HC Deb 14 August 1848 vol 101 cc135-41

House in Committee of Supply.

The first grant proposed was 30,000l. for defraying the necessary expenses of the New Houses of Parliament from the 31st of March, 1848, to the 31st of March, 1849.


said, the Legislature had already voted no less a sum than 945,000l., not including the grant of the present year. The whole sum, as regarded money paid or agreed to be paid, up to the 31st of March, 1848, on these houses, amounted to 1,021,010l. The whole sum which had actually been granted by the Legislature was 945,000l., leaving a balance agreed to be paid of 76,010. The question he wished to put to the Committee was whether the sum which they were now called upon to vote was sufficient to defray the expenses, including this balance. From what had been done, and from what was to be done, and judging from the amount expended, he was of opinion that those new Houses of Parliament would cost the country at least 2,000,000l.


said, it was true that 945,000l. had been already voted. Besides this 50,000l. more had been issued this year on the understanding that votes would be taken in account. Very nearly the sum of 1,000,000l. had been already expended on the undertaking. It was also true that 1,021,010l. had been paid or agreed to be paid. If the Committee agreed to the sum now asked for, it would make in the whole 120,000l. during the present year, of which sum there would be spent 50,000l. between the present time and the 31st of March, 1849. 20,000l. had been contracted for, 50,000l. had been spent, and 50,000l. more, as he had already said, remained to be laid out on the building.


thought the course pursued by the Government was unwise, injudicious, and calculated to increase the expenditure. He would wish to know something about the rate of remuneration to be paid to the architect.


begged to call attention to the Victoria Tower. It would not be safe to carry up that tower more than thirty feet a year. But, in reference to the New Houses, the Select Committee had required two impossible things to be done. In the first case they required that all the apartments should be fire-proof, and that they must be insulated. In the next place, they were to be ventilated; but this they could not be if they were insulated. It was, however, important that they should refuse to advance a farthing until a board had been appointed who should be responsible for the expenditure.

Vote agreed to.

On the question that the sum of 4,050l. be granted for certain works and buildings in the Isle of Man,


objected, and the Committee divided:—Ayes 71; Noes 14: Majority 57.

List of the NOES.
Brown, W. Salwey, Col.
Clay, J. Thicknesse, R. A.
Cobden, R. Thompson, Col.
Dick, Q. Thompson, G.
Ewart, W. Thornely, T.
Greene, J.
Osborne, R. TELLERS.
Muntz, G. F. Hume, J.
Kershaw, J. Bowring, Dr.

Vote agreed to.

On the question that a sum of 23,167l. be granted for repairing Public Buildings, &c., in Ireland.


wished to call the attention of the House to this vote, to which he strongly objected, as he considered that if there was any department which required special control, it was the department of public works in Ireland,


could assure the hon. Gentleman that as strict a control was exercised over the expenditure of the Lord Lieutenant as over that of any public department of this country. He noticed an item in this vote of 900l. for a Roman Catholic chapel, proposed to be built for the Royal Hibernian Military School; and he feared that if this design were carried out, it would lead to much dissension.

The Committee divided on the question that the sum be 22,267l.:—Ayes 12; Noes 103: Majority 91.

List of the AYES.
Archdall, Capt. Hood, Sir A.
Arkwright, G. Law, hon. C. E.
Bright, J. Lushington, C.
Broadley, H. Waddington, D.
Campbell, hon. W. F.
Duncan, G. Spooner, R.
Hamilton, G. A. Napier, E.

Original question again put,


objected to the item of 2,685l. for the repair and maintenance of Maynooth College, on the ground that the repairs of that college had been provided for by the grant of 30,000l. from the Consolidated Fund given by the Maynooth Act. He moved that the sum of 2,685l. be struck out of the estimate.

The Committee divided on the question that the sum be 20,481l 19s. 3d.:—Ayes 38; Noes 109: Majority 71.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Henley, J. W.
Archdall, Capt. Hood, Sir A.
Arkwright, G. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Bankes, G. Kershaw, J.
Bright, J. Law, hon. C. E.
Broadley, H. M'Gregor, J.
Burrell, Sir C. M. Miles, W.
Carew, W. H. P. Morgan, O.
Christy, S. Muntz, G. F.
Dick, Q. Pearson, G.
Disraeli, B. Salwey, Col.
Drummond, H. Thompson, G.
Duncan, G. Turner, G. J.
Ewart, W. Urquhart, D.
FitzGerald, W. R. S. Waddington, D.
Fuller, A. E. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Goddard, A. L. Willcox, B. M.
Grogan, E.
Hamilton, G. A. TELLERS.
Hardcastle, J. A. Spooner, R.
Harris, hon. Capt. Napier, J.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, T. N. Cobden, R.
Armstrong, Sir A. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Armstrong, R. B. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Craig, W. G.
Duncan, Visct.
Baillie, H. J. Dundas, Adm.
Barkly, H. Dunne, F. P.
Barnard, E. G. Ebrington, Visct.
Bellow, R. M. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fagan, W.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Forster, M.
Birch, Sir T. B. Fortescue, C.
Blackall, S. W. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Bowring, Dr. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Boyle, hon. Col. Glyn, G. C.
Brotherton, J. Godson, R.
Brown, W. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Buller, C. Greene, J.
Callaghan, D. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Grey, R. W.
Clay, J. Grosvenor, Earl
Clements, hon. C. S. Hawes, B.
Hayter, W. G. Rich, H.
Headlam, T. E. Romilly, Sir J.
Heywood, J. Rumbold, C. E.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Russell, Lord J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Russell, F. C. H.
Howard, P. H. Rutherfurd, A.
Howard, Sir R. Scully, F.
Hume, J. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Jervis, Sir J. Shelburne, Earl of
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Sheridan, R. B.
Lascellcs, hon. W. S. Simeon, J.
Lewis, G. C. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Locke, J. Smith, J. A.
Matheson, Col. Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Spearman, H. J.
Melgund, Visct. Stanton, W. H.
Milner, W. M. E. Sturt, H. G.
Mitchell, T. A. Thicknesse, R. A.
Monsell, W. Thompson, Col.
Morpeth, Visct. Thornely, T.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Townshend, Capt.
O'Brien, Sir L. Vane, Lord H.
O'Brien, T. Ward, H. G.
O'Connell, M. J. Watkins, Col.
Ogle, S. C. H. Willoughby, Sir H.
Osborne, R. Wilson, J.
Owen, Sir J. Wilson, M.
Paget, Lord C. Wodehouse, E.
Palmerston, Visct. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Parker, J. Wood, W. P.
Pinney, W. Wrightson, W. B.
Power, Dr.
Pusey, P. TELLERS.
Reynolds, J. Tufnell, H.
Ricardo, O. Hill, Lord M.

Original question agreed to.

On the question that 42,700l be granted for salaries and expenses in the department of the Treasury,


did not know that there was much use in Junior Lords of the Treasury. The Committee recommended that they should be reduced to three. But he rose to make an inquiry respecting the Assistant Secretary; it was understood that 2,500l had been given to Sir C. Trevelyan for his exertions during the Irish famine, in addition to his salary. Out of what fund was this grant taken? No public money ought to be given to a public officer without the sanction of the House being asked.


could assure the hon. Member that the Lords of the Treasury were of the very greatest use in conducting the business of the Treasury. However, the noble Lord the Member for Calne (the Earl of Shelburne) having resigned, it had been determined, in compliance with the recommendation of the Committee, not to fill up the vacancy. With regard to Sir C. Trevelyan, the case was an exceptional one; but his services on the extraordinary emergency alluded to were so very great that it had been thought right to make a Treasury minute awarding him 2,500l The item would he found in the account of "civil contingencies" laid before the House.


, while readily acknowledging the great services rendered by this Gentleman, could not forget that the Order of the Bath had been conferred upon him—a reward bestowed as for services which could not be paid for by a pecuniary grant. The vote of 2,500l was surely conceived in rather bad taste; and a preux chevalier, like Sir C. Trevelyan, hearing his blushing honours, might well be supposed to recoil from receiving an extra year's salary.


considered that the Government had no right to reward any public servant, however great and meritorious his services might be, without coming to the House of Commons and stating his services, and letting the reward come from the House and not from the Minister himself. It was a dangerous principle.


asked from what fund the money was paid? Was it from the fund voted for the relief of Irish distress? If it was, it might be a necessary salary for distributing that relief. He also wished to have an explanation with regard to the sum of 8,650l, which was distributed among the officers and crews employed in the service of Ireland during the period of distress.


had stated before that the former sum was paid out of the civil contingencies, and that the other was contained in the estimates then before the House.


condemned the conduct of the Government in this matter. It was their duty to have submitted a vote to the House; not to have taken on themselves to reward a public servant. If there was one rule connected with the public service which more than another ought to be scrupulously observed, it was this, that the salary of a public officer, more especially if he were of high rank, ought to cover all the services which he might be called upon to render. Any departure from that rule must be dangerous. The particular payment to Sir C. Trevelyan was not even mentioned in the estimates before the Committee. All that the estimates stated was, that 4,045l. were required on account of services performed in connexion with the distress in Scotland and Ireland. Who could suppose that a single charge to the amount of 2,500l. was included in what appeared to be an aggregate of small items? If it had not been for the hon. Member for Middlesex, the House would have known nothing of the matter.


said, that the subject had been referred to in the report of the Committee which sat on the civil contingencies; and therefore the House was not indebted exclusively to the hon. Member for Middlesex for the notice of it. The Government thought that the services of Sir C. Trevelyan were deserving of reward; and the question was, whether they should bestow the reward during the recess, or wait until Parliament met, and then propose it. They decided on the former course.


begged to say, that he had laboured with Sir C. Trevelyan for many years, and was deeply impressed with the value of his services; and he had no doubt that, whether he had applied his talents to the ordinary business of the Treasury or to the extraordinary business of the famine of Ireland, he had done so in a manner to entitle him to the cordial approbation both of Government and of Parliament; and if he (Mr. Goulburn) said anything as to the mode in which the remuneration had been granted to him, it was not for the purpose of disparaging Sir C. Trevelyan's services or doing him dishonour, but from a feeling that the honour due to him had not been properly paid. According to all precedent the House of Commons ought to have fixed the amount of Sir C. Trevelyan's remuneration; and the House had just reason to complain that they had not been asked to do so. With respect to the other question, of the abolition of one Lord of the Treasury, he begged to say, that he entertained an opinion entirely at variance with that expressed by the Committee.


said, that however Sir C. Trevelyan might have employed his intelligence, the Ministers of the Crown were responsible for his acts. The Public Works Act was adopted after several meetings of the Cabinet with Lord Besborough; and whatever errors might have been committed, the Government were to blame for them. Sir C. Trevelyan stated in his evidence that he worked three hours before breakfast; that he then went to the Treasury, where he worked all day; and that the pressure upon him was such, that be wondered that he had been able to get through it alive. If the Government had done wrong in including the vote in the civil contingencies, he hoped that their error would not he visited upon one of the most intelligent and laborious officers that he had ever known.


said, he must really recall the attention of the House to the question before it, with which he would not consent to mix up the policy of the Government in Ireland. The question was, whether a certain sum of money should have been given to this officer, from any fund whatever, without the consent of Parliament? He thought that the whole transaction was illegal.

Vote agreed to.

The House resumed. Committee to sit again.

House adjourned at Two o'clock.