§ SIR BENJAMIN HALL
rose and said, I can assure the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty that I should not have put on the notice paper the question with which I mean to conclude, without affording him a full opportunity of making any statement with respect to it which he may desire. With this view I had proposed to move the adjournment of the House, but feeling that that is always an inconvenient course to adopt—except, indeed, in cases of great importance like the present—I was glad to find that an opportunity was afforded of bringing forward this subject on the Motion now before the House. It will be in the recollection of many Gentlemen who were Members of the House in 1853 that I then felt it my duty to move for a Committee for the purpose of inquiring into the conduct of the Admiralty 1627 at the general election of 1852, which took place at that time, when the Parliament was dissolved by Lord Derby. After a very long discussion, the House unanimously agreed to the Motion I made, and the Committee was appointed. It sat for a long time, being presided over by the present Duke of Somerset, and the names of the Committee were agreed to on both sides of the House. In addition to the noble Lord who presided. Lord Hotham, Mr. Beckett, Sir H. F. Davie, and myself, were members of the Committee. We made as full, and as searching an inquiry as we possibly could into the manner in which the elections had been interfered with by the Board of Admiralty, and the Committee came to a unanimous report, which was strictly condemnatory of the proceedings of the Board of Admiralty of that day. I merely mention this circumstance as a reason for my bringing forward this subject at the present moment, and I hope the House will favour me with attention for a few minutes while I state the circumstances under which I am induced to put a question to the First Lord of the Admiralty. The Board of Admiralty consists exclusively of the First Lord, of four Naval Lords, and one civillian. The four Naval Lords are Admiral Martin, Sir R. Dundas, Sir Alexander Milne, and Captain Carnegie. Sir R. Dundas and Sir Alexander Milne were Lords of the Admiralty under the former Government. Captain Carnegie was appointed by the present Government, and Mr. Lygon was recently appointed when the noble Lord (Lord Lovaine) went to the Board of Trade. It is extremely difficult for any person not connected with the office, the conduct of which is brought into question, to know the exact facts of the case, but, as far as I can learn the circumstances from current report, and from information which I have received, it appears that Sir R. Dundas was sent for by the First Lord of the Admiralty, and was desired to stand as a candidate for a particular borough—I believe it was Dovor—but be that as it may, the gallant officer declined to do so. He was urged again by the right hon. Gentleman, and again declined, and on being pressed further he tendered his resignation. After that, or at the same time, Captain Carnegie, the junior Naval Lord of the Admiralty, was sent for, and was urged to do the same thing, and that he also was desired to go down to Dovor. I understand also that 1628 that gallant officer had employed a confidential officer, or that some other person had employed one for him, and that that agent reported to Captain Carnegie as to what would be his chance if he went down to Dovor as a candidate for the representation of that place. The confidential agent reported that there was little or no chance for Captain Carnegie. Nevertheless he was still urged to go down, and he declined, and after an interview—of course I cannot say exactly what took place at that interview with the First Lord, but I understand that the gallant officer stated that he could not, consistently with his own feelings of what was right, continue in his office as a Lord of the Admiralty. Therefore, he desired to resign. I have received a telegraphic communication to-day from Captain Carnegie. It appears that he had seen or read the notice which I gave last night, and he alludes to the word "dismissal" in it. The words which I used in my notice were, "To ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will have any objection to state to the House the reasons which have led to the dismissal or the retirement of Captain Carnegie from the office of one of the Lords of the Admiralty?" Captain Carnegie has sent me a telegraphic message from Mallow, in which he says, "I was not dismissed; I tendered my resignation solely in consequence of a difference of opinion"—now mark!—"as to the selection of the place which I could hope to represent." I understand my gallant Friend to have intimated that he was perfectly ready and willing to stand for a place where he saw a chance of success; but he objected to go to Dovor, because he did not believe that he would be a successful candidate there, unless he resorted to practices which he disapproved of. He was, however, pressed to go there and I think, if this statement is correct, that my gallant Friend could not have pursued any other course consistent with his character and honour, than say that he would not go to Dovor unless he could see something like a prospect of success. However, my gallant Friend resigned, and is no longer a Lord of the Admiralty. Now, we have disposed of two Lords of the Admiralty. Then came the difficulty of filling up these vacancies. I understand that Sir W. Hoste was sent for, and that Dovor was paraded before him. A telegraphic message was sent to Dovor to say that he intended to stand for the representation; but he declined; to do so, 1629 and therefore he is not a Lord of the Admiralty. It turns out, consequently, that however desirable a man may be considered as regards the services he can give to the Government in a great department of this kind, he is not to sit at the Board of the Admiralty unless he will consent to do the bidding of the First Lord, and go down to Dovor. Now we come to another case, Admiral Mundy was sent for, and I have heard that the same tempting bait of Dovor was presented to him. He declined, he would not go to Dovor at any price, not even the price of a seat at the Admiralty, so he was disposed of. Another gentleman was sent for—Sir T. Herbert. I do not know whether he was required to go to Dovor, but he has gone to Dartmouth. Whether he is a Lord of the Admiralty remains to be seen. I believe he is not, although he may have been offered the appointment; but if he is a Lord of the Admiralty, which I do not believe, although one seat at the Admiralty was filled up, another seat remained vacant. Sir Henry Leeke was sent for. I do not know whether Dovor was offered to him; but, at all events, he was sent to Devonport. Now, Devonport is a very good place to which to send Sir Henry Leeke. He has very near connections there, one of whom is one of the largest Government contractors in the country. Sir Henry Leeke was sent, then, to Devonport; he felt his way; he was rather disappointed; he did not meet with the support he desired; and, I understand, that if he did not go among the dockyard labourers, information was sent to him that they would not support him, because he was connected with a Government which intended, by one of the clauses of its Reform Bill, to disfranchise them all. But I have another communication to make to the House, which I received to-day, and to which I beg their particular attention. Before doing so, I wish to say to the right hon. Gentleman (Sir John Pakington) that if Sir Henry Leeke will, upon his own responsibility, declare that the statement I am about to make is incorrect, or if the right hon. Baronet will in his place declare that there is no truth in it, I will give the right hon. Gentleman the names of the parties from whom I have received the information. I think that is a fair proposition. The statement I have received is in these words:—"On Saturday last Sir Henry Leeke wrote to certain outfitters at Devon-port, that he was made a Lord of the Admiralty; that the understanding between 1630 him and the Government was, that he should contest Devonport; and he promised, if successful, that Devonport should have a share of the cadets and other perquisites now monopolized by Portsmouth." It appears that Sir Henry Leeke went down to Devonport; but, notwithstanding the assurance which, from my information, I presume he gave, his reception was not sufficiently favourable to induce him to remain there he came back, and he may have reported himself to the First Lord of the Admiralty as having been unsuccessful. Dovor again flitted before the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and Sir Henry Leeke was sent down to that borough as a Lord of the Admiralty. [Mr. OSBORNE: Hear, hear! and laughter.] Now, I have alluded to two of the naval Lords of the Admiralty—Sir Robert Dundas and Captain Carnegie—but there are two other naval Lords, one of whom is Admiral Martin. I am informed that Admiral Martin either tendered his resignation or expressessed his desire to do so. I am informed that as soon as he was aware that his colleagues were to go, and was acquainted with the arrangements about to be made by the First Lord for filling up the vacancies, believing that those arrangements would be inconvenient to the public service, like a man of high character and honour he thought it would be most consistent with his duty to retire from the Admiralty, and I hear that he also tendered his resignation. I have not referred to that circumstance in the question of which I gave notice. I was not aware of it at the time I gave the notice; but it is so completely a matter of fact, that no notice was requisite, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will be able to inform me whether the information I have received on this point was correct or not. If it be correct, matters become serious, or, to use a word which we have read lately in an address, "critical." Three naval Lords either have resigned or have expressed their desire to resign, Admiral Martin, Sir Richard Dundas, and Captain Carnegie. I am informed, however, that Admiral Dundas was requested to retain his office, and that Admiral Martin was pacified in some way or other, I know not how, and that he remains at the Admiralty. Captain Carnegie has gone; but there is another complication in this affair. I understand that Admiral Bruce was sent for, and that he made his appearance at the Admiralty, possibly expecting that he was to have a seat at the 1631 Board; but, in consequence of the arrangements which had been made, poor Admiral Bruce was obliged to return without anything satisfactory resulting from his journey to London. Now, if there is any truth in the statements I have submitted to the House—and I have endeavoured to obtain the best information I could gain on the subject—it appears that the whole service of the navy is to be thrown into confusion because the Naval Lords will not do the bidding of the First Lord of the Admiralty with regard to contesting the representation of certain boroughs. It appears that other naval officers were invited to fill the vacancies at the Admiralty, but that they, too, were rejected, because they would not contest what they regarded as objectionable places. It appears that Captain Carnegie, who is one of the most able, intelligent, and gallant officers in the service—a man in the prime of life, and able to devote the whole strength of his mind and body to Her Majesty's service—was displaced from the Admiralty because he would not go down to Dovor, and was replaced by an officer who is more than seventy years of age, merely because that officer would act up to the dictates of the First Lord. What, then, is the state of the Board of Admiralty when we are, perhaps, on the eve of a war? At a time when the whole attention of officers in that department ought to be devoted to the public service, they are sent scampering over the country, to Devonport, Dovor, and other places. I say that, instead of placing the Naval Lords in such a position, it would have been much better if they had been desired, or rather requested, to remain within the walls of the Admiralty, and to devote their time and attention to Her Majesty's service, or to visit the various dockyards, to see what improvements can be effected, and to place our establishments in such a state of preparation that in case the evil day should come we may be able to meet any force that may be directed against us. I can only add, that I have brought this subject before the House as a matter of public duty; and, in doing so, I have followed up the course which I took in 1853. I may be mistaken in the statement I have made, but I can assure the right hon. Baronet and the House that I have received it on what I believe to be good authority. I have refrained from making much comment upon that statement, and I now leave it to the right 1632 hon. Gentleman to offer any explanation he pleases. I assure him that I shall be glad if he can inform the House that much of what I have stated is erroneous, and I only hope he may be able to give some assurance to the House and to the country that these naval Lords are not to be sent travelling all over the kingdom to look out for seats in Parliament, but that they will devote their attention to those interests which ought to be especially guarded at this critical period. I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he will have any objection to state to the House the reasons which have led to the dismissal or the retirement of Captain Carnegie from the office of one of the Lords of the Admiralty, and whether Sir Richard Dundas also tendered his resignation, and has since been induced to remain at the Board; and the name or names of the officers appointed to fill the vacancy or vacancies.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
Sir, I must beg, in the first place, to express very great doubt whether such questions as those which the right hon. Baronet has just addressed to me are questions which in strict propriety ought to be put in this House. I think the terms in which the right hon. Gentleman has shaped his questions show that he himself entertains some doubt on this point, for, according to the phraselogy of his notice he asks whether I "have any objection" to answer the questions. We all know that in the formation and conduct of Government communications must of necessity take place between Her Majesty's Government and individuals which are perfectly fair and honourable in themselves, but which are not intended to be, and which ought not to be, the subject of public questions and discussions in this House. Having thus guarded myself against acquiescing in the propriety of such questions, I beg distinctly to say that so far as I am concerned in this case, I not only have no objection to answer the questions of the right hon. Baronet, but I am very glad that he has afforded me the present opportunity of answering them. Now, Sir, before proceeding to give a distinct answer to the particular inquiry which has been made, I think it right to remind the House of the fact, that for a very long period of time successive Administrations have felt it to be, not their interest—it rests upon higher grounds—but their duty that some of the naval members of the board of Ad- 1633 miralty should occupy seats in the House of Commons, in order that they may be able to touch upon those professional subjects and to answer those professional inquiries which we all know are frequently from time to time brought under notice in this House. I have looked back as far as the year 1819, and I find that from that period there has not been one Board of Admiralty previous to that of the present Government which has not had always one, sometimes two, and frequently three of their Naval Lords occupying seats in this House. Viscount Melville had for some years one, but for many years two, in the House. Sir James Graham in 1830 had two; Lord Auckland in 1834 three, and in 1835 two; Lord Minto sometimes two, but in 1837 and 1841 three; Lord Haddington in 1831 two, and in 1844 three; the Earl of Ellenborough in 1846 three, Lord Auckland in 1846 two, and in 1847 three; Sir Francis Baring in 1849 three, and in 1850 two; the Duke of Northumberland in 1852 two; Sir James Graham in 1853, and throughout the remainder of his administration, one; and Sir Charles Wood, from 1855 to 1857, one—namely, Sir Maurice Berkeley. In 1857, when Parliament was dissolved on the advice of the noble Viscount opposite, Sir Maurice Berkeley lost his seat for Gloucester, and during the short Session which followed—from the month of February last year up to the period when the present Government took office—this was the first time for forty years in which any Board of Admiralty were without Naval Lords in this House, When the present Government was constituted, at the end of February, 1858, I felt that, as all previous First Lords of the Admiralty had had Naval Lords in the House of Commons, it was most desirable that I should receive similar assistance. I accordingly requested an hon. and gallant Friend of mine who now sits in this House to accept a seat at the Board. Much to my regret that proposal was declined. I then constituted the Board in a manner the general efficiency of which has always been acknowledged, though it was subject to the serious disadvantage that none of the Naval Lords had seats in Parliament. Sir, the House cannot have forgotton to what an unusual extent its attention has been occupied during last Session and up to the present time by discussions upon naval affairs, and notwithstanding the great and known competence of ray right hon. Friend the Secretary to the Admiralty 1634 (Mr. Corrie), I have felt, and very painfully felt upon these questions, the great disadvantage—not, I say again, a party or a personal disadvantage, but one affecting the highest interests of the public service —under which I have laboured in having to contend with statements from my noble and gallant Friend the Member for Sandwich (Lord C. Paget), from the gallant Admiral Sir Charles Napier the Member for Southwark, and others, without having upon these subjects the profesfessional assistance in this House which, as a civilian, would have been so valuable to me, and which every one of my predecessors for forty years past has enjoyed. Under these circumstances, Sir, it was my intention and my wish, with the full concurrence of my colleagues, to avail myself of the first opportunity which might arise to endeavour to terminate this serious inconvenience. An opportunity offered itself a few weeks ago, when a vacancy occurred at the Board by the appointment of Captain Drummond to the command at Woolwich. Upon that occasion I sent for Captain Carnegie, and in a personal interview requested him to accept the vacant office; but I told him at the time of the serious disadvantage to which I found my Board exposed by having none of its naval members in the House, and I asked him frankly whether he would accept the vacant seat with a clear and distinct understanding that he was willing to enter Parliament whenever he might be required to do so by the Government for any fairly eligible seat. Captain Carnegie requested forty-eight hours to consider this proposal. So far as I remember the offer was made to him on a Saturday. Everything that passed was of a verbal nature—nothing was taken down in writing, and I am now very sorry for it. He requested to be allowed to give his answer on the Monday, and on that day he came to me, told me he had considered my proposal, and the condition with which it was accompanied, and that he should be happy to accept my offer. Wishing that there should be no misunderstanding, I upon that occasion repeated to Captain Carnegie in plain terms the condition which I considered requisite with a view to the public service—namely, that a. naval member of the Board should, if possible, be in the House of Commons, and again did Captain Carnegie distinctly accept the offer with this condition annexed. He accordingly joined the Board; and nothing more passed upon this subject until, when 1635 the Government decided to advise the dissolution of the present Parliament. I as a matter of course—and I do not think the right hon. Gentleman can blame me for so doing—reminded Captain Carnegie of the undertaking into which he had entered, and, so far as I can recollect, I mentioned to him I think three, but certainly two seats where, as well as I could judge, he would have a very fair chance of success, and which, I said, he would oblige the Government by contesting. To my surprise Captain Carnegie showed upon that occasion a hesitation which I could not understand. For two succeeding days he showed not only hesitation but vacillation, and at the close of two or, I think, three days, he made known that he did not intend to fulfil the condition on which he had taken office. It is unnecessary for me to say that in intimating this intention Captain Carnegie offered his resignation, and I think it is still loss necessary to add that I at once and immediately accepted that resignation, But, Sir, I told Captain Carnegie on that occasion that so to offer his resignation, at the eleventh hour as I may say, was in my opinion by no means a compensation for his breach, as I considered it, of the arrangement into which he had entered. Now, I will not undertake anything so painful as to impute to a gentleman of Captain Carnegie's high social and professional standing that he deliberately and intentionally violated an honourable understanding. There may be some explanation of the circumstances which is satisfactory to his mind, but I am bound to say that I am unable to reconcile the course which he took with the honourable engagement into which he had before entered with myself. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir Benjamin Hall) in the course of his reference to Captain Carnegie proceeded to advert to circumstances which I confess seem to me to have very little to do with the questions which he put to me. He spoke of a rumour that I had offered the vacant seat to Sir William Hoste, and afterwards, I think, to Admiral Mundy. I shall pass over this part of what has fallen from him with the simple remark that, a seat at the Board being vacant, it was absolutely necessary to fill it. I wished that the gentleman appointed should also consent to enter Parliament, and whether one officer or another accepted or saw reason to refuse the vacant seat is matter into which I really think neither the House nor the right hon. Gentleman has any sort of right 1636 to enter. I have thus explained the exact circumstances connected with the case of Captain Carnegie. I will now, with the permission of the House, give a similar explanation as to Sir Richard Dundas. As soon as it was decided that Parliament should be dissolved, I had a conversation with Sir Richard Dundas, and spoke to him of that disadvantage to which I have already referred, of having none of the naval Members of the Board of Admiralty in the House of Commons. I mentioned to him, I think, some two or three seats for which I thought, if he were disposed to enter Parliament, he would be likely to be elected, and I requested him to consider for twenty-four hours whether he could comply with the suggestion thus made. The next day Sir Richard Dundas came back to me, and the language which he then held was similar to that which he made use of to mo on a similar occasion several months before. What he said was this, that he was not, upon full reflection, willing to endeavour to enter Parliament for any of the seats I mentioned to him, but that he recognized broadly and entirely the public necessity which existed for the presence in the House of Commons of some one or more of the naval members of the Board of Admiralty. Indeed, he went further, for he stated that he was of opinion he had no right, if he declined to enter the House of Commons, to stand in the way of that being effected, the necessity of which he distinctly admitted, and begged I would not allow any feeling for him to prevent me from filling up the number of naval members of the Board with officers who would come into Parliament. He added that his wish was that no loss or difficulty should occur in the matter, and that therefore his seat at the Board was entirely at my disposal. Such, in a few brief words, was the nature of my interview with Sir Richard Dundas on this subject, and so strongly did I feel the necessity on public grounds of having a naval member of the Admiralty in this House that I am not in the least disposed to deny that, although I confess I arrived at that conclusion with great regret on personal grounds, it was my intention to avail myself of the offer which was in so handsome a spirit made to me by Sir Richard Dundas. and to accept his resignation, with a view of placing some naval officer at the Admiralty who would be willing to enter the House of Commons. A few days ago, however, circumstances of a public nature, 1637 but to which I do not feel I am at liberty to advert more in detail—circumstances I may, nevertheless, say which are wholly unconnected with party politics or any- thing approaching to electioneering matters—occurred which caused me to feel very strongly that it was not desirable, at this moment that the Admiralty should lose the services of so distinguished an officer as Sir Richard Dundas. I therefore submitted to him this view of the case, and expressed my wish not to avail myself of his offer to resign, and my desire to retain his services at the Board. To my representation upon that head Sir Richard Dundas acceded, and he still remains a member of the Admiralty. I am anxious to add with respect to that gallant officer —and I do so in justice to my own feelings on the point—that throughout the whole of the communications which took place between us his conduct was marked by that zeal for the public service and that high sense of personal honour which always have distinguished, and I am sure always will distinguish that gallant officer. I beg to state, further, that those communications have not interrupted oven for a single moment that friendly feeling which I am happy to say has subsisted between Sir Richard Dundas and myself ever since my accession to the office I have now the honour to hold. I have now explained the whole of the facts of the case so far as he is concerned; but the right hon. Baronet has also asked whether the seat at the Board which was rendered vacant by the retirement of Captain Carnegie has been filled up, and, if so, by whom he has been succeeded. I have to state in reply that Captain Carnegie's seat has been filled up, and that his successor is Rear Admiral Sir Henry Leeke. Now, the right hon. Baronet has brought forward what he seems to regard as a very serious charge in connection with this matter. He says that he has received some information to the effect that Sir Henry Leeke told some outfitters at Devonport that there was an under, standing between him and the Government that he should contest that borough, and that he promised, in case he succeeded in being returned to Parliament, that Devonport should have a share of the cadets and other perquisites which are now monopolized by Portsmouth. Now, in the first place, I must say, in answer to the charge made upon this ground that I do not at all know what is meant by the word "monopolized" as applied to cadets, 1638 The expression "a monopoly of cadets" is perfect nonsense, come from what quarter it may; and as to the "perquisites," I can only say that I do not, even at this moment, know in what they consist. The point for me, however, to consider is what part I, as a Member of the Government, took in this matter; and it is one in reference to which I am prepared to give this plain, broad, and distinct answer—that I have not, up to the present moment, had one word of communication upon this subject with Sir Henry Leeke; that if Sir Henry Leeke has promised cadets to the electors of Devonport he cannot give them, and that the "perquisites" which have been alluded to have, so far as I know, no existence. If Sir Henry Leeke, in short, has used the language which has been attributed to him, I can only say that it is language which has not been authorized by me, cither directly or indirectly; and if he has made any promises to the people of Devonport of any sort whatever, I can assure the House, on my honour, that I have nothing to do with them. The next statement of the right hon. Gentleman was, that Sir Henry Leeke, finding he could not get on well at Devonport, had reported himself to the First Lord of the Admiralty, and then had gone on to Dover. Upon that point, again, I beg to say that the right hon. Gentleman has bee n entirely misinformed. Sir Henry Leeke, it appears has left Devonport and has gone to Dovor, but I have no knowledge of why he did so. I did not know oven that he had done so, until I heard, greatly to my surprise, that he was at Dovor, and I can assure the right hon. Gentleman and the House that in transitu from Devonport to Dovor Sir Henry Leeke did not report himself to the First Lord of the Admiralty. I shall now proceed to make a few observations in reply to a statement which was not alluded to in the remarks which the right hon. Gentleman has made, but which I have heard currently made elsewhere. I refer to the statement that I not only invited Captain Carnegie and Sir Richard Dundas to get themselves returned to the House of Commons, threatening them with expulsion from the Admiralty in case they refused to accede to the suggestion, but that I made a similar request, and uttered a similar threat in reference to the third member of the Board. [Sir BENJAMIN HALL: No.] I did not say that the right hon. Gentleman had made such an accusation, but it was broadly stated elsewhere. 1639 I have endeavoured to make a plain and candid statement with respect to what has been termed the compulsion used towards Captain Carnegie and Sir Richard Dundas, and I now beg to assure the House that there is no truth whatever in this rumour, and that I had no communication whatever with any third Member of the Board with regard to Parliamentary matters. The right hon. Gentleman alluded, among other things, in the course of his remarks to the report of the intended resignation of Admiral Martin; and, as he has done so, I may mention that it is true that Admiral Martin did express it to be his intention to resign his seat at the Admiralty. It is, however, also true that the expression of that intention had nothing whatever to do with a seat in Parliament, or anything connected with it, the fact being, that it was founded on considerations solely of a personal nature, into which I do not feel myself at liberty to enter. It is sufficient for me to state, that having had a conversation with Admiral Martin, he revoked the expression of the intention to which I have referred. Sir, I have now stated as fully as I could, and without any reserve, all the information I have it in my power to give the House with respect to the two important points embraced in the questions of the right hon. Baronet opposite, and having answered the inquiries which he has addressed to me, I feel there is nothing connected with these transactions of which I have any reason to be ashamed, or that I need have any hesitation in avowing my share in them, either here or elsewhere in the most public manner.
said, that as he had been alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, he felt called upon to trespass for a few moments on the attention of the House. It was perfectly true, as had been stated by his right hon. Friend (Sir John Pakington), that on the present Government succeeding to office, he did him the honour—if honour he might call it—of offering him a seat at the Board of Admiralty. He said, "honour if he might so call it," because whether intentionally or otherwise, the offer was conveyed under circumstances which totally precluded him from accepting it. He held that it was the duty of every man in either the naval or military professions to give his services to his country whenever he could do so with honour; and he would have accepted the seat offered to him at the Board 1640 of Admiralty if he could have done so with honour and dignity. The fact of the matter was this:—In 1852, when he sat for a short time at that Board, he did so filling the office of civilian lord. Between that time and the period at which the present Government succeeded to office last year, he was promoted to a higher rank in the naval service, and therefore he could not consent to take a subordinate place at the Board of Admiralty—which was that offered to him—and serve under a junior officer. It was on that ground, and that ground alone, he declined to accept the offer of his right hon. Friend. He had never breathed a syllable on the subject to a human being before that evening, and he regretted that he was then obliged to mention it in explanation to the House of Commons. He could have very much wished that the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Benjamin Hall) had omitted to refer to the Report of 1852. He could not agree that that Report was condemnatory of the Board of Admiralty, though he admitted that Mr. Stafford's conduct was in some respects characterized by a want of sound judgment. Indeed, they had often spoken of the matter among themselves, and that fact was admitted. He was willing to admit that his lamented Friend's conduct had not been judicious during the time he sat at the Board of Admiralty; it might be said that his zeal had overstepped the bounds of prudence, but considering that his lamented Friend was now no longer among us, he regretted that his right hon. Friend had brought the subject forward as any condemnation conveyed by the Report of that Committee attached rather to him personally than to the Board at large.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
Sir, considering that the right hon. Baronet the First Lord has shown such laudable assiduity to deprive me of my seat for Dovor, I think I may be allowed to address to the House a few observations. I must say in the explanation he has made, the right hon. Baronet has shown—to use the words of the gallant Admiral who spoke last—more zeal than prudence in meddling with election matters at this period. Now, this question resolves itself into two considerations. There is first the private consideration as affecting the attack upon Captain Carnegie by the right hon. Gentleman, and there is the public consideration of how long the Board of Admiralty is to remain as it is at present constituted. As to the personal attack that has been made upon 1641 Captain Carnegie, although I have very slight acquaintance with that gallant officer, yet I have sufficient acquaintance to know that whatever he undertook to do he was prepared to do. When the right hon. Baronet tells the House that he offered that gallant officer "three fairly eligible seats," I think he was bound to continue his narrative, go further, and to tell the House which, in his opinion, were the "three fairly eligible seats," and what were the reasons, in the estimation of the First Lord, why these seats were either fair or eligible. Now, I put it to the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, when Captain Carnegie consented to take his place at the Board, the "fair and eligible seat" which was held dangling before his eyes was not that borough of Midhurst of which we have heard something in this House. Moreover, I ask the First Lord what reason he had to suppose that Dovor was a Government borough. I will give an answer to my question. The right hon. Gentleman knew there were certain packets at Dovor, that he has lately given an appointment in connection with them at Dovor to the brother of an electioneering agent at Devonport, that he had forced Captain Macilwain, the inspector of packets, to retire, and given the office to Commander Truscott. For those reasons it was that he thought a scat at Dovor was a fairly eligible seat for a Lord of the Admiralty.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
I wish to correct the hon. Gentleman. Whatever be his authority it is not true that I ever forced Captain Macilwain to retire. It is utterly untrue.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
Captain Macilwain never applied for his retirement or his promotion. I have his letters upon which I state the fact. I remonstrated with the right hon. Gentleman. Has he forgotten that? But the right hon. Gentleman has a singularly short memory at this period of election. So much for Captain Carnegie, who no doubt will settle his difference with the right hon. Gentleman as to who is most to be credited upon this matter. I now come to the more serious point—to these revelations, now made for the first time in Parliament by a First Lord of the Admiralty, as to the political jobbing that is going' on at the Admiralty. I say, after the disclosures that have been made by the First Lord, it is impossible that any future Parliament can allow the Board of Admiralty to remain 1642 as it is. Because upon the eve of a war— and the right hon. Gentleman has darkly-alluded to that—we are told that he who is in such haste to reconstruct the British navy and constitute a Channel fleet was so forgetful of the state of things in Europe that he was ready to dispense with the services of Sir Richard Dundas, or of any other Member of his Board who did not choose to enter upon a contested election. Whatever hon. Members of this House may think, depend upon it such will be the feeling of the country that it will not permit the Board of Admiralty to remain as it is at present constituted. The right hon. Gentleman has affected not to know what was the telegram which came from Devon-port relating to the promises held out by Sir Henry Leeke. Let me instruct the House upon a point which the First Lord should know. What is this monopoly of cadets which he affects not to understand—and I believe him. He has told us that so ignorant is he of the details of the Admiralty that he has been wanting a dry nurse in the shape of a Naval Lord at his elbow to help him in this House ever since he has been in office. It so happens that when Sir Henry Leek went to canvass Devonport—where he has a son-in-law a contractor in the dockyard, and let the House remember that we don't know what the contract with Sir Henry Leeke was—he held out to the outfitters there that if they would bring about his return for Devonport, he would use his influence with the First Lord to get the examinations for naval cadets, which are now held at Portsmouth, and which bring a good deal of trade to that town, to be carried on exclusively at Devonport. That is the explanation of the telegram; and however the right hon. Gentleman may affect ignorance there is no man in Devonport who does not understand what is the meaning of it. But it seems now that Sir H. Leeke has left Devonport and gone to Dovor. Well, I do not think he will thank the First Lord for giving him this roving commission, but as to that gallant officer himself the country has some right to complain. That gallant officer had not served his time as an active officer, but what did the right hon. Gentleman do when he wanted an electioneering agent in the shape of an Admiral? Why, he put him upon the active list. ["Oh, oh!"] Well, has he served his time? I appeal to every one whether it is not an unexampled circumtance for an officer like Sir H. Leeke to 1643 be put upon the active list at the age of seventy. Why is he put upon the active list? Is it that he may go to Devonport and Dovor, or for what other service? But whatever the explanation of the right hon. Gentleman may be, or however he may impute dishonourable motives to Captain Carnegie ["No, no!"]—well, no, not imputations—he dealt with insinuations; he just "hints a fault." But that I leave him to settle with Captain Carnegie. I have to say, however, that in this general election and long afterwards there will not he a man in or out of this House who will place any confidence in a Board of Admiralty which is constituted as the present. I say more—that if the gallant Admiral the Member for Southwark (Sir Charles Napier) should make a Motion for an inquiry into the constitution of that Board, I, who have opposed it before [laughter]—Yes, I opposed it for this reason, that I had the honour to act with First Lords who would not dirty their fingers with political jobbery. I will support such a Motion now, because I am sure the Board can never continue as it is after the disclosures we have heard to-night.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
Sir, I hope the House will not allow those personal discussions, always amusing as they are, to divert their attention from a most important principle in our Parliamentary constitution. Ought the Board of Admiralty to be professionally represented in this House, or ought it not? For my own part, I think it is due to the honour and the interests of Parliament, and I am sure also of the Executive Government, from whatever party it may be formed, that the Board of Admiralty should be professionally represented in this House. Such has been my opinion during a long period of years, and I can speak from the experience I have had during the existence of the present Government of the extreme inconvenience we have felt, notwithstanding all the assiduity and ability of my right hon. Friend, whenever questions of a nature which are continually on the increase in this country, relating to the administration or organization of the navy, are brought before the House. There are among us many hon. and gallant Members eminent for professional ability, who are connected with the naval service, and the acts of the Government are open, and very properly open, to their criticisms, urged with all the knowledge and force acquired by professional experience, while 1644 the Board of Admiralty is represented in this House only by civilians, who, however distinguished their abilities, or however great their assiduity, cannot cope with such critics upon such questions, and consequently the public mind is apt to adopt erroneous and mistaken notions. In my opinion, it is for the interest of the House of Commons that every department should be adequately and completely represented here. This is not a party opinion—it is not a party principle—it is one in which I am sure a great majority of hon. Gentlemen present will concur. Now, having suffered for more than twelve months from the want of such representation, no one can be surprised that the Government should have taken the earliest opportunity they could of applying a remedy, and redressing what they felt to be a grievance personal to themselves as well as a great injury to the public service. Long before a dissolution of Parliament was anticipated the Government had this subject under their consideration, and were endeavouring to find some opportunity by which they might be able to supply the deficiency under which they were suffering. Something has been said about Captain Carnegie, and my right hon. Friend has regretted that the conversations which took place between him and Captain Carnegie were not reduced to writing. As I know my right hon. Friend and Captain Carnegie are both men of honour, I do not join in that regret. I am sure, upon careful consideration and reflection, there will be found to exist no difference as to fact between them. But I am bound to say, that having the honour of Captain Carnegie's acquaintance, by accident, I am able completely to substantiate the statement that my right hon. Friend has made, if that be necessary, because it so happens that socially, and not in my public capacity. Captain Carnegie sought a conversation with me, in which he expressed his extreme gratification on again returning to public life, and told me he had accepted office on the distinct understanding of entering into Parliament on the first opportunity that might present itself, and that he looked forward to the time when he might assist me in the House of Commons and render service to the Board of Admiralty, which was then in want of professional aid. I had considerable conversation with him on that occasion, and every statement he made to me completely substantiates that which my right hon. Friend 1645 has this evening addressed to the House. Sir, I thought it my duty to call the attention of the House to the very important principle which I conceive is involved in this matter, in order that they should not he diverted from it by the lively comments of the hon. Gentleman who still represents Dovor (Mr. Bernal Osborne); and I do entreat the House, whatever observations may be made, or whatever course they may take on any particular appointment, or on the details which have been adverted to in the course of this slight discussion, not to be induced by party feelings to sanction the principle, that it is not expedient that the public service of the Admiralty should be represented in this House by professional gentlemen. I do not know anything which would tend more to diminish the influence of the House of Commons, and I hardly know anything which would have a more clear tendency to establish an inefficient administration than a permanent Board of naval officers. I am certain those changes which, to a very great degree must take place from the action of the constitution, have a beneficial effect on the Board of Admiralty. If we had in that Board a body of permanent naval officers, without Parliamentary responsibility and criticism, we should have an administration quite behind the spirit of the times, bound up by obsolete prejudices, and by no means equal to the stern demands of the present crisis. I hope the house will be of opinion that my right hon. Friend has only done his duty in endeavouring to place the administration of the Admiralty on its proper basis in that respect. I will touch but lightly on the grievance of the hon. Member for Dovor. That hon. Gentleman wants to know why Dovor should be called a Government borough. I quite concede the point to him. I do not know that there is a single ground for so regarding it, and therefore I should think the hon. Gentleman and his friends will not be offended by the Government having suggested that Dovor would be a place for which a Lord of the Admiralty might be elected. He would there have an independent seat, and there might be some sympathies between a port and a distinguished naval officer, as we know there have been sympathies between Dovor and a gentleman connected with the Admiralty. Dovor may be, and I believe is, completely independent. I don't believe the influence of the Government there is worth as much as the letter I now hold 1646 in my hand; but, nevertheless, it is a fact that Dovor did elect a Secretary of the Admiralty; and â fortiori, when the dissolution occurs, it is not impossible that it may elect a Naval Lord of the Admiralty. Now, I am not personally acquainted with Sir Henry Leeke; but I have always heard him spoken of as a very distinguished man who had gained laurels in the Persian Sea. I once saw him, and I must say he did not give me the idea of a gentleman of seventy. One thing must be admitted; he has shown great activity in his present capacity. A gentleman who has been at Devonport, and on the same day finds himself at Dovor, does not, it appears to me, betoken any great degree of decrepitude. He seems only to be fashioning his career on that of a more distinguished predecessor than himself; because I have been informed—perhaps erroneously, for many of the observations made this evening appear not to have much foundation—that the present distinguished Member for Dovor did at the last general election first appear at Devonport.
§ MR. BERNAL OSBORNE
The right hon. Gentleman will allow me to correct him. I was asked to appear there, but I refused.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
The hon. Gentleman must admit, however, that there is some foundation for the statement I have just made, which is more than can be said for some of the statements that have been made on this occasion. I will not at all venture to predict what may be the result of the coming contest to the hon. Gentleman the present Member for Dovor. All I can say is that that if Sir Henry Leeke represent Dovor in the next Parliament, and the hon. Gentleman the present Member do not, I sincerely hope the hon. Gentleman will find a seat elsewhere.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the real question was, whether the First Lord of the Admiralty was acting in accordance with his duty in placing one, two, or three seats before the Naval Lords, and insisting upon their sitting for the one or the other of them. But his reason for rising was, to say a word or two for the gallant officer to whom allusion had been made, He had known Captain Carnegie from the time that he first entered the naval service; he was also intimately acquainted with his family; and he believed him as incapable of the breach of an honourable engagement into which he had entered as the right hon. 1647 Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty himself. He (Sir George Grey) contended that the telegram from Captain Carnegie which had been read during the discussion was in perfect conformity with the understanding which had subsisted between him and the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord, inasmuch as the clear inference from that message was, that he declined to stand for a place where he could not hope to succeed. He (Sir George Grey) hoped, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would feel it his duty to withdraw the insinuation he had made against Captain Carnegie.
§ SIR CHARLES NAPIER
said, he also must express his astonishment at the manner in which the First Lord of the Admiralty had spoken of Captain Carnegie. Further, he wished to know whether Admiral Martin had left the Admiralty, and his reason for so doing.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he would remind the gallant Admiral that he had already stated that he was not at liberty to state the personal grounds which induced Admiral Martin to retire from the Admiralty.
§ SIR CHARLES NAPIER
continued to observe, that he did not join in the opinion that because Sir Henry Leeke had been put on the retired list, he ought not to have been removed from it; for it was the unanimous opinion of the officers of the Royal Navy that Sir Henry Leeke's services in the Persian Gulf, in the service of the East India Company, should have been taken into account, and prevented his being placed on the retired list. It was, however, quite another question whether Sir Henry Leeke was the man to call to the Admiralty Board. He regretted much that these jobbings had taken place at the Admiralty at a time when war was impending, and that such a man as Admiral Dundas should have been so pressed to contest a borough that he felt compelled to tender his resignation. If the First Lord of the Admiralty should continue to hold his present office after the general election—which was not at all likely—he (Sir Charles Napier) trusted that what had now occurred would be a lesson to him. The fact was, an entire change ought to be made in the constitution of the Board.
§ LORD CLAUD HAMILTON
said, that the hon. Member for Dovor, in referring to Captain Macilwain, had charged the First Lord of the Admiralty with having forced that gentleman from Dovor, and the state- 1648 ment was so extraordinary that he (Lord Claud Hamilton) must ask permission to relate the circumstances to the House. It so happened that his regiment of militia was quartered at Dovor last year, and he made the acquaintance of Captain Macilwain, who came to him and pressed him over and over again, as the greatest possible favour that could be conferred upon him, to write to the First Lord of the Admiralty and get him removed from Dovor. The ground which he stated for making that request was not any temporary inconvenience which he experienced, but that the peculiar mildness of the climate did not suit his wife's health. At last he (Lord Claud Hamilton) consented, and wrote the letter. It was perfectly true that Captain Macilwain wished not for a similar situation, but stipulated for a higher rank, and he understood that he had made a similar application to a previous First Lord of the Admiralty. His right hon. Friend replied that he could not at that time do what the gallant Captain asked; but a satisfactory arrangement had been made. It was therefore to his (Lord Claud Hamilton's) astonishment that the hon. Member for Dovor stated that Captain Macilwain had since seen him, and told him that he did not appprove of the arrangement then made. He (Lord Claud Hamilton) had also seen him; but so far from expressing anything like discontent, he rather expressed himself grateful to the First Lord, although he had stated that he was sorry he was not able to give him increased rank, because he was placed on the retired list.
§ SIR ERSKINE PERRY
said, he must be permitted to state in justice to the hon. Member for Dovor, that the contradiction which the noble Lord had just given, although apparently a flat contradiction, was not so really. His hon. Friend said that Captain Macilwain had applied to retire from the service some years ago, and was refused, and that he had now been placed upon the retired list, without his consent or application, and even against his remonstrances; and that statement Captain Macilwain had himself made to a relation of his (Sir Erskine Perry's), a man of distinguished rank in the navy, no longer ago than Sunday last. It appeared to him also that the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had kept out of sight the most important point in this discussion, namely, the mode in which the boroughs were treated to which the First Lord thought of 1649 sending down candidates. [Sir JOHN PAKINGTON intimated that he had named no boroughs]. He (Sir Erskine Perry) knew that the right hon. Gentleman had not; but he thought it was due to the House that he should give their names. At all events, the House would perceive from the right hon. Gentleman's confession that he had been stimulating gentlemen to seek seats in Parliament by offering a seat at the Board of Admiralty as the reward of their success. That confession was clear throughout the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The naval profession were well aware of the conduct of the Earl of Derby's Government with respect to those boroughs in the year 1852; and he spoke from personal experience when he said that the conduct of the Government on that occasion was most flagrant and even disgraceful. There was such an abuse of patronage and power as had not been witnessed for forty years in this country. And the charge which the Opposition now brought against the Ministry of the present clay was, that on the eve of an election the First Lord of the Admiralty was encouraging a recurrence to the same practices. For here was Sir Henry Leeke, an admiral, promoted from the retired list, and lately made a K.C.B., going down to Devon-port and stating that he had an understanding with the Government that he was to contest that borough, and promising the electors that if he were successful he would obtain the Government patronage for Devonport which was now exercised at Portsmouth. He contended, then, that, this was a recurrence to the practices which had been so unanimously demounced by a Select Committee of the House, that the Government had not given any answer to this part of the charge, and that the part which the First Lord had been playing more resembled the conduct of a Secretary to the Treasury, or a whipper-in, than that of a man charged with the duties of the high office he now filled.
said, he rose not to prolong this hustings discussion, but to confirm every word that had fallen from his noble Friend (Lord C. Hamilton), with regard to Captain Macilwain, notwithstanding the denial which had been given upon hearsay by the hon. Member who had just addressed the House. Captain Macilwain was a. friend of his own, and had told him precisely what had been stated by the noble Lord at the United Service Club, that he was not the least discontented with 1650 the arrangement that had been made, and that he left Dovor entirely on account of the illness of his wife.
§ MR. T. DUNCOMBE
said, he did not wish to have anything to do with the private arrangements within the walls of the Admiralty, but as they were on the eve of a general election, he wished to say a few words on the subject. In the first place he should like to know what the people of England would think of the conversation that had just taken place. He had always thought that the House of Commons was instituted for the purpose of securing the representation of the people, but they had been deliberately told by the First Lord that night that it was necessary that the Board of Admiralty should be represented there, that there were certain boroughs in the pockets of the Admiralty for that purpose, and that it was necessary to have naval officers in the House to assist the First Lord, who was a civilian. But surely it would be a more common sense arrangement to put a naval officer at the head of the Admiralty at once. For what were the naval officers wanted here? To instruct the right hon. Gentleman in the duties of his office. His (Mr. Duncombe's) advice was, that if these naval officers were required in the House to guide the Minister, they should sit there ex officio. But another course which was open to the right hon. Gentleman was, that he himself should retire from the Board of Admiralty, and go back to the Worcestershire Quarter Sessions, whose bench he had adorned as chairman for so long a time. These were important times to live in. We ought to have at the head of the Admiralty persons who were conversant with naval affairs; and he was quite sure that if the right hon. Gentleman did retire, the flag of England would float quite as triumphantly on the seas as it had done for many years past.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he hoped the House would allow him to make an explanation on a matter which was personal to himself—he alluded to what had fallen from the gallant Admiral the Member for the East Riding (Admiral Duncombe). It was true that he (Sir John Pakington) had offered the gallant Admiral a seat at the Board of Admiralty, and he was never more astonished than when he heard this evening that he had made that offer in terms that rendered it impossible for the gallant Admiral to accept it. He (Sir John Pakington) could only say that he had 1651 made the offer in terms as courteous and friendly as such offers were usually made, and he could only explain what had fallen from the hon. and gallant Member this evening, by supposing, for he spoke from memory, that he (Sir John Pakington) had used some such expression as requesting him to resume, or something to that effect, the place at the Board which the gallant Admiral had held under the administration of the Duke of Northumberland; and as the hon. and gallant Member was a naval officer, he was not aware that he had filled the fifth place on that Board, which was usually occupied by a civilian. He certainly thought he had explained that mistake to the gallant Admiral, for the truth was, that at the time he made the offer, he fully believed that the hon. and gallant Member had filled the office of a Naval Lord of the Admiralty.
§ ADMIRAL DUNCOMBE
observed, that what the right hon. Gentleman had just stated was perfectly correct; but from that time to this the right hon. Gentleman had never offered him any explanation. He attributed it to the right hon. Gentleman's ignorance on naval matters and of the feelings of naval men, that he had made the offer as he had done, and it was that conviction which had prevented him from making any complaint on the subject.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
was understood to inquire when the report on the dockyards, to which reference had been made some evenings since, would be placed on the table. He also called attention to the large number of troops in India, and asked if it was in contemplation to send out any addition to the artillery there?
said, that the Report referred to by the hon. and gallant General had been somewhat delayed, but it would be laid upon the table in the course of the Session, and that the hon. and gallant Member was right in supposing that under the present circumstances it was not the intention of the Government to send out any more artillery.
MR. W. WILLIAMS
said, he wished to ask if the Appropriation Bill contained a clause stating the deviation of the sum expended from those voted in the House?
§ Bill read 2°.