Imatges de pàgina

ries. He was the more induced to and security of the Sovereign and his mention them with merited praise, as subjects. not many months ago it had been The only discordant note was said in that House, that they were struck by Sir Francis Burdett, who reluctant to give verdicts; and it had complained of the want of courtesy been insinuated that they favoured shewn in not pursuing the wholesome the bad principles of which they practice of former times, when the would not authorize the punishment. speech was read from the cockpit on They had nobly replied to that insi- the day before the meeting of Parduation. He meant to allude to no liament; they had thus leisure to particular verdict when he said that deliberate on the subject. It apthey had shewn themselves equally peared to him most extraordinary, unawed by the power of the Crown especially in these times, to expect or the influence of popular feeling. that members should, at the


first Lord Holland, though he forebore hearing, agree in whatever sentiments any positive opposition, did not quite ministers thought fit to put into the equal the courtesy of his two prede mouth of the Sovereign. When a cessors. If he concurred, as he was younger man, and when first this new disposed to do, in this address, he practice was introduced, he had promust not be supposed to pay any posed on one occasion, that the concompliment to the wisdom and ener. sideration of the speech should be gy of the last Parliament, or to re, adjourned to the following day; in tract any thing which had been said the present instance, however, he on certain subjects by noble lords on should be sorry even to make that his side of the House. He conceived proposition ; but he begged, while that some of the last acts of the late he consented to the compliment on Parliament had been productive of the commencement of a new reign, nothing but mischief; and, if there to guard himself against being supwas any improvement visible in the

posed to concur in any of the senticountry since then, which he hoped ments of the address, excepting those might be found to be the case, it was of congratulation and condolence by no means to be attributed to the in short, in any thing that was not operation of those acts.

matter of mere and absolute form. In the Commons, Mr Tierney ex- The address was carried nem. con. pressed his satisfaction at the fair, In the course of this debate, some cool, and temperate tone taken by interesting conversation took place the mover and seconder of the ad- between the Marquis of Lansdowne dress, and his entire concurrence in and Lord Liverpool, on the subject a great part of what had fallen from of the existing commercial restricthem. He congratulated the House tions. The former nobleman sincerely on the prevailing unanimity: he hoped that our prohibitory system hoped it was an earnest for the fu. would soon be brought under the view ture, and that all parties in the House of the legislature. While he indulged would unite in the expression of un- this hope-a hope entertained and inshaken loyalty to the crown, and of dulged by others, it ought to be rea firm determination, while the true collected that great firmness would liberties of the people were support- be necessary to effect any change ; ed, to set themselves honestly and that the application of general prinsteadily against those machinations ciples to our system of commerce, alike directed against the happiness must be a work of great delicacy and

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difficulty ; that many partial interests As soon as these customary prelimust be encountered as obstacles, minaries were adjusted, it was underand that much immediate and partial stood that the first and most impordistress must be incurred to establish tant object which would occupy the a broad, general, and permanent sys- attention of the new Parliament would tem of national advantage and com- be the settlement of a civil list. It mercial freedom. To effect this, near- was the established usage of England, ly as much courage and firmness that, at the accession of a monarch, would be requisite as in encountering the amount of this branch of revenue the other difficulties of the country. should be settled for life.

This arFirmness, however, for that duty, he rangement, however, could not well, boped, would not be wanting in the and in fact did not, bar any augmenKing'sministers—firmness, he hoped, tation which might become necessary would not be wanting in the Legis- during the altered circumstances of a lature ; and he (Lord Lansdowne) long reign. In fact, the great rise in pledged himself, whenever a relaxa- the value of all commodities which tion of commercial restrictions—a took place during that of George great relaxation-was brought for- III., could scarcely fail to occasion ward, he would lend it his utmost continual arrears, and to call for sucsupport.

cessive additions. These, however, To these observations Lord Liver- were not granted without seriousmur. pool returned a very guarded and murs and disputation. In 1815 and cautious reply. This was a subject to 1816, a strict investigation took place which he and others of his Majesty's into all the departments of the regal ministers had given no inconsiderable expenditure ; and an amount was degree of attention. His own opi- fixed, somewhat augmented indeed, nions upon it were well known to but applied under such rigorous many most respectable individuals in checks as seemed to secure against the city, and he should be prepared any future misapplication. The reto declare them to their lordships sult was, that under this new syswhenever a fit occasion offered. At tem, the accumulation of arrears the same time he wished to guard ceased ; the revenue was found suftheir lordships, and those more im- ficient to cover the expenditure; and mediately concerned, from any delu- the King in his opening speech could sion on the subject. As to whether announce, that he asked no more than more good or more evil resulted from had been enjoyed by the Crown for the operation of the present system, the last four years. A statement so he would not now say; but perhaps, unusual was expected by ministers to in some of the general principles re- diffuse general satisfaction, and to specting it, he did not differ from the shut the mouths of their opponents. noble marquis, though they might The latter, however, were too much not agree in the minor detail. Not on the alert, t.) lose this opportunity that by this he meant to convey that of probing into certain anomalies, something might not be done, and which, though sanctioned by long some alterations might not be made; usage, appeared inconsistent with that but their lordships would admit, that rigid control to which it was now proit was a subject which should be ap- posed to subject this branch of the proached coolly and dispassionately, public expenditure. and that too much should not be ex- In consequence of a motion of Sir pected from its first agitation. Henry Parnell, on the 3d May, the

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report of 1815 on the civil list was a return to be made to the House ordered to be reprinted. Mr Tier- when any excess took place, had been ney, however, seemingly with some complied with. He was not sure that reason, treated this measure as very such a return had been made, and he nugatory, since the question would thought there could be no objection be set at rest before gentlemen had to its being produced. that report in their hands. They were The Chancellor of the Exchequer to decide first, and have the report opposed the motion. The act of 1816 afterwards.

required, that, if there were an addiAs a supplement to this proceeding, tional charge on the civil list exceedMr Hume moved a return of the ex- ing the estimate by thesum of 16,0001., penditure from the 5th January 1815, an account of such exceeding was to to the 5th January 1820. He was be laid before Parliament. Now no particularly anxious that the pay- such return bad been made ; and if ments should be classified. No less the honourable gentleman thought than an expense of 600,0001., totally that the Act of Parliament had been exclusive of the civil list, was incur, violated, let him bring his charge fora red by the civil expenditure. From ward, and ministers would be ready the accession of his late Majesty, up to meet it. He was now prepared to to the period to which the report of say, that since the passing of the act 1815 extended, the money voted by of 1816 the issue had been regular, the House of Commons, in aid of the and no excess whatsoever had taken civil list, amounted to 53,000,0001. : place. MrHuskisson, moreover, urged, but nearly 9,000,0001. had been paid that the right of calling on ministers, from the consolidated fund, on ac- under all circumstances, to produce count of items separated from the ci- accounts which the honourable genvil list, and, strictly speaking, form- tleman seemed to think existed, was a ing a portion of that list at the acces- new doctrine in Parliament. If there sion of George III. They could not,

were no excess, (which must be in. therefore, know what the exactamount ferred, as no return was made,) and of the civil list was, unless they had if no demand were made for assistbefore them the six classes into which ance, he could see nothing, consistthe payments were divided. They ently with the course pursued by would then be able to decide on the Parliament at all times, that authorialterations that should be made. He sed the honourable gentleman to call considered it quite an anomaly that for a detailed account of the applicathe right honourable gentleman who tion of those revenues which Parliafilled the chair should be paid from ment had granted for the support of the second class of the civil list the his Majesty's household.

The arsum of 15001., and that another rangement of 1816 accomplished that source should be applied to in order which had not been before accomto complete his income. The pay- plished. The regulations adopted at ment of the salary of every individual that period provided new checks, by should be simplified. As the esta- which the whole expense of every deblishment of 1816 was formed on a partment, in each class, was to be scale the most extravagant that had kept within the estimate agreed to by been known since the settlement of Parliament. It had been so confined; the civil list, the House ought to in- and that being the case, the honourquire, whether the two acts, ordering able gentleman was in possession of all the information that was necessary levy taxes for its own private use, by for any proceeding with reference to means of a colonial secretary; and the establishment of a new civil list. that every individual so employed on Let him take the estimate as it now the part of the Crown was guilty of stood, and rest assured that the ex- a misdemeanor, as well as of a breach penditure was kept within its bounds. of the privileges of that House. Ac

Mr Tierney indeed replied : They cording to the original charter in 1705, were not now dealing with a civil list no duty or imposition whatever was actually in being—they were called to be laid on vessels or merchandize on de novo, to make a civil list; and entering that port. This immunity in doing that, his honourable friend was of great benefit to the trade of asked for such information as would that place; and even in 1794, the enable him to decide on what was amount of taxes did not exceed 40001. proper to be given. His honourable It appeared very surprising, therefriend wanted further information fore, that it should now fall very little he wished to know whether all the short of 50,0001. General Don had money granted to support the civil laid on taxes of his own authority, by list had been expended. Parliament mere proclamation. Mr H. complainmight have voted too little, or it might ed also of prodigality in the civil gohave granted too much.

vernment of the place, and of oppresSome farther conversation took sion to the Roman Catholic inhabiplace, in the course of which Lord tants. Milton declared, he very much doubt- The Chancellor of the Exchequer ed whether the situation of the coun- did not mean to oppose the productry was such as to justify the House tion of the returns ; at the same time in forming a permanent establishment he thought it unfair, in merely moat all. Such a revolution had taken ving returns, to introduce attacks on place in the currency of the country, individuals, of whose conduct the that no man could say what was the House had yet no means of judging. real value of a pound-note. But when With regard to the right of the Crown the question came to the vote, it was to a revenue raised in Gibraltar, he negatived by a majority of 113 to 50. apprehended, that, on a clear princiSeveral other motions of a similar na- ple of the law of nations, the rights ture met the same fate.

which were before vested in the Crown Mr Hume followed up these mo. of Spain, were by conquest transfertions by another on the following day, red to the Sovereign of Great Britain. respecting the revenues of Gibraltar. He should, however, enter into no deBy accounts which had been laid on fence until the papers were on the the table, it appeared, that a sum of table. Sir James Mackintosh urged, 124,2511. had been sent over to this however, seemingly with reason, that country in the course of the last sixty he could not conceive any principle of years, affording an annual receipt of the law of nations which bore out the about 20701. for the same period, and assertion that the power vested in an had gone into the King's privy purse. absolute prince became, in case of The appendix to the third report conquest, equally vested in a king shewed that the sum actually so re- whose power was not absolute. ceived amounted, during the last four The papers were voted. years, to 4032l. per annum. There By much the warmest discussion, could be little doubt, in his opinion, however, of those preliminary to the that the Crown was not authorised to debate on the civil list, arose out of Mr Brougham's motion relative to the realm. In this view he strongly certain duties, particularly those term- condemned the Act brought in by ed the droits of Admiralty, which were Mr Pitt in 1799, by which the Soveheld as the private domain of the reign and his heirs were enabled to Crown. Mr Broughambegan with pro- have property, and to deal with it as testing, that nothing could be farther their own. I'his act empowered the from his mind than any intention of King not only to dispose of his crown compassing the degradation of the lands, but to expend all the money royal dignity, or even of abridging he might be able to amass in the purthose rights which were the rights chase of new property of all kinds, and privileges of the Crown, in any which, like a common private indione the most minute point, not only vidual, he might burden or sell again of what might be deemed necessary at a profit-might give away in rein supporting its weight in the con- wards to favourites--might dispose stitution, but of those also which were of even to enemies—or, pro tanto, set. necessary to its dignity and just splen- ting the votes of Parliament at dedour. If at any one period of our his. fiance, might defeat the whole system tory it would have been next to crimi- and policy of the constitution. It nalto have endeavoured to deprive the enabled him even to hold copybolds, executive government of that which and thus to become the tenant of his was requisite to its own maintenance own subject. In ancient times, out and honour-and without honour it of these funds belonging to itself, the could not be maintained it would be Crown was bound to carry on various altogether criminal to attempt such departments of the public service. a measure in times like the present. Thus, for the Droits of Admiralty, He desired the support of no gentle which then included only wrecks, man to the resolution with which he stranded fish, and other trifles, the intended to conclude, but upon the King was bound" to keep the narrow previous performance of this condi- seas clear of pirates.” An inevitable tion by himself-that he should prove change of circumstances had thrown to the satisfaction of all who voted this, with other duties, upon the

gewith him, that the measure he should neral revenue of the country. Yet, propose was not only safe but expe- extraordinary as it mightseem, though dient—that it not only did not de- the King paid nothing towards the degrade the Crown, but that it mani- fence of his subjects, nothing towards festly tended to augment its dignity. driving pirates from the seas, nothing He then laid it down as an old and towards the “tuition and good goconfirmed maxim of our constitution, vernment of the realm,” (as it was sanctioned by the opinions of the worded in the statute of Henry VIII.) greatest lawyers, both of the bench he still kept the whole amount of his and of the bar, supported by the revenues from the Droits of Admiwhole current of the most venerable ralty, amounting in the last reign to authorities, that the Crown, as such, no less than 13,700,0001. Contrary was incapable of possessing separate to the opinion of several of his friends, property. Mr B. then quoted ex. he thought a compensation due to the amples to shew, that even funds to Crown; the strict letter of the law which the Crown possessed the most would here, in his opinion, be the undisputed right, as treasure-trove, height of injustice. He thought the old stores, &c., could not be disposed mode of dealing with the Church of otherwise than under the privy seal of England in respect to tithes, a pre

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