HC Deb 05 March 1869 vol 194 cc717-8

said, he would beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is true that after objecting, on the 29th May, 1865, to the creation of the sinecure office of Governor of Greenwich Hospital, he has constituted that office, with a salary of £1,200 a year; whether it is true that any of the seamen and marines of fifty-five years of age, and who have been for five years on the pension list have, in consequence of the appointment of the Governor of Greenwich Hospital, not received the pension intended for them; and, whether it is intended to increase the number of the medical officers of the Navy at Greenwich, or to allow them any pensions from the Greenwich Hospital Fund?


In answer to my hon. Friend, I have to say that on the 29th of May, 1865, being then a Junior Lord of the Admiralty, I objected to the creation of the sinecure office of Governor of Greenwich Hospital, and that on the 8th of June, in Committee on the Greenwich Hospital Bill, I defeated my gallant Friend, now Member for Stamford (Sir John Hay), who moved to insert a clause for this purpose, by 57 to 53. But he renewed his Motion on the Report upon the 18th of June, and on the part of the Admiralty, I gave way, and a clause was inserted in the Bill under which I undertook that on Sir James Gordon's death the office with a reduced salary should be continued. It happened that I was at the Admiralty again when Sir James Gordon died, and it has been my duty to carry out the arrangement. But the salary of the Governor is only £433; and as he remains on the active list, no additional charge for pay or half-pay is involved. In reply to the second question, I am happy to be able to say that there is no truth in this suggestion. The fact is just the reverse. One of my first acts was to inquire whether the 5d. a day pension might not be extended to all seamen and marines who had been for five years on the pension list, and were fifty-five years old, beyond the 5,000 originally proposed. This has been done, and the result is that instead of 5,000 men receiving £48,000 in 5d. and 9d. pensions as I proposed in 1865, 5,412 men now receive £59,407. In reply to the third Question, I may state that I certainly do not propose to appoint more medical men to Greenwich or any other hospital than are required for the public service, merely in order to give employment and salary, and I have no reason to anticipate that any more such officers will be required. Although it was not originally intended to give any medical pensions out of the Greenwich Fund, the Order in Council of the 16th of February, 1866, established fifteen such pensions of £80 and £50, at a cost of £780 a year. As to the intentions of the Admiralty with respect to this and other matters connected with Greenwich Hospital, my hon. Friend the Member for the Border Burghs (Mr. Trevelyan) will before long make a full statement to the House.

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