The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 9, 1734-1737. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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Motion for an Address to his Majesty to settle 100,000 Pounds a Year upon the Prince of Wales.
February 23. Mr. Pultney made a Motion for an Address to be presented to his Majesty, that his Majesty would be glaciously pleased to settle 100,000 Pounds a Year upon his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; the Substance of his and the other Speeches, as well in the House of Peers, where the same Address was moved for the same Day, was as follows:
Argument for the Motion ; Speakers, Mr. Pultney, Sir John Barnard, Mr. Hedges, Ld Baltimore, Mr. Waller, Sir William Windhame, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Gybbon, Mr. Lytelton, Mr. Greenville, Mr. Bootle, Sir Willifred Lawson, Sir John Rushout, Mr. Henry Bathurst, Mr. Noel, Sir Thomas Sanderson, Mr. Frederick.
I have a Matter of the highest Importance to lay before you, a Matter which chiefly concerns one of the greatest and most illustrious Persons in the Kingdom; but as the Well-being of the Nation depends upon his Welfare and Happiness, therefore I must justly say, the whole Nation is deeply concerned in the Affair I am now to take the Liberty of laying before you; and as the Parliament is his Majesty's first and chief Council, there can be no Question of a Nature too high for our Consideration; for which Reason every Gentleman, who has the Honour to be a Member of either House of Parliament, has not only a Right, but is in Duty bound to lay before the House whatever he thinks may affect the Happiness or the Honour of his Country. The Affair I am now going to propose for your Consideration is, indeed, an Affair of so high a Nature, that I should not of my own Head have taken upon me to have mentioned it to you; but I have communicated my Sentiments to several Persons of the greatest Rank and best Abilities in the Kingdom, Persons with whom I should chuse to live, with whom I should chuse to die; and all of them, I find, are of the same Sentiments with me: They are all of Opinion, it is an Affair which ought to be laid before Parliament, therefore I shall take upon me to mention it to you, and to make you a Motion which I hope will be unanimously agreed to.
The Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, have not only an undoubted Right to make such Grants as they think are necessary for the Honour and Welfare of the Nation, and to appropriate those Grants to the Uses for which they intend them, but likewise, Sir, they have a Right to follow those Grants, to examine into the Application of them, and to punish those who shall be found to have misapplied them. Nay farther, they may annex to their Grants such Conditions as they think proper, and if those Conditions should not be performed, or if the Occasions for which the Grants were made should cease, they may resume them, or may direct their being applied to Uses of a quite different Nature. This, I say, is the undoubted Right of the Commons of Great Britain; and therefore, if any Money formerly granted by Parliament has not been applied, or has not been properly applied, to the Use for which it was intended by Parliament, we have not only a Right, but it is our Duty to examine into it, and to direct, that for the future, it may duly, and in the most proper Manner, be applied to that Use for which it was granted.
After having thus mentioned to you, Sir, one of the most undoubted Rights of Parliament, I shall next take Notice that by an ancient and most reasonable Maxim in our Constitution, the Prince of Wales, the eldest Son of the King, and Heir apparent to the Crown, ought to be made as Free and Independent as any other Subject whatever; and for that Purpose he ought not only to have a Provision sufficient for supporting the Dignity and Grandeur of his high Birth, but that Provision ought to be settled upon him in such a Manner as to put it out of the Power of any Person to disappoint him of it: Not only his Title to it ought to be made as firm and irrevocable, as any other private Title in the Kingdom can be, but he ought at least, as soon as he comes to be of the Age of Fourteen, to be put into the actual and immediate Possession. This has always been held as an established Maxim in this Kingdom, and we find our Parliaments have often interposed, and have taken upon them to enforce the Observance of this Maxim. Upon his late Majesty's happy Accession to the Throne, the Parliament was then so sensible of the Utility and Reasonableness of this Maxim, that they granted a very large Addition to the Civil List Revenue, in order that an honourable and a sufficient Provision might be settled upon his present Majesty, who then was Prince of Wales; and it having been found during his late Majesty's Reign that the Civil List Revenue particularly appropriated for maintaining the Honour and Dignity of the Crown was too small, therefore a very large new Addition was granted by the first Parliament of his present Majesty's Reign, in order that he might be enabled to continue the same Provision for the present Prince of Wales, which he himself had enjoy'd in the Lifetime of his Father. From all which I must conclude, that the Motion I am to make, for having a sufficient Provision settled upon his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, is a Motion founded upon Law, upon Equity, upon Wisdom and good Policy, and upon Precedent.
But before I make my Motion, give me Leave, Sir, to enquire particularly into these several Foundations: And to begin with the last, I shall shew from many undoubted Authories, that the Prince of Wales has always had, and ought to have, a sufficient Provision settled upon him, in such a Manner as to render him as independent of the Crown as any other Subject can be. To recount all the Precedents that occur in our Histories and Records, would take up too much of your Time, and therefore I shall take Notice only of some of the most remarkable King Henry III. granted to his eldest Son Edward, after King Edward I. the Dutchy of Guienne, before he was fourteen Years of Age, and the Moment the Prince was married, he not only confirmed his former Grant by a new Patent, but likewise granted him, and put him in Possession of, the Earldom of Chester, the Cities and Towns of Bristol, Stamford and Grantham, with several other Castles and Manors, created him Prince of Wales, to which he annexed all the conquered Lands in that Principality, and appropriated him Lieutenant Governor of Ireland, tho' he was then but just turned of Fourteen; all which was done, as the Historians express it, ut maturus ad res graviores gerendas expertus redderetur. By this Generosity and Benevolence of the King towards his eldest Son, that Prince was early in his Youth established in a State of Independency and Grandeur, and those paternal Favours were afterwards fully repaid by that illustrious and most Heroic Prince, for he afterwards proved his Father's chief and only Support. Every one knows how by his Courage and Conduct at the Battle of Evesham he relieved his Father out of the Hands of his Enemies, and restored his Affairs after they were brought into a most desperate State. Nay, not only the King himself, but the Nation reaped signal Benefit from the free and independent Circumstances in which that King had so early placed his eldest Son. A State of Independency naturally ennobles and exalts the Mind of Man; and the Effects of it were most conspicuous in this wise and brave Prince, for he afterwards became the Glory of England, and the Terror of Europe.
The next Precedent I shall take Notice of is, That of Edward the Black Prince, upon whom Edward III. his Father, settled at different Times the Earldom of Chester, the Dutchy of Cornwall, the Principality of Wales, the Dutchy of Guienne, and the Principality of Aquitain. That wise and great King, Sir, was so sensible of the Reasonableness of the ancient Maxim of England, with regard to the King's eldest Son, that he took Care every future Prince of Wales should have something to depend on, independent of his Father, from the very Moment of his Birth; for which Purpose he settled by Act of Parliament the Dutchy of Cornwall in such a Manner, that the King's eldest Son, and Heir apparent of the Crown, has ever since been Duke of Cornwall as soon as born, and without any new Grant from the King, from whence has risen the common Proverb, Natus est, non datus, dux Cornubiæ. Some of the later Grants of that King might, indeed, proceed from the great personal Merit of the Son; but the first Grants could not proceed from any such Consideration; they could proceed only from his own Wisdom, and from the general Maxim I have mentioned; for the Prince was not three Years old when his Father settled upon him by Patent the Earldom of Chester, he was but seven Years old when Cornwall was erected into a Dutchy, and settled upon him as by Act of Parliament as beforementioned, and he was but thirteen when the Principality of Wales was settled upon him. Soon after that time, indeed, his personal Merit began to appear: But how came it to appear? Its early Appearance did proceed, and could only proceed from his Father's having put him so early into an independent Situation, and from his having employ'd him in, and inured him to the Study of weighty Affairs, at an Age when most Princes are industriously taught to think of nothing but Baubles and Toys.
The same Conduct, Sir, that wise King observed during that brave Prince's Life: He was continually heaping Favours upon the Prince his Son, and the Prince was continually repaying them with glorious Acts of Gratitude and filial Duty. When he was seventeen, he fully repaid all former Favours, by having the chief Share in the Victory obtained over the French at the famous Battle of Cressy. In the 24th or 25th Year of this Prince's Age, the King invested him with the Dutchy of Guienne, which new Favour he soon after repaid by sending the King of France home Prisoner to his Father, after having defeated and taken him at the memorable Battle of Poictiers. And in the two and thirtieth Year of that Prince's Age, a great Part of France having been conquered and subdued by his Valour, the King his Father erected Guienne, Gascony, and several other Provinces of France, into a Principality under the Name of the Principality of Aquitain, with which he invested the Prince his Son: This new Favour likewise the Prince soon repaid by carrying the Glory of the English Arms into Spain, and replacing Peter upon the Throne of Castile, after having defeated the Usurper Henry at the Battle of Nejara in that Kingdom; for all which glorious Victories, and many other great Service; done to his native Country, the Nation was so grateful to his Memery, that immediately after his Death, or at least as soon as their Grief for the Loss of so brave a Prince would give them Leave, the House of Commons addressed the King to create his Son Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, which that wise King immediately agreed to; for his Grandson being then Heir apparent to the Crown, he became intitled, by the Maxim I have mentioned, to an independent Settlement; but as he was not the King's eldest Son, he had no Pretence from any former Precedent to the Principality of Wales, and his Right by the late Act to the Dutchy of Cornwall was thought to be doubtful by the Lawyers of that Age, the Lawyers being then, it seems, as dexterous at starting Doubts and Scruples as the Lawyers of the Age we now live in.
Give me Leave, Sir, to mention one other Precedent, That of Prince Henry, afterwards the glorious King Henry V. whom his Father Henry IV. in the very first Year of his Reign, created Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester, tho' the Prince was then but twelve Years of Age; all which Grants were recorded upon the Parliament's Request, in order to prevent any Possibility of a Revocation; and tho' that King was naturally of a jealous and a suspicious Temper, yet we find, during his whole Reign, he was every now and then making new Grants to the Prince his Son, even tho' he was sometimes maliciously made to believe, the Prince was conspiring against him. This Prince, 'tis true, fell into some Excesses incident to Youth and Idleness, but from the first Part of his Life, and from his Conduct after he became King, we may judge that those Excesses were rather owing to his Father's Jealousy than to his own natural Temper; for when he was but about sixteen, he by his Valour contributed greatly to his Father's Victory over the Rebels at Shrewsbury, and the very next Year having been entrusted with the Command of his Father's Army against the Rebels in Wales, by his Conduct and Courage, he gave them two signal Defeats, by which he gained so much Esteem, that the King his Father, from his own natural and unhappy Temper, and not from any undutiful Behaviour in his Son, began to grow jealous of him, and therefore never afterwards employ'd him in any public Affairs; so that the Excesses he fell into probably proceeded from the Idleness of his Life, and the Activity of his Genius, or perhaps rather from a Design of removing from his Father all future Occasions of Jealousy. This, indeed, seems to be confirmed, or at least rendered the most probable Conjecture, by his Conduct after he became King; for immediately upon his Accession, he banished from his Presence all the Companions and sycophant Upholders of his former Debauches, and became one of the greatest, and one of the most glorious Kings that ever sat upon the English Throne.
But, Sir, 'tis quite unnecessary to mention particularly all the Examples that could be brought of the great and irrevocable Provisions that have been made for the eldest Sons of our Kings. We have not, 'tis true, had many Princes that have come to Man's Estate in the Life-time of their Fathers, but every one of them that has done so, has had an independent Settlement made upon him long before he was of Age. Nay, even the presumptive Heirs of the Crown have always had an independent Settlement made upon them, generally as soon as they began to be the presumptive Heirs of the Crown: For Proof of this I need bring no other Example than that of the late King James II. when Duke of York, and that of the late Queen Anne when Princess of Denmark; for the Duke of York had a great Settlement made upon him by Parliament, soon after the Restauration, tho' he was but presumptive Heir of the Crown; his Brother King Charles being then in a Capacity of having Children, who would have given him a more effectual Exclusion than could ever be attained by Parliament, till his own ridiculous Measures put it in their Power; and the late Queen Anne, when Princess of Denmark, had likewise a great Settlement made upon her by Authority of Parliament, tho' King William and Queen Mary were both then alive, and in a Capacity of having Children; so that the Princess Anne, when that Settlement was made, was but the presumptive Heir of the Crown.
From these Precedents it appears, Sir, that the Maxim of having an independent Provision settled upon the apparent or presumptive Heir of the Crown, is a Maxim which has always been observed in this Nation; and that the Parliament may interpose for that Purpose, I shall likewise shew from several Precedents. I have already mentioned to you the Address of the House of Commons in Favour of Edward the Black Prince's eldest Son, therefore I shall proceed to mention some others of a late Date. In the first Year of King Henry IV. the Lords and Commons, upon proper Motions for that Purpose, desired of the King that his eldest Son, Prince Henry, might be created Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester, and in the same Parliament the Commons petitioned the King that the Charter of the said Principality and Earldom, and an Act of the said Creation, might be enrolled and enter'd upon Record, as an Article agreed upon by Parliament; both which that King immediately complied with; for as he had been called in by the People, and raised to the Throne by the Parliament, he had so just a Sense of the Obligations he lay under both to his People and Parliament, as not to refuse any just Request they could make. In the Reign of Henry VI. the Parliament not only took Care to have the Principality of Wales settled upon Prince Edward, eldest Son of the King, but likewise declared and ascertained the particular Sums that were to be allowed for his Table, till he came to be of the Age of Fourteen, when he was to be put in Possession of the whole Revenues of the Principality of Wales, Dutchy of Cornwall, and County Palatine of Chester. And but lately, in the Beginning of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary, the House of Commons resolved to address their Majesties to make a Settlement on the Princess Anne of Denmark, who was then but presumptive Heir of the Crown; which Resolution does not, 'tis true, seem to have been very agreeable to the Court, with regard to the Sum at first proposed, but the Right the Parliament had to present such an Address was so far from being controverted, that after the Dispute about the Sum was settled, even the Courtiers themselves joined, the next Session, in the Resolution for that Purpose, which plainly evinces the Power and the Duty of Parliament, with respect to their addressing for having a sufficient Provision settled independently upon the Heir Apparent or Presumptive of the Crown, and consequently will from Precedent justify the Motion I am to make
Now, Sir, with respect to Wisdom and good Policy, that of having the Heir apparent to the Crown bred up in a State of Grandeur and Independency, is certainly a Maxim of great Use in all Countries, but in a free Country it is absolutely necessary. A free and generous Education tends greatly to open the Mind, to endow it with noble and right Sentiments, and to shut out all mean, narrow, and selfish Views; therefore it is the only proper Education for one who is by his Birth to have the chief Rule over any People; but for one who is to have the chief Rule over a free People, such an Education becomes absolutely necessary; for, besides the Advantages already mentioned, a Prince who has lived in a State of Freedom and Independency before he begins his Reign, thereby learns how to be a dutiful and obedient Subject, without being an abject Slave; and by tasting in his Youth the Sweets of such a delicious State, he comes to know the true Value of it, from whence he must necessarily conclude his Subjects will not easily part with it, and therefore, when he comes to mount the Throne, he not only knows how to exact a dutiful Obedience without expecting a slavish Submission, but he will in common Prudence content himself with the former, because he knows he cannot without great Danger aim at the latter. Such a Prince will always be sure of being well served, because he can with Patience receive an honest and a free Advice from his Ministers and Favourites: He will not take it ill to be even controuled by his Council or his Parliament; whereas a Prince educated in Slavery, and advanced to Power, being unacquainted with any Sort of Submission but that he has himself been bred to, is apt to look upon every honest Freedom as a Mark of Disrespect or Disobedience, and as he cannot bear Sincerity, he may expect never to meet with it from any of his pretended Friends or Favourites. Thus it appears to be requisite both for the Honour and Prosperity of the Prince who is to reign, and for the Ease and Happiness of the People over whom he is to reign, that he should be bred up in a State of Freedom and Independency.
But farther, Sir, even with Regard to the King upon the Throne, especially in this Nation, the Grandeur and Independency of his Heir Apparent must be of great Service to him. The Affection and Esteem which the Heir Apparent acquires among the People, is so far from being a Disadvantage to the King, that it must always be, and has always been reckoned one of the most solid Supports of the Crown. The great and the wise King Edward III. was so far from being jealous of any Glory or Esteem the Prince his Son might acquire, that in the famous Battle of Cressy, he gave his Son the chief Command of that Part of his Army which was to attack the Enemy, in order that he might have the sole Glory of the Victory, reserving to himself only the Command of a great Body in Case of Accidents; and when Word was brought him that his Son was in great Danger, and hardly pressed by the Enemy, his Answer was, I know my Boy has Courage, let him but push the Enemy, he will certainly conquer: I am loth to rob him of any Share of that Glory I see he is in a fair Way of obtaining. Such were that King's Sentiments; and in the Charter of Henry VI. to his Son Edward, it is expressly declared, that by giving due Honours to the Prince, the Throne was established, and the Royal Scepter exalted; and therefore, by granting the Principality of Wales and County Palatine of Chester to his Son, he consulted his own Honour, the Security of the Royal Family, and the Good of his People, rather than the Prince's Honour. From the Behaviour of all our Kings towards their eldest Sons, we may judge their Sentiments have been the same. They have all been of Opinion, that their eldest Sons ought to live in Grandeur, and that the more Honour and Esteem they acquired, the more they added to the Security of the Throne: But how can a Prince live in Grandeur, who has nothing of his own, or not a Sufficiency to subsist on? How can a Prince who is in a continual State of Dependency, a continual State of Slavery, acquire Esteem from those who are themselves free and independent? The very submitting tamely to live in such a State, must derogate from his Honour, and render him despicable in the Eyes of a brave and a free People, which the People of this Nation, I hope, will for ever continue to be.
Suppose then, Sir, there were no Precedent for having a sufficient and an independent Provision settled upon the Prince of Wales; suppose there was no Example of the Parliament's having ever interposed for that Purpose; yet if true Wisdom and good Policy require that it should be done, if the making of such a Settlement can contribute to the Honour of the King, to the Security of the Royal Family, and to the Happiness of the People, it is a Thing that ought to be done; and if it should be unnecessarily delay'd, has not the Parliament a Right, are we not in Honour, in Duty, bound to interpose, and to advise or petition our Sovereign, that it may be done as soon as possible? But when we consider the constant Course of Proceeding in this Particular, when we see how often the Parliament has interposed, even when this Provision was not made out of any Grants from the People, but out of the King's own Estate, out of the Lands and Revenues properly belonging to the Crown, can we balance a Moment about our Right, can we in Duty to our King, or to that most illustrious and most deserving Prince his eldest Son, delay requesting that to be done which ought to have been done long before this Time? Especially now, Sir, that no Part of that Provision is to come out of the Lands or Revenues properly belonging to the Crown, but is wholly to be taken from a very liberal Grant long since made by the People to the Crown, and which has been of late greatly increased with this very View, that an honourable and a sufficient Settlement might be made upon his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as soon as the same should become necessary.
This, Sir, of course, leads me to consider the Nature of that Parliamentary Grant, now called the Civil List Revenue, from which 'twill appear that what I am now going to propose, is founded both upon Law and Equity. In ancient Times the Estates and Revenues, properly belonging to the Crown, were sufficient for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown and Royal Family; the People were charged with no Taxes for that Purpose, except a small Custom upon the Importation and Exportation of Goods and Merchandize: No Grant, no Aid was ever desired from them, but when some extraordinary Expence became necessary, for defending the Nation against Pyrates or threatned Invasions, or for vindicating and supporting its Honour in some Affair of great Consequence and of an extrordinary Nature; but by the profuse Liberalities of some of our former Kings, and by other Accidents, the proper Estate and Revenue of the Crown came at last to be so much diminished, that it was not near sufficient for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown and Royal Family, and therefore at the Restoration of King Charles II. the dangerous Tax called Tonnage and Poundage, and the more dangerous Tax called Excise, were established, and granted to that King for his Life; and at the same Time an additional Excise was established, in lieu of the Wards and Liveries which were then abolished, and settled upon that King and his Heirs and Successors for ever; which Taxes were partly for what is now called the Civil List, and the Residue for what we now call the Current Service. Several other Taxes were established in that and the following Reign, and intended for the same Purposes, without distinguishing or specifying any particular Uses; but it having been found that the Money granted by Parliament was often applied to Purposes very different from those intended by Parliament, therefore, after the happy Revolution, which put us in a Condition of rectifying some former Errors, and removing some of our former Grievances, the Custom of appropriating each respective Grant to its proper Use, was introduced and established; and from that Time the Revenues granted to the Crown by Parliament came to be distinguished into the Civil List Revenue, and the Current Service Revenue; the former being that which was granted and appropriated by Parliament for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, and providing for the Royal Family; and the latter, that which was granted and appropriated by Parliament for maintaining our Fleets and Armies, or providing for any other extraordinary public Services.
In order therefore to determine what Branches of the public Charge were designed by Parliament, and ought in Law and Equity to be defray d out of those Grants appropriated to the Civil List, we must examine, Sir, what Uses that Revenue was applied to, immediately after its being first distinctly established, which was in the Reign of the late King William; and we find that, during his whole Reign, the Provision appointed for the Princess Anne of Denmark was always charged upon, and paid out of his Civil List Revenue. Then again, upon his late Majesty's happy Accession to the Throne, the Parliament granted and appropriated to the Civil List the same Taxes and Revenues, which had been granted and appropriated to the Civil List, during the Reign of his Predecessor Queen Anne; but his late Majesty, in his first Speech to his Parliament, took Notice, That the Branches of the Revenue, formerly granted for the Support of the Civil Government, were so far incumbered and alienated, that the Produce of the Funds which remained, and had been granted to him, would fall much short of what was at first designed for maintaining the Honour and Dignity of the Crown. To which he added, That since it was his Happiness to see a Prince of Wales, who might in due Time succeed him on the Throne, and to see the Prince blessed with many Children, the best and most valuable Pledges for his Care and Concern for our Posterity, That must occasion an Expence to which the Nation had not for many Years been accustomed, but such as surely no Man would grudge. Do not these Words shew that his late Majesty was of Opinion, the Civil List Revenue was unquestionably to be charged with making an honourable Provision for the the Prince of Wales? And is it not as apparent, that the Acdition granted to the Civil List by Parliament, in consequence of that Speech, was granted with an Intention, that such a Settlement should be granted out of that Revenue to the Prince of Wales as should be sufficient for supporting the Dignity of his high Birth, and the Honour of the Crown of Great Britain, to which he was Heir apparent? 'Tis plain his late Majesty meant so, and took the Intention of Parliament to be so; for within ten Days after that Law passed, he notified to his Parliament, that he had ordered Letters Patent for 100,000 l. a Year to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, from Payment of any Fees or Taxes, and for impowering the Commissioners of Excise and Customs to pay directly to the Prince, or his Treasurer, the Produce of such Branches of the Civil List Revenue, as his Majesty should appoint for answering that Settlement; by which his Royal Highness was rendered so absolutely independent of the Crown, with respect to his own proper Revenue, that he was not so much as obliged to apply to his Majesty's Exchequer for the Payment of it: His Revenue could not run in Arrear, even his Majesty's Chancellor of the Exchequer could not put him off with that common Excuse for not answering a just Demand, That there was no Money in the Exchequer: And I cannot omit taking Notice, that at the very same Time, in the very same Session, there was also another Act passed, for enabling his Majesty to grant to him the Principality of Wales, and County Palatine of Chester, which were immediately after granted to him accordingly.
But now, Sir, to come to his present Majesty's happy Accession to the Throne, and that Parliament which established the large Civil List, now settled upon the Crown. During his late Majesty's Reign, by reason of some very extraordinary and uncommon Disbursements, it had been found, that a Civil List Revenue even of 700,000 l. a Year, as it had been managed, was not sufficient to support the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, and to pay 100,000 l. a Year to the Prince of Wales; for which Reason several additional Sums had been granted in that Reign to the Civil List, amounting in the whole to 1,300,000 l. which made the Civil List during that Reign amount, at an Average, to 803,000 l. a Year; therefore his present Majesty, in his Speech from the Throne, told his Parliament, He was persuaded that the Experience of past Times would prevail upon them to shew a due Regard to the Honour and Dignity of the Crown; which the Parliament, without examining into the Reasons of that past Experience, immediately complied with, and settled upon his present Majesty for his Life, what the Experience of past Times had shewn to be necessary, and what had actually been given to, tho' not settled upon his Father, with this remarkable Improvement, that if the Taxes appropriated for that Purpose produced more, the Surplus should belong to his Majesty, but if they produced less than 800,000 l. a Year, the Deficiency should be made good by Parliament; which new Improvement seems to have had great Influence upon some of our Measures since that Time; for it seems to have made us endeavour, as much as possible, to increase the Produce of those Taxes in which the Civil List has the greatest Share. Now I would gladly know, what his present Majesty meant, or what the Parliament meant, by the Experience of past Times, which was the only Ground for the Resolution they came to with respect to the Civil List: Surely they both meant that an honourable and a sufficient Provision for the Prince of Wales should be chargeable upon the Civil List Revenue, and upon that only; for the Experience of past Times had shewn that 700,000 l. a Year was not sufficient for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, and for allowing 100,000 l. a Year for the Prince of Wales; but the same Experience had shewn that 800,000 l. per Ann was sufficient both for the one, and for the other; and therefore by proceeding upon the Experience of past Times, and upon that only, and from thence settling 800,000 l. a Year for his present Majesty's Civil List, both his Majesty and his Parliament must then certainly have meant, that out of that Revenue a sufficient Provision should be settled upon his Royal Highness, as soon as his future Circumstances should require such a Settlement to be made: From all which I must conclude, that the Motion I am to make for this Purpose, is a Motion founded both upon Law and Equity.
I think, Sir, I have now shewn that according to Law, according to Equity and Conscience, according to Wisdom and good Policy, and according to Precedent, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales ought to have a Provision settled upon him, sufficient for supporting the Dignity and Grandeur of his high Birth; and that the Parliament not only has a Right, but ought to interpose, and advise his Majesty to do that which in Law, in Equity, in Wisdom, and according to Precedent, ought to be done. The next two Questions that will naturally occur in this Affair, are, When that Settlement ought to be made? And what may be thought a sufficient Settlement? As to the Time when it ought to be made: It ought certainly to have been made long before now. The Mind of every Man is formed early in his Youth. Those Notions and Sentiments which are early imbibed, take deep Root, and are seldom or never shaken off. If then an independent State can any way contribute to the Improvement of a Prince's Mind, the more early he is put into such a State, the better. According to this has the constant Practice in this Kingdom always been: King Henry III. made a Settlement upon his eldest Son Edward, afterwards King Edward I. before he was Fourteen. Edward III. made a Settlement upon his eldest Son, Edward the Black Prince, before he was three Years of Age; and within a few Months after the Death of that Prince, the Commons addressed the King to make a Settlement upon that Prince's eldest Son, who by his Father's Death was become Heir Apparent to the Crown. The Post Office and Wine License Revenues were settled by Parliament upon the Duke of York, who was but Presumptive Heir of the Crown, within three Years after his Brother King Charles IId's Restoration. A Settlement was made upon the Princess Anne of Denmark, who was likewise but Presumptive Heir of the Crown, in Pursuance of an Address for that Purpose from the House of Commons, the very first Year, or the beginning of the second Year, of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary. And his late Majesty ordered Letters Patent for making a Settlement upon the present King, then Prince of Wales, within ten Days after the Parliament had granted him a Fund for that Purpose. In short, Sir, look over all our Histories, examine all former Precedents, I believe no Example can be found, where the making of such a Settlement has been so long delay'd, as in the present Reign: What may be the Reason I shall not pretend to determine; but I am sure there never was a Prince of Wales who better deserved it, nor a Crown Revenue that could better spare it. It ought, in my Opinion, to have been done as soon as his Royal Highness arrived in England, especially as he was then of full Age, and, as every one that has the Honour and Happiness to know him must grant, extremely capable to govern his own Affairs; and since it is not yet done, it is high Time for us to take the same Liberty former Parliaments have often taken, it is high Time for us to desire that it may be done.
Now, Sir, with regard to what may be deemed a sufficient Settlement for his Royal Highness, I think there cannot properly be any Question about it, because it seems to have been determined by that Parliament which established the Civil List in the late King's Reign, and also by that Parliament which established, and from the Experience of past Times increased, the present Civil List Revenue. Both were certainly of Opinion, and the latter have, I think, very expressly determined, that his Royal Highness the present Prince of Wales was, and ought, to have, at least 100,000 l. a Year settled upon him, out of the large Civil List they then granted; for what else could they mean by settling a Civil List Revenue of 800,000 l. a Year? The Experience of past Times, which, as I have said, was then the only Ground for increasing that Revenue, had shewn that 700,000 l. a Year was sufficient for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, without including what was to be allowed the Prince of Wales; and therefore by their adding to that yearly Sum 100,000 l. a Year more, and granting a Civil List Revenue of 800,000 l. a Year at least, it must be supposed they meant and intended that the 100,000 l. they had so added to the Civil List Revenue, more than what the Experience of past Times has shewn to be sufficient for maintaining the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, should be settled upon the present Prince of Wales, besides the Principality of Wales, Dutchy of Cornwall, and County Palatine of Chester, in the same Manner as it had been settled upon the present King, while he was Prince of Wales: And indeed from the very Nature of the Thing we are to judge so; for what Reason could they then think of, or what Reason can now be assigned, why the present Prince of Wales should live in less Grandeur than his Father did whilst he was Prince of Wales, or why the same Grandeur might be supported at a less Expence than had been before necessary? I can think of no Reason but one, which is, That the Nation is not so rich as it was formerly: This, indeed, may at last come to be a good Reason for diminishing the Allowance or Settlement for the Prince of Wales; and it is a Reason for which, I am sorry to say it, I think there is too good a Foundation; but then it is a Reason for diminishing every other Article of the public Expence, especially that belonging to the Civil List; and I am far from thinking the Provision for the Prince of Wales is the first we ought to begin with; for if any Judgment can be formed from the Experience of past Times, 100,000 l. a Year, besides the now exhausted Revenues of Wales, Cornwall, and Chester, is the least Provision we can as yet think of allowing for supporting the Dignity and Grandeur of the Heir Apparent to our Crown. I shall therefore take it for granted, till I hear it contradicted, that it is now high Time the Provision for the Prince of Wales should be settled in the usual Way, and that 100,000 l. a Year out of the Civil List is the least Provision we can suppose necessary, and the least the Parliament that established the present Civil List designed he should have: These two Points I shall now, I say, take for granted; but if both, or either be controverted, I shall beg Leave to explain myself more fully upon this Head, unless some other Gentleman who is of the same Opinion with me, and more capable of giving the Reasons for his Opinion, rises up, and saves me that Trouble. For this Reason I shall not now take up your Time with enlarging further upon these two Questions, but shall take the Liberty to make you this Motion,
That an humble Address be presented to his Majesty to express the just Sense this House has of his Majesty's great Goodness and tender Regard for the lasting Welfare and Happiness of his People, in the Marriage of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; and as this House cannot omit any Opportunity of shewing their Zeal and Regard for his Majesty's Honour and the Prosperity of his Family, humbly to beseech his Majesty, that in consideration of the high Rank and Dignity of their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and their many eminent Virtues and Merits, he would be graciously pleased to settle 100,000 l. a Year on the Prince of Wales, out of the Revenues chearfully granted to his Majesty, for the Expences of his Civil Government, and better supporting the Dignity of the Crown, and for enabling his Majesty to make an honourable Provision for his Royal Family in the same Manner his Majesty enjoy'd it before his happy Accession to the Throne; and also humbly to beseech his Majesty to settle the like Jointure on her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, as her Majesty had when she was Princess of Wales; and to assure his Majesty, that this House will enable him effectually to perform the same, as nothing will more conduce to the strengthning his Majesty's Government, than honourably supporting the Dignity of their Royal Highness, from whom we hope to see a numerous Islue, to deliver down the Blessings of his Majesty's Reign to latest Posterity.
I know, Sir, that several Arguments may be made use of against this Motion, Arguments which may seem to be of Dignity and Weight, because they can come from none but such as are in high Stations, who for that Reason ought never to oppose what is Just and Honourable, and much less ought they upon any Occasion to make use of weak or trifling Objections. By such Persons it may be said, that the presenting of such an Address will be a sort of intermeddling in the domestic Affair between Father and Son, which the Parliament has no Title, nor ever ought to intermeddle with upon any Occasion: But, Sir, I must beg Leave to insist upon it, that our presenting such an Address cannot be called intermeddling in any Affairs either public or private; it is only offering Advice to our Sovereign in an Affair of great Consequence to the Nation in general, and that we have not only a Right, but are in Duty bound to do, as often as we find it necessary. It is an Advice which I am sure his Majesty's Ministers ought to have given him: If they have not, they have been deficient in their Duty, and the Parliament ought to make up that Deficiency: If they have been so faithful as to offer the same Advice, and have not succeeded, which, for what I know, may be the Case, the Address proposed becomes absolutely necessary; it is what the Ministers ought to be fond of, because the Address of Parliament will add Weight to the good, tho' unsuccessful, Advice they have given. Then, Sir, with respect even to the domestic Affairs of the Royal Family, they ought to be considered in a two-fold Respect: If they are such as may contribute to the Honour and Happiness of the Nation in general, or such as may tend to the Dishonour of the Kingdom, or to the bringing of any Misfortune upon the People, they then come to be of a public Nature, and if any false Step be made, or any necessary Step neglected, or too long delay'd, it is the Duty of Parliament to interpose; and of this Sort surely is that Affair to which the Address now proposed relates.
It may likewise be said, that the King is the only Judge of the Time when it is proper to make a Settlement upon his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and of the Amount of the Revenue that may be proper or necessary for that Purpose. To this, Sir, the Answer is very plain and easy. There are many Things in which the King has by his Prerogative the sole Power of Judging or Acting; and yet in such Cases, if any wrong Measure happens to be pursued, or any proper Measure neglected, the Parliament is in Duty bound to act the Part of a faithful Counsellor to their Sovereign, and advertise him of what they imagine to be wrong. The two Houses of Parliament, or either of them, may not only offer their Advice, but they may go much further, they may examine into the Affair, and may punish those who by their Weakness or Wickedness have given his Majesty bad Counsel. The King has the sole Power of making Treaties of Peace or Alliance, and of declaring War, and yet I hope it will not be said that the Parliament ought never to interfere, no not so much as by an Address, in any Case of that Nature: I hope it will not be said that the Parliament may not only address upon such Occasions, but may punish those Ministers who shall advise his Majesty to engage the Nation in dangerous and destructive Treaties, or who shall advise him to avoid a War, when both the Honour and the Interest of the Nation make it necessary Therefore, tho' his Majesty be the only Judge, when a Settlement ought to be made upon the Prince of Wales, and what that Settlement ought to be, yet the Parliament may certainly interpose by an Address, when the making of that Settlement is too long delay'd; and now that his Royal Highness is not only of Age, but is married, and as it were emancipated out of his Father's Family, it is certainly high Time for the Parliament to interpose: Surely it is not fit his Royal Highness should now depend upon his Father, or rather upon his Father's Ministers, for every Shilling he may have Occasion for: The very Thought raises in my Mind such ridiculous Ideas, that it is with the utmost Difficulty I can refrain from expressing myself in a Manner far below the Dignity of the Subject: Nothing, indeed, could prevent it but the great Esteem, the high Regard I have for the illustrious Persons who seem to be concerned.
In the next Place, Sir, it may be said that his Majesty has a legal Right to the Civil List Revenue as now established; and that the Address proposed would be a sort of Encroachment upon that Right. I shall readily grant that his Majesty has a legal Right to the Civil List Revenue, so he likewise has a legal Right to the Revenue for the current Service of the Year, and, I think, we but lately passed a Law for hanging or transporting those who go armed with a Design to rob or disappoint him either of the one or the other, which is more than any Subject in the Kingdom has for the Protection of any sort of Property; but as both these Revenues are granted by Parliament for certain and particular Uses, both ought to be applied to those Uses for which they were granted, and the Parliament has a Right to insist upon their being so applied. The Civil List Revenue was granted for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, and making a sufficient Provision for the whole Royal Family; and if any Part of that Revenue should be purloined, hoarded, or misapplied by the King's Ministers, and the Honour and Dignity of the Crown neglected, or any Branch of the Royal Family not sufficiently provided for, the Parliament has as good a Right to address, and even to enquire into that Misapplication, as they would have to enquire into the Misapplication of the Revenue provided for the current Service, in case any Part of that Revenue should be applied to other Purposes, and those Services neglected for which it was intended by Parliament.
Lastly, Sir, it may be said, that such an Address would look something like a Parliamentary Resumption; that it would look as if the Parliament were going to resume and take back from his Majesty what was long since granted by Parliament, and settled upon him during his Life. I confess, Sir, I do not like Resumptions of any Kind; I am always sorry when I find there is Occasion for them; but nevertheless a Resumption may sometimes become reasonable: When the Cause of granting any Revenue ceases, the Grant itself ought to cease, and therefore ought to be resumed, or applied to some other Purpose. For this, even with respect to the Civil List Revenue, we have a late Precedent in Point: In 1699, the Parliament granted to King William a Civil List Revenue of 700,000 l. per Ann. for the Service of his Houshold and Family, and other his necessary Expences and Occasions. This Grant was by Law settled upon that King during his Life; yet in 1701, we find he resumed 100,000 l. a Year, Part of this 700,000 l. Civil List Revenue, and applied it toward the Payment of the public Dubts, for this express Reason, because the Occasions for which the said 100,000 l. was given, were then ceased. This, I say, is a Precedent in Point, for a Resumption after the Cause of Granting has ceased; and from a Parity of Reason, if it should be afterwards found the Cause of Granting did not require near so large a Grant as was at first imagined, and therefore actually granted, ought not some Part of that Grant to be resumed, or applied to some other Purpose? So that if it could be supposed that a less Revenue than what was intended by Parliament would be sufficient for the Prince of Wales, there would be some Reason for a Resumption; but I am far from supposing any such Thing; the Address I have proposed shews the contrary, and therefore it cannot be presumed that my Motion has the least Tendency towards a designed Resumption: It is only for having a Part of the Civil List Revenue applied to that Use for which it was granted by Parliament, and to which it ought in Law, in Equity, and in Wisdom and good Policy, to be applied; therefore I hope my Motion for that Purpose will be unanimously agreed to.
Sir Robert Walpole.
I rise up to offer you my Sertiments upon the Motion which the Honourable Gentleman has now been pleased to make to you; but I must begin with declaring, that I never rose up to speak upon any Affair in this House with a deeper Concern, a greater Reluctancy, than I do upon the Affair now before you. I shall most readily agree with the Honourable Gentleman that it is a Matter of the highest Importance, it is indeed of the utmost Importance, but it is of so sad, of so melancholy a Concern, that I am sorry it ever should have been mentioned, or that any such Motion should have been made in this House. I am sure the Honourable Gentleman does not view it in the same Light I do; if he did, I am convinced he would have been the last to have mentioned it, or to have advised its being mentioned in either House of Parliament; and therefore, when he considers it seriously, I hope he will withdraw the Motion he has made; for if he should insist upon it, he must necessarily bring every Gentleman of this House under one of the greatest Difficulties any Man ever was, or ever can be in. It is an Affair of Property, it is a Question by which the legal Property of the Crown itself is to be determined; and in such a Case, must not every Gentleman be under the greatest Difficulty how to give his Vote or his Opinion ? By declaring in favour of the Motion, he may seem to injure the Royal Father, his Sovereign; by declaring against it, he may seem to injure the Royal Son, and Apparent Heir to the Crown. As I have the Honour to know particularly the Wisdom and the Virtue of both the Royal Persons concerned, I can give my Opinion with the more Freedom; because I am sure neither of them will think himself injured by a Gentleman's giving his Opinion or his Vote freely in Parliament; and I am sure his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has so much Wisdom, and so true a Sense of filial Duty, that he will never look upon any thing as a Favour done to him, if it has the least Tendency towards offering an Indignity to his Royal Father.
That there is no Affair of an Importance too high for the Consideration of Parliament I shall admit; but, Sir, there are many Affairs of a Nature so delicate, that neither Wisdom nor good Policy will allow of the Parliament's taking them into their Consideration; and if ever there was an Affair in which the Parliament ought to avoid giving Judgment, the Affair now before you is one. From our passing Judgment in such an Affair, every Man without Doors will imagine there is a private Mistake or Dispute between his Majesty and his Royal Highness, and such an Opinion, if it should generally prevail, may be of the most dangerous Consequence to both: We should therefore if possible avoid giving any Judgment in this Affair; but as for complying with the Motion, if it were in our Inclination, I do not think it is in our Power: It would be a Violation of Property, a taking from the King a Part of that Prcperty which is already established in him by Act of Parliament, and to which he has as good a Right as any private Man in the Kingdom has to any private Property he does or can possess; for tho' the Parliament has a Power to appropriate Money to particular Uses at the Time it is granted, yet afterwards they have no such Power; and it has always been a Rule of this House, not to enter into any Consideration about Money once granted to the Crown, without first having the Consent of the Crown. The Civil List Revenue has already been granted to his Majesty; when we made that Grant, we might have ordered the Application of it to particular Uses, and might have gone so far as to have appropriated a particular Sum to each respective Use; such a particular Appropriation might perhaps, and I think with Reason too, have been thought derogatory to the Honour of the Crown; but I shall not now controvert that Point; no such particular Appropriation was then made, and as it was not made at the Time that Revenue was granted, we have now no Power to make any such particular Appropriation, with respect to any Parts of it, or with respect to any Use to which any Part of it ought to be applied; and much less have we now a Right or a Power to prescribe to his Majesty, what Part of the Civil List Revenue ought to be applied towards maintaining the Honour and Dignity of his eldest Son, or in what Manner that Application ought to be made: However, this will best appear from considering the several Arguments made use of in favour of the Motion, which I shall take upon me to do in as brief a Manner as I can.
As for the Maxim so much insisted on, That the Prince of Wales ought always to have a seperate and distinct Provision, and settled upon him in a Manner as to be quite independent of the King his Father, I never heard we had such a Maxim in our Constitution, nor can I see how it is possible to make a Son altogether independent of his Father, and much less to make a Subject altogether independent of his Sovereign. The latter would, I am sure, be a very great Solecism in Politics, and the former, whatever may be the Case with respect to Royal Families, has, I am certain, often produced great Misfortunes in private. 'Tis true the Custom has generally been for our Kings to settle some Estate by Patent or Charter upon their eldest Sons, and those Charters have often been confirmed by Act of Parliament; but I cannot see a good Reason for saying, that the making of such a Settlement is absolutely necessary, or that the Heir Apparent of the Crown cannot be educated, or cannot live in a proper Manner without it; for that Dependency which the Son of a great Family naturally has upon his Father, can no way tend toward the Debasing of his Mind; and the Dignity and Grandeur, even of a Prince of Wales, may be as well supported by a yearly Allowance as by a perpetual and independent Settlement. For this Reason there never was any Regulation expressly established in this Kingdom for providing an independent Settlement for the Prince of Wales; but on the contrary, the Making of such a Provision, and the Manner of settling that Provision, have always been left intirely to the King upon the Throne, nor has the Parliament ever, or but very seldom, intermeddled in that Affair, unless when applied to by the King, or by some Persons under his Direction, and that Application has generally proceeded from some other Reasons besides that of making a Settlement upon the Prince of Wales.
It is not so much as pretended, Sir, that any of those Grants made by King Henry III. to his Son Edward proceeded from the Interposition of Parliament: On the contrary, 'tis evident, they proceeded entirely from the Politics of the Court at that Time, and those Politics were not founded upon the Maxim of making the Prince independent, but upon a Design of gaining the Affections of the People in those Countries which had been but lately subdued, it having been thought more honourable for them to be governed by the King's eldest Son, than by any other Subject. In like Manner we know that none of the Grants made by Edward III. to his Son Edward, the black Prince, proceeded from any Address or Application from Parliament; for tho' they were, most of them, confirmed by Parliament, yet it appears that all those Confirmations were obtained and passed at the Desire of the King himself; and here likewise it may be said, and I believe with Justice too, that the erecting of Cornwall into a Dutchy, and settling it upon the eldest Son of every future King, as also the erecting of Guienne and Gascony into a Principality, and granting it to the Prince of Wales, proceeded rather from a Design of doing Honour to those Countries, than from any Design of making the Prince absolutely independent of his Father; for we find it was a common Practice in former Days, to erect a Country or Province into a Dutchy or Principality, by way of doing Honour to the Country, and in recompence for some good Services performed by the Inhabitants: Thus we find the County of Chester was erected into a Principality by Richard II. because the Militia of that County had countenanced and enforced his most Arbitrary Measures during his famous Parliament at Shrewsbury; and every one knows that it has always been reckoned an Honour to any City or Province to adopt it as a Title for any of the Princes of the Royal Family; therefore we are not to conclude that the Grants made to former Princes of Wales are a sufficient Authority for establishing it as a Maxim, that every Prince of Wales ought to have a seperate and independent Provision settled upon him.
Now, Sir, with regard to those Cases mentioned where the Parliament have actually interposed. In the Case of Prince Richard, eldest Son of Edward the black Prince, it is very probable that Application from Parliament was procured by the King himself, in order to disappoint any Hopes the Duke of Lancaster, his second Son, might have of succeeding to the Throne; but suppose it was not procured by the King himself, as there was then some Jealousy in the Nation that the Duke of Lancaster would endeavour to usurp the Crown after his Father's Decease, who was then very old, the Parliament had great Reason to address for having the eldest Son of the deceased Prince of Wales created Prince of Wales in the Room of his Father, in order to avoid all Disputes about the Succession to the Crown; which is a Reason cannot be said now to subsist, and is a Reason very different from that of having an independent Provision settled upon the Prince of Wales. As for the Application from Parliament for having Prince Henry, eldest Son of Henry IV. created Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester, it plainly appears to have proceeded from the King's particular Favourites in Parliament, therefore we must suppose it was with the Approbation, or rather. Procurement, of the King himself; and his Reason for procuring such an Application was very far from being founded upon any Maxim or Design of settling an independent Provision upon the Prince his eldest Son; but as his own Title to the Crown was a little doubtful, 'tis evident he procured that Application from Parliament, with a Design to have his Son declared his lawful Successor, and only rightful Heir to the Crown. Then as to what was done in the Reign of Henry VI. I hope none of the Transactions of that unfortunate Reign will be insisted on as good Precedents for any Thing that ought to be done in this; for that whole Reign was a continued Series of weak and destructive Measures on the Part of the Court, and very unjustifiable Incroachments on the Part of the Parliament.
Thus, Sir, none of the Precedents mentioned relating to the Heir Apparent of the Crown, can be any Way taken as a good Precedent for our agreeing to the Motion now before us; and of the two Precedents mentioned relating to the presumptive Heirs of the Crown, that relating to King James, when Duke of York, can have nothing to do in the present Question; for the making of a Settlement upon him was so far from proceeding from any Address or other Application from the Parliament to the King, that it proceeded rather from the King's applying to his Parliament for that Purpose; and the Parliament's having any Thing at all to do in that Affair proceeded from Necessity not Choice; because the Revenue of the Post-Office, and Wine License Office could not be settled upon the Duke of York but by Authority of Parliament. And as for that relating to the late Queen Anne, when Princess of Denmark, it appears probable, indeed, that that Affair was first brought into Parliament, not only without the Approbation, but contrary to the Inclination of the Court at that Time: But what was the Consequence ? It occasioned an unseasonable Prorogation of that Session, by which the Affairs of the Nation were very much embarrassed; and if such were to be the Consequence of our agreeing to this Motion, I am convinced the honourable Gentleman that made it, would not so much as desire any Gentleman to agree to it. Nay, even that very Parliament could never come to any fixed Resolution in that Affair, 'till they had obtained the King's Approbation of what they were about to do, and then they unanimously agreed to address his Majesty to make a Provision for the Prince and Princess of Denmark of 50,000 l. a Year; so that even that Affair can be no Precedent for our agreeing to this Motion, 'till it be some Way or other signified to us, that his Majesty approves of what we are about to do.
From these Observations, I think, Sir, it will appear, that the Precedents which have been mentioned are either such as ought not to be followed, or such as are no way applicable to the Case now before us; therefore it cannot be said that the Motion is founded upon any proper Precedent; and whatever the Wisdom and Policy of our Kings may have been with respect to the settling an independent Provision upon the Heir Apparent to the Crown, it seems it has always been the Wisdom and Policy of the Nation to leave that Affair entirely to the Option of the King upon the Throne, and never to intermeddle but when it has appeared, or has even been signified to the Parliament, that their intermeddling would be agreeable to both the Parties concerned. This, Sir, is true Wisdom; this is right Policy. Even, in private Life, it is generally held to be officious and imprudent for a Stranger to intermeddle in the Family Affairs of his Neighbour, without any Call from the Parties concerned; if there was no Breach before, it generally occasions one; and if there was a Breach, it makes the Breach wider much more often than it occasions a Reconcilement. The Parliament has a Right, the Parliament is often in Duty bound, to offer Advice to their Sovereign; but in determining when, or upon what Occasions, we may or can offer our Advice, we ought to consider our Sovereign in a twofold Respect: We ought to consider him in his Political and Royal Capacity, and in his Natural and Paternal Capacity. In all Cases which regard his Political and Royal Capacity we have certainly a Right to judge of the Measures that are taken, and may recommend what we think most expedient; but in Affairs which regard only his Natural and Paternal Capacity we have no Right to judge; it would be officious in us to recommend, without some sort of Application from him for that Purpose; and as the Providing for every Branch of the Royal Family is an Affair which regards only his Natural and Paternal Capacity, it would be officious in us, it is inconsistent with true Wisdom or good Policy for us, to pretend to judge, or to prescribe what ought to be done, or in what Manner it ought to be done.
That the Prince of Wales ought to be supported, that he ought to be honourably supported, I shall most readily grant; and I shall likewise grant that the Support of the Prince of Wales is and ought to be a Charge upon the Civil List Revenue; but, Sir, that he has either a legal or an equitable Right to any particular Share of that Revenue, or to any Share, but such as the King his Father pleases to allow him, is what I cannot so easily admit. I have perused all the Acts of Parliament that were ever made, relating to that Revenue, I have particularly considered that Act by which the Civil List Revenue was settled upon his present Majesty, and neither in that Act, nor in any other, can I find any Words for giving the Prince of Wales a legal Right to any other Share, than what his Majesty shall please to allow him; nor can I find any Words from which a Right to any other Share can be equitably inferred. To me it seems his Majesty has as absolute a Right to the whole Civil List Revenue, during his Life, as any Gentleman in England can have to his own Estate. The eldest Son of every landed Gentleman in England ought to be supported out of his Father's Estate, and that Support ought to be according to the Character and Circumstances of the Family; yet I hope it will not be said that the eldest Son has any legal or equitable Right to any particular Share of his Father's Estate, or to any Share, but such as his Father pleases to allow him, unless that Right be established by some Conveyance made to the Father, or by some Settlement before-made and agreed to by the Father.
In all Cases of Equity, to be sure, Sir, the Intention of an Act of Parliament is to be chiefly regarded; but that Intention must some way or other appear from the Words. We are not to take the Intention of a Law from the Intention this or that Gentleman really had, or may say he had, when he agreed to the Passing of that Law. When a Law is to be passed, and under the Consideration of Parliament, every Gentleman may have his own Intention, his own Reasons for agreeing to it, and some may have Reasons quite contrary to those of others. One Gentleman may have an Intention that it should be interpreted in one Way, another may intend that it should be interpreted in a quite different; but when that Law is passed, and comes afterwards to be applied to any particular Case, neither the Reasons nor the Intentions of those who passed it, are to be regarded: There is nothing to be regarded, but the Context and the Words of that Law, in order to put upon them the most equitable Construction they will bear; and to put such a Construction upon any of those general Words in the Act for establishing the Civil Lift Revenue, by which that Revenue is appropriated to the Support of his Majesty's Houshold, as would take from his Majesty the Power of judging what was fit to be done in his own Family, would, I am sure, be a very unnatural Construction, and consequently, I must think, a very unequitable one. It is a Construction the Words themselves will no way admit of; it is an Intention I am convinced no Gentleman could have when he agreed to them.
I hope, Sir, from what I have said it will appear, that there is no absolute Necessity, either from the Nature of the Thing, or from any Maxim in our Constitution, that a certain, perpetual and independent Provision should be settled upon the Prince of Wales; that if there were, it would be very improper for the Parliament to intermeddle in the Affair; and that his Majesty is the sole and only Judge, whether such a Settlement ought to be made or not. Therefore we must conclude, that his Majesty is the sole and only Judge, when that Settlement ought to be made. But to take away all further Dispute upon either of these Heads, I must acquaint you, That I am commanded by his Majesty to lay before this House, that his Majesty Yesterday sent a Message to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, by the Lord Chancellor, Lord President; Lord Steward, Lord Chamberlain, Duke of Richmond, Duke of Argyle, Duke of Newcastle, Earl of Pembroke, Earl of Scarborough, and Lord Harrington; which Message, so sent by those Lords, being in Writing, I shall now, Sir, deliver to you.
This Message was as follows, viz. "His Majesty has commanded us to acquaint your Royal Highness, in his Name, That, upon your Royal Highness's Marriage, he immediately took into his Royal Consideration the settling a proper Jointure upon the Princess of Wales; but his sudden going abroad, and his late Indisposition since his Return, had hitherto retarded the Execution of these his gracious Intentions; from which short Delay his Majesty did not apprehend any Inconveniencies could arise, especially since no Application had, in any Manner, been made to him upon this Subject by your Royal Highness; and that his Majesty hath now given Orders for settling a Jointure upon the Princess of Wales, as far as he is enabled by Law, suitable to her high Rank and Dignity; which he will, in proper Time, lay before his Parliament, in order to be rendered certain and effectual, for the Benefit of her Royal Highness.
The King has further commanded us to acquaint your Royal Highness that, altho' your Royal Highness has not thought fit by any Application to his Majesty, to desire, that your Allowance of 50,000 l. per Ann. which is now paid by Monthly Payments, at the Choice of your Royal Highness, preferably to Quarterly Payments, might, by his Majesty's further Grace and Favour, be rendered less precarious, his Majesty, to prevent the bad Consequences, which, he apprehends, may follow from the undutiful Measures, which, his Majesty is informed, your Royal Highness has been advised to pursue, will grant to your Royal Highness, for his Majesty's Life, the said 50,000 l. per Annum, to be issuing out of his Majesty's Civil List Revenues, over and above your Royal Highness's Revenues arising from the Dutchy of Cornwall; which his Majesty thinks a very competent Allowance, considering his numerous Issue, and the great Expences, which do and must necessarily attend an honourable Provision for his whole Royal Family."
"That his Royal Highness desired the Lords to lay him, with all Humility at his Majesty's Feet; and to assure his Majesty, that he had, and ever should retain, the utmost Duty for his Royal Person; that his Royal Highness was very thankful for any Instance of his Majesty's Goodness to him, or the Princess, and particularly for his Majesty's gracious Intention for settling a Jointure upon her Royal Highness; but that, as to the Message, the Affair was now out of his Hands, and therefore he could give no Answer to it."
From this most gracious Message it appears, Sir, that his Majesty has for some Time given a yearly Allowance to his Royal Highness, and such an Allowance as his Majesty thought a very competent Allowance considering his numerous Issue, and the great Expences, which do and must necessarily attend an honourable Provision for his whole Royal Family; and it appears further, that this Allowance has been regularly paid in that Manner in which his Royal Highness himself chose as the most proper and convenient for him; therefore it cannot be said that the making of such an Allowance has been in the least delay'd; and if the converting of that Allowance into a perpetual and independent Settlement had been absolutely necessary, or were now absolutely necessary, it cannot be said there has been any such Delay as can give Occasion for the Interposition of Parliament; because, if his Royal Highness had not before his Marriage been satisfied with the Manner in which his Allowance was made to him, or had but signified that he thought it was established upon too precarious a Foundation, his Majesty would have established it in any Manner he desired; and considering how soon his Majesty went abroad after the happy Marriage of his Royal Highness, it cannot be pretended that the least unnecessary Delay has since that Time been made, with respect to the making of a Settlement upon his Royal Highness, even in that Manner which is said to be absolutely necessary by the Maxims and Custom of the Kingdom. But supposing that the making of that Settlement had been unnecessarily delay'd, whatever Delay or Neglect may have happened in that Respect is now made up by his Majesty's Message to his Royal Highness; and the communicating of that Message to this House, which I have now done by his Majesty's Command, must be a full Answer to every Thing that can be said, with respect to Time at least, in Favour of the Motion now before us. Nay, from his Royal Highness's Answer to his Majesty's Message, it seems reasonable to believe that his Royal Highness is himself satisfied with what his Majesty offers, and that he would be sorry to hear of our having agreed to the Motion now made to us; for what other Meaning can be put upon his Royal Highness's saying, that he was sorry for the Affair's being then in other Hands?
For this Reason, Sir, I think the Debate will now be brought within a very narrow Compass; for if the Motion should now be insisted on, it can proceed from nothing but Gentlemen's taking upon them to differ in Opinion from his Majesty, and to think that 50,000 l. a Year out of the Civil List, besides his Royal Highness's Revenue arising from the Dutchy of Cornwall, is not a competent Allowance, considering his Majesty's numerous Issue, and the great Expences, which do and must necessarily attend an honourable Provision for his whole Royal Family. As this has been already infisted on, as it has been said that 100,000 l. a Year is the least his Royal Highness ought to have out of the Civil List, besides the Revenues of the Principality of Wales and Dutchy of Cornwall, and that it was the least the Parliament that established the present Civil List intended he should have, I must beg Leave to answer in as few Words as possible, to what has been said upon that Head, and to give my Reasons for being of the same Opinion with his Majesty.
By what I have said, or am to say upon this Head, I would not have it understood, Sir, as if I believed his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales ought not to have more than 10,000 l. a Year: On the contrary, I think he ought to have a great deal more than double the Sum, if it were possible for his Majesty to spare so much from the Civil List Revenue, or if the Nation were so happy as to be in a Condition to increase the Civil List, so as to enable his Majesty to make such an Allowance to his Royal Highness as he deserves, and as his Majesty would incline to give him. Were we to measure his Allowance by his Merit, as we know no Bounds to the latter, we could prescribe no Bounds to the former: The only Course we could take would be, to offer whatever he pleased to demand; and even in that Case we would have Reason to fear lest his Modesty might do an Injury to his Generosity, by making him consine his Demands within the strictest Bounds of Necessity. I am not therefore to examine what his Royal Highness ought to have, I am only to endeavour to shew that we have no Right to prescribe to his Majesty, what he ought to give; that it could not be the Intention of that Parliament which established the present Civil List, to grant 100,000 l. a Year, or any other certain yearly Sum out of the Civil List Revenue to his Royal Highness; and that his Majesty cannot at present conveniently spare more than 50,000 l. a Year out of that Revenue.
To say, Sir, that the Parliament has a Right to prescribe to his Majesty, what Provision he shall make out of his own Estate for any one of his Children, has something in it at first View so very extraordinary, that I am surprized to hear it insisted on: Such a Right would put the King in a much worse State than any one of his Subjects; and I must desire Gentlemen would consider, what a Foreigner would think of this Nation, if he should be told, we entrust the King with the Government of the whole Kingdom, but we will not entrust him with the Government of his own Family. I do not know that there is in all our Histories or Records any one Precedent or Foundation for such a Parliamentary Claim, but that single one in the Reign of Henry VI. and that was, we know, so weak a Reign that it became necessary for the Parliament to assume several Rights and Privileges which they were not properly, and by the Nature of our Constitution, intitled to. As for what the Parliament did in Relation to the Princess Anne of Denmark, it can no Way be made use of in the present Case; that Affair was first brought into Parliament when they were considering how much it would be necessary to allow for the Support of our Civil Government, and then it became very proper to take into their Consideration what particular Sum was to be allowed for the Support of the Prince and Princess of Denmark; for tho' they were of the Royal Family, they were not of the King's own Family; and therefore the Appropriating of a certain particular Sum for their Support, or the Addressing to have a certain Sum appropriated for that Purpose, could not be called an Intermeddling in the King's domestic Affairs.
Besides, Sir, it is not so natural for any Man to provide honourably for his presumptive Heir, as for any one of his own Children: The presumptive Heir is sometimes looked on even with Jealousy and Envy; and therefore, there is a very strong Reason for the Parliament's interfering more particularly in one Case, than common Decency can admit of in the other.
But suppose, Sir, the Parliament had a Right to prescribe to his Majesty, what Provision he shall make out of his own Estate for any, or for every one of his Children, how is it possible for us to exercise that Right in our present Situation? Before we can with any Countenance pretend to exercise such a Right, we ought to examine narrowly into the Produce of the Civil List Revenue, and the several Uses to which it must necessarily be applied, in order to see how much his Majesty can conveniently spare out of that Revenue: We ought likewise to examine particularly into the Establishment of his Royal Highness's Houshold, and all the Expences he may necessarily be put to for supporting the Dignity and Grandeur in which the Heir Apparent to the Crown of Great Britain ought to live, in order to determine what particular Sum his Majesty shall allow him annually out of the Civil List Revenue. Is it possible for us in our present Situation to examine into either of these Particulars? We have at present no Account relating to the Civil List, nor any Account relating to his Royal Highness's Houshold before us, and without a Multitude of such Accounts it is not possible for us to go thro' with any such Examination.
Now, Sir, with regard to the Intention of that Parliament by whom the present Civil List was established; if we consider the Circumstances of the Royal Family at that Time, and the Circumstances of the Royal Family when the Civil List was established in the former Reign, we shall very easily find a Meaning for the Experience of past Times being very different from what is now put upon these Words. When the Civil List Revenue was established upon his late Majesty, a very narrow Scrutiny was made into the whole Articles of the Expence of our civil Government, and particularly into the Expence necessary for supporting, the Dignity and Grandeur of the Prince of Wales; from which Scrutiny it was computed that 600,000 l. a Year at least would be necessary for supporting the King's Houshold and civil Government; but let us confider that the King had then no Queen, nor any Children to provide for: From the same Scrutiny it was computed that 100,000 l. a Year out of the Civil List Revenue was the least Sum that would be necessary for supporting the Dignity and Grandeur of the Prince of Wales; but let us remember that the Prince of Wales had then a Princess of Wales, and, to our Happiness, several Children to provide for. During that Reign it had been found that 100,000 l. a Year, was sufficient for supporting the Prince and Princess of Wales, and all their Children; but it had likewise been found that it required 700,000 l. a Year to support the King's Houshold and civil Government, tho' he had no Queen nor any Children to provide for.
This, Sir, was the Experience of past Times which gave Occasion to the Increasing his present Majesty's Civil List Revenue to 800,000 l. a Year; but if we consider the Circumstances of the Royal Family at the Time of his Majesty's Accession, we must see that the Parliament from this very Experience could not but conclude, that it would require more than 700,000 l. a Year to support his present Majesty's Houshold and civil Government; because he had a Queen and several younger Children to provide for, which the late King had not; and from the same Experience they must likewise have concluded, that it would not require 100,000 l. a Year to support the Prince of Wales, because he had then neither a Princess, nor any Children to provide for; for if they had concluded that 100,000 l. a Year would be necessary for supporting the Prince of Wales singly, they must from the Experience of past Times have granted more than 700,000 l. a Year for supporting the present King's Houshould and civil Government, considering that he had a Queen and several young Children to provide for, which the late King had net; and since they granted for the Support of the present King's Houshold and civil Government, but exactly the same Sum that had been found from the Experience of past Times to be necessary, and had been actually given for the Support of the late King's Houshold and civil Government, it is apparent to me they concluded his Majesty might save and deduct at much nom the Allowance to be made to the Prince of Wales, as would be sufficient for providing for her present Majesty the Queen, and all their other Children. From all which it is to me evident that the Parliament that established the present Civil List did not intend his Royal Highness should have out of it a full 100,000 l. a Year. They intended only what was right they should intend, and what only in due Deference to their Sovereign they could intend, which was, that his Majesty should allow the Prince of Wales what he, in his great Wisdom, might think a competent Allowance for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Heir Apparent to the Crown, considering his Majesty's numerous Issue, and the great Expences, which would necessarily attend an honourable Provision for his whole Royal Family.
I think, Sir, I have now clearly shewn what his Majesty meant by, and what the Parliament could only intend from the Experience of past Times; and, if we now proceed upon the same Foundation, we must conclude, that 50,000 l. a Year is the most his Majesty can spare out of the Civil List for the Support of his Royal Highness. His Majesty allows 8000 l. a Year for the Support of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, 5000 l. a Year to her Royal Highness the Princess of Orange, 5,300 l. a Year for the two eldest Princesses, and 2000 l. a Year for the two youngest; all which are extraordinary Expences unknown in the late Reign. To these if we add the 50,000 l. a Year for the Support of her Majesty, which was likewise unknown in the late Reign, and a proportionable additional Allowance for Bed and Board, and other extraordinary Expences in the several Palaces, we must conclude that his Majesty must necessarily be at 100,000 l. a Year Expence more than was found, or could be necessary in the late Reign, which will make the whole Expence of his Majesty's Houshold, and civil Government, without including the Allowance of the Prince of Wales, amount, according to the Experience of past Times, at least 800,000 l. a Year; so that every Shilling his Majesty allows for the Support of the Prince of Wales, must arise from Frugality and good Management, and from contracting, and saving a Part of that Expence which was found necessary in the late Reign. Therefore so far from concluding or imagining that his Majesty may spare more than 50,000 l. a Year for his Royal Highness, we have reason to be surprized how he can spare so much.
But this, Sir, will appear still more evident by an Example in private Life. Suppose two Country Gentlemen, each of 8000 l. a Year Estate in Land: Suppose their Rents equally good, and equally well paid, and that their Lands are equally taxed; and suppose that one of these Gentlemen has but one only Son, but that the other has five or six Children. Can we suppose the latter able to settle upon his eldest Son as large a Part of his Estate as the former may spare to settle upon his only Son? Surely, Sir, no Man in Reason can suppose any such Thing; the latter has his younger Children not only to maintain, but to provide for, and therefore neither he nor his eldest Son can live in such Grandeur, as the former and his only Son may do. This is the very Case before us: His present Majesty has but 800,000 l. a Year Estate, the late King had the same, if we add to his late Majesty's settled Revenue, the several additional Grants that were occasionally made to the Civil List in his Reign. His late Majesty had but one only Son; his present Majesty, to our Comfort and Happiness, has several Children; and therefore it is not to be supposed that the present King, or the present Prince of Wales, can live in such Grandeur, as the late King, and the present, whilst Prince of Wales, were able to do, unless the Parliament should think fit to encrease the Estate of the Crown by a new additional Grant to the Civil List Revenue.
I shall take no Notice, Sir, of the Infinuations that were made against the Management of the Civil List Revenue in the late Reign, or the Method of settling it in this, I do not think they any Way relate to the present Debate. The Management in the late Reign, might, if necessary, be easily accounted for; and the Method of settling the Civil List Revenue in this Reign hardly deserves the Name of an Improvement. But now after having shewn that we have not properly a Right to present such an Address as is proposed; that we ought not either in Wisdom, or Policy, or even common Decency, to present such an Address, I must beg, I must intreat of Gentlemen to consider what they are about. Gentlemen may call it, if they please, offering our Advice to our Sovereign; but it is really bringing his Majesty and his eldest Son as Plaintiff and Defendant before us. In this Light it will be looked on by every Man without Doors. It is stating ourselves as the higher Power, and bringing his Royal Highness to sue for Justice before us: Our agreeing to the Question, would be a determining that his Majesty had done Injustice to his eldest Son: It would be giving a Victory to the Son over the Father, which might prove, the Lord have Mercy on us, the Destruction of both. No Man can patiently bear an Inquiry into his Family Affairs; no Father can easily forgive a Son for appealing to a higher Power: For God's sake, let us stop in Time this widening Gap, which may make Way for an Inundation to drown us all. Our agreeing to such a Question might occasion a perpetual Breach, an Immedicabile Vulnus, tho' not, I hope, Ense recidendum. I hope the Wisdom of this House will timeously prevent any Amputation.
The Question now before us, Sir, is of a most dangerous Nature, it may be the Occasion of such fatal Consequences to the Royal Family and to the whole Kingdom, that I must think, the original Authors and Contrivers of it can be no Friends to either. I am far from suspecting any Gentleman of this House, or any Member of either House of Parliament. It is not possible for me to suppose that either of them could have been the original Author or Contriver of such a Question; and I am sure no Gentleman of either House would have attempted to have brought such a Question into Parliament, if he had viewed it in the same Light as I do. We may remember, Sir, the fatal Division that happened between his late Majesty, and his present Majesty when Prince of Wales: We may remember to what a Height that fatal Division was carried. The Prince of Wales, the eldest, the only Son of the King, and Heir Apparent to the Crown, was turned out of the Royal Palace, was excluded from every one of the Royal Palaces, and was obliged to live like a private Nobleman, in a private House, and without any Guards, or other Ensigns of Royalty. Nay, his very Servants were tempted and hired to forsake him, and were even threatned and bullied if they refused; yet it cannot be said that the Son was ever guilty of any undutiful Behaviour, or that the Father was deficient in natural Affection. To what then could this terrible Division be owing? It could be owing to nothing but little malicious Slanderers and Tale-Bearers, who, for their own private Ends, stirred up a Division in the Royal Family: But it is well known they are all Foreigners who were the original Authors of it: We know there was not a British Subject had the least Hand in it. However, be they who they will, it is certain they could be no real Friends either to the Father or the Son, or to any of the Royal Family.
I am surprized, Sir, to hear it now so much insisted on, that the Heir Apparent or Presumptive of the Crown has a Right to have a distinct and independent Provision settled upon him. I remember a Time when this Doctrine was far from being admitted as one of the Maxims of our Constitution. I remember a Time when the present Royal Family, who were then the presumptive Heirs of the Crown by Act of Parliament, were so far from being allowed a distinct and independent Settlement, that they had no Allowance at all: Nay, even when the Question was moved, the Parliament would not so much as give any of them Leave to come and reside in the Kingdom. The Maxim now insisted on was therefore very far from being thought a Maxim at that Time, and I should think it very strange, if those who were then so regardless of the Presumptive Heir of the Crown, should now shew themselves so careful of the Apparent Heir, as to do an Injury to the King upon the Throne, for the Sake of providing a very large independent Settlement for the Apparent Heir.
I am likewise surprized, Sir, to hear the Term, Emancipation, made use of in this Debate. In this Kingdom to talk of the Son's being emancipated by Marriage out of the Family of his Father, is certainly not a proper and just Way of Speaking. In those Countries where the Term Emancipation was first made use of, the Son was in some Manner the Slave of his Father. In those Countries Fathers had at first even a Power of Life and Death over their Children, and a Right to every Thing the Son could acquire either by his own Industry, or by Gift, or otherwise; nor was the Son freed from his paternal Power by Marriage: The only Way of freeing him was by a solemn Act of the Father, an Edict of the Prince, or a Decree of the Magistrate; and the Freeing of the Son from the paternal Power by either of these Ways was called Emancipation. But in this Kingdom we can have no such Term, because the Father has not properly any Power over his Children; a Son after he comes of Age has no further Dependence upon his Father, than what proceeds from filial Affection and Duty, and this continues after his Marriage the same it was before; it is a Dependance, which never can, nor ever ought to be taken way: It is a Dependance which, I am sure, no Member of this House would endeavour to diminish; for whoever endeavours to diminish it can have no true Regard either for the Son or the Father.
But, Sir, I must confess, I am no way surprized to find that those who were some Time ago for incroaching upon the King's Prerogative with respect to the Officers of his Army, should now be for incroaching upon his paternal Power with respect to the providing in whatever Manner he may think most proper for his own Children. I am persuaded neither of these Attempts proceeded from any real Disaffection to his Majesty, or his illustrious Family: I believe both proceeded from mistaken Notions of Liberty, or from an erroneous Idea of our Constitution; but I hope those Gentlemen will consider, that what they now propose is really in some Manner, as I have said, accusing his Majesty of Injustice towards his eldest Son. It will be so looked on by the whole Nation. This will of course very much lessen the Esteem the People have, and ought to have for his Majesty; and will certainly make many of them suppose he is no longer fit to rule over us. The Consequences of such an Opinion may be extremely fatal. For my own Part, if I were in a foreign Nation, and should hear that such a Question as this had been brought into the Parliament of Great Britain, and carried against the Father, I should expect to hear, by the next Post, that the same Parliament had deposed the Father, and had set the Crown upon the Head of the Son. This is a Consequence which, I am sure, the Son would be far from desiring to see; it is a Consequence which I am convinced no Gentleman in this House designs; but as it is a Consequence which I think sooner or later might be justly apprehended from this Question's being carried in the Affirmative, therefore I thought myself obliged to rise up and give my Reasons for being against it; and now that I have done so, whatever may happen to be the Fate of the Question, I am sure I shall sleep this Night much founder in my Bed, and with a safer Conscience, than I could have done, if I had given only a bare Negative to a Question in which I think the Happiness of my King, the Happiness of the Royal Family, and the Happiness of my Century so deeply concerned.
To conclude, Sir, as the Honourable Gentleman who moved you this Question, has told us that several Arguments of great Dignity and Weight might be made use of against it, I have and shall always have so great a Deference for that Gentleman's Opinion, that I shall, upon all Occasions, be extremely cautious of giving my Assent to any Question against which he thinks any Argument of Dignity or Weight may be made use of. 'Tis true, he endeavoured to evade those Arguments by making some sort of Answer to each; but those Answers will, from what I have already said, appear, I think, to be very insufficient; so that the Arguments he made use of against his own Motion must now stand in their full Force. In all Questions, even where the Prerogative is concerned, which relate to Affairs of a public Nature, the Parliament may interpose, but in those which relate only to the Royal Family, the Parliament can have no Concern: Even his Majesty's Ministers cannot properly or prudently intermeddle, unless specially called upon. As for the Parliament's resuming any Grant, when the Cause of granting ceases, it can have nothing to do in the present Debate; for there is no Pretence for saying that any one of the Causes for granting the present Civil List Revenue has ceased. And as to the Amount of the Civil List Revenue, and the Manner in which it is established, or the Uses for which it ought to be applied, I am surprized to hear any Objections made to the former, or any Attempt made for directing the latter, since at the Time of granting, as I am told, it was unanimously agreed to in one House, and with but one contradictory Vote in the other; and I do not hear that in either House there was the least Mention made of the Uses to which the Whole, or any Part, ought to be applied. In short, Sir, there was never any Thing happened in Parliament, gave me so great a Concern as the hearing of this Motion made. The very making of such a Motion may be attended with cruel Consequences; but if it should be agreed to, after having used my utmost Endeavours to prevent it, I shall pray to God to avert those Judgments which may be brought upon the whole Nation by our agreeing to such a Motion. This I take to be my next indispentable Duty; but I hope the Success of my Endeavours will prevent such a melancholy Occasion for my Prayers.
The Importance of the present Debate I shall readily acknowledge, has been, I think, acknowledged by every Gentleman who has spoke upon either Side of the Question; but some of the Gentlemen who have spoke against the Motion, have endeavoured to represent it in a Light which, I am sure, it can no way bear; a Light which, I must say, can no way contribute to the Honour or Advantage of either of the two Royal Persons who seem to be concerned. To insinuate that either of them can conceive the least Grudge from any Thing that passes in Parliament, is really, in my Opinion, to insinuate, that they are ignorant, or not observant of the Rights and Privileges of Parliament. This, I believe, the honourable Gentlemen were not sufficiently aware of, otherwise they would not have pretended that this Motion, or any Motion in Parliament, could ever occasion any Breach or Dispute between his Majesty and his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, or that it can lay any Gentleman under the least Difficulty how to behave.
As my Attachment to the present Royal Family is so well and so publicly known, I cannot, I think, be suspected of desiring or designing to foment or stir up any Division between them: I hope every one who knows me will do me the Justice to think, I would do all in my Power to prevent any such fatal Division; and for this very Reason I am for agreeing to the Motion now made to us; because it will remove that which is often the Cause of Dissension in private Families, and may be the same even with respect to the Royal; for when the Son is obliged to apply to the Father for every trifling Sum he may have Occasion for, it is a continual Fund for Dissension, and often begets a Coolness both on the one Side and on the other.
It is to be supposed, I hope, Sir, there will always be good Reason for presuming, that the Behaviour of every Gentleman in this House, with respect to any Motion he may make, or any Opinion or Vote he may give, is founded upon what he thinks right, upon what he takes to be his Duty as a Member of this House; and to imagine that his Majesty, or his Royal Highness, would be offended at any Gentleman's doing what he takes to be his Duty in Parliament, is certainly a very wrong, and a most groundless Imagination: But to suppose that either of them could conceive the least Grudge against the other, on account of any Motion or Question in Parliament, is to suppose that the Parliament is directed in every thing they do, either by the one or the other; which is a Supposition as injurious to the Honour of Parliament, as it is inconsistent with the Wisdom and Justice both of his Majesty, and of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales; we therefore ought to suppose that neither his Majesty, nor his Royal Highness, knows any thing of what we are about; we are in Duty bound to suppose, that neither of them will be offended with the Fate of this Question, be it what it will; and it is impossible to suppose it can occasion any Breach between them; so that let the Importance of the Question be of ever so high a Nature, it can be of no melancboly Concern, nor can it be attended with any cruel Consequences. No Man can from thence imagine there is any private Mistake or Dispute between his Majesty and the Prince, because no Man can justly suppose, I hope no Man does suppose, the Proceedings in Parliament are directed by either. The only Thing they can suppose is, that his Royal Highness is not as yet provided for in the Manner he deserves, and in that Manner in which all former Princes of Wales have been; and this was only supposed, but publicly known, and generally talked of; long before this Motion was thought of; therefore, if this Motion has any Effect on People without Doors, it will be, to shew them, that we are mindful of our Duty, and that we have a due Regard for the Honour of the Nation, and for the Happiness and Independency of the Heir Apparent to the Crown.
I am far from thinking, Sir, that our agreeing to this Motion will occasion any Breach between the two Royal Persons concerned: On the contrary, I am convinced it will be extremely pleasing to both. The Royal Father must be pleased to see his eldest Son and Apparent Heir so greatly beloved, as to have the Parliament interesting themselves in his Behalf; and the Prince will be pleased to see the Parliament taking Care of his being made independent of his Father's Ministers and Servants. Therefore no Gentleman can in that respect be under any Difficulty in giving his Vote for the Question; and I am surprised to hear it said that by voting for or against it, an Injury can be done to either of the Royal Persons concerned. Can the giving of an honest and disinterested Advice ever be looked on as an Injury to the Person to whom it is given? Can my refusing to give an Advice, which I do not think proper, be looked on as an Injury by any Person whatever? The Address proposed is only by way of Advice; and it is giving our Advice in the humblest Manner. Shall this, Sir, be called a Violation of Property? Shall it be called a taking from the King that Property which is established in him by Act of Parliament? If the Motion had been, to bring in a Bill for taking 100,000 l. from the Civil List, and settling it on the Prince of Wales, there might have been some Pretence for such Exclamations; but surely our advising his Majesty, in the humblest Manner, to give what we think the Prince ought to have, can never be called a Taking his Property from him by Violence; even supposing he had as good and as absolute a Right to the whole Civil List Revenue, as any private Man can have to his Estate: Which I cannot grant without some Restriction; for a private Man may squander his Estate in what Manner he pleases, whereas, if the Civil List Revenue should be ridiculously squandered, the Parliament would have a Right to interpose, and would, I believe, interpose in a Manner more effectual than that of Addressing.
To pretend, Sir, that the Parliament has no Power to appropriate Money after it is granted, or that we never enter into any Consideration about Money once granted to the Crown, without the previous Consent of the Crown, has no Relation to the present Debate; because it is not now proposed to bring in a Bill for appropriating any Money, nor to take into our Consideration any Grants made to the Crown; it is only proposed to address his Majesty to make such a Settlement on the Prince of Wales as we think necessary for supporting the Dignity and Grandeur of his high Birth: But I must consess, I am at a Loss to know how the Power of Parliament comes to be confined in either of the Cases mentioned; I am sure the Parliament often in one Bill appropriates Sums of Money granted by former Bills in the same Session, and why it may not appropriate Money granted by a Bill passed in a former Session, I cannot comprehend: And, I think, but last Session, we took into our Consideration, and absolutely released a very large Sum of Money, formerly granted to the Crown, without any previous Consent of the Crown; for I do not remember we had any general Message from the Crown, when we passed the late famous Bill for and against Smugglers, by which a very large Sum of Money, due by them to the Crown, was absolutely released by Parliament; tho' it must be granted, his Majesty had as good and as absolute a Right to every Shilling of that Money, as he has to any other Part of the Civil List Revenue. Therefore, if a Motion had actually been made, to bring in a Bill for taking 100,000 l. a Year from the Civil List, and settling it on the Prince of Wales, it would not have been without Precedent, with respect to our having no previous Consent from the Crown; and as the Parliament has certainly a Right to see every Sum of Money applied to that Use for which it was intended, tho' not expressly appropriated, with respect to the Power of Parliament, such a Motion would not have been entirely without Reason: But as the Motion now made to us is only for an Address, there can be no Doubt of the Parliament's having a Power to present such an Address as is proposed, and therefore the only Question is, Whether or no it be proper?
With respect to this Question, Sir, the Debate seems now indeed, by his Majesty's Message, to be brought within a very narrow Compass; it seems in some Manner to be reduced to one single Point, which is, Whether his Majesty can spare more than 50,000 l. from the Civil List Revenue, for the Use of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales? By this Message even his Majesty seems to acknowledge, that the Prince of Wales ought to have an independent Settlement, and that it is now high Time that Settlement should be made; and the Hon. Gentleman who delivered us the Message seems to admit that the Settlement proposed by it to be made is not a sufficient Settlement; so that the only Question now remaining is, Whether the Civil List Revenue, as it stands at present, can possibly spare a larger Sum for the Use of his Royal Highness? And from this being made a Question I shall shew, that the Address proposed is a very proper Address, and that it is become absolutely necessary for us to agree to present such an Address; but as some Objections have been made to the Right which the Prince has to a sufficient independent Settlement, I shall first beg Leave to answer some of the most material Objections I have heard made against it.
The Maxims of State, Sir, in any Kingdom or Commonwealth, are always most certainly to be deduced from their ancient and general Customs: The Historians, or Political Writers of any Country, may be mistaken, they may deliver that as a Maxim of State which never had any Authority as such; they may neglect to mention, or may perhaps not observe a Maxim which has always obtained; but where a Custom has been long and generally received, the Maxim, or Rule in Politics upon which that Custom is founded, must be allowed to be a Maxim of State in that Kingdom or Commonwealth. Can any one then say, the settling of an independent and sufficient Provision upon the Prince of Wales is not a Maxim of State in this Kingdom? Is it not a Custom which has been observed, without any one Exception, as long, as far back, as we can trace our Monarchy? And the Wisdom of this Maxim, not only appears from the Nature of the Thing itself, but is expressly pointed at almost in every one of the Charters and Acts of Parliament that have been granted or made for that Purpose. First, with respect to the Prince, the Wisdom of this Maxim is evident, because he is thereby enabled to support the Dignity and Grandeur of his Birth, without a Dependance upon his Father's Ministers and Servants: And then with respect to the Crown itself, the Wisdom of this Maxim is still more eyident, because it is established and secured by the Honour and Character acquired by the Heir Apparent. These two Considerations are both pointed at in the Charter, or Act of Parliament, by which Edward III. granted the Dutchy of Cornwall to his Son Edward the black Prince; and in the Charter granted by that King for creating his Son Prince of Wales, the Reason for that Grant is expressly declared to be, for doing Honour to the King, and for adding Strength to the Nation and to the Royal Family. Thus, Sir, we see that the settling of an independent Provision upon the Prince of Wales, was looked on as a Piece of great Wisdom by Edward III. but now it seems we are to look on it as a Solecism in Politics, as a Step which might be the Occasion of great Misfortunes to the Royal Family.
But, Sir. while I can distinguish between that laudable, that honourable Dependance, which proceeds from Royalty and filial Duty, and that vile, that sordid Dependance, which proceeds from Lucre, I shall always be of the same Opinion with our great King Edward III. The Prince of Wales must always have a Dependance on the King as his Father, as his Sovereign: This is a Sort of Dependance which no Man can, which no honest Man would endeavour to take away or diminish; but to say that he ought to have a pecuniary Dependance upon the King, or rather upon the King's Ministers, is to say he ought to have a Sort of Dependance which no Man of Honour or Spirit can submit to; and it is a Sort of Dependance absolutely inconsistent with our Constitution. The Prince of Wales is by his Birth the first Peer in Parliament, and consequently ought not to be subjected to a dishonourable Dependance upon any Man; but if it should once be established as a Maxim, that he ought to be under a vile pecuniary Dependance upon his Sovereign, it might then be justly said, he was not only the first Peer, but the first Pensioner in Parliament. — From this Consideration alone we may see how absolutely necessary it is, to have a sufficient and independent Provision settled upon every Prince of Wales before he comes to Man's Estate; and the making of such a Settlement will be so far from destroying or diminishing that Dependance which proceeds from Loyalty and filial Duty, that it will increase and secure it; whereas the keeping him under a pecuniary Dependance may provoke him to shake off both his Loyalty and filial Duty. A pecuniary Dependance is a Dependance of so slavish a Nature, that no great Mind can long bear it: The more Honour, the more Spirit a Man has, the more impatient will he be to get rid of such a Dependance, and that Impatience may at last get the better both of his Loyalty and his filial Duty.
Thus, Sir, in every Light we can put it, the Wisdom of this Maxim, and the Necessity of observing it, must appear evident to those who think there is any other Dependance in Nature besides that which proceeds from Lucre. Indeed to those who put no Trust in any other Sort of Dependance, the Politics of Edward III. and the Maxim on which those Politics were founded, must appear ridiculous and absurd; but, I hope, there are no such Gentlemen in this House. I hope there is no Gentleman in this House that ever submitted to such a slavish Dependance, or that ever endeavoured to impose any such upon others; and, I am sure, no Man can put his only Trust in that which he has never felt within himself, nor ever experienced in others.
For this Reason it cannot but appear strange to me, that any Gentleman in this House should attempt to evade or deny the Maxim I have endeavoured to establish; yet so loth, I find, are some Gentlemen to admit of it as a Maxim of State in this Kingdom, that they have ransacked our Histories to find out other Reasons for the frequent Settlements made upon our Princes of Wales; and tho' the Security of the Crown, and the enabling the Prince to support the Honour and Dignity of his noble Birth, are the Reasons, and the only Reasons, mentioned in the Charters by which those Settlements were made, yet we are told these were not the true Reasons; but that the true Reasons were, in order to do Honour to some County or Borough, to secure the Affections of a People newly conquered, or to declare and establish the Right of the Prince of Wales as next Heir to the Crown. Thus when we are to interpret ancient Laws or Charters, we are not to take their Meaning or Intention from the Words, we are to have no Regard to the express Words of the Law, but we are to take its Meaning or Intention from the History of some cotemporary Facts with which we cannot but be very well acquainted; whereas when we are to interpret any late Statute, for Example, the Statutes by which the Civil List Revenue was established, we are to regard the Words only, we are not to take the Meaning or Intention of the Law from the History of those cotemporary Facts with which we are very well acquainted, and which Facts, to the particular Knowledge of many of us, greatly influenced the Passing of those Laws, and were the chief Canse of the Shape they now appear in. Whether this Method of interpreting Statutes be established upon any Rule or Maxim of Law, I do not know; but to me it seems directly contrary to common Sense; and therefore I must still continue to think, it has always been held as a Maxim of State in this Kingdom, that the Prince of Wales ought to have a sufficient independent Estate of his own; and that this Maxim, and the Wisdom and Policy upon which it is founded, were the chief Causes of all those Settlements that have been made.
A yearly Allowance, or an Annuity depending upon the Will and Pleasure of the King, might perhaps enable the Prince, if he resolved to spend the Whole yearly as it comes in, to live in as grand a Manner, as an Annuity of the same Value settled upon, him independently and for Life; but as an Annuity depending upon be Will of any Man must be precarious and uncertain, no Man of common Prudence will resolve to spend the Whole yearly: He will look on it as a Sunshine, upon the Continuance of which he can have no Dependance, and that therefore he ought to save as much as possible, in order to provide for a cloudy or rainy Day. Besides, Sir, an Annuity of such a Nature looks so very like a Pension, it would be inconsistent with the Honour of the Nation to suffer that the Heir Apparent to the Crown should have nothing else to depend on. It would even be inconsistent with our Constitution: In this Kingdom we do not admit the Judges of our CommonLaw Courts to depend upon the precarious Will and Pleasure of the King, and shall we admit or suffer that the Prince of Wales, who is one of the Judges of the supreme and highest Court of Judicature in the Nation, should have nothing else to depend on? Therefore we must conclude that, from the established Maxims of the Kingdom, from a continued Series of Precedents for a great many Ages passed, and from the very Nature of our Constitution, the Prince of Wales has a Right to a sufficient and independent Settlement; and that the Parliament may interpose for making that Right effectual, has been shewn from many Precedents.
'Tis true, Sir, this likewise has been objected to, and it has been said, that the Parliament has seldom or never interposed but when desired or prompted by the Crown to do so; or otherwise, that the Precedents are such as ought not to be drawn into Example. Sir, There is not one of the Precedents which have been mentioned, that appears to have been founded upon any Message from the Crown. The Motion was perhaps, in some of them, made by one who was known to be a Courtier; but can it be said that the Motion's being made by a Courtier, without so much as signifying he had any Authority from the Crown for that Purpose, would have made it proper for the Parliament to have agreed to a Motion, which it would not have been proper for them to have agreed to, if the same had been made by any other Person, or by one who was not known to be a Courtier? Therefore we must suppose, that without any Regard to the Mover, the Parliament approved of the Motion, and thought it such a one as was proper for them to agree to; and from thence we must conclude, that every one of the Precedents mentioned in the Beginning of this Debate is a good Precedent for the Address proposed.
But unluckily, Sir, for the Gentlemen of the other Side of the Question, there are, I think, very sufficient Reasons for believing, the Address, or Petition of Parliament, for having Richard the Son of the Black Prince created Prince of Wales, was resolved on by Parliament without any Direction from, nay probably in Opposition to the Court at that Time; for it appears from our Records, that that young Prince was sent to Parliament at the Desire and upon a Petition of the Commons; and when the Parliament addressed for having him created Prince of Wales, the King's Answer shews he was not very well pleased with the Address; for in his Answer he tells them, the creating of a Prince of Wales no way belonged to the Parliament, but to the King only; which is an Answer it can hardly be supposed he would have made, if the Address of Parliament had proceeded from his Authority, or had been moved for with his Approbation: Then again, from the Circumstances of the Court at that Time, it is not probable the King would have been so forward in creating his Grandson Prince of Wales, if he had not been forced to it by his Parliament; for it is certain that King, in his old Age, fell into a Sort of Love Dotage, and gave himself entirely up to the Management of his Mistress Alice Pierce, and his second Son, the Duke of Lancaster, which raised a most reasonable Jealousy in Edward the Black Prince, who was then upon his Death bed, and therefore could not but be anxious about the Safety and Right of his only Son Prince Richard, whom he found he was soon to leave a Child in the Hands of a doting Grandfather, and an ambitious aspiring Uncle. For this Reason, 'tis thought, he applied privately to Parliament, and they obliged the King to send his second Son abroad, and to banish his Mistress and all her Favourites from Court, which happened only about a Year before the Black Prince's Death; but no sooner was that Prince dead than the King recalled this Duke of Lancaster; and Alice Pierce, and her Favourites, resumed their Places and their Interest at Court, insomuch that a Member of the House of Commons was imprisoned for having spoke freely against her in Parliament, and was actually a Prisoner, when Prince Richard was created Prince of Wales, which shews that the King was then very much under her Management; and it is not very probable she would advise the King to be so very speedy in conferring that Honour on Prince Richard, since she could not but be sensible that young Prince's Father had been the Cause of her having been banished the Court. For these Reasons I think it may most probably be presumed, that both the Motions in Favour of Prince Richard, both that for his coming to Parliament, and that for creating him Prince of Wales, were made and carried in Parliament, in Opposition to the Court at that Time. This fully justifies the Motion now made, and shews we have a Right and a Power to interpose in Favour of the Heir Apparent to the Crown, without any previous Consent or Approbation from the Crown; and I hope it will not be said of the Reign of Edward III. as has been said of the Reign of Henry VI. that nothing that happened in that Reign ought to be made a Precedent for any thing in the present Reign.
But, Sir, even with respect to the Reign of Henry VI. — As unfortunate, as tempestuous a Reign as it was, there were many Things then done by Parliament, which ought to be made, and which, I hope, always will be followed as good Precedents, as often as the Parliament has the same Occasion. When the Nation has the good Fortune to be under a wise and a prudent Administration, the Parliament has never an Occasion to exert any of its extraordinary Powers. It is in a weak Reign, or under a wicked Administration, we are to look for the Powers of Parliament; it is in tempestuous Times the State flics to Parliament for Preservation; there, I trust in God, the State shall always find it, and then the Power of Parliament can be bounded by nothing but the Good of the Public.
Another Precedent, which we are told ought not to be followed, is that which happened in the Reign of King William; and why is not this to be followed? Because it produced a Prorogation. Sir, I say, for that very Reason it ought to be highly applauded, and ought to be followed. Can it be said that the Princess Anne of Denmark ought not to have had some additional Settlement made upon her? Would not such a Neglect have been a Blemish upon the Glory of that Reign? Yet that wise and great King, by the Advice of some weak or malicious Favourites, would probably have committed that Error, or would at least have omitted that Duty, if it had not been for the Honour, the Fidelity, and the Obstinacy of his Parliament. They thought it was what the King ought to do, they therefore thought it was their Duty to advise him to do it; they insisted upon it, notwithstanding the King's Displeasure, and by disobliging him they put one of the greatest Obligations upon him; because they at last prevailed with him to do that which was right. The Behaviour of that Parliament is therefore a glorious Example, which, I hope, will be followed by this. I can have no Apprehension that an unseasonable Prorogation will be the Consequence of our agreeing to this Motion; but if it should, it can be no Reason against our agreeing to the Motion: It would be a strong Reason for our resuming the Affair, and agreeing to a Motion of the same Nature the very first Day of the next Session.
But we have been told, Sir, there may be a Reason for the Parliament's interposing between a King and his presumptive Heir, which can never hold with respect to a King and his eldest Son; because it is not so natural for a Man to provide honourably for his presumptive Heir, as it is to provide for his own Children. Suppose then a King, who has no Children, does not provide honourably for his presumptive Heir, what is it that gives the Parliament a Right to intermeddle? Is it not the Right which that presumptive Heir has by the Constitution and Maxims of this Kingdom to a sufficient independent Settlement, and the Power the Parliament has to see that Right made effectual? And has not the Heir Apparent as good a Right, by the Constitution and Maxims of this Kingdom, to a sufficient independent Settlement, as the Heir presumptive? Surely he has; he has not only the same Right by the Maxims of the Kingdom, but also an additional Right by the Laws of Nature; and if the King his Father should neglect or refuse to give him his Right, which may certainly happen some time or other to be the Case, has not the Parliament a Power to see that Right, at least, which he has by the Maxims of the Kingdom, made effectual? To say they have not, would be to tell us, that where the Maxims of the Kingdom only are neglected, the Parliament may interpose, in order to procure a Remedy; but where both the Laws of Nature, and the Maxims of the Kingdom are neglected, the Parliament cannot interpose, nor make the least Step towards procuring a Remedy.
To avoid falling into such a palpable Absurdity, we are told, that common Decency does not admit of the Parliament's interposing between Father and Son, that it would be intermeddling in the King's domestic Affairs, and prescribing to his Majesty what Provision he should make for his Children; and lastly, that tho' the Parliament may have a Right to offer Advice to their Sovereign in Affairs which regard his Political and Royal Capacity, yet they never ought to offer Advice to him in any Affairs which regard only his Natural and Paternal Capacity. As for common Decency, Sir, it can never be inconsistent with a Man's Duty; therefore if it be the Duty of Parliament to interpose so far between the King and his eldest Son, as to advise the Father to make that Settlement upon his eldest Son, which he is bound to make by the Maxims and the Laws of his Kingdom, common Decency can never forbid or prevent the Performance of that Duty, nor can any humble and respectful Address or Petition from Parliament, ever be called a Prescribing to the King what Provision he should make for any of his Children; but if it should the Princes and Princesses of the Royal Family are in some Manner the Children of the Nation, as was in a late Case most solemnly decided; they are all so much the Chi'dren of the Nation, that the Nation is in Honour bound to see them provided for in Manner suitable to their high Birth; therefore the Parliament has some Sort of Right to prescribe what may be deemed an honourable Provision for every one of them; they are to give that Provision, and surely they have a Right to see what they give properly applied. But with respect to the eldest Son, and Heir Apparent of the Crown, it has been made so fully appear, and has been so generally admitted, that the Nation has a Concern in seeing him honourably provided for, that I am surprized to hear it so much as insinuated, that an Address for that Purpose would be an intermedding in the King's domestic Affairs, or in those Affairs which regard only his Natural and Paternal Capacity: It is an Affair which regards his Majesty's Political and Royal Capacity as much as it does his Natural and Paternal Capacity; and therefore the Parliament has as good a Right to offer their Advice in that Affair as they can have in any other.
I hope, Sir, I have now, to the Satisfaction of every Gentleman in the House, established his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales's Right to a sufficient and independent Settlement by the Maxims of the Kingdom, and, I hope, I have equally established the Power the Parliament has to interpose, at least by an Address, in order to see that Right made effectual, both from Precedent and from the Nature of the Thing itself.—With respect to the Right which his Royal Highness may have to such a Settlement, either in Law or Equity, from the Method in which the Civil List is now established, and from the Statutes by which that Establishment was made, I hope no Gentleman expects we are bound to make out the Right in the same Manner it would be, or ought to be made out, in any of the Courts in Westminster-Hall; and therefore, I believe, I need not take any Notice of that Learning which has been made use of, to prove that he has not such a Right as would be recoverable in any of the Courts below. It may be true, that he has no such Right as would entitle him to sue and recover in any of the Courts in Westminster-Hall, and yet he may have a Right both in Law and Equity, and such a Right as the Parliament are bound to see made effectual. The Courts of Common Law, we know, are confined to very strict Rules, it is necessary they should be so; but in Parliament we are bound to follow Justice and Equity wherever we can find it, and to administer it impartially when we have found it: In so doing we shew a proper Regard to the Honour and Interest of the Crown, as well as the Liberties and Properties of the Subject; and while his Majesty's Ministers are as loyal as his faithful Commons have always shewed themselves to be, the general Equity of an Act of Parliament will be as sacred, as religiously observed, and as closely adhered to at St. James's, as the Words of it are in Westminster-Hall.
But, Sir, notwithstanding the narrow Limits our Judges at Common Law have confined themselves to, notwithstanding their close Adherence to the Letter of the Law, I can hardly believe they will give it as their Opinion, that the Prince of Wales has no Right either in Law or Equity to a Support out of the Civil List Revenue; because he has certainly as good a Right to that Share of the Civil List Revenue which was intended for him by Parliament, as they have to the Salaries they enjoy. Neither his Right nor their Right is founded upon the express Words of any Statute, they are both founded upon the Meaning and Intention of the Legislature, at the Time those Statutes were passed, by which the Civil List is established, and they must stand and fall together. I do not mean to say, that our learned Judges would at any Time be biassed in their Opinion by their own Interest, I am sure the present would not. No, Sir; they certainly think, and every Man, I believe, thinks, they have both a legal and an equitable Right to the Salaries they now enjoy, and as the Prince of Wales's Right stands upon the same Foundation, they would certainly judge of it as they do of their own, and would consequently give it as their Opinion, that it was a Right founded both in Law and Equity.
Surely, Sir, neither the Judges in Westminster-Hall, nor any Lawyer, nor any Man in the Kingdom, can say, the Prince of Wales has no Right to have a necessary Support allowed him out of the Civil List. The Gentlemen of the other Side of the Question do not pretend to say any such Thing; they have even told us, the eldest Son of every Landed Gentleman in England ought to be supported out of his Father's Estate, and that that Support ought to be according to the Character and Circumstances of the Family; but, say they, he has no legal or equitable Right to any particular Share of his Father's Estate, or to any Share but such as his Father pleases to allow him, unless that Right be established by some Settlement agreed to by the Father. Is not this, Sir, to tell us, the Son has a Right and no Right? He has a Right to be supported out of his Father's Estate, but he has no Right to that Support, unless his Father pleases to allow it him. This Method of arguing might, for what I know, be of some Weight in Westminster Hall; but surely, it can be of no Weight in this House. If a Son has a Right to be supported out of his Father's Estate according to the Character and Circumstances of the Family, he certainly has both a legal and an equitable Right to that particular Share of his Father's Estate which bears a just Proportion to, and is determined by the Character and Circumstances of the Family; and if the Father does not allow him that Share, he certainly withholds his Right from him. This Right may perhaps not be recoverable in any of the Courts of WestminsterHall; but there are many good and just Right which are not made recoverable in Westminster Hall, because the making them recoverable there, would occasion such a Multitude of Law-Suits, as would be inconsistent with the general Good of Society: The Right a Man has to Gratitude in Return for Benefits bestowed, is not recoverable by any Action or Suit at Law, yet that Right is as good and as equitable a Right as any Right a Man can have. In the same Manner the Right the Prince has to a sufficient independent Settlement out of the Civil List Revenue, is a good and an equitable Right, and tho' it be not recoverable at Law, yet it is such a Right as may be regarded, and ought to be enforced by Parliament.
To make still a farther Use of the Rights of private Men, in order to clear up the Right now under our Consideration; suppose, Sir, a Country Gentleman has a small Estate, and a great Number of Children; suppose a neighbouring Gentleman, or a Relation, of a plentiful Estate and bountiful Disposition, takes Notice of his Neighbour's or his Relation's Difficulties, and in order to relieve him, and enable him to support his Family, settles a large Annuity upon him for Life; and suppose that in the Deed for establishing that Annuity it is expressly mentioned, that the Annuity was granted him in order to enable him to support and provide honourably for his Family; I should be glad to know whether the eldest Son of that Country Gentleman would have any Right to be supported out of that Annuity, and what Sort of Right he would have? I believe in that Case, he would have not only a Right established upon the general Principles of Equity, but such a Right as would be recoverable in the Court of Chancery, especially if the Grantor of the Annuity joined with him in the Complaint. And I am very certain, if the Annuitant should waste his Annuity, and neglect to provide sufficiently for his Children, especially for his eldest Son, the Grantor would have a Right to complain, or at least to advise, or desire of him that he would apply the Annuity to those Uses for which he had granted it; and his giving such an Advice would be absolutely necessary, if he intended that the Annuitant's eldest Son and Apparent Heir, should likewise be his Heir, and next Successor to his Estate. This is so apposite to the Case now before us, that I need not make any Application. It not only shews that the Prince has a Right to a sufficient Settlement out of the Civil List Revenue, but it shews that we have a Right, that we are in Duty bound to interpose, in order to see that Right made effectual.
Thus, Sir, it appears the Prince has a Right to be supported out of the Civil List Revenue by the general Maxims of the Kingdom, and also by the Meaning and Intention of those very Statutes by which the present Civil List was established; and if he has a Right to any Support, he has certainly a Right to a sufficient Support, to such a Support as the high Character of the Royal Family of Great Britain may require, and the present Circumstances of the Civil List Revenue will admit of; therefore, if the Settlement proposed, by the Message now before us, to be made, be not sufficient, the Message is so far from being an Argument against, that it is one of the strongest Arguments that can be thought of, for the Motion; because it shews that without the Interposition of Parliament, his Royal Highness is not to have, nor can expect a sufficient Settlement. That the Settlement proposed to be made upon his Royal Highness by this Message, is not sufficient, has been in some Manner acknowledged by the Hon. Gentleman who delivered us the Message; but farther, Sir, it has been expressly acknowledged by the King himself. By the Regulation and Settlement of the Prince's Houshold, as made some Time since by his Majesty himself, the yearly Expence comes to 63,000 l. without allowing one Shilling to his Royal Highness for Acts of Charity and Generosity. By the Message now before us, it is proposed to settle upon him only 50,000 l. a Year, and yet from this Sum we must deduct the Land Tax, which at two Shillings in the Pound amounts to 5000 l. a Year, we must likewise deduct the Sixpenny Duty to the Civil List Lottery, which amounts to 1,250 l. a Year, and also we must deduct the Fees payable at the Exchequer, which will amount to about 750 l. a Year more; all which Deductions amount to 7,000 l. a Year, and reduces the 50,000 l. a Year proposed to be settled upon him by the Message, to 43,000 l. a Year: Now as his Royal Highness has no other Estate but the Dutchy of Cornwall, which can't be reckoned at the most above 9,000 l. a Year, his whole yearly Revenue can amount but to 52,000 l. a Year; and yet the yearly Expence of his Houshold, according to his Majesty's own Regulation, is to amount to 63,000 l. a Year, without allowing his Royal Highness one Shilling for the Indulgence of that generous and charitable Disposition with which he is known to be endued, to a very eminent Degree. Suppose then we allow him but 10,000 l. a Year for the Indulgence of that laudable Disposition, his whole yearly Expence, by his Majesty's own Acknowledgment, must then amount to 73,000 l. a Year, and his yearly Income, according to this Message, can amount to no more than 52,000 l. a Year. Is this, Sir, shewing any Respect to his Merit? Is this providing for his Generosity? Is it not reducing him to a real Want, even with respect to his Necessities, and consequently to an unavoidable Dependance, and a vile, a pecuniary Dependance too, upon his Father's Ministers and Servants? I confess, Sir, when I first heard this Motion made, I was wavering a good deal in my Opinion; but this Message has confirmed me: I now see that without the Interposition of Parliament, his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the Heir Apparent to our Crown, must be reduced to the greatest Straits, the most insufferable Hardships.
After what I have said, Sir, I think I need not take up your Time with shewing the yearly Value of the Settlements made upon former Princes of Wales; the Insufficiency of the Settlement proposed for the present is so demonstrable from the Calculations and Accounts I have laid before you, that there is Occasion for having recourse to former Precedents, for shewing that Insufficiency; yet I cannot omit taking Notice to you, that the Revenue enjoy'd by the late King James while Duke of York, tho' but presumptive Heir of the Crown, amounted to 104,000 l. a Year; and the Revenue enjoy'd by the present King, while Prince of Wales, amounted to upwards of 100,000 l. a Year; which I take Notice of, in order to shew you, that his Majesty did not propose any Thing extraordinary or extravagant, when he regulated and settled the Houshold for his present Royal Highness.
I come now, Sir, to the last Question, and which I take to be, indeed, the only Question in this Debate, which is, Whether it be possible for his Majesty to spare more than 50,000 l. a Year for his Royal Highness, from the Civil List, as it now stands established? And this Question I shall consider in two Methods; first, by shewing that the Civil List, as now established, must amount to above 100,000 l. a Year more than was ever had or enjoy'd by his late Majesty; and next, by supposing that it amounts to no more than was enjoy'd by his late Majesty. In the first Method, Sir, let us remember, 'twas acknowledged in Parliament before the late Gin Act was passed, that the Produce of the whole Taxes, Excises, and Duties, appropriated to the Civil List, amounted to 818,000 l. a Year: I believe it will be admitted that the 70,000 l. a Year granted by that Act to the Civil List, and made payable out of the Aggregate, or rather out of the Sinking Fund, does more than compensate the Loss the Civil List sustained by taking from it the Duties on Spirituous Liquors, in which Case the Increase of the Excise upon Beer and Ale, occasioned by the preventing the Retail of Spirituous Liquors, must wholly be a nett Profit to the Civil List: The Increase of the Excise upon Beer and Ale, if I am rightly informed, amounted for the very first Quarter, I mean from Michaelmas to Christmas last, to near 30,000 l. one Half of which goes to the Civil List; so that we may reckon the Civil List has got by the Gin Act, an Addition of at least 60,000 l. a Year; besides what is got by the Increase of the Wine-Licence Duty, which every one knows has been greatly increased by prohibiting the Retail of Spirituous Liquors. Then, Sir, let us recollect, that a little before his present Majesty's Accession, the Civil List was discharged of 36,200 l. a Year in Pensions, which, during the greatest Part of his late Majesty's Reign, were paid out of the Civil List, but ever since his Majesty's Accession have been a Burthen upon, and paid out of the public Service. Let us add together these three Sums of 818,000 l. 60,000 l. and 36,200 l. and they amount to 914,200 l. which, according to the highest Probability, we must allow to be the yearly Amount of the Civil List Revenue as now established, and which is 114,000 l. a Year, more than was enjoy'd by his late Majesty, even including all the particular Grants that were occasionally made to the Civil List in his Reign.
But, Sir, this is not all; his present Majesty has had one very extraordinary Grant of 115,000 l. made to the Civil List; and the 80,000 l. granted as a Fortune to the Princess Royal, may properly be said to have been an extraordinary Grant to the Civil List; for tho' I am far from finding Fault with that Grant, yet as the Civil List was granted in order to enable his Majesty to make an honourable Provision for his whole Royal Family, that Princess's Marriage Provision should have been paid out of the Civil List; and since the Public took it upon them, it ought to be looked on as a new and an extraordinary Grant made to the Civil List. Then, Sir, I must not forget another yearly Addition, which may be looked on as a very great Sum, considering from whence it comes, I mean a Sum of 40,000 l. a Year from Scotland, which is now a yearly Addition to the Civil List. I will not, indeed, take upon me to say, that the Whole or any Part of that Sum is brought in Specie to London; but if it is laid out for paying Pensions in Scotland, which must be paid yearly out of the Civil List Revenue, I may take upon me to say, it prevents an equal Sum from being sent yearly in Specie from London. From all which Considerations I think it is evident, his present Majesty has above 100,000 l. a Year more than his late Majesty ever enjoy'd, and therefore we must conclude he may easily spare 100,000 l. a Year for the Use of his Royal Highness, without any great Frugality or good Management, and without contracting any Part of that Expence which was found necessary in the late Reign. I am now, Sir, to make a Supposition, which, I believe, no Gentleman that hears me, will join with me in: I am to suppose that the Civil List Revenue, with all the Additions and Improvements lately made to it, does not produce one Shilling more than his late Majesty enjoy'd, including the several occasional Grants that were made to him: In short, I am to suppose, it does not produce one Shilling more than 800,000 l. a Year; and if upon this Supposition I can shew, that with tolerable Management, it may spare 100,000 l. a Year to the Prince, I am sure every Gentleman will conclude, his Royal Highness ought to have at least that Sum settled upon him; and the Opposition that has been made to this Motion, and the Message we have received, will be additional Arguments for having that Sum settled upon him in the most independent Manner. We may remember, Sir, or at least we may see by the Journals, that when the 700,000 l. a Year was settled upon his late Majesty, the State of the King's Houshold, and also the State of the Prince of Wales's Houshold, and the whole Articles of Expence necessary for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, or of the Heir Apparent, were very minutely and maturely examined into and considered, and upon that minute and strict Examination it was found, that 600,000 l. a Year was sufficient for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, and that 100,000 l. a Year was the least that was necessary for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Heir Apparent. In the Calculations made at that time, we are not to suppose, the Parliament restricted themselves to the nett Sum which appeared to be necessary for supporting the King's Houshold and Civil Government. We cannot suppose any such Thing, because the nett Sum found necessary for that Purpose in the late Queen's Time, appears never to have exceeded 430,000 l. a Year; and in the first Year of the late King, the whole Expence of his Houshold and Civil Government, amounted to but about 453,000 l. so that if they had restricted themselves to the nett Sum which appeared to be necessary for supporting the King's Houshold and Civil Government, they could not have computed the Sum necessary for that Purpose at above 460,000 l. a Year; but they considered that something was to be allowed yearly for Acts of Generosity and Charity, and something was likewise to be allowed yearly for what is called secret Service Money; for both which, it seems, they computed 140,000 l. a Year would be sufficient, and therefore reckoned that a gross Sum of 600,000 l. a Year would be sufficient for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, to which they added 100,000 l. a Year more for the Support of the Prince of Wales.
The 140,000 l. a Year allowed for Acts of Generosity, and for secret Service Money, was then thought to be a very large and a very sufficient Allowance; and from the Experience of the former Reign, from the Experience of the Reign of Queen Anne, there was good Reason to think it a very sufficient Allowance; for in all that Reign, besides what was allowed for secret Service Money to the Generals of our Armies, and most profitably, most gloriously for the Nation bestowed by them, or at least by one of them, I mean our General in Flanders, there appeared to be but two Sums given to any secret or unknown Uses, and these were so small, so trifling, it would surprise one; for the one was a Sum only of 1200 l. and the other of 500 l. only; and even as to these, upon a particular and private Enquiry, it appeared, the first had been issued for entertaining Prince Eugene, when he did this Nation the Honour of a Visit, and the other had been made a Present of to one of the Queen's own Relations. From hence, I say, the Parliament had good Reason to think that 140,000 l. a Year was a sufficient Allowance to his late Majesty for Acts of Generosity, and for secret Service; but I do not know for what Reason, or by what Fatality, the Branch of the Civil List Expence called secret Money, increased prodigiously in the late Reign: It increased so prodigiously, Sir, that in four Years, from the Year 1721, to 1725, that Branch of the Civil List Expence amounted to 2,728,000 l. which was at a Medium 682,000 l. a Year, as appeared by an Account which happened by some Chance or other to be laid before Parliament. By that Account it appeared, that vast Sums of Money had been given for Purposes which nobody understood, and to Persons whom nobody knew, or ever heard of; for which Reason in the Beginning of the following Session, the Account having been laid before the House at the very latter End of the former Session, several Gentlemen had a Mind to have it taken into Consideration, but this Enquiry was warded off, by telling them, the Parliament could not take into their Consideration any Account that had been presented to a former Session.
It is to this only, Sir, we are to impute the Necessity of making any new Grants to the Civil List in the late King's Reign; for as to the visible Expence of the King's Houshold and Civil Government, it was no Way increased, or at least not considerably increased, above what it was in the former Reign, or in the first Year of his own; and as the visible Expence of his present Majesty's Houshold and Civil Government is no way, or but very little, increased above what the Expence of the late King's Houshold and Civil Government amounted to, even supposing the present Civil List Revenue to amount to no more than 800,000 l. a Year, we must conclude that 100,000 l. a Year may easily be spared out of it, for the Use of the Prince of Wales; for allowing 460,000 l. a Year to be now necessary for supporting the nett Charge of the King's Houshold and Civil Government, which is 30,000 l. a Year more than it amounted to in the late Queen's Reign, and 7000 l. a Year more than it amounted to in the first Year of the late King's Reign; allowing 50,000 l. a Year for the Queen; allowing 50,000 l. a Year for Prince William, the Princesses, and for a proportionable additional Allowance for Bed and Board, and other extraordinary Expences in the several Palaces; and allowing 100,000 l. a Year for the Prince of Wales; his Majesty has remaining 140,000 l. a Year to be employ'd in Acts of Generosity, and in secret Service, which is as large a Sum as the Parliament thought necessary for that Purpose in the Beginning of the late Reign, and is, in my Opinion, a larger Sum than can, in Time of Peace, be wisely or prudently employ'd in that Way, especially considering his Majesty's numerous Issue, and the great Expences which do, and must necessarily attend an honourable Provision for his whole Royal Family.
From the Account I have given you, Sir, of the prodigious Increase of secret Service Money in the late Reign, we may more clearly see, than perhaps we could do before, what was the Intention of that Parliament which established the present Civil List upon his Majesty, and what was then meant by the Experience of past Times, and therefore I shall take the Liberty to explain myself upon that Head. The surprising Account of the secret Service Money I have mentioned, was then fresh in every Man's Memory; it had been under their Consideration but a Year or two before; and the extraordinary Amount of that Account had been so much and so lately found fault with, that they would not certainly have agreed to settle upon his present Majesty as large a Civil List as had been settled and given to the late King, but that they considered that his Majesty had a QueenConsort and several younger Children to provide for, and therefore could not allow his Ministers to run into any such extraordinary Expence with respect to secret Service Money, but would apply what might and ought to be saved upon that Article, to the making an honourable Provision for the Queen-Consort, and for his younger Children. As his late Majesty had in the Whole but 700,000 l. a Year, as that Revenue had enabled him not only to support the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, but to employ a much larger Sum in secret Service Money than had ever before been, or ever could for the future be necessary or safe in this Kingdom, according to the Opinion of many Gentlemen in both Houses of Parliament, those Gentlemen could not; from the Experience of past Times, conclude, that 700,000 l. a Year would be necessary for his present Majesty, if they had not considered as I have said that his present Majesty had a Queen-Consort and several younger Children to provide for, and that whatever could be saved out of the Sums needlessly, as they thought, expended in secret Service Money by his late Majesty, might be usefully employ'd by his present Majesty, in making an honourable Provision for his Royal Family; therefore, and for this Reason only, they agreed to the settling 700,000 l. a Year upon his present Majesty for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Crown, and providing for his Royal Family; and to this Sum 100,000 l. a Year more was added, in order that he might settle upon the Prince of Wales, as soon as he came to England, the same Revenue he had himself enjoy'd in the Life-time of his Father.
From this State of the Case, I think, we may evidently see, what the Parliament then meant by the Experience of past Times, and what they intended with respect to the Prince of Wales; but, Sir, to put this Matter in another, and yet a clearer Light, I shall beg Leave to divide the Civil List Revenue settled, and occasionally granted to his late Majesty, into three Parts; one Part, amounting to 460,000 l. a Year, is that which was applied for the Support of the King's Houshold and Civil Government, and was a little larger than had ever before been found necessary for that Purpose; the other Part, amounting to 100,000 l. a Year, is that which was settled, and had, during the whole Reign of the late King, and, indeed, I may say, ever since the Beginning of the Reign of King Charles II. been deemed the least Sum that was necessary for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Heir Apparent to the Crown; and the remaining third Part, amounting to 240,000 l. a Year, is that which was allowed to his late Majesty for Acts of Generosity and Charity, and for secret Service Money, but had always been thought by most Men without Doors, and, I believe, by most within, to be too large a Sum, and was really at least twice as large a Sum as had ever been allowed for these Purposes to any former King of this Nation. Upon his present Majesty's Accession it appeared, that he was subject to a Charge which the late King was free from, I mean the of providing for his Queen and younger Children; yet he neither asked, nor did the Parliament grant him any great Civil List Revenue than the late King enjoy'd. This a ditional Charge which the present King was then subject was therefore certainly intended, both by King and Parliament, to be thrown upon some one, or some two of the three Parts into which I have divided the King's Civil List Revenue, or upon the three jointly; and considering the Circumstances of these three Parts, which were then exactly as I have represented them to you, I must refer every Gentleman that hears me, whether it is not most pr bable, that both King and Parliament intended to thro this additional Charge either solely upon the third Part, or upon the First and Third jointly ? Is there not all the Rea son in the World to presume, that both King and Parliament then intended that the second Part should be entirely free from this additional Charge? And is not this still the more probable, on account of the Prince of Wales's being then actually come to Man's Estate, and the whole Nation in daily Hopes of seeing him married and soon blessed with Children?
Sir, If there were not a Man alive who was then in Parliament, I should, from this State of the Case, be convinced, the Parliament then intended the Prince should have his 100,000 l. a Year without one Shilling Abatement; but I had then the Honour to be a Member of Parliament myself, I know what was my own Intention, I know what was the Intention of many others, I know we all intended and expected the 100,000 l. a Year should have been settled on the Prince of Wales as soon as he came to England: And I very well remember, the honourable Gentleman who made the Motion for settling the present Civil List Revenue, made use of it as an Argument for his Motion, that the Prince of Wales was then near of Age, and that it would be very soon necessary to settle the same Revenue upon him, that had been settled upon his Father, whilst Prince of Wales. This, Sir, I say I very well remember, and I remember too, that it seemed to be the Reason which had most Weight with the House, and which, I believe, chiefly procured his Motion almost an unanimous Approbation. Gentlemen may talk what they please about gathering the Intention of an Act of Parliament from the Words only: This may be the Rule in Westminster Hall, but it is impossible it can be the Rule in either House of Parliament, especially when there are so many Members now in each House who had a share in the Passing of that Law. They must gather the intention of the Act from the Intention they themselves had at the Time of its Passing, and their Testimony ought to have some Weight with those who had not the Honour being Members of either House at the Time the Law is passed.
It certainly was the Intention of Parliament, Sir, I hope still is the Intention of Parliament, that his Royal Highness should have at least 100 000 l. a Year out of the Civil List; and since it is now made manifest by the Message delivered to us in this Debate, that he is like to be disappointed of one Half of what was, and, I hope, still is, intended for him by Parliament, it is become absolutely necessary for us to address his Majesty, in order to know from him the Reason of that Disappointment. If the Civil List Revenue produces above 900,000 l. a Year, as I believe it does, it may certainly spare 100,000 l. a Year to the Prince of Wales; if it produces but 800,000 l. a Year nett, which no Man believes, yet even in that Case, it may spare 100,000 l. a Year to the Prince of Wales, according to the best Judgment we can form from the Experience of any former Reign: But suppose it true, that by reason of some new and extraordinary Articles of Expence, the Civil List Revenue cannot spare above 50,000 l. a Year to the Prince of Wales, we ought to have that Answer from the King himself, and in a proper and direct Manner, which we can have no other Way but by Means of the Address proposed. If such an Answer should be returned to us. I am sure it will then be our Duty to enquire into the Produce, and into the Disposal of the Civil List Revenue, especially that Part of it which is pretended to be laid out in secret Services. The Civil List Revenue was never so high as in this Reign: It is a most dangerous Revenue, especially when a very considerable Part of it may be applied, no Man knows how: It is a sharp Instrument in the Hands of a Minister, which may some Time or other be employ'd in cutting the Throat of our Constitution. During his present Majesty's Reign, we cannot apprehend that any Part of it will be converted to a bad Use; but I hope I shall never see such a Revenue granted in any future Reign, nor granted in such a Manner. Money generally carries Persuasion along with it; therefore it is most justly to be apprehended, that some future guilty Minister, provided with such a large Fund of Persuasion, and that Persuasion supported by an armed Force, may be enabled to do whatever he pleases with our Constitution; and as either he or our Constitution must be sacrificed, we may easily judge which will bleed at the Altar.
As his Majesty's Message to the Prince was in Writing, and is now communicated to us by his Majesty's Command, it may be made use of, and is certainly a very strong Argument in favour of the Motion; but, Sir, I am surprised to hear the Prince's supposed Answer made use of in this House as an Argument against the Motion; because the Prince's Answer neither was in Writing, nor was desired to be given in Writing; and as I took it down in Writing soon after his Royal Highness delivered it, I must beg Leave to say, it was not exactly in the Terms the noble Lords who brought the Message seem to have reported; therefore I wish they had given his Royal Highness previous Notice of the Message, and desired that he might prepare to give them an Answer in Writing, which would have prevented any Surprise of the one Side, or any Mistake of the other; for I am convinced the noble Lords did not designedly make any Mistake in their Report. Altho' I took down his Royal Highness's Answer in Writing, yet, Sir, I shall not pretend to communicate it to this House, since I have no Authority from him for that Purpose; but thus much I may observe, that if his Royal Highness said he was sorry for any Thing, it was, That he was sorry any Gentleman of either House of Parliament should have Occasion to give himself any Trouble about that Settlement which ought to be made upon him; and this I believe the greatest Part of the Nation are sorry for as well as his Royal Highness: I am sure every Man who has a true Regard for either his Father or him, or for any of their illustrious Family, must be sorry for it. However, Sir, suppose his Answer was in the Words reported, It is so full of filial Duty and Respect, that it is a new Argument for the Address proposed; because the great Respect which his Royal Highness there shews for the King his Father, may very probably prevail upon him to submit to very great Difficulties, rather than take the Liberty of troubling his Father with any new, tho' most necessary Demand; which is a strong Argument for the Necessity of his having a sufficient independent Settlement, and for the Parliament's interposing in his Behalf.
So unlucky, Sir, are the Gentlemen of the other Side of the Question, that nothing has happened, almost nothing has been said during the Debate, but what tends to fortify the Argument against them. This, I am sure, may most justly be said of the melancholy Account they have given us of that unlucky Dispute which happened between the present King, when Prince of Wales, and the late King his Father. I shall most readily agree, that that Dispute was owing neither to any Want of paternal Affection in the late King, nor to any Want of filial Duty in the present, but to the Pride and Vanity of some mean and low Sycophants and Tale-Bearers. Now, Sir, I would be glad to know from those Gentlemen, what sort of Situation they think the present King, who was then Heir Apparent to the Crown, would have been reduced to, if he had had no independent Settlement of his own, or not a sufficient independent Settlement? The Account they have given us of his Situation is melancholy enough; but if he had not been provided with a sufficient independent Settlement, would not the Account of his Situation have been a great deal more dismal? Would not he have been obliged either to submit to, and become the Slave of those very mean and low Sycophants, or to subsist by the Generosity and Beneficence of his Friends? And we know, Sir, how hard it is to meet either with Generosity or Beneficence, when People are sensible that their Generosity or Beneficence will be imputed to them as a Crime against the State. Can any thing be said, Sir, can any thing be thought of, that can justify our agreeing to the Motion, more than this very Accident? For if ever any such unlucky Accident should happen (which God forbid) it may happen when his Royal Highness is blessed with as many Children as the King his Father was, when that Accident happened to him; and we are not certain that the Court would, in such a Case, behave in the same manner towards his Children.
I am surprised, Sir, to hear a Motion for an humble Address, called a Stating ourselves as the higher Power, and bringing the Prince of Wales and his Majesty as Plaintiff and Defendant before us. Can Advice be called a Degree, or is the common Stile of an Address the Stile of a superior Power? But I am still more surprised to hear it said, our agreeing to the Question would be a determining that his Majesty has done Injustice to his eldest Son. Does not every one know that our Kings can do no Wrong, that they can do no Injustice? If any Wrong is done, we must always necessarily suppose it done by the Ministers; and if any of them has told the King that 50,000 l. a Year is sufficient for supporting the Prince of Wales, or has led his Majesty into such an Expence that he cannot spare more out of the Civil List, I will say they have done Injustice, and the Nation will, the Nation ought to suppose they are no longer fit, nor ought to continue to rule over us; so that whatever Foreigners may think, no Man who understands our Constitution, can expect or suppose our agreeing to this Motion will be attended with any such Misfortune as has been represented.
Our agreeing to this Question, Sir, can be attended with no Misfortune to any Branch of the Royal Family, nor can it be the Occasion of any Quarrel or Breach between the King and the Prince: Indeed it may be the Occasion of his Majesty's quarrelling with those who have told him that 50,000 l. a Year is enough for his eldest Son; because it is to be presumed, his Majesty will give more Credit to his Parliament than to any Counsellor he has about him; and consequently will dismiss them from his Councils, for telling him what he finds by the Address of his Parliament to be a notorious Falshood: Or it may be the Occasion of his Majesty's quarrelling with those who have led him into such an Expence, as not to be able to spare above 50,000 l. a Year to the Prince of Wales; because such an Address from Parliament would certainly procure a Contracting of that Expence for the future, or would produce an Enquiry into the late Management of the Civil-List Revenue, by either of which his Majesty would find, they had led him into a needless Expence, the certain Consequence of which would be, his turning them out of his Service. Our agreeing therefore to the Motion can never produce any Breach between the Royal Father and the Royal Son; but if we should disagree to the Motion, it will afford an Opportunity for evil Counsellors to confirm his Majesty in that Error they have already endeavoured to lead him into; and as one wicked Step generally begets a second, worse than the first, they may very probably represent this Motion in Parliament as procured by his Royal Highness, in order to distress his Majesty's Measures, and to procure himself a much larger Settlement than he has any Occasion for. This second Step we have some Reason to dread, Sir, even from the Words of the Message now before us; and therefore we have great Reason to dread that our disagreeing to the Motion may produce, or at least be the distant Cause of a perpetual Breach between the Father and Son; but in that Case it cannot be said, that those who have endeavoured to do Justice to the Son were the Cause of the Breach; we must look for the Cause in the opposite Corner; and, I hope, if there should ever be any Necessity for an Amputation, it will fall upon those who most justly deserve it.
We have heard a great deal, Sir, of the ill Effects our agreeing to this Motion may have on the People without Doors. These Apprehensions, Sir, I have shewed to be without any Foundation, at least with respect to his Majesty himself, or any of his illustrious Family; but let us consider the ill Effects our not agreeing to this Motion may have upon People without Doors, with respect to the Opinion they may from thence form of the Heir Apparent to our Crown, or of the Justice and Equity of Parliament. What will People think, what will they say of the Prince of Wales, when they hear that his Settlement is reduced to one Half of what has, for these many Years last past, been thought necessary for supporting the Honour and Dignity of the Heir Apparent, or Presumptive to the Crown of Great Britain; and that at a Time when every other Provision for the rest of the Royal Family has been vastly encreased ? The Civil List is now near double what it formerly was: The Dowry settled upon her present Majesty, and most deservedly settled, is double what was ever settled upon any former Queen. The Marriage-Provision granted by Parliament to the Princess Royal, is double what was ever given to any Princess Royal of England; for King Charles I's Daughter had but half the Sum, and even that, I believe, was never paid; and King James II's Daughter, whom King Charles II. looked on as his own, had but 40,000 l. when married to the Prince of Orange, afterwards our glorious Deliverer; nor was that Sum fully paid, I believe, till he came to be our King; when, I do not know but he might have Interest enough to see himself paid. If we should disagree to this Motion, will not the People have Reason to conclude, that we have no great Opinion of the Merit of the present Prince of Wales? Will they not from thence imagine he is not worthy of succeeding to the Throne? They would certainly imagine so, Sir, if it were possible; but, thank God, his Merit is publickly and generally known: Every one knows that no Part of any Settlement made upon him will be hoarded up to the Detriment of public Circulation, nor the least Part of it converted to any wicked or ridiculous Use: No, Sir; whatever he may have more than necessary for supporting the Dignity of the Apparent Heir to our Crown, will, we are sure, be wholly employed in Acts of true Charity and public Utility. So far as the Prince can spare it, the Wants of every deserving Man will be supplied, the Unfortunate will be relieved, and whoever excels in Virtue and true Merit will be forwarded. As this is the Case with respect to his Royal Highness, what Opinion can the People without Doors form of the Proceedings within? Will they not be apt to say, our Proceedings are directed, not by Justice, but by some selfish and sordid Consideration?
Thus, Sir, I have given you my Opinion fully and freely in this Affair. I know the Danger I am in by appearing in favour of this Motion. I may perhaps have a Message sent me, I may lose the Command I have in the Army, as other Gentlemen have done for the same Reason, before me; but I should think myself a pitiful Officer, if I were directed in my Voting or Behaviour in this House, either by the Fears of losing the Commission I have, or the Hopes of obtaining a better; and if any Minister whatever should send to threaten me with the Loss of my Commission, in case I did not vote in Parliament as he directed, I should receive the Message with a suitable Indignation, and would be very apt to treat the Messenger in such a manner, as I do not think decent here to express While I have the Honour to fit in this House, I shall upon all Occasions endeavour to judge impartially, and shall always vote with Freedom, according as my Honour and Conscience direct; and as I am convinced his Royal Highness has a Right, and ought to have a sufficient independent Settlement; as I am convinced 50,000 l. a Year is not a sufficient Provision for the Heir Apparent to the Crown of Great Britain; as I am convinced, the Civil List, if rightly managed, may easily spare 100,000 l. a Year for his Royal Highness; as I am convinced this is the Sum which was intended for him by that Parliament which established the present Civil List Revenue; and as I am convinced his Majesty has been misinformed, or ill advised, otherwise this Sum would have been settled upon him long before this time; therefore, as a Member of this House, as a loyal Subject to his Majesty, and a sincere Friend to his Family, I think myself obliged in Duty, in Honour, in Conscience, and in spite of every fordid Temptation to the contrary, to endeavour as much as I can to give my Sovereign a right Advice, and a true Information.
We have been obliged in this Debate, to throw all that was said in one general Argument, the Speakers upon that Occasion being so very numerous, that it unavoidably occafioned a frequent Repetition of the same Arguments, which tho' it pleased in the Hearing, might disgust in the Reading.
On the 28th the said Committee came to the following Resolutions, which were reported, and all agreed to by the House, viz. That a Sum not exceeding 79,723 l. 6s. 3d. should be granted to his Majesty for the Charge of the Office of Ordnance for Land Service for the Year 1737. That a Sum not exceeding 604 l. 19s. 2d. should be granted to his Majesty for defraying the extraordinary Expence of the Office of Ordnance for Land-Service, and not provided for by Parliament. That a Sum not exceeding 62,401 l. 3s. 6d. ¾ should be granted to his Majesty to make good the Deficiency of the Grants for the Service of the Year 1736. That a Sum not exceeding 10,043 l. 3s. 10d. ¼. shall be granted to his Majesty to replace to the Sinking-Fund the like Sum paid out of the same, to make good the Deficiency of the additional Stamp-Duties at Christmas 1735, pursuant to a Clause in an Act of Parliament passed in the 4th Year of his Majesty's Reign, for raising 1,200,000 l. by Annuities and a Lottery for the Service of the Year 1731. That a Sum not exceeding 42,817 l. 10s. should be granted to his Majesty on account of the Subsidy payable to the King of Denmark, pursuant to the Treaty bearing Date September 19, 1734, for three Quarters of a Year to September 19, 1737.