HL Deb 21 April 1831 vol 3 cc1754-6
Lord Wharncliffe

begged to bring under the notice of their Lordships, and to inquire the reason of, a circumstance connected with the Civil List Bill. That Bill was passed, but he found that his Majesty had not given his consent to it, which was the usual course. In the cases of the Civil List Bills of George 3rd, and George 4th, the regular consent of the Monarch had been given to the bills. It might have been, that many Peers would not have agreed to the Bill unless they had believed at the time that his Majesty was consenting to it. This Bill, too, differed materially from other bills on the same subject, and it was, therefore, the more necessary that the customary mode—that of receiving the King's consent to it — should not be departed from on this occasion. He might be met by the observation, that the King, in his Speech from the Throne, had told them that he placed his hereditary revenues at their disposal; but circumstances had altered since then. The then advisers of the Crown had left office, and it was known that they intended to bring in a different Bill. He begged, therefore, to ask the reason of this departure from the ordinary course.

The Duke of Richmond (who Was the only Minister present, except the Lord Chancellor), said, that not knowing that the noble Lord meant to put this question, he was not prepared to answer it. He supposed that the noble Lord did not mean to deny, that the King was a consenting party to the Bill; and the noble Lord's objection, therefore, related to a matter of form only. He was sorry he could not satisfy the noble Lord, who, however, would have received satisfaction upon this point if he had given notice of his intention to ask the question, or if he had asked the question before his (the Duke of Richmond's) noble Colleague had left the House. He would just observe, however, that he had been informed, that neither George 1st, nor George 2nd, had given their consent to the Civil List Bills.

Lord Wharncliffe

had only noticed the subject because he thought a gross mistake had been committed, and that some measure ought to be taken to rectify it. He had no objection to ask the question to-morrow.

The Duke of Wellington

thought, that as the Bill made a great alteration in the Crown as to Civil Government, they ought to have had his Majesty's consent to the Bill. He did not believe that there was any instance in which that had not been done. He did not mean to pretend that this want of form vitiated the proceeding, but he thought that some notice ought to be taken of it in the Journals.

The Marquis of Londonderry

thought that the other Ministers ought not to have left the House.

The Duke of Richmond

said, that if any noble Lord had given notice of his intention to bring forward this subject, the other Ministers would not have left the House. How could the other Ministers have known of, or expected, anything of the kind?

The Lord Chancellor

did not rise to prolong this conversation, which could lead to no practical good, except correcting a matter of form, which, if it required correction it would be as well to notice. His ignorance upon the subject, however, was extreme, for he really was not aware that there was the least necessity that the King's consent should be formally given. He thought that for such a Bill to be brought in by his Majesty's Ministers was enough for the Parliament—though he knew very well that the King could not be bound by such a Bill, if he chose to withhold his consent from it. He had no doubt, however, that his noble friends would explain the matter satisfactorily to any noble Lord who desired to have it explained.

On the Motion of Lord Bexley, it was ordered that the entry in the Journals of the House, relative to the consent of the late King George 4th, with regard to the hereditary revenues of the Crown, signified to their Lordships in May, 1820, on, the occasion of his accession to the Throne, should be read and considered to-morrow, previous to the discussion in reference to the Civil List.