§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a third time."—(Mr. W. R. Smith.)333
§ * MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
We have now reached the last stage of this Bill, and it is very obvious that it will be carried. We have been unable to make those alterations in Committee which we thought might have, to a certain extent, mitigated the objections to it. Although the reasons we have urged against the Bill have not convinced the House, they have, notwithstanding, remained unanswerable and unanswered. I do not propose to go through those reasons again. Through some accident a Division was not taken on the Second Reading stage, and it is only proper, therefore, that a Division should be taken now, because this is one of those Bills in which it is most desirable to establish no precedent that can be used to the disadvantage of the taxpayers in subsequent years. But there are two misconceptions which have arisen from the speeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the right hon. Member for Denbigh (Mr. G. O. Morgan) that I am anxious to correct. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that Her Majesty does not possess the means of providing for all her grandchildren in a manner befitting their station and dignity.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
I said, as the House would desire.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
I, for my part, deny that there is any particular station and dignity enjoyed by the grandchild of the first Magistrate of this country. I consider that a grandchild ought to lapse into the general community. But, apart from this, I absolutely deny the hard statistical, arithmetical fact that Her Majesty has not enough to provide for those of her grandchildren who need provision thereof what the House would deem an amount befitting their station and dignity. It seems to me the Chancellor of the Exchequer was playing upon the word "all." Her Majesty has 33 grandchildren, but some of these grandchildren are the sons and daughters of the children of Her Majesty, who have married the Sovereigns of foreign States or those who will be the Sovereigns of foreign States. These ought to be eliminated, because they do not require to be provided for. We, therefore have to deal with 12 grandchildren 334 and no more. When we were in Committee upstairs, a sum was stated which; represented the interest-producing investments of Her Majesty. We are not at liberty to mention this sum, but as regards realty, it is unquestionable that Her Majesty's three estates of Osborne, Claremont, and Balmoral would sell for a large sum if cut up into small lots. Of course, I am not claiming that Her Majesty ought to sell them during her lifetime, but there can be no question that if she did so to-morrow, and if she were to add to the amount realised her present personalty, she would have sufficient to make such provision for these 12 grandchildren as would maintain them in what the Chancellor of the Exchequer calls their station and dignity. I estimate that these three estates of Balmoral, Osborne, and Claremont, would realise at least £600,000. I would undertake to find persons who would give more than that for them to-morrow, so that I am in reality undervaluing them. Taking it that double the amount that on an average the younger son of a Duke generally gets would be a befitting state and dignity to the child of a younger child of the Queen, during Her Majesty's life, which I hope will be long preserved, Her Majesty can, if she pleases, give to her younger children the interest that she receives from the investments which it is admitted that she has made, for there is no kind of necessity for her to make further economies, and to put by further sums in order to enable her to give her grandchildren what the Chancellor of the Exchequer thinks that they ought ultimately to have. This leaves untouched the Privy Purse, and the revenues derived from the Duchy of Lancaster. The Duchy of Lancaster produces £38,000 more than at the commencement of her reign, and she has £16,000 from excesses on Classes 2 and 3—which is annually transferred to her private account. She has therefore £54,000 per annum more than was estimated as her private allowance when the Civil List was fixed; and surely out of this she might allow the £36,000 to the Prince of Wales for his children, instead of asking us to vote it out of the Consolidated Fund. I am taking, in these calculations, the figures as they were given to the Committee, but I never yet understood whether they include the legacies received from 335 the late Prince Consort and from Mr. Nield. When I asked upstairs, I was told we must not pry into the private affairs of the Queen. I never asked the First Lord of the Treasury to give us any figures, but when they were given to me, I thought that I was entitled to ask for some explanation of them in order to ascertain what they did and what they did not include. I do not know even now whether they include these legacies.
§ * MR. LABOUCHERE
The right hon. Gentleman says they do. The second misconception to which I would refer arose from the statement of my right hon. Friend the Member for Denbighshire, who said that the Queen cannot be expected to discharge her old servants. Now, there never was a question of discharging old servants. I do not know what my right hon. Friend means by "old servants." The servants I had in my mind cannot be called old servants. They are the political gentlemen who go out with one Ministry and come in with another. They cannot in any sense be called old servants of Her Majesty. They are nominally appointed by Her Majesty, but they are practically appointed by the the Minister of the day for the services they have rendered to their Party.
§ * MR. G. O. MORGAN (Denbighshire)
May I explain? What I said was that it would be rather hard to call upon Her Majesty, at her present age, to revise her whole establishment, with the necessary result of turning away old servants.
§ * MR. LABOUCHERE
It would not be necessary to ask Her Majesty to re vise her whole establishment, because the gentlemen in question are not permanently on Her Majesty's establishment. They are Peers and others who want to get a good thing, and do get a good thing, whenever a change of Ministry occurs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that, in the autumn of her life, Her Majesty ought not to be called upon to make changes which is tantamount to what my right hon. Friend said just now. Does the right hon. Member for Denbighshire know that last year certain gentlemen, amongst others the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir R. Welby, Earl Sydney, and Sir H. Ponsonby, actually met to see 336 whether any economical changes could be effected? It is perfectly obvious those gentlemen did not meet in opposition to the desire of Her Majesty. On the contrary, they undoubtedly met together by the express desire of Her Majesty to see whether her establishment could be revised. I do not think I am wrong in saying that the question of the Buckhounds was gone into, and the suggestion was made that money might be saved by putting an end to that silly and foolish absurdity. The Buck-hounds cost, I suppose, about £12,000 a year.
§ * MR. LABOUCHERE
Then call it £6,000 if you like. The right hon. Gentleman is more of a Nimrod than I am and possibly knows more about these matters than I do, but the right hon. Gentlemen will hardly contend that the honour and dignity of the Crown is involved in having a number of tame dogs to run after a tame stag to the ridicule of all true sportsmen, and in giving a Peer £1,700 per annum to gallop after these animals. No member of the Royal Family ever thinks of going out with them. It was, I believe, suggested by this Committee that many honorary officials should be got rid of. But the very suggestion caused a flutter in the dovecote, and I believe that Lord Salisbury himself, as the provider of booty for the gentlemen I have alluded to, objected to have the the amount of the booty at his disposal diminished. Therefore it is clear that in making the suggestion for economies in Her Majesty's establishment, I was only supporting the action of Her Majesty. In conclusion I wish to record my protest against the idea that the Radical Party has devoted an undue amount of time to the discussion of the Royal Grants. It must be remembered that in this matter we are giving Grants to the third generation. I fully admit that we have no right to alter the total of the Civil List granted to Her Majesty at the commencement of her reign. But when we are asked to add to it, it is well to point out that the public are sick and tired of all the nonsense and tomfoolery involved in the 337 Civil List. It is said that we should compare its amount with that of Russia or Germany, but this would be an improper comparison, because, although, theoretically, a Monarchy, this country is practically a Republic with a hereditary President at the head of it. The fairer thing would be to compare it with the expenditure of the President of the United States, or of President Carnot in France. For my part I think that in future the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster ought to provide for the Sovereign and the Sovereign's Family, amounting as the Revenues of those Duchies do to something like £110,000 a year. My main objection to the course we are taking is that we are prejudicing the question of the Civil List of the next reign. I also protest against the idea that in this opposition to the Royal Grants there is any insidious design against the Monarchy, as has been asserted by the President of the Board of Trade and others, or that there is any discourtesy to the Queen. I have had no idea of anything in the nature of discourtesy. While I do not think that I am open to the charge of being desirous to curry favour with Royalty by lip-service in this House, I repeat that I admire and respect Her Majesty personally on account of her conduct as a woman and her conduct as a Constitutional Sovereign, and that the last thing that I should dream of would be any discourtesy towards her. I believe that in opposing these Grants I am only fulfilling my duty to my constituents, and that I am acting in the best interests, not only of the people, but also of the Sovereign. In conclusion I beg to move that the Bill be read a third time on this day three months.
§ Amendment proposed, to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the question to add the words "upon this day three months."—(Mr. Labouchere.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
Although I have not had the advantage of being present during the whole of these Debates, I hope the House will allow me to state in a few words the reasons which impel me to vote against the Third Reading of the Bill. Let me 338 recall the attention of the House to the circumstances under which the Bill has grown. It is founded on the Report of a Committee appointed by this House, and I desire to call attention to the conduct of the Government in relation to that Committee, and especially to the action of the First Lord of the Treasury in regard to it. For three years I have again and again called upon the right hon. Gentleman to fulfil the undertaking given in the last Parliament that a Committee should be appointed to consider the system under which these Grants have been made to members of the Royal Family. I will not trouble the House with the history of the long series of admissions and evasions made by the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury on the subject of the appointment of this Committee, but I contend that the appointment of the Committee, on the Report of which the present Bill is founded, was no fulfilment by the right hon. Gentleman of the pledges which he had given to this House. Both this Government and its predecessor were committed to the appointment of a Committee to consider the whole system of Royal Grants independently of and before any new application. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) did not promise it in order that it might consider any new application, but he promised to appoint it the next Session if he remained in office. The right hon. Gentleman did not remain in office, but the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury has since promised repeatedly that a Committee should be appointed to consider the whole question without any reference to a particular application. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman admits that that is a correct statement.
§ MR. E. ROBERTSON
I will not go back to the answer of the right hon. Gentleman, but I will remind him that in 1887 he distinctly pledged himself that a Committee should be appointed after Whitsuntide, independently of any new application being made, and even this year, on the 18th of March, the right hon. Gentleman said that he would place on the Paper the terms of the Reference as soon as the condition of business afforded a reasonable chance of the recommendations of 339 the Committee being proceeded with. In fact, for the last three years the whole reason why the Committee had not been appointed was, that the pressure of the business of the House would not enable the right hon. Gentleman to proceed with it as expeditiously as he desired. More than that, the right hon. Gentleman gave me a personal promise that he would give me full notice of the terms of the Reference, but I have received no notice whatever, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman in proposing this Committee on such short notice broke his promise to me and, what is still more important, his engagement to the House. For my own part, in opposing this Bill, I hold that we ought to have regard to the whole endowments of the Royal Family, those arising from the Civil List, from the Crown Lands, the Royal Grants now in existence, the large sums granted for the maintenance of the dignity of the Royal Family and Household, and also the salaries paid to members of the Royal Family for services in the Army and Navy. The aggregate of these sums is sufficient without new claims being made, and what is required is a subdivision and redistribution, such as would take place in the case of the owner of a large estate. We should follow the example of every family in the country, and have a resettlement of the family property as the children come of age. I do not find from the Report of the Committee that even now we know the total sum paid to the Royal Family, but it cannot be far short of three-quarters of a million sterling, and I certainly think that that ought to be sufficient for Her Majesty and the different members of her family. I certainly cannot go back to my constituents and say that it is not, and therefore I cannot vote for this addition of £36,000 per annum for the maintenance of the children of the Prince of Wales. I would congratulate the Government upon having at last informed the House of the total amount of savings in the various branches of the Civil List, but until 30 or 40 years ago this information was given annually to the House. Owing to the action of Lord Brougham the Government withdrew the information which had been previously given; and since that time each successive Government has been guilty of a breach 340 of duty towards the House in concealing the real facts of the case. I observe that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir H. James) favoured the House the other day with a legal' opinion upon the matter, but this is a mere question of the intentions of Parliament, and I should attach just as much value to the opinion of any hon. Member of this House, or to that of a boy who sweeps out a lawyer's office as I do to that of the right hon. and learned Member. I maintain that in withholding the information each successive' Government has been guilty of a breach of duty. During all these years we have paid for the audit of the Civil List, and yet the information has been refused. It is only now in order that this Bill may be passed that we are favoured with the information. With regard to the hereditary revenues of the Crown, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bury contends that there is some kind of private ownership belonging to the Crown in these estates which justifies its making a bargain with the country, but I would point out that this was denied by Mr. Ilbert, a gentleman who has been promoted and favoured by all the Governments, and who was at one time legal adviser to the Government of India. The question is not merely a legal one, butit is an historical question as well, and in this connection Mr. Freeman also denies the view put forward on behalf of the Government. For these reasons I intend to vote against the Bill. I wish to protest against some of the comments which I have read upon the action of the Liberal section of the House. Odium most unprincipled in its origin and its character has been cast upon those Members in this House who constitute the majority of the Liberal Party, who have opposed this Bill. I am glad that I have been able to come to the House in time to share in the odium. I fully endorse the conduct of those who have taken that part, and I protest against the language which has been used both on this side of the House and the other. When I reflect on the source of this language, I cannot help wondering at the audacity of the persons who have used it. It has come from two of the most notorious demagogues in this House; one of them an ex-Tory apparently in process of conversion to the 341 Radical section of the House, the other an ex-Radical apparently in process of conversion to the other side. Criticism from such persons falls lightly upon our shoulders; we know how unscrupulously they are bidding for popular support and we treat it with contempt and indifference. I regret that any reference has been made to the personal savings of the Sovereign in this Debate; in my opinion, that is a matter into which no Member of the House has a right to inquire, and I think that the Government have lowered the dignity of the Crown in making any reference to the subject. In opposing this Bill I feel bound to say that I do so through no want of appreciation of the character and services of Her Majesty the Queen; on the contrary, I hold that Her Majesty is the best and probably the greatest Sovereign that this country has ever seen. Her place in history will be beside Queen Elizabeth and probably Cromwell; but I decline to vote money for the purpose simply of enabling Royal personages to compete with vulgar plutocrats. We all admit that if we are to have a Monarchy we must pay for it. We are perfectly willing to pay for it and to maintain it in all reasonable dignity and splendour, but we decline to pay a single farthing more than is just and reasonable. I maintain that we have an abundant margin in the existing Royal Grants, and I dare not and will not undertake to support more. If this question attracts more attention than any other, if it should be productive of consequences injurious and disastrous to the Crown, the responsibility will not be upon us but upon you. I cannot conceive anything more injurious to the Crown, and more likely to be disastrous to the Monarchical Constitution under which we live, than that in the present circumstances of the country you should insist, merely because two new Royal personages have come on the scene, on adding £40,000 per annum to the enormous burdens of the country.
MR. PHILIPPS (Lanarkshire, Mid)
The hon. Member for Northampton said, amongst other things, that the discussion on this Grant had made it more difficult for any Minister to propose Grants in future. I think the voting on this Grant has made it absolutely impossible for any similar Bill to pass in the future. When the last 342 Royal Grant was proposed only 13 Members voted against it, but in the first Division against the present Grant 116 Members went into the Lobby against the proposed Grant. I believe that means that Royal Grants are over. These discussions have convinced me that we in this House are nothing like so advanced on this question as the people out of doors. However hon. Members may vote here, I am certain that if a poll of the constituencies were taken not half-a-dozen constituencies would vote for further Grants. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] I will take as an illustration the case of the hon. Member who so well represents the miners of the Rhondda Division. That hon. Member fell foul of the prevailing opinion in this House, but afterwards when he went down to his constituents he was reproved because his language had not been stronger and more violent than it really was. I am glad to see from the newspapers that other constituencies are waking up, and are demanding from their Representatives a statement of the reasons which induced them to vote for this Grant. We in this quarter of the House have been reproached because on topics like this we pose as advocates of economy, while on other questions, the payment of Members for instance, we pose, as it is said, as the advocates of extravagance. There is one thing certain, and that is, that everyone in the House knows very well that if we had paid Members it would be absolutely impossible to get a Royal Grant Bill through the House. Such a fact proves most clearly that the payment of Members would be one of the greatest economies we could possibly advocate. We have heard a great deal about maintaining the dignity of the Crown, and I have never as yet heard anyone explain what is meant by the dignity of the Crown. If it means footmen, and gold lace, and carriages, I do not want to see the dignity of the Crown maintained. Then, again, it is said the Crown must be rich, that the Crown would not be respected if it were not rich. That, also, I absolutely and entirely deny. There is one thing we may bless ourselves for, and that is that riches in themselves are not as much respected as they were a generation or two ago. There is nowadays a wholesome tendency to go behind wealth to its causes. When 343 people are told that a man is rich, they do not go straightway and worship him, but they ask how his wealth was got, whether it was made in a praiseworthy way. We have now in London a great many more millionaires than ever before, and more probably than there ever were in any other country. We have the millionaires of all countries amongst us. I think this is largely due to the fact of there being no Court in Paris to which the French millionaires can resort. We have here, too, any number of American and other millionaires. All these people come to London to enjoy themselves. The splendour of the Crown, as it is called, leads to these millionaires coming to London. [Ministerial cheers.] Yes, I quite admit it, but I dislike their coming here. I admit they are very useful to a certain number of trades-people in Bond Street, but they create a tendency to extravagance and luxurious living which is bad for the people of the country as a whole. I deny that these cosmopolitan millionaries in London are good for Great Britain at large.
I should like to go on to show, if I may, that the Crown could not anyhow be as rich as some of the richest millionaires in London, and that no Grant this House is likely to pass could enable the Crown to compete with these men in splendour. It is disputed what the Crown really costs. Some Members have put the figure at £700,000 or £800,000 a year. The noble Lord the Member for Paddington (Lord R. Churchill) asserted that the Crown costs us almost £120,000 a year. The noble Lord did not go quite so far as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), but endeavoured to make it out that the Crown costs us nothing, and that we got something thrown in. But I maintain that the less you put the cost down at, the more you make it impossible for the Crown to compete in splendour with the rich men who now live in London. The Crown of this country must, therefore, rely for dignity and respect upon something very different to money and Grants from this House. We have had lately in this country a foreign potentate who is said to possess diamonds to the value of 344 seven millions sterling. I have never heard it suggested that the man who possesses the most diamonds is the man to be most respected. I should like some authoritative definition of the word dignity. It is often said that the poorest labouring man in the country has a dignity of his own. Is it disputed that a man cannot maintain his dignity unless he has £30,000 or £40,000 a year? I look at the Crown as something very much more than a merely rich institution. When I consider that the Crown is the head not merely of this Kingdom and Empire, but the head of the British speaking peoples inside and outside the Empire; when I consider that as regards ourselves it is the personification of our national unity, and that its pedigree represents our history, I am very sorry to see the tendency to maintain the dignity of the Crown merely by lavish votes of this House. Our royalty is descended from great Kings who have built up our history, who have repelled foreign invasion, and made laws under which we still live, and I maintain that Royalty in that sense will always be, and ought to be, respected in this country. I do not wish to be considered as exalting the pedigree of the Crown, although I maintain that a pedigree is a much more honourable thing than money. It is a much more honourable circumstance for a man to be descended from one who has done great work for his country than for a man to have had a large amount of money left him.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he is forgetting what this Bill is. It is a Bill to make provision for the Prince of Wales' children. It has nothing whatever to do with the Crown in the general sense in which he is now speaking of.
I will merely say I protest against this Bill because it seems to hold wealth as one of the items of the respect of the country. When I think how easily wealth can be obtained by people who are not respected, and deservedly so—
I think it is bad that we should lay it before the people that wealth is a necessary ingredient of the respect properly paid to the Crown.
§ * MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N.W.)
Although I have been present during the Debates upon the Grant, I 345 have not hitherto sought an opportunity of expressing any opinion thereon; and it is with no desire to protract the Debate that I venture to offer a few observations as to the reasons which actuate me in recording the vote I have given and shall give. I think it is clearly understood by the country that we Liberal Members would be disloyal to the position we occupy, and to the promises we have made, if we were induced to abandon our duty of watching most rigorously and jealously the appropriation of any public funds by the insinuation that we are guilty of adopting a cheese-paring policy. I do not think that charge proceeded with the most exquisite taste from the noble Lord the Member for South Paddington who has taken up a very worthy and a very proper position in endeavouring to check departmental extravagance in various branches of our Civil and Military life. And again, I feel it is my duty to protest in the strongest possible manner against the suggestion that we are attempting to penalise the Sovereign in respect to the accumulations of funds which are the outward manifestation of the decorum and dignity with which she has maintained the Crown. But while I take that view I am bound to enter into an examination as to whether we are guilty of the charge which is levelled against us. We have been even accused of disloyalty. It is somewhat instructive to find that in the Debates in 1837 on this very subject, by Lord Melbourne and the other Members of his Government, the same charge was levelled against the Whig Opposition. The Opposition of that day were twitted in wishing to substitute a Republic for the Monarchy. I think I am entitled to say that these charges are as unfounded now as they were ridiculous then. Now, while I support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton, I conceive that it is a constitutional doctrine of the first importance that the Sovereign ought to be absolutely dependent upon Parliament for its maintenance, and I can conceive no more dangerous state of things than that the time should arrive when the Crown and the Royal Family should have revenues independent of Parliament. That is a Constitutional doctrine not of yesterday's birth, but which was propounded on the authority of the great statesman of 1837. What- 346 ever deductions may be made from the value of his speech on the ground of Party spirit, Lord Brougham expressed the opinion of a large section of the House of that day, when he protested against the granting for an almost unlimited period of colossal revenues for the Crown. Lord Brougham also pointed out that it would be impossible for Parliament to come to the Crown and demand an account of the surplus of those incomes which had been found more than sufficient for the purposes of the Throne. I entirely disagree with what fell from the hon. and learned Member for Dundee (Mr. E. Robertson) when he said he had nothing to do with the private savings of the Crown. The raison d'etre of our position is that the private savings of the Crown are funds which were allocated to particular purposes. I agree with hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that we have no right to touch those funds for the purpose of appropriating them to the support of the children of the Prince of Wales; but I hold that the spirit of the enactments of 1837 and 1841—the spirit of the original settlement of the Civil List—was that these funds were effected with a trust; that trust was that the funds should be employed for the particular purposes to which they were allocated; that if there was a surplus, that surplus should be used in the reduction of debt on other classes. The inevitable conclusion, therefore, is that if there is no deficit in other classes, any surplus should be applied to the general benefit and uses of the nation. It has been said by great statesmen that the basis and reason of our granting to the Crown these various sums of money for the maintenance of the members of the Royal Family, is that the Crown and the members of the Royal Family are circumscribed within narrow limits as to the persons with whom they can form alliances. There is not a Member of the House who does not rejoice that Her Majesty has reverted to the more ancient traditions of the Royal Family as to matrimonial alliances; but I think it will be admitted that the claim of those members of the Royal Family who contract marriages outside the area of members of the various reigning dynasties to be considered as members of the Royal Family, 347 in the ordinary sense of the word, ceases. It is for those reasons, firstly, because I believe that this fund which is at the disposal of Her Majesty is a fund which is really held in trust for the nation; and, secondly, because I conceive that we have no right to appropriate money belonging to the nation for the purpose of endowing members of the Royal Family who marry into another grade of society that I oppose this Grant.
§ MR. CHARLES WILSON (Hull, W.)
I would suggest to the hon. Member for Northampton the desirability of not dividing against the Third Reading of the Bill, but I hardly anticipate that my suggestion will be accepted after the speeches that have been made. I voted with the hon. Member for Northampton in his Amendment on Friday night, and I confess that I was influenced to a very great extent by the speech of the hon. Member. Until I beard that speech I did not make up my mind which way to vote. I quite agree that the Civil List is burdened with useless extravagances, and that a saving might be effected which would meet this Grant for the children of the Prince of Wales without imposing any additional burden on the taxpayers of the country. It must be remembered that now we have an enlarged franchise, and that these matters are discussed throughout the length and breadth of the land, and if we wish to make the Royal Family respected and honoured in this country, as we all do, it is undesirable in the extreme that any feeling of irritation should be produced amongst any class by any further Grants being asked for in respect of members of the Royal Family. The working classes feel very strongly on this subject, and no doubt this feeling extends to others. While I and others entertain such opinions, it is as well it should be stated that we entertain no feeling of disloyalty to the Queen, but that, on the contrary, we have great admiration and respect for Her Majesty and also for the Prince of Wales, whom we admit has discharged the duties that have fallen to him with wonderful tact and discretion. I shall not vote with the hon. Member for Northampton if he goes to a Division, because I consider it very undesirable that we take any course which may 348 appear to be discourteous to the Royal Family. [A laugh.] An hon. Member laughs; but, still, we must consider that we have a great position to hold among the nations of the world, and that if that position is to be held properly the Crown of England must be represented amongst all the other great Monarchical nations of Europe in a fitting manner. I feel that it is extremely advisable the Third Reading should be passed without a division.
§ MR. HALLEY STEWART (Lincolnshire, Spalding)
I should like to say a word in response to the hon. Member (Mr. C. Wilson). It is quite clear it is hardly possible for some Members of the House to approach the consideration of this question from a purely Monarchical or representative basis. I very much object to being obliged to say that we mean no disrespect to Her Majesty; but when I am personally charged with being disrespectful to the Sovereign, I am compelled to resent the charge. I, and others with whom I act in this matter, stand here with the simple object of discharging our duty to our constituents. Something fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Friday night as to Her Majesty being in the autumn of her life. I should like to say distinctly that if the refusal of this Grant would cause Her Majesty any pain or inconvenience I should be the last Member of the House to oppose the Grant. It is clear to everyone who has any knowledge on the subject whatever that Her Majesty's income is so large that if this grant were withheld there would be no interference whatever with her personal comfort, but it would simply necessitate the rolling up of a smaller fortune than hitherto. Therefore, keeping in view the very large private fortune of the Queen, I hold it to be a simple duty to vote against the Third Reading of the Bill.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 136; Noes 41.—(Div. List, No. 282.)
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time and passed.