§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
Question again proposed,
That in order to prevent the necessity for repeated applications to Parliament on behalf of the Royal Family, and to establish the principle that the provision for children should hereafter be made out of Grants adequate for that purpose which have been assigned to their parents, it is expedient to grant to Her Majesty, out of the Consolidated Fund, an annual sum not exceeding £36,000, to continue until six months after the demise of Her Majesty, and to be applied for the benefit of the children of His Royal Highness Albert Edward Prince of Wales.
§ MR. J. MORLEY (Newcastle-on-Tyne)
rose to move, as an Amendment, to leave out from the word "That" and insert—In the opinion of this Committee no adequate grounds have been shown for a proposal which increases the charge on the Consolidated Fund in order to make provision for younger members of the Royal Family, and, while adding to present burdens, leaves room for-future claims of the same character.
§ MR. C. W. RADCLIFFE COOKE (Newington, W.)
I rise to a point of order. I wish to ask your ruling, Mr. Courtney, upon a point of order. I wish to know whether the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. Morley), is in substance and in form an Amendment to the original question before the Committee, or whether it is not a simple negation of the Motion before the Committee? The Amendment runs thus—That in the opinion of this Committee no adequate grounds have been shown for a proposal which increases the charge on the Consolidated Fund in order to make provision for younger members of the Royal Family, and while adding to present burdens, leaves room for future claims of the same character.I contend that every Motion is supported in this House on grounds, and those who vote for Motions do so because they think the grounds for them are adequate; and those who oppose them do so because they think the grounds are not adequate. Therefore to assert that there are no adequate grounds for the Motion before the House does not justify an Amendment. I therefore desire the ruling of the Chair as to whether this is not in substance and in effect a negation of the original Motion and not an Amendment.
No doubt the success of the Amendment would set aside the original proposal. But the original proposal is argumentative, as is the Amendment, and therefore I discern no reason why the Amendment should not be moved.
MR. J. MOELEY
Without going into the matter, Sir, which the hon. Member has just raised, I may state that it occurred to me when framing this Amendment that of course it would be open to the objections the hon. Gentleman has stated. But so are all amendments. I bring forward this Amendment in fulfilment of a promise which I made on Thursday night, because I conceive that the Amendment as I have framed it is the proper Parliamentary way of stating our objections to the proposal which the Government has made. I could not support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) because that Amendment seemed to me to involve a very serious breach of Parliamentary precedent and to be a discourteous 1586 method of dealing with the Message from the Throne. Before going further I should like to protest against a certain misrepresentation of fact made by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for India on Thursday night. The hon. Gentleman said that the proposals originally submitted to the Committee upstairs by the right hon. Gentleman were in fact in no respect different from the proposals which are now before the House. The hon. Gentleman must really believe that the memories of the Members of that Committee and of this House are very short. Those original proposals involved an annual charge, contingent upon the marriages of the Prince of Wales's family of £49,000, and they involved a capital sum of £30,000, which would have led to three separate applications to Parliament. Further, there was a demand for the sons of the younger children of Her Majesty, making, on the most moderate allowance under the last head, a contingent total of £70,000 or £80,000, and involving a deliberate and formal assertion by Parliament that it would provide for the children of the younger children of the Sovereign. There is a complete change between these proposals and those which the Government afterwards accepted. But I only mention this to point out the want of consideration with which Her Majesty's Government approaches this delicate and difficult subject. I remember that when the present adjustment of offices in the present Administration was made the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) pointed out the inconvenience which would be almost sure to arise from the fact of attaching all the responsible duties of Prime Minister to a Minister so burdened with exacting and absorbing, duties as the Foreign Secretary. I cannot but suspect that the miscarriage and muddling which has marked the present transaction are due to the fact that there is not now the active and vigilant supervision exercised which is the natural function of a Prime Minister; and this is particularly a matter with which the Prime Minister would have to deal with, look forward to, and prepare for. There is another of Her Majesty's Ministers to whom I am obliged now to refer. I am sorry that the President of the Board of Trade is 1587 not in his place, because I sent word that I should have with very great regret to animadvert on some remarks which fell from him on Saturday, and I should be wanting in my duty to hon. Members who support me if I failed to do so. The President of the Board of Trade, in his speech on Saturday evening, actually said that he thought that anyone who could carp at these Grants, who could grudge the small annual Grants now proposed, was not worthy to be a subject of the Queen. I wonder if the right hon. Gentleman realises the wholesale proscription of Her Majesty's subjects which this phrase involves. Is it to be supposed that my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt) is not a worthy subject of the Queen; that the hundreds of thousands of men who are voters and our constituents, and who are hostile to these Grants, are not worthy subjects of the Queen? In 1840 when a Minister of the Crown thought fit to make a similar charge of disloyalty when the fact that an objection to a certain Grant to the Crown was made—in that case it was the late Prince Consort—the greatest authority that I can quote in this House, with reference to a charge made exactly in the way that the right hon. Gentleman has made a charge against us, is Sir Robert Peel. Sir Robert Peel denounced an insinuation to the same effect made by Lord John Russell as—An insinuation introduced so unnecessarily, so unjustly, and so contrary to all Parliamentary rules and principles—so unworthy, too, as he thought, of the situation which the noble Lord occupied, both as Minister of the Crown and as Leader of the House of Commons. What right had the noble Lord to make the insinuation that he had done? …. He said that it would be puling, effeminate delicacy in him if he acquiesced in a vote which he felt to be wrong, because he feared some hon. Gentlemen opposite might have said, 'You are acting from a spiteful recollection of last May.' …. He who acquiesced in a vote which he felt could not be vindicated was not a true friend to the Crown. He was a much greater friend to the Crown who saved it from the unpopularity of an extravagant vote.That passage from the speech of Sir Robert Peel is exactly applicable to the charge of the right hon. Gentleman. The President of the Board of Trade says that we object to these Grants "because we dared not attack the Crown openly." The right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues must know that our 1588 feeling with reference to these Grants has nothing whatever to do, I will not say with hostility or with ill-will to the Crown, but with coldness either to the illustrious personages who represent the Monarchy or to the institution of the Monarchy itself. While, of course, it is our strongest conviction that our chief and paramount duty is to watch and guard over the interests of the people, that conviction in no way lessens our belief that we shall most steadily and surely travel along the path of national progress under Monarchical forms. A Constitutional Monarchy is woven into the very web of our national life and our national history. We feel, as well as you feel, that Monarchy is the outward and visible symbol of the historic continuity of our nation, the outward and visible symbol of that unity which binds together all our scattered colonies and dependencies in the vast realm beyond the sea. I do not like to imitate the First Lord of the Treasury in speaking about sacred institutions, and I do not know what other hon. Gentlemen around me may think; but I believe that it is not a disadvantage, but an immense advantage to a democracy to possess and retain all that touches the historic imagination of our people. The Mace on the Table, the closing of the door on the approach of Black Rod, remind us of the struggles of our predecessors in this House to take care that the Kings should neither make laws nor take their money without their leave and assent; so, on the other hand, we may be, and we are, none the less ardent for the reforms of the new time because we find pleasure and because we find elevation in the thought that the successor kinswoman of the great Normans, the Plantagenets, the Tudors, the two Edwards, Henry II., and Elizabeth still holds the sceptre, though with a milder sway, in the seat of the hereditary chief of these great and ancient kingdoms. This heritage is the common property of both parties; and I think it cannot be too seriously condemned that a Minister of the Crown, one who has been a leader of the House, should for the sake of making a little political Party capital out of a small political occasion, drag the Royal Office and the Royal Name in the mire of Party controversy. Another charge made against us, and it 1589 will be made against me for bringing forward this Amendment, is that we are in favour of a cheap Monarchy, of a pasteboard Crown, and a tinsel and cotton-velvet Throne. From that opinion I differ. We are as anxious as hon. Gentlemen opposite that this great office of the State should be surrounded by every circumstance of stateliness and dignity. But stateliness and dignity are not promoted by troops of bedchamber women, by packs of buck-hounds, by sinecure appointments and offices. Some of the greatest rulers in our history, or in any history, have shown that Royal dignity is not incompatible with frugality, with providence, with simplicity; and I believe that one of the strongest things at the root of the irritation which everybody admits to exist, though we may differ as to the degree in which it exists, is the strong feeling, which is neither financial nor political, neither parsimonial nor Republican, but is an instinct, that the great moral authority of the Crown would and should be exerted to dissociate dignity and stateliness from spurious etiquette and from profuse expenditure. You may laugh at this feeling; you may declare it to be unreasonable; but we may depend upon it that in a Democracy you cannot prevent the people from applying their own homely and simple ideas and their own modest scale of things to those who dwell in Kings' houses. You cannot prevent it; and one of those ideas which are at the bottom of this irritation is that just as they, when parents, have to provide for their own children, so the great ones of the earth should do the same. Then there is a third position with which I do not at all sympathise. If any attempt is made to associate the terrible contrasts between rich and poor with Monarchy, I for one maintain that that association cannot be for a moment upheld. There is no connection whatever, as any one may see who goes to Now York or to Paris, between those dreadful social ironies to which the hon. Member for Sunderland referred and a Monarchical form of Government. I come now to the real proposal before the Committee. I cannot go into the question raised by the hon. Member for Northampton as to the heresy or orthodoxy of the views about the small branches of the revenue. I am not going into the controversy 1590 about the Crown Lands, though I was somewhat surprised to find that the President of the Board of Trade permitted himself to say on Saturday that the Crown Lands belonged to the Sovereign of the country for the time being as much as any man's property, be he high or low. A more extravagant proposition was never made by a responsible Minister. It is quite true that the Sovereign has a legal title, but that legal title has always been related with public trust, and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman's description, and the same description when it is used in the House, is an entirely and absolutely misleading one and cannot be defended. Then I go on to say that in our view, however this may be, the proof of the necessity of going to the Consolidated Fund to make those provisions lay upon Her Majesty's Government. They assumed, they took it as a matter of course, that if any provision was required it was their business to come, without reasons given, to this House and to demand the laying of an increased charge on the Consolidated Fund. It was for them to make out a case, and I submit that neither in the Committee upstairs nor in the course of the discussion last week have they made out their case. They have taken it as a matter of course that this was the only way of making provision. It is not our view, however. Our view is, first of all, that liberal provision was made for the Sovereign by the Civil List. A proof of that is the surplus of £800,000 which has accrued and gone into the Privy Purse. I will not argue as to the interpretation of Section 9. I will assume, I will agree, that under Section 9 that which has been done by the Treasury has been done strictly under the terms of the Act; but the existence of so large a surplus and its enjoyment by Her Majesty is a proof that the settlement of 1837 was ample for its own purpose. Secondly, Parliament has made from time to time liberal provision for every one of Her Majesty's children. The noble Lord the Member for Paddington (Lord R. Churchill) appealed to my justice and impartiality on Friday to look into this question, and say whether, from the just and impartial point of view, there was not a compact to provide for Her Majesty's children. I am not bound to make any inquiry 1591 into that, because that compact has been fulfilled. Parliament has provided for every one of Her Majesty's children; and after this Resolution is passed, and the Bill which is founded upon it is passed, the provision for the Royal Family will stand at a considerably higher figure than it has stood at, I believe, any time this last 40 years. In 1860 it stood at £110,000, in 1870 at the same figure, in 1880 at £146,000, and next year it will stand at £182,000; therefore it cannot be said that we have in any degree failed to comply with the most exacting interpretation of the compact of 1837. The noble Lord also said that Her Majesty would, under the terms of the present arrangement, have to provide for 14 children. I can only make 12; but probably the noble Lord is right. But he forgets that in every one of these cases provision was made for the parents of those grandchildren. The third fact which is to be borne in mind when we call upon the Government to state the grounds on which they come to the Consolidated Fund for this demand is the enormous accretion to the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster. The fourth fact is the admitted circumstance that Her Majesty has accumulated considerable savings, and in this regard I must repeat what I formerly stated—that I think it would have been judicious on the part of the Government if they had confided to the House of Commons information upon the point of Her Majesty's savings which they thought it just and relevant to confide to the Committee upstairs. They would not have made their case any more difficult, it would have tended very much to soothe some at least of the irritation in the public mind, and I think it would have been just both to the Crown and to Parliament. One more circumstance made us unwilling to recognise the necessity of these Grants, and that was the circumstance set forth in the Amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian—the consideration of possible retrenchments in connection with offices in the Royal Household and otherwise. It is quite true that nothing could be more ungracious, I would even say more intolerable, than to press for those retrenchments if they were likely to cause personal anxiety to Her Majesty, now in the autumn of her life. But we 1592 all know that that is not a necessary and essential condition. We all know that Her Majesty will have at her service the most skilled and expert advice that could possibly be found, and it was said, I know not with what truth, that an investigation by a Departmental Committee, or a body of gentlemen acquainted both with the circumstances of the Royal Household and the maxims of Treasury management, was being conducted. If that be true, it shows that it is in the mind of Her Majesty's Ministers that these retrenchments could be effected without causing Her Majesty either anxiety or inconvenience. Those considerations were the reasons which made us go into the Committee, believing that no good case could be made out for this new charge on the Consolidated Fund. I think the hon. Gentleman said—at alt events, I think it has been said—that we assented to a Grant of £40,000 or of £36,000; as a matter of detail, what I and my hon. Friends the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Whitbread) and the hon. Member for the College Division of Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) argued for was a much smaller sum. I believe it is open to my right hon. Friend who is about to follow me to say there was inconsistency in the position that, while maintaining that no grounds were shown for those Grants on the Consolidated Fund, we were willing at the same time to assent to a compromise. I am ready to bear that charge. The suggested compromise was a serious attempt to secure something like unanimity. It failed, for very good reason, and I hold that we were well justified in breaking off the compromise when and where we did. We wished that, whether notice was given before to the Sovereign in connection with these Grants or not, there should, at all events, be no mistake as to notice being given now. We wished, at all events, there should be no re-assertion of a claim which we were prepared to deny. But I hope the Committee will see how the thing was left after two remarkable declarations made on Friday night last—one by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the other by the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington). The Government were distinctly and repeatedly challenged to say whether they, as Ministers of the Crown, 1593 now gave notice that in future none of those claims would be admitted. I asked even a little more particularly, but I got no answer,Whether they would explicitly bind themselves to a declaration against a claim for grandchildren of the Sovereign beyond the children of the Prince of Wales during the present reign?The only answer I got to that plain question was merely the facetiœ of the Under Secretary for India. The Chancellor of the Exchequer used this language, which will be scrutinised when next the Civil List comes to be settled:—We say that both precedent and all that has taken place establish the fact that if Her Majesty had chosen to make a demand on the liberality of Parliament it would have been the duty of Parliament to meet the claim…It would have been a shabby thing if at the point of the bayonet we had flinched from the assertion of a principle and a claim which we believed to be just.Well, Sir, that is a notice, indeed; but it appears to me to be a notice in exactly the wrong direction. It is notice, at the next settlement of the Civil List, that, in the view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, deliberately stated, that claim did exist. But he said more:—We believe that, acting on the advice of her Ministers, the Queen has exercised a wise discretion in not pressing that claim upon the present occasion.He went on to refer us to the words of the Resolution:—We go to the full extent of our declaration. We do not go back from that declaration; we do not go beyond it.Well, but it was exactly that declaration against which my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian formulated his Amendment. He had so little confidence in the security furnished by the wording of that declaration that he moved the Amendment, and the fact that he did so showed that in his view, at any rate, the declaration on which the right hon. Gentleman relies was unsatisfactory and insecure. When a future Chancellor of the Exchequer comes down to examine the foundation of a future settlement he will find from those declarations, and still more from those which I am about to refer to, that notice was not given against the principle of Parliamentary obligation for grandchildren, but that, on the contrary, the Chancellor of the Exchequer refused to give the notice confining Her Majesty's 1594 waiver to the present occasion and reasserted the justice and the principle of the claim. I must dwell on the words, almost more important still, of the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale. He said:—"We have secured a limited finality." Well, Sir, a finality which is not final is rather like the end of eternity, of which my hon. Friend spoke, and the expression justifies all the apprehensions we have entertained. The noble Lord went on:—When the House is engaged in the settlement of the next Civil List, it can either provide that that Civil List shall be framed on the basis of providing for the State and personal expenditure of the next Sovereign, and funds created for the provision of such sum as may be required for the maintenance of his children and their descendants, or if the wisdom of Parliament shall decide that the next Sovereign shall be held responsible for those expenses, the money would be allotted to him.These words mean that the future Sovereign's children and grandchildren are to be provided for by Parliament by the creation of funds—created for them directly—or by such allocation of the funds of the Sovereign as shall make him responsible for his children and grandchildren. In either case the obligation on Parliament to make provision for the children and grandchildren, and even for the descendants, of the Sovereign is asserted and recognised. The noble Lord now says exactly what I predicted on Thursday night the future Chancellor of the Exchequer would say. He says—When the Prince of Wales ascends the Throne, I presume it will be admitted by most hon. Members of this House that provision will have to be made in some way and by some persons, not only for the children, but also for the grandchildren of the Sovereign. I am not assuming that that provision will necessarily have to be made by Parliament, but I am assuming it is admitted that, either by the Head of the Family or by Parliament, provision will have to be made for the future descendants of the King of England.In both of these passages the noble Lord used the expression descendants, and he used the expression children and grandchildren, and therefore he recognises and establishes that assertion which caused us to break off our compromise. I submit the position taken up by my right hon. Friend proves our whole case for breaking off when our Amendment was voted down. The announcement of my right hon. Friend shows that in his mind the intention was 1595 to keep alive and to reserve for future use the right of the grandchildren to Parliamentary provision. I think any candid man will find in these two passages a complete excuse and justification for the course which we, with infinite reluctance, feel ourselves bound to adopt. This language of the noble Lord and of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the position taken up by them and by the Government, if they mean anything, can only mean that the younger children of the Royal House, instead of melting away like the younger children of noble houses into the pursuits and into the positions of other men, are to continue for almost indefinite generations bearing titles which in them have no meaning, and surrounding themselves with an etiquette and state that in them is only superfluous and spurious, adding no dignity to the Royal office, and not increasing either the happiness or self-respect of their own lives, constituting an embarrassment to themselves and an embarrassment to the community. It is in this view that I have put down my Amendment on the Paper, and it is for the reasons that I have already stated that I now beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
To leave out from the word 'That,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'in the opinion of this Committee no adequate grounds have been shown for a proposal which increases the charge on the Consolidated Fund in order to make provision for younger members of the Royal Family, and, while adding to present burdens, leaves room for future claims of the same character,'"—(Mr. John Morley)—
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN (Birmingham, W.)
I have listened with very great interest to the speech which has just been delivered by my right hon. Friend, but I must add that I have listened to it with some measure of disappointment. My right hon. Friend apologised for the length of that speech. I complain of its brevity, because it appears to me that my right hon. Friend has entirely failed to give to the House any sufficient indication of the reasons which have influenced him, in the first place, to vote against the 1596 Amendment of the hon. Member for for Northampton, and then to propose the same Amendment himself, though in different terms, two or three days later. My right hon. Friend commenced his speech by attacking individual Members of the Government, and he went on to attack the Government as a whole for having muddled and miscarried in this business. That, of course, is natural; it is the sort of language we expect from an Opposition. Then my right hon. Friend made a most eloquent and, perhaps, as the majority of the House would consider, a most unnecessary defence of the Monarchy. The Monarchy, he said, is woven into the web of our national life, and it appeals to his historic imagination. The only thing it does not appeal to is the right hon. Gentleman's purse. He then went on to attack these Grants and to give reasons, every one of which would have sounded with great force in the mouth of the hon. Member for Northampton, and he proposes an Amendment which is a direct negative to the proposition of the Government. My right hon. Friend will feel with me there is something to explain in all this, and I confess I had hoped he was going to supplement and complete the apologia he addressed to the House on a previous occasion. My right hon. Friend admits that he may be accused of inconsistency; he appears to think he may be so accused with justice. We understand the position of the hon. Member for Northampton. He was perfectly frank. He proposed a Resolution in strict accordance with everything he has said or done in this matter before; in fact, it is a perfect pleasure to have an antagonist, who is so straightforward, so simple, and so guileless. Then we understand perfectly the position of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian. That also is in accordance with all we have ever heard or read from him, but I confess my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle has most inadequately explained what is his particular standpoint in proposing this Amendment. He has voted against the hon. Member for Northampton and does not agree with the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, and I had hoped that he would explain to us what his standpoint is. He has given us three reasons for the peculiar 1597 attitude he has adopted. In the first place he was moved by respect for the Throne. My right hon. Friend thinks that the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton implies disrespect to the Throne because it implies that the Message from the Crown ought never to have been sent to the House. But how does he now propose to meet the Message of the Crown? He proposes to meet it with a direct negative. Does not that imply that it ought never to have been sent to the House? Is it to be contended that the Crown ought to have been advised by the Government to present such a Message if there was good reason beforehand to know that such a Message would be met with a flat refusal? But then my right hon. Friend gave us another reason. He said he was not ashamed to admit his reluctance to desert his Leader. Well, Sir, I can well understand that reluctance. I sympathise with my right hon. Friend, and I hope in future he will think and speak more kindly of me, now that he, too, has joined the noble army of Dissentient Liberals. I read in the Daily News the other day that the body that would follow my right hon. Friend, and my right hon. Friend himself could not be expected to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian into the Lobby, but that their admiration for him and their loyalty to him were unabated. I admit the admiration. That admiration is shared by every Member of this House, of which my right hon. Friend has been for more than a generation the most distinguished ornament; but as to the loyalty, I think the less said about it the better. Then the last reason for the peculiar position taken up by my right hon. Friend is that in the proposal of the Government there is no finality. Let us examine that argument a little more closely, and, in the first place, let me ask my right hon. Friend whether he does not think that that there is plenty of finality about the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton. If that Amendment had been carried, then it is perfectly clear that no more Grants would be asked for in the present reign, or any future reign, for descendants in the second generation of the Sovereign. I would point out, however, that, as regards at all events the present reign, my right 1598 hon. Friend has got absolute finality, for we have got the statement of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian that the question of further Grants of this kind during the present reign is not a question of practical politics, and we have a declaration of a similar character from the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale, confirmed and assented to by the Government. I would ask my right hon. Friend whether, as a practical man, he believes—whether any sensible man can suppose for a moment, in face of these declarations of Members, holding the positions of those who made them—that it is possible that any further Grant would be asked for during this reign. My right hon. Friend has said that, although these Grants may not be pressed upon the present occasion, they might be pressed upon some future occasion, but surely an insinuation of that kind is quite unworthy of my right hon. Friend, and it would be absolutely absurd to suppose that any future Government would be so foolish as to advise the Sovereign, after the declaration made, to apply to Parliament for any further Grant. Upon that point I should be perfectly content to take the opinion of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, who has, I fancy, had a good deal more experience of Parliamentary proceedings than those who now jeer at my statement. But the great point of my right hon. Friend is that, even if we have finality in the present reign, there would be no finality when a new reign commences. I think my right hon. Friend was a little premature in his anticipations for a future event which he and I and all of us hope may be long deferred. I would ask him how does he propose to obtain this finality with regard to a future reign? Does he want a declaration now by Parliament that no application for such a Grant in a future reign would be entertained? What would be the good of it? You must take the question into consideration in connection with the new Civil List. It all depends on the amount of the Civil List. You might have the Civil List increased, or have it fixed at its present amount, and give ho Grants; or you might have a reduced Civil List, and might have to provide for the descendants of the Sovereign by some such Grants. What I want to point out is that 1599 neither the right hon. Gentleman nor the House of Commons can pledge a future Parliament or a future Sovereign. When a new reign commences the Sovereign must then apply for a new Civil List, and the whole of the circumstances will have to be considered. All that the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, was that at that time this question of the descendants of the Sovereign in the second generation—and in the first generation, too—will have to be taken into account and settled in some form or other. In the meantime, the right hon. Gentleman desires the House to give an indication of its opinion that these Grants are indispensible, and that such arrangements should be made as will preclude the possibility of their being appealed for in the future. We have another point to make against the position of my right hon. Friend, and I confess I do not see how he is going to get out of this. If he thinks it so absolutely necessary that there should be a declaration of finality, how is it that in Committee he was willing to vote for a Grant for the Prince of Wales without any such assurance of finality? If the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian had been accepted, the Committee would have declined to express any opinion with reference to finality. The Amendment of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian does not point to any finality. After stating that—Your Committee have recited the facts of previous practice in accordance with the order of reference under which they have been appointed,the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment goes on to say:—An important question arises whether, and how far, these facts form a ground of action under the new method, which at a period later than the reign of George III. has been applied to the Civil List, and since the Duchy of Lancaster has added so largely to the means at the disposal of the Sovereign. A further addition to these means might also be expected, in the judgment of your Committee, from possible retrenchments to be made in connection with offices in the Royal Household and otherwise. But the Committee find it to be unnecessary for them to enter in a discussion of this question, inasmuch as they have been informed by the First Lord of the Treasury that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to declare that she does not propose to advance any claim for the children of her daughters and younger sons.1600 How could that Amendment give any finality even supposing that the Report of the Committee could bind future Parliaments? And yet my right hon. Friend would have voted for that Amendment if the other Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman had not been carried. It does appear to me, therefore, that the reasons which my right hon. Friend has given for moving this Amendment which he has put forward in competition with that of the hon. Member for Northampton are altogether inadequate and even flimsy. The right hon. Gentleman says there is no right in the Crown and no responsibility or obligation on the House of Commons, and then goes and votes against the Amendment, which puts that proposition in much clearer language than he has used in his present Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman appears to be in the position of a landed proprietor who finding a man poaching in his preserved waters in the first place knocks him down and then runs off with all his fishing tackle. My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton had prepared a most admirable bait, and the right hon. Member for Newcastle trips him up, and the next thing we see is that he is fishing with the same cast. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman keeps a diary, but if he has posted up that diary during the past fortnight he might head the chapter, "The Diary of a Perplexed Politician." During that period the right hon. Gentleman's opinion has fluctuated and has been like what one reads about the weather, "unsettled." Let us see what the entries in the right hon. Gentleman's diary would have been. They would have commenced on the 2nd of July thus:—"Royal Message sent down;" and he, no doubt, would have added that he was firm against these Grants, and had pledged himself to his constituents to oppose them. On the 10th July, whilst the Committee was deliberating, the right hon. Gentleman would have said there was something after all to be said for these Grants, that he was prepared to compromise, and willing, under certain conditions, to vote for the Grant to the Prince of Wales. On the 22nd we should have had him inserting something to the effect that, once more, thanks to the foolish action of the Government and their muddle and mis- 1601 carriage, he was a free man, and free to vote for his convictions. On the 26th July he might have said that he had voted against those convictions when they were expressed by the Member for Northampton; while, for the 29th, there would be a final entry that he had voted in favour of his convictions when they were expressed by himself. I confess that it is quite impossible for me to differentiate as far as argument is concerned the position of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle from that of the hon. Member for Northampton, with the exception, of course, of the special pleading point of finality. What are the arguments of the hon. Member for Northampton and of those who support his views? They are three in number. His first argument is that the Queen has enormous savings out of which she ought to be expected to provide for her grandchilden; the second is that whether the Queen has these savings or not there was an implied understanding at the time the Civil List was fixed that her grandchildren, who, I gather from the remarks of the hon. Member for Northampton, come, in his opinion, under the description of "emergencies," should be provided for by her; and then, in the third place, there is the argument of the junior Member for Northampton that the total amount which is already paid by the country for the Crown and the Royal Family is so enormous and exorbitant that it is most unfair and unreasonable to expect the people to contribute any addition to it. Let us take, in the first place, the question of the enormous savings of the Queen which was referred to by the hon. Member for Sunderland, who, to my great surprise, was supported by the right hon. Member for Newcastle. The hon. Member made it a ground of complaint against the Government that they have not taken the House into their confidence with regard to the private savings of the Queen, and he even wanted to go further, and demanded roof of what those savings were, suppose that he wanted to see the private cashbook and the ledger of the Queen in order that he might apply to them his actuarial calculations. To my mind that is a perfectly unreasonable request. It is a characteristic of Englishmen, and one in which they differ 1602 from many other people, that they resent any attempt to pry into their private resources, and I cannot understand why the Queen should be treated in this respect upon a different footing from that of the humblest of her subjects. I know what the hon. Member would say—he, of course, would say that it was because the Queen was asking for a Grant. So let me put this case. Supposing that a working man came to his employer to ask for an increase of salary, would he not resent any attempt on the part of his employer to pry into his savings bank book, in order that if he had been careful he might be penalised for his thrift and his saving? Well, I confess that I do not see the great difference between the two cases. I am quite willing to put it to an audience of working men, and I am inclined to think that they would be quite willing to agree upon this and other grounds that the private fortune and the private expenditure of the Queen, whether it comes from the revenue of the Duchy of Lancaster or from the Privy Purse, are not fitting subjects for Parliamentary investigation. Although the hon. Member for Sunderland says that he would like to have further information on the subject, he has had information upon which he has based the monstrous supposition with which he has entertained the House. The hon. Member says that he has made calculations with his "actuarial friend" which led him to the conclusion that the Queen has saved three millions.
§ MR. STOREY (Sunderland)
I know the right hon. Gentleman does not want to attribute to me that which I did not say. I said I had had an actuarial computation made, and that, allowing for all things that the actuary had to allow for, it amounted to £1,500,000, and then I proceeded to add the other sums, and altogether the amount reached is about three millions.
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
I do not see why the hon. Member should think it right to correct me, but he now says that he has calculated, with the assistance of his actuarial friend, that the savings of the Queen amount to £1,500,000 upon the Civil List, and without the assistance of his actuarial friend he has himself added to that amount an additional million and a half. This, however, is not the first 1603 time that the hon. Member has brought this question before the House. A somewhat similar Debate occurred in this House in 1882, when the proposal for a Grant to the Duke of Albany was brought forward. It was then contended that the Queen had resources from which such demands might be met. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian on that occasion, in moving the Grant, said:—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.My right hon. Friend thus distinctly stated there never have been, and never could be, savings by Her Majesty which would adequately meet a tenth-part of the demands on Her Majesty in this respect. The hon. Member for Sunderland is fond of making arithmetical calculations. I would suggest to him that this statement by the right hon. Gentleman would form the basis for a very interesting one, which would entirely preclude him from falling into the ridiculous error into which he fell on a former occasion. The right hon. Gentleman, on the occasion in question, continued:—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.After a positive statement of that kind from my right hon. Friend it is really presuming on the part of the hon. Member for Sunderland to bring forward the calculation to which I have referred. But, Sir, under these circumstances, if the savings of the Crown are moderate, if they are not such as would provide 1604 one-tenth part of the charge in connection with the younger children of the Sovereign, it is perfectly clear that they cannot be sufficient to provide for the demand now being made. I now come to a still more important question—namely, as to whether, at the settlement of the Civil List or subsequently, there was or was not any understanding with the Queen to provide for her descendants. This raises the question of notice, and I think the House will see that this is a question of the greatest importance, and a question which, by itself, may be considered to conclude the matter. The majority of the Committee take issue with the minority. We asserted that there had been no notice to the Queen, at any time, that she was expected to provide for her descendants. I have already referred to the Amendments of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, which are opposed to Paragraphs 11 and 12 of the original Report. If any one will look at the draft Report they will see, I think, that no one would object to Paragraph 12 if Paragraph 11 is held to be true, for Paragraph 11 says that the Queen has never had notice that she was expected to make provision for her grandchildren. If she has never had notice, then the 12th paragraph, which states that she has a claim, would recommend itself to the sense of the House. The sole question is whether the Queen had notice of this, or could be expected to know that this demand was to be made upon her. The Amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, in lieu of Paragraph 11, affirms—Your Committee cannot find in any Resolution of the House of Commons, or in any declaration on behalf of a Government by a Minister of the Crown, any indication whether the practice followed in the case of grandchildren of George III. was to continue under the method now applied to the Civil List, or whether any and, if any, what obligation attached to the Sovereign with reference to descendants in the second generation, or what claims the Sovereign might be entitled to make upon the national resources.It is perfectly evident that if that had been carried it would amount to this—that the Committee would give distinct expression to the opinion that they could find no indication of any notice having been given to the Sovereign, one way or the other. That is quite enough for our purpose. If there has been no 1605 notice to the Queen that the practice continued for three-quarters of a century is not to be followed, and if the Queen has not been specifically, directly, and definitely informed some time or other that she was expected to make these savings, then it is only natural that she should assume, as everyone else would, that she was not expected to make them, and that the practice which had hitherto been pursued would be continued. I wish to point out the importance of this, for if notice had been given it is possible, even probable, that the Queen would have ordered her expenditure from the Privy Purse on a different scale, and that the expenditure from the Civil List would have been different from what it has been since she was led to understand that a provision for her children and descendants was not a matter for her concern. From our point of view we might have accepted the Amendment of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, but there is one reason why I could not accept it; for while it affirms that no notice has been given to the Queen that the practice would be discontinued, it also negatives the fact of any notice having been given that it would be continued. I maintain that notice has been given to the Queen in various ways by Ministers of the Crown from time to time that amply justify the Queen in believing that the practice would be continued. I will not make many quotations, but there is one I will give, because it occurred in my own time, and within my own experience. I refer to what was said in 1885 by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, on the occasion of proposing a Grant to the Princess Beatrice. I am not going to try and commit my right hon. Friend to any inferences I may draw from his words, but I am only going to ask the House whether or not, in their opinion, the words, unless accompanied by some further explanation, would not convey to third persons the meaning I give them—namely, that they convey to the Crown that provision for descendants of the second generation would be undertaken by Parliament. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian said:—At the commencement, particularly, of the reign of William IV. and of the reign of her present Majesty, a careful investigation was made by a powerful and influential Committee of this House into the condition of the Civil 1606 List, the proper distribution of the expenditure, and the proper limits to be placed on the amount of that expenditure. This course of practice has been adopted as regards the Sovereign. As regards, not the Sovereign himself or herself, but those members of the Royal Family who stand in sufficiently close proximity to the Sovereign to become, according to our usage, the customary subjects of Parliamentary provision, it has never yet been the practice to refer the consideration of the provision to be made for them to a Parliamentary Committee.According to my idea, the expressionMembers of the Royal Family who stand in sufficiently close proximity to the Sovereign to become, according to our usage, the customary subjects of Parliamentary provisionmust refer to grandchildren as well as children. They do stand in close proximity to the Sovereign, and they have, according to our uniform usage, been made the subjects of Parliamentary provision. My right hon. Friend went on to say:—We have considered this matter, Sir, and we are of opinion that it would be decidedly a public advantage and most consistent with the important considerations attaching to this subject if henceforth Parliament were to apply to these secondary provisions, if I may so call them—as compared, of course, I mean, with the provision for the Crown and the Heir to the Throne—if Parliament were to apply the same principles as have been applied in the case of the Royal Civil List; and before the House of Commons hears of these proposals, a system on which they may well henceforward be founded should have been submitted by the Government to a Parliamentary Committee, and should have received the approval and sanction of that Committee.The right hon. Gentleman further says:—Of course, the fact that we have now arrived at a resting point, the whole subject of provision for the children of Her Majesty being now disposed of, seemed to mark this particular moment as a proper moment at which the arrangements of the future might, with propriety, be taken into view, at least as to the principle and method of procedure.Now let us see what inference can fairly be drawn from that statement. The inference I drew at the time, and which I think everybody must have drawn at the time, was that this Committee was to be appointed to consider primarily what provision was to be made for the grandchildren, inasmuch as the question of provision for all the children of the Queen had been completely settled. It was for the purpose of settling that question that the Committee was to be appointed. The words of my right 1607 hon. Friend gave the Queen to understand that the Government was prepared to submit a scheme for settling these claims. My argument is this, that in the state of things which existed, and in face of the words of my right hon. Friend, it was almost impossible for the Queen not to suppose that it was the intention of the then Government to propose a Parliamentary Committee to consider the whole question of Parliamentary usage with regard to descendants of the second generation, and to make some proposal. Under these circumstances, it was quite impossible for us to support the Amendment of my right hon. Friend, which distinctly negatived the inferences I have been pointing out, and, besides, it would have been most discourteous not to have received the waiver by the Queen of these claims by acknowledging that they might be supposed to exist, and that there was some liberality in their abandonment. I have only one other point upon which I wish to make any observation, and that is with regard to the statement of the junior Member for Northampton that the total expenditure upon monarchy and monarchical institutions in this country amounts to £800,000 a year. I think that these figures will not bear close examination, but, assuming they are correct, I venture to assert that they are entirely irrelevant. In the first place, the greater proportion of this expenditure is entirely independent of the personal will of the Sovereign; on the contrary, I believe that her comfort and feelings would best be consulted by considerable retrenchment. In the second place, a great deal of the expenditure is altogether independent of Monarchy or monarchical institutions. Even under a Republic, I suppose, where Royal palaces exist, they would be kept up by the State. That, at all events, is the case in France, and why should it not be so in England? Our Royal palaces would have to be maintained, unless the hon. Member for Northampton would like to see Buckingham Palace treated like the Tuileries, and Windsor Castle like St. Cloud. I will even take the case of the Royal yachts. I am not certain, if this country became a Republic to-morrow, that the friends of the Republic would not be able to make out a good case on 1608 national grounds for the retention of State palaces and yachts. I am quite sure the junior Member for Northampton will be candid enough to agree with me that a great deal of this expenditure is not fairly attributable to the Monarchy, and, above all, it is not attributable to the Queen. I am quite prepared to admit that there might be great retrenchment in some of this expenditure. I do not pretend to like ceremonial offices any better than the hon. Member for Northampton. No doubt if the Civil List were to be again considered, there are many points in which reductions might be made without in the slightest degree impairing the convenience of the Queen or the dignity and splendour of the State. The hon. Member for Northampton very fairly said he did not wish to touch the Civil List during the present reign. The right hon. Member for Newcastle has to-night again pressed for reductions to be made immediately; and I must leave him to the answer of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, who pointed out that it was impossible that the Queen, at her age, at a late period in a long reign, should be expected to undertake these changes. I will not go farther than the hon. Member for Northampton, who, more liberal than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle, did not wish to touch the Civil List during the present reign; but I say that, under these circumstances, it is not fair to raise the point until the time comes when retrenchment is possible. It ought not to be raised as an argument against present arrangements. If, after the present reign, the existing expenses are continued at the desire and will and in behoof of the Sovereign, the arguments that have been adduced would have some application. My impression is that the only thing we have to deal with is the personal income of the Queen; and what i3 that income? If the House will look at the four sources from which it is derived—the Duchy of Cornwall for four years, the Duchy of Lancaster during the whole term of the reign, the Privy Purse, and the so-called savings of the Civil List—they will find that the total income of the Queen has averaged £105,000 per annum. Is that an excessive amount for the Queen of the United Kingdom? I know it is very difficult to put this 1609 matter properly before a popular audience. The difficulty consists in finding something by which you may measure these large sums and the position of the Sovereign. If you are to take as a standard for the income of the Sovereign of England the income of the "poor widow" or the "poor pensioner" who have been put forward, of course, £105,000 would be monstrous, and so would the £50,000 that is taken by the French President, and so would the £10,000 of the President of the United States, If you are to measure by other standards, by the greatness and the wealth of the country—if you are to measure by the standard of living which generally prevails—if you are to measure by comparison with other Monarchies—I say the sum taken by the Queen is reasonable and moderate. We are told that the people—the people with a capital P—think it exorbitant. We are told this by hon. Members who profess on all occasions to speak for the people with a capital P—the hon. Members for Northampton, Leicester, Sunderland, who never speak to us on any popular question without giving us to understand that in some special sense they have a mission to represent the people. Sir, I deny their claims. I should like to see their credentials. They represent only a majority, and in some cases it is a very small majority, in the constituencies which severally return them to this House. Yes; they represent something else; they represent the class jealousies, the petty spite, and the enmities, which they do their utmost to stimulate; they represent the superficial popular prejudices to which they truckle. These hon. Members tell us it is a shameful thing to fawn upon a Monarch. So it is; but it is a much more shameful thing to truckle to a multitude. There is not one of these hon. Members who dares to tell the whole truth upon this matter to their people. Let them, instead of carping at the expenditure on Monarchy, which they know is essential to the maintenance of the institution, tell the people that if they want a Monarchy they must pay for it; but let them tell also that their object in these endeavours is to belittle the Monarchy, to make it unpopular, and to prepare the way for its destruction. Then we shall see whether the people, of whom we hear so 1610 much, who enjoy the fullest measure of political liberty under a Constitution which is more democratic than exists in any Republic of Europe or the world; whether the people will be willing, when they understand everything, to enter upon a contest which must be prolonged, which must be exasperating, to throw the Constitution into the melting pot, to postpone altogether indefinitely all hope of practical and material reform in order to accept the programme of those who call themselves new Radicals—new because they have nothing in common with the old Radicals, who are destructive in their aims and objects, who have never shown the slightest constructive capacity, who are, in short, nothing more nor less than the Nihilists of English politics.
§ * MR. T. BURT (Morpeth)
I am sensible I shall find it exceedingly difficult to maintain the Debate at the high intellectual standard to which it has been taken by the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, and also by that which we have just heard; and I freely acknowledge that I am deficient in the qualities that would enable me fittingly to answer the extraordinary speech to which we have just listened from, I presume, a Radical of the old school. During the 16 years I have had a seat in this House, I have always opposed similar Grants, and I am not prepared to admit that I have been mistaken in the past. The proposal we are now considering combines all the evils and objections of previous Grants, because it is now being extended to another generation, and therefore I could not do otherwise than vote with the senior Member for Northampton. I do not complain that the Government abandoned their original proposal; from their point of view it was desirable to diminish friction as much as possible, and it was especially important to secure the adhesion of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. What I complain of is that the Government did not give us an opportunity to consider this question calmly and deliberately, and entirely apart from a special application. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham has made merry over an imaginary diary of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle; but it would be still more interesting to have a peep at the 1611 diary of the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, whose consistency it would be more difficult to defend than that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle. A great writer, for whom my right hon. Friend and I both have great admiration, has declared that:—"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds;" and we all know that his mind is not a little one. As to the consistency of my right hon. Friend, I am bound to say I can quite understand everything both in connection with his action in the Committee and his Amendment now before us, except the vote he gave against the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton on Friday. I cannot quite understand that, but it may nevertheless be quite intelligible and clear to a less ordinary mind. I believe my right hon. Friend was influenced in a great degree by a motive, that I am sure does him infinite credit, his chivalrous loyalty to our illustrious Leader of whom we are all proud. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Under Secretary for India (Sir J. Gorst) attributed very delicately indeed a less worthy motive to my right hon. Friend, intimating that he had received a mandate from the sovereign people, the electors of Newcastle. Well, I do not see that it should be a reproach for a Member to give effect to the wishes of those of whom he is an elected representative, but if it was implied that my right hon. Friend was willing to submit and subordinate his own convictions and his own judgment of what is right to the desire or will of his constituents, then, I say, he has a record which is a sufficient answer to that imputation. In the course of the Debate reference has been made more than once to the absence of notice to Her Majesty of any change in previous practice. It has been contended, and it is formulated in the Report, that the absence of notice is a sufficient justification for Her Majesty to expect that Parliament will agree to such a demand as this. Now, it seems to me an extraordinary doctrine that a mother should require notice that she would have to make provision for her children, and that the absence of such notice should absolve her from the duty of making such provision. I am well aware that Her Majesty 1612 occupies a position that makes a comparison of this sort unfair; but I say it is unwise to lessen among the masses of the people the strong feeling on their part that it is the primary duty of parents to look after and support their families. I believe that those who are most attached to Royalty have the greatest interest in preventing discussions such as these, and in giving us an assurance that those repeated applications to Parliament will not be made. The right hon. Member for West Birmingham says we have sufficient assurance as to the finality of the present proposal, and, to my astonishment, he appealed to the statement made by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian on that point. Well, that assurance was entirely satisfactory had the right hon. Gentleman been a Member of the Government. I must say I am surprised and delighted to find that Gentlemen on the other side of the House have at length come to recognise the greatness of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. They do so because they agree with him. I admire, honour, and revere that right hon. Gentleman more to day, even when I disagree with him, than I ever did perhaps on any previous occasion when I have voted with him. But the right hon. Gentleman is not a Minister of the Crown. I wish he were! The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has referred to the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (Lord Hartington), and he is not a Minister of the Crown, but I suppose he has quite as much power as any Minister, and perhaps there is more force in the appeal to the noble Lord. But what did the Chancellor of the Exchequer say the other night? He made use of some very significant words—namely, that Her Majesty, for the "present occasion," had given up this claim.. That does not look like finality. We want a more definite assurance than that before we can accept the statement that we already have sufficient guarantee of finality in making this financial provision. It has been stated again and again, and it has been very emphatically denied in the House, that there is a very strong feeling in the country against a Grant of this kind. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that if this House were filled with work- 1613 men he would appeal to them with confidence, and would get their vote—he did not say a unanimous vote—but the vote of a majority in favour of this proposal. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman, if he convened a ticket meeting, might have a majority; but in an open public assembly the right hon. Gentleman would not get anything like a unanimous vote in favour of such a proposal. The unanimity would probably be on the other side. Why does very strong feeling exist in the country against Grants of this kind? In my opinion, it is entirely disproportionate to the pecuniary importance of the subject. I regret that when Votes are demanded for military expenditure the masses are comparatively apathetic. The House voted a short time ago £20,000,000 to a Department that is notorious for mismanagement and reckless expenditure, and yet when an appeal like the present one is made there is a very strong feeling indeed against it in the country. Why is this? I agree that it is not entirely or mainly a feeling of hostility to the Monarchy; still less is it directed against the distinguished lady who occupies the Throne. Even Radicals and Republicans heartily respond to the words of the Poet Laureate—A thousand claims to reverence closeIn her as mother, wife, and Queen.But in its essence I believe that the feeling to which I have referred is a protest against the artificial distinctions, the social inequalities, and the extravagance prevailing in high places. In that which we all agree was a magnificent speech delivered the other night, the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian said it was unfair to bring the brunt of the contrast between wealth and poverty in this country to bear on the Royal Family; and he added that one great difference between the Royal Family and private wealthy men was that public duties and responsibilities threw a heavy expenditure on the Royal Family, whereas private wealthy men were only controlled by their own consciences. I admit the force of that distinction. But there is another distinction which the right hon. Gentleman must have felt, though he did not mention it, and that is that wealthy private men do not come to the House of Commons and to the taxpayers of the country for the maintenance of their children. Now, I quite 1614 agree that this is not the time and the occasion to debate mere forms of Government. We are not here to asseverate our loyalty, or to declare what we may believe to be the best abstract system of Government. The Crown, I believe, has a firm hold on the people of this country; but its future must depend on its securing the confidence, the affection, and the good-will of the masses of the community. We have a right to look to the Court, we have a right to look to the Crown not only for an example of pure living and domestic virtue, which I dare say it gives, but also for a model of sensible housekeeping and of wise expenditure of money.
§ * MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
I am sure we listened with great interest to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who is such a past-master in the art of consistency and of loyalty to a Chief that he is well qualified to lecture the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle. But I think that we on-this side do understand, and clearly understand, the position the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle takes in this matter, and I do not think that any of us have a worse opinion of him for any inconsistency there may appear in his action. He has, indeed, admitted some inconsistency himself, because he pointed out, and I think we agree with him, that his inconsistency was due to his endeavour to bring about a real and satisfactory settlement of the question between the parties and between the Crown and the country. I do not wish to detain the Committee beyond a few minutes; but as one of those, some 30 or 40 in number, who were unable on Friday to vote with the hon. Member for Northampton and who intend to support this Amendment, I wish to be allowed to say a few words. In the first place, the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton, whether it was discourteous in terms or not, did place many right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench, already in a difficult and delicate position, in a position still more difficult and delicate, and I, for one, have sufficient loyalty to them not to desire to add to their difficulties in this direction; while, as I have already said, I did not think that the latter part of the Amendment of the hon. Member 1615 for Northampton, dealing with the reform of the Civil List, was relevant to the present question. But I confess I think that the speeches in Debate and the Report placed in our hands has shown us that there is no ground for making a demand for another Royal Grant. I do not think that the precedents about which we have heard so much have really much to do with the question, though they have been laboured very much on the other side. They referred almost entirely to provision for children, while we are concerned with two for grandchildren—a totally different point. Again, the claim made on the other side of the House for the Crown Lands as the property of the Queen is untenable. But, admitting the claim, the Crown must still be held to have made a very good bargain with the nation. The revenue from the Crown Lands and the small Hereditary Revenues during the present reign have amounted to some £16,000,000, while the amount granted under the Civil Lift has come to £20,000,000. I look on the whole matter as one of business, and one that could be discussed in a perfectly loyal and courteous manner. The question really before us is whether the sum at the disposal of Her Majesty is sufficient for the maintenance of the Royal Family and the dignity of the Crown. The argument that the Royal Family cost less than it had done in the past, or than other Monarchies do now, does not affect this question, because the Grants to the Crown in the past have been far too lavish, while comparison with other Continental countries have nothing to do with this democratic country. I do not think it very much matters either whether or not it was intended by those who settled the Civil List in 1837 that the sums then granted were sufficient to provide for the future grandchildren of the Queen. It is clear that the sums provided in 1837 were larger than was necessary, for Her Majesty has been able to save out of it in a way not expected at that time. It is said that no notice of any change in practice has been given to Her Majesty; but such notice has really been given, inasmuch as Her Majesty has received a far larger sum than was anticipated in 1837 by reason of the savings on the Civil List and the increase of the 1616 revenue from the Duchy of Lancaster. If the grandchildren were to be provided for by the nation, what use would the Queen have for this money? I am sure that, on the part of the hon. Member for Sunderland or anyone else, there has been no desire to pry into the private affairs of Her Majesty. But there is the desire to know, what should be known when we are asked to make this further Grant, what has been the sum received, and what has been the amount saved out of that? I do not think that the violent attacks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham and the noble Lord the Member for Paddington on the hon. Member for Sunderland were quite fair in respect to his remarks about the income of Her Majesty. The fault of any exaggeration that may have occurred lay in the Government for concealing the fact. The truth has been only half told in the Report; but without going behind the information therein contained there is sufficient evidence to condemn the proposal of Her Majesty's Government. The Report refers to savings on the Civil List, amounting to £824,000, which have been handed over to Her Majesty's Privy Purse, and to the fact that the income derived from the Duchy of Lancaster, estimated at £12,000 a year in 1837, now amounts to £50,000. In fact, Her Majesty has received from the Duchy of Lancaster £780,000 altogether more than she would have received had the estimate of £12,000 a year been maintained. If to this sum is added the £824,000 saved on the Civil List, there is a total of over £1,500,000, which represents the unanticipated receipts of Her Majesty This sum, added, to the sums both lump and in the form of annuities paid to the children, is surely sufficient to provide for the Royal children and grandchildren. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that the Queen had spent much of these savings on national and charitable objects, but he did not specify them, although such information could only redound to the credit of Her Majesty. But allowing in full for such deductions, and not taking into account one sixpence saved on the Privy Purse, still there is the fact that Her Majesty has received £1,500,000 more than was expected, and that does, to my mind, seem 1617 to afford sufficient provision for the grandchildren of Her Majesty. I admit to the full that the case of the Heir Apparent to the Throne—the Prince of Wales—is a somewhat peculiar one. No doubt he has had a much longer Heir Apparency than was naturally expected, and we all rejoice that he has, and he has had heavier expenses than could have been expected, and now he has children grown up who marry, and are given in marriage, and the income of the Prince of Wales may have been, or is likely to be, insufficient. But I do not see that we should isolate one particular member of the Royal Family. We must take the whole of the income, and if the total sum paid to the Royal Family is sufficient, its proper distribution is a question for family arrangement and not for the nation. It might have been expedient to accept some compromise in the matter before the Committee, especially if finality had been obtained; but it is perfectly clear, after all that has been heard from right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench, that the Government did not intend to make any compromise if they could help it. I think it is clear, from the speech of the Under Secretary opposite, that the Government intend to go to the country and say that they have done what they thought best both for the Crown and the country, and that they have no intention of giving way on any point. I, for one, am glad that the compromise has fallen through. I think we can with perfect loyalty and courtesy to the Crown say that, as a matter of expediency as well as of justice, there has been enough money paid by the taxpayers to maintain the dignity of the Crown in all reasonable respects, and that there are sufficient sums paid or accumulated to provide for all those who have claims on the Queen. I therefore support the Amendment.
§ * SIR R. FOWLER (London, City)
I wish, in a few words, to express regret that Her Majesty's Government have not adhered to their original proposition of £40,000 a year. No doubt they have good reasons for the course they have taken; but it seems to me to be a great pity that they have given way on the point, because, as far as I can see, it would not have made any difference in the character of the opposition to the Grant. I cannot but think 1618 that their present proposal is marked by niggardly economy.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR (Leeds, South)
I wish to explain why it is I cannot support the Amendment of my right hon. Friend. An hon. Member has spoken of obeying the mandate of a constituency. I have no mandate from my constituency. In the elections at Leeds I have never been asked for any pledge except one, and that pledge was a positive one to follow the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian as the Leader of the Liberal Party. I trust to the ability of the right hon. Gentleman to undertake great reforms even in the Constitution of the country and in the relations of one part of the kingdom to the United Kingdom; and I have not seen any reason to alter my judgment of his ability, common sense, and moderation in regard to the proposals which are now before the House. I think that there is a strong feeling abroad with reference to these Royal Grants, but I believe that it largely arises from the obscure way in which the question has been put before the people. The way in which the question is generally placed before the people is to add up all the items of Royal expenditure, and not to explain how much or how little is derived from the pockets of the taxpayers, and how much is derived from other sources. There are two kinds of liabilities or expenditure which taxation furnish. There are the liabilities undertaken when the Queen ascended the Throne, and there are other kinds of expenditure which it is within the power of the House to control through the Estimates, such as expenditure on the Palaces and the Royal Yachts. The balance sheet showing the liabilities and assets is a very simple one. There are two sources of assets—the Crown Lands, which are Endowments for the support of Royalty, and the Revenues of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, which are additional means of supporting the splendour of the Throne. These do not belong to the Sovereign in his personal capacity, but as fiduciary trusts belonging to the nation for the support of Royalty. But these assets are folded down, and the expenditure is given as if the taxpayer paid the whole. On the side of liabilities there are £385,000 for the Civil List and £152,000 for Royal 1619 Allowances, making together £537,000. What are the assets to meet those liabilities? The revenue from the Crown Lands, £400,000, and certain small sums of Hereditary Revenues, £68,000, or in all £ 1,68,000. The difference between the two sums leaves a deficiency of £69,000 which has to be furnished by taxation. What does it amount to? It amounts to more than one farthing and less than one halfpenny per head of the population. We are now asked to add £36,000, making £105,000, which will have to be provided by the taxpayers. This aggregate sum represents three farthings per head of the population, or equivalent to one-eighteenth of a penny on the Income Tax. If you put it in this way, you will see that the amount taken out of the pockets of the ratepayers is extremely small. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian proposed a compromise, and I thought it a very wise one. He said it was not in the interests of the Crown that there should be intermittent and recurrent applications to Parliament for money for the Royal Family, and in order to put an end to that he proposed that £36,000 should be voted for the family of the Heir Apparent, and that that practically should be a finality. My right hon. Friend has more experience in practical politics than any man in this House, and he declared that this would be a complete finality, as complete as if it had been on parchment and regularly stamped and sealed, and that it would be impossible for the Crown again to approach us on the old footing. We know that my right hon. Friend beside me (Mr. John Morley) wishes to have the formal stamp of the House of Commons on this fact. But let us look at the compromise which puts us in this position. No doubt, at the present moment, only one-sixth of the Royal expenditure has to be provided by taxation. A great deal has been said in comparing our expenditure on Royalty with the expenditure of other countries in their government. Having twice witnessed, studied, and written upon two Presidential elections in the United States, I am certain that the industrial resources of this country could neither stand the strain nor the cost of elections conducted in such a way. As to the cost of the Palaces, there are some like Windsor, Hampton 1620 Court, and Holyrood, which are national monuments, and must be maintained accordingly; but taking the Estimates for this year, the Palaces in the occupation of the Queen, as well as Marlborough House, figure in the Estimates for £20,000. Added altogether, the amount of taxation which is represented in the Royal Expenditure is only 1d. per head of the people. That is all quite comprehensible, and I have no doubt the public will see how little is taken from their pockets for the support of Regal State. But that does not lessen a desire on the part of the public for two things. They want to know where the personal liability of the Sovereign begins, and where the personal liability of the taxpayer ends, and it is because my right hon. Friend (Mr. Morley) does not think this is clearly stated in the Resolution before the House, or in the Report of the Committee, that he has felt compelled to move this Amendment. But for that the Queen is not at fault, though the Government is, for not having made this clear. We have, in fact, the most absolute security that for the present reign the sum asked for is to be final The Queen has given her Royal word through the mouth of her Ministers, and every one knows that the Royal word is as good as a Royal bond. In regard to future arrangments, I do hope the Committee will look carefully at the Preamble of this Resolution as proposed by the Government, for it puts it very clearly and distinctly that these intermittent and recurrent demands for Grants are not to be made in this reign. It certainly does not say an increased amount may not be asked for in the next reign, and I think it would have been advisable if it had said that, because there are several reasons which render it almost impossible for any demand to be made in the future. In the present reign we have the Queen's Royal word formally communicated to us, while in regard to the future we have two securities—first, that the Crown, after what has happened in this House, will not feel it is right, or indeed possible, to again go back to the old system of asking for increased and intermittent demands from the people; and, secondly, with the increased and increasing revenues from Cornwall and Lancaster there will 1621 be no need or justification for such demands. I think with that prospect before us, and with the certainty which we have, so far as the Queen's reign is concerned, we may reconcile ourselves to the belief that we now have a practical finality. This is, I think, the first time I have had occasion to differ from my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, but I cannot support his Amendment because it is founded on two negations—in the first place, it denies any answer to the Queen's Message or any admission that an increased allowance should be made; and, in the second, it denies the compromise which, whatever the circumstances were, he at one time favoured in the Committee. He was not committed to a Grant of so large an amount as £36,000. That he certainly was not; but he was favourable to granting an allowance for the family of the Heir Apparent. I think the compromise suggested to the Committee by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, and practically adopted, was a wise one for the Crown, and was in the interest of the public, for it put an end to all these applications to Parliament, and will not largely increase the burdens of the people. Therefore, I support the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian on this question. I think finality is most important, and I believe that by this proposal it is practically assured. There is now one little point of detail which, as a member of the Council of the Duchy, I must answer; it is with reference to a matter brought forward the other night by the junior Member for Northampton in his very able speech. It was his attack on the Duchy of Cornwall to which I allude. He complained of what he called the "shabby" way in which Royalty appropriated little sums to their own use, and he instanced a case in which, out of £16,000 Parliament had paid for the extinction of tin coinage in Cornwall, there was a small sum of £600 a year, which came from what was called Post Grants—achargaof 4d. for stamping out of regular official times. The hon. Member said that William IV. and her present Majesty did not take that source of revenue, but that on the birth of the Prince of Wales it was taken.
* MR. BEADLAUGH (Northampton)
That is not quite my statement. I said, 1622 that £640 14s. 2d. per year was granted in lieu of a sum of £10 per year which arose under a lease expiring on the 5th April, 1841. I said his late Majesty King William IV. formally renounced the claim to that £10 a year; that Her Majesty, when she ascended the Throne, formally renewed the renunciation; that, subsequently, the Treasury, by formal Minute, directed the £630 14s. 2d. to be discontinued and cease from April 5, 1841, and that the Prince of Wales had continued to receive that without any revocation of the formal Treasury Minute.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
If my hon. Friend had waited I would have explained all that, but he has saved me the trouble. I do not doubt his facts, but I deny his conclusions. It is perfectly true that King William IV. and her present Majesty renounced their claims to the £10 a year, but they could only do so for their own lives, and it eventually became the property of the Prince of Wales. True, the sum was only £10 a year, but that was due to the operation of that old and abominable system of taking large fines and leasing under the value. In this case the Prince Regent obtained a large sum, but when the leases fell in in 1841, when the Prince of Wales was born, the value of the right was £600 a year; and the Treasury, finding they had made a mistake in supposing that the Queen could do no more than surrender her life interest, took it at 10 years' value, and included it in the £16,000. Where was the shabbiness? It was an ordinary business transaction. It is quite true the Treasury, not knowing the circumstances, allowed the Queen to renounce the claim; but when they discovered it was the property of the Prince of Wales, and that the Queen had no power to renounce it, the payments were resumed when the leases fell in.
§ * MR. BRADLAUGH
The fact, as stated in evidence by Sir Reginald Welbeck, is that there was an express Treasury Minute ordering the payment to stop, and there was au entire blank as to the authority for continuing it.
§ * SIR LYON PLAYFAIR
The Minute was made under an en-or and was never acted upon. In those days the Treasury did not transact its business in the methodical manner it now does 1623 by written Minutes; but it often gave verbal instructions, and in this case there was a verbal order for the payment to continue, and it has continued ever since. I am sorry to have had to introduce this small matter, but, having the official information I had, I felt bound to do so. In regard to the general question, I repeat that I think the proposal before the House gives practical finality, although it is to be regretted that the speeches of Ministers are not so clear on that point. Indeed, the Chancellor of the Exchequer made me hesitate for a moment whether I should vote with the Government. I think he was making a claim which, in the interests of the Crown, I deemed to be very unfortunate. In conclusion, I say I support the compromise very wisely made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian accepted in its spirit, if not in letter, by the Government.
§ MR. ATKINSON (Boston)
Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, save in his support of the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. I am positively of the opinion of the right hon. Baronet the Member for London, that we could just as easily have put £40,000 a year as £36,000. As to the question of finality, there is no finality on this question. It will be settled by a great number of Members of Parliament who are not here at present, and I hope that a very small number of the hon. Gentlemen who are here now will be present on the next occasion when this is discussed—myself included. In my opinion it will be a very long time before there will be a vacancy, for we all know our blessed Sovereign has good health. ["Order."] I am not aware that I am out of order. If I am, you, Sir, as you have done before, will very soon tell me of it. I have in my house a portrait of Old Parr, painted when he was at the age of 152 years. He lived ten years afterwards. I hope from the bottom of my heart that the Queen will live as long. As Chairman of an Assurance Association I know that the value of female life is greater than the value of male life. It is the prayer of this nation that the Queen may reach the advanced age which is now more general than formerly—even than in the time of Parr. [Laughter.] 1624 Controvert that if you can. I believe that the bulk of the constituencies, which small or great, are thoroughly in favour of doing what will please the Queen and the Ministry of the Queen. We ought to be grateful to the Royal Family for what they have done. We ought to be grateful for the pure example which is set by the Lady now at the head of the nation, and it ought to be our most intense anxiety to do everything we possibly can to show not only the people here, but the people of other nations, that we are grateful for all the Sovereign has done. The way in which she has dealt with the institutions of the country, in which she has preserved a pure Court, and has taken care that the religious instincts and opinions of the people shall not be interfered with, are all matters for which we are grateful. Had Her Majesty gone in another direction, had she introduced a Book of Sports, or any sports contrary to the religious instincts and convictions of the people? [Laughter.] That is not a matter for laughter. As a Conservative I would not have voted for a Grant to anyone of the Royal Family; rather would I have voted for a Republic, much as I hate it. Had anything been done that was contrary to the instincts and religious convictions of this nation? In voting for the Resolution I best discharged my duties to my constituents and my duty as a patriot. I go thoroughly against the Amendment, and I wish the proposal had been for £40,000 rather than alternated £36,000 a year.
§ * MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
Sir, we have had a good many speeches during the Debate in favour of these Royal Grants, I do not know whether the speech we have just heard is much worse than others that have been made. The hon. Member, among the reasons he has given for voting for the Grant, says that he has in his own home a picture of Old Parr, and also that Her Majesty had not written a Book of Sports. Those reasons are neither better nor worse than other reasons that other Members have given for their votes. I gather from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds that he intends to vote for the Resolution, but I confess his reasons were entirely beyond me, so recondite indeed were 1625 they that I must leave my Scotch friends behind me to reply to them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham also, I gather, intends to vote for the Resolution. He summed up his reasons in a very beautiful peroration, and my only regret, it is an intellectual regret, is that it was a plagiarism. He tells us Radicals that we are not as he is. I admit we are not. He says that we are Nihilists, anxious to destroy the Monarchy, and to put the Constitution into the melting-pot. Sir, that is a plagiarism from the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale, made at the time when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham came forward with an unauthorised programme. I stated, on my Amendment to the Motion that the Speaker leave the Chair, that I might be in some embarrassment how to vote in regard to the Amendment shadowed forth by my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle. I supposed at the time that he would base his opposition to the Grants upon the fact of their being coupled with no declaration of finality. Personally, I should have voted against these Grants whether or not there had been finality. But I am relieved of all difficulty, because the Amendment is practically a general refusal of these Grants, coupled with the pious regret that if the House does agree to them there will be no finality in the matter. I look more at the substance than the form, and I feel that I should be personally stultifying myself if I voted against my right hon. Friend's Amendment, because it is a repetition—and a good thing cannot be too often repeated—of my proposition. If other hon. Friends bring forward similar resolutions against these Grants, I can assure them most sincerely they shall have my vote. I confess I never did share the view of my right hon. Friend and those who supported him in Committee as to the importance of finality. We have the statement of the Queen's Ministers that the Queen will not ask for any more of these Grants during her reign. I cannot help thinking that it is absolutely certain after the statement made by Her Majesty's Ministers, that there will be no demand during this reign for Grants to the children of the 1626 younger children of the Sovereign. I think and believe from what I heard in Committee, and from the statements of the First Lord of the Treasury that we may take that for granted. Well, in regard to claims under a future reign, I am glad to think that we do not establish any precedent as regards the children of younger children, whilst we note that the Sovereign's claim to such maintenance is waived. My opinion is that when a Sovereign gives up a claim, that Sovereign's successor never can make it with any success afterwards. It seems to me that sufficient for the reign are the grandchildren thereof. I do not trouble myself with what may occur in a subsequent reign. The whole subject of the Civil List will then be looked into, and it will be decided according to the opinions of the period. I hope the day is far distant when there may be a successor to Her Majesty. In regard to what will then happen, all we know for certain is, that opinion against these Grants is advancing with giant strides. On the occasion of the Grant to the Princess Beatrice, some Irish hon. Members and only 13 English, Scotch, and Welsh Members voted with me. The other night, including pairs, above 130 voted against the present Grants. In view of this progress Grants are pretty well doomed. I cannot regret the course I took on Thursday night, because it established the fact that, although the majority of this House is prepared to vote in favour of Grants to the children of the Prince of Wales, yet two-thirds of the Liberal Party have registered their view that they are opposed to any such Grants, and this will be remembered if the Liberal Party is in power when there is a change of Sovereign. I want the House to look at the practical commonsense view of this matter. We have heard a good deal about hereditary revenues—whether they have or have not been surrendered. I think that the question is comparatively unimportant. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds went through a series of figures to show that the country paid hardly anything for Royalty out of taxation. But in reality the taxpayers pay all the same, whether the money comes out of these hereditary revenues of the State or out of the Treasury. Admit however, for the 1627 moment that these hereditary revenues are absolutely vested in the person of the Sovereign as Sovereign; they are so vested not only for maintaining the honour and dignity of the Crown, but for maintaining the Civil Government of the country. Consequently, if we go on a mere question of hard and fast bargain Her Majesty would have to pay the Judges and all the Civil Government, and there would remain absolutely nothing for Her Majesty's self. I do not think it wise on the part of Ministers, or of Gentlemen who support Ministers, to make such a point of this bargain. It seems to me that we are discussing this matter like the dispute between Shylock and Portia. The First Lord of the Treasury comes like Shylock and says "I want my pound of flesh." I dispute the bond—Portia. [Laughter.] Yes, and I give reasons of sound common-sense against this bond being executed. Everybody on this side, and I should imagine on that side of the House too, admits the obligation to provide funds whether out of particular Revenues, or out of the Public Treasury, for the maintenance of the honour and dignity of the Crown and of the Household, in which I presume is included the maintenance of the Sovereign's children. So that it really comes to a matter of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, whether these revenues are really settled upon Her Majesty for these specific purposes or whether they are not. My idea of the Civil List is this—a sum has to be provided for the maintenance of the honour and dignity of the Crown and the maintenance of the Household, and in addition to that there is the Duchy of Lancaster and the Privy Purse for the private expenditure of the Sovereign. If the Sovereign has young children, then like any other parents, she must limit her expenditure, in order to provide means to support her children or grandchildren. That is what Her Majesty has done, and it is a most surprising thing to me that Her Majesty's Ministers should perpetually denounce us for lauding Her Majesty for doing what she has so properly done. We have heard a good Seal about the amount of the economies of Her Majesty. I do not share the complaint that the amount of them, though given to the Committee, has not been stated to the House. I think it is a matter entirely for the consideration of Her 1628 Majesty whether the amount should or should not be stated; it is a matter of personal feeling. But I may say to my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland that, assuming the figures given to the Committee be correct, he has put the amount beyond the mark when he says that Her Majesty's savings amount to £3,000,000. He bases this upon the £825,000 saved from Classes 3 and 6. Well, this figure has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of the savings. You will never arrive at it by knowing this result. It is like knowing the size of a ship and expecting to find the name of the captain. It is a matter of opinion whether Her Majesty has sufficient economies or investments to fairly endow her grandchildren, other than the children of the Prince of Wales. The position I of Her Majesty is this. She has £38,000 per annum from the Duchy of Lancaster in excess of what she received from the Duchy when she came to the Throne; and, besides that, she has an additional £16,000 from unexpended balances in Classes 2 and 3—making £54,000 per annum. You may add to that amount interest from the investments effected from previous economies on the Civil List. Looking at these circumstances, I say Her Majesty has—I do not say excessive—but I will say large investments; and that, considering that the parents of her grandchildren have also been given large allowances, Her Majesty can aid the parents, who may be supposed either to save money or to insure their lives for the benefit of their children. Her Majesty has, plus her present savings, and interest on these savings, £54,000 per annum admittedly in excess of every species of requirements; and I think that Her Majesty could reasonably settle some portion of this upon the children of the Prince of Wales. Such an allowance would last during the lifetime of Her Majesty, and the question of the position of these children would be taken into account when Her Majesty demises. With respect to the Prince of Wales, he has most unquestionably £15,000 a year more from the Duchy of Cornwall than the Duchy produced when the Grant of £50,000 was made to him and to the Princess of Wales. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian stated that I had chosen a very favourable year; hut on looking at the Return 1629 I find, as a matter of fact, that there was only one year, 1863, previous to that date, when the Duchy produced more than £46,000, and in every other year the annual amount was less than £46,000. The noble Lord the Member for Paddington came down here holding a brief for Marlborough House. The noble Lord derived his figures, I presume, from his clients at Marlborough House. The noble Lord, in answer to the statement that £600,000 had been saved from the Duchy of Cornwall during the minority of the Prince of Wales, and that this might have constituted a fund for the children of the Prince of Wales, said:—"Look at what has been done at Sandringham." He literally told us that this was a great public work, and that this estate was a standard of management for other country gentlemen. I am rather under the impression that country gentlemen are in embarrassed circumstances, and that they would not be prepared to accept as a standard of management an estate which cost £223,000, and on which £290,000 has been expended for cottages and farm houses but which produces nothing. This fund ought not to have been squandered in this way, still it is of no use crying over spilt milk. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian said that any scheme of retrenchment was one which it would be exceedingly difficult to carry out in the present reign. All I suggested was that the removables should be removed. Let the House remember that there are large numbers of Peers who are at present receiving great salaries for no earthly services except voting for Lord Salisbury. My suggestion is that it is clearly more preferable no longer to give the Duke of Portland and other noblemen money for voting against the masses than to insist upon raising additional taxes from them in order to meet this new burthen. The President of the Board of Trade has chosen to throw the Monarchy into the political cauldron for party purposes. My right hon. Friend was surprised at his doing so. I was not. When Home Rule is suggested, we are told that we are throwing the Empire into the cauldron, and that if it be granted to Ireland the Monarchy, the Queen, the Empire, everything will disappear like the baseless fabric of a vision. But one thing has been done 1630 by hon. Gentlemen opposite if possible more contemptible than their action in this matter: it is the manner in which they have bespattered with their praise the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. The right hon. Gentleman is now, according to them, the greatest statesman. He has made the greatest speech that ever was delivered. We have said for a long time that he is the greatest statesman, and that we know that his speech last Friday compares most favourably with the wretched rhetoric, the scurrilous abuse, and the imaginative facts which characterised the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite. But is it not too contemptible that Gentlemen opposite, who have for years, in this House and out of this House, reviled the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian should fall down and worship him when he comes to their aid. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen may laugh, but I believe there are those amongst them who would go and fall down and worship the devil himself if they thought that by doing so they could retain their majority. I admit we shall be beaten on these Grants. But we have heard a very great deal about precedents, and we are going to establish a precedent with regard to them. That precedent will be that it will be exceedingly difficult to get these Grants, as we intend to oppose them to the very last; and no Minister will be able to come forward in the future and to say that there is anything like moral unanimity in a Committee upstairs, or in the House, in favour of Royal Grants.
§ * MR. J. M. MACLEAN (Oldham)
The House may now, I think, congratulate the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle in having obtained the gracious pardon and patronage of the real leader of the Radical Party. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere) has been good enough to tell us what is the real meaning of the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman. I have something of a personal grievance to urge against the right hon. Gentleman, because, like many Members on this side of the House, I have had letters, not indeed, from the working men who returned me to the House, but from working men who did their utmost to prevent my being returned, saying they wished me to oppose any further Grants to the Royal Family. The 1631 Resolutions have not been carried by any public meeting in the Borough of Oldham, because no such meetings have been held. They emanate from a few political busybodies who meet together in clubs and small councils, and then write to the Tory Members, saying they represent the opinion of the whole constituency. In replying to these letters, I pointed out that not only their recognised Leader, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, who has still some Conservative tradition and sentiment latent in him, but even that eminent Radical, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle, had pronounced in favour of some further Grants to the Royal Family. But I suppose we may now take it for granted that the right hon. Gentleman, although he himself tells us that when he was on the Committee he was distinctly in favour of some Grant, though to a much smaller sum than the £36,000 recommended by the majority of the Committee, does not intend to support any Grant at all. It is intolerable that in the last week of July a whole evening should be wasted in a practical repetition of the Debate which was brought to a close last Friday evening. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle was singularly unfair in the statement he made as to the present cost of the Royal Family compared with what it was in the earlier part of the reign. He went back as far as 1860, and said that at that time the Grants to the Royal Family, exclusive of the Queen's Civil List, amounted to only £142,000, and that now they have risen to £152,000. But why did not the right hon. Gentleman go a little further back —to the beginning of the present reign, for instance. The amount allowed to the Members of the Royal Family other than the Queen, when the Queen's own Civil List was fixed in 1837, was £311,000. The sum was raised in 1840 to £341,788, so that the total amount received by the Royal Family including the Queen's Civil List in 1840 was just about £730,000, and at the present time the total amount granted to the Royal Family, including the Queen's Civil List, is only about £530,000, or £540,000, so there is now actually less granted to the Royal Family by nearly £200,000 than was granted by Parliament at the beginning 1632 of the reign. That is a fact which ought to be brought home to the knowledge of the people. It is no use talking of the maintenance of Palaces, Royal Yachts and so forth. The provision of these things was recognised as the duty of Parliament at the time the Queen's Civil List was fixed, and there can be no reason for supposing that Parliament in 1837 were not perfectly well aware of the total cost they were imposing on the nation. They no doubt took into consideration that many of the Grants then made would gradually fall in, and that certain amounts would thus be available for the younger branches of the Queen's own family. It is of some importance to point out that at a time when the population of the country was very much smaller than it is now, when the wealth of the country was nothing like so great as it is now, Parliament was willing to make a compact with the Queen, which gave to the Royal Family nearly £200,000 a year more than is at present allowed. That seems to me a very good reason why we should not haggle over what is certainly the last request that one of the greatest and best Sovereigns that ever ruled over any nation will make to Parliament. We have it on the authority of right hon. Gentleman opposite—I do not think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle will hesitate to admit as much—that we have practical finality as regards the demands to be made in Parliament during the present reign. I do not hesitate to say there must be many men on both sides of the House who would be unwilling to vote Grants to the children of the younger children of the Queen. The Queen herself has said that out of the money allowed her by Parliament she has saved sufficient to provide for her grandchildren, excepting the children of the Prince of Wales. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle says that that is not enough, that we must put it on record that the Sovereign of this country has no right even to apply to Parliament for anything further than Grants for persons in the direct line of the succession. I do not know that that is the temper or the habit of mind in which English statesmen have hitherto received concessions from the Crown. There are many rights, I dare say, which the Sovereign, claims for 1633 herself, or himself, but which Parliament would not be willing to allow; but statesmen hitherto have been content with a substantial advantage, and have not desired to humiliate the Crown by insisting upon the formal abnegation of a right which the Sovereign says she has no desire to exercise. What is this right about which we have heard so much? No man has said that the Queen asserts the right to put her hand in he taxpayer's pocket. The Sovereign cannot take a single penny of the taxpayer's money without the consent of Parliament, so that all this right amounts to is that the Sovereign has a right, though she says she will not exercise it, to come to Parliament and ask for provision for the children of her own younger sons and daughters. She has, I think, the right to make application, and if the right is ever exercised, we shall have the right to discuss and, if we think fit, to refuse it. I think when the Queen has met us in this way, when we know that we have absolute finality assured, when we know that in the event of a vacancy of the Throne the whole question will have to be considered, and that Parliament in the next reign can do exactly what it likes with regard to any rights claimed by the Sovereign, it is a waste of time for us to prolong this discussion night after night, and it is neither magnanimous, nor even fair, of the Parliament of England to haggle in this way over the small amount now asked for by so good and great a Queen.
§ MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury)
I think we, who have a right to speak on behalf of the working classes of this country, are interested in ensuring a little further discussion of this question. I have been somewhat astounded at the kind of language to which we have been treated by hon. Members opposite on account of the opinions we hold upon this subject. If we are to judge those hon. Members by the language they employ, I cannot congratulate them on the fact that the views they express have any good effect on their manners. It is considered courteous by our opponents to employ the strongest language against us; and we have had a fine example of this in what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Cham- 1634 berlain), who seemed to think it good taste to accuse all who differed from him on this question of being persons who go about the country trying to set class against class. I listened with astonishment to the peroration of the right hon. Gentleman, and while he was delivering that peroration I asked myself the question, "Is this the author of the celebrated phrase about 'ransom'"? Why, of all other persons in this House the right hon. Gentleman is the one who was most strongly accused of trying to set class against class, and I should have thought he would have have been the last man who would bring that accusation against others. But in addition to what has been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, we have also been told by the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade that in his opinion anyone who would carp at this grant is not worthy to be a subject of the Queen. If right hon. Gentlemen opposite will continue to use language like this, or to endorse such assertions as that of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who said he looked upon our position in this matter with disgust, they must not be surprised at the amount of irritation they will create out of doors, or at the sort of language which will be applied to them in return. We are told by the friends of the Grant that they do not wish to take the form of Government in this country into consideration; but there is hardly an hon. Member who has spoken in favour of the Grant who has not gone to Prance or America, or some other part of the world for a comparison with the cost of the chief of the State with that of the Monarch in this country. Even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds (Sir Lyon Playfair) compared what takes place here with the cost of a Presidential election in the United States. I shall not go into that subject, but I think it totally unfair on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to compare the cost of a Presidential election in America with the cost of the Monarchy here. It would be as much to the point to bring in the cost of a general election here, as no doubt at such an election large sums of money are expended by parties on both sides; and in an equal degree 1635 there is, no doubt, a vast voluntary expenditure at a Presidential election; but all this has nothing to do with the question before us now. I will not follow the example of the right hon. Gentleman; what I desire to do is to consider the position in which we who are asked to vote for these Grants are placed. I have no hesitation in the course I shall adopt. Since I have been a Member of this House I never gave a vote with greater satisfaction than that which I gave on Friday night, and I shall give my vote to-night with the same satisfaction, because I think the time has come when the huge cost of the Crown ought to be thoroughly overhauled and brought down to something like a practical sum. We have had the Crown Lands set up as against the sums appropriated out of the Consolidated Fund; but in all the arguments that have been used, it ought to be remembered that if the country took over the Crown Lands, it also took over the cost of management. It is said that the position we are taking is disrespectful to the Monarchy; but I believe that the one thing that will make the Crown secure and the Monarchy respected in this country is not the splendour of the Throne, but the calm dignity with which the Sovereign fulfils her functions. When you talk about the "splendour of the Throne" and use arguments in favour of keeping up all the offices which surround the Throne, there are many of us who think you are lowering rather than adding to its dignity. There are many of us who think it is not the barbaric magnificence of the Throne—for that is what it really comes to—but the conduct of the individual who occupies the Throne that constitutes its real dignity. We think—though it is rank heresy to say so—that Parliaments which have gone before us have made a mistake in the sums they have provided for the children of the Sovereign, and that the time has come when, having provided for the direct issue of the Sovereign, we ought not to begin voting sums of money for the grandchildren. We think that these Grants are not in accordance with the Act of 1837. I thoroughly agree with the quotation from the speech of Mr. Spring Rice, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1837, which was made by the First Lord of 1636 the Treasury. That quotation showed that it was anticipated that the Civil List would supply all the requirements of the Royal Family, and before making any further Grant, we are entitled to a full statement of what the savings from the Civil List have been. The right, hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has favoured us with his opinion as to what the savings of the Monarch have been, and has put the amount at £105,000, which, he said, was not too large. I think it quite large enough to prevent this House being asked to vote more Royal Grants. Perhaps the most extraordinary part of the peculiar speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham was that in which he drew an illustration from the working man asking for an increase of wages, and the employer asking what he had saved up. I think the analogy was most ludicrous, and I think it unnecessary to further criticise it, as the House must see how ridiculous it is. A great deal has been said with regard to the Civil List in reigns previous to the present; but I do not think it possible to show anything in preceding reigns like that which we have now before us. When a Committee satin 1837 and had evidence of all previous Grants placed before them and fixed what they considered necessary for the Crown, I think you have no right whatever to go behind the decision of that Committee. I am pleased to see that in those days the Members who were looked up to by the Radicals of those days did take exception to the amount that was fixed, holding that the sum was too large for the wants of the Crown. It is said we ought to be ashamed of our position for carping at an expenditure which is really insignificant. ("Hear, hear!") An hon. Member says "Hear, hear!" I am not ashamed, for one. I am proud of the position I have taken up, and I think I should not have been doing my duty to my constituents if I had not taken up that position. It will, I think, be a sorry day for England when hon. Members abandon the right of criticising the demands made upon them by the Government. It is only by the tight hand which has been kept by the House of Commons on the purse strings of the nation that the liberties of England have been brought to where they are at 1637 the present time. We do not object to being charged with carping when we attempt to criticise this vote. Every time anyone moves a reduction in this House and goes in for economy, he is immediately told by some Gentleman who goes into figures that it is only a fractional sum per head on the population, but a good many of us who go in for economy want to join many of these fractional sums together so as to make up a large sum. Behind these fractional sums there is the question of a great principle, and there is the question of how far you are going to allow the charges in connection with the Monarchy to grow in this country. We believe the time is coming when much may be done to curtail the lavish expenditure that takes place in high places. I believe that the stability of the Monarchy rests not upon the grandeur of its surroundings, but upon the quiet dignity with which it is kept up. Never in the last quarter of a century have we had less of the splendour of the Throne, and yet never has a Monarch been more respected and esteemed than the present Monarch. We only want to have continued that which has been going on for the last quarter of a century. We say that you do not want any more Royal Grants, but that economy should be maintained in the Civil List, and we believe we are doing better work for the security of the Throne and for the welfare of the masses of the country by the position we are taking up, which amounts to something more solid than mere tinsel and glory, than are hon. Gentlemen opposite in supporting these Grants.
§ MR. ISAACSON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)
We have listened to a great many speeches from hon. Members below the Gangway representing the working classes in the East End of London, but I do not think that any hon. Member on this side of the House who represents them has yet spoken. As far as I am concerned, I do not think there is any Member of this House who is more in touch with his constituency, and I think I may say, without fear of contradiction, that the working classes of London do not view the Royal Grants with that amount of displeasure which hon. Gentlemen opposite allege. There are some important points which have not 1638 been mentioned. It should be remembered that the value of money is very different now from what it was in 1837, and that members of the Royal Family cannot do with their income as much as private individuals. They cannot enter into trade and improve their fortunes in ways open to others. Considering that it is a Lady who is at the head of affairs, some of the observations made on the other side were perfectly cruel. The country has made an excellent bargain with respect to the Crown property, which in 20 years will bring in something like £4,000,000 sterling, and if Her Majesty had retained that property she probably would not have had to come to this House for any Grants for the members of her family. I do not think the Government or the legal advisers of the Crown have been sufficiently diligent in making the country know that the contract has been so favourable. Up to this very July they have made out the receipts in precisely the same way as if the property was owned by the Crown, on the face of them appearing the words "received for Her Majesty's use." We know very well that Her Majesty does not get the money. Under these circumstances it is very unjust to cavil at the small amounts which are asked for the Royal Family. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Morley) said he should like members of the Royal Family to go into profitable occupations. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman would like the young ladies to do. I think one young lady has done exceedingly well in marrying a young Scottish Peer who is in business, and whose fortune is very considerable. With regard to the male members of the family, one has adopted the profession of a soldier, and the other that of a sailor, and I do not know how they are to go into more profitable occupations, unless they go into trade, as no doubt they will. The working classes of the East End of London are entirely in favour of these Grants on the moderate scale that they have been asked for, and I believe that when the speeches of hon. Members opposite are quoted at the next election, they will not derive any capital from them. I shall vote heartily for the Grants, and I hope that other Members for London will follow my example.
* SIR W.PLOWDEN (Wolverhampton, W.)
The hon. Member who has just sat down informed us what his knowledge is of the views of the working men in the Division he represents. Well, I am able to inform the Committee what are the views of the working men of the West Division of Wolverhampton, and I must say that, not only at this moment, when there has been a distinct expression of opinion from them, but also on previous occasions, they have declared by large majorities their distinct aversion to any increase of the Royal Grants. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) told us we wanted to put the Constitution into the melting-pot—that was a Birmingham phrase, I presume—and that we actually did not dare to approach our constituents and tell them the real facts about these Royal Grants. Well, I can say that I have stated over and over again to my constituents what the real facts of the expenditure of the Royal Grants are, as far as I could learn them, and they have adhered to their original determination that it is not a right thing to add to the burdens of the country by increasing the Royal Grants. The noble Lord the Member for Paddington (Lord R. Churchill) said that those who opposed the Grants were actuated by a desire to degrade and lower the Monarchy in public estimation. I entirely dissent from such a statement. Many of us are warm admirers of the Monarchy—I speak for myself, certainly—and because we dissent from the proposal to make an increased allowance for Royal expenditure, we ought not, therefore, to be considered deficient in respect for the Crown, or as desirous of not promoting the well-being of the Crown. The remarks of the noble Lord appear to be endorsed by the Government, from what the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said. I wonder that the noble Lord the Member for Paddington, who poses as an historical inquirer, should have ventured to make the remarks he has made, as he must have known what has been the whole course of events during the past century. The first speech which brought Mr. Pitt into notoriety was one made by him under the tutelage of that great orator Mr. Burke in regard to the Civil List 20 years after 1640 it had been settled, in the reign of George III., and he then proposed to do away with some of those great offices of State which are now the subject of discussion, and with regard to which working men hold such strong opinions. As a preface to that Debate Mr. Burke had read out a Resolution, which still stands on the Journals of the House, and which runs thus:—It is the opinion of this Committee that it is competent to this House to examine into, and to correct, abuses in the expenditure of the Civil List Revenues, as well as in every other branch of the Public Revenue, whenever it shall appear expedient to the wisdom of this House so to do.This Resolution still stands on the Journals, and has not been rescinded. It shows what the power of this House is in regard to the Civil List. Personally, I should be extremely pleased to be able to consent to the request made to us by the Government. But I stand here as the Representative of my constituents, and especially in the matter of taxation I feel bound to represent their views. I have had distinct requisitions from my constituents to oppose these Grants, and I believe that both my right hon. Colleagues (Mr. H. H. Fowler and Mr. C. P. Villiers) in the representation of Wolverhampton have received similar requisitions. It is not that the working men object to giving to the Sovereign what is really necessary to maintain the dignity of the Court, but they think sufficient is granted for the purpose already if a proper appropriation be made. They say also that if the present Grants are not sufficient, some of the great offices of State, where large sums of money are paid for official duties, might very well be discharged without any remuneration. These are offices which men truly devoted to the Sovereign would gladly fill without salary. They take the case of the Master of the Buckhounds, and they say to me, "Your brother is a master of hounds, and does not get any remuneration for it. Why should we give any remuneration to the Master of the Buckhounds?" It seems to me that the argument is unanswerable. I feel quite justified in acceding to the wishes of my constituents and opposing any one of these Grants, which impose additional burdens on the taxpayer.
§ * MR. NORRIS (Tower Hamlets, Limehouse)
It seems to me that Gentlemen opposite arrogate a great deal too much to themselves the right to pose as the Representatives of the working men. I represent a constituency in the East of London, which is certainly loyal to the country and to the Crown. I believe the people of this country reverence and respect Royalty, not only on patriotic grounds, but also because of the splendour which surrounds it. Who are the people who attend the Royal shows and surround the Royal carriages but the people of the Metropolis, who are too glad not only to see the splendour, but to participate in the joys and sorrows of the Royal Family, as on Saturday last. Although I, for one, deprecate and object very strongly indeed to Grants and Annuities to any of the collateral branches of the Royal Family, I think it is a very different thing indeed when it comes to the direct Heir to the Throne of England. We know very well that Her Majesty has very graciously come to an arrangement whereby the money she has been able to save out of her income will be devoted to the maintenance of the younger members of the Royal Family. It is a matter of surprise to me that this Grant should be questioned, inasmuch as the amount is so extremely small when spread over the country. I have calculated that the proposed annuity of £36,000 a year that is asked for, amounts only to a farthing per head of the whole population, and for a constituency of 70,000 persons will amount to about £70. I think even the senior Member for Northampton would hardly grudge £1, aye, perhaps, he would give a £5 note towards the necessary functions of Royalty. Have not Radical Members opposite done enough this Session in trying to overthrow the Government, and in obstructing useful measures, that Cow they must make personal attacks upon the Sovereign and her Constitutional rights. The speech Of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian adds lustre to his grand old age, and his words will go down to posterity as some of the best he ever uttered—noble words, which shows that though he desires to serve the people he desires also to serve the State. I think we ought, by our votes to day, to prove our loyalty 1642 to the State, and I, for one, shall go into the Lobby with the Government.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
The two last speakers from the opposite side of the House represent East End constituencies, and they say they think that in voting for the Grants they are properly representing the feelings of their constituents. My experience, however, is that there is the strongest possible feeling in the East End of London against the Grant, and hon. Members opposite will, perhaps, when too late discover their mistake. I should like to refer to the position, taken up to-night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Morley). On Friday the right hon. Gentleman was, I think, somewhat scornful towards the Amendment, and towards those who supported the Amendment, proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton. He will not, therefore, have any right to complain, and I am sure he will not complain, if I comment with some freedom on his position. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that a great deal of the fever in the public mind would be abated if the Government had thought fit to make a more frank statement as to the resources of the Crown. So far good. But holding these opinions I can scarcely see how with consistency the right hon. Gentleman can assent to the final paragraph of the Committee's Report, which runs as follows:—Your Committee desire to state that it has received all information which it has deemed necessary for the object of the Reference made to it.On this point I think we have some title to complain not only of the right hon. Gentleman himself, but of every other Member of the Committee who voted with him. They all appear to have expressed in this House the greatest possible regret that further information has not been afforded, and yet without protest they assented to this paragraph, which will be quoted in future years, giving the Government credit for having supplied ample information. I now come to the second point. The right hon. Gentleman said: —I will not be a party to setting a precedent by meeting a Message from the Throne with 1643 words which indicate that it ought never to have been sent.Well, again, I say, so far good. But is it consistent with the statement which the right hon. Gentleman made within a few minutes of the former one, to the following effect:—I thought from the first that both the claims and the Grants upon which the claims were rested were wrong.Now, if the right hon. Gentleman thought that, it seems to me that it did practically amount to an intimation that the Message from the Crown ought never to have been sent down. If the right hon. Gentleman takes up that position, I, for one, must with all respect dissent from it. The Message comes to us with the authority and under the sanction of Her Majesty's Government, and I say there is no disrespect to the Throne in saying it ought never to have been sent. I beg to make my very humble protest against the idea that this House is not perfectly free to criticise and adopt a hostile attitude towards a Message from the Crown; and I cannot but think that in the proposition which the right hon. Gentleman laid down he spoke rather the language of the courtier than the language we have been accustomed to hear from the Radical Representative of Newcastle-on-Tyne. I come now to the third proposition of the right hon. Gentleman. He said he was willing, under certain conditions, to give a moderate amount, and he also told us that £36,000 was not a moderate amount. Yet I understand that if the conditions on which he insisted had been granted, he would have assented to the grant of £36,000, which he himself had declared not to be a moderate amount. Supposing the present Amendment is not carried, what position does the right hon. Gentleman intend to take up? As we know that, in his opinion, £36,000 is not a moderate amount, I should like to know whether he intends to propose the reduction of that sum. If not, I shall be glad to propose a reduction so as to give the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of showing that he really believes that £36,000 is an immoderate sum to ask under the circumstances of the case. I should like to say a word as to the position of the noble Lord the Member for Paddington (Lord R. Churchill). The noble Lord waxed very merry over the legal con- 1644 tention of the hon. Member for Northampton, and when the name of Lord Brougham was suggested in support of that contention, he cavalierly brushed it aside with the statement that at the time when Lord Brougham laid down his doctrine with regard to the Civil List and Crown Lands, he would have made any declaration in order to upset the Government of Lord Melbourne. It does not require very much courage to kick a dead lion. But I think that in the position which the noble Lord occupies his reference to Lord Brougham was not only unjust and ungenerous, but impolitic and dangerous for himself in the highest degree. What would he say if we were to apply the same censorious standard to his own action? What would he say if we from these Benches were to suggest that in the action he has taken he has been influenced by the impression which has been made upon his mind that the Tory democracy does not turn to him as the rising sun, and that he now desires to cringe and creep back to the Treasury Bench, which some time ago he abandoned under a mistaken conception of his own importance both to his own Party and to the country? I desire to say just one word more. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that prior to the time of George III. the Sovereigns always held the Crown Lands. That is quite true; but one need not go to a more recondite authority than Blackstone to learn that they held them subject to heavy burdens—subject to defraying the cost of the whole Civil Government of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has argued that the Sovereign is the owner of the Crown Lands in precisely the same sense as a Peer is the owner of his lands. Now, a legal question arose in connection with the estates of the Duchy of Lancaster, when it was urged that they were held by the Sovereign exactly as a Peer of the realm holds his estate, and the decision in that case was that the lands of the Duchy of Lancaster were held by the Sovereign, not in his natural person, but in his political person. If that principle applies in regard to the lands of the Duchy, it applies â fortiori to the Crown Lands proper. The House and the country have not been sufficiently taken into confidence 1645 by the Government on this question, and they have a right to know how much of the £800,000 which has been paid to the Privy Purse has been actually expended, and how much has been saved. In conclusion, I have only to say that whilst I do not think the position of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle is a very logical or defensible one, I shall be prepared to vote for his Amendment because I should be prepared to vote with anybody against these Grants.
§ * MR. FENWICK (Northumberland, Wansbeck)
I regret that some of the hon. Gentlemen with whom I am accustomed to act seem unable to recognise and appreciate the efforts which my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle made in the Grants Committee to minimise the amount of the Grant that is sought by the Government, and also to secure from the Government a declaration that there should be some finality in the sum which they now require for the support of the Royal Family. If in Committee we are not to be permitted the fullest liberty of criticism and the fullest amount of freedom of action in order to minimise the demands of the Government, without seeming to compromise with our principles, then it seems to me that that is a position which few hon. Members would be willing to accept. I appreciate most fully the attitude of my right hon. Friend in Committee, and I am glad that to-night he has attacked what I consider to be the somewhat foolish speech of the President of the Board of Trade on Saturday. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of some people who, he said, are unworthy to be subjects of the Queen. In my own name, and in the name of my constituents, I protest strongly against any further Grant to the Members of the Royal Family, and for the course I take I have a direct mandate from my constituents. I have had opportunities of taking the sense of my constituents, and only very recently the Council of the Northumberland miners, representing over 15,000 miners, passed a resolution in which "they protested against further grants of public money being voted to the members of the Royal Family, and deeply regretted Mr. Gladstone's action in defending and supporting the proposals of the Government" on this question. The question was very fairly 1646 asked by my hon. Friend and Colleague, the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt), "Why do the working classes protest against any additional Grant to the Members of the Royal Family?" The answer is not very difficult to find. There are some of us who claim to directly represent the interests of labour in this House. I do not deny that other Members have also a claim to speak on behalf of the working classes, because working men are to be found in the constituencies of every hon. and right hon. Member of the House. But some of us who are more intimately associated with the working classes have from time to time made application to the Government to spend money in the payment of factory, workshop and mine inspectors, and oar applications have been met by the Government with direct refusal. It is because you will not recognise the claims which the working classes have upon the Treasury; it is because you will not take proper means to provide for their safety, that the working classes are so strongly opposed—at least it is one of the reasons—to an increase of the Royal Grants. Much has been said as to what the constituencies are thinking on this question. I have here a short extract taken from the Tory newspaper of Newcastle—The Weekly Courant—which I commend to the serious attention of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench. It is a leaderette. The Weekly Courant of the 20th instant said—The Government and the House of Commons have very little idea of the widespread feeling which exists even amongst very loyal people against increasing the Royal Grants.This I think fairly represents the feelings of a large proportion of the people of the country. Though the question of savings on the Civil List has been referred to again and again, it seems to me necessary that we should endeavour to enforce the fact that frankness as to the savings on the part of the representatives of the Crown would have been the key to the solution of the problem. If you had taken the country and the House of Commons into your confidence and stated frankly what is the amount of the savings made by the Queen, we should have been in a position to say more decidedly than we are at present whether or not there is any 1647 necessity for the additional Grant that is now sought. But we have the fact that in Class 2, 3, 4, and 6 of the Civil List there has been a saving effected of over £824,000. It is not denied that there has been a saving on Class 1, neither is it denied that there has been a saving out of the income of the Duchy of Lancaster. Whether the savings are as large as was stated by the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Storey) or not, while the facts as stated in the Report of the Committee remain undisputed, the country will be reluctant to grant any additional sum to the Royal Family. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle that there has been no adequate case presented to the House of Commons why any additional allowance should be made to the Royal Family, and until you state frankly what the amount of the savings is I shall, on every occasion, go into the Lobby against any such proposition as this.
§ MR. JOHN E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
I do not rise with the object which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Under Secretary for India said he had in view on Thursday—namely, to fill up the time of the House.
§ MR. JOHN E. ELLIS
I am in the recollection of the House, and I have referred to the report of the hon. Gentleman's speech.
§ SIR J. GORST
I said nothing of the sort. I said that as time had to be filled up there was no more interesting subject with which to fill it up than the study of the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Newcastle.
Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ MR. JOHN E. ELLIS
I must accept the explanation of the hon. Gentleman, but I understood him to say that he rose to fill up the time of the House. I am one of those who perfectly admit that this is a matter that deserves to be treated and dilated in a grave and earnest way, and each of us should feel the responsibility that is upon us when Her Majesty's Ministers come down to the House with a proposal of this kind. I am bound to say that I have listened 1648 to the discussion and have been at ties perfectly astounded at the way in which the name of the Queen has been introduced within our walls. It is an ancient and constitutional practice of the House, and very well known, that the name of the Sovereign should not be introduced in debate for the sake of influencing our votes or opinions. But, besides hon. Members such as the hon. Member for Boston (Mr. Atkinson), the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Kerans) and others, we have had even Members of the rank and influence of the noble Lord the Member for Paddington and the Chancellor of the Exchequer offending against this rule. Now in this connection some very significant language was put into the mouth of Her Majesty upon the occasion when she delivered her first Address to this House. On November 23, 1837, the following Message came from the Crown—I place unreservedly at your disposal those Hereditary Revenues which were transferred to-the public by my immediate predecessor, and I have commanded that such papers as may be necessary for the full examination of this subject shall be prepared and laid before you.And then follows this sentence—desirous that the expenditure, in this as in every other department of the Government, should be kept within due limits. I feel confident that you will gladly make adequate provision for the support of the honour and dignity of the Crown.At that time Lord Melbourne was Prime Minister, and no man was more a master of courtly language and propriety of expression, and he permitted the Crown to use these words —"desirous that in this as in every other department of Government," showing that the expenditure of the Crown was a department of Government. This is remarkable language, and, at all events, far removed from the extraordinary declaration that fell from the First Lord of the Treasury, and which has been commented upon more than once when he referred to the "sacred institution of the Throne." It may have been that the expression was due simply to an infelicitous choice of words, but certainly it was wholly inappropriate to the subject the right hon. Gentleman was laying before us. I notice, too, that the leading journal this morning, in reference to this subject in connection with the Royal Marriage, uses this language— 1649There appears to be a strange lack of judgment in the policy which selects a time when the most generous emotions of the nation are thus stirred to raise a pettifogging controversy about the claim of the Crown to have a provision made for the children of the Prince of Wales.Now I protest against this sort of language. It is not only our most undoubted right, but our duty to criticise closely and unsparingly any proposal that Members may make to increase the burden upon the people. I can only look on this sort of language as part of that flunkeyism of which we have far too much evidence in this great City of London. I only wish the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord before using his curious expression had referred to what took place in debate on December 18, 1821, and he would have found some very interesting references to the undoubted privileges of the House in these matters. I maintain that as a matter of Constitutional usage, the Crown is only known within these walls as an Estate of the Realm, and all mention of Her Majesty's name is wholly unparliamentary and unwarranted. Passing from this I wish to endorse most strongly the complaints raised from these Benches as to the conduct of the Government in this matter. In the first place it was admitted by the Prime Minister when it was pointed out that precedents had been absolutely disregarded, it was admitted by the Prime Minister that someone had blundered, and I venture to think that somebody has been blundering all through, both in the way this proposal has been presented to the House, and to the Committee, in withholding information from the House necessary for us to come to a conclusion on this matter. Long before the appointment of this Committee, the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord was pledged up to the hilt to grant a Committee, and I for one extremely regret that he did not fulfil his promise before this outburst of feeling arose in the country, when we could by means of a strong Committee impartially chosen have examined the whole matter carefully and quietly. In 1887 we had a deliberate promise from the right hon. Gentleman that the Government would appoint such a Committee. Three times in 1888 he repeated his promise, and said the subject was engaging the serious atten- 1650 tion of the Government. In February this year he said—"It is our intention to appoint the Committee"; in March he alluded to the subject in a similar manner, and in April again, when he excused himself for delay, and added that there was no immediate intention of asking the House for any Grant. But passing from the blunder of want of fulfilment of the many pledges given, I think the greatest blunder of all is that which has been several times alluded to, the withholding of information from us. It is quite true that, owing to extraordinary generosity and magnanimity manifested all through by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, there appears at the bottom of the Report of the Committee a statement that the Committee were satisfied that the Ministers had given such information as was necessary, and I cannot myself help expressing some little surprise that this should have been conceded, as I assume it was, unanimously. I believe that the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) did make a protest, but I am not aware that any of his hon. Friends did so. But it does seem to me, looking at the Reports of the Committees of 1830 and 1837, that the Government have not been so candid as were the Government in those years in laying full information before us. I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman about a fortnight ago in reference to this matter, and I ventured to suggest that, seeing the unauthorised, inaccurate, and most mischievous reports the Times was giving day by day of the proceedings in the Committee, it would be well that the House should have a full and correct record of the proceedings. The right hon. Gentleman in his reply took a rather unfair advantage of me by saying it was unusual to lay before the House the proceedings of the Committee, showing how Members spoke this way or that. But I did not wish to have the conversations of the Committee, I only desired that a full and correct account of the proceedings of the Committee should be laid before the House. My complaint is supported by an expression used by the noble Lord the Member for Paddington, who on Friday spoke of the "meagre account of the proceeedings of the Committee with which we have been furnished." 1651 Even the hon. Baronet the Member for Sussex (Sir W. Barttelot) endorsing the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle, suggested that the confidential communications made in Committee had better be made known to the House and to the public. It does seem to me that if all this mystery had not been maintained, most of the exaggeration that has arisen would not have arisen. This mystery is bad in itself, and absolutely untenable. They are no true friends of the Crown, and, consequently, of the nation, who make such a great mystery about these money matters. I believe that a great deal of the exaggerated ideas about the subject would have been avoided had the simple facts been known. It is absolutely necessary that we may form an accurate judgment that we should have facts before us. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian on the 4th July laid down this maxim—When the Committee is appointed it appears to me any individual Member on the Committee will be at perfect liberty to say—I will not consent to give additional sums of public money for the support of members of the Royal Family until I have had some knowledge or what are the means already at the disposal of the Royal Family, of course excluding the Head of the Royal Family, the Sovereign herself.'Now, that, I say, covers all our demands on this subject. The noble Lord the Member for Paddington favoured us the other night with the story of the Sandringham estate, but all that the facts amounted to was this, that His Royal Highness having invested the income provided for him in this estate, recognised the maxim of Drummond that "property has its duties as well as its rights." I could not help thinking while the noble Lord was giving us this long story that this maxim was one he might commend to the notice of some of the clients of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The noble Lord gave us a letter written some years ago by the Private Secretary of His Royal Highness as to the statement about a million invested, and there again is a proof how necessary it is in these matters that we should have the actual facts embedded in Parliamentary documents. On Friday the Chancellor of the Exchequer used this extraordinary language— 1652I say that we have documentary evidence that in many cases these savings have been applied, for those special cases when the Privy Purse should not meet the necessities of the moment. There have been minutes in times past where the savings of a certain number of years have been applied to meet purposes which the Government of the day acknowledged might fairly have been put on Parliament, but which Her Majesty was anxious to discharge from the Privy Purse.Why should we not have had the actual data before us? I say the worst friends of the Crown are those who come down to the House and make these more or less hypothetical statements without justifying their assertions by actual Parliamentary documents circulated in the ordinary way amongst Members. I listened with great attention to the speech of the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), and I could not quite follow him, as he seemed at one time to think that the savings in the Civil List might be used by the Crown.
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS
I believe the hon. Member went further than his Colleague, but the facts before the House are these—that the annual income from savings from all classes of the Civil List, together with the increment of revenue from the Duchy of Lancaster, amounts to tar more than the sum now asked for for the Prince of Wales's family. That is sufficient for me, bearing in mind the fact that the children of the Queen are all provided for. I fail to see that any case has been made out for the imposition of these additional burdens on the taxpayers of the country. A good deal has been said on the point of giving notice to hon. Members, and I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury is not at this moment in his place. He quoted to us an important speech on this subject, made in 1843, when a Grant was being proposed for the Princess Augusta. He did not, however, read to the House all that was contained in that speech. Sir Robert Peel, on the 12th June, 1843, in proposing the Grant, said:—I find that the general rule adopted and sanctioned by the House of Commons in respect of provision made for Princesses of the Royal Family has been to assume that the parent of the Princess—whether of the reigning Sovereign 1653 or any member of the reigning family—should undertake during the lifetime of that parent out of the provision made for him either from the Civil List granted to the Sovereign or from the Consolidated Fund granted to the Royal Family by Parliament to make provision for the Princess.That is a statement of a very wide character, and I am unable to see how the present case is exempted from it. It says that the rule of the House of Commons is that provision shall be made by the reigning Sovereign or any persons to whom Grants have been made for their daughters during their lifetime. I should like to have some light thrown upon that from the Treasury Bench—to know what view the Government take with regard to it. On Friday it was my misfortune to be unable to agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, as his Amendment seemed to me to imply an assent to which I did not wish to commit myself and to make a proposal which I held to be quite impracticable. And my objection was not limited to the form of the Resolution, but I took objection to the procedure. Having appointed a Committee, we were bound to give its Report due consideration, and not to pass it by in the manner which that Motion would have done. On the other hand, I attach great importance to the question of finality in a matter of this kind, and think that if we give any additional Grants to the Royal Family we should at least have in return an absolute and unconditional withdrawal which we have not yet received from any further claim to Grants of this kind. It has been said that the position of the right hon. Member for Newcastle is neither logical nor consistent. I do not agree with that assertion. But whether it is true or untrue, the Government are not entitled to press such an objection after the course they have pursued in this matter. For my own part I shall support the Motion of my right hon. Friend, because I do not think any case has been made out for additional Grants, seeing that there is reason to believe there are ample funds in the hands of the Crown to meet any claims upon it; and because we have no security against a future renewal of claims of the same kind as those which are now put forward.
§ * MR. ESSLEMONT (Aberdeen, E.)
I suppose it may be taken for granted 1654 that, coming from an Aberdeen shire constituency as I do, there is no suspicion as to my loyalty. We have been long accustomed to the presence of Her Majesty as a resident in that county, and I can assure the House that the universal feeling of the inhabitants is that there is no Monarch in the world more beloved than our Queen. But though I hold that opinion, I am one of those who regret that Her Majesty's name has been brought into this discussion as it has been. We were told by the First Lord of the Treasury that the whole responsibility rested on the Government, and my complaint is that the Government have for the last two years been constantly asked to report on the Royal Grants—to appoint a Committee to consider them. But during the whole of those two years no Committee has been appointed, and no consideration has been given to the subject, and now the name of Her Majesty is introduced in support of the application of the Government in what appears to me to be a most unwarrantable manner. I think I am not misrepresenting them when I say that the people in the North of Scotland do not object to the granting of all that is necessary for the maintenance of the Monarchy; but they feel that the sum which the taxpayers are called upon to subscribe is far beyond what is necessary. And I am sure that this feeling is almost universal on the subject. We are not prepared to vote any further sum of money without first considering the maintenance of those parasites who live upon the Civil Grants, and do no service to the State whatever. We feel that the Monarchy is not dependent on those who surround the Thone without contributing to the service of the State; and, feeling this, we are not prepared to vote any further Grant until we have the Civil List put into such a condition that, in maintaining the greatness of the Crown, we shall also be contributing to the service of the country. I have no intention to go into any criticism of precedent. I care nothing for precedents of 50 years ago. During the last 50 years the electorate has been entirely changed; still I believe that three-quarters, if not nine-tenths, of the working classes are resolved to maintain the Monarchy, although they are no prepared to keep a large number of 1655 persons around the Throne who perform no service to the State. As long as they are called on to contribute to the Monarchy, they are at the same time by a large majority resolved not to increase the grants, until we have had a thorough revision of the Civil List; and they do not think they should be asked to contribute another £36,000 to that List. If it could be shown that that sum is necessary for the maintenance of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales in the circumstances in which he is placed, I feel assured that they would not grudge the money; but they believe, honestly and sincerely, that they ought not to be called on to make this Grant, and that an entire revision of the Civil List is necessary. The question is, therefore, whether, under the circumstances, a case has been made out that the sum contributed to the Constitution in the shape of Royal Grants is an insufficient sum, and we maintain that it is. We feel that we ought not to be charged with a want of loyalty when we call upon the Government to fulfil their promise made two years ago to enter fully into this question. I have no hesitation in voting in favour of the Amendment of my right hon. Friend. The question is not, and never ought to have been made, a Party question, and I protest most strongly against our being charged with disloyalty when we declare our belief that the opinion of the people is strongly opposed to this Vote. I am sure the people will protest against the insult levelled at them. In opposing the Vote hon. Members believe they are doing their best to stem the tide of irritation caused by a proposal on which the constituencies had never been consulted. We have been led to believe that there would have been a discussion of the whole question of Royal Grants and that we should have been able to discuss it quietly and dispassionately. Instead of that this Vote is placed before us with the alternative of being called Republican in our principles and shabby in our desire to maintain the Throne. To my mind nothing is more certain than this, that when we go down to the country it will be found that the constituencies resent the disrespect, the degredation of being told by one of Her Majesty's Ministers that they were unworthy to be subjects of the Crown.
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Sir M. HICKS BEACH,) Bristol, W.
It would not be respectful to the House to attempt to take part in a Debate which I have not heard, but the allusion to some remarks of mine which has just been made by the hon. Member opposite leaves me no alternative but to ask the House to listen to me for a few moments while I devote myself to that point alone. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle was good enough to send me a note today, informing me that it was his intention to call the attention of the House this evening to these remarks. Unfortunately, I did not reach London until 8 o'clock, and, therefore, I did not receive the note until he had made the comments on my speech which he felt it his duty to make. I cannot therefore attempt to reply to him, as I have not the least notion what he said. I will, however, reply to what has just been said by the hon. Gentleman opposite. Speaking on Saturday at a small local meeting in a remote part of Wiltshire, I confess I did not in the least anticipate that my remarks would have been reported in the London Press of this morning, or else I should have felt it my duty to be in my place at the commencement of the Debate in case any hon. Gentleman thought fit to call attention to them. I have seen those observations reported in two different ways, both, however, considerably curtailed. I am sure hon. Members who have been subject to curtailment themselves will admit I am justified in saying that I cannot accept the verbal accuracy of those reports. I understand from the words of the hon. Member opposite that I am reported to have said that hon. Gentlemen who opposed these Grants are unworthy to be subjects of the Queen. Well, Sir, I do not think I used those words. What I did say was this: I was referring to what appeared to me to be the undoubted advantages of a Monarchical system as against a Republican form of Government, and I went on to say that, white I had every respect for those who sincerely held the contrary opinions, I entirely differed from them. I did not charge those hon. Members who opposed this Grant with holding Republican opinions, or being anything but loyal 1657 subjects of the Queen; but I think I did say that, in my opinion, their policy was a pitiful policy in carping at what, to my mind, was absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the dignity of that Crown of which they professed themselves to be supporters; and, I think I also said that, in my opinion, such a policy was not worthy of any subject of the Queen. I do not think there is anything in this that can justly be called personally offensive to any hon. Member. If there is I should sincerely regret it. My words were the expression of bonâ fide opinion, and they differ from the reports I have seen. I have stated to the House what I believe I said, and I entirely adhere to it. I do not know whether there is any other point in my remarks to which the right hon. Member for Newcastle thought it worth while to direct the attention of the House.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
The remark about those who dared to oppose the Grants but did not dare to attack the Queen openly.
§ * SIR MICHAEL HICKS BEACH
That was not what I said. What I was referring to in that part of my speech was not speeches in the House, but articles in the papers and speeches made in different parts of the country—articles and speeches of a character which it would be difficult to find any language sufficiently strong to describe, and I was saying of their authors that they did not dare to attack the Crown or the Queen in her personal capacity.
§ * SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy)
The right hon. Gentleman is good enough to relieve us from the charge of disloyalty, but says we are only pitiful people, and I suppose we must put up with that. Sir, I do not altogether take the standpoint of my hon. Friend who has just spoken. Although I have lived in Aberdeenshire and thoroughly appreciate the personal character of Her Majesty, I could not go into any gushing strain with reference to the institution of Monarchy. As to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottinghamshire I confess I could not draw the subtle distinctions which he does, and I wish to explain why I am going to vote against this Grant. I did not vote for the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member 1658 for Northampton; I voted that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question. I was entitled to do that, for I gave public notice that I wished to amend his proposal. I thoroughly and heartily adhere to nine-tenths of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, and I believe with the right hon. Gentleman that we have now got as completely rid for ever of the Dukes and Dukelings, and of the younger Batten bergs, and all the younger branches of the Royal Family, as if we had entered into a compact duly engrossed on parchment and stamped and sealed. I am glad Her Majesty's Advisers have come forward with the claims, and in a way which has put those claims for ever at an end. I am not one of those who would take part in any Resolution casting reflection upon Her Majesty, who has behaved most handsomely towards the country in this matter, in having undertaken to provide for the younger branches of her family. I would not particularly inquire about the Civil List nor pry into the savings of Her Majesty, which savings should be for the benefit of the younger branches of Her Majesty's family, and so relieve the nation. If this had been a question between ourselves and Her Most Gracious Majesty I think there would have been a very great deal in the argument of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that it would have been ungracious to have refused a small gift to Her Majesty in this matter. But that is not so. It seems to me that Her Majesty is a Constitutional Monarch, whose Ministers are making a demand for an additional grant to the Prince of Wales. Her Majesty has done all we can fairly expect out of consideration for the country. Now the pure and simple question is, whether the allowance now made to the Prince of Wales is sufficient or not, and that is the question on which I will vote, and which I hope the House will decide. I asked the First Lord of the Treasury to state in one sum what is the present income of the Prince of Wales from all public sources. He did not appear very willing to tell me in so many words, but he said I must find out for myself in the various papers and Blue Books. I find the income of the Prince of Wales is about £62,000 a 1659 year from the Duchy of Cornwall, £50,000 to the Prince and Princess of Wales by way of Parliamentary Grant, and about £2,000 for Military allowances. Then there is the rental of Sandringham, the rental of which will be £5,000 or £6,000 a year; so that, in adding these sums together, I make the income of the Prince of Wales to be about £120,000 and two free houses. My impression is, that in these hard times, when living is comparatively cheap, and the value of money is enhanced, that the Prince of Wales ought to be able to maintain his family on £120,000 a year and two free houses. I do not want to make invidious comparisons between poor men and the Prince of Wales, but I would point out that many high public officials on the hundredth part of that sum— namely, £1,200 a year and one free house, maintain, educate, and make provision for their families. We are told that the children of his Royal Highness are growing up, that they are going out into the world, and that some extra allowance ought to be made on that ground. But that is the experience of small men as well as great; that we are obliged to set apart a portion of our incomes to meet the greater requirements of our families. It is not too much to ask a man to put aside a quarter of his income to provide for his family and place them in the world; and if the Prince of Wales devoted £30,000 to those purposes he would still have £90,000 for his own maintenance. No figures have been laid before the Committee to prove that the present income of the Prince of Wales is insufficient, and I venture to submit that the onus probandi of proving that rests with those who are making these proposals to the House. It has been said that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is put to great expense on account of the duties that he performs on behalf of Her Majesty. If that is the case, it is not a matter that concerns this House, but rather for family arrangement. But in my opinion the expense His Royal Highness is put to in respect of those duties has been grossly exaggerated. That His Royal Highness performs his functions in a most exemplary manner is universally admitted, but the performance of those functions is a part of his duties for which he is paid. It is 1660 the duty for which Princes are kept not the function of the Sovereign. We have been told that his duties have been greatly increased in consequence of the retired life which was led by Her Majesty. I do not believe that is really so. His Royal Highness entertains the people he likes, whereas it is the function of Sovereigns to entertain those people whom they do not like, that is to do duty entertainments. We ought not to dip our hands into the taxpayers' pockets because the Prince of Wales likes to entertain his own friends, and does entertain them. In the interests of the taxpayers I shall vote against this proposal.
* SIR GEORGETREVELYAN (Bridgeton, Glasgow)
I think that everybody who heard the few words that have fallen from the President of the Board of Trade must feel that the right hon. Gentleman has spoken like a gentleman, and that he has made an explanation, under very trying circumstances indeed to himself, in a manner that certainly should give every satisfaction to the Opposition side of the House. But in the imputations which the right hon. Gentleman has repeated and enforced, in perfectly Parliamentary language, there are charges which I think it right to do my best to rebut. I wish, in the beginning, to state in a few words my belief that nobody on the Opposition side of the House is influenced by the motives which have been widely attributed to them, chiefly in the newspapers—namely, that they have a feeling against the Royal Grants because Her Majesty has not for a number of years sufficiently kept up the splendour of the Court. Now, Sir, in the first place, I do not believe that the allegation that Her Majesty has not kept up the splendour of the Court is true. I am not a a very good judge of such things, but it seems to me that the Court has been kept up in a manner most splendid and worthy of the country. In the first place, from whatever sources the savings of Her Majesty may have come, they have not been made at the expense of the splendour of the Court, and in the next place, the people respect her Majesty for living a quiet, domestic life in the intervals of splendid representation. Therefore the action of those who are opposing these Grants is in no way to be attributed to such motives or reflec- 1661 tions. My time is short, and therefore I wish to come straight to the principle upon which those who opposed these Grants are acting. We contend that the payments made to Royalty should be made upon the true principle that, from the very highest downwards, payments from the nation to the officeholder should be made direct to the holder, and that we have no concern with any one but the holder of the office. One of our Monarchs—a high prerogative Monarch, if ever there was one—described himself as a great servant of the Commonwealth—the highest and noblest title which a King can have. Now, Sir, I hold that ample provision should be made by means of payments out of the Exchequer to enable the servants of the Commonwealth from the highest to the lowest to discharge the duties they are called upon to perform. In my opinion, this House has no business to inquire into the amount of the Queen's savings, nor to follow them when they have been made. We have just as much right to follow the savings, if I may use the simile without disrespect—of the humblest clerk in the Public Service. But we are bound to consider the amount of the public emoluments which are attached to the Throne. The Civil List amounts to £385,000 a year; the Duchy of Lancaster, £50,000; Grants to members of the Royal Family, £150,000; income from the Duchy of Cornwall, £60,000. Now the total sums, therefore, which are devoted to the maintenance of the Royal Family amount to £645,000 a year without counting other items in the Estimates— that is to say 64 or 65 times as much as the highest salary in the country —that of the Lord Chancellor. But then hon. Gentlemen say that so much official and necessary expenditure has to be met out of this enormous sum of money. That is the case with the Crown, but it is the case in all other important places. Judges and Bishops have to spend a great deal of money on official representation. I remember very well Lord John Russell giving evidence before a Parliamentary Committee, and he testified that a Prime Minister gained nothing whatever in the long run from his income of Prime Minister.
§ * SIR GEORGE TREVELYAN
Yes, on the wrong side; and then hon. Gentlemen forget that this £645,000 is a net sum. You may talk of its being necessary to give the Royal Family very large emoluments, but just conceive how rich a nobleman must be who has a net annual income of £645,000. Why, it is not too much to say he would receive the whole agricultural rent of some of the very richest counties in England. In the case of a nobleman it is not all gain. He has to maintain his farms, to keep up his houses in town and country, but in this case the houses are not only provided for Royalty, but actually maintained by the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham said all we had to do was with that part of the Royal income that is within the Royal control; but I should like to know how much of a man's private income is out of his control. Mention has been made of the great number of pensions and super-annuations which the Royal Family have to maintain. Everyone knows that in the great landed estates there are very heavy pension allowances indeed; but in the case of the Royal Family the superannuation allowances are specially provided for. They come out of the specially allotted portions of the Civil List. Here we have the pensions, wages for servants, household expenses, the maintenance and repair of houses —everything provided. It is very difficult, indeed, to know what it is that remains to fall on the £125,000 a year. The maintenance of her children does not fall upon Her Majesty. It is entirely a question of the grandchildren; and whether we take the £125,000 a year of net income, or the £645,000 a year of gross income, in either case the country has done nobly and worthily by the Royal Family. My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds speaks of the Duchies and the Crown Lands as private property of the Crown. They are not private property. They are public funds, allotted to the payment of a particular high functionary. You might as well say that we could not regulate the salary of a Judge who was paid out of Court fees. This argument 1663 raises the very serious question whether Parliament has a right to deal with endowments, because if we are not to discuss Royal incomes because they are specially allotted, then surely the House of Commons is altogether in the wrong when it touches University and the other endowments. But it is said not only have children, but grandchildren have been provided for. These provisions for grandchildren came down from other days from which we refuse to take precedents. We have been referred back to the days of George II. In the days of George II. it was not only the Monarch who provided for his grandchildren, every Prime Minister, every Lord Chancellor, every Lord Chief Justice provided most splendidly for their children at the public expense. Sir Robert Walpole, in addition to a great deal else, gave his three sons the Collectorship of Customs, the Auditorship of the Exchequer, and the Collectorship of Pells, and Horace Walpole, in a well-known passage, said: —"My fortune is a noble fortune for a third son, and much beyond what I expected or deserved." And yet he only got £5,000 from his father. All the rest he got from the nation, and he regarded it as an integral part of his paternal inheritance. People were so much accustomed in those days to provide for their families that they actually put down everything they got from the nation as part of the inheritance from their parents. I am not going to trouble the House with extracts to prove what can so easily be proved—that we now have in our Public Service, and in the Law Courts, the highest standard of public spirit, and that great men now consider that they must provide for their families out of their means and not by any special Grant from the country. And what is right in the Public Service of the country should begin at the top. We ought to give the Crown ample dignity and ample income, but the grandchildren should be supported by the Crown. The Government, as we know, take another view. With regard to the right hon. Member for Newcastle, for my part I consider his position as one that is admirably defensible. It is impossible for me to endorse such a sentence as this—In view of the facts above stated your Committee are of opinion that the Queen would 1664 have a claim on the liberality of Parliament should Her Majesty think fit to apply for such Grants, as, in accordance with precedent, may become requisite for the support of the Royal Family.We are told that that declaration of Parliament is neutralised by Her Majesty's expressed intention not to press the claim for Grants for the children of her daughters and younger sons, but though it might not stand good for Her Majesty it stands good for us. We are called upon to endorse this very serious declaration, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that the Government adhere to its full words. When a Chancellor of the Exchequer makes such a declaration it is an invitation to draw upon the Treasury which in future days will not be resisted. Do you think such a declaration can safely be made? My right hon. Friend, taking the words in their exact sense, is perfectly right when he says that he would not consent to any such declaration. In my opinion, in the amount of income which Parliament gives to the younger members of the Royal Family, we sanction a scale of expenditure which is unwarrantably high. Eighteen years ago, as one of a minority of 11, I protested against this grant in the case of the Duke of Connaught. Princes get £25,000, and it is not in the interests of the country as a result that it should be covered with miniature Courts. The members of the Royal Family who have no official duties to perform have no need to have a number of ladies and gentlemen about them. The example set at home is followed in the Colonial and Indian Establishments of Governors, and the result is that there are far too many aides-de-camp and military secretaries who do no good whatever in proportion to the salaries and allowances which they draw. For my part, I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Morpeth, and I was glad to hear him quote the lines he did, which are not out of place on a Money Bill. In this age of large expenditure, idleness, and snobbishness there is need for the example of a highly-cultured, gentlemanly life, and if such a life cannot be led for less than £25,000 a year it is a bad and sad business. I will give a specimen of the sort of depth of fallacy into which even able men may have been led by Parliament insisting 1665 upon successive occasions in voting these Grants. The Spectator, which is supposed to he the most intellectual and high-flown paper in the country, observes that our Princes are poor, not only by comparison with-millionaires, but by the side of well-to-do gentlemen, and that the nation must provide the necessary allowances, which have already been cut down to the lowest point of expenditure, for what English society regards as a dignified position. [Ministerial Cheers.] Those cheers, which are uttered by hon. Gentlemen opposite, are the expression of what we think to be so unfortunate an opinion that we are delighted to have the opportunity of expressing by our vote that we do not agree with it. We will never endorse the opinion that it is necessary to have a net income of £25,000 a year to maintain a dignified existence. It is very important in this Debate that we should avoid personal taunts, but the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham has made a violent attack upon Gentlemen below the Gangway. In the days when those taunts were directed against the right hon. Gentlemen I thought them very sorry sort of trash, and I think the same now. In this case it is no question of truckling to the people or of insulting the Throne. It is a question of laying down first the true principles on which the necessary payments should be made to the holders of official positions however high, and to them alone; and, secondly, that these payments shall be quite ample, but not more than ample; and it is because in these proposals now before the House both those principles are violated that I voted on Friday in the minority; and that I earnestly hope that that vote will be repeated, increased, and emphasized by the Committee to-night.
§ * SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
Knowing, as I do, the value of time at the present moment in regard to the arrangements for this Debate, I do not propose to follow my right hon. Friend in those very general observations he has thought it right to make, and which I may suggest would be equally applicable when my right hon. Friend addressed any public audience on any other political subject in the country. I should not have been disposed to break the charm of this discussion, resulting from the fact that no lawyer has taken any part 1666 in it, if a great deal of law, or what was called law, had not been stated by two hon. Members. I begin to take a somewhat special interest in the constituency of Northampton. It must, indeed, be a very remarkable constituency. I know a borough in Lancashire in which there are many people who think that one lawyer is not a sufficient representative for the constituency; but at Northampton they seem to revel in two lawyers, or, at least, two amateur lawyers, who, with the fate belonging to amateurs generally, fail in completely accomplishing what they attempt to do. It is because I know the force of the statements made by both those hon. Members—the leaders of the Party which is now fighting against these Grants—that I am about to take part in this Debate. The hon. Gentlemen in question may make most erroneous statements when addressing popular assemblies without being liable to correction; but I think it would be a matter of regret if they were allowed in this House to make statements on matters of law without foundation, and if no one in this House were to say that he dissented from those statements. Such silence would give an acquiescence which, I think, ought not to be allowed. First, I will deal with the junior Member for Northampton, and with one statement only, for I have no time to deal with the others. I must refer to the hon. Member's opinion upon a legal subject with a certain amount of respect. I recollect the late Sir George Jessel giving this advice to a young legal friend of mine:—"If ever you have to give a legal opinion it had better be short, and, if possible, accurate, but always let it be positive." The junior Member for Northampton has apparently thought but little of the second of these injunctions, but he certainly has obeyed the third canon of Sir George Jessel's views, for he was as positive as anybody could be when he asserted that the possession of the Hereditary Revenues of the Crown resulted from a mere slip of the draftsman, and that otherwise there would have been no possibility of the occupier of the Throne after the time of James II. ever having any Crown Lands to surrender. The hon. Member asked, "When William III. arrived from Holland what could that Dutchman have had to surrender?" The hon. Member also 1667 says, in a pamphlet he has written, that when our Sovereign surrendered her Crown Lands she had nothing to give up, and that this is a fraud upon the public. Surely that statement answers itself. When William III. became King of this Realm, he, by virtue of occupying the Throne, became entitled to all that his Predecessor possessed. As I prefer not to enter upon a legal argument, I refer the hon. Member to an authority any layman can understand, I mean the 15th chapter of Macaulay's History of England. William III. granted five-sixths of the County of Denbigh away to Bentinck. This grant was stoutly opposed on the ground of policy by a sturdy Welsh Member, Mr. Price, and others, and the King eventually recalled that particular Grant, but at the same time he granted the Welbeck Manors in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to Bentinck, and not the least objection to this was raised in a Parliament which was full of great Whig and Republican lawyers. The holding of the land was so far personal that the Sovereign could at this time grant it away to a personal favourite or for public services, and the title was absolutely good as against the nation. [An hon. MEMBER: No, no.] Well, then, let the hon. Member bring an action of ejectment against the Duke of Portland. But I will not go further into this matter. I only touch on it. When the Queen came to Parliament in the first year of her reign, she said:—I place unreservedly at your disposal those Hereditary Revenues which were transferred to the public by my immediate predecessor, and I have commanded that such Papers as are neceesary for a full examination of the subject shall be prepared and laid before you.Parliament dealt with Her Majesty on the terms that she gave up her Hereditary Revenues. Nobody said that her statement was incorrect, and it would be a breach of faith for Parliament now to say—as the hon. Member far Northampton does—that the Crown possesses no hereditary lands to surrender. I pass on now to the second distinguished lawyer, the senior Member for Northampton, who has also told us his views of the construction of an Act of Parliament. The hon. Member said there had been an impropriety practised by those who represented the Treasury year after year and during Government 1668 after Government. He stated, and stated accurately, that there had been a surplus in different classes, especially in Classes 2 and 3, of the Civil List, and that there was no right to apply that surplus in aid of the Privy Purse. I object to this statement being made by those who have such an influence in the country. My hon. Friend must allow me to say that he was entirely in-accurate. In the Civil Service Act of William IV., which is precisely similar to that of Victoria, the same words were employed which allowed a surplus to be transferred from one class to another. During that reign there was a transfer of £22,000 from Class 2 and Class 3 to the Privy Purse. At the beginning of the present reign a Committee sat with many economists upon it. [Cries of"Oh, oh!"] In November, 1837, a Committee sat, including Mr. Hume, Mr. Hawes, Sir R. Peel [Opposition laughter], and others. A laugh is raised at the economical policy of Sir R. Peel. Let hon. Members read that Report. Sir Robert Peel showed himself a careful guardian of economy, and this Committee acquiesced in the view I have expressed, and repeated the words of the same Statute, and the Advisers of the Crown, and lawyers and laymen, have constantly and continuously acted upon that view, accepting it as correct. These attempted attacks upon the interests of the Crown, or the conduct or wisdom of the Advisers of the Crown in past times, ought to be swept away, and we ought to approach this question on its merits. With respect to the Amendment before the House, I was astonished to hear my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle, followed as he was by the hon. Member for Leicestershire, complain that the Government have not afforded to the House, or to the Committee, sufficient information upon the matter now before the House. Well, but it was referred to a Committee of Inquiry, and if there was not information, information ought to have been given to the Committee. But the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian has placed on record that the Committee received all the information which was material.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
My right hon. and learned Friend entirely misunderstood what I said. I did not complain, but suggested to the right hon. Gentleman 1669 that he might as well have communicated to the House the information which had been communicated to the Committee. I made no complaint of want of information afforded to the Committee.
§ * SIR H. JAMES
The Committee had before it that which caused the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian to be grateful and to say that the fullest information had been given. I should have thought that in the numerous Appendices the information was tolerably complete, even according to the hon. Member for Northampton.
§ * MR. LABOUCHERE
I said that I perfectly understood that Her Majesty had a right to state to the Committee what her private fortune was without the statement being made public. At the same time, I think it would be to the advantage of Her Majesty if it were made public. But I went further, and say that if the figures laid before us were correct, my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland was entirely wrong in his statement, and it was because I felt myself in honour bound to assist my hon. Friend that I alluded to the matter.
§ * SIR H. JAMES
The Committee exactly followed the precedent of the Committee of 1837. It refused, with the acquiescence of every Member, to lay the private transactions of the Sovereign before the public. The truth is, that my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle has attempted to take up an intermediate position—he is between two millstones. One is the First Lord of the Treasury, whose weight, it will be admitted, is considerable; and the other millstone is the hard and somewhat obdurate substance represented by the hon. Member for Northampton. But that is not all. Not only is the right hon. Gentleman between these two millstones, but who is working the machinery? There is somebody acting as the miller, and it is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian who is working the machinery. And what can be the result to my right hon. Friend when he finds himself between two such conflicting bodies so directed? I cannot say what will be the result to my right hon. Friend. But I can imagine my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby making his re-appearance, after going through the mill, ground to powder. I think, therefore, that in 1670 future my right hon. Friends should deal more carefully with intermediate parties than they have been in the habit of doing. But has not the whole proceedings of the evening been almost laughable? Has there not been a most useless consumption of public time? There has been skirmishing, and nothing but skirmishing, to-night. As a rule, skirmishing precedes the battle; but now we are skirmishing after the battle, and my right hon. Friend has skirmished on behalf of those against whom he voted on Friday night. My right hon. Friend has given no sufficient excuse or explanation of his position, and I am compelled to trace its existence to the fact that my right hon. Friend gave his vote on Friday to satisfy the entirety of his conscience, and will vote to-night to satisfy a portion of his constituents. The hon. Member for Northampton replied to-night to the right hon. Member for Newcastle.
§ * SIR H. JAMES
Yes, supported him by a vote, and that is what I am commenting on. My right hon. Friend and the hon. Gentleman are supporting one another by votes, but destroying each other by arguments. When a Minister of the Crown gives a pledge on the part of the Sovereign, I feel perfectly secure that that pledge will be fulfilled. Therefore, the hon. Member for Northampton said this evening that he was perfectly satisfied that during the present reign no such demands will be made as the right hon. Member for Newcastle says may be made. So also the hon. Member for Northampton says we are perfectly safe with regard to the future, because the future can take care of itself. If that view be correct, what is it that the right hon. Member is fighting for? He says that he is asking for finality. Finalty when? During the present reign? That is assured. Beyond this reign we have no right to look for it. We cannot secure finality by a vote of this Parliament in respect of a Civil List which will be voted by another Parliament, and we ought not to attempt it. We are safe as regards the present reign on account of the pledges given. Why, then, should not the future take care of itself? Democracy, according to hon. Gentlemen, is marching on and will take 1671 care of itself in the future. If we attempt to secure finality with respect to a future reign, we shall be dealing with conditions of which we know nothing—conditions which will not be controlled. In dealing with George IV. and William IV., we gave those Sovereigns certain Civil Lists, knowing there would, in all probability, be no children. But we cannot deal with Sovereigns advanced in life, and with a Sovereign of 18 with a future which can only be conjectured in the same manner. In the interests of economy we ought to act differently. Hon. Gentlemen say that for the children of the younger sons of the Sovereign there should be no provision. From that I dissent, and I think every Member of the House ought to dissent from it, because the children of younger children include the heir-presumptive to the Throne. Therefore if we make the Civil List by a rigid rule, if we deal with it in advance, we shall do so with the conviction either that it will be almost unconstitutional with respect to the Royal Family, or injurious to the public interests. I fancy there are a great many Members who agree in substance with my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, but yet are going to vote, not because they believe the right hon. Gentleman wrong, but because they want to please their constituents. I am not going to traverse the rights of those who say they are true Republicans; I am not going to make an attack upon them. I differ from my right hon. Friend when he spoke of the tinsel and cotton-velvet of the Monarchy. I know of no quality which can exact homage from the nation except really high qualities of character. I believe the allegiance of the people to the Monarchy is now an allegiance rendered freely to those who play their part well and discharge the duties which the Constitution devolves upon them; and because I believe this, and for the reason I have given for objecting to the Amendment, I shall vote against it.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT (Derby)
My right hon. and learned Friend (Sir H. James) says we are skirmishing; and in one sense that is true, because although no doubt we are the people who vote the money, the great battle on questions of this matter will be fought among and decided by 1672 the people themselves. He has spoken with sublime contempt of that class of people who are termed constituents, and he has taunted Gentlemen on this side of the House for voting according to the wishes of their constituents; and yet, at the same time, we are told that the opinions expressed on this side of the House are not the opinions of the people. I do not know how those two statements are to be reconciled. I acknowledge that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, in dealing with those with whom he formerly acted, spoke in a kindly and good humoured spirit, and I wish I could say that of all who have spoken. These Debates, although they, no doubt, raise sharp differences of opinion, have hitherto been characterised by a happy absence of bitter Party spirit. But the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) introduced that spirit in its most acrid and bitterest form to-night. He talks of the cant of the new Radicalism. I will borrow a well-known saying of Lord John Russell, when he said there was something more sickening than the cant of new Radicalism, and that was the recant of old Radicalism. He talked of the people with a great "P." Well, but he has betaken himself now to greater people than he formerly associated with. He has spoken with spite and condemnation of those who stir up animosities and jealousies among classes. [Cheers.] Yes, but this lecture comes to us from the great preacher on the text which speaks of "those who toil not, neither do they spin." He says that he interprets the true opinions of the people, and that men like my hon. Friend the Member for Morpeth (Mr. Burt) know nothing about the people, and they are only Nihilists. According to him we are Nihilists on this Bench. I wonder that my right hon. Friend chooses a seat in such a very inflammable and dangerous quarter of the House. Why does he prefer to sit amongst Nihilists? I confess that I am almost alarmed for his personal safety, and I would almost entreat the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary to supply him with police protection, if it were only to defend him from that dark and dangerous character the hon. Member for Islington (Mr. R. Chamberlain), who voted with the hon. Member for Northampton the other night—a Nihilist with whom my right hon. Friend stands in closer 1673 relations than he does with us. Well, we have had a severe lecture from my right hon. Friend; but as he stood at this box lecturing us on loyalty to our Leader, I could not help thinking that it was a Dissentient Liberal reproving sin. I confess myself that I am sorry that my right hon. Friend should have introduced this tone into the Debate, which seems to be almost unworthy of the dignity and magnitude of the subject we are discussing. I do not think that any advantage is to be derived from terming hon. Gentlemen who hold one opinion by the name of disloyal any more than if we were to call you who hold a different opinion parasites and sycophants. I do not believe that either designation is true. I believe that Gentlemen in this House can take different views on this as on other subjects perfectly conscientiously, and with the honest belief that they are acting for the best interests of the country. Therefore, I was glad to hear the President of the Board of Trade disclaim the sentences which had been attributed to him. I think it would be extremely unlike what we know of his character, if he attributed unworthy motives to persons because they entertain opinions different from his own. I would rather follow the example of my noble Friend the Member for Rossendale, who endeavoured the other night to examine what was the origin of the vote we are asked to give on this occasion, how the Committee came to be appointed, and what is the cause of the situation which has led to the conflict of opinion between the two sides of the House. Well, the last Grant which was asked for was for the Princess Beatrice; and on that occasion a Committee was promised. Now, why was a Committee promised on that occasion? It was because it was felt that the class of children had then been exhausted, that a Grant had been made to the last child, and that the next Grant which would be asked for would come within, a different category, that of the grand children. That shows that at that time the House considered that grandchildren stood in a different category, and that their claims ought to be subjected to a fuller examination. I am not quite sure that the appointment of the Committee was a wise thing, or the original promise of it either, unless it was to enter into the whole question of 1674 opening the Civil List. You might have opened the Civil List if you had chosen; indeed, the Civil List was opened. We have heard very fallacious and servile language used with regard to what are called compacts. But in the reign of George III., after he had been reigning 20 years, the Civil List was reopened, reviewed, and reformed altogether in the great measure of Mr. Burke. But, in my opinion, there is no occasion and no justification for opening the whole question of the Civil List now. In those days there had been great abuses. But there never was a reign which less called for and less justified an examination or a criticism of the Civil List than the present reign. There never was a Sovereign who more Constitutionally observed the duties of the great office which she holds. I do not for a moment admit that Parliament has not a perfect right, if it chooses, to open and examine the Civil List; but the Committee was very far more limited in its object. When this new chapter was opened by the Committee we had to consider what course ought to be taken with reference to the more remote descendants than the children. Here I venture to say, without any Party spirit, was the first error which the Government committed. They brought down the Message from the Crown with the ordinary old forms for two grandchildren as a matter of course, without any Committee, and without considering the question. Then the Committee was pressed upon them in the House, and they assented to it. Then they produced before the Committee certain Resolutions of which they have endeavoured to minimise the effect. It is said that they were not proposed by the Government, who merely suggested their views. However, these Resolutions are in the Report as the Resolutions to be proposed by the Chairman. What were they? They were a declaration of the personal right of all grandchildren to provision from the State, subject only to the exception that provision would not be asked for in the case of children of the daughters of the Queen. It has been said that we are not following my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian. I venture to think that we have followed him a great deal more than those who are going to vote for this Resolution; because when the Government made their declaration in favour of the right 1675 of grandchildren, my right hon. Friend entered a protest which is printed in the Report, stating that the Committee were unwilling, under the present circumstances, to place any further charge on the Exchequer for the behoof of any grandchild of the Sovereign otherwise than by an addition to the income of the Prince of Wales. That directly traverses the right of the grandchildren which has entered into the Report. And my right hon. Friend not merely disclaimed it in words, but he disclaimed it in his proposal, because instead of making the Grant direct to the grandchildren individually, he proposed that it should be made to the Prince of Wales, practically, as it were, to emphasise the denial of the right of the grandchildren generally. The Government felt that they could not maintain the position they had taken up in the first Resolution. I know the Under Secretary of State for India (Sir J. Gorst) stated the other night that the Government never budged from their first intention; but he was contradicted by another member of the Committee who sits behind him, who said the Government retired all along the line. They retired from that position because they felt it was impossible to make to the House with any chance of success a proposal for the grandchildren generally. My right hon. Friend then proposed a compromise in reference to the children of the Prince of Wales. A compromise is a very good thing if you act up to it; but what did the Government do? They accepted the proposal of my right hon. Friend, and then they proceeded to draw up a Report which was absolutely inconsistent with it. I complain of the form of that Report, because it is drawn up to show that the Grant ought to be made, that the Queen had a right to expect that it should be made to all her grandchildren. That is representing the House of Commons as acting illiberally to the Queen. I do not accept that position at all. I believe that Parliament has always desired to act liberally and handsomely towards the Sovereign, and I believe it has so acted. I repudiate, therefore, altogether a Report which has for its effect to represent Parliament as refusing to the Sovereign that which she has a reasonable right to expect. It is very unfair to the House of Commons, and it is entirely unfounded. Of what does this Report con- 1676 sist? First of all, it sets out a number of precedents. My right hon. Friend does not accept your precedents; he declares that those precedents have no bearing on the present case. He moved an Amendment to practically negative those precedents, and to give them the go-by. My right hon. Friend agrees to that. Then there is a statement set forth as to the produce of the land revenues. My right hon. and learned Friend has made statements as to the land revenues of which, as regards the legal part, I will admit he is correct, but as to the Constitutional part he is grossly in error. I have never said that the legal estate in those revenues is not in the Sovereign; of course it is. The President of the Board of Trade said that the estates were as much those of the Queen as the estates which belonged to any private person. I deny it. It is contrary to the Constitution of the country, and no Constitutional lawyer has ever dared to make that assertion. It is possible that a person may have a legal estate. I possess very large legal estates, but I have no land. I happen to be the trustee of a good many properties which are a good deal of trouble but of very little profit. I have an absolute legal estate, and I think most Gentlemen in this House are in the same position. But my right hon. and learned Friend slipped it in as if it was of no importance that these estates are trust estates for the public, and for the public only. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the Grant made in the case of William III., but why did he not state that in consequence of this very Grant, Parliament interfered, and said that there should be no more Grants? The noble Lord the Member for Paddington the other day said that Lord Brougham was no authority because he was at that time in opposition to the Government of the day. But if Constitutional Law had depended upon the authorities being supporters of the Government of the day we should have had very little Constitutional Law in this country, from the days of Hampden down to my right hon. and learned Friend. But I will give you a higher authority upon the subject than Lord Brougham. All this matter was threshed out and examined in that most celebrated chapter of the Constitutional history, in the battle of 1780, in which Burke took a leading part. In a cele- 1677 brated speech on economical reform he dealt with this subject. What was the conclusion of that speech? He introduced three Bills for the sale of the whole of the Crown Lands, for the sale of the Duchy of Lancaster, and for the sale of the Duchy of Cornwall. George III. had given up interest in the lands, and for whose benefit? Was it for the benefit of the succession that the lands were to be sold? No, it is recorded in that great speech that they were to be sold and their produce applied to the public service. That is what my right hon. and learned Friend calls an estate which resembles the estate of a private gentleman.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
My right hon. and learned Friend is a very acute man. He treats the words as if they were of no importance, but he has encouraged statements like those of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade, who said that the estates of the Crown were like the estates of a private gentleman.
§ * SIR M. HICKS BEACH
I never made that statement. What I said was that the estate belonged to the Sovereign of this country as any other person's estate belonged to him, but I connected it with the discharge of public duties.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
Everyone knows that these estates were charged with the trust not only of maintaining the dignity of the Crown, but of defraying the expenses of the Public Service, and if the Crown ever claims to resume those estates they must discharge those duties, and if any successor to the Crown should think it worth his while to take those estates on condition of paying the £18,000,000 which the Civil Service costs, I think he would not be wise in undertaking such a damnosa hœreditas. Let me read what Mr. Burke said:—The Crown held no public right or public property, but as a trust for and under the people. It could gain or lose nothing in truth, because it enjoyed all it possessed as a favour and subject to the attainment of certain definite purposes which purposes were understood to be good Government and the well-being of the State.This estate is a pure trust estate, and it has to be dealt with as a trust estate. When it was held by the Sovereign 1678 himself it was held subject to the defraying the expenses of the Civil Service of the Crown. It has been resumed by Parliament on behalf of the public, and it has been much better administered in the hands of Parliament than it ever was administered in the hands of the Crown. I did not desire to go into the matter, but as my right hon. and learned Friend has chosen to raise it I think we ought to meet it by a direct challenge, for I absolutely deny that the hereditary estates, or the landed estates, or the Duchy of Cornwall, or of Lancaster, are in any sense personal estates of the Sovereign; they are trust estates held for the benefit of the public. Then comes the paragraph to which so many references have been made—the declaration in the Report of the right of the grandchildren. Has the Member for Mid Lothian assented to that? Certainly not. He moved an Amendment in the Committee to set aside the declaration which was inserted in favour of the grandchildren, and my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham, who lectures us for want of loyalty to my right hon. Friend, voted down that Amendment, and then he reproaches us because we do not support my right hon. Friend.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
But we followed my right hon. Friend entirely in this Amendment that he moved. We object to this doctrine of notice, we object to this doctrine of the rights of the grandchildren. But then it is said that this is a mere matter of form, and that we might have left it alone. My right hon. Friend did not think so. He moved Amendments excluding those declarations. He was defeated by a majority of two. That is just the number of Liberal Unionists upon the Committee. My right hon. Friend was defeated by the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, and the Government, with their support, inscribe on the Report the very principle of which he complains by his Amendment. What we have regretted is that the right hon. Gentleman did not insist upon these Amendments and declare that they were a sine quâ non; because if he had I venture to say that the Government would have retired still further along the line, and ultimately would have 1679 accepted the Amendment. Were these passages in the Report mere brutum fulmen that we could pass by as if they were nothing at all? They were nothing of the kind. The whole object of Ministers from the very first has been to assert on behalf of the Crown the duty—that is the word used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer—of Parliament to provide for the grandchildren generally. It is waived it is true in the present reign in respect to the children of the younger sons and daughters, but a waiver is not a principle, it is an exception to a principle. The principle you desire to establish is the right that exists and the duty of Parliament to fulfil that right as regards the grandchildren. My right, hon. Friend, whose aid is lent to the Government, said the other night,In my opinion the question of the grandchildren of the reigning Sovereign, other than the children of the Heir Apparent, is settled, I think, for all time. This claim has as completely disappeared from the region of what may be termed practical politics as if it had been withdrawn by a deed on parchment stamped and sealed.Do the Government agree in that? If they do not, then they are receiving the aid of my right hon. Friend upon false pretences, because he has stated that these are the conditions of his support. But we have received no assurance of the kind from the Government. Even as regards the present reign they have never made any statement that no such claim shall be brought forward. The Chancellor of the Exchequer says it is waived for the present. I do not think it would be a bad thing with regard to this Resolution to test the opinion of the Government upon that subject by seeing whether they will admit an addition to the Resolution when it is passed, to the effect that no further Grants to members of the Royal Family shall be made during the present reign. Will they accept such an addition? If they refuse it why do they refuse it? The matter might be brought, by proposing such an addition as I suggest, to a very simple issue. But what to my mind is far more material is the difficulties and dangers which you are providing for the next generation. You have no business to appoint a Committee and then lay down the principle which we think very dangerous—that it is the duty of Parliament to provide for the grandchildren generally. I have read to the Committee what my right hon. Friend said on the 1680 subject; but what did the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale say? There is no man more likely or fitter to have a potential voice in the settlement of the next Civil List than the noble Lord. What did he tell us? The noble Lord said the first thing that will have to be done is to provide a fund out of the public money in some form or other, not for the children only, not for the grandchildren only, but for the descendants. That is what you have got from your Committee. That is the only principle enshrined in the Report of your Committee. That is what is going to be carried against the opinion of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian by those who claim and boast of his support. The other declaration, already referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is still more important, for he is a Minister of the Crown. The declarations of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian are weighty declarations, but he is not a Minister of the Crown. I wish he were. Then his would be a binding declaration. But you take his declaration and do not mean to be bound by it. What is the declaration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? He says:—If Her Majesty had chosen to make a demand on the liberality of Parliament, it would be the duty of Parliament to meet the claim.That is the principle he lays down. What claim? The claim for the grandchildren. Her Majesty waives it, but this declaration makes the claim good, in favour of her successor, as far as on can make it good because no waiver for life can bind a successor, and Her Majesty's successor may say, "My predecessor was placed in circumstances that do not apply to me. It was very natural and right that Her Majesty should waive the claim, but that is no reason why I should waive a claim which Parliament by its Committee has declared to be a just claim."
§ * THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's,) Hanover Square
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not wish to misrepresent me in a matter of such importance. He will, therefore, permit me to say that I conceived the duty of Parliament to which I alluded to have arisen in consequence of the absence 1681 of previous notice, as set out in the Report. But in the Report this notice is now given with regard to future Sovereigns. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for interrupting, but the point is of supreme importance.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
Notice is given to the future Sovereign? Yes, indeed, there is. But what notice? That his claim is a good claim. That if he makes the claim Parliament is bound to fulfil it. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is alluding to another paragraph in the Report, where it is said, "Arrangements should be made under which no future claims of the kind can arise." Yes, but that has been interpreted by the noble Lord the Member for Rossendale to mean such a provision for the future Sovereign as will enable him to provide for the grandchildren. That is the interpretation placed on this sentence in the Report. Then what do we find? We find, first of all, these declarations of precedents, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian says are no precedents. We find this allegation of notice, which the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian altogether disavows, and no man can speak with greater experience or authority. Then we find this declaration of the right of the grandchildren inserted in the Report, and this my right hon. Friend disclaims and endeavours to strike out altogether. Now, it has been asked why we did not vote for the hon. Member for Northampton's Amendment the other night? I would have voted for his Amendment in Committee; it is immaterial to me by whom it is moved if circumstances justify the refusal of the Grant. I did not think it would be a usual or desirable course, when a Message had come from the Throne and a Committee had been appointed, that we should decline to go into Committee and see the Resolution, because we ought to know what the Resolution was. I am speaking of matters of form—it is only matter of form whether, speaking for myself, I should vote against the Grants-on Friday or to-night. I am going to vote against the Grant to-night, because, in my opinion, that Grant is attached to declarations of principle which are perfectly unsound—declarations which, as far as they can go, endeavour to bind those who come after us to liabilities to 1682 which they ought not to be made subject. The declaration of the universal right of the grandchildren is not in any degree set aside by the waiver of the present Monarch. If you had agreed to the Amendments of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, and had struck those paragraphs out of the Report, and had been willing not to endeavour to commit Parliament at the next settlement of the Civil List to principles that ought not to bind it, the position might have been different. As it is, the Government have determined, in spite of the protests of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, to persist in keeping alive those claims and endeavouring to embody them in their Report; and I see no means by which we can protest against those principles which we are not prepared to adopt except by voting against the Resolutions which Her Majesty's Government propose.
§ * THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH,) Strand, Westminster
The right hon. Gentleman has endeavoured, as the right hon. Member for Newcastle has sought to do, to give reasons to the House and to explain the peculiar position taken up by them on Friday with regard to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton and their position to-night with respect to the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for Newcastle, which is substantially identical with that moved by the hon. Member for Northampton and voted against by the right hon. Gentleman on Friday. When I come to examine the terms of the Amendment I should say for myself that of the two Amendments that of the hon. Member for Northampton is the more courteous, as suggesting to Her Majesty a means by which her demands might be met, while the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle is a simple negative and amounts to this—that the House considers that the demand should not have been made. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton declined to consider the claims of the Crown in Committee, but the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman opposite is a simple and direct negative. Yet on Friday the right hon. Gentleman thought it necessary to go into the Lobby against the Amendment because he thought it was discourteous, but to-day he take a 1683 directly opposite course. So much time has already been occupied in this matter that I feel bound to compress my observations within the narrowest limits possible. The great objection of the right hon. Member for Derby is that the Government are asking the House to assent to the principles which are contained in the Report. We in Committee carried out the duties which were imposed upon us by the Reference. We followed out the lines suggested in the discussion raised by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian in 1885. We felt it was our duty to see that the principle on which the Grants to the members of the Royal Family should be made should be considered by the Committee; to ascertain what precedents there had been, what the universal course of Parliament had been, and what the practice of Ministers had been in advising Parliament, and to bring that information to the knowledge of the Committee. There is no statement contained in that Report which is at variance with the facts brought to the knowledge of the Committee; and although the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian did not accept the conclusions which we drew from those facts, it is perfectly notorious from the views that he urged that he did not desire the Committee to come to a conclusion adverse to those facts. He urged upon the Committee that we should express no opinion either one way or the other with reference to the rights of the Crown. We have stated that we have been authorised to declare that Her Majesty does not propose to press this claim on behalf of the children of her daughters or of her younger sons; and the House is now asked to consider a provision for the children of the Prince of Wales alone, who, it is almost universally admitted, ought to be provided for. Hon. Members and right hon. Members who served on that Committee regarded them as fit subjects for a provision to be granted by Parliament, and we think, under the circumstances of the case, that they ought to be provided for by Parliament. But we decline to come to an abstract Resolution adverse to the right of the Crown to ask Parliament to make future provision for the descendants of the Queen. We decline to make any bargain of that kind. We believe the country would not require any such bargain, in view of the declara- 1684 tion made by Her Majesty. What we have said on the present occasion is what every other Minister has said in dealing with this question for the last 52 years. No single Minister who has held office from this side or the other side of the House has at any time suggested that the Civil List was an allowance to the Sovereign or the Prince of Wales to enable them to make provision for their children. A great deal has been said about the desire of hon. Members to maintain the honour and dignity of the Crown, and the necessity for placing it in a position to discharge the duties of that great office. A great deal has been said of the manner in which those duties have been discharged by the Sovereign, and the way in which the Prince of Wales has discharged the duties of his exalted position, but with this we have nothing to do. There is or there is not an understanding with the Sovereign and the Prince of Wales that they shall provide for their family. I allege that all that has gone before has confirmed the view that we have expressed that there is no understanding with the Crown or the Prince of Wales that they shall make that provision. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby says we cannot bind Parliament as to the rights of the Crown. Equally so we cannot bind Parliament as to the Civil List. These are considerations which I venture to urge upon the House. We decline to accept any interpretation of our words in the Report, or any gloss that may be put upon them by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this or on the opposite side of the House which is at variance with the plain meaning of the paragraphs to which reference has been made. We have placed before the House the deliberate opinions of the Government, which have been set out in the Report now before the Committee, and we rely on its judgment to sustain the view we have formed.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 355; Noes 134.—(Div. List, No. 261.)
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow.