§ MESSAGE FROM HER MAJESTY [21st March]—considered, in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ Message from Her Majesty read.
I rise, Sir, to submit to the Committee, in the usual form, two Resolutions, the 1st of which provides that, in the opinion of the Committee, there ought to be supplied to Prince Leopold, for the maintenance of his marriage state, the sum of £10,000 a-year, in addition to the annuity now enjoyed by His Royal Highness under 1672 the Act of the 38th year of her present Majesty, towards providing for the establishment of His Royal Highness. That is a provision for his life upon his marriage. The 2nd Resolution provides for the case of the widowhood of the illustrious person who is now the bride. [Cries of "No, no! the betrothed."] It is customary, I believe, to call a person a bride when the marriage is approaching. The 2nd Resolution enables Her Majesty to secure to Her Serene Highness, in case she shall survive His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, an annual sum not exceeding £6,000 during her life. In submitting these Resolutions to the Committee, I do not require to detain the Committee at any length, because the Committee is perfectly familiar with the topics that are applicable to the subject, from the recollection of other and similar occasions. Happily, we have only to vary in this instance by change of name the tones of congratulation with which we have heretofore approached Her Majesty, in regard to the character of the marriage itself. Her Majesty has been happy, almost beyond any other Sovereign known to history, in the nature of the matrimonial unions which have been successively formed by the Royal Princes. From time to time they have been spoken of by anticipation in sanguine terms on the part of responsible persons addressing this House, when proposing that provision be made for their due support, and these favourable and sanguine anticipations have on all occasions been completely sustained by actual experience. I believe, Sir, that on no occasion has there been better or more solid ground to anticipate happy results from a coming marriage than on the occasion which we have now to consider. The Duke of Albany, although young, has had sufficient opportunity of showing that he is possessed of an excellent understanding, and that he has likewise an excellent disposition to apply that understanding to the best use. With respect to Her Serene Highness, the Princess Helen of Waldeck-Pyrmont, she, of course, is less known to the public of this country. But, nevertheless, terms of equal confidence may be used in regard to the probable future of Her Serene Highness; for it is not to be questioned that Her Serene Highness is admirably endowed 1673 with natural gifts, and that those natural gifts have, under the care of her parents, and especially under that of an excellent and affectionate mother, been sedulously improved by the most careful training. Therefore, Sir, on this point, whatever may have been said on former occasions may now be justly repeated or taken for granted in regard to the happy prospects of the union which is about to be formed. Sir, with respect to the question of the income which is proposed as an endowment of this marriage, the Committee is aware that Prince Leopold, like the Duke of Connaught and like the Duke of Edinburgh, in each case before marriage, had already been provided with an income of £15,000 a- year, so that the Grant which is now proposed will raise his total income to £25,000. Now, Sir, this figure is not the result of any accidental circumstance or of any slight consideration. It was settled many years ago, in the earlier part of the second Cabinet of Lord Palmerston. It was made the subject of very careful inquiry by the Cabinet upon what basis provision ought to be made for the due support of the dignity of the Crown and the Royal Family in the case of the younger children of the Sovereign, first of all, on their coming of age, and, secondly, on their marriage. The amount which I propose has been, I do not hesitate to say, looked upon by all Cabinets generally which have had the opportunity of considering the case as a moderate amount. I am aware that it is a large sum to vote by way of annual allowance, but it is not a sum unduly large; on the contrary, I am of opinion it is a sum judiciously moderate, when we consider the position of the person for whom it is intended, and when we consider the nature of this country and the standard of wealth and enjoyment which prevails. There are a number of Gentlemen in this House of Parliament, and a very far larger number in the other House of Parliament, whose income exceeds, and in many cases greatly exceeds, the sum we now ask to be provided for a person of Royal dignity; while, upon the other hand, those larger incomes are in many cases free from a considerable portion of the calls and expectations which, as it were, predetermine a Royal income in certain modes of expenditure, and very seriously limit the choice of the possessor of it in its disposal from year to year. In fact, the number of times on which 1674 successive Governments have had this matter under consideration, and the very general and almost unanimous, though not quite unanimous concurrence, which has been exhibited when those occasions have arrived, give to the proposal such a weight of authority that it cannot now require to be expounded and supported in detail, easy as it would be, if it were necessary to give such support, by an appeal to the incidents of our previous history. I think, Sir, it will be felt that it is not too much to say that the proceeding which the House is now invited to take is a proceeding founded, not, indeed, upon a direct compact, but on an honourable understanding, and on a deliberate and well-considered policy. It is, I think, something like an honourable understanding when an arrangement of this kind has been fixed by a Cabinet before any of the occasions to which it was to be applied had arrived, and when, being so proposed by the Cabinet, it has not only once, but many times, in the persons and in the cases of other Members of the Royal Family, met with the assent of the House. I think anyone opposed to this Vote would be almost startled if he could entertain as a possibility the contingency or success of his own opposition, when he reflects that it is possible that such opposition could be adopted by the House, and that the effect would be that the House would then refuse to Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, under the very same circumstances, precisely the same provision which other Parliaments—not one, but more than one—have accorded with freedom, and almost with unanimity, in the case of the Duke of Albany's illustrious brothers, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of Connaught. Well, Sir, this proposal, which is recommended by the wisdom with which these matrimonial unions are considered and the engagements for them contracted, which is recommended, I think, by the just moderation of the sum which we propose to Parliament to vote, and by the understanding which must be considered to arise after Votes of this kind have been many times repeated in cases analogous in every respect, is likewise, let me remind the House, founded on a deliberate policy. That policy rests upon this principle—that it is a wise course, and a course accordant with the principles of popular representative government, that 1675 instead of endowing the Crown upon the accession of the Sovereign with all the sums which may eventually be found necessary in case that Sovereign should be blessed with a numerous progeny—instead of making that large endowment which might prove to be superfluous—that proper course is first to endow the Sovereign, if unmarried, in reference to the expenses of an unmarried Sovereign, and then from time to time to enlarge that endowment, as circumstances may require such enlargement. Now, Sir, I can well understand that objection might be taken on one ground to this course of proceeding. It might be said that it was hardly using the Sovereign fairly to establish a state of things in which that Sovereign would be obliged to appear from time to time by Message before the Houses of Parliament, and again and again to reiterate requests for fresh grants of public money with a view to the maintenance of the Royal Estate by the different persons of her Family. But this I must say—that in the interests of Parliament—and it is an important reservation thus made—it has the double effect that, in the first place, a moral control is preserved on the part of Parliament over the conduct and proceedings of the rising branches of the Royal Family; and, in the second place, a valuable and salutary control is also preserved on the part of a wise and affectionate parent—the reigning Sovereign—over Her children, whose training and whose gradual advancement in life She has watched over and superintended. I may, perhaps, be justified in mentioning to the House one single circumstance which I think exactly illustrates the proposition I have now laid down. At the time that William IV. came to the Throne it happened that he became Sovereign at a period when, from a variety of causes, a strong principle of public parsimony prevailed. But the Civil List of King William IV. was fixed at a sum of £435,000 a-year. In 1837—seven years later—when her present gracious Majesty came to the Throne, Her Civil List was fixed, not at £435,000, but at £385,000. There was thus a diminution of £50,000 a-year; but it is perfectly plain that this was not because different views prevailed in 1837 from those which prevailed in 1830. It is quite plain that it was because King William IV. came to the 1676 Throne as a Sovereign having a Queen Consort, while Queen Victoria came to the Throne of this country as a youthful maiden, not having to maintain the double cost of State, which is incurred when a married pair are upon the Throne, or when the Queen, sitting on the Throne, has a Prince Consort; and, in consequence, when the Prince Consort happily became the husband of Queen Victoria, a new and separate application was made to Parliament for a special Grant, with a view to his support and maintenance, so that it is quite undeniable that Parliament has adopted as a principle this method of procedure. Nor do I think anyone will be disposed to deny that it is a principle well adapted to the spirit of representative government, and the maintenance of Parliamentary control. I hope, Sir, it will not be said that provision for these purposes ought to be made by the Sovereign Herself, from Her economies, in restraining the expenditure of her annual income, because it must be borne in mind that the income of the Sovereign is predetermined in separate branches and departments in such a way as only to leave the most moderate means for anything approaching accumulation—that accumulation, such as would even moderately provide for the Royal Princes and Princesses, on their arrival at man's estate, or on entering the condition of matrimony, is absolutely beyond the power of any Sovereign to attain; and that any attempt made by a Sovereign to attain such an end would only result in general dissatisfaction, and perhaps in popular complaint. If that be so—if the Sovereign has arrived at Sovereignty, with an understanding thus established and thus founded upon a personal policy—then I think I am justified in putting it to the Committee that the power which they possess ought to be honestly as well as loyally used, and that that which is about to be given ought to be given graciously and cheerfully. Nay, more; the Queen herself opens the door to our criticism, and remarks by the form under which, under the advice of Her successive Ministers, She has consented to take this provision. She conforms to the policy which Parliament has laid down, and which Cabinets have likewise concurred in, and She has been faithful to that policy. I hope, therefore, that we, on our part, will endeavour to act in a 1677 corresponding spirit; and, if we feel it to be true that there is nothing unreasonable in a control like this, in the endowment we are asked to make, that endowment will be made in the spirit which Her Majesty feels has always, in similar cases, distinguished the House of Commons, and we shall carry this gift, which is offered by the people through their Representatives, to the foot of the Throne, as a willing gift—a gift unrestrained and suitable to the circumstances of the case—a gift, further, which is certain to have the full and cordial approbation of the people of this Kingdom.
§ SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE
I am aware, Sir, that it is technically unnecessary that such a Motion as this should be seconded; and I may go further, and say that it is not only technically unnecessary, but it must be absolutely and in every sense unnecessary that I should rise to express, on behalf of the great body of Gentlemen on this side of the House, our approval of the proposal that is now made. I only rise, therefore, in order that there may be no deficiency in the expression of loyalty and affection and attachment to Her Majesty with which we have heard the proposal that has been made, and has been so amply and so ably expounded by the Prime Minister. It was my lot, between three and four years ago, to make a similar proposal with regard to another Member of the Royal Family. I had occasion, from my connection with the Government at that time by the Office I then held, to look carefully into the question; and the conclusion at which we arrived was precisely that which, as the right hon. Gentleman has stated, had been arrived at by previous Cabinets, and on the grounds which he has laid before the House. The whole history of the Civil List of Her Majesty, from the time of Her accession to the time of Her marriage, and the time of the Votes which have been made to each of Her children in succession, completely bear out and illustrate the statements which the Prime Minister has made; and I am sure I am expressing the feeling of the great majority of this House in desiring the Vote we are now asked to pass may be given gracefully, harmoniously, and with—I venture even now to express a hope—unanimity.
(1.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the annual sum of ten thousand pounds be granted to Her Majesty, out of the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, towards providing for the establishment of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, and of Her Serene Highness Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the said annuity to be settled on His Royal Highness for his life, in such manner as Her Majesty may think proper, and to commence from the date of the Marriage of His Royal Highness with Her Serene Highness Princess Helen, and to be in addition to the annuity now enjoyed by His Royal Highness under the Act of the thirty-eighth year of Her present Majesty."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, that, as these Votes had always been opposed, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition must consider that it was only a pious opinion he expressed when he hoped that the present proposal would be received with unanimity. He did not rise with any idea of disputing the propriety of the laudatory terms in which the Prime Minister had spoken of Prince Leopold. He had no doubt that such praises were exceedingly well deserved. But they were not there that evening to join simply in an epithalamium. [Laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh, but they were not there for such a purpose, but rather for the very prosaic object of joining in a Vote to give to the Duke of Albany a very large augmentation to the sum already voted by the country as a dotation to Prince Leopold. He was not surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition support the Motion of the Prime Minister, because there was always a private understanding between the two Front Benches on the occasion of these Grants to Members of the Royal Family before they were brought before the House. Opposition, in all cases, had come from private Members, who had, on such occasions, to constitute themselves the guardians of the public purse. Had this not been essentially a private Member's question he thought there was no doubt that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain), and the right hon. Gentleman the Postmaster General (Mr. Fawcett), and the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Charles W. Dilke), and the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. Trevelyan), would one and all have opposed the Grant. It 1679 was possible that official etiquette might prevent them from taking an active part in the debate; but he had far too high an opinion of those Gentlemen to suppose they would have advocated, when in Opposition, what they were not prepared to stand by when in Office. He, therefore, entertained no doubt whatever that they would vote with him in opposition to the Grant. He had not risen for a moment to deny that the Crown ought to be maintained with sufficient dignity. That was a necessary consequence of the Monarchical system. Nor was he prepared to deny that the children of the Sovereign ought to receive some monetary provision from the State for their support. He opposed this special Grant upon three grounds, two of which were Constitutional and one economical. The first of his Constitutional grounds was this—and Mr. Fox took the same line when advocating a Grant or provision to the Duke of York in 1892. [Laughter.] He apologized for this lapsus linguœ. He meant 1792, and he hoped that by 1892 Grants of this nature would have ceased altogether. In 1792 Mr. Fox said—The first question should be—'Is the Civil List adequate to the purpose of fully maintaining and supporting the children of the Crown?He (Mr. Labouchere) thought that it was necessary to meet this question before any provision was made for any Member of the Royal Family; and in order to do that it would be necessary that he should go into some details of the Civil List. He would, however, do so as shortly as he could, for he had no desire to detain the Committee. A species of legend had arisen in respect of the Civil List which was entirely out of accordance with the fact. Originally the Monarch received certain hereditary revenues, and these hereditary revenues were expended for the whole civil government of the country. When any money was required for a war, or for any other exceptional purpose, then the Government came to the House of Commons and asked for a subsidy; but all the expenses of the Government were met by these hereditary revenues. The Revolution of 1688 entirely swept away the doctrine of these hereditary revenues, which practically meant that the House of Commons and the people of England had no control or supervision over the ordinary expenditure of the Crown. In 1689 the first 1680 Civil List Act was brought in for William III. The Act said that—In a just cause, and in acknowledgment of what great things His Majesty has done for this Kingdom, a sum not exceeding £700,000 be granted to His Majesty for His life in support of His Civil List.The hereditary revenues consisted of the Revenues from the Crown Lands, and of various permanent taxes. The House would observe that in the Act there was nothing at all in the nature of a bargain and no surrender of any sort of hereditary revenues of the Crown, the sum being granted by the House of Commons of that day simply to maintain the Crown in fitting state and dignity. The Statute of Anne recited practically the Statute of William III.—he was speaking now of the Civil List Acts—so, also, did the Acts of George I. and George II.; but in George III.'s time first arose the extraordinary doctrine of a bargain between the Crown and the House of Commons. In that Act certain servile doctrines and expressions were inserted, probably by Lord Bute; and these were the first trace of any supposed relinquishment of the hereditary Revenues by the Sovereign. During the reigns of the Georges the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster formed part of those revenues; and it was only in the time of William IV. that a claim was made by the Crown to regard the Duchy of Lancaster as its special property. Sir Herbert Taylor, writing in the name of William IV. to Earl Grey, claimed the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster as part of his separate personal and private estate vested in His Majesty by descent from Henry VII. in his body natural and not in his body as King. He need not say William IV. was not heir by Statute to Henry VII; but he would call attention to this fact with regard to the Duchy of Lancaster, because, from the circumstance of this distinction being made, the then Sovereign claimed it alone as his personal property; and he did not pretend to assort that the hereditary revenues of the Crown, inclusive of the rent of the Crown Lands, not derived from the Duchy of Lancaster, were the private property of the Sovereign, or that the amount granted as the Civil List depended on the amount of the hereditary revenues. Some hon. Members seemed to suppose that these hereditary revenues meant merely the revenues derived from 1681 the Crown Lands. But that supposition was incorrect. They consisted of a great many other items—hereditary, Excise, Post Office dues, wine dues, first fruits of the clergy, and so forth. It was estimated on the accession of King William IV. to the Throne that the hereditary revenues would amount to more than £3,000,000 sterling; hut, of course, the charge upon them was the maintenance of the whole Civil Government of the country. It had often been stated that the country made a good bargain in respect of the Crown Lands. What they were valued at when Her Majesty came to the Throne he did not exactly know; but according to a Return lately published he found that in 1853 they amounted to £252,000. Therefore, it might fairly be assumed that the revenue from Crown Lands, at the time they were taken over and became part of the general Revenue of the country, did not amount to the sum of £385,000, which was voted to Her Majesty. He was aware that last year the Crown Land revenue was estimated to amount to £390,000; but then it must be remembered that there were special Votes for maintenance of Woods and Forests, amounting to about £20,000; so that, even at the present time, the Crown Lands did not amount to the annual value of the £385,000 voted to Her Majesty. At the same time, he would point out that if there were any relinquishment on the part of Her Majesty—and he denied that there was—it was but a relinquishment of the right to levy the whole of the hereditary revenues, which would, at her accession, have amounted to about £4,000,000 sterling, without the consent of Parliament. The Committee well knew, with all respect to Her Majesty, that it would be impossible to assert such a right in the present day. To all intents and purposes, the Civil List of Her Majesty was considered without any regard to the value of the hereditary revenues, or to the value of the Crown Lands. On the accession of Her Majesty the House of Commons appointed a Committee of 21 Members, who took the expenditure of King William IV. during the last four years of his Reign, and based thereon the amount of the Civil List that was required to maintain the Household of Her Majesty and the dignity of the Crown. The Prime Minister said there was an implied bargain. [Mr. GLAD- 1682 STONE dissented.] He had taken down the words of the right hon. Gentleman at the time; he said—"There was an honourable understanding when the Civil List was settled."
I may have said that. But what I believe I said, also, was—tha.t there was an honourable understanding between the Crown and Parliament with regard to the provision for the children of the Royal Family in consequence of the various Acts of former Parliaments.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he was coming to that. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that the view of the Government on this subject was, that there was an honourable understanding, when the amount of the Civil List was settled, that provision should be made by the country for any children of the Royal Family. But he was unable to find in the debates or speeches of the time, or in the Act of Parliament, any such honourable understanding. He had commenced by repeating the dictum of Mr. Fox—that it was necessary to show that the Civil List was inadequate to the maintenance of the children of the Crown before any new Grant were made. Well, what did the Civil List represent? Taking the expenditure on the Royal Palaces and the revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster into account, the Civil List at the commencement of the present reign amounted to the sum of £449,000. Of that sum £60,000 was voted for the Privy Purse. At the same time, £29,000—the amount which the Duchy of Lancaster then produced—was also assigned for the personal expenditure of Her Majesty. If any hon. Gentleman would look into the matter, he would find that, before these sums were allocated to the Privy Purse, every species of expenditure was reckoned and a sum settled for it. Even the private charities of the Queen were taken into account, and the sum of £8,000, to which they were expected to amount, was voted to Her Majesty. He did not wish in any sort of way to pry into private matters, and he was not making any complaint; but it was obvious that the state and dignity of the Crown was not maintained at present in the same manner as it was maintained at the commencement of the Reign. If, then, the amounts allocated to maintain the state and dignity of the Crown were not insufficient at the commencement of 1683 the Reign, there must, at the present time, be a certain surplus. The House knew perfectly well that by the Act it was decided that if there was a deficit in any department and a surplus in another, that surplus should be taken to make up the deficit in the other department. But if there was a surplus in one Department and no deficit in the others, it was fully understood that the amount of such surplus should be paid into the Treasury. Now, he believed that no payments whatever had been made into the Treasury for any surpluses. But, assuming that there had been no surplus, still the sum of £60,000 per annum, in addition to the £29,000 for the revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster, had been granted to Her Majesty for Her Privy Purse; and he maintained that these Grants were made in order that Her Majesty might provide for any future children out of the sums in question. But there was another point in connection with this subject to which he invited the attention of the Committee. It was that, although the Duchy of Lancaster at the time referred to only produced an annual revenue of £29,000, he saw by the Return for the year 1880 that it was now producing £78,000.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, at any rate, there was a considerable increase in the amount realized from the Duchy of Lancaster. So that, at the present moment, whilst the expenses of the Court were not so much as they were at the time of the allocation, the revenue of the Court had increased. He found, moreover, that the total dotations already made to the Members of the Royal Family amounted now to £221,000. Now, the question which the Prime Minister had not specifically met was, whether the total amount of the Civil List was expended by Her Majesty? Did Her Majesty rest the present demand upon the ground that the present Civil List was not sufficient for Her expenditure, inasmuch as it left no surplus which might be given to any children of Her Majesty who either married or attained the age of 21? That was the issue which Mr. Fox raised in 1798, and that was the issue which he (Mr. Labouchere) ventured to raise now. If it were asserted 1684 by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister that there was no excess of revenue over expenditure, then he thought they would always be bound, and certainly so long as the Royal Marriage Act existed, to vote sums of money for the children of the Sovereign; but, as Mr. Fox said, they required, before they did so, a distinct statement that the revenues were not in excess of the actual expenditure of the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman, as he (Mr. Labouchere) understood, said that a bargain had been struck or implied with the Crown, that Parliament should always vote the sum of £25,000 a-year to any of the Royal children who might marry, and this because one Parliament had voted this sum on a similar occasion previously. That was a theory which he could not accept. The right hon. Gentleman said that the matter was discussed exhaustively by the Cabinet of Lord Palmerston. But he ventured to remark that they had progressed since that time, and that they were not bound by the views of Lord Palmerston's Cabinet, nor were they bound by the views of the Parliament of that time with regard to the amount required to maintain the dignity of Royal Princes. If they were so bound, this Motion would be a farce. If that were the case, why was not a Grant made at the commencement of the present Reign to give £15,000 a-year to each of the Royal children when they came of ago, and £10,000 a-year more on their marriage? Surely the reason why that was not done was in order that each Parliament might have an opportunity to decide for itself on each particular case as it presented itself. They might, therefore, consider and decide for themselves whether the sum asked for was too large, without being prejudiced by anything that took place in previous Parliaments, and without being prejudiced by any dotation which had been granted to the elder brothers of His Royal Highness the Duke of Albany. The second Constitutional point he should take was this. It was held during the Reign of George III., when many of the offspring of that Monarch came to Parliament for increased dotations on their marriage, that, in order to obtain such increased dotations, it was necessary to show that the marriage had had a national object. In 1815, during the life of the Princess 1685 Charlotte, a Grant was asked for the Duke of Cumberland, and it was refused. Sir Matthew Ridley—no moan authority—said—On making a provision for the Duke of York, a view was had to the probability of the succession of his marriage. But a material change had since occurred (birth of the Princess Charlotte). With respect, however, to the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland, it was not one which ought to be looked at in a national point of view, or which rendered it necessary on this ground for Parliament to step in to vote a Grant for increasing the income of the parties.That was to say that when the Duke of York asked for an increased dotation it was granted because there was no direct Heir to the Throne. But when application was made for an increase on behalf of the Duke of Cumberland on his marriage it was refused because a direct Heir to the Throne had been born. In 1817 the Princess Charlotte died. The Prince Regent then sent to the House of Commons a Message, saying that—Treaties of marriage are in negotiation for the Dukes of Clarence and Cambridge. After the afflicting calamity which the Prince and the nation have sustained by the loss of the Princess Charlotte, His Royal Highness is fully persuaded that the House of Commons will feel how essential it is to the best interests of the country that he should be enabled to make a suitable provision for such of his Royal brothers as should have contracted marriages with the consent of the Crown.Ministers asked the House to grant £10,000 for the Duke of Clarence and £6,000 for the Duke of Cambridge. The House replied by cutting down the £10,000 for the Duke of Clarence, and by refusing the grant for the Duke of Cambridge. The next year the Duke of Kent was married, and £6,000 was asked for on his behalf. This application was agreed to, although it was opposed by 51 Members, including Lord Althorp and Mr. Tierney. During the debates which occurred on that occasion, Lord Brougham said that—While the House should not hesitate to vote some allowance to those members of the Royal Family whom it was desirable to see married, they were bound by their duty to their constituents to refuse grants to those to whom they were not necessary. It was understood that Her Majesty had very considerable property, and it was natural for those who had saved to help the other members of the family.Lord Plunket said that—The application rested upon the abstract principle—independent of time or circumstances 1686 —that on the marriage of any individual connected with the Crown his income should of necessity be increased. Where precedents were to be found for such a system he knew not, and he was sure that nothing in reason or in justice could be discerned to sanction it.Mr. Canning, in his defence of the Grant, denied this, and said that the Duke of Clarence would not have thought of contracting this marriage had it not been pressed upon him as a public duty. He thought, therefore, that he was entitled to the support of the Prime Minister, because he did not think the right hon. Gentleman would contend for a single moment that there was any national object in the marriage now under the notice of the House. They were all exceedingly glad that his Royal Highness should marry; but there was no national object in his doing so. A national object in the case of the marriage of one of the Royal Family would be to insure that there should be sufficient sons and grandsons of the Sovereign to maintain the direct descent of the Crown. But they knew that the elder brothers of His Royal Highness were married and had children—some more than others. It could not, therefore, be asserted for a moment that there was any national object in the marriage of Prince Leopold. If there was not this national object in the marriage of His Royal Highness, then he contended that they would only be acting according to the precedent which had been set in the Reign of George III. if they refused to give any increase of income to His Royal Highness upon his marriage. Having gone through his Constitutional reasons for opposing the Grant, he now came to his third reason, which was an economical one. With the utmost respect, he considered that £15,000 per annum was quite sufficient for His Royal Highness. He was aware there were Gentlemen in that House who thought it small and paltry to get up and protest against the Vote of an additional £10,000 per annum. He, however, was not one of them. He abominated all taxation, and he should like to see the present taxation of the country reduced in every possible way. The question was often asked—"What do the working men of the country care about this; what will they pay towards the Grant? Perhaps half a farthing apiece." But the working men of the country did care a great deal for this Grant; and he had that day presented Petitions, signed 1687 by 13,000 or 14,000 persons—almost all of them workingmen—protesting against it. They knew that warrants were very often issued in connection with the Queen's Taxes; that the beds of persons were often sold under them, and their furniture seized, because they could not pay those taxes. This Grant, then, might make a great difference to the working men, for he ventured to say that the amount levied under the warrants referred to would be covered by the £10,000 they were now asked to vote. He maintained that it was not only unnecessary, but that it was undesirable, that this Grant should be voted. They lived in an age that was, to a certain extent, ostentatious; and, although it was the custom to laugh at Americans for their worship of the almighty dollar, he suspected there was no country in the world in which the golden calf came in for a greater share of adoration than it did in England. The followers of the golden calf in this country held themselves aloof from men of art and letters, and from those who had obtained a competency by means of trade or commerce. His Royal Highness Prince Leopold was a cultivated and refined gentleman; and he was about to marry a lady who came from a country where the mere possession of money was regarded as of little account. Therefore, he thought it would be but a poor lesson to teach that lady that it was absolutely necessary for a gentleman of refinement and culture in England, even though he were a Prince, to possess more than £15,000 a-year with which to maintain his position. The Prime Minister told them that they ought to be loyal, and vote this money without grudging it. But he (Mr. Labouchere) thought there could not be a greater mistake than to assume that the loyalty of the subject was to be measured by his readiness to grant at all times these excessive demands for the maintenance of the Royal Family. For the three reasons he had given—although there were plenty of others, with which he should not weary hon. Members—he asked the House to meet the Resolution of the Prime Minister with a respectful but unhesitating "No."
§ MR. BROADHURST
said, that, had he consulted his own personal feelings in this matter, he might well have been led to take no part in the discussion of 1688 that evening; but he felt bound to state that he intended to give his vote in opposition to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, from a deep sense of public duty to those whom he represented. The feeling throughout the country was that the Vote proposed was altogether unnecessary for the comfortable maintenance of His Royal Highness; and, if that were so, he contended that it was absolutely unwise to make this further call upon the nation's taxpayers. It was impossible to prevent the great mass of the working people of the country, who laboured from childhood to old age for a bare subsistence, comparing their incomes and conditions of life with those of the Members of the Royal Family, when proposals of this kind were brought under the notice of the nation. He found that the present income of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold was something like £280 per week. That was a considerable income in itself, and far more than many highly respectable men in the country received wherewith to maintain a family and discharge the duties of citizenship for a whole year. These Grants might appear matters of small moment to the class of gentlemen to whom the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister referred when he compared their enormous incomes with those which the nation chose to bestow upon the Princes of the Royal Family; but they were by no means trifling to the class whom he represented. He maintained that £15,000 a-year was quite sufficient to maintain the position of a Prince in this country. Luxury and luxurious surroundings would not add to the princely nature of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, neither would moderate surroundings in any way detract therefrom; and he held it to be a false and vicious theory, and an evil example to the nation, to maintain that a Prince could not support his proper position in the country without this extraordinary sum of £25,000 per annum. He had only to add that there could not, and ought not, to be drawn any inference whatever with regard to the loyalty of any Members of that House, from the circumstance that they felt it their duty to oppose this Vote. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Devon (Sir Stafford Northcote), in the course of his speech that night, said that in supporting this Motion he regarded him- 1689 self as representing the loyalty of Gentlemen who sat on his side of the House. He could tell the right hon. Gentleman that those who sat below the Gangway on the Ministerial side of the House, and who from the bottom of their hearts thought it their duty to oppose this Vote, did not yield one inch in the matter of loyalty to the Throne to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. He hoped, therefore, that such an inference as he had alluded to would be the last to be drawn from the conduct of those who conscientiously and fearlessly discharged a public duty. These Votes were most unpopular in the country. ["No!"] An hon. Member denied that proposition; but he would ask him to take the case of any of the large popular constituencies of the nation, and he ventured to say that their vote would be against the proposal that was going to be carried that evening. He maintained the opinion he had expressed on this subject; and he invited the hon. Member for Preston to try the experiment of ascertaining the correctness of that opinion in some of the large towns in his district that he (Mr. Broadhurst) would indicate to him. In concluding his remarks, he wished it to be clearly understood that the people who were opposed to this Grant were not necessarily opposed to the Throne in any form. They wished, on the contrary, that the Throne should be maintained with all its necessary surroundings, comfort, and dignity; but they also held, and that by an overwhelming majority, that the sum asked for was an extravagant allowance; the Vote altogether unnecessary, and one which the trustees of the national purse should not allow to pass.
§ MR. HEALY
said, the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst) appeared very anxious, while opposing the Vote, to get credit for loyalty. He did not know why it was that the hon. Member, in opposing the Vote, was so desirous of associating the vote he gave with his loyalty, because, as far as his (Mr. Healy's) acquaintance with the English working man went—and he had lived in this country now for some 10 or 11 years—he had never been struck by the extent of loyalty they betrayed, nor did he think that they would quarrel with the hon. Member for Stoke, if, when he had stated his intention of voting against the Motion, he had 1690 left out altogether his protestations of loyalty. For his own part, he did not care whether he was regarded as loyal or disloyal; but he intended to vote against the Motion on the ground that he was opposed to these people having anything whatever. ["Order!"] The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister had stated that Her Majesty had been truly happy in the matrimonial alliances which had been formed by Her children; but he thought that happiness might consist, to a very great extent, of the £25,000 a-year which those children got. [Cries of "Oh!" and "Divide!"] The right hon. Gentleman went on to point out that a great number of persons in both Houses of Parliament had a much larger income than £25,000 a-year, which Parliament was now asked to vote for Prince Leopold, in order to support his Royal state and dignity. He would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there were not other positions of dignity which also required support? The Members of the House of Lords had a certain amount of state and dignity to keep up; but they did not come to the House of Commons for Grants of the public money in order to keep them alive. Hon. Members in the House of Commons had to work, and were supposed to maintain a certain amount of state and dignity, be the same more or less; but hon. Members of that House were not provided for by the Crown, or by money taken out of the public purse in order to maintain their state and dignity. The right hon. Gentleman said one thing about Prince Leopold which he believed to be perfectly true. The right hon. Gentleman said that Prince Leopold had an excellent understanding. Then he (Mr. Healy) thought the best thing that this illustrious Prince could do with his excellent understanding was to employ it in earning his living. [Cries of "Order!"] For his part, he had never seen a Royal Prince. He did not know what a Prince was like, and he certainly was acquainted with no reason why the Members of the House of Commons—who were the Representatives of the taxpayers—should be asked to vote away the public money, simply because a man happened to be a Prince. If the Duke of Albany was a Prince, he should set a good example and work for his living; and, therefore, as one of the 1691 Representatives of the taxpayers, he (Mr. Healy) should oppose the Grant it was now proposed to make.
§ MR. STOREY
said, he wished to make one or two observations to the Committee after the speech to which they had just been treated by the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy). He thought the Committee would agree with him that the observations of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) left nothing to be desired as far as the tone and temper of them were concerned. It had often been his fortune in that House—and he did not think the fact had commended him to most hon. Gentlemen—to vote with the hon. Member for Wexford (Mr. Healy); but certainly he had no disposition to sit still now and allow the hon. Member to be the interpreter, in any way, of the sentiments which he held, and which were held by many hon. Members around him, and which would impel them to go into the same Lobby as the hon. Member for Wexford. He objected to this Vote, and he should not trouble the Committee by entering into the admirable historical disquisition which had been given by the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere). He thought the hon. Member had stated the Constitutional position of the question very well; but he should give one or two additional reasons why the Radical Members of the House, at any rate, ought to feel themselves justified in objecting to make any increased Grant to Prince Leopold. He objected to the Grant on account of the Royal Princes themselves. He objected to it because he felt that the House of Commons had no business to apply the public money in order to keep any persons in the State in a condition of titled idleness. [Cries of "Oh!" and "Divide!"] He did not intend to say a word—and if he did, he trusted the Chairman would correct him—he did not intend to say one word which could be personally objectionable to any Member of the Royal Family. He wished it to be clearly understood that he knew nothing about the Royal Princes, and that all he had heard about Prince Leopold led him to believe that what the Prime Minister had said of him was strictly within the truth. He had, therefore, not the slightest intention of saying any tiling that was likely to be offensive to Prince Leopold or his 1692 family; but he was going to lay down a principle which he should like the Committee to accept, with regard to the expenditure of public money. He held that no public money ought to be expended except in return for specific public services. That was a principle which he thought was held by hon. Gentlemen opposite, as well as by himself; and, at any rate, if it was not held by a large number of the Members of that House, he felt it had often been used to justify the expenditure of the public money. He would ask what were the public services which they expected to receive from Prince Leopold? [Cries of "Order!" and "Divide!"] He was sorry to have to say these things. [Cries of "Divide!" and interruption.]
§ MR. STOREY
said, he had been simply asking what public services they expected to receive from the Duke of Albany. [Interruption.]
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
rose to Order, and begged to state that he had just heard an hon. Member propose to a neighbour that they should carry on an animated conversation with a view of drowning the voice of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey).
§ MR. STOREY
said, that on the point of Order he should like to ask the Chairman whether, if the hon. Member for Queen's County (Mr. Arthur O'Connor) was good enough to name the hon. Member who had made the remark referred to, it would not become the duty of the Chairman immediately to punish such hon. Member for the offence?
I am sure that hon. Gentlemen have no wish to close the debate without hearing the hon. Member for Sunderland.
§ MR. STOREY
said, he was afraid they had just had an illustration of what might happen in that House if the clôture were adopted. He was asking what public services they expected from Prince Leopold in return for this extra amount of money? He could not himself discover what Prince Leopold was going to do. Were they to pay the money simply because Prince Leopold was going to marry and lead a respectable life? [Interruption, and cries of "Order!"] He had not the smallest doubt that the Prince would, to this 1693 extent, bear out the high eulogium which had been passed upon him by the Prime Minister; but if they were to expend the public money on every young man who got married and lived a respectable life where should they come to? He had been about to make another remark. [Cries of "Agreed!"] Hon. Members opposite objected to his observations; and as they were taking their time in interruption, he intended to take his. He had made up his mind to say certain things, and he intended to say them. What he would say first was that this practice of voting public Grants in Aid, curiously enough, only related to persons at the two extremes of English society, They made public grants of money to the Royal Family, and to a number of titled and untitled persons who were accustomed to move within the circle of Royalty, and they made public grants of money at the other end of the social scale to the poorest of the poor, who were left without funds in consequence of old age or the failure of their health. Now, what was the inevitable effect of making grants of money to the poorest of the poor? Did they not all admit that the effect was to deteriorate the character of these people; and was it for one moment to be doubted that the effect of giving public Grants of money to Princes of the Royal Family was also to deteriorate their character? It was because he did not want to deteriorate the character of the Duke of Albany that he proposed to vote against the Resolution. If he desired any proof that the effect of these Grants was to deteriorate the character of the gentlemen who received them he could find it in particular instances. When they made grants of money in that House it might be supposed that, having made them, they had done with the matter, and that they had no more calls upon them; but those who received money directly were not indisposed to receive it indirectly. The objection he had to these Grants was that when once a man had drank the blood of the public he invariably wanted more. [Cries of "Order!"] Having obtained money directly, the recipients of that money required additional sums indirectly. He would give an illustration. [Interruption.] He did not doubt for a moment that he was making himself particularly offensive to some hon. Members of that House. 1694 [Loud cries of "Hear, hear!"] He very much deplored it; but at any rate he had the courage to say what he thought, and he hoped the House would hear him. Why was it that he was so distasteful to a number of hon. Gentlemen in that House? He would tell the Committee. He was told on pretty good authority that no less than 126 Members of the other House of Parliament, and 110 Members of the House of Commons, were in the receipt of larger or smaller portions of the public money of the country. [Cries of "Name!" and interruption.] He had no doubt that a number of those Gentlemen honourably earned the money they received, and he had no objection to their receiving it when they did earn it; but he was sure that a large number did not earn it, and that many of them had sons and brothers and uncles and cousins. [An hon. MEMBER: And sisters and aunts! Laughter, which prevented the conclusion of the sentence being heard.] And there were many others who expected to be in receipt of these funds; and, therefore, he was perfectly conscious that when he was addressing the House of Commons, constituted as it was at present, he was addressing a huge syndicate that was interested in this wasteful expenditure of public money. He was not surprised that they should deny it; but he would give illustrations to prove that what he said was correct. They gave £25,000 to one Royal Prince, and £40,000 to another, and what followed? When a Royal Prince had been endowed by Parliament, at least in a manner equal to his deserts, he went away and was soon surrounded by parasites and sycophants.
I must point out to the hon. Member for Sunderland that he is travelling beyond the Question, which is simply a proposal to make an allowance to His Royal Highness the Duke of Albany.
§ MR. STOREY
said, that, in his own mind, he was very steadily following up the sequence of his argument. He thought he should be able to show the Chairman of the Committee that he was strictly following the argument with which he had commenced, and showing the basis of his objection to this Vote. He objected to the Vote, because as soon as a sum of money was voted, directly they had an indirect application for further funds from the country to these 1695 Royal personages. He was instancing eases of certain Royal personages to whom large sums of money had been given directly, and who, immediately afterwards, were dressed up as soldiers and given additional sums of money indirectly. He wished to put this point to the House, and the House might be sure of this—that the opinion he was now expressing was held by tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of the working men outside that House. They had the scarred veteran, who had served on 50 fields, and who, when he came home——[Interruption.] He did not wonder that some hon. Gentlemen did not wish to hear him; but he would repeat that the veteran, who had served his country abroad, when he came home reasonably expected from a grateful country a due reward for the services he had rendered. But when he came home what did he find? Why, that positions which he might most reasonably aspire to—positions of comfort and repose for his declining years—were filled up by Royal personages, who had never set a squadron in the field and who never meant to do; but who, by the advice of those who surrounded them, were induced to dress themselves in the uniform of a soldier, and take a colonel's pay.
§ MR. PULESTON
rose to Order. He wished to know whether the remarks of the hon. Gentleman had any bearing on the Question before the Committee?
I cannot say that the hon. Member is out of Order. I presume he is endeavouring to show that certain Royal Princes, who have received similar grants, have also received other public pay, and that, therefore, the sum now asked may be in excess of the requirement.
§ MR. STOREY
said, that that was his argument, and he was much obliged to the Chairman for having interpreted it to the hon. Member. He found that one Royal personage received £1,350 a-year indirectly in this way, which ought to have been given to a man who had really served his country in the field. Another Royal personage received £738 per year indirectly; a third received £394 a-year indirectly; and a fourth £109 10s. [An hon. MEMBER: Monstrous!] An hon. Member said that it was monstrous. He agreed with the hon. Member. It was monstrously mean to take these small sums. [Cries of ''Oh!" and 1696 "Order!"] He repeated that it was monstrously mean for these Royal personages to take these small sums for services which could not be rendered properly by them, and for posts which ought to be given as rewards to men who had really served the country in the field. Now, he did not blame the Royal Princes; he blamed hon. Gentlemen opposite who were cheering, and he blamed hon. Members and right hon. Members on the Front Government Bench quite as much. He did not recognize any distinction between them, except this—that when right hon. Gentlemen opposite came to propose these Votes they did it from a full heart; and he was not at all sure that many right hon. Gentlemen now upon the Treasury Bench were doing it with a full heart. That was his first objection to the Vote. ["Oh!"] He would relieve the House by telling them that he had only another objection to present; but it was equally disagreeable to that which he had already given. His second point was this—that it had not been at all shown, nor could it be shown, that the Civil List, as at present granted, was not equal to the support of the dignity of the Crown. He wished to show the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister how he might easily get the £10,000 a-year asked for in the Vote, without imposing the slightest taxation on the public, and without touching the Civil List of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. He did not deny that the Queen fulfilled her Constitutional duties, and that she was fully and fairly entitled to the sum which Parliament gave to her; but there were a number of officials attached to the Crown—such as Lords-in-waiting, Gold sticks-in-waiting, and noble Lords—who were not ashamed to be the flunkeys of the State. As Shelley said—These gilded flies, that bask within the sunshine of the Court, what are they? They are the drones of the community that feed on the mechanics' labour.Did anyone suppose that any of these Gold sticks-in-waiting administered to the dignity of the Crown. His own opinion was that the Crown would be much more dignified if it could get rid of a good deal of this mediæval pomp and silly pageantry, which only repelled men of sensible mind. For these reasons he contended that the money proposed to lie voted by the Resolution 1697 ought not to be granted, especially when upon officers such as he had just referred to a sum far more than the £10,000 just asked for was annually spent, or rather annually misspent, not upon the Queen, but upon a number of titled and untitled persons who ought to be ashamed to take the public money without rendering fair services in return for it to the State. Under these circumstances, he, for one, could not pretend to vote for the Resolution. Before he sat down he asked the Committee to consider this point, which had a very important bearing upon the question of these grants. There was nothing which troubled Her Majesty's Government, either Conservative or Liberal, and indeed all Members of that House, more than the difficulty of meeting the ordinary wants of the country by drawing upon the taxes. He maintained that the pressure of that taxation was severely felt by every class in the community. It was felt by the common people, and even hon. Gentlemen themselves, he feared, had experienced its effect during recent years. There were many useful national projects and institutions that were in abeyance simply for want of the money necessary for carding them out; and whenever these were pressed upon the attention of the Government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was always obliged to express regret that it was impossible to find money for any new purposes. As an instance of this, he reminded hon. Gentlemen that it was only by immense efforts that they had been able to find the money required for teaching the people of the country, and making them intelligent creatures; and whenever any new proposals were made in connection with it, they were always met by the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the question, "Where is the money to come from?" It was not this £10,000 alone, which might, perhaps, appear a small sum in itself. It was one £10,000 added to another, and then a further £10,000 added to these, which prevented money being available when it was desirable to make an expenditure upon really national and important objects. The £25,000 a-year, which the. Royal couple were to have, would enable them in the borough of Sunderland, which he represented—no mean borough, he could assure hon. Members opposite, for it had a population of 130,000—to give to the 1698 whole of the children of that town a free education; and he would sooner see the money spent in that way than that it should be applied to the support of Royalty. That money, again, which it was now proposed to spend upon one family, would be sufficient to support 1,000 decent couples with comfort in their old age. For his own part, in that House he recognized no distinctions between Royal personages and common personages—between rich and poor. The first principle which he had laid down was that the public money of the country ought not to be expended except in return for public services rendered. His second principle was equally incontrovertible—namely, that when money had to be spent and overburdened taxpayers to be drawn upon, it should be spent wisely and discreetly, and never wasted upon any object when it could be much better expended for nobler and better purposes.
Sir, although I have no intention of attempting to criticize in their details the speeches which have been made upon the Resolution before the Committee, yet I really must, on my own part, enter a very strong protest against some of the language which has been used in the course of this short debate, and I believe I enter that protest also on the part of the enormous majority of the Members of this House. I think it my duty, also, to take very short notice of certain suggestions which have been made, and of certain allegations which appear to me to be destitute of any solid foundation. Let me, however, say, with reference to the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Broadhurst), that I am quite sure he need be under no apprehension as to any imputation upon his loyalty; and I say this not alone on my own behalf, because I venture to state that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition had not the slightest intention of conveying any such imputation with respect to any Gentleman who might feel it his duty to vote against this Resolution. Then, Sir, the hon. Member who has just sat down has made a suggestion, and it is that, by the abolition of the offices of a number of noble Lords and gentlemen who form the Court and Household of Her Majesty, we should save the money which it is now desired to obtain without it being necessary to 1699 have recourse to the taxpayers of the country. The opinion of the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) is that the maintenance of these noble Lords and gentlemen is no part of the dignity of the Court, and contributes nothing to the comfort of the Sovereign. I will not say whether or not the view of the hon. Member is an original one, or whether it deserved consideration at the commencement of the Reign; but I will point out that, by a positive engagement contained in the Civil List Act, the whole of this Royal state and the whole of these Court and Household establishments are distinctly recognized, and that we are not free to touch them during the lifetime of Her Majesty without a distinct breach of faith. I will now pass on to the consideration of some of the observations which were made by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere). He stated, not with perfect accuracy, that these grants have been invariably opposed. I have had no opportunity, since my hon. Friend spoke, of going over the list of them; but I happen to hold in my hand the report of one of those cases, when it was my duty to propose a grant for the marriage portion of Her Royal Highness the Princess Louise, and on that occasion the grant was made without any opposition whatever. As far as I can trust my memory, I believe there are other instances of the kind.
§ MR. P. A. TAYLOR
said, he might, perhaps, be allowed to state that he opposed the Vote on the occasion referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, and was supported by two Members of the present Government.
I have cited the Parliamentary record of the case of which I speak, and I believe I have accurately stated the matter. Sir, my hon. Friend has founded his argument and his opposition to this proposal mainly on a reference to the declarations of Mr. Fox and the cases which occurred in the reign of George III.—cases with which I am and have been familiar, and with regard to which I venture to state that, in any reasonable view of the case, they have not the smallest application to the proposal now before us. At that time the whole basis of the Civil List was completely different. But my hon. Friend did not refer to the Civil List of George III. 1700 What was its amount? If I remember rightly—for I have no opportunity of referring—it was about £1,000,000, and that fact of itself might seem to indicate to my hon. Friend that it was a grant on a totally different basis, and entailed totally different obligations. No doubt, as I believe, Mr. Fox was quite right in saying that at that time, before any demand was made in Parliament, it was right to inquire whether the Civil List was sufficient, and whether any deficit could be shown. But our contention is, that upon the accession of William IV. to the Throne we passed into an entirely different state of arrangements; that since that time the amount of the Civil List has been regulated and its purposes defined by Committees of Parliament; and that the bulk of the money is necessary for the purposes set forth. My hon. Friend said that every description of expenditure was provided for by the Civil List. Sir, that statement is as far as possible from being accurate. My hon. Friend said that the charities of Her Majesty were provided for in the Civil List. I assure him that such is not the ease, and that the small branch of the Civil List to which he has referred has no connection whatever with the charities of the Queen, but was, almost the whole of it, applied to purposes essentially public, and, moreover, not even within the ordinary personal discretion of Her Majesty. My hon. Friend says that Her Majesty has £100,000 a-year after every branch of possible expenditure has been provided for. Sir, that is entirely wrong. There are very large branches of expenditure which are totally unprovided for under the three great branches of the Civil List—namely, the offices of Lord Steward, Lord Chamberlain, and Master of the Horse. It would not be becoming in me to enter into detail upon this subject; but I will point to one branch of the expenditure with regard to which my hon. Friend will feel the force- of what I say. The entire expense of the education of every Member of the Royal Family, of the staff connected with that education, and the whole personal expenditure of every one of the Royal Children, except the Prince of Wales, has been provided for by the Queen from her own personal resources, until the time when, in the event of marriage in the case of Princesses, and 1701 coming of age in the case of Princes, application has been made to Parliament for a grant. My hon. Friend says that the savings of the Sovereign ought to provide for these endowments. But, Sir, that is totally impossible. There are no savings, and never have been, and never could be, which would be adequate to meet a tenth part of them. The savings of the Sovereign have never amounted to any inordinate sum, nor have they ever been considered a matter of Parliamentary investigation. I have had some knowledge of them in various contingencies of official life; but never have they seemed to me to amount to more than might be well called for by the emergencies connected with the position and duties of the Queen. Were it only the very considerable inequality in the position of the various Children of the Sovereign with respect to wealth, it is quite obvious that it would be most undesirable that Her Majesty should be wholly deprived of the means of mitigating, should she think fit, that inequality. But my hon. Friend said that we were not bound by the proceedings of previous Parliaments; that the Parliament of Lord Palmerston might have granted £15,000 to a Member of the Royal Family, but that this was no reason why we, under altered circumstances, should not re-consider the amount. But, Sir, what is the force of that argument, taken in connection with the analogy of the times? We have been considering a great many things since the time of Lord Palmerston's Cabinet, and our re-consideration goes to the augmentation of the expenditure of public money, and not to its diminution. My hon. Friend knows quite well that all the pleas which tend to govern these decisions are pleas which, sometimes extravagantly, sometimes reasonably urged, would go to make it very doubtful indeed whether it is desirable for us to begin this matter as if it were one that had never been decided at all, or, on the contrary, whether we should not do much more wisely to adhere to and to tread in the footsteps of those who have gone before us. But that upon which I most of all dwell is this. I claim that the cases quoted by my hon. Friend, of the Duke of York, the Duke of Clarence, and the Duke of Cumberland, and particularly his reference to Mr. Fox, are entirely excluded from our 1702 view, because they applied to a Civil List of comparatively very large amount, perfectly undefined and free in its application; whereas the Civil List we are now dealing with is distinctly devoted, defined, and applied under the authority of Parliament, and the margin that would remain to the Queen is a narrow one, out of which it would be absolutely impossible to draw the means necessary for the Royal Princes on their marriage. I admit my hon. Friend did not misunderstand my meaning when I stated that there was an honourable understanding that the provision should fall upon Parliament. Undoubtedly, in my opinion, it is impossible to separate that from the whole history of the fixing of the Civil List on the two great classical occasions of the Accessions of Her Majesty and of King William IV. Therefore, I say, that this honourable understanding has become much more defined by the course of proceedings on many different occasions when Parliament has had to deal with proposals either identical or analogous to this; and the proposal of my hon. Friend amounts exactly to this—that in the case of the Duke of Albany, (Prince Leopold), the last of the Royal Princes, Parliament shall, by refusing this Vote of £10,000 a-year, place him in a position essentially different from that of the other young Princes, and leave him with little more than half the provision which preceding Parliaments have made for the other Sons of the Royal Family.
§ MR. P. A. TAYLOR
said, he had for the last 10 or 15 years opposed every grant to the Royal Family. Perhaps, on the occasion referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, he might remember that he severely rebuked him for not taking a division at the proper time. The right hon. Gentleman said the Resolution had been passed, and it was out of the question to attempt to stultify the House by opposing the grant on the Bill. He did not know whether he would also recollect, but it was a fact nevertheless, that on the next occasion he again rebuked him for taking the opposite course, and said it was a very unusual thing to oppose the Resolution, and that the opposition should have been taken on the second reading of the Bill. It was quite true that the opposition on the occasion referred to was not nearly so numerous as it was that day. Still, the right hon. 1703 Gentleman would acknowledge that if not so numerous it was, at least, highly respectable, inasmuch as two hon. Members who voted with him on that occasion now enjoyed the honour of sitting by the side of the right hon. Gentleman. His hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Charles W. Dilke) acted as Teller with him on that occasion; while the present Postmaster General had to wander through the Lobby as he best might.
§ Question put.
The Committee divided:—Ayes 387; Noes 42: Majority 345.—(Div. List, No. 58.)
(1.) Resolved, That the annual sum of ten thousand pounds be granted to Her Majesty, out of the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, towards providing for the establishment of His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, and of Her Serene Highness Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont, the said annuity to be settled on His Royal Highness for his life, in such manner as Her Majesty may think proper, and to commence from the date of the Marriage of His Royal Highness with Her Serene Highness Princess Helen, and to be in addition to the annuity now enjoyed by His Royal Highness under the Act of the thirty-eighth year of Her present Majesty.
(2.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Her Majesty be enabled to secure to Her Serene Highness Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont, for the support of her dignity, in case she shall survive His Royal Highness, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, an annual sum not exceeding six thousand pounds during her life."—(Mr. Gladstone.)
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, he thought it hardly necessary to put the Committee to the trouble of dividing again. It might be taken for granted that the 42 Members who had opposed the first Resolution would oppose this; but he did not think it necessary to divide the Committee upon it.
I am exceedingly glad that the hon. Member is satisfied with having testified his conviction upon this subject, and that he will abstain from dividing the Committee again. I may take this opportunity of saying that I was perfectly accurate in what I stated in regard to the proposal of an annuity for the Princess Louise. The opposition of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) was on a subsequent occasion and upon another part of the grant 1704 —namely, the Vote of £30,000; but the Vote for the annuity passed without any opposition.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow.