§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he has any objection to lay upon the Table of the House a Return showing the number and names of clerks in the Treasury, and of other gentlemen who have been private secretaries to Prime Ministers and to Chancellors of 300 the Exchequer, who have, within the past fifteen years, been advanced to Commissionerships of Customs and of Inland Revenue, or other superior posts in Departments other than the Treasury?
Sir, I should object to lay on the Table the Return asked for by the hon. Member. I should object to the Return on account of its incompleteness and on the ground that it does not select a particular Department, but relates to the general subject of the promotion of private secretaries, which will be a fair question for the hon. Member to open if he pleases. Besides, such a Return would not notice by whom the offices had been conferred, so that supposing, for example, my Predecessor had an admirable private secretary, and that I promoted him to a high office without consultation with my right hon. Friend, the inference from the Return would be that my Predecessor made the appointment.
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR
gave Notice that on Monday he would ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether Mr. Herbert Murray, at one time clerk in the Treasury and private secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was appointed Assistant Paymaster General and Queen's Remembrancer in Ireland, and was now Secretary of Customs at a salary of £1,400; whether Mr. Algernon West, at one time private secretary to the present Prime Minister, was appointed Commissioner of Inland Revenue and recently promoted to be chairman of that Board, at a salary of £2,000 a-year; whether Mr. Charles G. Turner, a clerk in the Treasury, was appointed Accountant and Controller General of Inland Revenue, at a salary of £1,000; whether Mr. Stevenson Arthur Blackwood, clerk in the Treasury, was appointed Secretary to the General Post Office, at a salary of £2,000; whether Mr. Rivers Wilson, clerk in the Treasury and private secretary to Mr. Lowe, Chancellor of the Exchequer, was appointed Controller of the National Debt, at a salary of £1,800; and whether Mr. C. L. Ryan, clerk in the Treasury and private secretary to the present Prime Minister, was appointed Assistant Controller and Auditor General, at a salary of £1,500?
Sir, I am prepared to answer, at a moment's notice, the part of the Question dealing with 301 the appointments for which I am personally responsible. It illustrates what I have just stated, that gentlemen who have been private secretaries to Ministers of one political Party, frequently have their merits recognized by the other political Party. Mr. Herbert Murray was, at one time, private secretary to Lord Derby, I believe; I am not quite sure, but he was private secretary to a Minister in the Party opposite; and he was appointed by me to a secretary ship in the Customs on account of his singular capacity and the great services which he had performed. Mr. West was my private secretary, and was appointed by me to be a Commissioner of Customs, and he was promoted by Lord Beaconsfield, for his merits, to be deputy chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue, and he has now again, upon a vacancy in the chairmanship, been appointed by me to be chairman, because he was the best man I could find. I will not go through the details of the other appointments; but it is within my knowledge that this is one of the series of answers which the hon. Gentleman will get if he puts his Question.
§ MR. O'DONNELL
said, he had given Notice that he would ask the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether it is a fact that, for the past six months, during the absence of Mr. Smith, the late Secretary of Customs, on the ground of ill health, the duties of that post have been performed by Mr. P. G. Walpole, the assistant-secretary, to the satisfaction of the Board; whether it is not a fact that Mr. Walpole was recommended to the Prime Minister by Sir Charles DuCane, the Chairman of the Board of Customs, as the fittest person to succed Mr. Smith; whether it is a fact that Mr. Herbert Murray, Assistant Paymaster General and Queen's Remembrancer in Ireland, has been appointed to the post of Secretary to the Board of Customs; and, if so, upon what ground, having regard to the special recommendation made to the Prime Minister by the Chairman of the Board of Customs in favour of Mr. Walpole; and, whether at any time Mr. Murray was a clerk in the Treasury? The Prime Minister had answered this Question when replying to the hon. Member for the Queen's County; but he wished to know if the facts as regarded the valuable services of Mr. Walpole were as he (Mr. O'Donnell) stated?
, in reply, said that Mr. Murray's appointment to the post of secretary to the Board of customs was due to his eminent qualifications for that post but he ought to say that the appointment was a peculiar one greatly desired by the mercantile community and which lay quite outside the ordinary experience of the customs Department were either in progress or under consideration that was the main reason why a person had been sought outside the Department The Government highly appreciated the services of Mr. Walpole who was a very valuable pubic officer the and they had thought it right under the circumstances that a Minute should be passed by the Treasury awarding him at once the maximum salary if £1,000 a-year and a grant equal to the minimum salary of the secretary to the Board duties of that post in the absence of Mr. Smith the late Secretary.