§ The House having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, to which the Army Estimates were referred,
§ Lord Palmerston
said, that the estimates of the present year differed very little, either in the number of men or the amount of the expenditure, from those of last year; but, as there were some variations in the details, it might be necessary for him to explain them shortly to the House. The total number of men in the estimate of last year was eighty-six thousand, seven hundred and sixty-four. The number of the present year was eighty-six thousand, eight hundred and three, making an increase of thirty-nine men, for the service of the present year. The charge for the last year was 6,602,135l. The charge for the present year was 6,601,948l. The noble lord, after enumerating several minor changes and charges, in a very low tone, observed, that there was a saving from a reduction in the Levy-money to 5l. 4s.; but that the expense of the staff was increased 15,000l., from the nature of the armament sent to Portugal. In the War-office there would be found a reduction of 5,000l., and several of the unsettled accounts, as he anticipated last year, had been arranged. The noble lord spoke in such a hurried and suppressed tone, that it was almost impossible to hear what he said. As far as we could understand the noble lord, he observed, that the third class of the estimates included the expenses of the civil departments, or public offices, connected with the army: these amounted to 111,655l. 7s. 1d. The fourth charge was that of medicines, and surgical materials for the land forces, together with certain hospital contingencies, which, in the whole, amounted to 13,910l. 14s. 6d. for England, and 3,867l. for Ireland. In both, 17,777l. 14s. 6d. The expenses of the Royal Military College were estimated at 13,229l. 3s. 7d. He would now state that the amount of the pay of general officers was 148,226l. 7s. 6d. which showed a diminution upon the estimates of last year of 863l. The whole pay of retired officers was 118,000l., and the half-pay and military allowances to reduced and retired officers was 770,044l. 12s. 6d. The charge for in-pensioners of Chelsea Hospital was 33,726l. 19s. 4d., which was a diminution upon the estimate of last year of 940l. The out-pensions of Chelsea Hospital would amount, in the present 571 year, to 1,312,917l. 10s. 11d., which was an increase of 27,000l. upon the estimate of the preceding year. This arose from the disbanding of certain troops, otherwise there would have been a saving of 23,000l. But the addition made to the Chelsea pensions was not the only cause of the increase of the present estimates over those of last year. There was, besides, a small excess, arising from a new class of pensions. The total of the estimate for the Military Asylum was 28,046l. 17s., which showed an increase over the estimate of last year of 2,500l. This did not arise from any additional establishment, or from any permanent charge whatever. It was found necessary, this year, to make an addition to the building. The expense was, therefore, merely temporary, and could not be taken as any precedent of an item in a future estimate. The account of Widows' Pensions amounted to 135,868l. 16s. 8d., which was a diminution, when compared with that of 1826, of 6,171 l. The Compassionate List for the present year amounted to 193,063l. 13s. 9d., which showed an increase over that of the last year. The Exchequer fees remained the same. The expenses of the Veteran Battalions were 86,803l., being an increase of 23,497l., and a diminution of 23,670l. over the expenses of the year 1826. The balance was, consequently, 174l. in favour of the present year.—The noble lord then moved, "That a number of Land Forces, not exceeding eighty-seven thousand, eight hundred and fifty-nine men (exclusive of the men belonging to the Regiments employed in the Territorial Possessions of the East India Company), Commissioned and Non-commissioned Officers included, be maintained for the service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from the 25th Dec. 1826, to the 24th Dec. 1827, inclusive."
said, that considering the importance of the question under discussion, he regretted that the tone in which the noble lord had spoken, and the noise made by hon. gentlemen in leaving the House, had rendered it hardly possible for him to hear what the noble lord had said. He would confess, that it was with no little surprise that he viewed the conduct of those gentlemen by whom he was generally surrounded. When the question before the House merely concerned a common job, such as the unnecessary appointment of a junior lord of the Admiralty, which 572 might involve the waste of 1,000l. a-year; or the job of appointing a second postmaster-general, which might cost about 2,000l. a-year; or even a vote of an additional allowance to a prince of the blood royal—then, indeed, he saw a race between gentlemen in their efforts to oppose ministers. This appeared to be deemed by them sufficient to patch up their reputations for leaving their posts when questions of vital importance, like the present, were to be settled. This might, perhaps, succeed for them within the walls of that House; but it would not serve their purpose out of doors. There the anode of estimating parliamentary conduct was different. On all occasions he had done his utmost to reduce the public expenditure within reasonable and honest bounds. With respect to the grant to the duke of Clarence, be felt that he had given his vote conscientiously. Before the Committee came to its decision upon the question submitted to it, he would wish to draw the attention of members to the extravagance of the scale of the public expenditure, and to the excess of the present estimates over those of preceding years. To whatever period he referred, the comparison would be to the disadvantage of ministers. He would not travel so far back as the year 1792, that epoch to which hon. gentlemen were so fond of referring, and to which they could so often refer with strict propriety—in illustrating the extravagant career of government. He would content himself with a retrospect to a period when the House of Commons contained most of the gentlemen who sat in the present parliament. He would refer to the year 1822, and would draw a comparison between the public expenses then, and the amount of them at the present moment. The comparison would surprise those who were not in parliament, at the former period. The four great branches of expenditure to which he would call the attention of the House were—the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and the Miscellaneous Service. The amount of these was 14,606,000l. in the year 1822. For the year ending the 5th Jan., 1827, the same four branches of service amounted to 19,344,000l., being an increase of 4,738,000l. He would only ask those gentlemen who were so loud in their professions of public spirit, to have the goodness to do their duty when these estimates were voted. If they would but attend in 573 their places, the country might be richer by nearly five millions per annum. Me objected strongly to many of the items in the present estimates. There was a charge of 60,000l. for levy money of fifteen thousand men. The usual number of rank and file in the army was seventy-four thousand, five hundred. Therefore, fifteen thousand men were one fifth of the whole army. Although the duration of a soldier's life, from the casualties of battle, foreign service, and hard duty, was not equal to that of a civilian, he could assert, that it was a great deal more, upon an average, than five years. Never was there so extravagant a demand made upon this head of expenditure. In 1823, the number of recruits raised was only eleven thousand. He observed in the estimates a charge of 28,000l. for raising only four companies. Each recruit must, therefore, have cost the country no less than 20l. before he could be reckoned fit for service. He believed that the newly adopted system of recruiting by whole companies, tended much to destroy the efficiency of the army, and many whom he had consulted upon the subject concurred with him in the opinion.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, that the gallant member was mistaken with respect to the number of recruits. Of the fifteen thousand men, four thousand were to supply an additional force, and the number intended to answer the wear and casualties of the service was only eleven thousand. Taking deaths, desertions, and discharges, into consideration, it would be by no means more than would probably be wanted. With reference to the system of recruiting, as far as his experience wont, he could positively assert that the present system was eminently adapted to ensure the efficiency of the service. In the first place, by the present system of recruiting, there was no longer a multitude of officers that used to be detached from their regiments, wasting their time, to the loss and disadvantage of the public. Instead of nine hundred officers so detached by the old practice, there were now not even one hundred. By the present system, no regiment could detach more than one officer at a time, and no officer so detached could be absent from his regiment more than two years. The absent officer was not allowed to have under his command a single man belonging to his own regiment; so that the regiment was left efficient and complete. 574 The present system was, therefore, evidently better than that which formerly existed. With reference to the organization of the army, so far from the present plan of recruiting having impaired that organization, or in any respect diminished its efficiency, it had eminently tended to raise the force in every point of service. The strength of a battalion of the line on foreign service was six hundred men. Formerly, a regiment consisted of ten companies or eight; all of which went on service, leaving only the skeleton of one company to recruit. Each regiment now consisted of ten companies, six of which were sent on service, the remaining four companies being left at home to recruit. These companies disciplined the young-soldiers, and sent them from time to time to the battalions abroad. It was a literal fact, that when a comparison had been made between regiments consisting of the same number of men, those which had only six companies abroad, and recruited under the present system, were found to be stronger and more efficient than the regiments with ten companies, upon the former system of recruiting. The reason was evident: the four companies at home were a better engine for recruiting and keeping up the undisturbed organization and numbers of the regiment, than the skeleton companies which were formerly used for raising men. The garrisons abroad were much more effective now than formerly. The new recruiting system had, however, another material object in view. When a whole regiment went abroad, if officers became unable to continue in active service, they were sent home on leave. This indulgence was, of course, limited; and when their leave expired, if the state of their health prevented their returning to their regiments, and re-assuming active duties, they were of necessity compelled to retire on half-pay. Upon the present system, the officer came home, not merely upon leave of absence. If his health did oblige him to quit active duty, he did not come home upon leave of absence, nor were his services lost to the public. He joined his dépôt, and there performed that comparatively easy duty which the state of his health permitted. Dépôts, which consisted of raw recruits, could not certainly be so available as entire regiments; but they did perform a share of duty, and of a description necessary to the service.
§ Mr. Hume
said, he would leave it to the comprehension of military men, how regiments of six hundred men could be more efficient than regiments of eight hundred. From what he heard, a very different account could be given of this subject. Leaving such paradoxes, he would ask, was it economical to have fifty field officers, two hundred and four captains, four hundred and eight subalterns and staff officers employed recruiting? Ministers were in the habit of talking of the preference of one system over another; they compared them in their different points, and vaunted of the superiority of recent plans. The only point which they never took into consideration was, what appeared to him to be the most essential to consider; namely, the expense. Improvements, however obvious, might be acquired at too great a cost. By the present practice, the War Department left a staff at home, with a few companies, to recruit; and, as far as he could learn, the expense of the system was well deserving of attention. So far from being economical, it was most extravagant.
§ The question being then put upon the resolution, "That eighty-seven thousand three hundred and fifty-nine men be provided for the Military Service in the present year,"
§ Mr. Hume
said, that he, for one, objected in the strongest manner to the great amount of the army. He objected to it in a constitutional sense; he objected to it in point of expense; and because he did not think it necessary to the exigencies of the country. He knew that he was not solitary in entertaining these objections. As the House had pledged itself to support the expedition to Portugal, to put matters to rights there, he did not mean, at the present moment, to do more than to protest against the number of our forces. He would, however, beg leave to state to the House, that when parliament had recently petitioned the Crown to reduce the public establishments, the answer from the Crown was, that all possible economy should be observed, with a view to recruit the finances and to pay off a portion of the public debt. To this ministers had made the Crown pledge itself to the country. Now, it was curious to see whether ministers had so far regarded the honour of the Crown as to act up to this pledge. When that public promise was given to the country, the 576 military establishments got down to sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and three men. A sinking fund was provided, which, it was said, would, at the end of ten years, reduce eighty millions. Almost every body who heard him must remember the confidence with which ministers spoke of the reduction of the debt to that amount. It was considered as nothing short of faction to dispute their calculations, or to doubt their sincerity. They asserted, and repeated the assertion, that every establishment of the army should be kept down to the scale which the petition to the Crown had induced them to adopt. What had been the result? In five years, instead of a reduction by this sinking fund, of thirty-five or forty millions, every shilling of that sinking fund was wanted for the current expenses, and the country, at this moment, was more in debt. After this pledge of ministers, they had contrived to bring the army to eighty-six, instead of sixty-six, thousand. There had been an unnecessary and wanton increase of twenty thousand men, after ministers had pretended to sympathize in the sufferings of the people, and had pledged themselves that every possible attention should be given to economy. As to the estimates before the House, they were a mere farce: they were of no value whatever: they were merely waste paper; they did not bind ministers, they did not bind the noble lord, as to what number of men should be kept up, or as to what expense should be incurred. He held in his hand a return, by which the House would see how useless it was to vote an estimate of 6,401,000l.,—the amount of the estimate of last year, when the scale of disbursements was 8,000,000l., being an increase of 1,600,000l. What could be the use of voting this estimate or that estimate, when, without the authority of parliament, ministers exceeded the vote to the extent which he had stated? Independently of other circumstances, let the House consider where the government could find money to continue in such a course, unless they resorted to the expedient of raising loans. Did it not behove the government, in this period of peace, to husband the resources of the country? Was not this the honest policy of a government in a period of peace? How much more did it behove them to do so in a country in which every interest was labouring under the most dreadful 577 distress? He had had the curiosity that day to examine the estimates and expenses of the government of the United States of America. Their civil, military, and naval establishments were not more than the civil list and the expenses of the royal family of England. The whole legislative, judicial, and civil departments of the United States did not cost more than 200,000l. above the civil list of England and the cost of the royal family. Thus, the American Civil establishments cost 196,946l.; Miscellaneous, 150,000l.; Diplomatic, 55,000l.; Military, including fortifications, 1,160,000l.; Navy, including the expense of building, &c, 645,000l. For our establishments, the charge was no less than 19,000,000l., being 8,297,000l. for the Army; Ordnance, 1,869,000l.; Navy, 6,540,000l.; Miscellaneous, 2,566,000l.: making, with the civil list, 21,000,000l. And all this was done by America for little more than 2,000,000l. It was thus that that country was husbanding her resources, whilst we were improvidently expending ours. Sixteen millions sterling was the whole of her national debt; being not one year's amount of the cost of our army, navy, and civil establishments. When ministers talked of the honour and dignity of the country, he would remind them, that if they ruined its finances, which they were doing as effectually as they could do, they were, in fact, ruining the honour and dignity which they were pretending to support. England was exceeding her income by four millions and a half a year. Ministers had got rid of the whole of the surplus revenue; and they were now pressing the House to vote the estimates, without the least discretion, and without having any general view of the state of the country. The country was more straitened in her finances than at the conclusion of the war. He hoped the House would pause before it gave its sanction to so large an establishment; and he would therefore propose as an amendment, that sixty-seven thousand three hundred and fifty-nine men be substituted instead of eighty-seven thousand three hundred and fifty-nine men.
Mr. V. Fitzgerald
denied the assertion of the gallant colonel opposite, that the expenditure of the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and Miscellaneous estimates was between four and five millions more in the last year than in the year 1822. Instead of 578 that, by the paper which he held in his hand, it appeared that the difference was only 1,300,000l.
Mr. V. Fitzgerald
stated, that the amount of the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and Miscellaneous services in 1822 was 16,680,000l., and of the same services in the last year 17,941,000l.; being a difference of only 1,300,000l.
§ Mr. Hume
observed, that he held in his hand a paper, in which a different account was given of the matter. It was signed J. C. Henries, and gave an account of the revenue and expenditure of the year ending 1st January, 1827; by which it appeared that the expenditure for the Army, Navy, Ordnance, and Miscellaneous services, was 19,344,187l.
begged to say, that, though the papers were perfectly correct, yet the conclusions drawn from them by the hon. member were totally incorrect. He thought that such a deduction as that made by the hon. member would not have been again brought forward, after the explanation which his right hon. friend, the chancellor of the Exchequer, had given the other night upon the subject. He had made a clear distinction between the annual estimates voted by parliament for the Army, Navy, Ordnance, &c., and the sums actually expended within any particular period. It was well known, that, at the end of the year 1825, there was a severe pressure on the country; and that, in consequence, there were heavy demands for money on the Treasury for the payment of Exchequer bills. Under those circumstances, the issues had not been made for the Army and Navy, and the current payments were delayed, so that thus the demands, which were payable in December, 1825, were postponed, in order that the Exchequer, at such a crisis, might be kept as full as possible. The consequence was, that many payments which properly belonged to "1825 fell within the year 1826, indicating a large apparent expenditure in that year. Had matters gone on in the usual way, the postponement might have gone on to a certain extent, so as not to increase the apparent amount of the payments; but an armament became necessary; and it was well known, that when troops were sent abroad it was usual to pay them in advance. Thus an operation of an opposite nature took place; and, 579 instead of a postponement of payments, an acceleration of them was the consequence. Without any increase of actual expense, therefore, larger payments were made than, under different circumstances, would have been made, between the 1st of January, 1826, and the 1st of January, 1827. The figures which had been read by his right hon. friend near him were the best criterion of the actual expenditure of a single year; and not the paper to which the hon. member for Aberdeen adverted, which was a cash account; and the cash accounts would not afford a just notion of the expense, unless taken for a succession of years. He repeated, that it was strange the hon. gentleman should have fallen into this mistake after the clear explanation of the chancellor of the Exchequer.
observed, that there ought to be some explanatory appendix to the papers, to show what the fact was, and to prevent the occurrence of errors.
observed, that if he understood the hon. Secretary rightly, the balance-sheet, from which his hon. friend had read, was only a cash account, showing the receipts and payments that had taken place at the Exchequer; and that it ought not to be dealt with as an accurate account of the expenditure, because it might contain under the head of disbursements larger sums than parliament had voted for the year. But how did the chancellor of the Exchequer make his annual statements but from this balance-sheet? In fact, any other account was delusive, because this was the cash account. They all knew what difficulty there had been to procure the introduction of this balance-sheet. Even now the balance-sheet was not what it ought to be. In some respects it was unintelligible. It purported to be an account of the receipt and expenditure at the Exchequer; whereas it contained a number of details respecting the funded and unfunded debt. These were things which ought to be separated. If government advanced a large sum, only a part of which was repaid, that merely made a difference in our debt, and had nothing to do with the receipt and expenditure. On examining this balance-sheet it appeared, that, instead of a balance in our favour of 1,700,000l., there was a deficiency of 4,500,000l. It was therefore inexpedient that the House should depend on the estimates. They might or might not be correct. But by the receipt 580 and expenditure, as detailed in the balance-sheet, the truth must be ascertained. He was certainly aware, that in a series of years, the cash account could not be larger than the sums in the Appropriation acts; but still the best way, in his opinion, was to ascertain by the balance-sheet, which was a test more within compass; whereas any inference from the Appropriation acts, in consequence of their extent, must be less conclusive.
§ The resolution was agreed to. On the resolution, "That 111,655l. be granted for defraying the charge of the Allowances to the principal Officers of the several Departments in Great Britain and Ireland, their Deputies, Clerks, and contingent Expenses, for the year 1827,"
§ Mr. Hume
observed, that on reading the items of this branch of expenditure, and comparing them with those of former years, it appeared to him that every thing was not going on right. Among other charges, there was the sum of 20,000l. paid to individuals superannuated from the noble lord's own office. The House would do well to inquire in what manner these retirements and superannuations took place. Was the head of an office to turn out whom he pleased, and make room for whom he pleased, without caring to what extent the public were burthened by the operation? He should be glad to hear from the noble lord on what ground the Deputy-secretary at War had retired since last year. What was the amount of his retiring pension; and on what principle was it granted?
said, that when the hon. gentleman compared the expense of this branch of service with its expense in former years, it would be well if he would also look at its increased efficiency, and at the superior despatch and accuracy with which the business to which it related was performed. A great part of the expense was not optional, but resulted from the increased demands made by parliament for information on military subjects. Nevertheless, considerable reduction had taken place. In 1814, the annual charge for the Public Departments was 253,000l.; at present, in consequence of the reductions to which he had adverted, it was only 111,655l. In answer to the hon. gentleman's questions, he would merely observe, that when a department, which had been raised to a large establishment in consequence of a large increase of business, was reduced. 581 in consequence of a reduction of business, it was impossible to dismiss persons who had served long and faithfully without some provision. That provision was regulated by a scale of allowance pointed out in an act of parliament. Of course, when a reduction became necessary, it must be left to the head of each department to select the individuals, who, in his opinion, might best be spared from his office. If that confidence could not be reposed in the head of an office, he was not fit for his situation. He must select those who could be spared with the least inconvenience to the public service. His duty then was, to report their names and services to the Treasury, by whom, and not by him, their retiring allowances were fixed. In the course of this and the last year, having wound up the arrears of his office, he had been enabled to dispense with twenty-two appointments. With respect to the late Deputy-secretary of War, he had served very nearly half a century. Next year he would have completed that term. A more assiduous and excellent public servant never existed. By the provisions of the act of parliament, the Treasury were empowered, if an individual had served fifty years, and there were other grounds for the proceeding, to grant him a retiring pension, equivalent to his salary; and the individual in question, by his age and his services, was fully qualified and entitled to enjoy the advantage. By the existing arrangement, he would have been entitled to the full salary at the end of fifty years' service; but a discretionary power was vested in the Lords of the Treasury to apportion a remuneration proportionate to the services of the officer. Accordingly, he had no hesitation in recommending the claims of the late Deputy-secretary to the Lords of the Treasury, whose merits and whose services entitled him to the most favourable consideration. Upon the falling-in of the late Deputy-secretary's situation, it had been determined to reduce the salary of his successor to 2,000l. a year. By this arrangement 500l. a year was saved to the public. Then with respect to the principal clerk, whose salary had been 1,200l. a year; he would have been shortly entitled to a retiring salary; but by being placed in the situation of Deputy-secretary, the salary was saved to the public, and also the superannuated pension, to which he would have been otherwise entitled. 582 At present he admitted that, the charge of Deputy-secretary was apparently a heavy one; but in the course of time—in the course of the next ten years for instance— there would be found to be a considerable saving to the country in this particular item of charge in the military estimates.
§ Mr. Hume
thought, notwithstanding the explanation given by the noble lord, that the charge of Deputy-secretary to the country was extravagant. There was a retiring salary of 1,800l. to Mr. Moore, to Mr. Merry 2,500l., to the present Deputy-secretary 2,000l., so that the charge to the country for the situation of Deputy-secretary for the War Department was above 6,000l. The length of service of the late Deputy-secretary he was prepared to admit; but he understood that that gentleman was as fit to discharge his duties now as he was twenty years ago. Ho. should be glad to know whether the retirement, of the late Deputy-secretary was a voluntary resignation, or whether it was in consequence of a suggestion to him to resign his office.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, that the resignation of that gentleman was certainly a spontaneous one on his part. He had made the application to him (lord P.), and, in consideration of his merits and services, he had no hesitation in favourably recommending that application to the Lords of the Treasury. It was true that Mr. Merry had not been half a century in the particular situation from which he retired; but it was due to that gentleman to say, that on the retirement from the office of Mr. Moore in 1809, Mr. Merry sustained, and sustained voluntarily, a loss of 800l. a-year, which was to have accrued to him from a contract into which he had entered for certain supplies to the garrison of Gibraltar. Such a surrender on his part was deserving of the most favourable consideration, and gave Mr. Merry a claim to any indulgence that might be shown him; although, in his instance, the allowance that had been awarded to him was more a matter of right than of indulgence.
§ Mr. Hume
was astonished, after it had been admitted that Mr. Merry had entered when not of age, and had not served the full time, that he should have been allowed to retire on the full pension. Instead of any-serious attempt being made to reduce our establishments, there appeared to be a desire to increase them. Since 1822, the civil establishment particularly had gone 583 on increasing. In 1822 it was 329,000l.; this year it amounted to 425,000l. So that not only the military dead weight, but the civil dead weight, had been gradually increasing. He thought it was the duty of the House to institute a strict inquiry into the cause of this increase, and to call upon government to redeem the pledge which they had given to make retrenchments.
contended, that the act referred to by his noble friend fully authorised that exercise of discretion in special cases, which had been exercised in the case of Mr. Merry. He could assure the House that matters regarding retired allowances were not lightly disposed of at the Treasury. The certificates were examined, and the claims were investigated, with the utmost strictness.
§ Lord Palmerston answered—none.
§ The resolution was agreed to.
§ On the resolution, "That 13,229l. be granted, for defraying the charge of the Royal Military College, for the year 1827,"
§ Lord Palmerston
replied, that sixteen cadets had been appointed without purchase, and twenty-two by purchase.
§ Sir H. Hardinge
said, that the number of military students was more than threefold the number who obtained situations from the college. The fact was, that those who were appointed from the college underwent a very severe examination, as a test of superior qualification. Those who did not obtain situations from the college, had all the facility which their family connexion and resources might give them to obtain commissions, and the service was benefited by the advantages of the education which they received at the college.
§ Sir Alexander Hope
said, that the benefits arising from the Military College were not confined to the mere annual appoint- 584 ment of thirty-eight or forty officers. The education which officers of the army received was found to be extensively beneficial. Many officers who had been educated there, and who were afterwards scattered in different parts of the world, took surveys of the places in which they had been, and supplied, in this and in other ways, a variety of valuable information. Then, as to staff duties, the improvements which had been effected through the Military College were very important. It was not long ago that an officer belonging to the Austrian army, was employed to give instruction in staff duties. Of late, however, it was found that foreign instruction could be altogether dispensed with; and he was happy to be enabled to state, that the Military College had furnished to the service three quartermasters general. It was unfair, therefore, in the hon. member to select the mere appointments which had taken place from the college within the last year, and to state, that those appointments, independent of other advantages, formed the only beneficial result that accrued from the grant to the college. The young gentlemen were instructed in all the branches of education necessary to qualify them for the profession to which they were destined. It seemed as if those who objected to this grant were disposed to fix the proportion of ignorance rather than of knowledge that ought to prevail in the army; and to measure its value not by its improvement, but by its deterioration.
§ Mr. Hume
admitted that the officers of the army ought to be well educated, but not at the expense of the public. The charge for the staff of the college was no less than 6,000l.; while 7,000l. more were annually paid for nurses and other attendants. Arithmetic, French, Geography, and the classics, were, no doubt, important branches of education; but, surely, it was not necessary to keep up a distinct college for teaching matters which were to be learned in every grammar school of the kingdom. Yet, these heavy charges were made as if the students came, in formâ pauperis, to be educated from the first rudiments of knowledge. He did not apply this remark to fortification and military drawing, because they were not always taught elsewhere; but he thought masters for landscape-painting and experimental philosophy not absolutely requisite for a young cadet. Independent of 585 twenty-three professors paid by the public, there were five clerks, nineteen men servants, a housekeeper and nurses, at an expense of 13,000l. a-year for the education of thirty-eight boys.
§ Lord Palmerston
produced a return of the number of students admitted into the Military College, since its first establishment in 1802. The total number was two thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight; of which one thousand three hundred and twenty had received commissions in the king's service, and one hundred and twenty in that of the East India company. The complete defence furnished by his gallant friend rendered it needless for him to say another word regarding the public utility of the establishment.
§ Mr. Monck
observed, that the only question was, whether the education of these boys ought to be paid for out of the taxes. Ought the people to be taxed for the purpose of teaching those who would be quite as well, if not better, taught at the expense of their friends and relations? Let the examination, before appointment, still continue as severe as it ought to be, parents would be very glad to qualify their sons for it, in the expectation of the reward of a cadetship. Why was it necessary for the country to educate its officers any more than its physicians, its lawyers, or its divines?
§ Sir A. Hope
said, he thought the cadets ought to be educated at the public expense, because the public called upon the parents and friends of those young men to devote them to the service of the country; and because those young men, abandoning the comforts of a private life, or lucrative professions, were bound, by the pledge of their parents, to undergo the hardships of the military profession, and to brave the horrors of various climates.
§ Sir E. Carrington,
in answer to the latter part of the speech of the hon. member for Reading, observed, that, by the munificence of prelates, of statesmen, and of princes, the means of adequate education had, from the most remote periods of our history, been supplied to the professions of law, physic, and divinity. No such provision had been made for military education, until this establishment was created, and by that institution a chasm had been honourably and most properly filled up.
§ Mr. Hume
said, that no man could conscientiously say, that 6,000l. was nece- 586 ssary for the staff officers of such an establishment—a school for a few boys. He could never consent to this throwing away of the public money, and would move as an amendment, "That the sum of 9,000l. be substituted for 13,229l."
§ The Committee divided: For the amendment 29; against it 107. After some further conversation, the several resolutions were agreed to.