HC Deb 19 February 1823 vol 8 cc140-71
Mr. Hume,

in rising to submit the question he was about to propose to the House, trusted he should have credit for having given the subject much consideration; and he assured the House it was one well worthy its attention. By an act of the 45th year of the late king, a com- mittee had been appointed to inquire into the public expenditure and business of the various military departments, and to report thereon from time to time. It was important for the House to know the object the committee had in view, and the time they had occupied in accomplishing it. The number of reports they had made, amounted to nineteen. The committee was composed of military officers, whose experience qualified them peculiarly for the discharge of the duty intrusted to them. Perhaps every member of the House was not aware that the board of ordnance, as it now existed, had been formed in the reign of Charles 2nd. The important light in which the subject had been viewed by the committee might be gathered from their having made seven remarkably long reports upon this particular branch of their inquiry; he meant those from the 12th to the 18th inclusive. The first was directed particularly to the Treasury department, in which a system of the most disgraceful mismanagement had prevailed; but as this had now been put an end to, it was not necessary any further to allude to it. He should refer more particularly to the 13th report of the committee, which had been published in 1811. The commissioners found it necessary to apologize for the time which they had taken up, in considering and digesting the information they had procured. They had endeavoured to follow with minuteness every branch of the department, that all abuses might be detected. They proceeded to state, that they found the board consisted of the master-general, the lieutenant-general, and four other officers; viz. the surveyor-general, the clerk of the ordnance, the principal store-keeper, and the clerk of the deliveries. The attention of the committee was next called to the duties as well as the salaries of these officers. They found the latter very considerably increased. That of the master-general had been raised from 1,500l. per ann., the amount in 1796, to 3,2.35l.; that of the lieut.-general from 1,100l. to 1,591l.; that of the surveyor-general from 800l. to 1,261l.; that of the clerk of the ordnance from 600l. to 1,140l.; but this included a commutation for fees, to which he had previously been entitled; the other officers had also taken commutations, and their salaries had been proportionably raised. The committee, in the next place, examined the different individuals as to the nature of the business carried on by each of them. They found that the four last-mentioned officers had performed certain duties at the time of their appointment, but that they had ceased to do so for several years; and it therefore became a question how far it was expedient they should be continued. They showed satisfactorily that the surveyor-general no longer examined the stores; that the office of the store-keeper had become a sinecure; and that the reasons which existed at the establishment of the board for the clerk of the deliveries, or one of his sworn clerks, being present, did not now prevail. They therefore saw no reason why those offices should not be discontinued, and recommended that a board of four members should be appointed to carry on the duty of the department, and to manage its general concerns, alotting the various branches of it as they should see fit.—Before he alluded further to the examination, he would state to the House the nature of the original warrant for the establishment. It appeared by that, to be the duty of the lieutenant-general, in the absence of the master-general, to receive all letters, and issue all warrants, and to keep a minute-book of all such warrants. It appeared also, that the master-general and the lieutenant-general were intrusted with the conduct of the department, and that the four other officers were to act under them; and not to be co-equal in power, as they had now become. The committee then pursued their inquiry as to the peculiar duties of the lieutenant-general. Upon this subject they examined Mr. Crewe, and from his evidence it seemed that the lieutenant-general performed no duties distinct from those of a member of the board, except in the absence of the master-general, or in case of a vacancy in that office. Upon this subject they examined also lord Chatham and lord Moira, both of whom had held the office of master-general. The first of those noblemen, when he had been asked as to the utility of the duties of lieut.-general, had requested to postpone his answer, and had, in fact, not given it until the end of his examination. The earl of Chatham said, he did not see how the question could be properly answered. It was difficult to consider the doubt which this question was meant to imply; more especially when the high and respectable names which had filled the office were re- collected, and when reference was made to the orders and instructions which had been given, from the formation of the board to the present time, for the conduct of the lieutenant-general. Mr. Hume proceeded to say, he could find none of the orders and instructions to which the noble lord had alluded, excepting those contained in the commissions to hold the office, and these he was bound to understand him to mean. It was for the House, however, to consider how far they would think such reasoning conclusive on the question of keeping up such an office. Lord Chatham stated, besides, that the lieutenant-general had several important duties to perform, particularly that of presiding at the board, where his military experience was extremely useful. This, he would only observe, was in contradiction to the evidence of Mr. Crewe. The same question as to the utility of this office of lieutenant-general had been put to lord Moira. He had replied, that he apprehended that the office was created in contemplation of the master-general being sent abroad with the command of an army; in which case, the lieutenant-general would have to discharge his functions. In case of the illness of the master-general, he would become colonel in chief of the artillery: beyond these, he had no other duty to perform than that of being a member of the board. Here the evidence on this point closed.—He would next consider how the committee had received this evidence. They said, that it appears the lieutenant-general has now no duties to perform excepting in the absence of the master-general, and that his clerks also have no duties even in that event: for it appeared that when the master-general had been absent at Walcheren, the duties of the office had been carried on by his clerks: the committee therefore very reasonably inferred, that the lieutenant-general's clerks were useless, and ought to be abolished. It was not likely that any occasion for their services should so frequently occur, as would justify the charge of 700l. per annum, the expense at which this part of the establishment was kept up. In a late instance where the master-general had been absent, and the lieutenant-general died during his absence, the business had been found to go on just as well when performed by the clerks of the master-general. Having given the fullest consideration to the subject, the committee were of opinion, that the office of lieutenant-general was not essential to the department, particularly if' the attention of the master-general was not withdrawn by his holding other offices. As the four inferior officers did not perform the duties originally allotted to them, they also might be discontinued. The committee proposed, that a general commission should be constituted, to be called the commission of the board of ordnance; that the powers of the board should be the same as they were at present, and that the signature of each should be of equal effect. The committee had, in the course of their inquiry, asked lord Moira whether he thought the members of this board ought to be removable with a change in the administration; and he said in answer, that he thought a proportion should be fixed; that one of them should have a seat in the House of Commons, for the purpose: of answering questions relative to the affairs of the department, and to bring forward any subject that might concern it. The committee thought that not more than two at the utmost should have seats in parliament, and that the others should devote themselves entirely to the duties of their office. Now, we had three or even four of these officers in the House, contrary to the recommendation of the committee, and more than two to one against the opinion of lord Moira. This did not include the treasurer of the department, who formed no part of the hoard. It was a distinct question whether he ought to sit there or not, though he thought that, consistently with the rules of other departments, he ought not. It was a reasonable ground of complaint, that neither this, nor scarcely any other of the recommendations of the committee, had been attended to. The question now for the consideration of the House was whether, in the present situation of the country, and in time of peace, it was necessary that five officers should be continued in this small department, when four were found to be sufficient for the management of all the concerns of the British navy? Was it consistent with the professions of economy and the recommendations of the committee, to keep up this establishment? He was anxious to hear from ministers, why the navy was unworthy of as great a number of officers as the ordnance? This he deemed to be unanswerable. He knew he should be told, that the business of the barrack department had been added: but he would reply, that it had formerly belonged to it, that it had been unjustly taken away, and that with the servants belonging to the department this additional business could not be felt. Let the commissariat department be added to the whole of the duties of the ordnance, and still it bore no comparison to the navy. If the House had been right last year with respect to the latter establishment, they could not refuse now to support his motion, and to declare that five officers were unnecessary for the ordnance department. The expenses had formerly amounted to 3,500l.: now they were 6,561l. per annum, exclusive of the salary of the master-general. Those of the navy were only 4,000l.; and, if he stood upon this point alone, he was in a situation to claim their support. It was an insult to the great naval establishment, that its remuneration should be less than that of so inferior an office. After a vacancy of three or four months in the office of lieutenant-general, after his majesty's answer to the Address of the House, that he would reduce every unnecessary establishment, which pledge had been repeated in the Speech from the throne, the recent appointment which had been made four and twenty hours before the meeting of the House was an insult to the people. The House was ready to grant all that might be necessary for the security of the country, but they ought not to be called on for one shilling beyond this. The ordnance department was one of the most wasteful under government, those of Ireland only excepted. The salary of the private secretary to the master-general was much larger than the duties of the office authorized. Mr. Crewe received for this 1,500l. per annum. The House in which he lived had cost 15,000l. building, and thus the country paid a rent of 1,200l. a year for him. He did not wish to undervalue that gentleman, whom he understood to be an able servant of the public; nor did he blame him for taking as large a salary as was offered for his services, but he did blame those who gave it to him. Colonel Chapman, who had previously held the office, retired on a pension of 400l. a year to make room for this gentleman, who received a salary of 1,500l. per annum: so that this private secretaryship cost the country 1,900l. yearly. Here was an opportunity for re- trenchment, if gentlemen were really disposed to adopt economical measures. The office of secretary evidently could not be of great importance, because the individual who held it was frequently absent. For what, then, should they pay him 1,500l. a year? Yet, expensive as he was to the public, it appeared that his services at home could very well be dispensed with, since he was now at Madrid. He might be a very proper person to be sent there; but he would ask, was it proper that an individual, who was paid 1,500l. a year for doing one duty, should be employed in the performance of another, wholly different in its nature? There were formerly two secretaries attached to the master-general; but, in consequence of the recommendation of the commissioners, one of them was dispensed with. The salary was 300l. a year. When the office was suppressed, the public had a right to benefit to that amount: but government divided the 300l. amongst the clerks, and the public gained nothing by the alteration. It appeared quite plain, that no department in the state required more looking after than the ordnance; and therefore he trusted the House would institute some inquiry into it. He had shown what was the expense of the Tower and the Pall-Mall establishment in 1796. At that period—a period of war—the charge was 18,726l. What was the return for 1822, the sixth year of peace? It was no less than 63,273l., being an increase of 47,000l. in the period between 1796 and the present day. The finance committee had alluded to the allowances and gratuities which were granted in this department, and had expressed their disapprobation of them. One would, therefore, expect to see a reduction, not an increase, under that head. But he found that, in 1814, the gratuities were only 9,000l., whereas, in the last year, they amounted to 30,000l. The commissioners of military inquiry, perceiving the immense increase of expense, recommended two most important regulations, neither of which had been attended to. They recommended having the four junior officers under one roof, instead of keeping one portion of them in Pall-Mall, and the remainder at the Tower, and paying them their travelling expenses when they proceeded from the one station to the other. The commissioners inquired whether the business could be performed with facility if the officers were all under one roof. They were informed by earl Moira that it could, and they recommended the alteration; but no such alteration had been made. By keeping those separate establishments, eight or ten clerks were constantly employed in corresponding with each other. There was no end to the expense in this department. It was impossible for any person to devise a more effectual mode of squandering money than was adopted in the ordnance. In consequence of the store-keeper-general ceasing to perform the duties attached to his office, a number of store-keepers were appointed. Here a saving might have been effected, if the advice of earl Moira had been attended to. He objected to the stores being delivered at the Tower; and he pointed out various benefits which would arise from their being supplied at Woolwich. By adopting this measure, one delivery would be sufficient, and the services of certain officers, who were employed in consequence of there being more than one delivery, under the existing system, might be dispensed with. It was the opinion of lord Moira, that, with the exception of small arms alone, all ordnance stores should be delivered at Woolwich. If this recommendation had been acted upon, there would no longer be any excuse for not having all the business done under one roof. In that point, however, the recommendation of the commissioners remained a dead letter. He found that the increase of the ordnance establishment, in the period to which he had alluded, was full three-fourths. In 1792, the charge was 480,000l.; at present it amounted to 1,447,000l. Nothing had been done to reduce this enormous establishment sufficiently; and, notwithstanding all the professions of strict economy which the people had heard, they had a right to censure ministers for not having diminished this extravagant expenditure.—Another grievance to which the commissioners had adverted, was the number of houses which were attached to this department. Instead of gving individual store-keepers 40l. or 50l. a year, as rent for a house, they caused houses to be erected for them, which cost the public 3,000l. or 4,000l. There were not less than three or four hundred houses and apartments, in different quarters, belonging to the ordnance. It was his intention to bring this particular grievance distinctly before parliament. If all those useless houses were sold, and some new regulation adopted with respect to barracks, a very great saving would be effected. The ordnance department still went on building, notwithstanding the great number of houses they already had. Houses could only be wanted in places where individuals had duties to perform; but many instances could be adduced where houses were built, although no duty was to be done at the place in which they were erected. He stated this, to impress on the minds of gentlemen, that the recommendation of the commissioners were not attended to by his majesty's ministers. Why should five individuals be required to manage the affairs of the ordnance, when the House had decided that four were sufficient to conduct those of the navy? Why should those five persons cost the country 6,500l., when the business of the admiralty was transacted for 4,000l.? The whole of this department ought to be new-modelled, and placed on a strictly economical basis; and for the purpose of effecting that desirable object, he would move—"That as the Commissioners of Military Inquiry have reported in their 13th report, that in their belief, from the information given to them, the appointment of Lieutenant-general of the Ordnance was not essential to the constitution of the Board of Ordnance, in time of war; this House are of opinion, that the recent appointment of lord Beresford in time of peace, is inconsistent with the recommendation of the commissioners of military inquiry, at variance with the professions of economy from the throne, and without a due consideration of the situation of the country, which requires every possible reduction of expenditure to be made in every department of the state, that is not absolutely necessary for the service of the government."

Mr. Ward

said, he rose for the purpose of opposing the motion of the hon. gentleman on the most plain and palpable ground. The hon. gentleman, in express terms, stated, that the commissioners of military inquiry had declared, "that the appointment of lieutenant-general of the ordnance in time of war was unnecessary." Now, out of the hon. member's own mouth would he convict him; for, on looking to the report from which he had quoted, it would be found that his statement of the declaration of the commissioners was not the fact, but that the direct contrary was. What did the motion say? It set forth, "that the appointment of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, in time of war, is unnecessary." To render his reply to the hon. gentleman perfectly clear, he would divide it into three parts. He would first prove, that the hon. gentleman had misrepresented the declaration of the commissioners of military inquiry; he would next show, that the commissioners of military inquiry had misunderstood the evidence on which they formed their opinion; and lastly, he was prepared to argue, that, supposing both the hon. gentleman and the commissioners to be correct, yet such alterations had taken place in the department, such an increase had been made to the business, that it was totally impossible to attend to those recommendations. He would, by referring to the report, make it manifest, that the hon. gentleman had garbled the statement of the commissioners; and had recommended to the House and the country, that which they never intended to recommend. He would, therefore, detain the House, while he quoted certain extracts from the report; and he called on gentlemen to compare those extracts with what the hon. gentleman had described the report to be. When on a former night, the hon. member referred to this subject, he had said, that the commissioners had declared, that "from the information given to us, we are of opinion, that the performance of the duties of lieutenant-general of the ordnance is not necessary to the constitution of the department;" and there, to his utter astonishment, the hon. member's motion, on the present occasion, stopped. Now, it must excite the surprise of gentlemen, when he informed them, that after the extract which he had just quoted, the commissioners proceeded to say, "especially, if it were to be understood, that the attention of the master-general should not be withdrawn from his regular duty, by other appointments." This altered the case altogether. It was a statement, that "the appointment of lieutenant-general was not necessary to the constitution of the department, especially if it were to be understood that the master-general should not be withdrawn from the performance of his duty by other appointments." The country went with the commissioners on that point. They wished the master-general's office to be made perfectly efficient. But yet, forgetting this portion of the sentence, the hon. gentleman stated broadly, that it was his belief that the commissioners had recommended the reduction of the lieutenant-generalship without any modification whatever. The commissioners went on to say, "that unless this preliminary condition were admitted" (that of restricting the master-general to the performance of the duties of that office) "they had nothing to offer with respect to the situation of lieutenant-general." All this the hon. gentleman had suppressed. He begged his pardon for using that phrase; but he had at least omitted it. It was, however, astonishing to him that a gentleman of such laborious research, and acting, as no doubt he did, with the most honest intention, should, on every subject of debate, but particularly on the subject of the ordnance, leave out passages of very great importance, and quote only those which answered his own purpose.—His second proposition was, that the commissioners of military inquiry did not understand the evidence. They stated, that lord Moira had declared, in the most unqualified manner, that the keeping up the situation of lieutenant-general was only necessary to prevent inconvenience when the office of master-general was vacant. Now, he would show, that lord Moira said no such thing; and he was ready to contend that his lordship in a great measure asserted the contrary. He would read what the commissioners stated, and he would then turn to lord Moira's evidence. The commissioners said, that lord Moira gave it as his opinion that the lieutenant-general was only useful pending a vacancy in the situation of master-general: but if they looked to the evidence, it would be found that lord Moira did not state his opinion in that way. He said, "the lieutenant-general has no other business but what he performs as a member of the board." Now, might there not be great and important duties for him to perform—duties that would absorb all his time? For any thing which appeared in the report of the commissioners, the lieutenant-general might have duties to execute which would consume the whole of his time. This might be the case, for aught the commissioners knew. Therefore, he must say, that even with regard to lord Moira's evidence, the commissioners were not so correct as they ought to have been. What did they state with respect to lord. Chatham? They admitted lord Chatham to have said, that "the office of lieutenant-general was most material for carrying on the business of the board, and the civil and military duties of the department;" and they allowed that the opinion of a nobleman who had been so long at the bead of the department was most important. But then they proceed to say, "that lord Chatham founded his opinion on the fact, that the master-general was frequently absent on other duties." Now, lord Chatham's evidence was exactly on the other side; for he said, that the lieutenant-general was not merely necessary for the purpose of doing the duty of the master-general, but "for presiding at the board to transact the civil business of the ordnance." And here he must express his astonishment at the easy credulity of the hon. gentleman, in believing, without any proof of the fact, that there was something like criminality in the conduct of lord Chatham, because, being surprised by a question of this magnitude and importance, and being examined on his oath, he required time to consider, before he would venture to put his evidence on record. This was what the hon. gentleman called "managing" the business; this was what he made the subject of a charge against lord Chatham. That noble lord never did an act in the whole course of his life which he would not openly avow—he never did an act which deserved to be stigmatized as the hon. gentleman had stigmatized his caution and prudence on the occasion referred to. He merely did that which every man of virtue, of pure conscience, and of honest feeling should do, when asked to give his opinion on oath, with respect to a matter of high importance—he demanded time to consider the subject. When his lordship did come forward, what did he say? He declared (so eminently necessary did he consider the office of lieutenant-general) that "he was utterly astonished how it could enter the mind of any man, to ask a question as to its utility." His lordship proceeded to observe—"It seems to me difficult, to find on what ground the doubt as to the utility of this office could have arisen; more especially when the high and respectable names who have filled the situation are recollected, and the instructions which have been given for its government, in every reign, since the first institution of the board of ordnance. I would not state more on this point, if the commissioners did not express a wish that I should state, in detail, the duties in the performance of which the lieutenant-general is useful, and I will do so." His lordship was called on to explain the duties of the office; He requested time to consider the subject; and this was what the hon. gentleman called management. He took a day to answer the interrogatories of the commissioners, and this was charged against him as a crime. His lordship went on to say—"In the first place, independent of what the lieutenant-general is instructed to do in the absence of the master-general, he has several important and specific duties allotted to him to perform, extending over the principal civil and military business of the department, and particularly before the board, where his military knowledge must prove highly advantageous." That the lieutenant-general's exertions at the board were "highly advantageous" remained to be shown; because his lordship had not specified what the exact nature of his duties at the board were. He (Mr. W.) would therefore observe, that they were divided into two heads, civil and military; and he could state decidedly, that without considerable military, civil, and local knowledge, those duties could not be performed. If they looked to those who had served in this office, it would he found that it had constantly been filled by men of talent and experience. Sir T. Trigge, lord Amherst, lord Howe, sir Hildebrand Oakes, and a long list of gallant and distinguished individuals, had filled the situation. This was a proof of its great importance. In his opinion, it would be better to call on the House to abolish his (Mr. W.'s) office, rather than suppress that of lieutenant-general. Lord Chatham next stated, that "in all communications between the board and the higher branches of the ordnance, the presence of such an officer is particularly required." He (Mr. W.) knew, that with respect to the disbursement of money, and the regulation of stores, the civil members of the board could do the business as well as the lieutenant-general; but when they came to estimate supplies, the military knowledge of that officer was of especial use. Lord Chatham then went on to show the necessity of keeping up the office of lieutenant-general, in consequence of the great increase of business. Then what appeared from all this? According to this evidence (which the commissioners declared amounted to the fact, "that the lieutenant-general was in a great measure occupied with the duties of the master-general"), it was most apparent, that he was occupied in performing the civil duties of his office. So that, if there were no master-general, he would still be fully employed. He considered the lieutenant-general of the ordnance as the great link between the civil and military departments of that establishment. He had to perform duties which were necessary to the due carrying on of the business of the board, and which had nothing to do with the functions of the master-general.—So much, then, for the report of the commissioners, founded on evidence which, he had shown, absolutely contradicted that report. The hon. gentleman had bottomed some of his statements on the evidence of Mr. Crewe, which he appeared to consider equal to that of lord Chatham. But what did Mr. Crewe's statement come to? Precisely to that of lord Moira; tamely, that "beyond the duties which the lieutenant-general performs in the absence of the master-general, he does not know what other functions that officer has to execute." But the lieutenant-general had many other duties to perform. He had to visit the arsenal at Woolwich, and at other places; he had also to scrutinize persons who were invalided, in the same way as a lord of the admiralty scrutinized every one of those seamen who were candidates for Greenwich. He had these anti many other duties to perform.—The hon. gentleman seemed to have a second point in view, when he brought forward Mr. Crewe's evidence. He introduced it for the purpose of putting down the lieutenant-general's clerks. But here the hon. gentleman was considerably behind time; for, long before the hon. gentleman had a seat in that House, he himself felt that it would be proper to do away with those appointments; and they were actually abolished ten years ago. The hon. member endeavoured to impress on the House, that the lieutenant-general employed two clerks, and that if the office of lieutenant-general were unnecessary, those clerks must be also unnecessary. Now, he (Mr. W.) found, that the lieutenant-general was extremely necessary, but that the clerks were unnecessary; and therefore he had them abolished ten years ago.—After what he had said, he imagined the house would not expect he should repeat the refutation he had given, two years ago, to the same species of attack which the hon. member had made upon the ordnance department—a refutation which the integrity of that department enabled him to give, from his general knowledge of the official business it comprehended. Mark the manner in which the hon. member widened his attacks: his notice for that night was merely for the abolition of the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance; but his speech was nothing less than an unmitigated attack upon the whole board, brought forward in this sly way, without the parties who were to be inculpated having any previous opportunity of preparing for their vindication. The hon. member had called upon the House to revert to what had been the ordnance establishment in the year 1796. Why not, at the same time, have called upon the House to compare the present business transacted by the board, with that which they had to perform in 1796? Let the House listen to that comparison, and then decide upon the parallel. The present establishment consisted of 8,000 men; that of 1796 was 4,000. Then, there were no horse artillery; now, there was the finest body of that force in the world. Then, there were no sappers and miners; now, there was an admirably equipped corps. In 1796 the half-pay of the ordnance was only 20,000l. a-year; now, it was 400,000l. Besides, there was the wider range of duties which, since 1796, had devolved upon the ordnance, from the increase of colonial business in the East and West Indies. The hon. member had no objection to call for the transfer of every species of business to the board of ordnance; but such was his penury, that he would stint them even in the number of clerks necessary to make out the accounts. But in what had fallen from the hon. gentleman, there was one great and gross misrepresentation, which was cruel and unjust in its operation—he meant the unqualified assertion, that colonel Chapman, the late private secretary to the master-general, was pensioned off at the rate of 400l. a-year, to make room for another. Nothing could be more untrue than the hon. member's imputation. What was the real state of the case? Colonel Chapman, when a captain, was one of those able men by whose science and skill the country had so much benefitted, and by means of which the duke of Wellington had been able to achieve so much, in the costruction of the celebrated lines of Torres Vedras, near Lisbon. For his eminent services on that occasion, he was promised an eventual provision to the amount of his present pension. Whilst he held the office of secretary, he never asked for this remuneration; but when he retired from the office of secretary, then, and not till then, did he receive it. Was it unreasonable that, for such a service, an officer of such science and merit should be provided for? and was he wrong in not requiring the pension which was promised him, until he retired from the situation which he filled in the office? He must repeat, that nothing was more false, more malignant, or more nefarious, than to impute the stain of job to the conduct of such an officer. He was sure the hon. member must have been ignorant of the real fact of the case, when he had made his statement; and must now rejoice at having his first impression removed.—The hon. member had charged wasteful extravagance against the board of ordnance; and by way of economising, proposed, in the room of the present system of the office, that there shall be four commissioners, at salaries of 1,200l. a year each, making a total of 4,800l. a year, leaving the lieutenant-general to stand in that case [Mr. Hume here said "No."] If not, then where was the economy—was the lieutenant-general, or the military assistant to receive nothing? He was at a loss to discover in what way economy would be promoted by substituting the hon. member's plan; but, of this he was sure, that the proposed change of system would be detrimental, and entirely useless in a practical sense. The hon. member had favoured them with a comparison between the navy and the ordnance boards, and had asked, whether they would content themselves with leaving only five admiralty lords, and retaining the same number, and better paid, for a comparatively smaller service. Here the hon. member was either a great tactician, or else he evinced what, without meaning any reflection upon him, he might be permitted to call a sort of ignorant honesty—a defect of information which was almost culpable in such a quarter. Was the hon. member really serious, when he said, that five lords managed the whole business of the admiralty? Had he never beard of the ten commissioners of the navy? Had he never heard of the commissioners for the victualling board? Had he never heard of the paymasters of the navy? Had he never heard of the commissioners for the out ports? [Hear, hear!] Did the lords of the admiralty audit their own accounts? Did they make contracts for their branch of service? Were they their own manufacturers? Were they casters of guns, manufacturers of powder, &c.? All these duties the ordnance department had taken upon itself; and yet the hon. member had suppressed all the labour which such duties imposed, and had apparently done so for the sake of a ridiculous species of plausibility in his speech. He ought to have known these things; and, knowing them, ought not to have suppressed them. If he did not know them, where was his great information with regard to the departments which he sought to re-model? With respect to the remuneration of the lords of the admiralty, it had always been the opinion of Mr. Pitt, that they were inadequately paid; but his observation was, that the remuneration did not consist of a money price; they had, he said, an office of high honour, and were ultimately appointed to naval commands of rank and profit. To such ultimate preferments the members of the board of ordnance could not pretend; and there was certainly some consideration to be allowed for that difference between the two services. The hon. member had said, that the clerks in the ordnance department received a considerable increase of salary since 1796. For his part, he could assure the hon. member of his gratitude, if be could prove the fact in his own case. But he was sorry to say, that, so far from his salary having been increased since 1796, it was exactly 300l. less than that which had been received by his predecessor, although he had to transact ten times the business. That, in the returns, there was an increase of some of the salaries was a fact; but that increase was chiefly given in lieu of fees, to which certain clerks were previously entitled. He had omitted to state, when he alluded to the great increase of the ordnance department since 1796, that they had all the Irish ordnance business to manage.—He thought he had now demonstrated, that the hon. member had garbled the report of the commissioners; that the commissioners themselves were not borne out by the evidence in the committee; and that the business of the office had considerably increased, by late reductions in other departments, and transfers which had been made to the ordnance. And having demonstrated this, he thought he had laid sufficient ground for the rejection of the motion. Before he sat down, he wished also to say, that since the making of the report, in 1811, a considerable increase of labour had been thrown upon his department. Indeed, the hon. member himself had, for the last two or three years, been constantly calling upon the House to reduce this department and the other, and consign the business of them to the board of ordnance; and now, after having succeeded in many of these transfers, he wanted to paralyze the effect of them, by reducing the establishment to a state of insufficiency for the performance of its duties. At one time, his object was to throw a great additional burthen upon the office; and at another, to take away the strength by which alone it could be supported. The reduction of the barrack-masters in Ireland had thrown a great additional business upon the department, without the smallest additional pay, whilst it at the same time effected a great saving for the public: it saved the salary of the barrack-comptroller, which was 1,500l. a-year, and his deputy 1,000l. And yet, after this weight of additional duty thrown upon the board of ordnance, the hon. member had the grace to come down to that House, and say, "Now that we have worked you hard, we will take away one of your most efficient officers." In the course of the last year the ordnance business had been considerably enhanced, by some regulations of the master-general, who had made some admirable regulations, with that energy and decision, which characterized all his actions. Formerly, it was the practice for the chief clerks on foreign stations to check the issues of money or stores within their departments, and perpetual abuses and defalcations attended this mode of transacting the business; but the present master-general removed at once, all those foreign check clerks, and ordered, upon pain of immediate dismissal, that the heads of offices abroad should every month return accounts of their issues; for the purpose of having them constantly compared with the amount of the outgoings from home, and the different uses to which they were applied abroad. The lieutenant-general was in the daily habit of examining these returns as often as was necessary, and had as much manual labour as any clerk had before endured whilst so employed. The House, in considering the state of the board of ordnance, should bear in mind, that the transfer of the barrack department to the ordnance comprehended the business of 101 barrack stations alone in Great Britain, and was divisible into four several heads or branches; viz, the corresponding, the accomptant, the stores, and the building. Not a single day passed without the superintendence of some accounts under one of these heads, or without the board having to consider some plan or estimate of the particular business belonging to them. The colonial business was equally extensive and minute; as a proof of it, he could mention, that, amongst other colonial items before them, at the present moment, was a plan for the erection of an iron steeple at Trinidad, which must go through the board of ordnance before it could be erected. For all this additional duty the officers of the board had not only not one farthing additional pay, but had lost 10 per cent of their salaries. He trusted that he had said enough to convince the House that the motion ought to be rejected.

Mr. J. Williams

said, that a feeling was abroad, that, under existing circumstances, the expenditure of every unnecessary farthing was not merely a pressure on the nation, but an insult upon its understanding. Yet, this was the season in which the hon. gentleman opposite, with so much ingenuity and apparent triumph, had thought proper to treat with so much jocularity a subject of this important nature. If the hon. gentleman, in speaking of the report of the commissioners, meant to say, that the distinguished persons by whom it had been prepared, were not, in truth, competent to report upon the ordnance establishment, why did he not at once move that the subject should be re-considered? The hon. gentleman had said, that the commissioners had adhered to the opinion of lord Chatham in the statement which they had made as the result of that noble lord's evidence before them. Now he (Mr. Williams) contended, that, with the exception of certain generalities in that evidence, where the noble lord had not condescended to make any specific statements, it resulted, that the noble lord's opinion on the subject was always delivered upon the presumption of the absence of the master-general of the ordnance. The hon. secretary of the ordnance could hardly be serious in requiring the House to examine now the evidence which he had referred to, scattered as it was over a goodly quarto volume. It was trifling with hon. members to ask them to embark upon an undertaking, which would occupy them at least until midnight. It was, he contended, the hon. gentleman himself, who had made the garbled statement of which he complained, in asserting that the military commissioners had come to an unfair and unfounded statement. The ground upon which those able persons had pressed the abolition of this office was, that the master-general should be confined to the duties of his office. "Our view would be," they reported, "to confine the master-general wholly to his official duties." Now, this passage the hon. gentleman opposite had not thought proper to read, although it contained the very principle of their recommendation. The report went on thus: "We have nothing further to offer, unless this preliminary be adopted, respecting the office of the lieutenant-general." And why had it not been adopted? In whose hands had the government been placed in the mean tune? Was it not for them to have effected the measure so recommended? Was this commission altogether a sinecure? If not, why had not the government abided by their recommendation? Where was the evidence to show any thing like a necessity for the longer continuance of the office in question? The motion was founded expressly on the report of the commissioners. The question was simply this: the abolition of an office which had been filled up within eight and forty hours of the declaration of that House, that every possible economy in the expenses of the state ought to be most rigidly adopted. The hon. gentleman had said, that ministers were as anxious as his hon. friend, that every possible retrenchment should be effected in the public expenditure. To such declarations he must give just that precise quantity of assent which experience had taught him to give. This was by no means the first time that ministers had made such plausible professions. But how was it, that two lords of the admiralty had at length been reduced? Was that a voluntary concession on the part of ministers? Or was the reduction made on account of their having been driven from a strong hold? Was the office of one of the post- masters-general given up on the voluntary concession of ministers? No such thing. It was not relinquished by the government, but on hard necessity. It was not until the opinion of the House was declared by an adverse majority, that one of those offices was abolished. Such declarations, therefore, he received with exactly that degree of allowance which was due to them. On the present occasion, he rested not on the mere statements of the hon. gentleman, but on the report of the military commissioners. He trusted that the house, looking to the same authority, would adopt the motion.

Mr. Secretary Canning

said, that although he should be perfectly content to go to the vote upon this question in the state in which it had been left by his hon. friend, yet having himself, upon a former evening, been particularly called on by the hon. member for Aberdeen, to account for the nomination that was now the subject of inquiry—having been, at that time, wholly unprepared to give an answer to the demand so made—having since made it his business to render himself fully acquainted with the real facts of the case—and having, finally, come to a most conscientious and determined conviction, that a falser allegation was never made, than had been made against the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance—he could not content himself with a silent vote on the present occasion. It would be in the recollection of the House, that the hon. gentleman had brought forward his charge on the former night, with almost every possible circumstance of aggravation. It was not only that an useless office had been revived and continued, after a committee appointed to inquire into the ordnance establishment had suggested its abolition—not only that this had taken place in defiance of all the general principles of economy, and of a specific recommendation of retrenchment in this particular—but that it had been done from the corruptest of motives, with the basest of purposes; that it had been given, at the instance of the government, to an individual wholly unworthy of the appointment. It was imputed to them, that it had been given to this individual for the sake of his family and parliamentary connexions. [Cries of "No, no," from the Opposition.] He affirmed most confidently, that the charge went forth, on that occasion, against the government, and against lord Beresford, not only as a charge of public malversation, but as a charge of personal favour, influence, and corruption. Was it nothing, then, that, for the space even of four and twenty hours, a noble and meritorious individual, and a government, conscious of having done its duty, should labour under calumny so foul, and imputations so unfounded? He said "calumny so foul," because he contended, that that charge was completely false in every particular. It had been already disproved by his hon. friend, so far as related to the office itself, and the foundation upon which it stood; and, before he sat down, if it should be necessary to remove from any mind the impressions which that charge might have excited to the prejudice of the noble lord in question, he trusted he should be able to remove it.—The motion of the hon. member professed to be founded on the report of the military commissioners; but before the hon. gentleman could call upon the House to affirm it, he should at least have been prepared with the document from which the grounds of his proposition were said to be taken. Now that motion averred, "that the commissioners of military inquiry had reported that, in their belief, from the information given to them, the appointment of lieutenant-general of the ordnance was not essential to the constitution of the board of ordnance, in time of war," &c. Now, he (Mr. C.) maintained, that the proposition which was here made the ground of the vote which the hon. member called for, was not only not in the report alluded to, but that, if the House affirmed it, they would affirm that which was not true. The only passage that bore a resemblance to the statement he had just read, and the one which the hon. gentleman must have intended to refer to in his motion, was couched in different terms. It was to this effect:—"From the information given to us respecting the actual performance of any distinct duties by the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, we incline to the opinion, that this appointment is not essential to the constitution of the board. Our view would be, to confine the master-general wholly to his official duties. We have nothing further to offer, unless this preliminary respecting the office of master-general should be adopted." The recommendation, therefore, was specifically upon the understanding, that the master-general should be so confined. Notwithstanding the caution of the learned gentleman who had spoken last, he must be allowed to suggest to him, that it was in some slight degree necessary to know the nature of the documents on which a proposition like the present was founded, before it could be effectually supported; and therefore, without any risk of going on until midnight, he would read the remainder of the documents that had been brought before the House. [The right hon. gentleman then read an extract from the report, to the effect, that lord Moira's opinion, as to the necessity of the office of lieutenant-general, rested on the possible absence or illness of the master-general; but that lord Chatham thought it was an office essentially necessary to the constitution of the board.] Surely, so decided an opinion, coming from an officer who had been so long at the head of the ordnance department, was entitled to great credit. The report, after proceeding to state the further opinions of lord Chatham and others, observed, "it was only under these representations that it had occurred to the commissioners, that the office of the lieutenant-general might be dispensed with." At the bottom of the same page, however, having first—if the House would believe the words of the motion—disposed completely of this office, and recommended its abolition;—what did these commissioners do, but name a specific sum, in the way of salary, for this defunct officer! Not only did they state the compensation to be made for the discharge of functions which they had declared there was no necessity for exercising, but they went on to recommend the salary and emoluments which were to be allotted for his posthumous services. They said in their report, "Our proposition is, that with respect to the emoluments and salary of the lieutenant-general of the board of ordnance," such and such arrangements ought to be made. The hon. gentleman had seemed to think, that by what the commissioners had said, in respect of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, it was meant to abolish an office, whereas it seemed rather their intention to call it by another name; for there was, in fact, no specific proposition for diminishing the board. Now, if all that the hon. gentleman's motion intended was, that the lieutenant-general of the ordnance should be no longer called so, but that there should be no diminution of the board, his motion might, in truth, be a very rational one; but what became of economy in the mean time? Where was retrenchment? The commissioners said nothing about a reduction of the board, in point of number; but they said that this officer should not be called lieutenant-general. But the hon. gentleman himself would doubtless see, that the whole of this recommendation proceeded on the persuasion, that a great change might take place in the office of the master-general himself. The learned gentleman had asked, why had not the suggested change taken place with respect to this office of lieutenant-general? Why, if the learned gentleman meant to frame upon that any question to be discussed in that House, the motion should have been "to alter the constitution of the board of ordnance." The commissioners reported that, the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance should be abolished, "if" a certain change should take place in the office of the master-general. Let it be admitted, that it had not taken place; and that it might be a matter of question whether such a change should take place or no. He would still contend, that the hon. gentleman's proposition did not touch these matters; although these were precisely time things to which his motion should have gone. What he maintained, therefore, was, that the recommendation of these commissioners did not apply, so long as the master-general of the ordnance continued to be the sort of officer he now was, and had been, from the first institution of his office.—To come to the question, whether the office of lieutenant-general should be filled, as it formerly had been, or by another sort of person? Hitherto, it had always been filled by one of the most eminent military men in the country; and one whose high situation in public life, and whose services to the state, had necessarily called him to a share in the functions of the government, the councils of the sovereign, or great military commands. The hon. gentleman might think that this was wrong; but, if so, it was for the honourable gentleman to address the House upon the subject specially. As the case stood, it was obvious that it was only the change contemplated in the office of master-general which had produced the recommendation from the commissioners in respect to the lieutenant-general. But the master-general, holding the high offices that he held, and being liable to be called away on other public appointments, it was admitted, both by lord Moira and earl Chatham, that the lieutenant-general must be the great officer whom it was usual to nominate to that situation, in order properly to supply the place of the master-general, when he might happen to be called away. He did not think there was any thing in our past history, that should induce parliament to change the principle which had always been acted on, in the nomination of master-general of the ordnance. The great Marlborough, who, while he was master-general, achieved the victory of Blenheim, formed no exception; nor did he think that the living example of the duke of Wellington, whose transcendent talents had acquired for him that commanding situation which he occupied in the councils of Europe, would make the House the less think that the master-general of the ordnance should merge in the mere discharge of the duties of the office, those great qualities which might be so essentially useful to his country. He did think it would be found, upon inquiry, that every succeeding age had not been under a mistake; that light had not now dawned on parliament for the first time; but that experience had confirmed the rule, that the post of master-general ought to be filled by the most eminent military man in the kingdom. If the House granted this, then, in effect, they said, that the recommendation of the military commissioners was not with, but against the hon. member on this occasion.—Again, upon, the fact of the office of master-general remaining what it now was, the House had the distinct admission of these commissioners themselves, that the office of the lieutenant-general must stand on precisely the footing that it now did. But if, notwithstanding all this, it could be shown, that, in the recent filling up of this office, there had been any thing like a corrupt motive, that alone would be ground to justify parliament, in carrying their complaints to the foot of the throne. It remained, then, that they should see how this question really stood: and he would assure the hon. gentleman, that of all the feelings that he could excite in his (Mr. Canning's) mind, by carrying this motion, or obtaining for it the sanction of the House, none could give him such pain as the notion, that in relation to the appointment which had taken place, a suspicion could enter any man's mind, that there was any shadow of foundation for what had been charged. It seemed, however, that a great hesitation had been evinced in the filling up this office;—that the appointment was four months in being filled: it was assumed, therefore, that there was, at first, on the part of the government some reluctance; but that, at length, the spirit of corruption getting the better of their feeling for the country, lord Beresford was appointed—the imputed motive being, his lordship's family influence. The situation became vacant on the death of its late estimable possessor. This was on the 9th of September last, a few days before the duke of Wellington set out for Vienna, which was on the 17th of September. In that short interval, the duke, although for a part of the time confined by indisposition to his chamber, did see his majesty once: and, so far from any hesitation on the part of the duke, as to whether he would wish to have the office done away with, and no successor appointed, he took the liberty of recommending to his majesty, not one, but three several persons as successors to the late lieutenant-general. His grace did so, because, being then about to leave the country; and, not having any opportunity of learning whether the first person would accept the office, before his departure, he thought it was necessary to name three. And on the third of these individuals it was, that the selection ultimately fell. The first was lord Hopetoun; the second, lord Hill. They both refused; and failing lords Hopetoun and Hill, the office reached the person who now filled it. The duke of Wellington first communicated with lord Hopetoun; and it was at Vienna that he received his lordship's answer. From Vienna the duke then wrote to lord Hill; and by the courtesy of the noble person who wrote the letter, and with the permission of the noble person to whom it was addressed, he (Mr. C.) had it now in his possession. He begged the House, before he proceeded to read it, to recollect the charge that had been made against the duke of Wellington—that he had been offering to these noblemen a place without business—an office marked for abolition, rendering no service to the country; and nevertheless, that he meant to make a job of it, and to give it away to a particular individual for family reasons. Among all the vices which were attributed to the duke of Wellington, excessive hypocrisy certainly was not one. Yet he (Mr. C.) thought that his hypocrisy must have been great, that he must have suffered his diplomatic functions greatly to affect the natural bias of his character, when he wrote this letter, in the perfect unconsciousness of its being ever made public, addressed to his intimate friend, and old companion in arms, merely in order to make out a case for the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, as against the hon. gentleman. The letter ran thus:—"My dear Hill;—You are aware of the death of lieutenant-general Oakes, late lieutenant-general of the ordnance; and it will be a great satisfaction to me to recommend you to the king to fill that office. I know that it will be satisfactory to his majesty. The office is worth about 1,500l. per annum, but the business is constant, and 1 am afraid will render necessary your residence in London during a great period of the year, probably the whole of it." In answer to this letter lord Hill addressed one to the duke of Wellington, dated October 21, 1822, in which, after expressing his thanks for the offer of the office that had been made to him, his lordship says:—"Under all circumstances, however, I feel that I had better decline the offer. In the first place, I never have been accustomed to office, and I fear I should but ill perform the business which would be required of me. Secondly, the constant residence in town would not only be unpleasant to me, but I really think the confinement, which I have never been used to, would be very injurious to my health."—Such was the sinecure which had been offered to lord Hill, and which his lordship had declined on account of the severity of the duties! Yes, he who had undergone the fatigues, the hardships, the dangers of so many campaigns, had declined to accept of this sinecure, because the constant occupation would be too severe for him, and because, hardened as he was by actual service, it would be injurious to his health. This was the sinecure, of which the hon. gentleman had taken so just an estimate; this was the office to which, because there were no duties to perform, lord Beresford had been appointed from corrupt motives, and on account of family connexions! But, so it was. The tenour of the report of the commissioners was violated: sentiments were quoted which formed no one part of that report; and lord Chatham was charged almost with wilful perjury. But to proceed with the appointment to the office. Having failed in his applications to both the noble lords mentioned, the duke of Wellington wrote to lord Beres- ford from Verona. The letter ran thus:—"Verona, Nov. 11, 1822.—My dear Beresford;—You are aware that the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance is vacant, and I wish very much that you would let me know if it would be agreeable to you to fill it. You must be aware of the respectability of the office in the military world, and how happy I should be to have your assistance. The value of the office is 1,500l. per annum, and the only drawback I know of is the constant occupation and attendance required in London." Thus went on this incorrigible hypocrite; always mentioning the laborious nature of the duties of the office, and the necessity of a prolonged residence in town; as if his letters had been written expressly to serve a purpose, which it could never have been in human sagacity to foresee; namely, an answer to the motion of that evening, by affording a proof of the laborious nature of the place, now contended to be a sinecure, out of the mouth of the duke of Wellington himself. Then what was the House to think of this false, foul, deliberate, and mischievous calumny, on the best and bravest blood in the land? Personal merit, public character, tried integrity, long years of faithful service, must all be sacrificed, and trampled on, and insulted, to pave the way to the success of a motion like this. The effect of this motion being carried would be, that a malignant, false, and scandalous imputation, would be cast on all the parties concerned. The government of the country was accused, the duke of Wellington was accused, and the noble lord was accused, of being parties to the most corrupt and disgraceful transactions. But, he was confident that, as they were now put upon their trial, they would, to the confusion of their accuser, he acquitted by the unanimous verdict of their country.

Mr. Hume

rose to reply. He could assure the House, it was not his intention, in the few remarks he had to offer, to imitate the example of the right hon. gentleman, by putting himself in a passion. The right hon. gentleman had talked of falsehood, and calumny, and misrepresentation, and other epithets which were wholly unworthy of him. Let him not imagine, however, that he (Mr. H.) was to be driven from his duty by such a mode of argument. He could not have imagined that the right hon. gentleman would have felt so much annoyed by a proposition for economical reduction—that he would have shown himself so inflammable—such touchstone [a laugh]. The right hon. gentleman might laugh, but he must know what it was he meant to have said. He denied that he had stated what was false in the course of his speech; but the right hon. gentleman himself had made a false representation in accusing him of uttering falsehoods in support of the motion. It was false to represent him as having accused lord Beresford of having no claim to his situation but his family connexion. On the contrary, he had paid him that tribute to which he conceived his talents and bravery entitled him; and he would not allow the right hon. gentleman, or any man, to accuse him of falsehood or misrepresentation. The right hon. gentleman might flourish away about the glories of Blenheim, as connected with the mastership-general of the ordnance; but he, if he were disposed to flourish also, might call back the recollection of the House to another master-general of the ordnance, who had figured at Walcheren. Let the right hon. gentleman take his change out of that if he pleased. The right hon. gentleman, in his eagerness to call the attention of the House to one or two points, had altogether omitted his argument about the heavy expense of the office. He had been accused of garbling. The accusation was unfounded. The garbling was on the opposite side; and if any man would look at the report, while he read his motion, be would find the words were the same. The position with which he had set out was, that the commissioners had recommended such a measure as that which the present motion embraced; and he would still contend, that it was impossible to put any other construction upon their report. With respect to lord Chatham, it had been said that he had been taken unprepared, and that no man could be ready to answer off hand upon oath. Was the like of this ever heard before? But the fact was, that so far from lord Chatham being unprepared, he had three weeks previous notice of the intention of the commissioners to examine him. From the observations of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Ward), one would have supposed that he (Mr. H.) had made an attack on col. Chapman. He had done no such thing. He said, and he now repeated it, that he had got a pension, for the purpose of making way for another. What offence was that to him? He fully admitted that col. Chapman was a most deserving officer. He concurred in all that had been said respecting his long and efficient services; but what was his reward for those services? He was turned out on a pension, small compared with the emoluments of his office, to make way for a voting man who had been aide-de-camp to the duke of Wellington, and who was now thrust over the heads of five hundred officers. And who was it that gave the offence to col. Chapman—they who had treated him thus, or the individual who had noticed such injustice? The right hon. gentleman had laid great stress upon the letters which he had read; and had observed, that they could not have been written in anticipation of a case for the House. He did not doubt but the letters were as they were described; but, what was the conclusion to be drawn from them? It was this—"If you accept the office, you will have all the duties to perform." Or to this effect—"The situation is at your service; for I want a proxy." He repeated, this was in effect the case; for, in order that the lieutenant-general should be constantly employed, it would be necessary that the duke of Wellington should be continually absent. This, he contended, was the opinion of the commissioners, and this must be the real ground on which the situation was now to be upheld. The hon. secretary to the ordnance had dwelt upon the immense business of that department, and had spoken as if he had to discharge the whole of it. Now, he would assert, that there was no attorney of any good practice, who might not have consumed, in describing the various duties he had to attend to, even a longer time than the hon. secretary had occupied in detailing his: but, there was this difference between them; that the hon. gentleman had twenty clerks to assist him, for every one that such a person as he had named could employ. To hear time hon. gentleman talk of his various occupations, and the fatigue of business, one would suppose that he was acting in time of great personal danger, and that every duty was discharged at the risk of his head. Did the hon. gentleman forget that he had now three times the number of assistants which were employed in the beginning of the war?—that in one office, where there were fourteen clerks in 1796, there were thirty-six at present; and, in another, where there were thirteen at the same period, there were now thirty-one? Was all this nothing? The hon. gentleman rested upon our present great expenditure—upon the increase of business—upon the multiplication of barracks. It was true, we had barracks spread all over the kingdom. That was one of his causes of complaint. But if we had these, we had also 150 commissariat clerks. Was their assistance to be reckoned as nothing? In conclusion, he repeated, that he had no intention of disparaging lord Beresford; but he would contend that, whoever was appointed, the appointment was unnecessary. He would now leave the question in the hands of the House. Those who supported ministers in their disposition to continue the burdens of the country, would, of course, oppose him; but those who thought that every possible attempt should be made to lighten those burdens, would vote with him.

Mr. Macdonald

said, that with a disposition to save every farthing that could be spared, consistently with the efficient management of the several public departments, he felt himself, in common with sundry friends around him, somewhat embarrassed by the wording of the present motion. The motion had, it was said, for its ground, the recommendation of a report of the commissioners of military inquiry. Now, before they decided upon that ground, it would be necessary to ascertain what was the object the commissioners had in view in making this recommendation. It appeared to him that time recommendation was a conditional one, and depended upon the re-modelling of the board of ordnance. How far such a measure might or might not be of advantage to the public service, he would not stop to inquire; but he knew that the re-modelling had not taken place. This being so, and having, on the one hand, a regard for every possible saving of the public money, as great as that of his hon. friend, and, on the other, a disposition not to pass undeserved censure on the master-general of the ordnance, or on his majesty's ministers, he could not vote for such a motion without further inquiry. The commissioners had examined lords Chatham and Moira, who gave opinions not much unlike; but the duke of Wellington might, have reasons for agreeing with, or differing from both. With the experience which his situation must have given him, he did not see why the opinion of the duke should not also be taken. He would therefore suggest, that a committee should be appointed for the purpose of inquiring into the office of lieutenant-general of the ordnance, and ascertaining whether its reduction might not be consistent with the public service. He regretted that such a motion should have been brought on without such inquiry, and he was sorry for the warmth which had been evinced in the course of the discussion. He advised his hon. friend to withdraw his motion, for the purpose of adopting one for a committee of inquiry. If any other member should be of the same opinion, he would move, by way of amendment, "That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the duties of the Lieutenant-general of the Ordnance, and the expediency of abolishing that office."

Mr. Canning

said, that he, for one, could not consent to the motion being withdrawn.

The amendment was negatived. After which, the House divided on Mr. Hume's motion: Ayes 73; Noes 200. Majority against the motion, 127.

List of the Minority.
Allan, J. H. James, W.
Althorp, visc. Jervoise, G. P.
Astell, W. Lemon, sir W.
Baring, H. Lewis, W.
Barratt, S. M. Maberly, J.
Benyon, B. Maberly, W. L.
Bernal, R. Mahon, hon. S.
Birch, J. Marjoribanks, S.
Boughey, sir J. Martin, J.
Bright, H. Maxwell, J.
Byng, G. Milton, visc.
Calvert, C. Monck, J. B.
Chaloner, R. Nugent, lord
Creevey, T. Palmer, C. F.
Curwen, J. C. Pelham, hon. C. A.
Cradock, S. Pelham, J. C.
Davies, T. H. Pym, F.
Denison, W. J. Ramsbottom, John
Denman, T. Ricardo, D.
Duncannon, visc. Rickford, W.
Dundas, C. Roberts, A. W.
Ebrington, visc. Robarts, G. J.
Ellice, E. Robinson, sir G.
Fergusson, sir R. C. Rowley, sir W.
Fitzgerald, lord W. Sefton, earl
Glenorchy, visc. Smith, J.
Grattan, J. Smith, G.
Guise, sir W. Smith, hon. R.
Haldimand, W. Stanley, lord
Hamilton, lord A. Tynte, C. K.
Heron, sir R. Webbe, E.
Hobhouse, J. C. Wells, J.
Honywood, W. P. Whitbread, S. C.
Hurst, R. Williams, J.
Hutchinson, hon. C. H. Wilson, sir R.
Winnington, sir T. TELLERS.
Wood, M. Bennet, hon. H, G,
Wyvil, M. Hume, Jos.
Wigram, W.