HC Deb 20 February 1804 vol 1 cc497-8
Mr. Foster

called the attention of the right hon. gent. on the Bench below him (Mr. Corry) to the subject of the Militia of Ireland. He stated circumstances to shew that the Militia now existing in Ireland had been raised under the provision of an Act of Parliament, which was made for the purpose of providing for the families of Militia-men in certain cases. Some of the balloted men he knew had received the bounties. In the month of August a bill was passed to regulate and model the mode of giving bounties, and for providing for the families of militiamen, by which two shillings a weak were allowed to the helpless father or helpless, mother of a militiaman, and to the brother or sister one shilling per week. The militia was raised while this bill was in force. Afterwards another bill was brought into Parliament, and passed, by which the father and mother had only one shilling per work, and the brother and sister nothing, He did not say any thing upon the question, whether the first allowance was too much or the second too little, but he said that the militia was engaged on the faith of the former, and all that he wished was, that some measure should be had for keeping good faith with those men who entered under tire old law, but who now could neither under the old or new law receive the bounties or subsistence to their families that they expected. The money for this purpose was to have issued in a way that was peculiar to Ireland, by officers who had the superintend nice of that business, and it was to be replaced by determination of the grand juries, who were to make proper presentments for that purpose at the assizes. He mentioned this matter now, because unless some course be followed, different from what the law at present provides, the grand juries will not have such power as they were used to have to make the presentments, nor was there any time to be. lost upon this occasion, the time was short between this and the spring assizes in Ireland, which he believed would commence about the 16th or the 18th of March: therefore he hoped, that whatever measure was taken, it would be considerably before that time. He hoped that this, which he should call a mistake, would be rectified.

Mr. Corry

observed, that this was a subject on which there was a great difference of opinion in the Parliament of Ireland when it was discussed, He hardly remembered a question that was more agitated than this had been: but with regard to any amendments in the Act, or any tiling that might be done by way of alteration in that respect, he thought it was natural to postpone it until the Irish members were able to attend the House. Such he had thought, and did still think, the proper course in such a case as this. Whatever there was in his matter that required consideration, he was sure that his Majesty's ministers would concur with tie right hon. gent. who had now mentioned IT, ill giving it the most effectual attention; bit in the absence of most of the members for Ireland, who were attending their military duly, he should not think it respectful to them to discuss it.

Mr. Foster

thought the right hon. gent. had misconceived his meaning. He did net desire to enter on the merits of the case, or propose a discussion of it in the House, either one way or the other; what he wished was, only that ministers would remedy an apparent breach of faith,