HC Deb 03 July 1815 vol 31 cc0-1080
The Chancellor of the Exchequer

moved the second reading of the duke of Cumberland's Establishment Bill.

Mr. Western

said, it was not his intention to detain the House by adverting to those topics which had been brought forward in the previous stages of this Bill, and still less did he intend to advert to those considerations which were of a more personal nature; nor did he mean to avail himself of that opportunity to draw, what he must regard as invidious, a comparison between the Royal Duke who was immediately under the consideration of the House, and another illustrious Personage; but he rose principally to express his surprise that the right hon. gentleman should persist in pressing the measure to a conclusion—[Hear, hear!] The majority on the first night even was extremely small; but when he saw that since that time it had decreased from 17 to 12, and then from 12 to 8, he could not comprehend upon what principle the right hon. gentleman was determined to persevere. He hoped, however, the division of that night would convince him, that the House was composed of better tempered metal, than to permit him to carry forward any further a measure which had been so severely criticised, and so very generally disapproved, in the strongest terms that could well be expressed, seeing that it was a subject which every one considered as of a most delicate nature. No communication had been made to the House by way of asking its approbation. Nothing had appeared that showed the alliance was either honourable or advantageous to the Royal family or to the country; and if the House had any discretion belonging to it, they ought to use that discretion by refusing to grant so much money out of the pockets of their constituents, for the purpose of giving additional splendour to a connexion which, according to all accounts, was far from being desirable. For these reasons he should move as an amendment to the motion, that instead of "now," "the Bill be read a second time this day six months."

Sir H. Montgomery

said, that when the present Bill was first brought into the House, he voted for it because he thought the proposed sum was no more than what was necessary; but from what he had heard since, he almost fancied he had done something very wrong. In all the inquiries, however, which he had made upon the subject, he found nothing but loose assertions; no person knew or could state any crime of which his Royal Highness had been guilty. In the present case he really saw nothing which would warrant the House in putting such a stigma upon his Royal Highness as would be conveyed by refusing the grant. As to the assent of Her Majesty, with respect to the marriage, he thought it was of very little consequence to that House. As one of the King's sons, he thought the duke of of Cumberland ought to have a provision made for him, on his marriage; and he was of opinion that those in particular who had so lately voted one million and upwards for paying the debts of the Empress Catharine, would with an ill grace refuse to sanction the grant of so small a sum to support the rank and dignity of one of the sons of the Sovereign. He should therefore vote in favour of the motion.

Mr. W. Dundas

observed, in reply to what had fallen from an hon. gentleman, that if the proposition were to be withdrawn because of the small majorities which had been obtained, it would be declaring that the minority was to dictate in that House, and that the majority did not speak the sense of Parliament. It should be remembered, however, that very important questions had been determined by very slender majorities. As to the point, whether the alliance was one that would be advantageous to this country, he apprehended that was not a necessary con- sideration for that House to enter into; they were not to weigh such alliances merely by the advantages which they produced. He believed, indeed, that when our illustrious Sovereign married, no peculiar political benefits were to be derived from that event. The duke of Cumberland had married with the consent of the Crown, and so far it was a legal marriage; and surely that House would not suffer that the wife of one of the Royal family should be in a state of destitution, supposing her to survive her husband. On that ground he should certainly support the motion.

Mr. Wilberforce

confessed that the view in which he considered the present question, had a reference to the public morals of the country. The question which had been put by a right hon. gentleman (Mr. Tierney) remained unanswered, and they must therefore believe, that the connexion was one which a certain great Personage had refused to sanction with her approbation. He could not think that a slight or an unimportant circumstance—[Hear, hear!] He must say, also, that the various rumours which were afloat, respecting the person with whom that connexion was formed, constituted a strong corroboration of the report that that person would not be received by the Queen. He conceived that Parliament was called upon to exercise a sound discretion upon the subject before them, and if in expressing its opinion any pain was inflicted, the blame was attributable to those only who had brought the measure forward—[Hear, hear!] He certainly saw no necessity for the grant upon the grounds which some hon. gentlemen had stated; for he was quite persuaded, that if the lady should ever be in a state of widowhood, that House would always be disposed to grant such an allowance as would enable her to live suitably to her rank and dignity. He trusted, therefore, that the House would not be betrayed into a sanction and approbation of that marriage under the plea of providing against a contingency which might never happen. He must say, that out of regard to public morals, they ought to withhold that sanction if the connexion was such as the Queen had refused to approve, which refusal they were justified in inferring.

Mr. W. Bathurst

said, if the question about the approbation of a certain individual of the Royal family with respect to the marriage had been answered, be did not know what question might not be asked next. The question was reduced to a very narrow compass, namely, whether all the members of the Royal family should be allowed an adequate provision. The Legislature had thought it proper to allow each of them 18,000l. a year while married. How, then, when the duke of Cumberland was married, could the House refuse to give him an increased allowance? He was actuated by no party feeling in the vote he should give, though it might be thought otherwise; but he could not think he should discharge his duty if he did not vote for the Bill.

Mr. Whitshed Keene

repeated his arguments against the grant, as being an unnecessary incumbrance on the public.

Mr. Protheroe

feared that an hon. gentleman, who had deprecated all invidious comparisons between the branches of the Royal family, alluded to some observations which had, on a former discussion, been uttered by him. If so, he begged leave to state, that he had not indulged in any invidious comparisons. He had praised a Royal Duke, but with no intention of drawing a contrast. All he said was, that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer found an overflow in the Exchequer, there were debts of gratitude which ought to be satisfied. With respect to the present question, he did not think it necessary that those who opposed the Bill should bring proofs against the character of the Royal Duke. It was competent for the House to exercise their discretion without such a formality. To consent to the Bill would be to sacrifice the moral character of the House, which was of such high estimation that no price could bean equivalent for its loss.

Mr. Preston

said a few words, which we could not understand, from the loud cries of "Question," which continued during the whole time that the hon. member was speaking.

Mr. Bathurst

replied, from which it appeared that the observations of the preceding speaker had some reference to the children of the duchess of Cumberland by her former husband, and the provision for them by the king of Prussia.

Mr. Ellison

said, that nothing should induce him to go out of the House without giving publicly a decided opposition to this measure, because he honoured the people, and he honoured also that House; and the surest way to make the people also honour that House would be to reject this Bill, and every measure of a similar tendency. He was one of those members who generally supported ministers, and would continue to do so on every proper occasion; but if the House passed such a Bill as this, it would heap odium on its head, and he should even be ashamed to content himself with giving a silent vote against it. The House would suffer deservedly in the opinion of the country, should they grant this unnecessary addition to an allowance already sufficient. He was sure that it would do more harm than any thing of the like nature ever did.

Mr. Holme Sumner

said, he had come up from the country on purpose to give his public disapprobation of this measure. He thought with the hon. gentleman who was lately the member for Yorkshire (Mr. Wilberforce), that the House had been placed in a very disagreeable predicament. It had been said by one hon. member, that the marriage had received the approbation of the Prince Regent; but no notification of that fact had been, given to the House; and in his opinion, ministers had much to answer for, in consequence of placing the House in such a situation. He thought the question which had been put by a right hon. gentleman respecting the Queen's disapprobation, and her having declared that she would not receive the lady at Court, was a very proper one, though it had been found fault with by a noble lord and others. Ministers ought to have come to that House for a vote of approbation; and in asking for this grant, when they thought they could not obtain the other, they had done wrong. He was convinced, with an hon. member opposite, that if the lady should happen to be left a widow, there could be no doubt of the House exercising its wonted generosity; but in its present form, he could by no means give his assent to the Bill, and should, therefore, support the Amendment.

Sir T. Acland

said, he would not oppose the proposed grant as excessive, because if it was at all proper, he thought it very moderate: nor would he oppose it on account of any insinuation against the character of his Royal Highness. But he would oppose it because of the connexion that his Royal Highness had made. That connexion was not only no advantage to the country; it was worse, it was contrary to the honour of the country. There were rumours afloat, that if true, rendered it highly discreditable; if they were not true, they ought to be disproved. These rumours were confirmed by the circumstance, that the object of them would not be received in a quarter where natural affection would make every allowance, every palliation that could be supposed at all admissible. But would any one venture to deny these rumours? If not, then there surely were parliamentary grounds for hot granting any additional allowance in consequence of such an obnoxious connexion. It had been said, that as the marriage had taken place, there was now nothing to be done, but to grant the allowance. True, the marriage had been solemnized, and they were not seeking to dissolve it. But when the representatives of a free people were asked to tax themselves for the connexion, it ought at least to be shown that it was not a dishonourable one. The House was not consulted on the marriage, and therefore they could not have given their consent to it; but if they were now to make this grant, they would more than consent to it—they would approve of it—[Hear, hear!] He thought that even out of respect to the Royal family itself, they should not agree to the measure; for they should not load that family with the odium of seeming to have approved of such a connexion.

Mr. Forbes

reprobated the argument against the Bill, derived from the rumours in circulation, and expressed his astonishment that the hon. baronet should maintain that those rumours ought to be believed until they were disproved. For himself, he had made it a rule through life, never to give credit to any report that he heard. There was only one person in the universe against whom he was ready to join in the general hue and cry. On the present occasion he should most conscientiously stand up in defence of the illustrious person who had been so grossly attacked, and vote for the Bill.

Sir Gerard Noel

was very sorry that such a line of proceeding as had been adopted on this occasion had been pursued. He had no motive whatsoever other than what he conceived his duty in giving his vote for the measure. Instead of 6000l. a year, he could wish that the grant was 10,000l. He thought, that mere policy would direct the grant, and that we should encourage the illustrious pair to remain in the country, rather than by an unbecoming rudeness make them leave it. By giving this 6000l. a year, we might retain the other 18,000l. a year in the country; but by refusing the lesser sum, we should certainly lose the larger. He therefore gave his most cordial support to the Bill.

The House then divided, amidst loud cries of "Question," when the numbers were,

For the Amendment 126
Against it 125
Majority for the Amendment 1

The Bill was consequently lost.

List of the Majority.
Abercrombie, hon. J. Giddy, D.
Acland, sir T. Gascoyne, gen.
Archdale, M. Hughes, W. L.
Atkins, John Howorth, H.
Bankes, H. Hurst, R.
Barham, J. B. Hamilton, lord A.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Hanbury, W.
Barnard, viscount Halsey, J.
Burrell, hon. P. D. Keene, W.
Burrell, sir C. Latouche, Robt.
Burrell, Walter Lyttleton, hon. W.
Baring A. Lemon, sir W.
Butterworth, Jos. Lewis, Frankland
Baillie, James Lloyd, sir Edw.
Barclay, Charles Lefevre, Shaw
Byng, George Langton, Gore
Calley, Thos. Markham, admiral
Calvert, C. Manning, Wm.
Calvert, N. Molyneux, T. H.
Campbell, lord J. Morland, Scrope Ber.
Campbell, hon. J. Mostyn, sir Thos.
Campbell, D. Maddocks, W. A.
Cavendish, lord G. Martin, H.
Cavendish, hon. H. Martin, J.
Cavendish, hon. C. Mackintosh, sir J.
Courtenay, W. Moore, P.
Cochrane, lord Mills, Charles
Cocks, J. Macdonald, J.
Davenport, D. Maitland, E. F.
Duncannon, viscount Napier, James
Dundas, hon. L. Neville, hon. R.
Dowdswell, J. E. Nugent, lord
Davis, H. North, D.
Davis, R. H. Ossulston, lord
Ellison, C. Osborne, lord F.
Ellison, R. Onslow, Arthur
Egerton, W. Preston, Richard
Farquhar, J. Parnell, sir H.
Frankland, R. Proby, lord
Fawcett, H. Protheroe, E.
Finlay, K. Plumer, W.
Fazakerley, N. Peirse, Henry
Ferguson, sir R. Piggott, sir A.
Fitzroy, lord J. Pelham, C.
Fitzgerald, hon. M. Pocock, George
Freemantle, W. Perring, sir S.
Foulks, sir M. Rashleigh, W.
Fane, J. Robinson, A.
Gordon, R. Romilly, sir S.
Grenfell, P. Russell, lord J.
Guise, sir W. Russell, R. G.
Gypps, G. Staniforth, John
Sumner, H. Tierney, rt. hon. G.
Seudamore, R. Tavistock, marquis
Shakespear, A. Wilbraham, E. B.
Sebright, sir John Wynn, sir W. W.
Shaw, B. Wynn, C.
Shelley, sir T. Wilberforce, W.
Smyth, John H. Whitbread, Samuel
Smith, John Wright, A.
Smithy R. TELLERS.
Smith, Abel Paul C. Methuen
Smith, George C. C. Western.
Smith, Wm. PAIRED OFF.
Simpson, George Atherley, A.
Taylor, C. W. Brand, hon. T.
Tremayne, J. H. Ramsden, John C.
List of the Minority.
Alexander, Jas. Holmes, N.
Addington, rt. hon. H. Hammersley, H.
Bagwell, rt. hon. W. Hart, gen.
Bathurst, rt. hon. B. Herbert, C.
Bathurst, hon. W. Hill, sir G.
Bective, lord Holford, G. P.
Benson, R. Hume, sir A.
Beresford, lord G. Huskisson, rt. hon. W.
Beresford, sir J. Jackson, S.
Best, W. D. Idle, C.
Blake, Val. Jekyll, Jos.
Bloomfield, gen. Jocelyn, lord
Bradshaw, hon. C. Kirkwall, lord
Brogden, James Loftus, gen.
Brown, Ant. Long, rt. hon. C.
Brydges, sir E Lopez, sir M.
Buller, sir E. Louvaine, lord
Binning, lord Lowther, viscount
Bourne, Sturges Lowther, hon. H.
Calvert, John Lygon, hon. W.
Cotter, J. L. Mahon, hon. S.
Canning, George Manners, lord C.
Carew, R. Pole Magennis, R.
Chichester, Arthur Marsh, C.
Clements, Henry Mellish, W.
Congreve, sir W. Montgomery, sir H.
Courtenay, sir T. Moore, lord H.
Cranbourn, lord Moorsom, admiral
Croker, J. W. Morgan, sir C.
Daly, James Murray, sir J.
Dawkins, James Noel, sir G. N.
Desborough, E. Northey, William
Doveton, G. Osborn, J.
Douglas, hon. F. S. Pole, rt. hon. W. W.
Dundas, rt. hon. W. Pakenham, hon. H.
Estcourt, T. S. Palmerston, lord
Faulkener, sir F. Peel, rt. hon. R.
Featherstone, sir T. Phipps, general
Forbes, Charles Palmer, —
Foulkes, E. Raine, Jonathan
Frank, F. Robinson, rt. hon. F.
Frazer, — Rose, rt. hon. G.
Fitzgerald, rt. hon. W. V. St. Paul, H.
Scott, sir W.
Gower, lord Seymour, lord R.
Gower, lord G. L. Shepherd, sir J.
Garrow, sir W. Shiffner, G.
Goulburn, H. Sullivan, rt. hon. J.
Grant, A. C. Singleton, Mark
Grant, Charles Smith, C.
Somerville, sir M. Wallace, rt. hon. T.
Spencer, lord. F. A. Ward, R.
Stewart, — Warrender, sir G.
Stewart, Alex. Wellesley, R.
Stopford, hon. E. Wemyss, gen.
Stirling, sir W. Wetherall, C.
Sutton, rt. hon. C. M. Wilder, general
Teed, John Wharton, R.
Thompson, sir T. Webster, sir G.
Taylor, John Wilson, C.
Thornton, general Yorke, sir J.
Thornton Samuel
Thynne, lord J. TELLERS.
Vansittart, rt. hon. N. Arbuthnot, rt. hon.
Ure, M. Lushington, W. S.
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