§ Lord Milton,
in rising to call the attention of the House to the increase made in the Salaries of the Secretaries of the Admiralty in consequence of the war with Algiers, said, that I it was remarkable how different was the appearance of objects, according to the difference of the mind and disposition of 385 the person by whom they were viewed.—There was not a more striking instance of this than the transaction before the House. Undoubtedly the Prince Regent who, from his high situation, was best acquainted with the means of the country to bear the burthens imposed on it, when be surrendered one-fifth of the sum assigned to him to support the dignity of the first magistrate, must have been fully convinced of the necessities of the people. This example had been followed by a noble lord, high in rank (marquis Camden), who bad relinquished a part of the emoluments of an office which had been bestowed on his family as the meed of the services of those from whom he had descended. But at the time when those and other exalted characters were giving examples of surrendering a part of that to which they had an undoubted right, and which, of course, only a sense of the necessity of the times could have induced them to relinquish, another gentleman, in a subordinate office indeed, had procured an addition to his own salary. With what different eyes must this honourable gentleman or the admiralty have beheld the symptoms of the times, when they conceived the autumn of 1816 the most convenient opportunity For taking advantage of a single expedition, to bestow an increase of salaries on the secretaries and others. While others were surrendering their rights, the secretary of the admiralty was adding to his emoluments. The ground on which this claim had been set up was an order of council, of January 15th, 1800, by which, on account of the increase of duties in time of war, the secretary and some other persons were to have an increased salary in time of war. But the question was, had it been fairly made out to the sense of any man, that the time for which the increased salary had been given was in reality what could be fairly understood by a state of war? He denied that it was, and he could give good reasons for the denial. He did not mean to assert that a declaration was necessary to constitute a state of war—for declaration there certainly was none—but neither were there even letters of marque or order of reprisal issued on that occasion; nor any other circumstances which attend and characterise a war. A fleet was sent to Algiers, with lord Exmouth in the double character of a negociator and a commander. He had to exert himself as a diplomatist before he had recourse to force. When 386 the attack was finally made and had succeeded, what did lord Exmouth say? "Thus has a provoked war of two days existence been attended with a complete victory." These were the words of the dispatch. A quarter's salary on the war establishment was claimed by the hon. secretary for a war said to be of two days duration by the commander who conducted it! Upon what pretence did lord Melville and the two other naval lords presume to date the war from the order to fit out the expedition? Any thing so monstrous as this had never been before advanced. We might have been at war for years without such an order; or the expedition might have been fitted out for a considerable time without proceeding to hostilities—as was the case in 1810 with the Copenhagen expedition, which indeed ultimate proceeded to hostilities. If the commencement of this Algiers war was difficult to be settled, and had been settled wrong, its termination was no less curious: it was dated from the reception of the treaty at the admiralty! These dates of the fitting out of the expedition, and the arrival of the treaty in London, might tally with the duration of the salary; but they could not be said to constitute the commencement and the termination of a war, during the existence of which a war salary could be claimed. The war did not continue while negociations were carried on at home, or till the treaty made was sanctioned by the government of this country: it ended as soon as the dey had consented to yield to the terms with which lord Exmouth was instructed to demand his compliance, and that was on the day subsequent to the victory. But taking it that the secretaries of the Admiralty were entitled to war salaries on this occasion, there were other officers included in the provisions of the order of council which regulated their allowance, and they likewise should have received augmented pay. If any one was thus rewarded for additional duty, all should be rewarded, otherwise the measure was partial, and showed undue favour. The master shipwrights, and the master carpenters, he (lord M.) had been told, were on the footing of war and peace allowance. If this was the case, the order in council allowed an increase of salary to them during war, and if they had not now received it, while the hon. gentleman had, what would the country say—what would it think of that kind of justice that would allow an in- 387 creased salary to a public servant, because he was a member of parliament, while it withheld the increase from others, equally entitled, because less powerful, and therefore not so great favourites, although the real work and exertion occasioned by the expedition had fallen upon them? He was ignorant of the fact, but he hoped the hon. gentleman would give him complete information; he hoped that he would be able to show that all were treated alike; for he (Mr. Croker) would feel that he incumbered himself with a heavy weight of suspicion and responsibility, if he advised a measure of remuneration to himself which he did not to others, who were entitled to the benefit of the same regulation. The magnitude of the sum was not the reason why he called the attention of parliament to the subject: he did so because he wished the House to redeem itself with the country, and to merit its confidence. A call for retrenchment had been made on all ranks of men, from the prince to the peasant: would the House be deaf to the call so unanimously and strongly expressed? If it neglected this call, the public distress might lead to public discontent; and all confidence in the representatives of the people would vanish. The sums were small, but these were not times to pass over small sums. Parliament, in viewing the expenditure of the public money, ought, if he might so express himself, to have a microscopic eye, especially when that expenditure was connected with one of its own members; what would the country think if they saw government discharge porters, workmen, and clerks from the public offices, while it increased the salaries of those who had influence and power? The circumstance of the secretary being a member of parliament, made it imperative on the House to watch with more vigilance over transactions like the present; as otherwise an idea might be countenanced that certain persons in that House might escape the rigour of that system of economy which was applied to all others. What had the hon. gentleman done for his augmented salary—where were his services—what were his increased duties? Did his increased trouble and labour deserve such additional reward? Did the government of 1800 contemplate an expedition against a petty state not admitted into the rank of civilized nations, as sufficient to authorize the secretary of the admiralty to consider 388 this empire in a state of war, which would entitle him to a war salary? Was every insulated and partial armament to be considered as the war meant in the order in council of that date? Here there was no correspondence to be carried on with foreign parts; no difficult arrangements to be made; no co-operation to be managed. The war meant in the order in council must have had something of a general character, and could not allude to a single, partial, and insulated expedition. If such was the case, the public had been much deceived, as was likewise the navy pay-office. The navy pay-office, not thin king-that the attack on Algiers constituted this country in a state of war within the meaning of the order of 1800, refused to pay the war salary till they had consulted with the admiralty. This board accordingly asked, "Are we at war?" "O yes," replied the admiralty, "we have been in a mighty and dangerous war, therefore pay the secretaries their war salary." The navy-office by the question clearly thought that there was no title made out to an increase of emoluments on account of the expedition to Algiers. The utmost duration of the war, even according to the admiral, was two days, which, according to the rate of increase, would have entitled the hon. secretary to 5l. 3s. 9d. instead of a quarter's allowance. It might have happened that lord Exmouth might have found the dey ready to comply with the demands of the British government without coming to extremities; and what would have been the situation of the secretary then? He must have written all his dispatches, he must have undergone all his fatigues, he must have carried on all his war correspondence for nothing. There would have been no war, nor any additional allowance. Was, therefore, the bombardment of Algiers, which gave him no additional trouble, and which lasted only a few hours, to make that a period of war from the fitting out of the expedition to the arrival of the dispatches, which would not have been a war otherwise? While it gave no labour was it to be productive of emolument? and was the hon. gentleman to obtain, under false pretences, a salary which he did not merit by his exertions? What! because we had made war upon pirates, was the hon. gentleman to turn pirate, and make war against the finances of the country? After what had passed last year, he did not think that the hon. gentleman would have 389 provoked the present discussion, or obtruded himself again on public notice. Whatever others might do si quis alius, he did not think that the hon. gentleman would have made the demand of the salary, or challenged the votes of the House in its support. In last session the majority was so small in his favour, that a noble lord came down, and out of a decent regard to the sense of parliament, gave up, in his name, the war salary. This was done at the hint of parliament, and the hon. gentleman himself took the credit of the act. He hoped that the House of Commons would not in the present instance allow his majesty's ministers to take any credit for a similar surrender, but would wrest from the hon. gentleman that to which he was not entitled. He hoped it would show him, that while many were sacrificing what they had a right to enjoy, he would not be the only person allowed to prey upon the distresses of the country, and to increase his emoluments at a time when the Prince Regent was reducing his. A lesson should now be read him that he would never forget. The nation called upon parliament for economy. They did not do so without just cause. They had trusted in government, and they had reason to suspect its sincerity and good faith, and they therefore called upon the House to protect them from the extravagance of the administration—from that system of favouritism which would be the bane and the destruction of any country. If there were now something done for the country, in the way of reducing their burthens and protecting their interests, it would be a better answer to the reformers than all the speeches of the light hon. gentleman, who did not think reform necessary, and who used the extraordinary phrase that the House was as "perfect a representation of the people as it needed to be." He did not see any limits to the perfection of the representation, and thought it was never as perfect as it needed be, unless it was as perfect as it could be. The influence of the Crown had increased, both within the walls of parliament, and without, and should, both in doors, and out of doors, be reduced. If it was not lessened in time of peace, there was no chance that it would be lessened at all. He begged pardon, however, for wandering from the subject into the question of parliamentary reform; and could only plead as his apology, that parliamentary 390 reform, when it came across his mind, touched so powerful a chord, that it vibrated for some time without his control. The best reform was a reform of the House itself, shown in controlling the public expenditure, and watching the general interests of the people. On these grounds he moved, "That the issue of the war salaries to the secretaries to the admiralty, and certain other persons connected with the navy and dock-yards, in consideration of the expedition to Algiers, which terminated in hostilities with that government, is uncalled for by the order in council of January 15th, 1800, and therefore an improper application of the public money."
§ Mr. Croker
said, he felt the necessity of apologizing to the House for being obliged to offer himself to its attention on a subject so very personal, and in expressing the pain which he felt at being compelled to do so, he hoped that the House would extend to him its usual candour and good nature, which he felt himself entitled to claim in no less a degree than the hon. and learned gentleman opposite had this night already claimed it. The noble lord had made this question one as personal as it could possibly be made, for the noble lord had not only stated, that he was rapacious, that he was grasping, but that he was, in short, every thing which he hoped the noble lord was not, and which the noble lord in his heart could not really believe him to be. The noble lord had said that this increase of salary had been made not only for him, but by him, and that it had been extended to a few other officers (but not to all), as a pretence. The noble lord seemed to say that he not only took the increase of salary, but that he procured other persons to lend themselves to the same act. For his own part, he was quite above denying the part which he had taken in that matter. He had made the demand, because he thought it a matter of right; he had made it because he thought it due to the office. The amount was so paltry that it could be no inducement to him to make an unjust or doubtful claim. The noble lord talked of the example certainly the noble example of the Prince Regent. But he would ask, whether supposing that he (Mr. C). had been foolish and vain enough to have commenced in August last, by giving adonation to the public of this 220l., whether the noble lord himself would not have been among the first to have con-§391 demned such conduct, and to have described it as a paltry and cheap way of giving a donation to the public, by relinquishing that to which he had no right? He would tell the noble lord, that he was as ready to make any sacrifice to the public as the noble lord, or any other member. But he thought it his duty first to establish his right, and then he might come forward and give up what the necessities of the times might seem to require. It was in August last that he made this demand. He would not enter into the question of war or peace, though he might observe that the noble lord admitted there had been only a war of two days duration, because no letters of marque had been issued. The reason why no letters of marque were issued was, that Algiers was not a mercantile state, and in no war against that state, by this or any other nation, had letters of marque ever been issued. So much for this part of the noble lord's argument. But he would tell the noble lord that the expedition was not fitted out merely to negociate, or during the time of peace, for his royal highness the Prince Regent stated that the aggressions of the day of Algiers had obliged him to return them upon his head. The noble lord said too, that lord Exmouth was sent to negociate, although the fact was, that he was sent less with a view to mere negociation than the commander of any expedition ever was sent. The noble lord said, "what if hostilities had not followed?" to which he (Mr. C.) replied, that if they had not, he would not have made any claim. The question rested upon the construction of the order in council. That order stated, that during war, the fees of the secretaries of the admiralty were very considerable, and in lieu of them it gave an increase of salary. On the old scale the fees upon the fitting out of the expedition against Algiers would have amounted to more than the quarter's salary. It was quite erroneous to say that a country was in a state of warfare only while actual hostilities were going on. According to such doctrines, the war with Denmark lasted only one or two days; and the last war with France was a war of only one day, for the whole campaign was terminated in one day. The noble lord had said, that he considered there were other persons in the dock-yards who had war and peace salaries; but the fact was, that the secretaries of the admiralty were the only persons on war and peace salaries. He had only to 392 add that he never demanded this increase of salary as a favour, but as a pure right. As a favour he would not have received it; but he thought it due to the office to which he belonged to demand it as a right, and he did not think that, in justice to his successors, he could have refrained from that claim. He hoped that, whatever the noble lord might think of this matter, the House would not consider that the noble lord had a right to investigate the motives of his private conduct. There were those in that House who would view the subject in its proper light, and who would feel with him that if he had not a clear right he should never have made the demand. He would say more, that if the business had not been completed before the quarter day, he was not sure that he should not so far have gratified his personal feelings as not to have made the demand. He should not merely have thought that the occasion presented itself, without considering what was due to his own feelings. Did any gentleman think that he supposed the noble lord, or some other person would not have taken notice of this? Was there any secret whatever in any part of the transaction? He was perfectly aware when he took it, that he should have to explain the grounds on which he took the money, and he repeated that he thought it a duty to make that demand. It was a question merely of pure right. It certainly did not become him to speak of the manner in which he fulfilled the duties of his office: but he might be allowed to say, that he fulfilled them to the best of his ability; and as to this increase of salary, he had made the demand in a way which until that night he had never thought would have subjected him to the imputation of unworthy motives.
§ Mr. Calcraft
thought, after what the hon. gentleman had said, namely, that if hostilities had not taken place, he should not have considered himself entitled to claim that salary—that he might as well conclude the debate, and compound the matter with the noble lord. Let the hon. gentleman pocket his five pounds three shillings, and there be an end. It must be admitted, however, that the chief blame of this transaction rested with the lords of the admiralty. He differed from the hon. gentleman as to this being a personal affair, but he concurred with him in thinking that it was a paltry one. The sum itself was small in amount, but great and important with reference to the sufferings 393 of the people. When the demand was first started, the navy board were so completely in doubt about it, that they applied to the admiralty to know whether we were at peace or at war. The lords of the admiralty, who knew what our actual situation was, should immediately have put their veto on so ungracious a demand, and have refused a salary which placed a subordinate board in doubt whether it could be allowed or not. Lord Exmouth went out with a treaty in his pocket, empowered to offer to the Algerines the alternative of either accepting the treaty, or engaging in war. The treaty was refused, and in consequence a war was commenced, which was concluded in two days. The only claim, therefore, which the admiralty should have admitted was for that short period during which hostilities were waged. If they had done so, then, with all the anxiety and delicacy of the hon. gentleman for the precedent, and for the benefit of his successors, when he was told that the increase of salary would amount to no more than five pounds three shillings and ninepence, his susceptibility would have ceased, and the House would not have been occupied on this very frivolous and paltry discussion. He thanked the hon. gentleman for his cheers; but the question lay in so narrow a compass, and the hon. gentleman had so completely stated himself out of count, that he was at a loss what farther to say on this subject. He supposed the hon. gentleman thought this a fit opportunity to show, that he would take the earliest occasion to recover that which the House of Commons had deprived him of. But what were the real merits of the case? Ought not the hon. gentleman to refund all above the two days? The order in council stated, that the salary of the first secretary should be fixed at 3,000l. in time of peace, with an additional salary of 1,000l. in time of war: but what was a time of war, according to the spirit of that order? It was not the mere firing of shot for which an increase of salary was to be given; it was the additional trouble that ought to entitle him to the additional remuneration. Now, what additional trouble had the hon. gentleman experienced in fitting out the expedition to Algiers? "What additional ships were put into commission for that enterprise? He believed none beyond the peace establishment; and this was enough to show, that the hon. gentleman did not understand the orders in council on which he had claimed this 394 additional salary. Hostilities lasted only two days; and all he could claim was the difference between what he had received on the peace establishment, and what he ought to receive on the war establishment, for those two days. The lords of the admiralty had a great deal to answer for to the country for promising to the hon. gentleman the full war salary. Little, he repeated, as it was in amount, and unimportant as it was in the whole, in money, it was most material in point of principle, and not only showed a contempt for the feelings of the people, but a total disregard to what had passed in that House.
§ Sir Joseph Yorke
observed, that the question to be decided was extremely simple. The salary of the first secretary was fixed at 3,000l. per annum, during peace, with an additional 1,000l. in time of war: the salary of the second secretary was 1,500l. in peace, and 2,000l. in war; As to the commissioners of the navy they did not send to the admiralty to know whether this country was at war or not, but to ascertain at what time the war salary should commence. The answer of the admiralty was, that it should be paid from the 29th of June to the 24th September, the day on which the treaty was received. He confessed, that he had no hesitation in signing the paper for the increase, and should do the same thing if the paper were again put before him. In a private case any individual would have had a right to go before a court of justice to enforce the demand. The policy of making the demand certainly lay with his hon. friend, but it was a matter of right for the commissioners to grant it.
§ Mr. Jones
said, the only question was, whether we were or were not in a state of hostilities. It had been urged, that we were not at war, because the noble admiral was sent out to negociate; but from the moment the massacre at Bona took place, the dey of Algiers was required to deliver up all the slaves, or his city would be bombarded. He thought the hon. secretary, therefore, was entitled to the war salary; and he was sorry that his majesty's ministers had come forward to say, that they intended to make any sacrifice of their income. He thought that public men were by no means overpaid; and he regretted that they had yielded to the theoretical and wild opinions of demagogues, who would assume to themselves the merit of having wrung such sacrifices from them by their clamours.
§ Sir G. Hope
impressed upon the House the justice of considering, not that the war lasted two days only, but that, if lord Ex-mouth had met with any of the Algerines at sea, he would have felt it his duty to attack them.
§ Admiral Markham
said, after all he had heard on the subject, his opinion remained unaltered, that the hon. secretary was not entitled to the war salary. If this was to be called a state of war, what was to be called an armament? An expedition might be composed not of ships of the line, and sent to some of the small forts on the coast of Africa, and this was to be considered a state of war. An armament did pot include a state of war. In the case of Nootka Sound (which was in some respects similar to that of Algiers, because the Spaniards then, as the Algerines recently, had been guilty of aggressions) there was an armament. Was it to be supposed that if the order in council had existed at that period, the hon. secretary of that period would have been entitled to demand an additional salary? It was obvious, that the expedition required no additional trouble: there was nothing to be completed but the armament. The lords of the admiralty would have done much better if they had promoted the officers who commanded bombs, which had been the practice on former occasions. Neither the House nor the country would have quarrelled with them for rewarding the services of those officers in the way they merited: but it was impossible to approve of their conduct in granting an additional salary to their secretaries for a war which lasted only two days.
§ Mr. Tierney
said, that in point of amount the matter before the House was very small, but that in point of principle it was of the utmost importance. It was calculated to create the greatest disgust, to see this additional salary demanded as a right, and conceded as such by the lords of the admiralty.—Most undoubtedly they possessed a discretionary power, which they ought to have exercised. The lords of the admiralty had evidently referred only to the order in council, issued on the 15th January, 1800, and had, upon that document, come to the conclusion that the honourable secretary was intitled to his war salary, consistently with its letter and spirit. No notice whatever was taken by them, of any other order in council. But what he contended for was, that the admiralty lords ought to have, and must have, a 396 discretionary power, beyond the mere general instruction conveyed by that order. He meant, that if they, upon mature consideration, deemed it expedient for the public service, to reduce the salary (he would say, from three to two thousand), they had the power to do so. The order in council, in fixing the salary, simply assumed its maximum, in a similar way to what was adopted by that House, in voting a sum not exceeding a certain amount; but if it appeared there was no occasion for so much as might be voted, ministers were expected to exercise that discretion, which he insisted belonged equal to the lords of the admiralty.—When the honourable secretary went to the navy board and demanded his war salary, he thought that board would have been justified in asking what blustering fellow it was that so clamourously insisted upon his right; certainly they were justified in asking the admiralty whether it was really a time of war, not whether a shot had been fired here or there, and whether any and what increased duties had devolved upon the honourable secretary. To the application of the navy board, the lords of the admiralty returned an answer, that the allowance of a war salary was consistent (he begged the House would mark the expression) with his majesty's order in council. In his opinion, they ought to have construed that order in favour of the country, and not in favour of the hon. secretary; they should have borne in mind, that the penalty was to fall upon the people of England; and unless they could show that it was a time of war, in the common acceptation of that term—unless they could show that the proposed increase was earned by any additional labour of the hon. secretary, he contended they had no sufficient ground to authorize the transaction. As to the question, whether it was really a time of war, it would be wasting the time of that House, it would be an absolute mockery, to argue upon it. With respect to the additional labour created; the modesty of the hon. secretary did not allow him to insist upon that point, for, in fact, it amounted to nothing. There were five sail of the line, not one of which was put in commission for that service; there were five frigates, not one of which was put in commission for that service; there were five sloops, not one of which was put in commission for that service; and there were five bombs, not one of which was put in commission for that 397 service. He should like to know then, in what consisted his additional labour, unless it was contended that his office was a sinecure in time of peace? He really could not help viewing with disgust (he could find no other word expressive of his feeling) the manifest endeavour of the lords of the admiralty to strain the point as far as possible to put money in the hon. secretary's pocket. They could not go further; the date of the Prince Regent's order for fitting out the expedition, was on the 29th of June, and the hon. secretary received his salary up to the 23d of September, though the Gazette containing lord Ex-mouth's official dispatch appeared on the 14th. [Mr. Croker here observed, that the ratification of the treaty with the dey of Algiers did not reach this country till the 23d.] Mr. Tierney said, he hoped the whole House had distinctly heard the answer of the hon. secretary. It now appeared, that, though the lords of the admiralty knew a peace was signed with the dey of Algiers, though not actually ratified, they continued to sanction a measure which might procure, for a few days, a few pounds more for their secretary. The action was fought on the 27th, and the treaty of peace concluded on the 28th. But that intelligence was not enough; and if the vessel bearing the ratification bad been detained longer at sea, or if it had foundered, and another vessel had been sent to bring home the ratification, upon the same principle, the hon. secretary's war salary might have been continued two or three months longer. Would the House bear so monstrous a doctrine; and, if the House could bear it, would the country? He was prepared to maintain, that in any fair and liberal construction of the order in council, the hon. secretary's increased salary had no right to extend beyond the 26th of July, the day on which the expedition sailed, commencing from the 29th of June, when the order for fitting it out was issued, unless, indeed, the hon. gentleman meant to make a charge for his anxiety of mind during the interval. From that day no additional labour could exist, and from that day therefore, at least, no additional reward ought to have been given. When the country heard the whole details of this transaction, it would be able to form a pretty exact notion of what they might expect from ministers in the way of economy and retrenchment. They had shown what their real sentiments were, by their actual practices. Their 398 temper was now manifest. Wherever they could find an opportunity of laying out the public money, had they proved any disposition to husband it? Even here they had strained a point to the utmost, and the six lords of the admiralty, with their secretary, could not get up a little expedition to beat the dey of Algiers without this augmentation of 220l. The hon. secretary, indeed, had begged the House not to suppose that he took the money for the sake of the money; and as he said so he must believe it; but for himself he could only say, that if he were to ask any person for 220l. it would certainly be for the sake of getting it. He remembered, last year, when the question of the hon. secretary's salary was before the House, he (Mr. Croker) complained that it had been forced upon him, and that he absolutely begged and prayed they would not compel him to accept the 4,000l. a year. That was very good, so far as it went; but the hon. secretary had now seen his error, and was trying to fetch up his lee-way as fast as he could. Perhaps he was aware that a day of voluntary contribution to the wants of the country was fast approaching, and as it must come, he thought it prudent to prepare for it: he was looking forward to a deduction of 10 or 20 per cent, and politically provided the means. It was always the usage of an experienced banker, on any alarm, to prepare the means for sustaining a run on his capital. Still, however, they were not to suppose that the 220l. was worth his acceptance. He (Mr. Tierney) contrived to keep his head above water as well as he could, and trusted he would not descend to any thing dishonourable; yet he should be very glad to catch 220l. After all, he was half inclined to believe that the hon. secretary and the lords of the admiralty had acted from resentment. A fine opportunity occurred for revenging themselves upon that side of the House, and the lords of the admiralty urged their secretary to demand his right, with an assurance that they would stand by him. "The House compelled us last year," said they, "to diminish your salary, and now they shall see what it is to quarrel with six admiralty lords." But suppose the admiralty lords had taken another day to consider of the subject, and at the end of their deliberations had told the hon. secretary they could not pay him his demand. What would have become of his right? To be sure he might have told them to find 399 another secretary, but he was far from suspecting the hon. gentleman of so much contumacy. For let it be recollected what he fell back upon, even when his war salary was withheld; upon one of the very best places, in time of peace, which the country had to give. He had, altogether, 3,500l. a year, and a good house to live in. What would the poor chancellor of the exchequer say to that. He had not so much, and yet surely he deserved it, if it was only for the great trouble that he must have lately had in issuing exchequer bills. He would not trouble the House with any more observations. They who could believe that the hon. secretary had a vested right, would, of course, vote against the motion of his noble friend; but they who thought otherwise must support that motion. The principle of the transaction was what he most condemned, and the principle was such, that there could be no person, in doors or out of doors, man, woman, or child, but must allow that the lords of the admiralty with lord Melville at their head, had entirely forfeited all claim to public confidence. He said it in their presence, and took that opportunity of saying it, because he presumed that before the division they would of course withdraw.
said, he would trouble the House with a very few observations. He had, in common with the House, felt great satisfaction at the numerous jokes and pleasantries which the right hon. gentleman had thrown over the subject; but at the same time he must say, that he had never before heard him labour so hard in argument. The right hon. gentleman had talked of the disgust which he felt at the conduct of the board of admiralty. He (the noble lord) would retort the expression, and say, that he himself felt the most unmeasured disgust, and he was persuaded that it was a feeling in which the respectable part of the community out of doors participated, to see that spirit of detraction abroad against all public men; above all, to see that readiness in hon. gentlemen to appeal to the unsound part of the people, in order to depreciate and degrade the characters of public men. Of late a system had prevailed, not merely of attack upon the measures of ministers, but of endeavouring to extract or infer from their conduct something which might impeach the purity and honour of their intentions. How had the right hon. gentleman argued the present question? Nothing could be 400 more weak or unfair. The conduct of the lords of the admiralty had been such as they were bound both in law and justice to pursue. Lord Spencer's order of 1800 left them no option: it was imperative: nor was any thing left to their discretion, except the bare fact, whether there was peace or war. Could they—could the House for a moment entertain that monstrous doctrine, to which nothing but utter desperation of all reasonable argument could have driven the right hon. gentleman—that it was within the discretion of the board of admiralty to lessen, at their pleasure, the salaries of the officers, civil or military, of their establishment? As well might it be contended, that the commander in chief had the power of abridging the income of the officers of the army. Nothing but a dearth of all fair grounds of attack could have induced the right hon. gentleman to have recourse to such a wretched fallacy. As to the real question, whether it had been peace or war, it was one of easy solution; he was ready to meet it fairly, and he must say, that if the noble lord had not been far more impatient to procure, at all events, a vote of censure, than he was anxious to investigate whether any matter for censure really existed, he would have moved for papers which would have enabled him to see more clearly the proper line for him to pursue. But no: censure was wanted, not a fair judgment; and therefore the expedition itself was to be degraded rather than the noble lord's motion should be lost. Algiers was now called a petty state; he should like to know when a state began not to be petty. What precise magnitude of a state with which we might be in a relation of hostility, was requisite to entitle that relation to be considered in the light of actual war? Was the language now used with respect to Algiers, for the purpose of laying a trap for public men, and requiring them to enter into a useless discrimination between the various degrees of importance of a state which should entitle a contest with it to this or that appellation? What was the fact? Duty to the English flag; duty to the honour of the English character; duty to the civilized principle throughout the world, made a war with Algiers at once lawful and necessary. That war, once determined upon, was not to be settled, except on certain conditions, which were absolute sine qua nons. The gallant admiral, therefore, though in one sense he carried with him 401 the alternative of war or peace, yet, from the nature of the case, could not be supposed to go out for any purpose but for battle. The body of his instructions contained these principles and these conditions: nay, he was directed in express terms to consider as enemies all ships of the Algerines which he should meet at sea, and was ordered to destroy them wherever found. That the noble admiral himself conceived that he went out to fight rather than to negociate, might be gathered from the circumstance, that he allowed only three hours for the consideration of the conditions. Such were some of the circumstances which the noble lord would have learned, if he had been anxious to show himself a man of business, instead of a man of crimination. The dispatch of the gallant admiral had been quoted for one purpose; he (lord C.) would now refer to it for another: and certainly he could not see in that dispatch any thing to justify the surmise, that but little labour had been expended by the board of admiralty: on the contrary, he saw that the gallant admiral, even in the midst of the joy of his recent and splendid achievements, did not lose sight of those extraordinary exertions which had, according to his own account, so contributed to his victory. He had expressed himself grateful that so efficient a fleet had been consigned, to his use. The fact was, that very great exertion had been made by the admiralty for the purpose of sending out a powerful expedition. The former ships in which the noble admiral had performed the first voyage to Algiers were completely dismantled: and new ships were furnished and equipped for the object of the new enterprise. And what was all the present outcry raised about? It was for the enormous sum of 220l. He was ready to admit that government owed to the country a duty of rigid economy: but he was sure that nothing could appear less grave, less important, less beneficial, in the eyes of the country, than the laying hold of so insignificant a thing as this trifling increase of salary, in order to excite a spirit of discontent and distrust against the ministers of the crown.
The Hon. Mr. Lamb
conceived that the present was not merely a question of war or peace, but whether the war was one of that sort which came within the true intent and meaning of the order in council, and which fair and honourable men could agree to have been contemplated by 402 those whose object had been to creased remuneration to increased services. It might be consistent with the letter of the order in council issued for the guidance of the lords of the admiralty to consider the expedition against Algiers as a war, but certainly it was not consistent with its spirit. What should it be said that there was no difference between a war of two days, and a war where our fleets covered every sea, and blockaded every port? It was a war perhaps, for there had been an expedition and a battle, but was such quibbling, such special pleading, to be adopted against the best interests of the country? In his opinion it was utterly impossible to support the transaction upon those grounds. The noble lord had imputed to that side of the House a desire to traduce and degrade the character of persons filling high official stations; for himself, he disclaimed any such disposition, and he could disclaim it for those by whom he was surrounded. He thought, on the contrary, that any deficiency of dignity, of importance, or of influence, that attached to eminent and responsible offices was an evil in itself, and that it would be most impolitic to attempt to produce it; but at the same time that House could not prevent offices from being degraded by those who filled them. They could establish, that the situation should not degrade the man, but they could not secure the man from degrading the situation. The hon. secretary seemed to think that it was impossible for him not to make the demand he did. In his (Mr. Lamb's) opinion the hon. secretary had judged ill. He appeared to have forgotten, what ought always to be present to the minds of public men, that malignity is ever on the watch to lay hold of the faults of individuals in high stations, and to impute even their best deeds to the worst motives. It was well known that public characters, with what ever integrity and principle they might act, could not hope to escape misrepresentation and aspersion; it was the common lot of greatness; but they should at least take care that the envy, the obloquy, the reproaches, they excited, should have no mean, low, or sordid foundation; and that even the errors, if any, which might be discovered in their conduct, should have somewhat of a magnanimous nature. He thought that principle had not been attended to in the present instance, and therefore he should vote for the motion of the noble lord.
§ Mr. Barclay
said, he was as anxious as any one to see economy and retrenchment carried into effect, and trusted he had always been found on that side. Though, however, his private opinion respecting the policy of taking the war salary might be different from that of the hon. secretary, yet upon the question of his right to receive it, he could not support the motion of the noble lord.
§ Mr. W. Smith
wished to make one remark. He required to be satisfied as to the real ground on which the House was to vote in this business. The hon. secretary and the lords of the admiralty were directly at issue, as to the main point of the case. The secretary had stated, that he should not have considered the expedition to Algiers, as a war, and consequently should not have demanded his salary, if there had been no battle; the gallant admiral, however, stated broadly, that the war commenced as soon as the order for an expedition was issued. This point ought to be settled one way or other before the House came to a vote; and surely the hon. secretary was the fairest judge, at least he could not be supposed to understate his own claim. He considered the battle to have been the war; the battle was a business of two days; let him therefore have his claim, that is, the salary of two days of war. The noble lord who had just spoken had accused the opposition of making an appeal to the unsound part of the people. Mr. Smith said, he believed, that never was a charge more unfounded than such a charge as this brought against this side of the House as a body: and as to individuals, he could say, that no man of that opposition, no man in the House, not excepting the noble lord himself, was less likely to make such an appeal than the noble person who had brought forward the present motion. Indeed, the charge was not only unfounded, but, so applied, was perfectly ridiculous.
§ The House divided:
|For the motion||114|
|Majority against the motion||—55|
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercrombie, hon. J.||Baillie, J. E.|
|Althorp, visc.||Baring, sir Thos.|
|Anson, sir G.||Barnett, James|
|Atherley, Arthur||Birch, Jos.|
|Bastard, E. P.||Brand, hon. T.|
|Bolland, John||Brougham, H.|
|Bennet, hon. H. G.||Burdett, sir F,|
|Burrell, Walter||Morland, S. B.|
|Burrell, hon. P. D.||Morpeth, viscount|
|Calley, Thos.||Moore, Peter|
|Calcraft, John||Newman, R. W.|
|Calvert, C.||Neville, hon. R.|
|Carew, R. S.||Newport, sir John|
|Carter, John||North, Dudley|
|Caulfield, hon. H.||Nugent, lord|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Ord, Wm.|
|Cavendish, hon. H.||Ossulston, lord|
|Curwen, J. C.||Paget, hon. C.|
|Deerhurst, Lord||Porcher, J. Dupree|
|Dickinson, Wm.||Peirse, H.|
|Duncannon, visc.||Philips, G.|
|Dundas, hon. L.||Piggott, sir A.|
|Dundas, Charles||Ponsonby, rt. hon. G.|
|Ebrington, visc.||Ponsonby, hon. F. C.|
|Elliot, rt. hon. W.||Power, Richard|
|Fane, John||Prittie, hon. F. A.|
|Fazakerley, S. N.||Proby, hon. capt.|
|Fergusson, sir R.||Pym, Francis|
|Fitzgerald, rt. hon. M.||Ramsbottom, John|
|Fitzroy, lord John||Ramsden, S. C.|
|Folkestone, visc.||Ridley, sir M. W.|
|Frankland, Robt.||Romilly, sir S.|
|Fremantle, Wm.||Russell, lord Wm.|
|Gordon, Robt.||Russell, lord G. W.|
|Grenfell, Pascoe||Russell, lord J.|
|Gurney, Hudson||Russell, Robt. G.|
|Hammersley, H.||Saville, Albany.|
|Hamilton, lord A.||Scudamore, R.|
|Hamilton, sir H. D.||Sharp, Richard|
|Heathcote, sir G.||Sefton, earl of|
|Heron, sir Robt.||Smith, John|
|Howard, hon. W.||Teed, John|
|Howorth, H.||Thompson, Thos.|
|Hughes, W. L.||Tavistock, marquis|
|Hurst, Robt.||Taylor, C. W.|
|Jervoise, G. P.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Knox, hon. Thos.||Vernon, Granville|
|Lamb, hon. W.||Wood, Thos.|
|Lambton, J. G.||Wright, J. Atkins|
|Latouche, Robt. jun.||Walpole, hon. G.|
|Lyttelton, hon. W. H.||Waldegrave, hon. W.|
|Lockhart, J. I.||Warre, J. A.|
|Methuen, Paul||Webb, E.|
|Macdonald, James||Wilkins, Walter|
|Mackintosh, sir J.||Wynn, C. W.|
|Martin, H.||Milton, visc.|
|Martin, John||Smith, Wm.|
|Monck, sir C.|