Billeder på siden

annum in consequence. This act was | This raised his income to 29,5007.; the passed about the year 1778. On the death of the duke of Kent, the right of survivorship raised the sum of 10,0001. enjoyed by the younger princes, to 12,000l. It was under that law, then, that his royal highness the duke of Clarence receives 12,000l. a-year. In 1806 another act was passed, giving 6,000l. per annum additional to the younger princes of the royal family. This raised the amount of his royal highness's income to 18,000l. By another act, the date of which I do not now exactly call to mind, a further allowance of 2,500l. was made; but this ceased at the death of his late majesty. It was renewed in 1820. This made his royal highness's income 20,500l. When his royal highness married, a proposition was made to increase his allowance on that account. An increase of 10,000l. was, therefore, proposed to the House; but it was thought too much, and upon discussion was reduced to 6,000l. Under all the circumstances, his royal highness felt that it would be more becoming in him to decline to accept the reduced grant. He, accordingly, did decline it; and that grant, therefore, was never carried into effect. In 1822, I think it was, that the proposition was renewed of allow ing him 6,000l. additional; as had already been done in the cases of the duke of Cambridge and another of his royal brothers. The House, I believe, almost unanimously consented; and this raised his royal highness's income to 26,500l. the sum I have already alluded to. It may be well for me here to state, that, in 1820, until the civil list could be settled, which did not take place until some months after the demise of his late majesty, the allowances to the different princes of the royal family were charged upon the hereditary revenues, which occasioned some confusion in the accounts of that year; but in June an act was passed to regulate their payment. It was, at the same time, re-enacted, that the portion of the duke of Clarence, and the other younger princes' income, which had ceased by the death of his late majesty, should be continued. That act secured the same benefit of survivorship which had before existed. The effect of that was, by the death of the late duke of York, to put his royal highness the duke of Clarence, into the possession of 3,000l. per annum beyond what he enjoyed previous to that event.


law, at the same time, preventing the pos-
sibility of any further increase by right of
survivorship, as that 3,000l. made the sum
of 15,000l., which was the limit the law had
set to the operation of that right. I have
thus explained to the committee the
amount of his royal highness's income;
but nothing, as I before stated, is allowed
for her royal highness the duchess. I
therefore propose to submit to the con-
sideration of the committee, the propriety
of placing their royal highnesses on the
same footing, with respect to income,
with that enjoyed by the duke of York.
There are certain differences between
them, which I beg leave to state. The
late duke of York, in addition to his in-
come of 33,000l., had an allowance, as I
before mentioned, of 4,000l., on account
of her royal highness the duchess.
shall, therefore, propose to add 3,000l. to
the income of 29,500l. already enjoyed by
his royal highness the duke of Clarence,
which will raise his allowance to 32,500l.
I shall further propose, that an annuity of
6,000l. per annum, be granted to the
duchess during her husband's life-time.
[A member called out, that that was, al-
together, more than the duke of York had
had.] That is true; but, in looking at
this matter, it is necessary to take into
consideration the difference between the
professional emoluments of the one and
of the other. It has always been con-
sidered, that the duke of Clarence, in the
profession he embraced, was placed in a
less favourable position than his royal
brothers who entered the army. It was
on this consideration, that the 2,500l. I
alluded to before was granted him, over
and above the allowance made to the
other junior princes. Upon these grounds
it is, that I propose the grant. When
matters of this kind are considered in this
House, it is not considered necessary, and
very properly, nor would it be consistent
with dignity, to enter into any account of
the personal merits of the royal individual,
whose claims we may have under consider-
ation. Grants of this kind are not made
to the individual as an individual, but on
account of his public station, and near-
ness to the throne. It is that which
makes it the duty of this country to be
liberal in its allowances to the members of
the royal family. I therefore decline to
rest the question upon claims of a per-
sonal nature; but I think I may say, with

522 out departing from respect or delicacy, House; and though he went further, and that her royal highness the duchess of was ready to admit that the private conClarence, a stranger among us, is as emi- duct of the duke of Clarence, as it apnent for the graces of her mind as for her peared before the country, had been virtues, and that, although not a British- marked by a degree of economy and doborn lady, is yet one of that long list, who mestic management, which, to the full as have done honour to this country, by the much as any of his royal brothers, entigraces and amiability of their disposition tled him to the attention of parliament; and propriety of their conduct. I hope, yet he did not think that any case for the Sir, I shall not be considered to have grant had been made out, and he was transgressed, in having said so much. I sorry, for the sake of his royal highness do not consider it necessary to trouble the personally, and for the sake of the royal House at greater length; but one observ- family altogether, that, under the circumation, and I have done. It was not stances of the country, it had been deknown to his royal highness that this pro-manded. With distress and ruin running position was to be made, until the message had received his majesty's signature, and a copy of it was sent him. If the House should think proper to assent to the proposition, no doubt his royal highness will receive its decision with due gratitude; but this I am bound to say, that the part of it which his royal highness has regarded with the greatest pleasure, is that which goes to place the duchess, whose virtues and excellence he must necessarily have the best means of appreciating, in an independent and honourable situation. I move, Sir,

through every part of the kingdom, and with a revenue deficient four millions in the course of the last year, some good ground indeed ought to be shown for asking for any addition to the burthens of the people. The right hon. gentleman had said, that it was the constant custom of parliament to give to the heir presumptive to the throne a grant beyond that allowed to the other members of his family; but he had not adduced a single proof in support of that statement. The right hon. gentleman had quoted the income of the duke of York when he was not the heir presumptive; but he had not shown that a single shilling was added to it when he fell into that situation; there

1. "That His Majesty be enabled to grant a yearly sum of money out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, not ex-fore there was no precedent for the grant ceeding in the whole the sum of 3,000l., to his royal highness the duke of Clarence, for the further support and maintenance of his royal highness.

2. "That His Majesty be enabled to grant a yearly sum of money out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, not exceeding in the whole the sum of 6,000l. to her royal highness the duchess of Clarence, for the further support and maintenance of her royal highness."

Lord Althorp regretted deeply that his majesty should have been advised to send down a message like the present to the House. If it could be shown, that in consequence of his change of situation, his royal highness the duke of Clarence would really be put to additional expenses, no doubt it was fit that he should be enabled to meet them; but, although he fully concurred with the chancellor of the Exchequer, that the personal virtues of the illustrious individuals concerned in questions of this description ought to form no feature in the deliberation of the

made out at all. But, even if a precedent could have been found, he thought it would have been more to the honour of the royal family, if, in a moment of distress like the present, the demand had not been brought forward. He regretted that the message had been sent down, and that his view of what was his duty to the country compelled him to make these observations; but, feeling as he did, he had no choice but to oppose the


Mr. Hume reminded the House, in the first place, that the duchess of Clarence had already 6,000l. a year secured to her by parliament.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that that grant was only applicable in

case of the duke's death.

Mr. Hume.-Well, the money, at all events, had been granted; but he would not go into that. Could the House, he would only ask, satisfy itself that it was doing its duty in the present state of the country, in voting a grant of 9,000l. a year to the duke of Clarence, in addition

to the 3,000l. which his royal highness | ble disposition of the duke of Clarence.

had already got by the death of the late duke of York? The income which the duke of Clarence enjoyed from his appointments would make his revenue not less than 40,000l. a year. Could it tend to the honour of the Crown, or make the people satisfied with the system of monarchy, if that system, under such circumstances, was to be supported at such an expense? If the chancellor of the Exchequer looked at the paper which he ought to have in his possession, he would find, that the civil list of this country amounted to 1,557,000l., great part of which was purely applicable to the maintenance of royalty. The civil list of Scotland furnished 200,000l. more; a large proportion of which was available for the same purpose. The pensions on the last year list, paid to members of the royal family (including the allowance to the prince of Saxe Coburg) amounted to no less than 234,5001. Now, in addition to this, we were called upon to vote 9,0007. a year more to the duke of Clarence, making the amount 243,500l. Let the House listen to the cries for economy and reduction, which were proceeding from all parts of the country. No other assembly in the world would turn a deaf ear, as the House was doing, to the prayers of the people. A member of the government, the hon. Secretary for the Colonies, had alluded, only a night past, to a petition from the town of Blackburn. That petition he had presented; and the title of it was, "The Petition of the Starving Weavers of Lancashire." Thousands of workmen were out of employ in that town: men, women, and children had died, or were perishing, of actual hunger. Their prayer to the House was, that something might be done which would provide them with sufficient food of the vilest kind, only to support nature: and the answer was, a motion for an additional grant of 9,000l. a year to the duke of Clarence! Calls of the same description with those from Blackburn were coming from Manchester, from Glasgow, from almost all our manufacturing towns. There was a deficiency in the last year's revenue of more than 5,000,000l.; and yet the House was told, that we had an effective sinking fund of 5,000,000l., and was called upon to vote more money away! No man in the House was better aware than himself of the humane and charita

He knew that to various public institutions, his royal highness had devoted much of his particular attention. He believed, too, that his present majesty had the character of being as humane as the other branches of his family; and if that was the fact, he was utterly unable to believe that ministers had truly laid before him the state of the country. He could not believe that his majesty, with the knowledge of the real state of so many thousands of his subjects, would have sent down such a message as the present to the House. If the truth could be known, he believed it would be found that the message was not that of the king, but of the ministers who sat opposite, and who had advised his majesty to take this course, that they might worship the rising sun, and give an example of their prompt obedience to the power that was likely to be; as had been done in the case of the allowance to the prince of Saxe Coburg on his marriage-a case of the most profligate inattention, on the part of both sides of the House, to the interests of the country. At this moment, too, an application of this kind came with peculiar ill grace, for only a few days had elapsed since, in pursuance of the king's letter, the aid of the church was called in, to institute collections for the relief of the distressed manufacturers; a step which he lamented, because nothing was more derogatory to the kingly dignity, than that his majesty should have been advised to ask alms of his people, to save their fellow-creatures from starvation. All who felt as he did for the honour and dignity of the Crown, must have lamented that the state professed itself unable, by any other means, to procure relief for the famishing poor. It was most humiliating and painful to have lately seen the beadles and parish officers passing from door to door, and for what?-to beg alms, by virtue of the king's letter, for the starving and distressed manufacturers. Was it, then, he would ask, consistent with that measure which avowed the inability of the government to afford any public pittance in the cause of suffering humanity, to come forward with such an application as this? What amount of subscription had the king's letter produced? What pittance was furnished by that only means which the government had advised his majesty to resort to, for the relief of starving

ministers ought rather to have been advised to come down to that House, to recommend its reduction, than to call for any addition to the civil list, in the present circumstances of the country. He was amazed at the present proposition. He wondered how it was possible, with such misery apparent all over the country, that any man, bearing the human character, could venture gravely to ask for this grant; at any rate, he must express his astonishment that his majesty's ministers, bearing, as he knew they deservedly did, characters for benevolence and humanity, at least such of them as were in that House[laughter and cries of "hear."] It was certainly rather invidious for him to make exceptions; but when he alluded to the ministers in that House, he could speak more of his own personal knowledge of their characters, and could therefore bear direct testimony in their behalf. Speaking from this experience, he should hardly have thought it possible they could have persuaded themselves to make such a proposition. Made as it was, however, he entreated the House to pause before it sanctioned the claim, and to allow itself time to hear the expression of the public voice upon it. Let the voice of the people guide them this once upon the question, and they would, in the end, find that they had taken the right course in not yielding implicitly to the wish of ministers. He would particularly address himself to the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, and ask him how he could reflect with satisfaction upon this act, when he had before him various supplications from Glasgow alone, where above ten thousand artisans were borne down by want to the lowest pitch of human misery? How was it possible he could countenance the present application for 9,000l. a year additional to an income of 29,000l. a year, with the cries of tens of thousands of distressed operatives in his ear, who, though dying for want, were nevertheless not betrayed into any disobedience of the laws. He begged pardon for dwelling upon this subject, but he had no hesitation in asserting that if the House yielded to this claim, they would be acting without a due attention to the interests which they were expressly bound to guard. He hoped they would not consent to please a few, at the expense of the many. Better, far better would it be, to see the latter comfortable, than to grant this ad

Englishmen? Had it produced as much as was now called for, merely to give one year's addition to an already princely income? Had it produced half the 9,0007. a year now demanded? Under such circumstances as these, he would not hesitate to say, that the ministers who had advised his majesty to recommend these begging applications from door to door, ought not to have ventured, within a very few weeks, to have acted so much in contradiction to such a recommendation. If, in the present situation of the country, the parliament could find any money to spare, let them give it to those who had a prior claim on their sympathy: let them give it for bread to their fellow countrymen, who were dying for want of it; and let them refrain from becoming parties to rendering the royal family odious in the eyes of the people over whom they were destined to reign. This was, forsooth, a pretty time to call for an addition of 9,000l. a-year to an income which was already 29,000l. If they looked even to the principle of these royal grants, they would in vain seek for a precedent for such a motion as this. The million a-year composing the expenditure of what was called the civil list was given to sustain the state and paraphernalia of royalty. What state was the duke of Clarence particularly called upon to assume in his present situation? If there were any man in England of high rank who bore more than another a character for attention to economy in his expenditure, and to a disregard of expensive and showy forms, that person was the duke of Clarence. As a plain and good Englishman, imbued with proper feelings, his royal highness stood above all these considerations. Indeed, the chancellor of the Exchequer had disclaimed putting the merits of the motion upon personal grounds, and strictly confined it to the claim of rank. Then taking him at his word, he would ask, had not the duke of Clarence at present enough for the rank which he wished to assume? Was he, in fact, in the habit of spending what he already had in the maintenance of rank? If he was not, then more was superfluous. It was uncalled for, and therefore unnecessary. Referring for a moment to the civil list, he thought that of late years, a large portion of it had been completely wasted the expenditure had not been properly attended to, so that the

ditional sum of money; especially when it was distinctly avowed that the royal personage had not called for it. He absolved the duke of Clarence from any participation in the odium of this application. It was the act of the king's ministers, and that House ought not to yield a passive obedience to such personages. It was a question involving the honour of the House, the honour of ministers, and the honour of the royal family. There ought to be time allowed for the consideration of such a subject; and with that view he should move an adjournment of the debate, not for the purpose of committing members to oppose the grant, but merely to enable them to decide upon it after more mature deliberation. He should, therefore, conclude by moving, that the chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.

Colonel Wood expressed his regret, that the noble lord and the hon. gentleman should have opposed this motion, which he had hoped would have passed unanimously. He could not by any means see what injustice was done the country, by placing the heir presumptive upon the footing of his predecessor. Nothing was, he knew, more unpleasant than to provoke individual comparisons; yet it was almost unavoidable upon such an occasion as this. He would then say, that either the income granted to the late duke of York, thirty years ago, was most extravagant, or there could not be any impropriety in the present claim? Why was 39,0007. a year not deemed an improvident income for the duke of York, if the proposed augmentation for the duke of Clarence were thought unreasonable. How were they to escape from this dilemma? As to the argument about the condition of the country, it was not a liberal way of treating a question of this sort to put the distresses of the country in contrast with the allowance necessary for the due maintenance of the royal family. He sincerely believed that the people would never wish to see their royal family straitened in circumstances; but, on the contrary, would always prefer to see the Throne surrounded with dignity and just splendor. The hon. gentleman was wrong in arguing this proposition, as if it were a call upon the country for an additional grant of 9,000l. a year from the public burthens. It was no such thing: the case stood thus. A large saving had just fallen in by the

lamented death of the duke of York; and it was merely intended, that this saving should be less by the grant of this particular sum to the duke of Clarence. The people, he was quite sure, deeply regretted that the late calamity had occurred, and would have much preferred to have continued the payment of the duke of York's income, if his valuable life could have been preserved. To the truth of what had been said of the duchess of Clarence, he could speak more particularly from the circumstance of his residing at no great distance from the duke's residence. He could speak positively of the universal opinion which prevailed there, of her royal highness's benevolence, and likewise of the habits of economy to which the duke adhered, as far as was consistent with his high situation. He sincerely hoped that the opposition to this motion would be withdrawn, and that it would be carried unanimously.

Mr. Curwen regretted that this question had been brought forward, for nothing could be more painful to him than to give the vote which his sense of duty called upon him to give. If the country was able to afford this grant, he had no individual objection to it; but when he knew that, from one end of it to the other, the cry of distress was general, he could not, without a violation of duty, hesitate to oppose it, and he was ready to do so at once, for he required no postponement to make up his mind upon it. The circumstances of the country imperatively called for economy, and the refusal of this grant would, he hoped, be the prelude of their performing similar acts of justice to their constitu


Mr. Monck concurred with his hon. friend, in his expression of pain at being obliged to oppose this motion. He had not heard a single argument from the chancellor of the Exchequer in favour of it. It was in vain to refer to the addition made to the incomes of the royal family in 1806; for that addition was expressly called for, on account of the rise in the price of all the necessaries of life. The act of 1806, therefore, furnished no precedent for such a claim as this. Were the royal family alone to have a reserved interest in the fluctuations of the price of provisions, and were the people never to have a similar chance in their favour? Willing as he was to support the due splendor and dignity of the royal family,

« ForrigeFortsæt »