§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £40,500, he granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1911, for expenditure in respect of the funeral of his late Majesty King Edward VII."
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
I beg to move to reduce the Vote by £100.
A few weeks ago a series of questions were put which expressed the feeling of a good number of Members that this House had not been treated with proper consideration in the arrangements for the funeral of the late King. I find, on referring to the past records, that this particular complaint is continually recurring from these benches, and it appears to me that the root of the difficulty lies in the fact that these great State ceremonials are still under the sole control of the Earl Marshal, and the Earl Marshal regards them from a point of view which is naturally quite different from that which is taken by Members of this House. To the Earl Marshal they are merely Court functions, with which Members of this House, and even those who sit upon the Treasury Bench, have very little reason to concern themselves, except, of course, on an occasion like this, when they have to pay for them. It seems to me that the time has now arrived when, at any rate, a share of these ceremonials should be given to an official who might be expected to regard them from a different point of view. The Earl Marshal's point of view was natural enough in the days when these ceremonials were merely a concern of the Royal Family, but now that they are paid for from public funds it seems reasonable that they should be regarded, not simply as Court functions, but as great national demonstrations. One of my Constituents told me that he came up to view the 754 funeral procession, expecting that it would give him an opportunity of seeing all the foremost men of this time. He found, as a matter of fact, that most of those who appeared were Court functionaries, whose names he had never heard before, and who are mere lay figures in the national life. One cannot but think that not only these funeral processions, but all great State ceremonials are still conducted in a manner and on a plan which would be more fitting to a military despotism than to a free democracy. After all, the British nation does not wish to belittle the part that should be played by the military forces, but the British nation does not consist solely of the Army and Navy, the Court and the aristocracy. It appears to me that these national ceremonies ought to he fully representative of all the elements in the national life. I should like to see invitations to attend sent to representatives of science, the learned professions, our local government authorities, this House, the great churches, and all those varied factors which go to fashion the character of our people. I have said that the root of the difficulty appears to lie in the monopoly enjoyed by the Earl Marshal. Surely his position is distinctly unconstitutional. We have always understood that if there is one constitutional doctrine which is clearly established it is that the Minister who presents estimates to this House is held responsible for them and called upon to defend them. A few weeks ago, in answer to questions, the Minister who is supposed to be responsible told us quite distinctly that he was not responsible, that the control over this expenditure is in the hands of this hereditary Court official, over whom this House has no power, and whereas the Minister who is supposed to be responsible to us is merely one member of an advisory committee where he holds his seat by sufferance of the Earl Marshal. If you look through the whole range of the Constitution, you will find that there is only one man who can spend public funds, who can call upon this House to vote the money, and who is free from all the checks of this House, and that man is the Earl Marshal. Surely the time has come when that grossly anomalous and unconstitutional position should come to an end.
The position of the Earl Marshal does not arise on this Supplementary Estimate. The hon. Member 755 is quite entitled to argue that if the House is to grant the money, it ought to have control over it in some way, but the position of the Earl Marshal as such is a question which cannot be discussed on this Vote.
§ Mr. LEES SMITH
I do not suggest any sort of revolution, but I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider this. At present the control of the expenditure of this money is not in his hands, and the sanction for that rests not upon law but upon custom and tradition. Let the custom and tradition be modified, and let the Minister who is responsible to this House have an equal, and I should say in cases of a divergence of opinion a decisive, share in the control of this expenditure. I believe the official who at present spends it is assisted by a committee which consists mainly of other Court officials. Why should the committee not consist of a larger number of persons in touch with this House and a smaller number of Court functionaries? I hope the First Commissioner of Works will allow time for a few speeches before he rises to deal with this complaint. I do not think this ought to be regarded as a mere trivial discussion. If we have a monarchy, let it be regarded seriously. In connection with the monarchy of this country, these public manifestations of loyalty leave a very distinct and a very profound impression upon the character of the people at large. For that reason I think that this question of great State ceremonials is really quite worthy of the full consideration of this Committee. I beg to move the reduction of the Vote by £100.
§ Sir J. D. REES
The hon. Member was good enough to invite a few speeches before the First Commissioner replies. I will make a short speech. I did not need to be reminded by the hon. Member that the monarchy of this country should be taken seriously. Nor can I concur in his recommendation that the office of Earl Marshal ought to be put into commission. He appears to regard the funeral ceremonial of the monarch of this realm as a kind of pageant in which representatives of all kinds should walk in procession in order that visitors from his own and other constituencies may see them. It is not my idea of that ceremonial, and I submit to the House with much respect that the funeral was carried out in an exceedingly reverent spirit. I believe that the manner 756 in which it was carried out and that the predominance which was seen of the military element was far more agreeable to the people of the country who came to see it, and far more suitable to the occasion than a mere procession of gentlemen, however eminent, in black coats. When the hon. Member says that his friends came up to see the most eminent people, I would ask him whether Lord Roberts, Lord Fisher, and Lord Kitchener are not eminent men, because they have been concerned in the defence of their country rather than in criticising its institutions. I submit that the ceremonial was carried out in an admirable manner. One conspicuous feature of which I was myself a witness was the kindly care taken of the onlookers by the police and the military, who are regarded in some quarters with suspicion. They displayed the utmost kindness to persons who fainted and they showed great care and consideration in passing people through the crowds. I submit that the manner in which the ceremony was carried out symbolised the grief of a great empire at the loss of its head. I am not sure that the hon. Member is correct in describing the Earl Marshal as a Court official. I understand that he is the head of a Department and that he has a court in the city, though his court does not sit with the same regularity as those in which the judges preside. I believe that is really his position, and as one who has taken a very subordinate part under the Earl Marshall at the coronation. I submit that the way in which these functions are carried out give satisfaction to the community, that it is desirable that some officer of high rank and independent position, with a free hand to act as intermediary between the Court and the foreign royalties, should exist, that public feeling in regard to this matter has not been given expression to by the hon. Member, that criticism of this function is hardly called for, and that no reduction of the Vote is justified by the circumstances which he has brought before the House.
§ Mr. GEORGE ROBERTS
I think that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has not represented the feelings of those who have taken an interest in this subject. I have no objection to the Army and Navy being represented in State ceremonials, such as the funeral of the late King, and the fact that certain foreign countries sent representatives of their armies and navies undoubtedly tended to 757 give prominence to these particular elements in the ceremonial. What we object to is the omission of the civil and religious elements, and as it were the aggrandisement of the defence forces of the Crown; and we feel that the hon. Member who has raised the question has done a service to the House and to the country in once again bringing the matter forward for consideration. I am able to recall the fact that on the death of the late Queen Victoria my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie) introduced this subject in a like fashion. Undoubtedly there is cause of complaint that this House as such took no part in the late King's funeral. Further than that, we have a grievance, because we regard the late King as having devoted a great deal of his time and his high qualities to the promotion of peace in different countries; and we feel that a place should have been given in this State ceremonial for the purpose of emphasising the great aim and work of the late King in this direction. If no other purpose is served in this respect except to draw attention to this matter, I feel that the time of Parliament has been well spent in having this discussion. Personally I offer no objection to the amount expended on the funeral. In fact, having regard to what one read in the Press—I happened to be abroad at the time, and was, therefore, unable to witness the ceremonial—I contemplated that a larger expenditure would have been involved. But nevertheless I feel that the House of Commons has a right to exercise full control over the expenditure incurred on such occasions as this; and if it be true that the Earl Marshal has full power over the expenditure of public money without in any way being responsible to the House of Commons I submit that here again we have a further grievance in the matter. I do respectfully hope that the right hon. Gentleman in his reply will manifest some sympathy with the point of view that is being expressed in this Debate, and that effect will be given to it on subsequent occasions, we hope long deferred, whenever there will be another Royal funeral, because undoubtedly the Throne is held in very high esteem by the country. It is quite truly said that the King reigns but does not govern. Nevertheless, we are aware of the fact that there is no strong resentment in any part of the land against the Throne or whoever may be the occupant of it for the time being. Therefore, those of us 758 who interest ourselves in this matter do so out of no antagonism to the late King or the present occupant of the Throne, but because we do desire that the various elements comprising the State shall secure proper representation when these ceremonials are taking place; and furthermore that this House of Commons, which is responsible to the people, shall have full control over all expenditure of public money, and that steps shall ultimately be taken whereby individuals, however established they may be, shall have no power to expend public funds, but that the sole power shall remain in the House of Commons, and that these ceremonials in the future shall be so devised that the Army and Navy shall not secure predominance in these processions, but that all sections shall be fully represented, so that we can say then that the King's funeral is truly representative of all elements in the State, and that in all these ceremonials the State through the House of Commons shall have full control over whatever is expended thereon.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
The item to which exception is taken is the last item on page 5, £2,500, including the expenses of the Earl Marshal's staff. I mention this fact so that there may be no misunderstanding. As has been said by my hon. Friend below me, I base this question——
§ Lord BALCARRES
On a point of Order. Is not it the case that the reduction has been moved in respect of the whole item and not in respect of that one item of £2,500?
The reduction was moved on the whole Vote, but that does not affect the point of Order. The hon. Member is equally in order in bringing in that item.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
The point I want to make is the difference that may be made in this Division if it is taken on the whole Vote. It is only in respect of this particular item that objection is being raised. I hope that when a reply comes to be made it will not be on the lines of the reply that was made nine years ago when a similar question was raised in connection with the funeral of her late Majesty Queen Victoria. Sir Michael Hicks Beach, in replying on that occasion, used these words:—If there was a military element, it was largely necessitated by the fact that it was impossible to keep the streets without the aid of military.Speaking for myself, I am not raising any objection to the streets having been 759 lined with military. That has nothing whatever to do with the objection that has been taken. Neither do I altogether agree that an occasion of this sort should be taken as a sort of glorified animated Madame Tussaud's exhibition, in which prominent people would be on view. I say now, as I said then, I should much prefer, both on this and other similar sad occasions, that there should be much greater simplicity and more reverence. But the point is that the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two Houses of Parliament as such, were entirely excluded from recognition in connection with the ceremonials. There was, I know, the service in Westminster Hall; but I am now speaking of the funeral procession itself.
The position I take is this, that the Army is not the head of the State. The Army is the defensive power employed by the State to maintain itself, but the Houses of Parliament control the Army, and are above, beyond, and superior to the Army in the matter of controlling power. Therefore, the leading position on such occasions should not be given to the armed forces of the Crown, which is only one portion of the State, but to the real head of the State, the Houses of Parliament. That is the reason why I take exception to the arrangements. I did so nine years ago. I then pointed out that in my opinion the funeral of her late Majesty Queen Victoria was used as a kind of recruiting service to popularise the Army and military forces generally. On this occasion the King, who was being buried, and who was lauded and glorified, with some reason, as "Edward the Peacemaker," had not a single representative of peace at his funeral. Surely such an anomaly should have been avoided. It would not be in order, nor shall I attempt to discuss the position of the Earl Marshal. What I wish especially to impress upon Members of the Government, and particularly upon the First Commissioner of Works, who, from what he recently said in reply to a question in the House, himself felt the absurdity of the position in which he was placed, is the desirability of consulting Parliament as to the procedure on such occasions, so as to give the House of Commons practical and proper control not only over the provision of the money necessary for those functions, but in the making of the arrangements. The House of Commons represents the nation, and, as such, should occupy the place of honour 760 at every such function. To assent to anything else without protest is to assume that we are still living in the feudal ages, and the Earl Marshal's position practically comes down from those times. My general position is that I object on principle to solemn and serious State functions of this kind being used as a means of still further familiarising the public mind with militarism and all that pertains to it. I hope, therefore, that if a Division requires to he taken on this subject the House will come to an understanding. It is not the amount that was spent which is objected to; it is solely and exclusively the one fact that the Houses of Parliament had not their rightful recognition and their rightful place in connection with the ceremony.
§ The FIRST COMMISSIONER of WORKS (Mr. Harcourt)
I certainly do not intend, as my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton seems to fear, to treat this as a trivial discussion. I can only express my deep regret that our memories of one of the most beautiful State ceremonials that I think has ever been witnessed in this country should have been temporarily marred by any dissatisfaction with the arrangements made on that occasion. I should like first of all to explain a misunderstanding which seems to have arisen as to the answer which I gave to a question on this matter. It seems to have been assumed from the wording of my answer that I was anxious to avoid personal responsibility and to shift an undue amount of it on to the Earl Marshal, who is, of course, nominally and properly responsible. That certainly never was my wish or intention. I think it right to explain to the House that I had no pretension to sole authority in the management of these affairs, which have been by long custom, in most cases, controlled by the Court officials. But in reference to this Vote which is before us to-day the amount which is applicable to the staff of the Earl Marshal is so small as to be a negligible quantity. The other expenses are accounted for under the different heads of Departments responsible for them; that is to say, my Department is responsible for an extremely small share of that expenditure, considering the very large amount of work which it had to do. But on the general suggestion that in some way or other the Houses of Parliament have been neglected as to consideration in relation to the funeral on this occasion, special steps were taken to give a recognition to both 761 Houses of Parliament such as never has taken place at the funeral of any Monarch before. I am not, of course, referring actually to the procession on the day of the funeral. Processions frequently are extremely difficult to organise. They are not always successful if you introduce a large civilian element. I mean in the actual moving and marshalling of the procession.
But there was no attempt on that day to exclude the representatives of the State. The hon. Member is probably aware that the representatives of almost every interest in this country were included within the small space available in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, yet, by the arrangements of the obsequies of the late King, positions of great distinction were given to the two Houses of Parliament. For the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall arrangements were made by which both Houses were able to take part in the stately and memorable ceremony in that Hall. During the days of the lying-in-state an enormous number of the late King's subjects with reverence passed his coffin lying in a hall instinct with the memory of so many rites. I do not believe, within the time at our disposal, that it would have been possible to make arrangements by which greater consideration could have been shown to the governing powers of the two Houses of Parliament. Hon. Members, who have never been through this work of a royal funeral in detail, will have little idea of what it was, within three or four days, to carry out a great State procession to and from a palace in which the lying-in-state of the Monarch had never been held before. I am quite sure hon. Gentlemen will admit that there was no want of personal and individual consideration shown to Members of this House and Members of the other House. If there has been any feeling that the Houses were not sufficiently considered on the day of the actual funeral I should deeply regret it if I thought there was any real justification for it. With the difficulty of including not only this House, as apparently hon. Members suggest, but the representatives of other bodies all over the country in a moving procession over a limited line of route, I do not think anybody would contemplate or attempt the organisation of that which it was absolutely impossible to carry out.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
The Speaker of the House of Commons attended the ceremony at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, with, of course, the representatives of a number of other classes in the country. I do not think that I could usefully add anything to what I have already said, and I hope that the House will accept my assurance, first of all as to my own responsibility in the matter for a large part of the arrangements, I hope they will also accept from me the statement that the Earl Marshal is the mildest autocrat that I have ever met officially, and I can assure them that throughout my work with him I have experienced the greatest anxiety on his part to consult the convenience of all classes of His Majesty's subjects.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
I do not agree with the hon. Member for Norwich (Mr. G. Roberts) in his statement that in a great, wealthy, magnificent country like this any great State ceremonial, whether it be Coronation or funeral, should be marked by simplicity. I think, on the contrary, that it should be marked by the magnificence that attaches to a country like this. On that point I am not inclined to call in question any single item of expenditure that may be necessary to ensure the becoming magnificence of ceremonials of this sort. But the hon. Member has raised a question of very great importance, and that is the kind of character that should attach to ceremonials of this sort. Should they be merely naval and military, as though this was a purely fighting country? Should they not, at any rate, include representatives of both Houses of Parliament, as representatives, and thereby indicate to the world at large what is the truth, that this is in fact a civil country, governed by civil governors, who only use the Army and Navy for the maintenance of the civil authority? From that point of view both as regards the Coronation of the late King and with regard to the funeral, my sense of the constitutional proprieties has been somewhat tried by the fact that upon neither occasion—and I will confine myself to this House—was the House of Commons as a House of Commons, or the Speaker of the House as Speaker, with his Mace and with his House, so much as recognised, much less represented.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
Let me say that the presence of the hon. Member, encouraging and honouring as it was to that ceremonial, does not amount to the presence of the House of Commons as such, or of the Speaker of the House as such.
§ Sir J. D. REES
What I said was that I saw the House of Commons at the Coronation, having been there in a humble capacity myself.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
The hon. Member does not apprehend my point. No doubt there were individual Members of the House present. I believe it is a fact that the Speaker was present, but he was not present as Speaker, with all the insignia of office, as were others on that occasion, with the Mace and the Serjeant-at-Arms in full ceremonial and robes. That is what I say—there was no real official recognition of this House either at the late Coronation or at the late funeral, and I do submit that thereby both those ceremonials lost much of their true significance; that that resulted in the presentation of this country to the world upon very solemn occasions as being a military country and a country identified with arms either ashore or afloat, and entirely disregarding the representatives of the people, who, after all, are much more important than the representatives of the Army or the Navy, I think is deplorable. I do trust in any further ceremonial of this kind, such as the next Coronation, that there will be recognition of this House, and that this House as a House, and Mr. Speaker as Mr. Speaker, will attend, and will have due place in the ceremonial. I would not go so far as the hon. Member and require the attendance of trade unions and friendly societies, which are very respectable representative bodies, but which are represented in this House. If you take this House you really admit the whole of the population of the country. That would suffice, but I humbly suggest that in no State ceremonial does anything less suffice.
I have risen very considerably to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Commissioner of Works a question. We have got down here the expenses of the funeral of his late Majesty King Edward VII. as £40,500, which we are asked to Vote. Is that the whole expenditure on that ceremonial, and the reason I ask the question is to be found in the Report of the Public Accounts Committee of 1904? In 1902 this 764 House voted the expenses of the Coronation of his late Majesty, a sum of £125,000, not at all too much, nor, were it much more, in my opinion, would it be too much. Being then a Member of the Public Accounts Committee, and knowing by bitter experience that almost all the accounts presented to this House relating to public affairs are—well, I will not use the word false, I will say inaccurate, inadequate, and incomplete, knowing that as I did I called upon the Treasury to say whether that was the total that had been expended. The result was that I had presented to me a paper, which is now before me, showing that the cost of the Coronation was not £125,000, but £359,000, and that the excess of over £250,000, let the Committee observe, over the sum voted had been drawn from the Army, Navy, Foreign Office, Dublin Metropolitan Police, and other Votes in this House the result being that the total was concealed from the House and concealed from the public. Let there be no mistake about it. I do not at all complain that the total was too much, but I think it was not, for the honour of the King or to the credit of the Treasury that the true sum should have been concealed. I would have agreed to twice the sum, but I do not like being deceived in my accounts. This is an old question that I have raised in this House, but let me point out the importance of it. In this case the Army, for instance, was charged £130,000, as though it were for Army services, whereas it was for ceremonial services; and the fact was that the Army service was starved to the extent of £130,000, which was taken and applied to a ceremonial, a very proper and very necessary ceremonial. You took the Vote for a certain sum for the ceremonial. and charged the quarter of a million extra upon other Votes, with the result that you starved your Army to that extent in money for manœuvres and training, and that is the result of deceptive accounts. The evil does not stop with the deception, but it extends to the impoverishing of the actual Service for which the sum has been voted. This is a very important matter. Can the right hon. Gentleman lay his hand upon his heart with that grace which always becomes him when he does that particular thing, and assure me that this sum we are asked to Vote for the funeral expenses is the whole of the sum, and will he undertake that there shall not be, as there was in the case of the Coronation of his late lamented 765 Majesty, further sums charged upon other Votes, which are not imparted to us on this occasion? I trust he will be able to give that assurance, because it will be a new departure, and a departure in dealing, I hope, for the future with candour and completeness with all the accounts presented to this House, and with all the facts submitted to it.
I trust he will not think me painfully tiresome in pressing this point, which has been borne upon me day after day and year after year as one of the great evils from which this country suffers. One of the reasons why our expenditure is as great as it is is that the country is deceived in all its accounts. There is not a single account, presented as it is, that is not incomplete. Again I avoid the use of the word "false," although that would be the proper term to apply. The accounts of the debt, the accounts of expenditure, the Votes for specific objects—they are all incomplete and deceiving; and everything connected with our finances is consequently presented in a way that brings deception to the public. I therefore hope that upon this occasion my right hon. Friend, who I am sure is honest, and who I am equally sure does not intend to deceive the House of Commons, will be able to assure us that this Vote does represent the total, that it is not to be added to, as in the case of the Coronation, by sums drawn from other Votes, and that we do really know the total cost of this most important ceremonial.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
With the fear of the hon. Member as a financial purist in my heart, I can lay my hand upon my pocket and assure him that this amount represents the whole of the cost of the late King's funeral, and that if there is any variation it will be in the direction of ultimate saving when all the accounts are dealt with, and the surrendering of a part of the sum now asked for. On one point I think there is a very real lapse of memory on the part of the hon. Member. Both at the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall and at the late King's Coronation the whole of both Houses of Parliament attended, and in each case they were accompanied by the Speaker as Speaker, with the Mace.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
May I say that my information came from Mr. Speaker Gully himself, who told me that he was not to attend with the Mace nor in his robes, but that he was to attend only as a Privy Councillor. It was upon 766 that information I made my statement, and I believe I shall be found to be correct.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I have made inquiry on the subject, and I am assured that he did attend with the Mace.
§ Mr. C. E. PRICE
I should like to refer, first, to the provision made for Members' wives. In many cases they were unable to find their places. In view of the approaching Coronation, I think greater provision should be made for the ordinary civil display. At the last Coronation I think it was far too much of a military display, to the exclusion of the various civil elements, and I hope an effort will be made to avoid that at the coming ceremony. May I ask upon what grounds representatives only of the Established Church of England take part in these ceremonies? We have in Scotland an established church, Presbyterian in form, but neither at the funeral service nor at the Coronation were any representatives from that particular branch of the Church established by law present. In view of the fact that the King is not only King of England, but also King of Scotland, I think that as long as we have an established church in Scotland representatives of that church should find a place in these ceremonies.
§ 1.0 P.M.
§ Mr. GEORGE YOUNGER
May I remind the hon. Member that at the late funeral Lord Rosebery was present as Captain of the Royal Company of Archers, and that, I think, was quite sufficient representation of Scotland on that occasion. Of course, it is quite another matter to talk about representation at the service. That could easily be arranged.
§ Mr. J. KING
I notice in the item "Sundry Expenses, £2,500," that the Irish Constabulary come in for £150. Possibly that amount is so satisfactory to the Irish Members as to account for none of them being present to-day. The Dublin Metropolitan Police also come in for £105. But where are the Scottish police, and especially where are the Metropolitan Police? In connection with the funeral of his late Majesty a very great additional amount of work and strain must have been put upon the Metropolitan Police, and I am somewhat surprised that no item for them is included in this Vote. There is a general feeling, at any rate in London, that the Metropolitan Police carried out their duties on that occasion with great 767 tact, patience, and satisfaction to all concerned, and personally I should have liked to have seen £1,000 or so added to the Vote in order that their virtue and services on that occasion might in some small way have been recognised. I should like to support the view, which I believe is shared by the House generally, that on these great State occasions the nation, not only in its naval and military aspects, but in its civil aspects and especially in the aspect of its civil government, should be represented. This country is more and more devoted to the Crown—as personally I confess I am as I grow older and wiser—because it is felt that the Crown is broad based on the people's will, and because the august occupants of the Throne have from time to time in ever-increasing measure shown their sympathy with all great movements of the people, not only with those connected with the Army and the Navy, but with those educational, religious, and other movements which make up the national life. I therefore very strongly hope that on future occasions the right hon. Gentleman, whose heart is always in the right place, will do what he can to ensure that due representation is given, not only to the Army and the Navy, but to the civil and Parliamentary representatives of the nation.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
The First Commissioner of Works, in his reply to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie), said that our complaint possibly might be considered rather a trifling view to put forward in criticising the ceremony of the late King. I think it is a very deep-seated feeling amongst the general body of our people——
§ Mr. J. WARD
I am glad to hear that, and I immediately make the correction. I was under the impression that it was thought to be quite a trifling matter, whereas, as a matter of fact, I should think that the feelings of the people have been more outraged than possibly on any other occasion. Here was a King who was noted for his work on behalf of peace. He, more than anyone, probably took more time and paid more attention to the civic life of our people, and to the propagation of peace principles, not only amongst his own people, but amongst the Powers of 768 Europe and the world. Then comes this peculiar circumstance that he should be buried and that this State ceremony should be solely composed of the military element. It is practically an outrage upon his memory that it should have been so. Many people thought so. It is not the position that Members of the House of Commons occupied. I was quite prepared to get a glimpse of the procession from any point. I do not mind mixing with the crowd. But when one remembers what was the record of King Edward, and what he wished to be known as, the thing is inappropriate. I remember well being on a committee connected with the peace and arbitration when a certain method was presented, and certain suggestions were made for medals.
I need not say more except that the clear view indicated was that King Edward wished to be known as a great worker on behalf of the principles of peace throughout the world. That his funeral procession should be entirely composed of the military element was really most grotesque. I hope that such a thing will not occur again. But it is not merely that: the thing ought to go a little deeper. It shows that after all that amongst the official governors of the country the military element is the chief element, and practically the only element that they consider worth taking into account on occasions of this description. That is a fatal frame of mind. It is in complete opposition to the general wish and the general feelings of the country. I rise to support my Friends, not because of any part we wanted to play in the procession. That would be trifling with the whole subject—the exclusion of the civil authority, the exclusion of the civil idea.
We are, after all, a great industrial nation. Our power is almost entirely a civil power. Ours is a commercial nation, and that we should glorify the soldier at the expense of the citizen in the way we did on that occasion I do not think, if he could have been consulted upon the subject, would have been at all satisfactory to the object of our reverence.
§ Lord BALCARRES
It is not part of my duty to hold a brief for the First Commissioner of Works, but I cannot but think that the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has not treated the right hon. Gentleman with that generosity and fairness that might have been expected. The hon. Member makes a confusion between the procession and the ceremony connected 769 with the funeral of His late Majesty. There were three sections of the obsequies. The first was the lying-in-state in Westminster Hall, to which, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, for the first time in our history, the two Houses of Parliament, as such, were exclusively summoned. That in itself answers much of the criticism that has been made that Parliament, as such, was ignored. In the second place, there was the procession from Westminster Hall to the station. The right hon. Gentleman has pointed out that it was a very long procession, requiring a good deal of marshalling, which was far from a simple affair, and was not one in which the civilian element of the population could be so well represented as at the final ceremony in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. In that chapel, in the final and culminating event of these great ceremonies, I venture to say that for every British soldier present there was at least ten civilians. It is not wise or right to suggest, as some hon. Members apparently did, that the Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor, or Mr. Speaker should have walked in the procession. They were present in person at St. George's Chapel, where the civil aspect of our British Empire was most properly and most reverently represented.
As to the official position of Parliament in the matter, the hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn seemed to indicate that Parliament—Mr. Speaker leading the procession, and preceded by the Mace—was the embodiment of our civic status, and should have been represented at the ceremony. According to the precedent Parliament has taken as such in its collective capacity to be present at great State ceremonials, that was so in the year 1872 at the thanksgiving service on behalf of his late Majesty. In 1887, however, this House, qua House, did not attend, but delegated its representation to Mr. Speaker. If the House of Commons, as such, preceded by Mr. Speaker and the Mace, is represented on one of these occasions, it becomes impossible for Members of the House of Commons to accompany their relatives to the ceremony. Therefore, at the last Coronation, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for King's Lynn has pointed out, the Members of both Houses attended the ceremony personally, and not as Members collectively of the Houses of Parliament. That was a great source of personal convenience. But I think, if we are to be represented on such occa- 770 sions as this, it would be well to consider if we should not follow the precedent of 1887, and pass a Resolution, as on that occasion, asking the Speaker to represent us, and that we should not go collectively, as has been suggested by hon. Members.
§ Mr. GIBSON BOWLES
May I say that since the question of fact came into dispute between me and the First Commissioner I have referred to the Journal on the occasion of the late Coronation, and I find that on that day the House was adjourned. It had been adjourned on the previous day until 16th October, and there was in fact no House. I also communicated with those best qualified to know the circumstances, and they have informed me that, as I said, Mr. Speaker Gully did not attend the Coronation in his robes or with the Mace or as Speaker of this House, but attended in his individual capacity as a Privy Councillor. I think the right hon. Gentleman will recognise that, upon this occasion as upon some others, although my opinions may be wrong, my facts cannot be challenged.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I had an uneasy feeling all along that the hon. Member was probably right on this occasion, as he nearly always is, and I made some inquiries while he was speaking of those who knew the facts. I find ho was right, and I now make him the usual amende. I shall never venture to doubt any statement of his in reference to such matters in future. My hon. Friend the Member for Somerset mistook the item in reference to the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin police. These sums were merely for the expenses of bringing over delegations from these forces to attend the funeral. As to what he said about the Metropolitan Police, nobody can fail to agree as to the admirable services they rendered to the public throughout those days of extremely heavy strain. Their services have been, I am glad to say, properly recognised and recompensed by a grant of additional pay made by the Home Secretary.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I would prefer that question was addressed to the Home Secretary. I am not acquainted with the finances of the Metropolitan Police. I am obliged to the Noble Lord the Member for Chorley for having reminded the House that, after all, the actual procession 771 for the conveyance of the remains from one part of London to the railway station was not the real ceremonial, and I agree with him that when it came to the real ceremonial the military element was quite negative. That to my mind was an entirely civilian ceremonial.
§ Mr. MARKHAM
I protest against the speech of the Noble Lord the Member for Chorley because I think it is not merely the personal feelings of Members of this House that should be considered on occasions such as we are now discussing. I hope the First Commissioner will convey to the Prime Minister what I am sure is the wish of the House that upon the occasion of these State ceremonials this House should be represented—I do not say whether by Mr. Speaker and the Mace and the officials of the House—but at any rate that this House should be represented. I do not think it is enough to say we are represented by the mere fact of both Houses having met in Westminster Hall, because when the remains of the late King were brought there it was inevitable that both Houses should have been there to receive them. I think I am voicing the sense of the House when I say this House, with Mr. Speaker and the Mace, or such other arrangements as may be thought desirable, should be represented at these great State ceremonials.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
The hon. Member has said it is the desire of the House that such-and-such things should occur. I do not know for whom he speaks. For my part I am perfectly satisfied with the arrangements that were made. I do not want any better, and I take this opportunity of congratulating the right hon. Gentleman upon them.
§ Mr. MORTON
Everybody is anxious to do the right thing in connection with the memory of the late King, and therefore we are all agreed about that. But it does appear to have been very expensive, and there was, no doubt, a great deal of money wasted. No one thinks of economy nowadays. It is a race and a rush to get rid of the money as fast as possible. Some day, perhaps, there will be no money to get rid of. Were the police paid out of this money or out of the rates? If the right hon. Gentleman cannot answer that and if the Home Secretary could, the Home Secretary should be here. I admit the police did their work well and are entitled to the 772 extra pay, and perhaps they did not get quite enough. We in the City lent 522 police, and we made no charge for them, though we paid the police for their extra services.
There has been a strong complaint that Members of this House were not properly provided for in order to see the procession. They were given tickets to the Horse Guards Parade, or somewhere about there. I did not go there myself, but I understand that the accommodation was very bad, and that officials were placed in front of Members of Parliament and their relations. Along the route in Whitehall there are a number of office windows. Why were these windows not offered to Members of this House to see the procession? I understand that these office windows were given to officials. Why paid officials should be put in front of Members of Parliament I cannot understand; and I think we are entitled to have an explanation as to why these windows were not offered to Members of Parliament who desired to pay their respects to the memory of the late King. We are all most anxious, and I personally am most anxious to do justice to the memory of the late King. We raise this question now simply because we think there has been extravagance, and because we think Members of this House were not properly treated.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
I have already, before the hon. Member came into the House, answered most of the question he put.
§ Mr. HARCOURT
No, not on that point. The windows in the offices in Whitehall were at the disposal that day of those who usually occupy those offices.
§ Mr. CARLILE
The hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr. Markham) and other speakers who have addressed the House seem to forget that the procession to the railway station was merely in the nature of an escort, and could not suitably be composed of other elements than those which were present upon that occasion. I think if hon. Members could realise that they would see that the arrangements made by the right hon. Gentleman and the Earl Marshal were the only really suitable ones. I am sure most of them will agree with us that the arrangements were admirably carried out.
§ Mr. MORTON
I should like to say, in reply to the right hon. Gentleman, that hi[...] 773 answer is eminently unsatisfactory, and to repeat my complaint that amidst all this expenditure no provision was made at all for the Members of this House.
§ Mr. HENRY TERRELL
The hon. Member, first of all, complains of the expenditure of public money, and then he complains that more money was not spent to provide accommodation for the Members of this House. What right have the Members of this House to ask that money shall be spent to provide them with special facilities?
§ Mr. HENRY TERRELL
Members of this House are sent here to perform certain duties and we have no call upon public money except such as will enable us to discharge those duties. We often see proposals made for the accommodation of Members of this House to go down to see the docks or the Fleet, or something of that kind, and I protest against it very strongly. We have no right to any privileges whatever beyond those enjoyed by the members of the public, and we certainly have no right to expect that public money shall be spent or public buildings or offices set apart for the accommodation of Members of this House.
The Noble Lord opposite (Lord Balcarres) said my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. Ward) was confusing certain things, but I think it was the Noble Lord himself who was confused, and not my hon. Friend. The Noble Lord said the Members of this House and of the House of Lords had facilities for viewing the body and for taking part in the ceremony when the body of the late King was brought to Westminster Hall, and he expressed the opinion that that was all that could be expected in the way of facilities. He also said the fact that we were represented in some capacity—I did not gather exactly what—at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, was another evidence of the way in which the views and position of this House were considered. He fails, apparently, to understand the ground of our complaint. It is not that we as individuals had no opportunity of being present. For my part, except in representative capacity, I would never go to any ceremonial service; I have a constitutional dislike to them. We are not complaining that we personally had any slight offered to us, that the facilities were not sufficient, or that we did not get 774 any aggrandisment from the ceremony. We object to the inflated importance given to the Army and the Navy, to the display of military pomp, and to the total inability to recognise that this country is not dependent mainly upon its Army and Navy, but upon its commercial and industrial activities. Whether or not we push our arguments so far as to ask for the inclusion of representatives of commerce, science and art, we hold that this House, the governing body of the people, should have been represented on such occasions. Of course, I would gladly see the House of Lords abolished, but as long as that House is in existence, I think it also ought to be represented at such times.
The Noble Lord suggested that because we were in some sense represented in Westminster Hall and St. George's Chapel that that was all that was required. But the procession afforded the best opportunity of the common people seeing something of the funeral obsequies, because it was there that the funeral arrangements came into closest touch with the ordinary people; and that is the place—and, so far as I am concerned, I should not bother at all had it been the only place—where the Civil Power ought to have had representation. After all, these processions have an object. I say frankly, and with a due regard to what I am saying, that I believe these ceremonials have been deliberately conceived in order to foster a love for pomp and ceremonial, and to inflate the importance of the Army and Navy to the disadvantage of the Civil element in our Government. I would like in all future ceremonials—and I believe the feeling is shared very largely in this House—to see the Civil powers represented so as to give to the people a moving picture really representative of national activities, and not merely a one-sided military affair. I think right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will agree that this nation has been made great not only by our Army and Navy—though we may admit they have played their part—but by our industrial and commercial activities, by our science and inventions, and so on, and in my opinion all these things ought to have representation at such ceremonials. The Noble Lord says you put everything into a profession. Very well, chop down the Army and Navy, and let their places be taken by others representing peaceful arts and inventions. In spite of what the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London has said, I 775 hope this Debate will represent the desire of the House that the civil power, as representing the people in reality, shall on such occasions be given due weight and prominence.
§ Mr. MORTON
It has been suggested that I want to spend more money. That is absolutely incorrect; it would not cost anything to look out of a window.
§ Amendment put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ Resolution to be reported.
§ Whereupon the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next (18th July).