§ MR. MACARTNEY
said, he begged to ask the hon. Gentleman the clerk of the Ordnance whether, previous to the promotion of Mr. Samuel Silver Garret over the heads of ten gentlemen of senior standing in the Ordnance Office, any examination was instituted to test his superior qualification; and if not, whether his name had been duly submitted to the Master General to authorise so unusual a proceeding; and, further, whether Mr. Garret, being a practising conveyancer, does not transact professional business at the Ordnance Office during the hours allotted to the public service?
§ MR. MONSELL
said, before proceeding to answer the questions of the hon. Member for Antrim, he thought it only just to the ten gentlemen over whose head Mr. Garret had been promoted to state publicly to the House what the gentlemen referred to were already well aware of, namely, that it was not on account of their inefficiency or want of zeal, but on account of the superior zeal and the superior efficiency of Mr. Garret to discharge the duties of the situation he now held. The first question asked by the hon. Member for Antrim was, whether, previous to the promotion of Mr. Garret over the heads of ten gentlemen of senior standing in the Ordnance Office, any examination was instituted to test his superior qualification? He begged to inform the hon. Gentleman, that with regard to promotion in the Ordnance Office, it was not the practice to have any previous examination, but promotion was granted on the chief clerk's 552 certificate of fitness. Mr. Garret's talent, energy, and habits of business had been already sufficiently tested, they had come under the notice of his superior officers, and he was now rewarded. The second question of the hon. Gentleman was, whether the name of Mr. Garret had been duly submitted to the Master General to authorise so unusual a proceeding? The promotion of officers in the Board of Ordnance was made without first submitting it to the Master General. Though the clerk to the Ordnance had the undivided responsibility of making the appointments, he begged to inform the hon. Member for Antrim that Lord Raglan, the Master General, had authorised him to state, that he entirely concurred in and approved the course he (Mr. Monsell) had taken in promoting Mr. Garret. The third question of the hon. Gentleman was, whether Mr. Garret, being a practising conveyancer, did not transact professional business at the Ordnance Office during the hours allotted to the public service? Mr. Garret conscientiously affirmed that he did not, though he had occasionally answered during such hours legal questions put to him by clerks in the office, but none other. The official duties and correspondence of this branch of the service were never in arrear, and they were of too exorbitant a nature to admit of interruption by transacting professional business during the hours allotted to the public service. Mr. Garret had ever felt that the public service was a matter of paramount importance, and had frequently been ready to volunteer assistance when not absolutely called upon. During the last twenty-one years, Mr. Garret's absence on leave had not averaged eight days annually, though the period allowed was thirty-three days. The hon. Member for Antrim would have been saved the trouble of putting these questions if he had taken the trouble to look at the Report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the Board of Ordnance, which had been presented to Parliament, and in which the Committee expressed their satisfaction at the principle of selecting efficient officers for promotion in the place of promotion by seniority.