HC Deb 18 July 1831 vol 4 cc1410-2
Lord Althorp

said, he should take the present opportunity to make known to the House a communication of some interest in connexion with the recent accession of Prince Leopold to the throne of Belgium. Hon. Members were, of course, aware, that certain expectations had been held out respecting the annuity granted to his royal Highness by Parliament, at the period of his marriage with the Princess Charlotte. That annuity, however, was unquestionably the property of his Royal Highness, to dispose of as he thought proper; it had been settled on him by Act of Parliament, and Government, therefore, could not possibly take any step to induce him to resign it. His Majesty's Ministers accordingly had never made any suggestion, or offered any advice, to his Royal Highness upon the subject; but this morning that illustrious individual had transmitted to Karl Grey a resignation of that pension in terms which it was but right that he should read expressly to the House. [The noble Lord accordingly read the letter, for which see the report of the Debate in the House of Lords, ante, p. 1384.] His Lordship said, that his Royal Highness, equally considerate on another point, had also placed his colonelcy at the disposal of Lord Hill. He felt assured that the House would do justice to the liberality of his Royal Highness.

Mr. George Robinson

was understood to express his satisfaction that this spontaneous concession on the part of his Royal Highness had superseded the necessity for a question which he had meant to ask on this subject. He was sure his royal High ness's liberality would be received with the respect and admiration which his virtues in other respects entitled him to. A reign which had begun so well, could not, he hoped, be other than a long and happy one.

Sir R. Peel

conceived, that there could be but one feeling in that House as to the extreme liberality of Prince Leopold, in thus foregoing his pension, to which he had as clear and undoubted a right as any one Member of that House had to his own estate. he was, therefore, glad that the hon. member for Worcester had had no opportunity of asking any questions on the subject. As to his Royal High ness's compulsory resignation of his allowance, or any part of it, that was a thing that could not have been thought of, and the wise conduct which had just been announced to the House could only be considered an act of voluntary and unqualified liberality on the part of Prince Leopold. To him it seemed a very wise act, and well calculated to recommend him to the affections of those who were about to place him on the throne of their country.

Sir G. Warrender

could not deny himself the pleasure of expressing the satisfaction which he felt, and which he was sure the country would feel, at the communication just made by the noble Lord, which was one in accordance with the whole conduct of the illustrious Prince who was called to a new destiny. That Prince had embarked in a new career, which would contribute, he trusted, to his own glory and happiness, and to the prosperity of the Belgian people, whom he had been called upon to govern. That this was a pure act of magnanimous generosity on the part of that illustrious person, no one could doubt, for he was as fully and justly entitled to this income as any one of them to their estates, and he had no doubt that his generous conduct would be justly appreciated from one end of this kingdom to the other, although to those who had had the honour of coining in contact with, and knowing the sentiments of, that illustrious individual, this last act of his Would only be felt as in unison with every part of his conduct, which had procured for him the respect and the good wishes of every individual, and every class in the community.

Mr. George Robinson

trusted, the right hon. Baronet would believe him when he stated, that he was by no means anxious to ask the question with respect to Prince Leopold's annuity. On the contrary, he had waited until the last moment, in order, that if the noble Lord had any statement to make on the subject, he might do so before he had said a word in reference to it.