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parties in the province, he would probably follow the same principle in the selection of his Special Council. With respect to the further question of the right hon. Gentleman, whether the instructions that had been laid on the table were abandoned, his answer was, that these instructions remained in the same situation, and there had been no variation or abandonment of them. He was persuaded, that Lord Durham had exercised the powers confided to him to the best of his discretion, as far as he had gone. And he must also say, that, from the accounts that had been received from the provinces, it appeared, that his proceeding had met with concurrence and approbation, as expressed by addresses from various parts of the province.
Captain Mitchell's Peninsular Survey.] Mr. Leader had to call the attention of the House to a paper which had been laid on the table relative to the expenses of Captain Mitchell's mission to the Peninsula. All those who had read the excellent work of Colonel Napier were aware, that for the purposes of his work he wished to see the maps and plans of Captain Mitchell. He had been referred to Sir George Murray, who refused to let him see them, and never since had he been able to obtain access to them. These maps and plans had been paid for by the public money; they should have been deposited in a public office, where the public might see them. But now he understood, that these maps were about to be published as a private speculation. He wished to know if this were correct?
Viscount Howick had a very simple answer to give to the hon. Member. All the information he possessed was contained in the return which was before the House. The transaction had occurred long before he was in office.
Mr. Hume had moved for a return, in order to ascertain whether the maps and plans were public property or not, as he considered it a matter of great importance. It appeared that nearly 5.000Z. had been paid out of the public purse for preparing these plans. He did not grudge the application of the money, but the public ought to know what value they had received for the money, and he thought it wa* lne special business of the Government and of the Secretary at War, were VOL XUV.
public property got out of the proper channel, to ascertain what had become of it. He thought there was neglect somewhere.
Viscount Howick said, that this subject was one upon which the War-office had no authority whatever, and it was therefore, totally out of his power to make inquiry on the subject. The original authority for the expense had been given by the Treasury of the day. The Secretary at War had not been consulted, and there had been no correspondence with the Secretary at War. A direct authority was given to the Commander-in-chief to incur the expense. The maps had never been in the custody of the War-office, and as Secretary at War he had no authority, and no responsibility on the subject.
Sir //. Ilardinge believed, that these transactions were twenty-three years old, and he was, therefore, not aware of the details, but there was one statement which the noble Lord made which seemed to him objectionable. The noble Lord seemed to say, that the Secretary at War could not be expected to give information upon military expenditure which had not passed through his own office. Why, almost everything that was expended passed through other channels, but the Secretary at War was always considered as one of the organs of the administration in that House,and when a question was put affecting his department he was always expected to give some explanation. It was, he thought, the province of the Secretary at War to afford explanation when the conduct of a general officer was brought before the House. These expenses had been incurred under the authority of the Treasury, and if the noble Lord had applied to Sir George Murray for the necessary explanation he would have experienced no-delay. But the noble Lord refused any explanation, because the matter had not passed through his office. Under these circumstances he objected to the mode of answer given by the noble Lord, and he thought, that the noble Lord ought to afford the information required, and to state, whether he approved of the plans, whether he considered them public property, and whether they ought to be transferred into the hands of a private publisher, or published at the public expense? He thought it was competent to the noble Lord to give answers on these points.
Viscount Hawick said, that the right
immediately pay him the other half. Thus no demand could be made on the public purse, unless the same amount was paid by the congregation themselves.
Sir R. Peel wished to know whether the prohibition was universal, that our consuls should not engage in commercial dealings?
Viscount Palmerston reminded the right hon. Baronet, that before the year 182G our consuls could levy, not only fees on all notarial acts, as they did at present, but also fees on the tonnage of the different British ships which came to the port, at which they were stationed. This produced a great inequality in the amount of the emoluments received by our consuls, especially on the south American stations, and also led to various descriptions of abuses. His right hon. Friend, Mr. Canning, had discontinued that system, and had given our consuls fixed salaries in lieu of fees. The notarial fees, however, still continued; they were small in amount, and did not vary much from year to year. With respect to the prohibition, preventing our consuls from engaging in trade, he had only to reply, that it was not universal. The prohibition was given or not, according to the nature of the appointment. Wherever the consul was more of a political, thau of a commercial agent, and had diplomatic functions to perform—as in most of the states of South America— there he was prohibited from engaging in trade? but in other places, as in Europe, where we had distinct diplomatic agents, and where the consuls had only commercial functions to execute, there he had no objection to let the consuls engage in commercial pursuits; for, by so doing, it enabled the country, to obtain consuls on smaller salaries, than it would otherwise be able to obtain them.
Grant agreed to.
Supply — Coronation Medals.] A vote of 3,703/. to defray the expense of several branches of the establishment of
the Mint, was proposed.
In answer to a question from Mr. Clay, Mr. Labouchere greatly regretted to state, that according to the general opinion of English artists, the execution of the medal for her Majesty's coronation did not answer the expectations entertained from the well-merited reputation of ■ Pistrucci. To'
and able execution, he (Mr. Labouchere) need only refer to the coronation medal of George 4th. And though he fully admitted, that the late coronation medal was not executed in the manner that might have been expected from Signor Pistrucci, yet he believed, that the imperfection was entirely owing to an unfortunate circumstance, by which he had been almost totally deprived of sight for two weeks previous to the completion of the work. Signor Pistrucci was as sensible as anybody of the imperfection of the medal, and wrote to him (Mr. Labouchere) to state his regret and explain the cause.
Mr. Hume thought it a great pity that these coronation medals could not be put into the pot and remelted. He was sorry for the misfortune of Signor Pistrucci, but he thought that if ever there was a case in which the credit of the Master of the Mint was involved, that something worthy of the British Mint should be put forth it wasthat of the medal struck for the late coronation, and lie thought that corresponding efforts ought to have been made. Why, some of the medals that were selling in the streets for Id. a-piece were as well executed as the reverse of the gold medals in question, and for the honour of her Majesty's Mint, they ought to be called in and re-melted. He must say, that he could not excuse his right hon. Friend, the Master of the Mint; he, or his deputy, ought to have seen that something better than this was executed. Before he sat down, he wished to know, as they had silver fourpenny pieces in circulation, which had been found very convenient, why they should not have threepenny and twopenny pieces of silver in general circulation also. These pieces were authorized by law and ancient custom; they would prove exceedingly convenient, and he did think that the public ought tohave them.
Mr. Labouchere would be very sorry to see omitted the coinage of these small silver coins, which was usual at the beginning of each reign. The practice had never been omitted, he believed, since the Conquest. The series of silver pennies was the most perfect of any class of our coins; but, he could not think that any public benefit could arise from the circulation of silver coins lower than Ad. One word more with respect to the coronation medal. He thought it ought to be borne ind, that on occasion of the coronaof George 4th., the whole expense of the execution of (he medal was paid back to tlio public from the proceed* of the stile of tlint mcdnl, which was executed by Nighor 1'intrucci; he mentioned this to show, (lint if the late coronation medal Inid not answered the expectations of artists tind the public, its imperfection was not to be •ttiibutcd to any want of zeal or nbillty, but entirely to the unfortunate necldent which he had mentioned.
Mr. Warhurlon said, the right hon. (lentlemnn hnd been understood to hold out hopes nt (he beginning of the Session, of Iho rc-appointmcnt of the committee, which int lust Session on the Mint, and especially (he engraving department, and he thought it very possible, that if that rp>ftppoiiilment had taken place, this imperfect production would not have appeared, lie believed, that if the matter nod been fully gone into, it would have been found, tlmt the nation paid most extravagantly for tho works designed and executed in the engraving department. With respect to a coinage of silver threepennies, ho thought such a coin would be xtremely convenient.
Mr. Labour here said, he had been most anxious for the re-appointment of the committee of last year on this subject, but, nt the snme time, he had felt it would bo useless to re-appoint unless they could bo expected to como to a repoit in the present Session. This, however, he did not feel justified in expecting, because, the state of health of one of the principal officers of the department, whose evidence nnd suggestions as to improvements in the present system, it would have been most important for the Committee to bear, was such as not to permithis attendance.
Mr. Warburton had no wish to derogate from the real merits of the managers of the Mint. He thought, the greatest possible improvement had taken place in the coinage of the country, as would be seen by comparison of the present with the coins some years back.
Vote agreed to.
The sum of 4,500/. having been proposed, as an allowance to Protestant Dissenting Ministers in England, poor French refugees, clergy and laity, &c.
An Hon, Ocntleman objected to the vote, M rspuffnaHt to tho voluntary prln» 9i?U wblflti Im Ummn profound, and J
forced on their
thought that it w: acceptance.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was decidedly opposed to the voluntary principle, and therefore, could not entertain any objection to the vote on that ground.
Mr.Hindley proposed,asanamendment, hat the item of 1,095/. (the portion of the vote allowed to the Dissenters) be left out.
Mr. Hume supported the amendment.
Mr. Baines observed, that it had been originally the gift of King George 1st. to the Dissenters, to whom he was indebted for important services. It had been continued as a gift by George 2nd, but his successor had it transferred to the shoulders of the public. He was of opinion, that when George 3rd made this transfer, the Dissenters, in assertion of the voluntary principle, should have declared against taking this allowance from the state, although there would be nothing objectionable in their taking it as a gift from the sovereign personally. If the matter should come to a vote, he (Mr. Baines) would vote for the discontinuance of the grant.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had been applied to to withdraw this vote, but he could not do so; first, because he could not affirm the voluntary principle, to which he continued opposed; and, secondly, because, he could not withdraw that which had been conceded originally as a grant by King George 1st.
Mr. O'Connell .would decidedly vote against the continuance of this grant; and, in doing so, he would vindicate his uniform advocacy of the voluntary principle. He was favourable, however, to that portion of the grant which had reference to the French refugees, who were the descendants of the victims of an act of the basest treachery recorded in the pages of history—he alluded to the Revocation of the edict of Nantes.
Mr. Gibson said, he should vote for the grant, were it only for the purpose of marking his opinion of the insufficiency of any voluntary system. The poorer ministers of religion could never be otherwise supported than out of the public purse.
Mr. Kemble observed, that if the dissenting ministers felt, that this species of remuneration was inconsistent with their religious principles, nothing would be easier for them than to refuse ft,
Vfiflount Sandon should vow for oon» tinulng thf g?«ottio long is it wit ric#lv«d.