HL Deb 21 June 1861 vol 163 cc1387-90

Order of the Day or receiving the Report; of the Amendment read.


said, that In consequence of the objections which had been raised against this measure in this House, and the still more powerful opposition which be understood would be raised in "another place," upon the ground that the Bill was objectionable in its form, inasmuch as it should have originated in the House of Commons, he did not propose to proceed with it further. He Wished, however, to say a few words, arising from a remark of the noble Earl (the Earl of Hardwicke), in reference to an appointment he had recently made to one of the livings, It would be satisfactory to their Lordships to know that that appointment had not been made for party or personal purposes. The circumstances were these. He had the appointment of a chaplain to one of the livings upon the Hospital property in the north of England; and he selected for the living a gentleman who had been chaplain in the service of the Admiralty on the Mediterranean and Black Sea stations. He was five years chaplain On board the Albion; and whilst he was there the ship's company was attacked most severely by small-pox and cholera, eighty men being carried off in a few days. This clergyman was, during this time) most assiduous in his attentions to the sick and dying. The ship's company's suffered in the attack on Sebastopol the loss being eighty-seven men; and this same chaplain, on that occasion, assisted the surgeon to the utmost of his power. The surgeon and the paymaster were both wounded, and the chaplain continued to render assistance to the wounded sailors, and continued this assistance after he himself was slightly wounded. Having obtained a report to this effect from officers in command, he confessed he thought that the gentleman Was very fit for the preferment; and he thought that their Lordships would see that he had been actuated by no other motive than zeal for the interests of the service; It would also be gratifying to their Lordships to know that Since the gentleman had filled the living he had given the greatest satisfaction in the parish and was most popular in the neighbourhood.


said he recollected that when a boy the great living of Symington was divided into six livings upon the Understanding that they should be given to chaplains in the navy as a reward for services; the object being to enable the Admiralty to induce a more respectable class to enter the service; The noble Duke had done right in promoting this gentleman, and the only doubt he had was whether the noble Duke ought not to have relaxed the Order in Council in his favour, and made him a commander in the navy?


disclaimed having had any intention of imputing to the noble Duke that he had used the Hospital patronage for political purposes. What he said was that Greenwich Hospital had been used by all patties for political purposes, and he thought the opportunity had now arrived for doing that Which Would at once put an end to the possibility of doing the same sort of thing for the future. He thought that the property of the Hospital should be managed by an independent body of persons selected for that purpose by the Crown, and responsible to Parliament; Whilst the internal management of the Hospital should be regulated by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other officers.


understood the Bill would re-appear in this Souse at a Very late period of the Session, when he should certainly not be present. He would now, therefore, express a hope that a more effectual remedy for the evils which were allowed to exist in the management of the Hospital would be applied than that which had been suggested. He could bear testimony to the fact that Greenwich Hospital used to be considered as pile of the great interests in the county with which he was connected. It was one of the great objects of any candidate there to secure that interest and on one occasion—in 1826—it had told powerfully against himself. For the last twenty-five years or more this influence had not been exerted on either side, but it was impossible not to admit that there was some danger of a revival of this influence at a future time. That dagger would not, however, be averted by the plan proposed. At present all our public servants were subordinate to Ministers; who in their turn were responsible to Parliament. If this sound principle were departed from, and ah independent authority like that suggested by the noble Earl were created, abuses of a far more dangerous description would spring up than existed under the present system. Ministers of the Crown were liable to answer to parliament for any such abuses, but permanent servants of the public would be exempt from this control; it would be difficult to make them properly responsible to anybody; and jobbing and mismanagement, of which we had no experience, would ensue if Parliament created what was known in foreign countries as a bureaucracie. The proper mode of guarding against the evils anticipated was by selling the Greenwich Hospital property. He was persuaded that the public was an essentially bad owner of landed property. On a long series of years it was impossible that land could be well managed on behalf of the public, though it was quite true that for the last twenty-seven years the Greenwich Hospital estates had been admirably managed. On referring to the Report of the Commissioners he found Sir James Graham expressed a strong opinion that they were not likely to get another Receiver who would manage the affairs of the Hospital with equal success. By the sale of the property the Commissioners themselves stated there would be an immediate, accession to the income of the Hospital; and, considering the advantage to the country of having this property held by residents instead of absentees, he hoped the noble Duke would consider the expediency of selling it. There could not be a more advantageous time for effecting a sale than the present. A considerable part of the estates of Greenwich Hospital was sold about twenty-eight or thirty years ago, just before the present Receiver was appointed. But it realized a most inadequate price. Now, however, if the present Receiver were authorized to take measures for selling the property, under the control of the Admiralty, there was an opportunity of realizing its true value, to the great benefit of the public; it would also provide a security against future abuses and evils. It seemed almost an absurdity that this property should be retained by a public body. Of the whole expenditure of the Hospital, only a small proportion, about £40,000 a year, was derived from this property. Considering the hopeless task of creating an authority to which the management of a property of this kind could be safely trusted, he hoped the Government would weigh the advantages to be derived from selling it.


said, the Bill on this subject would be introduced into the House of Commons, and he could only say that in the Amendments he should introduce it would be his earnest desire to meet the wishes of their Lordships.


trusted that the Bill to come up from the other House would not contain words to the effect that any number of places might be created, at any amount of salary.

Order discharged; and Bill (by leave of the House) withdrawn.