§ COLONEL LINDSAY
had a question to put to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War with reference to a statement which had been made by the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) on the preceding evening, that no reduction had taken place in the emoluments attaching to the Colonelcies of the Grenadier Guards, in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee which sat upon military affairs in 1833. He wished to ask whether or not the recommendation of that Committee had been carried out?
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he was very glad that the hon. and gallant Colonel opposite had asked him this question, because it would give him the opportunity of making a short statement, which he hoped would be satisfactory to the House, and which, he thought, was owing to the character of his Royal Highness Prince Albert. It was quite true that in the report of the newspapers that morning giving an account of the observations made by his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, it did appear as if that hon. Gentleman had asserted that his Royal Highness was enjoying the same emoluments as had been received by the late Duke of Wellington, although the Committee of 1833 had recommended that upon any future appointment those emoluments should be reduced. So far, however, as his memory served him, this was an inaccuracy in the report. The hon. Member had not complained that the emoluments had not been reduced, but had said that the colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards, as the Committee recommended, should have been retained as the reward of veterans who had seen long service. So much as to what had last night fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose. But for the right understanding of the facts of the case, it was important to call the attention of the House to what really were the recommendations of the Committee. First of all, let him say that the recommendations of the Committee, so far as regarded 802 the amount of emolument of the three colonelcies of the Guards, had been strictly carried out, and, this being the first year during which the command of the Grenadier Guards was vacated by the death of the Duke of Wellington, the emoluments attached thereto had been for the first time reduced in accordance with the recommendations which the Committee had given. Now, upon turning to the recommendations of the Committee in question, he found that his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose was not quite accurate in his recollection of what the Committee recommended. He (Mr. S. Herbert) had no doubt it was perfectly true that the views of his hon. Friend were actuated by some of the arguments which might have been used in the Committee in favour of retaining the commands of the regiments in question for officers of very long service; but no such recommendation was made by the Committee. If the House would allow him, he would state what their recommendation was. The Report of that Committee, after stating that they recommended that the emoluments of the Grenadier Guards should be reduced from upwards of 4,000l., which they then were, to a sum which they computed would amount to 3,000l., and that the two other colonelcies should likewise be reduced until they amounted to 2,000l., went on to say—This Committee are of opinion that, taking into consideration the great and glorious services of the Duke of Wellington, an exemption should take place in his person from the operation of the rule, and that no change should he made in the emoluments of the Grenadier Guards so long as His Grace shall continue to hold the colonelcy.That was the whole of the recommendation of the Committee, and there was, therefore, no mention, one way or the other, as to the manner in which the Crown should dispose of the regiments. He might also add that this was a case for the discretion of the Crown, and not for the consideration of the Committee. The fact was, that it had been the practice from time immemorial to give the colonelcies of these regiments to members of the Royal family. Since 1805 there had been ten vacancies in the colonelcies of the three regiments of Guards; and out of those only four had not been bestowed on members of the Royal family, the Duke of Wellington, who held one of those commands, being, of course, an exception to all rule. He would also point out to the House that if there had been any such understanding as that alluded 803 to—he would say that recommendation there was none—it would have been carried out at an earlier period, ten years ago, when his Royal Highness Prince Albert was first appointed to the command of the Fusileer Guards. Instead of this, twenty years had elapsed since the Report of the Committee, and to the first appointment made after the publication of that Report, which would have been the time to call attention to the circumstance, no objection was taken, nor was there any expression of opinion on the part of members of the Committee. His Royal Highness Prince Albert was the senior colonel of the Guards when the Duke of Wellington died, and it was natural, therefore, that he should succeed to the vacant colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards. The House would permit him to say this with regard to his Royal Highness—that during the time he held the appointment of Colonel of the Fusileer Guards he never drew to the full amount of the 2,000l. which it had been intended by the Committee should be the emolument of the post; and his Royal Highness, who took a very great interest in the comforts of the men, had always behaved personally with great liberality with regard to that regiment. He thought it was but right he should call the attention of the House to the fact that his Royal Highness was appointed ten years ago to the colonelcy in the Fusileer Guards, that no objection was taken to the appointment then, and that the succession of his Royal Highness to what he might call the senior colonelcy of the Grenadier Guards had been in the ordinary course of military promotion. He (Mr. S. Herbert) was anxious to make this statement for the sake of Prince Albert and of the Duke of Cambridge, who stood upon the same ground with his Royal Highness, and who had proved himself a most active, zealous, and efficient officer. He confessed he should have been pained if, from any observations which were made in that House, an imputation totally undeserved should appear to have been cast upon his Royal Highness Prince Albert, and if his position as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards should have been the cause of his appearing to the public in a light which was certainly the very reverse of that in which he was entitled to stand—entitled by that sense of public duty and by that public spirit which had always marked his Royal Highness, and which had justly endeared him to the people of this country.
said, what he had asserted 804 was, that when the Committee of 1833 came to the question of leaving the emoluments of the Duke of Wellington untouched, but determined that a change should take place on his death, which was the only thing they could look to, the point then arose, and a recommendation to that effect was proposed by an officer connected with the Navy—would it not be fair to reserve the appointments to the Guards for men of long services and of the highest professional character? Although the divisions which took place in the Committee were not given in the Report, it was on that ground, and on that ground alone—and the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) would confirm the statement—that the Report of the Committee was made; and therefore he repeated, that the intention of the Committee at that time had been violated by allowing Prince Albert and the Duke of Cambridge to fill these appointments. He begged to say that in making these observations he had not intended to throw any reflections upon either of their Royal Highnesses. On the contrary, he had stated his belief that Prince Albert had done honour to the situation he filled; but still that was not enough to warrant him in being placed over the heads of others whose services had been of longer duration; and he blamed the Government of the day and the parties who ought to have carried out the intentions of the Committee.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
said, he had no doubt the hon. Member's recollection was correct; but the hon. Gentleman must remember that the intentions of the Committee were only to be judged of from their Report.
said, that they had had the authority of the Secretary at War of the day, who had concurred in the opinion he had expressed.