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Civil List

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CIVIL LIST. Down to the period of the restoration in 1660, notwithstanding an attempt at negotiation between James I. and the parliament for the commutation of the hereditary revenues of the crown, the whole expenses of the government of England, civil and military, were included in one list, or rather they were defrayed out of what was called the royal revenue. This revenue arose partly from crown-lands, and partly from other sources, and for a long period after the conquest, it was really at the disposal of the crown. Even after the supplies were provided by parliament, the specific mode of their expenditure continued to be free from parliamentary control. But at the restoration a distinction was made. (by statute 12 Charles II.) between the extraordinary expenses occasioned by war, and the ordinary cost of the civil establishments of the country. For the latter, the needful funds were provided, partly from such crown lands as were still unalienated, and partly from taxes which parliament voted for the purpose at the commencement of each reign. These were called the hereditary or C. L. revenues. During the reign of William III., the C. L. amounted to £680,000 mutually. The branches of expenditure included under this head were the following: 1. The royal household; 2. The privy purse; 3. The royal palaces; 4. The salaries of the chancellor, judges, great officers of state, and ambassadors; 5. The incomes given to the other mem bers of the royal family; G. The secret-service money, pensions, and other irregular claims. The support of the army and navy was now provided for by an annual vote of the house of commons, and the interest of the national debt was never charged against the civil list. During queen :tune's reign, matters remained nearly on their former footing; but on the accession of George I., the C. L. was raised to £700,000 a year, and on that of George II., to .£800,000. George III., notwithstanding that he had surrendered very large portions of the remaining hereditary revenue of England, accepted the last-mentioned suin. But it proved insufficient for the purpose. A large amount of debt was incurred, and in 1769 and 1777, parliament voted sums for his relief, amounting together to more than £1,000,000. In 1777, the C. L. revenue was raised to £900,000. but further deficiencies to the extent of £270,000 had still to be supplied by extraordinary votes. Iu 1780, Mr. Burke succeeded in abolishing several useless offices, and reducing the expenditure. Notwithstanding these and other efforts in the same direction, it was found indispensable continually to augment the C. L. revenue. In 1804, it was raised to £960,000, and in 1812, to £1,080,000, besides annuities to members of the royal family, which were now paid out of the consolidated fund (q.v.) to the

amount of £260,000. When George IV. succeeded to the throne, £2,55,000 of expendi ture was transferred to other funds, and the C. L. was then fixed at £850,000 per annum. The crown enjoyed, in addition, the hereditary revenue of Scotland, amounting to about £110,000, and a separate C. L. was kept up for Ireland of £207,000. Against these large sums, however, were still placed many charges which belonged to the nation rather than the crown; and it was not till the 15th Nov., 1830, that sir lIenry Parnell, afterwards lord Congleton, carried a motion for the appointment of a select committee for the purpose of separating the proper expenses of the crown from all other charges. The result of this measure was the act (1 Will. IV. c. 25) for the regulation of the civil list. The sum of £510,000 was now granted to his majesty, and exclusively devoted to the privy purse, the salaries and expenses of the household, secret-service money, and pensions. The separate list for Ireland was discontinued, and the Scotch hereditary revenues and other items were directed to be paid into the exchequer. The change was rather a new distribution, which, enabled the country to look more closely into its expenditure, than a real reduction of the civil list.

On the accession of queen Victoria, the C. L., which had long been of the nature of a compact between the monarch and the parliament, and as such beyond the control of parliament during the life of the sovereign, was settled by 1 and 2 Viet. c. 2. The queen surrendered the hereditary revenues of the crown for life, in consideration of a yearly sum of £385,000, to be devoted solely to the support of her majesty's household, and the honor and dignity of the crown. The application of this sum to the particular branches of the queen's privy purse, the salaries and expenses of the household, the royal bounty, alms and special services, is intrusted to the lords of the treasury; and it is provided that if the C. L. charges in any one year shall exceed the total sum of £400,000, au account of the particulars of excess shall be laid before parliament in thirty days. Besides the above sum, £1200 a year is intrusted to her majesty for the payment of pensions, "to persons who have just claims on the royal beneficence, or who, by their personal services to the crown, by the performance of duties to the public, or by their useful discoveries in science, and attainments in literature and the arts, have merited the gracious consideration of their sovereign and the gratitude of their country."