HC Deb 25 March 1831 vol 3 cc957-9
Lord Althorp

moved the Order of the Day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee on the Civil List.

Sir T. Freemantle

said, that before the Speaker left the Chair, he wished to call the attention of the House to a subject immediately connected with the Civil List. It had been the original intention of the late Ministers to propose the grant of 50,000l. to her present Majesty for her outfit; but it seemed, that in a communication on the subject with the King, his Majesty had expressed his gracious determination not to accept that or any other sum for such a purpose. He could not think it right that the House should acquiesce in any such arrangement; and the country was not come to such a pass, that it was not able to make her Majesty the same allowance that had been given to other Queens. Since the date when it was said that his Majesty had refused a sum for the outfit of the Queen, it had been stated on competent authority, that the Revenue had increased so much, that there could be no objection to the grant on the ground of financial difficulty. He was, however of opinion, that if Ministers were obliged to borrow the money, they ought to press the grant upon his Majesty. The sum of 50,000l. had been given to Queen Charlotte— 100,000l. to the late Queen—and a very large sum to the Princess of Wales— and it was not fit that her Majesty should be placed in a situation where she must incur debts. In twelve months the House might be called upon to make good the deficiencies it had itself occasioned by ill-judged parsimony. He threw out these remarks for the consideration of the House, and, if he were supported, he was ready to take its sense upon the question. He begged to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he was disposed, under the altered circumstances, to alter his views regarding the vote for the outfit of the Queen?

Lord Althorp

observed, that the sum proposed to his Majesty had been 50,000l. but even 25,000l. had been refused, with that consideration and generosity which distinguished the present King, and endeared him to all his subjects. Her Majesty wished that no proposition of the kind should be made to the House, and he did not, therefore, feel himself justified in deviating from the course he had already adopted.

An Hon. Member expressed his opinion that it ill became the Representatives of a great nation not to make a grant which he was persuaded was necessary almost for the personal comfort of her Majesty. It was impossible to go too far in supplicating his Majesty to accept the grant.

Mr. Hunt

thought, that the King had done himself the highest honour in the course he had taken, and he was sure that he had raised himself in the opinion and established himself in the affections of his people. He could not conceive why this question was now renewed, unless the hon. Members who revived it were desirous of withdrawing from the King and Queen some portion of the just popularity they had acquired. If the Aristocracy was disposed to give the Queen a large sum, he should of course not object; but he never would consent that the money should be taken from the pockets of the people.

Mr. Littleton

was sure that this question, on which there was a strong feeling, would not be made a party matter. The country felt the deepest gratitude to her Majesty, for the admirable character she had maintained; and he agreed that it did not become the Representatives of a great, and he would say an opulent country, to refuse 25,000l.; particularly as he thought that her Majesty must have already incurred debts to that amount.

Mr. Hume

could not refrain from expressing his utter surprise at the introduction of this subject. He must say, that he thought it looked very like bidding for the Royal favour, as if the hon. Members had been set on. He did not assert that it was so, but that it looked like it, [no, no.] Surely he might be allowed to think, and to state what he thought. The question seemed brought forward only to embarrass the King's Ministers. If not, why was it not introduced when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought forward the Civil List without any such item? He was sorry that the hon. member for Staffordshire had lent himself to such an attempt.

Mr. O'Connell

fully concurred with the hon. member for Middlesex, and most decidedly objected to the grant of one shilling more of the public money than even the last Administration thought necessary.

Mr. Curteis

expressed his utter astonish- ment at the proposition of forcing; public money upon their Majesties; in the name of his constituents and of the country at large, he protested against such an outrageous proposition. He had at that moment, in his hand a Petition from between 400 and 500 persons, complaining of the bitterest distress. Surely the present was a time when Ministers ought to be backed whenever they were inclined to make reductions, and in that course he would do his utmost, not only to back them, but to urge them forward. The country was indebted to his Majesty for making the sacrifice, and he was confident that Ministers knew too well what they owed to the country to listen to such a proposition.

The House resolved itself into a Committee.

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