House Of Commons
Monday, April 10 1826.
Salary To The President Of The Board Of Trade
The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved, that the report of the committee of the whole House on the Civil List Act be now received.
said, he would take that opportunity, before the report was brought up, to enter his protest against this proceeding, and to express his astonishment, that his majesty's ministers should have chosen that very peculiar time for proposing one of the most uncalled-for acts that could be conceived—that of making an unnecessary addition to the burthens of the country, and to the number of placemen and pensioners now sitting in the House of Commons. Every gentleman must recollect what had fallen from the chancellor of the Exchequer in the speech which he had delivered upon introducing the budget a few weeks ago. He had declared how much he disliked the patronage which, as a minister of the Crown, was intrusted to his hands. He had talked of that, patronage in a very proper manner, when he designated it as "paltry patronage," and assured the House that he wished to get rid of it. This was what the right hon. gentleman professed; but the question was, what did he do? Why, in the teeth of his profession, he came down to the House, and asked, as a matter of course, that they would split one placeman into two, and thus make a considerable addition to the already too powerful patronage of the Crown. He did not, on this, or on any other occasion, wish to attach a fanciful importance to any question. He did not suppose that one additional placemn would ruin the constitution, unless it were much deteriorated before; but he had a right to call on the chancellor of the Exchequer to assign his reasons for dividing one place into two. He knew that some of the poorer bishops were allowed to hold other offices, to make up for the deficiency of their annual revenue, Thus the bishop of Bristol had been suffered to retain the mastership of Trinity college, Cambridge, on account of the smallness of his income. But, did any one ever hear of a proposal to remunerate that bishop, by granting him the full extent of his income for performing the duties of one office, while a second person was employed to do the duties of the other; thus employing two individuals to execute that which had previously been very well done by one? The onus of proving the necessity of this proceeding retted with his majesty's ministers. All that he and his friends had to do was to object to it. The gentlemen on the other side of the House were bound to show, that the duties attached to the office of Treasurer of the Navy and President of the Board of Trade, had not been heretofore efficiently performed by one person. Nothing of this kind had, however, been asserted. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Huskisson) did not state that he could not do the business of both situations. The right hon. gentleman said, he would prefer attending solely to the duties which devolved on the President of the Board of Trade—that was, to perform the business of one office, instead of two, with a better salary; which was natural enough. And here let it be observed, that he made no objection to the increase of that right hon. gentleman's salary. Very far from it. That was not the question; but whether they were to have two officers of the Crown in the House of Commons instead of one? His right hon. friend, the member for Knaresborough, had told them, on Friday night, that when he filled the office of Treasurer of the Navy, in time of war, he performed the duties adequately, by devoting one hour each day to that object. No answer was given to that statement. It remained uncontradicted. The chancellor of the Exchequer only said, that a considerable degree of anxious responsibility was attached to the situation, for which an officer of the Crown ought to be adequately remunerated. That was what he understood the right hon. gentleman to say. Now, he would ask, was the country to pay 2,500l. a year on account of this anxious responsibility—not for the duty, as nothing had been said about that? They must, if such was the case, come to inquire what that responsibility was? The chancellor of the Exchequer was asked to define that responsibility. According to his own showing, he had felt a very great anxiety to be released by the lords of the Treasury, when Mr. Tweedie and some other person had become defaulters. But, in point of fact, the responsibility alluded to by the right hon. gentleman was none at all; because it was found that he was not in fault, and therefore he stood absolved. Responsibility, according to the real signification of the word, must mean the liability of a man's fortune to make good the deficiencies occasioned by the running away of any of his underlings. But, as in the case of Mr. Tweedie, if the individual who was at the head of an office was not called upon to make good the deficiency occasioned by the malpractices of his clerks, there was no responsibility. It appeared to him that there was no necessity for any responsibility whatever. He thought the business of the office might be so arranged, that the public could not be losers by the rascality or improper conduct of subaltern agents. The chancellor of the Exchequer had stated, that some labour had been added to the office, in consequence of the arrangement relative to seamen's wills: but that part of the duty was now provided for by act of parliament, and the additional labour had been removed [hear]. If he was mistaken in this or any other of his positions, that very circumstance afforded a reason for granting that inquiry into the nature and arrangements of the office for which his hon. friend had called. What cause, he again demanded, could be assigned for proposing this measure at the present time? He really thought that in bringing it forward his majesty's ministers had not treated the right hon. gentleman fairly. That right hon. gentleman undoubtedly deserved much of his country. He had acquired popularity—but that popularity ought not to be made to carry weight [hear, hear.]. To ask to do that which was highly improper, because the right hon. gentleman had done some acts which deserved approbation, and had obtained him considerable popularity, was not a fit way in which to treat the House or the right hon. gentleman. He did not very well know in what way most effectually to oppose this proposition; but he believed the best would be, to resist the bringing up of the report, and thus give gentlemen an opportunity to enter their protest against this very objectionable measure. He did not like to use harsh words. His hon. friend, the member for Taunton (Mr. Baring), had, however, called this a job. He did not know that; it was so; but certainly it looked very like it. The right hon. Secretary for Foreign Affairs had told them that these offices were formerly divided. He knew that; but they had been since united, and he could not conceive why they should now go back to the old system, and employ two persons to do those duties which were efficiently performed by one. It was said to be very hard on his majesty's ministers to raise objections to this proposition. For his own part, he thought it was more hard on his majesty's opposition [a laugh] to compel them to take this course. Where was the necessity for dragging them through the mire, and obliging them to resist an augmentation of the salary of the right hon. gentleman in the mode now proposed? He thought that his majesty's ministers had made use of the right hon. gentleman's character in away which they ought not to have done; namely, for the purpose of carrying an improper measure. There was not a thinking man in the country who did not look at the proceeding as an attempt to add to the number of placemen in that House, and to take an additional sum of money from the pockets of the people. While he opposed the measure, however, let not the right hon. gentleman think for a moment that that opposition was directed against him. Quite the contrary. He should strenuously oppose the bringing up of the report, in order to give those who coincided in opinion with him, an opportunity of recording their dissent from this unconstitutional mode of doing a very unnecessary act.
said, that the right hon. the chancellor of the Exchequer had got much praise, and acquired considerable popularity, in consequence of his repeated declarations in favour of economy, and the anxiety he had shown to lighten the burthens of the country: but, on the present occasion, his principles and his practice appeared to be at variance. He strongly objected to this measure, because he conceived that ministerial influence in that House was more than sufficient at present. The ministerial benches were amply supplied with individuals holding pensions from the Crown. That House ought to be considered a constitutional check on the Crown; but how could that check exist, if they were every day adding to its influence?
Mr. Secretary Canning
said, that on a question which had excited so much personal feeling, he was very anxious before the House came to a vote, to state, in as few words and as clearly as he could, his own individual view of the subject. Nothing, he thought, could more decidedly prove the spirit of fairness which actuated him, than by assuring the hon. gentleman who opposed the bringing up of the report, that he would take no advantage whatever of the course which he had pursued; but he would view his opposition merely as an obstruction to a grant which he would not dislike, if proposed in some other manner. The hon. member had demanded two or three times, "Why do you bring forward this measure at the present moment? Why do you take so unfavourable an opportunity to introduce it?" Now, the fact was, that the opportunity was not selected by his majesty's government, neither did the suggestion emanate from them. It originated, not with his majesty's government, but with those whom the hon. gentleman had designated his majesty's opposition [a laugh]. He could assure the hon. gentleman that ministers had not the least idea of proposing any augmentation of salary, until the suggestion came from the other side of the House. It was unquestionably true that the suggestion was made at a time when the situation of the country was different from that in which it was placed at present; but that was the misfortune of ministers, not their fault. Their misfortune was, that they had to execute at a less favourable moment, that which the gentlemen opposite had proposed at a more favourable one. That suggestion or proposition was, at the time, received with acclamation; but now the attempt to carry it into effect called forth bitter criticism and severe remark. If ministers had, this year, shrunk from proposing any measure of this kind, on account of any difficulties that existed, he was convinced that the gentlemen opposite would have expressed their dissatisfaction. And he would tell the hon. gentleman further, not only that ministers were not responsible for proceeding at this moment, I but that the suggestion had reached them in this way—that if the government did not stir in this matter, some gentlemen on the other side of the House would take it up [hear]. His majesty's ministers, therefore, were no more responsible for the choice of time than they were for originating the measure. He declared, that, although he should be very sorry to stand in the way of any advantage to be derived by his right hon. friend from the intended arrangement, yet if he were called upon to make his election between sacrificing the Treasurership of the Navy and granting a salary to the President of the Board of Trade, he would do his utmost to protect the former office. He would do it upon principle, and because he should fear to do any thing in the way of dilapidating and demolishing the ancient and dignified offices of the state. He ridiculed the idea of a necessary and inseparable union between the two offices as being contrary to their direct history. In questions of official reform there was nothing so apt for their reference as the economical reform of Mr. Burke in 1782, the speech upon which had now become full as much a monument of genius as a record of history. Mr. Burke had succeeded in abolishing the Board of Trade altogether, and doing away the salaries which amounted to 8,000l. or 10,000l. a year. The business afterwards devolved upon a president, vice-president, and committee chosen from the privy council. In the same speech Mr. Burke had proposed alterations in the offices of the army paymasters, and the Treasurer of the Navy: but he deprecated at the same time any attempt to do away with the importance, much less the existence of either of those offices, because of the rank of the persons who generally filled them. They were generally persons of the highest rank; by which he meant to say a person of eminence and consideration in that House. So far was that great man from the intention of bringing down the fair resources of government, that he only wished to remove from the office of the Treasurer of the Navy a great mass of business which, he thought, would be better conducted by the Bank of England. Though he would have stripped it of that show of business, he proved it to be his own opinion that the office itself ought to form a part of the efficient means of government: he respected it, too, because it was an ancient office, and had always been found useful in forming a government, and because it was, in his opinion, a fit office "for men of the highest eminence and consideration in the House." At that time the Treasurer of the Navy enjoyed large emoluments, as he and the paymaster of the forces held in their hands large balances of the public money. Mr. Burke provided for the separate existence of the office, though he took away this source of advantage from it, by causing all sums in hand to be transferred to the Bank of England. From that period the office had been as often held separately as with another office. Mr. Dundas held it with the presidency of the Board of Control, which, in 1790, was made a salaried office, and the sum fixed upon was 2,000l., in contemplation, as it was then declared, of the 4,000l. a year which he held as Treasurer of the Navy. Mr. Ryder, now lord Harrowby, succeeded to the treasurer-ship of the Navy in 1799, but not to the presidency of the: Board of Control. Mr. Bathurst succeeded to it, without any other office annexed in 1801. In 1803, the right hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Tierney) succeeded Mr. Bathurst, with out the annexation of any other office, He himself succeeded the right hon. gentleman, without the annexation of any other office or business. Mr. Sheridan succeeded him in 1806, and was succeeded by Mr. George Rose in 1807. The occupation of Mr. Rose was a singular exemplification, in both ways of viewing it, of the error of conceiving the Presidency of the Board of Trade and the Treasurership of the Navy to be inseparably united. Mr. Rose held the office from 1807 to 1812, in conjunction with a much more onerous office—the vice-presidency of the Board of Trade. At the latter period he declined the onerous office of vice-president, and continued to hold the office of Treasurer of the Navy till the day of his death. The declaration of Mr. Burke would still be found good. He who held that office, must, as government was at present constituted, be a man of "eminence and consideration in that House." His time and talents must be at the disposal of government, to assist them in digesting and putting into order that mass of desultory and incidental business, the nature of which it would be impossible officially to define, which yet must command their attention, and which must by some means be done, though all the regular departments were overborne by the pressure of ordinary business. This was not his opinion only, "non meus hic sermo." It was the opinion of one of their own committees. He referred them to the report of the committee of Finance, dated 1817. The salary of the Treasurer of the Navy was at that time 4,000l. a year, with a house and other advantages, which must be worth 700l. or 800l. a year more. In the report of the committee of Finance, dated the 23rd of June, 1817, he found the following observations:—"They esteem the salary paid to the Treasurer of the Navy as much too large, and recommend a reduction on any future appointment to that office, so as to place it on a level in respect of emolument with the paymaster of the forces, its present salary being the same as that which would have been lately received by the paymaster of the forces if the office had been held by one individual. Your committee, however, think it but fair to observe, that in the oldest Naval estimates extant, viz., from 1684 to 1695, while the salaries of the lords of the Admiralty were, as at present, 1000l. per annum; the salary of the Treasurer of the Navy was no less than 3,000l. per annum: and there is no doubt, that, besides his official duties, the Treasurer of the Navy has been frequently looked to as the person to whom important parliamentary and political business connected with the Naval department and the general concerns of government, should be confided. Whether these latter considerations will induce the House to continue the salary of 4,000l., or reduce it to 3,000l. or any other sum, it is not for your committee to inquire. They have not in any case considered themselves called upon to enter into political considerations of this nature, and have recommended the reduction hereinbefore proposed, on a mere view of the duties of the office itself, and on a principle of assimilation to the paymaster of the forces." This was not his language, but that of the finance committee of 1817; from which it evidently appeared to be in the contemplation of that committee, that there might exist, properly, certain offices the holders of which might have time to spare from the particular concerns of their own departments, for the general business of the government, and they alluded to one case—that of parliamentary business, to which such persons had to attend. Every one knew what was meant by the Treasurer of the Navy being retained for the business of parliament. They all knew that the attendance in the House formed a very considerable portion of that business. The usefulness of attending committees above stairs had never been shown more strongly than in a late instance, where his right hon. friend (Mr. Huskisson) sat as chairman. It was well known that the physical powers of a late lamented noble friend of his (lord: Londonderry) had broken down in consequence of his earnest attendance on the corn committee; and many men who could easily get through the routine of their office business, found themselves worn by the fatigue of parliamentary attendance. He came now to the various views taken of the two offices, and the proposals for their alteration. Some gentlemen wished to have them both connected; some would have the salary of the Treasurer of the Navy diminished: others complained that government would succeed in bringing another office into parliament. He thanked the hon. gen- tlemen opposite for the occasional approbation which they bestowed upon government, though he must be allowed to say, that they took back in detail as much, if not more than they gave in gross. They balanced their eulogium on some of the measures of administration by liberal vituperation of its designs. Let them ask themselves, whatever faults government might have, if it had shown any thing like a disposition to increase the influence of the Crown in this respect? They were asked, had they not done this in the case of the vice-treasurer of Ireland Certainly not. Parliament had abolished both the office and functions of the chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, and the remaining business was left to the management of a vice-treasurer. Another case put was that of the mastership of the Mint; and how did that stand? The present master of the Mint, Mr. Wallace, was, at the time of his appointment, at the head of a commission which had been often and loudly eulogized by gentlemen opposite. Had government been possessed with the desire of increasing their strength by places, what hindered them from appointing another person to the mastership of the Mint, and retaining that gentleman at the head of the commission which had earned such applause from parliament? He ventured to say, that there was no instance of any government, since governments had been conducted parliamentarily, showing so little disposition to have officers of the Crown holding seats in that House. They did not hold office by the tenure of a few votes, more or less. Unless they were in possession of their places through the just confidence of the country, they ought not to be in them at all. Whenever that possession came to depend upon their having ten or twenty votes more or less, he hoped the administration would be at an end. But they were not eager to have every officer who might be there, who possessed efficiency, who could add in present strength and credit to the government, though nothing to its stability, sitting with them. They had, on the contrary, shown themselves too lax upon that point. They had done without the presence and aid of officers of government in that House, with whose assistance no government ought to dispense. He remembered Mr. Pitt, in the plenitude of his power, when he was equal in debate to any ten of them now present.— Mr. Pitt at that time was assisted by a Master of the Rolls, sir W. Grant, of no mean strength and ability; and, until the time of sir Thomas Plumer, that officer was never out of the House. It was clear, then, that the present government had shewn no disposition to create offices, in order to catch single votes in parliament. There was another instance, in the case of one who held an office which bore some relation, with respect to the civil law, to the office of Attorney-general, who had formerly usually sat in parliament, and had no seat there at present. In 1804, when a very warm and long debate arose on a certain occasion, the whole brunt of it fell on the master of the Rolls and the king's Advocate. What was to hinder them, if they stood now upon any worse footing than public confidence, from having the aid of two such eligible officers? Was there ever an opposition composed of so many eminent and active lawyers? Men of celebrity in that profession formed the bulk of the present opposition. What an advantage to ministers would it have been to have had the master of the Rolls to have struggled for them upon the Chancery debates? What a superior position they might have taken, had they, instead of their own unlearned succours, been able to meet the logic of the hon. and learned gentlemen opposite with the legitimate, authorized, precedented assistance of the master of the Rolls, and the king's advocate. Did any of the hon. gentlemen opposite suppose it could be no advantage to have those officers present, to whose presence they were unquestionably legitimately entitled? Another instance of their laxity was, in not requiring the presence of the judge Advocate, whose absence no government till now had allowed. Here, then, were three officers, of whose assistance they had suffered themselves to be deprived. He therefore rebutted the charge of looking out to increase the number of placemen in that House. It could not now be believed that in wishing to have a salary fixed to the office of President of the Board of Trade, they were actuated by the desire of increasing the influence of the Crown in parliament, since they had purposely neglected abundant opportunities in which they might have safely introduced persons holding places. No topic was so fruitful of applause as a declaration against the influence of the Crown. But, confessing that, in his opinion, the influence of the Crown needed not in this respect to be enlarged, he wished the House to look to the opposite extreme. What would be the effect of driving out of the house officers who were constitutionally eligible to sit in it? He knew of no law by which the Crown was at present bound to select its ministers from either or both Houses of parliament. For any authority of that kind of which he had any knowledge, the king might send to any two private gentlemen, offering to make one of them his secretary of state, and the other his prime minister. Governments ought, according to the notions of perfection held by some theorists, to be so conducted. Public business was managed in this very was in some countries. He had, however, never heard any gentleman say in that House that he thought such a mode of conducting government a good one for the country. The presence of government officers, then, became only a question of degree, which was not to be met by any plan for counting heads, but by the general views and the immediate character of the government itself. Now, let the House notice the converse of this proposition. Though there was no rule of law to require the Crown to choose its servants from parliament, was there not good sense in the practice? Was this not a most useful check to the choosing of ministers upon a system of mere favouritism? Was it not beneficial to the country that the ministers of the Crown should be men well known in that House—men who had been long in the public eye, and had proved in parliament their fitness for office? Was it not a great security to the public for the efficiency of the officers of government, that they should appear in parliament and prove their capacity for their situations? There were certain offices whose possessors could not be excluded from parliament, without lowering the standard of the government, and such an office was the treasurership of the Navy. For the sake of a vote, it would not be worth while to the government to take the trouble of debating this question. He gave his opinion with perfect disinterestedness, because it did not signify a hair to the government, with a view to a vote, whether the Treasurer of the Navy should be in parliament or not. But the consequence of excluding such officers from parliament would be to make the high offices of state subjects for scramble among mere favourites. The gentlemen opposite might themselves soon succeed to these offices, and he was, therefore, doing them a great service in resisting their wishes on this occasion. If it were acted upon, then they would have for the great offices of state, persons with no higher qualifications for them than those of bankers' clerks. The parliamentary character ought never to be separated from high and honourable office, and never could be so separated, without great injury to the public, and the loss of that respectability which the government of this country should ever maintain. So much for the notion of excluding the Treasurer of the Navy from parliament. And now one word with respect to the salary. That salary was before 4,000l. per annum; and at the present time it was 3,000l. It was now proposed to reduce it to 2,000l. He knew no principle upon which any one of these sums should be preferred to the other; but where he could not find a reason, he must look for a rule, and a rule might often serve for a reason. Now, he found, in the report of the finance committee, a statement, that when this office was held alone, it should be put on the footing of that of paymaster of the forces. Here, then, was a rule; and as the case mentioned by the committee was now likely to arise, that rule might be applied to this office. The salary of the paymaster of the forces was 2,000l. with a house. It was now intended to give the Treasurer of the Navy a salary of 2,500l.—the additional 500l. being in lieu of a house. These were the grounds upon which he thought, in the first place, that the office should be filled separately; secondly, that the person who filled it, ought not to be excluded from parliament; and lastly, that the amount of salary was reasonable.
protested, that, in the whole course of his parliamentary experience, he had never heard a speech which astonished him more than that of the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down. Positively, any body who had attended to his reasoning must have thought that the whole struggle in this debate—the whole object of every gentleman on the opposition side of the House was, to abolish the office of Treasurer of the Navy altogether; and that the only difficulty with them was, as to the shortest way in which that object could be accomplished. But could any thing be more wide of the fact? Nobody had proposed, nobody had dreamt of such a thing. [The right hon. gentleman was, at this moment, interrupted by a rush of members into the House.] He said he was glad to see his friends coming in in such numbers, as there was now a chance of their having a fair start. He begged the House to consider that the plain and simple question which they were called upon to decide was this—whether the salary of the President of the Board of Trade should be 2,000l. or 5,000l. a year; and he begged gentlemen to keep to that simple point, and not suffer themselves to be talked into any other proposition. What that had to do with the influence of the Crown generally, it might be for the right hon. gentleman opposite to explain. He (Mr. T.) could not. Nobody had said a word about that influence—nobody had complained that it was too great or too little—nobody had hinted that it ought to be lessened. All that was said was, "Why do you now add to that influence?" He begged gentlemen to consider seriously what it was they had to discuss. An hon. friend near him had called the opposition the "king's opposition." The propriety of this appellation had been recognized by gentlemen on the other side and indeed it could not he disputed. From his personal experience, he could bear testimony to the truth of the designation; and that experience was no trifle. For years he had opposed the measures of government, because he disapproved of their principles; but when they changed their tone, he had not been backward in giving them his feeble support. My hon. friend (continued Mr. Tierney) could not have invented a better phrase to designate us than that which he has adopted, for we are certainly to all intents and purposes, a branch of his majesty's government. Its proceedings for some time past have proved, that though the gentlemen opposite are in office, we are in power. The measures are ours, but all the emoluments are theirs [cheers, and laughter.] It appears, by the right hon. gentleman's own shewing, that this is our motion. He contends that we have no right to oppose it, because it was we who originally suggested it. It is, in my opinion, immaterial from what quarter the suggestion proceeded. I believe an hon. friend of mine (Mr. Baring) did say, that he considered the salary unequal to the labour required by the duties of the office, and the great talents with which they were at that moment discharged. But this suggestion was thrown out last session; and no fault was found on our side of the House this session, because no notice had been taken of the suggestion. But it seems to have lain heavily on the right hon. gentleman. He steps forward to relieve himself, and, as he assures us, to gratify us; and he says "I will accede to your wishes; I will take the salary you suggest for one office, and I will keep the other office with the salary just as it is." No wonder that we did not know our own child. Under the right hon. gentleman's nursing, he had changed it for a lusty bantling, in the shape of a new Treasurer of the Navy; an office which I undertake to prove utterly useless, in a sense which I will hereafter explain. The right hon. gentleman says, that we, of the opposition, are not sufficiently on the alert, with regard to our own interests; and he has declared that government is in no want of such supporters as it may gain from this measure. I differ from him widely. I think that government do want support. I never saw a session when they wanted it more. The right hon. gentleman may not be aware of the full extent of his obligations to this side of the House; but I can assure him, that if, as he asserts, he would not consent to stay in office with a pitiful majority of twenty, he would, without our support, have been long ago driven from his present honours. If we take away our support, out he must go tomorrow. The right hon. gentleman has taken credit somewhat too largely for the reduction of the official seats in this House. True, we have lately had no master of the Rolls here. But sir Thomas Plumer, towards the close of his life, could not, if he would, have given his personal support to the measures of government. His infirmities rendered him incapable of attending. If we have no master of the Rolls now in this House, it is because he is in another place, where he is required to be bodily present for the aid and support of the lord chancellor. But the right hon. gentleman complains, that the opposition is made up of lawyers. It is true that we breed some lawyers on this side, but it is also true that we sometimes breed them for the other side of the House. Half their strength has come out of our nursery; not much improved certainly by transplanting. You have two civilians," the right hon. gentleman says; "there is an advantage!" But what has he, let me ask? He has one civilian (Dr. Phiilimore), and a judge in the ecclesiastical courts (sir J. Nicholl) who is at least worth two civilians. The learned civilian (Dr. Phillimore) was not seated at the Board of Control purely on account of his attachment to Indian affairs. He no doubt considers the 1,500l. a year which he receives, as a general retaining fee for the support he is to render to the right hon. gentleman; who, on his part, seems to think that the moment a lawyer accepts office, he is bound to vote with his party through thick and thin. As to lawyers in general, there are surely enough on the other side of the House. They have the Attorney-general, and the Solicitor-general, and the chief justice of Chester—he, by the bye, is one they have borrowed of us—and they have a Welch judge, and perhaps they will, in a little time, have Mr. Kenrick; while we only have those who maintain their station by the independent exercise of their talent. The real question before us, however, is, whether the proposed salary of 5,000l. shall be given to my right hon. friend, the President of the Board of Trade, in consideration of the great ability with which he has filled that office? That is the footing on which I wish to see the question stand. I mean to consider the proposition as a compliment to the right hon. gentleman, for I am not convinced that his office ought permanently to be a cabinet office, I am favourable to the proposition, because I am of opinion that government will be strengthened by increasing the rank and importance of this officer. I therefore heartily hope he may have the augmentation desired. The right hon. secretary says that the suggestion originally came from our side. So let it be, if he pleases; but in what shape did it go from us? Why, undoubtedly, as a suggestion to add 2,000l. to the salary of 3,000l. already received by my right hon. friend as Treasurer of the Navy. As to the incompatibility of the two offices which he now fills, will any hon. gentleman lay his hand on his heart and say, that he verily believes any inconvenience has resulted to the public service, or to the individuals holding those offices during the last six years? I feel myself bound by every means in my power to oppose this attempt to make the presidency of the Board of Trade a substantive office. I regard it as a wanton waste of the public money; and I am equally opposed to the miserable project for reducing the salary of the Treasurer of the Navy from 3,000l. to 2,500l., in order that it may be given to somebody for his support in this House; and for aught that I know, too, to a lawyer [cheers].
The House divided: Ayes 87; Noes 76. Majority for receiving the report, 11.
List of the Majority; and also of the Minority.
|Alexander, James||Lewis, W.|
|Arbuthnot, right Hon. C.||Lewis, F.|
|Lindsay, hon. H.|
|Antrobus, G. C.||Lockhart, W. E.|
|Bradshaw, T.||Long, sir C.|
|Brogden, James||Lopes, sir M.|
|Bankes, George||Lushington, S. R.|
|Calvert, John||Lushington, col.|
|Canning, right hon. G.||Madocks, W. A.|
|Martin, sir B.|
|Cholmondeley, lord H.||Martin, R.|
|Coffin, sir I.||M'Naughton, F. A.|
|Cockburn, sir G.||Montgomery, sir D.|
|Cocks, James||Morland, sir S. B.|
|Cooper, C. S.||Nicoll, sir J.|
|Copley, sir J. S.||Onslow, serg.|
|Courtenay, T. P.||Oxmantown, lord|
|Dalrymple, col. Davis, Hart||Palmer, R.|
|Denison, J.||Pearse, J.|
|Divett, T.||Peel, right hon. R.|
|Downie, R.||Pennant, G. H.|
|Douglas, W. R.||Percy, hon. W. H.|
|Drummond, H.||Phillimore, Dr.|
|Dunlop, J.||Plummer, J.|
|East, sir Hyde||Prendergast, M. G.|
|Elliot, lord||Rae, sir W. B.|
|Ellis, C. R.||Robinson, right hon. F.|
|Farquhar, sir R.||Ross, C.|
|Foster, L.||Rowley, sir J.|
|Freemantle, W. H.||Sandon, lord|
|Goulburn, right hon. H.||Somerset, lord G.|
|Staunton, sir G.|
|Grant, right hon. C.||Strutt, J. H.|
|Grant, sir A. C.||Trant, W. H.|
|Gurney, Hudson||Ure, Masterton|
|Hardinge, sir H.||Wallace, right hon. T.|
|Hart, General||Warrender, sir G.|
|Hill, sir G.||Wellesley, R.|
|Holford, G. H.||Wetherall, sir C.|
|Holmes, W.||Wynn, right hon. C. W.|
|Hulse, sir C.|
|Inglis, sir H. Irvine, John|
|Knox, hon. T.||Herries, T. C.|
|Leake, W.||Horton, R. W.|
|Abercromby, hon. J;||Baillie, J.|
|Althorp, lord||Bankes, H.|
|Astley, J.||Baring, sir T.|
|Baring, A.||Maberly, J. L.|
|Bernal, R.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Birch, J.||Martin, J.|
|Bright, H.||Monck, J. B.|
|Burdett, sir F.||Munday, F.|
|Butterworth, J.||Newport, sir J.|
|Calvert, N.||Ord, W.|
|Calvert, C.||Osborn, lord F. G.|
|Campbell, W. F.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Caulfield, hon. H.||Phillips, G.|
|Cavendish, C. C.||Pitt, J.|
|Colborne, N. W. R.||Portman, E. B.|
|Corbett, P.||Pym, F.|
|Crompton, S.||Rice, T. S.|
|Cumming, G.||Rickford, W.|
|Davenport, D.||Ridley, sir M. W.|
|Denison, W. J.||Robarts, col.|
|Ellice, E.||Robarts, A. W.|
|Fane, J.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Fellowes, W. H.||Russell, lord J.|
|Fergusson, sir R.||Russell, lord W.|
|Gaskell, B.||Scarlett, J.|
|Glenorchy, lord||Sebright, sir J.|
|Grant, J. P.||Smith, R.|
|Grenfell, P.||Thompson, ald.|
|Grosvenor, hon. R.||Tierney, right hon. G.|
|Hamilton, lord. A.||Tulk, C. A.|
|Honywood, W. P.||Warre, J. A.|
|Hughes, W. L.||Whitbread, W. H.|
|Hume, J.||Williams, T. P.|
|Keck, G. A. L.||Wilson, T.|
|Lamb, hon. G.||Wood, ald.|
|Lawley, F.||Wrottesley, sir J.|
|Lethbridge, sir T.|
|Lloyd, S. G.||Calcraft, J.|
|Lockhart, J.||Hobhouse, J. C.|
The resolution, "That his Majesty be enabled to grant a Salary of 5,000. to the President of the Board of Trade," was then reported.
Mr. Secretary Canning
expressed his regret that the smallness of the majority would prevent him from persevering in the course which, as a matter of principle, he had conscientiously supported; but which, as a matter of expediency, he now felt himself bound, under all the circumstances of the case, to abandon. The expression of opinion had, undoubtedly, been very strong, and his majesty's government would not further press the measure. As it seemed to be the wish of the House, they would consent to the union of the ancient office of the Treasurer of the Navy with that of the President of the Board of Trade [hear, hear!].
rose, with heartfelt pleasure, to assure his majesty's Government, that they had, by this act, justly earned the approbation of "his majesty's Opposition" [a laugh].
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that his right hon. friend had intimated the course which government intended on this occasion to pursue. It was his duty to carry that intention into effect, and it appeared to him consistent with right feeling, and with a due sense of what belonged to his situation, to move the proposition himself, without suffering any restraint from false shame. Many severe and groundless imputations had been cast upon government in the course of the debate, but it was not necessary to do more at that time than to notice and repel them generally. He would now move, "That the Resolution be amended by inserting the sum of 2,000l. as the salary of the President of the Board of Trade, instead of 5,000l.
Sir M. W. Ridley
seconded the amendment, which he had intended to move himself, if the right hon. gentleman had not anticipated him.
hoped, that in the general satisfaction he might be allowed to offer a few words. He was happy to find that the ministers had been obliged to abandon their original proposal, and he called upon the opposition to take courage from the circumstance. If they did their duty much might be done in the way of reduction before the present parliament would close its labours. The resolution as amended was agreed to, and a bill ordered to be brought in thereupon.