HC Deb 13 July 1840 vol 55 cc695-7
Colonel Sibthorp

rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the House to the sums paid to Dr. Bowring. He begged in the outset to say, that his motion was not directed against that gentleman personally—he had no complaint to make against him—he was a man of great talent, and one who, no doubt, faithfully discharged his duties; but he complained, that the Government should have paid a considerable sum of money to Dr. Bowring during a period of two years, six months and five days (for he liked to be precise) in which he was a Member of that House. It did look something like a desire to influence his vote. From the commencement of 1835 to the dissolution in 1837, Dr. Bowring was a Member of that House, and during that period, he had received from the Government 3,579l. 8s. for certain services performed by him. In 1831, Dr. Bowring received 500l. for a report on the commercial affairs of France; in 1839 be received 463l. on the same account. It appeared that a further sum of 386l. had still to be paid. Now, the whole amount granted to Dr. Bowring was 14,858l. 12s. 3d.; the amount paid up to the present grant was 11,071l. 13s. In what shape had the money been voted? 662l. was under the head of special services: and there was another sum of 676l. under the same head. 2,249l. was under the head of civil contingencies. He thought the House ought to know for what service those sums under the head of "special services" had been paid. He complained of the principle of paying a Member of that House for special services. If they refused to allow Judges to sit in that House, why allow any hon. Member to receive pay for one duty while he ought to be attending to another? The hon. Member for Windsor, the present Secretary 'for the Treasury, when Member for Cricklade, used to declare that it was essential that the vote for civil contingencies should be submitted to a select committee, he hoped that the hon. Member was of that opinion at present, and would support him in the suggestion which he was about make. He should propose a reduction in the amount of the vote equivalent to the salary paid to Dr. Bowring. At the same time, he was anxious for some explanation from the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs on this subject, for he, no doubt, would tell them the reason why the report of the learned doctor in Egypt was suppressed, and he also wished to know to what extent the reports of Dr. John Bowring, however they might be drawn up, had been acted on. If ever they were adopted, his objection to the grant of money for getting them up would not be removed; he therefore must demand some explanation from the Government on the subject. He would move, "That the estimate be reduced to the amount of the sum paid, or to be paid, to Dr. Bowring."

Lord John Russell

observed that the hon. and gallant Member had stated that he had been recommended by some of his friends to bring forward his motion in the committee of supply rather than in its present form. The result of the hon. Gentleman's speech showed how prudent this advice was, and he trusted that the House would not support the hon. Member, but at once consent to go into the committee, as there were some votes which it was most desirable to take without delay. The hon. Member might then, if he thought proper, submit his motion in a regular form.

House in Committee of Supply.

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