Mr. Stuart Wortley
did not bring forward his motion, regarding the late reduction of the salary attached to the office of President of the Board of Control, from any feeling of hostility to his Majesty's Ministers. He found no fault with them, except that they had adopted too hastily the recommendation contained in a report of a Committee of that House. The Committee had examined witnesses respecting the duties performed by other officers, and had given the evidence and the documents on which they grounded their opinion in every case where they proposed to reduce the salaries of officers; but here they had given none, but merely declared it expedient to reduce the salary from 5,000l. to 3,500l. a year, without assigning any reason. It was indeed supposed, because the President had not so much duty to perform as the other high officers of Stale, that his place was not of as much importance. He certainly was not required to attend as much in Parliament as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but was that a sufficient reason for diminishing the salary of the office? He thought that was a reason for increasing the salary, for the 821 President had an immense deal of business; but, as that business was not of a nature to make him known to the public; as his duties, though onerous were unostentatious, and obtained none of the meed of public approbation, the office ought at least to have the sweets of a proportionate pecuniary recompense. Another reason on which the Committee proceeded was, that the salary of this office originally stood at 2,00l., and had been lately increased to 5,000l. a year. That such an argument should have weight with the hon. member for Middlesex, he would not deny; but he could not conceive a more superficial idea than that, because twenty years ago, the salary stood at 2,000l., it ought now, therefore, to stand, not at 5,000l. but at 3,500l. a year. If this argument had any weight with the hon. member for Middlesex, he ought to go further back, and revert to the original constitution of the office, when there was no salary at all. The history of this office was this. It was originally instituted by Mr. Pitt in 1784, and introduced into his India Bill, which was brought in after the rejection of that of Mr. Fox. By that bill the Commissioners for the Affairs of India were to act without any salary. The Board consisted of a Committee of Privy Councillors, who were to derive their emoluments from other quarters. Mr. Pitt ascribed great merit to this scheme, and for nine years the business of India was done by Mr. Pitt and Mr. Dundas. But what was the result? In 1793, it was found so inefficient, and so little adapted to the great purpose for which it was designed, that it was determined to remodel the Board, and the necessity of giving salaries to the Commissioners was recognized. This continued until 1810, when, in consequence of the vast increase of business in the office, another alteration took place, and it was deemed necessary that the salary, which was then 2,000l. a-year, should be increased to 5,000l. It might be, perhaps, said, that it was the interest, of those who held the office, and the patronage of Government, which were then considered, instead of the real discharge of business; but he would state a few facts to prove that the immense increase of business justified the increase of salary. In the first place, let the House consider the extent of territory in India intrusted to the superintendence of this officer. In 1792, the territories under the superintendence 822 of this Board comprised;—in Bengal only what are called the Lower Provinces; that is, those in the vicinity of Calcutta; in Madras, nothing except what was immediately about the town, and one or two forts, and what are called the Northern Circars; in Bombay, nothing but the town and one or two islands. At that time the business could not, be very great—but look to the increase that had since taken place. In 1792, we entered upon war; and, in 1799, we concluded a second war, the result of which was, the acquisition of immense territories in the Mysore, as well as a great cession from the Rajah of Tanjore. In 1800, there was the cession of other districts originally belonging to Mysore, and which had been transferred to the Nizam. All these came under the superintendence of the Commissioners. In 1801, there was again an important addition, for, in consequence of the circumstances which took place between the Directory and the Nabob of the Carnatic, there was a cession of almost the whole of his territory. In 1801, came another addition to Bengal; for at that period the cession was made, by the Nabob of Oude, of the territories now called the Central Provinces. In 1803, we concluded the Mahratta war, which gave an accession of territory both to Bengal and Madras. From that period, up to 1810, as any one who looked at the map of India must be aware, the accessions of territory in the southern provinces of the Peninsula had caused a vast increase of business in this office. That was the case in 1810, but since then, there had been further accessions of territory; and, if there were reason at that time to make the salary of the President of the India Board 5,000l. a-year, that reason still continued in full force. In 1817, in consequence of conquests in the Mahratta war, we had a cession of the Deccan. In 1818, the Pindaree war occurred, which ended in our acquisition of considerable territory to the south of the Ganges and the Jumna; and, in 1827, we had other cessions from the Burmese empire. Now, after these vast accessions of territory, was there any ground why there should be a reduction of the salary of an officer who had on his shoulders the responsibility of the government of all these provinces? It must also be recollected, that the amount of this responsibility was greater than that which arises merely from the amount of increase 823 of territory and population, because the regulation of the revenues, and the fiscal arrangements of these new territories was one of the most critical tasks that could be undertaken. There could be no doubt, herefore, that the increase of labour was much greater than the mere increase of numbers or of space; and he would state a few facts, to shew the degree in which the labour had increased. In 1792, the revenue department was confined to the ancient provinces, or to those which the India Company possessed before the renewal of its charter. The amount of the revenue had risen successively, from 2,000,000l. to 6,000,000l.—to 8,000,000l.—to 11,000,000l.—and, finally, to 16,000,000l. It was unnecessary to state that the expense had increased in proportion, and the labour in a still greater ratio, because the department of the land revenue of India was environed by many difficulties. In 1792, the number of collectorates, as they are called, was twenty-eight, in two Out of the three Presidencies; while, in the three Presidencies of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, in 1810, the number had increased to eighty-six. Let the House consider the difficulties that must arise, not from merely trebling the number of collectorates, but from the vast increase of territory, which rendered so many necessary, and in which, be it remarked, we had not to proceed with the current institutions of the country, but to remodel the whole system. In 1813, there were ninety-seven, or more collectorates; and even that was not a fair or accurate mode of estimating the business connected with the land revenue. In 1794, the whole number of the Company's civil servants, Europeans and natives, employed by the two Presidencies of Bengal and Bombay in the collection of this revenue—he could find no account for Madras—was 20,000, and the charge for them amounted to 1,700,000l. In 1808, the number had increased to 58,000 and upwards nearly three times the former number, and the charge had risen to 4,800,000l. In 1827, the last year for which the accounts were fully made up, the number of civil servants was 137,000 and the charge came to 5,700,000l. These were tests of the increase of business in this department, which it was impossible to repudiate, and they alone would be enough to induce the House not to sanction the reduction of salary that had been recom- 824 mended. He had mentioned the civil service and the land revenue as two accurate tests, and the land revenue was so interwoven with the judicial system and the police, that it might be taken as a test of their increase also. But there was one other part of the machinery of the government of India, to which it was necessary to allude—he meant the army. In 1792 the whole military force, army and navy, in India, amounted to 70,000 men—the charge for which was 3,000,000l. In 1809 the number of the Indian army had risen to 153,000, and the charge came to 7,800,000l. He could not ascertain precisely the present amount of the military force there, but it did not fall short of 250,000 men, at a cost of near 11,000,000l. These facts proved the immense increase of the business of the Board of Control; to confirm that he would advert to another fact. He held in his hand the number of drafts and collections—that is to say, of the despatches, which have passed under the inspection of the Board for several periods of five years. The average of these before 1810, was 225. In 1828 and 1829 a most important alteration took place in the mode of conducting Indian correspondence, but in the four years preceding that period, these collections amounted on an average to 500. Any one who knew anything of India was aware of what these collections were, and his right hon. friend near him (Mr. Courtenay) had formerly, in March 1822,* given a full description of them. During the time, while he was connected with this Board, he had seen one case of a collection before the Board, which contained no less than 20,000 folio pages, from which it was necessary to make selections. These collections increased in the five years, up to 1810, to 546, and in the five years before 1826 they rose to 1,865. After having drawn the attention of the House to these facts, he submitted it to their good sense, whether, taking the amount of the business as a test of the increase of the labour of the office, a case was not fully made out. There was no situation under the Government which required more assiduous attention, and more unwearied diligence, than that of the President of the Board of Commissioners for the affairs of India. On this point* Hansard's Parl, Debates, New Series, vol. Vi. P. 1138.825 he would quote an authority that would have great weight with hon. Gentlemen at the other side of the House, he meant the late right hon. member for Knaresborough. Mr. Tierney, in the course of a debate on this subject, said—"He desired it should not be understood that he undervalued the labour of the President of the Board of Control. There was no department of the State which required more accurate information, or greater steadiness of application, than that office."* If this were the case, and if, as Mr. Tierney said, the discharge of its duties required the most accurate information and the most steady application, was it good policy and economy to lower the salary, and thus lower the rank of an officer so important in the State, and, perhaps, by so doing, lead to an inadequate discharge of his high duties? Let the House consider what supreme control was lodged in this Board. In the first place, the President of the Board had a seat in the Cabinet, and must be a principal person in the Government. Next, he had to do what no other officer had, to justify every step he took, and could make no alteration in a despatch without stating his reasons for it. The Secretary for the colonies, when he sends a despatch to any part of our possessions, signifying the King's pleasure, retains the reasons for what is there directed in his own breast, unless called upon by higher authority to state them. But if the President of the Board of Control made an alteration in a despatch submitted to the Board of Directors, it had again to be canvassed by them, and if they disapproved it, he had to assign his reasons, sometimes more than once, before he could prevail upon them to adopt his alterations. He had to deal with two distinct sets of authorities, who constituted the machinery of Government. In the first place he had to deal with the Court of Directors, the ruling authority of India, and in the next place, with the Government in India. The Court of Directors was in immediate communication with the President of the Board of Control, and had to submit to his authority. Was it expedient, then, that he should be a Minister of less weight, and holding his office less permanently than the other Ministers of the Crown? Was it likely that if he were so, the Court of Directors would* Hansard's Parl. Debates, New Series, Vol. Vi. P. 1145.826 look up to him with deference? The same kinds of reasons applied to the communications of the Board of Control with the authorities in India. Was it not of the greatest importance that the noble and distinguished men who were sent out as Governors-general to India the Cornwallises, the Wellesleys, the Hastings, should feel that their superior in this country was a person of high station in the Government; and an effective and permanent officer? If any change took place in the remuneration given to that officer, which would lead to his being otherwise regarded by the local government of India, the efficiency of his office would be most materially impaired. When he spoke of the Court of Directors being the ruling body, the hon. member for Middlesex cheered, implying that they were the effective authorities, and that the Board of Control was a nullity, but the hon. Member was mistaken. The right hon. Gentleman opposite must know something of the office, and he would be able to say, whether there was not a most accurate investigation of every subject sent to the Board from the Court of Directors. Formerly, indeed, the administration of Government in the Board of Control was very ineffective, and the business was very ill-performed for fourteen or fifteen years after the establishment of the Board. But in 1807 an important change was effected in its constitution. It was divided into departments, corresponding with those at the India House; and the result had been, that there was no department of the Government, the duties of which were more laborious, or which required more diligence, Very few despatches were returned from it without some alteration by the Commissioners. Whether the Board were a good contrivance or not he would not discuss; but if it was to exist in an efficient state, it should continue as now, and to reduce the salary of the President would impair its efficiency. These reasons appeared to him to justify the Government for not adopting the recommendation of the Committee appointed to consider the possibility of reducing the salaries of the high officers of the Government. The reduction of the salary of this office, could be no gain to the people of England; but would be merely a remission of a part of that sum which the Company was compelled to appropriate for the maintenance of this establishment: 1,500l. 827 struck off from this salary, therefore, would be so much added to the revenues of India; but not one single farthing to the revenues of this country. When this argument was urged upon a former occasion, it was said that, although there was no direct gain to the revenues of England, yet there might be a remote gain, as the Company were compelled to give its surplus revenue to this country. With regard to this contingent advantage, the House might be assured that there was now less prospect of any surplus, which this saving of 1,500l. would swell, than ever there was at any former period. The question, therefore, was one of public policy only. Upon what principle was this reduction recommended? The Committee had reduced the salaries of the Secretaries of State from 6,000l. to 5,000l., or one-sixth, a-year. Had they followed the same rule with regard to the office of President of the Board of Control, its salary would have stood at 4,200l.y but, instead of that it was reduced 700l. lower, whilst as important duties were attached to it as to any other office in the Government. It was a most unreasonable proposition, that the Secretary for the West Indies, the Cape of Good Hope, and, comparatively speaking, other small colonies should stand upon a higher footing than the Secretary for the empire of India, with its vast wealth and immense population. For these reasons he trusted the House would not think it expedient to sanction the recommendation of the Committee; and although the Government had acted upon that recommendation, he did not believe if they were speaking in their private capacity, that they could say that this salary was too high as it before stood. He called upon the House to prevent the mischief which the determination of his Majesty's Ministers might occasion, and restore this office to the rank avid station it had for so many years held. He begged to move these resolutions.—"That it appears to this House, that the salary attached to the office of President of the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India has been fixed, since the year 1810, at the sum of 5,000l., since which period the business to be transacted by the said Board has been considerably increased. That the administration of the affairs of India, the control of which is vested by Act of Parliament in the said Commissioners is one of the most important departments in the Government of 828 this empire, and imposes upon the President of the said Board, laborious and peculiar duties. That it does not, therefore, appear expedient to this House that the said salary should be reduced to the sum of 3,500l., proposed in the Report of the Committee appointed to consider of the reduction of Salaries, more especially since the said sum is so much less in amount than that which is therein recommended for the Salaries of the principal Secretaries of State, who are the chief Officers of the corresponding departments of Government."
Mr. Charles Grant
complimented the ability with which his hon. friend had introduced the subject; and assured him I that if he did not follow him into all his details it was not from any want of respect, but because he considered the question as already settled. Although the I Ministers and Parliament certainly were not positively bound to adhere to the opinion of the Committee in all respects; yet unless some flagrant injustice were pointed out, they ought to follow its recommendations. He had no right to assume that the Committee had not entered into an examination of all the duties performed by the President of the Board of Control. When the Report was presented, he had abstained from making any observations upon it; he should still abstain. He thought it still less necessary to take any step upon the subject, as the whole question of our East-India government was to come under discussion in the course of two years. The only ground on which he could have agreed with his hon. friend, that interference was advisable would have been, if he had supposed the reduction of the salary of the President of the Board of Control would have diminished the dignity of that officer in the eyes of the native population of India. But he did not believe that such would be the case; and he saw no other ground to induce him to acquiesce in the Motion.
§ Mr. Ruthven
was of opinion that the principle of economy ought to be applied; to the Indian government as well as to that of this country. He believed that the duties of the office in question would be as efficiently performed for 3,500l. as; for 5,000l.
§ Sir George Warrender
thought, that some reduction ought to be made in the salary of the President of the Board of Control, but was of opinion that the Com- 829 mittee had recommended too extensive a reduction.
Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
did not see why the salary of this important public officer should be reduced in a disproportionate degree to that which had been carried into effect in the salaries of the other officers of State. He was of opinion that the office itself should be raised to that level, that the individual who filled it could look no higher, but would at once attach himself to the serious consideration of the high and important duties which he had to perform, instead, as was often the case, of looking up to higher offices. The main evil, however, to be remedied was, the constant change in the person of the President of the Board of Control, owing to the changes in the Administration, and the consequent change which must, of necessity, follow in the whole principle of the government of India. The office ought not to be a political office, as far as the Administration of the State affairs of England was concerned; but the person who filled it ought to be so permanently appointed as not to be liable to go out of office with any Administration, but to be able to settle himself seriously to the consideration of the high duties of his office.
§ Mr. George Robinson
said, that if he thought the efficiency or dignity of the office would be impaired by the reduction of salary, he would vote for the Motion, but he could not for a moment believe that this would be the case. If the reduction of salary should be resisted on the ground that the business of the office had increased, it would be impossible to effect any reduction of the salaries of officers in the same department, for their share of business must also have proportionably increased.
said, that the hon. Member who brought forward the Motion had adverted to the Indian army and revenue, as a ground for augmenting the salary of the President of the Board of Control. Upon the same principle, the salary of the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to be exceedingly augmented. If large salaries could command great talents, he would not object to paying them; but all his experience tended to convince him that this was not the case. He thought the Committee had drawn a fair line, and he would no, quarrel with it. He condemned the frequent changes in this office as most injurious, because it was impossible 830 any human talent could enable a man to obtain a thorough knowledge of his business during the time he remained in office.
§ Mr. Irving
said, that, in his opinion, the great officers of State, instead of being too highly paid, were remunerated on too contracted a scale. He thought that the Committee had gone too far in the recommendation of reductions; and if the power to propose an increase of salaries had been given to them, he would have been ready, in certain instances, to have voted for additional remuneration.
§ Mr. Courtenay
said, that on this occasion, he might perhaps venture to address the House without making an apology for taking up its time. On this question he deemed it his absolute duty to give his opinion, for, having spent sixteen long and dreary years at the Board of Control, he was, perhaps, more competent than any other individual in the country to give information upon it. It was not without astonishment, he might say indignation, that he had witnessed the conduct of the Government on this occasion. The Committee was appointed on the motion of the noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), and yet not one of the Ministers, with the exception of his right hon. friend, the President of the Board of Control, had risen to defend the recommendation of the Committee. Every one who knew his right hon. friend must feel certain, that he could not possibly take any other part than he had taken, on a question which, if carried affirmatively, would put 1,500l. a-year into his pocket. The speech of his right hon. friend was, however, a most feeble one, not that he impugned the talents of his right hon. friend, but the course he took made it impossible that his speech should be otherwise than unsatisfactory. His right hon. friend thought that he was bound to take it for granted that the Committee made this reduction upon an examination of the duties of the office; but he could take upon himself to say, on the authority of one of the members of the Committee, that no such examination took place. The hon. member for Preston said, that they examined a former member of the Board, who was on the Committee. Who was that?—Why the right hon. member for Honiton. With all respect for that hon. Member, he must say, that whilst he was a member of the Board he was as ignorant 831 of the affairs of India as he (Mr. Courtenay) was of the Almanach des Gourmands. The hon. Member said truly, that the President had less of presentation than any other Member; he had fewer dinners to give; but did his right hon. friend think there was no other duty so important? He appeared, indeed, to have retired to dinner, and was perhaps then eating his Michaelmas goose! The hon. member for Middlesex had probably drawn his ideas of the duty of the Board from Mr. Creevey; but, because twenty years ago there were members at the Board who did nothing, was it to be inferred that the office was still inefficient, and that a person, properly performing the duties of it, was not to be adequately paid? He could confirm, in its fullest extent, all that had been said by the hon. member for Bossiney (Mr. Stuart Wortley), with respect to the laborious nature of the duties of this office, and he spoke of them not merely as they ought to be performed, but as they were actually performed. In point of extent, those duties, at the very least, were equal to the duties of any other Minister of the Crown, and, in some respects, were greater. But it was said, that the President of the Board of Control, however laborious his duties, was not considered of equal importance in the State to any of the Secretaries of State. He did not occupy so prominent a place in the eyes of the country as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and other Ministers; but that made a case in favour of giving large emolument to the office—for that was the reason why the President of the Board of Control was so frequently changed; and was it not clear, when the salary was reduced, that the more able the President, the more likely it would be that he would soon leave the office? It was not true, that since the office had been placed on its present footing, persons had been so prone to leave it. Before 1807, as he had stated nineteen years before, in the speech to which his hon. friend had alluded, the duties of the India Board were very imperfectly performed. The late Lord Melville held other offices, which made it impossible that he could attend to the duties of the Board of Control. After he had left office, as long as the salary remained at 2,000l., there was a quick succession of Presidents of the Board of Control. The late Lord Minto, a most efficient person, was speedily 832 removed to the government of India. He was succeeded by the brother of the Prime Minister (Mr. Thomas Grenville), who was speedily removed to the Admiralty, and then came Mr. Tierney, who left the office on the change of Administration. After this, Lord Harrowby accepted it, but was obliged to resign, on account of the excessive labour attached to the office. At length the present Lord Melville was appointed President, and held it in 1810, two or three years before which, those alterations were made which rendered it a most efficient office. The changes that took place in the Presidency after these alterations in the duties, were not made, as the former were, on account of the lowness of the salary. The hon. member for Middlesex had treated with some degree of ridicule the statement of his hon. friend, relative to the increase of business arising from the increased magnitude of our army, territory, and revenue, alleging, that on the same principle, if the Chancellor of the Exchequer were paid according to the increase of his business, he would receive five or six times as much as at present. But it must be understood that the increase of business in the office of Commissioners for the affairs of India, did not arise so much from an augmentation of the duties to be performed, as from the increased efficiency of the Board in performing those before entrusted to it. He spoke of the office up to the year 1828, when he left it, and he had no reason to believe that there had been any relaxation since in the assiduity of the different departments. He did not say that good and efficient men might not be got to fill the office in the first instance, but none could keep it, at the salary proposed, unless born to hereditary wealth. This led him to notice the most extraordinary misconception of the hon. member for Middlesex, as to what was said by the hon. and learned member for Kirkcudbright, when he stated that this office should be filled by a statesman of the first rank. The hon. and learned Member did not mean a Duke, but a man of the first rank as to talent—men, who, like his late friend and master in this department, Mr. Canning, raised themselves by their talents to a level with the first Duke in the land. If these reductions were made for the sake of the people, he could only say, that this was the most atrociously aristocratical course of proceeding the House could 833 adopt. The consequence would be, to place the whole public service in the hands of the sons of Earls, and other noblemen or men of considerable wealth. Such a great reduction of the salaries of public offices would make it impossible for any man to take to the public service as to a profession. He knew that sneers had been cast upon those who took to the public service as a profession. He wished they could come to some understanding on this subject. If it were the opinion of Ministers that no person ought to enter into the public service who had not, independently of it, the means of supporting himself and family, he thought they ought to move an Address to the Crown to give effect to that opinion. Let them state to his Majesty, that, having taken a philosophical view of the question, they had discovered that talents and a disposition to work were found in exact proportion to the absence of the necessity for one or the other! That would certainly be a new view of the subject; for, from childhood up, all men were taught that necessity was the most efficient stimulus to exertion, either in public or private concerns. If this principle were adopted, he hoped it would be made public, as a fit accompaniment to that measure, by means of which, as was said, the people were to receive greater power in the Legislature. Certainly, if they were fit to be admitted into the Legislature, there was no reason why they should be excluded from the exercise of the executive functions of the State. His hon. friend near him (Mr. Stuart Wortley) gave one reason of the greatest weight, for the party filling this office being of the first rank and talent—namely, that he who was to superintend the future Cornwallises, Hastingses, and Wellesleys of India, ought to be regarded by them as a person of high esteem in the country, and of commanding influence in the Administration. He knew that sneers were cast out upon persons on that side of the House, who voted against reduction of salaries; and an hon. Gentleman, not then present, had taunted the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, and him (Mr. Courtenay) with again wanting to taste the sweets of office. He did not pretend to say, that the emoluments of office were indifferent to him; but he asked, whether, when persons of landed property, of West-Indian or other interest, were heard with indulgence, and treated even with tenderness 834 by those who thought it necessary to oppose them—he asked, whether those who constituted another oppressed, though less extensive interest, ought not also to be heard with indulgence? He begged the House to consider, that the reduction of the salary of these offices to so very low a scale, would exclude from them those who had entered the public service as a profession, and indeed all men who were not born to wealth. Whether the House were prepared to come to that conclusion or not, it was one to which he could not come: but he could hardly trust his feelings upon this topic. It had been his intention to take that opportunity to enter into the whole question of the reduction of salaries; but, in the present state of the House, he would not do so. Many of the circumstances adduced for lowering this salary were, with him, reasons for increasing it. It was not only the most laborious, but the most thankless and disagreeable of all the high public offices. The holder of it entered less into the general business of the country, was less before the public, and had less opportunity of distinguishing himself in Parliament, so as afterwards to rise to a higher situation, than any other public man of an equal rank. They could not make the Presidentship of the Board of Control an agreeable office, and could only make it efficient by not, reducing its value. The hon. member for Worcester seemed to think that the Court of Directors did all the duty, and that it was the office of the Board of Control only occasionally to check them. The name of the Board did not express its full powers. Its members were called Commissioners for the Affairs of India, and they superintended, directed, and controlled, all acts, operations, or concerns, affecting the revenue, or the military and civil government of India. In fact, they had to direct the whole administration of India; and this duty they actually performed. During the many years that he was in that office, not a single paragraph of the thousands and tens of thousands which came up for the consideration of the Board, was passed unnoticed. It was a great mistake, therefore, to suppose that it was only an office of occasional control, and was not as laborious and efficient as any of the other high offices of the State. He gave the Motion of his hon. friend his most cordial support.
§ Lord Althorp
said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had made it a cause of complaint, that no Minister had delivered his sentiments on this question. He could assure the hon. Member, that he had not intended to let it pass without expressing his opinion; but he was anxious, in the first instance, to hear the sentiments of other Gentlemen. When the Committee was formed to inquire into the amount of salaries, for the purpose of reducing them, it was deemed expedient, instead of commencing with the inferior offices, to begin with some of the superior ones—not from any impression on his mind that those offices were overpaid, but because the public seemed to believe that they were. He did not think that the persons holding office were the most proper to decide on the subject of salaries, and therefore it had been referred to a Committee of that House. Though the Committee had recommended certain reductions, still it was fair to say, that the Government was responsible for their adoption. If the recommendations of the Committee appeared to be unfavourable to the public service, though the Committee might be blamed for making such recommendations, still the Government must come in for their share of censure in acceding to them. He admitted that official salaries should not be so low as to exclude persons of small property from taking situations connected with the Government of the country. Such a system would take away from different classes of society a strong encouragement to accept office, and it would throw the Government entirely into the hands of persons who had large private fortunes. This, he conceived, would be very detrimental to the public service. At the same time, he could not acquiesce in the doctrine, that salaries should be so constituted as to induce individuals to make the acquirement of office a profession. There were many reasons, quite independent of emoluments, which induced individuals to take office. Gentlemen frequently felt themselves bound, not only without any desire on their part, but absolutely against their will—acting under a strong sense of public duty—to take office. He did not, however, think (in, reference to the observation which he had heard, that the pursuit of office ought to be made a species of profession)—he did not think that it was likely that any man 836 would thus rear his son with a view to public life. Ministers were frequently changed; when that was the case, office must be vacated; and therefore it was impossible, uncertain as the tenure was, that the amount of salary could induce individuals to enter into the public service in high situations. The hon. member for Kirkcudbright (Mr. Cutlar Fergusson) had said, that, in apportioning salaries, they ought to leave entirely out of the question the incidental expenses to which office was more or less liable. He dissented entirely from this doctrine. In his opinion, if an office were of such a nature as to compel the individual holding it to incur expense which he otherwise would not incur, that circumstance ought to be taken into consideration. He knew that in settling a question of this kind, it was difficult to say whether the salary would or would not be sufficient, if 400l. or 500l. were subtracted from it. But it appeared to him, that the plain question was, whether they could, at the salaries proposed, have a sufficient choice of persons capable of performing the duties of office satisfactorily to the public? It had been said that this office should be filled by a statesman of the first class. That he admitted. But then it was argued, that he should not be suddenly removed from office, This was an inconsistency; for it was quite clear that an individual, coming in with a particular Administration, could not remain in office when that Administration went out and gave place to men of different principles. The labour attached to the office he allowed to be very great, but if they could, for 3,500l. a year, obtain in that office the services of an individual of first rate talent, he contended that they would not be justified in not agreeing to avail themselves of that talent. He should, therefore, support the recommendation of the Committee.
§ Sir Charles Forbes
was of opinion, that the salary proposed, even taking into consideration the trifling patronage attached to the situation, was inadequate, when they looked to the duties to be performed in comparison with other great offices in the State. In his opinion, the affairs of India were too much neglected in that House; and he wished that the good old custom should again be resorted to, of having an annual Indian budget brought before them. Economy in India had been 837 spoken of. The Company had begun there at the wrong end. They were screwing down the poor civil and military officers in order to enable their revenues to meet the enormous debts which some Governors-general had contracted. The European and the native army were both disgusted at the petty reductions that had been made.
§ Mr. Sanford
supported the recommendation of the Committee, which he believed was fully justified by the most careful consideration of the circumstances.
§ Sir John Newport
said, that the system of paying large salaries might be carried too far, if salaries were more than were fairly required for the labour to be performed. Now the Committee, after careful consideration, had recommended a reduced salary with respect to this office; and in proof of the principle he had before mentioned, he would only observe, that the last annual accounts, or what he might call the last annual budget, with respect to the government of India, had been laid before that House in 1807, by the present Earl of Carlisle, at that time Lord Morpeth, who then received the inferior salary. Since that time there had been no such accounts, so that the course of conduct of those who had received the superior salary did not show that an increase of salary, beyond the necessary amount, created an increased amount of exertion. He did not think that high offices should be sought merely for profit, or that politics should be adopted as a profession, and followed for the profit they could produce. He himself had been twenty-eight years in that House without having any such object. If, during that period, he had followed the profession of which he was an unworthy member, he should probably have been much richer than he now was; certainly, he could hardly have been poorer.
Mr. Stuart Worthy
in reply, said, that he should not think of dividing the House, but he was satisfied that he had only done his duty in bringing the subject under its consideration.
§ The Resolutions negatived without a division.