§ Lord Althorp
laid upon The Table of the House papers relating to the estimate of the future annual charge of the Civil List. The noble Lord then said:—Pursuant to the notice I gave on a former day, I now proceed, Sir, to discharge the duty I have undertaken, in moving that these papers be referred to a Committee on the Civil List. In making this Motion, it will be my duty shortly to state what his Majesty's Ministers have proposed to do with respect to the Civil List. In framing these estimates, we have endeavoured to follow out the course which it appeared to be the wish of this House, on a former occasion, should be adopted. In the first place, then, we propose to refer the Civil List to a Committee. It did not appear, on the occasion to which I have alluded, that there was any Gentleman in the House who wished to diminish the comforts of his Majesty, or to detract from the dignity of the Crown. The question on that occasion, and the discussion which then took place, arose upon the objections to the Civil List, as proposed by the late Government, because that Civil List contained, in many respects, matter not connected with the dignity of the Crown, or with the personal comfort of his Majesty. It was also objected to, because the right hon. Gentleman opposite refused to refer it to a Committee. In proposing the estimates which I now lay upon the Table, I have endeavoured to avoid these objections. I have laid out of them all those charges which the Civil List formerly contained which do not appear to me connected with the 153 personal comfort of his Majesty, or with the dignity of the Crown. I have differed also from the right hon. Gentleman with respect to the mode of dividing the Civil List. He divided it into ten classes. That principle of division appeared to me inconvenient, and I have divided it into five classes. The first of these classes is that for the Privy Purse and the allowance to her Majesty—the second relates to the service of the Household—the third to the expenses of the Household—the fourth class comprises the sums appropriated for the Royal Bounties—and the fifth consists of the Pensions. I have made this division of the classes of the items forming the Civil List, because it appears to me that all the rest ought to be under the control of Parliament. It is desirable that his Majesty, with regard to his personal income, and with respect to that which concerns his personal comfort, should be independent of this and the other House of Parliament. He ought not to be liable to have inquiries made into the mode of that expenditure; which would be a hardship on any individual whatever, and which would be the greater on him, on account of the dignified station he holds. With regard to the first of these classes—the vote for the Privy Purse, and the allowance to her Majesty —I do not intend to propose any alteration whatever. The sum charged to that class is 110,000l., being composed of 60,000l. for the Privy Purse, and 50,000l. for the Queen. With respect to the second class —that relating to the Officers of the Household — the sum formerly proposed was 140,546l. I propose that the charge for that class should now be 130,300l. I do not mean that the House should consider this as a reduction to that amount, because it arises from a change in the arrangement, the reduction being occasioned by the removal of the salaries of officers of the Board of Works from the Civil List to the Consolidated Fund. I have made this alteration, because I think that all these officers should be under the control of Parliament. A reduction is also occasioned by the abolition of the office of Auditor of the Civil List. That has long been a sinecure office—the duties have been performed by the deputy Auditor, and I have therefore thought it ought to be abolished. The House will, however, perceive, that to deduct those two sums —the salaries connected with the Board 154 of Works, about 10,000l., and the expense of the Auditor of the Civil List, 2,400l.—will make a larger reduction than the amount I have stated; but it is counterbalanced by including some smaller salaries, at present paid from other classes, which the House will perhaps not think it necessary that I should particularize. The third class proposed by the right hon. Gentleman was for the expense of the Household of his Majesty, and his suggestion was to the extent of 210,500l. My proposition for the same class is 171,500l.; and I must here remark, that I am not about to state the sum as an actual reduction, as the difference arises from transferring the charge of the Board of Works to a different department. When I first looked at the subject, I confess it seemed extraordinary that while the expense of all articles of consumption was so much decreased, the charge for the maintenance of the royal Household had remained unabated; but on examining the subject more minutely and accurately, I have arrived at the opinion, that a reduction cannot be made without compelling his Majesty either to alter his present style of living or to incur debt. I am sure the House will not wish that either alternative should take place. It must not be forgotten that an increase of expenditure is necessarily occasioned by the circumstance that we have happily at present a Queen Consort. I am prepared to assert, that his Majesty could not live in his present style with a smaller allowance, unless he pursued a system of greater economy in all the departments of the Royal Household. The fourth class relates to the royal bounty and charity, and the sum proposed by the right hon. Gentleman was 23,000l. per annum. In that I shall suggest no alteration. In the fifth class —that of pensions — I have made the greatest change. The following was the scale of Pensions charged by the right hon. Gentleman on the Civil List of England, Ireland, and Scotland:—
I perfectly agree with those who think that a liberal allowance ought to be made to the King, to enable him to reward the services of the meritorious—to assist those whom his Majesty considers distressed— and to bestow marks of favour where those 155 marks of favour are deserved. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that the sum of 159,000l. is a great deal too much to be so applied. I know that it was the intention of the Duke of Wellington to lessen it to 144,000l. in the following manner—Pensions were to be allowed out of the Civil List of,
England £74,200 Ireland 53,795 Scotland 31,222 Total £159,217
Still that sum would, in my view, be a great deal too much. My proposition is to bring the English, Irish and Scotch Pensions into one sum, which will much simplify and improve the account. I propose that the House, should grant for this purpose no more than 75,000l. making a reduction of 69,000l. I will now explain to the House the mode in which I mean to effect this reduction. Three modes have occurred to me. It might be done—first, by granting no pension until the list was reduced to the sum I propose; it must be evident, however, that this plan would be unfair to his present Majesty, as it would, in all probability, prevent him from granting a single pension. The second mode might be, that as pensions fall in, his Majesty should be allowed to grant a smaller sum, so as gradually to reduce the amount of the list. This plan is liable to some degree of objection: and the mode in which I propose to effect the reduction is the third. It is this: —That the pensions should be taken by seniority according to the date of the grant, and that those which amount to 75,000l., standing at the head of the whole number, shall be placed on the Civil List; so that the public shall gain the advantage as the others fall in. I am aware that this plan, placing the oldest lives on the list gives his Majesty an advantage in the division; but, considering the great sacrifices made in the whole amount, I do not think that the House will object to allow it. It is necessary for me to explain the grounds on which I do not propose to remove any of the existing pensions, and I will state them shortly. It is certainly true, and no man is more ready to assert it than I am, that many of the Pensions on the List are such as ought never to have been granted; but after the best examination I have been able to give the subject, I am able 156 to say that the majority are merely and purely pensions of charity. I willingly admit that we have the legal right to put an end to all those pensions; they expire, by law, with the demise of the Crown, and it has no right to renew them. But though we may have a legal right, I doubt if we have an equitable right, to abolish them; because they were, undoubtedly, always granted on the supposition that the party receiving them obtained them for life. The result of my statement, unquestionably, is, that there will be, on this branch, no immediate saving to the public. When I say that there is no immediate saving, it ought not perhaps to be omitted that there is a saving to the extent of about 20,000l.; but I do not put it forward so far as a measure of economy. I think the great recommendation of my plan is, abstracting from the Civil List, not under the control of Parliament, the sum of 460,000l. per annum, which hereafter will be placed under the supervision of the House. The suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) was, that 970,000l. should be granted for the Civil List, over the disbursements of which this House could exercise no control. My plan is, that only 510,000l. shall be so circumstanced; and although what I have opened to the House may not occasion any immediate saving, it will ultimately lead to it, and it will give Parliament the control it ought to exercise. Having said so much respecting the Civil List, I may remark, that there is another point, not indeed immediately belonging to it, but intimately connected with it, upon which I feel it my duty to say a few words. On the marriage of King George the 3rd, the sum of 54,000l. was granted to Queen Charlotte for her jewels, besides the outfit with which she was provided. In the case of the Princess Charlotte, also, a large sum was voted for the outfit of her royal highness; and I have reason to believe, that a proposition for granting an outfit to her present Majesty was under the consideration of the late Government. I believe that I am correct when I state, that the Duke of Wellington did not consider it unreasonable that such a proposal should be made to the House of Commons. Considering that her Majesty had to provide the whole of her royal establishment, and that many difficulties must necessarily be encountered whenever a person begins in debt, it did not seem to me unreason- 157 able that an outfit should be granted by Parliament. But I have the satisfaction of informing the House, that his Majesty, with the liberality which belongs to the constitution of his mind—with that considerativeness which renders him so attentive to the wishes of his subjects—and with that solicitude for the public welfare which has already given so much general satisfaction, declines to accept it. We cannot pretend to insinuate, either in this House or out of it, that the measures we propose have not received the sanction and approval of his Majesty. We have the happiness to serve a royal Master, who is glad to give a ready acquiescence to every suggestion tending to promote the welfare of his people. He has commenced his reign as, perhaps, the most popular King in our history, and he bids fair to preserve that popularity by an earnest and constant desire to merit it. I beg to move, that the papers be referred to a Select Committee.
England to the amount of £74,200 Ireland 40,000 Scotland 30,000 £ 144,200
§ Mr. Goulburn
I do not rise to enter into any details regarding the Civil List, and I shall follow the example of the noble Lord and his friends, who, when I had the honour of making my statement, reserved the expression of a decided opinion until they had due time for consideration. But I cannot refrain, even upon this first occasion, from offering a few observations upon what has fallen from the noble Lord. I understood that the decision the House came to in November last was, that the details of the measure were to be submitted to a Committee up-stairs, in order that they might report, not only what they thought ought to be the amount of the Civil List, but the details they considered expedient. I understood the right hon. Baronet (Sir H. Parnell) who proposed the Committee, grounded himself upon a precedent which went the length I have stated. He intended, that any measures, afterwards to be introduced by Ministers, should result from the inquiries of that Committee; and the point at issue between the right hon. Baronet and myself was, whether the preparation of the estimates belonged properly to the servants of the Crown, or to a Select Committee. Whatever was the decision of the House upon that occasion, I am glad, at least, to have the sanction of the noble Lord to the principle, that it is the duty of the Government, let it be composed of whom it may, to undertake the task of 158 preparing the estimates, instead of delegating the responsibility to others. The noble Lord has said, that he has endeavoured to conform himself to the principle advanced in debate by those who opposed the plan I had the honour of submitting. He has excluded from the Civil List all that was not strictly attached to the personal comfort and dignity of the Sovereign, and he is, no doubt, aware, that in taking this course he has been guilty of a departure from the principle upon which every Government has hitherto acted in the settlement of the Civil List. It has always been the practice, at the commencement of every reign, to provide for the Civil Government, and for the expense of the Civil List, in one sum. The noble Lord takes upon himself, for the first time, to separate the provision for the personal comfort of the Sovereign from the provision for the civil government; and when he comes to look into the various departments, I apprehend he will find it extremely difficult to follow up the principle he has adopted. There is in the Constitution a connection so intimate between what regards the civil government of the country, and what concerns the dignity and comfort of the Crown, that when the noble Lord examines the details, he will find it very difficult to justify some of the charges he has left on the Civil List. But I shall be better prepared to discuss this point when the minutiœ are before the House. By the general features of the plan of the noble Lord, it appears that he does not, as he has justly stated, effect any great reduction of expense. He has candidly stated, as I was sure he would do, that, having inquired, he found that no considerable diminution of charge could be made, without infringing on the comforts of the King, and on the proper splendor and dignity of the Throne. I may congratulate myself, therefore, on having the testimony of the noble Lord in my favour upon this important point, and there is not a candid man in the country who would not render the same justice to the estimates brought forward by his Majesty's late Ministers. Whatever may have been said here, or whatever may have been the cry raised against them out of doors, it is now admitted that they were neither exaggerated nor improper. There is one important alteration proposed by the noble Lord, on which I confess I feel 159 considerable apprehension. I apprehend, that what the noble Lord puts forward as a reduction of expenditure, will, in fact, lead, at no distant period, to a great increase. He tells us, that it is intended to abolish the office, established in 1815, of Auditor of the Civil List, and that this duty is to be transferred to the Treasury. The total amount of charge is 2,400l.; and the reason assigned is, that the duties have been adequately discharged by deputy. I know that while I was in office, the exertions of this particular officer were essentially necessary to prevent the needless accumulation of expense in the department of the Civil List connected with the Royal Household; and, armed as he was with various powers by Act of Parliament, he was of the greatest use in detecting the sources of needless extravagance, and in stopping them before they had run to any extent. If the noble Lord thinks that the Treasury Board will be qualified to enter into an examination of details of this sort, or, in fact, that it will do so, he will find himself mistaken; and encroachments will be then made upon the personal comfort of the Sovereign. He will find, perhaps, ere long, that he has made a false calculation, and that the apparent saving of 2,400l. per annum may render it necessary hereafter to apply to Parliament, owing to the want of due control, and the consequent increase of expenditure. I should say, from my own experience, that if any appointment of the kind has answered the purpose for which it was made, it has been the office which it is now proposed to abolish. The experiment is, at least, hazardous, and the effect of it may be, to drive the King to Parliament to relieve him from the pecuniary burthen of an excess in the expenditure for the royal household. I will not now enter in to the question, how far it may be expedient to withdraw from the Civil List that part of the disbursements occasioned by the preservation and repair of the royal palaces: the noble Lord means that these matters shall be annually submitted to Parliament: he thinks that a yearly discussion of such points, and others connected with the Board of Works, will be highly desirable, inasmuch as they relate personally to the Sovereign. Until I am more fully informed, I will only remark, that I differ from him in opinion. The great alteration he proposes in the Civil List is, the re- 160 duction of the pensions, which were about 155,000l. a year, and were intended by the late Government to be 140,000l. a year. The noble Lord's plan is, that they shall be reduced to 75,000l. a year. As to the amount of pensions the King ought to be allowed to grant, my opinion is certainly not that of the noble Lord. At no antecedent period has it been so small as the sum I intended to propose. No man can deny the necessity of this branch of charitable distribution; but the noble Lord intends to limit his Majesty's means, in this respect, to about half its present amount. My opinion is, that the prerogative of the Crown will thus be unduly and unfairly restricted—not only below what it has been in former times, but below the amount that ought to be fixed on, comparing the situation of the country with the situation of the Crown. If I wanted a popular topic upon which to descant, I should find it here; but I never have been, and never will be, the slave of popularity. Let me ask, who would deprive the head of the State of what is necessary to its proper dignity? I trust, whether in or out of office, I never shall be found among the number of those willing to do that. I concur with the noble Lord, that the proposed change in the pensions will be to the advantage of the Crown rather than to its disadvantage. If I understand the new arrangement, for the next few years the power of the King to grant pensions will be increased, while the restriction will only come into operation at some future period, and perhaps under some other Ministry. Let the House remember how the matter now stands. Upon the English list, the King may grant pensions to the full amount of the annual vacancies; but on the Irish and Scotch Pension lists he has not the same power. The Crown is limited on these two lists in the amount which it can grant, whatever may be the extent of the vacancies. The noble Lord intends to consolidate the three classes, so as to take away the limitation; and he besides places upon the Civil List all the seniors among the pensioners, so that the King will have the benefit of all the old lives, which, of course, drop off the fastest, while all the young lives are thrown upon the Consolidated Fund. The Pension list now amounts to 155,000l. per annum, and the vacancies in England may be stated, on an average, to amount to about 7,000l. 161 a-year. Since, then, all the young lives are thrown upon the Consolidated Fund, and all the old lives preserved for the Civil List, the result will be, not a saving, but a considerably increased expenditure, by enabling the King to give a greater number of pensions than he would, under other circumstances, have it in his power to give. The amount of pensions granted anterior to 1784 was about 12,000l, and anterior to 1800 about 42,000l., and by the proposed arrangement, the pensions on the lives that decrease slowly and gradually will be paid out of the Consolidated Fund; and on those that decrease rapidly, out of the Civil List. Hereafter, in some future reign, and under some other Administration, there may be a restriction upon the power of the Crown to reward public or personal service; but, under the present Ministry, it can hardly be said to be limited at all. I do not state this as an objection to the arrangement, because I hold it highly expedient that the Crown should possess ample means for exercising its bounty. I will not detain the House now by entering into any details; but, with respect to the annual inspection, which the noble Lord wishes to establish, into the salaries of ambassadors and ministers at foreign Courts, I must say, that it is an encroachment upon the constitutional rights and prerogatives of the King—perhaps the greatest encroachment ever made. If we are to maintain the principle, that the King is to regulate and conduct negotiations with other States, will that be possible if the Minister of the Crown must come down to the House of Commons to settle the specific salary of every envoy—to state the nature of his. claim, the extent of his services, and the circumstances that render negotiation necessary? It seems to me, that this part of the scheme strikes at the very foundation of a great and valuable constitutional principle, that the Crown alone is to be intrusted with the management of our diplomatic relations. A fortunate concurrence of circumstances (though the present aspect of affairs in Europe does not by any means seem to promise it) may prevent inconvenience in this respect for two or three years; but sure I am, that if the noble Lord succeeds in carrying this part of his measure, many will live to rue the support they gave it. He has not stated, that it is his intention to effect any reduction in the diplomatic 162 expenditure of the country; but as it is not my wish to deal unfairly by the proposition, it may be better to postpone my remarks upon this branch until I have seen the details. The noble Lord and I differ upon great leading principles, but I shall always be ready to discuss that difference with due regard to his convenience. I shall never be anxious to take any undue advantage, but to give the fullest opportunity for the statement of opinion, and for the support of it by argument. There is only one other topic to which it is necessary for me to advert. We are told, that his Majesty has taken upon himself the expense of an outfit for the Queen. To those who have had an opportunity of personal access to his Majesty—to those who have communicated with him on matters of expenditure (always a painful subject, but most so between a Sovereign and his Minister), such a decision will give no surprise: they must have anticipated it; and I can assure the noble Lord, that if there were anything that could endear his Majesty to his people more than he has already endeared himself, it would be his deep regret and just consideration for the present circumstances of the country. I agree with the noble Lord, that if an outfit were necessary, the Minister of the Crown ought to propose it; and I only hope, that his Majesty will not find, that, by his liberality to his people, he has unduly lessened the sums that ought to be applied to his own personal comfort and dignity, so as to occasion hereafter inconvenience and embarrassment.
§ Lord Althorp
I only rise to explain upon two points where the right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. First, as to the abolition of the office of Auditor of the Civil List—what I meant to say was, which is really the fact, that I found nearly the whole of the duties of the Auditor discharged by his deputy. I have, therefore, done what I shall always think it right to do in such cases—I have abolished the office of Auditor, and I have provided, that the deputy shall continue his duties for a much less sum than the salary of the Auditor. On the other point I fully agree with the right hon. Gentleman: it would be inconvenient and inexpedient, that the items of diplomatic expenditure should be annually brought before a Committee of Supply; and I propose, therefore, that the amount shall be paid out of the Consoli- 163 dated Fund. It will then be under the control of Parliament; but the particulars will not come before it every year.
§ Mr. Goulburn
Then, as it appears to me, the difference will be no more than this:—To pay in two sums, and out of two funds, what has hitherto been paid in one sum, and out of one fund.
§ Sir H. Parnell
referred to the grounds on which he had originally moved for the Committee on the Civil List; first, he had wished to obtain some clear and proper understanding of what was the plan of the right hon. Gentleman, then Chancellor of the Exchequer; and, next, he hoped to reduce the total sum required for the Civil List. It had never entered into his mind that the Committee should prepare the estimates by entering into a preliminary examination of the details. The course that night adopted by the noble Lord seemed exactly that which ought to be pursued, since it did not shift the responsibility of the Minister upon a select body delegated by the House. The noble Lord had made his statement, and was about to submit the changes he contemplated to the examination of a Committee. He also thought the noble Lord fully justified in the separation he had made in the items of the Civil List, as it would tend both to the simplification of public accounts, and to the due control of the disbursement of the public money. At the same time, he could not approve of what the noble Lord had said regarding the diplomatic expenses of the country; for he saw no reason why the items of the account should not be annually brought before Parliament: every sum ought to be separately discussed and voted, and the whole subject included in the Sessional Budget; thus every thing would be clearly brought before the House, and, through the House, before the people. Without entering into details, he could not avoid expressing his disappointment at not finding the noble Lord make any reductions below the statement of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer: in his (Sir H. Parnell's) opinion, there was room for such reductions, although he could not undertake to say exactly where they ought to be made. To one branch of expenditure he felt decided objections—the salaries of the Household Officers; the emoluments of the Lord Chamberlain, of the Master of the Horse, and of one or two more, were certainly two large. In 164 not making some reductions when they had the opportunity, Ministers had exhibited a want of that spirit of economy by which they ought to be governed in the present circumstances of the country.
observed, that it would be unfair to pronounce any opinion as to the heads of the expenditure and he should therefore abstain from so doing. But when the noble Lord came into the Committee, he should oppose him there on two or three of those heads, which he thought exceeded the amount necessary to be expended. Upon looking over the fourth and fifth classes of the Civil List, he was satisfied that very large reductions might, and ought to be made. The royal bounty amounted to 23,000l., and 75,000l. was proposed to be retained under the head of Pensions; so that nearly 100,000l. was proposed to be disposed of in this way. Looking over the list of pensions granted for a number of years past, he could not see one name in fifty which had any connection with the Sovereign, or any claim on the public bounty. He would not allow a shilling to be bestowed, therefore, as a gratuity, by Ministers, unless under the control of Parliament. At the same time he was not disposed to act illiberally towards the Sovereign. If 110,000l. was not enough for the King's privy purse, let it be added to, but let not such a sum as 98,000l. be granted for pensions, to be given away at the pleasure of Ministers. The noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) said, the country was not, in future, to be managed by patronage, and he (Mr. Hume) added, that it ought not in future to be managed by corruption. By cutting off the power of granting pensions, he was convinced that they would secure a better government and a better system. The noble Lord said, that he found the pensions granted in the last reign consisted chiefly of what might be called "charitable grants." He (Mr. Hume) found those charitable grants were, for the most part, granted to Peers and their poor relations. He did not think Peers had any claim to be maintained out of the public purse. He had said in that House before, and now repeated it, that if Peers could not support the dignity of the Peerage from their private fortunes, they ought to lay down their titles. Formerly, Peers were able to support their own dignity, and sometimes to assist the Crown. They were intended to 165 stand between the Crown and the people; but now-a-days Peers had degenerated, and become pensioners on the people. He would ask any man acquainted with the Constitution of this country, whether pensions should be granted from the public purse to maintain Peers? and yet thousands and tens of thousands were granted for that purpose. That House was bound to act on the same principle as regarded the high and the low. Now, if a man in the country was poor, and had a rich relation, and he applied to the parish for relief, he was told at once that the parish would not relieve him, but that he ought to go to his rich relation. He would act in the same way to the parties on the Civil List, and say to the poor individuals whose names now stood on that list as pensioners, "The public can give you no further assistance; you have no claim on the public purse—go to your rich relations."—If that course were not adopted by Ministers, he should think it his duty to submit each individual pension about to be granted, to a rigid examination. If that examination did not take place in the Committee, it ought to take place in the House; and though the investigation should occupy the House until June, in his opinion, the time of Members could not be better bestowed. It was now admitted by the Government, that he had the law with him, when he stated, that, by the demise of the Crown, the persons now on the Civil List had no legal claim to a continuation of their pensions. This being admitted, the country calling loudly for the abolition of all sinecures and pensions, and the Ministry being pledged to unsparing economy; he felt that every thing was with him, when he said, that a stop ought to be put to very many of the pensions now paid; and, indeed, to every unnecessary allowance. He had heard nothing in favour of continuing the pensions but the argument that they were charitable grants. It was a case, however, in which the House was bound to consider, that charity begins at home. Who paid those pensions? Many who laboured hard and fared sorrily. When they found that distresses were issuing for the payment of taxes day after day, was it right he, asked, that the produce of those taxes should be bestowed in charity on Peers and Peers' relations not of the poorest class? In his opinion, it would be true charity to relieve the public from the bur- 166 then of taxation; but it was nothing but profusion and waste, to apply the public money to the maintenance of those who had relations able to maintain them. Besides, the system of granting pensions led to the maintenance of a state of society which ought to be put an end to. It was now thought not shameful to receive money from the public purse, whether men performed public services or not. In many parishes, those who received parish relief had badges of dependence, which they carried about—yellow stockings, and so forth; and the dependents on the bounty of the State ought also to have some visible mark of distinction. There ought to be some expression of opinion, at least, as to the dependence of those who received public money; for they would not act justly if the same principle was not applied to the poor and the rich. All that he asked of the House, or rather, of his Majesty's Ministers, was, to act up to their promises, and not, upon any principle of false delicacy, to overlook such a system of extravagance. He did not see the names of any persons on this pension list who had any claims on the public for such pensions. They had obtained these pensions, not upon public grounds and for public services, but as the connexions and dependents of Ministers, and as individuals possessing parliamentary influence. The Government which had preceded the present had, in this respect, acted in opposition to every principle of economy. A pension was estimated as worth twelve years' purchase, and if the late Government had ceased to grant pensions but for one year, instead of granting pensions during the last year to the amount of 4,500l., 54,000l. would have been saved to the public. During the last thirty years, a million and upwards of the public money had been squandered in this way, and yet he (Mr. Hume) would engage to call the right hon. member for Armagh before the Committee, and defy him to show one out of ten of the persons placed upon this Pension list who possessed any claims whatever upon the public. Perhaps, before they all dropped off, the amount of the public money thus expended would reach to a million and a half, and he (Mr. Hume) was therefore anxious to stop such a system of extravagance and profusion in limine, for if once a man got on the Pension-list, there was no end to the sum the public might be called upon to pay. 167 Under the circumstances of the country, he did hope that Ministers would be induced to reconsider their proposal. He had no objection that those whose names were now on the Pension-list should receive half the amount of their pensions this year, a quarter next year, and that the pensions should cease and determine in the third year; but further than this he did not think they ought to go; and he submitted, that this was acting liberally. If they were forced to carry on the old system, how unpleasant it would be to investigate the claims of every he and she now on the Pension List. He would ask the noble Lord, what advantage it would be, as regarded the saving of expense, to have the diplomatic expenses charged on the Consolidated Fund? He agreed with the right hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Parnell) that not one shilling of those expenses should be charged on the Consolidated Fund. That was the way in which expenses were kept out of the public sight. It was by the system of charging expenses on the Consolidated Fund, that Parliament had every year to deal with no more than 10,000,000l. or 11,000,000l., instead of having to deal with the whole expenditure. He could not sit down without asking the noble Lord a question as to the amount of the income derived from the Duchy of Lancaster. He wished to know, whether it was intended to lay the amount of the income derived from that source before the House, and also, whether it was intended to state what other pecuniary resources the Crown had. He regretted that the noble Lord had not alluded to this subject, the more particularly as the present Lord Chancellor, when a Member of that House, had observed, in reference to the revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster, that, in common parlance, his Majesty's Speech at the commencement of the Session conveyed the idea, that his Majesty meant to give up the whole of his hereditary revenues. The noble Lord concurred in the view taken by the present Lord Chancellor, and he (Mr. Hume) now hoped, that the influence of the other side of the House would not induce Ministers to forget the principles they advocated when on his (the Opposition side). If any objection had existed to giving up the revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster— if an appeal were made to his common sense, he had no doubt his Majesty, in his own straight-forward way, would say, 168 "Give it up, undoubtedly; if there has been a doubt let the public have the benefit of it." In conclusion, he had only to observe, that he did not pledge himself to agree to any part of the proposed arrangement; but, as far as regarded the pensions, he would do all in his power to put an end to them.
§ Lord Althorp
observed, that the hon. member for Middlesex had asked the Government to state the amount of the private income in the possession of his Majesty. Now, considering his Majesty's situation, and his conduct since he had ascended the Throne, he did not think that it would be right that his Majesty should be the first Sovereign of this country who was called upon to lay such a statement before Parliament. With regard to what the hon. member for Middlesex had mentioned, as to what had passed on a former occasion, in reference to the King's Speech, he was ready to admit, that he did, in the first instance, understand the King's Speech to mean, that the revenues derived from the Duchy of Lancaster were to be specified. He had now, however, reason to know that no such intention was meant to be conveyed by the Speech from the Throne, and he was, therefore, of opinion, that it would not be right on the part of the House, under such circumstances, to call upon his Majesty for such a specification.
§ Mr. Maberly
said, that there was a great difference between placing the diplomatic expenses upon the Civil List, and placing them upon the Consolidated Fund. The difference consisted in this— that while Parliament could not deal with the Civil List when it was once voted, it could deal with the Consolidated Fund, and therefore the diplomatic expenses, and the other charges which it was now proposed to separate from the Civil List, and to place upon the Consolidated Fund, would be, for the future, completely under the control of Parliament. It was true that the sums which it was now proposed to place upon that fund were not to be voted annually, but nevertheless they would always be under the control of Parliament—away, therefore, went the whole of the case which the right hon. member for Armagh had endeavoured to make. The noble Lord's plan differed essentially from that which had been brought forward by that, right hon. Gentleman, for the noble Lord very properly proposed to take 169 the diplomatic, and other charges, which should never have been included in the Civil List, out of that list, and to put them under the effectual control of Parliament, by placing them upon the Consolidated Fund. There might be, in his opinion, a large saving made in those diplomatic expenses when they should come under the consideration of Parliament, and the noble Lord, therefore, deserved great praise for proposing to place them under the efficient control of Parliament. The proposition was a most excellent and important one, to give to the Sovereign what he wanted, and to separate the remaining charges from the Civil List, and place them on the Consolidated Fund, to be controlled and managed by Parliament. By that means the expenses of the great offices of State, and of the civil governments of Scotland and Ireland, were placed under the control of the House, and when it came to deal with them, it would be found that a great saving could be made in those departments of the public expenditure. By bringing them under the consideration of Parliament, the noble Lord had effected a great gain for the public. He conceived that the noble Lord was perfectly right in proposing the abolition of the office of Auditor of the Civil-list, for he had shown that it was a completely useless one. When the Pension List came to be looked into, he (Mr. Maberly) hoped, that instead of a saving of one half, even a still greater saving would be effected. It was in the power of Parliament to consider whether those pensions should be continued or not, and he must say, that in his opinion, most of those pensions ought not to be continued. When they should come under the consideration of the House, unless he saw something to change his mind on the subject, he would certainly vote for the discontinuance of those pensions. The Pension-list of this country, indeed, required a very severe retrenchment. Some bold measure must be proposed to check such a system of expenditure, for it was quite impossible that, in the existing circumstances of the country, it could be allowed to go on as it had hitherto done. The amount of the Pension-list was upwards of three-fourths of a million of money, besides five millions and a half Dead Weight, making in the whole 6,300,000l., a burthen it was impossible the finances of the country could bear. 170 On looking over the Pension-list the other day, he found that there was one nobleman who was in the receipt of a pension of 4,000l. per annum from the Consolidated Fund, who had another pension of 3,000l. upon the 4½ per-cents, who had a regiment, the profits of which might be fairly estimated at 2,000l. a year, and who was in the possession of a government, from which, according to the Return, he received 2,800l. annually. Altogether, this nobleman was in the receipt of 12,000l. a year, from two different Pension-lists, from the regiment, and one government; and perhaps this noble person had not spent one fourth of his time at the government for which he received the salary of 2,800l. per annum. Now, the benefit of consolidation was this, that the whole of a parcel of items, like those he had mentioned, would be seen at one view, and by thus simplifying the accounts of the public expenditure, Parliament would be the more readily enabled to devise a proper and efficient system of retrenchment. He quite agreed with the hon. member for Middlesex in thinking that no pensions should be granted hereafter without undergoing the consideration of Parliament.
§ Mr. Goulburn,
in explanation, bogged to state, that by the Civil-list Act it was expressly provided, that the third class of charges on the Civil List, which comprised the diplomatic expenses, should be carried to the Consolidated Fund, and that they were always, in that way, under the control of Parliament. He would therefore repeat, that there was no difference as to principle between the plan now proposed by the noble Lord, and that which he (Mr. Goulburn) had laid before the House.
§ Mr. Maberly
maintained, that heretofore the diplomatic expenses formed a part of the Civil List, and that they were in that way, placed out of the control of Parliament.
wished to state, in reference to the particular pensions to which he had called the attention of the House previous to the recess, that he should feel it his duty, upon a future occasion, to take the sense of Parliament with regard to them, or to move for the appointment of a committee to take into consideration all the pensions which now stood over for the determination of Parliament. There was a pension on the Irish Pension-list, which 171 was received by Sir Robert. Shaw, and which he had justified on the ground that it had been purchased. It was a pension granted in 1804, and he (Mr. Guest) could not discover that there was any claim upon the public for such a pension. There were several other grants on the Pension List, which well deserved the attention of the House.
§ Mr. G. Robinson
said, that the two plans for the settlement of the Civil List, proposed by the late and the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, were quite different. The right hon. Gentleman, the member for Armagh, refused to submit his plan to a Select. Committee, whereas, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer voluntarily proposed to submit his plan to the Select Committee, and much praise was due to the noble Lord for bringing forward such a proposition. One of the great merits of the plan proposed by the noble Lord was the simplification which it was calculated to effect, by confining the Civil List to those charges which were necessary for the support of the Sovereign, and by separating it from those other expenses which, properly speaking, had no connexion with the royal dignity. He was of opinion, that great good would result from separating the diplomatic charges, the charges for the Judges and the Board of Works, from the Civil List, and placing them under the control of Parliament. He was happy that he could give so far his cordial assent to the plan proposed by the noble Lord. He agreed, however, with the hon. member for Middlesex, in lamenting the great deficiency of the noble Lord's statement with regard to the Pension-list. After what had been stated to the House by an hon. friend near him (Mr. Guest) previous to the recess, upon that subject, and after what had met the public eye in the newspapers, with regard to the pensions, he did hope, that Parliament would not allow the Session to pass over without examining the Civil List of the late reign, and the pensions which had been granted in it. If the noble Lord opposite would propose a committee, to examine the grounds upon which those pensions had been granted, he should have his support. And if the noble Lord would not do so, he was determined to move for such a committee himself. He differed from the opinion expressed by the noble Lord, that a great portion of the pensions granted during the 172 late reign came under the class of charitable donations; and even supposing that they did, he would deny the right of the Minister of the day to grant them. He would not object to voting the sum of 75,000l. to his Majesty for pensions, if some mode could be devised to prevent future Ministers from abusing such grants as Ministers had hitherto done.
Mr. Robert Gordon
said, that he certainly had expected that his noble friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would have given a considerable relief to the country by some palpable and decided reduction in the Civil List; but in point of fact, he had made no reduction whatever. He was sorry, moreover, to say, that his noble friend, so far from simplifying the subject, had, in his opinion, mystified it; and the change of charges from the Civil List to the Consolidated Fund was a distinction without a difference. It was true, that placing the diplomatic allowances upon the Consolidated Fund put it in the power of Parliament to investigate them occasionally, and by a motion of a Member of that House; but he maintained that all such allowances ought to be annually and regularly brought before a Committee of the House. He had heard, indeed, that ambassadors were the servants of the Crown, and not of the Parliament; but such were not the present ideas of the country, and they were nice distinctions, which would not drive the country from its purpose of controlling and reducing the salaries of such public officers. No real and substantial control would be effected without voting such sums annually in a Committee of Supply. The people demanded every practicable reduction to be effected immediately, and they required that Parliament should exercise a strict and regular control over every part of the public expenditure. From the whole tenor of the arguments which the noble Lord on the Woolsack advanced respecting the King's Speech, when he occupied a seat on the Opposition side of that House, it was inferred, that if the Members of the present Administration had the power, they would place the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster at the disposal of the Parliament, and he did not know where reductions could be more properly made than in the management of the Duchy of Lancaster. It was preposterous to make the Sovereign act in so many different capacities, and under so 173 many different titles, and yet he remembered, that when the hon. member for Middlesex had moved for a return of all persons of a certain class holding offices under the Crown, many names were omitted from the list upon the plea that they did not derive their appointments from the Crown, but from the Duke of Lancaster. He believed, that the real revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster was a mere trifle, some 13,000l. or 20,000l. a year, for the produce of this duchy was nearly all spent in patronage and places. His noble friend had said, that jobs ought to be put down, and that the Government could no longer be carried on upon a system of patronage; he was therefore justified in calling upon his noble friend to give a real account of all these expenses, and to let them come annually under the revision of Parliament. He would not go so far as the hon. member for Middlesex. He would not say, that the pensions should all be reduced by a per centage. But he trusted that Ministers would take the subject into further consideration, for he was bound to confess, that he could not receive the statement of his noble friend but with much of disappointment and sorrow.
§ Mr. Tennant
said, that he entirely concurred with what had been said by his hon. friend near him (Mr. Maberly); but he greatly differed from the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He had not heard the statement of the noble Lord with sorrow, but with joy; and he knew that it would be received throughout the country with great joy. Considering the principle of separating the accounts more important than any other, he thought that the right hon. member for Armagh had cast an unfair imputation upon the noble Lord, in saying that he had not submitted the arrangement of the Civil List to a Committee. But he thought that the noble Lord would have been to blame if he had not taken upon himself the responsibility of that arrangement. When a Committee was called for in the early part of the Session, there were no means of bringing the Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being, to consent to the separation, or consent to a Committee; now the House had both, which marked a strong distinction between the last and the present Administration.
§ Mr. Hunt
said, he heard with great pain the statement made by the noble Lord opposite, for he felt that it would occasion 174 deep disappointment to the country at large—he felt that it would disappoint those expectations which the people were entitled to form from the earnest which the present Government had held out to the nation. When he spoke of the people, he spoke of those most interested in the matter then under consideration—he spoke of those by whom the means of defraying the expenses of the Civil List were supplied—he spoke of the industrious and useful classes of society—the productive portion of the population, and not the drones, by whom every thing was consumed. In the present moment of deep and overpowering distress, the people were looking up to the new Administration in the hope and confidence that on their first appearance before Parliament and the public, they would come forward with a proposition for the relief of those wants which it was impossible adequately to describe, and scarcely possible to endure. The Civil List certainly formed but a small portion of the expenditure of the nation; but the proposition of the Government would go forth as an earnest of their intentions, and the decision of the House would go forth as an earnest of its intentions, and of what the country had to expect from both. On the subject of the noble Lord's statement, he did not agree with the hon. member for Cricklade that there was any mystification in it—it was, unfortunately, but too clear. He had before that night imagined that it was always the object of Government to mystify matters of that sort, and of every sort connected with the expenditure of the country. He had always given them the fullest credit for mystification; but on that occasion he must do them the justice to say, that they had evinced no disposition to mystify. He trusted, that as he was so young a Member, they would extend to him the indulgence his inexperience required, and give him credit for every wish to avoid, in the delivery of his sentiments, anything approaching towards personal offence, or any want of that respect towards the regulations of the House which he should be at all times willing to manifest; but having been sent there by the people, and having been returned in a very extraordinary manner, by a great body of the people, without any solicitation on his part, and even without his knowledge, he felt that he should grievously disappoint the expectations which they had a right to form, if 175 he permitted that opportunity to pass without giving expression to the considerations which the conduct of the Government unavoidably suggested. He confessed, it appeared to him that the whole of the question then before the House had been that night argued as if the people had nothing at all to do with the matter—as though it was a matter entirely between the Grown and the House—as though the House were to pay so much money out of their own pockets to the Crown—and that there was no such thing in this country as a people from whose hard earnings alone could the sums under discussion be drawn. He could assure the House, that no man was more sensible than himself how much a friend to his people was the present King. The King of England proved, that he felt for his people, while his Ministers had displayed a very opposite disposition of mind, in substance and effect the noble Lord had told them that there was no relief to be expected on the motion of the Civil List. Now, he desired to learn why it was, that the former Ministers had found themselves under the necessity of resigning? What was it that broke up the former Government, and called the present Ministers to fill their places? Nothing more or less than this, that the former Ministers told the Parliament, and through them the people, that no relief could be afforded through the medium of the Civil List—that in that department there could be no reduction of the public expenditure. Upon this ground, then, he affirmed, that great disappointment could not fail to be generally felt, from the course which his Majesty's Government had thought proper to pufsue. It was not for him to determine what might be too much or too little for the Civil List, but he too well understood, and too painfully felt, what the people were able to pay. If all the Members of that House were to visit the wretched dwellings which recently it had been his distressing lot to enter, they could not but agree with him, that, so far from being able to continue the endurance of the heavy burthens laid upon the people, they were in a condition demanding instant and extensive relief. In presenting a petition from Manchester yesterday, he had omitted to state an important fact, of which he had since been reminded, and reminded by the contrast between that fact and the present, he thought exorbitant, demand, on the purses of the people. The 176 fact he had to state was, that in one of the districts whence that petition came, the working people were not able to earn more on an average than from 4s. 6d. to 5s. a week; and from what he saw at another place in the same county, he could declare most conscientiously, that he readily believed that statement. When he was at Preston one Sunday, instead of going to church, he went round to the habitations of a considerable number of the poor persons resident in that town and its vicinity. The highest sum that any of them could earn was 6s. a week. Their breakfast was oatmeal broth—their mid-day meal was potatoes—and oatmeal broth again in the evening; they paid 6l. a-year for the wretched hovel they inhabited; 2s. a quarter for taxes; and 2s. a quarter for the clergy, with 1½d. for each chimney in the miserable dwelling. He inquired how long it was since any of them had had new clothes, and could not learn that any of them had bought a new garment within the last five years; they never were able to compass anything beyond second-hand clothes, and the poor unhappy beings were so ragged and dirty, that they could not think of going to church. He called upon those who attached so much importance to religious and moral instruction, to ask themselves how they could even indirectly be accessory to a system that kept the people in a condition in which they were unable to attend public worship—so ragged, so miserable, so filthy, so destitute even of soap to clean themselves, that every one of them was compelled to remain at home, and never to visit their parish church. They were taxed in bread, they were taxed in beer, soap, candles, and even in potatoes, and they were to continue to pay all these taxes in order to support the Pension-list, which was then submitted to Parliament. They had been told, that all those pensions legally expired at the demise of the Crown. Why, then, he would ask, not abolish the whole Pension-list, and allow the King to grant all the pensions anew to such only as deserved them? There was not a petition presented to that House which touched upon the subject of the public distress, or the financial difficulties of the country, which did not call for a reduction of the Pension-list. It was the unanimous demand of the people, that all pensions be abolished, except those which had been merited by acknowledged public services. 177 If those petitions were to be definitively answered in the manner in which his Majesty's Government then proposed they should be answered, the people would be driven to despair, from whence the transition to disturbance was easy, and but too certain. He was not the man to say elsewhere what he should be ashamed to repeat in that House; and as long as he was a Member of that House he hoped and trusted, that he should so conduct himself as never to fail in respect towards any individual Member, or towards the House collectively; but with every wish to be governed by such a feeling, he would call upon the House to demand information respecting the property derived from the Duchy of Lancaster. It was the duty of the House to see all that the Crown possessed. He was not one of those who called for any reduction of what was necessary for the ease and comfort of the Monarch, but let the means for promoting that be seen and understood. He was perfectly sensible of the disposition which his Majesty had shown to contribute to the relief of his people. The King was justly so popular, that anything in which the Ministers failed would be laid at their own door, and not at that of the King; for example, nothing could more merit the gratitude of the people than the manner in which his Majesty had declined the outfit for the Queen, of 50,000l. How different was the conduct of the Ministers! the reason their conduct formed a bad earnest for the future was, that it afforded indication that they had no intention of reducing their own salaries. He remembered well when those salaries were raised to the present high amount—when a Message came from the Crown, recommending an increase of the incomes of the several members of the Royal Family, and the high Officers of State, on the ground that every article of life had risen in price one hundred fold, and that, therefore, the King, the Royal Family, the Judges, and the other Officers of State, could no longer live upon their former incomes. But out of whose pockets were those incomes to come? Out of the pockets of those who themselves were called upon likewise to pay for every necessary of life at an enhanced price. He thought, that if that consideration had been mentioned at the time, it would have had the effect of preventing so unjust an arrangement. As matters then stood, he hoped the House would not let it go forth 178 that, there was to be no reduction in the Civil List—no reduction in the Pension List. Though it was intimated that there was to be a reduction of one-half in the Pension List, he must take the liberty of saying, that, substantially, there was no such reduction. There might be some reduction in future, though that was doubtful: but what the people wanted was present relief. It would be little, then, to the credit or advantage of the present Government, to have it go forth in the newspapers of the morning, that the just expectations of the people were to be disappointed, and that the present Ministry, like the last, were pursuing a course calculated to drive the people to despair. In making that observation, however, he felt bound in justice to bear testimony to the humanity and wisdom which the Government had recently shown in respect to the unhappy persons who had been tried and found guilty in the disturbed districts— that proceeding was more calculated to restore tranquility than any other which they could adopt, and he sincerely hoped that these merciful dispositions would be carried still further; under the influence of such a sentiment, he intended, on an early day, to move an Address to the Crown, praying for a general amnesty to the whole of those unhappy beings—if such an Act as that was passed [cries of "Question."] He apologised to the House if he had departed in the slightest degree from the precise question under consideration. He should be ashamed of himself if he wilfully travelled out of any question which he might take a share in discussing; at the same time, that he should be still more ashamed of himself—if, sent to that House by poor and honest men, who lived by the sweat of their brow and the toil of their hands, he did not deliver his sentiments manfully and sincerely—if he did not make an humble, though earnest appeal to his Majesty and to his Ministers on so pressing an occasion.
§ Sir Roger Gresley
expressed a hope that no innovation would be allowed to disfigure our blessed and beautiful Constitution; that nothing would be withdrawn which was required for supporting the dignity and the splendor of the Crown, or tending to diminish that bounty, of which the Crown was anciently the dispenser. He loved liberty much, but he loved Monarchy at least as much, and he could not help lifting up his voice to 179 warn his countrymen that if they weakened the Monarchy, they would destroy liberty. He was opposed to the attacks which it was the fashion to make on the splendor and dignity of the Throne.
Sir James Graham
was sorry to see the House so dissatisfied, and he thought his noble friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was placed in a strange position; for whilst the hon. member for Cricklade complained that he had mystified the Civil List, the hon. member for Preston accused him of being too clear and plain, and of speaking out too freely. Now, he should wish to take the assistance of both these Members to aid his judgment, for at present he was in suspense whether the hon. member for Durham (Sir Roger Gressley) had spoken intelligibly or not. He must say, he regretted that the hon. member for Cricklade, in changing his place in the House, had not also changed his line of action, or the spirit of his opposition. He regretted that his hon. friend opposed the present Ministry in the same manner, and he might say, with a like degree of acrimony—as he had manifested towards men who acted in a way directly contrary to those who now held office. This conduct of his hon. friend had occasioned him some disappointment. He trusted, that the hon. Member would have exercised a little forbearance towards friends with whom he had so long acted, and whose honesty he professed to respect. He called upon his hon. friend to wait and see what were the measures of Ministers before pronouncing definitively upon them; perhaps it was not too much to require of other hon. Members to adopt this reasonable course. With regard to the hon. member for Preston, it was due to him that he should treat the hon. Gentleman with respect, because that hon. Member had not failed to treat the House with respect. Recollecting what he conceived to be due to his constituents, the hon. Member had not forgotten what was due to the House; and upon that ground, as he had said before, he wished to treat what fell from the hon. Gentleman with every respect. The hon. Member tendered his advice to his Majesty's Ministers on the subject of the Civil List, which he pressed strongly on their re-consideration. Now, if this was a measure with respect to which Ministers had not fully made up their minds, or in reference to which there ap- 180 peared room for further consideration, (after the careful investigation which the matter had already received at their hands), he for one would be prepared to take the hon. Gentleman's advice; but he maintained that it was not necessary to reconsider a subject which had already received the most anxious deliberation, and upon which the members of his Majesty's Government were, after the most mature consideration, unanimous in their opinion as to the course to be pursued. He wished to act with the most perfect candour, and he was bound to state, that to flatter no expectations would he hold out the slightest hope that his Majesty's Government could depart from their present proposition. The hon. member for Preston had said, (and with great truth) that all that was gracious in the proposition flowed from the Sovereign. In this he perfectly agreed with the hon. Gentleman, as well as in the remark which followed, that every thing that was ungracious and disagreeable in the measure was the act of his Majesty's advisers. Take the measure as it stood, and it had been their counsel to the Sovereign to submit it to Parliament in its present shape. Ministers took the entire responsibility of the measure on themselves. Living under a limited Monarchy, he, for one, was of opinion, that the decent splendor of the Throne, and the comfort of the Sovereign, should be upheld. Ministers would have betrayed their duty to the Crown and to the country, if, being of this opinion, and having considered what was necessary for the maintenance of the Monarchy in a becoming manner, and, after all, agreeing upon the point, they would have failed in their duty, if, after this, they had hesitated to bring forward a Civil List, in amount such as they considered calculated to effect the object which they had in view. He repeated, what was gracious in the present proposition was the act of the Sovereign; what was disagreeable and (if the House so thought) extravagant, the act of Ministers. He had little or nothing to add to the statement already made by his noble friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. With respect to the first class of the Civil List, which embraced objects connected with the fitting splendor, and, he might say, comfort of the Sovereign, Ministers had found, upon the most careful inquiry, that without an alteration in those matters, 181 —indeed, in the present daily expense of the Sovereign,—no less a sum than that now proposed under this head could be recommended to be granted. There was no concealment in his Majesty's style of living,—the Sovereign lived in the eye of his people; and it must be apparent to all, that, notwithstanding the exercise of a splendid and becoming hospitality, there was nothing extravagant—no profuseness in the Royal expenditure. His Majesty acted generously, kindly—(if he might use the word) hospitably, but only to an extent such as became the Sovereign of these realms. Convinced that their royal master ought to be enabled to live and act in this manner, Ministers had proposed such a Civil List as would support the proper dignity of the Crown. The hon. member for Preston talked of representing the people; he (Sir J. Graham) was also a Representative of the people of England, and owed his place in that House to the system of popular representation; and such being the case, he was disposed to pay every consideration to the interests of the people, at the same time that he endeavoured to uphold the Throne, between which and the people the union was as intimate as beneficial. Of this he felt assured, that the people were satisfied that the maintenance of the dignity of the Crown was necessary to the well-being of the State, under our present Constitution; and that, if it were proposed to cut off one single comfort belonging to the Sovereign, the proposition would not be acceptable to the people, who, so far from desiring to see the Throne curtailed of its decent magnificence, would wish the scale of the royal expenditure to remain undiminished. The House had heard how nobly, how magnificently his Majesty had behaved in reference to the expense of an outfit for the Queen. Although this was a point upon which it was perfectly natural that the Sovereign should feel warmly—although it was reasonable that his Majesty should desire to see a due provision made for his royal Consort in this respect— the recollection of the sufferings of his people overcame, in the mind of the King, the feelings of the man and the husband. His Majesty, feeling as a King, declared that a proposition which Ministers were perfectly willing and prepared to make for the outfit of the Queen should not be urged,—saying, this will be a mark of sympathy for my people, a sacrifice, 182 however trifling in effect, in their favour, and the thing shall not. be done. With respect to the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, he entreated the House to recollect what had been surrendered by the Crown on this occasion; his Majesty had given up the Droits of Admiralty, his interest in the 4½-per cent duties, and had accepted of a proposition for a reduced Civil List: the reduction was small in amount if they would; still an important principle was involved in the proposed construction of the Civil List, which ought never to be lost sight of,—namely, the placing of a large sum under the control of Parliament, which sum had been previously beyond its reach. The Duchy of Lancaster constituted part of the revenues to which his Majesty had succeeded. Henry 4th, Henry 7th, and, curiously enough, the Protector Cromwell, had severed the Duchy of Lancaster from the hereditary revenues of the Crown, and it now remained perfectly separate and apart, and was to be considered as belonging to his Majesty personally and privately, and not in a public shape. To talk of the amount of the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster, when arranging the Civil List with a view to determine that allowance, was (if he might use so humble an illustration) just the same as if, in dealing with his (Sir J. Graham's) salary, as First Lord of the Admiralty, the House were to say, "Before we settle the sum which you are to receive in your official capacity we must consider the amount of your private estate." Those revenues formed no part of the hereditary revenues of the Crown, though they did come to his Majesty by inheritance, and they were not open to investigation in that House, unless his Majesty expressly gave them up for the benefit of the public. It should be recollected, that in granting the Civil List, they were not endowing a Sovereign stripped of a private fortune, but compounding with a Sovereign, possessed of large and extensive revenues, quite as large in amount as was the proposed Civil List. It was a question of expediency to settle with the Sovereign upon equitable principles. The Civil List was, in fact, a bargain with the people of England, and not a charity extended to the Sovereign, and it was to be concluded upon fair and equitable principles. With respect to the article of pensions, it was contended that Ministers bad made no reduction. Now 183 he contended that they had; they had reduced the pensions upon the Civil List by one half. The hon. member for Crick-lade said, "Not at present," but though that hon. Member was an ancient reformer, he (Sir J. Graham), as an ancient reformer also, would ask him—presuming reform to be synonymous with justice— how he could reduce them on bettor principles? He appealed to his hon. friend, who ought to know better than to make the assertion which he did, to be just and impartial, and look at the question fairly. How did the case stand? The proposition of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer was, to charge the Civil List with pensions to the amount of 140,000l. a-year; his Majesty having the power of disposing, year by year, of such pensions as should fall in up to the amount specified. Now, by the proposition of his noble friend, 82,000l. of those pensions were to be fixed upon the Consolidated Fund, and the pensions, as they fell in, were to be carried to the public account. The remainder of the pensions were to be placed on the Civil List. Here was a broad and marked feature of distinction between the two plans, and yet the hon. member for Preston asked what difference existed between them. The pensions on the Consolidated Fund were under the control of Parliament, and could be placed to the public credit as they dropped; while those upon the Civil List were beyond the reach of the Legislature during the life of the Sovereign, and were filled up as vacancies occurred. Then as to the difference between the two plans generally. The late Ministry brought forward a Civil List of 970,000l. a-year, saying, "We propose this amount upon our own responsibility, and with respect to the details of the provision, we refuse to submit them to the examination of a Select Committee," whereas, the present Administration said, "we propose a Civil List of 510,000l. a-year, and the details shall be submitted to a Select Committee." In point of fact, the late Ministers said, "a sum of 970,000l. shall be placed beyond the control of Parliament during the life of his Majesty." But the present Ministers declared, "we only ask for 510,000l. a-year, and the remaining 460,000l. shall be placed within the reach of Parliament." Besides, in order to meet the objection of the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goulburn), with respect to the diplomatic expenditure, 184 and to render it unnecessary for his Majesty, when he thought fit to establish diplomatic relations with any power, to come down to Parliament and say, "Will you consent to send an ambassador to this State?" and with a view to obviate the difficulties that might be thus created in our foreign relations, it was not proposed that this allowance should be voted annually, but it was intended to place the diplomatic charge on the Consolidated Fund. Notwithstanding which, the expenditure would still be under the control and within the reach of Parliament, if at any time it should be thought too great. The hon. Member said, "it was so at present;'' and legally, perhaps, it might be, but it must be admitted, even by the hon. Gentleman himself, that practically it was not. What had been the constant argument whenever it was proposed to touch this branch of expenditure? "Do not meddle with it now, because the proper time to deal with the subject will be when, upon the demise of the Sovereign, you come to frame a new Civil List. You had better wait till then." With respect to pensions granted by the Crown, he would not go into the question whether the title was legal or equitable. Suffice it to say, his Majesty had the power to grant pensions on the Civil List; that was undoubted; and upon the faith of the continuance of those grants for the lives of the holders, settlements had been made, and debts incurred, and various arrangements of an irrevocable nature were entered into, and although Parliament had the power, on the demise of the Crown, to cut off those pensions, it would be acting, not only unfairly, but, he thought, unwisely, if it did. The right hon. Gentleman opposite declared, that whether in or out of office "he would never bend or truckle in order to obtain a little spurious popularity." Now he begged to assure the House, that high moral principle and independence were as dear to him as to the right hon. Gentleman, and that while he continued to serve his Majesty, he would endeavour to serve him faithfully to the best of his knowledge and ability. Never, for the sake of any popularity, would he counsel his Sovereign to adopt a measure calculated to militate against the security of the Throne or Government of the country. To the principles upon which that security was founded he firmly adhered, at the same time that he 185 was ready to pay to popular rights every attention. Before three short weeks had passed over, he hoped his noble friend (Lord J. Russell) would bring forward the measure of a united Cabinet, for a full and effectual reform of the Representation. It would then be seen whether or not he and his colleagues were disposed to respect popular rights. With regard to the present question, Ministers had encountered considerable difficulty; and after taking great pains, he believed they had decided honestly and justly, and he was not afraid of consequences when honesty and right were on their side. He entreated Gentlemen to wait a little, and see the inarch of the Government before they condemned it. Of this he felt satisfied, that in the measure which Ministers now brought forward, there was nothing inconsistent with their professions or principles: if he had thought differently, nothing would have induced him to address the Chair from that side of the House.
§ Mr. Calcraft
observed, that at whatever side of the House he might sit, he should not fail to express his unbiassed opinion of measures upon their intrinsic merits, without reference to the persons who originated them. He said at the time when his right hon. friend brought forward his Civil List, that he (Mr. Calcraft) had not made up his mind on the subject of the proposed division of the items contained in it, or as to the expediency of confining the allowance strictly to the sums immediately connected with the support of the Crown. Since that period he had considered the subject, and he approved of the course now adopted in the division of the Civil List. He also approved of the Civil List itself, as, indeed, how could he disapprove of it, seeing that, so far as it went, it was the same Civil List as had been proposed by the Government of which he was a member? The right hon. Member proceeded to observe, that one hon. Gentleman had accused the noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) of mystifying the subject, while another declared his opinion that the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke but too clearly. He thought, odd as it might seem, that both those remarks were correct. The noble Lord had spoken out too clearly for the credit of his party, because his Civil List proved to demonstration that the present Ministers could not diminish the amount of the burthen which their predecessors 186 proposed to inflict. After a keen scrutiny of six weeks, Gentlemen opposite could only save some 5,000l. or 10,000l. a-year upon the Civil List of the late Administration, the members of which had unfortunately lost their places for the sake of this paltry trifle—a most lamentable case, as every body must admit. In speaking of the saving, he took the actual modicum of economy to be effected, which, however, he must do the members of the present Cabinet the credit to say they appeared ashamed of, and did not very much insist on it. So much for speaking too clearly: as to the charge of mystifying, he did think, that the noble Lord had mystified the subject of pensions most adroitly. The noble Lord had managed it so, that during the continuance of his own Government (unless its termination were very near at hand), he would probably have the pleasing task of advising his Majesty to grant a considerable amount of pensions; for he had considerately thrown all the young lives upon the public, while, with an infinite deal of humanity, he took all the old lives, and placed them under the protection of his Majesty. The noble Lord, as every body knew, was an extremely kind and considerate man, and if the frosty weather returned, no doubt one or two of his Majesty's list would drop off and leave some vacancies for pensions on the select roll. The right hon. Baronet had so mystified the business also, that he had but little opportunity to make himself master of it. He said, the difference was, that the late Government would not consent to refer their estimate to a Committee, but that the present Ministry were desirous of sending theirs to such a Committee up-stairs. Now, what the late Government contended for was this—that there was no precedent for such a proceeding, unless where the Crown came to the House to pay its debts. He might quote the words of Mr. Fox, in support of this position. The late Government, however, intended to submit the Civil List to a Committee of the whole House, as being the most searching ordeal through which it could pass, while the present Government proposed sending it to a Committee up-stairs, sitting with closed doors, and usually chosen by Ministers to forward their own views. Even if the Ministers wanted to make a reduction in the Civil List, experience showed that the best way to effect that was by a Committee of the 187 whole House. It was by such Committees that the greatest reductions had always been made. By such a Committee was it that the great reduction in the army, in 1816, was made; it was by a Committee of the whole House—not by a Committee up-stairs, a garbled Committee, one that might be called a Ministerial Committee, prosecuting its inquiries with closed doors, shut out from all publicity—a Committee to do as the Ministry bid it—that was not the sort of Committee the late Ministry recommended, but that was the sort of Committee now recommended. Here was to be no publicity—no open inquiry. If the Ministers wanted retrenchment, they would have an open Committee of the whole House, all the proceedings of which were public. The Committee they proposed, however, was a Committee up-stairs. If his noble friend, in appointing such a Committee, was so disposed, he might make it an unfair Committee, [hear, hear.] Oh, he understood that cheer; the Committee was already appointed, and his hon. friend, the member for Queen's County, (Sir H. Parnell) who made the motion for that Committee, the great leader who turned out the late Government, was sitting at that—the Opposition side of the House. His hon. friend might exclaim, "Oh, kill your next Percy yourselves—you are there and I am here." He hoped his hon. friend would soon make a similar motion, and that the House of Commons would give the country the benefit of a similar decision. The Ministers gave the House the same estimate that they (the present Opposition) had defended; and if his hon. friend who turned out the late Administration by his motion, and now appeared half desirous of turning out the present Ministers, would give them the opportunity, the same persons would again defend it. It amazed him, however, to find the Ministers, who had objected to the estimate, now inconsistently defended it, though their objection had reduced them (the Opposition) to the dilemma in which they were placed. Then the Ministers said their estimate was irrevocable. That was most extraordinary in them, who prided themselves on their popularity, and looked to the public support to maintain their places. They said, they would send the estimate to a Committee; but that appeared of no use, for they said, at the same time, that the estimates were irrevocable. Did they mean that they 188 would allow Parliament to make no alteration in it? He hoped not. The Ministers were to stand by public opinion—they expected to be upheld by some sort of Utopian ideas of public good—they looked to the House of Commons for support, and yet they said their estimate was irrevocable. He hoped he should be able to justify the estimate of the late Government should he be restored to place, and he was delighted to see his hon. friend, the worthy Baronet, the member for Queen's County, on that side of the House, and he was also pleased to see there his excellent friend the member for Cricklade, (Mr. R. Gordon) who was so agreeable with his pleasant satire and his disposition to be in opposition and check extravagance, and he hoped, by their exertions and those of his own friends, to be speedily restored to the other side of the House.
Sir J. Graham,
in explanation.—The right hon. Gentleman says, I announced our decision on the Civil List as irrevocable, and insinuates that I thereby showed how little respect Government was disposed to pay to the opinion of a Select Committee. I did say, in answer to the call of the hon. member for Preston to reconsider the proposition, that it was needless for Ministers to reconsider that upon which they had unanimously and finally made up their minds, especially before the question had been submitted to the Select Committee. I said, that as far as Ministers' opinion went, they had made up their minds, and brought the subject forward upon their own responsibility; but I did not say, that Parliament could or ought not to alter or modify their proposition. Government looks to the Committee and to the Legislature to approve the proposition if it seem reasonable, not otherwise. As congratulations appear the fashion, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to congratulate him on sitting upon the Opposition side of the House again, and to congratulate myself upon again hearing from the right hon. Gentleman one of the speeches which so frequently delighted me when directed from the same quarter, but against different adversaries.
§ Mr. Calcraft
expressed himself perfectly satisfied with the explanation of the right hon. Baronet, whom he thanked for his kind congratulations. He had only a single word to add:—if the Estimate were cut down in. the Committee by the labours 189 of the hon. member for Queen's County, or by any one else, did his Majesty's Ministers mean to resign?
§ The Motion for referring the papers to a Select Committee agreed to.