HC Deb 06 April 1840 vol 53 cc618-20
Lord John Russell

moved the Second Reading of Lord Seaton's Annuity Bill,

Mr. Hume

had given notice that he would, when the House was in Committee on this bill move that the grant be limited to one life. He objected to Peers being made when the persons raised to that dignity were not possessed of an independent property equal to the maintenance of the rank which was conferred upon them. Now he understood that Lord Seaton had not an independent fortune, and therefore, as he had been made a Peer, the Government now proposed to give him 2,000l. a year for his own life, and for two other lives. He objected strongly to such a course, for in the end the heirs of persons who in this manner were created Peers became dependent on the Crown, and he contended that no Peer ought to be dependent on the Crown. Why did not the Government create Peers for life? In his time he had seen many lawyers obtain the Peerage who had much better been made Peers for life only, for their families in the end became dependent on the public for support. He had moved for a return in connexion with the subject of pensions; and from that return he found that a pension had been granted to Arthur Onslow, a Speaker of that House, and that pension had been granted for his own life and the life of his son. Now, would the House believe it, that in consequence of that grant Mr. Speaker Onslow and his son had actually obtained 158,884l. of the public money? A pension was given on the 5th of April, 1817, to Lord Colchester and his son, for their lives, of 4,000l., and the money received by them up to the date of the return, which was the 7th of August, 1832, amounted to 57,750l. On a former occasion he had shown, by a list in his possession, that, 14,000,000l. of the public money had been expended in this way, calculating interest and principle together. The House would be surprised at the statement of one or two items, which he had extracted from the list, Sir J. Blanquiere had a pension of 1,072l. granted him in 1794, and at the date of the return he had received 133,223l. of public money, principal and compound interest included. Another individual received a pension in 1783, a pension of 356l. for the life of himself and brother, and not less than 81,350l. had been paid on account of it. A pension for three lives, granted in 1771, of only 300l., had yet cost the country, principal and interest included, not less than 130,000l On account of these circumstances he protested against the principle of granting pensions, and he thought it would be much better to reward Lord Seaton for his services by a sum of money at once.

Bill read a second time.