HC Deb 30 April 1850 vol 110 cc981-1053

said, that the subject he was about to bring under the notice of the House had been at various times, although not fully, the subject of revision since the year 1821, when that House had voted an address on the circumstances of the country, and praying for a revision of all salaries paid to civil members of the Government. That Motion was afterwards referred by Treasury minute to the heads of the various departments, and some alterations and reductions took place—considerable reductions, he believed, with reference to superannuations. That measure was followed up by a Committee of the House in 1831, to which were referred the salaries of Gentlemen who had seats in either House of Parliament, and which was somewhat analogous to the Committee appointed by the noble Lord at the head of the Government some short time back. Another Committee, during the same year, took cognisance of the various officers who were paid out of the Civil List, but who, from that time, were to be thrown on the Consolidated Fund. The result of these Committees was some reduction, although not to any very great extent; and since then he believed that there had been no general dealing with the subject. It would be in the recollection of the House, that about two years ago the present Government thought it right, considering the situation of the country, to refer various great branches of the public expenditure to Committees of that House. He had had the honour of serving on one of those Committees, which was appointed to revise the Miscellaneous Estimates. Now, that Committee, in its report, came to the following resolution:— Your Committee have not recommended any reduction of public salaries in these estimates, as, after some consideration, discussion, and division of opinion, they thought that such reduction should form part of a general revision of all salaries suitable to the altered circumstances of expense, and condition of the country. Since they were originally fixed, in the course of such an examination it would be found advisable also to establish a more uniform rate of payment for similar services in different departments. He did not find that in that valuable report on the expenditure of the Navy, the Committee had expressed any opinion on the amount of salaries paid to the very large civil establishments connected with that branch of the service. They seemed to have directed their attention wholly to the amount of service to be performed, and to have entirely overlooked the question of salary. This brought him down to what had taken place the other day, when the noble Lord then, on the part of the Government, brought forward a Motion referring certain limited branches of the public service to a Select Committee of that House. The noble Lord had not stated whether he contemplated the increase or the reduction of salaries; but he could hardly suppose that the noble Lord had thrown out this tub to the whale except for some specific purpose, which purpose, under the circumstances, must needs be reduction. However that might be, he should proceed to state broadly the three branches which the noble Lord had selected. First, there were such servants of the public as had seats in either House of Parliament; then there were those who filled diplomatic situations; and, thirdly, there were the occupants of judicial offices. He (Mr. Henley) thought he should be able to show that each of these three departments stood on special grounds, and that they left untouched the great branches of public expenditure. First, the judicial offices were paid in proportion to the income previously earned by the occupant at the bar; because it was necessary that those who were to guide and direct the administration of the law should previously have attained eminence in its study and practice. There was a specialty of itself requiring separate consideration. Next came the diplomatic service; and there, again, various circumstances were to be considered, such as the number of persons available having the necessary talents, and the expenses they were likely to incur in the countries to which they were accredited—items which might be influenced by manners, customs, and various other causes, all of which must be taken into consideration. With respect to the third head, the Gentlemen filling public offices, who held seats in either House of Parliament; there, again, he thought he should be able to show special circumstances distinguishing their position from that of other servants of the Crown. In the first place, those Gentlemen were in and out of office by turns; and, besides, their situations were attended with the peculiar feature, that, while other Government servants worked during the day, they were obliged to work both day and night—in the day in their offices, and in the night in either House of Parliament, On these grounds, if the Government and the country thought it right that the three great establishments of the Army, Navy, and Ordnance should undergo revision, he wanted to know why it was that all the larger branches of the public expenditure which he was about to bring under the notice of the House were altogether to escape. The Army, Navy, and Ordnance estimates came annually under the notice of Parliament. The judicial offices and those of persons having seats in Parliament had been revised, and were subjects of consideration, and therefore he thought it would be difficult to state any valid reason why the larger masses of the public expenditure should not be made the subject of revision. He knew it was held by many persons, both in and out of that House, and it had been held, among others, by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the right hon. baronet the Member for Tamworth, that no material saving could be effected except in the warlike establishments of the country. He (Mr. Henley) could not but think that there was a good deal of error in that statement. He thought that when he should show how large was the amount of expenditure that never came under the eye of Parliament, or at all events came under notice after a lapse of time when the interest had passed away, that the House would be of opinion that in all those departments considerable saving might be effected. He should now, with the permission of the House, proceed to state the amount of these various branches. He found that under the heads Customs, Excise, Taxes, Post Office, and Crown Lands—he was now looking at the finance accounts of 1848–49—that the amount paid in salaries and wages in the departments of the Customs, Excise, Stamps, Taxes, Post Office, Crown Lands, Quarantine, Scotch Judges, and other salaries paid out of the revenue, was no less than 2,818,001l. Now, not one farthing of this came under the revision of Parliament at all. He found that there was also paid to various commissioners in salaries 271,273l., and that the diplomatic salaries amounted to 140,000l. He also found as charges on the Consolidated Fund under the heads of Courts of Justice and Police, no less than 1,097,924l. These items altogether amounted to 4,327,197l., not one farthing of which came under the review of Parliament. There was a certain amount settled by Act of Parliament to the lives of the present holders, but that was not a large amount; and with respect to the rest, which might be fairly stated at 4,000,000l., not one farthing, as he had before said, ever came under the review of Parliament. Then in the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, the salaries and wages, which had nothing whatever to do with the fighting men, amounted to 1,515,881l. In the Commissariat there was about 100,000l., and in the Miscellaneous Estimates about 1,031,212l., making a grand aggregate of all these items of 6,974,291l. But that was not all. There was a large amount of salaries which were under the control of Government, and of which any balance saved went into the Exchequer. There were the county courts, with all their judges and officers, some of the Judges in Chancery, and all the bankruptcy establishment, besides all the officers in courts of common law. He believed that he might fix them at 500,000l., which would swell his aggregate for the various departments to the enormous total of 7,500,000l. Now, the whole sum paid actually to the officers and men in the Army, Navy, and Ordnance, was, in round numbers, 6,500,000l., so that the amount spent in the civil departments was actually 1,000,000l. more than was paid for the fighting service of the country. And yet they were told it was quite impossible to save anything out of the civil expenses, and that all that was possible to do must be done in cutting down the warlike establishments. It looked as if Gentlemen opposite wanted, in sporting phrase, to give a false halloo, turning attention from those branches in which retrenchment might really be effected. A great deal had been said out of doors, although the point had been disclaimed in the House, about the Army being kept up mainly for the purpose of providing for certain branches of the aristocracy; but he might say on this point, that he found the effective officers of the Army, including the staff, received about 1,100,000l., and the men, who were generally taken from the unskilled labourers of the country, about 2,200,000l He thought, therefore, it could not be contended that the people did not get a considerable share of the amount expended upon the Army. The noble Lord had, on a previous evening, observed that it was not possible to do much more in the civil departments than he had done, and was doing. He had saved about 100,000l. in the stamps and excise, and was about saving something more. Similar language was held by the late First Minister in 1845. The noble Lord went farther than the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tam worth; but as both agreed in the general statement, he (Mr. Henley) had been compelled to look into both, and would now describe them to the House. The statement made by the noble Lord was to this effect:— That since the year 1833 no loss than 2,170 persons who had been employed in the stamps and excise departments had been reduced, and a saving thereby effected to the country of 259,000. And the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, in his financial speech of 1845, made this statement. Speaking of the revenue departments, the right hon. Baronet said— It may be said that offices might be abolished, and emoluments might be reduced. I admit that no office ought to be retained which is not necessary for the public service. I admit that no emolument attached to any office ought to be retained which is not necessary to secure the faithful and efficient performance of the duties necessary for the public service. I vindicate no sinecures, and when an office becomes vacant we go through that process which has been so frequently recommended of considering if the retention of it is necessary for the public service, and if the emoluments will admit of reduction consistently with a due regard for the public interests. And with regard to the revenue establishments, and the charge of collection, the right hon. Baronet added— It is our duty to reduce those establishments as far as is consistent with the public convenience. I do not vindicate the retention of one single useless officer, but the public is interested in giving to the despatch of public business every facility that can be given consistently with a due regard to economy; and therefore, as far as the principle is concerned that the revenue ought to be collected at the least possible expense, and that you ought to make every reduction you can, upon that point I apprehend there can be no difference of opinion. But still, after that admission, you will find that the subject has constantly occupied the attention of the Government, and that great reductions from time to time have been made. But it would be a delusion and a fallacy to expect that you can materially reduce the public burdens by any diminution of the salaries of the persons employed. Seeing that the public salaries amounted, as he had shown, to 7,500,000l., he did not come to the same conclusion that no material saving could be made if it were found just and proper to attempt it. But at the close of the same speech there was something from which he drew some consolation. The right hon. Baronet then said— The House will observe that I take no credit for the ultimate saving there will be in the reduction of the public establishments. This diminution of clerks will afford a material saving. This statement was made in 1845—midway between the two periods 1838 and 1849—when the right hon. Baronet was about to introduce considerable modifications in the customs laws; and the House would see how far the prospects of general reduction held out had been realised up to that time. In 1838 he found the four great branches of public revenue—customs, excise, stamps, and taxes, cost the country, in salaries and other expenses of collection, 1,993,515l.; and in 1844—when, according to the noble Lord, great reductions had been made from time to time—the tariff having been revised in 1842, and between 100 and 200 articles entirely struck out—in 1844 the cost of collecting these same four branches of revenue had swollen to 2,034,167l. But that was not all. An important item for consideration in these cases was the superannuation allowances. In 1838, the superannuation allowances on account of those branches of revenue—he did not take the Post Office into account, because the penny postage haying been introduced in the interval, a fair comparison could pot be made in that department as between the same two years—in 1838 the superannuations paid to retired officers from these departments, amounted to 228,690l.; and in 1844 they had risen to 254,413l.; so that there was an increase not only in the amount of the salaries, but in the superannuations also; thus, as it were, adding to the expenditure on the right hand and on the left. But it might be said that the revenue had increased since 1838. Admitting that to be the case, yet he found that the cost of collecting had increased beyond its due proportion. In 1828 the cost of collecting the customs revenue amounted to 5l. 0s. 5d. per cent; and in 1844 it had risen to 5l. 4s. 2½d. per cent. In the excise the cost of collecting in 1838 was 6l. 6s. 4d. per cent; in 1844 it had risen to 6l. 8s.: and in stamps the cost of collecting had risen between those two years from 2l. 1s. 7d. to 2l. 2s. 8¾l. per cent. He could not make any accurate comparison as to the increase in the percentage of the assessed taxes, because the imposition of the property tax within the two periods would derange the basis of the calculation. He now came to the comparison between 1844 and the present period. He assured the noble Lord he was not unthankful for small mercies; he rejoiced in any saving, however small; but, at present, he did not find that any had been effected. In 1845 the House was promised distinctly by the then First Minister of the Crown, that if they consented to the repeal of the glass and auction duties, there would be a considerable saving follow in the costs of collecting the revenue. It was not often that the House had the benefit of a clear categorical explanation of anything from the right hon. Baronet; but on that particular occasion he did travel out of his usual course, and, with regard to flint glass, he told them that if the duty was taken off, the 57 per cent, which was the cost of collection, "would be saved. The duty collected upon flint glass was 61,000l.; the cost of collection, therefore, would have been 34,000l. a year; and 50,000l. a year was to have been saved in the cost of collecting the auction duty. Again, they were led to expect that great economy would result from reducing the number of articles in the tariff by 430, and the consequent saving of the labour of clerks and collectors. On the two items, glass and auctions, they were promised a saving of 84,000l. a year, whereas the whole reduction which had taken place did not amount to that sum. The amount of salaries in 1844 was 2,034,167l., and of superannuations, 254,413; making an aggregate of 2,288,580l. In 1848–49, the aggregate amount of salaries and superannuations was 2,294,648l.; and deducting reductions to the amount of 89,565l., they had a sum of 2,255,083l. against 2,288,580l. in 1844. The actual saving was, therefore, 83,497l., or something less than the amount which they were promised in 1844 would be saved in one year; or a fraction less than what they had been promised by the right hon. Baronet as arising from the abolition of the duties on flint, glass, and auctions. And this, notwithstanding the less expensive mode of raising taxes by substituting, to a large extent, direct for indirect taxation, which had been adopted. He thought he had now shown that the Government had not made out such a case of continued reduction in the charge on account of these branches of public expenditure as would justify the House in saying that no useful revision of the salaries and emoluments of these departments could be made. There was another branch of expenditure which he thought might fairly be considered. No man, he conceived, would say with regard to the various paid commissions which were in existence, that if those commissions were now to be proposed for the first time, the same amount of salary would in all cases attach to them. He recollected that some six or seven years ago a Commission was appointed for the management of cases of lunacy, and that some discussion took place as to the amount of salary which the Commissioners should receive. Would any man who took part in that discussion say now, if the question were again raised, that there would be any difference of opinion as to fixing the minimum salary then proposed? He knew not whether the noble Lord considered the case of these Commissioners to come within the terms of his Committee on Public Salaries; he did not know, but he thought it one to inquiry should be extended. There was a body of commissioners attached to the Court of Chancery—Masters in Lunacy, he believed they were called, whose duty it was to preside over inquiries as to unsoundness of mind; these gentlemen received a salary of 2,000l. each; but on what principle, seeing that a county courts judge received only half that amount, he could not conceive. In his opinion the whole of this class of salaries ought to undergo revision. He came now to another branch of the subject, in which, however, the noble Lord had, by the course he had himself taken, relieved him in a great measure from the necessity of showing why a revision should take place. It was as necessary with nations as with individuals that they should occasionally examine and overhaul their affairs; and the noble Lord would not have appointed his Official Salaries Committee if he had not felt that there was something in the circumstances of the present time requiring some revision of those salaries. He had, on a previous occasion, referred to the great reductions which had taken place in the price of all articles of luxury and of necessity. He did not attribute those changes altogether to recent legislation, nor was he one of those who thought there was ground for that despondency which some appeared to feel; but he thought at such a time it was a just and legitimate course to show that during a long period of years there had been a great alteration in the value of money; secondly, that there had been a continued and steady decrease in the rate of interest of money, which had had the effect of stimulating competition and lowering profits in all industrial and commercial occupations, which made it extremely difficult for persons who had not the advantage of a very large capital to support themselves and their families. He would not say that legislation had been carried on of late years with the view to such a result, and to secure to the person of fixed income the advantage which such a state of things gave him over others; but so far as legislation had interfered with the money laws and the commercial laws, it had tended to produce low prices. As to the policy of legislating to secure low prices, he would not now offer any opinion; and no doubt the reduction which had taken place in the price of many articles had been in consequence of the operation of circumstances over which we had no control. Within the last twenty years we had made considerable reduction in the interest of the public debt: this proved that the rate of interest had diminished. The official returns in respect to the national debt showed clearly enough the downward progress of the value of capital. In the year ending the 5th of January, 1829, the interest on the debt, which was (exclusive of annuities and other charges not liable to the ordinary rates of interest) 772,322,540l., was 25,342,549l.; while in January, upon a debt of 774,022,638l. a larger sum by 1,700,198l, the interest was 23,862,257l.; a less amount by 1,480,292l. This would be shown clearer by the table:—

Capital. Interest.
1829–5th Jan. £772,322,540 £25,342,549
1840–5th Jan. 774,022,638 23,862,257
£1,700,198 £1,480,292
(Parliamentary Paper, 1849, No. 428.)
The difficulty of obtaining the means of subsistence by persons of small or moderate capital might be judged of from the extent to which emigration was proceeding, for it must be remembered that people would not generally leave their own country willingly while they were able to get a living in it, and it was the pressure of circumstances which drove them from their native homes to a foreign country. The number of emigrants, which in 1828 was 26,092, had risen in 1848 to 248,089. This fact alone proved how severe must be the pressure upon the people. Nor was the increase confined to the labouring class, but it extended to those who possessed capital, and were in the habit of giving employment to labour, as might be gathered from a comparison of the number of cabin passengers in the two years he had mentioned. In 1828, the number of emigrants who had taken a cabin passage had been 4,829; but in 1848, out of 176,838 emigrants, it had risen to 11,550. Again, let them look to the criminal returns, and see how the comparative numbers of criminals stood. They were as follow according to the Parliamentary returns;—
Population. Criminals.
1831 13,897,187 19,647
1841 15,906,741 27,760
1848 17,497,415 30,349
No doubt there had been a considerable increase in the population between the two years; but the increase in the population bore no comparison to the increase in the number of criminals. He had shown from public documents that there was a great pressure on the people of this country, and that there was very great difficulty in obtaining the means of subsistence. In every town and village in the country they saw the same process in operation by which the small trader was squeezed down, and the larger trader carrying on his trade with great difficulty, and often against a ruinous competition, and he was sure every Member of the Government would admit that never at any former time were there so many applicants for every office, however humble, that fell vacant as at present, these applicants being for the most part persons of excellent qualifications, good character, and general fitness. To come next to prices. On the total amount of exports, the official and declared values are as follows:—
Official value. Declared value.
1828–9 £52,029,150 £36,152,798
1838–9 92,107,898 69,640,896
1843–4 117,574,563 51,932,656
1848–9 132,617,681 52,849,445
In the four great branches or manufacture—cotton, linen, silk, and woollen—the same result was more strikingly manifest. The exports of these were—
Official value. Declared value.
1828–9 £38,006,996 £20,921,652
1838–9 60,049,418 26,065,062
1843–4 83,926,385 26,490,778
1848–9 96,593,290 25,810,770
In haberdashery and millinery, now an important branch, the exports were—
Official value. Declared value.
1828–9 £44,224 £485,981
1838–9 49,348 516,053
1843–4 79,330 718,064
1848–9 429,760 927,603
The declared value was thus, in 182–9, as 485,000 to 44,000 official value, and in 1848–9, 927,603 only to 429,760. All this, he thought, tended to bear out the statements of which they had latterly heard so much of the difficulty, daily increasing, of labour competing with capital. It appeared by the painful statements which had for some months been before the public relating to the condition of many of the artisans of this town, that all parties who lived by the needle had had some common cause affecting them; the wives and daughters of mechanics were obliged to eke out their living by coming into the seamstress's department, whom again the tailors found coming into their line; indeed, one man said that their throats were cut by their own wives and daughters; and the shoemakers said the same. Now the declared value of the exports of haberdashery and millinery was about ten times the amount of the official value in 1828–29, 1838–39, and 1843–44; but in 1848–49 it had become little more than double, showing a depreciation of 400 per cent.

The registrar's return of persons engaged in various trades in 1841, gave the following figures:—

Cotton manufactures, all branches 280,889
Flax and linen all, branches 61,754
Silk 58,245
Woollen 97,353
The same return gave the following numbers in other trades:—
Shoemakers 214,780
Dressmakers and milliners 106,801
Sempstresses 28,311
Staymakers 6,570
Tailors 126,137
When the great number of children era ployed in the latter trades were taken into account, these two groups of trades might be taken as nearly equal in numbers; and he could not help connecting their sufferings with the remarkable manner in which the declared value had altered. He knew not to what extent these tables were to be taken as a guide, but it appeared that there must have been some cause at work during the last four years to affect those branches of trade in so remarkable a degree. Now, he had already mentioned that the noble Lord at the head of the Government stated the other night that, in the detailed account he had obtained of the various matters of income, he could find only two or three articles in which there had been any material diminution. He (Mr. Henley) had been making some inquiry—because these were matters which could only be got from private sources—and he found that a diminution had taken place in a long list of articles. Beef and mutton, for instance, between 1828 and 1849, had been depreciated perhaps 17 per cent; at the present time the depreciation was 24 per cent. Bread had been depreciated 20 per cent. In groceries, on 52 articles, the diminution was 25 per cent. Hay, straw, and corn, were diminished 20 per cent. Furniture and ironmongery had diminished 20 per cent, and linen 16 per cent. He was now speaking of the retail prices of these articles. Cotton had diminished 30 per cent; woollens, 10 cent; shoes 7 per cent; hosiery, 25 per cent; fuel, 25 per cent; wine, 18 per cent; and beer, 20 per cent. It was difficult to say what the percentage of diminution in locomotion had been. But, looking at the articles he had enumerated, he could not assent to the statement of the noble Lord, that there had been only one or two articles in which a material diminution had taken place. The noble Lord had certainly not told the House from what time he calculated, and therefore it was possible that his calculations had not extended beyond a very recent period. He (Mr. Henley) had now gone through the various matters which he thought bore on this question. He thought he had shown that the amount to be dealt with was not unimportant, and therefore that it was right to revise all the branches of the public service. He had endeavoured to indicate, so far as he could, reasons which satisfied his own mind, at least, that there was at the present time, and had been growing for many years, a general cry of more work and loss money. He believed that in all the relations of life this cry was to be heard. He also thought he had shown that there had been a great and general reduction of all the necessaries and luxuries of life. He was not one of those—he had never in that House been one of those—who pressed this question with an unwillingness to maintain what was justly due to public servants and public men. But he believed the true mode of maintaining what was justly due to both, was to exercise a true and just economy; and if the circumstances he had stated were correct, then he contended that it was the duty of the Government to revise those large branches of the public service to which his Motion had reference. It was no agreeable or pleasant task for anybody to talk of reductions; but standing as he did there as an independent Member, and a trustee for the public, having formed a strong opinion on this matter, he could not avoid bringing it before the notice of the House. Whether he might be successful or not, he could not tell; but of this he was certain, that if what he had stated was well founded, it was of such importance in an economic point of view that it must force itself on public attention. If, on the other hand, he had taken a mistaken view, he had at all events done his duty in bringing the matter fairly, and he hoped temperately, before the House for consideration and discussion. He could not, however, close his observations without stating that he believed, generally speaking, the Crown and the country had the good fortune to be served by a zealous, able, and efficient body of public servants; and further, that he, for one, did not think the recent reduction in prices ought to be carried out in its full extent in the reduction of the salaries of these public servants; but he did demand that the subject should be taken into consideration, as he believed that the salaries to be paid to commissioners, head clerks, and those in lower stations, should be subject to revision periodically. He had brought forward the Motion, because hitherto the Government had shown no intention of revising the salaries of the great mass of those officers who were permanently employed in the public service. [Lord J. RUSSELL: Hear, hear!] The noble Lord cheered that observation; but what he had done was to diminish the number of persons employed, but not to revise salaries. He (Mr. Henley) knew the noble Lord had done a great deal in diminishing the number of persons employed in public departments, but that course did not appear to lay open the question. Besides, the necessary amount of work might not be able to be discharged if the number of hands were too small, and in such a case you never could have proper supervision. If, unfortunately, greater pressure should come upon the country than there existed at present. Government might evince a disposition to meet the case in the manner now suggested. There appeared to be some difference of opinion even among the Members of the Government upon this subject at present. Ha had received a petition, which he should present to-morrow, from a board of guardians in Oxfordshire, in which they stated that the head of the poor-law commission had refused to sanction certain reductions they had suggested. The right hon. Home Secretary seemed to take a different view from the head of the poor-law commission respecting reductions. A question had arisen in the county of Gloucester last year with reference to the diminution of the salaries of the police force. The magistrates agreed to it. The parties, being dissatisfied with it, appealed to the Home Secretary, and that right hon. Gentleman sanctioned the reduction; so that among the Members of the Government there appeared to be some discrepancy of opinion on this very important subject. There was, however, in the country at large a strong feeling on this subject, but not, he believed, a feeling to carry the revision beyond what was just and fair. These were the reasons which had induced him to bring; the Motion before the House. He had endeavoured to do so as shortly as he could, though he feared that in handling so many topics he had trespassed upon their kind attention to too great an extent. He begged to submit the Motion of which he had given notice.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly to request that She will be graciously pleased to direct that a careful revision he made of the Salaries and Wages paid in every department of the Public Service, with a view to a just and adequate reduction thereof, due regard being had to the efficient performance of the several duties.


said, he was at a loss to understand what reasons had induced the hon. Member for Oxfordshire to bring forward this express Motion on the present occasion. There had been one or two Motions urging on the Government, who were themselves most anxious for every possible economy, reductions in the public service, and if he felt that the Government had been negligent in the discharge of that duty, he might have been disposed to accede to the justice of these Motions. If he did not feel he could prove to the House that not only the present Government but their predecessors in office had been year after year exercising a strict revision over the various branches of the public establishments, and that most of the increased expenditure had arisen from further duties imposed on the clerks in existing departments, or from new duties imposed on the Government, rendering it necessary to establish further offices, he should almost have been disposed to acquiesce in the Motion of the hon. Member. But when he told the House what had been the course pursued by the Government, and by their predecessors for some time, and when he reminded the House of what on former occasions the noble Lord at the head of the Government and himself had stated as to the reductions which had taken place, and the extent of which the hon. Member had omitted to mention, he could not see any object the hon. Gentleman could have in bringing forward such a Motion, except to express some censure, which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought the Government did not deserve, or to lead to some conclusion which he had not avowed. The hon. Gentleman went into a number of topics not very easily connected, as far as he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) could perceive, with the subject of his Motion, and when he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had come down to the House prepared to answer a Motion for the reduction of the salaries of public officers, and of the expenditure of Government, he had not expected to hear a long discussion respecting differences in the official and the declared value of different articles. But the hon. Member, in his enumeration, had not adverted to the changes which had taken place in the description of many of these articles, particularly those which came under the name of haberdashery. That word formerly expressed needlework performed by the hand, but at present much of what was called haberdashery was performed by machinery. There were persons in Glasgow who manufactured articles of that description by machinery at very greatly reduced prices; and when the hon. Member inferred, from the diminished value of articles under the head of "haberdashery," that the needlewomen were reduced to distress, he was arguing from premises in which he was utterly and entirely mistaken. The hon. Member had affirmed, that at present all persons earning a livelihood by the needle must be in a state of distress; or that, to use his own words, "the tailors' wives and children were cutting their husbands' and fathers' throats," and that it was the same case with the shoemakers. Now, among the complaints which had proceeded from that class, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) had heard one great cause of the depression existing among them was the low price for making soldiers' clothing paid by Government; and yet the proposal made by the hon. Gentleman would lead to a still further reduction of the payments, which, according to him, was one of the great causes of depression among these people. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen cheered, as if that was not the consequence of the hon. Gentleman's Motion. If Government were to reduce the rate of wages paid to the needle workers, they must necessarily depress the market still further, and create the very distress the hon. Gentleman had pointed out in such strong language as prevailing to an extent unparalleled in this great town. The hon. Gentleman seemed to blame his (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) noble Friend for having, on a former occasion, stated that there were various items which entered into the expenditure of persons of small incomes, in the price of which little or no diminution had taken place. It was unfortunately true that there would be little difficulty in pointing out such items. As to the cost of articles of food, for in stance, there was no doubt that while corn was cheaper, the price of some articles, such, for instance, as potatoes, was considerably higher. Without referring to documents applying to other parts of the country, he would state the case as to the comparative cost of food in the great metropolis, where the large body of the clerks lived, and he would contrast the cost of maintaining an inmate of the Marylebone workhouse in 1843 and 1849, including all those items which entered into the personal expenditure of clerks to which the hon. Member had referred. From the document in his hand, it appeared that each pauper in 1843 cost 4s. 4¾d.; But, in 1849, cost 5s. 0¾d. The price of flour was somewhat less, having been 34s. 7½d. per sack in 1843, and 32s. 3d. in 1849; but the cost of potatoes, an item of large expenditure, had increased during the same period from 54s. to 107s. 6d., while the price of oatmeal had risen from 11s. to 11s. 4½d., and meat was somewhat dearer also. He was therefore justified in saying that in many items the reduction so much talked of had not been practicable, and the increase in some of those items more than compensated for the reduction that had taken place in the price of corn. He could not help feeling that, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he stood in a very painful position at present. When in the House he was told that the Government did nothing to reduce the expenditure. He wished he could transfer some hon. Gentlemen to one of the rooms in Downing street, where they would hear complaints of a very different nature. Why, persons came to him every day complaining of the hardship the Government was inflicting On the unfortunate clerks by reducing their salaries, and these complainants were sometimes the very persons who censured the Government in the House for refusing to reduce the expenditure. He could assure hon. Gentlemen opposite it was no agreeable part of his duty to attempt to carry into effect the spirit of such Motions as were made in the House of Commons, and that the difficulty was not diminished when hon. Members not unfrequently came to him to complain of the cruelty of carrying into effect the propositions they themselves had supported. He quite admitted the principle on which the Government had proceeded in reducing the public establishments was not that which was recommended by the hon. Gentleman. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) did not believe it was a fair or just economy to reduce generally the salaries of all public servants. On the contrary, he believed the principle of reducing the number of clerks as far as possible, thereby throwing additional work on those who remained, and obtaining a greater amount of labour in return for the same salary, was a mode of obtaining a reduction which contributed more to the efficiency of the public service, and much more to the maintenance of a just economy, than the plan the hon. Member proposed the Government should adopt. It would be exceedingly unjust to reduce the salaries of all public servants generally. Nothing was more common in public offices than that when vacancies occurred in the situations of highly paid officers to fill them up by others who perform the same, and sometimes additional duties, at a much lower salary. The Government were for a just economy, but he did not think it would be right to reduce all salaries in such cases as these; and he must say, after the course the Government had pursued in throwing greater duties on these persons for the same amount of salary as they had formerly enjoyed, it would be most cruel and most unjust to turn round on them and reduce their salaries. The Government were bound to stand forward and protect these persons from injustice of that kind; and for himself he should feel the deepest regret if, after imposing such labour on them, their salaries were reduced by a vote of the House. The hon. Member seemed to have omitted the subject of the higher salaries, which had been referred to the Committee, from his Motion; and he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) would only say with respect to them, that he perfectly acquiesced in the words of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire on a former occasion, that in all offices distinctly under the control of the Government it was their duty, on their own responsibility, to introduce such measures for the reduction of salaries as might be compatible with the public service. He did not believe, however, it would be compatible with the efficient discharge of the public service to make a general reduction of the salaries at present received by the majority of the public servants. He did not mean to say, that when vacancies occurred among the higher officers, it might not be proper to replace them with others on smaller salaries; but he thought it would be monstrously unjust to reduce their salaries 30 or 40 per cent, after they had worked themselves up in the course of a long and laborious life to some of those few prizes which were to be had in the public service. Surely the House of Commons would not be so unjust or so unmindful of the merits of that most able and useful class of men, as to inflict such an injury upon them. As to the reduction of expenses in our establishments, he would state to the House what had been done in past years, as well as by the present Government; for it would be exceedingly unfair if he did not do justice to those who had preceded them in their efforts for the constant reduction of salaries. From year to year, and day after day, that constant reduction had been going on. He found from a return moved for by the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln, who was so watchful over the public expenditure, that the charge for salaries in 1815 was 3,763,000., while in 1835 it had been reduced nearly 1,000,000l., having fallen to 2,786,000l. Any increase that had taken place since that year had been owing altogether to the additional work and labour thrown on public departments, or to duties being laid on the central Government which had formerly been performed, if at all, by local establishments. He wished more particularly to refer to the departments under the control of the Treasury; and he thought hon. Members would see that especially in that description of office which had been hitherto considered as the peculiar private pieces of patronage possessed by the Ministers, most considerable reductions had been made, and that to an extent of which hon. Members might not be aware. Excepting the lowest class of clerks, the number of persons engaged in the department of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury in 1821 was 38, receiving salaries to the amount of 42,960l. In the present year 29 persons were employed, whose united salaries amounted to 24,680l. Thus within the last 30 years a reduction of nine persons, and of 42 per cent on salaries, had been made, and a saving effected of upwards of 18,000l. In 1821 there were three separate boards of Customs for England, Ireland, and Scotland, and there were 21 commissioners, whose united salaries amounted to 26,500l. There were now only eight commissioners, whose salaries amounted to 10,900l., and at the next vacancy a further reduction of one commissioner would take place, so that the reduction which had taken place since 1821 was more than half of the whole expenditure for that year. Next came the boards which were now united under the denomination of the Board of Inland Revenue. In 1821 there were 41 commissioners of those various boards, with salaries amounting to 43,530l. There were now but eight commissioners, with salaries of 11,200l.; and a further reduction of one commissioner would take place on the next vacancy. In these departments alone there had been a reduction of 75 appointments, and the amount on the united salaries was not less than 60,280l. That reduction had not taken place in the working staff of the establishment, but among the superior officers and among persons holding the rank of commissioners. Each succeeding Government had pruned down the establishments till they had come to the amount he had stated. Even in the last two years, if he took the expenditure in what was called the Treasury Salary Bill, and compared the amount in 1847 with that in 1849, he could show a reduction of 5,000l. and upwards. It certainly was not quite fair, therefore, to imply that Government had been unmindful of the economy which they professed, and which the House was so anxious to see carried into effect; and he hoped the House, by refusing their assent to the Motion, would express their opinion that the Government had not been unmindful of their duty. Lost there should be any misunderstanding as to the reductions which had taken place in the Excise since 1833, he would inform the House that the reduction of persons had amounted to 2,054, and of money to nearly a quarter of a million. Surely that was no inconsiderable reduction. The Paymaster General, the Secretary of the Treasury, and an old public servant. Sir Alexander Spearman, had been employed in revising the Customs establishment, and the result of their first report was, that there had been a reduction of 65,000l. a year. The second report, which had not yet been carried into effect, would occasion a further reduction of 7,000l. It was impossible to calculate the exact reduction in that establishment; but it must be remembered that a portion of the officers—the sea-side service—was kept up, not merely for the purpose of insuring the revenue, but to afford the accommodation to merchants and traders necessary for carrying on their business. He was sorry to be obliged to observe that the hon. Gentleman seemed to have wholly lost sight of all that had already been done in the way of retrenchment and the reduction of salaries. The hon. Member took no notice whatever of what had been done in the Pay Office; when, if he had made himself acquainted with the facts, he would see that by the consolidations effected in that office alone there had been a saving of 16,000l. per annum. Upon the charges of collection the hon. Gentleman appeared to lay much stress, and gave instances of increase of charge in cases where the revenue was decreasing. Now, it was well known that in the collection of the public revenue the charge was not necessarily regulated by the amount collected; and expense was often unavoidably incurred for the protection of the revenue. But to show that considerable reductions had been made in the cost of collection, he would state the charge per cent for collecting certain branches of the revenue during the last year, as compared with the cost two years before:—

In the year 1847 the charge for collecting the customs was £5 19 6 per cent.
In 1849 it was £5 15 per cent.
Being a saving of £0 3
In 1847 the cost of collecting the excise was £6 7 11 per cent.
In 1849 it was 5 13 per cent.
Saving per cent 0 14
In 1847 the cost of collecting stamps was £2 1 per cent.
In 1849 it was 2 0 per cent.
Saving per cent 0 0 10
In 1847 the cost of collecting stamps was £3 6 per cent.
In 1849 it was 3 5 0 per cent.
Saving per cent 0 1
He had here to observe, that those large reductions had been effected in the short space of two years; and he begged to remind the House he had formerly stated that which he would now repeat, namely, that these savings had been effected in the face of a very considerable increase of business. It was well known that in every department of Government there had been a progressive increase of business. From the very highest office under the Crown down to the very lowest, that increase had been manifest, and it was seen to contrast very strikingly with the amount of labour performed in similar situations thirty years ago. When a question was raised as to whether or not the employés of the Government were overpaid, it became no easy matter to say what Government salaries ought to amount to, but some light might be obtained from referring to the salaries paid by other great establishments, and by private persons, who were able to exercise great vigilance, and who had every motive for the strictest economy. Let them see if such persons paid less than the Government. Now, the fact was quite the contrary. In the Bank of England the gross amount of salaries was 211,903l.; whereas, the total of salaries at the Treasury, the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, the Privy Council, the Boards of Trade and Education, amounted to 238,000l, being only 27,000l. above that of a single establishment in the city of London; and it appeared that some of the more highly paid functionaries in that establishment had salaries as great as any of the permanent officers under the Government. With the exception of solicitors, who were paid according to professional rates, there were in the departments that he had mentioned few persons with salaries much exceeding 2,000l. a year; there were six or eight perhaps who had salaries varying from 2,000l. to 2,500l. In contrast with these he would mention the East India-house, which came nearest of any to the character of a Government office; there the Secretary had 2,400l. a year, and a house; and other permanent officers were rewarded at the rate of 2,000l.—1,500l. and 1,000l. a year, being about the ordinary salaries amongst the higher classes of permanent Government officers. From some of the public companies as well as from private individuals examples might be taken; there was the secretary of the St. Katharine's Dock Company with a salary of 2,000l. a year. There were secretaries of railway companies with equally large salaries, la a London brewery in the year 1846 the amount of salaries was 9,605l., whereas in 1849 they amounted in the same establishment to 10,949l., showing an increase of 1,344l.; there were, however, two small reductions in that establishment to the extent of 195l., which made the exact increase only 1,149l The House no doubt would at once perceive that private parties had every possible motive to work their establishments at once efficiently and economically; but men of business could not fail to see that reduction of expenditure was always a matter of the utmost difficulty. In order to show the probable effect of any attempt to force the Government to undue reduction, he should call the attention of the House to a passage in a report made to the proprietors of the Great Western Railway. [Colonel SIBTHORP: Hear, hear!] The hon. and gallant Member might cheer, but such cheers would answer no argument that he had used. He was not aware of any reason why that company should not be as likely as any other to exert the utmost care in combining efficiency with economy, or why they should not entertain the liveliest sense of their own interest. The report to which he referred showed merely the result, or rather the part of it which he should read, being the conclusion, would show the result of what the company had done. The report was dated the 10th of April, 1850, and concluded in these words:— It is with much regret the board feels bound by their duty to the proprietors to represent that the short experience of a few months has realised those apprehensions. Since the reduction was notified, the whole establishment has become unsettled—the officers and principal clerks, with few exceptions, have been seeking other employment, some valuable servants having quitted, and others are about to leave the service. Nor has the effect of the reduction been confined exclusively to those whose salaries were reduced, for several others, in despair of improving their position in the present service, have also resigned, to obtain more lucrative employment elsewhere. The directors have thus had practical proof that serious prejudice to the company has arisen, and they apprehend that still more must ensue, unless steps be now taken to give some assurance of an established scale of salary and pay upon which your officers and servants can rely. If length of service, with great experience and proved ability, are essential in managing affairs towards the prosperity and welfare of any important undertaking, success is not likely to be attained by the discouragement of those upon whom so much depends, nor can a reduction of reasonable salaries be expected to counteract pecuniary depression in times of difficulty.> There was great truth and justice in that statement, and he did not hesitate to say that if any announcement were made to the effect that salaries in Government offices were to be generally reduced, the State would lose the services of some of its best men; they would be bought away by the superior rewards granted in private establishments, and the change would prove an irreparable injury to the public service. He now only wished to refer to one matter, to which frequent reference had been made in the discussion of this subject—he alluded to the great increase of salaries in recent years. The hon. Member for Birmingham desired a return, not very easily made, but he did ask for a return of salaries in the years 1780 and 1790. The hon. Gentleman was anxious to reduce the present salaries, on the ground that they had been fixed during a period of depreciated currency. He must, however, remember that those were periods before the change of the currency, which took place in 1797, when the Bank restrictions were imposed. In 1780 and 1790 persons in the employment of the Government were paid in an undepreciated currency; but, in truth, it would not be possible to establish any fair comparison between the years 1780, 1790, and the present time, for in those days persons in the employment of Government were paid largely by fees, and their emoluments could not at all be said to be represented by their salaries. He happened to hold in his hand, and it was not often that one was enabled by accident to supply such an instance—he held in his hand a statement respecting Mr. Richard Bromley, who held office between the years 1763 and 1784, which, with the permission of the House he would read:— Mr. Richard Bromley served as chief clerk in the office for stores in the Navy Office from 1763 to 1784, when he only received a salary of 100l. a year; but upon reference to the evidence given before a Committee on Fees it would be seen that Mr. Bromley received about 2,000l. a year in fees, making a total annual income of more than 2,100l. a year. It appeared that in 1817, many years after fees were abolished, a salary of 740l. a year was fixed for the office formerly filled by Mr. Bromley. In the estimates for the year 1849–50, the scale of salary provided for the chief clerk of the Store Office, the same as that filled originally by Mr. Bromley, commenced at 500l. a year, and progressed by an annual rise of 20l. to 650l. a year as the maximum. So that from a mere comparison of the scale of salaries then and now there would appear to be a considerable increase, whilst, in fact, there had been a great reduction. If hon. Gentlemen would refer to the return of salaries under 1000l. a year in 1830, they would find the extent to which pluralities then prevailed; persons holding several offices of small amount, whereby their emoluments were greatly increased. The greater part of that system had been put an end to in one way or another, so that a careful comparison of that period with the present would give a fair criterion of the reduction that had taken place. But if they enforced upon every man the due performance of his duty to the public, and took care that his duties were such as to occupy his time fully, they would have effected a reduction far greater and more real than that which would appear from the face of any return that could be made. And he would press upon the House that it would only have the effect of unsettling the minds of a class of public servants, with whom they ought to deal more carefully, if they were to entertain the question of that further general reduction of salaries which had been suggested by the Motion of the hon. Gentleman. He saw by a report in a foreign publication that a return had been moved for of the names, &c, of all the persons employed under Government in France, and that it had been refused because it was estimated that it would require about twenty-four volumes to contain it. The amount of salaries was not given. But the number was returned, and from that it appeared that no less than 235,000 persons were employed by the public in France. Now, he had no returns from which he could state the returns precisely; but the nearest approximation he could make was that, exclusive of persons locally employed, about 50,000 individuals were employed by the Government of this country. He believed there was no other country in the world where so small a number was employed in the public service as in this. He was aware that the House of Commons would be disposed to accept with great caution the testimony of persons holding offices; but he hoped hon. Gentlemen would give him credit for stating it to be his perfect conviction that the permanent servants of the public were, taking them throughout, by no means an overpaid body of men. He had already mentioned that in certain instances public servants had been induced to leave and go into private employment, because better pay had been offered to them. He knew that the public service could not, of course, bid against private individuals in ordinary cases. But good men, valuable public servants, might be prevented from leaving if they thought that their positions were secure—if they felt that the whole reward of a life of service were not liable to be suddenly diminished. There were a great many meritorious public servants, first-rate men, whose places could not easily be supplied. It would not be well to give them cause to be dissatisfied with their position. And, speaking from his own experience, he did think that anything that would discourage the exertions of those men, would be a fatal injury to the public service. He had always thought that the public had a full right to the undivided energy of the public servants, and he had never spared either them or himself; but he well knew that if they had good servants they should make them willing and faithful by the manner in which they were treated, and not discourage them. He fully believed that the effect of such a Motion as the present would be to discourage them; and he said. Pay them well, and the work would be better done than if they were made so discontented that they would give only lip and not heart service. That he believed to be the sound principle on which all private establishments acted. He did not wish to express any opinion contrary to the general principle laid down in the Motion of the hon. Gentleman, namely, that the just and adequate reduction of salaries in all the public departments should be effected, due regard being had to the efficient performance of the several duties. That was the opinion which he himself held, and which was held by every Member of the Government. It was the opinion upon which they had been hitherto and were now acting, and upon which they should continue to act. He should therefore not ask the House to negative the Motion; he would merely ask them to pass to the other business of the day. If the Motion were meant as a vote of censure, it was undeserved; and as it embodied an opinion upon which they (the Government) were acting, and which they were not disposed to set at nought, he should content himself with moving the previous question.

Whereupon Previous Question proposed, "That that Question be now put."


expressed his opinion that the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire did not amount to a vote of censure on the Government. But what if it did? He (Colonel Sibthorp) did not care a farthing whether the Government considered it in that light or not. It was clear, from the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that there were to be neither reductions nor remissions of salaries. He never expected anything of the sort from the right hon. Gentleman. Neither did he expect anything from the Committee of the noble Lord opposite, then sitting upstairs. The scheme of the Committee and the plan of now moving the previous question, both of which were tantamount to saying there should be no revision and no reduction of salaries, were only two ways of throwing both questions overboard. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had drawn a comparison between the affairs of this great country and those of the Great Western Railway Company. Humbug! There was no analogy between the cases—not the least in the world. He had never held a railway share in his life—and did not care a straw about the situation in which the Great Western Company had got itself, except that he regretted the circumstance that the fair salaries of deserving and indefatigable servants had been cut down. And why? Why, because they were disappointed at not receiving the 15 per cent upon their capital which they expected, and so they tried to reduce their expenses as much as possible. A great deal had been said of the reductions which bad taken place, and of the clerks which had been removed; but what did such paltry reductions amount to when the salaries of the highest officers in the State—men who passed their days in idleness, and whose lamentable ignorance incapacitated them for business—were untouched. He believed in his soul that the sloth and ignorance of Her Majesty's Ministers were so great that if it were not for the exertions of the deserving clerks, the public business would never go on. It was on the Treasury bench that reform was required. But, after all, such Motions as that of his hon. Friend did some good. It did a great deal of good to stir these people up. There was the grossest job that ever existed, the Comptrollership of the Exchequer, a nice fat place for the noble Lord who enjoyed the ease and the emoluments of the office—some 2,000l. a year. He had tried to get that gross job abolished. He had not succeeded, to be sure. He was refused, of course; but he would try again. [Laughter.] Aye, he would. And he would tell the House that, even although he had not succeeded with his Motion, he had done some good. The noble Lord had never been in his office until that Motion had been made. But he was often there now. He (Colonel Sibthorp) had made a Motion about the expenses of the Palace, for which he had been attacked by a portion of the press. He did not complain of that; for he thought they would not do their business so well if the press did not now and then have a touch at them. But he would tell them that the fear of his Motion, and the fear of such Motions, acted as a check upon the extravagance about the palaces and about other departments. But they had heard nothing about the reduction of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's salary, nor about the reduction of other high salaries, although the Government told them of the people being able to live 40 or 50 per cent cheaper than they used to do. In former times a Chancellor of the Exchequer could not stir abroad unless in a chaise drawn by four horses; but now the hon. Gentleman opposite might travel in the third class, like any other passenger, and no one would be a bit the wiser. Now, with respect to the distressed needlewomen, and the process of expatriation that had been recently adopted in their regard, he disapproved altogether of making those women marketable commodities for sale and barter. Plenty of work might be found for them at home, at remunerative prices, but for the vile system of importing into this country the cheap and nasty goods of the foreigner, and thus encouraging him to send his rubbish and embroidery, to the damage of our deserving artisans. It was to the free-trade system that we owed so much of the poverty which our countrymen and women were labouring under. Then, again, with regard to the forthcoming nonsensical display, termed the "Exhibition of 1851," he considered it his duty to warn all persons with whom he had any influence not to go near it: nothing good could come of it. He had lately visited the place where he resided for the most part, and he had told the people not to go to London during the year 1851; because the exhibition of 1851 was a humbug, the only object of which would be to encourage the foreigner to send his cheap and nasty goods where they were not wanted. He availed himself of the opportunity to exhibit to his friends a specimen of the foreigner's skill—so he put in his pocket a decanter. [Laughter.] Yes, a decanter—an engraved decanter, and the price of the imposition was sixpence. Now, he asked, how was a man in this country, who was accustomed to eat roast beef and drink strong ale, after the manner of a Christian, to compete with those nasty foreigners who lived on brown bread and sour krout, and who manufactured decanters at sixpence a piece? He declared it was too bad that the industrious mechanic and indefatigable labourer, who was unable to get a fair day's wages for a fair day's work, should be compelled to contribute to fatten the set of idle fellows on the Treasury bench, that they might wallow in turtle and champagne. He did not anticipate that any reduction of salaries would take place—there were too many persons interested in keeping up salaries to hope that the House would carry his hon. Friend's Motion. The other night he (Colonel Sibthorp) had an unpleasant duty to discharge, when he submitted a Motion for reducing the number of Lords of the Admiralty by two. But private considerations must always give way to public duties, and this had induced him to persevere. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of the arduous duties of public officers. In reply, he would say, whenever a vacancy occurred there were always twenty candidates at least to step in to fill the vacancy. With respect to reductions, he did not dispute that some had been made; but, looking at the times in which we now lived, he contended that a great many more reductions were practicable. If not, where was the necessity for the Committee upstairs? The hon. Member for Oxford shire deserved the thanks of the country for the able manner in which he had brought forward the subject. He hoped he would continue to agitate it. If he possessed his hon. Friend's eloquence, he should take the same course. As far as he could be did so, firing a shot and raking the Government fore and aft. Much might be done by perseverance— Gutta cravat lapidem Non vi sed sæpe cadendo. He did not, however, think that much impression could be made upon the stony hearts of hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury bench. A dissolution of Government would be the effectual cure. Let there be a dissolution, and then they would see who would come in and who would go out and never come in again. They might then have an honest, upright, independent Ministry, and an independent House of Commons, for they had seen quite enough of free trade. The only way to restore this country to her former greatness—to make her the envy and terror of surrounding-nations, and a refuge and asylum for all who might be oppressed elsewhere, was to stimulate the honest and unreserved expression of opinion on the part of hon. Gentlemen.


said, the lucid and comprehensive statement made by his hon. Friend the Member for Oxford shire formed a striking contrast to the somewhat captious speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. His hon. Friend had brought forward this Motion for no party purpose, with no purpose of censuring the Ministry. But so determined was the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the House should not venture to express an opinion favor able to the course which he declared the Government was pursuing, that he represented the Motion of his hon. Friend, which would thus invite an expression of opinion, as an attack and censure upon the Government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had compared the emoluments allowed to their employês by the St. Katherine's Dock Company, and to the Bank of England, as affording a criterion of the several salaries which should be allowed to the public servants of this country; but there was no analogy, or scarcely any, between these private companies and the public service in its various ramifications. He had also declared that the imprudence of the Great Western Railway, in making an inconsiderate reduction of salaries, should be a warning to the House of Commons; of course, inferring that the House of Commons was unfit for the discharge of its peculiar duty and function—that of examining into and controlling the taxation and expenditure of the country. Would the House sanction this inference by rejecting the Motion of his hon. Friend? He (Mr. Newdegate) hoped the House would not. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt on the injustice contemplated by his hon. Friend. But his Friend contemplated no injustice. What his Motion purported was, "We have arrived at an epoch in the internal history and social condition of this country, owing to the great alteration in the value of all its products, which justifies a revision of the salaries paid to its public servants; on the ground, not only of the diminished cost of all articles of consumption, but of the generally diminished rate of remuneration for work done." If any injustice had been committed, it had been committed by the right hon. Gentleman in making such an unwarrantable charge. The proceeding of his hon. Friend was neither unprecedented nor unjust. On the contrary, it was an act of justice to the people to adopt the greatest possible economy consistent with the due discharge of the public service; nor was it unprecedented. He would not allude to the period of 1793, which had been carefully selected by the right hon. Gentleman, as being anterior to the general change which had taken place in the payment alloted to the public servants, by their payment in fixed salaries instead of fees. That beneficial reform had been adopted by Mr. Pitt; but he (Mr. Newdegate) would cite subsequent periods when those salaries, expressly on the ground that the cost of living had been enhanced—that the price of all articles of consumption had so increased as to render the remuneration then received insufficient, had been increased. He held in his hand an extract from a return made to the Treasury in 1801 of the increase made in the wages of all the artisans employed in the Ordnance expressly on the ground of the rise of prices. The return was an Account showing what increase or diminution hag taken place in the number and amount of salaries, emoluments, and expenses of the Office of Ordnance in the year 1800. * * * Increase of allowances—Gratuities, in consideration of the high price of provisions, to established clerks, whose incomes do not exceed 80l. per annum, 10l. per annum each; to assistant and extra clerks of three years' service and upwards, 8l. per annum each; and of one year's service, and under three, of 6l. per annum each; also of one day's pay per week to the foremen, artificers, and labourers on establishments in Great Britain—Increase 927l. 13s. 5d. That report and proposition were sanctioned by Mr. Pitt; and there was one remarkable circumstance connected with the increase then sanctioned. It was proposed to increase the salary of Mr. Rose, one of the chief officers of the Crown, but he declined the increase on the ground that he received sufficient emolument from other employments. This was long since; but the fact should not be overlooked, that the Crown was once served by men who would not accept salaries larger than they thought an adequate remuneration, and such as the condition of the country justified. The next document to which he would advert was a memorial from the Excise Office in Edinburgh, regarding the rise in the price of provisions in 1810, and praying for an increase of salary. They said— The last augmentation to the commissioner's salary was made in 1802, when their Lordships were pleased to raise it to 800l. Since that period the price of almost every article of consumption has been rapidly advancing, and the small augmentation bears no adequate proportion to the progressive enhancement of the price of every article of consumption, In 1812 there was a memorial of the Commissioners of Excise, in which they said— It is well known that the value of income has been most materially depreciated since the last augmentation took place, in consequence of the increased and increasing price of every article of necessary consumption. In 1815 there was a memorial from all the boards of revenue, praying for an increase of salaries, and in which memorial he found the following passage:— Adverting to what we have formerly had the honour of addressing to your Lordships in our memorials of the 14th March, 1810, and 18th October, 1812, we should only consider it as trifling with your Lordships' time were we again to enter upon the increase of prices in all necessaries of life, and the depreciation in the value of money, as an unanswerable argument to justify the necessity of an augmented expenditure. The following was the reply of the Treasury, dated February 9, 1816:— A careful examination of the revenue and, charges in the custom and excise departments both in England and Scotland during the last ten years, entitle those commissioners to this commendation of their public labours, and as a mark of their Lordships' high approbation of their past services, under the discouragement of repeated postponements of their applications to increase their salaries, on the just grounds they repeatedly specified in their memorials. * * * The Lords are of opinion that it is just and reasonable to increase the salaries. (Signed) "LIVERPOOL. Attached to that paper was the scale upon which the salaries had been increased. He had quoted these documents because he considered them very important. There was no doubt that subsequent to the passing of the Bank Restriction Act, and when we were enjoying effectual protection against foreign imports, which were also greatly enhanced in value by the risk of importation during a period of general war, that the prices of provisions and other articles of consumption rose very greatly. At that epoch the Government of the day thought proper to reconsider the condition of the public servants, and raised their salaries to meet their necessarily increased ex penditure; and the public servants showed their sense of the justice due to them by the repeated applications which they had made. Now, if we had reached an epoch equally remarkable, from a fall of prices—if we had embarked in a course of policy which must secure a low rate of price—if we believed in the certainty of the prevalence of that low rate of prices of the articles of consumption for the future, then, he said, the epoch had arrived when, in justice to their constituents and the country, the House was bound to act on the precedents established by the Government between the years 1810 and 1816, of accommodating the remuneration of the public servants to the altered circumstances of the country. His hon. Friend had adverted to the fall of prices; and no one could deny that such a fall had taken place, and the few bold predictions of rise in prices that had been ventured met with no credence. And although the Chancellor of the Exchequer might be pleased to cite the case of the democratic body composing the Marylebone vestry, for the purpose of showing that they were paying a large price for oatmeal; no one who understood the management of a pack of hounds would place any confidence in such a statement, because the fall in the price of oatmeal had been enormous. His hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire had proved a reduction in the price of meal to the extent of 17 per cent. The reduction in the price of flour was 20 per cent in London, and of that and other articles still greater in the country districts, however the price of bread might be kept up by the London bakers; and although the Marylebone vestry might contrive to pay the old prices at the workhouse, instead of the new, no one would be lieve that a general reduction had not taken place. His hon. Friend had alluded to the ill-remunerated condition of the persons engaged in haberdashery and millinery, and to the privations they endured. And what said the Chancellor of the Exchequer? He said, to be sure, "there is a reduction of price of their products and in their wages, in consequence of the machinery which had been brought into operation;" but the right hon. Gentleman ought not to forget that this competition by machinery had greatly affected wages, and formed a serious aggravation of the pressure from the foreign competition which was produced by the refusal of protection. And when he (Mr. Newdegate) heard of the large sum which the right hon. Member for South Wiltshire and his friends had contributed to facilitate the emigration of the unfortunate persons employed in millinery, he could not help thinking that, large as those contributions might be, the right hon. Gentleman's vote against the reduction of the duty on articles of millinery last Session by the Customs Act, had he given it, when he (Mr. Newdegate) stood up almost alone to oppose that reduction, might have been worth more to the milliners than any such assistance as he had not attempted to afford them. His hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire had adverted to another important subject—the change in the value of money. The comparative effect of the reduction of the price of produce on a fixed income, say of 100l., was much greater than was generally supposed. Suppose 100l. would have purchased 100 sacks of wheat before a reduction in price of 25 per cent, that reduction would require the farmer, in order to realise 100l., to sell not 25 additional sacks, but 33. The reduction operated to the advantage of the owner of fixed income, and increased the burden of paying it to the productive classes, not according to the percentage of the reduction upon the article, but in a greater ratio. The reduction of price of 25 per cent was in fact a gain to the possessor of a fixed salary of one-third instead of one-fourth. His hon. Friend had adverted to the low rate of interest. Now, a great delusion prevailed on that subject. It is said, "Money is cheap—the rate of interest is low. How can you complain of distress?" Now, why was the rate of interest low? It was owing to the fluctuation and uncertainty which had been introduced into the trade and the value of the products of this country by our commercial and monetary regulations. Capitalists would not incur the risk of investing money in the means of production, and thus expose themselves to the fluctuation which necessarily took place. They glutted the money market with capital in order to secure it from these risks. Abundance of money at short dates was no proof of the prosperity of trade, but it was a proof of the want of confidence on the part of commercial men, who would rather accept 1 or 2 per cent on bills at sight, than undertake investments which these bills represented. Although he had on a former occasion adverted to the reduction of the price of consumable articles, he would just trouble the House with one or two remarks. Comparing the official value as the test of quantity, and the declared value as the test of the money received, he found that the value of our exported articles, making allowances for the depreciation of the currency, in the four years ending 1818, was only 3¾ per cent, as ascertained by the test he had alluded to; but in the four years ending 1848 the depreciation amounted to no less than 56½ per cent according to the declared value, and 70 per cent according to the market value on all articles exported, and 23 per cent since 1830. Then with regard to the price of corn. The reduction in the price of wheat was now 40 per cent since 1818; the average price for the four years ending at that time was, of our present money, 71s.; and the average price for the last fifteen months but 40s. The fall in the price of wheat when the average price of the last fifteen months was compared with the average of the four years ending 1848, was no less than 30 per cent. His hon. Friend had shown that the Government could deal with the largest item of our national expenditure except the national debt, because he had shown that the salaries of the services comprehended in the list given exceeded the expenditure of the Army or Navy. And when the hon. Member for the West Riding next addressed any assembly out of the House, he trusted he would not again endeavour to impose upon their credulity by telling them there is no margin on which economy can be practised without reducing the defences of the country. The Government had now the opportunity of dealing with the sum of 7,500,000l., which was devoted to the salaries of those employed in the public service. And let it be remembered that this sum consisted of salaries received entirely by residents in this country, who derived the whole of the benefits which had arisen from the reduction of prices; whereas the soldiers, sailors, and embassies abroad, gained no advantage. He would now leave it to the country to decide who were the practical economists: his hon. Friend, who had last Session brought forward a Motion recommending that a percentage reduction equal to half the advantage which the possessors of fixed salaries had gained by the reduction of prices, should be adopted; and now urged a similar reduction, modified by the present Motion according to the labour performed: or those who, like the hon. Member for the West Riding, proposed to revert to a fixed sum, the revenue of a year long past, without consideration of the necessities of the case, and unjustified because unadapted to the altered circumstances. It was the difference between a party who adopted retrenchment as to the expenditure of 1835, as the shibboleth of a movement, in order to form the nucleus for an agitation, and those who simply sought economy as an act of justice. The hon. Member for the West Riding and his followers used economy as a plea only, under which they purposed ulterior changes, and as an excuse for introducing to the House Motions, for which the good sense of hon. Members would not allow them to vote, and then for holding up to the anger of ignorant and inflated mobs the very persons who were now proving themselves the real advocates of economy: that was the difference in practice between his hon. Friend and the hon. Member for the West Riding. His hon. Friend proposed, in a statesmanlike, a practical, and reasonable manner, to relieve the people of this country from taxation to which he thought they ought not to be subjected under the altered circumstances of the country: the hon. Member for the West Riding used economy merely as a plea for the foundation of an agitation which he hoped he might hereafter turn to account.


wished, before the House divided, to state very briefly the ground on which he should give his vote on this occasion. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he was at a loss to know the object of the hon. Member who had brought forward this Motion. The conduct of the Government, in having made large reduction, was an indication of their desire to proceed in the very direction intimated by the hon. Member; and therefore, if the House acceded to the Motion, it would amount to a vote of censure on the Administration. He (Mr. Hume) was not at all disposed to agree with the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer in that view. If the present Motion amounted to a vote of censure on the Administration, so also would the noble Lord's Motion for inquiring into the salaries of public servants. The noble Lord's Motion was only a partial one, but still it was a step in the right direction. His Motion was to inquire into the salaries and offices held during the pleasure of the Crown by Members of either House of Parliament, voted in the annual estimates, and also the salaries of officers engaged in law or equity, with the retiring pensions of Judges and those of the diplomatic establishments. The noble Lord must be well aware that, as it was in the power of the Crown to remove most functionaries, no inquiry was necessary; 160,000l. was put down for the dipomatic establishments. He believed more than one-half of that sum might be cut off with perfect safety—indeed with utility. We did not require so many diplomatic agents. We had gone on very well with Spain since our ambassador left that Court. We only required ambassadors in the four principal States in Europe. He would advise the noble Lord to adopt the present Motion. He was not one who thought much reduction could be made in the salaries of the working clerks; but he thought a great reduction might be made in their numbers, and that additional utility might be given to their labours by prescribing better hours of attendance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said he had not found, when he wanted a clever, talented man, any great stock of such in the different departments; but he did not tell the House to what extent he found the department stocked with useless men. If the Government wished to have really good and useful men appointed as officers in the public service, and to get rid of the annoyance and the evil of being pestered with applications made on political grounds, they would appoint a board to examine all candidates, and to ascertain their qualifications for the particular offices they wished to fill. Until some such mode could be adopted they would never have the country freed from a great many useless persons who could not possibly, from their previous pursuits, be fit for the situations they held. Did the noble Lord suppose that the country would be satisfied to rest with the inquiry which had already been proposed? After that inquiry had terminated, the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to propose a further inquiry, in order that there might be a complete revision of all the establishments. But after the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, he (Mr. Hume) could not expect any further revision being made. [Lord J. RUSSELL: It is going on now.] He was well aware that several departments made large and proper reductions; but did not the noble Lord know that, whilst with one hand they had been reducing certain departments, with the other hand they had been raising up new establishments? The Tithe Board and the Railway Board, both of which were established to meet emergencies, required curtailment. Before long, he should place resolutions on the table of the House, to show the difference between effective and non-effective establishments, with the view of suggesting permanent remedies of economy, but not those hot and cold fits of economy which had been so prevalent heretofore. He thought we required such a revision as was now proposed, and that the Government could not consistently oppose the proposition. The object of the Motion was to inquire into the number of officers, the duty to be done, and the salaries to be paid. That was a very proper Motion. In 1828 a Finance Committee was appointed to make a similar inquiry, but that Committee were cut short in their labours. He believed, however, that the subject of inquiry was a very proper one. He should vote for the Motion, but not for the purpose of throwing out any imputation against the noble Lord at the head of the Government. If he supported this Motion, he would be acting quite in accordance with the expectations which his known character had raised in the public mind. About fifteen years ago, attempts were made to abolish the sinecure offices at the disposal of the Government, but he regretted to say that they still existed. The House had several times voted that the public accounts should be presented to the House in such a shape that the debtor and creditor items could be seen at once and without difficulty; but the Government had failed to comply with the wishes of the House thus unmistakeably expressed. The Government professed their great desire to effect a wise reduction in the public expenditure, and yet they refused to the House any opportunity of seeing at one view their financial doings. He was very sorry that the Government had determined to oppose this Motion, for it would now go forth to the country that there was no desire on the part of the Government to make any reductions in the public expenditure. In his opinion the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward this Motion had proposed a very wise course, for he proposed, not that a Committee of that House, but that commissioners to be appointed by Her Majesty should inquire into this subject. And in so doing he followed the example set by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who, as soon as his colleagues came into office in 1830, made a similar proposition with regard to the salaries of the heads of offices. He (Mr. Hume) sat as a Member of the body appointed to inquire into that subject, and the result was very beneficial to the country, for the whole question went under review, and many items of expenditure were recommended to be reduced. And could it be supposed that the proposed inquiry would not have a similarly good result? The parish of Marylebone had been brought forward as an example of economy in its expenditure. He had lately wasted three Saturdays in attending as a member of the vestry of that parish, and he was utterly ashamed of the extravagance that was exhibited in the management of its affairs. Its expenditure as compared with that of fifteen other parishes was most extravagant. It was said that there was rather too much nepotism on the part of the present Government; whether that were so or not he could not tell. He did not think any set of men, whether Protectionists, Tories. Whigs, or Radicals, could keep themselves entirely free from that imputation. They were all guilty of abuses which in the process of time had crept into the system of government; and the object of the present Motion was to correct those abuses, without doing injustice to any man, or in the least degree impairing the public service. What objection could there be in assenting to the Motion? Why, when professing economy from January to November, should they in December reject it because the proposition came from an opposite quarter? If the noble Lord were guilty of any weakness, it was in not being determined to carry out his own policy. If he had adopted this Motion he would have met with no opposition in the House, while he would have gained the approbation of the public at large. The heads of the Excise department deserved great credit for the reductions they had effected; and the Customs were now under consideration. If good had arisen from these partial revisions, was it to be supposed that no benefit was to be derived from a general review of the public establishments? Taking the revenue at 56,000,000l., half of it, he admitted, could not be touched, but there was not one item of the other 28,000,000l. which might not be dealt with, except the civil list; and he was not quite sure, considering the changes that had taken place, that even the civil list ought to be left untouched. If it should appear necessary to effect a general reduction in the public expenditure, he was perfectly satisfied that the last person who would object to it would be Her Majesty herself. The readiness with which Her Majesty came forward and submitted to pay the income tax ought never to be forgotten. It was a voluntary act on Her part; and, in the same manner, without meaning anything invidious, he was confident that if it were deemed necessary to have a general reduction in order to afford relief to the country, there would not be any difficulty in that quarter. He hoped this Motion would not be considered one that ought to be in any degree affected by party feeling. It was a Motion which the interests of the country required should be adopted; and the adoption of which would not be casting the least reflection on Her Majesty's Ministers. He therefore hoped the House would assent to the proposition of the hon. Member, and thereby show to the people at large that they were honestly endeavouring to enforce upon the Government a system of economy, retrenchment, and reform.


said, he was also anxious, before the House went to a division, to explain the principle upon which he intended to vote. He intended to vote for this Motion, thinking it most useful—a Motion almost without meaning—nevertheless he intended to vote for it; and he believed the noble Lord and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, he understood, had moved the previous question upon it, would have done the Motion far more injury if they had dealt with it as he intended to deal with it—accepted it as a Motion brought forward for a purpose, and a meaning not in its words, but in its intent. The proposition which was before the House did not effect what the hon. Gentleman who moved it intended; but he would gain the popularity of being an economist by moving a mere truism, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government would, as he had said, have done it far more injury if he had accepted it at once, and said, "I take the proposition you move, because I cannot deny that it is true, for it is a truism; but you must have known, when you moved it, that you were occupying the time of the public utterly uselessly—that you had no object but to cast odium and to obtain popularity, and I will deprive you of what you wish to obtain." Now, let them understand what the proposition was, because he liked to deal with Gentlemen with this new-born desire for economy. The proposition was, "That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty, humbly to request that She would be graciously pleased to direct that a careful revision he made of the salaries and wages paid in every department of the public service, with a view to a just and adequate reduction thereof." Now, one would fancy, if it had stopped there, that there might have been some pointing at reductions; but oh! no, they must have guarding clauses, "due regard being had to the efficient performance of the several duties." Did anybody suppose that any Minister of the Crown—he did not care how extravagant he might have been—would not have immediately asserted that that was precisely the rule upon which he always acted? The noble Lord might have accepted the proposition without the slightest difficulty, and not be one whit coerced by the desire of economy. Who were the persons whose salaries they desired, on the present occasion, to revise? He agreed with his hon. Friend that there might be reason for inquiry whether or not more persons were engaged than were necessary for the public service. That might as well be instituted on the present occasion; but there was a great farce being played before the public by this Motion, of ths extent of the expense of these public servants. Let them understand the case fairly. He was not for beginning with the hardworking men. He could put his finger—the hon. Member for Marylebone had that evening' put his finger on a very remarkable item—he hoped they would have the support of these great economists when they came to touch the sinecures of the Church. He had a paper before him, and a very curious one too. It took 11 establishments in the public service. He would begin with the highest—the Treasury. At the present moment there were 37 persons employed there. Taking the average of the persons introduced into the Treasury, the age at which they went in was 20 years. Now, when they considered what the exigencies of the public service were, any man who ever dealt with business must know that there was a great deal to be learnt in the mere business of office, however instructed a man might be when he began that office. If he took a man who had attained the highest honours at either university, or who had been the most educated in any other place, either commercial or otherwise, place him in a public office, and he would be exactly as if he were placed in the office of a pleader-he would be wholly unused to business, and must begin, as it were, as a child—he would be a learner in the public service, a student, as it were, for the purposes of the public, beginning at 20 years of age. At what salary would be begin? He would begin, a gentleman admitted to the business required of persons in the Treasury, with a salary of 90l. a year; and he must be there two years before there was any rise of that salary. There were four classes in the Treasury. The first class rose from 90l. to 200l. a year; but a person, on the average of years, must have attained the age of 33 years before he could have reached 200l. a year. He then began the second class, and that was 300l. a year, and he might reach in that class 500l. a year; but by that time he had also reached the age of 50 years. Let the House recollect they were dealing with men who conducted the business of this country, and the question before the House of Commons at the present time was, whether those gentlemen, for they were gentlemen, were paid by the people of England in a way to call down upon them the imputation of living on those people without rendering an adequate return. Then came the third class, from 600l. to 800l. a year, and the last class was l,000l. a year; but, on the ordinary average of life, when a person attained that salary he must be 59 years of age. He had taken the highest of the public offices, and a man, before he could attain l,000l. a year, must be 59 years old. He was not talking of politics or the influence brought to bear in the House of Commons—he was talking of the working man, for whom he felt a great deal of sympathy; and, as he had said, a man on the ordinary average, going through the regular routine of office, must be 59 years of age before he got 1,000l. a year. He appealed to the House of Commons—looking to the habits of this country, and they must look to those habits—looking to all the exigencies a man must go through before he could fit himself for office—looking to the station he must hold in this great town, to meet others in the position of gentlemen, in the position of life in which he was, to be beyond the ordinary temptations of life, was it to be said that in the highest office of the working people of the State of this country a man must be 60 years old before he could attain to 1,000l. a year, and that that should be considered overpaying in a hardworking service? Would any one say that a lawyer in business might be deemed overpaid, if, when he began his life, he hoped at 60 to attain 1,000l. a year? and let them recollect it was amongst all the doubts and difficulties that surrounded a man in that position from day to day, from hour to hour; his family dependent on his life, on his strength, on his being able to perform the duties of his office. When they came to deal with these things, it was but fair they should consider the ordinary exigencies of society, and all that surrounded and was about them. Should it be said that the State only should be niggard, when in the business of life—ay, he would take an instance directly—in mercantile life men were better paid? [A cry of " Oh!"] He hoped the hon. Gentleman who was behind him and cried "Oh!" would tell him no; he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not tell them that he paid his servants worse; but he would take some instances. Suppose he took the Bank of England. He found the cashier of the Bank had 1,400l. a year with a residence; the assistant cashier had 1,000l. a year; the accountant, 1,200l. a year; the assistant accountant, 900l. He went to the East India House, and he found the same thing. There was no niggardness in that House as to the payment of then servants; but what there was in that House was what he would not answer for in the State—that they rendered service for their money. They were well paid, and they worked well; they were fit for their office, and they were not underpaid if they rendered service for what they received. He now applied himself to the Government. Making all those admissions, saying that every one should be well paid for the service he rendered, he asked the noble Lord on this occasion, would it not be wise to disabuse the public mind, to have a full and complete inquiry, not for the purpose of casting a slur on the Government, for the Government could not he impeached on this occasion? They were not in the position of other Governments, for there had been no opportunities like the present for many years. No Government had been pressed as the present Government had been with a desire of economy—not that there had not been Oppositions, as the noble Lord must know, who had been advocates of economy. [A laugh.] He did not mean that; but the peculiarity was this, that by the alteration in our commercial policy that protection which was given to the landed interest had been taken away, and Gentlemen on that (the Opposition) side of the House had been suddenly smitten with an exceeding love of economy. [Mr. LAW: Reciprocity.] Reciprocity—the hon. and learned Gentleman was right. They were smitten with a new-born zeal now that they found—and he was delighted they did find—there was no longer protection for them, and they very honestly said there should be no protection for any one else; and the people of England was the gainer. He acknowledged it; and now let them try it. He had no objection to try it; and in no case should he be so willing to try it as in that of those whom he called the hardworking men in our public offices. Men in the highest stations were of necessity always pointed at. Gentlemen on the Ministerial side at the heads of offices received what he called large salaries. He might be professing an opinion exceedingly unpopular; he had professed it elsewhere; he did not think they were overpaid. He had heard it stated that the heads of his own profession were overpaid. He at once boldly said, he did not think they were. If, then the heads of that profession were not overpaid, and the heads pf the Government were not overpaid, and the subordinates were not overpaid, where was the overpayment? It could only be in the number of persons employed, and he was sure the noble Lord would do well to allow the inquiry, to show that the numbers were not over what they ought to be; for if it could be proved that they were over what they ought to be, the noble Lord would be the first to be benefited by the reduction. He could not suppose the Government having any interest whatever against the interest of the country. Let the noble Lord, therefore, adopt the proposition of the hon. Gentleman. Let him take it as it stood. Where was the harm that would result from it? When his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose and he could go out into the lobby with the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, they were not going out in opposition to the Ministry, but simply for the purpose of testing the question whether or not the services of the State were performed at an expense which the State ought not to pay; and, if they were, he was sure no person would be, or ought to be, more ready than the head of the Government to keep down that expense. Well, then, why should not an inquiry be made? Why should they have what he always considered a subterfuge—the previous question? The noble Lord, by that, professed that inquiry should be made, but that the time was inconvenient for it. [Cry of "No!" from the Treasury bench.] The noble Lord must forgive him for reading the orders and forms of the House according to the ordinary mode in which they were taken; and according to the ordinary forms of the House, this question was a most inconvenient question as to time. The noble Lord said, by moving the previous question, "Before I go to the question itself I will ask the House of Commons whether they think this is the proper time for entertaining such a question." That was the meaning of the previous question; and he wanted to know whether there could be a better time to entertain such a question than the present? In what state were they? In a state of various circumstances of transition? A new commercial policy had been instituted; the prices of the necessaries of life had greatly fallen; there was perfect peace; no man could expect anything but acquiescence, perfect, complete, unhesitating, in any determination of that House. Could they conceive a combination of circumstances more fitting for the inquiry than that? and yet the noble Lord said he would interpose the previous question. He could not conceive anything more impolitic. He believed that the people of this country, if they were fairly dealt with, would be most generous in their payments—would treat their well-deserving servants with a generosity that would never be surpassed—that they would come forward to pay and reward most freely if they were only told that the service had been rendered. He did not believe that of the merchants and traders of this country, ay, and the honest working men who got their bread by their labour, there was one who would not aid the noble Lord in a generous disposal of the public money for the service of the State. He, therefore, should oppose the Motion of the noble Lord, by which an evasion would be practised on the House. The people of this country had a right to have this question gone into, and for that reason, and for that only, he would vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire.


Sir, I agree in so much of what has been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken, particularly with regard to the services rendered by those who occupy the subordinate places in the chief departments of the State, and the obligations due to them for the fidelity, integrity, and ability with which those services are rendered, that I am surprised at being obliged to arrive at a conclusion different from that at which he has arrived. The reason, I apprehend, of that difference is, that I put a different construction upon the intention of the Motion, and a different construction upon the effect of the Amendment by which it has been met, namely, "the previous question." I do not understand the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire to seek for a Parliamentary inquiry into the reduction of salaries. A Parliamentary inquiry has been instituted of which, I should infer from his speech, that the hon. Gentlemen was not aware—into the salaries of all the chief officers of State—into the salaries of all those who occupy offices in the diplomatic service, and in the judical departments. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire moves a resolution, the object of which, as I said before, is not a Parliamentary inquiry. It would impose upon the Government the performance of a duty enjoined upon them by the resolution of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire, namely, to undertake the revision of salaries, and to submit to the House their scheme for reduction if they thought reduction possible. The Member for Sheffield says that this Motion is a truism, and therefore ought to be acquiesced in. But I apprehend there may be many truisms moved in the House of Commons that ought not necessarily to be acquiesced in on that account. The whole of our attention would be directed to the discussion of truisms and the adoption of truisms if the doctrine of the hon. and learned Gentleman was correct. The House of Commons ought not to vote truisms unless they are intended to have a practical consequence. The House of Commons ought not to vote a resolution, though it affirm that the truth of which is unquestionable, unless it be justified by some act done, or directed to some object to be attained. This Motion, if it mean anything—and I am certain it is brought forward by the hon. Gentleman who made it with a bonâ fide intention—would seem to imply that a great reduction might justly be made in the salaries and wages paid in every department of the public service, and particularly to that class of officers who, the Member for Sheffield thinks, are not at present sufficiently, or at least more than sufficiently, remunerated. It is because I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman in that opinion that I cannot countenance a delusion by voting for this resolution, which is meant to have a practical result, in direct opposition to such opinion. By voting for "the previous question," I do not negative inquiry. Let every inquiry be made by the authorities fitted to conduct it, namely, the Executive Government. I shall vote for the previous question; but in so voting for it, I do not mean to imply that this is not a time at which a revision should take place and a reduction be made in every department in which it could be effected. I must now refer to that portion of the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire, in which reference is made to a speech delivered by me in the year 1845. The hon. Gentleman is labouring, I think, under an erroneous notion with respect to that speech. If I recollect rightly, in that speech I did not lay down this position, that unless you reduced the great military establishments you could make no effectual reduction in the public expenditure; but I said this, that there was a general impression on the part of the public, that on the whole of the expenditure of this country there was an opportunity of making vast reduction. I said the whole expenditure of 1845 amounted to 48,000,000l.; and that a very large portion of that expenditure did not admit of reduction—that you should deduct the whole amount of the interest of the public debt, and the civil list, and other charges, amounting in the whole to nearly 35,000,000l. on account of expenses that could not be reduced by the Executive Government, leaving 13,000,000l. as the amount of expenditure, including in that sum the great military establishments, which were open to revision and reduction. I did not imply that there could be no reduction in the civil establishments, but I thought it would be countenancing an erroneous expectation to lead the public to think that from the reduction of salaries in the civil offices they would obtain any great relief. The hon. Gentleman has also referred to what I said as to the reduction of the excise duties, particularly the glass and auction duties. He appeared to think that with respect to the extent of the reductions of establishments which thereby would be effected, the promises which I made were not fulfilled. This is not the case. In recommending the reduction of the auction duties and glass duties, I observed that, independent of the advantage to enterprise and to manufacturing skill which would result from the relief from duties, it was also to be considered that it would enable us to make reductions in the excise establishments. Now, if the hon. Gentleman will refer to the returns made in 1846, he will find that every expectation that I held out was entirely fulfilled. In the year 1846, a Motion was made with repect to the extent of the reductions in the excise. It appeared that 450 persons holding office were reduced, and a saving effected of expenses and salaries, amounting to not less than 52,000l in the year 1846—the year after the reduction of the auction and glass duties. If there has been an increase in expenditure of another kind, that does not warrant the hon. Gentleman in saying that the expectations I held out from a reduction of the glass duties were not fulfilled. The selection of those duties for absolute remission, thereby admitting of the reduction of 450 officers of excise, was a tolerable proof that the imputation thrown out of a desire on the part of the Government to maintain establishments for the purposes of patronage, is entirely unfounded. It is as unjust to Bay that the Army is kept up to find commissions for the sons of the aristocracy, as to assert that the Treasury maintains civil offices on account of the desire for patronage. I am sure there has not been during the last twenty years a First Lord of the Treasury who would not have rejoiced in the reduction of offices, not only on account of the pecuniary saving to the State, but on account of the relief to himself which diminished patronage would afford. If I could charge the Government with any neglect of duty, I would vote for the Motion; but having had some experience in those matters, and having heard of the "amount of reduction voluntarily made by the Government, and confiding in their desire to continue the progress of retrenchment, I do not feel justified in casting upon them the censure which the carrying of this Motion would imply. This Motion has no reference to the salaries of the great officers of State, but has reference to those who hold subordinate offices. The Member for Sheffield says that he does not know the persons holding such offices, though his general impressions were in favour of them; but I can confirm, from long personal experience, all he said in praise of those who fill those offices. In considering the services of the gentlemen employed in them, it must be recollected what frequent changes there have been among those who preside over public affairs—the inexperience with which they enter office—their dependence, however active they may be, for a certain time upon the knowledge and experience of the men who fill the chief situations under them. I will take, for example, the case of one whose death has recently closed his career of public services—I allude to the late Mr. Brooksbank. What Gentleman is there who has filled the office of First Lord of the Treasury, or Chancellor of the Exchequer, who does not know the reliance he has been obliged to place for months after his entrance upon his official duties on the experience and knowledge of that gentleman? Review all the offices, and you will find the same necessary dependence. The Member for Oxfordshire says, that the rule with respect to non-official persons has been increased work and diminished pay. Increased work at least is the rule in every public office. Compare the number of papers recorded in the Treasury for the last ton or twenty years, with the number of papers now recorded there, and you will see that the increase of duty is probably fourfold. The hon. Gentleman says, that the clerks in public offices are not required to labour by night. He is wrong; by day and night the services of those who fill subordinate offices, are placed willingly at the disposal of the Government. I ask the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs if he cannot confirm the truth of this, and whether at all hours of the night the officers who assist him do not consider their services to be at all times at the disposal of their superiors? [Viscount PALMERSTON: Hear, hear!] The hon. Member for Oxfordshire asks, what is the progression of salaries? The salary which a clerk—a gentleman perhaps by birth—receives on his original appointment rarely exceeds 90l. per annum. He is placed in office, and remains two or three years at 90l. a year. That sum is insufficient to meet the expenses to which his friends are put, and after a certain period of service he receives perhaps 200l. It is not the amount of labour you are to consider in this case, but you are to consider the trust that: is reposed in all those gentlemen. The Secretaries of State, or the First Lord of the Treasury, cannot perform their duties without entrusting the secrets of State to men who are in receipt of some 300l. or 400l. a year; and can you give an instance in which the confidence thus reposed has been violated? It is not, therefore, the amount of duty required of them that is to be considered, but the extent of confidence placed in them. Depend upon it, nothing could be more mischievous to the public service of the country than to reduce the emoluments of these subordinate but most confidential employments, to such an extent as would render the offices untenable by men who, though they may not have the fortunes, have the character and the feelings of gentlemen. I rejoice in the opportunity to bear my testimony to the scrupulous fidelity with which the subordinate officers discharge their duties, and the great ability which many of them have displayed, with whom I came in contact, and the proofs given by them that they were worthy of confidence. You have heard how in other countries the means have existed of obtaining knowledge of State affairs, and how important secrets and documents have become known; but you never heard of a case in which there could be a just imputation cast on the honour of the humblest man employed in our establishments. When I was appointed to the office of First Lord of the Treasury, I was allowed salaries for two private secretaries, not exceeding for each the sum of 300l. The gentlemen I employed, were clerks on the establishment of the Treasury—they were as fully cognisant of everything that passed in the administration of public affairs as I was myself. When I left office I left it without the means of marking my sense of their services except by the simple expression of my gratitude. But if they had had 3,000l. a year instead of 300l., it is impossible they could have more faithfully and honourably fulfilled their duties. The account I give of them is similar to that which can be given of other persons occupying similar situations in the State. If the Motion of the hon. Gentleman be that there should be a revision of the salaries of those officers, I am bound by considerations of justice to vote against the Motion, which would inflict a wrong upon many men to whom the public are deeply indebted. I do not, however, disagree with the hon. Gentleman in everything he has stated. I think that the price of provisions forms a just element in considering how we should form new establishments. But the lowered price of provisions does not justify the application of reduction to those who have been labouring in the public service for a number of years, and who have been justified in the expectation that the prospects with which they entered the public service should not be clouded. Entertaining that opinion—believing those who fill subordinate offices are fairly entitled to consideration and protection, I readily vote for an Amendment which implies that the sense of the House ought not to be taken on the proposition that has been made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire.


said, he should oppose the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, because it contemplated a general reduction of salaries as well as of wages. If he accepted it as contemplating a reduction of wages, then he (Mr. Cobden) was brought in that House to an admission that there ought to be a general reduction of wages throughout the country; for it certainly would be regarded as a war upon wages. When he referred to wages he meant the pay or emolument of the men who were employed weekly and paid for their labour. Now, he objected to an attempt to reduce wages by a vote of that House, because it would be impracticable, and being so, could be regarded as nothing better than nonsense. He also objected to the attempt then made to reduce salaries and wages, because he was opposed to the way in which the question had been urged by hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. It had been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite that since 1828 and 1829 there had been a reduction in the prices of articles of consumption—such as meat, flour, iron, and woollens, of from twenty to twenty five per cent; and they then argued from that that there should be a proportionate reduction in the amount of salaries and wages. Now he did not see the necessary consequence of these premises. There might be a reduction in the price of commodities because of the improvements and novel inventions brought into operation in the production of these articles. Iron was cheaper at present, by reason of these improvements and inventions, which economised the means of production. There also had been improvements in the mode of producing corn and cattle—and consequently they were cheaper at present than at the period referred to. A great amount of drainage had been accomplished, and guano had been brought into general use; and having attained those discoveries in science and in the mode of production, he asked why should not the working classes, as well as the other classes in society, share in the benefit of them? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire had spoken as though every class in the community, as well as the hardworking class, had suffered a diminution in their incomes. He denied that. He denied that rents had been reduced—that there had been a general reduction of them; at least, there had been no reduction in the north of England, and he did not anticipate any. Now, as to a reduction in the price of commodities leading to a reduction of wages, he maintained the tendency was quite the other way. He would take the manufacturing operatives of the country as an instance, and assert that during the very process that hon. Gentlemen opposite were complaining of, the reduction in the cost of living, there had been a tendency to advance the wages of those engaged in such pursuits. They heard a great deal in the way of complaints about the distress of the stocking weavers, lace makers, and similar branches in the midland counties. But what was the fact? Why, that there had been strikes repeatedly, and consequent advance of wages to an amount that had not been known for fifty years previously. How, therefore, could hon. Gentlemen come forward and say the country was in such a distressed state that the salaries of the Government clerks and officials should be reduced? They might indeed urge that the wages of the agriculturists had been or would be reduced. They had heretofore been reduced to that state in which the reward of labour was measured by the means of subsistence. They had been reduced to what he should term the slavery state of wages. The state of things in the agricultural districts heretofore was such that the labourer employed received only an amount of wages which, when converted into food, had been merely sufficient for the sustenance of himself and family. When the price of food rose, his wages were increased, to enable him to get food; and, when the price of food fell, his wages were reduced to the level that procured him merely the same amount of food. In the agricultural districts he maintained, notwithstanding that there might have been some reductions in money wages, that the labourer was better off since food had been reduced to a more moderate price than in the year 1847, the boasted year of prosperity'. He, therefore, drew a different conclusion from the reduced prices of commodities to that which hon. Gentlemen opposite did; and he should say no argument had been adduced to prove to them that they should pass resolutions calling on the House and Government to proceed to a reduction of wages. He would not confine himself to the men of weekly labour and weekly salary, but would come to the clerks in the Government offices, many of whom were receiving moderate salaries, less, he might say, than skilled artisans were in the habit of receiving. He had in his possession a pamphlet on the subject, which enumerated some 13,000 Government clerks, but of which number only 8,000 had salaries of 100l. a year. Now, was it proposed by the resolution of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire that the whole of these clerks should have their salaries reduced? He protested against such, as it would be a most unjust and unbusinesslike conclusion to arrive at, and also as it would be totally impossible to effect it. He joined in the expression of opinion of several hon. Gentlemen that in the case of a large proportion of the servants of Government, the salaries were not high. He joined in the opinion expressed that it would be better to diminish the number of servants than to reduce the salaries of those holding places. But what he objected to was, and it was one reason why he should not vote in favour of the Motion, that the hon. Gentleman, in introducing the Motion, did not advert to the possibility of a reduction in the number of officials, but referred merely to a reduction in salaries; and, at the same time, he did it in such a way as led him (Mr. Cobden) to infer that there should be a sting in the resolutions, and that the Motion should be a retaliation on hon. Members who had succeeded in reducing the price of food. He had listened to the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose with great satisfaction, because he thought in all he said he was sound and conclusive, yet everything he said went against the resolution of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire. The hon. Gentleman dealt with salaries, and sought to reduce them by the enactment of a sweeping measure. The hon. Gentleman who introduced the Motion, as well as others on his side of the House, who followed him, went out of their way to attack him (Mr. Cobden) for having said that the best way to reduce the expenses of the country was by a reduction of the armament; and they then went on to give an exaggerated statement of what he had really said, as though he had stated that no reduction should be made except in the Army. What he really did say was, that they could make no material reduction unless they touched that great item, the military establishment. And he wished to know what was the result of the reductions that had been made since the period when he made that assertion? In 1848 and 1849 the expenses of our armaments, including the Kafir war, amounted to 18,700,000l., whilst at present the whole of their estimates amounted only to 14,300,000l. So that, so far from being wrong, he found that nearly the whole of the reduction in our expenditure had been in the Army, Navy, and Ordnance. He thought the hon. Gentleman also went out of his way in entering into a defence of the military establishment, which did not at all belong to his Motion. The hon. Gentleman had stated that 6,500,000l. was the amount that would be required for the effective service; but effective and non-effective, it amounted, as he (Mr. Cobden) had already stated, to 14,300,000l. And, indeed, he might say that the time had come when they ought to deal with the non-effective in the civil expenditure, as well as with the military, not by stopping the pensions of those who at present held them, but by stopping them when the existing recipients should die off. Indeed, looking at the system of pensions and superannuaions, he did not see how they could act otherwise. Now, whilst on that point, he should say that he could very well understand why a naval or military man, who lad got maimed in the service of his country, should have a pension; but he did not see why men in civil offices, who had been paid large salaries by the public for many years, should, on retiring from office, claim to be allowed retiring pensions. Reference had been made by his hon. Friend he Member for Montrose to three great branches of civil expenditure, which had been examined into by Committees upstairs; and his hon. Friend had said, that he saw 10 good whatever in Committees, unmindful of the good that had been effected by Committees moved for by himself. Now, he (Mr. Cobden) saw great utility and value in Committees; and he would beg to call, to the mind of his hon. Friend the Committee which sat on the Import Duties, and which did more to carry the measure of free trade than anything else that had been lone to forward that great measure. Then, there was the Committee on the Woods and Forests, which likewise produced reformation; and he doubted not the Committee on the African squadron would also be productive of much benefit. It was not by the votes of the Committee that changes were effected; but the evidence, being published, was used by the press and the public, on whoso opinion, as also on the opinion of that House, it exercised a very important influence. Therefore it was that he voted for the appointment of a Committee to consider what reductions could be effected in the salaries of public officers; and he doubted not that Committee would fulfil its functions properly. He hoped the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government would subject all to the searching ordeal of a Committee, and that the Government and that House would sanction the reductions recommended by them. He felt great regret in having to differ with his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose, who, he thought, had made a speech in one direction, and determined to give his vote in another. He (Mr. Cobden) opposed the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, because he objected that the moderate salaries of humble but deserving individuals should be reduced. He also opposed the Motion, because of the reasons urged for that reduction, and because he would not have a blemish cast upon the principles of free trade. He would not be a party to make it appear that this country was less able now, under the provisions of free trade, to pay their servants than heretofore, under the system of protection, or that in consequence of the operation of free trade these servants were to be paid less, and that the people of all classes had not a right to the benefits consequent on free-trade operations—therefore he should vote against the Motion.


said, that he was surprised that the hon. Gentleman who had last addressed the House should have brought forward the case of the agricultural labourers, without seeming to be aware of one peculiar feature in their case, which was that the effect of the poor-law had been to prescribe the minimum of wages, below which it was impossible for wages to fall; and, moreover, that he did not seem to be aware that the amount of wages formed no criterion at all for the amount of wages which the whole body of labourers were earning, because in many parishes with which he was acquainted, where wages Seemed high, a great number of persons were wholly out of employment, and, consequently, the amount which was paid had to be divided among the whole population, and not solely divided among the labourers actually employed. The speech of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield seemed also an extraordinary one; it certainly would be satisfactory to the House, and certainly to the country, if Her Majesty's Ministers would have the kindness, once for all, to tell them whether the country had gained or lost by their measures; because in the course of the debate they had been clearly told they had not gained a single farthing, whereas at the commencement of the Session they were told that there had been a clear gain of ninety millions. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had shown that they had not gained a single farthing, and had given the House, the instance of a miserable union with which the hon. Member for Montrose was connected, as a sample of the way in which things were going on throughout the whole country. Perhaps the question of loss or gain was still an open question among Her Majesty's Ministers, and they had not yet arrived at any satisfactory conclusion on the subject. He was not, however, anxious to trespass upon the attention of the House, and he would simply give one plain reason why he greatly preferred that they should not reduce the number of public servants employed, but, on the contrary, reduce the amount expended. His reason for thinking it just that they should reduce the amount expended was, because there was a universal reduction of the prices of living, not brought about by any casual state of things, but as the result of a system in which the country was now travelling. Man, like all animals, was gregarious in his habits, and there were only two modes of leading gregarious herds—they would go as they smelt the clover before them, or as they felt the goad behind them. He was for a strong Government, he cared not whether monarchical, or constitutional, or republican, or any other. [Cheers, and counter cheers.] He repeated that he was for a strong Government. Governments in this country had been strong in past years—first, by bribing boroughmongers, and then by bribing the Lord Lonsdales. His argument was, that under former systems Governments had bribed the borough-mongers, by which means they were enabled to carry on their business; and they must now bribe the financial reformers and their supporters—they must have a multiplication of commissionerships and civil offices. The great Lords and the aristocracy, it seemed, were still to have the monopoly of the Army; but the friends and relations of the financial reformers were to enjoy the civil offices. They would then have plenty of speeches out of doors, and votes for impracticable propositions in the House, given by hon. Members who would always vote for Ministers, as they would wisely do to-night, and against the proposition of his hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire.


said, he wished to relate to the House an anecdote which he thought deserving of their consideration. The farmers of Oxfordshire had shown themselves practical reformers, like the hon. Member who so worthily represented them. There existed an agricultural club in Oxfordshire, formed for the purpose of protection; and its members had the good sense, during the last recess, to dissolve it, and came to a resolution, at a meeting at which he believed their hon. Representative was present, and which was carried almost unanimously, that the whole question of protection was at an end, and that it was of no use any longer to keep up the farce; and handed their subscriptions, amounting to 400l., to the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford. The hon. Member last year proposed a reduction of 10 per cent on all salaries, and was answered in a most remarkable manner—not by any Member on the Government side, but by a Gentleman who always supported the views of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire on all questions save this—the right hon. Member for Stamford—who told him that they would never do any good by attempting to reduce salaries; that the number of officials had been reduced from 27,000, the number employed in 1815, to 23,000 in 1835, and the salaries reduced from 3,700,000l. to 2,800,000l. in the same period. The result was, that they had 23,000 persons employed in various civil departments, of whom 20,000 received salaries under 100l. a year. He agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield that the subordinates were not overpaid. Like many hon. Members, he knew some who had started in life at the same time as himself, and had been with him at the University, on leaving which each had chosen his peculiar walk in life. Some men of great talents had obtained appointments in public departments, and were receiving salaries of 200l. or 300l. a year; while he, by no means their equal in talent, and others, were advancing forward in some profession, by which in a very few years they acquired the means of maintaining themselves and their families. The present proposition was certainly an improvement on the rude measure of a 10 per cent reduction brought forward by the hon. Member last year; but yet what would go forth to the world if they passed it? They would declare a truism, but they would pronounce a censure on the Government, and delude the people. [Cheers.] It was impossible to contend that such would not be the case, for they were called upon to ask Her Majesty to do that which the Government were already carrying out, and to tell the people of England that in consequence of free trade wages throughout England were henceforth to be reduced.


There seems. Sir, to be one point upon which both the House and the country are agreed, notwithstanding some faint intimations to the contrary which may have been breathed in a low voice this evening. It seems we are agreed on this, that the pressure of taxation in this country is excessive. We hear from all classes of the community, from all parties in the State, and from every quarter of the kingdom, that retrenchment is not only desirable, but necessary. The hon. Member for the West Riding and his Friends have taken a very leading part in this cry of retrenchment; they have announced to the country that vast measures of reduction were necessary; and I will do the hon. Gentleman the justice to admit that he, who I learn to-night is the enemy of "sweeping resolutions," no sooner entered the House after his first enunciation out of the House of his opinions and sentiments, than he did propose certain resolutions, to which, until this evening, I thought the epithet of "sweeping measures," was admirably applicable. I think. Sir, that there can be no doubt that in the class with which the hon. Gentleman is, not entirely, though I may say partially connected—the agricultural class—there exists at this moment, whatever may be the cause, a very sincere conviction that the public burdens are of a very grievous character. The question which naturally occurs to all of us is—what is the reason of this increased burden? And why is it that in the years 1849–50, in a country which has increased in population to such an extent as we have been told, which has accumulated so vast a capital, with a commerce so extended, with manufactures so ingenious, and, as we have been informed, so prosperous'—why is it that there is such a general feeling of uneasiness, and why is it that all classes combine to tell the Legislature that their bur-don is not only grievous but intolerable? You have for a considerable period been reducing all those taxes which pressed upon the springs of industry; for a considerable period million after million has been taken from off the shoulders of that class with which the hon. Member for the West Riding is peculiarly connected. Nearly 9,000,000l. of taxation have been removed, the object of that remission being to make life more easy, and the necessary burdens of the State more light to be borne. When all this was done, the hon. Member for the West Riding and his friends rose up and said, "Only repeal the corn laws, and we can beat the world." Well, the corn laws have been repealed, but the world has not yet been vanquished. This, then, being the state of affairs, the hon. Gentleman and his Friends, hitherto, proud of being the heralds of what they call the "new movement," which was to reduce the expenditure and taxation of the country, appear to-night as if they themselves were so many Chancellors of the Exchequer, and as though it were a part of their business to paint in rosy hues the prospering fortunes of a flourishing community. But in the mean time, if the hon. Gentleman and his Friends have the credit of being our precursors in this agitation to which he often referred, and now, it appears, with a sneer—a change has also come over the fortunes of those classes with which we are connected; they find their means are diminished, and they find their burdens more grievous. They find themselves unable to meet those charges which the Legislature has imposed upon them, and they also naturally seek, in a legitimate manner, for some source of relief. Now what is that source of relief? If you wish to retrench or diminish the expenses of the country, your first thought naturally is to reduce the taxation of the country; and, in accordance with that sentiment, we have, upon this side of the House, proposed and supported measures which have that tendency. In so doing we have been subjected to many imputations, and even from persons who sit on the Treasury bench. I do not refer to exaggerated statements, which in an excited tu quoque are excusable at a late hour of debate; but really when the noble Lord the First Minister, because we gave a vote to effect some remission of the burdens of the community, charged us with an intention of breaking faith with the national creditor, he made a statement which was little authorised, and supported it by a reference to details which were merely imaginary, especially when he declared that I myself, and the Gentlemen with whom I act, voted for a repeal of the window tax. Now, I say that we have given no vote on this side of the House for a remission of taxation which was not authorised by the state of the public finances, and by a duo consideration for the claims of the public creditor, though at the same time with a due consideration for the claims of our suffering constituents. We have been charged—the Tory party have been charged to-night by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield with a new-born zeal for economy. [Mr. ROEBUCK: Hear, hear!] The advocacy of economy has been considered by the hon. and learned Gentleman who says "Hear, hear," as something foreign to the nature of that great political connexion. I should like to know what important reduction has been effected in modern times, except by the Tory party. I will not refer to times remote; but turn your eye over the history of England, from the epoch of the independence of the United States to the date of the Reform Act, and you will find that every measure of public economy and financial reform has been effected by the Tory party. What did you do when you passed the Reform Bill? You destroyed the Government which you are now obliged to bring forward as the model Government of political frugality; and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Cambridge, whom I do not now see in his place, may look back on a career as Chancellor of the Exchequer which will not be easily equalled in these days, since he twice during his life effected a great reduction in the interest of the national debt. And yet we are now told of the new-born zeal of the Tory party for economy. Gentlemen, however, who are the creatures of the Reform Act, which has produced a Parliamentary system which the hon. Member for Montrose admits, with a heavy heart, has caused such financial disasters in the country—for the hon. Gentleman looks back with regret to the time when he carried measures of economy in an unreformed Parliament, which he can never hope to carry in a reformed one—Gentlemen, I say, who have received their education in Parliamentary and Financial Reform Associations never look to the history of their country beyond a few years back, and regard resolutions advocating rigid economy as a proof of new-born zeal in the Tory party. Now, what is the Motion brought forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire? It is a Motion in perfect accordance with many Parliamentary precedents, and with many Motions which have been made by Members of the Tory party within the last fifty years—more than that, it is a Motion perfectly in accordance with the exigencies of the times. It has encountered to-night the anticipated opposition of many individuals. It has been met, of course, by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of Exchequer, who at the beginning of the Session, but a few weeks ago, announced to us that prices had fallen beyond the mark which he had anticipated, and who had then the courage to confess that he hoped a rise would soon take place, but who to-night vindicates his opposition to the Motion by his researches in the book of the Marylebone vestry, which prove that prices have not diminished. Then came, if possible, a more important personage, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth; and certainly, so far as his observations went, they were quite unanswerable, because the theatre in which the right hon. Gentleman played to-night, was of a limited, though classical, character, for it was confined to Downing-street. One would suppose that my hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire had brought forward a Motion to curtail the salaries of those mysterious individuals who are the real Government of this country. The right hon. Gentleman invoked the shade of Mr. Brooksbank, and argued as if we were dealing with a sum which at the most would amount to 1000,000l or 200,000l a year. Is that the case? How was it put by the hon. Member for Oxfordshire? No one can dispute the accuracy of his statements, or deny the force of his ingenious but trustworthy arguments. My hon. Friend, after going into details which were necessary to refresh the memory of the House, summed up and showed you that you had to deal with a sum of not less than seven millions and a half. That was the amount of salaries and wages paid by the State, to which my hon. Friend thought the attention of the Government ought to be called, for the purpose of retrenchment and reduction. Did the observations of the right hon. Member for Tamworth apply to this sum? The right hon. Gentleman drew a most interesting picture of himself, overwhelmed with the cares of State, and supported on each side by a private secretary, one of whom received 300l. per annum, while the other only received 150l. a year. Why, Sir, conceive Lord Hardinge with two aides-de-camp—conceive him writing a despatch at the close of a great battle, and saying that he was very much surprised and pained to find that men to whom he felt so much indebted for their co-operation, and who had risked their lives in executing his orders, were receiving, the one only 300l. and the other 150l. a year. [Murmurs.] Why, the cases are parallel. Are the private secretaries of a Prime Minister men in such a position that they are only to be rewarded by their salaries? There is no analogy whatever between the class to whom the attention of the House has been called to-night by the right hon. Member for Tamworth, and the classes whose remuneration amounts to many millions. Some Gentlemen seem to object to this observation; but can they deny that when a man occupies the post of private secretary to a Prime Minister, he does not look for his reward to the immediate salary which he receives? He is rewarded by the confidence which is reposed in him, and by the prospects which are open to him; and any reference, as has been made to-night, to the salary which he receives is a mere ad captandum argument. After the right hon. Gentleman, followed the hon. Member for the West Riding. The noble Lord seemed the other night to be a little angry with me and my Friends because we were sometimes found in the lobbies voting with the hon. Member for the West Riding and his Friends. He seemed to think that there was something dangerous in such allies. The noble Lord has had great experience in these matters, and I should have thought him the last person to find fault with such "compact alliances." But the noble Lord need have no such fears. These votes have already effected their salutary purpose. We have the frank avowal that no proposition for a sweeping financial reform will receive the support of the hon. Member for the West Riding. It is something to have effected that, and as there is a great anxiety on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers to advance with the public business, a great point will be gained by sweeping from the Notice-book all those Motions for the reduction of fiscal burdens, and the extension of political franchises, which procrastinate the termination of a Session. There is no fear of reduction of taxation on that side of the House. We have established this great truth, that if measures of economy are to be effected at all, it must be done by Gentlemen who sit on this side of the House. Financial reform has received to-night a heavy blow. In future, sincere financial reformers must trust to the "new-born zeal" of that party which, for the last seventy years, has been labouring to effect that object. The proposition of my hon. Friend is to ask the House to consider whether they cannot effect retrenchments in a sum of seven millions and a half sterling. Who doubts that they can? What is the defence of the Government on that head? They say, "Leave it to us." But you have left it to them. "It can be done by a Committee," said some hon. Gentleman, and I observed that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer cheered the suggestion. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER expressed his dissent.] Excuse me; your voice is too agreeable for me to mistake it. The question before the House is, whether the state of society is such that we can hear the burdens imposed upon us, and whether we are not forced to make retrenchments; and tonight, and many nights, you must answer that question. Dreadful as is the position of a clerk with 100l. a year, from whose salary ten per cent is taken off, is he worse off than the labourer? The hon. Member for the West Riding says that he will not vote for the Motion, because it is a condemnation of the new commercial system. I tell him that it is not a condemnation of the new system, but it is one of the consequences of it. That condemnation will come in due season; but one of the consequences of the new system is, that we are obliged, owing to the increased burdens of the people, to examine into the public expenditure of the country. Here are seven millions and a half expended, and I want this to be understood out of doors. I do not want people to be led away by the sentimental appeals of the right hon. Member for Tamworth, as if we were dealing with an insignificant sum, and making a petty Motion with a petty object. The Motion of my hon. Friend will effect a reduction of at least one million per annum, and perhaps more, in the public expenditure. Those who will form a judgment on your conduct to-night are hardworking men, who are suffering hardly, and you must not be permitted to ride off from the consequences of your vote by sentimental descriptions of chief clerks and virtual Ministers of State in Downing-street, nor by a declaration from the hon. Member for the West Riding, that he cannot vote for this Motion because wages will be affected by it. In a great part of this country wages are affected already; and it is Cur belief that there is no part of this country in which, before long, wages will not be affected. You may try to evade the responsibility which hangs over you by a thread; and those clamorous patriots who founded institutions for financial reform, and who addressed the House at length in favour of impracticable propositions, but who fly from the test when a definite sum is proposed for a particular object, may tell you that the Government will be in danger, and wages will be affected, or resort to any other shadowy subterfuge, which may suit their purpose to-night, but which will condemn them for ever in the eyes of the country. I care not to inquire into the causes of the universally acknowledged distress which has been referred to by so many Gentlemen. I have no doubt that evils so generally felt must have many sources, though I think there has been one predominant cause which has been injurious, and which may become more than injurious, to this country. We were told before that there was no distress, and that the country was prosperous; but now the existence of distress is admitted, though it is attributed, not to recent legislation, but to railroads. If the distress be occasioned by railroads, who is responsible for it? It must be laid at the door of the great men who ought to be the guides of this House, who are our tutors in political instruction, and the guardians of our public conduct. Did you not stimulate railways in this House, and make attendance on Railway Committees compulsory in order to hasten the completion of competitive lines? Were not the youth of England told not to waste their time in making speeches, but to devote their energies to Railway Committees? Was not that the advice of great statesmen? And when railway shares were at 150 premium, was not the middle class called the great middle class, and did they not tell us that the Crown and the House of Lords had better be done away with, and the Government of the country be conducted by the large towns, especially those in the North of England? More than half the capital invested in railways has been lost, and not only lost, but lost in consequence of not keeping accounts, by the very men who had been all over England denouncing the farmers because they cultivated the land without keeping accounts. I have said that there is a predominant cause for the distress which prevails, and to remedy which I shall support my hon. Friend in the Motion which he brings forward to-night. I think the distress is mainly owing to the legislative measure of 1846, which mistook the principles upon which a profitable commercial interchange could take place between countries. We have always been of that opinion, and upon legitimate occasions we have always expressed it. The noble Lord says, "If that is your opinion, why do you not bring forward the question?" Well, we are perfectly aware of our deficiencies on this side of the House, and we are often reminded of them by the eminent persons who are around us. We do not attempt to rival them in eloquence, in statesmanship, or in that prudent sagacity by which they have been always distiuguished; but whatever may be our failings we have, at least, not the weakness to allow our campaign to be chalked out by our opponents. But though my Friends do not intend to bring forward the question, as has been tauntingly expressed by the noble Lord in this House, and by one of his Colleagues in another place, I will candidly toll the noble Lord the reason why we do not wish to bring it forward. We do not think it is a question to be settled in this House. I do not think, whatever may be our constant divisions upon such a subject, that they can be very satisfactory to the country. I am afraid it is incident to human nature that wisdom should only be acquired by adversity; and when the country has arrived at that pitch of suffering which shall teach them the great lesson, no doubt the country will settle the question without troubling either the noble Lord or myself upon the subject. And I am sure that no other settlement of it will be satisfactory; for what will be the effect of a vote of the House upon such a question as the reconstruction of our commercial system? The people out of doors who are suffering will say—a vote of the House of Commons in favour of "protection," to use a common phrase, or against it, will be no adequate test; we have had votes of the House of Commons upon the same subject before; and whether our opinion is in favour of protection or against it, we have been equally disappointed in our expectations and our views. We have elected Parliaments, they may say, to support protection, and they have repealed the laws we sent them to support; whilst those who are opposed to those laws, if a vote of the House of Commons were to come to a contrary decision, and require what you call protection, would be equally dissatisfied. It is a question then, which can now only be settled out of doors. We have, by the conduct we have pursued with regard to economical subjects these later years, brought the question to this point, that the great body of the community can alone decide upon it; and if any of my hon. Friends were to bring forward what you call "a substantive proposition," calling upon the House to retrace the steps recently taken, we should not only be appealing to an assembly of individuals personally pledged to another course, but, even if we succeeded, we should not achieve a result which, as prudent men, it would be desirable to accomplish; because it is by the salutary experience they are daily feeling, that the various classes of the community must arrive at that change which we are confident will arrive. Before I sit down, I would venture to make one observation to the noble Lord, which I think it might be well for him to turn in his mind, especially when he talks of ideas of this kind being "a wildgoose chase." I would just remind the noble Lord, who, upon all occasions, and indeed all his friends and supporters do the same, treats a recurrence to commercial principles that for a time may have been abrogated, as a most insensate idea, and especially one almost impossible in a State where democratic sympathies prevail, as—fortunately, they do prevail in this free country—I would just remind the noble Lord that there is a nation—a nation not second in power even to our powerful country—where there has been such a reaction, and that too a country where democratic influence is infinitely greater even than in England. And that is, the United States of America. When the noble Lord and his friends upon every occasion treat as impossible a recurrence to those principles upon which our commercial code was for so many years founded, and with the experience, generally, of so much prosperity to the country—when they treat such an idea as a wild phantasma, which it is impossible to suppose a wise man can sincerely entertain—I beg them to remember this fact in a House where we are so often reminded of the great superiority of American institutions, and American conduct, and American intelligence—that they may, in time, also become equal admirers of American economics. I, for one, have no wish that the great change to principles favourable to native labour, from those which regard only cosmopolitan interests, should occur by other means than it did in the United States, by the consequences of sharp experience, and by the influence of popular sentiment.


said, that at that hour of the night he would endeavour to confine himself closely to the Motion before the House. The hon. Member for Oxfordshire proposed an Address to Her Majesty for a revision of all the salaries in every department of the public service, with a view to reduction. His first objection to the Motion was that it was unjust. When he moved for a Committee in a former Session, he stated that the Government had made a revision of the department of Stamps and Taxes, and that many reductions had been made in that department to the amount of 250,000l.; he stated the number of persons who had been reduced in that department; and he stated likewise that with respect to offices belonging to the Executive Government, a careful revision had been already made in several of them; that in the Homo Office and in the Treasury very considerable reductions had been made in the number of persons employed; and that all the other offices were to be subjected to similar reductions. He was surprised, therefore, to hear the hon. Member for Montrose now making the statement that the Government refused all revision. He had, moreover, recently proposed a Committee to consider the official salaries of persons holding seats in the two Houses, of judicial officers, and of the diplomatic establishment; and he would distinctly say that in the face of all the revision already effected, and of the revision going on, to propose an Address to the Crown for revision, as though no revision had taken place, was an unjust imputation upon the Government, which had done so much, and which had manifested its readiness to do more. So far as to the nature of the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire, made, be it remarked, after the hon. Member had heard so repeatedly from the Government its determination to proceed to the utmost possible extent in the course of revision and of reduction. The only conclusion to be drawn from the hon. Gentleman's Motion, under such circumstances, was, that he had no confidence in the proposals of the Government, and that he conceived it to be the duty of the Government to resort to some other mode of revision. [Colonel SIBTHORP: Hear, hear!] The hon. and gallant Gentleman, with his accustomed candour, accepted that interpretation. But the Motion contained something more than this. It would be, in his opinion, an objectionable proposition, did it merely extend to the Government of the day, but it further proposed to have an accurate revision of the salaries and wages in every department of the public service. Let him first advert to the salaries. This proposal as to salaries must be taken in conjunction with the Motion which the hon. Member for Oxfordshire made last year, in conjunction with portions of his speech that evening, and in conjunction, too, with the declaration just made by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. The declaration was, that there had been a great reduction in the prices of the necessaries of life, and that therefore there should be a proportionable reduction in the salaries of public officers. He would say, at once, that the reductions the Government had made had gone on an entirely different principle. What they had done was this: Whenever they found that more persons were employed than were wanted for the public service, they had reduced the number by superannuations and otherwise to the necessary point; but to make reductions according to the current price of the necessaries of life, would be, in his opinion, unfair and unjust to that great body of persons who were employed in the public service. The right hon. Member for Tarn-worth had said no more than what every person having experience in the public service would say, when he commended so highly the services of those gentlemen who were permanently employed in the public departments. As to the comparison set up by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire between those gentlemen and a general's aid-de-camp it was altogether futile. It was these gentlemen, in the permanent service of the various departments, who carried on the whole machinery of the Government, the chiefs of which were liable to change with every revolution of opinion in or out of the House. It was essential to the public service to have men of such experience and practised ability permanently in the public departments; and he would venture to say that were the present Government to go out of office in consequence of any vote of the House, or other circumstance, and hon. Gentlemen opposite were to succeed them, they would not be in office a single day before they would find themselves entirely dependent on the services of those gentlemen, whose experience and ability rendered them thorough judges of the manner in which official business was conducted, and whose zeal and energy were at the disposal of the Government in office, whatever its opinions, the Whig servant of the department as faithfully and energetically serving the Tory Minister of the day, as the Tory servant the Whig Minister. With such convictions, he could not consent to any resolution that should injure the interests and the prospects of so valuable a body of men—that should propose to give them a less reward for their great labour than their labours intrinsically merited, merely because the price of provisions might be low at a particular time. It was to be borne in mind that the great public bodies, the East India House, the Bank of England, the great commercial firms, thoroughly appreciated the services of such men, and gave them their fitting reward. Let the House of Commons once resolve that the same fitting reward should not be given to the servants of the State, and an irreparable injury would at once be inflicted on the public service; the economy would soon manifest itself to be a deeply mischievous waste, that should drive such men as the public service now possessed into private service, that extended to them the due reward of their energy, their ability, their experience, and their labour. Pie felt, therefore, on this ground that the Motion ought not to be adopted. But there was another part of the Motion which was perfectly understood by the hon. Member for the West Riding, even before it was explained by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. It proposed not merely a revision of salaries in all the public departments, but a revision of wages in every department of the public service, with a view to a just and adequate reduction thereof. It would be impossible for the Government to accept such a Motion—as the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield seemed to suppose they might have done—without exciting an expectation throughout the country that they were about to make a reduction of wages in every department of the public service. And on what ground was such a reduction to be made? It had been clearly explained by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire. That ground was not that the wages of persons employed by private individuals in the metropolis or elsewhere had generally fallen, but it was this—that there was so much distress in the country, arising from the repeal of the duties on corn and other import duties, that the only resource by which they could satisfy the distressed part of the community was, by reducing the wages of every man in the public departments. His (Lord J. Russell's) answer was, that this statement was not true; for, from every account he had heard with respect to wages, except in some few of the agricultural counties, there had been no reductions of wages, and the labouring classes of the country were not now obliged to receive a less remuneration for their work than they obtained before the Act of 1846 was passed. He would not, therefore, give any countenance to that delusion. He would not aid the hon. Gentleman in inducing the House to express an opinion that the country was in such a state of distress, owing to the adoption of what had been called the policy of free trade, that it was absolutely necessary for the Government to reduce the wages of every labourer in their employment. He (Lord J. Russell's) belief was, that the reverse was the fact. He believed that, generally speaking—and he had received a good deal of information on the subject from various quarters—the labouring classes of this country were now in a better condition than they had been in before the adoption of that policy which some hon. Gentlemen opposite so strongly reprobated, [A cry of "No, no!"] The hon. Gentleman who doubted this assertion was quite welcome to entertain his own opinion; but he could not expect him (Lord J. Russell), entertaining, as he did, an opposite conviction, to assent to a measure which would disseminate throughout the country the belief that the House of Commons considered that the nation had been reduced to so distressed a state in consequence of the adoption of free trade, that it was absolutely necessary to reduce wages. He had asked the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, the other night, instead of proposing Motions of this kind, and voting for the reduction of various taxes, to bring forward some direct Motion for protection, that they might have the question fairly tried between those who thought that system ought to be restored, and those who were opposed to its restoration. The hon. Gentleman then said that he and his Friends had only voted for these reductions of taxation to save their suffering constituents. It appeared, then, that the hon. Gentleman, in order to promote the interests of his constituents in Buckinghamshire, had felt himself obliged to vote for a reduction of the duty on paper, and of the duty upon marine insurances. That certainly seemed an odd mode of relieving the distress of Buckinghamshire. But the hon. Gentleman had also said that this was a kind of campaign, and he told them he was too skilful a general to take his plan of campaign from his opponents. He (Lord J. Russell) thought his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose should pay due attention to those words. Whether the plan of campaign adopted by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire was good or bad, he clearly showed what his object was—that, whether he marched to the right or to the left for the purpose of a feint, his real object was to assail the intrenchments of the free-traders, and to put an end to that system. The hon. Gentleman plainly showed that he and his Friends were convinced that they would be in a minority if they were to bring forward a Motion for the re-establishment of protection; but they considered that under the guise, or rather disguise, of Motions for a reduction of taxation, they might secure the assistance of some allies, who would otherwise shrink from joining them; and that they might thus at length attain what they declared plainly to be their object—the restoration of protective duties. With that object plainly declared, he thought there could be little doubt that the hon. Member for the West Riding had perceived with sagacity their intention, and had determined not to be misled by their plan of campaign. Mutemus clypeos, Danaumque insignia nobis Aptemus. "We have no chance of escape," said the hon. Gentleman and his Friends, "in our own armour as Tories; but if we appear as great economists, as great friends of reduction, as men who wish to diminish taxation, then we may carry some Motion which will be, at all events, exceedingly hostile to the Government, and thus, by certain roundabout and circuitous modes, we may at length attain our real object—the restoration of a protective duty upon grain." He thought this was quite enough to induce those hon. Members who did not seek the attainment of the same end, not to vote for a resolution which would effect no real economy, which, so far from saving 1,000,000l., would not save a single pound of the public expenditure. He doubted whether, with regard to true economy, they could make reductions more speedily or more safely than in the mode proposed by the Government. He believed the State might find, as the railroad companies to which his right hon. Friend referred had found, that if they made sudden reductions in the public departments, they would unsettle their whole establishments, they would induce many of their best public servants to look for other employments, and they would probably be obliged to buy good service with larger rewards than they now thought it necessary to give. He believed the only true mode of economy was that adopted by the Government—to make a gradual revision of the public departments, to treat no individual with injustice, but, in the case of any vacancies, not to fill up places which were unnecessary; and if any other departments besides those which had been mentioned should hereafter seem fit subjects for inquiry, to let such inquiry be made. In that manner they would carry into effect, gradually, indeed, but with justice to individuals, and with benefit to the State, a large and permanent system of economy. If, on the contrary, the House were to adopt this resolution, they would apparently be giving a vote for economy; but, in fact, they would do little for economy, while they would tend to promote a further object, against which he believed a majority of that House, if the question was presented to them plainly and directly, were prepared to decide.


said, that as the noble Lord had stated that the wages of agricultural labourers had not been reduced, he begged to inform him that in the south of England they had fallen. It was impossible that the price of corn could have fallen one-third, as compared with what it was before the repeal of the corn laws, without an effect being produced on the wages of labour.


, in reply, said, he thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government had shown his usual ingenuity in endeavouring to gather back into his fold a proportion of the hon. Gentlemen on the other side, who, on some late occasions, had not shown themselves disposed to act as a very disciplined body. The noble Lord had taken great offence because certain Members on that (the Opposition) side of the House had voted, on a late occasion, against certain taxes. But the noble Lord seemed to have forgotten what happened two Sessions ago, when he proposed to put on an additional property tax. There was a sort of growl all round the House. [A laugh.] He could not call it anything else—which warned the noble Lord that it would not do to go on with his plan. And what was the result? That the Government were obliged to come down to the House with amended estimates. The noble Lord had opposed this Motion as unjust both to the Ministry and to the subjects of the proposal. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, had said, "I agree with the Mover in his principle, but I will not consent to the Motion, because it will be a vote of censure upon the Government;" and then, because the Motion was a vote of censure, the right hon. Gentleman did not face it with a direct negative, but he moved the previous question. It was urged that the Treasury had been reformed; but it was forgotten that it had been reported upon by the Committee on the Miscellaneous Expenditure two years ago. But he (Mr. Henley) did not bring the Treasury or the Home Office especially under the consideration of the House; these were in the Estimates every year. No one who had opposed the Motion had said a word about any one great revenue department. The noble Lord talked about the savings in 1833, but he had overstated the amount by nearly 100,000l. The fact was, that the establishments often paid off with one hand, and took on with another. The hon. and learned Member for the city of Oxford had alluded to a matter which would have been as well not brought before the House, a private matter of a county society, which he said had dissolved itself because the Members gave up protection. The fact was that it was a defensive society, and there was nothing left to defend; there was a difference of opinion as to what should be done in future, and as to having new rules, and the society, therefore, came to an end of its own accord. As to the noble Lord's taunt, if their (the protectionists') views of the recent policy were right, the time would come when the subject would force itself on the House. He (Mr. Henley) had not brought forward this Motion with any view of censuring the Government; but he could not understand the justice of inquiring into the judicial and diplomatic salaries, and the salaries of official men with seats in Parliament, and not inquiring into others. No one had said a word to justify such a distinction.

Previous Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 173; Noes 269: Majority 96.

List of the AYES.
Alcock, T. Booth, Sir R. G.
Alexander, N. Bramston, T. W.
Arbuthnott, hon. H. Bremridge, R.
Archdall, Capt. M. Brisco, M.
Arkwright, G. Broadley, H.
Bagge, W. Broad wood, H.
Bailey, J. Brooke, Lord
Baillie, H. J. Brooke, Sir A. B.
Baldock, E. H. Brown, H.
Baldwin, C. B. Bruce, C. L. C.
Bankes, G. Bruen, Col.
Bateson, T. Buck, L. W.
Bennet, P. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Bentinck, Lord H. Burrell, Sir C. M.
Best, J. Burroughes, H. N.
Blackstone, W. S. Carew, W. H. P.
Blair, S. Cayley, E. S.
Blewitt, R. J. Chatterton, Col.
Boldero, H. G. Chichester, Lord J. L.
Christopher, R. A. Lockhart, W.
Christy, S. Long, W.
Cobbold, J. C. Lopes, Sir R.
Codrington, Sir W. Lygon, hon. Gen.
Cole, hon. H. A. Meagher, T.
Coles, H. B. Mandeville, Visct.
Colvile, C. R. Manners, Lord J.
Compton, H. C. Martin, J.
Conolly, T. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Copeland, Ald. Meux, Sir H.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Miles, W.
Currie, H. Morgan, O.
Deedes, W. Mullings, J. R.
Devereux, J. T. Mundy, W.
Dick, Q. Naas, Lord
Disraeli, B. Neeld, J.
Dod, J. W. Neeld, J.
Dodd, G. Newdegate, C. N.
Drummond, H. Noel, hon. G. J.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Nugent, Sir P.
Duncombe, hon. A. O'Flaherty, A.
Duncombe, hon. O. Ossulston, Lord
Duncuft, J. Packe, C. W.
Du Pre, C. G. Palmer, R.
East, Sir J. B. Pechell, Sir G. B.
Edwards, H. Plowden, W. H. C.
Fgerton, Sir P. Plumptre, J. P.
Evelyn, W. J. Portal, M.
Farnham, E. B. Prime, R.
Farrer, J. Pugh, D.
Fellowes, E. Rendlesham, Lord
Filmer, Sir E. Repton, G. W. J.
Floyer, J. Roebuck, J. A.
Forbes, W. Rufford, F.
Frewen, C. H. Rushout, Capt.
Fuller, A. E. Sandars, G.
Galway, Visct. Scholefield, W.
Goddard, A. L. Scott, hon. F.
Gooch, E. S. Seymer, H. K.
Gordon, Adm. Sibthorp, Col.
Gore, W. R. O. Sidney, Ald.
Granby, Marq. of Smyth, J. G.
Greenall, G. Somerset, Capt.
Greene, J. Sotheron, T. H. S.
Grogan, E. Stanford, J. F.
Gwyn, H. Stanley, E.
Halford, Sir H. Stanley, hon. E. H.
Hall, Sir B. Stuart, Lord J.
Hamilton, G. A. Stuart, J.
Hamilton, Lord G. Sturt, H. G.
Henley, J. W. Sullivan, M.
Herbert, H. A. Talbot, C. R. M.
Hildyard, R. C. Thompson, Ald.
Hill, Lord E. Thornhill, G.
Hodgson, W. N. Tollemache, J.
Hood, Sir A. Trollope, Sir J.
Hope, H. T. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Hornby, J. Verner, Sir W.
Hotham, Lord Waddington, D.
Hudson, G. Waddington, H. S.
Hume, J. Wakley, T.
Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H. Walmsley, Sir J.
Jones, Capt. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Knox, Col. Willoughby, Sir H.
Law, hon. C. E. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Legh, G. C. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Lennard, T. B. TELLERS.
Lennox, Lord A. G. Beresford, W.
Leslie, C. P. Vyse, R. H.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Anderson, A.
Aglionby, H. A. Anson, hon. Col.
Armstrong, Sir A. Ebrington, Visct.
Armstrong, R. B. Egerton, W. T.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Ellice, E.
Ashley, Lord Ellis, J.
Bagshaw, J. Elliot, hon. J. E.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Emlyn, Visct.
Baring, H. B. Estcourt, J. B. B.
Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T. Euston, Earl of
Barnard, E. G. Evans, J.
Bass, M. T. Evans, W.
Berkeley, Adm. Ewart, W.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Fagan, W.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Fergus, J.
Bernal, R. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Birch, Sir T. B. Fitzpatrick, rt. hon. J. W.
Blackall, S. W. Foley, J. H. H.
Blake, M. J. Fordyce, A. D.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Forster, M.
Bowles, Adm. Fortescue, C.
Boyle, hon. Col. Fortescue, hon. J. W.
Brand, T. Fox, R. M.
Bright, J. Fox, W. J.
Brockman, E. D. French, F.
Brotherton, J. Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.
Brown, W. Glyn, G. C.
Browne, R. D. Grace, O. D. J.
Bulkeley, Sir R. B. W. Greene, T.
Burke, Sir T. J. Grenfell, C. P.
Busfeild, W. Grenfell, C. W.
Butler, P. S. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Buxton, Sir E. N. Grey, R. W.
Cardwell, E. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Carter, J. B. Grosvenor, Earl
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Guest, Sir J.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hanmer, Sir J.
Cavendish, W. G. Harcourt, G. G.
Chaplin, W. J. Hardcastle, J. A.
Childers, J. W. Harris, R.
Clay, J. Hastie, A.
Clay, Sir W. Hatchell, J.
Clements, hon. C. S. Hawes, B.
Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G. Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.
Cobden, R. Headlam, T. E.
Cockburn, A. J. E. Heathcoat, J.
Cocks, T. S. Heneage, J. H. W.
Coke, hon. E. K. Henry, A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Collins, W. Hervey, Lord A.
Corbally, M. E. Heywood, J.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Heyworth, L.
Cowan, C. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Hobhouse, T. B.
Craig, Sir W. G. Hodges, T. L.
Crowder, R. B. Hodges, T. T.
Currie, R. Hogg, Sir J. W.
Dalrymple, Capt. Hollond, R.
Damer, hon. Col. Howard, Lord E.
Dashwood, Sir G. H. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Howard hon. J. K.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Howard, hon. E. G. G.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hon. C. Howard, P. H.
Divett, E. Howard, Sir R.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Hughes, W. B.
Douro Marq. of Humphery, Ald.
Drumlanrig, Visct. Hutt, W.
Duff, G. S. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Duff, J. Jermyn, Earl
Duke, Sir J. Jervis, Sir J.
Duncan, G. Keogh, W.
Dundas, Adm. Kershaw, J.
Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D. Kildare, Marq. of
Dunne, Col. King, hon. P. J. L.
Labouchere, rt. hon. H. Romilly, Col.
Langston, J. H. Romilly, Sir J.
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Rumbold, C. E.
Lawless, hon. C. Russell, Lord J.
Lemon, Sir C. Russell, F. C. H.
Lewis, rt. hon. Sir T. F. Rutherfurd, A.
Lewis, G. C. Sandars, J.
Lindsay, hon. Col. Scrope, G. P.
Loch, J. Scully, F.
Locke, J. Seymour, Lord
Lushington, C. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Macnaghten, Sir E. Shelburn, Earl of
M'Cullagh, W. T. Sheridan, R. B.
M'Gregor, J. Simeon, J.
M'Taggart, Sir J. Slaney, R. A.
Mahon, Visct. Smith, rt. hon. R. V.
Mangles, R. D. Smith, J. A.
Marshall, J. G. Smith, M. T.
Marshall, W. Smith, J. B.
Martin, C. W. Smythe, hon. G.
Martin, S. Somers, J. P.
Masterman, J. Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W.
Matheson, J. Spearman, H. J.
Matheson, Col. Stansfield, W. R. C.
Maule, rt. hon. F. Stanton, W. H.
Melgund, Visct. Strickland, Sir G.
Milner, W. M. E. Talbot, J. H.
Milton, Visct. Tancred, H. W.
Moffatt, G. Tenison, E. K.
Monsell, W. Tennent, R. J.
Moore, G. H. Thesiger, Sir F.
Morgan, H. K. G. Thicknesse, R. A.
Morrison, Sir W. Thompson, Col.
Morris, D. Thompson, G.
Mostyn, hon. E. M. L. Thornely, T.
Mowatt, F. Tollemache, hon. F. J.
Mulgrave, Earl of Towneley, J.
Norreys, Lord Townshend, Capt.
O'Connell, M. Trail, G.
O'Connell, M. J. Trelawny, J. S.
Ogle, S. C. H. Tufnell, H.
Ord, W. Vane, Lord II.
Owen, Sir J. Verney, Sir H.
Paget, Lord A. Villiers, hon. C.
Paget, Lord C. Vivian, J. H.
Palmer, R. Walter, J.
Palmerston, Visct. Watkins, Col. L.
Parker, J. Wellesley, Lord C.
Patten, J. W. Willcox, B. M.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Williams, J.
Peel, F. Wilson, J.
Perfect, R. Wilson, M.
Pigott, F. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Pilkington, J. Wood, W. P.
Pinney, W. Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Pusey, P. Wrightson, W. B.
Rawdon, Col. Wyld, J.
Reid, Col. Wyvill, M.
Ricardo, O.
Rice, E. R. TELLERS.
Rich, H. Hill, Lord M.
Robartes, T. J. A. Bellew, R. M.
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