§ The House having resolved itself into a committee of supply, to which the Army Estimates were referred, lord Palmerston moved, "That 236,330l. 0s. 1d. be granted for the Miscellaneous Services of the Land Forces in Great Britain and on the stations abroad."
§ Mr. Hume
said, the charge for the table kept for the officers of the foot and life-guards at St. James's Palace was 6,000l., he should propose to reduce it to 3,000l. It was contrary to general practice to support such a table; besides, the extravagance with which the table at St. James's was supported, would injure the army, and lead the officers into profuse habits. The next charge he would reduce was the riding-house at Pimlico. When the sum of 3,000l. was already paid for riding masters, the riding-house might be dispensed with. The 60l. for inspecting the regimental colours might likewise be saved. The object was to see the inscriptions put on, which, to the glory of the army, they bore upon 1179 their colours, such as Vimiera, &c., and properly spelt. Surely the commander, though not as good a judge of heraldry as sir G. Nayler, might be trusted with the superintendence of the inscriptions on the colours of his regiment. There was also 50l. for inspecting great coats: this was unnecessary. A large reduction might also be made in the barrack expenditure. Why pay for temporary barracks at Maidstone and the Isle of Wight, when good substantial brick barracks were unoccupied in so many parts of the country? The Maidstone division might be well accommodated, he was informed, at Chatham and the vicinity. He could not see why 60,000l. or 70,000l. should be charged for the recruiting service. Why were paymasters and surgeons to be kept up, perhaps for 10 or 15 men? He should propose a saving of 8,500l. out of that head of expense. On this ground a saving of 25,000l. might be made. He would, therefore, move that the present vote should be reduced to 211,339l.
§ Sir C. Burrell
said, that the officers of the guards were not paid so well as any other officers in the British army, and contended that they were therefore entitled to the small consideration of the table at St. James's. If an ensign in the guards were to sink the purchase-money of his commission in an annuity, he would get a much higher rate of pay than he received in virtue of his commission. With regard to the table which was kept for the officers of the guards, when the hon. member talked of the luxuries with which it was supplied, he was quite in error; for he believed the officers were rather kept on short commons than otherwise. There were subalterns in the guards of 16 and 17 years standing, whose pay would do no more than cover the expense of their regimentals.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, that the table at St. James's was a privilege which had been attached to the guards ever since their first formation. Whenever allowances had been either first granted or increased to other regiments, it had always been said to the junior officers of the guards—"You must be satisfied, you have the St. James's table." If the subalterns in the guards were to be paid the same allowances as subalterns in the line received, they would have to take 30,000l. instead of 18,000l. being a difference of 12,000l.: one half only of this difference, or 6,000l. was allowed for their table. The hon. 1180 member had called this particular allowance an extravagant provision; but he must protest against this system of aspersion on the purity and fairness with which the administration of military affairs was conducted. They were aspersions which were not borne out by facts. Let the House look back to the last session of parliament.
said, the gallant officer ought not to be surprised, if among the multiplicity of objects which his hon. friend's most beneficial system of retrenchment embraced, there should be some upon which his information was not quite correct. The zeal and ability of his hon. friend were proved on too many occasions to be at all affected by passing errors of this kind. For his own part, he did not view with the same objection as his hon. friend, the establishments of the table in question.
said, he should feel it, necessary to move an amendment. He should propose to reduce the vote; first of all, by 18,000l., because that was the excess above 1819; and secondly, by 1,000l., the cost of the riding establishment at Pimlico. He would move, by way of amendment, that the vote should be 217,339l. 0s. 1d. being less by 19,000l. than the sum originally proposed.
§ After some further conversation, the two Amendments were severally negatived, and the original resolution agreed to. On the resolution, "That 96,848l. 2s. 1d. be granted for the Charge of General and Staff Officers, and Officers of the Hospitals,"
§ Lord Palmerston
observed, that one major-general had been reduced in Guernsey, and two in the colonies; considerable reductions had also been made in the medical department. It was also intended to make some further reductions in the colonial establishments.
objected to the expense occasioned by employing district quartermasters-general. They were, with an active army, of' great service, but their duties in England were perfectly insignificant. The colonial staff in the Leeward and Windward Islands would also admit of a great reduction.
§ Mr. Hume
thought the country had a right to expect a much larger reduction. What was the necessity of keeping up four district assistants to the quartermaster-general, when there were a quartermaster-general and three assistants at 1181 head quarters? In 1792, we had one district assistant, and at head quarters only the quarter-master-general and his deputy. Why were there two inspectors of clothing? He also observed six aides-de-camp to the king. Were they on the staff or on the household? In 1792, he saw no such thing, so that if they were then kept up, they were paid from the civil list; and he should propose that the same thing should be done now. He also wished to know why the chaplain-general should not be reduced? In 1796, this establishment had begun, at the expense of 383l. a year, for the chaplain-general. He had now 800l. a year, an assistant, and three chaplains to the forces, making an expense of 1,776l. a year. He had never been able to find what the chaplain-general did. It was said that he examined the qualifications of the chaplains; but, as the bishops would take care not to ordain improper persons, this labour was thrown away. In the colonies, he saw a great field for reduction. In Canada there were four quarter-masters-general, two aides-de-camp, and two secretaries. One-half might be reduced. In Jamaica, Gibraltar, and the Cape of Good Hope, there were the same establishments all in duplicate, which admitted of the same reduction. By reducing the items to which he had adverted, the country would gain 12,500l. He would, therefore, move that 84,348l. be granted instead of 96,848l.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, that in 1792, there were six aides-de-camp to the king on the staff, who were paid at a higher rate than at present. The hon. gentleman had greatly underrated the expense of the staff in 1792. He had totally omitted sums paid for extraordinaries and contingencies, and had taken the actual estimated expense. The noble lord defended the necessity of having proper persons to inspect the clothing of the army. As to the chaplain-general, a man might be very respectable; but if there was not some person to see that he performed the duty for the army in the way which was contemplated by the legislature, the public money would in some instances, be uselessly expended. The chaplain-general had to correspond with all the stations abroad, and the garrisons at home; and he had no person but his deputy to assist in the duties of his office, and in making up his various accounts. With respect to the district quarter-masters-general, they were not, as had been 1182 asserted, useless. The hon. gentleman was constantly proposing reductions, but it was done in so vague a manner, that it was impossible to understand the grounds on which he proceeded. If an item of 2,000l. was called for, he immediately proposed one-half the sum; if there were two officers belonging to any department, he insisted, without hesitation, that one was enough. He undoubtedly had a right to state his opinion; but he must not feel angry if the House did not think that his mere dictum was sufficient to convince them of the usefulness or wisdom of his propositions.
§ Mr. Ellice
complained of the manner in which the estimates were laid before the House. The House ought to be made acquainted with the various emoluments derived from the public, in any other shape, by individuals whose names were brought forward in those annual grants. Gentlemen would then have an opportunity of judging whether individuals were too highly or too moderately remunerated. It would, in that case, be matter for consideration, whether the noble lord, who was now governor of Canada, who received in that situation 4,500l. a year, who had, besides, the profits of a regiment, and netted altogether about 9,000l., was sufficiently or extravagantly paid? The same question would arise with respect to the governor of Barbadoes. Much had been said of the expenses of the colonies, but we had brought them into the situation in which they were, and could not now leave them without protection. But we ought to know what they exactly cost. They were taxed and severely; and it was not fair to say that they did not contribute to their own protection, merely because their contributions were applied by us to other purposes. The old 4½ per cent duties were applied, for instance, to the pension list of England. Demerara paid four or five sinecures of 5, 6, 7, or 8,000l. a year, to persons who had never seen Demerara. The system required revision. St. Lucie, too, contributed 3,000l. a year to the governor. It was the duty of the House, with unsparing hand, to cut down the expenditure.
§ After some further conversation, the committee divided: For the amendment 33. Against it, 109. The original resolution was then agreed to.
|List of the Majority|
|Benyon, B.||Bernal, R.|
|Barrett, S. B. M.||James, Wm.|
|Blake, sir F.||Lambton, J. G.|
|Bury, vise.||Lennard, T. B.|
|Compton, S.||Moore, P.|
|Concannon, L.||Maberly, J.|
|Crespigny, sir W. De||Maberly, J. jun.|
|Davies, col.||Normanby, lord|
|Ellice, E.||O'Callaghan, col.|
|Fergusson, sir R.||Robinson, sir G.|
|Griffith, J. W.||Robarts, A. W.|
|Guise, sir W.||Robarts, col.|
|Hutchinson, hon. C.||Ricardo, D.|
|Hamilton, lord A.||Wilson, sir R.|
|Hobhouse, J. C.||Wood, ald.|
|Johnson, col.||Bennet, hon. H. G.|
recommended his hon. friend (Mr. Hume) to abandon the useless task of disputing the estimates, item by item, since all his exertions were rendered unavailing by the overwhelming majorities of ministers. He entreated his hon. friend not to exhaust his own strength and that of his friends, night after night, but to propose at once a reduction of taxation to the amount which he judged fair and reasonable, and then to leave the country to decide between him and ministers. His hon. friend had undoubtedly done more good for the country than any man who had sat in parliament for the last twenty years; but still he could not help dissuading his hon. friend from pursuing a system, which the determination of ministers not to make any effectual reduction of the public expenditure, rendered wholly unavailing.
§ Mr. W. Smith
trusted the hon. member for Aberdeen would persevere in a course, in which he had already succeeded to an extent which must have surpassed every man's expectations.
Mr. R. Smith
said, he understood that prince Leopold, had, with a proper consideration for the distressed state of the country, expressed a desire to have his income reduced to the same scale as that of the royal dukes. He was sure the country would feel the propriety of the step which had been taken by his royal highness; and he wished to ask the noble lord, when he intended to make this important communication to the House?
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, he 1184 had received no such communication from his royal highness, and was perfectly at a loss to know from what source the hon. gentleman had obtained his information.
§ On the resolution, That 14,512l. 5s. 5d. be granted for the charge of the office of the Commander-in-chief,"
§ Mr. Hume
said, he thought the pay of the commander-in-chief too great. Since the peace it had been raised from nine to sixteen guineas a day. He thought his royal highness ought at least to come back to the footing of the war. He did not undervalue the services of the royal duke, but his object was, to reduce the pay of all field marshals. There were three secretaries receiving salaries of 2,000l. 600l. and 365l.; upon which some reduction ought to be made. Connected with the establishment was a chaplain, which was purely a nominal office, and the clergyman who held-it also held two other offices. Upon the whole sum, he should propose a reduction of 3,656l.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, the pay of the commander-in-chief was the military pay attached by regulation to the rank of field marshal. In point of mental exertion, and strict attention to the duties of his office, it was impossible for any public servant to discharge his duty more faithfully than his royal highness, and he was persuaded the House would not think his services overpaid. With regard to the official establishment of the commander-in-chief, there was not a more important branch of the public service than that which was discharged by his secretaries, and he was persuaded that this department would be crippled and rendered inefficient if the amendment were acceded to.
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, he should not have troubled the House upon the question if he had not seen the hon. member for Aberdeen attempting to take an odious and unfounded view of it. He really thought it rather too much to contend that the commander-in-chief was so inefficient a field-marshal, that he ought to be shorn of his emoluments, and, in a manner, disgraced in the service by being put upon half-pay, Why did the hon. member for Abingdon wish the hon. member for Aberdeen to come down with a lumping vote instead of going into detail? Did he do it because the hon. member's details would not bear examination? because he saw hint going on with one blunder after another, night after night? 1185 The hem member for Abingdon wished to see the hon. member for Aberdeen come down with the same kind of lumping proposition which he himself had made in a former session, when he had endeavoured to persuade the House to a reduction of 3,000,000l. a year. However convenient the gentlemen opposite might find it to go into detail on some occasions, the hon. member had not proved it on this occasion, for his remarks on the commander-in-chief's office were such as a child might answer. But the gentlemen opposite did not seem to be agreed upon their mode of proceeding. He trusted that in future they would consult about their tactics elsewhere, for the time of the House might be better occupied than in listening to consultations whether they were to proceed to details or to oppose in the lump. Whichever way they opposed, his majesty's ministers would be ready to meet them, not only in numbers, but in fair argument. With respect to the pay of the commander-in-chief, he considered that there was no officer who better deserved the remuneration which he received from the public, whether with regard to his general services, or that devoted attention which he had so long paid to our late venerable sovereign. Would it be fit, after wasting his health in the public service, that he should, at this period, be cut off from that allowance to which his services so well entitled him? Taking all the circumstances, he did not think that a more unwarranted attack could have been made than on the moderate remuneration given for the valuable services of the commander-in-chief.
could assure the noble lord he had no intention of making an attack either upon the commander-in-chief or his secretary. All that he wished to do was merely to keep the noble lord to the recommendations of his own committee. This the noble lord had not done; and it was not fair to avoid the merits of the question by throwing out insinuations about lumping. If the noble lord would go into a committee, he would challenge him upon every item. He had not found fault with the commander-in-chief. No man was more ready than he to wish, that not his royal highness only, but every public officer who did his duty, should be paid, both in money and in honour. If they would separate the allowances of the commander-in-chief, he would have no objection to vote for them.
§ Sir J. Shelley
fully concurred in every thing which had been said of the meritorious services of the commander-in-chief, and he would not only give him the sum proposed, but would go farther, and support an increase of that sum, if such were deemed necessary; for he considered the country was in debt to his royal highness, and that it had not sufficiently remunerated his meritorious services.
maintained, that his hon. friend had never intended to throw out any insinuation against the commander-in-chief, or his secretary; but he had objected to an increase of pay from nine to sixteen guineas per day. He objected to it as having been too great at the time it was made; and, a fortiori, he must object to it now. Having the highest respect for the commander-in-chief, and valuing his great services much as he did, he still felt bound to say, that the proposed reduction ought to take place. He would make the same objection if he were his brother. For the secretary, also, he had the most sincere respect, and he considered him a most worthy and efficient officer: but when he recollected that sir W. Gordon had filled that situation for 1,000l. a year, he did not think that the present secretary in the present distressed state of the country, ought to get more.
§ General Gascoyne
said, that disguise the motion as members might please, it went in effect to stigmatize his royal highness, for it stated substantially that he had already received more than he deserved from the country. Now, so fat from thinking that his services had been overpaid, he would rather see an increase of his allowance. As to the secretary there was no man whose long and meritorious services better entitled him to a liberal remuneration from the country.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, it was a mistake to suppose that the duties of the commander-in-chief were decreased by the peace. The contrary was the fact; for those duties increased in proportion to the increase of the half-pay-list.
said, he had supported the vote for the office of commander-in-chief last year, and he saw no reason to alter that opinion. As it was admitted, that we should have a commander-in-chief, he did not think we could have a more able, efficient, and impartial one than the duke of York had been. As to the pay of the secretary, he did not see why it should be below his rank. He hoped his hon. friend would 1187 not press this amendment; for though his system of reviewing the items of the public expenditure had been productive of great good, such motions as the present would only weaken the effect of that system.
§ The amendment was negatived, and the original resolution agreed to.