HC Deb 02 May 1834 vol 23 cc420-2
Mr. Shaw

presented a Petition, signed by nearly 5,000 inhabitants of the city of Dublin and its vicinity, against the abolition of Kilmainham Hospital. He implored Ministers not to make any further reductions of this nature in the national establishments of Ireland. The hospital was an ornament to Dublin. It was established by Charles 2nd, and had been supported out of the pay of the soldiers. He trusted, that Ministers would not carry their intentions into effect, for the various reductions which had been recently made were producing much distress and discontent in Ireland.

Colonel Conolly

supported the prayer of the petition, and, though favourable to economy, thought that there was a point at which it ought to stop.

Mr. H. Grattan

regarded the proceedings about to be adopted with reference to Kilmainham Hospital, as an attempt on the part of the Government to do, through the medium of that House, what Charles 1st had done without it.

Mr. Finn

said, the system of economy adopted in regard to Ireland only added to the expense. The whole proceedings were so managed as to be an affront to the people; and it cost immense sums to repress their dissatisfaction. The removal of the hospital was one of the things which they felt, as it would be depriving Ireland of one of her most interesting institutions.

Mr. Ellice

said, that the proceeding complained of for reducing the establishment, was proposed by him with a view to what he conceived the principles of economy in the service, and the real interests of the army. Having submitted his views on the subject, it was for the Government in Ireland to consider the propriety of their adoption. They concurred in the alteration, and, therefore, he had proposed it. He did not intend to say, that economy was to be taken as the strict line by which the Government was to he guided; he admitted that there were sometimes political considerations that must not be lost sight of. Whether those considerations were sufficient to set aside the more rigid principles of economy, in the present case, it would be for the House to decide, when those papers were laid upon the Table, and when his hon. friend brought forward the discussion on the measure of which he had given notice. With regard to the deductions of poundage, he would merely observe, that it was his intention to lay upon the Table of the House a communication from a commanding officer in Ireland, which would fully explain and acquaint the House with facts, that, he was sure, they were not acquainted with on the subject. It was the abuses which existed in that establishment which induced him to look more closely into the manner in which it was regulated. He was afraid, that in all establishments of this nature abuses existed. In one he found a washerwoman receiving 400l. or 500l. a-year. An inquiry was consequently instituted, and, upon that inquiry, a question arose, as to how far the establishment itself was justified. On several grounds of economy he should be able to show, that the arrangement proposed was a most beneficial one. It was not the intention of Government to take away any Charter, nor could the arrangement bear any analogy to the proceedings of Charles 1st; for, surely, no hon. Member would question the right of that House to deal with its votes of money in a way that appeared most conducive to the public good. With reference to the orphan schools for the children of soldiers and sailors, he was of opinion, they were attended with more harm than good. They were frequently, from their locality, the sources of immorality and vice. Under present circumstances, he should certainly not proceed to effect the removal of the invalids from the hospital without the fullest inquiry. In fact, it never was intended to remove any invalid without his own consent, nor was a soldier ever required to leave his country without his own concurrence.

Mr. Goulburn

considered that a mean and paltry policy, which suffered feelings of economy to prejudice great national considerations. He cordially supported the petition.

Colonel Perceval

was sorry to see so little attention paid to the general feeling of the people of Ireland by the Government.

Sir Alexander Hope

could not bring himself to agree with the right hon. the Secretary at War, that the benevolent institutions of Chelsea and Kilmainham Schools were not productive of much advantage. The breaking up of those schools would violate the principles of charity, and could not be compensated by any wretched motives of economy. The destruction of Kilmainham Hospital would be attended with much personal inconvenience, and could not fail to wound the feelings of Irish pride.

Colonel Evans

was of opinion, that the feeling of attachment which existed in Ireland towards the pensioners would prevent the Secretary at War from carrying the removal to Chelsea into effect.

Petition to lie on the Table.

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