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honorable gentleman was of opinion it ought to be increased; and any debts which His Royal Highness might have incurred, paid.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt again repeated what he had before said, that having had no instructions on the subject of His Royal Highness's establishment, he could not take upon him to speak officially concerning it; nor would he be so presumptuous as to entertain or express any private opinion whatever.
Mr. Sheridan declared that he should still understand that if any debts incurred by His Royal Highness were to be, in future, stated by the right honorable gentleman, whether by message from the crown, or by any other proper authority, they were to be considered as extraordinaries of the civil list, and not within the right honorable gentleman's present pledge. A bill (Mr. Burke's) on regulating the payment of the civil list expenses, expressly said, that no debt should be incurred upon it in future. It was absurd to let the bill remain in full force, and yet come down in the face of an act of parliament, and call upon the house to vote money for the debts of the crown. The right honorable gentleman ought either to bring in a bill to explain and amend, or ask for no more money on the civil list account. He shrewdly suspected that as 30,0007. was the precise debt now asked for, that the expense of keeping the noble Earl of Chesterfield for two years together, nominal ambassador to the court of Madrid; and the expense of sending out a right honorable gentleman (Mr. Eden) to negociate the treaty of commerce, occasioned that debt; and what led him to form this conjecture was, because the sums squared so well together;-the expense on the noble earl's account being 25,000l.; and the other 5000l. He gave the right honorable gentleman (Mr. Eden) credit for possessing great knowledge of the subject, and for being exceedingly fit to negociate the treaty, but it nevertheless behoved the right honorable gentleman to be able to assure the house that so large a sum of the public money
would not be wasted; but that he had good reason. to believe the treaty would be made, and the object of his mission would be answered. Observing Mr. Pitt smile, Mr. Sheridan expressed his astonishment that, whilst he delivered his sentiments upon a subject of such uncommon consequence to the country at large, he should, if unbecoming smiles could have that effect, be treated by the right honorable gentleman as an object of ridicule.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt contended, that the honorable gentleman had been long in the habit of putting words inte his mouth for the purpose of giving those words whatever interpretation he thought most likely to answer his own ends. He had now gone farther, and pretended to interpret even his smile; and give it a turn which he was by no means warranted assigning to it. In fact, his smile was only occasioned by the nature of the honorable gentleman's argument; which the committee must be sensible was highly ridiculous. For what could be more absurd than to call upon him to say what progress had been made in the treaty, when he had not yet an official account of the ambassador's having arrived at the place of negociation.
Mr. Sheridan declared, that he would not believe that the right honorable gentleman's smile was a smile in ridicule of his argument; but rather the sneer of vexation, that he should use it; and he would undertake to prove that no man of common sense would deem his argument ridiculous, because he had every reason to suppose that the right honorable gentleman was not in earnest in sending out the right honorable negociator (Mr. Eden). If he had been in earnest, he would undoubtedly have sent him out sooner, when the treaty could have been accomplished; and not when it was too late to expect its achievement. Though the right honorable gentleman might not be able to declare when the treaty might be ended, yet he might say, that it was probable it would, sooner or later, and that the court of France was earnest upon the occasion. He had, therefore, been guilty of no absurdity in what he had said respecting the treaty, in his first speech. He declared, that, from what he knew of the matter, while he belonged to the Treasury, it was ex
tremely difficult, with any management, to keep the expenses of the civil list within due bounds; but that by the pensions which fell in, and by other material aids, he was persuaded that it was possible to keep His Majesty's expenses within the limit of his income; and he hoped that the proper means for doing so would be adopted.
REPORT FROM THE COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY.
Mr. SHERIDAN said he would not go into any farther argument upon the subject that day, but would move a string of resolutions upon the state of the revenue on Wednesday next. In the mean time, as an honorable gentleman opposite to him (Mr. Rose) had, on the preceding day, said, in express terms, that the four and a half per cent. fund, drawn from the Leeward Islands, was the private money of His Majesty; and, as he was satisfied the fund was granted for public purposes, he wished the house to be informed how the produce of that fund, and its application stood; and therefore he begged leave to move," That an humble address be presented to His Majesty, that there be laid before this house, an account of the four and a half per cent. duties paid out of His Majesty's Leeward Islands for the last three years, with the charges thereupon.'
This motion being agreed to,
Mr. Sheridan again rose, and moved “for a correct plan of the civil establishment and payments drawn in classes, and arranging by estimate the expense of each class, and of each office in each class, in manner directed by an act of the 21st of his present Majesty."
This was also agreed to, Mr. Sheridan having consented to leave out the word correct at the instance of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
HAWKERS AND PEDLARS..
Mr. Pulteney moved for leave to bring in a bill to explain and amend so much of the act respecting the hawkers and pedlars as restrains them from exposing to sale goods in market towns, and as enables justices of the peace of any county to prohibit such hawkers and pedlars from vending their goods within the same, and to farther regulating their trade.”—Mr. Pitt declared he would not at present object to the bill; but he desired to put in his claim on behalf of the shopkeepers, who certainly ought to be considered as deeply interested in it.
Mr. SHERIDAN remarked, that it was the first time the house had heard the right honorable gentleman confess, that the shop-tax was a burden on the shopkeepers. It had been repeatedly argued by different gentlemen, that the tax was a burden on the shopkeeper; but the right honorable gentleman had always contended, that it was the consumer, and not the shopkeeper, who bore it. If it was, as the right honorable gentleman had now confessed, a burden on the shopkeeper, it ought to be repealed; and if the consumer paid it, the hawkers and pedlars were hardly dealt with to be sacrificed for no purpose whatever. The right honorable gentleman had, by his late modification of the shop-tax, relieved all the country shopkeepers, excepting a few indeed, who dwelt in large towns. His consenting to relieve the hawkers and pedlars, would therefore aggravate the injustice done to the shopkeepers of the metropolis, on whose shoulders the onus of the burden now almost exclusively rested. Leave was given to bring in the bill.
Mr. SHERIDAN moved for an account of the gross and neat receipt of the Exchequer on the quarter ending April 5, 1786, from the officers of
customs, excise, and stamps, He meant by the production of that account, to ground on it much future argument in proof of his objections to the state of the revenue, as insisted on by the right honorable gentleman; and though, perhaps the paper might not be ready by Wednesday, it might, nevertheless, be ready by the day on which the right honorable gentleman should open his budget, which would equally answer the purpose.
Mr. Chancellor Pitt informed the honorable gentleman, that he had himself made a motion a few days ago of nearly the same purport as that which had been read, but of a greater extent; and as the honorable gentleman's object was solely to compare the revenue in · two different quarters, his was more effectual for that purpose, as, besides the accounts of the customs, excise, and stamps, he had in his motion included incidents, which together comprized the whole of the revenue, and therefore gave a fairer opportunity for an accurate comparison.
Mr. Sheridan answered, that being now told such a paper had been moved for, he would withdraw his motion. He afterwards moved for a variety of papers, all relative to the actual state of the revenue, which were severally agreed to.
CLAIMS OF AMERICAN LOYALISTS.
Mr. SHERIDAN signified his intention of moving for certain papers relative to the payments to American loyalists and sufferers, and to discharge the order of the preceding day, which he understood was not worded so as to comprehend the whole of his object. Undoubtedly, he at first designed to move certain resolutions relative to the state of the revenue upon the ensuing day, even under the disadvantage of not having the papers which he had moved for the preceding day; but having since understood, that before he came to the house on Monday, the right honorable gentleman had declared it to be his intention to put off (and had