§ Lord Althorp
moved the Order of the Day for the third reading of the Civil List Bill. He stated, that he had drawn up a clause according to the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, which he should now lay before the House, proposing to add it as a rider to the Bill. He saw no necessity for it but as it could do no harm he had complied with the suggestion.
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, that, as far as he was able to observe, he did not see any objection to such a clause. With respect to the Bill itself, he must say, that it seemed to him to differ from every one that had preceded it. This Bill, for the first time, dissociated the expenses of the Civil Government of the country from those that were required to maintain the dignity of the Crown. When he proposed the bill uniting both these objects, he had not done it merely because he desired not to depart from former precedents, though he certainly had no wish to depart from them, but because he thought that the welfare of the country would be best consulted by uniting both. In his opinion both reason and good sense required that union, for he did not think it advisable to present the Monarch of this country to the people for grants merely for his personal dignity and comfort, but as dispensing favours and offices, and as dispensing rewards for the performance of the business of the country. As this bill had presented the King in the former light only, it appeared to him objectionable. It might, indeed, be thought that at first it would be supposed the Crown had given up 400,000l. of its expenditure, but in the present state of the information of the public upon this subject, it must be clear that no one in or out of the House could suppose for a moment that such a saving had been effected. The present arrangement of the Civil List had been made at the desire of those who said they wished 1372 to be able to compare the charges of the present Civil List with those of the Civil Lists of former periods; but he believed that when the present Civil List came to be examined, those who had desired the new arrangement would have little reason to view it with approbation. So far was it from being simplified, that he would venture to assert, it was more complicated and involved than it had ever been before. In a Paper, which he unfortunately had not seen till this morning, he found that arrangements had been made for those sums which had not been provided for in the Civil List; and that circumstance alone was sufficient to show that no simplification had taken place. He would give some examples of this. In the first instance, it was intended in the present Civil List that the Crown should retain the power of superintending not only the business but the sports of the country. The Crown, therefore, had the disposal of sums of money for plate to be run for at races, and 4,500l. were annually expended in that manner, in order to encourage the breed of horses. Now that sum was made up in the following manner:—The larger portion, or sum of 2,400l., was taken from the Civil List, 1,880l. were to be voted in the Committee of Supply, and 220l. were fixed as a charge upon the Consolidated Fund; so that on one item alone, which was, strictly speaking, an item of royal expenditure, there were no less than three different sources from which the gross amount was drawn. With respect to the Yeomen Guard in Ireland, the arrangement of the payment to that body had been made for the convenience of the House, as the annual discussions on that branch of expenditure had been found highly inconvenient, yet the present Civil List Bill proposed to go back to the old system which had before been given up at the desire of the House itself. The same was the case with respect to the Royal Palaces, for which a sum of 51,400l. was to be given from the Civil List, and 1,300l. was charged upon the Consolidated Fund. With respect to charitable donations, the confusion was very great—13,200l. were to be taken from the Civil List, 4,500l. were to be voted in the Committee of Supply, and 2,250l. were charged upon the Consolidated Fund. He should ask those who were the advocates of simplification, whether these instances exhibited any improvement in that respect? It might be supposed 1373 that the expenses for the offices of the several Orders of the Garter, the Bath, and St. Patrick might be all put upon the same footing—but that was not the case; for while some were charged upon the Civil List, others were fixed upon the Consolidated Fund. Me thought, therefore, that under these circumstances those who looked for a simplified expenditure would find themselves much mistaken. The real amount of the Civil List was what it had been before. The provision for the King was much the same as that which he had proposed. He felt numerous objections to the present Bill; but, as he thought that the grant to the Crown ought to be made in as gracious and considerate a manner as possible, he should offer no objection to it; and, therefore, he cordially gave his approbation to the Bill notwithstanding its many defects.
said, that if he had expected the right hon. Gentleman would have made this charge, he would have brought down papers that would have answered it. The whole of the last Civil List Bill was one mass of incongruities. He wondered that the right hon. Gentleman could stand up in his place and defend such a plan of the Civil List, against one which was founded on a plain and intelligible principle. The former mode of conducting the public accounts had been one mass of mystification, so that he did not wonder the right hon. Gentleman should feel regret that the plan was now so altered, that any man out of doors could understand what had formerly been quite unintelligible to the greater number of Members of that House. The right hon. Gentleman was in a dilemma, for no man could take up the present Bill without knowing what was the amount of that branch of the expenditure of the country, but if he had looked at former Civil Lists, or at that which had been introduced by the right hon. Gentleman in the beginning of last November, he would find that it was impossible to discover any one principle of classification. He (Mr. Hume) bad never been able to understand the principle of the distinction made with respect to various public officers, some of whose salaries were charged upon the Civil List, while others were differently provided for. He was so far from agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman as to the impropriety of the present principle of the Civil List, that he thought it was for the honour and interest 1374 of the Monarchy that all the items of the Civil List should be fairly laid before the public, so that the people should not attribute to the King an expenditure with which his Majesty had really nothing to do. Under the old system the public saw 1,057,000l. voted for the Civil List, and great numbers among them believed that all that amount was required for the personal expenses of the Monarch, for his Majesty and his household. The change effected was calculated to put an end to this error. The right hon. Gentleman was the only man in the country who thought that the change was not beneficial. The late Pension List was not, as it affected to be, the Pension List of the Crown, but of the creatures of the Ministry; and pensions were granted to ladies among the rest, most of which pensions, he would venture to say, were unknown to his Majesty. He regretted that the present Civil List so far imitated the old as to retain the Pension List. He had wished to get rid of it, and was sorry to say, that he had been left in a miserable minority on the point. He was, however, so thoroughly convinced of the necessity of removing this Pension List from the other items of the Civil List, that when the opportunity occurred he should move to reduce the amount of the sum to be granted to his Majesty by the whole amount required for these pensions. He trusted, that the House would then show that they wished to conform to the opinion of the country on that point. He thought that the present Government was entitled to the thanks of that House and of the people, for the reduction they had effected in the hitherto overwhelming amount of money paid for our Embassies to Foreign Courts. The expenditure on that head had never been in the least degree diminished during the two last reigns, and the salaries, by being fixed in the Civil List, could not be interfered with by that House, which could not review a grant for the Civil List after it had been once made. He thanked the present Ministers, therefore, for having so far adopted the recommendation of the Committee, as to put the salaries of Ambassadors on a footing that would enable that House to regulate them in future. The salaries of the present Ministers were about to' be reduced, and the Ministers would take care that the salaries of other men should be brought under the review of that House, which never could 1375 have taken place under the old system. The next item to which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) objected, was the taking of 100,000l. from the Irish establishment; and it was very true, that if the Civil List of the right hon. Gentleman had been carried, the House would have had no control over that part of the expenditure. After that, the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to the hereditary payments in Scotland, 51,000l.; but he (Mr. Hume) should be glad to know why any of them should be placed out of the cognizance of Parliament? The present arrangement, by which the Civil List beyond the control of Parliament was reduced from 970,000l. to 510,000l., was a most important advantage to the community; and he hoped,. therefore, that the House would sanction the change. He hardly knew how to notice seriously the remarks to which the right hon. Gentleman had been driven, when he lamented so bitterly 4,000l. hitherto given, as he contended, for the encouragement of the breed of horses, should be taken from the Civil List. The Civil List, as it formerly existed, was certainly well calculated for the encouragement of the breed of another and an inferior description of animal? but, under the new system, he (Mr. Hume) saw no sufficient reason for retaining even the plates for running horses. It was not it that the public money should be so spent, while the people were starving; and if country gentlemen liked to have sport, it ought to be at their own expense. After lamenting over the decay in the breed of horses, the right hon. Gentleman very naturally descended to the Board of Works, and bemoaned the change that was to be made in this department.
§ Mr. Goulburn
interposed to save time; he had not bemoaned the Board of Works, but merely expressed an opinion that the new arrangement would not simplify the matter. His remark regarding the breed of horses was of the same nature.
was very glad to find, that he was mistaken on the point, but really the right hon. Gentleman had no very extraordinary talent at rendering himself intelligible. Perhaps he (Mr. Hume) was in error also as to the rest of the right hon. Gentleman's positions; he had understood him to bemoan the departure from the good old sinecure system of our ancestors; but, after all, he might be well satisfied 1376 with its abolition; and he (Mr. Hume) should sit down in the expectation that the vote in favour of the third reading of the Bill would be unanimous.
§ Mr. Goulburn
observed, that if hon. Members would so condescend, it would be easy at any time to obtain such a triumph as had been just achieved by the hon. member for Middlesex. The cheers of the three or four hon. Gentlemen round him were certainly an ample recompense, and worthy of his ambition. He was not aware that he had made any admission in favour of the alteration in the Civil List, which, among others, was open to the great leading objection, that the money was to be paid out of three funds instead of one. This change was anything but a simplification.
§ Lord Althorp
admitted, that the right hon. Gentleman had brought forward two or three instances of want of simplicity in the present plan, but he had studiously omitted the enormous confusion of his own miscalled arrangement. To show the doubt that was thus created, he would mention, that when he (Lord Althorp) came into office, he did not know the amount of his own salary—a point upon which, probably, the right hon. Gentleman was not equally in the dark. He had thought that it was something more than 3,358l. a year, but to his great surprise he found that it was 5,000l. a year. The difficulty arose out of the complication of accounts. It had been thought right to separate from the Civil List all that related to the general government of the country, and this point had been gradually approached ever since the passing of Mr. Burke's bill. The five heads into which the Civil List was divided were these— first, Privy Purse; second, Salaries of the Household; third, Expenses of the Household; fourth, Special Services; fifth, Pensions; and what had been done regarding running horses was merely this— to remove from the Civil List the sums paid for this purpose in Ireland and Scotland. It would be for the House to decide whether it would continue this arrangement, for it was one of the benefits of the proposed change, that if it were hereafter found disadvantageous, a different course might be adopted. One principle on which Ministers had proceeded was, to let the people see that the enormous sum hitherto supposed to be expended by the King, was not in fact all 1377 for the support of royalty. For this reason, the sum for charities in Ireland and Scotland had been removed from the Civil List, and the salaries of the Board of Works would also be voted in Supply. He did not mean to say, that the accounts were now as simple as they might be rendered, but he contended that they were a great improvement upon those which the right hon. Gentleman had laid upon the Table.
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, that the noble Lord might have readily ascertained what his salary was, through the patents in his office. The noble Lord, in addition to being Chancellor of the Exchequer, held an appointment as a Lord of the Treasury; and thus the salary was enhanced to the amount the noble Lord had mentioned.
§ Sir M. W. Ridley
observed, that in the country, nothing was less understood than the payments for the Civil List; it was generally supposed that the King had, hitherto, had the uncontrolled command of 1,200,000l. per annum. Such, in future, would not be the fact, even with regard to the much smaller sum of 510,000l.; but of this he was sure—that the people of England would think the benefit of a Kingly Government cheaply purchased at that expense.
§ Mr. Courtenay
gave notice, that after the Bill had been read a third time, and before it was passed, he would move an Amendment, to render it more precisely what it pretended to be.
§ Mr. Maberly
was astonished that even the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) should be so bigotted to his own plan as not to admit at once the superior advantages of that by which it was superseded. The Monarch was thus relieved from a degree of odium that hitherto had been most unjustly attached to him. It was true that in the Committee he (Mr. Maberly) had supported the proposition of the hon. member for Middlesex, for discontinuing pensions even to the reduced amount of 75,000l. upon the Civil List. He still adhered to that opinion; but he saw, nevertheless, the clear benefits of the other parts of the measure of the noble Lord, and he was ready also to admit the impossibility of making calculations on this subject with nicety so as to avoid the necessity of a contingent account to the amount of 5,000l. or even 10,000l. If the present Government had proposed a plan for the Civil List much more ob- 1378 jectionable than that in the Bill, he should have felt himself called upon to support them, as the servants of a Monarch who had already done so much for his people, and who, by the great measure now pending, was about to confer on the country one of the greatest blessings it had received from the hands of a Monarch, since the era of Magna Charta. No Government had ever stood so well, or deserved to stand so well, with the public, or had redeemed its pledges so fully and so faithfully.
§ The Bill read a third time.
§ Lord Althorp
proposed a Clause, to provide expressly that the charges in Schedules 2, 3, and 8, and no others, should be chargeable upon the Civil List.
§ Mr. T. P. Courtenay
proposed a short clause, by way of rider, to the effect that no branch of the Civil Government was to be provided for by the Bill.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
referred to a motion he had formerly made regarding the department of the Woods and Forests, and stated his intention hereafter to renew it. His principal object in rising was, however, that it might not be supposed by his silence that he concurred in the arrangement made in the Bill regarding the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster. He thought himself at liberty, though he assented to the Bill, to bring forward any motion he might think proper hereafter on the subject of Crown Lands.
was afraid that, under this new Bill, part of the sum of 510,000l. a-year might be applied to swell the salaries of the great Officers of State, instead of being devoted, as it was intended, to support the dignity and provide for the" comfort of the Crown. He must also complain of the disrespectful mode in which Ministers had treated the Report of the Select Committee on the Civil List; they had, in fact, thrown it in the face of the Members, and had declared that they would not be bound by any of its recommendations.
§ Lord Althorp
said, his hon. friend was in error. The excess in any branch of the Civil List might be appropriated to make good the deficiencies on any other. It was quite a mistake to represent the Government as flinging the report of the Committee in the face of the Members.
§ Mr. Briscoe
also regretted that Ministers had not attended to the recommendation of retrenchment contained in 1379 the Report of the Select Committee. The country had a right to expect that every practicable saving, however small, should be made. Nevertheless, he supported the measure, for the reason stated by the hon. member for Abingdon (Mr. Maberly), that Ministers deserved well of their country for the great improvement they were about to effect in the Representation.
§ The Clause agreed to, and ordered to be inserted in the Bill.
rose for the purpose of proposing that something be struck out of the Bill, the effect of which would be, to take from 510,000l. the whole proposed amount of the Civil List, the sum of 75,000l. allowed for pensions. This reduction would leave 435,000l. per annum Nott, at the disposal of the King, and would relieve him from a degree of painful responsibility in the distribution of the Royal bounty. He held in his hand a paper shewing the individuals to whom George 4th had granted pensions, and hence it appeared that many had been given to persons whose services had deserved no reward. Did hon. Members consider how much the pensions had increased the National Debt? In the late reign the amount of the sums granted in the way of pensions in England was 890,000l.., in Ireland 194,000l., and in Scotland 349,000l.; making altogether 1,939,000l. paid in pensions, not one in ten of which was merited. Notwithstanding all the pledges which various Administrations had made of economy, here was nearly two millions of the public money thrown to the dogs, for scarcely one of these pensions was merited. The pensions, instead of being rewards for services, were given for other purposes; for the instances were few in which any services whatever had been performed. He altogether reprobated the system of giving pensions, except for great services and meritorious conduct; and it would be far better to pay people liberal salaries, and compel them to provide, out of those salaries, for their maintenance in their old age. In America they gave no pensions to public servants, and yet public business was as efficiently performed as in any other country whatever. He should, therefore, move that the sum of 435,000l. be inserted in the Bill instead of the sum of 510,000l. thus excluding the sum of 75,000l. appropriated for pensions.
§ Mr. Hunt
seconded the amendment, 1380 and said, that he was induced to do so because he had presented no less than sixty petitions to that House, praying for a reduction in the public expenditure; and he thought few items called for reduction more loudly than those on the Pension-list. He should divide the House upon the amendment of the hon. member for Middlesex; for he was aware that out of doors those discussions were called sham debates in which no division took place.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he had so often stated his opinions upon this matter, that he should decline, at the present time, to enter into any arguments on the subject. He should only remind the House, that the present amount of pensions was only about half what had been formerly proposed, and he trusted, therefore, that, it would be considered that a sufficient reduction had been made.
Mr. Alderman Wood
regretted that he should be under the necessity of voting against Ministers on the present occasion. He could not avoid doing so, however, when he witnessed the distress of the country. No less than 300 persons had recently been summoned before him, for the purpose of being compelled to pay the taxes; and their poverty was such that they were wholly unable to do so, unless indulgence was granted to them. He was obliged to give them fourteen days' time, or else to send them to prison or seize their goods. When he had witnessed all this so recently, he felt bound to vote against the application of money, wrung from such persons, to persons who had no right to it, and who were wholly undeserving of it.
§ Mr. D. W. Harvey
said, he understood the hon. member for Middlesex to contend that no pensions should be granted until they were, in the first instance, submitted to the consideration of that House. He was opposed to his proposition, for there would be no economy in it. On the contrary, if every pension were to be submitted to party discussion from time to time in that House, it would be found in the end that the Pension-list would be far greater in amount than the sum now proposed. The amendment involved a most important principle. If it was meant to be contended that the Crown should be stripped altogether of the power of re- warding merit by means of a pension, without applying to that House, he must say 1381 that he could not consent to such a proposition. At present these pensions were not beyond the control of Parliament, for any Member might call for a return of the manner in which the funds had been distributed. He gave this explanation lest a silent vote should be misconstrued; and he meant to oppose the amendment on principle.
said, that he could not agree with the argument of the hon. member for Colchester, that submitting pensions to be canvassed by that House, as guardians of the public purse, before they were granted, could have the effect of increasing their amount. To hold such a doctrine was actually a libel on the Parliament, for, imperfect as it was in its formation, it still could not be said that it would so wholly abandon its duty. It should be remembered that it was more than probable, at least it was the general expectation, that we should have a new Parliament within the year. Now these pensions were granted for the life of the King; and as every one must expect, as well as hope, that his Majesty would live much longer than a year, it would be far better to establish the Civil List without the pensions and leave them to be dealt with by the new Parliament called under a new and a better system, in which Parliament they would doubtless meet with proper investigation.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
said, that he should feel it his duty, as a guardian of the public purse, to vote for the amendment of the hon. member for Middlesex. He felt confident that if the matter were to be submitted to Parliament, though the pensioners would be liberally dealt with where pensions were merited, yet a stop would be put to the wasteful and unwarrantable expenditure which had been carried on under the present system.
§ The House divided on the Question that the sum of 510,000l.. stand part of the Bill; when there appeared, for the Motion 72; Against it 17; Majority for the original grant 55.
then called the attention of the House to the vote of 45,000l. for three Princes of the Royal Blood. He wished that this vote had been contained in another Bill, for he did not see how it was connected with the Civil List. He should be glad if all the items which were clearly exclusive of the Civil List had been kept out of it. The three items to which he al- 1382 luded were 15,000l. to the Duke of Cumberland, over and above the sum of 6,000l. to Prince George; 15,000l.. to the Duke of Cambridge; and 15,000l. to the Duke of Sussex. Three times he had known resolutions passed in Committees to the effect that it was necessary to bring back all these allowances in a degree proportionate to the old value of the currency. When prices were very high, in the year 1806, the House of Commons, expressly on that ground, granted an addition of 6,000l. a year to the salaries of each of the Princes of the Blood, and the state of the country at that time gave those Princes a fair claim to such increase of their salaries. In 1822 that House had moved an Address to the Crown, that all salaries might be reduced as he had stated. A Committee which had recently sat had reduced the salaries of Ministers; and, upon similar grounds, he thought the House was called upon to reduce also the salaries of Royal Dukes, now that prices were below what they were in 1806. He thought they ought to be dealt with in the same manner as other individuals. The hon. Member then moved that the salaries of the three Royal Princes I whom he had named should be reduced in j the sum of 5,000l. each. They had been j raised in 1806 from 12,000l. to 18,000l.,! but he now moved, that they should be brought back to 13,000l. each.
§ Lord Althorp
admitted, that it was the province of the House to reduce salaries; but, in this instance, the House had not the power to do it. These particular allowances were by Act of Parliament, the 18th of George 3rd, which empowered him to divide 60,000/. amongst his younger children; the grant not to take effect till after his death. This was part of the hereditary revenues which it was not in the power of his present Majesty to give up to the public; and it was on that ground only that this particular charge came into the Civil List.
§ Sir George Warrender
agreed that the reduction could not take place without repealing an Act of Parliament. He should be sorry to take away a moderate allowance granted by Act of Parliament. He thought his Majesty's Ministers had distinctly redeemed all the pledges they had given to the country; he knew that further measures of economy were in progress, and he had the greatest confidence in Ministers.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
would vote against the 1383 hon. member for Middlesex, as he did not think the sum granted too much.
moved an Amendment, that the second class be reduced to 118,700l., and that there should be added to the third class the sum deducted from the second class, 11,300l. He could not do otherwise than complain of the conduct of Government, who in the course they were pursuing with respect to the Civil List, were doing precisely the same thing which lost the former Ministers their places. They were acting in direct opposition to the recommendation of the Select Committee, who called for a certain reduction, though a small one. In wishing to take from the second, and to add to the third class, he was anxious to provide for the splendor and dignity of the Crown, instead of making a large provision for noblemen whose incomes were already very large.
§ The Speaker
suggested that the Motion ought to stand as follows: — "That 130,300l. be omitted, and 118,700l. be inserted in its stead."
§ Lord Althorp
said, that the Motion was not, in fact, diminishing the amount of the grant. The object of the Motion was, to prevent his Majesty granting salaries to household officers as they hitherto had been granted. The Bill, as it stood, did not prevent his Majesty from doing it, nor did it compel him to do it. He certainly never had pledged himself one way or the other that salaries should be reduced, or kept to what they were. He wished it to be left to the discretion of his Majesty. If his Majesty chose to reduce the salaries, there would be a surplus to be applied to the Third Class.
§ Sir M. W. Ridley
was surprised that the gallant Colonel had made a proposition so unbecoming in the House to adopt, and so insulting to his Majesty—viz. to take it out of the power of his Majesty to make such disbursements as he might please. The House, he was sure, would not approve of any proposal of the kind. It was, in fact, saying, "We will give you so much, but we will restrict you from the 1384 absolute disposal of that sum of money, which must be expended as we think fit."
Sir Robert Bateson
said, that as the late Ministers had gone out upon this question, he thought his Majesty's present Government would be acting a most inconvenient part if they did not uphold the decision of the Committee. He would move that a sum of 12,000l. be deducted from the Second Class of 119,000l., and he should not think of transferring it to any other class. He should not be deterred from dividing on the question now, because the Reform measure was coming on next week. He concluded by moving, as an amendment, that 11,500l. be deducted from the Second Class.
said, that as the proposition of the hon. member for Londonderry went to remove entirely the sum of 11,500l. from the aggregate of the Civil List, and not merely to shift it from Class Two to Class Three he should support it, because he would never sanction the principle on which Ministers were acting—that of opposing the recommendation of a Select Committee.
§ The Speaker
wished, before the discussion proceeded further, to explain to the House the situation in which it was placed. The first proposition was, to take 11,500l. from the Second Class, and add it to the Third Class, and this they could do. But then came the second proposition, which was, to take away altogether the sum of 11,500l. Now, as the whole amount of the Civil List was voted, if this amendment were agreed to, it would have the effect of leaving that sum wholly unappropriated.
§ Mr. Ruthven
said, that on the principles of economy and reform, which he had always maintained in and out of the House, he must support the amendment of his hon. friend, the member for Londonderry. 1385 In supporting his amendment, he did not conceive he was in any degree restricting the comforts or conveniences of the Royal person. If he did, he would not support it.
§ Mr. George Robinson
thought it not derogatory from the dignity of the Monarch, or in any manner lessening those comforts which the people of this country were disposed to allow him, to give a vote in support of the recommendation of the Select Committee,—that 11,529l. should be reduced from the salaries of the officers of the Second Class. The House, he admitted, was not bound by the recommendation of the Select Committee, but he thought some cogent reason should be given why it should not be attended to; and he, not having heard any such reasons, would give his vote in favour of the amendment.
§ The gallery was cleared for a division, but none took place, the amendments were negatived, and the Bill passed.