HC Deb 12 April 1850 vol 110 cc219-93

Sir, I am about to propose the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the salaries and emoluments of offices held during the pleasure of the Crown. It does not appear to me that it is requisite that I adduce many reasons to induce the House to appoint a Committee on this subject, for there are various precedents for such appointments of Committee for the purpose of inquiring into the various public departments of this country. In 1798 a Committee was appointed to inquire into various branches of the public service, and they went through many of the civil establishments of the country, and they presented several reports, the 27th of which related to the judicial establishments of the country, and to the salaries paid to the Lord Chancellor, the Master of the Rolls, and the other Judges. Various recommendations were embodied in these reports, which were afterwards acted on. In 1818, and again in 1828, similar Committees of Inquiry were embodied. After the Committee in 1828 had considered the nature of our military establishments, which led to some reductions. Lord Althorp, in January, 1830, proposed the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the salaries of persons holding office during the pleasure of the Crown, and to state the amount which they should receive. Lord Althorp, in doing so, said he made that Motion on the part of the Government, which was prepared to take upon itself the responsibility of any reductions which might be deemed expedient, but it was thought better that there should be a Committee composed of independent Members of that House to inquire into the salaries paid for the performance of public duties. In 1848 Committees were appointed to inquire into the various military expenditures of the country, and they had performed their duties hitherto in a manner highly creditable to themselves and most useful to the Government and the country. I propose now the appointment of a Committee to inquire into certain other departments. I postponed the appointment of this Committee to inquire into the civil establishments of the country to this time, from a wish that various Gentlemen of great experience and ability, who were engaged on the Committees of 1848, which have just completed their labours, should be members of the Committee I am about to propose. With respect to the first object of the Committee, namely, to inquire into the salaries and emoluments of persons holding offices during the pleasure of the Crown, and having seats in Parliament. Very considerable reductions were proposed by the Committee appointed in 1830, and other suggestions of the same kind have been brought under the consideration of the Committee which recently sat, and to which the Miscellaneous Estimates were referred. Every one who has watched the proceedings of this House must be aware that frequent proposals have been made for the reduction of this branch of the public expenditure, either by reducing the salaries 10 per cent, or by diminishing the number of persons employed in certain departments, and holding office during the pleasure of the Crown. It appeared to the Government that it would be far better that the subject of any reductions should be considered by a Committee composed of independent Members than by the persons whose salaries it is proposed to inquire into. I think if a full inquiry is instituted into this subject, the country will fairly know what is the opinion of such Committee as to the amount at which these salaries should be fixed. Lord Althorp, in moving for his Committee, said, that while he agreed in condemning any extravagant pay for pub- lic services, he thought it most desirable that the salaries of the holders of high offices should not be reduced so low as to confine them altogether to persons of large private fortunes, but the salaries should be such that persons of distinguished talents, and who possessed the confidence of Parliament, might be able to accept office without injury to their private fortunes. I believe this is a sound principle. The Committee will determine the amount of the salaries which should be paid to various officers; and I have no doubt they will recommend them to be such as would not be ruinous to small private fortunes, who should accept office. With respect to the second part of the Motion, namely, that relating to the salaries and emoluments of judicial offices in the superior courts of law and equity in the united kingdom, and into the retiring pensions allotted to the Judges, some time has elapsed since any inquiry has been made into that subject. In 1831, when Lord Denman was made Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench, it was proposed that he should have that high office at a salary of 8,000l. a year, which he accepted, and received during the time he held the office. There has been no regular decision upon this subject by Parliament; and when I introduced a Bill proposing to fix the salary of the Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench at 8,000l. a year, it was urged that it would be better that the Committee should have cognisance of the whole question, and I consented to omit that part of the Bill which related to the salaries of the Chief Judges of the Queen's Bench and Common Pleas, upon the representation of an hon. Gentleman opposite. If the salaries, and especially the retired allowances of the Chief Justices of the Courts of Queen's Bench and Common Pleas are to be considered and are to be reduced, it should also be considered whether any other salaries and any other retiring allowances are capable of reduction. There are, also, of course, other questions of great importance connected with the courts of equity. The subject of the salaries of the Judges was considered in 1798 by a Committee, and it is desirable, I think, that they should be again considered by a Committee, particularly when the many changes are remembered that have recently taken place, and the addition that has been made to the number of the Judges of those courts. The last part of the Motion I have to propose relates to the diplomatic establishments of the country. The expense of those establishments was formerly defrayed out of the civil list; but upon the separation of the disbursements more properly belonging to the royal household from those of a more public nature, the expense of the diplomatic establishments was imposed upon the Consolidated Fund. It would, no doubt, be highly inconvenient to have the diplomatic establishments under discussion in each year, with a view to change in the expense of them in each and every year; but still there appears no objection to a revision from time to time; and considering the lengthened period that has elapsed since the separation of those branches of expenditure, and the various changes which since then have taken place, I think it desirable that those establishments should be reconsidered by a Committee of this House. In proposing, therefore, that a Committee should be appointed on these subjects, I propose also that evidence shall be taken before them, so that thereby they may, on the one hand, be put in possession of reasons which may exist for keeping up salaries in any particular establishment; and, on the other, what reductions in other departments may be properly made in conformity with the views of the Committee. One Member at least of the Government should be appointed on this Committee, and he would be able to afford them that information respecting the salaries of the Government which they might require. I have not attempted to go further in this proposal, seeing that it is in conformity with practice and precedent, and that it is also in accordance, as it appears to me, with the general feeling of the House. I might not indeed have thought it necessary to say much more in making this proposal to the House, had I not observed that the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire intends to move an Amendment to my proposition, to the purport that "it is the duty of the Government, on their own responsibility, forthwith to introduce the measures that may be necessary for effecting every reduction in the national establishments consistent with the efficiency of the public service;" and had I not also seen on the paper the notice of a Motion by another hon. Gentleman, the Member for Oxfordshire, for a general revision of all salaries with a view to their reduction. This shows that, in the opinion of those two hon. Members with respect to diplomatic salaries, there is room for revision and inquiry, and that the subject of salaries generally ought to be considered. The question, therefore, I apprehend, is, whether the mode I propose is convenient for instituting the inquiry, and whether, at least for the present, I have taken the proper step in bringing the question before the House. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire says, in his notice of Amendment, that it is our duty, on our own responsibility, to introduce the measure necessary for effecting every reduction in the national establishments, consistent with the efficient discharge of the public service. This would seem to imply, although the hon. Gentleman does not directly say so, that the Government has not been taking any steps whatsoever towards those reductions which they thought might be made, consistently with a due regard to the public service. I have stated the reasons for the proposal I am making, that the salaries of those holding office during the pleasure of the Crown should be inquired into, in the first place, by a Committee; but I do not mean to deny the responsibility of making every possible reduction consistent with the efficiency of the public service, by the Government itself; and if the hon. Gentleman will give me his attention for a few minutes, I will show him and the House that there has not been any want of attention on the part of the Government to this subject. In the first place, with regard to the military estimates, in conformity with measures brought in by the Government themselves; in the next, in conformity with the views of the Select Committee; and, in the third, in conformity with public opinion, large reductions have been made in the Estimates during the last two years. The extent to which these reductions have been carried appears by a statement which I hold in my hand, and which is to this effect:—

1848–9. 1849–50. 1850–1.
£ £ £ £
Army 6,520,835 6,142,211 6,019,397 501,438
Navy 7,951,842 6,273,428 5,849,423 2,102,419
Ordnance 3,115,218 2,654,270 2,434,417 680,801
Total reduction in the two years from 1848–9 to 1850–1 3,284,658
This is not the exact sum of reduction, but if you take the actual net amount at upwards of 2,000,000l., it certainly does show that considerable pains have been taken to diminish the amount of the estimates. With respect to the civil depart- ments, I must say that it appears to me, so far as regards the details and particulars, that the Government have far better means in their own hands of making reductions in the different establishments than any Committee of this House can possess, and that, I think, is shown by the inquiry we have instituted with great care into the Treasury, the Home Office, and various other offices. So far as it appears upon the general surface, we should not be disposed to say either that there is a very extravagant number in those offices, or that the salaries paid are exorbitant; yet, by a minute examination made by official persons intimately acquainted with the nature and extent of the duties to be performed, it was found possible to make considerable reductions in the offices I have mentioned. I will name a few instances of the reductions that have been effected. In less than two years one commissioner (junior Lord), two chief clerks, one senior clerkship, and four junior clerkships, have been abolished at the Treasury, besides some smaller appointments and extra allowances, whereby a net saving of 5,345l. has been effected. One Member of the Irish Board of Works has lately been reduced 1,500l. The office of Deputy Judge Advocate General in Ireland, 597l., has also lately been abolished. The entire establishment of the office of Registrar of Public Carriages, 1,360l., including 600l., the salary of the Registrar, has been abolished, and the duties have been transferred to the commissioners of police. In the early part of 1849 a saving of upwards of 23,000l. a year was effected in the Paymaster General's Office, the Audit Office, and the Home Office, including the abolition of the offices of Paymaster of Civil Services and Paymaster of Exchequer-bills; and a great improvement was at the same time made in the efficiency of the three first-mentioned departments. The reductions that have been made in the Treasury in the course of thirty years have been very considerable indeed, but I will merely mention one or two of them. In 1821, thirty-eight persons holding office in the Treasury received 42,960l.; but in 1850 the same duties are performed by twenty-nine persons, who receive 24,680l., being a reduction of nine persons and 42 per cent; and thus it appears that the duties of the Treasury in this country are performed by twenty-nine persons, receiving salaries amounting on the whole to less than 25,000l. I own that it appears to me, considering the multifarious duties to be discharged in the Treasury, considering the reports they have to receive, and the importance of their functions, I do not believe there could be shown in any country either in Europe or in America, an example of so much duty so well performed at so small a cost. I say this, because I cannot but remark upon the comments which have been made from time to time upon the performance of the duty in the public offices of this country. I mean those who hold permanent situations. Of late it has been said by a very clever but whimsical writer of the day, that the public offices were an Augean stable which required a Hercules to cleanse out. But I say that never were public duties performed more zealously and efficiently, and yet at a smaller cost or with greater energy, than by those who hold permanent offices. At the same time, those who have to consider this subject, those who from time to time have to reduce these establishments, are bound to compare the emoluments received by persons in these public situations with the emoluments of other persons in other public and private institutions and offices, such as the Bank of England, the India House, and the great banking and other private establishments in which salaries are paid for the performance of duties somewhat similar to those which are performed in the public departments of which I have spoken. In making that comparison, it appears to me that the advantages of salary, and more especially other advantages attending upon those salaries, are rather in favour of persons employed in the Bank, and the East India Company, and in some private establishments. I may mention here that these inquiries into the salaries of the Treasury and Home Office have been made by efficient persons, and made minutely, by going through the work of each clerk in those offices. Although the operations of these reductions are gradual, they are going on to this day. In the Colonial Office, too, where the same inquiries have been made, the result has been submitted to my noble Friend at the head of that department, who considered that the proposals made were consistent with efficiency and economy. But there are likewise other reductions which have been made of late years in the department of Customs, and what were formerly the Excise and Stamp departments. I will state generally what has been done, as I cannot now go into the details regarding the abolition or reduction of each particular office. A searching inquiry has been in progress into the department of the Customs for a year and a half past, and the reductions which have been carried into effect from the 1st of January, 1849, to the present time are these:—One commissionership with 1,200l, a year, and the prospective reduction of the next vacant commissionership, while the entire establishment of mounted revenue police has been abolished, and the number of revenue cruisers has been diminished, whereby a great saving has been effected. However, the detailed account of the reductions carried into effect in the Customs, from the 1st of January, 1849, to the present time, gives these results:—One commissioner, 1,200l. (the next vacancy at the board will not be filled up, causing a further saving of 1,200l); one surveyor general, 900l.; one inspector general of the waterside department, 600l.; inspector general of the coast guard in Ireland, 800l.; assistant solicitors in Dublin and Edinburgh, 900l.; salary of solicitor reduced from 2,500l. to 2,000l.—500l.; salary of assistant solicitor reduced from 1,200l. to 1,000l.—200l.; 17 officers and clerks in the secretary's and solicitor's offices and coast guard office, have been reduced 2,886l.; at 43 outports and creeks 82 officers have been abolished, with salaries of 8,585l.; in the quarantine department at five stations, 60 officers and men have been reduced with salaries and emoluments amounting to 4,042l., besides a considerable saving in the wear and tear of vessels and stores; 20 revenue cruisers, 28,566l.; mounted guard, 112 officers, 13,656l.; at the out ports the salaries of 65 separate offices have been reduced in amount 1,956l.; making a total of 64,791l. In addition to these reductions, the salaries of many other offices will be reduced as opportunities present themselves of providing for the present holders by promotion or otherwise. A reduction of 28 clerks in the Long Room establishment is in contemplation, whereby a saving will be effect ed of 6,915l., and the reductions in this department are still in progress. Thus, therefore, I have shown that with respect to that department at least there has not been any neglect in carrying out an effective reduction. The Excise and Stamps, combined with the other Board of Inland Revenue, formerly comprehended a very large establishment of commissioners; and those who know anything of official patron- age are well aware that commissionerships of revenue are not those which are the least sought after by those who wish to enter the public service without having gone through the lower ranks. In 1792 these boards consisted of 38 commissioners; and the present heard consists of a chairman, a deputy chairman, and six juniors, at a saving in salaries alone of upwards of 36,000l. a year. The object which the Government had in view in consolidating the Board of Excise with the Stamps and Taxes was to effect every possible reduction in the charge of collection, by placing under one board of management the inland revenue of the country. The reductions which have been effected since the consolidation have necessarily been confined to the commissioners and some of the principal officers. With regard to the commissioners, the number prior to the consolidation consisted of twelve; namely, two chairmen, two deputy chairmen, and eight junior commissioners, and their united salaries amounted to 17,000l. per annum. The number under the consolidated board at present is eight—namely, one chairman, one deputy chairman, and six junior commissioners, to be reduced on the first vacancy to five. The salaries of such reduced establishment will be 11,500l., showing a saving, as compared with the late establishments, of 5,600l. per annum in the boards alone. But these savings in the boards show but a small part in point of money of the general reductions that have been made. There has been a reduction of the superior officers by the consolidation, and a further saving has been effected by the abolition, at the head office, of a secretary, at 1,500l. per annum; a solicitor, at 2,000l.; an assistant solicitor, at 1,100l.; a receiver general, at 1,200l.; a comptroller general, at 1,000l.; total 6,700l.—subject, however, to an increase in consideration of augmented duties in the salaries of the like officers who are retained, amounting to 1,000l. per annum, being a positive saving of 5,700l. per annum. A further saving has been effected by the abolition of the office of auditor and comptroller of Excise. This salary of 1,200l. a year has been entirely saved to the public, he having been transferred to a vacancy at the Board for Auditing Public Accounts. Some additional saving has also been made by the reduction of this establishment, the amount of which is about 600l. a year. When the measures in progress have been effectually carried out, and the whole brought under one roof, it is anticipated that the services of a very considerable number of officers and clerks will be discontinued both in the indoor and outdoor establishments; and a total saving effected of not less than 100,000l. per annum. The summary of savings to this date is as follows:—Board, 5,600l.; principal officers, 5,700l.; auditor, 1,800l.; inspectors and clerks, 7,800l.; distributors reduced, 3,000l.; poundage, 10,000l.; comptroller in Scotland 1,200l.; solicitor in Ireland, 2,000l.—total, 37,100l. But beyond this I may state that in 1833 the number of persons employed in these departments was 9,183, whereas it is now but 7,029—a reduction in round numbers of 3,000l.; while the salaries, amounting in 1833 to 962,000l., are now reduced to 715,000l., or a saving of 247,000l. Whatever vacancies have occurred among clerks and other officers, by death, resignation, or otherwise since the consolidation, have not been filled up, nor is there any intention of doing so. The amount of this saving cannot be very accurately calculated, but it now amounts to some hundreds of pounds, and is continually increasing. The present Board of Inland Revenue consists of a chairman, deputy chairman, and six junior commissioners, to be reduced to five junior commissioners on the next vacancy; but in 1792 the various boards now comprised under the single title of "Inland Revenue," consisted of 38 commissioners, and the saving in the salaries of the commissioners and secretaries alone is upwards of 30,000l. a year, exclusive of all other expenses. Therefore very considerable reductions have been made by the Government proposing measures which have received the sanction of this House, and which did not require such a resolution as that which the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire now proposes, as if he imagined that the Government never thought of any reduction at all until he propounds it to them. Why, the fact is, that since 1833 2,170 persons employed in the Stamps and Excise alone have been reduced, whilst savings have thereby been effected to the amount of 250,650l. I have stated these things to show that Her Majesty's Government have been endeavouring to enforce economy in all those branches of the State which are immediately under their control. There have been from time to time various other reductions; but it has always been our endeavour to carry all these reductions into effect with as little hardship as possible to individuals; and, therefore, these reductions did not take place in a sudden manner, or by a large amount taken off at once from the money paid in salaries and superannuation and retiring allowances, but they took place as vacancies occurred. I may here say, that, in asking the House for this Committee, I propose it as a Committee might have been proposed in 1798, or in 1807, or in 1830; that is, with the view of ascertaining what reduction can be effected consistently with the efficiency of the public service, but certainly not in accordance with the notion which some hon. Gentlemen have taken up very warmly, that, in consequence of the fall in prices, a sudden and general reduction of salaries should be made according to some scale which they have formed in their own heads. It is absurd to found such a proposition on the present price of corn and bread in the market. If we were to adopt such a principle, it would be necessary to have a tariff of salaries varying with seasons of plenty and scarcity. To this view I think there are so many objections that no Committee would carry them into effect. The salary might be fixed relatively to the price of corn in 1850, when in another year the price might be that of 1847; and so the salaries would have to be varied according to the high or low price of corn, and the scarcity or plenty of the supply. The Committee, if they went into the question on this principle, would have to consider not only what was the price of corn, but what reduction was practicable in all those expenses to which persons employed in public offices are subjected, and whether in this respect also any large reduction could be made. Now, I have had before me to-day an account in detail of what are believed to be the expenses of a clerk receiving a salary of more than 150l. a year; and, in looking over the items, I have not found above one or two, and those are amongst the least considerable, in which, in fact, any reduction is made. I am speaking now with regard to those who are in the permanent service of the Crown, because it is with regard to them especially, I think, that the House will have to consider whether any reductions can be made in the public establishments. There are various other objections which must arise if it were seriously proposed to make reductions simply with reference to the price of provisions at the present time as compared with past times. At the same time, I do not mean to say, that as, on the one hand, the general price of living increased during the war, so, on the other hand, if you find the general price of living to be very much decreased at other times, certain salaries may not be reduced in accordance with the existing general scale; but if you took the present year as a standard of what should be the expenses of persons in public offices—more especially considering that those persons, or a great number of them, have to live in London, and to pay the rent of houses and lodgings and other expenses necessarily attendant on a residence in the metropolis, I think you would find it impracticable to carry your object into effect. I have now concluded what I had to say with regard to the general proposition which I have to make. Perhaps I need hardly notice another notion which has been lately started, namely, that the public service would be better carried on if the persons who had to perform that service were altogether removed from Parliament, that is, if they had not scats either in this or in the other House of Parliament. It is obvious that such a proposal is quite inconsistent with the machinery of our mode of government. Unless you have persons in this and in the other House to defend the measures which have boon adopted, and to press on and support the legislative measures which are introduced, it is quite impossible that there can be any sort of harmony or any good understanding between the majority of the Members of the Houses of Parliament and the Executive Government. We had a strong instance of this in an attempt which was made, I must say with the purest desire for the public service, and in which I was concerned, as one of the Members of the Government—I refer to the establishment of the board for the administration of the new poor-law. I can answer for it, that nothing could be more disinterested than the choice made by the Government of Earl Grey, of persons to fill the office of chief commissioner; but every Member of this House must be sensible that the having an office of administration, which could not make its own defence in Parliament, and, at the same time, the having a Secretary of State to defend the administration of the law, without being himself aware of the various details which had to come before the board, led to an enormous amount of complaint—very often undeserved complaint—which occasioned such a distrust of the board as was most injurious to the ad- ministration of the important law which was placed under their charge. It was proposed two or three years ago, as the result of experience, to alter that system. The system was altered; and under my late lamented Friend, Mr. Charles Buller, and my right hon. Friend, now President of the Poor Law Commission, no complaint scarcely has been made by the public. Explanations are now made which have been found satisfactory, and every one is now aware that there is that easy and harmonious working of the poor-law administration which was never seen until a Member of the Poor Law Board sat in this House. I mention this as an instance, though I could never expect that any Committee of this House, composed of persons of experience, would give in to so wild and and chimerical a notion as that which I have mentioned. I think it well that the House should have before their eyes the fact that the Government of this country being a Parliamentary Government, it is quite necessary that persons holding high offices in the State should be Members of the Houses of Parliament, that they may be here to defend or explain their conduct. Sir, I now leave this question in the hands of the House. I feel confident that an independent Committee will deal with it with reference to the great interests of the country which are involved. We who are the Members of the present Government are mere tenants at will of our offices. Hon. Gentlemen who will sit on the Committee will have to consider the permanent interests of this country; and as, on the one hand, by sanctioning extravagance, so, on the other, by reducing salaries to a point which would place it out of the power of persons of moderate means to accept office, they may inflict serious injury on the country.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Salaries and Emoluments of Offices held during the pleasure of the Crown by Members of either House of Parliament, voted in the Annual Estimates; and also into the Salaries and Emoluments of Judicial Offices in the Superior Courts of Law and Equity in the United Kingdom; and into the Retiring Pensions allotted to the Judges; and also Into the Expense of Diplomatic Establishments charged on the Consolidated Fund.


Sir, if I did not think that the Amendment I am about to propose to the Motion of the noble Lord at the head of the Government was one which, if adopted, would be to the honour of this House, and to the advantage of the country generally, I should not have ventured to obtrude myself upon the notice of the House. I have listened with great attention to the address of the noble Lord, who has certainly communicated to the subject a character extremely interesting; but when I heard, in common with the House, that Her Majesty's Ministers had for a considerable period—a fact of which I believe we are all well aware—been employed in effecting considerable reductions in the expenditure of Government, the only impression on my own mind was, why did not the noble Lord persevere in that course which he had been prosecuting so effectually, and why did he come down to-night and ask for a Committee of the House of Commons to discharge a duty which, according to his own account, the noble Lord himself has so successfully fulfilled? I thought, indeed, that the statement of the noble Lord was rather a vindication of the principle I have to maintain before the House, than one which could at all authorise the Motion with which the noble Lord concluded. I will not say that the noble Lord has laid down a principle in the course he has pursued; for the House will, I think, agree with me that it was difficult to extract anything precise or clear as to the principle which influences the mind of the noble Lord on the present occasion. But if the noble Lord has touched very lightly upon principles, he has dwelt very amply upon precedents, from which we may, perhaps, arrive at the principle which now actuates the course of the Government, and also, perhaps, at the principle which, constitutionally, and for the honour of this House and the advantage of the public service, is the one which, in my opinion, we ought to recognise. The noble Lord has very amply dwelt upon precedents for referring to Committees of this House the estimates for the public service, and he has very properly reminded the House that that course pursued by a Minister has been productive of great public benefit. I will not stop to remind the noble Lord of the unwillingness felt by the Government at that time with respect to that reference. I will not stop to remind him of the speech of the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford University, who, while I think he erroneously objected to this course on constitutional grounds, congratulated the House on the fact that the Government had acknowledged that if these estimates were altered, it would quit office—these estimates were altered, but fortunately the Government have not quitted office. But allow me to remind the House of the essential difference that there is between the instances to which the noble Lord has referred, and the course which the noble Lord intends to pursue. It is very true that the Government, as other Governments before them, referred their estimates to Committees of this House. But what is an estimate? An estimate is the embodied opinion of the Government upon a great branch of the Public service. The Government come forward and express, unequivocally, their opinion of the necessary expenditure of the great branches of the public service; and having thus avowedly committed themselves to what they consider the requisite amount, they defer to the House of Commons, and solicit or accede to their opinion as to the details. The Government, under these circumstances, do not shrink from stating their opinion; they come to the House and say, "We believe so much is necessary for the service of the country, with regard to the expenditure of the Army for instance; but, in consequence of the feeling expressed in the House, and our confidence in the House, we are perfectly willing that these estimates—these embodied opinions of the Administration—should be referred to the criticism of a Committee of the House of Commons." But I cannot find, in the Motion of the noble Lord, that he has proposed to refer any opinion whatever to his Select Committee. As far as the Motion of the noble Lord is concerned, I am at a loss to gather whether it is the opinion of the Government, with regard to these peculiar branches of expenditure, that they are susceptible of reduction, or that they are not susceptible of reduction. If it is the opinion of the Government they are not susceptible of reduction, the Government is trifling with the House of Commons; but if it be the opinion of the Government that they are susceptible of reduction, the Government must have arrived at this conclusion after due investigation, after proper inquiry, after mature reflection; and all that I ask the Government is, to act upon that investigation, upon that inquiry, and upon that reflection; and, giving us the result of their counsels, request the House of Commons to authorise the course which they, in their wisdom, think the best for us to pursue. As far as precedent, therefore, is concerned—though I rely upon the present occasion very little upon precedent, for in my mind a great constitutional principle is involved in the question we are to discuss to-night; but, as far as precedent is concerned, with regard to the most important subject alluded to by the noble Lord, there is no analogy between the two cases. Between the instance of a Minister who produces his estimates, lays his embodied opinions before the consideration of a Committee of the House of Commons, and that of a Minister who, upon the subject in question, authorises no opinion, commits himself to none, and calls upon the House of Commons to perform his work—there exists no analogy whatever. But let us for a moment pursue the course of precedents referred to by the noble Lord, for it appears to me to be essentially infelicitous. I have disposed of one branch of his precedents—that by which he has endeavoured to pass upon the House the fanciful analogy between the present proposition and the former case of estimates; and now I would take the case of 1831, namely, the Committee of Lord Althorp, which was appointed to inquire into the salaries of offices held by Members of both Houses of Parliament. Is that a precedent for the Motion of the noble Lord? Admit, which I am not ready to admit, that it is politic that a Committee of the House of Commons should inquire into these subjects, and that the Minister should be exempted from offering his preliminary decision to us, how does the precedent of Lord Al thorp's Committee of 1831 apply to the Motion of the noble Lord now before the House? The Motion of Lord Althorp referred entirely to the salaries of offices enjoyed by Members of both Houses which were voted in the annual estimates; and though I am not prepared to admit in the present instance that it is advisable for the House of Commons under any circumstances to accede to a Committee with so limited an object as that, still I will show the House that, even if you admit the precedent of Lord Althorp, it has a most partial and unsatisfactory bearing upon the proposition of the noble Lord. For what is that proposition? It is not one merely to inquire into the offices held during the pleasure of the Crown by Members of both Houses of Parliament, properly described in this Motion as voted in the annual estimates, but it is to inquire into the emoluments and retiring pensions of Judges, and the whole expenditure of diplomatic establishments. Let the House remember that the salaries, emoluments, and retiring pensions of the Judges, and the whole expenditure of the diplomatic establishments, are not in the annual votes, but that they are secured by Acts of Parliament; and, therefore, if you refer these subjects to a Committee of the House of Commons, the Committee, if it comes to a vote, as far as judicial and diplomatic expenditure is concerned, comes to a vote that is entirely non-effective. All that it can do is to express an opinion; for as it has to contend with salaries secured by Acts of Parliament, a vote is of no effect whatever. To make that vote effective, what then must be done? The Minister will be driven to introduce a Bill to deal with judicial appointments, salaries, emoluments, and retiring pensions. If, in like manner, he is to deal with the whole hierarchy of diplomacy, the Minister must introduce a Bill. Then why does not the Minister introduce a Bill now? Let the Minister introduce a Bill. We should then hare the opinion of the Minister; and if there were any points of detail—though I am not prepared to say there would be—requiring the investigation of a Committee of the House of Commons, the Bill might be referred to a Select Committee. Let the noble Lord then introduce his Bill, and move that it be referred to a Select Committee. He may thus obtain all the advantage of investigation by a Committee of the House of Commons; whilst the Committee would, at least, be in possession, which they are not by the proposal now recommended, of the opinion of the Minister and of the Cabinet. I have in my Amendment, which the noble Lord appears much to have mistaken, expressed my opinion that the House is in possession of all the information that is necessary to revise and regulate public salaries. I would refer merely—though that is by no means all the information we possess—to the numerous reports and Parliamentary documents which the noble Lord has made use of, as one of the justifications of that assertion. With regard to the report of 831, I observe, from what fell from the noble Lord to-night, and from some expressions of his on another occasion, that showed the tone of his mind upon the subject, that it has, in fact, been the basis of the policy he is now assuming. In referring to it, then, I would call the attention of the House to the reason given by Lord Althorp for not inquiring into Parliamentary salaries, and I would ask the House whether they consider it one that is satisfactory? Lord Althorp, at the commencement of the speech with which he moved the Committee of 1831, assumed—not, I apprehend, as a matter of principle, but rather as a matter of sentiment—that there was an indelicacy in a Minister settling the amount of his own salary. The noble Lord has referred with approbation to that sentiment, for I cannot call it principle, as influencing him in the course he is now pursuing. Now, I ask the House—are they prepared to sanction this sentimental course of policy? In my opinion, there is no quality in business more dangerous than delicacy. I do not know what Gentlemen, from their own experience, may feel upon the subject, but in my limited experience I can certainly say that whenever delicacy has been admitted in the transaction of business, I have always considerably suffered. Now, I do not think a Minister ought to be allowed to shrink from the performance of a public duty by telling us he considers it indelicate. I think, for example, that there is nothing indelicate in an individual, occupying the post of a Minister of the Crown, looking not merely to his own interests, but to the interests of his successors, settling, upon his own responsibility, and from his own knowledge of the subject, which must be superior to that of any Committee of the House of Commons, what he thinks is a fair and honourable remuneration for his public services. Duly considering the responsibility of the post, that it is the interest of the public that the highest talent should be engaged in the public service, he ought not to have any difficulty—at least he ought to feel no delicacy—in settling the question. But we must remember that Lord Althorp—though I am willing, as I am sure every one must be, to do justice to the great qualities of that eminent person—was bred in the exclusive Parliamentary system which flourished in this country from the accession of the House of Hanover to the year 1830: he looked upon Ministers of State as relations, and saw only intimate friends in those who were sitting before or behind him: so on this question he felt, perhaps, a delicacy which I do not think ought to be recognised in a reformed House of Commons. Now, Sir, I am of opinion we have sufficient information, in the first place, to revise and regulate all public salaries. We have that information, in my opinion, in the documents to which the noble Lord referred in the series of reports which he has brought under our consideration; and every report, especially the more recent ones, which he has brought under our notice as a precedent, is, in my mind, an argument against the Motion of the noble Lord, and one in favour of the Amendment I am about to propose to the adoption of the House. We have, however, other information. We have every year the number and the salaries of all those offices which are annually brought under our consideration. There is not an individual who fills any of those offices whose name we do not know, and with whose salary we are not acquainted. Not only as Members of Parliament, but as men of the world, we cannot help being able to form an opinion, founded upon the information which exists in our archives, upon the nature of the duties which those individuals fulfil. I want to know, then, how, if we agree to appoint this Committee, we are to obtain more information? I assume that the Committee will have the power of summoning witnesses? [Lord J. RUSSELL: Of course.] The noble Lord says, "Of course." Then of course the Committee will have the privilege of summoning the Judges. Will you examine the Judges as to their personal expenses on their circuits? Will you make them produce their tavern bills and their vouchers? Will you call eminent counsel before you and examine them as to the amount of their professional incomes? Will you summon their clerks to produce their fee books? It is impossible you can contemplate doing anything so indecorous or indiscreet. But the Government have all this information, and that from the best sources. The Government may hold confidential conversations with the Judges, that would not offend the dignity of the highest magistrate, and courteously obtain the most authentic information. The Government can easily acquire a knowledge of the amount of the incomes obtained by the most eminent members of the Bar, because they have sitting immediately by them two of the most eminent members of the Bar, who can inform them fully upon the subject, both as to the courts of law and as to the courts of equity. Mind you, that the Government are a portion of the House; that the information of the Government is the information of the House; and that the Government may have now upon these subjects, though privately, all the information they are now asking you to obtain by a Select Committee. Let us now look to the diplomatic establishments. How will you investigate that subject? Will you summon our ambassadors from Constantinople, Vienna, and Paris, and examine them? Will you have all our Ministers from the other three orders of the diplomatic hierarchy brought from the German Courts to be examined by a Committee of the House of Commons; or will you, to obtain information much more useful and satisfactory, summon the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs? The noble Lord would give you ample, accurate, and complete information—you would have it from a Minister perfectly acquainted with all the details of his office, and you could have no opinion that would guide you more skilfully; but suppose the noble Lord, instead of giving his evidence, should prepare a Bill, and introduce it into this House? We should then more especially have the advantage of his knowledge and experience, and at the same time more quickly achieve those results, with far greater economy of time and efficiency to the public service, which we all so much desire. The noble Lord, in adverting to my Amendment, has, I am sure, from misapprehension, entirely misconceived the meaning of the latter portion of it. The noble Lord seems to think that, in laying down an abstract declaration that it is the duty of Ministers to introduce measures that may be necessary for effecting the reductions that are compatible with the efficient discharge of the public service, I have attempted to impress upon the House that Her Majesty's Ministers are guiltless of any attempt at reduction. But the Amendment I am about to propose is perfectly irrespective of what Ministers have done in past times. It says, that whatever reductions are necessary to be effected in our establishments now, it is the duty of Ministers at once to come forward, and upon their own responsibility make them; so that it is totally independent of any consideration of their past efforts. I am perfectly aware that in attempting to offer any opposition to a measure which comes forward in a very plausible shape, but which I am induced to believe the House, after due consideration, will find to have a very insidious tendency, I have no slight difficulty to contend with. I have to contend against a proposition which, upon the surface, is flattering to the feelings of the House of Commons, which seems to delegate power to the House, which seems to increase the power and the authority of this assembly; but all I ask the House is, well and wisely to consider whether the effect of the Motion of the Minister be really of that character—whether it may not rather have a tendency to diminish the authority of this House, instead of increasing it. Now let us see in what situation the House will be if it accedes to the appointment of this Committee. In the first place, we have to deal with the nomination of the Committee. I have not the slightest doubt that Gentlemen are well acquainted with what would be the elements of a Committee of this description. I will not for a moment say that it would be a packed Committee, because that would be coarse, but it would be a well-arranged Committee—it would be a Committee the majority of which would consist of Gentlemen who, from political feeling, and possibly from private feeling, had a lively sympathy with the policy of Her Majesty's Ministers. In such a case it is very possible that those who are advocates for revision, regulation, and retrenchment in the public establishments, would not find the Committee arriving at any resolution favourable to those objects. But advance another step, and suppose the Committee is not merely a fair Committee, but that it absolutely acts fairly, and suppose it comes to a resolution favourable to the objects which a great many have at heart. Then it will be a Committee that, with the exception of the less important subject of Parliamentary salaries, will come to resolutions upon subjects over which it has no control, for they are subjects regulated by Acts of Parliament, which the opinion of the Committee could not affect. But there is another consideration which the House, before it agrees to the Motion of the Government, would do well to weigh. What I want to impress upon the House is this—not to be led away by the precedent of estimates referred to Committees. I do not want to take a pedantic view of the character and duties of the House of Commons. I do not want to maintain, in a severe construction of the theory of the constitution, that the duties of the House of Commons in the present day should be like the duties of the House of Commons in the days of the Tudors or the Stuarts. On the contrary, I admit that it is not only a necessity, but a beneficial necessity, that a great portion of the power of the State should be concentrated in this assembly. I do not grudge the power which the House has over the public purse; on the contrary, I deplore that of late years, and especially since the Parliament has been reformed, the power of the House of Commons over the taxation of the country has been almost continually diminishing. The House of Commons has now only a comparatively small portion of the public expenditure under its control, and I regret it. I felt it to be most impolitic when the House of Commons consented that the sugar duties should cease to be regulated by an annual vote. It is not, therefore, the authority of the House of Commons, of which I am a humble Member, that I am contending against, when I tell them they will make a very great mistake if they permit the Minister, by alleging the precedent of a reference of the estimates, to induce them to agree to this Motion. What will be the situation of the Committee, if it acts as the most sanguine financial reformer can hope for under the circumstances? Why, hitherto, notwithstanding it has been the theory of the constitution that this House should have the privilege of originating taxes, it has been the rule that no private Member of the House should have the power of proposing a vote of public money. You have been made the guardians of the public purse, and the critics of the public expenditure, and, therefore, necessarily placed in a popular position. When the Minister puts the estimates before you in the manner in which they have been prepared, he appears to transfer the Executive from Downing Street to St. Stephen's. That at least is a constitutional, legal, and proper course, but one which would be taken by no Minister except under extraordinary circumstances. Then he asks the House of Commons to fulfil its popular functions, the exercise of which has made it live so long in the affections of the people. Then he asks you to guard the public purse, to be the critics of the public expenditure. But what does he in the present instance, when he comes forward without any proposition whatever, places in your hand a blank sheet, and asks you to fill it up with the amount you think necessary for the expenditure of the country in these particular establishments? Why, he asks the House of Commons to tax the people; he invests you with a most invidious privilege; and hereafter, if those establishments are found galling and oppressive, the people cannot say, "it is the Administration that op- presses us"—they cannot say "it is Downing Street," to which the noble Lord has referred, "but it is the House of Commons;" and thus the House will be placed in an obnoxious position. The people look upon the House of Commons as the guardians of their treasury, and they come to it to save them from the fiscal extortion of the Executive Government. In fact, while nothing can be more unconstitutional than the Government escaping from the responsibility incident to itself by such a course; it could take no course more calculated, at the same time, to diminish the authority or to lower the character and influence of the House of Commons in the country than that which calls upon them to settle the amount of the taxation of the country. I ask the House now to consider what must be the conduct of this Committee, and what the inevitable consequences upon the business of the House, if they agree to the Motion of the noble Lord? Whatever may be the information which we possess, and amply possess, upon all these salaries, with regard to their revision and regulation, and whatever may be the information possessed by Government, irrespective of their position as Members of this House, if the Committee is appointed one thing is quite clear—namely, that they must investigate de novo; they must inquire as if they had no previous knowledge whatever; because nothing will be authentic, and nothing satisfactory to the country, under such circumstances, but a complete examination. Mark then into what the Committee will have to examine. They will have to examine into three subjects, which, if they are examined amply and minutely, would require of themselves three Committees. They will have to examine upon three subjects, each of which will require from the Members a combination of knowledge and of qualities that we can hardly flatter ourselves even the House of Commons, in a small number, could supply. A man who would be qualified to decide upon the amount of salary that should be paid to Members of Parliament holding office under the Crown, might be a man very ill qualified to decide upon the question of judicial salaries; whereas the man most competent to decide upon the question of judicial salaries might be utterly lost the moment he entered into the complicated considerations connected with our diplomatic establishments. That being the case, what would be the necessary consequence of the appointment of the Committee? It would be a very flattering estimate to suppose at the end of the Session they would have concluded their labour. No one supposes they could conclude their labours; and at the commencement of the Session of 1851 they would ask leave to sit again. We have heard a great deal about the exhibition of works of art and industry to be held next year, and great doubts have been expressed by some whether our countrymen will be able to compete with foreigners with success; but I think there is one article of domestic manufacture, that need fear no competition, and that no foreign nation would be able to match the blue book which would be produced by the Committee on public salaries. Well, then, I ask those Members of this House who are anxious that there should be revision, regulation, and reduction of establishments—can you consistently support a Motion which must lead to this inevitable result, when it is in the power of Government, upon their own responsibility, furnished with the ample information they possess, to come forward in a frank and straightforward manner, and give us the advantage of their knowledge, by at once introducing Bills upon these important subjects? Who can doubt that the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown, who has been a Member of this House between thirty and forty years—who has always, from the turn of his mind and studies, given his attention very much to constitutional subjects, and to all questions connected with the House of Commons—could not settle the whole question himself in one morning as to the propriety of the existing scale of Parliamentary salaries—a question which would take a Committee months, and perhaps even a Session, to decide? Who can doubt that the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Homo Department, and those with whom he could officially advise, could not come to a fair and satisfactory, a discreet and dignified decision respecting judicial salaries? Who does not know that there is no one in this House more competent or better qualified than the noble Viscount the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to decide upon questions affecting our diplomatic salaries? We might have these Bills brought in at once; and if it is the opinion of Government that there should be reduction in these several services, the Bills ought to have been brought in long ago. They ought upon their own respon- sibility to have acted thus in a frank, straightforward, and constitutional manner, and they would then have accomplished that which would be for their own credit, and satisfactory to the House and to the country. Let me now advert to what must he the inevitable consequence upon the conduct of business in this House if you accede to the Motion of the noble Lord. The noble Lord at the head of the Government has referred to the notice given by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire, and he has also done me the honour of referring to a Motion of mine. I am not at this moment acquainted with the details of the proposition of my hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire; but I know enough of his sincere and straightforward character, that I am convinced he has not taken up the question in an idle or trifling spirit. I know, too, it has occupied his consideration for a considerable time. I know also his business-like habits and indefatigable perseverance; and whatever may be the opinion of the House upon the proposition, when it is introduced, I cannot doubt but all will agree it will be a well-considered, matured, and digested proposition. But what chance can my hon. Friend have of introducing it with success, if he is to be told by the First Minister rising after he has sat down, that there is a Committee sitting upstairs inquiring into the subject, and therefore no proposition of the kind can be listened to? Can any of you who for a moment may have fancied it was for the honour of the House of Commons and the interest of the country that you should support the Motion of the Minister, when you reflect upon the consequence of such a Motion being carried upon the conduct of business in this House in the hands of independent Members, make up your minds to support a proposition which, if not absolutely unconstitutional, is in its origin, as it will be in its result, most hostile to Parliamentary independence? The noble Lord has adverted to a notice which I have placed upon the Paper; and he might taunt me that it was given the day after he gave notice for his own Committee. I can assure the Government, however, that that was a casualty which arose from my sudden and constrained absence. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose is well aware that long before the notice of the Government was given, I had mentioned to him that it was my intention to bring the subject forward. [Mr. HUME: Hear!] I have no wish to allude to the causes which of late years have produced an impatience of taxation in the country which did not exist some time ago, for I do not want that any controversial elements should enter into the discussion to-night which are not appropriate to its character; but Gentlemen on both sides will agree that there is a demand, upon the part of the constituency, that greater economy in the administration of affairs should be enforced. I felt it my duty to oppose a Motion which nominally, and I have no doubt sincerely, aimed at economy, and which bore on its face the character of extensive reductions. I opposed that Motion because it appeared to me to be founded on a faulty basis, inasmuch as it proposed to establish an arbitrary scale for our expenditure, drawn from a past period, and without any reference to present necessities. I opposed that Motion, also, because the reductions it proposed were of a vast character, and because their proposers studiously refrained from going into questions of detail. I thought such a mode of dealing with the expenditure of the country was unwise, and worse than that even, it was wholly impracticable. I was of opinion that if a reduction in our establishments were to take place, it must be made by those who were masters of all the details in the particular departments, who could lay the fruits of their long experience in the shape of a practical Motion before the House, and could confidently call upon the House to support them. I did then give the notice which the noble Lord has done me the honour to refer to. I should have willingly seen that question taken up by the Government. Indeed, I was for some time in hopes, hearing the rumour that practical measures were about to be brought forward by the Administration—I was in more than hopes, that that measure which I had attempted to grapple with would have been taken up by the Government. But it was not. I ventured to give that notice, not unaware of the difficulties attending the question. I know nothing more irksome in this House than to attempt to propose reforms, particularly when in opposition, or what is called a mere Member of Parliament, in any important branch of the public service. The diplomatic service is one to which many Gentlemen have referred, with respect to which there is a general idea that considerable retrenchments may be made, consistent with a due regard to the efficiency of the public service; but, as the details of that department are not so familiar to the House as those of a domestic character, it has generally continued to escape attention. I was aware of the extreme difficulties which I would have to encounter, and in saying this I know I am describing the feelings of many hon. Gentlemen under similar circumstances. I should have to encounter first of all official information; I should have to encounter a Minister, and, in my case, a Minister unrivalled in his acquaintance with the details of office. These are fearful odds; and what is to sustain any man under these circumstances? Next to the honourable passion of public distinction, his belief in the generous sympathies of men on both sides of the House, that, under the circumstances, they will look with indulgence on any slight error, and that they will support him when he is felt to be mainly in the right. But I ask, what possible chance of success could I have, when I had to encounter not merely official information—not merely an accomplished and able Minister, but when I should have to appeal, as I shall have to appeal if this Motion of the noble Lord be carried, to an emasculated assembly which has delegated its functions to a small body of men sitting in a room upstairs? You cannot have the public spirit of the House of Commons any longer to support you, if this Motion be carried. The great body of the House of Commons may indeed continue to meet pro formâ but so far as effecting judicious reductions of the public expenditure is concerned, if this Motion be carried, it is a vain hope—a mockery, a delusion, and a snare. I have heard, with great regret, not as regards this Amendment—for, after all, that is a transient circumstance—but I have heard with great regret, that several hon. Gentlemen approve of this Amendment, but will not support it, because it is a party move. This is a dangerous and vague phrase; and those whose conduct is controlled by such phrases had better well consider before they allow themselves to be swayed by its influence. I do not depreciate party connexion. I believe that so long as we have a Parliamentary constitution, party connexion is absolutely necessary, and that without it our Parliamentary constitution would degenerate into a corrupt despotism. I want to see the action of two great parties in this House. I believe that their existence is beneficial for public liberty, and for the welfare of this realm. But that is not the opinion of some hon. Gentlemen in this House—of those who ostentatiously proclaim that they do not approve of party connexion—who arrogate to themselves the privilege of being in a particular manner the representatives of popular interests and popular sympathies, and who tell us, on every occasion, that party connexion has been the cause of great evil to this country. I must say, that I shall be surprised if hon. Gentlemen holding those opinions should vote against an Amendment of which they approve, because they are told that it is a party move. If this is not an Amendment called for by the business which has long been on the Paper before the House, I am at a loss to discover what is. Had it not been for the Motions of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, and others—Motions which, from whatever side of the House they may come, and in whatever way they may be decided, are well deserving the consideration of this House—had it not been for these Motions, this Amendment might never have been brought forward, for it is but to defend the independence of the House of Commons against a Ministerial manœuvre. What may be the fate of this Amendment it is not for me now to predict; but this I say in bringing it forward—I brought it forward because sincerely I believed that, if adopted, it would sustain the honour of this House, uphold the credit of the Administration, and conduce to the welfare of the public service.

Amendment proposed— To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the question, in order to add the words, 'this House is in possession of all the information requisite to revise and regulate Public Salaries; that Parliamentary Committees of Inquiry, under such circumstances, would only lead to delay; and that it is the duty of the Government, on their own responsibility, forthwith to introduce the measures that may be necessary for effecting every reduction in the National Establishments consistent with the efficient discharge of the Public Service,'

instead thereof.


said, that he would offer a few observations not only as to what had fallen from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, but as to what had been observed by the hon. Gentleman opposite, who had just spoken. Before he did so, however, he must say that it was a source of great congratulation, not only to himself but other hon. Gentlemen, to find that when any question was brought forward which involved the reduction of the na- tional expenditure, or any matter was introduced which tended to a reduction of taxation, they were no longer obliged to go into the lobby in small minorities, whose numbers averaged from five to twenty, but now, when questions of that description were introduced, the numbers of their minorities were sufficient in magnitude to compel the Ministers to come down to the House and to propose measures favourable to reduction. This was not a question relating to the principle of reduction, but to the mode of carrying out that principle; it was a question as to whether it should be done in the usual way by a Committee of that House, or whether they should throw the whole consideration of the matter into the hands of Government, and to allow those who had hitherto shown themselves to be unwilling parties to consider the subject, and mate such propositions as they may think necessary. He would not now say a word as to the new-born zeal of hon. Gentlemen opposite on this question. He would not impugn their motives or intentions, but he thought that when this matter was put into the hands of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and taken out of the hands of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire, it took quite a different aspect. When the leader of a great party made such a proposition, they understood him, not only to be speaking his own sentiments, but those of the hon. Gentlemen who were generally in the habit of supporting him. The object of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was to place in unwilling hands the reduction of these salaries, instead of in the hands of an impartial Committee. He (Sir B. Hall) would much prefer that a Committee were appointed to inquire into the whole question of the salaries of all officers under the Crown, both superior and inferior. He had no doubt of the necessity of a full and searching inquiry, not only into the salaries of the first officers, but into the salaries of the subordinate officers, ranging from 500l. a year up to 5,000l. a year. He understood the noble Lord to say that some time ago there were forty persons in the Treasury, who altogether received the sum of near 43,000l. per annum, but that now there were twenty-nine persons, among whom was divided the sum of about 25,000l. per annum. The noble Lord had desired the House to consider the Treasury in relation to any great mercantile establishment. He (Sir B. Hall) could act upon the suggestion of his noble Friend, and he could not help observing that where such a large sum was annually spent on such a number of men, he was of opinion that the profits of the proprietor of the establishment would be very small. But he thought that the noble Lord had on his own showing established a case, which proved to them that they should consider not only the salaries of the highest officers of the State, but also those of the intermediate officers; and if he (Sir B. Hall) were to submit a proposition it would be that they should appoint a Committee which should take into consideration all the salaries above 150l., which was the point at which the income tax commenced. He was confident that if that were done, a most material saving would be made. He believed that it was in the salaries of the subordinate and not of the superior officers that the fault lay. He would vote for the proposition of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire if it were so framed as to comprehend the views which he had just laid before them. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire when he said that it had been the practice with Governments when they appointed Committees to select such men as they thought would be favourable to their wishes. Such had been the case; but in reference to this question, the hon. Gentleman stated that persons out of doors were watching to see what would be the conduct of their representatives on this question, and that it was their anxious desire that the expenditure should be reduced in every possible way consistent with the honour of the country; he therefore thought that if the Minister submitted names of Gentlemen who were not likely to carry out the wishes of the House generally, the hon. Gentleman, who was at the head of a large party in that House, and would be in such a case backed by the feelings of the people out of doors, would be able to prevent any such formation of a Committee, and would insist on a fair and impartial Committee. Entertaining these opinions, he hoped that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire would test the House by bringing forward the Motion of which he had given notice, as to the propriety of an impartial inquiry into all the salaries under the Crown.


said, that the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government consisted of three parts, each of which it was the duty of the House to con- sider. In the first place, the noble Lord's proposition sought for a Select Committee to inquire into the salaries and emoluments of offices held, during pleasure of the Crown by Members of either House of Parliament voted in the annual estimates. That gave the Committee very much scope for recommending reductions. It continued to say that the Committee should inquire also into the salaries and emoluments of judicial officers in the superior courts of law and equity in the united kingdom, and into the retiring pensions allotted to the Judges. Here, again, they could not do much in the way of reduction; and it was also proposed that they should inquire into the expense of diplomatic establishments charged on the Consolidated Fund. On the whole, the reduction which could be made in these three different departments would not amount to one-tenth of the reduction which was looked for. The noble Lord had made a very strange speech, and showed that no reduction could possibly take place. The noble Lord had pointed out some large reductions which had been already made in one department, and it appeared to him that the noble Lord was now coming forward under rather suspicious circumstances. He called upon the House to remember that on the evening when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer propounded his budget to the House, and stated all that the Government could do, he (Mr. Hume) rose and asked the right hon. Gentleman, whether the House was to understand that such was the whole amount of reduction which the Government were prepared to make. The right hon. Gentleman said that was all; and if he coupled that answer with the proposition which came that night from the noble Lord at the head of the Government, he had no hesitation in saying that he (Mr. Hume) came to the unavoidable conclusion that there was no intention, as far as the Government was concerned, to make any further reduction. He would suppose the Committee appointed and prepared to inquire into the expense of the Custom duties, into the expense of the Excise, the Post Office, and into the salaries of officers in the colonies. That Committee would be obliged to come to the House for instructions. That was his experience, and he did not think that any good would result from the appointment of this Committee. He was one who had unfortunately spent months and years in Committees, and though he often recommended changes of great importance to be made, he never succeeded in getting anything effected. The noble Lord must allow him to tell him, that if the report of the Committee should be in accordance with the wishes of the Government, it would be carried into effect; but if not, it would not be acted upon. If the Government meant to have any material reduction, this was not the way to go about it. What they ought to do was, that a majority of the House should express their dissatisfaction with the present amount of salaries, and call on the Government on their own responsibility to make reductions in them. He would vote for the Amendment, because he thought that it was calculated to prevent any delay in the carrying out of the principle of reductions. He could bring forward many instances to prove the uselessness of the reports of Committees on such a subject. In the year 1819, a Committee recommended that the heavy pension list should be reduced. Nothing, however, was done in consequence. In the year 1833, the report from the Select Committee on the Army and Navy appointments, stated that the Committee desired to call the attention of the Government to the large number of general officers now on the list, and to express their anxious hope that no addition would be made to it except upon very strong grounds of public necessity. It also added that the Committee expressed their anxious hope that no addition to the number of flag officers, any more than to that of general officers in the Army, would in future be made, except upon strong grounds of public necessity. At that period there were 194 flag officers, and 409 general officers. Since that time, however, there were four brevets, making 900 promotions in the Navy, 1,616 in the Army, 303 in the Ordnance, and 63 in the Marines. These promotions made the annual charge of 53,928l. in the Army, 30,612l. in the Ordnance, 84,994l. in the Navy, and 2,591l. in the Marines; the gross total amounting to 172,035l. This showed that the reports of Committees were perfectly useless in such matters. As materials upon which to found economical measures, these reports were invaluable, although tending to no results themselves. But no thanks were to be given to the Government even for the reports. A Committee sat in 1833, and the strong point insisted on was a reduction in the number of admirals. A reduction was effected to I the number of 667 admirals and officers of inferior rank. But many other Committees had sat and reported in favour of retrenchment, but no attention had been paid to their reports. In 1834 a Committee sat to investigate the nature of the lighthouse duties levied on shipping. At that time about 400,000l. a year was levied on lighthouse duties, but not a single step in the way of retrenchment was taken, except one which was a recommendation that all private lights should be bought up. A stronger case never came before a Committee. In 1845 another Lighthouse Committee sat, but nothing was done to relieve British shipping from so grievous a burthen. The whole of the light-duties were still left under the management of the Trinity House, instead of being placed, as they ought to be, under the control of the Executive Government. He did not mean to make any charge against the Trinity House, who, considering that they were irresponsible masters and could do what they liked, had acted honestly; but still he thought that they managed matters after rather an extravagant fashion. Beyond gaining information, a Committee could do no good, unless Government went along with them; and, besides, there was not a single fact which you could obtain, except from an official person, subject to, and entirely at the command of, the Government. It was on these grounds he thought that any inquiry into the expense of the diplomatic service ought to be undertaken by the Executive. Plans of reduction had before been brought on by the head of the Government without any previous Committee, and they were at once agreed to by the House. Then, as to the Judges, there was no Committee when their salaries were increased, and there would not be much difficulty in getting the House to consent to a decrease without one. What was there in the present case for a Committee to inquire into? The Government had arrayed the salaries as they thought right, and the Committee could only get information from the official men themselves, who would of course say only what suited the views of the Government. As to the diplomatic department, nobody could know more about it than the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He knew everything and every one connected with it, he wanted no Committee to enlighten him, and, therefore, there was no man better calculated at once to propose a reduction. If they appointed a Committee, the noble Viscount the Secretrary of State for Foreign Affairs would be the first man summoned, his views would be asked and attended to, and why not then let him at once state his views to the House? He (Mr. Hume) supported this Amendment, free from any consideration of party. He thought that party was the bane of that House: this party was in, and that party was out, and between both the people always suffered. That House should be of no party, but the party of the people. The hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone had spoken of the new-born zeal, for economy of the hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. He (Mr. Hume) admitted that it was new-born zeal, and he cordially hailed its birth. He looked to the object of the Motion, and finding that object to be good, he supported it; and he could not see how any friend of economy could vote against it. Any project of reform or retrenchment should have his support, no matter where it came from. He should be glad to know how many of the hon. Friends he saw around him, and who advocated economy generally, would vote against the Amendment. They might consider that in supporting it they would be pressing on the Government. It was pressing on the Government, and they ought to be pressed on. Without the screw was kept constantly on them, there was no chance of reduction. He did not wish to act hastily, but when he saw the way in which salaries had been raised during the last two years, he thought it quite time that some step in the right direction should be taken. The noble Lord had taken credit for the reductions that had been effected during the last two years; but he forgot the advance that had been constantly going on during the previous years. The noble Lord talked of a reduction of two millions and a half, but he forgot that there had been previously a rise of five millions. The noble Lord exclaimed, "See what we have done!" but the fact was that those five millions ought not to have been added.—[Lord J. RUSSELL: They never were added.] The noble Lord said, that they never were added. If so, their finance statement must be all wrong. He (Mr. Hume) would produce the accounts, and if the noble Lord did not understand them, he would explain them to the noble Lord. In short, it appeared to him that that House, in one or two decisions which it had lately come to, had shown a sincere disposition to reduce expenditure. He was glad to see such a disposition evinced, for the call for retrenchment was universal from all parts of the country, and Members of that House, whether whig, tory, or radical, must expect no support out of doors unless they heartily responded to that call. The noble Lord might say that it was not using the Government well to pass this Amendment, seeing that they (the Government) were willing to place the matter in the hands of a Committee fairly chosen. There might appear some foundation for that argument at first glance; but after the instances that he (Mr. Hume) had given, the House would see that there was no use in expecting any good to come from a Committee. It was the duty of the Government themselves to come forward and propose reductions. The right hon. Member for Tamworth on a former occasion declined coming forward until he received his fee; but the noble Lord and his colleagues had received their fee, and should be ready at once to submit their plan of reduction to the House. The House had sufficient confidence in the Government to accept reduction to any amount at their hands. It appeared to him that the House of Commons was now at last actuated by a spirit of economy and retrenchment, and he was pleased beyond measure to think so. He was sure that the state of the country would constantly increase that feeling. They would have the country Gentlemen voting for retrenchment harder than ever they had voted since '22: '22 was a good year. The country Gentlemen then felt the necessity of economy, and supported retrenchment, and the result was a saving to the country of about three millions annually.: The work of retrenchment was begun in all sincerity by the Government of the day, and the result was that five volumes were laid upon the table, containing the history of every department in the State. They made a beginning, but it did not last long. Better times came round, corn rose, and the country Gentlemen did not care any longer about the expense. The good time was, however, coming round again, and if this Amendment was carried, the responsibility of reduction would again be thrown on the Government. They had already brought in Bills to increase Judges' salaries—why not now bring in Bills to reduce them? The whole of the Judges' salaries, down to the Master of the Rolls, amounted to about 188,000l.—why not propose to reduce them to 100,000l., in rateable proportions? Government could not suffer in any way from such a proposi- tion, whether the House thought they had gone too far or not far enough. He thought it was the duty of Government to make such a proposition. Where there was a will there was a way, and if the will were not there, all the committees in the world would be of little use. On all these grounds he should support the Amendment. They had already all the information that could be procured from a Committee. He looked to results, and he was not to refuse, when a favourable one offered, because it came from one who had hitherto not been very active in promoting public economy.


said, that when he first saw the noble Lord's Motion he was altogether at a loss for a conclusion as to what the noble Lord meant by it, and he must confess that he was not much better informed now than before. Because, though the noble Lord had said a good deal about what the Government had done in other directions, he had not in the slightest degree indicated whether, in his opinion, the matters which he proposed to refer to the Committee ought to be the subject of reduction or not. Upon that point he had left the House entirely in the dark. His (Mr. Henley's) first impression was that the noble Lord meant that the Committee should prepare a new "blue," "red," or "black" book, to contain the names of certain officers of the Government, with their salaries attached. The only fact before the House that would enable them to form an opinion with regard to the views of the noble Lord, was rather calculated to lead hon. Members to suppose that he did not contemplate making any alterations in one branch of the subject which he proposed to refer to the Committee, namely—the salaries of the Judges and the principal judicial functionaries. They had had some indication of the mind of the Government upon that question, furnished them by the Bill which they had recently introduced. In 1831 the late Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench (Lord Denman) received the appointment, which he held with great honour to himself and advantage to the country for so many years. At that time some negotiation or bargain took place between the then Government and that noble and learned Lord with reference to the sum which he was to receive as his salary, because he was not paid the salary which the law had attached to his office. The salary being fixed at 10,000l. a year, the Government made a bargain with him, in consequence of which he received but 8,000l.; and lately a Bill had been brought in to continue that sum of 8,000l. as the salary of all future Chief Justices. This was the only indication they had yet had of the mind of the Government; and if it was to be taken as meaning anything, it meant that all salaries which were fixed in 1831 were to be continued at their present amount. [Lord J. RUSSELL dissented.] The noble Lord shook his head; but he had not given any indication that he meant to propose a reduction at all. Would this be a practical measure of reduction? He doubted it. A large proportion of the salaries which were now proposed to be referred to a Committee, were actually before a Committee two years ago; the Committee to which the Miscellaneous Estimates were referred. He happened to be a member of that Committee, and what was the effect of their report? Why, that seeing they had only a certain number of salaries before them, they did not think it just to deal with the amount of those salaries, and that there ought to be a general measure introduced by the Government with respect to all similar salaries. That might or might not be a just conclusion for the Committee to arrive at; but that was the conclusion to which they did arrive; and when particular salaries were referred to a Committee, how could that Committee judge of them unless they took a general view of every department of the Government? Therefore, he thought that the charitable view of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire was far more likely to be attained by casting upon the Government themselves the responsibility and onus of carrying out their measures of reduction. One word with regard to the question which had been put to him by the hon. Baronet opposite the Member for Marylebone. That hon. Gentleman had asked him, why he had not proposed as an Amendment to the Motion of the noble Lord, the various matters which were comprised in his Motion of last year. His answer would be a very simple one. He did not believe that the subjects which the noble Lord proposed to refer to a Committee could be dealt with in any reasonable time. He believed that all the offices held by Members of this House, all the judicial offices, and all the diplomatic offices, would occupy so much time to inquire into, that if he were to add to them the Inland Revenue, the Board of Customs, the Post Office, and the civil departments of the Navy, Army, and Ordnance, the judges of the county courts, their clerks, and the rest of this "army of martyrs," no man would live to see the end of the inquiry. That was his answer to the hon. Gentleman's question. He did not want to make a measure, which he believed to be eminently impractical and useless, absolutely impossible; and he was quite sure that to refer all these subjects, in addition to those the noble Lord proposed, to one Committee, would effectually prevent them ever getting a report of any sort whatever. He quite concurred in the opinion that had been expressed that no matter of this kind could be dealt with except by the Executive Government; that they alone had the power of compelling the information which was necessary. They had at their command individuals who would furnish them with information which no Committee would be able to extract. They knew, or they ought to know, the working of the various departments of the Government; and they alone could know how economy might be best carried out, and the efficiency of the public service at the same time maintained. This House might express its opinion of economy either generally or particularly; and when the proper time arrived, he should be ready to express the views he entertained upon the question. It would be premature to do so now. But he hoped he had given sufficient reasons why he had not attempted to add as a rider to the Motion of the noble Lord so large a subject as that which he had undertaken to bring before the notice of the House, and for giving his support to the Amendment.


said, that if he thought no good could result from the Committee, he, as a sincere advocate of that economy which the public voice unequivocally demanded, should vote for the Amendment; but, as his decided opinion was that the Committee would be productive of the best results, he should cordially support his noble Friend's Motion. It was said, that Committees of that House were practically an illusion and a snare; it appeared, however, to him that the economical results of the various Committees which had of late years inquired into the national expenditure, were a practical and most complete refutation of the statement. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, speaking as the head of a party, was perhaps quite right in seeking to throw upon the Government the responsibility of the reductions contemplated; but those who simply desired to fulfil their duty as representatives of the people must attend to other considerations. There were many points in the inquiry which it was essential that independent Members of a Committee should carefully weigh. He agreed with his noble Friend that the mere price of the quartern loaf at any particular period was not to be made the basis of official or other salaries; but at the same time there could be no question that the comparative position of the means of subsistence must be a decided element in the consideration. So, in relation to judicial salaries, he conceived that it was by no means an impertinent or indelicate inquiry to ascertain what were the average earnings of men in that class of legal eminence from which Judges were selected. As to the idea of an uniform reduction of all salaries by 10 per cent, or any other amount, that appeared to him to involve a great injustice, for while some salaries were utterly extravagant, utterly disproportioned to the services rendered, others were not a shilling more than the services demanded. This was another point altogether proper for the consideration of an independent Committee. It was said that the noble Viscount the Secretary for Foreign Affairs was a better judge than any Committee could possibly be of the merits of diplomatic salaries; and he readily concurred in the compliment which had been paid to his noble Friend's intimate acquaintance with all the details of his office; but there was this very important consideration to be kept in view—that these diplomatic salaries were matters of patronage in the hands of the Government, and that, therefore, the decision of the Government respecting them might very well be liable to suspicions from which they would be exempt if the arbiters were an independent Committee of the House. As to the delay which it was said the adoption of the Committee would occasion, he thought that with the knowledge on the various subjects already before the House, and with the means of information readily available to the Committee, an approximate result, at all events, might be attained in a very short time. He should give his cordial support to the Motion.


said, that notwithstanding it appeared to have been the practice of late for the Government to call for the votes of Members in their favour, under the threat of a dissolution of Parliament, he should nevertheless give his vote according to his conscience and the merits of the question. He was surprised at the speech of his noble Friend who last spoke, because his noble Friend must have soon by what occurred in a recent debate, how much regard the Government paid to the recommendations of a Committee. He alluded of course to the recommendation of the Committee for the suppression of the African slave trade. The noble Lord the Member for South Durham was a Member of that Committee; and as he could not but be aware that the Government had persisted in acting in direct defiance of its expressed recommendation, he could not understand how, with such an example before him, he could have any faith that in proposing a Committee in the present instance they had any intention of acting in accordance with its recommendation, should that recommendation not be in accordance with their own views. For himself, he should give his cordial support to the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire; and for this reason, that he believed that this attempt of the Government, while professing every desire to economise—to throw off the responsibility from themselves to a Committee of the House of Commons—was nothing more nor less than an endeavour to shelve the subject altogether. He asked, on the part of the people, a fair and honest free trade, or such complete and efficient economy as should relieve this country from the distress it was now suffering. But when he found the noble Lord at the head of the Government dealing with a fair and simple proposal of economy, by an endeavour to throw the responsibility altogether from his own shoulders, he, as a free-trader, could not but doubt the sincerity of his intentions. ["Oh, oh!"] He repeated that he doubted the sincerity of the intention of Ministers to effect any radical reform or retrenchment in the public expenditure, or that they had any desire to apply any sufficient remedy to the distresses of the country. And if, under such circumstances, he were asked which he preferred, an early dissolution, or the maintenance of the present Government in power, he would unhesitatingly select the dissolution. If they (the Ministers) did not think that the result of a dissolution would be adverse to their principles, why did they hold it over the heads of their supporters as a threat? If their intention really were to lighten the burdens and relieve the distresses of the country, why did they not take the onus on them- selves, and propose their own measures for remedying that distress which their measures had created, instead of seeking to shift the responsibility on a Committee of the House of Commons? He trusted that every Member would, notwithstanding the threat of a dissolution, stand by his constituents, and not allow the Government, by carrying their Motion for a Committee, to shelve the question to some future time, which they might never see.


said, he had for some time ceased to expect any consistency from his hon. Friend the Member for West Gloucestershire; but he certainly was not prepared for an inconsistency so glaring as that into which he had just fallen; for he told the House in the same breath that he was a free-trader, and yet ascribed the distress of the country to the measures which the Government had brought forward. ["Hear, hear!"] He could quite understand the cheers of hon. Members opposite; he could quite understand that they did not agree in the doctrines of free trade, and that they should ascribe the distress of the country to the consequences of adopting them, because he knew how strong political passions and prejudices were. He was not objecting to the consistency of hon. Gentlemen opposite, but to the inconsistency of his hon. Friend. But to pass from the speech of his hon. Friend—who never rose but to exhibit his bitter hostility to the Government—he must say that with regard to the question before the House, it appeared to him that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had taken the most straightforward, proper, and constitutional course. The House of Commons was the constitutional tribunal on all questions affecting the taxation and expenditure of the country; and the proposition for a Committee of the House of Commons to investigate and ascertain what reductions might be made in regard to the salaries of particular offices, was founded on constitutional principles. He admitted that if they had all the information before them already, to enable them to arrive at a correct judgment on the subject, he should go with the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire; but he did not agree in the hon. Member's statement that they had. He believed they had considerable information, perhaps sufficient in regard to the amount of the several salaries; but to enable them to decide satisfactorily what those salaries should be for the future, they required to know some- thing more; as, for instance, the nature and extent of the duties performed by each public servant, the expenditure to which in connexion with those duties he was exposed, and other matters which should be taken into account in making any satisfactory and permanent arrangement. And it was most desirable that when they interfered in this question, they should place it once for all on a permanent footing, and avoid the inconvenience of bringing the salaries of the public servants before the public from time to time. In the ease of the Judges, they were required by custom to extend a most liberal hospitality, and were liable to numerous other expenses, amounting, probably, together to not less than one-fifth of their total official Income. It would be necessary, before the House could determine what the future salaries should be, to ascertain exactly what those expenses were, and also to take into account what were the emoluments at the bar which they surrendered on taking the judicial office. The holders of diplomatic offices were in like manner exposed to a very heavy expenditure in connexion with their official duties, which, in determining the future salaries of those offices, must be considered. But it had been said the Government were themselves the most fitting persons to obtain that information. Now he objected to leaving it to the Government to collect such information. He wanted it done openly, and in the face of Parliament, so that it might be put on record, and that they might be certain the information obtained was trustworthy. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire said, it would not be delicate to bring a Judge before the Committee, and examine him as to the amount of his expenses, or to call upon a barrister to say what was the amount of his professional gains. But he did not see why they should not ask a Judge to state what was the extent of his duties, what expenses he was put to in the performance of them, or what the amount of his professional gains before he was raised to the judicial office. It had been also said, that this information would take a very long time to collect, and that they had sufficient already to enable them to deal with the question, therefore it would be better to leave the matter in the hands of the Government; and, to his astonishment, he had heard his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, whose Parliamentary life had been spent in obtaining information on all subjects, and who had put the public offices and the press to more trouble in this way than probably all the other Members of Parliament put together, object to inquiry in this instance. But to him (Mr. Cockburn) it appeared to be putting a Minister of the Crown in a painful and delicate position to call upon him to deal with his own salary, and his own patronage. To ask him to decide in a matter in which he was so deeply interested, was to place him in a most doubtful and painful position. There was also another point of view in which it was important the information should be obtained through the medium of a Committee. When the Minister of the Crown came forward to propose reductions in the salaries of public officers, it was desirable that he should be fortified by the recommendation of a Committee of the House, and for this reason, that it would be placing the Minister in an unfair position to call upon him on his own responsibility to propose reductions in his own salary, or the salaries of other officers of the State; whereas, by giving him the sanction of a Committee of the House of Commons, he would stand free from prejudices, all risk of personalities would be avoided, and he would be enabled to carry out the reductions with an unsparing hand. The noble Lord, in proposing this course, had precedent in his favour, and there could be no doubt that as it was the most reasonable, so also it was the constitutional course. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire said, that as the House of Commons were the guardians of the public purse, they ought not to be called upon to be the taxmasters, or to regulate salaries and other items of expenditure, that being the business of the Ministers of the Crown. If the object of the noble Lord were to increase the salaries, he (Mr. Cockburn) could understand the force of that argument; but as it was well known the object was to reduce the expenditure, it appeared to him that the noble Lord, in calling upon the House to enter into an investigation with that view, was calling upon it to exercise that which was one of its constitutional functions. Could any one believe that if the objects of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire were really to reduce the public expenditure, he was furthering it by rejecting the noble Lord's proposition? Surely no one could be deluded into such a supposition. But the hon. Member had, with that candour which always characterised him, avowed that the question did partake in some measure of party objects. There could, therefore, be no misunderstanding of the intention with which the Amendment had been proposed. When they found the noble Lord proposing a measure which had for its object the reduction of the public expenditure, and conscious of the difficulties by which he was beset, making such a concession to public opinion, he thought the House would be wanting in that respect which was due to the noble Lord and the Ministry, if they were to allow them to be overtramped by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire; and, believing the proposition of the noble Lord to be just and constitutional, he should give it his cordial support.


begged to offer a few observations before the House divided. He would begin by stating that it was his intention to vote for the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire. The real question at issue was, which of the two modes that had been proposed was the most effectual for securing a reduction of the public expenditure. He admitted that the intention of Ministers might be to effect a reduction in those heads to which their Motion applied; but the Amendment went beyond the limits of the Ministerial proposition. Not only did it include the same class of heads, though in a different mode, but it insisted on a wider range of reduction. The question was not whether, generally speaking, a Committee was the best mode of inquiry in anticipation of a reduction of salaries; but whether, in the present circumstances of the country as they now stood, it was desirable to proceed in this fashion; or whether the Government should themselves propose to the House that reduction of expenditure which it must be presumed they had in view when they made this Motion at all. It must be assumed that they intended to effect certain reductions, of which they had already conceived the character, description, and extent in their own minds. If, then, they had inquired into the nature of existing establishments, and made up their minds to what extent they would propose to Parliament, through a Committee, to carry their reductions, they, as the House of Commons, had a right to ask them fairly and candidly to open their minds upon the subject of the extent to which they proposed to go. He must say the noble Lord at the head of the Government had acted with extreme caution in this respect; he had not betrayed in any part of his speech any distinct intention of making any reduction whatever, still less had he given any notion of the extent contemplated. In the present posture of public affairs the noble Lord had not dealt fairly by the House. The noble Lord, in his speech, considered the two modes by which the public expenditure could be reduced. He went back as far as the year 1831, and had given a very true account of the great reductions made by measures adopted by the Government itself; and he thought anybody must he convinced that the great preponderance of reduction had been so effected, and this gave good ground for asking that on this as on former occasions, the Government should be the exponent of its own views and intentions. The noble Lord had somewhat shaken the confidence he had felt in his disposition to effect reduction seriously and efficiently, in proposing this method of proceeding by a Committee. They knew what had been the working of Committees appointed by the Government in the course of the last two or three years, to consider and report on various subjects. He believed it was the opinion of the public that Committees had been so composed and constructed, as rather to be the organs of Ministerial intentions, than of the views of private and independent Members. It could not be denied that if they went into Committee on this subject, they were more likely to come out of it as they did from the Committee on Commercial Distress, than in any manner more satisfactory to the House or the country. Not only might Government have greater interest in the Committee than the public good required; but after they had announced their intention to make changes in the public establishments, there would be a disposition in the public to believe that they had not obtained all the fruits which they had a right to expect from the inquiry. In such cases, the House always deemed itself bound by the report of the Committee; it considered itself not at liberty to judge as if the proposition came directly from the Government, and was hampered by the responsibility of the Members composing the Committee, as well as by a thousand other influences, against making any change in the course proposed by them. He, therefore, thought that, in this case, a proposition coming from the Government, and stating freely to the House what they in- tended to do, would be received with much more confidence, and judged with far greater impartiality, by the House itself than the report of a Committee managed by the Government. He could not for a moment doubt that Ministers were in possession of all the means of information as to the condition of the departments which would be affected by their reductions. The hon. and learned Gentleman who last addressed the House could not mean to contend that Government was not perfectly well acquainted with the duties performed by public officers, and the expenses incurred by them; in the case, for example, of the diplomatic establishments, it would not be supposed that a Committee would derive from any party whatsoever information at all equal to that possessed by the head of the department. If the hon. and learned Gentleman admitted, as he (Mr. Herries) maintained, that the House already possessed all that information with respect to the present amount of salaries, which was one element of judgment; and that on the other hand Government possessed, or had access to all the information relative to other branches of the subject, he maintained that a proposition coming from them could not fail to be more effective in carrying out a judicious and not extravagant reduction than any other mode of proceeding which could be adopted. Suppose the noble Lord were to appoint his Committee in perfect disregard of possessing a majority, the effect might be that reductions would be proposed, such as the more sober and prudent portion of the House would not readily accede to. He had so much confidence in the judgment and fair intentions of those who occupied the Treasury benches, as to believe that they would be careful, in making their reductions, to preserve unimpaired the efficiency of the public service; he preferred, therefore, having a proposition coming from them, subject, of course, to the ratification of the House, than trusting to the recommendations of the Committee. But, besides, the length of time which must elapse before the inquiry was concluded, must form part of the ground on which they came to a decision of the present question. The House should know distinctly both the extent of the proposed reductions, and the mode in which they were to be carried out; and if, after that, doubt existed, then would be the time to call for the appointment of a Committee. He must contend that the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire was strictly constitutional; It was in accordance with the constitution that Government should be made responsible for the management of the public affairs which were entrusted to them. It was for the House to determine whether, in the present condition of this country, and in the face of the public difficulties of which we felt the pressure, they would adopt the more simple, plain, and, above all, extensive proposition for giving relief by retrenchment, pointed out by his hon. Friend, or would follow the narrower, and, he was sorry to say, the darker path proposed by Her Majesty's Government. They might rest assured that if they went into this Committee they would give no satisfaction to the country. Instead of going straightforward to their object in a case where ample means of information were at its command, the Government sought to skulk under the shelter of a Committee, in order to evade the responsibility which the constitution devolved upon their own heads. He had no hesitation in declaring his conviction that the country would believe that delay was intended by this proposition. There was an unwillingness to place the subject in its just proportions before the public; but dangers were to be staved off and difficulties evaded by help of the cloak which the Committee would throw over the whole transaction. If the noble Lord, in whom his hon. Friend he might almost say had proposed a vote of confidence, by his Amendment, would not accept the trust—if he would not undertake the task which by this proposition he was invited to undertake, in the plain and constitutional method, there would exist in the public breast a belief that Ministers were neither so zealous nor so honest in their supposed designs of reduction, as by this Motion they desired to make themselves appear.


said, that if any hon. Member on his side of the House felt disposed to vote with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, he thought he could explain the ground upon which he would do so. He believed that he would be influenced in coming to such a conclusion by the prevalent opinion that there was something exceedingly unreal in the actions of Committees of that House, and by the conviction that Committees were to a great extent shams. The same feeling led him to receive the proposition of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire with some degree of favour when he first read it; but on examining it he found in it nothing more real than anything that could come from the appointment of a Committee, according to their experience of the action of Committees. The hon. Gentleman's proposition did not pledge the House to any reduction of expenditure, nor declare that the expenditure on account of salaries was too great. If the hon. Gentleman had made a substantial proposition—if he had pledged the House to the direct opinion that the present expenditure was an excessive one, and that it was the duty of the Government and the House to reduce it, nothing should have induced him (Mr. Bright) to give his vote for the appointment of a Committee, in opposition to such a substantial proposition. But the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, in the course of his speech, gave no expectation of a departure from the policy he had hitherto followed upon these questions. He had never met that hon. Gentleman in what almost always happened to be the minority, when the proposition submitted to the House was one in favour of economy. And now he endeavoured to excuse himself for his apparent inconsistency by comparing his course with that pursued by the hon. Member for the West Biding on Motions for a large or small reduction in the national expenditure. The hon. Gentleman said that the propositions of the hon. Member for the West Riding were neither philosophical nor practical. He (Mr. Bright) thought they were both. Of their practical nature they had proof that very night in the circumstance that both sides of the House were vieing with each other to carry out portions of those recommendations which had proceeded from his hon. Friend the Member for the West Riding. His hon. Friend had shown that the greater part of our expenditure had been created upon certain pretences, and that when the dangers apprehended to the public safety had passed—dangers arising from a variety of causes, such as the Oregon dispute, the fear of invasion by Russia or France, or the great Pritchard case, of which the Parisians had heard much more than we in London—his hon. Friend had shown them, when the alarm raised by these causes passed away, the increase of expenditure had never been abolished by the Government. The other night, when a question involving 3,000,000l. or 4,000,000l. was under discussion, there were only three Members during the entire discussion, sitting on the opposition side of the House. The right hon. Gentleman who spoke last (Mr. Herries) had himself been a Member of a Committee on the Miscellaneous Estimates; but he had not signalised his new economic career by voting with the minorities on that Committee who were in favour of various reductions. If he (Mr. Bright) were to trace the right hon. Gentleman's career from the day he entered the House of Commons, to his last re markable speech delivered that night, he doubted if he would find him on one single occasion giving his vote and influence in favour of a diminution of the public expenditure. The proposition before them was this, shall the Government at once make such reductions as they may think proper, or shall a Committee investigate the question, and then recommend to the House what shall be done. He was of opinion that if the Committee could be fair and impartial, a Committee would be the better course on many grounds. All the Gentlemen on the Treasury benches were directly and personally interested in maintaining their salaries at their present amount. He did not mean to say or insinuate that one of them, any more than himself, if he were one of them, would desire to keep his salary at 5,000l., if it ought to be only 4,000l. But there was that tendency in the human mind to regard these things with a partial eye, which made him prefer that the question should be left to a Committee, than to the recipients of those salaries themselves. Besides that, the Government were beset with influences out of doors which it was almost impossible wholly to resist. He believed that the task would be performed by them with greater inequality and unfairness, however honestly they might desire and determine to perform it. Another strong reason in favour of a Committee was, that all those parties whose salaries would be hereafter diminished, and that was now the certain result of either course, would receive those reductions less unpleasantly if made after an investigation by a Committee of the House, and upon the report of that Committee, than they could possibly do if made by the single act of the Prime Minister or other Members of the Government presiding over their respective departments. If the proposition of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire were carried, the result would not be that expeditious reduction he was so anxious for. The simple result would be that the Government would be defeated. He (Mr. Bright) was not so very careful upon that point as to allow it to influence him one way or the other. Indeed, the Government were themselves now pretty well accustomed to defeat, and were becoming more and more so. It was because he believed that after this discussion, and in the present temper of the public mind, they might have a chance of getting a better Committee than the average of Committees appointed by the House, and one more than usually disposed to make a searching investigation into these salaries. He believed that whatever recommendations the Committee might make, the House would be more likely to carry out, than he had observed in other cases. The real question they had to consider was this—was the House in favour of economy? If it were, there could be no difficulty in appointing a Committee which should go honestly into the question, and make such recommendations as would be well received by the House and the country. If the noble Lord were to appoint such a Committee as he (Mr. Bright) had seen appointed on other occasions by the present and preceding Governments, he would not be treating the House fairly, while he would plainly show that his object was to delay and shirk the investigation of the question. But if he appointed a Committee in which the Government influence should not predominate, upon which present or past officials should not form the majority, and upon which no salaried or pensioned Members of the House should sit, then the noble Lord's proposition was better than that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire. Hoping the noble Lord would use his paramount influence to procure such a Committee, and calling upon him to appoint it, he should vote in favour of the original Motion.


Sir, if the proposition of the noble Lord at the head of the Government had borne the smallest resemblance to the picture given of it by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down—if it had contained only one point of similitude—if there had been the smallest indication of the remotest intention on the part of Her Majesty's Government to do any one thing but inquire, most unquestionably I should vote with the hon. Gentleman for the noble Lord's Motion. But, Sir, the noble Lord asks the House of Commons to inquire. To inquire of what? Why, the House can only inquire of him, who possesses twenty times more informa- tion on the subject than any one else. This is the substantial Motion of the noble Lord. This is the true pledge of the economical intention of the Government, which all professing to be financial reformers are called upon to vote for to-night. The plan is not a Committee to reduce one fraction of the public expenditure. It is not a Committee to do one single thing, but to make an inquiry. Are we to take the noble Lord's intentions from his own words, or from the explanation of some volunteer supporter whom he chanced to find on those (the free-trade) benches? But, Sir, it is notorious that this Motion never would have been made, but for the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire, and the whole meaning of this Motion is to trip up that hon. Gentleman's heels. And I must say, that I think we are somewhat indebted to the noble Lord for shortening the future labours of the Session; for after this Motion shall have been carried tonight, it will be utterly useless to entertain any other question of financial reform during the present Session. Sir, there has been some allusion made to a little book, published recently in France, entitled Jerome Paturot in Search of a Social Position, the hero of which is, if I remember rightly, a cotton nightcap manufacturer. Now, Sir, if that gentleman were also to come in search of a social position in this country, there is not one which he could turn to so good an account as becoming a financial reformer; for your financial reformer begins by getting into Parliament, and when there he assails the noble Lord and every one else he can—always jobbing to his own profit; and he always votes for all sorts of impossible Motions. And then, when he goes back to his constituents, he says to them, "Ah! wasn't I one of the three that went into the lobby upon such a Motion? Wasn't I one of the small minority that never effected anything, and never meant to effect anything? Wasn't I one of those that always fought for the most flimsy and trumpery Motions, and that always stood by the Government whenever there was any—the slightest—chance of their being defeated?" Now, Sir, I am very sorry for the scene that has occurred to-night. I was in hopes, after all we had passed through, that we had grown wiser. I was in hopes that when we made a Motion for economy on this side of the House, we were not to be doubted by some of those lynxes who affect to see through planks and millstones, and who say "there is no real intention of effecting reform by this Motion." Why, Sir, that is always what they say to any Motion emanating from this side of the House; whilst to anything coming from the other, the cry is, "Oh, there is danger to our establishments in this proposition." And so, by playing one party against the other, the Government go on pretty much as they please. Sir, I am sorry to see that that is the game they are playing here to-night. But I find there is another dodge which they occasionally try. It is to say, "Oh, if we are to be left in a minority, we will go out of office;" or else, "Oh, this is only a masked battery—its only intention is to supplant the Government." Now, Sir, I say, once for all, let a plain straightforward Motion be made upon this subject, and I will give my most cordial support to the noble Lord against all competitors. I believe there could not be anything more detrimental to the interests of the country than that it should lose his services upon the Treasury benches, and I will never give my support to any Motion having that end in view. But I never will be bullied by any Minister who turns sulky, and who threatens to throw the country into confusion by running away from his post—I will let the responsibility rest upon him: but that from this Motion nothing will follow, you all know perfectly well.


had listened with very great attention to all the arguments used, and the suggestions made by every hon. Gentleman who had spoken, and he really had never witnessed an occasion upon which there seemed to be a greater dearth of arguments, or difficulty of finding them, in opposition to the Motion of his noble Friend at the head of the Government. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was really at a loss, in making his speech, for arguments against the proposition of the noble Lord. The Motion of his noble Friend had been characterised as one that was proposed for purposes of delay, and it had boon said that no conclusion could be arrived at by the Committee during the present Session. The hon. Member for Montrose found fault with the Motion because it did not go far enough, complaining that it was confined to three or four subjects, and that they ought to have instituted an inquiry into fifty other departments of expenditure. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) entirely agreed, however, with the hon. Member for Oxford- shire, that if the Government were to concur in the suggestions of the hon. Member for Montrose and the hon. Member for Marylebone, they might be justly charged with endeavouring to avoid a practical conclusion. The inquiry now proposed by his noble Friend could not occupy any long time, and ought to be terminated long before the close of the Session. The hon. Member for Montrose then said that a Committee never did the slightest good—that the recommendations of a Committee were never carried into effect. Why, he must have forgotten the Committee which sat upon this very subject in 1831—a Committee for which Lord Althorp moved, to inquire into the subject of official salaries—and which reported upon all the principal salaries; every recommendation of which was carried into effect. Take the Committee on the Navy expenditure which had been referred to; that suggestions of this Committee which had not been carried into effect—as to the number of admirals—had been alluded to; but nine out of ten of its recommendations had been adopted. Let the hon. Member only recollect the cases of those Committees on which he had himself sat. The Import Duties Committee—did not its inquiry lay the foundation of measures since carried? Then the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire said that the course proposed by the Government was unworthy of them; that their opinion ought to have been first expressed to the House; that the House should have had the embodied opinion of the Government developed in papers on the table. But had the hon. Member looked into the practice of the House? The Committee for which Lord Althorp moved, for instance, was not moved for upon estimates on the table. There were other cases of the same kind—the Committee to inquire into the administration of the law, with a view to ascertain the proper number of Judges; another with regard to the salaries of the Judges; another with regard to the emoluments of the Judges of the Prerogative Court. The hon. Gentleman should refer to the case the noble Lord had himself mentioned—the 27th report of the Committee in 1798. The hon. Gentleman said, the Government ought to take upon themselves the responsibility of dealing with the public establishments. They had never shrunk from that responsibility; and the noble Lord at the head of the Government had reminded the House that they had dealt very largely with the public establishments with a view to the reduction of the expenditure. The principle upon which they had proceeded had not indeed been that of a general reduction of salaries—it would be the worst policy to underpay the public servants—but rather that of reducing the number of persons employed. Nothing could be more unjust or unwise than the general reduction of salaries proposed by the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, without regard to the circumstances of each case, the merits of the individual, or the amount of work he might be called upon to perform. The hon. Member would make the public servants—to borrow the hon. Gentleman's own expression—a whole army of martyrs. The first branch of the inquiry was therefore not proposed to be extended to those with respect to whom the Government fully admitted that the responsibility rested with itself and as to whom it was conducting an investigation by officers of its own, inquiring into their duties and their salaries, and the proportion borne by the work to the remuneration. With regard to the salaries of Members of the Government, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did not differ very much from those who said that Ministers of the Crown ought not to be altogether led by feelings of delicacy to abstain from expressing an opinion; but no one could say that they were as impartial judges on the question of their own salaries as of the salaries of others; and surely it would be infinitely better and far more satisfactory to the country that an opinion upon the amount of these should emanate from an impartially constituted Committee. Then, with regard to the next branch of the inquiry, namely, judicial officers—it was desirable that those who filled these places should not be in the slightest degree dependent, with regard to their emoluments, upon the Executive; and it would again be far better that these should be inquired into by a Committee than that the discretion merely of the Government should be exercised as to their amount. It had been said that these functionaries could not be summoned before a Committee to give evidence. Why, the Lord Chancellor appeared before Lord Althorp's Committee in 1831. As the hon. and learned Member for Southampton had said, there could be no obstacle on the ground of delicacy in getting a statement with regard to legal emoluments. A strange objection was made to the proposed inquiry into the diplomatic establishments. It was a mis- take to say that the salaries could not be altered without an Act of Parliament. The whole sum applicable to the service was fixed by statute, but not the salary of each person. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire supposed that the reference of the diplomatic establishments to a Committee was devised to prejudice his bringing on his Motion upon that department; and at the same time said, that want of information on the subject was one of the difficulties which he had to encounter. Would it suit him better, in bringing forward such a Motion, to be without the information which the investigation of the Committee would supply? The hon. Member for West Surrey had stated that not a word was said about reduction; he could not have attended to what fell from the noble Lord. [Mr. DRUMMOND: I said there was nothing about it in the Motion.] The noble Lord stated that, abstaining (which the hon. Gentleman might, perhaps attribute to a false delicacy) from giving any opinion upon the subject of official salaries, and wishing to leave it to the Committee, he was of opinion that reductions might be made in the other departments—the diplomatic and judicial. One hon. Gentleman thought it exceedingly wrong that the noble Lord did not state the amount of reductions he was of opinion might be made; why, if he had, it would have been said that it was useless to move for a Committee when the Government had made up their minds, and openly stated the extent of reduction they intended to agree to. It would have been unfair to a Committee of Inquiry, and inconsistent with the object of its appointment, for the Government to say beforehand what they considered the result of the inquiry ought to be. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, in part of his speech, used language that might well surprise one. He spoke of the House of Commons as the guardian of the public purse, but of the Government as the obnoxious instrument of fiscal extortion. Gentlemen opposite might take the admonition which they had themselves given, and consider not merely their present position, but that which they might possibly occupy. The expressions in which the Government of the country had thus been characterised were surely not wisely used. The right hon. Member for Stamford had stated that the House was only asked to choose between two modes of effecting the same object, and that the Amendment would lead to the more extensive and speedy reduction of the expenditure and relief to the country. But surely the Amendment was one of those vague resolutions which did not necessarily lead to any reduction or any practical conclusion. The original Motion was for a definite inquiry, which was much more likely to lead to a practical result. The Amendment, indeed, had been put by Gentlemen opposite upon the ground of its being a complimentary expression of confidence in the Government as prepared and disposed to carry out reduction; but if Gentlemen thought the matter should be left in the hands of the Government, why had the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire given notice of a Motion with a view to a reduction in the diplomatic and consular expenditure, and the hon. Member for Oxfordshire of a Motion for a general revision of all salaries with a view to reductions? Those notices did not indicate the confidence which was now professed. As already stated, the noble Lord had declared that in two branches of the inquiry he looked for reduction of the expenditure; he abstained from pronouncing any opinion as to one branch, because he thought it more decent and proper that he should not do so at this stage; but one Member of the Government at least would be on the Committee, and would state the opinion of the Government unhesitatingly in Committee on the proper occasion. Hon. Gentlemen who talked of the relief from taxation to be effected by reduction in the salaries of the great officers, or even of the establishments, must remember that it was impossible so to deal with parties who had held their situations for a length of time as to give any such great relief at once, whatever reduction there might be in the course of years. The noble Lord had stated the reductions made in the last year or two; these were going on from day to day. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did not think any great reduction could be effected in the higher offices which the Committee would have to consider; but whether there was or not, the Government thought it better to obtain the opinion of a tribunal which might take a more impartial view than perhaps any persons would take with regard to their own salaries.


said, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer reminded him that the question that had been asked had not been answered. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to apprehend that some little suspicion existed that the Motion of the noble Lord at the head of the Government was caused by that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire. He (Lord J. Manners) would ask the right hon. Gentleman why it was that at the commencement of the Session Her Majesty's Government did not bring forward the Motion which they had propounded to-night. Considering the tone of the speeches he had heard to-night—considering the position of the various speakers—he was surprised when the right hon. Gentleman commenced his speech by saying he had listened in vain for any arguments against the Motion of the noble Lord. He (Lord J. Manners) did not intend to reciprocate such a compliment with his right hon. Friend; but he hoped he might refer to some of the arguments they had heard from the preceding speakers, who adopted the view of the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Southampton based his argument on the great indelicacy and impropriety of calling on individual Members of the Government to come forward and state what was a fair remuneration for the services they performed to the Government. He (Lord J. Manners) did not intend to enter the arena with so skilful an advocate as the hon. and learned Gentleman, who was so anxious to spare the feelings of Her Majesty's Government; but he would ask, what did the hon. and learned Gentleman propose to do? He said, by submitting this question to a Committee, they would get at the evidence they required. Of course they would summon the individual Members of the Government; they would then submit the evidence they had received, and the report they grounded on that evidence, to the decision of the House of Commons, and by that means they would have in the most unobjectionable shape the opinions of Her Majesty's Ministers. But what followed? Suppose the Committee was constituted as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester said it would be constituted, it was not at all unlikely—nay, it was almost certain—that some of those Gentlemen's salaries would be reduced before the Committee was constituted, with the responsibility of appointing which the noble Lord at the head of the Government would be charged. What then would become of the delicacy of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Southampton? The noble Lord might have to come before the House of Commons, and say that the Committee which he himself had appointed had fixed too low a salary for the services his successor would have to perform. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester said, if he thought the proposed Committee was to be constituted as every other Committee had been constituted since he came to Parliament; if he thought it was to be composed of right hon. Gentlemen, noble Lords, and officers in the Army and Navy—then indeed the hon. Gentleman would not consent to vote for it. What pledge had the hon. Gentleman received from the noble Lord, that this Committee would not be constituted as all other Committees which he had so much denounced, were constituted? He (Lord J. Manners) would tell the hon. Gentleman the Member for Manchester, that even then it was not too late for him to amend his vote. Did the hon. Gentleman hear, in the course of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the least symptom of yielding to the formation of such a Committee as the hon. Gentleman wished? Not one word; and no one could doubt that this Committee would be constituted according to the old revived form, and that, in due course of time, there would be a report presented to the House, containing various recommendations, some of which, if they happened to square with the views of Her Majesty's Government, would be adopted, and others of them which did not so square would be shelved. Not only that; but they had hoard the hon. Member for Marylebone, in the earlier part of the evening, characterise his hon. Friend's Amendment as a deliberate party movement. If the House was to go on attacking every Motion which was brought on by any Member of the House of Commons as a party Motion, they would never arrive at that end which they were all anxious to attain. He thought the advice given the House by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, was advice which younger financial reformers in that House would do well to take into their serious consideration, and act on now and hereafter; but he (Lord J. Manners) thought he should not see that advice carried into effect. The House would decide between those two propositions—one which placed really and without delay before the House the means of effecting those retrenchments and that revision which, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government and in the opinion of that House, the pub- lic service would have to undergo; the other was one which in his conscience he believed would have the effect of throwing this great question over this Session, and perhaps over another—a proposition to which he saw no end. He could not help thinking that the distress which prevailed in the country demanded national economy; and he called on hon. Members, whatever might be their feelings on other questions, to support the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire.


Sir, the objections which have been made to the Motion proposed to the House certainly will not require very much answer from me, because they have been met, and most of them disposed of, by the opponents of the Motion themselves. The hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone, who spoke immediately after the Amendment of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, and some others, said it was not a sufficient inquiry, because it did not go beyond the throe particular classes into which the inquiry was to be confined. To that the hon. Member for Oxfordshire answered, and I think very conclusively, that if all offices were to be included, the inquiry would last so long that we should not obtain any practical result from the Committee. These are the grounds which I think will be sufficient for the appointment of the Committee. Therefore, the hon. Member for Oxfordshire has disposed of one objection. Then the hon. Member for Montrose, somewhat to my surprise, objected to a Committee for the first time that I remember during a long period of years, and said that it would do no good; but in the course of his speech he admitted he had urged on the Government the appointment of a Committee on the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, and that the Committees had sat for some time with considerable advantage to the public. But then the hon. Gentleman goes on and says the effect is, if you have a Committee a great many facts will become known which otherwise we should not have before us, and thus the hon. Gentleman has answered his own objection. I cannot accuse him of wishing to conceal the truth, but we know there are many delusive ideas on the public mind on this subject, and the hon. Gentleman seemed to entertain some alarm as to certain facts becoming known to them. But we find the hon. Member always inquiring—we find him always moving for returns, and probably the expense of this information and of these returns would be equal to the salaries of two or three Lords of the Treasury. Well, these returns have been exceedingly useful, and have thrown a great deal of light and information on many questions, and for my part I think them well worth the cost. But, if that is the case, I am the more surprised that now, for the first time, the hon. Member could say the House of Commons should not inquire into those facts by a Select Committee. But we have all heard, "Evil communications corrupt good manners," and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire told us to-night in the course of his speech, that some three weeks ago he had held a communication with the hon. Member for Montrose, and certainly the hon. Member for Montrose does seem to have deserted the opinions to which he has so long adhered. The hon. Member for West Surrey observed, nothing had been said on this subject of reduction by Government. I certainly said it would be useless to appoint any such Committee unless we believed reduction and economy will be the consequence. I declined to give any opinion as to the salaries received by official persons being Members of Parliament, but I stated that I proposed some reductions, and that I saw the force of the objection that if we proposed the reduction of one official office, it would be well to revise our establishments altogether. Let me show the practical effect of the proposed inquiry. We are told we are in possession of all the information that can be had as far as our own salaries are concerned. That is no doubt the case with respect to our own offices; but when I proposed a reduction in the salary of the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, I was told it was very insufficient. At that time hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to think a Select Committee a very desirable thing. For a whole night I was badgered for not consenting to it. I was told the receipts of barristers were nothing like what they were twenty years ago, and that therefore a great reduction should take place in the Judges' salaries. Well, then, it is right we should know something of the facts, because it had been always stated, and stated truly, that if you wish to have good and efficient Judges—men who will command the respect of the public and insure confidence for the administration of the laws—you had better not place them at a salary much below that which persons at the bar might expect to receive for their exertions. If that is to be the test, it becomes of importance to know what are the usual receipts of men in considerable practice; and that is a fact on which Government, as well as Members of the House, might form an opinion. It appears to me the proposition I put is a fair practical proposition for an inquiry by a Select Committee. It is supported by precedent from 1798, when Mr. Pitt thought it necessary to refer the question of official salaries to a Select Committee; and I have not heard any sufficient objection to the proposal, or to this particular mode of proceeding. I certainly must thank the right hon. Member for Stamford, and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, for proposing a vote of confidence in the Government. It would be a very strong Government that could repudiate such a mark of approbation from their political opponents; but I think it will be the better course, and more for the public service, to appoint the Select Committee of Inquiry.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 250; Noes 159: Majority 91.

List of the AYES.
Abdy, Sir T. N. Carter, J. B.
Adair, R. A. S. Castlereagh, Visct.
Aglionby, H. A. Cavendish, hon. C. C.
Alcock, T. Cavendish, hon. G. H.
Anstey, T. C. Cavendish, W. G.
Armstrong, Sir A. Chaplin, W. J.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Childers, J. W.
Clay, J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Clay, Sir W.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Clements, hon. C. S.
Barnard, E. G. Clifford, H. M.
Bass, M. T. Clive, hon. R. H.
Beckett, W. Cobden, R.
Bellew, R. M. Cockburn, A. J. E.
Berkeley, Adm. Coke, hon. E. K.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Collins, W.
Bernal, R. Cowan, C.
Birch, Sir T. B. Cowper, hon. W. F.
Blake, M. J. Craig, Sir W. G.
Blewitt, R. J. Cubitt, W.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Dalrymple, Capt.
Bowles, Adm. D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C.
Boyle, hon. Col. Divett, E.
Brand, T. Douglas, Sir C. E.
Bright, J. Duff, G. S.
Brockman, E. D. Duff, J.
Brotherton, J. Duncan, Visct.
Brown, W. Duncan, G.
Browne, R. D. Dundas, Adm.
Busfeild, W. Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Dunne, Col.
Campbell, hon. W. F. East, Sir J. B.
Cardwell, E. Ebrington, Visct.
Egerton, W. T. Lushington, C.
Ellis, J. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Mackie, J.
Enfield, Visct. Mackinnon, W. A.
Euston, Earl of M'Cullagh, W. T.
Evans, Sir De L. M'Gregor, J.
Evans, J. M'Taggart, Sir J.
Evans, W. Meagher, T.
Ewart, W. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Fagan, W. Mangles, R. D.
Fergus, J. Marshall, J. G.
Fitzpatrick, rt. hon. J. Martin, J.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Martin, C. W.
Foley, J. H. H. Masterman, J.
Fordyce, A. D. Matheson, A.
Forster, M. Matheson, J.
Fox, R. M. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Fox, W. J. Milner, W. M. E.
Freestun, Col. Mitchell, T. A.
French, F. Moffatt, G.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Molesworth, Sir W.
Glyn, G. C. Monsell, W.
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Morgan, H. K. G.
Grace, O. D. J. Morison, Sir W.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Morris, D.
Greene, T. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Grenfell, C. P. Mowatt, F.
Grenfell, C. W. Mulgrave, Earl of
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Norreys, Lord
Grey, R. W. O'Connell, M.
Grosvenor, Lord R. O'Connell, M. J.
Guest, Sir J. Ogle, S. C. H.
Hall, Sir B. Ord, W.
Hallyburton, Lord J. F. Oswald, A.
Hardcastle, J. A. Owen, Sir J.
Harris, R. Paget, Lord A.
Hastie, A. Paget, Lord C.
Hastie, A. Palmer, R.
Hatchell, J. Palmerston, Visct.
Hawes, B. Parker, J.
Hayter, rt. hon. W. G. Patten, J. W.
Headlam, T. E. Pearson, C.
Heald, J. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Heathcoat, J. Peel, F.
Heneage, E. Pennant, hon. Col.
Henry, A. Perfect, R.
Hervey, Lord A. Peto, S. M.
Heyworth, L. Pilkington, J.
Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J. Pinney, W.
Hobhouse, T. B. Power, Dr.
Hodges, T. L. Power, N.
Hodges, T. T. Price, Sir R.
Hollond, R. Pusey, P.
Horsman, E. Rawdon, Col.
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Reid, Col.
Howard, hon. J. K. Ricardo, O.
Howard, P. H. Rice, E. R.
Humphery, Ald. Rich, H.
Hutt, W. Romilly, Col.
Jervis, Sir J. Romilly, Sir J.
Johnstone, Sir J. Rumbold, C. E.
Keogh, W. Russell, Lord J.
Kersbaw, J. Russell, F. C. H.
King, hon. P. J. L. Rutherfurd, A.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Salwey, Col.
Langston, J. H. Scholefield, W.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Scrope, G. P.
Lewis, G. C. Scully, F.
Littleton, hon. E. R. Seymour, Lord
Loch, J. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Locke, J. Shelburne, Earl of
Lockhart, A. E. Simeon, J.
Loveden, P. Smith, J. A.
Smith, M. T. Tufnell, H.
Smith, J. B. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Somers, J. P. Vane, Lord H.
Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. Walmsley, Sir J.
Spearman, H. J. Watkins, Col. L.
Strickland, Sir G. Wawn, J. T.
Stuart, Lord D. Wegg-Prosser, F. R.
Stuart, Lord J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Talbot, J. H. Willoox, B. M.
Tancred, H. W. Williams, J.
Tenison, E. K. Williamson, Sir H.
Thicknesse, R. A. Wilson, J.
Thompson, Col. Wilson, M.
Thornely, T. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. Wood, W. P.
Towneley, J. Wyld, J.
Townley, R. G. Wyvill, M.
Townshend, Capt. TELLERS.
Traill, G. Hill, Lord M.
Trelawny, J. S. Howard, Lord E.
List of the NOES.
Alexander, N. Duncombe, hon. A.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Duncombe, hon. O.
Archdall, Capt. M. Dundas, G.
Arkwright, G. Du Pre, C. G.
Bagge, W. Egerton, Sir P.
Bagot, hon. W. Emlyn, Visct.
Baillie, H. J. Farnham, E. B.
Baldwin, C. B. Farrer, J.
Bankes, G. Fellowes, E.
Baring, T. Floyer, J.
Barrington, Visct. Forester, hon. G. C. W.
Bateson, T. Fox, S. W. L.
Bentinck, Lord H. Frewen, C. H.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Fuller, A. E.
Best, J. Gooch, E. S.
Blackstone, W. S. Gordon, Adm.
Boldero, H G. Gore, W. R. O.
Booth, Sir R. G. Granby, Marq. of
Bramston, T. W. Greenall, G.
Bremridge, R. Greene, J.
Briscoe, M. Guernsey, Lord
Broadley, H. Gwyn, H.
Brooke, Lord Halford, Sir H.
Bruce, C. L. C. Hall, Col.
Bruen, Col. Halsey, T. P.
Buck, L. W. Hamilton, G. A.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Harris, hon. Capt.
Burroughes, H. N. Henley, J. W.
Cabbell, B. B. Herbert, H. A.
Carew, W. H. P. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Chandos, Marq. of Hildyard, R. C.
Chatterton, Col. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Christopher, R. A. Hornby, J.
Clive, H. B. Hotham, Lord
Cobbold, J. C. Hume, J.
Cocks, T. S. Jones, Capt.
Codrington, Sir W. Keating, R.
Cole, hon. H. A. Knightley, Sir C.
Coles, H. B. Knox, Col.
Colvile, C. R. Lacy, H. C.
Compton, H. C. Law, hon. C. E.
Damer, hon. Col. Lawless, hon. C.
Deedes, W. Legh, G. C.
Devereux, J. T. Lennox, Lord A. G.
Dick, Q. Lewisham, Visct.
Disraeli, B. Lockhart, W.
Dod, J. Long, W.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Lopes, Sir R.
Drummond, H. Lowther, H.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Macnaghten, Sir E.
Mandeville, Visct. Seymer, H. K.
Manners, Lord C. S. Sibthorp, Col.
Manners, Lord G. Sidney, Ald.
Manners, Lord J. Smyth, J. G.
March, Earl of Smythe, hon. G.
Maunsell, T. P. Somerset, Capt.
Moody, C. A. Somerton, Visct.
Mullings, J. R. Spooner, R.
Mundy, W. Stafford, A.
Muntz, G. F. Stanford, J. F.
Naas, Lord Stanley, hon. E. H.
Neeld, J. Stephenson, R.
Neeld, J. Stuart, H.
Newdegate, C. N. Stuart, J.
Newport, Visct. Taylor, T. E.
Newry and Morne, Visct. Thesiger, Sir F.
Nugent, Lord Tollemache, J.
O'Brien, Sir L. Trollope, Sir J.
Ossulston, Lord Turner, G. J.
Packe, C. W. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Palmer, R. Verner, Sir W.
Pigott, Sir R. Waddington, D.
Plowden, W. H. C. Waddington, H. S.
Plumptre, J. P. Walpole, S. H.
Prime, R. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Repton, G. W. J. Willoughby, Sir H.
Richards, R. Wodehouse, E.
Rufford, F.
Rushout, Capt. TELLERS.
Sandars, G. Beresford, Maj.
Scott, hon. F. Vyse, R. H.

Original Question again proposed.


Now that the House had determined on this inquiry into official incomes, he thought he should have little difficulty in convincing it of the propriety of including ecclesiastical incomes; and he would do so very shortly, by showing that it was a legitimate inquiry, and within its province; and, secondly, that, possessing the power, it was a fitting occasion for its exercise.

Now as to the first point—with the precedent of 1836 fresh in our recollection, the right of Parliament cannot be contested—the present incomes of ecclesiastical dignitaries were revised and fixed by the Legislature in 1836, and the revision for which we were competent then we are competent now. Such being the fact, we have only to ascertain whether, in the case of ecclesiastical dignitaries there is the same ground for an inquiry—the same appearance of disproportion between payments and duties which has given rise to this commission on official salaries.

To ascertain this we must compare the duties and incomes of ecclesiastics with those of other functionaries, and let him first take the most analogous case of Judges.

A Judge is invariably taken from among the most eminent men in his profession—he is in the full vigour of life—placed in an office of great labour and responsibility— always under the public eye—and when he ceases to be efficient he ceases to be a Judge—and, above all, he gives up large professional emoluments; and they must adjust his salary, not by the amount at which they can get the work done, but by that which will enable them to go into the market and secure the best legal talent.

A Bishop, on the other hand, begins by making no pecuniary sacrifice—he need not necessarily have been eminent before—sometimes he has not been so—he is advanced to an office which he holds for life—his faculties may desert him, but he retains his income. Many bishops are old men, seeking repose and not labour—they do not work under the public eye—their labours are voluntary and self-imposed, and they have large patronage out of which to make provision for their families. And this is the difference in their remuneration. A Chief Justice has 8,000l. a year, an Archbishop of Canterbury 15,000l. The one holds it while laborious and efficient—the other for life; the one has to find himself a house—the other has two palaces provided; the one has to lay by for his children—the other dispenses patronage of benefices, of which the total value was not less than 70,000l. a year—yet much dissatisfaction had been expressed in the House at 8,000l. for a Chief Justice, while it passed by the Prelate's 15,000l without inquiry.

But let them turn to the incomes of official men here—take the case of a Prime Minister. Is his office necessarily one of less dignity and state than that of a Prelate? Is his physical labour and endurance less? or his mental care and responsibility? is his social position and the expenditure entailed by it inferior? His tenure of office is uncertain, and every day he sacrifices health and strength—some have even sacrificed their lives. Yet his official income is but one-third of the Archbishop's—but one-half of a Bishop of London's—considerably below a Bishop of Winchester or Durham. Yet the Member for Oxfordshire proposed last year to take off 10 per cent from him; but should nothing be taken from these higher paid ecclesiastics? What is there in their relative positions or duties which should entitle an Archbishop to three times the income of a First Minister? Why should a Bishop of London have double the payment of the Home Secretary? He need not now say whether the salary of a Secretary of State be too low, or that of a Prelate too high. But he did say there was a most extraordinary disproportion between them, and a readjustment was required.

But the incomes of our dignitaries are so large that they cannot compare them with individual functionaries—to form a true estimate of their grandeur they must contrast them with whole boards. Let them take some of the most important—the Admiralty, for instance. Its affairs are administered by a board, consisting of a First Lord, five junior Lords, and a Secretary—all men of Parliamentary standing or professional note. This board is intrusted with the administration of, perhaps, the most important department of the State, and charged with the defence of our coasts, our transmarine possessions and our commerce, and superintending an expenditure of millions a year; yet the united salaries of all the members of this board do not amount to the income of the highest Prelate. Or let them take the great departments of Customs and Excise. Consider what their duties were—they raised the greatest portion of our revenue—the national prosperity or decline was measured by their minutest variations—the net sum raised annually by them was in round numbers 35,000,000l.—their vast and intricate affairs had been hitherto managed by two boards—one consisting of a chairman and five commissioners—the other by a chairman and seven commissioners; and yet the whole of this revenue, amounting, as he had said, to 35,000,000l., was collected throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland by an army of subordinate functionaries under two boards, consisting of fourteen commissioners, and he said the whole salaries of the members composing these two boards did not nearly amount to the incomes of the two highest Prelates.

But, again putting aside individuals, and contrasting bodies or departments with each other, he held in his hand the total amount of episcopal and capitular incomes. For the sake of shortness, he would illustrate his case by the episcopal only; and he would compare them first with a branch of the public service which was usually deemed the most costly, namely, the Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers; next, with a branch of the public service which was the most trying and severe, namely, the Governors of our colonial possessions; and lastly, with a branch of the public service which ranked highest in dignity and importance, namely, our judicial establishments; and he would show them how they would emerge from a comparison with each.

Here was a list of our foreign ambassadors and representatives of every degree—including all, from the Ambassador in Paris with his 10,000l., to the Chargé d' Affaires at Lima (the very lowest even nominal payment) of 29l. a year—they were 33 in all; and yet the whole of our Queen's representatives to all the Courts and countries that we dealt with, received less than two-thirds for their support and remuneration of the sum divided amongst our 27 bishops.

He would take next a severer and not a showy service—our colonial governors—men of distinction often, who had fought their way through poverty to eminence, and who were exiled from home to serve their Queen, it might be in an unhealthy and often in a fatal climate. That return told them that they have 43 colonial possessions where the Sovereign is represented by governors or high commissioners: the whole of these functionaries, charged with responsible duties in all quarters of the globe, did not receive for the administration of all our transmarine possessions as much as was divided annually among the bench of bishops.

He would now take our judicial establishments, of the cost of which much dissatisfaction had been recently expressed. Of all our establishments, it was the one to whose value we were most alive—it was the one on which we were dependant for the whole machinery of Government—for the daily security of our lives and homes. Of all our public functionaries, there were none, he believed, whom the English public revered more than the Judges—there were none whose salaries were more richly earned; and long might our Judges merit, and our countrymen maintain, the respect they now felt for them!

Here then was the higher branch of our judicial establishment, handsomely, but to his mind not extravagantly paid:—

£ £
Queen's Bench—Chief Justice. 8,000
Queen's Bench 4 Puisne Judges. 20,000 28,000
Common Pleas—Chief Justice. 8,000
Common Pleas 4 Puisne Judges. 20,000
Carried forward. 56,000
Brought forward £56,000
Exchequer—Chief Baron 7,000
Exchequer 4 Puisne Judges 20,000
Chancery—Lord Chancellor 15,000
Chancery 3 Vice Chancellors 18,000
Chancery Master of the Rolls 7,000
The united salaries of all those men who filled those offices of labour and dignity did not mount to two-thirds of the incomes now actually enjoyed by the bench of bishops, and were not within 30,000l of their intended Parliamentary incomes. But he added the Scotch Judges, 13 in number, and the whole of our 30 Judges did not receive what was now paid to the bench of bishops. The highest Judge in Scotland, the Lord President, had not as much as one Welsh bishop; and all the 13 Scotch Judges together did not receive as much as four English prelates.

Let him make one more comparison, with official Members of either House of Parliament. He believed the number in this and the other House, holding their places during pleasure under the noble Lord, was about 46. Now, they knew what their duties were—their labour and their responsibility—how much their time and strength was given to the public service. It was proposed to reduce their salaries. Now, the united salaries of all those 46 working men by whom the business of the nation was conducted in this and the other House of Parliament, do not amount to the incomes of the bench of bishops; and be it observed, in the case of our Ministers and Judges, the payments were all for services Publicly rendered, and which could not be evaded; the money was all for work done, and value received; yet amongst them all, our Ministers, our Ambassadors, our Governors, our Judges, with the single exception of the Lord Chancellor, there was not one with an official income exceeding that of a Bishop of London, or within.50 per cent of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He had done with comparisons, and he came now to the last fact, by which he enforced his proposition. It was truly said, the other night, that few men got rich in the public service—the instance of a Minister being richer for his office was, he supposed, in latter days, unknown—and one of the sacrifices imposed on a Minister was the neglect of his private affairs. But was that the case with Bishops? Far otherwise: he had there a return from Doctors' Commons of the personal property bequeathed by Bishops during the last twenty years—since 1828 that was—twenty-nine had died during that period, and the personal property alone which they had bequeathed had amounted to a million and a half. This, he repeated, was personal alone—all settled and all real property was excluded from this return.

Now when they considered that Bishops were usually advanced in life before they were consecrated—that they were mostly poor men before—that the time in which they had saved this money was therefore short; and that they had extensive patronage for their families besides, he asked in what other profession or in what other country could they find twenty-nine men bequeathing personal property averaging 50,000l. a piece, and all saved after they were past middle age?

He had spoken only of one class of dignitaries, because he wished to save the time of the House; but that of the Deans and Prebends was a much stronger case. The Bishops had duties to discharge—but the others had none at all—they were acknowledged sinecures; and yet they, like the Bishops, were receiving annually, out of the Church's money, a larger amount than was paid to all our Judges—or all our Ambassadors—or Governors, or Ministers of State. And to make the abuse more flagrant, and the necessity for inquiry more obvious, he had only to remind the House of what passed there the day before. Parliament having in 1840, fixed the income of Deans at 1,000l. a year, a Bill has been introduced this year which will raise that of the Dean of York to 2,000l. and six others to 1,500l. a year; but the deanery of Salisbury being now vacant, the noble Lord informed us yesterday, that the Bishop of Salisbury had gravely assured him that if the income was made under 1,500l. a year, no proper person could be got to take it.


I meant to say, no person without an independent fortune.


He accepted the correction, and it amounted to this—that of all the hardworked, underpaid clergy of the Church of England, not one could be found to take 1,000l. a year for doing nothing—1,500l. a year was the lowest sum at which any one of them would sell himself to a sinecure. The noble Lord, however, was hard to be convinced on that point—he had de- termined to try the experiment, and he hoped on a future day he would tell the Committee whether it had succeeded. He should propose also to invite the Bishop of Salisbury before the Committee, to expound to it what are the onerous functions of a Dean, which he thinks should be remunerated so handsomely.

There was one objection which he anticipated to his Motion; it might be said that ecclesiastical incomes came out of a Church fund, while civil functionaries were paid out of the taxes; and, therefore, they did not fall under the same head of inquiry. But whatever might be the source of payment, it was equally regulated by Act of Parliament. And the difference of source told more strongly in his favour; the one payment was from a limited, the other from an unlimited fund. If they took 1,000l. from a Minister of State, the saving was distributed over so large a surface that no one felt it sensibly; but save 1,000l. from an ecclesiastical income, and forthwith they had a new church—a new congregation—an additional religious pastor, and hundreds would hear the gospel preached who were heathens before.

But he put it as a matter of common sense and feeling; as one not only of principle but prudence; was it wise that our Prelates should be exhibited to the nation with incomes three times that of Ministers of State, while poor clergy are receiving less than their coachmen's wages? Was it wise, was it seemly, that they should draw in their favour this odious and unpopular distinction of excepting them alone from the inquiry they were going to establish?

The Member for Oxfordshire, in making his Motion on official salaries last year, said he advocated reduction, because the people are overtaxed. He advocated it, they are undertaught; and for one poor man that he (the Member for Oxfordshire) could produce borne down by fiscal burdens, he would show him whole districts of men and women perishing, both soul and body, for lack of that spiritual instruction which it was the Church's first object to provide, and the highest and holiest function of that House, as a material agency, to direct.

And he put it to the House, why do we take such pains to bring all our other establishments and their functionaries into harmony with public feelings and the requirements of the time, and continue ecclesiastical emoluments as an eyesore, and a reproach? Did we by so doing show re- verence for the episcopal office? What object did we gain? Did we serve religion? Did we strengthen the Church? Did we exalt the episcopate? Did we gratify our own consciences?

He left the answer to the House—he hoped it would not reject his Motion—for history and experience both taught us, that it is the rejection of reasonable propositions which renders the adoption of unreasonable ones more sweeping and more certain.

Amendment proposed, at the end of the Question to add the words, "and into the incomes and emoluments of Ecclesiastical Dignitaries."


said, that it appeared to him that the hon. Member was hardly doing justice to the object which he had in view by uniting it to a Motion for an inquiry such as that proposed by his noble Friend at the head of the Government. He (Sir G. Grey) did not deny the right of Parliament to inquire into the amount and distribution of episcopal and capitular revenues; that right had more than once been asserted and acted upon, and very recently under a commission appointed by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. Subsequent to that inquiry ecclesiastical and capitular inquiries had been regulated by Act of Parliament. If, however, sufficient ground were shown for again inquiring into the subject, the House would have a perfect right to enter upon that inquiry. Episcopal and capitular incomes, however, stood upon a very different footing from those official, judicial, and diplomatic incomes which would form the subject of inquiry in the Committee proposed by the noble Lord. The latter class of incomes were derived from the public taxes of the country, and all that could be saved by a reduction of those incomes was so much saved to the public revenue of the country, and enabled the Government to relieve to that extent the pressure of taxation. The ecclesiastical revenues were, however, derived altogether from a different source, and any reduction which might be made would not go towards the relief of the burdens of taxation, but would go to other purposes, and it was no doubt a question of some importance as to the best mode of distributing ecclesiastical property, in a manner best adapted to accomplish the objects for which it was devoted. With respect to referring the subject to this Committee, he would plead in aid the argument used by the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, that if they overloaded the Committee, no beneficial result would attend the inquiry. If this subject were to be referred to the Committee, they would not be able to conclude the inquiry during the present Session. Without entering into a comparison of the amount of the different incomes made, not very justly he thought, by the hon. Member, he trusted that the House would not consent to the proposed additional inquiry.


said, he had been extremely puzzled to make out the drift of the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cockermouth, and he had been still more astonished at the mode in which he had supported it. The hon. Member had not only contrasted the incomes of bishops with the salaries of various public functionaries, but he had gone on to state the amount of property left by a number of prelates; and he had endeavoured to lead the House to conclude that the existing revenues of bishops would enable them to accumulate similar sums. But the hon. Gentleman must have been aware that many of the prelates who had died during the last twenty years had held their incomes under the old system, and that those incomes had since been considerably diminished. The hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to place in an invidious light the incomes of bishops, by contrasting them with the salaries of various public functionaries; but he might as well have contrasted with those salaries the revenues of wealthy noblemen in this country. He for one, could never consent to deal with the trust property of the Church in the same manner as with the public revenue. If there was a case for inquiry, let it be proposed on its own grounds, and not in the invidious manner adopted that evening.


hoped that his hon. Colleague would persist in his Motion, unless the Government would give an explicit promise that they would move for an efficient, independent, and fair Committee to inquire into the subject; and if it be necessary, and it be found that the circumstances of the country, or of the bishops, requiry any alteration, introduce a Bill founded upon the report of the Committee; or if they would not do so, whether they would support the hon. Member in a Motion for a separate and independent Committee to inquire into the subject. He denied that this was the property of the bishops; it was the property of the country vested in certain persons for certain duties. That it was so had been proved by inquiries on former occasions under the Government of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. It was too late to say it was their own property, and that it should not be inquired into. It had been inquired into, and would be again, when the necessity of the ease demanded it.


said, that the hon. Member for Cockermouth, in bringing forward the Motion, had taken the opportunity of making one of the most unfair attacks upon the Church that he had ever heard. The hon. Member was constantly proclaiming his attachment to the Church, but never missed any opportunity of vilifying it. If that was his friendship, he could only say, if he were one of a body to which the hon. Member was attached, he would much rather have his enmity than his friendship. No person who had listened to the tone and temper of the hon. Member but could doubt that he was actuated by a spirit most hostile to the Church of England.


would defend the hon. Member for Cockermouth against the charges which had just been brought against him of being actuated by feelings of hostility to the Church. He entirely concurred in the spirit of the hon. Member's Motion, namely, that it was desirable for the Church of England that these great and serious questions, which must at some time or other be investigated, should be looked boldly and fairly in the face; and that in the midst of the vast spiritual destitution which they all knew existed to so awful an extent throughout the country, the prelates who were at the head of the Church should not be exposed to obloquy from invidious comparisons which constantly were suggeesting themselves as to the amount of incomes derived by them from those funds which were left as a solemn trust for the maintenance of the religious institutions of the country. He observed with pain a growing tendency in the minds of individuals to confuse funds of this kind with the general funds of the State, contributed and raised by means of taxation, under the authority of Parliament. He maintained that Parliament had an undoubted right to inquire into the amount and distribution of the revenues of the Church, and believed the time not far distant when it would be necessary to have a complete revision of the incomes paid to the dignitaries of the Church. He agreed with his hon. Friend that it did not tend to the character of the Church that there should be such incomes as 10,000l. or 15,000l. The Church would certainly be placed in a sounder position if its temporal means were revised with a view to the promotion of secular as well as spiritual instruction; but he did not think it desirable that such inquiries should be mixed up with those proposed by the Government, as it would only produce confusion.


, in explanation, said, that he had made no allusion to the tenure of the property in question. He had given no opinion on the point whether it was of a public or a private character. The incomes of the bishops had been regulated by Act of Parliament, and he only asked Parliament to do what it did in 1836. He meant to reflect no more on the manner in which the bishops performed their duties than on the manner in which other functionaries discharged theirs.


said, the hon. Gentleman was only walking in the course he had always taken, for he had distinctly recorded his opinion that capitular bodies were altogether useless, and recommended their abolition as an essential reform in the Church of England. On every occasion when he could, he had taken the opportunity to disparage and lower in the estimation of the public the office of bishop, whilst professing to be a member of the Church of England, of which it was an essential element that there should be episcopal authority controlling the inferior clergy. He had drawn invidious comparisons, which had no application to the Motion, either in argument or justice; and it was impossible but to suppose that his ideas respecting episcopacy, being low, had been formed upon a very unworthy estimate of the duties of the office. The episcopal body might be brought into invidious comparison with the inferior clergy; but there was no sincere friend to the Church who did not know that its duties, adequately performed, were more effective for the dissemination of religious truth, and the enforcement of religious worship, than the labours of the individuals with whom they were contrasted. The argument of the hon. Gentleman was just that of those who, being at the botton of the scale, excited resistance against those who were above them; but whether in civil or ecclesiastical affairs, authority was equally indispensable. The hon. Gentleman had expressly stated that bishops received their incomes for doing nothing. He should not enter further into the question, because there would be other opportunities of discussing subjects connected with the Church, and he could only say he totally dissented from the views of the hon. Member.


assured the right hon. Gentleman that he had not said bishops received their incomes for doing nothing. What he said was, that there was a distinction between bishops and deans, and that bishops had duties to perform which deans had not.


said, the dignitaries of the Church would not be affected by this Motion, which he should treat as it deserved. The censure of some men was the very best praise to others.


said, he had never heard a more bitter or unjust attack upon any hon. Member than that made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge upon the hon. Member for Cockermouth. His hon. Friend had devoted much of his attention to the investigation of the condition of the Church, of which he was known to be an earnest and most sincere member; and that such an undeserved measure of the odium theologicum should have been showered upon him was most extraordinary. The charge of exciting the inferior orders in the Church against the higher was perfectly unfounded, for he (Mr. Mangles) had often heard clergymen, not merely curates, but beneficed clergy, declare that the property of the Church was most unequally distributed. He, as a sincere member of that Church, agreed with his hon. Friend in the opinion that the income of the Church was badly distributed, and that the best interests of the Church required that the subject should be speedily looked into.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided:—Ayes 95; Noes 208: Majority 113.

List of the AYES.
Alcock, T. Cobden, R.
Armstrong, Sir A. Cockburn, A. J. E.
Bass, M. T. Collins, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Cowan, C.
Berkeley, hon. G. F. Dalrymple, Capt.
Birch, Sir T. B. Drumlanrig, Visct.
Blake, M. J. Duff, G. S.
Blandford, Marq. of Duncan, Visct.
Blewitt, R. J. Duncan, G.
Bright, J. Evans, Sir D. L.
Brockman, E. D. Evans, J.
Brotherton, J. Fergus, J.
Brown, W. Fordyce, A. D.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Forster, M.
Childers, J. W. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Clifford, H. M. Fox, W. J.
Freestun, Col. O'Connell, M.
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. O'Connell, M. J.
Glyn, G. C. Peto, S. M.
Greene, J. Pilkington, J.
Grenfell, C. P. Pinney, W.
Grenfell, C. W. Rawdon, Col.
Hall, Sir B. Renton, J. C.
Hardcastle, J. A. Ricardo, O.
Harris, R. Salwey, Col.
Hastie, A. Scholefield, W.
Hastie, A. Scully, F.
Henry, A. Sidney, Ald.
Heyworth, L. Smith, J. B.
Hume, J. Spearman, H. J.
Keating, R. Stuart, Lord D.
Keogh, W. Stuart, Lord J.
Kershaw, J. Thicknesse, R. A.
King, hon. P. J. L. Thompson, Col.
Lawless, hon. C. Thornely, T.
Lennard, T. B. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Locke, J. Trelawny, J. S.
Loveden, P. Villiers, hon. C.
Lushington, C. Wall, C. B.
Mackie, J. Walmsley, Sir J.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Wawn, J. T.
Mangles, R. D. Willcox, B. M.
Martin, J. Williams, J.
Mitchell, T. A. Wilson, M.
Moffatt, G. Wyld, J.
Molosworth, Sir W. Wyvill, M.
Morris, D. TELLERS.
Mowatt, F. Horsman, E.
Nugent, Lord Aglionby, H. A.

Original Question put, and agreed to. Select Committee appointed.

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