HC Deb 02 August 1839 vol 49 cc1192-3

Viscount Howick moved, that a sum of 75,000l. be granted to her Majesty to defray the expense of levy money, maintenance, &c., till the 31st day of March, 1840, to be incurred by augmenting the strength of the several regiments on foreign and domestic service, exclusive of India, from 739 men to 800 rank and file. He would merely observe, that the proposed augmentation would be carried into effect at the least possible expense. The Government proposed to raise the strength of the regiments of infantry from 739 to 800 men, and there being 83 battalions of regular infantry, exclusive of those in India, this would require an augmentation of 5,395 men. The whole expense of that number of men for twelve months would be 127,000l., and the first year there would be an additional expense for clothing, which would make the whole charge 167,500l. But as a considerable proportion of the financial year had already elapsed, and as the recruiting of so large a number of men, especially at this season of the year, would go on but slowly, it was thought that a sum of 75,000l. would be sufficient to meet the expenses actually incurred by the intended augmentation. He had, however, consi- dered it right, while asking for that sum, to state to the House what would be the actual expenditure for the whole year.

The Earl of Darlington

said, it appeared to him, that adding sixty men to each regiment, would, in the first place, make the increased force very little available for domestic service, as the regiments would be so dispersed that they would not be able to give the additional military assistance which the Government required. He imagined that the augmentation might have been made at a less expense, and at the same time in a more effective manner, if the same amount of men had been raised from the militia regiments, instead of increasing the line.

Lord Howick

said, that the noble Lord was entirely mistaken. The noble Lord was mistaken about the reduction of the force about to be recruited. By making the augmentation in the manner in which it was now done, by an addition to the rank and file of the army, whenever it was probable that the circumstances of the country would enable us to reduce, it could be done at once with perfect facility by checking recruiting, because the regular drain in our own army was so great, that the strength of each regiment would be kept down to a certain extent by stopping recruiting for a few months. He might add, that the proposition of the noble Lord would have done nothing for the relief of the regiments engaged on colonial service, but the additional force now raised would be available both for foreign and domestic service.

Vote agreed to.

Other votes agreed to.

The next vote was 68,000l. for Scotch universities.

The vote was then agreed to.

The House resumed.