HC Deb 13 March 1840 vol 52 cc1189-91

House in Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates. A vote of 164,740l. was proposed to defray the expenses of the pay of general staff officers, &c.

Mr. Hume

complained of the great expense at which this portion of the military establishment was sustained, and that the patronage of the army was applied for purposes opposed to the liberal Government of the day. He found, among other charges, one for sis aide-de-camps to the Queen. Her Majesty might just as well have six lady's-maids voted to her. He only mentioned this charge by way of illustrating the argument which he meant to urge to the right hon. Secretary at War. He begged to ask a question with respect to the appointment of the lieutenant of the Tower. The late lieutenant was recently dead, and he desired to know whether the office which he held was still to be continued as a sinecure. In the year 1834 it had not been disturbed, out of deference to the Duke of Wellington; but he desired to know whether the successor of the person who held the office was to hold it upon the same terms?

Mr. Macaulay

said, that the situation referred to was not lieutenant of the Tower but deputy lieutenant only. Upon the death of the gentleman who had last held the office, he wrote to his Grace the Duke of Wellington, to ask whether it was a situation of such a character as could be dispensed with? But his Grace declared his intention to fill the office by virtue of his patent. The noble Duke, however, wrote a letter, in which he stated that it was extremely important that it should not remain vacant, and pointed out that it was highly necessary that when so many valuable stores were placed in the Tower, which might be placed in great danger in times of disquiet or rebellion, the full complement of efficient officers should be in readiness to withstand any attack which might be made.

Sir A. Dalrymple

said, that no doubt the Commander-in-.Chief should mix himself up as little as possible with politics, and he could express his firm opinion that Lord Hill was not influenced by political bias in the appointments he made.

The vote agreed to, as were several other votes.

House resumed.