HC Deb 02 May 1821 vol 5 cc487-8
Colonel Davies

rose, in pursuance of his notice, to move an address to his majesty for the employment of officers on half-pay in preference to individuals who had never been in the army. The address he had copied verbatim from one carried unanimously in 1740. It was indisputable, that every possible attempt ought to be made to diminish the public expenditure, and the present proposition was one which would materially tend to the attainment of that object. After the discussion of yesterday lie would only observe, that the case of many of the officers on half-pay was one of peculiar hardship; for being once reduced, it was only by the greatest interest that they could again obtain employment in active service. The hon. member then moved, "That an humble address be presented to his majesty, that, for the present and future ease of his majesty's subjects, he will be graciously pleased to employ in his army such persons as now remain upon half-pay who are qualified to serve his majesty."

Lord Palmerston

opposed the resolution, on the ground that it was uncalled for, and would therefore be a censure upon the commander-in-chief, whose conduct at the head of the army had produced the most beneficial effects, and was entitled to the highest praise. The noble lord entered into a calculation, showing that a great number of the officers on half-pay had retired voluntarily, and that of the remainder, as many were occasionally placed upon full-pay as could be expected, consistently with the regulations now acted upon in the army.

Sir R. Wilson

would be the last man to cast any implied censure upon the conduct of the commander-in-chief. The exertions of that illustrious personage in his department deserved the warmest praise. He could not, however, help observing, that many general officers were now living upon retired allowances of 7s. 6d. a day. This was a state of things which ought to be remedied, and therefore he felt it necessary to support the resolution.

Captain O'Grady

supported the resolution. He conceived that there were many public situations, such as barrack-masters, &c. which might be filled up from the half-pay.

Mr. Hume

observed, that within the last five years there had been 1,105 cornets and ensigns appointed, of which only 54 had been taken from the half-pay. The House divided: Ayes, 14; Noes, 46.

List of the Minority.
Bennet, hon. H, G. Pares, Thos.
Bernal, R. Rice, S.
Chaloner, R. Wilson, Sir R.
Creevey, Thos. Wood, Alderman
Graham, S. Wyvill, M.
Hamilton, Lord A. TELLERS.
Harbord, hon. E. Davies, Colonel
Hutchinson, Hn. C. Hume, Joseph.
Monck, J. B.