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THE ROYAL GRANTS, Issue 8011, 13 September 1889
THE ROYAL GRANTS
,*. IMPORTANT DEBATE IN THE HOUSE. London, July 2G. The ' Daily News' gives the following interesting summary of last night's important debate in the Commons on the Royal grants. Tne writer is one of the oldest hands in the reporters'gallery, Mr H. Lucy. He says:— When, as early as four o'clock yesterday afternoon, Mr Smith rose to move that the House resolve itself into committee to consider the gracious Messages from the Throne, applying for money allowance.'! for Prince Albert Victor and Princess Louise of Wales, the House of Commons presented every appearance of keen interest. Before the motion was reached the subject was touched in two questions addressed to Mr Smith, one by Sir George Campbell asking for a statement; of the total income of the Prince of Wales and his family from public resources ; the oilier by Mr A. L, Brown, inquiring whether the House is to ucderstand that the sum total of Her Majestj's savings is at present a little over LSOO.OOO? ttr George Campbell wns referred to the Appendices of the Report for the de&ired information. In reply to Mr Brown, Mr Smith declined to state whether Her Majesty's savings were more or less than the sum stated. Mr Smith spoke for twenty-five minutes in atone of considerable solemnity, which somewhat detracted from the clearness of his articulation. His various reverential references to royalty were approved by cheers from th<; Opposition, but there was a burst of laughter when he insisted that it had never by any authority been urged that it was the duty of the Sovereign or of the Prince of Wales to make provision for their family. There was another titter when he declined to drag the sacred institutions of the countiy into the arena of politics. But on the whole he was listened to with friendly attention. Mr Labouchere, on risiag, was hailed with loud cheers from below the gangway. His purpose was to move an amendment for an Address respectfully setting forth that, "in the opinion of the House, the funds now at the disposal of Her Majesty and of the other members of her family are adequate, without further demands upou the taxpayers, to enable suitable provision to be made for her grandchildren, and that such provision might, if it be desired, be increased, with the approval of Her Majesty, by the withdrawal of many salaries in Class 2 of the Civil List, and by other economies in Classes 2 and 3, and this without trenching upon the honor and dignity of the Crown, and without inconvenience to Her Majesty." He defended the form of procedure he had taken against the imputation that his amendment meant that the House declined even to consider the Message from the Throne. Ho contended that the Message had been considered by tho Select Committee appointed by the House, and tho action now taken by Mr .Smith was tho first stago in passing a Money Bill. It was also said that a better chance of discussing the matter would be provided on the amendment which Mr Morley was to move, .and which he understood would declare against tho grant, on the ground that the terms of the report of the Select Committee did not ensure finality. But Mr Labouohere and thoso who thought with him were against any grant at all, "I want," ho said amid laughter and cheers, " to start with finality, not to end with it." He was at some pains to show that ho was not opposed to voting the money for the Civil List,'but he thought that desirable economies might he (fleeted, the money of course to remain at the Queen's disposal. Ho read out a list of ceremonial olScero drawing h.rgc salaries, his sententious remark: "I should sweep all these away," eliciting loud cheerp. There was no objection to people being Gold Sticks, Lords-in-Waiting, or Masters of the Buckhounds if they did not cost money to the State. Mr Labouchero was sure that
there were many people who would bo ready to take the honor.tble ofliccs. " There is, for example, tho right hon. member for West Birmingham, who would be ready to don the uniform," he said, pointing, amid prolonged laughter and loud cheers from the Liberal side, to Mr Chamberlain, who sat by the side of Lord Hartington. Mr Labouchere'a speech was the longest he ever delivered in the Hou3e, extending over an hour and twenty minutes'. Then came Mr Gladstone, heartily cheered by the Opposition, both above and below the gangway. Amid loud cheers from the Conservative sh\e, Mr Gladstone asked whether it was fair to turn the whole force of this contrast upon tho Royal Family. Noting a disclaimer Mr Labouchere had made of any intention to separate from his leadership, Mr Gladstone, amid cheers (this time coming from the Opposition benches), was ahlo to tako a cheerful view of tho operations of these differences, which did not in any way militate against the advancement of the broad principles upon which the Liberal party ie based. He defended the voto on the ground that, situated as this country is, this court ought to bo a splondid court, amply, though not extravagantly, provided. Conforming to a high moral standard, the coort was one of the most powerful and most estimable agencies that might be brought to bear on the tone of society. He admitted that the question of economy was a most fruitful and important subject in connection with the preparation of | a new Civil List, whenever that work should be undertaken, but tho time had not yot arrived. "I am not ashamed," Mr Gladstone declared by way of final word, spoken with evident emotion, " to say in my old age that I rejoice in any opportunity which enables me to testify that whatever may be thought of my opinions «r proposals as to general politics, I do not forget the services I have borne through so many years to the illustrious representative of the British Monarchy." The unwonted enthusiasm which this comparatively brief address had created on the Conservative Bide found a climax in repeated cheers, Mr Smith and his colleagues on the front bench bending forward to join in the demonstration. The cheer? were taken up from the Liberal side, and were continued for several moments. Mr John Morley, rising shortly after ten o'clock, had a better audience than any speaker since Mr Gladstone resumed his seat. Mr Morley declared that he was opposed to any extension of the Royal grants. He criticised the action of the Government, who had in tho first instance brought forward a stupefying proposal which they were not able to maintain for twenty-four hours. What he complained of was that the report left tho Royal claim still alive, so that the Government of a future reign would be able to come down to the House and ask for tho commutation of claims which, though Her Majesty has agreed to waive them, are left unrelinauished.
THE ROYAL GRANTS, Issue 8011, 13 September 1889
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