§ Order for Committee read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."674
§ MR. HENNESSY
stated that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had told him, that in consequence of the debate on the American question taking place that night, he should not be able to grant him Thursday to bring on his Motion regarding Poland; but inasmuch as the American debate had gone off, he wished to ask the noble Lord, whether, as he would be able to get into Committtee on the Fortications Bill that night, there would be any objection, in the altered circumstances of the case, to accede to his proposal to devote Thursday to the Motion of which he had given notice?
§ MR. SPEAKER
intimated that the question had better be asked before going into Committee, on the Fortifications Bill.
§ SIR FRANCIS GOLDSMID
said, that before they went into Committee he wished to call the attention of hon. Members to one point. Whatever might be the first cost of the fortifications, it would bear no proportion to the expense they would entail on the country. According to the Report of the Defence Committee, the new works, would not be manned so extensively by Volunteers as was the opinion of the Commission. It might, he thought, he contended that the proportion of regular troops required would not be less than one third of the whole number, and that would involve an annual charge of £1,300,000. If that sum were capitalized, the assumed expense of the works would be just about one-fourth of what they would really cost the country. With regard to the Dover fortifications, the schedule of the Bill of last year gave the estimate for the three different works separately, and the second clause of the Act declared that there should not be expended in the year any greater sum than the total estimated cost, He found, however, by the Bill of the present year, which gave the total expenditure up to March last, the items were given together, and one of the works, the fortifications on the western heights, had grown from £149,000 last year to £191,000 this year, while the second clause of the present Bill imposed much smaller restrictions upon the expenditure than the Bill of last year.
said, he wished to appeal upon one matter to the noble Viscount, in the absence of the Irish officials. He would not again dwell upon the absurd extravagance of the fortification scheme, but he would observe that a Report had recently been made to the Government by 675 an eminent engineer respecting public works in Ireland, the construction of which would be of great value to the country, and would afford a means of relieving some of the distress unhappily prevailing in that country. That Report had been laid before the House too late in the Session for Parliament to take any action upon it, but he hoped the winter would not be allowed to pass over without some steps being taken to carry out the suggestions contained in that Report, the total expenditure recommended by which did not exceed £280,000.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Fortifications (Provision for Expenses) [Payment to Bank of England] considered in Committee.
That the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury be authorized to direct the payment to the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, out of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, of the sum of £600, as an allowance for the expense of management of the contributions to be received by the said Governor and Company under any Act of the present Session for providing a further sum towards defraying the expenses of constructing Fortifications for the protection of the Royal Arsenals and Dockyards, and the Ports of Dover and Portland, and of creating a Central Arsenal.
§ House resumed.
§ Resolution to be reported To-morrow, at Twelve of the clock.