HC Deb 04 June 1858 vol 150 cc1583-6

brought up the Report of the Committee of Supply.

On the question that the first Resolution, granting a sum of £46,375 for Solicitors' Charges, including Mint Prosecutions, be agreed to,


said, he wished to take that occasion to state,—several questions having been put to him in reference to the balance of those Votes now lying to the credit of the different services in the Exchequer—that, as a member of the Committee upon Public Moneys, he entirely approved the suggestions which it had made. It would no doubt be desirable to carry into effect the recommendations of the Committee on Public Moneys as soon as possible, but there were great practical difficulties in the way of doing so, and more especially in reference to those Votes which were taken not in accordance with the actual sum spent during the year. In certain Votes that were taken the sum voted became chargeable for the service for which it was voted, without any reference to time, so that where there was a surplus in one year the sum asked for in the next year did not represent the sum expended. It was not so with the Votes for the Army and Navy, for the sums voted for those services were restricted as regarded the time for which they were voted to one year, and any balance which there might be was returned to the Exchequer, and before the recommendation of the Committee could be carried into effect the same system which prevailed with regard to the Navy and Army Estimates ought to be extended to the Civil Service Estimates. Another difficulty was that the Civil Estimates were voted after the expiration of the financial year, and therefore it was necessary to provide for the period between the end of the financial year and the time when the Votes were taken. There were six Votes in which the estimated cost for the current year differed from the Vote to be voted. With regard to five of them, the sum estimated was fully set forth, as well as the sum to be voted. With regard to the first of these Votes, namely, that for the sheriffs of Scotland, the Estimate was £50,000, and the suns to be voted was £25,000. The next Vote for the law charges of Scotland, No. 27, was £51,629, as estimated; the sum to be voted was £26,620. The Estimate of No. 46, being for the cost of prisoners and convicts, was £430,000; the sum to be voted, £380,000. The Estimate of Vote 47 was £190,000, the sum to be voted £140,000. The Estimate of No. 48, being for the transport of convicts, £44,000; the sum to be voted, £24,715. With regard to all these Votes there were balances in the Exchequer from last year, and therefore they only asked the difference between that balance and the amount required for the present year. This was the principle on which these Votes had been usually calculated, but he considered the system an objectionable one. He hoped, therefore, that his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer would, in the course of the present Session, introduce a measure by which at least a portion of the recommendations of the Committee on Public Moneys would be carried out, and the Civil Service Estimates placed on the same footing as the Naval and Military Services; that was to say, the Votes would be taken for the service of the year, and the balance, if any, carried to the credit of the Consolidated Fund.


said, that he would not at that late period of the night go into the question, but he could assure the hon. Gentleman that he was mistaken in supposing that the Estimates had ever been presented in that form before.

Resolution agreed to.

On bringing up the Vote of £14,118 for the Salaries and Expenses of the General Register House, Edinburgh,


said, he would move the recommittal of this Vote. The Vote, as passed by the Chairman last evening, had certainly been unchallenged by inadvertence, and he felt confident that, if the Committee had had the opportunity of judging of the case from the papers which since then had been laid on the table, they would have arrived at a different conclusion. The effect of striking off the £1,000, as the Committee had determined last evening, would be to destroy a most important office in Scotland connected with the transfer of land; and he would therefore move that this Vote be recommitted to the Committee of Supply.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the said Resolution be recommitted."

SIR JOHN TRELAWNY moved the adjournment of the House.


expressed a hope that the hon. Baronet would not throw any obstruction in the way of public business.


said, he did not wish to do so; but he understood one item, that of the salary of the Lord Clerk Register, was open to immense objection, and he wished to stop it.


observed, that the only way in which the Vote could be fully reconsidered and discussed was by assenting to the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. Hamilton).


said, he had had the opportunity of reading the papers of which mention had been made, and he begged to assure the House that he did not shrink from the responsibility he had assumed last night in moving the reduction of the Vote. He hoped the Government would consent to the production of other papers, besides those now in the hands of the printers, particularly of a communication from Mr. Henderson, the Queen's Remembrancer in Scotland, who, it was alleged, had advised the suppression of the office in question two or three years ago.


added, that he could not regard the decision on this Vote last night as an inadvertence. It was a distinct victory achieved over the Government in their attempt to perpetrate a job.

Motion for adjournment, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Subsequent Resolutions agreed to.