§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, when Her Majesty's gracious Message was sent to this House, informing this House of the projected marriage of the Prince of Wales's daughter with the then Earl of Fife, your Lordships passed an Address to Her Majesty expressing your congratulations, and your willingness to concur in any provision which might be necessary for the purpose of that marriage. This Bill is, in part, the fulfilment of that pledge. I need not describe its provisions; they are very well known. It provides that the sum of £36,000 shall be yearly paid in trust to his Royal Highness and two other Official Trustees, to be applied for the benefit of his children during the existing reign. By the custom of Parliament this House cannot alter the provisions thus made. If we were to alter them, it would be fatal to the Bill. Under those circumstances, and also in consideration of the lateness of the hour, I think I shall best consult the convenience of your Lordships by not making any further observations upon the motives or the character of the provisions made; but only express what I am sure is the feelings of all your Lordships—of our hearty good wishes for the illustrious individuals in reference to whom this provision has been made.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"
§ EARL GRANVILLE
It is not necessary for me to add anything to the words which have fallen from the noble Marquess, who has correctly stated the answer of your Lordships to the gracious Message of Her Majesty. On that occasion I said that I anticipated that we should most cordially agree to any reasonable provision that was proposed by the Government and which received the sanction of the House of Commons It certainly would be very incongruous with that cordiality which I believe your Lordships all feel on the subject if I were to refer to any critical or controversial matters, or to any incidents which happened in the passing of this Bill. At the same time I should 533 like to allude to two facts which I am sure must be satisfactory to your Lordships. The first is—and, though I do not wish to exaggerate it, it is a fact of at all events very great negative importance—that the Queen and the Prince of Wales have during the present reign, unlike nearly all their predecessors, never come to Parliament with any applications for the payment of their debts. Further than that, I am sure your Lordships will agree in acknowledging the gracious assurance Her Majesty has given through Her Majesty's Government that she does not intend to apply to Parliament for any provision for the children of her other children except the Prince of Wales. I can only say that I and all my Friends entirely concur in the good wishes which the noble Marquess has expressed for the happiness of the couple who are now united.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I only wish to remind the noble Earl that he has not quite correctly quoted the language in which the communication was made, "that Her Majesty did not press the claims of her other children." The matter is not of present importance; but I thought it desirable that the right words should be used. Further than that I do not think it necessary to add anything to the statement I have already made.
§ Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.
§ House adjourned at Eleven o'clock, to Thursday next, a quarter past Ten o'clock.