§ SUPPLY—considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ (1.) £27,835, to complete the sum for Law Charges.
§ (2.) £ 116,973, to complete the sum for Criminal Prosecutions, Sheriffs' Expenses, &c.
§ (3.) £45,242, to complete the sum for Common Law Courts.
§ (4.) £325,575, to complete the sum for County Courts.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
complained of the large amount allowed to the County Court Judges for travelling expenses. The amount under this head was £14,600, which would give about £240 in the shape of travelling expenses to each of the sixty Judges.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, he had heard it stated that this item would allow every Judge to travel 30,000 miles a year at first-class fares.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, as hon. Members were aware, some of the Courts were held at some considerable distance from the houses of the Judges. Expenses, however, were only allowed to Judges for the travelling which was necessary within their own circuits. The amounts had been fixed after careful consideration, and showed no change upon those of last year.
§ MR. AYRTON
replied, that a rough estimate had been made of what the probable expense in the ease of each court would be; but the Committee might rest satisfied that no demand would be paid until it had been narrowly scrutinized, and shown to be justifiable.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (5.) £61,733, to complete the sum for Probate Courts.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
desired to know the meaning of the charge for "special allowances" in the case of the district registries?
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, he believed that a good deal could be done in the way of reducing the expenses under this class; and he expressed a hope that Her Majesty's Government would see whether it might not be advisable to change the method under which officers of these courts were appointed—to throw them open by competition to men of ability, instead of allowing the appointments to remain in the hands of the Judges.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that steps were being taken to enable Her Majesty's Government to review the salaries and emoluments of the officers of those courts as each of the appointments became vacant; but Parliament had always thought it desirable that the appointments themselves should be in the hands of the Judges. The "special allowances" referred to by the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney) were allowances that were made in consequence of the increase of district business, the salaries and emoluments originally fixed having remained unaltered.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (6.) £8,870, to complete the sum for Admiralty Court Registry.
§ (7.) £3,490, to complete the sum for Land Registry Office.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, the progress was necessarily measured by the fees received, and these for the last year amounted to only £250. [An hon. MEMBER: Paid by one company.] This land registry was originally intended to carry out a great design—namely, to give everybody an indefeasible title to his estate, but the public did not appear to appreciate the offer. It was necessary to have responsible and highly-paid officers, almost in the position of Judges, who would undertake the duty of declaring that a man had an indefeasible right to his estate. If the scheme had been generally acted upon of course the fees would have covered the expense. With regard to the Middlesex Registry Court, the hon. Member (Mr. Alderman Lusk) had better ask a Question in the proper form.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it was not possible to find something for the Judge to do?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, that as one of the Royal Judicature Commissioners, he had been endeavouring to find occupation for this unfortunate gentleman. He might add that he believed the failure in that office had arisen from the fact that the principle recommended by the original Commissioners, and embodied in a Bill introduced by Lord Cairns, had not been adopted. If the House would give effect to the Report of the Royal Commission which had been recently sitting he hoped that the Judge of this Court would have employment.
§ MR. GOLDNEY
said, a promise was made on a former occasion, when a Resolution on the subject was withdrawn, that the office should be amalgamated with some other office, by which the salaries would be saved.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (8.) £21,224, to complete the sum for Police Courts (London and Sheerness).
§ (9.) £141,449, to complete the sum for Metropolitan Police.
§ (10.) £235,000, to complete the sum for County and Borough Police, Great Britain.
§ (11.) £208,712, to complete the sum for Government Prisons, England, and Transportation.
§ (12.) £175,632, to complete the sum for County Prisons and Reformatories, Great Britain.911
§ (13.) £21,910, to complete the sum for Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum.
§ (14.) £14,335, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Charges.
§ (15.) £50,198, to complete the sum for Criminal Proceedings in Scotland.
§ (16.) £36,764, to complete the sum for Courts of Law and Justice (Scotland).
§ (17.) £15,099, to complete the sum for Register House Departments (Scotland).
§ (18.) £16,949, to complete the sum for Prisons in Scotland.
§ (19.) £58,364, to complete the sum for Law Charges and Criminal Prosecutions in Ireland.
§ (20.) £29,379, to complete the sum for Court of Chancery (Ireland).
§ (21.) £20,097, to complete the sum for Common Law Courts (Ireland).
§ (22.) £5,510, to complete the sum for Court of Bankruptcy and Insolvency (Ireland).
§ (23.) £9,003, to complete the sum for Landed Estates Court (Ireland).
§ COLONEL FRENCH
asked if there was any intention to reduce this Vote, seeing that there was very little business done in the court now?
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he rather thought that a Bill they had just passed would find some further employment for this court; but if they should hear that the staff was more than necessary, of course they should reduce it.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (24.) £7,380, to complete the sum for Probate Court (Ireland).
§ (25.) £1,130, to complete the sum for Admiralty Court Registry (Ireland).
§ MR. AYRTON
said, this subject was reviewed last Session, and Parliament then thought fit to set up this court.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (26.) £9,857, to complete the sum for Registry of Deeds in Ireland.
§ (27.) £2,262, to complete the sum for Registry of Judgments in Ireland.
§ (28.) 65,043, to complete the sum for Dublin Metropolitan Police.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
observed that this Vote was increasing every year, and he did not see why a rich town like Dublin should ask to have such an enormous sum from the public funds for the protec- 912 tion of its own property. Dublin should pay for her police force like other large towns in England and Scotland. He also asked for some explanation with respect to the item of compensation for offices abolished.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that that item referred to appointments abolished some sixteen or seventeen years ago, with the exception of one which was abolished in 1860, when certain changes were made in the department. With regard to the item for the Dublin police, it seemed, as placed in the Estimates, to be a Vote from the general Exchequer for the whole of the expenses of that body of police. That was the result of an arrangement made some few years ago, according to which the whole of the charge was brought upon the Estimates. He said nothing of the wisdom of that proceeding. The City of Dublin, however, contributed £41,000 towards the expenses, which was a great improvement on the rest of Ireland.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
said, it was a great pity the Secretary to the Treasury had not been longer in Office, or he would have known more of the reasons for these charges being included in the Estimates. The fact was, that when the Corn Laws were repealed it was thought Ireland would suffer, and these charges were undertaken by the Imperial Government as some compensation to Ireland. Moreover, the revenue officers had been discharged, and their duties thrown on the police.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (29.) £603,544, to complete the sum for Constabulary (Ireland).
§ (30.) £14,193, to complete the sum for Government Prisons and Reformatories in Ireland.
§ (31.) £6,000, to complete the sum for County Prisons in Ireland.
§ (32.) £3,272, to complete the sum for Dundrum Criminal Lunatic Asylum.
§ COLONEL FRENCH
observed that he should be sorry to disturb the general disposition of the House to vote anything asked for, and therefore he should make no objection to this Vote.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, these incidental expenses were all strictly audited before they were included in the Estimates.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (33.) £1,730, to complete the sum for Four Courts Marshalsea Prison.
§ In answer to Mr. GOURLEY,
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that imprisonment for debt was not yet abolished in Dublin. But when they put an end to the system, prisons for debtors would no longer be required in Dublin.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (34.) £5,820, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Legal Charges in Ireland.
§ (35.) £85,452, to complete the sum for Convict Establishments in the Colonies.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £155,667, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1870, for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Missions and Embassies Abroad.
§ MR. RYLANDS
rose to call attention to the excessive expenditure for Diplomatic and Consular Services, and to move a reduction on heads 1 and 2. He congratulated the Committee upon the fact that the charge for the diplomatic service was now, for the first time, included in the Estimates. In former years it was paid out of the Consolidated Fund, and it was a singular instance of the mode in which all questions relating to the diplomatic service had been treated in Parliament, and of the secresy in which everything connected with diplomacy was shrouded, that so much opposition had been offered in former Sessions to the reasonable proposals which had been made to give the House an opportunity of voting upon this branch of the national expenditure. In 1858, Mr. Wise moved—That it is the opinion of this House that the Diplomatic Salaries and Pensions now charged upon the Consolidated Fund should be brought under the more immediate view and control of Parliament, and be paid out of a Vote annually provided by the House of Commons for the purpose."—[3 Hansard, cxlix. 1508.]Lord Palmerston strongly opposed this Resolution, and said that if it were adopted it would— 914Give Parliament the opportunity of detailed and constant intervention in the transactions connected with our diplomatic relations, would lead to consequences which I think there might be great reason to regret—would tend to the disturbance of all order, and to the consequent disquietude of our foreign relations."—[Ibid. 1520.]He therefore—Entreated and conjured the House not to sanction a proposal which, he believed, would be attended with most serious and injurious consequences to the public interests as connected with our foreign relations."—[Ibid. 1522.]Under the influence of that appeal the House, of course, rejected Mr. Wise's reasonable proposal by a considerable majority. In 1863, the present Chairman of Committees (Mr. Dodson) moved a similar Resolution, which was opposed by the then Government and rejected by a small majority; and it was only last year that the Motion of Mr. Labouchere to the same effect was carried by a majority of 4, notwithstanding the opposition of the front Benches on each side of the House. They had now, in. consequence of that Resolution, the opportunity of dealing with a most important Vote, and he thought before granting £250,000 to this service there should be some consideration as to whether or not the country got an adequate return for so large an expenditure. His own opinion was that they did not get an adequate return, and he was supported in that belief by the opinions expressed by Mr. Cobden on one of the last occasions when he addressed the House. Mr. Cobden, in his speech in 1854, on the Foreign Office and Board of Trade, said—We have a vast and expensive machinery engaged in our diplomacy, and our manufacturing and trading community expect that our diplomatists shall devote some attention to our commercial interests abroad. Will anybody say that the employment of that machinery during the last few years has been satisfactory to this House or to the country? We have little mountains of blue books on Schleswig-Holstein, and does not everybody agree that they are unsatisfactory? Diplomacy has broken down in its own vocation, and the dynastic arrangements of Europe and the balance of power are questions which have ceased to engage the sympathies of the British public." —[3 Hansard,clxxiv. 1118,1119.]He (Mr. Rylands) did not say that there should be an entire cessation of the diplomatic system, but he thought the expenses in connection with it should be reduced, and that a great change should be made in the number and character of the agencies in connection with the ser- 915 vice. Formerly it was believed in this country that it was the duty of Great Britain to interfere in every complication that arose upon the Continent. There was a superstition that this nation had to act the part of a second Providence in guiding and over-ruling the affairs of mankind; but these ideas had now very much declined, and a meddling, or, as it had been properly styled, a "muddling" foreign policy was generally condemned. That change of policy must necessarily have restricted the operations of the diplomatic service, and the discoveries of modern times— railroads and telegraphs, with all other facilities for international communication—should also have lessened the expenditure, but it still went on increasing. He might have had some hesitation in calling attention to this excessive expenditure were he not fortified in his opinions by the Report of an important Committee which, in 1850, sat upon the subject of Official Salaries; and, as he should especially rely upon their conclusions, he wished to point out that the Committee was composed of men of the highest character, who not only commanded the confidence of the Parliament which appointed them, but whose opinions must still have great weight with the House. The Committee consisted of Colonel Wilson - Patten, Chairman; Lord John Russell, Mr. Bright, Sir John Yarde Buller, Mr. Cobden, Mr. Beckett, Mr. Napier, Mr. Home Drummond, Mr. W. Evans, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. Henley, Mr. Ellice, Mr. Ricardo, Mr. Walter, and Mr. Deedes. In their Report the Committee stated that they had given much patient consideration to the subject of our diplomatic expenditure, and had entertained a variety of opinions upon it; they had, however, decided to recommend a complete revision of the present system of our diplomatic establishments, and with that view they adopted five important Resolutions, to which he begged to call especial attention. The first was—That it be recommended to the Government to propose to the Governments of France and Turkey to convert the Embassies now maintained between those countries and England into missions, and that our diplomatic establishments at Paris and Constantinople be put on the footing of first-class missions.That recommendation, however, had not received the slightest attention from the 916 Foreign Office. Lord John Russell, who was a member of the Committee, and joined in that recommendation, not only did not assist in carrying it out, but acted directly in its teeth by raising three missions into embassies. His belief was that the advantage derived from Lord Russell's management of our foreign relations did not compensate for the additional expense he had thrown on the Foreign Department. The three missions, which Lord Russell raised to the rank of embassies in 1862, were those of St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Vienna, and the effect of this change was that the salaries, including house rent, were increased as follows:—St. Petersburg, from £6,900 to £9,000; Berlin, from £5,164 to £8,000; and Vienna, from £6,900 to £9,200; and there was, in addition, the increased charge for outfits. This he considered a most unjustifiable step, as there was nothing either in our political or diplomatic relations with the countries in which these embassies were maintained to warrant such an expenditure. That was the way in which the first Resolution of the Committee was met. The second Resolution was—That it be recommended to the serious attention of the Government that a single mission at some central point in Germany may be substituted for the several missions now existing at Hanover, Dresden, Stuttgart, Munich, and Frankfort, without detriment to the public service.That Resolution had also been neglected, for, although the German War had caused some modification of our diplomatic relations with that country, we were still spending a sum of £11,565 per annum in supporting our various small German missions. The third Resolution recommended to the Government to make arrangements for uniting the mission at Florence with one of the Italian missions, and no doubt the Foreign Office would have treated that recommendation with the same indifference as the rest, but we had to thank Victor Emmanuel for having carried it out. The fourth recommendation was that no diplomatic salary should exceed £5,000 per annum, exclusive of an allowance for a residence. How that Resolution was treated may be seen from the fact that at present we had six diplomatic salaries which exceeded £5,000, and instead of a decrease, there was an increase. The total cost of the salaries 917 exceeding £5,000 was £46,800, and if the recommendation of the Committee had been followed, that amount would have been reduced to £30,000. The Committee likewise recommended to the Government a revision of the whole of the diplomatic service, regard being had to the maximum suggested by the Committee and to the relative importance of the various missions, and that in certain cases a union of missions might take place, or a consul or consular agent be substituted for a mission, whereby considerable saving might be effected without injury to the public service; but that particular recommendation had boon treated with the same disregard as the rest during the last twenty years. The aggregate cost of the various small missions still maintained in Europe — including those in the Netherlands and Switzerland—amounted to £19,265 per annum. The work done at those missions was very trifling indeed, and the advantage derived from it by this country was also very trifling. Mr. Labouchere, in his speech last year, said—He had been at a great many of those missions; he knew what was done in them; and he could assure the House it was absolutely nothing." —[3 Hansard, cxcii. 929.]In Africa, and still more in South America, our diplomatic expenditure exhibited the same extravagance. The total cost of the South American missions alone, including those for the Argentine Republic, the Brazils, Monte Video, Peru, Venezuela, and other States, was £22,495 per annum. Those missions were exactly of the character that was contemplated in the fifth Resolution of the Official Salaries Committee; and he said again that the recommendations of that Committee had been totally neglected. The probable saving that would be effected if the Report of the Committee of 1850 had been carried out would be as follows:— On diplomatic salaries over £5,000, a sum of £16,800, with an additional £1,200, for outfits, &c.; on small German missions reduced or abolished, £8,000; on the missions in Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, Morocco, and Persia, if reduced, £8,000; and from the abolition of the South American missions and the substitution of consuls general, £14,000, with an additional £2,000 on outfits and other expenses. The total saving under those several different heads would have 918 been £50,000 per annum, which in twenty years would have amounted to £ 1,000,000 sterling. Not only, however, had there been no attempt at reduction, but the whole tendency of diplomatic salaries had been towards an increase. The diplomatic salaries paid out of the Consolidated Fund in 1850 amounted to £140,000, and their estimated cost for the year 1869 was £155,538, showing an increase of £15,538. The charge for consular establishments abroad in 1850 was £148,690; whereas the estimate for 1869 for general services was £166,798, which, together with a sum of £94,653 for China, Japan, and Siam, made a total of £261,451, thus showing an increase of £112,761. Adding to that the increase of £15,538 on the diplomatic salaries, they had a total increase since 1850 of £128,299. He now came to the extraordinary expenses of Ministers at Foreign Courts, which in 1851 amounted to £16,000, and which gradually crept up to £40,000 in 1858, and in 1868 they remained at £40,000. It was time some effectual check was put by the Treasury and the Foreign Office upon those expenses, which had materially increased at all the large embassies. These incidental charges were of such a character as to give rise to the suspicion that they might furnish opportunities for peculation and fraud. The expenses in France had increased from £841 to £3,219; Russia, from £404 to £1,859; Turkey, from £5,270 to £9,263; Prussia, from £657 to £1,356; Portugal, from £476 to £1,221; and the United States, from £650 to £3,521. He would next make a comparison between the cases of Turkey and the United States of America. The total amount of our export and import trade with Turkey in 1867 was £10,769,087, whereas our export and import trade with the United States amounted in 1867 to £62,869,735. The shipping tonnage employed in our trade with Turkey in 1867 was 299,731 tons; and the tonnage employed in our trade with the United States was 2,033,105 tons. Let him next compare our diplomatic and consular expenses in the two cases. In Turkey we maintained an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at £8,000 a year, and in addition to that there were charges for the Secretary to the Embassy, attaches, dragomans, and various kinds of servants. Altogether our diplomatic and consular 919 expenses in Turkey reached nearly £50,000 a year. In the United States, with which we had six times the amount of trade and more than seven times the amount of tonnage, the salary of the Envoy Extraordinary was £5,000, of the Secretary of Legation £700, while the various diplomatic and consular charges made a total of £22,171, or less than one-half of our expenditure in connection with Turkey. There was an item of £1,000 for a house for an Ambassador to the United States. It was quite refreshing to see a sum of that amount for such a purpose. He believed there was no doubt that the interest of the original outlay and the cost of repairs on the Ambassador's house at Constantinople must have amounted to £10,000 or £12,000 a year for the last twenty years. Whenever we wanted to look for extravagant expenditure we had only to go to Turkey. The Committee would find that for the dragomans, clerks, and translators we paid £3,650 a year in Turkey, while in the United States, as the language was the same as our own, we paid nothing. Lord Palmerston, when giving evidence before the Committee of 1850, was asked how it was that we required such a large staff of paid attachés at Constantinople? His reply was—It has long been thought that it was desirable the intercourse between our Embassy and the Turkish Government should be carried on by British subjects; it is obviously desirable for many reasons.… And therefore I established a system to provide for instructing a certain number of young Englishmen in the Turkish language sufficiently to qualify them hereafter for the duties of interpreters, and that accounts for the number of paid attaches there. Some of them are young men studying the Turkish language, for the purpose of becoming hereafter official interpreters between our Embassy and the Porte.Lord Palmerston was also asked about the particular functions of the "Oriental Secretary." He replied that his duties were translating, interpreting, and instructing those young men. Lord Palmerston was further asked—When those young men are competent from their knowledge of the Oriental languages to take the office of interpreter, what staff does your Lordship contemplate having?He replied—I should think, probably, that two paid attaches might be sufficient, but of that I can hardly judge; it would be necessary to have the opinion of the Ambassador.920 Of course the necessity for paying exorbitant salaries to dragomans was to be got rid of by this arrangement. It appeared that members of the same family were employed by Russians, French, and English, the office of dragoman being a sort of hereditary office. These men were paid as agents to transmit secret communications between the embassies and the Porte; but if there had been any object in keeping the secrets he ventured to say they never would have been kept. Well, notwithstanding the promise of Lord Palmerston, there was still a very large expenditure for dragomans, and we had in no way lessened our expenses for attaches. In 1850 our expenditure for the Secretaries of Legation amounted to £2,500; it was now £2,950, an increase of £450; while for dragomans it was £3,650 now, as against £3,300 in 1850, or an increase of £350. He would put it to the Committee whether it was reasonable to persist in such an expenditure? What had become of the four interesting young Englishmen who were learning the Turkish language in 1850? He believed they were alive, and that there was no difficulty in tracing them. As soon as they had got a certain knowledge of the Turkish language, and were able, perhaps, to speak a few common-place words of social intercourse, they were drafted off to other parts of the world, where their acquaintance with the Turkish language would not stand them in stead. He was very sorry the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir Henry Bulwer) was not in his place, for he had there a despatch written by Lord Russell when he was at the Foreign Office. That despatch was of a very extraordinary character, and was addressed to the right hon. Gentleman when Ambassador at Constantinople. It bore date the 20th of January, 1860. Lord Russell called attention to the fact that the charge for boats, boatmen, and horse-hire, which in 1853–4 amounted to £899 7s. 1d., had increased year by year until in 1858–9 it reached the sum of £1,352 15s. 5d. Lord Russell said—"This enormous increase of expenditure under one particular head calls for strict inquiry." The case was really worse than Lord Russell stated, as in 1850–1 this charge for boats, boatmen, &c., was only £453 4s. 3d. He regretted very much that the right hon. Gentleman was not in his place to give 921 some explanation, but he was making no charge against the right hon. Gentleman with respect to the matter. What he wished to call attention to was this —that almost immediately after the despatch of Lord Russell this expenditure for boats, boatmen, and horse-hire began to decline, and disappeared altogether in the course of three or four years. The probable explanation of the charge was that it was the cost of trips on the Bosphorus for the young attaches. But we had not got rid of excessive expenditure in connection with this embassy. There was another item, that of "miscellaneous expenses," which in 1860 was £520; but which in 1869 had jumped up to £2,006. The item for miscellaneous expenses amounted to only £57 in the United States; and fuel and light were put down at £220 for Turkey and nothing for the United States. He had found that under the head of illuminations and fetes in 1862, the embassy at Turkey spent £236 18s. 2d., while in Spain, in the year 1863, the expenditure under the same head was only 15s. 7d. He scarcely knew how a fêto and illumination could be got up for 15s. 7d.; but, at any rate, it showed that, like an elephant's trunk, our embassies could take up large or small things with equal ease. Lord Russell, in the same despatch, called Sir Henry Bulwer's attention to the fact that, from 1846 to 1853, the average expenditure at Constantinople for extraordinary expenses, exclusive of dragomans, was £2,700 a year, but that it had risen to an average of £5,000 from 1854 to 1857; and Lord Russell upon this stated to Sir Henry Bulwer that he must see how necessary it was for the Government to be able to give Parliament some explanation of so great an increase, and he urged him to bring the expenditure within the limits of former years. So far from that having been done, the expenditure increased since Lord Russell wrote that despatch. Again, he objected to the large sum paid for special missions, and wished to know why it was that, supposing a foreign potentate had to be invested with an English order of knighthood, it could not be done by the Ambassador at the Court in question, instead of the country having to pay large sums to Peers to proceed to Foreign Courts and perform the investiture. In the present Estimates there were charges for Earl Vane 922 investing the Emperor of Russia with the Order of the Garter, and for a similar mission of Lord Bath to the Emperor of Austria. He hoped that items of this nature would disappear from the Estimates in future years. The question was —how was this expenditure to be reduced? It appeared to him, first, that the Government ought to look at the Report of the Committee of 1850 on Official Salaries, and see whether they could carry out the recommendations of the Committee. Another thing that should be done was that the service should cease to be a close preserve for the aristocracy, and that it should no longer be used for the purpose of display, of luxury, and of extravagance. He would be the last to join in any vulgar cry about the aristocracy; but he objected to the diplomatic service being monopolized by any one class to the exclusion of ability. He regretted the absence of the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Layard), because, in 1855, he took the pains to go through the Foreign Office List, and the summary he gave to the House showed how largely it was composed of members of the aristocracy. He showed the House that there were acting as—Heads of missions, seven Lords, nine honourables, two baronets, three members of noble families, and seven gentlemen'—nearly all small missions—twenty-one against seven. Secretaries of Legation, two Lords, nine honourables, one baronet, five members of noble families, and seven gentlemen—seventeen against seven."— [3 Hansard, cxxxviii. 2062.]The paid attaches and unpaid attaches were very much the same, and the total gave twelve Lords, thirty honourables, and twenty-five members of noble families, or sixty-seven out of 110. He (Mr. Rylands) had omitted the Baronets, be-cause some of his hon. Friends objected to be classed among the aristocracy. Mr. Layard, remarking upon this summary, said—What is the result of such a system as this? Why, honest, able, hard-working men give themselves up to despair, or get into a morbid state, and become unable to serve the public as they were wont to do. The system literally destroys them. There are a great many other cases, all of which are equally bad; and let the House take my word for it, for I have been engaged in diplomacy and in the Foreign Office—there is nothing but favoritism in diplomacy." — [Ibid, 2062–3.]It had been remarked by a writer, who 923 had experience in this part of the public service, that—In France, in Prussia, in America, and in most of the other countries in the world, men rise in the diplomatic service by the mere force of great merit, of singular aptitude and ability. But in England high birth, considerable fortune, Parliamentary connections, or aristocratic influence, are the chief passports to the best employments in embassies and foreign missions.He was afraid there was much truth in that; it was the natural result of the close system, which was aggravated by the practice of having unpaid attachés, who entered the service without pay, in the hope of becoming Ambassadors and Ministers of State, and whose sole idea was to keep up the honour of the country by mere expenditure. Sir Hamilton Seymour, a man of very great distinction, stated before the Select Committee of 1850—I consider that giving dinners is an essential part of diplomacy; I have no hesitation in saying so. I have no idea of a man being a good diplomatist who does not give good dinners.The ruling idea seemed to be that Ambassadors should have large salaries and live in state, but he did not believe that system would secure better things for the country than the quiet, inexpensive custom of the United States Ambassadors. No doubt in former times power was to be gained by magnificent displays upon the part of the Sovereign's representative; but in these days, when every State was accurately measured by its neighbours, such displays were useless for any purpose the nation had in view. The inaptness of the present system was shown by the regularity with which we sent special Ambassadors in all cases when we desired to negotiate a treaty. We sent Lord Ashburton to the United States, Lord Elgin to Canada, Mr. Elliot to Greece; and, perhaps, the best illustration of his point was Mr. Cobden's mission to negotiate the French Treaty. Notwithstanding all this expensive machinery in Paris, as soon as something important had to be done it must be supplemented by something else. So long as the present close system was maintained the inefficiency and expensiveness of our diplomacy could not be got rid of. Perhaps he could not do better than quote the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn upon this subject. Lord Stanley, in 1853, after he had served in Lord Derby's first Administration as Under Secretary for 924 Foreign Affairs, spoke strongly against the close-service training system—He believed the whole system by which diplomacy was made an exclusive service might safely be abolished, and that a system analogous to that adopted in the public offices at home might be established. His belief was that the knowledge which the training was supposed to confer on the superior diplomatic servants with regard to the details of diplomatic business might be easily supplied by attaching to the missions abroad persons who should act in the same capacity as the clerks of our public offices at home, who should be previously trained to the service, and whose duty it should be to furnish all the necessary professional knowledge which such superior diplomatic Ministers might require, and of which, coming new to the business, they must necessarily be deficient. By having such a body of men to render that assistance, the door of the diplomatic service might be thrown open, and they might then appoint any public officer to the higher ranks of diplomacy, whose merits and general acquirements in other respects might entitle him to the appointment."—[3 Hansard, cxxv. 882.]The right hon. Member for Buckinghamshire fully supported Lord Stanley's views, and said that—The present system was an imperfect training; it was merely a nominal and not a real training…It was his firm belief that, sooner or later, they would have a reform of the diplomatic service on the principle laid down by his noble Friend, and he believed that by carrying out that principle they would render the service much more efficient and much more economical." — [Ibid. cxxv. 886–7.]The effect of this change in the diplomatic service would do away with the great disadvantage which now arose from the constant changes that were made in Secretaries of Legation, who wore frequently removed from the posts they occupied. In fact, under the new regulations proclaimed by Lord Russell in 1862, second and third Secretaries and attaches were, as a general rule, not allowed to remain in any mission more than two years. The prejudicial effect of this system was shown by Lord Cowley who, in his evidence before the Select Committee, of 1861, said that in his experience at Paris—He found that from the constant change of attaches and particularly of the upper attaches, by promotion, when a question presented itself suddenly there was often nobody there competent to give him any information on the subject.The only other branch of expenditure in connection with the service to which he would allude was that of diplomatic pensions. The Committee of 1850 remarked how large a proportion the aggregate amount of pensions bore to the sum paid for actual service. Among 925 diplomatic pensions charged on the Consolidated Fund there were five amounting to £4,700, which were received by gentlemen all willing and able to serve. These were Sir James Hudson, who was forced to retire from Turin under circumstances that were of a "fishy" character, Sir Alexander Malet, Mr. Percy Doyle, Mr. Scarlett, and Mr. Christie. He was aware that when a man got out of the service it was difficult to put him in again, because the pressure of new men seeking service and of those desiring promotion was so great that any re-appointment was unpopular. But if these gentlemen were employed their pensions would be saved to the public. On a recent occasion, when speaking about the expenses of the Embassy house at Constantinople, the Secretary to the Treasury said he had merely to deal with the state of things as he found them. That would hardly be considered a satisfactory reply on the part of the present Government when the question came to be discussed next year. The fact of their finding things was no reason for maintaining them, but rather a reason for doing away with them. While Members had been gratified at finding the Army and Navy Estimates reduced, they had. been disappointed at finding no change in the Civil Service Estimates, in which it was difficult for a private Member to deal with extravagance. At the last General Election there were two great questions which interested electors —one was the Irish Church, and the other was the necessity of economy in the public expenditure. The Civil Service Estimates this year were either stationary or exhibited an increase; there were all sorts of objectionable items; and next year, if these Estimates did not exhibit an earnest desire to reduce expenditure, he hoped they would be returned to the Treasury for revision. He hoped, however, that an assurance would be given now that, during the Recess, a serious attempt would be made to check extravagance, and that the Government would pay some attention to the opinions of the Committee of 1850, the carrying out of which would conduce to economy and efficiency in the public service, and at the same time gratify the public. He concluded by moving that the Vote be reduced by £10,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed;
That a sum, not exceeding £145,667, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1870, for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Missions and Embassies Abroad." —(Mr. Rylands.)
said, it was quite refreshing to have the voting of increase after increase checked by such a speech as they had just heard. Without agreeing in everything the hon. Member had said, he thanked the hon. Member for the great trouble he had taken, and for the great knowledge he had displayed with reference to the question before them. If hon. Members would only follow his example and pay as much attention to different portions of the Civil Service Estimates, we should not have the unsatisfactory reasons for increase after increase that had been given by the Secretary to the Treasury this Session. he never before heard so many unsatisfactory reasons for additions to the Estimates. During his canvass he was followed by those who charged him with belonging to the extravagant party, to the party that had increased the expenditure of the country and would take no pains to diminish it, and he began to think there must be some truth in what they said, and also to anticipate that considerable diminution in the expenditure would be made by the present Government; but he had been much disappointed. It had been asked, what wore the remedies. They were to bring as much knowledge to bear on the subject as the hon. Member for Warrington had done; to propose, as he had done, the reduction of a Vote, to give reasons for doing so, and, above all things, to divide.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, they were now experiencing the advantages of having these Estimates submitted to the House. He thanked the hon. Member for Warrington for the valuable contribution which he had made towards solving the question of the expenditure on the diplomatic service. The speech of the hon. Member would excite the greatest interest in the country; and it was much to be regretted that it had not been heard by the Prime Minister, than whom no one was more anxious to reduce unnecessary expenditure. There was one small item to which he desired to call 927 attention, and this was the payment of £300 a year for a chaplain to the Embassy at Paris. The chapel in the Rue d'Auguesseau was originally designed as the Embassy chapel, and where Protestant services were illegal, it was necessary to resort to an embassy for accommodation for public worship; but in Paris no such necessity existed, and a salary of £300 a year for a chaplain could be saved without the slightest inconvenience. When the building grant was disallowed by the House, the chapel had to be sold, but at the sale the Government reserved a right to occupy the Embassy gallery should it be deemed desirable to do so. Consequently the gallery, which contained forty sittings, had never been let, but had been reserved for the use of the Ambassador. The only duties of the Embassy chaplain were the performance of morning service on Sundays, and the celebration of marriages; but the marriages could as well be solemnized by the incumbent of the Rue d'Auguesseau Church, who held a license from the late Bishop of London, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, and the marriage fees would serve as some compensation for the reservation of the gallery for the Ambassador and his suite.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that out of 142 votes in the Civil Service Estimates sixty-nine were this year increased in amount, the total increase being not less than £200,000, a lamentable contrast to the Army and Navy Estimates. That increase had been going on from year to year, and he wanted to know when it was to stop. There was a charge of £4,301 for couriers, being an increase of £1,517 over last year. Was there any necessity for this large outlay at the present time? There was also a large item for telegrams, to which he did not object; but, if the telegraph could be so much used, the services of couriers might be dispensed with, except in very rare cases. He saw an increase of £2,000 in special missions this year. What justification was there for that increase? Many of the items in this Vote might be reduced if the Secretary to the Treasury would turn his attention to them, and he hoped that next year the House would have an improved edition of the Civil Service Estimates.
§ MR. MUNTZ
said, he should not vote for this Motion if he could not make out 928 a larger sum for reduction than that proposed by his hon. Friend. There were charges for houses and legations at capitals within the North German Confederation which had, by arrangement with the King of Prussia, given up all diplomatic business. For Dresden there was an item of £1,250, although it was well known that the King of Saxony had no power to enter into any treaty with us, diplomatic or commercial. There was a mission at Coburg, which was altogether about half the size of Brighton, and where there could be nothing for our representative to do. There was another at Darmstadt, one-half of which was in the North German Confederation. Würtemburg and Bavaria were in the Zollverein. If the Government abolished the Embassies at Bavaria, £4,500; Würtemberg, £2,800; Coburg, £850; Dresden, £950; and Darmstadt, £700, that would give them £9,800, and then if the £300 for the Embassy house at Paris were added it would give the Treasury £100 more than it wanted to enable it to make the reduction recommended by his hon. Friend. He could tell the Government that the House looked to them for economy, and if they did not give it they were not worth having. The cry at the last election was the enormous expenditure of the then Government, and if the Civil Estimates were to be increased £200,000 a year, the House and the country would not suffer it.
§ SIR HENRY BULWER
I regret not to have been present to hear the speech delivered by the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands); first, because I hear it was a speech of much ability; and, secondly, because I am told that the hon. Member alluded to a despatch addressed to me by Lord Russell relative to the extraordinary expenses at Constantinople. Lord Russell, in that despatch, drew a comparison between the expenses of 1846 and. those of 1860. I remember that despatch; but the increase which it pointed out commenced before I was Ambassador to the Porte, and is readily accounted for. Lord Russell forgot that telegrams were not charged in 1846, and were charged subsequently. Special messengers also having been diminished, postage had augmented. But the main reason for the great increase of extraordinary expenditure at Constantinople was the increase, 929 to an almost inconceivable extent, which occurred in the rate of wages after the Crimean War. Boat-hire, which cost 1s. a day previous to that period, cost 4s. a day afterwards; and, in the same way, the hire of a horse became four times greater. This told the more, because, in Constantinople, it must be remembered there was no penny post; everything which had to be sent had to be sent by messenger, and very often upon horseback. Boatmen's wages, also, rose enormously at the same time. All these differences in prices had to be entered in the public accounts, and necessarily caused a great increase in the expenses defrayed by Government, as they did in the expenses which the members of the diplomatic body had to defray for themselves. In considering the Constantinople Embassy, moreover, we must remember that it is not merely an Embassy; the Ambassador is, practically, a Colonial Governor as well as an Ambassador; and much of the extra expenditure must be called colonial. I confess, indeed, that I was startled when the first statement of it was brought before me, and when I saw how little control I had over the items. There were the dragomans, the judicial and consular establishments, and a variety of other kinds of expenditure which might almost be called stereotyped, and which were altogether independent of me as Ambassador. Much of this was required; but I may frankly state that, in my opinion, reductions could be effected without loss of efficiency to the public service. I feel considerable repugnance to state in the House of Commons what these are, because I might seem to be taking advantage of my present position to insist upon observations and suggestions which I made formerly and fruitlessly. But I certainly will take an opportunity of communicating upon this subject with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and shall reserve to myself full discretion as to what I may say on a future occasion touching this matter. In the meantime, let me assure the hon. Gentleman, whose Motion we are now discussing, that I am far from being an enemy to diplomatic reform. On the contrary, I might almost say I am the earliest diplomatic reformer in England, for I claim the credit of having effected, or, at least, of having been the earliest advocate of, two reforms. One of these, having reference to the expe- 930 diency of submitting gentlemen who enter the diplomatic profession to examination; and the other to the furnishing by the secretaries of Legation, or Embassy, of the periodical reports which have tended very much to heighten the character and bring out the solid merits of gentlemen of the diplomatic profession. Still, I am bound to add that, although one or two of the reforms which, in former times, I advocated warmly, and not without making for myself many enemies, have been successful, there are other suggestions with which I then accompanied those proposals, respecting which I have been convinced, by time and experience, that I was in error. It is only fair that I should state this, as, perhaps, I am not as ardent in my notions of reform now as many Gentlemen around me are, or as I myself was at the time when I first had a seat in Parliament. Reform, at all events, in any important Department of the State, must be looked at in two ways—first, with regard to diminishing its faults, and next with regard to improving its efficiency. I object equally to economy which cripples efficiency, and to expenditure which does not add to it; and a careful and constant investigation of all the particulars of the service, in order to ascertain whore parsimony is injurious and expenditure extravagant, should be constantly going on. But if asked if I believe that the appointment of a Committee with this object will be beneficial, I would venture to make the same reply that the eminent poet, Mr. Coleridge, made to the lady who asked him whether he believed in ghosts—"I have seen so many that I do not believe in them." I have, in fact, seen so many Committees, and. there are so many Reports of Committees which hon. Members have the opportunity of studying in the Library, and which they seem to have studied with so small a result, that I cannot, I repeat, believe in their efficiency. If what is necessary to be done is not done by the responsible Officers of the Crown who preside over the Department, perhaps the best thing to do—because the most authoritative—will be to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into and report on the best means of diminishing official expenditure and establishing official improvements. My hon. Friend the Member for Warrington drew, as I understand, a comparison between the diplomacy of 931 the United States and that of Great Britain; but my hon. Friend must go further, and draw a comparison between the institutions of the two countries. The First Magistrate of the United States receives a salary of £5,000; whereas, to retain the benefits of monarchy, we are content and happy to pay £300,000. There is no Archbishop of Canterbury in the United States, there is no Lord High Chancellor, no Duke of Devonshire, no Marquess of Salisbury—persons who, with great salaries or fortunes, perform great services to the State, but whose very titles testify to the existence of a different order of society from that of the United States. Having resided in those States for some time, it may be interesting to point out why there could be no satisfactory comparison instituted between the diplomatic service of the two countries. When the election of President is over, all former holders of places are discarded—high and low —and those who have been forward in securing the recent election put forward a certain number of candidates for home office, and a certain number of candidates for diplomatic situations. These are generally gentlemen prominent in the canvass, either connected with the Press or the legal profession—anxious, at any rate, to visit Europe, and satisfied, with a moderate allowance, to undertake an agreeable trip; the gentlemen to satisfy an intelligent curiosity, and the ladies to improve their daughters in the pianoforte. They are, no doubt, intelligent men, and those selected to come to England being always men of distinction, and finding a language and customs ready made for them, justify their position. In other countries they are not, perhaps, so successful; and, at all events, I remember when a Committee was sitting here to improve our diplomacy on the American model, a Committee was sitting in the United States to improve the American diplomacy after the model of ours. So little are we all satisfied with what belongs to us. If we desire to draw a fair comparison, we should look at the diplomacy of France, and in the French Estimates we shall find that some of the posts in the diplomatic service of that country are even more costly than those of England. The French Government are in the habit of paying their Ambassadors as 932 large salaries, and in certain instances larger, salaries than ours receive, and therefore, in comparison, the salaries our Ambassadors receive are not extravagant. Moreover, when a distinguished diplomatic servant of the French Government returns to his country he is created a member of the Senate as a matter of course, with an endowment of so much a year in addition to his pension, and he is generally regarded as a candidate for the highest offices of State. Messrs. Thouvenel, Moustier, and Lavalette, who were my colleagues, have all become, in turn, Ministers of Foreign Affairs on their return to their own country. The hon. Member has commented upon the Committee of 1850. What did that Committee propose? It suggested that our Ambassadors should be turned into Ministers, and our Ministers into commercial and political agents; that no one should receive more than £5,000 a year; and that, where possible, Legations should be consolidated. I see no advantage in making Ambassadors Ministers, because I do not see any reason why a man should be paid more because he is an Ambassador than if he were Minister. Every gentleman who represents his country at an important place should have a salary suited to the requirements of the post, and no more. The title really makes no difference, except that the higher the title the greater the consideration; and I do not see why our representative should not have all the consideration we can give him when we do not pay additional for it.
As to making Ministers political agents, my experience tells me that small diplomatists make great difficulties. In fact, one of the most eminent of living Sovereigns, who takes a very active part in the affairs of his country, said to me one day—"My consular and political agents give more trouble than all my Ambassadors put together.'' There are some political agents at places where it would not be proper to send Ministers. Egypt and the Principalities, for instance. The gentlemen in these places are, in fact, diplomatists, and oftentimes, as now, useful and able within the sphere where they are employed. But when a man is a political agent as well as a commercial agent, he too often devotes his attention exclusively to his political duties, while his commercial duties are treated as though they were beneath his 933 attention; and, whilst not having the opportunity of comparison, he believes that the place at which he is stationed is the most important in Europe—he believes himself the most important person in it—and that the fate of the world depends on the trifles which he is rarely thanked for having noticed. There are, no doubt, some clever and able men whom I highly esteem, who are commercial and political agents; but, as a rule, I should say, have diplomatists, diplomatists, and consuls, consuls—things made for two purposes are rarely good for either. With respect to the maximum salary of £5,000, this salary, with the addition of house rent, is a fair one; but there can be no universal rule. When I was at Constantinople I had to live in a large palace, which was more fitted for a Sovereign than for an Ambassador, and which would have required an expenditure of at least three times my salary to keep up properly. When we oblige an Ambassador to five in such a palace, we should, at all events, give him a salary that will enable him to light and warm it. I am myself an advocate for a system recommended by the Committee of 1860—that is, of a certain salary, and an additional allowance for hospitality and representation. As it is, more is frequently expected from Ambassadors and Ministers, in this way, than they can afford, or less is done than the public has a right to expect. As I am here noticing details, there is another detail I venture to notice. A British Minister has two months leave of absence in the year; but no allowance whatever is made for the place in which he resides. If a man is in Paris or Brussels he can come to London in twelve hours and spend the whole of his two months as a vacation; but if he is stationed in Constantinople, or Greece, or the United States, something like a month of the time granted to him must be consumed when he is coming home and returning. For any one at Pekin or in Persia, two months leave, indeed, is of no use at all. An allowance ought to be made for the time necessarily spent by the Ambassador or Minister in travelling from and to his post; and he should be allowed, as secretaries are allowed, to take two leaves together, if in one year no leave is taken. As to the consolidation of Legations, I believe that in the case of two States situate close to each 934 other, whose interests are similar, a saving can be effected by making the one Minister serve for both States; because, if the Foreign policy of these two States is identical, and the policy we pursue towards them is identical, it is better to have one person accredited to them, who will naturally keep them together, than two who may possibly feel and encourage rivalry and tend to keep them apart. It has been complained that new men were promoted, when others, able and fit for service, were kept on pensions. I cannot disagree with the doctrine that it is advisable to employ experienced men when their services are available for important posts. I am personally acquainted with men of high ability, and of much experience, who are not employed; while men of less experience —and, as it seems to me, of less ability— have been appointed to posts which they might fill, and that thus there is an increase of expense to the State, a diminution of efficiency in the service, and a mere gain to the Minister of the day of patronage and preferment. A certain latitude should be allowed to a Government in this respect; but that latitude should have its limits. The great changes which have happened in Germany have put an end to the mission at Frankfort. It was through no fault of Sir Alexander Malet that his post at Frankfort was abolished. Sir Alexander is an accomplished gentleman, and a man of great experience. Why has he not been put into one of the missions that have become vacant since his own was annihilated, instead of gentlemen his inferiors in rank, in service, and talent? I repeat that experience is a very great thing in diplomacy. It is that which one learns in this profession day by day, almost without feeling that one learns it; it is the knowledge of men and of judging events — knowledge which no theory can furnish—that is really the most valuable, and which a statesman at the head of affairs should most prize. One word more. In looking to general reductions the House ought to look to general expenditure, and not fall on one service in particular because it has few defenders. The Department which has to preserve the maintenance of peace is as worthy of consideration as the Department which has to provide for the eventuality of war; but accord- 935 ing to the proverb, Les absens ont toujours tort; and whilst the Army has many to stand up in its support, the diplomacy can only lift up one or two voices in its behalf. Yet let us look at the two Departments. In the year 1837 our Army cost little more than £4,000,000; it now costs nearly £17,000,000, so that the charge for it has quadrupled since 1837. If regard is had to new missions, and to the fact that gentlemen who were formerly styled attachés, and served without pay, now, as secretaries, receive salaries, it will be found that the cost of the diplomatic establishments has but slightly increased since 1837, whereas living abroad has almost doubled. In the consular department it is true there has been a very considerable increase. In 1837 the cost of the consular service was £80,000, now it is £260,000. I think a great reduction might be made in that service, if we discard prejudice and have the courage to make it. I confess myself opposed to the system which I have seen in operation, more especially in the East, which is dotted over with Englishmen acting as British Consuls. Of some of these gentlemen I can say that if they keep themselves clean they have not wherewithal to pay their washerwomen. There is a notion, and a very false one, that distant and obscure places must be cheap, and an English gentleman is given £150 to £200 a year to starve on discreditably in some of these places. Where Englishmen are employed as British Consuls I would have them paid well, and I would have none but efficient men appointed; but in cases in which the place is not of sufficient importance to justify the Government in paying properly an efficient Englishman as consul, I would appoint the most respectable foreigner that could be got to take the office, without pay. Foreigners attach much importance to the office of British Consul. It gives them a position, and, in other respects, is of advantage to them, and you might often get a better foreign agent without a salary than a British agent could be with an insufficient salary. It is difficult, in this incidental and rambling way, to run over the various improvements and reductions of which, I think, the diplomacy at present admits; but, in conclusion, I protest, whilst making such improve- 936 ments and reductions, against lowering its character, and providing inadequately for its wants. We should remember the encouragement to talent in other paths of life:—in the Army, in the Church, and at the bar there are great dignities and large emoluments. In trade and commerce rank is more easily attained, and fortune is more often acquired, now than in former times. I do not think, therefore, that this is the moment at which we ought to lower the position or diminish the prizes of a profession, of which no one who is conversant with its duties can doubt the importance. Our representatives are obliged by their calling to mix with persons the highest in rank, in wealth, and political influence. They have to support the prestige and the dignity of the British Government and the British nation. On their sagacity, their judgment, and proper management of the affairs intrusted to them, depend, in no small degree, the maintenance of peace, the prospects of commerce, and the general harmony of our relations with foreign countries. I know that it is difficult for the public to appreciate the merits of the diplomatic service. The words of Lord Melbourne, as applied to a deceased statesman in the other House of Parliament, live in my memory—My Lords," said he, "you can never fully appreciate the deserts of this great man. You can appreciate the acts which he publicly performed; but you cannot appreciate, because you cannot know, the mischiefs which he unostentatiously prevented.That observation applies remarkably to the profession to which I am referring. There are rare opportunities of performing great and distinguished public services; but there are constant opportunities of preventing quietly great mischiefs. The career of a diplomatist has nearly always to be directed to averting some impending calamity from rising to the height at which it would attract attention, and to sowing the seeds of some future advantage, the fruits of which he can rarely expect himself to see. For him the trumpet of Fame never sounds; his reputation lies buried amidst the dusty archives of some out-of-the-way office, there to rust in obscurity until the curious historian may disinter the skeleton of an intellect which will not be known to the 937 world until the generation which felt its influence has passed into the tomb. Still, it should not be imagined, because the career of a diplomatist is noiseless, it is therefore insignificant. It has been my fortune to know many of the eminent men of my time, eminent in the senate, at the forum, in the field: I have known, also, some of the most eminent diplomatists of England and of Europe, and I venture to say that these last have been in no way inferior to the first, either in the abilities they have exhibited, or the services they have performed. I trust, then, that the profession to which I have the humble merit to belong will not be degraded from the station it has hitherto occupied in the esteem of my countrymen; and I believe that I am doing that which is most likely to prevent this result, in advocating a diminution of all unnecessary expenditure and the promotion of all improvements that can be advantageously introduced. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by thanking the Committee for the attention with which they had listened to his remarks.
said, he understood that the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands) had purposed to allude to certain items of expenditure in the diplomatic service, and. to reserve the general question of diplomacy to the Motion of which he had given notice in. the ensuing Session of Parliament. He (Mr. Otway) did not, however, regret that the hon. Member had called attention to the entire subject, if for no other reason than that it had elicited so remarkable a speech from the right hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir Henry Bulwer), who had most nobly vindicated the profession of which he was an ornament. The question of diplomacy was one of efficiency or non-efficiency. If the service was not efficient, the whole sum voted was absolutely wasted. If, on the other hand, it were efficient, the sum voted was a very small sum to pay as an assurance against war and commercial disadvantages. Now he (Mr. Otway) thought that the diplomacy of this country might safely claim some credit for the successful result of recent negotiations. For example, a question had been recently agitated which might have set all Europe in a blaze. He alluded to the question of the war which 938 threatened to take place between France and Prussia with respect to Luxemburg. Was not the diplomacy of the noble Lord the Member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley)—who was then at the head of Foreign Affairs—efficient in preventing an outbreak? Last winter there was a revival of the Eastern question; and within the last few months a question had been agitated between France and Belgium, in which this country took a deep interest, and which at one time assumed a threatening aspect. It was not for him to refer particularly to this question; but he thought hon. Gentlemen would have confidence in his assurance that hereafter it would be seen that, in the opinion of those most concerned, the diplomacy of this country on both these occasions was most serviceable and friendly. Now, if our diplomacy had been efficient, and its success had been such as to prevent war and to secure commercial advantages for the country, the sum paid for it was by no means too large. He regretted very much that his hon. Friend the Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands) should have spoken of diplomatists as men who passed a life of frivolity, and were maintained by the nation in luxury. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth (Sir Henry Bulwer) had shown that they were not frivolous; and surely those who passed their lives amid the swamps of South America and in China were not exactly in the midst of luxury. Again, his hon. Friend the Member for Warrington, in speaking of these diplomatic charges, said that the money had been fraudulently expended. To this statement he must give a complete denial.
§ MR. RYLANDS
explained, that what he had said was that the accounts were so kept that they gave opportunities for fraudulent expenditure.
said, that even that qualification was objectionable, because every shilling spent in the diplomatic service—whether extravagantly or economically—was most accurately accounted for, and audited with the greatest strictness by public officers. His hon. Friend had done injustice to the occasion which gave him the opportunity of submitting his remarks to the House, for it was on this very occasion that, in conformity with a Resolution passed by the last House of Commons, the diplomatic ex- 939 penditure was for the first time submitted to the criticisms of Parliament. His hon. Friend had accused not only the noble Lord opposite, but hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House, of opposing that Resolution; but, so far from that being correct, the fact was that six Members of the present Government had voted in favour of the Motion. His hon. Friend had found fault with the great increase in the diplomatic expenditure; but the fact was that it had not increased at all. Certain items had increased; but the diplomatic expenditure, which was fixed at a certain rate when William IV. came to the Throne, remained exactly the same, though prices had increased. The demands upon those who filled diplomatic offices had increased, and the salaries of men filling corresponding positions in the diplomatic services of other countries had increased largely; and, moreover, the Committee should remember that one item had been created in the last few years—namely, that for the Consular establishments in China, Japan, and Siam, which was called for by the requirements of our trade in those countries. He did not say that in every case a consul had been appointed in China exactly where one was wanted, with such a salary as he ought to receive. During the present year one of the consulates in that country had been abolished, and he was not prepared to say that further reductions might not be effected, though they must, of course, depend to a great extent upon the state of trade. If we increased our trade, and opened new ports, it was necessary to establish consular officers of some kind to watch over our shipping interests. The idea of his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands), that the business of diplomacy ought to terminate in the consular officers, was one which could never be carried out. Consular officers were required to look after the interests of trade in the ports; and, in the event of wrong being done, to communicate with the Minister resident in the capital, who would endeavour to obtain redress from the Government of the country for any wrong that might be committed. The greatest possible evils would arise from the mixing up of the two functions—and, indeed, his right hon. Friend (Sir Henry Bulwer) had stated the opinion on this subject of a potentate who was as able as anyone in the world to 940 form a correct judgment respecting it— the present Emperor of the French. He concurred to a considerable extent in what had fallen from his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) concerning the large increase in the item for "extraordinary expenditure." This had not escaped the attention of the Foreign Office, and he sincerely trusted they would be more successful than they had hitherto been in checking expenditure under this head. As far back as 1860 Lord Russell issued a circular on this subject, not imputing blame, but calling attention to these extraordinary expenses, and requiring the Ministers to watch them with all possible diligence. This was the policy also of the present Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and he (Mr. Otway) trusted, when his hon. Friend brought on his Motion next year, to be able to announce a considerable diminution in this item. The expense of the house at Constantinople had been greatly overstated by his hon. Friend. It must be remembered that our Ambassador there stood in the position of a great Colonial Governor. The sum included the cost of maintaining a large establishment, a hospital, and a prison; but, putting all these items together, they fell considerably short of the amount mentioned by his hon. Friend. He (Mr. Otway) admitted that he was not prepared to defend the expenditure for special missions, as it had always been a puzzle to him why the Garter or other Order could not be conferred upon a Sovereign by the Minister of this country ordinarily resident at his Court. But some great State ceremonial appeared to be thought necessary on these occasions. His hon. Friend had based the whole of his argument upon the recommendations of the Committee of 1850; but he had studiously avoided all reference to the recommendations of that which sat in 1861, which arrived at conclusions opposite, in most respects, to those of the first Committee. The former Committee wanted Legations only to be maintained; whereas the latter were in favour of constituting several additional Embassies; and the Foreign Office, not being able to decide between these contrary opinions, had adopted neither, but had pursued the even tenour of its way. With regard to the remarks of his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes), he could pro- 941 mise that there should be a considerable reduction in the expenses for messengers' as opportunity occurred; but he was unable to hold out any hope that the item for telegrams would be reduced. The very essence of diplomacy was early information; and he did not think we paid too much under that head, considering the greatness of the country and our multifarious interests. He confessed he would rather see an increase than a decrease in this item. The hon. Member for Finsbury had mentioned the other night that a private mercantile firm expended no less than £5,000 a year for obtaining telegrams; and could we then grudge the expenditure necessary for obtaining early intelligence of matters of national importance? At the same time, he admitted there ought to be a diminution of the expense for conveying despatches to the country. His hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) had made several statements which were peculiarly inaccurate. He spoke of the resident at Coburg as a gentleman who passed his life at Baden-Baden. In point of fact, that gentleman had been at Coburg ever since the Battle of Waterloo, and he maintained those relations which were not at all unnatural, considering the connection of the Royal Family of this country with the Duchy of Coburg. The sum he received for his services was so small that the hon. Gentleman would be ashamed to pay it to a principal clerk in his establishment. The hon. Gentleman also objected to the maintenance of the Legation at Dresden, on the ground that Saxony herself sent no representatives abroad. Now, Saxony did not belong-to the North German Confederation.
said, it certainly did not for diplomatic purposes. On a point of this kind he must be presumed to be correctly informed, and he was bound to state his own opinion. Saxony had most jealously maintained her diplomatic representatives; the French kept a Minister Plenipotentiary at Dresden, and Saxony, in return, sent her Ministers abroad, distinct from those of the North German Confederation. He did not say that there were no blots in our diplomatic system; but, at all events, his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) had hit none of them to-night. His right hon. Friend 942 the Member for Tamworth (Sir Henry Bulwer) had, in his very able speech, alluded to the leave of absence to be granted to diplomatists, and, in his opinion, had made out a case for the alteration of the rules on this subject. Lord Clarendon informed him some time ago that the matter was under his consideration, and he hoped some arrangement would be made to bring about the result which his right hon. Friend desired. He would not go into an explanation of all the other items, because the hon. Member had given notice of his intention to bring forward the whole question of our diplomacy next Session; and, considering the length of time the diplomatic profession had existed, he thought it was not too much to ask the Committee to defer until then their decision on so wide and important a subject. This country was wealthy and powerful, and it would not like to be inadequately represented abroad. How often did they hear discontented men say, "The Lord Chancellor gets so much and the Bishop of London gets so much; I know many of my friends who would be glad to take the place of either of them for one-tenth of the salary?" That kind of thing might sound very well with regard to diplomacy, and his hon. Friend might think that a consul at £600 or £800 a year would exercise the functions of an Ambassador satisfactorily. But he (Mr. Otway) did not believe that the people of this country would be of that opinion. They required efficient service, and if they obtained it they would not grudge its proper remuneration. Looking to the wealth and power of England, and to the diplomatic establishments which other countries maintained, he did not think, in regard to many of our Embassies and missions abroad, that the sum paid to our officials was at all an extravagant sum. He hoped his hon. Friend would not now press his Motion for the reduction of £10,000 from that Vote, especially as the whole subject was to be investigated by a Committee in the ensuing Session of Parliament; for he might as well at once inform his hon. Friend that it would not be his duty to oppose the appointment of a Committee next year. He thought his hon. Friend, by his speech of that night, had amply made out a case for inquiry; and therefore, as the entire subject would be investigated next Session, he appealed to 943 his hon. Friend not at the end of July to divide the Committee on a Motion which was after all of no specific character, which struck at no particular or definite abuse, but which sought, by a sort of rule-of-thumb principle, to cut down that Vote by £ 10,000—a proceeding which would produce considerable confusion in the public service. Although it might be unwise to promise too much, he frankly admitted that there were items of expenditure in the diplomatic service which would bear reduction; and he could assure his hon. Friend that it was the earnest desire of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to reduce that branch of expenditure as far as he could do so without impairing the efficiency of the service.
§ MR. BRISCOE
said, the Motion of the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands) did not appear to him to be intended in any sense as a party Motion, or as a censure upon Her Majesty's Government. The greater part of that hon. Member's speech referred to the Report made by a Committee of that House in 1850, and consisted of a complaint that the recommendations of that Committee had not been carried out, except, perhaps, in one single instance. Now, it had been his own lot for many months to be engaged in canvassing the large constituency of West Surrey, and during the whole of his canvass he was repeatedly asked, almost every day, whether he would support, by his vote and influence, a reduction in the public expenditure. He answered in the affirmative, and the elector who had interrogated him said—"Then, Sir, I will give you my vote." Other matters seemed to be put aside by the constituency, and all their interest to be centred in the reduction of expenditure and of taxation. He was sure that a very strong feeling on that subject prevailed among the new electors throughout the country, and there were few hon. Members who had not promised on the hustings to use their best endeavours to effect that retrenchment which the people had so much and so justly at heart. As to the general question of the necessity of our having efficient diplomatic representatives abroad, he thought that the late Foreign Secretary (Lord Stanley) had brought important negotiations to a successful issue by the wisdom, the temper, and the high personal character which 944 he brought to bear upon them. On the other hand, the prospect of a settlement of the unhappy Alabama question had been injured by a want of similar wisdom and temper. So in regard to the dispute with Abyssinia, it was not the fault of a diplomatist, but of the individual having charge of the foreign affairs of this country when it first arose. In conclusion, he hoped the Motion of the hon. Member for Warrington would be allowed to pass; and he should feel it his duty to vote for it in redemption of the promise which he had given at the hustings.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, he thought that after the speeches of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Henry Bulwer), it was impossible for anyone to follow the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands) into the Lobby without previously disclaiming any desire to seek by a reduction of that Vote to impair the efficiency of the representation of this country at foreign Courts. He did not believe that any injury to the public service would result even from a larger measure of economy than that shadowed forth by the hon. Member for Warrington. The right hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Bulwer) had told them that, although he was an Ambassador, he had no power to diminish the expenditure of his Embassy. This was surely a strong argument in favour of that House exercising some control over such matters. The influence of English diplomacy in several recent cases had been spoken of; but he asked whether that influence had not been brought to bear much more through the Foreign Office in London, aided by the electric telegraph, than by our representatives abroad? and he trusted that on all future occasions the telegraph wires would be found increasingly useful in the conduct of our foreign relations. He wished to draw the attention of the Under Secretary of State to a nest of extravagant expenditure not alluded to by the hon. Member for Warrington. The right hon. Baronet had advised us to maintain the influence of those of our Ambassadors who had the interests of peace and commerce in their hands. But in the case of Persia we could not look to the diplomatic action of our Ambassador as likely to benefit our commerce, and it was to be hoped that he would not inter- 945 fere too much with the foreign affairs of the Eastern part of the world. The expenditure incurred in Persia amounted to a sum that would be perfectly incredible if we did not find it in the accounts. The Ambassador himself received £5,000 a year; the secretary who assisted him £750; an Oriental secretary, £600; a second secretary, £400; and a third secretary, £250. Then his dragoman had £490, and his physician, chaplain, and organist, £600. Then for servants' wages we paid £1,417, in addition to which there was for journeys on public service £1,689, and for couriers, £1,498. In short, the various miscellaneous items made up a total of £7,892, making, with the ordinary outlay upon the Ambassador and his attendants, the sum of £14,892. Last year we spent £8,000 in building him a house; this year there would be another Vote of £8,000, so that we should spend at Teheran in one year £22,892, and next year £4,000 more would be taken for the house. he admitted the necessity for efficiency in that branch of the public service; but he believed that object could be attained with a great diminution of expenditure. Hon. Gentlemen who had been present when the expenditure of an Ambassador at Constantinople was discussed would be interested to know that an account of that discussion had already been published in that city. He held in his hand a paper containing a leading article which stated that these discussions wouldCreate no local surprise. The subject had been long a notorious one, and the fact that it had attracted attention only now was an illustration of the slowness with which abuses travel home.The leading article to which he referred had given great credit to the right hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Bulwer). It went on to say that the expenditure might be easily diminished by £2,000, and suggested that the Queen's messengers between this country and Constantinople should be discontinued. He should divide with the hon. Member for Warrington on the Vote.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he, for one, had listened to this debate with considerable satisfaction, because he held that the Committee was only discharging its duty in criticizing those Estimates when put before it. The object of putting these Estimates before the Committee was in order that they might stand the test of criti- 946 cism. The Gentlemen who had taken part in the discussion had evidently paid great attention to the subject, and had exhibited great acuteness, as well as knowledge, of the various details, and he had no doubt that what they had said would be of great value when the Government came to frame the Estimates of next year. But he wished he could persuade hon. Gentlemen to do that which would really give the most efficient aid to the Department with which he was connected in pressing for all reasonable retrenchment in this matter. The House of Commons should by this time know its own strength, which consisted in giving very full, fair, and candid expression to the opinion of their constituents and their own, and that expression of opinion would never fail to receive due attention from Her Majesty's Government. But what he ventured to urge on the Committee, in the interest of retrenchment and reformation, was that they should be content with the excellent arguments they had used, without pressing the subject to a division. Supposing they were to carry the Amendment, what would they gain? Would they add anything to the force of the excellent reasons they had urged? Suppose they took off £10,000, what assistance would that give to the Foreign Office or the Treasury? They did not fix upon any particular item, but merely said that £10,000 should be struck off. That was not the way to add strength to the excellent debates that had occurred, by following them up, not by striking off any particular items, but by diminishing the whole Vote in a blind way. Supposing the Government were successful in resisting the Amendment, as they were bound to resist it, because it was not aimed at any particular abuse of expenditure, did they think that would add weight to the debate of that night or tend to keep down this expenditure? If they would only take his advice—and he had no other interest but to cut down the expenditure as far as possible—they would be content with the discussion and would not go to a division, which could add nothing to the strength of the arguments which had been used that night.
§ MR. CANDLISH
said, the right hon. Gentleman had told them that they had not pointed out where any reduction could be effected; but what had the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for 947 Foreign Affairs said? He said he knew there were blots in the Estimates. It was perfectly clear, therefore, that the hon. Gentleman himself was acquainted with the nature of those blots. But if that were so the most effectual means of inducing the hon. Gentleman to turn his knowledge to practical account and to correct the abuses of which he was aware would be to reduce the Vote. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked, what good would they do if they carried this reduction? In the first place, they would save the country £10,000, because he was quite sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not emulate his predecessors and spend money without Parliamentary sanction, but would limit his expenditure to what Parliament should grant. In the next place, they would show the Chancellor of the Exchequer that they were in close alliance with him in keeping down outlay, and he really expected that if they pressed the matter to a division the right hon. Gentleman would vote with his hon. Friend the Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands). It was said that a Committee would be appointed next year; but the Estimates next year would be precisely the same as this year, unless some action was taken by the Executive Government. If they were to wait for the action of the Committee, it was perfectly clear they would have to wait for two years. His hon. Friend the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs had said that he would wait the decision of the Committee, and would be prepared to act on their recommendation. The best thing for them to do was to give up the Committee and take the matter into their own hands. They did not seek to embarrass the Government, which had obtained loyal support from that side of the House, but they had a duty to their constituents to perform, and he hoped they would not shrink from it.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Candlish) stated he was sure the Government would not spend money for which they had no Parliamentary sanction. Assuredly he would be no party to any such proceeding. That was precisely the fault the Government found with this Motion; they did not know which of those items it was from which Parliamentary sanction was with- 948 drawn. If the Committee only fixed on any particular item, that would help the Government. All the Committee did was to say "We fix the estimate of this expenditure at £10,000 lower, and we leave it to you to manage it as you can." That was precisely the difficulty of the Government.
§ MR. SINCLAIR AYTOUN
said, he hoped the hon. Member who had moved the reduction of the Vote (Mr. Rylands) would persevere. He had listened with great interest to a discussion which would enable the country to see who were for reform and who were not. He must protest against the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who had told them that the best thing they could do was to leave their arguments to speak for themselves, but not to go to a division. He had not been long in the House; but he knew that speeches without votes were of very little value. Ministers had been in the habit of going about the country making speeches in favour of retrenchment, and had actually complained that the House would not support an economical Government. Now, Ministers asked them to talk and not to divide; but he hoped a division would be taken, so as to show the country that they entertained a disposition of reducing the expenditure of the country.
§ MR. FIELDEN
observed, that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had told them they were not entitled to strike off £10,000 without describing the items it was intended to reduce; but the gross sum only was before the Committee, and not the particular items. Chancellors of the Exchequer always professed to be in favour of retrenchment and economy, and the House of Commons ought to show that they were bent upon the reduction of the public expenditure. He hoped the Amendment would be pressed to a division.
§ MR. MUNTZ, in justice to our representative at Coburg, was bound to say he did not remember seeing him at Baden-Baden; he merely mentioned Baden-Baden as a place where those connected with our Continental Embassies resorted.
said, he wished to correct a misapprehension which had arisen. He had not said that he could put his finger upon blots, but that there were certain items that could be reduced, and that if the House would allow the Government to consider these matters some 949 of them should be reduced. His promise was, that in consequence of the discussion which had taken place it would be his duty to represent to the Secretary of State what the opinion of the House was. The Government would carefully consider all the items of expenditure with a desire to promote economy. He asked his hon. Friend (Mr. Rylands) to have some consideration for the public service, and not roughly to strike off £10,000 from the expenditure of a year seven months of which had already passed. If, next year, in the face of the assurances he and his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had given, the same Estimate was offered to the House, he would be, indeed, open to the reproach his hon. Friend passed upon him.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, he did not agree with the conclusions of the hon. Member for Warrington (Mr. Rylands); but he felt considerable sympathy with him in his endeavour to effect some reduction in the cost of the public service. Undoubtedly the hon. Member had good reason for expecting some reduction in this and other Votes by the present Government, because hon. Members could not have forgotten the charges brought by Ministers, when in the country, against the late Government. The Prime Minister, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and others had spoken of extravagance in the Civil Service, and yet the Government had brought up Estimates which proposed an increase upon the charge for the Civil Service of last year. He believed the charge for the Civil Service would increase as it had increased, because, as he had the opportunity of showing last year, the requirements of the public increased. The present Ministers, when before the country, propounded the theory that increase in one Department should be met by more stringent economy in another, and, with a view to give them an opportunity of acting upon their theory, the late Government left the framing of the Civil Service Estimates entirely to them. He was not very sanguine on the subject; but, at the same time, hon. Members opposite were quite justified in holding the Government to their pledges, and. he hoped they would do so.
§ MR. RYLANDS
said, he did not press his Motion from any doubt as to the good intentions of the Government. He did not see that a division could 950 affect the public service in any way, for he had pointed out that the amount by which he proposed to reduce the Estimates could be saved by a reduction in the charge for special services and general extraordinary expenses.
§ SIR HENRY BULWER
said, he thought the charge for the Consular service might undergo a reduction, but that the reduction now proposed was an indefinite one, and it was not clear how that reduction was to be made. He wished to know whether it was not possible to propose an Amendment pledging the Government to make a reduction to the amount that had been named —to a declaration that reform and reduction were necessary in the diplomatic service? That would cover the object of the hon. Gentleman. If that could not be done, he did not see how he could vote against the proposed reduction.
§ MR. OTWAY, presuming from what the hon. Member for Warrington had said, that he desired to prevent confusion in the public service, but, at the same time, to establish that the House desired economy, would make a proposition to him. Meeting his hon. Friend in the spirit he professed, and without retracting anything he had said with respect to the preparation of the Estimates for next year, he would offer to consent to a reduction of £2,000 on account of the special missions for this year.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:— Ayes 66; Noes 66.
§ MR. DODSON
(Chairman of the Committee) said, the Committee having hesitated to affirm the proposed reduction of the Vote, as submitted to it on the responsibility of the Executive Government, and as, if the proposed reduction be negatived, the Committee would have an opportunity of voting upon any other reduction of the whole Vote which may be moved, he declared himself with the Noes.
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, that if it were intended to discontinue the chaplain at Paris, the item of £300 ought to be struck out.
said, the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary had assured the hon. Member for Perth (Mr. Kinnaird) that the vacancy should not be filled up 951 without communicating with him; but, as the item stood on the Estimates, it had been re-printed. There was not the slightest intention to make any appointment, and, of course, the money would be returned to the Treasury.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
again urged that the item ought to be omitted, and commented upon the extraordinary arrangement said to have been made between the Foreign Secretary and a private Member.
§ MR. OTWAT, gratified by the exhibition of new-born zeal for economy, explained that the hon. Member for Perth was well known for his opposition to the appointment of a chaplain at Paris. When the vacancy occurred last his hon. Friend communicated with the Foreign Secretary, who said he would not make an appointment until the House of Commons had an opportunity of expressing an opinion on the subject. It was not intended to make any appointment; but, at the same time, he would not say that under no circumstances or conditions would it ever be necessary to appoint another chaplain. Therefore, the money stood in the Estimates as it always had done; but no appointment would be made without consulting the House, and, of course, the money would be returned to the Treasury.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
reminded the hon. Gentleman that if he had not voted with him in the division which had just been taken, he would have been in a minority. He must also remind him that the Estimate now under the consideration of the Committee had never been submitted to the late Board of Treasury, and that it had been stated in the most distinct manner by an hon. Gentleman opposite that he had been informed by the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs that it was not his intention to fill up the appointment in question. That being so, the item itself ought, in accordance with the usual mode of proceeding, to have been struck out of the Estimate. He last year had done so on more than one occasion when he found that items were not required for the public service. It was said that the appointment of chaplain would not be made until the House of Commons had an opportunity of expressing an opinion with respect to it; but the Committee would be expressing an 952 opinion upon the point if they were to agree that the item for the salary should stand part of the Vote.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, that when the noble Lord the Colleague of the hon. Gentleman was in Office he had represented to him all the facts of the case, and that he concurred with him in the opinion that the appointment ought to be done away with. The item had, nevertheless, been retained in the Estimates. He did not pretend, however, to have confidence in hon. Gentlemen opposite; but, having full confidence in the present Administration, he had no objection to leave the matter in the hands of the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
said, he thought that, it being agreed on all hands that the chaplaincy at Paris should be disestablished and disendowed, the common sense mode of proceeding would be that the item for it should be withdrawn from the Estimates.
(36.) Motion made, and Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £155,367, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1870, for the Expenses of Her Majesty's Missions and Embassies Abroad," —(Mr. Otway,)
—put, and agreed to.
§ (37.) £174,451, to complete the sum for Consular Services.
§ MR. BOWRING
called attention to the Consulate of Chicago. He said that Chicago was the centre of a large and important district of the United States, embracing Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, in which immense quantities of wheat, flour, and Indian corn were produced. So far from abolishing such an office as this at Chicago, the Government ought to take steps to make the trade of the district more important to British commercial interests. He ventured to suggest that Chicago should be made a Consulate General for all the great Western States.
said, it was the intention of Government to abolish the Consulate at Chicago. The hon. Member wished the consulate to be retained; but a Committee of the House of Commons had decided to the contrary. The Committee of 1859 recommended that the con- 953 sulates of Elsinore, Chicago, and Buffalo, should be abolished, and Government was now carrying out the recommendation in the case of Chicago.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
asked if it was intended to abolish the Consulate at Chicago at once, or wait until it was vacant? If the latter, he thought the announcement was premature.
§ MR. MITNTZ, referring to the appointment of a Minister Plenipotentiary at Hamburg, maintained that there was no necessity for continuing it now that Hamburg had become part of the North German Confederation. That we should have a consul there was, in his opinion, all that was required.
MR. B. SHAW
said, he must protest against the magnitude of the Vote. It was true that the Government had reduced it from the amount at which it stood last year by £13,342, and he thanked them for that reduction; but unless some more material reduction wore made next year, they must be prepared to meet a determined opposition upon this branch of expenditure. The Vote had considerably and steadily increased of late years. In 1834–5 it was £95,486; in 1858–9, it reached £187,527; and now, in 1869–70, it was £261,451. The Select Committee of 1858 appeared to have acted solely in the interests of the consuls, and to have ignored the interests of the British taxpayer. The Committee made a great mistake in two respects. First, with regard to the classification of consuls, which meant £500 or £600 a year more to certain consulates for the same amount of work; and the second mistake was recommending the payment of consuls by salaries instead of by foes, which were now paid into the Exchequer. From 1858 to 1869 the excess of charge was £74,000 per annum, whilst the fees paid into the Exchequer since that time amounted only to the paltry and insignificant sum of £17,888. The consul of Buenos Ayres had a salary of £1,000 per annum, and £400 per annum for incidental expenses, and he (Mr. Shaw) wished to know why £100 a year more was to be given to the consul for incidental expenses? The consul there ought to give the country the whole of his services for the salary he received; but it 954 was reported that that gentleman, in addition, had recently been appointed a post office agent and a managing director of a railway. He also wished to know why it was proposed to increase the consul's salary at Rosario £200 per annum?
said, that no doubt the whole of the service would be inquired into next Session. When Mr. Pariah, who was now at Buenos Ayres, was transferred there from China, his fees averaged £1,400 per annum. When he went to Buenos Ayres it was determined that the consul's salary should be £900 per annum, with £400 per annum for incidental expenses, and so Mr. Pariah would have lost £100 per annum, but it was proposed to give him this additional £100 per annum to make it up. The addition to the consul's salary at Rosario was rendered necessary owing to the high price of provisions and other circumstances.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (38.) £46,298, to complete the sum for Colonies, Grants in Aid.
§ SIR CHARLES ADDERLEY
said, he wished to have some explanation on certain points in connection with these Estimates, which he believed would be useful and interesting to the Committee. He had no objection to make to them. the items were steadily diminishing, and he hoped soon they would cease to appear on the Estimates altogether. In fact, the greater part of these charges were expiring, merely retained during the lives of certain possessors—the clergy of North America, West India Justices, and Pensioners. The charges on this Treasury for salaries of three Colonial Governors were on the point of expiry. The Bahamas Legislature lately attempted to withhold their contribution of salary to their Governor, but they thought better of it, and had agreed to continue it. The colony of Prince Edward's Island were about to pay their own Governor, and West Australia a considerable portion of the salary of theirs. The net decrease in the Colonial Estimates of this year was about £6,000; and that decrease arose in this way. Labuan, for the first time, had ceased to be a charge upon the English Treasury. The Governor, lately a Member 955 of that House, Mr. Pope Hennessy, had written to him expressing just pride in having, within so short a time as two years, taken off this charge. That colony had, since its first establishment, thrown an average charge of £4,800 a year on the Imperial Treasury, which the Governor had now succeeded in removing altogether. He (Sir Charles Adderley) confessed he had from the first doubted very much the use of establishing a government at all at Labuan; but he would not revert to the causes which had induced this country to assume that settlement. We had objects in view connected with humanity and missionary enterprise, but there was really no commercial value in the colony except from its coal mine, and upon this point he wished to know whether the coal company was more flourishing than it had been, and whether the Admiralty had found that they could use this coal for ships upon the Eastern stations, instead of having to send to Wales to bring coals to Labuan? The next principal item of decrease was no decrease of annual expenditure at all, the two sums which had disappeared this year being £3,000 given last year, as a present to St. Helena, and the same amount to the Virgin Islands, in consideration of the ravages committed, in the one case by white ants, and in the other by the dreadful hurricane which occurred there. The principal item of increase required some explanation—it was connected with West Africa. When it was understood that the Government no longer intended to blockade that coast against the slave trade, it became a question for the consideration of Parliament how long they should continue the expenditure in our four settlements on that coast. Lagos, which had been expensive, this year ceased to be a charge on the Treasury. Gambia was still a charge, and the Gold Coast was a still larger one. The whole expenditure on the West Coast had increased this year by the item of the cost of a steamer. That item had, however, been incurred with the view to a diminution of general expenditure by consolidating all these governorships and giving the one Governor of Sierra Leone a steamer to visit his three subalterns. In 1866, a sum was voted for this steamer, and they now found another Vote for the same purpose. This required explanation. For 956 the Gold Coast there was still a charge of £2,000. The diminution from £4,500 to £2,000, he presumed they would be told, had been the result of an exchange of forts with the Dutch. If that was so, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies would be able to tell them that it had been successfully carried out. With regard also to Gambia, some explanation was required. Looking at the Estimates, it was found that the Committee were asked to Vote £1,500 in aid of the local Government of that country; but he found that whilst the local expenditure of Gambia was £18,664, the revenue was £21,642, and yet, in spite of the re-venue being greater than the expenditure, they were asked to vote the sum in aid which he had mentioned. This should be explained. He might also ask whether negotiations were still going on with France for transferring the Gambia to them? France seemed anxious, by some exchange with us, to become possessed of the Gambia for the purpose of extending their western settlement of Africa. It appeared to him such an arrangement might be equally advantageous to this country. If our sole object in placing ourselves on the West Coast was to blockade it against the slave trade, and the slave trade had now ceased, he could conceive no objection to the French taking a station off our hands, which, if necessary, they could blockade again as well as ourselves; and as the trade of Gambia was now entirely French, we should not suffer in any mercantile interest by the exchange. One other point upon which he wished for explanation. He was anxious to know whether the Government intended to carry out a plan which the late Government had in contemplation for the consolidation of the West Indian Governments? There was nothing more important in regard to the economical and. efficient government of these colonies. At present every island had its own Governor, or Lieutenant Governor, Legislature, and civil, judicial, and ecclesiastical establishments. The salaries of all these officials, while they exhausted the revenues of the colonies, were often not sufficient to command the services of competent men. Many of those Islands were not as big as an ordinary English squire's estate, the revenues in some cases amounting to only £5,000 a year. 957 The expenditure under different heads was ridiculous. In one island there was, he recollected, an expenditure of £32 10s. ½d. for the year's public works. So small an expenditure, with such a Government staff to manage it, was of itself an absurdity and a source of inefficiency. As the first step towards this union the present Secretary at War (Mr. Cardwell) had united together the Islands of Nevis and St. Kitts, and had asked his successor why he had not annexed Montserrat to them. The late Government undertook to carry out the idea on a much larger scale, and had contemplated the union of the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands under one Governor. Without any greater expenditure, a salary of the first class could be obtained for such a Governor, and the Chief Justice, and Judges of these islands, could be grouped in a consolidated circuit. Legislators of a higher class would also be elected, who would be better adapted to carry out representative institutions in the colonies. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies might not have found it possible to carry out the full plan of the late Government; but he should like to know what he proposed to do with regard to the Executive and the Legislative consolidation of the West India Islands? Perhaps he would also state the intentions of the Government in regard to the small island of Heligoland. It was now a charge upon the Treasury, the island drawing from gambling-houses a small revenue, which, however, was in process of extinction. The late Secretary of State for the Colonies (the Duke of Buckingham), wishing to form his own opinion, paid a personal visit to the island—the first Secretary of State for the Colonies, perhaps, who was ever there. His noble Friend thought the island might be made of some use as an out coastguard station, and useful both for the protection and control of the English fishermen who resorted to it, while the presence even of one cutter would strengthen the hands of the Governor. It had since been made a coastguard station. He wanted to know whether that arrangement had proved successful and useful? He wished also to be informed whether, pari passu with the reduction of the civil expenditure, there had been a reduction of the military expenditure of the colonies? The late Go- 958 vernment made attempts in several quarters to reduce this charge. They drew away a considerable number of troops from Canada, and would have withdrawn more, but for the threatening attitude of the Fenians in the United States. They also instituted a gradual process of withdrawing English troops from South Africa, and had reduced the garrisons of the West Indies, the West Coast of Africa, and elsewhere. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman opposite would be able to inform them that these reductions wore being carried out on a still larger scale.
§ COLONEL SYKES
observed with pleasure that the naval force on the West Coast of Africa had been considerably reduced by the present First Lord, but seven vessels still remained there, and the saving seemed to have been swallowed up by an item of £10,000 for a steamer at Sierra Leone. he asked for an explanation in regard to the grant of £1,500 for Gambia, although it appeared that the revenue was £21,642, and the expenditure £18,664. On the Gold Coast he observed that the revenue was £8,146, and the expenditure £10,993.
§ MR. WINTERBOTHAM
asked for information respecting the Bishops that were travelling over those islands at the public expense.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, in reply to the last question, that he thought he could promise a considerable reduction of expenditure on that head. With regard to the steamer at Sierra Leone, when the whole of the coast of West Africa was placed under a governor in chief, it was thought necessary that he should have the means of rapid communication with all the British Settlements on the coast. There was a steamer which had been purchased at considerable expense; but it having been found to draw too much water, it was considered necessary either to alter her, or to place another steamer there in her stead. It would have cost £8,400 to alter her and adapt her to the station, and it was thought that as a new steamer could be purchased for £15,000, it would be better to spend £11,000 upon a new and good article, than £9,000 upon an old and inefficient one. If this expenditure were put aside, there was a considerable reduction in the Estimates for the West Coast. With regard to the military colonial expenditure, the re- 959 ductions effected by the present Government amounted to £700,000 a year, and there would be a still further reduction in the next year from the steps which the Government were now taking. With respect to the naval expenditure, there had been a considerable reduction on the West Coast of Africa. He could corroborate what the right hon. Gentleman (Sir Charles Adderley) had stated in regard to the entire success of Mr. Pope Hennessy in the Government of Labuan. By his energy and good sense he had been able to develop those coal mines, which were so important for the future prosperity of Labuan. He had effected this through getting convicts from the Straits Settlements and employing them in the coal mines. The result had been that coal had been produced in considerable quantities; and, although it did not equal the coal of this country, it had been used in Her Majesty's ships, and had been found fitted for use in steamers. The Gambia Vote of £1,500 was owing to the failure of commerce during the last year and a fearful outbreak of cholera. It was feared that from these causes the revenue would fall off; but if it did not, the money would not be required, and, of course, would not be spent. The arrangement between the English and Dutch Governments had produced satisfactory commercial results. As regarded the political results, however, he could not speak so confidently, for the tribes that had always owed allegiance to England very much disliked the transfer to the Dutch Government. He had not understood that it was the object of the Duke of Buckingham merely to establish a coastguard station at Heligoland. He had been under the impression that the people of that island were rather backward in paying their taxes, and certainly the presence of five or six coastguard men had, in that respect, been attended with the happiest effect. The partial consolidation of the Windward and Leeward Islands had not been carried out according to the plan of the late Government. The course pursued had been to separate the Windward from the Leeward Islands, one class being exclusively colonies where the authority of the Crown was predominant, and therefore, more easily dealt with; and the Governor who had the most experience 960 in these islands, Sir Benjamin Pine, was sent to Antigua with instructions to consolidate the five islands under his jurisdiction, and place them absolutely under one government. Among the advantages of this scheme would be the disappearance of a vast number of useless officers—treasurers, Judges, and magistrates—of whom there was a complete staff for each island, the endeavour being to make those islands one, in the same sense as Orkney and Shetland were one. They would have means of communication by steamers; the whole of these islands were, he believed, likely to be connected by electric telegraph, and the House would remember that four of these islands lay within an area not so large as the county of Norfolk.
§ An hon. MEMBER asked why the Australian Governors, whose salaries for the most part were paid by the colonies, had their passage money home allowed by the British Government, in some cases to the extent of £800, which must far exceed the cost?
§ MR. GOURLEY
asked for some further explanation respecting the steamer which had been spoken of, and hoped that the sum paid on her account would not be in excess of her value, as in a former case.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he believed the steamer was purchased upon the opinion of the Constructor of the Navy. As to the passage money of the Colonial Governors, these were all regulated according to a fixed scale, which he believed was not too high.
§ SIR CHARLES ADDERLEY
said, the purchase of the steamer to which the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Gourley) had referred was not made by the late Government.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (39.) £3,134, to complete the sum for Orange River Territory and St. Helena.
§ (40.) £5,360, to complete the sum for Slave Trade, Commissions for Suppression of.
§ (41.) £23,343, to complete the sum for Tonnage Bounties, &c.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that operations had now ceased on the West Coast of Africa, and therefore they were only dealing with the East. What really happened was something of this kind. An Arab dhow was seen in the distance by one of our cruizers, and was chased and run on shore. She was of course deserted; but whether there were slaves in her or not the bounty was equally claimed. There ought really to be a Return of the number of dhows captured in this way, and the circumstances relating to each.
§ MR. AYRTON
observed that this information was contained on page 314 of the Estimates. Forty-six vessels were captured in 1868, of which thirty-one had slaves on board. In all, 742 slaves were liberated. The payment of these bounties was a matter regulated by Act of Parliament; and, as long as the Act remained, it would be necessary to vote the money requisite to comply with its provisions.
§ COLONEL SYKES
observed that only £14,000 appeared to be applicable to tonnage bounties, whereas the Vote asked for £35,000.
said, the hon. and gallant Member would be glad to hear that the Vote was a diminishing one. The slave trade had been entirely suppressed on the West Coast of Africa, and only existed on the Eastern Coast of Africa, and the Government were in hopes that it would be suppressed there also. Great difficulty was experienced in adjudication on the slave dhows because of the defects in the papers of most Arab vessels.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (42.) £9,500, to complete the sum for Emigration.
§ SIR CHARLES ADDERLEY
said, that the Emigration officers, who were stationed at the various ports for the purpose of inspecting emigrant ships, were most useful public servants; but he thought that of the two Commissioners one might be taken into the new Colonial Office.
§ MR. ALDERMAN LUSK
said, he thought the sum required for the purposes of the 962 Emigration Board was a very large one, and that it might well be reduced. Their occupation, owing to the arrangements of the Colonial Governments, was now all but gone.
§ MR. MONSELL
said, the reduction which would be made if the Emigration Board were abolished would be £2,000 per annum, making allowance for the expenses of superannuation. Arrangements had been made under which the staff of the Emigration Office would be received into the new Colonial Office, and thus the expenses of superannuation would be saved. More meritorious public officers than the two gentlemen now at the head of the Emigration department could not be found in the public service, and the best thing that could be done was to utilize their services by taking them into the Colonial Office instead of superannuating them.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (43.) £500, to complete the sum for Coolie Emigration.
§ (44.) £9,047, to complete the sum for Treasury Chest.
§ (45.) £171,877, to complete the sum for Superannuation and Retired Allowances.
§ MR. BOWRING
said, that by the Superannuation Act of 1859 the Treasury were given power to award special allowances under exceptional circumstances; but, in order to prevent those allowances from being improperly granted, it was enacted that they should be made by special Minute to be laid before Parliament. Those Minutes had never been printed for the use of hon. Members. He thought it very desirable that special Treasury Minutes under which pensions were granted should be brought under the notice of the House.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that necessarily this list had been made up some time ago. The names of pensioners should be put in the list annually until their death was certified to the Department in the usual way. Grants of new pensions were set out in such a way that hon. Members could satisfy themselves as to the transactions of the year. It had not been the custom to print and circulate Treasury Minutes; but they were placed in the Library, where Members could see them.
§ MR. WHITWELL
said, he believed that some gentlemen who were receiving salaries were also in receipt of a pension 963 of £1,000 a year. At the present moment superannuation allowances amounting in all to £2,100 a year were paid by the Science and Art Department, and he believed that some of the recipients were men of middle age or even younger. He hoped the time was coming when Government officers would receive such salaries as would enable, them to provide their own superannuation allowances.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he could assure his hon. Friend that this list distressed the Government as much as it could distress him. Some gentlemen who retired from the Civil Service in consequence of ill health enjoyed remarkable longevity. The list contained a record of what had been going on for the last forty years. The subject had received, and was receiving, the attention of the Government, and he thought a plan would be matured which would give more satisfaction than the one which had hitherto prevailed.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (46.) £31,600, to complete the sum for Merchant Seamen's Fund Pensions, &c.
§ (47.) £30,400, to complete the sum for Relief of Distressed British Seamen.
§ MR. SCLATER-BOOTH
said, it would be desirable to have a statement as to how the Vote was expended.
§ MR. GRAVES
said, he had received numerous complaints on the subject of this Vote. In 1855 it was £8,000, in 1860 it was £19,000, in 1865 it was £30,000, and in the present year it was £45,000. With the increase of the Vote there was an increase of the evils which it covered. It was generally supposed that the money was for bringing home distressed British seamen. If it were confined to that object no one would object to it; but it was because much of it was applied to a very different purpose he felt it his duty to call attention to it. It was the habit of deserters to throw themselves on the fund provided by this Vote, and to get themselves brought home. When on board they were the worst of the ship's company. They came on board with an exhausted constitution, and on their arrival in this country they were generally afflicted with scurvy. The House had been told very often of the increase of scurvy on board ship. This was to be attributed very much to the operation of the Vote now under discus- 964 sion. He had received several letters on the subject from sea captains. In one of those letters the writer stated that at Calcutta he was requested to bring home twelve distressed seamen, at 1s. a month each for their passage and 1s. a day each for their diet. He remonstrated, but ultimately he was compelled to take five, of whom three turned out to be foreigners. None of them were seamen, and but for the crew he would have had very great trouble with these men. Another captain wrote to say that he had been compelled to bring home a number of fellows who were called "distressed seamen," but among whom were two soldiers branded as deserters, a blacksmith, and persons of other callings than that of a seaman. The writer added that greater blackguards had never been aboard ship. Another captain wrote to say that of four distressed seamen whom he had been forced to carry home one was an American and another a Dutchman. One was by trade a saddler, and the other had been a stoker on a railway. This stoker confided £40 or £50 to the care of the captain, who was obliged to carry him home at 1s. a month and 1s. a day, this payment being made out of the Parliamentary Vote. He had received a memorial from a new steamship company which had a line of steamers from the West Coast of South America. The company objected to carrying those distressed seamen, who took up the room of passengers who would pay £30 or £40. He thought that the Committee would see that this Vote led to gross abuses. A clause in the memorial he had presented stated that the remuneration allowed to the company for this service was quite inadequate; that the number of seamen conveyed was rapidly increasing; and that the conveyance of such persons was a great embarrassment to the proper conduct of the service, and demoralizing to the company's carefully selected crew. It was added that such a state of things was never contemplated by the Legislature, and the memorialists asked that measures might be adopted to relieve them. He called attention to the matter, not with the view of moving the reduction of the Vote, but to suggest that some remedy should be provided in the Merchant Shipping Consolidation Bill, brought in at the close of the Session.
§ MR. SHAW-LEFEVRE
said, this charge arose entirely under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, and the Board of Trade had little or no control over it. The men were sent home by the consuls abroad, who paid their fares, and sent their accounts to the Board of Trade. The Merchant Shipping Act provided that when men were left behind at foreign seaports, from any cause, even though it were their own fault, and were found destitute there, the consuls were to relieve them and pay their expenses home. He dared say that some abuses had occurred and in some cases men had been sent home improperly; but carefully drawn instructions had been sent to the consuls, who were requested not to send home any but those who were strictly provided for by the Act. As a general rule the consuls were very careful; but, as the hon. Member had pointed out, the Vote had been growing. The Vote, however, was rather in excess of the expenditure, which in 1866 was £49,000; in 1867, £38,000; and in 1868, £34,000. Therefore, the Committee would see that some vigilance had been exercised of late, and the actual expenditure was on the decrease. Since he had been at the Board of Trade he had endeavoured to curtail the expenditure by intimating through the Colonial Office to the colonies that they would have to bear the charges made on account of colonial sailors, which formed a not inconsiderable portion of the whole expenditure. The matter was a fit one for discussion on the Merchant Shipping Bill, which he should have to lay on the table in a day or two.
§ MR. SCLATER - BOOTH
said, he thought the explanation showed that the Estimate was rather of a loose character, for it appeared that the expenditure, which was being diminished, was much less than than the Estimate; and he should have thought that the best means of controlling the expenditure would have been to have reduced the Estimate.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, the hon. Gentleman was under a mistake. The Estimate of 1868 was exceeded by the expenditure, and the Estimate for this year was the same as that of last year.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (48.) £27,320, to complete the sum for Non-conforming Clergy.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he hoped the Committee was not about to enter into a discussion of this Vote, as this was the last time it would appear on the Estimates. He could assure his hon. Friend that all the payments would be made in strict accordance with the law.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (49.) £13,045, to complete the sum for Hospitals and Infirmaries, Ireland.
§ (50.) £4,825, to complete the sum for Miscellaneous Charitable Allowances, &c. Great Britain.
§ (51.) £4,834, to complete the sum. for Miscellaneous Charitable Allowances, &c. Ireland.
§ (52.) £31,000, to complete the sum for Temporary Commissions.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, it had not; and that payments on account of it would continue during the current year.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ (53.) £31,147, to complete the sum for Local Dues on Shipping.
§ (54.) £380, to complete the sum for Malta and Alexandria Telegraph, &c.
§ (55.) £2,000, to complete the sum for Flax Cultivation (Ireland).
said, that the Vote was a mistake in itself, and did more harm than good. There was prosperity in the North of Ireland, where it was notorious that the flax trade flourished more than it did in almost any other portion of the kingdom. In 1865, an assurance was given that that would be the last Vote taken; but, nevertheless, it was continued, and he thought that now it should come to an end.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, that Votes of this kind were given very much on the principle of compensation—one for England, another for Scotland, a third for Ireland; and it was not possible to abolish such a Vote suddenly. Last year £4,000 was granted, and it was now reduced to £3,000, with a view to the gradual suppression of the grant.
said, the Vote seemed to be quite contrary to 967 the principle of Free Trade, and wished to know whether there was any similar Vote in England or in Scotland?
§ MR. AYRTON
referred to the Vote for Schools of Naval Architecture in England as one of a similar kind to that in Ireland for architectural instruction.
§ MR. COLLINS
said, he thought the Vote should be disallowed. He believed that the people of Ireland did not require to be taught to grow flax any more than the people of England required to be taught to grow wheat.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, whatever the Committee might think of the Vote in the abstract, and for the future, he trusted they would not throw it over for the present year. A number of flax instructors were engaged in various parts of Ireland in instructing the small farmers in the cultivation of flax; and as the object had been considered one of great utility, he trusted that it would not be so suddenly put an end to.
§ MR. ACLAND
reminded hon. Members who represented large towns in England that a great deal of public money was spent in technical education —that was to say, in teaching persons how to manufacture in the most economical and efficient manner, and this Vote belonged to the same class.
§ MR. SHERLOCK
said, that Irish Members had not complained of the expenditure on the London parks, or for technical instruction; and it was not right, therefore, to object to a Vote which was for the promotion of flax cultivation chiefly in the South and West of Ireland—an object of immense national importance.
MR. ALDERMAN W. LAWRENCE
said, he hoped that no reduction would be made in the Vote, the object of which was to promote the production of the raw material of manufacture, and thus benefit farmers, manufacturers, and the whole community. The Government had been reducing the Vote gradually, and he had no doubt that it would very soon cease.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he would not enter into the question whether it was the business of 968 the Government to teach every man his trade; but he would undertake, on the part of the Government, to put an end to the Vote as soon as they could do so, consistently with good faith towards those employed.
§ Vote agreed to.
(56.) Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £23,247, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1870, for certain Miscellaneous Expenses.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, he intended to move the reduction of the Vote by the sum of £3,374 14s., put down for the cost of presents and gratuities given away by his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at the Cape and Australia, and during his present voyage in Her Majesty's ship Galatea. He should ask the Government, firstly, on what authority the Duke spent this money; secondly, whether any limit to the expenditure was laid down; and, thirdly, whether there was not a custom that if a Prince gave presents which the country paid for he should hand over to the country the presents he received in return? He objected not so much to the amount of this Vote as to the principle it involved. To those who might urge the smallness of the amount, he would remark that sometimes the smallness of the sum only showed the melancholy value of a transaction. It was hoped that a great effect would be produced in Australia by the visit of the Duke of Edinburgh; that the loyalty of that colony would be developed; and that it would be united in closer bonds with this country. The colony came forward with magnificent generosity to entertain the Duke, and received those presents from him. But what was the news which had lately been received from Australia? Directly it was known that the English tax-payers would have to pay this sum of money all the good which had been produced by the Duke's visit was undone. According to a telegram which appeared in every public journal in London last Monday week—Intense indignation prevails throughout the colony at the prospect of English tax-payers being called upon to pay for the presents which the colonists thought were private gifts from the Duke of Edinburgh.969 There was another item in this Vote to which he particularly objected—that of £68 for the conveyance of Prince Christian and the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz between Dover and Calais. But however small the amount is itself, it involved a principle by no means so insignificant. Who, he would ask, authorized Prince Christian and the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to entail this outlay upon the country? Then, contrast these sums with some of the miserable, paltry, and undignified items in the Estimate, There was, for example, the cost of a present to a King, who bore the honoured name of Peter, for doing an act of Christian charity by taking care of the European cemetery at River Congo. The cost of this gift was 12s. 8d. What present befitting a King could the Government have procured for 12s. 8d.? Was it an old dress coat, or a cast-off theatrical suit? Then there was the sum of £13 charged for a lunch to Prince William of Hesse. Such items as those ought never, in his opinion, to be put in the Estimates. In close contiguity to this last-named sum there was an item for providing food for the inhabitants of Cephalonia at a time when that island had been sadly injured by an earthquake. The magnificent sum devoted by the nation to this subject was £10, or £3 less than was thought necessary to provide Prince William of Hesse with a lunch. The Estimates were full of paltry and ridiculous items of this kind. For instance, there was one of £2 1s. for rigging out a pier at Antwerp for the reception of the Prince of Wales. He thought that the sooner items of this kind were omitted from the Vote; the better. By moving the reduction of the Vote he should give the Committee an opportunity of expressing their opinion that this money ought not to have been spent without authority from the Government; and, as far as the presents of the Duke of Edinburgh were concerned, he desired to let our Australian colonists know that there were some Members in that House who shared in the indignation they justly felt. In conclusion the hon. Gentleman moved that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £3,442 14s.
Motion made, and Question,
That a sum, not exceeding £19,804 6s., be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come
in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1870, for certain Miscellaneous Expenses,"—(Mr. Fawcett,)
§ MR. AYRTON
said, it would be his duty to explain to the Committee the exact nature of this transaction, which he thought had not been very clearly understood by his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton. The Committee was doubtless aware that a certain sum was placed at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government for the purpose of meeting the small payments which it was necessary to make in administering the affairs of so great a nation as ours, and which were not provided for in the Estimates voted for the year. Out of that sum it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government to make such disbursements as they might find absolutely necessary, and the practice had been to bring those disbursements under the notice of the Committee of Supply in the form of a Vote, as they were here stated, in re-payment of the Civil Contingencies Fund. That was to say, Her Majesty's Government had authority to spend the money within the year, and then in the ensuing year they brought forward an account of the expenditure. A sum was voted to replace the money so spent, and the fund again remained at their disposal. Hon. Members would perceive that it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government, in accordance with the wishes expressed in former Committees of Supply, to render a minute account of the expenditure of this money, in order that the Government might be prevented from using the Civil Contingencies Fund for purposes which would not bear discussion. It was no fault of theirs that these items were very small. However provident any Minister might be, it was impossible that they could foresee every item of expenditure that would have to be incurred during the year in carrying on the affairs of the nation. When the Duke of Edinburgh was about to start upon the journey referred to in the Vote, there was a communication between His Royal Highness and the Government of the day, and it was with the deliberate judgment of the late Administration, having regard to the definite allowance made to him by Parliament, and also to the fact that he was going abroad, not for his private amusement merely, but invested with a public character to fulfil a public mis- 971 sion, that he should be provided with the means to carry out the objects for which it might almost be said he was dispatched by Her Majesty's Government on his journey. Her Majesty's Government, taking all the circumstances into consideration, came to the conclusion that £3,000 should be added to his allowance for the year. That sum was accordingly placed at his disposal, and it was explained to him how it was expected the money should be spent in what might be termed the purposes of his mission, and in discharge of the collateral expenses which he would have to incur. When his Royal Highness returned home an. account was rendered by him of his expenditure, and the sum of £3,374 14s., as stated in the Vote, was ordered by the Government to be paid to him, because they thought it a reasonable expenditure with reference to the duties he had been called upon to perform. He saw nothing very striking in this transaction. Under a Government like ours, which undertook to regulate minutely the expenditure of the Royal Family, it necessarily followed that the Royal Family must occupy a different position from that of other Royal Families, which had large revenues placed at their disposal, without it being necessary for them to render any account of their expenditure. It seemed to him that that mode of giving those small sums of money was the necessary result of the strict supervision which Parliament thought fit to exercise over the expenditure of the Sovereign and the Royal Family; and he thought there was nothing very remarkable in the fact that if the Prince had to represent the Majesty of England in that visit to the colonies, he should have expended such a sum as they found in the Votes in donations and gifts, which were always expected at the hands of Members of the Royal Family. That was the explanation of the Vote. It was not a matter with which Her Majesty's present Advisers had anything to do; but he had felt it his duty to state the facts of the case as far as he understood it, and he had no doubt that if the late Chancellor of the Exchequer had been in his place he would have been able to give a fuller and more complete account of the transaction than he had done.
§ MR. SCLATER - BOOTH
said, he thought the Secretary to the Treasury 972 had so completely identified himself with the policy of that Vote, and had so fully explained, it, that it was hardly necessary for him to add anything in its justification. However, he might observe that, as far as he remembered, when the Estimate for that Vote was submitted to the late Government the principal ground on which it rested was stated to be that it was for the intended visit of his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to China, Japan, and India, where a very heavy expenditure of that kind might be expected to arise, whereas the Vote was described in the present Estimates as merely being for—Presents and gratuities by his Royal Highness at the Cape and Australia, and during his present voyage in Her Majesty's ship Galatea.
§ MR. MONK
asked for an explanation of an item of £2,150 to Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton, for services in connection with the Reform Bill of 1867. He rather thought there was a similar item in the Estimates for last year; and he wished to know whether that £2,150 was in addition to the sum already paid.
§ MR. FAWCETT
said, the reply of the Secretary to the Treasury, as was always the case with his replies, was extremely ingenious, but, to his mind, unsatisfactory. The Secretary to the Treasury said that sum was to be voted to his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh for his expenses, whereas, in the Estimates it was stated that the sum they were called on to vote was not for expenses, but for presents; and that was what had caused such discontent in the colonies. The Secretary to the Treasury said that was a mistake in the Estimate; but why had the mistake not been rectified before? His Notice on that subject had been given some time ago, and the Secretary of the Treasury must have known of the dissatisfaction existing in the colonies on the matter. It was most unsatisfactory that a Minister should come down at the last moment and tell them that the Estimate furnished by the Government was altogether wrong, and that they were not called on to vote that money for presents, but for expenses. The hon. Gentleman had omitted to explain the item of £68 for conveying Prince Christian 973 and the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from Dover to Calais.
§ MR. W. FOWLER
called attention to an item of £1,000 for robes, collars, badges, &c, of Knights who had received certain orders, and asked why the expense of those things should not be defrayed by the Knights themselves. He also sought an explanation of an item of £38 3s. for "the maintenance of a Congo pirate chief at Ascension."
§ MR. COLLINS
said, he thought it was only reasonable to pay for the gifts of the Duke of Edinburgh in the colonies, as his journey was not in the nature of a private journey; but he thought information was necessary as to the £68 charged for conveying Prince Christian and the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from Dover to Calais. Surely that was money not paid with a view to cement the union between England and the Continent.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, it had always been the practice, on certain Royal personages coming on a visit to this country or proceeding thence to the Continent, to provide them with passages, and if we had not a steamer available for the purpose, then to pay for the vessel employed in their conveyance. The expense of these small courtesies was charged to that particular account, and there was no other account in which it could well be placed. It was the custom of this country to treat persons of a certain position in the same way as foreign countries treated members of our Royal Family when they made visits abroad. That accounted for that item of £68. The item of £38 3s.for a Congo pirate chief was for his maintenance, not as a pirate, but while in custody, his keep, like that of other delinquents when in custody, falling on the public. As to the charge of £2,150 for Messrs. Baxter, Rose, and Norton, it was incurred by the late Government in preparing their measure of Parliamentary Reform; and, as the House had passed their Reform Bill, it could hardly now refuse their bill of costs. As to the £1,000 for the badges and collars of Knights, it was the practice for the Sovereign who gave the orders to give also the collars and badges, without which the ceremony of conferring knighthood would not be complete; and as long as the badges and collars were so given, they must, of course, be paid for.
§ MR. WHITWELL, reverting to the item of £68 for conveying Prince Christian and the Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz from Dover to Calais, hoped the Secretary to the Treasury did not regard Prince Christian as a distinguished foreign visitor, but as a distinguished resident in this country. He trusted that would not be taken as a precedent.
§ MR. P. WYKEHAM-MARTIN
asked for some information as to an item of upwards of £2,000 for a proposed review in Hyde Park which never came off. He supposed that was some mistake.
§ MR. AYRTON
said, the review did not come off, but considerable expense was incurred in making provision for it.
§ Question put, and negatived.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow, at Two of the clock;
§ Committee to sit again To-morrow, at Two of the clock.