HC Deb 12 June 1843 vol 69 cc1325-41

On the motion of Sir R. Peel, the message from her Majesty, sent down on Friday, was read—(see ante. p. 1229.)

Sir R. Peel

Before I move that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration her Majesty's most gracious message, it will be right to move a formal address, thanking her Majesty for the communication which she has been graciously pleased to make to the House. Of course to that formal reply to her Majesty's message I cannot anticipate the slightest objection. I am sure that the House feels obliged to her Majesty for her gracious communication, and will be glad to hear that a Princess, of that illustrious house of which her Majesty is the head, is about to ally herself in marriage with a Prince whose high character and amiable personal conduct have endeared him to every one who has had the honour to be acquainted with him. He is already connected by more than one tie with the Throne of this country, and, so far as circumstances can form any guarantee for the happiness of an union of this nature, there is every guarantee for the happiness of this; and I cannot forbear to express my wish that every happiness may attend the illustrious Princess and her Consort in the union they are about to contract. I move,—

That an humble address be presented to her Majesty, to return her Majesty the thanks of this House for her most gracious communication of the intended marriage between her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta Caroline, eldest daughter of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, and his Royal Highness Frederick Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz, and to assure her Majesty that this House will immediately proceed to the consideration of her Majesty's gracious message.

Mr. Hume

said, that no one could wish happiness to the illustrious Princess more than he did, but at the same time he must say, that the right hon. Baronet seemed to him to have omitted what was very important. He did not object to one word that was in the proposed address, he only wished to add two or three lines with reference to what it was the duty of the House on some occasions to attend to. He thought the right hon. Baronet could not expect that the House should go into committee before he had given notice of his motion to that effect. He presumed that the right hon. Baronet ought to stale on this occasion that on a future day he would name the precise sum which he should ask the House to vote by way of income for the Princess. On the 3rd of May, 1797, a message came down from the Crown announcing the intended marriage of the Princess Royal, when the House only voted the address and did not go into committee. He believed there were other precedents to the same effect; but, whether there were precedents or not, the House was in a condition to make precedents for themselves, and they ought not to go into committee immediately. He objected to a part of what had been stated by her Majesty. He wished to add to the words of the address two lines, which he thought it was the duty of the House to insert, and to which he presumed the right hon. Baronet could not have any objection. His amendment went to pledge the House to consider her Majesty's message with reference to a due consideration of the condition of the finances and the diminished receipt from the ordinary sources of revenue, and to the state of many of her Majesty's subjects, and the depression of trade, and especially to that suffering and destitution which had so long prevailed, which her Majesty's gracious speech from the throne delivered by the commissioners on the 2nd of February had so deeply deplored. He wished her Majesty to take these subjects into her consideration; he wished it because he believed that her Majesty would not wish that any step should be taken in this matter without due consideration of the circumstances which had been stated from the Throne in February last. He wished, therefore, to propose these words in addition to the ad dress, and he could not conceive that the right hon. Baronet could have any objection to them. He could not think that the right hon. Baronet would consider it proper to take any steps in this matter without taking into consideration the state of the finances which the right hon. Baronet himself had stated were in a very unsatisfactory condition. All he wished was to add to the address that to which he could not conceive there could be any objection. When that motion was disposed of, he should propose that the right hon. Baronet should state in the House, and before going into committee, what sum be meant to propose. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving to add the following words to the ddress—

And, also, with due consideration to the state of the public finances, and to the diminished receipt from some of the ordinary sources of revenue;' to the condition of her Majesty's people, many of whom have long suffered, and are now suffering grievous privations, caused by heavy taxation, and by that depression of the manufacturing industry of the country which has so long prevailed; and which her Majesty, in her gracious speech from the Throne on the 2nd of February last so deeply lamented.

Mr. Williams

rose, to second the motion of the hon. Member for Montrose. Within nine years they had added by their votes 42,000,000l. sterling to the permanent debt of the country. Within three years they had added by their votes 8,000,000l. sterling to the taxation of the country. He would like to know whither they were going to drive the country? If they fancied they would not have some day or other to answer for this they were mistaken.

Sir R. Peel:

I hope the two hon. Gentleman will allow the House to go into committee to enable me to state what is the proposal I have to make. I have acted not only in conformity with strict precedent, but in correspondence with those rules which are dictated by common sense and reason, without reference to precedent. The proposal I have now to make commits no one to approve of what I may state in committee. The proposal is only an assurance to her Majesty that we thank her for her most gracious communication, and consent to the consideration of the message—nothing more. Now surely, in committee of the whole House there will be a much better opportunity of my explaining to the House what is the nature of my proposal; and though I cannot accede to the hon. Gentleman's wish that I should state it now, yet I cannot help confidently hoping that the proposal I have to make will be one that will show that the Government have not disregarded the various considerations that, in the present state of the country, ought to be duly considered.

Mr. Aglionby

was in favour of the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, and at a fitting period he should support it; but he would suggest that that was not the proper time for it. The best time would be in the next stage of the question. If his hon. Friend would not postpone his motion he h, c, vote with him though unwillingly.

Viscount Howick

could not help suggesting to the right hon. Baronet, that how- ever confident he might be of the general acquiescence of the House in the proposal he was about to make, it would be still more satisfactory to the House that they should have time calmly to consider the proposal after they heard what that proposal was. He recollected that when the late Government brought forward the question for making some provision for Prince Albert, the course then adopted by his noble Friend then the leader of the Government in that House, after stating what were the views of the Government, was, that the Chairman should report progress and take the vote upon a subsequent day. He threw this out as a suggestion, being in total ignorance of what the right hon. Baronet's proposal might be, and without giving upon it an opinion one way or the other, and whether they were to approve or disapprove of it. He confessed, that for one, he so far agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose as to think it better that the House should not commit itself to a vote in supply for a grant of money without a previous intimation of what that amount was to be. He, therefore, suggested the propriety of the right hon. Baronet stating that evening the views of the Government, and upon some subsequent evening calling upon the House for a vote.

Sir R. Peel:

Under the particular circumstances of the case, I certainly should be sorry if hon. Gentlemen acting, as I am sure they now are, upon a sense of public duty, after my stating the nature of the proposal the Government had to make to the House of Commons should feel it necessary to require delay for the consideration of that proposal; but at the same time, should there be on the part of hon. Members of this House a general opinion in favour of delay, I should be acting very unwisely with respect to a vote of money to the royal family to attempt to carry it by mere numbers. Much of the value of such a vote must depend upon the general concurrence of the House; and, therefore, after stating my proposal, if there should be a strong wish for delay, it will not be consistent with my duty to press it; but I shall then call upon the House on the earliest day to adopt the proposal.

Mr. Hume

understood the message to be for the purpose of the House making a suitable provision for a Member of the royal family, and he took the answer they were now to give to be an acquiescence in that. But he wished in giving his consent to that message to have before him the state of the finances of the country.

Lord John Russell

said, if he understood the right hon. Gentleman rightly, he proposed that they should return an answer to the Crown, and in doing so profess then readiness to listen to the proposal. Even if he (Lord John Russell) took the same view as the hon. Member for Montrose, he should still think it more respectful to the Crown to receive and consider the proposal to be made. It would then be open to any hon. Gentleman to say, "We are willing to make a provision, if the circumstances of the country allow it," or on the other hand to say, " considering the circumstances of the country, we are incapable of making a provision." He trusted his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose would withdraw his amendment.

Mr. Hume;

Sir, I will not withdraw the amendment I have made. I wish her Majesty to know the truth as far as I am concerned.

The House divided on the question, that the " words be added."—Ayes 52; Noes 276: Majority 224.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Langton, W. G.
Barnard, E. G. Leader, J. T.
Bell, J. Marsland, H.
Berkeley, hon. C. Martin, J.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Mitcalfe, H
Blewitt, R. J. Morris, D.
Bowring, Dr. Muntz, G. F.
Brotherton, J. Murphy, F. S.
Chapman, B. O'Brien, J.
Christie, W. D. Phillpotts, J.
Collett, J. Plumridge, Capt.
Crawford, W. S. Redington, T. N.
Currie, R. Ricardo, J. L.
Dennistoun, J. Roebuck, J. A.
Duke, Sir J. Scholefield, J.
Duncan, G. Scott, R.
Duncombe, T. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Dundas, Adm. Strutt, E.
Ellice, E. Tancred, H. W.
Elphinstone, H. Thornely, T.
Ewart, W. Trelawney, J. S.
Gibson, T. M. Turner, E.
Gisborne, T. Villiers, hon. C.
Hastie, A. Wood, B.
Hatton, Capt. V. TELLERS.
Hollond, R. Hume, J.
James, W, Williams, W.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D Acton, Col
A'Court, Capt Adare, Visct
Adderley, C. B. Dickinson, F. H.
Alford, Visct. Disraeli, B.
Allix, J. P. Douglas, Sir H.
Arkwright, G. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Ashley, Lord Drummond, H. H.
Baillie, Col. Duncombe, hon. A.
Baillie, H. J. Dundas, D.
Baldwin, B. Dungannon, Visct.
Balfour, J. M. Du Pre, C. G.
Bankes, G. East, J. B.
Barclay, D. Ebrington, Visct.
Baring, rt. hon; F. T. Egerton, W. T.
Barneby, J. Egerton, Sir P.
Barrington, Visct. Eliot, Lord
Barron, Sir H. W. Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Baskerville, T. B. M. Escott, B.
Bell, M. Estcourt, T. G. B.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Evans, W.
Blackburne, J. I. Fellowes, E.
Blackstone, W. S. Ferguson, Col.
Boldero, H. G. Filmer, Sir E.
Borthwick, P. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Botfield, B. Flower, Sir J.
Bowes, J. Follett, Sir W. W.
Boyd, J. Forester, hn. G. C. W.
Bradshaw, J. Fuller, A. E.
Bramston, T. W. Gaskell, J. Milnes
Broadley, H. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Broad wood, H. Gladstone, Capt.
Brownrigg, J. S. Godson, R.
Buckley, E. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Gore, M.
Buller, E. Gore, W. O.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Gore, W. R. O.
Burroughes, H. N. Gore, hon. R.
Byng, G. Goring, C.
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Graham, rt. hn. Sir J.
Campbell, Sir H. Granby, Marquess of
Cardwell, E. Greenall, P.
Cartwright, W. R. Greene, T.
Cavendish, hn. G. H. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Charteris, hon. F. Grimston, Visct.
Chelsea, Visct. Grogan, E,
Chetwode, Sir J. Halyburton, Lord J. F.
Childers, J. W. Hamilton, G. A.
Cholmondeley, hn. H. Hamilton, W. J.
Christopher, R. A. Hamilton, Lord C.
Chute, W. L. W. Hampden, R.
Clay, Sir W. Hanmer, Sir J.
Clayton, R. R. Harcourt, G. G.
Clerk, Sir G. Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.
Clive, Visct. Hardy, J.
Clive, E. B. Hawes, B.
Clive, hon. R. H. Hay, Sir A. L.
Codrington, Sir W. Hayes, Sir E.
Colborne, hn. W. N. R. Heathcote, G. J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Heneage, G. H. W.
Collett, W. R. Henley, J. W.
Colquhoun, J. C. Hepburn, Sir T. B.
Compton, H. C. Herbert, hon. S.
Connolly, Col. Hill, Lord M.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hinde, J. H.
Corry, right hon. H. Hodgson, F.
Courtenay, Lord Hogg, J. W.
Cresswell, B. Hope, A.
Denison, W. J. Hope, G. W.
Denison, E. B. Hoskins, K,
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Parker, J.
Howard, lion. J. K. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Howard, Lord Peel, J.
Howick, Visct. Pennant, hon. Col.
Hughes, W. B. Philips, Sir R. B. P.
Hussey, A. Pollock, Sir F.
Hussey, T. Praed, W. T.
Hutt, W. Price, R.
Inglis, Sir R. H. Pringle, A.
Irton, S. Pusey, P.
James, Sir W. C. Rendlesham, Lord
Johnstone, Sir J. Rolleston, Col.
Joliffe, Sir W. G. Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.
Kelly, F. R. Ross, D. R.
Kemble, H. Round, C. G.
Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E. Round, J.
Knight, H. G. Rushbrooke, Col.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Russell, Lord J.
Lambton, H. Russell, C.
Lascelles, hon. W, S. Sandon, Visct.
Lawson, A. Seale, Sir J. H."
Lefroy, A. Seymour, Lord
Lemon, Sir C. Shaw, rt. hon. F.
Leslie, C. P. Sheppard, T.
Liddell, hon. H. T. Shirley, E. J.
Lincoln, Earl of Smith, A.
Listowel, Earl of Smith, J. A.
Loch, J. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Lord Mayor, The Smith, rt. hn. T. B.C.
Lowther, J. H. Smythe, hon. G.
Lowther, hon. Col. Smollett, A.
Lyall, G. Somerset, Lord G.
Lygon, hon. Gen. Stanley, Lord
Mackenzie, T. Stanley, E.
Mackenzie, W. F. Stewart, J.
Mackinnon, W. A. Stuart, W. V.
Maclean, D. Strickland, Sir G.
McGeachy, F. A. Stun, H. C.
McTaggart, Sir J. Sutton, hon. H. M.
Mahon, Visct. Taylor, T. E.
Mainwaring, T. Tennent, J. E,
Manners, Lord C. S. Thesiger, F.
Manners, Lord J. Thornhill, G.
Marsham, Visct. Tomline, G.
Martin, C. W. Towneley, J.
Marton, G. Trench, Sir F. W.
Masterman, J. Trollope, Sir J.
Meynell, Capt. Tufnell, H.
Mildmay, H. St. J. Tumor, C.
Miles, P. W. S. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Mitchell, T. A. Vane, Lord H.
Mordaunt, Sir J. Verner, Col.
Morgan, O. Vernon, G. H.
Mundy, E. M. Vesey, hon. T.
Neeld, J. Vivian, J. H.
Neville, R. Waddington, H. S.
Newport, Visct. Wall, C. B.
Newry, Visct. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Nicholl, rt. hon. J. Welby, G. E.
Norreys, Lord Wilbraham, hn. R. B.
Northland, Visct. Wilshere, W.
O'Brien, A. S. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Ogle, S. C. H. Wodehouse, E.
Ord, W. Wood, C.
Packe, C. W. Wood, Col.
Paget, Col. Wood, Col. T.
Pakington, J. S. Wortley, hon. J. S
Wortley, hon. J. S.
Wrightson, W. B. TELLERS.
Wynn, rt. hn. C. W.W. Fremantle, Sir T.
Young, J. Baring, H.

Main question agreed to.

Address adopted.

House in committee to consider the Queen's message.

Sir R. Peel:

I now proceed to state to the committee the precise character of that proposal which, on the part of her Majesty's Government, I am authorized to submit for the consideration of the committee. I do not propose to call upon the committee to adopt any proposition which will impose any immediate additional burthen upon the people. I do not propose to take any immediate vote by way of provision for her Royal Highness Princess Augusta Caroline of Cambridge. I find that the general rule adopted and sanctioned by the House of Commons, in respect to provisions made for princesses of the Royal Family, has been to assume that the parent of the princess, whether the reigning sovereign, or any member of the reigning family, would undertake, during the life-time of that parent, out of the provision made for him, either from the civil list granted to the Sovereign, or from the consolidated fund granted to any member of the Royal Family by Parliament, to make provision for their daughters. I propose to adhere strictly to that principle upon the present occasion. I shall not propose anything by way of absolute allowance; not anything by way of present annuity. But what I propose to the House is, that upon the death of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge a certain portion of the annuity now received by his Royal Highness should he applied as a provision for the Royal Princess Augusta, his daughter. I will not refer to any particular provisions which have been made for the female branches of the royal family at former periods, because I am quite willing to admit that those cases form no necessary rule for guiding the subsequent discretion of the House of Commons. It is perfectly open to the House to consider the various circumstances which at the present time ought to guide and influence their decision upon this subject. I therefore only allude to the principle upon which allowances to the female branches of the royal family hare been regulated; that principle being, as I have already said, to assume that the parent during his life- time would make provision for his daughter, and that parliament would grant an allowance, its payment being contingent upon the death of such parent. Thus, in the year 1778, George the Third was enabled by Parliament to allow an annuity of 30,000l. as a provision for the five princesses, his daughters, to take effect after his Majesty's demise. So, again, in the more analogous case of the present Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, for whom provision was made, to take effect on the death of her father, his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. I shall content myself with mentioning these cases, which will at once show to the House that it is not necessary for me to enter into any details upon the subject. And, notwithstanding the preliminary objection which has been raised by the hon. Member for Montrose—that objection has not in the slightest degree abated my assurance that hon. Gentlemen on both sides cordially participate in the most earnest wish I expressed for the happiness of her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta of Cambridge and his Royal Highness the Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz, and that there is but one unanimous feeling and cordial wish that every happiness may attend them in their union. The amount of the provision which I propose for her Royal Highness is one which I hope will satisfy the House that every consideration which ought to have been given has been duly attended to in making a provision of this nature. The provision I mean to propose for the sanction of the House is, that her Majesty in the event of the marriage taking place between her Royal Highness and the Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz (it is necessary to add these words), should be empowered to settle upon her Royal Highness the sum of 3,000l. per annum, that sum to be paid upon the death of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. I will not draw any contrast between the amount of the sum I now propose and the amount of the sums granted at former periods. It will be at once seen to be very considerably less, while the House will bear in mind that no immediate vote is asked for. Acting upon the principle that his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge will make provision for his daughter during his life, I propose that when the annuity which his Royal Highness now receives shall cease, her Majesty shall have the power to confer upon her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta of Cambridge an annuity of 3,000l. This I submit for the sanction of the House. The right hon. Baronet moved the following resolution, That an annuity of three thousand pounds be settled upon her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta Caroline, eldest daughter of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, upon her marriage to his Royal Highness Frederick, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg, Strelitz, the same to take effect from the decease of his said Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, and to be charged upon the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Mr. Mackinnon

—I trust, Sir, the purpose of my amendment will not be misunderstood. I do not intend in any manner to oppose the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, but to suggest an alteration in the proposal he has made that will, I think, save money to the country, and which, I am also certain (I speak from unquestionable authority), will be most acceptable to the parents of both the parties interested. The proposal of my right hon. Friend is to make a grant of 3,000l. a-year to Princess Augusta of Cambridge, to commence on the decease of her father, his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge. My amendment is, to reduce the grant from 3,000l. to 2,000l. a-year, to be made payable from the day of her marriage. I have already stated, and I now repeat it, that such a sum, although less in amount, will prove more acceptable to the illustrious couple, and this, I think, can be easily imagined; parties when they settle in life like to ascertain their income so as to regulate their expenditure—an income derivable on a contingency is never so desirable as one settled on the marriage; a young couple living on an expectancy either retrench too much or the reverse, and under any circumstances any addition of income, arising from the decease of a beloved parent, can never be the source of much enjoyment in its future anticipation. As far, therefore, as the reversionary grant refers to the parties most interested, 1 think it rather objectionable. Now, in reference to the advantage to the public: The annuity of 2,000l. a-year at present is more advantageous than 3,000l. a-year of the life of the Duke of Cambridge, which will appear as follows. Taking the Princess's age at twenty-two, her chance of life may be estimated by the new tables of annuities at thirty-three years. The chance of life of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, taking him nearly at seventy-two years of age, is about nine years, deduct nine from thirty-three and there remains twenty-four, which multiplied by three, give 72,000l., now multiplying thirty-three by two gives only 66,000l., so that my amendment gives the country a payment of 66,000l. in lieu of 72,000l. Now, Sir, it may be said that a precedent will hereby be established of giving to the younger branches of the Royal Family an annuity during the life of their parent, but the only parties to whom this can by any possibility apply, at present, are the other two children of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, and at this moment there is no chance of their entering into the married state during the life of their father. If, therefore, the amendment that I propose is more acceptable to the parties interested, and to the respective parents of each—if it appears more beneficial to the interests of the country by making a less charge, and saving 6,000l., according to the tables on annuities—if no particular precedent is created, I confess I am at a loss to perceive what objection can be made on any other ground. I am not asking for a large grant, I ask for one of less value, but more acceptable from its immediate operation to the parties concerned. A precedent is to be found when the Princess Mary, daughter of the Duke of York, obtained a grant from Parliament of 40,000l. on her marriage with the Prince of Orange. Sir, I am well aware there is a feeling in the country, and in this House, that as his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge was, for many years, Viceroy in Hanover, he had an opportunity of saving very large sums of money, and, therefore, that he ought to give a good portion to his daughter. Sir, I can state from positive and direct authority, that these statements are exaggerated, that the greater part of the Duke's annuity from Parliament was expended in this country during his residence abroad, and that if the grant is not made in the manner that the amendment which I propose suggests, his Royal Highness will be obliged to make some retrenchment in his domestic expenditure to meet the additional expense of the marriage of his daughter. Now, Sir, before I sit down, I will make only one observation as regards the grant of annuities to the Royal Family, which, I am fully aware, has been considered by some persons as invidious, and an unnecessary waste of the public money. Sir, if you have a Royal Family you must keep up their dignity, and those persons who cavil at the annuities granted seem to forget the large revenues given up formerly by the Crown which would have enabled the Sovereign, had they been continued, to grant annuities to the younger branches of the Royal Family, without any additional burthen to the State, or without any application to Parliament— that power being, by the surrender of the revenues, taken from the Crown, it surely behoves Parliament to provide, I do not mean in an extravagant or inconsiderate, but in a considerate and prudent manner, for the descendants of the Sovereign to the second generation at least, to grant that income to supply their wants, and keep up the dignity of the junior branches of the illustrious house of Brunswick, who must in this, as well as in all future cases, rely on, and depend on, the kindand loyal' sentiments of the House of Commons. As this amendment is, therefore, more agreeable to the young persons most interested, as it is beneficial to the interests of the public, as it does not involve, in any manner, a precedent beyond what has already been admitted to apply to the grandchildren of the Crown, I confess I see no reason, and, in fact, I feel at a loss to discover any argument, that can be adduced why it should not be adopted. I will only add, that I have authority to state, that such an arrangement would be most satisfactory to the illustrious parents of both the parties more immediately interested in the business.

Sir R. Peel

differed entirely from the calculation of the hon. Gentleman. It was true that an annuity of 2,000l. was nominally less than one of 3,000l.; but it was by no means a matter of certainty that an annuity of 2,000l., commencing from the marriage of her Royal Highness, wss in value less than an annuity of 3,000l., contingent on the death of the illustrious father of her Royal Highness. If, then, it should prove that by converting an immediate annuity of 2,000l. into capital it should really represent more than a contingent annuity of 3,000l. would do, the proposition of the hon. Gentleman would in effect be to increase the grant proposed by her Majesty's Go- vernment; and this the committee mutt be aware it was not competent for the hon. Gentleman to do.

Viscount Howick

said, that it was not competent for the hon. Gentleman to embody the whole of his proposition in one amendment. He must in the first instance move to substitute the word " two," for the word " three;" and then, if that were carried, he must in a subsequent resolution move that the annuity do commence from the day of the marriage of the Princess, instead of from the time of the decease of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge.

Mr. Mackinnon,

finding the committee, generally speaking, adverse to his proposition, would withdraw it. He assured the House he had only acted under a conscientious feeling that he was proposing what would have promoted the comfort and happiness of their Royal Highnesses, and that he was merely doing that which he could wish any one would do towards him under similar circumstances.

Amendment withdrawn.

Question having been again put on the original resolution,

Mr. Williams

expressed a wish that the right hon. Baronet, instead of referring to what has been the practice in similar cases with respect to our own native princes and princesses, had referred to what had been the practice in respect to the numerous alliances which had been formed between German princes and princesses with members of the Royal Family of this country. He would have found it difficult to discover that any former royal princess, in forming such an alliance, had ever received one single farthing of fortune from the country. And he should like to know, in the present state of the country, what pretence there was to change that custom, and to make that change so much in favour of these German princes and princesses. He considered that his royal highness had had an ample allowance of the public money to enable him to provide for his own children. He was in the receipt of 27,000l. a-year; he was colonel of two regiments, each of which had two battalions, and he had been recently created head ranger of two of the Royal parks. [An hon. Member: There are no emoluments.] That was perfectly marvellous; and he was delighted to hear that his Royal highness had undertaken the duty of those two departments without any pay. His Royal Highness had had peculiar opportunities for realising money sufficient to make provision for his children, because during many years he was viceroy of the kingdom of Hanover. No doubt the emoluments of that office were quite sufficient to meet all his expenditure; and common report did say, that his Royal Highness had, in consequence of these numerous appointments and emoluments, been enabled to amass a large private fortune. Upon what ground, then, was the Government justified in asking for public money to pension the daughter of a person in his Royal Highness's exalted station, when it was laid down in their poor-law that the wretched being who received the pittance of 7s., 8ss., or 10s. a week wages, was bound to provide for all his family, however numerous it might be; and which law, not only made every father, but every grandfather, labour for their children and grandchildren. Why not apply the same just principle to the case now before the House? But there was one very remarkable circumstance connected with the present parties. The reigning Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz, the father of the intended husband of the Princess Augusta of Cambridge, and who he presumed was a relative of her royal highness—had been receiving 2,000l. a-year from this country ever since 1798, being being now 45 years. The principal, interest, and compound interest of the money thus received by him amounted to upwards of 300,000l. This large sum was extracted from the pockets of the hard-working people of this country. Was it not enough that the father should be pensioned on the country, without making the son also a pensioner? The amount of money at this moment allowed by the country to German princes and princesses, allied to our royal family, was not less than 200.000l. a-year. Was not this enough in all conscience, without making any addition? But upon what pretence was it proposed to be made? He presumed it was on account of the relationship existing between the Princess Augusta of Cambridge and her Majesty. If that were the ground, then, upon the same principle the people ought to provide for all the relations of her Majesty standing in the same degree with her royal highness. In that case there would be a pretty long line to provide for. The present distressed state of the country rendered the propo sition now before the House wholly unjustifiable; and he should feel it his duty to give every opposition to the grant. It was no argument to say that the money would not be asked for at the present moment. If not, then that was a reason why the proposition should not now be brought forward. But he objected to the vote on principle. It was wrong for the House to provide, at the expense of the industry of the country, for any individual whatsoever, and especially for so distant a relation of the Sovereign as was her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta of Cambridge [question question]. He wished it to be distinctly understood that he did not offer this opposition from any disrespect to the Duke of Cambridge. He believed that his royal highness had been in the management of his money matters exceedingly prudent, and had set a noble example. He objected to it upon public grounds. It was wrong in principle, and, therefore, he opposed it.

Sir Howard Douglas:

Sir, I cannot give a silent vote on this interesting subject. I hope the committee will permit me to remind it, that the amiable princess for whom we are now called upon, by royal message, to make suitable provision, is the grand-daughter of the illustrious monarch who surrendered to Parliament the hereditary revenues of the Crown, in consideration of a civil list of limited amount, settled on the Crown for the maintenance of the royal household, and other charges for public services. This immense patrimony, the ordinary revenue of the Crown, was capable of vast improvement and augmentation. The public have greatly benefitted by this arrangement; and I hope the House will feel, that the compact thus made, between the king and his Parliament, imposes upon this House, a moral and political obligation, to make the grant now required, and thus to provide for the grand-daughter of that good and illustrious monarch, who divested himself, for the public good, of the means of doing this, by rendering himself dependent upon his Parliament, for a fixed sum calculated only for the actual support and maintenance of the royal household, and the other charges on the civil list.

The hon.

Member for Coventry has represented the illustrious Duke as being colonel of two regiments, each of two battalions, and deriving great emoluments from both. His royal highness is only honorary colonel of the two battalions of the 60th, and derives no emolument whatever from being colonel of that corps. Sir, I have had the honour of the notice of the illustrious Duke for many years. Knowing the virtues private and public of that illustrious prince; knowing and admiring the manner in which, through life, his Royal Highness has discharged all the duties appropriate to his exalted rank and station; knowing that his Royal Highness is unable to make that provision for his royal daughter, which I think this House is morally and politically bound to do, under the circumstances which I have stated — I give my cordial support, and my willing vote in favour of the very reasonable and very moderate arrangement proposed by the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government, and trust the committee will respond, unanimously and unhesitatingly, to that proposition.

Mr. Hume

did not think that the House was prepared to enter into any details, and after the statement of the right hon. Baronet, it would be fit for the chairman to report progress and ask leave to sit again. There could be no objection to fix an early day for the revival of the subject.

Committee, after some conversation, was ordered to report progress. House resumed committee to sit again.