THE PRIME MINISTER AND SECRETARY OF STATE for FOREIGN AFFAIRS (The Marquees of Salisbury)
My Lords, I have again to ask your attention to a matter outside the ordinary business of the House—a matter of sad and melancholy interest. It is to ask you to pass a vote of condolence to Her Most Gracious Majesty on the lamentable and unexpected death of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg; and also to pass a vote of condolence to the Duchess, whom he loved so much, and who was so deeply respected in this country. My Lords, this case of condolence differs from that which I had to submit to you the other day, in that it has a special interest for this country and for these Houses of Parliament. As in the case of the King of Italy, we have to mourn the loss of a Prince of high merit and of great popularity in this country and in his adopted country during the short time he held the position of ruler there. He was a man who stood high in the profession to which he belonged—a profession which is the most honoured of all among us—and who had an influence and a reputation in that profession which was well earned by his capacity. For this and for many other 391 personal reasons his loss will he deeply felt. But to us there is another and a closer call upon our sympathy, in that the bereavement affects the Sovereign who has been more beloved than any other who has sat on the Throne of this realm. We have to offer our condolence to the Queen on this lamentable loss. In doing so we assure her that we are fully sensible of the loss which she has sustained in the valuable life which has been taken away from her, that her sorrows in these matters are our sorrows, her loss is our loss, and that we submit to Her Majesty the respectful expression of our homage and our deep sympathy, assuring her that in all matters concerning herself and her family our feelings are ever in attendance upon her, over wishful for her welfare, ever grieved at her sorrow; and we earnestly hope that she will lie sustained in this great loss, and continue with unchecked vigour and power to exercise that influence which she has exerted for so long with such splendid results for the prosperity, the honour, and well-being of this country.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
My Lords, I rise to second the motion which has been made by the noble Marquess. I can only echo what he has said with regard to the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg. He was a man who was not merely a conspicuous figure in the Naval service because he was one of the Royal Family; but by universal testimony he was a man who, in any ease, would have occupied a very high position in our Navy, having been, as I am assured by the very best judges, one of the most able and capable officers who served in that noble service.
THE EARL OF KIMBERLEY
But the late Duke of Edinburgh—as I more naturally call him—was not only when on service with the Fleet a most able and efficient officer, but he also devoted himself to the Navy in other capacities. My noble friend Lord Northbrook, who could not be here to-night, reminds me that during the time that he held the post of First Lord of the Admiralty the noble Duke then held the post of Admiral of the Naval Reserve, and in that capacity, my noble friend assures mo, he rendered most admirable administrative services in 392 settling some very difficult questions that arose at the Board of Admiralty and the Board of Trade, and subsequently he presided over a very important Committee which made a Report of great value upon the subject of pensions for widows of seamen. I mention that only to show that the late Duke was unsparing of his time in the public service, and that whatever question ho dealt with he dealt with it with the greatest ability and the greatest devotion to the service of which he was an ornament. My Lords, I must express my deep agreement with the noble Marquess in the words of condolence which he has used with respect to Her Majesty the Queen. That is a feeling which is deep in the hearts of all of her subjects, and those of us who have themselves suffered those sorrows know how deep her sympathy has been with any of her subjects in that position; and she may rest assured that, not only in this House, but throughout the country, the deepest f sympathy is felt with her in this great sorrow. I second the motion.
§ Moved, "That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty to express the deep concern of this House at the great loss which Her Majesty has sustained by the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Her Majesty the Queen, and to condole with Her Majesty on this melancholy occasion; to assure Her Majesty that this House will ever feel the warmest interest in whatever concerns Her Majesty's domestic relations, and to declare the ardent wishes of this House for the happiness of Her Majesty and Her family."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, agreed to, nemine dissentients. Ordered that the said Address be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.
§ Moved, "That this House do condole with Her Royal and Imperial Highness the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duchess of Edinburgh, on the great loss which she has sustained by the death of His Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Edinburgh."—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ On Question, agreed to, nemine dissentiente.