The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, he considered it would be convenient that previously to the House resolving itself into a Committee to take into consideration that part of his Majesty's Speech which referred to the settlement of the Civil List, he should state the course he intended to pursue. He did not expect the House to come to a decision that night on the Resolutions he should propose. After proposing those Resolutions, and stating his views respecting the future Civil List, which would be in great part matter of detail, he would lay before the House the various necessary documents in a clear form, so that hon. Members might be able to put themselves in full possession of all the information they required before they came to a vote on Monday next.
The House then resolved itself into a Committee on the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
then spoke to the following effect:—I rise, Sir, pursuant to notice, for the purpose of recommending to the House to fulfil the assurance given to his Majesty, in answer to his gracious Speech from the Throne, that we would cheerfully provide all that was necessary for the support of the Civil Government and the honour and dignity of his Crown; and, Sir, if ever there was an occasion on which a proposition of this nature might dispense with all argument or recommendation upon the part of the individual who moves it, I am sure this is the occasion. I am confident there is not one of those I now have the honour of addressing—that there is not a single man in the country, who will not be forward in the anxious wish to promote the comfort of the Sovereign and the dignity of the Crown. The people of England, always attached to monarchy, have heretofore not only maintained their Sovereigns in comfort and dignity, but have ever been desirous to uphold the Throne in honour 430 and splendor, for they feel a reflected pleasure and glory in the splendor of the Crown. And, Sir, well convinced am I that there never was a period at which a warmer affection or more sincere attachment existed upon the part of the people towards their Sovereign than at present, and this I feel secures to me the universal consent of the people in making such a provision for the Crown as the circumstances of the case require. In asserting this, I do not, however, want to protect my proposition from that examination which is the duty of the House. No, Sir, I am prepared to meet that examination, and to meet it with confidence; although, undoubtedly, objections will be raised against it, and objections of a very different character. On the one hand I may be told that I am not dealing with sufficient liberality; and on the other, I may be reproached with not having a due regard to economy. Yet conscious that I am steering a middle course—avoiding a niggardly parsimony on the one side, and an undue extravagance on the other —I feel that I may submit my proposition in the confidence that it will receive the approbation of the House. Sir, in bringing this subject under the consideration of Parliament, I stand, in some degree, in circumstances different from those under which any individual made a similar proposition in former times. The circumstances under which the settlement of the Civil List has before been made, conferred in themselves, credit upon former Parliaments, and, in the last instance, were highly honourable to the King who lately sat upon the Throne of these realms. To some of these circumstances I must direct the attention of the House, being convinced that they ought to be well considered by us, now engaged in settling the affairs of his present Majesty, for whose dignity and comfort we are called on to provide. The first of these peculiar circumstances is, that in making a proposition of this kind to the House, I am fortunately at the same time able to state, that during the whole of the last reign there was no period at which Parliament was called on to provide for debts incurred upon the Civil List. This is the first time, since the institution of the Civil List, that it was possible to call on Parliament to recollect, that no debt had been incurred since Parliament had last made the arrangement. If the hon. Members of this 431 House will refer to the documents which are accessible to all, they will find that I am perfectly justified in this assertion. Upon the death of Queen Anne, Parliament had to provide for a considerable debt incurred on the Civil List—a debt amounting to 500,000l. On the death of George 1st, Parliament had to provide for a debt incurred upon the Civil List, to the amount of one million. Upon the death of George the 2nd, Parliament had to pay half a million on account of debts incurred upon the Civil List, which had been granted to that Monarch. During the reign of George the 3rd, which extended over so long a period, and in which the events were of a feature so stirring and peculiar, the debts on the Civil List amounted to something between three and four millions. I repeat, therefore, I stand before the House in a peculiar and fortunate situation, in consequence of there now being, at the close of a reign, no debt to defray upon the Civil List granted to the late King. I say, Sir, these circumstances are honourable to the Parliament by which the original arrangement was made, for it proves that it formed so accurate an estimate of what was necessary to maintain the honour and dignity of the Crown, that it became, for the first time in the history of this country, possible for a Monarch to confine his expenditure within the limits assigned him at the settlement of the Civil List. And further, Sir, it is to the credit of that Parliament that it was not only by the liberality of the grant that it succeeded in producing a result so highly to be applauded, but also by the system it devised, and the regulations respecting the expenditure it adopted; for, without a system, and without regulations, never could the object have been effected; and therefore is that Parliament entitled to praise for adopting those particular regulations which led to the happy result I have already stated to the House. Nor, Sir, can we omit to offer the just tribute of praise to the prudence of his late Majesty, in having thus carefully limited himself in his expenditure within the sum granted to him by Parliament, and in having so availed himself of the wise regulations made by Parliament, as to avoid incurring debt which all his predecessors, since the institution of the Civil List, had uniformly incurred. I say, Sir, in the next place, there 432 is another peculiarity attending the proposition I am about to make, which, whatever may be the feeling of the hon. member for Middlesex and his friends respecting the observations I have recently made, ought to call forth the approbation and thanks of this House. We stand, now, in the situation of having surrendered to us, by his Majesty, a greater revenue—greater in the value of its amount, and greater in its numbers of various heads—than Parliament ever had at any former period when a settlement of the Civil List was called for. His Majesty has been graciously pleased to surrender to us, not only the hereditary revenues of the Crown, which were also surrendered to us by the Sovereigns his predecessors, and which, at this present moment, amount to a sum not less than 800,000l. per annum, but his Majesty has also given up to us the casual revenues of the Crown, the Droits of the Admiralty and Droits of the Crown, the West-India Duties, and all the other casual revenues of the Crown, which were heretofore left to the peculiar and personal distribution and control of the Crown. The value, Sir, of these concessions is sufficiently apparent from the papers on the Table; but I feel it is not so much for the amount of the concessions that his Majesty is entitled to call for your approbation, as because he now surrenders to you, in surrendering these casual revenues of the Crown, that portion of his revenue which a Monarch could, with the greatest facility, command, in the event of cases arising wherein he was desirous of applying his revenue to purposes which Parliament might not be disposed to sanction. In conceding, therefore, these revenues, the Monarch has deprived himself of the power of applying money to purposes of which Parliament does not approve. His Majesty, consequently, has not only consulted the feelings of the people on the subject of the expenses of the Crown, but also their feelings concerning the objections which might be made to the power of the Sovereign to use his revenue for purposes contrary to the wish of Parliament and to the national liberties. Sir, in making the proposition I am about to submit to the House, it will be my object to avoid all possibility of incurring debt on the Civil List after the arrangement shall have been sanctioned by Parliament. I hold, Sir, that debt, 433 incurred after the settlement of the Civil List, is of all things the most disadvantageous to the Crown, and offensive to the people. In the first place, the very name of debt carries with it the idea of misconduct in the quarter in which it may arise. I do not say in all cases debt in itself implies impropriety of conduct, or deserves reproach; but I do say, that in all cases the existence of it attaches, to some extent, an imputation of misfortune, of imprudence, or misconduct, and, therefore, that it is not just in the House to make it in the most remote degree necessary for the Monarch to incur debt, and thus render him liable to the imputation I have mentioned. Sir, if there be any advantage in a permanent Civil List (and that there is great advantage we must all admit), it is that, having once given a Civil List to the Crown, we are thenceforth not under the necessity of investigating the private conduct and personal expenditure of the Monarch—which, however agreeable it may be to some individuals—is, to honourable men, and men who really take an interest in the country's welfare, one of the most disagreeable and the most painful tasks which can ever be imposed on Parliament. Therefore, Sir, 1 consider that the Parliament to which I have already alluded acted well and wisely—and that we shall now act well and wisely in making it the foundation of the Civil List, that there shall be no necessity for incurring any debt by the Crown. The first point, then, we shall have to decide is, what amount for the Civil List is necessary. And, Sir, in cases of this kind, I look upon it as more safe to be directed by experience of the past, than to be guided by calculations of the future. I have, therefore, rather formed the plan by reference to past experience than upon any calculation respecting the future, which I have to submit to the House, making however such changes as the altered circumstances of the Crown seem to render necessary, and bearing always in mind the necessity of keeping the expenditure of the Crown within the bounds prescribed by Parliament. Sir, if we look to the papers on the Table, we may find a statement of what was the full amount of the sums his late Majesty derived from the country for the purposes of the Civil List; and I will, in the first instance, state them to the House, that it may form a just comparison of those sums 434 with the amount I shall ultimately propose to them for the use of his present Majesty. By the Civil List which was voted at the commencement of the last reign, the Sovereign enjoyed an allowance for England of 850,000l. and for Ireland of 207,000l. At that time it was thought adviseable to leave the hereditary revenue of Scotland untouched, and that amounted to 109,000l. So far down all were fixed allowances for the hereditary revenues of the Crown in England, Ireland, and Scotland. Besides these permanent revenues, the Droits of the Admiralty and the Droits of the Crown were left in the power of the Sovereign and they may be taken at an annual average of 32,600l. A compensation for additional diplomatic expenditure was allowed amounting to 22,300l. and the total of these various sums will amount very nearly to 1,221,000l. which was the expenditure during the late reign, for the purposes of the Civil List. Now, Sir, it is my intention to remove from the new Civil List certain charges heretofore imposed upon it, to which I shall advert at a future period. For the purposes of comparison it is necessary that these should be deducted from the sums allowed to his late Majesty. Therefore, on account of them, I take off 166,000l. in answer for charges which will not be made in the new Civil List. This will leave in round numbers about 1,055,000l. But now, Sir, as to my Resolution, it will be not for grants for the different parts of the kingdom, but for one general grant for the whole kingdom. And on the subsequent arrangement I shall assign classes, for the purpose of presenting a clear view of the different heads of expenditure. What I propose for the purposes of the new Civil List is 970,000l., making a difference between the sum now granted and that allowed to his late Majesty of 85,000l. [Cheers.] Let not the hon. Member who cheers suppose, that this is the only saving and economy which will be effected; for if he will listen to me a little longer, 1 will satisfy him that it is far from being the amount of saving and economy which we propose to submit to the notice of the House. In the first place there will be a saving to the State of 38,500l. a-year, which was paid to his Majesty when Duke of Clarence. There will likewise be a saving of 15,000l. upon civil contingencies. This, then, will be an immediate saving to the State of upwards 435 of 138,000l. upon the Civil List. But, Sir, besides, in the formation of this Civil List, it is to be considered that large payments are made on account of pensions, which, though it is not possible to get rid of them immediately, will fall in with the lives of those who now enjoy them; and that there are officers, for whom although we now continue to provide, yet it is our intention that their places, when once vacant, shall not be again filled up. And, Sir, from reductions of this nature previously ordered, and others lately agreed upon, we have a saving in prospective amounting to 13,049l. In the next place, the Irish pension list will be reduced from 50,000l. to 40,000l. per annum; making altogether, when these reductions shall come into effect, a pecuniary saving of 161,000l. But, Sir, as I said before, this sum does not present a fair picture of the economy we propose to apply to the Civil List. I need not inform the House, for all men must be aware of it, that there are expenses incident to the situation of his present Majesty from which his predecessor was exempt. The Sovereign, in the present case, is blessed with a royal consort, who shares the affection and respect of the people with his most gracious Majesty. I am sure, Sir, the House would not feel it proper to diminish the amount of the allowance which, for a considerable time past, has been invariably granted to the Queens of England. In the reigns of George 2nd and George 3rd, 50,000l. a year was allowed the Queen for the maintenance of her household, and I can see no reason why we should for a moment hesitate to assign to her present Majesty the same allowance which the previous Queens of England uniformly received. Nor, Sir, is the expenditure which the Queen occasions to the Civil List limited to the sum allowed by Parliament for the maintenance of her household. It is obvious that the King, like every other individual, must, when married, add to his expenses in every branch of his establishment. And if the House is disposed to feel surprise that we have not announced a greater reduction in the Civil List, I beg hon. Members to consider the different circumstances under which the two Monarchs are placed, and to take into account the expenses of the Queen, not only for her own household, but also the increase created by her presence in the general establishment—a difference which, 436 by reference to calculations made on former occasions, I am sure I do not over-estimate in naming as an additional expense fully equal to the allowance of her household, and the maintenance of her dignity. The 970,000l., therefore, I have proposed, includes 100,000l. for the expenditure occasioned by the presence of her Majesty, and if this be taken into account the comparison between the Civil List we propose for his present Majesty, and that granted to the late Sovereign, will turn out very favourable to our proposition. There is also another branch of expenditure, which formerly was thrown on the public, but from which it is now free, and the amount of which is not inconsiderable. On the death of George 3rd, in conformity with the previous practice of making a provision by way of compensation for the servants of the preceding Monarch, pensions were granted to his servants, and this not upon the Civil List of his successor, but on the Consolidated Fund. On the death of George 3rd, 21,000l. was charged upon the Consolidated Fund to pay a compensation to officers in his household; and 19,000l. upon the death of Queen Charlotte was charged upon the Consolidated Fund for a similar purpose, making altogether a charge upon the public of 40,000l. which the country thought it proper and expedient, and honourable to take upon itself. On the present occasion, however, his Majesty takes the whole compensation to the servants of the late King upon himself. His Majesty has been graciously pleased to adopt into his own service, as far as possible, all the servants of his predecessor; that is to say, all who were capable of performing the duties of their stations; and, therefore, he has considerably reduced the amount of compensation for which it is necessary to provide. But, Sir, notwithstanding this reduction, there is a charge of between 4,000l. and 5,000l. remaining, which his Majesty will himself provide for, and thus relieve the public from a charge imposed upon it in all former reigns, and which, in the last reign amounted to 40,000l. In calculating, therefore, the economy applied to the Civil List, we must not forget, Sir, these two last circumstances—I mean the whole provision for the expenditure occasioned by the Queen, and the compensation to the servants of the late King, for whom it is indispensable to provide. Such, Sir, being the saving we intend to effect, I shall 437 now advert to the arrangements, under which we propose to place the new Civil List. I know, Sir, that on this point there is a great variety of opinions, and I remember that a noble Lord opposite, early in the opening of the Session, expressed a hope that the Civil List now to be presented to the public, would be confined merely to the personal expenses of the Monarch. I, however, after much deliberation, and after weighing maturely all matters connected with the question, must say, that it appears to me not expedient to separate the private and personal expenses of the Monarch from those incurred in his capacity of chief of the Government of the State. First, it is difficult to draw the precise line between the charges incurred by the Monarch in his individual capacity, and those incurred in his public capacity as the person administering the Government of the country; and if it were possible, I do not see that it would be advisable so to separate them, as long as the Civil List can be regulated in such manner as to present a fair, full, and distinct view of the expenditure. I cannot see the particular use of separating these two branches of the Civil List; I do not, therefore propose to withdraw from the Civil List all those charges which have hitherto been considered as belonging to the head of the civil expenditure. I have been anxious to avoid one of the classes of objections now applicable to the Civil List, namely, that which relates to the difficulty of finding the amount of remuneration given to civil officers, whose salaries are paid partly out of the Civil List, and partly from other quarters; and I have, therefore, endeavoured to remove from it those salaries which have been chiefly paid from other quarters, and the difference of which only has been paid from the Civil List. By the plan which I now propose to adopt, the whole salary of every particular officer will be made to appear in each of the particular funds from which it is chiefly paid. Where the larger portion of the salary is paid out of the Civil List, I have annexed to it those smaller portions which are paid from other funds, so that those who may wish to see what is the amount of any particular salary can see it at once, by reference to the Civil List expenditure, without being obliged to have recourse to more than one set of papers for information. I also think the present mode of making deductions from several payments, 438 with a view to form particular funds, is very inconvenient; there is something not very easy to apprehend in the payment, on the one hand, to a particular officer of a very considerable salary, and, on the other, in taking from that officer, at the time of making the payment, a considerable sum to be applied to future and other purposes. I propose, therefore, that all charges and deductions from all salaries shall be omitted in the statement, and that the salaries shall be stated at the precise amount, so that the Civil List shall shew to the public what, is the actual amount applicable to the particular services to which the several payments are made. I have stated that I propose to transfer to the Civil List the payment of those salaries the larger portion of which is now chargeable on that branch of the expenditure; and I also propose to transfer to other funds those salaries, only small portions of which are now paid out of the Civil List. The first of the latter class is the salaries of the Judges. But a small portion of these salaries is now paid from the Civil List, the larger portion being paid from the Consolidated Fund. These salaries I therefore propose to transfer entirely to the Consolidated Fund; and if there was any choice from which fund those salaries should be paid, I should think that it would be freest from objection that the emoluments of these officers should be derived from a fund the least liable to the control of the Crown. I propose the same thing with reference to the Speaker of the House of Commons—I may say, with reference to all the other payments of salaries standing on the same footing. In the same way there are certain charges, of which by far the greater amount is defrayed by annual votes of this House, but some portion of which is also taken from the Civil List. These I propose to withdraw entirely from the Civil List, for the purpose of adding them to the several funds from which the greater portion of their amount is now paid. These three several sorts of payments will amount to 166,000l. which I shall withdraw from the vote I intend to ask as the vote for the Civil List. Such are the principles of the arrangements which I submit to the House as the foundation of the plan of the new Civil List; but perhaps the House will pardon me if I go a little more into detail on the several classes into which I propose the Civil List shall be divided, These classes 439 will be ten in number. The first class will consist of his Majesty's privy purse, and of her Majesty's establishment. This class, instead of being 60,000l., as under the late King, will now amount to 110,000l., a sum which was always charged so long ago as before the reign of George 1st.; the difference between the present and the last Civil List being altogether occasioned as I have already stated by the presence of her Majesty the Queen. The second head or class of expenditure is that of the salary of the great officers of the household—of the household establishment—and of the officers connected therewith. This makes up a sum of about 140,546l.; and that sum will comprise salaries which before were to be found under other heads. Among these are the gentlemen pensioners, and certain officers of ceremony, which appear to me better placed here than elsewhere. Under this head there will be observed some reduction of amount from that which was stated for similar charges in the former reign. With respect to the household itself, the third head of the expenditure, there will not be any actual reduction of expenditure—I mean in the bills of the tradesmen who supply his Majesty. I know that the hon. member for Middlesex will say that there ought to be some reduction in that respect, having regard to the present value of provisions, which is much less than when the last Civil List was framed. I acknowledge that there has been a decrease in the price of provisions, and in all the necessary articles of life, since the last Civil List was agreed to; but while I admit that to be the fact, I must at the same time remind the hon. Member, that some increase is necessary on account of her Majesty. I have, therefore, in addition to the expenditure of his Majesty, brought in, under this head, that of the Queen; and I think that if the bills now paid are carefully compared with those formerly charged, there will be found to have been an actual reduction, although that reduction is not at once apparent, on account of the cause of increased expenditure to which I have already referred. The amount of this class of expenditure will be 210,500l., a sum which exhibits an apparent increase on the former Civil List, but which, in reality, is less, since the present estimate includes the expense of Messengers, and other items of the Civil Department, which I have thought it more convenient to place here, 440 instead of letting them remain under other heads of expenditure. The fourth class consists of the Royal Bounties, Charities, and Special Service Money, and these come more nearly within what are properly called the particular expenditure of the Crown. The amount here is the same as before, 22,250l. The fifth class consists of the pensions on the Civil List. This item was fixed by Mr. Burke at a sum of 95,000l., but in the present Civil List it will amount to no more than 74,200l., the difference between the two being those charges which are deducted from the Civil List, and carried to other heads of expenditure, on the principle I have already mentioned. The sixth class comprises the expenses of Foreign Missions and Ministers of State. I have stated, that in weighing the different arguments for excluding these charges from the Civil List of the Crown, my feelings have preponderated in favour of retaining them under this head of expenditure, and I therefore present them to the House as part of the expense of the Civil List; and whatever opinions may be entertained on this point, I have no doubt that, with respect to the amount required for this head of expenditure, the House will be satisfied with the sum which is now proposed for the payment of this particular service. Under the former arrangements of the Civil List, the third class, with which the sixth class now corresponds, comprised not only the expense of Foreign Missions, but also the salaries of a portion of the present Consular Establishment; and the House will also recollect, that in addition to those who were then Ministers at Foreign Courts, with salaries, we have been latterly called on for additional Ministers to the new States of South America, and that these Ministers were, of course, not provided for in the Civil List of 1820. This class of public servants, with which we have now to deal, comprises the representatives of the King in all parts of the world, but does not comprise the Consular establishments, for reasons which I will presently state. In the former Session of Parliament, when the question of Diplomatic Expenditure was under consideration, I stated, that endeavours were making by the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department to bring the present expenditure for twenty-five ministers,—the increase in our Diplomatic Establishments having been rendered necessary by the 441 change in the circumstances and conditions of several States both in Europe and America,—within the amount which was provided for eighteen Foreign Ministers. This class will show, that what I then stated to be under consideration, has been now done. In every foreign mission (with, at least, only two exceptions) a great reduction of expense will be found to have taken place. The amount is now stated at 140,000l., which was 165,000l. in the preceding year; and that year itself exhibited a diminished expense, as compared with the sums required for preceding years; and when the detail of these estimates has been examined, I think that the House will agree with me that the Government has been disposed to bring down these charges as low as was compatible with the rank of the individual employed, and the nature of the service he was engaged in. If, in examining these items, persons will inform themselves of what are the emoluments of other Ministers resident at the same Courts, they will find, though there are many circumstances which necessarily render our Ministers more expensive than other foreign ministers at the same place, and though Englishmen are more disposed to travel and visit foreign countries than men of other nations, yet their charges are not superior, nor, in some instances, even equal to those of other Ambassadors. I have said, that there are two exceptions to the great reductions we have made. The first of these is Paris; the other Petersburgh. They are stations where a great expenditure is required beyond that demanded at any other Court, so that we do not propose to withdraw from those Ambassadors the emoluments which they how enjoy. The reductions of which I have spoken cannot, indeed, be immediately accomplished, so that the diminution of expenditure will not come into full operation till the 1st of January in the ensuing year. The reduction of salaries, however, is not the only economy which we have effected. It will appear that the extraordinary charges, which are a great source of diplomatic expenditure, are now about to be brought within very narrow limits. Take the question of outfit, for instance, which in former Civil Lists was stated at 76,000l., and which is now estimated only at 47,000l. The expense of half outfit is also reduced from 50,000l. to 30,000l. On other charges there are likewise deductions, as in the cases of 442 absence on account of private affairs, and in the allowances for conveyance of baggage, which are now reduced within very narrow limits. The details of what I have stated will be found in the papers I have laid on the Table—papers which show that we have, in fact, adopted that economy which this House desired, and which the Government promised. With respect to the payments to be made in future on account of the Consular Department, I propose that a considerable alteration shall take place. A sum of 30,000l. was formerly paid for the expenses of the Consular establishment out of the Civil List, and 60,000l. from a vote of Parliament: I propose that, in future, Parliament shall provide all the expenses of the Consular establishment by an annual vote. One of the reasons for my proposing this is, the change in the regulations of that establishment which may at any time take place. A change in our Consular regulations was recommended to Parliament, not only by merchants, but by hon. Members, who had no especial interest in the recommendation, and who were actuated by no feeling but a desire for the good of the country. That change led to a great increase of expenditure in the Consular department, and it appeared to the noble Lord at the head of that department, that that expenditure should be brought within our more limited means, and that it would be advisable to make its amount an item of the charges that were annually to be submitted to the vote of the Parliament. The total amount of this class of Civil expenditure is now stated at 186,000l. for the charges of Ministers on service, and for the pensions of retired Ministers, including all the Consuls formerly residing at foreign Courts, together with those new Consuls now appointed to Greece and South America. The seventh class consists of the small charges on the Hereditary Revenues of the Crown, which always have been defrayed out of the Civil List, on which humorous remarks have sometimes been made in Parliament, but which are still necessary to be maintained. These charges amounted to 13,700l. The eighth class relates to the salaries of the great Officers of State, who are now paid out of the Civil List. Among these are the Lord Chancellor, the Lord President of the Council, the Lord Privy Seal, the Commissioners of the Treasury, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. In this 443 class is to be included that portion of the salaries of Public Officers, which is now payable out of the Civil List of Ireland, and out of the Consolidated Fund, so that the effect of this arrangement will be, that all these salaries can at once be seen from these papers. This class will form an item of 24,000l. The ninth class is the Civil List of Ireland. That Civil List amounted to 207,000l. in the reign of his late Majesty; but it is now reduced to 125,000l., and even part of that consists of charges for offices, the duration of which is limited to the lives of the present occupants and my plan embraces a proposal that will effect a further reduction from 50,000l. to 40,000l. With respect to the last class—the Civil List for Scotland—I do not think it will be found liable to any objections. It chiefly consists of a provision for the hereditary Officers of State in that kingdom, for the support of the Universities there, and for the payment of the Professors at those Universities—charges which have always been borne by the Civil List of Scotland, and which are so moderate in their amount, that I am confident, when they come to be examined by the House, every one will be convinced of our disposition to reduce the expenditure within the narrowest limits. This class amounts to a sum of 51,000l. The Civil List, on the arrangement thus proposed, will amount to 960,000l. of which an accurate estimate will be found in the papers I now lay on the Table. It is quite obvious that in submitting an estimate of this nature, it is impossible not to leave an opening for some future contingency; and, adopting as a principle that which was acted on in 1820, I shall propose to take a vote for a sum above the estimate, in order to meet these contingencies. I shall, however, only increase the vote so far above the estimate as will be necessary to preserve the Civil List from debt. In proposing, therefore, the sum of 970,000l. I shall propose a small excess, which is not more than necessary, because the Crown, having now surrendered the Droits of the Crown, and the Droits of the Admiralty, has withdrawn from itself the means which were before at its disposal, and it is not therefore unreasonable that a small additional vote should be given to meet those contingencies, which, in the best state of the Civil List, must be liable to occur, and which, during the late reign, rendered 444 a provision of this sort absolutely necessary. I have thus gone through the statement of the Civil List, which I am now about to submit to the approbation of the House; and I think I have shewn that a considerable saving has been effected under the new arrangement. I may, perhaps, be permitted to state more in detail what that saving is. In the first place, there is an immediate saving of 138,900l., and then there is a contingent saving of 162,000l., and moreover it should be borne in mind that the Civil List has provided for charges which exceed, by the sum of 100,000l., those which were to be defrayed out of the Civil List of the former reign; yet have we been able to reduce the whole sum to the extent I have stated, at a time when, from particular circumstances, the Civil List is burthened with additional charges to the amount of 100,000l. I cannot doubt that the House will be satisfied with this statement. I know that there is no disposition in this House, or in the country to refuse what is necessary to maintain the dignity and splendor of the Crown. I know, indeed, that the proper splendor of the Crown is endeared to every class of the people. If this is the case, whatever may be the character of the Monarch on the Throne, I am sure that that sentiment is now more than ever warmly felt by the whole people of England, when both the Monarch and his Consort possess all the characteristics which can endear them to the hearts of their subjects, and when the people unite, as they have done, in the strongest expression of attachment to the Sovereign, whose conduct, whether examined in the relations of domestic life, or in his public character, deservedly recommends him to the best affections of the people. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving, "That for the support and maintenance of his Majesty's Household, and the honour and dignity of the Crown, there be granted to his Majesty the annual sum of 970,000l. during his Majesty's life, and that the said Revenue shall be made payable out of the Consolidated Fund." The right hon. Gentleman observed, before he sat down, that he did not mean to press for a vote that evening.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he could not vote on this question without making a few observations on the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. In remarking upon this proposed provision for the Civil 445 List of his Majesty, it was not necessary to follow the right hon. Gentleman into the minute details of his plan. Indeed, it would be impossible for him or others to do so immediately after hearing the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. The subject into which he had entered was too extensive to be at once disposed of. He did not think it possible for that House, or a committee of the whole House, to go sufficiently into detail on this subject, to be able to satisfy either the public or themselves. He was of opinion, that it was absolutely necessary that those minute details into which the right hon. Gentleman had gone, should be examined in a Select Committee. He was convinced, that if the House attempted to examine the details of the right hon. Gentleman's plan, as they were now stated, it would be found that the Members could not clearly understand them, and could come to no satisfactory result. The right hon. Gentleman's plan, instead of being a simplified statement of the demands upon the Civil List; was a statement more complicated than ever. The right hon. Gentleman had added to the difficulty by his plan of borrowing from one fund to pay to another, for the purpose of lessening or increasing, according to circumstances, the amount of the Civil List. As far as he had been able to follow the plan of the right hon. Gentleman, he had not been able to approve of it in any degree. It would be difficult for the country to understand what the House voted if Members should consent to the vote in the form in which it was proposed, the right hon. Gentleman had placed in it so many items of expenditure which did not in the least belong to the dignity, comfort, or splendor of the Crown. What was the consequence of this? Why, that if the Civil List was voted in the manner now proposed, the House would appear to be giving to the Crown 970,000l., when, in point of fact, all that the Crown would receive would be found to be comprised in the three first of the classes into which the right hon. Gentleman had divided the whole scheme. He should be inclined to say, that the Civil List of the Crown should extend only to those branches of expenditure which related to the Monarch himself. He could not conceive what addition it was to the splendor, dignity or comfort of his Majesty, to have money paid to him for the mere purpose of 446 being paid out again, for matters which did not appertain to his Majesty personally, but to the diplomatic service of the country. He did not know why the expenses of Ambassadors, like the charges for Consuls, should not be annually brought under the view of Parliament, in order that Parliament might know that the Ministers really practised the economy that was demanded of them. One inconvenience among the rest, that would arise from the adoption of the right hon. Gentleman's plan, was, that if the change he proposed took place, the House would be in a great state of confusion, part of the supplies of expenditure being taken from the Civil List, and part from the annual votes of the year. In like manner he must say, he could not understand why the great Public Officers, the Lords of the Treasury, and the other Officers of State, who had been named together with the right hon. Gentleman himself, should be charged upon the Civil List, when their salaries might as well be paid with other branches of expenditure by an annual vote of that House. It appeared to him that the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman was one which, instead of giving a clear account of the items in the Civil List for the present reign, continued all that confusion which had previously existed, with the exception only of a few trifling Amendments. As the vote on this question was not to be taken to-night, he would not detain the House further than by repeating, that he could not approve of the plan now brought forward by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Sir H. Parnell
addressed the House in support of the observations of the noble Lord who had just resumed his seat. He was compelled however to acknowledge that like the noble Lord he felt the greatest difficulty in following the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. The saving he mentioned was very trifling, and the House ought to recollect that the estimate of the Civil List for 1820, which had been referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, was founded on that made in 1815, which was monstrously extravagant. The expenditure of the country was then altogether too large; and prices were much higher than at present. It seemed to him impossible for the House to come to a decision on the merits of the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, without having a further inquiry than it 447 was now possible for them to make. He thought that the House ought to make a separation between the public and the private expenditure of his Majesty, and not appear to grant him a revenue which was, in fact, to be consumed by others. The necessity of each particular item of expenditure ought to be distinctly shown, and it ought to be kept distinct from every other. From the want of that separation in the grant of former Civil Lists, much confusion had arisen, and much of that extravagance which had drawn the country into the state in which it was now. It was utterly impossible for any individual Member of that House to know, from the plan of the right hon. Gentleman, what was the expenditure of money for the maintenance of the Government and for the public service. Until the separation he had alluded to had taken place, nothing like a fair estimate could be made; and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had the opportunity of simplifying the matter, had increased the confusion in which it was before involved, the House had little reason to feel the satisfaction which the right hon. Gentleman seemed to anticipate. He said, therefore, that a fuller inquiry was necessary, in order to lay the foundation of a general improvement of the manner in which public accounts were laid before the House. Although that might appear to some a trifling matter, he was of opinion that it was really a matter of importance; and unless something was done to simplify the statement of the public accounts, the House would perpetually be encountered by difficulties, in their attempt to effect that retrenchment which the country expected at their hands. If the public accounts were suffered to be made out in the slovenly way they were at present kept, no man could understand them; and it would be impossible for them to have an effectual control over the public expenditure. He hoped, therefore, they would proceed with caution, and require from the Government the appointment of a committee, to examine into the details of the statement just made by the right hon. Gentleman.
could not let this discussion pass without expressing his great regret at the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman. He confessed that the speech he had heard, much disappointed him, as, he believed it would disappoint the whole 448 country. When they heard the gracious declaration of his Majesty on the subject of economy, he submitted that the House must show their respect for it, by calling on the Ministers to act in accordance with that declaration. He was perfectly prepared to do all that was necessary to promote the comfort of his Majesty, and to uphold the dignity of the Crown. He was prepared to do that to the fullest extent which the present state of the country would allow, and to act towards his Majesty with the utmost possible degree of liberality. He could not think that the right hon. Gentleman had taken the course they had a right to expect, even on his own showing; for he had referred to reports of committees as the ground on which he submitted his proposition. Reports on this subject were made in 1803, 1812, and 1815. He would not read them, but he would state the subject of them to the House. While each deplored the gradually increasing charge of the Civil List, they all declared that that increase was unavoidable, because the price of every necessary of life, and every article of expenditure, had increased. The reports referred to the private knowledge of each Member for a confirmation of this fact, and then declared that the increased charge of the expenditure was occasioned by the increase of price of every thing in the country. From that statement of the cause of the increase, what was now to be expected from the right hon. Gentleman? Why, that he should decrease the expenditure of the Civil List, at least in the degree in which the necessary articles of life had decreased in price. Instead of that, the right hon. Gentleman took the data of 1816 for the formation of his present plan—a year, in which the expenditure of this country was most profligate and extravagant; and asked the House to continue that expenditure, with the exception of some very paltry reductions. Why did he ask this? Because his Majesty had graciously made certain concessions of his hereditary revenues; but when he alluded to that subject, he ought to have stated what were the concessions made by William 4th, above those made by George 4th? The paper he (Mr. Hume) held in his hand consisted of thirteen items, which William 4th proposed to give up beyond those given up by George 4th. Those items might be found at page 180 of the Parliamentary 449 Papers of last Session. The first item related to the Droits of the Crown and Admiralty, and amounted to 1,229l.; the second to Droits of the Admiralty, and amounted to 284l.; the third consisted of the 4½-per-cent Duties, which he put down at nil, for the whole of them had already been transferred to the support of the hierarchy of the West-Indies. It was true, that if at any future period the expense of the Bishops of the West-Indies should amount to less than 21,000l., and these duties should exceed that sum, the balance might be appropriated to the public accounts. On this point, in fact, there had been no concession, and for 150 years a large sum had been taken from a portion of the colonies, that the King might grant pensions to individuals whom he wished to favour. The next item was the Receiver General of Gibraltar, the nett receipts of last year being only 180l.: this was a gift on the part of the Crown noble and liberal, and though the sum was small the principle was very important. He had had occasion at former times to complain of the manner in which the King had levied taxes at Gibraltar that he might put the proceeds into his pocket, and on an average of the last seven years the sum might amount to 9,000l. or 10,000l. The casual revenues of the Crown might amount annually to about 9,000l., and the sum stated against the Receiver General of Green Wax, in respect of Green Wax, was 41l. The Coroner and Attorney of the King, 104l.; the King's Proctor, 8,164l.; and the Commissioners of the Affairs of Taxes, 584l. The Auditor of the Land Revenue of England, nil; the same of Wales, 75l.; the produce of Spices, arising from the capture of the Molucca Islands, 309l.; Inspector of Fines and Penalties, 864l.; together with other items, amounting last year in the whole (as appeared by the Parliamentary Paper laid upon the Table pursuant to the Act 1 Geo. 4th), to only 24,000l. Let every Member bear in mind that 24,000l. was the whole sum relinquished under this head, exclusive of the revenues derived from Scotland. He, therefore, did not think, as far as regarded amount, that his Majesty was entitled to any great credit for what he had conceded; in principle, however, it was of immense importance that the King should divest himself of the power of interfering with these different 450 departments, small as they were, and that he should afford an opportunity of simplifying the public accounts, so that they might be laid before Parliament in a shape at once clear and intelligible. There he thought that the King had been well advised, and much good might be the result. No individual in this or in any former Parliament had regretted more deeply than he had done the complex manner in which the various items included in the Civil List had been stated. That Civil List had been the means of supporting a large aristocratical body—the odium of which the King was obliged to bear; he had been made to keep up establishments in no wise connected with his household, and in no degree contributing to his personal comfort or to his regal dignity, and merely for the maintenance of an aristocratical interest. He held in his hand the Act of 1 Geo. 4th, in which the payments out of the Civil List were separated into eight divisions, and the House would see, when properly examined, how small a portion actually belonged to his Majesty's household. He allowed all the first class, amounting to 210,000l.; but what had the second class to do with the King's household, consisting, as it did, of payments to the Speaker of the House of Commons— to the Judges of the King's Courts—to the Barons of the Exchequer, and to the Justices of Wales, amounting to 32,000l.? These were unconnected with the comfort of the King and the dignity of the Crown, and ought to be voted by Parliament. The third class related to Ambassadors at foreign Courts, and what had they to do with his Majesty's household? Only this —that if there were by chance any overplus—any sum not required—Ministers took good care that it should be applied in some wav or other. Why did he say so? Because, by 1 Geo. 4th, any sum not appropriated out of the 206,000l. there set apart, was to be returned to the Exchequer. Mr. Canning, indeed, in three years, had taken great credit to the Government for returning to the Exchequer two sums—one of 7,000l., and the other of 13,000l.—under this clause, but his successors had not effected a saving even to that extent. The fourth class in the Act was a most important branch, including-the Lord Steward's department, and those of the Lord Chamberlain, the Master of the Robes, the Surveyor of the Works, &c. The sum granted for these officers in 1820 451 was 215,000l., and in the last year it was 221,000l. Under Mr. Burke's bill of 1786, the whole amount so appropriated was 147,000l., and to that scale we ought now to return. The fifth class was that of tradesmen's bills, which unquestionably belonged to the Royal household. One of the great abuses of the Civil List was, that the King should have the power to give away 200,000l. or 300,000l. in pensions; the public, indeed, provided the money; 90,000l. for one class of pensioners, 50,000l. for another, and 38,000l. for a third; and he asked whether the country was in a condition to pay such enormous sums for such purposes? He was most anxious to lighten the public burthens, and he hoped that, if a committee were appointed, it would not fail to inquire into the pensions granted by his late Majesty. While distress and starvation were staring the people in the face, it was not the time to continue the dead weight of useless pensioners. Not one man in twenty of them deserved such a reward, which was conferred only from favour and affection. Henceforward the Crown ought not to have the power of granting a single pension, excepting out of the savings of the Privy Purse. When the public paid the money, the public ought to be satisfied that it was properly applied. What was the result of an examination of the present Pension-list? That Peers and Peeresses, their sons, daughters, cousins, kith and kin, who possessed parliamentary influence, were extravagantly paid for doing nothing. The time was come when there must be an end of that system; a cheap Government was now the one thing needful, and relief for the people, by cutting off all needless expenses, must be granted. At least it was clear that the pensions charged on the Civil List had no connexion with the Royal household. The next class in the Act 1 Geo. 4th included the Lord President of the Council, the Constable of Dover Castle, the Master of the Hawks, the Chief Justice of Ireland, &c. How were these offices part of the Royal house hold? What did the petitions with which the Table was crowded pray? Not that the King should be deprived of a single comfort, a single luxury, or of anything necessary to support the dignity of the Crown. They only besought the House to put an end to all unnecessary expenses; and upon this point he wished 452 to know why the Constable of Dover Castle was to have 4,000l. a year out of the Civil List?
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, across the Table, that that office had been abolished some years ago.
That may be, continued Mr. Hume, but I only know that I find the item among the payments of last year.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
was understood to add, that the office had been abolished prospectively.
—What, then, will the right hon. Gentleman say to the office of Master of the Hawks? Who keeps hawks now? I know not, but I believe that no man has any business to keep them. When the poor of the country are starving, is it a time for giving a pension to the Master of the Hawks? In addition to this, here is a list as long as a tailor's bill, of pensions altogether unnecessary, and which, of course, ought to be abolished. I submit, therefore, that all these items, instead of being glossed over by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, ought to be submitted to the test of a committee. It is a question whether the nation can afford to pay some expenses of the kind that appear even necessary. We have heard declarations—nay, vows of economy—and what interpretation can be put upon that part of the King's most gracious Speech, but that he wishes every practicable retrenchment to be made? If his Ministers would but give his Majesty wholesome advice, there was no man in the kingdom more ready to follow it. I now arrive at the seventh class—the salaries of the Commissioners of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I wish the just salaries of all useful public servants to be paid; but is there any reason why they should be put upon the Civil List? National expenses ought to be paid out of the national purse. In the eighth class—occasional payments—the greater number ought indisputably to come before the House of Commons. I will state one or two of them. Here 1 find no less than 10,000l. a year for what is called "home secret service," independent of the 50,000l. paid for secret service generally. Then we come to "special service and Royal bounty;" but I apprehend that the King's liberality ought to be limited by his means. If those means are insufficient, and the object be a good one, let his Majesty come to Parliament, and he will not be sparingly dealt with, What con- 453 clusion, then, do I come to? This:—That the only items in Mr. Burke's Bill of 1786, and the only items at the present moment, that ought to be charged upon the Civil List, are the first, fourth, and fifth classes, viz.:—The Privy Purse for the King and Queen; the Establishment of the Household, and the Tradesmen's Bills for that Establishment, amounting to 291,000l.; or, including 50,000l. for the Queen, to 349,000l. Last year, the charge under these three heads was the following:—For the Privy Purse,60,000l.; for the Lord Chamberlain, and other Officers of the Household, 215,000l.; and for Tradesmen's Bills, 137,000l.—making in the whole only 412,000l. out of the 1,120,000l. granted for the Civil List. Not one shilling more, I contend, is necessary for the comfort and dignity of the Crown. On that ground, I contend, that this House cannot be prepared to vote the 970,000l. now required, and that the Commons of England are bound to inquire, before they come to any decision upon the subject. If the sum necessary for the Royal Household were separated, as it ought to be, from other charges not at all connected with it, the King would be relieved from the odium under which he now labours—that so large a sum as nearly a million is annually required for his own personal expenses. Of this I am sure, that nothing but an investigation before a committee can enable this House to come to a vote, if it have any wish to perform its duty to the public. Let me remind it, that this is not the first, nor the sixth time, that hon. Members near me have contended for a diminution of the "Civil expenditure of the Crown: when they have so contended, they have been uniformly met with this answer—that a bargain had been made at the commencement of the reign, and that the compact having been entered into, it could not be broken. The proper time for making reductions of the kind is at the commencement of a new reign—that time is now arrived—a fresh bargain is now to be made; and when the Table groans with petitions, and will hereafter groan under a ten-fold weight of petitions we are bound to obtain the fullest information before we enter into a new contract. We ought not to allow ourselves to be taken by surprise in the ebullition of the moment, and with such a complication of accounts as renders them utterly unin- 454 telligible. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord (Althorp) will move for a Committee on an early day: and if the papers are printed and delivered tomorrow, I do not see how we can take them into consideration before Wednesday or Thursday. Without previous inquiry we cannot be prepared to say what sum ought or ought not to be granted, and without that inquiry we shall not do our duty to our constituents. At all events, I protest against the arrangement proposed—it is uncalled for and complicated, and will be received with disappointment, if not with indignation, by the people.
§ Mr. Brougham
I cannot pretend to say, that I have yet formed a decided opinion upon the great question before the House, but I am inclined to agree with my noble friend near me (Lord Althorp) that even after the promised papers are in our hands further information will be necessary. The subject is of the utmost importance in itself, and in connexion with others — in its constitutional relations, and, above all, on account of the interests it excites among our constituents. Until we have full knowledge, we ought not to proceed to anything like a final adjudication: I therefore am disposed to support the proposition of my noble friend for a committee, and the reason urged by my hon. friend (Mr. Hume) is precisely the ground on which I arrive at that conclusion. We are making an arrangement which is to last during the life of his Majesty, and however we may hereafter find that we have been in the wrong, we may be told—and justly told—that it is too late to reopen the contract: the bargain has been made, and until the demise of the Crown it cannot be altered. As I confidently hope, and earnestly pray, that that event may be long postponed, it becomes more and more our imperative duty not to enter, as it were, blindfold into such a permanent arrangement. The last arrangement was made, I believe, in the year 1815: the people are now more awake to their own interests, but I am sorry to say that they have not the same confidence either in the Executive Government or in the Parliament, which they evinced at the date I have mentioned. lean only say, that I heartily concur in the objections stated by my noble friend; the simplifying of the accounts would be a vast improvement. 455 This has been frequently called a trading nation, and every private individual keeps a check upon his expenditure and the dealings of his servants; he keeps an accurate and intelligible system of accounts; every merchant, without exception, does so, or he would soon find his way into the gazette. That in public affairs, so infinitely more important, a plain, rational, intelligible, certain, and natural system, should be superseded by a system unplain, irrational, unintelligible, uncertain, and not in the least natural, is indeed most extraordinary. The exigency for simple accounts, where even the interest upon the debt amounts to many millions, is ten-fold increased. The amount does not one jot add to the difficulty, for it is just as easy to keep a system of accounts where millions as where units are concerned. This is a point which every body knows, even the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I own I had some difficulty in following the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, and I should, perhaps, say, that it was my fault if I did not find that my difficulty was shared by my hon. friends round me. It appears to me, that instead of taking this occasion to simplify matters, he has added to their confusion; he has talked of subtraction and addition, and added, apparently, only to subtract; for that novel course—novel with any body else—I, for one, do not see the absolute necessity. It seems to me to be most unreasonable, absurd, and unfair, towards the King, that he should apparently cost the country three or four times as much as his actual expenditure. It is well known among us, that the King does not spend nearly the half of the money we are called upon to vote; but out of doors it is generally thought that he consumes every farthing of it, and comparisons are every day made between the cost of a King of England and of a president of the United States. "See (say those ignorant of matters of finance of this kind) the difference between a Republic and a Monarchy: the President of the United States is paid 5,000l. or 6,000l. a-year. and the King of England more than a million." This comparison is exceedingly unjust and inaccurate; but whose fault is it that it is made? Nor ought we to be much surprised that the people fall into a trap which year after year Ministers take so much pains to dig for them. Milton preferred a republic to a monarchy, because, as he 456 said, the mere trappings of a monarchy would fit out a republic; and what course then can be more fit or natural for us to take than to separate the trappings from the substance, and to take from the charge of the Civil List the expenses of foreign Ministers, and many others that have no sort of connexion with it? Do we take this course; and what is the course which we actually follow? We, in our wisdom, take a great deal of what is not trapping, and, by covering it with gloss and slime, we not only make it appear trapping, but we exaggerate it beyond its proper dimensions. Such a proceeding is most unfair to the King at all times: it is at all times bad policy, but most especially bad in times like these. The King is a popular and justly beloved Monarch; but we endeavour to make his people watch, maliciously watch him, and draw odious and unjust comparisons. It is our fault, not theirs; it is unjust and impolitic to the cause of limited Monarchy, and the blindness and blunders of statesmen are loading it with sins that do not belong to it. Another word as to my disappointment, and the disappointment of the country, regarding the surrenders and savings by the Crown. First as to the savings. It may be my error, but it seems to me that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made out the savings to be greater than they really are. When he talks of 130,000l. or 140,000l. let me ask him whether he deducts the expenses of his royal highness the Duke of Clarence? Of course we there must save 38,000l. a-year, for he cannot be King and Duke of Clarence at the same time. We have just as good a right to deduct the allowances of the Dukes of Kent and York, but whether they have been deducted I know not. Do not let the right hon. Gentleman or any body else attempt to mislead the people: it may succeed for eight and forty hours, but no longer. Then as to the hereditary revenues of the Crown, I did hope, and I expressed my gratitude, founded upon that hope, that the Duchy of Lancaster would be included in the cession by his Majesty, I now find that it is not included. The King's speech turns out to have been constructed on a plan much the reverse of that on which speeches are usually made; they are generally intended to be understood, but the object here seems to have been to render the King's Speech un- 457 intelligible. It talks of foreign interference, and yet we have every day since been told that it means no such thing. Another part of it led me to think that the hereditary revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster were to be relinquished. This sense seemed expressed in the largest and most comprehensive terms that could be employed, and it forms my excuse for having formed unfounded expectations; "I place (said the King or he was made to say) without reserve at your disposal my interest in the hereditary revenues, and in those funds which may be derived from any droits of the Crown or Admiralty, from the West-India duties, or from any casual revenues either in my foreign possessions or in the United Kingdom." That is to say, "I surrender all my revenues, casual or otherwise, at home or abroad; "and the expression is so wide and sweeping that I had no doubt that the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, aye, and of Cornwall too, were included. No doubt I shall be told by the Attorney General who was Attorney General for the Duchy of Lancaster, and who is full of that jealousy natural to a single Attorney General, much more to a double one—that the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster are not the hereditary revenues of the Crown.—[Some Member cried, hear, hear!].—That cheer comes from a lawyer, I am sure [laughter. The hon. Member rose in his place.] The hon. Gentleman, I see, is a civilian; but his distinction shows, that he would have been an ornament to the profession. He means to say, that his Majesty does not receive the revenues to the Duchy of Lancaster as king, but as Duke; and that, from ignorance or inadvertence, I have put a wrong construction on the words, "I place without reserve, at your disposal, my interest in the hereditary revenues'' of the Crown. But let us recollect that the King is Duke both of Lancaster and of Cornwall; and thus an ignorant man —not the Duke of Wellington—might be misled by the expression I have quoted. If the framer of the speech really wished the people to understand him, he has pursued a very strange course; and I would advise him, in the interval of his public duties, to disport himself with a few grammatical exercises. The first page of the first grammar he could take up, would inform him, that "the use of speech is, to be understood by those who hear," If 458 I had meant to include the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, I should have used the very terms which it seems the author of this grammatical contradiction employed with the intention of excluding them. When his Majesty tells us, that he places without reserve at our disposal his interest in the hereditary revenues of the Crown, and in those funds which go into his possession from any casual revenues, at home or abroad, is it not natural for us to conclude that he gives up the hereditary revenues of the Crown from whatever source derived; and is it not the Duke of Lancaster who speaks as well as the King? His Majesty does not go down to Lancaster or Preston, to make one speech as Duke of Lancaster, and return to London, to make another speech as King of England. The distinction is a mere quibble, and if not made by a lawyer, give me leave to say it is worthy of the ingenuity of the most astute special pleader. The abandonment by the King in his Speech was an abandonment of the whole without reserve or exception. After what has passed to night, I do not say it was intended; it is a blunder in the King's Speech—a blunder by the Minister—a blunder arising out of sheer stupidity and utter ignorance of the meaning of language; there seems to have existed a total indifference whether the Royal Address was or was not understood, and whether it did or did not express the intention of the high personage by whom it was delivered. Giving satisfaction to the people was out of the question, and perhaps from the time of Charles 2nd or James 2nd to the present hour, there never was a speech from the Throne which produced in the country such a uniform and strong feeling of indignation. If any county Member differs from me, he has only to rise and assert that his constituents are well satisfied; and, no doubt, next Monday or Tuesday, he may again rise, and again assert that his constituents are also satisfied with the diminution of the Civil List, and with the vast improvement in the simplification of the accounts. Give me leave to add, that this question is of infinite importance to the stability of the Monarchy—to the character of the King, and to the character of Parliament, and I, therefore, hail with satisfaction the notice given by my noble friend (Lord Althorp), or by the hon. Baronet, the member for Queen's county (Sir H. Parnell), to take the, sense of the House on 459 the moderate, rational, and judicious course of referring this subject to the investigation of a Select Committee.
§ Sir Robert Peel
The observations of the hon. and learned Member seem to me to call for some reply—[Mr. Brougham here rose, as if to leave the House, but Sir R. Peel requested him to remain.]—It is certainly unusual for a Member to charge a Government with sheer stupidity and gross ignorance; and when a vindication is about to be attempted, for him to leave the House: but I do not ask the hon. and learned Member to remain in his place that he may hear my answer, but that he may listen to a charge against him of gross ignorance on his part. I did not think it right to accuse him in his absence, and I therefore entreated him to retain his seat. He asserts that Government have been guilty of gross ignorance and want of the common knowledge of grammatical construction—that they also had the intention to mislead, inasmuch as they have put into the King's mouth a proposal to resign all interest in the hereditary revenues of the Crown, and thus exciting an expectation that the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, among others, were to be relinquished. The hon. and learned Gentleman contends that there ought to have been contained in the speech a distinct explanation that his Majesty did not mean to relinquish his interest in the hereditary revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster; and with a view to this point, it is material to refer to the language of former Sovereigns, when they have invited the settlement of their Civil List. George 4th relinquished his interest in the hereditary revenues of the Crown; but he did not en that account give up his interest in the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster; on the contrary, he expressly retained them, and in his Speech to Parliament in 1820, he said—"The first object to which your attention will be directed is, the provision to be made for the support of the Civil Government, and of the honour and dignity of the Crown—I leave entirely at your disposal my interest in the Hereditary Revenues." George 4th did not, nor did he mean to relinquish the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, and nobody supposed that he did mean it; therefore, it is not the gross ignorance of his Majesty's Government that is to be complained of; but the gross ignorance of the hon. and learned Gentleman, which has led him to 460 make the unfounded accusation. George the 3rd also in his Speech resigned his interest in the hereditary revenue; but he retained his interest in the hereditary revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster. The Speech, therefore;, of his present Majesty, is in exact conformity with the Speeches of his predecessors, George 3rd and George 4th; and I contend with confidence, that the present Government are not chargeable with the gross ignorance, which belongs only to the hon. and learned Member. But it seems that the terms "casual revenues" imply the relinquishment of the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster."
§ Sir R. Peel
And I contend that they do not. I suppose, that, as a lawyer, the hon. Gent, will not deny that the construction of particular phrases is to be collected from Acts of the Legislature, and I refer him to the language of the Statute I George 4th, to establish that it was never intended that the accounts of the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster should annually be laid before Parliament, like the accounts of the surplus revenues of Gibraltar, &c. which it was provided should be presented before the 24th March in each year. Here, then, is an Act of the Legislature, giving an express construction to the words "casual revenues;" and I think I have shewn that these words cannot be held to apply to the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster. I contend, therefore, confidently that his Majesty's Ministers cannot be justly charged with gross ignorance and stupidity for not including those revenues in words to which former Speeches and Acts of Parliament have given a definite meaning, excluding those revenues. It will be more convenient on a future occasion to discuss the proposition of the noble Lord for a Select Committee; though neither he nor the hon. and learned Member seems to have made up his mind whether that committee shall have power only to examine accounts, or to send for persons, papers, and records; but let me tell them that the distinction is most material. The whole speech of the hon. member for Middlesex shows that he would not be satisfied unless the committee had power to investigate the necessity of the most minute items of expenditure; nor do I see, whatever object the noble Lord may have in view, how that could be otherwise answered, 461 I beg to state, however, that at no period has Parliament yet thought fit to appoint a committee with such extensive powers to inquire into the Civil List; though I will reserve until the proper occasion my objections to the nomination of a committee, now first proposed, to examine every particular connected with the Royal Household, and the maintenance of the dignity of the Crown. 1 hold in my hand a statement of the amount of every bill for the last ten years, and it has been prepared in order that the House may be able to compare the estimate of the present year with the expenditure of the past. If, however, the House of Commons deems it consistent with propriety to ascertain whether it was fit, in every instance, that the money laid out should have been so expended, all I can say is, that such a course will spare the King's servants some labour; but I do not think it is well calculated to uphold the dignity of the Monarchy. There is no instance of the appointment of such a committee, excepting where a debt was incurred by the Civil List, and where resort was had to Parliament for the payment of it. It seems to me that the accounts already produced, and those that will be laid upon the Table this evening, contain so full an explanation of every item of charge, that I cannot believe the House will not be as competent to form its judgment upon every point on which its judgment will be required, as if a committee were to be named, with the limitations imposed on former committees on the same subject. On this question the House cannot possibly decide until it sees all the documents; but this I may say, that the King's Government would have been justly chargeable with an attempt to throw the responsibility of the settlement of the Civil List on the House of Commons, if it had not itself proposed the estimate of what it thought consistent with public economy, and a due regard to the comfort and dignity of the Throne. I apprehend that the House will feel that we have pursued a course both accordant with propriety and conformable to ancient usage. The hon. and learned Gentleman complains of the complexity of the accounts. Now, I cannot see how the accounts could be simplified by merely transferring some particular items from one account to another. Any man of sense, who will take the trouble of reading the Act of Parliament, will understand that those expenses have 462 no connection with the personal expenditure of the Sovereign. It may be right or it may be wrong to include them in the Civil List; but I, for my part, cannot understand how their omission could serve in the least to simplify the accounts. The hon. and learned Gentleman says, that it is not fair to the monarchy to include in the Civil List expenses which are incurred for the public service, and not for the personal comfort of the Sovereign, or for the dignity of the Crown. But, Sir, for my part, I think it by no means expedient to separate the personal expenses of the Monarch from every other expense. Such an arrangement, at least, would be contrary to that which has been hitherto adopted, and which met the assent of Mr. Fox, and of many other eminent men who were usually opposed to the Ministers of their day, and equally alive to preserving the welfare and independence of the people, and the dignity of the Crown. It never before has been suggested that there exists any necessity to make a separation of those articles of expenditure which are applied to the maintenance of the splendor of the Crown from those which are applied to the service of the State. I am sure, Sir, that no arrangement could be made, of which mischievous and artful persons could not take advantage for the purpose of inflaming the minds of the ignorant and thoughtless. Look to the hand-bills which some designing persons have found means to circulate extensively, representing the Marquis of Bute to receive vast sums of the public money, while the truth is, that nobleman has never received from the public one farthing. The name of the noble Marquis is placed at the head of a list of persons who are described as receiving immense sums from the taxes. Now, Sir, I know that great dissatisfaction has been excited among the least informed of the people by those gross misrepresentations. But by what arrangements shall we be able to prevent mischievous men from making such statements, and ignorant and foolish men from believing them? Now in what respect is confusion occasioned by the present arrangement? and in what degree would simplification be effected by setting aside, in a separate account from every other branch of the public expenditure, 400,000l. or 500,000l. or whatever sum Parliament may see fit to allow, for the personal expenses of the Crown? The impression on my mind is, that such 463 an arrangement would be, for many reasons, inexpedient. And so far as public economy is concerned, it is of no consequence whatever upon what fund those other expenses (now included in the Civil List) are charged; for there is an express provision, that should any saving be effected in them, the sum saved shall not go into the Privy Purse, but shall be transferred to the Exchequer. As regards public economy, therefore, I say, Sir, there is no difference whether those expenses be placed in this account or in that. But further, Sir, as to this sum of 400,000l. or 500,000l., which is said to be voted for the personal comfort of his Majesty, I deny that it is intended to contribute to his personal comfort. It is voted to enable him to maintain that splendour, the maintenance of which is inseparably connected, not with the personal comforts of the King, but with the public interest. Is the office of the Lord High Steward, or of the Lord Chamberlain, or any other of the officers of the household, institututed for the personal comfort of the Sovereign? Certainly not. There are connecting links between the Throne and the aristocracy, and unite together the separate bodies which, without some such connection and mutual dependence might come into hostility and conflict. They are subservient to that dignity which the Sovereign should uphold for the honour and interest of the nation, and which he sometimes upholds with great inconvenience to himself. Therefore, Sir, I doubt whether it be expedient to make an entire separation of the expense of every public office from the Civil List, and to hold out to the people in a separate sum, the charge which they pay for the monarchy. I say it is a question rather of feeling, or at most of expediency, than of public economy. I believe that every man of intelligence in the kingdom is aware, that the Civil List does not merely include the personal expenses of the Monarch, but that it also provides for other branches of the public service. I cannot suppose that we should either dispel illusion or give satisfaction by the separation proposed. Even the advantages which are represented as likely to be attained by that arrangement do not seem to me of such importance as to counterbalance the inconveniences which would result from it. However, as this seems to me to be a question for the consideration of the committee—whether it 464 be a mere Committee of Supply, or a committee of more extended powers, such as the noble Lord (Althorp) has proposed, for that opportunity I shall reserve the further explanation of my view of this question.
§ Mr. Brougham
said, that he not only forgave the right hon. Baronet for the charge which he had brought against him, but he also thanked him for having kept him (Mr. Brougham) to hear what he certainly had never heard before. He would not say that he was not grossly ignorant, but he was then, at least, less ignorant than he had been before that evening. Until then he had not known that there was any man who supposed that such a charge could be made against him. The right hon. Baronet, however, had charged him with ignorance—not respecting anything of which he (Mr. Brougham) had spoken, but respecting that to which he had not made the most distant allusion. He would ask, did any hon. Member hear him allude to the speeches of former Kings? yet the hon. Baronet had produced two Kings' Speeches to convict him of gross ignorance—ignorance of what?— of Kings' Speeches. He (Mr. Brougham) had complained of the phrase "without reserve," which occurs in the last Speech from the Throne; and the right hon. Baronet had endeavoured, in his speech, to show that the phrase "without reserve," in that speech, was used in the same meaning as the word "entirely" in the Speech of a former King. He (Mr. Brougham) knew well, that when the late King, in his Speech in 1820, placed the hereditary revenues of the Crown at the disposal of that House, those of the Duchy of Lancaster and of the Duchy of Cornwall were reserved from that surrender. But what misled him (Mr. Brougham) and other lawyers, in respect to the meaning of the Speech with which the present Session was opened, was this: When Ministers came down to the House, and said in the name of the Crown, that his Majesty placed at the disposal of the House, "without reserve," his interest in the hereditary revenues, and in those funds which may be derived from his Droits of the Admiralty, &c. &c. or from any casual revenues, either in his foreign possessions, or in the United Kingdom—when he and many others heard that, they could not suppose that anything else was meant but that his Majesty gave up those revenues 465 unlimitedly and without that reservation of the revenues of the Duchies which had been made on the occasions referred to by the right hon. Baronet. Now, he would ask what pains had there not been taken to keep them in that error? Was that declaration in the Speech received like those of former Speeches? Did not he (Mr. Brougham) say in his remarks upon that Speech, that he stood up to discharge a pleasing office, in expressing his heartfelt satisfaction that his Majesty had tendered, unhesitatingly, not only his other hereditary revenues, but also those which he derived from Cornwall and Lancaster, and which the Crown had formerly been so loth to relinquish? But, good God! he would ask, was the surrender, which had been so much praised for its unreserved-ness and for the economy of purpose which it implied; was that surrender, after all, only the same as that made by a former King, whom nobody ever praised for economy, except, indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer? That King's reign might be characterised by some, as happy and prosperous and peaceful, and what not; but if the English language contained one word more inapplicable than another to that reign, it was the word economical. But when the Ministers saw him (Mr. Brougham) and others strain their throats in the praises of the present King, for the unlimitedness of his surrender of those revenues, why did not somebody stand up and say "Don't be too thankful for small mercies. Wait, simpletons, until you see what you are going to get?" Far from that; when he (Mr. Brougham) expressed his gratitude for the surrender of the resources of the Duchy of Lancaster, there were in the House, besides the Ministers who had spoken, three Cabinet Ministers in reserve. Amongst them was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was then prepared with his plan of "no surrender" and with all his plans of reform. Why, he would ask, did not that right hon. Gentleman stand up and say:—" Pooh, pooh! you poor deluded fool!—why do you waste your gratitude? There is no Lancaster nor Cornwall either to be given up." No, no. Not one of the right hon. Gentlemen opened even a corner of his mouth to correct the mistake. But when they saw that the Speech had led him into error, they left him and the House under the delusion until that night, when the speech 466 of the right hon. Gentleman came to disappoint their just expectations. He was not prepared to say what ought to be the powers of the committee to which the question of the Civil List was to be referred. He would not say that it ought to be such as never before was appointed— namely, with instructions to call before it the scullions of the royal kitchen, and the lowest menials of the household, as to items of the King's expenditure; but he was prepared to say, that there ought to be a committee instructed to inquire rigidly into those other expenses so improperly mixed up with the Civil List. With respect to the misrepresentation concerning the Marquis of Bute, he (Mr. Brougham) marvelled much at the inadvertency of the right hon. Baronet in not perceiving how much the case of the noble Marquis operates against his own argument. That nobleman is Lord Lieutenant of the country of Glamorgan. Now if it were found that in the accounts of that county all the expenses of its administration were set down to the name of the Marquis, would not such a discovery explain the pretences upon which the statements of the calumnious handbill are founded? And was it not to prevent a similar misstatement respecting the expenses of the King, that the separation of other expenses from the Civil List had been proposed? As to what the right hon. Baronet had stated respecting the assent of Mr. Fox to the arrangements adhered to by the Ministry, he (Mr. Brougham) did not know whether that great statesman had or had not given such an arrangement his sanction. But this he knew, that Mr. Fox was but twelve years old when the settlement of the Civil List was proposed in the reign in which he (Mr. Fox) took part in public affairs. Of what weight his opinions on such a subject could have been at that age, he was unable to say, and he also knew that Mr. Fox was dead more than twelve years before the settlement of the Civil List in the last reign. Why his venerated name had been introduced on the present occasion, he could not understand; perhaps Mr. Fox did at some time or other say something in which he might be supposed to approve of the management; and if the Members were informed of his opinion, no doubt it would have considerable weight with them.
§ Sir R. Peel
said, that when the hon. 467 and learned Member affirmed that a charge had been made against him, he seemed to forget that he had put them (the Ministers) upon their defence, and that no charge had been brought against the hon. and learned Member by him (Sir R. Peel), except in retort for a charge previously brought against himself. He had certainly dwelt upon one expression used by the learned Gentleman, in which he had charged the Ministers with gross ignorance. Throughout that discussion he had been altogether right, and the hon. and learned Gentleman altogether wrong, notwithstanding the ingenuity with which he had endeavoured to support his construction of the passage in the King's Speech alluded to. The revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall were never, he contended, understood to be comprehended in the phrase "hereditary revenues of the Crown." In surrendering the hereditary revenues of the Crown to the disposal of that House, his late Majesty King George 4th, had used the expression, that he surrendered them "entirely," and his present Majesty had said the same thing in other words— namely, that he surrendered those revenues "without reserve." The difference was only in the phraseology—there was no difference of meaning. The words of his Majesty's Speech were these:—"I place, without reserve, at your disposal, my interest in the hereditary revenues, and in those funds which may be derived from any Droits of the Crown or Admiralty, from the West-India duties," &c. &c. Now, he would ask if it were not clear that his Majesty would have enumerated the revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall amongst the others, had he purposed to surrender them [no, no!]? As to the statement that Mr. Fox was only twelve years old when the question of the Civil List was discussed, the fact was, that Mr. Fox was in Parliament when Mr. Burke brought forward the act by which the Civil List was divided into the different classes of expenditure which it contains at present; and when that bill was before the House, Mr. Fox did not dissent from the arrangement. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Brougham) asked why the Ministers did not correct the mistake respecting the revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall. On the second evening he (Sir R. Peel) heard that mistake corrected by his right hon. 468 friend near him. If the hon. and learned Gentleman was not in the House on that occasion, perhaps he was attending to his duties elsewhere; but he (Sir R. Peel) was in the House, attending to his duty, when the hon. member for Colchester (Mr. D. W. Harvey) asked whether the revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, were included in the surrender, and it was distinctly answered that they were not.
was sure that when his learned friend opposite (Mr. Brougham) considered what long speeches he was in the habit of making, he would not quarrel with him (the Attorney-General) for not remembering every thing that he (Mr. Brougham) might say there, and in other places, where he (the Attorney-General) had the pleasure of meeting him. Had he (the Attorney-General) supposed for a moment that his learned friend, or any other lawyer, could fall into the error of considering the Revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall included in the expression, "the Hereditary Revenues of the Crown," he (Sir J. Scarlett) would have immediately set him right.
§ Lord James Stuart
was glad that allusion had been made to certain placards, in which it was mentioned that a noble relative of his was in the receipt of a sum of public money, to the amount of 62,000l. a-year, as it gave him an opportunity of utterly denying, in his place in the House, the statement on the placard. He begged to tell the honourable Committee that his hon. relative, (the Marquis of Bute), never received one single farthing from the public during the last sixteen years in which he had been in possession of his estate. As very considerable circulation had been given to the placard, and as it had been quoted in various newspapers of great respectability and great circulation, he felt that the Committee would excuse him in making the statement. He could not imagine who it was, or what class of persons, thought fit to indulge in such gross and infamous falsehoods, but he was sure every Gentleman in the House, and every man out of doors, would take pleasure in contradicting these assertions. The placard alluded to was extracted from a publication of some years back, entitled "a Peep at the Peers. "He knew this publication to be full of cross and infamous 469 falsehoods, not only as regarded his brother, but other persons.
§ Lord Palmerston
considered, that the observations of his right hon. friend (Sir R. Pee!) only further proved the unfortunate choice of topics which the King's Speech exhibited. He had heard it said of some person, as a great proof of ability, that he could speak off a King's Speech without preparation. And certainly, until he heard the Speech with which the present Session had been opened, he did not think that there was any great display of talent in such an exploit. But when he knew that eleven Statesmen had been employed in the production of the Speech so often alluded to in the discussion of that evening, he was enabled to appreciate the merit of the man who could compose a King's Speech without assistance or premeditation. For his own part, he (Lord Palmerston) knew that there were a great number in that House, who had supposed the revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall to be included in the revenues which his Majesty placed at the disposal of the House. He thought it would have been better for the Ministers (as some of them must have been aware of the general impression respecting that matter) to have come forward to correct the error, instead of relying upon an explanation of technicalities for their excuse. He would not then go into the details of the arrangements which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had that evening explained, for, on so short a consideration as he had been able to give the subject, it was impossible to make up his mind respecting it. But he saw with regret that the Government was not convinced of the propriety of a more simplified arrangement. In the arguments alleged by his right hon. friend (Sir R. Peel), he did not see any satisfactory grounds for adhering to the present arrangement. His right hon. friend denied that the change recommended was of any importance in regard to public economy; but he (Lord Palmerston) was of opinion, that when the expenses of the Civil List were to be settled for the whole reign, it must be of great importance indeed to public economy that the accounts should be considered fully; which he did not think could be done if the expenses were not brought forward under different heads. His right hon. friend expressed doubts whether it would be for the real interest of the Crown that the personal expenses of 470 the Monarch should be placed in a separate account from the other domestic expenses of the State, and he seemed to think that something was gained to the credit of the Crown by its personal expenses being hidden amongst numerous other charges. But no advantage, he was sure, could be gained by an arrangement in which the real state of the facts was kept out of sight. He believed that there was in the House and in the country every disposition to contribute to the maintenance of the dignity of the Crown with the splendor suited to that form of Government under which the country enjoyed so many advantages, and to which he was convinced the people were devotedly attached. In those estimates the personal expenses of the Crown ought to be separated from others which have no more connexion with them than any expenses which are brought before the House in a different manner. The result was, that when the House was called on to give 800,000l. or 900,000l. for the support of the Civil List, and any hon. Member objected that such a sum was too great, the Ministers turned round and replied that only one-half of that sum was really appropriated to the expenses of the Crown. The only advantage that Ministers could expect to derive from such an arrangement was, to keep the House from understanding the true state of the expenditure. He quite agreed with his right hon. friend, that it was not desirable that the House should go into minute inquiries as to details of the expenses necessary for the personal comforts of the Sovereign. Such inquiries would be revolting to the country, and were not desired by the House; and he was sure that had the Government set down in the Civil List only those expenses, to the investigation of which that strong objection could apply, the discussion of that evening would not have arisen. But of the contents of that List there was more than one-half, to the examination of which such an objection could not be applied. He was perfectly sure that, when they came to the details of that List, whether they should do so in a Committee up-stairs or in that House, there would be in all but one desire—to look with vigilance to all other expenses whatever, at the same time that they should allow the Sovereign all that could be necessary to support his dignity with the splendor becoming his Majesty and the nation.
§ Sir H. Parnell
took that opportunity of 471 saying, that although he had no desire to raise unnecessary obstructions in the way of the public business, he should feel it his duty (when the question of the Civil List should be brought forward on Monday) to move that it be referred to a Select Committee to inquire into the particulars of the Expenditure.
§ Chairman to report progress, and Committee to sit again on Monday.