§ Sir H. Hardinge
proceeded to state the Army Estimates for the ensuing year. He should pursue the 775 usual because most convenient course, by comparing the Estimates for the present with those of the past year; but previously he would give a few particulars relative to the intended diminution. Passing by, therefore, for a moment, the amount of force, he would first mention the reductions in the Staff of the Army which the Commander-in-chief had been able to make. He was sorry not to see the hon. Member for Aberdeen in his place (and his absence at. such a time was a very unusual circumstance), who had said that the reductions in the Staff were chiefly confined to Medical officers. He could assure the Committee, that the number of other Staff-officers reduced this year was greater than the number of Medical Staff-officers. Last year, indeed, the reduction among the Medical Staff-officers had been considerable, producing a saving of 19,000l. This year the saving on the Staff generally was 7,788l., making together a sum of about 27,000l., which could not be justly termed, as the hon. Member for Aberdeen had termed it, a paltry saving. The office of Adjutant-General had been abolished: for four years it had been very useful and effective, but when the Committee came to examine what reductions could be made, it found that that situation might be dispensed with, and Government had accordingly acquiesced in the suggestion. In his own department would be found a small increase in the salaries, for length of service; but he could assert that in no office did the clerks discharge their duties more assiduously. The Secretary for the Treasury (Mr. G. Dawson) on a former night had mentioned that seventy-three persons now so employed in the office of Secretary at War received less than was paid to fifty-eight clerks in the year 1797, although the duty had been materially increased. During the war the number of clerks had been gradually enlarged to one hundred and seventy, but his predecessor (Lord Palmerston) had reduced that number to seventy-three, at which the establishment Still continued. During the last fourteen years only five or six appointments had been made in the War Office, and those had fallen to his predecessor; for although there were many deserving candidates for vacancies in his time, none had occurred. The next item was the Military College, and the total expense was now 7,659l. The Governor of the College formerly 776 enjoyed a salary of 1,500l., but at present it was reduced to 1,000l. a year, and in that reduction the individual had willingly acquiesced. The saving in the item of General Officers amounted to 10,000l. the whole amount being 26,000l. The Retired Full Pay of Officers was 104,000l. being a diminution of 5,000l. The Home Half Pay was 520,000l., showing a reduction of 18,177l. The Foreign Half Pay was lower by 2,370l. than last year, making a total diminution under this head of 35,549l. Last year he had informed the Committee that the sum of 82,000l. had been appropriated to the cancelling of half-pay commissions, and he had expressed his opinion, that one hundred and forty commissions would be cancelled. The fact was, that two hundred and ten Commissions had been cancelled, and a saving effected of 150,000l. including a sum for casualties. The apparent saving on the Half-pay was only 17,000l., but in fact it amounted to more than double that sum. The hon. Member for Aberdeen had complained that there was no diminution in the Half-pay, but it was a misapprehension on his part. The number of officers reduced subsequent to the peace while his noble friend was in office, was nearly three thousand five hundred. The pensioners formed the next item, and the subject was important. The House would see from the Estimates, that in the Pension List a diminution had been effected of one thousand two hundred men, by a strict observance of the rule, never to discharge any but those who had really been worn out in the service. The observance of that rule, and of the revised regulations, was, he conceived, likely to be productive of the best results; as, for example, the years spent in private life—namely, between one period of service and another—were as half time; thus, if a man were out of the service for two years, and joined again, that period had been reckoned as one year. The practice was now abolished, as was also the practice of reckoning time spent in India or elsewhere. Again, when a soldier was discharged, he was not pensioned unless he had been disabled on service. Formerly, it happened that from the facilities with which pensions were granted, many young men not above twenty years of age were pensioned after, perhaps, only one year of service; but now there, was no pensioning, except for injuries actually 777 contracted on service. Preparatory to the present statement he made a calculation, from which it appeared that three hundred and fifty men were pensioned annually for slight disabilities, whose average age was twenty-four years, and whose average period of service was four years. He had also found that twenty thousand men had been at one time receiving pensions under the old regulations, whose average age was thirty-one years. Many men who had been pensioned for life, retired after a service of only eight on ten years, and enjoyed those pensions for thirty or forty years afterwards. The regulations under which those abuses prevailed were such as he felt bound to advise his Majesty to alter, and the consequence was, he might be permitted to say, that none received pensions for short periods, except such as were justly entitled to them, upon the strictest application of the rules; and none for long periods, except for long and faithful services. By these means, then, had the Pension List been got down to what it was in the year 1817. The amount of Widows' Pensions was 145,267l.; upon that, however, there had been an increase of 1,856l. No widows, it was to be observed, were entitled to pensions, unless their husbands had served for a period of ten years at the least on full pay, or unless they had been killed on actual service. If hon. Gentlemen would turn to page 34, they would find that Mr. Francis Moore had been in possession of a pension of 1,800l. per annum, and that he had voluntarily relinquished 800l. per annum of that pension. That was a gift made to the nation in the most simple and unostentatious manner, [loud cheers] Mr. Moore said, that he spent his income out of the country, and having thus no means of contributing to the exigencies of the country, he desired to relinquish the 800l. a year stated in the Estimates. It was his (Sir H. H's) fortune to have been present at the time when the brother of that Mr. Moore closed his career, with a heroism, with a superhuman fortitude, which he had never seen approached. The relinquishment of so large a sum was the more worthy of especial notice, as Mr. Moore's fortune, he had reason to know, was extremely moderate. He had to add, that the act was done with the full concurrence of Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, his son, whose income above his pay was also very moderate. He would pass to some of the details of the Estimates 778 then on the Table. The expense of the full amount of force for the current year was fixed at 6,123,112l.; that, it was to be observed, was the lowest Estimate for the last twenty five years—apparently those for the years 1822 and 1823 were less, but then there were colonial corps paid out of the colonial funds, which was not the case at present. He was accordingly justified in saying that the present was the lowest Estimate that had been presented to Parliament in any year during the peace. The gross amount of men had been fixed at eighty-eight thousand, eight hundred and forty-eight, by which a reduction of 7,684l. was effected. In 1829 the reduction was only 1,200l. In page 41 they would see that the amount of force intended for Ireland had been most materially reduced; and whatever difference of sentiment might prevail with respect to the Catholic question, it would at least be acknowledged that the present peaceable state of Ireland was most gratifying. In page 41 they would see, from the general distribution of force, the number of men withdrawn from Ireland was not less than three thousand—to that he had to add that the expense of the military establishment in that part of the United Kingdom did not exceed 50,000l. Apologising to the Committee for having so long occupied their attention, he proceeded to state that the total number of battalions in the service was one hundred and three—that seventy-four of these were abroad—that twenty-nine were at home, or rather, he should say, that twenty-nine less by four were generally at home—four were, for the most part, on the passage between home and their foreign destination. At present it happened that there were only three battalions on the passage, leaving the actual number at home twenty-six, divided between Great Britain and Ireland, of which number four, as usual, were under orders for foreign service. The practice was to have battalions ten years abroad and four at home, and it must be evident to the Committee that the numbers requisite for maintaining that practice—the advantage of which had not been questioned—could not be kept with a smaller amount of force. The hon. Member for Callington had said that some of the guards might be sent abroade—to that he had only to reply that their numerical strength was not sufficient for such a purpose. The battalions of the guards were not more numerous at present than they were in the reign of Charles 2nd 779 —than they were at the end of the American war—than they were in the year 1792. The hon. Member for Callington had called for a reduction of the Cavalry; but if he would turn to page 4, he would find that there had been a reduction of four hundred and sixty-four. Certainly, in one respect, the Cavalry establishment was on a larger scale. In the year 1792 there were two Majors in each battalion, but the Commander-in-chief had directed that whenever vacancies arose of the second Majors, such vacancies should not be filled up. He was not aware that it was necessary for him to go any further into detail—it could scarcely be supposed that the number of battalions at home was too much, considering the necessity for relief. The evidence of the Quarter-master-general before the Finance Committee, was he apprehended, completely conclusive on that subject. Assuming, then, that the force in the United Kingdom was not excessive, he would inquire whether the number abroad was more than our foreign garrisons required? According to the evidence before the Finance Committee, the force in the West India Islands was greater in the year 1792 than at present—though the circumstances of our possessions there had materially changed. We now had there in our immediate neighbourhood a black population at St. Domingo, within twenty-four hours sail of Jamaica, and certainly such neighbours did not diminish the necessity for maintaining a strong military force; yet the force had not been augmented since the independence of that population was established. Then several new Republics were springing up in South America, not far from our possessions; and yet even that circumstance had not led: the advisers of the Crown to recommend any colonial augmentations beyond the standard of 1792. The same observations applied to Canada, Nova Scotia, and Gibraltar. The only exception was New South Wales. His right hon. friend, the Secretary for the Home! Department, and another right hon. friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, could inform them what were the grounds upon which that increase was made, founded as they were upon the nature and increase of the population of that colony since the year 1792. After recapitulating the principal items and observations already; given, he proceeded to notice the apparent difference between the Estimates of 1822 780 and 1823. The reductions made in 1822 were an experiment which had failed, and the result was, that augmentation became necessary for the purpose of bringing back the military establishments of the country to their original level. The hon. Member for Aberdeen had said, that the force in 1822 was only seventy-one thousand; but he had left out of view that the colonial corps at that time made the number really amount to ninety-five thousand, so that the increase of the military establishment was much less than had been represented. With respect to what had been said on the subject of the Militia force, he had only to observe that he was quite sure the hon. Member for Limerick had never intended that that constitutional force should be put down. The Member for Limerick had thought the Staff useless, and recommended that it should be abolished; but he never proposed that the force itself should be put down. In accordance with that view of the subject, his right hon. friend the Secretary for the Home Department last year brought in a Bill, the object of which was to place the establishment of that force upon the same footing as that upon which it stood at the peace of Amiens, and as it stood in 1792. It was his (Sir H. H's) opinion that none of those hon. Members who had taken a part in the discussions on that subject desired to see that Constitutional force put down. In like manner, though there was no intention of putting an end to the Yeomanry Establishment, yet the expenses of it were reduced 10 per cent; on all other points he had no reason to think but that it was intended to keep them upon the present footing. In conclusion, he had to state that the saving on the present year would amount to 213,000l.; and that, he submitted, was as large an amount of saving as the circumstances of the service would allow. He moved "That the amount of men in the current year should be eighty-eight, thousand, eight-hundred and forty-eight for the Land Service, exclusive of the forces employed by the honourable East India Company"
rose, but for a considerable time the noise of Members leaving the House rendered the observations of the hon. and gallant Member totally inaudible. He declared that he should not have troubled the Committee, were he not influenced by a deep sense of the importance of the savings which might be effected in those 781 branches of the public expenditure [renewed and increased disturbance.] He really should not have troubled the House with any observations whatever upon the subject, did he not persuade himself that his professional experience gave him some facilities in exposing what he conceived to be the imperfect arrangements and unnecessary expenses of that branch of the public service. It was with much regret, not unmixed with surprise, after all that had been said by his Majesty's Ministers, that he learned the saving was to be no more than 213,000l. [much confusion and frequent cries of "Order order."]
§ Mr. Hume
said, if the Committee were not disposed to listen to the observations of his hon. and gallant friend, he should move and divide upon it, that the Chairman do report progress, and ask leave to sit again. If a full assemblage of the House such as that were not disposed to listen to the well-founded objections which his hon. and gallant friend had to offer to the Estimates then on the Table, the only remedy left was to move, that progress be reported. He appealed to the Chairman of the Committee, to keep the peace—He appealed to hon. Members for decency's sake to listen to what might be urged; and he hoped the hon. Members near him would support him in moving to postpone the consideration of the Estimates till the House could meet in a better spirit, and more disposed to listen to the dictates of common sense and common decency, and the obvious suggestions of duty in promoting economy, [hear]
then proceeded to state his objections to the Estimates. He could not be brought he said to think that the country was in that high and pal my state which could warrant, the high amount at which the military force of the country was fixed in those Estimates. There never was a period at which our foreign relations placed us in a more disgraceful situation. [No, no] Our ancient Ally, the Turk, was prostrate at the feet of the Russians. If we looked to Spain and Portugal, we should find ourselves in no better condition; nothing there could flatter our vanity. If we looked westward, we should see that Spain was labouring to prevent the independence of the new countries which was so important to us in a commercial point of view. Was it to be supposed that, in making these observations, he sought to 782 recommend war? On the contrary, he was a warm advocate for peace; but if the country were to have peace, let it at least have the benefits and economy of a peace establishment.—The French army consisted of one hundred and fifty thousand men, and the English of only ninety thousand, and yet the total expense of the latter was more than that of the former, ft was therefore his intention to propose, as an Amendment, that they should allow the present establishments to Government for three months, instead of twelve; and if he should succeed in that proposition, he purposed to follow it up by a Resolution, that the Chairman be directed to report to the House that it was the opinion of that Committee that a Select Committee should be appointed to inquire what further reductions in the Army could be made, with a view to the reduction of the amount of taxation, and for the purpose of affording such relief as the distressed state of the country required. The state of Ireland was one point to which he wished particularly to call hon. Gentlemen's attention: if so much good had arisen from the great measure of Catholic Emancipation as had been anticipated, it was high time that they should begin to reduce the military establishment there. [hear.] They had been informed that there was less crime in the neighbourhood of Dublin than in the neighbourhood of London; and why, therefore, should not the military establishment there be diminished? At present there were eighteen thousand troops in Ireland, while, in his opinion, ten thousand would be amply sufficient to answer all purposes; so that in this quarter alone there might be effected a reduction of upwards of eight thousand men. The next opportunity for reduction that presented itself was the number of forces kept up in the Colonies, which in almost all instances appeared to him to be infinitely greater than was necessary. If the Ionian Isles were unavoidably so expensive, why should we retain possession of them at all? At the time that we took possession of them, there was an express stipulation entered into that they should be no charge to the nation. At all events, he thought that a reduction of one thousand three hundred or one thousand four hundred men might safely be made there, to which might be added a reduction at Malta of eight hundred more, at the Cape of Good Hope four 783 hundred or five hundred, and at Nova Scotia and the Canadas of as many more. Why was this country never to take a hint from the example set it by other nations? The whole amount of the American army as voted by Congress was but six thousand including the artillery. The United States were content with this amount, because they knew, that they could depend upon their Militia. But why could not England in the same way depend upon the Militia, which in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were enrolled to the number of one hundred and forty thousand? The employment of natives for military service appeared to him to be much better than sending out troops from England, not only because it would be more economical, but likewise because natives were more accustomed and would be. better able to act under their respective climates, and other local circumstances: besides which, it would also be an act of justice to the soldier of this country, who by being sent for a term of years to out-distant colonies ran a great chance of never again returning to his native country. The way in which the government of those places was managed was likewise highly expensive and objectionable. Persons were sent out there to perform useless services at enormous salaries. If the right hon. Gentleman (Sir H. Hardinge) would take the trouble to walk into the United Service Club any morning, he (Colonel Davies) would answer for it, that he would find plenty of officers there who would be glad to go out and perform all those onerous Governorship duties at a very reduced price. [hear, hear! and a laugh.] It was his firm conviction that, as the Army was at present constituted, twenty thousand men might be reduced without any disparagement of its efficiency. It was not his wish to enter, on that occasion, into the general state of the country; but he might observe, that it was evident that the agricultural portion of this country could not flourish when the manufacturing was depressed and it was notorious that our manufactures were daily losing ground in foreign markets.—An attempt, he believed, was to be made to procure the repeal of the Malt-tax; but he would suggest to hon. Gentlemen, that if they wished for any chance of success in that attempt, they should endeavour to bring it on before any supplies were voted [hear hear]; for if the Government once 784 obtained the money they wanted, they would cry "A fig for all Repeals," and send them all about their business, [hear, hear.] He therefore, would suggest that there was no time to be lost: and for himself he would only say, that he was ready to renounce all party feeling, and to co-operate in any measure that he believed would tend to the general good. Had he been in the House on the first night of the Session he should certainly have voted for the Amendment, not that he wished to displace the present Government, (and the day was gone by when the Ministry would think it necessary to resign because they found themselves in a minority), but because he thought that that House could not too soon have expressed its cognizance of the distressed state of the country. Up to the present moment they had not heard one word as to the repeal of any taxes, and he wished to know whether any surplus revenue was to be applied to that object? The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving as an Amendment, "That the grant for Troops should only be made to the 25th of May 1830, instead of the 25th December 1830."
said, he should support the Amendment of his gallant friend, although the address of the right hon. Gentleman was calculated to make converts of them all. For his own part he preferred a good weak Government to a good strong Government, because from the former concessions were sometimes obtained, while with the latter they had never been able to make head against abuses. It was from what was gained from a good weak Government that he expected the salvation of this country would one day or another be insured. The reason for which he rose to trouble the House at that particular moment was this: He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman, who had that night come forward with an explanation of the general reduction of Expenditure for the year, whether it was or was not his intention to make any reduction in the amount of taxation? [hear, hear.] Whether, in short, it was the intention of the right hon. Gentleman to apply the amount of his saving to the use of the Sinking Fund, or to that relief from taxation which the people had a just right to expect? On these subjects they had not yet received any information; and as the right hon.: Gentleman had condescended, at almost; 785 the very commencement of the Session, to yield to the desire of the House, and lay before it those statements which were not usually made until near its close, he hoped he would carry his condescension still further, and let the people know whether they were to expect any relief from distress by means of the amount saved in reductions, [hear, hear] The hon. Member, in conclusion, observed that the reductions, in whatever manner they might be applied, fell very far short of what the public had a right to expect, and he should therefore vote for his hon. friend's Amendment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, he rose to say a very few words in reply to the questions of the hon. Member for Westminster. He confessed that if, consistently with his view of the duty he owed the public service, he could give an explicit answer to that question, he should be most happy to comply with his desire, The House had already seen the readiness with which he had acceded to the general desire, in laying before it, at the earliest period, a statement of the amount of reductions; and he trusted he might, from; that fact, be credited for the assurance that he should feel equally ready to convey information with respect to the application of the saving, did he not feel that it was totally out of his power to state what might be the ulterior views of the Government on that subject, [hear] He was quite sure the House would see at once that any statement of the particular purpose to which the saving might ultimately be applied would tend much to aggravate the distress it was intended to remedy, and lead to mischievous speculations in the trade or manufactures of the country. He begged, however, to assure them that he should take the earliest possible opportunity to put the House in possession of his intentions with respect to the application of the saving; but in the meantime he hoped they would not infer, from his silence in the present instance, that he intimated any opinion in favour or in disfavour of either of the applications of the money to which the honourable Member for Westminster had; alluded, [hear, hear]
§ Sir John Wrottesley
approved of the silence preserved by the right hon. Gentleman on this subject, and observed, that if it were once known the saving was to be applied to the reduction of taxation, all 786 classes would look at this or that particular tax as the one to be taken off, and the result might lead to still greater distress by creating a still greater stagnation of trade in those branches of commerce or manufacture in which it might be anticipated the reduction would take place. [hear, hear.]
§ Mr. Western
rose amid cries of "question." He said he merely wished to express his belief that Ministers were anxious to make every reduction in their power, but he should be glad to know why there was a difference of six thousand men in the Estimates of 1822 and 1830?
§ Sir Ronald Ferguson
, as a military man of some standing, and as one who had some knowledge of the Colonies, felt himself bound to say, he did not think they could do with a single regiment of the line less than the number they possessed The hon. Member for Worcester had made some observations on the number of men kept up for the Colonies, but he recollected well that the hon. Member, and a number of friends whom he saw around him, had, in 1822, complained of the miseries to which regiments were subjected by remaining so many years abroad without relief. A better system had since been adopted, and the regiments were regularly relieved. Before that, however, it was not unusual for a regiment of the line to rot away in the West Indies, or to remain fifty years in the East; but there were no soldiers now who could not claim relief after being a fixed time abroad, and was not entitled to remain five years and a half at home. How, he would ask, were these regulations to be preserved, and these regiments to be relieved, unless they had a competent force at home? The hon. Member for Worcester had recommended the use of the colonial regiments, to save the expense of troops of the line. He (Sir Ronald) had seen a good deal of these colonial troops, and a more useless body of men he never knew in any country. It had been recommended to them to incorporate the officers of the line with the colonial troops; but he thought the experiment would be useless. They had the 6th regiment, the African corps, and the West-India corps; but although those regiments contained many highly honourable men, it was found, in too many instances, that 787 they were officered by persons whose pecuniary embarrassments rendered it inconvenient for them to remain in England, [hear]
§ Colonel Davis
, in explanation, said he knew the colonial corps were, in many cases, a set of the greatest outcasts in the Army; but he asked if the East India colonial troops were so bad, or if it were not practicable to adopt the system, without the necessity of officering the regiments in the manner alluded to?
§ Sir R. Wilson
, after complimenting the lucid analysis of intricate accounts produced by the Secretary at War, observed, that he did not think the number of men for the Colonies too large, although it might be another question whether it were expedient to retain so many Colonies. [hear, hear] The Secretary at War had stated the amount of men required for India to be twenty thousand. Now, he thought the East India Company should pay the whole expense of these troops; and if it did not, in his opinion the subject ought to be under the consideration of the Committee engaged in considering the arrangement for the renewal of the Charter of the Company., [hear]
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
said, that the East India Company paid 60,000l. towards the expense of the regiments of the line in India; but he confessed he did not think that sum enough, and he thought it was a fit subject for consideration.
objected to the amount of men retained to supply the place of those in the Colonies, which he recollected very well the Secretary at War stated, in his examination before the Finance Committee, to be in the proportion of four to six—that is, that for every sixty men we had in the Colonies, it was necessary to keep forty in this country. He hoped, however, the hon. Member would not press his Motion to a division, because it would imply a want of confidence in the Government, which the statements and hints of the Chancellor of the Exchequer that evening, if he had not misunderstood them, did not deserve. If, however, the hon. Member proposed the appointment of a Committee to follow up the plan of the Finance Committee, and consider what reductions could be made, he should have his cordial support. If the hon. Member pressed his Motion to a division, he would vote with him, although he hoped not to be called on to do so.
§ Lord Althorp
thought the roops of the line might be reduced; and although those of the colonies were not so good, in the present state of the country they might be found sufficient. If the Amendment were pressed, he should vote with his hon. friend.
§ Sir H. Vivian
defended the Estimates, and contended that the Cavalry, the effective services of which had recently been very apparent, were reduced as low as it was possible to reduce a force which could not easily be again raised if once disbanded.
§ Mr. Hume
said, the vote of that night involved the question of whether the country were or were not to have any relief. Could any Member of that House say that his constituent or constituents, if he had more than one [Hear, and a laugh], were not distressed, then he might vote for the Estimates. It was admitted that the deficiency of the year would amount to 1,700,000l.; and when they considered the difference between the establishments now and in the years of peace preceding, and recollected the tranquil state of Ireland, he thought every man in the House whose constituents complained of distress was bound to support the Amendment.
was of opinion, that if the Finance Committee, with a mass of evidence before it, had not been allowed to prosecute the subject of reduction, there was no hope of any good from the establishment of another Committee. If the question were to be decided only with reference to the convenience of the Army, there would be no reduction; but it was not by the convenience of the Army that the question ought to be decided. He would say, that the Guards might be made available, and then some Regiments of the line might be diminished. He pressed on the attention of the House the propriety of making every reduction possible, and declared his intention to vote for the Amendment.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, he could not give a silent vote on the occasion, and he was anxious to state, that he could not consider it consistent with his public duty to vote for the Amendment which had been proposed by the hon. Member opposite. He was quite convinced of the necessity which existed for retrenchment and reduction in every quarter, in order if possible to relieve the distresses of the coun- 789 try; at the same time he felt that relief was not be attained by the reduction of any of our effective establishments below that point at which, under the existing circumstances of the country, it seemed fit and expedient to maintain them; and looking at the considerable possessions of the Crown of Great Britain in all parts of the world, he was not disposed to think that it would be expedient at present to reduce our Military force beyond the point: stated by his right hon. friend the Secretary at War. It was quite a different question whether, upon any review of our Colonial system, and of the expenditure connected with their several establishments, the local expenses of the Colonies might not be reduced, or their resources rendered more available for their own support. That was quite a different question, and he did not consider himself as expressing any opinion regarding it by his vote on the present occasion. He thought; his right hon. friend had proposed a considerable reduction, though he was himself well aware of the difficulty of making reductions in those Estimates. He perceived that under almost every head some reduction had been effected, and that, he knew, could not have been done, without great labour and a frequent revision of all the Estimates. He should abstain at present from making any remarks upon the reductions which had been stated by the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It would be necessary for the House to have further information on that subject before it entered upon its consideration. He was glad, however, to hear that so much would be effected in that way.
§ Mr. Labouchere
said, he should certainly vote for the Amendment. He found it difficult to persuade himself that five thousand men were necessary for the preservation of the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, [hear] He did not think the enormous military establishment in Canada necessary, and its reduction was certainly due to the people of England, and was equally desired by the population of British North America. [hear] He complained of the principles upon which the government of the Canadas was conducted. If those provinces were properly governed, their own Militia might be substituted in the place of the present military establishments, and they were perfectly able and willing to defend 790 themselves. He would state one fact illustrative of the manner in which Canada was governed. He happened to know that in the colony of Lower Canada there were no less than four hundred Militia officers degraded, under the administration of the late Governor, Lord Dalhousie, simply for attending a meeting which was held there for the purpose of petitioning that House—a right which, if they had not exercised, they would not have been worthy of the name of British subjects. [loud cries of hear, hear] On the proper occasion he should not fail to express to the House his opinion of the system of government pursued in our North American provinces, and lay before them the feelings of the inhabitants of those provinces on that subject.
§ Sir H. Vivian
remarked that there were four regiments of Guards in this country always ready for foreign service.
§ Mr. W. Duncombe
said, the country was looking with the greatest anxiety for retrenchment, and he was convinced that the reductions proposed by his Majesty's Government would not at all satisfy the people, but would cause infinite disappointment throughout the country. He was sorry to hear the declaration from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that he could not say at present that he should be able to come down to the House to propose any reduction of taxation.
§ Sir George Murray
wished to say a few words, in consequence of what had been; stated by some hon. Members in the course of the debate. The hon. Gentleman opposite said, that the Canadas were governed upon a garrison system. To show that was not the fact, it was sufficient to state that the Military force there now was the same as in 1792, though the population had considerably increased since that time, and the possessions of the Crown had been enlarged, not by the addition of new territory, but by the bringing into cultivation that which had lain waste and neglected. We had since then had a quarrel in that quarter of the world, and it was obviously necessary to maintain our Military establishment there at least upon the scale of 1792. With respect to the case of the officers of Militia mentioned by the hon. Member for St. Michael, all he (Sir G. Murray) could, state to the House regarding it at present was this—that the case of these officers had been referred to the present Governor, 791 the circumstance having occurred in the time of his predecessor, and he (Sir G. Murray) could assure the hon. Member, that though it was impossible that these officers could at present be replaced, in consequence of their places having been filled up by other individuals, there was not the smallest objection to their return whenever places should become vacant for them, and no stigma whatever rested upon their character or conduct. [hear, hear] The hon. Member opposite (the Member for Aberdeen) had contended for a further reduction of the military force in Ireland, and had gone back to 1792, to compare the force then required in Ireland with that maintained there at present. But the hon. Member should recollect that the circumstances of that country materially differed at the two periods. At the former period to which he had alluded, the state of one class of the population of Ireland in relation to that of the other, was not the same as at present, or had been till very recently. The Catholics—that is the majority of the population of Ireland,—had recently been combined together, in consequence of the existence of causes which he hoped were now buried in oblivion. That led necessarily to an augmentation of the military force in Ireland; and though he felt perfectly confident that the great measure of last Session would render in time the presence of such a force in Ireland unnecessary, he should not press for the too quick reduction of that force at present. That force had not been maintained in Ireland to keep down the population of that country, but as a military power standing between the two great hostile parties into which that population was divided; and though eventually it might be reduced, it would be imprudent to effect that reduction too suddenly. The honourable Member had also called for a reduction of the military force in our colonies, and here again he (Sir G. Murray) would resort to the same argument that was applicable to the case of Ireland. Perhaps, in comparing the situation of Ireland with Jamaica and our other West-Indian colonies, where the population was divided into two different classes, he might be drawing the picture with too strong colours; but the same argument at all events applied here too, for it was necessary to maintain a large military force in our colonies to prevent the danger and 792 cruelty that would follow from the contests which might otherwise occur there. The right hon. Baronet, after expressing his full concurrence in the praise bestowed by the hon. Member for Abingdon upon the regiments of the line, expressed his doubts whether they would be as fit as the Guards for the service which the latter at present performed. The Guards appeared to him the best force for service in the metropolis and its neighbourhood; and as it was necessary that a peculiar body of troops should be always attached to the person of the Monarch, the Guards, he conceived were best fitted for that duty-It would greatly injure the regiments of the line to employ them in service about the metropolis; and the continual changing of them would render them very ineffective for such service when compared with the Guards. The gallant Colonel opposite had recommended the employment of native troops in our Colonies, and he had referred to the efficiency of the native troops in the East Indies. But he should recollect that the circumstances of the East Indies did not at all apply to our West Indian colonies, and that if the latter possessions were garrisoned by native troops, such troops would consist of the worst description of soldiers and officers,—that they would have no feeling for the honour of the British Army, and that they would be swayed by local connexions, instead of entertaining that strong attachment which always existed in the breast of the British soldier for the country of his birth [hear]. After some observations from an hon. Member whose name was not known, and a few words from Sir R. Inglis, the import of which, owing to the noise in the House, was not understood,
§ the Committee divided, when there appeared: For the Amendment 93; Against it 225; Majority against the Amendment 132.
§ Mr. C. N. Pallmer
said, he was one of those who had refrained from voting with the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) upon a former evening, though he had felt it impossible to vote against him. He had held a suspended opinion, founded upon the hope that his Majesty's Ministers would that evening have come 793 down with some satisfactory measures of reduction of expenditure and taxation. A reduction of expenditure had been brought forward, and he was thankful for it. As to a reduction of taxation, there had been an omission which, he feared, should be rather called an admission that no taxes were to be reduced. This would be a grievous and cruel disappointment to the suffering people of this country. They would be mortified and irritated beyond measure. The hon. Member for Callington (Mr. Baring) had talked of preserving a Sinking-Fund. It was the first business of the House to sustain a sinking people. To save was a good thing, but to starve was a very bad one; and if the House were disposed to go on, night after night, without passing some strong vote, the Session would pass over and nothing would be done. Let those who supported such a system look to its consequences. It was a most unfair proceeding to mix up questions concerning the distresses of the people and the means of relieving them, with the question of who should or should not be the Ministers of this country. He disclaimed all such feelings. No Englishman could admire more than he did (and that was saying much) the noble Duke at the head of the Government. He wished that the success which had attended his military career might attend his political exertions. No man could admire more than he did many of the civil services which had been rendered to the country by the right hon. Secretary for the Home Department, who had in that office displayed talents, exertions, and skill, which had never been surpassed, perhaps never equalled. But he looked to measures, not to men. It had been said, let those who wanted reduction of taxation point out the mode of meeting the exigencies of the country. He (Mr. Pallmer) would not pretend to financial knowledge, but he could not help thinking that there were many modes of relief which had strong recommendations. Let the taxes which pressed unequally upon the poor and the rich be removed. Since the Member for Aberdeen had stated that the Post-office revenue had not advanced, let the House begin with themselves, and throw into the revenue the profits arising from the absurd privilege of franking,—let a portion of the enormous sum expended in the collection of the revenue be thrown into the public purse, and let the 794 burthen which must be borne be lightened by a more equal distribution of its pressure, under a well-arranged scheme for taxing all the property of the country to pay for its exigencies.
§ Mr. Hume
, observing that the real number the Committee was called upon to vote for was eighty-one thousand, one hundred and sixty-four men only, he should alter his amendment to seventy-one thousand, one hundred and sixty-four. He said that in the year 1821 he had divided the Committee seventy-five times on the Army Estimates, as the noble Lord (Palmerston) well knew, for it had interrupted his parties; yet at the end of the Session, not one farthing of the expenditure was reduced. But an address to his Majesty was carried, and in two months after thirteen thousand men were reduced; and in the following year, 1822, the number was only sixty eight thousand, eight hundred. Now, however, the number was three-thousand more. He held this out to the House as a precedent.
§ Lord Althorp
said, that he should be very willing to vote for a reduction of five thousand men, but he could not concur with his hon. friend in thinking so many as ten thousand could be reduced.
§ Mr. Cutlar Ferguson
concurred with the noble Lord in thinking that five thousand men might be spared; but if the Amendment were pressed to the extent of ten thousand, he should vote against it.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
observed, that although the hon. Member for Aberdeen had stated that the number of men in 1822 was only sixty-eight thousand, if he had recourse to his arithmetic, and added the Veteran establishment and the colonial corps, which were not included in the Estimates for that year, he would probably find the number in 1822 was upwards of seventy-five thousand.
§ A division then took place, when the number swere—For the Amendment 57; Against it 167. Majority against the Amendment 110.
§ The original resolution was agreed to.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
suggested, that as the number of men was agreed to, probably the hon. Member for Montrose would have no objection to go on with the other resolutions, for their pay.
Mr. Hume and Mr. Maberly
objected, 795 —whereupon the Chairman was ordered to report progress. The House resumed, and then adjourned.