« ZurückWeiter »
of the Prince, they forgot the examples werp; but ministers took no notice of of extravagance which had been afforded it. Another circumstance which tended him in former times.
greatly to lessen the blame of his Royal The Earl of Lauderdale thought, that Highness was, the contradictory advice, the sum to be granted to the Prince of which had been from time to time offered Wales was by no means more than was him. By some he was advised to purnecessary. So far from it, that it would sue a scheme of retrenchment and ecoappear unequal to what parliament had nomy; but he had no sooner made up allowed before on many occasions. In his mind to this, than other more subhis opinion, ministers had contrived, very tle and alluring advisers persuaded him unworthily, to load his Royal Highness that it was necessary to the dignity of with an unpopularity, which they could the heir-apparent, that he should live in not have brought upon him by any means a state of splendor: a kind of catechism but those which they had pursued in the was given him to get by heart, and the chief progress of this transaction. Ministers burden of the creed was, that he ought, at had acted warily in this business; they least, to live upon a footing with M. Egalité. had taken to themselves the credit of res- No wonder that a youthful and sprightly cuing his Royal Highness from his embar- mind should be led astray by such fascirassments, and of paying his creditors ; nating counsels: he got his catechism by they were imwilling he should have any of heart; he practised the doctrines incul. the management of it himself, because cated; and now the very inen who taught they knew that in that case he would have him it, were the loudest in condemning the popularity of the measure, because the effects it had produced. the public would then perceive that the sure that if the people of this country idea originated from him. But while mi- saw the matter in its real light, minisnisters had thus artfully and speciously ters would not be successful in their enacted, he, for one, must say, that, under deavours to bring odium upon his Royal pretence of providing for his dignity and Highness. He disapproved of the reease, they had done every thing in their trictions, as far as they were personal, power to lower him in the opinion of the against his Royal Highness; but observed people of England. Had they allowed him that he should approve of them, if they this income, and given to him the manage- were merely general to any prince of ment of it, they would have afforded a much Wales. He blamed ministers for not more solid foundation for the support of making these provisions, when the subject his dignity. The plan in this bill for the lid of the Prince's debts were before parliaquidation of the debts, appeared to him ex- ment on a former occasion, for he did not ceedingly defective. He did not now look see why one message to parliament should whether the Prince had or had not been be followed up with more restrictions than extravagant, the question was, What he another message. Ministers might ask, came to the public for? What had the si How could they do it?” There were a Prince done to be so much censured ? thousand ways by which they could. Was there any thing so very extraordinary They might have done it then by the very in his present situation? What Prince means they adopted now, if they had been did we know, who had not, in his situation, willing. It would require more ingenuity come for a greater sum from the public? for them to convince the public that they Persons at his time of life, and in his should not then have done it, than that station, rather regulated their conduct with they would not. They had cherished the a reference to what they expected, than hopes of his Royal Highness, and now what they actually possessed. When mi- they attempted to degrade him; but he nisters pledged themselves in 1787, that was not at all surprised at that, because it no more applications for payments of debts was perfectly correspondent with all their should be made, they ought to have taken conduct towards his Royal Highness, and care that some provision like the present towards the public. The message from should have been made. They well knew his Royal Highness delivered this day. the manner in which his Royal Highness prevented him from opposing the principle was living, yet they never said a syllable of the bill. against it. They had an opportunity some The Duke of Clarence said, that when years ago, of entering into a provision of the loan abroad was proposed, he could this kind, when it was in the mouth of every state positively, that the secretary of state one, that a loan was negociating at Ant- prevented it. [VOL. XXXII.]
Lord Grenville asserted without fear of parliament should be cautious in such recontradiction, that no censure could pos- cognitions. Some years ago, when the same sibly attach to ministers for their conduct, question was agitated, he bad a great incliin any part of this proceeding. What was nation to come down to the House on purthe censure? and what the argument to pose to oppose it, and to state his reasons support it? First, that ministers were for so doing; but some private business the cause of these debts being contracted. interfered, and he did not attend. His maHow so? At the time when the subject jesty then stated the grounds of his applicaof the debts of his Royal Highness was tion, together with strong assurances of rebefore parliament on a former occasion, gularity in future. Those assurances was he fiad not the honour of holding any offi- still in every body's mouth, and nothing cial situation. He gave his opinion only stronger could be urged against the preas a member of parliament, and that opi- sent question. Parliament at that time nion he was ready to maintain. The wished to avoid looking too minutely into question of the precise amount to be the accounts, because it trusted a similar granted, was one on which there must be application would never again be made. a diversity of opinion. But how could it The Commons in particular replied in their possibly be supposed, that ministers had | answer to the royal message, that they endeavoured to attach any unpopularity | acted specifically upon that reliance. He on the Prince, by bringing the matter was sorry, therefore, that a similar appliforward? But it was said by the noble cation had so soon occurred; and he was earl, that ministers endeavoured to degrade sorry also that the former assurances were the Prince by the measure which they now given, as they tended to lessen that rebrought forward. Now, he would wish spect which he wished to see attached to to ask, whether that noble earl would the royal family; especially, too, as the not have said, that ministers, if they re- royal family for fourscore years had confuscd to bring this subject forward,' had stantly conformed to the parliamentary attempted to disgrace his Royal Highness arrangements. He imagined, that the arIt was said, that ministers were to blame rangements which were made by parliafor not bringing this business forward | ment in 1787, might have been adhered sooner, and for not having taken measures to, and the Prince's credit been preto prevent the contracting debts in future. served; for, in regard to the regulations What! before any application on the part then made, there was nothing proposed of his Royal Highness to discharge his in- but what the Prince was competent for. cumbrances ? What right had they to do Indeed he was desirous that parliament so? There would have been great inde- should not recognize these debts, that if licacy in such officious conduct.
any of them should remain unpaid on the The Marquis of Buckingham said, he demise of the Prince, they might serve as must enter his protest against charging an example, in terrorem, to future disthe sums specified in the bill on the con honest creditors. It would therefore be solidated fund, instead of the civil list. a wholesome lesson, that parliament should On the famous debate respecting the in- not be responsible. Another objection creased establishment of Frederick Prince he had, was, that the provisions did not of Wales, the question never once was answer the purposes for which they were agitated, whether any sum should be professed to be made. They professed to taken out of the consolidated fund, but liberate the prince from the clamours of whether his majesty should give a larger his creditors, when the bill was not comallowance out of the civil list. Only of pulsory and mandatory upon all. It opelate years had this system been departed rated only upon those who should choose from; and even if it had not been so, he to subinit, and an honest tradesman would should probably have objected, as he be a madman to claim the benefit of this should have wished ever to resist such ac- act, when he might recover his demands cessions to the civil list. As to the re- immediately by law. True it was, that cognition of certain debts which were in some clause might afterwards be added volved in this bill, he had hoped when to accommodate this matter; but as it they were mentioned, that something now stood, the bill was extremely defecwould have been said upon them. Par- tive. In respect to the debts, he thought liament had never recognized the debts the Prince might have adopted some meaincurred by the crown or its dependencies sure for their liquidation, without submit. until the present reign ; and it was fit that ting himself to the control of parliament. The Earl of Guilford wished the settling sist or maintain his dignity. He would of the debts had been left out of the pro- ask the noble lords in the confidence of vision made for the establishment. He the Prince, whether the bill in question was aware, that withoui parliamentary se- was not totally different from that first curity it might be difficult to adopt an proposed to his Royal Highness; as well effectual plan of arrangement; but he as contrary to his opinion? He, from could not approve of conjoining the pro- being honoured with his confidence, could visions. It was impossible to blame the state what it was. His Royal Highness Prince for exceeding the income allowed could not help feeling that the bill
, as it in 1780, when it was the general opinion, now stood, involved him in an unpleasant that an establishment suitable to his rank, dilemma. The measure was contradictory could not be supported with less than in itself. If one part of the bill was im100,0001., per annum.
plicitly obeyed, the other must necessaThe Earl of Carnarvon said, it was im- rily be neglected. The object of the possible to separate the provision for the measure was, to give an increased income payment of the debts from the allowance to his Royal Highness. In giving this for the income. It would be to the dis- income, it was thought to be such as was grace of the country, if a legal process - necessary to support the rank of the heir could be instituted against the Prince apparent. If such, therefore, was the ob. after the passing of this bill; but a clause ject, the other provisions of that act enwould remedy that evil.
tirely destroyed such intention. For imThe Earl of Moira said, that the pro- mediately after the additional income was visions of the bill were inadequate to the voted, it was, by the subsequent parts of purposes which it held out, and main- the bill, taken away; and he was dismissed tained that, throughout the whole of this into retirement, with the rank of a private transaction, the Prince had been unfairly gentleman. If this latter part of the ardealt with. If a different conduct had rangement must be observed, the former been pursued, he was sure the public must be defeated. His Royal Highness would have been as ready to come for- felt this contradiction, and thought, from ward with assistance, as the Prince was the imperfection of the measure, that it uneasy that circumstances made it neces- was likely the wisdom of parliament must sary for him to apply to them. Nothing in a future day again be called upon. could more strongly point this out than But whatever was the individual opinion the communication which he had made of his Royal Highness, he submitted with to parliament. He had always been one the utmost pleasure to the wisdom of of those who thought the Prince's income parliament. He knew not who advised inadequate. He differed entirely from ihe application to parliament on the prethe noble earl, who stated that his Royal sent occasion ; if he had had the honour Highness had regulated his conduct and of being consulted, he should have enexpenses by catechism set down to him, deavoured to dissuade the Prince from by which he was led to believe, that making it. In regard to the bill, he knew whenever his debts amounted to a sum that the Prince had proposed to accept sufficiently large, he ought then, and not 100,0001. a.year, exclusive of the revebefore, to make his situation known to par- nues of the duchy of Cornwall, and that liament. He was sure that from no such 50,000l. a year should be set apart for catechism, and by no such advice had his the payment of his debts. With respect Royal Highness's conduct been dictated. to the arrears of the duchy of Cornwall, He thought language by far too harsh his Royal Highness looked to them with had been applied to the Prince's conduct, no other view than as a means of paying when his fault. really amounted to no his debts. By the manner in which the more than this, that he was ignorant of bill had been brought forward, it appeared the old proverb, “ that drop added to to him that the minister had not given drop may become an ocean,” and thus sufficient credit to the public for their had thoughtlessly involved himself in em- generous and liberal sentiments towards barrassments much greater than he had the Prince. Had he trusted more to any idea of. According to the present them, the matter would have been difbill, a smaller income was allowed to his ferently concluded, and more to the inRoyal Highness than would, by experience, terest of all parties. By the speech which be adequate to the purposes for which it introduced ii, much stress was laid on the was intended, or on which he could sub- embarrassments which attended the mea. sure: and a colour seemed to be given, duty most strenuously to have opposed that the items of the debts were such as it, because he never could admit the could not meet investigation. Thus were amount of the debts of an individual as a they magnified, and a suspicion cast upon fit ground for pariiament to increase its them, which very naturally excited much liberality. In consequence of the Prince jealousy ainong the public. It was also having signified his consent to the bill, impossible not to notice the indefatigable and for other reasons, he should not incalumny which had been used in every terfere with any of the clauses of the bill. stage of this business, to depreciate the The Earl of Moira said, that it was Prince in the public opinion. He thought impossible for him to sit silent, after what it a disgrace to the country. His lord. their lordships had heard from the noble ship here commented upon the plan of earl. He must contend that he had a issuing debentures, and upon the ap- right to state, by way of argument, what pointment of the commissioners. He he had repeatedly heard elsewhere, but thought the arrangement went to take in such a manner as left him no reason to away from his Royal Highness every de- doubt of its authenticity. He certainly gree of management in his own affairs. did not state it from the authority of the The commissioners were none of them Prince, or any other person, but as a connected with his Highness; and he matter which he himself knew to be thought, that at least, some one of his founded; and he would call upon his malaw officers, or other person, who pos- jesty's ministers to declare, whether his sessed his confidence, should be included Royal Highness, when the topic of his in the list. The present arrangement gave marriage was under discussion, had not a sort of influence amongst the creditors been given to understand that he was to which some time or other might appear be exonerated from his incumbrances enat a Westminster election, as the commis- tirely. Upon that ground alone had the sioners would have it in their power to matter proceeded ; and was it fair, depay off the debentures of one set of cre- cent, or even just, to invite an amiable ditors in preference to another, as it princess to this country to share in the suited their views. He did not mean Prince's splendor and dignity, when by now, or at any future stage of the bill, the operation of the present measure his to move any alteration in it, because he Royal Highness must necessarily forego trusted its absurdity was such that par. all pretensions to the dignity and splen. liament and the public would see the ne- dor confessedly proper for his high rank cessity of setting it aside.
as heir apparent to the crown, and must The Bill was read a second time. seek the retirement of a private gentle
He condemned the bill, as bearing June 25. The House went into a com- the appearance of driving his Royal High , mittee on the Bill.
ness into retirement, and not even leaving The Earl of Lauderdale said, there were him the grace of the measure. He must some things that had fallen from a noble persist in saying, that the bill was deearl in the course of the preceding day's grading to the Prince, and that though debate, that did not at all strike him as he had not given him any authority to proper ground for argument in a chamber say as much, his Royal Highness enterof parliament. He considered what had tained sentiments congenial to his own been said about certain negociations on the subject. stated to have been held with ministers Lord Thurlow was extremely happy to upon the subject of what parliament have heard the explanation given by the would do respecting the Prince's debts, noble earl respecting a part of his speech to be language unfit and rather indecent the preceding day, because he was sure to be stated to their lordships, as a that the declaration he had made, that he reason to influence their deliberations delivered only his own sentiments, and did and decisions on a bill of so much not speak on the authority of his Royal importance as that before the commit- Highness must afford every one of their tee. It appeared from what had been lordships the highest satisfaction. With said the preceding day, that a plan had regard to any negociations that might been projec.ed for an application to par- have taken place elsewhere, they unliament for a much larger sum than the doubtedly were not proper subjects of bill proposed. Had any such attempt discussion in that House. It was imposþeen made, he should have held it his sible to suppose that in forming any ar.
rangement for an establishment for the present bill would soon be materially Prince of Wales, a variety of communi- amended. When a new order of things cations should not have taken place be- took place, and the public saw the alteratween his Royal Highness and his ma- tion, he had every reason to believe that jesty's ministers; but they could not, either their generosity would be roused by the with decency or with any regard to regu. change, and that they would readily come larity, be brought forward in parliament. forward and relieve the Prince from the With respect to his Royal Highness's necessity of longer continuing in obscurity consent to the present bill, it had been and retirement. The Princess, he had signified in due form to the House; and no doubt, would conform to the exigency it was indispensably necessary, not, as a of the occasion, and concur with her husnoble earl had observed, that it was to be band in confining their joint expenses to construed into a declaration that the their income; and he declared he had Prince would submit to an act of parlia- great confidence in the sincere intentions ment and pay due obedience to the law of both of them with regard to that parof the land, but because the uniform prac- ticular. When therefore that was felt tice of parliament was, never to entertain and understood, what might not be exa bill affecting the private interests of an pected from a generous people? individual, without first having it signi. The Duke of Clarence said, that the fied to them that that individual gave his learned lord bad spoken his sentiments consent to it. In the present case the respecting the bill completely. The geconsent of his Royal Highness was neces- neral expressions of regard and attachsary, because the bill disposed of the re- ment to his brother, which he had heard, venues of the duchy of Cornwall, which had afforded him so much satisfaction, were the undoubted personal property of that he should forego his intention of prothe Prince. His consent was not neces- posing any amendment in the bill, undersary to the other part of the bill, that standing that any alteration now made respecting his establishment, because might prove fatal to the bill, which would parliament had an indisputable right to subject his brother to great inconvenience. assist him with whatever they thought The Lord Chancellor was surprised at proper. With regard, therefore, to the having heard it said, that the bill treated annuities given by the bill, it would con- the Prince with want of respect. So far sequently have been equally improper from its affording ground of imputation for his Royal Highness to have offered, against his Royal Highness, it was calas for either House to have listened to, culated to do away all idea of blame, and any opinion of his Royal Highness that tended to preserve his dignity. The reacould have been suggested to them. for the extraordinary circumspection that With regard to the question, whether the measure was fraught with, obviously his Royal Highness would derive most was, because the public had a deeper inhonour from maintaining a continuance terest in the conduct of princes than of of empty splendor, or from disdaining all individuals. A private individual might pretensions to pageantry and show, till run out his fortune and be ruined, and it his circumstances justified such outward would occasion only a cold feeling in the magnificence, he was inclined to agree, minds of the public; but not so with that true dignity did not consist in mere princes, for whose imprudence there was show, that the Prince would derive more a greater excuse than could be made for solid dignity from retirement, and mani- other men. They were, in the first place, festing that his wish was to do justice to more likely to be tempted to expense, his creditors, at the expense of the usual and less in the habits of economy. Even appendages of his illustrious birth; and the virtues of a prince were against him that he was willing to sacrifice all that in this respect. His taste, his love of was personal to his own comfort and con- ingenuity, his liberality, his munificence, sideration, for the sake of convincing the all led to expense. In fact, he was public that he held every thing inferior to coarted to expense in every possible his honour. A noble earl had asked, who shape, and was, in a manner, compelled would say he expected that a greater sum to take his option of acting with impru. would ever be granted for the Prince's dence and extravagance, or appearing establishment than the present bill pro- mean and narrow-minded.
The public vided ? He had no hesitation to say, that would not wish that an English prince he, for one, did expect it, and that the should so conduct himself, as to justify