graciously consider the claims of the officers and men who fought
in this engagement to head-money. These claims had been investi-
gated by the government, and rejected on grounds of public policy ;
but after the adoption of this address, by a nearly unanimous vote,
the government agreed to propose a grant for this purpose in com-
mittee of supply ; reiterating, however, their conviction of its in-
If a proposition be submitted to the House of The Com -
Commons, on behalf of the crown, for a supply for a sometimes
particular service, and an opinion should be generally in f fa 7 our
-, , ,, TT f f ' IM i of a larger
expressed by the House in favour of a more liberal grant than
f 3 Hats. Free. p. 178-180, n. prize-money in 1845, but which was ded bythe
* Mir. Parl. 1834, pp. 2258, 2564, successfully resisted by government. crown -
2858. See also case of Chinese Hans. D. v. 82, p. 681.
702 THE ROYAL PREROGATIVE
appropriation on this behalf than that which has been
asked for by the government, while it is confessedly be-
yond the power of the House to vote a larger sum of its
own accord, the ministry, in deference to the opinion of
members, will sometimes agree to submit a motion for
the increased amount suggested ; h or will undertake to
reconsider the matter, and to apply to Parliament for
a further grant, at a future period, should it appear
expedient so to do.
In 1838, the government proposed, in supply, a vote of 10,000.
for the relief of the distressed Poles. An opinion in favour of a
larger amount was unanimously expressed by the committee, but it
was admitted that constitutional usage forbade a motion to that
effect being made, except by the ministry. The chancellor of the
exchequer at first defended the smaller sum, but finally agreed to
re-consider the question. 1 Accordingly, the estimates next year
included an additional sum of 15,000. for this service.
^ n ^ * n or( ^ er to elicit an expression of parliamentary
take the opinion upon some doubtful question involving pecuniary
sense of - , . ,.<. ,, . , . . -f
Pariia- outlay, or to justify their own decision on some apph-
ment - cation for pecuniary aid, the ministry will occasionally
communicate the formal consent of the crown to the
discussion by the House of a motion concerning the
same, without contemplating any further proceedings
in the case. Or, a desultory debate may be permitted
to take place in either House of Parliament upon a
question of this kind, without any formal motion. Or,
a motion may be proposed to express in general terms
the opinion of the House upon the merits of the case,
h See case of the provision on be- p. 1479 ; v. 212, p. 1676. But no
half of the widow and children of grant recommended, salary proposed,
Spencer Perceval, Walpole'a Life of or other item in estimates can be in-
Perceval, v. 2, p. 303. The proposed creased, except upon recommendation
grant for purchase of an annuity for of the crown. May, Parl. Prac. ed.
the Duke of Wellington, when go- 1883, p. 673. But see ante, p. 646w,
vernment recommended a vote of and post, p. 756. It may be reduced
300,OOOZ. ; but, in deference to the in committee of supply, or by the
wishes of the House, consented to ask House itself, as in case of Prince
for 400.000/. for this purpose. (Hans. Albert's annuity. Mir. of Parl. 1840,
D. v. 27, p. 831.) See also case of pp. 364, 380, 449.
Sir II. Havelock, Ib. v. 151, p. 2355. ' Mir. of Parl. 1838, p. 5875.
And that of Lady Mayo, Ib. v. 210,
IN REGAED TO SUPPLY. 703
without directly asserting that any grant of money is -
required. 3 By such a course, the constitutional over-
sight of Parliament in all pecuniary transactions of the
government may be exercised, consistently with a due
regard for the prerogative of the crown.
The following precedents may serve to illustrate this-
branch of our enquiry.
The first case that will claim our notice is that of Mr. Palmer, 5fr.
which engaged the attention of Parliament for a number of years. Balmar.
This gentleman, originally the manager of a country theatre,,
conceived a plan for the improvement of postal communication
throughout the kingdom, which, being communicated to Mr. Pitt,
he appointed him comptroller -general of the post office, with full
power to carry out his proposed reforms. These were so successful
that in a few years the postal system was greatly benefited, and the
revenues from the same largely increased. It was at first agreed ta
reward Mr. Palmer by a grant for life of two and a-half per cent,
on a certain proportion of the increased net revenue, which would
eventually have given him some 10,000?. per annum. But, after
a time, Mr. Palmer's conduct in office became insubordinate and
objectionable, and the government were obliged to dismiss him.
In so doing, they cancelled the agreement under which the per-
centage on the increased postal revenues had been awarded to him,
and gave him, in lieu thereof, a pension of 3,000?. a-year. Not
satisfied with this amount, and claiming the continuance for his
lifetime of the per-centage in question, he appealed to the House of
Commons, by petition, in the year 1807. Government allowed the
king's recommendation to the petition to be signified, for the pur-
pose of obtaining an enquiry into the case by a committee of the
House. A favourable report thereon was made on July 13, but
nothing further was done until the next session, when, by permission
of the government (who continued, however, to oppose the claim),
a Bill was introduced into the House of Commons to secure to Mr.
Palmer his future per-centage on the net increased postal revenues.
I See cases of abstract resolutions grant of 2,5001. for this purpose,
of House upon pecuniary questions, which he received for several years.
May, ed. 1883, p. 654 ; the case of (Index, Com. Jour. 1820-37, p. 1057.)
Sir A. B. King, in Mir. of Parl. 1831, See the case of the losses of Mr.
pp. 223, 440, 477. While on this Speaker Manners Sutton by burning
occasion the ministry successfully of the Houses of Parliament in 1837,
opposed a motion in favour of com- Mir. of Parl. 1837-S, p. 402; the
pensation to Sir A. B. King for loss case of Fourdrinier's Patent, Ib. 1839,
of an office, it appears by estimates p. 2067 ; the case of the Distressed
in following year, that they ulti- Letter Carriers, Hans. D. v. 124, p.
mately consented to his indemnifica- 841.
tion. bv recommending an annual
704 THE ROYAL PREROGATIVE
The Bill was passed, notwithstanding the opposition of the govern-
ment, but was rejected in the House of Lords. k Meanwhile, a
supply resolution, granting a certain sum to defray arrears of per-
centage claimed by Mr. Palmer, was reported, agreed to, and a Bill
ordered thereupon. But as the Lords had thrown out the prospec-
tive Bill in favour of Mr. Palmer, it was proposed by the chancellor
of the exchequer, and agreed to by the House, that the grant of
arrears should not be included in the General Appropriation Act,
but in a separate Bill, ' for the avowed purpose of affording to the
Lords an opportunity of considering that grant distinctly from the
other grants of the year.' l The bill was not proceeded with in that
session, but Mr. Palmer's friends determined to persevere, and on
May 21, 1811, they induced the House of Commons to pass an
address to the prince regent, beseeching him to advance the sum of
54,000. to Mr. Palmer, ' being the amount of arrears due to him
out of the post-office revenues, and assuring his royal highness
that the House will make good the same.' The House of Lords
greatly resented this address, and a warm debate took place therein
on the subject on the following day, but no proceedings were had.
Two days after, one of the ministry assured the House of Lords that
he should not recommend the prince regent to sanction a claim
which their lordships considered to be unfounded. Accordingly,
the reply of his royal highness, as sent down to the House of Com-
mons, stated, that ' it must at all times be the prince regent's desire
to attend to the wishes of the House of Commons., and that he
shall be ready to give effect to them in this instance whenever the
means shall have been provided by Parliament ' : in other words, by
a legislative Act, which should have received the concurrence of
both Houses." An attempt was made to induce the House to agree
to a motion that this answer tended to create a misunderstanding
between the crown and the Commons, but it was negatived by a large
majority. The opposers of the motion allowed the existence of the
right of addressing the crown for money, but justified the answer in
this instance, because the regent must have known that what the
Commons had resolved to be due as of right, had been denied to be
due by the Lords after an enquiry into the facts of the case. In
the following session, with the formal consent of the crown, a
further attempt was made to indemnify Mr. Palmer. A Bill was
passed by the House of Commons for securing to him his future
per-centage, and for granting nearly 80,000. as arrears due. The
k See Parl. Deb. v. 11. pp. 161- m Ib. v. 20, p. 296.
252, 959-973. Encyc. Brit. 9th ed. Ib. pp. 347, 359.
v. 19, p. 566. Ib. pp. 343-365. Walpole, Life
1 3 Hats. 203 n. Parl. Deb. v. 11, of Perceval, v. 2, p. 215. Colchester
pp. 1010-1042. Diary, v. 2, p. 332.
IN REGARD TO SUPPLY. 705
government, as heretofore, continued to oppose the measure, and it Prece-
was rejected, upon the third reading, in the Lords. Next session a dents,
similar Bill was passed by the Commons, and rejected by the Lords.
Finally, and in the same session, the matter was compromised by the
introduction of another Bill, granting the sum of 50,00(K to Mr.
Palmer, 'in consideration of public services performed by him,' to
which Bill the Lords agreed, and it received the royal assent.?
In reviewing the proceedings between the two Houses in this
case, it is worthy of special remark that, whilst a large majority of
the Commons were agreed upon the payment in full of Mr. Palmer's
claims, a still greater number were in favour of proceeding by separate
Bill, instead of inserting the amount to be granted in the general
Appropriation Act, to the infringement of the rights of the Lords to
judge specially of a grant that was not intended for the particular
service of the year, and upon which there was reason to believe they
entertained an adverse opinion. 1 *
Our next case will be that of the Baron de Bode, whose claims garon
for pecuniary indemnification have been urged for upwards of forty Bode,
years upon successive administrations, and still remain unsettled.
The baron alleged that he was born a British subject, and originally
possessed a large property in France, but which had been confiscated
by the government of that country during the revolution. After the
peace a treaty was made between France and Great Britain, under
which a large sum of money was paid over to the British government
for the purpose of indemnifying British subjects whose property had
been confiscated by the French authorities at that period. Under
this treaty the baron (and subsequently his son and heir) made
various applications to the government, to the legal tribunals, and
to both Houses of Parliament for payment of his claim, which had
been pronounced invalid. In 1834, a committee of enquiry into the
same was appointed by the House of Commons, notwithstanding the
opposition of the ministry. Being unable to complete the investiga-
tion in that year, a motion was made in the following session for the
re-appointment of the committee. The motion was again opposed by
the ministry, who declared it to be an attempt to convert the House
into a court of appeal, and was negatived. 1 " In 1852 Lord Lynd-
hurst induced the House of Lords to appoint a committee of enquiry
into the claims of the baron, as set forth by him in a petition to that
House, and which reported in favour of the same. 8 Whereupon, on
P Gen. Index, Com. Jour. 1801- r Mir. of Parl. 1834, p. 1438 ; 1835,
1820, p. 709. p. 19G2. In 1845 the case was
q See Oorresp. on this point be- argued before the Court of Queen's
tween Mr. Speaker Abbott, and Mr. Bench, upon a petition of right, and
S. Perceval in Colchester Diary, v. 2, decided against the baron. See 8. Q.
pp. 151-156. Also Com. Pap. 1867-8, B. Rep. 208.
v. 48, pp. 633, 646-648, 677. s Hans. D. v. 122, p. 478.
VOL. I. Z Z
70G THE ROYAL PREROGATIVE
Prr-ce- August 1, 1853, his lordship moved a resolution, based upon the
report of the committee, ' earnestly recommending the petitioner's
claim to the favourable consideration of her Majesty's government; '
but after a long debate, the motion was negatived on the ground that
it had already been decided by competent tribunals, and ought to be
regarded as conclusively disposed of.* On June 20, 1854, a resolu-
tion was proposed in the House of Commons, ' that the national good
faith requires that the just claims of the Baron de Bode, established
after protracted investigations, should be satisfied.' The government,
however, continued to deny the justice of the claim, and the motion
was rejected." At length on June 4, 1861, on a further petition from
the baron, the House of Commons was again moved to appoint a
committee to consider and report on this case ; but the attorney-
general re-argued the question, and declared that the petitioner was
not in reality a British subject, and therefore had no claim upon the
fund above mentioned. The chancellor of the exchequer urged that
it would be cruel to the petitioner himself to do anything to keep
alive his claim, and desired to know, if the committee reported
favourably thereon, how such a report ' could justify the executive
government in acting against an opinion of all the law advisers of
the crown for the last thirty years ? ' But notwithstanding the
opposition of government the committee was appointed. v The com-
mittee took voluminous evidence, but were unable to conclude their
enquiry ; they therefore, on August 1, reported to the House their
proceedings and the evidence they had taken. w Since then nothing
more has been done in Parliament in this case.
Danish ^ ur nex t leading precedent is that which arose out of the much-
claims, litigated Danish claims. During the war with France in 1807, Great
Britain, having reason to suspect that Denmark, although nominally
a neutral power, was secretly favouring the designs of the French
ruler, suddenly captured the Danish fleet while it was lying in the
harbour of Copenhagen. By way of reprisal, the Danish government
seized and confiscated the property of the British merchants who
were trading in the Baltic sea. As Great Britain was not actually
at war with Denmark at this time, it was contended that she should
be answerable for the consequences of her act of aggression towards
that kingdom, and should compensate the British merchants for their
losses by the act of reprisal. This was acknowledged, and a large
portion of these claims was paid by the government. But others, to
a considerable amount, remained unliquidated. Accordingly, the
merchants who conceived themselves aggrieved by the non-recogni-
fr'on of their claims, petitioned the House of Commons for indemni-
' Hans. D. v. 129, p. 1007. T Ib. v. 163, pp. 571-597.
u Ib. v. 134, pp. 392 425. - Com. Pap. 1861, v. 11, p. 515.
IN REGARD TO SUPPLY. 707
fication. Whereupon, on May 24, 1838, an address to the crown Prece-
was moved for an enquiry into the rest of these claims, with a view dents,
to their being satisfied. The government opposed the motion, on the
ground that all the debts which by the law of nations were justly
due had been paid by Great Britain, and that the remainder of the
claims were untenable. Nevertheless, the motion for the address
was carried.* After the vote had been taken, the chancellor of the
exchequer declared that his opinion on the matter remained unaltered,
and that ' considering the serious consequences which may be pro-
duced by such a vote, he begged to say that he undertook no further
responsibility on the question.' y The government, however, upon
further consideration, agreed to pay a portion of the remaining
claims. 2 This being deemed insufficient, in the following session a
similar address was moved and carried, against the government.*
Whereupon the government consented to pay an additional number
of the claims. b The claimants being still unsatisfied, a third address
was passed on June 10, 1841, for the liquidation of the remainder,
assuring her Majesty that the House would make good the same. c
Upon this the government took a stand, and declared that they
would not consent to any further expenditure on this account. The
chancellor of the exchequer stated that the crown had no fund out of
which a further payment could be made, and that it was therefore
no use for the House to ask it to do so. Accordingly, on June 21,
the following reply to the address was reported : That it must at all
times be the most earnest desire of her Majesty to attend to the
wishes of the House of Commons, and that she shall be ready to give
effect to them in this instance, whenever the means shall have been
provided by Parliament. No action was taken by the House upon
this answer. But similar addresses were again proposed and nega-
tived by the House on June 20, 1843, July 9, 1844, and June 26,
1851 ; after which no further application to Parliament on behalf of
the Danish claimants was made until July 12, 1861, when the atten-
tion of the House of Commons was again called to the subject by a
member, who recapitulated the arguments in favour of the claimants,
but contented himself with laying the matter before the House with-
out making any motion. The attorney-general and the chancellor of
the exchequer resisted any renewed agitation of the question, the
latter asserting that whereas the constitution required the concur-
rence of the executive government and of the House of Commons
in any money appropriation, governments of various politics had re-
peatedly denied the justice of these claims, and for the last fifteen
Mir. of Parl. 1838, p. 4247. b See Ib. pp. 4083, 4710; and 1841,
y Ib p. 4255. p. 2250.
z Ib. p. 5096. c Ifi. 1841, p. 2249
Ib. 1839, pp. 3051-3056.
z z 2
THE ROYAL PREROGATIVE
years the House of Commons, though often appealed to, had equally
repudiated the demand, it would be therefore wrong to give further
encouragement to their discussion in Parliament. The subject was
then dropped, and has not since been renewed.
On July 6, 1838, Mr. Gillon moved an address to the crown to
consider the parliamentary grant of an annuity to H.R.H. the Duke
of Sussex, ' with a view to recommend to the House some addition
thereto.' The home secretary (Lord John Russell) resisted the
motion on the ground that the matter was properly cognisable by
the government, whose duty it was to advise an increase of the
allowance if necessary, but who had not thought fit to do so. Sir R.
Peel agreed in this doctrine, and asserted that the interference of the
House would be ' an exceedingly dangerous precedent.' Accordingly
the motion was negatived on division. d
On June 30, 1840, Sir R. H. Inglis moved for a committee to
consider of an address to the crown, declaring the readiness of the
House to make a grant to supply the deficient church accommoda-
tion throughout the kingdom ; and on June 16, 1842, Mr. Ferrand
moved for an address for the advance of one million pounds to relieve
the distress prevailing in the manufacturing districts : both these
motions, notwithstanding the opposition of government, were debated,
but they were each negatived on division.
On February 4, 1847, Lord George Bentinck moved for leave to
bring in a Bill to raise a loan of sixteen million pounds, to encourage
the construction of railroads in Ireland, and to give prompt employ-
ment to the suffering poor in that country. Lord John Russell (the
prime minister) opposed the Bill, but did not object to its introduc-
tion, understanding from the Speaker that, 'in point of form, no
objection existed thereto provided it did not include those money
clauses which would require a previous committee.' e It was after-
wards stated, on the part of government, that the prerogative of the
crown should not be made use of in any way ' to interfere with the
full discussion of the measure.' f Accordingly the Bill proceeded to
a second reading, when, on the motion of the chancellor of the ex-
chequer, it was postponed ' for six months.' s
On July 22, 1862, the case of Captain Grant, who had rendered
great benefits to the army by the introduction of an improved system
of cooking, in barrack and in camp, was brought before the House of
Commons on a motion that his services were ' entitled to recognition.'
This was considered by the government, and was in fact intended, to
be equivalent to a recommendation for a grant of money to this officer;
but the motion had been drawn up in these vague terms in order to
Mir. of Parl. 1838, p. -5306.
Hans. D. v. 89, p. 808.
1 Ib. p. 857.
* Ib. v. 90. p. 123.
IN REGARD TO SUPPLY AND TAXATION. 709
admit of its being discussed without an infringement of the standing Prece-
orders. The secretary of state for war objected to the motion as dents.
being an evasion of the standing orders, and also on its own merits,
contending that the services of Captain Grant were not of a nature
to justify a compensation from the public purse. On division, the
motion was negatived, but only by a majority of one. A few days
afterwards the secretary for war informed the House that, ' in con-
sequence of the opinion expressed by a nearly equal division, the
subject should be further investigated by the government.' h Being
dissatisfied with the amount proposed to be given by the government
to Captain Grant, a motion was made in the House of Commons on
May 20, 1864, for an address to her Majesty to render him ' some
suitable reward for his services ; ' but, after explanations from the
under secretary for war. the motion was negatived on division. 1
In 1864, the government having determined from motives of Yeomanry
economy to refrain from submitting to Parliament the usual vote cavalry.
(of about 46,000.) to defray the cost of assembling the yeomanry
cavalry for the accustomed period of six days' training on permanent
duty, an amendment was moved on March 3 to the motion that the
Speaker do leave the chair for the House to go into committee of
supply on the army estimates, to resolve that the discontinuance of
the drill would be detrimental to the efficiency of the force, inexpe-
dient, and contrary to the recommendations of a departmental com-
mittee in 1861. The government opposed the motion, and contended
that the efficiency of the force would be in no wise impaired by the
temporary suspension of active training. On a division, the amend-
ment was negatived by a majority of one. On May 5 following, the
under secretary for war submitted to the committee of supply a
vote of 39,200. for the training of the yeomanry, alleging that
since the aforesaid division the unexpected advices from New Zea-
land had enabled the government to effect a saving in the estimate
on account of the war in that island, and they were therefore in a
position to continue the usual grant on behalf of the yeomanry
cavalry. On division, the vote was agreed to by a large majority.J
I. (b) The Restrictions upon Parliament in matters of
As no supply can be voted, so no taxes can be im~ proposi-
posed upon the subject, by Parliament, for purposes of cen- n coil ~
public revenue except upon the recommendation of the taxes
crown. k Accordingly any proposition for the levy of a emanate
* Hans. D. v. 168, p. 855. J Ib. p. 45.
' Ib. v. 175, p. 523. k See post, p. 786.
710 THE ROYAL PREROGATIVE
new tax or duty or, for the increase of particular
taxes, excepting when the consideration of Parliament
has been directed to the subject by the crown, should
emanate from the government. 1 But there is a distinc-
tion in this respect between imperial and local taxes.
' No private member is permitted to propose an imperial
tax upon the people ; it must proceed from a minister
of the crown, or be in some other form declared to be
necessary for the public service. But any member may
bring in a Bill to impose heavy local burdens.' m