HC Deb 12 December 1837 vol 39 cc1032-47

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration her Majesty's most gracious Message.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

rose and said, that it was with deep anxiety that he made his present motion, He hoped, however, that hon. Members of that House were disposed to give a favourable consideration to the gracious recommendation which had been made by the Crown. It would be in the recollection of the House that during the last Session, soon after the demise of the Crown, a question had been asked of the Government by an hon. Friend of his, who was no longer a Member of that House, but who was, at that time, the Representative of Bristol, whether it was the intention of the Government to propose any additional provision for her royal highness the Duchess of Kent? It was in reply stated that Ministers had no intention to make any proposal at that moment. But it was now considered the proper and fitting time for its introduction, and the present period was advisedly chosen; because, as the question of the civil list was still under discussion, it might be considered, that though the present proposal was not necessarily connected with the civil list, and though the dignity of the Crown was less immediately connected with it, yet that it ought to be adverted to in Parliament before the Civil list Act was passed. He hoped that the proposal which he was about to make, would meet with the approbation, not only of the Commons' House of Parliament, but also of the great bulk of the people. He did hope, that the kind feeling which was expressed in her Majesty's most gracious Message, and the consideration which her Majesty felt for her royal highness the Duchess of Kent, would" not only extend itself over the country, but that it would be confirmed and strengthened by its union with another sentiment which would influence the House, a feeling not only of respect and of attachment to her royal highness on her own account, for her personal character, but a deep sense of obligation which the House and the country owed to that illustrious Princess for the manner in which she had educated the reigning Queen of England, for the protection which she had cast over her childhood in the trying circumstances in which she was placed, for the sedulous care which she had taken of the education of her Majesty. These feelings of gratitude would not but be increased from the consciousness which pervaded all classes, that the country was now in the enjoyment of the success attending this excellent training. In order fairly to state the case of the Duchess of Kent, he would allude to the provision which had already been made for her royal highness, to the position in which she had heretofore stood, and in which she then was placed, and then he would in conclusion explain the proposition which he had to make in conformity with the gracious wish expressed in her Majesty's Message, and to what he believed to be no less the sincere wish of the House. Her royal highness's marriage took place in 1818, and it would be recollected by the House that, previously to that date, serious discussions had taken place relative to the royal marriages, and to the provisions which were to be made for the royal family. The House would, also, particularly recollect the discussions relative to the marriage of his royal highness the Duke of Kent. When the Message, announcing this event, was received, all parts of that House, Members of both sides, the Government of the day, at the head of which was the Earl of Liverpool, uniting with the hon. Members who formed the Opposition of that day, entertained but one feeling, and expressed but one opinion relative to the character of the Duke of Kent, and of the sense in which the House appreciated the character of that illustrious Prince. No sooner was the royal Message, announcing the marriage, received, than it was at once answered by an Address from that House. On that occasion, a jointure of 6,000l. a-year was voted to her royal highness the Duchess of Kent, and some circumstances were stated in connexion with her royal highness and of the marriage, to which he would wish particularly to draw the attention of the House. On the 15th May, 1818, Lord Castlereagh, who was then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, thus expressed himself:— He was persuaded that the marriage itself must be felt by the Committee to be, in every point of view, highly satisfactory, and that if any consideration were wanting to recommend it, that consideration would be found in the fact that the connexion was not new to the country: but that the illustrious female, with whom his royal highness was about to ally himself, belonged to a family of whose virtuous and amiable qualities the country had already experienced the most convincing proof. He must say, in justice to this illustrious lady— and it was a feature of her conduct highly creditable to her, and which, he was sure, would recommend her to the respect of the Committee—that although, when the treaty of marriage was in progress, she felt it her duty not to relinquish the personal guardianship of her children by her former marriage, she did not extend that disposition to the pecuniary advantages of her widowhood, but that her marriage would deprive her of an income of 3,000l. a-year on that score, and of other smaller pecuniary advantages arising from her guardianship, amounting in the whole to about 5,000la-year. Until his royal highness was thirty-two years of age, he had only 5,000l. a-year allowed him by his royal father, and his emoluments of about 5,000l. a-year from his situation of commander-in-chief of the British possessions in North America." * At that time, an outfit was proposed for the Duke, but it appeared from the debates, that his royal highness declined being the cause of any burthen to the country in that respect. The jointure of 6,000l. was then voted to her royal highness. In the year 1820, her royal high, ness and the country were deprived of the Duke, who in that year died, and at that period her royal highness had no other income than a jointure of 6,000l.; even for some months after the decease of the Duke, in consequence of some defect in the words of the Act ruling a settlement of this income, her royal highness could not receive this scanty provision, and thus she would have been left without one farthing, having given up her own income, but for some private assistance which she obtained. Under the will of the Duke, her royal highness was entitled to much personal property which was bequeathed to her—personal property on the continent, as well as that which belonged * Hansard, vol. xxxviii, p. 730–731. to the Duke in this country. He might state to the House, and he felt little hesitation in doing so, for it was already well known, that his royal highness died in embarrassed circumstances. What, then, was the conduct of the Duchess? She abandoned the claim which she might have sustained under the will, and which was available, and she gave the whole up to the liquidation of the debts of her deceased husband. In taking this course, undoubtedly the best reward which she could receive was the approbation of her own conscience; and he should not have alluded to the fact, but that he felt it to be his duty to communicate it to the House as a part of the case which he had to present to their notice. Her royal highness continued from 1820 to 1825 filling the rank which was conferred upon her by her marriage, and in the receipt of the income only of 6,000l. derived from the public. He need only appeal to hon. Members who would be able to form a judgment from their own expenses how very inadequate was this sum for the purpose of maintaining the station which her royal highness held, and of supporting her family establishment. Although he must declare his opinion, that an act of generosity on the part of a royal personage to whom he was about to refer, was highly to his credit, yet he was also compelled to state, not much to the credit of England or of Parliament: during many successive years her royal highness was only enabled to support the position which she held by a contribution which she received from his Majesty the present King of the Belgians. He stated this, not merely to the honour and praise of the royal individual to whom he had referred, but also in explanation of the facts; for he conceived that it was a fact most material in the consideration of the case. The fact was mentioned to the House in the year 1825 by a noble Friend of his, Lord Ripon, and it was then stated that the amount of contribution thus made to her royal highness by her brother was 3,000l. per annum. He was of opinion, that the public had better at that period have looked generously into the circumstances of her royal highness than to have allowed her royal highness thus to have been assisted. He had already informed the House, that the property to which her royal highness would have been entitled under the Duke of Kent's will had been given up by her for the benefit of the creditors. Thus, therefore, she was left on the death of her husband without furniture, without outfit, and without any further credit than what her name and position enabled her to obtain. In the year 1825, the matter was again brought before Parliament, and then an additional sum was granted; and from that time to the year 1831, the annual sum which her royal highness received was 12,000l. He now desired to refer to some of the statements which had been made on the subject, not because he wished to support the case by fresh evidence—that, he thought, was unnecessary —but merely with a view historically to point out the true bearings of the case. In 1825, Lord Goderich stated that, soon after the death of the Duke of Kent, Lord Londonderry was asked, whether it was the intention of Government to propose an additional grant to the Duchess of Kent. His answer was, that he did not think it necessary at that moment, inasmuch as Prince Leopold had expressed his intention of contributing to the maintenance of her royal highness and her child. Mr. Canning, on the 27th of May in the same year, said: — In the case of the Duchess of Kent, the parties agreed in the propriety of the grant, and if Government had anything to answer for, it was for not having proposed it sooner. There could not be a greater compliment to her royal highness than to state the great unobtrusiveness of her life, and that she had never made herself the object of the public gaze, but had devoted herself to the education of that child whom the country were now called on to adopt. In 1831, when Lord Grey was at the head of the Administration, a formal proposition on the subject of the income of the Duchess of Kent was brought before Parliament. Up to this time the contribution from Prince Leopold had continued, and the assistance was still from time to time afforded the Duchess, but Lord Grey's Government proposed to this House the grant of an additional 10,000l. to her royal highness, by which her total income would then be 22,000l.; and this having been voted, that sum was now annually received by the Duchess. Even with respect to these grants a singular degree of frugality and economy had been shown by the House of Commons. The whole of the sums voted, namely, the jointure of 6,000l., and the subsequent sums of 16,000l., by which her royal highness's income was raised to its present amount, were all voted absolutely to the Duchess of Kent; the object of the later votes, however, being stated to be the education and support of her present Majesty; these annuities were for the life of the Duchess, with one exception, which was an annuity of 6,000l. for the life of her Majesty; in the event that her Majesty should survive the Duchess, in law this annuity of 6,000l. would still exist, and would descend to the executors of the Duchess according to the course pursued with regard to annuities in ordinary cases. This, however, was a position in which he thought the House would not wish that this Parliamentary grant should continue to stand. The grants were made to the Duchess of Kent; and it never could be supposed to have been the intention of the House, that the annuities should survive her royal highness, and therefore in the Bill which he now proposed to introduce be made a provision by which this anomaly would be corrected. He had endeavoured to state the peculiar position of the Duchess of Kent, and he should next wish to call the attention of the House to the situation in which her Royal Highness was placed in relation to the Throne. He believed that this was the first instance since the reign of Henry the 7th, in which there had been a princess placed in the exact position of the Duchess of Kent, for in all other instances the personage similarly situated had either held the rank of Princess Dowager of Wales, or of Queen Dowager. He referred to this circumstance because the House would see that if the Duchess of Kent had been placed in either of these situations, provision would necessarily have been made for her support to a much larger extent than he was inclined to recommend. There had been various recent cases in which such provisions had been made for Queens consort and Princesses of Wales; he found that in 1761 the jointure of Queen Charlotte was fixed at 60,000l.; in 1795, the allowance to Caroline, then Princess of Wales, was fixed at 50,000l.; while in 1831 that of the present Queen Dowager was fixed at 100,000l. He adverted to this for the purpose of showing that if it had not been for the peculiarity of the situation of the Duchess of Kent, a peculiarity which had not existed since the reign of Henry the 7th, she would already have had an abundant provision made for her—a provision, he repeated, much larger than that which the Government now intended to propose. In further considering the question, he would again remind the House of the fact, that the Duchess had received fifty per cent upon her public income from the Prince Leopold and in alluding to this, the House must be quite aware of the circumstances attending the sum granted to that Prince for his support. Subsequently, however, on his assuming a position different to that in which he had before been placed, and on his becoming a foreign prince, feeling no doubt that there was an inconsistency in continuing as a Sovereign to draw a parliamentary annuity from this country; with that nice sense of honour by which his Majesty was distinguished the King of Belgium at once voluntarily gave up the whole of the income which he received, subject only to the payment of certain small charges, thus abandoning an income of 35,000l. freely granted to him by this country, and which was his property as much as any income by the law of the land could be made the property of any individual. By this generous renunciation of his rights the King of the Belgians, had already effected a saving of 180,000l. to the nation; and he could say that a nicer discrimination could not have been evinced than that which was exercised by that Prince —for while he reserved to himself the right of apportioning a certain sum to be distributed in this country in charitable uses—he gave up the whole of the surplus of his income to the nation from which he derived it. He had stated these facts of the case rather because he thought it was his duty not to exclude them, than because he imagined there would be any disinclination or reluctance on the part of the House to murk by a support of his resolution the high sense which every hon. Member must feel of the admirable qualities and conduct of the Duchess of Kent. The best proof of the existence and the universality of that feeling was the trust which at the accession of his late Majesty had been reposed in her Royal Highness. He alluded to the passing of an act of Parliament, drawn up with more than common care and attention, and attracting more than ordinary notice, recommended from the other House, introduced by one Government, adopted by another, and agreed to by both, and by the Legislature and the country, by which all showed their sense of the character of the Duchess of Kent, and their implicit reliance upon her conduct. Parliament marked the respect they felt for her royal highness, founded on past services, by voting unanimously that she should be Regent, in the event that her present Majesty should succeed to the Throne before she should have attained her majority. The words of the preamble of the Act imported the high respect entertained for her Royal Highness; that preamble declared that the enactments which it contained were adopted in order to secure to the people that civil and religious liberty which had been enjoyed by them during the reigns of his then present and his late Majesty. A greater tribute than this could not have been paid to her Royal Highness's character, and it sufficiently proved the high esteem in which she was held, and the confidence which was had in her in the event of her being called upon to act in the administration of the affairs of the country, It was, therefore, as a tribute of respect to her Royal Highness, and he was confident with the fullest concurrence of the country, that he made a proposition to the House, and that proposition was, that a vote of an additional 8,000l. a-year should be passed for her Royal Highness, this vote being accompanied by an alteration of the law by which the reversionary annuity now payable for the life of the Queen should be converted for an annuity for the life of the Duchess. There was no one, he was sure, who had looked into the question who would not think that the proposition was one which deserved the approbation of the House. The Message from the Throne stated that the increased proximity to the Throne of her Royal Highness was one reason for an additional allowance being made. He knew it would create many an additional claim on the bounty of her Royal Highness. He did not think that it would be urged as a reason against the increased allowance, although it had been suggested out of the House that her Royal Highness might possibly reside with the Sovereign; he was convinced that it would have occurred to every Gentleman that the residence of her Royal Highness with her Majesty ought to be a matter of free choice and affection on her part, and that it ought not to be looked upon in the light of a matter of economy, or a subject of necessity to one or the other. It would be dangerous in every sense, whether considered with regard to the public, the private feelings of the illustrious parties, if so pitiful a consideration should be entertained. He had now endeavoured to state the grounds on which the proposition was made, and the reason for which it was delayed until now. Independently of the question of amount of money, he thought there existed only one feeling on the part of the House, and that was a desire to have an opportunity of testifying the deep sense of gratitude which they entertained for the mode in which her Royal Highness had conducted the education of her present Majesty. In this House, where every hon. Gentleman looked forward and with expectation and delight to the prospect which was presented to them by the character of her present Majesty, was there one amongst them who did not know that the formation of that character had been the care of her august mother, to whom the charge of her education had been given; and he was sure that hon. Members would mark by their votes the sense in which they estimated her Royal Highness's conduct in this particular. He could show by reference to the cases of the Duke of Clarence and others, that the income now proposed was infinitely less than that which had been voted on former occasions; and he might be allowed to state that, in fact, the utmost increase of charge to the public would be 2,000l. a-year. That sum would be more than covered by the cessation of the annuity of 6,000l. enjoyed by Prince George of Hanover, which expired in June last. But he was sure the House would not contemplate the question in that way; they would feel that this was an occasion on which they had to acknowledge that great services had been rendered to the country, and they would be anxious to pay this tribute of their gratitude for those services. He believed that it would be a source of gratification to them to avail themselves of this the earliest opportunity of replying to the gracious message received from the Throne. He must apologise for the length of his statement, as well as its inadequacy. He had entered into explanations that perhaps were not required; he had suggested difficulties that might not be raised, and met arguments that probably would not be urged, but he thought it better to anticipate and dispose of every possible objection at once, than to leave anything to be answered hereafter. He concluded by moving that her Majesty be enabled to grant an additional yearly sum, not exceeding 8,000l., out of the consolidated fund, for a more adequate provision for her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent.

Mr. Hume

assured the House that no individual felt more grateful than he did for the vast and important services rendered to the country by her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and no one in that House desired more sincerely than he did to see her in the full enjoyment of the high gratification which she must derive from witnessing the result of her exemplary conduct towards the illustrious object of her care and devotion. He believed that the right hon. Gentleman in allusion to this portion of the subject had in no respect exaggerated the truth. But while he cordially participated in these feelings, he could not but express his regret that a precedent for the present grants had been quoted which the country considered to be of an extravagant character. It was no doubt in some respects gratifying to make exceedingly liberal provisions; but in all such cases it was the duty of the House to look also to the interests of the people, and to take into consideration in what manner these provisions were to be paid. The grant of 100,000l. per annum to the Queen Dowager had been alluded to; though, however, that sum was paid, hundreds of thousands regretted it. He must confess that when the right hon. Gentleman gave notice of his motion he was not prepared for a proposition of the nature of the present; he had no idea that the right hon. Gentleman would propose that they should grant to her Royal Highness any sum beyond that which she now enjoyed. It was because he entertained the greatest respect for her Royal Highness, it was because he earnestly wished that she should continue to enjoy the popularity which she had so honourably earned, that he was unwilling that one farthing of money should be given to her which might injure her in the estimation of the country. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that in making a provision for her Royal Highness they ought to grant liberally; but he would ask was not the provision of 22,000l. per annum already enjoyed by her Royal Highness a liberal provision? He did not think that her "increased proximity," to the Crown warranted the grant. If they could put a price on gratitude, it was not possible for any individual to be disposed to vote a larger sum on that account than he would; but he felt opposed to the present vote because he feared that it would place her Royal Highness in a situation to derive injury rather than benefit from it. Of the allowance of 22,000l. per annum, it should be re- membered about three-fourths must be saved by the diminution of expense occasioned by her Royal Highness's altered position since her Majesty's accession. The 8,000l. was a paltry sum to contemplate, us an increase. But he objected to the principle. He would now say no more than again express his deep regret that more consideration had not been given to the subject before her Majesty's Ministers came forward with a proposition which certainly did not appear to him to be consistent with the principles of justice.

Sir Robert Inglis

was happy to find that the hon. Gentleman did not oppose the motion. The hon. Gentleman had stated his doubts of its propriety, but a little more moral courage would have enabled him to answer them. He had net suggested any specific objections, but had merely expressed his fear that the grant might alienate the affections of the people from her Royal Highness. In reply to the hon. Gentleman, he would ask, was it not for the House to take its own line, irrespective of any possible objection that might arise out of misconception? As the hon. Gentleman had only expressed his doubts as to the propriety of the vote, he trusted that it would pass unanimously. He believed that it would be seconded by the country. The people would feel from what they had witnessed of the past expenditure of her royal Highness, that in making an addition to her income they would only be affording her the means of contributing still further to the encouragement of every good object. He believed that the income of no one individual in the country had contributed so largely as had that of her Royal Highness to charitable and benevolent purposes.

Colonel Sibthorp

, as one of the "guardians of the public purse," considered it his duty to say a few words on this question. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman would have acted more consistently if he had submitted his proposition to a fuller House: it would have been more satisfactory to the country had this vote been taken when there was a greater number of Members present. He would be one of the last to refuse such a sum as 8,000l. per annum if it were necessary to the dignity or comfort of her Royal Highness, but looking at her Royal Highness's present income, and considering the charges from which it would hereafter be relieved, he could not help thinking that the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was such a professed friend of economy, would have done better had he postponed the consideration of the grant till a future period, or had he brought it forward earlier.

Sir Frederick Trench

thought, that the debt to her Royal Highness was one that was not to be discharged by money; but he felt that they were bound to provide her Royal Highness with the income that was necessary to enable her to continue that generosity and benevolence which had marked her past career. The income now proposed was, in his opinion, not more than adequate to those high purposes. It seemed to him that out of this subject an important question arose that he desired to put to the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Did he know that her Royal Highness, in the education of the illustrious Princess—in her administration of her small income for state purposes—had not incurred some debts? If she had, he would say, that they ought to be paid. They were all aware that she had lived in profound retirement till the age of the Princess made it necessary to introduce her to the British public. He knew nothing of her but what he had observed of her public conduct, but he felt that not one pound had been spent on that illustrious Princess—that not one pound of obligation had been incurred on her account—but must be approved. If, then, her Royal Highness had incurred any debts, he was willing to vote a grant to set her free in the course she was now to run. That, he thought, was the only way in which the House could evince its gratitude.

Mr. Finch

hoped the House would allow him to say a few words, this being his first essay before them. It appeared to him that some of the remarks of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down were of rather an extraordinary character for one who ventured to present himself to the House in the character of a friend of her Royal Highness. [Sir F. Trench: No.] Well, then, he would change the word "friend," and substitute for it that of "well wisher." He would ask the House whether it was consistent with the character of a well-wisher of her Royal Highness for any one to come before them and introduce the subject of debts supposed to have been contracted by her Royal Highness, without having heard a word to that effect either from the right hon. Gentleman in his statement or from any other quarter? When such matters were mooted by one who professed to be a well-wisher of her Royal Highness, she might very forcibly exclaim, "Save me from my friends!"

Sir Robert Peel

thought, it would have been more satisfactory to the House, and more respectful also, if, when her Majesty's Government stated the arrangements they proposed with regard to the civil list, they had conveyed to the House some intimation of the increased provision which they now recommended for her Royal Highness. This fact could not be concealed, that many hon. Members, who had left London under an impression that no such proposition was likely to be made, had they been aware of it, would have been anxious to be present, for the purpose, he believed, of expressing their general concurrence in the arrangement. He should give his assent to the proposition which had been made by the right hon. Gentleman. On all occasions when 'the Duchess of Kent's conduct had been brought under the consideration of Parliament, he had expressed in the strongest terms his sense of the gratitude due to her Royal Highness for her superintendence of the education of the illustrious Princess, who was the natural object of her care. She had devoted herself in the most exemplary manner in which a mother could to that important national charge. When retirement was best suited to the age of the Princess, she consented most cheerfully to the most rigid seclusion. When the Princess had arrived to a more advanced age, and it became of importance to introduce her to the society of the leading men of all parties, and likewise to acquaint her in some degree with the manners of the world, there were no bounds to her liberal, but necessarily moderate, hospitalities. He could conceive that in indulging in that hospitality she might have exceeded the limits which Parliament had prescribed for her expenses. He, however, made no inquiry on that subject. The provision appeared to him to be a liberal one, and he could not concur with his hon. Friend behind him (Sir F. Trench) in seeking to get the House to increase the allowance which had been proposed by the right hon. Gentleman. He must say, that he could not reconcile it to his feelings to express an opinion in concurrence with that of his hon. Friend. He took it for granted that her Majesty's Government, before they came to this House with this proposition, had made due inquiry, and he was certain that it would not be becoming to enter into very minute details on such a subject. In forming an opinion he considered himself bound to compare this provision with similar provisions that had been made for others; and in so doing he must say, that he found nothing in the amount of the proposal that startled him on account of its extravagance. Presuming that the grant was determined on after due inquiry had been instituted by her Majesty's Ministers, he gave his cheerful acquiescence to the motion. If he entertained any doubt as to its propriety, his respect for the private character of her Royal Highness, his sense of her public services during the whole course of her education of her royal daughter, would induce him to suppress that doubt, and unite in the hearty concurrence which he hoped would make this vote an almost unanimous one.

Lord John Russell

said, there was so little appearance of unwillingness on the part of the House to concur in this vote that he thought it unnecessary to resort to any arguments in its support. As to the time at which the motion was brought forward, it was the opinion of her Majesty's Government that while, on the one hand, this was a matter which did not properly form part of the civil list, the civil list comprehending only the arrangement required for her Majesty, on the other hand it would not have been proper to delay it till after the Christmas recess. He did not think that the state of the House was such as to render it improper at this time to bring forward this subject. It was not a question upon which it was likely there would be any opposition of parties; and it appeared to him that there was a sufficient number of Members present to consider the proposition. He did not think that they could have chosen a more proper time in order to bring forward the subject than the present. He could certainly say that the education given by her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent to her present Majesty was such as to entitle her to the gratitude of the people of this country; because while on the one hand she carefully provided that the Princess should not be confined to the society of any one political party, she did at the same time afford her an opportunity of meeting the most distinguished persons of every division of opinion. He felt, therefore, that the motion proposed was one which ought to be received without any mark of dissatisfaction whatever. He was sure, from the communication they had had on the subject of this vote, that it was the wish of her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent that the proposition made to Parliament should be received with satisfaction. As this was the wish of her Royal Highness, he trusted it would also be the feeling of the House, because it was only by its being granted with willingness and cheerfulness that the grant could be satisfactory to her Royal Highness; and he was quite sure that her Royal Highness would not be gratified with any proposition which tended in the slightest degree to produce dissatisfaction.

Sir Robert Peel

said, that the noble Lord seemed to have misunderstood him. He did not object to the time at which this grant was brought forward, but he did object that it should be brought forward without the slightest intimation that it was intended to propose such a grant. When the proposition was made with respect to the civil list, seeing how intimately connected this provision was with the settlement of the civil list, he thought that the increased allowance to her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent might have formed—though not a part—a consideration connected with it. This message had been brought down on Monday, and they were called upon to pass the vote on Tuesday. He thought it would have been doing justice to the vote, and not in the slightest degree prejudicing it, if rather more time had been given to its consideration.

Sir Frederick Trench

said, he had not the honour of the intimacy, and scarcely of the acquaintance, of her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and he had merely given his opinion as a Member of Parliament. He thought that the debt of gratitude to that illustrious lady could not be repaid, but still they were bound to do everything in their power to show their gratitude; and he rather regretted, if a further sum were necessary, that Ministers had not had the courage to come to the House to ask for twenty—ay, fifty, or a hundred—thousand pounds more.

Mr. Williams Wynn

rose under feelings of extreme regret to state to the House the reasons why he could not approve of the present grant. No one could be more willing to pay respect to the merits of her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and no one entertained a more lively sense of the gratitude which the country owed to the illustrious lady for the manner in which she had discharged her high duties; but he felt that this was a debt which could not be paid in pounds, shillings, and pence. The question appeared to him to be this, was the situation of the Duchess of Kent so altered by the accession of her daughter to the throne as to call for an additional vote from Parliament? The phrase in the message was her "increased proximity to the throne." Now, it should be recollected that of the sum of 22,000l. granted to her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, a considerable portion was specifically granted to defray the expenses of the education of the Princess. These expenses no longer existed. The income of the Duchess of Kent now exceeded that of any of the princes of the blood royal. The Duke of Sussex had a smaller income, and her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester had an income only of 15,000l. He could not see in what respect the situation of the Duchess of Kent differed from that of any of the other Members of the royal family, or why she should be called upon for a larger expenditure. He certainly felt many objections upon principle to the present grant, but, under the circumstances, he would not offer any opposition.

Sir E. Sugden

did not rise to offer any opposition, but merely to draw the attention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to this fact. If this resolution for the grant of 8,000l. were embodied in a separate Bill, the right hon. Gentleman would find himself embarrassed by the previous Acts of Parliament sanctioning former grants; but if he took a resolution for the whole income of 30,000l. which was intended to be granted, and embodied them altogether in one Act of Parliament, all the difficulty would be avoided.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that all that was wanted in this preliminary resolution was to have the sum voted.

Resolution agreed to, the House resumed. Report received.