HC Deb 10 May 1833 vol 17 cc1105-9

On the question, that the sum of 103,318l. 13s. 2d. be granted to defray the charge of Volunteer Corps for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from March, 1833, to March, 1834,

Mr. Hume

said, he would oppose the Resolution. He appealed to the country gentlemen of England, and he would ask them, whether they could not call out the active and steady loyalty of the country, if they were menaced by insubordination, without resorting to this paltry payment of 4l. or 5l. It appeared, he knew, in the details, to be a very small sum; but, take it in the aggregate, it was a very large one. With respect to the Irish Volunteers, he would ask, who they were—what they were—and what they did, or were doing? He should like some of the Irish Members then present to inform him, where these Irish Volunteers were, and what was their number? He should move, that the vote be reduced one-half; this would give the volunteers six months' pay, and would afford the Government an opportunity of inquiring into the necessity of continuing such a force; and, if it were deemed advisable, of totally disbanding them.

Mr. Ellice

said, that with respect to Ireland, there were a number of men permanently employed as sergeants and drummers. If these men were now dismissed, there would be a very considerable expense incurred for allowances and pensions. He wished much to reduce the expense; and, if the hon. member for Middlesex would leave the matter with him, he would use his best endeavours to lighten the burthen.

Mr. Jervis

said, the Volunteers of Ireland had been very useful. They had come forward in times of great alarm, and well deserved any trifling remuneration that was given to them.

Mr. O'Connell

declared, that he did not understand what was meant by "Volunteers" who received pay. They were, in his opinion, not "Volunteers," but labourers for hire. They were like some conscripts of whom he had read. A traveller seeing a number of them linked together, inquired, "Who are these men thus manacled?" "Oh," said his informant," they are volunteers—going joyfully to serve their country."

Mr. Jervis

Did the hon. and learned Member never "volunteer" his services for pay?

Mr. O'Connell

Certainly not; never; that is exactly the distinction.

Mr. Ruthven

declared, that he knew, that those situations of permanent sergeants and drummers were given by persons in authority to their menial servants—to whippers-in, and huntsmen, and stable followers.

Mr. Ellice

said, he would cause inquiry to be made into the whole subject, especially with respect to the points which had last been noticed, and the evil should be corrected.

Mr. Shaw

was of opinion, that the yeomanry of Ireland were well worthy of every assistance which could be afforded to them.

Mr. Hume

wished to know, whether those who were denominated "Volunteers" had ever been enrolled, and had done service? He thought that this vote ought to be postponed until the right hon. Gentleman had received further and more explicit information on the subject. He should like to know on what ground a corps of yeomanry had been recently raised at Huddersfield.

Mr. Lewis Fenton

declared, that he knew of no intention to raise such a corps. There was not, at present, any corps, either of cavalry or infantry, at Huddersfield. He had commanded a yeomanry corps in that district from 1829 to 1831, which had not cost the Government one farthing. If there were an intention of raising a corps of yeomanry at Huddersfield, he would say, that there was not a place in England where such a corps would be more useful. In the last winter the conduct of some of the operatives was calculated to excite the most unpleasant feelings.

Mr. Lamb

said, it was only necessary to draw the attention of the House to the state in which the country was placed at the latter end of 1830, and the beginning of 1831, to prove that the Government had not acted injudiciously in calling on the better sort of yeomanry and farmers to come forward for the protection of life and property. Those individuals had obeyed this call; and it would be most ungracious conduct on the part of his Majesty's Government now to turn on them and say, "it is true you have put down these disturbances, and the expense was trifling, but hereafter you must serve without Day or allowance." In fact, that which the yeomanry received was not pay; it merely went to cover a variety of expenses incidental to the service.

Sir Edmund Hayes

said, that he thought his Majesty's present Ministers had themselves given the most ample refutation to the unfounded and unwarrantable assertions made respecting the yeomanry, by the member for Dublin, and echoed by the member for Middlesex. He could appeal to the late right hon. Secretary on that subject; it being well known that he, in conjunction with the noble Lord at the head of the Irish Government, in a moment of panic and apprehension, excited by the agitation of the repeal question, put arms into the hands of those very men who are now reviled, thereby proving that they knew their value; and acknowledged, though reluctantly, that in time of danger, they were the men to be really depended on for courage, loyalty, and true friendship to British connexion. Every man who did not participate in the ignorance of the member for Middlesex, knew that to be the case. The present right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary at War, had not been long in office, but it was to be hoped that he did not come forward so profoundly ignorant of the constitution of the service for which the vote of money was asked, as to lend any credence to the wicked and untenable assertions which had been made.

Mr. Andren Johnston

said, it would be very satisfactory for him and his constituents to know some good reason for raising such a corps as he had heard was about to be raised in Fife.

Mr. Robert Wallace

said, it appeared to him that an attempt was set on foot to get up a system similar in Scotland and England to that which prevailed in Ireland, where one class of men was opposed to another class. It was just like the system of Orangemen of Ireland, who were opposed to, and oppressing a different class of people.

Colonel Perceval

said, the hon. Member who spoke last had shown his ignorance of the state of Ireland. What that hon. Member had advanced was calculated to lower the character of the Orangemen of Ireland. He described them as being unfriendly to those who possessed a different creed. He, as an Orangeman, denied that they entertained any such feeling. The Orangemen, on the contrary, held out the hand of friendship to well-disposed persons of every creed.

Mr. Walker

declared, that, in his opinion, the yeomanry of Ireland were a party corps, and most active in attempting to put down liberal opinions. They were the chief cause of all the disturbances which took place.

Lord Belfast

defended the Irish yeomanry, than whom a more respectable body of men did not exist.

Mr. O'Connell

observed, that in the town (Belfast) which the noble Lord represented, a Catholic could not be buried without the followers of the corpse being brutally fired at by the yeomanry.

Mr. F. O'Connor

asserted, that the yeomanry force of Ireland had contributed to disturb the peace of the country.

Mr. Ellice

defended the items of the vote, but expressed his willingness to consent to a deduction, on account of the Huddersfield corps, if his hon. friend insisted on it, after the explanation of the hon. Member in the gallery.

Mr. Hume

did not say, that he would go so far as to put down the yeomanry force, but wished to withhold the public money from them.

The Committee divided on Mr. Hume's Amendment, that the vote be reduced one half: Ayes 53; Noes 205—Majority 152.

List of the AYES.
EKGLAND. Wason, R.
Aglionby, H. A. Wood, Alderman
Beauclerk, Major
Briscoe, J. I. Gillon, W. D.
Brotherton, J. Maxwell, Sir J.
Chichester, J. P. B. Oliphant, L.
Divelt, E. Oswald, R. A.
Faithfull, G. Oswald, R.
Fancourt, Major Pringle, R.
Fielden, J. Wallace, R.
Fryer, R. IRELAND.
Grote, G. Blake, J.
Guest, J. J. Fitzgerald, T.
Hall, B. Lalor, P.
Hawes, B. Macnamara, Major
Hutt, W. O'Brien, C.
Lennox, Lord G. O'Connell, D.
Lloyd, J. H. O'Connell, C.
Molesworth, Sir W. O'Connell, J.
Parrott, J. O'Connell, M.
Potter, R. O'Connor, T.
Romilly, J. Roche, W.
Scholefield, J. Ronayne, D.
Seale, Colonel Ruthven, E. S.
Tooke, W. Ruthven, E.
Trelawney, W. L. S. Vigors, N. A.
Vincent, Sir F.
Walter, J. TELLER.
Wurburton, H. Hume, J.