HC Deb 01 August 1873 vol 217 cc1471-2

in rising to call the attention of the House to the circumstance that there is no power to grant any Pensions to the widows and families of those Civil Servants of the Crown who die while in the performance of their duties, whatever the duration of their public service, and more especially with reference to the Foreign and Colonial Services, and to move a Resolution upon the subject, said, that the Civil Servants had very great cause to complain. Since the salaries wore fixed many years ago there had been a great change in prices, which during the last 20 years had nearly doubled. The case that he had to submit was a grievous one, and he trusted the Government would see that justice was done to the widows and families of those deserving men, who, after from 20 to 50 years' service, had died, leaving their widows and families entirely unprovided for. The first case to which he would refer was that of Mr. Keith E. Abbott, who had been 35 years in the service of the Crown—for 27 years in Persia, and afterwards for five years as Consul General at Odessa. He died last year, leaving a widow and eight children, and no provision had been made for them by the Government. The next case was that of Mr. Erskine, senior clerk of the Accountant General's department of the Admiralty, who served for 35 years. He died in 1872, after a brief illness caused by extreme application to public duties. The application of the Admiralty to the Treasury for an allowance to the widow and children was immediately rejected. He had for 17 years paid his contribution to the Superannuation Fund; but, notwithstanding that, nothing was done for the widow and children. In the case of Governor Keate, who, after having been 30 years in the employment of the Government, was sent out to the coast of Africa and died within seven days, no provision had been made for his family. Then there was the case of Mr. Tomline, who was a clerk at Devonport Dockyard for 25 years. He died after six weeks' illness, caused by overwork, and not a single sixpence was given to his wife or family. In justice to the Departments it should be said that the resistance in all these cases came from the Treasury, in spite of the recommendations of the Departments. The hon. Member was proceeding to refer to other instances of alleged hardship in support of his Motion, when—

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being present,

House adjourned at a quarter after Nine o'clock