§ Mr. Ellice
thought it unnecessary, after the discussion which had taken place on Friday evening last, on the subject of these Estimates, and after the House had voted the number of men for the effective service, to do more than put the first vote into the hands of the Chairman. At the 1003 same time, he should be very ready to answer any question which might be put to him respecting the various items, in order that they might be fully and clearly understood. The right hon. Gentleman then moved the first vote,—"That a sum, not exceeding 3,056,873l. 18s. 11d. be granted to defray the charges of his Majesty's land forces, for service at home and abroad (except the regiments employed in the territorial possessions of the East-India Company.)"
§ Mr. Cobbett
would make no objection to the number of men proposed by the right hon. Secretary, for though there was no war at present, no likelihood of a war, nor, indeed, any likelihood of the word being pronounced, either in that House or any where else, still it was certain that fifty millions in gold could not be collected without the aid of a numerous standing army. However, although he did not object to the number, he would not let that question pass without objecting to the sum required for their pay. The right hon. Secretary had inquired a few nights since, whether any Member contemplated reducing the present pay of the soldier? He (Mr. Cobbett) would reduce it. The present pay of the soldier was 7s. per week; besides this, he had his flesh meat secured to him through the year at a certain fixed rate. He had small beer, or some such drink, at a cost to the country of 68,000l. per annum. With a few exceptions of trifling articles, he was clothed from head to foot. He had coals and candle-light. Indeed, his allowances amounted to almost board and lodging, together with his 7s. per week. Let that be compared with the condition of the agricultural labourer, and the House would see the necessity of the reduction.] An hon. Baronet (member for Buckinghamshire) said, that he (Mr. Cobbett) excited the poor to incendiarism; and, in a letter written to the Poor-Law Commissioners, this same hon. Baronet stated, that, before the burnings, the wages of the unmarried labourer had been 4s. a-week, and that it was afterwards raised to 5s., at which the farmers were dissatisfied. This seemed as if the 5s. were thought too much, and yet the hon. Baronet would not object to the 7s. to the soldier, with fire, candle-light, lodgings, and all the other advantages. He (Mr. Cobbett) would only tell the hon. Baronet to take his letter, in which 5s. a-week was thought 1004 too much for the labourer, to the poor of his parish, read it for them, and then add, that he voted 7s. per week to the common soldier. The right hon. Secretary had described, in glowing and eloquent terms, the difficulties and hardships of the soldier's life; but he contended that, in England at least, these hardships were not great. Besides, he underrated the pay at 7s., for, taken altogether, at an average, horse, foot, artillery, and musicians, it amounted to nearly 1s. 6d. per day for each. The right hon. Secretary had been very eloquent in describing the various sufferings to which soldiers were exposed; now freezing in a cold, and then frying in a torrid clime. Indeed, so vivid was the picture he drew, that hon. Members might almost fancy they saw the poor victim broiling before their eyes [a laugh]. In truth, the right hon. Secretary was a very honourable, a very clever, a very sincere, and very honest man, but, in reality, he knew nothing of what he was talking about—nothing more than his youngest child, who might be at that very moment in his cradle. He knew something of the matter. He had not, indeed, been under the line—he had not suffered the roasting, broiling, and scorching, in the description of which the hon. Secretary had been so very eloquent; but he had passed seven years in as cold a region as any English regiment had ever been stationed in, and a very pleasant sort of life they had of it there. Their summers were passed in fishing, in shooting wild pigeons, and in visiting the cottages of the Yankee girls. Their winter amusement was in skaiting, walking through the forest in snow shoes, or sitting by a cheerful fire in the barrack-room, laughing, chatting; and drinking good rum at 7d. per quart. Their weekly allowance was seven pounds of flour, which was equal to nine pounds of bread, for each man, four pounds of the best pork, bought by the money of the English poor, six ounces of butter, a quart of pease, and a quart of rice. Was not this more than, upon an average, the families of any two poor labourers in England had? Could not men be procured at a cheaper rate than the present to endure such sufferings as he had described? But then, it had been said, how can you reduce the pay? how can you break the bargain entered into with those men? Had the king no power—were they Janissaries, that the King could not get rid of them? Had not the 1005 King dismissed Sir Robert Wilson; and, if so, surely his power extended to the privates? The right hon. Secretary himself proposed to get rid of some of them. The House must be convinced that the pay was too high, and that it was too much to devote millions to the maintenance of those two great corporations—the Army and Navy. If Ministers could not get rid of them, the House must. It was impossible to disconnect this question from what had been proposed with regard to the Poor-laws, and the Report brought forward on that subject, which had been sanctioned by a brace of unfeeling bishops. In that report, it was proposed that the labourers should be shut up in a sort of Bastille; but the report would go through the country, and these men would know of the proposition that had been made concerning them. He wished to throw the observations before the House, but would not object to vote the money, as the contract had been made.
§ Mr. Methuen
protested against the opinions set forth by the hon. member for Oldham. He believed that it would be found, on inquiry, that, although the labourers in the country might not always be so well and regularly fed, they received more money than the soldiers, and their wages were always regularly paid. The hon. member for Oldham had selected a subject very different from others which he might have better brought forward; but he did not believe that there was any other hon. Member present, who had fairly considered the subject, who would think that the soldiers were overpaid. The hon. Member had dwelt on the sufferings endured by the labourers as compared with the soldiers. Now, if they compared many classes of labourers, such as boot makers, shoemakers, painters,&, it would be found that they were much better paid than soldiers. If the situation of the soldier was compared with that of the servant in a gentleman's family, it would be found, that the amount of the board wages of the latter were considerably more than the pay of the former. In his opinion the soldier was not overpaid.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
was surprised to hear the speech of the hon. member for Oldham, and, above all, as he understood the hon. Member had formerly belonged to the profession of which he had the 1006 honour of being still a member. He was astonished that the hon. Gentleman should have introduced a subject which tended to lower the character of the soldiers of the British army. He differed entirely from the hon. Member, and believed that the soldiers were perfectly satisfied with their condition; and there was not a more loyal body of men, although they received a smaller pittance than any class of persons in his Majesty's dominions. On referring to page 258 of the Report of the Commissioners on the Poor-laws, it would be found stated, that the soldier was ill-paid as compared with any other class in the country; and, although the able-bodied pauper had not so much as the soldier, the pauper was much better fed and lodged. The soldier received brown bread (and here he would beg the attention of the hon. member for Oldham, as the observations were a good deal in his style) The brown bread given to the soldiers was such as was sold in London, under the name of household bread, whilst all the paupers in the workhouse received white or wheaten bread. Mr. Hewitt, in his evidence before the Commissioners, said, that he had seen the convicts hold up their wheaten bread to the soldiers who were guarding them, and say," Look here, brown tommy; brown bread will do for you, but not for us. "The soldier was satisfied with his condition, as he was sufficiently well paid; and he was sure that the House would agree with him that soldiers were not overpaid. The Report further said, that the family of the pauper had a larger allowance from the parish than the family of a soldier. The Report gave, besides, a comparative scale of comforts enjoyed by the different classes. The independent agriculturist was the worst off in that scale; the soldier was so in the next degree; the able-bodied pauper was the next; the suspected thief was above him; and the convicted felon was the best off of the whole lot. There, perhaps, was reason for this, as the state of despondency into which the convict was thrown, may require more generous diet. As to reduction, it was out of the question; and, in war-time, the allowance was by no means sufficient for the hard labour they had to perform. The soldier was at present contented and happy, and would remain so, if the hon. member for Oldham, and others, would allow him.
§ Lord Althorp
was surprised at the observations of the hon. member for Oldham, and was persuaded that, there could not be in that House an opinion favourable to the reduction of the pay of the soldiery. The comparison made by the hon. member for Oldham, between the labourer and the soldier was not a fair one, neither was it fair to assume that the result of the inquiry entered into by the Poor Law Commission would be unfavourable to the agricultural labourer. He could assure the House, that whatever course might be adopted in consequence of that inquiry, it should not operate to the disadvantage of the labourer, or render his situation worse than it was at present. That condition he admitted was bad enough; but it was principally owing to the mode in which the Poor-laws operated, and the object of the Commissioners was to remedy their defects. He was aware of the difficulties with which the question of Poor-laws was beset, but when the subject came to be discussed, hon. Gentlemen would perceive, that it was the desire and anxious wish of Government to do all in their power to benefit the labouring classes. Again, he would say, that assumptions should not be made which were only calculated to arouse popular excitement.
§ Colonel Davies
regretted, that any improper comparison should be drawn between the situation of the soldier and that of the labouring man. He agreed with his right hon. and gallant friend (Sir H. Hardinge) in attachment to the service to which they belonged. The question, as stated by the hon. member for Oldham, was, whether the soldier had not more than sufficient pay. If it should be the opinion of the House that that was the case, still it was impossible to make any alterations at present, as a bargain had been made with the soldiers, and he would fulfil the contract to the utmost letter. He did not, however, see that there would be any injustice in making a bargain hereafter with the soldiers when they enlisted, that they should receive less pay. That, however, was entirely a question of expediency. Formerly it was the custom to pay the soldiers once a month, but they, with their usual imprudence, generally squandered all away in the course of a few days; the consequence was, that the present system was adopted. At present he had no hesitation in saying, 1008 that the soldier in the British army was much better off than the soldier in any other service. He would only add, if it were determined to take off a penny a day, it might be done as regarded those who hereafter enlisted, but it would be impossible to break a contract entered into.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
would observe, in reply to his gallant friend, that he had been for some time attached to the Prussian army, and he would say without hesitation, that the Prussian soldier was quite as well off as the British soldier. He could also state, on the evidence of a high military authority examined before a Committee of that House, that the French soldier, if anything, was better off' than the British soldier. A more loyal set of men than the British army did not exist, and they were deserving of every encouragement.
§ Colonel Davies
wished to ask his gallant friend, whether he had not been with the Prussian army in the field, and not in time of peace? He (Colonel Davies) had reason to believe, that, in time of peace, the Prussian army were served with coarse brown bread, which British soldiers would throw away. He also believed that the authority referred to his gallant friend was in error as to the situation of the French soldier. He (Colonel Davies) believed, that the French soldiers were in a much worse situation than the English soldiery.
§ Mr. Cobbett
said, that the right hon. and gallant Officer (Sir Henry Hardinge) spoke of the Report of the Poor-laws Commissioners, as if it was the Bible, and ought not to be called in question. Now, he knew, as many Members of that House knew, and as had been stated by many Magistrates, Clergymen, and others, in Petitions to that House, that the Report contained many gross falsehoods. The Report, after all, was but the opinion of the persons who drew it up; and he would venture to say, that with the exception of one of the Commissioners, they knew nothing about the subject. It would have been much better to have left the matter to a Committee of Gentlemen of that House, rather than to those who had been selected to investigate the subject. What could two Bishops, and three Barristers, and two newspaper reporters, know of the working of the Poor-laws? If his Majesty's Ministers were anxious to remove 1009 any of the evils from the present system of Poor-laws, why not appoint practical men to examine the subject and draw up measures of improvement? He had made no attack upon the soldiers; he had only imputed to them a wish which operated on all mankind, namely, a desire to live as well as possible, with as little exertion as possible on their parts. He confessed this motive had influenced him, when he was in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and, in spite of what had been said of the sufferings of the soldiers, he knew they had enough of everything, and indeed more than enough.
§ Mr. Ellice
trusted that the hon. Members would not persist in a discussion of this kind, when it was perfectly obvious that it could not lead to any result. For his own part, he was satisfied that it would be impossible next year, or, indeed, for many years to come, to make such a reduction as the hon. member for Oldham desired.
§ Mr. Guest
found, upon examining the Estimates, that a much larger sum was paid for the Guards than for the infantry of the Line. He conceived, that all the duty done by the guards might be done by the regiments of the Line. The difference betwixt the cost of the Guards, and the cost of an equal number of infantry was 62,789l.; and he therefore moved, that 62,789l. be deducted from the vote, with the view of equalizing the pay of the Guards and other troops.
§ Mr. Ellice
said, that he could prove by calculations what he had stated on Friday night, that the Guards, as a corps, including all their officers, cost no more than an equal number of the Infantry of the Line, making allowance for the penny additional which was given to them in consequence of the extra duties. On a comparison of the expense of seven battalions of the Guards with seven battalions of the Line, both containing about 4,640 bayonets, it appeared, that the Guards cost 210,508l., or about 45l. 7s. 8d. per man; whilst the Line cost 200,108l., or about 42l. 3s. 7d. per man; the difference being very trifling, and much more than accounted for by the additional penny per diem, granted to the former in consequence of their having to perform duty in the metropolis. Considering the additional duty which fell upon them, and that the increase was one of very long standing, he thought it was of a nature which did not call strongly 1010 for a reduction, which would moreover create great dissatisfaction. Reference had been made to the Life Guards, but this force was, as it were, attached to the Crown, and formed part of its state and dignity. Still the expense of the Life Guards was much over-estimated; and he could assure the hon. Member opposite, that they had only nineteen more horses on their effective establishment than in 1792. There was certainly some difference between the two descriptions of household troops, the Life Guards having 3d. per day more than the Blues. How this difference arose, he could not tell; as his attention had only recently been called to the circumstance. He knew, however, that the matter had not escaped the notice of his predecessor, but it was much easier to recommend Reforms in that House than to carry them into effect.
§ Mr. Matthias Attwood
was inclined to think, that the pay of the whole army required revision. The salaries of the highest Officers of the State had been reduced, and he saw no reason why the pay of the soldier should not be lowered.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
would only observe, in answer to what had fallen from the hon. Member who had just sat down, that the increase in the pay of the soldiers of the British army took place in 1797. That was previously to the currency being depreciated, so that the argument of the hon. Gentleman fell to the ground. With respect to what had fallen from his gallant friend, the member for Worcester, (Colonel Davies) he would only observe, that the practice of distributing the brown bread he had alluded to, to the soldiers of the Prussian army, had long since ceased.
§ Mr. Cobbett
said, he recollected the 12th regiment, like the other regiments, had only sixpence a-day to support themselves; and, during seven years, it was known that not a man was punished in the regiment.
§ Mr. Thomas Attwood
condemned the attempt to cut down the salary of the soldier, and disapproved of those reductions in the army. He would be glad to see large reductions in high quarters, but he deprecated such low and paltry economy; those miserable attempts to pinch and screw a petty saving from the hard earnings of the unfortunate soldier. The hon. member for Oldham had said, that the pay of a private soldier had, of late years, been doubled. Why so it had, and 1011 so had the salaries of the Ministers and the Judges. Cut them down half too. The rent also had been doubled. Yes it had; the rent of land had been equally and fraudulently raised. He deprecated this candle-ends and cheese-parings economy. What, were they going to do this when they would want an increased force? The honour of the nation had been much neglected for want of a competent military force, and England had, in consequence, not assumed a proper attitude of opposition towards Russia. He had seen the recommendations of the Poor-law Commissioners. [Question.] It was the question which concerned the present vote—for a Magistrate had said, that if those recommendations were carried into effect, it would take 40,000 men to preserve order in the county of Kent, and he could, from his own knowledge, prove, that they would require 20,000 men to keep Birmingham quiet, if those suggestions were adopted. To give the House some idea of the subject, he would just tell them how the paupers, in his parish, were employed, and their pay, which they might compare with that of the soldier. He had the list delivered into his own hand by one of the parish officers in December last. These paupers were employed by the officers in wheeling sand and stones. Sixty-one able-bodied paupers were employed in wheeling sand. This was the number of those who wheeled sand. It was no laughing matter; he wished some of the hon. members who laughed, had to wheel wheelbarrows full of sand all day long; they would not laugh then. The single men were allowed only 1s. a day; a married man with one child 1s. 4d.; with three children 1s. 7d.; and with four or more 2s. Now, these wheelbarrows full of sand [Laughter]—He was surprised that hon. Members could find anything to laugh at in that. He did not approve of such low ribaldry. Well, this wheelbarrow full of sand weighed 140lb., which those labourers had to wheel up a hill, and then to wheel the empty barrow back again; making the whole distance a mile and a half. This was to be done sixteen times in the course of the day, being a twenty-four miles' march, for which these men got one shilling. But eight of these miles they had to wheel the barrow laden up hill. He should allow six miles more for that. That made altogether thirty miles a day, which these Birmingham button-makers and brass 1012 founders, had to go with their barrows; and they only got one shilling. Thirty miles would be a tremendous march even for soldiers, brought up to marching, though they would do it for the glory of their country. What, then, must such a march daily be to these poor button-makers?
§ Mr. Hume
was very much surprised at the extraordinary speech which had just been delivered by the hon. member for Birmingham. He wished to know, whether the hon. Member was in earnest, as his speech, and especially the first part of it, would justify, not a large diminution, but a large increase in the amount of the British army. If we were to keep up an army to re-establish the Poles at Warsaw, and to protect the Grand Seignor at Constantinople, no one could be rash enough to say, that our present army would be sufficient. What did the hon. Member mean? What did the hon. Member wish the Government should do? In his opinion, his hon. friend, the Secretary at War, might have pushed his reductions even further than he had already carried them, but the hon. member for Birmingham was of a different opinion, and would not give his hon. friend the slightest credit for the very proper reductions which he had already made. From the arguments which the hon. Member had employed that evening, it might be supposed that he was anxious to drive the country into war in order to get out a deluge of paper. He was sorry, that the hon. Member had not reflected upon the melancholy consequences which had resulted to the country from the deluge of paper with which it was inundated during the last war. He was happy to say, that very few Members could be found to concur with the hon. Member in the dangerous doctrines which he had propounded on that subject. We had already paid severely enough for having once permitted that deluge. We had got out of that scrape, at present, though we had been pretty well scotched in the struggle; and he sincerely hoped, that we should not be foolish enough to retrace our steps and plunge again into the evils from which we had escaped, as it were, by a miracle. What had the hon. Member been sent into that House for? Was it not to promote economy? ["No!"] No! then was he more astonished than ever. Had not the hon. Member stated, that a cheap Government was the great and leading object of the Reform Bill? 1013 He thought, that the measure which the hon. member for Birmingham recommended as the panacea for all the distresses of the country was the most monstrous proposition that had ever been brought forward by a representative of the people, and he was sure, that whatever the hon. Member might think upon the subject, his suffering constituents at Birmingham would not thank him for objecting to reductions which were calculated to mitigate the pressure of that taxation under which they were unfortunately groaning. He had scarcely ever heard a speech more full of inconsistencies than that which the hon. Member had just delivered. They appeared, at least, inconsistencies to him; but that might be because he was not able to understand the hon. Member, or the object at which he was driving. [A laugh.] Gentlemen might laugh, but he was sure, that if the House adopted the opinion of the hon. Member, it would hurry the country into the most lamentable and fatal results. To return, however, to the subject more immediately before the Committee. He had heard nothing, either on that evening, or on the evening of the last debate on this subject, which could induce him to alter the opinion which he had then expressed, namely,—that the number of men voted for the military service of the year was too great; but as the Committee had already decided that point against him, he would not give it the trouble of dividing upon the amount of the grant necessary to support the fixed number of men. He thought, however, that as we were not in a state to continue the payment of 6,000,000l. to the army, we ought to exercise the strictest economy in forming the Estimates. Hon. Gentlemen might think, that the country could bear that amount now; but if any pressure came, they would find, that it was not in the power of the country to bear it. In entering his protest against this extent of expenditure, he would beg leave to call the attention of the Committee to various items which he found in the Estimates. And first, to the item for recruiting, where he thought, that a saving of 20,000l. might be effected. The Committee had been told, that the ranks were not to be filled up till the army was reduced, by deaths and other circumstances, to a certain amount. Why, then, was the country to be charged with 10,800l. as 1014 levy money for 2,700 recruits for Great Britain and Ireland? Why should it be charged with 3,000l. as levy money for 800 recruits for the colonial corps? Why also should it be charged with the expenses of the recruits in joining their regiments, and at the different dépôts? Why too should the amount of regimental contingencies remain so large? The hire of carriages on marches, and the travelling expenses of officers, ought to form part of the regular regimental expenses. He saw a sum of 18,000l. and upwards voted as an allowance in aid of the regimental messes in different parts of the King's dominions. That sum was originally granted to prevent the officers from suffering by an additional duty that was placed upon wine, but that duty had been since taken off; and as his hon. friend had reduced the table money of the Guards from 6,000l. to 4,000l. a year, he saw no reason why a reduction should not be made in the amount of this mess-money. He must complain, that during the last year twenty-seven officers in the three regiments of Guards had received promotion, whilst no more than thirty-one officers had received promotion in the ninety-nine regiments of the line. The officers of the Guards had a special advantage in the rapidity and facility of their promotion. Why, then, should they be further encouraged with other special advantages, such as their table money, their supernumerary officers, &c.? He wished his hon. friend to explain a little more fully what was meant by the two items of "Travelling expenses of officers," and of "Allowances to officers commanding, and to acting staff officers, and non-commissioned officers of dépôts of regiments on foreign service." The last item he saw amounted to 9,500l. He also wished to get rid of the table allowance for the officers of the Guard at Dublin Castle. That allowance, which was 1,000l. a year, ought to be got rid of, as well as the table money to the Guards in London. If the Lord lieutenant were withdrawn from Dublin, the table allowance to his guard at the Castle must go along with him. He knew not exactly what advantages might be derived from such a measure, but of this he was sure, that many advantages would flow from it. He was of opinion, that without at all interfering with the efficiency of the army, all the expenses to which he had just 1015 alluded might be reduced. He should not offer any opposition to the grant, but would merely enter his protest against it, that he might not be supposed to give it his concurrence.
§ Mr. Ellice
was sure, that it would be a satisfaction to his hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, to learn that the vote of men for this year did not go to the extent which he supposed. He had mentioned to his hon. friend before, that there was, in point of fact, a considerable reduction in that vote, inasmuch as all the colonial corps were included in the Estimate of this year, which was not the case before the year 1828. If his hon. friend would take that circumstance into his consideration, he would find that the excess of the number of men voted this year over the number of men voted in 1822 was not 10,000, as he supposed, but only 5,000. He was sure, that the annunciation of that circumstance would give some satisfaction to his hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, and still more to those hon. Gentlemen who had voted with him on Friday night. Referring to the remarks which his hon. friend had made on the expense of the recruiting department, he observed that he partly concurred in them. Low as the Estimate for recruiting was at present, the expense appeared too high under existing; circumstances. He had represented to the proper authorities, that such was his opinion. He could not, however, forget, that if we stopped the recruiting department entirely, we might, at a future time, be put to greater expense in re-establishing it. He could assure his hon. friend, that he was most anxious to reduce that expense as low as possible. The levy-money for recruits was fixed at 4l. 6s. a head, and that was, he believed, the sum usually allowed. It was necessary, as a contingency, if it were only to meet the case of regiments coming home skeletons, as they too often did, from service in foreign climates. Soldiers could not be transferred from other regiments, and, it was, therefore, necessary, that those regiments should be filled up with recruits. He expected a regiment, which was now reduced to a skeleton, home from India in a few days. It was such a circumstance as that, which had prevented him from making such great reductions on this head as he had originally intended. He would, however, use every exertion to keep this item of expense as low as possible. 1016 Another of the items to which his hon. friend had alluded, and on which he differed not only from his hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, but also from his predecessor in office, the hon. member for Dundee, was, the mess allowance to marching regiments. He thought, that it would be a hardship to reduce that allowance, considering the peculiar circumstances under which it had been granted. It had been granted for a considerable space of time, and had been granted on account of the expensive and dangerous service to which officers were liable in some of our colonies. It was an item of no great amount, but still he admitted it to be deserving notice. The mess-money of the Guards had been reduced from 6,000l. to 4,000l. a year, and, in making that reduction, he had done all that he could. This allowance had existed ever since the Revolution, though it had been paid, at different periods, out of different public funds. The present expense was not unreasonable, and, though it might be of no importance to the field officers of the Guards, it was not so immaterial to the junior officers. The subalterns of the Guards, it ought to be considered, were worse off than the subalterns of the Line, for they had no lodging money allowed them, and were compelled to incur various expenses from which the subalterns of the Line were free. He thanked his hon. friend, the member for Middlesex, for the candid nature of his observations, and hoped, that the Committee would follow the example of his hon. friend, and abstain from offering any resistance to the grant then before it.
said, the mess allowances were given to officers of the Line under peculiar circumstances. There were some of them who had no income besides their pay. Thus circumstanced they could not partake of wine at the mess, and it was painful to see them under the necessity of allowing the bottle to pass without filling their glasses. This was represented to the Prince Regent, and it was at first proposed to increase their pay. On reflection, however, it was thought better to give a moderate allowance of wine to enable them to drink two or three glasses at dinner. On this account it was called the Prince Regent's allowance. No person surely would wish to see persons shut out entirely from the army because they had no income but their pay. The increase of pay in the army did not 1017 arise from the depreciations, for in point of fact it was increased before the depreciation began. He did not consider the pay which the Guards received too large. That, however, was not the question; for what they were now called upon to decide was, whether the allowance which had heretofore been made for the mess-table of the officers of the Guards should be continued or reduced? He thought that no reduction should be made, and for this reason, that the regiments of the Guards were not more expense to the country than were those regiments of the Line which were equally efficient.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
considered that the sum now proposed to be voted for the mess-table of the officers of the Guards would be wholly insufficient for the purpose. He, therefore, hoped, the right hon. Secretary (Mr. Ellice) would look into the matter again, and correct the error into which he had fallen in this respect. It should be recollected, that the officers of the Line had allowances, such as coals, candles,—,which were not made to the officers of the Guards; and that if the officers of both forces were to receive the same advantages the officers of the Guards, instead of 6,000l. would be entitled to 12,000l. a-year. The House would not have objected to the original vote; and if the mess-table of those officers were reduced so as to oblige them to seek their dinner in regimentals at a hotel or coffeehouse, it would be little creditable to the service. But he felt assured, that the right hon. Secretary would soon discover how inadequate 4,000l. would be for this purpose.
§ Mr. Ellice
thought, the better way would be to leave the matter altogether in his hands. He must, however, say, that he had looked into the case with some attention, and that if he had not been convinced that 4,000l. would be sufficient, he should not have made any change in the vote of last year.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
assured the right hon. Secretary that no contractor would be found who could provide a proper mess-table at the rate of allowance proposed. In this he knew every officer in the Guards would agree with him.
§ Mr. Ellice
thought it very hard that, after doing all he could to satisfy every party, he should be taunted on the one side by the right hon. Baronet, and on the other by his hon. friend, the member 1018 for Middlesex with doing nothing. [An Hon. Member: you are doing nothing.]
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
observed, that the right hon. Secretary was merely coquetting with the hon. member for Middlesex.
§ Mr. Ellice
begged to deny the assertion of the right hon. Baronet, that he was coquetting either with the hon. member for Middlesex or any one else. He was merely performing his duty as well as he was able; and neither the remarks of the right hon. and gallant Officer, nor the observations of the hon. member for Middlesex, though delivered in a very different spirit, should deter him from discharging what he conceived to be his duty to the House and to the country.
§ Mr. Cobbett
said, it was not very consoling to his constituency at Oldham to know that the officers of the Guards were to have 4,000l. allowed them for their dinners, while the labouring poor in that part of the country could earn little more than 2½d. a-day. [Laughter.] This was no laughing matterr he could assure hon. Gentlemen.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
must repeat that, if the officers of the Guards were allowed the advantages possessed by the officers of the Line, instead of 6,000l., they would be entitled to 12,000l. He was, therefore, fully justified in all that he had said, and the advice which he had given to the right hon. Secretary.
§ Mr. Thomas Attwood
had studied the question of the currency for twenty years closely, and he was quite satisfied in his own mind that unless recourse was had to paper money, the country could not prosper. The hon. member for Middlesex (Mr. Hume) had insinuated that he wished for a war. He denied the insinuation. He had certainly told the House last Session that Constantinople was in danger, and what had happened? why, in a short time afterwards, the Autocrat of Russia was in possession of the capital of the Turkish Empire. He had in like manner foretold what happened to the Dardanelles, and perhaps it was not true that Russian artizans were now actually engaged in erecting fortifications to render the Dardanelles impassable by British ships. But 1019 he had not spoken a word about war. He was surprised that the hon. member for Middlesex should have made insinuations.
§ Sir John Byng
thought, that he was as competent as any one to give the House good information respecting the mess-table of the Guards, and the advantages enjoyed by officers of the Line as contra-distinguished from those of the Guards. He was bound to say, that the officers of the Guards considering their duties, were not as well paid as those of the Line. Among other things, every seven battalions of the Line were allowed a sum of 1,200l. for wine for their mess-table, while no such allowance was made to the officers of the Guards. The officers of the Guards had not a shilling for any such purpose.
§ The vote was agreed to.
§ Mr. Ellice,
in proposing the next vote, observed, that there was an increase of 2,242l. 13s. 4d. in the charge for General Staff Officers, and officers of hospitals serving with his Majesty's forces in Great Britain, owing to an increase of pay and the transfer of the Staff Officers to the different garrisons. In the item for money allowed to officers for lodgings, there was also an increase of about 600l. He was sorry he was unable to give that sort of information to the House which would clearly explain the nature of the vote for extra ordinaries of the army; but he was himself in the dark on this subject at present. Before next year, however, he should be in a condition to throw something like light on this particular vote. In the charge for additional pay to chaplains and medical officers, there was a decrease of 164l. He should now explain to the House the reason why he had not been able to comply with the recommendation of the Committee of the last year with respect to the reduction of the number of Staff Officers at head-quarters. Desiring to carry that recommendation into effect he wrote to the Commander-in-Chief on the subject, but that noble Lord in answer informed him that the reduction proposed was not practicable. With every desire to assist in carrying the recommendation of the Committee of last year into effect, his Lordship said, that, consistently with the efficiency of the service, it would not be possible to consolidate the offices of Quartermaster-General and Adjutant-General under one head. The duties of the one related to the discipline, arming, and clothing of the army; 1020 and those of the other had regard to its efficiency, appointments and movements. It was, therefore, the noble Lord observed, impossible that they could be consolidated as the Committee had advised, and more especially as for upwards of a century and a half the Staff at head-quarters had been considered as the officers of the King, and as forming part of his Majesty's State. On receiving the Commander-in-Chief's reply, he had made every possible inquiry on the subject, and from what he could learn, he was bound to admit that the duties of the Adjutant-General had increased, he might almost say quadrupled. The offences now tried by Courts-martial were infinitely more numerous than formerly, and nothing could exceed the care with which the evidence in each case was investigated at the Adjutant-General's-office. Indeed, the labours which now devolved on his hon. and gallant friend (Sir John Macdonald) who filled that office, were greater almost than he was able to undergo. He had not the same means of ascertaining the nature and extent of the duties which the Quartermaster-General had to perform; but he thought that after these explanations his hon. friend the member for Middlesex, would not press the Motion of which he had given notice, but rather leave the matter in his (Mr. Ellice's) hands, with the assurance that he would do all that could be done in the way of reduction, as circumstances should arise. His hon. friend might protest as strongly as he pleased against the vote; but if he would abstain from pressing his Motion, he might depend on it, that if any change occurred, advantage should be taken of it. There was only one other point that seemed to call for observation from him, and that was with respect to the salary Of the Governor of Windsor Castle. He was not prepared to say that this appointment should be treated as a military situation; but, whether it was so or not, he could assure the hon. Gentleman, that if this vote were now agreed to, that question should be settled before the next year. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving, "That a sum not exceeding 122,143l., be granted to his Majesty for the Pay and Allowances of General Staff-Officers and Officers of Hospitals, serving with his Majesty's Land Forces in Great Britain and Ireland, and on foreign stations (excepting India), and of his Majesty's garrisons at the Cinque Ports, Wind- 1021 sor Castle, and the Tower of London, to the 1st of March, 1835."
§ Mr. Hume
said, that it might appear strange for a civilian to deliver an opinion on military matters; but, however this might be, he felt justified in the course he was about to take. He must say, that he did not feel the least surprise at the answer which the right hon. Secretary had received from the Commander-in-Chief, for well he knew that no application had ever yet been made to the head of an office respecting changes, that was not met by a statement that no changes were necessary; and, for this reason, he thought that the Secretary at War should have a seat in the Cabinet, for the purpose of carrying his own views into effect. They were bound, however, notwithstanding the opinion expressed to the contrary, by the Commander-in-Chief, to carry the recommendation of the Committee of last year into practice. That some change was called for in this department, no one could deny. It was not only most unfair, but, he would add, it was decidedly unjust towards the service generally, for one set of men, no matter what their qualifications might be, to enter upon an office of this description, which ought to change hands in order to reward merit, and there remain for life. It was understood that the practice adopted in the navy should be carried into the army, and that, instead of Staff appointments being fixed for life, they should be changed every four or five years. He should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman opposite why this had not been done, and why all, whose services were equally meritorious, should not be equally eligible to those situations which were deemed most honourable, as well as most lucrative. There was also another point which he wished to notice, and that was, the fees which were exacted from officers obtaining appointments for their patents. In many cases, those fees amounted to a whole year's salary, and this, he could not help saying, was very oppressive. A comparison of the expenses of the State in 1792 and 1834, would show a very great increase at the latter period. In 1792, the total charge for Great Britain was 10,408l., whereas now it was 30,000l. In the Adjutant-General's department, there was that officer, the Deputy Adjutant-General, and two Assistant Adjutant-Generals; making in the whole a charge of 6,000l. for 1022 officers who, in 1792, did not exist at all. This was the same with the Quartermaster-General; and, he wanted to know why, with two Secretaries of the Commander-in-Chief, this expense was required. If he were to be told that this was the Royal Staff, and the House had nothing to do with it, the sooner that question was decided the better. He would say, that if that House was to find the money, it ought also to have the control. He believed a large portion of this charge to be unnecessary, and he should therefore move, "That the vote be reduced 8,870l." That Motion was agreeable to the recommendation of the right hon. member for Dundee, given to the Committee appointed to inquire into naval and military expenditure.
§ Colonel Davies
said, that the Governor of Lower Canada received, altogether, 9,036l.; his allowances being kept up, besides his salary of 4,500l. a-year. This he thought monstrous, considering it was in an untaxed and cheap country, while the President of the United States had little more than 5,000l. a-year. Another case of the same kind was the Governorship of Nova Scotia. At Gibraltar, the Governor received 5,371l., besides his half-pay and allowances, making altogether 6,700l. These sums ought all to be reduced.
§ Mr. Ellice
said, that a Committee having been appointed to examine these matters up-stairs, he should not enter into them minutely upon this occasion. His gallant friend had enumerated the allowances of the noble Lord, the Governor of Quebec, which had been granted to him for other services, and had nothing whatever to do with the duties of his Government. With regard to the salary, it must be remembered that the state expected to be kept up by the Governor, made heavy demands upon his expenditure. He knew that, in the case of Sir James Kempt, who had all the large allowances now complained of, he brought not one shilling home as the produce of his office. His gallant friend must not suppose that the accustomed regulations which had been observed by Governors in our Colonies, or the habits of the people amongst whom they had been observed, were to be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the bidding of a Committee, without producing lamentable and dangerous consequences. He contended, that as long as the present state 1023 observed by the Colonial Governors was to be kept up, the allowance of 4,000l. a-year was not more than was necessary to meet the expenditure. If they sent out an officer to discharge the duties of the Government with an establishment which might be lodged in two rooms, then half the salary would be sufficient. With regard to Nova Scotia, Sir Colin Campbell, who was now going out as Governor, and who was known to be a man not in the most affluent circumstances, it had been a great question with him whether to accept the appointment or not, on account of the expense. At all events, he was quite sure, that if that officer returned, after remaining out four or five years, he would not have saved a farthing. Indeed, there had been generally this year, as he was enabled to say from his own knowledge, a great difficulty in obtaining officers of reputation and distinction to fill such stations.
§ Sir Henry Hardinge
concurred with the right hon. Gentleman opposite, that the subject of the present Amendment would be much fitter for discussion in the Committee up-stairs than in that House; and moreover it was to be borne in mind, that the matter had been discussed last year before a Select Committee. He contended, that, in the case of a distinguished officer like Lord Aylmer, it was too much for the House to be called upon to calculate the allowance for his distinguished services in the Peninsula, and his pension for the wounds he had received, as part of his emoluments as Governor of Quebec. It was notorious that these offices were paid so as to be a burthen rather than a profit. He would state, as an instance, that of the Governor of Barba does, who, on going out there, found that it was quite impossible for him, upon the pay which he received, to maintain his rank, and associate with the planters, and who, therefore, at once signified his desire to retire; begging only to be reimbursed for his out-fit, which had cost him a considerable sum. He was sure it would be found, that the impolitic plan of cutting down the salaries of the military Governors in our Colonies to such a low degree would be attended with this bad consequence (than which none could be worse), that it would be impossible to get officers of distinguished merit and ability to take those governments, seeing that the pay was so extremely inadequate. He was certain he 1024 need not remind his right hon. friend opposite, that, if the public service was to be performed, the best and truest economy consisted in getting it performed by the fittest and best qualified persons. He did not quite agree with his right hon. friend (Mr. Ellice) in what he had said in his former speech, as to the Staff at head-quarters. The present amount of the Staff was barely enough to keep it efficient. It appeared to him, that his right hon. friend, in his speech, had held out the prospect that hereafter some portion of the staff might be reduced. Now, if there was a difference of opinion on that subject between his right hon. friend and the noble Lord, the Commander-in-Chief, the point was one which should be referred to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He had been glad to hear the terms in which his right hon. friend had spoken of Sir John Macdonald; for there was not an officer in the service whose duties had been more admirably performed; but he regretted that his right hon. friend had not more distinctly stated his intention of maintaining the Staff". The duties of the Adjutant-General had been of late greatly increased; and, if he was not supplied with the necessary means, it would be impossible for him to proceed, as he had done, in carrying one important view of that House into effect,—namely, the prevention, as much as possible, of corporal punishment in the army. If the House wished that the effective discipline of the army should be maintained, while corporal punishment was done away, the Staff must be kept up. He would warn the right hon. Gentleman against reductions and ill-chosen consolidations, which tended to impair the efficiency of the army, while, in reality, no saving was effected to the public. He trusted that no reductions in the Quartermaster-General's department would be hastily adopted. As an example of the impropriety of the House suffering itself, to use an expression of Lord Ripon's (when Mr. Robinson), to be badgered into reductions without considering what would be their effect upon the service. He would state an instance of a reduction of the kind. Some Sessions ago the hon. member for Middlesex, backed by the Report of a Committee, proposed the reduction of the Inspectors of Army Clothing. The consequence was, that a predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman reduced the two Inspectors of Army Clothing. The 1025 Committee of last Session examined one of these late Inspectors (Colonel Duffey); and it appeared from his evidence, that one effect of their inspectorship was, that the clothing for the army was greatly improved; and that gentleman stated,; that he himself was employed in the discharge of his duties, while Inspector, for 300 days out of the 365. So much injury occurred for the want of those officers that, upon the evidence taken by the Committee, a unanimous recommendation was agreed to, that the Inspectors should be replaced. He was convinced, that the consolidation of the Adjutant-General's and the Quartermaster-General's departments would be most injudicious. The same officer was seldom fit for the duties of the two offices. If he took, for example, the case of Sir G. Murray, who, next to the Duke of Wellington, was the most able officer that Could be found in the service to fill the office of Quartermaster-General, yet he would not be well-qualified to preside over the other department, from his want of acquaintance with details. The very capacity and powers of mind which enabled men to take large views, and direct the general operations of armies, would frequently disqualify them from such duties as fell to the department of the Adjutant-General. Indeed, this plan of consolidating the two departments was tried twenty years ago, and failed. The great object, it was obvious, should be to maintain in time of peace that system in the army which had been, by experience, found to work best in war. Carry reduction as low in each department as the efficiency of it would permit, but maintain them all, so that they might be ready to be brought into operation the moment a war broke out. He would repeat, that he did not object to the principle of reducing them to the lowest amount which a due regard to the service would permit; but he would say, that they should keep such numbers in each individual department that they might be prepared, upon an emergency, to be put at once into an efficient state. Under such circumstances, he thought it would be impossible to reduce either of those offices. The hon. member for Middlesex had said, that it was the desire of the Government to reduce the Staff, but that it was evident, that the Royal dictation prevented them from doing so. That hon. Member was perfectly wrong in that im- 1026 pression. His (Sir H. Hardinge's) right hon. friend opposite, the Secretary at War, quite agreed with him, that the officers of the King's Staff should be maintained. It should be the duty of that House not to get itself into the dilemma of bringing the Secretary at War and the Commander-in-Chief into collision upon any such point. It was stated, in the evidence given by Lord F. Somerset, before the Committee of last Session, that the Commander-in-Chief was always most ready to meet the views of the House with regard to reduction, whenever they did not appear to him incompatible with the efficiency of the army. But there were cases in which the accumulation of duties beyond the means of discharging them had produced the worst results. Sir George Bingham, who recently died, while in a command in the south of Ireland, declared, on his death-bed, that he believed the excessive duties imposed upon him had hastened his end. It was also well known, that many officers had refused appointments of a similar kind upon such grounds; and he, therefore, thought the service was not in a state to call for the consolidation of departments, and giving additional labour to individuals. His right hon. friend had stated, that the governorship of Windsor Castle would hereafter be taken out of the Estimates. He had no objection to that, provided it was understood, that the King's prerogative was maintained as before. It was true there was no military duty to perform at Windsor; but it was one of those offices of honour and distinction that should be maintained as rewards for those who had gallantly served their country. He had the honour of serving with the noble Lord, the present Governor of Windsor Castle (Earl of Munster). That noble Lord was twenty-seven years in the army: he had served in India: he had served in the Peninsula, where he had been wounded: he was in twelve general actions: and had had, on different occasions, four horses shot under him. He must say, that he should be better pleased to see the Governorship of Windsor Castle retained in the Estimates, as it was a military tenure. He did not understand how the other military governments were to be kept up, if that one was to be taken out of these Estimates. The military governments of the Army in 1833 amounted to 30,000l. a-year, to be distri- 1027 buted amongst the many distinguished field-officers and generals of the army. In 1792, and, indeed, more than half a century ago, when our army did not amount to half what it was at present, those military governments amounted to upwards of 30,000l. a-year. In 1833, that House, going with what seemed to be the feeling out of doors, reduced those governments from 30,000l. a-year, which they were in 1792, before our last long war, to 18,000l. a-year. Was such a proceeding fair or just towards the army? That army had been in the mean time doubled. There was a great number of distinguished officers who had performed services well deserving such small recompense; and yet the amount of the pay for those offices, which had been always regarded by military men as much for the honour which they conferred as for the emoluments derived from them, had been reduced, as he had said already, from 30,000l. to 18,000l. a-year. For himself he would say, that, with the rewards of these posts of honour so reduced, and upon such grounds, he would not be contaminated with receiving any part of it. The honour had been the principal consideration with officers accepting the appointments, and while that was understood, they were satisfied. Thus, General Don, though a most distinguished officer, was satisfied to receive, as Military Governor of Gibraltar, a shilling a-day, the honour being one of the highest that could be conferred. The pay of the army was the same; the Staff was the same as at the time of the battles of Minden and Blenheim; the regiments were the same that they were thirty years ago; and he therefore hoped that, in justice to an army which had served the country so bravely and so gallantly, the House and the Government would take an opportunity to place the emoluments of those governments upon the same footing that they were in 1792. If they embraced such a resolution, he was convinced that there was a growing feeling in the House which would support them in restoring this part of the King's prerogative.
§ Lord Ebrington
said, that it certainly appeared, from the evidence given before the Committee last Session, that the reductions respecting the Staff at headquarters had been already carried too far. That was the purport of all the evidence given before the Committee, with the exception 1028 of that of the right hon. member for Dundee, who did not convince the Committee. He knew that those officers who received the reduced allowances of the military governments, so far from being contaminated thereby, ought to be far more satisfied that they had been granted under the circumstances they were, than in receiving them from the Government, as they were formerly conferred not always as the reward of services. He defended the recommendations of the Committee as to the colonial appointments, and read from the evidence taken before it the opinions of Sir John Hobhouse as to the reductions of the Staff. Those opinions were directly opposed to the reductions; and the right hon. Baronet was not the man to shrink from his opinions when they were formed. With respect to the government of Windsor Castle, he was extremely glad to hear, that it was to be taken out of those Estimates, otherwise he should have felt it his duty to vote for the reduction of that office. When that office came before the Committee last year, it was stated, that it was not so much a military office as one appertaining to the estate of the King. The gallant Officer opposite had justly eulogized the military services of the noble Lord who at present filled that office; but his immediate predecessor, and several of those who had gone before, had no such claims to its possession. In fact, it was always understood, that it was an office to be conferred, as it ought to be, on some personal friend of the King.
§ Sir Rufane Donkin
was understood to say, with respect to military governments, that they were prized more for the honour which they conferred than for the profit derived from them. He would himself rather receive 100l. from an office of that description, than 300l. a-year in another way. They should take example from France, where the influence of such honourable appointments in stimulating the spirit and maintaining the gallantry of the officers of the army was duly and wisely estimated. In France, at this present moment, the military governments, analogous to those now under discussion, and which were kept up as rewards for military services, cost that country 365,000l. a-year, while grateful England voted, and grumbled at that, only 18,000l. a-year!
§ Sir Henry Parnell
said, that the noble 1029 Lord, the member for Devon, had stated, that the Committee on army appointments last Session had differed from him (Sir H. Parnell) as to the reductions which he proposed in the army. Now, if that were the case, how did it happen that the Committee had, in their Report, recommended those reductions to the consideration of the House? To the evidence which he then gave, and the reductions which he then proposed, he still adhered. He did not think, that this was a matter on which the opinion of a military man should outweigh that of any other individual. Upon a subject purely military, no one could be more ready than he was to defer to the judgment and opinion of gallant officers; but, in the present instance, a great portion of the Estimates under consideration was of a civil and official, and not purely of a military nature. In the Estimate for the Horse-Guards, it would be seen, that there were various items not at all military, such as clerks, office-keepers,—.,forage for horses, sixteen horses for the Commander-in-Chief,—.Now, there were none of these items upon which any Member of that House might not, as correctly as the gallant Officer opposite, form an opinion, and be enabled to say, whether they were fit and proper to be maintained. He would repeat, that his noble friend, the member for Devon, was not borne out in saying, that the Committee of last Session did not concur with him (Sir H. Parnell). In their Report they referred to his evidence, and a recommendation for the reduction of this Estimate was contained in the Report, founded upon his evidence. If they had disapproved of his evidence, why should they have acted upon it in their Report? He was not going to dispute the fact, that a great deal of business was transacted at the Horse-Guards. He believed a great deal of business was done there; but the question was, whether it did not cost too much. Why should they have six general officers doing business there, which might be done as effectively, and with a great saving to the country, by officers of a lower degree? Any hon. Gentleman, on looking to his (Sir H. Parnell's) evidence, would see that it was in this way he had proposed to effect the reductions in this Estimate—namely, by supplying the places of those general officers by officers of a lesser rank, and at a much smaller pay. It was, in fact, in that way, that the 1030 greater portion of the 28,000l. per annum which the Horse-Guards cost, went. He did not propose to reduce a single clerk of the whole establishment, the expenditure for which amounted to 7,000l. per annum. The fact was, that by the mode he had proposed, while a considerable reduction would be effected, the efficiency of this department would not, in the slightest degree, be impaired. He did not wish to disparage the merits of the Adjutant-General or the Quartermaster-General, but he thought that a consolidation of those offices was absolutely necessary. The business of the office of Quartermaster-General was not of such an important character as to render the maintenance of that distinct office necessary. If its consolidation took place, he, for one, did not see how any difficulty would arise in providing a Quartermaster-General for an army in service. He was sure, that if the House should vote a reduction of 8,000l. on this Estimate, the department might still be maintained, in every respect, in an efficient state.
§ Mr. Ellice
said, that after what had fallen from his right hon. friend, the member for Dundee, it was necessary for him to say a few words, in order that the House might exactly see what they were called upon to do by the hon. member for Middlesex. The present Estimate for officers at head quarters amounted to 13,117l.; and the right hon. Baronet concurred in the reduction which the hon. member for Middlesex proposed in that Estimate to the amount of 8,000l. He would ask any hon. Member, if 8,000l. a-year should be deducted from that amount, how was it possible the service could be carried on? For his part, he could not reconcile such a reduction with the maintenance of the efficiency of the department. His right hon. friend had stated, that it could be done, but he had not given his reasons and grounds for adopting that opinion. He recollected well, that before the Committee up-stairs his right hon. friend had proposed many similar reductions; but then, as now, he had not given his reasons or data for the statements which he put forward. It was very easy to propose a sweeping reduction of this sort; but when they came to press the matter upon the department really responsible for the transaction of business, they would find that objections like those in the letter of the Commander-in-Chief, to which he had referred that evening, would be stated to the proposition. 1031 He was, of course, anxious to do his duty to the House and to the country, but, of course, in matters of this kind, he must be, in a great degree, guided by the opinion of Lord Hill. It would be vain and presumptuous for him to put his opinion in opposition to that of Lord Hill. He had, therefore, no choice left but to adopt his opinion, and to lay before the House the Estimates which had been submitted. So far as he could, he had pressed the subject of due economy upon the Commander-in-Chief; and, with this explanation, he would entreat the Committee to consent to the vote which had been proposed, convinced as he was, that its reduction would injure the efficiency of the service, and would ultimately, therefore, cause a great expenditure in the military department. He felt satisfied, that the safest and most satisfactory way to economize, was to leave the matter in his hands, to make such arrangements with the Commander-in-Chief as he could, who, he must also say, was disposed (and he spoke from what he had seen and done) to do all in his power to economise, while he preserved the efficiency of the service.
§ Sir John Byng
expressed his concurrence in the observations which had fallen from the right hon. the Secretary at War. He (Sir John Byng) knew enough of the noble Lord, the Commander-in-Chief, who possessed much good sense and right feeling, to be satisfied, that if any reduction could be made, consistent with the interests of the nation and the efficiency of the service, that noble Lord would make them; and such reduction would be better effected by the noble Lord and the right hon. the Secretary at War, than by any resolution which might originate in the House.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
observed, that the spirit of economy which was manifested in the Estimates now under consideration was such as to induce him to vote for the Motion of the right hon. Secretary at War. He could not but add, in consequence of what been observed in the course of the present discussion, that the Earl of Munster had not only served, but had sought actual service up to the period when the restoration of peace closed all chances of active employment.
§ The Committee divided on Mr. Hume's Amendment: Ayes 59; Noes 243—Majority 184.
§ Original Resolution agreed to.
|List of the AYES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Turner, W.|
|Baines, E.||Watkins, J. L.|
|Bowes, J.||Whalley, Sir S.|
|Briscoe, J.||Wilks, J.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Williams, Col.|
|Brotherton, J.||Wood, Ald.|
|Bulwer, H. L.||Young, G. F.|
|Cobbett, W.||Gillon, W. D.|
|Ellis, W.||Maxwell, J.|
|Evans, Col.||Murray, J. L.|
|Ewart, W.||Oliphant, L.|
|Fielden, J.||Oswald, J.|
|Gaskell, D.||Parnell, Rt. hon. Sir H.|
|Guest, J.||Blake, M.|
|Hall, B.||Evans, G.|
|Hutt, W.||Fitzgerald, T.|
|Ingilby, Sir W.||Fitzsimon, C.|
|Lister, C.||Lalor, P.|
|Lloyd, J. H.||O'Connell, D.|
|Parrott, J.||O'Connell, J.|
|Philips, M.||O'Connell, Maurice|
|Potter, R.||O'Connell, Morgan|
|Rippon, C.||O'Connor, F.|
|Roebuck, J. A.||O'Dwyer, A. C.|
|Romilly, J.||O'Reilly, W.|
|Stavely, J. K.||Roche, W.|
|Strutt, E.||Sullivan, R.|
|Talmash, C. G.||TELLER.|
|Thicknesse, R.||Hume, J.|
§ Lord Althorp
hoped hon. Members would not object to proceed until twelve o'clock, and, at this hour, he trusted the hon. and learned Gentleman would not hesitate to withdraw his Motion.
said, he was one of those who thought it was high time to make a stand in order to compel such an arrangement as would enable that House to get through the business of the nation during the day. He did not stand alone on this point; indeed, so long as he had done so, he did not venture to persevere; but he was now supported by fifteen or twenty hon. Members, who were ready, in their turn, to follow up his proposition, if he was defeated. All he wanted was, that some reasonable arrangement should be made with reference to the disposal of the public business, and especially that no vote of the public money should be gone into after ten o'clock at night.
§ Lord Althorp
thought the hon. and learned Member would agree with him, that the majority of the House were the most 1033 competent judges as to the fitting and proper time for the transaction of public business. It was, he admitted, a fair question to be mooted, whether or not the House would take such questions during the morning sittings; but for the hon. and learned Gentleman now to take advantage of his privilege, and to move the adjournment of the question, would not answer the end for which such a course was intended.
§ Mr. Cobbett
said, that if the noble Lord and those hon. Members who usually sat upon the Treasury bench would refrain from voting upon the present occasion, he should be quite content to abide and be bound by the decision of the majority of the House.
was equally willing to abide by the decision of such hon. Members as attended the House as continually and regularly as he himself did, but he would not be bound by such a majority as Ministers could muster to get through such important business at so late an hour.
§ Mr. Cutlar Fergusson
concurred in the opinion which had been so frequently expressed as to the inconvenience arising from the late hours to which the sittings of the House were protracted; but he also was of opinion, that the remedy for this inconvenience would not be afforded by dividing the House in the manner which had been proposed. He was anxious that some arrangement should be made to obviate the in convenience (not to use a harsher term) of business of the greatest importance to the nation being transacted after midnight; but as the Motion of the hon. and learned member for Dublin would not effect that desirable object, he hoped the hon. and learned Member would withdraw it.
§ The Committee divided on Mr. O'Connell's Motion: Ayes 25; Noes 234—Majority 209.
§ Mr. Ellice
moved, that there should "be granted to His Majesty a sum not exceeding 90,313l. 4s. 5d., to defray the charges of allowances to officers in the several departments, for conducting the affairs of the army in England and Ireland."
§ The Committee again divided on the Amendment: Ayes 17; Noes 199—Majority 182.
§ Mr. Hume
said, it was absurd to keep up 1034 a department which was perfectly useless, at an expense of 90,000l. a-year. The Pay-office was actually an impediment to public business. He should, therefore, propose that, one-half of that establishment should be reduced this, and the other half next year; and, in order to effect this object, he would move the vote proposed be reduced by 9,065l.
accordingly, put the Amendment, that 81,248l. 4s. 5d. instead of 90,313l. 4s. 5d., be granted to his Majesty.
§ Lord John Russell
had admitted last year, that it would be advantageous to consolidate the departments connected with the army, if it could be done with safety. He thought, however, that the Pay-office ought to be distinct from the office which gave order for the payment to be made. The hon. Member (Mr. Hume) might speak of former times and former years; but there was nothing then of the regularity or certainty which was attained at present. On the contrary, in the year 1797, for instance, no person who had held the office of Accountant-General was able to obtain a settlement of his accounts for several years after his retirement from office.
§ Mr. Ellice
was most anxious to effect every possible economy in the management of the public accounts. Arrangements for simplifying them were in progress; but it was impossible to effect all kinds of changes and improvements on a sudden. He felt bound to state this, and as the Government had some measures for an extensive plan of consolidation in contemplation, he hoped the hon. Member would not give the House the trouble of dividing on the question.
§ Mr. Cobbett
saw much business done by army agents; at least, there was a charge of 26,000l. for services done by them. He dared say the House would grant the money without any hesitation. This money was to be paid the army agents for doing the work of the army Paymaster and his clerks, who really did almost nothing.
§ Vote agreed to.
§ Mr. Ellice
moved, "That a sum not exceeding 6,977l. 8s. 3d. should be granted for the maintenance of the Royal Military Asylum, from the 1st of April, 1834, to the 31st of March, 1835."
§ The Vote was agreed to. House resumed.