§ MR. C. ANSTEY
wished to know if the Government would lay on the table copies of the memorials from certain clerks in the Post Office, addressed to the Postmaster General, on the subject of Sabbath labour; and whether it was true that the office of chief clerk in the money-order office having recently fallen vacant, each of the clerks in the order of seniority had had an offer of the vacant office, on condition of admitting that the statements in the memorials referred to were false, and that on their declining to do so, the office had been given to the clerk of the money-order department in Edinburgh, who ranked considerably lower than the clerks that had been passed over, and who had been decided by Lord Lonsdale as an improper person to be promoted out of his turn?
§ MR. HAYTER
said, it was undoubtedly true that the gentleman appointed to the vacant situation in the money-order office had been placed over the head of another party. The Postmaster General considered that, in appointing to the head of a department, he was bound to look out for the person most competent to discharge the duty. He had, therefore, passed by, as he was justified in doing, the principle of rotation, and had selected the person who, on all grounds, from his meritorious services and efficiency, was most entitled to fill the office. He was not aware of any application being made to the clerks, calling upon them to make any such statement as the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred to. He believed the report to be totally unfounded. The officer appointed had been selected solely on account of his eminent efficiency and capacity for discharging the duties of the office. He was wholly unknown to the Postmaster General except by his merit. He had been employed in the money-order office in Dublin; thence he was promoted, by the predecessor of the present Postmaster General, to Edinburgh; and having discharged his duties there very efficiently, he was now removed to London. There was no objection on the part of the Post Office to lay before the House the memorials and correspondence referred to; but unless it was intended to make that House a court of appeal with respect to the appointments in all 721 public departments, he did not see the wisdom of presenting those memorials. If the hon. and learned Gentleman thought proper, he might move for their production; and it would then be his (Mr. Hayter's) duty to take the opinion of the House on the subject.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
wished to know if the principle of seniority and rotation had not, down to the present time, regulated promotions of this kind?
§ MR. HAYTER
said, he could most distinctly state that that had not been the practice. The evidence taken before the Select Committee on the miscellaneous estimates, from the heads of three or four departments, showed that officers were frequently transferred from one department to another; that the rule of promotion was not ordinary rotation; but that the head of the department selected the persons whom he judged most fit for the duties they were called on to perform.
§ Subject dropped.