HC Deb 01 August 1850 vol 113 cc661-74

House in Committee.

Clause 1, page 2, line 16.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the blank be filled with 12,000l."


said, that he had given notice that he would move that the blank should be filled up with the sum of 8,000l., the amount which was given to the Duke of Gloucester when he was placed in a similar position. The Duke of Gloucester bore the same relationship to the then reigning Sovereign as the Duke of Cambridge did to the present Sovereign. It had, however, been suggested to him that 10,000l. would be considered as the sum more likely to be agreed to by the House. He would, therefore, propose that instead of 8,000l., the sum of 10,000l. should be inserted, as he thought there was some hope and chance of carrying it.

Whereupon Motion made, and Question put, "That the blank be filled with 10,000l."


wished to suggest one consideration to his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, and asked him to consider why this Royal Duke should have such a high sum. He quite acknowledged that as long as they had a Royal Family there should be an adequate provision for a certain portion of them; but it was a matter of very great importance to know when individuals connected with that family should cease to have a claim. There should be some line drawn; and it should be laid down as a rule that the further those individuals were removed in relationship from the Sovereign, the less should be the demand. He agreed that persons in the position of His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge should be provided for; but they ought to judge of the manner in which he was to be provided for by the habits of the people of this country. Now, 10,000l. was a very large sum of money; and they ought to recollect that the late Duke of Cambridge had, when he was alive, 24,000l. a year. [Mr. HUME: 27,000l. a year, besides his regiments.] Yes, independent of them. The late Duke died, and 3,000l. a year was left to each of his daughters, and 6,000l. a year went to his widow, and both these sums, together with the 12,000l. which was now proposed for the Duke of Cambridge, would make the sum of 24,000l. as a provision for His Royal Highness's family. Now let them recollect that Her Majesty the Queen had been so fruitful as to produce to the country several children, every one of whom would have the same claim, and they would have a multiplication of applications for grants of this description. Now he wanted to know where were these applications to end. It might appear an indelicate proceeding to enter into discussions of this nature; but they should consider that these sums were wrung from the hard earnings of the working population of this country, and it was their duty to look to the sources from which they were derived. What he proposed was, that these Princes should be supported in that sort of decent splendour which was compatible with their situation. He thought that the sum which the hon. Member for Montrose mentioned was a great way beyond what he wished to be considered as the amount necessary to support a Prince in that decent degree of splendour. He trusted the House would not sanction the grant of 24,000l. a year to this family. As for the grant to the present King of Hanover, they might lay that out of the question; but still they could not forget that the money was still paid to him. Now he wanted to know where this was to end? He supposed that the Duke of Cambridge would marry, and that naturally he would have a family. Was that family to be provided for by the country also? What he felt was that they ought now to begin by cutting down these incomes to the lowest degree possible, and he would propose that the sum of 5,000l. be put to fill up the blank.


said, that he could not agree that so large a sum as 12,000l. was necessary to support the dignity of the Duke of Cambridge. He thought that when they considered the small amount which was given to Ministers of State who, in consequence of their duties to the country, had hardly time to eat, drink, or sleep, and who must always have great and anxious responsibilities, that they must think 12,000l. a very large annual income to give to a person who was not called upon for this wear and tear of constitution, and had little responsibility or claims upon his time. When they looked at the enormous taxation in this country, they could not contemplate any vote that could be more unpopular than this; and they should remember that the Duke of Cambridge was neither heir apparent nor heir presumptive. They must really hold their hands somewhere in giving these large grants, and he thought it ought to commence here. At the same time, he was sure that the loyalty of Her Majesty's subjects would ever make them willing to support the Crown and its immediate descendants with munificence, and in splendour. He could easily fancy that the Gentlemen on the Ministerial benches, and those who hoped to be there, were placed in a position of great delicacy; and it was not unnatural to think that hon. Members on the opposite benches (the protectionists) would consider it a less evil to throw the responsibility of an unpopular measure on the Government, which would weaken their hold to office, rather than that they should continue to occupy the Ministerial benches, which they might fancy would be better filled by others. He was not, therefore, surprised at their opposing the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose, nor in their concurring in that which would be damaging to Ministers. He therefore hoped that those Gentlemen around him who looked to what was just and right, would unite in resisting this unpopular and unnecessary grant of 12,000l. He would vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Montrose.


wished to know why the sum should be more than he proposed. The Ministers of the Crown had 5,000l. a year, and the Judges had only 5,000l. a year. Every moment of the time of these men was devoted to public business, and there was not a moment in which they were not occupied for the benefit of the public. He was not now saying anything that would tend to the indignity of His Royal Highness; but he thought that 5,000l. was amply sufficient to support him as an English gentleman. The Prince had a sum of money left him by his father, and he understood also that he was a general officer, from which office he had a salary. All these things made up a very good income. Add to this the sum of 5,000l., and it would make a perfectly sufficient sum for an English gentleman to live upon. He was performing no service to the country for this additional sum, and they were only doing their duty to the public by making it as low as possible.


said, that he did not see any reason why 5,000l. should not be considered sufficient; but yet he could not see what good practical result could follow the Motion which had been made by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, when they remembered that those who voted for 8,000l. had been beaten by a large majority, by those who were more for Royalty than for economy. [Cries of "No. no!"] What, did not the hon. Gentlemen who cried "No!" beat them? [Cries of "Yes."] Well, then, if they voted for 12,000l. instead of 8,000l., they were not in favour of economy. What he wished to say was this, that there was no use in dividing the House on the 5,000l. proposition, as they were before beaten by the Gentlemen who cried for Royalty, and were much stronger in point of numbers. They were told that a great many Gentlemen absented themselves on that occasion, because they thought that 8,000l. was too small a sum; it was supposed that they would think 10,000l. sufficient, and it was on that account that his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose was induced to move that the sum of 10,000l. be inserted. At the same time he should say, that if the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield pressed for a division on his Motion, he should vote for the 5,000l.


was of opinion that it was very difficult to make any argument on the question whether 5,000l. or 12,000l. was the proper sum. Gentlemen must judge for themselves what they thought a Prince of the Royal Family re- quired for the maintenance of his dignity, and to meet those demands which came much move on members of the Royal Family than others. It was not fair to say there was a distinction between those who were for Royalty and those who were for economy. On both sides the desire might be to do that which was best for the country, some considering the smaller sum sufficient; others thinking that, either for the credit of the country or for the public utility, it was not desirable to see a Prince of the Royal Family very much reduced in his pecuniary means. According to the arrangement of the civil list, in later times that civil list was made for the support of the Sovereign, and of the Sovereign only. When, as in former times, there was a considerable sum derived from the property of the Crown, the Crown had the means of supporting the sons and daughters either of the reigning Sovereign, or of collateral relations, out of the revenues of the Crown. But these were now merged in the public revenue, from which it was therefore necessary that a sum should be granted; and it seemed to him that 12,000l. was a more fitting sum than 5,000l.


said, that after taking into consideration his Royal Highness's position, and the necessities of the public, he had previously supported the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose: and if the hon. Member had proposed that amount again, he would again have voted for it. He objected to the proposal of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, and he was rather surprised at his making it, considering that in a speech at Sheffield, the hon. and learned Member had formerly had the manliness to support the allowance to the Cambridge family. 5,000l. was evidently too little, seeing that 6,000l. extra had been granted to the late Duke for the maintenance of his son. He thought that justice to these royal personages required that they should know what was expected from them, as the condition of receiving public grants. If there was to be a continual pull at their purses for charitable objects, they must of course have larger allowances. The precedent cited by the hon. Member for Montrose—that of the case of the late Duke of Gloucester—was a fair and reasonable one. At the time when 8,000l. a year was allotted to him, the price of provisions was pretty nearly the same as at present; and when the increase was made in 1806, it was on the express ground of a rise in the principal articles of consumption. As an argument against the small grant of 5,000l. he would mention that the Duke of Cambridge had recently given appointments to four equerries.


wanted to know what his Royal Highness had to do with aping the fashions of Royalty by means of equerries? When he addressed his constituents on the occasion referred to by the right hon. Member for Northampton, what he said was, that it was absolutely necessary that the members of the Royal Family should be maintained out of the funds of the State, but that he considered the vote for them extravagant under the circumstances.


deeply regretted that any Prince of the blood should be placed in the position of His Royal Highness in having this application made to the House; but it was the Act of Parliament that placed a Prince in that position. He would not enter into a controversy as to what might be the rental of the estates of the Crown, if the Crown had been left in possession of them. If they had been properly managed, as they probably would have been if the Crown had been left to the resources of its estates for the support of its dignity, there would have been no necessity to apply to Parliament; but that was not now the question. He must confess his utter inability, if the case was to be argued upon severe principles of logic, to make out that 10,000l., or 12,000l., or 14,000l., was the exact and proper sum to be voted; in fixing that sum he should be very much influenced by the opinion stated by the Government of the day, who of course had given to the subject the consideration it deserved. But the House must never forget the position in which they had placed the Princes of the blood. Take the peerage of England; throw your eyes over the wealthiest of our patrician houses; you would find that their wealth had been created, in the course of centuries, by marrying heiresses, that the most powerful and justly popular of our patrician houses had been established by absorbing the wealth of great heiresses to an extent which few, probably, were aware of. Such was the nature of our society, that the poor Peer of this generation would probably not be a poor Peer in the next, from the power he possessed for establishing his family. But we had passed a law which prevented a Prince of the blood founding a family by those means which the experience of the nation and the feeling of the country showed to be the means by which noble families were established. The Duke of Cambridge was an English duke—the first of the English nobility. A few months ago he was the eldest son of an English duke; did we allow him to come and stand a contest for Westminster? Did we permit him as a commoner, like the son of any other English duke, to enter the House of Commons, and, exercising what abilities he might possess, assert that position which nature justified him in fulfilling? It was said, he was paid more than a Secretary of State: did we allow him to try to be a Secretary of State? We shut him out from any such courses of honourable ambition, and means of creating a fortune. He could not be Governor General of India. We shut him out from all the public offices of life, with the exception of the military. These were restrictions we had placed upon the life, career, and fortunes of individuals in this position. To his (Mr. Disraeli's) mind they were most unnatural and unjust. We might abrogate them, and place the Prince in the position in which all other persons were placed, and then there would be some foundation for our criticism; but while these restrictions lasted, we must come to the consideration of the subject influenced by them. The Bill provided that, in the event of the Duke of Cambridge becoming King of Hanover, the annuity should terminate. It should, however, be borne in mind that in these times a man might be a king one day, and a private citizen on the next; and therefore it might be expedient to introduce a proviso that, if his Royal Highness, after exercising sovereign power, should revert to his original condition of a pure English Prince, he would be entitled to the annuity again.


believed that the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had made some mistake about the law, when he said that Prince George of Cambridge was precluded from canvassing the electors of Westminster if he had thought proper to do so. Such an application was not in accordance with custom, but there was no law against it.


said, that not only on that side in the House of Commons, but out of doors generally, the opinion was that the sum proposed was an extravagant one. With regard to the Marriage Act, he was no party to it, and he regarded it as one of the most absurd and wicked Acts that had ever passed; therefore that was no reason why he should vote a larger sum as an allowance to the Duke of Cambridge, than he thought necessary. He doubted also whether, if an opportunity for an advantageous marriage offered, the consent of the Crown would not be given. If the late Duke of Cambridge had been taught to look upon the House of Commons as an enemy to extravagance, he would have provided adequately for all his children, and the present Duke of Cambridge would not have been placed in this painful position. He had already the colonelcy of a regiment, which was worth 1,500l. a year to him, and he would, no doubt, receive other appointments from the Government, which would make his income considerably larger than the sum which the House was about to vote. He thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government had overlooked the interests of the public in proposing this large grant of 12,000l. He agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for South Lancashire that this would be one of the most unpopular votes of the Session, and he much feared that it would he made a precedent which this country would have cause to regret.


could not allow the assumption just made by the hon. Member to pass unnoticed. When the grant was first proposed, and the precedent of the Duke of Gloucester, who received 14,000l., was adverted to, he (Mr. Disraeli) expressed his gratification that the smaller sum of 12,000l. had been fixed on by the Government, and intimated an opinion that the reduction was the result of the injurious laws which the hon. Member for Manchester had supported.


thought that enough of the public money had been voted, and would therefore move that the Chairman should report progress. ["Oh, oh!"] He was prepared for that expression of feeling, but he would state the reasons which induced him to make the proposition that had called it forth. He had waited until Thursday had ended and Friday commenced (it was now after midnight) for the performance of a promise made by the First Minister of the Crown. A rumour had reached him, not from the noble Lord, but from the city of London, that it was the intention of the Government to sacrifice the privileges of that House to the will of the House of Lords, upon a matter which he and other Mem- bers had much at heart. ["Question!"] He was speaking to the question. The question was redress of grievances before supply—the maintenance of the privileges of the House of Commons before voting public money. The noble Lord intended by his resolutions, in the first place, to postpone to next Session the question which had within the last few days agitated the public mind, and in the next place to put the privileges of the Commons at the absolute disposal of the House of Lords. That was the rumour which had reached the city of London, and from the city of London had reached him and other Members of greater importance than he was. This was what the Prime Minister intended to keep secret until he had got all the public money which he wished the House to grant, when he thought it would no longer have any control over him. He would now move that the Chairman should report progress, at the same time giving notice that, notwithstanding he was strongly indisposed to do anything offensive to the Royal Family, he would vote against granting any public money to the Duke of Cambridge or any other person, till the question respecting Baron de Rothschild was properly decided in the present Session.


thought, that as the hon. and learned Member for Youghal was acquainted with the substance of the resolutions which the noble Lord intended to propose, he might allow the business in hand to proceed. The noble Lord would doubtless presently make the statement which he was bound in good faith to submit to the House.


begged the hon. and learned Gentleman not to press his Amendment.


complained of the conduct of the Government. In the first instance, it was understood that the resolutions promised by the noble Lord would be printed in the Votes that morning. Subsequently it was announced that they would be laid upon the table in the course of the evening before twelve o'clock. It was now a quarter past twelve.


said, his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General had been ready to state the nature of the resolutions in the course of the evening, when Mr. Speaker informed him that he would be out of order in doing so at that time. His hon. and learned Friend would bring the resolutions forward as soon as the House resumed.


thought the hon. and learned Member for Youghal was right in demanding redress of grievances before voting supply. He (Lord D. Stuart) had vainly endeavoured to extract from the noble Lord a statement of the substance of his resolutions. The House had a right to the information sought for, and the House had been very ill treated by the Government. Although the noble Lord had undertaken to lay resolutions before the House, they had not yet been presented; and under such extraordinary circumstances the hon. and learned Member for Youghal did right in interposing.


was as anxious as any one to know what the noble Lord's resolutions were, but he protested against the Amendment, as being opposed to the ordinary practice of the House.


thought his object was misunderstood. He did not want to force the noble Lord to a disclosure of what he was so inclined to keep secret. His desire was, that the House should retain some control over the Government by withholding the public money. For his part, he would not vote a farthing of the public money to the Duke of Cambridge or any other person until the House had an opportunity of vindicating its privileges and doing justice to the citizens of London.


hoped the hon. and learned Member for Youghal would not divide, seeing that the noble Lord would state the views of Her Majesty's Government touching the admission of Baron de Rothschild at the earliest possible moment. Besides, the annuity to the Duke of Cambridge was not the last vote of supply; therefore other opportunities would arise for opposing the Government.


expressed a hope that the hon. and learned Member for Youghal would withdraw his Motion.

Motion withdrawn.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 76; Noes 105: Majority 29.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Cobden, R.
Aglionby, H. A. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Anstey, T. C. Crawford, W. S.
Arkwright, G. Currie, H.
Bass, M. T. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Blair, S. Duke, Sir J.
Brocklehurst, J. Duncan, G.
Brotherton, J. Ellis, J.
Brown, W. Evelyn, W. J.
Carew, W. H. P. Fagan, W.
Carter, J. B. Portescue, hon. J. W.
Clay, J. Fox, W. J.
Greene, J. Pilkington, J.
Gwyn, H. Pinney, W.
Hall, Sir B. Power, Dr.
Harris, R. Ricardo, O.
Headlam, T. E. Robartes, T. J. A.
Heald, J. Roebuck, J. A.
Heywood, J. Scholefield, W.
Hollond, R. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Hornby, J. Smith, J. A.
Jackson, W. Spearman, H. J.
Jones, Capt. Spooner, R.
Kershaw, J. Stuart, Lord D.
King, hon. P. J. L. Tenison, E. K.
Lennard, T. B. Thompson, Col.
Locke, J. Thompson, G.
M'Gregor, J. Thornely, T.
Matheson, Col. Waddington, H. S.
Mitchell, T. A. Walmsley, Sir J.
Morris, D. Watkins, Col. L.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Wawn, J. T.
Mullings, J. R. Wilcox, B. M.
Nicholl, rt. hon. J. Williams, J.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Wilson, M.
Nugent, Lord Wood, W. P.
Nugent, Sir P.
Ogle, S. C. H. TELLERS.
Packe, C. W. Hume, J.
Pechell, Sir G. B. Bright, J.
List of the NOES.
Armstrong, Sir A. Grenfell, C. P.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Grenfell, C. W.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Barrington, Visct. Grey, R. W.
Bellew, R. M. Grogan, E.
Berkeley, Adm. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Blackall, S. W. Hallyburton, Ld. J. F. G.
Blackstone, W. S. Hamilton, G. A.
Boldero, H. G. Hamilton, Lord C.
Booth, Sir R. G. Hatchell, J.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hawes, B.
Cabbell, B. B. Hayes, Sir E.
Chatterton, Col. Henley, J. W.
Childers, J. W. Herbert, H. A.
Christy, S. Hervey, Lord A.
Cobbold, J. C. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Hodges, T. L.
Cocks, T. S. Howard, Lord E.
Coles, H. B. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Howard, Sir R.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Jermyn, Earl
Craig, Sir W. G. Jocelyn, Visct.
Davies, D. A. S. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Dickson, S. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Disraeli, B. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Dodd, G. Lewis, G. C.
Dundas, Adm. Lewisham, Visct.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. M'Cullagh, W. T.
Dunne, Col. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Ebrington, Visct. Manners, Lord. J.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Estcourt, J. B. B. Morgan, O.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Napier, J.
FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. W. Newdegate, C. N.
Forester, hon. G. C. W. Newry and Morne, Visct.
Fox, S. W. L. Paget, Lord A.
Freestun, Col. Paget, Lord C.
Frewen, C. H. Palmerston, Visct.
Gore, W. R. O. Parker, J.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Pelham, hon. D. A.
Grace, O. D. J. Plowden, W. H. C.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Rawdon, Col.
Greene, T. Rich, H.
Romilly, Sir J. Townley, R. G.
Russell, Lord J. Trevor, hon. G. R.
Seymour, Lord Wellesley, Lord C.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Westhead, J. P. B.
Sheridan, R. B. Willoughhy, Sir H.
Sibthorp, Col. Wilson, J.
Somers, J. P. Wodehouse, E.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Sotheron, T. H. S. TELLERS.
Stafford, A. Hayter, W. G.
Stanford, J. F. Hill, Lord M.

wished to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government whether he would persist in the vote for 12,000l., seeing that if those who were obliged to vote with him were taken away, there would be a majority for his (Mr. Hume's) Amendment? He knew, too, that there were some hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side who did not approve of the vote, and yet had voted for it under peculiar circumstances. He did not attribute motives to any hon. Member in particular; but it was to be remembered there were two classes of expectants, namely, those who were "in," and those who were expecting to get in. If these were deducted, along with the Members who were obliged to vote with Government, those who acted on behalf of the public would be in a considerable majority.


Can the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War give an answer to the question I have put respecting the appointment to the Guards? I wish to know, without any quibbling, whether the appointment of the Duke of Cambridge to the Guards has taken place or has been decided on?


I put the question to the Military Secretary about two days ago, and asked him if any arrangement had taken place with respect to the disposal of the regiment of Guards? Lord Fitzroy Somerset then informed me that no arrangement had taken place; and I have not heard that any arrangement has taken place as to the disposal of that regiment.


I wish to ask a plain question. Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that it is decided that the Duke of Cambridge is to have that regiment?


No, Sir, I do not.


would not have risen upon this occasion but for the imputation cast upon hon. Members sitting upon his side of the House. [Mr. HUME could assure the hon. Gentleman he did not allude to him.] He was very glad no improper motive was attributed to him; but such an imputation should not be cast upon any of the hon. Members who had supported this vote. They who supported it were actuated by principle. He could discover no principle amongst its opponents, who were shifting about from 8,000l. to 5,000l., and then to 10,000l., and who, not having any principle, merely showed their animosity against the Royal Family. In giving his vote he was sure he had done that which would be popular; for the people of this country desired to maintain the Royal Family with proper dignity. The people of this country saw that the late Duke of Cambridge, though possessing a large income, had died a poor man; and this solely because he was so benevolent, so generous, and so gracious in his patronage and support of their several charities. He had a right to express his reasons for giving the vote he had done on this occasion; and, in addition to the other arguments that had been brought forward in supporting it, he could not avoid adverting to the fact, that their aristocracy had large fortunes, that their merchants had large fortunes, and even their tradesmen were able to clear from 12,000l. to 14,000l. a year; and that, therefore, 12,000l. a year to a Prince of the blood, with large demands upon him, such as none of those persons had, could not be considered too large a sum to grant him. It certainly could not be called extravagant; and in supporting such a vote he certainly could not be called an expectant, for he did not participate in the Royal Family entertainments, and he believed his constituency would consider that he had given a right vote.


said that, in answer to the question put to him by the hon. Member for Montrose, he could only say, that after having brought forward this vote seriously as the proposition of the Government, and having been supported by a majority of the House, he certainly should adhere to the vote.


protested against an observation of the hon. Member for Reading. He (Mr. Roebuck) had thought it his duty to propose 5,000l., and his hon. Friend had thought it right, that Amendment not being pressed, to propose 10,000l.; and for the hon. Gentleman to insinuate that in that there was any enmity towards the Royal Family was unworthy of the hon. Gentleman himself, and of him (Mr. Roebuck) to answer it.


said, the hon. Member for Montrose had said the majority in favour of this vote consisted of those who were in office, and those who expected it; but he would ask the hon. Gentleman, whether those who opposed the vote might not consist of a third party—those who had been disappointed?

House resumed.

Bill reported as amended.

To be considered To-morrow.