HC Deb 23 May 1806 vol 7 cc349-51
General Tarleton

rose, purely for the purpose of suggesting to the right hon. the secretary at war, the propriety of having the Army Estimates printed. The resolutions founded upon them had undoubtedly been agreed to; but as there were other important military questions to be brought under discussion, which were connected with these estimates, he thought that the estimates ought to be printed, with a view to give the house every opportunity of coming fully prepared to the discussion of them. He wished particularly to be informed, whether the enlistment for limited service was to be extended to the eight battalions of West-India regiments.

The Secretary at War

was not aware of any objection to the wish of the hon. general, but that it was wholly unprecedented to order the estimates to be printed after the resolutions founded on them were voted. He could not see what information the hon. general could derive from the estimates with respect to the subject of this particular enquiry, and on this ground be could not agree to the proposition.

General Tarleton

replied, that there was a paper relative to eight West-India regiments maintained at a considerable expence. He had asked the right hon. secretary for the war department, whether these negro regiments were to be included in the limited service, but had got no answer.

Mr. Huskisson

thought, that when such novel and important military discussions were expected, every information that could be given, ought to be produced.

Lord Temple

observed, that the estimates would be printed in the journals; to which

General Tarleton

replied, that it was not for the satisfaction of members in three or four years, but for the next debate that they were wanted.

Mr. Secretary Windham

said, the motion was not sanctioned by precedent, or the natural course of things. The gentlemen on the other side said, the army estimates were of importance. When were they otherwise? They said, they were now different from what were usual; that also was the case in many former years. The estimates were upon the table, and any gent. that pleased might have recourse to them; as to the eight West-India regiments, he did not think that particular point alone could require the additional printing of 6 or 7 hundred copies.

Mr. Perceval

thought it extraordinary that there should be such reluctance to print the papers, for he heard no argument against it, which would not equally apply to any motion for printing. If the whole of the case had already been disposed of, they might indeed properly quote the precedent; but it was a poor argument, when they knew that there were ulterior discussions in which the estimates might be used.—After some further conversation, the motion was negatived.