HL Deb 09 June 1857 vol 145 cc1401-2

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.

EARL GRANTVILLE rose to move the second reading of this Bill, and said: My Lords, on the assumption that your Lordships will agree with me in the principle that we ought to provide for the support of the institutions of this country, and, monarchy being one of the elements of our consitution, that we ought to deal in a spirit, not of wastefulness, but of just liberality to the Royal Family—that the Royal Family should be maintained in honour and dignity, and that those illustrious ladies, the daughters of our Sovereign, when called abroad, should have a fair and liberal maintenance, it will not be necessary that I should trouble you with many observations. This might have offered a tempting opportunity to allude to certain qualities of Her Majesty; but, though the feelings of affection and respect which we may entertain for the Sovereign may make us more anxious cordially and unanimously to adopt a vote in favour of Her daughter, still I should be ashamed if I based it on any such affection and respect, because I only ask your Lordships to take that course which I believe we are bound to do, not so much on the ground of personal feeling towards the Sovereign, as from a regard to what is due to the feelings and natural pride of the country. The ground I take is, that the provision proposed in the present instance is reasonable, and, being reasonable, I am sure it will be unanimously adopted by your Lordships. Looking to the precedents in such cases, we find that for the Princesses Royal, the daughters of George II. and George III., provision was made by a dowry of £80,000, and an annuity of £5,000. In this case the dowry is less by one-half than that given in former times, while the annuity is larger, being —8,000, instead of —5,000. I know there are some who have thought that to pay down a large sum at once would have been a better arrangement; but I am not of that opinion. I think that when an illustrious lady is married info a great kingdom and into a powerful House, our object should he not so much to make provision for her children as to provide for that independence and that decent splendour which I am sure every one of your Lordships must think ought to attend the eldest daughter of the Sovereign. For these reasons, without dwelling upon the feelings of gratification expressed by your Lordships on a former evening at an event which is likely to reward Her Majesty for the excellent education She has bestowed upon the Princess Royal, and to render the Princess Royal as happy in her future life as we all desire. I now ask your Lordships to give a second reading to this Bill.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.


said, although, according to the old proverb, silence gave consent, yet in the absence of his noble Friend the Earl of Derby, he felt bound on the part of the noble Lords on that side of the House, to express his satisfaction with the provision for her Royal Highness which the Bill proposed, and his admiration of the manner in which Her Majesty had exercised Her rule in these realms, and of the bright example which She had set to all her subjects. With regard to the details of the Bill, and in regard to the manner in which the provision is made, as it had passed the House of Commons, it would be useless to discuss the question whether any better plan could have been proposed. For his own part, he was inclined to believe it would have been better to have given a round sum at once, which would have placed the Princess Royal in a more dignified position than as an annuitant of this country. It would be idle, however, to discuss that question now, and he therefore had only to express his concurrence in the object of the Bill which was before the House.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Friday next.