HC Deb 16 February 1821 vol 4 cc726-42
Mr. Hume

rose to draw the attention of the House to the Ordnance Estimates for the present year, and to submit a motion on that subject; the reasons for which he should state in the first instance. That retrenchment was the object that he had in view, as well as the avowed object of the House itself, could hardly be doubted. It became necessary, therefore, to point out what alterations could, with the least inconvenience, be made; but in order to satisfy members with regard to particulars of this nature, it was also necessary that accurate and detailed accounts should be placed before them. The estimates, as at present framed, gave none of the requisite information: they entered into no details, but left the House utterly ignorant of all the items which went to compose the separate heads of expenditure. It was impossible for the House to judge what reductions were practicable or expedient, or to what extent they ought to be carried whilst the existing system of account between the public and the Ordnance department was allowed to prevail. The commissioners of military inquiry had in one of their reports advised that a different form of accounts should be adopted, and it was certainly singular that the House should have hitherto been content to vote the sums demanded, on an inspection merely of their total amount. The necessity for setting out these accounts in greater detail would appear manifest on a reference to the last ten or twelve years, during which, it would be found that, the sums actually disbursed did not correspond with the finance accounts.

In the statement which he was about to make, he should not notice the article of old stores. He should confine himself entirely to the actual sum charged against the public. He would take, for instance, the three last years; the estimate for 1817 was 1,189,000l., and the sum charged in the finance accounts for the year ending January 5th, 1818, was 1,435,000l., the difference between the estimate and the actual expenditure being 246,000l. In 1818, the estimate was 1,200,000l., and the actual expenditure 1,400,000l. In 1819, the estimate was 1,100,000l., and the amount in the last finance accounts was 1,538,000l. being a difference of 400,000l. which had in no way been accounted for in that House. Perhaps he had already said enough to prove the necessity of a more strict and rigorous investigation into the conduct of this department. He had great reason to believe that in various other branches of our military expenditure a similar course of profusion would be found to prevail. At a time when they must look to retrenchment, and to that alone, for increasing and strengthening their resources, the House could not be too diligent in their inquiries upon this subject. His intention had at first been, to compare the different sums total, in their present or late amount, with the expenditure for similar purposes in the year 1793, the last year of peace previous to the revolutionary war with France. He was willing, however, considering the great change which had taken place in all our establishments, to select the year 1796 as a fair period on which to found a comparison. That was the third year of war, and a time when the scale of all our military establishments had been greatly raised. He wished only to refer for one moment to the Ordnance expenditure during the three years previous to the war. The amount of it in 1791 was 506,000l., including a sum of 70,000l. for the discharge of debt contracted. In 1792 it was 419,000l., and in 1793, just before the armament, it was, including the charge for artillery, 513,000l. The average was about 440,000l.; which average, after all the reductions and alterations made, amounted in 1819, the fourth year of peace, to 1,400,000l., and in the following year to 1,500,000l. It now appeared by the estimates for the service of the present year that the same amount was to be continued, or at least that the whole saving did not exceed 15,000l. A sum of 3,000l. had also arisen under the head of "saving from old stores." Having arrived at the fifth year of peace, we had only yet effected a reduction of 300,000l. in this part of our war establishments. In the last year there was also a very large sum granted for special purposes; so that, with, all the savings made, the expense of this year was much beyond that of 1819.

In order to lay further ground for his motion, he. should now refer to one or two articles, as affording practical evi- dence of the disposition and exertions of ministers to carry their boasted schemes of retrenchment into effect. The Estimates laid before the House, as he had already said, proved nothing, showed nothing, and in order to procure some light, he must again have recourse to the reports of the finance committee. In the 13th report of that committee, a very minute account was set forth, such an account as should alone satisfy a House of Commons, when disposing of the public money. It would be easy to show that where a saving had actually been made in one instance, the sum so retrenched had, instead of being carried to the credit of the public, been divided amongst other clerks or official persons. The House must, he was sure, feel surprise to learn that the salaries in the Artillery department amounted to 43,000l. or 8,000l. more than was recommended by the commissioners of military inquiry in the year 1810. Under the head of Tower and Pall-mall department, the charge in the year 1782 was 38,000l.; in 1796 it had increased to 51,000l.; and, in 1805 its amount was 105,000l. Here, then, was a regularly progressive increase but it might be explained, and perhaps justified, by the circumstances of the country, and the long continuance of war. But what would the House say on hearing that six months after the last mentioned period the charge under this head was raised to 120,000l.? It was now, in the fifth or rather sixth year of peace, 8,237l. more than was recommended in 1810. In another part of these accounts 30,000l. would be found charged as gratuities for length of service. He apprehended that these were paid to persons who were receiving remuneration for their services under another head of expenditure. The finance committee of 1796 described the gratuities as temporary additions to the emoluments of the clerks and officers, rendered necessary by the then increased price of provisions. They at that time amounted to 42,302l. As in all other cases, however, where the exercise of patronage and pecuniary influence was left to the discretion of the board, the same effect continued long after the assigned cause or pretext was withdrawn. The sum was gradually increased from the year 1796 till 1812, when it amounted to 8,000l. The next year it became 9,600l. the next year 10,000l., then 15,000l., 24,000l., and so on till it now amounted to 30,000l. And this, the House would observe, was a sum granted to this department to enable them to meet the pressure of a temporary rise in the price of provisions! In the 13th report of the commissioners of military inquiry, they expressed their surprise at this circumstance, and observed that these additional gratuities were granted by his majesty's warrant. They complained, therefore, not of the authority under which they were allowed, but of the discretion exercised by those who recommended these grants to the Crown. The commissioners said they believed it was a practice unknown in any other department, and that it had gone to the extent of trebling the former salaries. After all the warnings which had been given to the Board of Ordnance, he could not conceive what justification could be offered for the large and unnecessary additions which had been made to its expenditure under this particular head. Unless ample and accurate statements were annually laid before parliament, this system of waste would continue, the abuses would be progressive, and it would become more and more difficult to apply a remedy.

He would now proceed to mention a few instances of this prodigal increase and extravagant disbursement as they related to individuals. In the first place, the pay and allowances of the master-general of the Ordnance had been doubled. The salary of the clerk had received a considerable addition. The secretary to the master-general, whose salary was 300l. per annum, in 1796, and who ought to be regarded as a private rather than a public secretary, now received 2,000l. In 1819 the finance committee thought it a great merit to advise the reduction of this sum to 1,500l. per annum, just as if it was the case of a public secretary, instead of being a private appointment, or as if there was no public secretary; although the person who did actually fill that office was at the same time receiving 1,400l. per annum. The office of under secretary, to which there was a salary of 300l. attached, had indeed been abolished; but lest the public should derive any benefit from the abolition, the salary had been divided amongst the clerks. It would be seen by a reference to the same accounts, that various new appointments had been created since 1796, and that similar abuses prevailed in every branch of this extensive department. He wished, however, to make a few observations relative to the storekeepers, and more especially to the storekeepers at Sheerness and Dover. With regard to the latter, he would here remind the House that he bad asserted on a former evening that the late storekeeper retired on an allowance of 500l. a year. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. It. Ward) had contradicted this statement, and he was the more surprised at the contradiction, as the right hon. gentleman must have been acquainted with all the circumstances, he having a short time before appointed one of the freemen of Queenborough to succeed that officer. Did the right hon. gentleman then, intend to assert that no storekeeper had retired upon a pension of 500l? [Mr. Ward gave a nod of assent to Mr. Hume.] If such was his intention, he must call the particular attention of the House to the case of the storekeeper at Dover. The storekeeper at that fortress, in 1796, had a salary of 120l. a year, and an allowance of 20l. a year for house-rent. In 1801, 80l. a year was added to his former salary. In 1805, 50l. was added to it, and in 1808 a further sum of 50l. Afterwards the salary was increased to 420l. and at present, it was 500l. a year. Was such profusion to be tolerated in the present impoverished state of the country? He trusted that gentlemen would pause before they sanctioned it by their votes. The right hon. gentleman had said that no storekeeper had retired upon a pension of 500l. a year. Would he recollect what had happened at Dover and Sheerness? At the latter place, where in 1796, the storekeeper had no more than 100l. a year, Mr. A. Gibbs had retired lately upon a pension of 500l. a year. Such a grant, even if it were a solitary instance ought to convince the House of the propriety of looking narrowly to the Ordnance estimates; but when he told them that similar profusion had occurred at Portsmouth, where the storekeeper's salary was now 1,100l. instead of 600l. as in 1796, they would see the absolute necessity of instituting a strict inquiry into their nature and amount.

Neither was this lavish system confined to our ports at home; on the contrary, it was in full force in Malta, in Gibraltar, in Barbadoes, in Ceylon, and at the Cape of Good Hope, as he would prove by a comparison of the estimates in 1796 and in 1820. Mr. Hume then read extracts from them to prove his assertion, and, after doing so, called the attention of the House to a new and useless office, lately instituted; namely, that of store-keeper of ordnance in the Artillery depot in the Regent's park. What occasion there was for a depot of Artillery in that quarter, when the Tower and Woolwich were so near, he was at a loss to discover; but he found that a Mr. Mash Wood was appointed to take care of it with no less a salary than 360l. a year. When the public money was frittered away in such useless expenditure, surely gentlemen would agree with him in thinking that it was their duty to check it. By cutting away useless offices in one quarter, and by curtailing the salaries of them in another, he was convinced that the Ordnance estimates might be reduced from 1,500,000l. to 1,100,000l. There was now a half-pay list of 330,000l. and it appeared to him that, under such circumstances, if in 1796 the estimates were only 450,000l. the estimates in 1820 ought not to exceed three times that amount. And yet they did exceed that sum; nor was it wonderful, when they recollected the gross and lavish expenditure in the storekeeper's department at Sheerness, into the particulars of which Mr. Hume entered at considerable length. He next adverted to the gunpowder department of the Ordnance, in which no attention to economy had been displayed. For instance, the expense of the establishment for manufacturing gunpowder at Feversham amounted to more than 3,000l. in salaries and allowances for different officers; and yet not one barrel of gunpowder had been manufactured there for some years, and the very mills themselves had been let to a gentleman at Dartford. Strange, however, as the intelligence might appear to the House, he could inform them that in 1819, some time after the mills had been let, and when not a single barrel of gunpowder had been manufactured in them by government, a gentleman was appointed, with a large salary, inspector of the manufactory; and not only had he a salary assigned to him, but even a private House for his residence, in order that he might always be on the spot to perform the duties of his office. So, too, had the other officers of the establishment. Mow, he did not blame the government for letting the mills at Feversham; he only blamed; them for not breaking up the whole establishment, when they let the premises with which it was connected. If they had broken it up, they would not only have saved the country some thousands a year in the payment of salaries, but would have added to its revenue a large sum, arising from the sale of the houses connected with it. Similar instances of waste and extravagance were to be found in the same establishments at Sheerness. There, too, the different clerks had houses found them by government; for this ostensible reason—that they might always be on the spot to notice what occurred. How far that reason was a valid one the House would be better enabled to judge, when he informed them that the various clerks resided at Queenborough, and let to strangers their houses at Sheerness. So far was that system carried, that one of the common labourers in the works, who was entitled to a couple of rooms, imitated the example of his betters, and let them out to a convict-keeper. Such was the system at these two places: he did not mean to say that every other station was as bad, but he would undertake to show before a committee, that every one of them was faulty. The hon. gentleman then alluded to the heavy expenses to which the country was put by the floating magazines between Chatham and Sheerness. Besides the expence to the country, a great evil had arisen from it to the constitution. The persons employed in that service by the government were allowed to vote at elections, and were not disqualified as persons employed by it were in the Post-office and elsewhere. That was a point which he trusted that the House would notice, as it was intimately connected with its own privileges. To show how much the purity of election was likely to be affected by this system, he informed the House that not less than 66 freemen of Queenborough were employed in the Ordnance craft, who, under the direction of three magistrates of the place, returned the members for the borough. The whole system of these floating magazines, if properly examined into, would show how grossly the public money was sacrificed and exhibit in the broadest light the corruption of government.

He thought that he had now done enough to prove that some examination into the Ordnance estimates was abso- lutely necessary: he would, however, add another observation in order to strengthen the conviction which he trusted he had already created. Honourable gentlemen were perhaps aware, that if a common labourer took a couple of brass nails, or a log of wood out of the Ordnance stores, he was liable to be transported for life; but would they believe that if a storekeeper took a boatload of them, not the slightest notice was taken of that fact? He would prove that it was a frequent practice with the storekeepers to appropriate part of the old stores to their own use—and especially in the case of Mr. Pennell, of Sheerness. He had old carriages cut up for his own use, and not only cut up for his own use, but cut up for him by the servants of the public. Coals, too, had also been taken from the king's stores. This might be one of the perquisites of the storekeepers, or the right hon. gent, might not know that such things were practised. If he did not, and if such practices were not allowed, he trusted that his attention, would now be attracted to them, and that care would be taken to prevent them in future.—The hon. member then proceeded to notice the expenditure in the gunpowder manufactory at Waltham-abbey, where he said that every officer, now that only 1,000 barrels a year were manufactured, was receiving more than he did when 26,000 barrels were manufactured. The whole course in fact was calculated, and calculated only, to keep up the quantum of government patronage. There were items without end, to which he could refer: there was a charge of 4,268l. for master gunners, without any thing in the nature of detail attached to it. How the gunners were employed, the House was not told; but this lie could tell the House that one of them, kept a grocer's shop, nine miles from the place where he was supposed to be upon duty. At Woolwich, the expense was 14,000l. and the clerks upon the establishment were more numerous than the artificers employed. Again, at Feversham, 50l. or 100l. a-year was paid to a serjeant for looking after 15 men. Heavy expenses were incurred, and most needlessly, in taking returns of stores; individuals being sent from London especially to perform that duty which might as well be done by persons on the spot. If matters were shown to be in such a corrupt state at Sheerness, was it not fair to infer that all was not quite right in other places? What he wanted was information, detail, specification. It had been recommended again and again to the Ordnance department, that the artificers should appear in the estimates, divided and classed into corps and battalions, in the same way in which the different regiments appeared in the army estimates. Why should not that course be adopted? Why should not the house be allowed to see its way, instead of seeing a lumping charge of 250,000l. without one word of why or wherefore? 42,000l. stood against the item of "engineer officers." Engineer officers were not to he made in a day, and they ought doubtless to be taken care of; but the House ought to know the number provided for, and the rate of provision. Something more than "the master and civil officers of the military college at Woolwich" ought to be given for 7,700l. In fact, with so many officers upon half-pay, the keeping up even of 150 cadets, might be well dispensed with. To provide commissions for them was quite impossible; their education fitted them only for military life; and the truth was, that a number of young gentlemen were ruined at a very considerable expense to the country. The "expenses extraordinary" really presented a singular example of compendious statement: for 270,000l. the country had three words—"Repairs, current services, and contingencies." What the repairs consisted of, he could not conceive; and many military officers, whom he had questioned upon the subject, were in the same state of darkness. Stores, too, furnished a charge for 40,000l. Really, while the country was selling old stores every day, the House ought to be chary in granting thousands for the purchase of new ones. Members would see that single instances were not the subject of complaint. There was a laxity through the whole system. Even the mode of making up the accounts was most objectionable; and the house was scarcely free from blame in permitting claims for unprovided services to be brought up from time to time—charges made in 1820 for matters occurring in 1818, &c. He wished to be clearly understood. In protesting against existing expenses he did not complain that peculiar circumstances should have carried charges to an unprecedented height; all he blamed was, the indisposition to abate them when there was no longer a necessity for their existence. Really, however, after so many professions of economy, he did hope that some reduction would be effected; and, while he was upon the subject of reduction, to what point could he more properly call the attention of the House than to the Irish establishment? The charge for the staff at head-quarters in Dublin exceeded the sum paid to all the labourers and artificers throughout Ireland; and the contingencies in that country were estimated at 32,000l., while those of England amounted only to 5,000l. In stating these facts, he imputed no blame to the right hon. member opposite; he only blamed the system pursued, and wished to see that system changed. The path to reduction was obvious, and opportunities presented themselves at every step. It was an important fact that officers were receiving at the present moment, nearly 40 per cent more than they received during the heat of the war. By their relief from the income tax, and by a rise of at least one fourth in' the value of money, the incomes of those gentlemen were increased nearly 40 per cent. By proper attention, by such management as it was in the power of the House to adopt, he could see his way to a reduction of five millions in the expenses of the very next year. Let not the hon. gentlemen on the other side oppose reduction with so much determination; their patronage would not suffer a tittle by it. If they had fewer good things to give away, why then the good things, being more few, would be more valuable: the scarcer the place the greater the favour. Surely if money could be saved to the country, and patronage increased to the right hon. gentlemen, no party could object to the measure.

He was sensible that he had already trespassed heavily upon the time of the House, but he could not avoid saying a few words upon the charge of 42,000l. for compensations. This item of charge had lamentably increased of late, and the compensations to the civil department quite overbalanced the saving of 20,000l. arising out of the deaths of officers and soldiers. Something like detail as to this charge of 42,000l. would be of much advantage; as he believed he could point out instances of compensation given to persons after only two years' service. The hon. gentleman then recommended the adoption of a measure which had been pointed out by the commission of military inquiry—the laying annually before the House the public ledger of the Ordnance department. The adoption of that measure would afford to the House the total amount of the expenditure of the Ordnance department for any given year. If the House conceded to his motion, the estimates already on the table (quite useless in their present stale) might be taken off and printed in an intelligible form. The hon. gentleman then moved, "That the Ordnance Estimates for Great Britain and Ireland for the present 3'ear be submitted to this House in detail; distinguishing in separate columns the amount of salary, gratuity and allowances of each officer, the amount of expenses in each department, and the total of the whole; distinguishing such officers as have been appointed to new offices since 1793."

Lord Nugent

seconded the motion.

Mr. R. Ward

said, that the details required by the motion, when every particular should be entered into in such a way, that not a single figure could be kept back, would produce extreme inconvenience, and create much useless trouble. He had expected, that this subject would have been discussed in the regular course of committee, and not in single speeches between the hon. gentleman and himself. According to the usual practice, the estimates had been laid on the table; but he was not disinclined to furnish a separate paper for the information of the hon. gentleman. He had hoped that he should not have had to enter into the details then, but after the speech of the hon. gentleman, containing, as it did, some correct statements, and others very incorrect, he was much surprised to find, that such a speech had followed the notice that had been given. He did not deny the right which the hon. member had to enter upon the subject, but nothing could equal his astonishment on finding that he was involved in such a discussion after the notice by which the motion had been preceded. The hon. member had chosen to go into a very minute detail indeed; he had commenced with the first article in the estimates of 42,000l. Salaries to officers of the Tower and Pall-mall. He (Mr. W.) had nothing to trust to except his memory, and yet the hon. member had come down backed by his friends, and elaborately prepared for the discussion. He would how- ever, endeavour to follow the hon. member. In his very first observation there was the greatest inaccuracy. Nothing more surprised him than to hear it boldly asserted, that the reduction of the estimates was but 3,000l. He had stated that the estimates were 1,500,000l., and the reduction but 3,000l.; whereas the estimates amounted to little more than 1,300,000l. while the reduction was 53,000l. Ex una disce omnes: if the hon. member could make a mistake of 50,000l. in a sum of 1,300,000l. what errors might he not have committed in the long detail of figures which he had laid before the House! What reliance could be placed upon his statements, unless he quoted for them competent authority? The hon. member had founded himself in some measure upon the report of the finance committee. He did not mean to say that the hon. member was not entitled, if he thought fit, to rely upon the report of the finance committee: but that report was not binding upon the House; and it was open to opposition from those who might think that the committee had come to a wrong conclusion. The employment of labourers as servants had been objected to. It might be an objectionable practice; but it was not an abuse, for it was a system which had been acted upon for thirty years, and the services of a labourer now formed by usage part of the emolument given to an officer. It happened, however, that the noble duke at the head of the Ordnance department was, up to a certain point, of the same opinion with the hon. member; bethought the practice a bad one, and was taking measures to abolish it: the advantage was not taken from those who already possessed it; but care was taken not to extend it to new comers.—The speech of the hon. member had been so desultory, that the House must excuse him if he rambled a little in pursuit of it; and he would at once notice that insulated accusation touching the conduct of the storekeeper at Sheerness. The hon. member accusing one individual of peculation, argued with his usual candour, that such was the general practice of the department. As to the fact, he (Mr. W.) knew nothing. If it were proved, the individual, besides losing his situation, would certainly be punished in a way which would not be agreeable to him. But it might be doubted, whether it would pot have been more fit to bring such a matter before the heads of the department than to lay it before the House of Commons. The hon. member said, that the heads of departments, while cutting the salaries of clerks of 90l. per year, had been raising their own. Where did the hon. member find that? He had stated that the salary of the master-general of the Ordnance had been raised from 1,500l. to 3,000l. a year, and he had argued upon the impropriety of such an addition at a time when there should rather be a decrease. When the hon. member gave an account of his own speech to the public, as he owned to him (Mr. W.) that on a former occasion he had done, when that account was most incorrect, there was no part of England which that speech might reach where it would not be supposed that the duke of Wellington had raised his own salary, or that it had been so raised by his predecessors, lord Mulgrave or lord Chatham; but the fact was very different—the salary of the master-general was 1,500l. a year, from the reign of Elizabeth to the period of the union with Ireland. There was before that period, a master-general of the Ordnance in Ireland, but after the union the offices were united, the two boards were consolidated, and the salary doubled. This took place in the year 1802 [Hear, hear]. He heard the hon. gentleman cry, "hear!" Why, then, did he not state this, and not leave it in such a way as to be misunderstood by half the House? He had made some observations on other parts of the board as to salaries and emoluments; but did he question the fact, that the emoluments and salaries of several officers of the board had been lowered ["I do," from Mr. Hume]? He would tell him, then, that his own emoluments had been reduced from 1,700l. to 1,100l. a year. An hon. friend near him had suffered a reduction of 200l. per annum, and there were several other reductions; but no correction of the mistakes of the hon. member could correct his disposition to misstatement. There was one of those misstatements in the newspapers, where it was said that he (Mr. W.) denied that the storekeeeper of Dover had a salary of 500l. a year. He never denied it. He stated that the storekeeper had not retired, but never denied the salary of 500l. a year. The mis-statement had appeared in "The Times." This arose from the incorrectness of the hon. gentleman himself. He alleged that a storekeeper who had not 100l. a year, had been allowed to retire upon the enormous salary of 500l. He had met the hon. member soon after that statement appeared, and said to him, that there was a mistake in a newspaper respecting what he stated, and added, "You have nothing to do with it, for it is false;" but he was much surprised when the hon. gentleman answered, "I am sorry for it, for I wrote it myself." He now requested, if the editor or writer of The Times was in the gallery, that he would do him justice, for he could not expect it from the hon. member. The right hon. gentleman then went on to contend that every disposition to economy was felt in the Ordnance department. The duke of Wellington had abolished sixty-eight offices,—the salaries attached to which amounted to 14,000l. a year. Even the situation of adjutant-general at Gibraltar, which had been sought after by men entitled to it from their character and length of service, had been abolished. With respect to the gratuities complained of, he had the same answer which he had applied to the complaint as to servants. At all events it was not an abuse. The system might be objectionable, though that he denied; for it was the only mode by which the officers of the Ordnance department could be placed upon a level with officers of equal rank in the Navy office and in the War-office; but it could not be an abuse, because it was an acknowledged and a recognised practice. The addition to the salary of the secretary to the master-general, had been made by the reduction of a second secretaryship, and without costing the country a shilling. The powder-works at Feversham were carried on at present, because it was found that it would be cheaper to carry on the works for a few years, than to incur the expense of removing the vast quantity of stores which the depât contained. From the statement of the hon. gentleman one would have supposed that the sum of 270,000l. was expended in repairs; but upon a survey of the estimates, it would be found that the whole sum so expended, in which many payments to superintending officers were included, did not exceed 80,000l. So much for the candid accuracy of the hon. gentleman's statement! The hon. gentleman had adverted to the pay of the engineer officers; but it would be necessary to take into account, that those officers were not in barrack, and had not the allowances given to officers belonging to the regular corps; in lieu of these extra pay was given them, and he could assure the House that they complained of this as too small. If the estimates were strictly examined, a full explanation would be found in them of many of the points to which the hon. member had adverted. One point he would concede: he would have no objection to the production of the Expense ledger every year. The next subject to which allusion had been made, was to the officers on half-pay. On this subject he could assure the House, that selections were made from the half-pay for high situations, and that only subordinate ones were filled up by cadets. As to the professors, there could be no objection to any information respecting them. He would admit that the expense of the Dublin establishment appeared larger than that at Woolwich, but that was explained by this circumstance, that under this head were included several other branches which were not brought into the accounts of the Woolwich expenditure. As to Sheerness, it was true that the expense was increased; but this arose from a great part of the business which was before done at Chatham being about to be transferred thither. As to the establishment at St. John's-wood, he would state what that was. During the war it was considered necessary to have a brigade of cavalry there. The barracks for them were taken for a long lease, it not being thought that the battle of Waterloo would so soon have rendered the lease unnecessary; that barrack was still on hand, and one person was kept to take care of it. It was kept because the lease was unexpired, and he could assure the hon. gentleman that he might have it cheap if he were disposed to take it off the hands of government at present. The establishment at Trinco-malee, he observed, was kept in consequence of its being considered necessary for the assistance of the navy. He denied that any clerks were allowed to retire on a full salary, after a short service. He could not then confidently say that there were not any who retired on full pay; but this he could state, that all who were reduced were allowed a portion of their salary; but he challenged the hon. member to produce an instance where any clerk was allowed to retire on full pay after four years service. The hon. gentleman had said, that there was an expense of 500l. incurred for what was called taking returns of stores. This, however, was grossly incorrect. The fact was, that when a storekeeper was changed, he gave in an account of the stores which had been under his charge, which account was checked by that of a person employed to inspect the stores. This could not be done by the person so changed, and therefore it was deemed most expedient to send a person from London for the purpose. How the hon. member could call this giving a man 500l. for taking returns of old stores, he was at a loss to conceive. He protested against the whole of the hon. member's statement, and would leave it to any unprejudiced man, to state whether he had been fairly treated in being thus brought to argue upon the estimates of several years without any documents, or any preparation whatever. It was true that he had consented to the notice of motion, but he had been unfairly treated by being thus trepanned into such a discussion without preparation. Before he sat down he wished to make one other observation. If the hon. member wished to draw a comparison between the Ordnance estimates of the present year and those of 1793, he should have taken it into his consideration that the prices of things had doubled—that the number of the artillery had been doubled—that the pay of the men had been more than doubled. The hon. member might quarrel with the increase of men, if he pleased, but he had no right to say, that with a double number of troops the expense ought to continue the same. He ought to recollect that the union with Ireland cast an additional expense of 130,000l. a year on the Ordnance department of this country. He forgot the improvements which had been made in our artillery service. He forgot that the arms now used in the Ordnance department differed widely from those used when the estimates were 400,000l. a year. He forgot, too, the introduction of the horse artillery, and of the driver corps, the latter of which had been properly called by the hon. member for Shrewsbury the sinews of war. The hon. member had omitted to notice all these, which if deducted from the excess of the present establishment above the expense of 1793, would leave a very little difference. Considering these circumstances, and the increase in our colonies, though he might admit that some things might be cut off, he was rather astonished that the expense was so low as it was.

Sir R. Fergusson

expressed his surprise, that the right hon. gentleman had left untouched the principal argument—which was, the increase of salaries to the clerks and other officers.

Sir H. Parnell

contended, that the speech of his hon. friend had been left unanswered. Without entering into any detail, he would read an extract from the 6th report of the Committee of finance. The report stated, that "of late years a system of progressive increase of salaries had been extended to most of the public officers; but in the Ordnance department, this was carried to the greatest length." This, he contended, was sufficient to convince the House of the fallacy of the right hon. gentleman's speech.

The House divided: Ayes 44. Noes 58. Majority against Mr. Hume's motion 14.

List of the Minority.
Becher, W. W. Hutchinson, hon. C.H.
Benett, J. Langton, J. H.
Bennet, hon. H. G. Lennard, T. B.
Benyon, B. Macdonald, Jas.
Bernal, R. Martin, J.
Bright, R. Monck, J. B.
Brougham, H. Newport, sir J.
Browne, Dom Nugent, lord
Caulfield, hon. H. Parnell, sir H.
Creevey, Thos. Ricardo, D.
Denison, Jos. Rice, hon. G.
Evans, Wm. Robarts, A.
Fergusson, sir R. Robarts, G. J.
Fitzgerald, right hon. M. Sefton, earl of
Sykes, D.
Glenorchy, lord Talbot, R. W.
Gordon, R. Taylor, M. A.
Graham, S. Trcmayne, J. H.
Grenfell, P. Whitmore, W. W.
Guise, sir W. Williams, W.
Harbord, hon. E. Wyvill, M.
Heron, sir R. TELLERS.
Hill, lord A. Hume, J.
Hobhouse, J. C. Folkestone, visc.