HC Deb 04 February 1819 vol 39 cc296-322

On the motion of lord Castlereagh, the following passage in the Lords Commissioners Speech at the opening of the session was read: viz. "In announcing to you the se- vere calamity with which it has pleased Divine Providence to visit the Prince Regent, the royal family, and the nation, by the death of her majesty the queen of the united kingdom, his Royal Highness has commanded us to direct your attention to the consideration of such measures as this melancholy event has rendered necessary and expedient with respect to the care of his majesty's sacred person."

Lord Castlereagh

then rose. He said, that the House having already expressed their deep and heartfelt condolence, in common with the nation, on the death of her late majesty, they had now to perform another part of their duty, by taking into consideration the measures which grew out of that event. As he had been absent on that former occasion, he should now take the opportunity of briefly expressing his sense of the services which her late majesty had rendered to the nation by the bright example which she had set during the fifty-seven years that she had shared the throne with her illustrious consort, of which the morals of the country would long feel the benefit. Her unaffected piety and purity of morals, and, above all, her unostentatious charity would long continue to operate on the habits of the community. It remained for him to state the measures which were rendered necessary by her majesty's demise. Those measures might be brought under two heads—I, The measures which were necessary to provide for the care of his majesty's person; and, 2. The disposition of the funds connected with the Windsor establishment, and the establishment of her late majesty. As to the first head, a bill had been brought down from the other House, and was now on the table for the 2nd reading, the effect of which was to appoint the duke of York custos of the king's person, in the room of her late majesty. As there was not a second opinion in the House and the country as to that appointment, he should not say any thing on that branch of the arrangement; for, so long as the principle was acknowledged, which he conceived to be founded in sound policy, that the executive government, and the care of the person of the monarch, should not be vested in the same person, there could be no other member of the royal family more fit for the latter duty than his royal highness the duke of York, or more likely to have been chosen by his majesty himself, were he in a situation to make a choice. He should now advert to the other part of the question; which naturally required more investigation on the part of the house, and which it would be necessary for him to be fuller in opening. He thought it his duty to apprize the House what course he should pursue, both with respect to the particular income of the queen, which formed the subject of the message which had been laid before them from the Prince Regent; and, secondly, with respect to those funds of 100,000l. a year, which had been appropriated to the Windsor establishment. His intention was, to propose to refer the whole subject eventually to a committee of the whole house, but as there were considerations of detail, which could not conveniently be discussed in a committee of the whole house, he should that night propose to nominate a select committee, to which the estimates might be referred; and on those estimates, the committee might report to the House; and a committee of the whole House might then take that report into consideration. It was therefore not his intention that night to take a vote in the merits of the question, but to delay doing so until the House had the report of the committee before them. He should now state what the nature of those proposals was, which it would be his duty ultimately to submit to the House. It was not his intention to apply for any new grant of money. On the contrary, he should have to perform the more gratifying duty of applying to parliament to empower the executive government to divest itself of funds which, were at present entrusted to its own disposal, and to render them available for the general purposes of the state. The first object was, to enable the crown to reduce the establishment at Windsor, in which it was provided that no reduction should be made without the sanction of parliament. The next was, to enable the crown to divest itself of a considerable fund placed at its disposal, as a part of the civil list, in order that that fund might be carried into the mass of the consolidated fund, or the general fund for the services of the country. As the law at present stood, it was provided that whatever saving took place in any branch of the civil list expenditure (except the third, which consisted of the payments made to foreign ministers) should be carried over to any other class of services in the civil list, under the warrant of the treasury. Thus if the. Windsor establish- ment were reduced, but for the interference of parliament, the savings under that head might be carried to the lord chamberlain's, the lord steward's, or any other branch of the royal expenditure. The same might be said of the 58,000l. per annum which her majesty enjoyed. But under the message from his royal highness the Prince Regent, the whole of the 58,000l. as well as whatever saving could be effected out of the 100,000l would be applicable to any other purpose. He hoped the House would receive this proceeding on the part of his Royal Highness as an earnest of his desire to cooperate with them in the reduction of expenditure. He trusted therefore that no gentlemen would seek for subjects of difference, if they saw, as he was persuaded they would, no unwillingness to make all necessary reductions, and that what had been taken away, and what had been suffered to remain, had not been regulated by favour or affection; but that the proceeding was founded on precedents, and on nothing else but a desire to perform a public duty. The sums which parliament had now to dispose of were 100,000l. which had been appropriated to the Windsor establishment; 58,000l. out of the civil list which had been appropriated to the maintenance of the queen; and 10,000l. which had been granted to her majesty to defray the additional expense to which she had been subjected in the discharge of her duty as custos of the king's person. This last sum he felt it his duty to propose should be continued to his royal highness the duke of York, as custos, and he was persuaded this arrangement could not be objected to with reference, either to the office or to the individual. His Royal Highness would be intrusted with considerable powers, and in order to ascertain that those under him fully discharged their duties, his presence at a distance from his residence would often be necessary. In short every reason that had induced parliament to grant that sum to the queen operated to warrant them in giving it also to the duke of York. Out of the remaining 158,000l. the house would wish to know what would be the saving. It was proposed that 50,000l. should be appropriated to the support of the Windsor establishment. The saving, therefore, would be 50,000l. on the Windsor establishment, and 58,000l, on the queen's establishment, but this last sum would be burthened with the salaries to the servants of her late majesty. These salaries were about 25,000l. so that the immediate saving on the two establishments was 83,000l.; the salaries were to be continued to the servants during their life; many of them were very old servants. When these annuities fell in, the ultimate saving would be 108,000l. After the best consideration which the Prince Regent's ministers had been able to give to the subject, they did not think they should do their duty if they left a less sum for the Windsor establishment than 50,000l, a year. On this point, the most anxious, and industrious inquiries had been made by ministers, who had principally derived the information, on which they formed their judgment, from the secretary to the groom of the stole and master of the household, colonel Stephenson, to whose attention to economy, the gentlemen opposite him would do justice. It might be now asked, perhaps, if there could be a reduction made in the establishment at Windsor, why had it not been made earlier? This reduction had, indeed, been alluded to, but had never been substantially submitted to the house by any of the gentlemen who had mentioned the subject: and he was therefore warranted in saying, that they themselves must, on reconsidering the question, have felt the difficulties with which the proposal would have abounded. In fact the only question which could have been agitated as a question of economy, was, whether any reduction of the state servants of his majesty could take place: and their salaries in all, only amounted to about 6,000l. a year. It was manifest that during her majesty's life, no substantial saving could take place, for if any arrangement had been made to deprive her majesty of her state as queen consort, to reduce her to the state of queen dowager, parliament was bound to give her the sum of 100,000l. a year (to which she was legally entitled under her marriage settlement) instead of the 58,000l. which she then enjoyed. He felt that some explanation was due to the house and to the country, why he was prepared now to recommend a reduction which he should have opposed at any earlier period; why the Windsor establishment should now be placed upon a narrower basis than at the time when the regency was first under consideration, and when expectations, or perhaps, to speak more properly, hopes were indulged that his majesty, by the restoration of his health, would be enabled, at no very distant period, to resume the reins of government. He was quite ready to allow that the probability was even then strongly against such a happy event; but the passage of a series of years, during which no alleviation had been felt, if it did not warrant despair, at least justified the House in pursuing a different course. At the former period, the object had been to take care, that should his majesty fortunately awake from his affliction, he might find himself surrounded by those individuals, and by that state to which he had previously been accustomed. Of course those considerations now lost much of their weight, although it had been seen that during the life of her majesty, gentlemen on the other side could not do their sense of propriety so much violence, as not to allow a consideration for her majesty's feelings to have its due influence on their conduct. The whole subject was, however, now open to the revision of parliament, whose duty it became to draw the line between what was due to public economy, and that sacred veneration which the inhabitants of the empire could never cease to feel for the person, character, and government of their sovereign, for whom their love and gratitude for so many benefits derived from him could never be extinguished. In fixing the limits of the establishment at Windsor, the ministers had been guided by the difference that had been usually made by his majesty himself, between his residence at Windsor and his residence in town. There were a certain number of officers, who were in the habit of going to Windsor, and others whom the king was not in the habit of sending for to that residence. The offices which had been ordered to be kept up about the person of the king, were, by the law of 1812, established so peremptorily, that the queen, as custos, had no alternative. It was mandatory on her to keep them up. The question however now offered itself in a different point of view; and it was therefore proposed to reduce the offices of the vice chamberlain, the master of the robes, the four lords of the bed-chamber, and the four grooms of the bed-chamber. The salaries of these officers amounted to 5,993l. a year. The lords of the bed-chamber were not in the habit of going to Windsor, and they received, without disappointment, the notification that their offices would cease; but while they expressed their readiness to relinquish the emoluments of their offices, they also signified a wish still to retain the honorary appellation as a mark of the favour with which their sovereign had honoured them, and of their own affection. He did not apprehend that it would be disputed that it was fit that there should be an individual of high rank and responsibility at Windsor to act under the directions of the duke of York as custos; he therefore had to propose the continuance of the groom of the stole, who had so long administered the household during the life of the queen; the situation of colonel Stevenson ought also to be kept up; and the six equerries, the oldest servants of his majesty, and who had always been required at Windsor, ought also to be preserved round the person of their sovereign. It now only remained for him to call their attention to the distribution of the 50,000l. which was to be the charge of the establishment at Windsor. The salaries of the servants would amount to 17 or 18,000l., and out of the remainder the other expenses attendant on his majesty's present condition would be defrayed. He should not now attempt to give the details, which would be referred to the committee which he had mentioned. With respect to the 58,000l., the yearly sum which had supported the establishment of the queen, his royal highness the Prince Re-gent might have taken it to himself, defraying the salaries of the retired servants, and applying the saving to any other department of the civil list, but the feelings of his Royal Highness had prompted him rather to submit the whole to the disposal of parliament. In the proposal which he should hereafter have to offer as to the retired allowance of the queen's servants, attention had been paid to the precedent on the demise of queen Caroline. The precedent had been to allow the servants of the queen their full salaries during their lives. Though this might seem extravagant, it was to be recollected that the salaries formed but a limited part of the advantages derived from those offices. He should not enter into details, but as far as his inquiries had gone, he was inclined to believe, that of the emoluments of their situation, the salaries on the average did not exceed one-half. If this were taken into account, it would not be thought that in proposing to grant them all their salaries, he was at variance with those principles of economy which had been sanctioned by parliament in regard to the retired allowances of other civil officers. There was a material distinction in the precedents between providing for the servants of a queen consort and of a king, on the demise of either: in the former case, the salaries of the various domestics had been uniformly continued for their lives, but in the latter case, no such indemnity had been allowed, nor was it thought necessary, because it was presumed that the larger number of the servants of the late king would be continued by the present. On this account his lordship did not feel authorized to propose any remuneration to such of the king's domestics whose aid was not now required, fearing that it might be drawn into an injurious precedent; but this distinction was to be taken, that the Regent was not now acting as the successor to the throne, but administering the functions of royalty, in consequence of the indisposition of his majesty; and that although his Royal Highness had taken several of the king's servants into his employment, some remained unemployed, for whom it was proposed to make provision without trenching upon the precedent already alluded to, and that was by acting upon the principle of the legislature in 1812, namely, by enabling the custos personæ to grant such provision to superannuated servants, or to the widows or families of those deceased, as his majesty in his benevolence and bounty would have been likely to allow had he been competent to act. Such a provision could not, he thought, be consistently objected to, for it would be recollected, that the legislature in 1812 recognized the principle that the privy purse was the private property of the sovereign, with the disposition of which parliament had no right to interfere. Of that property, indeed, if any surplus remained, the king had as much right to dispose of by will, or otherwise, as any private individual had as to his personal property. Therefore it was held, that as any part of the king's privy purse might be transferred to trustees, or disposed of in any manner in which his majesty might think proper, it belonged then to the house to consider, whether, in the same spirit of legislation which governed the parliament of 1812, it would enable the custos to do that which of right, according to that spirit, belonged to the king himself. The whole of the pro- vision, for these servants would not, he could say, exceed 8, or 10,000l.; for such a sum he was confident that no one would be disposed to oppose the wishes of the king, and nothing, he was persuaded, would be more grateful to his majesty's feelings, than that his old faithful servants should, with their families, be guarded against the visitation of want.

Further explanations at present he held needless, especially as he should wish to interpose a committee before he called upon the house to decide; before that committee all the details might be minutely examined. Parliament was not called upon to make any grant, but to sanction a reduction. The question was extremely complicated—it was surrounded by difficulties and delicacies, and ministers had thought it much more decorous not to act upon their own discretion, but to call in a committee of the House to their assistance; the object was, to make a fair composition between economy and what was due to the dignity of the sovereign, even under the calamity by which he had been so long visited. He submitted the outline of the arrangement with the utmost confidence on the liberality and justice of the house. His lordship afterwards recapitulated the various points upon which he had touched—the propriety of allowing 50,000l. for the Windsor establishment—the right of her majesty to dower had she not been looked upon in the light of queen consort—the considerations that in 1812 had led the House to keep up all the offices of state in London and at Windsor—the propriety of abolishing the former, and of preserving the latter, and of reducing the number of menial servants—the justice of granting annuities to the servants of her late majesty—the fitness of taking into view the long services of the discharged domestics at Windsor—and the necessity of submitting the whole to a select committee, and concluded by expressing his confidence that the House would not object to the proposition which he had to submit to them, namely, the appointment of a select committee, to examine the details on the subject. It was probable that the report of that committee would be brought up in a few days, and he therefore gave notice, that on Thursday, he would move to submit that report to the consideration of a committee of the whole House. After the appointment of the select committee, it was his intention to move that the various estimates respecting the necessary expenses of the Windsor establishment be referred to their consideration. His lordship then read the names of the hon. members of whom he proposed that the committee should be constituted; viz. lord Castlereagh, Mr. Tierney, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Brougham, Mr. Bankes, lord G. Cavendish, Mr. Holford, lord Morpeth, Mr. Chaplin, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Blackburne, Mr. Williams Wynn, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Stuart Wortley, Mr. Long, Mr. Wilberforce, Sir A. Piggott, Mr. Littleton, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, Admiral Sotheron and Mr. Solicitor General.

Mr. Long Wellesley

fully agreed with the noble lord, that in the reductions which it might be necessary to make in the instance of the Windsor establishment, a principle should be observed different from those which should guide reductions on ordinary occasions. He freely admitted, that all the reductions on that establishment should be made on the most liberal principles. Not following the example which might be set in the case of any other individual, if he might use the expression, he conceived that no wish for reduction and retrenchment should operate so far as to deprive the august person of majesty of any thing which could in any degree contribute to his comfort and convenience in every respect. No disposition to economy should divest him of that state and splendor, however great might be his bodily afflictions, and however much these might render inert the capacity of enjoying them. It was necessary for the honour of the country, for the great respect due to royalty, that under every circumstance, a degree of splendor should surround the royal person; and therefore he fully agreed with the noble lord, that the reduction in the present instance should be more limited, than in other cases the state of the country required. But to express this concurrence with the noble lord was not the only purpose for which he rose: he had more than one object in addressing the house; he wished to ask the noble lord one or two questions. The noble lord had said, that the same salary which had been given to the queen, should now be given to the duke of York, for the care of the royal person. He did not conceive why this should be the case. If he remembered rightly, when this question was brought forward in 1812, the chancellor of the exchequer of that day stated, that the sum of 10,000l. was given to her majesty, because there was a probability that she would have to enter into several expenses beyond those which would attach to her as custos personœ, that her majesty was not likely to lead the same recluse life upon such an appointment as she had previously done, and that upon departing from her usual habit she must necessarily" incur some additional expense. But now, without the assignment of any similar cause, it was stated that the same sum was to be given to his royal highness the duke of York. He was not then going to examine whether that sum was too much or too little; whether it should be 10,000l. or 12,000l.; he would not go into the question of pounds, shillings, and pence; but he wished to know, and he thought the country should know why different reasons should be assigned in 1812 and 1819 for the same act. If the sum was to be given to the royal duke as custos personœ, let it be so stated; but let it not be understood as given for any other purpose. He wished also to know, from the noble lord, whether if this situation were to be given to his royal highness the duke of York, it was intended to continue him in the high situation which he at present held as commander-in-chief. He was aware of the delicacy of this question? He was as ready as any man to admit the services which the duke of York had rendered to the army, and the honour which he had so justly derived from his conduct in the high station which he had so long occupied, but he confessed he did not think he would be performing the duty he owed as a member of that house, if he did not state, that in the present situation of the country, the time had arisen when a constitutional jealousy ought to be exercised, with respect to the powers which might become vested in the individual who held the chief command of the army; and though he did not want the fullest confidence in his royal highness, yet he was jealous of that principle which confided at once two such important trusts to the hands of any one individual as custos of the king's person and commander-in-chief of the army. He had risen to be informed upon those points, which he conceived to be important, and did not wish to trouble the house further; but there was one other part of the noble lord's speech upon which he wished to say a few words. It was, the proposed re- duction of the Windsor establishment, and the saving by it of 83,000l. When it was considered that 50,000l. was the sum for the Windsor establishment, he thought the sum limited enough, and such as he was sure would be satisfactory to the country. If it was the commencement of a system of reduction on the part of the government, he should hail it with joy, and he was satisfied it would be received with real pleasuse by the country; but if it was intended that the principle of economy should be confined to the Windsor establishment alone, if no other reductions of our expenditure were to be made, then he should say that this much of economy would not, and ought not, to satisfy the country; and as far as one individual could go would not satisfy him. Perhaps he was out of order in thus digressing from the immediate question before the house, but he could not refrain from expressing his opinion of the urgent necessity of general economy in every branch, as well as that in which it was now proposed. An hon. gentleman, on the other side had stated a few evenings back, that he had brought with him to the House a stock of common sense and common honesty. He did not dispute the possession of either of those qualifications in that hon. member; and for himself, he should say, that he would not compete with that hon. gentleman in common sense, and he had no peculiar pretensions to common honesty. He did not, indeed, pretend to any material distinction above the mass of mankind, either in intellect or principle, but he would undertake to say, that the hon. gentleman alluded to, for whom he had great personal respect, or any other gentleman, was mistaken if he supposed that integrity was to be found only in a particular part of the House. For himself he would say, that without assuming any superiority of intellect, or any peculiar purity of principle, he was as ready as any man to support every advisable measure of public economy.

Lord Castlereagh, in explanation, said, that if in mentioning the reduction which was proposed in one branch, the hon. member was satisfied that there was economy, he did not think he ought to call-for all that ministers intended to do in following up that principle, nor did he think ministers were bound to make such explanation, when the subject before the House was only connected with one particular branch. As to the 10,000l., it had not been given to the queen, because her habits of life had been altered by becoming custos personœ, but for the general purpose of covering those extra expenses which she had to incur in that character. The same principle had been followed up in the intention of bestowing the like sum of 10,000l. to his royal highness the duke of York. With regard to the other observation respecting the royal duke holding two such important trusts, he was surprised that the hon. gentleman could require or expect an answer. He was not aware of any thing which should prevent his royal highness, as commander in chief of the army, from accepting the care of his royal father's person; and he was certain that he could not convey more melancholy tidings to the House and the country than that it should be necessary, from any cause, to remove his royal highness from the command of the army. To the vigilant superintendence of his royal highness both of the general discipline of the British army and of the personal comfort of every man composing it, that army was in a great measure indebted for its eminent character not only in the eyes of this country, but in those of all Europe.

Mr. L. Wellesley

disclaimed the slightest intention of expressing any disrespect for his royal highness the duke of York, for whom he felt the utmost deference, knowing his royal highness, as he did, to pre-sent a signal example of eminent virtue in a great prince.

Mr. Tierney

was glad that this question was brought before the House in so satisfactory a manner—satisfactory, because it did not call for immediate decision, and because its final issue would be the result of the most diligent and minute deliberation. In the observations he had to make, it was not his intention to follow the noble lord in the view which he took of the subject before the House. The noble lord seemed to think the proposed reduction, as it was termed, to be a voluntary offer of economy on the part of the government. He (Mr. Tierney), on the contrary, viewed it as a necessary consequence of circumstances which had lately occurred. He took it in this way—By the death of her majesty a great part of the Windsor establishment was done away with, and the House were called upon to see at what expense the subsequent arrangements in that department could be made, for the money so spared to the country was the property of the public, and it was the province of the House, and of that alone, to decide how it was to be disposed of. This sum was not, as seemed to be considered, a windfall, a part of which might be given or retained, at the pleasure of the government. The House on looking at it should consider that it was a sum which had necessarily fallen back to them—the cause for which it had been granted having ceased to exist. In considering it, therefore, he should first look to the measure of economy, and inquire about the expense after. In discussing this question he was anxious to treat it with all that gravity and decorum which its nature and importance demanded, and would therefore look back as little as possible to circumstances which, if adverted to, he could not commend. But there was one subject of past transactions which he could not possibly omit to notice: he could not shut out from his recollection the appointment of 4 lords and 4 grooms of the bed-chamber, by the very individuals who now came forward to say they were a useless burthen upon the public. Here, according to ministers own showing—for he would not imply it from any construction which others might put upon their conduct—they had continued a burthen upon the country for seven years, which they now declared to have been unnecessary from the first. If it were necessary, at the former period to have those attendants upon the person of the king, why give them up at present, for the same cause still existed for them? His majesty was unfortunately in the same situation now as at that period. But if not necessary, why continue them for seven years? Here, according to the present avowal of ministers, there was a sum of 42,000l. lost; and if ever there was any one sum in this era of useless expenditure which might be said to be thrown away, it was the sum which he had just now mentioned. He remembered very well, and he trusted the House recollected it also, that when the continuance of those lords and grooms was proposed in 1812, he opposed them. He stated the expense as too great; but great or small, he contended that it was unnecessary. At that time it was objected to him, that his opposition was invidious, that the attendance of these lords and grooms of the chamber was necessary to support that splendor which should attend the royal person, and that a saving by dispensing with them would be an insult to the sa- cred person of the king in his then affliction: but now how did the case stand? After all the obloquy which had been heaped upon him for his objections—and that he had met no small share of it, no man could deny—after all that had been said about his motives in that opposition, it at length turned out that he was right, and his majesty's ministers wrong. It turned out that these lords and grooms were unnecessary—that the expense attending them was useless—and his majesty's ministers themselves were the very individuals who came forward to avow it. It was said that those lords and grooms had been long and faithful servants of his majesty, and they ought not to be separated from him. Why, his majesty unfortunately could not any longer derive any pleasure or comfort in any one way from their attendance. And yet they were continued and paid, when he could neither see, nor hear, nor enter into conversation with them. But for their future attendance it was said they were not to have any pay. They were capable of serving as effectually now as then; and how was it that they should have been paid in 1812, and ever since, when it ought to be presumed they had the same anxiety to serve their royal master without remuneration? When, in 1812, an establishment was proposed for the Prince Regent, a number of lords and grooms of the bed-chamber were of course to be provided, and it was suggested that the four lords and grooms who attended the king might also in turn attend the prince. This was objected to. It was said that they were old and faithful servants of the king, and that they ought not to be separated from his majesty. They were therefore—these four lords and grooms—sent down to Windsor, where they were not wanted, in order to attend once a week, or once a month, for an hour of a Sunday, and exhibit a bulletin. But what was the fact? These old and faithful servants, and faithful servants he would admit them to be, were sent there to make room for new ones; to give room for fresh patronage in the formation of the new establishment for the prince. So then, after all the flourish about old servants, and of what his majesty would wish to have done, had he been capable of judging; of his wish to keep those still near him who had long been so, it turned out, that the only object in continuing them at that time was, to make an opening for new friends; and even that now they were about to be deprived of the emolument which they had so long enjoyed, not one of them was chosen to fill up a vacancy in another situation which could not be called unnecessary! He was persuaded that were his majesty competent to comprehend this arrangement, nothing would be likely to mortify his wishes more, than to have his oldest servants and favourites thus illiberally treated. But how was this treatment to be regarded by any friend to justice, when the recent conduct of ministers was considered? Since the queen's death a vacancy had occurred among the lords of the bedchamber attending the prince regent, and instead of appointing one of the old lords, to whom he had alluded, to fill that vacancy, the appointment was granted to a new adherent of the minister. Was this proceeding fair or liberal? He would dismiss that part of the question, and come to another. With respect to the sum of 10,000l. to be given to the duke of York, he should say, that any extra expense to which his royal highness might be put in the care of his majesty, ought most undoubtedly to be defrayed by the public, be the sum great or small; but as it was very fairly put by the hon. gentleman on the other side, if that sum be necessary, let it be shown how it was so,—let the house be informed what that sum was for, and how it was to be expended. The hon. gentleman had stated that which was the fact, when he said, that in 1812, on the proposition of the sum of 10,000l. to the queen, the chancellor of the exchequer declared that a great part of it would go to make good certain family expenses which she would be put to: that she could not always be supposed to wish to reside in Windsor, and that as queen consort she would be at many additional expenses, which, under other circumstances, she would not have to incur in the custody of the king's person. He was not satisfied that it was not too much! but it was voted to her majesty, and it would be but fair to ask how it had been applied, and what had become of it. If the same grant were shown to be necessary for the duke of York, he should be ready to accede to it, thinking his royal highness, as he did, the fittest person that could be selected to superintend the care of his father's person. Let its necessity be proved, and he had no objection. His opinion was the same with respect to all the other items of expenditure which it might be necessary to incur with respect to the king. He would say, show me that this, that, or the other expense could contribute, in any one way, in the slightest degree, to his majesty's comfort or convenience; that it could serve even to gratify that caprice, or humour any puerile whim, to which his unfortunate state rendered him subject: if that could be made out, he would not hesitate to give to his sovereign not only 10,000l. but 500,000l. a year. But then, in the discharge of that duty which he owed the public, he would not consent to vote a single shilling which was not within the range of that principle. Let the noble lord lay before the house, not merely the sums which were said to be required, but something like the particulars of what they were for, and then it would not be difficult to come to a right understanding; but while they were wrapped up in 100,000l. and 50,000l. and 108,000l. it would be impossible to know any thing farther about them than that these large sums were asked for purposes not fully explained. There was, for instance, the sum of 50,000l., which was said to be for the Windsor establishment;—now that was the very thing he wished to have explained. How was it necessary? For his part he could not conceive how it was to be expended. Fifty thousand pounds for the establishment at Windsor, for the support of his majesty in his present unhappy state! To whom and for what particular use, connected with the due and dignified support of the king, was this sum to be given? His majesty, it was too well known, was incapable of even ordinary enjoyments. He could not, if he were rightly informed, speak or be spoken to; and indeed the necessary measures which were taken for the preservation of his health, and, if possible, the cure of his malady, rendered such a seclusion from every thing like conversation absolutely essential. His regimen was, from the same cause, so very plain, that the tenth of 50,000lwould be much more than sufficient to supply it, with all the necessary forms of attendance. Then how was the sum of 50,000l. to be expended? But the noble lord would say, that it would come out in the committee. He had no objection to the committee—he was thankful for it, but it was not to the economical dispositions of ministers he owed those thanks. He owed them to the general election—to the manner in which the returning officers were occupied at the late election, to the returns which they were called upon to make, and to those dispositions on the subject of economy which were then evinced by the people. Ministers did not come forward with the tone of confidence which they were, not long since, in the habit of assuming, and offer to take the responsibility of this measure upon themselves, without any previous inquiry. Their tone was changed, but their disposition still remained. For they proposed a scale of expenditure, for which it was in his view quite impossible to imagine any just necessity. If the noble lord would show that such expense was really necessary, he would be among the first to accede to it. Who were they who were to reside at Windsor? and for whose accommodation such expenses could be required? If it were desired to provide only for the personal comfort and accommodation of the king, a comparatively small sum indeed would be amply sufficient. Was it meant that the duke of York was to reside at Windsor? If so, he should know what to say to that. But it was said that some one of consideration should reside at Windsor, to receive the counsel, who occasionally meet there to receive reports as to the state of the king's health. The noble lord had observed that some great nobleman should be stationed there for that purpose. Well, be it so; and any additional expense that might be necessary for that purpose he would agree to, as such attendance would be fitting the dignity of the king; for he would not have his majesty, on such occasions, waited upon by a mere maître d'hotel. He would not, indeed, leave him wholly on such occasions, even to colonel Stephen-son, much and justly as that individual was respected. But in the name of common sense, what occasion could there be for the attendance of the six equerries, whom the noble lord had mentioned? Of what use could they be? To give a bulletin once a month in their turn; but surely that could not require the attendance of six gentlemen, and the expense of supporting their tables. This question of supporting a certain number of tables would no doubt be urged. The table of the king could not, in the way he lived, cost more than a few hundred pounds; and the tables of those who were to attend him, when the attendance of one- fourth of them was unnecessary, was now to swallow up the immense sum which had been named. He did not say that the attendance of a nobleman ought to be dispensed with, for he admitted that some such man of rank should attend to see that the servants did their duty in a proper manner; but then he could not see why such nobleman should have six equerries under him. He did not mean to say that the noble lord could not make out the case in the committee; but until it was clearly made out to him that such a vast expense was necessary, he should oppose it. The noble lord had spoken of the privy purse, and said that it was the private property of the king; that he (Mr. T.) most distinctly denied. The arrangement, indeed, at the commencement of the king's reign was contradictory to such an assertion. According to that arrangement his majesty was granted a privy purse of 50,000l. a year, which grant was afterwards augmented to 60,000l. But for what purpose was that grant made?—Why, to gratify his majesty's disposition to beneficence—to perform acts of grace—to assist a favourite child, or privately to relieve the distress of some noble family, which, however severe its necessities, could not possibly appeal to public charity. The privy purse was granted, he would maintain, for purposes of that nature, and not to be converted into private property. It was granted not to be saved, but to be spent in deeds of benevolence and charity. The sum was granted, not because the man was liked more or less, but because he was a sovereign prince, and in no other capacity could he use it. His royal highness the Prince Regent, who was acting as the sovereign prince of this country, had an equal sum of 60,000l. a year granted to him in 1812; and the country was burdened by the unfortunate calamity of the king, with an expense for privy purses alone, of 120,000l. He contended, that as this sum was only given to the sovereign of the country in his character as such, the moment it ceased to be used in that character, it reverted back to the public; for it would not be maintained, that the Prince Regent would, in any other capacity than as the reigning, or the representative of the reigning sovereign, have got an annual grant of 60,000l. at his disposal without any control; neither would the king, but as such; and then he maintained that only one 60,000l. should be considered private property, as only one person could be called a reigning prince at the same time in the country. Yet in 1812, 10,000l. a year in addition was granted to her majesty. Now he submitted, that if the same sum were deemed necessary to defray the expense of the duke of York upon his new appointment, that sum should rather be paid out of the privy purse, than saddled upon the country. The physicians were, it appeared, to be paid out of the proposed grant, and to that part of the proposition he could, of course, feel no objection. He next came to the proposed remuneration to be granted to, retired servants of his majesty out of the privy purse. On this head it was asserted, that the proceeding was founded on the presumed wishes of the sovereign, and what he would have most probably himself done, if enabled to exercise a discretion. Who could say in what way, or in favour of what particular person, his majesty would exercise that discretion? What man upon earth could decide whom it would please his majesty thus to remunerate? Even if the sovereign felt such a disposition towards one servant at one period of his life, who could say that such a disposition would have remained unaltered? It was too much to contend, that independently of those persons whom his majesty had been in the habit of rewarding, it was certain that he would, had he regained his health, have rewarded others, and upon this presumption to found their title to a provision by parliament. A thousand such cases might have occurred, but it was beyond the wit of man to select them now. They were at present considering things as they stood in the natural course of the establishment, and there was no pretence for contending that such allowances should be take from the privy purse. To the maintaining of all that had been done by the king himself he had not the slightest objection. Next, as to the remuneration to the physicians. On that point the noble lord had not given any explanation. It was stated to be 32,000l. per annum. That he believed to be an over-statement, the amount being, he believed, 28,000l. Such a sum as that must strike every man as enormous. It was, therefore, but justice to explain it. If, in what he was about to state, the noble lord conceived there was any indelicacy, he had only to express in any manner such a feeling, and he would not persevere. His desire was only to give a reason why he would not press any objec- tion to a charge which at first view must strike every person as enormous. He had then been given to understand, that when his majesty was unhappily visited with the affliction under which he laboured, and was about to be committed to the care of physicians, he had made it his most earnest prayer to the illustrious personage, standing in the nearest relation to him, that he never should be exclusively placed under the care of physicians of a certain description, to whom patients in his majesty's condition were consigned, without having always in attendance one out of three other physicians, whom he particularly named. That promise he obtained from her late most excellent majesty, and it was by her most religiously kept. That promise being once made, it was his opinion should, under all circumstances, be most sacred. If the consciousness of such a disposition could in any degree alleviate the sufferings of his affliction, to remove it would be a most barbarous act. But, as one of those physicians, during the day, would be sufficient for the purpose, he was disposed to think some medium might be struck out, from whence a considerable saving might be derived to the country.—On what had fallen from the noble lord, relative to the remuneration to the servants of her late majesty, he felt himself much in the dark. They were to have the whole of their salaries during their lives; but, added the noble lord, that was but the half of what they before got.—He never knew that fact before. So that these servants, when the country supposed they had salaries of but 500l. per annum, were actually receiving 1,000l. If that was the case, one would suppose that they had already received full remuneration for the whole of their deserts. They had been paid beforehand too, and the country had a claim upon them for the interest. Still, if it were the common practice on the demise of the queen to continue such salaries for life, he was not disposed to object to it on this occasion. He had heard, that the practice was, to give the salaries for life to the female servants; but he never understood the rule was applied to male servants. Nevertheless, it was contended, that the whole charge ought to remain—a truth, if it were one, for which he was sorry, as it would cost the country 25,000l. a year. He had no wish to detract from the real splendor and dignity of the crown, and he would not oppose this regulation, if it should appear to be in conformity with old and established usage. His observation went no farther than to state, that where a saving was practicable it ought to be carried into effect: as he was ready On the one hand to make sacrifices for supporting the accustomed dignity of the crown, so he was anxious to secure the benefits of practicable economy for the people. As strongly attached as any man to the House of Brunswick, he was disposed to grant every proper and becoming splendor to the royal family, always measuring that disposition by strict justice to the public interest. But, while he felt' so, he could not but express the conviction, that an establishment of 50,000l. per annum for the king, in his present unhappy situation, was unnecessary.—And here he must dissent from the manner in which the noble lord viewed the question. It was not to be considered, as the noble lord conceived, as a question upon which parliament was to inquire how much was to be saved? The duty of the House was to consider what was to be expended. To the comforts of the king, and to as much dignity as it could be supposed was necessary in his affliction, he would willingly consent. He was distinctly in favour of maintaining some establishment at Windsor, because he should regret to see a venerable and beloved monarch, reduced, in his affliction, to reside in a palace not his own. He should be sorry indeed to see him in the condition of a lodger. He thought his establishment should have a nobleman of rank at its head, and that one or two equerries should be in attendance to receive the visits of distinguished foreigners who might desire to see Windsor Castle. But an establishment on any larger scale, an establishment incumbered with five or six equerries, went beyond whatever conceptions he could form of propriety. The noble lord might hereafter explain his views, so as to remove these objections; but unless the scruples with which they at present filled him could be satisfied, he must feel it his duty to negative the proposition. He was aware that the subject was one of great delicacy. For himself, he could have no other object than to honestly discharge the duty he owed to his aged and infirm sovereign, not forgetting, at the same time, what was due to the wants of the country. With respect to the sum of 10,000l. to his royal highness the Duke of York, if it was necessary, it should be granted: but it ought most unquestionably to be charged on the privy purse.

Mr. Canning

expressed his confidence, that the admissions of the right hon. gentleman, if acted upon frankly, and in the spirit in which they professed to be made (and he did not doubt that they would be so), would bring him and his noble friend much nearer in their opinions and views of the subject, than the right hon. gentleman at present perhaps supposed. His noble friend had specifically stated, that the various estimates would be laid before the select committee. That information therefore, the absence of which had been regretted by the right hon. gentleman would be supplied. The House were not called upon to vote for the appointment of the committee with any pledge to approve of those estimates. The committee would have the opportunity of examining them in detail. The right hon. gentleman had, however, urged two or three objections to the proposition of his noble friend, to which he (Mr. Canning) felt himself competent to give an answer, without touching on any of those parts of the question which would be better reserved for the investigation of the committee. He should apply himself first, to that part of the speech of the right hon. gentleman which came last in order; namely, his remarks on the continuation for life of the salaries of her late majesty's household. He could assure the right hon. gentleman, that the present proposition was copied exactly from two distinct precedents. In the case of the demise of queen Caroline, and in that of the princess dowager of Wales (which though not strictly a case of a demise of a queen was à fortiori a justification of the present proposition) all the officers and domestics of those illustrious personages, retired on their full salaries. The right hon. gentleman had expressed some surprise at the statement of his noble friend; that salary constituted but half the real emoluments of such situations. The meaning of his noble friend was, that when the amount of advantages derived from the use of apartments, table, carriages, and other conveniences were taken into account, they were found to constitute in many instances, the most valuable part of the emoluments of such situations, especially for the female part of the establishments; these of course entirely ceased, with actual attendance. It would be evident, therefore, that the bare salaries on which the individuals in question retired, although continued in full would not amount to more than a part, it might fairly be said to more than one half of the advantages which they enjoyed during their attendance on her majesty. As how ever the right hon. gentleman had expressed his willingness to conform to what had been the established practice, his acquiescence in that part of his noble friend's proposition might be considered as secure. With respect to the privy purse, the right hon. gentleman seemed to him to be under a complete mistake in his objection to its being considered as the private property of the king. It was a question which was no longer a matter of debate. It was unnecessary to enter into details and arguments on a subject which had been settled by act of parliament in 1812. After reading that act, he should be very much astonished if any hon. gentleman should subscribe to the opinion of the eight hon. gentleman, that the privy purse was other than the property of the king. By a clause in the act of 1812 (the last act passed upon the subject; but by no means the only one which affected it), it was provided that the trustees of his majesty's privy purse and private property should be empowered to receive the profits and dividends of such property, to be laid out by them in the purchase of other funds, for and on behalf of his majesty; and to preserve the same, with the profits accruing, for the sole use and behoof of his majesty. This clause further provided that in case no disposition should be made by his majesty of the same by will, the whole of the property so undisposed of should he distributed according as it would have gone by law, had no such act been passed. The words of the act of parliament were as strong as the English language could make them in considering this as his majesty's private property. Unquestionably, it was open to the right hon. gentleman to move for a repeal of that act; but such a question was very different from that which was then in discussion. The House must conform to the existing decisions of parliament, until such a repeal was effected; until that took place, the accumulations of the privy purse, could be considered in no other light than as his majesty's private property. It was undoubtedly true that by that act certain other burthens had been imposed on the privy purse. It had been provided by it, that as, during the soundness of mind of his majesty, rewards had been granted by his majesty, in pensions to his faithful servants who had grown old in his service; so claims of other servants, disabled by age or infirmity subsequently to the passing of the act, should under responsibility of the custos of his majesty's person, be in like manner remunerated. The case of the persons now to be thrown out of this high service by the reduction of this establishment were precisely ejusdem generis except indeed that they were perhaps even more peculiarly interesting. They had not been deprived of their places by their own disability, or by the. stroke of death, consigning their royal master to the grave; but they were prematurely cut off by the act of the law; and hence it was but just that a compensation should be provided by law, which in case of their own disability, or of their royal master's death, there was every reason to presume would have been made to them. As the act in question therefore had authorized the queen as custos to direct the trustees to put certain persons on the pension list, as cases should occur; so it might be but reasonable that the act now to be brought in, should confer a similar power on the new custos with respect to the persons dismissed, as well as to those who might have grown old in the king's service. The right hon. gentleman objected to the proposed grant to his royal highness the duke of York as custos of his majesty's person. On the present, as on every other occasion, the conduct of his Royal Highness was worthy of his high station, and of the rank which he held in the public esteem. Whether the proposition for making a specific allowance to his Royal Highness was right or wrong, it was but justice to that illustrious person to say that he was not responsible for the suggestion. It was evident from the bill which bad come down to that House from' the House of Lords, that he had undertaken the duties of the office without stipulation. It was in the power of the House of Commons, therefore, to impose on his Royal Highness, now that he; had accepted the office, all the painful duties and burthens attached to it without any remuneration; that was not the fit word; without any indemnification whatever. It was impossible that his Royal Highness should not be subjected to extraordinary expenses in the new course of duties which this trust imposed on him. Whether the proposed sum was or was not too large, might be a question for the consideration of the committee above stairs; and if it should not appear to be excessive, the right hon. gentleman had intimated that he should not be disposed to object to it. Indeed he believed that in that committee the right hon. gentleman's mind, if not entirely converted to his noble friend's views of the various parts of the subject, would be very nearly approximated to them. The only other point which it appeared necessary to advert to in that stage of the discussion was, the assumption of the right hon. gentleman that the whole of the funds in question, that is of the 100,000l. granted by parliament for the support of the Windsor establishment were entirely at the discretion, and in the disposal of the House, and that they ought not to look to what they could save, but were at liberty to consider how much it might be proper to expend. Though they might on both sides of the House arrive at the same object, yet he (Mr. Canning) begged to say that they started from opposite points. Instead of having an establishment to build, as seemed to be the supposition of the right hon. gentleman, there was an establishment already constructed by law. The question therefore was, not how much it was necessary to expend in an establishment yet to be created, but how much it might be proper and expedient to deduct From an establishment already existing. The House were not that night to commence de novo the discussion of all those painful subjects which engaged their attention some years past. There was a great practical difference though the right hon. gentleman did not seem to recollect it, between the two cases. The act of parliament had settled the establishment as it existed. Were the House pursuing too far the suggestions of economy, to make a niggardly and unfeeling retrenchment, that arrangement might experience rejection elsewhere, and what would be the consequence? That as in cases where this House is originating a grant, the grant would be void if not accepted elsewhere, with all the conditions which the House of Commons might have annexed to it? No. The legal establishment would then continue undiminished, and all hopes of reducing expense would be frustrated. The sum of 50,000l. did not appear to him as it did to the right hon. gentleman to be excessive. All however, that was required at present, was, that the estimates which after the fullest deliberation had been submitted to the House by his majesty's mi- nisters, should be examined by the committee. He had then little doubt that the right hon. gentleman with those feelings on the subject, for the sincerity of which he gave him full credit, would modify or retract his opinions, and see reason to conclude that while the estimates were framed with a due recollection of the dignity, the claims, and the virtues of him for whom they were providing, there was no disposition to overlook either the interest or the feelings of the public.

Mr. Tierney

, in explanation, said, he well knew the provisions of the act of 1812; and in adding that he was ready to repeal it, he expected to have the noble lord for his seconder. The noble lord himself was about to repeal it to a certain extent. All that he meant by the observation of the funds in question being in possession of the House was, that it was now before them practically to apply them as justice or necessity should require. He was certainly disposed to act liberally towards the duke of York, and only wished to see some general scale upon which the allowance in question might be regulated. If 10,000l. a year should appear to be a proper sum, he considered that in fixing it upon the privy purse, it would only be doing that which the king himself, in a lucid interval, would do, for the sake of being placed under his royal highness's cave. With regard to the accumulation of the privy purse being the king's private property, and his being enabled to dispose of it as such, he knew that this had been so declared by an act passed in 1798; but passed without any contemplation of the calamity which had afterwards fallen on his majesty.

Mr. Canning

observed, that he had misunderstood the right hon. gentleman, who, he thought, had meant to contend, that the privy purse ceased to be the king's private property with the cessation of the exercise of his political capacity. The last act of parliament had, however, recognised the existence of this private property, when the exercise of the political capacity had actually ceased.

It was then agreed, that the Prince Regent's Message be referred to a committee of the whole House on the 11th instant, and that the Royal Establishments be referred to a select committee.