HC Deb 16 April 1821 vol 5 cc273-9

The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, to which the Army Estimates were referred, lord Palmerston moved, "That 10,517l. be granted for the Allowances to the principal officers of certain Public Departments in Ireland."

Mr. Hume

proposed, as an amendment, that the vote should be reduced to 7,000l. The medical staff of Ireland was even more expensive than that of England. Many of those officers too were not liable to serve abroad.

Lord Palmerston

acknowledged that the higher order of these officers was not liable to serve abroad. He shortly hoped to introduce a further economical arrangement in this department, by consolidating the medical staff of Ireland with that of England.

Sir H. Parnell

said, that the present system was excessively expensive, and that in many branches the offices on the Irish establishment were sinecures.

Mr. Bennet

said, that if the House went on disregarding the petitions of the people, and voting such estimates as those now before it, such a House would no longer be a blessing but a curse to the country.

Lord Palmerston

said, that no strain of inflammatory invective should prevent him from doing his best to reduce the military establishment, whenever such a reduction could be safely effected.

The committee divided: For the amendment, 45. Against it 99. Majority, 54. The resolution was then agreed to.

On the resolutions, "That 27,824l. be granted for the medical service of the army,"

Colonel Davies

said, that the medical expense of the army was greater now than in the time of war; and moved an amendment for reducing 5,000l. from the estimate.

Sir R. Fergusson

called the attention of the committee to the ninth report of the military inquiry, wherein they recommended, that the patent place of apothecary-general, held by Mr. Garnier, should be discontinued, and the medicines for the army purchased at Apothecaries Hall. He expected some explanation on that subject as well as the botanical garden.

Lord Palmerston

said, that the office of supplying the army with medicines had been held by Mr. Garnier up to his death. Two years ago Mr. Clarke who was deputy to Mr. Garnier was employed by government to buy medicines. He did buy the medicines from the merchants, from whom the Apothecaries' company bought them. He produced the medicines and his bills to the medical board, and the consequence was, that the Apothecaries' Hall lowered their prices to the public 15 per cent. Mr. Clarke was a most respectable and upright man.

Mr. Hume

was surprised to hear that the reduction was so little as 15 per cent, when there was a fall in the price of all drugs of 50 per cent. He enumerated several items which required examination.

Mr. W. Smith

asserted, that Mr. Garnier had in some cases charged 40 per cent more than the fair price of the drugs. He thought that a very considerable reduction might be made in the estimate, and that some postponement was necessary.

After some further discussion, the committee divided: For the postponement 59. Against it, 109. Majority against the amendment, 50. For the reduction, 58. Against it, 110. Majority, 52.

List of the Minority.
Allen, J. H. Creevey, T,
Baring, A. Crompton, S.
Barrett, S. M. Davies, T. H.
Beaumont, T. P. De Crespigny, sir W.
Benett, J. Denison, W.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Duncannon, visc.
Bernal, R. Dundas, hon. T.
Birch, J. Ellice, E.
Bright, H. Fergusson, sir R. C.
Brougham, H. Fitzroy, lord C.
Bury, visc. Gordon, R.
Calcraft, J. Graham, S.
Cavendish, C. Grant, J. P.
Chaloner, R. Haldimand, W.
Concannon, L. Heathcote, G. J.
Hobhouse, J. C. Ramsden, J. C.
Honeywood, W. P. Ricardo, D.
Hume, J. Rickford, W.
Hurst, R. Robarts, A.
James, W. Robarts, G.
Lambton, J. G. Sefton, earl of
Lushington, S. Smith, hon. R.
Maberly, W. S. Smith, W.
Martin, J. Smith, R.
Milton, visc. Stuart, lord J.
Monck, J. B. Tierney, rt. hon. G.
Noel, sir G. Townshend, lord C.
Ossulston, lord Whitmore, W. W.
Palmer, C. F. Wilson, sir R.
Parnell, sir H. Wood, alderman
Price, R. Wyvill, M.

On the resolution, "That 170,000l. be granted for the charge of volunteer corps,"

Mr. Bernal

said, he was not prepared, in the seventh year of peace, to vote for such an increase beyond the estimate of last year, unless a sufficient reason for employing these volunteers were shown.

Mr. F. Palmer

asked, why the yeomanry cavalry was tripled within the last year in the county of Bedford? Was it to afford gratification to the personal vanity of some men, who would be pleased at seeing themselves in red clothes? or was it to increase the number of dependants on government?

Sir W. De Crespigny

asked, why there bad been a corps raised in the peaceable town of Southampton?

Mr. Brougham

asked, why the peaceful vallies of Westmoreland were disturbed by the clang of arms? Was it to give the government the means of indulging their favourites with red coats and horses?

Mr. Hume

asked, why the increase of the volunteers was so great since 1816? What was the consequence to the finance of the country? There had been 29,000 men, whose horses were not charged, and thereby the revenue was deprived of 90,000l. or 100,000l. The volunteers therefore cost England 270,000l.; nearly as much as the lottery brought in.

Lord Palmerston

said, it was easy for members to talk of the seventh year of peace, but they should recollect that this was only in fact the first year of domestic peace. They should recollect that a part of this volunteer force was but lately engaged in active operations against bodies of their countrymen leagued against the tranquillity and the laws of the country. It was too much for the government to be accused of extravagance because they have successfully had recourse to this means of preserving the public peace.

Sir Robert Wilson

conceived that ministers had set out on a wrong system, and had adopted measures, which, if persevered in, would render rebellion a duty. [Hear, hear.] Rebellion might not be an approved term—he would say resistance then.

Mr. Hume

attributed all the disturbances which had taken place in Scotland to the malpractices of the emissaries of ministers, particularly the man Franklin, who was employed by parties connected with the government. The placard which, had caused the people at Glasgow to rise was written in London, and carried down to Scotland. Had they not seen that man protected at Bow-street by the magistrates, and permitted to escape? What other conclusion could be drawn, but that this individual, to whom so many hundred pounds had been advanced, was in connexion with the government? He (Mr. Hume) had been made acquainted within this day or two with another most flagrant instance of the employment of these emissaries, which he should shortly expose to the public.

Mr. Bathurst

said, it was impossible for any member of the administration to be silent when they heard acts of treason in Scotland charged as the act of his majesty's government. The hon. member had brought forward a charge for which there was not the slightest foundation. It was a gross calumny. It was too much, at the same time, for any reasonable person to credit. The members of government knew nothing of that man Franklin. The hon. member should abstain from making charges unless he could support them by proof.

Mr. Hume

recapitulated the facts respecting the apprehension of Franklin, his liberation by the magistrates of Bow-street, and the refusal of the Home-office to issue a reward for his apprehension until eight days had elapsed, which gave him time to escape. He appealed to every man of common sense for the rational conclusion which such facts warranted, and asked if it was possible that lord Sidmouth's office should be unacquainted with Franklin, and his treasonable designs.

Mr. Bathurst

observed, that all that the hon. gentleman had said amounted to mere suspicion: no charge of any thing done; but a charge of non-action: of not offering rewards and not taking bail. There was no foundation for the charges so unwarrantably urged against government. Franklin was totally unknown to any responsible individual in the Home-office.

Lord Milton

alluded to the part which Oliver had taken in stirring up the people to seditious acts, and asked, whether instructions had not been sent to the magistrates of the West Riding of Yorkshire not to apprehend him? This connection between the secretary of state and Oliver gave colour to other charges of a similar nature.

Mr. Bathurst

said that Oliver was employed by government to ascertain the designs of the disaffected, and not to foment them.

The Lord Advocate

said, he could vouch that the placard in question was written, printed, and published at Glasgow.

Mr. J. P. Grant

said, that the lord advocate was never supposed to have any connexion whatever with this placard; but it did appear to him, and to all whom he had conversed with on the subject, that that placard was neither written nor printed in Scotland.

Mr. Monteith

said, he could produce the names of the persons who wrote and the printers who printed the placard in question. He therefore thought the insinuation was most unfounded, and the House was never more abused than by the charge brought against the government.

Mr. Brougham

denied that the hon. member for Aberdeen had made such a ridiculous charge against the government, as that of sending down placards with a view to spread disaffection in the manufacturing districts. His charge was, that they employed spies clumsily and incautiously, and with an anxiety for information, and that those spies did engage in the promotion of treasonable practices. He would admit that the connexion of Franklin with the government was not proved; but it led to violent suspicion when coupled with those of Oliver and Edwards, both of whom were connected with government. He did not say that government employed them to do as they had done, but that they shewed such an over anxiety for information as suggested to these persons the expediency of making work for themselves where they did not find it. The impunity of these was an encouragement to others to tread in the same steps.

Mr. Wellesley Pole

entered into a defence of the administration, against the insinuations of the learned gentleman. If he intended to insinuate that they had employed such an infamous wretch as Franklin to act as he was accused of having acted, the insinuation was base, false, and foul. It was disingenuous in any man to say that he did not suspect the government, and yet endeavour to lead the country into a belief that he did. Such conduct was not candid or manly.

Mr. Brougham

said, that as the committee had listened to the scandalous charges which the right hon. gentleman had dared to bring against him, he was sure they would permit him to reply.

Mr. F. Robinson

rose amidst repeated calls of Chair! Chair! and several other members presented themselves at the same time. The Chairman intreated the Committee to apply themselves rather to allay the inflammation which had arisen from misunderstanding, than to excite it by any violence of their own.

Mr. F. Robinson

declared that such was his motive in presenting himself, He was sure there was a misunderstanding as to certain expressions, which a moment of reflection would be sufficient to explain.

Mr. Tierney

expressed himself to the same effect; and added his conviction that his learned friend would cease to feel the expressions as he had naturally felt them, when they came to be properly explained.

Mr. W. Pole

said, he should be sorry to utter any thing in the warmth of debate which could hurt the feelings of any hon. member, and if he had done so he was not aware of it.

Mr. Tierney

was sure the explanation would be considered sufficient; for if the right hon. gentleman was not aware of having made use of the expressions, he could not have intended to apply them offensively.

Mr. Brougham

said, that no person could be more unwilling than he was to take up expressions captiously which had fallen in the heat of debate. He had no right to recur to those expressions after the explanation of the right hon. gentleman, and therefore he should only say that he was not a man who was capable of insinuating what he would not state in distinct terms.

The resolution wás agreed to. The chairman then reported progress.