HL Deb 05 June 1846 vol 87 cc29-32

, in moving that the House do resolve itself into Committee on Viscount Hardinge's Annuity Bill, briefly explained its provisions, and those of Lord Gough's Annuity Bill. The grounds for the grants it was needless to state after the brilliant services of both noble Lords had been so recently detailed to the House. The chief point to be mentioned was, that on account of the generosity of the East India Company in granting life annuities to them, the Bills provided that the whole of Viscount Hardinge's annuity to be granted by this Bill, and one-half of Lord Gough's, should respectively cease to be payable so long as the annuities granted by the Company to them respectively should be paid.


considered these Bills to contain a provision which was unjust and unbecoming, and likely in future to be dangerous to the public service, and detrimental to the public interests; he alluded to the clause just adverted to, suspending the grateful benevolence of the State in consequence of the expressed gratitude of the East India Company. This was teaching the Company a lesson which, as men of sense and discretion, they would doubtless learn—that in satisfying their own feeling of gratitude they were but causing a pitiful saving to the public Exchequer. Would any Minister have proposed to treat Nelson so, because he had been rewarded by the Neapolitan Government with the Dukedom of Bronte? Whatever other noble Lords might feel upon the subject, he (Lord Monteagle) must say that he felt it to be a reproach to the Government thus to curtail and limit their gift, and say that because the Company were liberal and grateful, the liberality and gratitude of the country should be restricted and abridged by that which, in truth, was but an additional proof of the claim of these distinguished men upon the nation.


concurred in what had fallen from the noble Lord, and he trusted that the noble Lord would in Committee give the House an opportunity of recording its vote on the subject. He thought that the proposed proceeding was shabby and mean. He was as anxious as any man to curtail the expenditure of the country as far as possible, but he was not prepared to give his sanction to what he conceived to be wrong in principle and shabby in practice.


was not surprised at the feeling which had been expressed, and certainly no generous man could be suspected of a wish to deprive either Lord Hardinge or Lord Gough of any portion of the rewards which they had earned; but he must take the liberty of saying that the motive of the Government in proposing the limitation was not the mere saving of 3,000l. a year in the one case, and 1,000l. a year in the other, but was founded upon a fair consideration of what had occurred in former, and might occur in subsequent cases of this description. He was far from intending to disparage the gallant actions which had been performed; but Government were obliged to look at these services not as their feelings might dictate, but from views of what had been done before, and what might be done hereafter.


agreed with his noble Friend (Lord Monteagle) in thinking that the full amount voted by Parliament ought to be secured to Lord Hardinge and Lord Gough, notwithstanding the grant made by the East India Company. He did not know how far that House might amend a Money Bill, but he hoped that his noble Friend would be able to make some proposition in Committee which would have that effect.


thought it would be desirable to postpone the Bill, in order to give the noble Lord (Lord Ripon) an opportunity of producing some precedent for it. He should prefer rejecting it to passing it in its present shape. Such a course would be attended with no inconvenience; for, no doubt, another measure, in conformity with the universal feeling of that House, would then be introduced in the other House, during the present Session.


observed, that there was no necessity to postpone the Bill for the purpose suggested by the noble Earl, because there was no precedent of a Minister of the Crown having called on Parliament to grant anything to a Governor General of India.


said, that the Sovereign, having conferred dignities and titles on these two distinguished men as a reward for their services, it next became the country to consider what would put them in a position befitting their new rank. But it appeared that the East India Company had already made a grant to them greater than that which the Parliament, according to this Bill, thought necessary for the purpose. Therefore the object in view was attained, and he thought that the course taken by the Government was right and prudent.

The House then resolved into Committee on the Bill.


moved, by way of Amendment, the omission of the third clause, which suspends the grant made by the country during the payment of the grant made by the East India Company.


reminded their Lordships that the omission of the clause would be the loss of the Bill; adding, that the Bill did what the East India Company could not, viz., it continued the grant of 3,000l. a-year to the two next heirs of Lord Hardinge.


said, that if the House of Commons considered this a Money Bill, and would not accept it altered, nothing could be more easy than for them to introduce a new Bill immediately. If he were to go out shooting with the noble Earl (Ripon), and were to give his gamekeeper a pound, would the noble Earl deduct that pound from his gamekeeper's wages?


said, that if the noble Duke came to shoot with him, he would take care that he did not give his gamekeeper a pound.


supported the Amendment. Supposing that the pension had been granted by Parliament, and that subsequently the East India Company had granted an annuity, would any one then have proposed to bring in a Bill to suspend the payment of the pension?


held the proposed grant to be for the purpose of maintaining the dignity conferred by the Crown; and if Lords Hardinge and Gough had been men of large property, the Government would not have thought themselves justified in calling on Parliament to make a grant for the maintenance of the titles which were the reward of their services. The object in view, the maintenance of the conferred dignities, was, however, already attained by the grant of the East India Company.

The Committee then divided:—Contents 26; Non-contents 38: Majority for the Amendment 12.

House resumed. Bill reported with Amendments. Report to be considered on Monday next.

House in Committee on Lord Gough's Annuity Bill.


said he did not see any reason for making a distinction between the cases of Viscount Hardinge and Lord Gough; and he would therefore move that the third clause in this Bill, which was to the same effect as that just expunged from Lord Hardinge's Bill, be omitted.


would not give their Lordships the trouble of dividing upon this Amendment; for he could not conceive that they were likely to adopt a different principle with respect to Lord Gough to that which they had just sanctioned in the case of Lord Hardinge.


then put the Question, and declared the "Non-contents" to have it. The clause was therefore omitted.

House resumed. Bill reported.