Page images

any rate to be called to their bar, and sary to have an explanation from his own told how the law stood in that respect. mouth, as to whether he disputed the au

The Chancellor of the Erchequer said it thority of the House, or only the authentia was a question of fact, and was of opinion city of the instrument, he should have no that no prima facie case was made against objection to his being called. Mr. Dan, and that, as it did not appear he Mr. Wynn said, the act was a manifest had any disposition to treat the privileges breach of privilege, and those who would of the House with contempt, it was not state the case most favourably for Mr. Dan, necessary that he should be ordered to at- must own that there was at least great tend.

doubt in his expressions. If the motion Mr. Tierney thought if nothing farther before the House was, that he should be were done, and it appeared on their Jour- taken into custody, what had been stated pals that no steps were taken in conse- by the gentlemen opposite would have quence of such a breach of privilege, at great weight, but they did not go the tornies might hereafter refer to this case, length of disproving the propriety of an and tell those offending in a similar man. order for his attendance. ner, that it was of no consequence, and no The motion was then agreed to, and potice would be taken of it by the House. Mr. Dan ordered to attend to-morrow.

Mr. Owen, when the responsibility of the Mr. Hindson was also ordered to attend man who discharged an arrest was consi- again. dered, thought a fair excuse appeared for Mr. Eden said, he had received a letter Mr. Dan. It seemed there was no chris. from Mr. Palmer, a witness attending a tian name mentioned in the order, and Committee of that House, complaining of therefore it might well be suspected that having been arrested, (a laugh.) He did it was intended for another Mr. Campbell, not know that the case was marked by and that the person arrested attempted circumstances so aggravating as those improperly to take advantage of it. 'He which characterized the former one; howthought enough had been done to assert ever he should move, that John Palmer the privileges of the House, and hoped and Alexander Grace, sheriff's officers, do they would give the parties concerned no attend the House to-morrow.–The motion farther trouble.

was agreed to. Mr. Bastard understood, that Mr. Dan bad said " Don't mind the order of the SINECURES Bill.) Mr. Bankes rose and House, but keep your prisoner." He moved, That the three first of the Resolu. thought he could not say this in ignorance, tions which, upon the 31st of May, 1810, and that consequently a farther enquiry were reported from the Committee of the was necessary. [The short-hand writer's whole House, to whom it was referred, to notes of the evidence were here read.] consider further of the Report which, upon

Mr. Ponsonby agreed that this was a The 29th of June, 1808, was made from the question of fact, but thought the atten. Committee on Public Expenditure, and dance of Mr. Dan necessary, as he had which Resolutions were, with an Amerda doubted whether or not an order of the ment to the second and third, agreed to by House could legally protect a person from the House, might be read; and the same an arrest. If he should appear to have were read as follow: doubted not the effect of an order of the “ Resolved, That the utmost attention House, but whether the order produced to economy, in all the branches of public were genuine, or if he had doubted whether expenditure, which is consistent with the Mr. Campbell was the person entitled to interests of the public service, is at all its protection; he thought there would be times a great and important duty, but one opinion in the House, that he That for this purpose, in addition to sbould be discharged. Since, however, the useful and effective measures already Mr. Dan had been stated to have doubts taken by parliament for the abolition and on the subject, it was proper that he should regulation of various sinecure offices, and be ordered to attend io state on what those offices executed by deputy, it is expedient, doubts were founded.

after providing other and sufficient means The Solicitor-General thought it ap for enabling his Majesty duly to recompeared that Mr. Dan, considering the cir- pence the faithful discharge of high and cumstances altogether, wished to have the effective civil offices, 10 abolish all offices opinion of counsel, before he discharged which bave revenue without employment, the person : but if it was thought neces and to regulate all offices which have re(VOL. XXII.)


venue extremely disproportionate to em- vanced, and they were conferred alike og ployment, excepting only such as are the worthy and unworthy. He hoped the connected with the personal service of House would always shew its liberality, in his Majesty, or of his royal family, re- being never niggardly to services fairly gard being had to the existing interests established :-such money was never ill in any offices so to be abolished or re- bestowed; and, in fact, money must be gulated.

bestowed, unless we chose to leave public That it is expedient to reduce all of situations either to the aristocracy of forfices, of which the effective duties are en- Tune or to needy speculating advenirers. tirely or principally discharged by de- He should be sorry to see a contest beputy, to the salary and emoluments actu- tween the aristocracy and the active talent ally received for executing the business of of the country, for in such a strife it resach offices, regard being had to any in- quired little sagacity to foresee who crease which may appear necessary on would be victorious. It was to guard account of additional responsibility, and against any such fatal alternative, that he sufficient security being taken for due per- wished meritorious service of a certain du. formance of the service in all cases of trust ration to be rewarded; not, however, by connected with public money, regard the objectionable mode of sinecure, but by being also had to the existing interests in what he conceived a far better substitution. such office.”

His motion contemplated the establishThe hon. gentleman said, that there was ment of a fund, which in the first instance nothing on which the country looked with was to be begun by the profits of the sinemore pleasure than on the salutary princi- cure which would soonest drop. The ples of regulation which ought to be ap- fund would be recruited by the very plied to Sinecure offices. Nothing, how- saving of the plan he had to propose. If ever could be so mischievous as those pub. any inconvenience should arise from no lications which, being dictated either by sinecure office becoming in a short time ignorance or by malice, tended to make vacant after the adoption of his plan, the the people imagine, that any reduction House would not, he was confident, be which could be made in the department backward in supplying the deficiency. of useless offices, was likely to diminish Something ought to be done towards the in any sensible degree the burthens created destruction of the principle on which sineby the war. It would also be a great im- cures were now bestowed; and if the position on the House, if he should pre- principle were once destroyed, those sinetend, that the motion which he had to pro- cures which might remain, would only be pose could be attended with an immediate considered as exceptions to a general rule, economical effect. All that could be done and would lose all their deformity. The was the establishment of the economical Irish pension list also deserved to be looked principle; and this, in the end, would into. This pension list was enormously have a sure, though a slow effect. Sine. extravagant, when added to the burthens cures were but small drops to be saved which Ireland had to bear in contributing from the ocean of expence; and again, he her 2-17ths to the expences of the whole must caution the public from looking to country. Its pension list alone was their abolivion as a cause of diminishing the 80,0001. a year.

He would not now ocpublic burthen. Much, certainly, had cupy more of the time of the House, as been done with a view to economy within the time for discussing the principle of his the last forty years, much more, indeed, Bill would be more properly on the second than had been effected in that way from reading. The hon. gentleman concluded the period of the Revolution. His view by moving, “ That leave be given to bring was to abolish every office to which no in a Bill for abolishing and regulating efficient duties were attached; and this sinecures and offices executed by deputy, would be productive of gradual benefit. and for providing other means for recomThe offices obnoxious to him were those pensing the faithful discharge of high or which were only burthensome, and not in effective civil offices, and for other econoany sense advantageous. He would fol-mical purposes.”—Leave was accordingly low the rules established for superannua- given, and Mr. Bankes, Mr. Wilberforce, tion in the collection of the revenue; be- and Mr. J. W. Ward were ordered to precause as the practice of bestowing sine- pare and bring in the same. cures at present stood, there were seldom any claims of meritorious service ad. MOTION FOR PAPERS RELATING TO CAPTAIN KING.] Lord Folkeslone said, he deprived of all chance of deriving benefit held in his hand a Petition on which he from a court of law, as well as of his chafound it necessary to make a few observa- racter as an officer. He moved, there. tions, before he moved that it should be fore, That the petition be brought up. brought up.

The House would recollect The Speaker observed, that it depended that previous to the expedition against on how far this was an application for Buenos Ayres sailing from the Cape of money, before the House could determine Good Hope, sir Home Popham, who had the as to its being received, command of the naval department, had by Lord Folkestone said, the Petition coma mistake in his own judgment, illegally, plained of the usual practice being de. as it had since been determined, hoisted a parted from to his loss and detriment; but broad pendant and constituted himself a it was not altogether pecuniary compencommodore. In consequence of this self- sation, but restoration of character, which promotion, he had appointed the Petitioner, was his object in bringing forward the Pecaptain King, a most deserving and capa.tition. If the usual practice had not been ble officer, who was then a lieutenani in departed from, he could have proved his the navy, captain of the Diadem, the com- rank, but being named as a lieutenant he modote's ship: and in this capacity of was precluded from doing so. captain, and with all the great responsi- The Speaker was extremely unwilling to bility attached to the situation, the peti. start any objection to the Petition, but it tioner conducted safely the Diadem, and was the duty of the House lo beware how the fleet under her command, from the they established a precedent by receiving Cape to Buenos Ayres. When the expe- it. If he understood the noble lord, the dition arrived there, the petitioner at the petitioner craved remuneration, and other instance of the commander-in-chief, took things. Now in all cases hereafter to be the command of a body of marines, and brought forward, of application for money, acted on shore as a lieutenant colonel; in would not the petitioners pray for remu. the execution of which service, as well as neration and other things? that of the captain of the Diadem, he Lord Folkestone wished to state, that this received the thanks of his superior was not the language of the Petition, officers. He had since been fixed in his which did not pray for remuneration and command as captain of the Diadem, and other things, but merely his own comment acknowledged at the Treasury as a lieute

No doubt ultimately the effect nant-colonel : but when the prize-money might be so. Sir Home Popham had apcame to be distributed, the petitioner was pointed the Petitioner a captain. This apnamed in the warrant only as lieutenant pointment was nol legal on the part of sir King, and only entitled to a share of prize. Home; but was the Petitioner to dispute money as applicable to that rank in the the order of his commanding officer to nary. This was a very serious injury to make him a captain? Was he to examine captain King, in point of pecuniary in- into sir Home Popham's right before takterest; but besides that, he felt it as a kind ing the command? If he had objected to of slur on his character, which he was de. the appointment he would have been guilty sirous of having removed. He had, there- of mutiny, and liable to be tried by a fore, requested the noble lord to present court martial. It was true, that if the pethis Petition, which the noble lord hadtitioner had been named as captain of the readily undertaken to do; but baving Diadem, sir Home Popham could only slated this much, he found himself at a loss have received prize money as a common how to proceed for the best, and would be sailor, but if any person was to suffer, it obliged to the Speaker for his advice. His was the person who committed the illegal first idea was to move for a committee to act, and not the person who obeyed. He enquire into the circumstances of the case: at the time had been more than six months but on farther consideration, he thought promoted to the rank of captain. There that it would be better to move merely, were many instances of captains of the that the Petition do lie on the table: and navy, though in no command on shore, still then, as the case was well known, and he sharing in the distribution of prize-money. believed, acknowledged by ministers to The Speaker said, that on these grounds, be a hard one, if they did not take it up in the noble lord having shewn, that what he a certain time, he would make a motion had said respecting reinuneration was only on the subject. This seemed to be abso- bis own comment, he now thought himself lutely necessary, as captain King had been at liberty to put the question,

on it.

Mr. Rose stated this to be a question of thanks of his country, and bad received very considerable hardship, but the noble pay and forage money, as a lieutenant-colord, he believed, would find it very diffi- lonel on sbore. He was to all intents and cult to put it in such a shape as to allow it purposes a field-officer on shore; but it to be successfully entertained by the House. seemed, that because sir Home Popham He was not at present so well prepared as had committed an illegal act, captain he could wish to be, not being aware of King was to be degraded. He was not, as the subject coming that night before the had been said, lieutenant of the Diadem, House, respecting all the particulars of previous to the appointment in question, ibis case. He could say, however, that it but commander of L'Espoir. He was was heard in the Exchequer for many days taken out of his ship and sent upon land, before the lords of the privy council, sit- where he would have shared as a field-offiting there in their judicial capacity, who, cer. Sir Houpe Popham, when he had after much deliberation, came to the ulti-acted in a different manner from wbat he mate determination, that captain King ought to have done, was to be rewarded at could not share as a captain. This, he the expence of a man who had done his could say was not done with any particu- duty.--Sir Home, upon other,,occasions, Jar view of benefiting sir Home Popham. had received large remunerations from All the circumstances of the case had been the Droits of Admiralty; but captain attended to, and captain

King's promotion King, it seemed, could find no friend among taken into account. The whole of the the advisers of the crown, to afford him prize was now distributed. He was wil- any remuneration from these funds. He ling to admit captain King's merits, and apprehended that captain King had more that his case was one of compassion. It at stake than the money; he felt that be had been stated by the poble lord, that the had been excepted in the most invidious object of this Petition was not only to ob- manner; he feli that some slur in the pubtain money, but to remove a slur cast upon lic-mind must have been thrown upon him; him. For his part he bad never beard any and if the House expressed their opinion, thing of him but commendation.

that the persons who issued the warrant Mr. Stephen rose to correct an acciden- acted in an unlawful manner, they would tal mis-statement of his right bon. friend. do more for the satisfaction of caplain Counsel had certainly not been heard in King, than if the money were to be taken this case before the privy-council. He from the pocket of sir Home Popham, and then entered into a legal disquisition to put into his own. It was material to know prove, that ihe case was not a law case, who had been the advisers of the crown but that it came under the prize act, to throughout this whole matter. be decided under the prerogative. The Mr. Rose stated, that the decision com. commodore had no power to appoint a plained of was not one 'come to by his captain, and captain King having been Majesty's ministers, but by the privy thus illegally appointed, did not come council. within the scope of the proclamation for

The Chancellor of the Erchequer apprethe distribution of prize-money, under the hended, that the Petition was for money ; assumed title to which he had no right. and as a petition for money, it could not There was no apprehension, that this prin- be received by the House without a preciple of exclusion would extend to any vious recommendation on the part of his other officers, as it was grounded merely Majesty. The noble lord by whom it bad on the illegality of captain King's ap- | been introduced, had rightly stated, that pointment.

there was no actual demand for money in Mr. Whitbread was glad that the state- The prayer of the Petition, but at the same ment of the hon. and learned gentleman time he had properly admitted, that pecuwho spoke last, had put down the autho- niary remuneration was the ultimate aim, rity of the right bon. gentleman. Indeed and necessary consequence of the Petition. it inust appear to any person impossible Such, certainly, was the true construction that uill captain King saw tbe warrant be to be put upon the Petition, and no one

could argue against it. If there was to be could possibly entertain a different opinion. a sufferer in this case, there was no ques. Gentlemen on the other side were in error tion but it ought to be the man who had to contend, that there was no other mode misconducted himself

. Captain King had of bringing the subject under the considerabeen placed in a situation by sir Hometion of parliament. On a statement of the Popham, where he bad deserved the facts contained in the Petition, they might move for papers to elucidate those facts ; | House would agree with him in rejecting and if the House thought a sufficient the Petition, on the ground which be had ground was laid for the production of the before stated, namely, that it was a Petipapers, they would afford sufficient means tion for money, not recommended by the of judging of the true character of the pro- crown ; leaving the question open to disceeding alloded to. Whatever might fall cussion in any other way, should the case from hon. gentlemen in the heat of debate, appear to demand it. be was convinced that they did not really Mr. Ponsonby was not prepared to say, themselves believe, that there was any pre whether the present came within the rule meditated injustice in the present case of the House; but he thoughi, generally, It certainly was a case which had been that it was a Petition directly asking for a attended with considerable difficulty. It grant of public money, and not one which had long occupied the attention of the might ultimately tend to that effect, that privy council. They had compared the required the consent and recommendation conflicting memorials on the subject, but of ministers. Heconceived that the meanthey had certaivly not heard counsel. The ing of the role was to make ministers relaw officers of the crown had been con sponsible for what grants they recomsolted by government; and the result of mended, and not to restrict the power of all those deliberations and consultatious parliament. He should take the liberty, was a determination to set aside the illegal however, of suggesting to the noble lord, appointment altogether, without any re- that it instead of pressing now to a division, ference to the character of captain King ; when such doubts were entertained, he and to leave the parties in the same situa- would withdraw the present motion, and tion as if that appointment had never taken move only for the Memorials of captain place. As to L'Espoir, the appointment King to the Admiralty or Privy Council, of captain King to that ship proceeded he might perhaps, by such a motion, ultifrom the same source as his appointment mately obtain his object. to the Diadem, and consequently was Sir C. Pole thought that there was a peequally illegal. He received his share of culiar hardship in this case. If captain the prize-money as a lieutenant, which King had been appointed through an error was his legal rank. He was very ready to of the commander, still he had done the own, that captain King having long acted duty, and he thought he ought to share for as captain, might feel himself disappointed the rank in which he acted. If he had in his expectations of receiving a larger been a simple passenger, and appointed to share of prize-money than that which he command ihe marines on shore, he thought actually did receive. He expressed his that he must have shared. regretthat such a meritorious officer should Mr. Yorke certainly considered that experience any mortification; but he con- captain King had suffered great hardship fessed that the case did not appear to him but not injustice. He had not been deto be one of such hardship as to demand prived of any legal right, but be was disrelief from the Droits of Admiralty. Had appointed in a hope which he might very his opinion been different on this subject, rationally have entertained. As to strict nothing would have been more easy ihan justice, the doors of justice were open to to have remunerated captain King from him as well as to any other man, if he had that fund, without doing any injury to sir any legal injury to complain of. He consiHume Popham, to whom he had been so dered that this Petition was substantially, -strangely accused of sacrificing captain if not formally, an application for a grant King's interests. He trusted the House of money, and that therefore, it could not would pause before they authorised the be received without the recommendation bringing of prize causes before them. I of ministers.

They must be aware that such a step Lord Cochrane was of opinion, that inwould be an encroachment on the preroga- stead of sharing as a lieutenant, captain tive; but they were not aware of ihe mul- King ought to bave shared for the rank in tiplicity of perplexing business in which which he served. He thougbt that it was such a proceeding would necessarily in- clearly within the power of the privy volve them. He begged to caution gen- council to bave ordered him such a share, tlemen against abandoning themselves to and that if reward was tbe proper stimulus the first feelings of liberality; unless in- for exertion, the privy council bad comdeed gross abuse and oppression were milled a gross error in not awarding him clearly established. He trusted that the such a share. He believed tbat prize

« PreviousContinue »