§ Lord Granville Somerset
said, that he was extremely 859 sorry to interpose, even to the shortest extent, and prevent the important discussion which stood for this evening, but he trusted that, as an hon. and gallant Member had last night, without any previous intimation, made a very serious, circumstantial, and he might also say acrimonious, accusation against persons, in whose honour he took the deepest interest, the House would not think he was interfering improperly, if he solicited its attention for a very short period. It was not very unnatural for the House before it proceeded with a discussion upon the code of laws under which the army of this country was governed, to wish to clear away any imputations or accusations which might affect those parties to whom the execution of those laws was to be intrusted. Again, if the accusation made last night by the hon. and gallant Member for Gloucester was correct, it could not pass unnoticed by the House, because that accusation was of such a character as not to justify (if well founded) the continuance in office of the Commander-in-chief or of his confidential secretary, against which the accusation was directed. He laboured under the misfortune of not having been present in the House when the hon. and gallant Member brought forward these charges, but he had had recourse to the best sources of information he could find, and had compared the different accounts which had been published of what had occurred in the House last night, and he believed he might be warranted in presuming that the statement attributed to the hon. and gallant, Member in the newspaper supporting the same politics as himself, might be safely relied on as being correct. Now if this statement contained anything which the hon. and gallant Member wished to retract or explain, he would be glad if he would do so, as he read it, and then allow him to stale the facts of which he was in possession. The hon. and gallant Member was supposed to have said, "that he could furnish the hon. Member for Middlesex, and the House, with one instance, that would sufficiently show that there prevailed at the Horse-Guards very strong political opinions, and that those opinions leaned strongly towards that side which was entirely opposed to his Majesty's Government. As the instance to which he alluded occurred during the Administration of Earl Grey, and as it was men- 860 tioned to that nobleman when he was at the head of the Government, he (Captain Berkeley) trusted the House would extend their patience to him, while he briefly narrated the facts of the case. A gentleman in Gloucestershire, having amassed considerable property, died, leaving the whole of that property to his son. This son, wishing to get into a different station of life, wanted to travel abroad, and for that purpose he was desirous of wearing the British uniform. He accordingly applied to the heads of the Whig party in Glocestershire, but who could not obtain for him the purchase of a commission in any regiment whatsoever. Every excuse that could possibly be made was resorted to, which put it quite out of the question that that gentleman should obtain a commission by such means. Finding it impossible to get a commission from the heads of the Whig party, he went to the family of the Duke of Beaufort, Lord Fitzroy Somerset being Secretary at the Horse-Guards. Upon making that application, he fairly and distinctly said, "My family have always hitherto been Whigs, and not on the same side of politics that you are; but if a commission can be got for me from the Horse-Guards through the influence of the Beaufort family, we shall in future be on the Tory side." The application, he believed (but he should be sorry to state it as a fact without knowing it to be such), was made through Lord Edward Somerset, and in the space of a short time, permission came down from the Horse-Guards to Glocestershire, for the gentleman on whose behalf the application had been made to purchase a commission. A commission was purchased accordingly, and that gentleman, and all whom he could command, had been Tories ever since." Now that was the statement with regard to which he believed it was incorrect only in the name being stated to be Loveday, whereas it ought to be Lovesey. He should for the present sit down until the hon. and gallant Member should have an opportunity of making any explanation he might think proper.
said, that the report which the noble Lord had just read to the House was nearly correct in every particular, except as it regarded Mr. Lovesey's father, whom he had stated to be dead; such was not the fact, though he did not consider it at all bore upon the question. With regard to another fact, it 861 might be very well supposed, that in a plain statement, such as he made last night, the least variation or alteration in words, would give a totally different sense to what was intended. He said, that with regard to that part of the Report which made it appear that Mr. Lovesey stated to the Beaufort family, that he would turn Tory if they got him a commission—that communication was not made to the Beaufort family, but was made to Lord Segrave, and in that, and that only, was there any incorrect statement in the Morning Chronicle. He was ready to repeat every word he said last night; he was ready to prove the whole was true.
§ Lord Granville Somerset
was glad that the hon. and gallant Member had corrected one part of his statement. Well, he was extremely glad the hon. and gallant Member had corrected one part of the report. But it was somewhat curious to observe, that in all the papers the fact was stated much in the same way. But he was prepared now to state to the House the whole circumstances of the case to which the hon. and gallant Member had referred, in so far as Lord Fitzroy Somerset was concerned. If he understood the gist of the accusation, it was this,—that an application for a commission for Mr. Lovesey had been made by the head of the Whig party in the county of Glocester, meaning thereby Lord Segrave, and that he was unable to obtain it; but that immediately on an application being made through Lord Edward Somerset, the commission was immediately obtained. It had also been stated by the hon. and gallant Member, that the gentleman for whom the commission was desired, was anxious to obtain it, for the purpose of going abroad in a smart coat. On the statement of the hon. and gallant Member, he (Lord G. Somerset) would make no comment; but he would content himself with stating the circumstances of the case so far as Lord Fitzroy Somerset was concerned. It was impossible for him to have access since last night to Lord E. Somerset, as he was in the country; however, that could not vary the circumstances which he was about to state. The simple case was this. In the month of June, 1830, Lord F. Somerset received the letter he was about to read from Sir H. Campbell:Richmond Park, June 1, 1830.My Lord,—I have been requested to put 862 the enclosed into your hands; I beg leave to add my request, that Lord Hill will have the goodness to put the young gentleman's name on his list of candidates for the purchase of an ensigncy. I am not personally acquainted with the parties, but I am informed by a relation, that the father is a very respectable man, and that he has ample means to make his son a sufficient allowance, if he ever has the good fortune to succeed in his object.I have, &c,HENRY CAMPBELL, Lieutenant-General.To Major-General, Lord Fitzroy Somerset.This letter was from Lieutenant-General Sir H. Campbell, whose politics he did not know, neither was he aware that that gallant officer had ever taken part in the politics of the county of Gloucester. It was accompanied by the enclosure of a letter from the young gentleman's father, who was last night stated to have been dead at that period. The letter enclosed was as follows:—Charlton, near Cheltenham, May 30, 1830.My Lord,—I beg most respectfully to request you will lay before his Lordship the Commander-in-chief of his majesty's forces my earnest solicitation to obtain, by purchase, a commission in the army for my son, John Whitehorne Lovesey, who has now attained his seventeenth year, and to which honourable profession he is most fully qualified from his habits and manners, as well as from the education he has perfected under the Rev. Thomas Rowley, of Bridgenorth, and the Rev. D. Davies, of Cranbrook, Kent, to whom, with the greatest satisfaction, I beg to refer for his character and general good conduct.With the greatest respect, &c,CONWAY W. LOVESEY.To Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Military Secretary.It was somewhat strange that this letter from the father of the young gentleman was silent as to the desire to go abroad in a smart coat, and how the hon. and gallant Member for Gloucester obtained knowledge of such a fact, was beyond his comprehension. Now, what was the answer which Lord Fitzroy Somerset gave to this application. He would read it.Horse Guards, June 4, 1830.Sir,—I have laid before Lord Hill your letter of the 1st instant, and I have the pleasure to acquaint you that I have received his directions to add the name of Mr. John W. Lovesey to the list of candidates for the purchase of commissions, and to assure you that his Lordship will be glad to have the means of introducing that gentleman into the service. Lord Hill has, however, so many to provide for, that he cannot venture to hold out to Mr. 863 Lovesey the expectation of an early appointment.I have, &c,FITZROY SOMERSET.Lieutenant-General Sir H. Campbell, K.C.B.The House would not fail to observe, that all this occurred when the Duke of Wellington and his Tories were in office. The next application for the commission was made by Captain Marshall, who, he believed, was the master of the ceremonies at Cheltenham, and was couched in these terms:—Cheltenham, April 4, 1831.My Lord,—With reference to your Lordship's letter of the 4th June, 1830, to General Sir Henry Campbell, in reply to the application, he was so good as to make to the Commander-in-chief for a commission, by purchase, for my relative, Mr. John W. Lovesey, and the interview I was honoured with by your Lordship in December last on the subject, I trust I may be excused, from the natural anxiety and interest I have for my relative, thus to trouble you to repeat my respectful but earnest hope that you may be pleased to bring the same again before his Lordship, the Commander-in-chief, and to assure you of the grateful obligation I shall ever be under to your Lordship by your kindness in furthering our views.I have, &c.,F. H. MARSHALL,Late 81st Regiment.Major-General Lord F. Somerset.To this second application, Lord Fitzroy Somerset returned the following reply:—Horse Guards, April 7, 1831.Sir,—I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th inst.I shall be very happy to draw Lord Hill's attention to your wishes in behalf of Mr. Lovesey when I see a favourable opportunity; but that gentleman is still so low on the list that I am afraid it would be useless to urge his Lordship on the subject at this moment.I have, &c.FITZROY SOMERSET.Captain Marshall.So that it appeared from all the investigation that had been made, that the first application to the Horse-Guards was made, not from the head of the Whig party in the county of Glocester, but that the first person who solicited it was Sir H. Campbell, who, as far as he knew, was unconnected with that county; and the second was made by Captain Marshall, whose politics he knew to be those which he espoused. It appeared also that the next application was from Lord Edward Somerset, and the last from Colonel Berkeley, 864 now Lord Segrave. He thought, therefore, that he had shown that the first application did not come from Lord Segrave. Next, that the first was made whilst persons of Tory politics were in power. Thirdly, that, from the first, intimation was given that the commission could not be given immediately; and lastly, that when given, it was not so with reference to the application of Lord Edward Somerset, but that it was more likely to have been obtained with reference to that of Lord Segrave. But what was the feeling which Captain Marshall himself entertained as to the party on whose application the commission was obtained? Here was the answer Captain Marshall gave to the communication that the commission would be granted to his relative Mr. Lovesey. He writes as follows:—Cheltenham, April 5, 1832.My Lord,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter of the 31st ult., acquainting me of the success of my application for Mr. John Whitehorn Lovesey's commission of ensign in the 95th foot, and with a renewal of my best thanks for your Lordship's great kindness, I beg to acquaint you that the sum of 450l. shall be remitted to Messrs. Greenwood, Cox, and Co., as desired, by the post, hence, on Monday next, and with great respect,I have, &c,F. H. MARSHALL.Lord Fitzroy Somerset.Now, where was the pretence for saying that Lord Segrave had failed in his application for the commission, when his name appeared in the books last in the solicitation. The hon. and gallant Member for Glocester, meant from the statement, that the young gentleman wished to go abroad in a scarlet coat, to induce the notion that the Commander-in-chief had given commissions without inquiring the fitness of those on whom they were conferred. [Captain Berkeley: "No, no."] Then where was the use of narrating the story? But what had really happened? Why that when this young gentleman got his commission, it was dated the 20th April, 1832; the first application having been made in April, 1830. He joined his regiment on the 20th May, 1832, which was as soon as possible, and, instead of going abroad, he remained at home with the regiment until he sold out in 1835. In thus proving a negative, he did not think he could possibly make the statement of facts more clear. He had shown that 865 the first application was not made by the head of the Whig party at Gloucester, for he had proved that Lord Se-grave's was the last application, while that of Sir H. Campbell and the young gentleman's father was the first. He had proved, as far as a negative could be proved, that the whole transaction was perfectly regular, and that it had not been influenced by party or political considerations. He could assert, on behalf of Lord Fitzroy Somerset, that he was uninfluenced by politics in the discharge of the duties of his office—that he placed the names of individuals, candidates for commissions, before Lord Hill, in their regular turns, and that apart from all political considerations; such was his practice in all cases. He stood here to assert, and he hoped he had done so successfully, that Lord Fitzroy Somerset had not, in this case, misconducted himself in the way which the hon. and gallant Member last night, and without notice, stated, and stated in a manner highly injurious to that noble Lord's character.
said, that in the first place, he did not think the noble Lord who had just sat down had any right to complain of his (Captain Berkeley's) want of courtesy in not having given him notice that he was about to mention to the House the name of the noble Lord's relative, and to bring his conduct before the House. When he came down last night, he found the House engaged in the discussion of the question, whether or not political bias prevailed at the Horse-Guards in favour of one party or the other, and if the Horse-Guards' authorities did not interfere improperly. The facts he had then stated, he still maintained were true in every word. He still maintained that Lord Segrave did on many and several occasions apply for this commission; that the answer was always the same, viz., that it was impossible to promise it, and that every delay was thrown in the way of his application. He should like to ask the noble Lord opposite who had read these letters to the House, whether he had taken the trouble to inquire for any letters written by Lord Segrave on this subject, and how often and in how many places that noble Lord applied for this very com-mission. The noble Lord opposite stated that he regretted that he had not had an opportunity of communicating with his noble relative in the country. So also did he (Captain Berkeley) regret that he had 866 not had time to communicate with Lord Segrave, for then he might have come down prepared with paper against paper, and would have been able to have stated how often Lord Segrave renewed his applications. He had not thrown any stigma upon any of the relatives of the noble Lord; the noble Lord's brother was at the head of one great party in the county of Gloucester, and his (Captain Berkeley's) brother was at the head of another; and though Lord F. Somerset was at the Horse Guards, he (Captain Berkeley) did not blame Lord F. Somerset or the Duke of Beaufort for doing all they could to keep their party together; it was exactly what he should do if he were in their places, and had a brother Military Secretary at the Horse-Guards. It was natural to suppose that in such a case his brother would pay greater attention to his (Captain, Berkeley's) application than he would to those of political opponents. It was, however, to be regretted that such a state of things should exist. It was notorious—it was the common talk of the whole county of Gloucester, that it was wholly useless for one of the Whig party to apply at the Horse-Guards, while that individual, the brother of the noble Lord, remained there. He would not state anything in that House which he did not firmly, honestly, and conscientiously believe; and he repeated that he firmly, honestly, and conscientiously believed that Mr. Lovesey received his commission because it was applied for by the Beaufort family, and he was equally certain that he would not have got it on the application of Lord Segrave. He did not think it necessary further to occupy the attention of the House. He would, however, ask the noble Lord opposite, whether among the papers he had produced, he had found any letters written either by Lord Segrave or by Lord Edward Somerset. He understood the noble Lord to intimate that he had neither. That was extraordinary. There remained one point more only to which he would advert,—namely, that there was a gentleman in the House who could better inform them what took place when the commission came down—he could tell them of the rejoicings which took place, and that the residence of Mr. Lovesey was then opened to persons of a very different political character than had ever assembled there before. He repeated that he stated only what he believed to be facts. By those facts he stood; and 867 he trusted by return of post he should be able to throw a little more light upon the subject.
§ Mr. Craven Berkeley
complained, that when the noble Lord opposite came down armed with these letters, he had not produced any of Lord Segrave's, nor the successful one of Lord Edward Somerset's. The noble Lord might try to convince hon. Members who were unacquainted with the county of Gloucester, that such was not the case, but it was notorious in that county, that when one of the Tory party applied at the Horse-Guards for a commission, it was obtained directly; but when one of the Whig party applied it was not to be obtained.
§ Lord Granville Somerset
said, that the tone of the hon. Members for Gloucester and Cheltenham showed very clearly the animus which pervaded among one party in the county of Gloucester. The answer to the question put to him was a very plain one, namely, that every exertion and search had been made for any letters that might have been addressed to the Horse Guards either by Lord Segrave, or by Lord Edward Somerset; but none were to be found; and Lord Fitzroy Somerset's recollection was, that when the noble brother of the hon. Members opposite approached him, it was in a very different tone and manner than had been displayed by those two hon. Members. All their communications had been carried on with great good humour. It was a great misfortune that no letter from the noble Lord could be found, as he was satisfied it would show that the statement of the hon. Member for Gloucester was not borne out by the facts. He repeated, that from the books it would appear that the application of Lord Segrave was made last, and not first.
said, it was much to be regretted that statements were too frequently made in this House, reflecting on individuals without their accuracy having been first ascertained. He rose to complain of some remarks attributed to the hon. Member for Ipswich, as having been made last night, as appeared in The Times newspaper. He would read them as reported. "Mr. Wason reminded the House of the conduct pursued by the Duke of Wellington when he brought forward the Catholic Emancipation Bill. Lord Beresford, then the Master General of the Ordnance, intimated to the Duke his un- 868 willingness to vote for that measure, and the Duke of Wellington replied, that Lord Beresford might do as he pleased, but that the Master General of the Ordnance must vote for the Bill." He did not know whether these were the remarks made by the hon. Member.
said, that the report quoted by the hon. Member cast a severe reflection on the noble Duke, who was charged with using such a threat, and upon the noble Lord to whom the threat was supposed to have been uttered. The only remark he could make upon it was, that the report quoted last night by the hon. Member for Ipswich was, from beginning to end, utterly without foundation in fact, and nothing ever passed between the two noble individuals in question that could give any colour or pretence for such a report.
§ Mr. Wason
said, that hon. Members who were in the House at the time would do him the justice to say that the statement alluded to was precisely in point with respect to the question then under discussion. If the hon. Member who had just sat down had never heard the report before, he believed he was the only hon. Member in that House who stood in that situation. If the report was incorrect, he felt, as every Gentleman must feel, sorry for having given currency to it.
§ Subject dropped.