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REPORT FROM THE SELECT COMMITTEE UPON THE CIVIL LIST; &c. Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 16 June 1815.
The SELECT COMMITTEE appointed to take into consideration the Account presented to the House upon the 20th day of March last by Mr. Arbuthnot, by the Command of his royal highness the Prince Regent, relating to his Majesty's Civil List, and to examine the said Account, and report the same as it shall appear to them, together with their observations thereupon, to the House; and to whom the Report which, upon the 7th day of July 1812, was made from the Select Committee appointed to consider of the Charge upon the Civil List Revenue; the Copy of the Code of Instructions for the Government of the Office of Works in all its branches; and the several other Accounts relating to the Civil List, which have been presented to the House in this Session of Parliament, were referred;-Have, pursuant to the Order of the House, considered the matters to them referred, and agreed upon the following REPORT.
The general state of the Civil List has varied so much at different times since the accession of his present Majesty, and recently by the circumstances connected with the establishment of the unrestricted Regency, that the Committee have thought they should best fulfil the duty entrusted to them, by turning their attention, in the first instance, to the amount of this expenditure at different periods during the present reign; and by noticing the various provisions which have been made, either to meet the charge or to prevent excess. They have also stated the amount and nature of the debt which actually exists, and examined particularly into those classes in which it has arisen; and finally, they submit to the House such measures and arrangements as appear to them best calculated to prevent the recurrence of debt in future.
GENERAL STATE OF THE CIVIL LIST.
By the first Act of his Majesty's reign, he accepted the fixed sum of 800,000 per annum, in lieu of the hereditary, temporary, and other revenues which had been enjoyed by his predecessor, who had been also entitled to any surplus which those revenues might have produced beyond the sum of 800,000l. per annum, the Parliament undertaking to supply the deficiency of those revenues below that sum. His Majesty therefore accepted a sum for the Civil List expenditure, which could in no case exceed that of the Civil List of Geo. 2; but which would fall short of it by whatever might have been the amount of the surplus above referred to.
The income of the Civil List, under different grants of Parliament, at present is as follows:
Surplus of Exchequer Fees applied by Act 23 Geo. 3,
It is also to be observed that in the year 1804, when the sum of 60,000l. was added to the income of the Civil List charges, which it had been usual to defray out of that revenue, were taken away from it; and which, upon the average of the years 1801, 1802, and 1803, as stated in the Appendix to the Report of 1812, amounted to about 82,000l. per annum. Those charges have been since transferred to other funds, or provided for by annual grants of Parliament.
The debts of the Civil List, which have been paid at different periods by Parliament, have been as follows:*
* In the body of the Report, fractional parts of pounds are omitted.
And there was granted, towards the extraordinary expenses of 1814, 100,000l. making together 3,213,0611.; and there appears to be a debt upon the Civil List, by the accounts presented to the Committee to the 5th of January last, of 421,3551.
In addition to the ordinary revenues of the Civil List, and the sums which have been granted by Parliament to discharge the debts which have been at various times incurred, funds at the disposal of the Crown have been occasionally applied in aid of it. These funds have been derived from the Droits of the Crown and of the Admiralty, the 4 per-cent Duty, the surplus revenue of the Scotch Civil List, and other sources, amounting in the whole to 1,653,717; which with the sum of 3,213,061, granted by Parliament, forms a total of 4,866,7791. as the extraordinary aids which have at various times been applied to the Civil List during his present Majesty's reign. The whole amount however of these droits and other casual resources at the disposal of the Crown, has not been applied to the uses of the Civil List; his Majesty having been pleased to give in aid of the public service, a large share of them, amounting to 2,822,8041. If this sum had been retained by his Majesty, to defray the surplus of expense beyond his income, without laying the state of the Civil List from time to time before Parliament, the whole debt for which Parliament would have been called upon to provide, would have been (exclusive of the present debt) no more than 390,2571.
By the accounts which have been referred to the Committee, it appears, that the total income of his majesty King George 2, arising from the hereditary, temporary, and other revenues, amounted, upon an average of five years immediately preceding his demise, to 829,1551. per annum; and the total expenditure of the Civil List, upon an average of the same period, was $20,3281. It also appears that those hereditary, temporary, and othar revenues, in a period of eight years immediately succeeding his present Majesty's accession, amounted upon an average to about 900,000 per annum ; and the whole charge of the Civil List for the same period, which included every branch of expense defrayed by his late Majesty, amounted to 6,486,7887., to which must be added the debt which had accrued upon the Civil List to the 5th of January 1769, which amounted to 513,5114., making an expenditure, upon an average, of about 865,000l. per annum: if therefore his present Majesty had received the whole of the hereditary, temporary, and other revenues, which were enjoyed by his royal grandfather, those revenues would have been amply sufficient to have discharged the whole of the Civil List expenditure, and would have left a balance in favour of the Crown, up to that period, of 332,998. From this time the expenditure of the Civil List continuing gradually to increase, in the year 1777 Parliament discharged another debt, which had accrued, of 618,3401.; and granted an additional allowance of 100,000l. per annum to the Civil List; and subsequent to that period various debts have been discharged, and augmentations made to the annual income of the Civil List: but it will be seen, by reference to the accounts printed in the Appendix to this Report, that the hereditary, temporary, and other revenues of the Crown, also gradually increased, and that those revenues have been amply sufficient to defray the whole expenditure of the Civil List. The total amount of those revenues, since his Majesty's accession to the 5th of January 1815, was 67,494,3687.; whereas his Majesty has only received, during the same period, from Parliament, including the various grants which have from time to time been made for the discharge of the Civil List debt, 51,623,564% And although Parliament has in several instances taken upon itself, either wholly or in part, to provide for several services, which were formerly entirely defrayed out of the Civil List; yet, taking those sums into the account, and also the allowances made at different times to the numerous branches of the Royal Family, by the liberality of Parliament, the whole together does not amount to the produce of the hereditary, temporary, and other revenues above referred to.
[xc The income of the Civil List during his Majesty's reign, including the extraordinary grants of Parliament, has been.......
There has also been paid, up to the 5th of January 1815, out of the Consolidated Fund, or out of money specially granted by Parliament, for allowances to the several branches of the Royal Family, for the Judges, &c. in England and Wales, and for services which were formerly paid out of Civil List revenues, but from which the Civil List has at various times been relieved......
Making a total of................................... £61,184,960 Which is 6,309,4081. less than the actual amount of the hereditary, temporary, and other revenues of the Crown during the same period.
In the year 1804, an estimate of the probable future expenditure of each class of the Civil List was submitted to Parliament by command of his Majesty; upon which your Committee desire to refer to the second paragraph of the Report upon the Civil List 7th July 1812; adding only, that there was considerable excess above the estimate in the years which immediately preceded, as well as in those which immediately followed its formation.
The actual expenditure exceeded this estimate in the seven years which elapsed between the 5th of July 1804 and 5th of July 1811, by the sum of 868,000l., or by the annual sum of 124,000l.
The estimate of expenditure of 1804 amounted to 979,000l., the income of the Civil List to 900,000l.; and the amount of Exchequer Fees was estimated at that period at 35,000l., making the whole income 995,000l.
When this subject was under the consideration of Parliament in 1812, no provision was made to render the income of the Civil List equal to the future expenditure, the income being only as above stated, 995,000!.; and the expenditure, supposing it to have been the same on an average as it had been during the seven years to the 5th of July 1811, 1,103,000l.; nor has any provision been since made by Parliament to meet this charge.
Again, upon the establishment of the unrestricted Regency in 1812, the following additional charges were created:
For the Household of his Majesty..........
This was partly provided for by a grant of Parliament
Leaving an additional Charge, unprovided for, of ...... £. 50,000*
If therefore the Civil List were to be left upon its present footing, with respect to income and charge, and if there should be no extraordinary aids to meet the excess of expenditure which is likely to arise from the present state of it, debts would necessarily be contracted, which could only be discharged by applications to Parliament from time to time for their liquidation.
With respect to the provisions which have been made at different times, with a view of regulating the expenditure, they do not appear to have been effectual for the purposes intended. The first Act which was proposed to regulate the expenditure of the Civil List, is that of 22d Geo. 3, cap. 82: the regulations by which this Act endeavoured to prevent the Civil List from being again in arrear, which was one of its principal objects, are contained in sec. 31, 32, 33; enjoining, first, an invariable
*Note. At the time this additional charge was thrown upon the Civil List, a hope was entertained that it might be met wholly or in part by savings.
order of payment, acccording to the numericial priority of the eight classes; secondly, an order of payment within the sixth and seventh classes, so that all pensions and salaries should be paid in an inverse gradation, beginning from the lowest; thirdly, that the salaries of the commissioners of the Treasury should be paid after all the preceding seven classes should have been fully discharged; and fourthly, that any salary, fee, or pension, which should remain in arrear for two years, should be no longer considered as a debt upon the Civil List, but should be wholly lapsed and extinguished. It would seem, however, that in consequence of the construction which was put upon these sections of the Act, by those whose duty it was to carry it into execution, an arrear was suffered to accumulate upon the different classes of the Civil List, with the exception of the two first classes, which constituted a debt incurred between the years 1786 and 1802, amounting to $95,9694.; which was, in the latter year, brought under the consideration of Parliament.
The provisions of this Act not having been found sufficient to prevent the accumulation of arrear upon the Civil List, it was further provided, by 44 Geo. 3, cap. 80, that whenever any of the classes should become in arrear more than two quarters, the account of such arrear should be submitted to Parliament.
Although the expenditure of the Civil List in every year subsequent to 1804 exceeded the income, and the estimate then formed; yet, from the application of the extraordinary resources at the disposal of the Crown, no arrear of two quarters actually arose upon any one class, and the accounts were therefore not submitted to Parliament.
By the Act 52 Geo. 3, cap. 6, another provision was made; the object of which was to bring the Civil List before Parliament whenever an exceeding should take place, although there might be funds at the disposal of the Crown to meet such exceeding.
In that Act, it was stated that the Civil List revenue had not in any one year been equal to the charge upon it; and that such excess of charge above the revenue bad, upon an average of years, since the passing of the Act 44 Geo. 3, cap. 80, amounted to 124,000l. per annum; and it was enacted, that when the deficiency should exceed the income, and such average exceeding together by 10,000l.; an account of such deficiency should, within one month after the same should have arisen, be laid before Parliament.
This enactment appears more useful and salutary; the state of the Civil List was laid before the House in the following session, under this provision of the Act; and it is the opinion of the Committee, that whatever may be the future arrangements respecting the Civil List, the principle of this enactment should be strictly and invariably observed.
From the whole of the foregoing statements, and the accounts referred to the Committee, it will appear, that the ordinary income of the Civil List, particularly in latter times, has not been adequate to the expenditure. The items of excess have been stated and explained to the House in the Reports of the Committees of 1802, 1803, 1804, and 1812; and the latter Committee, in their Report, have compared the estimate of 1804 with the annual expenditure to the 5th of July 1811.
In order therefore to present to the House a clear view of the expenditure of the Civil List, the Committee have also compared the amount of each class, from the 5th April 1812 to the 5th January 1815, with the estimate of 1804, and with the average annual expenditure of seven years to the 5th July 1811; and they have accompanied this comparison with such incidental observations as appeared to them useful in the course of their examination. They have left out of the comparison the accounts of the expenditure from the 5th July 1811 to the 5th April 1812; which expenditure however for these three quarters of a year, appears, by the accounts submitted to the House, and printed in the Report of the Committee of 1813, to have amounted to 903,000l., being at the rate of 1,204,000l. per annum, which is considerably above the average expenditure of the seven preceding years: this exceeding, as the Committee understand, arose in a great measure from arrears which actually belonged to former years, and therefore the average expenditure of the seven preceding years, was in reality greater than appears by these comparisons. No application was however made to Parliament to defray any part of this expenditure, the whole debt up to the 5th April 1812 having been provided for by funds at the disposal of the Crown.
Allowances to the Royal Family.
The estimate of 1804, for this class, was 222,500l.; the annual charge, upon the average of seven years to the 5th July 1811, was 220,640l.: this diminution was occasioned by the death of her royal highness the Duchess of Cumberland. The amount of this class on the 5th day of January 1815 was 334,500l. The charge upon this class has been increased by the addition of 100,000l. per annum for his Majesty's allowance, by 10,000l. additional allowance to her Majesty, and by the addition, as before stated, of 10,000l. to the allowance of his royal highness the Prince Regent; and it has been diminished in the sum of 4,000!. per annum, by the decease of her royal highness the Princess Amelia.
Some of the younger branches of the Royal Family still receive allowances out of this class, and other allowances out of the Consolidated Fund; and others of the Royal Family receive their whole allowance out of the latter fund. For the purpose of making good in part the present deficiency of the income of the Civil List to meet the charge, the Committee recommend that these allowances, amounting to 36,500l. per annum, be transferred to the Consolidated Fund: in which case, upon the demise of any of these royal personages, the allowance belonging to such royal personage would revert to the public instead of reverting to the Civil List.
The sum of 100,000l. above mentioned, set apart for the maintenance of his Majesty's establishment, might also, with the same view, be transferred from the Civil List to the Consolidated Fund. In the new estimate laid before the House, and referred to the Committee, these sums of 100,000l. and 36,000l. are therefore omitted.
Allowances to the Lord Chancellor, Speaker, and Judges.
The estimate of 1804, for this class, was 32,955l. It is liable to no variation except to a trifling diminution arising from the interval which may elapse between the period at which any one of these officers may cease to perform his duty, and the appointment of a successor; and requires no observation from the Committee.
Allowances to Ministers at Foreign Courts.
The estimate of 1804, for this class, was 112,330.; the average annual expenditure for seven years to 5th July 1811, was about 82,000l.
The Expenditure to the
5th April 1813
5th Jan. 1815
Making a total of ........
or, upon an average, 115,8721. per annum.
The pensions to Foreign Ministers, which would more properly form a part of this class than that of the sixth class, in which they have heretofore been included, were estimated, in 1804 at 27,412l.; and the average expenditure for seven years to the 5th July 1811, was 52,700l. The average annual expenditure for two years and three quarters to the 5th January 1815, was 56,0561. It may generally be observed, that as the amount of pensions to foreign ministers increase, the amount of salaries are likely to diminish, and vice versa. The amount of salaries and pensions taken together were estimated, in 1804, at 139,742. The expenditure, upon an average of seven years to the 5th July 1811, was 134,760l., and for the two years and three quarters to the 5th Jan. 1815 was 171,9287. This increase of expenditure appears to the Committee to be accounted for by the great change which has, in this latter period, taken place in our relations with most of the Powers on the Continent.
The Committee recommend, that the pensions to his Majesty's Foreign Ministers should be transferred from the sixth class to this class, to which they appear more properly to belong; and in the new estimate which has been laid before them, that arrangement has been made.