of the Exchequer having moved the order of the day for the further consideration of the Supply to be granted to his Majesty in Committee of Supply, the Speaker left the Chair.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
moved, that a sum of 3,015,3332. 2s. 7d. be granted to his Majesty for defraying the charge of the Land Forces at home and abroad (excepting the regiments employed in the territorial possessions of the East India Company), from the 25th of December, 1829, to the 24th of December, 1830.
entered his protest against the extravagant character of the Estimates: it was disgraceful to go on voting away millions when the country was suffering so much from distress. However, his right hon. friend should experience no more opposition from him in the voting of the Estimates: he did not care a farthing how it went: the other night he had not been fairly listened to, still less supported, when he attempted to go into the subject. He had no doubt, if the hon. Member for Cumberland had brought forward his Motion of disapprobation relative to the recent appointment of Treasurer of the Navy, that there would have been a large division against that appointment, because it was a million to one that any of those who might vote against the conduct of Ministers on this point would ever stand a chance of getting into the office; but as to the Army and Navy Estimates, the number who were interested in the question, remotely or directly, was so great as invariably to secure Ministers a large majority. When the House came to vote upon an office of 2,000l. a year, the pseudo patriots made a merit of opposing the petty expenditure, which was not a drop, no not half a drop, in the ocean of our extravagance. This 801 was said without any feeling of hostility towards Government; but if Ministers persisted in refusing to make reductions commensurate with the public distress, let them not be surprised if independent Members of his way of thinking joined themselves to another party in that House, and took the chance of something better. He feared that the House had given itself blindfold into the hands of the Government; and in fact, he expected more from the Government than from the House, moderate as was his reliance on the former.
§ Sir H. Parnell
said, he wished to make a remark upon the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on a former evening, as to the amount of our expenditure upon which reductions could be made. The right honourable Gentleman said, that the whole amount of public expenditure subject to diminution was 12,000,000l.; and if he had confined his statement to the sum annually voted on the Estimates, he would have been correct, and his ridicule of the honourable Member for Aberdeen for an attempt to save 8,000,000l. out of an expenditure of 12,000,000l. might have been justifiable. But it appeared from a statement in the fourth Report of the Finance Committee, that out of our gross expenditure of 55,000,000l. there was a sum of only 35,000,000l. which was not susceptible of diminution. These 35,000,000l. went to the payment of the interest on the Public Debt, to the maintenance of the Civil List, and to the payment of pensions and half-pay. Here, then, there appeared upon this statement a balance of 20,000,000l. which was subject to diminution. But to that 20,000,000l. might be added 3,000,000l. of sinking fund, and the sum might be still further increased by the addition of 2,000,000l. more, on account of the possible reduction of the 4 and 3½ per Cents, to 3 per Cents, so as to save 2,000,000l. Thus we should have a gross total of 25,000,000l. (and not 12,000,000l.) subject to diminution. He thought it right to make this statement, for otherwise some of the reductions that had been proposed might appear extravagant, if we were really limited to a saving upon a sum of 12,000,000l. With respect to the present Estimate, the numbers of the Cavalry were eight thousand three hundred, and those of the Foot Guards five 802 thousand one hundred: these were not destined to colonial service. Our whole force was about eighty-eight thousand rank and file, including the troops in India. It appeared to the Finance Committee, that in 1828 the number of troops was one hundred and sixteen thousand, and one hundred and two thousand in 1829—a number which appeared capable of reduction by fifteen thousand men. The expense incurred in supporting this force was altogether a colonial question; if we kept up our garrisons and colonies, a force of eighty-seven thousand might be necessary to enable us to do so: but it was a question how far we ought to keep up these establishments. The hon. Member for Callington stated that this question had not been decided by the Finance Committee; and it was assumed that the Committee would not have decided in favour of such reductions as were now proposed. He did not presume to say what might have been the decision of the Finance Committee; he could only state his own opinion, which he had expressed elsewhere, and which was to the effect that an establishment of eighty-seven thousand men would be sufficient for our present system, not saying that that system was correct. When the question was before the Finance Committee, it was urged in justification of the large garrisons kept up in the Mediterranean, that the condition of Greece and Turkey rendered them necessary. But the case was altogether changed now, when there no longer existed a chance of our being involved in warfare in that quarter. He should say, that upon the whole, including the reduction of our forces in the Colonies, there might be made a total reduction of between six thousand and seven thousand troops.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, that if he had understood the hon. Baronet correctly, the hon. Baronet was of opinion that eighty-eight thousand men, rank and file, were more than sufficient, and that in consequence of some alterations that had lately taken place, the number might be reduced by six thousand or seven thousand men. But how long was it since these alterations had taken place? He had had the honour of receiving, through the courtesy of the hon. Baronet, a book on Financial Reform, which had proceeded from the pen of the hon. Baronet. The book had only been published a few days, and in it the hon. Baronet stated that the 803 number of troops, rank and file, for all the public services ought to be eighty-seven thousand—that was to say, the hon. Baronet admitted that, by the evidence taken before the Finance Committee, eighty-seven thousand was the proper number. The number voted this year was only eighty-eight thousand, and therefore it was within one thousand of the number which the hon. Baronet had admitted to be necessary. He should have calculated, therefore, upon the vote of the hon. Baronet; for certainly he could not have expected that a difference of one thousand men should have been a sufficient ground of dispute. But the hon. Baronet had also said, that in the islands in the Mediterranean, in Malta, in Gibraltar, and in other places, we kept up too great a force. In 1792, however, the force at Gibraltar was four thousand two hundred and twenty-one: while the force there now, in 1830, was only three thousand four hundred and eighty-six, being nearly one thousand less than in 1792. In the Canadas, too, the hon. Baronet said we had too large a force. But on referring to the accounts of 1792, he found that in that year the amount of our force in Upper and Lower Canada was three thousand two hundred and forty-seven, and that in 1830, it was only two thousand nine hundred and five, being three hundred men less than in 1792. He had stated on a former evening, that if he were to go through all our foreign possessions, he could show that, with the exception of New South Wales, we had at present a smaller force in them than we had in 1792. However, as the vote of this year was within one thousand of the number which the hon. Baronet thought a proper number, he hoped there would be no farther altercation on that point.
§ Sir H. Parnell
said, that the gallant officer had not accurately stated what he had said elsewhere. The gallant officer had stated that he (Sir H. Parnell) had admitted elsewhere that eighty-seven thousand men were the proper number for the force of this country. Now he had expressly stated that we had a right to infer, from a comparison between the expense of our military force now and what it was in the peace preceding the war of 1793, that the present expense was much too great. He had stated, moreover, that the Finance Committee had been of the same opinion, and that if the Committee had been re-appointed it would no doubt have recom- 804 mended considerable reductions. As to the number of men, he had taken the evidence given before the Finance Committee, and shown that, even upon that evidence, eighty-seven thousand would have been sufficient, whereas a much larger number had been voted; but, in showing that, he by no means meant to say that there should be no farther reductions made. When he found, too, by the evidence of the right hon. Gentleman, and of other gallant officers, that they rested the case of our garrisons on the war in Turkey, and on the unsettled state of Greece, the matter assumed a different aspect, for the war in Turkey was at an end, and the affairs of Greece were now settled. He had stated elsewhere, that when these events should have happened, the time for reducing our military force would have arrived. That time had arrived, and he thought that reductions ought now to be made.
§ Sir John Wrottesley
was persuaded that our military force was too great, and that they ought to begin by reducing the number of men. He did not blame the Ministers for not making reductions,—it was the House of Commons that he blamed. It was the House that taxed the people, and not the Ministers. The Ministers brought down their Estimates, the House voted them, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer afterwards came down with his Budget, the House might perhaps ask him to reduce the Taxes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer would of course reply, that that was not his place,—that he had only to find out ways and means. It was for the House, then, to make those reductions which the country needed. With respect to our military force, he had hoped now that there was a new and efficient police that the Guards might be done away with in the metropolis. He agreed, however, that the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies had, on a former evening, given a satisfactory explanation on this subject. The right hon. Secretary at War had stated that the number of battalions had not been increased since 1792, which was true; but the strength of the battalions had been increased. In 1792 a battalion consisted of about four hundred men: it now consisted of seven hundred and forty. In 1792 a regiment of Cavalry consisted of one hundred and ninety-six men; it now consisted of three hundred and five. He should propose that we should reduce our force by two battalions of Guards, by 805 one regiment of household troops, and that the Cavalry generally should be reduced to the condition in which it was in 1792. He believed that during the late reign each regiment of the line had an opportunity in its turn of performing duty at Windsor, and he regretted that this custom had been abolished. With respect to reduction generally, he felt it his duty to propose something that should effectually relieve the country.
The Marquis of Blandford
said, that he was fearful that in any observations he might make against the Ministers, his opposition might be, as it had been, attributed to factious motives. He begged however, once for all, to deny that charge most unequivocally. If that party which was generally known by the appellation of "Brunswickers" were to obtain the reins of power, and were to propose the repeal of the Catholic measure which passed last year, he would oppose such a proposition as stoutly as he had opposed the measure itself. [hear, hear.] He disliked the measure, but he would never become a party to a proposal for the repeal of it, now that it had passed. [hear] He trusted that after this declaration it would not be supposed that he was actuated by such unworthy motives as some had thought proper to impute to him. [hear, hear.] He was actuated by no such motives; but on behalf of an oppressed and insulted people, calling loudly but in vain, he did protest against the Ministers laying their sacrilegious hands on the public money. The distress of the country was general,—it was universal; and if the Ministers persisted in their present course, they would urge on that distress until the foundations of society were shaken to their very centre. One Minister of the Crown admitted that the distress was general, while another wished to gloss it over. What dependence, then, was to be placed upon these contradictory statements? The primary duty of the House was to inquire into the fact of this distress, and into the means of relieving it. If the House refused to perform this duty, they would violate the confidence which had been reposed in them by their constituents, and give to the Ministers a still greater power of oppressing the people. But the majorities of Friday last had taught the people what they had to expect from the House of Commons and from the Ministers. The history of that night's 806 proceedings had already gone forth to every quarter of the country, bearing with it bitter disappointment and disgust. The voice of a complaining and indignant people must, however, he heard at last; and in the name of that people, he called in the first place, for the repeal of all taxes on labour and industry. [hear, hear.] Let him call the attention of the House to the following passage from Lord Bacon:—"Kings have to deal with their neighbours, their wives, their children, their prelates or clergy, their nobles, their second nobles or gentlemen, their merchants, their commons, and their men of war; and from all these arise dangers, if care and circumspection be not used * * * * *. For their merchants they are vena porta, and if they flourish not, a kingdom may have good limbs, but will have empty veins, and nourish little. Taxes and imposts upon them do seldom good to the King's revenue; for that which he wins in the hundred he loses in the shire; the particular rates being increased, but the total bulk of trading rather decreased. For their commons, there is little danger from them, except it be where they have great and potent heads; or where you meddle with the point of religion, or their customs, or means of life." The noble Marquis, after reading the above passage, concluded thus:—"May these words reach the Royal ears, and may the admonitions contained in them sink deep into the Royal mind!"
§ Sir G. Murray
said, that he was neither one of those who had attributed factious motives to the noble Marquis, nor did he approve the conduct of any who dealt in such imputations. There could be no doubt that every hon. Member had a right to give utterance to whatever opinion he entertained on public affairs, and he thought that that right was impeached as often as the expression of such opinions was attributed to any improper motives. The noble Marquis might be assured, therefore, that he (Sir G. Murray), widely as he differed from him, should never impute to him that he was actuated by factious motives. With respect to what had fallen from the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Wrottesley) and which had been the occasion of his rising, he begged to observe that he believed the duty at Windsor, Kew, and Hampton-court, had always been performed by the Guards.
Sir R. Heron
agreed that the retrenchments proposed by the Ministers were very small, but he did not think with the noble Marquis (Blandford) that the people would be at all disappointed, because he believed that the people had long since abandoned all hope of relief from those who called themselves their representatives. He thought that the Army Estimates were the best subject of any for reduction. [hear] In the half-pay chiefly, as it appeared to him, a great saving might be effected ultimately. It seemed unjust that half-pay, which had originally been given only for loss of health in service, should be converted into a fee-simple, transferable. The system of the purchase of commissions. too, should be altered. With regard to pensions, he could not help thinking, that for the future soldiers might be contented with lower pensions, granted only for a greater length of service. He could never understand why such a difference in respect of pensions should exist between the Army and the Navy. One word more:—they had been told that the passing of the Catholic Relief bill would effect a saving in our military establishment; but this promise had not been realized. He knew that very little reduction could be effected in our military force while we retained so many colonies. But why should we retain so many? Nothing would be more wise than to give up the Ionian Islands.
said, that if the Finance Committee had been re-appointed, this subject would have been properly investigated, and the House would never have come to such votes as those to which it came on the last evening. They could now only make observations upon the Estimates,—they could not examine them. He contended that nothing could be more indefensible than to call upon the country to pay the East-India Company for twenty-thousand men. Great saving might also be made in the mode of paying general officers, and that without reducing their pay one sixpence, which he was not anxious to do. It was, however, of no use to make any statements upon the subject, because some gallant officer opposite would get up and contradict them, and no argument could be effectual in the teeth of a majority.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that he had been strongly 808 urged by many of his friends to make no farther opposition, because it was evidently useless; but the distresses of the country forced him on. It was now certain that eighty-eight thousand soldiers and thirty thousand seamen would be forced upon the country. Still, however, he would not discontinue his opposition. See what a state they were in,—he meant the House. Every hon. Member on the other side the House to whom he had spoken had said—"This is very bad: the establishments ought to be reduced." "Then, said I, "continued the hon. Member, "why don't you vote with us?" "No, they replied, we can't vote with you, but we will do any thing else." [hear and laughter]. Out of the House, therefore, where they could do nothing, Gentlemen would express their real wishes, and say what the people wanted; but in the House, where they could do something, they were silent. Now was not this a proof that Gentlemen came here to serve themselves, and not to serve the country? [hear and laughter] It was useless to talk, then, of any effectual reductions by the House, if hon. Members voted in this way. If it should continue in the same course of indifference to the wishes of the people, what remedy was there but force? [hear, hear] He would repeat it, that was the only remedy; it was the only thing which could impress itself on those who were inaccessible to argument. What was it that kept the tyranny of the Sultan within some kind of limits? Why the dread of re-action. They had been told the other day by an hon. Baronet (Sir E. Knatchbull), who had referred to an argument of his (Mr. Hume's), that they had only one of two courses to adopt—the one a measure which would bring up the payments and prices of every thing to the state of taxation, so that all might be equally raised; or they must consent to a large reduction of taxation. The first measure his Majesty's Ministers had, in his opinion, very wisely declined to adopt. He had given them his humble support on that occasion, because he felt convinced that the measure suggested would have the effect of eventually plunging the country into greater difficulties than those in which it was now involved, and he would continue to support the views of Ministers on that point. The other course,—the reduction of taxation by means of the reduction of our large establishments,— 809 that was pressed, earnestly pressed, upon the attention of Members and the House; yet out of six hundred and fifty-eight Members, only ninety-three were found to consent that the taxes ought to be reduced. If a stranger to the country, uninformed as to the constitution of the House, were to look at that division, his conclusion would certainly be, that it was impossible the people of England could be desirous of a reduction of taxes, for there were the representatives whom they had sent to act for them,—the majority of whom had voted against it; and of course he would judge of the opinion of the country from the majority and not the minority. He regretted exceedingly that the House had not followed the example recently set by the representatives of the people in the Netherlands: they felt themselves aggrieved by some measures of the Ministers of the Crown, for which they in vain sought redress, and they very properly resolved not to vote the supply until redress was obtained. They not only determined not to vote the ten years' supply; but would not vote it for even one year, till Ministers had come to a proper sense of what they ought to do. And what was the result? Why, that the Ministers did adopt, as far as they could, what was proposed in the name of the people. If he could persuade the House to adopt a similar course, what would be its effect? It would place Ministers on a pinnacle of popularity much higher than they ever could be placed otherwise; but instead of this they were now under the influence of a few magnates, despising the representations of the people—despising their distresses and their prayers for relief. Why, if the House should go on in that way, he did not see what use it was, except that a man could speak his mind there, which the Attorney General would not permit him to do out of it. [hear] Indeed, one of the greatest benefits derived from that House was, that the Attorney General could not take official notice of any thing said in it. [hear, hear.] What was the situation in which the country was placed? Distress increased in every quarter. The people prayed for relief, and the majority of that House decided against the adoption of that course by which alone relief could be afforded. Was it possible that they could continue to go on in this way? What, he again asked, was their situation? If a man advocated 810 measures of relief in the House, he was unsuccessful; if he spoke of the conduct of Ministers out of the House, in a way not very agreeable to Government, the Attorney General fastened upon him at once with a state prosecution at the instance of the Duke of Wellington; for after all he had heard on the subject of the late trials, he could not bring himself to believe that the Attorney General would have brought them on if he had not thought they would be agreeable to the Cabinet, or to the Duke, for he was in effect the Cabinet. [hear, and a laugh] He would call upon the House to look at the condition of the country—to consider the distress which prevailed every where; so great, that many had died of starvation. If any hon. Members doubted this, let them look to the evidence adduced at certain coroners' inquests. He would also beg of them to consider of that which the hon. Member for Kent did not seem to know—that the pauper population in some places helped themselves in the streets in a manner which could not be considered legal, and this must increase to a fearful extent if some timely remedy were not applied. And was he sorry for this? No,—on the contrary, he rejoiced at it, for it was only by such means that a remedy would be at length applied. When Ministers were blind to the distress of the country, it was right that it should be forced on their attention in this way. He might be told that this was intemperate, but he repeated, he wished it. When he saw the course adopted by former and present Ministers,—when the interests of the majority in the country were neglected, and every thing done to promote the interest of the few,—when he saw these things producing their natural effects in the country, he would defy any man in that House to put his hand on his heart and say, that he believed the country could go on much longer, to bear the expenses which now pressed upon it. He owned he was tired of reiterating to the House the necessity of reduction. But the question was—should there be any opposition or not? He knew he had been beaten over and over again on questions of reduction, but still he went on; for exposure was one thing, and success was another. He still was not disposed to give it up, for he had seen some little effect produced by it. He had been for years 811 calling the attention of the House to the exorbitant expense of the staff of the Royal Military College, which was 6,000l. Reduction had at length taken place. The salary of the Governor had been reduced, but why had it not been reduced long ago? But this was the way—reductions were resisted until they were forced again and again on the attention of Ministers; but still they would go on in their former course until the people obliged them to consider those matters more attentively. The Attorney General would no doubt say that this was language tending to bring the House into disrespect and that all such language used out of the House should be punished; but he would say that every act of the House had tended more to bring itself into disrespect with the people than all the paper bullets of the Standard or the Morning—he did not know what to call it. It was a shame that men with such power as Ministers possessed should exercise it in not allowing the miserable to complain of their injuries. It was not to be borne that this last resource of the miserable, that of complaint, should be thus cut off. He would say, that if ever there was a time when the people of England should arouse themselves from their lethargy, the present was the time—it was the time for action—for the action of co-operation throughout the country, until they brought Ministers to a sense of what was due to the distresses of the public. He might be told that this was inflammatory language. It was the language which the circumstances of the country called for; for he was one of those who thought that when all fair means had been tried without success, recourse should be had to unfair means. If the consequences to which he alluded should arrive, he was not to blame. Let Ministers bear in mind that he had given them warning,—had advised them to yield to the fair means; and if they neglected it, they should have only themselves to blame for any consequences that might follow. He was not in his place when it. was proposed to go into the Committee, or he would have taken the opportunity of stating his opinion before that vote was agreed to. He agreed with several of his hon. friends near him, that it was now almost hopeless to press for further reductions in that House. But he did not address himself to the Estimates with any such hope. He cared 812 not what was the opinion of that House, or whether he spoke to full or empty benches. His wish was, that the people should understand the subject, for he hoped they would see the necessity of taking matters into their own hands. [Some cries of "order, order."] He cared not for that cry. He would repeat it,—it was the right of the people, as they were the party most interested. He would now come to the vote before the House, for if the majority were determined to keep up this enormous force in time of peace, that was no reason why they should pay for that force more than was necessary. They had a force of Guards, Cavalry and Infantry, amounting to fourteen thousand and thirty-eight men. He would now wish to show what was the expense at which they were kept up. From a paper which had been laid before the House by a noble Lord (Palmerston), when Secretary at War, it appeared that the Life Guards were kept up at an expense of 32,000l. in 1822. [as was understood.] They were still kept up at the same expense. Every Life Guardsman cost the county 74l. 4s. 11d. a-year, without his horse, but including the expense of the horse, each man cost 150l. a-year. Every man of the Dragoon Guards cost 56l. 11s. 5d. a-year each man. The Foot Guards 34l. 6s., and the Infantry of the line 31l. per man a-year. It had been said by the gallant. Secretary at War that there was not much increase of this Force since 1792, but he had an official document in his hand, dated 28th March, 1828, and laid before the Finance Committee, which exhibited the difference in the numbers of the Household Troops during the years 1792, 1822, and 1828, and it was as follows: In 1792 the number of privates in the Horse Guards was six hundred and seventy-eight; in 1822 it was one thousand one hundred and forty-four, and the same in 1828. In 1792 the number of privates in the Foot Guards was three thousand two hundred and ninety-two; in 1822 it was five thousand one hundred and four, and the same in 1828. In 1792 the number of privates in the Cavalry was four thousand two hundred and ninety-six: in 1822 it was six thousand and eighteen, and the same in 1828. The Horse Guards it was manifest from this Return, had nearly doubled in number, and the increase in the others had been likewise very considera- 813 ble. He repeated that with this document in existence, he could not understand on what it was that the right hon. Secretary had founded his assertion. The other portions of the army had increased in like manner; and though in 1792 we had only forty-six thousand troops—in the present year that number was given at eighty-nine thousand, to be reduced to eighty-one thousand, or nearly double the number of the former year. The right hon. Secretary, however, could not make out the fact of reduction, even if he were to appeal to a still later period; for in 1822 the pay of the Army was 2,532,000l. in 1823, it was 2,561,000l. in 1824, it was 2,734,000l. and in 1825, it got up to 3,062,000l. It had now conic back to 3,000,000l. but even that was an excess of about 500,000l. over the year 1822. What, after this, became of the declaration that the charge was as low now as within any year since the peace? He again asserted that the country was not in a condition to justify them in giving such a vote as that now demanded. Before the House voted that sum, they ought to ask this question, "What was the pay of the troops in 1806?" In that year the pay was raised, in consequence, as it was said, of the high price of provisions. The country was not in the same condition now. He expected that the Finance Committee would have taken up that question, and the evidence which had been given upon it was now on the Table of the House. It was accessible to every body, and was well worthy of their attention. From the year 1797 to the year 1806, the pay of the soldier was 8d. per day. In the latter year there was a proposition to increase it to 1s. per day, and together with the beer-money, it now amounted to 1s. 1d. per day. If hon. Members would look back and see the reasons on which that increase was made, they would see that the contrary reasons now applied in favour of a reduction. On a former occasion a question had been put to the noble Lord then at the head of the War Office, in order to ascertain whether any inconvenience would follow from a reduction in the rate of pay of the soldier, to be effected from that time; and the noble Lord had answered, none whatever, for that there were no less than nine different rates of pay in every regiment—nay, in every company there were different rates of pay, arising from different lengths 814 of service, and from other circumstances. If the Government were disposed to reduce every unnecessary expense, they might from that moment have engaged soldiers at the reduced rate of pay. He thought that question was one of very great importance, and that every parish which was over-flowing with able-bodied men, whom it was obliged to support, might tell these persons that the King's service was open to them, and that they might go and serve. This might appear to some hon. Gentlemen a matter of very little importance; but he must say, that if means were not taken to lessen the expenditure in every way, no great reduction could be made. But the reduction was not so small in amount as some might imagine. When the noble Lord he had before referred to was asked what would be the saving effected by lowering the pay of the private soldier from 1s. 1d. to 11d. a day, he answered, that it would amount to 240,000l. a-year. That calculation was made, he believed, upon an estimate of ninety-five thousand men. He was aware that such a saving could not be instantly effected, and he would state what length of time would be required to accomplish it. Supposing the army to amount to seventy-two thousand men, there would be casualties among them in one year to the number of twelve thousand. In other words, one sixth part of the army required to be renewed every year. In that way 40,000l. might be saved in the first year, 80,000l. in the second, and at the end of six years the whole army might be engaged at a diminished pay. Taking the calculation of the noble Lord, the relief now would have amounted to 150,000l. if the principle had been acted on from the moment when it was admitted that it might have been. The question was, whether we ought now to keep up the increased pay, when the reasons for which it had been increased existed no longer. On that another question of considerable importance arose concerning the increased rate of pay to officers. The pay of the officers, like that of the soldiers, was raised in 1806, upon the plea of the high price of provisions. The same reason did not exist now, and it ought therefore to be reduced. He did not think that any difficulty would be found in procuring officers upon the reduced pay; for at this time there were not only a hundred candidates for every vacant commission, but 815 great interest was used by each of the candidates to procure it for himself. Any government that looked to the expenditure with a view to economy would well consider that circumstance; and reduce, as far as possible, the pay and half-pay of the officers of the army, so as to put them on the same footing with that on which they were placed previous to 1806. When he talked of half-pay, he never was able to forgive that shameful proceeding which took place two years ago, when old officers were allowed to sell their life-pensions, and young officers to buy them. He must say that such a proceeding never ought to have been adopted by a Government claiming any title to a desire to be economical. It was true he had seen a calculation on that subject (if it were possible that any calculations could convince a man that he would pay no more to a young than to an old life), in which the wisdom and economy of the measure were asserted, and in which it was attempted to be shown that the country had not been a sufferer by it. If the House did its duty, it would say that there should be no rate of pay beyond that of 1806. He would ask any hon. Member what were the reasons assigned for raising the pay in that year? It was said not only that provisions were dear, but that there was such a want of men in the Navy, and in the Militia, and in the Army, that it was fit to hold out encouragement for men to enter the King's service. All these reasons had now ceased to exist; and when the causes for increased pay had ceased, we ought to go back to the original rate of pay. He had stated that the pay of the soldier had been raised from 8d. to 1s. 1d. a day; there was a deduction on account of rations, but no soldier was allowed to be charged more than 6d. a day for his rations, and there was sometimes a small sum returned to the soldier on that account. The Cavalry was now paid 1s. 3d., and the Life Guards 1s. 11½d., and we had twice the number of Life Guards now, that we had in 1792, and they had nearly double their former pay. It was most important that a reduction should take place in this part of our army. It was the most expensive, and the most useless, being unavailable for foreign service. When the large amount of the Army was attempted to be defended, however, it was said to be necessary, because the soldiers were wanted for reliefs in the Colonies. Now these troops never were sent out to the 816 Colonies. For the parade of the court, four or five hundred men would be quite enough; but at present we had a much larger number, with one officer to every seven privates. The disproportion of officers to men, and the great rate of pay, were things that a country in the greatest state of prosperity ought not to be called on to support. There was, besides, another matter of importance here: the whole accounts of the Horse Guards and the Foot Guards were passed without any audit, so that nobody knew whether the money was expended or not, for it rested with the officers to whom it was given. He had a paper sent to him, upon which he should like to ask the gallant General opposite a question. He did not profess to know whether the information it contained was true or not, but he wished to ask whether it was a fact that, in the Oxford Blues, there was not only a Quarter-Master for the regiment, but one for every troop in it, at the pay of 8s. a day? If it were possible that such extravagance could exist, he thought it was high time that reduction should take place. He understood, besides, that some had retired on half-pay since reduction had been talked of. Having stated that, he would further ask the House whether it was prepared to keep up the recruiting establishment at its present enormous expense? There were six Inspecting Field Officers on full pay, five Lieutenant-Colonels, one Major, seven Adjutants, six Paymasters, five Staff Surgeons, six Serjeant-Majors, seven Serjeant-Clerks, five Paymaster-Serjeants, and eight Paymaster-Clerks, and no less than forty-six Staff-Serjeants. All these were in this country; but there was precisely the same set of officers for Ireland, besides an immense expence for depots. Under the circumstances he would assert that it was not fair to bring forward one lumping Estimate of three millions, when there were so many objectionable items in it. One might really imagine that the Army was fixed at one hundred and fifty thousand, instead of eighty thousand men. It did appear to him that the whole was put upon the most extravagant scale. The right hon. Gentleman opposite might think that these observations were not well timed, and that he did hot give the Ministers the credit they deserved. How could he be disposed to give them credit for their acts, when he saw, year after year, 43,000l. a year expended for lodging money, and 817 50,000l. for moving money? He was told that a large amount might be saved if the Household Troops were not moved so often. He would mention one thing more. There was a table kept at St. James's for the officers on guard, at an annual expense of 6,000l. As every thing now was cheap, he thought such a sum was enormous, and ought to be reduced. There was, besides, a sum of 8,500l. allowed to the officers, as compensation money, on account of certain emoluments formerly derived from outlyers, and from things supplied to the men, in respect to their apartments in the Savoy and in Scotland-yard. He did not think it was ever intended that they should enjoy these emoluments. All he knew was, that the Commons of England, in the fifteenth year of peace, ought not to vote so large a sum for this part of the Military Establishment; and his advice to the House would be, to grant much less than was required, in order to compel Ministers to attend to the wishes of the people: to refuse to pay the troops would compel reduction, and the first step ought to be to give no more than was given in 1822 and 1823. The average of 1822 and 1823 was 2,550,000l., whereas the sum now demanded was 3,015,000l. for the pay of eighty-one thousand men. He should take the sense of the House on his Amendment, which would be to substitute the sum of 2,550,000l. for the sum of 3,015,000l.
§ On the Amendment being put from the chair,
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, he had no doubt but his right hon. friend the Secretary at War would be enabled to give the Committee a satisfactory explanation with respect to the details comprised in the latter part of the speech which had just been delivered by the hon. Member for Montrose. But in the preceding part of that speech the hon. Member had indulged in some observations of a very different nature, which he could not listen to without emotion and astonishment, as they were of a character such as had been never before uttered, within his recollection, in that independent and honourable assembly. When he heard the extraordinary language employed by the hon. Gentleman, he could not help thinking that the speaker stood before them in the uneasy character of a disappointed prophet, who desired some compensation for his inconsiderate declaration, that he expected no reduction 818 whatever from the present Ministry. He had found however that the prodigal Ministry, so vituperated, had made reductions to such a considerable amount as to cover him with confusion at the discovery, and he sought to regain his usual complacency in the manner which they had that night witnessed. In this awkward attempt to conceal the failure of his prognostics, he had, however, expressed himself in terms which the hon. Member, he felt assured, would in cooler moments regret. As to the Estimates against which he now directed such a vehement opposition, he ought surely to call to mind that they were lower than in the year 1804, and might have had the candour to acknowledge the subsequent reductions. Indeed, comparing the whole amount of the present Estimates, including extraordinaries and all the other items of expenditure, he had himself no hesitation in pronouncing these to be less than those of 1794. But, said the hon. Gentleman, why not reduce the Estimates to the state in which they stood in 1822? This triumphant question could be readily answered, by stating for the information of the querist, that the Estimates then under consideration were lower than the Estimates of 1822 by at least 150,000l. [cheers and laughter.] The hon. Gentleman admitted that he had been absent, forsooth, at the commencement of the debate, as he supposed that the House would have been occupied by the discussion of another motion which stood amongst the notices for that day, and which, it was understood, would have taken precedence. But wherefore had the hon. Gentleman advisedly absented himself on such an occasion, aware, as he must necessarily have been, that the Motion referred to was no less condemnatory of Ministers than his own? [hear] What could have been his reason for an absence so inopportune, if he really believed the Ministers, in truth, guilty of the unthriftiness or profligacy which their opponents had imputed to them? Did he mean to wave the arguments of both sides, and betake himself to his post at the fag end of the debate, only for the deliberate purpose of voting the condemnation of His Majesty's advisers, without hearing a syllable of their defence? [hear, hear.] Such a course of conduct, he submitted, was scarcely accordant with candour and fair dealing. But the hon. Gentleman did not stop here 819 for he took upon him to impute corrupt motives,—and that, too, in no very niggardly terms,—to the majority who had voted in support of Government on Friday. [hear] This invidious and most unjustifiable assumption he deprecated as equally unbecoming and untrue. Many Gentlemen who voted with Ministers on the division alluded to were generally adverse to Government, as every individual who heard him well knew; and such Gentlemen, although they had the misfortune to differ from the hon. Member for Montrose, were in all respects as conscientious and upright and independent as himself, [hear, hear.] It was assuredly too much for any Member of that House, not only to censure and condemn the conduct of others, but to asperse them individually,—to charge them with corrupt interested motives,—to describe them as actuated by unworthy personal views of aggrandizement, when there in the open exercise of a public duty. [hear, hear.] He, it appears, would propose a reduction in the Army of ten thousand men, and so compute it at seventy-six thousand instead of eighty-one thousand, whilst others would leave it at eighty-one thousand. Now it was rather hard that for such a difference of opinion, imputations of so foul a character should be cast on the motives of those, who in common with the hon. Member availed themselves of the privilege of judging for themselves. Those votes, he contended, were as honestly given as any which had ever emanated from Opposition, being influenced neither by a desire that relatives should continue in the receipt of public pay, nor by any other personal interest whatever. Such was the uncourteous conduct of the hon. Gentleman to the Members of the House of Commons, and it were well if he had been content with depreciating and vilifying his opponents within doors. But a part of his speech, he lamented to perceive, was addressed to another class of the community, and evidently uttered in a spirit little calculated to elevate the speaker in the opinion of the rational and dispassionate. The hon. Gentleman had made an appeal intended to operate without the doors of that House; he had actually made an appeal to the physical strength of the country, under circumstances which should have induced him to suppose that it might not fall entirely ineffectual from his lips;—under 820 circumstances, moreover, which reflected the deepest discredit on the source from whence those perilous counsels had originated. [hear, hear.] Was it, he fearlessly asked, the part of a wise or a humane man to play with such instruments? [hear] How could that hon. Member reconcile to his conscience this endeavour to incite a population which he described as in distress, and even starving, to rebellion; for his inflammatory language amounted to nothing short of that deplorable extreme? It was truly bold advice which had flowed freely from the hon. Gentleman, but how had he put it? Was he himself willing to encounter the dangers which he was so forward to excite;—did he intend to participate in the storm which he so valiantly invoked? No: far from it. His exhortation was conducted in a very different tone, and might rather be paraphrased in such language as the following:—"I who instigate you to rebellion,—I who invite you to take up arms, am myself safe from the penalties of treason, and not even the Attorney General can lay hold on me, sheltered as I stand behind the shield of my privileges." [cheers] Such, it must be acknowledged, was not the language of the hon. Baronet who represented Westminster. That Gentleman—be his counsel what it might—had the manliness to take upon himself the entire responsibility, and abandon the screen of Parliamentary privilege, by staling that he would abide by his opinions within doors or without, and publish what he had said, avowing himself the author. [hear, hear] This was at least frank, candid, and straight-forward; but the hon. Member for Montrose was content to wrap himself round with his privilege as a Member of Parliament, most un-feignedly disclaiming participation in such chivalry. Ministers, the committee might be assured, deeply lamented the distresses of the people, and sympathized in their sufferings,—sympathized with them the more on account of their moderation and forbearance under the pressure of calamity: but what was the counsel of the Member for Montrose? Don't be moderate, don't be temperate,—have recourse to arms! But will the hon. Gentleman assert himself the champion of those whom he thus addresses,—will he put himself at their head? Oh no; he will stand upon his privilege, but adds that 821 he will be glad to bear of their resistance. [cheers] Those, he confessed, were not the exact words employed by the hon. Member, but he had expressed himself to exactly the same effect in substance.
professed himself unable to understand what the hon. Member had intended to convey if his interpretation was erroneous. He had certainly stated 'that when Ministers, as in the late instance, were capable of procuring a corrupt majority, no other resource remained for the people, except an appeal to arms.' Language such as this was, in his opinion, open to no inference but. one. But if that address to the passions of a suffering people should be answered by their raising the standard of rebellion, what alternative, he demanded, would remain for Government but that of meeting it with prompt, powerful, and successful resistance? In that event, he apprehended, the hon. Member could hardly reconcile to his own conscience his declaration from his place in Parliament, that he should rejoice to hear of such resistance. [hear, hear] In the present excited state of his feelings he found himself quite unable to enter into the details of the subject before the Committee, and would accordingly leave that task to his right hon. friend. But he could not conclude without expressing his belief that the hon. Gentleman would find little support in his inflammatory appeal to the people, who, he was sure, even under their present adverse circumstances, were too generally conscious of the advantages derived from the Government and Constitution to listen for a moment to those dangerous and intemperate suggestions. Nevertheless, if any portion of the population, however inconsiderable, should prove so infatuated and misguided as to hearken to that pernicious counsellor, and undertake a hopeless, a ruinous, and he would add, a wicked resistance, he could not envy the responsibility of him who had excited it. [hear]
said, he had always heard that a total loss of temper indicated a consciousness of a defective cause, and he could not refrain from applying the 822 observation to the right hon. Gentleman, who had made such an unwarrantable attack upon him; for he understood that he also was included in the animadversions directed against the hon. Member behind him. In justification of what he before said, he could only repeat that he had argued as the people of England would argue, when they heard of the majority who had opposed themselves to any inquiry into the present distressed state of the country.
disclaimed having made the slightest allusion to the speech of the gallant officer, as he was not present on the occasion referred to, and might not have remembered it even if he were. [laughter].
proceeded to state his opinion that few of the majority in question had heard the arguments adduced, or were acquainted with the merits of the subject. He thought that it was unnecessary for the right hon. Gentleman to tax his hon. friend, the Member for Montrose, with having been absent during the earlier part of the evening, as no Member of that House was more regular in his attendance. He certainly, for one, felt no inclination to spirit up the suffering people to acts of violence, [hear] but could not help saying that no one would be able to predict what might happen if things went on, as at present, from bad to worse.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, he should not be induced to swerve from the course which he had already prescribed for himself, or be influenced by the inflammatory invectives of the hon. Member for Montrose, to submit any measure which would operate harshly on the soldier. The suggestion for lowering their pay was repugnant, he had no doubt, to the better feelings of the Committee, and its wisdom in point of policy was at least very dubious. Participating fully in the indignation, which the speech alluded to had excited in the mind of his right hon. friend, he should proceed to refute, as concisely as he could, the misrepresentations advanced in that speech. The hon. Gentleman was mistaken when he described the pay of the soldier as having been increased since former times. In the year 1795, the pay with an increase of 2d. per diem had been settled by Mr. Wyndham, since which the allowance of beer formerly granted was commuted to a penny additional. But no one could pretend to maintain that such commuta- 823 tion was a virtual increase of pay, which on the whole had remained on the footing-established in the reign of Queen Anne. It had been also said that the pay of the officers was too high, and that of the Guards more especially. But he appealed to any Member present whether the subalterns of the Guards might not be said to give their services to the public gratuitously. In fact, many gentlemen around him gave higher wages to their servants out of livery than 7s. 10d. a day, which was the pay of the subalterns of the Guards, and did not include many of the necessary expenses requisite to keeping up the appearance of a gentleman. They were, moreover, liable to go abroad, and subject to the other contingencies of a military life. No corps of the line had seen more active service than the Guards during the last thirty years. They had been in Egypt, in both Americas, and the Peninsula. In the First Regiment of the Guards, in which he and a gallant colonel opposite had had the honour to serve, not less than twenty-eight thousand men had passed through the ranks within that period. The pay in proportion was at the same time lower than in the time of Charles 2nd. Where there were formerly sixty-four battalions, there were now only fifty-six. They were likewise maintained at a cheaper rate than in 1792, as there were at present fewer officers and more men. As to the manner in which they discharged their duty in the metropolis, he believed it gave general satisfaction, and he had no doubt but the hon. Member for Westminster would testify that the very best understanding subsisted between them and the inhabitants. The Cavalry likewise had been stigmatized by the hon. Gentleman, who had observed that they were more numerous now than in 1792. But he begged leave to remind him that there were fewer regiments now than at that period, and the expense was to be estimated according to the officers and not the number of men.—There were then one hundred and eighty rank and file, and the number now was three hundred. In France the proportion of Infantry to Cavalry was at present as four to one, while in this country they bore a proportion of nine to one. Thus the proportion of Cavalry to Infantry on the Continent was double that of ours. The table of the Guards, at a cost pf 6,000l. per annum, was referred 824 to by the honourable Member as another item of extravagance. But he recollected some years ago having had a similar discussion on this very subject, when he stated that the subalterns of seven battalions of the Guards cost the country less than seven battalions of the line; so that after all there was a difference of one half the expense in their favour. It was observed, amongst other details, that the recruiting department was higher now than last year; but the fact could be easily accounted for. A plan had been acted on according to which soldiers were allowed to receive their discharge fourteen years after entering the service, and thus they would be enabled to leave the army often at thirty-five years of age, in the prime of life. He felt convinced, that hitherto the difficulty of getting out was a principal cause of the popular disgust against entering the army; and it was as well to meet this objection as to create a saving in the Pension List that the step he spoke of was taken. Discharges to the number of two thousand were so given, not as formerly with a pension of 20l. bin: of 10l., 7l., or 5l. according to the years of service. In consequence of this regulation it was certainly true that it would be necessary to recruit more men this year than last year, chiefly on account of the discharges which soldiers might now claim after fourteen years' service. Thus it was supposed that three thousand five hundred additional recruits would be needed; but the patronage of Ministers was thus in no respect extended. On a comparison of the whole estimates, including those for the colonial corps, and the troops in the Ionian Islands, it would be found that the sum required for the present year was at least 100,000l. less than had been voted in 1822. The saving had been effected in the following items:—
The honourable Member for Montrose had repeatedly charged him (Sir H. Hardinge) and his noble predecessor, with being regardless of the diminution of the half-pay of the Army, but he could establish that 825 the charge was altogether unfounded. In 1815, the whole number of officers, on full and half-pay, was eighteen thousand, four hundred and five; and in 1830, the number was reduced to fourteen thousand, nine hundred and ten, being a diminution in the interval of no less than three thousand four hundred and ninety five officers. As to the total amount of force, he would only say, that if any catastrophe were to require the aid of a larger number; if any massacre of the whites, for instance, were to occur in one of our colonies, it would be but small consolation to Government to reflect that it had happened, because Government had listened to advice of Members who supported injudicious and dangerous economy.
The Staff was less expensive this year than in 1822, by £20,354 The Clerks of Public Departments, by 25,052 Medicines, by 11,936 The Military College, by 6,005 The Pay of General Officers, by 56,000 The Full-pay of Retired Officers, by 41,000 The Half-pay, by 149,951 The Foreign Half-pay, by 19,000
gave credit to Ministers for a sincere desire to economise; but the question of the necessity of maintaining the establishments, at their present point, remained. He felt satisfied that a considerable saving might still be made in the colonies; and sure he was that whatever reduction could be effected, in the present state of the country, ought to be attempted without delay.
§ Lord Althorp
said, it was alleged that it would be impossible to maintain the present high state of efficiency of the Army at a less expense than that stated in the Estimates presented. He believed that might be perfectly true; but he would ask the Committee whether the maintenance of that high state of efficiency were required? or, however desirable it might be, whether it were practicable to maintain that high degree of efficiency without inflicting upon the country an extent of distress which it was incapable of bearing? The right hon. Secretary opposite had said, that the proportion of Infantry as compared with Cavalry, was much greater in the British Army than in foreign Armies; that with us the infantry are as nine to one; while in foreign Armies they are as four to one; but the reason for that was obvious, the services on which our Army was employed being such as demanded a greater proportion of Infantry, therefore the Government had but small merit in adhering to a regulation convenient to themselves. As to the probability of our armies being again called on to perform duties which require an increased proportion of cavalry, he hoped that that time was not likely to return. He hoped that there was no 826 foundation for what the Minister seemed so forward to assume, that in all future wars it would be necessary for England, to maintain a large Army on the Continent. He hoped, whenever this country was again so unhappy as to be engaged in war, the circumstances of that war would be different from the last; and that it might be carried on in a manner more truly English than heretofore. But where was the necessity for keeping the country in a state of military preparation? At the same time he was far from going the length of his honourable friend, in saying that a reduction to the extent of 500,000l. ought to be made; for this which would be rather more than one-fifth of the whole amount, would have the effect of requiring a reduction in the number of men to the extent of sixteen thousand. He felt that so great a reduction would not be expedient; and, therefore, he could not vote for the Amendment of his hon. friend. If, however, it had been for a reduction of five thousand men, he would most cheerfully have supported it; but he could not bring himself to vote for so sweeping a reduction as 500,000l.
§ Mr. Monck
thought, that the pay of the soldiers might be very advantageously reduced from the 1s. 1d. to 11d. Provisions were now much cheaper than when the pay was fixed at 1s. 1d. With that and with judicious reductions, and a better arrangement of the colonial force, there might altogether be a saving effected of 500,000l. But even supposing one-third part of the present vote were cut down— that 1,000,000l. were saved, of what perceptible use would that be, unless similar reductions were made in other branches of the public expenditure, so as, at the least, to produce a relinquishment of 3,000,000l.? No less diminution than that could effect any perceptible reduction of taxes. He begged the House to consider that such a reduction did not depend upon any declarations of the Chancellor of the Exchequer; it depended upon the vote of that House whether there should or should not be a reduction. Now, with the expensive establishments at present existing it was impossible engagements with the public could be kept, and taxation at the same time reduced, otherwise than by cutting down those establishments.
§ Mr. Hume
, adverting to what had fallen from the right hon. Secretary for the 827 Home Department, said, that he might very well have reserved his indignation for other purposes than those to which on that occasion he had thought proper to devote it. He (Mr. H.) had not brought forward any unsupported assertions—he had made no unfounded charges, but he could show that the right hon. Gentleman had made some unfounded statements. From a Return then in his hand—a Return signed by the late Secretary at War, he should show that instead of the officers of the Life Guards at present being not more numerous than in 1792, the fact was, they were thirty-one more now than at that time—in 1792 they were only seventy-three in number, now they amounted to one hundred and four—or rather, by that Return, they were, in 1828, one hundred and four in number.
§ Mr. Hume
replied, that that was no answer to his speech. The right hon. Gentleman had asserted that there was no increase in the number of officers, placing them above the standard of 1792, and as that force was not wanted for the Colonies, it might, he conceived, be easily reduced. He came prepared with the Returns, which was the only way of meeting official Gentlemen—for some of that class would admit nothing that was not signed officially, and others even sometimes forgot their own signatures, therefore what he should say was not without authority. From that Return, it appeared that the force of the Life Guards in 1792 was six hundred and seventy-eight, and in the year 1828 it was one thousand one hundred and forty-four; was not that an increase, and in the most expensive species of force? By another return he saw that each Life Guardsman cost the country 75l. annually, without the expense of his horse; whereas an Infantry Soldier cost 31l. a year. The Return was the ground of his assertion, and if he had left an impression upon the mind of any hon. Gentleman that he had asserted anything not borne out by official documents, he could Only say that he had failed in making himself understood. He had only to add, that if the Committee would do him the favour to compare his documents with the assertions of the right hon. Gentleman, they would see he was correct throughout, and that the gallant officer ran from the fight. When Ministers were pressed upon 828 the subject of a particular vote, they turned the attack by general statements of reductions; but was that the proper mode? He would join issue with them upon some particular case: the present vote, for example, which was 3,000,000l., in 1822 was only 2,550,000l. He was ready to admit that there was a difference as respected the Colonies, but was that sufficient to account for the wide interval between the one sum and the other? But the moment that observation was urged, the right hon. Gentleman turned round and began to talk of reductions in the Staff and the Military College; doing anything but applying himself to the question; speaking of all things but the vote before the Committee. Did any hon. Gentleman who heard him, doubt that if the right hon. Secretary had a defence, that defence would not have been brought forward? He knew well enough how to make his artillery bear upon any point, did he conceive himself safe in the use of it. He must be allowed to say, that it was extremely unfair to impute to him any wish to depreciate the Guards. He never denied that they had done their duty, and it was very unfair to hold him up as stigmatising a body of men towards whom he had never expressed the slightest disrespect. He said not one word about their efficiency; he only complained that the amount of pay and the number of men had been increased, and contended, that as that force was not applicable to the service of the Colonies, a reduction might there be effected; and instead of meeting that is it ought to have been met, the right hon. Gentleman ran away from the real right, and began to contend against an argument of his own creating. He raised a phantom for himself, and the Committee might judge what merit he had in demolishing it. The Right hon. Secretary had preached the doctrine of non-resistance; it had before been preached from those benches, and opposed from his side of the House with great ability, perhaps on both sides. But in the course of his advocacy of non-resistance, he had charged him (Mr. Hume) with being an agitator. Who were the real agitators—he, or the Members of that Government who pressed upon a distressed country with an iron hand? The tendency of their acts and language was too plain to be misunderstood. He would not say, that they 829 were agitators and encouragers of rebellion, but he would say, that their conduct might lead to such a disastrous result. When the people cried aloud that their burthens were no longer bearable, what did the Government do? It said, oh yes, you can bear them very well; and it took no means to lighten them. If violence and rebellion thence ensued, who was to blame? Surely those who called upon the people to bear what was beyond their strength. Was, he or the Government, in that case, to blame? He had warned the Ministers, from the first, of the tendency of the course they were pursuing-, but his warning was in vain; who, then, were the real agitators? It might be said that he was attaching too much weight to the savings referred to; possibly the people attached too much weight to them; but if they did, was it not important that their feelings should be considered, especially in the exasperated state of mind to which their sufferings had brought them? It was said that he (Mr. Hume) stood there safe; yes, he was glad he stood there safe from the Attorney General [cheers and laughter]—safe from the fangs of the law. He could expect no mercy did he not stand there—did he feel himself in the power of that hon. and learned Gentleman whom he then saw entering the House—he need expect to fare no better than others had done; but he should take especial good care that the Law Officers of the Crown should not catch him elsewhere, [cheers and laughter] It was said to him, "how cowardly you are; why don't you come out?" but, situated as he was, prudence was better than valour. He might be fool-hardy enough on other occasions, but he was resolved to keep out of the hands of the Attorney General if possible; and no taunts should induce him to throw away the privilege he possessed—no charge of being a coward rebel should tempt him to put himself defenceless into the hands of the enemy. It was in vain that they told him that he laboured to rouse the physical force of the country, and that when it did come forth, he would not heed it. Charges of that sort did not affect him, but they did little credit to the right hon. Gentleman by whom they were made—they were charges altogether unfit to be made in that House. For his own part he did not retract one word of what he said, and so far from retracting it, he would complain that other Members 830 had not done the same, that no one but himself would speak out; prudential reasons might restrain them; but they should remember their duty; at all events he, for the performance of his duty, did not deserve to have applied to him the epithets which the right hon. Gentleman had so freely bestowed, when he said that on the head of the hon. Member for Montrose be the responsibility. But once again he would ask, on whom ought the responsibility to rest? he would say on them who were really the instigators and the causes of the dangers that threatened the country, and when that danger arrived, let the blame be not on him, but on them. It might be said that the partiality which he might be naturally disposed to indulge towards his own acts and language, was sufficient to account for the earnestness with which he accused others: but he believed the decision of all indifferent persons would be, that a sense of truth and justice was the cause of the pertinacity, as it might be called, with which he pressed his views upon the consideration of the Committee. Having said so much respecting his own observations, he should now come to the vote, and beg to point out to the Committee one other saving he thought might be effected. In his opinion, the five thousand men employed in the Ionian Islands might be reduced. On that, or any other point admitting of improvement, if the majority would only vote with him, they would speedily find—yes before twenty-four hours they would find—that the distresses of the people were of some importance in the eyes of the Minister; it would soon appear that the Estimates admitted of a reduction of ten or eleven thousand men. Before he sat down, he begged to observe that if any hon. Member disapproved of what he had said, that the offence ought to rest with him (Mr. Hume), and ought not to be allowed to affect the object of his Amendment, which was altogether independent of the Mover, and ought to be decided on its own merits.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, that he had before felt satisfied that the hon. Member would, in his cooler and more candid moments, disavow or explain what fell from him. The event had shown that he had not made a false estimate of the hon. Gentleman's right feeling. He did not discuss the question of responsibility; he did not put any case hypothetically, but he thought he heard the hon. Gentleman say, that the 831 vote of Friday night was one which justified an appeal to physical force. It appeared that the hon. Gentleman's meaning was different. He begged distinctly to declare that he had never used the words coward, or rebel—he was not in the habit of using such language, and he should much regret to hear such terms applied to the hon. Gentleman after his explanation of the words physical force.
§ The Committee then divided:—For the Amendment 27; Against it 159; Majority 132.
§ The Resolution was then agreed to.
§ On the Question "that a sum not exceeding 109,347l. 11s. 4d. be granted for defraying the charge of General Staff Officers and Officers of the Hospitals for Great Britain and Ireland, in the year 1830,"
§ Mr. Hume
objected to the sum as extravagant, and contended that it should be reduced to the amount paid in 1792. In the General Staff he found one Adjutant-General, one Deputy Adjutant-General, one Assistant Adjutant General at Head Quarters, and one Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General. Now he would ask, in the name of common sense, what necessity there was for such an establishment in the fifteenth year of peace? The pay, too, had been increased; was there any necessity for that? In the year 1805 the pay of the Adjutant-General was increased 500l. a-year, but he had then two hundred and sixty-eight corps under his management. Why not reduce their pay to the amount it was before the increase? The Quarter Master's department was framed on an equally extravagant plan, making for the whole of the Commander-in-chief's office above 13,000l. He really thought that at least 30,000l. might be struck off the 109,000l. for the whole Staff. The honourable Member then adverted to the extravagant establishments in the Colonies. In the Ionian Islands, at the Cape, and the Mauritius, at Ceylon and in Canada, the most ruinously unnecessary establishments of Staff were kept up, although the Colonies were both able and willing to pay the expense of their own Staff, if they were relieved from that officious interference practised towards them by the Government at home. The truth was, that the Colonies, instead of being a support and assistance to the mother country, were, from the injudicious course pursued towards them, a drag, and a ruinous drain on her re- 832 sources. After observing that there were eight Quarter-Masters General in Great Britain, and nine in Ireland, and animadverting on the folly of retaining such a number with a reduced military force, the hon. Member concluded by moving that the Estimate be reduced fifteen thousand for the present year, which, although not all he thought necessary, would, perhaps, be sufficient for the present, as nearly one quarter of the year was already gone by.
§ On the Question "that the Resolution be for a sum of 94,000l. instead of 109,000l.,"
entreated the hon. Member not to waste the time of the House by pressing his Amendment to a division. It was but too obvious that nothing could be done in that House, and he was much inclined to dread that a convulsion, such as that described by the hon. Member, must ensue.
§ Sir John Wrottesley
complained of the practice of keeping four General Officers on full pay at the present moment.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, that whatever hon. Members might think or do with respect to these Estimates, it was his duty to offer every explanation of their items which might be demanded from him, and he was sure it would be found they were not open to the imputation of extravagance thrown out against them by the hon. Member for Aberdeen. The hon. Member complained that no reductions had been made in the Staff. Now the fact was, that an Assistant Adjutant-General and Assistant Quarter-Master-General had been reduced in Canada, Nova-Scotia, and several other places, and the whole reductions of the Staff, within the last two years, amounted, along with contingencies, to 29,000l. The Adjutant-General's pay had been reduced above 1,000l. since the conclusion of the war, although his duties were nearly the same; and the Quarter-Master-General's Department had only one officer more than in the year 1792. In answer to the hon. Baronet (Sir J. Wrottesley), who objected to the number of General Officers, he admitted they were double the number of 1792. They had one at Portsmouth, one at Plymouth, one in the manufacturing districts, where his services, it had been seen, were required; and there was a fourth found necessary as an Inspector-General of Cavalry. When the various duties they had to perform, as well as the occasional services demanded 833 by Courts Martial, were considered, he thought that the Army could not be properly directed with a smaller number.
§ Sir John Wrottesley
did not see the propriety of keeping one general officer at Portsmouth and another at Plymouth
complained of the practice of keeping up Inspectors of Militia at the Ionian Isles, and paying them also as residents, although there was not a militia corps in the Islands at present, or at any other time.
§ Sir G. Murray
said, that although they were called Inspectors of Militia, they were really residents, and paid as such. He thought, however, the number might be reduced. It had been said, that the Ionian Islands should be given up by this country or sold to some other power; but it might be well to recollect we were bound by treaties with Other Powers to occupy these islands, and to their inhabitants by treaty to afford them protection; and, whatever might be thought of the propriety of getting rid of them, he conceived that this was not the precise period, when the present unsettled state of Greece was considered, to agitate the question. At that moment, although it was said they paid none of their expenses, he could assure the House that those islands defrayed the whole of their civil charges, and 23,000l. annually for military and other works undertaken to strengthen their fortresses. The hon. Member for Aberdeen had contended, that no reduction had been effected in the colonies; now, during the time he had been in office, and, he believed, daring the time his right hon. friend (Mr. Huskisson) held the same situation, every opportunity had been taken to reduce the expenditure of the colonies. In Malta reductions had been effected to the extent of 3,265l., and 10,000l. were annually paid into the Military Chest on account of its garrison. At Sierra Leone the reductions were 2,000l., at the Cape of Good Hope 4,000l., at Newfoundland 1,200l., at the Mauritius 800l., at Ceylon 2,400l., at Trinidad 934l., and about 1,822l. in the other West-India Islands. While he was on this subject he might observe, that it had been stated a large military force was kept up in Canada, for the purpose of keeping down and oppressing the inhabitants. He denied this, and he hoped the papers which would shortly be on the Table, would show the falsehood of the charge.
could not see why the Ionian Isles should not pay all their own. expenses. It was the same, however, with all the colonies. The Cape of Good Hope, under the Dutch Government, paid all its own expenses; but the moment we took possession of it, the expenses commenced.
§ Mr. Hume
, in reply, said that all the reductions alluded to by the gallant officer produced no diminution of the amount of expenditure. The hon. Member then alluded to the expenses of the Commander-in -chief's office, which, in 1792, under Lord Amherst, were 846l. When the Duke of York was first placed at the head of the Army they were 1,578l., and now above 13,000l. He did not expect any great support, but he was determined to take the sense of the Committee on the Amendment.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
denied that the only reduction which had taken place in the Staff was in the Medical Staff. With respect to the Commander of the Forces, his pay was not greater than it was in 1792, when Lord Amherst held that situation.
§ The Committee then divided:—For the Amendment 38; Against it 122; Majority 84.
§ Original Resolution agreed to.
§ The next Resolution moved by Sir H. Hardinge was, that the sum of 106,530l. 15s. 3d. be granted to his Majesty to defray the charge of the allowances to the principal officers of the several public departments at the Horse Guards, their deputies, clerks, and contingent expenses, for the year 1830.
§ Mr. Hume
wished to know why the office of Paymaster-General had not been reduced? He described the circuitous manner in which the Army was at present paid, and maintained that by a simpler and more economical arrangement that payment would be greatly facilitated. The salary of the Judge Advocate General had been raised in 1817, to meet the great increase of duty arising from the increase in the number of the Army. Now that the number was reduced, why was there not a correspondent decrease in that salary? 835 He would move as an Amendment, to deduct 15,000l. from the Estimate.
§ Mr. Calcraft
said, that the office which he had the honour to hold (that of Paymaster-General) was a most ancient one. On looking back for the last hundred and twenty-five years, he found that it had been filled by some of the most distinguished persons who had taken a political part in the affairs of the country. Whether a better system of accounts might not be adopted in the office was a question upon which he would not enter. He administered the office as he found it. Referring to the accounts of the office for the last fifty years, he found that the public had not lost a single shilling of the money which had passed through that office. When the House recollected that during the" war hundreds of millions passed through the office, this was a fact of no small importance. Though the office which he held was not a very laborious one, yet it was one of great trust and responsibility. He had various duties to perform, which occupied a considerable portion of his time. Amongst the rest, he presided at the Board at Chelsea Hospital; and so constant was his attendance there, that since the prorogation of Parliament he had not had a single spare week to himself. The office at the present moment stood lower than at the time of Mr. Burke's great reform; for then there were two Pay-masters and two Deputies. It was painful for any man to talk of himself; but he was compelled to say, that he discharged the duties of his office, he was sure, conscientiously, and he hoped diligently. The House ought to be cautious in meddling with an arrangement which had secured such fidelity of service in the payment, through a number of years, of such very large sums.
§ Sir H. Parnell
said, that the right hon. Gentleman had made out no case to rebut the charge advanced by the Finance Committee; namely, that the office which he held was a sinecure office. The right hon. Gentleman's deputy told the Committee that he executed all the duties of his principal's office. It was, in his opinion, a serious objection to the establishment that the officers in it possessed too uncontrolled a command over the public money. The right hon. Gentleman's reference to the period when there were two Paymasters, was a common-place fallacy of justifying an existing abuse by 836 the example of one still greater. He was surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman say he would postpone the consideration of the question whether the business of his office could be better conducted than it was at present. He thought that this was the time for considering that question. He hoped that Ministers would not call upon the House to agree to the vote now before them next year. He was of opinion that the duties of the Treasurer of the Navy, the Treasurer of the Ordnance, and the Paymaster of the Forces, which were now paid at the rate of 55,000l. a year, might be effectually performed for one-third of that sum.
§ Mr. Calcraft
declared, that so far was the office of Paymaster-General from being a sinecure, that not a day passed on which his presence at the office was not necessary. If he were not there, the business of the office must stand still.
said, that if he remembered rightly, the hon. Gentleman, when he sat on his (Mr. Maberly's) side of the House, always disapproved of the office of Paymaster-General. As to the importance of the office with a reference to the care of the public money, he need only refer to the evidence of Mr. Serjeant (a man of great respectability) before the Finance Committee. In answer to an inquiry what sum he could take away from the office, and how long he could keep it without the risk of detection, Mr. Serjeant stated that he thought he could take away 250,000l., and that he could retain it for a week. The manner in which the accounts were kept in this and the other offices was most unsatisfactory. Old forms, by which no sufficient check was maintained, were adhered to with pernicious pertinacity. If, for instance, any one of the twenty volumes of accounts respecting the colonies were examined, it would be found full of errors, and of misapplications of local funds. By consolidation and arrangement, a large saving in all the public offices might be certainly effected.
§ Mr. Calcraft
, in continuation, went on to say that the doors of his office had been thrown open to Mr. Abbott, who had examined all the books, and preferred the system followed in his office to that of 837 any other public department. The hon. Gentleman and the hon. Baronet had both admitted that the public money was pretty well secured; but how? Not by chance; but as it was secured in private life, by care and diligence. He thought great caution ought to be used in touching an establishment in which justice had been done to the public.
said, the right hon. Gentleman had done no more than his duty in opening the doors of his office to Mr. Abbott, who was sent by the Treasury; and he ought not on that account to take any merit to himself.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
reminded the House that his right hon. friend, as President of the Board of Chelsea Pensioners, had to administer a sum of 1,241,000l. a-year. In the execution of this duty he attended the Board upwards of fifty times in the course of the year, and had frequently come up from the country, for two or three days together, to attend this part of his duty. As Paymaster-General, he was President of the Board of Commissioners for Chelsea Hospital, and had very important and weighty duties to perform.
§ Mr. G. Dawson
complained of Mr. Maberly making random assertions. He had stated that Mr. Serjeant had given in evidence before the Committee that he and two or three others might connive and draw out a sum of 250,000l. and might go off undiscovered for a week. He believed that he could not be undiscovered for twenty-four hours, and more than one person must connive at it. There was no possibility of avoiding such confidence. It happened in private as well as public business. In the public offices checks were established, so that no single individual could appropriate the public money.
denied that he had made a random assertion, and would afterwards prove what he had asserted. He trusted to his own memory quite as much as to that of the right hon. Gentleman. Other gentlemen, as well as Mr. Serjeant, had given the same evidence; and it was the duty of the right hon. Gentleman, as well as that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to take care that the public money could not be so disposed of.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
admitted that he believed the memory of the bon. Gentleman was correct, and that 838 there was an impression in the Committee that the public money was not properly secured. A Treasury Minute, however, had been immediately passed, to pay no drafts unless signed by two persons. He had great, confidence in Mr. Serjeant; and it was on principle, not from any mistrust of him, that the Treasury Minute had been passed.
§ Sir J. Beckett
was surprised that the hon. Member for Aberdeen should now find fault with the expense of his department, when he had called for a complete return concerning it in 1821, and was then satisfied. The expense of it was less now than it was then by 500l.; and it was not 5,000l., as the hon. Gentleman stated, but 4,400l. The expense was now as low as ever it had been for the last twenty-five years. In 1806 the office was regulated, the fees were done away, and the salary of the Judge-Advocate was settled at 2,500l. It was to be then made equal to that of a Push Judge. Since then the salaries of the Judges had been doubled; but the salary of the Judge-Advocate had not been raised—faith had not been kept with that officer. By the abolition of several Deputy Judge-Advocates' places, particularly in Ireland, reductions had been made to the amount of 3,700l.; and all the duties done by the officers whose places had been abolished had fallen on the Judge-Advocate's shoulders, and he had done them without any increase of salary. He did not think that the expense of the whole office, which was only 4,400l. a year,(not equal to the salary of one Puisne Judge,) was an extravagant charge, considering the great duties of the office, and the protection it had to afford to the Army throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland.
§ Mr. Hume
had not forgot the return for which he had moved in 1821, nor that the expense of the office was then 5,180l. What he had stated was, that, in 1798, Sir Charles Morgan had only a salary of 1,031l., and 340l. for a house; and that in 1807, the salary had been raised to 2,500l., on account of the heavy duties which then resulted from our having a large army; and he complained that when the reason for which the salary had been raised no longer existed, it was still kept up at the war rate. The right hon. Gent, opposite had stated that, he had never voted for the reduction of the office of Paymaster of the Forces; but, in 1821, 839 when he (Mr. Hume) moved that an Address should be presented to his Majesty to reduce that, with other offices, the right; hon. Gentleman did vote for that Motion. He would not have referred to this had not the right hon. Gentleman challenged him to quote such an example. He did not say that the right hon. Gentleman was inconsistent; the only difference was, that then he sat on his (Mr. Hume's) side of the House, and that now he sat on the opposite side, and was bound to defend things as they existed.
§ Mr. Calcraft
admitted that he might have given his vote for a lumping resolution like that referred to by the hon. Gentleman, and that he might in that manner have voted for the reduction of the office of the Paymaster; but if the hon. Gentleman looked back at the whole of his conduct, he would find that he had always voted for the keeping up our establishments, as not too extravagant and not more than was necessary for the regular service of the country. He had always defended the Guards, for example. He could not think, therefore, that there was any inconsistency in his present vote and his having once voted for a lumping Motion of the hon. Gentleman.
§ The Chairman asked Mr. Hume if he meant to divide?
§ The House then divided, when there appeared for Mr. Hume's Amendment 42; Against it 118:—Majority 76.
§ The Question was then put on the original Resolution, 106,530l. for allowances to the principal officers, &c. voted.
§ On the Question that 14,420l. be voted for the charge of Medicines and Surgical Materials for his Majesty's Land Forces,
produced the evidence given before the Committee of Finance by Mr. Serjeant, and showed that his statement had been quite correct, and not a random statement, as asserted by the right hon. Gentleman.
Mr. G. Damson
had understood Mr. Maberly to say, that the public money might be drawn without any check whatever, which was not quite correct. He had himself been wrong as to time.
said a few words in explanation. He complained of the diversity of contracts for the supply of Medicines to the public service occasioning a great additional expense, and giving rise to private jobbing. The Finance Committee had reprobated the system. He had no objection to the vote; but it required attention.
§ The vote was then agreed to.
§ The next vote was for 60,612l. 8s. 1d., for Volunteer Corps of the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. O'Connell
rose to object to the vote, so far as related to Ireland. He thought that the Army in Ireland, during what he might, perhaps, be permitted to call the late civil commotions of that country, had performed its duty, from the highest officer down to the lowest subaltern, in the most exemplary and praiseworthy manner. He suggested to the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that it was necessary to recollect that a large portion of that Army had been employed in the North of Ireland for purposes into which he would not enter. The conduct of the Yeomanry in that part of the country he could not praise. It was supposed to have been kept up for purposes not of protection, but of oppression. He submitted that it was a description of force which might be well spared. In the province of Connaught, where the population was almost entirely Catholic, the amount of Yeomanry was but an unit. In the province of Munster it was only a decimal in the province of Leinster it was a hundred; but in the province of Ulster, where the population was chiefly Presbyterian, it was a thousand. If the Yeomanry were diminished there, the Army might be diminished too; for the presence of the Army was wanted for no other object than to protect the people against the outrages of the Yeomanry. For these reasons he should move that this Vote be reduced to 50,812l. 8s. 1d.
§ Sir G. Hill
said, if the Yeomanry force could be spared, he should have no objection to the proposed reduction. He could not, however, submit to the insinuation of the hon. and learned Member for Clare, that disturbances had originated in Ireland from the conduct of the Yeomanry corps. As a proof that the Yeomanry corps in the north of Ireland had merited well of their country, he would merely state that the Insurrection Act had travelled through every country in Ireland, save the nine counties in the province of Ulster.
Mr. S. Rice
supported the Amendment, on the ground of economy, and of the internal tranquillity of Ireland. He believed that the existence of the Constabulary force, which was in itself a Military force, was sufficient to justify a diminution of the Yeomanry force.
Lord F. L. Gower
said, it was only doing bare justice to the hon. and learned Member for Clare, to declare that he had touched upon the subject of the Irish Yeomanry with a moderation which must be highly serviceable to his. view of the question. He was of opinion that any inconsiderate meddling with that body at the present moment would produce an irritation of feeling in Ireland, which it was desirable to avoid. He admitted that the time had at last arrived when this question ought to be looked at. He should be sorry if the hon. Member for Clare pressed his Amendment, for he had no objection to take the subject matter of it into immediate consideration.
said, that after such an admission from the organ of the Irish Government, he should suggest to his hon. and learned friend, the propriety of leaving the reduction in the hands of the Ministry.
§ Mr. Brownlow
could not intend any tiling disrespectful to the Yeomanry, in whose ranks he had had the honour of serving, but he thought that the time had at length arrived when, in point of economy, they ought to be disbanded.
§ Mr. O'Connell
was most ready to withdraw his Amendment, and would prefer the proposition for the Reduction of the Yeomanry coming from the other side of the House rather than from himself. He denied every intention to traduce the Yeomanry of Ireland. When he was first called to the bar he was one of their number, and had moved that they should extend their services to every part of Ireland. He hoped that nothing which bad fallen from him that night would have the slightest tendency to embitter the quarrel between the two parties in the north of Ireland.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, that in the speech which the hon. member for Aberdeen had delivered on a former evening, he had accused him of acting in contravention to the rule which Lord Lansdowne had laid down for the reduction of the Yeomanry corps. He appealed to his hon. friend the Member for Limerick, whether he had not strictly followed up the rule which had been left in the office by his noble predecessor. When Lord Lansdowne left office, the expense of the Yeomanry force amounted to 66,000l, and it was now reduced ten per cent. There were only twenty-two corps in the manufacturing districts. He then proceeded to eulogize the Yeomanry corps in Ireland, and mentioned, as a proof of their spirit, that in 1814, when Buonaparte returned from Elba, they had volunteered their services, both Catholics and Protestants, to any part of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman concluded with expressing his readiness to make inquiry into the propriety of reducing the Yeomanry of Ireland, as had been done in England, but he was not prepared to agree to an immediate reduction.
Mr. S. Rice
said, that in his opinion there was no item in which reduction would be more justifiable than that now before the Committee; therefore, without dissenting from his right hon. friend as to the expediency of retaining these corps at the time he was in office, or without differing with the right hon. Secretary as to the high character of this body, he would yet vote for any reduction suggested by the hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Secretary Peel
said, he certainly was not prepared to assent to a reduction to the proposed amount. He begged to remind the House that breaches of the peace did in the manufacturing districts occasionally take place, under the pressure of distress; and therefore it was exceedingly necessary to maintain those corps in such neighbourhoods. With respect to the Cavalry corps, he thought they were, perhaps, the more efficient of the two.
Mr. R. Gordon
said, that in his opinion, the Yeomanry corps were the worst possible corps that could be employed for putting down disturbances, and he entertained this feeling the more strongly when he looked back to what had taken place at 843 Manchester. The right hon. Secretary should recollect that these corps were taken from the people, and he submitted to him, that in depending upon them in the case of any popular commotions, he would be trusting to a broken reed.
, in reply, said, he had a much higher opinion of the Yeomanry. There were many Yeomanry officers in that House who would bear out his belief, that those men were to be depended on. If, however, any case should occur in which a corps proved itself not trust-worthy, or in any way misconducted itself, that then a reduction of that body should be at once effected. But he really thought Yeomanry corps were as much to be depended on as any other branch of the Service; and he was quite sure, if they received his Majesty's commands to quell any popular tumult, not one of them would fly from his colours, [hear]
Mr. G. Lamb
agreed with the right hon. Secretary, that not one corps would misconduct itself, [hear] still he thought them the worst force that could be employed to quell popular disturbance. Un pleasing as was the picture, he could not refrain from looking back to Manchester, and he remembered that the loss of life there originated in the manner in which the Yeomanry chose to march against the people. In a word, he did not believe that these corps were any longer necessary. An apprehension of foreign invasion was the only thing which could justify their maintenance; the grant, therefore, might be reduced. There was no man who knew anything of these corps, who was not aware that they were generally the playthings of some great person resident in the district to which they belonged. Such, therefore, as were willing to provide their own arms and accoutrements, and would serve gratis, might be continued; but he certainly should oppose the vote, for he thought 40,000l. for such a purpose altogether thrown away. If, in time of peace, any additional force were required, he should rather vote for the creation of a new regiment of Cavalry, than for keeping up the Yeomanry.
Mr. R. Gordon
observed, that he understood the right hon. Secretary had, during his (Mr. Gordon's) absence, applied some severe language to the hon. Member for Montrose, for the appeal which that hon. Gentleman had made on behalf of the people to his Majesty's Government. The 844 right hon. Gentleman seemed to attribute the same feelings and opinions to him, but he could assure him that he had no intention of alluding to the general question, although he certainly did believe that there was a reckless, if not a revolutionary, spirit abroad. The people were impressed with the opinion that the Government looked with contempt and disdain on their distress; and so long as that feeling prevailed, and so long as no attempt was made for their relief, his Majesty's Ministers could never be secure against the excesses into which a people in such a condition might be betrayed.
Mr. Secretary Peel
repeated, that if the Yeomanry were called on in aid of the public peace, he should have as high confidence in them as in the regular troops.
The Marquis of Chandos
acknowledged and deplored the general distress; but he was quite sure that the Yeomanry would not misconduct themselves; he was himself a commander of one of those corps, and he could confidently assert that if called out there was not a man in it who would not do his duty.
declared he was opposed to the grant. The necessity which occasioned the creation of those corps had passed away, the apprehension of foreign invasion having ceased to exist. He disagreed with the right hon. Secretary as to the expediency of maintaining them in manufacturing districts. A body of cavalry was generally stationed in those districts sufficient to put down all the rioters in England. He had no wish, however, to press the immediate reduction upon the right hon. Secretary, if he said he would take the question into consideration with a view to economy; if not, he should vote for the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Hume
, looking round the House, said, he could not perceive one of six hon. Members who had declined supporting him in his Motion for a general reduction, pledging themselves that they would be present to watch the proceedings in the Committee upon each item of expenditure. He would not take it upon himself to say, whether these hon. Members had done their duty towards their constituents, but they certainly had not done their duty towards him; for, having promised him that they would attend, to judge on each individual vote, not one of them was to 845 be seen. With respect to the argument of the right hon. Secretary, if it were good for any thing, it was good for the re-establishment of all the Yeomanry corps; and as to what had fallen from the noble Marquis, he would only ask him, if he did not believe that his corps would do its duty equally well if it were not paid? If he fancied that the noble Marquis could reply that they would not, he should hesitate before he pressed his question; but being well convinced that this could not be the case, he would demand a division. His object was, that there should be a reduction of 42,804l. from the 60,612l., thus leaving the Irish Yeomanry untouched, and he would move as an Amendment, that the vote should be reduced to 17,808l. 8s. 1d.
§ The House divided, when there appeared for the Amendment 23; against it 83; majority 60.—The original Motion was then agreed to. The House resumed, the report was brought up, and ordered for consideration on Wednesday next.