HC Deb 07 March 1823 vol 8 cc509-11

The House having resolved itself into a committee on the King's Message,

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, he should propose that the chairman should ask for leave to bring in a bill, concerning the disposition of certain property belonging to his majesty. By the statute of queen Anne, and several other acts, the power of the crown to alienate real property was restricted. In 1799 another act was passed, which removed those restrictions, as respected real property that might be considered as the private property of his majesty. That act took away such restrictions as regarded all real property purchased out of the privy purse, all real property purchased with any monies not appropriated to the public service, or with monies received by the crown from any person or persons whatever, except- ing only its predecessors. That was, the act did not apply to any bequests received by the crown jure coronœ but it applied only to that which might be considered as mere private property belonging to the king, whether purchased out of the privy purse, or given by private individuals. Now, it was quite clear, that there was an omission in this last act; for it made no provision for that which might be the private property of the king, at the time of his accession to the throne. It only enabled his majesty, his heirs and successors, to dispose of their private property as kings; of that which they possessed, being kings; but not of that which they possessed as subjects, before their accession. At present, there was this strange anomaly in the las—that the sovereign was treated as a subject, with respect to private property acquired by him as king; and as a king, in regard to private property acquired by him, as a subject. The object of the proposed bill was, to provide that his majesty and his successors might dispose of the private property that the king might acquire before becoming king; that he might dispose of it in the same way as if he acquired it after becoming king. With respect to personal property, that did not at all affect the present question. The bill had no other object in view; and he thought every one would see the justice of making such a provision.

Mr. Hume

wished to know what was the nature of the distinction meant to be taken between property possessed by him as private property acquired as a subject? The act of 39 Geo. 3 directed, that the property should be consigned to trustees, that is should not go to the king at all, but become the property of the public: The statute of 1 Anne, too, prevented the king from acquiring any property. He had asked, last session, if the late king had made any will? and had been answered, that he had not. So that in this case the property should revert to the public; and the landed property had accordingly been taken under the care of the commissioners of woods and forests. He wished to know whether the present measure was to relate to the property which the king had inherited from his late majesty.

Mr. Peel

replied, that what property the king held from his late majesty, was held jure coronœ. The bill would not apply to that, but only to the private property which the king possessed at the time of his accession.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.