HC Deb 17 February 1860 vol 156 cc1266-7

said, he wished to ask Her Majesty's Government if any estimate has been made of the expenses of the war with China, because nothing had so mischievous an effect on the purse of the country as wars in the East. The Affghan war cost from £15,000,000 to £18,000,000, and the Burmese war £3,000,000? He wished to know, also, whether any portion of the expense will fall on the Indian Revenue; and, out of what funds will the expense of transporting the Troops from India to China be defrayed?


said, the question of the hon. Baronet was of great importance. It was quite obvious that the sum of £500,000 referred to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his speech on Friday last would be quite inadequate to meet the costly preparations now being made for hostilities in China. He would venture to express his opinion that no glory could be obtained from a war with the Chinese. He lamented that it had been entered upon at all, and he attributed it to the injudicious selection of high officials. He understood that 20,000 British troops were to be sent, together with the siege artillery, and an immense bulk of stores. The cost of transport alone for so great a distance must be immense, and he therefore deemed the hon. Baronet quite justified in demanding an explicit and rational statement from the Government as to what would be the probable expense of this enormous expedition.


said, he also wished for some explanation of the proposed expenditure of the China war. He understood the Chancellor of the Exchequer to have deducted from the revenue of this year £500,000 towards the expenses of the China war. He wished to know whether all the regiments to be sent from India to China had been already transferred to the home establishment, and how the Native Indian troops were to be paid. The Estimates now before the House were for £14,800,000. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his statement estimated the Army and Navy Estimates at £15,800,000 — the increase of £1,000,000 being £500,000 for the Chinese war, and £500,000 for the excess of expenditure over Army Votes for the year 1859–60. The £500,000 would not cover the expenditure already incurred in the Chinese war, and he should like to know whether the other £500,000 would be sufficient to meet the excess of expenditure, because, if there must be a Supplemental Estimate, the whole Budget would be upset. He had not the least idea that he exceeded his Estimate of 1858–59 by a single shilling, and yet he found it necessary to introduce a Supplemental Estimate. If that was the case in a year when there was no extraordinary expenditure, what must be the case when they were sending out so large a force to so distant a place as China? He never could understand how the men of the Native army who had been in China for the last two years had been paid. He had never made any provision for them. Nevertheless those men were sent out by the Governor General with the authority of the War Office. If then they had not been paid by the late Government, there must be a heavy charge in some shape or another upon the Indian Government which would come upon this country to repay the money. He also wished to know whether an agreement had been made with the Indian Government that the 22,000 men now sent to China, but who were chargeable on their establishment should not come on the home establishment during any portion of the coming financial year. If not, every one of those men when sent home would be an excess in the number of men actually voted.