HC Deb 04 July 1862 vol 167 cc1430-44

said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the Report of the Select Committee on the Diplomatic Service. All who had read that Report must, he thought, have been struck with the unanimity which prevailed among the witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee, and with the vast mass of valuable information which the Report contained. They must also have observed with pleasure the great interest which had been taken by all our Foreign Secretaries in the welfare of the diplomatic service. A Report having been made by the Select Committee, based upon the evidence of distinguished public men, he thought it was not out of place to ask the Government, before the close of the Session, whether they intended to carry out the suggestions embodied in the Report. It was remarkable, that while the expenditure of every other department of the public service had been increased one-third during the last thirty years, the expenditure of the diplomatic profession had been reduced by a very considerable amount. Although the Army Estimates had been increased by £4,000,000 within the last few years, only a very small addition had been made to the rank and file. The increased expense had been caused by the provision of additional comforts to the army, and the same remark applied to the navy. In the diplomatic service the case was far otherwise; for although the business had increased no less than sevenfold since 1830, at which date the number of despatches which passed through the Foreign Office was 10,000 per annum, whereas it was now something like 75,000, and although a large additional number of gentlemen had entered the profession, the number of attachés being now one-third greater than it used to be, yet the expenditure of the service had been reduced to a much larger extent than was ever contemplated by Parliament. In 1825 the expenditure upon the diplomatic service exceeded £300,000 a year; in 1830 it was £230,000; but now it was no more than about £180,000. The profits of the profession had been diminished, while the cost of living in all the European capitals had been nearly doubled, and while, at the same time, the business had been enormously increased. If the expenditure could have been reduced with justice to the gentlemen who had entered the service, nobody would have a word to say against the arrangement; but when every witness examined before the Select Committee declared that those gentlemen were very insufficiently paid, and that justice was not done to them, it became the duty of the House of Commons to give its attention to the subject, and take care that it did not countenance the continuance of an unwise economy. The Select Committee had made seven recommendations, the first of which related to the examination of attachés. Upon that subject a good deal of evidence was taken, and all the witnesses agreed in thinking that the system of examination should not be pressed too far. Mr. Elliot stated that a man accustomed to good society was the person best fitted for the diplomatic service. The Earl of Clarendon declared that many qualities were required which could not be tested by an examination. Sir Andrew Buchanan made a remark of the same kind, while Earl Russell admitted that there were great practical inconveniences in the examination of attachés. It was essential, of course, that no incompetent person should be appointed, but the Civil Service Commissioners should not be allowed to interfere too much with candidates. The next three recommendations of the Select Committee bore simply upon the regulations of the Foreign Office, and he would not trouble the House with any remarks on them. But then came a very important suggestion— That the present regulations with regard to leave of absence of Ambassadors and Ministers appear to press upon them with undue severity, and that the attention of the Secretary of State may be advantageously directed to the subject. That recommendation involved a certain expenditure. The House might not, perhaps be aware that Ambassadors and Ministers were the only public servants who were not allowed even one month's leave of absence without a deduction from their salaries. Such an arrangement as that was very bad; it was bitterly complained of, and he thought the House would agree with him that two months' leave of absence should be granted without any reduction of salary. The whole additional expense would not exceed £7,000 or £8,000 a year. He believed it was intended that there should be no unpaid attachés. A Vote of £2,300 would be presented to the House before the close of the Session, and he hoped it would be passed without opposition. Another point of importance was embodied in the sixth recommendation, which was— That, whenever it is practicable and fit, a residence for a term of years should be secured for the British Embassy or Mission, the rent and repairs to be defrayed at the public expense. He thought that a deduction should be made from the salary of an Ambassador or Minister for house rent; but it was most important that there should be a fixed residence in every capital, in order that the representatives of Her Majesty abroad might not be put to unnecessary expense. The French system in this respect was much better than our own. The last suggestion of the Select Committee was— That the attention of the Secretary of State be directed to the salaries and allowances of the larger missions, with the view of considering whether they are adequate to meet greatly increased expenditure of living at the principal European capitals. Upon that point the evidence was strong, unanimous, and conclusive. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe was asked— Do you consider the efficiency of the service has suffered from its not being so profitable as a career, or as not presenting so good an opening as other professions? He replied— I cannot undertake to say, as far as my experience has gone, that it has so suffered; there is, generally such a spirit among the gentlemen employed that they would rather make sacrifices out of their own means than allow the service to suffer; but it is hardly fair to leave an opening for such sacrifices. To speak from conjecture, I should presume that adequate remuneration, and the prospect of high eventual prizes, would obtain for the public a greater command of talent. I think that the appointments should be sufficient for the due performance of the duties, and that any individual employed in the diplomatic service of Her Majesty's Government should be placed on terms of society with the native gentlemen; an ambassador with those of the first rank, and an envoy with those of the class generally. The following was from the examination of the Earl of Malmesbury:— In your Lordship's administration were there frequently complaints on the part of the diplomatic body as to the inadequacy of their salaries to support their position in a proper manner?—A great many. Do yon remember what were the main grounds on which those complaints were founded?—Principally the great increase of prices everywhere, in both hemispheres. The increase of prices in South America is astonishing. We also know that at Paris everything has increased 40 per cent within our recent recollection. That, I believe, was the principal ground which they put forward when they stated that their salaries were not sufficient, and that they were obliged to trench upon their private means. Earl Russell said our representatives abroad were not sufficiently paid. Earl Cowley stated that he was out of pocket every year, while Sir A. Buchanan frankly told the Committee that his expenses in Madrid exceeded his salary by £1,000 per annum, and that he had been obliged to borrow a sum of money. The Earl of Clarendon gave the following evidence:— Do you consider that the present pay of heads of missions is sufficient?—I am sure that it is not. The scale of salaries, I believe, was fixed thirty or forty years ago, and I believe very properly and fairly, and even liberally, with reference to the prices of the necessaries and comforts, and perhaps even the luxuries, of life; but I believe that there is no part of Europe, or America either, in which the prices of all those things have not risen from 40 to 60 or 70 per cent; consequently the rate at which the salaries were fixed thirty or forty years ago can be hardly fair now although they were fair then, and I believe that many Ministers are put to very considerable straits. He thought it essential to the position and influence of a country that its diplomatic servants should be able to entertain. There could not be better evidence on that point than that of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. Before the I Official Salaries Committee the noble Lord stated that no man could live in Paris on £10,000 a year. Earl Granville spent a great deal more. Let the House compare the salaries paid by England with those paid by other countries. The French Ambassador in London received 300.000f., or £12,000 a year; the French Mininster at St. Petersburg also received £12,000 per annum. It was not fair to place a representative in a capital—for instance, Lord Napier at St. Petersburg—on a scale of salary which would not allow him to receive in the same manner as the French ambassador. That was a hardship. It was no answer to say that plenty of gen- tlemen would be glad to undertake the office with its present conditions. England was a great country, and it ought to be represented with due dignity. While diplomacy in France cost £150,000 a year, it only cost England £140,000; and to make that up, about £12,000 which used to stand on the consular had been placed on the diplomatic charges. Parliament allowed £180,000 for the diplomatic service and pensions, but, instead of that, sometimes not more than £160,000 was spent, and therefore there had been £130,000 saved out of the diplomatic expenditure and applied to the Consolidated Fund during the last seven years. He did not think he was asking too much of the Government to support his views, and of the House of Commons to adopt them. If this year it was impossible to do anything in raising the salaries of these most deserving public servants, he hoped the Government would, at all events, concede one point, and allow two months' leave of absence without any deductions from their salary. Everybody admitted how admirably the diplomatic service of the country had been carried out in recent times—without forgetting the services of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe—by such men as Lord Lyons, Lord Napier, Earl Cowley, Sir Henry Bulwer, and Sir James Hudson. It was only, therefore, simple justice that the Report of the Select Committee should be carried into effect.


seconded the Motion.


said, he would admit that the hon. Gentleman had made a very fair and impartial statement to the House. The Committee which sat last year on the diplomatic service was composed of hon. Gentlemen of great experience. They went very fully into the subject, and, after a long investigation, the Committee made a Report which contained seven recommendations. The Foreign Office were desirous of carrying out all those recommendations, which no doubt were entirely warranted by the evidence. To some extent they were put forward by Earl Russell himself; they received the almost unanimous adhesion of the members of the Committee; and the Foreign Office would have acted in accordance with the feelings of the Committee if they had been able to carry out all their recommendations at once. But it must be recollected that the Foreign Office did not hold the purse-strings, and after due consideration it was not thought in the present state of things advisable to come down to the House of Commons and ask a considerable addition to the Estimates in order to give effect to all those recommendations. What the hon. Gentleman had stated was quite correct—that while all other branches of the public service had enormously increased, the expenditure of the Foreign Office had remained stationary for thirty years. A certain sum placed on the Consolidated Fund—namely, £180,000—was still applied to the diplomatic service, and out of that sum from £7,000 to £10,000 had been annually returned to the Exchequer. In 1831, when the new system was introduced, the annual amount voted for the diplomatic service was about £200,000; and his conviction was, that if annual sums had been asked of the House, instead of the amount being fixed upon the Consolidated Fund, it would have increased with the other branches of the public expenditure. He would state very shortly what Government were prepared to do. The first recommendation was that two sets of examinations—one on being appointed an unpaid attaché, and the other when made a paid attaché shall not be obligatory. These examinations had been found extremely inconvenient, especially when gentlemen were serving at distant posts. It was proposed to leave it to the option of an attaché to undergo one examination on entering the service. The next recommendation was, that after a probationary period of four years' service unpaid attachés should be promoted to become paid attachés. There were instances of young gentlemen having served eleven years without any pay. He thought, as a rule, public servants should be paid, and he had been in favour of all attachés being paid. It was, however, finally agreed that after four years they should be paid. That recommendation the Foreign Office was prepared to carry out, and a supplementary Estimate of £2,800 would be asked for that purpose. The next recommendation was, that commissions as secretaries should be given to attachés on their first appointment to be paid attachés. The object was, that when those gentlemen received pay, they should also receive a commission, which would give them a claim for a pension from that day forward; and that recommendation they also hoped to carry out. The fifth recommendation was, that leave of absence should be given for a certain period annually to the heads of missions, without deduction from their salaries. He did not quite agree with his hon. Friend, that when the head of a mission was on leave he should have his full pay, because much of his official income was expended in entertaining, and that could not go on while he was away. What the Foreign Office proposed as a reasonable compromise was, that during an annual leave of absence—and it was highly important that heads of departments should occasionally come to England, and thus have opportunities of communicating personally with the Foreign Office and with the leading men in this country, and of making themselves acquainted with the state of public feeling at home—a certain sum should be deducted from their pay, which would go to increase the salary of the chargé d'affaires in their absence. The sixth recommendation was as to providing houses for the principal missions. That, no doubt, would be a very great benefit to our diplomatic servants; but again they were met by a question of expense. As the hon. Gentleman opposite had observed, diplomatic officers were often appointed to missions without any certainty as to how long they would remain there, and frequently incurred expenses in hiring and fitting up their houses, which were made useless by their removal very shortly afterwards. At Naples, for instance, Mr. Elliot had gone to some expense in furnishing his house, and immediately afterwards the mission was abolished: he had to return to this country, and had suffered considerable pecuniary loss. The seventh recommendation was with regard to the increase of salaries. No doubt the cost of living, not only throughout Europe, but throughout the whole world, had increased of late much more than hon. Gentlemen would, perhaps, believe without reading through the returns made to the Foreign Office. Everywhere, almost, the cost of living had increased by one-third, and in some cases by one-half. Here, again, they were met by the question of expense. But if, under more favourable circumstances, the House of Commons could be inclined to take into consideration the case of public servants who performed their duties so well, nobody would be more delighted than himself. Still it was a question more for the Chancellor of the Exchequer than for the Foreign Office. He concurred entirely in all that had been said as to the merits of the diplomatic service. There was no country which, was so adequately served in that department at so little cost as England; and if a time should come when an increase in the salaries of the diplomatic servants could be proposed, no one would rejoice more than he should.


said, he rose to protest against any increase in the expenditure of the country. Only a few evenings previously there was a discussion in that House on the public charges, and it was then agreed on all sides that the expenditure ought to be reduced. Yet the Foreign Office were ready to increase the burdens of the people, and, as he believed, without any just reason. When the Committee was moved for, he (Mr. Williams) stated, that unless very great care was taken, the result would be to increase the public expenditure; and so it had proved from what had just been stated on the part of the Government. He contended that the diplomatic service was, as a rule, rather overpaid than underpaid. The Ambassador at Paris had a salary of £10,000 a year, with house rent, provided for him, and frequent demands on the country for furniture and other such expenses, and yet he said that his salary was insufficient. Certainly he could not spend that amount on anything connected with the duties of his office. It could only be in entertaining distinguished personages from his own country, and that was a purpose for which the people of this country ought not to be taxed. He was not surprised at the Government sanctioning increased expenditure in the department, because, of course, it would give them increased patronage. If they assented to increase the salaries and allowances of the diplomatic service, they would soon be again asked to augment them further. He hoped, therefore, the question would not be entertained.


said, he was sorry to hear his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs intimate that he should have been prepared to adopt the Resolution of the hon. Member opposite, if he thought the House would endure it. The hon. Gentleman opposite spoke in terms of compassion of the diplomatic service having only the sum of £180,000 a year spent upon its members; but, besides £10,000 secret service money, he (Mr. Dodson) found scattered up and down the Estimates all sorts of expenses for the diplomatic service. In the Estimates of that year they had £18,700 for payments in connection with our diplomatic relations in China, besides £4,000 for travelling expenses. Altogether, the cost of the service was not £180,000, but £340,000. The Report of the Select Committee on the diplomatic service was based on a string of seven resolutions, six of which recommended an increased expenditure, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. If the House was not careful how it sanctioned such demands, the Secretary of State, who was then limited to an expenditure of £180,000 on diplomatic salaries, would be constantly pressed to appoint more paid attachés, while, on the other hand, the House would be constantly pressed for more supplementary Votes to pay them. One of the resolutions of the Committee had reference to the stoppage of salaries of ministers when absent from their posts, in reference to which he believed some alteration had already been made. But this was a matter in the hands of the Foreign Secretary, who could distribute the £180,000 as he pleased. Another of the resolutions recommended that embassy houses should be provided in the different European capitals for the Ministers. The unfortunate precedents of Paris and Constantinople ought to act as a warning to them against adopting any such rule. Our embassy house at the latter of those two capitals was to have cost £40,000, but it actually cost £90,000; from £2,000 to £3,000 a year more was required to keep it in repair: and, after all, it was one of the worst structures in Europe. Much had been said about the increased cost of living on the Continent, but the reduced charges for travelling, postage, telegraphic communication, and other things, in some degree compensated for such extra expense. A diplomatic career was a highly honourable one, which men were anxious to enter not for the sake of pecuniary emolument only, but for the position it gave them, and the prospect it opened to them of rising to posts of great dignity and importance in Europe. The Select Committee was composed of a majority of men who were then either in office or had been in office, and who might naturally have had a bias in favour of officials. The Chairman of the Committee—the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Monckton Milnes) proposed an elaborate Report framed with a view to make the diplomatic service more strictly professional. That end was to be attained by providing that, after a certain fixed period of probation, attachés should be paid; but that suggestion was coupled with others, such as that no more attachés should be employed than the wants of the service demanded, that appointments should be made only to fill up vacancies, and that promotion should take place by seniority instead of by the favour of the Minister. The Committee adopted the proposition, submitted to them, with the omission, however, of the important restrictions by which it was accompanied. Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, Sir Hamilton Seymour, Lord Wodehouse, Mr. Hammond, and many other eminent and experienced authorities testified that the unpaid attachés worked exceedingly well, and most of the witnesses examined added that there was no difference in respect to the excellence of their work between the paid and the unpaid attachés. No improvement, then, was to be anticipated in the public service from granting further pay to attachés. He did not think any injustice was done to those gentlemen through their not being paid, for they entered the service knowing what they had to expect. Mr. Hammond stated in his evidence that an attaché could not live upon less than from £400 to £600 a year. He must therefore be a man of some fortune; and if they gave him a salary of £150 or so, it would only be a little pocket money for him over and above his private income. Why, then, should the House be called upon to depart from the rule adopted when the charge was placed on the Consolidated Fund? By consenting to that charge the House had abdicated all control over the diplomatic expenditure and over the diplomatic service. If they once admitted that a supplementary Estimate was to be annually voted for the diplomatic salaries, it was conceivable that the Foreign Secretary might job away the whole of the £180,000 in dispensing it on comparatively unnecessary legations occupied by parasites of his own, and then come to Parliament for a supplementary Estimate with which to pay for the really useful diplomatic business of the country. They ought to do one of two things with those diplomatic salaries—either abolish the system that made them a charge on the Consolidated Fund, and let the whole of them be put in the Estimates annually and be overhauled, or decide that the Secretary of State should keep within the bounds of the sum granted. He hoped the House would express its dissent from the sentiments expressed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Honiton, and approved in a qualified manner by the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs; and he further hoped, that when the time came for considering the Estimate by which the Government would seek to give effect to an objectionable Resolution, they would support him in rejecting it.


said, he was always glad to hear those speeches of the hon. Member for Lambeth (Mr. Williams) in which that hon. Gentleman advocated economy in the public expenditure; but when he heard the speech delivered by him that evening, it struck him that the hon. Gentleman could never have read the voluminous evidence taken by the Committee that had sat on these questions. The hon. Gentleman expressed his opinion that the public servants in the diplomatic service were notoriously overpaid, and added that, so far as he knew, there was no complaint from any of them of the insufficiency of the remuneration which they received. The fact was, that there was not one single public servant connected with the diplomatic service who did not only complain, but give absolute and positive proof, that the remuneration which he received from the country was utterly insufficient to meet the expenses which he was required to undergo. The object of the Government and the House should be to obtain the services of men of ability; but if public servants were underpaid, the tendency of such a state of things must be to limit the candidates for diplomatic appointments to those who could be entirely independent of the remuneration attached to these posts. In illustration of that, he could mention a fact of which he was aware before he took any part in public life. A Government was very desirous of changing their representative in this country, whom they thought not the most efficient public servant they could select; but, notwithstanding that desire, the Minister to whom he referred continued to hold his appointment for five or six years after his Government wished to remove him, because, in consequence of the insufficient salary, no one could be found to undertake the duties of the office, which his private fortune enabled him to hold. He did not mean to say that such a thing could happen in this country; for here it could not be said that diplomatic salaries were utterly insufficient, although it might be true that they were not alto- gether adequate. Though he went a certain length with his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State, he was sorry to hear any Minister make such a statement as he did on the subject of the salaries paid to the diplomatic servants. His hon. Friend said— The Government admit the case presented to them by the Committee. We agree in their recommendations. We think the public servants in the diplomatic department underpaid, and that they are called on to make sacrifices of their private fortune; but though this injustice is admitted, we say we cannot afford to be just, because at the present time our finances are not in the most flourishing condition. He could not conceive a more objectionable principle than the one involved in that statement of his hon. Friend. With regard to the recommendation as to houses, he would remind hon. Members that there was a great difference between building a large embassy house for £90,000, and taking a house on lease of moderate length, at the current rental. The deduction made from the salary of a diplomatic Minister while on leave was another matter which afforded much ground for complaint. When a Minister came home on leave for a couple of months—and it was admitted that such visits to this country were of advantage to the public service—the whole of his salary was deducted during the time he was absent from his post, though it was impossible for him to stop the whole of his expenditure. His establishment abroad must be kept up during his temporary absence. Payments for his house, his servants, his carriages, and various matters were all going on, not perhaps to quite the same extent as when he was there, but still to a large extent; and yet the Government deducted the whole amount of his salary, and, what was more, did not give it to the chargé d'affaires; but, handing him a guinea a day in addition to his ordinary salary during the absence of his chief, pocketed the difference between that and the Minister's salary. The hon. Under Secretary's answer to the case was that the Government could not afford to make a change at present. He hoped the public funds would soon be in such a condition as to enable the Government to carry out the recommendations of the Committee. He could not think his hon. Friend's excuse a valid one. He believed the principle upon which it was founded to be most objectionable, and he hoped justice would be done to a body of public men who in talent and indefatigable zeal were not excelled by any others in the public service of this country.


said, that he should support the decision of the Committee of which he had the honour to be a Member. Having been an attaché for six or seven years, he felt bound to state that no man had done more for the diplomatic service than the noble Viscount at the head of the Government; and he hoped that the noble Lord would acknowledge that many of the recommendations of the Committee only did justice to that service. He could declare that more attention could not have been paid to any subject than that which had been given to this by his colleagues and himself. The Committee recommended that in future all attachés should be paid after four years' service. He could not admit, because a man was ready to enter the diplomatic profession without a salary, that he ought not therefore to be paid for his services. He objected, on principle, to unpaid services. He had heard the late Lord Cowley say that no man ought to enter the service without receiving a certain amount of payment, if it were only £50 a year. He also recollected Sir F. Lamb, afterwards Lord Melbourne, giving a similar opinion. After four years' service, at all events, he thought they ought to receive a salary and become paid servants of the Crown. He also thought it would be very desirable that the attachés, when paid, should become secretaries, beginning as third secretaries, and rising to second and first secretaries, according to length of service, instead of being called paid attachés, as in foreign capitals they were considered to hold an inferior rank, by being so called, to the third and second secretaries of Foreign missions, whose duties were, after all, the same as those of the present paid attachés at British missions. It was a just cause of complaint that at present the attachés, when they became paid servants of the Crown, did not receive a commission, which, in fact, they ought to have on entering the profession; but, according to existing rule, received it only when they became Secretaries of Legation, after having been ten or even twelve years in the service; and, consequently, their time of service, whatever it might have been, did not count towards their pensions, until they had attained the rank of Secretary. He thought that the noble Viscount, and the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office, would do well to encourage exchanges now and then for a certain period, between the clerks of the Foreign Office and the junior members of the diplomatic corps. Both parties would benefit by such an exchange. The younger members of the diplomatic corps would not only gain a more complete knowledge of the duties of the Foreign Office, but would return to their missions refreshed in those liberal principles which distinguished the Foreign administration of England, and which would act as a counterpoise to the notions with which they might, perhaps, be imbued by constant residence in despotic countries. Two months' leave was given in each year to diplomatists; but if they could not take advantage of it for a year or two, the leave was allowed to accumulate, and any reduction of salary, when they were permitted to take their leave, ought to be very small. The practice of leaving it to Ministers sent to many foreign capitals to hire their own houses was attended with much inconvenience. A new Minister usually found the last residence given up, and he often had great difficulty in obtaining a house. He was obliged, on his arrival, to go to an hotel, and every one tried to obtain the largest possible sum from him for any residence that he desired to rent. It was a great evil to be obliged frequently to remove the documents and archives of the embassy from one house to another. If the Government would take a residence on a long lease for the Minister, a reduction of his salary might be made, if it were thought necessary; but it would be a great comfort to the new Minister to have a house to go to at once. He thought the recommendations made by the Committee were very fair and just to the diplomatic service, without being extravagant, and he believed that the House would only be upholding the feelings and long experience of the Foreign Office in supporting the resolutions of the Committee. Earl Russell, Lord Malmesbury, the Earl of Clarendon, and Lord Stratford de Redcliffe had all borne testimony to the able manner in which the diplomatic service of this country was carried on. A more able or distinguished body of men were not, indeed, employed in the public service, and yet there was abundant proof that almost without an exception their expenses abroad exceeded their income. He believed that the House would not wish, when the country was well served, that these gentlemen should expend more than their salaries in performing their duty to the public.


said, he ventured originally to take exception to the constitution of the Committee which sat upon the question of the diplomatic service, because he knew that the result of its deliberations would lead to an augmentation of public expenditure. He had himself objected to the nomination of the present Foreign Secretary upon it, not from any invidious motive, but to raise the question of the constitution of the Committee. On the Committee there was an undue proportion of the official element—there being eight out of fifteen members either officials or ex-officials, and four others who were connected with the diplomatic service. It was easy to foresee what the Report of such a Committee would be. The hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. S. Fitzgerald) thought it strange that hon. Gentlemen below the gangway should object to the paying of attachés, or to the raising of their salaries, because, he said, that by so doing they were handing over the offices to the exclusive possession of aristocratic persons. But his reply to the hon. Gentleman was, that if he could show that by paying attachés or increasing their salaries he would guarantee that the area of selection should be widened, there would be some weight in his argument. He (Mr. White) was of opinion that by increasing the emoluments of the profession they would circumscribe the area of selection, and therefore he could not accept the recommendations of the Committee. When the Astronomer Royal was first appointed, in the reign of William III., the King proposed to give him a salary of £800 a year; but Dr. Flamsteed said he would rather have £300; and when the King asked why, the doctor replied, "For £300 a year you will get an astronomer; but if you give £800 you will get not an astronomer, but an aristocrat." He would merely add that he should oppose the recommendations of the Committee.