than he better to have advanced a sum at once should have been disposed, in the first in- sufficient to have liquidated the debts. stance, to submit to the blouse. But His royal father might have been expected coming before their lordships in the shape to have contributed for that purpose. It in which it now did, recommended by the was rather singular, that when they had weight and authority of the House of granted a subsidy of 1,200,0001. to the Commons, and apparently sanctioned by king of Prussia, and a much larger sum the general voice of the country, he by way of loan to the Emperor, they should thought i: was that sum which they not i now be disputing about advancing a few only ought to permit to stand in the bill, hundred thousand pounds for the Prince. but which it was even desirable for them | When ministers railed at the extravagance

« PrejšnjaNaprej »