HC Deb 12 April 1853 vol 125 cc1054-74

said, that in undertaking to bring before the House the subject to which his Resolution referred, he felt that it would be necessary for him to intrude for some time, although he hoped at no very unreasonable length, upon the indulgence of the House. The subject was one with which many hon. Members could not be familiar, while it was at the same time one upon which the feelings of the Irish people were deeply interested, and one which, as he believed, vitally affected the interests of the whole British Army. He had one source of satisfaction in introducing that Motion, and that was, that, although the question was an Irish one, it was altogether unconnected with those political or religious divisions which too much distracted Ireland. It was also, he should add, entirely unconnected with any party divisions in that House; and therefore he trusted that, while he could calculate upon the support of those Irish representatives who were acquainted with the subject, he might also entertain a confident expectation that hon. Members for England and for Scotland would come to a decision upon the point unbiassed by any considerations except the arguments which might be brought under their notice. The institution which it was proposed should be gradually abolished, was one contemporaneous in its origin with Chelsea Hospital in this country. It had been founded by Charles II., under the advice of the Duke of Ormond, who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in the year 1664. At that time Ireland had a separate army, and the institution had been maintained by the stoppage of 6d. in the pound from the pay of each Irish soldier, just as Chelsea Hospital had been maintained by a similar stoppage in the pay of each English soldier. It existed as a corporation, independent of the control of the Secretary at War. High military officers were incorporated as its governors, and it was established to receive as many maimed and worn-out soldiers as might be brought to it from time to time; and, as he had previously mentioned, it was endowed with 6d. in the pound stopped out of the pay of the army in Ireland until it should be otherwise provided for. It had also been endowed with sixty-four acres of land close to the city of Dublin. That land had belonged to an ancient priory, and seven more acres of it had been set apart for an ancestor of the noble Lord the present Secretary of State for the Home Department (Viscount Palmerston), so that at the present day the trustees of the institution and the noble Lord possessed the same right to their respective portions of that property. For upwards of a century the Hospital was thus supported; but in the year 1794 a change had taken place in the mode of providing the funds requisite for the maintenance both of Chelsea Hospital and of Kilmainham Hospital. It had at that time been considered advisable to grant a boon to the army in either country; and it had been arranged that the two hospitals should thenceforward be supported, not by stoppages from the soldiers' pay, but by Parliamentary grants from the English and Irish Legislatures. That state of things had continued until the year 1851, when the present Lord Panmure, then Mr. Fox Maule, the then Secretary at War, wrote a letter to the Governors of the Hospital, in which he stated that Her Majesty's Government had found that it was inexpedient to continue the establishment of Kilmainham Hospital, and had determined, that after the 1st of April in that year no fresh admission should be made, and no vacancy should be filled up in any branch of the establishment. Now, it appeared to him (Mr. Butt) that whether it was right or not to destroy that institution which had existed for 150 years, and which had been sanctioned both by the Irish Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom, its abolition ought not to have been effected on the mere authority of the Secretary at War, before Parliament had come to any decision upon the subject. No admissions, however, had since taken place at the Hospital, and the consequence was, that it had been gradually declining, and that unless some new step were taken in the matter it would soon be closed altogether. In that brief sketch of the history of the establishment, he (Mr. Butt) had omitted two remarkable incidents which he thought afforded conclusive arguments in favour of his Motion. In the year 1833 an attempt was made by the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice), who at that time filled the office of Secretary at War, to close the Hospital. The present Lord Derby, then Mr. Stansay, was at that period Secretary for Ireland; the Marquess of Anglesey—a name that would be honoured in Ireland as long as a chivalrous and gallant demeanour should have the power of winning the hearts of the Irish people—was Lord Lieutenant; and Sir Hussey Vivian, afterwards Lord Vivian, was Commander of the Forces, and also held the office of Commander of that Hospital. These three functionaries protested in the strongest manner against the proposal to close the establishment. They did so upon political grounds, and also upon military grounds. They protested against such a measure, as impolitic towards the Irish nation, and unjust to the Irish soldier. After three such men had expressed their decided opinion against the proposal in question, he thought, with every respect for Mr. Fox Maule, at present Lord Panmure, the then Secretary at War, that lie had gone a little too far in determining on abolishing, by his own private authority, that ancient institution. Another transaction to which he would call the attention of the House had taken place in consequence of the order contained in the letter of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. F. Maule). Sir Hussey Vivian, then commanding the forces in Ireland, had energetically resisted the proposal, and before he resigned his office he had endeavoured to meet the objections at that time urged against the establishment, by preparing a plan which would considerably reduce the expenses of its maintenance. He proposed that the number of pensioners should thenceforward be limited to six captains and 200 privates. That proposal was not immediately adopted; but in the year 1845 it was carried into effect under a Royal warrant of Her present Majesty, with the understanding that it was to be a final settlement of the question. After the issuing of that warrant, he said that he was entitled to look upon the arrangement as one binding upon the Crown and the Government of this country. But he would again refer to the opinions which had been expressed in the year 1833 by Sir Hussey Vivian, afterwards Lord Vivian, by the Marquess of Anglesey, and by Mr. Stanley, at present Earl Derby. As regarded the military bearing of the question, he believed he could not quote a higher authority than that of Lord Vivian, unless, in- deed, it were the authority of that noble Lord, backed by that of the Marquess of Anglesey. He would read to the House the opinion of Lord Vivian, which dealt principally with the effect of the contemplated measure upon the condition of the Army. He would, however, first observe that Mr. Stanley had rested his opposition to the change merely upon political grounds, and had stated that the evil impression produced in Ireland by the removal of the Hospital, would more than counterbalance any possible saving that might thereby be effected. Lord Vivian, in a letter addressed to the Home Government, said— Of the pensioners now in the Hospital, many are in a state to render their removal to Chelsea impossible; and others would not be willing to be so removed, for it would cut them off for ever from their families, and thus many of the benefits at present conferred on the discharged Irish soldier would be done away with, while of those offered by the Chelsea establishment in return, he would frequently, from illness, from the length of the journey to London, or from other causes, be unable to avail himself.…… In addition to the objections I have already noticed, it must be recollected, also, that the establishment is an appendage to royalty. It was granted by a King as a residence and a provision, in their old age, for his faithful and worn-out soldiers; by doing it away, you take in some degree from the splendour of the Crown, of which, in Ireland, it may be said to be one of the radii; and it is also a matter of some importance to consider whether removing the pensioners, and thereby taking from under the eyes of the people of Ireland the fact that the old and worn-out soldier has a comfortable retreat in his own country, may not have an injurious effect on the recruiting of the Army, to counteract which an expenditure may hereafter be required in bounties infinitely beyond any saving that can be made by such a removal. In another letter his Lordship again said— I repeat that to do it away will create a considerable feeling in the minds of many in this country, and will assuredly be used as a handle by those who advocate a repeal of the Union. That breaking up this establishment will, in a military point of view, be prejudicial, I also have reason to know. The proportion of Irish in the Army is very great, and I have little doubt that a very strong feeling exists among the Irish soldiers in favour of finding an asylum in which to pass the remainder of their days in their own country. I am quite certain a very strong feeling exists in the minds of the men now here against being removed, and their opinions and their feelings are well known to the soldiers and to their friends, and thus become disseminated over the country. The Marquess of Anglesey, in a despatch, declared his concurrence in the objections which Lords Derby and Vivian had urged on political and military grounds. The House would observe that one of the grounds on which Lord Vivian opposed the abolition of Kilmainham Hospital had lost its force—namely, that which referred to the agitation for the repeal of the Union. Remembering that the opposition to the change had formerly been successful, and remembering one of the main grounds upon which that opposition had rested, he said, without fear of contradiction, that the impression which would be produced in Ireland by the abolition of the Hospital would be, that nothing was to be gained from the justice of the Imperial Parliament and the Imperial Government, while everything was to be gained from them by turmoil and agitation. When they recollected that that argument, drawn from the agitation for a repeal of the Union, had formerly been successful, he would venture to warn the House that they would be doing a thing dangerous to the peace of Ireland if they were to allow the impression to go abroad that the people of that country could best secure an attentive consideration for their wishes by embarking in a violent political agitation. He knew it might be said that there could be no harm in abolishing Kilmainham Hospital if Chelsea Hospital were to be left open to the Irish soldier. But was it really intended that Chelsea Hospital should be left open for an increased number of pensioners? He thought he had heard something about extending to Chelsea Hospital the same course which had been pursued with respect to Kilmainham Hospital, and he certainly could not understand why one of those institutions was to be maintained while the other was to be closed. There was one more matter of history to which it would, perhaps, be convenient that he should at once advert. In the year 1851 the Committee upon the Army and the Ordnance Estimates had recommended—but had recommended very gently and hesitatingly—that the two Hospitals, Kilmainham and Chelsea, should be consolidated. The Report of that Committee, however, he should observe, afforded no justification for the letter of Mr. Fox Maule (the then Secretary at War), because that letter had been written before the Report had been issued. But the Committee reported that the evidence had satisfied them that the consolidation of the two establishments would lead to a saving of expense. What, however, was the evidence upon which that statement was founded? The House would, perhaps, be surprised to hear that that evidence had all been given by the Secretary at War himself and Lieutenant Colonel Tulloch, the head of the out-pensioners of Chelsea. The evidence of those two Gentlemen, if considered, would not be found to afford any justification for the suppression of Kilmainham. Mr. Fox Maule said that a saving would be effected by shutting up Kilmainham; but when he was asked whether he would also advise the closing of Chelsea Hospital, he replied— If you ask my opinion as to the necessity of the system of in-pensions at Chelsea, I confess I cannot say much in its favour; but the establishment at Chelsea was founded in the time of Charles II. It is a refuge for old soldiers, and is looked on as one of the national institutions of the country, and I am sure it would be very much against the feeling of the public and the Army that the establishment should be abolished. Substitute Kilmainham for Chelsea, and here was Mr. Fox Maule's evidence in favour of maintaining the former establishment, unless, indeed, the House was prepared to say that the same reasons had a different significance accordingly as they were applied to the Irish or the English side of the Channel. The right hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham) was the Member of the Committee who examined Mr. Fox Maule; and, not having made much out of that witness, he next turned his attention to Lieutenant Colonel Tulloch. The right hon. Baronet surpassed even his accustomed ingenuity in extracting evidence from this new witness against an Irish institution. The right hon. Baronet's first question was, "Do you know anything about Kilmainham?" and Lieutenant Colonel Tulloch's answer was, "No, I know nothing about it." Nothing daunted by this unpromising beginning, the right hon. Baronet proceeded to examine his most satisfactory witness by asking him whether the Kilmainham pensioners would have any reason to complain if they should be brought over to Chelsea? This was not fiction. He held in his hand the report of the examination, and this it was which was constantly put forward as a justification for insulting Ireland, and brandished in the faces of all those who objected to the abolition of Kilmainham. Encouraged by this satisfactory mode of examination, which would be most invaluable in nisi prius practice, the right hon. Baronet put another question to the witness, "You think there is no feeling on the part of the pensioners against going to Chelsea instead of Kilmainham Hospital?" and the witness replied, "Certainly not; soldiers are the last persons to care about the distance of removal." Now, the condition of some of the inmates of Kilmainham, at the time of this examination, was as follows: One Captain, lost both his legs; another, not so unfortunate, had lost only one; a third had a severe wound in the head; and a fourth was completely debilitated; but, notwithstanding all that, according to the evidence before them, "soldiers were the last persons to care about the distance of removal." The Hospital, however, had the benefit of having that witness cross-examined by a right hon. Gentleman, then a defender of the institution, that right hon. Gentleman being no other than the present Secretary at War. Much as he (Mr. Butt) respected the private and public character of that right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sidney Herbert), he should say he did not regard his cross-examination as being at all successful. The first question put by the right hon. Gentleman in cross-examining the witness was this: "Is there not a difference in the price of whisky at Kilmainham and Chelsea?" The witness, who admitted he knew nothing about Kilmainham, replied, "I dare say there is." The next question was, "Would not that be an element in the consideration of the question?" The answer was, "I think, with only eight officers to superintend 600 men, there should be no whisky at all drunk." The right hon. Gentleman then put this question: "Is there general sobriety at Chelsea?" The witness replied, "I cannot undertake to say; the out-pensioners, paid monthly, have been found seducing the in-ones to drunkenness." Now, would the House believe it was on the evidence of witnesses of this kind that the Committee had grounded their recommendation to the House to override a charter, and to destroy a monarchical institution of a century and a half's existence? Now that witness, whilst asserting it would be no inconvenience for pensioners to be conveyed to Chelsea instead of Kilmainham, when asked "if the pensioners would give up their pensions to get into Chelsea?" replied, "He did not know, because if they gave them up, they would be deprived of the means of defraying the expenses of their journey." Such really was the case against the institution of Kilmainham; and he asked the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, was there anything in it to justify the step he was about to take in abolishing this institution? Lord Vivian had said, that "the establishment was an appendage of Royalty;" and he (Mr. Butt) maintained it was of vital importance that they should not rashly or lightly abolish a monarchical institution. They thought little of voting sums of money to erect palaces for the Queen, which would have purchased over and again the fee-simple of this miserable grant. He did not say that by way of complaint, because he wished to see the majesty of the Crown maintained with all the dignity and splendour befitting the Sovereign of this great Empire. And that reminded him that Irish feeling was deeply concerned in this question; because, when Her Majesty visited Ireland, on being conducted over Kilmainham, She saw a palace of which She might well be proud, and when at parting She made use of the words, "Old soldiers, I am glad to see you so comfortable," an impression was created that sank deep into the minds of the veterans She addressed. The existence of this institution aided in keeping alive those feelings that cemented the union between the two Kingdoms; and this was one strong reason why, as an "appendage to Royalty," it should not be removed. He called on the House then not to assent to the abolition of this institution. He would trouble them now with a brief recital of a circumstance which had been related to him that evening. Colonel Taylor (not the hon. and gallant Gentleman at present in the House) commanded an Irish regiment in the Peninsula. He was wounded on the field of battle, and whilst being conveyed off by some of his own men of the 88th Regiment, one of them received a most dangerous wound, when he cried out, "You and I, Colonel, are knocked up; I will be in Kilmainham, and will you come and see me?" That might be regarded by many as a trifle, but it, surely, showed the feeling of the Irish soldier. He had an authority in his favour on this question which, were he permitted to give the name, would have as much weight with the House as that of Lord Vivian, and would almost be as great as that of the Marquess of Anglesey. It was a letter put into his hand by the noble Lord the Member for Beaumaris (Lord G. Paget), and which contained the following passages:— He is rejoiced to find that the case of the old veterans in Ireland will be pleaded for by Mr. Butt. Instead of the establishment being retained for their benefit, it is already shut against the further entry of the old worn-out veteran soldiers—men who have stood all climates that in peace time an army can be sent to; and he thinks it a shame that such an establishment should be lost sight of for a paltry saving. This noble building is now exhibited to the soldiers of the Army in Ireland, and in the immediate view of a large garrison who are frequently seen within its walls—the young aspiring soldier listening to the achievements of the old veterans. Instead of this establishment being reduced, it ought to be kept up to its original strength, both in men and officers. If the present Government had asked the opinion of the distinguished officer who was now Commander of the Forces in Ireland upon this subject, that opinion, he believed, would not have been very different from the sentiments which he had just read. It was relied upon by Her Majesty's Ministers that the Irish soldiers did not enter Kilmainham; but had they not the fact in the letter of the late Secretary of War (Mr. Fox Maule) that they were prohibited from entering? It was, as it were, supposed by Her Majesty's Ministers that every village in Ireland was a "sweet Auburn of the plain," and that the Irish soldier had only to retire to his native home on returning from foreign service. Where, he wished to know, would the Irish soldiers now in India go to when they returned maimed and mutilated? He might be told the feelings of Irish Members were not opposed to abolition. But how many Irish Members, not placemen, would vote with the Government that night? This grant was voted originally by the Irish Parliament, and though he did not assert that the House was bound to maintain every grant made by the Irish Parliament, yet this was a case where, in justice, they were bound to recognise the wisdom and policy of the founders of the institution. What would be the saving which was expected to result from its abolition? The establishment had been reduced under the Queen's warrant to six captains and 200 privates. The charge in the Estimates this year was a little over 6,000l., though 10,000l. was the amount fixed by the Queen's warrant. But, it should be remembered that every captain and private, on entering Kilmainham, forfeited his pension; so that in that way a large amount—some 2,500l. a year—was saved. Therefore, he thought he was not wrong in stating that the cost of the hospital would not exceed 5,000l. a year. He asked Her Majesty's Government, would they, for the sake of that paltry saving, outrage and insult the feelings of the great body of the Irish people? He did not press it altogether as an Irish ques- tion; it was the question of the British soldier. And he wished to know if Chelsea should be maintained when Kilmainham was abolished? or, was the destruction of one merely a prelude to that of the other? The standard of economy was not the one by which this question should be tried. They might save 5,000l. a year, and in return lose the affection of the brave hearts of the Irish soldiers—those men to whom the greatest soldier of his time—himself an Irishman—had addressed the memorable words on the field of battle, "Soldiers! what would they think of us at home if we were beaten?"


seconded the Motion. He said, that, having been quartered in Ireland for some time, he had been enabled to pay considerable attention to the subject now before the House, and he felt every confidence in saying that a strong feeling existed among the Irish soldiers with respect to Kilmainham Hospital. He would refer to the letters written by Lord Vivian in 1833, in which he stated that the rumour of the abolition of Kilmainham had created a considerable sensation throughout the country, and that, if the intention was carried out, it would prove highly prejudicial to the service. During the time the subject was under the consideration of the Government in 1833, one of the chief means proposed for gradually doing away with the Hospital was to transfer the in-pensioners into out-pensioners. This scheme could never have been acted upon with justice to the Army, as there were many old soldiers who, after spending their health and strength in the service of their country, had neither homes nor families to go to. He had known an instance in point in the regiment to which he belonged. He might remark, that when the subject was formerly before the House, the chief reason given for the removal of the institution in question was, that at that time the artillery had no barrack accommodation in Dublin. Large and commodious barracks had, however, been built since, and therefore he really thought the chief ground of objection to the institution had been removed.

Motion made, and Question put— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, representing to Her Majesty, that in the opinion of this House it is expedient and right to maintain for the Irish soldier, in his age or infirmity, the asylum which the Royal Hospital of King Charles the Second, for ancient and maimed soldiers at Kilmainham, near Dublin, has long afforded to those for whose benefit it was originally instituted and endowed; that the abolition of this ancient Irish institution would be opposed to the feelings of the Irish nation, and injurious to the honour and interests of Her Majesty's service; and praying, that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to adopt such measures as may to Her wisdom seem expedient for removing any obstructions which may now exist to the fulfilment of the objects for which this institution is established, in consequence of any directions heretofore issued to the Governors by Her Majesty's Secretary at War, prohibiting the further admission of maimed and worn-out soldiers.


said, he could state that such an establishment as Kilmainham operated as an encouragement to men to enter the service, for they felt that they had a home to which they could go at the end of their service, and he implored the House not to allow it to be pulled down.


said, as the representative of a constituency which was much interested in this establishment, he was desirous of saying a few words. He wished to contrast the manner in which the demands of the Irish people were met by Parliament, with the attention which was paid to the wishes of a small majority of a Colonial Legislature. He had made a Motion on this subject when the Army Estimates were before the House. which he was unable to carry; but it had at least shown that the Irish Members were not satisfied with the proposed arrangement for Kilmainham, for forty-four of them voted with him, and only four against him. The ostensible reason for destroying Kilmainham was economy; but the same reason might be given for letting the land on which Greenwich Hospital stood in building lots, or in turning Chelsea Hospital into a Model lodging-house, for there was no doubt that the inmates could be more cheaply supported out of the Hospitals. But that was not the object of the founders of such palaces as Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals. They felt that foreign nations would look with admiration on the provision which was made for sailors and soldiers after long service, in residences in which, after they had lost all the ties of consanguinity, they would associate with their old companions in arms. The Hospital at Kilmainham operated as a stimulus to Irishmen to enter the Army, and he entreated the House not to abolish it without some stronger reasons than had yet been given.


said, he had nothing to complain of in the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman who had opened the discussion, who had stated the case with perfect fairness and great good humour; and he could not help joining in the mirth which the hon. and learned Gentleman had produced even at his own expense, in the quotations which he had read from the cross-examination of the witnesses before the Committee, the questions cited had reference to considerations which in the case of old soldiers had considerable weight. The question which the House was now called upon to decide was this: would they reverse the policy which they had three times approved of, and which had been carried out successfully by two Governments? It was quite true that the letter of his predecessor but one in the office which he had now the honour to hold, did close the portals of Kilmainham to future admissions. The arguments that had been used to-night, not only by the hon. and learned Gentleman, but by his noble and gallant Friend (Lord G. Paget), referred rather to the plan proposed by previous Secretaries at War twenty years ago, and which after much consideration were abandoned, than to any plan now in existence. At that time it was proposed, not to close Kilmainham to all future applicants for admission, but to divert it from the purpose for which it had been originally instituted, and to give the then pensioners either an increased out-pension, or transfer them to Chelsea, with the exception of some few who were too old and infirm to be removed, and who might be allowed to remain in Kilmainham for the remainder of their days. No such proposal had since been made; and the House must not consider that to be the question on which they were called to decide. The question for the House now to decide was simply this—would they, under the circumstances which he was about to describe, think it wise to reopen Kilmainham, and re-establish it to the extent of the establishment which existed twenty years ago? It had been said there was a just claim for the maintenance of Kilmainham, because it had been built and maintained by stoppages from the soldiers. Now, the fact was that it was not built by the stoppages from soldiers, but by stoppages from that portion of the cost of the maintenance of the soldiers which went to the colonels of the regiment, and consequently diminished the profits of the colonels. But even if that had been so, he maintained that it was of no importance now, because as the poundage on which he contributions were made ceased in 1794, there was no soldier now in existence who contributed towards the maintenance of Kilmainham. No vested interest in that respect, therefore, could be disturbed. But let the House bear in mind the origin and intention of Kilmainham. At the time of the establishment of the Hospitals of Chelsea and Kilmainham the Irish army amounted to 7,000 men. It was calculated that Kilmainham would hold the whole of the incapacitated men from the Irish army, averaging about 300. There were then no out-pensioners. If Kilmainham had not been established, it would have been necessary to maintain them in invalid companies quartered in towns at a greater expense. The charter of Charles II. specified that those only should be admitted who had been incapacitated by wounds from serving in the ranks. Of course, as the Army augmented, these two hospitals were incapable of taking the larger number that might be required to be taken. Since the foundation of the establishment, the out-pensions had been created and greatly augmented, and the value of the in pension had thereby been materially diminished, for it was no mere matter of speculation that men preferred living with their families, to entering the hospital, especially at a time when prices were low. It was the most natural thing in the world that these old men should prefer going home and living with their families to being secluded in a sort of monastic establishment such as these institutions were, and being obliged to submit to discipline and restraint. Take the case of a man badly wounded. He could not live in one of those hospitals in the same comfort and receive the same attention as he could at home, at the hands of a wife or a daughter. And the result, was found to be, that at Chelsea, men who were almost incapacitated from helping themselves would not go into the hospital, but preferred taking their pensions; and it was natural they should do so. He (Mr. Herbert) wanted to show the House what were the advantages to the soldiers of the two systems; and he must say that he thought public opinion amongst soldiers were at present in favour of out-pensions. But now were the in-pensions confined to maimed and worn-out soldiers? At the time when it was first proposed to close Kilmainham, there were 207 pensioners in the establishment. Of these, 139 were under 51 years of age, 60 were under 41 years of age, and the remainder under 31; 32 of these were militiamen, and four were from the yeomanry. What he wanted to show was, that it was not men of long service who came to Chelsea and Kilmainham. He did not mean to say that they would find no instances of that kind in those establishments; but taking the average it was not the case, and for this reason—the men of the best conduct and the largest service had the largest pensions, and men with the largest pensions would not of course go into Chelsea or Kilmainham; but it was the men who had small pensions for short service who were anxious to be admitted to those institutions, where they received more than the worth of their pensions. The House might see that the practical effect of these establishments was not the same now as it had been formerly. It was quite true that there was a charter for Kilmainham, and it might be said that you must not depart from the intention of the founder. But he (Mr. Herbert) would ask, did we now adhere strictly to the intentions of the founder? Of late the Master of Kilmainham had been the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland. According to the intentions of the founder the Master of Kilmainham was to be an old officer who had received wounds; he was to have been ten years a captain; he was not to be married; and if he held another command, he was instantly to give it up. Now, could it be said of Sir Edward Blakeney, the present Master of Kilmainhan, that he fulfilled all these conditions? He (Mr. Herbert) was sure that any one who had partaken of the cordial and frank hospitality of that gallant officer, must be aware that he did not fulfil one at least of the conditions, that, namely, which required that he should be a bachelor. He certainly had another command, which he had not resigned, and whether he was a captain for ten years he (Mr. Herbert) did not know. The original rules of the hospital had been also departed from in reference to the deputy masters. He did not say that that departure from the original regulations was wrong—on the contrary it had proved of great advantage to the public service; but no person could say that the charter had been strictly adhered to when in the most important office connected with the institution it had been entirely departed from both in letter and in spirit. Under these circumstances, the inclination of the soldier to enter into these hospitals having greatly diminished, both as regarded Chelsea and Kilmainham, his (Mr. Herbert's) predecessor had thought it better to decide that though Kilmainham should not be diverted from its original purposes, yet, with a view of affording time to consider what was the best course that could be taken, that no more pensioners should be admitted into the establishment. It was quite true that the letter in which this decision was announced had been written without the sanction of Parliament; but Parliament had hitherto marked its approbation of the proceeding by voting for the estimate according to the plan which had been decided upon by Lord Panmure. He (Mr. Herbert) had found the question in that state. His immediate predecessor the right hon. Member for North Essex (Major Beresford) had brought forward his estimate with the same intention as Lord Panmure, and during last year no attempt was made to disturb the existing arrangement. They might call this a cheeseparing economy; but it was only by this individual saving of unnecessary expenditure that general economy in the finances was to be effected. It was a question that must be decided, not only with a view to economy, but with reference also to the general feeling of Parliament. It must be recollected, also, when you came to discuss the question of the effect of the proposed alteration upon Ireland, that every sixpence saved to the country by this plan would be expended in some other part of Ireland by the pensioners; and as to the recruiting service, he would remind hon. Members that there never had been a time, in spite of the great diminution of the population, and of the high rate of wages, when recruiting went on in proportion better in Ireland than at present, and therefore there were no grounds for saying that doing away with Kilmainham was likely to prove injurious to the recruiting service. He hoped the House would consider the facts which he had stated. He had not thought it right to disturb an arrangement which had been adopted by one Government, and confirmed by another. His own opinion was, that they must look in this case to a natural feeling certainly on the one side, but likewise on the other side to the real advantage to the service of these institutions, and to the changes operated in the state of the lower classes in this country during the last year. The question was one which Parliament must decide; but he (Mr. Herbert) was unwilling, unless Parliament should decide against him, to disturb an arrangement which had been adopted by one Government, and which had been confirmed by another.


said, he would only trouble the House with a few words. He had the honour to represent a constituency in which there was a large infusion of military spirit. He represented, amongst others, a class of pensioners who took a deep interest in this question. He wished to say a few words on the best arguments that could be uttered on the part of Ministers who sought the destruction of the original institution of Kilmainham. He did not wish to destroy the credit of the right hon. Gentleman who last addressed the House as to his acceptance of the report of the evidence before the Committee that had inquired into this subject. He (Mr. Whiteside) could not, however, avoid observing, that if evidence of such a flimsy and unsubstantial character was to form the foundation of a measure for the destruction of this ancient and time-honoured institution of the country, he must say that he believed the institutions of England to be in a very dangerous position. He admitted that there was a difference between this plan, which was artfully devised, and the plan of a former Government. What was the plan of the former Secretary at War? It was a plan of downright confiscation and injustice, which was subsequently defeated from no feeling of remorse or regret; but the Government of that day called upon the governors of the institution to deliver up the property with which they had been entrusted, for the benefit of the old soldiers of Ireland, for the purpose of forming an artillery barrack, in order, forsooth, to save the money of the Crown. And the order of the Secretary at War being considered an illegal one, the respectable gentlemen who were entrusted with the money said that they thought it right to take the opinion of the law officers of the Crown upon the subject, with a view of ascertaining whether the property in question could be appropriated to purposes utterly foreign to the original intentions of the donors. The late Lord Chancellor of Ireland and Mr. Justice Crampton, who were then the law officers consulted, pronounced opinions upon the question, which were a perfect commentary upon the proceedings of the Government. They declared that such a course on the part of the Secretary at War was illegal. Having thus failed directly in effecting the object they had in view, the then Government proceeded to carry out their plan by an extraordinary and indirect system of policy. What was that indirect system? The then Government felt that they could not get a trans- fer of the property by the direct scheme first planned, because it was declared to be a breach of trust to carry it out; they, therefore, adopted this ingenious device—they said they could issue an order through the Secretary at War commanding the governor of the hospital not to admit any more Irish soldiers; and they were determined that if they could not argue them out of the institution, they could at least starve them out. What was the title of the governors of this institution? First, they had actually a letter from Charles II.; and, secondly, they had a Charter, couched in the most solemn and affecting language, in which the King of England recorded his gratitude to those soldiers who had served him faithfully. By that Charter this institution was established, and it was guaranteed that this institution should never be diverted from its original sacred purposes. In the reign of George II., the Charter was confirmed, and the grant was repeatedly and strictly paid; sixty-four acres of land were set apart, for this establishment, and the institution was built upon it. It lasted for two centuries, and until a letter had been received from a Whig official, with a peculiar genius for finance, who considered how he could economise a public fund at the cost of old soldiers, for the purpose of carrying out a grand scheme of financial reform which was devised in 1833, there was no attempt ever made to invade its rights. The official in question demanded information as to the state of the institution, and the account he received was, that there was one man without any arms, another with only one arm, a third was blind, and so forth. He was then puzzled as to what he should do with 205 old Irish soldiers. The right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary at War said that those who did not wish to go into the hospital, were offered by the former Secretary at War the option of coming over to Chelsea. There were fifty-one of those old soldiers who could not be removed. According to the argument of the Secretary at War, if argument it could be called, these pensioners desired to live with their relations, particularly at a time when they had none to live with; and yet, as if to refute the right hon. Gentleman's conclusions, it was shown by a return that ninety-five of the Kilmainham pensioners took the option that was allowed them of being admitted to Chelsea Hospital. Did not that prove that a certain class might prefer to be received into a hospital instead of being sent out upon the world? There were letters from eminent and distinguished military men, refuting every argument for the destruction of the ancient institution of Kilmainham Hospital. The then Secretary at War did not, however, give them the option which he had first proposed, but he offered them 2d. or 3d. a day additional if they consented to remain at home. The Secretary at War first invited them to come to Chelsea and when the soldiers consented to do so, he told them that they would be far happier in Ireland, and he would bestow upon them a small pension to remain in their native country. The right hon. Gentleman said that the Master of the Hospital was not appointed according to the Charter, but he forgot that the governor had no option, but was compelled to chose such a person as was represented by the general body to be the most fit for the office. The governors, who were the most eminent men in the country, passed a series of resolutions upon this proceeding, and condemned the transaction as both unjustifiable and illegal. The arguments used by the Government in support of their course were partly founded upon economy, and partly upon the allegation that Kilmainham was useless. If Kilmainham Hospital was useless, then Chelsea Hospital was also useless. Chelsea Hospital was, however, to remain, because it was a time-honoured and an English institution; but Kilmainham Hospital was to be destroyed, because, though it was also time-honoured, and though it dated back many years, yet it happened to be an Irish institution. The argument as to economy reminded him of something he had read in the Spectator of the dissection of a beau's head and a coquette's heart. It was found that in the beau's head there were no brains, but something that was like brains, and in the heart of the coquette there was found no blood, but something that looked like blood. If they dissected the head and heart of a small political economist, he wondered if they could find either blood or brains. He thought not. He believed that they would find something like an ink bottle in the heart, and in the head they would find a small parcel of red tape, which it would be impossible to wind up or to unravel. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. S. Herbert) taunted the late Government with the adoption of the Estimates of their predecessors. He (Mr. Whiteside) would remind the House that those Estimates were accepted from necessity—a necessity which, under the circumstances, it was impossible for them to avoid; so that it was both unreasonable and unjust for the right hon. Gentleman to charge the late Government with inconsistency in taking that course.


said, he wished, as he had been Chairman of the Committee on the Army Estimates, to say a few words on the present subject. He viewed this question with a very different spirit from that evinced by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had last spoken. He did not look at it as a question between England and Ireland, nor did he regard the English soldiers as one party, and the Irish soldiers another, but he regarded them as forming one united Army. He deemed it, then, to be their duty to do that which was best for that united Army. The object of the Committee over which he presided had been to see that the money expended for the Army should be expended for the well-being and efficiency of the soldiers. The whole question of pensions was before them, and they found that though in the time of Charles II. the system of in-pensions might have suited the requirements of the time, yet in the progress of civilisation the system of out-pensions had become the plan by which the great body of retired soldiers should be supported. He should be sorry if any question relating to the administration of the Army were to be made a party question in that House. With regard to Chelsea, he had great doubts whether the system of in-pensions there was of use to the Army. It was not the soldiers who had fought our battles in all climates who were to be found in Chelsea Hospital; but it was the household troops, who were mostly stationed in the metropolis. He thought, if the question were fairly looked at, that hon. Members would come to the conclusion not only that Kilmainham was of no use, but that Chelsea ought not to be maintained. The history of those establishments showed that they were kept up not for the military, but for civilians, who acted as superintendents, chamberlains, and washerwomen. It was not correct to say that, by the proposed arrangement, they were attempting to injure the interests of the Irish soldiers; for he looked on all soldiers as equally deserving of the attention of the House, but they must take care that the money spent was expended properly. He had heard nothing to make him alter his opinion that Kilmainham Hospital ought not to be kept up, and he should vote against the Motion, which was most unfair to the English as well as to the Irish soldiers, as tending to set up a division between them.


said, that, having been subject to some severe observations by the hon. and learned Member for Enniskillen (Mr. Whiteside), as being the person from whom this proposition originated twenty years ago, he hoped the House would allow him to say a word or two in defence of the course he then thought it his duty to adopt. Having at that time undertaken the office of Secretary at War, he was much pressed by the House of Commons to inquire rigorously into all the details of military expenditure, and, among other subjects, this one of Kilmainham Hospital came under his review. Much reform had been effected since that time, but something still remained to be done. However, at that period he found the laundress of that establishment was the daughter of a noble Lord, in possession of a sinecure of 400l. a year, paid out of the money intended for poor old, disabled soldiers. He found staff officers of all descriptions pensioned in this establishment—Adjutants and Quartermasters General of the Irish forces receiving emoluments out of the money voted for poor and disabled old soldiers. He was not sure whether that was not the practice still, but he hoped it had been reformed. When he looked further into the details of the expenditure, he found that, so far from the persons to whom a refuge was given in this hospital being deserving old soldiers, who had served the longest and were the most disabled, jobs of all sorts were perpetrated by colonels of militia and yeomanry in favour of men who had never gone out of the country on service in their lives. The subject was not taken up lightly, nor did he propose this reform without great consideration; and, notwithstanding what the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite had said of political economists and of persons without hearts and feelings, at all events the hon. and learned Gentleman would give him credit—he was sure the House would do so—for not wanting consideration for the miseries of men in the situation in which poor old soldiers were placed. He took the greatest pains to inquire into the relative condition of the persons then in the hospital, and he found a great number of them were young men under thirty years of age, many under forty, and the larger portion of them not fit inmates of the hospital. Then it became his duty to consider whether it would not be better for those men, as well as for the country, that the pen- sions granted to them should be spent by them with their families in the villages in the country; and it was under these circumstances that he recommended this measure to the House. He was not hasty in adopting it; and, as a proof of the pains he had taken, he had proposed that every attention should be paid to the comfort and even indulgence of the pensioners who were in the hospital, and had recommended that those who were disabled should be allowed to remain in the infirmary at Kilmainham, whilst others should be transferred to Chelsea if they desired it, or should receive an addition to their pension if they preferred to return to their friends or relatives. With regard to the Charter by which the hospital was originally established, that House had always claimed and exercised the right to interpose on behalf of the public where an institution no longer realised the advantages for which it was first instituted; and, believing that Kilmainham Hospital was now neither required by the claims of humanity nor by the interests of the public service, he should vote on this occasion with Her Majesty's Government.


said, he should support the Motion, but he must admit that, to some extent, the applications for in-pensions were not now so frequent as they used to be; but Colonel Tulloch, when examined before the Committee, stated that there were men in the country who only received 5d. a day, who were sergeants so long ago as the Peninsular war, who were now getting into years, whose wives had died, who were now in great distress, some of them being in the poor-house, many of whom had medals with a dozen bars, and who would be delighted to enter Chelsea Hospital if they had the means. There were now about 70,000 pensioners altogether, and it was obvious that amongst such a number many must be incapable of taking care of themselves. It was therefore most desirable that accommodation should be provided for about 600 of this class of pensioners at Chelsea and Kilmainham.

The House divided:—Ayes 198; Noes 131: Majority 67.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T.D. Baillie, H. J.
Alexander, J. Baldock, E. H.
Annesley, Earl of Bankes, rt. hon. G.
Archdall, Capt. M. Barrow, W. H.
Arkwright, G. Bateson, T.
Bagge, W. Beckett, W.
Bailey, C. Bellew, Capt.
Bennett, P. Hale, R. B.
Bentinck, Lord H. Hall, Col.
Bentinck, G. P. Hamilton, Lord C.
Berkeley, hon. C. F. Hamilton, G. A.
Bernard, Visct. Hamilton, J. H.
Blair, Col. Harcourt, Col.
Bland, L. H. Hardinge, hon. C. S.
Blandford, Marq. of Hayes, Sir E.
Booker, T. W. Heard, J. L
Booth, Sir R. G. Henchy, D. O.
Bowyer, G. Herbert, H. A.
Brady, J. Higgins, G. G. O.
Bremridge, R. Hildyard, R. C.
Brisco, M. Hill, Lord A. E.
Browne, V. A. Hudson, G.
Bruce, C. L. C. Hume, W. F.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Jocelyn, Visct.
Burke, Sir T. J. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Burroughes, H. N. Jones, Capt.
Cairns, H. M. Keating, R.
Campbell, Sir A. I. Kennedy, T.
Caulfeild, Col. J. M. Ker, D. S.
Chambers, M. King, J. K.
Child, S. Kingscote, R. N. F.
Christopher, rt. hon. R. Kirk, W.
Clinton, Lord C. P. Knatchbull, W. F.
Clive, R. Knightley, R.
Coote, Sir C. H. Knox, Col.
Corbally, M. E. Knox, hon. W. S.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Lacon, Sir E.
Cotton, hon. W. H. S. Laffan, R. M.
Craufurd, E. H. J. Langton, W. G.
Cubitt, Ald. Lawless, hon. C.
Davison, R. Leslie, C. P.
Dering, Sir E. Liddell, H. G.
Disraeli, rt. hon. B. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Dod, J. W. Lockhart, W.
Drummond, H. Lovaine, Lord
Duffy, C. G. Lowther, Capt.
Duncombe, hon. A. Lucas, F.
Duncombe, hon. O. Macartney, G.
Dunne, Col. Mackenzie, W. F.
Du Pre, C. G. M'Cann, J.
Egerton, E. C. MacGregor, J.
Emlyn, Visct. Magan, W. H.
Euston, Earl of Maguire, J. F.
Evelyn, W. J Malins, R.
Farrer, J. Mandeville, Visct.
Ferguson, Sir R. Manners, Lord J.
Fitzgerald, J. D. March, Earl of
Fitzgerald, Sir J. F. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Fitzgerald, W. R. S. Meux, Sir H.
Floyer, J. Michell, W.
Forester, rt. hon. Col. Montgomery, H. L.
Fortescue, C. Montgomery, Sir G.
Fox, R. M. Moore, G. H.
Franklyn, G. W. Moore, R. S.
French, F. Mullings, J. R.
Frewen, C. H. Murrough, J. P.
Fuller, A. E. Naas, Lord
Gaskell, J. M. Napier, rt. hon. J.
George, J. Newark, Visct.
Goold, W. Newdegate, C. N.
Gore, W. O. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Grace, O. D. J. North, Col.
Graham, Lord M. W. O'Brien, P.
Granby, Marq. of O'Brien, Sir T.
Greaves, E. O'Flaherty, A.
Greene, J. Packe, C. W.
Greville, Col. F. Pakenham, E.
Grogan, E. Palmer, R.
Guernsey, Lord Peacocke, G. M. W.
Gwyn, H. Percy, hon. J. W.
Phillimore, J. G. Thompson, Ald.
Pollard-Urquhart, W. Towneley, C.
Potter, R. Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.
Power, N. Turner, C.
Prime, R. Vance, J.
Repton, G. W. J. Vane, Lord A.
Rolt, P. Vansittart, G. H.
Russell, F. W. Verner, Sir W.
Sadlier, J. Vyse, Capt. H.
Sandars, G. Waddington, H.S.
Scully, F. Walcott, Adm.
Scully, V. Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.
Seaham, Visct. Welby, Sir G. E.
Shee, W. Whiteside, J.
Smith, W. M. Whitmore, H.
Smyth, R. J. Wyndham, Gen.
Somerset, Capt. Wynn, H. W. W.
Stanhope, J. B.
Stephenson, R. TELLERS.
Swift, R. Butt, I.
Taylor, Col. Paget, Lord
List of the NOES.
A'Court, C. H. W. Gladstone, rt. hon. W.
Alcock, T. Glynn, G. C.
Anderson, Sir J. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Baines, rt. hon. M. T. Gregson, S.
Beaumont, W. B. Grenfell, C. W.
Bell, J. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Berkeley, Adm. Hadfield, G.
Biddulph, R. M. Headlam, T. E.
Biggs, W. Heathcote, Sir J. G.
Boldero, Col. Heathcote, G. H.
Bonham-Carter, J. Herbert, rt. hon S.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hervey, Lord A.
Boyle, hon. Col. Heyworth, L.
Bright, J. Hindley, C.
Brocklehurst, J. Hughes, W. B.
Brotherton, J. Hutt, W.
Brown, W. Jackson, W.
Bruce, Lord E. Keating, H. S.
Byng, hon. G. H. C. Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Laslett, W.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Lawley, hon. F. C.
Charteris, hon. F. Locke, J.
Cheetham, J. Lockhart, A. E.
Clifford, H. M. Lowe, R.
Cobden, R. Luce, T.
Cockburn, Sir A. J. E. Mangles, R. D.
Coffin, W. Massey, W. N.
Cowan, C. Maule, hon. Col.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Milligan, R.
Crook, J. Mills, T.
Crossley, F. Milner, W. M. E.
Dalrymple, Viset. Moffatt, G.
Divett, E. Molesworth, rt.hn.SirW
Drumlanrig, Visct. Monck, Visct.
Duckworth, Sir J. T. B. Moncreiff, J.
Duff, G. S. Morris, D.
Duff, J. Mostyn, hon. E, M. L.
Dundas, F. Mulgrave, Earl of
Dunlop, A. M. Osborne, R.
Ellice, rt. hon. E. Otway, A. J.
Ellice, E. Paget, Lord A.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Patten, J. W.
Evans, W. Peel, F.
Ewart, W. Pellatt, A.
Feilden, M. J. Peto, S. M.
Fitzroy, hon. H. Phinn, T.
Forster, M. Pigott, F.
Forster, C. Pilkington, J.
Fox, W. J. Ponsonby, hon. A. G. J.
Gardner, R. Price, W. P.
Ricardo, O. Warner, E.
Robartes, T. J. A. Wellesley, Lord C.
Sawle, C. B. G. Wells, W.
Scholefield, W. Wilkinson, W. A.
Scobell, Capt. Willcox, B. M.
Seymour, Lord Williams, W.
Shafto, R. D. Wilson, J.
Smith, J. A. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Smith, J. B. Wise, A.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Stafford, Marq. of Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.
Stapleton, J. Wyndham, W.
Strutt, rt. hon. E. Wyvill, M.
Stuart, H. Young, rt. hon. Sir J.
Thompson, G. TELLERS.
Villiers, rt. hon. C. P. Hayter, W. G.
Walmsley, Sir J. Berkeley, G. C.