Изображения страниц

The Royal Income.


Civil List during the same period was 69,000,0001., • showing 47,000,0001. going to the nation at that time.

Since then, undoubtedly, the public revenues from • Crown Lands have largely increased.

Mr. Gladstone, in the course of his remarks, observed :

• If Her Majesty were, in her own personal capacity, « among the great proprietors of the Kingdom, I should • be the last person to deny that the House ought to be 'cognizant of the amounts proceeding from sources of

that character before it made an addition to the bur• dens of the people for the support of the Royal Family. . But, although we have no formal and definite infor

mation upon that subject, we know perfectly well that neither of these statements is based on fact. What

ever ground you may take upon this measure, I defy • any one to say that any adequate provision is made • for members of the Royal Family by means of any

separate emoluments attaching to them professionally

or otherwise, or to say that it is possible for Her • Majesty to make even the meanest and most limited * provision for them out of the means which she pos

sesses. Therefore, however good this information "might be, it does not really bear upon the question * before the House, which has to perform on the present • occasion one of its most delicate and difficult duties. • All the circumstances bave been radically altered since • the accession of William IV. When that Sovereign

ascended the throne, entirely new principles were • adopted with regard to Royal expenditure, and adop• ted, as I think, in a way which tended very greatly to • the advantage of the public. Before that time large * sums of money had been placed in the hands of the • Sovereign without a very minute investigation of the • purposes to which they were to be applied. Many • public charges were up to that time included in the • Civil List, but, after deducting these charges, a much ' larger sum remained available for the Sovereign than

was granted on the accession of William IV., and a ' very much larger sum than was granted to her present Majesty when she ascended the throne. I must also point out that, during the time when these larger sums were granted, applications which greatly offended and • scandalised the country, and weakened the foundations • of Royalty itself, were from time to time made to • Parliament for grants of money to discharge debts • which had accumulated upon the Civil List and which

the Sovereign was not in a position to discharge. The great object of the new arrangement was to get rid of • all applications of the same kind in future. It was • not a matter of very great consequence to the people

or the Parliament to know whether 20,000l. or 30,0001. . a year more or less were expended in maintaining the

dignity of the Monarchy; what was important was • that they should know what they had to pay, and that • the Sovereign should not be put in the unworthy and • humiliating position of accumulating pecuniary ob

ligations he could not discharge, and then having to 6 come in formâ pauperis,--as a mendicant, in fact,• to the door of the House of Commons to ask for the • discharge of his debts. That great object has been - completely gained, and gained by Parliament acting • on the principle of ministering to the wants of the • Sovereign upon a fair and liberal scale, adequate to

the grandeur of the monarchy; but, at the same time, with strict reference to the purposes in view and to the Provision for Royal Marriages. 231 actual circumstances of the Royal Family from time • to time. The question arose as to the sources from • which the wants of the younger members of the Royal • Family should be supplied. They were not in a con. dition of life, however assiduously they might apply

themselves to public duties, to earn a living for them• selves. Neither their position, nor their traditions, • nor the opinion of the people would allow the Royal • Family to become what are called self-supporting • members of the community. The allowances granted • to Her Majesty have not been made on such a scale as * to permit ber either with facility or propriety so to • reduce her own expenditure as to make becoming pro• vision for the wants of the younger branches of the • Royal Family. Whence, then, is that provision to

come? I think the common sense of the case will

show that the intention of Parliament was and is to • minister to the requirements, even of the Sovereign, * only in such a way as to meet the circumstances of • the day, and to keep in its own hands the means of * judging of future exigencies as they arise. This is • shown by the fact that the Civil List of William IV.

was fixed at 435,0001, a year, and that of Queen • Victoria on her accession at 385,0001.—and I may 6 add that in the present reign Her Majesty pays in• come-tax on the amount which is granted to her. The

reason for this difference of 50,000l. a year is that at • the accession of William IV. there was a fully de• veloped expenditure, because there was a Monarch • and a Queen Consort ; when Queen Victoria acceded

there was no Prince Consort. As soon as Her Majesty • happily married, an application was of course made to • Parliament for an increased grant. This, I think,

• clearly proves the main proposition that Parliament • keeps in its own hands the power of judging according

to varying circumstances and deciding accordingly. · The only question that remains, then, is as to whether

the arrangements which have been made are fair and • reasonable. I do not think my hon. friend will stand

out upon so sinall a point in an affair of the kind as • to persist in his demand for information, which, how

ever reasonable in principle, is a very separate affair ' with regard to the subject of which we have now to * judge. There can be no doubt that from no source

other than the votes of Parliament can the money . necessary for the purposes I have mentioned be ob• tained. The practice has had the approval of a num• ber of successive Governments and Parliaments. The • first was during the first Ministry of Lord Palmerston, • on the occasion of the marriage of the Crown Princess. * From that time forward it was necessary to make ap• plication for one and another member of the Royal Family, and on every occasion when the application

was made it has been answered in the most loyal and • becoming manner. I hold that the basis of the present 6 system is essentially a popular one, because it pre• serves to Parliament the power of judging in each

case as it arises; it strengthens the control of Her • Majesty over the members of the Royal Family, and • leaves to Parliament a full consideration of all the 6 circumstances of every case. The complaint of my • hon. friend is, not that a provision is made, but that • an additional provision is made for marriage. Now, • that is the very thing I am anxious to preserve, as an • original adviser of the arrangement made in 1862, • of which it was an essential part. It is infinitely

The Royal Household. 233 better on every ground that a provision should be * made attaching to the condition of a young Prince or • Princess in single life, and that a new provision should • be made for married life. Therefore, I give my full

and entire adhesion to the proposal of Her Majesty's • Government.'

The following is the form of the resolutions adopted by the House :

" That the annual sum of 10,0001. be granted to · Her Majesty, out of the Consolidated Fund of Great • Britain and Ireland, towards providing for the esta·blishment of His Royal Highness the Duke of Con

naught and of Strathearn and Her Royal Highness • Princess Louise Margaret Alexandra Victoria Agnes • of Prussia, the said annuity to be settled on His Royal

Highness for his life, in such manner as Her Majesty • shall think proper, and to commence from the day of * the marriage of their Royal Highnesses, such annuity • to be in addition to the annuity now enjoyed by His • Royal Highness under the Act of the 35th year of Her present Majesty.

• That Her Majesty be enabled to secure to Her • Royal Highness Princess Louise Margaret Alexandra • Victoria Agnes, in case she shall survive his Royal • Highness the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, an • annual sum not exceeding 6,0001. during her life, to * support her Royal dignity.''

4. It is so long since the organisation of the Royal Household has presented any political or constitutional problem that the modern reader may well experience a difficulty in understanding how, in 1839, the leader of a great political party, Sir Robert Peel, could have

· The Times, Friday, July 26, 1878.

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »