HC Deb 27 May 1814 vol 27 cc1032-4

The House went into a Committee of Supply.

Mr. Arbuthnot

moved that the sum of 3,350,132l. 4s. 10d. be granted for defraying the ordinary expences of the army.

Mr. Bennet

, in a voice scarcely audible in the gallery, made inquiries as to the meaning of some of the items in the estimates of the year. He asked, what was the reason of the grant proposed to lord Burghersh of 1,000l.? There were an hundred persons who would have been glad of the mission to the Austria army without putting the Country to any expence. The father of lord Burghersh had been employed in several lucrative offices; and there could be no reason for giving the noble lord an extraordinary remuneration.

Mr. Arbuthnot

said, that lord Burghersh had been pitched on as a proper person for the mission in which he was employed, and that there could be no doubt bat that he had executed it. A thousand pounds had been advanced by the government for his extraordinary expences, for which he would afterwards account. It was the usual practice in such cases; and the circumstances of the person himself, or the situation of his father, they had certainly no right to take into consideration.

Mr. Bennet

wished to know, whether the payment of the extraordinary expences officers employed in these missions had been customary on former occasions?

Mr. Robinson

said, that lord Burghersh had been subjected to expences, during the latter part of his mission, not to be paralleled on any former occasion; owing to the difficulty of procuring horses for the conveyance of his baggage; the allied army being then in a hostile country.

Mr. Goulburn

stated, to satisfy the hon. gentleman as to the practice of government towards officers employed on special missions, that it was the constant rule to indemnify those gentlemen for their extraordinary expences; and for the purpose of defraying, these charges, a sum of money was usually advanced. Of this there was an example in the case of general Hope, in the same estimates; who, having been sent on a special message to the Prince Royal of Sweden, received 1,000l. of which he was to account for that part which might not have been expended by him. The same was done with respect to all officers of similar rank employed in similar missions.

Mr. Huskisson

wished to know what would be the amount of the army extra-ordinaries of the current year? As he understood it, five millions had been already taken on account.

Mr. Arbuthnot

said, that what the amount of the extra ordinaries of the year would be, it was not possible to say. It was not five millions which had been already taken on account, but three millions, to which the sum then demanded was to be added; which would make the whole taken on account 6,250,000l.

Mr. Tierney

wished for some explanation as to the mode of voting the sum required.

Mr. Long

, in answer, stated, that it was not for the services of the current year, as his hon. friend (Mr. Huskisson) and the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Tierney} seemed to conceive, that the present vote was proposed; but for the extraordinary expences of the last year. The nominal amount of the extraordinaries for the last year was 22 millions; bat of this 2½ millions were to be deducted, which had been applied to the regular services of the army. This arose from the circumstance, that all bills drawn by the commissary general were ranked under the head of army extraordinaries.

Sir John Newport

Wished to know the purpose of the grants for sums paid by general Sontag, and on account of sir I. Brock.

Mr. Goulburn

stated, that when, during the revolutionary war, Holland was occupied by the French troops, several Dutch officers had taken refuge in Eagland; to whom an allowance was made through general Sontag. When Holland became free, it was signified to these officers that the pension would be discontinued; but, as many of the pensioners were without the means of returning to their own country, it was resolved to advance one year's pension to them for that purpose; which was the item alluded to. As to sir Isaac Brock, when that gallant officer died, he had not been invested with the order of the Bath which had been granted to him. His relatives, however, being desirous that all possible honours should be paid to him, wished that the arms of the Bath should be placed on the tomb voted by parliament. The item alluded to was the amount of fees paid to the officers of the order.

Sir J. Newport

wished to call the attention of the government to the Irish adjutants of militia, who (he knew not why) were not placed on an equality, in point of pay, with the same officers in the English militia. He hoped that, in the half-pay arrangement, the case of this class of officers would be considered.

Mr. Peel

said, the disparity of the pay of these officers had not been overlooked; and that there existed a disposition in the government to put them on a footing of equality.

The vote was then carried.

On the motion of Mr. Lushington, the sums of five millions and one million were then voted to provide for Exchequer Bills outstanding and unprovided for.