moved, "That his Majesty be empowered to issue Exchequer Bills to an amount not exceeding 500,000l., to be expended in the carrying on of Public Works in Ireland."
feared these votes of Exchequer Bills would not have the desired effect, of relieving the distress in Ireland. At the conclusion of the last Session, the noble Lord, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, obtained a vote of 50,000l. for the same purposes; not one penny of which had been yet demanded by the Irish speculators. The only effect of it was, to materially check the subscription for the distress then going on. The loan of money at interest would never have the effect of giving permanent relief.
said, the hon. and learned Member was quite wrong in saying there had been no application for the former loan. The Government had had applications from Sligo, Galway, and several other counties; but, on inquiry, the security proposed was not found sufficiently good to enable the Board to comply with the request.
§ Mr. Lefroy
would suggest to the right hon. Secretary the expediency of taking the vote in such a manner as would enable the Board to assist the fishermen of the Western coasts, who were in a state of great distress.
was aware of the distress mentioned, but regretted that such relief was incompatible with the vote now pro- 574 posed; for, it must be remembered, that persons obtaining this money would be obliged to give security for its repayment.
replied, it was intended that a Board of Control should sit in Dublin, which would have the entire management of the money, and to which all applications were to be referred. But to diminish the expense, it was intended to do away with the Board of Works, the Board of Inland Navigation, and that branch of the Post-office which had the making of Post-roads in Ireland. The diminution of expenditure gained by the abolishment of these Boards, would enable the Government to meet the expenses of the intended Board of Control.
§ Vote agreed to.
said, the best answer he could give his hon. friend was, by moving, "That a sum not exceeding 50,000l. be granted to his Majesty for the purpose of being expended on the forwarding Public Roads, and other Works, in Ireland." The exigencies of the country required this vote, and he expected great advantages would be derived from it.
Mr. Robert Gordon
was anxious to suggest the expediency of appointing Commissioners who would perform their duty gratuitously. He was adverse to paying Commissioners, as it always tended to jobbing, and he knew gratuitous Boards discharged their duty with greater satisfaction to the public. In England that was certainly the case, and a similar course might be adopted in Ireland.
§ Mr. Leader
thought, the hon. member for Cricklade had made an unmerited and unkind insinuation against the Irish Public Boards by his eulogium on the English Boards. The Irish Boards of Public Works had existed several years, and ably discharged the duties imposed on them. The returns placed on the Table last year would shew that the Commissioners had never received a penny of compensation for their trouble. But it was not enough to say no public loss had been sustained on the advances of money; it had been on all sides admitted, that the public derived a profit from these advances, though 575 that was an unusual occurrence, unfortunately, in public undertakings. The Commissioners had conducted themselves throughout with great caution and propriety. He hoped the proposed outlay would be attended with good consequences, for it was much wanted to open communications through the country, and thereby give an easy carriage to agricultural produce, independent of affording profitable employment to the people. The advantages of the vote would, therefore, he considered, be great indeed, and he should give it his zealous support.
was not prepared to consent to the proposal of a grant of money from the public purse. No notice had been given; he had no objection to a loan, but he objected to open the purse of England to give money to Ireland. He hoped, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman would not press this vote, as it would hardly be fair to grant money absolutely without notice.
Mr. More O'Ferrall
would not at present say more, in answer to the right hon. member for Middlesex, than that he should be able to prove, that Ireland had a positive right to receive a grant of pecuniary assistance from England. He must take the opportunity of observing, that it would be very difficult to get Commissioners to devote all their time gratuitously, and it was an unfair allegation of the hon. member for Cricklade, to assert that paid Boards did not discharge their duties well and faithfully. He would mention the Royal Irish Canal as a case in which the Directors had been paid, and had performed their duty properly.
§ Mr. Wyse
was surprised at the objection of the hon. member for Middlesex, who ought to know that England lost nothing by granting relief to Ireland. In fact, she derived advantages from it, while great benefit had been afforded to Ireland; he would undertake hereafter to convince the hon. Member of this. He wished, however, to know if the proposed Board was intended to be permanent?
§ Lord Althorp
replied, it was. It could not be expected that any body of men would devote themselves to the office gratuitously. But no additional expense would be entailed on the country, for the salaries attending the offices which it was intended to abolish were larger than those proposed to be given to the intended Board.
§ An Hon. Member begged to know, if it was intended to select the Commissioners of the new Board from the old and tried members of those about to be abolished.
Mr. Robert Gordon
felt great delight at the intention of Ministers to abolish the Board of Works, and the Board of Inland Navigation. He hoped the Commissioners for Wide Streets would meet with a similar fate. All these were jobs, and a curse to the country. Ministers should be cautious how they armed another set of Commissioners with power; they should be cautious in whose hands they placed the means of disposing of the public property. He should, however, prefer to see the new Board composed of new members.
should partly please, and partly displease both hon. Gentlemen. He intended to have the new Board composed of both old and new members.
hoped the hon. Gentleman meant to postpone his Motion for the present, as the only time to discuss a Grant, was in a Committee of the whole House.
said, this was merely a Resolution, and the hon. Member would have an opportunity to oppose the Grant when the Bill was brought in; but as the hon. Gentleman wished it, he would not press his Motion.
§ Vote postponed.