The Earl of Winchilsea
was sorry, that he was not present the other evening, when a noble Friend of his (Lord Wharncliffe) asked a question of the noble Viscount, which appeared to him to be of great importance. So far as it went, the answer given to that question, which related to a recent appointment in Canada, was satisfactory. But, had he been in his place when the noble Viscount expressed his regret at the appointment, he should not have been entirely satisfied, without inquiring what course the Government meant to adopt on the subject. When he had formerly sought information as to this appointment, he entertained no doubt that the individual alluded to had gone out with a view to his becoming a member of one of the highest and most important missions that had ever been sent from this country; and he objected to any such appointment, because he viewed it as being closely connected with the character of the Sovereign. In his opinion, no one should have been employed on such a mission, except his character was free from taint or blemish. He now begged leave to ask the noble Viscount a question, namely, whether the individual to whom he alluded had been recalled? That was the only question that he meant to ask. He had heard it reported, but he trusted the rumour was without foundation, that the appointment had not 203 been interfered with. It had also been reported, that another individual, who had been imprisoned for three years, on account of a very grave offence, had left this country, with a view to an appointment on the same commission. He was ready to make all just allowances for the failings of individuals, for the weakness of human nature. He did not mean to say, that in consequence of the unpleasant situation in which individuals might place themselves by improper conduct, they ought never to be allowed to hold any appointment under the Government. But this was, in his mind, a most peculiar case; and he must say, that the situation which was filled by the person to whom he alluded, ought not to have been conferred on him, connected, as he repeated that it was, with the character of the Sovereign of this country. If the second report to which he had drawn the attention of the noble Viscount were a fact, then, he must say, that two persons had been selected for important situations which they were unfit to fill, and from which they ought to be removed. He hoped, that the rumour was not true, and to elicit the truth, he had put this question to the noble Viscount.
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that Ministers had very recently received an account of the appointment complained of, and had not yet had time to communicate with the Government abroad. Under these circumstances, it would not at present be convenient to state the course which Government intended to pursue.
§ The matter ended.