HC Deb 30 March 1840 vol 53 cc241-4

House in Committee to consider of the salary of the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty.

Mr. More O'Ferrall

moved a resolution to the effect, "That 4,000l. a-year be paid to the Judge of the High Court of Admiralty out of the Consolidated Fund."

Mr. Hume

observed, that hitherto the salary of the judge, as derived from fees and other emoluments, had rarely exceeded 3,225l. a-year. Thinking, in the present embarrassed state of the finances, that all salaries of this description should be diminished rather than increased, he begged to more as an amendment, that the vote in this instance be reduced from 4,000l. to 3,000l. a-year.

Lord John Russell

remarked, that, although the salary of the Judge of the Admiralty Court was comparatively low in time of peace, it had generally amounted to 7,000l. or 8,000l. a-year in time of war. It was now proposed to give him a fixed and uniform salary of 4,000l. a-year; and he apprehended, that it would not be possible to obtain a gentleman of sufficient ability to discharge the duties of this important office at a lower rate of pay.

Mr. W. Williams

was decidedly opposed to the motion. He thought, that the proposition for increasing the judge's salary to 4,000l. a-year arose solely from a desire to confer a benefit upon a political partisan. If it was really necessary that the amount of the salary should be increased, why was it not done whilst the present judge's predecessors were sitting upon the bench? Were they less eminent, less capable of discharging the duties of their office—less deserving of an ample reward? No; but they were not politically connected with the Government. He should support the amendment.

Colonel Sibthorp

was rarely reduced to the necessity of voting with the hon. Member for Kilkenny; but if that hon. Member went to a division in the present instance, he should feel bound to support him. Under the present circumstances, before the production of the budget, before the House knew anything of what new taxes might be imposed; he thought it would be most injudicious to assent to a vote of this nature. No explanation had been given of the grounds upon which the vote was asked; and that was another reason for opposing it. He knew nothing of the secrets of Downing-street. He never went there, nor did he ever look that way; for he hated the sight of the place.

Mr. More O'Ferrall

observed, that the objections now raised to the vote were merely a repetition of those that were stated last year, when a similar proposition was made to the House. He thought it was obvious that a person of the highest legal attainment could not be induced to accept an office of this nature for a smaller amount of salary than that now proposed. He trusted that the House would not refuse that which was merely a matter of justice.

Mr. Muntz

had opposed the motion respecting the allowance to Lord Seaton, because it was not a provision for the individual merely, but for his son and his grandson. But, in the present case, there was nothing said about either the son or the grandson of the learned judge of the Admiralty; and as he was of opinion that so eminent a judge ought to be adequately paid, and as he agreed with the noble Lord that it was much better to give him a fixed salary than to allow him one fluctuating on the contingency of peace or war, he should support the present motion.

Dr. Nickoll

said, that in his humble judgment, considering that the salary was to be a fixed one, during both the time of peace and of war, it was not more than adequate for the services of such a judge. In the case of the judge of the Admiralty Court, it was very true that during a time of peace there was not a great number of heavy cases before the court, but questions of the greatest difficulty did occasionally arise, not merely affecting our internal arrangements, but affecting questions of peace and war.

Mr. Wallace

was of opinion, that all the judges in this country were overpaid, and this would be adding to the evil. He should therefore support the amendment of the hon. Member for Kilkenny.

The committee divided on the amendment:— Ayes 17; Noes 86: Majority 69.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Polhill, F.
Brotherton, J. Salwey, Colonel
Duncombe, T. Sibthorp Colonel
Fielden, J. Turner, W.
Grimsditch, T. Vigors, N.
Langdale, hon. C. Wakley, T.
Lister, E. C. Wallace, R.
Marsland, H. TELLERS.
Morris, D. Mr. Hume
Philips, M. Mr. H. Williams
List of the NOES.
Adam, Admiral Clay, W.
Alston, R. Collier, J.
Anson, hon. Col. Coote, Sir C. H.
Archbold, R. Craig, W. G.
Baines, E. Curry, Mr. Sergeant
Baring, rt. hon. F,T. Dalmeny, Lord
Barnard, E. G. Denison, W. I.
Bellew, R. M. Evans, G.
Benett, J. Follett, Sir W.
Bewes, T. French, F.
Blake, W. J. Goring, H. D.
Bridgman, H. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Brodie, W. B. Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.
Buller, C. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Busfeild, W. Hall, Sir B.
Handley, H. Russell, Lord J.
Hawes, B. Rutherfurd, rt. hn. A.
Hawkins, J. H. Sanford, E. A.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J. Sheil, rt. hn. Sir L.
Hobhouse, T. B. Slaney, R. A.
Hoskins, K. Smith, R. V.
Hutton R. Spencer, hon. F.
James, W. Staunton, Sir G. T.
Kemble, H. Stock, Dr.
Labouchere, rt. hn. H. Strickland, Sir G.
Macaulay, rt. hn. T. B. Strutt, E.
Mackenzie, T. Sutton, hon. J. H. T.
Monypenny, T. G. Talbot, J. H.
Muntz, G. F. Teignmouth, Lord
Nicholl, J. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
O'Connell, J. Tufnell, H.
O'Ferrall, B. M. Turner, K.
Pakington, J. S. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir H.
Parker, J. White, A.
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Wilde, Mr. Serg.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Wood, C.
Ponsonby, C. E. A. C. Wood, Sir M.
Price, Sir R. Wood, G. W.
Protheroe, E. Worsley, Lord
Pryme, G. Yates, J. A.
Pusey, P. TELLERS.
Rae, rt. hon. Sir W. Stanley, E. J.
Rice, E. R. Steuart, R.

Original resolution agreed to.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

moved that the fees and emoluments received by the Court of Admiralty should be carried to the account of the fee fund, and be applied in the payment of the salaries of the register and assistant-register, and other officers of the said court, and that the deficiency, if any, should be made up out of the Consolidated fund.

Colonel Sibthorp

wished to be informed what length of services on the part of the judges and offices of the Court of Admiralty was required to entitle them to a retiring pension?

Mr. More O'Ferrall

said, the same principle respecting superannuated allowances was applied to the officers of the Admiralty Court as to other officers serving under the Crown.

Resolution agreed to, House resumed, the report to be received.