HC Deb 28 March 1851 vol 115 cc731-47

Order for Committee read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


said, that the original foundation of the establishment at Kilmainham, under Charter granted by Charles II., and the buildings now called the Royal Hospital, had actually been erected by deductions of sixpence in the pound from the pay of soldiers in Ireland. That deduction was made under an order of the Duke of Ormonde; and it only ceased when the institution was handed over to the Government. He contended, it was therefore unjust to deny admission to the asylum when they were worn out or maimed in the service of their country. In 1834 the question of abolishing the Hospital was previously agitated, and on that occasion the opinions of the General commanding in Ireland and of the Lord Lieutenant were strongly opposed to any sueh measure. The Marquess of Anglesey and Sir Hussey Vivian officially declared that the breaking up of the establishment would have a very prejudicial effect with respect to the Army, the Irish portion of the soldiers being deeply attached to an institution totally created by themselves, and animated by a natural desire to spend the remainder of their days, after being worn out in the service, in an asylum belonging to their native country; and these high authorities considered that any saving to be effected by removing the establishment to England would be so trifling as to be unworthy of consideration in opposition to the other reasons for keeping up the asylum at Kilmainham. Lord Stanley was also another high authority on the question, and his Lordship had put on record an emphatic declaration not only with regard to the insult and injustice threatened towards Ireland by the removal of this Hospital, but also with regard to the impolitic principle of centralisation involved in the measure. His Lordship said that it could not be denied that the consolidation of the establishments of the country, however it might be called for by general principles of economy, had a very injurious effect locally on an old country in which such institutions had grown up and continued; and Lord Stanley also considered that the only excuse that could be offered for such a measure would be a large saving of expense. Now he (Colonel Dunne) could show that the saving of expense by the removal could only be very trifling. In the first place, if the pensioners were transferred to England a large additional expense must be incurred for the establishment at Chelsea. In 1834 it was estimated that the whole expense of the Kilmainham establishment to the country was 8,417l. a year; while the sum that would be required by the removal to England, and the expense for additional pay to the out-pensioners, and for the transfer of the pensioners from the one country to the other, was estimated altogether at 6,174l.; so that, allowing for the reduction in the expenses of the establishment since 1834, the removal at present would effect a saving to the country of little more than 2,000l. The number of pensioners in Kilmainham Hopital was 205, and the cost per head for food was 5l. cheaper at Kilmainham than at Chelsea. So that, if it were only a question of economy, it would be greater economy to remove the Chelsea establishment to Kilmainham, instead of removing that at Kilmainham to Chelsea. But Kilmainham Hospital was possessed of funds of its own. In the Army Estimates a sum of between 400l. and 500l. a year was credited to the establishment as dividends on stock and rents of lands; and adding to this the rents received by the master of the Hospital for certain other acres of land, which also went to the credit of the Hospital, this made a total of nearly 700l. a year as the revenue of the Hospital and the property of the Irish soldiers. If the Governors of the Hospital were allowed to conduct the repairs, he believed there would be no necessity for a vote from Parliament for that purpose; but the repairs were taken out of their hands by the Board of Works, and 2,000l. odd was the sum annually charged by the Board of Works for the repairs; but looking at the state of the establishment he could not understand how so much money could be laid out on the building, when there was so little to show for it. But he thought the Hospital had a credit against the nation on another ground, because as many of the apartments of the establishment were taken up for the offices of the Adjutant-general, and other offices for the staff of the Army, as were used for the purpose of the Hospital itself. If credit was allowed for the rent of these offices for the Army, he believed that the Hospital must be found as nearly as possible self-supporting. Then with regard to the Charter of the Hospital, it had a clause to prevent the alienation of the property, and the Governor had taken the opinion of Mr. Blackburne and Mr. Crampton (now eminent Judges in Ireland), who both declared that it was illegal to transfer the establishment, and that it could not be lawfully abolished without an Act of Parliament. The right hon. Secretary at War had a sentimental feeling in favour of Chelsea Hospital; and when examined before the Committee on the Army and Navy Estimates, the right hon. Gentleman said, he should not like to see the asylum which had been so long established at Chelsea abolished, even although it should lead to some saving of expense. Now he (Colonel Dunne) asked the right hon. Gentleman to evince the same feeling in favour of a useful national and popular asylum in Ireland; and he called upon the House to resist the unjust and unwise policy of centralisation, from which the suggestion to abolish it had emanated.

Amendment proposed— To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'Orders having been given not to receive any more Pensioners into the Royal Military Asylum at Kilmainham, it may be inferred that it is the intention of tier Majesty's Government to abolish that Establishment; and it is the opinion of this House that such abolition is not advisable,' instead thereof.


, in seconding the Motion, said, he considered the right hon. Secretary of War, in proposing the abolition of Kilmainham Hospital, was acting most illegally. This was not only a violation of the law, but the most presumptuous interference of the Government he had ever heard of, in issuing an order against the admission of further pensioners to Kilmainham Hospital. If the officers of the establishment wore well advised, they would just take the order of the Government, and tear it in pieces before the men. Judges Blackburne and Crampton had declared that the lands were held under Charter. The Government might as well seize the estate of a private gentleman, as abrogate a Royal Charter. The right was not only founded on the Charter, but on the fact of deductions having been made from the soldiers' pay in support of the Hospital. In 1835, an attempt had been made to induce the pensioners to go out, but very few would consent to the proposal.


said, it was unworthy of Her Majesty's Government to make this attempt in the present state of Ireland. A proposition to somewhat the same effect was made in 1833; and Lord Stanley, then the Irish Secretary, very truly said it deserved to be well considered whether the pecuniary advantages attending the proposed change wore not counterbalanced by the injurious impression which it would produce in Ireland. Those arguments were to this day unanswered. Was the city of Dublin or was Ireland in a better position now than in 1833, so as to justify them now in prosecuting a measure which they then abandoned? He hoped, however, that it had been taken up hastily, and would not be persevered in; at all events it ought not to be carried by a side wind. The building and ground could not be appropriated to any other purposes than those prescribed by the Charter. In 1822 an Act of Parliament was passed to transfer the documents belonging to Kilmainham to this country; and the trustees thought it their duty to take a legal opinion on the subject, which was sent to the Lord Lieutenant. What was the result? [Mr. FOX MAULE: The thing was done.] Yes, but how? By passing an Act of Parliament enabling them to do so; and he wanted to know on what principle they thought themselves at liberty to dispense with an Act of Parliament in the present instance? Before taking such proceedings the law officers of the Crown should be called on to give their opinion.


said, he really hardly knew how to deal with the question before the House. Hon. Gentlemen talked as if he had proposed to expunge from the Estimates the Vote for Kilmainham Hospital altogether; but if they would turn to the Army Estimates, they would find that the Vote to be taken was exactly the same for this year as for the preceding. But he must say, as the question had been raised by his hon. and gallant Friend, that he was one of those who had formed a very deliberate opinion that the system of in-pensioning was one that was not popular with the soldiers of the British Army; and that being so, he should like to know why it was that the British Parliament should be called upon to vote money for the purpose? It was quite true that when Kilmainham and Chelsea Hospitals were instituted, they were the only refuge, with the exception of certain invalid companies, for those soldiers who were disabled in action. With standing armies, it was necessary to provide refuges for those who were disabled in action; certain buildings were therefore allotted as residences for disabled soldiers; invalid companies were instituted into which they were drafted, and the Hospitals of Chelsea and Kilmainham were established. It had been said that those establishments were paid for by the soldiers themselves. That was an assertion which had been made both with respect to Kilmainham and Chelsea, but which had been contradicted over and over again; and he fearlessly asserted, that no soldier, prior to the year 1795, ever contributed a single shilling of the pay due to him for the erection and maintenance of those establishments. A few words would suffice to show this. Formerly the pay of the soldier was distributed into two parts—the one was called subsistence, the other was given in the name of off-reckoning, for the clothing and other necessaries. The only portion of the pay which came to the soldier was that part which came under the name of subsistence; that amount was paid to, and was considered the property of the soldier, and from that subsistence no deduction was ever made. With respect to the portion called off-reckoning, that was paid to the colonel of the regiment. From that the soldier was provided with his clothing and other articles; but that amount was paid only through the colonel of the regiment. For many years these two payments were, he was sorry to say, very generally in arrear. They were paid in monthly musters, and they were from time to time about four months in arrear. But in 1762 the Paymaster General undertook, upon a contract, to pay these more regularly. The bargain which he made was, that in return for the more regular payment, there was to be a deduction in the shape of poundage. That deduction amounted to a shilling in the pound, and it was deducted not from the subsistence portion of the pay—sixpence a day—but from the portion paid to the colonel of the regiment. When Chelsea and Kilmainham Hospitals were erected, this deduction of poundage was appropriated in England and Ireland to the purpose of the institutions; but he had shown that this was not paid in any way by the soldier, since it came from that portion of his pay which did not pass through his hands. But even suppose it had been so paid, this could only apply to soldiers enlisted not later than 1771, because after 1793 or 1794 all those poundages were entirely given up, and the payment was thrown on the public. But with respect to this question of Kilmainham Hospital, when it was first instituted, it was contemplated that there were to be private funds available for its maintenance, and he believed the Charter was drawn up in the belief that funds would be subscribed by individuals, and placed at the disposal of the Governor. The sum calculated upon was 6,000l. a year, and the Charter was so worded as to give the Governor the administration of the whole of those funds. There was also granted to the institution a space of land extending over sixty-four or sixty-five acres. He admitted fairly to his Hon. and gallant Friend that this portion of ground, together with the buildings erected thereon, was inalienable, except by Act of Parliament; but it was very different when the question related to the continuance of expenses incurred by the public for the maintenance of those establishments. Any Government which was of opinion that establishments for the maintenance of indoor pensioners should be discontinued, had nothing more to do than to omit from the Estimate any Vote for the purpose; and if that Vote had been omitted in the Estimates of the present year, it would have been quite incompetent for any Gentleman to propose to vote a sum of money for the maintenance of those institutions, and they would die a natural death. For his part, however, he was impressed with the belief that the British soldier infinitely preferred spending his pension in the bosom of his family or friends, in the locality to which he belonged, to being placed at Kilmainham and Chelsea, in a situation where he was bound down by rules and regulations as stringent nearly as those of active service. It was said that the abolition of the Hospital would be an injury done to the city in which it stood. It was natural that those who had long been familiar with such institutions should see them pass away with regret; but it was a hopeless case to endeavour to maintain institutions, however advantageous they might be to the localities in which they stood, after their usefulness had passed away. If the soldiers were themselves desirous of maintaining Kilmainham Hospital, he should be the first to advocate its continuance; but they were aware that it was kept up more for show than for any other purpose. It was occupied at this moment, for the greater part, by officers high in rank, entirely unconnected with the institution; and instead of advancing the professed objects of its existence, he thought the public would be justified in calling for its abolition. It was, however, not proposed to remove from that establishment a single individual fairly entitled to its benefits; all he had done was, to intimate to the Governor and Commissioners, that in future no admission should take place into the Hospital without his (Mr. Fox Maule's) knowledge, he being the person entrusted with the expenditure of the funds voted by Parliament. It was his conviction, that he was not proposing anything unpopular with the Army, in proposing to restrict the further admission of pensioners to Kilmainham Hospital.


said, the two grounds which the right hon. Gentleman put forward for the proposed change were, those of economy, and of its not being popular with the Army. The principal cost incurred in both establishments was from retirements to officers of high rank, granted on account of their services during the last war, and totally unconnected with the maintenance of the private soldiers. Deduct those allowances, and it would be found that both establishments were extremely economical, especially the Irish one. He denied that these establishments were kept up merely for show. Who that had visited Paris doubted the policy of keeping up the Hotel des Invalides? And yet that institution did not provide for the whole of the pensioners of the French army no more than did Kilmainham and Chelsea for the whole of ours. No establishment would accommodate the 80,000 pensioners of our Army, and it was right that arrangements should be made for allowing those who desired it to reside in the country; but there were, nevertheless, associations connected with these institutions which should not be broken in upon. He admitted that the great majority of pensioners preferred to be out-pensioners; but still he thought that the 500 or 600 men in Chelsea, and the 200 or 300 in Kilmainham, who, aged and infirm, but covered with honourable wounds, preferred to reside in these establishments, should not be deprived of these refuges of their old age, because a saving of 2,000l. or 3,000l. a year could be effected by giving up these establishments. The right hon. Secretary at War was inconsistent with himself, for while his arguments applied equally to Chelsea Hospital as to Kilmainham Hospital, he had stated in his evidence before the Committee that he had no intention to abolish Chelsea Hospital.


said, that there was more to be considered in this case than economy. His right hon. Friend the Secretary at War had talked of the superior comfort which the out-pensioner met with at home, but he thought that was partly attributable to the bad management of these institutions. These institutions were established by the Monarch as a sort of monument of the glorious deeds of the Army; and as it would be a very unpopu- lar proposition in England to abolish Chelsea Hospital on the score of economy, so there was a very strong public opinion in Ireland against this proposal to abandon Kilmainham Hospital. What would be the feeling of the people of England if it was proposed to abolish Greenwich Hospital? He had supported the Government as an independent Member; but confidence must have its limits, and if Government, on a mere abstract principle of saving a few thousands a year, persisted in carrying forward a measure in defiance of public opinion in Ireland, they could not expect that their Irish friends could any longer support them.


said, that as the answer of the right hon. Secretary at War was based on the principle that he was about to do away with in-pensioners, he begged to ask him if he had issued a similar order with respect to Chelsea to that which had gone to Kilmainham? If this order of the Government was based on the principle of doing away with the system of in-pensioners altogether, he thought that that should be done contemporaneously in Ireland and England, and that no preference should be shown to Chelsea over Kilmainham. Notwithstanding it had been stated by the right hon. Gentleman that the Irish Army did not pay to the maintenance of the Kilmainham Hospital, it would be found on reference to the Charter, a copy of which was to be found in the Parliamentary paper he held in his hand, that at the time the Charter was granted to Kilmainham Hospital, a poundage of 6d. in the pound was levied upon the pay of the Irish Army for its support. It was so supported up to 1794, when the Government decided that this poundage should be levied no longer. This was nothing more nor less than another attempt at centralisation—that baneful system from which Ireland had on many occasions so deeply suffered. The feeling in Ireland was as strong now against the abolition of this Hospital as it was when a similar measure was proposed in 1833. This was the only opportunity they should have of protesting against this flagrant act of injustice; and he hoped, therefore, that the House would pause before it negatived the Motion of his hon. Friend the Member for Portarlington.


said, that the authority on which he stated that the Irish soldiery were not called upon to pay anything to the maintenance of the establish- ment at Kilmainham was a speech of the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1796, when he was bringing forward the vote for this Hospital. He then said —"that this would not be an increase in the expenditure, because it was in lieu of the sum heretofore paid by the soldiers to the support of that hospital, but repaid to them in another way; the military then received their full pay by another arrangement, and while it was the same thing to the expenses of the country, it was more satisfactory to the soldiers, who imagined that because their daily advance was less than their nominal pay they were unfairly dealt with.


said, he wished to know by what authority the right hon. Secretary at War forbade the further admission of inmates into Kilmainham Hospital? He believed that he had no authority in law, as he certainly had none by the Charter. The Hospital at Kilmainham was very popular with the Irish soldiers, who were at least one half of the British Army. He had heard the number of Irish soldiers in the British Army estimated at 40,000 or 50,000 some years since. He thought that some consideration should, therefore, be shown the feelings of the Irish soldiers. Were they not, after fighting for their country, and losing their legs, arms, or health in her cause, to have no sanctuary in their old age? It was not economy, but centralisation—a desire to deprive Ireland of every vestige of her ancient honour and nationality—which was at the bottom of this measure. The right hon. Secretary at War would not venture to transfer the English warrior to Kilmainham; and why, therefore, did he propose to transfer the Irish warrior to Chelsea, when he had enlisted in the Army almost on the understanding that he would have this sanctuary in his old age? He appealed to the generosity of the Irish and Scotch Members not to permit this aggression on Ireland.


said, that the assertion that this measure was an insult to Ireland on the part of the Government was quite unfounded, because it was clear that the arguments of the right hon. Secretary at War applied to Chelsea as much as to Kilmainham. He, however, believed that this measure was much disliked both by the soldiers and the people of Ireland. He believed that the hon. Member who spoke last was near the truth when he said that nearly half the soldiers in the Army were Irishmen. A friend of his made a bet with the late Duke of Gordon when Marquess of Huntly, that half the men in the 42nd Highlanders were Irish, and he won it; and this was a regiment which was supposed to be the most exclusively Scotch in the service. He knew that Chelsea Hospital is now, or at least was twenty years ago, one of the most popular institutions connected with the Army. He thought that when his right hon. Friend proposed to reduce these establishments, he should consider the feelings of the Irish soldiers; the more so as they were taken from a superior class to the English soldiers.


thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War had been unfairly dealt with on the present occasion. He did not see why they should go to the expense of keeping up those Hospitals, when they could not get individuals to fill them. There was a strong disinclination on the part of retired soldiers to go into Chelsea Hospital. That was the case with respect to Chelsea, and if a proposition was made to do away with Chelsea Hospital, he would vote for it. He believed that the comforts of the soldier could be better provided for elsewhere. He did not think that this proposition and the proposition for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy were at all analogous. He denied that there was any insult offered to Ireland in abolishing the Hospital at Kilmainham. He believed that his countrymen did their duty in the Army—and yet Scotland did not feel that she was insulted because she had not a military hospital. The Government were acting wisely in reducing the military expenditure, and applying it to other purposes. He hoped hon. Gentlemen would not allow themselves to be led away by their feelings, and that they would see the folly of keeping up military hospitals which they found it difficult to fill.


said, that there were only 175 men in Kilmainham Hospital, and there were forty-six officers over them, including seven nurses and four assistants. The whole cost was 8,600l. a year, and out of this the officers cost 2,892l.


said, that before the House divided he wished them to consider the result of the Vote to which it was proposed that they should come. The House was pleased two years ago to refer the question of the Naval and Military Expenditure to a Committee of the House. The Committee had sat for two years, and it was again reappointed in the present year. That Committee had not yet made their Report on this subject, and therefore he did not think it would be advisable for the House to come now to a decision respecting the abolition of Kilmainham Hospital, more particularly as they had referred the question to a Committee. The hon. Member for the city of Dublin had made a statement which was very little to the purpose, when he said that the Irish army were very much interested in this question, because there was now no separate Irish army, and an Englishman or a Scotchman, if he served in Ireland, might be placed in Kilmainham Hospital, and the Irish soldier might be placed in Chelsea Hospital. The hon. Member was, no doubt, actuated by a desire to serve the city he represented; but much as they had hoard about Irish distress, he did not believe that the loss of an annual expenditure of some 7,000l. or 8,000l. would be a matter of very great importance to Dublin. The Army Estimates were not to be formed with reference to local expenses or local possessions. If a garrison were required for the national purposes of the United Kingdom at Plymouth, Portsmouth, or Cork, it would be established at one or other of those places; but if the necessity for it had passed away, it would be absurd to argue that it ought to be continued as a charge upon the country, simply because it might be conducive to the wishes or interests of the people of Plymouth, Portsmouth, or of Cork, that the garrison should not be abolished. He agreed with the hon. Member for Montrose that the time for these institutions had gone by. Formerly they were looked upon as comfortable retreats, but since the system of out-pensions had been established, they were much less sought after. With regard to this particular question, it was to be recollected that only a small portion of the pensioners were received in the Hospitals of Chelsea and Kilmainham; by far the greater number preferring to go as out-pensioners amongst their friends and relations. It was quite right that they should keep up Hospitals for those persons who had not friends or relations to take care of them, and who were not able to do anything for themselves elsewhere to increase their comforts. But that was only a small portion of the Army. Now, as regarded the comforts of the pensioners, both English and Irish, who served in the Army, it should be recollected also that a few years ago the Government proposed to give the benefit of certain deductions to the pensioners, by which they got an addition of 50,000l. a year, which was charged to the Country in the Army Estimates. That was an addition concerning the comforts of those who served in the Army. But with regard to the question, it concerned but a small number of soldiers. There were but from one hundred to two hundred pensioners to receive the benefit of the Hospital at Kilmainham, and the question was, whether they were to provide for the in pensioners one or two establishments—the great expense of these establishments arising from the officers and governor, and not from the number of men in them. These were questions which would be fairly considered by the Committee. But, at all events, he thought that the House ought not to prejudge the question—and he did not think the House would be wise in saying that they ought to adopt economy, and when they attempted economy, not to approve of it.


said, that the noble Lord had put this question on the ground that a Committee was sitting upstairs, and that it would not be wise in the House to come to any decision in this matter till that Committee had reported. But the right hon. Secretary at War had already decided. That Committee also was appointed at the instance of the Government, and not at the instance of the House, as stated by the noble Lord. He looked upon this as a question of the same nature as the question for the abolition of the Lord Lieutenancy, though it was of smaller proportions. The question seemed to him to be whether they were to have a great system of centralised government, or whether they would retain their local institutions.


said, that what he had written to Dublin was, that no vacancies in Kilmainham Hospital should be filled up without a communication being had with him. He had since received communications with respect to two vacancies which he deemed it essential should be filled up, and they had been filled up.


thought the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington premature. The Estimates had been before the Committee of the House for the last three years. He had asked the Government the other night whether it was their intention to call together the Committee for the purpose of their making a Report, and the answer he received was in the affirmative. It was therefore, he thought, premature to discuss this question until that Report was received. He would not say one word respecting Kil- mainham Hospital except this: he believed that if the soldiers were given their option of remaining at Kilmainham or coming over to Chelsea, very few would be desirous of remaining at Kilmainham. It became then a question for our consideration whether it would not be necessary on the score of economy to make this change. He could not press this question of economy too much on the House at the present time. Chelsea Hospital had full accommodation for the reception of all those who wished to come there.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 137; Noes 105: Majority 32.


said, he must press upon the Government the propriety of making the financial statement before any more of the supplies were granted. He knew the whole country was anxious for it. There was not a town throughout the United Kingdom that did not expect it; and when such anxiety existed on the subject, he asked the House to agree with him in declaring that they would not vote any more supplies until the financial statement was brought forward. The statement must have been prepared; it could not possibly be that the Government had not made up their minds what they would do; and if so, why delay one hour in bringing it forward? Whether there was a pledge or no pledge, the understanding certainly was, that before the Government asked the supplies, the financial statement should be made. The Government had had two or three weeks for consideration, and there was no reason why it should not be made before they got any more money. He might be told that the 15th of April was approaching, and that the Mutiny Bill must be passed; but there would be no difficulty in passing the Mutiny Bill when the financial statement was made. He would therefore propose that the House should not proceed to Committee of Supply until the financial statement had been made.


said, the hon. Member could not make that Motion, as the House had decided that the question, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," stand part of the Question.


was very sorry that there had been any misunderstanding with the hon. Member for Montrose on this subject; but he had always considered it to be understood that the Estimates were to be taken immediately after the conclusion of the late Debate. If the Budget were introduced then, his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have to enter into a considerable amount of explanation, a Debate would arise, and the Government would be precluded from proceeding with what was most important, the Army Estimates.


said, if the Government would bring forward the statement on Monday, he would withdraw his opposition.


declined to pledge himself to any arrangement of that nature.


then rose to bring forward the Motion of which he had given notice— To call the attention of the House to the Treasury Minute authorising an additional grant of 500l. per annum to the present salary of the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue. He said that there were two kinds of economy—real and false. The gentleman to whom this additional 500l. a year was granted, was, no doubt, a very able and efficient officer. We have had a Treasury Minute—what was that? It was nothing more nor less than a dirty, secret mode of appropriating money taken out of the pockets of the people. The Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue was undoubtedly a most excellent officer, but he thought he was very well paid for his services by a salary of 2,000l. a year. He had no feeling of private animosity against the Chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue. On the contrary, he believed him to be a most estimable public officer, but he protested against this mode of appropriating the public money. The salary which that individual received was, no doubt, adequate to his services, and the addition which it was now proposed to give him was another of his (Colonel Sib-thorp's) right hon. relation's jobs. He had no language in which he could, with propriety, describe his contempt for the right hon. Gentlemen who occupied the Treasury bench. The people of England were oppressed by such Treasury Minutes as these. He hoped the day was not far distant when such a Government, who were neither influenced by a principle of public economy nor regard for the people, would be forced to resign their places in favour of a wiser and abler body of men. The present members of the Government had only one wish, and that was to keep their places as long as they could. They were at present supported by a most miscellaneous body of Members upon their side of the House, but their reign was nearly at an end.


said, he felt very much obliged to his hon. and gallant Relative. He must in the first place thank him for the expressions which he had used in reference to himself, and still more must he thank him for the testimony he had borne to the merits of an individual whose conduct was known to the House. Whatever might be his hon. and gallant Friend's opinion of the Government, he was glad that he bore witness to the merits of Mr. John Wood, for a more deserving officer did not live. He (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was glad an opportunity had been given him to state what the whole arrangement entered into was, of which this only formed a part. It was not quite fair to single out one particular measure without taking into consideration the whole arrangement. Without the able assistance of this gentleman, he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) could not have effected so large a reduction in the public expenditure as the Board of Inland Revenue had enabled him to do. Many years ago the Boards of Stamps and Taxes wore consolidated, by which a great saving in the public expenditure was effected. About four years ago he had carried into execution a further consolidation of the Board of Stamps and Taxes with the Excise, forming a Board of Inland Revenue, by which a still further saving of a large amount was effected. He said most distinctly that if it were not for the great exertions of Mr. John Wood he dared not have undertaken that great consolidation. It was doubted much whether such an arrangement could be carried into effect. It was, however, owing to the zeal and exertions of Mr. John Wood that it was ultimately effected. The effect of the whole consolidation of these boards was to cause a saving to the public of about 250,000l., and the reduction of about 2,000 officers. Surely 500l. a year was not too much to grant as a reward to the gentleman who was mainly instrumental in effecting this desirable result. If the House of Commons was not prepared to reward persons for such valuable services, they could not expect that those reductions could be carried into execution. There were twenty-nine officers reduced; the lowest salary enjoyed by any of them was 300l. a year, and the highest 2,000l. The reduction thus effected was 22,900l. a year, It would not, of course, be fair to take this additional duty without additional remuneration. Surely that was not a very unreasonable principle to lay down. He was prepared at the time to give an additional allowance to Mr. John Wood for this additional labour; but that gentleman objected to take it until it was proved that he was the means of effecting these arrangements, and that the Government were fully satisfied with what he had done. A period of about three years had gone by, and the benefits of the exertions of that gentleman had been fully demonstrated. He, therefore, felt it a duty he owed to the public to reward Mr. John Wood for the essential services which he had thus rendered to the public.


thought that there was no stronger feature in real economy than a well-timed liberality. He had known Mr. John Wood for about twenty-five years, and he bore testimony to all the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said respecting him, having watched his conduct closely during all that time. He believed him to be a very valuable public servant.


said, that when it was announced that the Government intended to bring forward their Budget very early in the Session, the greatest satisfaction was experienced. The right hon. Gentleman did bring forward his Budget, and, unhappily, it gave satisfaction to only a few. Some time had now elapsed since it was announced that some now financial arrangement would be proposed. He concurred in the views expressed by the hon. Member for Montrose. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would appoint Monday next for that statement.


also expressed a hope that the Government would give a promise to bring on the financial statement on Monday.


having put the question for going into Committee, a division was called for by Mr. HUME, but no division took place.


could only say that he, and a great many near him, were of the opinion he had expressed; but if such was not the general understanding, he would not press the question to a division.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Motion withdrawn.