§ Mr. Hume
said, he was extremely anxious to obtain the attention of the House for a very short time, as he was placed in rather a novel situation by what had passed on a former day. He had been accustomed to bring forward statements founded on the official documents presented to the House, and, as far as in him lay, to produce only such statements as those documents warranted. He was so unfortunate, when last the House was in a committee of supply, as to have had several of his statements contradicted by the hon. secretary for the Admiralty, and contradicted in a manner as decisive as could possibly be assumed. The hon. secretary had then stated, that he was reading from the estimates that which he (Mr. Hume) would prove he could not have read from the estimates; namely, statements of the amount of various charges. In the first instance, however, he called on gentlemen to mark the situation in which he and other members of that House were placed. He did not boast of being able to make fine speeches like the hon. secretary. It was not his practice to deal in sarcasm and ridicule. He knew his situation too well to pursue any such system. If he acted otherwise, he should receive that reproof from the House which such conduct deserved. He always came forward with such facts and statements as he was enabled to collect from documents laid before the House; and he expected that any person who attempted to answer him would do it in candour and fairness, and not as the hon. secretary had done. He was free to say, that if they did not meet each other on matters of fact, he should be no match for the hon. secretary; who had a power within the House, and a power without the House, which he (Mr. Hume) did not possess. The hon. secretary had an intimate connexion with ministers, and all the details of office were open to him: it was, therefore, unpardonable in him to err. But if he (Mr. Hume) made a mistake in any of the details, it was only what any member placed in his situation was liable to. Now, though he might not be able to distinguish wood from stone, or ships from barracks, he trusted that he had discernment enough to distinguish facts from fallacies [Hear.] That was all he claimed. He could not enter into that high-flown mode of speech in 785 which the hon. secretary delighted. He could not declare to the House that the high destinies of this great empire did not depend on the price of beef and pork. He was a practical man, and, on the night to which he alluded, he merely moved for a return of the prices of provisions at different stated periods. He, being a plain matter-of-fact-man, had wanted to know the reason why the same amount was required for provisions when they were at one half the price, as when they were at the highest price. The House, however, had decided, that no reason ought to be given, and he had nothing to say further upon that point.—But there were two important facts to which he begged now to call the attention of the House. He had stated that the total navy estimates for 1817 had been 5,985,000l. and that this year they were 489,000l. more. The hon. secretary to the Admiralty had told him that he had fallen into a little bit of an error here, for that 671,101l. ought to have been added to the estimates of 1817, and that if that sum had been added he would have found six millions odd. He (Mr. Hume) had stated that it ought to be added. He had now verified, both by the votes and by the estimates, the statements which he had then made. An hon. baronet (sir H. Parnell), and the hon. member for Rochester (Mr. Bernal) had assisted him in this verification. He would now show that the hon. secretary had been altogether in error in the contradiction which he had I attempted to give him. He (Mr. Hume) had stated, that the estimates for 1817 had been 5,985,000l. The hon. secretary, not aware that 671,000l. had been added to pay off a debt remaining from a former year, had added that sum in order to find the estimates for that year. This, then, had been his (Mr. Hume's) statement. It would be found very clearly stated in the 8th report of the Finance Committee. In the 52nd page of that report it was thus entered:—"1817—Naval Estimates 5,985,415l." Now the hon. secretary had called upon the House to add 671,101l., and then to see how triumphantly he demolished him (Mr. Hume) because he ought to have made that addition. The hon. secretary, not understanding the difference between the service of the year and the paying off of debts, had fallen into this error. He hoped the hon. secretary would be more cautious in future. The second point to 786 which he wished to call the attention of he House was still more important. There were certain means by which certain speeches got into certain publications if the day. Who wrote them he did not know. He found the debate, so far as regarded his own speech, correctly given as it had been reported in a morning paper, from which it had been copied into an evening paper. But the hon. secretary's speech had been completely perverted. It had been changed both in substance and in manner. He (Mr. Hume) had founded his statement upon the estimates from the termination of the war. He had referred to the very page of the Appropriation act for the amount, which was 17,702,258l. "But," said the hon. secretary, "I shall completely show how little foundation the hon. member for Aberdeen has for his statements, and that he does not know a ship from a dock-yard." The hon. secretary had clearly understood the head of charge to be building and repairs, for he had professed to take him (Mr. Hume) up on his own position. Now, what was the fact. The House would recollect from the hon. secretary's own statement, than under the head of repairs and building, there were three items, and three votes; which it had not been usual to give in a separate form, or to lay before the House in a printed statement, until the last year—an arrangement for which they were indebted to the hon. member for Appleby. The three items were for wear and tear, for ordinary repairs, and for building, rebuilding, repairing, &c. And here he must admit—for he was willing to give the hon. gentleman credit for all his discoveries—that the hon. secretary had detected one inaccuracy. He (Mr. Hume) had called the item "tear and wear," which the hon. secretary had triumphantly shown to be; incorrect, and had proved, much to his own satisfaction, that it ought to have been "wear and tear" [a laugh]. Now, he could assure the hon. secretary, that he had his full permission to be witty, provided he would speak truth. Men who went to the wars must take their chance for blows; and he (Mr. Hume) was necessarily exposed to the elegant sarcasms, and refined raillery of the hon. secretary for the Admiralty. To the wit of the hon. secretary he must submit with resignation, and the only condition which he wished to impose upon him was, that he would adhere to the truth [a laugh]. 787 Now, he would concede to the hon. secretary all the benefit of his correction of "wear and tear" for "tear and wear," and he was even glad that he had detected him in this inaccuracy; because it would prevent the possibility of his evading the explanation which he (Mr. Hume) was prepared to give of that, and the other items. Now, he admitted, that what he had stated on a former night had been correctly given in the journal to which he had before alluded; namely, that the whole expense of building, rebuilding, repairs, &c. from the year 1815 up to the last year, amounted to upwards of 17,000,000l. Now, let the House compare this statement with the official returns, correcting, of course, the inaccuracy in terms detected by the hon. secretary in the first item. The amount of wear and tear then for that period was 6,131,153l.; under the head of ordinary repairs the amount was 2,602,456l.; for building, rebuilding, and repairing ships of war, the total was 8,530,498l.* The charge under the head of merchant's yards was 438,141l. making in the whole a total of 17,702,258l. The House would see, therefore, that his (Mr. Hume's) statement was correct, and they would by this time be able to appreciate the triumph of the hon. secretary for the Admiralty. If it were not for the delay which would arise from such a course, he would call upon the clerk to read over the returns, item by item, which would shew the accuracy of every statement which he had made on the former night. He had never yet made a statement which had been successfully impugned by hon. gentlemen on the other side, and he trusted he never should. Men were always disposed to pay attention to official contradictions; and certainly, from the tone which the hon. secretary had assumed the other night, and from the vehemence with which he was cheered, it might have been supposed that the secretary's triumph was complete, and that he (Mr. Hume) had foundered never to rise again. If he had been disposed to place reliance on the statements of the hon. secretary, he might, perhaps, have been staggered by the confidence with which they were advanced; but here were the official returns, clearly praying the accuracy of every statement which he had made, proving, in short, that there was not the slightest ground* See Vol. 5, p. 1389.788 for the intrepid assertions of the honourable secretary. Conceiving, therefore, that ministers ought not to call upon the House for a sum of 1,781,325l. without explanation, and anxious that such an explanation should be given as the state of the country, and the protection of the public money demanded, he should conclude by moving, "That in order to enable the House to judge of the propriety of voting the Public Money for the support of the Naval and Marine Establishments, and Ordnance for the Sea Service, for the year 1822, it is expedient to have such Estimates in detail before the House, as shall point out for what specific services the sum of 1,781,325l. is to be appropriated."
§ Mr. Croker
said, he had no doubt the hon. member was sincere in the statement which he made on a former night, for otherwise, he certainly would not have revived the discussion to-night. He would pledge himself again to prove to the satisfaction of the House, that the hon. gentleman had only got deeper into the mire. In all the statements he had made to-night he was either inaccurate in point of amount, or when accurate in the amount, he had mistaken the meaning which ought to be affixed to them. He would begin by clearing away one or two observations which related to himself. The hon. member seemed to imply that he (Mr. Croker) had taken the statement which he made in reply to him, from some private documents. Now, he could assure the hon. member, that he had no such private documents, and that his triumph, which the hon. member himself admitted, was not owing to any manuscript papers, but to the printed statements on the table of that House. The hon. member had also stated, that in the "Courier," his own speech was copied from "The Morning Chronicle," whereas his (Mr. C's.) speech appeared to be corrected by some mysterious and invisible hand. Who had been so good as to correct his speech, he did not know; but he could inform the hon. gentleman, that he had never corrected the publication of any speech of his own, except that on the inquiry into the conduct of the duke of York, and another on the Catholic question, and that he had never written one word for any newspaper for upwards of two yeah past. The hon. gentleman appeared to have deemed his (Mr. Croker's) speech of sufficient importance to make it 789 a subject of inquiry by it committee out of doors, at which an hon. baronet, who was known to be an admirable superintendant of roads, and to possess great skill in conducting them through passes, from which it was difficult to escape, together with another hon. member, had given their sanction to the hen, gentleman, to say that he (Mr. Croker) was wrong, and that the hon. member was right. The House, however, would not be influenced by the authority, however weighty, of any committee out of doors. The hon. member for Aberdeen now said that his former statement was, that the estimates of 1817 were 5,985,000l. Now, he would assert, most fearlessly, that the hon. member stated the amount of the estimates for 1817 to be 5,300,000l. The hon. member might have made a mistake, but it was impossible that he could have made any other statement; for the whole gist of his argument was, that the estimates of the present year were greater in amount than the estimates of 1817 [no, no, from the Opposition]. This he contended, was exactly the statement made by the hon. gentleman, and if it had not been so, be (Mr. Croker) need not have occupied so much time in answering it on the spot. The hon. member had made a mistake of 600,000l.; for by adding the old stores to his calculation of 5,300,000l. he made out 6,000,000l. in round numbers, which was the amount of the estimates in 1817. The hon. member had said, that the estimates of 1817 were less than those of 1822, and he (Mr. Croker) maintained that the estimates of this year were less by half a million than those of 1817. What other course of argument would have served the purpose of the hon. member? Was it his object to prove that the estimates of this year were more economical than those of a former year? Was it likely that he would have risen to argue the cause of administration? The fact was, that in the printed estimates of 1817, the amount of old stores was deducted from the total amount in a very awkward way. It had been ordered by an act of parliament that the old stores should be abated from the estimates, and taken as part of the ways and means of the year. It was quite evident that they could not be in both; and as the act obliged them to take them as part of the ways and means, the abatement was made to satisfy the act, but did not really appear in the vote. The official blunder, 790 therefore, on which the hon. gentleman had commented, was no other than the blunder of an act of parliament. The exact state of the case was, that the abatement of 671,000l. being made in the index to the estimates, the total amount in the large estimates was exactly 5,300,000l. This was the sum which the hon. gentleman had taken, and must have taken for the total amount of the estimates, in looking cursorily at the first page of the estimates for 1817, it appeared that the total of the ordinary estimates was 1,805,000l.; whereas, if the old stores were calculated, the amount would be 2,476,000l. It was evident that the hon. member had looked at the surface of the accounts, and had not gone to the bottom. When he stated the sum to be 5,500,000l., he (Mr. Croker) told him he had made a mistake of 700,000l. and he would now mention a circumstance which would convince the House that this was the fact. An hon. friend of his (Mr. Croker's) had said to him on the very morning of the debate in question, "I should not be surprised if Mr. Hume should tell us that our estimates are higher this year, than they were in 1817, and I will show you how he will fall into the blunder." He could assure the House that this was not a story invented for the occasion. If the House wished for further confirmation of the fact, he would add, that his hon. friend was not the only person present, but that it took place in the presence of two other hon. members, and several other persons. His first hon. friend continued—"Mr. Hume will not look to all the items; he will cast his eye at the apparent total, and overlook the old stores, and then be will tell us that the estimates of this year are greater than those of 1817." He (Mr. Croker) then said to his friend, "I can hardly believe it possible that he will fall into such a blunder," and when the hon. member did actually fall into the blunder, his hon. friend who happened to sit next him, nudged him, and said, "Did not I tell you he would do so." These were plain facts, but there was a still more important circumstance which he wished to mention. The hon. member, had omitted a paltry sum of 1,600,000l. granted within the year for the debt of the navy; so that, so far were the votes of this year from being greater than those of 1817, that the estimates of 1817 were 7,600,000l. and the estimates of the present year were 5,600,000l. He would now proceed to 791 the next point, in which the hon. member stated that 17,000,000l. had been expended in the building of ships. This he would prove out of the hon. member's own mouth, for how was he otherwise to understand the hon. member's observation, that this sum was sufficient to have built all the navies in the world? If he meant the whole sum which went to build and supply and maintain the navy, then why did be confine himself to that which applied only to building? The hon. gentleman said that this, the sum which went to build only a very small part of our own navy, was sufficient to build all the navies in the universe. But he would go a little farther than this, and would show, from a note which he held in his hand, that, in order to make up this 17,000,000l. the hon. member had been obliged to anticipate the period to which he was referring by two years. He had found himself in a mistake, and, in order to get out of that mistake, he had borrowed two years, and taken the expenditure of the years 1815 and 1816 as part of the 17 millions expended since 1817. There was no denying the original statement of time; for, in addition to the reference to 1817, the hon. member had said that the 17,000,000l. Tad been expended within five years. This must have been his meaning—his positive statement; and he (Mr. C.) could bring demonstrative proof of that fact. He held in his hand a bound volume of the accounts of the navy; and he could not account for the presentiment which led him to it. He had opened the book beginning at 1817, and read the items—yes, he had begun at 1817 and not 1815, and read the items: and as he went on to quote 1817, 1818, and 1819, and so on, the hon. member for Aberdeen had nodded, and repeated the word "correct." This, however, was not all. He had not only gone back two years, but he had read to the House the items of the 5,700,000l. The House would recollect with what accuracy, and so guess at the way in which he had made up the 17,000,000l. He had done this by putting together in one mass every thing that had related to the navy. The House would thence judge of the way in which the hon. member had met the charge brought against him—of not knowing wood from brick, and ships from houses, and drains and dock-walls. But, even if he had met that fairly, it was of no use as an argument; and the hon. member could take but small credit, 792 that, in not having comprehended how the whole allowance for the building, repairing, and maintaining of ships, together with the construction and repair of dock-yards, docks, houses, drains, &c. entered into the 17 millions, he should have chosen to mix all the separate items into one mass, and call them by the strange name of ship building. Now, the hon. member had exercised due diligence (he would give him credit for diligence, certainly, but it was not due diligence) he would have seen whether that was fair. He would have seen that the expense of all the public works, works of great magnitude, importance, and expense, were contained in that mass which he had brought forward as ship-building. But he (Mr. Croker) would, for the sake of argument, allow the hon. member the benefit of the two years preceding 1817; and he would show that he was not right with regard to the seven years. For it would be recollected, that in this sum there was included the expense of the fleet afloat, as if it had formed part of the ordinary wear and tear, or of the ship-building. Yes; the hon. member had represented the 17 millions has being the ordinary expense of the navy upon a peace establishment, when, in fact, it comprehended 1815, which was a year of war; and in which year the wear and tear, amounted to three millions and a half. Now, if that year of war was to be included in the expense of a peace establishment, why not include all the years of the war? The hon. gentleman had misrepresented ministers in saying, that they had refused him access to the details of the victualling of the navy for 1821, since he never asked for them. There would have been no difficulty in the granting of them, and yet he says he was refused. The hon. member had come down to move for a new trial, upon two points: but why had he done it only on two? They must judge of accuracy by general accuracy, and not by one or two statements out of a large number. The hon. gentleman informed the House, that the marines cost the country 330,000l. whereas the whole pay of the navy was only 600,000l.; and thus the government, which above all prided itself upon the glory and the power of its navy, had reduced the pay of that navy to the paltry pittance of 300,000l. a year. The manner in which he arrived at this conclusion was, by taking the whole expenses of the marines, barrack, accoutrements, food, and every thing, and de- 793 ducting it from the wages alone of the navy. This was like all his other accuracy. There was the case of the paymaster, for whom he told the House they were called upon to vote a large sum; when in point of fact the case did not occur in the same estimate, and would be brought before the House in its proper place. He left it to the House whether they would give information of an important nature, upon the ground of such statements, and whether they could ever feel safe in acting upon them. There was no one who had more consideration for the infirmities of our nature, and was more exposed to them than himself: if, therefore, warmth of feeling had led him out of the way in discussing this topic, he trusted that it would be attributed to no improper motive. What he said of the hon. member he meant only to apply to his figures and statements. The conviction that the hon. gentleman was erroneous in his calculations, was so strong upon him that he could not resist it. He gave him credit for sincerity, but, under that sincerity he was directly and positively misleading the House.
said, he could not compliment the hon. secretary on pursuing a straight forward path, in the course of his observations on the statements of his hon. friend. He had paid the utmost attention to what had fallen from his hon. friend, and certainly he did not bear him state the 17,000,000l. to have been expended in building and repairing alone. His hon. friend must have taken into consideration the sums expended from 1815, for he had particularly mentioned seven years. Did the hon. secretary mean to deny that, for seven years, including 1815, 17,000,000l. had not been expended in wear and tear, ordnance, repairs, building and rebuilding both in king's and merchants' yards? That his hon. friend had no disposition to swell out the sum appeared evident from this circumstance, that he did not take into his calculation 1,000,000l. expended during the seven years from 1815 in dockyard improvements. The admission that 17,000,000l. had been expended, was quite enough to demolish the structure raised by the hon. secretary. Even throwing out the years 1815 and 1816, still the sum expended would be found no less than 10,000,000l. He had examined the naval estimates for several years, with considerable attention, and was satisfied that his hon. friend's statement was well founded.
§ Sir H. Parnell
said, that his hon. friend's statements were not only supported by the recollection of gentlemen who heard him on Friday, but were confirmed by an appeal to the Parliamentary Debates of last June, where the same accounts and the same tables were given. It was there stated that 5,300,000l. were the expenses of the navy for 1817, and the sum of 671,000l. was added for old stores. His hon. friend read his statement on Friday from his former published statements; bow, then, could he be wrong on Friday, when he was formerly right, with regard to the 17,000,000l. for the last seven years? The hon. secretary had certainly mistaken the statement of his hon. friend.
§ Mr. Ricardo
said, he had felt great alarm, at first, when he heard the difference of 671,000l. between the hon. secretary and his hon. friend; and had thought that his hon. friend must be in error. He had since been convinced, however, that his hon. friend had included the 600,000l. and that it was the hon. secretary who was wrong in saying that he had not.
§ Sir G. Clerk
said, he must contend that the hon. member, in stating the estimate for 1817, had made it 5,300,000l., and had made no allowance for the 671,000l. He remembered this the more, as he had previously mentioned to his hon. friend, the secretary of the admiralty, that the hon. gentleman would probably fall into that mistake.
§ Mr. Brougham
said, that on a subject so important to his hon friend, he wished to make a few observations. In the first place, as to what had passed on Friday last he was not in the House at the time when his hon. friend had made the statement. Having been absent at that period, he could not bear testimony, of his own knowledge to the fact; but it appeared evident to him that his hon. friend's accuracy was completely established. He was led to that opinion partly by the confidence which he felt in the accuracy of his hon. friend. He was further confirmed in the opinion by the testimony of his hon. friends who had just delivered their sentiments, as well as by the candid admission of the hon. secretary himself. What the hon. secretary now contended for was, that his hon. friend had gone wrong to the amount of 11,000,000l. As anecdotes were in vogue, he might be permitted to tell what he had heard on entering the House. He was told that an attempt had been made to prove an inaccuracy in the 795 calculations of his hon. friend. On asking to what amount, he was told to the amount of 11,000,000l. His answer to that was, what it should be now, that the 11,000,000l. proved too much. Notwithstanding the complicated manner in which the accounts were kept, an error to the amount of 11,000,000l. was, he considered, absolutely impossible. The subject, in fact, did not deserve inquiry; but they had inquired, and what turned out to be the fact? One said,—"I never meant to confine the eleven millions to the building of ships," and the other said "you did mean it." His hon. friend had enumerated various other items which he meant to include; and his first reason for believing him was the admission of his sincerity, made by the hon. secretary himself. The mere virtue of sincerity was but a slender compliment to a calculator; but the admission was of great importance in the present case, where so much must depend on the confidence to which he was entitled. Another reason which weighed with him was, that he (Mr. B.) then held in his hand the very document on which his hon. friend had made his statement. In that document those items were to be found which his hon. friend had enumerated. The only other point was with respect to time. The hon. secretary had stated, that his hon. friend meant to take only five years into account; but his hon. friend had said that he meant to take seven years. That he also believed; for the same paper stated the items to be taken from 1815 to 1821. Since he came into the House he had read a newspaper report [Order, order!.] He believed he was not in order; but in a certain document, which he would not name for the world, a published paper, a portion of recent history, certainly within the reach of his majesty's ministers, he saw a thing very like a speech in parliament, though he knew that it could not have been such; and if he were to hazard a comparison, he would say that one part was very like a speech from the hon. member for Aberdeen; and that a speech of the hon. secretary (Mr. Croker) was shadowed out in the other [A laugh.] In that document that the period extended not to five, but to seven years. That this was not done out of friendship for his hon. friend, would appear from what he found in another part of the same document—he meant an article beginning thus:—"Poor, Mr. Hume! Such a being as he received on 796 Friday last! If he survives this, he must be immortal." This statement confirmed the doctrines that he had maintained with regard to his hon. friend, and put the stamp on that confidence which he always entertained for his honesty in stating facts, and his accuracy in making calculations. [Loud Cheering.] Now regarding as true the anecdote which had been stated by the hon. secretary, and confirmed by the hon. baronet with respect to his hon. friend's anticipated mistake about the 600,000l. an anecdote for which there needed no such parade of proof—his confidence in his hon. friend's accuracy remained, even on that point undiminshed. If, after the testimony of his two hon. friends (Mr. Bernal and sir H. Parnell), who had examined into the accounts, with a perfect recollection of what had happened on Friday, confirmed as that testimony was by his hon. friend the member for Portarlington, some of whose doctrines were in vogue with the hon. gentlemen opposite when they suited their purposes, who took one of his opinions when they could not get his speech, and who drew references from his speech when they could not get his vote; but who, on the present occasion, would repudiate opinion and speech, and vote altogether; if, after this, his hon. friend was still in error, what did it amount to? What was the difference between his hon. friend and the hon. secretary, the champion of the navy estimates—the two calculators now at issue—what did it amount to but this—that there was such bungling in the public accounts, such contradiction in their statements, such confusion, that the same account was spoken of differently in the index and the body of the estimates? Then the hon. secretary accused his hon. friend for not employing pen and ink work—a neglect which, if it had occurred this time, he was sure would be the last time at which such a charge would be warranted. Even if the error had occurred, it was not the fault of his hon. friend, but of the blundering manner in which the public accounts were kept, and acts of appropriation drawn up. If he could allow (for the sake of argument) that in the multiplicity of his labours his hon. friend had committed this mistake—if in those labours, important to all, he had over4 looked this mistake—if, dealing with large sums and momentous interests, he had commited a slight error—if going an from day to day and night to night, wearing 797 out himself in the public service—(he hoped his wear and tear would not be too rapid)—if in this course he had mistaken one part of a statement for another, his confidence in him would remain the same; and he hoped on his (Mr. B's.) return, about a month hence, to find him in the same place, saving the money of the public, performing with useful zeal his parliamentary duties, commanding the willing homage of the House, increasing his reputation in the country, securing the attachment of his friends, and extorting respect even from his opponents. [Loud Cheering.] When he heard that his hon. friend was put upon his trial for the accuracy of his calculations—when he heard that ever since Friday last, although the verdict was not given, his ministerial opponents had declared that the evidence was against him—when he heard that there were two points upon which he had moved for a new trial—when be heard all this, he could not but come forward to show how groundless the charges against him were. The friends of ministers and the persons in office had begun too early to take joy to themselves at his defeat. They were heard to declare—"Here is Mr. Such-a-one, who canvassed our accounts, he has been defeated in his calculations—there is an end of him." Then they anticipated the return of those halcyon days, when their estimates remained without examination or exposure, when any hon. member who chose to dispute a ministerial item, heard in reply only the words "Jacobin, leveller, Buonapartists, anarchy, social order, basis of society," and other such jargon. They predicted the ruin of his hon. friend's character for accuracy, and declared that no trust could any longer be placed in him. He (Mr. B.), on the contrary, declared that his accuracy remained unimpeached, that he relied on him with unabated confidence. But his calculations were no matter of confidence. If he were wrong, government had the means of exposing his calculations. He succeeded, if he did succeed at all, not, he would say, propria marte, but by the strength of his position, and the force of his statements; and if he committed an error, there were a sufficient number of persons on the watch to detect him; the detection and the exposure would be proclaimed in that House, and echoed by all the servile adherents of ministers. He would continue to his hon. friend his full reliance; because he had never yet found 798 him fail in what he had undertaken to establish—because on this occasion, when his accuracy was especially impeached, he had signally triumphed. And he hoped he would go on with the same persevering zeal for the public good, careless of the taunts of those who profited by abuses, forgetful of the neglect shown to his labours by the gentlemen opposite, thinking only of his country, dreaming only of his duty, and, great as his services were to that country, still laying up additional claims to its gratitude. [Loud Cheers.]
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, that the hon. and learned gentleman must have conceived the hon. member for Aberdeen in great danger to have been induced to enter into such a defence. His hon. friend, the secretary of the Admiralty, he was sure would view him with great compassion, when he found that he had so disabled him as to render necessary the aid of the hon. and learned gentleman who had undertaken his cause. The hon. secretary had, indeed, thrown great dismay and alarm into the enemy's camp—he had set all Brooks's in an uproar, and they had found it necessary to send down the hon. and learned gentleman, who had spent much gunpowder in the defence. Terror seemed to reign among them since the hon. secretary had overthrown the calculations of their champion. He did, not precisely see the cause for the alarm which the friends of the hon. gentleman entertained. They seemed to consider that he never could show his face again—that he would no more receive the freedom of boroughs or cities, and that he must surrender all his cider and golden snuffboxes, if he was not proved to be right in his late calculations, and placed on his legs, after the hon. secretary had thrown him on his back. But his friends did not seem to see that if they established his figures, it was at the expense of his argument. His reasoning and calculations were opposed to each other; and his friends must take the option of admitting that he could not conduct a common argument to any intelligible conclusion, or form a common calculation with any tolerable correctness. Let the gentlemen opposite, then, take which of the two characters they choose for their hon. friend—either that of a calculator or a logician; but they could not have both. To show that he was now accurate in his figures, his friends resorted to a speech made two or three years ago. His hon. 799 friend had shown, that the line of argument pursued by the hon. gentleman led him to take 5,300,000l. instead of 5,900,000l. If, then, his calculation was right, his argument was good for nothing; for it went to show that the estimates of 1817 were lower than those of the present year. If the hon. gentlemen opposite were satisfied with the figures or the reasoning, he (lord L.) and his friends would be satisfied with what they left; so that both would be satisfied. But he thought the House had passed the evening in a very unprofitable discussion. It would have been better to have entered on some question with which the general interests of the country were connected, than to have been trying the arithmetical accuracy of any hon. member. If, however, the character of the hon. gentleman was to be decided by the result of this debate, which he (lord L.) saw no reason for thinking, the discussion would be more fatal than he was willing to apprehend.
§ Mr. W. Smith
recollected that when the hon. member for Aberdeen first began that course of conduct which he had pursued with so much success, every possible attempt, short of absolute insult, was made, to deter him from proceeding. Sarcasm and imputation of every sort were directed against him. He was described to be a person who knew nothing about official matters, and was not to be trusted on a point of calculation. Before the end of the session, however, those very individuals who had treated the hon. member in this manner came to him cap in hand, and proffered him every assistance in furtherance of his designs. What was the cause of this change of sentiment with regard to the hon. member? It was, that the country had decided the question in his favour. In every quarter of the kingdom the services of the hon. member had been acknowledged to be most meritorious. The hon. member was, in his opinion, the encyclopædia of finance—[a laugh.]—Before the conclusion of the present session, the opposition which his hon. friend, the member for Aberdeen, experienced would die away, and those gentlemen who now endeavoured to throw obstacles in his way would be willing to aid his exertions.
§ The House then divided: for Mr. Hume's Amendment, 78; Against it, 129.
|List of the Minority.|
|Althorp, viscount||Maberly, W. L.|
|Bernard, visct.||Marjoribanks, S.|
|Barrett, S. M.||Macdonald, J.|
|Bennet, hon. H. G.||Martin, J.|
|Benyon, Benjamin||Normanby, visct.|
|Bernal, R.||Newman, W.|
|Birch, Joseph||Nugent, lord|
|Brougham, Henry||O'Callaghan, J.|
|Bright, H.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Bury, visct.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Boughey, sir J. F.||Pares, T.|
|Calvert, C.||Powlett, hon. W.|
|Calcraft, J.||Price, Robert|
|Cavendish, lord G.||Pym, F.|
|Caulfield, hon. H.||Ricardo, D.|
|Colborne, N. R.||Ridley, sir M. W.|
|Concannon, Lucius||Robarts, A. W.|
|Crespigny, sir W. De||Robarts, col. G.|
|Creevey, Thos.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Davies, T. H.||Rumbold, Ch.|
|Denison, W. J.||Rice, T. S.|
|Duncannon, visct.||Stanley, lord|
|Dundas, hon. T.||Sefton, earl of|
|Ebrington, visct.||Scott, James|
|Ellice, Ed.||Sykes, D.|
|Fergusson, sir R.||Stuart, lord J.|
|Fitzgerald, lord W.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Guise, sir W.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Graham, S.||Tennyson, C.|
|Honywood, W. P.||Townshend, lord C.|
|Haldimand, W.||Webb, Ed.|
|Hill, lord A.||Whitbread, S.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Wilkins, W.|
|James, W.||Williams, W.|
|Johnson, col.||Wilson, sir Robert|
|Jervoise, G. P.||Wyvill, M.|
|Leycester, R.||Whitmore, W. W.|
|Lambton, J. G.||TELLERS.|
|Lennard, T. B.||Hume, Joseph|
|Lloyd, sir E:||Smith, W.|