Imágenes de páginas

Colonial Secretary, which documents (plaining of an individual grievance. had been presented to the Legislative The question he wanted to raise was a Assembly of Australia, and which Papers broad one, and one of great public inthe Under Secretary for the Colonial terest. That question was, whether in Department on the 19th of March stated the Civil Service they were to have he would lay upon the Table of that promotion by merit or promotion by House, will be in the hands of Members? favouritism ; whether that admirable

MR. MONSELL replied that if the Treasury Minute which he had just read hon. Member would move for the Papers was to be obeyed and enforced, or to be they would at once be laid on the table trampled upon and defied ; whether, in of the House,

short, the higher appointments in the MR. NEWDEGATE: Am I to under- Civil Service were to be looked upon as stand that the right hon. Gentleman the perquisites of the leading Statesmen withdraws his promise to present the of the day, to be given by them to their Papers ?

private friends and dependents, as a reMR. MONSELL: The hon. Member ward for services to themselves, or whecannot, I think, have clearly understood ther they were to be filled by the most my answer. The Papers are ready; and competent men that could be found to if he will move this evening or Monday take them, and wherever it was possible for them, they will at once be laid on were to be given as rewards of long and the table of the House.

faithful and efficient service in more subMR. NEWDEGATE: Am I to under-ordinate positions. That was the quesstand that the right hon. Gentleman de- tion he wished to bring before the House. clines to present the Papers on the part He regarded the particular case to which of the Government in accordance with he should refer as a mere illustration, his promise of the 19th of March? and he might say at once that he had

MR. MONSELL: Certainly. The Go- not the slightest personal interest of any vernment have no desire to lay these sort or kind in the matter. Till yesterPapers on the table, as they do not con- day he had been wholly unacquainted sider that any object would be gained with the gentleman whose just claims by the adoption of that course. If, how- had, in his opinion, been so rudely set ever, the hon. Gentleman desires to see aside ; but it happened that all the cirthem, and will move for their produc- cumstances became known to him (Mr. tion, they shall be laid on the table. Buxton), and he thought that, however

MR. NEWDEGATE: I will defer disagreeable the task might be, he ought any further allusion to the matter until not to shrink from inviting the attention the Motion for going into Committee of of the House and of the country to this Supply.

case, in hopes that thereby a stop might

be put to what was, he owned, a very SUPPLY.

common but not the less mischievous Order for Committee read.

interference with the proper course of Motion made, and Question proposed, promotion. He was anxious at the same "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the time to observe that he had no intention Chair."

of casting the smallest possible slur on the young gentleman who had received

that appointment. Nothing, it appeared CIVIL SERVICE APPOINTMENTS.

to him, could be more absurd than to OBSERVATIONS.

blame the person who was appointed to MR. BUXTON said, he rose to call an office for having accepted it. The attention to the Treasury Minute, dated blame, if blame there were, rested altoNovember 30, 1868, stating that, gether on those who gave it to him. It

" Promotion by merit is the established rule in would be ridiculous to expect him to go the Civil Service, and to every young man who through the process of weighing his own becomes the servant of the Crown in the Civil claims against those of others, and deService, a way is opened to independence and even ciding against himself. No responsieminence,”

bility, therefore, could rest with the in reference to the recent appointment of young gentleman to whom he had althe Deputy Master and Comptroller of luded. But he would undertake to show the Mint. He had not brought this that the office in question was one singusubject forward with the view of com- larly requiring a long training and ex

perience, and that there was a public servant in every respect suited for it, and who had a peculiarly strong claim to receive it, but that he was thrown aside and the place given away to a gentleman who had no claim at all upon the public, but only on the late First Minister of the Crown personally, and who was absolutely without that technical knowledge and experience which in this case were necessary for the satisfactory discharge of the duties. He must now trouble the House with a statement of what those duties were. They were extremely multifarious, but he would only mention a few of them. In the first place, the Deputy Master had to see that the various operations of melting and coining were carried on with efficiency and without material loss to the public-a point of great importance and absolutely requiring long training. Again, he had to see that the money was properly coined and issued to the public with accuracy as regarded both weight and fineness. Again, as Comptroller he had to take charge of, and become responsible for, all the bullion brought into the Mint for coinage, and it rested with him to issue all moneys to the public. He had to calculate the value of the bullion, and see at all times that the public interest was taken care of. He had to compute the seignorage on the silver and bronze coinage and pay over the proceeds to the Consolidated Fund. He had to supervise the account for the Mint office, and generally to keep a check on expenditure. He had to take charge of the coined pieces reserved for the general trial of the pyx; he had to see that the dies were kept in safe custody, and when worn out destroyed, as a safeguard against a surreptitious use of them. And, further, whenever the Master of the Mint was absent, the Deputy had to fill his place, and ought, therefore, to have been familiar with the whole management of the business of that important Department. The House could hardly fail to agree with him that this, then, was peculiarly a case in which it would have been right to advance a trained officer to this place, unless, indeed, there were some grounds for doubting his abilities. So far from that, there was a gentleman in the Mint of great experience, of high character, to whose efficiency the strongest testimony was borne by Sir John Herschel and others, and who actually had waived his


claim to another office on a previous occasion upon the understanding that when this one should become vacant it would probably be placed at his disposal. He referred to Mr. Robert Mushet, the senior officer in the Mint-office, who had been at the head of the melting department for seventeen years, and had for thirty-six years been in the service of the Government. In 1851, when the Mint was reformed, several of the officers were much injured in their interests by the alterations then effected, and among them Mr. Mushet; but it was intimated that, as some compensation for the loss of these prospects, their claims for advancement would be duly considered when vacancies should occur in the higher offices. Of course, he should not for a moment say if Mr. Mushet was in any way incompetent that then he ought to have been employed; but very strong testimony to his competence was borne by him who, of all men, was fittest to judge of it-by Sir John Herschel. Sir John Herschel wrote to Mr. Mushet in September, 1868, to say that he had been informed that Mr. Mushet's claims to succeed Mr. Barton as Deputy Master and Comptroller of the Mint had been approvingly submitted to the consideration of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury by the present Master of the Mint; and Sir John Herschel added—

"This being the case, it appears to me no more than due that I should supplement whatever testimony he may have borne to your merits, conduct, and qualifications grounded on his experience, by my own as to your uniform efficiency, exactness, and devotion to your duties in the very responsible office you have filled since 1851, during my tenure of the Mastership." And Sir John Herschel went on to say that, in addition, he considered that Mr. Mushet had a claim to promotion founded on the destruction by the reform of the Mint of his prospect of succeeding to a much more lucrative position than his present one. This, then, was undeniable, that the duties of the office were highly important, that they were of a peculiarly technical character, requiring thorough training and long experience in the Mint. It was equally undeniable that a thoroughly suitable man was there at hand, a man of great experience, a man who had very strong claims both on account of his acknowledged efficiency, his long service, and his acquiescence in the loss of still better prospects upon this understanding, that he was some



day to be rewarded with this appoint- might be snatched from them and thrown ment. He (Mr. Buxton) could not ima- to some private connection of some great gine that any case could be a clearer man, for whom a snug berth was wanted. one for the advancement of the subordi- He would only add his hope that in nate to the place which he had so well bringing this subject forward he should earned. Well

, what was actually done? not have seemed to be guilty of any Mr. Barton, the late Deputy Master of want of that respect which was so emithe Mint, having died last September, nently due from every Member of this application was immediately made, sup- House to the right hon. Gentleman the ported, as he said before, by the Master Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. of the Mint and by the late Master Sir Disraeli). He certainly had not been John Herschel, on behalf of Mr. Mushet. actuated in the smallest degree by any No reply, however, was received; and party feeling, or by any personal intethe place was kept unoccupied for three rest; but when these facts came under months until the very eve of the retire- his notice he thought that it would be ment of the late Government from Office, something like cowardice if he shrank and it was then given to a young gentle- from the task, however disagreeable it man, against whom he had not a word might be, of bringing the question under to say, but who had never set his foot in the consideration of the House. the Mint, and had no claim but that of MR. DISRAELI : The hon. Memhaving performed private services to the ber for East Surrey (Mr. Buxton), enterlate Prime Minister. It was strange taining the views he has expressed, is that just before this was done the Trea- quite justified in bringing this matter sury Minute was issued, which stated before the House, but I am bound to tell positively that,

the hon. Member that his observations “ Promotion by merit is the established rule in really are a series of misapprehensions. the service, and to every young man who becomes He has very properly noticed the Treasury the servant of the Crown in the Civil Service a Minute of last November, and I am the way is opened to independence, and even emi- last person not to stand by that Minute,

- for which, indeed I am responsible, and That Minute was intended to give a which I approve in every particular; powerful stimulus to the Civil Service, but in referring to that Treasury Miby holding out definitely to the young nute the hon. Member should have men engaged in it that in future they pointed out to the House what was its might, by strenuous diligence, attain to leading subject, and should have expositions of dignity; but the Minute plained that the passage he has quoted would, of course, now be regarded as a is only an incidental passage, though it simple mockery of those to whom it had expresses a sentiment in the soundness been addressed. It was little less than of which I entirely agree, that a career an insult to use all these fine phrases should always be open to real merit in to them when, on the very first occasion the Civil Service. But the hon. Genon which the rule could have been acted tleman seems to have made the mistake upon, it was treated with contempt by of concluding that a career for real merit the very Government that had laid it is to be insured only by sanctioning the down. "Depend upon it a very few in- claims of routine. In my mind that is stances of that sort would be quite a great error, and such a course would enough to damp the spirits, to sour the be far from being in agreement with feelings, of the whole Civil Service. the sentiments and views which influNothing could do so much to invigorate enced the drawing up of the Minute the Civil Service as the hope amongst of November, The first misapprehenthose engaged in it that they might in sion of the hon. Member consisted in due time raise themselves by their dili- supposing that the individual who was gence and efficiency to those higher appointed to the Deputy Mastership of posts that glittered above them. No. the Mint was not a member of the Civil thing, on the other hand, could do so Service. He is, on the contrary, an much to demoralize the Civil Service as eminent member of that body. He enthe feeling that no matter how long, tered it in his boyhood, and during the how faithful, how efficient their service period which has elapsed since has may have been, yet at the last moment much distinguished himself. the prizes for which they had laboured fore, all that groundwork of the hon.


Gentleman's observations falls to pieces and I am sure that Mr. Fremantle immediately; and if I show that the gen- served him with the same ability and tleman preferred to this post deserves to faithfulnesss with which he served me. be so preferred, then all the argument The hon. Member for East Surrey, thereof the hon. Gentleman that the claims fore has fallen into two misapprehenof the Civil Service have not been recog- sions—first, in supposing that the claims nized also falls to the ground. The next of the Civil Service have been passed misapprehension on the part of the hon. over, and secondly, in fancying that I, Gentleman consists in supposing that in appointing Mr. Fremantle to the office the gentleman was appointed because of Deputy Master of the Mint, was influhe was, as the hon. Member describes enced in that act by a desire to appoint him, “my political follower.” When my a political follower. I will now mention conduct in so grave a matter as an ap- what really occurred. I will say that I pointment to a public post is involved, never made a public appointment withthe House will, perhăps, permitme to enter out wishing to place the best man in the into some details, which I will do as briefly post. It would have been most agreeas possible. It cannot, for a moment, able if I could have conscientiously prebe maintained that because this gen- ferred to the post now in question some tleman happened to be my private secre- political adherent or friend of my own, tary he was my political follower. When but before I made the appointment I ena man holds at the same time the Office tered into inquiries as to the nature of of Minister of the Crown and Leader of the duties of the office which I had to this House, he has the privilege of ap- fill up. The result of those inquiries pointing two private secretaries; and led to the conclusion that the general properly so, for a Minister of the Crown, condition of the Mint was not a satis

a being also Leader of this House, has quite factory one. It is a Department in a business enough for two private secre- position of peculiar isolation, having taries to transact. It is also the custom- very little connection with the great but only a custom, though a wise one-offices of administration, and there did

a that one of these private secretaries should appear to me to be a want of that official be appointed from the office of which the energy and that administrative skill Minister is the chief, and that appoint- which are, in the present day, absolutely ment is made without reference to poli- necessary, and which ought always to tics. I appointed, as one of my private be encouraged. Besides, it was placed secretaries a private friend; and with before me, by those who ought to influrespect to the private secretary_who ence my opinion on such a matter, that Fas to be selected from the office, I did it was of great importance that " not make any immediate appointment. blood”—to use their expression-should I wished that, what I may call the pub- be introduced into the office, and that a lic opinion of the Treasury, should be man by no means advanced in life, and consulted upon the matter, and I think a who had had considerable experience in fortnight elapsed before I at length some great administrative Department, selected the gentleman who, according a Member of the Treasury, if possibleto the general voice of the members should be appointed. That being the of the Treasury, was the most compe- case, I declared, after the representatent person for the post. Until that tions made to me, that I should not gentleman came into my room as my make anything like a political appointprivate secretary, I had not the honour ment, and that I felt it my duty to select of his acquaintance. What his political for the post the most competent person. opinions are I did not then know, and, With regard to Mr. Fremantle, I have no upon my honour, I do not know now. hesitation in saying that I regretted the For six years he served as private se- decision he arrived at to leave the Treacretary the right hon. Member for Cam- sury. That Department is at present in bridgeshire (Mr. Brand), who occupied, a most efficient state. The chief clerks under the Governments of Lord Russell of the establishment are, of course, men and Lord Palmerston, a very confiden- of great experience and abilities; but tial and important office. I have no there is also a class of younger men doubt that that right hon. Gentleman in rising in that Department, highly distinsppointing him did not inquire into his guished by their abilities and devotion political opinions any more than I did, to public business. For the sake of the


Treasury, I should be glad that these a politician. He is an able and excelyoung men, all distinguished members of lent officer. Everybody respects him, the Civil Service, should remain in that and he performs his duty with efficiency. Department; but it would be rather a I think nothing more unfair, even if severe rule to lay down that these men, guided by the head of a Department, to because they are so distinguished, should introduce his name in defence or vindicabe shut out from these fair prizes which tion of any decision you have made on occasionally offer in the distribution of your own entire responsibility. Nothing, offices in the Civil Service. I did not I repeat, was further from my intention decide hurriedly in the matter. Every than to name the present Master of the claim was well weighed. The claims of Mint; but I received a letter from him the gentleman whom the hon. Member last evening conceived and written in for East Surrey seems to think had been a generous spirit, which he empowers very much neglected were, I can assure me to read to the House if I like. I him, duly considered. They were placed think, on the whole, I must decline that ; before me by the gentleman himself. but I may state thus publicly to the He did full justice to his own claims. House that I have the authority of the He is a very respectable man-a man of Master of the Mint for saying that he sufficient ability to place his claims in a entirely approves the appointment of telling and efficient manner before a Mr. Fremantle as Deputy Master of Government; and they were impartially the Mint, and that he augurs from that and anxiously considered. But my own appointment advantage to the public opinion was that it was of great impor- service. tance that fresh blood should be intro- MR. GLADSTONE: Sir, I think it duced into the office, and I did think only right on the part of the Governif a gentleman from the Treasury were ment that I should say one word before appointed it would be to the public this conversation closes. My hon. Friend advantage. The names of two or three the Member for East Surrey has been gentlemen were considered, and ulti- entirely vindicated by the right hon. mately Mr. Fremantle was appointed. Gentleman opposite for having, on what Now, Sir, I have shown that the hon. appeared to him good prima facie grounds, Gentleman the Member for East Surrey challenged this appointment; and he has was under a complete misapprehension in drawn from the right hon. Gentleman a supposing that the legitimate claims of full explanation of the circumstances. I the Civil Service have been noglected, confess, for my own part, I think that because Mr. Fremantle was a member great advantage must result from Memof the Civil Service, and occupied so bers of Parliament, as occasions arise, eminent a position in it that I did not raising questions as to the mode in which think that, in a pecuniary point of view, Government may exercise their patronhis acceptance of the office would be to age, particularly when that is done, as his advantage, losing, as he did, a con- it has been done by my hon. Friend the siderable post in the Treasury. Secondly, Member for East Surrey to-night, withI have shown that the hon. Gentleman out any private interest in view and was under another misapprehension in solely on grounds of advantage to the supposing that Mr. Fremantle was ap- public service. While, therefore, it is pointed to the office because he was a clear from what the right hon. Gentlepolitical adherent of my own. I acted, man has stated that no possible blame of course, entirely on my own responsi- can attach to my hon. Friend — on the bility, but after sedulous inquiry and on contrary, we feel obliged to him, for representations made to me by persons drawing attention to the subject-I am of position, that it was of importance bound in fairness to say that I think that new blood should be infused into the answer made by the right hon. Genthe Mint, and that, if possible, an officer tleman is and must be felt to be quite should be appointed, experienced in satisfactory. This appointment was, I Treasury business. It was not my in- think, both conscientiously and delitention to have made the slightest allu- berately made ; and it is only fair to say sion to the Master of the Mint, whose that the Treasury, in its capacity not so name has, I think, unnecessarily been much as a political Department, but introduced by the hon. Member for East merely as an administrative Department, Surrey. The Master of the Mint is not did before any appointment was made

« AnteriorContinuar »