HC Deb 03 May 1830 vol 24 cc352-3

Mr. F. Lewis moved the Order of the Day for the Committee on the Navy Pay Consolidation Laws' Bill. He explained, that it repealed or omitted twenty-one capital punishments, but otherwise made no alteration in the law. Being aware of the feeling of the House on the subject of the Paymastership of the Navy, the name of the Paymaster had been struck out of every clause except one. By that he would be empowered still to receive letters, and it was proposed that he should continue to do so till July, 1831.

In answer to a question from Mr. Hume, the right hon. Gentleman explained, that he might be obliged to employ a person under him, as a deputy, not being able with his own hands to discharge all the duties of the situation; he, however, should continue, responsible. He had undertaken to discharge the duties of the office of Treasurer without any Paymaster; and he put it therefore to the candour of the Mouse, whether he ought to be compelled to be in his office at all hours of the day, or to adopt a course that would place at hazard the public money. In case of ill health, or unavoidable absence, the duties of his office, as of all similar offices, would devolve upon the person next in authority to him, and if the Treasurer of the Navy were to be debarred from that privilege, it would subject the service to considerable inconvenience. A person was allowed at common law to appoint another person to act for him by a power of attorney; and he saw no reason why that privilege should be denied to the Treasurer of the Navy.

In reply to a further question put by Mr. Hume, the right hon. Gentleman stated, that it was not intended, he believed, to make any new appointment by which a fresh salary would accrue to any individual, but he must at the same time state, that there never was an office in which so much business was done, as that of the Treasurer of the Navy, without an immediate deputy or clerk, possessing an adequate salary to assist the Treasurer. When he considered the business likely to devolve on him after the abolition of the office of Paymaster, he thought he should be obliged to ask for some assistance, though he would not do so till he found that it was not possible to go on without it. The President of the Board of Trade had always had a secretary, and he did not think the most rigid economist of the public money would wish to deny to the Treasurer of the Navy the assistance of a secretary. He did not wish to trumpet forth his own praise—but it did afford him pleasure to state, that since he had held the office of Treasurer of the Navy, he had been enabled to make a saving of 3,000l. a year.

In answer to a further question from Mr. Poulett Thomson, the right hon. Gentleman stated, that under all circumstances, the Treasurer of the Navy, and not any deputy he might appoint by power of attorney or otherwise, would be answerable for the public money.

Bill went through a committee.