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miraculous operation, to overrule the course of nature. . But we must purposely shut our eyes, if we consider this matter merely as a contest between the House of Commons and the Electors. The true contest is between the Electors of the kingdom and the Crown; the Crown acting by an instrumental House of Commons. It is precisely the same, whether the Ministers of the Crown can disqualify by a dependent House of Commons, or by a dependent court of Star Chamber, or by a dependent court of King's Bench. If once Members of Parliament can be practically convinced, that they do not depend on the affection or opinion of the people for their political being, they will give themselves over, without even an appearance of reserve, to the influence of the Court. · Indeed, a Parliament unconnected with the people, is essential to a Ministry unconnected with the people, and therefore those who saw through what mighty difficulties the interior Ministry waded, and the exterior were dragged, in this business, will conceive of what prodigious importance, the new corps of King's men held this principle of occasional and personal incapacitation, to the whole body of their design.
When the House of Commons was thus made to consider itself as the master of its constituents, there wanted but one thing to secure that House against all poffible future deviation towards popularity; an unlimited fund of money to be laid out according to the pleasure of the Court. G3
To complete the scheme of bringing our Court to a resemblance to the neighbouring Monarchies, it was necessary, in effect, to destroy those appropriations of revenue, which seem to limit the property, as the other laws had done the powers, of the Crown. An opportunity for this purpose was taken, upon an application to Parliament for payment of the debts of the Civil List; which in 1769 had amounted to 513,000l. Such application had been made upon former occafions; but to do it in the former manner would by no means answer the present purpose.
Whenever the Crown had come to the Commons to desire a supply for the discharging of debts due on the Civil List; it was always asked and granted with one of the three following qualifications; sometimes with all of them. Either it was stated, that the revenue had been diverted from its purposes by Parliament: or that those duties had fallen short of the sum for which they were given by Parliament, and that the intention, of the Legislature had not been fulfilled : or that the money required to discharge the Civil List debt, was to be raised chargeable on the Civil List duties. In the reign of Queen Anne, the Crown was found in debt. The lessening and granting away some part of her revenue by Parliament was alledged as the cause of that debt, and pleaded as an equitable ground, such it certainly was, for discharging it. It does not appear that the duties which were then applied to the ordinary Government produced clear above 580,000l. a year ; because, when they were afterwards granted to
George the First, 120,000 l. was added, to complete the whole to 700,000 l. a year. Indeed it : was then asserted, and, I have no doubt, truly, that for many years the net produce did not amount to above 550,000l. The Queen's ex. traordinary charges were belides very considerable ; equal, at least, to any we have known in our time. The application to Parliament was not for an absolute grant of money; but to empower the Queen to raise it by borrowing upon the Civil List funds.
The Civil List debt was twice paid in the reign of George the First. The money was. granted upon the same plan which had been followed in the reign of Queen Anne. The Civil List revenues were then mortgaged for the sum to be raised, and stood charged with the ransom of their own deliverance.
George the Second received an addition to his Civil Lift. Duties were granted for the purpose of raising 800,000 l. a year. It was not until he had reigned nineteen years, and after the last rebellion, that he called upon Parliament for a discharge of the Civil Lift debt. The extraordinary charges brought on by the rebellion, account fully for the necessities of the Crown, However, the extraordinary charges of Government were not thought a ground fit to be relied on.
A deficiency of the Civil List duties for several years before, was stated as the principal, if not the iole, ground on which an application to Parliament could be justified. · About this time the
produce of these duties had fallen pretty low; and even upon an average of the whole reign they never produced 800,oool. a year clear to the Treasury. • That Prince reigned fourteen years afterwards: not only no new demands were made; but with so much good order were his revenues and expences regulated, that, although many parts of the establishment of the Court were upon a larger and more liberal scale than they have been since, there was a considerable sum in hand, on his decease, amounting to about 170,000l, applicable to the fervice of the Civil List of his present Majesty, So that, if this Reign commenced with à greater charge than usual, there was enough, and more than enough, abundantly to supply all the extraordinary expence, 'That the Civil List, Thould have been exceeded in the two former reigns, especially in the reign of George the First, was not at all surprizing. His revenue was but 700,000 l. annually; if it ever produced so much clear. The prodigicus and dangerous disaffection to the very being of the establishment, and the cause of a Pretender then powerfully abetted from abroad, produced many demands of an ex-, traordinary nature both abroad and at home. Much management and great expences were necefsary. But the throne of no Prince has stood upon more unshaken foundations than that of his present Majesty..
To have exceeded the sum given for the Civil List, and to have incurred a debt without special authority of Parliament, was, prima facie, a cri
minal minal act : as such, Ministers ought naturally rather to have withdrawn it from the inspection, than to have exposed it to the scrutiny, of Parliament. Certainly they ought, of themselves, officiously to have come armed with every fort of argument, which, by explaining, could excuse, a matter in itself of presumptive guilt. But the terrors of the House of Commons are no longer for Ministers..
On the other hand, the peculiar character of the House of Commons, as trustee of the public purse, would have led them to call with a punctilious solicitude for every public account, and to have examined into them with the most rigorous accuracy.
The capital use of an account is, that the reality of the charge, the reason of incurring it, and the justice and necessity of discharging it, should all appear antecedent to the payment. No man ever pays first, and calls for his account afterwards ; because he would thereby let out of his hands the principal, and indeed only effectual, means of compelling a full and fair one. But, in national business, there is an additional reason for a previous production of every account. It is a check, perhaps the only one, upon a corrupt and prodigal use of public money. An account after payment is to no rational purpose an account. However, the House of Commons thought all these to be antiquated principles; they were of opinion, that the most Parliamentary way of proceeding was, to pay first what the Court thought proper to demand, and to take its chance