HC Deb 19 June 1820 vol 1 cc1179-80

The resolutions of the committee of supply to which the Miscellaneous Estimates were referred, having been reported,

Mr. John Smith

objected to the vote of 60,000l. for the Penitentiary at Millbank. He thought it an enormous sum to be granted for such a purpose in the present state of the country. The situation of the building was a most unhealthy one.

Mr. Holford

justified it, and referred to the authority of Howard.

Mr. Lockhart

observed, that the whole building would cost 600,000l., and the annual expense would be 21,000l. so that every criminal confined in the Penitentiary would cost the country 100l. a year. Government ought to take care how they permitted members of parliament to become patrons of institutions of this kind. He said that parliament, unless in cases of urgent necessity, ought not to vote an additional shilling to increase the burthens of the people.

Mr. Hume

said, he had voted for the original construction of the edifice; but the estimate then only amounted to the half of what had already been expended. He was in favour of the resolution, that the building might be completed; and, after its completion, government might gain experience.

Sir Joseph

Yorke thought the buildings already finished were quite sufficient for the purpose of experiment. This grant was for a new building. He thought it very wrong on the part of government to embark in such expensive undertakings, for the purpose of indulging any member in a favourite object of speculation. The expense of printing for both Houses scarcely amounted to less than 100,000l. per annum. He could not tell how the money was expended: it was like "the peace of God/which passeth all understanding." [Order.]

Mr. Hume

wished to know whether there was any intention of allowing the claims of the American loyalists for the balance due to them. They were assured that the losses they had sustained would be fully made good to them. This, however, had not been yet done, though the subject had been frequently under consideration. He could look upon it as nothing less than a breach of the public faith.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

allowed that they were a meritorious body of men. To comply with their demands would, however, be establishing a very inconvenient precedent. They were in the same situation as many others were placed in by the chances of war.

Mr. Courtenay

regretted the view taken of this subject by the chancellor of the exchequer. He could hot allow that the case of these claimants was similar to that of any others. Their claims stood on the faith of parliament and were quite distinct from any others.

Mr. W. Smith

fully concurred in the sentiments of the hon. gentleman who spoke last. The only bar he could see in the way of the claimants, was their acceptance of a certain portion of what was fairly due to them. This, however, should form ho objection against allowing what, by every tie of justice, the country was bound to pay. Their claims were as fair, and as strong as any in the annals of war. They had not been allowed to lie dormant. They had been revived, at different intervals, during a period of thirty years. Three fourths of the claimants Were now dead; and many of them from broken hearts, in consequence of their disappointments. Lord Shelburne and Mr. Burke, though opposed to the American war, had allowed that there were no men better entitled to the consideration of the country.

The report was agreed to.