HC Deb 15 March 1858 vol 149 cc224-7


(In the Committee).

(1.) £500,000, Embodied Militia.


moved, as a Vote in excess, that £500,000 be granted to defray the charge of the Embodied Militia in Great Britain and Ireland which would come in payment in the year 1858. He said, that the necessity for voting this additional sum had obviously arisen out of the Indian mutiny. In consequence of the number of regiments sent out to India, it had become necessary to call out a part of the militia to do garrison duty. Thirty-seven regiments had been sent to India since the commencement of the mutiny. Only £200.000 had been taken in the Estimates for that charge, and the excess of expenditure would exceed that sum by £500,000.


said, that there had been an extra Vote of £200,000 last Session for the embodiment of the militia when the late Government proposed the embodiment of that force; and the estimate then formed was that, by the saving which would accrue on other Votes in consequence of the large number of men to be transferred to India, there would be a sufficient sum, together with the additional £200,000, to defray the extra expense of the embodied militia. Before be loft office he was not led to believe by information ' from the War Office that any supplementary Vote would be required in the present year for the expense of the embodied militia. If the Vote was merely a supplementary one, and it was intended to make a saving on other Votes to the stated amount, he should not object to it; but if it was intended practically to increase the Vote for the Army Estimates by half a million of money, he thought some further explanation should be given.


said, that the proposed Vote would not increase the Estimates. There was a sum of £800,000 voted for the Army Estimates in the current year, which would not be wanted, and out of which the required £500,000 would be taken. There was no power of transferring it to the militia; but the saving would tell in the gross amount.


did not see the necessity for the Vote, for under the Appropriation Act the Government had the power to transfer sums from one item to another where they made a saving. He suggested that the Vote should be postponed.


explained that the sum mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer had been "declared" a saving, and, therefore, without the present Vote the sum required could not be applied to the purpose.


thought it desirable to postpone the Vote for the present.


deemed the proposition of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer most objectionable. Knowing that there was a surplus of £800,000 from the Army Estimates, that right hon. Gentleman proposed to take the £500,000 surreptitiously — [Sir G. C. LEWIS: No, legally.] He could not for a moment imagine that the Government intended to apply a portion of the £800,000 without a Vote of the House. He desired to know the number of the embodied militia in service for the present year.


replied, that very nearly 30,000 were embodied at the present time.


stated, that there was nothing in the slightest degree surreptitious in the transfer he proposed, but it was quite in accordance with the provisions of the Appropriation Act. He objected to the vote of half a million of money, if the vote were unnecessary.


said, that the cost of the embodied militia for the current year had been £700,000. The estimate voted was for £200,000. There had been a saving in other items of the army service sufficient to supply the deficiency; but it was necessary that the proposed sum of £500,000 should now be voted in order to be introduced into the Ways and Means Bill, it being part of the expenditure of the present year.


again expressed his disapproval of the suggestion of the late Chancellor of the Exchequer. For his own part he entirely approved the course adopted by the Government in asking for the Vote.


did not approve that clause of the Appropriation Act which allowed money voted for one purpose to be applied to a purpose entirely different.


also concurred in the propriety of the course adopted by the Government. If £700,000 had been expended upon the embodied militia, it was surely most convenient and most useful that that sum should appear in the Estimates as a distinct item.


said, that the hon. Baronet the Member for Tavistock was mistaken in supposing that the Government were proposing to put into operation the provisions of the Appropriation Act. The fact was that £500,000 more than had been voted had been spent, and all that the Government was now doing was to ask the Committee to vote that sum in order to make up the deficiency.

Vote agreed to.

£349,285 for the Salaries and Expenses of the Customs' Department.

Motion made and Question proposed,— That a sum, not exceeding £849,285, be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Salaries and Expenses of the Customs Department, which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st day of March, 1859.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


thought that some explanation ought to be given with regard to the estimates for the Revenue Departments. As regarded the Post Office alone there had been an increase in the estimate of £500,000 since 1854, and he thought that the House ought to be placed in full possession of all the circumstances of the case.


said that he was bound, in justice to the late Government, to admit that he had never seen Estimates so thoroughly explanatory. Care had been taken to furnish information as to each particular item, but if any additional information was required he would do his best to afford it.


said, he supposed that Votes on account would be taken for the Revenue Departments, as had been done in the case of the Army and Navy Estimates, and therefore he was himself unable, as he had come down to the House without even a copy of the Estimates, to offer any explanation with regard to them. He would suggest to the Government the propriety of cither postponing their Votes to a future Committee of Supply, or of following the same course which they had adopted with regard to the Army and Navy Estimates.

After some further conversation,


said, that the sole object of the Government was to obtain Votes in order to enable them to bring in their Ways and Means. The only reason why any difference had been made between these Votes and the Army and Navy Estimates was, that the Government adopted the former in their entirety, while they reserved to themselves the right of revising the latter, and, if possible, of reducing them. If it should, however, be the wish of the Committee that the same course should be adopted which had been followed in the case of the Army and Navy Estimates, he could offer no objection.


said, that he still thought that as no notice had been given of the intention of the Government upon this point it would be better that Votes on account only should be taken.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

After a few words from Mr. BRISCOE, SIR DE LACY EVANS, and Mr. WILLIAMS, advocating this course,

The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER assented.

The following Votes were agreed to:—

(2.) £1,000,000, Post Office.

(3.) £650,000, Inland Revenue Department.

(4.) £242,700, Superannuations.

(5.) £425,000, Customs' Department.

House resumed.

Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again on Wednesday.

House adjourned at Nine o'clock.