§ House in Committee.
said, the House was aware of the cause of the delay in bringing the estimates before it. In. deference to a general expression of opinion in the House, the whole of the estimates were submitted to a Select Committee upstairs, and that Committee having sat for five months, had reported on a portion of the subject referred to, namely, the Navy Estimates. He regretted the delay which 1067 had taken place in bringing the Ordnance Estimates forward, as the particulars of the votes had been laid upon the table of the House at the proper time. The delay was productive of much inconvenience, for had the subject been brought under the consideration of the House at the usual time, he could have gone at greater length into detail, and accounted for the large increase which had taken place within the last few years. He could have explained how it was that the estimates were double the amount of those in 1828, and he could have answered any objections raised to the votes on the ground of extravagance or indifference as to the expenditure of the public money. He might, however, be permitted to say that no extravagance had taken place, and to assure the House that if he went into details they would find the expenditure to have been necessary for the efficiency of the public service. He had been told that due attention had not been paid to economy in the appropriation of the estimates; but he assured the House that the most anxious consideration had been given to confine them to the lowest possible limits consistent with efficiency in the department. The House had already voted the principal portion of the money for the service of the Ordnance Department; and it now became his duty to place the remainder of the votes—five in number—in the hands of the Chairman, and at the same time to make a short explanation with respect to those upon which there was an increase. The gallant Officer explained these otes, and concluded by moving—That a sum not exceeding 316,254l. be granted to Her Majesty, for defraying the Fay, Allowances, and Contingencies to the Officers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Men of the several Ordnance Corps, which shall come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1849, 400,000l. having been already granted by Vote of Credit.
§ SIR F. BARING
said, it appeared that the Committee appointed upon public expenditure had been employed for some time on the Navy Estimates. He was a Member of that Committee, and he thought when they came to read that report, that the House would not consider that their time had been wasted. The Government could not be charged with having delayed that report; on the contrary, they had forwarded their labours in every possible way, and there was no evidence they required which was not placed at their disposal. He trusted that it was the intention of the Government to reappoint next year the 1068 Committee, to take into consideration the Ordnance Estimates. [Lord J. RUSSELL: Hear.] He was perfectly satisfied with that pledge, and he would vote the present sum upon the responsibility of the Government.
§ MR. OSBORNE
desired that the hon. Gentleman would give some explanation to the House of the item of 31,448l. for the Royal Horse Artillery. It was a corps very much kept up for the reception of ambassadors and other people. He challenged any officer of the artillery to say that it was as efficient a corps as the field artillery. It was the opinion of all the most able officers in the service, that the artillery field-battery service was the arm by which all modern battles must be fought. They might have one-third more of an effective artillery service for the same expense as they kept up a corps of Royal Horse Artillery. They were maintained at a most ridiculous expense; they were clothed as Hussars, and their dress afforded the subject of unceasing laughter to all foreigners who came into this country.
, without attempting to dispute the knowledge of his hon. Friend upon military subjects, could not help saying, that he knew very little of military service, if he did not know that the Royal Horse Artillery was one of the most efficient corps in the service. He so far disagreed with the opinion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that if he had the power of persuading the Government, he would recommend the increase of that corps. The corps was the cavalry of the artillery. It was the description of force most adapted for home service, in the necessity which they experienced for moving troops rapidly from one part of the country to another—from England now, unfortunately, to Ireland. As to their expense, there was only a difference of 2d. per diem in their pay.
§ MR. HERRIES
considered the observations of the right hon. Baronet (Sir F. Baring) to be deserving of the greatest consideration. He stated that the Committee were of opinion that great reductions in the amount of the estimates could be made. The Committee which had been appointed had only entered into a consideration of the Ordnance Estimates, and they had occupied a great length of time upon it. This fact demonstrated that the Government had not been sufficiently early in bringing forward their proposals. He would give his assent to the votes, as under the circumstances he had really no choice in the matter.
§ ADMIRAL BOWLES
hoped that the House would pause before coming to a decision on the report of the Naval Commit-tee, until they had read the evidence on which that report was founded. From the extreme opinions held by some of the Members of the Committee, as well as from the inattention shown to certain points connected with the inquiry, he believed that many of the conclusions come to by the Committee were inconsistent with the efficiency of the public service, and the safety of the country, and such as would show that the Committee were not entitled to further consideration.
§ Votes agreed to.
§ House resumed. Report to he brought up.
§ House adjourned shortly before One o'clock.