THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY,
in rising to move for the Appointment of a 1272 Select Committee to Inquire into the Circumstances that attended the Appointment and Resignation of Mr. Turnbull in the Record Office, said he had been led to change the form of the Motion, not from any choice of his own, but on account of the extraordinary conduct of the Government in regard to the papers presented to the House. The very day after the Prime Minister refused the prayer of the memorialists he (the Marquess of Normanby) fixed an early day for his Motion, in compliance with the wish of the noble Earl below him (the Earl of Shaftesbury). On the Thursday he also moved for the papers presented to the House of Commons, which he was informed at the Rolls Office would be ready the next day; but it was not till the Tuesday following that they were delivered. That delay, which was due to the management, or mismanagement of the Home Office, obliged him to postpone his Motion, and subsequent events caused him to alter its form. The day after that for which his Motion was originally fixed, he found that a Minute had been issued by the Treasury accepting the resignation of Mr. Turnbull. He must say that it was very unusual, and by no means respectful to their Lordships, that, after a Motion had been given notice of and papers moved for, those papers should he withheld so as to compel a postponement of the Motion, and that the transaction should then be completed which was to be called in question. He held that their Lordships were entitled to explanation from the Government on that point. Another point which he thought it desirable should be investigated by a Select Committee, was the relative responsibility of the different departments of the Government in regard to appointments of this kind. He always understood that it was quite out of the regular course for the First Lord to interfere in departmental arrangements, although no doubt he could do so if he chose and his Colleagues acquiesced. That was certainly the rule: when he was in office himself twenty years ago as Home Secretary, he should have been much surprised if the Prime Minister had assumed any personal responsibility as to the appointments he made with reference to the State Paper Office; and, therefore, so far as he could learn, the Prime Minister had deviated from the usual practice by appearing as the chief agent in the acceptance of Mr. Turnbull's resignation. He thought that an inquiry by a Committee 1273 would be the means of eliciting the whole truth. He had heard many noble Lords who expressed regret that the Record Department should have lost the services of Mr. Turnbull, ask why Mr. Turnbull resigned? It was the weak part of Mr. Turnbull's case. But he could assure their Lordships, on his own responsibility, that undeniable evidence could be produced to show that the resignation was caused by direct interference with the head of the Record Department on the part of Lord Palmerston. He should he able to show that Lord Palmerston, up to a certain time, did not altogether approve the views of the Protestant Alliance. In July 1860 the noble Lord told a deputation who waited on him with reference to Mr. Turnbull that they had not a leg to stand on, and that if an attempt were made to press the case against Mr. Turnbull, no man, whatever his position, would be safe. The noble Lord was reported to have told the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury) that he viewed such subjects through a green lens, and that he had better clear his eyesight. This was the noble Lord's tone up to the summer of 18b0. But Lord Palmerston's opinions must have greatly changed; for a short time before the meeting of Parliament this year he had every reason to believe that he should be able to prove that Lord Palmerston wrote a letter to the Master of the Rolls to this effect:—"I bear that the appointment of Mr. Turnbull is to be attacked. If it is attacked you must defend it on your own responsibility. I cannot defend it." How could the resignation be said to be voluntary if the head of the Department was deprived of the support of the Minister, and Mr. Turnbull was harassed for months by the most insidious and unfair suspicions? The only ground of defence which Lord Palmerston used, when he was waited upon with the late deputation, was that Mr. Turnbull had volunteered his resignation. Could it be said, under the state of facts which he had suggested, that Mr. Turnbull was not forced to resign, or that he was to be blamed for having resigned? With regard to the charges against Mr. Turnbull, that gentleman himself, having completed the first volume of the work on which he was engaged, gave notice to all those who had been most severe in their attacks upon him, to judge what would be by what had been done. He invited them to examine the work, and see if they could find 1274 any fault with it. But, instead of adopting that fair and honourable course, the insinuations were continued, and the attacks repeated, until he tendered his resignation to the head of the Department. The resignation was not unconditionally accepted, because it appeared by the papers that the Master of the Rolls distinctly declared that he would do all in his power to persuade the Treasury not to accept it. It was put by the Master of the Rolls on the grounds both of detriment to the public service, and of cruelty to an individual. Yet the only reply vouchsafed by Lord Palmerston was the interlocutory answer which he gave to the deputation. If this Committee were appointed, the scruples arising from the official position of the Master of the Rolls would be at an end, and although he had had no communication with that learned Judge since the final decision of Lord Palmerston, he had no doubt the Master of the Rolls would come forward fearlessly to speak the whole truth. In this case the character and fortune of an English gentleman were concerned, and also to a certain extent, the character of an eminent lawyer, an officer of State, who sat on the judicial bench. Their Lordships' House was not only the permanent branch of the Legislature, but the highest Court of justice in the land, and he could not suppose for a moment that their Lordships' would by refusing this Committee close this question and refuse to hear the truth upon it. With regard to the quotation by Mr. Turnbull, in his letter to the Earl of Shaftesbury, of a passage from the Athnæum newspaper, adopted by the Protestant Alliance, nothing could be more complete than the disclaimer of the noble Earl (Earl Shaftesbury) of the main portion of the article. The Athenâum adopted the last monthly Report of the Protestant Alliance, but it is to be regretted that he attempted to avert the charge of having groundlessly allowed it in that publication to be believed that the appointment of this gentleman bad caused discord in the Record Office, by saying that the paragraph meant the newspaper office, not the public department. Why, when was there ever anything but peace in the interior of a newspaper office? It is only when its products come forth that we "let slip the dogs of war." The absurdity of this pretence to avoid a charge of misrepresentation by an allusion to the Record newspaper is proved by the fact that the words were not printed in italics. But as to the statement that Mr. Turnbull 1275 was engaged to write the religious history of the reign of Queen Mary, it had never been withdrawn, although almost every one connected with the Protestant Alliance had admitted that it was entirely untrue. As for the preface which Mr. Turnbull had written for one of the publications of the Abbots-ford Club, that was twenty years ago. Only forty copies of it were printed, and he was entirely at a loss to understand how it could have been brought against him at this time, until he received a letter from Edinburgh, stating that when Mr. Turnbull was in Edinburgh he was one of the most strenuous supporters of Lord Macaulay at an election where Sir Culling Eardley, one of the chief members of the Protestant Alliance, stood against him. Probably, therefore, one of Sir Culling Eardley's zealous friends had endeavoured in this way to reward him. At the interview which a deputation had with Lord Palmerston on the subject, his Lordship laid much stress on the facts that the emolument was small, and that the duties were very nearly concluded. If the emolument was small, that was principally the fault of the Treasury; but his Lordship was quite mistaken in saying that the work was nearly concluded. He might have seen that from the letter of the Master of the Rolls, offering Mr. Turnbull the appointment, in which he stated that if the Government continued the grant hitherto allowed, the employment would be one which would not be concluded for some years. There was nothing in this preface to this publication, The Life of Father Southwell, to justify the statement of Lord Palmerston, that Mr. Turnbull had said that "he would rather be damned with the Catholics than saved with the Protestants." The word used by Mr. Turnbull was "Puritans," and though the phrase might be rather a strong one, it was provoked by the reading of the tracts and pamphlets issued by the Puritans at that time. It was stated also that Mr. Turnbull had eulogized Babington's conspiracy as a "gallant confederacy," but any one who would look at the passage would see that there was nothing of eulogy in it. He himself it was well known was no admirer of Garibaldi's schemes, but if at any time he had spoken of "Garibaldi and his 'gallant' confederates," it would have been just as much a panegyric as was Mr. Turnbull's language in regard to Babington's conspiracy. It had been said of himself by an organ in direct communication with the Go- 1276 vernment that he could not possibly have taken up this matter from pure and public motives; but he had been so much exposed to attacks of this kind that he had grown quite callous. Still he might be permitted to say that, during his life, in the various employments which he had held, he had often been called on to give effect to those great principles of civil and religious liberty and equal toleration which he had always professed. The first words he had ever uttered in public life were in favour of the removal of Roman Catholic disabilities, and that was in very good company and with very good success. Some years afterwards, when he was employed in the Government of Jamaica, he was able to secure the lives and property of the Dissenters there, at some personal exertions, and with certainly a great sacrifice of local popularity. For this service, when he returned to England, he received the thanks of all the Dissenting bodies here. After that, when in Ireland, he bad tried to give practical operation to emancipation; and when in Italy he had done all in his power to protect the liberties of the Italian Protestants, and on quitting his mission at Florence he received a vote of thanks from the Italian Protestants for what he had done for them and the extent to which he had ameliorated their position. Therefore, he was only applying to this case the principle of civil and religious liberty, which he had always professed and acted upon. That he thought was a sufficient answer to the charge that he was not actuated by public spirit in this matter of Mr. Turnbull. So many years after the Catholic Emancipation Act had been in operation he did not expect to see the Government sanction such an act of injustice. The noble Earl who represented the Government in this House had been educated by the most distinguished of the disciples of Mr. Canning, who would be principally known to posterity by his persevering exertions, under adverse circumstances, in favour of Catholic Emancipation; and, looking at the occupants of the Bench opposite, he should be surprised if the followers of Sir Robert Peel, who had opposed the Durham letter and its consequences, now supported so capricious an exercise of power on the part of the Prime Minister, whereby Roman Catholics seemed to be deprived of the privileges and the toleration which of late years had been assured to them in this country. It would have a most injurious effect if the opinion were allowed to go forth that from 1277 this time forward a Prime Minister would be justified in removing any individual from office on account of his religious views. Twenty-five years ago, upon the accession of Her present Majesty, Lord John Russell had declared the Queen's desire to see her Roman Catholic subjects in the full enjoyment of the civil and religious liberty to which they were fully entitled, adding in a letter addressed to himself (Lord Normanby), the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.She is persuaded that when invidious distinctions are altogether obliterated, her throne will be still more secure, and her people still more devoted.Since then the Government of this country had been, for the most part in the hands of Lord Palmerston and Lord John Russell, and he regretted that so little progress had since been made in the direction indicated in the above letter, that there should at this day be such an exhibition of illiberality on the part of any persons as could give rise to the letter to the Master of the Rolls. In that letter Sir John Romilly expressed—The pain I feel that any society of English gentlemen, professedly founded on religious principles, should have been found to exist in this country who have considered it consistent with the charity on which those principles are based to endeavour, by ex parte statements and confidential canvassing, to remove from an employment for which he is peculiarly fitted a gentleman so honourable and trustworthy as I consider you to be.Such underhand proceedings, such unjust suspicions—indeed, such foul play, were little calculated to consolidate religious peace among different classes of the community; still less was it by such means that Protestants of the Church of England could vindicate what they held to be the truth. Mr. Turnbull had all along asked to be heard, and the evidence would establish that he had resigned entirely because he found he should not be supported by the head of the Government. He could not think that an assembly like that which he was addressing would refuse such an inquiry, and he hoped, therefore, that their Lordships would agree to the Motion which he now submitted to them.
That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the Circumstances that attended the Appointment and Resignation of Mr. Turnbull in the Record Office.
§ THE EARL OF SHAFTESBURY
I shall detain your Lordships but a very few 1278 minutes, because I can say but little beyond that which has been already stated on this subject, and the arguments on both sides are now pretty well known. There used to be a very good rule in the House of Commons—I do not know whether it prevails here—namely, that whenever a matter becomes the subject of a law-suit, and is pending in one of the Courts of law, no discussion shall take place respecting it. Now, it does so happen that a lawsuit is pending here. The Secretary of the Protestant Alliance has received an intimation that proceedings will be taken against him for libel by Mr. Turnbull; counsel have been retained, and in the course of a short time the whole matter must come under the jurisdiction of the courts of law. In cases of this kind the House of Commons deem it highly inexpedient that there should be a public discussion. However, as that does not appear to be the opinion of the House of Lords. I will proceed with the remarks which I have to make. In the first place, the noble Marquess is altogether incorrect when he states that a deputation waited on Lord Palmerston in 1859, and that the Premier then took a very different view upon Mr. Turnbull's appointment, telling the deputation that they had no locus standi. In 1859 there was no deputation at all. There was no deputation until the 25th of July, 1860. The statements of the noble Marquess respecting a certain conversation which I had with Lord Palmerston, and the many choice expressions which he detailed in reference to it, are complete fabrications; not emanating, of course, from the noble Marquess, but from those who have supplied him with information. My only conversation with Lord Palmerston on this subject was that which I held with him, in the presence of some forty or fifty gentlemen, in July, 1860; and from that time I had no communication with him, either by writing or word of mouth, except once, when I met him and asked whether any representations had been made to Sir John Romilly on the subject. That is the sole conversation I have had with Lord Palmerston on this question. I shall now confine myself altogether to the four corners of the memorial presented in July, 1860, for which I hold myself responsible in connection with those who presented it. With regard to this memorial, we are told—and the noble Marquess reiterated the charge—that this was a secret movement. I deny 1279 it. On the 4th of June—the deputation having waited on Lord Palmerston in July—an official letter was sent to Sir John Romilly, giving him a full account of the whole proceeding, the object of the movement, and, not specifically, but generally, of the grounds on which the deputation would proceed, or on which the members of the Alliance disapproved Mr. Turnbull's appointment. The next charge is that it was insinuated that Mr. Turnbull would tamper with the papers—that he would suppress or interpolate papers committed to his care. These are not the words of the Protestant Alliance; they are taken, I believe, from the memorial presented to Lord Palmerston by the noble Marquess and others with a view to induce him not to accept Mr. Turnbull's resignation. I ask where these expressions are taken from? By whom were these charges made? Were they made in writing, or by word of mouth? I maintain that such a statement has never been made in one publication or by any one person connected with the Protestant Alliance. In the memorial presented to Lord Palmerston on behalf of Mr. Turnbull it is stated—Neither, it is believed, would any objection have been made to Mr. Turnbull's appointment if a literary paper had not insinuated that he was employed on the history of religion in England. That insinuation was false.Now, in what way was that paper pressed into the service? On this point I must ask your Lordships' attention to dates. The memorialists say if that paragraph had not appeared no objection would have been made to Mr. Turnbull's appointment. Now, observe, Mr. Turnbull was appointed in 1859; the deputation to present the memorial against it took place on the 25th of July, 1860; Mr. Turnbull did not resign his office till the 28th of January of the present year; and the article alluded to in the literary paper was not written till the 2nd of February, 1861. And yet we are told by the memorial that that paragraph was the cause of the opposition to the appointment. The next charge is that Mr. Turnbull's appointment was objected to solely on the ground that he is by religion a Roman Catholic. I deny that. I deny it on my own part, and I can, I am satisfied, deny it on the part of many others who act with me. The noble Marquess stated—not here, but in another place—that if the principle of such an objection were carried into effect, Mr. Panizzi would have to be re- 1280 moved from the charge of the British Museum. I am glad the noble Marquess furnished me with so good an illustration. If Mr. Panizzi had been appointed to the j duty of making abstracts of these records, I undertake to say that not a living soul in England or Scotland would have said a I word against the appointment, because his 'judgment and impartiality and known to all we know that he is a man of very calm mind, and not likely to be influenced by his feelings. The main objection to Mr. Turnbull was founded on the peculiarity of his opinions, combined with the peculiarity of his duties. I have put down the charges head by head; and, in answer to them, what I mean to say is this—I maintain that the objection to Mr. Turnbull was founded on the peculiarity of his disposition and temperament, the peculiarity of his feelings, and his very ardent and hasty judgment. To have a full understanding of the question we must consider the peculiar nature of the duties Mr. Turnbull had to perform, and I maintain that those duties require in every department great accuracy and great calmness. In proof of this observe what is said in the 20th Report of the Office of Records; in that Report Sir John Romilly states—Whenever records have been considered valueless they have been transmitted to the Stationery Office for destruction, to be converted into waste paper.The documents contain the whole of the materials for the history of this country, in every branch and under every aspect, civil, religious, political, social, moral, or material.And, again—They constitute the backbone of our civil, ecclesiastical, and political history.Now, it requires a person of great judgment and impartiality to decide which of these documents are valuable and which are not. How impossible is it to judge of the character of such documents unless they are considered without any undue bias, and with all the lights that can be brought to bear upon them. Well, it being known that such is the character of the Records, when Mr. Turnbull was appointed to the office, many persons, naturally enough, began to consider what were his antecedents, to ascertain whether he was a proper man to have charge of such important papers. The memorialists state—That the duty of such an appointment will be to make an outline or short abstract of documents which refer to the important religious struggles on the Continent, such as the Thirty Years' War 1281 the War of Independence in Holland, the Wars of the Huguenots, the Dragonnades of Louis XIV., and to the treasonable attempts and plans of the Jesuits against the life of Queen Elizabeth and the safety of the realm of England. That to discharge faithfully and satisfactorily the duties of such an office, great impartiality and calm discrimination are essential, as the religious opinions of the person appointed as Calendarer cannot otherwise than seriously affect the value and truthfulness of the abstract to be prepared. That Mr. Turnbull is not only a Roman Catholic, but an avowed defender and admirer of the Jesuits, for whom he expresses, in his Life of Father Southwell, a 'natural bias,' and holds them in 'the highest veneration, honour, and esteem,' and has, in the same work, manifested this ' natural bias' by calling the Jesuit priest Garnet, who was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, a 'well-known martyr,' and the conspiracy of Babington against the life of Elizabeth and the State of England a ' gallant confederacy,' that in another work he designated the Reformation 'a mischievous event.'The memorialists further state—That a person who has expressed such strong sympathy for the Jesuits, and antipathy to those who opposed their atrocious designs, and who thus defamed the glorious Reformation, is most unfit to be intrusted with the valuable foreign papers under his control, and to be commissioned to prepare an official abstract of the same.This memorial was signed by 2,500 persons of the educated classes of society, of whom 10 were peers, 19 Members of Parliament, 10 baronets, 85 magistrates, 518 clergymen, 553 Dissenting ministers, besides several generals, admirals, and other officers in the army and navy, heads of colleges, literary and other gentlemen. A memorial from the Scottish Reformation Society was signed by 3,500 persons; the Committee of the Religious Tract Society also presented a memorial against the appointment. Now, I maintain that to express an opinion that a person of Mr. Turnbull's feelings and disposition is unqualified for duties of the description specified involves no reflection on his character. Why, my Lords, suppose any one were to nominate me as an inspector of Roman Catholic schools, could anything be more inappropriate? Suppose I had to report on the condition of Benedictine monasteries or nunneries—would it be possible for me to report on them with any degree of impartiality? A Presbyterian who has written to a friend of mine says, "Should I be fit to have charge of the manuscripts in the Vatican?" Why, my Lords, you are yourselves disqualified from performing some duties. If it were proposed to run a railroad through any part of my property I should be told by our noble Chairman of Committees that I could not sit as one of a Committee on 1282 that particular Bill; but I should not consider this any reflection on my character. It ought not to be regarded as any reflection on the character of Mr. Turnbull to say that he could not give an impartial consideration to certain questions. In making abstracts of such records much depends on a few words, which may be important or unimportant according as they are viewed. They may be affected by the suppression, the alteration, or the addition of a single word. To deal with them impartially the mind should be calm, dispassionate, and able to weigh both sides of the questions involved. These documents must be regarded in a Protestant as well as in a Roman Catholic light. But the strong opinions expressed in Mr. Turnbull's writings show that in his case this would be impossible; they prove him to be impetuous, ardent, and hasty in his judgments. See how he speaks of Protestants. He says—Look at the vile and pestilentially rampant heresies from Calvinism downwards, and are any redeeming qualities to be found in alt their vagaries?How could a person holding such strong views avoid giving a colour to every abstract he might make of events in which the differences of the two religious systems were concerned? In the preface to a book published some years ago by Mr. Turnbull, the whole of which is couched in very strong terms, he concludes—I will do my duty in all that lies in my power to aid in the extinction of heresy and the establishment of the Catholic Church of Christ on earth; and I declare that I had rather be condemned with a papist than be saved with a Puritan.Now, my Lords, I maintain that it is impossible that a man who could write so strongly upon a matter so serious, who exercises such little control over his feelings —it is impossible that he can give a fair and dispassionate abstract of any papers relating to the great controversy between Roman Catholics and Protestants. I solemnly declare that if I had been in the position of Sir John Romilly, and parties had come to me and proved to me that a Protestant had exhibited such temper, and such an incapability for being impartial upon those matters I would not have appointed him, but I would have said, however much I might admire his zeal and ability, that he was totally unfit to be intrusted with such delicate duties. The memorial concludes by expressing a hope that the appointment might be cancelled; 1283 but I myself took the lead in that matter, and induced most of the deputation to concur with me; and when we waited upon Lord Palmerston we urged upon his Lordship not that the appointment should be cancelled, but that Mr. Turnbull should be removed to some other situation. I engaged in this matter very reluctantly, and only because I felt it to be a duty; but I was always most unwilling to appear even to act with any degree of personality against an individual, or to do anything to injure the prospects of a learned gentleman. I believe Mr. Turnbull to be a man of industry, of talent, and of learning, and I also believe him to be a man of warm feelings and fine heart; and I say now publicly, as I have said before privately, that it would give me sincere pleasure—as I believe it would also to many of those who went up with me as a deputation—if Mr. Turnbull could be appointed to some other situation where his peculiar opinions would not be detrimental to the public service. Those are the grounds upon which I have acted, and that is the answer which I give to the noble Marquess who has made this Motion.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I confess I thought it was desirable that the noble Earl should follow the noble Marquess who has moved for a Committee, because it appeared to me that the noble Marquess entirely omitted to give any statement of facts to justify a charge against the Government. I thought it was desirable that the House should have some facts before it, and I was not able myself to give a full account of the proceedings in this matter, because I have made a point of not inquiring into the particular question between Mr. Turnbull and the Protestant Alliance. I, therefore, thought it better to permit the noble Earl to interpose with his statement. I may briefly refer to the circumstances which gave rise to the appointment. Some years ago when Sir Robert Peel was in office he made a beginning of arranging the State papers, and to print certain of them; but the selected State papers belonging to the reign of Henry VIII. alone occupied eleven printed volumes, and the bulk and the expense were found to be so great that the plan was abandoned. Some four or five years ago the State Paper Office was transferred, to the Record Office, and, being desirous of making those papers more available to students of history, Sir John Romilly suggested to Sir George Lewis that it would; be an enormous advantage if the papers 1284 were calendared, abstracts made, and properly indexed. Sir John Romilly, however, said that the strength of the office staff was not equal to the undertaking. He applied to the Lords of the Treasury who agreed to allow the sum necessary for the purpose of employing proper persons, but at the same time informed him that he must take upon himself all the responsibility of the appointments, as it was impossible for the Treasury to investigate the claims of persons who might be recommended as qualified for the duties. Sir John Romilly accepted that responsibility, and, acting upon that arrangement, he appointed three persons. The first was a lady, Mrs. Everett Green, who was remarkably skilled and qualified for the duties. Sir John Romilly proceeded upon the principle of inquiring into the fitness of applicants for the appointment, and into their characters, without any reference to the particular creed of religion they might profess. In the same way he appointed Mr. Bruce, and then Mr. Turnbull, who was recommended to him as a fit person and a man of high character. I am not aware of any proceedings taking place after the appointment of Mr. Turnbull until a deputation waited upon Lord Palmerston asking him to consider their objections to Mr. Turnbull, and requesting that that gentleman might be removed to some other office. The noble Marquess spoke as though he were astonished that a First Lord of the Treasury should interfere in a matter of this sort, and quoted his own official experience to show that nothing of the kind had ever been done before. I never heard so extraordinary a statement as that when a First Lord of the Treasury receives a large deputation of gentlemen upon a subject connected with a Government department he is not to place himself in communication with the head of that department. But the noble Lord at the head of the Government having received this deputation and having also received memorials numerously signed, was in the habit of writing letters, strictly private, to Sir John Romilly—letters written in a colloquial tone, such as might be expected between two old colleagues in office—asking for information; and the result was that he refused to accede to the request for Mr. Turnbull's dismissal. In the course of the autumn some further private notes passed between the First Lord of the Treasury and Sir John Romilly in which, after reference was made to the great agitation which existed in the public 1285 mind, and to the fact that it did appear that Mr. Turnbull was a man of extreme polemical opinions, the noble Lord asked whether it was not possible to change his employment; and being told that no other employment could be found for him in the office, the point was not pressed. I think Sir John Romilly was justified in the course he took of appointing this gentleman; but when warm remonstrances were made against it Sir John Romilly had a course open to him if he chose to adopt it, to refuse the resignation of Mr. Turnbull. He might have said he would not accept the resignation, that he considered himself responsible for the appointment, and would not annul it. I wish to avoid entering upon the question between Mr. Turnbull and the Protestant Alliance. A question was asked the other day to which the noble Earl has not. I think, given any answer—what was the nature of the Protestant Alliance—but I suppose we all know pretty well what that body is. In this country it is quite open to any persons to associate together to promote their particular views; and as persons associate together on political questions, so also is it open to them to join together for the promotion of the views of religion which are dear to them. It is natural that those who may be thus associated should from time to time criticize appointments, measures, and other proceedings which they may think affect their principles or objects. But on the one hand, when bodies of this character are formed, comprehending Members of this and the other House of Parliament, possessing a very extensive organization, and placing themselves under the presidency of any one filling so large a space in the public eye as the noble Earl (the Earl of Shaftesbury), they ought to be particularly careful not to take any step which, even though quite right in itself, may connect Protestantism, so dear to Englishmen, with any notions of intolerance. On the other hand, it is to be observed that it is unfair to visit with undue severity the conduct of any society or any individual engaged in prosecuting a public object. I will not attempt to determine how far the Protestant Alliance was justified in its course upon this matter. I leave that point to the noble Marquess on the one side, and the noble Earl, the President of that institution, on the other. With respect to Mr. Turnbull I have no fault to find with that gentleman for anything he has done in connection with the duties of his office. 1286 I am assured by competent persons that he has performed his abstracts very well and very fairly. It is, however, a question which has raised different opinions whether Mr. Turnbull was well advised in the step he took of placing his resignation into Sir John Romilly's hands in such an absolute and unqualified manner before the Government. He did this against the advice of Sir John Romilly, whose official and political experience entitled him to great weight, who was also responsible for this appointment, and in whose bands Mr. Turnbull might, therefore, have felt himself perfectly safe. The noble Marquess says Mr. Turnbull was acquainted with the views of Lord Palmerston on the subject. The noble Marquess must have been misinformed, because how is it possible to believe that Sir John Romilly should have communicated to Mr. Turnbull the contents of a private letter from the noble Viscount—especially, too, as he was particularly anxious that that gentleman should not resign the office in which he was engaged? But, even if Mr. Turnbull had had some information of this sort, and had been induced by it to offer his resignation, he ought not to have given in so absolute a resignation, but to have said that his own conscience told him he was right, and he was prepared to discharge his duties; but that unfair attacks had been made against him, and if the Government felt that any embarrassment or disadvantage would attend his continuance in his situation he was willing to relinquish it into their hands. At the same time I make no complaint against Mr. Turnbull for not doing this. He is a gentleman not much accustomed to public life, and, therefore, perhaps very sensitive to the attacks that were made upon him. Now I come to the conduct of Lord Palmerston. And here I appeal to noble Lords on either side of this House whether, in respect to official patronage it does not very often happen, in considering the claims of different candidates for an appointment, that, although a man may appear perfectly fit for the discharge of certain duties, yet some of his antecedents are such as to inspire in the public mind a want of confidence in which the patron himself may not share, but which, nevertheless, makes it desirable to intrust the office to some other person. I know nothing of Mr. Bruce's religious opinions, but if it had come to Sir John Romilly's knowledge, before appointing that gentleman, that he had been engaged in a hot controversy 1287 either with Roman Catholics, Dissenters, or the Church of England, that circumstance might have made him hesitate before finally selecting Mr. Bruce for such a position. That reasoning, however, does not apply to a man who is already in an office, and, therefore, I think it was perfectly right in Lord Palmerston to reject the application that was made to him in 1860 in this case. The noble Marquess is himself a man of great literary attainments and high personal honour, but if he were to be chosen for the purpose of making a catalogue raisonné or abstract of the materials for the lives of the present Cabinet, I should say the public mind would hardly regard the selection as a highly judicious one—not because he was now opposed to them in his political views, but because he has avowed and almost boasted of a personal hostility against Lord Palmerston which, I am sure, is not entertained by any other Member of this House, on whatever side he may sit. I much doubt whether Sir John Romilly, when he appointed Mr. Turnbull, had any reason to suspect that he was a man of very warm and zealous political feeling; but Lord Palmerston has been of opinion, rightly or wrongly, ever since the point was raised, that Mr. Turnbull was not the fittest person for such an office, not because he was a Roman Catholic, but because of his warm temper and strong controversial tendencies. Therefore, when an absolute and unqualified resignation was placed in his hands, that noble Lord had a perfect right to say, "Either this is meant to be a perfectly straightforward and sincere expression of a wish on Mr. Turnbull's part to get rid of an office that has been made disagreeable to him, or else it has been a sort of arrangement by which is to be thrown on me the responsibility of giving, in fact, a new appointment to a person who, in my judgment, is not the most suitable person for such a situation." This is the simple case as regards Lord Palmerston. I leave it to your Lordships to say whether his conduct in this matter—apart from your knowledge of his personal character—has been in any way underhand.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
The noble Marquess appealed to me as the son of one who was the friend of Mr. Canning, and, therefore, naturally interested in Catholic Emancipation. Now, I have always re- 1288 garded the Act of 1829 as one of the most glorious Acts of the present century. It was not my fate to take any share whatever in passing that measure. There are very few persons in this House to whom it was possible to take the part which Lord Palmerston took in regard to it. The noble Marquess speaks of his own devotion to that cause; but the noble Viscount lived at a time when popular prejudice ran high, and yet, when the entire political party with which he was associated were against the Catholic claims, and also when the majority of his colleagues in office were opposed to them, he not only constantly supported those claims by his speeches and votes, but lost his seat in contesting Cambridge on that very subject. The whole conduct of Lord Palmerston ever since has been consistent on that question, and I must say this is the very first time I have ever heard the noble Viscount attacked for a want of respect to religious freedom. In casually looking over Hansard I lighted upon a speech delivered by the noble Viscount two years ago, which affords some answer to the noble Marquess's insinuation that Lord Palmerston, because he objects to one particular person on account of his strong controversial views, objects to Catholics holding office. The speech was made in support of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill when the question was raised whether the Lord Chancellorship of Ireland should be open to Catholics. The noble Viscount then declared, in the broadest and most distinct manner, that the spirit of the Emancipation Act was that every Roman Catholic should be admitted to every office excepting those connected with ecclesiastical authority. Why, the very last appointment made by the noble Viscount was that of a distinguished Roman Catholic gentleman; and in this he did not act in a very worldly-wise manner, because, it is said, he will lose two votes in consequence. I know that there are some noble Lords—the noble Marquess, for instance—and that there are many able and conscientious Catholics who object to the sympathy which the noble Viscount is known to feel with the Italians in their struggle at the present, moment. Catholics object to it because a great many of them are not able in their own minds to disconnect the question of the spiritual from that of the temporal power of the Pope. But Lord Palmerston has not based his policy upon any religious aversions or predilections. He has based 1289 it upon exactly the same principle which induced him to give his sympathy and his active support to the Catholic population of Belgium, when, nearly thirty years ago, they were struggling against the domination of a Protestant King; and really, when the noble Marquess talks as if he was a consistent lover of liberty, and Lord Palmerston was departing from the principles which he has previously professed, it seems to me to be drawing a very false conclusion from the premises. I think your Lordships will hesitate before granting this Committee on the merits of the case itself, even if it was not out of the question for the purely technical reason alluded to by the noble Earl opposite.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, in whatever difficulty we may be placed in arguing this question by the extreme meagreness of the documents which have been presented to us by the Government, which in itself seems to me to be a reason for agreeing to the Motion of the noble Marquess for further inquiry into the circumstances of the case, I can, at least, profess that I approach its consideration without prejudice and without partiality. I have no personal or any other acquaintance with the gentleman whose case is so prominently before your Lordships; as far as I am acquainted with the opinions which he holds, or which are imputed to him, they are opinions from which I differ toto cœlo. I am from conviction a very sincere adherent of the Church of England: the gentleman whose case is before you is one who, to use the expression of an Irish newspaper, has "renounced the errors of Protestantism, and has embraced those of Roman Catholicism." Mr. Turnbull is an enthusiastic admirer of the Society of Jesus. I, in common, I think, with all your Lordships, see a great deal to admire in the zeal, the energy, the perseverance, and the devotedness to their object which characterize the members of that important society; but I think that their principles of moral action are detestable, and that their influence upon society, more especially upon domestic peace is most prejudicial and most dangerous. Mr. Turnbull deplores the Reformation as an unfortunate event; I consider it to be one of the greatest blessings which ever fell to the lot of this country. He regrets the dissolution of the monasteries; I believe that there were such evils accompanying their continued existence as to render their dissolution necessary, and even to excuse the manner in which it was car- 1290 ried out. It is said that Mr. Turnbull has expressed—whether seriously or not I do not know—the opinion that he would rather be eternally lost in company with Papists than saved with Puritans. That, again, is a matter of taste, as to which I entirely differ from Mr. Turnbull; and, in charity to him, I can only hope that he may not have pressed upon him the alternative which he has chosen. But really all this has nothing to do with the case. Mr. Turnbull's religious and political opinions have nothing to do with the question which is now before your Lordships. It is not even a question whether the appointment of Mr. Turnbull was in the first instance a judicious one. The question is whether Mr. Turnbull having been, upon the recommendation of the Master of the Rolls, appointed to this office, and having, according to universal consent, fulfilled its duties with probity, faithfulness, and ability, whether he has received from the Government that protection against anonymous and underhand attacks which every man in the public service has a right to expect from those by whom he has been appointed, and to whom he is answerable for the conduct of his department. That is the only question before your Lordships, and I beg that you will not be led away from its consideration by any reference to what Mr. Turnbull's feelings may have been, or by any discussion as to whether those feelings were strong enough to render his original appointment an improper one. I certainly was anxious to know upon what grounds my noble Friend opposite would place the refusal of a Committee to inquire into the circumstances of the case as to which we have had a great deal of contradictory evidence—if I may use the word evidence—at all events of contradictory statement on the part of the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Normanby) and my noble Friend below me (the Earl of Shaftesbury). The only ground upon which I can find that my noble Friend rests his refusal to consent to the appointment of this Committee is that a charge has been brought against Lord Palmerston of general indifference or general dislike to the Roman Chatholic religion. I must say that nothing is further from my mind than to impute any such feeling to the noble Viscount; nor do I think that any such idea ever entered the head of the noble Marquess. It only shows how very hard pushed my noble Friend opposite must have been for a reason on account of which to object to a Committee of inquiry which 1291 is to ascertain facts which are disputed, and upon which the question rests as to whether or not Mr. Turnbull has had justice done to him. My noble Friend said "apart from the technical ground" upon which my noble Friend below me had placed the question; what was the technical ground? The technical ground was that the Secretary of the Protestant Alliance had been charged by Mr. Turnbull with publishing a libel against him, and that legal proceedings were in consequence in progress. When those legal proceedings commenced I do not know. I take it that they must be of very recent origin indeed. Probably we shall hear something more about that; but, whatever they may he or whenever commenced, they do not touch this case. Legal proceedings are taken against the Secretary of the Protestant Alliance for having made unfounded charges, or rather insinuations, against Mr. Turnbull, who proceeds for the vindication of his own character, and the conviction of his libeller—if any one is a libeller—but what has that to do with the case between Mr. Turnbull and Her Majesty's Government—Mr. Turnbull, and the persons by whom he was appointed to office? Now, I said that this question does not turn upon whether this appointment was originally a justifiable or a judicious one or not; but, I am bound to say, moreover, that as far as I have heard from either side of the House, I do not see that there was anything in Mr. Turnbull's opinions which would disqualify him for the faithful performance of the duties which were intrusted to him. If, indeed, Mr. Turnbull, entertaining very strong religious and political opinions—opinions which at the time of which he was to treat were greatly intermixed—had been appointed by the Government, as it was industriously circulated that he had been appointed, to write a history of religion during that time, I should have said that such an appointment would have been a most unfortunate and most injudicious one. But the case is nothing of the sort. Mr. Turnbull, as has been stated by the noble Earl opposite, was appointed, not to write a history—and my noble Friend below me admits that there was no ground for alleging that he had been appointed to write a history—but to examine the various documents in the Foreign State Paper Office of a certain period, to index them, and to make an extensive abstract of their contents, with a reference to the original papers themselves, 1292 in order that the public might know where to obtain the accurate information to which the index was to direct them. Now, I am sure that my noble Friend who illustrated the case by supposing himself appointed to conduct an examination of the documents in the Vatican, did injustice to his own sense of probity and honour when he supposed that in such a case he should have an irresistible and irrepressible bias either to mutilate, destroy, or falsify important documents which might appear to militate against his own views. If, then, Mr. Turnbull was not to write a history, but only to make an index and an abstract with references to the actual papers, I ask what possible ground there could be for the suspicion that he would commit an act of such unparalleled folly, and I should say roguery, as not faithfully and honestly to discharge his duties. My noble Friend opposite says that he can conceive it to be very possible that Sir John Romilly might not when he first appointed Mr. Turnbull have been aware of his strong opinions and his strong bias, and that if he had had such knowledge, he might not have appointed him to this office. I see no reason to suppose anything of the kind. On the contrary, Sir John Romilly, not only when he made the appointment, but after a year and a half's experience, when these opinions of Mr. Turnbull had been brought to his notice in the amplest manner by communications from various quarters, expressed in the fullest and most explicit manner, his sense of the probity, integrity, and fidelity with which Mr. Turnbull bad executed his trust. Nay, even the newspaper which is foremost in condemning this appointment is compelled to say that the portion of the work which has appeared in print has, upon the whole, not been badly executed. I am sure that my noble Friend is above making insinuations such as have appeared in certain newspapers against Mr. Turnbull; but he will not deny that there have been, if not imputations, insinuations that his bias is so strong that it would have been impossible for him to resist the temptation which opportunity might place in his way, and that the valuable papers in the Record Office would not be safe with a man of his feelings, and ought not to be intrusted to him. Not safe with Mr. Turnbull! My Lords, if they were not safe, does it not mean that he would either mutilate or destroy them, or get rid of them in some way or other? In some of the statements which 1293 have been circulated to prejudice the public mind, I have seen it asked, I think by the Secretary of the Protestant Alliance—What if one of Mr. Turnbull's friends, the Jesuits, were to have an opportunity of abstracting one of these papers, and, being in a room by himself with a good fire, were to wish to get rid of a very inconvenient paper?What is that but imputing the basest of all actions to a man whose character is unimpeachable, has never been impeached, and who, for his fidelity in the discharge of his duties, will retire from office with the signal testimony in his favour of all those persons to whom his labours and exertions have been particularly made known? My Lords, I am told that the noble Viscount himself, on one occasion, expressed the opinion that Mr. Turnbull's views were of so extreme a character that he might have a bias which would be irresistibly opposed to the faithful discharge of the duties intrusted to him. If that be true it shows on the part of the noble Viscount a very low estimate of human character and honour. No doubt David said "all men are liars," but, then, he confesses that he said so in his haste. But the noble Viscount appears to have laid down the principle that all men are rogues—a very singular opinion to come from such a quarter, because it shows how much mankind must have fallen away from that state of purity and sinlessness in which, according to the somewhat peculiar theology of the noble Viscount, they are horn into the world. After having pronounced in favour of the idea that men are born in a state of innocence the noble Viscount is now driven to the conclusion that at a more advanced period of their lives they are not to be trusted under any number of precautions and checks to perform faithfully and honestly the duties of a confidential position. Another illustration of the animus with which the attack upon Mr. Turnbull has been carried on is to be found in the argument which has been used that the extraordinary precautions which were taken for the custody and security of the documents intrusted to Mr. Turnbull's care were a sign that he did not possess the confidence of those who appointed him. The fact is that the rules for the security of the papers were laid down in 1851, eight years before Mr. Turnbull's appointment was thought of; so their stringency has, therefore, no special application to his case. No one pretends, as far as I know—certainly no one in the course of this discussion—that Mr. 1294 Turnbull has been guilty of any departure from the strict line of his duty during the eighteen months that he has been labouring, and for which he has received the large, the noble, the munificent remuneration of £218. There is no human being who brings a charge against him; and I say it is contrary to all justice, policy, and wisdom if you desire to have faithful and honourable servants to allow any person whatever who has been appointed to a situation and has been found blameless in it to be whispered and tormented out of it by slanders behind his back, and by imputations upon his honour which he had not an opportunity of refuting. I do not say that there are no cases where an appointment which has once been made should not be cancelled. For instance, on one occasion I appointed a certain number of stipendiary magistrates under the Slavery Abolition Act on the recommendations which I received in the most respectable, and, as I supposed, most trustworthy quarters. Most of the appointments turned out well. I received, however, a letter from the late Mr. Daniel O'Connell with whom, as your Lordships know, I was not on terms of very great intimacy, stating that one of the gentlemen I had appointed had been outlawed, and was at that moment incapacitated from discharging his duties; I at once inquired into the matter, and as soon as I ascertained the truth of the statement I cancelled the appointment, and I wrote to Mr. O'Connell informing him of the fact, and thanking him for having called my attention to it. But that is not at all a case like the present. It was the case of a man who had been legally brought into discredit, and who was incapacitated by law from performing the duties of his office. But Mr. Turnbull having been appointed, whether wisely or not, and the objections against him having been found not to interfere with the faithful discharge of his duties, ought to have been protected by the Government against the insinuations which drove him to resign by the mere force of the irritation and vexation which they caused; and I say that a Government which consents to the dismissal of a faithful servant under such circumstances, does not deserve to have and will not have faithful servants. There are a number of papers which I should like to see which do not appear among those laid before us, such as the memorial of the objectors and the correspondence between the noble Viscount and the Master of the Rolls. It 1295 is said that the noble Viscount refused to dismiss Mr. Turnbull in 1860. My noble Friend disputes the accuracy of the terms in which that refusal was couched as represented by the noble Marquess, but be does not dispute the fact that at that time Lord Palmerston deemed it an act of injustice to dismiss Mr. Turnbull. We are told, also, that in February last Mr. Turnbull, goaded by the continued attacks upon him, tendered his resignation; and that the noble Viscount then saw ample grounds for changing his opinion and accepting the resignation, notwithstanding the urgent remonstrances of the Master of the Rolls as to the loss which the public service would thereby sustain. I dare say no one knows better than the noble Viscount at the head of the Government the difference between a resignation and a dismissal. But I do not think he ought to judge other people's feelings by his own in such a case. I should like out of curiosity to know what amount of newspaper vituperation and public criticism would be required to induce the noble Viscount to resign office. I rather suspect that it would be found to be what in algebraic phrase is known as as, or an unknown quantity. No one who has served so long an apprenticeship to official life as the noble Viscount can fail to be tolerably well case-hardened against newspaper or any other attacks. In fact, a man must be very unfitted for public life who does not after a while become as invulnerable as an armour-clad vessel to the assaults of his opponents. On the outside sheathing the effect of the attack may be traced in a scratch or a dimple here or there, but the great majority of the shots fired produce not even a sensible concussion inside. But though politicians, especially of a certain standing, are so happily constituted that is not the case with the rest of the world. Perhaps I ought to except the gentlemen of the legal profession. I have known some very sensitive and touchy lawyers; but, generally speaking, I should say public vituperation has no more effect on them than on the armour-clad class—of course I could not think of attributing their insensibility to attack to the presence of any other metal. The rest of the world are generally of a very sensitive temper, and of all sensitive persons the most sensitive have been from the time of Horace the genus irritabile of authors and literary men, the class to whom Mr. Turnbull belongs. There is no class of men so sensitive to printed criticism, and so disposed 1296 to take an exaggerated view of the impression which it produces upon the public mind. But supposing it had even happened that Mr. Turnbull had resigned, simply from the annoyance of these unfounded accusations, I think the course which a just and generous superior would hare pursued would have been to represent to him that in the minds of all reflecting persons these charges would refute themselves by their own violence, and would not produce such an impression as would justify his resignation—would have urged him to reconsider his decision, and would have assured him that those who had appointed him would defend his fair fame and guard him against unfair attacks. But, if the statement of the noble Marquess be correct, that was not the course the Government pursued; more than that, Mr. Turnbull was not left in any doubt as to the course the Government were prepared to follow. Mr. Turnbull had an intimation conveyed to him, that if the attacks were continued the Government would not take upon themselves to vindicate the original appointment.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
—Yes; and the Master of the Rolls doubtless communicated it to Mr. Turnbull. At least it would have been an act of the grossest injustice in the Master of the Rolls, when Mr. Turnbull consulted him upon the propriety of making his resignation or not, to withhold from MR. Turnbull the knowledge of the position in which the Government were prepared to leave him.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
was understood to say that any intimation or suggestion which had been given by Lord Palmerston to the Master of the Rolls was conveyed in private letters, and was not of an official character. The Master of the Rolls, therefore, could not have communicated the intentions of the Government to Mr. Turnbull.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
—That, my Lords, really puts the case in this position—that we have asked for all the possible information that could be given on the matter, and have received the meagrest skeleton possible of the case. We are told there are private letters—and that reminds me that a memorial was presented to Lord Palmerston for the dismissal of Mr. Turnbull, accompanied with a statement in many respects erroneous. This memorial 1297 was sent round for signatures and marked "private and confidential." It was sent, too, as a private and confidential communication to the Prime Minister, requesting him to dismiss a man without giving him the power of seeing or answering the allegations which it contained. I say that the answer of the noble Earl that these things passed in private communications makes the strongest possible case for the appointment of a Committee, and for these reasons:—We will have the Secretary of the Protestant Alliance before us; we will have before us the complaining parties; we will have the Master of the Rolls before us, and the Master of the Rolls will tell us what is his opinion of Mr. Turn-bull, not when appointed to an office for which he was peculiarly qualified, but now, after a year and a half's experience of the manner in which Mr. Turnbull has discharged its duties. In justice to Mr. Turnbull, in justice to the Government, in justice to the Master of the Rolls, in justice to all who are concerned in the due subordination of persons in civil employment to those by whom they are appointed, and from whom they have a right to expect protection, I do earnestly hope your Lordships will not withhold your assent to an inquiry. The Committee would not have to inquire into Mr. Turnbull's religious opinions. His religious opinions, I say again, have nothing to do with the matter; nor is it a question whether the appointment in the first instance was judicious or not. Mr. Turnbull was appointed by my noble Friend Lord John Russell; and, although I have had many causes of difference with Lord John Russell, I have certainly never had to reproach him with any extraordinary partiality for persons, or for the principles of the Roman Catholic faith. My noble Friend has not even been a very strong supporter of the Church of England. The object of his peculiar attachment is a Protestant Dissenter, and next it is for the Low Church party in the Established Church; and I am perfectly certain that Lord John Russell would sooner have cut off his right hand than made an appointment with the knowledge of even a plausible ease for dissatisfaction or discontent by the Protestant Alliance and the other societies who have joined in this agitation. We are not called on, however, to inquire into that. We are called upon to inquire whether Mr. Turnbull has a fair claim to appeal to us, not for a restoration to his office, because that 1298 would be, I will not say impossible after what has occurred, but impolitic—I regret the loss of the services of Mr. Turnbull, knowing the testimony to the mariner in which he has discharged his duties which is borne even by his opponents—and the loss of his services is, I fear, unavoidable—but we are called upon to inquire into the facts. We are called upon to do justice between the parties; and, above all, we are called upon by our vote to declare that persons placed in office shall not have their character or reputation whispered away, but are and shall be entitled to the protection of those by whom they are appointed, and if that protection is withheld, that the protection of Parliament shall not be withheld from them.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I beg leave to add very little to this debate. Indeed, I am incapable of doing more, and no one is better aware than I am of my inability to take an active part in your Lordships' proceedings. Nevertheless, I do think the circumstances of this appointment are such as to deserve particular notice for the purpose of removing all misrepresentations of which there have been so many on this subject. I hold it to be most essential that the conduct of the Government, the conduct of the Master of the Rolls, and the conduct of the Rolls Office, should be distinctly and clearly understood. My Lords, I say that there has been great misrepresentation, and that the subject, partly from its being of a religious character, and partly from the long controversy to which it has given rise is one which particularly requires explanation. I say this because, failing, as the adversaries of Mr. Turnbull have done, to discover anything upon which they could found a charge, they have certainly—I hope unintentionally, and I hope unadvisedly—circulated statements which are false. I find it asserted in some of the papers circulated by those societies that Mr. Turnbull retires now from the task confided to him of writing the "History of the Reigns of Queen Mary and Edward VI." On behalf, if necessary, of Her Majesty's Government, I take this opportunity of stating to the public at large that nothing can be so entirely erroneous as the allegation that Mr. Turnbull has received that charge. He has not received it from Her Majesty's Government. He has not received it from the Master of the Rolls. Nay! he has not charged himself with receiving it. He has never under- 1299 stood that he was called upon to write such a history. But he was charged, and I believe wisely, as far as his accuracy, his knowledge, and his peculiar attainments were concerned, with making a calendar of State papers. I differ from my noble Friend who spoke early in the debate (the Earl of Shaftesbury) as to the interpretation of the word "calendar." It is a technical word, and is perfectly understood to mean a catalogue pointing out dates and circumstances and affording most valuable materials for the historian, though not the work of an historian, as such. The noble Earl who spoke last presented the case to your Lordships as raising the question whether a public duty has been performed satisfactorily or not. I state on the authority of others more competent to judge than myself—and no man is more able or more interested in judging than the Master of the Rolls—that it has been satisfactorily performed. I have myself looked into a portion only of Mr. Turnbull's work; but I believe it is impossible to examine it, however cursorily, without being struck with the extreme care and nicety with which it is executed. I find that those who desired to remove Mr. Turnbull from office having no other charge to bring forward, alleged as a demerit that he had written a book. It puts me in mind of the controversy between the late Dean of Christ Church and Dr. Parr, in which the latter exclaimed, "Oh! that before I die I could catch him writing a book—I should then know how to deal with him." Mr. Turnbull, unfortunate in that respect, has not only written a book, but he has written two books, which, still more unfortunately for him, contradict themselves—one praising and the other denouncing the Pope. Nothing can be more reprehensible, perhaps, than the tone in which Mr. Turn-bull's opinions are conveyed. But is the publication of a book a reason for saying to Mr. Turnbull, after he has performed his duty well that he is not worthy of his office? Supposing the noble Duke at the head of the Admiralty appointed an admiral to command a station abroad, and the admiral on several occasions displayed great skill and courage, what would be thought of my noble Friend if, when the admiral came home, he said, "While you have been fighting we have discovered that you once asserted opinions against fighting at all?" Would not the natural answer to that person be, "See how I have executed my command. Ask the persons who have 1300 watched me, and who have acted with me, whether I have ever betrayed any symptom whatever of any impropriety of sentiment which unfitted me for the command which I have triumphantly (and Mr. Turnbull has a right to say "triumphantly") performed?" It is, therefore, a case of considerable hardship on Mr. Turnbull. The noble Marquess has alluded to some communication—which until I know it exists I cannot believe—between Lord Palmerston and the Master of the Rolls to the effect that Lord Palmerston would not defend the appointment of Mr. Turnbull if it were attacked. I cannot suppose that my noble Friend Lord Palmerston has been guilty of anything like illiberality. I am certain he has no objection to the appointment of a Roman Catholic to any office for which he is fitted; but rather he would be glad to see such a man appointed to such an office. But it has been industriously circulated in this country, and still more in Ireland, that this case is a proof that there is a disposition on the part of the Government not to do full justice to the Catholics by admitting them to all the situations to which they are entitled under the law. It is most essential that this conduct should be disclaimed thoroughly. Lord Falmerston, I am sure, had no regard to Mr. Turnbull's religious opinions when he accepted the resignation which that gentleman has, most unfortunately, given in. If there is any error in Mr. Turnbull's conduct it is not in anything that he has written, or in anything he has done since his appointment—it is the one act of his resigning the public duty with which he was intrusted, and which he was conscious of performing in such a way as to deserve the public approbation. I do not myself see any advantage from the appointment of a Committee, nor from calling for more papers. The papers already on the table fully explain the matter; and if you carry the inquiry further you will go on, step by step, until you find yourselves engaged in a verification of all the documents on which Mr. Turnbull has been engaged. The Committee will find themselves sitting at the Rolls during all the spring and bummer; and I, for one, shall beg my noble Friend to excuse me being a member of it. It is essential, both to the character of Mr. Turnbull and the Master of the Rolls, that it should be understood that not only was the Master of the Rolls perfectly satisfied with Mr. Turnbull's perfect fitness when he appointed him and with 1301 the manner in which he has discharged his duties, but also that, from the moment he heard of the objections made to Mr. Turnbull's appointment, he has given every facility in the office to any adversary of Mr. Turnbull's who might wish to come there to investigate paper by paper to endeavour to discover where he had attempted to mislead the public. It appears to me to have been singularly disingenuous of this society to have excluded from the collection of letters which they have circulated that letter of Mr. Hardy, the head of the department, a gentleman of the highest character, in which he stated that no document could be abstracted from the office, nor even altered, so effectual were the precautions taken in the office. It is very hard on a gentleman who is charged with the possibility of withholding or suppressing documents committed to his charge that such a justification should have been omitted. That letter, I must say, had the greatest weight with me. There was also in some publication which I have seen a most unfair insinuation both against Mr. Turnbull and Sir John Romilly. It was stated that Sir John Romilly had directed that the papers should be regularly inspected when they were handed over to Mr. Turnbull, and also when they were taken away from him—a statement which was made for the purpose of insinuating that Sir John Romilly had that opinion of Mr. Turnbull that he had him particularly watched. He was watched, but it was in the same way and on the same principle that every other individual having access to the Office for the purpose of transcribing was watched—by the just precautions of the Office. I have no hesitation in saying that that was a most unfair insinuation. I have no personal interest in Mr. Turnbull's character. I am unacquainted with him, and as far as I know of his religious opinions, I am most distinctly and warmly opposed to them. I have no wish to protect the religion to which he belongs beyond the protection to which it is entitled by law; but I conceive that Mr. Turnbull has forfeited by no act of his own that protection to which he is entitled. His fault lies in having given in his resignation. It is not for me to say on what grounds my noble Friend accepted that resignation; but he had as perfect a right to accept it as Mr. Turnbull had to insist upon holding his office. The Master of the Rolls, I must say, appears to me to have done his duty to the public and every person concerned 1302 throughout this transaction, with the same zeal, fidelity, and honour which have always distinguished him through life. I am anxious that the public should not labour under the misconception that the Government has intrusted the duty of writing the history of England to any individual. It is understood in the Office that this was to be a calendar. It is a calendar only—it is open to your Lordships to inspect the volume—and those who do inspect it cannot but be struck, as I was, with the extreme nicety and accuracy displayed in it, and, I trust, it will have the approbation of the public.
§ EARL GREY
My Lords, there is one point on which, I trust, we shall have a distinct answer from the Government. Did Lord Palmerston or did he not write to the Master of the Rolls to say that in the event, of Mr. Turnbull's appointment being questioned in Parliament it would not be defended by the Government? That is a point on which we ought to have some information; for I agree with the noble Earl below (the Earl of Derby) that the only question this House can consider is did the Government or did they not give that support to a public servant who was attacked, and who was properly discharging his duties which he had a right to expect? That is a question of far deeper importance than any which attaches to this particular case. I hold that in our system of Government much depends on maintaining all the public servants who are below the rank of Parliamentary office in the situations they have hitherto held, as men who, while they discharge their duties fairly to the country, may count on the support of the chiefs under whom they serve. They should not hold their offices liable to be displaced by every public clamour, but their tenure should be practically, if not theoretically, on good behaviour. But that vital principle will receive an effectual blow if it is to be admitted that when a public clamour is raised against any public servant the Government are to be at liberty to let him fall a victim; that he not being in Parliament to defend himself is to be dropped by the Government whom he serves; and that they are not to take upon themselves the responsibility of dismissing him as they ought to do if he does not discharge his duty efficiently; but that his office is to be made untenable by their declining to defend him where they only can defend him. If that principle is once admitted you give a shock to the whole 1303 system of our civil service; and it is with that view that I consider this question of importance. I shall, therefore, be reluctantly compelled to vote for the Committee, unless some member of the Government will tell me distinctly that Lord Palmers-ton did not write to the Master of the Rolls to say that if this appointment were questioned he would not be inclined to give it his support. If Mr. Turnbull, having resigned, had been merely told, "You have chosen your part, and must go," that would have been a different matter; but the whole circumstances of the case are altered when moral pressure is brought to bear upon Mr. Turnbull to extort his resignation. An intimation that Mr. Turnbull would not receive the support of the Prime Minister if the question came before Parliament involved, no doubt, a moral pressure deserving of severe condemnation; and, unless a denial is given to this statement I shall feel myself compelled, however reluctantly, to vote for the appointment of the Committee.
THE MARQUESS OF NORMANBY
, in reply, said he had had no personal communication with the Master of the Rolls since the Government decided on accepting Mr. Turnbull's resignation. The Master of the Rolls felt the delicacy of his position as a Government officer, and intimated, as he (the Marquess of Normanby) felt that it would be better that any information upon the facts of the case should come from some other quarter. But if a Committee were appointed Sir John Romilly would cease to feel any delicacy as to his official position, and would, as he had every reason to believe, give full particulars of the communications received from Lord Palmerston; his Lordship, in substance, stating that if Mr. Turnbull's appointment were discussed in Parliament he would not take upon himself to defend it, but must leave the responsibility of that appointment entirely with the Master of the Rolls. Now, he (the Marquess of Normanby) thought he had good reason to complain that the noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) had again thought proper to speak of what he was pleased to call his personal hostility to Lord Palmerston. The noble Earl must know that his public conduct had not been in the least influenced by any such sentiment. His (the Marquess of Normanby's) eternal political separation from Lord Palmerston dated from the month of December, 1851, in consequence of their wide divergence of opinions respecting the 1304 coup d' état, and his opinions expressed in despatches written home at the time formed one of the principal grounds upon which Lord John Russell dismissed Lord Palmerston from his Cabinet. There was no public man who had less right to forget this circumstance than the noble Earl opposite since he must then have shared the same views, since he had been the person to succeed to the office from which the noble Viscount had been dismissed. For ten years he had had no communication with the noble Lord, and had, therefore, told the gentlemen who signed the memorial that he had rather not head the deputation, provided their request was likely to be complied with; but, as soon as it was ascertained that such would not be the case, he could not refuse to assist in urging the matter on the noble Viscount, and failing in producing any effect upon that occasion, he at once determined to bring the matter before Parliament, and press upon their Lordships an inquiry into the case.
§ THE EARL OF ELLENBOROUGH
—If the Government are not prepared to answer the question put to them—if they fail to state that Lord Palmerston did not communicate with Sir John Romilly, declaring that if Mr. Turnbull's appointment were questioned in Parliament he could not give it the support of the Government—I shall feel compelled most reluctantly to vote for the Committee, as a censure upon the Government, thinking that some censure is deserved, and that Mr. Turnbull did not receive the protection to which public servants are entitled. It is impossible, however, to conceal the extreme inconvenience of the precedent which will he set by the appointment of a Committee before which a Prime Minister of the Crown and a Judge are to be brought to state the private and confidential communications which passed between them with respect to the appointment of a public servant.
—I did not rise before to answer to the question which has been put to the Government, because your Lordships will see that it is obviously very difficult to give a positive negative to that of which we have no knowledge. I had not heard until to-night of the statement that Lord Palmerston declared to the Master of the Rolls that if the question of Mr. Turnbull's appointment came before Parliament he could not defend it. It is impossible for me or for anybody to say whether such a charge is true or false. 1305 But we may judge of its truth by probabilities. Is Lord Palmerston a man likely to desert a public servant unnecessarily or from mere fear? Are the antecedents of Lord Palmerston such as justify us in supposing that he, of all men in the world, is one to neglect the rights and interests of a public servant? I ask whether there has ever been a public man who has pushed this principle to such an extreme, who has gone to the verge of hardihood, and has risked so much as Lord Palmerston has risked for the purpose of defending men whom he thought were doing their best, simply because at that moment there happened to be a popular outcry against them? While neither I nor my Colleagues can give a positive denial to the statement now made, the considerations which I have mentioned must have great weight with all those who know the public character of the noble Viscount.
§ On Question their Lordships' divided:—
§ Contents 26; Not-Contents 41: Majority 15.
§ Resolved in the Negative.1306
|Bath M. [Teller.]||Clifton, L. (E. Darnley.)|
|Salisbury, M.||Colchester, L.|
|Winchester, M.||Colville of Culross, L.|
|Derby, E.||Feversham, L.|
|Ellenborough, E.||Monteagle of Brandon, L.|
|Hardwicke, E.||Penshurst, L. (V. Strangford.)|
|Powis, E.||Petre, L.|
|Selkirk, E.||Ravensworth, L. [Teller.]|
|Dungannon, V.||Somerhill, L. (M. Clanricarde.)|
|Chelmsford, L.||Wynford, L.|
|Campbell, L. (L. Chancellor.)||Sydney, V.|
|Newcastle, D.||Carlisle, Bp.|
|Somerset, D.||London, Bp.|
|Ailesbury, M.||Boyle, L. (E. Cork and Orrery.)|
|Camperdown, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|De Grey, E.|
|Ducie, E.||Calthorpe, L.|
|Granville, E.||Camoys, L. [Teller.]|
|Saint Germans, E.||Dartrey, L. (L. Cremorne.)|
|Sommers, E.||De Mauley, L.|
|Spencer, E.||De Tabley, L.|
|Eversley, V.||Foley, L. [Teller.]|
|Harris, L,||Ponsonby, L. (E. Bessborough.)|
|Hunsdon, L. (V. Folkland.)||Rossie, L. (L. Kinnaird.)|
|Keane, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L.|
|Lismore, L. (V. Lismore.)||Stratheden, L.|
|Llanover, L.||Truro, L.|
|Methuen, L.||Wodehouse, L.|
|Mont Eagle, L. (M. Sligo.)|
§ House adjourned at a quarter-past Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, Half-past Ten o'clock.