UK, House of Lords, “Canada—Mr. Turton”, vol 45, cols 507-509 (18 February 1839)

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Date: 1839-02-18
By: UK (House of Lords)
Citation: UK, HL, “Canada—Mr. Turton“, vol 45 (1839), cols 507-509.
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The Earl of Winchilsea seeing the noble Viscount in his place, begged to put a question to him. He had last year felt it to be his painful duty to ask the noble Viscount a question on the subject of an appointment to a high situation in the Government of the noble Earl, then Governor-general of Canada. The noble Viscount, in his answer to that question, led him to believe as indeed be expressed it, that he felt both “surprise and regret’, at that appointment,

  • (col. 508)

for these were the words of the noble Viscount. Upon looking over the report which the noble Earl had produced, he (Lord Winchilsea) was surprised to find, that throughout the documents contained in that report, not one of them related to that point. He, therefore, begged to ask the noble Viscount whether there were any returns in his possession which he intended to lay on the Table relating to that appointment, because otherwise he should feel it to be his duty to press for the production of those documents.

Viscount Melbourne said, it was not his intention to lay any papers on this subject on the Table of the House.

The Earl of Winchilsea would, to-morrow make a motion on the subject.

The Earl of Durham said, that as this irregular conversation had taken place—he certainly considered it to be an irregular conversation, if the noble Earl intended to give notice of any motion on the subject, otherwise he should not have any ground to complain of—he begged to inform the noble Earl, that in the appointment to which he referred, the noble Viscount at the head of her Majesty’s Government had no concern whatever. It was an appointment of his own, made as he had a right to make it, without any authority from the Government. It was not an appointment under the sign manual, nor one requiring the confirmation of her Majesty’s Ministers; but strictly en appointment of his own, and the responsibility of which he should be prepared to meet whenever the noble Earl might think proper to bring the subject forward; and he begged to assure the noble Earl, that so far from thinking the appointment a wrong one, he considered, that the public service had very much benefited by the legal attainments of that gentleman. He had received the greatest assistance from that gentleman, and felt the highest gratification in the results of his official labours, and he would add, that he should be prepared to male the same appointment again, if he had the opportunity.

The Earl of Winchilsea had studiously avoided alluding again to this subject, until the documents now laid on the Table were before the House. He had determined not to introduce the subject again until those documents had been produced, because he had felt bound to act, fairly towards the noble Earl, and not in any way

  • (col. 509)

to prejudice the question. The question was not between him and the noble Earl, but between him and the noble Viscount at the head of her Majesty’s Government. He had nothing whatever to do with the private feelings of the individual that was alluded to—with his abilities, or with his talents. He had no doubt, that he had rendered most efficient service to the noble Earl. But on public grounds he had expressed his regret, as he should have done if the appointment had taken place by his dearest friend; he had expressed his regret at, the appointment, and having been joined and sympathised with in that expression of regret by the noble Viscount, he bad a right to know, not in his own name, but in the name of the public, what course had been taken by her Majesty’s Government, on the subject.

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