HC Deb 16 June 1863 vol 171 cc978-80

said, he would beg to ask the right hon. Member for Tyrone, What is the salary and the emoluments of Captain Fishbourne, one of the Honorary Secretaries of the Patriotic Fund?


said, he was afraid he must ask leave to preface his answer by explaining why Captain Fishbourne, although in receipt of a salary, was designated Honorary Secretary of the Royal Patriotic Fund. At the time when the Commission issued it was not supposed that the Fund would reach a large amount, or that the time occupied in its distribution would extend over a long period, and consequently the establishment in connection with the Commission was organized merely on a temporary footing. Under these circumstances it was decided that the office of Secretary should be an honorary appointment; and Captain Fishbourne, having been strongly recommended by Sir James Graham, then First Lord of the Admiralty, his name was inserted in the Royal Commission along with that of Colonel Lefroy as one of the joint Honorary Secretaries. Colonel Lefroy shortly after received an appointment at the War Office, and ceased to act, and Captain Fishbourne thus became the sole acting Secretary of the Royal Commission. He entered on his arduous and responsible duties in the year 1854, and continued to serve as Honorary Secretary, without any salary, until 1860—that was, for a period of upwards of five years. It was true that during this period he received an annual allowance at first fixed at one hundred and fifty guineas, but afterwards raised to £200, but this was not a remuneration for service performed, but merely to indemnify him for the additional expenses imposed on him by the necessity of living in London instead of in the country, where he had previously resided; and considering that he was a married man with a family, he did not think the amount would be considered extravagant. But it turned out that the munificence of the public, which placed a sum amounting to little short of £1,500,000 at the disposal of the Commissioners, enabled them to provide not only for the immediate wants of widows and orphans of the Russian war, but also to provide permanent allowances for widows and infirm children, as well as to appropriate large sums towards the endowment of schools for the education of the orphans of soldiers, sailors, and marines, Under these circumstances, the Fund ceased to be of a temporary character, and the permanent services of a Secretary were consequently required. Captain Fishbourne could not continue to act in that capacity Without foregoing all chance of promotion and employment in his profession, in which he had as fair a claim to advancement as any other Officer on the list of Captains of the Royal Navy; and he, consequently, applied to be placed on the same footing as the paid Secretaries of other Royal Commissions. It was not, however, within the competence of the Royal Commissioners to comply with this request, because his position was defined as Honorary Secretary in the Royal Commission, which they had no power to alter and they consequently decided on securing his services by appointing him paid Member of the Executive and Finance Committee; and it was in that capacity, and not as Honorary Secretary, that he received payment for his services. The amount of his salary was fixed by the Royal Commissioners at £600 a year, and to remove all doubt, he (Mr. Corry) might add that that salary was not in addition to, but inclusive of, his previous allowance of £200 a year. The duties which Captain Fishbourne performed in return for that salary required his daily attendance during the usual hours of official business at the Office, except when absent on other duties, such as visiting schools. Being at the head of the Office, he was responsible for the manner in which its business was conducted, and no money could be disbursed without his signature and sanction, and the present annual disbursement amounted to nearly £78,000. The hon. Gentleman had further asked, "What is the amount of Captain Fishbourne's emoluments?" His answer was, that he was not in the receipt of any emolument but his salary of £600 per year. He was, according to invariable practice, allowed his travelling expenses, and the total amount of these for eight years and a half had been only £201, being at the rate of less than £25 a year.