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Sir, we ought to look back to what former Princes and Parliaments have done. I will take the confideration only from the glorious æra of the Revolution, and I will itate it fairly and fully. The Civil Lift was not granted to King William for life till the year 1698, when 700,000 l. a year was settled on him. The distractions of his Government, and of all Europe at that period, are well known. His most generous views for the public were thwarted at home, during the greater part of his Reign, by the Tories. Queen Anne had the same annuity settled on her. She gave yearly 100,000l. for carrying on the war, a war against France, besides 200,000 l. at least towards the building of Blenheim-House, and above 100,000l. for the support of the poor Palatines. It is on the Journals of May 13, 1715, and in the following. “ Resolved, “ That the sum of 700,000l. per annum was settled upon his “ late Majesty King William during life, for the support of his “ Majesty's houshold, and other his necessary occasions; and, « at the time of his Majesty's demise, after the deduction of “ 3700l. a week, that was applied to the public uses, was the “ produce of the Civil List Revenues, that were continued " and settled upon her late Majesty Queen Anne during her “ life.” The deduction for public services at 37001. a week, or 192,400 1. a year, from that part of the Civil List Revenue called the hereditary and temporary Excise, was first made in the last year of King William. Notwithstanding this deduction, the Civil List Funds produced in that very year 709,4201. In the first of Queen Anne, the same funds with the same deductions were settled on her for life, and declared to be for raising 700,000l. a year for the support of her houshold, and the dignity of her Government. In the ninth of her Reign the old Poft-Office Act was repealed, and a new General PostOffice with higher rates were established; in consideration of which, another deduction was made from the Civil List Revenue of 7001. a week, or 36,4001. a year, and both these deductions have ever since been continued,
George George the Ift had the fame Revenue settled upon him as Queen Anne; but if 300,000l. paid him by the Royal Exchange and London Assurance Companies, and a million granted in 1726 towards paying his debts, are included, his income will appear to have been nearly 800,000l. per annum. In the first speech to his Parliament he took notice, “ That “ it was his happiness to see a Prince of Wales, who may, in “ due time, succeed to the Throne, and to see him blessed 6 with many children.” Yet the establishment of the Civil List, at the beginning of that Reign, was only settled at 700,000 l. a year. It was not till after the great expences consequent on the rebellion of the Earl of Mar, and the other perjured Scots, who, although they had taken the oaths of allegiance to his Government, traitorously waged open and impious war against a mild and just Sovereign, that the Parlia. ment paid the King's debts. In the Reign of George the Ift, the Prince of Wales had an Establishment of 100,000l. per annuni.
George the IId had a very numerous family, and 800,000l. was at first settled upon him, with whatever surplus might arise from the duties and allowances composing the Civil List Revenue. In 1726, that part of the hereditary and temporary Excise, which consisted of Duties on Spirituous Liquors, was taken from the Civil List, in consideration of which 70,000l. vas transferred to it from the Aggregate Fund. The income of George the Ild, including 115,000l. granted in 1729, and 456,7331. in 1747, towards making good the deficiencies which had arisen in the Civil Lift Duties, was 810,7491. per annum for thirty-three years. His late Majesty likewise had in his reign a Scottish Rebellion, carried on by many of the fame traitors who had been pardoned by his father. The expence of that Rebellion to the King and Kingdom was enormous į for it was not confined to the extremities of the Illand, but raged in the heart of the Kingdom, and the rebels advanced to within a hundred miles of the capital. Such an.event, Sir,
not unforeseen, because foretold, was a just ground for the Parliament's discharging a debt, contracted by securing to us every thing dear to men and Englishmen.
The establishment of the present King, at the yearly rentcharge to the nation of 800,0001. was a measure, at the time, equally pleasing both to the Prince and People. The Minister boasted, that there was not a possibility of any future dispute about the hereditary Revenues, or concerning accounts fulpected to be false, wilfully erroneous, or deceitful, kept back or anticipated, to serve a particular purpose. I am aware, Sir, that the Civil List Revenues have been increasing for many years. The mean annual produce for the five last years of George the Ild was 829,150 1. and for the first fix years of his present Majesty it would have been, had the establishment in the late reign continued 894,000l. In 1775 it would have been 1,019,450 1. Near 90,000l. per annum of this great increase has been produced by an increase in the Post-Office revenue, occafioned chiefly by the late alteration in the manner of franking, and by the falling of the cross posts to the public by the death of Mr. Allen : but these profits would probably, at least certainly ought to have been reserved to the public, had the establishment in the late reign been continued. At the foot of one of the accounts on our table, it is stated, “ The amount of 800,000l. granted to his Majesty, from “ O&t. 25, 1760, to Jan. 5, 1777, is 12,965,5171. 45.901. « The produce as above exceeds the annuity by 2,381,241 1. “ gs. id. But Parliament granted to pay off the Civil List “ debt on Jan. 5, 1769, out of the supplies for the year 1769, “ 513,511 1. which being deducted, shews the gain to the pub“ lic to be 1,867,7301. gs. Id." The bargain concluded for the public, was of an annuity to the King of a clear 800,000 l. subject to no deductions or contingencies for his life, on a solemn promise of that being made to bear all the expences of the Civil Lift and the Royal Houshold. It was a fair compact of finance between the King and the subjet, rati
fied by both parties. The most explicit assurances were given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the King's name, that no more should be asked; and that now his Majesty could never be under the disagreeable necessịty of importuning this House with messages of personal concern. I have, Sir, carefully examined the accounts laid before the House by his Majesty's command, the eight folio books, and the other papers ; and I will venture to say, they are as loose, unsatisfactory, perplexed, and unintelligible, as those delivered in by the Noble Lord with the blue ribbon in 1770, a year after the former demand to pay the debts on the Civil List; and more loose, unsatisfactory, perplexed, and unintelligible, no accounts can be.
Mr. Wilkes, April 16, 1777.
Our funded debt is two hundred and thirty millions, and our unfunded debt will amount to thirty-eight millions, without the bottom of the war expences being wound up, besides nine millions Navy Bills, and other debts, that will make the whole amount to the enormous sum of two hundred and ninety millions; the yearly interest of which would take fourteen millions to discharge : now our national estate, including Malt and Land*Tax, and the whole of the Sinking Fund, amounts only to thirteen millions two hundred thousand pounds; so that there will remain eight hundred thousand pounds to be provided annually to make good the interest. This is a very rerious situation, and such as must give every friend to his country great pain to observe ; but at the same time it is highly necessary, that some means or other should be suggested and taken, in order to extricate us from the difficulties in which our present circumstances involve us. One way of lightening our burthens certainly is, by reducing our Peace Establishments even lower than they stood at the beginning of the war. To such a proposition I have not the smallest objection; but still fomething more must be done to give the country effectual relief, which can only arise from paying off a part of the national debt. I wish, therefore, to call the attention of the House to this point, and to shew them how much might be done by the application of a single million yearly. According to a calculation made by that accurate calculator Dr. Price, it appears, that by the laying by of a million annually, and sacredly and religiously applying it to pay off a part of the national debt, provided the three per cents. are changed to four per cents. (which are much more easily paid off than the three per cents.) two hundred and fixty-seven millions might be paid off in sixty years; so that his present Majesty (if his life fhould last to about the same length that many of his ancestors had lived to) will in his life-time have the comfort of seeing his people relieved from all the burthers and expences brought upon them by the American war; and the Heir Apparent, whose reign it is to be hoped will be a long one, will live to see the whole of the debt cleared. According to the calculations of Baron Mazeres, it appears, that if the plan of laying by a million a year was adopted and pursued for twenty years, and the country then under the necessity of desisting from it, that those twenty millions, with the money provided to pay the interest of that part of the national debt, that should be paid off from time to time, appropriated to the same purpose, would in fifty-seven years discharge the greatest part of the debt, Mr. Sinclair has very sensibly and clearly shewn in his book what might be done, by putting in practice such a scheme as I have mentioned; and, in order to carry the plan into effect, Commissioners ought to be specially appointed.