HC Deb 26 February 1810 vol 15 cc603-5
Sir T. Turton

stated his desire before he brought forward the motion of which he had given notice, to set himself right with the House and the country, in answer to charges brought against him by ministers upon a former night. He was then told that his object was to disband the army and stop its pay. The injustice of such a charge was evident from the fact, that the delay his motion would occasion in voting the Army Estimates, could not be productive of any such effect, inasmuch as the Mutiny bill in England would not expire before the 25th of March, nor in Ireland until the 1st of April.—Independent of that, the House had already voted the sum of five millions for the army. Surely, then, the House would do him the justice of believing, that his motives were not those imputed to him, and that he was but exercising his duty when he objected to give such an army as was voted last year, after the evidence they had received; namely, that out of 105,000 effective men according to the last year's estimates, ministers could not provide in the month of March last 16,000 for foreign service. But, he was told by ministers, that it would be much more correct to bring at once a specific charge against them, rather than take his present course. His answer was, that he would not vole an army so large to their disposal, whom he accused of being criminally lavish of the blood and treasure of the country—to whose conduct, he attributed the loss of Spain, and the depreciation of the king's government in the estimation of the public. Such men he would not trust with the nation's means to be squandered in such expeditions as that to Walcheren. The hon. baronet concluded with moving, "That there be laid before the House a Return of the amount of the Expenditure of the Military Force of the country from the 24th of Dec. 1808, to the 25th of Dec. 1809."

Mr. Long

stated, that if it was in the contemplation of the hon. mover to have an account of the expenditure of our whole military force, both at home and abroad, that was impracticable without considerable delay. There could be no objection to produce an account of the sums issued by the Secretary at War for the time, although from the late period at which the hon. baronet brought forward his motion, he could not see how it was possible that such return could answer his object.

Sir J. Newport

suggested, that it would be adviseable for the future so to provide that the Mutiny bill should not expire until a more advanced period of the session.

Mr. Huskisson

said it would be impossible to prepare within a given time the general account required by the present motion, the only practicable object would be to obtain the sums issued.

Mr. Parnell

considered it no answer to a member of parliament, wishing to inquire into the public expenditure, to be told that the account could not be made up. It was only a proof that our system of ac- counts was defective and ought to be corrected.

Mr. Calcraft

contended that the House should pause before it voted a new army to ministers, who, as was proved in evidence, could not out of 105,000 effective voted last year, provide, in the month of March last, 16,000 for the public service.

Lord Palmerston

answered, that the explanation on that point was, that although there were 105,000 effective men, there could not at that time be provided a disposable force of more than 16,000 men.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

stated, that the full force was effective, but that the obstacle at the time alluded to arose from the state of the new equipments.

The House divided, when the numbers were—For the motion 35, Against it 76, Majority 41.