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establishment. But in 1807, they were condemned to a va-
riety of petty vexations, in consequence of the supplies of fiir-
niture being cut off, by a treasury minute; while, in con-
formity to a new regulation of the Office of Works, in 1815, it
was determined that nothing was to be done to the Royal Pa^
laces in the occupation of the i/ounger branches^ but what the
safety of the buildings absolutely required ; leaving the wear
and tear of fixtures, furniture, and decorations/ to be supplied
by themselves. The windows were to be mended, and bells
hung or repaired, by the tradesmen of the household, indeed^
but at their own sole expense.

It is thus evident, that the various incuipbrances to which
their Royal Highnesses are now subject, chiefly originate in
three insurmountable causes, over which they have not, and
never could possibly have, any controul whatsoever :

1. The protraction of their respective parliamentary estab-
lishments long beyond the age of manhood :

2. The want of an original out/^f on at length obtaining a
settlement, burdened as it was with a numerous and expensive
household :

S. The violation of a solemn engagement, by the grant of
an advanced nominal income, tending to throw an odium on
th^ characters and conduct of their * Royal Highnesses ;
whereas, in fact, they were still more incapacitated from ho-
nourably fulfilling their respective engagements, by an actual

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THE DUKE OF KENT. 68

diminution, arising from a deduction of 10 per cent, together
with the loss of a table, coals, candles, &c.:

And, 4, A variety of little^ mean, and p9ltl7 regulations on
tlie part of certain public boards, have contributed not a little
to superadd mortification to injustice.

From an enumerati<m of the above facts it is now evident,
that the case of the five junior male branches of the royal
fiunily demand^ immediate consideration. The reimburse-
ment of the contributions raised upon them, in express violin
tion of the original agreement, under the income and property
tax acts, together with a very moderate indemnification finr
their other losses and deprivations, would instantly enaUe the
royal dukes to liquidate all just demands, by means of trustees
expressly nominated for this purpose, and assume thw due
rank and importance in the state.

In such a case it is a pleasing reflection, that the sum total,
might be levied firom a iund that would not add an unit to the
public debt, or withdraw one single shilling from the annual
supplies. *

* Letter\from His Royal Highneu the Duke of Kent to Alexander Stephens,
of Park House, in Uie county of Middlesex, Esq,

^ My dear Sir; Kensington Palace, 27th February, 1816.

*' I duly received, yesterday, your obliging favour with its accompanying
inclosufe, and beg to express my acknowledgments for the further trouble you
have taken to promote the interests of my brothers and myself* I shall, in the
course of the rooming, look them over with attention ; and, with your permis-
sion, communicate, through our mutual worthy friend, Captain Dodd, the result
of my remarks a^ng therefrom. In the meanwhile I shall just observe^ that
although one considerable difficulty is removed, from the accomplishment of a
general juncdon of all to obtain the fulfilment of Mr. Pitt's promise, by ex-
pun^g the Duke of Tork*s case altogether, I nevertheless fear, from the dif-
ferent causes that operate upon the minds of my brothers, that it will be next to
impossible to secure their general, or, indeed, individual concurrence, in any step
to he taken with ministers ; so that, after all, I very much apprehend, that with> ~
out any egotism on my part,-! shall be imperativdy compelled to confine myadf
to my own substantive case, and to commit tliat to the charge of some inde-
pendent man, to take his choice of introducing it whenever a favourable oppor-
tunity offers, under the hope of exciting in the House that feeling in my behalf,
which I have failed in doing in the breasts of the advisers of the Prince Regent.
Believe me ever to remain, with the most friendly regard,

** My dear Sir,

** Yours faithfully,-

«« EDWARD."



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64 THE DUKE OF KENT.

Supplementary Case rfHis Royal Highness^ the Duke qfKira.

From the preceding statement it has been seen how far, and
to what amount, His Royal Highness has suffered in common
with his four brothers, from the want of an original outfit ; the
breach of a solemn engagement; the substitution of a nominal
fdr a real income ; and, above all, by the additional hardship of
permitting eleven whole years to elapse, afler attaining his ma-
jority, before a parliamentary provision was obtained for this
prince. But a short historical detail will convey the best idea of
the sufferings, and exhibit the most becoming apology for the dif>
ficulties and embarrassments df Their Majesties' fourth son.

The Duke of Kent^ under the tide of Prince Edward, lefl
England in 1785, and resided, successively, both at Lunen-
burg and Hanover, until the end of the year 1787. During
this period he was lodged in one of the palaces, and both table
alid equipage were furnished from the electoral establishment
The sole pecuniary allowance issued on this occasion was the
sum of 1000/. per arm. of which his gaoemor had the entire
controul and disposal^ with an exception of two pistoles a- week,
allowed for the pocket-money of a young maQ of high rank
and spirit, between the age of eighteen and twenty.

His Royal Highness next removed to Geneva, in obedience
to His Majesty's command, where he remained some months,
afler attaining the period of manhood, without any increase of
allowance. The consequence is sufficiently obvious. Inca-
pacitated from enjoying those indulgences which not only
princes, but private gentlemen expect, at a certain age, he
incurred debts, and borrowed money, to procure them.

At the beginning of 1790, Prince Edward returned to
England ; and,, afler passing only ten days at home, repaired,
at the short notice of forty-eight hours, to Gibraltar. Here,
although destitute of pecuniary resources, he was obliged to
provide an establishment, and every thing incident to house-
keeping, at an enormous expense. It was not, indeed, until
the middle of 1791, when orders arrived for his departure to
Cwada, that he discovered his annual allowatice to amoimt
only to the sum of 5000/. ; being considerably less dian
what had been granted to his governor at Geneva.



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THE DUKE OF KENT. 65

H&te, Bgain^ £he &tal efiects of a scanty provision were too
evident : a considerable debt for the Gibraltar outfit bad been
unavoidably incurred, as it would have been impossible for
the most rigorous economy either to have advanced the neces-
sary expenses, in the first instance, or liquidated the incum-
brance afterwards, out of the current income. So sensible^
indeed, was the King of this circumstance, that His Majesty
was most graciously pleased to promise reimbursemait

On arriving at Quebec, his Royal Highness had accord-
^gly to provide a new establishment; and this, like the for-
mer, was effected on credit, no allowance whatsoever having;
been made for either.

In 17^ this Prince, in consequence of instructions from
England, prqiared to embark for the West Indies; and, on
leaving the capital of Canada, a sale necessarily took place^
the proceeds of which were chiefly applied to provide for the
more urgent demands Incident to a third equipment

Here it may be necessary to observe, that Prince Edward,,
anxious to give all possible satisfiu:tion to his English cre-
ditors, had already granted bonds for about 20,000/^ payable
at the expiration of seven years ; long before which period he,
of course, expected a parliamentary provision. The interest
of this sum produced a diminution of exactly one-fifth part of
his scanty income.

In travelling through the United States of America, with a
suite suitable to his rank, a very considerable expense was of
course incurred ; while every one acquainted with the West
Indies must know, that the necessaries of life are there en-
hanced to an enormous extent.

At the close of the campaign of 1794, His Royal Highness,
in obedience to His Majesty's commands, returned to North
America; highly flattered, indeed, with the official encomiums
on his valour and good conduct, but encumbered with those
firesh debts and engagements which are ever incident to sud-.
den changes, long journeys, and expensive preparations.

Being now placed on the staffs a fourth outfit for which,
like the three preceding ones, no compensation was ever re«

VOL. V. F



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66 THE DUKE OF KENT.

ceired, became necessary at Hali&x. Here he remained first
vdth the rank of major-general, until His Royal Highness
obtained that of lieutenant-general ; but there being no issue
of bat and forage money, as of late, His Royal Highness
never enjoyed any other allowance but that of 5000^.,
first granted in 1790; and as 1000/. of this was regularly dis-
bursed in interest, his expenses, of course, during every suc-
ceeding year, exceeded his income.

In 1798 this Prince returned to England, in consequence
of an accident proceeding from his horse falling under him.
On that occasion the creditors of His Royal Highness were
induced, perhaps by the punctuality with which the interest
had been hitherto discharged, and the knowledge of his utter
inability to liquidate the bonds granted in 1791, to consent to
their renewal for seven years more. In the mean time, how-
ever, in addition to this old debt, a much larger new one had
been also unavoidably contracted, from the various concurring
causes already specified.

At length, in 1799, Prince Edward obtained his dukedom,
with a parliamentary provision of 12,000/. ; but, by this tim^
he had nearly reached his thirty-second year, as has been al-
ready stated. And here, without making any invidious com-
parison, the singular hardship of his situation may be easily
appreciated fix)m the consideration, that his two elder bro-
thers, the Dukes of York and Clarence, had been favoured
with a similar allowance soon afler obtaining their majority ;
and that a similar sum was. granted to the Duke of Cumber-
land, his junior by four years, on the very same day with
himself.

About a month after this, the Duke of Kent was pro-
moted a general, and nominated commander-in-chief in North
America. His new equipment was, of course^ on a scale
commensurate with his rank ; and, on this occasion, the sum
of 2000/. was advanced by government His Royal High-
ness had now a fair prospect of being enabled to pay off all
incumbrances, by a gradual liquidation of his debts: but
here, again, he was assailed by fresh misfortunes, and doomed



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THE DUKE OP KENT. 67

to experience new embarrassments. The transpcnt, which
contained the whole of his baggage^ gbods, and equipage of
every kind and description, was ready to sail in July, but
being detained by embargo^ in consequence of the Helder ex-
pedition, until the stormy month of October, was wrecked on
the American coast, without the possibility of saving any
thing.*

On learning this melancholy intelligence,* occasioned by no
n^ect, either of himself or his agents, but by the mere act of
government for the advantage of the public service. His Royal
Highness was soon taught to feel that he had experienced an
injury to the amount of full 16,000/. Pardy on this account,
therefore, and partly in consequence of a declining state of
health, the Duke of Kent was induced to apply for leave of
absence, in order to solicit remuneration fpr this, as
vreH as his former losses. Having accordingly arrived in
EIngland, in the autumn of 1800, through the kind interven-
tion of the Prince rf Wales, with the Earl of Rossljm, then
Jjotd Chancellor, the Duke of Kent's various claims were
brought under the consideration of Mr. Pitt, from whom he
recdived the fullest assurance — '^ not only that they should
be made good; but also, that due consideration should be
had to the circumstance of having received his parliamentary
eataUishment so much later in life than any of his brothers ;
and that if he were not placed on an exact footing with the
Duke of Clarence, which would have produced an arrear of
dght years, he should enjoy the same advantage as the Duke
of Cumberland, which must insure an arrear of four.''

This pledge held out a speedy prospect of paying off his
creditors : but the cup of hope was once more dashed fix>m

* It may be here proper, once for all, to state a series of accidents, unexampled
perhaps in history, which occurred during the military career of His Royal
Highness.

1. His equipment was lost in Lake Champlaine.

2. His baggage again lost, by the capture of the Antelope packet.
S. Lost, a third time, by the capture of the Tankervillc packet.

4. Lost, a fourth time, by the capture of the Recoveiy transport.
And, 5. Lost once morei first by the temporary capture, and finally by the plua*
der of the Diamond.

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p8 THE DUKE OF KENT.

the lip of His Royal Highness, in consequence of a change .
of administration, subsequently to the happy event of His
.Majesty'iJ recovery.

On being nominated to the government of Gibraltar, the
Duke of Kent applied for equipage mony^ or an outfit.^ as it is
geQerally termed; but he was told, in. reply, that this would
be uimecessary, on account of the ^^ lucrative nature of die
appointments.'' He obtained 2000/., however, from the Trea-
sury, in part payment of his other claims; which, together
with a similar sum teceived in 1807, will not liquidate even
the interest of those debts, incurred by losses in the service of
the public, which His Royai Highness continues to pay to
this day.

On his arrival at th& place of destination, in the spring of
1802, the new Governor fpund the garrison in the precise
state he was taught to expect, from prior communications with
Lord Sidmouth, then at the head of His Majesty's councils ;
which the noble Viscount, will doubtless recollect, if called
upon. Blind to his own immediate interests, and alive only
to asense of duty. His Royal Highness instantly determined to
cut off the root of all military irregularities, which had long
approximated to the very verge of mutiny, by reducing the
number of winc^houses : although the opening, and encourage*
ment of these, had proved a fruitful source of emolument to his
predecessors. Several of the former governors, indeed, re-
ceived during some years, from 10,000/. to 20,000/. in fees;
while, he, by thi$ sacrifice to general order, did not ob-
tain one-sixth part of the sum in question. Relying howr
ever, on the assurances he had received, that no loss should
finally accrue; and gratified at the additional security obr
tained, on the part of the civil inhabitants. His Royal
Highness executed the unpopular, but very necessary task,
imposed upon him, without murmur or complaint ; although^
assuredly, not without manifest loss to his own revenue.

And here it may be necessary to observe, that on the
Duke's return from Gibraltar, the allowance of the officer lefl
in command of the garrison, as an indemnification for the fees



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THE DUKE OF KENT. 69

which were taken from the governor and carried to the credit
of the revenue, was fixed, first at 3000/., and afterwards aug-
mented to 3500/., upon the representation of Sir Thomas
Trigge ; but no consideration has ever been paid to the loss
sustained by His Royal Highness during the year he wa& en<^
trusted with the command of the fortress ; nor has he since
obtained any compensation, although it is a well-known fact^
that the average of the fees, amounted to 7000/. per annum ;
and that during the absence of the governor, a full moiety was
regularly remitted to him, by his representative.

On the return of Mr, Pitt to oflBce, in 1804, the Duke of
Kent seized the earliest opportunity to renew his claims, and
remind that minister of the expectations held out to him three
years before. In consequence of the fresh hopes now obtained'
of speedy adjustment, His Royal Highness, was enabled to pa*
cify his creditors for a time ; but as they became discontented
by such frequent delays, he obtained an interview with the pre-
mier in July, 1805; when that gentleman intimated his inten-
tion of recommending to His Majesty to grant 20,000/. from
the droits of the admiralty to each of his younger sons, which
he hoped, '* would prove a matter of temporary accommoda-
tion to the Duke of Kent." But he, at the same time, posi-
tively declared, " that it was not intended in the least to affect
the consideration of His Royal Highnesses distinct,, and pecu^
liar claims for losses ; or be deemed a compensation for the
injury he had sustained, from the delay of granting his parlia-
mentary establishment" In fine, he stated, " that the grant
from the droits of the Admiralty, would be a spontaneous pre-
sent from, the King to all his younger sons alike."

It is thus evident, that this sum, was never meant as an in-
demnification ; but it may be here necessary to add, that it was
instandy and faithfiilly applied by the Duke to pay off the
debt, originally bonded in 1791.

Nearly at the same time. His Royal Highness entered into
another negociation with the minister, for the purpose of rescu-
ing the five younger sons, from the difficulties incident to an
incompetent income; the result of which has been already

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70 THE DUKE OF KENT.

mentioned in the antecedent statement In consequence of
this, a fresh promise was now made, to take into consideration
all the separate claims of the Duke of Kent, particularly those
arising from the debts incurred between the years 1790 and
1799, when his income proved so inadequate to the necessary
expenditure ; the pressure of which, had been greatly aggra^-
vated by an enormous, and annually increasing interest

The demise of Mr. Pitt, followed by a new and fallacious
settlement, which, instead of meliorating, greatly deteriorated
the condition of all the junior princes, prevented the fulfilinent
of HGs Royal Highness's engagements, which had been entered
into, on the faith of a solenm promise made by a public
minister.

Since that period, the Duke of Kent has in vain appealed to
every branch of government for redress ; but he has never been
so fortunate as to obtain justice in respect to losses, either duly
certified by General Wetherall, then at the head of his house-
hold, or sanctioned by incontestible documents, to the amount
of 108,200/. Inquiry, reference, arbitration, even a patient
hearing, have all been refused.

Reduced to so critical and mortifying a dilemma, the Duke
now determined to make every sacrifice that either honour
or justice could demand. Accordingly, in 1807, he conveyed
one half of his income to trustees, for the express purpose of
liquidating his debts ; at the same time reducing his establish-
ment, and limiting his arrangements, so as to meet the exi-
gency of the case. Twenty-one years was the period assigned
for clearing off all incumbrances ; but, partly owing to the
sudden and unforeseen increase of every article of expense,
and partly from the accruing arrears of interest, together with
the large annual sum paid for an insurance on the life of His
Royal Highness, the capital was found to have been only re-
duced, on one hand, from 112,000/. to 75,000/.; while a fresh
debt, to the amount of 28,000/., had been actually incurred on
the other ; thus leaving a saving of only 9000/.

This fresh debt, arising from the annual excess of 4000/.
of expenditure above the net income, (which, since 1807, has

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THE DUKE OP KENT. 71

been only 1 1»000/., including military and civil allowances, as
governor of Gibraltar,) became pecularly oppressive, as it was
chiefly owing to little tradesmen. In addition to this, the
Treasury minute of 1807, limiting the fixtures and supplies
of furniture from the Lord Chamberlain's office, on the part
of the younger branches of the royal family, residing in any
of the palaces, to fixtures alone, has borne particularly hard
on his Royal Highness, by adding a fresh sum of 6000/. to
his former debt on account of articles supplied by himself at
Kensington palace. This circumstance, too, is further aggra-
vated by the consideration, that the Duke is actually a sufferer
cm tiiis occasion, and to this precise amount, solely by the ne-
glect of the Office of Works, in completing the apartments in
question ; which, but for this, would have been furnished as
usual anterior to the obnoxious mandate just alluded to.

Nor is the situation of the Duke of Kent much meliorated,
however his Royal Highness may be personally gratified, by
the consideration that two of the royal family, in precisely tiie
sa}ne situation with himself, (the Dukes of Clarence and Cum-
berland,) have been so essentially favoured as to have their
respective apartments completely fiimished ; not only posterior
to, but in express contravention of the hostile Treasury mi-
nute already quoted. And thisf too, has occurred under the
direction of that very same Lord Chamberlain's department
which had enforced the prohibition against others, in the most
rigorous manner.

It may be necessary to conclude this long catalogue of dis-
appointments, misfortunes, and mortifications, by adding, tiiat
Mr. R., the solicitor of His Royal Highness, suddenly dis-
appearedj some years since ; by which event a pecuniary de-
filcation, to the amount of 2000/. was sustained on the part
of tiie Duke.

Instead, however, of succumbing under such a cruel series
of losses, vexations, and injuries, which would never have
been endured without an appeal to the nation, and, in all
probability, a redress from the justice of the government,
on the part of any private individual: the Duke of Kent

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752 THE DUKE OF KENT.

has acted in a maimer worthy of himself. His Royal High'"
ness has accordingly made new, rec^t, and important sacri-*
fices, for the satis&ction of his creditors; inccHnpatible
indeed, perhaps, with his exalted rank, but assuredly not un-
worthy of his high sense of honour. His establishment has
once more been subjected to revision and reduction ; and it
is at this moment on a level with that of a private gentleman,
rather than a prince of the blood ; while his diminished house-
hold is regulated with a degree of order, economy^ and preci-
sion, perhaps, unequalled in any other fiunily in the kingdom.

However painful it may be to the feelings of one so nearly
allied to the throne, it will assuredly contribute rather to the
glory than the disgrace of this Prince frankly to confess, that
his wines have been sold, and his plate mortgaged, to supply
the wants of some, and secure the claims of otliers, to whom
he stands indebted. Nor is this ^11, for His Royal Highness,
instead of seeking protection from his privilege as a peer of the
realm, has not only insured his life for their benefit, but actu-
ally assigned the whole of his income to them, with an excapxt.
tion of only 7000/. a year.

And this, perhaps, is the proper place to remark on and
elucidate the sole accusation ever made against the character
of his Royal Highness, either pubUc or private : more es-
pecially as this circumstance has been magnified, distorted,
and perverted, with no common degree of assiduity.

Bred in the old school, and at a time, too, when the new
and perhaps more enlightened ideas concerning military pu-
nishments, had not yet dawned on this age and nation, the
Duke of Kent had been taught early to believe that, in Eng-
land as in Rome of old, the safety of the state absolutely de-
pended on the strictness of the discipline of its armies. Let it
be recollected, too, that at Gibraltar he was expressly enjoined
to repress the military licence of an inebriated garrison ; that
the odious task was 'not sought for, but imposed on him, to
his own manifest disadvantage; and that his conduct on this
occasion at once merited and obtained the thanks of the inha«
bitants.



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THE DUKE OF KENT, 7S

No sooner, however, did a more liberal policy, flash convio
tion on the mind of His Royal Highness, now arrived at a
more mature period of life, than, with a magnanimity to be
fomid only in a great and noble mind, he ingenuously avowed



Online Librarybelles-lettres et arts Académie des sciencesThe Annual biography and obituary .. → online text (page 7 of 43)