HC Deb 15 May 1809 vol 14 cc571-2
Mr. Whitbread

rose to call the attention of the house to a subject, trivial certainly in one point of view, though of some importance in another, and relative to which he proposed to offer a motion. It was a disgusting circumstance which ought not to exist; namely, the appointment of a person to the office of Ordnance Store-keeper in Hyde-Park, with a salary of 120l. a year, a comfortable house to live in, with allowances of coals, candles, and other perquisites; and this a person who never had served the country an hour in army or navy, and also a foreigner. This situation ought to have been conferred on some meritorious old officer, worn out in the service; and many hundreds of such, he was sorry to say, there were pining out the evening of life in penury, any one of whom would be glad of such a situation. The person who held this appointment might have been for years perhaps the faithful servant of some honourable gentleman or noble lord, who, no doubt, recommended him to the patronage of the master-general of ordnance. It was certainly right that long and faithful services should attach the regard of a master to his servant, and it was desirable that meritorious persons in such stations should have comfortable provision for old age; but, then, persons in opulent circumstances should make that provision at their own expence, without trenching on that source which should exclusively belong to military men who had claims upon the generosity of their country, when worn out in her service. The honourable member concluded by moving for a copy of the appointment of Christian Frederick Walter to the said office of Ordnance Store-keeper in Hyde-Park, and an account of the salary, and all emoluments attached to the said office.

Mr. Wellesley Pole

said, he was the person who had five years ago recommended this Mr. Walter to the situation, in consequence of an application from lord Chatham, then master of the ordnance, to him, requesting him to look out for a trusty person to fill that office; and it was he also who had named the salary of 100l. as a reasonable allowance for the service. Mr. Walter, he said, certainly was a Hanoverian, who had been 37 years in England, the greater part of which time he had been a faithful servant in the employment of Mr. Villiers, and maintained an unimpeachable character. Had he (Mr. Pole) conceived the employment, which required constant attendance, to be of such a nature that a military officer could look upon it as acceptable, he certainly should have recommended the place to be filled by such a gentleman; but having no such idea, he recommended the present store-keeper, and took upon himself the whole responsibility for whatever was blamable in the appointment.

Mr. Whitbread

, in explanation, said, he had thrown no blame on any person whatsoever; all he had said was, that in his opinion the military were the proper persons on whom such appointments should be bestowed; and he was sure he could get a hundred officers who would be happy to accept it. He also thought the Master General of the Ordnance should have looked out for some such, upon whom to bestow it.

The motion was agreed to.