The Marquis of Londonderry
said, he was anxious, if not inconvenient to the House, to take that opportunity of saying a few words respecting the papers on their lordships' table, which he had moved for, relative to the Foreign Office. In making these observations, he felt great diffidence and some reluctance; for it would give him great pain if it were supposed that he had been induced by personal motives to make any observations on those papers. He also felt great reluctance in bringing forward this affair, because circumstances had induced his noble friends, who had given notices of motions in a substantive form, to abstain from pressing them forward. Still, though he felt much reluctance in pursuing, the course he was about to follow, he did not shrink from doing so, because his noble friend opposite had intimated, that touching upon these matters in no specific form was something like faction. Faction was a school he had never been brought up in; and he trusted that he never should be guilty of faction. Whatever he might have to urge in their lordships' House, he should always state openly and distinctly. The government had been formed by manœuvre and intrigue, and fostered by delusion, and could not stand. That was his firm opinion. He wished his noble friends had gone on with the motions of which they had given notice. The sense of the House would then have been long ago taken on them, in such a way as would have placed the noble lords opposite in such a state of embarrassment as would have made it difficult for them to extricate themselves from. He thought the government was formed without any principle at all. The noble lord opposite had said, that they should be the basest of all men if they did not act on the principles of lord Liverpool. A noble lord, who had great weight, had said, that the government was not formed on the principles of lord Liverpool, and he must therefore infer that the 1400 government was formed on no principle whatever. Fortunately for the noble lords, they had nearly arrived at the close of the session. He would now refer to the returns from the Foreign Office. The establishment at home remained much the same as before; but with respect to that abroad, he would state the totals in round numbers. The total expenditure of that office in 1822 amounted to 241,255l.; in 1826, to 285,827l.; making an increase of 44,582l.; which, after admitting the allowance for consuls, which was formerly about 28,176l., making a clear excess of upwards of 16,406l. That was certainly not a very great sum; but let their lordships look at the immense increase of patronage in the Foreign Office. The whole expense in 1822 amounted to 241,255l.; in 1826, 372,439l.., making an increase of 131,934l.—The second return was that of the appointments by the Foreign Office; by which it seemed that, to the new states of America there were three new envoys extraordinary, twenty-five consuls and vice-consuls; besides fourteen new consular appointments in France and other European states, making altogether thirty-nine new consular and vice-consular appointments.— The next return was the account of secret service money. By the return it appeared, that the secret service money in 1822, and the preceding years, never exceeded 30,000l., excepting one year, which might be easily accounted for; but from 1822, down to the present period, it had been gradually increasing, until last year it amounted to 58,000l. The sum of 35,0001. was spent at home, and 23,000l. abroad. Now, without questioning the honour or oath of any one, he must consider the expenditure of 35,000l. at home a most lavish and monstrous expense. He did not doubt the fact of its being expended; but he questioned the judgment of those who had the disposal of it. Their lordships, however, had heard a noble friend of his, on a former day, state, that he had never known such exactness in the disposal of secret service money as during the time of the right hon. gentleman; and they had heard a eulogium on his merits, that he had never expended a shilling without receiving a quid pro quo for it. He did not know how that might be, but he did hope that foreign secretaries did get a quid pro quo for their money at home. He was anxious to know what had been received for it, for 1401 he was at a loss to know how 35,000l. could be so expended: perhaps, to be sure, the Spanish Liberals had been subsisted on it. It was clear that the expenditure of the last four years had exceeded the preceding four years by 15,000l.The next return was the Foreign Office building and furniture account, amounting to 42,147l.; one item for furniture amounted to 8,000l.; a sum that he considered enormous. He thought that if the right hon. gentleman was entitled to an expenditure of 8,000l. for furniture alone, that other great officers of state were equally entitled to a similar sum. He thought that they ought not to object to a large grant to the Lord High Admiral, when such sums had been granted to other individuals. It appeared singular to him, that these various items had come up to them without any observation; but he could only account for that, by reading an account of the way in which the speech of the First Lord of the Treasury had been received in another place; by which it would appear, that he had obtained such a dominion over the minds of certain individuals, as to prevent any animadversion on such expenditure.— The next return was that of the pensions to foreign ministers, on which there was an increase of about 5,000l. With regard to this return, he must state a case with respect to himself, which, under any other circumstances, he should have been unwilling to mention; but he must distinctly say, that he had been personally injured with respect to this particular return of the Foreign Office. The right hon. Secretary had unnecessarily or wantonly brought forward charges against him which he felt himself bound to repel and deny. For that purpose he had entered into a correspondence with the noble lord opposite; and if the noble lord chose to give that correspondence to the public, or to disclose it in any other shape, he should have no objection to it, and by that correspondence he would be judged. The result of the whole of these returns was,— that in 1822, the expenditure of the foreign establishment abroad amounted to 241,245l., which, together with the pension list, taken at 30,000l. and other items, made a total of 324,362l.; while, in 1826, it had increased to 327,439l.; added to which the pension list of 58,447l., the building and furniture account of 43,147l. with some other items, produced a total of 531,836l., making an 1402 increase of 207,524l.; which, after every possible allowance for the new states of America, showed an increase of expenditure of about 70,000l., during the last year. He wished these facts to be known. He was sure the noble lord would have no objection to their being made public; as he was, no doubt, anxious that a true statement should appear of the state of that office, the patronage of which far exceeded any thing that the noble lord's predecessors had enjoyed.
§ Lord Dudley and Ward
said, he thought the noble marquis had adopted a most extraordinary course, after he had called for papers which had been laid upon the table a considerable time.
§ Lord Dudley and Ward
resumed. The noble lord, after much note of preparation, had come down to the House to make a desultory speech, inculpating a particular department of his majesty's government, without giving any public notice, and without ending with any specific proposition. He felt that, under these circumstances, he was not justified in giving any answer to what he must say (without intending any offence to the noble marquis) must be considered, according to the practice of parliament, unfair remarks. Their lordships would remember, that when the papers to which the noble marquis alluded were asked for, they were moved for with considerable pomp, as if some delusion had been practised—as if they were to preface some important motion—and as if some great discovery had been made. The noble lord said, he wished to place before parliament and the country an account of the vast patronage of the Foreign-office, and to contrast the expenses of that department of the government in the years 1822 and 1826; that was, speaking plainly, to contrast the expenses of the administration of the late marquis of Londonderry with that of Mr. Canning. The papers which the noble marquis moved for had been produced; and what was the result after all? Why, it appeared that there had been hardly any increase of expenditure in the Foreign-office, except that which was satisfactorily accounted for by the increased expense in the consular department℄ an arrangement that had re- 1403 ceived the sanction of the late marquis of Londonderry, though not effected during his administration; the principle of which was, that salaries should be substituted for fees. Their lordships were also aware of the increase in the consular department—an increase at which all parties must rejoice, when it was remembered, that it arose from our extended commerce and increased intercourse with foreign states. He alluded to the expense of our missions to South America—details which would be sufficiently established and explained by documents which had been laid on the table of the other House. Another point to which the noble marquis had adverted was the expense of the house in Downing-street. That House had been purchased for the Foreign Secretary at an expense of 18,000l.,—a large sum of money he must admit; but if secretaries of state were to have official residences provided for them at all, they should be in some degree suited to the station of those who were to occupy them; and as to the house in question, he would maintain, that it was not equal to the houses in which secretaries of state of other countries were lodged, nor to those of foreign ambassadors, and was not for a moment to be compared with the palace in which the noble marquis had resided at Vienna.—Another topic to which the noble marquis had adverted, and challenged him to lay the particulars before the House, he must also mention. He had understood the noble marquis to say, he had been calumniated and injured by the returns from the foreign-office. He had alluded to a correspondence which had taken place on the subject of a pension to which he conceived he was entitled for his diplomatic services; and had said, that if he (lord Dudley) would lay the papers before the House and the public, he would be judged by them. He must decline adopting that course, but the history of the transaction he would briefly state. The noble marquis made an application on this subject, by letter, to the Under Secretary of State —a gentleman who had long filled that office, Mr. Planta, stating the grounds which, in his own opinion, entitled him to a pension. The letter thus written was, of course, handed to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, who, not wishing to take upon himself the responsibility of deciding on such an application, or of setting a value on the services of the noble marquis, transmitted it to lord Liverpool, then 1404 the First Lord of the Treasury. If he mistook not, the application was renewed; and then it was that lord Liverpool shortly after returned the letter to the Foreign office, in which he had made the remark in pencil, which had been communicated to the public through the medium of a newspaper.
The Marquis of Londonderry.
— The noble lord had better say "through the medium of the Foreign-office."
§ Lord Dudley and Ward.
— The noble marquis said, it had been made public through the Foreign-office. He should like to know how the noble marquis could know it without a most scandalous breach of trust—a most scandalous breach of duty on the part of some person in that office [hear, hear]. He would repeat— how could the noble marquis have known it, but through a most scandalous breach of duty on the part of that person from whom the noble marquis had derived his information? On the noble marquis's application, lord Liverpool had written, in pencil, the words— "This is too bad." And he had seen them himself. There was no breach of confidence in stating this; he had no motive in so doing; but when he was told, that the noble marquis had been calumniated by the returns from the Foreign-office, he could not allow noble lords to go away under the impression, that something very unjust had been done to the noble marquis. Now, with respect to the breach of confidence, as it had been termed, although the fact must have come from the Foreign-office, yet he protested he had no knowledge by what means, or through what channels, it had reached the newspapers. He was now only speaking of the transaction, as an instance of extraordinary breach of confidence on the part of the individual through whom the knowledge of it had escaped to the public. He did not want to bring any censure on the noble marquis: the transaction itself was one upon which he wished to be understood as expressing no opinion whatever. The noble marquis had adopted a course which he thought was suggested by his duty. How far he was right in so thinking, it was not for him to say. He was bound to suppose that. the noble marquis had acted under a conscientious sense of duty; and he was not attempting to draw down any censure upon the conduct he had thought proper to pursue. The observations of the noble marquis, 1405 not followed up by any motion, were so irregular and of such a nature, that he did not feel himself called on to go through them in detail. The motion, however, which had been made by the noble marquiswith— what object he would not say, because it was not parliamentary to impute motives— had certainly been made with a tendency to throw censure upon the conduct of the right hon. gentleman who had lately been the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, but whose great crime was, that he now filled the chief seat in his majesty's councils. It had been made with a hope—a vain hope—of fixing a charge of prodigality upon that right hon. gentleman. Now, when he had heard that charge of prodigality preferred against his right hon. friend, he had thought it right to make some inquiry into the subject, and he found that, during the period of between thirty and forty years, for which the right hon. gentleman had been in the service of the country, and to which service he had brought no slight share of ability and industry, he had received of the public money, a sum of between 60,000l. and 70,000l., for his services. On the other hand, he believed that the noble marquis had been in the public service about ten years; and for his services in that period, he had received of the public money 160,000l. [loud cheers]. He begged not to be understood as casting any imputation upon the noble marquis in stating this fact. He did not mean to say that his services were not cheaply purchased; because he was not acquainted with them, and was therefore incapable of pronouncing a judgment upon them [cheers]. But, when an attempt was made to fix upon his right hon. friend, by implication, a charge of prodigality, he could not help thinking, that he was bound to state these circumstances to their lordships, in order that the public might judge between his right hon. friend and the noble marquis, and say whose services had been most valuable to the country, in proportion to the remuneration which they had received for them. The noble marquis had made some other observations; but as he considered them wholly irregular, and as there was no proposition before the House, he would not occupy any more of their lordships time in replying to them.
The Marquis of Londonderry
hoped that he should be excused for again trespassing upon their lordships, after the extraor- 1406 dinary mode of answering his observations adopted by the noble lord. He had alluded to the amount of certain sums of public expenditure, as appeared on the face of the papers on their lordships' table; and in reply to this, the noble lord had thought proper to go into a defence of a personal accusation with respect to a transaction with which it had nothing to do. Since the noble lord, however, had thought proper to mention that transaction, he should not have contented himself with stating only a part of it. He called upon him to state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; instead of which, he had given their lordships a partial and garbled statement. Now, he would not take up the time of the House upon this subject further than to read to their lordships a letter that he had written to the noble lord, which would show what the real facts of the case were. The noble marquis here read the following letter:—
"Holderness-House, May 14, 1827.
"My dear Lord,— Having just read in 'The Times' newspaper of to-day a libel upon my character, in which it is stated, that upon an application of mine for a pension, out of the prescribed form, lord Liverpool had himself endorsed these words—"This is too bad'— I feel persuaded that you will inform me whether, in your opinion, it be possible that, accidentally or otherwise, the office over which you preside can have been accessory to such a statement. If the fact be true, it will show that confidential or official documents are communicated for indirect purposes of personal attack, not where they can be met and answered, but by throwing them into anonymous channels. Whatever may be the character given of my proceedings in parliament, I disclaim any thing but being direct and open against public men and public measures, and I despise any other mode too much to have recourse to it.
"I request, therefore, before I take any further steps, that you will have the goodness to favour me with an answer to the quere I have made, and that you will forward me, as soon as possible, copies of all the correspondence relating to my application for the pension, together with Mr. Canning's letter, as to my services, on my resignation of the Vienna Embassy.
(Signed) "VANE LONDONDERRY."
The answer of the noble lord opposite was a complete denial; and he consequently 1407 thought the thing at an end. In eight or ten days afterwards; however, he received a letter from the noble lord, saying that since his former letter, he had discovered that the pencil-mark alluded to did actually exist. Upon receipt of that communication he wrote to the noble lord as follows:—
"Holderness-House, May 23.
"My Lord,—My absence at Chiswick until a late hour last night, prevented my answering your lordship's letter sooner. As it now appears that a private and confidential remark of lord Liverpool's, arising out of my private communication to Mr. Planta, on my resignation of the Vienna embassy (of the existence of which, or any thing like it, I never could have the least intimation), has, after a lapse of six or seven years, been anonymously conveyed to the public from the Foreign-office, and has now been for the first time, officially communicated to me, I think it necessary for me to place all indirect attacks at defiance, and to show— 1st, From the records in the Foreign-office, that all the diplomatic servants of the Crown received pensions, with the exception of myself, who gave up to lord Liverpool's nomination a military government of 600l. a year for life, without any equivalent, in 1821, the year preceding my retirement from the Vienna embassy; 2nd, To show the estimation in which my humble services, military and diplomatic, were held by my sovereign and superiors, during thirty years' service, and especially during the period I held the situation of his majesty's ambassador at Vienna.
(Signed) "VANE LONDONDERRY."
Now, what he complained of was, that an anonymous publication of this description should go forth, for the purpose of injuring his character, after the lapse of time which he had mentioned. With respect to the noble lord, he felt obliged to him for the kindness he had shown him in bringing forward this subject on the present occasion. He was desirous, however, that the whole correspondence which had taken place upon it should be shown to the public; for there was no act of his life, either public or private, of which he had ever felt ashamed.