HC Deb 29 March 1855 vol 137 cc1297-9

Order for Committee read; House in Committee.

Clause 1.


said, he wished to call attention to the irregular departure from usual practice which had been resorted to on this occasion by the hon. Secretary of the Treasury, who had late yesterday evening, without any notice, got this Bill placed first, in contravention of the rule that on Thursday Motions should have priority of orders.


said, he wished to inquire whether any security had been taken that the a Sardinian troops should be armed with the new Minié rifle? because, if they were to be armed with the old musket, they would not be of much use.


said, that if there should be a sufficient number of the new muskets ready, of course it would be for the interest of this country, as well as for that of the troops, that they should be armed with that weapon.


said, he should like to know why the rate of interest was only 3 per cent which had been charged for this loan? Five per cent would have borne a much fairer relation to the existing value of money all over the world, Besides, he should like to know how the money was to be raised? If they had to go into the market to borrow this 2,000,000l., they would find that they could not procure it at 3 per cent.


said, that the loan was not like one contracted in the open market, and as the time over which the transaction would extend was likely to be a very long one, it had been thought by Her Majesty's Government that 3 per cent would be a reasonable rate of interest. With respect to the manner in which the money would be raised, the hon. Gentleman would see that he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) could not answer his question without anticipating the statement which it would be his duty to make to the House immediately after Easter.


said, it was clear that the loan was proposed to be made, at a rate of interest at which Sardinia could not herself have borrowed the money in the open market. If Her Majesty's Government were going themselves to borrow the money, and if they should find themselves obliged to pay more for it than 3 per cent, then it would not be a loan to Sardinia at all, but a subsidy—a subsidy, at all events, to the extent of the difference between the interest which this country paid and received. He thought it would have been much better to let Sardinia go into the market for herself, even if it should have been necessary for this country to guarantee the loan.


said, he wished to know whether the Sardinian contingent was to be maintained at its original strength of 15,000 men? He asked this question because, if the auxiliary force had to be fed by our Commissariat, it would be likely to suffer a good deal, and its numbers would soon want replenishing.


replied, that the force was to be kept up at 15,000 men; and he certainly hoped that they would not be starved for want of Commissariat supplies.

Clause agreed to; as was also Clause 2.

Clause 3. (Accounts to be laid upon the table within twenty-eight days after the meeting of Parliament.)


said, he begged to point out to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that Parliament might meet in the autumn, and be prorogued within twenty-eight days. In that case, the accounts for the year would not be laid before the House at all.


said, that in conformity with former precedents, the accounts, in such a case as the hon. Gentleman had put, would be furnished within twenty-eight days after the adjourned meeting of the House.


said, he was not quite satisfied with the reply of the hon. Secretary for the Treasury.


said, he would propose to amend the clause, by adding the words, "after the 1st day of January."

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed.