HL Deb 18 December 1854 vol 136 cc424-6

moved for Copies of any Orders made by Her Majesty in Council with respect to the appointment of a Fourth Secretary of State, and the Division of the Colonial and War Departments; also of any Correspondence which has taken place between the different Departments of Her Majesty's Government with reference to the Changes which may have been made in the arrangements for transacting the Business of the Army in consequence of the above Division. His Lordship said, that in the last Session of Parliament he had brought under the notice of the House the constitution of the Colonial and War Department; and the noble Duke the now Secretary of State for the War Department then was of opinion, that it was not necessary to make any new arrangement. Subsequently, however, it appeared it was found necessary to make a change, and Her Majesty was advised that the former Colonial and War Departments should be re-arranged, and that a fourth Secretary of State for War should be appointed. He presumed that there had been an Order in Council authorising the establishment of a fourth Secretary of State, and the arrangement of the business, performed by the two former departments, in the single office; and he presumed that that had led to correspondence between the Offices. He had no wish that any correspondence of a confidential character should be produced; but he presumed there could be no objection to the production of the papers he asked for. After the recess, he thought the whole question of the War Department should be brought under the notice of their Lordships.


said, there was not the slightest objection to lay before the House any papers on the matter. The noble Earl was wrong in supposing that there had been any Order in Council on the subject; the alteration had been effected by a somewhat similar document, a declaration in Council, which would be laid on the table. His noble Friend was correct in saying, that the alterations proposed in a department were generally made by personal communication and private correspondence; but the only document of any material importance in regard to them, was the Treasury Minute by which the arrangement was effected, transferring the Commissariat Department from the Treasury to the Secretary of War. There was also another document embodying the provisional arrangement between the Colonial Secretary and the Secretary of War, which it was necessary to make, because the House was aware that until within the last fortnight no office had been provided for the Secretary of War, and he had been in the occupation of some rooms lent by his noble Friend the First Minister of the Crown, and se- veral of the officers of the new department continued to occupy offices in the department of the Colonial Secretary. Under these circumstances, several of the arrangements under the new department were merely provisional, and the final arrangements had not been made. He could not, therefore, name the precise documents which would be laid before the House, but, at the same time, such as could give the information asked for by the noble Earl should be produced without delay.