HC Deb 25 May 1857 vol 145 cc839-42

Resolutions reported.

(1.) "That the sum of £40,000 be granted to Her Majesty for the marriage portion of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, read 2°.


said, he did not know whether he was in time to express an opinion and propose an Amendment to this Resolution; but he thought that himself and many other hon. Gentlemen were rather badly treated by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) on Friday night. By the decision at which the House had just arrived they had made, he considered, ample provision for the eminent personage with whom they were now dealing. He should not be acting as what he professed to be—a fair representative of the people—if he objected to give an amply sufficient dowry to the young Princess the eldest born of our Sovereign; but he should not be what he professed to be, a just representative of the people, if he did not express his opinion that an annuity of £8,000 was amply sufficient. Therefore he thought that the sum of £40,000 included in this Vote was unnecessary liberality on the part of the representatives of a nation which comprised many millions of poor and needy persons. He knew that many hon. Gentlemen might differ from him and accuse him of presumption for venturing to express his opinion upon the subject; but the feeling which he entertained on this subject on Friday night he entertained most strongly at the present moment, namely, that he was greatly disappointed by the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield— and on the part of some hon. Members he begged to say that they were equally disappointed. That hon. and learned Gentleman by assuming the position which he had on Friday night prevented hon. Gentlemen from putting the sentiments expressed by him into a practical form. The hon. and learned Gentleman came forward even before the Motion was proposed, and made a solemn appeal to the representatives of the people. He (Mr. Maguire) was greatly struck by the justice of the hon. and learned Gentleman's observations, and he believed that many hon. Gentlemen would have gone into the lobby with him if he had laid his proposition in a practical form before the House. The hon. and learned Gentleman had no right to express his opinion in the manner he had, unless he had intended to test the feeling of the House upon it. He addressed the House upon two separate occasions in support of his view, and it was his duty to have pressed the House to a division. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving that the Vote of £40,000 be negatived.


said, that the proper course would be to move the Amendment on the Question that the House do agree with the Resolutions of the Committee, and those who concurred in the opinion of the hon. Gentleman could vote in the negative of that Question.


also thought that the annuity of £8,000 just granted was an amply sufficient provision for the Princess Royal. He came into that House pledged to support reform and retrenchment, and by supporting the large grant now proposed he should be violating in the most direct manner one of those pledges. Unpopular, therefore, as it might be, he thought it was his duty to oppose the Vote.


said, he should be justified in assenting to the Vote by two precedents which occurred in the reigns of George II. And George III. In the reign of George II. a marriage portion of £80,000 and an annuity of £5,000 were granted on the marriage of the Princess Royal, and he believed that the same sums were given in the reign of George III. on the marriage of the Princess Royal with the Prince of Wirtemberg. As Her Majesty's Government had chosen to diminish the marriage portion and increase the annuity, and the two amounted to about the same sum as was granted on the two occasions of which he had spoken, he did not think that he had any right to object. He thought that the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria was entitled to at least as much liberality as was displayed towards the daughters of George II. and George III.


As some hon. Gentlemen were pursuing the vexatious course of dividing the House on a question on which they were almost unanimous, I beg to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether it is not possible to revert to the ancient rule of directing one party to go forth into the lobby? If the "Noes" are ordered to "go forth" it will probably save us the trouble of a division.


wished to know whether the noble Lord meant that the opposition to this Vote was "vexatious" to the people of England. For his own part, he should regret extremely if occasion were taken to divide against the Vote. He should have much preferred that the division had taken place on Friday last. He came down to the House to support any reasonable proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, but as that hon. and learned Gentleman declined to test the House, he (Sir J. Trelawny) now found himself in a most difficult situation; because, while on the one hand his conscience told him that he should act rightly by voting with the minority, he felt, on the other hand, most anxious to vote with the majority. He did not know what course to take. He did not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to have asked them as reasonable men to be guided by precedents 100 years old—on such a question they ought to be guided by common sense. He would be the last person to express anything but admiration for Her Majesty, and his earnest wish was that every happiness might attend the Princess Royal; but the Chancellor of the Exchequer had omitted an important matter which ought to have been taken into account, and which was this—that in case of the death of the Prince of Wales the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall would belong to Her Majesty for life, although that was contrary to constitutional policy. Those who read Mr. Burke's Treatise on Economical Reform would find that the revenues of the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster ought to be applied to the public use. Mr. Burke used to be a great authority with the hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition benches, and at one time they were not so anxious as now to vote sums of money for the maintenance of the Royal Family.


thought the hon. Gentleman was wrong in his statement that if the country were deprived of the Prince of Wales the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall reverted to the Crown. The fact was, he believed, that it went to the next heir to the Throne. He should not argue the general question, but hoped the House would abide by the decision at which it already seemed to have arrived.


, in explanation, repeated that in case of the death of the eldest son of the Sovereign, the Duchy of Cornwall went to the Crown during the Crown's life. This was both fact and law.


, in reply to the question put by the noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil), said, that in 1836, in consequence of its being thought advisable that the names of Members who voted in divisions should be recorded, a Standing Order was adopted by the House that both the "Ayes" and the "Noes" should go forth into the lobbies. It was therefore necessary that the division should be taken in the usual way.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

The House divided:—Ayes 361; Noes 18: Majority 343.

Resolution agreed to; subsequent Resolutions agreed to.