§ Mr. Harvey
, having given notice of a Motion for to-morrow respecting the method of taking the Divisions, and for entering the names of all the Members who voted in the majorities and minorities on the division in the Vote Book,
§ Mr. Ellice
said, he hoped he might be permitted to take the opportunity of replying to some imputations to which he would, by implication, be liable in consequence of the publication of a division on the subject of sinecures. He hoped, that as the subject referred to a breach of privilege, he should not be considered out of order. If he were not permitted to say two words upon the subject, he should be compelled to bring forward a Motion. He had seen with great disgust in some of the public prints a list of the majority of the Gentlemen who had voted the other night on the Motion of the hon. member for Middlesex. It had been represented that these Gentlemen had given their votes in favour of the continuance of sinecures in general. He (Mr. Ellice) voted upon that occasion; but he did not vote in favour of the continuance of sinecures of any description. He voted against a sort of abstract principle, which the hon. member for Middlesex had thought proper to propound to the House—a principle which the hon. Member did not seem to be able to explain; for he had stated that he did not include in his description of sinecures the case of Colonels of regiments. 992 When any question should come before the House, on which it would be necessary to come to a vote respecting the continuance of sinecures, he should discharge his duties to his constituents; but it was utterly false—it was an utter misrepresentation to say, that in giving his vote the other evening, it had been intended to support sinecures. It was improper to impute motives to any man. He could conscientiously say (and no one could know his intentions better than himself) that, when he gave the vote in question, he had no intention whatever to uphold sinecures of any description.
§ Mr. Hume
observed, that he was perfectly aware of the irregularity of permitting Members to speak when there was no Motion before the House: but he hoped that he should be permitted to reply to the observations of the hon. Member, who had stated that it was false that any Member who had voted against his Motion, had so voted with a view to uphold sinecures.
§ Mr. Hume
continued: His Motion was, that it was inexpedient to pay naval and military services by sinecures. The hon. Member might not have made up his mind about what was expedient or inexpedient; but the object of the Motion was, to put an end to the practice of paying money upon false pretences. The hon. Member had stated, that he had not explained, and did not, in fact, understand the abstract principle which he had sought to embody in his Motion, because he had excepted the case of Colonels of regiments. He knew very well what he was saying. The Colonelcies of regiments were no sinecures. Colonels of regiments had to carry on correspondence, to look to the accoutrements of the men, and other duties, which placed them in a very different situation from that of such officers as the Governor of Berwick. The hon. Member seemed himself not to know what he was talking about, when he accused him of ignorance. He knew very well what he had been speaking of. He knew that the discussion was irregular, because there was no Motion before the House; but he must still continue of the opinion, that every man who voted in the majority upon that occasion, had so voted in order to uphold sinecure offices.
§ The Speaker
said, that if this discussion 993 should be allowed to continue, he trusted that the House would allow him to set himself right with the hon. member for Middlesex and to correct a slight mistake into which that hon. Member appeared to have fallen. That hon. Member had stated, that this matter had been brought before the House irregularly; but according to his (the Speaker's) view of it, there had been no irregularity on the part of the hon. member for Coventry. He understood that hon. Member to call the attention of the House to a breach of its privileges. His complaint did not refer to any Member of that House, and therefore could have had no reference to the honourable member for Middlesex. The hon. Member's complaint distinctly referred to what had appeared in the public Press, in which a statement had been published that imputed motives to the Members on one side of the House for voting in a certain way. Such a matter clearly involved a question as to a breach of the privileges of that House, and therefore there was no irregularity on the part of the hon. member for Coventry in bringing it before them. In fact, the irregularity had been wholly on the part of the hon. member for Middlesex, with regard to whom he could state, that as no imputation had been cast upon him, and no contradiction had been given to any statement made by him, any vindication of himself was unnecessary. The complaint referred solely to the persons who had committed a breach of privilege. The hon. member for Coventry complained that the motives of those who had voted in the majority on the occasion referred to, had been decidedly misrepresented in the public Press, and the hon. Member, knowing his own motives on that occasion, had thought it his duty to bring the matter before the House.
§ The Speaker
said, he did not mean to say that the hon. member for Middlesex was disorderly in his observations.
§ Mr. Ellice
observed, that he had no intention of making any complaint respecting the language of the hon. member for Middlesex.