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the uninvidious superiority which the qualifications of the individual whom we have chosen, have acquired by their having been tried. That you may long continue to fill the station to which you have been thus honourably raised, is, I am sure, the wish of every gentleman who hears me. And I am also persuaded, that we agree in the confident expectation that as long as you remain in that high situation, you will preside over our debates with a firm but temperate authority, and, above all with an impartiality which will show that you consider yourself the servant of the whole House. That you may long go on in the course which has already placed you so high in our estimation, is not more our wish than it is our confident expectation; and as you have on this occasion united our suffrages, so I am persuaded you will, on all future ones, command our universal respect. As there is no business before the House, it only remains for me, Sir, to move, that we do now adjourn.
The House accordingly adjourned.
FEBRUARY 25th, 1819.
LORD CASTLEREAGH moved the order of the day, for receiving the Report on the Royal Establishment at Windsor. The Report was brought up, read, and the first and second Resolutions agreed to. On the third Resolution being read, viz. “ That the annual sum of £10,000 be issued out of the civil list revenues to His Royal Highness the Duke of York, to enable His Royal Highness to meet the expenses to which His Royal Highness may be exposed in discharge of the important duties confided to him by Parliament in the care of His Majesty's person,
MR. CURWEn opposed the Resolution, and said he would take the sense of the House
it. MR. CANNING* observed, that it was evident the gentlemen on the other side, were determined to think Ministers in the wrong, whatever course they pursued. When, in compliance with the feelings of the House and of the country, they had cut down the Windsor Establishment, and had entered into minute details of expenditure, the necessity for which he cordially agreed with many honourable gentlemen in regretting, the cry on the other side was,
Why do you not propose at once a general comprehensive measure, instead of wasting the attention of Parliament. on such petty details ?” When, in compliance with this suggestion, the Ministers reserved from the detailed communication of the Committee, one great itena of the proposed Establishment (the £10,000 a year to the custos),
and proposed it at once for the vote of the House, on its own obvious merits, up got an honourable gentleman (Mr. Williams), a lover of wholesale measures too, and insisted on cutting this item in half. That proposition, however, though sufficiently contradictory to the general doctrine preached to-night, did not satisfy the right honourable gentleman opposite (Mr. Tierney), who, as if wishing to drive the House ad absurdum, was not content with splitting the wholesale vote, framed according to his own special recommendation into two, but was anxious farther to reduce it into fractions, and to calculate to a farthing, the amount of expense to which the custos could, by possibility, be exposed. It might have been expected, that some credit would be given to Ministers for not asking any thing exorbitant, after the experience which the House had had of the labours of the Committee on the Windsor Establishment. It must be pretty clear, that Ministers had conducted themselves with every possible regard to economy, when with all the vigilance and jealousy that could be brought to bear on the examination of their plan for the reduced Establishment at Windsor, the only diminution that the Committee could find room to suggest, was the striking off two equerriesvalue under £1,000 a year; a saving so paltry, that it was difficult to imagine that it had been suggested for any other reason, than to save the honour of an economizing committee. Throughout the evening there had been the strongest wish expressed to avoid any general review of the proposed Establishment, and to confine the debate simply to the one question of the £10,000 a year; yet of the honourable gentlemen who had spoken, not one had refrained from entering on the larger question; and least of all an honourable and learned gentleman (Mr. Denman), who had risen early in the debate; and who, after stating his desire that every point should be avoided but the specific question before the House, and after complaining that a right honourable gentleman had, on a former night, made a set speech on the subject, had himself contrived to illustrate his own rule by descanting, in an oration seemingly of the same species, on every possible topic that could come under parliamentary cognizance ; beginning with the distresses of the country, and ending with the Catholic question.
Whether the spirit with which Ministers had been actuated in reducing the Windsor Establishment to its present scale (a scale, he must say, grating to the feelings of all, and justifiable only by the considerations which dictated it), showed them to be insensible to the public distress, and to the motives arising out of it for rigid and unsparing economy, it was for the House to judge. Such a reduction of the Establishment of the Royal Invalid was, to Ministers, a most painful duty; but the performance of it was a sacrifice to the wishes and expectations of the people. They were not without apprehension, that even in this object, and with these motives, they might have gone too far. They had no apprehension that parsimony itself could grudge the Establishment which was now proposed. The gentlemen on the other side had not treated the question before the House fairly. They had argued as if the custos was a new office, now first created, with a new salary of £10,000 a year, now first about to be conferred on it. Had that been the fact, Parliament would certainly have had a right to demand a minute detail of every item of the duty, and every shilling of the expense. But the case was very different. The House were called on, not to build, but to pull down; not to lay new foundations, but to examine with what propriety any part of the existing structure could be removed. In doing this, however, it was their duty not to make unseemly rents in the edifice, or to let in the unhallowed gaze of vulgar curiosity on the naked wretchedness of unsheltered majesty. They should recollect that though afflicted and helpless, the sufferer was still their Sovereign. The honourable and learned gentleman opposite had said, that a vote of the House acceding to the proposed grant, would be a popular vote. He was really at a loss to know where the honourable and learned gentleman gathered his notions of popularity. But this he (Mr. Canning) would say, that, whether that House was to be considered as the exciter or the echo of the feeling out of doors, he did not on all occasions think popular clamour the best criterion of the state of the public mind. He was sure there was a large, although perhaps not the largest class, who felt that the present was a question on which it was disgraceful to enter on beggarly details of possible saving. His Majesty's Ministers, therefore, had no easy task to perform to meet the expectations of one part of the community, and not to offend the feelings of the other. They had endeavoured to take a reasonable course between the two, and he repeated, that whatever might be the feelings of those--feelings which he thought entitled to no small degree of respect—who conceived the reduction to have been excessive and irreverent, he had no apprehension of not having satisfied the most sanguine economists by a reduction which cut down the expenses from £158,000 to £60,000 including the £10,000 for the custos.
This one benefit had certainly arisen from the Committee of Inquiry, that it was felt, and even allowed, by the honourable gentlemen opposite, that the Establishment at Windsor could not possibly be reduced any lower. Of the £50,000 allotted for that Establishment, the repairs of Windsor Castle alone amounted to £20,000 a year ; leaving only £30,000 for the other expenses of the King's household.