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that was stately and venerable in the antique manners, without retrenching anything of the cumbrous charge of a Gothic establishment. It is shrunk into the polished littleness of modern elegance and personal accommodation ; it has evaporated from the gross concrete into an essence and rectified spirit of expense, where you have tuns of ancient pomp in a vial of modern luxury.
But when the reason of old establishments is gone, it is absurd to preserve nothing but the burden of them. This is superstitiously to embalm a carcass not worth an ounce of the gums that are used to preserve it. It is to burn precious oils in the tomb ; it is to offer meat and drink to the dead: not so much an honor to the deceased as a disgrace to the survivors. Our palaces are vast inhospitable halls. There the bleak winds, there “Boreas, and Eurus, and Caurus, and Argestes loud," howling through the vacant lobbies, and clattering the doors of deserted guardrooms, appall the imagination, and conjure up the grim spectres of departed tyrants, - the Saxon, the Norman, and the Dane,—the stern Edwards and fierce Henrys, — who stalk from desolation to desolation, through the dreary vacuity and melancholy succession of chill and comfortless chambers. When this tumult subsides, a dead and still more frightful silence would reign in this desert, if every now and then the tacking of hammers did not announce that those constant attendants upon all courts in all ages, jobs, were still alive,- for whose sake alone it is that any trace of ancient grandeur is suffered to remain. These palaces are a true emblem of some governments : the inhabitants are decayed, but the governors and magistrates still flourish. They put me in
i mind of Old Sarum, where the representatives, more in number than the constituents, only serve to inform us that this was once a place of trade, and sounding with the busy hum of men,” though now you can only trace the streets by the color of the corn, and its sole manufacture is in members of Parliament.
These old establishments were formed also on a third principle, still more adverse to the living economy of the age. They were formed, Sir, on the principle of purveyance and receipt in kind. In former days, when the household was vast, and the supply scanty and precarious, the royal purveyors, sallying forth from under the Gothic portcullis to purchase provision with power and prerogative instead of money, brought home the plunder of an hundred markets, and all that could be seized from a flying and hiding country, and deposited their spoil in an hundred caverns, with each its keeper. There, every commodity, received in its rawest condition, went through all the process which fitted it for use. This inconvenient receipt produced an economy suited only to itself. It multiplied offices beyond all measure, - buttery, pantry, and all that rabble of places, which, though profitable to the holders, and expensive to the state, are almost too mean to mention.
All this might be, and I believe was, necessary at first; for it is remarkable, that purveyance, after its regulation had been the subject of a long line of statutes, (not fewer, I think, than twenty-six,) was wholly taken away by the 12th of Charles the Second; yet in the next year of the same reign it was found necessary to revive it by a special act of Parliament, for the sake of the king's journeys. This, Sir, is curious, and what would hardly be expected in so reduced a
court as that of Charles the Second and in so improved a country as England might then be thought. But so
In our time, one well-filled and well-covered stage-coach requires more accommodation than a royal progress, and every district, at an hour's warning, can supply an army.
I do not say, Sir, that all these establishments, whose principle is gone, have been systematically kept up for influence solely: neglect had its share. But this I am sure of: that a consideration of influence has hindered any one from attempting to pull them down. For the purposes of influence, and for those purposes only, are retained half at least of the household establishments. No revenue, no, not a royal revenue, can exist under the accumulated charge of ancient establishment, modern luxury, and Parliamentary political corruption.
If, therefore, we aim at regulating this household, the question will be, whether we ought to economize by detail or by principle. The example we have had of the success of an attempt to economize by detail, and under establishments adverse to the attempt, may tend to decide this question.
At the beginning of his Majesty's reign, Lord Talbot came to the administration of a great department in the household. I believe no man ever entered into his Majesty's service, or into the service of any prince, with a more clear integrity, or with more zeal and affection for the interest of his master, and, I must add, with abilities for a still higher service. Economy was then announced as a maxim of the reign. This noble lord, therefore, made several attempts towards a reform. In the year 1777, when the king's civil list debts came last to be paid, he explained very fully the success of his undertaking. He told the House of Lords that he had attempted to reduce the charges of the king's tables and his kitchen. The thing, Sir, was not below him. He knew that there is nothing interesting in the concerns of men whom we love and honor, that is beneath our attention. “Love,” says one of our old poets, “ esteems no office mean," -- and with still more spirit, “Entire affection scorneth nicer hands.” Frugality, Sir, is founded on the principle, that all riches have limits. A royal household, grown enormous, even in the meanest departments, may weaken and perhaps destroy all energy in the highest offices of the state. The gorging a royal kitchen may stint and famish the negotiations of a kingdom. Therefore the object was worthy of his, was worthy of any man's attention.
In consequence of this noble lord's resolution, (as he told the other House,) he reduced several tables, and put the persons entitled to them upon board wages, much to their own satisfaction. But, unluckily, subsequent duties requiring constant attendance, it was not possible to prevent their being fed where they were employed : and thus this first step towards economy doubled the expense.
There was another disaster far more doleful than this. I shall state it, as the cause of that misfortune lies at the bottom of almost all our prodigality. Lord Talbot attempted to reform the kitchen ; but such, as he well observed, is the consequence of having duty done by one person whilst another enjoys the emoluments, that he found himself frustrated in all his designs. On that rock his whole adventure split, his whole scheme of economy was dashed to pieces. His department became more expensive than ever; the civil list debt accumulated. Why? It was truly from a cause which, though perfectly adequate to the effect, one would not have instantly guessed. It was because the turnspit in the king's kitchen was a member of Parliament ! *
The king's domestic servants were all undone, his tradesmen remained unpaid and became bankrupt, - because the turnspit of the king's kitchen was a member of Parliament. His Majesty's slumbers were interrupted, his pillow was stuffed with thorns, and his peace of mind entirely broken, - because the king's turnspit was a member of Parliament. The judges were unpaid, the justice of the kingdom bent and gave way, the foreign ministers remained inactive and unprovided, the system of Europe was dissolved, the chain of our alliances was broken, all the wheels of government at home and abroad were stopped, — because the king's turnspit was a member of Parliament.
Such, Sir, was the situation of affairs, and such the cause of that situation, when his Majesty came a second time to Parliament to desire the payment of those debts which the employment of its members in various offices, visible and invisible, had occasioned. I believe that a like fate will attend every attempt at economy by detail, under similar circumstances, and in every department. A complex, operose office of account and control is, in itself, and even if members of Parliament had nothing to do with it, the most prodigal of all things. The most audacious robberies or the most subtle frauds would never venture upon such a waste as an over-careful detailed guard against them will infallibly produce. In our estab
* Vide Lord Talbot's speech in Almon's Parliamentary Register. Vol. VII. p. 79, of the Proceedings of the Lords.