HC Deb 18 July 1831 vol 4 cc1441-2

The next question was, that 101,195l. be granted for the salaries of Consuls, and their contingent expenses, with superannuation allowances.

Mr. Spring Rice

said, in this vote there was a reduction of 5,735l.

Colonel Sibthorp

despaired, while we had such brigades of Consuls, of seeing reductions of any moment made in this department of expenditure. In France we supported twelve Consuls; for what purposes were they required, except for the exercise of patronage, and to enjoy comfortable pensions on their return? If any hon. Member would propose a reduction of nine-tenths of these Consuls, he would support him.

Mr. Spring Rice

assured the hon. Gentleman that no such practice prevailed, as appointing persons to obtain pensions. The retired list had been examined, and considerable expense saved to the country, by recalling into active service, at reduced salaries, persons who had been improperly placed on it.

Mr. R. Gordon

thought, that Consuls should be paid by fees, rather than by salaries. We had Consuls at Rotterdam and Amsterdam, both of whom were paid the same sum, but the former had three times as much work as the latter. The Consul-general at Paris, was paid 1,600l., the same as the Consul-general at Madrid; but what had the latter to do? The list abounded with the same objectionable items; he wished, therefore, to understand whether the present system was to continue, or the whole to be referred to a Committee?

Sir James Graham

would repeat what he had before declared, that the present system of paying Consuls was not a proper one, but a majority of that House had thought otherwise. His noble friend, the Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, would, from the inquiries he had made, be able to state whether it was advisable for the system of payment to be by salaries, or fees, in future. The vote, at all events, was intended only to apply this year. A reduction of five per cent had been made, but probably it would be better if the vote were withdrawn for the present.

Mr. George Robinson

should make no remark if it was intended to withdraw the vote.

Vote withdrawn.