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there never yet had passed a bill relative to game, and he was convinced there never would pass one, that was not irreconcileable either to common sense or common justice.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt took credit to himself, for having been able, in the committee, to have met two of the honorable gentleman's principal objections, and to have surmounted them both, viz. the objection stated on Thursday by Mr. Sheridan, that the bill exceeded the powers granted by the resolution, ordering it to be brought in, and the objection against it, as tending to add to the harsh effect of the game laws.
Mr. Sheridan rose once more; and Alderman Newnham also spoke upon the subject; after which the amendments were read through a second time; and having been agreed to, the bill was ordered to be engrossed.
Mr. Sheridan said, he meant to make a motion on a subject which, advanced as the session was, there must, nevertheless, be some conversation about, before parliament rose. He meant the account pro
duced to the house when the civil list was under consideration, which stated, that the arrear upon the last year amounted to 44,000l. This account Mr. Sheridan declared to be fallacious, and ill founded. He said, the expenses of the civil list did not come within his department when in office; and therefore, when the matter was last agitated, he was perfectly ignorant of the real state of the case; he had since enquired particularly into the matter, and he found the fact to be as he had stated it. The nature of the fallacy, he said, was this:-the account was made out so as to exhibit, on one side, the actual expenditure upon each quarter; and to set against it only the amount of the quarter's division of the 900,000l. allotted for the civil list; whereas, it ought also to state on the side of the receipt, all the sums that came in aid of the civil list, which would, of course, go to the diminution of the excess of expenditure. There was, Mr. Sheridan said, the sum of 10,900l. which fell into the first quarter of the year, when his right honorable friend was in office, and that ought to
have been set against the excess of 13,000l. upon the expenditure of that quarter. Mr. Sheridan moved," That an abstract of the account of the civil list be printed."
This produced an altercation upon the subject between Mr. Sheridan, Mr. Rose, Mr. Steele, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. Sheridan persisting in his position; and the three last gentlemen denying that there was any fallacy in the case, Mr. Pitt said, he should be glad to have a little conversation with Mr. Fox upon the subject. To which Mr. Sheridan replied, that he certainly might have that pleasure, as his right honorable friend would be present when the matter came under discussion.
The motion was agreed to.
As soon as the business of the day was gone through,
Mr. SHERIDAN rose, and began with observing, that he feared he had given unnecessary trouble in moving for so many papers; because, as those papers had not been upon the table more than an hour, it had been impossible for gentlemen in general to have derived much information from them. At the same time that he made this remark, he said he was ready to declare, that he had himself obtained a degree of information from them sufficient for his argument; and before he went into it, he begged leave to say, that he had not moved for the papers to be laid before the house, or put gentlemen to the inconvenience of attending that day, solely with a view to support the assertion made some time since by his right honorable friend, and attempted to be refuted by a right honorable gentleman opposite to him; but chiefly in order to bring the state of the civil list, and the nature of the estimate upon the table, into consideration, that the house might be apprised of the manner in which the account had been laid before parliament, and of what the debt of the civil list really was, as well as of the periods in which the arrear had accrued. Having said this, Mr. Sheri
dan produced Mr. Burke's bill, and read the title and preamble, in order to shew, that one of its principal objects was to prevent the civil list from running in debt, and to put a stop to the practice of ministers coming down to the house of commons year after year, to state that His Majesty's civil list was in debt, and to desire a vote of money to pay the debt. He also read the King's late message, stating, that he was concerned to find himself in debt; and he compared it with that part of the royal speech from the throne, at the beginning of the session of parliament 1782 and 1783, in which His Majesty assures parliament, that he had made such regulations, with regard to his civil list, as should for the future prevent his expenses exceeding his income. Upon these documents, he reasoned to shew, that the act of parliament, commonly called Mr. Burke's bill, and the royal word from the throne, had been violated, by the minister's having lately come to the house with the message, to which he had alluded, and obtained a vote for 60,000l. He stated, that the proceeding had been extremely reprehensible and improper; because, if Mr. Burke's bill had proved to be inefficient and inadequate, with respect to one of its principal objects, viz. the preventing the civil list from going into arrears, the regular and the right way would have been, to have moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the act, and to have given such an addition to the civil list as experience should have proved was absolutely necessary.
Mr. Sheridan next called the house back to the recollection of what had passed on the day when the right honorable gentleman opposite to him had stated, that upon the four last quarters of the civil list, there had been an arrear of 44,000l. This he had, at the time, controverted; and he had since made a good deal of inquiry into the true state of the affair, and he flattered himself he should be able to prove, that the debt, when the right honorable gentleman had asked for the sixty thousand pounds, was not forty
four thousand; and that the estimate upon the table was manifestly incorrect, no less than eighty places having been left out of it, the money to pay the salaries of which amounted to eleven thousand pounds, exclusive of that glaring error, which Mr. Gilbert, the author of that estimate, had fallen into. He declared the estimate itself was fallacious-he did not mean that its title did not speak its import-it certainly did; but the whole of the estimate itself was delusive, because it only compared the actual charges incurred and paid out of the civil list, against an estimate of the four quarters' receipts of the 900,000l. voted by parliament; whereas every body knew that there were various sums that came from time to time in aid of the civil list, such as savings, the suppressed places, fees, and sums imprest from the Exchequer, all of which ought to be taken into the account of the receipts, in order to distinguish between a bare exceeding upon a comparison of the expenditure against the 900,000l. and an arrear actually incurred by the expenditure exceeding the gross receipt. By the mistake he had already mentioned, viz. the total omission of the mention of eighty places, the salaries of which amounted to eleven thousand pounds, the house would see, that even upon the statement of Mr. Gilbert, if the estimate had been correct, the expenses of the civil list would stand at 911,000l. instead of 900,000l. There consequently were 11,0007, out of 44,000l. which the right honorable gentleman had stated as the debt upon the four last quarters, and he would presently prove that a great deal more was to be taken off. In order to do this, Mr. Sheridan entered into a long train of arguments founded upon figures, through which it was impossible to follow him in detail from memory. We shall only, therefore, state the leading parts of what we understood him to reason upon. Added to the eleven thousand pounds arising from the eighty places omitted in the estimate, there was, he said, a surplus of the money
voted in aid of the civil list last year, amounting to 10,900l. There was also a sum in the exchequer of two or three thousand pounds, and a sum of two thousand in the hands of the Lord Chamberlain. Upon the whole, Mr. Sheridan contended, that there had been no arrear incurred during the two first quarters; and that, including the four, the arrear had only amounted to about sixteen thousand pounds, which certainly was no great debt for the civil list to have incurred. He said, the Christmas quarter, ending January 5, 1784, neither he nor his right honorable friend was answerable for, as they had gone out of office on the 26th of December. He added a vast variety of ingenious reasoning to illustrate his positions; and before he made his motion, said, he flattered himself he had made good his word; and unless it was intended on the other side of the house to resort to a quibble between the word arrear and the word exceeding (which he should consider as the most pitiful of all quibbles) he conceived what he had said could not be denied, much less refuted; and for that reason he trusted, there would be no objection made to two motions that he should offer upon the subject. Mr. Sheridan read his motions, before he made them; the first was, a resolution, that a true estimate of the expenditure of the civil list should be prepared against the next session to be laid before the house; and that it should be drawn correctly, and agreeably to the direction of Mr. Burke's bill. The other was, that a complete and accurate account of the entire receipt and expenditure of the civil list for the past year, should be annually laid before that house, which Mr. Burke's bill also expressly ordered.
Mr. Fox rose and seconded the motion. Mr. Rose objected to both resolutions, and moved the question of adjournment upon them, which was carried.