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Civil List

parliament, expenses, sum, voted, reign, royal, taxes and crown

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CIVIL LIST. The expenses of the English government, including military expenses, were fornterly comprehended in one general list, and defrayed out of what was called the royal revenue. For a con siderable period after the Conquest this revenue, derived from the rents of the crown lands, and from other sources, was at the command and under the un controlled management of the crown through the exercise of the prerogative. Even when at a later period the greater portion of the expenses of the government came to be granted by parliament in the form of supplies, the entire expenditure was still left with the crown, and the supplies were either voted for no specific purpose, or when they were voted for a special purpose, parliament had no con trol over their application.

This state of things oontinned to the Restoration in 1660. A distinction was then made between the military expenses of the government, or those occasioned by war, which were considered of the nature of extraordinary expenses, and those incurred in the maintenance of the ordinary establishments of the country. The revenues appropriated to the latter were called the hereditary or civil-list revenues, and were provided for partly from the crown lands that remained un alienated, and partly from certain taxes imposed by parliament expressly for that purpose during the life of the reigning • king. In the reign of King William III. the sum applicable to the civil list, on an average of years, amounted to the annual sum of about 680,000/. This sum was applied in defraying the expenses of the royal household and of the privy purse, the mainte nance and repairs of the royal palaces, the salaries of the lord chancellor, the judges, the great officers of state, and the ambassadors at foreign courts ; and out of it were also paid the incomes of the members of the royal family, the secret service money, pensions, and a long list of other claims. The interest of the national debt, however, was never de frayed from the awn allotted for the civil list.

In the reign of Queen Anne the civil list remained of nearly the same amount as in the reign of King William. The principal taxes appropriated to it were au excise of 2s. 6d. per barrel on beer, which produced about 286,000/. per annum, a tonnage and poundage duty, which pro duced about 257,000/., and the profits of the post-office, from which about 100,00( L was derived.

At the commencement of the reign of George I., 700,000/. a year was voted by parliament for the civil list, and certain taxes, as usual, were appropriated to that branch of the public expenditure.

On the accession of George II. it was provided, that if the taxes which had been appropriated to the civil list in the previous reign did not produce 800,000/. per annum, the deficiency should be made up by parliament, and that any surplus beyond that sum should be re tained by the crown.

At the accession of George III. he surrendered the larger branches of the hereditary revenue of England, and the sum of 800,000/. was again voted by par liament for the civil list, but no particular taxes were set apart to provide that reve nue. In the course of a few years, how ever, a large amount of debt had accu mulated in this department, and to pay it off, two sums amounting together to con siderably above 1,000,000/. were voted by parliament in 1769 and 1777. In the latter year also the civil-list revenue was permanently raised to 900,000/. This, however, did not prevent further defi ciencies, which were again made good by parliament in 1784 and 1786, to the ex tent of about 270,000/.

In 1780 Mr. Burke brought in his bill for the better regulation of the civil list, which, although it was greatly mutilated before it passed into a law (in 1782), abolished several useless offices, and ef fected some reduction of expenditure.

According to the report of a committee of the House of Commons which sat upon the subject of the civil list in 1802, the total average annual expenditure in that branch since 1786 had been 1,000,1671., under the following heads :—royal family in all its branches, 209,988/. ; great officers of state, 33,279/. ; foreign minis ters, 80,526/.; tradesmen's bills, 174,69;l.; menial servants of the household, 92,4241.; pensions, 114,817l.; salaries to various officers, 76,013/. ; commission ers of the treasury, 14,4551.; occasional payments, 203,964/. At this time another sum of above 990,000/. was voted by par liament to pay the debts on the civil list ; and in 1804 the civil-list revenue was raised to 960,000l. In 1812 it was fur ther augmented to 1,080,000l.; besides which, annuities to the amount of 260,000l. were then paid to the different branches of the royal family out of the consoli dated fund.

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