wished now to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet to a subject which had given great pain, and he would say offence, to a large body of meritorious officers in the Navy. He meant that regulation by which warrant officers in the Navy were not allowed to appear at his Majesty's levees. In this class were included Surgeons, Masters, and Pursers; but he confined himself at present to the first named. He had always been of opinion, that it was of great importance to the naval service to raise the character of surgeons employed in that branch of our national force. They were now a much superior body of men, in point of qualifications, to what they were formerly; yet, let a man be ever so well qualified as a surgeon, he was excluded from appearing at Court at levees. This he thought an extremely unfair distinction, for the surgeons of the Navy ought to be placed on terms of equality with surgeons in the Army.
Sir J. Graham
did not dispute the right of the House of Commons to discuss any subject it might think proper; but certainly that which the hon. Member had now introduced was the last, in his opi- 1042 nion, which it ought to take up. It was one which properly belonged to the consideration of the Lord Chamberlain. If it were the object to prevent levees from being too crowded, he did not know where the line could be better drawn, with respect to the Navy, than between officers who held commissions and those who did not. He deprecated the use of the word stigma, as applying to any portion of the service, when nothing of the kind could be intended.
said, there was an inconsistency in the regulation, for a man who was excluded one day as a naval Surgeon, and his name was struck off the list, might be presented at Court the next day, and a case of the kind had actually occurred.
Sir J. Graham
said, that in that case the party would have to send his card a few days previously to the Lord Chamberlain, and he would exercise his discretion with respect to his admission.
§ Colonel Davies, referring to the previous subject of discussion, deprecated the promotion of an officer of the Army over the heads of so many most deserving officers of Marines.
§ Lord Hotham
regretted, that the manner in which the right hon. Baronet had treated the subject was not calculated to remove the pain created by what he considered an undue preference of one branch of the service to another. If the officer who was superannuated was now too old for any increase in his duties, was it not too much to say, in effect, that there was no other officer in the Marines qualified to fill his place? It was quite unfair to that most deserving corps that they should be deprived of the only office of distinction within their reach. No set of men in the public service had been distinguished more than the Marines, and they ought not, after hard duty in every part of the world, to be deprived of their fair chance of promotion.