HC Deb 14 May 1830 vol 24 cc731-57

Sir James Graham, then rose and spoke as follows:—Sir, I assure you that I very much regret that his Majesty's Ministers should think it inconsistent with their duty to grant the Returns for which I am about to move. I must confess that I am both sorry and surprised at their resolution. I am sorry, because it will entail on me the necessity of exercising your patience for some time; and I am surprised, for I am at a loss to know upon what grounds they can intend to resist my Motion. I feel myself so strong in principle, that I think I may safely rest my case on general principles alone, without resorting to any other ground. The general principle is, that the Representatives of the people, the guardians of the public purse, are, as of right, to call for statements of what sums of public money have been received by any particular individual, or number of individuals, or class of individuals, and it is for the Ministers to show some special reason for the exception to the general rule. If I am right as to the general rule, it is incumbent upon Ministers to produce the Returns, and in the shape in which I now ask for them, as similar Returns have been asked for before, and have been granted. I asked in 1821 for a return of the places held by Members of either House of Parliament under the Grown, stating the income, salaries, and emoluments enjoyed by each officer, and specifying whether they were held for life, or liable to removal on the demise of the Crown—and that return was granted. There was another Return for the number of pensions and sinecures enjoyed for offices chiefly executed by deputy, which was also made. The House will observe, that in these Returns it is especially stated, what Members of either House are in the receipt of any income, salary, or emolument under the Crown. It therefore rests with the right hon. Gentleman to show the distinction and difference between the two classes—between the Members of either House of Parliament, and the members of the Privy Council. I allow that it is with the people of England a matter of Constitutional jealousy, narrowly to observe what part is pursued by the persons whom they return to represent them in Parliament, and what influence is likely to be exercised over their votes by the Crown. I admit also that the power of electing Privy Councillors makes some difference: it is competent for his Majesty to choose from either House such Members as he may choose for his Privy Council, and there are in it at this moment many Members from both Houses. But, Sir, I ask, upon what principle is it that there should be less jealousy observed respecting the Privy Council than has been evinced towards this House. It cannot be contended that the Privy Council is not a body recognized by the Statutes, and known to the House? Were it necessary, I could cite many authorities in proof of the fact, but I shall content myself with referring to three. I find that by the Statute of Henry 7th, it is made death, without benefit of clergy, to attempt or compass the life of a Privy Councillor. Secondly, there was another Statute, the 12th and 13th William 3rd which commands that no man born out of the kingdom, except of English parents, shall be a member of the Privy Council. The last is germain to the matter introduced by the hon. member for Aberdeen the other night—it is an Act of Anne, and provides that the Privy Council shall continue for six months after the demise of the Crown, unless sooner determined by the successor. The Privy Council, therefore, is a body known to the law, and it is known to this House; for I think I have frequently heard it stated by you, Sir, from that Chair, that an Address to his Majesty should be presented by members of the Privy Council. If, then, I am right, upon the general principle that members of this body are liable to public scrutiny, as well as Members of this House, being fully recognized by the Constitution, the onus of the proof why, in this instance, there should be any exception to the general rule, lies on the right hon. Gentleman. And if he fail in this proof, I consider, Sir, that I have a right to demand the Returns for which I move. But then the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer objects to my Motion, saying, that the Return I ask for is superfluous, since the Return moved for by the hon. member for Lincoln will fully answer the purposes I have in view. Now, with the permission of the House, I will read the motion of the hon. member for Lincoln. It is conceived in these terms. [The hon. Baronet then read the motion for a Return of the Persons in our Civil or Military Establishments, holding two or more Commissions, Offices, or Pensions, Pay, or Allowances; specifying the date of the Office, and the Amount received by each Person, for the year 1829]. Now, Sir, this is the Return moved for by the hon. member for Lincoln; and I think I shall be able to show the right hon. Gentleman himself—and I am sure he will have the candour to acknowledge it—that this return would not answer my purpose. The Return, be it observed, is for those persons holding two or more commissions, offices, pensions, pay, or allowances, in our civil or military establishments. Now it will be my duty to analyse the Privy Council; and I have to state that there are only thirty of its members who hold two offices, while there are 113 who hold offices under the Crown. If, therefore, I contented myself with the return of the hon. member for Lincoln, I should only have had there thirty pluralists, while the remaining eighty-three would escape unnoticed. This, then, Sir, I submit, the right hon. Gentleman must admit is a reason perfectly conclusive in favour of my persevering in the course I deem it proper to pursue. Sir, in now bringing forward this question, I may be exposed to something like taunts when I allude to the document on which I propose to ground it. It is one which I have endeavoured, at the expense of much time and labour, to form with all possible accuracy from returns laid before this House; but as they are scattered over an immense space, and appear in the inter- vals of a long period, I may not always have succeeded in avoiding errors. Besides, for some offices and places there are no returns at all. In these cases, however, I have obtained the best information that could be procured except a Parliamentary Return. But before proceeding further, I think it well to stale, that it is not my wish to say anything that may appear unkind or invidious towards any Gentleman. My Motion is of a peculiarly delicate and painful nature; and notwithstanding the allusions of the right hon. Gentleman on a former occasion, I hope I shall forget nothing that is due to the feelings of individuals. The course I shall pursue will be to analyse this document. I will divide the Privy Council into classes; and doing so, I shall, in the first place, except the Royal Family; they derive their incomes from the votes of this House, and by Act of Parliament; there is nothing mysterious about them; they have frequently been considered and discussed in the Commons House. There are then, as far as I can ascertain, 169 Privy Councillors, exclusive of the members of the Royal Family; of these 113 are in the receipt of pay, pensions, or allowances, to the annual amount of 650,164l. The average amount distributed to each individual will be about 5,753l. Of these emoluments, 86,103l. is paid for sinecures; 442,000l. for active service; and 121,650l. for pensions. Of these 113 Privy Councillors, thirty are pluralists—that is to say, they either enjoy sinecures in conjunction with some post of active service, or they at the same time fill civil and military situations. The total amount annually received by them is 221,130l. The average amount distributed to each is 7,371l. The number of Privy Councillors receiving diplomatic pay is twenty-nine. The gross amount received by them annually is 126,176l. The average amount distributed to each is 4,347l. Of the 113 Privy Councillors, sixty-nine are Members of either House of Parliament. Of these sixty-nine, forty-seven are Peers, and they receive 378,840l.; or on an average each receives 8,069l. Twenty-two Members of the House of Commons are also members of the Privy Council, and they receive 90,849l.; or the amount distributed to each is about 4,130l. The House will remember that of the 113 Privy Councillors who are in the receipt of the public money, sixty-nine are Members of either House of Parliament; and I can state that twenty-nine others hold offices, or receive money, who did hold seats in the House of Commons when the office or the emolument was obtained. The number of Members of the House of Commons who are also Privy Councillors is thirty-one; of those, twenty-two are in the receipt of the public money. Now, I have given to the House a complete and entire statement, to the best of my ability and belief, of the question respecting these offices and emoluments as it fairly stands. I cannot positively take upon me to assert that there are no mistakes—a few errors may have unavoidably crept in; but I am quite sure the statement is as near the truth as a person not official could possibly bring forward. If the right hon. Gentleman objects to it, and says it is not accurate, my answer is simply this—grant me my Motion. Grant me my Motion. I call upon the Ministers to join issue with me, so that the people of England may be satisfied. And now, Sir, I think it my duty to state another fact, which I can bring forward with more certainty, because it is founded on a Return from the Treasury, for which I myself moved. It is a Return of the number of persons employed in the Public Offices in the year 1797, and also in the years 1805, 1810, 1815; also specifying the number of persons employed in 1827, and the reduction made since 1819. Now here I may observe, that it is a singular fact, while comparing the number of persons employed in 1797 and 1829, that the price of Wheat, which, after all, is the true standard, was, at both periods, nearly the same. There was only a couple of shillings difference. Now, comparing the amount of money paid to persons employed in the public offices in 1797 and in 1827—in 1797, the amount paid was 1,374,000l., there being then 16,207 persons employed; in 1827, it was 2,788,000l., the number of persons employed being 22,912. This is a comparison between the two years, as made upon a former evening. The average amount, paid to each person in 1797 was 84l., in 1827 it was 121l., making a difference of nearly thirty per cent; and as to the numbers, it is a thing extracted from this Return to which I have alluded. It may be important, also, to remark, that in 1810 Wheat was 105s. a quarter, at present it is 56s. Now, a point that has been argued is, that fees were paid to cer- tain officers before 1812 which were subsequently abolished; and thus it came to pass that the appointments before this period appeared smaller, while subsequently they appeared larger than they really were. This is published in a book by Mr. Dean, the chairman of the Board of Customs, in answer to the book of my right hon. friend, the chairman of the late Finance Committee, whose work I look upon as one of the highest value, and always consult as my manual upon questions like the present. But even from this statement, the saving effected appears to be a matter altogether insignificant. The whole amount of fees abolished was 160,000l.; and now, taking into consideration that Wheat is now 56s. the quarter, and was then about 105s. a quarter, let us see what is the difference between the years 1810 and 1827, considering the number of persons employed, and the salaries paid to them. In 1810 the number of persons employed was 22,931, and the sum paid to them 2,822,000l. In 1827 there were 22,912 persons employed, and the amount paid to them was 2,788,000l. Thus it appears, there were only twenty-one persons fewer employed in 1827 than 1810; while the difference in the expense was less than 100,000l. In what state, then, are we, unfortunate country gentlemen, placed? The price of Wheat, as I have stated, differs nearly by one-half; thus we are called upon to receive half prices, and to pay double annuities; while the persons employed receive double annuities, and pay but half the price. This presses heavily, not only on the gentry who have large estates, but on the whole community, and they regard it, as the Commons of England well may, with jealousy, and on it they ought not to hesitate to pronounce a strong opinion. Sir, I shall not detain the House long; but there are a few points on which I wish to speak. On a former evening I happened, in terms which were very displeasing to the other side of the House, though they were uttered with entire sincerity and singleness of purpose on my part—to state that I for one could never consent to begin reduction with humble and powerless individuals, while those possessing influence, and power, and property were suffered to pass scathless. Sir, I cannot suffer these persons to go scot free. This does not fall in with my notion of justice; and I for one will never cease to urge his Majesty's Ministers to turn their attention to this most important question without loss of time. I might bring forward many illustrations in proof of the facts I have stated. There is, for instance, Mr. Penn, who is superannuated on an allowance of 750l. per annum, and who, being unfit for active service, has been made agent for Ceylon, with a salary of 1,200l. a year; this I should call an objectionable proceeding: but why should I stoop to complain of this, when there is my Lord Cathcart, who, with emoluments to the amount of 2,000l. a year in this country, enjoys the post of Vice-admiral in Scotland, with a salary of 2,013l., and all his military allowances as a general officer and a colonel of a regiment. I cannot think, Sir, of touching Mr. Penn's salary till I have reduced and regulated Lord Cathcart's emoluments. Again, there is Mr. Browne, enjoying a salary of 1,200l. for a situation in the civil department of the army, while he at the same time receives half-pay as a commissary. Nothing, it is true, can be more improper, or more opposite to all principle and justice than this; but when I look at the gallant Admiral opposite—and I am sure he will excuse my frankness, and I might almost say boldness, in thus alluding to him, for these attributes are supposed to belong almost exclusively to his own profession—I say, when I look at him, I could not be dastardly enough to complain of Mr. Browne, and pass over the far greater emoluments enjoyed by one much higher in rank and official station. The gallant Admiral, in addition to his salary of 1,000l. as a Lord of the Admiralty, receives the full pay of a Major-general of Marines, and, if I am not considerably misinformed, he has lately been paid 3,000l. as arrears of half-pay. And now, if the House will allow me, I will read the form of Oath administered to all Lieutenants in the Navy, and the other subordinate officers, before they can receive their half-pay; here is the Oath:—"I, do swear that I am not in holy orders, and that I had not, between the day of and the day of 18, any place or employment of profit whatsoever under his Majesty, nor in any department of his Majesty's service, nor in the colonies or possessions of his Majesty beyond the seas, nor under any other government." This is the oath the junior officers must take, while their superiors are exempted from any such restriction. Is this just? Is it right that the gallant Vice-admiral opposite, who is in the enjoyment of his civil emoluments, and of his full-pay as a Major-general of Marines, should be exempt from taking an oath of this kind while it was imposed on a poor Lieutenant? I might now mention another case—that of the Vice-president of the Board of Trade, who, we were informed the other night, was oppressed with such a redundancy of business, that he had not a single moment to himself, yet he receives 600l. a year as agent for the Cape of Good Hope. Then there is the First Lord of the Admiralty, who enjoys his salary of 5,000l. a year, which, be it remarked, was considerably augmented during the war—at the period of high prices—and who, in addition, has a largo sinecure in Scotland of 3,150l. per annum as Keeper of the Privy Seal. In like manner, I might complain of the Commissioners of Customs and of Excise, who received large augmentations of their salaries in 1801, and in 1816, on the alleged ground, as stated by a Minister in this House, of the diminished value of money and the increased price of provisions, and whose salaries have not been reduced since money has risen in value, and all things have fallen in price; but, Sir, there would be no justice, no principle, no honour in this, while my Lord Melville or my Lord Rosslyn, holding the Privy Seal of England, a sinecurist in Scotland, and the receiver of large military emoluments, can be presented to our notice. I confess that all this might not be sufficient to entitle me to my Motion. I accordingly feel bound to state the parliamentary objects I have in view. My first and great object is to see if the service rendered be equivalent to the sum of money which is paid for it. My second object is to inquire, if the rule that half-pay should abate on taking civil office, should not also apply to full pay; and my third is to ascertain, whether retired pensions and allowances of Ministers should not abate when they return to office. These are the three substantial grounds on which I move for my Return; and if it be granted to me, I pledge myself that I will bring these questions fairly before the House. I hope the House will consider them not unworthy its attention; and if it do not, I must declare that this Return is necessary to enable me to bring them fairly forward. The hon. member for Newcastle has introduced a motion respecting Superannuations; it is a question blended with all our civil establishments; but from the mode in which it is treated, one would suppose it was now introduced for the first time—that it had never been mooted—that it had never been discussed before; but what is the fact? That it was most amply and ably discussed by the Finance Committee—that committee upon which the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department once lavished such high praise, saying it was formed of the most talented and experienced men in this House, at least as far as financial matters were concerned. And what did the Finance Report state? First, the alarming fact, that 484,000l. was paid for persons in a non-effective state, while 4,371,000l. was the expense of the effective, or one-ninth of the whole sum was paid to those in a non-effective slate; and the Report went on to say—"That no half-pay should be payable to any officer holding any other office or employment, civil or military, under the Crown (except in certain staff situations), or in the service of a foreign state." And, Sir, this regulation is acted on with rigour, as far as it affects the humble and defenceless classes; and certainly the principle is a sound one; but it should be universally applied. The Report then adds—"They are far from being disposed to discourage the appointment of individuals who have served their country in the military and naval professions to civil employments; but when those individuals adopt the civil service, the committee conceive they should receive the same remuneration for it as civil servants would receive, and no more. Upon a careful consideration, therefore, of all the principles and circumstances affecting this part of the case, the committee recommend, in the strongest manner, that the payment of all half-pay be forthwith replaced upon the footing on which it stood previously to the year 1820, with respect to all military or naval officers hereafter to be appointed to any civil employment or office under the Crown, or under any foreign government." Now, here a positive recommendation is distinctly given (I may say distinctly, since it was, in chief part, the work of the Master of the Mint, who earned such high praise by the assiduity, precision, and financial talent he displayed in that committee); and why did not the Government, after all their professions, accede to it. The defence of the Government is, that they are not to blame—that they did all they could to reduce the Superannuations to the standard of 1820; that is to say, to reduce them one-tenth, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer plumes himself on having introduced a bill upon the subject. This he did on the 2nd of July, 1828; but as he stated, the opposition was so strenuous—so insurmountable—that he was compelled to yield. The persons who so irresistibly opposed this bill were, the hon. members for Lincoln, for Dovor, for Bristol, my gallant friend the member for South-wark—the hon. member for Inverness, who had only left office about five weeks before; the hon. member for Newcastle-under-Lyne, who was in a similar situation; and the Vice-president of the Board of Trade. These were the hon. Gentlemen who so triumphantly opposed the second reading of the bill. But I beg the House to attend to the very words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who so zealously, and faithfully, and enthusiastically brought forward this measure. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in proposing this bill, said, "I feel that this measure is particularly severe, and I particularly regret the necessity of proposing it." Yet, after this strenuous support, it was stated that it was the fault of the House that this measure was not carried. The House will, I trust, observe to what the expressions of the Report, and the sentiments of this trustworthy committee bore: it was, as I have stated, in returning to the practice of 1822, to reduce all these allowances one-tenth. Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave up the question, even without a division. Well may we then ask— ——cur indecores in limine primo Deficimus? Cur ante tubam tremor occupatartus? And, Sir, humble and undistinguished a Member as I am of this House, I will take upon me to declare, that if Ministers will only afford me their support, I will undertake to carry this repudiated Act triumphantly through the House in the course of the next week. But what has the Chancellor of the Exchequer done? He has referred the question to another committee. And to a committee how constituted? I will tell the House. But in this, too, I will abstain from all personal allusions, contenting myself with a general description. Let me first state, however, that in the Finance Committee there were six Ministers, two Ex-ministers, eight Members of counties, seven Representatives of cities and boroughs. The present committee on the Superannuations consisted originally of eighteen Members. My right hon. friend, the Chairman of the late Finance Committee, has been since forced upon them, and, to counterbalance him, they have added a Ministerial Member; there are now, consequently twenty Members, of which four are Ministers, four Ex-ministers, six county Members, five Representatives of cities and boroughs. Thus nearly one-half the committee consist of Ministers or Ex-ministers. Before I sit down, I beg to refer to the argument with' which I know we shall be met upon this occasion, as we have often been met before—I mean by the argument of vested rights. If the House will pardon me, as that argument has been answered in better language than I could possibly use—in terms, too, most carefully considered by the noble Lord who used them—I will quote them from the last speech delivered in this House by the Marquis of Londonderry. It was upon a motion, in which, in opposing the opinion of Mr. Canning on this subject, the noble Lord said, "If this notion of vested interests and freehold rights were to go forward, then there must be an end of legislation—these rights and interests would meet them at every turn, and put a stop to every measure, however beneficial or necessary. Why should the public offices be conducted on a plan different from private concerns? If a banker or private merchant wished to remove a clerk, or to lower his salary, he did it at once. Now, would any man contend that that clerk would have a right to turn round and say 'I gave up a fellowship at College, and a place in the Church, to accept of your clerkship, and therefore you ought not to dismiss me.' If any hon. Member on the other side were to bring forward a Motion of this kind"—Aye, Sir, these were days before we, on this side of the House, had transferred our services to the Crown, and had deserved by our conduct the name of" his Majesty's Opposition"—"If any hon. Member on the other side were to bring forward a motion of this kind and he (Lord L.) were to meet it by saying that the salaries in the public offices were vested rights—were a kind of freehold, and could not be tampered with, the idea would be scouted." These, Sir, were some of the last words of that noble Lord in this House. They merit our praise, for they were true—they deserve to be inscribed on our recollection, and I trust that they will not be forgotten in the vote of to-night. It is the higher classes of offices that are the subject of my Motion; it is they upon whom I propose to take your vote to-night; it is they who are included in the Returns for which I am about to move. I seek to regulate them, and until I see these returns denied me by the vote of this House, I will not believe that even the influence of the Minister of the Crown will be sufficient to refuse them. I have read somewhere, and I fully subscribe to the truth of the observation, that the mark of a wise and prudent Government, and that which distinguishes it from an unwise and imprudent Government, is well to know the time and manner at which no longer to refuse what is demanded of it. Let the Government now show its wisdom and prudence; for if ever there was a time when the people of this country imperatively demanded a searching scrutiny into the public expenditure, it is at this moment. I will put to public proof the question whether the conduct of the Ministers deserves to place them high in public opinion, on the score of the use they make of their patronage? On that subject we have a pledge of theirs most solemnly put forth, that they would voluntarily make every saving required by the public interest, and capable of being carried into execution consistently with the public safety. I will put that pledge of their's to the test. I will propose a measure of substantive retrenchment, economy, and reform. That is the issue which we are to try to-night. On a former occasion I yielded—I took their pledge. Let them now redeem it—let them give me these returns, and we shall then see whether they have been willing to keep good faith with this House and with the people of this country. The hon. Member concluded by moving for "Returns of all Salaries, Pay, Profits, Fees, and Emoluments, Civil and Military, received between the 5th of January, 1829, and the 5th of January, 1830, by the Members of the Privy Council, the amount paid to each individual, *Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, New Series, Vol. vii., p. 1848. the cause for which paid, and the source from whence derived."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, if I rose, Sir, to address the House under the feeling that I was about to propose anything to obstruct the inquiry which the hon. Baronet is desirous of instituting; if I rose to interpose any obstacle to a plan of general reduction of expenditure or abolition of sinecures—for the better regulation of the half or full pay—or if I intended to deny the hon. Baronet the means of bringing before the House this particular question, I might present myself to your notice with feelings of greater diffidence than I do at present. But, Sir, I have not, and the hon. Baronet knows I have not, any such intention. I am prepared to grant him a Return, or more than one return, which would fully satisfy him, and which will more distinctly and fully give him the means of attaining the object which he desires. Let me, Sir, now state the causes of the difference of opinion between us. The hon. Baronet, with that courtesy which distinguishes him, and which is most conducive to the easy and convenient transaction of public business, stated to me the motion he was about to make, and asked me whether I had any objection to it. I told him that I did not object to give the information, but that I objected to the particular form in which he demanded it. I told him that there were Returns already ordered, and likely soon to be upon the Table of the House, which appeared to me sufficient to answer the purpose he required. The hon. Baronet said, that these Returns contained a large mass of information, from which it would be difficult to collect the particular instances he adverted to. I met this objection by telling him that I should most readily concur in granting Returns of any limited number of offices, the amount of the salaries paid, and also that there was no member of the Government, whose emoluments he wished to ascertain, the account of which should not be laid distinctly and clearly on the Table of the House. Is there, then, in this, Sir, any evidence of a disposition to conceal from him, or from Parliament, the amount of the emoluments he says he wishes to discover, and which he is anxious to reduce? Is there in that any wish to withdraw from observation those emoluments, so as to deprive him of the means of applying that priming-knife which he deems these emo- luments to require? Or is there any proof of that interference to prevent the attainment of those objects which he has this night stated in detail? He objected to the Returns, because, he said, they might appear invidious or personal. I do not wish to estimate what is his view of what are invidious or personal observations; but if I had to pronounce what appeared most likely to come under the imputation of being so, I should have said that that course which called for an account of the emoluments of officers, by the names of the offices, was less invidious and personal than that which was adopted by the hon. Baronet, and which was accompanied by a speech delivered in terms such as those he has thought fit to couple with this Motion. The difference between us was, whether he should select the Members of the Privy Council, as the persons an account of whose emoluments was to be laid on the Table of the House? I told him that I knew no precedent in which the Members of the Privy Council, as such, had been called on for an account of their emoluments; for that they, as members of the Privy Council, did not necessarily receive any emoluments from the public. They are a body comprising persons who, undoubtedly, receive emoluments from the public, on the whole, perhaps, to a very large amount. To bring forward a motion for the emoluments of the Members of the Privy Council was not, as it appeared to me, treating with sufficient respect a body composing the Council of the Sovereign, and a high judicial court—it was treating them in an invidious point of view; and it was not advisable I thought to depart from precedent, and to establish the principle that classes of men were to be held up to obloquy, not because of the situations they held, but because they enjoyed a high dignity at the same time. The hon. Member states, as a justification for his Motion, that the House has called for an account of places held by Members of Parliament. He thinks that this fact is a triumphant answer to my objection. But can he not see the distinction (sufficiently marked, I should think, to others) between this House requiring an account of offices held by Members of its own body, and calling for an account of offices held by the Councillors of the Crown? The one may be necessary for the protection of the privileges of the House—for the purpose of purging the Members from the imputa- tion of acting under an undue influence of the Crown—for the purpose of protecting the liberties of the people, by knowing how many Members there might be within the House subject to the imputation of abandoning the assertion of the rights of the people in consequence of the emoluments they received from the Crown. In such a case there is an intelligible ground for the interference of Parliament. If the hon. Baronet's Motion had been so framed, there would not have been an objection for one moment to granting it. Is there any man who believes that the appointment by the King, of Privy Councillors, not because they are Members of Parliament, but on account of their judicial learning and ability—I say, is there any man who believes that such an appointment operates against the independent discharge of their duties elsewhere? Let the hon. Baronet consider of whom the Privy Council consists. He will then see the difficulty of granting his Motion. He begins his detail by excluding the most illustrious of the members of the Privy Council. He says, that he does not allude to the Members of the Royal Family; although certainly, by the words of his Motion, an account of the sums they receive is called for. The next persons in the list are the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.

Sir J. Graham

I exclude them.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

There is no such exclusion in the Motion.

Sir J. Graham

The Motion is confined to members of the Privy Council holding offices either Civil or Military, under neither of which heads, at least, as I conceive, can these most rev. Prelates be included.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

continued: The hon. Baronet knows that the first Judges in the land are included in his Motion. They have received their salaries from Parliament; yet still they are brought in for their share of the obloquy cast upon the Privy Council by this Motion; and their emoluments serve to swell the list which the hon. Baronet has so circumstantially enumerated. In the next place, it includes the men who are receiving rewards for services performed for this country—men whose names are recorded in the page of our history, and the recollection of whose services will descend to our latest posterity; and yet these men, too, are, by this Motion, held forth as undeserving of public emoluments; and they, too, serve to swell the list of giants of money that have been conceded to members of the Privy Council. Considering these things, Sir, I object to the form of the hon. Baronet's Motion; and I tell him that I think he may reach his object by the motion which I now propose. He has not confined himself to the discussion of this simple question which is in issue between us—he has not contented himself with stating what is necessary for the purpose of this Motion, but he has gone into a much wider field, and has travelled into a history of the conduct of the members of his Majesty's Government, and has commented upon some of the transactions which have recently taken place. He has adverted to the question of the Superannuation List—he has imputed to the members of his Majesty's Government that they did not, with respect to that question, act with sincerity; and he has personally charged me with a want of correctness in the discharge of my duty. I beg distinctly to repudiate the charge. He has no right to make that charge against me. He tells me that I brought forward the Motion on that question in such a manner as to delude the House. He says that I supported it weakly, and withdrew it hastily; that the opposition was feeble, yet that the measure was withdrawn. He ought to know that it is not always the strength of the opposition that decides a question—it is frequently the weakness of the support that leads to the abandonment of the measure. I came down almost immediately after the Finance Committee had recommended the measure; I came down, Sir, on the 2nd of July, in the full confidence that as it had been agreed to in that committee, I should have the support of every member of that committee, who knew as well as I did that much prejudice and feeling were to be overcome before that which we all agreed ought to be adopted could be passed into a law, and before that which had been already enacted could be repealed. I came down, I say, Sir, expecting the ardent support of the hon. Gentlemen who had agreed to that measure in the committee. Let the hon. Baronet say which of his friends supported that measure. The hon. member for Aberdeen, who, on other occasions, was never absent from his duty, did on that occasion forbear to attend. The hon. Baronet himself was absent [Sir J. Graham intimated Unit this was a mistake.] It is true he was present when I moved the bill, but on the second reading, when it was thrown out, he was absent. When he states that I withdrew the bill—that I withdrew it without a division—he ought to know that I did so, because I thought that it would be better that the measure, if introduced again, should be without the slur of having previously had a negative east upon it, made that statement at the time; and if my right hon. friend the Secretary for the Home Department were now in his place he would confirm what I say. When, therefore, I am taxed with indifference on the subject of the Superannuation Bill, I must deny the charge. It was impossible at that moment to carry that bill. I have not been so long in Parliament without knowing something of the manner in which the measure of the evening is likely to be decided; and not only was my opinion, founded on my own experience, settled as to the impossibility of carrying that measure, but I received and acted on the assurance of my friends around me to the same effect. Parliament rejected the proposal to make a reduction from the salaries of public officers for the purposes of that bill, but though Parliament did not then agree to that measure, did I abandon it? Far from it—I said it was one in which it was open to the Government to take certain steps to effect its object; and a Treasury Minute was passed, declaring that any person who should be afterwards appointed to an office should have an annual deduction, to a specified amount, made from his salary, with a view to provide a Superannuation Fund, until Parliament decided what should be done with it. Besides this, I have prepared a bill for the application of these reductions; and this bill is much better than the other, since the public will not be called on to pay one-half of the superannuations; but the understanding has been, that these deductions shall provide for the whole fund. I doubt whether, after this, any man will be disposed to believe, with the hon. Baronet, that I was insincere on that point, or that in moving for that bill I did not do my utmost to secure success to the measure. If any man be, however, disposed to believe the charge of the hon. Baronet, let him look at the measure I have taken the pains to prepare, and let him and the House decide whether the individual who now addresses you is desirous to remedy that which all admit to be a great and increasing evil. The hon. Baronet intimates that the appointment of the committee to inquire into Superannuations was altogether a delusion; he suspects the members of it; but his suspicions are as unfounded as those he entertains with regard to myself. I have put upon that committee men who have given the subject the fullest consideration. There is my right hon. friend the Secretary at War, who has prepared estimates of the reduction of the expenditure. I also put upon it my right hon. friend the Master of the Mint, because he had drawn up the resolutions to which the Finance Committee had agreed. And yet, because I put these right hon. Gentlemen on the committee—both men of ability and zeal—I am accused of having tried to practise a trick. But another part of the hon. Baronet's charge is, that I put Ex-ministers upon the committee. When he makes this a charge against me, and implies that Ex-ministers are men calculated to favour the views of Government, is he so little experienced as to think that a Minister departing from office is of all persons the most likely to abet the schemes of the person who is appointed to succeed him? Is that his experience? I, who have more experience of Parliament, should say, that if I wanted individuals who would be thoroughly impartial—individuals who, not being influenced in favour of Government, were yet those who knew the whole details of the subject, and had no personal feeling to prevent their searching to the bottom of it, I could hardly have chosen persons more fully answering that description than Ex-ministers. I despair of convincing the hon. Baronet, but I throw myself on the knowledge of the House, and entreat it to give the Government a fair trial as to the measure it will introduce, and which, I trust, will effect the object which the committee originally proposed. I cannot leave this part of the subject without one other observation: The hon. Baronet complains that, in making up that committee, I omitted the Chairman of the Finance Committee. It is true, I did omit his name; but no sooner was the omission suggested to me, than I most readily added it to the list. I am not anxious to convince the House of my great capacity for the business of that office with which his Majesty has been pleased to intrust me; but I do feel most anxious that the House should not suppose me incapable of this double-dealing, and which I most solemnly affirm never for one moment entered my mind. There are other parts of the hon. Baronet's speech to which I might be tempted to reply, if he had not given an intimation that occasions would hereafter occur in which they might be more favourably discussed. At this late hour, and after the fatigue the House has already undergone, I will not go into these questions—questions which I do not avoid, and only forego now, as at another time there will be a full opportunity for their consideration. The individuals he has alluded to, do receive emoluments from the public. First, there is Lord Cathcart, whose services to his country have been rewarded by a pension, which it is true he retains, although he still holds office. I do not believe it was the intention of the Parliament which made the grant, that that grant should not be held together with any office the noble Lord might afterwards hold. There are other individuals who receive emoluments in the shape of sinecures, but they are rewards given for the services of their ancestors. In considering this question, I beg him to bear in mind the circumstances of the individuals to whom he has alluded as birds of prey, feeding on the vitals of the Constitution.—[Mr. Brougham: That expression was retracted]. I apologise.—[Sir James Graham bowed in acceptance of the apology.]—If these offices are now held by individuals who fill public situations, it is not by the culpability of the present Ministers, but in consequence of the former mode of remunerating public servants. It was then the practice to reserve sinecures for those who might, not be able to provide for their families by the services they performed, but who were thus enabled to make provision for those who came after them; and if the hon. Baronet looks at the list, he will find the salaries less than those which have since been conferred for the same offices; and in this manner they provided for their descendants, instead of having a retiring allowance, which Parliament subsequently provided as a substitute. If we have since thought an advance in the salaries of Chief Justices and Chancellors necessary, that they may not need these means of providing for their families, I hope that the hon. Baronet will not consider the change carries blame to those who hold offices which have been granted by the Legislature as a reward for public services. If I have, in the course of my observations, said anything that has given offence to the hon. Baronet, or the House, I shall regret it; but I trust the House will pardon me, if, in the endeavour to vindicate my own character, I may have displayed some warmth, feeling, as I do, every possible desire to stand well with the House. I beg leave to move an Amendment to the hon. Baronet's Motion—an Amendment, which, with one exception, is in almost the same words as his. The right hon. Gentleman then moved an Amendment, in which, instead of the words "of all Salaries received by members of the Privy Council," were introduced, the words "Salaries received by Public Officers," and of these the right hon. Gentleman proposed to limit the Return to Salaries exceeding 2,000l. He continued—I propose, then, to limit the Return, as the number would otherwise be too great for any useful purpose; but I have left the amount at present, a blank to be filled up as the hon. Member may please. This Amendment will, I think, prove to the House that I do not wish to obstruct the hon. Baronet in his reformation of public abuses.

Lord Milton

accused the Chancellor of the Exchequer of wishing to defeat the object of the Motion by the Amendment. He maintained that the House of Commons had not only a peculiar right, but an imperative duty, to inquire into the salaries and emoluments of the Privy Council—a body recognised by the Constitution, and responsible to Parliament. The object of the Motion, he contended, was to ascertain whether the Ministers had meted the same measure of justice to persons in high stations that they had meted to individuals in subordinate capacities. It was not directed ad invidiam against any individuals, but to procure valuable information with regard to the influence exercised by the Crown over the whole body of the Privy Council. He trusted that the much-boasted economy of the present Government would not be found such as while it stripped the indigent, left the wealthy to wallow in the full amount of their emoluments. He was surprised that the gallant Lord of the Admiralty particularly referred to by the hon. Baronet, had not attempted to refute what had been advanced against him. Until it was refuted, the statement would carry but a bad face to the public. The distress (although somewhat exaggerated) prevailing in some parts of the country, ought to induce the House to examine matters of this kind minutely, for taxation was the great evil under which the country groaned, and which, if not lessened, would be ultimately destructive of the interests and power of the kingdom.

Sir G. Cockburn

said, I did not rise before, because I took it for granted that the hon. Baronet meant to bring forward all the cases in a distinct shape when he had obtained the information he seeks by his Motion: as, however, the noble Lord has thought proper to call upon me, and to call upon me in no very delicate terms—in a manner in which I should be extremely sorry to address myself to his Lordship—the House will forgive me if I obtrude myself on its notice in order to state the nature and amount of my emoluments. Those emoluments will appear in the Return when it is laid upon the Table. I am by no means ashamed of them, because I have endeavoured to earn them by a conscientious discharge of the duties attached to my office. The situation of a Sea-Lord of the Admiralty, it is well known to most hon. Members, though, perhaps, not to the noble Lord, has always been considered worth 1,500l. a year; the Lay-Lords receive 1,000l. a year, but the Sea-Lords have 1,000l. a year and their half-pay as Admirals, amounting to 500l. a year. So much for my office as a Lord of the Admiralty. It has pleased his Majesty, as a reward for the services—the poor services I have been able to render—to confer upon me also the high rank of Major-general of Marines: there arc but three such officers of this rank, and I have the good fortune to be one of them. This, give me leave to add, is entirely independent of my situation in the Admiralty, and it was not thought necessary to take from me the salary then due to me because I had been made a Major-general of Marines. I am willing to admit, that, very undeservedly, I have attained the -highest station in the Admiralty which can be given to a man in the naval profession; but I deny that it is to be looked upon entirely as a civil situation, because no civilian can hold it. I have been placed in it, because, as a naval officer, I am sup- posed to be well acquainted with the service and its details. I am obliged to be always resident in London; and, including my salary as Lord of the Admiralty, my pay as Major-general of Marines, and my half-pay as a naval officer, give me leave to say, that I do not receive as much as is paid to a Secretary of the Treasury, or to the Secretary of the very Board of which I am a member. In the whole, I am free to confess, that I do not receive as much as 2,500l. a-year. It is well known to the House, and to the country, that men of our profession have not usually large fortunes. God knows I am not an exception to the rule; and placed at the head of this great service, and constantly resident in London, I can assure the noble Lord, with the expenses to which I am necessarily exposed, were I to go out of office to-morrow, I should quit the service of my country a loser by its bounty. In addition, I may be allowed, perhaps, to assure the House, that I have made no inconsiderable sacrifices by the course I have taken. While I have been endeavouring, late and early, to do my duty here, others in the same profession on different stations have made five, or, I may say, ten times as much in the year as the whole salary I receive. Putting it in the most invidious way, I may assert, that the 1,000l. a-year as a Major-general of Marines, has been given me as a reward for past services, valued by others far above their real worth. I will not trouble the House further about myself and my merits. I have explained exactly the situation in which I stand; and if it shall be the pleasure of Parliament to pronounce that "the labourer is not worthy of his hire," I shall retire without hesitation; but I trust without deserving to be addressed in the temper and the tone assumed by the hon. Baronet and the noble Lord.

Mr. Hume

explained the difference between the Motion of his hon. friend (Sir J. Graham), and the Amendment of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Motion required a statement of the Emoluments of all the members of the Privy Council: the Amendment went no further than to give a return of the Emoluments of Public Officers. There might be many Privy Councillors who received public money, but were not public officers, and thus only half the information desired would be supplied, and it would not show the extent of the influence of the Crown in the Privy Council. It would, therefore, be perfectly futile in the hon. Baronet to accept the Amendment as a substitute for his Motion.

Sir J. Yorke

complimented the hon. Baronet on the tone and temper of his speech, which did him the highest honour. He rose principally to state, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have no possible reason for concealing what was required, if all the Privy Councillors receiving emoluments could make out as good a case as his right hon. and gallant friend (Sir G. Cockburn). He could perfectly understand why the House should wish to possess the returns moved for, and it had a right to know that the salaries paid out of the pockets of the people were earned. He agreed with the hon. member for Aberdeen, that the Amendment would only give half or two-thirds of what was wanted, and he should therefore sup- port the original Motion. A libel had gone forth generally, that all the taxes levied upon the people were lavished upon the aristocracy, and it would be highly advantageous that the notion should be satisfactorily contradicted.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that he was perfectly ready to amend his Amendment by expunging the words "public officers" and substituting "all persons."

Mr. E. Davenport

apprehended, that the return, as required by the Amendment, would be so voluminous as to occasion a delay of two or three months, when the House would have been dismissed for the Session. He wished to know when it was likely that it would be laid upon the Table?.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

replied, that an abstract could be speedily made from documents already prepared.

Sir H. Hardinge

thought it justice to Mr. Browne, a most deserving individual in the department of the War-office, to mention, that he had served the public for five- and-forty years, and that all the emoluments he now received, as a supposed pluralist, had been allowed to him while he was private secretary to General Fitzpatrick: his whole salary, from whatever quarter derived, had been assigned to him by a Minute of Treasury of the year 1806.

Lord Althorp

observed, that the importance of the Motion had been raised in his eyes by the promulgated intention of Government to resist it; it looked as if there was something to be concealed. He maintained, in opposition to the right hon. Gentleman, that the House had a right to inquire into the names and duties of all who received the public money, whether belonging to the Privy Council or to any other body. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the Motion as if it were a matter of obloquy and disgrace to receive the public money: it would be neither obloquy nor disgrace to receive it, if it were earned; and he could not conceive any objection to the Motion that did not imply the necessity of not letting the public into the secret how its money was disposed of. He was the last man in the world to deny the right hon. Admiral the utmost merit. He well deserved the reward his services obtained; but as a matter of mere fact, he must observe, that he was the first Lord of the Admiralty who had ever received full pay at the same time that he was allowed his official salary.

Mr. Huskisson

would not trespass upon the time of the House for more than a few minutes. He rose to state, that, in his opinion, the information to be gained by the Amendment would not be equal to that which was asked by the Motion. He entreated the Chancellor of the Exchequer to give way upon this point, and he would tell him upon what ground. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that the production of the information would expose individuals to public obloquy. Now, if the hon. Baronet's statement went forth to the world, as go forth it must, without means being afforded of correcting that statement by the production of the correct returns, the Privy Council would indeed be held up to public obloquy. It would be said out of doors that the Privy Council, as a body, received in the whole so much of the money of the nation, and that certain members of that body, who were also Members of the House of Commons, received; so much out of the taxes raised from the people. All this might expose the parties to unmerited obloquy, and this obloquy would best be removed by the publication of authentic information on the subject. There could be no obloquy in receiving a just reward for services performed, and it became the character of the Privy Council to avow that there was no mystery, and no necessity for concealment upon the subject. As an individual member of that body he had no objection to any disclosure—he was not ashamed of his emoluments—but without the alteration suggested by the hon. member for Aberdeen (Mr. Hume), he should not be included in the list. Let every Privy Councillor show that he had earned the reward he received at the hands of his sovereign, and justify himself like the right hon. and gallant Admiral, and there would not be found a man in the country to raise an objection. Above all things he deprecated the affectation of mystery where none was necessary. As to what had been said of the Committee of Finance, he could assert, of his own knowledge, that both the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Master of the Mint had done their utmost to promote reductions of expenditure. And he further thought, that when the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought in the bill to which he had alluded, he had not been supported as he had a right to expect. He gave due credit to his Majesty's Ministers for what they had done, and for what they had promised to do, and he looked for the performance of these promises.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

explained. He had not intended to state that the Motion would have the effect of throwing obloquy in any direction.

Lord Howick

supported the Motion. He stated, that it was the understanding of the House, that the Superannuation bill had been withdrawn for the Session only, but the right hon. Gentleman had not again brought it forward.

Mr. Portman

hoped, that the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would not press the question to a division. It was a general impression amongst the public at large, in which he participated, that many of the highest class of the public officers were much more largely paid than officers of a lower class, whose duties were more laborious. He wished, then, that the Return might be agreed to as a means of removing that error, and he had no doubt that it would be productive of that effect.

Mr. W. Smith

was understood to say, that he would vote against the Motion of the hon. Baronet, for he thought that the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman gave all that the hon. Baronet could desire. Thinking that the purposes of the Motion were fully answered, he saw no reason why it need be further pressed. At the same time he thought it due to the hon. Baronet to say, that he was entitled to the thanks of the country.

Sir James Graham

, in reply, said, that he heard what had fallen from the last speaker with surprise and regret. That hon. Member had sat in that House thirty years, had been the companion of Fox and of the old Whigs, and it was with sorrow and disappointment that he viewed that hon. Member departing from the general tenour of his past life. On a great question of that nature—a great constitutional question, wherein the House of Commons called upon a certain class of the public servants, with their hands in the public purse, to state their own emoluments—it was, he repeated, cause of sorrow and disappointment to him, that an old Member of the old Whig opposition should turn upon a young Member of the new Whig opposition, who at an humble distance, and with a slow pace was endeavouring to follow and to imitate the great example which those brilliant characters had held out to him. It was lamentable that the hon. member for Norwich should throw the weight of his vote into the scale against such a Motion as that then before the House. What he complained of in the Ministers was, that they gave too much—more than he required. He asked for one thing and they gave him another. He asked for a list of about 175, and they gave him a list of 1,500 or 2,000. He asked, as it were, for a glass of wine, and they gave him a glass of wine, certainly, but diluted with a bottle of water. His Motion referred to the great Officers of State, and his object was to ascertain what their emoluments were, in such a manner as that they should stand out clearly and distinctly apart from any other class of the public servants. The Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman included them with many others, and would be useless for the purposes he had in view. Suppose he were trustee of an estate, and that he demanded from the steward or agent of that estate a return of a certain class of the upper servants of the establishment, and that, instead of complying with his requisition, the steward should give him a list of the whole establishment, agricultural labourers, grooms, lacqueys, and all, would not such a proceeding fill the mind of the trustee with suspicion? He had been charged with being factious, but he would tell some of those who made that charge, that he had learned a pretty lesson in that way from certain Ex-ministers, not above three years ago; on that memorable oe- casion, when he might with truth say, that a factious opposition rent the proud heart, and shortened the existence of a Prime Minister, under whom his hon. and learned friend the Attorney General had first accepted office.

General Grosvenor

said, that the hon. Baronet ought to have been the last man in that House to have brought forward such a motion—a motion of that vexatious and agitating kind. He said, but a very short time since, that between him and his Majesty's Government there was but one question on which a difference could arise, and that, he believed, was the currency.

Sir James Graham

said, that at the commencement of the Session his Majesty's Ministers gave certain pledges, and upon those pledges, and upon the faith of their being redeemed, he professed his willingness to give them his support, with the single exception, he believed, of the currency; but they had departed from much of what they had led the House to expect, and accordingly, the points of difference between them and him were increased. He had only to add, that he believed the gallant General had taken the glass of wine without having diluted it with the bottle of water.

The House then divided, when there appeared, for the Amendment moved by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 231; For the original Motion 147—Majority 84.

List of the Minority.
Anson, Colonel Clive, E. B.
Attwood, M. Colborne, R.
Baring, F. Coke, T. W.
Beaumont, Thos. Davenport, E. D.
Bernal, R. Davies, Colonel
Benett, J. Dawson, A.
Bentinck, Lord G. Denison, W. J.
Birch, J. Dick, Q.
Brougham, H. Ducane, P.
Bright, H. Dickinson, W.
Brownlow, C. Dundas, Sir R.
Byng, G. Dundas, Hon. T.
Blandford, Lord Drake, W.
Buck, L. W. Duncombe, T.
Canning, S. Ebrington, Lord
Carter, B. Ellison, C.
Calthorpe, F. Encombe, Lord
Cavendish, Lord G. Euston, Lord
Cavendish, W. Fane, J.
Cavendish, C. Fazakerley, J. N.
Cavendish, H. Fortescue, Hon. G.
Calvert, C. Frankland, Robert
Cholmeley, M. J. French, A.
Clements, Lord Fyler, T.
Gordon, R. Pryse, P.
Grattan, J. Portman, E. B.
Grant, R. Poyntz, W. S.
Grant, Right Hon. C. Protheroe, E.
Guise, Sir B. W. Ramsden, J. C.
Guest, J. J. Rickford, W.
Harvey, D. W. Ridley, Sir M. W.
Handcock, R. Rice, Spring
Heron, Sir R. Robinson, Sir G.
Heathcote, R. E. Robinson, G. R.
Howick, Lord Robarts, A. W.
Hobhouse, J. C. Rowley, Sir W.
Honywood, W. P. Rumbold, C. E.
Hoy, N. Sadler, M. T.
Howard, H. Smith, V.
Hutchinson, J. H. Stanley, E. E.
Hume, J. Stanley, Lord
Huskisson, hon. W. Stewart, Sir M. S.
Jephson, C. D. Stuart, Lord J.
Kemp, T. R. Sykes, D.
Keck, G. A. Thomson, P.
Kekewich, S. T. Townshend, Lord C.
Kennedy, T. Trant, W. H.
Lamb, Hon. G. Tynte, C. K.
Lambert, J. S. Tuite, H. M.
Labouchere, H. Tomes, J.
Latouche, H. Tufton, Hon. H.
Lawley, F. Uxbridge, Lord
Langston, J. H. Vyvyan, Sir R.
Lennard, T. B. Vaughan, Sir R.
Lister, B. Wall, B.
Lloyd, Sir E. Warburton, H.
Marjoribanks, S. Waithman, Alderman
Macauley, T. B. Warrender, Sir G.
Maberly, W. Wells, J,
Morpeth, Lord Wetherell, Sir C.
Mostyn, Sir T. Webb, E.
Monck, J. B. White, Samuel
Milton, Lord Whitmore, W.
Marryatt, J. Wood, Alderman
Macdonald, Sir J. Wood, J.
Marshall, W. Wood, C.
Marshall, J. Wilson, Sir R.
Nugent, Lord Wrottesley, Sir J.
Ord, W. Wyvill, M.
O'Connell, D. Yorke, Sir J.
Parnell, Sir H. TELLERS.
Pendarvis, E. W. Althorp, Lord
Palmer, F. Graham, Sir J. PAIRED OFF.
Palmerston, Lord
Phillimore, J. Ingilby, Sir W.
Ponsonby, Hon. T. Slaney, R. A.
Ponsonby, Hon. G. Power, R.
Price, Sir R.
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