HC Deb 25 July 1861 vol 164 cc1480-506

Order for Committee (Supply) read;

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."


I am so fully aware of the very general, and I must say the very natural, indisposition of the House to listen to long statements of figures, that I should not venture to ask its attention to a matter relating to past expenditure, which has already been provided for by means to which I shall hereafter refer, if the subject was not of far greater importance than the Vote of £206,000 would appear to imply. This sum forms a very small portion of the excess of expenditure beyond the money voted by Parliament for army services in 1859–60, and I do not know how I can give a better idea of the importance of the subject than by drawing a comparison between the amount of this sum (spent without the authority of Parliament, and apparently without the knowledge of the Government) and some of those items of expenditure which have created the greatest interest during the present Session. Great alarm has been expressed at the amount required to build a new Foreign Office. The excess would have built five Foreign Offices. Another matter of the greatest interest is the amount required for the national education of the country, and complaints have been made of the gradual increase of that Vote; but this excess exceeds the whole amount required for the national education of the United Kingdom, and is five times the sum that we have been told would insure the permanent enrolment of 200,000 volunteers. It is to this excess, and the provision, or rather want of provision, made for it in the Budget of last year, that I wish to call the attention of the House. In referring to what took place on the 19th of March, 1860, when the Secretary for War moved the Vote of Credit to cover his expenditure, it may be supposed by some that my object is to claim some triumph over my noble Friend, or to find fault with the policy of the Government, that led to this expenditure; but it is neither the one or the other. If it was a mere question as to the accuracy of my statement on that occasion as compared with that of my noble Friend, I should consider that matter completely settled by the production of the account of the receipts and expenditure for Army and Militia Services for the year ending 31st March, 1860, which I now hold in my hand, and I should have been quite willing to leave it to the judgment of those Members who are in the habit of interesting themselves and paying attention to these matters; and as to the policy of the Government, I have not the slightest doubt that they were fully justified by what was passing at the time in exceeding the number of men voted by Parliament, which naturally entailed the increased expenditure; but what I complain of is that having done so they did not provide the means to meet it—that either they did not know, or, knowing (which I do not believe), they concealed from the House the amount required to meet the expenditure—that the calculations upon which the Budget was framed were erroneous, and that that Budget on the faith of the accuracy of which the House was called upon to make great changes in the taxation of the country, and to repeal the paper duty, was a delusion, and for that delusion the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in my opinion, was quite as much responsible as the Secretary for War. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has on two or three occasions alluded to what he was pleased to call a controversy going on between myself and the Secretary for War, with which he had nothing to do, and he has laid down this doctrine, "that if the Treasury undertook to cut down the demands of the Military Departments, it would be incurring a great responsibility;" and in this I entirely agree; and if I was Secretary for War I would take care that the Treasury did not so interfere. The number of men and means of defence required by the country is not in the province of either the Secretary for War or the Treasury to determine. That is settled by the Cabinet; and I take for granted that my noble Friend the Secretary for War did not proceed to raise a new regiment and exceed the number of men voted by Parliament by more than 22,000 men without first obtaining the sanction of his colleagues. Having done so it was the duty of the War Office, in the first instance, to frame the Estimates to cover the necessary expenditure; but all Estimates must be submitted to the Treasury, and obtain the sanction of the Treasury before they are laid upon the Table of this House. No Department can incur any expenditure not provided for in the Estimates without the direct sanction and authority of the Treasury; and this sanction, I maintain, makes the Treasury equally responsible with the Department for it. If this is not the case—if the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not responsible—then, I think this House ought to insist on having the Minister responsible for the Estimate and expenditure of upwards of fifteen millions of money, here to account for it. Nobody can bear more willing testimony than I do to the ability with which the hon. Gentleman, the Under Secretary for War has discharged the duties of the office. But he is not, and cannot be responsible for the accuracy of Estimates or expenditure over which he has no control. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his financial statement last year, he professed to provide for in it, not only all excess of expenditure that had already taken place in consequence of the Chinese war, but for all prospective expenditure not included in the Estimates that could be foreseen and estimated for, and he announced that in order to do so two Votes of Credit would be required, one of £850,000 to meet the expenditure of 1859–60; and another of £500,000 for 1860–1. On the 19th of March, 1860, my noble Friend the Secretary for War moved for the first Vote of Credit of £850,000, of which £500,000 was to be devoted to the army, and it was on that occasion that I expressed my opinion that £500,000 would not meet the excess of expenditure on five Votes alone of the ordinary Estimates of the year— namely, votes 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10 entirely dependent on the number of men borne on the establishment during the financial year, and I stated my grounds for coming to this conclusion—namely, that having framed those Estimates, and knowing that they were only calculated to provide for 134,600 men, including the embodied militia, and that the average number of men during the whole year exceeded 142,600 men, there must be an excess of expenditure amounting to at least this £500,000 on these, five Votes, and that to meet the whole expenditure, the greatest portion of which had taken place in India and had been paid for by the Indian Government, that at least another £500,000 would be required, and I concluded by appealing to that time (which has now arrived) when the accounts are before us, to bear me out in this assertion. Now, what I said may be of very little importance, but what the Secretary for War—the Minister responsible to this House for the accuracy of these Estimates—said, is of such vital importance, that in order to prevent the possibility of my misquoting him, I will read from what I take to be a corrected copy of his speech, what he did say— He, too, would appeal to facts—not to estimates, but to formal accounts of the money which had been spent—and the House might rest assured that the Government were running into no excess beyond that met by the present Vote."— [3 Hansard, clvii. 920.] He then proceeded to enter into an explanation about an Army of Reserve which it had been intended to raise, but of which, as we have never heard a word more from that day to this, it is useless for me to dwell upon. And then he said— In the Estimates of 1859–60, which his right hon. and gallant Friend had moved, provision was made for 121,601 regular troops, in addition to £410,000 for militia, which would maintain 13,000 men during the year. In the Vote of Credit for China services for 1859–60, also moved by his right hon. and gallant Friend, £210,000 was taken for pay and allowances, which would maintain 7,000 men for one year, so that provision was made in that year for a total force of 141,600 men. In April of last year the force was less than this number by 14,000, which produced a saving of £43,200. In May there was a saving of 12,400 men, and of £37,000. The amount of saving then went on decreasing until November, the upshot being that if in March all the troops going from India to China had actually gone, there would be 15,000 in excess. In point of fact, however, it was known that the vessels which were to convey those troops had not sailed from Bombay and Calcutta in time to land the troops in China before the expiration of the financial year, and would not come within the Estimates until they were disembarked. There would thus be an excess of £97,000 for the payment of the men against £192,000 of savings accruing as he had mentioned in the early part of the year. To make all safe £50,000 had been added as a difference between the organization of the militia and the regular force, the militia having a greater number of officers in proportion to the men than the regular army. Again, £50,000 had been added for an increase which might occur upon the miscellaneous items of Vote 3, but with all these additions, which were stated to be more than ample, there was still £192,000 to meet the £187,000 of excess. But this was not all. Upon the Votes taken for buildings, stores, and so on, it invariably happened, he was sorry to say, that the deliveries were not fast enough to allow of the payments being made in the financial year, and there was almost a saving under this head. Accordingly there was this year a large saving upon the Vote of stores. As he had said, he would only assure the right hon. and gallant Officer that he had looked through the accounts with the greatest possible care, and he was confident that there was not only enough for the troops, but a surplus to provide against any deficiency."—[3 Hansard, clvii. 921–22.] Now will the House believe that the whole of this statement is a mistake from the beginning to the end, and that there is hardly a correct figure in it. I never moved for any Vote of Credit of £240,000 to provide for 7,000 men an account of Chinese services, and for the best possible reason, there were no extraordinary services on China at the time I was in office. The attack on the Peiho only took place on the day, or the day after, Lord Derby's Government quitted office, and was not heard of in this country for some weeks afterwards. Equally fictious are the savings during the months of April, May, and June, &c.; and I was quite astonished at hearing that I had saved anything. It may be quite true that the number of men quoted may have been wanting to complete the regular army; but they were represented by embodied militia, for whom no provision had been taken but what had been deducted from the pay and allowances of the men voted by Parliament and, in point of fact, there was no deficiency of men, and no saving. Well, Sir, we have now the accounts before us, and what is the result? Oil Vote 2, Pay and Allowances, there is an Excess of, £137 3s. 1d.; Vote 3, Miscellaneous Charges, £261,242 17s.; Vote 4, Embodied Militia, £245,240 11s. 7d.; Vote 9, Clothing &c., £265,753 12s. 7d.; Vote 10, Provisions, Fuel, and Light, £200.780 5s. 8d.: Total Excess in the Five Votes, £973,134 9s. 11d. And on Vote 11, for warlike stores (the savings upon which we were told would cover any excess of expenditure on the other Votes), there is absolutely, instead of any saving, an excess of £23,595 6s. 5d., and the excess upon all the Votes amounts to £1,061,488 0s. 6d., and deducting from this sum what is called the savings upon other Votes amounting to £243,093 4s. 4d. (which is in reality no saving at all, but a mere postponement of services that must be performed for a future year), which the Treasury have the power, under the Appropriation Act, of applying to meet the excess—there remains an excess of expenditure on the ordinary Estimates of the year of £818,394 16s. 2d. to be provided for. Now, let us examine the exact state of the account as to money absolutely spent and liabilities entered into, and the means provided by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his first Budget to meet them. There is, first, this sum of £818,394 16s. 8d. in excess of the money provided by Parliament for the Estimates of the year; and there were two accounts due to the Indian Government—one of £443,896 for the previous Chinese expedition and Indian troops serving in China; and another of £611,000, which the Indian Government had informed the Government in January, I860, would be required early in the spring, on account of advances made by them for army services for the Chinese War then carrying on. My right hon. Friend has stated that the Treasury did not know in which financial year, 1859- 60 or 1860–1, these payments might be made; I will, therefore, take the two years together. In the one or the other the payments must be made, and the financial statement professed to provide for both. The account, therefore, would stand thus: —On account of excess of expenditure on Army Estimates, there was to be provided for, £818,394 16s.; on account of recent Chinese Expedition, £443,896; on account of present Chinese War, £611,000: Total. £1,873,290 16s. And to meet this there were two Votes of Credit—one of £850,000, and the other £500,000 — making together £1,350,000. Thus leaving a deficiency of £523,290 16s.; and not one shilling was provided for the pay and allowances of 10,000 Native troops serving in China (who had not been voted by Parliament or provided for in the Estimates), or for the extra allowances to the regular forces, or for any naval services not provided for in the Estimates. I defy anybody to contradict the correctness of this statement. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer may ask—How was I to know that the Estimate of the Secretary for War was so erroneous? My reply is—How did I know it? The Treasury had far better means of testing its accuracy than I had. I could only calculate that if so many men cost so much in 1858–9, an additional number of men would cost so much more in 1859–60; and my calculation has proved quite correct. As to the first account claimed by the Indian Government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that it was dragging its slow length through the Treasury, and he had no reason to know it would become payable during either of the financial years mentioned, and yet this sum is absolutely returned in the "Home Account of the Government of India," laid on the Table of this House, as having been received in the financial year 1859–60; and as to the other account, amounting to £611,000, the Indian Government had given notice to the Treasury in January, 1860, that it would be required early in the spring of that year. Now, Sir, I never thought that the Government could have been expected to foresee, at the time the financial statement was made, the certainty of a war with China, or that they were bound to provide for such a contingency; but they were bound to provide for the expenditure that had actually taken place, and for such prospective expenditure as, under the most favourable circumstances that could possibly be anticipated, must inevitably be incurred. If there had been no war—if the demands of the British Government had been at once acceded to—it would have been necessary to apply to Parliament for a million of money at least. And I do ask the House, if this had been all fairly and honestly stated, whether there would have been any collision between this House and the House of Lords, and whether this House would not have done, what the House of Lords, in my opinion, very wisely did—namely, refuse to remit the paper duty? I now wish, Sir, to call the attention of the House to the manner in which this excess of expenditure has been provided for. It arises almost entirely in the expenditure dependent on the number of men; and, in the account laid upon the table, an explanation is given of the cause of the excess, and the portion of it chargeable to the Chinese War. The whole excess on the five Votes I have referred to amounts to £973,154 9s. 11d., of which £210,451 17s. is stated to be chargeable to the war in China; and it appears to me a very questionable stretch of the power of the Treasury to appropriate any larger portion of the Vote of Credit (which was granted by Parliament for the specific purpose of meeting the expense of the Chinese War) in reduction of this excess than the sum shown to be chargeable to that war, and such appropriation is directly contrary to the principle laid down by my noble Friend on the 12th of July, 1860, who, in answer to a question from me, stated— And he asks me whether every sixpence of the £500,000 which we took has not been expended in making up the deficiency on the ordinary Estimates of last year? In the first place I have to reply that not one sixpence of that sum was applicable to making up any deficiency which might have occurred in the ordinary Estimates of last year. My gallant Friend, who is well acquainted with these matters, must have spoken without reflection, for he must have known that you cannot apply one farthing of a Vote of Credit to any purpose but that for which it was voted. You cannot spend it in making up an ordinary deficiency in the ordinary Estimate of the year. If his vaticinations, therefore, should prove correct, which I trust they will not, the deficiency will have to be made up by a Vote next year, specially taken to cover it. But so far from all that sum being spent in that way, we have reason to believe that a large portion of it still remains unexpended."—[3 Hansard, clix. 1813.] I understand that the explanation of this is that there would have been a large saving upon Vote 11 for warlike stores, if it had not been for the China War; and that, as the Treasury would have had the power of appropriating that saving (as it has done the other so-called saving), in reduction of this excess, it is justified in taking an equal amount from the Vote of Credit. But I consider this an exaggeration of the power of the Treasury granted by the Appropriation Act, which applies to actual and not imaginary savings. I have no doubt it will be said that of the whole array expenditure (for 1859–60) £610,000 was owing to the Chinese War; and, therefore, we have a right to charge that amount to the Vote of Credit; but the effect of this is to withdraw from the cognizance of Parliament the real amount of excess which had nothing to with the China War. Now, as I do not intend to conclude with any motion, I may be asked what is the use of occupying the time of the House by these references to things that are gone by— that however faulty they may have been, it is no use raking them up now; that the Budget of last year is now a matter of history, and that it would be far better to adopt the convenient maxim of letting" by gones be bygones?" but I have three reasons for not adopting this course. First, I think it is absolutely necessary that the attention of this House should be called to any expenditure not sanctioned by Parliament. If the lapse of time is to be a bar to inquiry it may always be urged, as the accounts are never laid upon the table of the House until fifteen months after the expiration of the financial year; and a Secretary for War might exceed his Estimates to any amount without any fear of being questioned about it. Secondly, I am anxious to enlighten the minds of some of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's colleagues as to the amount of provision made in his original Budget for the China War. In a recent debate in "another place," my noble Friend Lord Derby stated it to have been the very modest sum of £500,000, but was corrected by a noble Duke, a Cabinet Minister, who said it was two millions and a half. Now I have shown that even the modest provision of £500,000 never existed, but that their was an absolute deficiency of more than that amount. And, lastly, and what is of far greater importance is, that these excesses are not byegones, but are going on at the present moment, and I am confident that when the Army accounts of the last financial year 1860–1 are laid upon the Table of the House there will be an excess of expenditure on the same four votes amounting to a quarter of a million. I do not say that you may net pay it out of Votes of Credit of open accounts with India of which we know nothing, but I say the expenditure will exceed the amount voted by Parliament by at least the sum I have mentioned; and as to the Estimates of the present year I pointed out when they first appeared that, large as they are, they do not provide for the number of men on the establishment, and that in order to make them appear lower than the Estimates of last year, a sum of £127,000 had been deducted from the pay and allowances of the men voted by Parliament on account of men stated to be wanting to complete the establishment who were not wanting. The Under Secretary for War assured me that the attention of the Secretary of State and the Commander-in-Chief had been called to the subject, and that by the commencement of the financial year the numbers would be so reduced. I called for a Return of the number of men on the establishment on the 1st of April and found they were not so reduced; and, again, I called for a similar Return on the 1st of June to which I beg to call the particular attention of the House, and to ask the Under Secretary for War for an explanation of it, as it is calculated to mislead the House, and is, in fact, not a correct Return? I asked for a Return of the number of men on the British establishment on the 1st of June, and also of the number of men on their passage home from India, or under order to proceed home, who would become chargeable to the British establishment on their arrival. On seeing the Return I was excessively surprised to find that the numbers returned as being on their passage home amounted in each case to nearly the establishment of each regiment—a thing so unusual in regiments coming home from India—that I inquired both at the Horse Guards and the War Office, and found that the numbers reported as on their passage home included the depots of the regiments which are in this country, and have been chargeable to the British establishment during the whole course of the financial year—making the whole number exceed, not only that provided for, but the number voted by Parliament. I have to apologize to the House for having occupied so much of their time on this subject at this late period of the Session, but that is not my fault. This is the first opportunity I have had of doing so since the accounts were laid on the Table of the House; and I only regret that the accounts were not produced before the Budget, for I think if the House had been acquainted with the real state of the army expenditure they would not have parted with the paper duties this year.


said, his right hon. Friend seemed to expect that he would be found fault with for bringing this subject before the House, and that he would be told it was too late to do so. But the truth was that the subject of the army excesses could only be discussed with effect in the year next but one after the Estimates were voted, so that his right hon. Friend had taken the right time for the discussion which he had raised. The charges which he had made divided themselves into two parts. One might be settled by a discussion in that House—the other [was of a far more serious nature. The lighter portion—that which related to the discrepancy between the actual sum asked for the service of the army and the ultimate expenditure—he would leave to be answered by his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for War. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had spoken of the relations between the Treasury and the War Department, and had ascribed to him (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) a doctrine which most certainly was not his, but was the reverse of his. No doubt it was the special duty of the Treasury, with respect to the Army Estimates, to examine whether or not the services taken were in excess of the purposes to which they were to be applied. The Treasury had the greatest possible interest in the accuracy of the Estimates. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, therefore, it was his duty to make a careful examination of them; and it was no reproach to the gentlemen connected with the various departments to say that this examination, as well as the discussions that took place in Parliament, were useful in securing accuracy of detail. His right hon. Friend said the Treasury must necessarily have known the increase of payment for the army called for, in consequence of the increase which he said had taken place in the number of men voted by Parliament. But the fact was that the Treasury were in ignorance of the number of men. The Cabinet itself could not have a perfectly effective control over the number of men chargeable on the British establishment; because, in the state in which affairs had been in India, they had been but little else than servants of the Governor General. They were compelled constantly to have forces ready for the service of India, and to proceed there often without notice, so that no preparation could be made for the amount of change, and it was impossible to say how much would be thrown upon the British establishment. He would pass on to the question of departmental responsibility, and upon this he wished to observe that if the, statements of the right hon. Gentleman (General Peel) were correct the matter ought not to end with a simple discussion across the Table of the House. The charges which he had brought really amounted to this—that at the time when the Government laid their proposals before Parliament with respect to the impending military expenditure they were in possession of information which ought to have convinced any rational man that the charge they proposed was too small. Now, that was a charge which would require a more minute answer than, without preparation, he was able to give. He was in a condition, however, from recollection, to meet the charges pf his right hon. Friend so far. The points on which the Treasury was responsible were three. It was responsible for fixing the amount of any Vote of Credit that was proposed; it was responsible for the transfer and distribution of the Votes under the Act of Parliament; and it was responsible for adjudications on the claims of the respective departments to a share of the Vote of Credit. His right hon. Friend stated that, so far back as the 10th of February, 1860, the Government ought to have been sensible that there was a sum of —1,800,000—including £400,000 for the China War, and £600,000 due to the Indian Government — which they would have to pay, and for which they had made no provision. Now, he denied that the accounts to which, his right hon. and gallant Friend referred were in such a state as to enable the Government to found any estimate on them, with a view of getting a Vote from Parliament. All he could say was, that if an excess of £1,800,000 really did exist in the expenditure of the army, it was not within the knowledge of the War Department, nor within the knowledge of any other department of the Government when he made his financial statement in I860. He, therefore, did not admit that any portion pf that alleged army excess could have entered the calculations of the Government in framing their financial arrangements. Many of these questions— such, for example, as the £400,000 voted for the China War£could not be settled across that table. Neither he nor his right hon. Colleague the Secretary for India, nor any one else connected with the Government, could have had the smallest idea that any portion of that sum mentioned would go to any other than its original purposes. If his right hon. and gallant Friend wished to make good the opinion he had stated, he ought to have submitted to the House a question, not to be settled across the table, but one that would have led to a more minute calculation, and investigation of accounts than could take place in that House. His right hon. and gallant Friend stated that the charge of £600,000 for India was known to the Government before the financial statement was made. It was in reality known on the 28th of January, but it was not to be taken for granted that the claim was one that should be paid; for, in truth, claims for India not unfrequently required to be corrected after investigation. His right hon. Friend taunted them with having proposed a Vote of Credit of only £1,350,000 to meet an excess of £1,800,000; but that sum was believed fully adequate to the occasion, and was fixed upon partly in consequence of information from the Foreign Office with regard to the probability of an increased charge being required for China, and partly with reference to the Indian account. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that they ought to have left a wide margin for charges that might occur; but, on the other hand, it must be borne in mind that at the time there was an expectation that should the Chinese expedition lead to an accommodation, there was a payment from that country of £500,000 under the Treaty of Tien-tsin, which would have been available in aid of the Ways and Means of the year; and it would not have been right of the Government to have made any demand on Parliament without taking that matter into consideration. If the right hon. Gentleman were not satisfied with that, he hoped he would carry the matter further, It was a matter of vital importance that every department, and especially the Minister of Finance, should deal with Parliament not only in good faith, but with as much intelligence as could be expected from him, or as the nature of his office would allow. Then, with respect to the appropriation of what were called the savings on different heads. It was the absolute duty of the Treasury to appropriate the balances in the Exchequer before dealing with the Vote of Credit; and if they did otherwise they would have acted in excess of their legal power. His right hon. and gallant Friend found fault with the Treasury for having appropriated £600,000 out of £850,000 taken for the China expedition to the expenses of the military department. His answer to that was that it was a matter which depended for its accuracy on careful and minute examination in detail, and it had been examined with care and pains under his (the Chancellor of the Exchequer's) responsibility. They might, however, have been wrong, and that was a very proper matter for Parliamentary investigation. If his hon. and gallant Friend was disposed to devote his leisure hours to the inquiry during the recess, with a view to its being again brought forward next Session, and thoroughly investigated, he should have every assistance that it was in his power to give him. He was glad that he had directed his mind to the subject, as every Government was the better for being called to account with regard to its expenditure.


thought the question between the right hon. Gentleman and his noble Friend the Secretary for War (Lord Herbert) could be very easily settled. The right hon. Gentleman in March 1860 stated his belief that there would be at least £500,000 of excess in the military expenditure of the year, and Lord Herbert thought and stated that the ordinary army Votes for the year would be sufficient, with the addition of the Vote of Credit for the China War for that year. The question was not which was right and which was wrong, but which was most right and which most wrong. He had now to ask the House for a Vote of Credit for £200,000 to make up the deficiency for the year in question; this was the whole deficiency after the increased expenditure caused by the China War had been paid, as provided for by Parliament, out of the Vote of Credit. It must be plain, therefore, that when Lord Herbert said there would be no deficiency he was more right than the right hon. Gentleman, who put down the deficiency at £500,000. Lord Herbert was, however, far nearer the truth than that, for out of the actual excess of £200,000, at least £120,000 could not have been known in March 1860, when, as the right hon. Gentleman well knew, six months at least had to elapse before the accounts for the Army were closed. This £120,000 was made up of items of account unexpectedly brought on charge in the year 1859–60. Lord Her- bert, therefore, was only out by £80,000 out of a total expenditure of £14,000,000. The right hon. Gentleman had referred to five Votes, which he said were entirely dependent on the number of men; but that was an incorrect assumption. How could the £120,000 charged to the clothing Vote for items of account, as explained in the Parliamentary paper in the hands of Members, be attributed to the number of men, as stated by the hon. Gentleman? How could the increased supplies purchased for the garrisons of Malta and Gibraltar be caused by the number of men borne? He denied the accuracy of the conclusions drawn by the right hon. Gentleman. He could, having examined the accounts, assure the House that no portion of the £600,000 for China had gone to the ordinary expenses of the Army in the sense stated by the right hon. Gentleman. Had there been no war with China that charge would not have been incurred. The right hon. Gentleman had also stated that there would be an excess upon the Vote for men for the current year. There was at present, including the men on passage home, an excess of about 5,000 men which chiefly arose from the unexpected return of troops from India and from the calls made upon us from India; 3,000 were artillery to be charged to India, leaving 2,000 men as the excess. There would be probably 1,000 men in China to be charged to the Vote of Credit, and this would make the excess about 1,000, or say 1,500 men. Then recruiting had been stopped, so that he did not anticipate that the money voted would be insufficient to meet the cost of the men for the whole year.


said, he thought the gratitude of the House was due to his right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Huntingdon, who had raised a great constitutional principle, to which he too wished to call attention. In the year 1859–60 the House voted £122,655 men, but in the course of the year they had 9,557 more men than Parliament sanctioned. In April 1860, they had 11,507 more men than Parliament voted for. He wanted to know where the money to pay these men came from? It was evident that it must have come out of the Treasury chest; but he wished to ask if the House was disposed to let go its hold over the control of the Army, the number of men voted, and the sources from which they were to be paid? If not, he thought there ought to be a clear and distinct explanation of the cir- cumstance. He wished, therefore, to have an answer whether or not it was true that 10,000 men in round numbers were kept up last year in excess of the numbers voted in this House? The question was of the more importance, as the House was in a strange position arising from the large standing army kept up in India over which they had no control whatever.


said, he thought the questions raised by his right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Huntingdon would be better inquired into before a Committee upstairs than in that House; but there were one or two points which he thought ought not to pass without notice. He gathered from what fell from the hon. Under Secretary of State for War that he considered the whole matter turned very much upon the question of whether his right hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel) or Lord Herbert were nearest the truth in what they respectively stated on the 19th of March, 1860. The House should bear in mind how extremely different were the positions of the two speakers. One spoke from a general estimate which he was enabled to form from his knowledge of the manner in which business was conducted at the War Office, and of the operations which were being carried on; while the other spoke from official knowledge on the subject, and from documents in his possession. But, after all, he (Sir Stafford Northcote) did not see that the balance was as the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for War had stated it. It seemed to him that his right hon. and gallant Friend was upon the whole much nearer the truth than was Lord Herbert. It was said that they were to measure the whole by the £200,000 asked for in excess. But that did not measure the whole. They were distinctly informed last year that only £500,000 would be wanted for the army and £250,000 for the navy. It was simply in consequence of the postponement of some ships building for the Admiralty that the latter sum was not required, but if it had been there would have been a still greater deficiency in respect of the army Vote than there was at present. He made out that the real deficiency was at least £300,000. The hon. Gentleman said the deficiency arose from circumstances which could not have been foreseen. No doubt many things, especially considering our relations with India, would at times arise to baffle the calculations of Government, but they ought on that account to be the more cautious, and to take care in their arrangement for the year to make allowances for uncertainties. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer seemed to think that he was entitled to take as a set off to the £600,000 required by India the possibility of the war with China coming to an end, and that in such a case there would have been no deficiency. If that statement had been made to the House last year they would have known what they were about; that they were dealing with a certainty on the one hand and with an uncertainty on the-other; but the complaint was that the Government did not tell them all the grounds on which expenditure would be required. He thought the statement of his right hon. and gallant Friend last year was justified by the result, and that he had taken the only means in his power by a reference to the five Votes which he had pointed out of getting at the expenditure for the year. It was not fair for the Government after advising the House to agree to a large expenditure to come forward as they now did and tell them that there was an excess of expenditure through causes which they had not foreseen.


said, that he, too, thought the House ought to feel obliged to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon in bringing the matter forward, for it was clear that these accounts ought to be examined into in detail. It was not the first time that such accounts had been mystified, and if a Committee were moved for during the next Session he should give the Motion his support.


said, he thought the thanks of the House were due both to the right hon. and gallant Officer and to the hon. Baronet the Member for Evesham for having called attention to that important question. There could be no doubt that the large army in India did give any Government an opportunity to shuffle the cards between the two armies—men in the one country and men out of it—men on sea and men about to go to sea—men to be accounted for now and men to be accounted for hereafter—that he was afraid it would puzzle even a Committee to discover what was the exact state of things at any particular moment. The right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer said there were many of these matters which it was impossible to foresee when the Estimates were being made up.


Those were not my words.


said, he had not taken down the right hon. Gentleman's words; but that was his impression. He could only say that if it had been to lay on a tax the prevision of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have been considerably strengthened. He had been amused with the manner in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer recommended his right hon. and gallant Friend to employ his leisure during the recess. Was his right hon. and gallant Friend to step into the War Office and into the Treasury to overhaul these accounts? For his part he thought the best way to investigate the matter would be by a Committee. Then the hon. Under Secretary, curiously enough, accounted for the excess of 5,000 men by saying that 3,000 of them were wanted for India. Why that might as well be 10,000. What security, indeed, was there against any number of men being sent? If a great army was to be kept up in India some arrangement should be made with the Government of India, so that the present state of uncertainty might be done away with. The House ought to remember that the question was by no means new. His right hon. and gallant Friend had returned to the charge again and again—he had told both Lord Herbert and the hon. Gentleman opposite, both that year and the last, "You are not taking money enough for your men." And the result of all the mistification was that they were called on to-day to vote £200,000 for excess of expenditure. The Chancellor of Exchequer had in effect said that he had no answer to make to his right hon. and gallant Friend (General Peel). He neither admitted his right hon. and gallant Friend to be right, nor did he deny his statement — he left them in a state of blessed uncertainty. In his opinion no answer had been given to his right hon. and gallant Friend, either by the Chancellor of the Exchequer or by the Under Secretary for War. The subject was not an agreeable subject, and he hoped the House would apply itself to prevent its recurrence in future.


said, he wished to know how the 5,000 men that were admitted to be in excess were to be paid for? If recruiting was stopped what was to become of the large Vote taken during the year for recruiting, and why was the passage money for soldiers from India to be paid for by this country, instead of, as formerly, by the Indian Government? He hoped the hon. Gentleman would give a clear answer to these questions.


said, he could not understand what was the necessity of sending out 3,000 artillerymen to India. Surely out of the volunteers into the Queen's army, of which they had heard so much, they might have obtained the number of artillerymen required.

Mr. G. W. HOPE

said, he rose to move I that an Address be presented to Her Majesty praying that the sum of £15,000, voted for an increase to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst to contained five hundred cadets, might not be expended till the House had had time to consider the details of the plan for which it was proposed to make the increase. He wished at the outset to disclaim the intention of making any attack on Lord Herbert, whose merits he fully recognized, and whose retirement from office, which he was afraid was made certain by the writs moved for that day, he considered a great loss to the public service. But one of the merits of that noble Lord was that he was willing to listen to opinions different from his own; and he believed if he had been in his usual health the plan would never have been proposed. That plan was that every officer of the army should pass through the college. The Committee on military organization which sat in 1859 and 1860, took evidence on the subject, and considered it but settled in their Report that they had not information enough; before them to justify their making any recommendation on the subject. From that day to this the Government have given no further information on the question, and yet asked the House of Commons to devide upon it, although the important Committee to which he had referred declared that the information produced was not sufficient to justify any opinion being formed on it. When the Vote was under consideration it was objected to, and the hon. Gentleman made the offer that the Government would incur no expense till further information was obtained. The House, however, divided on the Vote, and it was carried; and after that the hon. Under Secretary stated that, as the Opposition had divided, the Government would not stand by the offer he had made. That was, to say the least, sharp practice, for how could the hon.

Gentleman know how many votes were influenced in his favour by the offer he had made? He hoped the hon. Gentleman would even now repeat his offer and save him the trouble of arguing the question further. As the hon. Gentleman remained silent he was compelled, though with great reluctance, to go further into the matter. The hon. Gentleman then stated at some length his objections to the proposed plan, referring more particularly to the question of patronage, and the competitive system for admission to the college. It seemed to be settled that every student who passed through Sandhurst was to have a commission. The question, then, was, how was a young man to get into the college? It was at first proposed that they should enter by competitive examination, but that was now overruled; so that the question came to this—that the Commander-in-Chief, instead of giving commissions directly, would give them indirectly by a nomination to Sandhurst. That would practically be the case in time of peace; it would be still more emphatically the case in time of war, for they had the evidence of his Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief that the college would he inadequate to the supply of officers in time of war. Yet it was proposed to make every officer of the British army pass through this college. The reason alleged was that the education there given was necessary for the officer in the discharge of his duties. Practically, however, it was found that the theories taught by professors were not of much service in the field, and he had heard men of great professional experience declare that the proposed plan would be injurious to the service. Indeed, he believed the Duke of Wellington was always opposed to the plan of making all the officers of the army pass through one college. But all he asked was that the Government should give a pledge they would not carry out the plan till the House was in possession of further information. The plan of the college was that every officer was to enter the college at the age of seventeen. At present any man might enter the army between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three. It might be advantageous in some respects to make the army, like the armies of the Continent, a separate class; but the great object had hitherto been to combine among their officers the qualities of a soldier and a citizen. To introduce a set of men who were to be soldiers only, and not citizens, might be injurious both to the interests of the army and the Constitution. He concluded by moving the Resolution.


said, he rose to order. He wished to ask whether, when a Vote had been agreed to in a Committee of Supply and been reported to the House, it was competent to move an Address to the Crown to Buspend, if not to annihilate, that Vote.


said, great latitude of discussion was allowed on going into Committee of Supply, but one restriction was put upon it by the House, namely, that any Vote which had passed, or any Vote which was about to be discussed in Committee of Supply, was not a proper subject for discussion on going into Committee. That was the rule of the House. When the hon. Gentleman was making his statement there was much in it which could not be objected to by the House. Therefore, although the speech was founded on a Motion which stood on the paper, he did not think it consistent with his duty to interfere. But, in reply to the appeal now made to him, he would say that it was not consistent with order that he should put the Motion to the House. The Vote to which it referred had been passed in Committee, and had been reported and agreed to by the House. If a practice should arise of moving an Address to the Crown on every Vote which had been passed by the House it was clear that discussion never would end, and that Supply would be postponed indefinitely. Any other subject once considered and disposed of by the House was held to be disposed of for that Session. The Vote had passed in Committee, and been agreed to by the House, and he, therefore, was of opinion, that it was not competent to move an Address to the Crown that the Vote should not be expended.


said, that as it appeared to be contrary to the rules of the House he should at once withdraw the Motion. He might add, however, he had waited until then to bring it forward, in order to see whether the Government would produce papers on the subject.


said, he did not think, if the Motion was withdrawn, that the discussion was, therefore, disposed of. He thought the hon. Gentleman was entitled to the thanks of the House for bringing the question forward. Let the House consider the circumstances under which the Vote was passed. It was passed at half-past one in the morning, when the House was tired out. No explanation of the Vote was given, but a promise was held out that some explanation would be given afterwards. A division took place, and the Vote was only carried by a majority of five. They were taking a step towards the formation of an institution that was to put the whole officers of the army on a new footing with regard to the mode of entering the army. The Committee on Military Organization would not sanction the plan of the college because it was brought forward in an incomplete; state, and the Government themselves did not know what the plan was. If they did not take care the £15,000 then asked for would swell up to £200,000. The House was surprised into a division in favour of the scheme, and he hoped some means; would be devised to get rid of it.


said, he wished to ask whether the rule, as stated by the right hon. Gentleman, would prevent any Motion being made on the subject when they were not going into Committee of Supply?


had stated what was the rule of the House which it was his duty to enforce—namely, a rule, that in going into Committee of Supply restriction was placed upon the general liberty of discussion on two points—one, that Votes passed in Committee of Supply were not to be discussed on going into Committee; and the Other, that any Votes standing for consideration must be considered in Committee, and not on going into Committee.


said, that if they were to be struck over upon a point of order on a Vote taken at half-past one in the morning, he trusted it would be a lesson to the House never to allow a Committee of Supply to go on at such an hour.


said, that as a matter of fact the Vote was not carried at half-past one in the morning. At no time were the Votes of the Army Estimates taken at so late an hour.


said, that in a matter of such importance one would be justified in moving the adjournment of the debate, in order to enable the hon. Under Secretary for War to give an explanation, because he said he would have no objection to lay before the House the plan upon which this money was to be expended.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the debate be now adjourned."


said, he would second the Motion. He would not say whether the Vote was taken at one or half-past one, but it was very late, and the Vote on the division was mainly influenced by the hon. Gentle- man's explanation, that no part of the money would be spent till the plan was laid on the table. He feared there was an attempt making to Germanize the education of the army. Hitherto the officers had been chosen from all the public schools of the country, and it was well known that the Duke of Wellington shortly before his death, pointing to the boys on the playing fields of Eton, said, there is the stuff of which the British officers are composed. He hoped the hon. Gentleman would delay the expenditure of the money till the papers were prepared, which he believed was not yet the case, as there was a dispute between the Horse Guards and the War Office on the subject.


said, that nothing could be further from his wish than to interfere with freedom of discussion in that House; but the House would see that it would be impossible to take into account whether the Vote was carried in Committee by a large majority or a small one, or at what hour.


said, that he altogether disputed and denied any want of faith on his part. A discussion took place in Committee, and he said if those who opposed the Vote consented to pass it he would undertake that no expenditure should take place until the scheme was produced. The opposition was not withdrawn; and, therefore, when the hon. Member for Windsor asked him about it the following day, he told him that he was bound to no pledge on the subject. But he was perfectly ready to agree that the establishment of the new system should not take place before Midsummer, so as to give full room for the expression of opinion upon it.


said, he wished to ask the hon. Gentleman if he would state that the money should not be expended?


observed, that the Vote could be struck out of the Appropriation Bill, and he would suggest to the hon. Member for Windsor to be in his place.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

House in Committee; Mr. MASSEY in the Chair.

(In the Committee.)

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £25,000, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge of Civil Contingencies, to the 31st day of March, 1862."


said, he objected to the sum of £512 in payment of the fees for the patent making Lord Brougham's barony pass at death to his brother. He also objected to a payment of £150 for conveying the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from Holyhead to Kingstown, and moved, as the last-mentioned item stood first in the Vote, that it should be reduced by that sum.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the item of £150, for the Conveyance of the Earl of Carlisle (Lord Lieutenant of Ireland), between Kingstown and Holyhead, be omitted from the proposed Vote."


said, he thought the charge for the Lord Lieutenant was most extravagant. If the Lord Lieutenant wished to spend his Christmas holidays at his own residence, he certainly ought to go at his own cost. If, indeed, the money were to take him altogether out of Ireland he would not object to paying it.


said, he would beg leave to ask whether they could discuss the Vote, as it had been already expended?


said, though the money had been expended it had not yet been made good.


said, that the item was not an estimate, but an account rendered of money expended, and in all the expenditure of this country there were only two Votes of that description—one the Treasury chest, and the other the civil contingencies. Both these subjects had been before the Committee on Public Accounts, and, if the recommendations of that Committee with regard to civil contingencies were agreed to, it would never again occur that the House was deprived of the opportunity of discussing such Votes as the present before the money was paid. The recommendation of the Committee was that instead of the present mode of voting money already expended, and over which they had no control, the amount should be converted into a deposit account, and that the money should not be expended till the Vote had been submitted to the revision of Parliament. No doubt, the Report of that Committee would be acted upon by the Government for the future; and, in these circumstances, perhaps, they had better agree to the Vote before them—thus giving condonation for the past, while they took care to act differently for the future. At the same time, he must say there were items in the Vote which he regretted to see there.


said, he did not think that the position of that House with respect to the money voted under the head of Civil Contingencies was at all satisfactory, and he was glad that the Committee had objected to the system which had been so long in operation. The Committee would see that that was one of those cases in which the Executive Government wanted the assistance of the House. The charge of £150 for the Lord Lieutenant was one of those minor charges that were allowed to go on from year to year simply on the ground of usage, and which it would be invidious to disallow. Certainly the Government would be disposed to give full consideration to the Report of the Committee, as its recommendations would tend to increase the control of the House over these Votes.


said, he wanted to know, as the money had been spent, what would be the consequence of omitting this item?


said, one effect would be that Government would not again introduce such items.


said, another effect would be that if the House condemned it the noble Lord would, perhaps, refund the money.


said, he desired to ask whether it was a matter of usage to pay the fees for patents in connection with the peerage? If they voted upon the sum of £150 for the Lord Lieutenant, would they be precluded from voting afterwards upon the £512 for Lord Brougham's patent?


said, that by a recent Standing Order it was open for hon. Members in Committee to canvass every item of a Vote, if they thought fit to do so. The effect of the omission of any particular item would be to reduce the gross Vote, and he did not know of any rule of the House which would entitle him to decline putting a Motion such as that made by the hon. Member for Lambeth; but, undoubtedly, if he put the Motion the Committee would be precluded from afterwards considering the item of £512.


But how then can we arrive at the other items?


said, that it appeared to him that the Committee ought to discuss all those points to which it was proper their attention should be directed before coming to any Vote, and then some proposition might be made which would include in one aggregate reduction the sum by which they thought the Vote for next year ought to be reduced.


said, that as one of the Committee, he understood that it was their intention in the Report which they made to the House to leave the various items open to discussion.


said, he thought the convenient course would be to discuss the items of the Vote. In order to give full scope for that discussion he would recommend his hon. Friend the Member for Lambeth to withdraw his Amendment. If after discussion any hon. Member thought the sum of £75,000 too large a sum to place at the disposal of the Executive, be might, without reference to any particular item, move that the sum be reduced.


said, he would withdraw his Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Original Question again proposed,


said, he would move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £500. [An hon. Member: Make it £5,000.] He had no objection to make it £2,000 or £5,000. There were several items in the Vote which he disapproved. There was one charge of £280 for the conveyance of colonial Bishops in ships of war. There was another of £944. 4s. 8d. for the Commission for the Encouragement of Fine Arts. It would be a dear Commission at the odd 4s. 8d. He would say of them in another sense than the monument on Sir Charles Wren—

"Si monumentum queris"—


Order. The time for adjournment has come.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again this day, after the Order of the Day for the Committee on the East India Loan.


asked what business would be taken in the evening?


said, the Indian Loan would be taken first; after that they would go on with Supply.


And when shall I have an opportunity of going on with my circumspice?


said, his hon. Friend was not so oddly situated as a certain Mr. Andrews, who was stopped on one occasion, not in the middle of a sentence, but in the middle of a word. He presumed his hon. Friend would have an opportunity of taking up circumspice in the evening, when Mr. Speaker had again left the Chair.

Back to