§ The order of the day was read for going into a Committee of Supply to consider further of the Ordnance Estimates. On the question, That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair,
§ Mr. Creevey
said, he felt it his duty to object to the item of 5,900l. for the repairs of the island of Barbadoes. His reason for objecting to this provision, was because he found that a fund was already provided for the purpose to which it was proposed to apply this grant, namely the 4½ per cent duties. Although he had given particular notice of a motion on the subject of these duties, he could not avoid calling upon the House to reject the proposed grant, because he would show that there was a fund specifically provided for the object to which it was to be devoted. [At the request of the hon. member, the clerk here read an extract from the Journals of the House of the 16th of March, 1701, which stated that the House having on that day gone into a committee to consider of a provision for her Majesty's household, and the maintenance of her dignity, a petition was presented and read from a person named Burn, setting forth that the duties of 4½ per cent granted in 1663 for the purpose of keeping in repair the fortifications of the island of Barbadoes, were applied to other uses, and that in consequence, the fortifications and other public works were falling into decay, and were liable, in case of attack, to be taken by the enemy. The clerk further proceeded to read, that 859 on the, 24th of March of the same year, colonel Granville reported to the House the amendment made by the committee, that an address should be presented to her Majesty, praying that the 4½ per cent duties might be applied to the repairing of the fortifications of the island of Barbadoes, and that an annual account thereof might be laid before the House. Upon the 30th of March, 1702, secretary Vernon reported, that an address to the above effect having been presented to her Majesty, she had consented to the appropriation of the duties in the manner advised by the committee.] Those proceedings haying been read, the House must be Convinced that there was already a fund in existence for repairing the fortifications of the island of Barbadoes; and if he asked why this fund was not devoted to that object, the only answer he should receive was, that it was usual for ladies and gentlemen in this country, and particularly members of that House and their female relations, to divide it amongst themselves. It was under these circumstances that ministers, came down to the House, and called upon it to vote the proposed sum. He, for his part, could not agree to it. The House, he conceived, could have no doubt respecting the law on this point; but he knew, from experience, that when he should submit his proposition for opposing the grant, honourable members would vote against it, and in favour of themselves. He wished, however, to call the attention of the public to the nature of some of the late votes of that House. He could take upon himself to say, that the last votes on the Ordnance estimates were carried only by official men. This was the reason why the complaining public could get no redress from that House. But it might be said there were independent members in the late majorities. These independent members were persons who themselves might possess none of the public money, but wished to obtain it for their friends and relations. If one of these independent members were to step into the Treasury in the morning to ask a favour, he would be told that the Ordnance estimates would be discussed in the evening, and that his presence would be desirable. Could it be contended, that any member thus situated was not under the effect of undue influence? But he found there were not only official men voting in such large numbers, but. members who were directly and personally interested in the 860 question. It was a most abominable thing that a member should in that House vote for himself. There had been a motion respecting the three lords of the Admiralty. They had been thought by many to be unnecessary, and a division had taken place upon the question. At all events, it had been doubtful whether gentlemen of fortune should receive 1,000l. a year each for holding such offices. He wanted to know whether it was right that the lords of ther Admiralty should have voted that they, ought to have 1,000l a year. It was doubtful, whether their services were worth any thing. Ought they themselves, then, to have voted that their services were worth 1,000l. a year? What a farce it was to make laws for electors, and to enact that certain offices should deprive persons of the right of voting, for fear of indirect influence on the independence, of parliament, and yet that three lords of the Admiralty should vote themselves to be entitled to 1,000l. a year each! Mr. Hat-sell stated, that in the year 1604, on a question respecting the duke of Somerset's estates, Mr. Seymour had been found to be interested, and had therefore with drawn according to ancient rule and custom. Again, in 1644, sir R. Preston was stated to have had a kind of interest in the Yarmouth Harbour bill; and having admitted that he had an interest, he also had withdrawn. Mr. Hatsell said, that the rule which had been acted on in those two cases had not been strictly observed, except in elections; but that in other cases it had been neglected, contrary, not only to the rules of decency, but of justice. He was quite of opinion with Mr. Hatsell. The noble marquis (Londonderry), who was not now in the House, had on a former night complained that the business of the House was impeded, and the rules of proceeding were violated; but he (Mr. C.) would say, that they were following the strict rule and line of proceeding. No man violated the forms of the House more than the noble lord himself. The forms of parliament were the ways and means of the opposition; they were the main stays of the country; and members on his side would be much to blame if they did not avail themselvest of them. His object was, while the extraordinary industry and ability of the hon. member for Aberdeen which were above; all praise of his, and which exceeded anything of the kind that had ever been known in, parliament—while his hon. friend was 861 single-handed waging war against the confederated departments of office, his object was, to show the machinery which was opposed to his hon. friend. He hoped this would be made obvious, and that the unanimous voice of the country would be raised against it. Not till then would justice be done to the indefatigable industry of his hon. friend; nor would the country till then reap the benefit of his industry. These were the reasons for which he moved an amendment; and if any member should oppose it, he should be at a loss to know the construction of his understanding. He begged leave to move,
"That it appears to this House, that in the Ordnance Estimates for the present year, there is a charge of 5,900l. for repairs and other services connected with the Ordnance for the island of Barbadoes; and as it appears likewise to this House by reference to its Journals, that there is a certain duty granted by an act of the said island of Barbadoes 'for the repairs and building of fortifications, and defraying all other public charges incident to the government there,' this House is of opinion it cannot, consistently with its duty, vote 5,900l. out of the public money to defray the said charge for the island of Barbadoes, until it is satisfied that the tax or duty, specifically imposed on the said island for such purposes, has been faithfully applied, and is found to be inadequate in amount."
Sir C. Long
contended, that the grant, in the first instance, was made unconditionally. The grants respecting all the islands were made to the king and his heirs for ever, on condition that the Crown would afford security to the settlers. He was willing to admit that it was one condition of the grant that the fortifications should be repaired, but the fund was for an entire century applied, with the knowledge of parliament, precisely as it was now intended to be applied. Having for so long a period been so applied without any doubt having been expressed as to the propriety of its application; he thought it was too hard to raise a question upon it now. The application of the fund was known to the committees of that House. During the time of queen Anne, the fund was applied to the repairs of fortifications: the fortresses having been neglected* and much dilapidated, the inhabitants applied to the Crown on the subject; and in consequence of their re- 862 quest, the fortifications were repaired. For the last one hundred years, every lawyer in this country, who held the rank of attorney or solicitor-general had given it as his opinion, that the funds might be legally applied at the pleasure of the king.
Sir F. Burdett
said, that the right hon. gentleman appeared to him to have made out no case whatever. The question before the House lay in a very narrow compass. The right hon. gentleman denied that the application of the fund was confined to the repairing of fortresses. Whether the fact was so or not, was a matter of minor importance: the question was, whether it was better to apply the funds to the repairing of fortresses, or to the corruption of members of that House? The right hon. gentleman said, that it had been so for a century back. That only showed the necessity of something being done to check the influence introduced into that House, or to render that House at least less liable to such influence. What practice of a more flagrant kind could be mentioned than the practice of members of that House transferring public money into their own pockets? The long practice of members putting public money into their own pockets was no argument why it should longer, be endured. Let the fund have been granted for whatever purposes the right hon. gentleman might allege; let it be at the disposal of the Crown or not; still, like every other grant, it must have been intended for the benefit, riot for the detriment of the public. It became parliament, therefore, to see how it was applied.
It was admitted to be subject to the control of parliament. Though parliament had not interfered, yet the accounts having been laid before parliament, the principle was admitted that they had a right to interfere, and it was a duty they owed the public to take care that this money should no longer be misapplied,
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, that the motion would apply to the other islands as well as to Barbadoes. With respect to the charge of corruption, the character of his right hon. friend was a sufficient answer to any imputation of that kind.
§ Mr. Monck
contended, that the fund^ should be applied to colonial purposes, and should not be made the source of corrupt influence. With respect to Ina right of' parliament to interfere, it could not be doubted. If parliament had no 863 right to interfere in the present case, they could have had no right to interfere with respect to the droits of the admiralty; yet during the last session a very salutary act was passed with respect to those Droits. It was said that the situation of Barbadoes was altered, and that the expense of its establishments was increased. That was a good reason for the motion of his hon. friend; for if the expense of the island was great, the funds ought to be applied to meet that expense, instead of being turned to improper purposes. How was faith to be kept with the public creditor, unless the strictest economy was practised, and every possible fund was made available to the public service?
§ The House divided: For Mr. Creevey's Amendment, 58; Against it, 86.
|List of the Minority.|
|Barham, J. F.||James, W.|
|Blake, sir F.||Johnson, col.|
|Benyon, B.||Lemon, sir W.|
|Baring, H.||Lambton, J. G.|
|Barnard, visct.||Leonard, T. B.|
|Becher, W. W.||Milton, visct.|
|Brougham, H.||Maberly, J.|
|Bury, visct.||Monck, J. B.|
|Burdett, sir F.||Milbank, M.|
|Birch, J.||Newport, sir J.|
|Concannon, L.||Martin, J.|
|Calcraft, J.||Ossulston, lord|
|Curwen, J. C.||Price, R.|
|Calvert, C.||Philips, G.|
|Chaloner, R.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Chetwynd, G.||Ramsden, J. C.|
|Crompton, S.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Colburne, N. R.||Rice, T. S.|
|Duncannon, visct.||Ridley, sir M. W.|
|Denman, T.||Ricardo, D.|
|Denison, W. J.||Sefton, earl of|
|Davis, T. H.||Stanley, lord|
|Dickenson, W.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Ellice, E.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Folkestone, visct.||Wharton, J.|
|Fergusson, sir R. C.||Wood, M.|
|Guise, sir W.||Wilson, sir R.|
|Heron, sir R.||Yorke, sir J.|
|Harbord, E.||Creevey, T,|
|Hutchinson, C..||Bennet, hon. H. G,|
§ The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply to consider further of the Ordnance Estimates, Mr. Ward moved, "That 94,356l. 14s. 9d. be granted on account of the Balance for the Pay of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, for Great Britain, and of Non-commissioned Officers and Gunners of the late Invalid Battalion, retained in the several Garrisons and Batteries, for the year 1821, after allowing for a Vote of Credit 864 of 150,000l. granted on ths 19th April, 1821, making in the whole 244,356l. 14s. 9d."
§ Mr. Monck
said, it would be recollected, that in the last session 100,000l. had been voted for defraying the expenses of the coronation. That vote had been passed under circumstances very different from those which existed at present. At that time it was not known whether her Majesty would return to this country and consequently, the expenses of the coronation had been calculated under the idea that she would not be present. He, therefore, wished the chancellor of the exchequer to give him an answer to two questions. The first question was, whether any provision had been made for the part which her Majesty was to have in the ensuing coronation: the second was, whether any additional expense would in consequence be incurred? He had heard a rumour—but it was so scandalous that he could not attach the slightest credit to it—that while seats and accommodations were providing for the peeresses, not any were providing for her Majesty. Her Majesty was as much Queen of the country as his Majesty was King. Any vote for such a ceremonial, however large it might be, Should be willingly acceded to by the country, if her Majesty were allowed to form a part in it; but if she were not, and if a grand national fete was to be converted into an engine for the humiliation and degradation of the Queen, he did not know of any measure which would be more universally unacceptable to the country.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, it was not the intention of government, in the present session to ask for any additional vote for the expenses of the coronation.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, the 100,000l. voted would cover the expenses already foreseen; but, when the accounts were made up, a further sum might be necessary for expenses which had not been calculated on.
said, there could not be a vote of a single shilling proposed to the House on which it was not competent for every member to ask such questions as he thought for the benefit of the public 865 service. It was the custom of their ancestors to tack together questions of grievance and of supply. It would be both wise and salutary to restore the practice, and not to allow a shilling to be voted, without placing in array the grievances of the country. Though it might be said, as James the first did say, that the House by such a proceeding, was sending an oyez through the country for grievances, still he thought that it would be as beneficial to the preservation, as it had been to the establishment of the liberties of the country.
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, that though he fully admitted that all grievances could be entered upon when the House was in a committee of supply, he still thought it would exceed all the ingenuity of the gentlemen opposite to apply that principle to the present case; unless, indeed, they were prepared to contend, that it would be a public grievance if her Majesty was not crowned at the ensuing coronation. It appeared clear to him that it required an act of the Crown to authorize the coronation of her Majesty; for though her Majesty was, in the eye of the law, the consort of the King, yet there was no prerogative of the Crown more, sound, or more indisputable, than that it rested with his Majesty to decide whether his consort should participate in the honours of the coronation or not. He might, however, as well now say, that neither he, nor any of the other servants of his Majesty were prepared to recommend an act of the Crown to include her Majesty in the ensuing ceremonial. If the gentlemen opposite wished to revive the dying, or, as he should rather have said, the dead embers of that painful controversy, which had recently agitated the country, he was content to leave the responsibility to their discretion, or, more properly speaking, to their indiscretion.
§ Mr. Brougham
said, that though any matter of grievance might with perfect order be discussed in a committee of supply, he should abstain from entering into the question which had been raised. He only begged to protest against being supposed to assent to the principle that the Queen had not a right to be crowned. That question not being regularly before him, he did not wish to give an opinion one way or the other.
§ The resolution having been again read,
§ Mr. Hume
rose, not for the purpose of 866 proposing a reduction of the men in the corps, but of the expenses connected with the staff of it. The present estimates were for 9 battalions of 8 companies of 60 men each, making a total of 4,320 men. Now he should propose that, instead of these, there should be six battalions, with 10 companies, each having 72 men. This alteration would save the expense of a colonel-commandant receiving 1,000l. a year, and of several other officers with large remunerations. The reduction of three batalions, creating in itself a great saving, would diminish the amount of contingencies: so that altogether a saving of 25,000l. might be effected in this vote. He concluded by moving an amendment to that effect.
said it had been a mooted question whether in the artillery it was better to retain the officers and dismiss the men, or dismiss the officers and retain the men. The present master-general of the Ordnance was of opinion, that the former was the better plan, owing to the expense of an artillery officer's education, and the science and experience which it was essential he should possess. The Finance Committee of 1817 were also of a similar opinion.
§ Mr. Hume
said, he was aware that artillery officers should have all the practice possible, but in fact they had now no practice, and from the length of service of most of the officers, if they were put on half pay, there was no doubt that when called into activity at any future time, they would be perfectly efficient; so that the present vote was not one of efficiency, but simply of expense.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
maintained, that if the proposed reduction were adopted, the service would be full of officers who were too old for employment. This had been the case m the peninsular war, where, until the duke of Wellington had taken measures to prevent it, men who had not sufficient vigour of body had been at the head of the artillery. At last lieutenant-colonel Dixon, who was only captain of" artillery was placed in command of that corps, and had under him a force of 7,000 men. Lieutenant-colonel Wood also commanded at Waterloo a force of 7,000 artillerymen, and 6,000 horses.
§ The committee divided: For the Amendment, 16; Against it, 43.
|List of the Minority.|
|Bennet, H, G.||Chaloner, R.|
|Chetwynd, G.||Newport, sir J.|
|Creevey, T.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Denman, T.||Ricardo, D.|
|Guise, sir W.||Smith, hon. R.|
|Harbord, hon. E.||Western, C.|
|Martin, J.||Hume, J.|
|Monck, J. B.|
§ On the resolution. That 8,377l. 4s. 9d. be granted for the Pay of the Medical Establishment of the Military Department of the Ordnance,"
§ Mr. Hume
complained of the expense in the medical department, which was at present nine times greater than it was. There were only five surgeons in 1792, and there were now forty-one, although the increase of men in the artillery had been only 1,200. Thinking that the director-general and his assistant, with the surgeon-general and his assistants, might well be reduced, he felt it his duty to move that 3,778l. should be deducted from the sum proposed.
observed, that there was no medical establishment attached to the artillery in 1792, each corps being attended by some medical practitioner, in whatever station it was quartered; but this system was found by the Ordnance-board to be so inefficient and expensive, that it was deemed expedient to adopt the present plan.
§ The committee divided: For the Amendment 18. Against it, 47.
|List of the Minority.|
|Bennet, H. G.||Martin, J.|
|Bright, H.||Monck, J. B.|
|Chaloner, R.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Chetwynd, G.||Portman, E. B.|
|Harbord, hon. E.||Ricardo, D.|
|Heron, sir R.||Smith, hon. R.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Yorke, sir J.|
|Hutchinson, C.||Bernal, R.|
§ On the resolution, "That 6,610l. 9s. 1d. be granted for the Pay of Civil Officers, Professors, and Masters, of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich,"
§ Mr. Hume
said that the whole sum voted for that establishment this year had been 15,047l., and in the last three years and a half (the time allowed for completing the education of a cadet) it amounted to 52,655l. Now the public had actually benefitted by the services of only 30 pupils; so that each cadet promoted cost for his education 1,756l. He begged to know why the public was to con- 868 tinue to pay for the education of 150 young men, when only 9 annually could be introduced into the service?
§ Sir U. Burgh
maintained that the greatest economy had been observed at Woolwich, by a reduction of both masters and pupils. The estimate for this, was 1,700l. less than last year.
explained the manner in which promotion took place in the artillery, stating that the number of cadets would be so gradually reduced, by first appointing them second lieutenants on half pay, that they were likely to be soon reduced to 100, and until then, no new cadets were to be admitted.
§ Sir U. Burgh
asserted that the education of each cadet cost no more than 400l. a year, and calculated that, by next year, the cadets would be reduced to 100.
observed, that if the papers on the table were to be relied upon, it was as plain as a pike-staff that the education of each cadet cost 1,775l.
§ The committee divided: For the Amendment, 20; Against it, 63.
|List of the Minority.|
|Anson, hon. G.||Martin, J.|
|Bernal, R.||Monck, J. B.|
|Bright, H.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Chetwynd, G.||Portman, E. B.|
|Calcraft, J.||Ricardo, D.|
|Harbord, hon. E.||Smith, hon. R.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Smith, R.|
|Hume, J.||Williams, W.|
|Heron, sir R.||TELLER.|
|Hutchinson, C.||Bennet, hon. H. G.|
§ On the resolution, "That 39,124l. "7s. 7d. be granted to his Majesty, on account of the Balance of the Extraordinaries of the Office of Ordnance, for Great Britain, for the year 1821, after allowing for 232,000l. to be raised by the sales of Old Stores, Lands, Buildings, &c."
§ Mr. Hume
said, he had so many objections to offer to the numerous items of which the extraordinaries were composed, that he scarcely knew where to begin. Although the vote now proposed was only for the small sum of 39,124l. 7s. 1d. the committee were in fact to sanction the total charge of 271,124l., the amount of Ordnance extraordinaries., The system followed in this department of allowing the value of old stores to be deducted 869 from the estimate was bad, as it prevented the gross amount from appearing before the committee as it ought to do. Whatever the produce of old stores might be, it ought to be credited in another account, and the vote taken for the total expenditure; and he hoped that course would be adopted in future.—The committee had reason to complain that the hon. member had not acted agreeably to the rule which he said had been adopted in his department of particularizing what the repairs were. At Newfoundland, for instance, 1,400l. were charged for repairs; at Barbadoes 2,900l.; at Gibraltar, 5,800l.; at Malta, 2,400l.; in Scotland, 2,900l.; in the Eastern districts, 2,200l.; at Gravesend, 1,100l.; at Woolwich, 12,000l. &c. Parliament ought to be informed whether these sums were expended for materials, for new works, or for additions to the old, or for what specific purpose. It must be evident, that without such specification there could be no check or control by this committee. The mode adopted by the government was one which tended to conceal, rather than explain the nature of the different charges. There were large sums charged for every one of the colonies under the heads of "repairs," and for "current services;" but, in time of profound peace, who in this House could state what these services and repairs were? The whole, therefore, he contended, was delusive. At present four estimates were submitted for the expenses of each colony. He thought it would be much better for the information of the committee to have the total charge of each colony submitted in one view, under different heads. There was a military, a naval, and an ordnance estimate; and, by and by, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would require a vote for civil contingencies and other expenses. By this means, the enormous and ruinous charge of the colonies by being divided in estimate was kept from the knowledge of the country. He hoped that next year a more simple and intelligible mode would be adopted.
Where almost all the items were objectionable, he scarcely knew which to select. But he would ask, why should 7,500l. be charged for repairs and current service, at Gibraltar, when a large revenue was collected there expressly for that purpose, without the sanction of parliament, and never brought under its control? The revenue of Gibraltar in 870 the last year (1819) for which we have a return was 117,483 dollars, or 26,433l. for the express purpose of repairing and defraying the expenses of that garrison. Why should parliament now vote 7,500l. for repairs, and 1,570l. for civil establishment, without having the account of the expenditure of so large a local revenue? In 1792, the revenue was 5,255l.and paid all the expenses, amounting then to 4,588l. What circumstances could now in time of peace, require five times that amount? The charge for Malta was 5,900l. for repairs, exclusive of 1,150l. for pay of civil officers in the Ordnance department alone, when the revenue of that island exceeded 100,000l., and we had no knowledge of, or control over it. In the Ionian islands, 3,000l. were charged for current service, exclusive of 930l. for the pay of the civil establishment. By treaty, the revenues of the islands were to pay all the military charges. Why, whilst these were squandered away improperly, should the people of England, therefore, be obliged to pay for these establishments? The same observations would apply to the expenditure of the Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon, the Mauritius, Trinidad, &c. He thought it a most unaccountable neglect in parliament to allow the large revenues of these colonies, which, if properly applied, would be nearly sufficient to maintain them, to be wasted at the discretion of the ministers and their governors, without the cognizance of parliament; and that the taxes of this country should be taken to pay for such charges as those now made. Surely when economy was so desirable, these expenses should be more closely looked after.
He could not avoid observing 500l. charged for repairs at Heligoland, that precious spot, which cost us so much, and could not be of the smallest use. What could the Ordnance have to do there, when almost all the duty the storekeeper had to perform, was to deliver powder for a morning and evening gun? Can any man believe that there is the least disposition to economy when such extravagance is permitted? and the small spot of Heligoland was only an example of the rest of the colonies. When the place belonged to the Danes, he understood; that in peace a subaltern's party formed the garrison, and the whole expense; was a few hundred pounds. Under, us there is a lieutenant-governor and. staff 'establishment, at an expense of 1,760l., 871 a garrison of near 100 men, and the total charge, the particulars of which he held in his hand,; exceeded 11,000l. sterling. Surely such profusion was not to be tolerated any longer.
He saw. 2,000l. charged for repairs at the Cinque Ports, an expenditure he could not in any way account for, unless it was of the same kind with*that under the head of Gravesend and Tilbury. By the 14th Report of the Military Commissioners it appears, that staff pay of officers Was charged under the head "Estimate for the Forage and Supply of draft Horses arid Contingencies for the Artillery;" and in the same manner, there was a charge of 1,100l. for repairs at Graves-end and Tilbury, which the committee might fairly suppose were for buildings or repairs; but great part, if not the whole, was expended for the pay of an establishment under an engineer, and not for repairs. At Gravesend there was major Groves as storekeeper, a clerk of the cheque, and a clerk at a charge of 872l. civil -allowances and private servants; besides, lieutenant-colonel sir George Hoste was commanding engineer with 119l. of staff pay; a clerk of works at 182l. 10s.; a foreman of carpenters, of labourers, and superintendent at about 91l. each per annum; 4 boatmen at 52l. each, and 2 or 3 old pensioners, although there had not been a gun at Gravesend since lord Sidmouth's circular after the Manchester transaction. All these officers had houses furnished at a great expense, or house-rent allowed them at or near Gravesend, although there were good quarters empty in Tilbury Fort, where the duty, if any, was to be performed. In this manner engineers, on full and extra staff pay, were kept up at every place abroad and at home, where there was the smallest plea for them; and under them useless establishments were thus kept up and paid for, under the head of repairs &c. There was also a master gunner kept there, although there was not one gun. These establishments, he understood, had little else to do but to attend the private service of their officers.
If any department ever called for exposition and correction, it was the Ordnance, in which charges of this kind were made under the head of repairs; and where engineers were employed in peace on the staff, contrary to the opinion' of the military commissioners and other authorities. There was a large expense incurred 872 for the ferry at Gravesend, but no such item appeared in the estimates. It was, he supposed, also entered in some place under "repairs." Perhaps the hon. member could inform the House whether an offer had not been made to keep up the ferry by contract, at about one-fourth of the expense now incurred, and also, why that offer was refused, and an expensive and almost useless establishment kept up. There was a contract for the conveyance of troops to and from Gravesend to London, and for their embarking and disembarking there. And why should not the ferry be also supported by contract? Only, he believed, because it would lessen patronage, and be done at less expense by contract! He understood that of the whole expenditure at that place, only one-fourth was necessary, and that the reduction might be easily made. Be easily made.
There was another improper proceeding in concealing the expenditure, of the Ordnance craft. In neither of the -estimates, ordinary or extraordinary, did any charge appear under that head; and yet the expenditure in last year exceeded 19,000l. He had moved for a return of these Ordnance vessels, which was now in his hand, and showed 32 regular floating magazines and Ordnance vessels belonging to the department, and kept up at an expense of 11,276l. paid by the Ordnance, and 4,599l. by the Navy; and there were also nine other hired vessels employed by the Ordnance, at an expense of upwards of 3,200l. a year, but not stated in the return. The Committee of Finance, in their ninth Report (p. 94) had condemned the system of keeping them up, and recommended them to be hired, as other transports were, by contract. The following is an extract: "The committee see no reason whatever against the Ordnance or Transport board resorting to the methods of tender and contract for the building and hiring of vessels, however constructed; and they believe themselves borne out by experience in declaring that such methods will be found much less expensive than building, and afterwards supporting these vessels under the immediate superintendance of a public body." The reason why that recommendation has not been attended to, could best be stated by the hon. member. But he believed there were two sufficient reasons for the Ordnance board not attending to the suggestions of the finance committee. —The change would save money to the 873 public; and their patronage would be reduced. In these craft alone, there were 74 freemen of Queen borough (as he had before fully stated to the House) who actually received 6,640l. a year pay and allowances, and many of them houses also. Amongst the Ordnance craft there were 14 floating magazines, in which, exclusive of the Ordnance establishment, there were 87 officers and boys belonging to the navy at an expense of 4,599l. for the present year. He had no hesitation in Stating, that in time of profound peace, floating magazines were useless, unless in one or two situations; and it appeared by evidence before the Finance Committee, in their 3rd Report (Appendix, p. 96) "that so little calculated were floating magazines to preserve the powder in a serviceable state, that the comptroller of the laboratory never allowed issues to be made from them until the article had been dusted and restoved." After such testimony, what excuse could be offered for keeping up so large an establishment of these vessels, and still more for concealing it under some item of repairs or contingencies?
He feared he should fatigue the committee with his statements, but he must call their attention to the powder-works at Faversham and Waltham Abbey. In the extraordinaries, the sum of 3,300l. is charged for repairs and labour at Faversham, and 1,207l. for the pay of the civil establishment in the ordinary estimates; I but, like most of the other returns it was not correct. The superintendent of gunpowder, captain Mayling, who has a salary of 200l. a year, with house and one private servant, and other items, are not entered. He held a return in his hand of the correct establishment now mentioned at Faversham, amounting to 1,604l. being the same number of persons, with the exception of one third clerk, as were kept up in 1814. He had in his hand also a statement of the expense of an establishment kept up under an engineer, at an expense of 846l. a year, in which there were only two artisans; all the others were officers, consequently with nothing to superintend or to do,—all this put down under the head of "repairs." How long were such proceedings to be permitted? At that time there' were 14 or 15,000 barrels of gunpowder manufactured yearly, but since-1817 there had not been one made. The water-mills were let to Mr. Hall of Dartfordin 1817, for 360l. a year, 874 and the horse-mills were pulled down and sold; and yet the establishment was kept; up on the enormous scale of the war. At present there was nothing to do, but the refining of some sulphur and Salt-petre, much of which had been sold, but which could be done equally well at Waltham Abbey. It was worth notice, that captain Chapman, when secretary to the master-general, held the office of inspector of the manufactories of powder, although he was resident in London and seldom visited them. In 1817, Mr. John Ashwood, master worker of gun-powder at Faversham, and one of the best judges in the kingdom, was pensioned off at 153l. a year, although in perfect health, and both able and willing to do any duty, as he (Mr. H.) was informed, to make room for captain Mayling, a relation of the master-general, and a captain on the full pay of the horse-artillery, who was appointed in December 1818 to Faversham, and still remained there, at a salary of 200l. a year, with an elegant house and a servant &c. allowed at the public expense.—Such a practice of employing servants paid by the public, being contrary to the recommendation of the commissioners of military inquiry, and contrary to the good interests of the public. The whole of the houses of the storekeeper, inspector, &c. were more like palaces; and all at Feversham were living en prince, whilst the country at large was groanig under the load of taxes to support them, This establishment ought to be entirely broken up, and the works, houses, and land sold, which he knew they could be immediately to great advantage. He had been more: particular on the details of Faversham, which he pledged himself to be correct, and he gave it as a fair example of the establishments of the Ordnance abroad and at home.
For Waltham Abbey 8,025l. was charged for repairs and labour, exclusive of a civil establishment, in the ordinary estimate, at an expense of upwards of 2,000l. a year. In 1796, the civil establishment at these works cost 786l. in all. In time of war 25 or 26,000 barrels of gun-powder were manufactured but since 1819, only 1,000 barrels had been made yearly. It would scarcely be credited, that the establishment; of officers was now greater by one clerk of survey and one clerk, than it was in 1810, the midst of war. Here also was a large establishment of clerk of works, overseer, and inspector of machinery, fore foremen 875 &c under major By, the engineer, on extra staff pay, who lived, as he understood, the greater part, if not the whole of his time, at Frant, near Tunbridge Wells, and went to the works every quarter to sign his quarterly papers, and to receive his travelling expenses: all this was charged under "repairs!" In short, in every department, the same system of waste existed, and called for the immediate interposition of the committee.
He would say a few words about government military manufactures. The committee must know that the commissioners of military inquiry, and every committee which had noticed the manufactures, bad recommended their cessation or reduction. Pie trusted there was gun-powder enough in stores to last for 25 years. Indeed, some hundred thousand pounds weight had been lately sold, which was a proof there was already too much. Then, he would ask, why employ a single mill at present? Why keep up an establishment which cost 15,000l. a year, exclusive of the expense of stores to make 1,000 barrels annually, to be afterwards sold for a half or a quarter the cost price? He should, therefore, in addition to the entire reduction of Feversham, propose a very great reduction if not the entire abolition, of Waltham Abbey. He would observe, that England was no longer in a situation to fear the want of a supply of gun-powder to any amount, as there were many large manufactories ready to supply, in a very short time, any quantity on any emergency, and of the best possible quality, much cheaper than government could make it. There was 6,000l. charged for artificers and labourers at the laboratories at Woolwich, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, exclusive of large civil establishments there. These two last establishments were formed in time of war, and it was impossible to imagine what there could be to do at either of these places, to require a tenth of the expense. At present there could not be either preparation, delivery, or receipt of stores, to require such an expensive establishment. The charge at Woolwich, the great laboratory, might be considerable, but certainly trifling at the other places. He had been informed that there were only ten persons employed at Plymouth, and if he allowed the same number at Portsmouth, he would ask in what way 6,000l. could be expended for artificers and labourers? The expense of these three places, although so 876 widely separate, had been joined together, and he had little doubt, with the intention, at least with the effect, of preventing the knowledge of how much was expended at each place.
There was 40,000l. for stores, which he thought a very large sum, when the magarzines were so full of every article, that they had been selling them off for the last two years. It appeared that, within the last few months, stores which had cost l00,000l., had sold for less than one-tenth that sum; and as there was no appearance of active service, stores should be very sparingly purchased, as they would only spoil in store. Amongst the miscellaneous charges, there were several very extraordinary ones. In one line was 15,000l. for contingencies for the military corps. Who could pass such a charge without explanation? There was a charge of 2,734l. for the Director-general and field train, establishment. It appeared that the director-general alone received 1,003l., and a Mr. Commissary Stace 30s. per day; and he would ask where the train was, and for what? Surely such a charge ought to be put an end to, as 1,550l. for the command of a department which cost in-all 2,734l., if we talked at all of economy. On the whole, after a careful examination of the items forming this large sum of 271,124l. for Ordnance extraordinaries, he was confident that 100,000l. might be immediately saved out of that amount, if that attention was given to the several charges which the situation of the country required; and he thought that that reduction might be effected without injuring the
† It should be known that the daily allowance to Mr. Thomas Gibson, chief commissary, the predecessor of Mr. Stace, was only 10s. a day; but the pay was increased to 30s. a day when Mr. Stace 5 was appointed, and that extravagant pay has been continued ever since. Mr. Stace; has also a pension of 365l. a year from-the Ordnance at the king's pleasure. 877 efficiency of any one department, if the board would allow their love of patronage not to influence them. It was impossible for any man who would give himself time to inquire into the items, and in particular, respecting those he had pointed out to the committee, not to come to the conclusions he had done. At the same time, he was ready to confess, that although he had obtained many official returns explanatory of the Ordnance accounts, the committee were comparatively ignorant of almost every item in the extraordinaries. He could rely on the general accuracy of his statements, on authority upon which he placed perfect confidence; and under these impressions, he was disposed to oppose the vote altogether, until the estimates should be submitted in a more intelligible shape and reduced amount.
*General Sir Anthony Fairing ton is director-general of the field train, for which he receives per ann. £ s. He is colonel-commandant of a battalion of artillery 1,003 0 He has a pension also as senior officer of the artillery 456 5 Total annual allowance, 2,462 5
stated, that the sums for repairs were not for new works, but for works some time begun. He thought that the present arrangement of the estimates, where the items were under separate heads, was better than the plan proposed by the hon. member. He was not surprised that the hon. member wished the removal of the powder establishment at Feversham, &c. as that idea had entered his own imagination three years ago; but, on going down to Feversham, he found that the expense of removal would be greater than that for keeping them in their present state for several years. He defended the field-train on the ground of its being under the command of an old officer of eighty, who had performed meritorious services.
§ Sir W. Congreve
would state to the House what had been the origin of the establishments at Feversham and Wal-tham-abbey. At the close of the American war, the powder furnished by contractors, or otherwise purchased, was found to be of so bad a quality, that it was determined, by Mr. Pitt and the duke of Richmond, to have these establishments instituted. Not only had the article of gunpowder been greatly increased in value and quality, but the saving to the country had been immense since these establishments were founded. The profit realized in consequence, from 1789 to 1810, had been immense: 750,000l. was the actual profit which could now be realized by the sale of all the powder in the stores, after undergoing a process of regeneration lately discovered.
observed that the hon. clerk 878 of the Ordnance had not answered all the objections of his hon. friend, and argued that there was no department which stood more in need of regulation than the Ordnance, the accounts being extremely irregular and confused.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 99; Noes 53.
|List of the Minority.|
|Anson, hon. G.||Martin, J.|
|Barrett, S. M.||Milton, lord|
|Barnard, lord||Monck, J. B.|
|Bennet, hon. H.G.||Moore, Peter|
|Beaumont, W.||Newport, sir J.|
|Brougham, H.||O'Callaghan, col.|
|Bright, H.||Ord, W.|
|Calcraft, J.||Palmer, F.|
|Chaloner, R.||Parnell, sir H.|
|Crompton, S.||Pryce, P.|
|Crespigny, sir W. De||Ramsden, J. C.|
|Colborne, R.||Ricardo, D.|
|Concannon, T.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Denman, T.||Sefton, lord|
|Frankland, T.||Smith, hon. R.|
|Griffiths, J. W.||Smith, G.|
|Grant, J. P.||Taylor, M. A.|
|Guise, sir W.||Tierney, rt. hon. G.|
|Heron, sir R.||Tremayne. J. H.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Townshend, lord C.|
|Hutchinson, C,||Western, C.|
|James, W.||Whitbread, W.|
|Johnston, col.||Whitbread, S.|
|Lambton, J. G.||Wilson, sir R.|
|Lennard, T.||Wood, M.|
|Macdonald, J.||Bernal, R.|
§ On the resolution "That 111,837l. 2s. the Charge of the Office of Ordnance for Ireland, for the Year 1821,"
§ Mr. Hume
begged to offer a few observations on the estimate now before the committee. The total charge for the Ordnance in 1792 was 34,630l.,* and in this year it was 111,837l. The difference was too great to pass unexplained. When the master-general in England assumed the superintendance of the Irish Ordnance department, it was understood that the expense at Dublin would have been reduced to a very small sum by the transfer of business; and the increase of clerks in the Pall Mall establishment has been attributed to the addition of the Irish business. The estimates for Ireland were so unsatisfactory, that he had called for the particulars of some of the items; and it was to be regretted, that he had not called for*Ordinary estimate, 22,817l.; extraordinary, 11,813l. Total, 34,630l. Vide Commons Journal Ireland.879 an explanation of them all, as the results of those obtained were so very extraordinary. The amount of the civil establishment at Dublin is put down in the estimates first laid upon the table at 7,661l., but when a return of particulars in detail is obtained, the charge for pay and allowances is 11,149l., with 1,010l. for assistant clerks; and for 19 officers and clerks at eleven out-stations, 4,781l. instead of 3,349l,: a total of 16,940l. for civil officers; whilst the pay for all the artificers and labourers employed under the Ordnance in Dublin, and at all the out-stations in Ireland amounts to only 8,160l. In this amount is included the pay of the master artificers, foremen, and foreman of labourers, and likewise the pay of the whole of the private servants, (about twenty) allowed to the civil department, which will reduce the amount actually for labour to a very small sum. This practice of keeping private servants for the officers at the public expense, ought not to be permitted one month longer. It is usual in public and private establishments, to have the largest expenditure for labour; but here, the salaries of the superintendant officers amount to four times more than the pay of the men. Is that right? There cannot be a difference of opinion in the mind of any man, however little versed in Ordnance expenditure, if he will examine the returns, that two-thirds of this charge for the civil officers in Dublin and the out-stations might be saved to the country. It is worth observation, that the treasurer in Dublin receives a salary of 575l. a year, and that the former treasurer. Mr. James Allan retired, after only five years service, on a pension of 500l. a year, which he now enjoys. Is there any attention to economy in this?
All these civil officers have also quarters provided for them at a great expense, or have house-rent allowed them. The officers kept up at the out-stations, are, in proportion to their duty and former rates of pay, all overpaid, and many of them altogether useless. At Balincolig, for instance, the superintendent and storekeeper alone receive 975l. a year between them, besides quarters. This place had been selected for a manufactory of gunpowder, but is now abandoned.
The propriety of ever establishing such a government manufactory in a country so frequently disturbed, is much called in question, by the best informed, when we 880 had the works of Feversham and Waltharn Abbey; but all agree as to the extravagant rates at which the works were purchased and extended, and others erected, and also the improvident manner in which were they carried on, and the land taken on lease. The country pay to C. H. Leslie the large sum of 1,275l., for annual rent of a few acres of land on which the artillery barracks and gun-powder manufactory are erected. Both are now unemployed and useless; both should be sold, and the ground returned to the owner or let, and the expense of the establishments saved, particularly the extravagant allowances of 975l. to only two persons of that establishment. There is scarcely an Ordnance out-station where there is one hour's duty for any officer in the day, and the salaries of all that are kept, should be proportionably reduced. It ought to be kept in mind, that if the number of these civil establishments, and the amount of their salaries were increased with the increase of business during the war, the reduction of these civil officers ought to keep pace with the reduction of the army. But no such practice is followed, or proportion observed by the Ordnance board. In the same manner, 7,880l. is paid for rent of land for barracks, and batteries, &c. required perhaps during the war; many of these are now unnecessary, and by selling the buildings, the rent, the establishments, and the repairs would be saved. For example, should the public continue to pay rent for land for brick works at Youghall, when bricks are no longer required, or likely to be required for any public buildings? There are charges also in this estimate to the amount of 31,414l. for civil and military contingencies stated in two lines, but no kind of explanation of what nature these charges are. In the same manner 12,540l. and 2,829l. are charged under the head of repairs of store-houses, barracks, &c. Who can tell whether these amounts are expended for repairs, or for the support of useless establishments as at Feversham, Gravesend, and other places in Great Britain? The large amount, however, under that head, shows the necessity of revising all these establishments, particularly as the committee will be called upon hereafter to vote 88,832l. for barracks in Ireland. He had no doubt whatever but that in the civil establishments and in the contingencies, repairs, rent, &c. more than 40,000l. might; be saved; but, as the 881 committee had full information at present only of the civil establishments at Dublin, and the out stations, he should content himself by reducing the vote by 4,550l. or one-fourth of these unnecessarily large, establishments. Of the propriety of that reduction, every member who examines the returns on the table, will be a judge.
§ Sir J. Newport
agreed with the hon. member in the view which he had taken of the establishment at Ballincollig.
denied that the salaries of the officers in the Ordnance department m Dublin were too large, considering the responsibility which they incurred.
§ The committee divided: For the Amendment, 53; Against it, 92. The resolution was then agreed to.