HC Deb 04 June 1883 vol 279 cc1643-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to a statement in the "Evening News" of May 29th on the subject of the Duke of Albany's willingness to discharge the high and responsible duties of Governor General of Canada; and, whether His Royal Highness's services have been declined?


Sir, it is not for me, I think, to judge of the exercise by the hon. Member of his discretion as a Member of Parliament in putting to me this Question but this is a Question which it would not be discreet on my part to answer. In the first place, and speaking generally, I pause before agreeing to give reasons, in answer to an inquiry, why any person has not been appointed to a particular office; secondly, because this particular Question raises points of a rather high and delicate nature, which, unless for very grave public reasons, it cannot be desirable to bring into discussion in Parliament; and, thirdly, because I have to consider what might be the effect of my giving a reply in this case as a precedent on future occasions for Questions of a different nature and with a different intent in respect to the Royal Family; and in this instance-I think that the example that I should set might be a mischievous one. I must, therefore, Sir, decline to answer the Question; and, in declining, I may say that Her Majesty's Government are aware of the willingness of His Royal Highness the Duke of Albany to render public service to the Crown and the country, and, as they conceive, such a desire on the part of His Royal Highness does him the highest honour.