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and certain other functionaries, being members of the
House of Commons. Practically, the actual business of
the board is transacted by Mr. Speaker. But the board
is always convened when there is anything important to
be done. The salaries of officers of the House of Com-
mons have been fixed from time to time, pursuant to
various reports from select committees of the House,
from 1836 (up to which period they were paid by fees)
to 1849. The establishment is divided into three
branches or departments ; which are under the Speaker,
the clerk, and the serjeant-at-arms respectively. The
head of each department is responsible for the items
which concern his own department, whether they be for
salaries or contingent expenses ; and the entire pay-list

c Hans. D. v. 187, p. 853. wards rescinded, on proof that he had

d Mr. Birch's case. Hans. D. v. 97, been guilty of gross misconduct and

p. 1. Mr. Edmunds' case, Lords malversation in office; Hans. D. v.

Jour. v. 97, pp. 27-28. And see Mr. 179, pp. 6-45.

Gladstone's observations, in Hans. D. e 52 Geo. III. c. 11 ; and 9 & 1Q

v. 177, p. 1370. The resolution grant- Viet. c. 77.

ing Mr. Edinunda a pension was after-


Salaries, is submitted to the Speaker, for his approval and signa-
ture. If the establishment requires to be varied, or
increased, it is done by the permanent head of the
department with the approval of the Speaker. The
Treasury is not consulted, ' the Speaker's sanction would
be sufficient : for instance, in 1865, there were two
referees of private Bills put on, at 1,000/. each that
was done with the sanction of the Speaker.' By the Act
12 & 13 Viet. c. 72 the Speaker's audit in regard to all
expenditure for the House of Commons is final. His
order is the warrant to the Treasury to insert the amounts
required to be voted by Parliament in the annual esti-
mates. The Treasury adopt his return without exami-
nation, and include the amount in the estimates, because
it concerns the internal economy of Parliament.* There
are, however, certain items of expenditure, which are
common to both Houses, that are settled by the Trea-
sury: such as the sums to be allowed for the payment
of witnesses attending committees, the allowance for a
shorthand writer, and other miscellaneous charges of
inconsiderable amount.

These payments are made by the Treasury, upon receiving an
account of expenses, certified by the chairman of the select com-
mittee. If the charges are excessive they will be reduced or dis-
allowed by the secretary of the Treasury. 8 The Commons committee
on East India finances in 1873 desired to take evidence from India
and requested the Treasury to sanction the expenditure of 10,00(K to
defray the expenses of the witnesses. The Treasury replied that they
did not feel justified in incurring such a large expenditure from im-
perial funds. They considered that the government, rather than the
committee, ought to take the initiative in the matter. Whereupon
the committee reported the matter to the House : and the govern-
ment promised to consider it, and make some recommendation to
Parliament on the subject. 11

f For comparative statement of g Com. Pap. 1847-8: v. 18, pt. 1,

salaries paid to principal officers of p. 111. Hans. D. v. 186, pp. 702,

both Hos. ofParlt. in Gt. Britain, J376. Ib. v. 212, p. 99.

Canada, and the Australian Colonies, h 2nd Rep. Com* East I. Fin.

see Jls Leg. COUD. N. Zealand, 1877, Com. Pap. 1873, v. 12 ; Hans. D. v.

Appx. No. 18, 215, p. 1874.


Eetiring allowances to officers of the House of Com-
mons are settled by the commissioners, on the basis of
the Superannuation Acts. 1

Upon the retirement of the Speaker of the House of Speaker of
Commons from the chair, it has been the invariable commons,
usage for the House to address the crown, that * some
signal mark of royal favour ' may be conferred upon
him, on his ' ceasing to hold the office of Speaker.' The
response to this application, on the part of the crown,
is by conferring a peerage upon the retiring Speaker,
and by a message recommending the House to grant a
suitable allowance for the support of the dignity.^

In 1817, on the retirement of Mr. Abbot from the
speakership, the crown took the initiative in recom-
mending provision for him, without waiting for an
address from the House of Commons. This was resented
as irregular and objectionable. k

A similar practice formerly prevailed in the case of chaplain,
the chaplain to the House of Commons. After a short
term of service it was customary to vote an address to
the crown, soliciting the bestowal of church preferment
upon this functionary. When Parliaments were of tri-
ennial duration, such addresses were uniformly passed
after a service of about two years and a half. After
they became septennial, it was usual to allow the Speaker
two chaplains during each Parliament. Since 1837,
owing to the diminution of church patronage in the gift
of the crown, an annual salary has been voted to this
officer in supply, in lieu of an application for preferment.
But on May 31, 1838, the House having, prior to the
change -of system, addressed the crown in favour of
three chaplains, and received favourable answers, though
(for the reason above mentioned) no preferment had

1 See Rep. Corn' on Public Ace. Ib. v. 187, pp. 855, 1093 ; v. 197, p.

Evid. 885, 977 &c., 1107 &c., 1121 &c. 1478 ; v. 223, p. 1637.

Com. Pap. 1865, v. 10. Rep. Oom e . J See ante, p. 592.

Civ. Serv. Ex. Com. Pap. 1873, v. 7, k Colchester Diary, v. 3, p. 1.
Evid.p. 9. Hans.D. v. 177, p. 1123,


chaplain, been conferred upon them, an address, recapitulating
fthese circumstances, and reiterating the request, was
agreed to. During the debate thereon, the home secre-
tary (Lord John Eussell), while defending the govern-
ment from an intentional disregard of the wishes of the
House, admitted that the House were justified in the
course they had taken. But he afterwards observed
* that no address of the House can bind the crown in
the disposal of its patronage, otherwise than according
to the advice that may be given to it.' l In reply to the
address her Majesty stated that she would ' take into
her consideration in what manner the wishes of her faith-
ful Commons could be carried into effect. ' m In the
course of the session, in committee of supply, an opinion
being generally expressed in favour of a salary of 40 01.
a year being allowed to the chaplain, instead of 200/.,
as heretofore, the chancellor of the exchequer promised
to consider the matter. Accordingly, the estimates of
the following year proposed to fix the salary at 400/.,
which has ever since been the recognised allowance of
this dignitary : and from that time the situation has
been held as a permanent appointment. 11

The foregoing particulars will show that the Houses
of Parliament are at liberty to determine the remunera-
tion to be allowed to their own officials, subject to the
approval of the Treasury and the consent of the House
of Commons.

But while, as a rule, any direct interference by Par-
liament with the exercise of the prerogative of the crown,
in the appointment, control, or dismissal of public ser-
vants, would be unconstitutional, unless under the

1 Mir. of Parl. 1838, p. 4491. to Mr. Gurney for expenses of experi-

m Ib. p. 4541. ments in lighting the House of Com-

n Ib. p. 5323; 2b. 1839, p. 416, mons, performed under the direction

Parkinson's Under Govt. p. 54. of a committee of the House, was pro-

But a motion to declare the nounced by the Speaker to be informal,

opinion of the House as to the extent without the previous consent of the

of remuneration that ought to be crown. Mir. of Parl. 1839, p. 5116.

allowed by the lords of the Treasury


peculiar circumstances already indicated, when it may Enquiries
-r-, -, . ^ . 'of mmis-

become the duty of Parliament to tender advice upon ters.

the subject ; it is nevertheless agreeable to usage, and of
great public advantage, 1 * for enquiries of ministers or
desultory discussions to take place, in either House, in
reference to the appointment and control of office-holders,
in particular instances, when a direct motion on the
subject would be objectionable. In this way opportu-
nity is afforded to the administration to explain and
defend the propriety of appointments, which may have
been subjected to misrepresentations by the press or the
public at large.

On June 8, 1860, a member called the attention of the House of
Commons (without making any motion) to the unfavourable position
and inferior rate of pay of the civil assistants of the Ordnance Sur-
vey, compared with that of other public servants. His remarks were
favourably received by the ministry, and the alleged grievance shown
to have no real existence.*! On March 4, 1861, enquiry was made of
the ministry whether a person, recently appointed to a lucrative
office, had received the same in acknowledgment of political services
rendered by his father to the Liberal party. Lord Palmerston replied
that he was ' unable to answer the question.' r

On May 2, 1862, a member having moved for and obtained a
return of the services of the late barrack-master at Sheffield, and the
retiring allowance granted to him, enquired why he and others
similarly circumstanced had been allowed such a paltry pittance, when,
the treasury had legal power to grant double the amount. In reply
the secretary of the Treasury gave satisfactory explanations on the
point. 8

On April 2, 1869, the attention of the House was called to the
appointment of a person as deputy-master of the mint, in apparent
disregard of the civil service regulations ; but satisfactory explana-
tions were given by Mr. Disraeli, and endorsed by Mr. Gladstone.*

p Mr. Gladstone, Hans. D. v. 196, long standing in service, Ib. v. 169,

p. 40. p. 572. This appointment afterwards

q Ib. v. 159, p. 568. See cases of gave rise to a motion for papers, in

Messrs. Barker & Jopp, Ib. v. 161, order 'to show to the country the

pp. 1217, 1220. facts connected therewith ' ; but, be-

r Ib. v. 161, p. 1307. ing opposed by government, the mo-

5 Ib. v. 166, p. 1183. See enquiry tion was negatived on division. Ib.

into Mr. Reed's case, as to his in- v. 172, p. 1139.

tended appointment to office in navy * Ib. v. 195, pp. 31-41.
department over heads of others of







The following precedents will serve to explain and
confirm the statements made in this section, and will
explain under what circumstances parliamentary inter-
ference with this branch of the prerogative has hereto-
fore taken place :


In 1807, in the interval between the resignation of the Grenville
ministry and the accession to office of that of the Duke of Portland,
it was rumoured that it was the intention of the king to offer the
situation of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster to Mr. Spencer
Perceval, as an inducement to that eminent statesman to accept the
responsible, but then insufficiently paid, office of chancellor of the
exchequer in the new ministry. It had been heretofore the usual
(though not invariable) custom to confer this office during pleasure,
but as a means of compensating Mr. Perceval for relinquishing a
lucrative profession for the service of the crown, the king proposed
that he should hold it for life. Whereupon, on March 25, a member
of the House of Commons moved an address to the king that he
would be graciously pleased not to grant the office in question, ' or
any other office not usually granted for life, for any other term than
during pleasure.' During the discussion of this motion, Mr. Perce-
val took the opportunity of stating that it was true the king had
made him this offer under the circumstances alleged, but that in
order to prevent his Majesty from being fettered by any advice the
House of Commons might give, he had resolved not to take advan-
tage of the offer, but that he should be prepared to give his services
to the crown in any political capacity notwithstanding. The
motion for the address was supported by the leading members of the
late administration, who took the ground that it was not a restric
tion upon the royal prerogative, but rather in the interest of the
king, who should not be advised to give any places for life, but to
keep them at his own disposal to reward his faithful servants from
time to time. The address was agreed to by a large majority, and
ordered to be presented to his Majesty by such members of the
House as were of the privy council." Agreeably to constitutional
usage no reply was given by the king until after the formation of
his new ministry, when he was pleased to send down the following
answer : ' His Majesty acquaints his faithful Commons that he will
take the subject of their address into his most serious consideration,
and thinks it proper, at the same time, to inform them that he has

u Par!. D. v. 9, pp. 194-220.



thought it fit to provide that in a grant now to be made of the office Prece-
of chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, the office shall be conferred dents.
only during his royal pleasure. His Majesty assures his faithful
Commons that, in the execution of the powers with which he is
intrusted by law to grant certain offices for life, as in the exercise
of all the prerogatives of his crown, his conduct will at all times be
governed by an anxious attention to the public interest and welfare.' v
' Accordingly, Mr. Perceval, who had accepted the chancellorship of
the exchequer, held the situation of chancellor of the duchy of
Lancaster conjointly therewith, and also during pleasure. ' w Since
that time, this office, which may be regarded as a sinecure, has been
always held by a member of the administration.

In 1809, an enquiry was instituted by the House of Commons, The Duke
upon the motion of Colonel Wardle, into the conduct of H.R.H. the f York.
Duke of York, the then commander-in-chief, who was charged with
conniving at the corrupt sale of military commissions for the advan-
tage of a woman by the name of Clarke, with whom he had had a
dishonourable connection. The duke was defended by the chancellor
of the exchequer, Mr. Perceval, who succeeded in carrying an
amendment exculpating his royal highness from any guilty partici-
pation in Mrs. Clarke's proceedings. The duke, however, resigned
his command of the army ; whereupon the House resolved to pro-
ceed no further in the matter. 1 But two years afterwards, in May
1811, the duke was reappointed to office. This gave rise to a motion of
censure which was submitted to the House of Commons on June 6.
It was opposed by ministers, who pleaded his royal highness's fit-
ness for the post, and his personal popularity with the army, and
urged that the former proceedings of the House were not meant to
operate as a perpetual disqualification, and did not, in fact, affix any
stigma upon his character. The motion was accordingly negatived
by a large majority.?

Shortly before the meeting of Parliament, in 1812, the prince Colonel
regent was advised to bestow upon his faithful servant, Colonel McMahon
McMahon, the office of paymaster of widows' pensions. The aboli-
tion of this office, as being in the nature of a sinecure, had been
recommended, so far back as 1783, by the commissioners for public
accounts : and again by the commissioners of military enquiry, in
1808. The House of Commons resolved, in 1810, that it was expe-
dient to abolish all sinecures, and at the same time ' to enable
his Majesty to reward in a different way those who had filled high

v Com. Jour. v. 62, p. 305.

w Walpole's Life of Perceval, v. 1,
p. 243.

* Parl. Deb. March 17 and 20, 1809.
For particulars of this discreditable
case, Walpole, Life of Perceval, v.

1, pp. 305-331. Colchester's Diary
v. 2, pp. 166-176. Le Marchant
Life Earl Spencer, c. vi.

v Le Marchant, Life of E. Spencer
p. 131.




Lieut. -
of the

effective civil offices.' Regarding Colonel McMahon as one whose
services merited a public remuneration, and no other means having
been provided by Parliament for the purpose, the ministry recom-
mended that he should be appointed to the office in question ; sub-
ject, however, to any decision that Parliament might come to for the
reformation or abolition of the office. On January 9, 1812, the case
was brought before the House of Commons, upon an amendment to
postpone the motion to go into committee of supply, which, after a
long debate, was negatived. On February 22, an amendment was
submitted in committee of supply, to reduce the proposed grant for
pensions to officers' widows, by the amount intended to be given as
salary to Colonel McMahon. This also was negatived by a majority
of 16. But upon the report of the resolutions of supply on the fol-
lowing day, the said amendment was again proposed and agreed to
by a majority of 3. z This vote occasioned the abolition of the sine-
cure. The ministry then advised the appointment of Colonel McMahon
to the office of keeper of the privy purse, and private secretary to
the prince regent, with a salary to be defrayed by the Treasury. On
April 14, Mr. Wynn moved for a copy of this appointment with a
view to proposing a resolution of censure thereupon, on the ground
that it was unconstitutional for the reigning monarch to have a
private secretary. The motion was negatived by a large majority.
But, on June 15, ministers informed the House that the prince regent
had directed the salary of Colonel McMahon to be paid out of his
privy purse. Whereupon all further opposition to the appointment
ceased, and the gallant colonel was permitted to retain it until the
day of his death. a

In 1823, a motion was made by Mr. Hume in the House of Com-
mons to condemn the filling up of a vacancy in the office of lieuten-
ant-general of the ordnance, the said office having been declared by
a royal commission to be unnecessary ; an amendment was -proposed
for the appointment of a select committee to enquire into the duties
of this office, and the expediency of abolishing it, which was nega-
tived ; after which the main question was negatived on division. 1 "
On March 29, 1830, in committee of supply on the ordnance esti-
mates, Sir James Graham moved an amendment to reduce the vote
to defray the ordnance salaries by the amount payable to the lieu-
tenant-general, with a view to obtain the abolition of the said office;
the amendment was negatived on division. But in the following
year the office was abolished. d

Parl. Deb. v. 21, pp, 114, 906,


See ante, p. 296.

b Parl. Deb . N.S. v. 8, pp. 110,

Mir. of Parl. 1830, pp. 1099-11 13.
See a similar motion on March 12,

1830, concerning the office of trea-
surer of the navy, which was nega-
tived. Ib. p. 735. In 1835, pursuant
to the Act 5 & 6 Will. IV. c. 35, this
office was merged into that of pay-

d Haydn, Book of Dignities, p. 192,


On April 16, 1832, an attempt was made to induce the House of Pi-ece-
Commons to interpose in a case where the colonial secretary (exer^- dents,
cising the discretion vested in him by an Act of Parliament) had Colonial
refused to grant an extension of leave of absence to a colonial clergy- secretary-
man. It was moved to resolve that, for certain reasons therein*
stated, it was the opinion of the House that this clergyman should
be allowed an additional six months' leave, without prejudice to his-
salary. The under- secretary for the colonies opposed the motion >
he showed that much indulgence had already been granted to this-
gentleman ; and declared that it would be quite contrary to the
practice of the House to interfere with the government in such a.
matter. Accordingly the motion was negatived. 6

In 1837, Mr. Hume, being desirous of impugning the recent Corn-
appointments of commander-in-chief and military secretary, pro-
posed, on the consideration of the report from the committee of
supply on the army estimates, an amendment to reduce the vote
by the amount of the respective salaries of these officers ; but Mr.
Wynn (a very high authority) declared that this course was neither
' regular nor constitutional ' ; and, if successful, would lead, not to-
the substitution of one individual for another as commander-in-
chief, but to the abolition of the office. He considered that the
object the mover had in view amounted to an improper interference
with the prerogative of the crown in appointments to office ; adding,
that ' it is undoubtedly the right of the House to allot what sum it
may think proper for the expenses of the army : but if a charge is
intended against any individual, it ought to be stated intelligibly
and directly, in the form of an address.' The amendment was then
put and negatived.'

In 1841, objection being taken in the House of Commons to the Solicitor
creation of a new office, that of solicitor to the Home Department, ^^ Iome:
and a resolution proposed that such an office was unnecessary ; it
was urged, in reply, that the proper time to make the objection
would be in committee of supply, when a vote would be submitted
to defray the salary of the same. Accordingly, the motion was
withdrawn, and the objection renewed in the debate on the esti-
mates. But the government having promised to enquire into the
matter, no further action took placed

Mir. of Parl. 1831-2, p. 1863. Meath. Hans. D. v. 159, p. 1533.
f Ib. 1837, p. 861. See a similar And that of new offices created in

proceeding in 1868, to condemn a 1869 and 1873. Ib. v. 195, p. 80 ;

certain legal appointment made by v. 216, p. 1287. The ordinary prac-

one of the judges. Hans. D. v. 192, tice now is, to call in question new

p. 497. appointments by amendments to re-

* Ib. 1841, p. 1509. Ib. 1841, sess. duce votes in committee of supply on
2, p. 351. See also the case of the behalf of the same. Ib. v. 229, p.
crown solicitor for the county of 1311.




Sir T.

Sir P.

In 1838, upon the appointment of the Earl of Durham to the
office of governor-general of Canada, his lordship was accompanied

to Quebec by a gentleman named T (afterwards Sir T. T ),

who had been convicted of adultery several years previously, but
had since filled situations of honour and responsibility. In conse-
quence of his high legal attainments and general ability, Lord Durham

appointed Mr. T. as one of his secretaries, and gave him a seat

in the executive council. When his lordship's appointments gene-
rally came under review by the home government, they were all

approved of with the exception of that of Mr. T . Meanwhile

enquiry had been made in the House of Lords, whether it was true
that this individual had been appointed to an office by Lord Durham.
At first it was denied by the government, but when it was clear
from the Canadian journals that such an appointment had taken
place, the government declared that they had received the intelli-
gence ' with surprise and regret.' h Subsequently, the government
remonstrated with Lord Durham for what he had done, but his
lordship replied that he took the whole responsibility upon himself
and would rather resign his own office than suffer it to be cancelled.
Thus far had the correspondence proceeded the government being
unwilling ' to disturb Lord Durham's government by actually insist-
ing' on the rescinding of this appointment when more serious events
occurred in Canada, which led to the retirement of Lord Durham

from his post. Mr. T accompanied his lordship home. But

the matter was not allowed to drop here. The question was again
brought under notice of the House of Lords after the Earl of Dur-
ham had resumed his seat in that assembly in 1839, 1 and a motion
was made for an address to the crown for correspondence on the
subject. Upon that motion the foregoing explanations took place :
and the prime minister (Lord Melbourne) having stated that the
correspondence in question had been principally private and un-
official, the mover expressed himself satisfied with the regret ex-
pressed on the part of the government that such an objectionable
appointment should have been made, and withdrew his motion.' J

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