HC Deb 13 May 1814 vol 27 cc871-3

The House having formed itself into a Committee of Supply,

Mr. W. Dundas

rose, in pursuance of notice, to move the different estimates for the naval service of the current year. It would be unnecessary for him to enter minutely into this subject, as the estimates had been printed several weeks, and were in the hands of the members. If any gentleman, however, wished for explanation on any particular branch, he should be happy to afford it. The estimates consisted of the Ordinary, the Extraordinary, and Transport Service. The Ordinary Service was divided into three branches: 1st. Pay—2d. Half-pay. [An increase was proposed in this branch, but it was impossible yet to say to what extent.] The 3d head was, the estimate of Superannuation. The next was the Extraordinary Service; no alteration would take place in this service. With respect to the estimates of the Repairs of Ships of War, a great deal would be necessary to fit them for the ordinary; for it laid up unrepaired they would go to ruin. He next came to the head of Expences of New Works required; but the committee would not thank him to go through the details of the works now. A large sum of above 1,600,000l. was stated for Army Provisions, &c. He proposed a reduction of one-half, that is 800,000l. One article the Sick and Wounded, was considerably over-stated, but he could not yet say to what extent. It would depend on the number of those who arrived sick from foreign service. One large statement was 1,200,000l. for Prisoners of War. A hope would naturally be entertained of a large reduction on this head; but the accounts were kept from October one year to October next year; so that the saving would only be from the period of the release to October. The reduction would be about 260,000l. The reduction would be about 260,000l. In December last there were voted 12 millions for Wear and Tear. A reduction was here proposed of 2 millions. The total deduction from the estimates of the current year would be between three and four millions. The house had voted 140,000 seamen. It must be gratifying to all to learn the pitch of power to which the British navy had arrived. It had never perhaps been equalled, and certainly never exceeded. It was not this or that board which had raised the navy to this ascendancy, but the liberal support of parliament and the country at large. We had a naval power equal to check the combined fleets of the world, and even capable of overwhelming them. It consisted of above 1,000 vessels. What our seaman were, the voice of Europe would tell. They had been engaged in blockade for years, a dull monotonous service, which they had borne without murmuring or repining. A grateful country must hail the return of their brave defenders. They had earned the gratitude of that country by many a toilsome, many a stormy day.

The items were then moved and agreed to in the committee.

Mr. Tierney

inquired whether, upon the whole estimates, there was an exceeding above, or a diminution under, those of last year?

Mr. Croker

replied, that on the Extraordinary Estimates there was a diminution of nearly 700,000l. as compared with the last year. In the whole, there was a reduction of nearly three millions in consequence of recent events. Under the head containing all the establishments, such as the Superannuation and Half-pay Lists, there was necessarily an increase of 60,000l. The head, Army Provisions, which was not a naval service, but a sum charged for the conveyance of troops, there was an augmentation of 500,000l. and the charge for the Transport Service was increased 700,000l.; but both these items would amount to nothing in future years, excepting the next, when heavy expences must be incurred for bringing home our armies from various situations.

Mr. Lockhart

inquired, whether it was meant to make an addition to the tickets of out-pensioners at Greenwich Hospital?

Mr. Croker

assured the House, that the largest possible allowance should be made; but he could not give a more precise answer. He stated, that the Widows' Pensions, originally established by queen Caroline, would be augmented in consequence of new regulations.